Boston, May 17, 1850.
My Dear Pike: I owe you two or three apologies for not having answered your last letter, but I have been so busy and had so many calls to receive and calls to make that my time has slipped by without counting it. I read all your letters in the Tribune, and they are number one, prime. They talk just as everybody talks here, and just as we want to have everybody talk in Washington.
Old Zach is at this moment the popular man in the country, and heaps of Freesoilers are going for him. They are (I mean the honest old Whig portion) delighted with him. If we act with wisdom we shall be like that man who takes
“the tide in his affairs
Which leads to fortune.”
If we were to follow the lead of the old Hunkerdom of Clay we should be led, as Byron says of the tide in the affairs of women, “God knows where.”
Why cannot you resume your correspondence with the Atlas? Dr. Brewer has left Washington, and we now have no one there. The Atlas will welcome you and give you verge and scope to your heart's content, and never once try to clip your plumage. You may call Locofocos Democrats, or vice versa. So, my dear fellow, spread yourself, and if there be any thing in my power to aid or assist you in accomplishing, draw upon me. Greely says so too; so do write — won't you? I shall not insist upon a too frequent correspondence; daily I should like, but tri, semi, or weekly will be gratifying. As the old fellow at the prayer-meeting, upon being asked if he would not make a short prayer, said, “He had no objection to making the prayer, but he'd be d if
he would be limited as to time.”
Every thing political is quiet just now. We hope to send you by the first week in June the Hon. Benjamin Thompson to take his seat in Congress from the Fourth District. Things look mighty nice there just now. I feel confident that Thompson will be chosen; and if he is chosen, you may rest assured that the popularity of old Zach will have done much towards it. Thompson is a very respectable man — “a human man;” not a great man, but a man of sense, and goes old Zach to the death.
I shall write you again next week. In the meantime I remain, yours very truly,
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. 70