The Legacy of Great Britain’s Colonial Policy
“As a young man John Tyler was less certain of his relationship to the slave institution. In general, he followed his father in accepting the fact of slavery. And, like his father, he was a slave owner all his life. Nevertheless, he opposed a continuation of the African slave trade. As a United States senator in 1832 he fought for legislation to end the actual buying and selling of human beings within the shadow of the Capitol. As President he signed in 1842 the treaty with Britain which obligated the United States to maintain naval units on the African coast to enforce the nation’s anti-slave-trade laws.
He…advocated a diffusion into or “bleeding” of the old Dominion slave population into and throughout the territories—a form of abolition by anemia. In moments of candor he admitted that the removal of Negroes to Liberia was little more than a utopian solution to slavery, “a dream of philanthropy, visiting men’s pillows in their sleep, to cheat them on their waking.”  At [his home] Sherwood Forest he conducted a slavery operation that was humanitarian, gentle, and paternalistic. There were no whips, lashes, split families, or runaways. On Sherwood Forest plantation the Negroes did sing and dance and play their banjos and clack their bones. He [believed]…that slavery had been fastened on the United States by the colonial policy of Great Britain [and] it was an important contributing factor to the intense Anglophobia he carried with him through life. As late as 1851, on a visit to Niagara Falls, John Tyler would refuse so much as to set foot on British soil.”
(And Tyler Too, Robert Seager II, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1963, pp. 53-54)