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[240] is all a sham to influence votes. My principles are, in the words of Franklin, “to step to the verge of the Constitution to discourage every species of traffic in human flesh.” I am a constitutionalist and a unionist, and have always been.

The Free Soilers stood resolutely upon their nomination, and presented it as their first and last one. Sumner, however, all along signified his entire readiness for the substitution of another candidate; and in order that his feelings might not be mistaken, he addressed a letter, February 22, to Wilson,1 to be communicated to the Free Soil members, in which—after recalling that his name had been brought forward contrary to his desires specially made known to all who communicated with him on the subject—he expressed the hope that the friends of freedom in the Legislature would not on any ground of delicacy towards him hesitate to transfer their support to some other candidate, faithful to the cause, and bade them to abandon him whenever they thought best, without notice or apology. These words, repeated orally and in writing, were understood to mean what they said. But policy, and a sense of what they had a right to claim from their allies, kept his supporters firm, and they resolved to stand by him.2 Their stubbornness was not merely from policy; for they believed that whatever might be the merits of other eminent Free Soilers, Sumner alone could by his power of speech and is daring fill the place of the antislavery protagonist in the Senate. The election of any other would in their view be half a defeat. The feeling of the Free Soilers outside of the Legislature was the same. Charles Allen wrote, February 7, ‘You must be the hero of this war to the end,—the conquering hero, I trust.’ S. C. Phillips forbade the use of his own name as an alternative, and counselled adherence to Sumner to the end.

The contest dragged wearily on, and the prospect of success grew fainter. There was a meeting in Sumner's office, attended by some members of the Legislature and other leaders, where Sumner again volunteered to withdraw; but the general conviction was that a change of candidates would distract the united forces and give the Democrats who were reluctant to support a Free Soiler an excuse for escaping altogether from their pledges. So again it was decided to stand firm. The Free Soil members

1 Works, vol. II. pp. 429, 430. Commonwealth, April 26.

2 February 17

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