Lincoln and Chase, a ReappraisalSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Lincoln scholars and all who have a distinct interest in the Union's conduct of the Civil War are well aware of the differences that developed between the President and the politically ambitious Salmon P. Chase, his secretary of the Treasury. Many have seen in these differences a contest between the radical and conservative elements of the Republican coalition for control of the administration, its conduct of the war, and particularly its policy on emancipation, civil rights for the freedmen, and on the eventual reconstruction of the rebellious states. Lincoln, it has been well argued, sought a moderate position on these divisive points between the radicals in Congress, those within his administration, and their conservative counterparts. Chase, especially, has been cast as the leading radical in the Cabinet, with Montgomery Blair, the postmaster general, as the leading conservative. Other members of an unusually able but fiercely contentious group are ranked somewhere in between these two poles.
There is sound evidence for making such judgments. But like all generalizations, they tend to oversimplify a complex series of events. Specifically, they overlook Chase's role as an indispensable manager of the nation's wartime economy through his financial and fiscal policies that dealt with an unprecedented and extremely difficult situation. Nor have these authorities considered Chase's personality, his majestic figure, his enormous self-confidence, just the right sort of person to deal with the rich, self-assured leaders of the eastern banking community. At the same time, he was a person with sufficient practical experience to cope with tough-minded members of the Senate and House finance committees in matters relating to the economy, as well as with temperamental Cabinet colleagues. I think that Lincoln quickly recognized these unique qualities and felt that they were absolutely necessary for financing the war effort. Much later, after Lincoln had appointed Chase to the Supreme Court, he told Augustus Frank, a congressman from New York, that "Mr. Chase's ability and soundness on the general issues of the war there is, of course, no question. We have stood together in the time of Page [End Page 1] trial, and I should despise myself if I allowed personal differences to affect my judgment of his fitness."
The political in-fighting that has fascinated students of the Lincoln administration has also overshadowed an equally important aspect of wartime Washington, the unique relationship between Lincoln and Chase, which underwent considerable change during the three and one-half years of Chase's tenure in the Cabinet. As Lincoln remarked to John Hay, he had finally become so exasperated at Chase's political conduct while a member of his Cabinet that he abruptly accepted Chase's resignation at a most inopportune time for the war effort. It was Chase's fourth letter of resignation. Hay recorded Lincoln's reaction to Chase's letter and paraphrased it thus: "You have been acting very badly. Unless you say you are sorry and ask me to stay, and agree that I shall be absolute and that you shall have nothing, no matter how you beg for it, I will go." Hay added dryly, "The President thought one or the other must resign. Mr. Chase elected to do so." 
Yet, Lincoln continued to have high respect for Chase's abilities if not for his personal qualities, even when he took this disastrous decision. The patronage quarrel over Treasury appointments in New York City, which led to the acceptance of Chase's resignation, although clearly a skirmish between the radicals and the conservatives was, I feel, purely a skirmish which Lincoln could have headed off without extending and deepening the conflict. Of course, these were times of deep trouble for the President. The military situation in Virginia and western Georgia seemed stalemated despite heavy losses. But, politically, Lincoln was more secure than he had been a few months before and would be two months later.
Thurlow Weed, Secretary Seward's political alter ego and a leading figure among New York's Republicans, made an interesting comment on this point. Writing to John Bigelow on December 13, 1863, Weed spoke of Chase's driving ambition for the presidency. "Mr. Chase's Treasury report is very able," he said, "and his huge banking machine will make him strong. But how pitiable it is to know his eye is single—not to the welfare of the country in an unselfish cause, but to the presidency. Mr. Lincoln says that he is 'trying to keep the Page [End Page 2] maggot out of his brain.'"  Weed, of course, was a political opponent of Chase within the Republican ranks, but his observation squares with evidence from many other sources, radical as well as conservative, that confirm Chase's passion for assuming the chief executive role.
