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MY DEAR SIR After great trouble and exhaustion I arrived at home yesterday from Tenn: I came across from Athens to Pendleton under an expectation I would meet you there. But when I got there I found you were not expected and I heard one of my children was very ill so I came directly through and did not see your family.
Although I did not get to Nashville in time for the great convention l yet I flatter myself I got in time to do some good.
I attended other meetings and addressed the people &c. I saw delegates from every state in the valley of the Miss: and I can assure you that all is right in that quarter. There is deep excitement and great activity, and what is best the canvass is conducted on our principles. I went over the whole ground as to measures and men with Polk (at whose house I spent two days) and there are no disguises. Everything is perfectly satisfactory. I wish I could have seen you. There is no connection at all with the N. York managers and no correspondence even. Benton is off, and he is denounced everywhere. I was at Jackson's a day &c., and he conversed perfectly free with me upon all points. He tells me Benton will never be with us again and says "thank God! the party can do without him." He sent a message to Benton by his particular friend Judge Boldin, to the same effect but even stronger. Jackson says he is deranged by the explosion of that game. Polk is entirely untramtled and is determined if elected to do all he can to reform the Gov: and the 1 st thing is to reduce the Tariff of 1842 to a revenue measure entirely and upon the principles of the compromise act; 2d to introduce strict economy; 3d acquire Texas at all hazzards. He will plant himself upon these measures and look firmly to posterity to do him justice and without the slightest reference to temporary power as he has announced his determination not to look to re-election. He will look to integrity and qualifications solely for office and none will be removed except for deficiency in those points. I found him exceedingly friendly and we were very free, but of course I mention these things to you alone. None of the old leaders are in council with him this I know. He answers no committees and writes to none but very general letters and in particular cases. The information is that every state in the valley will certainly go for him exept Kty. and Ohio and the probabilities are that the latter will go with us, particularly since Tyler's withdrawal.
Our friends are determined to fight every inch of ground for Kty. and with some reasonable hopes so they tell me. Tenn. is deeply excited and from what I see and hear will go for us. They are in full discussion upon the Tariff there and I addressed them exactly as I would a So. Ca. audience, and they are with us in feeling. All we want is prudence and judgement amongst ourselves to secure the fruits of a complete victory, and if we should be defeated, to organize a powerful opposition upon sound principles, and with the certainty of success. In 1832 we had no hearing with the Rep. party as Jackson had led them off and we had none with the National Rep. party as they were ags't us on principle, but now we are forcing the discussion upon our issues with the whole Democratic party and they are just coming up to us. We have every prospect of having a combined and powerful union, and with the unsound portion of the party thrown off; now under these circumstances it is madness and folly, and worse unpatriotic, to seperate ourselves and throw off those who are with us in feeling and principle. All your friends in Nashville, Shelbyville and Huntsville Ala. conversed with me freely and anxiously. I stopped in Huntsville on my return, and the whole population from what I could- learn are determined to move for you early after the Election. Judge Thompson, Col. M c Clang, Mr. Clements are all your friends and they are the leaders about Huntsville. I told them when they moved to call the people together, and commence by setting forth that "we the people are determined to manage the next presidential Election for ourselves alone, and therefore nominate you as the people's candidate," &c. They will move in all North Ala. exactly where I want the move to commence in the heart of the old Jackson ranks. Your friends in Nashville say they can get at least 50,000 people to meet you in Nashville at any time. From all conversation and from what I have seen of the West I am satisfied that you ought to visit that country next May. Go early before any public move is made for you. I know you can do much. I never saw men so devoted to our cause than they are there, and I had such crowds of Gentlemen to call even on me that I talked myself perfectly hoarse every night. I know all they want is light. All our ideas are new to them and they seize them with the greatest eagerness. They are a shrewd people and patriotic. The only thing I had to contend agst was the sensativeness, that I feared, might be created in the breast of other gent, from distant states, from the excessive desire manifested to hear from So. Ca. to the exclusion of attention to others. I therefore rather avoided speaking when I could.
I Saw this feeling distinctly shewn in Mr. Melville of N. York. But I could utter no sentiment on the Tariff too strong for those people, and they are all becoming to understand it thoroughly.
I think we have now every prospect of carrying the election. If N. York goes with us of course Polk is elected, but even if not and N. Jersey and Tenn. go still he is elected without N.Y. If Clay is defeated of course he is done, and will no longer be a disturbing force in the South. I think all our prospects are better than I have seen them for years. I am sure a calm and dignified course in yourself will give you the complete command of the future, and you know I have generally spoken my candid sentiments to you. I think things have developed now clearly who were your sincere friends and those who were so merely from selfish considerations.
I find this State perfectly calm and united out of Beaufort, and the only contrary appearance is exhibited in the Mercury.
I heard McDuffie was for Disunion, but I saw him for a few moments in Abbeville as I passed and he did not talk that way to me. I do not think he has any definite ideas. He seemed to deprecate the recent moves in Beaufort and Colleton as far as I could understand him, yet I confess he seemed more confused than I ever saw him. There were several present, amongst them Judge Wardlaw, and I denounced the mad schemes of those who were crying for seperate action. I afterwards took M C D. one side to talk freely with him and told him what I had heard of him he denied it and yet seemed indefinite said he preferred cesession to Nulification and that was all the idea he suggested. His health is much improved.
I suppose the Oregon question is before 3^011 by this. Very truly
- Francis Pickens
- Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1899, Calhoun Correspondence.