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Tyler, John (1790-1862) to Robert Tyler

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03671 Author/Creator: Tyler, John (1790-1862) Place Written: Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 January 1855 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 25.2 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Written from former President Tyler's plantation, Sherwood Forest, to his son Robert. Robert transmitted a letter from Mr. Buchanan (President James Buchanan, confirmed by docket). John returns the letter, encouraging Robert to respond in a way that would give Buchanan "an epitomy of the politics of the country without denouncing any party or any man." Discusses the Crimean War, remarking that at its beginning, most Americans were on the side of the Turks (Ottoman Empire, assisted by the British and French), but because of remarks made by Lord Clarendon and various British and French newspapers, Americans worry that if the Allies are soon victorious they will interfere with American affairs. Notes that a dissolution of the Confederacy would prevent this interference. Discusses the campaign of Henry Alexander Wise for Governor of Virginia, stating "He denounces the Know nothings- and brings my administration in full stature before the people- The Democratic Press in order to sustain him has to eulogize me." Goes on to discuss Robert's financial troubles, stating "How is it that no man of my kith and kin can make, or if he makes it keep money." Sends his love to "Priscilla," Robert's wife Elizabeth Priscilla Cooper.

Full Transcript: Sherwood Forest. Jan 20. 1855
Dear Robert,
Your letter of the 6.th reached me on Friday and I now return Mr. Buchanans letter to you. It is very friendly and leaves no ...room to doubt the sincerity of his feelings towards you. I should respond to it in the most cordial manner, so as to leave no room [inserted: for him] to doubt the sincerity of my friendship. In replying I should give him an epitomy [sic] of the politics of the country without denouncing any party or any man. There is one point on which I doubt not he would like to be inform'd and that is the true feeling of the Country as to the European war. When the war commenc'd american sympathies were all in favour of the Turk. but Lord Clarendon's remarks when speaking of the alliance with France and the remarks since of the London Herald and other newspapers, have produced a counter feeling- we look to it now as certain that if success crowned at any short time the arms of the allies they might exert an active interference in the affairs of this Continent. But one consideration would prevent it, and that is they might prefer to seek a dissolution of the Confederacy by stimulating agitation through the slavery question
I think we shall carry the State for Wise. He has [2] actively begun the canvass, and has laid down for himself the Task of speaking in every county in the state. From what I hear of him he wins golden opinions from all parts. The whole population crowds to hear him. If he was not of a mettal [sic] more enduring than iron he would wear himself out. He denounces and satyrizes by turns, the Know nothings - and brings my administration in full stature before the people. The Democratic Press in order to sustain him has to eulogize me - and thus Mr. W's nomination has been better for me than any other incident which has occur'd. My hope is that he will gain as many Whig votes as he will lose Democratic- for while the majority of the Whigs will unite with this secret party, making no nomination themselves and taking that of the Know Nothings, yet many are averse to such Union and avow their intention of voting for Wise. The talk is that Dr. Mallory will be their candidate for Governour and if so, the extraordinary spectacle will be prevented of the only two men from the south who were members of "the Corporal guard" being run for that high office. Magna est Veritas at prevalabit.
You draw a gloomy picture of your pecuniary troubles. I was in hopes things were getting quiet with you. How is it that no man of my kith and kin can make, or if he makes it keep money? While my own expenses have been through life next to nothing yet "the immortal Dollar" has had no abiding place [3] with me, and thus my life has been, like your own, an unceasing struggle. And yet I have handled thousands on thousands. My security ships have constituted no inconsiderable item in my expenditures amounting with interest and all to about $30,000. and now when I had flatterd myself that all that was over I find myself required to pay a pretty sound sum for [text loss] on one of his securities for Dep. Sheriff in 1837-8. So the world goes - and so it will go on to the end unless we learn to close our hand not only on the Dollar but all the [struck: fragments] [inserted: decimals] into which the law has divided it. John writes [Tazewell] a long homily on the misfortune of honorable birth without money to sustain it. as well might the applicant for office complain that he had high letters of recommendation. Without a dollar I commencd life, and the very fact of my being the son to my father, has made all that I am or have been.
I hope Priscilla has recovered. My love to her and kisses to the children.
Yr. Father
John Tyler
My health has been quite respectable since I saw you- and is so now.

[illegible]: President John Tyler
Sherwood. Va
Jan: 20th 1855.
In relation to the letter addressed by Hon James Buchanan to Mr Tyler. &c &c

See More

People: Tyler, John, 1790-1862
Tyler, Robert, 1816-1877
Buchanan, James, 1791-1868
Clarendon, George William Frederick Villiers, Earl of, 1800-1870
Wise, Henry Alexander, 1806-1876
Tyler, Elizabeth Priscilla Cooper, 1816-1889

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentPoliticsGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFranceMilitary HistoryJournalismKnow Nothing PartyGovernment and CivicsElectionDemocratic PartyChildren and FamilyFinanceWomen's HistoryVice President

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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