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two occasions Mr. Hay appears to have lost some ground, in the opinion of the republicans; but I consider that he is now nearly, if not entirely, restored, and, especially, by his conduct in the last legislature. I will not disguise from you also that Mr. Hay has some personal enemies; but, I believe, it has arisen principally, if not entirely, from the alledged austerity of his manners, and the supposed hauteur of his deportment. These qualities, if they exist, arise in my opinion, from an inflexible purity of character, and a proud independence of principle. They certainly do not disqualify him for the office now in question, or render him unfit for a trust, which requires the most incorruptible and unbending tone of character. Such is my opinion of Mr. Hay's fitness for the office of a judge, that on the death of Judge Tyler, I nominated him to Mr. Madison, for the office of district judge of Virginia, a place now held by Mr. Tucker: but my letter getting into the hands of Mr. Hay himself, who was then in Washington, thro' the medium of his son, such was his (Mr. Hays) scrupulous delicacy on the occasion, that he would not deliver it to Mr. Madison, and, of course, he was not brought into the view of the Government. I mention this as a striking fact, to shew, the scrupulous delicacy of Mr. Hay's principles. I believe that nineteen twentieths of the lawyers and Suitors in the federal Court, would infinitely prefer Mr. Hay to the present incumbent. Mr. Jefferson in his time appointed Mr. Hay the district attorney of Virginia, and he held that office for many years. In that time he prosecuted Aaron Burr, with ability and zeal, and faithfully discharged the other duties of the office. He also acquired in that office, as I believe, an extensive knowledge of the mercantile law; of that very law which will, probably, be found to be indispensably important, in the office now in question. I have reason to believe that if Mr. Jefferson were now in the high office which you occupy, he would see no cause to withdraw his confidence from Mr. Hay, and would readily give him the office he now solicits. I will only add on this part of the subject, that Mr. Hay is of a mature age, and has the experience requisite for the proper discharge of the duties of the office.
While I entirely concur with you in opinion that the candidate residing in the great commercial cities ought not to be appointed, for the reasons you have justly assigned, Mr. Hay is quite aloof from this objection. At the same time I am authorized to say (so far as it can be inferred from the opinions of these delegates in the legislature) that his appointment would be agreeable to the citizens of Norfolk and of Richmond, the only two places, probably, in Virginia, having claims under the Spanish Treaty.
With respect to any murmurs which would be excited in Virginia, by Mr. Hay's appointment, I do not believe they would be considerable or that the fact would attract much notice. It is true I have no sufficient data to ground an opinion in this case: but my impressions are confirmed by the opinions of Governor Randolph, Judge Brooke, Mr. Nicholas, Mr. Stevenson, & Mr. Selden, on this subject. All these gentlemen dined with me yesterday; and, in the course of the evening, I took occasion to sound them on the subject. They consider the opposition as local, and produced by the causes I have mentioned. The high standing of these gentlemen is well known to you. Governor Randolph has been lately again distinguished by the suffrages of his fellow-citizens; and is remarkable for his high sense of honor, & for the purity of his political principles.
Some persons here, indeed, say, that the precedent would be a bad one. While this in general is admitted, this case would only be a precedent in favour of a man, who is amply qualified, and highly recommended. Where either of these requisites is wanting, the present case could not be relied on. And if a person thus supported, is, in all cases, to be rejected, all those would stand utterly disfranchised, who may chance to be connected with our first citizens. These same persons say that such a precedent would lead to servile compliances, with a view to gain the favour of the executive Magistrate. It might; but that is an extreme case, and is in derogation of the high character justly belonging to our fellow citizens. Those, in particular, who signed the paper in question, are honorable men, and above all suspicion. The purity of their views and motives, cannot be, for a moment, brought in question. The very men, hereabouts, who have made the only stir, and, as I believe, a very limited stir, on this occasion, would, in the case of the non appointment of Mr. Hay, be, probably ready to charge you with a want of independence, as for some men, it is impossible for any act of yours to please them.
