I practiced insincerity towards him.Yours for the cause
S: P: CHASE Hon. B. K. Wade
|1.||Chase's draft and Wade's response indicate that Chase actually wrote this letter on December 21. Wade, in a filing note, labeled it a "Singular Letter." Chase to Wade, Dec. 21, 1860, draft ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.); Wade to Chase, December 29, 1860, ibid.|
|2.||In a speech from the Senate floor on December 17, Wade reaffirmed his patriotism and attempted to dispel Southern fears of Republican intentions. "I am for maintaining the Union of these States," Wade asserted. "I will sacrifice everything but honor to maintain it." Congressional Globe, 36th Cong., 2d sess., 1860-61, 99-104.|
|3.||Chase referred to Wade's divisive candidacy at the Republican national convention in Chicago, discussed in correspondence with Robert Hosea, June 5, 1860 (above).|
Printed copy. Robert B. Warden, An Account of the Private Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase ( Cincinnati, 1874), 367-68(micro 39:0871).
COLUMBUS, December 29, 1860.
GENERAL: It is reported here, that, in a certain contingency, you
mean to throw up your commission.
At this moment, the country looks to you with more hope than to
any other man. Your loyalty to the Union, tested every way in Mexico, is
now to he put to the highest proof.
Imbecility, or treason, or both, mark all the action of the existing ad-
ministration. Yesterday, while the armed hands of a State in open
hostility against the National Government, were seizing Federal forts at
Charleston, the so-called President and his Cabinet were in shameful
conference with the commissioners of rebellion.1 And rebellion is trea-
son until successful--which God forbid! for successful rebellion must
needs be followed, and followed with swift steps, by civil and servile war.
Under these circumstances, General, you must not resign.2 Reflect,
rather that you and not this condemned and expiring administration,
now impersonate the American people. All good men honor and ap-
plaud your deference to the civil authority; but when that authority
is, and for a few days must remain in the hands of men, willing, or in
some mysterious way, constrained to use it for the ruin of their country,
should not the obligation of deference give place to the higher and
holier duty of maintaining the Union which they betray?
Take, then, the responsibility. In virtue of a commission which no
other American, save Washington, ever held, you command the army
of the United States.3 Preserve the Union which he established. Sustain
Major Anderson.4 Reinforce him, if necessary. Permit no obedience, by
any officer under your command, to any order of President or Secre-
tary, requiring the surrender of posts or stores to rebels or traitors.