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Herald of the times. [volume] (Newport, R.I.) 1830-1846, August 04, 1831, Image 1

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VOL. 2. NO. 18.
Orrice, corner of Thames-street and Sher
man’s wharf, a few doors south of the Brick
Market. Jr_jEntrance first door down the wharf.
From the Washington Globe.
Myr. Berrien to Mr. Blair.
Wasminaron, 20th July 1831,
Sir: Your note of yesterday, was re
ceived under circumstances which pre
vented my innediate attention to it. )
reply to it now to correct the misappre
heunsion into which you have been led,
and which, by the publicity which you
have given to it, is calculated to mislead
the public.
I extract from your note the following
sentence :
‘““My sole object was at once to clear the skirts
of the President from a charge, which you are well
aware ought not to be attached to him; for you
have, av | understand, explicitly declared, that he
d sclaimed to you, at the time when you were in
communication with Col. Johuson, any design like
that now imputed to him.” |
I make this quotation for the purpose
of saying to you, that you have been en
tirely ‘misinformed——that the statement
contained in this extract is not warrant
ed by any declarationever made by [me];
and still assuming 1t to be vour wish to
represent this matter truly to the publie,
I am under the necessity of asking you
to give publicity to this note.
I am, very respectfully,
Sir, your obed’t. serv't,
JN. MacruersoN BERrrign.
To Francis P. Blair, Esq.
Editor of the Globe.
My. Blair to Mr. Berricn.
Wasmineron, July 20, 1831.
Sir :—Your note of this morning will
be given immediately to the press. In re
ference to the subject of which it treats,
you do me but justice when you say thut‘
s Twish to represent thismatter truly tothe
public.” You will permit me, thercfore,
briefly to show the ground on which 1
felt myself authorized to say that ** you
were all aware,” that the charge implicat
ing the President, ought not to be attach
ed to him, and that you had yourself ex
plicitly deciared that he disclaimed the
purpose imputed to him.
As to the iirst branch of this statement,
which you do not seem directly to con
trovert, I have to support me the positive
written declaration of Col. Johnson, in
which he says that the President always
disclaimed such a requisition, and tlmt‘
ke told you so. Besides this, I have be
fore me, in the hand writing of the Presi
dent, the identical paper, which he read
to yourself, and Messrs. Branch and Ing
haw, and which presented the attitude
that he thought it his duty to assume in
relation to the circumstances which af
fected the harmony and character of his
Cabinet. T'he course which he thought
proper then to adopt, was predicated on
information given him by several mcm-;
bers of Congress, shewing that a combi
nation had been entered into, in which
yourself and the other gentlemen named
were concerned, to disgrace Major Ea
ton, and coerce his dismission from the
Cabinet. After a prefatory verbal ex
planation of the reasons inducing the in
terview, the President proceeded to say,
that if it were true that you had taken
the course of which he spoke, he felt
himself called on to make the declaration
which he read to you from his written
memorandum, in which he says that it
was, using his own words, “Not only uu-‘
just in itself, but highly disrespecttul to
me" (the President) “and well calenlated
to destroy the harmony of my Cuhinet.’
The grounds upon which this opinion isl
founded, are substantially these. Ido
not claim the right to interfere, in any{
manner, in the domestic relations or person
al intercourse of any member of my Cabi
net, nor have lin any manner attempted
it,” &c. &c.
In the conclusion of the same paper,
after reeapitulating the circumstances to
which he wisghed to call your ntteminn,‘
he says, as the result of the matter,
“Thercfore have I sought this interview,!
to assure you if there is any truth in the
report that you have entered into the com
bination charged, to drive Major Faton
Jrom my Cabinet, that I feel it an iudig-'
nity and insult offcred to myself, and is of
a character that will be considered of "
This is the ground on which this mat
ter was placed by the President in his|
interview with you in the beginning of
the difficulties. And from it, and the ab
solute asseveration of Col. Johuson, 1
consider my statement, that you were
well aware that the President disclaimed
all right to interfere and dictate the so
cinl intercourse of the family of any mem
ber of the cabinet, to be well warranted. |
That I am also warranted in having
said that you, yourself, had deelared that
the President disclaimed to you any dis-
!position of the sort, will appear from the
cextract which I make from a letter of
your own, now before me. After re
capitulating a conversation of your own,
held with Col. Johnson, (the tenor of
which you inform me is to be adjusted
between you and bim,) you make this
single remark in relation to the Presi
‘dent : |
| ““dn the interview to which I was invited
by the President, some foo days after
wards, I frankly cxposed to him my vicws
on this subject, and he disclaimed any dis
position to press such a requisition.” |
i In this you have allusion to the written
declaration read to you by the President,
which can bear no other interpretation
than that which you have given it in this
‘extract. ?
