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Full text of "Address of the Republican Committee of Correspondence of Philadelphia, to the people of the United States"


















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ADDKESS 



OP THE 



REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE 



OS 



©®mmag^®af®ait^3 - 



OF 



PHIIiADELPHIil 



TO THE 



mOPLS or THE UNITED STATES^ 



—»»►♦«©*♦«— 



PHILADELPHIA: 

PRINTED BY WILLIAM STAVEf.Y, 
No. 99, Soutli Secontl Street. 

182S. 






PENNSYLVANIA. 



^^•*wfO ^^ 5*'"*"" 



July 22, 182S. 

At a meeting of the committee of correspondence, for the 
city of Philadelphia, appointed by the republican convention which 
assembled at Harrisburg, on the Sth of January last, the follow- 
ing resolution was adopted: — 

" Resolved, That a letter be addressed to James Ronaldson, 
i^isq. requesting him to favour this committee with copies of any 
letters, addressed to him by the late presidents, Thomas Jeffer- 
son and John Adams, in which their opinions of gen. Andrew 
Jackson were expressed — it being understood that no part of 
those letters is of a private character." 



To James Ronaldson, Esq. Hillsburgh Mills, Delaware Co. 

"PHILADELPHIA, July 22, 1828. 

" Dear Sir: — You and I remember, that the feelings and fame of Mr. Jeffer- 
son were as ruthlessly assailed, as those of general Jackson now are; and yet, 
when Mr. Jefferson passed from amongst us, his traducers joined in the public 
homage to his virtue: — I trust and believe, that the fame of general Jackson 
v/ill be rescued, in like manner, from the gripe of calumny. 

"You and I remember, that the people were told, that, if they elected Mr> 
Jefferson, he would introduce a French army, demolish the churches, &c. just 
as we hear it now said, that, if they elect general Jackson, he will raise an 
anny, and establish a military despotism: but we saw Mr. Jefferson elected, 
and the people, after his election, in a more free enjoyment of happiness, in- 
cluding an increase of churches, than they had befin before it: I trust and be- 
lieve, that we shall see general Jackson also elected, and that he will retire 
from office, as Mr. Jefferson did, with tlie blessings of his countrymen. 

" Nevertheless, although such has been our experience, and such are our 
expectations, we should do all that we can do, to protect him, who protected 
his country: under this impression, I mentioned to our committee of corres- 
pondence, that you had two units to add to the testimony, in favour of general 
Jackson, already before the public — a letter from Mr. Jefferson, and anotlier 
from Mr. Adams, father of the present President of the United States, com- 
plimentary to general Jackson: the committee liave authorized me to ask you 
for copies for publication : I scarcely need say, that there is not a member of 




/^/ 



the committee, who would make such a request, if the lettei% were of a pri- 
vate nature; but that is not the case; you must consider them, as the commit- 
tee does, in the true sense of the tei-m, public property, especially at a crisis 
Jike the present. 

" Yours, truly and respectfully, i 

"W. J. DUANE." 



To W. J. Duane, Esq. 8fC. 

" CEDAR, NEAR NINTH STREET, July 25, 1826. 

"Deak Sih: — Having on hand undertakings of considerable importance, 
which required my personal attention in Philadelphia, I have soon received 
your letter directed to me at Hillsburgh Mills. Your object is to procure co- 
pies of letters I received from Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, about eight 
years sijice, which, if 1 did not then show them to you, I mentioned the cir- 
cumstance of receiving. 

" I express a doubt'of having at that time shown to you those letters— it 
has been a practice with me, rarely to show to otliers, letters that have been 
addressed to me by men, whose characters, actions, and acquirenrients, have 
gained them particular pre-eminence: it was enough for a plain citizen, like 
me, to have received those marks of their politeness and respect: and so strong- 
ly are my feelings attached to past habits, that it will be with reluctance, that, 
on the present occasion, I shall depart from it, in" the case of the letters to 
which you allude. 

