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[180] prominent gentlemen engaged in the cotton manufacture which had been unfriendly to organized resistance to the slave-power, and maintained—referring to newspaper statements and other evidence—that Abbott Lawrence, and other active and influential politicians in the State, had effectively promoted General Taylor's nomination, while the party was in its open and formal action pressing Webster as its candidate. He gave a long account of a conversation between himself and Mr. Lawrence late one evening at the latter's house ten days before the convention, in which Mr. Lawrence predicted the nomination of General Taylor, and justified it as the only one likely to succeed; admitted his part in promoting it; stated that Mr. Choate was for Taylor, and implied that John Davis and Governor Lincoln were of the same way of thinking. Mr. Appleton rejoined at length and with spirit, denying any secrecy or conspiracy,— admitting that for a year he had been in favor of General Taylor's candidacy, and had freely expressed his opinion that Webster could not be nominated, or elected if he were nominated; and that Clay, if nominated, could not be elected, and that Taylor was the only candidate whom the Whigs could elect. He stated that Mr. Lawrence's preference for Taylor dated as far back as his own, and had been expressed for months; and that he had signified to the New York Taylor committee that he would accept a place on the ticket with General Taylor.1 But without imputing duplicity to either of these gentlemen, there is no doubt that the Whig leaders, at least some of them, did not have the courage to deal frankly with Mr. Webster, and under cover of devotion to him were diligently preparing the way for Taylor's nomination. This was the ‘secret influence’ to which Sumner referred.

Mr. Appleton in his letter denounced Allen's and Wilson's conduct at the Philadelphia convention as ‘the most disgraceful piece of political swindling,’ and ‘a transaction from which every honorable man should revolt.’ This remark shows the temper of the time among conservative people in relation to protests which have since been regarded as manly and patriotic.

1 Mr. Lawrence, Feb. 17, 1848, wrote a letter to a Taylor meeting in Philadelphia connecting the names of Washington and Taylor (printed in the ‘Atlas,’ February 25), saying that Taylor, if nominated by the Whigs, would be elected. Henry Wilson, in a letter to the New York Tribune, April 1, 1848, stated that a few manufacturers of considerable influence were almost the only supporters of Taylor, and were associating with his candidacy the name of Mr. Lawrence, though not coming forward in conventions.

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