men of his time, and one of his acts was to his credit.
He had refused as President
to promote the annexation of Texas
in any way involving war with mexico,—an exhibition of political virtue which prevented his nomination in 1844,—and he was now fully committed to the principles of the new party.1
His nomination, by dividing the Democrats in New York, insured Cass
's defeat, as that of McLean
would probably have insured Taylor
was nominated for Vice-President
was not a delegate to the convention.
The delegates from Massachusetts
had been appointed equally among the recruits from existing parties; and Sumner
, though hitherto acting as a Whig, was not thought to have been sufficiently identified with that party to be taken as one of its representatives.
He expressed his desire that some other person should be chosen, and cordially approved the selection of Mr. Dana
in his stead.2
His interest in the movement led him, however, to go to Buffalo
, where he was urged to address the mass meeting; but as there was a sufficiency of speakers, he declined.
Unlike some of his former Whig associates, Sumner
had no prejudices against Van Buren
He was then, as always, hospitable to new converts, and disposed to take men as they were at the time.
He was also predisposed in Van Buren
's favor by personal associations with some leading Barnburners,—as with Theodore Sedgwick
, H. B. Stanton
, and D. D. Field
; and after the nomination John Bigelow
, S. J. Tilden
, and Preston King
were his correspondents.
State conventions and ratification meetings of the new party now known as the Free Soil
party, or Free Democracy,3
at once followed the Buffalo
, who had been obliged to suspend political speaking while preparing his address for Union College, Schenectady
, now entered actively into the canvass.
He was called to the chair at a meeting held at Faneuil Hall, August 22, to ratify the nominations of Van Buren
, and was cordially welcomed by a full and enthusiastic house.
He spoke briefly of the three conventions and of the candidates, giving his support to ‘the Van Buren
,— the veteran statesman, sagacious, determined, experienced, who ’