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MVB to [George Bancroft], 25 February 1844

My dear Sir

The enclosed will explain to you what our friends at Washington want. Govr Marcy thinks that his mode of writing is not the best that could be had for the purpose. <illegible> <illegible> What is desired is, a full statement of my course & character sufficiently comprehensive & accurate to serve as a text Book for our orators, & at the same sufficiently eloquent to impress the multitude. I do but say what I really think when I refer to yourself as most capable of doing the thing as it ought to be done, & knowing your zeal in what we at least regard as the good cause, and taking into consideration the improbability of your being able to render efficient service in the old Bay State, I have thought that you might be willing to undertake the job ^task^. We can spare you much labour by sending you 1st. Mr Hollands Work, & Mr Butlers which is indeed included in it. 2dly. A great number of Documents and some notes which will be prepared here by Govr Marcy and my son Smith, & lastly the Govr. will come to Boston, bring you the papers, & talk the whole matter over with you. To enlist public attention more effectually, it will be desirable that the work should be placed in the Hands of an extensive publisher in Nyork, & that the fact that it has been prepared by you should be informally, at least, communicated to the public before it appears. The narration of the facts will be simple, & made familiar to you, & cost you but little trouble, & the whole will be revised by my friends here who are more conversant with details, as fast as you get it ready. The reflections must be your own & will be the best part of it. Commodore Nicholson will take pleasure in receiving for & communicating from you whatever may be necessary. I am sure you would make a different affair of it from what has yet been done in similar cases, by weaving into it sound practical reflections, bearing upon the public cause & upon the nature of our institutions.

Now, my dear Sir, write me at your earliest convenience directly to this place, & if you say yes, Govr Marcy will <confer> with you as soon as the necessary preparations can be made. With kind regards to Mrs. B.

Very truly yours


Printed in Ford, "Van Buren-Bancroft Correspondence," 417-418.

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Source: MHi Massachusetts Historical Society
Collection: George Bancroft Papers (MHi)
Series: Series 12 (5 March 1841-31 December 1844)