Charles Linsley to Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter, March 26, 1860, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1916, Vol. II, Correspondences of Robert M. T. Hunter 1826-1876, ed. Charles Henry Ambler (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1918), 306-307.
RUTLAND, VERMONT, March 26, 1860.
DEAR SIR: I take the liberty of addressing a line to you, a line upon politics through a stranger. As to my sincerity and respectability any of our members of Congress or Senators will inform you. My only object is to do you a service if I can, through I am not very certain I can do so.
I am a democrat who supported Jackson in 1828 and every democratic candidate since and you know enough of Vermont to know that being a democrat in such is not much to a man’s advantage if a professional man, unless an office holder.
Now I assume that the Presidential candidate must be nominated from the South if demanded by them. This is too plain for debate, as you command nearly all the certain votes. You will then virtually make the nomination. I dont [don’t] for a moment believe that Judge Douglass [Douglas] can be nominated. Thus far in the history of the country the democrats have not been guilty of the folly and weakness of running a man for President who was not thoroughly with them. Now our danger and weakness at this moment grows out of the course of Judge Douglass [Douglas] in relation to slavery. He not only abandoned our standards on the floor of the Senate (the battle field) but he has traversed the whole country to divide the democracy and that, against the United South; always, a Gibraltar for Conservative democracy, but he attacks the President and his cabinet and stands in opposition to the Supreme Court.
Now there are a good many true men in Vermont, that Judge D[ouglas]’s sophistry does not deceive. They would have carried the State if the President had been disposed to remove a few of the leading official hypocrites from important offices. I mean they would have sent delegates, who would have been ready to cooperate with the Senate. But at the start they adopted the absurd idea of voting by towns, instead of by numbers so that a town with fifty inhabitants has the same power as one with 10,000. By this miserable trick they carried the Convention through the P[ost] Masters. The post masters in Vermont are nearly all Douglass [Douglas] men, because they have been mostly appointed on the recommendation of Judge Smally and Mr. Bawdish [?] Collector. At Washington I am told they profess to support the administration. But here they are undisguised friends of Douglass [Douglas] and using every effort in his favor by which the President and the P[ost]master Gen[eral] are deceived.
Now we have two delegates from the third District who were carried against the Douglass [Douglas] men and against Smally and his fiends. The leader will be H. E. Stroughton, now U. S. District attorney who resides at B. Falls. The other delegate will be apt to go where Stroughton does. Stroughton has a brother in N[ew] York, a lawyer of some eminence, who might perhaps influence him. He is a democrat. Unless he is for Douglass [Douglas] I can think of no influence that will carry H. E. Stroughton out of the way in which he ought to go.
Charles G. Eastman of Montepelier [Montpelier] is one of the delegates, who may go right. He was elected against Smally and Bawdish’s influence and is now in a bitter quarrel with them. This leads me to think that he will go against them as he knows if Douglass [Douglas] were to succeed that Judge Smally would control every appointment in Vermont.
Now I think no Southern man has been named who I think would be so acceptable to us as yourself, though there are many others we should cheerfully support if nominated. I do not want this made public, but you can use it with any friends you choose and if you are a candidate you have friends who might act in this matter in your behalf.
- I don't have a name for Stroughton’s brother in New York