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S. Wright [Jr.] to MVB, 3 April 1844


My Dear Sir,

I take a moment in my seat to write a word to you, because I am requested to state a fact, and submit to you whether you should notice it. The fact is that Mr. Clay has stated, in Georgia, that you used efforts, in 1828, to <illegible> yourself to be instructed as to your vote upon the Tariff of that year, and that he refers to my veracious colleague, N.P. Tallmadge, for his authority.

This request comes to me from Mr. Howell Cobb, a member of the House from Georgia, who is, as I am told, a devoted friend of yours, and the only one from that State who is exactly so. Mr. Cobb showed me the letter from his correspondent, who he says is the editor of a Van Buren paper in the State, and a man with whom he is in constant correspondence, and who, he says, is a discreet and worthy man. It does not appear from the letter that Mr. Clay made this statement publicly, and I therefore infer that it was made in conversation, and not in a speech. Yet it is said that the Clay papers there are making the charge, upon the authority of the Statement of Mr. Clay.

As I take it for granted that this Story has no foundation in fact, I of course submit it to yourself whether you should notice it.

I had, yesterday afternoon, a very frank and good natured conversation with Mr Selden of between one and two hours. I confess that your Richmond letter furnished the basis of my talk to him, and I pressed those ideas until I am sure he felt them. I told him, if our Virginia friends thought it least, and pressed you to speak, you would do so fully, plainly, and according to your honest opinions, and leave upon your party and your Country the Consequences. I told him the Tariff and the State of the House had imposed load Enough upon us, of that sectional character, for <our> contest, and that the addition of this Texas question, it appeared to me, would prove to be, not the pea, but the mill stone, which would sink the camel, rather than simply break his back. I did not, of course, tell him that I borrowed many of my ideas from your letter. The conversation was, altogether, in perfectly good temper and feeling, and at the close I requested Mr. S. if he should have occasion to write to our friends at Richmond, that he would urge upon them not to forget that this is a question to which there is two sides, both equally marked, and upon the one of which, as easily as upon the other, passion might be made to take the place of reason and judgement and even patriotism. He said he should do that, and we parted, I am sure without any personal ill feeling.

I will not attempt to detain you longer, at the present time, upon this great question, <farther> than to say that I believe I have got so that I can look at it calmly, though I cannot begin to measure the Consequences of making it an issue in the pending Congress. We have not a word, nor a hint, nor even a rumor from the State Department, except that Mr. S. said “a Treaty would be made,” but I did not ask him, and he did not say upon what evidence he made the assertion.

Our news from <Connecticat> is very imperfect, but supposed to be enough to prove that the whig triumph is complete. This does not disappoint me.

Most Respectfully

 And Truly Yours

Silas Wright

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 12 (5 March 1841-31 December 1844)