W[illiam] P[eter] Van Ness to MVB, 22 February 1804
I have been informed since my arrival in this part of the Country that you have become a zealous advocate for the Clintonian party, those ene[mie]s to the Republican interest & the general welfare. In addressing you it is unnecessary to enter into a discussion of this subject. You know that Mr Burr is the intended victim of villainy and persecution against which it is the duty of every friend to freedom to sustain him. I hope you will not suffer my sentiments to influence you upon this occasion, but that you will pursue faithfully the honest convictions of your mind. I should be much gratified however to be informed of the principles upon which your decision however to be informed of the principles upon which your decision has been made. if they are correct, I assure you that no one will more readily applaud your conduct. As I esteem you much be careful I beseech you that you are not influenced by motives that will hereafter dishonor you. I wish you to reflect maturely before you take a side—and when you do never change. I write in great haste, which I hope you will pardon. I could not omit it, as I feel much interest in your respectability and welfare.
Your friend & very [damaged] Servt
W.P. Van Ness