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Such, sir, is the Act of Congress to which by your affirmative vote the people of Boston are made parties. Through you they are made to declare unjust and cowardly war, with superadded falsehood, in the cause of slavery. Through You they are made partakers in the blockade of Vera Cruz, the seizure of California, the capture of Santa Fe, the bloodshed of Monterey. It were idle to suppose that the soldier or officer only is stained by this guilt. It reaches far back, and incarnadines the halls of Congress; nay, more, through you it reddens the hands of your constituents in Boston. . . . . Let me ask you to remember in your public course the rules of right which you obey in private life. The principles of morals are the same for nations as for individuals. Pardon me, if I suggest that you have not acted invariably according to this truth. You would not in your private capacity set your name to a falsehood; but you have done so as representative in Congress.

Sumner in this letter, as in other criticisms of Winthrop's course, confined himself to a statement and condemnation of his public acts without impeaching his motives, bore testimony to his ‘blameless private life and well-known attainments,’ and disclaimed any personal feeling ‘except of good — will mingled with the recollection of pleasant social intercourse.’1 In this letter he called for the withdrawal of our forces from Mexico,—a measure which afterwards was advocated by leading journals and public men of the Whig party.

The constituents of Winthrop who were aggrieved by his vote for the Mexican war bill did not at first meditate an organized opposition to his re-election; but in the autumn the feeling among them was so strong that they decided to express it by voting for another candidate. Such action was not expected to affect the result, but only to serve as a protest. A meeting of citizens was held in Tremont Temple, October 29, to nominate a candidate for Congress whose position on slavery and the Mexican War was satisfactory. Speeches were made by C. F. Adams, who presided, by Dr. Howe, and by J. A. Andrew, who was chairman of the committee to nominate a candidate and report resolutions. Sumner's well-known opinions as to Winthrop's course, and his recent letter, naturally directed public attention to him as the person to be selected. He had, however, no tastes for public life, and had freely expressed his unwillingness to enter it. He was at the time absent in Maine, where he was delivering lectures before lyceums; and before leaving Boston he had in interviews with Andrew positively

1 Winthrop subsequently referred to the letter as ‘an effusion,’ and as ‘verbose and vituperative.’ ‘Addresses and Speeches,’ vol. i. p. 770, note.

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