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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
LAWRENCE, Feb. 22, 1856.
DEAR SIR. Your's of 11th inst with $100 draft is received. Accept for yourself & the donors the gratitude of the free State men & women of Kansas who are ready to risk their lives in the cause of American freedom.
Your excellent message is also
received. It is natural that the administration papers should laugh
us to scorn & I hesitated about the expediency of sending to the
Northern Governors such a dispatch, fearing it might be
misconstrued; but I was satisfied if there was not something done to
excite public attention & sympathy in our behalf we should soon
be driven from the Territory or crushed. That such was the intention
of our enemies at that time I have no doubt, & nothing but a
belief that we had taken steps to arouse the whole North has
prevented a general war. A meeting has been held at Independence Mo,
denying any intention of molesting the people of Kansas &c, but
we know that some
of the people of Mo, said & resolved in their lodges that the Free State men of Kansas must & should be driven out, & military companies were organized & drilled when the thermometer was below zero in many of the border towns -
I am satisfied the despatches have done good, & if we escape a war it will be on their account. The telegraph announces that the President has issued a proclamation but I have not seen it. We sent him a despatch as well as several members of Congress, demanding protection.
We were determined that if we were compelled to fight he should not have it to say he had no notice of our danger.
If he & the people of Mo. & the South helve found that the reveille is sounding throughout the north, & that if war must come it shall be a war in earnest of all the people then there will be no war, for the South will never fight us if they believe the north seriously objects to it. The only way in my opinion to get along with the South is to let them know that we have no scruples against fighting if they insist upon our humiliation.
The plan of the slave power now appears to be to hire several thousand men to come to Kansas & live a year, more or less, till a new constitution can be formed & a state government set in motion under it. Hence the recommendation of the President to have Congress pass an " enabling act" &c. Every expedient will be resorted to to get rid of our Constitution hence the Pres. says it was formed by a party & not by the whole people.
The gentlemen last sent out were instructed to recommend the appointment of committees in the large towns who should make the collections & have them deposited in some bank subject to be drawn by S. H. Lane, J. R. Goodwin, G. W. Deitzler, & myself jointly for the Committee of Safety. Mr. Schuyler & S. N. Wood were sent out earlier & no plan was named to them.
Our object was to get'some relief
for the expenses of the invasion, procure means of defense, &
procure the enrollment of men, ready to come to our relief if
necessary. I thought such a plan would act as a peace
. It has a wonderful effect upon our Mo. neighbors to hear that men are enrolling, & money is being raised in the North.
I need not say to you that you are
regarded as the
Champion of our cause by the people of Kansas, & your success in Congress as well as in the Executive chair of your noble State will not soon be forgotten.
It will afford me great pleasure to hear from you, counsel, advice, reproof, or any word you may find time. to communicate, & it shall be my pleasure to forward to you such information as I may be able to concerning the cause of freedom in Kansas.
Very respectfully yours,
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