American Presidents





Martin Van Buren
Letters

Martin Van Buren

In the following letter, Senator Martin Van Buren writes to his son about financial matters.
A.L.S. V B MSS.
To John Van Buren

Washington Jany 19, 1826

My dear Son,

You say you have spent $150 in six weeks, & instead of giving me an account of it, or even speaking of its absolute necessity, you tell me of the expenditures of other boys...
    I am as you supposed somewhat surprised to hear that you went direct to Greenbush. I wrote you advising you to go to Kinderhook & to visit Albany from thence. I know the kindness which induces Mr & Mrs Duer to wish to have you at their house, & approve your taste for being pleased with the good society you meet there, but I fear your Kinderhook friends will think themselves neglected as I think they well may. You know the pain it gives me express dissatisfaction with your conduct, but I would do injustice to both, were I not to say that the account you give me of your expenditures is far from satisfactory.

    You say you have spent $150 in six weeks, & instead of giving me an account of it, or even speaking of its absolute necessity, you tell me of the expenditures of other boys, & the declarations of Fr Buckner as to how much he had spent. You have nothing to do with the expenses of other boys. When I proposed to make you the depository of your funds, I did so, (you know) agt the s opinion & advice of others. My wish was to excite your ambition to show that you was free from the weakness of other boys in this respect, & more deserving of confidence than they too often are. I endeavored to impress you sensibly on this point, and assured you solemnly, that the moment I had reason to apprehend, that my confidence was not safely placed, I would withdraw it. I will not judge you definitively until I hear you, but if the account you give me of your disbursements is not such as it should be, I shall assuredly, promptly & peremptorily change my course, & leave it to Mr. Croswell to advance you from time to time what money you may want. Let me therefore hear from you directly upon this subject. I sincerely hope you will be able to explain to me this matter fully as I shall be uneasy until you do so.

    The money is the least by far the least, of my concern.
    Make my most affectionate regards to Mr & Mrs Duer & all the children.

Your affectionate father


M. V. Buren

[The above letter is reproduced exactly as written and was obtained through the archives at the Library of Congress]

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