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I am placed in a dilemma which is most trying. Adams appeals to me to take charge of the “Whig.” His present relations with Winthrop and his new and absorbing duties make him think that he cannot continue to conduct it. It is very hard for me to decline this duty; but I fear that it would be harder still to assume it. To conduct the “Whig” at the present crisis will require the strength of a strong man. He must write much. But more than this, he must keep himself thoroughly familiar with all the movements of all the papers and politicians in the country. The course of the paper must be uppermost in his mind. Now, I am a professional man, without fortune, dependent upon my profession. Besides my ordinary professional duties, which in themselves are not absorbing, I am at present the trustee of Judge Story's copyrights,—superintending the edition of these works. I have just published an edition of Equity Pleadings, adding some fifty pages of my own, which is incorporated into the text or notes. Besides these engagements, professional and juridical, I have many others,—some of which you can comprehend,—multifarious and incessant. I am now engaged to deliver the address at Schenectady College in June. Have I time to take the “Whig” I feel that I have not; and yet I do not like to decline. I fear that Adams May think in indifferent to his comfort and to our cause.

Winthrop, while he remained Speaker, left the controversy concerning his conduct in that office to the journals of his party; but when he was no longer in the chair, he defended his arrangement of the committees by placing against each other the opposite charges of Southern men like Andrew Johnson, and of Northern men like Giddings and Palfrey, and maintained that they effectually answered each other. This was rather a retort than an argument. A middle position is not necessarily the right one for a statesman simply because it exposes him to the fire of both parties.

The explanation of Palfrey's opposition to Winthrop at Washington, and Sumner's and Adams's in Massachusetts, which was prolonged in the discussion of 1846-1848, is that they regarded him then, as they regarded Webster later, as the great obstruction to the antislavery movement in the State. Winthrop, aside from what may be said on the slavery question, made one of the best Speakers who ever filled that eminent chair; and even the antislavery men were not entirely agreed that he did injustice in his appointments of committees by which questions concerning slavery were to be considered. Horace Mann thought him fair in this respect;1 and though not considering him as satisfactory as he could wish, voted for him in 1849; and Dr. Bailey

1 Letter to Sumner, Jan. 9, 1850. Mann's view of Winthrop later was less favorable. Mann's Life, pp. 283-286, 289, 310.

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