|Chase did not actually convey this letter to Lincoln until two days later. See Chase to Lincoln, December 22, 1862 (below).|
|Chase's resignation represented a growing rift between radicals and conservatives in the Lincoln cabinet. According to Lincoln biographers John G. Nicolay and John Hay, recent criticisms of William H. Seward privately levied by Chase had fueled congressional radicals' growing dissatisfaction with the secretary of state. Seward, however, preempted opponents by resigning shortly after learning about plans for his ouster. On December 19, a special committee of the Senate met with Lincoln and the cabinet to discuss the matter. Despite previous criticisms, Chase found himself obliged to defend the administration, thus embarrassing himself and undermining the movement he had encouraged. His letter of resignation was brief: "I resign the office of Secretary of the Treasury which I have had the honor to hold under your appointment. Whatever service my successor may desire of me in making him acquainted with the condition and operations of the Department will be most cheerfully rendered." Chase to Lincoln, Dec. 20, 1862 ( Lincoln Papers, L.C.); Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 6:262-72.|
Autograph copy on letterhead stationery. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (micro 24:0311).
Washington, December 20., 1862.
Hon. William H. Seward, &
Hon. Salmon P. Chase.
You have respectively tendered me your resignations, as Secretary of State, and Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. I am apprised