MVB to William Harris Crawford, 30 December 1815
MVB to W[illiam] H[arris] Crawford, 30 December 1815
Decr 30th 15
I called at your office this morning with the view of seeing you on the Subject of my note of yesterday, but finding so many waiting for an Interview with you I felt unwilling to intrude on your attention business of probably minor importance.
Apprehensive that my letters to Mr. Munro or Mr Dallas may be mislaid I take the liberty of briefly repeating the facts in relation to the claim in question.
Shortly before the day appointed for the trial of Genr. Wilkinson at Utica I received from the War Department the appointment of special Judge Advocate on his trial. The then approaching term of our Supreme Court & court of Chancery rendered it extremely inconvenient and injurious to my professional business to accept the appointment & discharge the duties attached to the Station, but there being not time sufficient to communicate with the government I felt it my duty to accept the appointment regardless of its immediate effect on my own concerns. The day appointed for the Commencement of the trial at Utica was the same with that of the Commencement of our Supreme Court. I had therefore to & actually did engage counsel to argue my causes at that term and also in the court of Chancery, which was the week after and repaired to Utica a distance of one hundred miles from Albany, the court after remaining some time at Utica adjourned to Troy. The week preceeding that in which the trial was to commence at Troy, I spent at Albany devoting my time wholly to
the preparation for the trial. The charges & specifications which had been served on Genr. W. were so defective that I had to prepare new ones pursuant to authority derived from the War department & in order to do this I was obliged to obtain the facts from the officers who were summoned as Witnesses & who were scattered over the surrounding country, some at Albany, some at Troy & some at Waterford. Having done all that was practicable to effect a full investigation I appeared before the court at Troy when Genl. W. objected to my further appearing & his objection was sustained by the court.
I accepted the appointment under an impression derived from the previous conduct of the government that If I tryed the cause I should probably receive $2000. I bestowed on the subject considerable labour & time, its interference with my professionable business was injurious & that the business was not finished by me was certainly not my fault. Under the circumstances, you will decide what the allowance shall be. My principal wish is to have it disposed of, & permit me to assure you that whatever your decision may be it will be satisfactory; for I owe it to myself to declare that nothing would be more unpleasant to me than to receive from the govermt any monies to which I am not in the opinion of any of its principal officers Justly & fully entitled.
I am very anxious to leave town on Tuesday morning, if it would be in itself proper & your leisure admit it would be agreeable to me to be advised of your determination by a note at any time between this & Monday morning. If I do not hear from you by that time I will take the [li]berty to send to your house
at that time to be informed of your decision or wishes in the premises.
your obedient. Sert.
30 Decr 1815
M. Van Buren
relative to the payment
of the fee due to him
for services on the Trial
of Genl Wilkinson.
Decr 1815 ^Jany 1816^