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C[laiborne] W[atts] Gooch to MVB, 24 March 1834

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your friendly letter. I have long represented to my friends at Washington my Convictions of the approach of the present state of parties. In our Richmond from Causes I have already alluded to, party violence and proscription run higher than even in the days of the Black-Cockade. In that place our party, (if indeed we have as many there now as would make a section in the ranks of the Battalion) are overpowered and silenced. The election of Tazewell & Liegh, & the united movement of the whole apposition through the state, have encouraged the Branches among us to continue to turn the screws. Merchants and others within their power, are made <soarly> to feel the fangs of the <illegible> Lion. And the consequence is, that all the dependants of the Bank rant & rave and abuse the administration and all its friends; give currency to every unjust imputation. In fact, they put me in mind of a frightened woman with the house on fire over her head. It is through these means; through the merchants and purchasers of agricultural produce that attempts are making to embitter the minds of the people against the President, & force them to consent to re=charter the Bank. These managers have, however, been alarmed at what they Call the premature movement of Webster for a re=charter. That movement will help us much! The Richd. Enqr. notwithstanding the mischief of its temporising Course, is now in the heat of the battle, and self-preservation will make it do its duty. The affice would have been demolished by a mob the other day, but for the influence of Cool heads that saw at once, that such a Course towards so long established & decorous a press, would but kindle into a blaze, the sympathies of the <illegible> people in its behalf; & that infinite injury would result to their Cause. And, my dear sir, how much is it to be regretted, that even such strong circumstances as these, were ^only^ alluded to in that paper, in so mystical a manner, as not to be understood without interpretation. If understood by the people in their just force, they would show to impartial minds the extremes to which the Bankites are ready to gow. It is now attempted to make the public believe that by means of a packed majority in the H. of R. a premature adjournment will be carried in that body, be rejected by the Senate & enforced by the President, and this, to prevent any relief from being granted to the people!! What relief can Congress grant? To restore the deposites, will produce an equal measure of Curtailment on the part of the state Banks, if indeed, that measure & not revenge, was the real cause of the pressure by the U S B. For monied institutions are operated upon, alike, by like causes. A strong difference exist in friends of the U.S.B, from the great amount of its Capital & the united action of its branches as well as by the fact of its having so heavy a part of its circulation in almost irredeemable drafts or orders, or spurious tokens. But, these grave matters of political economy may be too imperfectly understood by a mere farmer, to venture further into them.

I feel a desire to move about this spring & summer, & see men & things, from acquaintances, &c. &c. And could I serve the government by doing so, it would give me pleasure. I send you an open letter to Mr Barry on this subject. As a friend, I leave it to you to decide on the propriety of sealing & permitting that letter to reach its destination, and giving to its object some countenance. Such information may be collected in relation to such routes on which new Contracts are to be made, as to enable the department to effect great reductions, & important changes. It is not improbable that the Secty: of the Treasury may be benifetted by the personal examinations of a person instructed how to make them, into some subordinate & distant branches of that Department. But, I repeat, that, I leave all this matter to your own sounder discretion, and better judgment, either to favor my idea, or stop it in the Bud.(a.) The Republicans in Virginia Confidently trust that they will do their duty in April. You see that so many good pens are at work in the cause. This is a Crisis. We have had none such since 98, & the late war; altho' we are ^said to be^ eternally in a crisis! I will never believe that Gen Jackson, after so <illegible> boldly unfurling his flag, would strike it to the whippersnappers, the buckram Script nobility of a Bank!! He did not strike it to the numerous, veteran legions of an invading enemy who affected, like the Bank Legions, to despise both his understanding & good conduct! In some parts of va. we shall have a hard struggle, & be defeated in some of the Counties. But the triumph will be great. To "the South side" we owe all our desertions. You see that they, even Boulden & Randolph’s district, are "mending their ways." Archer ought to open his eyes to his danger. The people will do right when they can be roused to enquire, to think & to act. The contest in Albemarle will be a warm one. I fear the result, from this Cause: Southall is a popular lawyer, & did not go in many of his votes Last winter with his colleague, (Gilmer), a sort of go between! and being in, many will not turn him out for small things. Thus he gets every opposition vote, and very many men will vote for him and A. Rieves, or L.J. Randolph. So, he is likely to be elected, leaving the Contest for the other seat, among Gilmer, Rieves & Randolph; the two latter cutting each other’s throats & dividing our friends. I trust, however, that something may be done, as is always practicable on such occasions, to prevent it. Should Gilmer be defeated; he comes to Richmond at the Call of the U S Bank to put up a paper. This I had yesterday, from an indiscreet blabbler, who has as much right as any one to know what the Bank is about. Nyork was once nobly saved from being thrown into the arms of Mr Clay. We have now the same task to perform. I do not fear the result.

If it will at all amuse Mr. Cambreleng, our friend, to show him this letter pray do it. The hand of providence has protected Washington, Jefferson & Jackson. They have been the Heaven=chosen leaders of the only three Crises in our history. And my faith is, that the same Providence will, as, heretofore, in relation to him & the others, deliver him from the Philistines, & with him, the freedom of his Country. If you do not forget it, pray offer my <illegible> increasing admiration & veneration for him

Yr. friend


C.W. Gooch

P.S. In the present state of matters, no injury can flow from putting off some things to a more propitious time, when the Country is cooler, & men have wiped the froth from their mouths. In the mean time, our friends ought to know as much as they can, & prepare themselves for duty; "for no man can tell when the enemy cometh."

Democrats should not sleep much these times, if they can avoid it. Solutions of arsnic & opium mingle too much in the waters Current among us.


[Pg. 2, written sideways in the left margin.] (a) My business habits and qualifications, need but ^be^ enquired of. I am proud of the deep hatred of tories, and expect nothing, all my life, but their enmity. Those who know me may be more safely relied upon.

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Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 7 (4 March 1833-3 March 1837)