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Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) to Richard G. Dunlap

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01690 Author/Creator: Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: July 18, 1831 Pagination: 15 p. : docket : address : free frank ; 25 x 21 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 22.7 x 16.6 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 21.3 x 15 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 10.9 x 7 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 28.4 x 18.2 cm

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01690 Author/Creator: Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: July 18, 1831 Pagination: 15 p. : docket : address : free frank ; 25 x 21 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 22.7 x 16.6 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 21.3 x 15 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 10.9 x 7 cm + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 28.4 x 18.2 cm

Summary of Content: Written by Jackson as President, upset by the events surrounding the resignation of Major John H. Eaton as the Secretary of War. Jackson praises Eaton, as well as Martin Van Buren and Major William Berkley Lewis for their loyalty. He attacks Vice President John C. Calhoun for what he sees as his plot to undue his administration in a "wicked depraved conspiracy," and regrets that he ever trusted Calhoun. Also attacks General Duff Green and his newspapers for being slanderous during this whole affair. The events referred to in this letter are all part of the notorious Petticoat Affair. Eaton's second wife, Peggy O'Neale Eaton, was considered too risque, and was not accepted in Washington society, despite Jackson's social attentions. John C. Calhoun, his wife, and other members of Washington's high society managed to force Eaton to leave office. The surrounding scandal that broke out also forced a number of Jackson's cabinet members to leave their positions, and left Jackson very bitter with those he held responsible. Four black and white bust engravings of Jackson included.

Background Information: Richard G. Dunlap served in the War of 1812, and at the time served in the Tennesse legislature. Also Texas' Secretary of the Treasury and Minister to the United States.

