Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Tyler Letter Signed as President. Two pages of a bifolium, 8.25" x 13", Washington, D.C.; April 30, 1842. Letter written in a secretarial hand and signed by President Tyler to a W. Orbison of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, in response the resolutions of support by a local committee.


    Yours of the 22nd Inst. enclosing the proceedings of a meeting held by the Citizens of Huntingdon County and borough, in the State of Pennsylvania, relative to the present condition of our country, has been received by me. It affords me sincere gratification to learn that the citizens of Huntingdon are resolved to "encourage and sustain those in power, in their efforts to maintain the honor and high character of our Common Country"-exhibiting as it does, a lofty feeling of patriotism, and assuring the agents of the people in the administration of the Government, who conscientiously, and fearlessly perform their duty, with a single eye to the honor and glory of their country, the good, the honest, and true men of the Land will sustain them in their course, however much artful intriquants [sic] and ambitious aspirants after place, and power, may vilify, slander, abuse, and censure them. As for myself, I assure you, that so far as my action is concerned, I shall ever stand prepared to sanction and sustain all Constitutional measures which shall contain the principles of relief to the Country, from its present distresses, and tend toward producing general prosperity, and the happiness of the greatest number - at the same time, that I shall ever be ready as heretofore, to disapprove all such as I believe to be weak and inefficient to produce good, or unconstitutional, and dangerous in their tendency.

    Suffer me to return you, and through you to each member of the Committee which you represent, assurances of my highest respect, and consideration.

    John Tyler

    Accompanying the letter above is the cover letter that enclosed the resolutions of the committee of citizens of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, written in the hand of Orbison, which was the basis for Tyler's letter.

    The W. Orbison to whom Tyler addressed his letter is probably William Orbison (1777-1857), a leading citizen of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Born in Adams County, Pennsylvania, Orbison practiced farming, taught school for a while in Virginia, and then returned to Pennsylvania, where he took up law. In 1810, he settled in Huntingdon, where he practiced law and managed the local bank. Though holding no political office, Orbison was known to be a supporter of the Whig Party. On the verso of Orbison's letter is a list of names of the committee, including that of his son James Henry Orbison (1826-1869), who was a Presbyterian minister.

    The resolution of the committee probably related to Tyler's assumption of the presidency in April 1841 on the death of President William Henry Harrison, who died in office a month after he was inaugurated in March of that year, or to Tyler's early troubles as president. In 1840, Harrison and Tyler ran on the Whig Party ticket with the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too." When Harrison died, Tyler became the first vice president to assume the office due to the death of the president. Tyler's response to Orbison occurred during a period when he was under fire from his own party Tyler, a former Democrat, converted to the Whig Party during Andrew Jackson's presidency. When he became the nation's tenth president, however, he outraged many Whigs due to his rejection of several Whig legislative priorities. A month after Tyler wrote this letter to Orbison, Whigs in the U.S. House of Representatives initiated impeachment proceedings against Tyler, whom they referred to as "His Accidency,"which eventually failed. Tyler's remarkable letter shows his defiance while being ostracized by his fellow Whigs. Ex. R. Douglas Stuart.

    Condition: Light toning at mail folds on verso. Small area of soiling at top margin. Otherwise fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 554

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold on Apr 18, 2018 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 20 Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search