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[169] Giddings, and Samuel Lewis of Ohio; Adams of Massachusetts; and Preston King, Benjamin F. Butler, D. D. Field, and Samuel J. Tilden, of New York. Both the nominating body and the mass meeting were animated by a profound earnestness. A religious fervor pervaded the resolutions and addresses. The speakers asserted fundamental rights and universal obligations, and in their appeals and asseverations sought the sanctions of the Christian faith.1

The resolutions, which were prepared chiefly by Chase, assisted by Butler and Adams, while accepting constitutional limitations which excluded interference with slavery in the States, declared the duty of the national government to prohibit it by law in the national territories, and to relieve itself from all responsibility for the extension and continuance of the system wherever the power of that government extended. The platform was an advance beyond the position of the Barnburners of New York, as it did not limit the issue to the freedom of the territories. The delegates were, however, confronted with a more difficult duty when they sought for a candidate fitly representing their cause, and likely to inspire confidence and enthusiasm, without exciting the prejudice of voters formerly acting with either of the two leading parties. The candidacy did not promise immediate success, and therefore did not attract statesmen with an assured position. Corwin, to whom Giddings, Sumner, and other antislavery men had turned with high expectations, was now an open supporter of Taylor. Webster, after some dalliance with the movement, was keeping aloof from it. Judge McLean, whose nomination was most favored by those who had been Whigs hitherto, withdrew his name at the last moment.2 These Whig names being out of the question, the only alternative was the nomination of Ex-President Martin Van Buren, who was urged by the well-organized delegation from New York. As a Democrat, he had shown himself to be an intense partisan; and on two occasions as President he had given just offence to the antislavery sentiment of the free States. But in subserviency to the South he was not a marked exception among the public

1 Julian's ‘Political Recollections,’ pp. 60, 61. Regular meetings were held in the Park under the tent in the early morning of each day of the session, at which prayers were offered for the freedom of all men, and passages of Scripture read which were appropriate to the movement. New York Tribune, September 6, 1848.

2 Giddings distrusted Judge McLean, believing he had no heart in the political movement against slavery; he was not alone in this distrust. Letter to Sumner, June 2, 1847.

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