Charles Biddle accuses VP Martin Van Buren of blocking his appointment to an office by President Jackson

Date Written

Aug. 10, 1834

Charles Biddle, Jr. was 47 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Vice President Martin Van Buren, was 51 when it was received.

Charles Biddle, Jr. died 2 years, 4 months, 21 days after writing this.
It was written 185 years, 1 month, 11 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Washington
10 July 1834

Sir,

Not being aware of your intention to leave Washington so early, Mr. Croxace & myself visited your house last evening, but found you had left the city. The object of my visit was somewhat of a peculiar character, and only to be excused upon the ground that candor & fair dealing among men creates more friends than enemies. I will briefly state to you now what I should have said last evening if you had been at home.

General Jackson is a warm & zealous friend of mine, and has frequently expressed both to myself & friends an anxious desire to offer me “any office in his gift which I would accept.” Upon all such occasions I have stated that I could not condescend to stand sentinel over the Executive Department, and register the deaths and resignations of officers, but that if I was not worthy of notice without such hints from myself I hoped the vacancies would be filled by better men. Knowing therefore the disposition of this President towards myself personally, it has been a matter of surprise to my political friends than he has not availed himself of the opportunities which have occurred within the last twelve months of fulfilling his pledges to me, and altho’ I was disposed to attribute these neglects on his part to a failure of memory at the moment of appointment, yet I never until recently had the slightest suspicion that a secret agency was operating to my injury. I have within a few days been informed your influence with the President has been incessantly used to my prejudice.

When I make this statement it is due to both you & myself to say that my information is derived from irresponsible & nameless sources. At first view it might appear extraordinary that upon such vague authority, I should ask an explanation from you; but as we are entering a new political Arena in which every man has a right to exhibit himself as a Gladiator, it appeared to me that justice to yourself required either an acknowledgement or disavowal of hostility to me.

I have in vain endeavored to find out the reasons or motives of enmity on your part, but not having made the discovery. I hope most sincerely that Mr. Forsythe [John Forsythe, Secretary of State] may be right in ascribing the report to political enemies whose object is to divide & conquer their opponents.

Your Ob. St.
Charles Biddle

Hon: Martin Van Buren
Vice President U. S.

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