Lincoln knew of Chase's ambition well before he appointed him to the Treasury post in March of 1861. Chase had been a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1856, when he, himself, sought unsuccessfully the vice presidential nomination. Again, in 1860, when Lincoln received the presidential nomination, Chase along with Seward had been a leading candidate. The political ambitions of his rivals, Lincoln assumed as a fact of life. His choices for his Cabinet reflected the coalition nature of the new Republican party. Lincoln was certainly not naive enough to expect in March of 1861 that partisans such as Seward and Chase would suddenly abandon their long-term goals.
Besides previous party affiliation and regional locales, Lincoln's perception of merit and ability counted much in his final selection. Unsure of himself as he faced the dread prospect of a divided Union, he felt he needed the counsel of the best minds and the most experienced administrators in the North. Both Seward and Chase had been in the public eye for the past decade. Both had been governors and United States senators from leading Northern states. But, if anything, Chase commanded more attention from the President-elect than Seward. Chase had provided much of the intellectual and constitutional underpinnings of the free soil movement that eventually provided the ideology of the new Republican party.
As early as 1833, Chase had done significant research and provided an original interpretation of the Ordinance of 1787 which declared all of the Northwest Territory to be free of slavery. He had published the results of his work in a short history of Ohio which formed the introduction to his three-volume Statutes of Ohio. Lincoln must certainly have used this work in preparation for legal cases in which he was involved. His speeches during the fifties, including his debates with Stephen A. Douglas, indicate a thorough knowledge of the Ordinance of 1787. In all likelihood it was drawn from Chase's history and also from Chase's argument in the Van Zandt case that had been published as a pamphlet and distributed widely. Although Page [End Page 3] But, more important, Lincoln, like all free soilers, owed a great debt to Chase's legal and philosophical opinions on slavery. In particular, Chase made the argument that Lincoln and others adopted, linking the antislavery natural rights philosophy as expressed in the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution. 
Chase had gone to the very heart of the federal system with his elegant statement before the Supreme Court in the Van Zandt case. "The very moment a slave passes beyond the jurisdiction of the state in which he is held as such, he ceases to be a slave," Chase said, "not because any law or regulation of the state which he enters confers freedom upon him, but because he continues to be a man, and leaves behind him the law of force which made him a slave." Although others, Ben Wade for instance, had made similar points, no one had articulated the free soil position so clearly and so succinctly as Chase had in July of 1842 and in early 1847.
Chase may have lost the case, but his argument which led to a reinterpretation of the Constitution—especially Article IV, Section III on congressional power over the territories and the District of Columbia—was a significant contribution to the political formulation of Republican party doctrine. Other definitions that Chase made of the original intent of the Founding Fathers on the subject of slavery that he had drawn from a careful study of Elliot's Debates and other basic sources certainly influenced the political action of free soil Whigs and Democrats, Lincoln among them.
Yet, curiously, Lincoln and Chase had not met each other until well after the Republican triumph in the presidential election of 1860. Chase had been one of the notable Republican politicans who had spoken in Illinois on behalf of Lincoln's campaign against Douglas for the United States Senate in 1858. Lincoln had been deeply grateful for his assistance. In a letter he wrote to Samuel Galloway, the influential Ohio educator and politician in July 1859, Lincoln remarked, "As to Governor Chase, I have a kind side for him. He was one of the few distinguished men of the nation who gave us in Illinois their sympathy last year." In the same letter, however, he Page [End Page 5] thought Chase unsuitable for the presidential nomination and criticized the Republican convention in Ohio for its resolution urging the repeal of the fugitive slave law. A few weeks later Lincoln made speeches for the party in Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, but missed meeting Chase who was himself on the hustings in other areas of the state.
