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[315] keep the Free Soilers from becoming embarrassed by premature declarations in favor of a candidate whom they might find themselves unable to support without a sacrifice of their principles. From what he wrote it is not likely that he would have been content with Scott except with a guaranty that he would in his Administration treat freedom as national and slavery as sectional. He wrote to Adams, April 16: ‘My own position is still one of absolute independence without the least commitment; and this I have earnestly commended to our friends in Massachusetts.’ Again he wrote, June 8, just after the Democratic convention:—

Chase is quite discontented with the convention, and will not support the candidate. This is good. . . . Seward says there will be no resolutions at the Whig convention. His influence is so potential that I am disposed to believe that it will be so. What, then, can we do? Support of the Democrats is impossible. There remain several courses: (1) A third candidate; (2) Positive support of Scott; (3) Inaction on the Presidential question. My own purpose is now, as always, to keep myself absolutely uncommitted, until I can act with knowledge and with the concert of friends. The senatorial question [in Massachusetts] gives the corning canvass a peculiar importance. I shall welcome any arrangement by which we can secure a new senator for freedom.

And later in the same month he wrote again: ‘I feel the advantage of keeping our force in Massachusetts together; and I am ready for any course by which our principles can be best sustained.’

The action of the two conventions simplified the situation. Chase at once announced his opposition to the Democratic candidates, and made his unheeded appeal to B. F. Butler, of New York. The Free Soilers of Massachusetts met July 6 in mass meeting at Worcester, where they announced adherence to their organization, and their opposition to candidates and parties bearing the badge of compromise. A letter from Sumner was read, in which he denounced the fresh apostasy of the old parties, and called upon the friends of freedom ‘to support her supporters, and to leave the result to Providence.’ He closed with the words: ‘Better be where freedom is, though in a small minority or alone, than with slavery, though surrounded by multitudes, whether Whigs or Democrats, contending merely for office and place.’1 The next day Wilson wrote to Sumner of this meeting

1 Works, vol. III. pp. 70-72.

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