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CHIEF JUSTICE SALMON P. CHASE - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 07/04/1870 - DOCUMENT 77745

 

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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 1841 or 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 More than once, on Subsequent occasions when withdrawn from active participation in politics and absorbed in professional practice labors, he expressed his intention purpose to act, whenever he should again engage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.


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CHIEF JUSTICE SALMON P. CHASE  


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CHIEF JUSTICE SALMON P. CHASE
Born: January 13, 1808 in Cornish, New Hampshire
Died: May 7, 1873 in New York City, New York





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