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[92] the officers of the Society, affirmed the duty of treating the different systems of prison discipline fairly and impartially. Sumner seconded the resolutions, and Dwight also assented to them. Genuine friends of the Society who had not yielded to the excitement thought this the best solution of the difficulty.1 It had been understood that Sumner's speech was to close the debate; but his opponents feared its effect on a vote immediately taken, and insisted on further discussion. Stevenson replied, justifying Dwight's good faith and his citations of Lafayette's and Roscoe's opinions. Gray began to speak, but at eleven the meeting adjourned. At the next and final meeting Gray replied to Sumner's speech, and Sumner followed with a rejoinder. Stevenson continued his defence of Dwight's extracts from Lafayette and Roscoe, the ever recurring point of contention, and moved a committee to investigate action in this respect only. Mr. Lothrop moved a recommitment, with instructions which included an examination of the whole subject. It was now nearly midnight, and the audience was retiring, when the public discussions were brought to a close in an unexpected way. Charles P. Curtis, a prominent member of the bar and relative of Stevenson, and like him drawn to the meeting by political antipathy to Sumner and Howe,2 moved to lay the whole subject on the table. After referring to the accumulation of charges and replications, and resolutions upon resolutions, which had resulted in perplexity and confusion, He recalled the incident in Congress when a member, known as ‘Apocalypse Smythe,’ on being reminded that he was wearying the body by a long and tedious speech, answered that he was addressing, not this generation, but posterity, and drew the retort that if he kept on he would have his unborn audience before him. Mr. Curtis thought the movement in the hall indicated that the present generation was about to leave it. His motion was carried unanimously, and the Society adjourned sine die.3 The lateness of the hour, the physical weariness of all present, and the skilful resort to a motion to lay on the table, which was a surprise to the supporters of positive action, prevented the adoption of Mr. Lothrop's substitute.4

1 Rev. Dr. Parkman, June 16, favored them. See also ‘Christian Register,’ July 3.

2 C. F. Adams noted the underlying political feeling in the Boston ‘Whig,’ July 10, 1847. He also remarked on the general impression that the action of the Society had been ‘neither judicial nor philosophical.’ See other articles, Boston ‘Whig,’ June 23; BostonAtlas,’ June 23.

3 Boston Atlas, June 25.

4 Boston Atlas, June 25.

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