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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To E. S. Hamlin.
WASHINGTON CITY, Dec. 5, 1851.
MY DEAR SIR, I have just sent that letter to you to the Post Office as there was but just time to save the mail. Fearing you may not come on, I have thought it best to write you a little more at large in explanation of my views.
It was supposed, before the
session, commenced that the Democratic Caucuses of the Senate and
the House might be induced to adopt the Compromises as parts of the
Democratic Platform and thus exclude the Antislavery men. It was the
anxious wish of Foote, Cobb & Co, including the Whigs of the
South, that they should do so, and thus open the door for the
admission of the Constitutional Union Party into the bosom of the
democracy. But when Congress assembled and the Antislavery
Representatives (Democrats) such as King, Cleveland & Rantoul
went into Caucus declaring that if any such test as adherence to the
Compromises was imposed they must withdraw, light suddenly shone
into the understandings of the Hunkers and they became suddenly
convinced that Resolutions endorsing the Compromises were
. The rationale - of the matter was that they feared the loss of the Progressive Democrats more than they desired the gain of the Constitutional Union Men. So the resolution was laid on the table in the House Caucus and the idea of introducing-it into the Senate Caucus was abandoned. Foote has brought into the Senate, on his own
responsibility, the resolution which was rejected in the House Caucus. It may pass, but I think it doubtful. I know its introduction is condemned by the most prominent democrats. If it passes it must be by a combined vote of whigs & democrats. It cannot receive democratic votes enough to pass it.
Under these circumstances I feel
pretty sure that there will be no attempts to engraft any approval
of the Compromise measures upon the Baltimore Platform. On the
contrary, I think it more probable - though I do not think
probable - that the Pro Slavery Resolution now constituting part of that Platform may be dropped.
It seems to me, then, that there never was so fair an opportunity for Antislavery democrats to work as now. It is certain that they have the convictions of a majority of the people with them, and they are now virtually admitted to be too strong to be proscribed.
We need in Ohio and especially at Cincinnati a liberal democratic press. The Nonpareil is substantially that now, but it is edited upon no fixed plan and is without a chart. Give it an Editor, who would make it a readable paper, maintaining substantially the same position as now, until the Presidential Election shall come on and then giving a hearty support to the candidates of the Democracy or, if the Democracy shall be divided then to the candidates of the Progressive Wing, and I do not see how it can fail to be a profitable concern. If I had charge of it, I would not perceptibly change its present position; but would, very gradually, give it an Independent Democratic character, without distinctly avowing any party bias. I believe in this way it could be made acceptable to its present readers while gaining increased circulation and influence among the democrats. Another consideration, in favor of the paper is that it has the city printing worth about $1000 per annum.
you can raise the means to pay for the paper - say 1800 cash to meet immediate payments, I will provide in 6 month, or less time if necessary, $1000 to complete the purchase. Then means could be raised to carry on the paper, until the subscription & advertising should furnish, themselves, the means. I believe you could make the paper
profitable and useful and I shall be extremely glad if you see your way clear to take hold of it.
I do not abandon the hope of seeing you here, but I thought it safest to write at all events.
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