When the two men did meet face to face, it was under embarrassing circumstances. Lincoln had asked Chase to visit him in Springfield. Chase had just been elected to a second term in the United States Senate from Ohio when the invitation came. He arrived in Springfield on the evening of January 3, 1861, and sent word to the President-elect from his hotel that as soon as he had settled in he would call. Chase must have been somewhat surprised when Lincoln himself came to his room. Chase, handsome, dignified, and almost as tall as Lincoln, no doubt did little to ease what quickly became an awkward situation. For Lincoln had not as yet freed himself from a promise his managers had made at the Republican convention to bestow the Treasury portfolio on the current Republican boss of Pennsylvania, Simon Cameron. Lincoln opened the conversation with Chase when he said, "I have done with you what I would not perhaps have ventured to do with any man in the country. I sent for you to ask you whether you will accept the appointment of Secretary of the Treasury, without, however, being exactly prepared to offer it to you."
It was not in Chase's nature to ease the President-elect's dilemma. Chase replied, loftily, that he had not sought any post, would not accept a subordinate position, and was not prepared at this time to say he would accept the Treasury Department, if it were offered. Lincoln explained that he had offered the State Department to Seward who had accepted. Had Seward declined, he would have named Chase to the post. At the time, Chase was no friend of Seward's, politically or otherwise, but he concealed his feelings on Seward's appointment. For the next two days, Chase conferred with Lincoln on matters of politics and public policy, but when he left for home he had not said whether he would accept the Treasury post if offered. Indeed, Chase impressed upon Lincoln that he felt he could serve the public better in the United States Senate. Page [End Page 6]
Between January 5 and March 5, Lincoln managed to appease Cameron by offering him the War Department—a post Cameron accepted. Thereupon, Lincoln nominated Chase for the Treasury on March 6 without consulting him. It was unanimously confirmed. Chase was absent from the Senate when the vote was taken, but on learning of it he immediately visited the President. He still withheld acceptance despite a virtual plea from Lincoln, who spoke of the extreme embarrassment that would result if Chase refused the office. Chase kept the President in suspense for a day before he accepted, a typical example of his self-important pose. But at this stage of their relationship Lincoln was quite willing to blame himself for any hesitation on Chase's part. When Chase did accept, Lincoln was so relieved to have Seward and Chase in the Cabinet at his side that it is doubtful if he ever gave Chase's position of reluctance a moment's thought.
Of the two leading members in the new administration, Seward by far had the more impressive political and administrative career. Chase and Seward were college men, Chase a Dartmouth graduate, Seward a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, New York. Both men were prominent lawyers, but Chase's background and family connections were more distinguished than Seward's. Chase's father, a prosperous farmer, had been for many years a member of the New Hampshire senate. Chase's many uncles had attended Dartmouth, and two of them had enjoyed national renown. One uncle, Philander Chase, had been Bishop of Ohio, founding president of two colleges, Kenyon at Gambier, Ohio, and Jubilee in Robin's Nest, Illinois, and president of a third, Cincinnati College. Another uncle, Dudley, had been a United States senator from Vermont and chief justice of that state's supreme court. Other close relatives were professional men and moved in the highest circles of New England society, which, in Lincoln's day and especially for northwesterners, represented high culture and wealth.
Lincoln's background and education were in sharp contrast to Chase's, and to Seward's for that matter. Lincoln's amiable father, Thomas, could barely read and could write only with difficulty. His mother was illiterate. Lincoln was brought up in dire poverty where hard labor on one hardscrabble farm or another on the Kentucky Page [End Page 7] and Indiana frontiers had been his daily lot until young manhood. He was very sensitive and secretive about his forebears. Although he was the essence of the successful, self-made man in the new states of the Northwest, Lincoln never quite felt completely at ease in the company of highly educated individuals of wealth and fashion.
