Diary of Governor John Floyd, January 1832
[p. 173] First day: This being the first day of another year I shall hence use figures for the day of the month.
Second day: There is more conversation about the Presidential election. Jackson has lost all his popularity in Virginia but will still get the vote of this State because he is now less odious than Clay, for neither hold political opinions at this time agreeable to Virginia.
Third day: Still the same conduct in public affairs, the nomination of the Secretaries and Ministers to foreign courts made by the President are still before the Senate of the United States.
Seventh day: Letters from the Vice-President and Senator Tyler, state the aspect of public affiars adverse to the South.
Ninth day: Members begin to talk of debating the question of gradually emancipating the Slaves of Virginia. It has been very adroitly brought about. Summers, Faulkner, Preston, and Berry, also Campbell and Brook will be fast friends to the measure. They are talented young men and will manage this affair most excellently well.
Tenth day: The slave question increases.
Eleventh day: Hopes are entertained by my young friends that a debate can be had upon the slave question.
[p. 174] Twelfth day: Mr. Goode this day made a motion to discharge the Committee on so much of the Governor’s message as relates to free negroes and mulattoes and to which a memorial of sundry citizens of Hanover had been referred with a view to prevent debate upon the Slave question involved in that memorial. The abolition party opposed it and hence the slave party have produced the very debate they wished to avoid, and too, have entered upon it with open doors.
Thirteenth day: The debate in the House of Delegates still continues.
Fifteenth day: The debate in the House continued with great ability by Faulkner. This is a fine talented young gentleman.
Sixteenth day: The debate continues with increased ability.
Eighteenth day: I heard from Congress the agent appointed by me last summer to settle the claim of Virginia against the Federal Government for disbursement during the Revolutionary Warm reports that they are in a fair way for adjustment which will give us near a million dollars.
Nineteenth day: The debate still goes on.
Twentieth day: Nothing now is talked of or creates any interest but the debate on the abolition of slavery. All is well.
Twenty-first day: The debate in the House is growing in interest and I fear engendering bad and party feelings. It must be checked in erratic tendencies.
Twenty-third day: Many speculations are now made upon the result of this debate. We can carry
[p. 175] the question, if necessary, by about two votes which will depend upon the views and onjects to be developed by the slave part of the state. I think as yet nothing has transpired other than to prove that they must not be hurt, but held in check.
Twenty-fourth day: The debate begins to be carried on in an angry tone. It is not good that it should be so.
Twenty-fifth day: The debate is stopped but the members from the South side of the James River talk of making a proposition to divide the State by the Blue Ridge Mountains sooner than part with their negroes, which is the property of that part of the State.
Twenty-sixth day: The talk of dividing the State continues.
Twenty-seventh day: The cold increases, being two below Zero. The conversation this morning is not so violent about dividing the State. I have no doubt the few malcontents will soon become cool and contented. They will see the fallacy and futility of such a thought.
Our Federal Government is at this time engaged on the tariff and instead of relieving the South are about to repeal the duties on luxuries and retain them on iron, cottons and woolens. If so, South Carolina will nullify the act and thus bring into action the reserved right of the State. All this is owing to the utter inefficiency of President Jackson, who has no influence with Congress and who will probably again be reelected to the Presidency, as the two great contending parties, tariff and arbitration, are fearful of trying their strength directly,
[p. 176] and Jackson floats like a stick upon the flood, though the tariff party think they are gaining by his inefficiency, which Is unquestionably true, and if they succeed in their expectation and desire, the South will be compelled to secede.
Twenty-eighth day: Letters from Congress create a doubt as to the confirmation of Van Buren.
Twenty-ninth day: All navigation above and below stopped by ice. Nothing of much importance to-day.
Thirty first day: This day news has been received from Congress that the nomination of Van Buren as Minister Plenipotentiary has been rejected by the Senate of the United States by the casting vote of the Vice-President of the United States.