Correspondence of JAMES K. POLK

It was with pleasure, I witnessed your prompt and zealous efforts last summer to discountenance, and prevent the re assembling of a mob in this City; and I believe, if it had not been for the measures you adopted, and the advice you gave, that private property would have been destroyed, and the character of the City, seriously affected.

An occurrence of the kind here, and on that occasion, would have caused a deep sensation throughout the nation. The co-operation of the city authorities and prominent citizens to act efficiently in unison, resulted from the order you gave to the Departments, to restrain the Clerks from appearing in any assemblage, that might collect the following night; and from the remark you made “that the peace of the City should be preserved, and if the power of the corporation should not be adequate, that you would exercise every constitutional power applicable to the case, with which the President was cloathe’d.”

As a temporary Citizen of the District, and as a citizen of the United States, it has been my desire to bear this testimony to you, which I have on many occasions borne to others.


ALS. DLC–JKP. Probably addressed locally. From Polk’s AE: received January 2, 1849; “Expresses, his approval of my conduct in contributing to arrest a violent proceeding in this City last summer, upon the occasion of a public excitement, growing out of the arrest of three persons, who had attempted to take off in a vessel 40. or 50. slaves from this City.”

  1. Whittlesey erroneously wrote “1848.” Correct year identified from Polk’s AE and through content analysis.