VAN BUREN, Martin. Autograph letter signed (''M. Van Buren'') to Joel R. Poinsett, Lindenwald, 30 April 1845. 3 pages, 4to WITH AUTOGRAPH FREE FRANK SIGNED (''FREE M. VAN BUREN''), seal remnants, ink smudge on letter signature, otherwise fine.
VAN BUREN, Martin. Autograph letter signed ("M. Van Buren") to Joel R. Poinsett, Lindenwald, 30 April 1845. 3 pages, 4to WITH AUTOGRAPH FREE FRANK SIGNED ("FREE M. VAN BUREN"), seal remnants, ink smudge on letter signature, otherwise fine.
TEXAS, MEXICO AND THE "GROWLING" BRITISH "LION"
A long, rich political letter which starts off, ironically, with Van Buren apologizing for being a "wretched correspondent...No effort seems greater to me than to sit down to write a letter." He diligently atones for the defect with this extensive survey of the new Polk administration, especially its plans for Texas and Mexico and a possible "collision" with Great Britain. "I read your speculation upon the formation of the Cabinet with interest. In this state it is not well received. [William] Marcy is an old friend of mine but has managed to take the confidence of the best portion of our party & I believe by this time feels his position to be an uninterersting & likely to prove an unpleasant one." Van Buren hoped Marcy would become Secretary of State. He got the Navy post instead while James Buchanan became the nation's chief diplomat. "...But my dear Sir, will not then probable condition of our Foreign relations in all probability soon, too soon, swallow up all these matters. My apprehensions in regard to the effect upon Mexico, of Mr Tyler's movements in regard to Texas have been long ago expressed & will I greatly fear, be too fully confirmed & if that were all we might not have anything to fear, but vexation. But England is evidently decidedly out of temper with us. Since she asked five millions extra for her navy when at peace with Europe, & likely to remain so, I have never doubted that the Lion was looking out for a proper occasion to make himself heard, and it must be confessed that he has given us more than a growl....The Texas matter could not be sufficiently made a British question, but the Maine wood [the Maine-Canada boundary dispute over timber lands] was supposed to supply a fit occasion and most readily was it embraced. The greatest possible discretion will be necessary to prevent a collision. The cooperation of Lord John Russell, the leader of the opposition, shows the deliberation with which the step was taken. Although we cannot separate ourselves from its results we cannot expect that we are exempted from its responsibilities & cares." President Polk, for his part, resented what he saw as Van Buren's medlding. He complained in his diary that Mr. Van Buren became offended with me...because I chose to exercise my own judgment in the selection of my own Cabinet, and would not be controlled by him and suffer him to select it for me."