| In both the points presented by me, in'
the extract quoted in your last note, |
feel myself fully sustained by the docu
mentary evidence, which 1 now lay be
fore you ; and I trust you will also con
sider it as fully vindicating the statement|
'which I have made. Having thus justi
fied myself, you will permat e to con
clude my corrrespondence with you. |
| I am, Sir, your obedient servant, |
l F. P. BLAIR., |
Mr. Berrien to Mr. Blair.
Wasninaron, 20th July, 1831,
SR (
. I have this moment received your note,
in auswer to mine of this date. 1 make’
no apology for continuing this corres
pondence, although you intimate a wish
to conclude it, because it will be readily
‘understood, that it is in your character
as a public journalist, and not as an in
dividual, that I address you. 1 exercise
aright, therefore, which, as the Editor of
‘a public journal, you can with no proprie-,
ty withhold, when I claim the insertion
‘of this note in the same paper which con-
I‘veys your own communication to the
public. 1'
| 1 repeat the quotation from your note
of yesterday : i
| My sole object was at once to clear the skirts,
of the President of a charge, which you are well
aware ought not to be attached to him; for you
have, as | understand, declared that he disclaim- |
ed 10 you at the time when you were in commu-’
nication with Col. Johuson, any design like that
now imputed to himn." "
l I'he first remnark which I have to nlaket’
upon this quotation, with reference to
your observation, that I do not seem tu||
‘controvert the first branch of this state- |
‘ment, is the following : l‘
. Your assertion that I was well aweare,|
that the charge against the, President, m}l
‘which you referred, ought not to be at-|
‘tached to him, was made expressly to rest,
upon your understanding, that I had cx-;‘
plicitly declared, that he (the President( |
disclaimed to me, auy such design. When, !‘
therefore, I told you, that such a state
'ment was not warranted by any declara-/
'tion ever made by me-—and of course,
that your understanding was not correct,
[ gave youavery broad denial of my hav
ing any such knowledge as that which
- %ou had imputed to me. In more dis
tinct terms, however, (if that be possible,) |
l I now renew that declaration. 1 have no!
| such knowledge-~Nay, more, Sir; 1 have
' no knowledge of the paper, *‘in the hund|
- writing of the President,” to which you|
'refer. No such paper was ever read to
fme, or shown to me, or spoken of to me.
[lfit had been, I should nost certainly not
now have had occasion to address myselt’
to the public on this subject, through the'
‘columns of your paper. l
I' Having thus disposed of the paper to|
| which you refer, and shewn that this can
' furnish no ground for your understanding,
of what Twas or was not aware of, since I
’lm'vcr saw It, and its conlents were never|
‘communicated to me, I advert nextto your
‘ isuggcstinn, that this understandingis wur-‘L
|irnn.tcd by Col. Johnson’s positive asser-|
“vatmn. Upon this subject, I have alrea-|
’;dy told the public, through you that lcun-‘
'sider myself bound by the implied under-|
l'stnnding resulting from my correspond-|
" ence with that gentleman, not to publish’
‘any statement of the conversation which'
I;occurred between him, Messrs. Branch!
(and Ingham and myself, until he shall
‘have had a reasonable time to reply to
imy letter. 1 told you, at the same time,
“F'"“ any departure from this understand
‘ing, which was authorised by that gentle
‘man, would absolve me from .its obliga-|
tion. I still adhere tothis view, and con-!
tent myself, at present, with repeating, in|
':rcfcrence to that of which you suppose
‘me to be well aware, that 1 have no such,
knowledge. The time must speedily ar
‘rive when this forbearance will be nolong-|
ler necessary. |
i Yournextreferenceistoa letter of mine !
