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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

 To E S. Hamlin.

 WASHINGTON, Jany 17, 1850.

MY DEAR SIR, I received your last letter at Philadelphia. I am not certain whether I replied to it or not. The fact is the severe illness of my dear wife, presenting varied symptoms from day to day, not on the whole very encouraging nor absolutely discouraging, gives me so much uneasiness and such constant employment of my thoughts, that I hardly remember, from day to day, what I did the preceding day.
I regret exceedingly the action of the Democratic Convention in regard to slavery. The proposed action of Mr. Warner, after the 4th & 5th resolutions were withdrawn especially did not go far enough. To reject them was going, in my judgment, very far wrong. I do not pretend to determine what is best under the circumstances, to be done. To me, at a distance, it does not appear that the Convention by refusing to adopt Mr. Warner's resolutions, intended to pronounce against the Proviso: but merely to determine that opinions either way on that question should not be made a test. The resolutions actually adopted, in my construction of them, cover all the ground I maintain, and all that is necessary, as Senators from the South here admit - nay assert - to secure the final abolition of slavery throughout the land. On the other hand, a man has only to say that no power over any question relating to slavery has been "clearly given" to Congress and the resolutions become as meaningless as any lump of dough than can well be prepared. Now under these circumstances it may be that Judge Wood will give to these resolutions the construction I do myself. If he does, (and I think that construction will be sanctioned by a majority of the democracy of Ohio, so great, that no division will be needed to ascertain the fact) what are we to do then? What will be the effect of a separate nomination under these circumstances? These things should be considered. All I can say is I will go with the Free Democracy, provided it maintains in good faith its position in the Free Democracy, by adhering, honestly and earnestly to the Columbus Platform. I will, under no circumstances, commit myself to any position in which I shall be obliged to vindicate the course & action of Beaver, Blake &, I am sorry to add, Randall. I do not think that course right, and, not thinking it right, I cannot defend it. Nor will I, under any circumstances, be committed, either by my own action or by that of those with whom I act, to the standstill theories & measures of conservative whigism.
I see that the Standard undertakes the vindication of Blake. That vindication, of course, implies censure on yourself and Swift. What is the meaning of this? Does Mr. Gale write these articles? If so, who are his counsellors? In my judgment, Mr. Blake's course cannot be vindicated. Without any reference to any stipulation of any kind the facts are enough. He was elected Senator by Swift's vote. That vote Swift had publicly declared he would give to no man who would not recognize Johnson. Mr. Blake did recognize Johnson as the Senator from Hamilton County. He went further he voted for the Democratic candidate for clerk. The Senate was full and was organized. Then Mr. Blake undertook to recognize Broadwell as Senator from the First District of Hamilton County. By doing this he introduced a 37th Senator against the Constitution, against the Law, and, by doing so, disorganized the Senate and arrested the course of Legislation. Now this is enough. There is no possible escape from the charge of misconduct in any allegation that there was an arrangement in pursuance of which he recognized Johnson, & breach of which on the part of the democrats justified him in recognizing Broadwell. If he recognized Johnson, without believing that the action of the Senate had decided him to be entitled prima facie to his seat or believing himself that he had that right, then he violated his sense of duty to be speaker. If he recognized him, under the belief that he was entitled of right or by decision made in any way, then he could not recognize another without violating that conviction.
You say something of the necessity of my having an organ. I want no organ. I want no support except, so far as the Cause of Freedom may be advanced by it. I am exceedingly desirous to have that cause adequately represented by the Press. I am ready to contribute my full proportion to expense of supporting such a press. At Cincinnati we could have the Nonpareil, if we had an Editor. But I know nobody competent except yourself, and you decline going. We have a paper at Columbus; but I wish it were a daily for the Session, and, more strongly, that it might be edited with a more thorough knowledge of the practical workings of our cause. I wish you were its editor, Gale & Cleveland still being proprietors & Gale associate Editor. I would gladly contribute my full proportion to that object, & perhaps you would be as useful at Columbus as at Cincinnati. Again we ought to have a Daily here & must have one, if we are to have another National Contest: and I am ready to contribute my full proportion to that. Would you take the Editorial chair at Columbus? Miller writes me you w'd. What say Gale & Cleveland? What our friends in the House. If I give $100 can the -balance needed be obtained?
Let me hear from you soon - very soon. What was the result of the Medina & Summit Conference with our Free-soil Friends? Is there any foundation for the representation that the Free Democrats in the House approve of the course of Randall & Blake in the Senate?

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Annual Report of the American Historical Association; Volume II; Washington, Government Printing Office; 1903

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