Return to Ohio ALHN
Return to Contents
SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
To Hon. Henry
COLUMBUS, Dec. 13, [60.]
DEAR WILSON, You will not I trust think me obtrusive if I give you briefly my thoughts concerning the duties of the hour.
Departure from the original policy of the govt. concg. Sl'y is the cause of our frequent dangers; return to that policy is the true remedy.
remedy cannot be applied by Republicans until they come into power. Its principal elements then will be, I think, maintenance of the union & enforcement of the laws against all opposition, by temperate but inflexible action; adhesion to the great principle of separating the Fed'. Govt. fr Slay.; & manifestation of goodwill, real, unaffected goodwill - toward the slave States, & their people, by every concession consistent with adhesion to principle.
last head of concession may be included such legislation as will provide compensation for escaping fugitives, if pursued, arrested, & proved to be such by the claimants, and means of settling them in Hayti or elsewhere, - or an amendment of the Constitution giving to the Slave States representation for their entire population in consideration of the abrogation of the Fugitive Surrender Clause.
But I expect the Republicans can do nothing in this way until they become responsible, under the recent decision of the people, for the Administration of the Govt.; and all attempts, on their part, to do anything, under existing circumstances will, I fear, prove unfortunate.
If my humble counsel might prevail I would say, Let Republicans simply insist that the actual Admn . do its duty in maintaining the just authority of the Fed. Govt. & in enforcing the laws of the Union; let them hold the Prest. the Party wh. elected him to their
entire responsibility; let them proclaim their own purpose, when in
power, to administer the Govt. fairly, honestly
, & FIRMLY, in a spirit of true goodwill & perfect equity towards every section, every state,
& every citizen without entering into any detail in regard to propositions to be made or measures to be adopted; and finally let them give an earnest of their readiness & ability to do their duty by urging as promptly as possible the consideration of the practical measures, now demanding the action of Congress. -
Among these measures the most important seem to me to be these:
admission of Kansas. Why cannot the Senate take up & pass the bill for her admission without delay - at least before Christmas? That wd. do much to inspire confidence in its ability to meet the crisis.
passage of the Tariff Bill. Whatever may be the defects of Mr. Morrill's bill - I have not studied it & do not know that it has any—it is clear that some measure must be adopted to revive the sinking credit of the nation; and this bill will certainly contribute to that result. A Treasury note bill without a Tariff bill is a dangerous experiment. The two together may answer a good purpose.
3. Provision for an Early election of Congressmen in States where no elections have yet been held; & for their election on the same day hereafter.
Why not provide for their election this year in March, on the day of the New Hampshire election, and in future years on the Tuesday following the 1st Mon. of Nov. which is now the day of the Pres. election? The Prest. & Con-, press all to be elected on the same day.
4. The homestead bill. It has already passed the House. Why not take it up & push it through the Senate?
5. Whatever laws may
be necessary to enable the Press. to overcome forcible resistance to the execution of Existing laws. When I say forcible I do not mean peaceful resistance through judicial action. It must be an extremely extreme case wh. will warrant fed. interference, by force, with the action of State tribunals, through Habeas Corpus or other process. But whatever legislation may be necessary - and the message indicates the want of some - Should be provided & provided at once.
There may be other measures wh.
need prompt action but these five
are most prominent in my mind.
If the Repub. in Cong. will address themselves vigorously to this course of action and then let the country see that they have the dispon. & abily. to meet the need & perform the duty of the hour, they will inspire gent. confidence & prepare the success of the incoming admn.
Weak concession will accomplish nothing, intemperate denunciation will accomplish nothing: manful discharge of present duty, with little talk and no delay, will accomplish much - I hope everything.
Home | Ohio Counties | Ohio Biograpies | What's New?
Ohio's Fallen Officers | Ohio Military | Ohio Photo Album
Vintage Ohio Postcards | Crime & Punishment | Early Institutions
Ohio Fun Facts | Lookup Volunteers | Ohio Resources
Ohio Book Shelf
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds