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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

From B. Rush Plumly .

Private.

PHILADa, Aug 29; 6l

MY DEAR Mr. CHASE. I place this letter under heads, for ease of consideration.

ST. LOUIS.

To day, Mr. Stokes, of Fredick, Stokes & Co. our strongest Domestic Commission House, and staunchly Republican, begged me to say to you, that Mr. Crow of St. Louis, of Crow, McCreary & Co. the best 'House' there and strongly union, was very anxious to convey to you, the necessity of money for Missouri, forthwith.
Mr. Crow, whom I know, & with whom I have just had a talk, says, that the prompt payment of debts there, will be better than bayonets, for every man who supplies Govt with a mule or horse or other supply, will be made loyal by the money.
Mr. Crow thinks it, the real pivot of the war in Mo. at this moment.
The rebels offer their scrip & if we pay cash or demand notes, we will diminish their force and increase our own.
Mr. Bates or Mr. Blair will tell you who and what, Mr. Crow is.
He thinks that the first million of your demand notes may claim the specie but, if you will authorize drafts on New York, no shipment of coin to St. Louis will be needed, and directly, no demand will be made.
He adds, that three or four millions of the notes will come East, at once, to pay debts, & so revive trade &c. &c.
He urges large payments there, for these reasons.

LEAVE OF ABSENCES.

I have had many urgent calls from St. Louis to come and help the Western Dpt where they are staggering under an avalanche of work.
I have said, that having your `leave' I shall set out from here on Thursday next, & reach St. Louis on Saturday 7th.
I shall make this trip merely incidental, & only stay so long, as I may be indispensible. My power of work is great in certain directions, which Davis knows, & they theirs [Sic] (Davis & Fremont) are exhausted.
I shall resume my duties here, whenever they arise. The Gen' app. office is no sinecure, when there is business. There are some sharp abuses; one, in California, that you will, probably think best to send me to investigate & abate, hereafter.
It is my conviction that you had better send me, as " Secret Agent" to St. Louis, rather than have me go, at the call of the General; and direct me to look after disbursements, purchases &c, so far as your Dpt can. My reasons for this suggestion I cannot trust to paper but they are weighty.
I should render the war service all the same, and, I think , save millions.
This much, I may say 'if I could tell you what I know, not what I imagine, about this contract & supply practice you would do as I do, despair, not only of the Government but of human nature. I cannot turn 'Informer' but I could be a sentinel.
I had, yesterday, a letter from R. G. Hazard, who says, that the impression your visit made, on the money & political circles of N. Y. & New England was very great indeed.
Sam. Ward, the Agt of Borings, said to Hazard that your personal presence and character and the confidence they have in you, carried all the measures.
Mr. Crow, said to Mr. Stokes that the weight of the war rested on you, and you were equal to it.
The same feeling is strong here and growing.
I mention these things, as refreshments for weary hours.

Ever truly Your friend
B. RUSH PLUMLY.

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

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