Thursday, May 25, 2023

William L. Marcy to Senator Daniel S. Dickinson, January 27, 1850

ALBANY, January 27, 1850.

Hon. D. S. DICKINSON—Sir—I hope to be excused for diverting your attention from public business, in which you are so usefully employed, only for a few moments, to read a short letter and to call to mind an acquaintance whom you may have forgotten.

Some time ago I was introduced to you, and had some intercourse with you, which, I assure you, I remember with pleasure. Considering our relative positions—you in a conspicuous public station and I in retirement—I could hardly justify myself for intruding upon your notice, if I could repress the strong desire I feel to thank you for the pleasure which your course in Congress has given me, and particularly your excellent and patriotic remarks in relation to the slavery agitation. I have nowhere seen so much good sense so well expressed and in so complete a form. The motive—admiration for your talents, and gratitude for your patriotic use of them—which makes me desirous of renewing our former acquaintance will, I hope, justify the liberty I have presumed to take of addressing this communication to you. I have not received a letter from any public man at Washington since this session began (except a brief note from General Cass, whom I had troubled with a request), not one document, not even the excellent message of our most excellent President, which I thought I was entitled to; for being out of the world, as it were, in my obscure retirement, I thought myself one of the "rest of mankind," not embraced in the world, executively considered.

I formerly could boast of some acquaintance with a busy, talking personage called the public press; but he said too many silly things, and it took up so much of my time in listening to him, that I cut his acquaintance, holding only to Father Ritchie and the Argus. Father Ritchie I consider as good as new. He tells me all I know of the men and the doings at Washington.

You have in your body, or somewhere around you, a certain man called Cass, or General Cass, who seems to me to be behaving very well, and making most excellent speeches. Were it not for the apprehension of committing two faults instead of one, I would take the same liberty with him that I have with you, and write him a letter approbating his Austrian movement, and telling him how highly I and the people prize his speeches.

There are also other persons in Washington, less to my liking than those before mentioned, whom I should like to see; and, to tell you the truth (which I almost regard as yet a secret), I have more than half-way formed the rash resolution of making my appearance in propria persona in Washington in the course of three or four weeks; if I do, it will give me pleasure to perceive, when I call to pay my respects to you, by your reception of me, that I am not an old acquaintance that you do not wish to remember.

Yours truly,

SOURCE: John R. Dickinson, Editor, Speeches, Correspondence, Etc., of the Late Daniel S. Dickinson of New York, Vol. 2, p. 420-1

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