Full Transcript: private
Washington July 18.th 1831

My Dr Sir
I have just received your letter of the 30th - ult, and snatch a moment from publick duty to reply to it.
I ...am happy to learn that your health is improving whilst I regret to hear that it has been feeble; if my good wishes for your vigorous health will give it, I send them with great sincerity.
As I have but a moment to write, you will excuse my brevity on the various points of your letter.
Whilst it is pleasing to hear that the reorganisation of my Cabinet meets with the approbation of Tenness, as well as the whole union, I cannot omit a passing notice on your remarks on this subject as it respects Major Eaton - it is this - "Major Eaton leaves the War Dept. by the consent of all parties" In this you are badly informed, he leaves it with the great regret of a large Majority of the army and citizens of this place, who without regard to politics, tendered him a dinner which he declined - This was not offered to any other of the resigned Cabinet - Great regret has been expressed by many of the citizens of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, & Indiana, to which you may add my own - whilst all approve the high honorable feelings that give rise to [strikeout] [inserted: Mr Van Buren's] and Major Eaton's resignations, where they found harmony in the Cabinet could not be mentioned. [2] I fear my friend you have been reading, and giving too much credence to the slang of Genl Duff Greens, and other opposition papers, to be correctly informed as to facts here - the plan of Duff Green & Co, are to slander, and if they could, drive from me every honest man in whom I ought, & have confidence - and it is now well known here that if Major Eaton could have been made the [supple] tool of Mr Calhoun, and become the enemy of Mr Van Buren, without cause, he, with Major Lewis, would have been ranked with the first, & best men of our country; They, however were too honest to be bought, and too virtuous to do injustice to Mr Van Buren, who, permit me to say, has more honesty and Candor, talent, & frankness, than a hundred such as Mr Calhoun - I never acted with a more frank, & candid man, than Mr Van Buren - It is said he is the great magician - I believe it, but his only wand is good common sense, which he uses for the benefit of his country - you will open your eyes at this declaration, & perhaps not believe it, be it so. as to the depravity & duplicity of Mr Calhoun before I am done, I will give you [struck: the] [inserted: some] facts - but [3] before I do, one passing word as to Major Lewis, and first, I must sincerely regret the language used with regard to him, without pointing to some fact that would justify it - I have seen such slang in opposition papers, I have heard it from Calhouns tools, in Nashville, but comming from Genl Dunlap, without detaching some facts that would justify it, has really astonished me - I have known him long, I have knew him well - he is honest, & faithful, as far as I know, & believe, and attends to his own, without intirfering with others business - you must surely have been taking the slang of Duff Green, the Philadelphia Centinel, & the city journal for your proof, without looking to the positive reputation of the whole, in the Globe, & Philadelphia Enquirer; if I am right in this, then you might as well believe all that Arnold says about judge White & Mr Lea - and I am sure you do not believe one word of Arnolds slander - they others are as foul - for I asure you, of my own knowledge, I do know several instances wherein Genl Duff Green has wilfully stated falshoods - But suppose I was to "send Major Lewis home - [4] do [inserted: you] think this would appease my political, unprincipled enemies; no, no, I must send home Major Barry Col Campbell, Mr Kendal, and every other friend of mine, that will not become the pliant, & supple tool of Mr Calhoun, and the open enemy of the unofending Van Buren, who it is pleasing to Duff Green to decry as a plotter, without proof, and who is as innocent of the plots charged, as you are - Genl Dunlap could not ask me to bend to such humility - and if he was, I assure him, I never part with well tried friends, to gratify my enemies, or for new ones - Therefore for the present will neither part with Barry, Campbell, Smith, Kendal or Major Lewis - When any of them departs form the paths of honesty, properity, or truth, & it is made manifest to me, I will soon "send them Home" not before - Many of my not friends under a great delusion have done me more injury than all my enemies could do, and many who have professed friendship (Calhoun like) under the mask of friendship, has endeavoured to do me much injury - They have [5] they have, [inserted: been] foiled - The moment I was installed, because I appointed Major Eaton, so necessary to me, when judge White declined, all was wrong & where was there a man, who had laboured so much, & burnt the midnight tosser so often, [inserted: as he did], in my behalf - such a friend as Major Eaton is hard to find, & is worthy to be huged to the boosom as a pearl beyond price - I have, & will so cherish him - The extracts of sundry letters, being a correspondence between Mr Calhoun & a gentleman in West Tennessee, explains all this matters too much credence are given to the slang of Duff Green & his coadjutors in the opposition with regard to my friends - if the Globe was read it would shew all these tales put down, by positive denials, and proof Clerks have been engaged here, who has written to Nashville some of the most positive falshoods that ever has been raised, by the most depraved of the opposition, they are just discovered, & some of them will "go home" - soon; one fact is now [6] well ascerntained, that Duff Green nor Mr Calhoune never supported me - They opposed Mr Adams under my name, to put him down, and now wish to put me down to open the way to the Presidency for Mr Calhoun - Mr Calhoun, first tried to crush me, by his secrete move in the Cabinet - He prostrated Crawford, and now wishes to Crush Mr Van Buren, least he may be in his way hereafter, & will unite with Mr Clay, or any other, to effect his views - as to myself, I leave these things to the people, they have the right to select their agents, and I hope ever will exercise it - and if they prefer another, I am sure I will be satisfied with my sweet retirement at the Hermitage, which I was draged from, contrary to my wishes, and now am complained of, because I select a few well tried friends around me, and will not abandon those for new ones, to gratify one of the most wicked & depraved conspiracies, that ever disgraced any christian country I would laoth myself, if any worthy influence could bend me, to so vile a purpose.
