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

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01691 Author/Creator: Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 29 August 1831 Pagination: 11 p. : address : free frank ; 32 x 20 cm.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01691 Author/Creator: Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 29 August 1831 Pagination: 11 p. : address : free frank ; 32 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Defends his friend Major William B. Lewis from charges made by his political enemies, especially John C. Calhoun, including allegations that he interfered in state elections. Discusses Calhoun's maneuverings against himself, and advises Dunlap to believe his account of events, and not be confused by others.

Background Information: Richard G. Dunlap served in the War of 1812, and at the time served in the Tennessee legislature. Also Texas' Secretary of the Treasury and Minister to the United States.
William ...Berkley Lewis was quartermaster under Jackson in the War of 1812, and remained a close friend and adviser.See More

Full Transcript: Washington, August 29th, 1831 ~
Dear Sir
Your letter of the 10th instant is just recd, and, perceiving that you are in error, as I presume, for the want of correct information ...on two points, I am induced, notwithstanding the press of business with which I am surrounded, to give you a reply. I thank you for the expression of your "admiration for such noble friendship" as you are pleased to assert has characterized my conduct towards my friends. But when you accord to me the justice of preserving "fidelity to friends", and applaud me for it, I must confess, that I am somewhat surprised, on the expression of the intimation that I should attempt to "dispell the suspicions of the times" by driving from me individuals who have been sincere in their friendship for me, and by whom, I have never yet been deceived. I however indulge the hope that, when correctly advised of facts, your opinions and consequently your wishes [inserted: on this subject] will be changed. The connection which exists between Major Lewis & myself, when truly understood, can do no injury with true friends, and you are sufficiently acquainted with my character to know, that I am always regardless of my enemies. Every term of the Presidency there are $14,000 appropriated by Congress for the renewal, and repairs of furniture for the Presidents House. An honest and faithful agent is necessary to disburse this mony, and, having full confidence in Major Lewis, I have constituted him this agent. If I had not him to [2] whom else could I entrust it.? My son is too young, and if he was not, it would be improper that he, or any of my connections should have the agency. Major Lewis I know to be honest, faithfull and true to me, and therefore it is [inserted: my] enemies abuse him, and complain that I have him near me. Why were [inserted: not] these complaints made before I left the Hermitage, where he was for fifteen or twenty years an intimate in my house, had, at pleasure, the perusal of my papers, and enjoyed my full confidence? And shall I now, after the efficient services he has rendered, drive him from me because his enemies slander, and abuse him? It would be but a short time, if I was to persue this course, before I should have to seperate my self from all my friends. It is then my dear sir, not the best evidence of friendship which can be given, to insist on the adoption of such a course. I have been for some time aware of the fact that Ingham, Berrien, Branch, Duff Green, & Co - the agents of Calhoun - have been secrately at work with their note Books &c &c, to prejudice Major Lewis in the estimation of the public, and my friends. I had supposed that my true friends would be on their guard, and not adopt the sentiments, & slang, of these men, without giving some attention to the facts which stand opposed to all their assertions; and it pains me to learn that the conduct of some, who have long professed to cherish the strongest attachment for me, shews that they have too willingly imbibed the opinions of my enemies. You correctly suppose that there is "no man" in this Union would sooner denounce any [3] interference, on the part of the executive, with the state elections than myself; but injustice is done to truth, when it is suspected that I, by the conduct of Major Lewis, have evinced the least desire to control the elections. Major Lewis has positively denied any interference with state elections, since he has been here, and in the absence of proof to support the allegations against him, would it not be unjust, ungrateful in me to determine him guilty? If any proof exists against him, the rancour with which the feelings of his enemies have been characterised, induces the positive conclusion that they would long since have adduced it. I have too keenly felt the injustice done by the slander of enemies to give a believing ear to the mere assertions of the enemies of any individual. I confidently believe that the suspicions, which you say exists, as to Major Lewis interfering in elections are as groundless as Calhouns plots against Van Buren (of which Van Buren is as innocent as a babe) [inserted: and] are [inserted: entirely] immaginary. But I will close this subject with the remark, that if I am to drive away and discard my friends without cause, to obtain popularity, I will not have it on such terms, and would despise myself if I thought, or even suspected, that I was capable of purchasing it by such dishonorable means. But I must ask where is the Patriot, that I have near, or around me, who is not made a target for the vilest slander, and detraction? and when that upright man & incorruptible Patriot, H.L. White - has been made the subject of - [4] the vilest charges by the profligate Arnold (and there are many besides him that do not bear the name, although equally corrupt) how can you expect that here - the focus of intrigue and corruption - either I, or those around me can escape.? It would not only be unjust, as I have before intimated, but a dangerous system to abandon friends, without sufficient cause, merely, because they become the object of abuse by our enemies.
