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, 26th June, 1822.
My dear Sir,—
On the 24th inst. a commercial convention was signed by Mr. Adams and Mr. de Neuville. It is published in the Intelligencer of this day. If it is permitted to operate a few years, all discriminating duties will cease. I am, however, apprehensive that it will not be permitted to produce this effect.
The importations during the year ending the 31st of March last have greatly exceeded those of the preceding year. Notwithstanding the price of breadstuffs has considerably increased during the last six months, I am persuaded that the importations greatly exceed in value our exportations.
The pacification of the civil war, which for the last ten or twelve years has existed in Spanish America, has invited to commercial speculations in those regions which have tended to swell the amount of our importations. Much of the foreign merchandise which has been imported and is still importing will, it is presumed, be reshipped to those markets. Until returns can be had from these shipments, pecuniary embarrassment to a considerable extent will be felt in all our commercial cities. If those returns should not answer the expectations which have been cherished, failures to a considerable extent may be expected in the course of the year.
The receipts from the customs for the two first quarters of the year will be about $8,000,000, and probably an equal amount may be received in the third and fourth. If this amount shall be realized, we shall be able to pay off a part of the $2,000,000 of six per cents. of 1820.
The prospect of a war in Europe and the renewal of commerce, or rather the extent of commercial speculations now in train, have probably in some degree prevented subscriptions of six per cent. stock in exchange of five. This may, however, be attributed to the provisions of the Act itself, as the exchange may be made at any time before the 1st of October next. By delaying the subscription for a quarter, one-quarter of one per cent. is saved, and the uncertainty which still rests upon the question of war between Russia and Turkey will be removed. The relative prices of six and five per cent. stock still warrant the expectation that the exchange will be effected.
In my last letter I suggested the probability that the presidency of the Bank of the United States might be offered to you if you were in the United States at the time of the next election. Mr. Cheves has informed me confidentially that he will resign his office about the latter end of this year. He will declare this intention when the next dividend shall be declared.
If the place is acceptable to you, there is, I think, no obstacle in the way but your absence. If you are disposed to accept it, it will be proper for you to authorize your friends to say so. I have understood that the stockholders are desirous of having the president from among their directors. To this the government can have no objection, except that it will probably be injurious to the institution. Circumstances have occurred, and still exist, that make the bank exceedingly unpopular in many parts of the United States. It needs the countenance and support of the government to enable it to repel the acts of hostility which are continually directed against it. So long as the president is a government director, the attacks made upon the bank will to ordinary understanding be considered as made against the government. If, however, the stockholders should be at all tenacious on this point, they will find no obstacle to the gratification of their wishes on the part of the government.
As the commercial convention with France has been agreed upon, and as I understand that all the indemnity which will probably ever be obtained will have been obtained before you receive this letter, all inducement to a longer residence in France is at an end. Independent of the office to which I have referred, that of Governor of Pennsylvania will be disposed of next year. If you intend to engage in any way whatever in the concerns of this country after your return, I think you ought to be here during the next autumn. I believe there is no disposition in any party to re-elect Heister. The schismatics, who with Binns opposed Findlay at the last election, are desirous of uniting with their former friends in the next election. It is understood that they are desirous of bringing you forward; and I presume the great body of the party will meet them upon this subject. Ingham will be supported in caucus by those devoted to F.; but that, I believe, is only a small part of those who supported him in his last effort. Bryan, the late auditor, Lowry, and Lacock are spoken of; but no commitment has taken place, except by Ingham and his friends, who, it is understood, wish to connect that question with the election of Mr. Calhoun as President. The other gentlemen are understood to be decidedly opposed to the pretensions of the latter gentleman.
Mr. de Neuville will be able to give you many details upon our local politics, with which he is pretty well acquainted.
The collision between the President and Senate upon certain military nominations has very much soured his mind, and given a direction to his actions which I conceive to be unfortunate for the nation as well as for himself. I hope, however, that a better state of feeling will, after the first irritation has passed off, be restored and cherished on both sides. The public seems to have taken less interest in this affair than I had expected. Two or three criticisms have appeared in the Intelligencer upon the conduct of the Senate; but they have attracted but little attention in any part of the Union.
The controversy which is going on between Mr. A. and R., and in which you are made a party, has attracted considerable notice, and will probably continue to command attention. You will readily perceive that the object of the party was less to injure Mr. A. than to benefit another, by placing him in a conspicuous point of view, and especially by showing that Western interests could not be safely trusted to persons residing in the Atlantic States.
I believe it is the wish of Mr. de Neuville that Count de Menou should remain here some time as chargé d’affaires, and perhaps eventually to succeed him. The Count desires it very much himself, and I believe no person more acceptable to the government could be sent. I understand that the President will write to you on this subject. I believe we are principally indebted for the commercial convention to the friendly disposition of Mr. de N. for this country. He has certainly had the arrangement of the difficulty much at heart, and I hope will continue to interpose his good offices to render permanent the provisional arrangement, with such modifications as experience may render necessary. If you can consistently with propriety further the views of those gentlemen upon this occasion, you will confer a particular obligation upon me.
My family have suffered much by bilious fever for the last twelve months. I have myself suffered much, and am now in a state of suffering from that cause. Through the whole spring we have had several of the family confined by it. To regain our wonted health I shall set out with my family for Georgia the 5th of next month, and shall not return before the 1st of October, when I hope to hear from you. Mr. Erving has lately returned, but brought me no letters. He is now in Boston.
Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and to the other members of your family, and accept the assurance of the sincere respect with which I have the honor to be your most obedient servant.