Sunday, July 9, 2017

Salmon P. Chase to Seabury Ford,* Burton, Geauga County, Ohio, July 11, 1848

July 11 [1848].

Dear Sir: You are well aware that in political action & opinion I have differed widely from you; but I have given you the same credit for sincerity of conviction & honesty of purpose which I desire for myself. There is a question on which we do agree — or rather one class of questions. I refer to those connected with slavery. I am sure that you are sincerely opposed to slavery and to its domination and extention & to the injustice of the Black Laws. On the ground of this agreement between us, I desire to support you for the office of Governor: laying out of view for the present three questions on which we differ. There are thousands who share this desire with me. But yr. present anomalous position in regard to Genl. Taylor, if nominated will compel us not only merely to withhold our suffrages from you: but to nominate a Candidate who not only agrees with us in opposition to Slavery & its Extention, but also in opposition to candidates nominated under the dictation of the friends of Slavery & its extention. Such a candidate we believe Genl. Taylor to be, and cannot consent to give our suffrages for any Gentn., however worthy in other respects, who does not take a distinct position in opposition to his election to the Presidency.

Should you come out in opposition to Genl. Taylor as thousands of the truest whigs in the State have done, you will receive a more enthusiastic support I believe, than any candidate for the Gubernatorial office has ever recd. in Ohio, and I shall be greatly disappointed if you be not triumphantly elected. If you come out for Taylor, you will recd. the support of hardly any except Taylor men. If you preserve a neutral position you will lose votes from both sides, and cannot in my judgment, be elected. It seems to me that the path of duty coincides with the path of safety.

I trust you will pardon my frankness, I am really desirous to know your position. I am even more desirous that you may take a position which will warrant me in giving you a cordial and zealous support.

If you have prescribed no rule of conduct to yourself which forbids an answer to a communication like this, I shall be greatly indebted to you for a reply, directed to Columbus, where I shall be next week in attendance on the Circuit Court. You may rest assured that no use shall be made of it, other than such as you may yourself permit.

* From letter-book 6, pp. 149. Seabury Ford, 1801-1855; elected governor of Ohio in 1848 and served 1849-50.

SOURCE: Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1902, Vol. 2, p. 138-9

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