• Thousands Hear Daniel Webster Speak At 1844 Whig Procession On Boston Common

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    The Whig Party strongly disliked presidential power and preferred congressional dominance in lawmaking. Members advocated for protections against majority tyranny.


    Democrat James K. Polk defeated Whig candidate Henry Clay in the presidential election of December 1844.  In September, the Whig Party held convention and procession in Boston, which was attended by nearly 10,000 people.  A famous print of the gathering was produced by artist Joshua Sheldon.


    In this 3 pp, 7 7/8 x 10, ALS to his brother John of Dalton, NH, C.H. WORMWOOD, a Boston furniture maker and a farmer, provides a superb description of the Whig meeting, noting many famous people who spoke, including abolitionist Daniel Webster and C.M. Clay, a relative of Henry Clay.


    WORMWOOD complains about the Locofoco paper’s intentional inaccurate reporting of that meeting as well as the Locofoco’s description of their own doings.  In frustration, Wormwood writes, “These are the opponents which honest Whigs have to contend with, James K. Polk for their leader, Calhoun, their High Priest, Amos Kendall, their prophet, Dorr, their martyr and Texas their promised land.”


    Wormwood begins his letter by providing an overview of the local economy and the weather, but launches into an angry description of the famous procession and the inaccurate reporting.


    “The great Whig gathering we had here last Thursday, the greatest collection that ever I saw if I except the Harrison turnout on the 10 of September 1840, and in fact a great many call this superior to that as regards numbers at all events. It was a grand gathering of the Whigs of New England and such a gathering as our honest Locofoco opponents dare not undertake to scare up. They [the Whigs] met on the Common at 9 o’clock and marched through the principle streets of the city and back to the Common again.


    “The procession past our store and you can form some conception of the length of it when I tell you that it took it one hour and forty minutes to pass. There were estimated to be 30,000 in the procession and a great many in the city that did not walk...After the procession got back to the common, it was addressed by Daniel Webster, Esq., president of the day and also by the Hon. Benien of Georgia, C.M. Clay of Kentucky, Duncan of Ohio, Franklin of Louisiana, Huntington of Conn, Tillinghast of RI, Miller of New York, Bates & Choate of Massachusetts, Morse of Maine...


    “The Locos you may depend were completely routed...They tried to get up a meeting on State St...but it was an entire failure. The most they could scarce up was five hundred...But to make it appear as though they had done something, the Loco papers came out in the morning with an account of the meeting headed in flaming capitals, fifty thousand Democrats...while the same honest (heaven spare the mark) Journals, put down the Whig procession to be 7 or 8,000. Those are the opponents which honest Whigs have to contend with...


    “I suppose we have nothing to expect from New Hampshire but Loco Focoism...”


    Nice integral address leaf with fading red Boston postmark and 18 cents manuscript postage.


    Letter is generally in very good condition with one edge tear and a few small holes in a center fold.


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