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[109] with its best opinion. Henry Clay, the Whig candidate for President at the last preceding election, then in private life, said that ‘the preamble falsely attributed the commencement of the war to the act of Mexico;’ and added, ‘no earthly consideration would have ever tempted or provoked me to vote for a bill with a palpable falsehood stamped on its face. Almost idolizing truth as I do, I never, never could have voted for that bill.’1 Corwin publicly expressed regret for his vote for it in the Senate.2 The American Review, a magazine devoted to the defence of the principles of the Whig party, strongly condemned the action of the Whigs in voting for the bill.3 The ‘National Intelligencer,’ the national Whig organ at the capital, and more than any other journal of the time representing the party, immediately expressed disapproval of the support which the Whig members had given to the bill. ‘Too late,’ it wrote, ‘they will find their error, and we shall live to see the day when they will deeply regret having suffered themselves to be deluded or influenced in the manner in which they have been.’4 And again: ‘The two Houses of Congress have given the seal and sanction of their authority to a false principle and a false fact;’ and it ascribed the error to a dread of the people, whose intelligence they undervalued.5 Even the Boston Advertiser, which became the chief apologist of the two Massachusetts members who voted for the bill, said before the controversy arose that it was ‘passed in a panic.’6

The war bill was at the time disapproved by the moral sentiment of the people of Massachusetts; and the main body of their delegation in Congress, in voting against it, acted in accordance with the current of opinion in the Whig party of the State. No one of them, at this or any later period, lost favor or encountered criticism among his constituents on account of his negative vote. Of the only two Whig members from Massachusetts who voted for it,—one was Abbott, of the Essex district, a person of very moderate ability, and supposed to have acted under the influence of his associate; the other

1 Speech at Lexington. Ky., Nov. 13, 1847. ‘National Intelligencer,’ November 25. Colton's ‘Last Years of Henry Clay,’ p. 62.

2 Speech at Carthage, Ohio, September, 1847, printed in Boston ‘Whig,’ Oct. 7, 1847.

3 May, 1847, p. 435 (Charles King).

4 May 13.

5 May 16.

6 May 18. Webster said in his speech at Springfield, Sept. 29, 1847, that Congress was ‘surprised into the Act of 13th May, 1846.’

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