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The controversy which began in May, 1845, was renewed at the anniversary meeting of the Society in May, 1846. Eliot, Dwight, Dr. W. Channing, and Bigelow concurred in a report drawn by Dr. Channing, which sustained the course of the Society and its secretary; while Dr. Howe, Sumner, and Mann joined in a minority report drawn by Dr. Howe.1 Sumner made ineffectual efforts at business meetings of the Society to have both reports printed with the annual report for 1846, but was defeated by the persistent opposition of the secretary and his friends. At the business meeting on the day preceding the public anniversary it was also voted, on motion of Nathaniel Willis, Dwight's father-in-law, that ‘it is not expedient to discuss the subject at the anniversary meeting.’ The managers were bent on suppressing further agitation; but they had to deal with an antagonist who had a spirit of determination even exceeding theirs, and he was learning a lesson of persistence which was to avail him in later years on a more conspicuous field of controversy.

The public meeting was held in Tremont Temple on the morning of May 26. The audience was very large,—two thousand by estimate, largely composed of women. On the platform were distinguished clergymen and laymen. Dr. Wayland was in the chair. Dwight read the annual report, omitting, as he said, some parts to give opportunity for speeches. As he concluded, Sumner stepped forward at once; but before he began, Dwight interposed, saying in a peremptory tone, ‘Mr. President, the annual meeting was interrupted in this manner last year; there are gentlemen present who are invited by the committee of arrangements to address us.’ The president promptly reminded Dwight that Sumner had the floor, and the latter proceeded. The audience thought Dwight's interruption to be rude, and, as is usually the case, relished a break in a routine which had been previously arranged.2

Sumner spoke an hour at least, making points as to the partisan character of the annual reports and as to the rival system, to which he recurred the next year.3 These will be noted in a

1 Sumner assisted in correcting the proofs.

2 Dr. Wayland, writing to Sumner. July 1, said: ‘Mr. Dwight treated you very badly, and was exceedingly rude.’ the Law Reporter, edited by Peleg W. Chandler, July, 1846, vol. IX. p. 98, commented on Dwight's interruption and the ‘cut-and-dried’ character of the public meetings.

3 The speech is reported in the Boston Advertiser, May 28, and in a revised form in the Boston Courier, May 30. It was reprinted at Liverpool in pamphlet at Mr. Rathbone's instance, and by him sent to persons in England interested in the question.

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