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Page 401


Dear Gineral:—I guess you little thought when we was
having that scratch in Mexico, that it was going to make a
President of you. But time and chance happens to all men,
and why shouldn't luck come to you as well as anybody else?
I didn't expect, when I lost dear old Gineral Jackson, that I
should ever have a chance to write to another Gineral in the
President's chair President Polk was only a Colonel, and
somehow it didn't seem half so natural for me to say “dear
Colonel,” as it did to say “dear Gineral,” I had been so used
to it in Old Hickory's time. And I can't help thinking that
nobody lower than Gineral ever aught to be President. But
that's neither here nor there; you are President, and have got
to go ahead and make the best of it. And as I had a good
deal of experience in Gineral Jackson's time, and you are
kind of young in Government matters, I felt it my duty to
write to you and try to encourage you along, for I don't expect
you know what very darksome and trying times there is
in going through the Presidency. The first thing that is
necessary is to keep a stiff upper lip. It was keepin' a stiff
upper lip that carried Gineral Jackson through a great many
hard trials. There was so many hands to the bellows that
blowed you into the Presidency that I'm afraid when they
come to settle up accounts there'll be a squabble that will
make more trouble for you than ever old Hickory had. When
the old line Dimocrats, North and South, and the Hunkers,
and the Barnburners, and the Free-Soilers, and the States


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Rights Dimocrats, and the Union Whigs, and the Secessionists,
and the Carolina Nullifiers, and the Old Fogies, and
Young America, all get you by the throat, and every one
crying out “pay me that thou owest,” I almost tremble to
think what will become of you, unless you have a good deal
of the true old Hickory grit. You must put on the stiffest
kind of upper lip and take the responsibility, or it'll be gone
goose with you. You had better shake them all off, and
advertise that you won't pay no debts of their contracting.

You must remember that the Whig party is dead and
buried, and you haven't got to fight agin that no more. And
you must remember, too, that the Whig party has left considerable
valuable property, and that the Dimocratic party is
the natural heir to it. So you can take up the Bank, and the
Tariff, and Internal Improvements, and such kind of notions,
and use 'em quietly for the benefit of the great Dimocratic
party, and say nothin' about it. Only you must take care to
fix'em over into Dimocratic Bank, and Dimocratic Tariff, and
Dimocratic Internal Improvements, and then nobody won't
say a word agin 'em.

Well, now, about the Cabinet. That is a ticklish kind of
business, and I feel uneasy to know how you'll get along
with it. Uncle Joshua thinks you'd better take one out of
each party that went for you, and give 'em all a fair chance.
But you can't have but seven members in the Cabinet, unless
you conclude to have a Kitchen Cabinet too, and I don't
suppose you'll do that, for they ain't apt to work very well.
Old Hickory himself got rather tired of his before 'twas over.
So if you haven't but seven members, there won't be enough
to give one to each party, and them that's left to suck their
fingers will always be biting their thumbs at you. And then
you know the rule is, that the Cabinet should always be a
unit. But I'm afraid if you get one in from each party it


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will be a very quarrelsome kind of unit, and you will have no
comfort of your life. And then, if you was to give the whole
to one or two parties, you would of course have about a
dozen parties up in arms agin you, and squalls and harrycanes
blowing from all quarters. Jest see how it would work.
If you should pick out a sound, wise Old Fogy to take hold
with you to help cook matters up, the Dimocratic Review
would be down upon you like a thousand of brick, and blackguard
you like a pick-pocket for trying to hobble along on
the “mere beaten horse.” And then, if you was to look t'other
way and set Young America to the helm, the Old Fogies
would be afraid some of the mad-caps would run us on to the
breakers and send us all to the bottom. In that case, pretty
likely there'd be a greater unit out of the Cabinet than there
was in it, and there would be danger of mutiny all round. So
there you are. You seem to be in a snarl, any way you can
fix it.

Now, if you will take my advice, Gineral, you will shet
your eyes, and stop your ears, and take the responsibility,
and when they come pulling and hauling round you, jest say
to the Dimocrats, and the Old Fogies, and Young America,
and the Hunkers, and the Barnburners, and the Abolitionists,
and the Secessionists, and the Nullifiers, that you don't know
none of 'em, and that you ain't their President, but you are the
President of these thirty-one United States, and you mean “to
go for the whole or none.” That is, I mean the whole of the
United States that is fairly ours, and not the whole of creation,
for this last business is one that needs to be looked at
and thought on considerable before going into it. I know
some folks say there is to be a great deal annexin' done
during your administration. Now I don't know what your
notions is on this subject, but if annexin' is to be the main
business of your term, the next question is, what is the best


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way to do it? Uncle Joshua always says, in nine cases out
of ten it costs more to rob an orchard than it would to buy
the apples. If that's true, maybe that fillisbusterin' wouldn't
be the cheapest way to annex. But some folks have a great
fancy for fillibusterin', let it cost what 'twill. If you should
think of branching out strong that way, I don't s'pose you
could do better than to take Kossuth for Secretary of State,
for he is Governor of Hungary, you know, and could hitch
that fine country right on to our team, without the trouble of
any fillibusterin' about it. It could be done so quick the
Russian Bear wouldn't hardly have time to growl. And then
a small fillibusterin' army could bring in Cuba and Canada,
and Mexico, and the rest as fast as we should know what to
do with 'em.

Good by, Gineral; go ahead, and keep a stiff upper lip, and
anything I can do for you jest let me know.

So I remain your true friend,