It is well known the high Confidence I once had in Mr Calhoun - I [7] was taught to believe him a high minded and honorable man, capable of friendship, free from duplicity, or falshood - This being my opinion of him, when I returned from the Seminole campaign enfeebled with disease, with one foot in the grave, & the other on the brink, and found from the public journals, that there had been a cabinet council held which had decided on the subject of my arrest, for transcending my orders in Florida, I could not believe that Mr Calhoun was approbating such a movement - the Nashville paper ascribed it to Mr Crawford, and that Mr Calhoun was my shield & supporting against this movement for my destruction; [struck: because] I knew, that Mr Calhoun & Mr Monroe, could not think so - because my public orders were a chart blank, and my confidential letter had been recd my views fully made known, and Mr Rhea instructed to write me, that my views were fully approbated - I therefore believed Mr Crawford was this secrete agent of my destruction - for how could I believe that Mr Calhoun, who had said to Govr. Bibb, "that I had orders to carry on the war as I pleased" who had read the confidential letter, had approved it, and said to Mr Munroe it required his answer - who knew that Mr J. Rhea had been instructed, & had answered it, who, in all his letters, and those of confidential friends, had breathed their - [8] full approbation of my conduct, I say after all this, how could I suppose that Mr Calhoun was this secrete oposen who had endeavoured to destry my reputation, by his movement in the secrete Cabinet council where he believed his acts never could become public [inserted: & who had laid it upon another -] it is true, in 1824-5, Mr Rankin [inserted: (member of Congress)] did tell me, Mr Calhoun, and not Mr Crawford, had made this movement against me - I did not, nay I could not believe he could be so [base] - nor did I, when I sent him Mr Crawfords statement believe it, until I received his acknowledgement under the sanction of his name, in his reply to my note alluded to - you may ask me, why I was so [inserted: in]credulous - I will tell you - you have read the correspondence, you have seen in it published my confidential letter to Mr Munro, in which Mr J. Rhea is referred to, as a confidential friend thro whom, the wishes of the Executive could be communicated & in sixty days I would carry into effect, the Executive wishes - you have seen that Mr Calhoun read that letter, drew Mr Monroes attention to it, and said, he must answer it. I have now to tell you Mr Rhea did answer it, by the directions of Mr Monroe, approving all my views, this letter was received by me on my way to Ft Scott, Mr Calhoun knew that this letter was answered [9] by Mr Rhea, and that I had complied with the public orders & confidential [inserted: wishes,] to a [t]ittle - he knew I had not, nay could not transcend my orders, and how could I believe that any man, however depraved, could act as it had been stated Mr Calhoun had, by secretely moving my arrest or punishment - I was mistaken - he was the mover - and I now ask you, if a man thus depraved, who could move my arrest & punishment, and publickly held forth to me his friendship & support, what is it he would not do, to prostrate those he might conceive to be in his way to his [inserted: views of [struck: ambition]] ambition - Think ye, he would not sever the union rather than not reach the point of his ambition - Think ye, would not such a man rather rule in the lower regions, than serve in heaven - His intrigue did not stop here - when I was in this city in 1819. attending the seminole question, Mr Rhea was sent, [strikeout] to request me, to burn this letter - Having full confidence in all, I agreed, that as soon I got home, I would burn it - I did so burn it - Mr Calhoun knowing this, when I furnished him with Mr Crawfords statement, he acknowledges [10] his guilt & adds insult to injury, by urging that I did transcend my orders - Providence has permitted Mr Rhea still to live, and one month before Mr Monroes death [inserted: he] wrote him fully, stating all the facts I have mentioned, a copy of which I hold, with judge Overtons statement of the contents of Mr Rheas letter, which was confidentially submitted [inserted: to him] with others when he wrote the Defence "of the Executive & the commanding General," in the Seminole War - Therefore, a man who can thus act, can subsidies presses, and procure slanderers to vilify me, & all friends who are near me, [struck: and] [inserted: who] will not fall down & worship him - I therefore have to request, that you will state one instance, wherein Major Lewis has improperly interfered in any matter, either public or [inserted: improperly] private - charges there has been of such conduct against him, but I trust you are not one, who take rumor for proof, when put forth by subsidised presses, or hired slanderers - When this shall be, then the most innocent, & virtuous are not safe, & even you may be a victim to the rule - Take a case in point, one of the most profligate characters now in this city is employed by three presses at five Dollar a week to pick up all slander of the most base & vulgar kind, & communicate it by letter, one of these papers [inserted: