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Book, /^ 3/ 





Copyright. 1902, by the Colonial Press. Newtork 


From . portrait by G. P. A. Healy, commissioned by Louis Philippe to paint it with the portraits, 
other Americans for the palace at Versailles. It was executed a few weeks before 
Jackson died and was considered a good likeness 






Professor of History in Smith College 


«//■ you would preserve your reputation, or that of 
the state over which you preside, you must take 
a straightforward determined course; regardless of the 
applause or censure of the populace, and of the fore- 
bodings of that dastardly and designing crew who, 
at a time like this, may be expected to clamor 
continually in your ears^-Jackson to Governor 
Blount, 1813. 

Garden City New York 



'^i,.' z 






Volume II 


XIX. The Campaign Against John Quincy Adams. . 375 

XX. Cabinet-making and the Inauguration . . . 408 

XXI. Jackson's Appointments to Office . . . . 437 

XXII. "The Eaton Malaria" ^58 

XXIII. Checking the Desire for Internal Improvements 475 

XXIV. Calhoun's Isolation Completed 497 

XV. The Cabinet Dissolved 520 

XXVI. Jackson and Nullification 545 

XXVII. ^TEe United States Bank— Beginning the Fight 

for Re-charter 584 

XXVIII. The Attempt to Re-charter the Bank . . . 610 
XXIX. The Bank of the United States— The Deposits 

Removed . , 631 

XXX. American Diplomacy Under Jackson . . . 656 

XXXI. Minor Problems of the Two Administrations . 684 

XXXII. Personal Characteristics 700 

XXXIII. Closing Years 722 

Index 753 





Andrew Jackson in 1845. From a portrait by 

G. P. A. Healy Frontispiece 


Andrew Jackson. From a portrait by D. M. Carter . 476 

Andrew Jackson in 1835. From a painting by Major 

R. E. W. Earl 676 

Andrew Jackson in 1845. From a daguerreotype by 

Dan. Adams, of Nashville 746 




Adams's administration is interesting because in it were 
organized two new political parties and because it saw the 
progress of the long and unhappy war on Adams and Clay. 
The political situation was rather chaotic, and methods 
of opposition were uncouth and violent; but it was the 
seed-time of democracy, and it opened a new phase of American 

National poHtics in 1824 were personal. After 18 15, the re- 
publican party began to ignore the principles on which Jefferson 
founded it and to follow expediency. It established a national 
bank five years after it declared such an institution unconstitu- 
tional, it adopted Hamilton's theory of a protective tariff, and 
it favored roads and canals at national expense and passed two 
bills to that effect, which were vetoed by Madison and Monroe, 
two statesmen who still clung to the politics of Jefferson. Men 
who believed in, and others who opposed, these divergent poli- 
cies were all accepted as republicans. A party which embraces 
such dissimilar groups can hardly have any other principle than 
the desire for success. 

Another peculiarity of the situation was that neither of the 
five leading candidates for the presidency, all recognized repub- 
licans, stood distinctly for any one pohcy. It is true that Craw- 
ford, special heir of Virginia influence, was considered a champion 
of state rights, but there were so many republicans of avowed 
national tendency that he dared not speak loudly for his doc- 
trines. In the same way was the freedom of the others limited, 



of Calhoun, who stood for internal improvements, of Clay, who 
advocated the tariff, and of Adams, who leaned to strong govern- 
ment generally. Jackson alone was not associated in the public 
mind with any particular policy — neither his length of service 
nor his political aptitude gave him the opportunity — but, his 
supporters, who favored him on personal grounds, were of such 
varied views that he dared not speak emphatically on any im- 
portant subject. Personality was the principal basis of the 
canvass, and in such a canvass, it was natural that there should 
be much overpraising and much abuse. 

The new parties were personal. They were a Jackson party 
and an anti- Jackson party. After a time, Jackson's bold meas- 
ures, which he justified by principles, aroused protests from per- 
sons who believed in opposite principles. Thus personality was 
merged with theory, and parties again became groups of persons 
who desired the same measures. 

The anti- Jackson men were composed chiefly of the supporters 
of Adams and Clay. While the first of the two was not popular 
in New England, he was trusted as a representative of Eastern 
interests, and Jackson, the frontiersman, was distrusted as a 
representative of ideas foreign to the older states. Clay's logical 
support was in the West, but he had just taken a dangerous 
liberty with it. No one could doubt that this section would 
prefer Jackson to Adams in a clear contest between the two men. 
Yet Clay defied the sentiment, in some respects in the face of 
positive expressions of it, aiiJ by entering the cabinet made 
plausible the charges that he acted for his own gain and that he 
cared not for the will of the people. These charges, it is true, 
counted for little with men who admired Adams and his secre- 
tary of state ; but they were accepted by the great mass of people, 
very numerous in the West, who thought originally that Jackson 
would make a better President than Adams. How little he 
added to the combination with which he threw in his fortunes is 


shown by the fact that in the election of 1828 Adams received 
not one Western electoral vote. 

The Jackson party, when fully developed, embraced its own 
followers and most of those of Calhoun, Crawford, and Clinton, 
the last not very numerous, but important in New York. Early 
in 1825, the Crawford forces had not joined it, although in 
certain matters — as in the opposition to Clay's nomination — 
some of them acted with it. 

"The Jackson men being in the field, " wrote Van Buren from 
Washington, on December 25th^ ''are of course looking out for 
the weak points in the enemies' lines and are ready for the assault 
where opportunity offers. We of the Crawford school lay 
upon our oars and will not Hghtly commit ourselves except in 
defense of old principles." ' The shrewd New Yorker was only 
hesitating through a sense of dignity. He could have no ob- 
jection to an alliance with a promising Jackson faction. A 
year earlier, August 26, 1824, he was proposing a union between 
Clay and Crawford, the former to be vice-president. This, he 
then said, would lay the foundation of a grand republican party 
with which he would be happy to cooperate permanently, 
and it would be easy to see that the condition of Crawford's 
health would give the vice-presidency under him a peculiar value.' 
The scheme failed and the grand republican party was left to be 
formed by other means. In the spring of 1826, Crawford was 
entirely eliminated from national politics and Van Buren was 
acting with the Jackson leaders in the plans which were laid 
against Adams. He admits he had then determined to cast his 
lot with a man from Tennessee.* He carried most of his faction 
with him, but it was a bitter pill for the Virginians, long the 
political arbiters of the country, to follow the leadership of the 
Western statesmen. From 1789, until the triumph of Jackson, 

'Van Buren to Butler, December 25, 1825. Van Buren Mss. 

2Van Buren to Benjamin Ruggles, August 26, 1824, Van Buren Mss. 

'Van Buren, Autobiography, I., go. Van Buren Mss. 


with the exception of two years under Madison, there was always 
a Virginian in the cabinet: from that triumph until the adminis- 
tration of Tyler, there was not another in that body. 

In 1825 the Jackson and Calhoun wings of the party were 
quite distinct. With the latter were most of the experienced 
politicians of the party. Calhoun, college bred, socially prom- 
inent, and long experienced in high office, was looked upon by 
many as the redeeming force in the crude group. He was 
supported by the capable Pennsylvania leaders in the party 
and the Jackson men themselves realized his strong position 
within the organization. But they did not reHsh the confidence 
with which some of his lieutenants viewed his prospects. It was 
through his efforts that General Duff Green was made editor 
of the party organ, T/je Daily Telegraph, published at Washington. 
Green was more careful of the interests of his patron than of 
the party, and as time passed his policy irritated the leaders 
of the other wing. In that group the Tennessee senators, White 
and Eaton, were most prominent. They were not able to cope 
with the men of the Calhoun wing, either through intellect or 
political capacity. It seemed to them unequal that the par- 
ticular followers of Jackson, whose popularity was the basis 
of the party's hopes, should be overtopped by the Calhoimites, 
who for their ambition were grafted on the organization. All 
this they felt, but in the presence of party perils they considered 
it wise to subordinate their feelings. Outwardly, therefore, all 
was serene, but when success should remove the pressure of a 
common danger, serious dissensions were likely to appear. 

Crawford hated Calhoun cordially and charged him, for nation- 
alistic views, with treason to republicanism. Van Buren in- 
herited this dislike, and that was enough to induce him to side 
with the Tennessee faction in the new party. But his interests 
also drew him in the same direction. There had been an heir 
presumptive since 1800, Madison to Jefferson, Monroe to Mad- 


ison, and Crawford to Monroe; it had become a normal phase of 
American politics, a position to be fought for; and the sagacious 
Van Buren saw an opportunity to win it through the support of 
Jackson and those members of his party who were most closely 
associated with him. Nor was his accession unwelcome to the 
Tennessee faction. They found him a valuable ally in resisting 
the threatened predominance of Calhoun, and his social position 
was a blessing to a party which was sensitive under the criti- 
cisms of the rather supercillious society of the capital. In 
these unannounced dissensions was the foundation of a bitter 
future conflict. 

The position of Jackson in the coming campaign was a quiet 
one. Returning from Washington in March, he was received 
with ovations by his supporters in Pennsylvania and along the 
Ohio. He spoke freely about recent events and openly charged 
Clay with purchasing a cabinet position by making a President. 
In Nashville, he was given a great dinner at which many toasts 
were made in his praise. He then retired to the "Hermitage" 
and passed the days in dignified ease, as became one who believed 
in the theory, then generally esteemed, that a good patriot should 
never seek and never decline office. The managers in Washing- 
ton charged themselves with the burden of consolidating the 
various interests which could be brought to his support. He 
was made to see that he could not aid them by remaining in the 
public view, and the faithful Lewis was placed at his side to act 
at once as a restraining force on his impulsive temper, and as a 
convenient intermediary between him and the Washington manip- 

But Jackson was not a tool of his subordinates. They knew 
how strong was his will and were most cautious in trying to in- 
fluence it. Ordinarily he was a cool and shrewd politician, and 
his course was not as much shaped by impulse as we are apt to 
think from the occasional outbursts, which the picturesque school 



of historians have often described. He was a man of the 
people, sharing their opinions of government, their suspicions and 
their credulity; and on most questions he knew how the people 
would feel. His absolute courage made him willing to appeal 
to the voters over the heads of the politicians on some of the most 
important matters of his time. He left much to his managers, 
but he usually understood their plans, and never interfered 
capriciously. In the most serious affairs, he took charge of the 
situation with the confidence of an autocrat, and in every case 
with success. Such a man could not be a mere figure-head, how- 
ever much of the ordinary direction of affairs he may have sur- 
rendered to others. 

When he was defeated in 1825, it was generally understood 
that Jackson would be a candidate in the next campaign. It was 
no surprise, therefore, when in the following October the Ten- 
nessee legislature again recommended him to the people as a 
candidate for the presidency. A few days later, he appeared 
before that body to resign his seat in the senate. Inclination, 
he said, prompted him to retire to private life and the recent 
action of the assembly seemed to make such a step proper. To 
this simple announcement he added a poHtical appeal. He en- 
dorsed a constitutional amendment then being discussed before 
the public to limit the President to one term of four or six years, 
and he suggested another amendment by which a member of 
congress should not be appointed to an administrative office 
during the term for which he was elected and for three years 
thereafter. The language in which he supported the suggestion 
is strong and apparently sincere. In view of his later appoint- 
ments, it is worth quoting : 

The effect of such a constitutional provision is obvious. 
By it Congress, in a considerable degree, would be free from that 
connection with the executive department which, at present, 
gives strong ground of apprehension and jealousy on the part of 


the people. Members, instead of being liable to be withdrawn 
from legislating on the great interests of the nation, through 
prospects of the executive patronage, would be more liberally 
confided in by their constituents; while their vigilance would 
be less interrupted by party feeHngs and party excitements. 
Calculations, from intrigue or management, would fail; nor 
would their deliberations or their investigations of subjects 
consume so much time. The morals of the country would be 
improved, and virtue, uniting with the labors of the Representa- 
tives, and with the official ministers of the law, would tend to 
perpetuate the honor and glory of the government. But if 
this change in the constitution should not be obtained, and im- 
portant appointments continue to devolve on the Representatives 
in Congress, it requires no depth of thought to be convinced, 
that corruption will become the order of the day, and that under 
the garb of conscientious sacrifices to estabHsh precedents for 
the public good, evils of serious importance to freedom and 
prosperity of the republic may arise.' 

Here was evidently an allusion to Adams's appointment of 
Clay to a cabinet position; but in Jackson's first cabinet five 
of the six members were taken from congress. 

When congress met in December, it was known that Adams 
would be opposed at every possible point. The Jackson-Cal- 
houn men were alert and not very scrupulous. They had their 
first opportunity in the President's annual message, which was, 
indeed, an unfortunate utterance. Jefferson advocated the 
smallest sphere of governmental activity compatible with the 
public welfare. Adams desired a generous policy of govern- 
mental supervision, the spirit of which was certainly non- 
Jeffersonian. Just at this time public men were disputing over 
the power of congress to construct roads, canals, light-houses, 
and harbors; but here was an academic argument for a general 
system of public improvements. "The great object," the mes- 
sage said, *'of the institution of civil government is the improve- 

>Niles, Register, XXIX, 137. 


ment of the condition of those who are parties to the social com- 
pact. " This could be partly obtained through roads and canals, 
"but moral, political, and intellectual improvement are duties 
assigned by the Author of our Existence to social, no less than 
to individual man. " To be more specific, the government should 
maintain a national university, geographical and astronomical 
observatories, and explorations of coasts, rivers, and interior 
plains. In his enthusiasm he declared: "It is with no feeling 
of pride as an American that the remark may be made that on 
the comparatively small terrestrial surface of Europe, there are 
existing upward of one hundred and thirty of these light-houses 
of the skies, while throughout the whole American hemisphere 
there is not one." The closing sentence was most unwise; 
"While foreign nations, less blessed with that freedom which is 
power than ourselves, are advancing with gigantic strides in the 
career of public improvement, are we to slumber in indolence or 
fold up our arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied 
by the will of our constituents? Would it not be to cast away 
the bounties of Providence and doom ourselves to perpetual 

This message must have emanated solely from the author's 
faculty of theorizing, since it is impossible to see how he could 
have justified it on any ground of policy then plausible. Those 
who favored internal improvements were committed to Calhoun, 
and in the Jackson combination, the Crawford faction, which 
still held out, was sure to take fright at doctrines so like the old 
federalist arguments of 1800, and the repudiation of strict ac- 
countability to constituents was entirely opposite to the trend of 
the times. All these points were quickly seized by the opposition, 
and the country rang with jeers and denunciation. The ex- 
pression, "light-houses in the skies," was particularly unfor- 
tunate: it was too much like "castles in the air." As might 

'Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 3H-317. 


have been expected, Virginia, the home of old republicanism, 
was particularly offended. Ritchie, editor of the Richmond 
Enquirer, long the exponent of that school, opened fiercely on 
the administration, publishing its indignation in a series of 
articles by W. B. Giles, a bold defender of radical state rights 
theories.* In congress another Virginian, no less a personage 
than John Randolph of Roanoke, opened the vials of his wrath, 
denouncing the union of Adams and Clay in the well-known 
words, "the coalition of Blifil and Black George — the combina- 
tion, unheard of till then, of the Puritan and Blackleg. " Thus the 
Crawfordites were led to cooperate with the Jackson- Calhoun 
combination ; and this threatened a general Southern and Western 
movement against the occupant of the President's mansion. 

Along with this statement of Adams's loose construction view 
came notice of the proposed Panama Congress. This was a 
meeting of delegates from South and Central American states 
at the IsthmuSj to which the United States in the preceding 
spring was invited to send delegates. Clay favored the scheme 
from the first; but the President, more cautious in diplomacy, 
deferred action until he was informed more definitely of the 
subjects to be considered. It was not until November that 
they were submitted by the South Americans. There was not 
entire unanimity in the propositions of the various states, but 
it was evident that the republics of the South desired to have a 
league with our government, by which the attempt of any Euro- 
pean power to interfere in American affairs should be resisted. 
The league was to have a biennial congress, to be governed by 
a majority of its members in time of war, and have authority to 
apportion the contribution of each state in troops and money. 
Adams justly realized that we should sufi"er in such a partner- 
ship, and, while he appointed commissioners, he instructed them 
to assent to nothing, till it was submitted to our congress. 

*Adams, Memoirs, VII., 104. 


The cause of South America was ever popular in the United 
States. Clay's championship of it in Monroe's administration 
was one of his most popular actions. The Monroe Doctrine, 
with which Adams was largely concerned, was received with 
satisfaction by the people. This last step in the same direction, 
for which it was thought Clay was chiefly responsible, created 
alarm among his opponents. They feared that it would be 
popular because it stood for liberty and because it was aimed 
at the Holy Alliance, which American opinion held in special 
horror. They also saw in it, says Van Buren, something that 
would draw attention from the bargain and corruption cry, and 
by uniting Clay and Adams in a popular undertaking serve to 
justify their association in the government.' They resolved to 
attack the mission as vigorously as possible. In doing so it 
served their purpose to describe the project, not as Adams had 
Hmited it in his instructions to the commissioners, but as it was 
designed by the South Americans, as a plan to found a permanent 
league. The construction was unfair, but it was not designed 
for a very discriminating audience. For some time the man- 
agers debated whether the mission should be opposed in the 
senate, on the confirmation of the commissioners whom Adams 
had nominated, or in the house on the necessary vote of money 
for expenses. It was finally decided to make the fight in the 
senate, since there the Jackson forces had their best speakers.' 
The discussion was prolonged as much as possible to enable 
public opinion to form itself; but in the end the senate sustained 
the President by a vote of twenty-four to nineteen. The fight 
was renewed in the house on the appropriation of money, but 
it was there lost by a majority of one hundred and thirty-four 
to sixty. The most important result for the young Jackson 
party was that it gave an opportunity to perfect its new organi- 

>Van Buren, Autobiography, I. 93. 
*Ibid, 94- 


zation; and it was significant that in the senate Van Buren took 
prominent part against confirmation. 

The opposition also brought slavery into the discussion, with 
eyes shrewdly cast toward the effect on the South. It was then 
feared that France or England might get possession of Cuba and 
Porto Rico, and the proposed congress would likely desire to 
fit out an expedition to make them free of Spain. This would 
involve the liberation of the slaves there, as in the other revolu- 
tionized Spanish colonies. The congress would also discuss 
the suppression of the slave-trade, and the recognition of the 
independence of Hayti, both measures distasteful to the South. 
Should the government lend its influence to a movement which 
had it in so great a menace for the South? It was ever easy to 
arouse Southern voters on this question, and Hayne's fiery 
rhetoric was sagaciously expended in a speech, a characteristic 
part of which was as follows: 

With nothing connected with slavery can we consent to 
treat with other nations, and, least of all, ought we to touch the 
question of the independence of Hayti in conjunction with 
revolutionary governments, v/hose own history affords an ex- 
ample scarcely less fatal to our repose. These governments 
have proclaimed the principles of liberty andequahty; and have 
marched to victory under the banner of universal emancipation. 
You find men of color at the head of their armies, in their legis- 
lative halls, and in their executive departments. . , . Our 
policy, with regard to Hayti, is plain. Other states will do as 
they please — but let us take the high ground that these questions 
belong to a class which the peace and safety of a large portion of 
our union forbids us even to discuss. Let our government 
direct all our ministers in South America and Mexico to protest 
against the independence of Hayti. But let us not go into 
council on the slave-trade and Hayti/ 

On this phase of the opposition, South Carolina, Georgia, and 
Tennessee stood side by side with all the rest of the South. 

Congressional Debates, i82S>6, Vol.II., Part I, i66. 


This debate drew Calhoun, presiding over the senate, into 
its vortex. When the abuse of the President began, he was 
asked to rule out of order such attacks on a high officer of the 
government. He declined to do so on the ground that the senate 
had no rule on the subject and that he, as servant of that house, 
had not the authority to make one. He was probably techni- 
cally correct, but it was believed that partisanship and an un- 
willingness to offend the Jackson party by seeming to repudiate 
them, helped him to realize the nature of the technicality. The 
incident led to a heated correspondence in the newspapers. He 
was attacked by a writer signing himself "Patrick Henry," who 
was reported to be Adams himself, and defended by one caUing 
himself "Onslow," who was Calhoun.' It was not agreeable 
to see the two highest officers of the government wrangling thus 
in the press; and it shows how far the vice-president had become 
actively enlisted in the attack on the administration. 

The debate on the Panama Mission was drawn out until late 
in April, 1826; and although" the delegates were despatched, it 
was too late for the congress, which adjourned after a short 
session without accomplishing anything. During the winter 
and spring the "Friends of Jackson," as the party called itself, 
made several minor moves against the President and his secre- 
tary of state. Amendments to the constitution were demanded 
prohibiting the appointment of congressmen to office, forbidding 
the reelection of a President, and defining the powers of congress 
in regard to internal improvements so that state rights should 
not be imperiled. Resolutions were offered asking the President 
to report how many members of congress had been appointed 
to office by the Presidents since the adoption of the constitution. 
These attempts to involve Adams in the error of abusing the 
patronage seem absurd, coming from the party which was des- 
tined to go to the greatest extremes in the same direction. In 

'Hunt, Life of Calhoun, $8. The "Onslow" numbers are in Calhoun, Works, VI., 3aa-348. 


fact, Adams was trying, much to his political damage, to resist 
the current, which then ran strongly for political appointments. 

"Patronage," as then used, meant the expenditure of public 
money which brought benefits to a certain part of the voters. 
Benton uses the term to indicate all the national expenses except 
the public debt.' He speaks of "executive patronage," meaning 
political emoluments, as appointments and the public printing. 
He probably would have called appropriations for canals and 
roads some other kind of patronage. With the growth of the 
revenue came an enlargement of executive patronage, and in a 
system of appointments, which had no other test of merit than 
the judgment of the appointer, inefficient men came into oflice 
and political appointments were numerous. As long as there 
was no opposition party this made little difference, but with the 
organization of the Jackson group to embarrass Adams it was 
natural that the evils of the system should be saddled on him. 
Old republicans, country gentlemen, and many others believed 
that the tendency was dangerous; and the Jackson managers 
deemed it politically worth while to attack it. The appoint- 
ment of Clay seemed in a striking manner to give opportunity 
to connect the administrations with the evil. 

Macon was selected to bring the matter up in congress. At 
his suggestion a committee was appointed to bring in a report on 
the reform of executive patronage. May, 1&26, Benton for the 
committee reported six bills and a long argument for reform. 
The bills dealt with the public printing, officers who handled the 
revenue, postmasters, cadets, and midshipmen, and provided 
that military and naval officers should not be dismissed from the 
service at the will of the President. The argument of the report 
was so sound that it has in later days been cited by civil service 
reformers as a landmark in the progress of their cause; but to 

>Benton, Thirty Years' View, I.,.8i. 


apply it to Adams was absurd. How skilfully they attacked 
him is shown in the following extract: 

The King of England is the "fountain of honor": the President 
of the United States is the source of patronage. He presides 
over the entire system of Federal appointments, jobs, and con- 
tracts. He has ''power" over the "support" of the individuals 
who administer the system. He makes and unmakes them. 
He chooses from the circles of his friends and supporters, and 
may dismiss them, and upon all the principles of human action, 
will dismiss them, as often as they disappoint his expectations. 
His spirit will animate their actions in all the elections to State 
and Federal ofhces. There may be exceptions, but the truth 
of a general rule is proved by the excepticn.' 

The condition here described was a possibility, it was even a 
tendency of the day, but it is certain that Adams did all he could 
to resist it. The imputation that he did otherwise was a political 
ruse de guerre, unworthy of those who used it, but liable to be 
used by their opponents if opportunity offered. It also described 
exactly the condition the patronage was going to assume under 
Jackson triumphant. 

A week later, Eenton called up the bills and asked that Macon, 
who had long interested himself in the subject, be heard in their 
defense. But that gentleman announced that he was too ill 
at that time to assume the task and moved that the matter be 
laid on the table. It was not again taken up, v/hich was prob- 
ably as far as it was meant to carry it from the beginning. Ten 
days later congress adjourned, and the "Friends of Jackson" 
returned to their constituents. Another election was on hand, 
the issue of which justified aU their hopes: both houses of con- 
gress passed into their control, and the result in 1828 seemed 
assured. They took courage and prepared for battle. 

Kongressional Debates, 1825-61 Vol. II., Part I., 672, 707; Part II., Appendix, 133, 136. 


These charges against the administration seem rasping enough 
from the turbulent Benton, but they are especially unpleasant 
from the experienced and cultivated Calhoun. "It must be 
determined in the next three years," he wrote to Jackson, 
"whether the real governing principle in our system is to be the 
power and patronage of the Executive, or the voice of the people. 
For it is scarcely to be doubted that a scheme has been formed 
to perpetuate power in the present hands, in spite of the free 
and unbiased sentiment of the country; and, to express it more 
correctly, those now in power act on a scheme resting on the 
supposition, that such is the force of the Executive influence, 
that they, who wield it, can mould the public voice at pleasure, 
by an artful management of patronage.'" Could Calhoun have 
believed his words, or did his desire to flatter the impulsive Jack- 
son run away with his discretion? 

The question of patronage being thus presented to the pubHc, 
the managers turned to the bargain between Adams and Clay, 
chiefly with the purpose of breaking down Clay. All Jackson's 
utterances in this affair indicate his sincere belief in the charge. 
He was convinced that Buchanan in approaching him came with 
authority from Clay. But his managers were not so ingenuous. 
In October, 1826, Duff Green knew from Buchanan himself 
that the charge could not be substantiated, and yet he used it 
with the greatest assurance. "I had no authority," said the 
man from Pennsylvania, "from Mr. Clay or his friends to pro- 
pose any terms to General Jackson, in relation to their votes, 
nor did I make any such proposition. ... I am clearly of 
opinion that whoever shall attempt to prove by direct evidence 

any corrupt bargain between Mr. C and Mr. A will 

fail.'" For all this. Duff Green and his colleagues made the 
cry do their service. 

'Calhoun to Jackson, June 4, i8i6, Jackson Mss. 
»Bucbanan, Writings (Moore, Editor), I., 2x8. 


In the spring of 1825, Jackson, in his correspondence and his 
private conversation, spoke freely his beHef in Clay's compHcity 
in the affair. He said he would have been elected had the will 
of the people not been thwarted by this "Judas of the West." 
There is no reason to believe he did not speak as freely during 
the following two years to persons with whom he was thrown, 
but no such conversation was reported in the press, possibly be- 
cause nothing was to be gained by it. But in March, 1827, an 
unsigned letter appeared in the Fayetteville, N. C, Observer, 
reporting a conversation at the "Hermitage," in which Jackson 
repeated explicitly the story that Clay's friends proposed to 
his friends to make him, Jackson, President if they were assured 
that Adams should not continue secretary of state. The letter 
was widely reprinted and called forth a card in which Clay 
denied all knowledge of such a bargain and said he doubted if 
Jackson made the statement attributed to him. Then the 
anonymous correspondent. Carter Beverly, of Virginia, uncovered 
himself, and called on Jackson to verify what was printed in the 
Observer. Jackson compUed with becoming reluctance. It was 
true, he said, that in the privacy of his own fireside, he declared 
his belief, but since the matter was repeated abroad he did 
not hesitate to avow his opinion. He then repeated the sub- 
stance of the proposition which he alleged the friends of Clay 
made to him. in the beginning of January, 1825, which was 
that if assurances were given that Adams should not remain 
secretary of state, Jackson would have the support of Clay's 

When Clay saw this letter in print, he felt he could afford to 
reply. He published a denial and called for the name of the man 
who made the proposition to Jackson. He was duly informed 
that the proposition came from James Buchanan, of Penns}^- 
vania, whose participation in the affair has already been dis- 
cussed. Buchanan now published a statement which supported 


Jackson's up to the critical point, and failed there because it 
did not allege that an actual bargain was offered. But it was 
strong enough for the Jackson papers, who heralded it as com- 
plete vindication of their hero. The hero himself, as we have 
seen, inwardly chafed because it was not more emphatic* But 
the public were satisfied. If there were certain things lacking 
in the proof, did not Clay's acceptance of the secretaryship more 
than make up for them? The argument was effective with the 
least thoughtful part of the voters. 

While this matter proceeded successfully for Jackson, the 
tariff question came up again and brought serious danger to 
his cause. The champions of protection were active in the North. 
They had passed beyond the infant-industry argument and were 
proclaiming the advantages of a home market through the growth 
manufacturing towns. The appeals were attractive to the 
farmers of Pennsylvania and New York, and found response even 
in the trans- Alleghany region, where all classes were enthusiastic 
for the development of their splendid resources. But the South 
was equally unanimous against the tariff. Virginia, strong in 
the old republican school, opposed it on constitutional grounds; 
South Carolina, more practical and less wedded to old theories, 
rested her opposition on sectional interests, and by strenuous 
fighting was becoming the leader of a new school of Southern 
politics. It seemed impossible to reconcile the two views, and 
herein lay Jackson's peril: for he depended as much on South 
Carolina and the far South as on Pennsylvania, New York,' and 
the West. It would take careful management to steer his cause 
safely between the groups. How cleverly it was done we shall see. 

In the first place, his own record favored his plans. He 
voted in congress for a tariff which would develop the military 
resources of the country. This moderate position need alarm 

'See above, II., 361. 

«W. L. Marcy to Van Buren, June is> »8»7; January tg, i8a8; Van Buren Mss. 


neither side. Such a man, said his friends in the North, could be 
relied on to see that the blessings of protection were not sac- 
rificed to the Southern demands. Such a man, said his advo- 
cates in the South, could be relied on to oppose the selfish plans 
of that section which would build up their own interests at the 
expense of those of another. Adams and Clay stood openly for 
protection and were not embarrassed by defection in their camps. 

In the second place, the Jackson congressmen and party 
workers generally were more anxious for the success of their pres- 
idential candidate than for the passage of a tariff. But they 
were afraid of their constituents North and South. The task, 
then, resolved itself into preparing a line of conduct which 
would satisfy the voters, and all the movers of the pawns were in 
secret accord as to the ethics of their conduct. 

The plan followed is supposed to have been devised by Van 
Buren. Whether it was his or not, he gave his best efforts to 
carry it through. The speaker of the new house was Andrew 
Stevenson, of Virginia, an old republican who followed Van 
Buren into the Jackson camp. For some time committees had 
been non-partisan, which was not unnatural under Monroe's 
and Adams's policy of "amalgamation." But Stevenson sig- 
nalized the advent of a new party system by giving their control 
to his own friends. He placed two Adams, and five Jackson 
men on the committee on manufactures, to which was 
allotted the task of bringing in the new tariff bill. 

After much delay the committee introduced its bill. It hap- 
pened then, as later, that states which wanted higher duties on 
most articles wanted lower rates on others. Thus, New England, 
demanding protection on her manufactures, asked for free raw 
materials. The bill now reported placed duties generally high 
on all articles, including the raw materials used in New England. 
The bill would please the Middle states and the West, but it 
would be unpopular in the South and New England. It was the 


purpose of the framers to resist all attempts to amend the bill, 
in the belief that on the final vote it would be defeated through 
the decisive action of New England members. The South was 
induced to vote down all the New England amendments in the 
belief that the bill would thus finally be defeated, and the measure 
came to its last vote in nearly the same shape as it came from the 
committee. But here the unexpected happened: the South, 
as was anticipated, voted against the bill it had vigorously re- 
fused to amend, but enough New Englanders voted for it, with 
all its faults, to make it a law. Nobody but the Jackson mana- 
gers was pleased with the result; but the political effects were 
good. The Southern members could report to their constituents 
that they voted against it, although they had not the satisfaction 
to say they defeated it. The Northern Jackson members could 
report that they voted for it. It was a lucky deliverance for 
the party.' 

The tariff of 1828 was only one incident in a campaign of ex- 
citement. Each party was bitter and personal in its abuse of 
the other. All the squabbles of Jackson's early life were brought 
up to show he was not fit to be President. The hanging of Ar- 
buthnot and Ambrister, the unauthorized invasion of Florida, 
and the quarrel with CaUava were cited to show his lack of re- 
spect for law. The execution of mutinous mihtiamen in the 
campaigns of 18 13 and 18 14 was recalled to show his ferocious 
temper; and when a Philadelphia editor published a hand-bill 
showing a cofi&n with the victims standing by its side, the idea 
was caught up eagerly and repeated in all parts of the country. 
Jesse Benton, the cause of the quarrel of 1813, also contributed 
his mite, a hand-bill in which his version of the dispute was 
given to show that Jackson was truculent and treacherous to an 
opponent. Van Buren thought that this abuse served to keep 

'Taussig, Tarif History of the Unilrd States, sth edition, 86-io3. In 1837, Calhoun in a. speech in congress, 
explained this bargain, in which he thought the Southerners had been deceived. See his Works, III., 47. 


the candidate's name before the people, who otherwise might 
have forgotten his pretensions. 

The worst and least justifiable of these personal charges was 
reviving the story of his marriage. The irregularity of this 
ceremony was brought up to his disadvantage in his early career 
in Tennessee pohtics, and it was not to be expected that it should 
be omitted in this campaign; but we are hardly prepared to find 
that it was a main argument in the leading opposition newspapers. 
It appeared in the National Journal, a paper published in Wash- 
ington, apparently under close supervision of the President. 
Jackson thought, and correctly, it seems, that if Adams had 
used his influence the matter would have been kept out of its 
columns. He held, therefore, that his antagonist was con- 
structively responsible for the attack and felt justified in with- 
holding from him the ordinary social courtesies of gentlemen. 

Some of Jackson's supporters were willing to reply to these 
charges in kind, and the story was started that Adams, while 
minister to Russia, was concerned in dehvering a beautiful 
American girl to a life of shame in order to gratify the lust of 
an aristocrat. The tale as told was entirely untrue. Duff 
Green, editor of the Telegraph, went even further. "I saw 
the necessity," he wrote, referring to the attack on Mrs. Jackson, 
''of bringing home the matter to Mr. Adams's own family and 
by threats of retaliation drove the Journal to condemn itself. 
This you have no doubt seen and understood. The effect here 
was like electricity. The whole Adams corps was thrown into 
consternation. They did not doubt that I would execute my 
threat, and I was denounced in the most bitter terms for assail- 
ing female character by those very men, who had rolled the 
slanders on Mrs. Jackson under their tongues as the sweetest 
morsel that had been dressed up by Peter Force and Co., during 
the whole campaign.'" To this shameless avowal Jackson re- 

»Green to Jackson, July 8, 1827, Jackson Mss. 


plied that it would be well now and then to throw into the enemy's 
camp a few firebrands in the shape of facts, "but that female 
character should never be introduced by my friends unless a 
continuation of attack should continue to be made against 
Mrs. Jackson, and that by way of just retaliation upon the 
known GUILTY. My great wish is that it may be altogether 
evaded, if possible, by my friends. / never war against females, 
and it is only the base and cowardly that do."' 

It was fortunate for Jackson that while these charges were 
being made, he was at the "Hermitage" under the soothing 
influence of Major Lewis and Judge Overton. Inwardly he 
raged, as is shown by an allusion to Clay in one of his letters. 
" I have lately got an intimation of some of his secret movements, 
kvhich, if I can reach with positive and responsible proof, I will 
wield to his political and, perhaps, to his actual destruction. He 
is certainly the basest, meanest, scoundrel that ever disgraced 
the image of his god — nothing too mean or low for him to con- 
descend to, secretely to carry his cowardly and base purposes of 
slander into effect: even the aged and virtuous female is not 
free from his secrete combinations of base slander — but enough, 
you know me, I will curb my feelings until it becomes proper to 
act, when xQtx]h\\.tive justice will visit him and his panders heads. "' 

In another case he was not so well controlled. In 1826, 
Southard, secretary of war, in a private conversation at 
Fredericksburg, Va., criticized the defense of New Orleans and 
praised Monroe's activity as secretary of war at the time, at- 
tributing to him much of the merit of saving the city. An 
exaggerated account was carried to Jackson, who wrote a severe 
letter to Southard and sent it unsealed by Samuel Houston. 
This messenger showed the communication to some of the party 
managers in Washington, who agreed that it ought not to be 

'Jackson to Green, August 13, 1827, Jackson Mss. 
2Jackson to Houston, December 13, 1826, Jackson Mss^ 


delivered. It was, in fact, withheld and an appeal was made to 
the writer, with the result that some weeks later Southard re- 
ceived a written demand for an explanation. It contained no 
other denunciation than a cool statement that Jackson considered 
the criticism of his campaign as a blow from the administration. 
Southard in reply denied that he intended to reflect on the 
mihtary conduct of his correspondent, and here the matter rested 
so far as the campaign was concerned;' but it was destined to 
play an important part in another interesting phase of our 

This incident illustrates Jackson's relation to his party mana- 
gers. They were alarmed because they realized that his fiery 
temper was liable to burst forth at any time, and they took 
steps to restrain it. Several of them wrote him in the most 
cautious manner, urging such arguments as they believed must 
convince him that he ought to keep quiet. Eaton spoke ear- 
nestly: "Many friends, "he wrote," begged him to urge Jackson 
not to notice things Clay was saying." My reply to these 
anxious friends was, " ^Fear not. General Jackson will not so far 
insult his friends as to take his own cause into his own hands 
and from his friends.' . . . They only ask of you under any 
and all circumstances, to be still and let them manage whatever 
is to be done."' Caleb Atwater also wrote, from Ohio: "For 
Heaven's sake, for your country's sake, do remember that but 
one man can write you down — his name is Andrew Jackson."* 

At first Jackson was not docile under these attempts at con- 
trol. To Polk, who begged him to make no reply to an expected 
request for his views on internal improvements, he wrote with 
some spirit: "I have no disguise with my friends, but am not 

'Adams. Memoirs, VII., 218, 220, 221, 222, 223, 225; aisi Tacksin to Houston, November 22. 1826, Jackson 
Mss. Jacksuu puuiibued in a pamphlet his two letters to Southard and the latter's reply 
'cua; heluw, II.. 500. 