*'I have not forgotten the misrepresented facts, the gross falsehoods and 
calumnies, that were published against the author of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence: and I am astonished at the same style of abuse against Andrew Jack- 
son: we have not yet forgotten the events of the last war; even in the old 
states, cannon were spiked whilst in the course of transportation to the fron- 
tier — pilotboats were in the service of the enemy, carrying intelligence— nay, 
American vessels sailed from our own ports, freighted with provisions, to sup- 
ply and refresh the enemy's war-ships, whilst cruising on our own coast. At 
New Orleans, when a powerful fleet and a well organized army were close to 
that city, matters were just as bad: men are only men — our good form of go- 
vernment has not made them all patriots: The general, to vt?hom was confided 
the defence of New Orleans, has now imputed to him as crimes, the very acts 
that were essential to the preservation of the lives of the men, and the honour 
of the women; as to the property, it also was saved, but is not worth mention- 
ing where the two others were at stake. 

"The misrepresented facts and caricatured biogi-aphy of Andrew Jackson, 
that have been given to the public, recal to memory a lively recollection of 
the cruelty and injustice done to Thomas Jefferson: and all this against general 
Jackson, because the Pkople have thought projjcr to vote for him to be Presi- 
dent. It is the injustice of abusing general Jackson, because ihe people will 
vote for him to be President of the United States, and the great and general 
respect his person, his character, and his conduct were held in, until it was 
propo.sed to make him President, tliat influence my conduct on the pi-esent 
occasion: I think this system of abuse renders it necessary to bring forth proofs 
of what was said, and thought, of Andrew Jackson, at a period when his acts 
were well known, and his motives understood, by men like Thomas Jeff"erson 
and John Adams, and when his virtues and actions neither excited envy, nor 
alarmed ambition. 



"You shall have the letters you ask for, and you have my reason for giving 

them to the public. , . ,• ,, • ^ 

" It is not on the present occasion, requisite to mention the circumstances, 
which srave rise to the correspondence, further than. to state, that Mr. W.l ham 
Rush had made for me a bust of general .Tackson, and that meeting with an 
Italian, who was an expert worker in Plaister of Pans, he was employed to 
make some casts from the bust, and I took the liberty of sending them to 
different srentlemen, and public institutions; amongst the former were Mr. 
Jefferson and Mr. Adams; in every case, a due regard was paid to the teelings 
of those they were sent to, and the act was performed under the impression, 
that the present would receive a welcome. 

"That vou, and all, who are employed in rescuing character from calumny, 
may have' the satisfaction of seeing your labours crowned with success, is the 
earnest desire of 

" Your friend, 

, "JAMES RONALDSON." 



At a meeting of the committee of correspondence, July 25, 
1S2S, the following resolution was adopted: — 

Resolved, That the thanks of the committee be tendered to 
Mr. Ronaldson, for his prompt compliance with their request in 
relation to the letters of the late presidents Jefferson and Adams: 
that the letter addressed to Mr. Ronaldson, and his reply, be 
published: and that the letters of the late Presidents be published, 
with an appropriate address to the people. 



To " Mr. James Ronaldson, Philadelphia. 

"MoNTicELLo, Feb. 7, '20. 

«a thank you, dear sir, for the present of the bust of general 
Jackson: he holds a high place in my esteem, as an undeviating 
patriot, and a military character, who has deserved well ot his 
country. I shall give his bust a place in my mo.st honourable 
suite, with those of Washington, Franklin, Fayette, &c. Its 
value is moreover heightened, as from the hand of an artist, oi 
whom our country has a high and just estimation. 

"To the political part of your letter, I cannot answer; my 
health is so entirely gone, with little prospect of its return, that 
I am obliged to withdraw my attention from every thing beyond 
the walls of my chamber, and particularly from politics: I leave 
these to the generation now on the stage, who will, I am sure, 
govern as wisely as their predecessors: I iaeX safe under their wing, 
anda!)le now to contribute nothing but my prayers for my coun- 
try, which comprehends them, you, and every thing else dear to 



6 



me. Unable to write but with pain and difficulty, I must here 
conclude with my friendly and respectful salutations. 

