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Johnson, Andrew (1808-1875) to D. J. Patterson

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00324 Author/Creator: Johnson, Andrew (1808-1875) Place Written: Washington D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 23 January 1858 Pagination: 4 p. ; 21.2 x 17.3 cm

Summary of Content: Discusses appointments and mentions helping a mutual friend, John H. Craff and that the appointment of a "John Hural (?) a route agent on the Va [and] E Tenn Rail Road amounts to nothing..." Writes that he is "inclined to think though [James Buchanan] has much more strength through the country than he has in Congress..." and that Buchanan "needs will and decision of character while he seems to have a good deal of it in conversation! but he is timed and hesitating in practice..." Assesses Stephen Douglas's future within the Democratic party. "[Douglas] was of the opinion that he could...identify himself with the antislavery feeling of the north and at the same time hold onto his strength in the South, but instead of doing this he has failed in both..." Last two pages are attached to a border.

Background Information: Buchanan was a Democratic-Republican Representative and later Democratic Senator of Pennsylvania who served from 1821-1846. He became the fifteenth President and was nominated in 1856 largely because he was in England ...during the Kansas-Nebraska debate and thus remained untainted by either side of the issue. Douglas was largely responsible for the Compromise of 1850 that apparently settled slavery issues. However in 1854 he reopened the slavery question by the highly controversial Kansas Nebraska Act that allowed the people of the new territories to decide for themselves whether or not to have slavery (which had been prohibited by earlier compromises). See More

Full Transcript: Washington City
Jan 23d 1858

Hon D.J. Patterson
Dear Sir
Your letter of the 16 th inst was received by last nights mail - Since I reached Washington City I have ...made T reasonable effort to procure some appointment which I thought would [said] our mutual friend John, H, Naff, but so far have been unable to accomplish any thing for him - As to the appointment of John Near al a route agent on the Va & E Town Road [Roudamounts] to nothing - Caywood Blair & McKee united in an application to to the P.M. Genl to have him appointed on assistance to them and at their expense for the time - The P.M. Genl in making the appointment render the law was compelled to [post] the salary which he did at ten dollars per month and made the appointments for [2] four months only, leaving all the rest of the teams option to be arranged between the parties - I thought that Naff would not be willing to accept of the appointment upon the terms it is made and let the
matter go as T has - My own opinion is, that if there is another route agent appointed on that road that it can be protected for him, yet there has been no definite assurance given on the part of
the P.M.Genl - Hon A.G. Watkins tells me that he will do T that he can when there is any chance to do any thing for him - All that I can do at the present is to give it as an opinion that
there can be something [sane] for him - There is not a man in that Cox garrisoned district who T
would take more pleasure in serving than him and T that I will have it in my power to do so in
a a
the end - he is T clever fellow and T democrat in principle.
There is not much going on here, more than what you see in the papers of the day - Mr
Buchanan is T very weak man in the two Houses of [3] Congress - In fact there seem to be very few M.C. devoted to the fortunes of the Administration - As yet there are none willing to come up and make any sacrifice for it - Mr B. does not attach men to him personally and has no strength outside of the mere force of party organization. I am inclined to think though that he has much more strength through the country than he has in Congress, and it is not decided enough there to make the Members stand close up to call his moves - In regard to democratic measures generally he is entirely too conservative with a pretty fair proportion of [illegible] - He
needs will and decision of character while T seems to have a good deal of it in conversation, but he is timid and hesitating in practice - I hope that there will after a little be a much better feeling in Congress and the country in regard to the administration - Douglass move has injured the
Administration some: but I think it will pass off and in the end do him T more harm than the Democratic party - If Douglas intended [4] to bolt and I think he did, he could not have selected a better time than he did for the party - He was of the opinion that he could make the pleasure and identify himself with the antislavery feeling of the north and at the same time hold on to his
strength in the South, but instead of doing this he has failed T both and as the thing now stands
now a
he is perfectly flat - [He] my [illegible] no one can tell; but as the matter T stands, he is T dead
I fear
cock in the pit - From all that I see in the papers and what I hear T that the democratic party so far as the Legislation is concerned is very near broken up in [illegible] - and what her future condition will be is somewhat absurd to [illegible] at this time - Could Johnson and Banks will and have done it more harm than any thing else and it would be a good thing if we were clever of
both at least for the present - Give T [hand] to Martha, and accept assurances of my high esteem -
Andrew Johnson
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People: Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875
Douglas, Stephen Arnold, 1813-1861
Buchanan, James, 1791-1868

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Democratic PartyOffice SeekerRailroadPoliticsPresidentCongressGovernment and CivicsSlaveryAbolitionReform MovementAfrican American HistoryVice President

Sub Era:

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