•Eaton to Jackson, January 21, 182S, Jackson Mss. 
<Atwater to Jackson, September 4, 1828, Ibid. 


ill the habit of gratifying enemies. I have nothing in my po- 
litical creed to keep secrete, it was formed in the old Republican 
school, and is without change. I have no secretes, nor have L 
nor do I wish to conceal my opinions on the powers of the general 
government, and those reserved to the states respectfull}' [sic] 
as it respects internal improvements, I never have withheld them 
when I spoke upon this subject, and I am sure I never will, 
and I am sure the general government has no right to make in- 
ternal improvements within a state, without its consent first 
had and obtained." ' 

So spoke the leader in December, 1826: a year later he was 
in a more cautious frame of mind and when he was appealed to 
for his opinion on the tariff, referred the inquirers to his votes 
in congress and his letter to Dr. Coleman.' 

In this connection the following letter has much interest. 
It is v/ritten to Major Lewis from Washington, is signed 
"B ," and seems to come from Benton. 

The present administration is the most effective enemy of 
internal improvements that has ever appeared among us. They 
are ruining the cause by prostituting it to electioneering, and will 
be attacked upon that ground. I think it probable that Jackson 
will be catechized upon this subject, either by some overzealous 
friend or insidious enemy. I have talked with V. B. and others 
about it. They think as I do, that things are well enough now 
and ought not to be disturbed. If, therefore, a friend should 
put interrogatories, we think he ought to be made to comprehend 
that there is no necessity for any public answer. If an enemy 
should do so, and at the same time be so respectable as to make 
an answer indispensable, we think that it ought to be given 

rather by a general reference to the votes given by J in the 

Senate than by a particular confession of faith. The right of 
the people to know the political sentiments of a pubhc man, 
might be admitted; the decHning of declaring these sentiments, 

•Jackson to Polk, December 27. 1826, Polk Calendar. 
'Jackson to Polk. March 23, 1828, Polk Calendar. 


on the eve of an election, might be stated; and then the necessity 
of a declaration in this case might be obviated by a general 
statement that his votes in the Senate would show his opinions. 
These votes will be satisfactory to most of the advocates of the 
doctrine, and at the same time, they do not go the whole length, 
as is well known in Virginia and elsewhere. If nothing but news- 
paper calls should be made, I think they should be left to news- 
paper answers. Adams's votes in the Senate upon this subject 
will be fully exposed. He voted against every measure of the 
kind ever proposed in that body while he was a member. These, 
with his old federal votes against the West and Louisiana will 
appear in bolder relief than they have ever yet been seen in. 
We are all divided here according to our politics, just as they were 
in '98. Our friends mean to fight it out; if they are conquered 
they want no quarter, and if they are victorious, they will owe 
no favors.* 

A long letter to Jackson from Robert Y. Hayne has much of 
the same tenor, and throws some Hght on the character of the 

"We know Mr. Clay well enough to understand," he says, 
"the course that will be pursued in matters where his will is 
law. Altogether unprincipled, ambitious, daring, bold, and 
without the smallest regard either to the courtesies or decencies 
of life, he inspires his poHtical followers with a spirit not unhke 
that which distinguishes a savage warfare, sparing no age, sex, 
or condition. There is still another motive that lurks beneath 
the ^mmanly and ungenerous course of the administration, it 
is the desire to betray you into some indiscretion. They have 
taken pains to impress the public mind with the belief that your 
temper unfits you for civil government. They know that a 
noble nature is always Hable to excitement, and they have put, 
and will continue to put, into operation, a hundred schemes to 
betray you into some act or expression, which may be turned 

i"B" [Benton], to Jackson, FebruMy aa, 1827. Jackson Mss. 


to their own advantage. " Adams, he added, refused to answer 
political questions because he was President; and was not Jackson 
the saviour of his country and the representative of the people, 
equal to Adams in dignity? 

Then Hayne came to affairs near his own heart, the tariff 
and Calhoun's position in the party. It is true, he said, that the 
Southern people ' 'deny the power of Congress to legislate on these 
points,' yet we feel that our interests are safe in your hands." As 
for the party itself, its greatest danger was from dissensions be- 
tween its parts, which before uniting with it had their own mutual 
differences.' It was a mild hint at the rivalry of Calhoun and 
Van Buren, then well established. 

Thus labored the little group in Washington, Van Buren, 
hand in hand with the Tennesseeans, and Calhoun's friends co- 
operating, all nervously anxious about their relations with the 
chieftain whose name was their best card. John Quincy Adams 
called them the "privy council," and they foreshadowed the 
"Kitchen Cabinet" not yet in existence. In Nashville a similar 
group was preparing pamphlets and newspaper articles in the 
common cause, its most appreciated work being a long defense 
of the marriage of the leader. In it were Judge Overton, a 
companion of Jackson's earliest days in the West and a true 
friend through life, and Major Lewis, whose personal influence 
with the candidate was strong for many years. Twenty-five 
years later, Parton, then writing his Life of Jackson^ came 
strongly under the influence of Major Lewis, who made him be- 
lieve that much of the political history of the period came out 
of the latter's activity. Later historians have been apt to 
speak of him as an astute and far-sighted party manager. From 
the many traces we have of him in the Jackson correspondence, 
the impression seems to be erroneous. Lewis had much to do 

'Hajme was referring to the tarifi and internal improvements. 
'Hayne to Jackson, June s. 1827. Jackson Mss. 


with appointments to office and with Jackson's conduct toward 
men, but others seem to have devised party moves. His letters 
show us a garrulous man, with no noticeable power of initiative, 
but industriously active in flattering his leader and ministering 
to his prejudices. It is probable that Jackson's advice to Polk 
in 1844, indicates Lewis's true ability: "Keep Blair's Globe the 
administration paper," he writes, "and William B. Lewis to 
ferret out and make known to you all the plots and in tri gues 
hatching against your administration and you are safe." 

Van Buren says that it was predicted in 1825, that Jackson's 
popularity would pass before 1828. The energy of his managers, 
and abuse from his opponents, gave the lie to the prophecy. 
By the end of 1827, Adams seemed sure of nothing but New 
England: to his enemy were conceded Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, with good 
prospects in the Northwest. The debatable states were New 
York, Missouri, Kentucky, and Louisiana. In all these states 
the greatest activity existed on each side. 

The situation in New York was exceedingly important. Here 
the republicans were in two factions, Van Buren's, which sup- 
ported Crawford in 1824, and De Witt Clinton's, which first 
supported him for the presidency in that campaign and later 
toyed with both Jackson and Adams. Chnton had long desired 
the presidency, but his lukewarmness toward the War of 181 2, 
won him the opposition of the Virginians, who gave Tompkins 
the vice-presidency in 18 16 and thus satisfied New York while 
they ignored Clinton. 

After the election of 1825 Clinton coquetted with both parties. 
Adams refused to encourage him because it was unwise "to 
make one scale preponderate by weights taken from another.'" 
He feared to offend Van Buren, of whose cooperation he had 
some hopes; but he only angered Clinton, and soon both republi- 

'Adams, Memoirs, VII., i8s, loj. See ako, Alexander, Political History of New York, I., 335-7. 


can factions were supporting Jackson. Clinton desired the vice- 
presidency, and Van Buren seconded the pretension as a means of 
uniting the New York republicans and of embarrassing Calhoim. 
The Tennesseeans were also favorable to Clinton. It shows 
how much the organic nature of the party was developed that 
Jackson remained apparently neutral to the matter. But 
Calhoun was deeply concerned,' and a lively dissension was 
imminent in the party when in February, 1828, Chnton died. Van 
Buren realized the importance of this event and moved quickly 
to capture the dead man's followers. With all solemnity the 
New York delegation arranged a memorial meeting for the de- 
ceased at which Van Buren presided and made a speech in honor 
of the man whom he had long opposed. Much other labor was 
expended on the subordinates in the faction, with the result that 
they came under the command of their old rival, but not in a 
very docile frame of mind. They retained much of their old 
feeling and made trouble in the distribution of federal offices, 
but they voted with the party and made Van Buren the topmost 
j&gure in New York politics.* 

In the West the Clay support fought with great spirit and in 
Louisiana they were particularly vigorous. If we may believe 
Edward Livingston and other correspondents, federal office- 
holders in New Orleans were most partisan and worked contin- 
ually for the administration. The same, it may be said, was 
alleged of the officials in parts of Ohio, while Adams complained 
that in the New York election of 1827, the federal officers in the 
state were against the administration.' To overcome the op- 
position in Louisiana, and to make a good impression every- 
where, it was planned to have on January 8, 1828, a great 
celebration of the battle of New Orleans. Jackson, who had 

'D. Green to Jackson, October 22; Branch to Ibid, December 11, 1827; Jackson Mss. 

'Adams, Memoirs, VII., 370. P. N. Nicholas to Van Buren, October 13; Marcy to Ibid, December 10 
J. A. Hamilton to Ibid, December 21, 1826; Van Ness to Ibid, February 22, 1827; Van Buren Mss. 

'I. L.Baker to Jackson, September i, 1827; E.Livingston to Jackson, August 12; /itJ to Jackson, November 
IS, 1828, Jackson Mss; Adams, Memoirs, VII., 349. 


refused to visit a Kentucky watering-place for fear it might be 
pronounced electioneering, gave himself to the scheme and ar- 
rangements were made to make the occasion as conspicuous as 
possible. PoUticians from as far as New York came to join 
the company of friends who escorted the leader. The occasion 
was made a fruitful scene of intrigue for the favor of the hero 
until some of his old and non-political friends became disgusted 
and were only induced to remain with the party by the argument 
that a withdrawal would be interpreted unfavorably by his 
enemies.' Jackson newspapers heralded the events of the journey 
far and near. A committee of citizens of New Orleans met him 
at Natchez, and the party arrived at the battle field on the anni- 
versary of the victory. Four days were spent in festivities 
during which the city of New Orleans gave itself up to ex- 
travagant demonstrations of joy. Never was a historical cele- 
bration made to contribute to political ends with better 


Jackson's utterances on this occasion were praised by his 
friends as illustrations of his eloquence and good sense. The 
pubHc did not realize how well he was coached beforehand. 
Andrew P. Hayne, brother of the South Carolina senator and old 
companion in arms, took care that they should say just the right 
things. There were to be three speeches, he said to Jackson be- 
forehand, but he hoped only one would be pubHshed; and there 
were two ideas he wanted to see in them: (i) that Jackson, Hke 
Cincinnatus, left his home at his country's call, performed the 
task required of him, and returned to his home again; (2) a mild 
but manly reference to the wicked attacks on Mrs. Jackson. 
Beside this he hoped that the speech would be entirely military 
and that the speaker, like Washington, would read it.' That 
Jackson carefully filed this communication among the papers 

'Dunlap to Jackson, August lo, 1831, Copy in Library of Congress. See also American Historical Maga- 
tine (Nashville), IX., 93. 
>Hayne to Jackson, December 27, 1827, Jackson Mss. 


he kept for the future historian shows that he valued highly the 
advice in it. John Quincy Adams tells us the speech delivered 
was written by Major Henry Lee, a ready hack writer of the 
time, then intimately associated with the general.' 

Already it was evident that the popular enthusiasm for [/ 
Jackson was overwhelming. The frigid honesty of the exist- 
ing President could not withstand its power, and he early foresaw 
the end. He was a bad loser, as his father was before him, and 
expressed his contempt for his detractors in language which 
might rather be expected from them. He confided to his diary 
that Ingham, Randolph, Hamilton, and some others were 
"skunks of party slander who had been squirting round the 
House of Representatives thence to issue and perfume the at- 
mosphere of the Union. '" For Calhoun he expressed an equally 
vigorous, if less picturesque, opinion. "Calhoun," he wrote, 
"is a man of considerable talent and burning ambition; stimu- 
lated to frenzy by success, flattery, and premature advancement; 
governed by no steady principle, but sagacious to seize upon 
every prevailing popular breeze to swell his own sails; showering 
favors with lavish hands to make partisans, without discernment 
in the choice of his instruments, and the dupe and tool of every 
knave cunning enough to drop the oil of fools in his ear.'" 

For Clay, also, the situation had Httle comfort, and he talked 
gloomily with his chief. When the latter remarked that after 
the people had four years of Jackson, they would be disgusted 
and turn to the Kentuckian, Clay said that the reaction would, 
indeed, come, but not till he was too old to profit by it. He was 
deeply dejected and offered to retire from the cabinet, but Adams, 
knowing this would be taken as a sign of defeat, urged him to 
take a rest instead.* Thus, with discouragement for the ad- 

•Adama, Memoirs, VII., 477. 

mid, VII., 431. 

*Ibid, VII., 447. 

'Ibid, VII., 382, Si8, sao, sai- 


ministration and with uproarious enthusiasm for its opponents 
the country came to the election day. 

There could be no doubt of the result. The autumn was 
hardly at hand before congratulations began to arrive at the 
"Hermitage." They came from old friends and new ones, from 
those who offered sincere admiration and those who expected 
favors. Among the well-wishers was Gen. Thomas Cadwal- 
ader, of Philadelphia, social leader in the city and valuable 
salaried lobbyist for the United States Bank, who paid compU- 
ments to the fine climate, soil, and people of Nashville, invited 
Jackson to visit him in Philadelphia, and added: "Mrs. Cad- 
walader cesires me to say that no endeavor will be spared to 
supply to Mrs. Jackson the places of those warm friends whom she 
will leave behind her.'" The Cadwaladers were as prominent 
in Philadelphia as the Livingstons were in New York and New 
Orleans. Did the doughty General Thomas dream of an in- 
fluence over the incoming President like that which Edward 
Livingston established over him at New Orleans? If so, he was 
to be rudely disappointed. Jackson could see the difference be- 
tween the efficient organizer of the resources of defense and the 
pompous agent of the bank, as our story will unfold later. 
Nor was Hayne, the nuUifier, less courteous. He wrote that 
Mrs. Hayne would like to make any necessary arrangement 
for Mrs. Jackson's comfort before the arrival in Washington.* 

The election results justified the expectations of both friends 
and flatterers. Every electoral vote south of the Potomac and 
west of the Alleghanies went for Jackson, together with those of 
Pennsylvania. All of New England except one vote in Maine, 
and all of Delaware and New Jersey were for Adams. New 
York gave twenty and Maryland five for Jackson and they 
gave respectively sixteen and six for Adams. In all, Jackson 

>Cadwalader to Jackson, June 21 and October 15, 1828, Jackson Mss 
*E[ayne to Jackson, December i8, 1828, Jackson Mss. 


had one hundred and seventy-eight electoral votes and Adams 
had eighty-three. Calhoun had all the Jackson votes except 
seven of Georgia's nine, which Crawford's hatred took from him 
for the benefit of WiUiam Smith, of South Carolina. 

The country now rang with shouts for the victor, and all 
eyes turned toward Nashville. There were political servitors 
who sought their reward, "old republicans" who rejoiced that 
the nationalizing tendencies of Adams were checked, believers 
in democracy, who thought that the reviving aristocracy was 
crushed, and low tariff men who considered the defeat of Clay a 
public blessing. All turned expectantly to the one who had 
saved them. Bustle invaded the quiet of the "Hermitage," 
and rejoicings mingled with preparations for a new phase of 
life for its occupants. In Nashville men of both parties united 
to give their first citizen a public dinner, which should be worthy 
of his success. Suddenly all these expressions of joy withered 
before the brief illness and death of Mrs. Jackson. 

Spite of its irregularity Jackson's marriage was a very happy 
one. His wife had little education, but she was naturally intel- 
ligent; and she had that intense feeling for goodness and innate 
beauty which sanctifies love. She had the esteem of most of the 
people who knew her, and some of her friends loved her deeply. 
She was fond of young people and assumed a motherly attitude 
toward them which they appreciated highly. To a large circle 
of such admirers she was known as "Aunt Rachael. " Her 
affection was deep enough to win her husband's strong nature 
and make him her lover as long as he lived. Her devotion to 
religion broke down his indifference on that subject — he was, 
it seems, never antagonistic to it — and he became in the latter 
part of his life a loyal, if not a devout, Presbyterian. 

His care of his wife was constant, and he never forgave those 
who injured her. Much as he was enraged by the attacks on 
her in the campaign of 1828, he kept from her all knowledge 


that her name was used until she accidentally discovered the 
fact after the election. An account of her death which has sur- 
vived among those who were most intimately associated with him 
presents the following story: About a month after the election, 
/she drove into Nashville to purchase clothes for use in her new 
station. She was quite happy in the occasion and went from 
shop to shop with interest till her strength was gone. Then she 
retired to the private office of a newspaper editor, one of her 
relatives, to rest until her carriage was ready for the return. 
Here she came upon a copy of the pamphlet issued by her hus- 
band's friends in her defense. It came as a surprise and she 
was overwhelmed. When her companions came an hour later, 
they found her crouching in a corner, v/eeping and hysterical. 
On her way home she made every effort to resume her com- 
posure, so as to avoid giving pain to her husband, but she was 
not successful. The forced gaiety which she assumed attracted 
his attention at once and he had the story of the day's happening. 
From that time, says the narrative, she grew worse, at last taking 
to her bed and dying on December 23d.' For some years her 
health had been poor, and the final collapse was attributed to 
^ heart disease, but Jackson believed that her grief was a cause. 
The blow left him dazed, and he sat by the body for a whole night 
in the beHef that life was not entirely extinct. He buried her 
in the garden at the "Hermitage," near the little Presbyterian 
church which, chiefly from his own funds, he built in 1823 for 
her gratification.' One of the last acts before his departure for 
Washington was to order a suitable monument for the grave. 
Mrs. Jackson's memory was after this the gentlest spot in his 
life. When accusations were brought against the good name 

'The author had this account from Mrs. Elizabeth Blair Lee, daughter of F. P. Blair, Sr., who remembered 
it from her youth, when she had it from Major Lewis. She considered it probable; but Parton, who had a 
marked faculty for using a good story, and who used Lewis freely, says nothing of it. 

'A receipt among bis papers, 1823, shows that he gave $150 to its erection and furnished materials; but lot 
the latter he rendered a bill. 


of Mrs. Eaton, it was sufficient for him that she had been re- 
ceived by his departed wife. His wife's natural goodness and 
strength of character won the respect of many of his friends. 
She was in Washington with him during the winter of 1824-5, 
and one of the acquaintances she made was Lafayette, who 
stopped at the same hotel with her. When she was dead he 
expressed his sympathy to Jackson in a letter in which he said: 
"You know how very kind and affectionate your excellent lady 
has been to me; the opportunities I had to appreciate her worth 
had more particularly attached me to her. I was daily antici- 
pating the general approbation she could not have failed to ob- 
tain in her situation.'" 

jMany years afterward, the "Hermitage" became the object 
of pilgrimage for patriotic and curious travelers, and an old 
servant of its former owner was employed to show it to such 
visitors. He had a reverent respect for Jackson and would 
show, with great pride, the objects associated with the general's 
political and military life. In Jackson's bedroom was a picture 
of Mrs. Jackson, which the old Negro would describe as follows: 
"This is de picture of Miss Rachael. Every morning de general 
would kneel before it and tell his God that he thank him to spare 
his life one more night to look on de face of his love." 

But however crushing the personal afHiction, political affairs 
did not wait. The funeral was hardly over before the prepar- 
ations for Washington demanded his attention. He hurriedly 
gathered up his thoughts and turned his face tov/ard a new 
field of duty. 

"Lafayette to Jackson, February 26, 1829, Jackson Mss. 



¥^ It WAS the middle of January, 1829, when Jackson set out for 
Washington amid the plaudits of his countrymen. Reform 
of abuses was the cry of the campaign just ended, and he was 
gratefully hailed as the giver of better things. One admirer 
thanked God that he had seen the overthrovr of John I and 
John II, and he hoped he would not Hve to see another of that 
race and the same country on the throne.' John Brown, of 
Virginia, who described himself as "an old revolutionist and 
one of your warmest friends, and an individual of the near two 
hundred thousand freemen, which I hope have taught congress 
a lesson not soon to be forgotten," also gave his opinion of the 
situation. He was especially anxious that the "court etiquette 
and pompous perade" in Washington be reformed. Such dis- 
play was not in keeping with repubhcanism. It is true it was 
practised by "General La Fiatte," but he could be forgiven be- 
cause he had the "voletile fancy of a Frenchman." The writer 
did not think such flattery could please any really wise man, 
and he hoped Jackson would discourage it. It was the simple 
letter of a countryman, a man who held the views of the people 
around him, but Jackson did not disdain the advice; and he 
filed the letter after endorsing it thus, " a friendly letter — worth 
reading — private.'" Jackson was an average man; and his 
power to appreciate the views of average men was one of his 
best traits. 

'D. C. Ker to Jackson, November n, i8j8, Jackson Mse. 
•John Brown to Jackson. March ro, 1825, Jackson Mss. 



The President-elect proceeded on his journey by easy stages. 
From Nashville he reached the Ohio at Louisville, thence up 
the river to Pittsburg, and at last over the mountains to the 
capital. Duff Green, desiring that he should appear under the 
prestige of the Calhoun faction, planned a great cavalcade to 
meet him at Pittsburg and escort him by relays to the end of the 
journey. But Van Buren opposed the scheme on the ground 
that it would be unacceptable to Jackson, and it was abandoned.* 
The people along the route made up by their enthusiasm all 
the eclat that was lost in the absence of an escort. At last the 
party came to Washington on February nth, the day the electoral 
votes were counted in the senate.' 

The city was fuU of anxious faces. So much had been said 
about electioneering by office-holders that it was generally be- 
lieved that wholesale removals would be made. Later, when 
dismissals for cause did not yield enough vacancies to satisfy 
the many applicants they insisted that removals without cause 
should be made, and the demand was frequently granted. 

Office-seekers and others flocked to Jackson's hotel, urging 
their claims on him and on whatever friend they thought had 
influence with him. For Adams, whose gifts were all exhausted, 
they had no thought. Even Jackson ignored him. On the 
ground that Adams was responsible for the continuance of the 
attacks on Mrs. Jackson, he refused to make the usual call of 
the incoming upon the outgoing President. A few confidential 
friends consoled the correct and unbending New Englander; he 
remained in the White House until the day before the inaugu- 
ration, when he removed to a place on Meridian Hill, near the 
western boundary of the city, and left his rival to take informal 
possession of the official residence. 

When Jackson arrived, February nth, cabinet-making was al- 
ready the chief object of interest. A small group of confidants 

>J. A. Hamilton to Jackson, November 24. 1828, Jackson Mss. 
«NUas. Resister, XXXV, 401. A09. 



gathered to advise with him, and the remainder of the poHtical 
world looked on as rumors came from the centre regarding the 
fate of one or another aspirant for office. Senators White and 
Eaton and Major Lewis were continually with him. Van Buren 
was absent, detained in Albany by his duties as governor; but 
he was represented at Washington by J. A. Hamilton, who wrote 
frequently about the progress of events. 

The onlooking pohticians were divided, according to their in- 
terests, into several groups. Most noticeable were the supporters 
of Van Buren. They had a certain theoretical alliance with the 
constitutional views of the Crawford party, but their chief con- 
cern at this time was the future of their leader and the distri- 
bution of state offices. For some time it was known that the 
New Yorker would have choice of the cabinet positions. He 
was, next to Calhoun, the ablest man in his party, and his party 
services were preeminent. In 1828, he resigned his seat in the 
senate and ran for governor of his state, because it would unite 
the party for the benefit of Jackson. The appointment was, 
therefore, eminently proper from a party standpoint, and it 
was filled with credit, as later events showed. Some of his 
friends desired him to become secretary of the treasury because 
of the large number of offices to be disposed of in that depart- 
ment/ but the secretaryship of state was offered, and accepted, 
because its incumbent, by the prevaiHng opinion, was heir-ap- 
parent. Jackson offered the state department on February 15th, 
after consultation with Hamilton; and it was accepted on the 
20th, with the stipulation that it should not be necessary for 
the duties to be taken up until the legislature of New York 
should adjourn, probably at the end of March.' 

To fill the office temporarily, became the object of one of the 

'Silas Wright, Jr., to Van Buren, December g, Verplanck to Ibid, December 6; Thomas Ritchie to Ibid, 
March ii, 182S; Van Buren Mss. 

'Jackson to Van Buren, February 15; Van Buren to Jackson, February 20; J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, 
Febuary 12, 1829; Van Buren Mss. 


minor moves on the board. Hamilton desired the position and 
Van Buren approved of his ambition; but an obstacle appeared 
in Henry Lee, a scheming hack writer, who had attached him- 
self to the Nashville group and who by flattery of Lewis and by a 
plan to write a life of Jackson had worked himself into favor. 
The gravest charges were alleged against his private Hfe, but 
this seems not to have been known to Jackson. Lee now de- 
sired to be chief clerk in the state department, an ofhce held long 
and efi&ciently by Daniel Brent; and if Lee were chief clerk it 
ought to devolve on him to preside over the department during 
the absence of the secretary. Hamilton, therefore, set his face 
to defeat the hope of Lee, who was strongly fortified because he 
had a letter of endorsement from Lewis. He attacked his op- 
ponent on the ground of moral character. WMte, to whom he 
took his complaint, was shocked at the state of the case, declared 
that Lee must be shaken off and said that he would be con- 
sidered an offense, if the truth were known, to the honor of the 
general. He also condemned "in unmeasured terms" Lewis, 
whose error of judgment is very evident. The upshot was that 
Van Buren interfered and wrote to Jackson asking that Hamil- 
ton might be secretary pro tempore, and the request was granted.' 
Lee was shunted off into a small foreign consulship, for which 
the senate rejected him. He was deeply disappointed and turned 
against the administration. 

Calhoun's influence hung over all cabinet appointments, al- 
though it is impossible to connect him directly with any one se- 
lection. Van Buren's friends feared him greatly, but they 
dared not oppose him openly. They were disposed to credit 
him with more ability in intrigue than he possessed, and some 
of them even thought that bringing Van Buren mto the cabinet 
was a scheme by which the latter could be discredited before 
the country. When it was seen how weak was the cabinet, 

»J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, January i, February 12, 18 and 25. 1829; Van Buren Mss. 


Van Buren himself had doubts, as we shall see, about the wisdom 
of his acceptance.' 

Pennsylvania offered two candidates for position, S. D. Ing- 
ham and Henry Baldwin. Jackson favored the latter on per- 
sonal grounds, but the Calhoun interest in the state centered so 
strongly on the former that he yielded, and it was decided that 
Ingham should have an offer of a cabinet position. Calhoun's 
strong supporters pressed him for secretary of the treasury, 
finding, it seems, some fitness in givmg the second place in the 
cabinet to a Calhoun man, if Van Buren was to have the first.' 

In this affair Calhoun himself was in a rather deHcate situation 
because his own state was opposed to Ingham, and supported 
for second choice a man who had the backing of Van Buren 
himself. They were committed to nuUification in its first stages 
and did not want to see the treasury controlled by a man with the 
tariff views of the Pennsylvanian school. They urged Langdon 
Cheves, of their own state, and if he could not be appointed, 
Lewis McLane, of Delaware. Cheves was soon seen to be out 
of the -question, and they clung to McLane the more fiercely; 
but he had no chance, although Van Buren himself wrote a 
letter in his behalf to Eaton. Another aspirant was Albert 
Gallatin, whom Van Buren, through Hamilton, suggested for 
treasurer. The approach was made through Lewis, who re- 
jected it at once saying: "The old man, if he comes here, ivill 
have the whole credit of the administration. There is no use in 
having him. He wanted to he Secretary of the Treasury.'^' 

Another object of concern was John McLean, of Ohio. He was 
in Calhoim's interest and was looked upon with disfavor by the 
Van Buren men.' He was postmaster-general under Adams and 

IE. BL Kane to Van Buren, February 19, 1819, Van Buren Mss. 

*L. McLane to Van Buren, February 19; J. Hamilton, Jr., to Van Buren, February ig, tSag; Van Burea 
•J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, March 6, 1839, Van Buren Mss. 
Vbid to Ibid, February 13, 1839, Van Buren Mss. 


used his office against the election of his superior. He could 
not be ignored, because of his recognized abiUty, and he caused 
some embarrassment by aspiring to a higher rank than he then 
held. Moreover, he was popular in the West and with the 
Methodists in the country at large. It was good poUcy to keep 
him in the cabinet, and after much hesitation he consented to 
remain where he was, his office being raised to full cabinet rank, 
which before this it did not have. 

In the meantime, the Virginians stood pathetically aside. It 
was the first cabinet-making m our history in which they had 
no share. Mr. Speaker Stevenson, Editor Ritcliie, and others 
waited in vain to be called into council. Van Buren, old 
Crawford leader and friend of the new regime, received their 
confidences, as we may see in his correspondence, but did 

Jackson was not favorable to Virginia, but Calhoun urged that 
some attention be shown and L. W. Tazewell was offered the 
war department. He refused it, probably because he wanted 
nothing less than first place. He was then assigned to the British 
mission and accepted it; but March nth, when popular opinion 
ran strongly against the new administration, he declined it on 
the ground of business interests.* When Tazewell was passed 
over for cabinet rank, Virginians turned to P. P. Barbour, whom 
they desired to make attorney-general. 

The war department was given to Senator Eaton. Jackson 
said he thought he ought to be allowed to have a personal 
friend in the cabinet, on whose confidential advice he might 
lean,* and no one objected. The choice was between Senators 
White and Eaton. The following extract from a letter from 
Eaton to his colleague seems to indicate that it was left to the 
two men to decide which should be chosen. 

'Hamilton, J. A., Reminiscences, gi. 

'L. McLane to Van Buren, February lo, 18*9, Van Buren Mss. 


A letter, received some time ago, from General Jackson, 
stated he desired you or me to be near him. In a recent conver- 
sation with him, he remarked that he had had a full and free 
conversation with you; and at the close remarked that he de- 
sired to have me with him. I presumed, without inquiring, that 
he had probably talked with you on the subject, and that you had 
decHned accepting any situation, as you before had told me 
would be your feelings. Nothing definite has taken place on 
this matter between General Jackson and myself, and I hope 
you know me well enough, and my regard and friendship for 
you, to know this, that I should never permit myself to stand in 
competition with any desire you may entertain. If you have 
any desire, say so to me in confidence, and it shall so be received. 
If you have none, then in reference to any and all considerations 
I should consent to any such appointment. Think of this and 
give me your opinion frankly/ 

White was a man of honor and has preserved the respect of the 
historian. He could do nothing but decline to stand in the way 
of his friend, which is undoubtedly what Eaton expected of him. 

The navy department went to John Branch, senator from 
North Carolina and former governor. He was noted for noth- 
ing but his good dinners and correct manners; and the impression 
got abroad that he was brought forward because it was felt that 
something must be done to promote the social prestige of the 
new party. Eaton stood strongly for Branch,' however, and it 
is reasonable to assume that he did so because he wanted to 
withstand Virginia's claims, which were pressed in favor of 
Tazewell and probably because he felt that the weak-willed 
Branch would at least be manageable. The appointment dis- 
pleased many people, and McLane probably voiced a general 
opinion when he wrote: "By what interest that miserable old 
woman, Branch, was ever dreamed of no one can tell.'" 

'Eaton to White, February 23, 1829, Memoirs oj H. L. White, 266. 
=0. P. Van Ness to Van Buren, March 9, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 
■McLane to Van Buren, February 19, 1829, Van Buren Mss. 


The attorney-generalship only remained unprovided for. 
The Virginian leaders were especially anxious about this office; 
and Ritchie, sending suggestions on the subject, made it plain 
that there ought to be "a strong constitutional Attorney-Gen- 
eral. " ' P. P. Barbour proved to be the Virginia candidate; and 
he and Berrien, of Georgia, finally were the two leading can- 
didates. The Tennessee managers were for the latter, and he 
was selected, Eaton's influence being the determining factor.' 

Ten days after the arrival of Jackson all these arrangements 
were made. Intimations of what was going on reached the 
outer group of politicians from time to time. They did not 
know what was happening, but realized that they were ignored. 
The South Carolina school with Hayne and James Hamil- 
ton, Jr., at their head, and the Virginians, led by Stevenson, 
Archer, and Tazewell, were much chagrined. One morning the 
Telegraph announced that the President-elect would be glad 
to see persons who desired to offer advice about the cabinet; but 
not one of them budged toward Jackson's lodgings, by this time 
popularly dubbed "the Wigwam.'" February 17th, by one ac- 
count, he told Calhoun that he had the highest confidence in 
these gentlemen, calling several Virginians and South Caro- 
linians by name, and would like to confer with them. They 
called immediately. Hamilton, of South Carolina, was spokes- 
man and began by praising the selection of Van Buren. Then he 
came to the chief point of his anxiety. There was, he said, 
great concern about the treasury. Here Jackson interposed, 
saying Ingham was to have that place to meet the united demand 
of the Pennsylvania delegation. Then Hamilton suggested that 
Cheves would be suitable for secretary of the treasury, but 

'From a memorandum in Jackson's handwriting headed "Mr. R e, R , Va." It contains sugges. 

tions for cabinet members and seems to be based on a conversation, either directly or indirectly. It is without 
date; Jackson Mss. 

2C. P. Van Ness to Van Buren, March g, 1832, Van Buren Mss; J. A. Hamilton's assertion {Reminiscences, 
page 91), that Berrien was a Calhounite was probably an afterthought. 

•Mrs. M. B. Smith, First Forty Years of Washington Society (G. Hunt, Editor), 283. 


Jackson replied that this was impossible. He also set aside the 
suggestion that it be McLane and closed the interview by say- 
ing that he should take a middle course on the tariff, striving 
to pay the debt and taking steps to reform the public service. 
With this the conference ended. The invited gentlemen went 
home dazed and indignant. They went to the meeting to give 
advice; and not to learn that all was arranged. *'I assure you," 
said James Hamilton, jr., in closing his account of the interview, 
"in the words of Sir Anthony Absolute, T am perfectly cool — 
damn cool — never half so cool in my life '." McLane spoke more 
plainly. " How lamentably, " he exclaimed, "stands the old man 
on his tv/o prominent grounds of commitment — a reasonable 
disregard of old party distinctions, and an unnecessary resort 
to congress for cabinet appointments." All the circle were 
drawn from one party and four of them were from congress, 
three of the four being "of the least capacity." ' 

The announcement of the cabinet could now no longer be 
delayed. The first impression was unfavorable. J. A. Hamil- 
ton later said it was "the most unintellectual cabinet we ever 
had. " ' Besides those who were disappointed, there were many 
who were grieved to see inexperienced men selected. But most 
singularly the first opposition was from Tennessee, where Eaton 
was well known. The state's delegation protested against his 
appointment. They did not like his ambition and his evident 
purpose to manage the President. The protest was futile. Jack- 
son declared that it made him feel well again to get such opposi- 
tion and sent the delegation a severe reproof.' It was not like 
him to give up a friend because objection was made to him. 

The cabinet was a surprise to Van Buren himself. No one, 
he says, was more disappointed than he, and, he added, Ingham 

>Hayne to Van Buren, February 14; J. Hamilton, Jr., to Ibid, February 19; L. McLane to Ibid, February 
14; and J. A. Hamilton to Ibid, February 14; 1829 — ;Van Buren Mss. 
'Hamilton, Reminiicenccs, 215. 
»!• A. Hamilton to Van Buren, February 23, 1829; Van Buren Mss. 


was the only appointee whom he had heard mentioned before- 
hand for the cabinet/ McLane advised him directly to have 
nothing to do with the administration, and in Washington, other 
friends spoke to the same effect. Lewis was uneasy lest Van 
Buren's assent be withdrawn, and assured J. A. Hamilton that Van 
Buren was not out of favor. Jackson was somewhat concerned 
till assured that the New Yorker would accept. Lewis summed 
up the situation in saying: "It is a Cabinet which is decidedly 
favorable to Van Buren. He has not a more devoted friend than 
Eaton, and Branch is the same." "Be assured Calhoun is dis- 
appointed," adds Hamilton, "and he now hopes that Jackson 
may be thrown into his arms by your refusal."' 

This ebullition served to draw the line between the specific 
Jackson faction, and the old controlling force in the repub- 
lican party. It also aroused Jackson's resentment against the 
Virginians and anti-tariff South Carolinians. It was not a 
serious affair; and Cambreleng estimated it rightly when he 
wrote to Van Buren, March ist: 

The short and long of the matter is this — The democrats 
are all not only satisfied but gratified with the cabinet, while 
the whole federal phalanx is shocked at the idea that the plebeian 
race should have the ascendency in the councils of the President. 
The cabinet is infinitely better for harmony, for all practical 
purposes, for the interest of New York, and for the country than 
it would have been if the treasury had been occupied by a gentle- 
man of the immoveable pertinacity of Mr. Cheves and the navy 
by the vanity and eccentricity of Mr. Tazewell. You would have 
had all leaders and no wheel-horses, and the first hill you reached 
would have upset you all. Murmurings are now pretty secret. 

But when Mrs. L , Mrs. H , Mrs. S , and Mrs. 

McL hold one of their caucuses, ye gods what a storm l' 

'Van Buren, Autobiography, I., 15, Van Buren Mss. 
2J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, February 21, 1S29, Van Buren Mss. 

