Jefferson Davis to John J. Crittenden
Senate Chamber 30th Jany 1849
My dear Govr.
I have been long intending to avail myself of your kindness by
writing to you, but you know the condition of a Senator during the
session of Congress and may be able to estimate the condition of a lazy
man thus situated. It is I hope unecessary for me to say that my
sympathies have been deeply enlisted in the case of Maj. [George B.]
Crittenden and what is more important my conviction complete that he has
been unjustly treated.
You know Mr. [James K.] Polk and your view of the manner in which he
should be dealt with as shown by your letters has very closely agreed
with my own. Wearied by his hesitation I have called for the proceedings
in the case and if he holds out it is a case in which the weaker goes
to the wall. I think I will beat him and so you may say in confidence to
your gallant Son.
My boy Tom. in which style I hope you will recognize Col. Crittenden
has been discreet and I think efficient in a cause where feeling might
have warped the judgement of an older man.
I regret exceedingly to see that Mr. Clay
is to return to the Senate, among many reasons is one in which I know
you will sympathize, the evil influence he will have on the friends of
Genl. Taylor in the two houses of Congress. Many who would have done
very well in his absence will give way in his presence. This will also
introduce a new element in the selection of the genls. cabinet. It must
be composed of men of nerve and of no Clay affinities.
One instance to illustrate my meaning Berrien of Ga. though well enough without Clay's shadow, would not do under it.
You see that I disregard Mr. Cs. pledge to support the
Administration, he may wish to do so, but can his nature reach so much.
The Englishman [Edward D.] Baker, who came from the Rio Grande to draw
pay, mileages and a year's stationary as a member of Congress is here,
with recommendations from legislatures for the post of Secty. of War.
What would Genl. Taylor say to such impudent dictation and indelicate
solicitation. Butler King wants to be Secty. of Navy or Know the little yankee -- Andrew Stuart
wants to be Secty. of Treasy. the man who proved wool to be a
vegetable. I hope you will talk fully with Genl. Taylor he knows very
little of our public men personally and will have very little
opportunity to observe them after his arrival.
Clayton is true and talks right, has he the necessary nerve,- how would Binney of Philad. do for the Treasy. A. Lawrence
is not a Lawyer and is a manufacturer, how would Mr. Lawrence do for
Navy, how would [James] Gadsden do for War, how will a Post Master genl.
The Genl. will need you and I hope to see you here -- Loose and
hurried as my remarks are, written in the midst of much "noise and
confusion" you may from intimate knowledge of all I have treated of,
unravel what would be unintelligible to one less informed
From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 4, pp. 8-9. Transcribed from the original in the Library of Congress, Crittenden Papers.