Silas Wright Jr. to MVB, 6 March 1844

Silas Wright [Jr.] to MVB, 6 March 1844

Strictly Private.

Senate Chamber


My Dear Sir,

I write to you a hasty line in my seat, because I assume you are yet at Albany, and that I cannot so well say to any one else the things I want to say. Events of vast impact are passing here and no one can tell what reports may flow from the facts.

I have made an intimation to you, in a former letter, on the subject of the Judgeship in connection with myself. I then supposed that connection was forever dissolved.

Yesterday, a rumor came to me from the House that the Son of the President, Robt. Tyler had been reporting, in that House, that I was to be nominated as Judge, and that my name would be sent to the Senate, today. At about two oclock, yesterday, Robt. Tyler called upon me, in the Senate chamber, and said his Father wanted to see me last evening. I replied that my friends, the members of Congress, were to have a meeting, last evening, which I must attend, and that I feared I could not see the President last evening. Mr. Robert Tyler replied that his father wanted to see me, very much, that evening. I said if the meeting should get through in time, so that I could be at the President's House, at 9 oclk. P.M. I would come; but otherwise I could not come until this morning. The meeting, of which I intend hereafter to speak if I have time, did not adjourn until after 10 oclk. P.M. I did not, therefore, go up until this morning, when I saw and had an interview with the President, and he offered to me the Judgeship, in terms the most flattering and personally kind, and under protestations of his genuine democracy as full as you could make. I was really embarrassed, because I knew that my determination upon the point had before been, upon more than one occasion, and by more than one person, made to him. This, however, he virtually admitted, by saying that he had caused me to be talked with previously, without my knowing that he was the cause. He said he knew my inclinations had been against accepting the place, but hoped that my reflections had changed my conclusion, and that he had thought it due to the subject to send for me and make the proposition in person, that frankness might be preserved between us.

I rendered to him every degree of thanks in my power, and told him that he had shown an appreciation of myself higher than I could entertain of my self, but that, setting aside all considerations of fitness and qualification for the office, it was impossible for me to leave the position I occupy, to accept the office he offered.

Much conversation followed, without affecting either the positions we respectively occupied, or my conclusion.

I left, and came to the Capitol. Almost immediately after the Senate was in session, messages were received from the President, and they turn out to be Mr. Calhoun as secretary of state, and Gov. Shannon as Minister to Mexico. The first of these nominations, if not both, I do not doubt will be acted upon, and confirmed before we leave the chamber.

Now for our meeting of last evening. It was a caucus of the members of the two Houses, of the Republican party, held in the Senate Chamber. It was a full and good meeting, though nothing was done, but to appoint a committee to take into consideration and report a plan of organization, and of ways and means, for our party movements for the residue of the session. The speeches, however, and feeling manifested were good, better than we expected, and much better than we feared at one time.

The notice for this meeting had been given for several days. It was appointed for Saturday evening last, but was postponed, on account of the disaster we heard of the Princeton. After I came into my seat, yesterday, I was told by a Southern member that, if the meeting, when assembled, should seem to warrant it, that a resolution would be offered, calling upon the members of the meeting to express their Presidential preferences; and that all the disaffected elements had been drilled, and would be present, to meet such a motion.

I took steps immediately to have the true men notified especially to be present, which was effectually done, and consequently the meeting was full. The appearance was not favorable to such a movement as indicated, and I really believe the debates and proceedings diminished the disposition to make it. The meeting was adjourned to Tuesday of next week, and I really hope we may derive some benefit from the commencement of such meetings.

The nomination of Mr. Calhoun is, at this moment, confirmed, nemine contra dicente.

In Great Haste

Most Truly Yours

Silas Wright

Editorial Process Complete