‘to Maj. Eaton, which you say is in your
‘possession. As you have published an
"ulrart, you are bound to give the corres
pondence—even before that is done, it s
(very easy to sce that you have entirely
‘misunderstood the expression which you
'ilmw.‘, quoted—that a disclaimer of an in
tention 1o press a requisition, is a wholly
[ dilferentthing, from denial of ever hay ing
madcit—aud that inusing this expression, |
I could not have had allusion to a fwrit
ten declaration,” which 1 had never seen
or heard of.
You will perecive then, Sir, that you!
are wholly unsustained in all the points!
of your statement,except by a declaration’
which you admit that you have used
without authority, and which will be met
if it becomes necessary, As a faithful|
Journalist, you will, of’ course, scize the
occasion to correct your error. You
can, no doubt, do this, in relation to the |
paper on which you have placed so much'!
reliance, by a direct appeal to the Pres-|
ident, who will not, I thiok, autlmrize!
the statement that that paper was ever!
shown to me. However this may be, I
bear this testimony to the truth, Nei
ther mviting controversy, nor seeking
political eflect, 1 find myself in a posi
tion, in which I must either speak, or si-|
lently permit the public to be misled.—
I have a sufficient sense of what is due
them, not to intrude myself uncalled up
on their notice; and the consciousness of
what 1 owe to myself will not permit me
to shrink from the performance of my du
I am, very respectfully,
Sir, your ob’t servant,
To Francis P. Brag, Esq.
Editor of the Globe.
Myr. Blair to My. Berrien,
Wasminaroy, July 21, 1831,
Sin: Your last letter was received
‘[lntc at night, when the Globe was made |
up for the press. To give it insertion
‘with the correspondence which prccedcdi
it, rendered it necessary that I should
defer the whole until this day, and sub
stitute other matter, previously set up,|
for my paper. l
Without adverting to the special plead
ing of your letter, (in which, being nal
lawyer, I have no skill,) I come at once |
to the point. You take issue again with |
me, by declaring,‘“that no such paper as’
that quoted by me was ever read to [you,] |
or shown to you, or spoken of to you.”—‘
And you further say, that the President,
“will not, you think, authorize the slale-%
ment that that paper was ever shown lo
(you.”] |
| When the statement which I made,l
predicated upon Col. Johnson’s letter, |
was impeached in your second nole, li
made the appeal to the President which
you seem to think 1 ought now to umke.l
e immediately put into my hands the
original memorandum which he wrote,
and which he read to Messrs. Branch,
Ingham, and yourself; and I am now ex .|
pressly authorized to state again, that in|
|tho interview referred to in my note and
iin your own letter, quoted therein, he
held in his hand, and read to yow, the pa
per from whiclk Ihave given the rrh-m-ls,’
‘which you say was never read, shown or|
!spokeu of to you. nd lam authorized
Jurther to say, that if you will call on the
President he will agazn exhibit and read’
o you this original document. It was
prepared by him in contemplation that
the interview might lead to an immediate |
dissolution of his Cabinet, and it was in-|
tended by him to record the basis he as-!
sumed in doing an act which involved
his own character and the interests of
the country. The paper thus prepared
by the President was communicated at,
the time to several of his friends, whom
he consulted on the occasion. And the
substance of the conversation whichi
preceded and followed the communica
tion was also immediately reduced to
writing, and connected with the docu—t
ment read to you, that ndthing might bef
left to recollection, if circumstances at a
remote period should make a reference
to it necessary. With regard to atrans-|
action so recorded, and vouched by the
concurrent testimony of those consulted,
on the occasion, there can be no mistake. |
A man’s memory may be treacherous
when the man himself'is honest, I am,
willing to believe this is your case. You
have innocently forgotten the declara-|
tion made by the President, which stands
authenticated as I have told you, as well|
as the communication of the same pur
port made to you by Col. Johnson, l
I am obliged to rely on this wrilten re-|
cord of a fact, rather than on your mem-|
ory, especially when I find this positive
proof confirming the statement of Colonel
Johnson, that the President disclaimed
any right or desire to interfere with the
private associations of yoursell or your
familv, and that you knew . ]
I next quoted your own written admis
sion, confirming the statement of Colo
nel Johnson, and the written record of
the President, in the following words:|
“In the interview to which I was invited
by the President some few days after
wards, (after Col. Johoson’s wisit.) |
frankly expressed to him my views on
the subject, and he disclained any dis
position to press such a requisition,” .
