MVB to Garrit Gilbert and Edward Patterson, 4 September 1841
Sept. 4, 1841.
I have received with much satisfaction, your letter communicating to me, by the direction of a Democratic Convention, held in the Ninth Ward of the city of New York, a copy of its proceedings, in which the conduct of Mr. Tyler in placing his veto on the Fiscal Bank Bill, is highly approved, and the repeal of the Independent Treasury system decidedly condemned.
The compliment paid to Mr. Tyler by the convention, for what has already been done, was well deserved, and if, as there seems to be good reason to hope, he shall complete the work so wisely begun, by disapproving the bill for the creation of a Fiscal Corporation, he will be entitled to the thanks of the country.
No one can fail to see that the provisions of the new charter are not only in all respects as objectionable as those of the former, but have in addition been made to assume a form infinitely more offensive to a sincere State Rights man. That the institution proposed to be established by the first bill would have been a corporation, as much so as that embraced in the second, is certain. Why then, it may be asked, was the name changed from a "Fiscal Bank" to a "Fiscal Corporation," if it were not to meet the constitutional question more fully in the face, and to assert in broader and less equivocal terms, the general authority of Congress to establish corporations, with power to operate in the states?
A grant of power to Congress to establish corporations, was, it is well known, in express terms refused by the Convention, and the absence of such a power was distinctly urged by Mr. Jefferson, as the prominent ground of his opposition to the establishment of the first Bank. To meet the otherwise unanswerable argument founded upon the recorded fact of the refusal of the Convention to grant this power, it was urged by the Federal school that, in construing the Constitution, they were not to be controlled by the intention of the Convention which framed and the people who adopted it, but were at full liberty to put upon it any interpretation which the words of the instrument, would, in their opinion, justify. A better device to strengthen this heresy, so anti-republican in its character, and so destructive of the just rights of the people, could not well have been conceived than that which is to be found in the phraseology of the second bill.
It would doubtless have been eminently advantageous to the country if there had also been a concurrence in sentiment between the Chief Magistrate and your Convention, in respect to the Independent Treasury and other important measures which have been acted upon by the two Houses at the present session. But in expressing their approbation of the good which he has done, and in regarding with indulgence his conduct upon points in relation to which the Convention differs from him, the members have only given effect to the principles by which the Democracy of the United States have ever been governed.
Every public servant whose intentions are pure, can always rely upon receiving at their hands, respect for his motives and a just credit for his acts, whatever may be the character of their political relations with him, and however much they may differ from him in other respects.
For the avowal of approbation, respect and regard which you have communicated to me in behalf of the Convention, I return my sincere acknowledgment, and am, gentlemen, with unfeigned thanks for the friendly spirit in which you have discharged the duty assigned you, very sincerely, your friend and ob't servant,
M. VAN BUREN.