'Cambreleng to Van Buran, March i, 1829; Van Buren Mss. Probably Mrs. Livingston, Mrs. Hayne. 
Mrs. Sargeant and Mrs. McLane. 


The prediction of Cambreleng proved correct. James Ham- 
ilton, jr., before a month passed, wrote that he was satisfied with 
the cabinet. He added with characteristic bluntness that he 
learned "that old venal Swiss Gallatin is fishing for France. I 
hope to God that the General will not disgrace himself by coun- 
tenancing the rapacity of this old vulture. . . . Thank God 
I want nothing for myself, as I would not give a damn 'to call 
the king my Brother."" 

Another echo of public opinion in South Carolina came from 
Dr. Thomas Cooper, long an extreme repubhcan and then presi- 
dent of the state university. Van Buren he wrote confidingly, 
was now the "master mover" at Washington, adding "take care 
to be so. You aspire to the succession: do not count on New 
England but look to the South and West: your great competitor 
will be Calhoun, but support of internal improvements will sink 
him unless he repudiates it. " Cooper closed by urging that South 
Carolina would secede if the tariff policy of the past was con- 
tinued. The letter shows how close Van Buren up to this time 
was to the nulhfiers, and how Httle they were associated as yet 
with Calhoun.' 

Before Jackson's administration fairly began, his cabinet 
lost one of its strongest men in the resignation of John McLean. 
It was with reluctance that he consented to remain postmaster- 
general, and his unwilhngness increased as the days went by. 
There was vacancy on the supreme court bench, and the day 
after the inauguration McLean expressed his willingness to take 
that instead of a cabinet position. The suggestion pleased Lewis 
and the Van Buren men, for it gave them a chance to remove a 
Calhoun supporter from the President's council; but they had 
to overcome one obstacle. W. T. Barry, the recently defeated 
Jackson candidate for governor of Kentucky, was slated for the 

»J. Hamilton, Jr., to Van Buren, March 25, 1829; Van Buren Mss. 
Thomas Cooper to Van Buren, March 24, 1829, Vs 1 Buren Mss. 


court vacancy and it was proposed that he should exchange 
places with McLean. The Jackson supporters from that state 
opposed Barry's elevation to the bench because he was of the 
relief party in Kentucky politics/ but with some difficulty they 
were brought to consent to his nomination. They must now be 
induced to consent to place him in a still higher position, and 
the appointing council realized that it was difficult. J. A. 
Hamilton undertook to convince one of them, T. P. Moore, of 
Kentucky, taking him before breakfast, because, as he said, a 
man is not so proud when his stomach is empty. The result 
justified the tactics, but it is not certain whether it was the hour 
of approach or some intimation of the appointment as minister 
to Columbia, which Moore later received, that worked his con- 
version. "Calhoun," says Hamilton in reporting the affair to 
his leader. Van Buren, "is cut up by this measure, as is very 
manifest. He begins to feel that there is an influence beyond 
that he can hope to exercise." Branch, Eaton, and Berrien 
were opposed to the change because they thought it would weaken 
the cabinet.' They were right: Barry was in no sense fitted for 
the position, and through his inefficiency the post-office came into 
great confusion. 

In actual operation, the cabinet proved better than was ex- 
pected, partly on account of the superior administrative abihty 
of the secretary of state and partly because it existed during 
quiet times. Ingham succeeded in the treasury at a time when 
there were no financial difficulties. Eaton made a good secre- 
tary of war when the only business of his department related to 
Indians, and Branch made no mistakes in managing a navy which 
could hardly be said to exist. McLane hesitated to become 
attorney-general because, as was said, he feared to encounter 

»The relief party favored the relief of debtors, opposed the United States Bank, and advocated the 
overthrow of the old courts which declared their measures unconstitutional. See Sumner, Life of Jack- 
son, Chap. VI. 

»J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, February 27. and March 6 (2), 1829, Van Buren Mss. 


at the bar Webster and Wirt/ but Berrien, a weaker man took 
the office without fear, and was lucky enough to survive. Barry 
alone fell into positive disgrace through mismanagement. The 
reorganization of the cabinet two years after it was appointed 
may, however, have saved other departments from misfortune. 

These events mark the last stage in the disintegration of the 
Virginia hegemony. A new combination was formed in which 
the West and Southwest were the controlling force, and that 
region took two places in the cabinet. The two extremes of 
the old combination. New York and Georgia, were bound to the 
new by the gift of two cabinet positions, and another symbolized 
the loyalty of Pennsylvania. The old slave states could not be 
ignored, but here the representation went to North Carolina. 
This large but unaggressive state had generally followed Vir- 
ginia's leadership, and it was good policy to cut it away from the 
old alliance, which was thus shorn of influence at every point. 
The proud old state accepted the situation with as good grace 
as possible. The announcement of her humiliation produced 
astonishment in Richmond, and "it required," said Stevenson, 
"all our skill and prudence to quiet" the people.' 

But the task of rebumishing the state's prestige was better 
assigned to Ritchie, whom the picturesque Randolph called with 
some exaggeration "the Janus-faced editor of the Richmond 
Enquirer, who has contrived to keep in with every administration, 
save the short reign of John Adams, the second, and then he kept 
an anchor out to windward for Henry Clay.'" Ritchie wrote 
to Editor Noah, of New York, co-worker m the cause of 

I am deeply sensible of the compliment you pay to the prin- 
ciples of Virginia. But I have no idea that the sceptre will come 

»Verplanck to Van Buren, December 6, 1828, Van Buren Mss. 
>A. Stevenson to Van Buren, April 19, 1829, Van Buren Mss. 
•Colton, PrivaU Correspondence of Henry Clay, 363. 


round to her, for several years to come. We are content to be 
without it; and even without any hand In the administration. 
If General Jackson can do better elsewhere be it so; but we shall 
not, on this account, be less anxious to support the administra- 
tion of the man we have supported, if he guides his course by 
liberal and enhghtened principles. I pledge you my honor that 
all the Uttle hints you may have seen in the coalition prints about 
the discontent and disaffection of Virginia are utterly false and 

As for the future, said Ritchie, all his hopes were in Van Buren, 
in whose " tact, sagacity, and knowledge of mankind, temper and 
admirable talents" he had confidence. "But all these will be 
of little avail unless he has the courage to tell General Jackson 
the truth. Some of his friends have doubts on this respect. I 
confess I have none ... If you should see Mr. Van Buren, be 
so good as to present this subject in the most striking way you 
see best."' 

The only gUmpses we get of the inner working of the circle 
which coDsidered the cabinet appointments indicates that Jack- 
son was the final appeal in the selections. Thus, Hamilton 
in one letter says that Jackson and White are going to ride and 
he thinks much will be settled on the ride. He was a man diffi- 
cult to move when his mind was made up; but he was ap- 
proachable to influence before he decided. Like most men of 
passion, his choice could be determined by some trifle of tem- 
per or accidental mood, and for this reason those who sought 
to direct his will were ever cautious about their manner of 

Cabinet-making was soon forgotten in the delights of the in- 
auguration. Ten thousand visitors crowded Washington to 
see their favorite take the oath-of office. "I never saw such a 
crowd before," said Webster. "Persons have come five hun- 

'Ritchit to Noah, Maicb 15, xSzg; Van Buren Mas. 


dred miles to see General Jackson, and they really seem to think 
that the country is rescued from dreadful danger." 
r~ March 4th was a sunny day with a suggestion of spring. "By 
ten o'clock," says an eye-witness who was not a Jacksonian, 
"the Avenue was crowded with carriages of every descrip- 
tion, from the splendid Baronet and coach, down to wagons 
and carts, filled with women and children, some in finery and 
some in rags, for it was the people's President; the men all 

Before noon the steps, porticos, the surrounding terraces, and 
the large enclosed yard to the east of the capitol were alive with 
humanity. Francis Scott Key, long used to great spectacles, 
looked on from the gate of the yard and exclaimed, "It is 
beautiful, it is sublime!" At length persons on the west front, 
looking down Pennsylvania Avenue, the view of which was then 
not obstructed by the trees in the grounds, saw a small company, 
approaching on foot. All wore their hats but a tall gentleman 
in the middle, whose erect figure and white head were recognized 
as Jackson's. The procession followed the avenue up the hill on 
the south side of the capitol, and crowds rushed thither to 
get a view of the hero. "There, there, that is he," exclaimed 
some, "he with the white head." "Ah," murmured others, 
"there is the old man and his gray hair, there is the old veteran, 
there is Jackson!" Through such eager, pressing crowds he 
passed slowly into the capitol. 

On the east front the crowd awaited the taking of the oath and 
after that the address. On the portico was a table covered with 
a red cloth, behind it, the closed door from the rotunda. The 
portico and the steps were filled with ladies in gay colors, the 
groimd was covered with the expectant multitude, "not a ragged 
mob, but well dressed and well behaved, respectable and worthy 
citizens." At length the door behind the table opened. Out 
came the marshals, the judges of the supreme court, and behind 


them, the white-haired Jackson. He bowed gravely to the peo- 
ple, who responded with a great shout in unison. Then came the 
inaugural address, read in a low voice, which many strained their 
ears in vain to hear. Then the oath was administered by the 
chief justice, the aged Marshall, whose Hfe was a protest against 
the political views of the Jackson party, and an attendant 
presented the Bible. Taking it in his hands, the President kissed 
it, laid it down reverently, and bowed again to the people. At 
this his admirers, no longer restrained, rushed past the officials 
up the steps and seized his hand to congratulate him. With 
difficulty, he pushed through the throng to a gate, at which 
his horse awaited him. Here he managed to mount and set off 
for the White House followed by a promiscuous multitude in 
carriages, in carts, on horseback, and afoot. "Countrymen, 
farmers, gentlemen, mounted and dismounted, boys, women 
and children, black and white" were in the train. 

At the Mansion, refreshments had been provided for a large 
number of ladies and gentlemen; but there were no police ar- 
rangements to preserve order and the rabble rushed in with the 
better class of people. They crowded around the President un- 
til he was only saved from bodily harm by some gentlemen, 
who made a circle in front of him and kept back the intruders 
by main force. He shook hands with the curious until at last 
he was glad to escape by a side entrance to his lodgings at 
Gadsby's hotel. The rabble fell on the refreshments, jostling the 
waiters as they appeared at the doors, breaking the china and 
glassware, standing in muddy boots on damask covered chairs, 
spoiling the carpets, and creating such a press that it was no 
longer possible for those on the inside to escape by the doors. 
The windows were used for exits for the suffocating masses. 
Mrs. Smith, who visited the place after three in the afternoon, 
found the President gone and the parlors in possession of "a 
rabble, a mob of boys, Negroes, women, children, scrambling. 


fighting, romping. " Several thousand dollars' worth of broken 
china and cut glass and many bleeding noses attested the fierce- 
ness of the struggle. Where the chaos would have ended is not 
to be determined had not some sagacious ones thought of the 
expedient of sending tubs of punch out to the lawn and thus 
turned aside a part of the incoming stream.' Among the guests 
was James Hamilton, Jr., the nuUifier, whose description of the 
scene is as follows: 

'It was a glorious day yesterday for the sovereigns, who as- 
sembled here to the amount of 15 or 20,000, who hailed the 
chief with the most enthusiastic applause, and greetings. 
The ceremony went off well, and the principal person ac- 
quitted himself with a grace and a 'composed dignity' which I 
never saw surpassed. The address itself is excellent, chaste, 
patriotic, sententious, and dignified. It says all that is necessary 
to say on such an occasion and exposes no weak flanks that it may 
be necessary [to] defend hereafter. As far as I have heard (al- 
though I confess I have not conversed with the ultra-tariff 
men), it has given universal satisfaction. It has a commendable 
brevity, the Hmits of which I hope in none of his state pap sis 
he will ever transcend. 

After the ceren^ony the old chief retired to the Palace where 
we had a regular SaturnaHa. The mob broke in, in thousands. 
Spirits black, yellow, and grey, poured in in one uninterrupted 
stream of mud and filth, among the throngs many subjects for 
the penitentiary and not the fewest among them where [sic] 
Mr. Mercer's tyros for Liberia. It would nave done Mr. Wilber- 
force's heart good to have seen a stout black wench eating in 
this free country a jelly with a gold spoon at the President's 
House. However, notwithstanding the row Demus kicked up 
the whole matter went off very well through the uise neglect 
of that great apostle of the "fierce democracy," the chairman of 
the central committee, which body corporate, so far from being 
defunct by the election of Old Hickory, seems now to have 

»This account is based on the narrative of Mrs. M. B. Smith, First Forty Years of WasMnglon Society 
(Hunt.Iiditjr), jjo-ajS. The quotations in th3 tast are from this work. 


gathered fresh vitality and has, I beHeve, even taken the old 
man under their parental guardianship.* 

The inaugural address which pleased Hamilton was not the 
one which Jackson brought with him to the capital. In the 
large collection of papers which the general left to posterity is a 
copy of the inaugural address in his own hand, and indorsed by 
him, "Rough Draft of the Inaugural Address." As an ex- 
pression of ideas, language, and political principles, it is the best 
outcome of the thinking of this remarkable self-made statesman 
and, in spite of its length, it deserves pubUcation. It reads: 

Fellow Citizens:— About to enter upon the duties to which 
as president of the United States, I have been called by the vol- 
untary suffrages of my country, I avail myself of this occasion to 
express the deep and heartfelt gratitude with which a testimonial 
of such distinguished favor has been received. To be elected 
under the circumstances which have marked the recent contest of 
opinion, to administer the affairs of a government deriving all its 
powers from the will of the people — a government whose vital 
principle is the right of the people to control its measures, and 
whose only object and glory are the equal happinesss and free- 
dom of all the members of the confederacy, cannot but penetrate 
me with the most powerful and mingled emotions of thanks, on 
the one hand, for the honor conferred on me, and on the other, 
of solemn apprehensions for the safety of the great and impor- 
tant interests committed to my charge. 

Under the weight of these emotions, unaided by any confi- 
dence inspired by past experience, or by any strength derived 
from the conscious possession of powers equal to the station, — I 
confess, fellow citizens, that I approach it with trembling re- 
luctance. But my country has willed it, and I obey, gathering 
hope from the reflection that the other branches of the Govern- 
ment with whom the constitutional will associates me, will 
yield those resources of Patriotism and intelligence by which 
the administration may be rendered useful, and the honor and 

ij. HAmiUoa, Jr., to Vw» Buren. March s. i8ao. Van Bureo Mss. 


independence of our widely extended republic guarded from en- 
croachment; but above all, trusting to the smiles of that over- 
ruling providence, "in the hollow of whose hand," is the destiny 
of nations, for that animation of common council and harmonis- 
ing effort, which shall enable us to steer the Bark of liberty 
through every difficulty. 

In the present stage of our history, it will not be expected of 
me on this occasion to enter into any detail of the first principles 
of our government. The atchievements of our fathers, our sub- 
sequent intercourse with each other, the various relations we 
have sustained with the other powers of the world, and our pres- 
ent attitude at home, exhibits the practical operations of these 
principles, all of which are comprised in the sovereignty of the 
people. This is the basis of our system, and to its security from 
violation and innovation must our practice and experience as a 
government be dedicated. To the administration of my illus- 
trious predecessors, I will be permitted to refer as mirors, not 
so much for the measures which may be demanded by the present 
state of the country, but as applications of the same principles to 
the various exigencies which have occurred in our history, and 
as shedding light upon those which may hereafter arise. It is 
thus the great moral race we are running, connects us with the 
past, and is tributary to the events which are to come : thus, that 
every period of our government is useful to that which follows, not 
as a source of principle, but as guides on that sacred fountain to 
which we must often go for the refreshment of our laws, and the 
invigoration of the public morals. It is from this source that 
we derive the means of congratulating ourselves upon the present 
free condition of our country, and build our hopes for its future 
safety. In fine, Fellow Citizens, this is the bulwark of our liber- 

Among the various and important duties that are confided 
to the President, there are none of more interest than that which 
requires the selection of his officers. The application of the laws, 
and the management of our relations with foreign powers, form 
the chief object of an Executive, and are as essential to the wel- 
fare of the union as the laws themselves. In the discharge of 
this trust it shall be my care to fill the various offices at the dis- 


posal of the Executive with individuals uniting as far as possible 
the qualifications of the head and heart, always recollecting that 
in a free government the demand for moral qualities should be 
made superior to that of talents. In other forms of government 
where the people are not regarded as composing the sovereign 
power, it is easy to perceive that the safeguard of the empire 
consists chiefly in the skill by which the monarch can wield the 
bigoted acquiescence of his Subjects. But it is different with 
us. Here the will of the people, prescribed in a constitution of 
their own choice controuls the service of the public functionaries, 
and is interested more deeply in the preservation of those qual- 
ities which ensures fidelity and honest devotion to their interests. 

Provisions for the national defense form another class of 
duties for the Representatives of the people, and as they stand 
in delicate connection with the powers of the general and State 
Governments when understood to embrace the protection of 
our own labour, merit the most serious consideration. Legis- 
lation for this object encouraging the production of those articles 
which are essential in the emergencies of war, and to the inde- 
pendence of the nation, seems to me to be sanctioned by the 
constitution as lawful and Just. The general safety was the 
great motive for the confederation of the States, and never would 
have been effected without conferring on the Federal Govern- 
ment the power to provide those internal supplies which consti- 
tute the means of war, and which if left to the ordinary oper- 
ations of commerce, might be witheld at a time when we most 
needed them. A Judicious Tariff imposing duties high enough 
to insure us against this calamity will always meet with my hearty 
cooperation. But beyond this point, legislation effecting the 
natural relation of the labour of the States are irreconcilable to 
the objects of the union, and threatening to its peace and tran- 

Recollecting that all the States are equal in sovereignty, 
and in claims to the benefits accruing from the confederation, 
upon the federal principle of providing by taxation for the wants 
of the Government, it seems Just that the expenditures should be 
distributed regard being first paid to the national debt, and the 
appropriations for the support of the Government, and safety 


of the union. The necessity of conforming more closely to this 
principle is illustrated by the dissatisfaction which the ex- 
penditures for the purposes of improvement has already created 
in several of the States. The operation of the principles, as 
fixed on this equitable basis, will give to the States the fiscal 
prosperity of the nation, and secure harmony by removing the 
grounds of jealousy. 

Between the powers granted to the general government, and 
those reserved to the States and the people, it is to be regretted 
that no line can be so obviously drawn as that all shall under- 
stand its boundaries. There will be a teritory between them, 
which must be governed by the good sense of a nation always 
ready to resist oppression, and too high minded to forget the 
rights of the minority. It is the inheritance of that sentiment 
of conciliation, and spirit of compromise which gave us the con- 
stitution, and which is to enable us in the progress of time to 
amend such defects in the system as experience may detect. 
Fully sensible of the necessity which I shall have for the exer- 
cise of this spirit on the part of my fellow citizens, I shall notice 
with pleasure an unreserved examination of the measures of my 
administration, and shaU be the last to cry out treason against 
those who interpret differently from myself the policy, or powers 
of the government. 

Some of the Topics which shall engage my earliest attention 
as intimately connected with the prosperity of our beloved coun- 
try, are, the liquidation of the national debt, the introduction 
and observance of the strictest economy in the disbursements 
of the Government, a Judicious tariff, combined with a foster- 
ing care of commerce and agriculture, and regulated by the prin- 
ciples before adverted to, a Just respect for State rights and the 
maintainence of State sovereignty as the best check of the 
tendencies to consolidation; and the distribution of the surplus 
revenue amongst the States according to the apportionment of 
representation, for the purposes of education and internal im- 
provement, except where the subjects are entirely national. 
With the accompHshment of these objects I trust the memorials 
of our national blessings may be multiplied, and the scenes of 
domestic labour be made more animating and happy. 


Among Jackson's papers there is ulso a manuscript endorsed 
in his own hands, " Inaugural Address as T)envered. " It is in 
the hand of a copyist and on a pecuhar large sheet of foolscap 
like that of the "Rough Draft." A third copy also is found in 
the same collection, tied together with ribbon, written on one 
side of an ordinary sheet, and evidently that from which Jackson 
read. Now the interest of this is that the three copies are all 
different. They seem to represent three stages in the prepara- 
tion of the document. The "rough draft" was Jackson's own, 
the second copy, or the "address as delivered," was the result 
of consultation with his friends at the "Hermitage," and the 
third copy, or the copy with the ribbon, was that which sur- 
vived after it was inspected by his friends in Washington, and 
from which he actually read. It is like the copy in The Messages 
and Papers of the President. 

The second copy, much unlike the first, differed from the third in 
several respects, the most important being that where the seventh 
paragraph of the printed address, the third copy, deals with inter- 
nal improvements it merely says that they and the diffusion of 
knowledge are important and should be encouraged. The second 
copy, evidently the one brought from Tennessee with the intention 
of delivering it, gives this paragraph and adds the following: 

After liquidating the national debt, the national income will 
probably exceed the ordinary expenses of government, in which 
event, the apportionment of the surplus revenue among the 
states according to the ratio of their representation for these 
purposes, will be a fair, federal, and a useful disposition of it. 
Every member of the Union, in peace and in war, will be bene- 
fitted by the improvement of our inland navigation, and the 
construction of highways in the several states. And the Repre- 
sentative principle, upon the virtue of which our state and federal 
governments are founded, can reach its maximum value, only by 
a wide and efficacious diffusion of instruction — knowledge and 
power being in this respect coexistent qualities. 


It is not too much to suppose that this paragraph was cut out 
after his arrival in Washington. The tenth paragraph of the 
third draft must have been added in the capital, since it does 
not appear in the second copy. It relates to the reform of the 
patronage. There is in none of the copies an allusion to the 
United States Bank, which is remarkable, since Jackson five 
years later made a contradictory statement in reply to a question 
from Polk. He said: 

The President with his respects replies to Colonel Polk, 
that he understood him correctly, that the original draft of his 
inaugural address was made at the Hermitage, that his views of 
the United States Bank were incorporated in it, and also his views 
of the surplus funds that might casually arise in the treasury. 
These two paragraphs were by the advice of his friends here, 
both left out of the inaugural address, and were both introduced 
into his next annual message. It was thought that both these 
topics were better suited to an annual message, than an inaugural 
address, and thus you, if necessary, may use it. Every one that 
knows me, does know, that I have been always opposed to the 
U. States Bank, nay all Banks.' 

Unless there was a copy of the address which is not preserved, 
we must conclude that Jackson's memory played him a trick in 
regard to the bank matter. Washington gossip in 183 1 said his 
memory was bad.' 

The address delivered is easily accessible to the reader. It 
contained the usual expression of respect for the presidency, and 
promised to protect the rights of the states, to practise economy, 
and to try to pay the national debt. It gave a cautious ap- 
proval to a tariff which would "equally favor" agriculture, 
commerce, and manufactures, except that special encouragement 
should be given to the production of articles " essential to our 

»See Polk to Jackson, December 23, 1833, Polk Papers, Library of Congress. On the back of this letter 
Jackson writes the above. 
'Mrs.^M. B. Smith, First Forty Years 0/ Washington Society (Hunt, Editor), 320. 


national independence. " It pronounced internal improvements 
and the diffusion of knowledge " of high importance" ; it promised 
not to increase the army, but to keep it and the navy at their 
existing state of eflSciency; and it praised a patriotic and well 
organized mihtia as an "impenetrable aegis" which in spite of 
imperfections would protect us from foreign foes. It announced 
a just and liberal policy toward the Indians, undertook to re- 
form abuses of the patronage, and closed by invoking Divine 
assistance for all his efforts. It was, as Hamilton, of South 
Carolina, said, a satisfactory address, dignified enough and not 
likely to arouse the opposition of any important section of public 

The impression was general at the time that Jackson did not 
write the address. Adams thought it was by Henry Lee, and 
Col. J. A. Hamilton says he had much to do with it in Wash- 
ington. This impression was connected with the feeling that 
Jackson could not write such a paper as appeared in print. But 
his opponents were apt to underestimate his ability. The rough 
draft, or first copy, which has survived and was undoubtedly 
his own work, indicates that he could write a very good paper. 
The changes subsequently made by the advice of his friends were 
made for reasons of poUtical expediency. 

The first weeks of the administration were full of doubts. 
The persistence and crude manners of the ofl&ce-seekers filling 
the hotels and pubHc buildings seemed to show a deterioration 
in pubHc life. Persons who did not get a cabinet position did not 
conceal their disappointment; and less interested observers be- 
gan to shake their heads, while the Adams-Clay opposition glee- 
fully declared that the victors were discredited in the very be- 
ginning. No man then in the administration could check this 
tendency to confusion, Jackson least of all, whose daily com- 
panions were Eaton and Lewis, themselves leaders of the forces 

•Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 436. 


of devastation. So great was the danger that even R. M. 
Johnson, of Kentucky, on his way home, wrote to urge the Presi- 
dent to dismiss his unofficial advisers, adding that people said 
Jackson needed no organized committee to sustain him or en- 
lighten his councils.' From this situation, Van Buren's quiet 
dexterity probably saved the government. He alone of the 
cabinet had the confidence of the older politicians, he alone could 
remove from administration circles the appearance of social 
crudeness, and he alone had the address to bind up the wounds 
of disappointed leaders, satisfying them with some of the higher 
diplomatic positions not yet assigned. 

Van Buren left Albany for Washington late in March. In 
New York he met Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, who had 
been urged in vain for cabinet position as the representative of 
New England. He was disappointed and talked freely about 
affairs at the capital. At Philadelphia, the traveler encountered 
Edward Livingston, who had no cause for dissatisfaction; for he 
was first offered a seat in the cabinet and refusing that was offered 
the ministry to France, of all places the one he most wanted. 
Yet Livingston and his wife were full of forebodings, complain- 
ing especially of the lack of social dignity in the White House. 
They could not foresee, said Van Buren, that Jackson's receptions 
would eventually become as elaborate, brilliant, and popular as 
those of any of his predecessors. Continuing his journey the 
secretary met at New Castle, Del., the disappointed McLane, 
from whom came the same doleful tale. From Washington 
came the same story in a large number of letters from personal 
admirers who did not like the looks of things, and some of whom- 
advised him not to become secretary of state. 

Van Buren reached Washington in the evening. His carriage 
was hardly at the hotel before he v/as surrounded by candidates 
for office. They followed him to his room, where he lay on a sofa 

*Johnson to Jackson, March 9, 1839, Jackson Mss. 


and said he would call on the President in an hour but would 
hear their claims in the interim. At last he set out for the 
White House, and his own account of his reception gives us an 
excellent picture of the lonely occupant of the mansion. He 
says: ^-'^ 

A solitary lamp in the vestibule and a single candle in the 
President's office gave no promise of the cordiality with which 
I was, notwithstanding, greeted by Genl. Jackson on my visit 
to the White House. I found no one with him except his in- 
timate friend, Major Lew^s. His health was poor, and his 
spirits depressed as well by his recent bereavement of his wife, as 
by the trials of personal and political friendship which he had 
been obliged to encounter in the organization of his cabinet. 
This was our first meeting as political friends, and it was certainly 
a peculiar feature of that interview and no insignificant illus- 
tration of his nature that he received w'th most affectionate eager- 
ness at the very threshold of his administration the individual 
des lined to occupy the first place in his confidence, of whose 
character his only opportunities to learn anything by personal 
observation had been presented during periods of active political 
hostility. He soon noticed my exhaustion from sickness and 
travel and, considerately postponing all business to an appointed 
hour next day, recommended me to my bed. From that night 
to the day of his death, relations, sometimes official, always 
political and personal, were inviolably maintained between that 
noble old man and myself, the cordial and confidential character 
of which can never have been surpassed among public men.' 

A^an Buren does not overstate the matter. The two men first 
met, but in a purely formal manner, in the winter of 1815-1816. 
They next saw one another when the elder became senator from 
Tennessee in 1823. They discovered then that they agreed in 
principles but were opposed in personal feelings. In 18 19 
Jackson visited New York and gave a toast at a Tammany dinner 
in honor of Clinton. He was largely prompted to this by his dis- 

«Van Buren, Autobioeraphy, I., ii-is, Van Buren Mss. 


like of Crawford, whom Clinton opposed; but the affair offended 
Van Buren, Crawford leader in the state. After Jackson retired 
from the senate in 1825, no communication passed between 
him and the New Yorker, except one letter introducing a friend 
and one or two others of a formal nature/ The interview at 
Washington was, therefore, Hterally the beginning of the inti- 
macy of the two men. Van Buren intimates that the relation de- 
veloped rapidly, that it sprang out of Jackson's spontaneous 
feehng and was returned at once by its object. The statement 
may well be true. Affliction left him isolated; he was too strong 
by nature to be satisfied with the political wisdom of men like 
Lewis and Eaton and turned to the ready sense of the secre- 
tary of state. He found in him a certainty of purpose and judg- 
ment which relieved his own inexperience while it satisfied the 
friends of the administration. 

The first business between the two men referred to diplo- 
matic appointments. Jackson admitted that he had made a 
mistake in offering Tazewell the mission to England and Liv- 
ingston that to France. Van Buren as frankly replied that if he 
had been consulted, he would not have made the offers. Each 
position involved much work on incomplete diplomatic business 
and young men, he thought, ought to be sent to fill them. Since 
the offers were made it was believed that nothing could be done 
to withdraw them, but it was decided to urge each to hasten his 
departure, a course which solved the difficulty; for when Taze- 
well and Livingston found they were expected to set out at once 
they both declined. At this interview Jackson asked the secre- 
tary to suggest a minister to Spain. The latter mentioned the 
name of Woodbury, and the President, wiUing to conciliate 
New England, adopted the suggestion. But Woodbury, after 
much hesitation, also declined. 

When Tazewell declined, Berrien, the^ new attorney-general, 

•Van Buren, Autobiography, I., 16-71 


was suggested for the English mission; and Jackson, pleased 
with the idea, made the offer.* It was considered certain that the 
tender would be accepted; and Van Buren seized the opportunity 
to satisfy the federalists and the disappointed South CaroHnians 
by offering the attorney-generalship to McLane, who gladly 
assented. But here, much to the surprise of all, Berrien announced 
that he would remain in the cabinet, and McLane, his pride some- 
what hurt, consented to go to England. It was arranged, how- 
ever, that if there should be a vacancy on the supreme court 
bench McLane should be recalled to take it. He was a man 
of ability, but possessed of an unsteady ambition which was 
destined to limit his ultimate success.' His wife was a brilhant 
social leader in the capital, and it was supposed that his eager- 
ness to enter the cabinet was partly due to her influence. 

When Livingston refused the mission to France on account 
of the condition of his private affairs. Van Buren saw in it an 
opportunity to soothe Virginia. He selected for the place, W. 
C. Rives, who accepted. He was of the younger school of his 
state's leaders and filled Van Buren's ideal, that to endure the 
rebuffs of the French ministry and persistently follow until they 
would settle our claims, it was necessary to have an agent in 
Paris who had a career to make, not one who would feel disposed 
to rest on his laurels rather than subject his dignity to the slights 
of an indifferent government. The appointment justified this 
expectation. Rives took up the task required of him with as- 
siduity and by his insistence forced the French ministry to come 
to an agreement as to our claims, although it took the threats of 
Jackson at a later day to make them actually pay over the 

Having thus smoothed out the political situation. Van Buren 
turned to the condition of official society, which was much 

•Lyttleton Tatewell to Jackson, March «o, iSjg; Jackson Mss. 
•Van Buren. Autobiography, I., 47-56. Van Buren Mss. 
'See below, Chapter XXX. 


disturbed by the lack of prestige on the part of the Tennessee 
group. He says that when a senator he came, "as a brother 
Dutchman" into close friendship with Baron Huygens, minister 
from Holland, and with Sir Charles Vaughn, the EngHsh minister. 
Relying on these to help him, he invited all the diplomatic corps 
to meet him at the White House to be presented to the President. 
He then told Jackson that in an informal interview these two 
diplomats had expressed the opinion that if, in the coming pre- 
sentation, the assurances of the inaugural address were repeated 
it would enable the ministers to make such reports as would have 
good effect at home. The secretary, therefore, advised the 
President not to make a formal address but to say that he stood 
by the inaugural, that he desired peace with all the world, that 
he had no prejudices nor predilections among foreign nations, and 
that he should try to advance his own nation through unselfish 
and frank negotiations. The reader will observe that these 
suggestions went further than the inaugural; but Jackson fol- 
lowed them, delivering himself, as Van Buren says, in his "in- 
variably happy and expressive manner." The diplomats were 
well pleased. A shprt time afterward, they were invited to a 
dinner which was served in a creditable manner and at which 
"the simple yet kindly, old fashioned manners of the host" 
surprised and captivated the guests. And thus, says our in- 
formant, the anxiety of these foreign gentlemen was relieved and 
their prejudices softened "by the most approved diplomatic 
machinery."' Moreover, when it was known in Washington 
that the diplomats were pleased, popular apprehensions were 
lessened. Thus the first weeks of the administration passed 
without calamity and with some degree of success. 

iVaa Buren, Autobiography, I., 68-70, Van Buren Mss. 


Jackson's appointments to office 

The power the President gets from appointing the administra- 
tive officials puts a severe test on his judgment. Neither the 
constitution nor the laws provided any other means of determin- 
ing the capacity of the appointee than the will of the appointer; 
but as party developed the choice became less a spontaneous act 
of the President and more an expression of partisan feehng. 

Under Jackson the poUtical party achieved a new stage in its 
development. It took a more popular basis and evolved the 
nominating convention as a means of expressing its will in one 
important phase of its activity. The party thus gained in self- 
expression. It took greater control over its leaders and forced 
them to follow in some degree its wishes in making appointments. 
This process is seen in Monroe's administration; it was resisted 
by Adams with results unfavorable to his popularity; it found 
its full opportunity under Jackson. The last-mentioned Pres- 
ident did not create the spoils system: it came with new condi- 
tions. His responsibility was that he did not oppose but approved 
it through his sympathy with the new party ideals. 

It is difficult to determine on what principle the early Presi- 
dents arrived at their estimate of an applicant's fitness for office. 
The recommendation of friends probably had much weight and 
party lines were usually followed. Thus, Washington in the 
beginning of his administration selected most of his subordi- 
nates from persons who had favored the adoption of the consti- 
tution. In Rhode Island and North Carolina, the two states 
which entered the union after it was formed, the customs officers 



were anti-federalists in accord with prevailing state politics. 
Washington appointed the large majority of their successors 
from the federalists.' If it should be said in extenuation that he 
beHeved the union would be safe only in the hands of officers 
loyal to its estabhshment, it would be pertinent to say in reply 
that this is the ordinary justification of party appointments. 

When Jefferson became President he found the offices full of 
federahsts. He proposed to appoint repubUcans until they 
equaled their opponents, but with the disappearance of the 
federalist party all the civil service was filled with repubhcans. 
With a design of building up his own support, Monroe announced 
what he called an "amalgamation policy," selecting officers 
from both sides. This displeased those who believed themselves 
the genuine representatives of republicanism. Later these 
were mostly Crawfordites and carried their feeling for party 
appointments into the larger Jackson party which was formed 
after the election of 1824. Partisanship, therefore, was never 
quite absent from the choice of officials before 1829. 

On the other hand, personal favor and various other reasons 
than fitness for the office decided the selection within party 
fines. Sometimes women in Washington sought office for their 
friends: for some applicants poverty, or a large family, or kinship 
with a man of prominence, or the favor of an ex-President were 
made grounds for appointment. A letter from Monroe to Jack- 
son, 1 82 1, in regard to the new officials selected for Florida has 
this interesting statement: 

Mr. Alexander Scott,of Maryland,is appointed to the Collector 
of the Customs, Mr. Steuben Smith, of New York, Naval officer, 
Mr. Hackley, of Virginia, Surveyor, and Mr. Baker, of this 
place. Inspector of Pensacola. The first mentioned is a man 
of considerable Hterary acquirements and strict integrity, well 
connected in his State. The second is the son of Col. Wm. 

»Fish, The Civil Service and Patronaee, 11-13. 


Smith, who was Aide-de-camp to General Washington in the 
revolutionary war, and afterwards Secretary of Legation at 
London, where he married the daughter of Mr. Adams, former 
President. He is the nephew of the present Secretary of State, 
and his wife is the sister of Mr. Adams. Of Mr. Hackley you 
may have heard in Spain, his wife is the sister of Governor 
Randolph of Virginia, and Mr. Madison and others, our friends, 
have strongly recommended him to me. As these persons are, 
I believe, literally poor, as is indeed, Mr. Baker, who was formerly 
consul in Spain and Italy, and in whose favor Mr. Jefferson takes 
an interest, I wish you to place them, if possible, in some of the 
pubUc buildings, of which I presume there are some not necessary 
for your own accommodation. It is I beUeve customary for 
the revenue officers to be thus provided, wherever it is practi- 
cable, and in no instances can such provision be more important, 
or indispensable to the parties than the present.' 

Monroe does not avow personal reasons for the choice of all 
the officials in Florida, but the frank reference to them here 
seems to indicate that such reasons were not unusual in his mind. 
The idea is supported in the following extract from a letter by 
Mrs. Margaret Bayard Smith: 

I have tried and other friends have tried, to procure a clerk- 
ship for him.' Mrs. Porter did her best and I used all manner 
of persuasion and argument with the kind, good natured secty. 
of War.— "My dear Madam, what am I to do? When we 
ask Congress for more Clerks in the Dept and tell them the 
present number is insufl&cient for the duties of the offices, the 
reply is, If you continue to fill the offices with old men, no number 
will be sufficient. Get young men and fewer will answer and 
the work be better done. This is too true, the public benefit 
is sacrificed to private interest and charity. The Departments 
are literally overstocked with old, inefficient clerks. I cannot 
serve your friend, consistently with duty.'*' 


iMonroe, Writings, VI., 183. 

