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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To Joseph H. Banett, Esq.
COLUMBUS, May 30, [1860.]
MY DEAR SIR, Your letter of the 22d reached me some days ago and I thank you for it. I have never doubted your friendship. You have given proofs of it when it was important & timely.
But you will pardon me, I hope, if
I am entirely candid. It does seem to me that there are influences
about the Gazette Office which are, without any reason
, unfriendly. Before your return from Chicago a paragraph was copied from the Times of a very mean character - the object of which seemed to be to depreciate & vilify Elliott & Mullett and through them to disparage me. Now whatever may be said of the discretion of some of the acts and words of these gentlemen, they are undoubtedly active, earnest and hardworking Republicans and as such deserve recognition and respect. That they are friends of mine is, I hope, no crime. I am sure it is not in your estimation. I shall be sorry to think it
is in the estimation of any of those connected with the Gazette. They are friends and I am grateful for their friendship. It was given early - from no personal motives, - and has been long continued. It is earnest, sincere and faithful. It does not make me responsible for all they do or say, or require my approval of all or any of their sayings or doings. But it does require me to reciprocate their good will; to give them credit for honorable motives; and to desire that they have like credit with others. Hence I was so sorry to see that article in the Gazette. I saw no
good to come from it - but harm rather.
And to-day I
find in the Gazette an extract from some correspondent which says
that "Guthrie is playing the part of Chase at Chicago, who really
had no chance but would not allow his state to vote for any but
himself." Is it right to give such a reference to me a conspicuous
place in the Editorial columns of the Gazette? It may be
that I had
no chance at Chicago; but I suppose that nobody doubts that had the Ohio delegation manifested the same disregard of personal preferences, which was exhibited by the New York, Illinois and Missouri delegations, and given to me, as the nominee of Ohio, the same earnest and genuine support which was given to Mr. Seward, Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Bates by those delegations respectively, that my vote on the first ballot would have largely exceeded Mr. Lincoln's; and there are those who felt themselves constrained to vote for other candidates in consequence of the division of the Ohio delegation, who do not hesitate to give it as their judgment that had our delegation acted towards me in the same generous spirit which was manifested by the other delegations towards the candidates presented by their states, the nomination would have been given to Ohio. Be this as it may - and I am not at all sorry that the nomination fell to another since that other is so worthy - the fling of the correspondent is as ungenerous as it is injurious. No man knows better than you that I never sought to prevent the delegation from voting for anyone but myself. All I desired was unity and good faith. True I wanted no merely complimentary vote. When the Republicans of Ohio nominated me they contemplated no such child's play, hiding something;
not much like child's play, for such play under such circumstances cannot be innocent. You saw, I presume, my letter to Mr. Eggleston. It expressed my real sentiments. The Convention had named me in good faith. There was no such reason to suppose that I could not be elected if nominated, as would make an earnest effort to give effect to the preference of the Ohio Convention, unpatriotic. Justice to me, I am not afraid to say that boldly justice to
me, no less than good faith to the Republicans of Ohio, demanded such - an effort. It is useless to discuss the causes why it was not made. Far however from desiring to control the delegation or any member of it in adhering to me, I should never have allowed my name to be presented at all had I anticipated the division which actually took place; so that in this as Well as the other respect the allegation of the correspondent is as unjust as it is ungenerous. I repeat the expression of my regret that such things get into the Gazette.
I am ready to join with you in "endeavoring to remove all the old roots of bitterness growing out of diverse antecedents." Such, in my administration of the State Government, was my constant endeavor. The result is seen in the present union and strength of the Republican Party in Ohio. Last winter and at Chicago however more of those "roots" were served up for my entertainment than suited either my palate or my digestion. I trust that as little similar entertainment may be offered hereafter as possible.
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