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[237] the same day varied immaterially from the first. The Free Soilers were greatly incensed at the Democratic desertion. Some, like Whittier, counselled an immediate withdrawal from the coalition, a union with the Whigs for governor the next year, and the resignation of the Free Soil State officers who had been chosen by the Legislature;1 but the practical politicians under Wilson's leadership, inspired by the masses behind them, were determined to persevere and hold the bolting Democrats to their pledges. Twenty-six ballots were taken in all, during a period of more than three months, sometimes with one or more on the same day, then with intervals of some days or weeks,— Sumner coming sometimes within two or three votes of an election, and then again lacking eight or nine votes of the requisite majority, and once as many as twelve. His own vote was relatively changed but little from what he received at the beginning, though increased seven on some ballots, and even eight on one,—the variations being due to the absence of members on particular ballots rather than to changes of votes.2 Meantime, on January 22 he was elected on the part of the Senate, receiving twenty-three out of thirty-eight votes;3 and Robert Rantoul, Jr., a Democrat, was chosen by both branches for Webster's unexpired term, which Winthrop was temporarily filling. To the end the contest in the House continued a doubtful one. The counts were sometimes unsatisfactory; and from February 20 the members were required to give their votes while passing in front of the speaker's desk, their names being checked as they gave them. Sumner, as he confessed to intimate friends, had little expectation of a favorable result after the first week. He, as well as other Free Soilers, was at times hopeful; but the contest as it dragged on was with them a weary one. The Whigs spared no effort to defeat an election, counting—as well they might, if there were no choice—on success in the next State election. Their newspapers, the ‘Advertiser’ and the ‘Courier,’ hurled with vehemence and iteration every epithet at the coalition, as ‘bargain and sale,’ ‘base and infamous bargain,’ ‘intrigue,’ ‘profligacy,’ ‘base juggle,’ ‘selfment,’

1 Longfellow was disappointed and sad, and wrote to Sumner. January 15: ‘I never had any great faith in your perfidious allies.’ Longfellow's ‘Life,’ vol. II. p. 187.

2 The ‘Advertiser,’ April 25 and 26, undertook an explanation of the variations; but it was a difficult task.

3 Sumner would have been easily elected in a joint convention of the two Houses, such as is now held in case of disagreement.

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