Autobiography of Seventy Years - Vol. 1

By George F. Hoar | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
POLITICAL HISTORY OF MASSACHUSETTS FROM
1848 TO 1869

IN 1848, the Free Soil Party in Massachusetts nominated candidates for State officers. It was made up of Whigs, Democrats and members of the Liberty Party. It had made no distinct issue with the Whig Party upon matters of State administration. Governor Briggs, the Whig Governor, was a wise and honest Chief Magistrate, highly respected by all the people. But the Free Soil leaders wisely determined that if they were to have a political party, they must have candidates for State officers as well as National. It is impossible to organize a political party with success whose members are acting together in their support of one candidate and striving with all their might against each other when another is concerned. My father was urged to be the Free Soil candidate for Governor. Charles Francis Adams and Edmund Jackson visited him at Concord to press it upon him as a duty. Charles Allen wrote him an earnest letter to the same effect. But he was an old friend of Governor Briggs and disliked very much to become his antagonist. He looked to the Whig Party for large accessions to the Free Soil ranks. A large plurality of the people of the community were still devoted to that party. He doubted very much the wisdom of widening the breach between them by a conflict on other questions than that of slavery. So he refused his consent. Stephen C. Phillips, an eminent Salem merchant, and a former Member of Congress, was nominated. The result was there was no choice of State officers by the people, and the election of the Whig candidates was made by the Legislature.

The next year it occurred to the leaders of the Free Soil and Democratic Parties that they had only to unite their

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