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should, for any object, so utterly fling ly political convention for many years, to away the heritage of a fair fame, and the proceedings of which the people lookalmost every better trait of a once esti- ed with greater anxiety. They were the mable public character. We felt, more. representatives of a constituency numover, a species of apprehension for the bering a large majority of the American future of our country, where such vast people. The dynasties of Jackson and means of corruption, such manifold temp. Van Buren had been grievous and optations to the corruptible, exist in the pressive; the will of the people had been appliances of executive patronage; and disregarded; the Constitution and the where the possession of such appliances laws had been wantonly violated; all in a single hand, may, at any time, lead classes had suffered, and men of business one—too weak to control himself, or too looked with dismay at the prospects bedespotic to forbear the control of others, fore them. Corruption and peculation into grasping at unlimited power. We had been suffered to grow into a system, were filled, too, with the deepest regret, until at length a man of reasonably honthat the Whig party should ever have been est character was looked upon with disthe means, however inadvertently, of trust. In this state of things, the people raising such a man to so responsible and sought for a change both of men and dangerous a post;—with admiration, measures; and this reformation was to also, that in his total abandonment of all be effected by a change in the executive faith, and principle, and decent doctrine, station. The convention was a Whig he should have found so ready and warm convention; its political character was a welcome in the bosom of the Democra- decided ; its objects and aims were of a cy. Towards even the recreant himself, positive character; and no man of howwe began to experience a kind of relent- ever mean a capacity could mistake their ing, as for one who had been the peculiar purposes. For the principles of this parspoiled pet of Circumstances-always iy were no secret; from Maine to Geortumbling, by some hap-hazard felicitous gia they had been proclaimed on the rap from one or another of them, into house-tops; there was not an orator or a some marvellous good fortune, till at last newspaper by whom, or through which he had fallen upon a position for which their distinctive doctrines had not been he was hopelessly unfit.

again and again promulgated. Many of the With such a blending of feelings, prominent leaders of the Whig party were then, do we proceed with a short, unem- in attendance as delegates at that convenbellished narrative respecting the late tion; many who had grown gray in the Chief Executive. In a simple statement public service, and whose commanding of even a few facts, at such a period, some abilities and high standing had pointed useful lessons may be learned : certainly them out as fit representatives of a great we have far other motives than merely party. Amongst these delegates, and by to vituperate one who has once been at no means the least vociferous for Whig the head of the nation.

measures, was John Tyler, of Virginia. We have no personal animosity to It was here that this gentleman was gratisy, nor have we a feeling on this first brought within the distinct purview subject that is not entertained, to a great- of the American people, by the acci. er or less degree, by nearly all men of all dent of his nomination for Vice-Presi. parties. We do not pray for any interpo- dent of this Convention. Prior to sition of Providence, as a punishment up- that time, it was known to the more on the head of an unfaithful servant; on intelligent that he had been, at differthe contrary, we desire him to have time ent times, a member of the Virginia and space for repentance ;” and to refresh House of Delegates and of Congress, his memory, and aid him in this pious Governor of the State, and Senator of undertaking, we design to “set his sins the United States. The peculiar circumin order before him.”

stances under which the more important In the month of December, 1839, there of these stations had been conferred on was assembled at Harrisburg, Pennsyl. him, and which had won for him a popuvania, a National Whig Convention, lar notoriety in Virginia as the luckiest composed of delegates from every Con- of living men, were but imperfectly ungressional District in the Union, to dis- derstood beyond the limits of that State. charge the important duty of selecting Many steadfast opponents of Jacksonism, candidates for the office of President and —not remembering that he had been Vice President. There had been no mere- elected to the U. S. Senate by a combina



tion of all the anti-Jackson force in the do not censure the convention for selectVirginia Legislature, with a small portion ing another in his place; its action was of the Jackson party, thus securing him a the result of careful and grave deliberasmall majority over John Randolph, who tion, and an earnestness of purpose mothen labored under a suspicion of insani. ving straight onward to one great object ty, and a conviction of utter unfitness for -the relief of the country. the Senatorial dignity-had a grateful Among those, however, most deeply recollection of his votes against some of aggrieved by the preference of General the most exceptionable of Jackson's nomi. Harrison, was John Tyler, who, by vir. nations, and his sturdy resistance, at a tue of his being an Ex-Governor, was one late period, to the removal of the deposites. of the Vice Presidents for the occasion. From this time (1834) Mr. Tyler had The convention adjourned for the night been generally regarded as a Whig, (Thursday) immediately upon the annun. though indulging vagaries, pardonable ciation that General Harrison had been only in a Virginian of the State Rights' nominated for President. It is understood School. It was not known, out of the that Mr. Tyler passed a good part of the State, that he, then a Member of the ensuing night, in weeping over the deciState Legislature, had incurred the just sion just made, and in counselling with displeasure and forfeited the confidence others of like faith, in the hope of disco. of the Whigs of Virginia, by consenting vering some means by which it might be to be proposed and supported by their set aside and Mr Clay still nominated. opponents, aided by a few nominal whig The project was at length found hopeless, Abstractionists, known as “the Impracti- and abandoned. cables,' against William C. Rives, the The selection of a candidate for Vice candidate for reëlection of nearly the en- President to be placed on the same ticket tire Whig force in the Legislaiure, and with General Harrison was now an object who must have been elected but for the of deep solicitude. The friends of General conduct of the half dozen • Impracticables' Harrison apprehending disaffection, to before mentioned.

