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[221] the Compromise of 1850 from the beginning. They resisted it until it was carried, and from that time demanded its repeal. Their State committee called a mass convention at Faneuil Hall, February 27. Palfrey presided; Dana reported resolutions;1 and Palfrey, Wilson, Adams, S. C. Phillips, Keyes, and Erastus Hopkins, spoke from the platform.2 Reference was made to the rumors of Webster's intended defection. The speakers insisted on Congressional prohibition of slavery in the territories without surrender or concession. Whatever statesmen and capitalists might do, it was there made evident that a body of men remained in the State who would keep alive the spirit of freedom at all hazards. But more serious business than mere protests, however eloquent and solemn, was at hand. The Free Soilers would have been as impracticable as their adversaries had asserted them to be had they stood aloof from co-operation with any body of men less advanced in antislavery sentiments than themselves, who were willing to unite in a common effort to overthrow the political and social despotism which was fastening itself upon the Commonwealth.

Their representatives in the Legislature then in session were as determined as those who had met in Faneuil hall. Wilson and Erastus hopkins in the house, and Buckingham in the Senate, took the lead in insisting on such a distinct expression on the Fugitive Slave bill and the proposed abandonment of the Wilmot Proviso as would counteract Webster's support of the Compromise; but it was prevented by the Whigs, who feared trouble in the party as the result. Wilson warned them on the spot of what would come from their refusal to repudiate the course of their senator. ‘I will,’ said he, ‘go out from this hall, and unite with any party or body of men to drive you from power, rebuke Daniel Webster, and place in his seat a senator true to the principles and sentiments of the Commonwealth.’3 He was as good as his word, and did more than any one else to fulfil his prophecy. In his newspaper he denounced Webster as ‘the great apostate,’ and invoked a combined effort to prevent his re-election.4 As chairman of the

1 Drawn by a committee of which Sumner was a member. Adams's ‘Biography’ of Dana, vol. i. p. 172.

2 Illness kept Sumner away, but he was appointed on a committee.

3 Wilson's ‘Rise and Fall,’ vol. II. pp. 247-258.

4 Emancipator and Republican, June 20, 1850. Wilson was its editor from January, 1849, to December, 1850.

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