Sunday, August 21, 2016

Salmon P. Chase to Joshua Leavitt*, June 16, 1847

June 16 1847 (?)

I have recd. your letter of the 5th inst written in behalf of Alvan Stewart Esq. Chairman of the National Committee of the Liberty Party in relation to a proposed call, by the committee of a Convention for the nomination of the Liberty Candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. So far as I have been able to ascertain the sense of the Liberty men in Ohio it is in favor of deferring these nominations until May or June 1848: and such also is the inclination of my own judgement. Upon a comparison of advantages and disadvantages — and the question is one of expediency only — the balance seems to me to be in favor of that course. Were it otherwise, however, in my judgement, I could not with propriety — without different information as to the state of opinion among our friends in this state — concur in calling a Convention at an earlier period.

I would, however, cheerfully unite in a call for a Convention to be held this fall, to take into consideration the present aspect of the Antislavery cause, and to adopt such measures either by the nomination of Candidates for the Presidency & Vice Presidency, or otherwise, as shall, upon full consideration & comparison of views, be deemed best adapted to advance the cause of Freedom. Such a Convention assembled from all parts of the Country, would best develop the true sentiments of the Anti Slavery masses, and its decisions would, probably, be received with confidence & acted on with vigor.

Such a convention in my judgement should be composed of All honest opponents of slavery, willing to exert their power of the ballot for the overthrow of the great evil. The place of its assembling, recommended by considerations which seem to me weightiest, is Pittsburgh, where no great general Convention has yet been held & where the most numerous delegations may be expected from western Virginia, Kentucky & other States in similar circumstances. The time should not be later than the first week in October. Questions of greatest importance, & all if thought best, might be determined by the majority of votes, the delegates from each state, or a majority of them, casting its votes equal in number to its Electors or otherwise as the Convention itself should determine. These are my views, entertained with some confidence in their correctness. I submit them to the approval or rejection of your better judgement.

* From letter-book 6, pp. 25.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 116-7

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