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[147] and Tompkins of Mississippi, a Whig, both of whom had previously voted for members who were not candidates. Holmes soon after, in a published letter, justified his action by the course which Winthrop had taken in Massachusetts adverse to the antislavery leaders, and by the opposition which the supporters of the Wilmot Proviso in Congress had made to his nomination and election; and he expressed his satisfaction with the committees as organized by Winthrop. A member from Florida, Cabell, in a letter to his constituents, gave a similar explanation of his vote for Winthrop.

Before the voting began, Palfrey had inquired by letter of Winthrop whether it was his intention if elected so to constitute the committees as to arrest the war with Mexico, to obstruct the legal establishment of slavery within the territories, and to obtain a trial by jury for fugitive slaves, the favorable consideration of the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and the promotion of constitutional measures for remedying the grievances of citizens of Massachusetts (colored seamen) sojourning in South Carolina.1 Winthrop declined to give any special intimation as to his policy, and referred the inquirer for information to his general conduct and character as a public man. Palfrey did not deem the answer satisfactory, and therefore voted for another member. He put the interrogatories without any promptings from his political friends at home, and conferred only with Giddings after arriving at Washington. Giddings and Palfrey were severely censured for their votes by Whig journals of Ohio and Massachusetts. Giddings immediately by a letter to his constituents,2 later by speeches in Congress,3 and through life,4 defended his vote,—maintaining that it was justified by Winthrop's arrangement of the committees, which sustained the war, and stood in the way of the prohibition of slavery in the territories and of other constitutional action against slavery, contending that their defaults arose from what was manifest in their composition, and could have been

1 Palfrey's ‘Letter to a Friend.’ After the first or second ballot J. Q. Adams sent Rockwell and Ashmun with a message to Palfrey requesting him to vote for Winthrop.

2 Cleveland Herald, Dec. 25, 1847; Boston ‘Whig,’ Jan. 15, 1848. See letter of E. L. S., ‘Ohio True Democrat,’ reprinted in Boston ‘Whig’ Feb. 16, 1848.

3 June 30, 1848; Feb. 17, and Dec. 27, 1849; and March 15, 1850. ‘Speeches in Congress,’ pp. 322, 350, 351, 364, 367-377. Of his sincerity in his position and statements there can be no question; this appears in a letter to Sumner, Dec. 17, 1847, in manuscript. In the debates, Schenck of Ohio took the lead in winthrop's defence.

4 Giddings's ‘History of the Rebellion,’ pp. 263, 281, 300.

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