Skip to main content
View PDF

MVB et al., Circular to the Republican Members Elect of the New York Senate, 13 November 1819



The Undersigned Republican Members of the Senate, avail themselves of the opportunity presented by their meeting, at this city, to address their Republican brethren elect, on the present state of the party.

That there should, among Republicans, be occasional disputes about men, is to be expected; it is the ordinary and natural result, flowing from the free and honest exercise of opinion; but, believing with the illustrious Jefferson, that "every difference of opinion is not a difference in principle," we feel that they ought never to be made the cause of political hostility, unless such preferences are persisted in, to the sacrifice of principle, and consequent prejudice of the cause they profess to support.

It is not to be disguised, that a schism exists in the Republican party, as to the poltical conduct of our present executive, which has been serious, and is still sufficient to afford cause of regret. It is our earnest desire, that such a course may be pursed at the ensuing session of the Legislature, as, while it affords ample immunity and respect for the rights of opinion, may preserve to the Republican party, many honest and firm men, who have heretofore proved themselves friends to the country. Of the members elect, who have been designated as the peculiar friends of the executive, we recognize many such, and to them, among others, we address ourselves.

With that frankness, which should ever distinguish the intercourse between republicans, we cordially invite you to convene with us, at the customary meetings of the members of the Legislature, at the ensuing session, in order to decide on the respective questions, which it will become necessary for us to act upon; there to discuss with freedom, such points of collision as may arise between us, and in the sequel, to put them to the only safe test, the fairly expressed will of the majority—A test, which can never be wrong in its means, although, from the imperfection of human nature, it may sometimes prove so in its effect; but which is the only known mode, in which men, having the same great objects in view, can act in concert.—A mode, which has generally led to the promotion of the honor and interest of the party; while on the contrary, a departure from it has as generally been the harbinger of distraction, dishonor and defeat.

The motives which invite to this course, and the reasons which justify us in requesting it, are too multiplied for the limits of a circular; we must therefore content ourself with saying, that we feel, as we humbly hope, a justifable assurance in soliciting its adoption, from the conviction, that we have given ample proof of the sincerity of our professions, by our own example.

It is well known, that to the nomination of Governor Clinton, many of us were warmly and zealously opposed; such of us as were so, thought we saw the deleterious consequences that have resulted from it; but we did not think it right to adhere to our individual opinions, in opposition to the will of the majority. We therefore met our Republican brethren in general meeting; we there freely advanced our opinion; the decision was against us, and we abided it. No candidate was set up in opposition to Governor Clinton, and his election was acquiesced in; although, it is well known, that in many large and respectable portions of the state, that nomination was in the highest degree objectionable.

Several of us, also, being members of that meeting, were in favor of its proceedings, then invited to the course we now recommend, and applauded its adoption. We would, therefore, not only act inconsistent with ourselves, but illy requite the liberality we then received, were we, for any purpose, or upon any motive, sullenly and inveterately to throw ourselves in opposition to the fairly expressed will of a party, with which we are proud of avowing our connection: and all of us unite, in expressing our convictions, that the duty, (the discharge of which we respectfully solicit,) is one of a paramount nature, and in avowing the regret with which we would learn, that any man who claims the proud appellation of a Republican, should prove insensible to its influence.

We are well aware, that with the interested and designing, efforts will not be wanting to excite your jealousy of, and prejudice against, this frank appeal. But of those we are regardless. Well knowing that we have another object in view, than to obtain a Republican ascendency in the councils of the state, to extinguish faction, preserve harmony, and promote the peace, honor, and success of the great Republican party, we can cheerfully submit even to calumny and unmerited reporaches, in laboring to secure the ultimate triumph of so good a cause.

If you entertain (which we cannot doubt) the same general sentiments that we do, you will not fail to appreciate our motives justly; if not, we shall at least have the humble satisfaction, of having discharged our duty, in seeking to avoid those bickerings and dissentions, which have too often distracted and disgraced our party, and for short seasons, subjected it to the dominion of our political adversaries.

We entertain too much respect for your good sense, to believe, that after all the evidence, which the experience of twenty years has afforded, you will, for a moment, suffer yourselves to be deluded by the apprehension, that the final success of the Republican party, can be prevented by the present difficulties which encounter it. They are not by far so formidable as those which have preceded them. Such fears have existed on former and repeated occasions, but they have been dissipated by appeals to the intelligence and patriotism of the people. You have been told that the complaints and discontents, which at this moment pervade the party from one extremity of the state to the other, which are heard in every village, and resound through your cities—which have penetrated to the seclusions of retired life, and arrested the attention of all our friends who feel and think, have been excited by the turbulent and interested: but you will not be deceived by such idle allegations; they are founded in total ignorance of the real character of our citizens, or in a design to misrepresent them. The people are never false to themselves: their good sense and virture have removed them far above the reach of imposition. The reiterated and unccessful attempts of our opponents, for the last nineteen years, to prostrate the Republican party, prove that they are not to be moved by unfounded alarms. Their attachment to the cause has sunk deep in their bosoms, and forms a part of their character; it is founded in an enlightened view of their rights and duties, and, like their love of country, is fixed and unchangeable.

Their creed is sacred to principle, and cannot be surrended to the objects of ambition, or the views of men in opposition to the public good. It is in the fullness of that conviction, that while we deeply regret the collision in the Republican family, we indulge the hope, that the dissentions which exist, and which fortunately have their origin in individual attachments only, will meet with a speedy and honorable termination; and we are happy to be able to assure you, that from the best information which can be derived from the different parts of the state, there is no room to doubt that such will be the case.

Our earnest and zealous avowals of our attachment to the Republican party, as such, and of our unchangeable determination to support it against the assaults of all its enemies, must not, however, subject us to the imputation of political intolerance; we entertain no such sentiments, proof of this is not at this day necessary. The instance does not exist in which the Republican party have treated otherwise than with justice and magnanimity, such of their opponents as have united with them, from pure motives, and with upright views; and there is no room to apprehend, that they will ever do otherwise.

With sentiments of respect and esteem,

We remain your humble serv'ts.


From the Southern District.







From the Middle District.






From the Eastern District.




From the Western District.





It is my opinion that the Republican members ought all to meet together, as they have heretofore done, and I cordially recommend that course.


From the Eastern District.

Nov. 15, 1819.


Written in unknown hand at the bottom of pg. 2 of the circular: one sent to all the republican members except three or four

Images for this document are currently unavailable.
Source: CSmH The Huntington Library
Collection: N/A
Series: Series 3 (17 February 1815-2 December 1821)