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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

NEW ORLEANS, September 6th, 1864.

MY DEAR MR. CHASE: By the last mail I received your letter of August 15th. from Litchfield. I have not written you for some time, not knowing where to address my letters. The receipt of a letter from you always gives me great pleasure - of this letter especially, wherein you speak in terms of affectionate remembrance of my father, and in terms of approval of myself.
Soon after the adjournment of the State Convention, preparations for the ratification of Constitution and election of Congressmen commenced. The whole proceeding was managed in the same way as, under Banks' direction, the preceding election had been conducted. A good deal of money was spent I don't know where it came from - the Ward Union leagues were manipulated - frequent meetings with public speaking were held - Quartermaster's employes and all other Gov't. employes were called out - and finally there was a grand torch-light procession. The result was just what might have been expected, the whole power being in military hands. The election occurred yesterday, and resulted in the ratification of the Constitution by a vote almost unanimous. The whole vote is about thirty per cent. smaller than. when Hahn was elected, judging by the returns which have already come in. A. P. Field (who went to Washington with Cottman), Dr. Bonzano, - Wells, and one other person, whose name I forget, were elected to Congress. About a week before the election Banks came to my office and showed me a letter from Mr. Lincoln, requesting me to show it to Mr. May and Mr. Flanders, which request I complied with. Hahn went to Washington and probably brought the letter back with him. I enclose a copy marked A. - with the request, however, that you will not make use of it unless it will help you in some way. Mr. May, Mr. Flanders and myself had previously made up our minds to vote for ratification, on the ground that the defeat of the Constitution would be regarded as a victory for the Copperheads - while the proper place to decide on the admission of the State, is in Congress. Mr. May's paper had been silent, however, and he intended it should remain so. Determined not to allow Hahn and Banks to defeat him and throw him out of office, he felt constrained, after reading Lincoln's letter, to come out in two articles, advocating the adoption of the constitution. I must say he did it very mildly - so mildly that some of the City papers accused him of insincerity. The fact is, this whole civil reorganization in Louisiana is a cheat and a swindle and everybody knows it. Certainly no good can come from an undertaking of this kind, conducted in the manner this has been, however disguised by professions of patriotism or pleas of necessity and expediency. I shall always think and know there are good grounds of suspicion, whenever any movement is on foot and Gen. N. P. Banks has a finger in the pie. " I fear the Greeks and all the gifts they bring."
I know that Banks is low in reputation at the North, but he is worse off here. A new project however has been started, for restoring him to somewhat of his former good standing. It is the intention of himself and f riends to make him U. S. Senator from Louisiana, which will give him a secure berth for six years, whereby perhaps he can recuperate somewhat. This is the plan I say, at present, and it will probably be successfully carried out. It is reported by Banks himself, that he will go North about the 15th. inst. It is expected, however, that he will return in time to assist in executing the little programme above mentioned. If he tries it, he may be sure of having a bitter and public opponent in Mr. May, who, desiring no office himself, is entirely fearless, and fully appreciates Banks' characteristics.
I enclose a printed slip - being a letter to the President from Mr. Day and Mr. Fellows. Day is a Union man holding about the same opinions as Mr. Durant, while Fellows is in some degree a copperhead. Both however are much respected here.
Military affairs in this Dep't. have assumed a very different appearance since Gen. Canby took command. The brilliant success at Forts Gaines and Morgan, was due mostly to the able supervision of Gen. Canby. In fact Gen. Banks did not know where the expedition had gone, until news came back of Farragut's victory. The Ram " Tennessee ", captured by Farragut, is lying in the River, opposite the City, having come around from Mobile Bay without difficulty, although the sea was exceedingly rough. By permission of the Commodore, I went on board and examined her. She surpassed all my expectations and is much stronger than represented in any published accounts I have seen. I have seen our Iron Clad River Steamers and have seen the monitors, but think the "Tennessee" stronger and more efficient than any of them. She is built entirely new, being two years in building, and the whole Southern Confederacy was searched through for materials. Her capture was a wonderful victory.
News has reached us of the nomination of McClellan at Chicago, and it seems to be the general impression here that he stands great chance of success. I watch with great interest for the appearance of some third nominee, who shall concentrate and command the loyal intelligence of the country. Otherwise it is impossible to predict what is to become of both country and cause.
My Mr. Gray has gone home sick and worn out and I have much work to do. Mr. Flanders is more unpopular than ever, and I think the outcry against him will necessitate his withdrawal or removal.

[Copy.]
EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, August 9, 1864.
Major General Banks:
I have just seen the new Constitution adopted by the Convention of Louisiana and I am anxious that it shall be ratified by the people. I will thank you to let the civil officers in Louisiana, holding under me, know that this is my wish, and to let me know at once who of them openly declares for the Constitution, and who of them, if any, decline to so declare.
Yours truly, (Signed) A. LINCOLN.

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