"TH: JEFFERSON." 



To ^^ James Ronaldson, Esq. Philadelphia. 

"MoNTEZiLLO, February 23d, 1S20. 
" Sir:— 

"I have received your favour of the 16th, and lose not a mo- 
ment to acknowledge my obligations for it. I have been attentive 
to the actions and character of General Jackson, and have read 
the volume of his biography, and have no hesitation in giving 
my opinion, that he is one of the greatest military characters that 
North America has produced. No present of the kind could 
have been more acceptable to me, than a bust of this great man, 
to whom we are all so deeply indebted. It is the more pleasing 
as it is the work of Mr. Rush, a native American, and a name 
X'cry dear to me. I have not had time, as yet, to send for the 
precious monument, which I shall preserve with great care for 
the contemplation of my posterity. 

"I am, sir, with many tiianks, for your kindness, and polite- 
ness, your obliged friend, and humble servant, 

"JOHN ADAMS." 



TO THE PEOPLE 



FELLOW CITIZENS.— 

Although our own happiness is naturally the primary object 
of our solicitude, there are few of the American people, we 
presume, who are not anxious, that mankind at large should 
profit by our example, and become as free as ourselves. We 
may, indeed, under the influence of self-esteem, which is in- 
herent in nations as well as individuals, fix a higher estimate upon 
our condition than reason justifies; but we may be excused, if we 
regard our republic, in several respects, a model for other states, 
when we find it so designated by many great and enlightened per- 
sons in Europe, who have spoken or written upon the condition 
oi the new world. 

Raising ourselves, then, above the influences of unworthy 
passions, is it not our duty to act, seeing that we are objects of 
scrutiny and example, as if we were not merely under the eyes of 
men of the present day, but within the observation of posterity? 

If such is our position, and if such should be our duty, what a 
spectacle is at present presented in our republic ! Instead of che- 
rishing the purity, becoming infant institutions, we seem desir- 
ous to descend to the degradation of Athens and Rome, in the 
days of their decline! We behold a man, whom the whole peo- 
ple would go forth to see and honour, as a public benefactor, it' 
he were not a candidate for their suflrages, proscribed and tra- 
duced in every way, that the basest passions can devise— because 
a portion of his countrymen have resolved to confer upon him 
the highest mark of their gratitude and confidence ! 

Yes, if Andrew Jackson had not been called, by his country- 
men, upon the political stage, every one would apply to him the 
eulogium of the poet upon Cincinnatus — 

" Of old, the fai-mer left his field. 

Called by the voice of Rome; 
To be his country'^s g'uardian shield 

He left his rural home.; 
Her foes subdued, her wrongs redrest. 
No lust of power his soul possest. 

He cbose a g-iorious doom; 
Again he grasped the plough, and fame 
Still sheds a radiance o'er his name." 

But, when not only without the aid or privity, but against 
the wishes of those, who may be called trading politician!, the 



'.■■<f 



s 



voice of the yeomanry of the country calls upon him to leave hiP 
plough, and to receive civic honours at their hands, Andrew 
Jackson is denounced, as if he had intrigued and trafficked for a 
nomination; nay, as if he had betrayed his country, or sought to 
trample upon its liberties I 

Is this a spectacle, worthy of a free people, in an enlightened 
age? Is it not a signal, at the sight of which men should arouse, 
as if their liberties were assailed? Are they not, in fact, threat^ 
ened? If it shall be in the power of selfish and ambitious men, to 
proscribe and prostrate those, who have rendered the highest, 
services, who will be left to stem the torrent of corruption, which 
is at all times gathering to overwhelm public liberty? 