•The reference is to a relative of her husband. Rush was secretary oi war. 

»F»>*< Forty Years of WaiMntton Society (Hunt, Editor), 3^6. 


In another connection Rush spoke of the war department as 
the "octogenarian department." ' 

The old method of appointment made possible, and by this 
evidence it actually created, inefhciency in office. Jefferson 
made many removals which were really political, but he usually 
managed to find some other reason to justify his action.' The 
party once established in power, removals were infrequent; 
political reasons ceased to act; and it was so hard to prove 
a charge of inefficiency that it was rarely attempted. Moreover, 
there v/as a prevalent notion that office was properly a safe 
refuge for deserving old men who had served the public. These 
difficulties gave a strong reason for passing the Four Years' Law 
of 1820. Crawford probably wrote the bill, and he undoubtedly 
supported it. For tenure during good behavior of a large number 
of officers who handled the revenues, chieHy in the treasury 
department, was now substituted a four years' term. By leaving 
incumbents subject to reappointment the secretary was able to 
control their action, if he chose to do so.' It is possible that 
Crawford favored the law for its bearing on his coming canvass 
for the presidency, but it is not clear that he did so ; for the 
chief support of the theory is the diary of John Quincy Adams, 
not always rehable when dealing with one of the diarists' political 
rivals. Apart from any such purpose, the bill made removals 
of inefficients easy, but it applied to only a portion of the officials. 

The overthrow of the caucus, like everything else that gave 
the political party a more popular basis, tended to the spoils 
system. Under the caucus the member of congress had a feel- 
ing of proprietorship in the offices. He freely asked for them 
for himself and for his friends. Under the later system, he lost 
his controlling influence with the appointing power and with 
the growth of democracy looked more carefully to the will of his 

>Colton, Private Correspondence of Clay, 188. 
•Fish, The Civil Service and Patronage, 42. 
*Ibid, 66-70. 


constituents. That will was now embodied in the demands of 
political lieutenants and supporting editors, the persons who are 
ever at the bottom of demands for party rewards. They were the 
class that supplied the office-seekers: they felt that reward for 
loyal service was theirs by right. 

The conviction that the public service suffered from favoritism 
and inefficiency and the growth of democratic party organization 
were two reasons for the development of the spoils system. 
A third was the belief in rotation in office. Long terms seemed 
to favor the creation of an official aristocracy and to produce 
an official class who were indifferent to popular approval. More 
than all else, party lieutenants believed that the rewards of party 
fidelity ought to be distributed among the workers with approx- 
imate equality. When the system was logically developed, 
rotation in office would apply within party lines as well as without. 

Partisan appointments have long existed in English-speaking 
countries. They were used in the colonies to support the crown 
influence, and after the revolution many states saw them adopted 
to support party power. But they took their earliest and most 
complete development in New York, where the people from an 
early period were used to Httle local self-government. A large 
number of militia and civil offices were appointive — in 182 1 there 
were over 8000 of the former and 6,663 of the latter — and the 
first state constitution created a council of appointment, consist- 
ing of four members and the governor, who were to fill this large 
number of places. From 1777 to 1795 and from 1801 to 1804 
George CUnton was governor, and his own rule was merged so 
completely and quietly into that of his nephew, De Witt Clinton, 
that it may be said to have persisted till the death of the latter 
in 1828. These two men built up by skilful management of the 
appointments a devoted party, in most respects like the modern 
political "machine." Their example was imitated by others; 
and although in 1821 the number of appointive offices was greatly 


reduced and the council of appointment abolished, the spoils 
system remained a firm characteristic of party life. To control 
the many poUtical subordinates and to direct them efi&ciently in 
the elections there now came into existence a small central 
group of party leaders called the "Albany Regency," at the head 
of which, in the period of which we are speaking, was Martin 
Van Buren.' 

New York was not alone in the development of partisan 
appointments. Pennsylvania has been pronounced as bad, 
and the evil was not unknown in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, 
and Massachusetts. The aristocratic caste of Southern society 
was not favorable to rotation in ofhce, but in the West, which 
was dedicated to social equality, rotation was demanded as 
necessary to democracy, and politicians there were alive to the 
opportunity of turning it toward an effective system of party 

Thus we see that by 1824 the spoils system was established 
in many of the states and was in fair way to be adopted in the 
national government, had not President Adams intervened. He 
would lend himself in no manner to the introduction of the 
system. His appointments took no partisan nature, nor would 
he remove an official because he took part in politics. He was 
so rigid that he won the disapproval of not only his more selfish 
followers but his most intelHgent and liberal supporters. Ed- 
ward Everett, a fair representative of the latter class, declared 
in 1828: 

We both probably know cases — I certainly do — of incum- 
bents, who have actually become hostile, on the calculation that 
they are safe now, and can make themselves so, in the contin- 
gency of a change. For an Administration then to bestow its 
patronage, without distinction of party, is to court its own de- 

«Fish, Tke Civil Sendee and Patronase, 86-91. 
*Hnd, 02-103. 


struction. I think, therefore, that Fidelity to itself requires, 
that every Administration should have the benefit of the cordial 
cooperation of all its members. It cannot be supposed, consider- 
mg how nearly equal the parties are in numbers, that there are 
not good men, for any and every service, on the side of the 
Administration. And tho' I would apply the general rule, with 
the greatest possible lenity, in the individual case, yet the rule 
ought to be, that, other things being equal, the friends of the 
Administration sh'd have the preference. Our present chief 
magistrate made the experiment of the higher principle, of 
exclusive regard to merit; and what has been his reward? A most 
furious opposition, rallied on the charge of the corrupt distri- 
bution of office, and the open or secret hostiUty of three-fourths 
of the office-holders in the Union.' 

Everett's sense of the drift of political opinion was correct. The 
country was turning toward a new doctrine, and Adams's attempt 
to hold it back was futile. 

It was well known during the campaign that Jackson would 
favor partisan appointments. His strong and oft repeated 
charge that the offices were filled with inefficient and corrupt 
men was but laying a basis for removals. Leading Jackson 
papers said he would, if elected, remove all who deserved it. 
General Harrison was heard to say he would not support him 
if he did not beheve Jackson would, the day he arrived at Wash- 
ington and without the formaUty of a trial, hand up every rascal 
of them.' So strong was the expectation among the followers 
of the general that Everett thought Jackson could not be elected 
if he were now to avow the sentiments in the Monroe letter of 

It is too much to expect absolute consistency of a statesman. 
In 1798 Jackson characterized a proposition to fill the offices 

'Everett to John McLoao, August i, i8a8. Proceedinfs of the Uassachusttts Historical Society, February 
(908, 361. 

mid to Ibid, Aujuit x8, i8s8, IHd, st- 
*Ibid, 376. 


with federalists as an " insolent attack ' ' on liberty. ' He probably 
merely expressed a temporary feeling of resentment against 
his opponents; for when later in the same year he resigned his 
seat in the senate to become judge, his new appointment and that 
of his successor were made strictly on party lines, and without 
objection on his part.' The apparent Hberality in the Monroe 
letter, 1816, may be explained on the ground of his strong mili- 
tary feeling. He was chiefly concerned that federalists who 
fought in the war should be considered in the appointments, 
and we must not forget that to Lewis's embeUishing hand we 
owe some of the strongest expressions in the letter. 

As a soldier he would be pleased to lessen party spirit which 
would prevent a national cooperation in resenting the foreign 
wrongs. It was a worthy ideal, but it did not deny the feel- 
ing that offices should be given to gentlemen who deserved to 
be taken care of for past services. He was disappointed when, 
as governor of Florida, he was not allowed to fill the subordinate 
offices there with friends and old military associates. In 18 18 
he recommended to Monroe the wishes of an old revolutionary 
soldier in words which explain his view at that time better than 
any words of the historian. He wrote: 

Colonel Sherburne, Chickasaw agent, requested me to name 
to you that he was wearied with his situation, of which I have 
no doubt; his age and former habits of life but little calculated 
him for happiness amidst a savage nation. But being dependent 
for the support of himself and sister on the perquisites of his 
office, he can not resign; but it would be a great accommodation 
to him to be transferred to Newport, should a vacancy in any 
office occur that he was competent to fill. I have no doubt 
but he is an aimable old man; and from his revolutionary services, 
I sincerely feel for him. He is unacquainted with Indians, 

•Jackson to Overton, January 22, 1798, a copy in the I/ibrary of Congress, original in Nashville, Tennessee. 
>WilIie Blount to Sevier, July 6 and August 13, I7g8, American Eistorical Magazine (NashviUe), V., 


and all business which relates to them; but at the treaty, as soon 
as he did understand our wishes and that of the government, 
he aided us with all his might. The colonel never can be happy 
amidst the Indians. It would afford me great pleasure to hear 
that the colonel was comfortably seated in an office in Newport, 
where he could spend his declining years in peace and happiness 
with his own countrymen and friends.* 

• One who could write thus in 1818 could not, consistently, 
criticise the administration ten years later for having the service 
full of old and inefficient men. 

So much was said about the abuse of the patronage during 
the campaign of 1828 that Jackson himself came to believe it 
and heard of election results with a grim determination to make 
changes. "I know the General is resolved," wrote Major 
Lewis, "on making a pretty general sweep of the departments. 
It is expected he will cleanse the Augean stables, and I feel pretty 
confident he will not disappoint the popular expectation in this 
particular. He is determined on making a radical change in 
the offices — on giving them a complete overhauling; and to do 
this effectually an almost entire new set must be put in." Lewis 
was then at Jackson's elbow and must have known his superior's 
private feeling in the matter. His opinion, also, is corroborated 
by J. A. Hamilton, who wrote Van Buren to the same purport 
on February 27.' And yet a clean sweep was not made. Some 
hand, it may have been Van Buren's,' intervened to secure 
moderation. A great many more removals, however, were made 
than at the beginning of any preceding administration, and this, 
with the prevalent apprehensive terror made the period remem- 
bered as a debauch of partisanship, a characterization it hardly 

>See Parton, L'Je uf Jackson, II., SJ6- 

'Lewis to J. A. Hamilton, December i», 182S; Hamilton to Van Buren, February 27, i8jg; 
Van Buren Mss. Also Jackson to Van Buren, March 31, 1S29, Jackson Mss. 
'Van Buren to Jackson, enclosing letter from Ritchie, March 31, 1829; Jackson Mss. 


For the distress of the ejected Jackson had wannest sym- 
pathy. " My feelings have been severely crowded by the various 
appHcations for relief," he wrote ten weeks after the inauguration, 
" . . . Would you believe it, that a lady who had once rolled 
in wealth, but whose husband was overtaken by misfortune and 
reduced to want, and is, and has been an appHcant for office, 
and well recommended, appHed to me with tears in her eyes, 
soliciting relief, assuring me that her children were starving, 
and to buy them a morsel of bread she had to sell her thimble 
the day before. An office I had not to give her, and my cash 
was nearly out, but I could not withold from her half of the 
pittance I had with me."* 

Much was said by the Jackson men before election about the 
corruption of the office-holders. They entered office themselves 
with the desire and expectation of finding much fraud. But 
search as they might, they could find only one wrong-doer, 
Tobias Watkins, fourth auditor. He was short in his accounts, 
and was indicted and sentenced to imprisonment. Jack- 
son ordered a label to be displayed over the door of the un- 
happy man's prison cell announcing that it led to the " Criminal 
Apartment." ' 

During the first weeks of the administration Washington 
was filled with gloomy tales of suffering among office-holders 
and office-seekers. Those who were in office trembled for their 
futures : those who sought positions displayed the most distressed 
conditions as a means of recommending themselves to the sym- 
pathy of the appointing power. Wherever one went were signs 
of woe. "We have not had leisure yet," said Jackson on May 
26th, "to make the necessary arrangements of reform. We are 
progressing, and such is the press for office, and the distress here, 
that there are for the place of messengers (for the Departments) 

'Jackson to Cryer, May 26, 1829, American Historical Magatine (NaihvUle), IV., 331, 
•Sumner, Life 0/ J ackson, {vtvised edition), 189. 


at least twenty applicants for each station, and many applicants 
who have been men of wealth and respectabiUty. Still if our 
friend Gwinn wishes to come on here, when we finally organize 
the Departments, and turn out the spies from our camp, I will 
preserve an office for him. But we are now having a thorough 
investigation into the situation of all Departments, and the 
inquiry will be made how many, if any, clerks can be dispensed 

The clamor of the pubhc did not deter Jackson, who wrote in 
his private journal some time between May 18 and June 23, 1829: 

There has been a great noise made about removals. This to 
be brought before Congress with the causes, with the propriety 
of passing a law vacating all offices periodically — then the good 
can be re-appointed, and the bad, defaulters, left out without 
murmurs. Now, every man who has been in office a few years, 
beUeves he has a life estate in it, a vested right, and if it has 
been held twenty years or upwards, not only a vested right, 
but that it ought to descend to his children, and if no chil- 
dren then the next of kin. This is not the principles of our 
government. It is rotation in office that will perpetuate our 

There can be no doubt that he acted from what be believed to 
be the best interests of the public, and our condemnation must 
fall on his capacity of forming a correct decision, rather than 
on his intention. A letter to Mrs. Pope, wife of a prominent 
Frankfort, Kentucky, supporter, who intervened to secure the 
retention of a postmaster, shows how rigorously he appreciated 
his duty. It also may help to show that the situation was less 
severe than has been supposed. He wrote: 

Your letter of the 30th ultimo has been received, and I 
embrace the first leisure moment since, to explain to you the 

reasons which produced the removal of Mr. H Acting 

upon the information contained in your first letter on the subject. 


I felt a pleasure in the supposition that he could be retained 
without violating a proper regard for the duties of my office, or 
for the opinion of the great body of the people interested in 
that which he filled. This pleasure I assure you, Lladam, was 
heightened by the respect which I entertained for your wishes; 
and it was not without much pain that I felt constrained to act 
upon the behef that you had mistaken his true character. Un- 
questioned authority has been lodged in the department of the 
Postmaster General for the assertion that Mr. H intem- 
perate' habits disqualify him, in a great degree, for the personal 
discharge of the duties, of the office, and that he had been in the 
custom from this cause, of entrusting its keys to individuals 
obnoxious to the community in many points of view. An extract 
of the memorial on this subject I enclose for your satisfaction .... 
It is a painful duty to be the instrument of lessening the resources 

of a family so amiable as that of Mr. H but when the 

public good calls for it, it must be performed. As a private 
individual, it would give me the greatest happiness to alleviate 
their distress, but as a pubHc officer, I cannot devote to this 
object the interests of the country.* 

When he came into office Jackson found that many officials 
were insolvent and deeply in debt. It revolted his honest soul, 
and he directed all such persons to be dismissed. He would not 
have the government service a refuge for such defrauders. He 
ordered a search of the jail records, which showed that eighty- 
eight persons were thus delinquent. Some of them had taken 
the bankrupts' oath twelve times in a few months.' 

A story preserved among his friends tell show his love of honesty 
once brought to pay debts long ignored, a man over whom 
he had no official authority. The keeper of a boarding-house 
in the capital had for lodger a congressman who evaded his 
obligations to her. At length she saw no other hope than to 

*The word "intemperate" is erased in the text. 
'Jackson to Mrs. F. Pope, June 8, iSjo- Jackson Mss. 

'Fro nan uaiit;i tinDraaiam \n Jackson's hand. It undoubtedly refers to the beginning of hU admin- 
istration. Jacks'jn Mss. 


take the matter to Jackson, who heard her story and said, " Have 
him give you a note for the amount due and bring the paper to 
me." The delinquent readily gave his note, for it was worth 
nothing. When Jackson received it he endorsed it and gave 
it to the woman with the remark, "I think he will pay it now." 
The expectation was a just one: no member of congress was 
wilUng to lose his hold on presidential favor by forcing the chief 
executive to pay his board bill, or to have his constituents know 
that he threw his money obligations on the shoulders of the hero 
of New Orleans. 

The prospect of wholesale removals brought protests from some 
of the prominent men in the party. They feared the influence 
on public opinion, and one of them used the sagacious argument 
that it would be better to keep the applicants unsatisfied, saying, 
"The hope of office will secure you more support than the en- 
joyment of it." ' Jackson endorsed the letter to be kept carefully 
and filed it among his special papers. The appointment of editors 
brought the loudest protest. A partisan editor of the day was 
apt to be a hired hack-writer for whom his own employers had 
little respect. He was rewarded with contracts to print the 
laws and with other government publishing, but he was not 
expected to have office. In the democratic upheaval which 
brought Jackson to power this specious distinction tended to 
disappear. Editors worked as hard in the canvass as political 
speakers and asked for the same rewards. Jackson complied 
with their requests, showing his favor for the profession by 
appointing Amos Kendall, a Kentucky editor, an auditor in the 
treasury department and taking him for one of his confidential 
advisers. The objection to such appointments was strongest 
with the Virginians, long attached to the traditions of official 
propriety. Their disappointment reached the President through 
several sources, most notably in a letter from Ritchie to Van 

'John Pope to.Jackson, February ig, iSsg, Jackson Mss. 


Buren/ But the protests did not change his attitude. He be- 
lieved he was right, and he justified himself in a long letter from 
which the following is an extract: 

You will recollect that in the recent political contest it was 
said, and truly said, to be a struggle between the virtue of the 
American people and the corrupting influence of executive patron- 
age. By no act, by no solicitation of mine, and apart from any 
interference of myself, did the people in their kindness, present 
me as their candidate. The different presses of the country 
acting upon their own impulses, espoused one side or the other, 
as judgment or other cause operated. Those who stept forward 
and advocated the question termed the side of the people, were 
a part of the people, and differing only in this that they were 
the proprietors and conductors of the press — in many cases 
purchased by themselves expressly for the purpose of aiding in 
the "grand cause." And to what motive other than the love of 
country and the exercise of a sound judgment could their course 
be ascribed? I was not abroad seeking popularity, nor did I 
trammel or commit myself by pledges to remove partisans 
in the event of success. No one has ever accused me of doing 
so, and hence we are bound to believe that they were disinter- 
ested in their support of me. Many maintained and believed, 
and especially the politicians of the country, that no efforts 
of the people, would be found sufficient to counteract the subsi- 
dizing influence of government. Upon this ground then, whatever 
motive could arise founded on self, was of a character to invite 
chiming in with the powers that were then in existence. Yet 
many editors did not, and hence can we resist the impression 
that they were actuated by the same generous and patriotic 
impulse that the people were? 

If these suggestions be founded in truth, why should this 
class of citizens be excluded from offices to which others, not 
more patriotic, nor presenting stronger claims as to qualification 
may aspire? 

'Van Buren to Jackson, March 31; Jackson to Van Buren, March 31, iSag; Jackson Mss. Ritchie to Van 
Buren, March 27; W. S. Archer to Van Buren, May 6, 1829; Van Buren Mss. Jackson to J. Randolph, Nov- 
ember II, and J. Randolph to Jackson, November 22, 1829; Jackson Mss. 


To establish such a precedent would I apprehend, have a 
powerful tendency to place the control and management of the 
press into the hands of those who might be destitute of principle; 
and who prosecuting their profession only as means of livlihood 
and lucre, would become mercenary, and to earn their penny 
would abandon principle, which ought to be their rule of action. 

The road to office and preferment, being accessible alike 
to the rich and the poor, the farmer and the printer, honesty, 
probity and capacity constituting the sole and exclusive test, 
will I am persuaded, have the happiest tendency to preserve 
unimpaired freedom of poHtical action; change it and let it 
be known that any class or portion of citizens are and ought 
to be proscribed, and discontent, and dissatisfaction will be 
engendered. Extend it to editors of papers, and I re-iterate, 
that men of uncompromising and sterHng integrity will no longer 
be found in the ranks of those who edit our public journals. 
I submit it then, to your good sense and calm reflection, what 
must be the inevitable result of things in this country, when 
the press and its freedom shall become so depressed and degraded 
as to be found altogether under the control of men wanting in 
principle and the proper feelings of men ? * 

This letter, the draft of which exists in Jackson's own hand, 
well illustrates his grasp on political matters. The naivete with 
which he passes judgment on the motives of the editors measures 
his manner of estimating his supporters. His indifference to 
the influence of the dignified classes appears in his readiness to 
accept the editors as equal advisers and supporters. His belief 
in the people as the source of political authority and his confidence 
in his own cause appear in all the phases of the letter. It marks 
him as an honest, credulous, determined, uninformed, and uncom- 
promising leader of a democratic upheaval, a man who does not 
hesitate to put into force a new idea through fear of violating 
established procedure. 

Later in his administration he was surrounded by skilled 

>Jackson to Z. L. Miller, May 13, 1S29, JacksoD Mss. 


observers of human nature and they were able to protect him 
from too ready confidence in impostors; but in his first days 
this defense was not estabhshed, and the effect was sometimes 
bad. It was notably so in the case of Samuel Swartwout, an 
adventurer who came seeking any office which might offer. 
He had facility and assurance, beneath which the credulous 
President was not able to penetrate. He carried off one of the 
best prizes in the government, collector of the port of New York. 
The position controlled the appointment of many subordinates, 
it involved the handHng of much money; and it had an important 
relation to the merchants of the greatest importing city in the 
country. Through the custom of taking the bonds of the mer- 
chants to secure deferred payments of duties, large discretion 
was left to the collector; and he ought to be a man of sound bus- 
iness judgment. Measured by any of these needs Swartwout was 
not a success. He had no experience, he had not the confidence 
of the business men of the city, he was an inveterate speculator, 
and he considered office an opportunity to make money. He 
was well known in New York, and Van Buren cpposed his 
appointment. But Swartwout had v/on Jackson's confidence 
and had petitions numerously signed. As some of the New York 
congressmen were for him and the senators did not work against 
him, he carried all before him. 

In making this appointment Jackson's personal feehng went 
against the recommendation of every friend who ought to have 
had influence in the matter. Ingham, in whose department 
the New York collectorship lay, was against it. Cambreleng, a 
congressman from the state, wrote: "If our collector is not a 
defaulter in four years, I'll swallow the treasury, if it was all 
coined in coppers.'" The assurance which enabled Swartwout 
to win Jackson made him a popular official and for a while he 

'Van Buren, Autobiography, 70-82; Cambreleng to Jackson, April 15, Van Buren to Dudley, April 20; 
Ibid to Cambreleng, April 23, 25, and another letter of the same month, but without date to Cambreleng 
and Bowne— iSjg; Charles E. Dudley to Van Buren, April 23, 1829; Van Buren Mss. 


got on without difficulty. The President was pleased with this 
and sometimes rallied Van Buren and the New Yorkers at the 
failure of their forebodings. But beneath this suave exterior 
the collector was nevertheless a defaulter. His peculations 
began in nine months after he entered office and continued 
until when they were discovered in 1838 they amounted to a 
million and a quarter.' 

Jackson's rage when he heard the news was characteristic. 
The dehnquent, who had fled the country, ought, he wrote, to 
be captured and thrown into prison. Many times the writer 
advised him not to speculate while a government official and he 
always promised to follow the advice. " Can he live after this? 
or will he cut his own throat?" It must be evident to all that 
Swartwout could not have defrauded the government without 
the assistance of the United States Bank, and the event, said 
Jackson, ought to show the country that there should be a com- 
plete divorce between banks and the government.' His allusions 
to the matter are innocent of self-condemnation. 

Swartwout established in New York the Seventh Ward Bank 
to help in his personal schemes. It was a pohtical institution 
and relied on government deposits. In 1834 he desired to get 
a government deposit and appealed directly to Jackson. Post- 
master-General Barry, he wrote, desired a loan from the bank on 
account of the post-office department and he was willing to 
accommodate him if fifty thousand dollars of the funds for building 
the new custom house were placed in the bank. All this he 
related in a letter to the President,' in which was enclosed the 
following to the secretary of the treasury: 

My dear sir: It is so recent that the commission for building 
the Custom House have received 50,000 Dollars, for that object, 

'Felix Grundy to Jackson, November 13, 1828, Jackson Mss. 
•Jackson to Blair, January 5, iSsg, Jackson Mss. 
'Swartwout to Jackson, March 8 (1834 or 1835), Jackson Mss, 


that they do not wish to press the Department for a further loan. 
Yet I can assure your excellency, that a draft for another sun 
of 50,000 Dls. would be of great importance to many of our 
friends who wd. be infinitely benefited by its use in the shape 
of Loans, who can not get it out of the Depsts. Banks. This 
I know. While MilMons lay in the vaults of these Institutions, 
many of which are opposed to us in politicks, this little patri- 
otic Institution is working its way among our friends, loaning 
all it can to our friends and sustaining the administration by 
all the means in its power. If, therefore, a further sum of 50,000 
Dls. could be placed to the credit of the commission we would 
place it in that institution, and it would be used, I can assure 
you, for the benefit of the administration and its friends. Your 
kind interference might do this for us and we should be infinitely 
obhged thereby. 

The application seems to have been successful; but apart from 
that, it is discreditable to a President of the United States that 
he was approachable in such a matter; and that he should have 
preserved the letter without evidence of displeasure at its con- 
tents is at least surprising. 

Removals imder Jackson are believed to have been very 
nimierous; but the available evidence shows that while they 
were more than under former Presidents, they were not so many 
as in later admmistrations. The newness of the system and the 
vehemence of party feeling have unduly impressed the imagina- 
tion of the historian. There were then 612 presidential ofiicers, 
and only 252 were removed. Of more than 8,000 post-masters 
and their deputies only 600 met a like fate. Deputy post- 
masters were not presidential officers until 1836, and they had 
small salaries; so that changes here may be attributed to 
resignations or the caprice of the immediate superior quite 
as readily as to the spirit of the administration.* 

Nine months after his inauguration Jackson summed up his 
view of appointments in his first annual message, saying: 

iplsh, The Cml Service and Patronage, 124-128. 


There are, perhaps, few men who can for any length of time 
enjoy office and power without being more or less under the 
influence of feelings unfavorable to the faithful discharge of 
their political duties. Their integrity may be proof against 
improper considerations immediately addressed to themselves 
but they are apt to acquire a habit of looking with indifference 
upon the public interests and of tolerating conduct from which 
an unpracticed man would revolt. Office is considered as a 
species of property, and government rather as a means of pro- 
moting individual interests than as an instrument created solely 
for the service of the people. Corruption in some and in others 
a perversion of correct f eeUngs and principles divert government 
from its legitimate ends and make it an engine for the support 
of the few at the expense of the many. The duties of all public 
offices are, or at least admit of being made, so plain and simple 
that men of intelligence may readily qualify themselves for their 
performance; and I can not but believe that more is lost by the 
long continuance of men in office than is generally to be gained 
by their experience. I submit, therefore, to your consideration 
whether the efficiency of the Government would not be pro- 
moted and official industry and integrity better secured by an 
extension of the law which limits appointments to four years. 

In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit 
of the people no one man has any more intrinsic right to official 
station than another. Offices were not estabhshed to give 
support to particular men at the public expense. No individual 
wrong is, therefore, done by removal, since neither appointment 
to nor continuance in office is matter of right. The incumbent 
became an officer with a view to public benefits, and when these 
require his removal they are not to be sacrificed to private 
interests. It is the people, and they alone, who have a right to 
complain when a bad officer is substituted for a good one. He 
who is removed has the same means of obtaining a living that 
are enjoyed by the millions who never held office.' 

Jackson's extreme democracy made him oblivious to the 
dangers from partisan appointments. He saw the evils of 

iRichardsoD, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 448. 


long terms when incumbents were selected on personal grounds; 
but he was incapable of understanding how his own system would 
bring greater inefficiency. His assertion that all men could 
easily learn to perform the duties of the public offices was pal- 
pably false, and experience quicidy proved it. There was as 
much dishonesty among his own appointees as among their 
predecessors and as much inefficiency. George Bancroft, him- 
self a democrat, who had business to transact with the treasury 
department in 1831, said: "Talk of reform! The departments 
are full of the laziest clerks, and men are paid large salaries for 
neglecting the public business.'" 

The permanent effect of this change has often been pointed 
out. Although it was, as just stated, an out-growth of forces 
beyond Jackson's control, it received from the capricious nature 
of many of his selections an exaggerated viciousness which was 
apparent to his best supporters. Even Marcy, supposed to have 
had no conscience about bad appointments, declared privately 
that Jackson made many "mis-appointments"; and Gideon Welles 
said the President allowed himself "to be importuned" into 
"very improper" selections. Welles added: "Office seeking 
and office getting has become a regular business where impudence 
triumphs over worth.'" 

From what has been said it is evident that while the spoils 
system was a development in connection with the general evolu- 
tion of democracy, Jackson did not try to check its progress but 
facilitated it. His removals were not as numerous as those 
under many later Presidents. President Cleveland, elected as 
a reformer, and acting under the pressure of party organization, 
removed many more.' It was in the nature of the case that 
the system should appear in connection with the forces which 
ruled public life at the time. Any man who could have been an 

>Howe, Life of George Bancroft, I., igy. 

'Marcy to Van Buren, February 12, 1838; Welles to Ibid, April 27i 1838; Van Buren Mss. 

*DeweytA^a<iona/ Problems, 3S-39- 


exponent of the democratic movement would probably have 
believed as Jackson believed in regard to appointments. 

The group who advised with Jackson in making the cabinet 
continued to surround him after the inauguration and furnished 
the beginning of what came to be known as the " Kitchen Cabi- 
net." Its membership varied from time to, time; but W. B. 
Lewis, Amos Kendall, and A. J. Donelson, the President's 
private secretary, were generally in it. But Donelson was inde- 
pendent and was usually opposed to the Eaton-Lewis interest.' 
Van Buren was included also, but he was a member of the 
regular cabinet part of the time and his advice was probably on 
large matters rather than on the general affairs which are sup- 
posed chiefly to have engaged the attention of the "Kitchen 
Cabinet." Eaton was a member until he left Washington in 
1 83 1. Duff Green may have been admitted to council in the 
earliest months of the administration, but he could not have 
had a full membership. After the Globe was established in 1830, 
F. P. Blair, its editor, was a regular member. 

The influence of this group was believed to be great. Jackson 
might well be sensitive on the point, since it tended to belittle 
him. "In regard now to these complaints," he said to John 
Randolph, "and others of a similar character founded on a pre- 
tended distrust of infl-uences near or around me, I can only say 
that they spring from the same false viev/ of my character. 
I should loath myself did any act of mine afford the slightest 
color for the insinuation that I followed blindly the judgment 
of any friend in the discharge of my proper duties as a public 
or private individual.' 


iVan Buren, Autobiography, III., 189; Van Buren Mss. 
'Jackson to Randolph, November 11, 1S31, Jackson Mss. 


"the EATON malaria" 

There were better phases of Jackson's presidency than adopt- 
ing the spoils system. We may have varying degrees of com- 
mendation for his attitude toward internal improvements, his 
destruction of the United States Bank, his introduction of vigor 
into our foreign relations, his prompt disposal of the Indian 
question in Georgia, and his opposition to nullification in South 
Carolina; but his course in regard to each has a defense which 
satisfies many fair minded men. This more attractive side of 
Jackson now lies before us; but before it can be considered an- 
other chapter must be given to party intrigue. An unpleasant 
episode here intervened and was utilized by the masters of 
the two factions in the party in such a way that it become an 
important historical event. 

"The Eaton embroglio," says Van Buren, was "a private and 
personal matter which only acquired political consequences 
by its adaptation to the gratification of resentments springing 
out of the formation of the cabinet, and, as was supposed, to 
the elevation or depression of individuals of high position.'" 
As Van Buren himself was one of the individuals referred to, 
his statement has peculiar interest. Abundant evidence has 
been given to show how much the Calhoun- Van Buren rivalry 
was present in making the cabinet.' It persisted after that event, 
and as Eaton was active in the interest of the secretary of state 
and the ladies who refused most strongly to receive Mrs. Eaton 

'Van Buren, Autobiography, 47; Van Buren Mss. 
2See above, 11., 410-418. 



were associated with the friends of Calhoun, the matter was 
presented to Jackson as a conspiracy against Eaton by the 
Calhounites, and the presidential wrath which resulted was used 
to break down the vice-president's position in the party. Simi- 
lar intrigues are found in the history of other nations; and 
they usually exist there, as in the case before us, in a circle which 
surrounds some ruler whose powerful will is not restrained by 
calm judgment. 

When Eaton arrived in Washington in 18 18 to become a 
senator he became a boarder at the tavern of William O'Neil, 
an Irishman whose ready wit made him popular among mem- 
bers of both houses of congress. "Peg O'Neil," daughter of 
the host, was growing up into a dashing young woman whose 
rather free manner won her the disapprobation of the best so- 
ciety. Disagreeable stories were told about her, and they did 
not cease when she married Timberlake, a dissipated purser 
in the navy. He was frequently absent from home for long 
periods, during which she remained with her father and saw 
much of the boarders. It seems to have been during this period 
that her name and Eaton's began to be associated. History 
can have no object in proving that these persons did wrong: 
it is only essential to remember that many people of the day 
believed it. In 1828 Timberlake committed suicide at sea. 
Some said it was because of his own dissipation, others that it 
was from humiliation at the conduct of his wife. The following 
New Year's Day, Senator Eaton, intimate friend and party 
manager of the now triumphant Jackson, married the widow 
in Washington. His best friends felt that it was an unfortu- 
nate step.' Official society was already shocked at the crude- 
ness of the manners of the new party: they were not wilhng 

'"Poor Eaton is to be married tonight to Mrs. T 1 There is a vulgar saying of some vulgar man, I 

believe Swift, on such unions — about using a certain household . . . [sic] and then putting it on one's head. " — 
Cambreleng to Van Buren, January i, 1829, Van Buren Mss. Cf. the following; "This is as they say, 
to beray the panier, and then put it on your head." — Montaigne, Essays, (Temple Classics), V., 109. 


to tolerate in addition a person whose reputation was assailed 
by common rumor. 

Eaton's promotion to the cabinet was unpopular on the 
political side. Many Tennesseeans disliked him, and the dele- 
gation in congress protested to Jackson himself. Judge White, 
the other senator, would have been more readily received as 
the man most worthy of recognition from the state. Eaton 
and Lewis were brothers-in-law, and both were committed to the 
cause of Van Buren. "No man," said Lewis long afterward 
when speaking of the New Yorker, "exerted himself more in 
his behalf than I did, or stood by him with more unshrinking 
firmness in the darkest hour of his poHtical existence.'" In 
the controversy over the treatment of Mrs. Eaton he was Jack- 
son's personal adviser. Many of the letters in the affair are 
copied in his own hand. He was living in the President's 
mansion in close personal relations with Jackson. There 
can be little doubt that he stimulated the old man's suspicion 
and resentment and gave them a turn against the Calhoun 
faction. His manner of making himself feared by the office- 
seekers is seen from a protest of Gen. R. G. Dunlap, an out- 
spoken Tennesseean who long had acquaintance with the 
most prominent men in the state. "His only importance," 
wrote Dunlap to Jackson with the freedom of an old friend, 
"is that by his hinting impudence when out of your presence, of 
being in the Prest [President's] confidence he assumes the mark 
of an adviser. This holds you responsible for his silly conduct.'" 
But the protest was futile, and Lewis kept his position of con- 
fidential adviser in small matters. 

The announcement that Eaton would be in the cabmet brought 
protests from many people in Washington. Jackson heeded them 
not: he said he welcomed the opposition, that he felt happier 

iLewis to Jackson, August 30, 1839, Mss in possession of W. C. Ford. 
sDunlap to Jackson, June 30, 1831, copy in Library of Congress. 


iu a storm, and that he would not abandon his friend/ But 
his determination did not improve Eaton's position in the city. 
''To-night," says a writer who could speak for society, "the 
bosom friend and almost adopted son of General Jackson, is 
to be married to a lady whose reputation, her previous connec- 
tion with him both before and after her husband's death, has 
totally destroyed. She is the daughter of O'Neal who kept 
a large tavern and boarding house. . . . She has never been-- 
admitted into good society, is very handsome and of not an 
inspiring character and violent temper. She is, it is said, 
irresistible and carries whatever point she sets her mind on. 
The General's personal and political friends are very much 
disturbed about it; his enemies laugh and divert themselves 
with the idea of what a suitable lady in waiting Mrs. Eaton will 
make to Mrs. Jackson. . . . We spent the evening at Dr. 
Simm's last night. All present were Jacksonians — Dr. Simm 
the most ardent and devoted. He had lately received a letter 
from Gen'l. J. which he promised to show me. I wanted 
to see it immediately, suspecting, as I told him, if he deferred 
showing it, it would be with the intention of correcting the 
orthography. He laughed and joked on the subject very 
good naturedly and about Mrs. Jackson and her pipe in the 

At the time this letter was written Mrs. Jackson was in 
her grave and Mrs. Andrew J. Donelson, wife of the private 
secretary of the President, was designated for mistress of the 
official household. She was a woman of strong and placid 
character, competent to sustain the dignity of the station, and 
by no means disposed to tolerate the kind of woman Mrs. Eaton 
was reputed to be. Her husband was not strong for the 
Eaton-Lewis influence. He resented their methods and re- 

'J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, February 23, 1829, Van Buren Mss. 

