Thursday, July 27, 2017

Salmon P. Chase to Messrs Milton and C. E. Sutliff,* Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio, April 30, 1849

Cin. Apl. 30, 1849.

Gent. Your note by your nephew Saml. was recd. this morning. As I know nobody in California, the best I could do for him was to give him a letter of general introduction, which I did in such terms as I thought would do him most service.

The Whig Papers keep up their attacks on me and my friends, and I keep on never minding. I am satisfied that what was done last winter in the way of martial cooperation between Freesoilers and Democrats was right, and will be attended by the happiest consequences to the great cause, to which eight of the last years of my life have been devoted. I care little therefore for the railing of the Taylorites, or even of the Beaver & Chaffee Freesoilers, so called. The worst that I wish to these last, or even indeed to the first, is that their eyes may be opened, and their hearts purged of the old leaven of Whigism, that they may sec the truth of Free Democracy & love it.

I have sometimes thought of writing an exposition of my position and action, but have been withheld by considerations akin to those which influenced Dr. Beecher under similar circumstances. You know the story, perhaps; but lest you may not have heard it I will tell it to you. On one occasion the Doctor was going home to Walnut Hills and saw a suspicious looking animal by the roadside. The Dr. is a little abstracted, and, the sight of the animal stirring up his combative propensities, he, at once, launched at it a quarto volume which he was carrying under his arm. The skunk returned the salutation with compound interest, and the Doctor was glad to beat a hasty retreat. Soap and water did their best for him and his garments, but some time elapsed before either he or they were tolerable again. Years, afterwards, the Doctor was asked why he did not reply to some scurrilous pamphlet put forth against him. “I have learned better,” was his pithy reply: “I once issued a whole quarto against a skunk and got the worst of it.”

Give my best regards to our friends in Warren, particularly, Judge King & Hoffman & Hutchins & believe me

* Original lent by Mr. Homer E. Stewart, of Warren, Ohio. These brothers, Milton and C. E. Sutliff, were among the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society,

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 170-1

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