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studies, the class he should enter, and the teacher under whom, and the time, place, and circumstances under which, he should conduct his preparatory studies. It seems that when he wrote this letter he had just returned from a reconnoitring visit to New Haven.


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"NEW YORK, June 16, 1833.

Evening * DEAR FATHER:

" I enclose this, not because it contains anything particularly private, but because I do not wish to give it any unnecessary publicity - I do not wish its contents to be a common topic of conversation.

"You well know that I had intended to enter the sophomore (i.e., one year in advance) in some college this fall: I am now as well convinced as ever that I ought to do so. Aware that any delay must occasion a delay of a year, or an alternative quite as unpleasant and not altogether without hazard, I felt fully the importance of losing no time. Yet I did not commence studying till the first of December, and consequently had two months less time than my class in which to perform an extra amount of labor. Even then I went forward, calculating something upon the length of college vacations and distrusting little beside my health. That I thought to preserve and improve by care not to pass the safe bound, and by the adaptation of diet and exercise; in this I have been entirely successful, and was tolerably well satisfied with the advancement of my studies. It has long been apparent that I could not, without too severe and perhaps hazardous application, accomplish all I wished; so I have at different times yielded a little and a little, at the expense of a proportionate sacrifice of my standing in the class.

" The loss of time while I was at home, which was greater than I expected, embarrassed me yet more. These circumstances, my inability to advance quite as rapidly as I expected so as to accomplish a given quantity in the time I am to remain here, and the restriction of that time to eight weeks, render it necessary for me immediately to abandon

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the course of mathematics I am upon and adopt a more rapid and perhaps more superficial one.

"Where then shall I go? I must choose between Kinderhook and another project which has been suggested to me.

This is to obtain private instruction from a tutor in Yale College, which is often done. I do not yet know that I can obtain such an one as I should wish, and upon favorable terms; when I do know, I shall write more particularly.

" If I could, this plan would have some advantages. I could pursue my studies with more direct reference to the state of things in college, and with more certainty of knowing how far I should be prepared to compete with my fellows. If everything, teacher, terms, etc., should be favorable, would you consent to have me spend the next quarter in New Haven?

"I have been induced, by circumstances already mentioned, to hesitate whether I would not spend yet another year in preparatory studies. There are considerations which weigh upon both sides of this question. In consequence of the great loss of time I have suffered, I cannot otherwise be placed upon a fair ground of competition with

Not that under any circumstances I fear being for any length of time behind a majority of them ; but I never would make mediocrity my aim in anything, certainly anything of this kind; low indeed is his standard who seeks å mere equality with his fellows; dishonorable and criminal it is to fix ‘so base a standard in anything worthy of pursuit.

" Look about you and see what equality with the mass of mankind is, and you will accord the justice of these remarks. Besides, a tolerably thorough preparation would relieve me from some exertion, prevent its being excessive, and thus be conducive to health. Besides, it would enable me to avail myself more fully of my advantages, finish myself more exactly, and allow me some time for general improvement.

"On the other hand, I am growing old; to take four years and three for a profession (if I should have one) would send me upon the world at between twenty-six and twenty-seven, a time when a man ought to have accomplished something.

"I am weary of the changes and the selection of

my class.

teachers. It has been troublesome and vexatious to me, and indecision has occasioned so much loss of time. desire to be settled permanently where the teachers will be fixed and the terms of study and the vacations be established, so that I may no longer be distracted between the convictions of duty and true interest and the solicitation of friends, or harassed with jarring counsels or my own indecision.

"I resume my letter. I returned yesterday afternoon from New Haven, where I went on the day before. I do

I not know whether it will be necessary for me to wait another year or not. It is certain that, if I do not, I must enter without having read all the Latin and Greek that a great majority of my class have; whether my habits of mind and the manner in which I have read what I have would supply the deficiency, it is difficult to say.

