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:

I have red. your letter—for which I thank you & will notice its contents hereafter. For the present I wish to state to you a matter in which you may perhaps be of service to me. Letters from Albany this day received announce to me a desertion as unexpected as disgusting. When I first treated with Mr. Buel for the purchase of the Argus establishment I was induced to make it a point that Mr... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Recipient: Gorham Akin Worth
I am so much pleased with your Legislative address that I send you the enclosed that you may see how it took in a foreign print. The Intelligencer is so crowded that it is not [pos]sible to get any thing in it but Speeches. You will see that Edwds has again attacked Mr Crawford. Our friends need not fear that he will suffer by any thing that his enemies can do agt. him. If ever there was a... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
I have assertained that “Tom” a black man who you purchaised of <Fesburgh> & who quit you some 10 years since is now in the neighbourhood of Worcester Ms. There is yet some time before he is free as he is of that class which will be free July 4th 1827. He was when young a slave of my father and I think I can induce him to be of some service to me if own him. I therefore take the liberty... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I owe you many apologies for seeming in attention to your constant kindness. The truth is I have had nothing agreeable or interesting to write. I did not apply to the Chancellor (Kent) as you desired, because I ascertained the day I recd. your letter that he had positively determined to take the course he has. He will see the day when he will regret it. Mr Crawford is substantially well. You... Continue Reading
Sender: 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 thereby necessarily serve the bitterest enemy I, probably, have in the world. The course is a petition to congress, setting forth the case with documents.... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Recipient: Gorham Akin Worth
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
I do not know why I should not (following the example of one of our Ga newspapers in which it is always done) derange the letters of your name & make you neighbor to the great Bean, since you, (misled by such examples) take the liberty to stick an e to the end of my name. I have no e, to my name as I beg ^you^ to understand & remember, if you do not wish me to mangle your patronymic most... 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 settled, 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 though not an official source & am happy to hear that ^you have found^ no obstacle objection to its acceptance. When will you go. If... 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 scrawl 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 <illegible> 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 subject... 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, talks very well and does not appear to have any wants to be gratified, I mean political wants. He is in favour of Young for speaker & Livingston for Clerk, does not think it expedient to vacate the Seat of the... 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 earnest 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 with the... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I wish you & your family not forgetting my frsweet heart Miss Margaret a very merry Christmass. Here the day is dark & raining & except the promise of some pleasure at dinner with Mr & Mrs. McLane nature & every thing else appears to be out of sorts. Nothing has transpired of much interest in the political world. The Jackson men being in the field are of course looking out for... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
I am as you supposed somewhat surprised to hear that you went direct to Greenbush. I wrote you advising you to go to Kinderhook & to visit Albany from thence. I know the kindness which induces Mr & Mrs. Duer to wish to have you at their house, & approve your taste for <being> pleased with the good society you meet there, but I fear your Kinderhook friends will think themselves... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Recipient: John Van Buren
After your suggestion the other day, I tho't it barely possible that I had in the number of matters at the beginning of the session mistaken ^in^ my memory my intention for the fact, and therefore wrote again to Mr: Sergeant. I recd. today the enclosed answer. In my letter to him, I used duplicity ^<and>^-pardon the word, <enough> to say I had made the communication to you without... Continue Reading
Sender: Louis McLane
Recipient: MVB
I like the openness and candour with which you express yourself respecting my friend [Ver]planck at the same time that I think you have formed an erroneous opinion of his character. If any person ought to know him I should; our acquaintance commenced in boyhood, and since we have been engaged on the same side in Politicks, it has matured into friendship. In acting with him I have had frequent... Continue Reading
Recipient: MVB
I have received a letter from Mr Williams requesting your attendance as a witness in Charles’ trial on the 2d tuesday in April & have written to him that unless they will consent that you should be examined at New Haven you shall be at Hudson at the appointed time. Mr Williams will write to Mr Croswell & you must conform to what is required of you. I feel persuaded that it cannot be... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
Recipient: John Van Buren
I do not remember that Kane offered to redeem my mortgage in his Bill. If he did cannot the other defendants set up my rights to defeat his claim of foreclosure because in my rights consist their defense to his pretensions. But I leave the whole matter to you & Mr. <illegible>. Rather than have more trouble with this creature if you & Mr Van Rightor find that you can settle with him... Continue Reading
Sender: MVB
The Tammany Hall Committee have written to their members to have a legislative caucus to nominate candidates for Govr. & Lt. Govr. What can we do? Sanford is the most likely to succeed. He would secure a portion of the Adams men. The conduct of Ewing & other bucktails in regard to our state road will secure to Clinton a majority in the southern tier of counties. If we should succeed with... Continue Reading
Sender: Erastus Root
Recipient: MVB

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