James Monroe to William Crawford, 1823 August 29
Oak hill Augt 29th. 1823.
I have several letters from you, which I will endeavor to answer, in this, for the mail of this morning. I concur in the view suggested in yours, of the 25th, respecting the construction of the act, of the last session, concerning the disbursement of the public money, & have intimated the same to Mr. Brent.
The course suggested respecting Henry, I approve, waiting the information requested & expected soon, respecting the witness Osborne; tho even that delay, appears, to me, to be doubtful, as the information will come, either from Mr. Clarke, or some of his friends. The reference of the subject by Congress, to the Executive, seems to require special notice, and none can be taken of it, more suitable, than by the institution of a new enquiry, in the manner suggested, compelling Clarke to summon all the parties, & enjoining it on the d. Attorney, to obtain their attendance, giving notice also to Henry to attend himself. The question involving the integrity of the collector, in an affair of money should be left open, to every the most rigid inquiry, even for the interest of the Collector himself. Whether, a notice of this proceeding, in the Intelligencer, & to Henry to attend, at an appointed day, the enquiry, will not be expedient you will consider. If given, it should be drawn with care, and stated as the order of the Executive, on the reference by the H. of Reps., with your signature.
Mr Forman, I think is his name, recommended by Mr Hamilton of Charlestown & others, had better be immediately appointed in the room of Judge Lucas who has declind the office of Comr. for Florida land claims. I have written to Mr Brent to that effect.
I see no objection to the appointment, of Mr Sherborn as naval officer, at Portsmouth, to succeed, Mr Hall, as suggested by Mr Thompson.
I have written also to Mr Brent to issue a commissn as D.A. to Mr Wash, in the room of Mr. Barton. It is, I think, the most advisable course at this time, advised as we are, respecting affrs there.
The affair of Col: Decatur, has given me, much concern. With him I have little acquaintance, but believe him to be a man of honor, with strong & violent passions, hurrying him beyond his judg-ment. In the affair of Captn. Evans, I disapprovd his conduct, yet imputing to him, no bad motive, I did not intend his removal, nor did the order he recd. remove him. It translated him to Portsmouth, in the same station he held at N. York, with an implication, that his conduct had not been approvd, tho, without entering into that question. He came here, a day or two, after my arrival, to remonstrate against the measure, shewing me Mr Thompson's letter, which in truth I had not before seen. I had no alternative, than to be explicit & frank with him, declaring, that I had disapprovd his conduct in the case in question, & had directed that sentiment to be expressd, but for the reason above stated, that the only measure deemed necessary, was his removal to another station: that I could make no change in that respect; but that if he, acted with propriety at Portsmouth, he should be sustaind, while he chose to remain in the service, or at least while I did. I assurd him of the high respect & regard which I had entertaind for his brother, and of the satisfaction, I should derive, under circumstances permitting it, to give him a proof of my good wishes to him. Thus he left me. My wish is, that he may go to Portsmouth, for he cannot remain, at N:York, with any satisfaction to himself or advantage to the service.
Mrs Monroe's health is much as it was when we left Washington. My hope is that she will be able to go with me to Albemarle, in which case, we shall set out thither, on monday or tuesday next. We are glad to hear that Mrs Crawford & your children are recovering from their indisposition—
With very sincere regard dear sir yours