He had, however, sought and married a woman, Mary Todd, who was well above his station in life, and he had been hurt deeply by the opposition of her socially prominent relatives to their engagement and marriage. Lincoln presented to the outside world an air of homely confidence, mellowed by a natural bonhomie that stemmed from his western frontier background. He was shrewd in the ways of the open give-and-take that marked the upwardly mobile, small-venture capitalist and circuit-riding lawyer and politician of the Midwest at mid-century.  Lincoln could not have known and probably never knew that Chase, this handsome, self-confident individ- Page [End Page 8] ual, had also borne his share of an insecure, poverty-ridden childhood and adolescence. Chase's father died a bankrupt in 1817 when Chase was a child of nine. He had been shuffled from one family to another for the next three years and then was sent west, where he came under the exacting tutelage of his uncle, the Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, Philander Chase.
Bishop Chase was a tall, imposing, domestic tyrant whose constant insistence that his young nephew excel in all tasks was enforced by frequent beatings. Chase drew a devastating picture of his uncle in a letter to a cousin: "The Bishop never was qualified for the government of young men. His temper is too absolute and imperious; and he is apt to resort to the bastinado and the bowstring ... everyone who has been with him will bear testimony that his severity is great, excessive, and unnecessary." Yet, the Bishop's training, while deeply resented, was a formative force in molding Chase's personality. Chase, too, had a bad temper which he usually managed to control, but which was more frequently concealed by an overbearing, self-rectitude that brooked no question. His uncle certainly inculcated a driving ambition to excel, and his cruelty mixed with his overwhelming piety laid the foundations for Chase's self-deception about his own motives, as well as his consuming religiosity. One is tempted to attribute the dark side of Chase's character, his devious means to achieve what he considered rightful objectives, to an inbred remembrance of his uncle's wrath and his innate opposition to the kind of life the bishop had tried to impose upon him.
After the difficult years in Ohio and his graduation from college, Chase gravitated to Washington, hopeful that his Uncle Dudley, the senator, could secure a government clerkship for him. He was unsuccessful, but he did manage through his uncle's connections to establish a school that furnished him with a livelihood. At this point, Chase came under the influence of another person, so decidedly different from his uncle the bishop that one can see the beginnings of another aspect to Chase's character, which we may take to be the brighter side of his personality.
The individual was William Wirt, then attorney general of the Page [End Page 9] United States, a genial, witty Virginian, who, besides being the foremost lawyer in the capital, was a novelist, a biographer, and the father of a bevy of beautiful daughters. Chase studied law with Wirt, but, more importantly, he and his charming family offered the awkward, sensitive young man the home he had never really known. Chase consciously modeled himself on Wirt, and it seems reasonable to attribute Chase's undoubted sincerity in his defense of human rights to Wirt's example. 
There is a Manichaean quality to Chase's personality which I think Lincoln recognized, although, of course, he would not have known the reasons for it. Chase, himself, testified to Wirt's influence as he had earlier to the baneful example of the bishop in a conversation with Admiral Samuel DuPont during the early fall of 1862. Chase had alluded to his early life. As DuPont said in a letter to his wife, "Mr. Chase has great vigor of mind and [is] more easy and fluent than I judged him in the Senate. I think he is a statesman, and I could trace the effects of being as a young man under the influences and direction of a man like Mr. Wirt."
A humane person, Lincoln had been attracted to Chase's courageous battle for human rights in the Ohio of the 1830s through the 1850s. Lincoln shared with Chase a deep-rooted opposition to slavery. He found the institution both morally and socially repugnant in a nation professing democracy and equality of opportunity. But as a lawyer and a student of the Constitution, he was also a strong advocate of the federal Union, where the exercise of powers was divided between the central government and the states. In politics he had been a Whig. In many respects, however, Lincoln's views on the nature of the Union resembled those of Northern Democrats who cherished states' rights as the basic determinant of social and economic institutions. He found Chase's political background that fused Whig notions of morality and piety with a Democratic insistence on states' rights quite compatible with his own views. Although far more pragmatic on the slavery issue than Chase, Lincoln had readily adopted Chase's linkage of the Declaration with the Constitution as an eminently lawful means of containing slavery wherever congressional power extended. Without disturbing the institution where it existed by state law, he looked forward to its Page [End Page 10] eventual abolition through state power, eventually fulfilling the promise of the Declaration.
