Transcribed by the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections, Carlisle, PA
Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from the James Buchanan Papers at the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections.
Private & Confidential
Washington 11 August 1860
My dear Sir/
I have received your favor of the 5th. Instant & in acknowledging it embrace the opportunity of expressing my warm & sincere acknowledgments to the Journal of Commerce for the able & valuable support which it has voluntarily given to my administration.
In regard to Mr. Comstock: - the difficulties of retaining him in office, I can assure you, are almost insurmountable. I do not indulge a proscriptive spirit & have not removed one in twenty of the Douglas office holders. His father in-law (Cutts) & his brother-in-law (Granger) are still in lucrative offices in this City & I have no present intention of removing either. There are peculiar cases, however, which I cannot overlook & it appears to me that Mr. Comstock is within this category. Whilst holding one of the best offices in my gift he is at the same time, as you state as you say "at the head of the leading Democratic organ" of your State. This organ not only does not sustain the principles of my administration but is in direct antagonism to them. It maintains political doctrines in violation of the Constitution of the United States as expounded by the Supreme Court. Without Unless these doctrines can be overthrown, there never will be a re-union between the Democratic party North & the Democratic party South, or in other words a Democratic party co-extensive with the Union. Without this, the Constitution & the union cannot be perpetuated. Under these circumstances, how can I remove any other office holder who is at the same time the Editor of a Journal for opposing using it to oppose my administration on questions which I consider momentous & even vital, - should I retain Mr. Comstock I assure you I have no feeling against that gentleman; but directly the reverse, although his Journal has classed the friends of Breckenridge, of course including myself, as Disunionists. - This is the very first letter of the kind I have ever written. I intended to write but a few lines when I commenced; but my pen has run on.
I remain very respectfully your friend
Gerard Hallock Esquire