MVB 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:

My practical exposition of the constitution in relation to the 1st. day of the session of the legislature for the present year has produced an enquiry which has resulted in a general expression opposite to the opinion of the Chief Justice. Even the concurring judge now non-concurs. But we shall not have a quorum in either house till Monday or Tuesday next. I can not muster enough for a "corporal'... Continue Reading
Sender: Erastus Root
Recipient: MVB
You will probably by this time begin to feel some anxiety as to the course of events in this quarter. Some of your correspondents have no doubt communicated to you, their hopes, and their fears. I am myself a calm observer, and wait with great composure for the moving of the Waters: Rumours we have, and in abundance; the real intentions of the Governor, if Known at all, are confided to the favor'... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
You will probably have seen before the rect of this the result of the election of Comptroller Genl Marcy prevailed by a handsome Majority over Tallmadge. This event has rendered every thing safe and tranquil, a different result could have placed the Senate in no small degree, under the managemt. of Cramer, Wheeler &c who were Tallmadges most zealous advocates. The political effects you will... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I received your favor of the 9th, last Evening & hasten to acknowledge it. Your views of the effect of certain proceedings here coincide with mine. My advice to the governor was not to accept the nomination of the old Judges after he found a decided majority of the Senators opposed to them. If he had sent the names of the federal bench in the first instance all difficulty would have been... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
The office of Navy Agent, at this place, has as I have just learnt, become vacant by the resignation of Genl. Robert Swartwout. As the duties of this office are such, as I could with great convenience perform, and as the compensation, attached to it, would be a very acceptable resource, I have requested my father, if he does not disapprove toit, to name me to the President and Secretary of the... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Since I last wrote to you, I have been almost blind with an inflamation in my eyes, which has entirely preventing me from writing. I had however written you a long letter in answer to your queries in Relation the Govr. & matters & things in general here which upon reflection I thought it wise to burn than to send, reserving its contents for personal communication when we meet, which I... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I presume you have by this time arrived at Albany and that as matter of course there will be pretty ^free^ communciation among our friends relative to the Presidential question. Your situation here has afforded you many opportunities of hearing and learning much of the views and feelings of others and your opinion will deservedly be entitled to great weight, and if I know myself I do not wish to... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I wrote you a few days since a sober letter, and hope for an answer as early as your convenience will admit. Strange rumours are in circulation respecting you. It is said you have come out piping hot on the Presidential question. That you was daily in caucus with M L. Davis, Major O Conner Noah and others. And that you are going to Albany to have a meeting called and make a nomination at once.... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Your letter of the 21st. has just reached me. The President has been about for the last week, returned only yesterday, very little as yet has been said relative to filling the vacancy on the bench of the Supreme Court. It rests entirely with myself whether I will take it or not it has been offered to me in a manner highly gratifying to my feelings. And I have no doubt with a sincere wish to save... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Your letter found me here, and has detained me until this time. The reasons you give for declining the appointment of Judge are certainly impressive, and as a prominent one is the state of your health, no one can so well appreciate them as yourself. Still it is my decided opinion, that in comparison with your present station the Judgeship is under all circumstances the most desirable, and I... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
I subjoin copies of letters, that I have sent to Washington on the subject which they explain. And with sincere Regards & Esteem
Sender: Rufus King
Recipient: MVB
I forward the enclosed copies in order that you may fully understand what I have said. If there be no want of Sagacity in the reader, he has understood the object of the first letter, on revising the second, as I copied it, I am confirmed in the Opinion that the Pr ought, as I think he will, adopt the advice which it imparts. Should this take place, I claim of you to make Marshal's example your... Continue Reading
Sender: Rufus King
Recipient: MVB
I submitted to the President confidentially your letter. He informed me, no appointment would be made in some time, as it could not now be made in season for the Spring Circuits there was no necessity for acting at present. He said nothing from which I could gather his intentions in relation to the appointment. I think he is quite undecided, and means to take due time for consideration. Any... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
