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S[mith] T[hompson] V[an] B[uren] to [MVB], 23 April 1844

My dear father, 

I returned from newyork Saturday evening, and was on the point of writing you the substance of the reports about the movements of the intriguers at washington which I learned there, when Davezac & subsequently Carr informed me of their communications with you upon the subject. So you know all that I could have told you, with ^except^ perhaps one additional fact, viz. The extraordinary talk of R.D. Davis, of Dutchess, who passed thro’ newYork just before I was there & took the breath out of our people there by confirming the reports of the bad condition of things at washington, & (as they say) shewing unequivocal signs of disaffection himself. Perhaps Vanderpoel (whom I found thoroughly frightened, as usual) has helped you also to this piece of information? It is quite clear that the imminency of the Convention has set to motion all the schemers & schemes suitable for a desperate emergency, but the idea that any such s[ch]emers will be available to overthrow the deliberate sense of the country within thirty days time seems too preposterous, so the point at which these movements are said to aim, viz. The nomination of Stewart, is too quintessentially & stupidly absurd, to [. . .] them to any consideration. The only material effect of these things is the inspiriting of the enemy, who are striving with might & main to get up a popular excitement on the plan of 1840. I have heard (thro’ private letters) of their arrangements for the convention at Baltimore, which indicate the determination to revive the show part of their electioneering if possible. For instance, such quiet characters as Robert McKim & his wife (among many others) have been applied to by a committee to know whether they would accommodate any & how many members of the convention, <illegible> ^with^ night’s, lodging, &c. &c. Notwithstanding all their efforts however, there is no concealing the utter want of any popular sympathy with these movements, in the most remote degree approaching that of the last campaign. Our friends, however, require a little encouraging, & I do hope they will get it in Virginia, which will, at least, reassure all

The honest croakers, of which class there are a goodly number. Vanderpoel told me that Jesse Hoyt is very much exercised about the election, & wrote him a long letter stating his belief that the Texas question presented an unexpected chance to secure your election, by mounting you on it forthwith. Poor Jesse! Wadsworth & his wife passed thro’ <this> yesterday. They sent their regards to you, & Madame told me to place the blame of their not visiting you on James’ shoulders, who desired to shift it on his numerous children & baggage. He is full of plans for tremendous mess meetings in the west after the convention; he has backslided a little on our state matters since yr. talk with him, but I put him straight again. I met in the boat Platt of Rhinebeck, who was very zealous & sensible, & spoke of Davis & his outgivings in newYork, without ^attaching apparently^ any apparen importance to them ^whether true or false^. I met also Dorsheimer of Buffalo, who said he had promised <Tracy> & others to see you, but would not be able. His idea was that we should pay attention to the elections which are to be held in Maine & Indiana, especially the latter. He thought much good might be done in the Cotton states by circulating a well-written history of Clay’s hostility to the pre-emption laws, and the western squatters whom he ^(C.)^ denounced as land pirates. For Maine he prescribed Duncan’s speeches as a specific, if taken in sufficiently large doses. These I think useful hints, and shall pass them on to such men as Lorenzo Hoyt & <illegible> in newyork, who will improve on them immediately. I asked D. What his opinion was about our state difficulties & he said, that he was satisfied if Gov. B. wanted to run again we could not get rid of him. This I told Wadsworth, & he attached much importance to D’s. opinion. W. has heretofore written to Bouck, that he would support him, but was beginning to repent of it.

Vanderpoel attacked French violently in NewYork, about the wars of Albany, denounced “both their houses,” and got him to promise to give a new tone to the Atlas when he returned. I have seen no signs of a change yet, however. Davezac & Carr are fidgetty & uneasy. Slamm keeps them in hot water continually. The Major however thinks if he could see the light of your countenance once here he would feel better. We are at home again & will be glad to see you if you dare venture in Alby again.

In haste yrs afftly.


PS Love to all from Ell & myself.

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