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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

To E. S. Hamlin.

Private . CIN. Nov. 21, 1854.

MY DEAR SIR, * * * I confess I feel more uneasiness about the probable influences of the Order on our movement than I did when I saw you last: but I still think that it is best not to say anything against them. Wait until it becomes necessary & it may never become necessary. What is objectionable may come itself. Meantime Antislavery men should be constantly warned of the importance of Keeping the Antislavery idea paramount. There is danger of its being shoved aside. They must see that it is not lost sight of. Now even more than ever is it essential that an earnest antislavery tone should be maintained by our [?] & that the [?] should be sustained.
You are aware that for some days past this city has been the seat of a grand American Council. What they call it I do not know; but I am told delegates are in attendance from every state in the Union including Cal. There seem great divisions of opinion.
For example, one very intelligent gentleman from Virginia was anxious to have the ideas which we hold denationalization, &c. adopted as the basis of a National party. Others & most, seem to be of opinion that they must steer clear of northern & southern ultraism as they call our ideas there of the Nullifiers. One man is reported to have said that it is as settled they were to cut loose from Freesoilers & Southern. Another that the organization must not in any way attack slavery; and that the [convention] sitting here is in fact the American Legislature whose decisions Congress must follow. Certain it is that Kenneth Rayner of N. C. & E [illegible] Davis of Ky. are here & both leading spirits. Humphrey Marshall is also here or has been & Daniel Allman, prominent friends as you know of Fillmore. Fillmore is talked of among them for the Pres'y., & Davis also. Houston also, but not much so far as I learn. He, by the way, was the favorite of the gentlemen I first named.
These are some of the straws I see floating. They indicate that the current (nationally) will not float as we would wish. But it may in the State.
All we have to do, at all events, seems to me to maintain our principles; act with no organization that dishonors them; cooperate frankly with any which does not; & bide our time. * * *

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