Full Transcript: Washington City, March 22nd. 1840, Gentlemen,, Your kind invitation on the part of the Democratic citizens of the county and city of New York to attend their meeting at Tammany Hall on Tuesday, the 24th. instant, and to address them on that occasion, has just been received; and, in reply to it, I have to say that, even if time and public duties permitted, yet the rule which I have long followed would prevent me from complying with your invitation. It has not been my custom to accept invitations to public meetings in other States, [insert: especially while Congress is sitting;] and, much as I wish to see the City & State of New York -- a city & State which I have never yet seen -- I must defer that gratification to some future day. But there is nothing in my rules, or temper, to prevent me from expressing the high admiration which I have felt at witnessing the noble manner in which the Democracy of your great city have maintained their ground, and sustained their principles, on that eminent battle field against all the combined forces and united influences which have been brought to bear against them; and to declare my sincere wishes that their patriotic efforts may continue to be crowned with Success., I make no calculations on the point, whether, or not, we shall be able to do without New York. That calculation  has no place either in my head or in my bosom; for I am unwilling to do without her, if we could. She is an old flag ship which, with Virginia, [insert: and Pennsylvania] headed the democratic line in the contest between democracy & federalism forty years ago; and, where she then was, I still wish to see her, both now and forever., A son of the State of New York is now in the Presidential chair; he has reached the fourth year of his term, and has been severely tried. That trial has shewn him to be worthy of the high place to which he has been elevated. His conduct has justified the confidence of his friends, and has given another proof of the capacity of the people to chuse [sic] for themselves their own chief magistrates. In firmness, in sagacity, and in patriotism, Mr. Van Buren has shewn himself to be equal to all the exigencies of his station, and has fulfilled the highest expectations of his friends and of the American democracy. The interest of the country requires him to be re-elected; but to re-elect him the Democracy must be active, vigilant, and united. It is in the nature of political parties, in all ages and in all countries, for all the adversary parties to unite against the popular party. Democracy forever has against it a union  of all other parties; and thus it is with us at this day. All the various opposing parties, although they can agree in nothing else, can agree to unite their votes against the Democracy; and this Union among those who differ in essential principles should be an admonition to union among ourselves who differ only in questions of detail and of expediency., , Very respectfully,, Gentlemen,, Your friend & fellow citizen, Thomas H. Benton, Messrs. W. C. Bryant,, J. W. Edmonds, T. W. Tucker , and others,, Committee for, New York., , [Docket:], Letter of Thos. H. Benton to W. C. Bryant & others dated March 22. 1840
Background: Notes: A united Whig party under William Henry Harrison and John Tyler did defeat President Van Buren in the election of 1840. The Whigs minimized their elitist image by running a ”log cabin and hard cider” campaign to appeal to the ”common man.” By avoiding divisive issues, emphasizing Harrison’s services in the War of 1812 and chanting catchy slogans (”Tippecanoe and Tyler too”) the Whig ticket captured the White House with an electoral victory of 237 to 60. The election of 1840 is considered by some scholars to be the first modern election because of the way it focused attention on the images of the two candidates.