Let it not be supposed, that this proscribing spirit comes 
alone, or that it is peculiar to the present day: it is the same 
monster that deprived Socrates of life and Aristides of his coun- 
try ; it is the same spirit, which, actuating the patricians ot Kome, 
paved the way for its partition between a Caesar, an Antony and 
a Lepidus; it is the same spirit, which, thirty years ago, sought 
to blast the fame of Franklin, aijd to wrest from Jefferson the 
gratitude of his country! , p, -^ 

Franklin, alike the glory of this nation and of humanity, was 
persecuted, not only during the revolution, but long after the en- 
oyment of those liberties, which he had so powerfully laboured 
to establish; even when death had closed his splendid career, ca^ 
lumny dared to assail his fame with the Aveapons of ridicule; and 
Mr. Benjamin Russel, of Boston, who was then, and is now 
ao-ain, ''printer by authority," and who of course is a slanderer 
•jf Jackson, excused such atrocities in this language—" It dead 
villains," said he, " were spared by historians and biographers, 
where would be the lessons of instruction, which we get from the 
records of former times."* ., . j i 

Jefferson, too, was denounced by every epithet, and accused 
of almost every crime, that can degrade a liuman being—as a 
traitor to his country, and a pensioner of France ; as a violator 
of the most sacred private obligations, and an open contemner 
of all the decencies of private life: nay, to such an extent did 
the snirit of proscription prevail, that there is no calamity that can 
befal'a people, which was not blasphemously imprecated upon tfie 
republic, if it should place him in the presidential chair? 

If the enemies of human liberty shall quote such abuses as 
these, as proofs of imperfection in our institutions, or ^g"^;^;";;^ 
iu tlie people, the reply is as obvious as it is emphatic: the con- 
^ .* ,■ T?i 1.1:.- ,.„.! T^ffi.,.cr>r, o-v-f-lfiim. "True, indeed. 



Miiporarics of Franklin and Jefferson exclaim, "True, in( 
» See Boston Sentinel. Sept. 20, 1798. 



IS, that ignorance is the nurse of calumny; and true it is, that, 
thirty years ago, the people were not all equally well informed; 
but, behold the fate of Franklin and of Jefferson, and see in it 
the proud evidence of the virtue, as well as of the intelligence, 
of the American people! Where, now, are their revilers? What 
history or biography transmits the record of their libels? Far 
from being degraded in the eyes of their countrymen, or of the 
world, the fame of the republic itself is preserved in purity, by 
the honours conferred upon Franklin and Jefferson in life, and 
which await them from an admiring posterity?" 

Such is the picture of the past ; it is for the freemen of the 
present day to fill up their own portrait. If such a reply is 
worthy of an enlightened people ; if it is honourable to the 
American character, that slander has not yet blasted the 
wreaths of civic virtue or military renown, in this repub- 
lic; if the discomfiture of calumny is a prognostic of politi- 
cal health and durability; the day approaches, when the virtue 
and intelligence of the people are again to be tested: the same 
atrocious proscription, which was directed against Jefferson, is 
now employed to rob Jackson of his country's gratitude and 
honours: the same maledictions, which were impiously invoked 
as a punishment, if the people elected Jefferson, are now as sliame- 
fully pronounced as preferable to the election of Jackson: but it 
was a signal proof of the devotion and courage of the people, to 
fcrust in the mercy of Providence and the exercise of their own- 
virtue; and it was a high mark of Providential approbation, thai 
the election of Jefferson opened to the republic its happiest days. 
Do we seek such a triumph now? If we do, it is at our disposal! 

Who, at the present day, believes the slanders upon Jeflerson? 
Yet those slanders were as boldly uttered, and as laboriously 
vouched, as any that are now circulated against Jackson: who, 
in 1818, four years after he late war, said or surmised that Jack- 
son was unworthy of honour or gratitude? wherever he went, 
he was then hailed with shouts of joy, and by all parties caressed 
as a patriot, who had added largely to his country's reputation; 
u'.it, as soon as his countrymen evinced a desire to give him a 
distinctive mark orgratitude — as soon as his laurels cast a shade 
upon the pretensions of men, who had intrigued and trafficked, 
and who had already in fancy the jjresidency in their grasp — the 
vials of wrath were emptied upon him, with an unsparing hand: 
and he, who, if not a candidate, would have passed through life 
with undisputed fame, is assailed with every weapon that envy 
and malice can wield, because he is emphatically the candidate 
of the people, and not llie creature of a factioUj or coalition of 
fictions! 



