Daniel Webster Anticipates Jackson's Arrival in Washington, D.C., 1829

From Daniel Webster, The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster. Vol. I, Fletcher Webster, ed., Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1857, p. 466-68.

Washington, January 17, 1829.

Dear Ezekiel,--The enclosed will give you a brief of all that is to be said of the state of things here.

      I came here on the 12th, after a severe cold journey. But three judges are yet here; we expect a fourth to-night, and I must go into court on Monday. Not much is doing in the Senate. . . .

[Enclosed in letter dated January 17, 1829]

      General Jackson will be here about 15th February.

      Nobody knows what he will do when he does come.

      Many letters are sent to him; he answers none of them.

      His friends here pretend to be very knowing; but he assured, not one of them has any confidential communication from him.

      Great efforts are making to put him up to a general sweep, as to all offices; springing from great doubt whether he is disposed to go it.

      Nobody is authorized to say, whether he intends to retire after one term of service.

      Who will form his cabinet is as well known at Boston as at Washington.

      The present apparent calm is a suspension of action, a sort of syncope, arising from ignorance of the views of the President elect.

      My opinion is, that when he comes he will bring a breeze with him. Which way it will blow I cannot tell.

      He will either go with the party, as they say in New York, or go the whole hog, as it is phrased elsewhere, making all the places he can for friends and supporters, and shaking a rod of terror at his opposers.

      Or else he will continue to keep his own counsels, make friends and advisers of whom he pleases, and be President upon his own strength.

      The first would show boldness where there is no danger, and decision where the opposite virtue of moderation would be more useful. The latter would show real nerve, and if he have talents to maintain himself in that course, true greatness.

      My fear is stronger than my hope.

      Mr. Adams is in good health, and complains not at all of the measure meted out to him.

      Mr. Clay's health is much improved, and his spirits excellent. He goes to Kentucky in March, and, I conjecture, will be pressed into the next House of Representatives. His chance of being at the head of affairs is not better, in my judgment, than ever before.

      Keep New England firm and steady, and she can make him President if she chooses.

      Sundry important nominations are postponed, probably to know General Jackson's pleasure.

      The above contains all that is know here, at this time.

Daniel Webster

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