The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

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Mr James A Hamilton, sent here from New York to confer with me, returns fully convinced of the necessity of taking the $13,978,000 at par.3 And to urge the Capitalists of New York to unite in the necessary effort to secure its being taken.Yours very truly S. P. CHASE S Hooper, Esqr, Boston, Mass.
1. Altogether, the measure authorized a loan of $21 million. Chase also recruited Jay Cooke several days later to help sell the loan. Chase to Cooke, Apr. 29, 1861 (Letters Sent Relating to Subtreasury System, Gen. Recs. Treasury Dept., Nat. Arch.); Statutes at Large, 12:79.
2. Originally set at $25 million. Statutes at Large, 12:129.
3. Hamilton, a New York Republican attorney, was a staunch supporter of the Union and an advisor to Federal officials. DAB, 8:189.


Autograph letter. William Howard Taft Papers, Library of Congress (micro 15:0211).

Washn. Apl. 28, 1861

My dear Sir,1

To correct misapprehensions except by acts is an almost vain endeavor.

You may say, however, to all whom it may concern that there is no ground for the ascription to me by Mayor Brown of the sentiment to which you allude2

True it is that before the assault on Fort Sumter in anticipation of an attempt to provision famishing soldiers of the Union I was decidedly in favor of a positive policy and against the notion of drifting--the Micawber policy of waiting for something, to turn up.3

As a positive policy two alternatives were plainly before us; (1) that of enforcing the laws of the Union by its whole power & through its whole extent; or (2) that of recognizing the organization of actual government by the seven seceded states4as an accomplished revolution -- accomplished through the complicity of the late admn.--& letting that confederacy try its experiment of separation; but maintaining the authority of the Union & treating secession as treason every where else.

Knowing that the former of these alternatives involved destructive war & vast expenditure & oppressive debt, and thinking it probable that through the latter these great evils might be avoided; the Union of the other states preserved unbroken; the return even of the seceded states, after an unsatisfactory experiment of separation, secured; & the great cause of Freedom and Constitutional Government peacefully vindicated; thinking, I say these things probable, I preferred the latter alternative.


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