When the war began, Lincoln gave Chase complete freedom in developing and executing the financial policies necessary to support enormous expenditures. In fact, once Lincoln became assured of his ministers' capabilities, he gave them full reign in administering their respective departments. Despite a general consensus of historical opinion, and Lincoln's own profession that he was ignorant of financial and economic matters, I feel that he was quite as well informed as any public man of his day, including Chase, on the broad outlines of finance and fiscal policy.
Contemporaries like one of Chase's assistant secretaries, Maunsell B. Field, and his successors in the Treasury, Hugh McCulloch and George Boutwell, have criticized Chase for relying, in part, on fiat currency, or "greenbacks," instead of insisting on higher levels of taxation to finance the war effort.  Chase himself was uncomfortable with the inflation that resulted from his easy money policy, but he made the argument of necessity, one that contemporary politicians make about the perils of taxation. Lincoln always backed up Chase in financial matters.
Chase's attitude toward Lincoln as reflected in his diary and his correspondence fluctuated between a grudging admiration and appreciation of the President's human qualities with a consistent belief that, given the opportunity, he could do a much better job as chief executive. In his commentary on Lincoln one can almost feel the tension between the brighter and the darker sides of Chase's personality. 
Early in their relationship, Chase sensed Simon Cameron's administrative weaknesses and quickly moved in to manage the War Department. Lincoln, feeling his way on uncharted courses, let Chase play a prominent role in the military side of the war effort. The selection of Irwin McDowell, an Ohio man, to command the Union army at the first Battle of Bull Run was largely a result of Chase's influence. The appointment of McClellan to replace McDowell was again, in part, a product of Chase's involvement in War Department policy. Page [End Page 11]
Seward and others within the Cabinet looked askance at Chase's encroachment of military powers. But Lincoln, who had come to realize Cameron's shortcomings, was willing, even glad, to tolerate Chase's assistance in this vital area. He was especially grateful for what he regarded as Chase's intimate knowledge of the situation in Kentucky early in the war. Chase saw to it that the Unionists in Kentucky were armed and organized to help repel the Confederate invasion of the state.  Chase was also influential in the replacement of Cameron with the energetic, able lawyer and former Cabinet member, Edwin M. Stanton.
Chase had known Stanton for years. The short, combative lawyer was an Ohio native and had been associated with Chase politically. But, Stanton had not been one of Chase's inner circle and was far more conservative on the free soil issue.  The two men established a good working relationship from the start, primarily because Stanton, while taking his cue from Lincoln on military policy, kept Chase informed. Chase continued to meddle in army movements and top appointments, but his virtual management of the War Department through Cameron had ended. Lincoln and Stanton, with the new general-in-chief Henry W. Halleck as an advisor, began to assume overall control. Still, the Treasury Secretary maintained his own sources of information, like Brigadier General James A. Garfield, Rosecrans's chief of staff, until that commander's replacement after his defeat at Chicamauga. Chase constantly sought information from others in various theaters of operations, and he was not loath to give them the benefit of his advice. Until his death in October 1862, fellow Cincinnatian Ormsky MacKnight Mitchell, the astronomer turned general, reported on military movements in Tennessee and northern Alabama, as did Erasmus D. Keyes, Joseph Hooker, and others of the Army of the Potomac.