some extent, among the friends of the But Mr. Tyler appeared in the Har- great statesman, whose claims to the risburg convention an uncompromising highest place had been deferred, in oheWhig, and an ardent supporter of Mr. dience to a supposed necessity, insisted Clay as the Whig candidate for Presi. that the nomination to the second post dent. We are assured, indeed, that it should be tendered to and accepted by a was for this reason he was appointed known and ardent Clay man. To this a delegate by his constituents. The end, the Kentucky delegation were asked majority of the convention, after some to permit the nomination of their disunthree days deliberation, decided to place guished compatriot, John J. Crittenden. General Harrison in nomination. This They declined, having no time to commuwas a sore decision for the supporters nicate with Mr. Crittenden, and feeling of Mr. Clay, numbering nearly half unauthorized to pledge his assent. The the convention, comprising a very great North Carolina delegation were then urged preponderance of its most able and emi. to present a fellow citizen for the Vice nent* members, and undoubtedly backed Presidency, and, on their declining, the by the feelings and wishes-apart from names of Governor Dudley and Exconsiderations of prudence and policy Goveror Owen of their State were suc-of nine-tenths of the entire majority. cessively suggested to them, but to no Nearly the whole public expected the purpose. Benjamin Watkins Leigh, a nomination of Mr. Clay by that body. name which recalls the noblest days and His eminent services in public life for the noblest men of Virginia, was likewise more than a quarter of a century, his com- pressed to accept the nomination, (being manding abilities, his liberal and manly present,) but peremptorily declined it

. views on all the great questions of the Last of all, John Tyler was proposed, day, and the warm attachment felt for and, on inquiry, it appeared that no con. him personally in every part of the land, sideration of delicacy, growing out of his all conduced to render him acceptable as position as a delegate to the Convention, a candidate for the Presidency. But we and a Vice President of that body, would

Among the officers of the Convention were nine Ex-Governors of States--the President and eight Vice Presidents, of whom we cannot call to mind but one who did not advocate the nomination of Mr. Clay.


bar his acceptance. The proposition was up in the course of the inevitable strugrapidly concurred in, those who had sug. gle. He spoke of the Sub-Treasury and gested other names withdrew them, and an old-fashioned Bank, as having been John Tyler was unanimously nominated alike condemned by the public voice, and as the Vice President of the United States. indicated the expediency of adopting some

These facts are here stated to refute the third or intermediate plan, which was utterly baseless, but incessantly reiterated very vaguely shadowed forth.' Plain falsehood, that Mr. Tyler was selected as men were puzzled to divine what was the candidate because of his notorious hos- meant by this. Obviously, there were tility to a United States Bank. There just two principles on which the fiscal exists no shadow of foundation for it. affairs of the nation could be conducted -True, there was no nomination of Vice the one, that of the Sub-Treasury, making President prior to that of Mr. T.—there the Government its own banker, excluwas no formal tender of the nomination sively; the other, that preferred by nineto any other person. Time was precious ty-nine in every hundred business men, and events pressing on that fatal morning, who seek out the best bank within a conwhen the delegates were required to select venient distance, collect through it, dea candidate for the second office, to which posit with it, and buy from it. Other hardly a thought had been given during modes than these two we do not know; the intensely excited canvass of the pre- and it would puzzle the subtlety of an ceding three days. But had there been Abstractionist to devise another. To any grounds for anticipating an acceptance but an Abstractionist it must appear evifrom either of the other Statesmen already dent that a bank of a large capital, charnamed, or John Bell, of Tennessee, who tered by the general government, but was also suggested, but abandoned be- managed by the leading business men of cause (in the absence of a Tennessee de- the several States, with offices in each, legation) no one could say that he would and issuing a currency every where not decline the honor, Mr. John Tyler equal to specie, would be far safer, more and his anti-Bank notions, if he then convenient, more useful as a depository entertained any, would never have been and fiscal agent of that government, than put in requisition. None of the states- could any number or aggregation of State men suggested before him was known as Banks, limited in their capital and sphere an adversary, some of them were pro- of operations, issuing notes which they minent advocates, of a Bank. But in would not even receive uniformly of each truth their opinions on this point were not other, nor of the government, and not at all canvassed or considered material. amenable to the laws and the supervision Had the selection of an anti-Bank candi- of the governinent, but subject to the date for Vice President been deemed es. capricious legislation and policy of their sential, he would hardly have been looked several States. It was not surprising, for in a devoted supporter of Mr. Clay for therefore, that a decided majority of the the Presidency.

