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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

From John Jay.

NEW YORK, April 23d 1861.

MY DEAR MR. CHASE - Trusting that Washington is safe, we are still nervously anxious to hear from the Capitol - & to hear regularly; & to know that the voice of the people at the North, is heard there as it swells with a common devotion to the Government . Nothing is more essential not only in a military view but in every view of at least one safe open route from Washington - the seat of Gov't - to New York the centre of Commerce & of public feeling - indicating by the press the daily beating of the nation's heart - a route for travel for the mails & the telegraph. We trust such a route will soon again be opened - & it would seem to comport with the national dignity that it should lie through Baltimore - a matter which it is thought the army from Harrisburgh & that from Annapolis could readily accomplish - As it is our Capitol is as it were in a foreign country, & the mutual confidence between the government & the people that would be so much strengthened by frequent communication is very much lost. Such a route too would ensure abundance of provisions for our northern volunteers who it is rumored today are suffering from insufficient food.
Might not two heavily armed cruisers in the Potomac constantly going up & down the river render impossible the erection of any shore batteries & enable transports with provisions to run regularly. I do not know whether the ships that take our troops are always loaded also with provisions - but they might each carry I hear a thousand barrels or more without inconvenience. In view of the warm weather & of the character of the volunteers, vegetables & fresh meats occasionally are probably important to their health. Apples are easily procured & preserved meats & soups, in case of sickness.
The multiplicity of detail now pressing upon the Cabinet induces me to suggest the expediency of their inviting the advice of practical commercial men as to the best means of carrying out the policy they decide upon. Capt. Chas. H. Marshall, Robert B. Minturn of N. Y. Scott V. P. of the Penn. R. R. at Philadelphia are men of this class. And Alex. Campbell of the firm of Ward Campbell & Co. is I hear a man of such singularly sound judgment that the N. Y. banks make him their confidential adviser.
E. S. Sandford President of the American Teleg. Co. & of Adams Express is said to be the most effective executive officer in the U. S. having some 7,000 agents under him in all parts of the country, & that he would faithfully accomplish whatever he undertook.
I presume any of these gentlemen would readily attend the Gov. if their presence was desired. I dont know abt. Sandford except as a matter of business.
The threatening European war in the opinion of thoughtful men is likely to complicate soon our position unless the reduction of the rebellion is rapidly pushed: Neither France nor England will like the market for silk & cotton interfered with: & if France wants a pretext it is at hand in the pretence that the South is a de facto Government or that the blockade is ineffective. With a North so united so liberal - so enthusiastic & earnest the sooner the matter is settled if the most energetic measures can settle it the better.
Barney & Murray are proving themselves most efficient officers. The spirit of the people is that of '76 & makes us all proud of our countrymen.
The love of the union is begetting an attachment for the administration & an intelligent appreciation of their efforts to preserve it.
God bless you.
Always faithfully yoursJOHN JAY.

The conviction is deep that without an open route Washington will be sometime lost.
Opdike says we must pass either through Baltimore or over it.

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

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