2Mrs. Smith, Firsl Forty Years of Washington Society (Hunt,Editor), 252. Like many women of the fron- 
tier, Mrs. Jackson smoked a pipe. 


belled when he felt that political faction was to be made to 
cover social impropriety. He was more emphatic than his 
wife in regard to the Eatons/ 

At the first official functions Mrs. Eaton was received with 
studied indifference by the wives of other cabinet officials. If 
they were in the same receiving party with her, they ignored 
her presence; if they were at dinner with her they spoke not; 
and all that Jackson could do to show his favor brought her no 
more consideration than at first. "With the exception of two 
or three timid and rather insignificant personages, who trembled 
for their husbands' offices," says our informant, "not a lady 
has visited her, and so far from being inducted into the Presi- 
dent's house, she is, I am told, scarcely noticed by the females 
of his family."' The supporters of Adams and Clay observed 
this situation with pleasure and were willing to make it as 
unpleasant as possible. Observing their actions Jackson came 
to beheve that all the trouble which fell on Eaton was designed 
by Clay. A few weeks later he thought the trouble began 
with Eaton's enemies who, despairing of office as long as the 
secretary of war had influence, wished in this manner to over- 
throw him. It was some months later when Jackson attributed 
the "conspiracy" to Calhoun." 

The storm burst on Jackson soon after the inauguration. 
Rev. J. M. Campbell, pastor of the New York Avenue Presby- 
terian Church at which the General and Mrs. Jackson formerly 
worshiped, felt impelled to remonstrate with him. He was a 
young man and did not dare approach Jackson himself, but got 
Rev. Ezra Stiles Ely, of Philadelphia, an old friend and corre- 
spondent of the President then in attendance on the inauguration, 
to promise to make the protest. Doctor Ely did not find an 
opportunity to do this in the capital, but on his return to his 

'Van Buren, Autobiography, 189, Van Buren Mss. 

^Mrs. Smith, First Forty Years of Washington Society (Huat, Editor), 288. 

'Jacksonjto , April 26, 1829, Jackson Mss. 


home wrote at length, reciting the stories reported against 
Mrs. Eaton. Jackson's reply was characteristic. His cor- 
respondent did not know, he said, that the stories alluded to 
sprang out of Clay's contrivance and were circulated to blacken 
the writer through his friend. As for Mrs. Eaton he believed 
her a chaste and maligned woman, and his departed wife had 
believed her above reproach, and nothing short of absolute 
proof would convince him to the contrary. There is no record 
that Jackson ever changed an opinion once formed, whatever 
the proof offered to him. Now committed in this quarrel he 
remained till the end of the unhappy struggle firm on the side 
of what he thought injured honesty. "This," he said, "was a 
righteous course founded upon the principles of that gospel, 
which I not only profess to believe, but do religiously believe." ' 
"I told them," he wrote to another, "I did not come here to 
make a Cabinet for the ladies of this place but for the nation, 
and that I believed, and so I do, that Mrs. Eaton [is] as chaste 
as those who attempt to slander her."' 

The inner circle of the administration party desired to keep 
the affair out of politics, but their opponents forced it forward. 
Jackson's wrath could be counted on, and it was fair game to 
stimulate it to his own ruin. The Van Buren group also realized 
the opportunity it gave them to injure Calhoun; and so both 
forces cooperated to deepen the scandal. 

During the spring and summer of 1829, Jackson, thoroughly 
bent on restoring the reputation of Mrs. Eaton, sent to various 
parts of the country to get evidence which would support his 
views. Finally on September loth, when the affair had stewed 
for six months, he summoned the cabinet for the consideration 
of the matter. All the evidence he had collected was submitted 
to it and two of the chief accusers of Mrs. Eaton were brought 

'Jackson to Mr. S. — New York, September 27, 1829, Jackson Mss. 
'Jackson to , April 26, 1820. Jackson«Mss. 


forward to testify in person. One of them remarked that he 
believed Eaton innocent, v^^hen the President exclaimed, "And 
Mrs. Eaton also!" The other replied, "On that point I would 
rather not give an opinion"; at which Jackson exclaimed, 
"She is as chaste as a virgin!" The second accuser desired to 
be heard, explaining that he had not meant to arraign the 
administration but to save it from discredit. He began to argue 
against the sufficiency of the evidence produced in support 
of the wife of the secretary of war, when Jackson sharply re- 
minded him that he was summoned to give evidence and not 
to pass upon it. With this the meeting dissolved, the cabinet- 
members going away in a rather disgusted mood, and Jackson 
remaining satisfied with the investigation in which he played 
the parts of advocate and judge.' 

But poor Mrs. Eaton's postition was no better than formerly. 
Mrs. Calhoun was against her; the ladies of the cabinet — even 
Mrs. Branch and Mrs. Berrien, whose husbands were brought 
into office through Eaton's influence, in order to weaken Calhoun 
— were all against her; the White House ladies were firmly 
of the same opinion; and some of the women of the diplomatic 
corps were as defiant as the American ladies. Society was rent 
in twain, and some prominent men left their families at home 
rather than encounter the perils of entertaining socially. 

Van Buren was a widower, and thus had a rare opportunity 
to increase Jackson's friendship for him. He gave a dinner 
at which the slighted lady received from him every mark of 
respect. He called on her and in other ways showed his con- 
fidence in her. Through his influence Sir Charles Vaughan, 
the British minister, who was also unmarried, came to treat her 
with consideration. The two men with the President formed 
the centre of the Eaton party. At this time Van Buren was 
thrown into intimate relations with his superior in office. They 

'Parton, Life of Jackson, III., Chapter t8. 


rode together daily, breakfasted together frequently, and ex- 
changed views on most matters of governmental poUcy. But 
the secretary was too shrewd to refer to the bearing of the affair 
on his own case. Jackson later absolved him from any attempt 
to promote it as a means of defeating his rival. 

By autumn, 1829, the situation in official society was acute. 
During the spring the government was newly organized and 
during the summer society was chiefly out of the city, so that 
there was no obligation to entertain officially. Until November 
no cabinet dinners were given, Jackson fearing that the ever 
present discord might embarrass them. But private enter- 
tainment was waiting, according to custom, on official hospi- 
tahty, and people were remarking the condition into which 
society was drifting. The President and his secretary con- 
ferred and invitations were sent forthwith for a cabinet fete. 
All the members attended with their wives at the appointed 
time, which pleased the chief. He assumed his most courteous 
air and took out to dinner Mrs. Ingham, who was entirely com- 
mitted to the insurgents. Van Buren took Mrs. A. J. Donel- 
son. Both men tried to make the dinner table a scene of mirth; 
but they failed signally. They could make no impression on 
the stoUd faces of the company, where rebelHon was written 
on every feature. At length the company departed, leaving 
a sore and disappointed host. The occasion, as the secretary 
put it, was "a formal and hollow ceremony." 

Next came, by regular usage, the dinner of the secretary of 
state. Whether in politics or society Van Buren was a good 
diplomatist, and he used all his abihty to make his dinner a 
success. He expected, and he said as much to Jackson, that the 
opposition, unwilling to oppose the President openly, would 
take this as the occasion to show their hand, and that the cabinet 
ladies would decline to attend. With this in view he invited 
to the dinner Mrs. Randolph, a daughter of Thomas Jefferson, 


and caused it to be known that the event was in a sense given 
in her honor. Her presence would repair the loss of prestige 
if all the cabinet wives were absent. His anticipations were 
correct: Branch and Ingham came to dinner, but their wives 
declined. Eaton and Barry also came, but their wives acting 
together remained at home. Berrien, the remaining member, 
had an engagement out of town. But Mrs. Randolph was 
present and charmed the company by her distinguished man- 
ners, and the dinner passed off very successfully. 

Soon afterward the Russian minister, Baron Krudener, 
also a bachelor, gave a ball to the cabinet. As Mrs. Ingham 
was absent he took in Mrs. Eaton, next in rank in the cabinet 
precedence, and to Secretary Eaton fell Madame Huygens, 
wife of the Dutch minister. At this the Dutch lady was greatly 
offended and expressed her chagrin openly, and refused to 
remain in the dining-room when she saw she was to sit by Mrs. 
Eaton. She declared, so it was reported, that she would give a 
ball to which the upstart would not be invited, and Mrs. Branch, 
Mrs. Berrien, and Mrs. Ingham were said to have promised to 
do the same.' The report, whether true or not, made a great 
impression in the city. The inner White House circle pro- 
nounced it conspiracy to crush Mrs. Eaton, and since it could 
not be attributed to Clay it was laid at the doors of the vice- 
president, or his friends. When, a few days later, an anony- 
mous letter appeared in a city paper attacking Van Buren 
for trying to force an objectionable woman on good society 
it was taken as confirmation of the charge. It was about this 
time that the intrigue was made to operate against Calhoun. 

In the meantime, Mrs. Eaton made no progress. Enter- 
tainments in private houses were generally denied to her, but 
she continued to attend public affairs throughout the early 
winter. At last she was the object of such contempt at a bail 

»These events are described in Van Buren's Aulobiograpky, III., 186-213, Van Buren Mss. 


on January 8, 1830, that she could no longer expose herself 
to the chance of further indignity, and she began to remain 
at home." 

Jackson was now deeply angry. He felt that his will was de- 
fied, and this touched him in the most sensitive spot. One 
morning before breakfast he summoned Van Buren, who found 
him in a state of excitement. His eyes were bloodshot and he 
admitted that he slept none the preceding night. He an- 
nounced that he had come to a fixed determination as to his 
course in the much discussed affair, that he would investigate 
and if the reports of Madame Huygens's threat were true he 
would send her husband back to Holland and dismiss the cabinet 
for conspiring to bring him into contempt. Van Buren sought 
to quiet him. If there was a conspiracy, he said, the pro- 
posed manner of dealing with it was entirely proper, but he 
doubted if the Dutch lady made the threat attributed to her, 
and he offered to find out if she was guilty. He called on Huy- 
gens, with whom "as a brother Dutchman" he was on terms 
of friendship, and from both him and Madame Huygens se- 
cured such a plain denial of the alleged conspiracy that the 
President was satisfied. 

But Jackson was not reassured. It was not his nature to 
submit to defiance, and Washington was plainly in arms against 
him. The rebels were women, safe from his vengeance, but 
he undertook to reach them through their husbands. Late 
in January he again summoned the secretary of state and showed 
him a paper he proposed to read to the cabinet. The visitor 
objected that the paper did not say clearly enough that Jackson 
had no intention of interfering with the domestic affairs of his 
advisers, and he suggested that it be read to the cabinet and not 
sent to them in writing.' The suggestion was followed, and 

'Mrs. Smith, First Forty Years of Washington Society, (Hunt, Editor) 311, 
•Van Buren, Autobiography, III., 209-212, Van Buren Mss. 


Ingham, Branch, and Berrien were summoned to an interview 
which Jackson described as follows: 

Several members [of congress] came to me and after re- 
porting these facts [in relation to the alleged conspiracy], asked 
if I intended to permit such an indignity to be offered to me 
unnoticed: I assured them I would not, and that I would 
call for explanations from them. I therefore sent and had an 
interview with these Gentlemen. I informed them of the in- 
formation I had reed of the combination from the members 
of congress, and the plan having been carried into execution 
and that I had sent for them for explanation and enquiry whether 
the information I had reed was correct. When we met I read 
them the following statement: — 

The personal difficulties between some of the members of 
my cabinet have assumed an aspect and received a bearing 
in regard to myself which requires an expression of my per- 
sonal feelings. To prevent future misunderstandings I have 
deemed it expedient to have this interview with Mr. Ingham, 
Mr. Branch, and Mr. Berrien. When we met I said to them (Mr. 
Ingham, Mr. Branch, and Mr. Berrien)' that the course pursued 
by them to Major Eaton and his family as reported to me, was 
in my opinion, under the circumstances not only unjust in 
itself but disrespectful to myself. The grounds upon which 
this opinion is founded are substantially these: 

I do not claim the right to interfere in any manner in 
the domestic relations or personal intercourse of any member 
of my cabinet nor have I ever in any manner attempted it. 
But from information, and my own observation on the general 
course of events I am fully impressed with a behef that you and 
your families, have in addition to the exercise of their own 
undoubted rights in this respect taken measures to induce 
others to avoid intercourse with Mrs. Eaton and thereby sought 
to exclude her from society and degrade him. It is impossible 
for me on the fullest and most dispassionate view and considera- 
tion of the subject to regard this course in any other light than 
a wanton disregard of my feehngs and a reproach of my official 

•The text has been followed literally. It is not always in direct quotation. 


conduct. It is I, that have without solicitation or design on 
his part called Major Eaton into my cabinet, and it is I, that 
with the fullest conviction of the injustice of the imputations 
which as I firmly believe malice and envy have cast upon his 
wife continue him there. If her character is such as to justify 
active measures on the part of the members of my cabinet to 
exclude her from virtuous society it is I who am responsible to 
the community for this alledged indignity to the public morals. 
I will not part with Major Eaton from my cabinet and those 
of my cabinet who cannot harmonize with it had better with- 
draw, for harmony I must and will have. It is in vain to attempt 
to disguise the true aspect of the question, and it is not in my 
nature to do so if I could; nor can I consent to harbor any 
feelings toward those with whom I am in the habit of daily 
association without distinctly expressing and apprising them 
of these opinions. My whole life has been at variance with such 
a course, and I am too old to practice it now. I must cease 
to respect myself when I find I am capable of it. Therefore 
have I sought this interview, to assure you that if there be any 
truth in the report that you have entered into the combination 
charged, to drive Major Eaton from my cabinet that I feel it 
an indignity and insult offered to myself, and is of a character 
that will remain hereafter to be condemned.' 

On this paper Jackson endorsed: 

This was read to them, and being informed by the gentlemen 
that as far as their influence went, it was exercised differently, 
and their wish was to harmonize the cabinet, I determined not 
to dismiss them. 

But he sent them away with the suggestion that they "arrange 
their parties in the future so that the world should not get this 
impression"; i. e., the impression that they were determined 
not to recognize the Eatons. 

"The Eaton Malaria," as Van Buren aptly called it, was 

>The memorandum quotsd exists in Jackssn's own hand. Several copies of it are in the Jackson Mss. 
See also Jackson to Eaton, July ig, 1830, Jackson Mss. For Berrien's account of the affair, see Niles, Register, 
XL., 381-384 and ante. 


now come to its most noxious stage. Washington gossip talked 
of nothing else, public business halted, and there was general 
expectation that the cabinet would be reorganized. But some 
calm head, it could hardly have been Jackson's, worked for 
restraint. The paper read to the cabinet members suggests 
two explanations, in each of which there is probably some 
truth. In one sense it was an expression of an egotistical man's 
sense of indignity at being thwarted in his will; in another it 
may well have been presented to the three gentlemen in the hope 
that through a sense of resentment or propriety they would 
resign their positions. When the wrath of the President abated 
somewhat and the rebuked officials did not resign, the situation 
became slightly less strenuous. The administration would have 
welcomed their withdrawal, but it was not willing to assume 
the responsibihty of disrupting the cabinet on such grounds. 
It was extremely doubtful if even Jackson's popularity could 
at this time stand the odium of dividing his party to serve 
an intriguing favorite. 

The culmination of this quarrel marks also a change in the 
President's relation to the city in which he was now the leading 
citizen. At his arrival he was much talked about. In spite 
of what his enemies said of his poHcy and capacity, his character 
remained unimpeached. People had a feeling of sympathy for 
the frank and brave old man, now burdened by domestic afflic- 
tion, whose shortcomings sprang chiefly from neglected oppor- 
tunities. Mrs. Smith, an intimate friend of Clay's family and 
wife of the president of the branch of the United States Bank, 
wrote: "I think I shaU like him vastly when I know him — I 
have heard a number of things about him which indicate a kind, 
warm, feeHng and affectionate heart.— I hope sincerely he may 
get safely over the breakers which beset his entrance into port, 
and when in — God grant the good old man a safe anchorage 
in still waters." A year later the same writer was entirely in 



sympathy with the opposition. "Altho' I sincerely believe 
him to be a warm, kind-hearted old man," she wrote "yet so 
passionate and obstinate, that such a subserviency must be 
very gaUing and hard to bear. In truth, the only excuse his 
best friends can make for his violence and imbecilities, is, that 
he is in his dotage.'" 

Mrs. Eaton's withdrawal from social functions relieved 
somewhat the acuteness of the situation. The cabinet went 
on without open friction, but still without cordial cooperation 
until in the following year it was reorganized by the resignation 
of a part and the dismissal of all the rest of the members but one. 

Major Eaton's friends speak of him as good-natured and able. 
In Washington he was undoubtedly popular, and but for his 
wife's controversy he might have maintained himself in the 
party he did so much to organize. Spite of the loyal support 
of his chief, success was now impossible. Moreover, the con- 
troversy embittered his temper and made him a host of enemies 
and was, through the plans of his wife, shifted to Tennessee, 
where he had opponents also. In the summer of 1830 the couple 
were in that state. Jackson was there, also, to spend a vacation. 
The preceding hot season he passed at the Rip Raps, a pleasant 
islet which the government owned in Hampton Roads; but now 
he returned to the "Hermitage," doubly dear by reason of its 
association with his departed wife. The old scenes brought 
a revival of his sorrow and increased his feeling of loneliness; 
for the all pervading controversy had divided his own household. 

In the "Hermitage," scowling and bemoaning the ingratitude 
of those for whom he had done so much, he heard that the Eatons 
were coming to the state capital and that the leading society 
there were determined not to receive them. He aroused him- 
self instantly; the travelers were invited to make a visit to 
his home, and preparations were made to give the affair all 

»Mrs. Smith, First Party Years of Washington Society, (Hunt, Editor), 285, 321. 


possible ^clat. His own connections, that is to say, Mrs. Jack- 
son's relatives, were divided by the controversy, but steps 
were taken to bring them together so that the family should 
not appear to be inharmonious. 

All eyes turned to the "Hermitage," and Jackson's friends in 
the Tennessee towns through which Eaton must pass arranged 
dinners which must satisfy the utmost vanity of the visitors. 
The Nashville banquet was to be especially distinguished, but 
many people, some of them leading democrats, refused to attend. 
To Jackson this was conspiracy — a part of the Washington 
conspiracy, he said. It seemed essential to have a more success- 
ful reception at his home, and this could not be done unless 
the Donelsons were united. To secure such union he appealed 
to General Coffee, next to himself the most prominent member 
of the connection. That gentleman labored hard and patched 
up a truce, by which all parties agreed to come to the ''Hermi- 
tage" and show formal respect to its visitors. "My dear 
Major," now wrote the host to Eaton with satisfaction, "I 
send my son to meet you at Judge Overton's, and to conduct 
you and your lady with our other friends to the Hermitage 
where you will receive the heartfelt welcome that you were ever 
wont to do, when my Dr. departed wife was living. Her 
absence makes everything here wear to me a gloomy and mel- 
ancholy aspect, but the presence of her old and sincere friend 
will cheer me amidst the melancholy gloom with which I am 
surrounded. My neighbours and connections will receive you 
and your Lady with that good feeling which is due to you, and 
I request you and your Lady will meet them with your usual 
courtesy."' Thus outward peace was restored, while beneath 
the surface were still bitterness and war. 

With the coming of autumn the storm shifted its centre to 
Washington, but there was no yielding on the part of "the 

'Jackson to Eaton, August 3, 1S30, Jackson Mss. 


conspiracy." In fact, it laid a firmer hold on its object by de- 
priving him of A. J. Donelson, on whose services he was much 
dependent. Mrs. Donelson, presiding over her uncle's estab- 
lishment, received Mrs. Eaton as her uncle's guest, but she would 
not call on her. This finally irritated Jackson so much that 
he gave his niece the option between yielding or leaving the 
White House. She chose the latter, and nephew and niece 
went back to Tennessee. The lonely old man was deeply hurt 
and voiced his despair as follows: 

If my family and professed friends had remained faithful 
to me, and the great interests of their country, instead of faUing 
into the trap of the great intriguer Mr. Calhoun, how much 
better for them, and gratifying to me. They have decided and 
withdrawn from me. I rest upon providence and the good sense 
of the people for my support, and I am sure it is the best. The 
only thing to be regretted is, I am thrown upon strangers, who 
I have to rely [sic], instead of those I took great pains in educa- 
ting that they might be a comfort and aid to me, in my dechning 
years. I have hitherto had sufiicient energy to pass thro' 
any and every difficulty that presented, and I still trust that 
a kind providence will not forsake me in the severest trouble.' 

In September, 1831, Donelson and his family returned and 
peace again ruled in the mansion,* but at this time the Cabinet 
was renewed, and the source of discord was happily removed 
from the city. Jackson said he hoped they came "with all 
those feelings which ought at first to have accompanied them 
hither. They know my course and my wishes, and I hope they 
come to comply with them."* 

In these later stages the " Eaton Malaria" runs into the Cal- 
houn quarrel and the general party upheaval which accompanied 

•Jackson to Rev. H. M. Cryer. May ao, 1830. American Historical Maiatine (Nashville), IV.. i34. 
»VV. B. Lewis to Van Buren, September 17, 1831, Van Buren Mis. 
•Jftcl^ton to Van Buren, September s, 1831, Van Buren Mas. 


the steady advance of Van Buren into the position as heir 


Before we consider these things we must know about Jackson's 
relation to the general political progress in the early part of 
his administrations. 




The first congress under President Jackson met December 7, 
1829. Andrew Stevenson, a Virginia republican, was chosen 
speaker of the house by the votes of 159 of the 194 mem- 
bers present. His following represented all who opposed 
Adams and Clay, and most of it would probably have gone 
for the new President had he favored the old Monroe poli- 
cies. But Andrew Jackson had his pecuHar support and he was 
going to have his peculiar policies. Out of them sprang 
the historic democratic party, whose birth may well be placed 
at this period. It was Jackson's vigorous personality 
and the advancement of Martin Van Buren which drove this 
dividing wedge into the older organization. Clay gath- 
ered up as far as he could all the riven fragments 
and united them with what was left of the Adams- Clay following, 
with an eye to the election of 1832. The group which grew 
out of his efforts became the whig party. 

The new cabinet was approximately representative of 
the combined interests which voted for the victor, but 
the new policies were chiefly dictated by one section 
of the cabinet. Monroe and Adams and their predeces- 
sors treated the cabinet as a council of state, which 
adopted policies on the initiative of the President. Many 
of Jackson's wisest supporters desired him to follow the 
same practice, since that would give the more experienced 
men in the party an opportunity to modify the course 



to be pursued. But he decided otherwise.* A short 
time after the inauguration he ceased to call cabinet meetings. 
Heads of departments he treated as high administrative officers, 
and the consideration of policies was left to informal consulta- 
tions with those intimate friends in whom he had confidence. 
He tended to reduce the cabinet to the rank of administrative 
subordinates.* After the reorganization of 183 1 he showed 
less of this purpose. He consulted freely in reference to the 
removal of the deposits. But when his mind was made up on 
an important affair he was apt to override cabinet opinion. 

The first annual message contained both old and new ideas. 
Of the former were its recommendations that internal improve- 
ments ought to be undertaken but by some means which would 
be constitutional and which would not create discord among 
the lawmakers, that the public debt ought to be paid, and that 
the Indians should not be allowed to set up a state within the 
jurisdiction of Georgia. Two other principles must have dis- 
appointed the strict republicans, although they were calculated 
to please members of the party who supported the national 
program which Calhoun had favored. They were:(i) That 
free trade is desirable, but since "we must ever expect selfish 

'Among the Jackson Mss., without date, but classified as of October, 1828, is a "memorandum of points 

to be considered in the administration of the government." It is in Jackson's hand and reads: "Mr. R 

R , Virginia: 1st A strong constitutional attorney-general. 

" 2nd A genuine old-fashioned cabinet to act together and form a councel consultative. 

"3rd No editors to be appointed. 

"4th No members of Congress, except heads of Departments or Foreign Ministers, to be appointed. 

"sth No foreign missions to be originated without the Senate &c &c. 

"6th The Public Debt paid oflf, the TariEf modified and no power usurped over internal improvements. 

" 7th A high minded enlightened principle on the administration of the govt, as to appointments 
and removals. These things will give a brilliant career to the administration." 

I cannDt think this pap2r contains Jackson's own viaws. It sseras to have been a memorandum he made 
for his guidance in summing up the views of another man. The line at the top, "Mr. R — e R — Va," sug- 
gests Ritchie, editor of the Richmond Enquirer, whom Van Buren in writing to Jackson the following spring 
called the most influential editor in the country. He spoke for the Virginia faction and was heard far and wide. 
There is no evidence that he visited the "Hermitage" before the inauguration, but the summary of his views 
could have been made by Jackson after an interview with some intermediary, or as a deduction from Ritchie's 
editorials. The second and third points of the memorandum are clearly contrary to Jackson's opinions, which 
would make it improbable that the paper was intended to record his ideas. — J. S. B. 

'For a good discussion of Jackson's relation to the cabinet, see MacDonald, J acksonian Democracy, 226. 



From a portrait by D. M Carter, engraved by A. H. Ritchie. Carter, born in 1827, and eighteen when 
Jackson died, could hardly have painted from life. He seems to have followed a portrait 
by Earl. The picture, engraved by the popular Ritchie, was purchased 
by many admirers of the General 



legislation in other nations" we must continue "to adapt our 
own to their regulations," that the existing tariff had brought 
neither the ills nor the benefits predicted for it and should be 
modified, and that all sections "should unite in diminishing any 
burthen of which either may justly complain";' and (2) That 
the surplus revenue after the debt was paid should be distributed 
among the states. Calhoun, in common with all who opposed 
a high tariff, objected to distribution because by diminishing 
the surplus it lessened the need of tariff reduction, but many 
of his older followers in the Middle States and the West 
gave it hearty support. Another recommendation, although it 
rested logically on old republican principles, was in its practical 
import essentially new and was destined to become the most 
characteristic measure of the democratic party in its early phase. 
It referred to the United States Bank and said that in the opinion 
of the President it was not too soon to consider the recharter 
of the institution and that it was certain that some of the 
objects for which the bank was founded were not accomplished. 
Jackson took his immense popularity for approval of his 
poHcy, and he was right in doing so; for although his military 
reputation brought him before the people, the feeling that 
he represented them and could be trusted to act for them served 
to sustain him in his long period of public life. He considered 
his own ideas the people's ideas. No President kept a more 
watchful eye on congress to see that they did not violate the 
will of the people. Excluded from congressional halls by custom, 
through friends he kept well informed of all that transpired 
there. Either A. J. Donelson or Major Lewis was usually there 
and made quick report to the chief. Thus the leader added to 
the ordinary feeling of party loyalty the force of a mild terror, 
increasing the coherence of his own party and embittering 
the attitude of his opponents. 

>Richardson, Messages and Papers of tlie Presidents, II., 443. 


The house was tractable but the senate was otherwise. The 
removal of officials particularly displeased it. It debated for 
some time a resolution questioning the President's power of 
removal; but the practice was too long established to be over- 
thrown. The senate showed displeasure by rejecting some of 
the nominations and by making others appear so dubious that 
they were withdrawn by the President. One of the unfortu- 
nates was Isaac Hill, of New Hampshire, a relentless champion 
of democracy in whose newspaper the most cruel things were 
said about the enemies of Jackson. The senate refused to 
confirm his nomination and he went back to New Hampshire 
in a rage. He soon had his revenge. Levi Woodbury, a senator 
with higher ambitions, was induced to resign his seat and, in 
1 83 1, Hill came back to Washington as senator-elect in his 
stead. When the cabinet was reorganized in the same year 
Woodbury's self-denial had its reward. It pleased Jackson 
and the whole administration party to see him whom the digni- 
fied upper chamber thought unfit for second comptroller of 
the treasury taking at the behest of the people a seat in the 
very body which rejected him. But the senate had too much 
respect for the President's popularity to embarrass him with 
many rejections. Later, when feeling ran higher, they were 
not so considerate of his wishes. Daniel Webster correctly 
described the situation in saying: "Were it not for the fear 
of the outdoor popularity of General Jackson, the senate would 
have negatived more than half his nominations. There is a 
burning fire of discontent that must, I think, some day break 
out. When men go so far as to speak warmly against things 
which they yet feel bound to vote for, we may hope they will 
soon go a little further.'" 

There was undoubtedly discontent in the party, but Jackson's 
courage and strength were to prove sufficient for its control. 

'Webster, Private Correspondence, I., 501. 


It was excellent strategy to force Hill on the senate as a vindi- 
cation of his nomination and as a way of letting the w^orld see 
how General Jackson could make himself obeyed. The world 
v/as going to see in a few years many similar illustrations of 
his capacity for political command. 

Some of the signs of discontent came from followers of Cal- 
houn. They did not reUsh Van Buren's steady march into 
presidential confidence, and Duff Green's columns revealed 
their cooling ardor. Jackson urged Green to write more in- 
cisively, saying with his usual plainness that congress was 
giving itself chiefly to president-making. The editor showed 
his pique in his reply. How could he defend the administra- 
tion's policies unless he knew what they were, he said. Since 
the cabinet met no longer to consider pohcies of government, 
no one felt authorized to defend a measure as an expression of 
party purpose.' Green's reply had much truth in it, but it 
made no impression on Jackson. The influence of Van Buren 
steadily increased and through it an issue was made in this 
very session of congress which, while it struck openly at Cla}^, 
dealt Calhoun a severe blow in a less obvious way. It was 
the veto of the MaysviUe Road Bill, which checked the impulse 
for roads and canals at national expense, a measure on which 
rested much of the South Carolinian's strength. 

Calhoun was most prominently identified with internal 
improvements, one of the movements for domestic development 
which became popular after the war of 181 2. He was responsi- 
ble in 181 7 for the biU to use for this purpose the bonus of the 
Second United States Bank, which Madison vetoed on consti- 
tutional grounds. Accompanying the veto was a suggestion 
that the constitution be amended to allow the expenditure of 
money for public improvements, but nothing came of it. The 
people of the Northwest were especially anxious for roads and 

•Cited by Parton, Life of Jackson, III., 377. 


canals; they were not able to construct them by private enter- 
prise, the new state governments were not rich enough for 
the task, and they turned to the national government. Penn- 
sylvania, through whose territory lay the route to the West 
most talked about, also supported the movement. Besides 
these, a few people everywhere believed that the government 
should undertake such works. Federalists supported the move- 
ment as it suited their interests rather than from principle, it 
seems, since New England, the centre of federahsm, but already 
supphed with roads and somewhat equipped with canals, went 
strongly against the measure. 

Madison's veto did not end the agitation. Mihtary roads 
were from the first favored by a larger number of people than 
non-mihtary roads; and there was now disposition to place the 
whole movement on that basis. Resolutions were passed asking 
the secretary of war, Calhoun, to report a system of such in- 
ternal improvements as were necessary to the public defense. 
He comphed willingly and in 1819 submitted a comprehensive 
plan which he said would be "among the most efficient me an 3 
for the more complete defense of the United States." But he 
was careful to add that the work should not be authorized 
unless it was considered constitutional and that he did not enter 
into that phase of the question.' The report served for propa- 
ganda, as was doubtless intended, and three years later the 
feeling for roads and canals was still stronger. Both principle 
and local interest combined to make a majority for it in congress. 
The strict repubhcans, with the Virginia leaders at their head, 
viewed this growth of opinion with alarm, and Monroe was 
not sorry for an opportunity to give it a check. He made a 
bill to coUect tolls on the Cumberland road serve as an occasion. 
In vetoing it on May 4, 1822, he submitted his "Views on the 
Subject of Internal Improvements," a historical discussion of 

I American State Papers, Miscellaneous, $34- 


the question from the constitutional standpoint; and he added 
that there should be an amendment to permit the construction 
of roads and canals/ This document was well received by the 
strict republicans, and Jackson wrote its author in terms of 
warm commendation for its principles. 

Nevertheless, the subject would not down. In 1824 a bill 
was passed to authorize a survey of such transportation routes 
as were necessary to the commercial, military, and postal needs 
of the country. Monroe approved the bill on the ground that 
it was in the province of congress to ascertain what was needed 
in this nature. The execution of the task fell to Calhoun, still 
secretary of war. The series of roads and canals which he 
now recommended was large enough to offer something to every 
important section of the union. It embraced: (i) A canal 
from Washington to the Ohio to be extended later to Lake 
Erie; (2) An inland waterway along the Atlantic coast from 
the Potomac to Boston harbor; and (3) A road from Washington 
to New Orleans. Calhoun added that there were other improve- 
ments which, while not essential, were "deemed of great impor- 
tance in a commercial and military view." They were canals 
connecting the Savannah, Alabama, and Tennessee Rivers, 
the James and the Kanawha, the Susquehanna and the Alle- 
gheny, the St. Johns in Florida with the Gulf of Mexico, and 
the St. Lawrence with Lake Champlam. Nor was this all: 
in due time other routes were recommended, as a road from 
Baltimore to Philadelphia, another from Washington to Buffalo, 
the extension of the Cumberland Road to the capital of Mis- 
souri, and a canal from Lake Pontchartrain to the Mississippi. 
This survey was defended on the ground that it would be an 
intelligent suggestion for the expenditure of private and state 
funds. The strict repubUcans opposed it on the ground that 
it sought to combine the interests of all parts of the union in 

iRichardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 14*, 183. 


a congressional majority large enough to override a presidential 
veto. It was undoubtedly calculated to whet the popular 
desire for internal improvements. Jefferson and his Virginia 
followers declared with dismay that this tendency was irre- 

Of the candidates for the presidency then before the country, 
Clay, Adams, and Calhoun were openly for internal improve- 
ments and they were wilHng to avoid constitutional objections 
by trusting to a favorable interpretation of the right of congress 
to establish post roads, or to regulate interstate conmierce, 
or to provide for the public defense. Calhoun's constitutional 
position was not quite so clear as Clay's and Adams's, probably 
because of South Carolina's trend to strict construction. Jack- 
son also favored internal improvements when they could be 
shown to contribute to the military safety of the nation. But 
he held some decided opinions about state rights, and it could 
be foretold how he would act if the matter were robbed of its 
military significance. 

Only Crawford, of the five candidates, was clear in his oppo- 
sition to the policy, and when he was eliminated by illness 
there was much discouragement among those who thought 
that the government should not play into the hands of poHti- 
cians who stimulated the demands of interested voters. The 
election of Adams and his combination with Clay made it 
seem probable that this policy would gain rapidly in the country. 
On the other hand drawing Crawford, Calhoun, and Jackson 
into the opposition gave strength to those who objected to 
internal improvements. Van Buren was strongest in the com- 
bination and sought to carry it over to the strict repubhcan 
view. December 20, 1825, he introduced a resolution denying 
the power of congress to construct roads and canals, but the 
senate left it unnoticed. 

*Writint of Jeferson (Memorial Edition), XVI., 140. 


While no great work of internal improvement was authorized 
under Adams, smaller works, roads and harbors, were ordered 
to the extent of more than two millions, which was two and a 
third times as much as was spent for the same purposes under 
all the preceding Presidents. Each appropriation stimulated 
the demand for others, and the success of the Erie Canal, com- 
pleted in 1825, seemed to add confirmation to all favorable 
prophecies. There was undoubtedly a strong tide running for 
pubHc improvements at the close of this administration, held 
back only by the factious quahty of the opposition to Adams. 
But with the advent of a new President other results seemed 

Jackson's views of the constitution were formed through 
feeling rather than intellect. They were formed in the early 
school of Monroe and Randolph, and although he voted for 
military roads and for the systems of surveys of 1824, he was 
likely to come over to the opposition when shown that it took 
the same position as the party to which he gave his first alle- 
giance. The veto of 1822 served such a purpose. "My opinion 
has always been," he wrote to Monroe, "that the Federal 
Government did not possess the constitutional right; that it 
is retained to the states," and that in time of war the national 
authority may repair roads and control them but must surrender 
them when peace returns.' In the first draft of the inaugural 
address, however, he showed that he was carried away by the 
Western sentiment, saying that internal improvements, when 
not of an entirely local character, should be built by the 
national government. When the address had gone through the 
hands of prudent advisers in Washington it merely declared 
that "internal improvements and the diffusion of knowledge, 
so far as they can be promoted by the constitutional acts of 

•Turner, Rise of the New West, 824-235. 286-288. 
•Jackson to Monroe J July 36, 1822, Jackson Mss 


the Federal Government, are of high importance." In his 
first annual message he came again to the subject and said 
that the surplus revenue after the debt was paid should be 
divided among the states in proportion to population for internal 
improvements. The old method of distribution by congress 
directly he said was bad, meaning, as it seems, on account of 
the jobbery in applications. He did not appear to reahze 
that distribution to the states would largely transfer this job- 
bery from congress to state legislatures. But even here 
Jackson guarded himself by saying that if the constitution 
would not allow the suggested course an amendment should be 
submitted to the people to secure the desired permission.' 

Van Buren, apparently, was sincerely opposed to the policy 
of internal improvements. He voted for some of the earher 
bills, but Monroe's veto put him to thinking, and he concluded 
that the poHcy was both dangerous and unconstitutional. 
Afterward he opposed it as opportunity offered but noticed 
that it gained continually in public opinion. He at length 
decided that nothing could stand against it but Jackson's popu- 
larity; and he determined to try to bring that to bear. As 
early as possible after he entered the cabinet he discussed the 
matter with the President. 

The two men proved to be at one in the matter. A careful 
consideration showed that they felt it necessary to check the 
course of pubHc opinion, and it was agreed that the secretar}^ 
should keep his eye on congress and report to the President 
when a bill was being debated which seemed proper for veto. 
The design was kept quite secret by the two men, which 
was ever Van Buren's inclination in regard to contemplated 
actions. In politics he Hked to move quickly and unexpectedly 
on an adversary. 

•Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 4SI. 
«Van Buren, Autobiography, III., 14Q. IS2-IS8; Van Buren Mss. 


