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MY DEAR SIR. The election is over and whether for weal or woe is yet not entirely certain.
Should Colo: Polk close up his ears to all evil counsellors, reduce the expenditures, bring down the Tariff to those expenditures, keep the patronage for principles, and not for partizans; hold the appointing power as a Trustee for wise and virtuous ends; divorce the Treasury and the Banks, divorce the patronage from party, and throw reform chiefly on retrenchment, Then his election will be a blessing. If however this great effort of patriotic ardour shall end only in like results with that of 1829, the publick heart will grow sick under disappointment, and will languish into stagnant and putrid quiescence, which will render it wholly incapable of any future effort of disinterested patriotism. It will have spasm and convulsion; but its healthy action is gone forever. That you will be in the Administration is the expectation of every Manly Spirit of every party. The Whigs as well as the Republicans, throw their expiring and their kindling hopes on you. I dread the influence of Gen'l. Jackson in this particular. Were it a private matter exclusively with you and he, the old man w d follow the better impulses of his wiser thoughts.
But he is impressed with the belief, that persevering injustice to you is necessary to preserve his place in the page of history. Without recollecting that the Historic Muse knows neither love nor fear, he cannot be disencumbered of the thought, that he is to be as puissant when in his grave, as when wielding his vast power through his vast popularity.
Mr Polk should know, first that his election is the effect of Moral Causes. That personally he has not a feather's weight of power in the deliberations of the publick. That to his principles mainly is he indebted for his election and to that Moral power which S. Carolina and Virginia alone carried to his aid.
Of South Carolina I need not say a word. Without your friends in Virginia, the election w d . have gone for Clay almost without a struggle. The party was a Caput Mortuum, until the Spirit of life was breathed into it by the Calhoun party. They fought the battle from the blue ridge to the Capes of Virginia; and from the Kentucky and Ohio borders through and over the Alleghanies. If the President elect offer you a seat in his Cabinet, I am justified in saying that your friends wish you to accept it, clearly understanding in advance the principles on which the Government is henceforth to be conducted. Without this preliminary understanding, they think you would prefer private life, and with it, they believe that your sense of public duty will prevail over private inclinations. As these are the Views of your sincere and disinterested friends in every quarter of Virginia that I have heard from, I feel myself at leave to write them to you. The fact that you have taken lodgings at one of the public Taverns (for so the papers announce) leaves a painful suspense just now on the minds of many as to the part you will act in the new administration.
With profound Respect and true Regard Yours Sincerely,
J. S, BARBOUR
N. B. The only unknown vote of any State, is that of Tennesee. A patriot might find cogent reasons for the wish that it had fallen into the urn of the enemy as we are safe without it.
J. S. B.
- John Barbour
- Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1899, Calhoun Correspondence.