Friday, September 27, 2019

John J. Crittenden to Henry Clay, September 22, 1825

Frankfort, September 22, 1825.

My Dear Sir, — Your letter has been received, and I thank you for your friendly congratulations on my election. You are pleased to attach more consequence to it than it deserves. The general result of our late elections is a triumph, and a just subject of congratulation among the friends of constitutional government. It is my misfortune that so much is expected of me. I speak it more in sorrow than in vanity. The “Anti-Reliefs” and the “Reliefs” both have their eyes fixed upon me. The former expect me to do a great deal, the latter to forbear a great deal. My situation will be delicate, and I fear I shall not be equal to it. The party ought to do nothing from passion, nor in passion. We must retrench, and we must have a short session, must avoid every act of indiscretion which would turn from us the public feeling. It is not certain what course the new judges will pursue. They have not resigned; some of their party talk of their holding out to the last extremity. Supposing them to take this course, and supposing the governor and Senate to defeat the passage of a bill for the repeal of the act under which these new judges were created, ought not the House of Representatives to declare, by resolution, that act to be unconstitutional, and that Boyle, Owsley, and Mills are the only constitutional judges? Ought they not to resume their functions and coerce the redelivery of the records that were wrested from their clerk by the new court? Would it be better to leave the new court in possession of the records and appeal again to the people at the next election? The subject is perplexing, and I should like to hear your views.

Yours, etc.,
J. J. Crittenden.

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

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