Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marvellous Changes

The March 23, 1861 edition of the Covington Journal offers up a few opinions on a pair of the more prominent Republicans and soon-to-be Cabinet members in the following article.

In the rapid mutations which many of our public men have undergone within a month or two past, none is more marvelous than that which presents Seward and Chase as conservative politicians.

For twenty years Mr. Seward has been unceasing in his efforts to build up a sectional party based upon opposition to slavery. He has by his teachings made an irrepressible conflict where in fact there was no cause or reason for such a conflict. He has arrayed one section of the Union against the other section. By appealing to the passions and prejudices of the North he has installed a governmental policy which has forced seven Southern States to the last resort of an oppressed people.

Salmon P. Chase is undoubtedly a man of ability. But with all his ability he is distinguished for nothing but his opposition to slavery.

Sine the year 1845, when he was presented by the negroes of Cincinnati with a silver pitcher on which occasion he declared that the negro "was entitled to every original right enjoyed by any other member of the community," he has been noted for nothing but his incessant demands for office and his ultra views upon the slavery question.


Have these men really changed their opinions? Is it to be supposed that at the moment of their greatest triumph they will repudiate the opinions which have given them place and power? Mr. Seward, after having seen the Executive and Legislative Departments of the Government pass into the hands of his sectional party, has uttered some very guarded and indefinite expressions about "saving the Union;" but if he has at any time or on any occasion given as much as a hint that he would concede an iota to the just demands of the South, the fact has escaped our notice. In 1848 he declared that "slavery must be abolished." And we undertake to say - basing the assertion upon his record of twenty years past - that it is his fixed purpose to aid by all the powers under his control in the attainment of that end. If at times he has seemed to halt in his purpose, it has been only for the purpose of renewing his strength and making the attainment of his ultimate object the more certain.

But Chase, a Radical of Radicals, is also a conservative man - so we are told. About the time Chase took charge of the Treasury Department some confiding individual in Washington had a conversation with him and was "gratified to learn that he was quite conservative in his views." This loose opinion was made the subject of a telegraphic dispatch, which is being copied with apparent avidity by the "Union" papers of Kentucky. On this unsubstantial basis lays the claim set up for S.P. Chase's conservatism.


When we are asked to trust to the moderation and forbearance of such men as Seward and Chase we must beg be excused.

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