Affairs in Pennsylvania at that time made it a delicate thing 
to oppose internal improvements. The state was largely com- 
mitted to that policy both because any direct approach to the 
upper Ohio must pass through its bounds, and because a number 
of wealthy contractors in Philadelphia were actively agitating 
at the national capital and among the people at large in behalf 
of appropriations, from which they expected to reap large 
profits. They had strong influence with the state politicians 
and controlled a number of newspapers. Beside this, the 
Quakers, a numerous body of voters, were alread}^ displeased 
at Jackson because he favored the removal of the Cherokees in 
Georgia; and if he had any definite plans against the United 
States Bank he must have realized that he would need, in order 
to carry them through in Pennsylvania, the home of the parent 
bank, all possible popularity in that state. These various 
things were duly considered by Van Buren, but he concluded 
that the President's popularity was enough to overcome even 
these difficulties and Jackson, agreeing to take the responsibility, 
it was determined to go ahead with the program. 

April 26, 1830, McDuffie, of South Carolina, was in the midst 
of a stately speech on the inequalities of the tariff. At the end 
of two hours he paused and said that he had now submitted 
the dry and less interesting part of his argument, that the re- 
mainder would be more pleasing, and that with the permission 
of the house he should like to discontinue at that time and con- 
clude the next day. He was indulged, and Fletcher, of Kentucky, 
suggested that the rest of the sitting be given to some minor 
bill that could be passed in a short time and moved a considera- 
tion of the biU to subscribe to the stock of a road from Mays- 
viUe, Ky., to Lexington, in the same state. Then in the most 
confident tone he explained that the Kentucky legislature 
had incorporated the company to build and operate the road, 
that while it was within the state entirely, it was part of what 


would be a great national road when completed, and that by 
taking stock in so promising an enterprise the government 
could not lose its investment. He spoke briefly and was fol- 
lowed by a Georgian who was surprised that Fletcher should 
fancy the bill would have no opposition. It was essentially 
a local bill, and it precipitated a debate which ran through 
three days before the house passed it by a vote of 102 to 86. 
The senate debate on the measure is lost but it passed that 
body safely and went to the President about May 20th. 

The Maysville Road was as local as any important road within 
a state could be. It was in the state in which Clay lived and 
the bill was supposed to be a kind of challenge from that gentle- 
man, both of which facts, it seemed to Van Buren, would appeal 
to the President. As soon as the house approved the measure 
he mentioned it to Jackson in one of their daily rides on the 
Tenallytown road. He offered to submit reasons — which 
he had already prepared — why the bill should not become a 
law. The offer was accepted, and the paper which was handed 
over was kept for five days without intimation of the President's 
opinion on it. Jackson then announced his entire acquiescence 
and asked the secretary to prepare a statement of the consti- 
tutional grounds on which a veto might rest. This kind of 
a document had also been previously prepared in anticipation 
of such a request, and it was duly handed to the head of the 
government. Van Buren also suggested that if a statement 
of the national finances were made it would show that there was 
not enough money in the treasury to pay the due proportion 
of the national debt, provide for the expenses of government, 
and support internal improvements. This suggestion was fol- 
lowed also. 

The bill represented a popular opinion, and a veto needed 
all possible support. Not one in twenty, says Van Buren, 
beUeved that Jackson would venture to reject it, and it was the 


intention of the secretary of state that they should not know 
it until the bill was passed. He feared that Clay, if he thought 
a veto imminent, would drop the bill and bring in another less 
local and one in which a larger group of people were interested. 
Jackson at first was for opening the way for the veto by proper 
editorials in the newspapers and as soon as the plan was settled 
said, "Give it to Blair," which he habitually pronounced 
"Bla-ar." But the arch-schemer induced him to conceal his 

In spite of these precautions an inkhng of what was coming 
got abroad, and the Kentuckians were much disturbed. They 
sent R. M. Johnson, at that tune a close friend of Jackson's, 
to ascertain what he would do. The visitor was given to grandilo- 
quent language, even in private conversation. When he en- 
tered the President's office the secretary of state was prudently 
present. As the visitor proceeded with his argument his language 
became warm. He said that the state of Kentucky demanded 
the MaysviUe Road, and that to veto the bill would defeat 
the democratic party in the state. " If this hand were an anvil," 
he exclaimed, extending the left arm with the palm upward, 
" and a fly were sitting on it, and a sledge-hammer should come 
down on it like this" — bringing down his right hand with a 
blow — " that fly would not be more surely crushed than the 
democratic party in Kentucky would be crushed by this veto." 

At this point Jackson, whose interest grew with Johnson's, 
rose to his feet with an air which meant danger. Had the 
speaker considered the state of the treasury balance? "No," 
was the reply. "Well, I have," said the general hotly; and 
he went on to say that he was elected to pay off the national 
debt, how could this be done and the proposed internal im- 
provements constructed without borrowing? — and borrow 
he would not. 

The President's fervor disconcerted his interlocutor, who 


hesitated and prepared to leave the room. Van Buren watched 
the scene with deep interest. He feared, he tells us, that Jack- 
son's temper had revealed too much of his purpose and ob- 
served to Johnson that he must not think the President's mind 
was made up, and, in fact, that he and Jackson were just going 
over the Maysville bill when the visitor arrived. At this Jack- 
son took his cue, changed his tone, and succeeded in restoring 
the Kentuckian to what Van Buren calls "his accustomed 
urbanity." Johnson faithfully reported to his colleagues all 
these occurrences. Then they asked him what he thought 
Jackson would do with the bill. He replied that in his opinion 
nothing short of a voice from heaven could prevent "Old 
Hickory" from vetoing the bill, and he doubted if that could 
prevent it. 

Interest in the outcome was now stronger than ever, but no 
one cared to risk a second interview with Jackson. They went 
to Van Buren instead, both friends and opponents of the bill. 
He had much trouble to keep them from finding out what was 
to be done; but mysterious silence was one of his peculiar 
qualifications, and he employed it here so well that he not only 
deceived the interrogators but even created the opinion that 
he was opposed to the veto. One of the reasons said to have 
been given for rejecting him as minister to England in 1832 
was that he favored the Maysville Road. 

The senate was debating the bill while this was going on, 
and in due time they gave their assent. The Western states 
and Pennsylvania now looked anxiously to Jackson. Van 
Buren was also deeply concerned, and he kept close to the 
President's side. On the morning the veto was sent to congress, 
he breakfasted at the White House, Barry, Eaton, Lewis, and 
Felix Grundy bemg present also. The others had long faces, 
knowing what was coming and believing it would damage the 
party. Jackson was extremely weak from illness, and the 


secretary of state while assisting him up the stairs remarked 
that the others seemed alarmed. "Yes," was the reply, "but 
don't mind that. The thing is here [touching his breast-pocket] 
and shall be sent up as soon as congress convenes." 

The veto was addressed to the house of representatives, 
in which the bill originated. Its reading was received with 
severe silence. It not only defeated the Maysville Road, but 
it challenged the principle of internal improvements. Some 
of the democrats were alarmed, some were angry, some 
predicted that the result would be fatal in Pennsylvania and the 
West, and others saw in it a shrewd electioneering move, worthy 
of the astute secretary of state. Care had been taken to write 
the veto so that it would appeal to the largest number of 
people. Those whose interests would be injured by it 
were ignored — their opposition was taken for granted ; 
but every possible phase of constitutionality and ex- 
pediency was exploited to convince the people at large that 
to appropriate the national funds for roads and canals was 
illegal and unwise. 

The defeat of the measure pleased the old republicans. They 
attributed it largely to Van Buren and on it founded a hope 
that the Western influence would not entirely direct the party. 
In Virginia a number of them assembled to give John Randolph 
a parting dinner before his departure for Russia. One of the 
toasts was, The rejection of the Maysville Road Bill — It falls 
upon the ear like the music of other days. This was drunk stand- 
ing with three times three cheers. In Pennsylvania the im- 
pression was not at first so favorable. A congressman from that 
state remonstrated with Jackson in person. He was patiently heard 
and told to say no more until he consulted his constituency. 
He promised to do this and a short time after he reached his 
district he wrote to say that the voters endorsed the 


"The veto,'" says Van Buren, "was the wedge which spKt 
the party of internal improvements, a party which was 'wielded 
by a triumvirate of active and able young statesmen as a means 
through which to achieve for themselves the gHttering prize 
of the Presidency, operating in conjunction with minor classes 
of pohticians, looking in the same general direction, and backed 
by a Httle army of cunning contractors." Calhoun, Clay, 
and Adams had each leaned hard on internal improvements, 
from them each drew much of his popularity; and the removal 
of the issue from the field of active politics was a sad blow to 
each. Clay and Adams could have expected Httle else, but to 
Calhoun it gave notice that he was losing position in the demo- 
cratic party and that his rival was in the lead. The fact that the 
defeat of internal improvements would weaken Calhoun probably 
added to the secretary of state's zeal in the matter; although 
it must be remembered that the advisers from Tennessee, 
generally opposed to the vice-president, were not now against 
him, but held back on account of what £hey considered party 

The Maysville veto was skilfully written. Its purpose was 
to overthrow a well-rooted popular feehng. An embarrassing 
feature was that Jackson himself had voted for the survey bill 
of 1824 and for some other minor bills to construct roads. The 
document, therefore, must not make him appear inconsistent 
or seem to despise the popular fancy. Little regard was paid 
to the opinion of the politicians, for it was believed that they 
would acquiesce if pubHc opinion could be reached. As to the 
contractors, they were equally ignored; for their opposition 
was certain whatever was done against them, and their rage 
would only serve to show they were speculators disappointed 
of their profits, and that all Jackson had said about them was 

»Van Buren tells the story of the Maysville veto with full details and with apparent frankness. See AtUo- 
biography. III., isa-169. Van Buren Mss. 


In his argument Jackson emphasized the local character of 
the proposed road; and while he did not openly dispute the 
principle of appropriations of this kind, he depicted incidentally 
many of the evils he thought would come from it. We had 
gone too far, he said, from the principles of 1798 to take a stand 
now on the strictest construction of the constitution in regard 
to appropriations. Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe signed bills 
to construct roads, and as for Adams, it was well known that 
he was committed fully to internal improvements. The ap- 
parent reluctance with which this was admitted would please 
the strict repubUcans, and the willingness to accept things 
accompHshed would please many who held a different view. 

What was the principle on which Jefferson, Madison, and 
Monroe acted? From Madison's and Monroe's vetoes it was 
seen to be that the government had power to appropriate 
money for public works which were not local, but whose benefit 
was to the nation. The Maysville Road was local, and therefore 
he opposed it. He thus reconciled his argument with his votes 
in congress all of which he could defend on the ground that 
they looked to national benefits. 

Two principal arguments were added to reconcile the people 
to a reversal of a poHcy which evidently was agreeable to them: 
I. Certain revenues were pledged to pay the national debt, 
while congress was then in the very act of reducing duties on 
certain articles. Yet the demand for expenditures was great: 
if to the necessary expenses of government were added the 
appropriations for internal improvements then proposed there 
would be for the current year a deficit of ten millions. Thus 
we should have either to give up such appropriations, or abandon 
the payment of the debt, or increase taxes. But if the money 
may not be raised now, the people need not be discouraged. 
The intelligent American people could be trusted to carry this 
policy through at a time more auspicious than the present. 


Let us, however, give all present efforts to extinguish the debt. 
How much would it not strengthen the national character in 
the eyes of the world to see a republic founded as an experiment, 
come successfully through two great wars, prosperous, free from 
debt, and united in its spirit! How much better was this than 
"a scramble for appropriations that have no relation to any 
general system of improvement!" 

2. Assuming that congress could by the constitution con- 
struct improvements, it was certain that it could not "prosecute" 
them. But there was so much uncertainty as between the 
two rights that it was unwise to proceed further until the con- 
stitution was amended so as to make its meaning perfectly 
clear. If the people really desire improvements they will not 
fail to make such an amendment, which was particularly de- 
sirable in order to enable congress to regulate and conduct 
such improvements without infringing the jurisdiction of the 
states in which they lay. The Cumberland Road was an 
example of the evils under present conditions; for years the 
right of congress to conduct it was questioned, and sometimes 
funds were voted for that purpose, and sometimes they were 
refused. All such confusion would be avoided if the people 
were asked to pass on the subject by a proposed amendment.* 

Public appropriations for internal improvements have several 
times been considered by the American people, either in congress 
or in state legislatures, or in municipalities. There has usually 
been a well-defined consciousness of the need of such appropria- 
tions to secure desired utilities; but practical wisdom has 
generally halted before the evident danger of jobbery in se- 
lecting the works to be constructed or in awarding the con- 
tracts. Jackson's allusion to this danger was wise; for the 
people are slow to trust themselves with the supervision of so 

'Ric h ftrdson. Mestagts and Papen of the Presidents, II., 483-493. 


large a system of expenditures for a purpose in which selfish 
motives can operate so easily. 

From Madison's veto to Jackson's was a period of thirteen 
years. Holding back internal improvements during that time 
was fatal to those who hoped to have them through national aid. 
The movement was already transferring itself to the states. 
Pennsylvania and the states west of it were particularly extrava- 
gant, and the results were repudiation of debt or heavy 
embarrassments. The Maysville veto undoubtedly turned a 
large part of this financial waste away from the national 

The congressional elections of 1830 supported the adminis- 
tration, and this was taken as endorsement of the veto. The 
vehemence with which the opposition denounced that policy 
during the campaign warrants the assertion that the public 
had ample opportunity to repudiate it if they had so desired. 
Van Buren, watching the situation, feared, as he tells us, that 
the antipathy to improvements would go so far as to include 
among forbidden things such necessary works as light-houses, 
fortifications, and harbor improvements. He wanted to get 
before the public some statement of sound principles which 
should show what might and what might not be provided. 

In order to bring up the question again in a proper way, 
and to make friends for his policy, he wrote to Madison, living 
in Virginia at the age of seventy-nine. The Maysville message 
assumed that Madison's veto of 181 7 conceded "that the right 
of appropriation is not limited by the power to carry into effect 
the measure for which the money is asked, as was formerly 
contended."' This, as Van Buren reveals in confidence, was 
a doubtful construction of the early veto, but it was used in the 
hope of bolstering up the argument of 1830. It was a good 
point on which to hang a restatement, and probably a modifi- 

'Richardsan, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 486. 


cation of Jackson's position, and he desired to open a corre- 
spondence which should give him such an opportunity. 

He proceeded cautiously, sending Madison, in the first place, 
a copy of the veto message with a simple note of personal com- 
pliment. As he expected, the eye of his correspondent fell on 
the questionable allusion to the message of 1817, and a protest 
followed. The intention of Madison's veto, said the writer 
of it, was "to deny to Congress as well the appropriating power, 
as the executing and jurisdictional branches of it," which was 
the general understanding at the time the veto was delivered. 

The situation was now to the liking of the clever secretary. 
Replying at once he said that the question of internal improve- 
ments was not settled, that it would come up again in the future, 
and the President would be pleased to have his predecessor's 
opinion on four points: (i) A precise view of the government's 
power to appropriate money to improvements of a general 
nature. (2) A rule to govern appropriations for light-houses 
and harbor improvements. (3) The expediency of refusing 
internal improvements until the national debt was paid. (4) 
The strong objection to subscriptions by the United States 
for stock in private companies. 

Madison's reply to the first question was less definite than 
his interrogator desired. It enumerated certain works on 
which the government might expend money, declared that 
discretion ought to be left to the legislature, that funds should 
be apportioned among the states according to population, but 
that there were certain objections to this. As for light-houses 
and harbors, that depended on whether they were local or 
general, and on how much a given work was local and how much 
it was general, and each case was to be decided on its merits. 
The replies to the other two points were equally indefinite: 
the national debt ought to be paid with all possible expediency, 
but some conceivable expenditures would take precedence, 


each to be considered on its own merits; and the government 
ought sometimes to aid, and sometimes to refuse to aid private 
corporations. To these categorical statements he appended 
a general opinion that internal improvements are unconstitu- 
tional but that they are highly important when properly se- 
lected, which was but reasserting the veto of 181 7.' Such a 
response could have given little comfort to Van Buren. It 
neither supported his contention nor contradicted it so directly 
as to furnish the basis for an opposing argument. By July, 
when the reply was written, it was evident that public opinion 
was so far with the veto that it was needless to say more than 
had been said. It was good policy to let well enough alone. 

But Jackson was too practical to go to extremes. Appro- 
priations for light-houses and harbors were continued, and 
funds were granted to keep in proper condition certain works 
already undertaken. For example, the Cumberland Road, 
which received before the Maysville veto total grants for 
$1,668,000, received after that event during Jackson's adminis- 
trations $3,728,000.' 

A year later Jackson wrote to Kendall: "I wish you to look 
at the Harbor Bill, and compare it with my veto message on 
the Maysville Road Bill, and my message to Congress in 1830. 
I have left in the hands of Major Donelson, Genl. Gratiot's 
report on the items in the bill, from which you will find that 
many are local and useless; few that are national. I am de- 
termined in my message, if I live to make one to Congress, to 
put an end to this waste of public money, and to appropriations 
for internal improvements, until a system be adopted by Congress 
and an amendment of the Constitution; in short to stop this 
corrupt, log-rolling system of Legislation." But harbor ap- 
propriations continued to be made after the old manner. 

iMadison, Letters (Edition 1884), IV., 87-Q3. 

"Report of Colonel Albert: See Wheeler, History of Congress, II., 124- 


The history of the Maysville message illustrates Jackson's 
relation to his advisers. He could not have written this message ; 
but its significant ideas were his. He could not have planned 
actions so well calculated to manipulate the situation for his 
advantage, yet he gave intelligent approval to the plans when 
made by another and had the courage to carry them through. 
Moreover, the veto is not far beyond the clause in the draft 
of the first inaugural where he declared against internal improve- 
ments of a local nature. Most of his important policies are found 
in an undeveloped form in his earlier doctrines. 

The Maysville message has an importance in the history of 
American poHtics not at first observed. It was the first dis- 
tinctive measure of the Jacksonian democracy. It marked the 
complete union of the old Crawford group with the original 
Jackson men. Finally, it robbed Calhoun of a popular policy 
and weakened him so much that his enemies dared to proceed 
to destroy him utterly. How they realized their final plans in 
this process and the part Jackson took in it is the subject of the 
next chapter. 



By 1830 the two factions among those who voted for Jackson 
in 1828 were well developed. Their rivalry entered into the 
selection of the cabinet, the Eaton embroglio, the Maysville 
veto, and the ever-present hopes of the succession in 1832. It 
was the chief phase of public life in the early years of the ad- 
ministration. If an ofhce-seeker failed to get Van Buren's 
support he was likely to attach himself to Calhoun, and vice 
versa. Each faction was too strong to yield to the other, and 
war to the end was necessary. Each was composed of politi- 
cians; for the dissension did not reach the mass of voters, who 
thought of Jackson only. He became the arbiter of the dispute. 
The last move of the Van Burenites was to excite his terrible 
anger against their enemy. Before its force no appeal to justice 
and no revelation of political intrigue was able to stand. 

Jackson's friendship for Calhoun was as early as the Seminole 
affair, which began late in 181 7, just as the latter of the two men 
became secretary of war. It was doubtless stimulated by his 
hatred of Crawford and Clay. He thought that the secretary 
of war supported him when the other two would censure him 
for invading Florida, and while on his way to Washington to 
defend himself in that matter he gave for toast at a dinner, 
"John C. Calhoun — an honest man the noblest work of God." 
Calhoun did not entirely deserve this confidence; for in the 
earHest cabinet councils on the matter he said that the leader 
of the Florida invasion ought to be disciplined for violating 
orders. Jackson knew nothing of this, and Calhoun allowed 



him to remain uninformed. He seems to have been a little 
in awe of the fiery Tennesseean. 

In the campaign of 1824 Jackson favored either Calhoun or 
Adams before he liimself was announced as a candidate. The 
alliance between his and Calhoun's groups was probably ar- 
ranged by their respective lieutenants without much aid from 
the principals. Letters exchanged by the two men at infre- 
quent intervals do not mention any such bargain. Jackson 
wrote with his usual directness, but Calhoun was apt to show 
a nervous attempt to please, as though his position was unpleas- 
ant and involuntarily taken. "I would rather have your good 
opinion," he wrote in 182 1, "with the approbation of my own 
mind, than all the popularity which a pretended |?] love of the 
people, and a course of popularity hunting can excite." "I 
find few with whom I accord so fully in relation to political 
affairs as yourself," he wrote in 1823.' Calhoun was not nat- 
urally uncandid, and he must have found it hard to flatter. 
He was very ambitious and bowed before the Jackson wave 
through the hope that he might at last ride on its top. The 
health of the Tennesseean was exceedingly bad, and he openly 
declared for only one term: it was a fair prospect for him who 
could hope for the succession. Very few letters between the 
two men are preserved for the period from 1824 to 1829, but all 
obtainable evidence shows that personal relations between 
them were friendly. Jackson knew of the opposition of his 
particular supporters to the South Carolinian, but he did not 
give himself to it. Party harmony was essential in the cam- 
paign and in the first months of the new administration. 

Calhoun seen from a distance was a man after Jackson's 
own heart. He had courage, vigor, and candor; and these 
qualities won the Tennesseean. But closer contact showed a 
man who was cold, correct, and intellectual, a public man of 

'Calhoun to Jackson, March 7, 1821, and March 30, 1823, Jackson Mas. 


the old Virginia manners, and one who could not bend to the 
will of a leader. If he had won the friendship of the Tennessee 
group in 1825, before they gave themselves to another, his 
future would have been different. 

The course of Duff Green was another disturbing factor. 
Brought from Missouri to Washington in 1826 to establish the 
Daily Telegraphy he attached himself to Calhoun's interests. 
He was rash, arrogant, and turbulent. He made it clear that 
Calhoun was to have the succession, as though he would frighten 
off other aspirants; and in many ways irritated the opponents 
of the South Carolinian. January 17, 1828, he announced 
Jackson and Calhoun as the republican ticket, seeking to com- 
mit the party and to defeat those members of it who at that 
moment were scheming to bring forward De Witt Clinton. This 
was borne patiently throughout the long fight against Adams 
and in the early years of the first administration, and he received 
his reward in the lion's share of the public printing; but the 
stronger grew the opposite faction the less willingly they gave 
him the position of editorial oracle. His paper reflected the 
change of temper: when Jackson in the winter of 1829-30 
chided him for not defending the policies of the government, 
he replied that he was no longer informed of those policies.* 
A more facile man than Green would have been better suited 
to his chieftain's purposes. On the other hand, one must re- 
m.ember that the Jacksonian democracy was organized in 
Jackson's own spirit of absolute leadership. From an editor 
who served it military obedience was demanded. If Green 
would not give himself to the cause body and soul he must 
give place to some one who was more obedient. 

It does not appear when the anti-Calhoun faction began to 
urge Van Buren for the succession. They concentrated on De 
Witt Clinton for vice-president in the winter of 1827-28 and 

'Silas Wright to Van Buren, December g, xSiS, Van Buren Mss. 


had he lived he might have become a formidable antagonist of 
the South CaroHnian. But his death in February, 1828, left 
the opposition headless. Many of them were for Van Buren 
before this, but he was not taken at once for the vacant posi- 
tion. He was httle known in national politics, he was closely 
associated with Crawford whom many Jackson men hated, and 
he was unpopular through having the reputation of a shrewd 
manipulator. As a member of cabinet he commanded great re- 
spect, but he was not in 1828 the man to defeat Calhoun for 
second place in the administration. 

You are now the "master mover" in Washington: "take 
care to be so." Thus wrote in substance Dr. Thomas Cooper, 
March 24, 1829, in recognition of Van Buren's preeminence 
in the cabinet. We have seen the prediction fulfilled. He 
not only managed his department with credit; but he saved 
the administration's prestige in social matters, he steered himself 
safely through the dangers from the "Eaton malaria," he 
brought the President to support the old repubhcan view of 
internal improvements, and he made himself the most trusted 
friend of Jackson and the glorified hero of the " Kitchen Cabinet." 
While he thus advanced, his rival, Calhoun, was steadily falling 
into disfavor with the President. 

The first noticeable rift in the relation between Jackson and 
Calhoun occurred in 1826. In that year some of Jackson's 
enemies criticized his defense of New Orleans, and a friendly 
paper in Tennessee rephed with the countercharge that Monroe, 
then secretary of war, did not support him fairly in that military 
expedition. It was at this time that Jackson became involved 
in the controversy with secretary of the navy, Southard, 
over the latter's assertion that Monroe saved the New Orleans 
campaign from failure.' This touched the feelings of Monroe 
who undertook to refute the editor of the Tennessee newspapers. 

'See above, II., 306. 


He wrote to Senator WTiite, of that state, offering to submit 
documents in substantiation of his assertion that he gave all 
possible aid to the operations in Louisiana. Wliite was re- 
assured in a measure and showed the letter to Jackson, who 
passionately pronounced Monroe guilty of deception. 

While this affair transpired some unknown hand brought 
Calhoun into it. Sam Houston, then a Tennessee member of 
congress and in full sympathy with the anti-Calhoun faction, 
got possession of a letter from Monroe to Calhoun, written 
September 9, 1818, in which the President told his secretary 
of war what should be done with the invader of Florida. It 
showed that neither of the two men approved that invasion, 
which was contrary to Jackson's understanding of their atti- 
tude at the time. Houston sent the letter to the "Hermitage," 
where the effect was decided. "It smelled so much of decep- 
tion," said Jackson, "that my hair stood on end for one hour.'" 
He was then warm against Monroe, which was some protection 
to Calhoun. He thought that the latter caused the matter 
to be revealed to him to show how false was the former. 

It has never been explained how this letter was taken from 
Calhoun's possession. He was conscious that a letter had been 
purloined, but had no description of it until nearly a year later, 
when he learned that it was in Jackson's hands. The mischief- 
maker, who sprung the trap in February, 1827, evidently wished 
to leave the men most concerned without a chance to explain, 
Calhoun now approached White and Eaton, saying that if the 
letter in question was Monroe's of September 9, 1818, it was 
written, as he knew, with friendly intent to the general. The 
latter was forced to acknowledge the date of the letter, and 
Calhoun placed in the hands of the intermediaries a long cor- 
respondence between himself and Monroe, and those gentlemen 

'Monroe, Writings (Hamilton, Editor), VII., 03, 104. Jackson to H. L. White, February 7, 1827, March 
SO, 1838, Jackson Mss. 


professed themselves satisfied.' They could have no object 
in discrediting Monroe, no longer a factor in politics, and the 
vice-president's reputation with Jackson had suffered the 
first taint, which was all that the plotters could expect at that 

Toward Monroe the attitude of Jackson was frigidly dignified, 
but to the South CaroHna statesman he was formal and courte- 
ous. He was, as Calhoun himself said, a man of "good sense 
and correct feelings, when not under excitement." He had 
been unwisely left in ignorance of the ancient division in the 
cabinet and he was naturally shocked when undeceived. While 
he froze toward the ex-President, he was excessively polite 
toward Calhoun. If the latter, so he wrote to White, claimed 
that the letter was stolen from him, it should be returned. 
Two months later he wrote directly to the vice-president in 
fuU explanation of his position in 1818, expressing himself in a 
restrained manner, entirely worthy of a public man.' 

In the meantime, Crawford, ill enough to be put out of politics 
and well enough to try to mar the hopes of his old enemies, 
took a hand in the attack on Calhoun, whom he pronounced a 
burden on the ticket. White and Felix Grundy, to whom he 
revealed his plans, gave Httle heed, but he proceeded to scheme. 
He made up his mind that Macon, of North Carolina, ought 
to be vice-president and to that end wrote letters to prominent 
men in all the states outside of New England. He tried to get 
Van Buren to carry New York for Macon, but that wily leader 
would not range himself openly against his antagonist. Craw- 
ford was very bitter and worked unrelentingly. He asserted 
that if Calhoun could be defeated for second place on the ticket 
he could be kept out of the cabinet of the new President. " I 
will myself," he said, "cause representations to be made to 

'Calhoun, Letters CJameson, Editor), 254- See also Calhoun to Jackson, July 10, 1828, Jackson Ma. 
•Jackson to White, March 30, 1828; ibid to Calhoun, May 25, 1828, Jackson Mss. 



General Jackson that will prevent his being taken into the 
cabinet of General Jackson.'" It seems evident also that 
La cock, an opponent of Jackson, knew in 1819 of Jackson's 
much-discussed letter to Monroe, asking for permission to invade 
Florida, and it is not likely that Crawford left him in the dark 
in regard to other features of the situation." 

Both Crawford and Van Buren were in correspondence with 
Alfred Balch, who lived near Nashville and worked against 
the Calhoun supporters in Tennessee. The election of 1828 
was hardly over when he wrote to the New Yorker that the two 
factions in the state were already organizing with an eye to 
the succession. Two years earlier, he said, he began to recruit 
for Van Buren there, and his success was remarkable. He 
added, "J" appears to be well but (entre nous) he is wearing 
away rapidly. It is strange, but it is as true as holy writ, that 
already J"'* successor is as much spoken of as P'^ late success."' 

After the inauguration both sides held themselves in restraint, 
not wishing to embarrass the common cause ; but when congress 
convened in December there were many opportunities for mis- 
understandings, and the Eaton a£fair as well as the rise of Van 
Buren in presidential confidence heightened the tendency. 
Calhoun was clearly losing ground and his opponents were 
more sure of themselves. It began to be reported that his 
friends would like to see the general discredited so that they 
would seem the most capable element of the party. Calhoun 
denied the charge, saying: " So far from opposing, we may appeal 
with confidence to the proceedings of both Houses to prove, 
that our support has been more uniform and effective that 
any other portion of congress. It is an object of ambition with 

'Crawford to Van Buren, December 21, 1827, and October 21, 1828; Van Buren to Crawford, November 
14, 1828; Van Buren Mss. Crawford to White, May 37. 1827; and Grundy to Jackion, November ao, x8a8; 
Jackson Mss. 

Tarton, Life of Jackson, II., SS3- 

svao Buren to Jackson, September 14, 1827; Balch to Van Buren, November 27, 1828; Van Buren Mie. 



us to carrry the General through with glory; and while we see 
with pain every false move, we have never permitted our feel- 
ings to be alienated for a moment. Ours is the position of 
honest and sincere friendship, and for us a perfect contrast 
to that pursued, in the quarter to which I allude."' 

Another important fact in this connection was the rise of 
nullification. This movement sprang up in South Carolina 
without the aid of Calhoun, but in 1829 it had full possession 
of the state and he gave it his powerful support. From its 
inception it had Jackson's opposition, as will be shown in the 
proper place; and it, therefore, furnished another means utilized 
by the surrounding circle, to turn him against the vice-president. 

The spring of 1830 brought the first preparations for the 
coming congressional elections. With it came revived talk 
about the next presidential contest, and one of the matters of 
speculation was the possibility of Jackson's accepting a second 
term. All the anti-Ca]houn element desired such an event, 
well, knowing that Van Buren r> ,uld not take first place from the 
South Carolinian in an open field. They probably had little 
difficulty to induce the leader to agree with them on this point, 
although there is no positive evidence on the matter; and they 
turned themselves to the business of disposing of Calhoun. 
Their reliance was on the secrets of Monroe's cabinet when it met 
to consider Jackson's invasion of Floridain 1818. They proposed 
to create rupture between the two men and the month of May 
was the time when it seemed best to bring it about. 

On the twelfth of that month, the very day they put the final 
proofs into Jackson's hands, Calhoim wrote as follows: 

My true position is to do my duty without committing my 
self, or assuming unnecessary responsibility, where I have no 
control. The times are perilous beyond any that I have ever 
witnessed. All of the great interests of the country are coming 

>CalbouQ, Lellers (Jameson edition), 272. 


into conflict, and I must say, and with deep regret I speak it, 
that those to whom the vessel of state is entrusted seem either 
ignorant, or indifferent about the danger. My great ambition 
is to see our country free, united and happy, and placed where I 
am, I owe it as a duty to myself and country to preserve unim- 
paired the public confidence. Thus acting, the first step is to 
postpone all questions as to myself, till it becomes necessary 
to decide, and the one to which you refer among the others:' when 
the time comes it will present a grave question, to be decided 
wisely only by weighing fully considerations for and against. 

I consider it perfectly uncertain, whether General Jackson 
will offer again or not. Some who regard their own interest 
more than his just fame are urging him to offer, but it will 
be diflScult to reconcile the course to his previous declarations, 
unless there should be the strongest considerations of the public 
good to justify him.! 

On the following day the writer of this letter received formal 
notice from the President that hostilities were begun. 

What was Jackson's attitude toward Calhoun before this time? 
It is difficult to say, but there is strong circumstantial evidence 
that he was already determined to repudiate him. Lewis's 
position goes far to show as much. "You cannot but recollect. 
General," he wrote in 1839, "that before your installation into 
office even, I had several conversations with you upon the subject, 
and importance of looking to Mr. Van Buren as your successor 
for the same office. From that time to the day of his election 
I spared no pains, but exerted every honorable effort in my 
power to accomplish that object."' Van Buren himself says 
that Jackson was against Calhoun before May, 1830, but that 
it was late in the same year when he first told the New Yorker 
that he was to be successor. Moreover, knowledge of Calhoun's 
position in 18 1 8 came to Jackson gradually, and was so clearly 

'I. c, the taccession. 

'Calhoun, Ltttirs (Jameson edition), 372. 

<Lewis to Jackson, August 30, 1839, Mss. of W. C. Ford, Boston. 


delayed for the critical moment that we wonder if the Presi- 
dent could have been entirely ignorant of the earlier stages 
of the matter. 

The story of the breach of relations, so far as can be gathered 
from available evidence, is as follows: Col. James A. Ham- 
ilton, of New York, old supporter of Crawford and friend of 
Van Buren, attended the celebration of the anniversary of the 
Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1828. He joined General 
Jackson's personal party at Nashville and went down the river 
with them, winning the general by his ready tongue and 
political standing until he was taken into the bosom of the 
family. He became very intimate with Major Lewis, with 
whom he had much in common. The two men played their 
game so openly and persistently that they disgusted some of the 
general's older and more disinterested friends.' 

Hamilton offered to use his influence to bring Crawford to 
support Jackson and proposed to return north by way of Georgia, 
in order to talk with the old chieftain. He and Lewis discussed 
the differences between the two men, and the latter said that 
Jackson thought Crawford wanted to court-martial him in 18 18. 
Jackson was approached and gave such preliminary overtures 
as were necessary to effect a reconciliation. 

At Milledgeville, Ga., Hamilton found that Crawford was 
absent from home for a fortnight. Deciding not to wait, he 
unburdened himself to Forsyth, then governor, who under- 
took to see the absentee and write the result of the effort. In 
due time a letter came from the governor saying that Crawford 
was friendly and that he avowed that it was Calhoun who 
favored the punishment of Jackson in 18 18. Hamilton kept 
the letter and says he told Lewis nothing about it, but it is 
hardly to be thought that so important a piece of in- 

>R. G. Dunlap to Jackson, August lo, 1831, Copy in Library of Congress. Also in American Historical 
Magatint (Nashville), IX., 93. Also Van Buren, Autobiography, IV., 27, (Library of Congress, Transcript} 


formation was allowed to lie dormant in the hands of Calhoun's 

April 3, 1828, Lewis, in Nashville, heard that his daughter 
was ill in Philadelphia, and set out the next day to visit her. 
He went through Washington, which, if he traveled the usual 
route by Pittsburg, must have been out of his way, and learned 
there that his daughter was better. Incidentally he met Van 
Buren for the first time. In Philadelphia he was completely 
reassured as to his daughter, "and," he adds, "as I was 
anxious to get back home I hurried on to New York, which, never 
having visited, I desired to see." There he was shown Forsyth's 
letter to Hamilton. He was surprised at the contents but did 
not mention the matter to Jackson when he returned to Tennessee. 
He feared that the general, whose feelings were then highly 
wrought up over the attacks on Mrs. Jackson, might break 
into some explosion which would injure his chances of election. 
The letter was concealed more than a year. 

So far the plausible Lewis; but there is reason to suppose that 
the affair did not proceed quite so properly. On the boat which 
carried Jackson to New Orleans for the celebration of 1828 was 
Gen. R. G. Dunlap, old friend and a comrade in the Sem- 
inole war; and he was not a politician. He told what he saw 
and heard on the boat, not for publication but to Jackson himself 
for his information. He said that Hamilton spoke to him of his 
proposed visit to Georgia and continued: "He then stated that it 
was believed that General Jackson was to be assailed either by 
Mr. Adams or Mr. Monroe in relation to the affair of the Seminole 
War in Florida, and that some of the General's friends (stating 
that he and Major Lewis had talked about the matter) believed 
that Mr. Crawford could give evidence growing out of Mr. Mon- 
roe's Cabinet councils which would vindicate the General against 
such an attack." After sa3dng this Hamilton went on to express 
doubt of Calhoiin's loyalty to Jackson. Dunlap gave him little 


comfort, saying he cared not what Callioun felt in 1818 if he 
would only act fairly now. "I felt a contempt," he said to 
Jackson, "which I had tried to suppress for several days for the 
conduct of some of your suite, whom, I believed, were feeding 
your fears and passions with a view exclusively to fasten them- 
selves on your kindness." He was so much chagrined that 
with General Smith and Colonel Martin he agreed to leave the 
party in New Orleans and stop at another hotel; but they were 
dissuaded by Houston, lest Jackson's friends should seem to be 
divided.* From this it is evident that Hamilton knew while 
still on the Mississippi what Crawford would say to him; and 
if that be true it goes far to show that the visit to Milledgeville, 
which plays so central a part in Lewis's general story, was a cut 
and dried affair to give Crawford a suitable opportunity to 
launch his secret on its fatal course. 

