The Papers of Jefferson Davis
The Papers of Jefferson Davis

Jefferson and Varina Davis, their daughter Margaret, her children, and a servant, 1885 Library of Congress


 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. be selected--

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

--Your friend

Jeffn: Davis 


From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 4, pp. 8-9. Transcribed from the original in the Library of Congress, Crittenden Papers.

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