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SELECTED LETTERS OF SALMON P. CHASE

From Henry Ward Beecher .

BROOKLYN Monday 28 Decr. 63

MY DEAR MR. CHASE - Your letter of Dec. 26 has just reached me. I mean to be in Washington again. But, I do not yet see the time. It may slip entirely. But it will not alter the fact of my desire & intention. You speak of Gov. Sprague and his wife, whom I should be greatly pleased to meet, & just now, I am in a very amiable mood, my own son, Harry, a lieutenant in the artillery, regulars, having brought to my house a charming wife, & they together are ruling both father and mother, & having everything their own way.
I agree with the view which you express of the Presidents Message & Proclamation. His mind works in the right directions, but seldom works clearly & cleanly. His bread is of unbolted flour, & much straw, too, mixes in the bran, & sometimes gravel stones. Yet, on the whole the loaf will sustain life, tho' it makes eating a difficulty, rather than a pleasure. But will not the Legislation of Congress, be of a kind to make up, in some degree? I have been inclined to hope that we could get from Congress what we lack in the President.
I do not think that Mr. Phillips meant harm - or did harm, even with those who are most under his influence.. Certainly he cannot shake the conviction of the great mass of intelligent men that you have been soundly, consistently & wisely faithful to the doctrines of liberty, thro' good report & evil, in office & out of it. But, I confess, that I have a sort of pleasure in having lived to see a day when the way to diminish a man's influence is to charge him with not having been enough a hater of slavery! During all my life time till now, any suspicion of a love for liberty has been fatal to political aspirations. I do not know that I mentioned to you, when I was in Washington, the very great esteem which I found for you in Gt. Britain. All were not agreed as to the soundness of the financial policy of the administration, ultimately - but all were united in praising the great skill and administrative ability which had been shown.
I wish you, and all your family the best wishes of the Holidays - a merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.
I am very truly yours,
H. W. BEECHER.

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

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