Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Tyler Autograph Letter Signed with a Second Franking Signature. One page, with integral address leaf, 7.75" x 10", East Hampton, Long Island, New York; September 23, 1846. A letter from former president Tyler to J. Y. Mason, Attorney General of the United States, congratulating him on his temporary appointment as secretary of the Navy. "...The newspapers bring us the intelligence, so gratifying to the whole country, of your restoration to your former chair at the head of the Navy Department, and as I have nothing in the world to ask of you or the administration, I shall not fail to be considered as truly sincere in tendering you my congratulations on the event. My own experience of your capacity to discharge all the important duties of the Department, rendered doubly so by the existing state of war, assures me that the President could not have done a wiser thing than to restore you to your former station. The country had become dissatisfied with your predecessor, more probably from an awkward way of doing things than from any real defect; and as far as I can learn of the popular feeling in this remote end of the Earth, it hails your resumption of the duties of the Department with true pleasure... John Tyler."

    Former president Tyler is writing to his former secretary of the Navy from his summer home, "Villa Margaret," in Hampton, New York, during the American war with Mexico. John Y. Mason (1799-1859) was born in Emporia, Virginia. His first public office was that of delegate to the Virginia House of Representatives (1823-1827). He then became a state senator (1827-1831) and a U.S. congressman (1831-1837). In March 1844, President Tyler appointed Mason his fifth secretary of the Navy. Mason remained in that post until the end of the Tyler administration. When James K. Polk succeeded Tyler as president, he made Mason his attorney general. When George Bancroft, Polk's first secretary of the Navy, resigned in order to accept the post of minister to Great Britain, Mason was temporarily appointed secretary of the Navy. He served in that position from September 10, 1846, thirteen days before Tyler wrote this letter. Mason served as Navy secretary until March 7, 1849. In 1854, he became the U.S. envoy to France, a title he held until his death. In his letter to Mason, Tyler refers to dissatisfaction among some of Bancroft's role of secretary of the Navy. It is not clear what he refers to since Polk and Bancroft had a strong personal and working relationship. Bancroft desired a foreign post and the president granted him his wish by appointing him to minister to Great Britain.

    Condition: The letter has the usual folds, with docket on address sheet. Ink on address panel has smudged a bit. Dealer's pricing in pencil. Staining from wax seal has bled through to front.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 596

    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 September 26 Autumn Luxury Accessories Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search