I have sent you our State Address,3 which I hope you will read. There are many reasons for my faith. I belong to a party pledged unequivocally to place the Federal government on the side of freedom. In sustaining any other party it seems to me I should jeopard this vital principle,—the only principle of national politics that is worth contending for, or that could have drawn me from other pursuits. Think of this! I wish you were with us! I think the Free Soil party of Massachusetts is the best political party of its size this country has ever seen,—containing a larger amount of talent, principle, and sincere, unselfish devotion to the public good than has ever before been brought together in any similar number of persons acting politically; it will yet leaven the whole lump.Sumner wrote in 1848 to Mr. Everett, inquiring if he would accept a nomination from the Buffalo convention as Vice-President; but the latter declined in a letter in every way creditable to him, chiefly on the ground of the evils inseparable from third parties, and of the responsibility of Northern Whigs for the nomination of General Taylor,—closing with the sentence, ‘I pray God that I may live to see the day when all good citizens, North and South, will unite in wiping out this dreadful blot upon the fair fame of our country.’ The result of the national election in 1848 settled the position and defined the work of the Free Soilers. With only one tenth of the voters in their ranks; with no representative in the electoral colleges; without a majority in a single Congressional district, and with a plurality in very few districts; having failed, except in New York, where the conditions were peculiar and not likely to be permanent, to break the columns of either party,— it was vain to expect accessions which would give them numerical success as a party in a single State, still less in the nation; and in view of the attractions which large parties present to the mass of citizens, they would be fortunate if they could keep together one half of their voting forces. The time had passed when antislavery men, with practical purposes in view and great
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