But let us return to Lewis. Through most of the year 1829 
Jackson was ignorant of Forsyth's letter, but in the autumn it 
was thought fit to bring it to his attention, and the means used 
were worthy of the genius of a man like Lewis. In November 
Monroe dined with Jackson. Lewis, Eaton, and Tench Ring- 
gold were also present. At the table Ringgold remarked that 
in 1 8 18 Monroe was the only member of the government who 
favored Jackson in the Seminole affair. Lewis innocently as- 
serted that Calhoun was said to have been on that side, but the 
other held to his original statement. When the guests were 
gone Lewis and Eaton remained. Jackson called for his pipe 
and fell into a reverie, the two others talking between themselves 
as he smoked. Was Eaton not surprised, said the ingenuous 
Lewis, at what Ringgold said? Then the general, catching the 
drift of things, started up asking what Ringgold had said. Lewis 
told him, but Jackson said there was some mistake. 

"I replied," says Lewis, "I am not sure of that." 

>DunUp to Jackson, August lo, 1831, copy in Library of CoD£ress. 


"Why are you not? " inquired the general. 

"Because I have seen a letter written eighteen months ago, 
in which Mr. Crawford is represented as saying that you charged 
him with having taken strong grounds against you in Mr. Mon- 
roe's cabinet, but in that you had done him injustice, for it was 
not he, but Mr. Calhoun, who was in favor of your being arrested, 
or punished in some other way." 

Jackson now demanded to see the letter from Forsyth, and 
Lewis hurried to New York to get it; but Hamilton objected that 
it ought not to be surrendered without the consent of the writer. 
It was then agreed that as Hamilton and Forsyth would both be 
in Washington at the approaching session of congress, the matter 
might be left in suspense until then. But the Georgian, on his 
arrival, insisted that Crawford's original statement be secured, 
to which Jackson agreed. So says Lewis; but there is an unex- 
plained lapse of time in the affair: congress convened on Dec- 
ember 7th, Forsyth, who was a senator, took his seat on 
December 9th, the letter to Crawford was not written until April 
1 6th following,' and that was the day after the celebrated 
Jefferson anniversar}'' dinner.' Crawford's reply, written April 
30th, reached Jackson May 12th, and it confirmed everything. 

The next day. May 13 th, the President enclosed the Crawford 
letter with a note to the vice-president inquiring frigidly if 
the statement was true. Calhoun acknowledged receipt instantly 
and promised to reply more fully in a short time. He expressed 
satisfaction "that the secret and mysterious attempts which 
have been making by false insinuations for years for poHtical 
purposes, to injure my character, are at length brought to light." 
Calhoun had his faults: he was ambitious, unsympathetic, 
chary of friendship, and willing to follow the tide of popular 
favor where it counted in his career. He had tried to ride the 

'Calhoun Works, VI., 360. 
'See below page 555. 


Jackson wave, and was about to be submerged by it. In this 
respect we can have little sympathy for him; but as the victim 
of the cheap and heartless strategy by which he was now cast 
out of the political household he awakens our interest. Van 
Buren, the beneficiary of the plot, is said to have known nothing 
of it. It is entirely probable. It was a part of the game that 
he should be ignorant, and at the time he doubtless knew that 
he was ignorant of it; but he received the cloak of the despoiled 
victim and wore it in pubHc without shame. 

May 29th Calhoun's promise was fulfilled. In a letter, covering 
twenty-two pages of his Works he took up one by one the 
accusations of Crawford and rebutted them completely, so far 
as they implied treachery to Jackson. He also made it clear to 
any impartial man that the charges proceeded from the hatred 
of him who made them. "I should be blind," he continued, 
''not to see that this whole affair is a poHtical maneuver, in 
which the design is that you should be the instrument, and myself 
the victim, but in which the real actors are carefully concealed 
by an artful movement. ... I have too much respect for 
your character to suppose you capable of participating in the 
sUghtest degree in a poHtical intrigue. Your character is of 
too high and generous a cast to resort to such means, either for 
your own advantage or that of others. This the contrivers of 
the plot well knew; but they hoped through your generous 
attributes, through your lofty and jealous regard for your char- 
acter, to excite feelings through which they expected to con- 
summate their designs. Several indications forewarned me, 
long since, that a blow was meditated against me."' 

The writer could not have expected to convince Jackson at 
this stage of the affair. Foreseeing that things tended to an 
exposure he was putting the case as well as possible for that 
purpose. It was to this end that his letter abounded in fine- 

•Calhoun. Works. VI.. 362. 


spun arguments from which, in fact, he never could escape. 
They convinced nobody, and the severe terms in which he 
arraigned the plotters, though well deserved, were futile, both as 
to Jackson and as to the public. He would have done better 
to admit his original position in 181 8, and to have shown that 
what lie did was in accordance with his sense of duty and with- 
out intention of injuring the general. That he had allowed 
Jackson to remain undeceived through these years was the 
weak side of his position, and his failure to deal with it gave the 
latter an opportunity to reply with good effect. 

I had been told, said the President in substance, that it was 
you and not Crawford who in 181 8 tried to destroy my reputa- 
tion. I repelled the charge with indignation "upon the ground 
that you, in all your letters to me, professed to be my personal 
friend, and approved entirely my conduct in relation to the 
Seminole campaign. ... I had a right to believe that you 
were my friend, and, until now, never expected to have occasion 
to say of you, in the language of Caesar, Et tu, Brute!''' The 
communication closed with an intimation that the affair would 
be laid before the public at the proper time. 

Now followed a warm correspondence between Jackson, Cal- 
houn, and Forsyth, extending through the summer. The 
President at last closed it, leaving "you and Mr. Crawford and 
all concerned to settle this affair in your own way." Calhoun, 
irritated by this summary dismissal, threw aside all semblance 
of deference and wrote a scathing denunciation of the whole 
intrigue. Why should Jackson, he asked, who boasted of his 
fairness have turned to Crawford, the writer's bitterest enemy, 
to know what transpired in Monroe's cabinet? The letter was 
not answered, but endorsed on it in the great slanting hand- 
writing of the President one reads: "This is full evidence of 

'C. Crocker to Scott, March 16, 1826, as follows, "But it was in the spirit of Et tu. Brute," — Lockhart, 
Life of Scott (Riverside edition), VIII., 48. 


the duplicity and insincerity of the man and displays a littleness 
and entire want of those high, dignified, and honorable feelings 
which I once thought he possessed."' 

While this correspondence progressed Calhoun received a 
biting letter from Crawford, with the information that a copy was 
sent to Jackson also. Its character is indicated by some extracts. 
"I make no doubt," said the writer of it, "that you would have 
been very glad to be spared the trouble of making so elaborate 
a comment upon a letter of three pages. I make no doubt that 
you dislike the idea of being exposed and stripped of the covert 
you have been enjoying imder the President's wings by means of 
falsehood and misrepresentation." And again: "A man who 
knows, as I well do, the small weight which any assertion of 
yours is entitled to in a matter where your interests lead you to 
disregard the truth, must have other evidence than your asser- 
tion to remove even a suspicion." And finally this : " From the 
time you established the Washington Republican for the purpose 
of slandering and vilifying my reputation, I considered you a 
degraded and disgraced man, for whom no man of honor and 
character could feel any other than the most sovereign contempt. 
Under this impression I was anxious that you should be no 
longer vice-president of the United States."' The venom of 
this letter ought to have discredited Crawford as a witness 
with any fair minded man. 

This controversy showed Jackson and his immediate supporters 
that it was necessary to have another organ than Green's 
Telegraph. Of the latter he said: "The truth is, he has pro- 
fessed to me to be heart and soul against the Bank, but his idol 
controls him as much as the shewman does his puppits, and we 
must get another organ to announce the policy, and defend the 

'Calhoun to Jackson, August 25, 1830, Jackson Mss. See also Calhoun, Works, VI., 400. 
'Crawford to Calhoun, October a, 1830, Jackson Mss. See also Shipp, Giant Days, or the Life and Times 
cf W. H. Crawford, 338. 


administration, in his hands it is more injured than by all 
the opposition."' Looking aroimd for an editor he hit upon F. 
B. Blair, formerly a Clay supporter in Kentucky, who had 
become an advocate of "rehef "and "new court" policies, and as 
such defended Jackson in 1828. Blair was deeply hostile to 
the Bank of the United States. He was a friend of Kendall, 
who now urged that he be brought to Washington. He accepted 
the proposition made to him and on December 7, 1830, brought 
out the first number of the Globe, destined to be the most influ- 
ential American newspaper of this time. He began without 
capital, but the administration used its influence and soon 
got him two thousand subscribers to which was added a share 
of the pubhc printing. He made an admirable partisan editor. 
His style was forceful, biting, and uncompromising. Jackson 
found in him a kindred Western spirit entirely at his service. 
When Jackson desired to lay a matter before the public he 
would exclaim, "Send it to Bla-ar," pronouncing the word in the 
old North-of-Ireland way. Blair, for his part, admired Jackson 
greatly and with sincerity. From his letters we have interesting 
glimpses of the President, one of which is as follows: 

It is a great mistake to suppose that Old Hickory is in 
leading-strings, as the coalition say. I can tell you that he is as 
much superior here as he was with our generals during the war. 
He is a man of admirable judgment. I have seen proof of it 
in the direction which he has given to affairs this winter, in 
which I know he has differed from his advisers. . . . He 
is fighting a great poHtical battle, and you will find that he will 
vanquish those who contend with him now as he has always 
done his private or the public enemies.' 

Van Buren has long been supposed to have brought on the 
attack on his rival. Lewis says that neither the secretary of 
state nor himself played such a part, but that it came about as 

'Jackson to Lewis, June 26, 1830, Mss. New York Public Library. 
^Allantk Monthly, LX., i37. 


an accident. But it must have been taken with full knowledge 
of the supporters of the man from New York. When Calhoun's 
first long statement was received, the letter of May 29th, Jackson 
was in a violent temper and sent the communication to Van 
Buren for his opinion of it. The latter read the first page and 
handed it back to the messenger remarking that it would prob- 
ably produce a rupture with the President and that it would 
be better if he, the secretary, could say that he knew nothing of 
it. When it was returned Jackson asked what his favorite 
thought of it. 

"Mr. Van Buren," said Lewis, ''thinks it best for him that he 
should not read it," and he gave reasons for the opinion. The 
general smiled and said: '' I reckon Van is right. I dare say they 
will attempt to throw the whole blame upon him.'" 

Long afterward, when the heat of the controversy was past, 
and Calhoun and Van Buren had gone through the formahty of 
reconcihation, Jackson sent the latter the following statement: 

Hermitage, July 31, 1840 
Dear Sir: 

It was my intention as soon as I heard that Mr. Calhoun had 
expressed his approbation of the leading measures of your 
administration and had paid a visit to you, to place in your 
possession the statement which I shall now make, but bad 
health and the pressure of other business have constantly led 
me to postpone it. What I have reference to is the imputation 
which has some times been thrown upon you, that you had an 
agency in producing a controversy which took place between Mr. 
Calhoun and myself in consequence of Mr. Crawford's disclosure 
of what occurred in the cabinet of Mr. Monroe relative to my 
military operations in Florida during his administration. Mr. 
Calhoun is doubtless already satisfied that he did you injustice 
in holding you in the slightest degree responsible for the course 
I pursued on that occasion; but as there may be others who may 

•For Lewis' narrative, see Parton, Jackson, III., 310-330. 


be still disposed to do you injustice; and who may hereafter use 
the circumstance for the purpose of impugning both your char- 
acter and his, I think it my duty to place in your possession the 
following sympathetic declaration, viz., That I am not aware 
of your ever saying a word to me relative to Mr. Calhoun which had 
a tendency to create an interruption of my friendly relations with 
him — that you were not consulted by me in any stage of the cor- 
respondence on the subject of his cottduct in the cabinet of Mr. 
Monroe, and that after this correspondence became public the only 
sentiment you ever expressed to me about it was that of deep regret 
that it shoidd have occurred. 

You are at liberty to show this letter to Mr. Calhoun, and 
make any other use of it you may think proper for the purpose 
of correcting the erroneous impressions which have prevailed 
on the subject/ 

This statement was in keeping with Jackson's generosity 
toward a friend. It was supported by Van Buren's own assertion 
in his unpublished autobiography. He was too wise a political 
manager to become involved in a quarrel which related so closely 
to himself, and which must inevitably be made public. 

With the end of this correspondence late in the summer of 
1830, there was a lull in the controversy. Calhoun busied 
himself in getting letters from other members of Monroe's cabinet 
of 1818, all of whom, except Crawford, gave evidence to support 
him. Monroe himself made a statement to the same purport. 
Even R. M. Johnson, a friend of Jackson, gave assurance that 
in 18 19 Calhoun in reference to the invasion of Florida "always 
spoke of you (Jackson) with respect and kindness.'" All this 
was in anticipation of pubHcation, but each side hesitated to 
commit itself to the pubhc. Each desired the advantage of being 
able to pronounce the other the aggressor, and, therefore, the 
disturber of party harmony. 

The administration felt that it was not a time for dissension 

'Van Buren Mss. 

"R. M. Johnson to Jackson, February 13, 1831, Jackson Mss. 


in the household. Clay was rallying his friends and joining to 
them the friends of the bank and internal improvements. Noth- 
ing must be done before the November elections, and their 
results were not so overwhelming that opposition could be 
ignored. Calhoun undoubtedly underestimated his difficulties. 
He did not realize how much he was hampered by nulHfication. 
It turned from him the great body of Northern sentiment at a 
time when he needed all his strength. He took the hesitation 
of the administration for weakness and believed that he could 
blast Van Buren by showing what a nefarious scheme had been 
concocted: January 13, 1831, he wrote: 

The correspondence between the President and myself 
begins to excite much attention and speculation. I arrived 
here [Washington] before New Year's day some three, or four 
days, and as I did not attend on that occasion, it confirmed the 
rumours already in circulation of a seperation between us. 
Mr. Crawford's correspondence with Mr. Adams and Mr. Crow- 
inshield placed the opponents of the administration in pos- 
session of the knowledge of the correspondence between us, and 
their policy has been to force it out. As far as I am concerned, 
it would be desirable, but as I have acted on the defensive thus 
far and intend to do so throughout, I will not publish unless it 
should become absolutely necessary. In the meantime, I per- 
mit whatever friend desires to read the correspondence, which 
has given a pretty general knowledge of its contents here. The 
result has been, in the opinion of all my friends, to strengthen 
me, and to weaken those who have got up the conspiracy for 
my destruction. Every opening was made for me to renew 
my intercourse with the President, which I have declined, and 
will continue so to do, till he retracts what he has done. His 
friends are much alarmed. 

To another he wrote: ''Those who commenced the affair arc 
heartily sick of it.'" 

Van Buren corroborates to a certain extent this view of 
the situation. He admits that about the beginning of the year 

. >Calhoun, Letters (Jameson edition), 37g, 283. 


overtures for reconcilation between Jackson and the vice-presi- 
dent were made and nearly succeeded, and that if they had not 
failed the South Carolinian would have reached the goal of his 
ambition.' Failure came because Callioun was too eager to strike 
Van Buren behind the President's cloak. His friends, and prob- 
ably some others, flattered him that by exposing the intrigue 
he could destroy the chances of the secretary of state. They 
believed the latter a shi*ewd upstart, who had no weapon but 
trickery, and that this would be ineffective if the people could 
see how it worked. They forgot, if they ever knew, Jackson's 
power of friendship. 

Callioun even fancied that the publication could be directed 
so pointedly toward his rival that Jackson would be indifferent 
about it. With that object in mind he submitted to Eaton the 
long pamphlet he had prepared and asked; this confidential friend 
of the President to remove before pubhcation all points which 
would be personally disagreeable to the chief. Eaton promised 
to submit the manuscript to Jackson, but he failed to do so and 
returned it without saying the President did not see it. No 
corrections had been made in the text, and Calhoim, believing 
that there was plain sailing ahead, with the aid of Duff Green, 
proceeded with the plans for pubhcation. February 1 5th, by way 
of preparing the public. Green published in the Telegraph a 
number of extracts from Van Buren papers, the purport of wliich 
was to bring out their candidate for the presidency in case Jack- 
son decHned to run. This was to show that the Van Buren 
faction had introduced discord into the party. Two days later 
the complete pamphlet was given to the world.' 

Jackson prepared a reply but on consideration decided not 
to pubHsh it. He felt, says Benton, that it was not becoming 
for a President of the United States to become a party to a 

iVan Buren, Aulobiograpky, IV., .^3-37 (Transcripts). 

^Telegraph, February is and 17, 1831: See alsoNiles. iJei«/«f»XL., ti,and Calhoun, Works, VI.,^4g-44S. 


newspaper controversy. The defense remained unpublished 
for over twenty years and was at last incorporated with certain 
omissions in Benton's View.^ 

Calhoun's disillusionment was rapid. The administration 
party showed eager hostility and ranged itself on the side of 
Van Buren. Blair's newly established Globe gave the pace for 
a hundred other newspapers. ''Mr. Calhoun's publication," 
it said after reviewing the events which preceded its pubhcation, 
*' therefore, was wholly uncalled for. It is a firebrand wantonly 
thrown into the Republican party. Mr. Calhoun will be held 
responsible for all the miscliief which may follow.'" In a short 
time the whole country rang with the conflict, and all hope of 
peaceful relations between President and vice-president was 

Fighting for life, Calhoun set about to organize his group to 
break the power of Van Buren, safely ensconced under the wing 
of the popular idol. "He came in like a mercenary," said Duff 
Green of the secretary of state, "and having divided the spoils 
among his followers he seems resolved to expel the native troops 
from the camp. I will expose him."' A movement was launched 
to unite all opponents of the secretary of state. The old Clinton 
faction of New York was approached and gave assurances of 
support; the dissatisfied Virginiaiis offered another body of 
recruits and arrangements were made to establish a newspaper 
to sustain them under the editorship of R. H. Cralle; in Penn- 
sylvania Calhoun counted on Ingham, already alienated from 
Jackson and about to resume through the dissolution of the 
cabinet his former position as state leader;* and in the South 
he had a strong following among those who resented the high 

^Benton, View, I., 167. 
V2oAe, February 21, 1831. 

•Diifi Green to Cabell and Co., April i6, 1831, Green's letters, Library of Congress. 

*DuS Green to " Cabell Esquire," June 2r, 1S31. Duff Green's letters to Crall6 and others in the Library 
•f Congress throw much light on the Calhoun movement from 1831 to 1836. 


tariff. His efforts were expended within the party with the object 
of defeating the nomination of Van Buren in 1832, for either 
first or second place on the ticket. 

All this aroused Jackson. He came out openly for his favorite, 
consenting to take reelection as a means of carrying through his 
policy. Leading his well-organized party, he attacked every 
show of opposition with the ardor of a military man, and the 
people followed him tumultuously. In the face of such a force 
the insurgents could do nothing. Calhoun was isolated. Broken 
and desperate he became a sectional leader, but it was not 
until Jackson's hand relaxed its grasp on the democratic party 
that he again became an important factor ia national politics. 



The reorganization of the cabinet followed hard on the rupture 
with Calhoun. It was a shrewd move in the interest of Van 
Buren, and the evidence seems to show that it did not originate 
with Jackson. It removed Calhoun men from the cabinet, 
ehminated the disturbing Eaton affair, weakened the criticism 
of the new favorite for the succession, assured a united cabinet, 
and placed the anti-Calhoun faction at the head of the party. 
It completed the evolution of the Jacksonian organization which 
was about to establish a rigid control of public affairs. 

Calhoun's pamphlet produced a powerful effect. Intelli- 
gent men who were not biased by party feeling could not but see 
the intrigue which had been used, and politicians feared the 
results. In Richmond, Va., his friends were very active and 
proposed to give him a dinner on his return from Washington, 
but by the greatest effort, the opposing faction was able to pre- 
vent it on the ground that party harmony ought to be preserved. 
The action of Virginia in this crisis would have exerted much 
influence in other states, and each faction was anxious to 
control it. 

Friends in Richmond kept Van Buren informed of the situa- 
tion there. "In my opinion," wrote Archer on March 12th, 
"nothing can restore the administration to popularity but a 
thorough reorganization of the cabinet. This cannot in my 
judgment be done till after the next election. The government 
is too much weakened to give any more local disgusts. This 
hazard can't be run now. At another time it must be accom- 



plished, and what will be the greatest obstruction, I fear, Mr. 
Eaton (toward whom as you know, I have personally a kind 
feeling), must be induced to accept some honorary form of re- 
tirement." It was a fortnight after he received this letter 
before Van Buren, by his own account, decided to resign. Three 
weeks after it was written Andrew Stevenson wrote: "We shall 
probably have war to the knife, and shall lose some of our forces.'" 

By this time, many party leaders realized the burden of carry- 
ing Eaton. They also knew how hopeless it was to expect 
Jackson to repudiate him. One day on Pennsylvania Avenue, 
General Overton, a close friend of Jackson, met Major Bradford, 
another friend of the President. Both were Tennesseeans. 
"Bradford," said he, "there must be a change in the cabinet 
or we cannot get along." 

"Change! What change, sir, do you mean?" 

"I mean, sir, that Major Eaton must be removed." 

Overton added that over one hundred congressmen would go 
home dissatisfied, unless something was done. Bradford re- 
plied, "If the whole country were in a body to press Andrew 
Jackson to this act they would not succeed without showing 
better cause than, as yet, is known." 

"Well, sir," replied Overton, "it v/ill be tried, for there is to 
be a meeting for that very purpose very soon." 

Bradford consulted Barry v/ho was much concerned at the 
news and by his advice Jackson was approached. 

"After I had made my communication," says Bradford, "he 
[Jackson], instantly raised himself to the height of his noble 
stature and with eyes Hghted up with feeling and determination, 
he uttered these words: 'Let them come — let the whole hun- 
dred come on — I would resign the Presidency or lose my 
life sooner than I would desert mv friend Eaton or be forced to 

>W. S. Archer to Van Buren, March 12 and 27, 1S31; A. Stevenson to VanBuren, April 4, 1831; Van Buxen 


do an act that my conscience may disapprove. I shall send for 
General Overton to-morrow and sift this affair to the bottom. ' "* 
Thus there was small hope for Eaton's dismissal: we shall see 
that by skilful maneuvering he was brought to resign. 

Van Buren's interests coincided with the desire for a new 
cabinet. By getting out he would reheve himself from the 
charge of directing the government in his own behalf, he would 
suffer no loss but rather gain strength with Jackson, who would 
now regard him as a generous and self-denying man, and he would 
remove himself from what might be an unpleasant storm centre. 
He considered the matter carefully and decided to withdraw. 
He resolved, as he says, to broach the matter to Jackson on one 
of their daily rides, but time after time as he thought to speak his 
courage failed and he deferred the matter. His son, who knew 
his father's resolve chaffed him privately for these postpone- 
ments. Finally, one day, as President and secretary rode through 
Georgetown into the Tenallytown road, the latter found op- 
portunity to declare his purpose. £ - 

In their general conversation, Jackson referred to the discord 
in his councils and said that he had hopes of peace. "No, 
General," said the other, "there is but one thing can give you 
peace." "What is that, sir?" said Jackson quickly. "My resig- 
nation." "Never, sir," exclaimed the general: "even you know 
little of Andrew Jackson if you suppose him capable of consent- 
ing to such a humiliation of his friends by his enemies!" 

It took four days, says Van Buren in his circumstantial account 
of the affair, to convince the old man of the wisdom of the pro- 
posed action. What arguments were used we are not told, but 
in a long ride that took them beyond their usual turning point 
at the Tenallytown gate, he was at last brought over. It was 
then that the President suggested the English mission for his 

'Major Samuel Bradford to Jacksoik, February 28, 1832, Jackson Mss. 


Next morning Van Buren was early at the White House. 
Jackson was much agitated and said with his usual directness 
that it was his custom to release from association with him any 
man who felt that he ought to go, and that he would accordingly 
let his secretary follow his desires. This, says the latter, was 
precisely the turn he had most feared : his request, after a night's 
reflection, was construed as indicating a wish to leave an im- 
popular association. With much warmth and unfeigned con- 
cern the secretary withdrew all he had said and declared he would 
keep his place until dismissed. This earnestness and evident 
candor touched the old man's heart and complete harmony was 

During the afternoon of the same day, they again rode horse- 
back. It was now agreed that the matter might be discussed 
with Barry, Eaton and Lewis; and the next night, the five men 
dined together at Van Buren 's house. Up to this point Van 
Buren's resignation only was under discussion. Nothing had 
been said about Eaton's, but the whole drift of the argument 
must have pointed to that as a logical outcome of the situation. 
Eaton was thus forced to take a position, and in the night's 
conversation he said that inasmuch as he was the original cause 
of the entanglement, he also would withdraw in the interest of 
harmony. Van Buren then asked what Mrs. Eaton would 
say of this and her husband replied that she would gladly con- 
sent. The matter was definitely determined at this meeting, 
and next evening the party assembled again, Eaton reporting 
that his wife approved of the proposed arrangement. Her com- 
pliance could hardly have been hearty, however; for when a few 
days later Jackson and Van Buren on one of their strolls, made 
her a visit, their ''reception was to the last degree formal and 
cold." When the secretary alluded to this, Jackson only 
shrugged his shoulder and said it was strange. After Eaton's 
announcement at the meeting referred to, it was agreed that 


both men should resign in writing and that the letter from the 
secretary of war should be dated earlier than the other.* 

Eaton's letter had date of April 7th, and Van Buren's, April 
nth, but they were not announced in the Globe until April 20th, 
when Van Buren's note and Jackson's reply were given in full. 
Eaton's gave a desire to retire to private life as the ground on 
which it rested, but his friend's was more delicately drawn. 
Alluding in guarded terms to the charge that he was aiming at the 
presidency, the writer declared that he sought only to relieve the 
President from such false imputations, and that he would have 
done this sooner had not public business which was just com- 
pleted, made it necessary to remain in office. The matter re- 
ferred to vv^as negotiations with England and France, two com- 
plicated affairs, which were just completed with credit and 
success. Jackson accepted these resignations in two courteous 
notes, which left no doubt that he parted with the men in the 
most friendly spirit.' 

It was not a great sacrifice on the part of either of the two men. 
In reorganizing the cabinet, McLane, by the arrangement made, 
would return from London and Van Buren would have the 
vacant place. Eaton, it was expected, could be made a senator 
from Tennessee, and he would thus be able to continue his 
struggle against liis Washington foes without seeming to retreat 
before them. 

The public knew Httle of what was going on behind the scenes 
and the first intimations of resignations caused friends of the 
two secretaries, to think them out of favor with the President. 
Van Buren's supporters in New York were in consternation until 
he sent a letter to Butler, his old law partner, with specific re- 
assurances. His retirement, it said, was of his own initiative 
and v/ould not have been allowed by the President, "if he had 

'Van Bur;n, Aitiobiography, IV., 82-52. 
'Parton, Life of Jackson, III., 3 j-sss. 


not been satisfied by me that it was called for by the public 
interest and could not be ultimately prejudicial to me." It 
closed by suggesting that his friends be given an intimation of the 
true state of affairs and by hinting that other resignations would 

Virginia also gave the outgoing secretary of state much anxiety. 
He wrote a precautionary letter to Ritchie, editor of the Rich- 
mond Enquirer, and completely won that variable personage. 
A reassuring reply came quickly, one feature of which was an 
injunction not to take an office by way of substitute for the sur- 
rendered secretaryship. This was in order that the very sus- 
picion of collusion should be avoided. Two weeks later, when 
it was known that Van Buren was to be minister to London, 
the Richmond editor took the opposite point of view, writing a 
long argument to show that it was Van Buren's duty to take the 
proffered appointment. The squirming of poor Ritchie is one 
of the pathetic things in the process by which Virginia was shorn 
of her political prestige, and it was likewise a partial cause of 
that disaster.' 

These efforts were seconded by Jackson, who made one of 
his visits to the Rip Raps, in Hampton Roads, in the early 
summer of 1831. He received calls from many Virginians and 
talked freely of the situation. To the visitors he affirmed his 
undiminished confidence in the New Yorker. In fact, from now 
on he made no secret of his wishes in regard to his favorite.' 

The withdrawal of two cabinet members gave opportunity 
to dismiss the others. They came in as a unit, said Jackson, 
and they should go out as a unit. The assertion was not true, 
but it served the purpose of him who made it; and there was 
undoubtedly truth in the notion that the President ought to 
have a harmonious council. Accordingly, April 19th he informed 

'Van Buren to B. F. Butler, April i6, and B. F. Butler to Van Buren, April 22, 1831; Van Buren Mss. 
'Ritchie to Van Burjn (ao date, about April 22), and April 30, 1S31; Van Buren Mss. 
•Jackson to Van Bureu. July 11, 1S31; Van Buren Mss. 


Ingham and Branch of the retirement of their colleagues and 
intimated that he would be pleased to reorganize the cabinet. 
They resigned promptly and with as much good temper as could 
be expected under the circumstances. Berrien was absent on 
public business. On his return Jackson expressed his wishes in 
a conversation and a letter of resignation was immediately 
sent, June 19, 183 1. Barry, postmaster-general, was allowed 
to remain in office. He was a weak man and neither side con- 
sidered his presence important. 

The formal dignity with which the secretaries retired was not 
to last long. Early in May, Duff Green in the Telegraph began 
to refer pointedly to Mrs. Eaton, going so far as to say that 
Ingham, Branch, and Berrien refused to receive her. As neither 
of these gentlemen denied the assertion Eaton took it for ac- 
quiescence in the charge. If no cloud had been cast on the 
lady's fame, his conduct would have been natural, but in view 
of the Washington gossip for nearly two years past, the husband 
expected too much. He was wildly angry and in a note asked 
Ingham if he approved Green's assertion. His former colleague 
repHed contemptuously: "You must be a little deranged, to 
imagine that any bluster of yours could induce me to disavow 
what all the inhabitants of this city know, and perhaps half the 
people of the United States beheve to be true." This reply 
doubtless relieved its author's pent-up feelings, but it was rude 
and unnecessary. Eaton followed it by a demand for "satis- 
faction," but the other only behttled the demand. Then the 
Tennesseean sent a note in a tone of lofty bluster in which his 
feelings found their highest expression in the assertion that his 
adversary was a coward.' 

Ingham was now handing over the keys of office, which he 
had retained in order to complete some unfinished work in es- 
tablishing a system of standard measurements, and he was on 

i. >Parton, Life oj Jackson, III,, 365. 


the point of leaving Washington. It was Saturday, June i8th, 
that the report was concluded, and on that day he sent his reply 
to Eaton's first note. Hurrying his preparations for departure 
while he ignored the second note seemed, therefore, to give color 
to the opinion that he was running away from the quarrel. Eaton 
was bent on having an encounter and on the same Saturday 
vacated the war office, which he had retained temporarily. 
Dr. P. G. Randolph, husband of Mrs. Eaton's sister, was placed 
temporarily in charge. Next morning he intruded himself into 
Ingham's private apartments and inquired if the latter intended 
to answer the challenge which had been sent. Ingham replied 
that he would answer when he saw fit, and Randolph announced 
that if an acceptance were not received, Eaton would take 
prompt measures to redress his wrongs. For this the visitor was 
shown the door.' 

Next day, Monday, Ingham gave up his office, sent Eaton a 
contemptuous reply to the challenge, and prepared to leave the 
city. During the morning he made some calls on friends, and 
when he returned home at one o'clock learned that Eaton had 
inquired for him at the treasury department and had sub- 
sequently spent much of the forenoon at a grocery store from 
which Ingham's residence could be watched. He was also 
told that Eaton, Randolph, Major Lewis, J. W. Campbell and 
others had been seen together as though they were united to 
carry out some design. He concluded that his life was in danger 
and armed himself, but when he later went out with friends to 
the treasury department, he was not molested. In the after- 
noon Eaton was seen to walk several times past the house, as 
though he were looking for Ingham. 

All this the retiring secretary of the treasury construed as 
a conspiracy. He remained at home on Tuesday and at four 
o'clock Wednesday morning set out for Baltimore. Before he 

'Niles, Register, XL., 317, 33i. 367. 


went he sent Jackson a silly letter charging a conspiracy to 
assassinate him, the writer. If he beUeved what he wrote, his 
duty was to have made his charge before the police authorites 
and to have remained in town as a witness. The complaint was 
referred by Jackson to the parties imphcated. They all denied 
concerted action, but Eaton admitted that acting for himself 
alone he had sought an encounter with Ingham in order to 
redress his wrongs. Thus passed the " assassination " of Ingham, 
except as it was used by the newspapers for political effect.' It 
created a great deal of talk, and ten days later it was the chief 
object of conversation at Quincy, Mass., where Adams 
remarked to a caller from the South that he thought Eaton did 
right and was much persecuted in his relations with the 'cabinet 
members, but that he ought to have retired without making an 
issue of his wife's character before the American people.' 

General Coffee's opinion of the affair is also interesting. This 
old companion in arms of Jackson was in retirement but kept a 
close eye on all that touched his old friend and commander. 
The Washington troubles gave him much concern and he re- 
lieved his mind in a confidential letter to Jackson. Eaton's 
position, he said, was proper but the time was badly chosen. It 
might add serious embarrassment to the administration. "At 
suitable seasons," he continued, "I expect he will go the whole 
hog round." Let him be patient; a favorable opportunity would 
undoubtedly occur when a meeting could be made to "come on 
by accident. " ' 

Dissolving the cabinet gave joy to the opposition. What 
could these wholesale resignations mean? said their press with 
affected simplicity. They were, replied the Globe, purely poli- 
tical and not mysterious, a necessary step to preserve the equilib- 
rium of factions within the party. The discreet silence which 

•Niles, Register XL., 30J, 331. 

'Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, XLIII., 73. 

•Coffee to Jackson, July.g, 1831; Jackson Mss. 


the outgoing cabinet members preserved supported this view; 
but men who knew the situation best believed that something 
was behind the scene. The Telegraph, whose editor, said General 
Coffee ought to be challenged for a duel, also knew the secret, 
and his remarks concerning the administration were very bitter. 
Ingham's friends in Pennsylvania followed the lead of the Tel- 
egraph. The opposition seized on every intimation of a rupture 
in the councils of their enemies and sought to widen the breach. 
The blustering of Eaton against Ingham was particularly inter- 
esting to them, and Niles, in full sympathy with their side, 
continually reminded his readers that it was all very significant. 
At this time Branch and Berrien began to talk, and it was about the 
interview in January, 1830, in which Jackson tried to induce the 
cabinet members to drop the discriminations against Mrs. Eaton.' 

To Duff Green belongs the credit of prying open this phase of the 
controversy. He charged Jackson with saying that the cabinet 
should receive Mrs. Eaton or lose their places. Blair, coming to 
the aid of the President, demanded proof. Green gave none, 
but it became known that Berrien would substantiate the charge. 
Blair then turned on Berrien, who at length pubhshed a state- 
ment in which he asserted that the President in the interview 
referred to, made the recognition of Mrs. Eaton the condition 
on which he, Branch, and Ingham should remain in the cabinet, 
and he denied that Jackson in that interview read from a written 
statement or other paper.' Ingham and Branch corroborated 
the statement in formal notes,' evidence not to be reconciled with 
a memorandum, several copies of which exist in Jackson's hand- 
writing, but which was then unpublished. 

The President observed the controversy with great interest, 
and although Ingham and Berrien made more than one effort 
to draw some explosion of temper from him in regard to it, he 

'See above, II., page 467. 

«Niles, Register, XL., 381-384. 

'Jackson to Van Buren, July 11, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 


remained discreetly silent. So far as he was concerned, the dissolu- 
tion of the cabinet was accomplished peacefully. He ignored the 
outbreak of temper between Eaton and Ingham, and when the lat- 
ter referred the alleged conspiracy to him he acted with becoming 
fairness. To the pubHshed statement of Berrien, he also offered 
a dignified appearance. But inwardly he was deeply agitated. 

At first Calhoun was the object of his temper. Berrien, he 
said, July nth, was going out like a gentleman, but the vice- 
president was continuing ''his old course of secrete writing and 
slandering me. I have a few extracts from his letters sent to 
me, which in due time, will aid in finishing a picture I mean to 
draw of him! " If this intention refers to his formal reply, we 
know that its publication was wisely deferred.' A fortnight 
later, when the Globe^s caustic attacks brought Berrien into the 
controversy, Jackson changed his mind about that gentleman. 
But his greatest scorn was reserved for Ingham; and when that 
person published a letter to him before it had time to arrive, he 
caused a secretary to write a frigid reply refusing to receive 
further communications. The secretary's letter was promptly 
published in the Globe.^ 

The autumn after Eaton left office, he visited Tennessee. The 
Jackson party there exerted themselves with great success to 
make his reception brilliant. Every lady in Nashville except 
Mrs. Dr. McNairy, so wrote Judge Overton, called on Mrs. 
Eaton; and fifty-four out of the sixty-nine members of the legis- 
lature attended a dinner to Eaton. Branch was then traveling 
in Tennessee and arrived at Nashville at just this unlucky 
moment. ''He reached Nashville the evening of the dinner," 
writes Jackson to Van Buren, "and, on the next day went to 
the Assembly room, where Mr. Bell and Major Eaton were by 
invitation, and after remaining in the lobby for some time with- 

'Sec above, II., 517. 

