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MY DEAR SIR I cannot sufficiently express my regret at any misconstruction I may have placed on your letter of the 23 Sept. Your language was "I expect to be on a visit to my sons in Alabama at the time, and if I could with propriety, I would make it a point to attend." Now any scruples, which you may have had of going to such a convention as a Volunteer, it seems to me are removed and with "great propriety" by the invitation sent direct by those who made the Call; and by the particular request of this State that you should attend to represent her interest on the leading questions which will form the Subjects of action at Memphis. Your presence would be very important to your Native State, and to all those projects in which she has so deep a stake. We are on the eve of realizing all the fond hopes and expectations of 1836: and this is not the time for our strong and leading men to falter. I have toiled: as much if not more so on these matters. I have very nearly sacrificed myself in the Cause, and to be left alone at the time I need most encouragement; and the strongest backers is cruel. I do not know of more than 6 or 8 of our Delegation that will go from this City. We made our appointments from the Class that we thought would attend and most of them are begging off. If I go it will be at great sacrifice and I certainly will not go if you, Elmore and King Back out. King is lukewarm cold pretends he has not been invited &c and so it is. the laboring oar is to [be] left on the hands of one who has not the power to use it.
But I come now to the subject which seems to have given you some very false scruples on the matter. Whatever may be the designs of Friends of Reform and Free Trade Your Name is not at present before the American People, and as much as I appreciate the motives of those who abstain from seeking high Elevation, yet those who are the Exponents of the Great Political Truths we wish to propogate, and the Reform we desire to effect, must go and be heard by those on whom it is absolutely necessary to operate. So long as the People are not reached directly; so long as an intermediate power by Organization and false pretences can deceive these People, so long will we, the Advocates of Truth and honesty, fail. The People must be reached directly. Caucus and Conventions, the packed juries of Van Burenism must be exposed and put down. I am not afraid of our Cause if the People can hear us. It is the Cause of equal rights, and of unrestricted American industry, and if we could only be heard, Van Burenism with all its selfishness, and duplicity would be swept into nought. But to do so to have this triump[h] You as well as all who have been true to the Cause must put your Shoulder to the Wheel. The Time was never more propitious for a happy Revolution For the formation of new Parties or rather the bringing back of Democracy to its simplicity and honesty. To free it from the snears into which it has been deluded by Conventions and to make it stand erect as speaking the honest and voice of the People I have for years yielded to the views of my friends and have for years been cooperating with them : with the perfect conviction of defeat. My letters to you have spoken unreservedly my views. I know I am right I have not seen a true Democrat North, who has not [felt] what I have long preached: that there is no coalescing with the Northern Democracy. You must shake them off unless you are disposed again and again to be reached and to be placed in a false position. Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to meet our Western friends at Memphis to set the ball in motion which must bring the Valley to the South: and make them feel as allies of the Great Commercial and Agricultural interests instead of the Tax gathering and Monopolizing interests of the North. I shall expect to see You at Memphis.
- James Gadsden
- Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1899, Calhoun Correspondence.