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My dear Sir, - I have the honor to enclose a letter of introduction to the Duchess of Plaisance, and another to her father.
It will afford me great pleasure to furnish you with the little information which it will be in my power to give you during your residence in Paris. I will thank you to send me a file of one of the minor japers, which I suppose you will take, and which will not be transmitted to the Department of State.
Knowing as I did that you considered the Presidential contest to lie between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Tompkins, and that you preferred the latter to the former, I never suspected that you had any agency in obtruding my name in the discussions of that question. I did suspect that you had something to do with the New York Patriot. The course which that paper took was the one which I expected you would pursue.
Upon this subject I think I have serious cause of complaint against my particular friends. They would not consent, when the declarations of Dr. Bibb were insufficient, that I should put an end to the contest by declaring that I would not serve if elected. Their plan I understood to be to attend the caucus and vote for Mr. Monroe and state the facts in the Intelligencer, which would, as they believed, place me on higher ground than could be occupied in any other way, as I did not wish to be elected. This plan was eventually abandoned, without any explanation ever having been given. Bibb, Tait, Macon, and Hall all absented themselves, with several others, and of course deprived themselves of the right to make the proposed statement. The charge of intrigue and double-dealing I was fully aware would be made by Mr. Monroe's friends, if not by himself. I have not heard that any insinuations of this kind have been made by any member of Congress, but I think it more than probable that it will be. The Letters to the President in the Democratic Press have assailed him, and everybody who has been in his Cabinet, except Mr. Monroe and Mr. Dallas. You have come off better than the President. Indeed, I am not certain that he intended to abuse you at all, as he professes great respect for Mr. Madison, especially in his latter numbers. In the first the charges of folly and cowardice are roundly made. He asserts that the imbecility of the persons selected for the Cabinet, or dread of their political power, has been the sole rule of selection ; that he was influenced in his choice by the same principle that the ignorant savages worship the devil. There is some reason to believe that Glurdy, of Baltimore, is the author. The letters are remarkable only for the grossest ignorance of the subject on which they treat, and asperity of abuse. As he proceeded, his asperity diminished. His principal ground of abuse against me is my supposed tyrannical conduct in removing Mr. Warden from the consulship, and the gross ignorance which he asserts I displayed in Paris, to the shame and mortification of my countrymen in that city. The general assertions are made in the first letter, and the specifications are exhibited in the last, in which D. B. Warden makes a first-rate figure. In his facts he is most unfortunate. Not a single one has even the semblance of truth in its favor.
Mr. Dallas and family have left this place, to which he does not think of returning as Secretary of the Treasury. A few days before his departure he expressed a wish that I might succeed him in that office. I informed him that the President had urged me to take it, and that I had declined the offer. I stated it as my opinion that it would be expedient to let it remain vacant until Mr. Madison's successor should come into office, who would by that means be less shackled in forming his Cabinet. He said, in tendering the office to me, he supposed that subject had been fully considered, and that Mr. Monroe had been consulted. His manner of expression was calculated to convey rather indistinctly the idea that he knew this to be the fact. I told him that no intimation of that kind had fallen from the President when he had urged me to accept it, and that the fact, if true, would not have had any influence upon my decision.
I presume the office will remain vacant until the 4th of March next. It is said that Mr. Crowninshield will retire with the President. Should this be the case, Mr. Monroe will have an entire new Cabinet to form. I have some doubts whether, under the particular circumstances in which I have been placed, it will not be my duty to remain some time a member of his Cabinet, if he should wish it, and at least to give him an opportunity of manifesting his displeasure, if I have incurred it. In deciding upon this question, I shall not take the advice of my friends, as the chances are two to one that their advice will be wrong. The most of Mr. Monroe's friends expect that he will offer me the Department of State. From Mr. Dallas's expressions, it would seem that he wishes me to take the Treasury.
Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and family, and accept my best wishes for favorable gales to waft you across the Atlantic, and for the continuation of your and their health and happiness.
- William Crawford
- The writings of Albert Gallatin, Vol I, Henry Adams