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[222] Free-Soil State committee, he called a conference of leading Free Soilers—inviting one hundred, of whom more than one half attended—to meet the committee at the Adams House in Boston, September 10.1 ‘It was a meet in,’ as he says, ‘remarkable for its large proportion of thoughtful and cultivated men, and men, too, of irreproachable character and unblemished integrity.’ He presided at the meeting, and stated that its purpose was to consider the policy of co-operating with the Democrats at the coming election, expressing his judgment that a large majority of the Free Soilers were in favor of such co-operation for the purpose of securing a United States senator who was to be chosen by the next Legislature. The discussion was frank and earnest. Generally, excepting Wilson, those who had been Whigs-Palfrey, Adams, Phillips, Dana, and Samuel Hoar—opposed the coalition,2 while it was favored by less distinguished men who had been Democrats or Liberty party men. Wilson, who with his very complete acquaintance among the active Free Soilers in the towns knew better than any one else their disposition and tendency, gave the plan his emphatic support. The discussion revealed a majority against it in the conference; but it was agreed that, without committing the party to it, each member should be left to act according to his sense of duty.3 Sumner had none of the repugnance to Democrats which some of his friends—former Whigs—shared;4 and, withal, he had a practical turn of mind, notwithstanding the contrary impression given by his early addresses. He was absent from the State, and expressed himself by a letter to Wilson, from Newport, R. I., Sept. 9, which sanctioned, with proper cautions, the latter's plan:—

I regret that it will not be in my power to attend the meeting of our friends at the Adams House. I am unwilling to intrude my opinion with regard to the points in question; but I cannot forbear urging two things of

1 Wilson's ‘Rise and Fall,’ vol. II. pp. 341-343.

2 Dr. Samuel G. Howe. who was not present, did not regard the coalition with entire favor. Dana, though opposing it, recognized some of its good results. Adams's ‘Biography’ of Dana, vol. i. pp, 166, 171, 172, 195, 210.

3 Wilson's paper, the ‘Emancipator and Republican,’ had already, August 15, 22, and 29, contained leaders and articles from contributors (one of them, J. B. Alley) advocating a coalition with the Democrats for the purpose of choosing a senator faithful to antislavery sentiments.

4 ‘In the present politics of our own State, Mr. Adams is averse to making terms with either party, and has not that confidence that the “instincts of the Democracy” are on our side which Sumner has; neither has Palfrey.’ R. H. Dana's Journal in Adams's ‘Biography,’ vol. i. p. 169. Sept. 8, 1849.

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