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Captain O'Connor brings with him bills to the amount of $1200 for the purchase of books for the Treasury. Not having a catalogue of any kind to refer to, it is impossible to make a selection at this place. I have referred him to you, and have to request that you will make a selection of such French authorities as may be useful. If there is any recent work showing the changes, if any, which have taken place in the relative value of silver and gold in Europe, I should be glad to obtain it.
I will also thank you to aid Mr. Jackson in the selection of English authors relative to finance, trade, manufactures, &c., &c., &c. I wish the selection to be appropriate for the object for which it is designed.
You will see that George W. Campbell succeeds Mr. Pinkney. It was offered to Mr. Lowndes, with the option of going there or to Constantinople. Upon his declining both, I advised the President to decline the latter, as I knew of no person whose personal popularity would silence opposition to it. The Speaker, who has laid about him most furiously through the whole session, had declared open hostility to the measure. If, however, Lowndes had accepted, he would have been silent on his account.
The session, which was stormy in the extreme, terminated as amicably as could have been anticipated. I am not certain but that I may be correct in saying that no irrevocable breach has yet taken place in the Republican party. The minority in which the Speaker found himself upon the South American question has convinced him that he will not be able to rally a force upon that question. If he is determined upon opposition, he may, if judicious, find a fitter occasion to rally his forces by waiting patiently and relying upon the chapter of accidents.
His enemies charge him openly with having coalesced with Governor Clinton. It is to be regretted that circumstances have occurred during the session calculated to give some degree of currency to the charge.
The President has not enjoyed good health during the winter. He postpones his Southern tour until the next year. Probably he will make an excursion to the West during the summer.
Present me respectfully to the members of your family, and particularly to Mrs. Gallatin. Mr. Macon requested me to pre
sent his respects to you and Mrs. Gallatin when I should write.
I remain, dear sir, your most obedient servant.
CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.
WASHINGTON, 2d May, 1818. DEAR SIR,—In selecting books for the Treasury library I wish to call your attention to the subject of canals. In France and England information of this kind may be obtained which may be useful to this country whenever a system of internal improvements shall be commenced upon national principles. You will perceive by the vote upon this subject that nothing of this nature is to be expected from the present Congress. Judging, however, from the sectional feelings which have been elicited by the recent discussions, the time is not distant when the public resources will be applied to that object. The Western States were nearly unanimous in favor of such an application. Every new State will add to the number of advocates of the measure. It is highly probable that a different result would have been obtained but for the fear of rendering the imposition of internal taxes again necessary. The appropriations contemplated at the time of the decision of the question were large, and, indeed, those made have so far exceeded the estimates that I believe the Treasury will be nearly empty when Congress meets again.
Notwithstanding the refusal of the House of Representatives to appropriate or pledge any fund for internal improvements, and their decision that they had no right to construct roads or canals, they have directed the Treasury and War Departments to report to the next session the roads and canals which may be deemed necessary in a commercial or military point of view. It will no doubt be expected that some estimate of the expense will he presented in these reports. If the materials for such an estimate cannot be obtained in France and England, I fear that any estimate founded upon the data resulting from works of that
nature will be very imperfect. If the length of the different canals cut in France and England, with their breadth, depth, and number of locks, with their dimensions, and the whole cost of each, could be obtained, the means of making an estimate tolerably accurate would be acquired. The difference in the price of labor in the different countries would form no obstacle in forming the estimate. To be of use in making the contemplated report, no time should be lost in transmitting the works showing the cost, &c., of the canals in France. From England perhaps they cannot be obtained in time to be useful in the report, which must be made in the early part of the session.
It is understood that Mr. Crowninshield will resign in the course of the summer. He was treated most cruelly in the House of Representatives during the discussion of the bill to increase the salaries of the Secretaries. The poor opinion entertained of his talents, and his living in a boarding-house during the session, and return and residence at Salem during the greater part of the year, hung heavily upon the bill, and no doubt had considerable influence upon its ultimate fate.
