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[164] gave in a quiet way, in personal interviews and wide correspondence, their countenance to the Taylor movement.1 Their real sympathics were well understood at the South, and were gratefully recognized in the large vote—almost a majority— which was given to Lawrence as a candidate for the Vice-Presidency, and in his subsequent appointment as minister to England.

Sumner awaited the result of the Whig convention with indifference. He had come to the conclusion that no effectual resistance could be made to the slave-power until one of the two parties was broken up, leaving room for a party pledged to opposition to slavery. Some of his associates in Massachusetts would have accepted Webster;2 but he had come to distrust the fidelity of that statesman, who had shown weakness in important crises, and had already interfered to arrest antislavery demonstrations which appeared to him likely to impair the unity of the Whig party. To Sumner a solid mass of antislavery voters in the free States, moving steadily and courageously against the slave-power, was of far greater consequence than the temporary advantage of a President, elected in part by the slaveholding interest, who might be more or less affected with Northern sentiment. As his convictions were altogether in favor of an independent movement, so also he was not hound to the Whig party by any tie of sentiment; nor had he any real faith in its distinctive measures. The party bond, therefore, which it cost others a pang to break, he broke without hesitation or regret. He wrote to Palfrey, April 23, 1848:—

There is a movement at the State House to nominate Webster. E. Rockwood Hoar and Charles R. Train promote it. The former invited me to favor it. I told him that I could not regard Webster as the representative of our sentiments; that he had been totally remiss on slavery and the war. It was proposed to issue an address setting forth the Wilmot Proviso as the platform, and showing significantly that Taylor would be opposed in Massachusetts. All these I welcomed; at the same time I said that if Webster were presented as a candidate on these grounds our present policy would be silence; we could

1 The Boston Advertiser remained loyal to Webster until the nomination was made. The ‘Atlas's’ support of Webster was at first genuine, but late in the canvass for the nomination was only nominal, showing leanings to Taylor for President and Lawrence for Vice-President.

2 E. R. Hoar, C. R. Train, and Rev. J. W. Thompson, and even Wilson (New York Tribune, April 1, 1848), were of those who took the favorable view of Webster at this time. Wilson and Allen voted for him in the convention at Philadelphia. His subsequent course justified Sumner's distrust rather than their confidence

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