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DEAR COUSIN:—Sargent Joel got here day before yesterday,
with my hearty old company of Downingville boys, that went
down to Madawaska with me last winter. They cut rather a
curious figure marching through Pennsylvany Avenu. One half
of 'em had worn their shoes out so that their toes stuck out
like the heads of so many young turtles, and t'other half had
holes through their knees or elbows, and Sargent Joel marched
ahead of 'em, swinging his piece of an old scythe for a sword,
and inquiring of every one he met for Major Jack Downing.
They all told him to keep along till he got to the President's
house, which was the biggest house in the city except the Congress
house, and there he would find me. I and the President
were taking a little walk out, and talking about Mr. Calhoun
and so on, when the President begun to stare as though he
saw a catamount.

He started back, and says he, “Major Downing, if my eyes
don't deceive me, there's nullification now, coming up Pennsylvany
Avenu.” He begun to call for his pistols, and to tell his
men to fasten up the doors, when I looked round, and I knew


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[Description: 688EAF. Page 181. The group of soldiers stands on a street and the two men look at them. In the distance is a larger crowd. At the end of the street is also the dome of the Capitol.]
Joel's strut in a minute. Says I, “Dear Gineral, that's no
nullification, but it's what 'll put a stopper on nullification
pretty quick if it once gets to South Carolina. It's my Downingville
company, commanded by Sargent Joel.” At that
the President looked more pleased than I've seen him before
since he got the news of the vote of Pennsylvany. He ordered
'em into the east room, and gave 'em as much as they could
eat and drink of the best the house affords. He has found


Page 182
quarters for 'em in the neighborhood, and says we must be
ready to march for South Carolina whenever he says the word.

But I'll tell you what 'tis, Cousin Ephraim, I begin to grow
a little kind of wamble-cropt about goin' to South Carolina,
arter all. If they've got many such fellers there as one
Gineral Blair there is here from that State, I'd sooner take
my chance in the woods, forty miles above Downingville,
fighting bears, and wolves, and catamounts, than come within
gun-shot of one of these Carolina giants. He's a whaler of a
feller—as big as any two men in Downingville. They say
he weighs over three hundred pounds. About a week ago
he met Gineral Duff Green in the street, and he fell afoul of
him with a great club and knocked him down, and broke his
arm, and beat him almost to death, jest because he got mad
at something Mr. Green said in his paper. And what makes
me feel more skittish about getting into the hands of such
chaps is, because he says he couldn't help it. He says all his
friends persuaded him not to meddle with Gineral Green, and
he tried as hard as he could to let him alone, but he “found
himself unequal to the effort.” So Green like to got killed.

The folks here sot out to carry him to court about it, but he
said he wouldn't go, and so he armed himself with four pistols,
and two dirks, and a great knife, and said he'd shoot the
first man that touched him. Last night he went to the theater
with all his arms and coutrements about him. And after he
sot there a spell, and all the folks were looking to see the
play go on, he draws out one of his pistols and fires it at the
players. Then there was a dreadful uproar. They told him
he must clear out about the quickest. But he said if they'd
let him alone he'd behave like a gentleman. So they went on
with the play again.

By and by he draws out another pistol, and points it towards
the players. At that there was a whole parcel of 'em


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seized him and dragged him out into another room, big as he
was. But pretty soon he got upon his feet, and begun to
rave like a mad ox. He pulled off his coat and threw it down,
and declared he'd fight the whole boodle of 'em. The constables
were all so frightened they cut and run, and nobody
dared to go a near him, till he got cooled down a little, when
some of his friends coaxed him away to a tavern. Now, as
for going to South Carolina to fight such chaps as these, I'd
sooner let nullification go to grass and eat mullen.

Sargent Joel told me, when he left Downingville, you had
jest loaded up with apples and one thing or another to go
down to Augusta to peddle 'em out; and that you was agoing
to stay there while the Legislater folks were there. So I
thought it would be a good plan for you and I to write to one
another about once a week, or so, how matters get along.

So I remain your loving cousin,