MVB to Catherine Milligan McLane, 6 February 1825

MVB to [Catherine Milligan] McLane, 6 February 1825


My dear Mrs Mc Lane,

Your good husband occasionally (when asked) says that you make enquires about & kind friendly messages to us; but they are expressed so <friendly>, & so long between, that I am inclined to think that you have forgotten us poor congressmen. So far as the lower house is concerned, you are right, for it is getting to resemble a bear garden more than a deliberative assembly. But the Senate, you know, those grave & reverend seignores were always looked to for the salvation of the Country, & they will not disappoint the people. The house is <moment> without hope ^now^ & will become much worse before it is any better. McLane plays the tyrant with poor Cuthbert & myself in high style. His success in all his business in the house, his popularity there as unprecedented, as it is undeserved, have made him the most intollerant fellow in Christendom. His appropriation bills, which under former committees of ways & means took weeks, have been disposed of in two days. You recollect that last year a poor Virginian <illegible>, a novel writing genius <illegible> Tucker, (& withal a clever fellow) had the presumption to move to strike ^out^ the word reconnaissance, & you may remember that he barely escaped for his temerity. Well the house have remembered it too, & have this year passed them to the letter & in silence. Poor Genl. Cock is Shorn of his <illegible> & may say with Othello that (unless they get a new Chairman of the ways & means) “his occupation is gone”. But for all this indulgence poor Cuthbert and I must pray you remember this youth, & what a snorting warhorse he was when for the gratification of Mrs Stevenson he used to take his accustomed exercise. <illegible> The animal now is as tame & gentle as a lamb. If occasionally we advance an opinion, however modest our manner, which does not precisely accord with his-up goes the back & we have little Delaware out before us with such vehemence that we ^have to^ find our safety in silence. On the other hand it must be admitted that we are well kept. If we had a little more liberty, our situation would be truly comfortable. The known economical habits of your husband render it unnecessary for me to say that we live cheap. We at first ventured to question this point a little, but we were silenced, & convinced of our error, by authority. Whether our pockets will be of the same way of thinking I doubt. Pray are there any loans to be obtained in Washington for gentlemen who stick by the way. A word about politics, although I am free to confess my repugnance to the subject, but your great interest in such matters lead me to touch them. I am astonished that you can have so much curiosity on this head. Take my word for it, that there is no honorable profession extant, in which there are more knaves engaged than in this same profession of <illegible> politics. This is the deliberate opinion of one who is no tyro in the art, but whose attention to it has never been from choice, but always from compulsion. Whilst that war wages with barbarous violence between ^the^ Jackson & Adams men we (Crawfordites) stand aloof, respected for our steadiness, confided in for our sincerity, & admired for our fidelity. While creminations and re-criminations are hurled from hand to head by the adverse factions, we the subjects of King Caucus, are exempt from injurious imputation of any sort. If in the end we cannot command success we will do more. At all events we will come out of the contest with clean hands, which I suspect all will not be able to say, but let the galled jades wince. I wish however you would give your good husband a little hint, to carry his power a little more meekly & consequently more securely. He has become a perfect giant-killer. Not content with seeking to exclude his master from the galleries, so that their rights may be bartered away in secret; he in the plenitude of consciousness of his strength, has ventured upon the fool-hardy enterprise, of endeavoring to remove the invisible decree of the people, & give fragrance to that “which all the perfume of Arabia could not sweeten” the administration of the elder Adams. Between us, this is but the prelude to an after piece which will surprise you, if any thing from that strange gentleman your husband, can surprise you. It portends nothing less I assure you than full & loving communion betwen him & the tender hearted & tear shedding gentleman from Quincy. There will be a sight for you. But it is naive to expect fidelity out of Newyork. To return to the subject of the speech. You would have been amused to have seen the faces of the old Federalists, whilst he was <extenuating> and (presumptuous man) ever defending their old transgressions. What a noble speech said one, what a fine independent fellow said an other, but <illegible> the one had the honesty & spirit to come to his aid. To do the man justice, the speech (which was not half reported) was an able one, & did honour to his head at least. All that <moved> me, was, that he was pleading so eloquently for a set of rogues who will every one except Lee desert him on the vote. Look at Websters remarks, & compare them with your husbands. This is yankee caution for you. What would you give if you had so discreet a man for your Lord. In return for this long & <queer> letter I request you give my best respects to all my friends in Wilmington old & young beginning with old Mr McLane & going down to the <latest> of the last generation, including particularly your good cousin Scotias fair daughter and to believe me when I say how

Sincerely I am your



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