War in Oregon, Florida's impact on election,
Dec. 30, 1845
Joshua Bell Fry was 34 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Thomas Helms, was 60 when it was received.
Joshua Bell Fry died 24 years, 7 months, 18 days after writing this.
It was written 174 years, 3 months, ago.
It was a Tuesday.
30th Dec. 1845
Thomas Helm, Esq.
Your very much esteemed favor of the 24 Inst. came to hand last night. I should have written oftener to you than I have but for illness. Not having had even my comparative health since my arrival here, until a few days. I hope I am regaining both strength & health.
I am surprised at the delay of the messages which I sent, for I was among the most fortunate for getting my messages at my table whilst I was reading—and during that time franked a number and if I mistake not yours among that number.
I am not surprised at Capt. Kincaid’s notions about Oregon or anything else that he poor fellow does or says or thinks. For the desire for office is so great that he would swear the devil was a saint if he could thereby advance his views.
One peg: A war in relation to Oregon would be a shameful war—as the Mission now stands—But I have no fear of war, tho as I wrote you a few days ago, there is here among many knowing men a prevailing apprehension of war. The whole bluster of Polk is a political maneuver and intended merely as indications of his willingness again to be President and an effort to gain the jockey word about war—as war with the unthinking masses is always popular. My own notions are that we should declare for Oregon, up to the 49 degree in accordance with propositions of compromise heretofore made—and declare is speeches and writings that we will not yield an inch—and talk as loudly about a war with Oregon as any of the unterrified democracy—as to fighting for that slip of country between 49 & 54 degrees it is an absurdity and worse a most infamous affair. I will make the inquiries in relation to Dr. Masil and let you know there results.
In relations to matters in the 4 Congressional district, I can only say to you what Lane said in person—I have no purpose of making the next contest—But this is so far ahead that it is easily to speak of it now.
Gov. Letcher as you say is employed by the Owsleys in the divorce—It is a judicious; aye a masterly stroke and leaves the passage of the measure. Letcher has been very kind to me since here, has written several letters to persons in my behalf. Among the number one to Gen. Scott which secured me an invitation to dinner—Owing to illness, I was unable to attend and the next day or day after, the Gen. called in person to see me. His (Letcher’s popularity here is astonishing. Congress is still doing nothing as I learn for I have not been in the House for three weeks (next Thursday)—but talk about “native Americanism”. As soon as the holidays are over—work will begin. It is believed that Calhoun will lead off in a set speech against war. He has said as much privately to his friends. The President & Cabinet have been assiduous in their attentions to him since his arrival, hoping it is laid that he may be prevented from deploying too openly & heavily against the war part of the [?]—I have urged of Mr. Crittenden to write and prepare at length his views on Oregon—He has promised to do so. It would do much good in Ky. at least & help Crittenden in his ulterior profits.—But the Whigs can only for the present hold their own- and bide their time dissentions & divisions will spring up.
The South don’t relish a war with England accompanied by a servile insurrection—The Committee on Elections have agreed to report for Cabal in the contested election from Florida—tho their decision is not yet made public—They laid down certain several principals as to the legality of certain votes which they were assumed would give Brockenbrough (the Demo) the seat—but when the principles were carried out Cabal has majority of 10 close clipping this for a whole state since the discovery the party are endeavoring to have new principles of count laid down but those these is a majority of democrats on committee—two of them refuse to change. I still think they will turn Cabal out. The politics of Florida depend to some extent on the result.
A Mrs. Alexander Gale is writing to me from [?] about a pension. She has no proof. Please inform me what you know about her case—as I would like to help her.
Love to Mary & children & Mrs. Helm
Joshua F. Bell