of Free Soil votes—were uneasy, as they knew that sure defeat awaited them at the next election if they persevered in preventing the election of a Free Soil senator.
Some had already been subjected to discipline by their constituents in meetings called to condemn their action.
, their leader, did not conceal the embarrassment of his position, and offered to Wilson
to join in the election of any other Free Soiler, naming Wilson
himself as a satisfactory candidate; but Wilson
at once repelled the suggestion.1
Among the Whigs
, too, there were some —perhaps three or four—who while voting for Winthrop
were well disposed to Sumner
; among them Nathaniel B. Borden
of Fall River
, formerly a member of Congress.
A provision of the Massachusetts Bill
of Rights—the only instance in which it is known to have been called into service—was availed of to gain the requisite votes.
The people, under their right ‘to give instructions to their representatives,’ assembled in certain towns under a legal call, and instructed their members to vote for Sumner
This gave Mr. Borden2
and also a few ‘indomitables,’ already weak in their resistance, an excuse which they were in search of for changing to Sumner
All the while during the months of intermittent voting there was no flagging in the popular interest, and the ballots were watched with anxious hopes and fears.
The voting had been adjourned from April 2 to the 23d, when Sumner
on three ballots came within one vote of a majority, and on one his election was announced; but after a revision of the count he was found still to lack one of a majority.3
The Free Soilers, though in painful suspense, were greatly encouraged, and felt that success was at hand.
The first ballot of the next day—the 24th—left Sumner
two short of an election.
At this state Sidney Bartlett
, a Boston Whig, with a view to prevent mistakes by the adhering of ballots to each other, and perhaps to give Democrats an opportunity to vote unobserved against Sumner
, moved that the ballots be enclosed in envelopes