5? 



10 

Is it not so? Can any man of truth deny the fairness of tins' 
representation? 

Who, indeed, thirty years hence, will credit the tales now told 
Qf Jackson, any more than we now believe the falshoods, told 
thirty years ago, of Jefferson? Who will, then, believe, that the 
man, who never wore a sword except when his country was as- 
sailed, or held it longer than it was necessary for its defence, 
would draw it to enslave his countrymen? Who will, tJien, be- 
lieve, that the people of the present age were so debased as to 
make military usurpation possible? Who will, then, believe^ 
that he, who encountered death in every shape, to protect the de- 
fenceless widow and orphan, matron and maid, sought to sacri- 
fice human beings wantonly? Who will, Men, believe, that Jack- 
son, whom all the presidents of the republic, Washington, 
Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and John Q. Adams, had 
honoured with confidence or applause, as a patriot, and a great 
man, w^as a mere " military chieftain?" Who will, then, believe 
that Jackson had no talents or civil qualifications, when it is 
known that he held and was offered high civil trusts, under 
W'ashington, Madison and Monroe, with the full concurrence, 
in the last instance, of John Q. Adams himself? Who will, then^ 
believe, that Andrew Jackson was a man governed by passioji, 
and anxious for commotion, when it is known, that, when his 
election was defeated by a cabal, February 9, 1S25, a moment 
at which the best men would naturally feel, if not utter, indig- 
nation, Andrew Jackson besought his friends to abstain from 
any manifestation of feeling for him, or discontent at what was 
done? Who, in 1858, will look back upon the incorruptible in- 
tegrity and magnanimity of Andrew Jackson, during the events 
of the winter of 1S24 — 5, without avowing, that he then gather- 
ed a wreath of glory, which will bloom and flourish, even after 
the laurels won upon the plain qf Orleans shall cease to dazzle 
or adorn? 

If, then, fellow citizens, such will be the sentiments of our 
successors, thirty years hence, as to Andrew Jackson, is there 
no solicitude amongst us, as to their sentence upon ourselves? 
Shall we emulate the virtue of our predecessors, as to Jefferson, 
or basely consent that Jackson shall be the first victim of a heart- 
less proscription? Shall the people, who asked him to be their 
candidate, and made him a mark for every rufRan hand to strike 
at, slumber when he is assailed ? Are we willing to tell the 
world, that like the Athenians in their ingratitude to the victor 
of Marathon, we have lost all sense of national obligation and 
personal feeling? 

Do not suppose that we doubt your virtue, or undei'-rate your 



11 

intelligence; let it not be thought, that we apprehend discom- 
fiture: no! you have expressed your sense of the bargains of 
1825, in tones not loud but deep; you have stript the party of 
Mr. Adams, of all the powers, which time and the constitution 
enabled you to take away; you have presented to the world an 
administration at variance with yourselves and the councils of 
tlie republic; you have chastised at the polls the blow aimed at 
your liberties in the capitol; and you will reduce the slanderers 
of Jackson, to the doom which befel the traducers of Jetferson! 

But, it is not enough, that this should be done; the purity of 
our institutions, reverence for their founders, tenderness for our 
descendants, and our own honour and pride, all demand, that the 
example should be signal: else, what must be our shame and our 
fate ! If we barely frighten the vampyre from one victim, it will 
seek, and glut itself with the blood of others; one ferocious fac- 
tion will succeed another, sacrificing, as in Rome, the most pub- 
lic-spirited citizens, and leaving to the people the mere dregs of 
liberty ! 

