University of Virginia Library

Search this document 




Page 113


Dear Uncle Joshua:—I've got here at last, to this great
city, where they make offices, and I'm determined not to leave
it till I get one. It isn't sich a great city, after all, as New-York,
though they do a great deal more business here than
they do at New-York. I don't mean vessel business and
trade, for there's no end to that in New-York, but in making
offices and such like; and they say it's the most profitable
business in the country. If a man can get hold of a pretty
good office, he can get rich enough by it in three or four years,
and not to have to work very hard neither. I tell you what,
uncle, if I make out to my mind here, I shall come back again
one of these days in a rather guess way than what I come on.
I don't have to foot it again, I'll warrant you, and I guess poor
Aunt Sally won't have to set up all night to mend my coat and
darn my stockings. You'll see me coming dressed up like a
lawyer, with a fine carriage and three or four hosses. And
then them are chaps in Portland that used to laugh at me so
about being Governor, may sneeze at me if they dare to, and
if they don't keep out of my way I'll ride right over 'em. I


Page 114


[Description: 688EAF. Page 114. In-line image. A man stands with an axe poised to fall on some logs which he holds in place with one foot. He is standing in the front yard of a house and a woman sits on the porch watching him as she sews. A cat sits on the porch as well.]
had a pretty tuff time coming on here. It's a long, tiresome
road through the Jarseys. I had to stop twice to get my
shoes tapt, and once to get an old lady to sow up a rip in my
coat while I chopped wood for her at the door to pay for it.
But I shan't mind all the hard work I've had of it, if I can
make out to come home rich.

I got a pretty good boost in Boston, as I writ you in my
last, by the editors giving me recommendations. But it was
nothing at all hardly to what I got in New York, for they
gave me a public dinner there. I can't think what's the


Page 115
matter that it hasn't been published yet. Major Noah promised
me he'd have it all put into the New York Courier and
Enquirer the very next day after I left New York, so that it
should get to Washington as soon as I did; and now I've
been here about a week and it hasn't come yet. If it doesn't
come soon, I shall write an account of the dinner myself, and
send it home and get it put in the Portland Courier. It was
a most capital dinner, uncle; I don't know as I ever eat
hartier in my life, for being pretty short of money I had
pinched rather close a day or two, and, to tell the truth, I
was as hungry as a bear. We had toasts and speeches, and
a great many good things. I don't mean sich toast as they
put butter on to eat, but toast to drink. And they don't
exactly drink 'em neither; but they drink the punch and
speak the toasts.

I can't think Major Noah meant to deceive me about publishing
the proceedings of the dinner, for he appeared to be a
very clever man, though he was the funniest chap that ever I
see. There wasn't a man in New York that befriended me
more than he did; and he talked to me very candidly, and
advised me all about how to get an office. In the first place,
says he, Mr. Downing, you can't get any kind of an office at
Washington unless you are a true blue genuine Democratic
Republikan. I told him I had recommendations coming to
prove that I was all that. They are very strict, says he, in
regard to that at Washington. If James Madison should
apply for an office at Washington, says he, he couldn't get it.
What, says I, him that was President! for it kind of startled
me a little if such an old Republikan as he was couldn't get
an office. It's true, says he, if James Madison should apply


Page 116


[Description: 688EAF. Page 116. In-line image. Major Noah and Mr. Downing sit in charis at a table with their elbows resting on the table. In the background is an overburdened bookcase.]
for an office he couldn't get it. Why not, says I? Because,
says he, he has turned Federalist. It's melancholy to think,
says he, how many good old Republikans at the South are
turning Federalists lately. He said he was afraid there
wasn't more than one true genuine old Democratic Republikan
left in Virginny, and that was old Mr. Ritchie, of the Richmond
Enquirer; and even he seemed to be a little wavering
since Mr. Calhoun and some others had gone over.


Page 117

Well, there's Mr. Clay, says I, of Kentucky, I don't think
he'll ever flinch from the Republikan cause. Henry Clay,
says he, turning up his nose, why he's been a Federalist this
six years. No, no, Mr. Downing, if you think of going that
gate, you may as well turn about and go home again before
you go any further. What gate? says I. Why to join the
Clay party, says he. I told him I never had sich a thought in
my life; I always belonged to the Republikan party, and
always meant to. He looked rather good-natured again when
he heard that; and says he, do you know what the true Republikan
doctrine is? I told him I had always had some
kind of an idea of it, but I didn't know as I could explain it
exactly. Well, says he, I'll tell you; it is to support Gineral
Jackson for re-election, through thick and thin. That is the
only thing that will save the country from ruin. And if
Gineral Jackson should be unwell or any thing jest before
election, so he could not be a candidate, the true Republikan
doctrine is to support Mr. Van Buren. I told him very well,
he might depend upon my sticking to the Republikan party,
all weathers. Upon that he set down and wrote me a recommendation
to the President for an office, and it almost made
me blush to see what a master substantial genuine Republikan
he made me. I had a number more capital recommendations
at New York, but I haven't time to tell you about
'em in this letter. Some were to Mr. Clay, and some to Mr.
Van Buren, and some to Mr. Calhoun. I took 'em all, for I
thought it was kind of uncertain whose hands I might fall
into hereafter, and it might be well enough to have two or
three strings to my bow.

I haven't called on the President yet, though I've been here


Page 118
about a week. My clothes had got so shabby, I thought I
better hire out a few days and get slicked up a little. Three
of the offices that I come after are gone slick enough, and the
other one's been given away to a Mr. White, but he wouldn't
take it; so I'm in hopes I shall be able to get in. And if I
don't get that, there's some chance for me to get in to be Vice
President, for they had a great Jackson meeting 'tother day,
and they kicked Mr. Calhoun right out doors, and said they
wouldn't have him for Vice President no longer. Now some
say they think I shall get it, and some think Mr. Van Buren
'll get it.

Howsomever, I feel pretty safe, for Major Noah told me if I
couldn't get anything else, the President could easily make a
foreign mission for me.

Oh dear! uncle, it makes me feel kind of bad when I think
how fur I've got from home.

I shall call on the old Gineral in two or three days, and if I
can make a dicker with him about the office I'll let you know

Your lovin neffu,