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SELECTED LETTERS TO SALMON P. CHASE

WASHINGTON, May 15, 1862.

SIR: In compliance with your request, I give you a sketch of my life during the last eight years.
I graduated at the University of Vermont in 1854. My Father died in the year 1848, leaving property only sufficient for the support and education of the younger children of the family, for which reason I thought best to borrow money for the expenses of my own education.
I went to Texas in November 1854, and taught a school in the city of San Antonio for nearly three years with success, thereby paying the indebtedness just referred to.
In 1857 1 married Mrs. Cordelia M. Forsyth, a lady born in the North, but whose residence at time was near Pensacola, Florida. Her property was large, including about seventy negroes. We settled in San Antonio where I bought property and commenced studying Law. A little less than one year after our marriage my wife died leaving me a son but a few days old. Not desiring that my child should be reared in the South, I brought him North when somewhat more than a year old, and placed him in the care of my relatives in Vermont, where he now is.
My time not occupied in the study of my profession, was fully taken up in the management of my wife's estate, until July 1860, when I went to Mexico, and traveled over a large portion of that country on horseback, going almost to the City of Mexico. I brought back two hundred horses intending to establish a stock ranch. On my return in December the country was already in confusion, and fearing the great troubles which have since occurred, I sold my stock, and since that time have been occupied in arranging matters so that I could honorably leave the country. My great object was to protect my child's interest in his mother's estate - an object which is secured, if rebels observe even their own laws.
I was in Pensacola when the property there of the United States was captured by the rebels, and, returning to San Antonio two months afterwards, was in considerable danger on account of writing articles for a Union newspaper which was destroyed soon afterwards by a mob, the Editor escaping to Mexico. Since then, I have been offered frequently, a commission in the rebel army, if I would join them.
On the 18th. of last February, I left San Antonio in company with Col. Bomford and two other officers of the United States army, prisoners of war, who having been exchanged, recently arrived in this city. At that time we had heard of no important victories of the Union arms, and imagining that the Government needed the, services of every truly loyal man, I desired and expected to join the Army of the United States.
Traveling through New Orleans, Corinth, and East Tennessee, I reached Richmond, hoping by the aid of influential friends there, to obtain permission to pass the lines. This was refused, and I was directed to return to Texas. In East Tennessee I left the railroad, and, guided by Union men, walked through woods and over mountains, to Richmond, Ky., a distance by the circuitous route travelled of about two hundred miles - and reached home in April.
It is not improper for me to say, that I am familiar with the people of the Southwest, their opinions and habits of thought and action. I have seen Slavery in all the Southern States, in all its conditions and aspects, and am now fully satisfied that its influence on the best interests of the country, is everywhere disastrous.

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

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