The above is a copy of a letter recd. this Evening, that to which it is a Reply, is known to you by a copy, which I sent to you some days ago. I ought if the posts are regular, to have recd. your's acknowledging the receit of mine. I do not comprehend why your letter to [intentionally blank], which as I supposed went by the same mail with mine of the 1st. instant, had not been received and... Continue Reading
Sender: Rufus King
Recipient: MVB
I have no farther suggestions to make on the matter of your last. The question is with the President & he will make such disposition of it as to him seems meet & proper. If it is supposed that I will enter into active competition with the numerous candidates who have and will continue to spring up for the place the supposition is founded in a mistake of my character. I confess to you (... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
I do not perceive that any thing further can be done on your part, if you could do, what I do not believe you can, if you could infuse something of vigour in addition to the honest views of the S. of the N. it would impart to him a qualification that would be generally of service, and on the present occasion is of much consequence. I cannot but believe, that you will look with your usual... Continue Reading
Sender: Rufus King
Recipient: MVB
On my return from Norfolk a few days since I found your letter of the 15th. Inst. in which you inquire whether I have definitively declined the appointment of a Judge of the Supreme Court, U.S. and whether the President so understands it. In my conversations with the President on the subject I certainly meant to be understood by him that I did decline taking the office. I am not certain that I... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
On the 25th. I received the letter, copy of which I subjoin viz.  By referring to the letter from me to M.A. you will discover the nature, and Extent, or the opinion in wh. we agree. I have not made any reply to the last letter; & am not a little embarrased, by the caucus proceedings <i> at Albany in deciding whether I ought to make a Reply, and if I should conclude to do so, what the... Continue Reading
Sender: Rufus King
Recipient: MVB
I thank you for the Resolution. It is conclusive of the temper of the legislature as to Adams but will give hopes to Clay. That gentleman as he passed thro: this City was asked, Will you be a Candidate for the Speaker's Chair? No, But if the House should Elect me, I will Accept. "Noli Episcopari." He is of Course a Candidate, and if he succeeds, will have a power which will Enable him to make... Continue Reading
Sender: Samuel Smith
Recipient: MVB
I didnot till yesterday receive the resolutions of the Republican Members of the Legislature of New York, for which accept my sincere thanks; Their plan of a national caucus, to nominate a candidate for the next president, is certainly preferable, to that of state nominations; The only ^objection^ to which, is that it produces so much electioneering among the members of Congress, that it seems to... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Accept my thanks for your civility, in sending me the proceedings of the republican meeting at albany; but I am so much engaged on a farm, and so little learned in the grand affair of making presidents, as not to be able to understand their future consequences or present bearing. Besides, I employ the time I can spare, in writing a last speech [in] the shape of a last book, to be printed by the... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
^From what^ Mr Butler tells me ^it appears^ that some good friend has informed you that I had denied you the credit of Beardsleys appointment The fact <we> there ^attempted to make mischief between us & it is proper that I should prevent^. Mr Tracy told me that you was in favour of Mr Concklin's appointment, in preference to Lynch or Buel and from the positive manner in which he spoke... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
I have received your letter of the 16th. making very kind and friendly inquires respecting my health. I was a little unwell for a few days soon after my return from Norfolk, but have entirely recovered. It is very uncertain whether I shall go to the north this summer. It will depend entirely upon the state of the health of Washington. I should be very happy to have the interview you mention. But... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I am very sorry you have received and treated so gravely and seriously what I mentioned to Mr Butler respecting the appointment of Beardsley I did not consider it a matter of much consequence or I should have written you on the subject, and not barely have sent a verbal message. Your explanation is perfectly satisfactory. There is however a mistake, about my ever having expressed a decided... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I was very much astonished at the information contained in your letter of the 4th. as to certain speeches attributed to me in relation to yourself. I should have contented myself with a base denial of the truth of them, had you not mentioned that you had thought proper to institute a full inquiry into the matter, and that the result had left no doubt that Mr Governieur had reported what you... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
Nothing has as yet been definitively decided upon, relative to filling the vacancy on the Bench of the Supreme Court. My present object is to inquire of you, whether after what has passed between you and myself on the subject, you think I could with propriety, as it respects yourself take the office... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB

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