You #ay that “a disclaimer of an in
tention to press such a requisition; is a
wholly different thing from denial of ev
er having made it.” |
| I thought not, in this case; because
) )
fno such requisition had been made.—
/Col. Johnson says, the President dis
.claimed to him any desire to control your
'domestic affairs, or Privnte intercourse,
‘and he told you so. The recerd of what!
the President said to you, declares, that
he claimed no right to interfere “in the
‘domestic relations or personal intercourse.
of any member of his Cabinet:” and, in
allusion to the same conversation, you
say, he “disclaimed any disposition to
press such a requisition.” \When no such
requisition had been made by Col. John-|
son; when he told you the President
made none; and when you do not pretend
he wmade any, either directly or iuja{rcdly,!
1 could not but understand your declara
tion, that, “he disclaimed any disposition
to press such a requisilion,” as a declara
tion that he made no such requisition. l
But I find, in the character you have
alwaye sustained before the publie, oth
er conelusive proof, that no such requisi
tion was ever made of you, and that you
knew it. 1f the President had signified
to you, directly or indirectly, thut e re
quired you to compel your family to as
sociate with any one, contrary to their
will and yours, you would not, as a man
of honor, have waited for an invilation to/
resign. You would have thrown your
commission in the face of the President,’
“and said to him, “Sir, 1 am no longer
adviser or associate with a man who re
quires me to disgrace myself and family,
though he be the President of the U.|
States!” In your public character |
had a guarantce that you would not, for,
the sake of your honor, salary and emol-|
'uments, as Attorney General, sink your|
‘character as @ man, by tamely listening
to such a requisition, No, Sir; it is im-|
possible to believe that you could have,
(listened to such a requisition; dismissed
‘your sclf-respect, forgot your southern
‘honor, and humbly bowed in seeming
‘reverence to the man who had insulted
you, until politely invited to resign! lltis
impossible that you could bury such an
l insult, profess to be the friend of the
' President, make the speech that you did
recently in Georgia,and now that you are
' out of office, disclose a fact which would
scal your own shame. No, Sir; no such
proposition was ever made to you; you
had no cause to complain of the Presi
dent; you eulogized Aim in public and,
private; and you would have gladly act
ed as Attorney General tothe end of his
administration, had you not been invited to!
resign, ‘
| But the circumstances under which the
harmony of the late Cabinet was restor-|
ed, repel the inference, which you will
have it, in your last note, that the ex-l
tract from your letter to Major Eaton, |
léaves open in the ambiguousness of its
expression. From the moment that you
denied fo the President any participation
in the political combination to drive Ma-/
jor Eaton from the Cabinet, the usual
courtesies were renewed among its mem
bers, without any association betwcen
their respective families. Major Eaton
would have been as reluctant to receive
visiters, driven into his doors by the pow-;
er of the ‘President, as they could possi-|
bly have been to submit to such tyr:mny!
‘and degradation. His house was throng-|
‘ed by those who were among the most,
‘respectable people of the city, by the|
most honorable families visiting, annual-|
ly, here, and by those from abroad, most
distinguished by station. To the gaiety
and respectability of parties thus ultcn-'
ded, the appearance of persons constrain
ed by the authority of the kxecutive, if
it could have been exerted for such pur-|
pose, would have added nothing. It
could have served no purpose to have!
exacted such a requisition as that now
imputed, to the injury of the President.’
To have forced the wife of the Secretary
of War, upon that portion of society
which was unwilling to receive her, could
have added nothing to her reputation.—
It is ridiculous to impute to the failure of
such a design, the dissolution of the late
Cabinet. %ou, I think, must know that
this step was the result of the diversity of
political views, which attached the two
parties in the Cabinet to different divis
ions of the new parties which became
apparent in the dissension between the
President and Vice President. This
produced, in the then state of the Cnbi-‘
net, combinations in Congress, calcula
ted to defeat the most salutary measures’
of the administration. In the opposition
which showed itself with regard to the
Turkish negotiation, the members of the
Cabinet favorable to the new-born Up-!
