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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

From George Bancroft .

NEWPORT R. I. August 9, '62

MY DEAR MR. CHASE: I return the interesting & able paper which you were so good as to allow me to read. I think you were unquestionably right in advising the President to give up Slidell & Mason; & the reason which you assign for your opinion, is conclusive. I am even inclined to believe that their character as envoys did not according to the true law of nations, expose the Trent to capture.
Whether different opinions might not be justified by British precedents, is a very different matter; I should have been ready to see our government asserting the validity of those precedents.
I am ever my dear Mr. Chase very truly your friend
GEO. BANCROFT.

P. S. You have the credit, & I hope & believe deservedly, of seeing the true nature of this rebellion which is burdening the free industry of the country with a cloud of debt. The South is bent on a revolution; in revolutions, half-way measures always fail. The only way to raise a party for you in Virginia is by the abolition of slavery. The finest portion of our country deserves to produce some better staple than slaves. Tell the President to break. up the Virginia trade in slaves by the only measure which can at once crush the traffic & the rebellion. If your administration makes peace, leaving slavery & the domestic slave-trade existing in Virginia, what will the world, what will the next generation say of you? The boldest measures are the safest; the way & the only way to preserve the union is by abolishing slavery. Look at the imbecility of your pro-slavery McClellan; look at your sham[?] pacification in the Eastern shore of Virginia. Would to God, we could see disinterested patriotism, a strong will, & a clear perception of the character of this struggle united. The constitution has for its primal object the maintenance of the Union; it is entrusted, the government, with all powers to enact laws necessary & proper for the carrying into execution the powers Vested in the government; & as the termination of slavery is proper & necessary to that end, Congress & the President, in this extreme case of its own life or death, the life or death of the constitution, should adopt (& has not Congress substantially adopted) the measure of doing away with the institution, which, as long as it continues, renders a restoration of the Union impossible. Slavery ought forthwith to be put an end to in Virginia, & forever; and avowedly & openly on the ground that so only can regenerated Virginia be reconciled to the union.

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