Thursday, July 13, 2017

Salmon P. Chase to Edward S. Hamlin, Columbus, Ohio, January 17, 1849

Cincinnati, January 17, 1848 [1849?]

My Dear Hamlin: I wrote you yesterday a few words in reply to yours of the 13th.

Vaughan has written to Briggs. He takes up my defence quite in earnest and very generously. You will see Matthews defence of Morse & Townshend in the Globe, made upon my suggestion. The Era of this week will I expect contain another. While I am thus active in having these gentlemen defended, it does seem to me that a little might be done in the same way for me. But, perhaps, it is thought silence is my best defence, and that my character will take care of itself. Perhaps this idea is correct; but, I confess, it galls me a little to see such insinuations as that of Briggs & others on the Reserve, go without any antidote whatever. I do not know what to say in reference to the paper. I do not think it advisable for you to leave until after the Senatorial Election, unless you have given up all expectation of such an issue of that as we have desired; and, with my limited means of information I see no reason as yet to despond. It strikes me that, if the printing of the House cannot be secured, the most advisable course would be for Mr. Garrard to borrow enough to carry on the paper till spring, when you could go out and raise means, with what aid I and others could give, to pay off the debt and make everything straight. Just at present I am in the most awkward position possible to act for the paper. After the Senatorial Election, whether the choice falls on me or another, I can act more efficiently, and you may rely on me, in every event, to the extent of my ability.

I will ascertain the state of things with the Cincinnati Globe and let you know. I should be delighted to have you here, but do not see how you could be spared from Columbus. Perhaps however we could find some one to fill that post, and you could be there in the winter: especially if you can be elected to the Pres. of the Bd of P. W.

1 am not certain that Whitman occupies the attitude you think he does. Would it not be well for you to call on him, and ascertain his views. He will, I am confident, meet you frankly and fairly.
How do Beaver, Johnson, Lee & Chaffee feel towards me now? They were very savage after the election of Speaker; and, perhaps, they had some reason in as much as they had no warning of the purpose of Col. Morse & Dr. Townshend to vote for Breslin, and supposed I was instrumental in keeping that purpose from them. They were quite mistaken in this. I approved the intention of Messrs. M. & Townshend, because I thought it was the only way to save the Free Democracy from identification with Whigism, but I never thought of making any secret of it. Had they held such a conference as I proposed, eschewing dictation and yet using perfect frankness one towards another, the whole matter would doubtless have been explained by the gentlemen concerned. Had Mr. Beaver, or Mr. Chaffee, or Mr. Johnson or Mr. Lee chanced to call on me after I became apprized of the intention of Messrs. T. & M. to vote as they did, I should, most probably, have mentioned it to them. But it so happened that I was just then,—the Court in Banc being about to adjourn — engaged night & day upon my arguments, and did not go over to the State House or to the Capitol House for some days. So far as I was concerned, therefore, the non-communication to them of the intention of Messrs. M. &T. was entirely accidental. So far as those gentlemen were concerned, I think they will admit, if they will candidly & generously review all that occurred, that their own course towards them had not been such as to invite the most entire freedom of communication.

I am looking anxiously for the introduction of the bill to repeal the Ham. Co. division clauses of the apportionment law. I hope Mr. Riddle will introduce it; and the sooner it is done the better. It is very plain to me that the Free Democracy will never espouse the Whig side of this controversy.

What has become of the bill to establish Separate Schools for Cold persons, &c., which Morse was to introduce? I hope you will give some attention to this. It is really important, and if it can be got through with the help of Democratic votes, will do a great deal of good to the cause generally & our friend Morse especially. I am glad to hear that he stands firm. I think he need not be afraid but that the people will stand by him. It is evident to my mind that before the Legislature rises the Freesoilers in it will be compelled to take his ground, or give up their claims to the title altogether.

Ask Dr. Townshend & Mr. Morse why they don't write to me. I am very desirous to hear from them. Do write me as often as you can, and believe me,

Please hand the enclosed to Stanley Matthews forthwith.

P. S. Has anything been done to secure the cooperation of the democrats in returning a Free Soiler of the right stamp from Clinton? This could certainly be done, if proper exertions were made, and you cannot fail to see its great importance. Nichols intended to go down, but writes me that he has not done so. If you think best, however, I do not doubt that he will go. Had you not better see him. Vaughan will go, if it is desired; or possibly you might kill two birds with one stone by going yourself & presenting also the claims of the paper. I have written to Thos. Hibben of Wilmington & enclosed a Standard Prospectus &c.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 148-51

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