MVB to Rufus King, 19 January 1820

MVB to Rufus King, 19 January 1820



The Republican members of the Legislature have had a meeting here & with great unanimity nominated the Vice President as our candidate for Gov, of which notice has been sent to him. Some of our friends think it is dangerous to support him under existing circumstances and all apprehend that he may decline & that his doing so would throw us into great confusion unless we could be authorized to bring forward the Secty of the navy which it is conceeded on all sides would effectually settle the question of Mr Clintons future prospects. Upon this to us most interesting subject I take the liberty of addressing you & soliciting your interference with our friend the Secretary. A few of us to whom alone the matter is known have written freely to the Vice President on the subject & to meet the event of his having left the City of Washington I have sent a copy of our letter to the Secretary, of which circumstance the Vice President is also informed. I have also written a hasty note to the Secretary of which I send you a copy, of which latter circumstance the Sec is not informed.

There are many points of view in which it would be agree desirable to place this subject before you but which the limits of a letter will not allow of, but which I am fully satisfyed you will well appreciate without farther explanation. I will therefore only say, That if the Vice P. is with you & upon a free discussion between you the Secy & himself he should resolve to decline, you can induce the Secy to consent to our using his name or in the event of the V.P. having left you, if you can induce the Secy to write to us, that if the V.P. declines I may in my discretion use his name, you will do a lasting benefit to the Republican Interest of this state & I firmly believe in the greatest degree promote the public good.

It appears to me that to check Mr Clinton’s career is a matter of as much interest to our sister states as to us, he has collected around him a set of desperados who instigated by the hope of official plunder will never be content to limit their depredations to the boundaries of this State but would if successful here without doubt extend their incursions abroad. I cannot therefore but hope that Mr Monroe would under suitable explanations interest himself to prevail on Mr. Thompson to comply with our wishes. He certainly could in no way do this State a greater service. How this could be done is not for me to say and I know of no man to whom I would soon broach the subject except yourself. Every man you know has his ulterior views in life. I think I know the Secy as well as any man living. He is unambitious & for himself wishes nothing so much as retirement. He has long been ballancing in his own mind as to the propriety of taking asking the place of Collector of Newyork. He has an utter aversion to occupying the chair of this State but if he could see his way clear for an early retreat, from it he might be content to take it for a season. Again if his present place could be kept in reserve for him for one or two years if that was preferable we might I trust supply an occupant from this state who would consent on such pressing inducements as exist with us to be used on the occasion & who might be no discredit to the administration. You will at once perceive the extreme delicacy of this subject and the propriety of my wish to avoid multiplying unnecessary words in regard to it. The Honor & prosperity of my native state is my sole inducement, one which has led me into a trying controversy with a band of able but as I conscientiously believe very profligate men. Success in this point would put all at rest & Newyork instead of continuing to be the head quarters of faction might look forward to some respect & consideration in the union. I submit it all to your discretion & better Judgment, only adding that every hour of delay is to us most distressing & that if the Secy so wishes it his letter to me may in case the V.P. has left you request that I do not use it unless the V. President peremptorily & unconditionally declines on any other fair condition. The mail is about closing, & I must throw this hasty scrawl on your indulgence

Yours very sincerely


Editorial Process Complete
Editorial Note:

Printed in King, Correspondence, 6:252-253.