Martin van Buren, Just Two Days Into James K. Polk's Term, Prepares to Write His Political Antagonist

March 6, 1845

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Martin van Buren, Just Two Days Into James K. Polk's Term, Prepares to Write His Political Antagonist
Autograph Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 948

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      Background

      James K. Polk was just two days into his presidency when Van Buren readied a blast at him: here the former President asks the former Attorney General, Benjamin Franklin Butler, to return some letters to him, which he will need when writing to the new President about, no doubt, political appointments. He would have been on hand for the “events at Washington” but for a bad cold.
       
      Once allies, Van Buren and Polk were competitors for the Democratic nomination for president in 1844 – and when Polk got the nod, Van Buren was deeply distressed. Still, he worked hard in the general election to help him carry the crucial state of New York and for this, expected to have a say in Polk’s appointment of cabinet officers. Van Buren was mortified, then, when the President-Elect chose a cabinet that included no one from his camp and even worse, named his enemy, William Marcy, Secretary of War. As of this writing, the patronage war, between Presidents 8 and 11, was on.


      Autograph Letter Signed (“M. Van Buren”), 1 page, quarto, Albany, March 6, 1845. To ex-Attorney General Benjamin Franklin Butler.
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      Albany
      [text is crossed out]
      March 6, 45

      My dear Sir

      I may have occasion to write a letter to Mr Polk & in that case will want the two letters from him to me in your possession.  Please therefore to send them to me by mail. I would say a word when the discussions convene of events at Washington but having been confined to my bed for the last two or three days by a very severe cold I have not the strength --

      Very truly yours
       
      M VAN BUREN

       
      B. F. Butler E[sq]