[Joseph] Gales [Jr.] and [William Winston] Seaton to MVB, 15 September 1824
Sept. 15, 1824.
We have delayed answering your enquiry as to the real state of Mr Crawford's health, until his return should enable us to speak with certainty on that point. We shall speak to you without reservation or exaggeration.
The prostration of Mr. Crawford's system has been so extreme, that, without a personal knowledge of it, no one could properly judge even of his present condition. We ourselves never saw him at his worst, nor indeed until he was said to have very much improved. But when we did see him, every function of his body was impaired, unless perhaps his hearing. We were distressed to see him, but still hoped for the best. After an interval of a week, we could see
him a visible improvement, and he has steadily ^continued to^ improve without the least retrogradation. On hi m^s^ return to this place, he travelled through rain, and over the worst Roads in the world, at the rate of thirty miles per day. The day after his return, in an interview of half ^an hour^ we satisfied ourselves that, in all essentials, he is his former self. The most painful of his affections—that distortion of the mouth, has wholly disappeared. We speak of that as the most distressing to look at, though the effect merely of mercurial affection.
We saw him at his office yesterday, the first time he has been there since his ^last^ illness, and of course a trial of his actual situation. Our intense anxiety on the occasion you may imagine. The result of our observations corresponds with our best hopes. Mr. C. is in every respect competent for any description of Executive business. His eyesight & the use of his pen-hand are not ^yet^ perfect, but sufficiently so. Using glasses, he is able to read the small print of a newspaper, which is almost a miraculous restoration of that organ. His mind & memory are perfectly sound, vigorous & active. We have no doubt, comparing the present day with six weeks ago, that, by or before the meeting of Congress he will be in a fit state to be exhibited with pride as the President of the United States.
It is due to the frankness which belongs to this communication, to state whatever is unfavorable in Mr. Crawford's present condition.
His limbs have not regained all their flexibility, nor his speech all its distinctness. Not that he cannot walk or talk—for he walks with firmness, and can walk for miles. He speaks intelligibly enough, too, but his utterance is not as clear as it was wont to be. So much improved is it, however, that we trust the impediment will soon altogether disappear.
On the whole, when we recollect that for 12 months Mr. C. has been in the Doctor's hands, bled to the verge of death, defitalised into fits, and ptyalized to infantine helplessness we have
more than reason to be ^more than^ satisfied at his recovery. As for ourselves, we repeat, our best hopes have been in this respect realized.
With many thanks for your later communication, & begging hear from you further whenever convenient, we are
Very sincerely & respectfully
Your faithful Servants
Gales & Seaton