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[146] hissing broke out while he and Adams were speaking; but wry faces only were reserved for Sumner's speech.1 Winthrop almost alone conducted the opposition to Palfrey's resolution,2 rising twice to speak against it, and by interruptions of Sumner and Adams obtaining two more hearings. He maintained that the resolution would unwisely fetter the action of delegates to the national convention, make a fatal breach between Northern and Southern Whigs, and aid the election of a Democratic President who would be more obnoxious than a Southern Whig.3 He received hearty cheers from the Boston delegates who had expressed dissent when Palfrey was speaking. At a late hour, when many delegates had left, and the dim light interfered with a certain count, the vote was taken, and the resolution declared to be lost.4 Winthrop had thus in two successive conventions defeated the leaders of the antislavery Whigs. Tills was the last struggle within the party in Massachusetts.

Winthrop was the Whig candidate for Speaker in December, 1847. By natural gifts and experience he was remarkably fitted for the duties of the office. His controversies with the antislavery division of his party in Massachusetts, his moderate tone on the slavery question, and his vote for the Mexican war bill naturally attracted to him the support of Southern Whigs;5 while for the same reasons he was distrusted by members like Giddings, Palfrey, and Tuck, who insisted upon the adoption of effective measures against the prosecution of the war and the extension of slavery. They therefore voted independently,6 and the subtraction of three votes from Winthrop left him without a majority; but on the third ballot his election was effected by the refusal of two Southern members to vote,— Holmes of South Carolina, a Democrat of the Calhoun school,

1 Boston Whig, October 16.

2 John C. Gray, of Boston, supported him in debate.

3 Boston whig. October 13.

4 Some of its friends thought that it received a majority. (Palfrey's ‘Letter to a Friend,’ p. 9.) The defeated resolution passed afterwards in seven county conventions. Boston ‘Whig,’ Nov. 13, 1847.

5 The Southern Whigs in the Whig caucus, acting under the lead of Stephens and Toombs. supported Winthrop in a body in preference to Vinton of Ohio. Johnston and Browne's ‘Life of A. H. Stephens,’ p. 220.

6 This independent action of the three antislavery members which called out such intemperate criticism from Whig partisans was afterwards regarded, as Giddings states, as the germ of the Free Soil party of 1848, although they had no such thought at the time. (‘History of the Rebellion,’ p. 263.) The course of Giddings and Palfrey at this time, as well as the subsequent controversy between Giddings and Winthrop, are fully related in Julian's ‘Life of Giddings,’ pp. 206-238.

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