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[223] essential importance,—first, our principles; and second, harmony among ourselves. Nobody would propose an abandonment of our principles; but there may be a difference of opinion as to the most effective way of maintaining them. For myself I should incline against any departure from our customary course which did not enlist the sympathies of all who have thus far acted together in our movement. I see no objection, in point of principle, to unions in towns, and also in counties, such as took place last autumn. Dr. Palfrey has vindicated these in a manner difficult to be answered, in his “Letter to a friend,” recently printed. If such unions should take place, it is possible that the general politics of the State might be changed. But it seems to me a step of questionable propriety for our State committee, or any number of Free Soilers, to enter into an arrangement or understanding with the Democrats as to the disposition of offices. As at present advised, I should be unwilling to be a party to any such bargain. All that we could properly do would be to make the unions in the towns and counties if practicable, and upon the whole deemed best, and to leave the future to the discretion of the men who should be chosen, without any bargain of any kind.

The tendency of the two parties to co-operate was promoted by common views on the subject of representation in the State Legislature. The Constitution at that time distributed representatives among the towns and cities, but allowed towns of less than a certain population a representative for only a certain number of years in a decade. Even the towns entitled to one or more representatives often failed to elect under the majority rule which then prevailed. On the other hand, Boston elected by general ticket, with no failure in any year , forty-four Whigs, although if required to elect by wards or districts a breach would have been made in this solid column. Its disproportionate share of legislative power was a common grievance of both minority parties. They profited in 1850 by the advantage that in this particular election—which was the one preceding the periodical State valuation—each town, however small, was entitled to a representative; and their strength lay in the country, and not in the large cities.

The Democrats were at the time free from the sinister influence of a national administration controlled by the slaveholders, and were hospitable to. antislavery sentiments; and whatever might be the action of the party as a national body, they were in Massachusetts, at least the larger part of them, well disposed to antislavery action, and hostile to the Compromise.1 They

1 Wilson's ‘Rise and Fall,’ vol. II. p. 339. (See Von Holst, vol. IV. p. 42.) It is worthy of note that the law forbidding the intermarriage of white and colored persons had been repealed, and the personal liberty law of 1843 had been passed during the Democratic administration of Marcus Morton.

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