Monday, November 4, 2019

Henry Clay to John J. Crittenden, March 10, 1826

Washington, March 10, 1826.

Dear Crittenden, — Robert Scott informs me that there are several cases of the estate of Colonel Morrison on the docket of the new Court of Appeals. I should be glad if they were anywhere else; but, being there, I must beg that you will not allow the estate to suffer for the want of counsel. If you do not practice in the new court and believe that counsel may be nevertheless necessary there, be pleased to engage for me some one who does. I have absolutely not had time or health to keep up my private and friendly correspondence during the past winter with any regularity. With respect to politics, from others and from the public prints, you have no doubt received most of the information which I should have been able to communicate. In the House of Representatives members and talents are largely on the side of the administration. In the Senate matters do not stand so well. There are about sixteen or seventeen senators resolved on opposition at all events, seven or eight more are secretly so disposed, and indulge in that spirit, as far as they can, prudently. When these two sections unite, they make together a small majority. Near three months ago a nomination was made of ministers to Panama. That subject has been selected for opposition, and by numerous contrivances, the measure has been delayed to this time, and may be for some days to come. On all collateral questions, these senators who are secretly disposed to opposition, vote with the Macedonian phalanx, and thus making a majority procrastinate the decision. Nevertheless, that decision is not believed by either party to be doubtful. The measure will be finally sanctioned by a small majority. The Vice-President (your particular friend) is up to the hub with the opposition, although he will stoutly deny it when proof cannot be adduced. One of the main inducements with him and those whom he can influence is, that they suppose, if they can defeat, or by delay cripple the measure, it will affect me. I am sorry to tell you that our senator (Mr. Rowan) is among the bitterest of the opponents to the administration. He appears as if he had been gathering a head of malignity for some years back, which he is now letting off upon poor Mr. Adams and his administration; he is, however, almost impotent. As for the Colonel, he is very much disposed to oblige all parties, and is greatly distressed that neither of them is willing to take him by moieties. If the Relief party should decline (as Jackson's cause seems to be giving way), the Colonel will be a real, as he is now a nominal, supporter of the administration. The President wishes not to appoint a judge in place of our inestimable friend, poor Todd, until the Senate disposes of the bill to extend the judiciary, though he may, by the delay to which that body seems now prone, be finally compelled to make the appointment without waiting for its passage or rejection. It is owing principally to Mr. Rowan that an amendment has been made in the Senate, throwing Kentucky and Ohio into the same circuit, and his object was to prevent any judge from being appointed in Kentucky. He told me himself that he wished the field of election enlarged for a judge in our circuit. Give my respects to Blair, and tell him I mean to write to him soon,—not, however, on Kentucky politics. Say to him that I should be very glad to gratify him if I could, by expressing an opinion in favor of the ——— or a compromise, but I would rather oblige him in any other matter. I mean to abjure Kentucky politics, not because I have not the deepest interest in all that concerns her character and prosperity, but—it is not worth while to trouble you with the reasons.

I am faithfully your friend,
H. Clay.
Hon. J. J. Crittenden.

SOURCE: Mrs. Chapman Coleman, The Life of John J. Crittenden, Volume 1, p. 63-5

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