Front Page Titles (by Subject) CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 2
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CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN. - Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 2 
The Writings of Albert Gallatin, ed. Henry Adams (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1879). 3 vols.
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CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.
Washington, 23d April, 1817.
My dear Sir,—
I have already acknowledged the receipt of your two letters dated in September and November of the last year.
To Mr. Brown I must refer you for general information respecting the situation of the country.
It is understood and asserted in the Kentucky gazettes that Governor Shelby has declined accepting the War Department, but no direct information has been received here upon that subject. I am wholly ignorant of the views of the President respecting the Department. It is one of those appointments which ought to be made entirely upon his own responsibility; it would therefore be nothing short of impertinence for any person to intrude his opinions upon him. Whispers, however, are going about that George Graham, the Acting Secretary, will become the permanent director of that Department. This is not probable. I fear the geographical consideration which led to the selection of Governor Shelby will still direct the selection. In that event there is almost an absolute certainty of a bad appointment. Campbell, it is said, would be willing to take it or the appointment now filled by Mr. Adams. He is certainly preferable to Johnson, Harrison, R. J. Meigs, or Cass, all of whom are willing to receive it, and have been pressed upon the President. An impression has recently been made that Mr. Clay may still be brought to accept it. He is certainly dissatisfied with his situation, or with the Administration. He now talks of resigning his public station at the end of the next session of Congress and retiring to private life for some years. That he is dissatisfied with the appointment of Mr. Adams is notorious, but there may be some doubt in ascertaining the true source of that dissatisfaction.
Pope has been appointed Secretary of State by Lieutenant-Governor Slaughter, and approved by a large majority of the State Senate. The Legislature, by large majorities in both branches, have declared that Slaughter is constitutionally governor for the whole term for which Governor Madison was elected. All these acts are understood to be disapproved by Mr. Clay. The connection between Pope and Adams it is supposed will give strength and influence to the former, and no doubt is entertained that that influence will be uniformly exerted to the annoyance of the Speaker. Under these circumstances it is supposed that opposition to his re-election will be inevitable, and that, although it may not be successful, it will require exertions on his part which are hardly compatible with the standing which he now occupies in the national councils. It becomes, therefore, an act of prudence to retire from his public station, either to private life or to another in which he will not be dependent on the people nor subject to be annoyed by his hated rival. It is, however, understood that he objects to entering the Cabinet in what he considers a subordinate rank. His ambition will not permit him to be in any other than the first rank in the Cabinet. How the conflict between his ambition and his dread of retirement will terminate remains to be seen. I think there are but few men who have less relish for retirement than Mr. Clay; but he may nevertheless make the experiment.
A new state of things has arisen in New York. De Witt Clinton again wields the influence of that State. The Vice-President will become a cipher in the politics of New York before the end of four years. His chance of the Presidency I consider as gone, never to return. Clinton will again appear the Northern favorite, to the exclusion of Tompkins and Adams. If the Vice-President had been able to preserve his influence in New York, his task was an easy one. He had only to be silent, and vote with the Administration whenever the Senate was tied, to secure his elevation to the Presidency at the end of eight years. This, I presume, he would have had discretion enough to have done. As the question now stands, the Presidency, at the retirement of Mr. Monroe, will be a prize which will be fiercely contested between the North and the West, if Mr. Clay should be able to preserve his popularity in that section of the Union, which at that period will be very strong. Should New England become Republican, it is possible that Mr. Adams may compete with Clinton and the Western candidate, especially if Mr. Clay should lose his popularity and Mr. Pope regain his former standing in Kentucky.
In Connecticut the toleration ticket has prevailed. This triumph, which is rather of a religious than political character, may, and probably will, have a decided influence eventually upon the political institutions of the State.
In other parts of the Union things remain nearly in their former state as to political party. In Pennsylvania the old-school men and Federalists are rapidly amalgamating, and in some parts appear to be gaining strength. If they do not fall out by the way, it is not improbable that they may eventually become very formidable, if not triumphant. In that event De Witt Clinton would receive the suffrage of that State.
Mr. Randolph has declined a re-election, and intends to visit Europe for the recovery of his health. I presume you will see him in the course of the year at Paris.
Specie payments have everywhere been resumed, and no inconvenience has resulted from it in any part of the country. No news has been received from the agent employed to buy specie in Europe, as far as I am acquainted with the fact.
The commissioners of the sinking fund have determined to make an effort to purchase Louisiana stock in Europe. Bills on Amsterdam are at par, on London at 3 per cent. premium. As three millions of that stock must be redeemed at the Treasury during the next year, it is presumed that the holders will be disposed to receive something less than the nominal amount this year in London or Amsterdam, and save the loss and embarrassment of withdrawing that amount during the next year from our Treasury. Six per cent. stock is very near par throughout the United States. As yet I have kept out of the market (except in the purchase from the banks in Baltimore to enable them to settle their balances with the Bank of the United States, recently accumulated; about $1,000,000 has been purchased in this way), for the purpose of keeping it below par until the last instalment is paid into the bank, under a hope that a larger amount may be subscribed.
If this expectation should be disappointed, it will be impossible to apply the sum placed at the disposition of the commissioners of the sinking fund.
As well as I recollect, you promised to send me a file of Paris newspapers,—the Journal de Paris, or some minor paper of that description. I have not yet received any since Mr. Jackson discontinued that paper. If you take any such paper, you will oblige me much by sending it to me.
Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and each individual of your family, and accept the assurance of my highest esteem.
Yours, &c., &c.