The other point which I propose noticing has reference to the relations which existed between Mr Calhoun, Mr Crawford, and myself, and some suspicions which you inform me, you entertained in respect to "the conduct of several of (my) suite' to New Orleans in 1828. Every one who has known me, knows full well the high regard I once entertained for Mr. Calhoun. Mr. Crawford was my political enemy, and Mr Calhoun and he, at the time of the Seminole campaign, and long after the decision of the subject which grew out of it, were bosom friends, and so remained up to 1821 or 22.* [asterisk inserted at bottom of page: I had frequent, full, and free conversations with Mr Calhoun on the subject of the Seminole campaign, and denounced Mr Crawford for the Course which I understood he was pursuing against me in the Cabinet. Ought not Mr Calhoun [inserted: to have frankly] told me, that he was not, as I supposed him, my advocate in the secrete Cabinet Council, and that I did injustice to his friend Mr Crawford, in respect to his conduct, on that occasion? It does seem to me that an high minded and honorable man would have done so.] Mr Calhoun at all times and on all occasions, so far as I was then advised, professed to be my uniform and stedfast friend, and throughout the canvass for President, was regarded my undeviating friend, and [inserted: not] until he shew to the contrary, in his correspondence with me, which he has choose to publish, was the sincerity of his professions ever questioned by me, nor did I even suspect that any [5] [inserted at top of page: 2nd Sheet] of my friends indulged the slightest suspicion that he was not sincerely the warm and decided advocate of my election. I am perfectly confident that Major Lewis never did hold the least suspicion of Mr Calhouns duplicity to me, until late in 1829. You say "none can doubt, but that, the explosion of my Cabinet with its precursor the correspondence with Mr Calhoun, will bring new and spirited adversaries in the field against" me; and that "how to meet them can be better ascertained by searching out the true cause which first agitated the harmony" &c &c. I have the pleasure to inform you, on this subject, that the task you recommend has already been performed, and you will find the result of my labours in the reorganization of my Cabinet proper. I am now relieved from an intercourse with Ingham, Branch & Berrien, who have shewn that they were unworthy of the confidence reposed in them, and regarded the interest of a certain aspirant to the Presidency more than they consulted the harmony of my Cabinet, and the consequent prosperity of my administration, and the country. By the change I have secured the services of those who are competent and true, and it affords me pleasure to learn that my fellow citizens approbate the course which their best interest imperiously demanded at my hands. You also remark that "while passing down the river Mississpi Major Lewis' mind seemed to be filled with suspicions about [6] impending and projected injuries awaiting (my) fate" and that "he was as usual busy and apparently kind to" me, and that you "believed, either that he was alarmed at phantoms of his own fancy, or that he desired to ingratiate himself deep in (my) favor by his officious airs towards (my) election." I must confess that I am not a little surprised to find that you thus "believed," & am unwilling to suppose that, if you had been aware of the character of the intercourse with Major Lewis, and the then attending circumstances, that you, would [inserted: not] have been the subject of such suspicions. I would suppose from the tenor of your letter that you have forgotten the nature of the correspondence between Mr Monroe and my friend judge White in respect to a speech delivered by the latter in reply to toast in honor of me, given, by a company, on the 8th of January 1827 in this city. If you did not then know I [struck: will] now inform you that this correspondence was commenced by Mr Monroe, and that he and Southard had threatened to write a Book. It was charged, or rather asserted that the controversy growing out of the Seminole War wa again to be agitated, that my violation of the constitution & my orders was plainly to be shewn, and indeed that I had deserted my post, left the army, and was returning home, and would [inserted: not] have saved New Orleans, but that Mr Monroe had met me with a [prenemtory] order to return. It was this threatened attack, not by Mr Adams, [7] but by Mr Monroe to judge White, and by Mr Southard through the public journals, which Major Lewis & Col Hamilton, I suppose, were preparing to meet. My friends at Washington were much alarmed on this subject, and the correspondence having been made known to me, I furnished the means of defence, then at hand, to judge White - Major Lewis was fully advised of the threats which were made, and no doubt on this, as on every other occasion, he felt anxious to obtain all the facts necessary to my defence - he was one of my most efficient friends in collecting