MVB to [John Louis O'Sullivan], 30 October 1844
Oct. 30, 1844.
My Dear Sir:—
I learn with the keenest regret from your letter, this moment received, that there is in your opinion good reason to apprehend that the feelings of portions of my friends have been so deeply wounded by some of the proceedings at Baltimore, as to induce them to withhold their support from the Electoral Ticket. Notwithstanding my great confidence in your intelligence and discretion, I yet hope that this apprehension is without much, if any foundation. With the great body of our friends we know it to be otherwise. I have not myself found a single case of this description, but you are entirely right in thinking that no danger is too slight to be disregarded at a moment so critical as the present.
I would on no account say anything that might wear even the appearance of harshness in respect to dispositions, which, however erroneous, have had their origin in feelings of regard for myself, to which I am so deeply indebted, and for which I can never be too grateful. I will yet venture most respectfully to suggest, for the serious consideration of those of my friends who entertained these views, if any there be, whether in adopting them they do justice either to themselves, to the friends to whom they have been so sincerely desirous to do honor, to the cause in which they have been so long and earnestly engaged, or to the interest of the country which they have so sincerely at heart. Assuming the worst opinions they have formed of the proceedings they condemn to be well founded, they should yet remember that these proceedings were not devised to secure the nominations of Messrs. Polk and Dallas. It is, on the contrary, a well known fact, that the nomination of Gov. Polk originated with gentlemen who disapproved of those proceedings as earnestly as those of my friends to whom you refer, can possibly do. This nomination, having such an origin, as well as that of Mr. Dallas, which was afterwards associated with it, received the unanimous assent of the Convention, has been subsequently ratified in every possible form by the Democracy of the nation; and I hope to be excused for saying, without in the slightest degree intending to impeach the motives of others, that I can see no possible ground on which their support can be withheld, by any Democrat who approves of their principles.
I beg such of my friends to consider, that, unless the Democratic creed is a sheer delusion, there are besides involved in the contest which is about to be decided, public considerations before the contemplation of which all personal feelings and individual interests are turned to nothing. I know well that they are, as they ought to be, moved by higher motives, but if my personal wishes in the matter can have the slightest influence in deciding upon their course, if they are disposed to add another to the many favors I have received at their hands, they may be assured, that they could in no way make it more acceptable, than by giving the same zealous and untiring support to the Democratic nominees for President and Vice President, which they mean to give to the rest of the ticket.
I am, Dear Sir,
And truly yours,
M. VAN BUREN.