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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To Thomas Spooner,
Esq., New York City.
(Confidential & Private.)
COLUMBUS, Dec 18, [1859.]
DEAR SPOONER: From what you say in yours of the 14th, I infer you had not received mine previously written to you. It was directed to Cincinnati, and perhaps it has since reached you. I do
not desire to be quoted as expressing any opinions as to time or place of holding the Convention, or as to the mode of its organization either in respect to membership or number of delegates - or mode of electing them. The reasons for my not desiring even to seem to influence members of the Convention are obvious.
You, as our Ohio member, have a right to my views, and I will give them to you briefly:
1st. The Convention should be held between the Alleghenys and the Mississippi. It would be best, I think, to hold it at Pittsburg, Wheeling, Cincinnati or Covington, but next best, to hold it at Columbus, Indianapolis, Springfield or St Louis. Among these next best places, my judgment would incline to Indianapolis.
2d. The Convention should be held soon after the Democratic. This, I think, would be best. No considerable harm would probably result, however, if not held till the 17th June, as in 1856.
3. The Convention should be composed of all who are opposed to the extention of Slavery beyond the limits of Slave States, and in favor of reform in National Administration. The call should be addressed to Republicans and all others, without distinction of party, willing to unite for these objects. A resolution should be adopted expressing the opinion of the Committee that the members of the People's party of New Jersey and Penn's, and all citizens of other States holding similar political principles, are regarded as described in the call and invited to participate in the Convention, but the Call should not be addressed to those parties as such.
4. The Committees should apportion the delegates among
the States by recommending the election of, say, four Senatorial delegates from each State, and one Representative from each Congressional District, and additional representatives from each Congressional District for each six or seven thousand votes cast for Republican candidates, and another for a majority fraction of that number. Votes for opposition or people's Candidates in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, and for Anti-Lecompton Democrats supported by the Republicans, should be counted the same as Republican votes.
5. The Committee should recommend, and strongly recommend, the election of Senatorial delegates by State Conventions, and of Representative Delegates by District Conventions.
I have no
to argue these views. I am, however, strong in the faith that their adoption would secure fairness and equal representation in the nomination - harmony and vigor in the support of the nominees - In what is now a duty success not merely for our organization but for our principles - success, therefore, lasting and honorable.
Ashley, I understand, will represent Kentucky under Clay's proxy. You can show this letter to him and if you think proper to Mr. Willey or Mr. Howard of Connecticut. Let, me hope that you and Ashley will act together. It is desirable, many ways.
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