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Washington Irving to MVB, 2 January 1833

My dear friend,

Letters from my friends in New York mention a rumour existing there of an attempt to displace Mr Paulding as navy agent, in favour of a Mr. Vanderpool. I can find no grounds for such a rumour here: should there be any thing in it, and should any attempt be made to procure your influence in the matter I would caution you against it. Paulding is a public man, known throughout the nation by his writings, which have ever inculcated the most patriotic and truly republican sentiments. He is a staunch and sinc[e]r[e] friend to the administration and to the old general[s]. He is a most honourable high minded man whose character gives a dignity to office. He is widely connected by marriage &c and his connexions are all strong friends to the administration. He is moreover prized and beloved by a wide circle of friends of a class & standing and character to have an influence on society by their opinions. Such a man is valuable to a party by the very respectability of his character and conduct, but I know Paulding to be a very useful man by his pen, which he exerts anonymously, and merely for his own gratification, in the newspapers, on the administration side. I give these hints out of my friendship both for yourself and him-lest there should really be an attempt making to dislodge him, and your influence should be sought in the matter: but I have little doubt the whole is an idle rumour.

So much for the business concerns of others-now for my own. You were kind enough to [. . .] interest yourself in behalf of my nephew Edgar Irving for a purser ship. He has since abandoned all intention of continuing in the Navy & has resigned his midshipmans warrant. I wish to ^have^ substituted in his place, as candidate for the pursership his brother Theodore Irving and should feel greatly obliged by a good word from you in his favour. He served under me in the office of the Legation at London, and is in every respect a young gentleman that would not disgrace the appointment. I have spoken to Mr Woodbury on the subject; but he is so cold and cautious that I cannot gather from him whether there is any chance or no of my nephews success. Having asked this thing ^of the government^ as a favour to myself, and in so doing give up a point of pride about which I have been excessively tenacious I should be extremely mortified at being disappointed. Though I am aware, ^however, that^ I can give few reasons of policy in aid of my application, not being the kind of [man] whose good will is of any material importance [. . .] a political leader. You, however, will act in this matter I trust from motives of private friendship.

I am lingering here to witness the "outbreak" on the subject of the Tariff, after which I shall travel on slowly toward New York.

I had nearly forgotten to congratulate you on your election. Did I not prognosticate how it would be, at that memorable breakfast table when you read the news of your rejection!

Ever with the greatest regard 


Washington Irving

Printed in Washington Irving, Letters, 2:741-743.

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 6 (4 March 1829-3 March 1833)