previous next
[273] States to such grants. Adams 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. Sumner'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.

Sumner, 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, Bird, Dr. Howe, and Joseph Lyman were pecuniarily interested in it, and for some months Samuel E. Sewall was the proprietor. Dr. Howe, Bird, Dr. Palfrey, Robert Carter,3 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 public men.4

1 January 30; February 2, 3, 7; April 16.

2Atlas,’ April 16 and 17. The ‘Courier,’ ‘Traveller,’ and ‘Journal’ dissented from the senator, but the ‘Transcript’ (February 2 and 13) and the ‘Commonwealth’ (February 4 and April 5) justified him.

3 1819-1879. Journalist and scholar, living in Cambridge, but afterwards removing to New York city.

4 J. D. Baldwin, afterwards of Worcester, succeeded to the management in January, 1853. During 1853 Dr. Howe contributed a considerable number of articles to the editorial columns.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 16th (2)
February 2nd (2)
1879 AD (1)
January, 1853 AD (1)
1853 AD (1)
1851 AD (1)
1819 AD (1)
April 17th (1)
April 5th (1)
February 13th (1)
February 4th (1)
January 30th (1)
January 7th (1)
January 3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: