Skip to main content
View PDF

MVB to G[orham] A[kin] Worth, 22 April 1819


Your last epistle on the subject of Newyork politcs has served ^only^ to add demonstration to my previous conviction that you are totally and deplorably ignorant of not only of Mr Clinton (I mention ^him^ first out of compaisance to you) but of the State, her political Interests and the Sentiments and views of her citizens, & that when you meddle at all with politics you are so wholly ^as I have frequently told you wholly^ out of your element as to raise This ^blunt sincerity^ may not flatter your vanity but that I the a question as to the strength of that mind which powers ^am of which not bound to do you good alone is^ are on all other occassions assented to by all ^what I wish to promote^ a man to be ^a^ sound ^a^ politican & in any degree usefull to his country must be governed by higher & steadier considerations than those of personal sympathy and private regard. I will not suffer your unmerited censures or the kind reproaches of your "Intelligent men from all quarters" who most ^have^ most ^so have^ kindly & magnanimously taken our political interests into their secure keeping, to drive me to say of Mr. Clinton what his poltical demerit would abundantly Justify. His fallen f and falling fortunes are calculated to excite other sentiments than those of reproach or exultation & the man who ever for a moment entertained the Idea, that in the opposition which I have ben constrained by an imperious sense of Duty to make to him I was actuated by a single inducement of a personal nature or that I ever ceased to regret that his political infidelity had lead & was leading to the prostration of his personal weight & influence in the State, knew nothing of me or my views.

Had I the least idea that you was serious in your declaratory remarks upon this subject I would sorely regret that I had been so much misunderstood by a friend who I dearly love & for whose good opinion I have always entertained so high a regard. In the name of all that is decent where is the evidence of that towering mind & those superior talents which it has been the business of myriads of puffers and toad eaters to attribute to him & ^who^ with their never ending hallelujahs to his "Stupendous greatness" have stunned the public ear & nauseated the public taste. He has spent the best part of half a century in the acquisition of general knowledge & the improvement of his mind, uninterrupted by the necessity of applying to business and I ask again for the evidence of those talents, for opposition to which we are to here burnt as heretics or denounced as Jacobins by "people of information from every part of the union who congregate at Cincinati, who utterly ignorant of the State & its ^political^ interests and wholly destitute of the means necessary to a correct Judgment have the presumption to accompany their volunteer opinions with ^re^proaches on the conduct of men whose sole objects are the Interests & honor of the State and who can proudly say that they have "done her some service & that she knows it." That Mr Clinton is a man of ordinary strength of mind, of considerable acquirements and that he writes very well is cheerfully conceeded—all beyond is gratuitous assumption & nothing else. When has Mr Clinton in time of peril stood forth^ward^ in the Senate & by the powers of eloquence or even Argument sustained the Interests of his country & hushed the clamours of faction, never but you may say that ^that^ is not his part & every man cannot be an orator. When has he eve originated and carryed through any measure of Interest to his country, which required penetration, industry fortitude talents & perserverance never, say ^you^ nothing ^but be careful what you say^ of the canal, that matter is not understood but will be soon. When has Mr Clinton when beset with difficulties and pressed by public prejudice, shewn that presence of mind, that fertility of invention that fortitude in suffering & that vigour and perseverence & combatting & removing difficulties which are the invariable indicia of a great mind—never on the contrary ^recently^ when danger pressed and the storm of public indigation howled about him, when a great man of correct views could not ^have^ consented ^for any earthly object^ to stoop to his political enemies, nor ^still less to^ receive ^a^ favours at the hands of him who had contributed most to his overthrow at such a time & union such circumstances "ere he could arrived at the point proposed he could starts ^was heard^ to cry "help me Cassius or I sink" and in the fullness of humilation ^when the fever of apphrension was on him to exclaim Titinius give me some drink like a sick girl"^ by consenting to be ^not only this but he consented to be^ supported of ^by^ Judge Spencer on the avowed ground of politeness & reformation ^who had persecuted him & by to be by him held up to the people and having thus stooping to^ to kiss the rod which had chastizsed him. Is ^Was^ this a course which deserving the approbation of my highminded, honorable & spirited friend G A Worth Esq., was it by this christian act of humbling himself that he might be exalted that he became the object of Mr Worths Idolatry? If ^in^ these things he has not shew the great man in what has he? I have always understood that under all governments one of the strongest traces of a capable ruler was to be proud in the peace & harmony of its ^his^ subjects or citizens. Mr C. has not yet been govenor two years & our State is distracted and our councills disturbed to an extent beyond all precedent. Speak not of the tammany men or of the City of Newyork, they are but a drop in the waters of bitterness. The whole State is in motion—from Montauck point to Buffalo—& from the St Lawrence to the Atlantic on continued sentim ^Sentiment &^ expression of deep rooted & settled discontent is felt & heard. Nor is this confined to the democratic party, the most respectable although not the most numerous of the federal party openly express their contempt for an administration which has disappointed the hopes of all. How is ^do you account for^ this, Mr Clinton came into the goverment at the most auspicious period. Admit that there was a violent party agt. him in Newyork, good conduct & the exercise of only a small portion of his "stupendous ^great^ talents" would have put that opposition to Shame & drawn us upon them the execration of the community as the causeless disturbers of the public peace & general harmony. Has it been so? No but on the contrary as I have before Stated every section of the State is filled with comp reproach & complaints. His political influence is utterly destroyed & his ^His^ re-election rendered ^put^ out of the question. Can all this be & yet Mr Clinton be that sound patriot & great statesman you would make him to be? Or are of the people of this State, thatose people who sustained the Genl. Goverment during the late war, those ^patriotic^ Citizens who never shrunk in the hour of peril, who submitted to all manner of privations for their countries good, who ^with their characteristic magnanimity^ in an evil hour of misplaced magnanimity consented to blot out a volume of errors & to select as their ruler a man who had so lately but forfeited their confidence, are such a people I ask rather than question Mr Clintons talents or patriotism to be stigmatized by the "Intelligent men from all quarters Cin who visit Cincinati" as a lawless race of disorganizers and unprincipled Jacobins? I think not, I highly value the tender solicitude of your Citizens for our Welfare, but their object is no doubt pure, but the manner is offensive I think they carry it a little too far

