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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To E. S. Hamlin.
WASHINGTON, July 21, 1854.
MY DEAR HAMLIN: It was good to see your handwriting again. You had been so long silent that I almost began to think you had forgotten me, and did not know where to address a letter to jog your remembrance.
your disappointment in regard to the outcome of the Columbus Convention, and thousands upon thousands throughout the country partake it also. But then, the question is, Can anything better be done than make the best of that? One thing is clear, the Convention have made an issue with the Slave Power, and the people will not let the politicians shirk it hereafter. The determination to restore the Mo. Restriction and the declared opposition to New Slave States will make it impossible to avoid it. We shall thus have free access to the people and all we have to do is to urge our larger and sounder views, and get the intelligent assent of the masses to them. Starting from the Anti-slavery point I do not fear that the new party will not be ultimately essentially democratic. But should it be otherwise one thing is clear - the Old Line Democracy will go beyond it, whenever once whipped into its traces (?) in respect to consistency, in Anti-slavery declarations; and thus furnish to Antislavery democrats a party to their kind. It shall not be my fault if the new party does not become essentially democratic; and you must help me. The day may come when I shall have it in my power to prove my sincere appreciation of your merits; or you may, which I would greatly prefer, be placed by the appreciation of the people, in a position where you can confer easier than receive favors.
It is true as alleged by some that the Antislavery Resolution of the Old Line Democracy is more comprehensively antislavery than the People's Platform at Columbus, but, then it has been neutralized by the endorsement of the Baltimore Platform and nullified by the acts of the Party which put it forth in electing such a President as Pierce and such
a Senator as Pugh and in sustaining such Covenant Breakers as Douglas. There is a good hope that the People's Platform will be stuck to, and a little truth honestly received and lived up to, is better than a great deal of disregarded profession.
You see that I mean to go along with the Antislavery movement, in the phase which it has now assumed; keeping a watchful eye upon it that the strength which our votes give it be not abused.
We have confirmed the Japan Treaty. It is a great thing for our reputation to have made the first Treaty with that isolated Empire. Its provisions are important to our Pacific Commerce.
The Reciprocity Treaty is under discussion. I think it will be confirmed.
What do you think of Hunter's substitute for the Homestead bill? I voted for it finally, after the Senate had abandoned the House Homestead Bill, as the best bill there was any hope of securing at this session. Keep me advised me where to write you.
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