MVB and Daniel D. Tompkins to Return J[onathan] Meigs Jr., 7 January 1822
Jany 7th 1822
Having understood from you that the post master at Albany was at all events to be removed, and sensible that such an event was not so known or expected by the Citizens of that place ^as^ to afford them an opportunity to express their wishes as to his successor, we on friday last united in a request for a postponement of the subject untill they could be apprized of the determination of your department. In reply to our note you was pleased to say that the consideration of the subject was with the President; and that if he directed the postponement it might be granted. Under an impression that that question was still open with the President, we applied to him & it appears by a note which he has this moment enclosed to us & which we herewith transmit to you, that a great proportion also of the Representatives of our State most of whom had signed Mr Van Ranssalear's application to you addressed a note to the President earnestly soliciting the delay asked for by us.
At an early hour this morning we were informed by you that you do not deem it expedient to delay the appointment, but declaring your readiness to receive the communication we had requested an opportunity to make before your ultimate decision on the question was made. Under these circumstances we take the liberty of recommending to you for the appointment of Deputy post master at Albany John Lansing Jun. Esq.
Mr. Lansing is one of the few surviving Patriots of the Revolution, he was a member of the convention which framed the Constitution of the United States & of that which adopted it in the state of Newyork; has been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court & Chancellor of the State, which latter place he held untill he arrived at the age of Sixty, when by the Constitution he was disqualified from continuing in it & reduced to the station of a private Citizen. His Integrity and capacity are unquestionable & the appointment in a pecuniary point of view would perhaps be important to him & to a numerous & amiable family. We
think feel sir that we speak correctly when we say that nothing would be more gratefull to the feelings of the people of our state, than to see an old patriot thus provided for in the Evening of his days. Of Genl. Van Ransselaer we have no desire say any thing which might excite personal prejudice, That his conduct has been that of a gallant man, we cheerfully admit. But we submit to your consideration how far he has already partaken of the Justice of his Country. It cannot be unknown to you that the United states have grated him a liberal pension for life, which with becoming munificence was allowed to commence many years back. Independent of which he has for a long time held a lucrative office in the state of Newyork under several successive administrations of different & hostile administrations political sentiments. Mr Lansing is now & always has been a firm & inflexible Republican, zealously devoted to the maintainance of the great republican party of the Union. Mr. Van Ranssalear has throughout been a warm active & indefatigable opponent of that party. We will not discriminate between the pretentions of the two Gentlemen on the score of Capacity & integrity, but assume what we feel confident will not be denied by the friends of Mr Van Ranssalear that Mr Lansing's are at least equal to his. In this view of the subject we wish to submit to you, whether the prefference ought not to be given to Mr Lansing because he belongs to the Republican party & to secure a decision upon that question by your department, we now propose that if any objections are made to Mr Lansing which have weight with you we will suggest the name or names of other respectable Republicans of the City of Albany to whom the appointment will be acceptable. Knowing as we do that the republicans of the State of Newyork will regard it as a matter of great importance that the post office at the seat of Government should be in the hands of a Gentleman of the same political character with themselves, and anxious that they should fully understand the principle which in this particular govern your department, we have felt to be our duty & our right to present on this occasion & respectfully trust that question ^respectfully but^ distinctly to your decision. We forbear discussion on the matter & therefore content ourselves with observing that whatever might be the correct course as to removals from office, at this time when ^the^ feelings of party are in some degree relaxed, we had flattered ourselves with the hope that for new appointments at least, (all other matters equal) a preference would be given by every Department of a Republican administration to its Republican supporters. There is one more point of view in which we wish to present this matter to your consideration
Gen. Van Ranssalear held the office of Adjutant Genl. of our state for many years & as we have before stated under different administrations. In the severe & trying contest in which the Republicans of that state have for some years past been involved, he yielded his undivided exertions against them and was a zealous & efficient partizan.
Having succeeded in wresting the power from the hands of their adversaries; the Government of that state only last winter thought proper to extend to him, the rule which had with an unsparing hand been applied to their friends, by removing him from office. The people of the state have at two successive Elections by large & decisive majorities approved the course of those to whom they entrusted with the power of the State. You can very readily estimate the feelings with which they will learn that a department of the General Government has so soon
confer & under such circumstances conferred an office which will give him much more political Influence & consideration among them than the one ^of which^ they have deemed fit to deprive him & will determine to what respect those feelings are entitled.
With respect your
Daniel D. Tompkins