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[176] Taylor could not command the votes of the Northern Whigs. He was quite sure of a Free Soil plurality in Massachusetts, and felt hopeful of a similar result in New York. His confidence continued through the summer. But his too sanguine hopes were to be disappointed. It was easy in such a case to miscalculate forces. The sentiment against the extension of slavery was widely diffused; it had been expressed in solemn protests, and the enthusiasm of the friends of liberty in the free States ran high; moreover, Taylor's nomination was offensive to Whigs who cherished an historical devotion to the party and to its representative statesmen. But the party was still strong enough to hold its masses, and General Taylor was elected President. Van Buren received less than three hundred thousand votes, exceeding but a small percentage one tenth of the vote cast;1 and two-thirds of his vote came from New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio.2 He led Cass only in New York and Massachusetts, but by dividing the Democratic vote in New York effected Taylor's election. As the majority rule then prevailed in Massachusetts, there was no choice of electors by the people; but the Legislature being Whig, gave the vote of the State to General Taylor. The Free Soilers had elected nine members of Congress, giving them the balance of power in the House and a strong force for debate.. Southern men of an extreme pro-slavery position saw that there was something formidable in a movement so profoundly earnest and so wisely directed.3

Notwithstanding General Taylor's slaveholding interests and associations, and the type of Southern politicians who had promoted his candidacy, large numbers of antislavery Whigs finally gave him their votes, relying on his declarations in general terms against the exercise of the veto power,4 and upon certain qualities which in popular estimation belonged to him. He was indeed a man whose character was marked by moderation, sincerity, and firmness. His nature was alien to political intrigue. He was truly patriotic, loyal to the Union, and looked with aversion upon those who threatened its disruption in any

1 291,342 in all.

2 New York, 120,510; Massachusetts, 38,058; Ohio, 35,354; Illinois, 15,774; Vermont, 13,837; Maine, 12,096; Pennsylvania, 11,263; Wisconsin, 10,418; Michigan, 10,389.

3 A. H. Stephens's ‘Life,’ by Johnston and Browne, pp. 236-237.

4 Letter to Allison, April 22, 1848. He declined to make the declaration specific as to the Wilmot Proviso.

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