information and preparing documents for the Nashville committee in my defence. Now my dear Sir, as light as you have made of this matter, Mr Monroe did intend to write (as Mr Calhoun has done) a Book. If the impression could have been made that Mr Monroe, in order to save New Orleans, had to order me to retrace my steps after I had started home &c &c, it would have added greatly to his reputation. Notwithstanding Mr Monroe knew that Mr Rheas letter [struck: was] to me was burned, he perceived from my letter to Mr Southard that I was prepared at every point, and therefore the project of the Book was abandoned. you seem to have forgotten that Mr Monroe had charged me with transcending my orders - we were at issue on this point, notwithstanding he approved my conduct, as he professed, on a knowledge of the circumstances which attended it.
[8] you say [inserted: that] "Mr Calhouns fidelity to (me) was alluded to before we left Nashville as being questionable". This is new to me, and I have said enough already to satisfy you on this subject, and will only add that, as early as 1824; 25, I was informed on high authority that it was Mr Calhoun and not Mr Crawford who had moved my arrest. - Because of the circumstances to which I have alluded in connection with others not necessary to mention, I did not, nay I could not give credence to the information, unless I had come to the conclusion that he was one of the most depraved - I could not believe that any man, possessing the standing he then held in society, could be so depraved as to practice such duplicity - Aside from his repeated assurances of friendship, I knew that he had not only issued my orders; but had so explained them himself as could leave no doubt of my correct interpretation of them, and, therefore could not suppose that he would secretely attempt to destroy me for acting in obedience to my [inserted: orders] and accomplishing the wishes of Mr Monroe and himself as confidentially expressed to me thro' Mr Rhea. I regard the sentiments contained in Mr Rheas letter as expressive of Mr Calhoun's wishes as well as those of of Mr - Monroe, because Mr. C. as I believe, was well advised in respect to the confidential letter which Mr Rhea wrote me [9] under the directions of Mr Monroe -
I am truly astonished at the contempt you now express for "the conduct of several of my [struck: staff] suite," on my tour to New-Orleans - according to my recollection, I had but Major Lewis [inserted: and Mr. Earle] who were specially invited to take charge of my family, - a circumstance which would, in my opinion, have rendered any "officious airs towards (my) election" [inserted: by Major Lewis], unnecessary, in order "to ingratiate himself," if he had wished it "in (my) favour." - Governor Houston & staff (consisting of yourself, Genl Smith & Col Martin, as I understood) Judge Overton, Doctor Shelley & Major Donelson. I am sure that I perceived nothing, to which I should take exceptions, in the conduct of any of my "suit," or Col Hamilton, who was not one of it, but acted in a higher sphere, being one of the representatives chosen by the Republicans of New York, to meet, and congratulate me on the plains of New Orleans on the 8th of January
I discovered no attempt on the part of any of my suit, or Col Hamilton, to obtrude upon me. With them or Col Hamilton I had but little or no conversation on the subjects of politics, from the time we embarked untill we returned - I have no recollection of having had any conversation on the subject of Mr Monroes Book during the trip, nor at any time on that subject with Col Hamilton - he was for the first [10] time introduced to me at the Hermitage a few days before we set out, and I had no secrete conversation with him on any subject, and I assure you the matters you now detail, were unknown to me. Neither of these gentlemen attempted to arouse my fears on the subject of my election, either there or at any other time; and you judge very incorrectly of me, if you suppose that my fears can be aroused on any occasion, & particularly on the subject of the Presidency, for you, as well as all my friends know, that I am here, not by my own wishes, but the will and wishes of the people - The Hermitage is my choice. I am however, at all times prepared to defend myself or friends when unjustly assailed - and I assure you, that you have done great injustice to my suit on that occasion in ascribing to them the acts & motives which you have. I have written in my usual frankness and hope that the facts developed will convince you of your error. I have not time to notice the other parts of your letter. I thank you for the assurance "that your confidence is not [inserted: in the least] impaired in my unwavering patriotism or the final result of the public usefulness of my administration," and beg you to accept my best wishes for your health & happiness.

Genl. R. G. Dunlap - Andrew Jackson

[11] P.S. It seems strange to me that my friends in Tennessee should desire me to separate from Major Lewis while those in other states entertain different feelings.
A.J.
[address leaf]
Genl R. G. Dunlap
Knoxville
Tennessee -
[free frank]
Free Andrew Jackson
[free frank stamp:]
Free
[address leaf]
General
R.G. Dunlap
Knoxville
Tennessee
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People: Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
Dunlap, Richard G., -1841
Calhoun, John Caldwell, 1782-1850

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentPoliticsVice PresidentGovernment and CivicsElection

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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