We have told you, fellow citizens, that Andrew Jackson had 
received the confidence of Washington, Madison and Monroe, 
and the applause and encomiums of Jefferson and the elder Mr. 
Adams: it must also, be known to you, that the present presi- 
dent himself, when secretary of state, was the able and success- 
ful defender of Andrew Jackson, against all the accusations, in 
relation to the Seminole war and the occupation of Florida, 
which are now revived by Mr. Adams' partizans; nay, even af- 
ter Mr. J. Q. Adams was chosen president, and of course fore- 
saw another struggle with general Jackson, he extolled him — 
not, fellow citizens, as a mere soldier, but as a man " of wiiose 
worthy talents, and services, no one entertained a higher or 
Hiore respectful sense, than" Mr. Adams himself — as a man 
" whose name was closely associated with the glory of his coun- 
try." Great encomiums, indeed, pronounced by a rival, and 
strongly contrasted with the calumnious aspersions now flung at 
general Jackson by Mr. Adams' partisans ! encomiums, which 
we could gladly attribute to a generous and noble spirit, did we 
not know that present proscription is guided by the intimate 
associates of Mr. Adams himself. 

We will not now, however, contrast the deliberate declarations 
of Mr. J. Q. Adams with the intemperate language of his parti- 
zans, in relation to the character and conduct of General Jackson; 
at another moment we shall execute that duty: but we now lay 
before you the dispassionate opinions of the late presidents Tho- 
mas Jefferson and John Adams, expressed when the conduct and 
capacity of general Jackson were the objects of their scrutiny as 
well as of public fame. 



A- 



12 



As to the sentiments of Thomas Jefferson, respecting general 
Jackson, they have been long known to his countrymen: Mr. 
Jefferson considered him the most fit person to be put J" nomi- 
nation by the republican party, after the restoration of the dy- 
nasty of 1798: he declared '' General Jackson is a clear-headed, 
strong-minded man, and has more of the Roman in him than any 
man now living:" in the letter which we now lay before you, 
he calls general Jackson "an undeviating patriot' as well as 
a <'high military character," holding a high place in his esteem, 
with Washington, Franklin, Fayette, &c. 

To the letter of Mr. John Adams, however, as the sentiments 
of that gentleman are now for the first time made known to the 
people, we ask particular regard: Mr. Adams says not only that 
he had read the biography of general Jackson, but that he had 
been "attentive to his actions and character;" that he consider- 
ed him " one of the greatest military characters that ^ortli Ame- 
rica h^'d produced ;" that « no present of the kind could be more 
acceptable, than the bust of this GREAT MAN, to whom we 
Ire^all so deeply indebted;" and that he would " preserve the 

FRECIOtJS MONUMENT with CarO, FOR THE CONTEMPLATION OF 
HIS POSTERITY." , ,. i ^„ ^f +V,o 

.Such, fellow-citizens, is the emphatic language of the 
father of the present president: could any eulogium be more 
honourable? Could Mr. Adams have had any "^^tive to pronounce 
such an encomium, but his own regard for meri? Would M^^^ 
.\dams have pronounced it unless he considered t^^ applause 
fully deserved? Was he not a man, ^vho rarely eulogized, and 
wh J closely scanned the acts and motives of public characters? 

Such are the portraits of Gen. J^^:!^^"' ^^^^^^^^".'^.^^^ 

were drawn from the life, with the pencil of truth by the t,;M> 
distinguished individuals, who, although long separated on earth, 
soon after departed in company to heaven . 

Contemplate those portraits closely; compare them w Jh 

the vile caricatures, which a consciousness of their own deprajity 
enables so many to paint in colours characteristic only ot them^ 
selves; and say, whether the reputation of ^be^epub c n t^^, 

eyes of the world, does not demand a f^S"^l/^"^""f.f X/ 
vour sense of the beautv of the one, and the infamy of the other. 

Joseph Worrell, 



Wm. Duncan, 
Wm. Boyd, 

SPP ?^. i^.;'^ Henry Toland, 

John VVurts, 
Wm. J. DuANE, 
Wm. J. Leiper, 
Ch. S. Coxe, 

My 26, 182? 'l^H- M. PF.TTIT. 



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