As the war went badly for the Union so Chase's frustration at his isolation from the military sphere quickened a driving ambition for the presidency. He sought to undermine Lincoln with the radical faction in Congress, significantly by blaming Seward, his Cabinet rival, for undue influence over the President. The indirect object was to picture Lincoln as a weak and fumbling executive who should be replaced if the war effort was to succeed. He, Chase, was, of Page [End Page 12] course, the logical alternative. Lincoln recognized the intrigue for what it was and circumvented it in the famous Cabinet-Congressional Committee confrontation. At the same time, Lincoln demonstrated to his congressional critics that Chase had not been exactly forthright with them when he said that the Cabinet was deeply divided on the conduct of the war. As Gideon Welles described the scene, "Secretary Chase indorsed the President's statement fully and entirely, but regretted that there was not a more full and thorough consideration and canvass of every important measure in open Cabinet." For a time, Chase lost considerable credibility with the congressional radicals.
Throughout 1863, however, Chase continued to work for his objective, the Republican nomination in 1864. His popularity with the public was nurtured carefully through a campaign of press relations that featured him prominently as the indispensable financier. His Page [End Page 13] policies, deemed highly successful in that mysterious world of banking and finance, impressed even hard-bitten politicians. In other ways, Chase sought to build a political machine through his extensive Treasury patronage. Chase always denied vehemently that his network of some fifteen thousand Treasury employees had political implications.  But his pose as a disinterested public servant fooled few and certainly not Lincoln. John Hay, Lincoln's secretary, recorded a conversation he had with Lincoln in October 1863. Hay said that Lincoln seemed "much amused at Chase's mad hunt after the Presidency. He says it might win. He hopes the country will never do worse." But Lincoln in the same conversation recognized the darker side of Chase's character when he said that "like the blue-bottle fly, he lays his eggs in every rotten spot he can find."
Chase's campaign collapsed in early March 1864, after Senators Samuel C. Pomeroy and John Sherman's ill-conceived, ill-timed, and scurrilous public attack on Lincoln backfired on the Chase candidacy. The President's supporters carried a majority of the Ohio legislature in repudiating the exaggerations and misstatements of Chase's informal campaign committee. Chase hastened to assure Lincoln that he had no knowledge of the documents and offered to resign, his third offer; Lincoln refused to accept his resignation. Their relationship, however, which early in the war had been quite cordial, was now correct but cool. From that time until the election in November, Chase, whose resignation was accepted on June 29, did not openly oppose the President. But he continued to maintain his exclusive control over his vast patronage apparatus and to resist any challenge in this area. It was ostensibly the New York City appointments that brought about the final rupture between the two men.
Out of public office for the first time in almost ten years, Chase looked to a high judicial apppointment as an appropriate place for him to launch a campaign for the presidency in 1868. He knew that the eighty-seven-year-old chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, Roger B. Taney, was in failing health (he died on October 12), and Chase hoped to succeed him. With that object in mind, Chase kept himself relatively free of the movement during the summer of 1864 to force Lincoln out of the presidential race. And late in the campaign, Chase made numerous speeches in Ohio and other Page [End Page 14] states in the Midwest in support of the President. Yet, Chase had competitors for the judicial post, and Lincoln seemed to have some well-grounded fears that Chase would overly politicize the office.
From many points of view, Chase was the right person at the right time for the appointment which Lincoln made on December 6, 1864. The President had never doubted Chase's abilities, in fact he may have overrated them. In the last analysis, Lincoln had to decide between the dark and the devious in Chase's character and the bright and judicious aspects of a personality that could never understand why anyone should mistrust its motives. Lincoln did not live to see the sad triumph of the dark over the bright, as the Chief Justice vainly sought first the Republican nomination then the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1868. Rutherford B. Hayes, who had known Chase for many years, spoke to this flaw in his nature: "Chase possessed noble gifts of intellect, great culture and a commanding presence. When this is said, about all that is favorable has been said. He was cold, selfish, and unscrupulous.... Political intrigue, love of power, and selfish and boundless ambition were the striking features of his life and character." Hayes was not exactly an objective witness; his faction of the Republican party in Ohio had been pitted against that of Chase and of Wade.  Lincoln was far more charitable and did recognize that Chase had qualities of mind and heart that, on occasion, rose above his perpetual quest for the presidency. I feel that he would have approved of Chase's statesmanlike role as an objective presiding officer in the highly charged partisan atmosphere of the Johnson impeachment trial. He would certainly have seen the brighter side of Chase's character as stated through Chase's opinion in Texas v. White: "The Constitution, in all its provisions, looks to an indestructible Union composed of indestructible states." Page [End Page 15]
- Quoted in Frederick J. Blue, Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1987), 244, 245.
