Martin Van Buren Papers (DLC)

"The Martin Van Buren Papers, one of twenty-three presidential collections in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, contains more than 6,000 items dating from 1787 to circa 1910.  The bulk of the material dates from the 1820s, when Van Buren (1782-1862) was a U.S. senator from New York, through his service as secretary of state and vice president in the Andrew Jackson administrations (1829-1837), to his own presidency (1837-1841) and through the decade thereafter when he made unsuccessful bids to return to the presidency with the Democratic and Free Soil parties.  Included are correspondence, autobiographical materials, notes and other writings, drafts of messages to Congress in 1837 and 1838, and other speeches, legal and estate records, miscellany, and family items.

The collection primarily consists of letters received by Van Buren from other individuals, as well as copies, drafts, transcripts, and photocopies of letters written by him.  Correspondents include George Bancroft, Thomas Hart Benton, Francis P. Blair, James Buchanan, law partner Benjamin F. Butler (1795-1858), Churchill C. Cambreleng, John A. Dix, John Fairfield, Azariah Cutting Flagg, Henry D. Gilpin, James Hamilton, Jr., Jesse Hoyt, Charles Jared Ingersoll, Andrew Jackson, Amos Kendall, William L. Marcy, Louis McClane, Richard Elliot Parker, James Kirke Paulding, Joel R. Poinsett, James K. Polk, Thomas Ritchie, William Cabell Rives, Andrew Stevenson, Levi Woodbury, and Silas Wright.

The Calendar of the Papers of Martin Van Buren created by Elizabeth Howard West for the Manuscript Division in 1910 provides a list and index for the general correspondence contained in the original collection up to that date. Some 150 letters received by the Library of Congress after 1910 are not represented in the calendar. These items have been interfiled within Series 2 of the collection. Typescripts of letters can also be found in Series 7, Miscellany.  A finding aid to the current Van Buren Papers collection is available online.

Note that this site is limited to the Martin Van Buren Papers collection and does not include all documents by, about, or related to Van Buren in the Library of Congress.  The Library’s Manuscript Division holds additional Van Buren-related documents pertaining to his family and his long and varied political career in New York and Washington, as well as his role in evolving party politics in his era. These documents are located in the collections of other individuals, including Andrew Jackson, Andrew Jackson Donelson, James K. Polk, William L. Marcy, William C. Rives, Charlotte Cushman, Duff Green, Reverdy Johnson, Andrew Stevenson, and Nicholas P. Trist, and in the family papers of the Blair, Bancroft-Bliss, Henry Clay, Samuel Smith, and Singleton families."

"This collection of Martin Van Buren Papers is arranged into eight series and oversize.  Series 8 of the collection contains the newer additions. These are grouped by the year the addition was received or processed as part of the collection.  The bulk of the collection was captured on 35 reels of microfilm, the scans of which comprise the bulk of this online collection.  A list of the series follows.

https://www.loc.gov/collections/martin-van-buren-papers/about-this-colle...

 

Documents in this Collection:

