Our Hard-pressed Ex-presidents

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From one of his slow-paying subscribers, the editor of the Southern Literary Messenger received in 1850 the following apologetic letter. The author, who had been billed for $1.25, was the former President of the United States, then in retirement at Sherwood Forest, on the James River.

Sherwood ForestApril 5, 1850

Dear SirYour note of the 30 March reached me by last mail and I hasten to say that as soon as I can get my crop of corn to market, now ready for delivery, I will remit the amount of your bill. You are aware that we farmers have but two periods of the year when we can with any degree of certainty command monied funds, viz. the Spring and Fall, upon the sale of our corn and wheat. I shall make no apologies for past remissness in paying my subscription to the L. Messenger, to which I have been a subscriber from the date of its first number, the best mode of compensating for neglect, being by repairing its results.

With sentiments of great respect,

Yrs &cJohn Tyler

This letter was recently discovered in the manuscript collection of the late Lloyd W. Smith, now at the Morristown (New Jersey) National Historical Park.