Wn. Decr. 8 -1839.
My Dear Wife,
It is sunday noon -- I have just
turned from the Capitol, where I have heard
a very beautiful & eloquent discourse from
President Nott, of Union College Schenectady.
He obtained celebrity when quite a young man,
by a brilliant discourse upon the ever to be
lamented death of Genl Hamilton. It was
spread through the Country. No one could
read it without emotion. I remember just
where I was, in what is now Cousin
Nancy's chamber (to whom give my
love) when I read it, & how I felt. It
filled me with admiration of for the talents
& services of Hamilton, & with abhorrence
of the practice -- the crime -- of duelling, which
I have ever since had. He is now an old man.
There he stood -- with his grey locks -- in that
hall which for a week has been filled with
excited debate & party strife, preaching
to those who were the actors & agitators &
to a crowded assembly, upon death.
the excitement, and that we should wit-
ness its effects, in our subsequent meetings.
But how evanescent are these impressions!
How soon they pass away! How quickly they
yield to others, produced by circumstances
immediately around us. The preacher had
scarcely pronounced his benediction -- when I
heard a murmur in every direction --"Genl.
Harrison is nominated at Harrisburg". I walked
down with Gov. Lincoln -- whom I love to meet --
& after a passing tribute of approbation to the ser-
mon, the nomination was the subject of conversa-
tion. As we passed along the Avenue, we met
at short intervals little parties talking & could
hear the words "Clay" -- "Scott" -- "Harrison" & often
with expressions of surprize. "You have a letter
from Harrisburg" said a friend. I have taken
it for you". Lawrence's head is out of his
window --"Come up here". We went. There
were Granger -- & Hoffman & others. My letter
from Duncan & the journal of the Conven-
tion were read -- and we all resolved, that
fied, that it was the best we could do, in the
divided state of opinion in the whig party. But
how unfortunate for our Country, that we
should be so divided, when a change of rulers
seems to me to be so important. I sometimes
think it is essential to the continuance of our
prosperity, if not of the Republic itself. I
was disgusted -- discouraged with yesterdays
proceedings in the House -- so confused -- so vul-
gar. There we go -- & pass day after day, &
seem to be no nearer to the organization,
than when we met last Monday. How
long we are to remain so, I know not. The
right to of the N. Jersey members to their
seats seems to me so clear, that I would keep
on so, during the whole Congress, rather than
yield. No man -- no constitutional lawyer
can doubt about it. But party -- party --
miserable party spirit pollutes & poisons
every thing here. Excuse me -- I am
writing to you, as if you were a politician.
It is poor business for us rough & every day
creatures, men -- your sex is elevated or ought
party strife. There is nothing new here.
Every thing is out of joint. The usual course
has been to organize the house -- to appoint
committees on wednesday or thursday & then
to adjourn to monday. Friday & saturday
have been devoted to leaving cards &c
But nothing of this has been done.
What will be the state of Society here,
this winter -- I know not --probably as here-
tofore. Many members of Congress have
their families, or part of them here, & I
have no doubt but there are many
very fine Ladies among them. I have
not made a single call. I met
Mr. Nichols--the painter -- just now, & am
to take him to the Unitarian Church, this
evening. He is going to Savannah. I sup-
pose most of the delegates to Harrisburg will
visit Washington. It is now nearly
two o'clock. Your church bell will ring
in a few minutes, and I [say?] hear your notice
from one to another, that it is time to get ready.
be interested & instructed, and may the blessing of Heaven
attend us all while we are separated & bring us together again
in health & peace. Ever ys.