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MY DEAR DAUGHTER, The Cambria brought me Mr Clemson's letter of the 14th Nov'r , and yours to Cornelia of a corresponding date, which I forwarded to her immediately, after taking the liberty of reading it. . I rejoice to learn, that you, and Mr Clemson and the Children are in such good health, and that they continue to grow and improve so finely. After making all allowance for maternal partiality, I must believe, that they are all that could be desired. Indeed, all, who have seen them report them to be such. I enclose an Answer to Calhoun's letter.
I also enclose a letter from your Mother, which will give you all the domestick and local news, I presume, of Pendleton and its vicinity.
Patrick is now here, and looking remarkably well. He has been complemented] by being elected the Col n . of a Regiment of volunteers in the city of N. York, unanimously and without solicitation. He is here in order to have it called into service, and be permitted to command it, without losing his commission in the line. Objections have been made by the department, but he hopes to overcome them. However opposed to the declaration of war, I cannot object to his going, and greatly prefer his going at the head of the Regiment, than as a subaltern in the line. He would be the youngest man with a Col'n's. commission, in Service.
James continues to give good indications. He seems to be much attached to his studies and to be pleased with the institution. Co'l and Mrs Preston have been very polite to him. I begin to have much hope of him.
Andrew and family were well, when I last heard from them. He has there five boys. He is very busy in preparing for a large crop to make up for the shortness of the present.
My own health is good, except, which is usual with me here, bad colds. I am very comfortably quartered at Hills, and have Mr Burt and Martha in the joining room. The winter thus far has been pleasant.
Congress, as yet, has done nothing; but will, I suppose, begin in earnest after the 1st Jan'y. The Mexican war is the great and absorbing question. Many now begin to see, that it is like to prove a very troublesome and embarrassing affair, to say no more; and to think, that I was right in opposing it. There is no seeing when or how it is to be ended. It is like to turn out, as the war in Algeria has a war between races and creeds, which can only end in complete subjection of the weaker power a thing not easily effected in either case. We have to boot the Slave question mingled up with it. The present appearance is, that the Scheme of the North is, that the South shall do all the fighting and pay all the expense, and they to have all the conquered territory. It is understood, that the North is united on Wilmot's proposition to a man, and intend to act on it when the country is conquered. What is to come of all this, time only can disclose. The present indication is, that the South will be united in opposition to the Scheme. If they regard their safety they must defeat it, even should the union be rent assunder.
As to myself, I am waiting for developements before I take my stand. My inaction and silence make position more imposing. When the time comes to act, I shall do what duty requires be the consequences what they may. I desire above all things to save the whole; but if that cannot be, to save the portion where Providence has cast my lot, at all events. We never had a darker, or more uncertain future before us; and all from the rash step of rushing into war, when it could have been easily avoided, and when, if avoided, we had so clear a prospect before us. The Oregon question was as good as settled, and the settlement of that, would have left little difficulty in settling the Mexican, which would have given a long and almost certain prospect of peace and prosperity.
Say to Mr Clemson, that I have no farther intelligence about his place, since I passed by, and that Mr Harris has made another enquiry as to whether he would sell, through his father in law. I forwarded his letter to his overseer as soon as received.
My love to him. Kiss the dear Children for their Grandfather, and tell them I wish to see them much.
- John C. Calhoun
- Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1899, Calhoun Correspondence.