Diary of Governor John Floyd, December 1831
[p. 170] First day: Members of Congress are passing through this City to Washington. Almost all of
[p. 171] them are dissatisfied with Jackson’s administration. Public business as usual.
Second day: I am busy with my message. Some of my friends to whom I have shown it are afraid it is too bold and strong for the times. I think it right and know it honest, therefore I will send it forth, though it may not suit the palate of the Federal Executive. What is he to me, when the good of the country requires this weak and wicked administration to be stopped in its downward career.
Third day: Mr. John C. Calhoun, the Vice-President of the United States, arrived this day on his way to Congress. He says South Carolina will nullify the tariff unless it is greatly modified.
Fourth day. Mr. Calhoun left the city this morning. The General Assembly met to-day in good spirits and elected their officers.
Sixth day: My message was well received, though many think it a bold state paper. It may be their attachment to Jackson has blunted their patriotism. I think so. But it is the true doctrine of the Federal Constitution and States Rights. I will maintain it as long as I am Governor even to the utmost hazard.
Ninth day: The House of Delegates have appointed their Committees. The President’s message t Congress has been received. It is in much more subdued tones than heretofore. The old man is afraid of losing his reelection.
[p. 172] Twelfth day: The river is frozen as far down as City Point and all navigation is stopped, both above and below.
Fourteenth day: Letters from Congress advise me that measures are taken by Clay and his party to sustain the tariff.
Sixteenth day: Nothing of importance in the Assembly. Some of the members begin to talk of a loan for improving the State in Railroads.
Nineteenth day: Letters from Washington City declare that no nullification of the Tariff will take place this year.
Twentieth day: The General Assembly have done little. Congress also seems stationary. I believe because both parties, Tariff and Arbitration, are ascertaining their grounds and maturing their plans for a tremendous debate. The President’s hands are found to be feeble to hold the reigns of the Government of the Confederacy. I fear the worst of consequences from his incapacity.
Twenty-third day: Letters from the South inform me that my message is still well considered and has much increased my standing and popularity there.
Twenty-sixth day: The public nosiness gets on slowly. The question of the gradual abolition of slavery begins to be mooted. The Eastern members, meaning those east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, wish to avoid the discussion, but it must come if I can influence my friends in the Assembly to bring it on. I will not rest until slavery is abolished in Virginia.
Twenty-ninth day. News from Congress shows us
[p. 173] that little hope is to be entertained of a modification of the tariff to suit Southern interests, if not, then let South Carolina nullify.