Silas Wright Jr. to MVB, 7 December 1828
7th Dec 1828
My Dear Sir,
By the kindness of a friend, and by your direction, I have today seen a letter from you on the subject of the state of feeling among our friends at Albany. I have read and attentively weighed the matters stated in the letter. You request that I should write and I do so most cheerfully. My first object must be to thank you for the confidence in which you seem to place, and which I have no doubt you do place, in my friend Mr E. and myself so far as to communicate to us freely the wishes of our friends in matters relating to ourselves. I think this confidence is not mis-placed, and I hope neither of us wish from our friends any thing by way of office or patronage which they shall not think well bestowed to subserve the best interests of the great republican party of our State. For myself this is certainly true if I know myself, and I would endorse for my friend Earll sooner than for myself in any matter of this kind. I am not ignorant that my name has been somewhat used by my friends both for the office of Senator and Comptroller. In relation to its use for the office of Senator I have said to you and them all I can say. I cannot suppose it for my interest to receive the office and therefore I do not want it, but, situated as I am, I do not recognize in myself the right to refuse it, if it shall be offered to me under this knowledge of my feelings. In relation to the office of Comptroller these are the facts. During the last winter It was for some time contemplated by our friends at Albany that Genl. Marcy would be our candidate for Gov. at the fall Election. This was before your name was made use of, and before it was believed you would willingly accept that office. I was then addressed by some of the members of our Legislature, and other friends, to Know if I would accept the office of Comptroller, in case it should be so vacated I answered frankly that I would if any friends should please to confer it upon me. It was however very soon determined that the office would not thus be vacated, and nothing more was said upon the subject. When I was in Albany about the last of June I learned that the nomination of the Comptroller as Judge was contemplated and I again had some conversation with some of our faithful friends upon this point, but so many contingencies were to happen that little was thought or said about it. Afterwards I learned that some of my friends desired to use my name for Senator but this too was dependent upon the Election and upon many other contingencies. In all this time I would have been glad to have avoided going into the Election as a Candidate for Congress in my district if I could have done so satisfactorily to my friends. But I was not able to effect this object but by a direct refusal and this I did not believe I had any right to make. I was nominated. The Election was held, and I am the only member of the ticket which our friends have saved. When I learned this my whole views were changed as to what was my duty to the political party. I then believed that I ought not to vacate my term in Congress to obtain for myself an office of higher rank, or better pay, merely as matter of personal consideration. Therefore when at Albany, on my way here, I expressed to our friends there, as to such of them as I could see and talk with, these opinions, and requested them not to use my name for Either of these as for any office unless they should believe the republican interests called imperatively for such use, and sufficiently strongly to warrant <use> in compelling my district to another Election. In using this language I had not the vanity to suppose that my services in any place could be so important to our friends as that the same place, whatever it might be, could not be equally well supplied by many others. But I did have in my mind direct references to the office of Senator, and to the fact that a large number of sound candidates were there and that more would be named, and to the necessary supposition that friends would be divided in choice between them; and I supposed it possible that our friends might, in case of serious differences, wish the liberty to use any name upon which they could most generally unite and that Events might so happen as to render my name that one. If this should be the fact I did believe myself authorised to prohibit them the use of it, but I stated to them truly my real feelings and then intended to leave the whole matter with them. They would be on the spot. They would be able to judge, and, being my friends, they would not intentionally call upon me to do what I ought not to do, they knowing my feelings and wishes. While in Albany I learned that our friends Lot Clark of Chenango and Mr Dayan of the Senate wished the office of Comptroller, and before I left I learned that the name of Mr. Earll had been also used as a candidate. I had previously used the same language to our friends in relation to this office that I had used in relation to Senator. But on learning the names of these candidates I again saw some of them and talked freely as to myself and
them the other Candidates. Mr. Earll and myself were well provided. The other Candidates might therefore deserve the preference. My responsibility to my district would hardly authorise me to vacate my place for an office merely giving me a little better pay and therefore I would choose that my name should not be used. As between myself and Mr. Earll I urged that very little risk would Exist in vacating his seat in his district, while much would be incurred in mine; that admitting we were both equally poor and in need of a good office, he had a family to support and I had none. That therefore he should be preferred so far as the patronage was concerned. These suggestions I felt and used candidly and wished to have them credited. I feel the same yet. There is no disguise in these Expressions. This being my wish I leave the whole matter to our friends at Albany. I do not wish my name used for any place so far as my individual feelings are concerned. I do not feel at liberty to interdict the use of it for any. I have entered upon a political life and while I remain in it I intend to live up to what I understand ought to be the course of a political party man, and this is it. I hope my friends will therefore believe me sincere and thus consult the interests of the republican party in their doings. This I know they will in [. . .] Mr. Earll and myself talked freely a[t] Albany upon this subject. We do so [. . .] We can never differ about offices to ourselves, and I verily believe if our friends let us alone they will be as well served. I must however insist that nothing which has heretofore transpired shall be the cause of using my name instead of Earll’s for Comptroller, and I really cannot suppose there is much weight in the suggestions of a Cayuga Dynasty. You will however judge better at Albany and will act as shall seem most wise. I am sorry to hear that you are in bad health, and I ask pardon for troubling you with this long scroll. I wish you however to have before you a view of the whole case, and I have intended to give it. I have not time to look over what is written.
I am Truly
Your obdt. Servt.
Silas Wright Jr.