Historically important and unpublished letter, 4 pages (front and back) each measuring 10 x 8 inches, Philadelphia, March 18, 1836. In this letter, Du Ponceau strongly criticizes President Jackson's dissolving of the Bank of the United States, and his prediction of Secession of States and ultimately the Civil War, in very small part: "...When I saw baby Michigan & young Ohio, on the point of coming to blows, I seriously reflected on what may happen hereafter, if the National power continues to be weakened. When the President reported his veto for the rechartering of the National Bank, it was easy to foresee that a scramble would ensue between the rich States for the power which the concentration of capital necessarily gives. Bitter jealousies have been expected, which could not have taken place had the Bank remained National...I would give up the Relief Bill, as it is called, for the Bill for rechartering the Bank which was vetoed by General Jackson. Fiscal wars will take place between States. The old Bank of the U.S. was well calculated to maintain equilibrium among the State Banks, and that's gone...I only wish that Congress could direct the application of the money to such public improvements...so closely connected with the National Defense; but 'General Veto' is the weapon in hand and ready to strike. A loan to the States would be too difficult to collect hereafter...If you wish to make a man your enemy, make him your debtor, I so think of a State. I am for avoiding as much as possible, every subject of collision between the Union and the States %u2013 but there are but too many already...In the meantime something has to be done to make the Treasury Dept. more independent of the Executive. After all, there is but one year left to him [Jackson], and a new President will hardly dare to follow him...the danger of separation is real; while this means a wanting in the States to separate, differences may arise, but conflicting measures will be at least listened to, but when the population of States shall have risen to three or four million - No National Force will be able to prevent collision and separation." Much more exceptional content including a reference to Du Ponceau's desire in writing a biography of General von Steuben. Small chip and stain on page 1; tape repairs and tears along the folds. Good condition.
French-born American linguist, distinguished attorney and philosopher, who at age 16 came to America with General Baron von Steuben, serving as the latter's personal secretary and live-in companion. In 1779 he was appointed a Captain in the Continental Army where he served as Aide-de-Camp to General von Steuben. During the complicated negotiations concerning the Louisiana Purchase, Du Ponceau fell into disfavor with Secretary of State James Madison over his legal opinion on Franco-Spanish spoliations. A Senate Committee reported in favor of directing President Jefferson to institute legal proceedings but it was thought unwise to prosecute a person of Du Ponceau's social and political status. He is listed as a member of the French branch of the Society of the Cincinnati.