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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To Charles Sumner.
I send some papers by this mail.
COLUMBUS, June, 20, 1859.
last Saturday with a white stone, for it brought me, dear Sumner, the most welcome intelligence of your almost assured recovery. God grant that the happy auguries of the present may be fulfilled and that completely. What a terrible experience has been yours! How fiery the ordeal you have been summoned to pass! Let us be thankful that memory cannot renew the suffering, and that the retrospect, while it makes one shudder, also brings a sort of sense of present triumph. How strange it seems that the assassin was so soon & so fearfully summoned to his account; and that he in whose behalf, or rather in whose pretended behalf, the outrage was perpetrated, was compelled so speedily to follow, while God in his wisdom, after allowing you to suffer so fearfully, seems about to restore you to the theatre of your usefulness & fame. Do not think however that I imagine your sense of triumph has in it any touch of exultation over the melancholy fates of your assailant and his uncle. I am sure it has not. I am sure that had it been in your power to reverse the decrees of Heaven's Chancery against them your magnanimity would have prompted the reversal. Your triumph is higher & purer: it is over suffering, over wrong, over misrepresentation - and it is for the cause as well as for yourself.
We have, here in
Ohio, engaged in a new battle. Our state election takes place next October, and the tickets of both parties are nominated and the platforms of both have been promulgated. Our Republican Platform takes distinct ground for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act & against the extention of the five years term of naturalization. The occasion of the first was supplied by the recent trials at Cleveland - prosecutions against some of our best citizens for the alleged rescue of a Fugitive Slave, and the refusal of our own Supreme Court to set them free on Habeas Corpus, on the ground that the act is unwarranted by the Constitution - the occasion of the second was furnished by the two years amendment in Massachusetts which raised such a
clamor among the naturalized citizens, and gave rise to such a torrent of accusations against the Republican Party that our Convention found itself obliged to speak out plainly & decidedly. I am glad of it, though great offence is given for the present to some whom I would gladly conciliate at any expense short of the sacrifice of our principles.
Of course I am not a candidate for reelection as Governor. It is generally supposed that if we carry the State Legislature - a result not quite certain -
that I shall be reelected to the Senate; and there is a very general disposition in Ohio and several other States to press my nomination for the Presidency as a Western man & on the whole the most available candidate. Our friend Seward will also be urged strongly from New York, and I presume that my friends, if they find that my nomination cannot be carried, will generally go for him as a second choice. His friends will probably make me, also, their second choice if he cannot be nominated. Of course I cannot claim to be indifferent when a position which will afford so grand an opportunity for renovation of admn [administration?] at home & of policy abroad, is thus brought within the possibility of attainment, but I am certain that I would not imperil the triumph of our cause for the sake of securing the opportunity to myself rather than to another.
I presume you will see our friend Bailey. The prayers of thousands follow him abroad. I earnestly pray that he may find the great blessings of health & strength which he seeks. We are now - he & I - both turned of fifty & no longer young. My general health yet remains apparently unbroken but I feel & observe symptoms which admonish me that my hold on life is not so strong as it was. Kate thinks she must send a few lines.
Good bye - May God bless you.
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