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L[ouis] McLane to MVB, 30 April 1823

My dear VanBuren

I will not pretend to tell you, how much pleasure your brief note of the 24th inst. gave me, but rely upon it, nothing will offend my "federalism ear" which augurs well of the success of my friends, more especially if you are "to share the triumph." I look upon the proceedings at Albany as a nomination of Mr. Crawford; indeed, they will be worth much more to him, if by the powerful influence of your state, they can lead to a congressional caucus, on which that gentleman must place his firmest reliance.

I never doubted the wisdom of your council, & felt satisfied that, with a more intimate knowledge of the grounds, you were the best judge of the operations. My only apprehension has been that some cursed apple of discord would be thrown into your State, which, as heretofore, would hereafter divide and distract her power, but I relied upon the Palinurus who, knowing the shoals, had skill to avoid them. But, my dear Sir, the strait is now passed, and I trust the Pilot will keep the ship in an even steady course.

This is a broad wish for a federal pen, and, to be frank, when I look round and see those men of the party which was, but is no more, yet panting in the walks of ultraism, or something worse, and by the aid of silly disaffection, and idle distinctions grasping, with vain efforts, at the shadow of power, whose substance is irretrievably beyond their reach, I doubt exceedingly, whether I have any other claim to federalism, than that, which the honor of being claimed and cherished as illegible ^such^ by the best, and oppos'd by the worst citizens of my own little native state affords me. But, after all, I must avoid all retractions, and leave my friends, & you among others, to judge me by my actions. If the lapse of a few months finds us both espousing the same principles, advocating the same cause, and advancing the same leader, you must give me at least as much credit for orthodoxy, as will be allowed to "young Mr. Calhoun" and those worthy coadjutors, who, under the wing of Gen'l Harper, mean to take the palace by a coup de main: if the famous AB. plot be inadequate to the purpose.

You are too warmly remembered by every member of my family, my Dr Sir, to have made your letter indifferent to any one of them, and it came only in aid of the frequent occasions we have to think and talk of you. It atones in some small degree too, let me say, for the heinous offence you committed, in leaving Delaware to your left, on your way home, and for remaining in Phil. no longer than to allow me time to arrive there a few hours after you had taken your departure in the steam boat; I take it for granted tho', to use the language of our friend Archer, that you would not have dared to have committed this outrage upon friends who deserve better at your hands, if you had not coupled with it the resolution of a summer's visit, & let me hope that this event may be rendered more probable by the coming trial of the speed of N.Y. & Virginia, which will force you to Long Island. I shall send a very pressing summons for Archer, & I should be exceedingly happy if you could prevail upon Gen'l. Van Rensselaer to escort you hither, taking care to bring with you Master John, for which whom you have already made promises, with which he may not be entirely disposed to comply. But fill your suite as you please, & you will gratify me most. I can promise you little more than the pleasure of making us all very happy with your society, & to show you, in the small circle of our friends, in how humble a village I am content to toil away my time. We will together examine Phil. and its environs & together inspect the pea patch to be better prepared to silence Gen. Cocke in next winter's campaign. Baltimore too, is at hand, & even Richmond, should you be inclined to migrate so far South, is within our reach.

In the end, with the best regards of Mrs. McLane, believe me, my Dr Sir,

most affecitonately yours.


L. M'Lane.


Copy in the hand of Sarah Angelica Singleton Van Buren.

Printed in Autobiography of Martin Van Buren, 575-6.

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Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 4 (3 December 1821-31 December 1824)