The Whig Party in Pennsylvania - Vol. 1

By Henry R. Mueller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE SLAVERY QUESTION IN STATE POLITICS 1849-1851.

UPON the assembling of the state legislature in 1849, the Whigs without any trouble secured control of the senate. In the house the Democrats had exactly one half of the one hundred members, the Whigs forty-five and the Native Americans five. On the first ballot for speaker none of the Native Americans voted for the Whig candidate, but on the second ballot two did so. Twenty-one ballots were cast without an election. On January 5 one of the Native Americans announced that if three votes would break the deadlock, he with two other Native Americans would change their vote in order to prevent a further waste of time. On the next ballot William F. Packer, a Democrat, was elected with fifty-two votes.1 By casting their votes as a unit, the Democrats elected the other officers of the house.

On joint ballot, however, the Whigs and Native Americans had a majority, and were able on the third ballot to elect James Cooper to the United States Senate. Cooper had been appointed attorney-general by the governor, but an estrangement had been developing. It was increased by the refusal of the governor to favor any of the candidates for Senator.2 The Whigs because of the failure of the

____________________
1
Public Ledger, January 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1849.
2
House Journal, 1849, vol. ii, p. 74; Public Ledger, January 11, 1849; McClure, Old Time Notes, vol. i, p. 180.

-160-

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