new Congress, considering themselves General Harrison and Mr. Tyler were instructed and deputed by the people to chosen President and Vice President by an take efficient action on the subject of the overwhelming majority. General Harri- currency, not merely to repeal the Subson died, thirty days after his inaugura- Treasury act, but to provide a practical tion, and Mr. Tyler succeeded to the substitute, believed that they could in Presidency. He thereupon issued an Ad- no way so readily and thoroughly effect dress to the People, which was plainly this important end as by chartering, under and generally understood to indicate his some form, a new United States Bank. resolution to unite in such measures with But it was not because he differed with regard to the currency, as the new Whig the mass of the Whigs on this subject, Congress (which General Harrison had that Mr. Tyler found it expedient to called to meet in extra session, at an early abandon the party which elected him, day,) should deem advisable. A variety and take refuge in the open arms of of circumstances concur to evince that their deadly antagonists. The Bank such was at that time his intention. rupture was not the cause but the conse

But the tenor of his Message, on the quence of that change-a plainly foregone assembling of Congress, gave indications conclusion. Had he desired to retain the of a change--or rather of a disposition to confidence and fellowship of the party hold himself in reserve on this subject, to which he owed his election-had he and watch the chances which might turn not been tempted by flatterers and time

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servers to indulge a longing for that re- bill, moulded on its own convictions of election, which the principles and the the wants of the country, and the duty of affections of the Whigs alike sternly for- the government. Mr. Tyler vetoed it. bade-there would have been no trouble Having now, as was fairly presumed, a with regard to a Bank. He would have distinct statement, in the Veto Mescalled around him the leading Whigs in sage of the President's ground of obCongress, frankly stated to them his jections Congress passed another Bank difficulty his anxiety to have it obvi bill, expressly framed to obviate those ated, and a few hours would have served objections, and this was in like manner to devise some compromise on which vetoed, although it had been submitted all could have united. But the case was beforehand to Mr. Tyler and amended at far otherwise. Congress passed one Bank his own suggestion,* so as (it was sup

* The conduct of Mr. Tyler on this occasion evinced such incredible weakness as well as want of integrity, that future generations will with difficulty be brought to credit the most sober record of his whiflling, faltering, self-seeking knavery. We deem it advisable, therefore, to fortify our statements by the testimony of eye and ear wit. nesses, who are widely known as incapable of a departure from the naked truth. We annex, therefore the

Statement of Senator Berrien. " When the bill for the establishment of a fiscal agent, which had been reported by Mr. Clay, had been returned with the Veto of the President, I was requested to unite with Mr. Sergeant in preparing and reporting a bill to establish a Bank on the basis of the projet submitted to the Senate of Mr. Ewing, or such other bill, as we believed could become a law. The alternative authority was given expressely with a view to enable us to ascertain, with more precision than was found on the Veto Message, in what particular form the President would feel authorized to approve such a bill; and the whole power was conferred and received in a spirit of conciliation to the Executive, and from an earnest desire on the part of the majority in Congress to co-operate with the President in the adoption of some fiscal agent which should meet the wishes and the wants of the Country. Mr. Sergeant and I waited on the President, and, at my request, Mr. C. Dawson accompanied us.