Under the belief that it is the right of every free Citizen in a free government, to know the opinions of those who aspire to public Station, upon great public questions, as one of your warmest supporters in 1836 & in 1840, & as an unpledged Delegate to the Baltimore Convention, I desire particularly to know your opinions as to the Constitutionality & expediency of immediately... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I Received a Letter from you some days sinc[e] upon the subject of the <ensuing> election, but have been pr[e]vented by absence from home from answering it soone[r]. The Sentiments of liberality and magnan[i]mity which it contains are such as from a knowledge of your Character and the quallities of your h[e]art I had a right ^to^ and did expect. Possessed of strong personal prejudices for... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
I have forwarded to the author of the enclosed, a letter addressed to yourself, (as he requests) in behalf of the object he solicits. After dispatching my letter, it occurred to me that I had better present to you his own communication which is a faithful type of its author, clear, strong, direct. He is indeed a most estimable man; and for further knowledge of him if desired, I will refer you to... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Now, as heretofore, I will not suffer the warm current of my friendship for you to be checked by the character & kind of your associate#. If I can be of any service in the affair you allude to It will give me pleasure to be so; though <I thusly> necessarily serve the bitterest enemy I, probably, have in the world. The course is a petition to congress, setting forth the case with... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Make use of the information of contained in this letter if useful (to yourself it will be a guide) but do not mention names. Varplanck yesterday in presence of my wife said Well Adams is a Clintonian I have received a letter from Washington informing me that Adams was in favor of Spencer. That In this state the Contest was between Mr Clinton & Mr Van Buren & his friends from the latter he... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Your letter found me in my bed, from which, I assure you, I have risen with some difficulty. My exposure in the trial of a canal cause, in the lower part of the county, brought on a violent cold, accompanied with chills & fevers, and for the first time in six years, I had a violent bilious attack. I have happily survived it however, and hope now to live to fight an other day. We all regretted... Continue Reading
Sender: Louis McLane
Recipient: MVB
I have not been able sooner to make the communication, nor is the measure absolutely <unclear word>, that the mission to G. Britain has been offered to me, and that it is probable I may accept it. At present I mention the same to you without wishing to be quoted
Sender: Rufus King
Recipient: MVB
I [rec]d. your letter at the moment of my departure for the Country where I have since been confined by indisposition from which I am ^have^ however entirely recovered. I had been previously advised of the offer of the mission to you though from a satisfactory <unclear word> though not an official source & am happy to hear that ^you have found^ no obstacle objection to its acceptance.... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Recipient: Rufus King
I will be ready to go to Oswego on Saturday. You and Finkle therefore better come up on Saturday morning & we will start from here in the afternoon & go as far as Schenectady in the evening. Write me by mail when I may expect you & I will be ready. If any other day will suit better fix upon it but not longer than Monday.
Sender: MVB
Recipient: Peter I. Hoes
Let me by this <unclear word> introduce to you my friend President Cooper of Cola. College. S.C. His name is enough. He has requested of me this favor on board the boat, and I have no implements of writing but these.
Recipient: MVB
My friend Judge W. Smith to whom Col. Hayne succeeded in the Senate at Washington from South Carolina, & Dr. Brown of Kentucky, left New York yesterday, and promised to wait for me at Albany. I have sent to every house but Crittenden’s, without learning of them. As I know Judge Smith meant to call on you, I beg you wd. have the kindness to inform my Son the bearer of this, whether you know of... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I enclose you two papers, one respecting the interference of the Clergy with the duties of the legislature, which I mentd. to you, & the other, to paralyse the report of Mr Jefferson being a Tariff-politician & in favour of protecting duties. In theory, and in justice, all duties for protection, are in my mind utterly indefensible: for they are taxes on the consumers without any <... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I have concluded to make no arrangement on the Subject of Quarters until I arrive in Washington. I have had conversations with Forsyth & McLane on the Subject & must see them before I determine. Those two Gentlemen, (or the former only if the latter takes his wife down) VerPlank yourself & myself would make an excellent mess. Write to the <Frenchman>. Take care of the Election... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Enclosed you will find a letter addressed to yourself about my brother William, for whom I am anxious to obtain orders for Entering into the service. It is such a letter as I supposed you might with propriety transmit (as you suggested) to the Secretary of the Navy. I regret that I was out of town when you called at my house, but was pleased to learn that there would be no difficulty about my... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I shall attend to your brothers concern. Mr. J. forgets what is due to the subject, to his friends & to myself. I can conscientiously say that I never have, and I <unclear word> I never shall subject my course on a public question to the controul of my personal interests. I shall always listen with respect and <candor> to Any suggestion which may be made <to me> on the... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Recipient: Edward Livingston
I have to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from you. The period has not yet arrived here for interesting political events but is rapidly approaching. Genl Root has made <us> a visit to the <unclear word> and does not appear to have any <unclear word> to be <gratified>, I mean political <unclear word>. He is in favour of Young for speaker & Livingston for Clerk... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I have heard with the most lively satisfaction the of the course taken by you in the Senate in relation to the nomination of my friend Conkling. It was <unclear word> it was kind & magnanimous. I have advised Conkling of it. Your generous conduct is entitled to the warmest gratification of him and his Friends. It will I trust be remembered and duly appreciated by them, but ^by them^ now... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I wish you & your family not forgetting my <dearest> heart Miss Margaret a very merry Christmass. <unclear word> the day is dark & raining & except the promise of some pleasure at dinner with Mr & Mrs. McLane <unclear word> & every thing <else> appears to be out of sorts. Nothing has transpired of much interest in the political world. The Jackson men... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB