Carroll County IAGenWeb


The Lewis Publishing Company, 1887


Transcribed by Sharon Elijah January 8, 2021

*pages 60-63, portrait page 61*

     JOHN TYLER, the tenth President of the United States, was born in Charles City County, Virginia, March 29, 1790. His father, Judge John Tyler, possessed large landed estates in Virginia, and was one of the most distinguished men of his day, filling the offices of Speaker of the House of Delegates, Judge of the Supreme Court and Governor of the State.

     At the early age of twelve young John entered William and Mary College, and graduated with honor when but seventeen years old. He then closely applied himself to the study of law, and at nineteen years of age commenced the practice of his profession. When only twenty-one he was elected to a seat in the State Legislature. He acted with the Democratic party and advocated the measures of Jefferson and Madison. For five years he was elected to the Legislature, receiving nearly the unanimous vote of his county.

     When but twenty-six years of age he was elected a member of Congress. He advocated a strict construction of the Constitution and the most careful vigilance over State rights. He was soon compelled to resign his seat in Congress, owing to ill health, but afterward took his seat in the State Legislature, where he exerted a powerful influence in promoting public works of great utility.

     In 1825 Mr. Tyler was chosen Governor of his State ó a high honor, for Virginia had many able men as competitors for the prize. His administration was signally a successful one. He urged forward internal improvements and strove to remove sectional jealousies. His popularity secured his re-election. In 1827 he was elected United States Senator, and upon taking his seat joined the ranks of the opposition. He opposed the tariff, voted against the bank as unconstitutional, opposed all restrictions upon slavery, resisted all projects of internal improvements by the General Government, avowed his sympathy with Mr. Calhounís views of nullification, and declared that General Jackson, by his opposition to the nullifiers, had abandoned the principles of the Democratic party. Such was Mr. Tylerís record in Congress.

     This hostility to Jackson caused Mr. Tylerís retirement from the Senate, after his election to a second term. He soon after removed to Williamsburg for the better education of his children, and again took his seat in the Legislature.

     In 1839 he was sent to the National Convention at Harrisburg to nominate a President. General Harrison received a majority of votes, much to the disappointment of the South, who had wished for Henry Clay. In order to conciliate the Southern Whigs, John Tyler was nominated for Vice-President. Harrison and Tyler were inaugurated March 4, 1841. In one short month from that time President Harrison died, and Mr. Tyler, to his own surprise as well as that of the nation, found himself an occupant of the Presidential chair. His position was an exceedingly difficult one, as he was opposed to the main principles of the party which had brought him into power. General Harrison had selected a Whig cabinet. Should he retain them, and thus surround himself with councilors whose views were antagonistic to his own? or should he turn against the party that had elected him, and select a cabinet in harmony with himself? This was his fearful dilemma.

     President Tyler deserves more charity than he has received. He issued an address to the people, which gave general satisfaction. He retained the cabinet General Harrison had selected. His veto of a bill chartering a new national bank led to an open quarrel with the party which elected him, and to a resignation of the entire cabinet, except Daniel Webster, Secretary of State.

     President Tyler attempted to conciliate. He appointed a new cabinet, leaving out all strong party men, but the Whig members of Congress were not satisfied, and they published a manifesto September 13, breaking off all political relations. The Democrats had a majority in the House; the Whigs in the Senate. Mr. Webster soon found it necessary to resign, being forced out by the pressure of his Whig friends.

     President Tyler concluded, through Mr. Calhoun, a treaty for the annexation of Texas, which was rejected by the Senate; but he effected his object in the closing days of his administration by the passage of the joint resolution of March 1, 1845.

     He was nominated for the Presidency by an informal Democratic Convention, held at Baltimore in May, 1844, but soon withdrew from the canvass, perceiving that he had not gained the confidence of the Democrats at large.

     Mr. Tylerís administration was particularly unfortunate. No one was satisfied. Whigs and Democrats alike assailed him. Situated as he was, it is more than can be expected of human nature that he should, in all cases, have acted in the wisest manner; but it will probably be the verdict of all candid men, in a careful review of his career, that John Tyler was placed in a position of such difficulty that he could not pursue any course which would not expose him to severe censure and denunciation.

     In 1813 Mr. Tyler married Letitia Christian, who bore him three sons and three daughters, and died in Washington in 1842. June 26, 1844, he contracted a second marriage with Miss Julia Gardner, of New York. He lived in almost complete retirement from politics until February, 1861, when he was a member of the abortive ďpeace convention,Ē held at Washington, and was chosen its President. Soon after he renounced his allegiance to the United States and was elected to the Confederate Congress. He died at Richmond, January 17, 1862, after a short illness.

     Unfortunately for his memory the name of John Tyler must forever be associated with all the misery of that terrible Rebellion, whose cause he openly espoused. It is with sorrow that history records that a President of the United States died while defending the flag of the rebellion, which was arrayed against the national banner in deadly warfare.

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