I have always supposed that an other distinguishing trait of a good administration is that it rallys round the governmental standard the good the virtuous & the capable. Now it is a fact too palpable that it dare not ^to^ be denyed & ^which^ is virtually admitted by yourself that so far from that being the case with us, there is not an Instance on record in which any administration has embodyed in its support so great ^a^ number of dissolute, abandoned & broken down politicians as that with which according to you we are blessed. But I have done[.] I have violated the resolution with which I commenced this letter already. It is not a pleasant subject to me & once for all I must assure you that foolish, wicked & deluded as you & your "intelligent persons" may suppose us to be, we have resolved irrevocably disso resolved to drive from power the present ^state^ administration & all its supporters ^aides & abettors^ & that ^that^ resolution will be carryed into complete effect is certain as fate ^that^ whether strangers may wish or suggest we value too highly the Interest & honor of a State of which we are Justly proud to be Citizens, to sacrifice them to courtesy, sympathy or any such feeling. We now have for the first time in twenty years ten years all our enemies in front & we will give them such an overthrow ^and after that & pursue such a course^ that our own neighbors will not hereafter be heard in speaking of our State be heard to say ^that will give to Newyork her due weight in the union and silence the calumny^ "That her wide walks encompass but one man" under whose "huge legs" we should "peep about" to find ourselves dishonorable graves."

You must not for a moment think that any thing you have said has cooled the ardour of my attachment for you, that is impossible. It is built on too solid a base to be so easily shaken. The beam is your eyes & you are searching for the mote in mine, there lies all the difficulty.

The council have been all Write me often, make my best respects to Mrs. Worth and believe me to be your

Firm friend in great



NB. your friend Dudly will succeed for the Senate over your friend Jenkins Remember that this is for your perusal only


D Letter to G.

A Worth E


Concerning Dewitt Clinton.

Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)