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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To Charles Sumner.
COLUMBUS, Jany 18, 1858.
MY DEAR & EXCELLENT FRIEND, Your kind note to me
makes amends for your long silence; though, indeed, I never accused you of neglect, and would on no account whatever have had you give one moment to me which would have been taken from time far better devoted to the health-renovation for which so many devoutly pray & towards which so many wishes are most earnestly directed. I welcome joyfully your assurance that "all is surely coming back." God hasten the happy moment of complete restoration!
delighted with your New Years memento. It was a most acceptable double autograph, altho one was but imitation - so absolutely like, though, that at first it deceived me. She bids me express her thanks to you, and to say that it almost makes amends for your omission or refusal to write in her album, which she, but a child then, & little more now, took very hard.
We are keeping house now, and she is house keeper. We have a pleasant house and every thing as agreeable as we
can expect. How welcome a guest you would be! Why can you not come?
Your praise of my message gratifies me much. I know it is sincere; and if I satisfy you I am sure no true man ought to be dissatisfied. I sent you one of the first copies distributed, & you doubtless received it very soon after you wrote.. I would send one to Lord Napier, if I knew his address, & you would let it be done at your request. The condensed resume of the industrial condition of Ohio ought to interest a statesman.
As to our future,
you reflect my thoughts when you express your regrets that some of our friends & papers should seem to play into the hands of Douglas. What we have seen, heard, & felt of him will make it impossible for us to trust him until after a very sufficient probation, - which he has not the slightest idea of undergoing. In fact he neither expects nor wishes more from us than a suspension of hostilities until his re-election is made sure. I trouble myself little about hint. I am more troubled by an obvious disposition among many to place our cause on the lowest possible ground - to connect it with the least possible advocacy of principle; and to seek success by means which will make success worse than worthless. " Non in haec foedera veni" - nec veniam. I have had enough of it. The party for which I labor must be a manly, honorable, honest, freedom loving party, which has principles & dares assert them, and representatives of its principles & dares sustain them. In hoc signo vincemus; and in no other.
pardon me for saying that I thought you & Hale & others of our friends gave in too readily to the availability idea two years ago. When I left the Senate you expressed to me your wish for my nomination. So did Hale even more strongly a few months later. When I came to Washington after my election as Governor I found you both changed. I did not blame you so far as I was concerned - far from it. I want to be put aside when our cause can be promoted by it. But I wished, if not sustained myself, then some other man sustained who bad fought battles. You or Hale or Seward would have suited me. Others might also be named though not of the "first three."
But I never liked the idea of going out of the party & taking up candidates who had never identified themselves with us at all, and asking them to condescend to lead us. It was too much like the seven women of prophecy taking hold of one man & begging to be covered with his skirt. Such a path is not the path of honor or of safety either. When it was resolved to take it, I did not hesitate of course. I do not separate myself from my friends because I think their course not the wisest. I prefer to contend among the foremost, & let it be seen that, if the victory be not won, it is no fault of mine or of those who act with me. But to repeat the experiment of the failure would be inexcusable, nor do I fear it will be repeated. Hence while some are disposed to cry Lo! here! or Lo! there!, I feel confident the common sense of the people will hear and harken to the truer Genius which points to the path of principle & says, This is the way, walk ye in it.
Excuse my long writing. I feel as if I were talking to you. May God bless you & soon restore you to the field where you are so greatly needed.
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