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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE
From H. B.
Confidential - strictly
SENECA FALLS, Nov. 30, 1860.
MY DEAR GOVERNOR: I am obliged by yours of the 26th
& the most lucid & excellent speech made by you in exposition of republican principles in a Slave State.
On Saturday evening last,
in New York city, some 30 to 50 prominent men, chiefly free-democrats of 1848, met for consultation in regard to the Cabinet of Mr. Lincoln. They held an adjourned meeting on Monday of this week - appointed a Committee of 10 to look after this matter - which Committee meets at Albany on Tuesday next. The subjects of the organization of our legislature, & the election of a U. S. Senator, also claimed some of our attention.
Among the prominent men present were Lieut. Gov. Campbell, Dudley Field, C. A. Dana, Abijah Mann, Wm Curtis Noyes, Geo. Opdyke, Barney, Senator Madden, ex Canal Comr Sherrill, Hughes, Clerk of Court of Appeals, Godwin, of the Post, F. A. Conkling, Congressman-elect from the City, Judge Hogeboom, T. B. Carroll, &c. &c.
freely, very freely - Your name was most cordially received, & all hoped you would be called to the first place in the Cabinet, & all felt that weighty considerations should induce you to accept the post if offered.
I think 2 or 3 gentlemen,
representing the views of these meetings, & this Committee of
ten, will visit Mr. Lincoln ere long, to express to him their
opinion as to whom it would be advisable to call to his Cabinet from
this State. Senator Trumbull & Mr. Colfax thought it would be
best to do so, (I saw them in N. Y. two days ago.) - These gentlemen
will probably be selected on Tuesday at Albany. On their route to
Illinois, they will perhaps call upon you. The names most frequently
mentioned by the sound republicans of our State, for a seat in the
Cabinet, are Mr. Greeley, David Dudley Field, Jas. S. Wadsworth,
& Wm Curtis Noyes. (We understand & believe that Gov. Seward
will not accept a seat in the Cabinet, even if tendered to him.) All
concede that Mr. Greeley would be a most valuable counsellor; but he
himself says that he "is out of the way for any such post." Messrs
Field, Noyes, & Wadsworth are all able men. The professional
reputation of the two former you know. The latter is not a lawyer.
The old Barn-burners, who were in the fight of 1848, & are now
sound & honest republicans, would doubtless prefer either Mr.
Field or Mr. Wadsworth. The latter would hardly allow himself to be
urged for the Treasury Dept. He might take the Interior or the Navy.
Mr. Field is competent for any post; but, he might be objected to
for the Treasury because of his alleged free-trade doctrines. We
don't know of any other republican of democratic antecedents, of
sufficient prominence for a post in the Cabinet, who is not
fishy. Some, whose names might occur to you, would be
wholly unacceptable to sound
Of the gentlemen of Whig
antecedents, Mr. Noyes would be acceptable to our sound men. He was
a delegate to Chicago,.& voted for Gov. Seward; & he is
entirely reliable upon 'all matters about which, I may be supposed
to be now, thinking. He is thoroughly honest & is opposed
to illiberal dictation & all dictators in our State. - An
obstacle might lie in the path of Mr. Field because of his ardent
opposition to Gov. Seward at Chicago. He would be entirely
acceptable to our sound republicans. So would Mr. Wadsworth. He
wrote a letter to Chicago deprecating Gov. S's nomination in
moderate terms. He is highly popular in the State. - In fine, if we
are to have a man of democratic antecedents, the first choice I
think would be Mr. Field. If he cannot be bad, then Mr. Wadsworth.
If of Whig antecedents, then (Gov. Seward & Mr. Greeley not
wishing to be considered) I think Mr. Noyes would be preferred. Gov.
Morgan it is understood feels it to be his duty to serve out his
term as Governor. This is the strong desire of those republicans
of whom I am speaking
. I might enlarge upon this point, but this is sufficient. - As to gentlemen out of the State, Mr. Colfax is the favorite of our republicans for the place of P. M. General. His selection for that position would be generally acceptable, & in important quarters he is strongly urged. - Messrs Simmons of R. I. Dayton of N. J. & Grow, of Pa., are favorably mentioned by our kind of people; as are Messrs. Bates, Blair, Clay, Etheridge,
Botts & Davis, for the South. I will write you again from Albany. For obvious reasons please treat this as confidential.
Yours ever,H. B. STANTON.
I have condensed so much that probably I have not made myself fully understood on some points.
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