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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

To Hon. L. D. Campbell.

CINCINNATI, May 25th

DEAR SIR: On my return this evening from the East, I find your note of the 18th on my table, and I shall answer it frankly according to your wish.
Last fall the Independent Democrats or Freesoilers entered heartily and earnestly into the people's anti-nebraska movement, animated by the simple desire to redress the Nebraska wrong. They accepted frankly the State Candidates of the 13th July Convention, neither of whom was taken from their ranks. After the election many of them, and not a few also of the liberal whigs and Democrats, anxious that some token of the popular approval of my course as Senator should be given and especially moved, as I suppose, by the consideration that in consequence of the ascendency of the administration party in the Legislature, I alone of all the earnest opponents of the Nebraska Iniquity from Ohio, could not be approved by a re-election, manifested a disposition to make me the candidate of the people's movement this fall. They were pleased to think, also, that my nomination and election to that office would afford to the friends of freedom throughout the union a most significant indication that Ohio would tread no step backward from the glorious stand she has just taken against slavery and the domination of Slavepower. To the suggestions of these friends I have uniformly replied by an unhesitating avowal of the gratification which such an endorsement of the people would give me, provided I could be nominated and elected without any surrender or modification of my well known principles of political action.
Had I supposed that opposition to my nomination would have been made in the particular quarters in which it has since appeared I should have promptly declined to allow my name to be proposed at all. Nothing but the gratification and advantage of the implied indorsement, and the belief that my election under the circumstances would greatly inspirit and encourage the friends of freedom outside of Ohio, could have induced me to consent to the use of my name, and these considerations would not have prevailed with me, had I not supposed that the nomination for Governor would this year be cheerfully conceded to the choice of the distinctive anti-slavery men. As things now are I confess myself much embrassed, and quite undecided as to the course which duty to myself, to the cause, and to the friends who have honored me with their confidence require me to pursue. One thing, however, seems plain, which is that no duty, whatever, under existing circumstances, requires me to accept a nomination for atty. general or Supreme Judge, and certainly my inclination does not lead me in that direction. For the rest, I can only say that it would be infinitely more agreeable to me to support my old friend Brinkerhoff, than to be a candidate myself, if he could be said at this time to represent the pure element of opp. to Slavery extension & Slav'y domination. But if he is to be forced upon them, and his election taken as triumph of another element, it is obvious that this must have a powerful influence on the course of those with whom the Slavery question is paramount to every other.

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

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