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[340] Soilers, who had been with few exceptions the promoters of the Maine law.

Against this combination of influences the supporters of the new Constitution struggled with diminishing hope till the last day of the canvass. They could have stood successfully against one or more of them, but all together accomplished a secession from their ranks which proved fatal.1 The new Constitution failed by five thousand votes,2 though receiving a majority outside of Boston; and the Whigs, who carried the Legislature at the last election, were now far stronger in it than before. The Free Soilers held their own in the popular vote, giving Wilson as their candidate for governor nearly thirty thousand votes.3 The result in connection with Cushing's letter was fatal to any further union of Democrats and Free Soilers, or any hope of wresting the State from the Whigs under existing party conditions. It put Palfrey and Adams for a time out of relations with the Free Soilers;4 it engendered a spirit of hostility to foreign voters which was soon to take shape in a secret political organization.5

Sumner wrote to Whittier, November 21:—

The day after our election I left for New York. where, among other things, I enjoyed the Crystal Palace, and Uncle Tom's Cabin at the theatre, and on my return, Sunday morning, found your letter. The loss of the Constitution is a severe calamity to the liberal cause in this State. I deplore it from my heart. It seems to me that it may be traced to three causes: first in order of time, the defection of Palfrey and Adams, which stimulated the Whigs and neutralized many of our friends; secondly, Cushing's letter, which paralyzed the activities of the Democratic leaders; and, thirdly, the positive intervention of the Catholic Church. With any one of

1 The causes of the defeat are fully explained in a letter to the ‘National Era.’ December 15, signed *, written by Henry Wilson (the editor striking out Wilson's criticisms on Adams and Palfrey); by a full account in the New York Evening Post in a letter, November 15, by R. Carter, and a leader, November 16; in the Boston Commonwealth, November 22; in the Norfolk ‘Democrat’ (Dedham), Nov. 25, 1853, where one of the writers was Henry L. Pierce.

2 The vote was 62,183 for and 67,105 against it.

3 Washburn (Whig) had 60,472 votes; Bishop (Democrat), 35,254; Wilson (Free Soiler), 29,545; and Wales (pro-slavery Democrat), 6,195,—leaving the Whigs more than 10,000 short of a majority; but their candidate was chosen by the Legislature.

4 In 1858. when Adams was first nominated for Congress by the Republicans, he expected to lose his nomination, largely because of the wound his course at this time had left; but the objection was overcome by his admitted fitness for the place.

5 The Whigs were defeated even in their stronghold, the city of Boston, the next month by the election of J. V. C. Smith, the Citizens' Union candidate, who was supported by the secret order and by the Free Soilers. This was the beginning of the ‘Know Nothing’ or Native American party in Massachusetts.

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