Silas Wright [Jr.] to MVB, 26 May 1844
25 ^26^ May 1844
My Dear Sir,
I have not had time to write to you, during the last week, and I infer from a late note from Butler that he did not send send you my frequent and very miscellaneous but familiar letters to him, after one or two of the first. It is quite as well that he did not, for they could not have given you much information, which you would have desired to possess, and they might have contained things which would have given you unnecessary uneasiness.
You will readily believe me when I tell you I have had five or six weeks of any thing but pleasure, but, since the letter on Texas I have had very little <pause>. I have constantly looked upon the State of things as about as bad as it can be, and the chances of our party success, in any event, as brought from a condition of perfect certainty very nearly to perfect desperation; but I have felt that the sin was not at our door, that our principles, character and honor remain unimpaired and untarnished, and that whatever injustice rogues may now do, history will tell these truths for us. These reflections have given me more equanimity of feeling than I believed I could retain; and see what I have seen, and I think I have succeeded in manifesting, to a good degree, a deportment conformable to my feelings.
We are now clear I presume of delegates, as nearly so, as the evening train of Cass has just left us for Baltimore. I have had a comparatively quiet day today, so far, and it is what I cannot say of any other day in more than four weeks, of which, as a matter of course, the last five or six days have been the most unpleasant.
The result of the whole matter, so far as we have yet been able to make a guess here, is that there is a majority of votes in the Convention for you, whether the vote be taken by Congressional Districts, as by States. Such is the Canvass made under the superintendence of our friend Medary, who has been here about a week and is one of the most firm, true, and energetic men in the world. He has had eight or ten active men assisting him, but it has not been possible to Canvass with any accuracy, so little is known of the absent delegates, as indeed of many of those present. You would scarcely believe me, if I should tell you, how these men were persuaded to change their opinions here, and what resorts were used to induce the changes. The Michigan men were told that it depended upon them whether they should have the president, as New York, as the nomination of Cass was certain; if they could consent to it but that the Convention could not force the candidate upon their state against their vote. The effect was produced upon them of the <few> here.
Two of the New Hampshire delegates came here and were right, though one of them was a little fishy. They were surrounded on Friday morning, and told that the nomination of Woodbury would be made perfectly certain, if that state would vote for the 2/3 rule, as that would drive you off, that a northern Texas man must be taken, that he was Mr. Calhoun's first choice, and that the most of your friends would go for him, rather than for Cass, Johnson, or Stewart.
The few Pennsylvanians who came here were told that, by the same cause, they could get Buchanan, or Stewart, or Johnson, just as the preferences of the man happened to be. And the Tennesseans were shown, in the same way, that Polk would be nominated for President, if they would take the same course
In addition to these arguments, the members of the House and Senate, who have been in the conspiracy, made personal appeal to the delegates from their respective states, upon the ground that, if they gave the vote of the State to you, after what they had done, it would destroy them, and they could not be renominated and re-elected &c. &c. and some were changed, both from Indiana and Illinois, by these personal considerations.
You have witnessed the disgusting flood of Texas letters, and therefore can immagine the effects and course of individuals, who are weak enough to suppose that question is to make Presidents of them. I think no man has behaved so palpably ridiculously as Woodbury, and I am glad to think there is no man less likely to gain by it in any event.
Calhoun's last instructions, we know, were to break up the Convention and make no nomination. If that cannot be done directly, then it is to be upon a proposition for a new Convention in July or August. The first movement is to be the 2/3 rule, under which it is confidently believed no nomination will be made, and hence the appeals to the N.H. Pa. and Ten. delegates.
There is great reason to apprehend that both the latter delegations will give way upon that point, and if either does that the rule will be adopted. If it be not adopted, the effect will be to induce the Southern delegations to secede from the convention, and if Virginia can be made to do that, then it is hoped N.C.-S.C.-Al. Miss.- and La. and Ga. will, in which case the design is that they shall unite with the Tyler Convention and nominate Calhoun. I think N.C. will not go out under any circumstances, and have some hope that her vote will be right and against the rule. I do not think Va. will secede and am certain a portion will not. So a faction from Miss. and Al. will not go out.
The old Col. is very busy and playing for both places, and it is quite possible that he may play himself out of both. In that case <V.P.> will be afloat, for that is all which will keep them from acting as badly as any delegation.
Upon the whole I think the result altogether uncertain. If any nomination is made I think it most likely it will be yourself and either Johnson or Polk, though there is a <low> possibility that it may be Walker in preference to either of them, though I do not think there is much probability of that, because it will only <illegible> of compromise. If there be no nomination, or if you are nominated, I think Tyler's Convention will at once nominate him, and <worse> says Levi as his V.P.
It is possible that, through the shiftings of the Pa. and other folk, Cass may be nominated, though I do not think so, and my impression is that, in that event, Tyler will be nominated, though the general opinion is that he will not, because it is supposed Calhoun will dissuade him.
You will soon know, and I give you these as my speculations, that you may see how little I can be disappointed by any thing which can be done, and how very modest my expectations are from any result.
If the Convention shall do its duty and the South be brought to its senses by that means, then we can yet beat Clay, but in any other event we must be defeated.
With Great Respect
I am Truly Yours