With respect to the two gentlemen of this State, whom you have mentioned, as spoken of for this office, they are men of high character for talents & for public speaking. One of them has, however, lost ground very considerably, in the middle and lower parts of this state. This has arisen from the dark and doubtful course of his politics; from his arrogating too much power to the Senate, in derogation of that belonging to the more numerous branch of the legislature; and from his having delayed and retarded the late revision of our laws, which was greatly needed and called for, by the people, until he had ingrafted therein many new principles; principles which will unquestionably unsettle many of our judicial decisions, & produce a great increase of litigation. He has also fallen like Lucifer, and in the eyes of the republicans, by out-heroding Herod on the late resolutions here, on the citation question. Although professing to be a republican, he pushed the doctrines of the federal party, beyond all former example, and to an extent which has been disclaimed by many honest men even of that party. To the pretensions of the other gentleman I have nothing to say, but to doubt, whether his great Talents are exactly of a character to fit him precisely for the office of a judge. He also lives in one of the Towns, probably having some claims under the late Treaty. Unless, also, you have good evidence of the fact, I should be inclined to doubt whether either of these gentlemen would wish to receive the office. Their friends here seem to doubt it, and I think it would not suit them. I know of but few, indeed very few if any, other citizens in Virginia whose pretensions for this office are equal to Mr. Hay's.
I have thus given to you, Sir, my candid opinions and belief, according to my best tho' limited information, on this subject. Although I have not entirely accorded with you, as to every act of your administration, I have too high a value for your character, to consent that you should do anything, which might justly lessen the high standing you have attained, in the public estimation. The friendship with which you have always honoured me, were there no other motives, would alone impel me to this wish. But your country relies on your firmness, as well as your integrity and independence. It is believed that you cannot be driven
from your purposes deliberately taken for the public good, by any intrigues or machinations. It is also believed that you will foster the republican idea, that the strong & general opinions of your fellow citizens, even in relation of executive duties, are not to be entirely disregarded.
If you should appoint Mr. Hay, and even be deemed to err, you would, at least, err with Plato and Socrates. You would, at least, be greatly supported by many of our most distinguished citizens; and this fact, no doubt, would be generally known.-To say nothing of others, you would err with Th: M: Randolph, and James Barbour ; who have received fresh and honorable testimonials of the confidence of Virginia.
I conclude by assuring you that I am, Dear Sir, sincerely yr friend & Servt
RICHMOND JUNE 20TH, 1821* DEAR SIR:
The enclosed numbers on a most important subject, were written by me, and have been published in the Enquirer. Mr. Ritchie promised to strike me a few copies, in a more eligable form, to be presented to my most particular and distinguished friends; but his indisposition, and the negligence of his foreman, prevented it. I now doubt, whether I ought to venture, to send them, to you, as taken from the columns of a newspaper. Yet the subject is not unworthy of your attention.
In taking this liberty, I have no manner of reference to your office, as president, I address you, only, in your private character, and I delight to include you with such men as Jefferson, Madison and Taylor. I rejoice to recognize in James Monroe, the friend & compatriot of Mason, Henry, and Grayson, in the great cause of securing the liberty and advancing the happiness of our native Country. With great respect, Esteem, and regard. I am Dear Sir yr friend & obt servt
SPENCER ROANE JAMES MONROE Esq.
See the Bulletin, July, 1902, v. 6, pp. 249-250, for Monroe's letter of 9 July acknowledging receipt of this letter from Roane, of the essay then forwarded, and speaking of Monroe's intention to publish his views on the subject of internal improvements—later embodied in his message of 4 May, 1822, vetoing the Cumberland Road bill.
Roane's "numbers” were probably his letters on the Lottery Case (Cohens vs. Virginia) printed in the Enquirer, May-June, 1821; the Library of Congress owns in the Madison MSS. numbers 1-5 of these letters cut from the newspaper and probably sent by Roane to Madison at the same time he wrote Monroe. (Letter from W C. Ford, chief of the sion of Manuscripts of the Library of Congress.)
To JAMES MONROE.
RICHMOND, I JULY 1822. DEAR SIR.
