November 25, 1852

John Tyler: His Cabinet Problems, Franklin Pierce’s Election, and Presidential Etiquette

Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages
SMC 1049
This fine letter to a friend covers the election of Pierce, Tyler’s recollection of his Cabinet debacle, and a discussion of presidential etiquette…
 
The election of Pierce is full of bright promise. His main job will be “to consolidate still more firmly the old Republican party for the sake of the Constitution and Union.” Whom he will pick for his Cabinet, Tyler cannot say. All he knows is that when he was President and five of his ministers resigned en masse, he had only a few hours to put together a Cabinet: Pierce, he notes, has three months. Whatever he does, however, Tyler is sure he will do well. As for inviting Pierce to visit at Sherwood Forest, Tyler cannot do this, for fear of imposing, by the very act of an invitation, upon the Presidential prerogative: “The President has the right to presume that his company will at all times and places be acceptable,” Tyler writes, “and therefore no previous invitation is necessary.” He gives an example, from his own term in office, of this “rule," which he deems “correct.” A letter of congratulations to Pierce is also out of the question: Tyler says his course during the election is sufficient evidence of his feeling, without more being said.  He closes by asking Cunningham to keep him apprised of “public matters” and inviting him to visit, whenever he pleases.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pages, recto and verso,  quarto, Sherwood Forest [Virginia], November 25, 1852. With integral address leaf and carrying a free frank (“J. Tyler”). To Colonel John S. Cunningham.
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