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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

From H. B. Stanton.

Confidential.

WASHINGTON HOUSE, Washington, Jan. 7, 1861

MY DEAR CHASE: I cannot tell you how much solicitude feel about the state of things here, both in regard to measures & men.
And first, as to measures. The most strenuous efforts are being made to induce Republican Senators and representatives to vote for Mr. Crittenden's proposition. I have been here only two days; but long enough to be alarmed. However, the true men are not idle & I hope for the best.
Now, as to men. I have no doubt that either explicitly or impliedly the State Department is at the disposal of Gov. Seward. I have reason to think that it will not be expressly & formally offered, unless it is distinctly understood that he will accept; & that he is now considering whether he will or not. - As to the Treasury Department. I have reason to believe that Mr. Cameron has been explicitly told he can have a place in the Cabinet, but that it is not yet determined whether to offer him the Treasury or the War.  - The strongest protests have gone from here, & from Pennsylvania, to Mr. Lincoln, against Mr. Cameron being called to the Treasury. Senators (among them Mr. Trumbull) have written most pointedly to that effect. So have Representatives, & others.
You know that Mr. Weed has been at Springfield. I can state positively that, in the only two interviews he held with Mr. Lincoln, a third person was present at the request of Mr. L. That third person is here, & I think I can hardly be mistaken in saying that one of those interviews was pretty much wholly devoted to discussing the Slavery question, the proposed compromises, &c. and that the other was devoted to talking about men, offices, &c., but, that no particular men by name were distinctly mentioned by Mr. Weed, but that his line of remark drifted directly towards Seward & Cameron.
My impression is, that our New York friends , with gentlemen in Pennsylvania, and Senators & others here, will make a successful effort to prevent the Treasury being bestowed upon Mr. Cameron. From some Senators, the protest will be a very strong one. If this is successful, & even if the State Dept. goes to New York, the Treasury may be placed in reliable hands. Could you see the almost universal feeling that prevails here that that department may be offered to & and accepted by you, you would hesitate long before you refused it, should it be tendered. It is, undoubtedly, to be the most important post in the coming Administration, - opening a wide field for the display of your eminent abilities & well-tested administrative capacity. You see what the Tribune of Saturday says on that subject; & when the article on the cabinet was read, there was a general feeling & expression in regard to yourself like this, "God grant that that man may be so!"
My dear friend, we must have some such men as you in the Administration, or all is gone. With you, & Bates, & Welles, I should feel that a class of men to whom the Republican party is more indebted than to any others, would not be proscribed.
I am to be here (at this hotel) a couple of weeks on professional business, & would be happy to hear from you. You can confer with me in the strictest confidence, if you desire it.
Very faithfully yours as ever,
H. B. STANTON.

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Annual Report of the American Historical Association; Volume II; Washington, Government Printing Office; 1903

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