position, were expressly exempted in the
denunciations of those members of the
Senate, who then came out and disclosed
for the first time, their hostility to the
President and a part of his Cabinet.—
That a wish to bring Major Eaton and
his family into society here, had no in
fluence 1 producing the dissolution of
the Cabinet, is apparent from the fact
that it operated to consign them and him
to privacy. The want of the harmony |
essential to the public welfare, however,
originated, wag pregnant with political
'effects, and produced this result, |
’ You require of me to correct the error
‘of my declaration, predicated on the in-|
formation which Col. Johnson communi
cated fo me, upon the ground hat I have
no authority to use the evidence which
establishes the fact. The testimony
~which 1 have in my possession, under
Col. Johnson’s hand, satisties me thor
oughly of the truth of the assertion |
have made, and therefore, 1 will not ad-
St it to be an error. Your exception
to the use 1 have made of his testimony,
may be applicable as a censure npon my
course.—But I consider, that circum
stances fully justify that course, and |
am only responsible to Col. Johnson for:
my conduct in relation to his letter. Your
objection to the authority under which 1
|have acted as to Col. Johnson’s evi
dence does not, in the least, change the
pature of that evidence. It is as con
viucing as it could be under full authori-
Ly to use it, and probably more so than
evidence purposely prepared for the
jublic eye. |
| Youscem to thiok that Tam bound to’
“publish, on my own account, the corres
pondence between Major laton and
yourself; because ¥ have used a para
‘graph having exclusive reference to the
’?’rcsidcnt. Ide not think so. 1 will
have nothing to do with the controversy
between Major Eaton and yoursell.—
' You have a right to bring that subject,
' Defore the public in any way you please,
and on your own responsibility. 1 will
not besitate to print it, or any part you
may choose to embody, in the discussion
| with me,
|k closed my last note to you, by an in
| timation that it would conclude our cor
respondence. ¥ did so because the is
‘sue between us depended altogether up
~on the verity of the statements I had
~made, contradicting assertions in the
Telegraph, for which I did not know
that you were responsible. When you!
~ volunteered to question my statements, 1
laid before you frankly the ground on
~which 1 acted; and then, in a second
letter, brought to your view the proof on
. which, as to myself, I was willing to rest
the issue. But as you seem inclined to
" make, through me, an attack on the Pres
ident, and to use the correspondence on
' which you entered (certanly without
being called for by any thing I said, as
to yourself)) as the medium of bringing
' on a general discussion of the question of
i the dissolution of the late Cabinet, I shall
| certainly sacrifice my inclination to what |
. you consider my duty. My reluctance
. o continue the correspondence with you,
l woceeds from no want of respectto you, |
bu! I believe the public is sick of the
; subject; is satisfied with the dissolution
"of the old Cabinet, and the formation of
~the new one; and this induced the incli
' nation I have evinced, to spare the coun
try the disgust of the disscction of a sub-
Ject, which itseems willing tobury. At
all events, the progress we have made
will be sufficient for one lecture. 1f you
think fit, we will resume it again.
| Yours, &c. VR g
| [From the Nationa! Intelligencer of Saturday.] i
| i e 2
! Circumstances beyond my control
have placed me under the necessity of
presenting myself to your notice. 1 as
sert no claimto your attention,which does
not belong equally to every free citizen
of the Republic. But 1 ask, and 1 feel
that I have a right to expect, your can
did consideration of this address. Its
subject is one ol awakening interest to us
all. The position in which I find myself
has nothing inviting in it. It is one
which I have not sought, but which has
been forced upon me, and one in which
I am called upon to vindicate not myself
‘merely, but the cause of truth, and the
‘best and dearest interests of the commu
nity, at a hazard to which fatuity alone
could be insensible. ‘
The msrepresentations of a public
Journal, professing to speak the language
of the President of the United States, &
published under his eye, have presented
to me the alternative, of submitting to an
imputation, alike dishonoralle and un
founded in fact, or of meeting the issue
which has been tendered to me under
the alleged authority of that high officer.|
If T do not shrink from this unequal strife,
it is because | have a confidence which
has never wavered, in the intelligence of
my countrymen, a firm and unshaken re
liance in the justice of that tribunal,
whose high prerogative itis at all times,
and under all circumstances, to vindicate
the cause of truth. |
1 have studiously abstained from umyl
effort to excite public feeling in relation
to the dissolution of the late Cabinet. 1
have felt that the question ofits propriety
was one, the decision of which belonged
alone to the American People. Person
ally 1 have not been disposed to deny the
right of the President to exercise his own
free willy as well in the change, as in the
original selection of his Cabinet; & with
a perfect sense of the delicacy of my own
situation, I would have been at all times
a reluctant witness in the investigation of
the causes which led to the recent events,
It was not, however, enough that I
should submit myself'to his will, although
the principle by which it was avowedly
regulated, could have no application to
me; for this 1 have unhesitatingly done,
But 1 have been required silently to wit
ness the entire misrepresentation of oc
currcnces which the public were well a
ware must have come under my observa~
tion; nay, to be publicly vouched as au
thority for that which was directly in
conflict with my convictions of truth—
and finally to be called to vindicate my
own claim to veracity, assailed as it is un
der the alledged authority of the Presi
dent of the United States, or to submit to
an imputation which no honorable man
may bear. I mistake the character of’
the American People, if they would re«
quire this. Lam totally ignorant of my
own, it; under any circumstances, [
could yield to it, If in the face of this
great community, the cause of truth can
be prostrated by the arm of power, at
least the privilege of vindicating it, shall
not be tamely surrendered i my person.
