fore the Senate for confirmation the following January, a contrived vote allowed Vice
President Calhoun, Van Buren's enemy, to cast the deciding vote, with the cry, "It
will kill him, sir, kill him dead."
Schlesinger, Age of Jackson, p. 55. But Verplanck's
was the shrewder prophecy. Many years later Bryant recalled: "I was in Washington,
dining with Mr. Verplanck, when the vote on this nomination was taken. As we were
at the table, two of the Senators . . . entered. Verplanck, turning to them, asked
eagerly: 'How has it gone?' Dickerson [of New Jersey], extending his left arm, with
the fingers closed, swept the other hand over it, striking the fingers open, to signify
that the nomination was rejected. 'There,' said Verplanck, 'that makes Van Buren President of the United States.'" "Verplanck," p. 224.
Daniel Todd Patterson ( 1786-1839) of New York had given Jackson vigorous
naval support at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. From 1828 to 1832 he served as
one of three naval commissioners.
Lewis Cass ( 1782-1866), governor of Michigan Territory, 1813-1831, and
Secretary of War, 1831-1836.
Robert Greenhow ( 1800-1854, William and Mary 1816, College of Physicians
and Surgeons 1821), a fellow-lecturer of Bryant's before the New York Athenaeum,
was then a state department translator.
William Taylor Barry ( 1785-1835, William and Mary 1803), former chief justice of Kentucky, dispensed Jackson's patronage. His operation of the post office, which
was later the subject of congressional investigation, has been termed "wretched." See Schlesinger, Age of Jackson, p. 66;
Van Deusen, Jacksonian Era, p. 35.
Georgetown, Maryland, settled in 1665, was not incorporated within the city of Washington until 1895.
Alexandria, Virginia, granted to the federal government in 1790-1791, was
returned to Virginia in 1846 at the request of its residents.
Probably David Bush, a staunch Democrat, who ran a tavern in his Pittsfield
Herman Melville "Arrowhead." Smith, Pittsfield, 11, 7, 94, 177.
Franklin E. Plummer (d. 1847), member of Congress from Mississippi, was a
brother-in-law of both Austin and Peter Rush Bryant. BDAC; Arthur to Sarah Bryant, March 5, 1834, BCHS. Congressman Plummer was at this time a radical Jackson-Democrat.
Schlesinger, Age of Jackson, pp. 207-208.
William Segar Archer ( 1789-1855), congressman from Virginia, 1820- 1835, and, later, United States senator, 1841-1847.
233. To John Howard Bryant
New York, February 19, 1832.
I have received several of your poetical compositions published in
the "Illinois Herald."
1 The lines on leaving the place of your nativity are
very well. Those addressed to Kate are flowing and easy, but with some
weak passages. The poem on winter also is unequal. The New Year's
address was, I suppose, like most things of the kind, written in haste. Indeed, it is a pity to spend much time on what is so soon laid by and utterly forgotten, or what cannot possibly interest the reader afterward.
As to the politics of the address, I think that, if they were not your own, I
should not have put them in verse. I saw some lines by you to the skylark.
Did you ever see such a bird? Let me counsel you to draw your images, in
describing Nature, from what you observe around you, unless you are
professedly composing a description of some foreign country, when, of