Administration of our government is the true source of the evils
March 28, 1840
Joseph Cummins was 42 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Joseph Wallace, was 53 when it was received.
Joseph Cummins died 41 years, 2 days after writing this.
It was written 180 years, 10 months, ago.
It was a Saturday.
28th March 1840
I received your favor of the 18th inst. giving us pleasing intelligence of the health of your family &c. I have not delayed to comply with your wish to hear from us, and as a prelude to my communication; will give an idea, which presses itself upon my mind, from the time & period, our lives have been extended to, viz 1840. The wheels of time were not made to roll backward, every thing presses on towards eternity; since the birth of time an impetuous current has set in, which bears all men towards that interminable ocean, and whilst many of our friends and dear relatives have gone down the current and disappeared, still we sail buoyantly upon the stream. I am pleased to have it in my power to say that our family are in usual health & have been for the past year, and I may add that as a family, we have enjoyed better health in Ohio, than we did in the Juniata country [of Pennsylvania]. As to myself, my health is feeble & generally worst in the winter. A warm climate I think would suit me best.
Our three boys are going to school & learning tolerably well. Reynolds is the most active & energetick. John is rather disposed to be indolent, but likes to know the why and wherefores for opinions.
We are still engaged in Merchandizing, tanning, & farming — have done a tolerable business, but the change of times has shut paw upon every kind of business here (except slaving) rendered it precarious & very uncertain, as to a remuneration for attention, investment of capital and labour. Our circulating medium is very scarce & much of it perfect trash; such as post notes, 12 months from date etc.
Anticipating these times, we have for a year past, been preparing to meet them, but they have come upon us rather soon, as we have not been able to collect our money, and now it is almost impossible to collect, as produce is literally worth nothing. However, I think we can wade out, without being much scathed. As to future prospects in business, I can only dwell upon hope. A change of the government, would add to confidence, give a better tone of feeling, & much receive the energies of worthy business men, and I look forward with flattering feelings as to the prospects of success in Harrison & Tyler [in] Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, & Kentucky. I think certain for them & Illinois very flattering.
I hope your opinions of Pennsylvania & final success may prove correct. The present times is making Whigs or Harrison & Tyler more rapidly than any other thing. Seeing & hearing may cause men to think & act discretely for a time, but feeling acutely as many of the people from the pressure, are wont to do, is bringing them up to the mark. The right key, I hope, has been struck that will make the music be heard, and re-echoed & responded to from the extremities of this blighted Republic, to its centre, and cause a people once free & prosperous, but now depressed, enslaved & chained to the car of (not democracy, but) despotism, to come up to the rescue & disentail themselves & their country from tyranny and oppression.
Democracy now is but a name,
A charm that Loco’s keep,
To lead their trusting dupes to shame,
And leave them there to weep.
I have said too much on a subject better understood by yourself, yet must add, that I don’t charge all the evils of the country upon the [Van Buren] Administration. Neither do I believe that a suitable change of our rules will effect the whole remedy, yet I believe that the mal-administration of our government is the true source of the evils. Corrupt government infects the people, hence the difficulty of the remedy under our system.
Our town & county has improved much since my time here, and this western country generally, has improved beyond anticipation. Towns have grown up, manufacturing establishments erected, handsomely improved farms made to meet the eye in every direction, and peace & plenty heretofore seemed to be the order of the day. Such improvements is the true wealth of the country, and with all the evils growing out of Banking, these institutions have given the means to produce this true wealth of the country.
One great objection to much of the West & western country, is the instability of things, constant fluctuation in population, which makes people unhappy & dishonest. It requires an eagle’s eye & frequently the lion’s heart to hold your own & obtain justice.
I have nearly filled a sheet with some kind of stuff, which can go for what it is worth. I do not expect to be east this spring, as business will not justify the purchase of goods to the extent we should buy, when at the expense of going to Philadelphia. Jane joins me in love to Mother, Sarah & your family.