Martin Van Buren Autograph Letter Signed as Vice President. Four page bifolium, 8" x 10", Philadelphia; July 18, 1835. A letter to Pennsylvania Democratic political supporters, Henry Horn, John M. Read, George [M.] Dallas, Mr. English, and others concerning their invitation to a dinner in Van Buren's honor in Philadelphia:
"I have had the Honor to receive your letter, inviting me to a public dinner in behalf of a number of my Democratic friends of the City & County of Philadelphia. For this mark of respect, as well as for the many preceding testimonials of confidence & regard that have been spontaneously tendered to me, from the same quarter, I am, as I ought to be, truly grateful. To secure the good opinion of those who firmly and fearlessly held fast to Republican principles in 1798, in 1812, and again in 1834, has been a prominent object of my public life; conscience that it could neither be acquired nor preserved, except by an unremitting devotion of my best faculties to the public good. It is not an easy matter to decide which of those trying occasions afforded the surest test of principles. To have been found faithful & conspicuous in either of them, is deserving of much praise, but to have been so in all, constitute in my judgment an infallible standard of American patriotism. Believe me, Gentleman, when I say, that your political brethren of other States, with one accord, award this high merit to the Democracy of the City & County of Philadelphia. So believing, you will require no assurance of mine to satisfy you of the great value that I place upon the favorable opinion of my public conduct which you have, in their behalf, been pleased to express. To continue to deserve it, will constitute a leading motive in my future efforts for the service of my Country; never doubting that I am in the path of duty, when my conduct is found to merit such approbation. I regret, Gentleman, that the unavoidable shortness of my stay in Philadelphia deprives me of the pleasure of accepting your polite invitation and am, with sentiments of the truest regard, Your Friend & Obt. Servt.
M. Van Buren"
Martin Van Buren, formerly President Jackson's Secretary of State, assumed the position of Jackson's vice president in 1833 and served in that capacity until he became president in 1837. At the time of this letter, he was not only serving as vice president, but was the nominee of the Democratic Party for president. Although the presidential election would not take place until November 1837, Van Buren was nominated by the party to be its presidential candidate at its national convention, held in Baltimore in May 1835. This letter, addressed to several of his Pennsylvania supporters, appears to be in response to their invitation to a dinner in honor of their party's presidential nominee.
Henry Horn (1786-1862) was a Philadelphia lawyer and politician. He was elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-second Congress (1831-1833), but was defeated for reelection in 1832. He later served as collector of customs at Philadelphia from 1845 to 1846.
John Meredith Read (1797-1874) was a Philadelphia lawyer who was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature in 1822 and again in 1823. He also served as city solicitor of Philadelphia and member of the select council, United States district attorney of the eastern district of Pennsylvania from 1837 to 1841, solicitor general of the treasury department, and attorney general of Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1846. In the 1850s he joined the Republican Party.
George Mifflin Dallas (1792-1864) was an American politician and diplomat who served as Mayor of Philadelphia from 1828 to 1829 and as Vice President of the United States under James Knox Polk from 1845 to 1849. After he assumed the presidency, Van Buren appointed Dallas to the post of Minister to Russia, which he held from 1837 to 1839.
Condition: The letter has the usual fold and has residue of tape at the top of pages 2 and 4. Age toning, a bit darker at edges. Includes an engraving of Van Buren.