with resolution and good cheer, hoping that with Chase
as the candidate the Free Soilers
might affect the result in a sufficient number of States to insure the election of Scott
But he was not wise for once in observing political currents.
, disappointed at the rejection of his counsels, saw clearly that the Whigs
, by defying the antislavery sentiment, had made their success impossible.
He had, as Adams
thought, been looking forward to the leadership of his party in 1856; but its present rout, rather than defeat, clouded his future in that direction.
The Free Soil national convention at Pittsburg
in August, of which Wilson
was president, and Adams
were members, nominated John P. Hale
, and George W. Julian
Adams on his way home wrote to Sumner
, August 15, from Niagara Falls
: ‘My Pittsburg
visit has done me good, by convincing me that the movement is more stern and earnest than ever, whilst it is growing more practical every day.’
The canvass, as compared with others before and since, was languid.
As between the two leading parties, there were no principles or policies at stake; and the only inspiration of the Free Soilers
was an undoubting faith in the justice of their cause and in its ultimate triumph.
In November they numbered at the polls in the whole country 155,000 votes, dropping to that figure from 291,000 which they cast in 1848; but their chief loss was the withdrawal of 100,000 Barnburners in New York.
their numbers were reduced from 38,000 to 28,000.
The canvass had not gone far before Scott
's defeat appeared certain; and he lost all except four States,—Vermont
, and Tennessee
Notwithstanding a certain absurdity of speech at times, he was, as soldier and patriot, immeasurably the superior of his successful opponent; and the Free Soilers
, though not voting for him, preferred his election to that of Pierce
It was the last struggle of the Whigs
for existence as a national party, and when the next contest came they were a disbanded host.
To show how little public men, who are accounted sagacious and forecasting, see into the future, an extract from a letter to Sumner
wrote, Nov. 9, 1852:—
I have your note asking what I say of recent events.
I answer that just now there is nothing to say only that recent events are what were or night have been foreseen, and that they do not disturb me in the least.