MVB to C[harles] E[dward] Dudley, [c25 February 1824]
My dear Sir,
Virginia has with unprecedented unanimity ratified our proceedings at the most numerous caucus of her State Legislature ever held. What will New York do? It has been under the special recommendation of those two states that our meeting was held. Shall it forever be said that the professions of New York are not to be depended upon? I hope not. I hope the Republican members of our Legislature will not abandon those who have respected their recommendations and support those who have disregarded if not despised them. That our meeting was not a full one is nothing. If that is a good reason for disregarding the caucus proceeding then the whole power of the party is put in the hands of a few members here, who may forever defeat all attempts to unite the party. You know the effect of patronage, you know the extent of it here. It has all been against us. You will therefore not be at a loss to account for the comparative smallness of our numbers. New York can now put an end to the question. If her vote is rendered certain and the nation be made to know it, Clay and Adams must and will both retire. Their supporters will compel them to do so, and the former I am persuaded will not hesitate. If New York remain doubtful, or the election go against us, the question must be decided in the House where we will have one vote. But what is, if possible, of greater importance, the democratic party is forever at an end. One vote in the House is as good as another. It is admitted here by all candid men that as matters stand the question is on the continuance of the old party division. Let our people therefore act with their eyes open on this question so that when the consequences of present distraction or supineness arrive they may blame no one but themselves. Pennsylvania must go for Jackson or Crawford. This excludes Mr. Clay from the House, and unless he is kept on foot by letters from Albany he must retire. All New York could do for him would be to bring him in the House. If New York goes for the caucus, Ohio will I have no doubt join her. I speak advisedly upon this subject. The greater part of New England will also, I am persuaded, go with her and the election will be made by the people, and New York will have the credit of the good work. Why then should she hesitate? Can any honest democrat when he knows that the existence of his party depends upon the support of the caucus nomination refuse to support it? Can those especially who have urged it to be held? The fever in Pennsylvania will not, I think, last. That State presents the singular political spectacle of the lion and the lamb lying down together. It cannot, will not last. I cannot write to as many of our friends as I could wish. Show this to them. Act with vigor for every eye in the Union is directed on your committee and the Senate. Make my best respects to Mrs D. and Miss Sarah.
Yours truly in haste
M. V. Buren