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[343] were determined in the future to miss no opportunity for dislodging the Whigs. Charles Allen expressed the prevailing sentiment when he said he had never known that party before so vindictive, insolent, overbearing, and impudent, and he would give them no quarter and receive none. All agreed that the coalition had done good service, but that its work was now ended, to be resumed again, however, if the times ever should favor. That dejected company of noble and earnest men were in a few days to be cheered by light from an unexpected quarter,—the madness of the pro-slavery politicians. The last contest between the Whigs and Free Soilers of Massachusetts, with those names and organizations, had been fought, and in a twelvemonth both parties had disappeared.

No one regretted the defeat of the new Constitution more than Sumner, as no one regarded with more concern the perpetuation of Whig supremacy in the State in connection with all the incidents it involved. The State was no longer politically at his back, as when he entered the Senate. The Whigs were united for the Compromise by hearty assent or formal acquiescence; while the Democrats, greedy for national office, were submissive to dictation from Washington. He could rely only on the thirty thousand Free Soilers, who under discouraging conditions were likely to fall to twenty thousand in the next State election, with the power left to elect not more than a dozen members of the Legislature. The Whig journals, taunting him with a want of popular support, called on him to resign his seat.

Never was Sumner so strong with the Free Soilers as now. He had assumed cheerfully his share of the labor, and had maintained their cause stoutly and fearlessly both against their natural opponents and also against his two familiar friends, Palfrey and Adams. There was no longer any intimation of indifference or inactivity, but everywhere most cordial devotion to him. Robert Carter wrote, December 24:—

Your popularity was never greater here than now. Everybody applauds your efforts in the late campaign; and the men who were most angry with you in 1852, are foremost in praising your course and your speech on the Constitution.

Chase, who followed closely the politics of Massachusetts, wrote from Ohio:—

I mourn our loss in Massachusetts; but you individually acquitted yourself most nobly. That is a great consolation to your friends.

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