States to such grants.
wisely suggested that it was a better policy to give the lands to actual settlers than to bestow them in large tracts on States and corporations.
There was indeed little popular interest in the question, and what there was in Massachusetts
arose chiefly from its relation to the new senator.
's participation in the debate was largely due to his desire to accustom himself to his new forum, and to show that general affairs were within his purpose and grasp, before entering on the discussion of the slavery question.
It was curious to see how eagerly the Whig
journals of Boston
seized upon the speech as a means for weakening the senator's position.
They withheld it from their readers, though publishing Underwood
's reply; and they imputed to its author an extravagance of generosity to the new States at the expense of the old. The ‘Advertiser’1
teemed with a series of editorial criticisms exceeding in length the speech itself; and its contemporaries2
in that city, with less elaboration, joined in the censure.
The spirit of these critics was shown in the fact that they did not quarrel with the result to which he came,—the support of the bill,—but took all their pains simply to refute one of his reasons for supporting it.
, it is worth mention in this connection, had at this time no steady and consistent support among the journals of Boston
The Free Soil organ, the ‘Commonwealth,’ which was founded early in 1851, had a very uncertain and changeable management.
At times Alley
, Dr. Howe
, and Joseph Lyman
were pecuniarily interested in it, and for some months Samuel E. Sewall
was the proprietor.
, Dr. Palfrey
, Robert Carter
and Richard Hildreth
the historian were at times contributors or editors; but after a temporary management by one or more of these gentlemen, it usually fell back into the editorial control of Elizur Wright
, who was erratic and headstrong, and addicted to so many novelties and hobbies of his own as to exclude any considerate treatment of public questions or effective support of the Free Soil