Thursday, July 20, 2017

Salmon P. Chase to Edward S. Hamlin, January 27, 1849

Cincinnati, January 27, l849.

My Dear Hamlin; As I write, entirely uncertain whether you will receive this or not, I shall be very brief.

I am glad you approve my letter to Giddings. I am far from sure that it is worthy approval. I more than half suspect that I did a very foolish thing when I wrote it. However the truth can hardly do much harm and I certainly have not the slightest feeling of antagonism towards Mr. Giddings, and never shall permit myself to have so long as he remains faithful to the cause of Free Democracy. I think, also, as I said to him that he being in Congress, and I not, that the interests of the cause require my election or that of some reliable man not in Congress, rather than his. I may be wrong in this — misled, perhaps, by the “Ambition” so freely ascribed to me. If so let Giddings be chosen. I shall not complain. I cannot help thinking, however, that the election of one who has been longer convinced of the necessity and is more thoroughly identified with the policy of a distinct & permanent Free Democratic organization, will do the cause and the friends of the cause more good.

I do hope you will not find it necessary to leave Columbus until after the elections. Your presence there will be doubtless important.

You must not decline drawing on me from any motives of false delicacy. Through the blessing of Providence and the confidence of the community I have a good business; and I am willing to give to the extent of my means and beyond my means even, to advance the cause, and I want no one to feel trammelled in his action for the cause, by any sense of obligation to me. “The cause first, and friends afterwards,” is a sentiment I am perfectly willing to have applied to me by my friends.

I have written Stanley Matthews in regard to the Clinton member. Get him to read to you what I have written about him, and see he gets the right seat.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 160-1

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