February 04, 1861

John Tyler, as President of the 1861 Washington Peace Convention, Certifies a Delegate From Massachusetts

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No sooner was Abraham Lincoln elected, than much of the South prepared to leave the Union - but even as John Tyler’s granddaughter was ceremoniously hoisting the flag at the Montgomery Convention, where a provisional government for the Confederacy was being created, Tyler himself was presiding over the first day of the Washington Peace Conference, the last ditch effort to end the growing conflict peaceably.

Called the "old gentlemen's convention" because its members included six former cabinet members, nineteen ex-governors, fourteen former senators, fifty former representatives, twelve state supreme court justices, and a former president, it was politely regarded as a well-meaning gathering of venerable fossils. Here Tyler, aged 71, certifies Charles Allen of Massachusetts, aged 64, as a delegate from Massachusetts.

The Conference, of course, failed to have any effect, and Tyler gave up all hope of saving the Union. Instead, he would soon come to advocate the secession of the Southern States – and even while serving at the last session of the Washington Convention in December 1861, was already a member of the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy.

Document Signed, partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, 1 page, octavo, Washington City, February 4, 1861.

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Transcript

Conference Convention,
Washington City, Feb. 4, 1861.

Mr. Charles Allen
Delegate from Massachusetts
I hereby certify that you are a member of the Convention.

Respectfully,

JOHN TYLER.

President