C[ornelius] P[eter] Van Ness to MVB, 1 August 1823
August 1st. 1823
Considerations of duty to myself, as well as a desire to be perfectly frank with you, lead me to write this letter; and I hope that you will, on your part be equally frank towards me.
Since the period of my removal from the State of Newyork, I have supposed that there existed not only a good understanding, but a mutual friendship between us. That we have constantly been, my feelings I can unequivocally declare, and from your deportment towards me whenever we ha[ve] met, I certainly had reason to believe tha[t] such was the case on your part. Your su[c]cess and elevation have always afforded m[e] pleasure, and I have not been backward i[n] my expressions of it. If you think you kno[w] of any circumstance tending to detract from these representations, I should like to be made acquainted with it.
I have all the time known that one or both of my brothers and yourself were not on good terms; but with that, I considered I had nothing to do. Since my residence in Vermont I have been seperated from my brothers, and have pursued my own course regardless of theirs, and entirely uninfluenced by them. I have not entered into their friendships or their enmities; and I thought circumstances had occured that had satisfied you as to these facts, particularly in your case.
Such having been my course, and believing that you pursued a similar one towards me, it [is] with regret that I am under the necessity of sta[t]ing that within six months past I have been [in]formed from various sources that you was very [u]nfriendly to me. When I first heard it I refused [to] take any notice of it, but hearing it again [from] entirely different quarters, I have concluded [to] make this communication, that I may know [fr]om yourself what your sentiments and feelings [a]re, and consequently on what ground we are to [st]and for the picture.
C.P. Van Ness