PIERCE, Franklin (1804-1869), President. Autograph letter signed (''Fr. Pierce'') as Senator, to H.H. Carroll, ''Senate Chamber,'' Washington, 14 June 1841. 1 2/3 pages, 4to (9 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.), in very fine condition.
PIERCE, Franklin (1804-1869), President. Autograph letter signed ("Fr. Pierce") as Senator, to H.H. Carroll, "Senate Chamber," Washington, 14 June 1841. 1 2/3 pages, 4to (9 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.), in very fine condition.
THE BANK CONTESTED: PIERCE BEMOANS THE "UNCONSTITUTIONAL & DESTRUCTIVE MEASURES" ENDORSED BY THE "OMNIPOTENT POWER OF CLAY"
Democratic Senator Pierce comments candidly on the internal battles of the Whig Party over the thorny issue of Jackson's dismantling of the Second Bank of the United States and its repercussions. Tyler's Presidency posed a serious obstacle to the Whig's agenda. Hoping to reverse Jackson's policy, Henry Clay, who "now regarded himself as the unrivaled party leader" (Watson, Liberty and Power, p. 228), sought to recreate, by legislation, an new Bank of the United States. Tyler staunchly opposed the plan, though, and twice vetoed the chartering bills brought before him for signature, thereby alienating most of his party and causing the mass resignation of his cabinet.
On the eve of the dispute, Pierce writes: "You will have seen before this reaches you [Secretary of the Treasury] Mr. [Thomas] Ewing's plan for a 'Fiscal Bank of the United States.' What a burlesque: a plan to avoid in the estimation of Thomas Ewing Constitutional objections. Tyler's course is wholly inexplicable. It is seriously doubtful here by Gentlemen supposed to be in his confidence whether he would give his sanction to such a bill as that proposed but his course is so destitute of decision and seems to me to have so little to do with high manly & patriotic principles." Pierce is afraid that Clay's powerful advocacy will ensure passage of the dreaded bank bill, perhaps over Tyler's veto: "I cannot entertain any confident hope of successful Executive resistance to the unconstitutional & destructive measures which the omnipotent power of Clay is sure to urge thro' both Houses."
Tyler's determinedly independant coure, on this and other issues, alienated prominent Whigs and led to his banishment from the party. Despite Clay's formidable political muscle, the controversial bank was not revived, and Clay proved unable to secure the coveted office of President in 1844.