The Salmon P. Chase Papers - Vol. 3

By John Niven; James P. McClure et al. | Go to book overview
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TO CHARLES P. MCILVAINE
Autograph letter on letterhead stationery. Mss. q469 RM, Cincinnati Historical Society (micro 16:0726).Treasury Department Aug 26 1861My dear Bishop,Some days have passed since I recd. your kind note and the very interesting letter of Dr. Andrews which I return as requested.1It was very painful to read the statements of the good Doctor who has undoubtedly perfect faith in them. We who know the utter falsity of many of them cannot be expected to put much faith in any except what he vouches for from personal observationCertainly war is a dreadful evil, and doubtless its incidents are often most appalling and distressing. Would that the infatuated men who have deceived the Southern States to their views had thought of it in time! Even now the good Doctor himself is contributing to the same wretched delusion in which the War had its origin. His talk of miracles &c is of a piece with the assurances given by the disunionists that if the Slave States did not secede Lincoln would send among them his myrmidons to let their slaves loose, ravish their women, & burn their dwellings. What a terrible responsibility is that of these deceivers.Most earnestly do I wish for Peace: but how can there be peace when the Government hears daily the most piteous cries for support & relief from the Union men of Tennessee, Kentucky & Virginia; and when we know that but for the war despotism which suppresses utterance in the other states the same cries would come from nearly [ever] county south of the Potomac & the Ohio?I wish you cd. read the letters now on my table from those states: and especially from the two first. They are heartrending.Would the Slavery Despotism allow the people of Tenn. and Va. to exercise their own free will in the matter? Look at Missouri!2The truth is that God seems to be punishing for our sins-- Among the greatest [is] I believe that of Complicity with Slavery.But I must stopFaithfully & affectionately Yours S P CHASE
1. McIlvaine's correspondence of August 13 included a letter from "an Episcopal Clergyman of high standing in Shepardstown Va." that evidently described the first battle of Bull Run from a perspective critical of Federal forces. McIlvaine to Chase, Aug. 13, 1861 ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.).
2. Despite an overwhelming show of pro-Union support at a convention earlier in the year, Missouri secessionists led by Claiborne Fox Jackson had repeatedly tried to align the state with the Confederacy. William E. Parrish, Turbulent Partnership: Missouri and the Union, 1861-1865 ( Columbia, Mo., 1963), 1-47.

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