Monday, October 24, 2016

Eliza Bancroft Davis to James S. Pike, June 19, 1850

Washington, June 19, 1850.

. . . Thanks for your hint about the Boston letter; but Childs need not expect to catch old birds with chaff; just tell him so, and tell him not to be so indefinite. The Chicopee folks send it with a construction of their own. They say it means, “Vote for Taylor's plan!!” Will Childs indorse that? or will he expound it to mean, Give to the South all they ask? There is no medium, and it is melancholy to see that by votes from Free States they are getting all they want. The Omnibus will go through the Senate. Bridges are being built to enable men to cross the gulf, and the report to-day is that there can be no doubt. Mr. Davis almost wishes Jefferson Davis’s amendment may be adopted, that the Northern men may be effectually cornered. The tariff still slumbers, but probably that will be brought to bear in the House. Mr. Badger says there can be no Southern vote for a tariff if this bill is defeated. I hope we are not quite ready to sell soul and body too for cotton.

We often wish for your good company. Mrs. Grinnell desires her regard, and the gentlemen would too if they were hear; but I write without delay, after reading your letter, fearing I may fall into my old habit of waiting a more convenient season, till finally I am ashamed to do it at all.

With great regard,
Your friend,
E. Davis

I have opened my letter to say to you that Mr. Dayton has just come in from the Senate quite in spirits. He says he told Clay he wished to go home a day or two, and asked him what would be done to-morrow. “My God,” says Clay, “don't ask me. Who can tell for tomorrow. I wish I could be well out of this matter. Woe to the day I ever touched it.” Berrien offered an amendment which has offended him, and he said so. “I am not a school-boy to be lectured,” says Berrien. “I am too old for that, sir.” “Aha!” says Dayton, “I have thought so too, but you must take your turn.” The bridges are caving in, and the hope is our folks still keep a majority, notwithstanding absenteeism. Borland and Bradbury have decamped, but it is said the rest will not be coaxed even by Clay. So much for to-day. Wednesday, 4 o'clock.

SOURCE: James Shepherd Pike, First Blows of the Civil War: The Ten Years of Preliminary Conflict in the United States from 1850 to 1860, p. 84

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