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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
From. G. W. Brown.
LAWRENCE, Nov. 1st, 1858.
GOVERNOR: - Your very welcome letter of the 22nd ult., inclosing two dollars, has come to hand, for which again accept my hearty thanks.
In regard to our political matters
I am very happy to advise you of my views in a private letter,
opinions I could not safely advance through my Herald of
The attempt to organize a
Republican party in Kansas does not come from our leading
anti-slavery men, but from a class of boys headed by Gen.
, the object of which seems to be to head the Republican movement in Kansas, and make themselves the leaders. I am honest in the conviction that if the Free State party were disbanded today, and parties were organized upon the basis of parties in the, States, the Democracy would be triumphant. My opinion is not based upon a superficial knowledge of men and things,
but dates back to the first settlement of the Territory, with a perfect knowledge of every phase of sentiment in the Territory. My opportunities as a journalist, is second to that of no man in Kansas, as I am constantly in communication both personally and by letter with leading men in all parts of the Territory.
The opposition is so strong with the masses of the people against free blacks settling among us that they number more than two to one. This comes from our population being made up of western men. In Lawrence, and some other points, eastern men have control of the political wires, but they constitute but a very small proportion of the voters, and hence will be invariably defeated by any organization which takes open issue with them. These voters feel that the Republican party is thoroughly devoted to the black man, and is laboring to place him upon an equality with himself. The Pro-slavery and Democratic organs and leaders are active in propagating this opinion, and it is not compatible with my views as an "equal rights man" to controvert this position.
Then the Free State party embraces about one-third Democrats. If these were to leave us, and organize by themselves they would be openly augmented by the Pro-Slavery party, and the many free State Democrats who have held themselves aloof from both parties in the past, approving of neither, and then with their denunciations of the Republicans and their equality views the black law men would almost to a man go over to them, leaving the genuine Republicans with less than one-third the voters of the Territory.
Suppose the Republican party is organized now. Then they commit political suicide. By continuing the organization as at present we can get control of the first State legislature, and thus secure two U. S. Senators whose position in the States will be taken side by side with the Republicans, and we can have a Republican State organization at home in all its branches. By wise legislation we can soon satisfy the black law men that we do not propose any extreme legislation, not that we will legislate for the black man, but we will merely remain passive, and not legislate
at all in regard to them any more than we do for the white man.
I know the difficulty of making
myself thoroughly understood in this matter by a brief letter. I
wish, however, that my friends will take me somewhat on trust. My
service for the last fifteen years in the anti-slavery ranks, my
frankness at all times and in all places to enunciate my extreme
anti-slavery views, with my present
sacrifice in behalf of the cause justifies me in asking of my old co-laborers that they do not distrust me. Sometimes I am almost resolved to abandon my post, and while I write I am seriously considering whether I will not take leave of the press and of public life during the next two weeks. My weekly expenses equal fifty dollars a week, and my receipts will not exceed ten dollars. I have sunk from thirty to forty dollars a week for six months and have only maintained my position by the sacrifice of property at half its value, sincerely desirous to keep my post until the, end which called me to Kansas is attained, and we are a free State of the Union. But whether the gratification of my desire in the premises will justify me in beggaring myself is a question which I am more than half resolved to decide in the negative.
I shall be very happy to hear from
you, with such suggestions as you may be disposed to favor me with
in regard to our future. Remember, however, that I wish to see
Kansas a Republican State, and that I believe if this crisis can be
kept off until we are a State in
the Union we shall have no difficulty in making it the equal of Massachusetts or Wisconsin on the slavery question.
Very Truly Yours,G. W. BROWN.
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