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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

To J. D. Baldwin, Esq. Worcester Mass.

COLUMBUS. Aug 20h [1860]

DEAR SIR, Yours of the 11th reached me yesterday on my return from Michigan; & I hasten to thank you for the expressions of regard & confidence which it contains.
It would be a vain attempt were I to try to correct all or a very small part of the misrepresentations or misconceptions of my views which fiend their way into the Press: & I do not think it worth while to make the effort in respect to these to which you call my attention.
Fortunately I have no new opinions to express on any question connected with Nationalized Slavery. In my speech on Mr. Clay's compromise Resolutions in 1850, I distinctly stated my views in respect to legislative prohibition of Slavery in Territories. You will find this speech in the Congressional Globe Appendix, 1849-50, and this particular question discussed on page 478. I reaffirmed the same views in the Nebraska-Kansas Debate; & I have seen no occasion to change them. They are now substantially embodied in the Republican National Platform.
In respect to the organization of Territorial Governments I think Mr. Jefferson's plan of 1784 the better plan. It contemplated the prohibition of Slavery, as did the plan subsequently adopted, but it left more both in Organization & Administration to the people. The great objections to the "Territorial bills " of last winter, to which you refer, were in my judgment that they did not contain so distinct and explicit prohibition of Slavery, & that they did provide for the appointment of Territorial Officers by the Administration; which was equivalent to giving them pro-slavery Governors, Judges &c. To these bills I certainly preferred Mr. Thayer's Land District Bills: & I should have preferred bills framed on the plan of Jefferson, but with larger freedom of Legislation, to either.
I regret very much to hear of the feeling which exists in the Worcester District in regard to Mr. Thayer. I have but a slight personal acquaintance with him, but that acquaintance impressed me with a belief that he is sincere, earnest, & able. He has certainly rendered great service to the cause of Freedom. His plan of Organized Emigration contributed largely to save Kansas from Slavery. And if he now pushes his ideas too far in the direction of absolutely unlimited control by the settlers of a territory over every matter within their own limits whether national in its reach & consequences or not, it should be remembered that nothing is more certain than that the ripening convictions of the people favor - not the substitution of Presidential Intervention for Slavery, in place of Congressional Intervention against Slavery, which is the sole achievement of the Douglas Nebraska Scheme - but the admission of a far larger measure of true Popular Sovereignty, - fully harmonized with the fundamental principles of Human Rights, in the organization of Territorial Governments.
I write this for your own satisfaction, & because your kind letter calls for a frank response; I do not write for publication: because no opinions of individuals at this time are important enough to be thrust before the public. We are engaged in a great struggle upon a great issue fairly joined through our National Convention. God forbid that any personal strifes should endanger the Cause! Let us gain the victory; & I am sure that there will be then no difficulty in so harmonizing views, by honest endeavors to satisfy each others reasonable demands, as to secure that after success without which the preliminary success at the November Polls will be of little value.

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

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