The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview
at Washington two days after Bryant wrote this letter. Schlesinger, Age of Jackson, pp. 5-6.

206. To Gulian C. Verplanck

New York Feb 27 1829.

Dear Sir.

Having a spare moment I think I cannot employ it better than in taking you to task for letting Gen. Jackson make so bad a cabinet. 1 Van Buren is very well--but how comes Ingham to be the Secretary of the Treasury? It does not signify to say that he is not exactly in favour of the Tariff as it now stands--he is a tariff-man, infected with the leaven of the American System. 2 Then as for capacity I should judge from what I have seen of him in letters and speeches that he is no great matter. We are very much inclined to grumble here at the appointment of Ingham. Eaton I have no doubt would have stood quite as high in the general estimation,--as to talent I mean--if he had never written the Life of Jackson. 3 Branch too is a man of whom we know little in this quarter, and that little does not give us a high opinion of him. Berrien's appointment will be highly satisfactory. 4 I allow the cabinet is as good as the last--the Treasury department is a little better filled--but where are the great men whom the General was to assemble around him--the powerful minds that were to make up for his deficiencies? Where are the Tazewells, the Livingstons the Woodburys, the McLanes &c? 5

How happens it that the [ Adams] administration papers are the first to announce this Cabinet and correctly too or nearly so? while our mouths are shut? Here we have a letter from Cambreleng 6 giving the arrangements--private as death--of which we are not to suffer a word to escape us--and on the very same day the American and Commercial both get letters from Washington which they publish, announcing the very same arrangement without the least variation. 7 I wonder who keeps the Jackson secrets so well at Washington? Who continues the admirable system by which the enemies of the President elect are informed of every thing that is going on while his friends are kept in the dark?

Your friend Mr. Baylies I saw when going on to Washington. I do not expect any thing for him from the new administration. Talents so resplendent as those of Genl. Eaton must throw those of the author of "Catullus," as Coleman named him into the shade. 8 Is Mr. Noah to be provided for? 9

I shall see you I suppose after the ceremonies and festivities of the coronation are over and then I shall hear your frank opinion of the new cabinet as I have given you mine. There is nothing new here of any importance. Barker swears that Riker must leave his office and confidently expects that he will be removed by an unanimous vote of the Senate.-- 10

We have had slippery weather here. Sands has been obliged to pass

-277-

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