Smith Thompson to MVB, 23 January 1819

Smith Thompson to MVB, 23 January 1819

Washington

My Dear Friend

I have just received your letter of the 17th. and feel myself justly exposed to the gentle reproof you give me for not writing before. But I do assure you, I have had my hands full here I found the business of my office some what behind hand, and being unacquainted with the details it has taken me some time to get properly under way, as we sailors say. But the current business of the office I am inclined to think will take up rather more of my time than I anticipated, and am unable as yet to form a correct opinion how I shall like the change. I find all here with whom I have more immediate connexion in business very friendly and cordial. And matters seem to be going on very smoothly in the Cabinet. There are however enemies in the camp, plots & intrigues are on foot, tho they have not made their appearance very openly as yet. The Session of Congress has been a very unimportant one until within a few days. Since the Seminole war and Genl. Jackson have been under discussion, I have not had time to attend the debates much. Went one day to hear Mr Clay. I was very to hear him for two reasons, for the purpose of forming some opinion of his talents, and because it was generally understood that he was coming out in full force against the administration, as to most of the measures which had been adopted in relation to the entrance into the Floridas. I was much pleased with him as a speaker. His talents are fine, and manner good. His friends here say it was one of his finest efforts. I was however much and very agreeably disappointed in the course he took, as it respected the administration, instead of censure, he was highly complimentary upon the course adopted. Various are the conjectures afloat respecting him. I am not sufficiently acquainted with him yet to form perhaps a very correct opinion, but I am strongly inclined to think, he does not at present intend to be arrayed against the administration. This business of Jacksons is a warm and animated one, and will probably occupy the house the whole of the next week. Genl. Tallmadge, has made a very good speech it is said against the resolution of censure. Storrs has occupied the floor most of this day and has not concluded, it is said ^he^ has been very harsh and severe, against Jackson and the administration, and particularly on Mr. Adams correspondence. There is no doubt there will be a respectable majority against the resolution as reported by a majority of the committee. And if it is permitted to rest there it will end well. But I am fearful the warm friends of Jackson will press a vote of approbation, and if they do the majority will be diminished, for many will vote under an impression that it is a subject with which Congress have no concern, by way of censure or approbation. Jackson arrived here, this morning, which I am little sorry for, as it may be said by his enemies that he has come either to influence or overawe. Our State will give a very strong vote in his favor. The only other subject that appears to excite much interest here is the Bank Report. That has not been so much stired as to enable me to form any opinion as to the result. My belief however is that it will not amount to much more than the passage of the bill you have seen reported, restricting the votes of Stock holders. I am very ^happy^ to find by the Report that our States dont stand implicated. This much for the State of things here, and now a little upon your affairs at Albany. I hope we shall soon assume a position that will make us more respected and give us a weight and influence, to which we are more entitled, than we are at present The course you have pursued as yet meets my most unqualified approbation. It has been dignified manly and honest, and must and will ultimately redound to your benefit as well as credit, and such is the impression here The impression is strong, and growing every day that Mr. Clinton can not sustain himself The Feds from our State give him up, and his apprehended fall has a powerful influence on many others here. The great object you ought to keep in view is to avoid the least semblence of an understanding or bargain with the federalists. That is the rock on which Mr C. is to split, and give him no chance for an offset against you. There is no doubt I presume from what I hear fall from Mr. Kings friends here, that if you would make him Senator, you could have the Council. Altho personally I have a very high respect for Mr. K. and do not believe his reappointment would sit unpleasantly on the friends of the administration here, yet the great fear to be apprehended is the political effect it would have in our State. It would disarm you of the most powerful argument you now have against your adversaries. Federal aid. Federal coalition. You must not think me insensible, to the situation of my friends in office. You may suffer a short time. But I am persuaded it will ultimately redound ^not only^ to your honor, and the general good, but I hope and trust, to your personal benefit. There is no maxim more true both in private and public affairs, than that honesty is the best policy Trick and knavery may triumph for a while but can not sustain long those who resort to it My feelings are alive to the situation of our affairs at albany and the character ^reputation^ of our State. And nothing shall be wanting on my part, to aid in redeeming her character and placing her on a footing among her sisters, to which she is justly entitled Tell Mr Skinner I have made myself acquainted with his Friend Baldwin, and find him a very worthy, sensible, and correct man. He is I understand to make a speech in defence of Genl Jackson, and I have no doubt it will be good one. I have mentioned to the Vice President, what you say respecting the resolution in the Assembly on his business He says the business with the commissioners under the resolution of last winter, has been entered upon, and they are to meet in Albany some time in March to complete it. As you do not state the particular object the resolution offered appears to have in view, he cant say thing on the subject until he has more particular information. I shall regret entremely if any thing should occur, to change your views about a seat on the Bench, should it be offered you. I feel a great pride in suppporting the Respectability of our Court and you know me too well to believe it a mere compliment when I say, that a failure of your appointment would be a public loss. Remember me to our friends. Tell Judge Yates he is often in my mind, and that I sometimes almost sigh to be along side of him, reading affidavits &c. I must trouble you a little with some private business. My friend Watson has given me very formal notice that he shall not want my house next year. But goes on to say a good deal about the rent, and wishes me to refer him to you on the subject. I believe I did mention this business to you in a letter written before I left New York. I am fearful unless I make some bargain with him, the house will be left empty. I submit the matter to yo[u] to do the best you can for me.

I am very sorry to hear Mrs. Van Buren is so ill. Hope with the opening spring she will find her health improved. Give my best respects to her.

Your Sincere Friend

Smith Thompson

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