City of Washington Jany. 7. 1839.
To whom shall I address this letter?
To Ann --
for in her letter last evening she
shewed (she did not intend it) that she was
a little touched, at not having had her
share. I was surprized to find that I had
not directed more letters to you, than to
either of the family, your Mother ex-
cepted. I had an impression that I had
sent you several. But enough of that.
I am writing this in the House, while
they are taking the Ayes & No's on a queer
petition. This is petition day, & we have
been emptying our drawers of abolition pe-
titions. I had three from the Ladies of Lynn --
one signed by 912 women. Mr Adams
has just presented one, praying that
Congress would remove the seat of Govt
to some place north of Washn. where the
principles of the Declaration of Independence
are not regarded as a mere historic- rhetorical
al occurenceflourish -- and he moved a refe-
rence to a special Committee. Upon
that up starts an Athertonian, as
on the table & upon that they are calling
the house -- a process which takes from
30 to 45 minutes. When Mr Adams rises, we
are on the qui viva, knowing that something
amusing or interesting will take place. He
is a strange man -- full of learning -- most
ardent in his temperament, with the most
perfectly phlegmatic manner you ever
saw. His passions seem incontroulable -- & yet
he he always has the most perfect self-com-
mand -- in one respect. He always knows what
he wishes & intends to say -- and he always con-
trives to say what he intends to. No fence can
be erected so high, that he cannot & will not
overleap it. He sets a bad example in this respect.
I believe I have before said that he might have
almost uncontrollable sway -- if he was (or were)
[this is no place for spelling or grammar] [or wri-
ting] more prudent & tractable, or practicable.
The "Ayes have it", & so the petition is laid upon
the Table, & there it will sleep, forever. The
old Gentleman is going on -- drawing out, one by
one petitions, from men, women & I suppose
upon every subject connected with slavery.
What will be the end of this? It is not
within mortal ken to perceive.
So you have had a horse & chaise
disaster. I am sorry. And yet I don't feel as
I should have done had the same accident
befallen the good, old comfortable nut-brown
chaise, in the days of its glory. That reminds
me of that interesting, lively, accomplished,
Elizabeth Handy, who was so early called away.
And that by the doctrine principle of association re-
minds me of Frank W. Saltonstall. He is
here, on some business for a foreign house.
He appears very well. He resides almost
constantly in England. He has lately had a
lawsuit for damages sustained by his wife
by upsetting of a stage, in the Allegany mountains
in which they recovered $7200 -- but he told
me he should get little or nothing of it. What
a blessed thing the Law is.
Queerer yet. The old Gentleman has
presented a petition praying that no one may be
appointed an Ambassador &c. who is not of pure
Anglo Saxon blood -- that there may be a standing com-
mittee appointed, to be called a "committee of
colour" to examine whether any members
of Congress and especially from the South have
& to expel t that they be instantly expelled
from the House. This is trifling -- contempta-
ble -- & has a tendency to degrade the subject
of petition. I am surprized that Mr Adams
should have called for the Ayes and No's.
Richard writes that he
& dear little "Will"
were ran away with too. This is bad. Was it
our horse? By the way I have not heard a word
from him since I left. How does he do? I should
like to see the noble animal. I have not rode
on horseback here. Something has prevented --
the weather, or engagements, & the roads here are
wreched, after you get out of the City.
I have not voted on this question & it is
first time I have declined. I hate to do it. I
could not vote to receive such a petition &
I do not like to vote against it -- & there is no
need of it. There are very few votes for it.
This is a dull day in the House -- but
brighter out of doors than it has been for
some time. I feel the better for it. It ought
not to be so but a long continuance of dull wea-
ther affects ones spirits, in spite of ones self.
Mr. Cushing has just asked me for "another pin" --
but I can't find my pin-cush'n (a pun?). Suppose
you send one on by mail. He is always writing &
working, & pinning papers together, & striving in some
way or other for some thing or other. He is a man of great
industry & great knowledge. The petition is rejected
& the old man is at it -- moving for printing &c.! He is going on
with petitions. He is certainly one of the class of [... notables?] .
The Supe. Court will meet today. I'm glad -- shall see Judge