TYLER, John (1790-1862), President. Autograph letter signed (''John Tyler''), as U. S. Senator, to Charles J. Faulkner, Washington, 10 January 1834. 2¼ pages, 4to, center fold repaired, seal hole repaired.
TYLER, John (1790-1862), President. Autograph letter signed ("John Tyler"), as U. S. Senator, to Charles J. Faulkner, Washington, 10 January 1834. 2¼ pages, 4to, center fold repaired, seal hole repaired.
"I HAVE BEEN CALLED 'THE CHIEF OF NULLIFIERS IN VIRGINIA' AND YET...THE COURSE OF S. CAROLINA HAS NEVER MET MY APPROVAL"
"WHEN I NULLIFY THEN CALL ME A NULLIFIER. " A long, spirited letter from a youthful Tyler, discussing divisions within Virginia, the South Carolina nullification crisis, and Andrew Jackson and the National Bank. "May we not indulge the hope that the political war which has for a year or two past prevailed between the Mountains and lowlands will now cease," Taylor begins. "Virginia requires unanimity and concert, a period of great distress has been brought upon the country by the bold and lawless proceedings of our rulers. A system of office seeking prevails to such an extent as to threaten to sap our institutions. Corruption is so rank, as to use a strong phrase, to give offense to men's noses. Under this state of things what alternative is left but for honest men of all parties to unite, to correct the manifest evils under which the country labors. Our enemies have made the most they could of names. Even I have not escaped their appellations. I have been called 'the chief of Nullifiers in Virginia' and yet I have not in 20 years changed my principles in one iota. The course of S. Carolina has never met my approval, although I have not abused her as in a state of insurrection and rebellion. It was as much as could be done to turn aside the bayonet which had been aimed at her heart. This great work was accomplished by Mr. Clay and for it he shall evermore receive honor at my hands. I take no new name. One who was christened twenty odd years ago hardly requires the aid of a parson now whether such parson be political or other. When I nullify then call me a nullifier but until then no man has a right to give me the appellation."
"I will add that if there be man who would more readily peril their lives to preserve the Constitution and the Union, the old democratic party of the State of Virginia, I have never seen them. In one word I want to see Virginia united as she was wont to be throughout all her borders, and then when our institutions are in danger we shall be able to give 'a pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether.'" Turning, in conclusion, to other legislative business, Tyler notes that "the deposit question still occupies both houses...but what of that. The President stands ready with his veto and leaves me without hope..."
Twenty-seven years later, Tyler was no longer the staunch Union man he professes to be in 1834. The "bayonet aimed at her heart" is the telling phrase here. When the crisis came in 1861, and Lincoln's "bayonets" pointed at the heart of Virginia, he sided with his state and its "institutions"--i.e., slavery--against Lincoln, the Republicans and the Union. He was the only former President to assume an official post with the new Confederate government, as Virginia elected him to the House of Representatives in Richmond. But he died before he could take up his seat.