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[152] of the ‘National Era,’1 who on the spot kept a sharp eye on such matters, concurred in Mr. Mann's view as to one committee, but thought otherwise as to two others. At this distance from the controversy, which left many stings behind, and after trying to judge it fairly, this may be considered a just conclusion: Winthrop was placed in the chair by his party as a whole, by the votes of Southern as well as Northern members, and could not be expected to discriminate between them; but all that could be expected was that he should hold the balance fairly between the conflicting forces within his party. He was not, and did not pretend to be, a Free Soiler, like Giddings, Palfrey, Allen, and Julian,—not even a Whig who had made opposition to slavery paramount, like Mann; and while it was right for Palfrey to question him, it was equally his right, even his duty, to make no private pledges as to his action as Speaker.

A bitter controversy arose a year later on a point not at all material,—whether, as stated by Giddings,2 Winthrop attended and spoke at a meeting of Whig members on the morning of the day that the vote on the Mexican war bill was taken, and whether he endeavored to use influence with his colleagues to support the measure. As he voted for the bill himself, the effort, or the omission of effort, to persuade others to do the same did not add to or diminish his responsibility; but it gave an opportunity to make a point on Giddings, and substitute a side issue for the main one. It turned out that while such a meeting was held, Giddings, misled partly by failure of memory and partly by the testimony of others, was probably mistaken in stating Winthrop's attendance.3 Winthrop's defenders were not explicit in meeting the rest of Giddings's charge,—that he endeavored to persuade his colleagues to vote with him,—and on that point did not offer proofs. The Boston ‘Atlas’ at once controverted Giddings's statement,4 and Giddings replied at length.5 The ‘Atlas’ rejoined in several articles.6 Adams and Sumner, instructed by Giddings, repeated in the ‘Whig’ the latter's statement as to Winthrop's participation in the meeting. Forthwith

1 Jan. 3, 1850.

2 Dec. 25, 1847, in Cleveland Herald.

3 The testimony in support of Giddings's statement is given in his ‘Life’ by Julian.

4 Dec. 30, 1847; Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, 1848.

5 Boston ‘Whig,’ March 18. 1848; BostonAtlas,’ March 17.

6 Winthrop defended himself in the House, Feb. 21, 1850. ‘Addresses and Speeches,’ vol. i. pp. 642-645, 648-650.

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