SALMON P. CHASE
While Chief Justice (1870), he signs a very revealing manuscript letter to a
former member of Buchanan's Cabinet, the still influential Jeremiah S. Black,
correcting several misunderstandings about decisions made by Lincoln's Cabinet.
Framed in the Gallery of History style to 48x24.
Historically Important Manuscript LS: "S.P. Chase" as Chief
Justice, 3 pages, 8x10. Sandusky, Ohio, 1870 July 4. To Jeremiah S.
Black, Buchanan's Attorney General (1857-1860). This is the retained
signed corrected copy of Chase's letter with cross-outs and over 100 words in
his hand. Chase served as Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury from
1861-1864 and Chief Justice from 1864 until his death in 1873. He
talks about Edwin Stanton, who had succeeded Black as Attorney General in
Buchanan's Cabinet, later succeeding Simon Cameron as Secretary of War in
Lincoln's Cabinet. In part: "Mr. Stanton did in
1842, perhaps in both years, express his concurrence in the
views relating to Slavery set forth in the Address and Resolutions of the Ohio
State Liberty Convention of December 1841 of which I was the writer. There
was I think at that time, however, no material difference in
political principle between us these views and those then, or soon
after, embodied in the Democratic Platform of Ohio but he was justified
in party relation with the old line democracy, which I thought it my duty to
write a final outline of both of the then great political organizations. He
urged me to identify myself politically with the Democratic
organization, join the party with which he was connected and declared
with emphasis his readiness to Stand by me in the Support of the principles I
had proclaimed. More than once, on Subsequent occasions when withdrawn from
active participation in politics and absorbed in professional
practice labors, he expressed his
intention purpose to act, whenever he should again engage in
political action with those who like myself were then known as Independent
Democrats against the nationalization of slavery. And you are misinformed also
in respect to the circumstances connected with his appointment as Secretary of
War in place of Gen. Cameron...Gen. Cameron had expressed a wish to retire and
take the mission to St. Petersburg, sometime before he actually withdrew, and I
believe that he was the first to suggest to Mr. Lincoln the name of Mr.
Stanton. I held myself several conversations with him on
the subject on the subject of Gen. Cameron's retirement, his appointment to St.
Petersburg and the appointment of Mr. Stanton as his Successor both with Mr.
Lincoln and Gen. Cameron; and I called on Mr. Stanton to ascertain if he would
accept the post of Secretary of War if tendered...This is
a brief, but I believe as exact a statement as its brevity
admits of Gen. Cameron's retirement from Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet. He was not
removed: he did resigned because, as he stated at the time; he
preferred under the circumstances the mission to the
Secretaryship; and he did recommend the appointment of Mr. Stanton as his
successor." Some historians state that Lincoln removed Cameron.
Many history books state that only Postmaster General Montgomery Blair
opposed the evacuation of Fort Sumter. Again, Chase changes history:
"On one other point, I wish to Correct your information, lest not
mentioning I may seem to have admitted its exactitude. You state that 'the
Cabinet (Mr. Lincoln's) voted six to one in favor of surrendering Fort Sumter':
-Mr. Blair being the only dissentient. I never voted for the Surrender of
Fort Sumter. My grounds of opposition to its surrender were not, perhaps,
the Same, nor so absolute as those of Mr. Blair, but I was against it &
so voted. I refer to these points in your article because I am
specially informed as to them, and it seems due to myself as well as others that
I should write what I have written as I am Sure you do not wish to be in
error. make this statement not for the public but for
yourself...." A remarkable letter by an eyewitness to history who just
happened to be a member of Lincoln's Cabinet and Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court. Jeremiah S. Black (1810-1883) served as Attorney General and
(briefly) Secretary of State under President Buchanan. An appointment of
Reconstruction policies, he drafted President Johnson's veto message to Congress
and later served as one of Johnson's defense lawyers at his impeachment trial.
Signature light but legible. Soiled at mid-vertical fold. Lightly creased. File
notes (unknown hand) at upper margin of first page. ½-inch diagonal tear at
right edge of signature page touches no text (all intact). Overall, fine
condition. Framed in Gallery of History style: 48½x24.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
CHIEF JUSTICE SALMON P. CHASE
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