in New York] & slander the character of a religious press - I ask what chance has innocence, & virtue under such a system of morales, there is no safety - [11] for any one - and let me ask you, is not he that pirates on private character worse, than the pirate on the high seas, and ought not every one who sets vallue on character [inserted: to] put his face against the villains that practice it - rumor, recollect, has a hundred tongues, & every tongue a thousand lies, and if such a system of morales is adopted that rumor is to destroy character, then will a virtuous & morale course of life, be no protection to the vile troducer, who can for a dollar set rumor afloat which will destroy the character of father, mother, sister, & daughter - I trust Genl Dunloss will not subscribe to such a dangerous system of morales - all, [struck: are] in the eye of the lord, [inserted: are] viewed innocent, until proven guilty -
I sincerely regret that the multiplied bereavements of [inserted: my friend] judge White, has prevented me from his able aid, in the Dept of war - all my influence was exerted, but has failed - and I have appointed Governor Cass to fill that Dept. - I trust my present Cabinet will harmonise - it must, I cannot permit such scenes as Mr Munroe suffered in his -
One word & I must close - you may rest assured that all the acts of Mr Calhoun & his socilites cannot coerce me to send [12] my old & well true friends without cause, to gratify my enemies, and Tennessee was the last place in this Union, that I expected a combination to injure me, & promote the views of my most vindictive enemies - it is now clear, that the vile attempt against Eaton was not to injure him, but me, through him - no objections were taken to others, which on the score of rumor as much had been said as against him, & still when he has resigned it is kept up to injure me - be it so, they have fell into the pitt, they dug for Eaton & myself - Ingham is prostrate, whilst Eaton lives in the heart of his country, & when his troducers are burned in forgetfulness, his name will be hailed by the good & great, as one of the best & most virtuous patriots of his day - I shall expect to hear from you on receipt of this, & hope you will pardon the haste, in which this has been written, and any imperfections it may have & ascribe it to haste - remember this is not for the public it is for you -
your friend
Andrew Jackson
Genl R. Dunlap. -
[written on left hand margin of the page 12]
P.S. preserve it, I keep no copy, as it is to a friend - A.J.
[13] P.S.
It would have been a source of great consolation to me to have had judge White in the Dept. of War, my whole influence was used to effect this object, it failed from the situation of his family - In Major Eaton I had a faithful & confidential friend - had it not have been for the intrigues of Calhoun, & part of my Cabinet falling into his views, & aiding him in operating on the Senate to defeat my nominations, such as Hillse, & prevent those national measures I had recommended from being acted upon, thereby to lessen my standing in the nation, I would have had a harmonious & successful administration - I will still have it -
Who is it that are making the serious charges, that I have discarded my old friends - Who are they I have parted with, I would like to hear their names -? It cannot be possible that Calhouns is meant as one of my old friends, I thought him so, but his own declarations [14] shews he was luke warm, between Mr Adams & me - and his secrete attempts against me in the Executive Cabinet shews that altho [inserted: he was] my open professed friend, [inserted: he was] my secrete & deadly enemy - was it meant, any of my Cabinet that have resigned - There were but two, that would not have sacraficied me at any time, for their own agrandisement, & that of Calhoun - I had three friends, disinterested high minded, & talented men, Van Buren, Eaton, & Barry, These were jewels, [struck: and] men of high honorable feelings, on whom, their friend, or Country might repose with safety - no country holds men of purer patriotism, or talents of higher order - particularly Van Buren, & Barry, and Major Eatons is [inserted: is one of the best men with talents] far above what his enemies, or many of his friends, would yield him, his [inserted: talents] are far above mediocrity - and I [struck: add] [inserted: repeat] he is one of the best men on Earth, [15] excelled by none, in the purity of his Morales.
you have seen the disgraceful flight of Ingham - The Scripture says, "The wicked flee, when no one pursueth" - he is perfectly prostrated in his own State - and the various tools in the several States will shew you, the Standing of Major Eaton - his has increased, whilst Inghams has fallen, never to use again - The fate of all slanderers -
R. B.
You say if Mr Calhoun is a nullifier &c &c - I have positive proof of that fact, that he is, & I have this day recd. a letter from a high source [inserted: So. Carolinas,] that he is secritely encouraging hostilities to the republic "which in their character are not less unnatural than destructive to the Union of these States, it is high time to direct (says the writer) the attention of the chief magistrate to this novel and dangerous state of things." This is the conduct of the 2.nd officer of this happy country, that [inserted: he] is endeavoured to [struck: be] plunged into a civil war, by his secrete admonitions & contrivance - If true, I will meet the crisis, firmly - mark me, I never state anything not founded on proof -
Andrew Jackson
[free frank stamp]
[address leaf]
Genl R.G. Dunlap
attorney at law
See More

People: Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
Dunlap, Richard G., -1841
Eaton, John, 1829-1906

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentCorruption and ScandalGovernment and CivicsVice PresidentPoliticsJournalismSexualityWomen's HistoryMarriage

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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