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DEAR SIR, It is with unfeigned regret, that I am again constrained to trouble you on any subject that relates to myself; but, I hope, that you will find a sufficient apology for this intrusion on your retirement in the cause, which compels me to it.
You will see in the extracts of the letter from Mr Crawford to me, which accompany this, the very perverted view which he takes of my former application to you and also of your answer to his letter. Instead of attributing the limitations in my former application to the true cause, a delicate regard to your situation, he represents it as a mere artifice to extract from you a partial and deceptive reply; and to give a colouring to his insinuations, speaks of the excitement, which my course in the Cabinet caused on your part, which you will know you never exhibited, and, I may confidently add never felt. The whole discussion was in fact marked with great calmness and deliberation. You will see also b}^ his comments that he represents you as resting your recollection whether the confidential letter from Gen'l. Jackson to you was, or was not before the Cabinet wholly on that of Mr Wirt's very contrary to what I understand from your statement to me. I forbear to make additional remarks on his comments, as I am sure the false colouring which he attempted to give to your statement, and my course will not escape you.
I declined entering into a correspondence with Mr Crawford except through Gen'l. Jackson. He has not made his communication through that channel yet, and as considerable time has since elapsed I presume he has declined corresponding through the General. Under these circumstances, it will probably be unnecessary to use the corrections which you may make of his misconceptions, yet I still deem it proper to be in possession of them, as I am desirous in all possible events, that the facts and circumstances connected with my course in this unpleasant affair should stand in their true light.
You will see, that very perverted statements of the correspondence between the President and myself have appeared in the publick prints. I am not responsible in the slightest degree for their appearance. I have through out exercised great forbearance, and intend to continue to do so, and will not come before the publick unless I am compelled in self defence, tho' I feel assured should I be compelled, that the correspondence will place me on high ground before the publick.
I hope your health has improved by a change of residence, tho I fear that you may find a New York winter too severe for you.
I, with your other friends here, take much interest in the success of your claim. I cannot write encouragingly, tho' I hope that justice will yet be done you.
I am obliged to you for Mr Gouverneur's address, which I have read with much interest.
The omission to appeal to M' Monroe, whether you made the proposition ascribed to you in my letter to Mr Forsyth is strong presumptive evidence that you believed his answer would confirm my statement. You remembered the excitement, which your proposition and pleadings produced in the mind of the President and did not dare to ask him any question tending to revive his recollection of that proposition. The different manner in which you approached the President and Mr Wirt even on the collateral secondary fact, upon which you do venture to interrogate them, proceeds from the same fact, that made you avoid interrogating them on the principal fact. When you made the enquiry of Mr Wirt, you enclose him such an extract from my letter, as informs him of the nature of the evidence you are in search of, because I presume you believe that extract would not tend to refresh his memory, or relied implicitly upon Mr. Wirts disposition to give such evidence, as you desired of him. But you were apprehensive that the same extract if sent to Mr Monroe might refresh his memory and enable him to give such an answer, as would not suit your views. The extract of my letter sent to Mr Wirt described facts and circumstances in which Mr Monroe was a principal actor. It was therefore deemed unsafe to submit them to him. The excitement produced on the President was so manifest, that you did not believe it could have escaped the attention of Mr Wirt; you therefore believed it unsafe to interrogate him, as to your proposition, personally affecting General Jackson. Mr Monroe says not a word, tending to show, that the confidential letter was not produced and read in the Cabinet, which was not suggested by Mr Wirt.
I have said that Mr Wirts negative statement is the only evidence you have in support of his negative assertion that the confidential letter was not produced and read in the Cabinet. For proof of this read the endorsed extract of Mr Monroes letter, by which it will be seen that having no reliance upon his own memory, he applied to Mr Wirt for information; and he candidly and properly adds "still as the question turns on memory alone, Mr Wirt, as well as I, may be mistaken and in regard to me, as I was sick in bed when I received the letter, that presumption is the more probable.
- John C. Calhoun
- Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1899, Calhoun Correspondence.