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Buchanan, James (1791-1868) to Robert Tyler

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00260 Author/Creator: Buchanan, James (1791-1868) Place Written: Wheatland, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 25 February 1850 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 26 x 21 cm.

Summary of Content: Discusses the Compromise of 1850, the Wilmot Proviso, which he notes "is dead," and the issue of California statehood as it relates to slavery. Notes some of the measures that might make sectional compromise possible. Indicates his belief that Congress will pass a fugitive slave law. Speculates that California could be admitted along with one of the states from the land won in the Mexican War. Also writes that he has "been maturing a project for the settlement of the Slavery question." Docketed: "As to the Union Question." Marked as "Private."

Background Information: Robert Tyler, son of John Tyler, was a leader in the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania and promoted the political career of James Buchanan. When the Civil War broke out, a ...mob attacked his home in Philadelphia, and he fled to Virginia, where he served as register of the Treasury of the Confederacy.See More

Full Transcript:
Wheatland 25 February 1850
My dear Sir/
On my return to this place, after an absence of four weeks in Washington, I found your favor of the 25th. ultimo: and this ...is the reason why it has not been sooner answered.
No man at a distance from Washington can justly appreciate the condition of affairs there, nor can any person on the spot unless admitted behind the scenes. Your letter was prophetically correct. The doctrine of non-intervention, as I foresaw from the beginning, would be of no service to the South. They are now sensible of it; but the difficulty is how to retrace their steps. They have fought through a Presidential Campaign upon it: & now say that they misunderstood the Nicholson letter. I never did: & I think General Cass has fully vindicated himself on this subject.
The Wilmot Proviso is dead; - so, also, is the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia for the present. Congress, I believe, will pass a satisfactory law for the recovery of fugitive slaves: & I hope that Pennsylvania & the other States will repeal their unconstitutional laws on this subject. But what then? The territorial question still remains involved in [inserted: greater] difficulties [struck: as it is] [inserted: than ever] by the question of the admission of California. These may possibly be removed by the admission into the union of one of the [struck: four] [2] states provided for by the Resolution annexing Texas [struck: to the union.] The South will insist & who can blame them that if California shall be admitted all the questions [strikeout] [inserted: a] rising out of Slavery shall at the same time be settled. If they cannot obtain indemnity for the past, they will demand security for the future.
Your meeting was a noble one & will have a most happy effect from the spirit which it displayed & your speech was excellent. I received an invitation to attend it by Telegraph on the 22d Instant; but not until after the train of cars had started for Philadelphia.
I have been maturing a project for the settlement of the Slavery question; but the time is not yet. If I could be instrumental in settling this question & restoring harmony between the North & the South, I would most cheerfully bind myself never to hold another public office. Indeed about this I care very little.
When will you pay me a visit & afford me the satisfaction of giving you a cordial welcome to my peaceful abode?
From your friend
Very respectfully
Robert Tyler} James Buchanan

Hon: James Buchanan
Wheatland Penna
Feb: 25. 1850.
As to the Union Question
&c &c
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People: Buchanan, James, 1791-1868
Tyler, Robert, 1816-1877

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: African American HistorySlaveryStatehoodPresidentFugitive Slave ActCongressRunaway SlaveWestward ExpansionMexican WarPoliticsMissouri Compromise

Sub Era: Slavery & Anti-slavery

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