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Tyler, John (1790-1862) to R. F. Graves

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02099 Author/Creator: Tyler, John (1790-1862) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: [13 March] 1832 Pagination: 1 p. ; 26 x 20 cm.

Written as a Senator from Virginia before passage of the tariff of 1832 which caused South Carolina to "nullify" the law and led to the nullification crisis. The letter is dated "Washington 13. 1832." (The Tariff was passed 14 July 1832.) Tyler encloses a copy of his speech on the tariff bill and regrets that he cannot send copies of Henry Clay's speech. He concludes, "Whether we shall settle the tariff or not remains to be determined. I think a better spirit prevails than at the commencement of the session." Also mentions that the "apportionment Bill passed yesterday to its 3d reading in the Senate." Tipped to a support strip along the left vertical edge.

Senator Tyler spoke for nearly three days (February 9-11) in favor of reducing the controversial tariff on textiles. His main opponent, Henry Clay, had framed a bill lowering revenue taxes on coffee, tea, and wine in order to divert anti-tariff sentiment. Tyler focused his speech, attacking Clay, on the cost of imported slave clothes, and accused northerners of imperviousness to the desire of southern planters to provide for their slaves. Tyler's optimism expressed in this letter would soon fade as the Tariff of 1832, passed on July 14, retained 50% duties on cottons and woolens, setting the stage for the final florescence of nullification in South Carolina later that year.

The Register of Debates in Congress shows that the Apportionment Bill, referenced herein, passed to its third reading in the Senate on March 12, marking this letter as one written on March 13, 1832.

While serving in Congress, Tyler reluctantly supported Jackson for President. But he soon joined the states' rights Southerners in Congress and banded with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and their newly formed Whig party opposing President Jackson. He was instrumental in bringing together John Calhoun and Henry Clay for the compromise tariff of 1833. Tyler served as the 10th President of the United States 1841-1845.

Washington 13. 1832
My Dr. Sir;
I forward you by this morning's mail a copy of my speech on the Tariff and one to your friend Mr. Hopkins, and regret that I cannot procure copies of Mr. Clay's speech so as to enable me to fulfill to the letter your wishes -
We have nothing new here. The apportionment Bill passd yesterday to its 3d. reading in the Senate - 47,700 is the ratio and Virginia will have 21 members in the next Congress- Whether we shall settle the tariff or not remains to be determind- I think a better spirit prevails than at the commencement of the session -
Wishing you health and prosperity
I am truly yr
John Tyler
R.Y. Graves Esqr.

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