I will bow to the decision of 'my country
men--but whatever that decision may be,
the high consolation of having faithtfully
discharged my duty to them, and to my
self, shall not be taken from me,
The disingenuous and unmanly sug
gestion of my desire to remain in the
Cabinet of General Jackson, notwith
standing the occurrences which produced
my retrement, will be my apology for
adverting briefly togthe origin of my con
nexion with it, and to the circumstances
which induced its continuance.
i It was without any solicitation on my
part, or, so fur as 1 know or believe, on
the part of any of my friends, that [ was
invited to accept the office of Attorney
General of the United States, There
were circumstances, temporary in their
nature, but still strongly operative, which
rendered it not desirable to me. 1 felt,
however, that 1 was called to decide up
‘on the question of my acceptance, not
‘merely as an individual, but as a citizen,
~and especially as a citizen of Georgia.—
On certain principles of general policy,
some of which were particularly inter
esting to the fpeople of that State, the
views communicated to e by the Pres
ident, were in accordance with my own:
‘and 1 felt it to be my duty, not to with
‘hold any assistance which I could give
to carry them into effect. 'l'he annunci
ation of the names of the intended Cabi
net seemed to me, however, to present
an insuperable bar to my acceptance of’
the office which was tendered to me. 1
thought 1 foresaw clearly the evils which
have too obviously resulted from this se
lection. A stranger to General Jack
son, I could not with propriety discuss
these objections with him. 1 knew,
moreover, that some of his confidentinl
friends had fuithfully discharged their du
ty to him, and to the country, by a frank
communication of them. In this state of
things, 1 sought the counsel of those -
‘round me. T'o a gentleman high in tho
contidence of' the President, and to a
distiuguished citizen of my own State, |
submitted the inquiry, whether with this
view of the Cabiaet which the President
had selected, 1 could with propriety be
come a member of it. The former ex
pressed his deckded conviction, founded
on a long and intimate knowledge of the
President’s character, that he would him
self speedily see, and correct the evil.—
The lutter urged the peculiar relations of
‘Georgia with the General Government,
‘as presenting a strong claim upon me not
L refuse the invitation which had been
given to me. lyiclded to these sugges
tions, and took my place in the Cabinet,
with a firm determination to avoid the
controversies which [ feared might oc
cur. 'T'o that determination % have
steadily adhcred. Associating on terms
of courtesy with my colleagues, my of
ficial intercourse with them was never
interrupted by discord.
~ If'there were any combinations grow
ing out of the supposed conflict between
the interests of Mr. Calhoun and Mr.
Van Buren, 1 had no part in them—and
as little in the supposed measures of
that character, having for their object
to coerce Major Eaton to retire fjmm
the Cabinet—or to exclude his family
from the society of Washington. With
mine they did not associate; but no ad
vance had been made on either side,
and their actual relation seemed there
fore to furnish no just ground of offence
to either party. In this posture of things,
and shortly after I had Sivon an even
ing party to which Mrs. Eaton had not
been invited, | received and heard with
mfinite surprise the message of Col.
Johnson. s
' I could make no mistake as to its
charhcter, for there was a direct and
‘repeated reference to the large parties,
'which had been then recently given by

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