MVB to G[orham] A[kin] Worth, 16 March 1822
March 16th 1822
My dear Sir,
I have red. yours here & on account of the good feeling it evinces & my great respect for your opinions & wishes answer it from this place. I deny that I have in any way or at any time directly or indirectly said or done any thing to the prejudice of the advancement of your friend judge Van Ness except the contest ^between us^ for the nomination of Senator in 1812 & except further so far as the denial & refutation of divers calumnies agt. me of which he was the putative author, had such tendency. I deny that I do now feel any such hostility agt. him (whatever reasons I may have) as would induce me to step out of my way to oppose him or as would induce me to regret any good fortune which may befal him, on the contrary I would learn with great satisfaction the occurence of any event which would improve the condition ^of^ his amiable & very interesting family. When the fact occurs that I shall feel it my duty to attempt to thwart his wishes I will recognise the propriety of explaining & justifying ^the act^ to any gentlemen who may happen to be friendly to both of us. Untill it does the apprehensions of the Judge on that head must be disregarded. How I should act if a question in regard to him should necessarily come before me must of necessity depend ^so much^ on the nature of the question as to render it manifestly improper for me to commit myself in
regard ^respect^ to it. It has been my invariable course through life never to raise expectation that ^which^ I have not a firm purpose to realise, in the pursuance of that course it comports alon[g] with my view of propriety that I should, (after having said what I have not done & said as much as is proper what I might do if it should become unavoidable for me to pass on his interests) to say farther, that at this time it is not in my power to volunteer my services in promoting his views whatever they may or however fit in themselves. Of the correctness of this sentiment you shall judge. For some years past a report has been in secrete circulation attributed to judge Van Ness, charging me with having while in his office obtained the information that he was the author of the libel upon judge Spencer contained in "Aristides" & with having communicated the fact to judge S., & with having offered him evidence to maintain it. It surely is not necessary for me to say one word as to the enormity of this charge nor I hope to you of its falsity. This charge was last summer while I was in Newyork published in the R. Sentinel & republished in the Post as upon the authority of judge Spencer, who alone was privy to the fact. The circumstance was a fortunate one as it gave me an opportunity to call on Spencer, who immediately caused the Editor of the Statesman to publish as on his (Ss) authority that the whole story was a sheer fabrication.
Notwithstanding which the truth of the story has by insinuation been presevered in but in such a way as to avoid responsibilty on the part of the editor & I have never learnt or had reason to believe that the judge has done me justice in the premises or shewn
me the least inclination to do so. During your absence & when I was a candidate for the U. States Senate, a story was circulated industriously circulated that I had been corrupted in the affair of the bank of america, Genl. Thomas pointed out as the witness of the fact & the judge as the person on whose authority it was reported.
The Story was so preposterous & so universally discredited that my friends ridiculed the idea of my noticing it in any way & I pursued by their advice the course I have never found to fail viz to live down the catalogue of calumnies which the malice of my enemies have heaped upon me. Now I put it your correct feelings whether I could without great personal prejudice while such is the State of these stories appear as the judges advocate or even be upon terms of social intercourse with him, would I not seem to depricate his hostility and of course his knowledge & whether the ^neutrality in regard to him which I have^ observed
of is was not the very most which could be expected from me. It strikes me very forcibly that if in any respects my conduct it has been exceptionable it has been in the forbearance I have shewn, for assuredly the power to annoy him & that most keenly has again & again been presented to me. These remarks are made in great haste & are for your eyes & for your satisfaciton only.
I came here upon a visit & will return on monday. My time has been most agreeably spent & I have been treated with a degree of kindness & respect which I could not have anticipated & which has detained me longer than I contemplated. Make my best respects to Mrs W. & believe me to be as heretofore
very sincerely your