- Tyler Dennett, ed., Lincoln and the Civil War in the Diaries and Letters of John Hay (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1939), 199.
- John Bigelow, Retrospections of an Active Life, 5 vols. (New York: Baker and Taylor, 1909–13), 2:110.
- Blue, Salmon P. Chase, 38.
- See Chase's address to the Liberty party convention held at Columbus, 9 Dec. 1841, in Jacob E. Schuckers, The Life and Public Services of Salmon Portland Chase (New York: D. Appleton, 1874), 48, 49.
- Schuckers, Life and Public Services, 63.
- Roy P. Basler, ed., Marion Dolores Pratt and Lloyd A. Dunlap, asst. eds., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953–55), 3:378 384, 394, 395, 425, 470, 471.
- Schuckers, Life and Public Services, 201–3.
- Ibid., 207, 208.
- Chase to John T. Trowbridge, 27 Dec. 1863, 19 Jan. 1864; Chase to John P. Bigelow, 23 Sept. 1854; all in Chase Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HISPA).
- Stephen B. Oates, With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), 4–15, 54, 55.
- Chase to Joseph A. Dennison, Jr., 5 Nov. 1831, Chase Papers, Library of Congress; Robert B. Warden, An Account of the Private Life and Public Service of Salmon Portland Chase, 2 pts. (Washington: Cincinnati, Wilstach, and Baldwin, 1874), 1:242; Charles D. Drake, MSS "Autobiography," 80, 81, Western Historical Manuscript Collection, University of Missouri, Columbia.
- Chase to John P. Bigelow, 23 Sept. 1854; Chase to Trowbridge, 19 Feb. 1864, Chase Papers, HISPA.
- Chase, MSS "Diary," 6 Aug., 5 Aug., 17 Sept. 1862, Chase Papers, Library of Congress; Schuckers, Life and Public Service, 421–23.
- DuPont to Mrs. DuPont, in Samuel Francis DuPont: A Selection from His Civil War Letters, ed. John D. Hayes, 3 vols. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1969), 2:256.
- Maunsell B. Field, Memories of Many Men and of Some Women (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1874), 275–79.
- See, for example, David Herbert Donald, ed., Inside Lincoln's Cabinet: The Civil War Diaries of Salmon P. Chase (New York: Longmans, Green, 1954), 110, 119, 201.
- Donald, Inside Lincoln's Cabinet, 12, 13; Chase to William Cullen Bryant, 4 Sept. 1862, Chase Papers, HISPA.
- Chase to Trowbridge, 31 March 1864, Chase Papers, HISPA.
- Chase to Jeremiah S. Black, 14 April 1870, Black Papers, Library of Congress; Benjamin P. Thomas and Harold M. Hyman, Stanton: The Life and Times of Lincoln's Secretary of War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), 134–37.
- John T. Morse, ed., Diary of Gideon Welles, 3 vols. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1911), 1:194–98.
- James G. Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, 2 vols. (Norwich: Henry Bill, 1884), 1:514.
- Tyler Dennett, ed., Lincoln and the Civil War in Diaries and Letters of John Hay (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1939), 110.
- Blue, Salmon P. Chase, 242–46; Charles R. Williams, ed., Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 3 vols. (Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1922–26), 3:242, 243.
- Felice Bonadio, North of Reconstruction: Ohio Politics 1865–1870 (New York: New York University Press, 1970), 100–102.
- See the lengthy discussion of the case in Charles Fairman, History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 11 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1989), 6: pt. 1, 628–67.