Secretary of the Treasury
|1.||Richard Ela of New Hampshire worked as a clerk in the secretary's office at the Treasury Department. Later in the war he evidently joined the 3d New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, served as a lieutenant and captain, and died in May 1864 as a result of wounds. OR, ser. 1, v. 6:102, v. 36, pt. 2:18; Register of Officers ( 1859), 14; Register of Officers ( 1861), 15.|
|2.||Lincoln's inaugural, delivered on March 4, included an assurance taken from one of his previous speeches that he had "no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so," said Lincoln, "and I have no inclination to do so." Daily National Intelligencer, Mar. 5, 1861.|
|3.||Ela referred to a decision by the French Constituent Assembly, January 1794, that granted slaves freedom in the colony of Santo Domingo and added fuel to an ongoing insurrection under the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture. To Southern slaveholders, events on the Caribbean island long illustrated the dangerous potential of slave rebellion. C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, 2d ed. ( New York, 1989), 67-68, 85-117, 139-44; Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 ( Chapel Hill, 1968), 375-402.|
Autograph letter. Chase Papers, Library of Congress (micro 15:0134).
Cumbd., Ap'l 23d 1861.1
In accordance with the dispatch received from your Dept. on Sunday, too late however for the train of that day, I started for Balto. in the early train of yesterday.
My presence was noted by some one who got upon the train at Martinsburg & the fact made known upon the arrival of the train at Harpersferry. It was caught up by an excited populace & a large number of the Soldiers & the cry raised that a "Black Republican traitor from Maryland & Lincoln office holder was aboard & ought at once to be taken from the Cars" & then the proposition was made to "go in" & at once responded to by loud shouts to "bring him out." Through the intervention of several friends & the officers in Command I was permitted to go on. At Frederick-Junction the same scene was presented.
Against the urgent entreaty of my friends on the train, I proceeded to Balto. & took counsel with Mr Valiant, the gentleman named as my deputy,2 & other friends.