So devoted did he become that it would have been impossible for General Jackson to strain the executive prerogative to such an extent as to alienate Mr. Blair. And the principle inaugurated by Jackson, of rewarding political partisans with public office, which has since been an almost insurmountable obstacle in the path of civil service reform, met with Mr. Blair’s hearty support because it was Jackson’s act.
The correspondence, to which reference has been made, began very shortly after Mr. Blair arrived in Washington, and while Mrs. Gratz was visiting in Philadelphia; and the archness and raillery of some of the letters will be better appreciated if one keeps in mind the fact that his correspondent was, as she herself expresses it in one of her letters, “a violent Clay woman.”
Washington City, December 12, 1830.
After you left we took our position at Parson Brown’s, and were agreeably disappointed in our hostess, with whom I had so much difficulty to make fair weather. She has become quite a friend, full of kindness and civility. But no sooner did we clear the cloud from her brow than we found one to settle on our own.
We had a fine room assigned, which looked extremely well, but upon trial it smoked so intolerably that we were obliged to look out for other quarters; so I crossed the street to Mr. Skinner’s, where we are now settled, I think, for some time.
We have a very nice parlor and two comfortable bedrooms, well furnished (fuel found us), for $800 per annum. The people are very decent, good souls, Yankees albeit. They are obliging, and seem willing to provide whatever I desire, and I am satisfied. I have been to a party at Macomb’s and Mr. Register Smith’s, a relative of mine, who entertains in the highest style imaginable.
Think you I did not go to another twelve o’clock supper at seven? But then I had the word of the host to come at seven o’clock, and so I went—to the hour; but the genteel, who know what’s what, and that seven means eleven, did not make their appearance for some hours after your humble servant.
I find that the great folks come in according to degree: Senators and Representatives made their entrée about nine, Barry, Eaton, etc., about ten, Baron Stackelburgh about half after ten, Secretary Van Buren and the British minister upon the stroke of eleven. What think you of your Buckskin gentleman at seven? Well, I behaved very well among the canvas-back ducks, the turkeys without bones, the oysters and the quails. I made them all quail before me. I drank Rhenish and Flemish, sherry and champagne, and discussed madeira whose mark on the mouth made it upwards of twenty years of age. I tried chocolate custards and jellies of all sorts, and a variety of things that I could not find out after trying them. I beat Van Buren at hucre, as Mr. Vaughan called it, and then outjoked his majesty’s plenipo with admirable impudence. So much for wine. The good-humored minister seemed to take a liking to me, and desired me to put him down as a subscriber to The Globe. I told him I would send it to him as an apt emblem to be presented to the representative of a nation standing in Europe, and grasping the Canadas in one hand and the Indies in the other. I came home with a sad headache, and rose this morning with those fashionable feelings which make a man fashionable and miserable. I must give up The Globe or the beau monde.