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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, April 1st, 1864.

DEAR SIR: I have rec'd. your recent letter with much gratification. I feared that you would be displeased at the course which I could not avoid taking, especially as I have not been without misgivings as to its propriety.
The election for Delegates to the State Convention passed off quietly, and the same party succeeded as before. I regret to say that the character, ability and standing of the Delegates, is not such as could be wished. There are a few excellent men elected, like Judge Durell, Judge Howell, Dr. Bonzano, and Mr. Brott - but the majority of them are of little account. This time I worked to the best of my ability with Mr. Flanders and his friends, being no longer under any obligation to Gen. Banks. It was of no use however. The combination of patronage and influence was too strong to allow us any chance of success.
I have been sick with an intermittent fever and do not succeed in getting entirely well. It may be necessary to go North for a short time, but I shall not leave here if business will suffer by my absence.
From something Plumly said a day or two ago, I concluded he had written you that I was sick, and that the sickness was aggravated by anxieties on account of differences with Mr. Flanders. If such a statement has been made, I wish you to understand that it is without foundation. I have not had, and shall not have any difficulty or difference with Mr. Flanders or any other official. If I spent time in the indulgence of personal feuds, I should cease to be fit for the official position to which you have assigned me. In this matter please accept only the statement of Mr. Flanders, or of myself.
The army is moving up Red River, and is successful. There is a good deal of trouble, I think, up there, between the army and navy, about cotton. Gen. Banks is non-communicative as to what policy is to be adopted and there is much confusion and dissatisfaction among those engaged in Trade, but I believe no blame is attached to the officers of the Treasury Dept.
The 1st. Nat. Bank is proving a splendid success, and its prospects improve every day. Mr. Graham is entitled to much credit for this, for I do not know a man of better business ability. We have the bitter hostility of the old Banks which are controlled by Southern sympathizers, but we are gradually gaining on them. Mr. Graham will, I presume, write you more fully about this matter. I do not think there is much prospect that the Convention will extend the elective franchise to free persons of color. If it is not done, the responsibility should rest on Gen. Banks, for the Convention is composed mostly of persons who would do whatever he should request. The subject will be agitated thoroughly and we shall do what we can for the interest of colored citizens.

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