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The election resulted more favorably to the union than its most sanguine promoters had anticipated. The Democrats and Free Soilers combined defeated an election of governor which required a majority vote, and secured a considerable majority in both houses of the Legislature. The sentiment of union was so spontaneous that the people had acted upon it in all parts of the State. Twenty-one1 Free Soil and Democratic senators were elected to eleven Whigs, and two hundred and twenty2 Free Soil and Democratic representatives to one hundred and seventy-six Whigs,3—a majority for the union of ten in the Senate (to be increased when the vacancies were filled by joint ballot), and of fifty-four in the House. The existing method required United States senators to be chosen by concurrent vote of both houses. The House selected two of the three candidates for governor having the highest number of votes, and the Senate chose between the two candidates whose names were thus selected by the House. The result was extraordinary. Massachusetts had been, except Vermont, the most steadfast Whig State in the Union, varying from a uniform Whig majority, usually very large, only in the elections of 1838 and 1842, when Marcus Morton, a Democrat, was chosen governor,—the first time by a majority of one in an election by the people, and the second time by a majority of one in the Legislature. In those exceptional instances of Whig defeats, the question of liquor legislation was the disturbing cause.

Sumner wrote to his brother George, November 26:—

Our movement here is part of the great liberal movement of Europe; and as “law and order” are the words by which reaction has rallied in Europe, so these very words, or perhaps the “Constitution and Union,” are the cry here. The Fugitive Slave bill has aroused the North; people are shocked by its provisions. Under the discussion which it has called forth, the antislavery sentiment has taken a new start. You have seen that in Massachusetts the Whigs are prostrate; I doubt if they are not beyond any resurrection.4 They are in a minority from which they cannot recover. In the Senate the opposition will have ten or twelve majority, in the House fifty majority. It is understood that Boutwell will be chosen governor, and a Free Soil senator in the place of Daniel Webster.

1 Eleven Free Soilers and ten Democrats.

2 One hundred and thirteen Free Soilers and one hundred and seven Democrats.

3 Among the forty-four Whig members from Boston were Benjamin R. Curtis, Sidney Bartlett. Henry J. Gardner, Samuel Hooper, Moses Kimball, and William Schouler.

4 They regained power in the State in 1852, by the interposition of President Pierce's Administration, which prevented the Democrats from co-operating further with the Free Soilers, but were again finally defeated in 1854.

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