“It is not proposed to detail the particulars of the conversation at this interview, unless it shall be desired by some one who has the authority of the President for asking it. It suffices to state the result. The President, referring to his Veto Message, expressed himself in favor of a fiscal agent divested of the discounting power, and limited to dealing in bills of Exchange other than those drawn by one citizen of a State upon another citizen of the same State. He declared his determination to conser with his cabinet on the question, whether the assent of the States ought to be required in the establishment of the agencies to be employed by the Corporation, and also, as to the propriety of holding with us that informal communication, promising to inform us of the result by a note to be sent in the course of the day. In the course of the same day, Mr. Webster came to the Capitol, with instructions, as he stated, to communicate to me verbally the determination of the President, he (the President) believing that that mode of communication would be equally acceptable with the written one that had been promised. He proceeded to state, that the President would approve a bill for the establishment of a fiscal agancy limited to dealing in foreign bills of Exchange. And to the question whether he would require that the assent of the States should be obtained for the establishment of the agencies to be employed by the Corporation, he answered that he would not. He suggested the expediency of changing the name of the Corporation, which was acquiesced in: and by an arrangement then made with Mr. Webster, I received Mr. Ewing and Mr. Sergeant at my lodgings at five o'clock of the same afternoon. The details of the bill, subsequently introduced by Mr. Sergeant, were then and there agreed upon, in conformity with the views of the President, as communicated to me by Mr. Webster and repeated by Mr. Ewing, whether the President would require the assent of the States to the establishment of the agencies, he, Mr. Ewing, likewise replied in the negative. The sketch thus arranged was committed to Mr. Sergeant, who prepared from it the bill which he subsequently introduced in the House of Representatives, a copy of which was, as I understood, from Mr. Sergeant, before introducing it, sent to Mr. Webster to be by him submitted to the President. This was the same bill which subsequently passed both Houses of Congress, and which was returned by the President with his second Veto.


posed) to ensure his assent. There was vice-80 long as they were asked a most anxious desire on the part of the but to cavil and to toast the Whig Whigs in Congress, to conform to his elevé who was vetoing, Whig measures views and feelings so far as it was pos- and proscribing those who bad aided his sible to ascertain them. It only failed to elevation, to give their places to those do this because nothing less than a se- who had opposed it to the utmost-the cond veto would forward Mr. Tyler's price of treachery was paid without stint design of carrying over a portion of the or scruple. But when the time at length Whig party to its adversaries, winning came for the substantial requital of his the fervent gratitude of those adversries perfidy-when Mr. Tyler made his apfor his persistent and successful resis- peal to his new allies for their voices and tance to that great object of their hatred, their votes in aid of his re-election, a a National Bank, and thus placing him- universal shout of derision gave their self at the head of a new combination only answer. Here and there a solitary which would be constrained to support office-holder or office-seeker, was found to him for re-election* as, for once, (to use set up a faint and hypocritical cry for a phrase of the Madisonian,) • President justice to John Tyler! How utterly in his own right.'

hollow, forced and awkward ! Two This project was successful in its first Tyler Democrats, engaged in manufacturstages, as treachery mainly is; it failed ing public sympathy or party support for utterly to secure the coveted reward, in the National Calamity, if by any chance its consummation, as treachery always they had been brought to look each other does. Those who at first were loud- full in the face, must have yielded to a est in laudation of the ultra Roman more imperative necessity for laughter virtue and disinterested patriotism of than ever constrained two Roman augurs. the Executive, were in due time found At last, when the time came for among the most fluent and the coars- testing the sincerity of words by deeds, est in their reproaches of the traitor- even the empty vanity of lip-service was ous simpleton who had idly imagined refused, or very grudgingly given. Mr. that he could gain the confidence of his Tyler's office-holders and Treasury-fed adversaries by an infamous betrayal of presses kept up a fussy show of activity his supporters. So long as they were and zeal in his cause, which had no othonly required to give empty compli- er effect than that of proving his utter ments in return for substantial ser- destitution of the confidence or good will


Memorandum by Mr. Sergeant. “In compliance with a request to testify what I know of the matter embraced in the above statement by Judge Berrien, I have carefully examined the same, and concur with him in every part of it, excepting only that which details the conversation he had with Mr. Webster. The rest is personally known to me; but not having been present at the interview between Judge Berrien and Mr Webster, I cannot speak of it from any knowledge of my own. I well remember, however, that Judge Berrien told me of what had passed, very soon after he had seen Mr. Webster (I think on the same day) in substance as he had reduced it to writing: so that I never had a doubt of its correctness. This conviction is confirmed by conversations between Mr. Webster and myself, which took place after the meeting with Mr. Ewing referred to by Judge Berrien, and before I moved the proposed bill in the House of Representatives. These conversations were brief, but they were by appointment, and not casual; were earnest and to the point,so that I do not think there was any error in my understanding of them at the time, nor in my recollection since.

“ I desire farther to say, as I can do with unhesitating confidence, that my sole object in the whole proceeding, and, I believe, the object generally of those who took part in it, was, by a candid ascertainment and comparison of individual views and mutual explananations, fairly obtained in perfect good faith, to endeavor to conciliate opinion and agree upon a measure which could become a law and meet the public exigency. So far as I know or believe, there was no other purpose whatever.

JOHN SERGEANT. Philadelphia, Nov. 2, 1841.”

* On this head, see the explicit testimony of Hon. John M. Botts, and the concurring history of the times. See also the Madisonian, passim.

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