I am exceedingly anxious not to wait longer without it is absolutely necessary. It would perhaps be best for me in any case to go for a quarter to New Haven, and by reciting to one of the tutors, or one some way connected with the college in that place, to test the question. Private Tuition can be had there for about the sum I have paid thro’the winter; board and room for from 16 to 18 and 20.

" The place is very beautiful, yet would not seem so much like home to me as many others.

" I shall write again soon, and then I will say something as to the different institutions. I have written most of this letter on board of the steamboat, which had a motion unusually tremulous. I would copy it with More’s steel pen (with which I am now writing) if it were possible to do so in time for the mail. It is extremely important that you lose no time in answering this; for if I leave this city for any place, I should like to do it very soon.

I hope you will answer me fully, too; for I must make my calculations, and if I know what your determinations are I shall not have to change them. Write about the ink and books also.

"Yours, (Signed)

S. J. TILDEN. "P.S. - It is nearly three weeks since I have received a letter from home."

While the thesis so earnestly elaborated in this letter was under consideration in the family council, Samuel was keeping a sharp eye upon the courses of the ship of state.

Some planters in South Carolina, under the leadership of John C. Calhoun, were restless under the tariff acts of 1828, commonly and not unjustly denominated the Bill of Abominations, and under the failure of their efforts satisfactorily to modify it in 1832, and justly indignant at the discriminations of both acts in favor of Northern industries, signified their intention to avail themselves of what they claimed to be the reserved right of every State, as an independent party to the original compact of States, to disregard any legislation of the federal government — to use their own expression, to "nullify" it - whenever they were satisfied that such legislation was not in accordance with their view of the conditions upon which the Union was formed. They took the ground that the power to withdraw subsisted as completely after the Union as the right not to enter existed before the Union.

Under the provocation of this defiant attitude on the part of these nullifying statesmen, President Jackson issued his memorable proclamation, warning the people of South Carolina and their sympathizers of the perils of their attitude towards the general government, and giving them to understand that the Union must and would be preserved at all hazards.

This proclamation was followed in January, 1833, by his "Nullification Message” to Congress, and by the introduction into Congress of a force bill designed to secure the prompt collection of the revenue in South Carolina, should the threatened resistance be offered. This was followed by the introduction and final adoption of Mr. Clay's " Compromise Tariff.”

Young Tilden watched the evolution of the centrifugal forces in our Constitution which were developed in this nullification controversy, but not as an idle or indifferent

VOL. I.-3

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spectator. He used such weapons as were at his command, with no inconsiderable skill, in defence of the President and the indissolubility of the Union. In the "Kinderhook Sentinel” he published an article entitled "Nullification and the Opposition,” and in the "Columbia Sentinel” he published another article on "The Clay Compromise of 1833 and Nullification."

These papers are only noticeable for the judgment and tact with which the points of attack are selected and arrayed, and the evidence they afford that the author already wielded the pen of a formidable partisan.

But then, as in his maturer years, Mr. Tilden was not the uncompromising advocate of extreme measures when dealing with public opinion or sectional interests. Of this an interesting illustration is given in the following extract from a private letter which found its way into the columns of the * Columbia Sentinel" of January 17, 1833. It must have been written some days before the appearance of President Jackson's nullification message, which was sent to Congress on the 16th.

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" I am decidedly friendly to a protective system (though not a prohibitory one) and should regret exceedingly to see it abandoned, but if it can only be sustained by producing such deep and settled dissatisfaction as exists at the South, and which has enabled a few disappointed demagogues to bring us to the very verge of disunion, it must go. Mutual conciliation and compromise is preached from every quarter, but every man seems waiting for his neighbor to practise it.

"Let us then set the example. Let us meet our opponents on the middle ground; and if that is not sufficient, let us go farther. Let the protection system be made a peace offering on the altar of union. Let the protection of our manufactures be reduced until it can fairly be considered as incidental, but let this be so gradually done as not to ruin the thousands who have engaged in them, and to whom the

Writings and Speeches of Samuel J. Tilden,” Vol. I. pp. 11-26.

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