Letter to William Collamer, January 19, 1859

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Washington City Jan 9. 1859William,

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I have recd. yours of the 4th inst. As to the pension bill I must Sustain it as I cannot divert the old soldiers, of whom my state contains such numbers but there is no probability of its passage in the Senate, in my opinion.

I think the tariff may receive some modification even this Session, but of the adoption of specific duties, so much needed by our manufacturers, I believe there is no prospect.

The Pacific Rail Road which the Senate is still travelling, will yet occupy much time but no bill will pass. The majority of the Senate cannot agree on a plan and a place.

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There are before us two or three topics which will elicit a debate of feeling. One is the subject of the African Slave Trade. Another & kindred subject, the bill to pay for the Amistad negroes, which I opposed thirteen years ago. An old worn out topic but all the young members must exhibit their fidelity & zeal upon it.

I told your Uncle George a year since that I believed the offer & land by Montpelier would fix the building of the State House on them. That although the people would not vote on them yet when it could be said "it was their own offer", it would furnish a ground for selfishness to profit, by & for demagogues to ride upon. It is all wrong for the State & its people to avail itself of the fears of Montpelier thus to buy a forced contribution for a State House.

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We have had a Christmas vacation but it rained almost the whole time & was out but little, so I had time to get off all the Documents I had here for distribution. I have just recd. a large box of garden seeds &c. which I must get off as soon as I am able as I expect more documents as well as seeds soon. Little leisure.

I had hoped that after the abolishing reviews Judge Redfield would be able to command the Docket & keep it clean or very near it & I regret to hear otherwise. It creates public dissatisfaction & is an injury to the legal profession, though they may view it otherwise.

On consultation with me Mr. Foot introduced a Joint Resolution to give construction to the bounty land law as to Plattsburgh Volunteers, agreeable to the Resolutions of our Legislature at its last Session. The Committee to which it was referred have been reported against it. I know not as we can do more.

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Nothing has thus far been said or done on the Bankrupt Bill.

I presume the temporary rise on wool is in part owing to the belief that something is to be done with the tariff. It will however remain up until near the next shearing time. It is a rise among the wool dealers for no benefit, to farmers whose wool is almost entirely sold.

Burrows of Vernon, who was on here with Kellogg last summer, as I told you, with a revolving cannon, writes me he is coming here this month with one on a large scale, that is, with a 24 pounder.

Very few here from Vermont this winter. I have not seen Judge Rockwell this winter, though I think he is in the city.

The decisions of the court of claims seem to hardly help the claims along much in Congress. They are passed very slow.

I return to you my Proxy for Judge Porter.

My love to all at home - AffectionatelyYour Father