Saturday, July 22, 2017

Salmon P. Chase to Thomas Stanley Matthews,* February 26, 1849

Feby 26 ['49.]

My Dr Stanley, I wish to ask yr intervention for me in the affairs of the Standard. I had a despatch from Mr. Garrard to day enquiring whether in case he should sell to Mr Giddings, at 30 days, 6 mos, — 12 mos. for $700 I would endorse the notes; I ansd. by a letter to Hamlin, that I would, provided a mortgage of the establishment would be executed to you in my behalf to indemnify me against loss. The fact is I have already advanced to the Standard directly, this winter, $310 besides $10 for subscriptions & $75 to enable Mr. Hamlin to remain in Columbus, as editor &c in which you may understand more than ever Lord Coke discerned in the &cs of Littleton. These and other expenses that you wot of and the necessity I am under to meet a third of a $700 liability for Mr. Hamlin within the next month make so heavy drafts upon my resources that I have become alarmed & dare not venture much farther. Still I am so satisfied of the necessity of sustaining the Standard that I am willing to encounter the risk involved in the endorsements named, provided I can be made in any degree secure: At the same time I do not wish to take any mortgage on the establishment directly to myself, because I do not wish my name connected with the paper at all, which could not be avoided in case of a mortgage to myself, as the mortgage, under the law must be recorded to be of any validity. I want you to represent me in this matter and act as you would for yourself and regard it simply as a business transaction, except I am not particular that the establishment shall be a perfectly sufficient security for the seven hundred dollars. I shall be content to run the risk of losing a hundred or two dollars, beyond the amount of the security.

Mr. Hamlin writes me that some $500 can be realized from the printing for the House. I shall be glad, if out of this $500 the first instalment of the $700 can be paid while the balance can be applied to the support of the paper until subscriptions can be collected and a fund made up. Still if nothing better can be done, I will consent to take on myself the burden of providing for the first instalment, though circumstanced as I am. I don't want this burden put upon me unless it be absolutely necessary.

Will you attend to all this matter for me? — Considering yourself fully authorized to act in the premises.

Don't go into the matter at all unless there is a reasonably certain prospect of the paper going ahead and paying its way. It would be useless folly for me to endorse for the purchase of the paper, if it must die at any rate, or be thrown on me for support, exclusively, or nearly so.

As the subscriptions for the Daily were proportioned to 3 mos in time, I do not see that there is any obligation to supply subscribers beyond that time, and, as it will not be practicable to keep up the Daily through the year, I think the present is a good time for stopping it. A clear full and racy sketch of the proceedings of the Legislature, made up from the Statesman and the Journal, would be more interesting to the majority of readers than the ordinary reports. In this way a first rate weekly could be made & expenses could be greatly reduced. If Mr Giddings would take hold of the paper in real earnest and go into the field to get subscribers it seems to me that the paper could be sustained.

I think I have made my views intelligible to you. I want you to act cautiously for me, remembering my position & circumstances & bearing in mind all I have said, I enclose a power which, if necessary, you can use.

I shall be very anxious to hear from you as to the state of things in the Legislature. I hope you will use your influence to have a caucus organized consisting of Swift, Van Doren Townshend & Morse and others, if any, who are willing to join them on the basis proposed by Dr. T., and have frequent meetings for consultation. Be sure, also, to get the kidnapping bill which I handed to Smith of Brown put through both Houses. A Homestead Exemption Bill, a Bill prohibiting use of State Jails &c & services of State Officers to pursuers of Slavery, and a bill to prevent kidnapping are necessary free soil measures which Townshend & Morse should not fail to obtain the passage of. They should also press the New Constitution Bill to a vote, and use their efforts to get a fair apportionment Bill. By the way, it seems to me quite important that Riddle should be induced to consent to such amendments of his Hamilton County Bill, as he can be brought to by persuasion, & that the bill should then pass in that shape. It is quite certain to my mind that if a new apportionment bill cannot be had the repeal of the division of Hamilton County should be secured without much regard to form or pleas: and it is also certain that if a new apportionment bill cannot be got through the Senate, no bill to which Riddle does not consent can be got through that body even in relation to Hamilton County. Hence the necessity of concert & consultation with Riddle & pressing nothing through the House to which he does not consent. See Pugh as to this & others, & let discretion guide. Write me at Washington & let me know from day to day how matters stand. I will telegraph you when I am about to start.

* From letter-book 6, pp. 170-171

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 162-5

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