I had the pleasure to receive, some time since, your second favour enclosing your view of the Constitution on the subject of internal improvements.* My delay in answering it has arisen, from the length of the Essay, and the great importance of the subject; from my desire to ponder it well, before I decided finally upon it; and from my inability to do it sooner, under the then feeble and delicate state of my health, I confess, too, that I felt some reluctance to differ from you in opinion, upon any of the positions you had taken.
I am duly sensible that I ought to feel great diffidence and hesitation in dissenting from you, on any subject which you have so profoundly considered: yet it appears to me, that your construction of the constitution on the subject of appropriations, is both opposed to the general cause of the republicans on that subject and retracts, in effect, the concession you have so properly made, that that Constitution consists in Specific grants of power. It has this effect, because this subject of appropriation is so extensive as to insinuate itself into almost every branch of congressional legislation. A contrary construction would also seem to be indicated by the very term, which conveys the power in question. The term “Appropriated” seems, unavoidably, to imply, that there is some particular grant or power, to which the money is to be applied or expended. I have also the misfortune to differ from you as to the effect of Precedents, in fixing the Construction of the Constitution. Whatever force may be yielded to the Consent & acquiescence of the people, manifested on every subject for a long Succession of time, less weight seems to be due to that of their agents, or representatives. On that ground, the true construction of the Constitution would be made to depend upon the persistance in Error of those representatives on one hand, and upon the relative promptitude or tardiness by which that error might be put down, by the people, on the other
Subject to these exceptions I have as I wrote you, greatly approved of the principles generally contained in your View. I need not say how much I am always gratified in according with you in your patriotic efforts to advance the interest and happiness of our beloved Country. With great respect and Esteem I am Dear Sir, your friend & obt. Servant
SPENCER ROANE JAMES MONROE Esq.
*Monroe's Message of 4 May, 1822, vetoing the Cumberland Road Bill and giving his views on internal improvements.
The following letter from Willis Gaylord Clark to William Jerdon, editor of the London Literary Gazette, is printed from the original manuscript now in the New York Public Library. At the time Clark was connected with the Columbian Star of Philadelphia. The poem by Whittier referred to as an enclosure appeared in the Literary Gazette of 19 June, 1830, pp. 403-404, with the title "To the improvisatrice."
No. 3 WASHINGTON SQUARE,
PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 7, 1830. To the Editor of the London Gazette.MY DEAR SIR:
The enclosed poems are at your service. One is from my pen, the other from that of a friend. It was sent (the latter one) for insertion in a Daily Gazette here in which I was for a time concerned ;—but as it is addressed directly to Miss LANDON, the thought occurred to me that I would send it to you. It is from the pen of John Greenleaf Whittier Esq., a young American Poet-Editor, of great promise. The lines I have thrown in are just en-passant to fill up space. There is nothing in them of any particular merit; but I hope to send you better ere I die.
Tell Miss Landon she is beloved—nay idolized by all the young Bards, and Ladies in America. She is the Nightingale of England.
Would you be willing to send me your valuable paper for an occasional contribution? It would be very acceptable, we have but one literary paper of any merit in this country of a weekly cast-viz the "New York Mirror." Our Magazines are all “stale flat and unprofitable.” Our quarterlys are excellent.
You may perhaps have seen a poem of mine in Watts Souvenir of this year, as also one called "Mary Queen of Scots" which was copied into the London "Weekly Review.” I have not time or I would send you a few printed poems, that I could otherwise collect.—I may say that the “proper authorities” here have seen fit to award me much repeated praise on my metrical efforts.
Your paper is very much copied from, and applauded in the newspapers from Maine to Alabama—from the Cattskills to the Rocky Mountains beyond the Mississippi.
In my next I will send you some of the printed productions of our three best poets-viz Bryant, who stands foremost ; Halleck and Percival, who stand next.
I should be pleased to hear from you by letter, my address will be to the care of the Revr. W. T. Brantly, Editor of the "Columbian Star," Phila..
Your poem "the Footstep's Fall” has travelled all over this continent and is still journeying. Its plain beautiful merit, will not let it rest.
Respectfully Yrs. with the best wishes
WILLIS GAYLORD CLARK S. JERDEN, Esq.