Richmond. Feb. 19. 1824.
I received in due time by the mail your favor of the 3d inst I have not written in reply, because I have been absorbed in the discharge of my duties at this place. From the first moment I heard of the bill to recharter the Farmer’s Bank, I fixed upon it as furnishing a good opportunity to provide the fifty thousand dollars for our Library & Apparatus. I mentioned my views to Mr Garrett when he was in town: & was actuated by these views when I wrote you for your opinion as to a suitable sum for those purposes. I kept my secret even from the visitors, & even my brother & most intimate friends, till about the time the Bill passed the House of Delegates. The Bankers called on me & requested my cooperation in getting the Bank rechartered, which I promised in the event of being satisfied as to the terms. The House of Delegates passed the Bill without demanding any Bonus. When I announced my views in the Senate 17 Senators declared themselves on my side. But, as I expected, I instantly found myself in the midst of a Hornet’s Nest. What with the active opposition of stockholders, Debtors, Directors and officers, a prodigious ferment was excited & still prevails: & I have lost the majority in the senate. I have made & am still making every exertion in my power to compel the bankers to unite with us: & I have still hopes of success. But defeat is not improbable: Yet what a victory would not this be! at such a time—for such an object—against such a host of opponents! Col: Randolph, Mr Gordon, Genl Breckenridge & others are breasting the storm below. I have a decided majority of the Senate in favor of the measure; but some are afraid of losing the bill by our amendments. Perhaps the struggle will not be over before the Return of the mail. And I should be extremely glad to receive from you a few lines to animate our friends & rekindle their zeal. Probably your letter would get here before the final vote on our amendments in the House of Delegates. I have seen the Governor on the subject of the next meeting, and shall make suitable arrangements with the other visitors.
Joseph C. Cabell
P.S. We shall probably carry a bonus in the Senate. If the appropriation to the University fails, in the Senate, I still hope it will be carried below, as an amendment to our amendment.