February 23, 1864: Replacing Lincoln

Salmon P. Chase

The editor of the New York Times takes a dim view of this attempt to supplant Lincoln with Chase in the upcoming election.

Published: February 23, 1864

WASHINGTON, D.C., February, 1864.

The movements recently made throughout the country to secure the renomination of President LINCOLN render necessary some counteraction on the part of those unconditional friends of the Union who differ from the policy of his administration.

So long as no efforts were made to forestall the political action of the people, it was both wise and patriotic for all true friends of the Government to devote their influence to the suppression of the rebellion. But when it becomes evident that party machinery and official influence are being used to secure the perpetuation of the present Administration, those who conscientiously believe that the interests of the country and of freedom demand a change in favor of vigor, and purity, and nationality, have no choice but to appeal at once to the people before it shall be too late to secure a fair discussion of principles.

Those in behalf of whom this communication is made have thoughtfully surveyed the political field, and have arrived at the following conclusions:

1. That, even were the reelection of Mr. LINCOLN desirable, it is practically impossible against the union of influences which will oppose him.

2. That, should he be reelected, his manifest tendency toward compromises and temporary expedients of policy will become stronger during a second term than it has been in the first, and the cause of human liberty, and the dignity and honor of the nation suffer proportionately; while the war may continue to languish during his whole Administration, till the public debt shall become a burden too great to be borne.

3. That the patronage of the Government, through the necessities of the war, has been so rapidly increased, and to such an enormous extent, and so loosely placed, as to render the application of the “one term principle” absolutely essential to the certain safety of our republican institutions.

4. That we find united in Hon. SALMON P. CHASE more of the qualities needed in a President during the next four years, than are combined in any other available candidate; his record, clear and unimpeachable, showing him to be a statesman of rare ability, and an administrator of the very highest order; while his private character furnishes the surest obtainable guarantee of economy and purity in the management of public affairs.

5. That the discussion of the Presidential question, already commenced by the friends of Mr. LINCOLN, has developed a popularity and strength in Mr. CHASE, unexpected even to his warmest admirers; and while we are aware that this strength is at present unorganized and in no condition to manifest its real magnitude, we are satisfied that it only needs systematic and faithful effort, to develop it to an extent sufficient to overcome all opposing obstacles.

For these reasons the friends of Mr. CHASE have determined on measures which shall present his claims fairly and at once to the country. A central organization has been effected, which already has its connections in all the States, and the object of which is to enable his friends everywhere most effectually to promote his elevation to the Presidency. We wish the hearty cooperation of all those in favor of the speedy restoration of the Union upon the basis of universal freedom, and who desire an administration of the Government during the first period of its new life which shall, to the fullest extent, develop the capacity of free institutions, enlarge the resources of the country, diminish the burdens of taxation, elevate the standard of public and private morality, vindicate the honor of the Republic before the world, and in all things make our American nationality the fairest example for imitation which human progress has ever achieved.

If these objects meet your approval, you can render efficient aid by exerting yourself at once to organize your section of the country, and by corresponding with the Chairman of the National Executive Committee, for the purpose either of receiving or imparting information. Very respectfully,


Chairman National Executive Committee.

A dispatch from Washington says that the Republican of that city declares this circular, published in yesterday morning’s Herald, to be a hoax. We are inclined to think that the Republican is mistaken. It is very generally known that a small number of persons, with Senator POMEROY at their head, have been for some weeks in perpetual session in Washington, devising ways and means to prevent the renomination of President LINCOLN. They have compiled and printed a pamphlet on the subject, made up in part of extracts from newspapers hostile to Mr. LINCOLN, and designed primarily to injure him, both personally and politically, as an essential preliminary to the introduction of a new candidate. This pamphlet has been circulated only to a limited extent, and with considerable precaution as to the character of the hands in which it should fall. It is altogether probable that it would be accompanied or promptly followed by such a circular as the one given above.

It will be observed that Senator POMEROY and his associates, who have in their public action thus far professed to be friends of the Administion, do not hesitate in this secret circular, to declare themselves its opponents. We presume that Secretary CHASE, whom they present as their candidate, would scarcely consent to be placed in this category.

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