|1.||Chase received such letters from James M. Ashley and Edwin M. Stanton, at that time U.S. attorney general under James Buchanan. "The President does not believe, and cannot be made to believe the existence of this danger," warned Stanton of Washington's vulnerability to seizure by Southern sympathizers; "and hence it is hopeless to expect his action to approve or prevent it, by any adequate effort." Stanton to Chase, Jan. 23, 1861 ( Chase Papers, Hist. Soc. of Pa.); Ashley to Chase, Dec. 18, 1860 ( Chase Papers, L.C.); Bio. Dir. U.S. Cong., 17.|
|2.||On January 26, Congress had instructed a select committee to "inquire whether any secret organization hostile to the Government of the United States exists in the District of Columbia." In its report, issued on February 14, the committee found no evidence to support such suspicions. Congressional Globe, 36th Cong., 2d sess., 1860-61, 572; Edward McPherson , The Political History of the United States of America, During the Great Rebellion . . . ( Washington, D.C., 1864), 80-81.|
|3.||The fifth resolution of the Republican platform denied "the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States." The proposed constitutional amendment would have strengthened Federal authority to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1860; 36th Cong., 2d sess., 1860-61, H. Rep. 31, 38.|
Autograph letter. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (micro 14:0674).
March 16, 1861.
The following question was submitted to my consideration by your note of yesterday:
"Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it?"1
I have given to this question all the reflection which the engrossing duties of this Department has allowed.