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ADVENTURES IN POLITICS IN FLORIDA
113. WESTCOTT, JR., JAM4ES D. One of the first United States Senators from Florida.
Autograp~ Letter Signed, 2 1/4 pages, 4to, Tallahasse August 28, 18450 .0 David Levy, the state's other first Senator.
A startling communication between the Florida's first two United States Senators, then both Senators-elect. Closely written in a tiny hand and filled with the rough-and-tumble politics of the day; more normal writing would occupy four times the paper.
Westcott has started by stating his opposition to the removal of the U. S. Surveyor General's office from St. Augustine to Tallahassee (symptomatic of a fragmented Florida); the move was being
supported by President Polk and Col. Robert Butler, Andrew Jackson's aide in the transfer of Florida from Spain. He has then gone on to a lengthy tirade against William P. Duval, commented on
the contested election for Florida's lone House seat, returned to the relative merits of Tallahassee and St. Augustine for the Surveyor General's office, and in a postscript envisioned his service with Levy in the Senate where they took their seats on 1 December 1845. A fierce Democratic partisan, Westcott was the Florida Whig party's least favorite opponent for the second Senate seat.
Regarding Butler "...there is nothing that I could do with... propriety that I would not cheerfully do for the honest old patriot. I love and honor the old man for his Jacksonian democracy ..but in this matter I disagree... the President.. .desires to remove the office back to Tallahassee & I should like to conform to his wishes also, but twice has the Floridian in articles... .written by me... commendedd the removal to the East and I cannot. ..whistle another tune to please anybody... the removal... .will do us harm in the East. Gov. Duval is doing his best to excite Eastern sectional feeling against Brockenbrough and to get up another candidate.
Read the article signed "Franklin" in the St. Augustine Herald it has his ear mark... .his course in politics national and local
show him to be one of the most depraved political harlots that eve... .disgraced any party. He was in 1816 an U.S. Bank man.....as
Governor he vetoed all the Territorial Bank charters till 1833 when he approved the Union Bank... the most abominable of them all
...e,.. lauded it as the very paragon of bank charters.. .he went for John Q. Adams in 1824, 5, 6, 7, & 8 &then for Gen. Jackson... he tried to satisfy Jackson, Van Buren &Calhoun all three of' them ..that he was his... .devoted friend. In 1840 he denounced Van Buren and returning to Florida... sold himself to the Union Bank for money & ran as one of its candidates for the Territorial Senate and stumped.., this district for Harrison... the old prostitute raised money from... candidates for office in 1841 to go to Washington and secure their appointments, which he has never repaid ... so too the Union Bank paid him for attending to her interests... .he will raise the very devil if this office is removed...it will afford him ground to prate about the 'Tallahassee clique'. ..as an evidence of our grasping all the offices &c. If the President thinks the office should be removed... .don't let it be done, if you can help it till after the October elections. It may endanger
it...I expect.. .Call's son-in-law is poisoning the ears of the President and others he knew in Tennessee with repect to you & myself... .Call has written a very foolish letter about the Florida Democracy for which I lashed him in the Floridian a week or two since. He is a defunct politician...4'"
"Don't be afraid I shall quarrel with you about any of the offices. If you make mistakes I shall only ask to credit myself against those I may make in any and every matter. My mistake acct. will be greater than yours, i.e. I shall make the most."
Possibly a retained copy. Minor mounting residue on fourth (blank) page, otherwiise mostly fine, and an insight into what Florida politics were like when a U. S. Senator-elect denounces a former Governor and leading figure as a "depraved harlot" and "old prostitute" in a letter to his colleague. Westcott had been associated with Duval, and served under him as Territorial Secretary.
SIX PAGES BY GEN. WILLIAM J. WORTH
114. WORTH, WILLIAM J. Commander in Florida, later a General.
Autograph Letter Signed twice (once with initials) 6 pages, Fort King, June 27, 1841. To Major E. A. Hitchcock, aide to the Secretary of War.
In his diary, Hitchcock, close to the daily operation of the War Department, was highly critical of Worth, although he claimed to have recommended him for the Florida command, which Worth had assumed a month previous. In this long letter, he has reported to Hitchcock on his doings. I.. intended to leave in the morning for one of the operating detachts. on the Withlacoochee, shall however delay... for Cooper who reports his arrival today at Palatka. Knowing the man & my confidence in him, you can well imagine my regret at the loss of Wright. I shall grant him a few days leave; he will see you at Washington & give you all details. I
pray you introduce him to the favorable notice of the Secy. I hope to give you cheering news in a few weeks ... it comenced raining after 75 days' drought, on the 1st & has fallen in torrents every Day since. It is favorable- for my water expeditions but makes wretched marching. I have hopes of getting some Indians but
if we f ail the ef fort will be good in teaching them that we can & will follow them in summer as. well as winter & I think quicken their alacrity to come in ... I beg you after careful examination to tell me frankly what you think of my plans & operation & to the
Secy. say, if not successful, I do not spare myself to discover it. Is.. .Mr. Preston the patron of ___- it can hardly be!"
"A friend ... asks, 'Have you been disrespectful to Mr. Bell?' The idea is monstrous... I1 do remember. .. to have remarked.. .that when in opposition he had like most western men opposed the Army,
adding, that as a cabinet minister he would most probably take a more statesmanlike view of things... I1 do not like to be misunderstood by a gentleman... in regard to furloughs, have me let alone on that head, except in case of sickness.. .let none granted by me be regarded as a favor or compliment until I rid the House of D-rnes...-