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[336] he approved the new Constitution as changing for the better the old one, and providing for other reforms in the future. ‘Its adoption,’ he wrote, ‘by the people will mark an era of progress in Massachusetts. The liberal cause in every form will derive from it new power.’ The letter did not omit to put in the foreground the primal object of the party,—to make freedom national and slavery sectional, and the continuing duty of devotion to this consummation without equivocation or compromise, saying at the conclusion of this part of it, ‘We may die soon; but this principle will live.’

The friends of the new Constitution made a vigorous canvass by means of addresses and pamphlets. Wilson, Boutwell, Burlingame, Dana, Hallett, and Griswold, during the six weeks preceding the election, set forth its merits before the people, some of them addressing audiences almost every evening; and until quite near the election they were sanguine that it would be approved by the people. They expected also to carry the Legislature, and this result was most likely to secure Wilson's election as governor.

Sumner made his first speech at Greenfield, October 25, and from that time till the election spoke every evening, making seventeen speeches.1 Hitherto his topics had appealed directly to moral and religious emotions; but now his theme was one which admitted only of sober treatment, and addressed chiefly the critical faculty and common experience. He was to be tried in a new field, where persons addicted to philanthropic discussions have often failed; but he bore the test remarkably well. Indeed, he never went through a political campaign in his own State so successfully,—leaving an impression on all of his intellectual power, and of his comprehensive knowledge of politics and government. The halls where he spoke were thronged, not only by his Free Soil constituents, but as well by Democrats, many of whom took little interest in his antislavery opinions; but unlike the other Free Soil speakers, who thought it not wise in this exigency to go beyond the point in which Democrats and Free Soilers were agreed, he would not forego the opportunity to make new converts to his doctrine

1 Fitchburg, October 26; Northampton, 27; Westfield, 28; Springfield, 29; Waltham, 31; Lynn, November 1; Taunton, 2; Nantucket, 3; New Bedford, 4; Fall River, 5; Lawrence, 7; South Danvers, 8; Lowell, 9; Worcester, 10; Marshfield, 11; Boston, 12. At Westfield he called at the State Normal School, which he had aided a few years before. Ante, vol. II. p. 327.

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