Front Page Titles (by Subject) GALLATIN TO EDWARD EVERETT. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 2
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GALLATIN TO EDWARD EVERETT. - 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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GALLATIN TO EDWARD EVERETT.
New York, December 16, 1847.
I send you a copy of my pamphlet on peace with Mexico, and hope that your views on that subject coincide substantially with mine. If it be so, I earnestly wish your co-operation in having it properly distributed.
I am persuaded that the only moral element which can successfully counteract the spirit of conquest, cupidity, and false glory which has taken possession of the people of the United States, is the deep religious feeling which providentially still pervades the whole country. We are accordingly sustained almost universally by the clergy of every denomination in this city and its vicinity, and there is reason to hope that they will assist in promoting the object in view as far as is consistent with their profession and position.
Thus encouraged, a plan has been organized, in concert with some distinguished citizens, for a special distribution of 90,000 copies of the pamphlet, and a subscription has been made which will enable us to supply gratuitously the States of New York and New Jersey, and partly Pennsylvania and Delaware. Beyond these limits we must be assisted; but, as the pamphlet has been stereotyped, we can supply any demand at the rate of $20 per 1000.
The approximate number of white male citizens of the United States above twenty-one years of age, as deduced from the census of 1840, may be estimated as follows:
The 90,000 copies would cost $1800, and the share of New England would be, in round numbers, 15,000, costing 300 dollars.
Now, what I have to ask is, 1st, can a sum be raised by subscription for that purpose? 2dly, will there be found, in Boston or its vicinity, persons who will undertake to distribute in a proper manner the said 15,000 copies throughout the six New England States? Under existing circumstances, Maine is, perhaps, the most important.
If this be practicable, you will, in Boston and its vicinity, understand much better than I can the mode of distribution that will be most effective. We have to contend against tremendous odds. Every newspaper in the Union will publish the President’s message, and it will be read by one or two millions of people. The pamphlet will not be published entire in twenty newspapers. It is only by a special distribution, and by selecting those who have most intelligence and influence, that we can hope for success.
We have accordingly concluded here to send one copy to each clergyman of every denomination whatever; one copy also to each member of the Legislature of every State, to each editor of a newspaper or other periodical, and to each village deputy postmaster; and to each theological seminary, as well as to every seminary of learning, whether college or academy, a number of copies proportioned to their respective importance. But I repeat that you understand, much better than I do, what may be the most effective mode for the New England States.
I am not vain enough to attach much importance to my essay, or to suppose that it will produce by itself any immediate or considerable effect; but I had two objects in view: 1st, to encourage, by coming fearlessly out, the numerous timid men who, though agreeing entirely with me, were afraid to incur by the avowal of their sentiments the charge of wanting patriotism; 2d, and principally, to call the attention of the virtuous and intelligent part of the community to the importance of the subject, to awaken them to the necessity of taking an active part and of using their influence in order to arrest by the force of public opinion (and of votes also) the mad, dangerous, and iniquitous plans of the President and his adherents.
I am quite aware that no immediate impression can be made on active party politicians, and still less on the members of Congress. But though I have confined myself to moral feelings and arguments, and have abstained from making any allusion to fiscal considerations and money matters, I well know that there will be a revulsion of public sentiment even among politicians whenever the evils of the war shall be felt by the people. It is most lamentable that we should be indebted for a considerable portion of our prosperity, for an immense influx of specie and great increase of revenue, to the dreadful calamity which afflicts Europe and principally the British Isles. Yet, if the war continues much longer, its evils will be most sensibly felt. Nine-tenths of the revenue derived from imports are collected in four or five Atlantic seaports, and must be paid immediately on the landing of the merchandise or on its being withdrawn from the public warehouses. And then, instead of being distributed with some equality through the several sections of the country, they are immediately transferred to Mexico, New Orleans, and the other few places where the expenses are incurred. The proceeds of the large loans which are required take the same course. And the greater part of this transferred capital never returns, being in fact destroyed by the unproductive war expenses. The pressure on our merchants is already most severe, and, if the war continues only one year longer, will become intolerable.
I submit these considerations to you, and pray you to favor me with an early answer.
I embrace with pleasure this opportunity of reiterating the assurances of my most distinguished consideration and personal regard.
Your obedient and faithful servant.
GALLATIN TO WILLIAM MAXWELL.
New York, February 15, 1848.
I write with great difficulty, and I become exhausted when I work more than four or five hours a day. Ever since the end of October all my faculties, impaired as they are, were absorbed in one subject; not only my faculties, but, I may say, all my feelings. I thought of nothing else. Age quod agis: I postponed everything else, even a volume of ethnography which was in the press; even answering the letters which did not absolutely require immediate attention. This is my apology for not having acknowledged sooner your very civil letter of December 20.
I pray you to return my thanks to the Virginia Historical Society for the mark of consideration and kind feelings shown to me by electing me an honorary member. It was most gratifying as coming from Virginia, and specially from Richmond. I need not allude to my intimate political and personal connections and friendship with so many of the most illustrious sons of Virginia during the course of a long public life. There are other recollections of an earlier date. I cannot complain of the world. I have been treated with kindness in every part of the United States where I have resided. But it was at Richmond, where I spent most of the winters between the years 1783 and 1789, that I was received with that old proverbial Virginia hospitality to which I know no parallel anywhere within the circle of my travels. It was not hospitality only that was shown to me. I do not know how it came to pass, but every one with whom I became acquainted appeared to take an interest in the young stranger. I was only the interpreter of a gentleman the agent of a foreign house that had a large claim for advances to the State; and this made me known to all the officers of government and some of the most prominent members of the Legislature. It gave me the first opportunity of showing some symptoms of talent, even as a speaker, of which I was not myself aware. Every one encouraged me and was disposed to promote my success in life. To name all those from whom I received offers of service would be to name all the most distinguished residents at that time at Richmond. I will only mention two: John Marshall, who, though but a young lawyer in 1783, was almost at the head of the bar in 1786, offered to take me in his office without a fee, and assured me that I would become a distinguished lawyer. Patrick Henry advised me to go to the West, where I might study law if I chose, but predicted that I was intended for a statesman, and told me that this was the career which should be my aim; he also rendered me several services on more than one occasion. But I must stop; and if there be some egotism in what I have said, the feelings which I have expressed come at least from a grateful heart.
I remain, with high consideration, dear sir, your obedient and faithful servant.
The secretary of the Ethnological Society of New York will transmit the first volume of its Transactions to the Historical Society of Virginia. The second volume is in the press.