There will be some difficulty in making a selection to fill the vacancy. Judge Van Ness (who, it is said, would have been selected originally had he retired) has been violently assailed during the session, and is hung up by cunning of young Spencer and Talmadge to public odium, at least until the middle or latter end of next session.
The Speaker seems to have leaned strongly to this course, and has formed strong and explicit opinions unfavorable to the character of the judge. Of the correctness of these opinions I am not capable of judging. Under such circumstances it will hardly be possible for Mr. Monroe to call him to the Cabinet.
There is no person in the Western country qualified for the place, nor, in fact, does there seem to be any person anywhere who presents himself under an imposing attitude.
Present me respectfully to Mrs. Gallatin and to every member of your family, and accept for yourself the assurance of my highest regard.
I remain yours, &c.
GALLATIN TO RICHARD RUSH, UNITED States MINISTER IN ENGLAND.
PARIS, June 3, 1818. DEAR SIR,-Your letter of the 18th ult. has been duly received. Reports similar to that which you communicate had also reached me from other quarters; but I think that I have been able to trace them to their source, and that they must be ascribed to the cupidity of persons formerly concerned in privateers, and who wished to be ready to prey on our commerce in case of hostilities taking place between us and Spain. However unwise the councils of that country may be, we can hardly suppose that folly should go the length of commencing war at this moment against the United States. Such a measure being also in direct opposition to the present policy of the great European powers, would certainly be prevented by them. But, indeed, every step lately taken by Spain evinces a disposition to preserve peace with us. Mr. Meade's liberation, and the motives assigned for it, the determination to cede Florida to us, though not on admissible terms, an application made to France (since our rejection of the mediation of Great Britain) that she should interpose her good offices, and various other occurrences, might be adduced as evidences of that disposition. If you add to these the critical situation of Spain with respect to all her American colonies and the still doubtful issue of her protracted negotiations with Portugal, it appears almost impossible that there should be any solid foundation for those rumors of an approaching rupture with us, which have been spread both in England and in France.
As to Great Britain, there will be great difficulties in obtaining any reasonable arrangement either for the colonial trade, the fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or maritime rights. Yet, so far as I can judge, it appears to me that there is at this time in the government of that country a more favorable disposition towards the United States than had existed at any former period. At all events, they have not for the present any wish to quarrel with us.
Here everything goes also, for the present, better than had been expected. Having myself little, I might almost say nothing, to do for our country, I have leisure enough to observe what is done by others. Of that little the prosecution of our claims for spoliations constitutes the greater and most irksome part; and, as indirectly connected with that subject, I should wish to know whether we have altogether abandoned our claims against Great Britain for spoliations committed under her orders in council.
This letter will be delivered to you by Mr. Baring, with whom I have been long personally acquainted. You will find him a true and loyal Englishman, but perfectly well informed on the subject of America, and with more friendly and liberal dispositions towards her than any of his countrymen, at least within the circle of my acquaintance.
I have the honor to be, with great and sincere respect, dear sir, your most obedient servant.
GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS. No. 79.
Paris, 20th July, 1818. SIR, I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 6, dated 22d of May last, informing me of the intention of the President to commit jointly to Mr. Rush and to me the trust of a negotiation with the government of Great Britain. The full power which was announced, and without which the negotiation cannot be opened, was not, however, transmitted along with your despatch.
Mr. Rush's letters of 2d and 6th instant, and my answer of the 13th, copies of which are enclosed, will show all that has as yet passed on the subject. I infer that if he finds Lord Castlereagh not disposed to treat on the other subjects, and willing only to prolong for some time longer the existing convention, my presence will not be deemed necessary. No effort, in the event of a negotiation, will be wanted on my part to promote its success; but with its difficulties no one is better acquainted than the President and yourself.
Permit me, in the mean while, to request you to express to