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    John Tyler Autograph Letter Signed as Vice President with a Franking Signature. One page with integral address leaf, on "Brown's Indian Queen Hotel" letterhead, 7.25" x 9", Washington, docketed March 7, 1841. Three days after taking office as our tenth Vice President, John Tyler sent this brief letter to Captain Emanuel Jones Leigh, with whom he had previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates in Charles City County (1823-1825).

    "Dear Sir,
    Your letter of the 23 February is before [me] and as the readiest mode of bringing its contents before the proper Department, I shall submit it rather to the President or the Secretary of State. I shall do so the more readily as I am utterly oppos'd to the proscription policy for mere opinions sake.
    I remember well our service together at Ch's. City Court House, and the regard I then entertained for you is still undiminished. I am dr. Sir, Yr. &c, John Tyler."

    Address is made out entirely in Tyler's hand adding his Free Frank: "Free, J. Tyler, V.P."

    Emanuel Leigh was a major in the war of 1812, after which he made a living as a merchant and farmer. Although no record of Leigh's letter can be found, he is known to have been strongly anti-slavery, having freed his slaves shortly after completing his military service, despite being in dire financial straits.

    Tyler arrived in Washington in early January and secured a room at Brown's Hotel, from where this letter was written. A strong opponent to the spoils system of proscription, he was largely ignored by William Henry Harrison as the President compiled his list of appointments. After Harrison's death, despite his distaste for the system, he felt obliged to fulfill many of the promises made by Harrison. As his administration progressed, and he found himself losing alliances he was forced to reconsider his stance. (The Civil Service and the Patronage. By, Carl Russell Fish.)

    Tyler serves as vice president a mere 30 days, so letters by him in this capacity are few. This letter is enhanced by a second signature appearing as a frank on the address cover, to which he adds his title "V.P." The letter has uneven toning, with darker areas appearing at the folds. A few instances of separation at the folds with minute paper loss thereat. Red wax seal remnants; small seal tear, with heavy toning on the address panel.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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