Among other instructions he had been directed to get the affidavit of a leading business man in Cincinnati, a railroad president. The document was prepared and signed, but there was no one at hand before whom it could be sworn to. The writer remarked that he knew where there was a notary in a near-by office. We proceeded to Mr. Chase’s chambers, and were about to enter when my companion noticed the name on the door. He fell back as if he had been struck in the face. “The —— Abolitionist,” he exclaimed, “I wouldn’t enter his place for a hundred dollars!” We went elsewhere for our business, and on the way my companion expressed himself about Mr. Chase. “What a pity it is,” he said, “that that young man is ruining himself. He is a bright man,” he went on, “and I employed him professionally until he went daft on the subject of freeing the niggers whom the Lord made for the purpose of serving the white people.”
Like pretty much all the early Abolitionists, Mr. Chase had a taste of mob violence. He had one singular experience. When the mob destroyed the printing establishment of James G. Birney in Cincinnati, Chase mingled with the crowd. He discovered that personal violence to Mr. Birney was contemplated and that his life was in danger. He made all haste to Birney’s residence and gave him warning of his peril. Then he took his stand in the doorway of the building and calmly awaited the coming of the rabble. Those who knew Chase will remember that in size he was almost a giant, and his countenance had a stern, determined look. The multitude, finding itself thus unexpectedly confronted, paused and entered into a parley that gave the hunted man an opportunity to reach a place of safety.
Chase had an appointment to speak in the village in which the writer lived, and the opposers of his cause arranged to give him a warm reception. Something prevented his attendance, and a very mild and amiable old clergyman from an adjoining town, who took his place, received the shower-bath of uncooked eggs that had been intended for the Cincinnati Abolitionist.
Chase’s great work for the Anti-Slavery cause was in projecting and directing it on independent political lines. Up to that time most Anti-Slavery people opposed separate party action. Garrison and his Liberator violently denounced such action. Moral suasion was urged as the panacea. Chase himself had not been a “third party” man. In 1840, when there was an Abolition ticket in the field, headed by his personal friend, James G. Birney, he had not supported it. But soon afterwards, becoming firmly convinced that Anti-Slavery people had nothing to hope for from either of the old parties, he set about the work of building a new one. The undertaking was with no mental reservation on his part. When he put his hand to that plow there was no looking back, notwithstanding that a rougher or more stony field, and one less promising of returns for the laborer than that before him, would be difficult to imagine.