More than this, you overlook the fact that the then administration (in the language of a wellknown author) “mildly but decidedly rebuked the proceedings of General Jackson,” and that the President viewed the subject with “surprise and solicitude.” Unlike President Madison, you in a case much more unwarranted, approve the proceedings of your subordinate officer, and in addition justify your course by a carefully considered argument in its support. It is true that after some thirty years, Congress, in consideration of the devoted and patriotic services of General Jackson, refunded the amount of the fine he had paid! But the long delay in doing this, proved how reluctant the American people were to do any thing which could be considered as in any way approving the disregard shown to the majesty of the law, even by one who so eminently enjoyed their confidence and regard. One subject more, and we shall conclude. You express your regret that our meeting spoke “as Democrats ;” and you say that “in this time of national peril you would have preferred to meet us upon a level, one step higher than any party platform.” You thus compel us to allude to matters which we should have preferred to pass by. But we cannot omit to notice your criticism, as it casts, at least, an implied reproach upon our motives and our proceedings. We beg to remind you that when the hour of our country's peril had come, when it was evident that a most gigantic effort was to be made to subvert our institutions and to overthrow the government, when it was vitally important that party feelings should be laid aside, and that all should be called upon to unite most cordially and vigorously to maintain the Union; at the time you were sworn into office as President of the United States, when you should have urged your fellowcitizens in the most emphatic manner to overlook all past differences and to rally in defence of their country and its institutions, when you should have enjoined respect for the laws and the Constitution, so clearly disregarded by the South, you chose, for the first time, under like circumstances in the history of our country, to set up a party platform, called the “Chicago platform,” as your creed; to advance it beyond the Constitution and to speak disparagingly of that great conservative tribunal of our country, so highly respected by all thinking men who have inquired into our institutions — the supreme Court of the United States. Your administration has been true to the principles you then laid down. Notwithstanding the fact that several hundred thousand Democrats in the loyal States cheerfully responded to the call of their country, filled the ranks of its armies, and by “their strong hands and willing arms” aided to maintain your Excellency and the officers of government in the possession of our national capital; notwithstanding the fact that the great body of the Democrats of the country have in the most patriotic spirit given their best efforts, their treasure, their brothers and their sons, to sustain the government and to put down the rebellion, you, choosing to overlook all this, have made your appointments to civil office, from your cabinet officers and foreign ministers down to the persons of lowest official grade among the tens of thousands engaged in collecting the revenues of the country, exclusively from your political associates. Under such circumstances, virtually proscribed by your administration, and while most of the leading journals which supported it approved the sentence pronounced against Mr. Vallandigham, it was our true course — our honest course to meet as “Democrats,” that neither your Excellency nor the country might mistake our antecedents or our position. In closing this communication, we desire to reaffirm our determination, and we doubt not that of every one who attended the meeting which adopted the resolutions we have discussed, expressed in one of those resolutions, to devote “all our energies to sustain the cause of the Union.” Permit us, then, in this spirit, to ask your Excellency to reexamine the grave subjects we have considered, to the end that on your retirement from the high position you occupy, you may leave behind you no doctrines and no further precedents of despotic power to prevent you and your posterity from enjoying that constitutional liberty which is the inheritance of us all, and to the end, also, that history may speak of your administration with indulgence, if it cannot with approval. We are, sir, with great respect, yours very truly,
John V. L. Pruyn, Chairman of Committees. James Kidd, Gilber C. Davidson, J. V. P. Quackenbush, Wm. A. Fassett, O. M. Hungerford, John Hogan, Henry Lansing, S. Hand, M. K. Cohen, John Cutler, C. Van Benthuysen, George H. Thacher, C. W. Armstrong, William Doyle, Franklin Townsend, Wm. Appleton, B. R. Spilman, James McKown, A. H. Tremain, Daniel Shaw, W. Simon, A. E. Stimson, Isaac Lederer. Albany, June 30, 1863.