1818 Martin Van Buren, as NY Attorney General, Discusses Fees with State Comptroller Archibald McIntyre

1818 Martin Van Buren, as NY Attorney General, Discusses Fees with State Comptroller Archibald McIntyre
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Description: While serving as New York State Attorney General in late spring of 1818, Martin Van Buren was asked by then-State Comptroller Archibald McIntyre to weigh in on the ramifications of two pieces of legislation regarding the collection of fees by the Comptroller.

In his May 29 letter to Van Buren, McIntyre excerpted both Section 32 of the 1813 "Act for the Assessment and Collection of Taxes," which stated "That it shall be lawful for the Comptroller to demand and receive" various fees related to taxes and real estate matters, and Section 15 of the 1818 "Act for the Payment of Certain Officers of Government," which stated that "...there shall be allowed annually to the Comptroller of this State... five hundred dollars, which shall be in lieu of all office fees." McIntyre then asked Van Buren whether he should consider the new law "a repeal of the clause in the tax law, authorising the Comptroller to charge office fees, or merely as a direction to cause them to be paid into the Treasury, instead of retaining them for his own emolument. I directed the discontinuance of the charge of fees on the 21st of April last, but shall again charge and direct the payment into the Treasury, if you should think that course to be correct."

Starting his reply at the bottom of McIntyre's letter and then carrying on to a separate sheet of paper, Van Buren answered, "There is some confusion produced by the general provisions of the two acts. I cannot however suppose that the legislature intended to abolish the fees but only to put them on the same footing... that is to have them paid into the Treasury. I would therefore advise you to receive the fees keeping a list of the persons from who received that if the legislature would so direct you may spend."

McIntyre's letter is written on both pages of a sheet of plain writing paper measuring 9.75" x 7.9" He neatly signed as "Arch. McIntyre, Compt." at the close of his letter. As noted above, Van Buren's letter begins at the bottom of the second page of McIntyre's letter and finishes on the recto of a second sheet of writing paper with the same measurements. He boldly signed his name "MV Buren, Atty Genl" at the close of his letter. That second sheet is docketed on the verso, "Attorney general's opinion as to fees on taxes." Also included here is a 19th c. waist-up engraving of Van Buren with a facsimile of his signature in the lower margin. Item #A01154

Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) held a host of significant political offices throughout his long life. He served as U.S. Senator, Governor of New York, U.S. Secretary of State, Minister to the United Kingdom, Vice President, and last, but not least, the 8th President of the United States.

Archibald McIntyre (1772-1858) was a New York State Legislator and part owner of a successful iron ore mining operation in the Adirondacks. He served a 15 year tenure as State Comptroller from 1806-1821; while in that position, he helped to develop the first State lotteries.

Condition: Separation at the center horizontal fold of each sheet of paper has been neatly repaired with archival tissue/tape. Small separations and chipping at the edges of each of the other folds, some also with neat repairs. Otherwise in good condition, and the letters and portrait would be easy to put together in an attractive display.