Chase, Salmon P.

Chase, Salmon P. (Portland)

(1808–73) cabinet member, Supreme Court chief justice; born in Cornish, N.H. A lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was an active abolitionist, known as "the attorney general for runaway Negroes." He served as governor of Ohio (1855–60) and was twice elected to the U.S. Senate (Dem./Free-Soil, 1849–53; Rep., 1860–61). He resigned to serve as Lincoln's secretary of the treasury during the Civil War (1861–64). A vocal cabinet member who often disagreed with Lincoln over slavery issues and military matters, he attempted to resign three times before Lincoln accepted his fourth offer (1864) after a radical faction called for Chase to replace Lincoln as the Republican candidate. Upon his re-election and despite their differences, Lincoln appointed him chief justice of the Supreme Court (1864–73). Despite his strong personal antipathy to slavery and secession, he made a number of impartial decisions during the Reconstruction and reluctantly but scrupulously presided over the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.