John M McCalla to Stephen F Austin, 10-06-1829

Summary: Henry Clay, the evil genius of Kentucky. Andrew Jackson.

Lexington October 6th 1829

My dear friend.

Just one year ago you wrote me a letter from Texas, by Mr Gregg, and now by the same gentleman I send a reply. I shall be glad to renew and to perpetuate our old friendship, which on my part, I assure you is undiminished. I never recall the happy days of boyhood, but you appear in the list of remembered friends, and many scenes which we enjoyed together are among the " greenest spots " in my recollections. Our female friends Eliza and Paulina, for whom we both had pretty strong penchants, I see occasionally, but that little " paradise " in which we were both sometimes admitted, is grown up with weeds, and its fair inhabitants transplanted to other scenes, and surrounded by other objects. The first you know married Thos A Marshall. She lives in Bourbon county, has 6 or 7 children, breeds like a rabbit, and looks almost as well as ever. Paulina was married to Brooks who died and she remained some years a widow, and 18 months since married a second time, to Capt. Maurice Langhorne who now keeps a large house of entertainment at Louisville. I saw her last week, she does not look so well as formerly, in consequence of a spell of fever. She is however pretty much the same, especially the tone of voice, and her lively agreable manner. Mrs January is still living, also her sister Sally (Mrs Todd). Jas. B January is barely living being much reduced by excessive intemperance. Mrs Todd has a large family. Will O Butler, who married Levi Todds sister, has no children. Nannette Price who married Tom Smith is also laughed at as childless, altho her husband is pretty generally blamed for it. I have heard several jokes against Smith coming from Mr Clay and the ladies of the family.

Mr Clay is now here with his family. He is in my opinion, the evil genius of Kentucky. He set in motion all the springs of discord, and keeps society in a continual excitement. He appeared as counsel at the trial [of] Wickliffe's son for the murder of the editor of the Gazette, and volunteered on the occasion, and has not appeared in any other case before or since. He has been lately on trip to the lower part of this state making speeches at dinner parties and keeping all his engines in motion against Genl Jackson. As for the President, he goes on as he has always heretofore done, attentive to his duty, and making all under him do their duty. His health has been somewhat injured by confinement but a visit to the seashore restored his health, and he is now progressing rapidly in the reform of the abuses which existed in the administration. It is melancholy fact, that great abases had grown up, and many who wore the front of honesty were guilty of great dishonesty and peculation. Party spirit still runs high, and the growlings of the storm are still heard although its main fury was exausted in the late election, Genl Jackson, if he lives, will be re-elected as President.

I am sorry to pereieve that Mexico is again exposed to foreign war as well as intestine divisions. We are all anxious to purchase Texas from Mexico, and the subject is beginning to excite a great deal of warm discussion in our public prints. If Mexico will dispose of it on reasonable terms, I believe our government will no doubt be glad to obtain it, and I am sure it will meet the almost universal desire of our citizens. The consequences to the holders of property in Texas would be very important, and it would promote the happiness and prosperity of all the citizens of the province. A great many citizens of Kentucky would move to your settlement instantly, if it were under our government.

In relation to your last and most important particular, to wit the widow, I can safely say that if you will come on here, and plead your own cause I can point out to you both maids and widows, who would make your heart go pit apat, and who would doubtless be willing to emigrate to any part of the known world with clever fellows. Only let me know that you will pay us a visit and I will arrange matters and things so far as, that if you can be satisfied with beauty, good temper, and affectionate dispositions, you shall have a fair opportunity to lay siege forthwith. I should indeed be truly glad to see you here once more, and to shew you my four children, my eldest a boy going on thirteen years of age, and my youngest a girl (I have two of each) about 13 months old. Two of them are talking to me and playing round me and far as their prattle can go, disturbing me.

Wishing you that success and prosperity, which your interprize and industry so well deserve, I am as "in auld lang syne' Your affectionate friend

JnĀ° M. McCalla

S. F. Austin Esqr Texas.