'N. P. Trist to Ingham, see the Globe, July ii, 183 1. 


out any attention being paid to him, he retired. He doubtless 
exclaimed in his anguish 'Farewell, a long farewell to all my 
greatness,' as he now discovers his sad mistake in supposing 
that he, Ingham, Berrien, Calhoun, Duff Green & Co., could 
raise up and crush whom they pleased at pleasure, and destroy 
me by prostrating Eaton and yourself. Those men have fallen 
unwept, unhonored and unsung. . . I fear them not, nor 
need you. You are gaining strength daily in the nation and will 
continue to do so, and rise in public estimation in opposition to all 
their intrigues to prevent it. Your enemies might as well attempt 
to change the running of the water in the Mississippi, as to pre- 
vent you from obtaining the increased confidence of the people. "' 

His personal affection for the favorite came out in many little 
touches. July 23rd, when the controversy was warmest, he hung 
a picture of his friend in his own apartment. "It appears to 
look and smile upon me as I write," he said.' And two days later 
he wrote; "Let me hear from you, and any idea that may occur 
to you worthy to be presented to Congress, suggest it to me.'" 
To Dunlap he wrote: "I never acted with a more frank and candid 
man than Mr. Van Buren.— It is said that he is a great magician 
— I beheve it, but his only wand is good common sense which he 
uses for the benefit of his country. "* To Judge White, he wrote: 
"I say to you frankly, that Van Buren is one of the most frank 
men I ever knew, with talents combined with common sense, 
but rarely to be met with — a true man with no guile. " 

In the meantime, the guileless Van Buren succeeded in keep- 
ing himself untouched by the prevailing controversies. He 
left the country late in the summer. He wrote frequent letters 
to Jackson, but he has kept the historian as much at sea as his 

"Jackson to Van Buren, November 14, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 
'Jackson to Van Buren, July 23, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 
^Ibid to Ibid, July 25, 1831; Van Buren Mss. 

♦Jackson to Dunlap, July 18, 1831. copy in Library of Congress. Jackson to White, April 9, 1831, Jack- 
son Mss. 


contemporaries. Later in life he asked Jackson to return his 
letters, and the old man with accustomed sincerity complied 
without retaining copies. Van Buren gave as the ground for 
his request the desire to use them in his autobiography; but the 
completed manuscript of that work contains few references to 
the letters to Jackson. 

But Jackson's confidence in his friend was not misplaced. 
Van Buren was by far the wisest and coobst head among those 
who conducted the administration. He was always restrained, 
always master of his tongue and pen, suggesting more than he 
said, and careful to leave no positive impressions on others which 
might embarrass him in the future. In success and defeat he 
remained true to the old chieftain. Beneath the cool exterior 
of the one was the capacity to understand the genuine qualities 
which lay beneath the crude and turbulent nature of the others. 

Many of Van Buren's friends were opposed to the appoint- 
ment to England. They feared he would lose control 'of the 
situation through absence. His judgment was to the contrary: 
he believed his influence at the White House was strong enough 
to withstand absence. In fact he had the assurance of Jackson 
himself that all his power would be exerted to make the New 
Yorker the next President. Moreover, it was evident that by 
going abroad, he would lessen the strength of his opponent's 
argument that he was the shrewd manipulator of the President 
and those who controlled the party machinery. When in the 
following winter his short-sighted foes defeated his nomination in 
the senate, he became a martyr in the eyes of his party and it 
was now a point of honor to carry him through the democratic 
nominating convention. Up to that time, his nomination in 
1832 seems not to have been a part of the plan arranged by the 
inner circle in Washington. 

The work of filling the cabinet vacancies was taken up in con- 
nection with the task of getting rid of the former incumbents, Van 


Buren remaining in Washington to assist. At Jackson's sugges- 
tion, he wrote on April 9th to Edward Livingston. "The Pres- 
ident," he said, " wants you to come here at once and to manage 
so that your destination is unknown; and he will judge of your 
fitness for the duty he has in view by the secrecy and prompt- 
ness with which you execute this request."' The communication 
was essentially a mihtary order, and the recipient obeyed with 
alacrity. He was now out of debt and wiUing to exchange his 
seat in the senate for the first position in the cabinet. He was 
a nationaHst in his views and his appointment was unpopular 
with the strict constructionists of New York and Virginia; but, 
as Ritchie said, they did not complain since Jackson asserted 
that he would "give the rule" and that it would be the part of 
the secretaries to execute his views.' 

Filling Eaton's place was more difficult. The plan had been 
that H. L. White should resign his seat in the senate to take the 
war department and that Eaton should have the vacant sena- 
torship. Although Van Buren suggested White for a place,' Jack- 
son himself assumed the task of inducing the Tennessee senator 
to comply with the first phase of the plan. April 9th, the day Van 
Buren summoned Livingston, he himself wrote White in a far 
less commanding tone. The letter gives such an intimate view 
of Jackson's mind at this time that it is well worth pubhshing in 
its entirety. It runs: 

Strictly confidential. 

Washington, April 9th, 183 1' 
My Dr. Sir 

When first elected President of the United States, my first 
concern was to select a cabinet of honest talented men, and good 
republicans, amonghst whom, I might have one, from personal 
acquaintance, I could with safety confide You and Major 

'Van Buren Mss. 

«Niles, Register, XL., 169. 

svan Buren, Autobiography, 111., 4; Van Buren M33. 


Eaton were the only men with whom, I had such acquaintance 
and intimacy that ensured me my entire confidence were well 
placed (and who could be tho't of to fill such a place), one of 
whom I tho't it necessary for the success of my administra- 
tion, should be in my Cabinet. Both of you had taken a promi- 
nent share in my election, which drew me from my chosen retire- 
ment, I therefore thought I had claims upon you to aid me in the 
administration of the government. With these feelings, on the 
close of the election in 1828, 1 addressed you, asking you to come 
into my Cabinet, and requesting if anything of an imperious 
nature should deprive me of your services, make your determin- 
ation known to Maj. Eaton, as I calculated that one or the other 
of you would. 

When I reached Washington, for reasons which you assigned 
as imperious, you declined, and it was with great reluctance and 
much difficulty, and persuasion, Maj. Eaton consented. He 
has made known to me his intention to withdraw, and has tend- 
ered his resignation. It is with the greatest reluctance I part 
with him, but his decision is filial. You know the confidence I 
have in him, but knowing how much he has unjustly suffered 
I cannot longer detain him contrary to his wishes and to his 
happiness. He has been cruelly persecuted, and from a combin- 
ation of sources, that until lately, some of them I did not suspect. 

I have in my reply to Major Eaton's letter of resignation, 
closed mine thus, "I will avail myself of the earliest opportunity 
to obtain some quahfied friend to succeed you, and until then I 
must solicit that the acceptance of your resignation may be 
deferred." I have therefore a right to claim your aid as my 
faithful friend, Eaton has determined to retire. The reasons 
that influenced your determination in 1829, does not now exist. 
It is true you have drank the cup of bitterness to the dregs, 
your bereavements have been great — with me you can Uve 
(I have a large room for you) who can sympathize with your 
sufferings, and you can keep your Httle son and daughter with 
you and attend to his education, and the duties of your office 
will give employ to your mind. This must be employed to pre- 
serve life, and in this employment you will not only render im- 
portant services to your country, but an act of great friendship 


to me. I cannot hesitate to believe, but that you will yield your 
consent. I shall await your answer with much anxiety. 

I pray you to look about and you will see the great difficulty, 
not to say impractibility [sic] of supplying your place in case of 
refusal, and I therefore feel the more justified in adding the claims 
of private friendship, to considerations of public character. 

You must not my dear friend refuse m}^ request. If at any 
time you should find the duties of the ofiice too much for your 
health or other opportunity should oft'er to place you in a situa- 
tion more congenial with your past pursuits, we will have time and 
opportunity to prepare for the gratification of your wishes, which 
sliall continue as they have heretofore been the rule of my con- 
duct in whatever relates to yourself always, satisfied that they 
will be none other than such as are reasonable. 

Mr. Van Buren has also intimated to me his intention to 
withdraw, of course, a reorganization of my cabinet (proper) 
will be made. The Postmaster-genl. will only remain. When 
Eaton and Van Buren goes, justice to them, and to myself, 
and that electioneering scenes in congress may cease, or the in- 
triguers exposed, will induce me to re-organize my Cabinet. 
This I regret, but have a long time foresaw, admonished but 
could not controle; my Cabinet must be a unit. I sincerely re- 
gret to loose Eaton and Van Buren two more independent re- 
publicans does not exist, who have laboured with me, with an 
eye single to the prosperity of the union. Still Mr. Van Buren, 
was singled out as a plotter. The cry plot, plot in Mr. Calhoun's 
book bro't me in mind of the old story — rogue cries rogue 
rogue first to draw the attention from himself, that he might 
escape. I say to you frankly, that Van Buren is one of the most 
frank men I ever knew, with talents combined with common 
sense, but rarely to be met with — a true man with no guile. 
With my kind solicitations to you and your little family and 
your connections believe me. 

Your friend, 

Andrew Jackson.* 
The Honorable 

H. L. White. 

>Jackson Mas. 


White's afflictions, to which allusion was here mad 3, were the 
loss of most of his family, the latest being the death of his wife on 
March 25, 183 1. It is usually asserted that these misfortunes 
caused him to refuse the proffered secretaryship; but his reply to the 
letter quoted does not mention them. The reasons there assigned 
are that he was unfit for the position and too old to learn, that 
he could not afford to leave his property in Tennessee, and that it 
was against his principles to take ofSce from a personal friend.* 

The receipt of this letter was followed by a conference to which 
Van Buren, Eaton, and Livingston were summoned. "It will 
now be proper," said Jackson to them, ''to make a selection and 
the task is one of some difficulty. "' It was, in fact, as hard to 
get a man for the place, not tainted with Calhoun influence who 
would command the respect of the country, as to find another 
way of providing for Eaton. The result of the conference was 
a still more urgent letter from Jackson to White trying to shake 
his decision. All White's arguments were disposed of — they 
were not formidable — the duties of the department could be 
easily learned and his property interest at home could be taken 
care of. Surrounded as he was, said Jackson, by bank men, 
nullifiers, and advocates of internal improvements, it was hard 
to find a man in whom he could confide. He must have one to 
whom he could unbosom liimself, and who should it be but his 
old friend? "I could get," he added, "Col. Drayton, perhaps, 
who might be in favor of rechartering the Bank, acquainted 
with miHtary matters, but unacquainted with Indian matters 
and whose appointment would arouse half of South Carolina 
and let it be remembered that he has been a strong Federalist. 
I like the man but I fear his politics — and having taken Mc- 
Lane (a Federalist), into the Treasury, I do not Hke to be com- 
pelled to take another."' 

•White to Jackson, April 20, 1831, Jackson Mss. 
'Jackson to Van Buren, May 20, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 
'Jackson to White, April ag, 1831, Jackson Mss. 


This entreaty was seconded by the personal intercession of 
Major F. W. Armstrong, a mutual friend, who pled so well that 
White gave a reluctant consent; but a month later this was 
withdrawn on the ground that another daughter had developed 
consumption and he felt it his duty to remain near her in Ten- 
nessee. But we may look behind his excuses; his desire for re- 
tirement did not prevent his retention of his senatorship, and his 
grief did not keep him from a second marriage in the following 
year/ It seems that he had deeper reasons for his refusal than 
those assigned. He well remembered, if we accept the gossip 
of the day, the manner in which Eaton elevated himself into the 
cabinet, he was not in sympathy with the Eaton-Lewis influence 
in administration circles, he was not enthusiastic for Van Buren, 
and he was not now disposed to play the part which the combi- 
nation arranged for him. He thus won the opposition of the inner 
circle in Washington, we eventually find him cooUng toward the 
administration, and in 1836, he ran against Van Buren for the 

The war department was now offered to Drayton, who de- 
clined, and it was then accepted by Lewis Cass, who had a good 
record as governor of Michigan. Lewis McLane, returning from 
London, became secretary of the treasury, realizmg an old ambi- 
tion for cabinet honors. The navy department was given to 
Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, a man of excellent capacity, 
whose one fault, in the eyes of Isaac Hill, was that in Ports- 
mouth he and his family associated with the aristocracy and not 
with the Jackson party there.' Roger B. Taney, a promising 
lawyer of Baltimore, became attorney-general, and his ability 
justified the selection. Barry remained postmaster-general. It 
v/as a respectable cabinet, devoted to Jackson, submissive to his 
leadership, favorable to Van Buren, and for the most part com- 

i.\nnstrong to Jackson, May 22; Jackson to White, June i; and White to Jackson, June 15; 1831; 
Jackson Mss. See also, Memoir of Wtiite, 419, 447-450. 
H^SMassachusetU Historical Society Proceedings, XLUL, 73. 


mitted to those aggressive measures into which the administra- 
tion was about to throw itself. Estabhshing it was a gain in the 
working strength of the party. 

The new cabinet indicated a new party control and new 
ideals. It announced that power was gone from Virginia and 
South Carolina and centered in a combination of the newer 
states of the West and Southwest with the large democratic 
states of the middle sea coast. 

Eaton's future was a source of anxiety to Jackson, who clung 
stubbornly to a friend in distress. Since it was impossible to 
thrust him into White's seat, Eaton turned to that of Grundy, 
the other Tennessee senator, whose term expired in 1833. 
Grundy supported Jackson, who was thus forced to assume a 
neutral position. Each side claimed sympathy, but the President 
persisted in outward impartiality, although there are 
indications that secretly he leaned to Eaton.' But Grundy's 
appeal to the people was successful, and Eaton, who had little 
strength in the state when deprived of Jackson's open support, 
was forced at last to give up the fight. He was then willing to 
accept the governorship of Florida. The place did not please 
him, and he gave broad but vain hints that he wanted the gover- 
norship of Michigan, then vacant through the death of Gover- 
nor Porter. In 1832, he was a delegate to the Baltimore con- 
vention. It was reported that he would vote against Van Buren, 
probably because the New Yorker's disfavor in Tennessee lessened 
Eaton's chances for the senatorship. But his rebellion dis- 
appeared with an intimation that Jackson expected him to do 
his duty.' In 1836, he was made minister to Spain. Richard 
Rush, Adams's candidate for vice-president in 1828, but now a 

'McLemore to Jackson, September 2$; Jackson to D. Buford, September lo, 183a; William Carroll to Jack- 
son, August Q and December 3, 1833; Grundy to Jackson, May 6 and August 7, 1833; Jackson Mss. In 
the Jackson Mss. is a letter in Eaton's behalf, September,— 1832. It is addressed "Gentlemen", and is 
in Jackson's handwriting. If sent at all, it was probably intended for discreet use. 

*Parton, Life of Jackson, HI., 421. 


fervid Jackson man, made the journey across the Atlantic in the 
same ship with Eaton and wrote enthusiastically of him. Mrs. 
Eaton and her daughters, he said, were the life of the party 
aboard.' In 1840, Eaton turned openly against Van Buren and 
supported the enemies of Jackson. It completed a series of 
disappointments, which his capacity and character did not de- 
serve. His unfortunate marriage wrecked a career of much 
promise. When Jackson heard of his course in 1840, he pro- 
nounced Eaton "the most degraded of all the apostates fed, 
clothed, and cherished by the administration. " 

The events of 183 1 brought into high light the position of 
the ''Kitchen Cabinet." Many men, some of whom were 
friends of the administration, thought that the trouble grew 
out of the course pursued by this group of irresponsible persons. 
Eaton's association with the group strengthened the idea in the 
popular mind. The candid Dunlap expressed his opinion of this 
phase of the situation in the following w^ords to Jackson : ''While 
the nation may admire the firm friendship by you manifested for 
Mr. Eaton, they cannot but rejoice at the hope of his retirement. 
Mr. W. B. Lewis, almost too small to write about, occupies a 
position before the nation alone from his presumed and assumed 
intimacy with you, which merits little attention. Send him 
home and no longer hold yourself accountable to the free and 
enlightened people for the arrogant follies of such a small 
but busy man. ... To speak plain, the opinion prevails 
at large that W. B. Lewis is one of your most confidential 
coimcillors. This fact does, whether it be true or false, seriously 
affect the public. It raises a suspicion of your fitness to rule; 
paralyzes every noble feeling of your friends when it is said 
Billy Lewis is your Brest councillor."' Alfred Balch, another 
Tennessee supporter and a friend of Van Buren, spoke quite as 

'Rush to Jackson, September 26, 1836, Jackson Mss. 

'Jackson to Kendall, September 23, 1840; Cincinnali Commercial, February S, 1879. 

•R. G. Dunlap to'Jackson, June 30, 1S31, copy in Library of Congress. 


plainly. The feeling is general, he said, that in Washington 
there is "a power behind the throne greater than the throne 
itself. . . . It is my most decided opinion that Major 
Lewis should set up an establishment for himself — should 
till the close of the next session of congress disconnect himself 
from you and see you only in a ceremonious manner. It is also 
my opinion that Mr. Kendall should attend only to the duties 
of his office and let you wholly alone. " ' These things did not 
destroy Jackson's hold on the Tennesseeans: he was their one 
hero and his grasp on the state organization was absolute; but 
the popular impatience expressed itself in defeating Eaton's 
attempt to be a senator and in the aUenation of White. 

The ''Kitchen Cabinet" was not aboHshed, but it underwent 
two important changes. In the first place its personnel changed. 
The removal of Van Buren and Eaton took away two of the 
strongest members. Lewis opposed Jackson on the bank 
question, and weakened his influence. After 1831, the most in- 
fluential friends of the President were Kendall, Blair, A. J. Don- 
elson, and Taney. Thus we see the "Kitchen Cabinet" went 
through a reorganization of its own. In the second place, 
the party machinery was growing and the "Kitchen Cabinet" 
became less of a personal affair and more of an expression of 
party will. The increasing tendency to leave the patronage 
to members of congress, the removal of faction which caused the 
group to spend much energy in intrigue, and the crystallization 
of well defined party principles operated to the same end. This 
renewed group was less repugnant to the people than its 

But one act remained to complete the readjustment of the 
party, the nomination of Jackson and Van Buren in 1832. Na- 
tional nominating conventions had suddenly sprung into existence: 
the anti-masons held one in 1830 and another in 1831, the 

'Alfred Balch to Jackson, July 21, 1831; Jackson Mss. 


national republicans held one in 1831, and the democrats fol- 
lowed the example in May, 1832. Jackson was induced to 
stand for a second term by the assurance that it was necessary 
to preserve the union and by his innate repugnance to allowing 
himself to be driven by his opponents/ Delegates to the con- 
vention were chosen for loyalty to him, and his power was enough 
to carry them for his favorite. Major Lewis was the chief in- 
strument through which this will was made manifest to the mem- 
bers of the convention. By correspondence and by personal 
solicitation he caused them to see that they would have the op- 
position of the leader if they did not vote for Van Buren. On 
the first ballot the New Yorker received two hundred and eight 
votes while his two opponents had together only seventy-five. 

When Van Buren sailed for Lond-^n, it was not determined 
that he should be the candidate for vice-president. Jackson, 
in fact, had a plan by which his friend should stay in Europe 
for two or three years, then come back to the cabinet and be in 
a position to be urged for first place on the ticket in 1836. "The 
opposition," he said — he was writing to Van Buren and the date 
was December 17th — "would be glad to reject your nomination 
as minister if they dared, but they know it would make you too 
popular." Referring to Livingston's desire to go abroad he said: 

I am anxious again to have you near me, and it would afford 
me pleasure to gratify both. I find on many occasions I want 
your aid and Eatons. I have to labour hard, and be constantly 
watchfull. Had I you in the state department and Eaton in 
the war, with the others filled as they are, it would be one of 
the strongest and happiest administrations that could be formed. 
We could controle the little federalist leaven, in that high-minded, 
honorable, and talented friend of ours, Mr. McLane. Cass is an 
amiable talented man, a fine v/riter, but unfortunately it is hard 
for him to say no, and he thinks all men honest. This is a virtue 

•Jackson to Van Buren, September i8, 1831; Van Buren Mss. 


in private, but unsafe in public life. . . . You are aware of 
the friendship I have for Livingston, and the respect I have for 
his talents; that he is a polished scholar, an able writer, and a 
most excellent man, but he knows nothing of mankind. He 
lacks in this respect that judgment that you possess, in so em- 
inent a degree, his memory is somewhat failing him. ... I 
would not be surprised if contrary to your declared wishes, you 
should be run for vice-presidency. As sure as the senate makes 
the attempt to reject your nomination, I am told it will be done.' 

January 25th the threatened rejection was carried in the senate, 
the opposition resting on Van Buren's instructions toMcLane 
in 1829 and Calhoun with four faithful followers cooperatmg 
with them on the ground that the New Yorker had seduced the 
mind of the President and formed plots within the party. The 
rejection was carried by the deciding vote of the vice-president. ' 
Instantly the country was in a state of excitement. Meetings 
to endorse the rejected man were held in New York and through- 
out the country. The Jackson party declared that the insult 
was really against Jackson and the President agreed with the 
assertion. "This is your flood-tide," wrote the faithful Marcy 
to the absent one in London, "and if you wish to make your 
voyage, you should not neglect it. If there is hazard in the game, 
I think you still should play it. " ' He added that if Van Buren 
did not come forward others would do so, that P. P. Barbour, of 
Virginia, was being pressed by the anti-tariff men and if not 
chosen for second place would be a strong candidate for first 
honor in 1836. 

Jackson also wrote. "The insult to the executive would be 
avenged," he said, "by putting you into the very chair which 
is now occupied by him who cast the deciding vote against you. 
Hayne voted against you and his reasons for it shows that he 

ijackson to Van Buren, December 17, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 

•See Benton, View, I., 214-220, for an interesting account of Van Buren's rejecUon. See also Isaac Hill 
10 Van Buren, January 29, 1S32, Van Buren Mss. 
nV. L. Marcy to Van Buren, January 26, 1831, and February i2, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 


has fallen from the magnanimous position that we always as- 
signed him.'" While this letter was crossing the ocean, it 
passed another coming westward to the writer of the first. 
"My dear friend," it began, "I looked over the papers by the 
last Packet with no small degree of impatience for a letter from 
you — not that you owed me one, for I am ashamed to say that 
on that point, I am greatly your debtor, but from my anxiety 
to learn the precise effect which the extraction of a ball from your 
arm has had upon your health and comfort. The several grave 
suggestions in your long and interesting letter will not be lost 
sight of, but will be deferred without prejudice until things 
become a little more settled with you and we see things in a 
clearer light than at present. The opposition are feeding fat 
their old opposition against me I see, and what I confess sur- 
prises me a little, is to find that Mr. Clay is so bhnd as not to see 
the advantage which in the eyes of all honorable and liberal men 
he gives me over him by his course in the senate in respect to 
my nomination." I have never seen the old aristocratic and 
federal spirit, he continued in substance, support a man of whom 
they did not feel sure that he was untrue to the democracy. 
They supported you at first on account of your letter to Monroe, 
but when you announced democratic views in later letters they 
turned against you. "They ruined Burr beyond redemption, 
they crippled Clinton, gave Calhoun his first mortal wound, 
and to form a correct estimate of the havoc which they have 
made with poor Clay, it is only necessary to contrast his present 
situation with what it was when he \yas the leader of the Repub- 
lican Party in the House of Representatives. " 

At this point the letter was interrupted till the next day, 
and in the interval came news of his rejection in the senate. 
His mail was full of advice as to coming home. Most of his 
correspondents advised him to return at once to look after his 

ijackson to Van Buien, February 12, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 


affairs, but Lewis and Cambreleng thought it would be wise 
to wait until the nominating convention had met, and he de- 
cided to take their suggestion, thus, as he said, giving the lie 
to those who accused him of intrigue and "leaving my fate to 
the unbiased disposal of our political friends. " ' 

Late in March, he left London for a short visit on the conti- 
nent and arrived in America early in July. In England he was 
diplomatically successful, and the king, in teUing him farewell 
said: "Well Mr. Van Buren,I cannot, of course, take part in the 
decision of your government, nor any branch of it, but I may be 
permitted, without any impropriety, to express my regret that 
it has been thought necessary to remove you from us." And 
as a token of esteem, the departing minister was invited to visit 
Windsor Castle from Saturday until Monday, where the king 
and queen. Lord Palmerston, and Mr. Vaughan, former minister 
to Washington, did all they could to make his stay pleasant. 
He confided it all to Jackson with the intimation that it would 
be unwise to tell it abroad, lest it be thought that he was not a 
democrat; but he felt these attentions would counteract the 
attempts of his enemies "to mortify me in the presence of the 
assembled representatives of Europe, and the aristocracy of 
this country, and through that means to reach you. 

Andrew Jackson could not have suspected how skilfully his 
favorite was identifying his cause with that of the leader. To 
him it was all a piece of downright wickedness on one side and 
suffering virtue on the other. He showed his appreciation of the 
latter and his power to put down the former in the work of the 
Baltimore convention. When the repudiated minister arrived, 
the die was cast. He was accepted candidate for yoke-fellow 
in the canvass; and from all sides came demands for his counsel 
in meeting the crisis which the party now faced. 

»Van Burenjo Jackson. February 20; and Van Buren to JohnVan Buren, February 23, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 
«Van"Buren to Jackson, March 28, 1832. Van Buren Mss. 



In the process by which Jacksonian democracy separated itself 
from the older republican factions in Virginia and South Carolina, 
the destruction of the movement for nullification was an impor- 
tant and instructive incident. It preserved the national basis 
of the party, saved the union from attempted separation, and 
gave the world an illustration of the strong personality of the 
man who directed the affairs of the central government. A 
further result was that it crystalized a certain powerful influence 
in the extreme South, which under Calhoun's leadership was to 
give direction to later history. 

In the beginning of the national government, the federalists 
were supreme in South CaroHna, following a group of which 
C. C. Pinckney was the chief ornament. The republicans 
carried the state for Jefferson, but their leaders were personally 
not able to cope with those of the opposite party. The state 
resented the inferior position to which the Virginia leadership 
assigned it and was one of the first to range itself with those who 
threatened to overthrow that leadership before the beginning of 
the War of 1812. Three leaders now appeared, Lowndes, Cheves, 
and Calhoun, either of whom was the equal of any Virginian 
then in active politics. In their reaction against the old school 
and partly because of the continuance of the old federalist 
leaven in the state, they became more national than the strict 
republicans. A protective tariff, a national bank, and internal 
improvements all found place in their philosonhy. They be- 
came leading advocates of each of these policies and had their 



followers in many parts of the country. In the breakdown of 
the Virginia influence during Monroe's second term, Lowndes 
and Calhoun had ambitions for the presidency. The former was 
nominated by the state legislature for that high station in 182 1, 
and he was endorsed as a nationalist. His death a year later, 
removed him from the arena, and Calhoun received a similar 
nomination, although it is doubtful if he was as popular with 
the mass of South Carolinians as Lowndes. In the same year, 
1822, Robert Y. Hayne was elected United States senator as a 
nationalist, defeating William Smith, against whom a strong 
argument was that he favored secession rather than accept the 
Missouri Compromise.' All these incidents show that at this 
time the state was safely national, in spite of a strong and 
rather radical state rights party, and that Calhoun, while not 
very popular with the masses, had the support of the dominant 
group of poUticians and was everywhere honored as a man of 
great ability and as a son who was likely to bring honor to the 

Ten years later, this condition was reversed. The state rights 
party was in control of the government, the voters were warmly 
committed to nullification, and leaders who formerly spoke of 
the blessings and glories of the union had hurriedly given in their 
allegiance to a group who looked upon separation as possible 
and under certain conditions as desirable. 

} The cause of this change of political sentiment was the tariff. 
It seemed as if the manufacturers of the North would never be 
satisfied with moderate protection and that they were deter- 
mined to have their desires regardless of the interests of the agri- 
cultural South. Whatever they asked, they managed to find 
a way to carry through congress, and when at last they carried 
the tariff of 1828, Southern feeling was bitter. South Carolina 
was particularly violent, and its violence looked to action. 

' "Jervey, Robert Y. Hayne and his Times. 12s. '43. »44- 


While Virginia talked about strict construction and constitu- 
tional theory, this more aggressive community began to devise 
some practical means of counteracting the so-called wiles of the 
North. Nullification was invented as an instrument of war: 
its legitimacy was accepted by the state at large. The people of 
South Carolina were ever sensitive in resenting what they con- 
sidered discrimination. They were accustomed to fervid elec- 
tioneering from early days; and when the supporters of nulli- 
fication suggested this extreme measure as a fundamental right 
they made it the occasion for a crusade of liberty. This extrem- 
ity of fervor was not calculated to lead to wise action or correct 
thinking. It caused the state to exaggerate its wrongs and to 
accept a constitutional theory which its well wishers in other 
Southern states would not adopt for their own. 

But behind the tariff was slavery. Calhoun, in 1830, expressed 
a recognized truth when he said, speaking for his people: 

I consider the Tariff, but as the occasion, rather than the 
real cause of the present unhappy state of things. The truth can 
no longer be disguised, that the peculiar domestic institution of 
the Southern States, and the consequent direction, which that and 
her soil and climate have given to her industry, has placed them 
in regard to taxation and appropriations in opposite relation to 
the majority of the union; against the danger of which, if there be 
no protective power in the reserved rights of the states, they 
must in the end be forced to rebel, or submit to have their per- 
manent interests sacrificed, their domestic institutions subverted 
by colonization and other schemes and themselves and children 
reduced to wretchedness. Thus situated, the denial of the right 
of the state to interfere constitutionally in the last resort, more 
alarms the thinking, than all other causes; and however strange 
it may appear, the more universally the state is condemned 
and her right denied, the more resolute she is to assert her con- 
stitutional powers, lest the neglect to assert should be considered a 
practical abandonment of them, under such circumstances.* 

'Calhoun to Maxey, September ii, 1830, Marcou Mss. 


The leading opponents of the tariff in South Carolina were 
Crawford men, who disliked Calhoun intensely, among them 
Dr. Thomas Cooper, WilHam Smith, and James Hamilton, Jr. 
They began serious agitation after the passage of the tariff bill 
of 1824 and were well received by the people of the state. 
Each advance of the tariff in national politics increased their 
hold in South Carolina. Fighting for power as well as for 
principles, they turned the popular resentment against everything 
Northern. They attacked Adams for his centralizing policies 
and arraigned internal improvements in terms that made 
Calhoun wince. Few state politicians dared withstand them, 
and many followers of the vice-president, among them Hayne 
and McDuffie, gave in their support. 

The wincing Calhoun did not long hesitate. Much as he 
valued his national influence, he reaUzed that it was worth Httle 
if he had not the support of his own state. He gradually shifted 
his position on the tariff and in 1827 defeated the woollens bill 
by his casting vote in the senate. He thus lost an important 
part of his support in the North, wliile he made himself secure 
in the South. As to his presidential ambition, he hoped that 
the shifting of the pohtical current might soon leave the tariff 
high and dry and that his connection with the Jacksonian 
democracy might bear him forward in its successful sweep. But 
the tariff would not down. The law passed in 1828 was more 
objectionable than any of its predecessors, and in spite of the 
fact that its worst features were introduced by Southerners to 
make it so objectionable that New England would vote against 
the bill, the South was deeply resentful. The wrath of the 
South Carolinians was, therefore, proportionally increased and 
Calhoun's complication with their cause was further augmented. 
Both he and they were now irrevocably launched in the course 
of nullification. 

Calhoun did not originate the nullification theory. In 1827, 


there appeared a series of essays under the title of The Crisis ^ 
dealing with the situation in the state and announcing nullifi- 
cation as a remedy. They were written by Robert J. Turnbull, 
a prominent leader of the state rights party. At that time, the 
majority of the anti-tariff men in South Carohna favored pacific 
measures to carry their purpose. They talked about the ballot- 
box, the influence of public opinion, and the results of cooper- 
ation among all the states which were opposed to protection. 
Turnbull threw all this aside. "Let South Carolina be bold 
and resist oppression," he said. The union was not yet enough 
consolidated to make it possible to coerce a state: the conduct of 
of Georgia in regard to the Indians showed this. It was never 
intended that the supreme court, a part of the general govern- 
ment, should be arbiter in a dispute between that government and 
a state: its decisions ought not to extend to political matters. 
Let the legislature of a sovereign state protest, there was no 
tribunal of last resort, and the state might do as it saw fit. In 
its assertion of the compact theory and the denial of the arbitra- 
ment of the supreme court, this doctrine undoubtedly bore 
resemblance to the Virginia-Kentucky resolutions, and it was 
the unshaped form from which Calhoun evolved his perfected 
theory.' It did not contain the word "nulHfication," the 
proposed plan of meeting the situation being described merely 

as '"icSiSLaiice.' 

TurnbuU's appeal met with little response at once, but in the 
following year, the "tariff of abominations" brought an actual 
crisis. Some of the state's delegation in congress were for re- 
signing as a protest, but after consultation, it was agreed to try 
to temper the popular resentment until after the election, and 
then to let the people's wrath have its own course. 

This hesitancy was due to anticipations in regard to Jackson. 
The South Carolinians had much hope that he would oppose the 

'See The Crisis (18*7); also Houston, Nullification, 71-73. 


tariff. It is true he was mildly for protection in 1824, and his 
utterances in the campaign were exceedingly cautious; but this 
was only poHtics. Was he not a Southern man, a cotton planter, 
and if Calhoun, one of the partners in the great national game 
could be shaken from his position why not the other? So they 
reasoned, and they would do nothing rash in the crucial year of 
1828, nothing that would throw the election into the hands of 
Adams and Clay, from whom they could expect no help at all. 

The election was hardly over before they threw themselves 
on the administration. Cooper, an old Crawford leader, opened 
correspondence with the New York Crawfordites. If the tariff 
was not repealed, he said, there would be no union at the end of 
the new administration, and New York especially might take 
warning lest the South goaded to anger should transfer the 
"Southern agency" to London. By "Southern agency" he 
meant the function of handling Southern products and purchases.' 

These protests were made to Van Buren as controling member 
of the cabinet, and they kept up until well into 1830. His own 
letters in reply, so far as they are preserved, were most non-com- 
mittal. But the confident tone in which his correspondents 
continued to write indicate that they were not repulsed. Cam- 
breleng and J. A. Hamilton, who also received letters, were more 
alarmed and felt that a compromise ought to be made. 

But Cooper and his associates did not wait to see what Jack- 
son would do. Before the election of 1828 was decided, they 
made arrangements for a vigorous campaign as soon as that 
event was out of the way. In the summer of 1828, several of 
them visited Calhoun at his South Carolina home. He talked 
to them freely, and at their suggestion stated his views in his 
famous Exposition. This, with little change, was presented 
to the legislature the following autumn, as the report of a com- 
mittee. It was not adopted, but five thousand copies were 

«Cooper to Van Buren, March 24, 1S29, Van Buren Mss. 


ordered printed for distribution. It was a formal and complete 
statement of the theory of nullification, furnishing a constitu- 
tional argument for doing what Turnbull declared could and 
ought to be done. It was known at the time by a few of those 
most concerned that it came from the pen of the vice-president.* 
When in 1831, after his definite break with Jackson, Calhoun 
threw himself openly into the cause of nullification, he re-stated 
his position in An Address to the People of South Carolina. 
The argument in these two papers was so subtle that few of 
those who tried to explain it, gave evidence of understanding 
it. So many interpretations were given that in 1832, Calhoun, 
at the request of James Hamilton, Jr., wrote an amplification of 
his doctrine known as the Fort Hill Letter. From these three 
papers posterity has derived its knowledge of the theory of nul- 
ification. To quote the words of the author, "The great and 
leading principle is, that the general government emanated 
from the people of the several states, forming distinct political 
communities, and acting in their separate and sovereign capac- 
ity, and not from all the people forming one aggregate political 
community; that the constitution of the United States is, in 
fact, a compact, to which each state is a party, in the character 
already described; and that the several states, or parties, have 
a right to judge of its infractions; and in case of a deliberate, 
palpable, and dangerous exercise of power not delegated, they 
have the right, in the last resort, to use the language of the 
Virginia Resolutions, 'to interpose for arresting the progress of the 
evil, and for maintaining, within their respective limits, the author- 
ities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.'' '" 

Out of this was constructed the principle that a state might 
annul a law of congress which it pronounced unconstitutional, and 
that the general government was an agent of the states, in fact, 

'Hunt, Life of Calhoun, io8, log. 
^Calhoun, Works, VI., 60. 


an agent of any particular state, so far as the will of that state 
was concerned. It was a doctrine of more devastating effect than 
secession. Secession would have split the union in twain; 
nullification was calculated to dissolve it state by state. 

Developments in South Carolina attracted attention in other 
states and in Washington. Anti-tariS men generally, and par- 
ticularly the Southerners, felt sympathy for the movement, but 
hesitated to them^selves to so unexpected a doctrine. 
NuUifiers were exceedingly anxious to get the support of Vir- 
ginia, which might carry that of other states, and that probably 
is why they stressed the connection between their movement 
and the resolutions of 179S-1799. 

Cne natural result was to stimulate the feeling for union, and 
the two sides thus formed socn came to a clash in the debates in 
congress, Webster and Hajne being the opposing champions. 
The latter rejoiced in the opportunity to set before the world 
the doctrine of the new school, and his great speech did all for 
the cause that could have been expected of him. It won more 
respect from Southerners of the day than posterity has given it. 
Benton praised it highly, and in South Carolina it was hailed 
as a "complete answer" to the aggressive North. Later it was 
asserted, but without specific supporting evidence, that the 
President at that time held the same view. He considered 
himself a state rights man, and probably approved Hayne's 
delense of the cause. But we must not take very seriously his 
estimate of a constitutional argument. His opinions were 
chiefly formed through feeling, and they were apt to change 
with the occasions. 

Through all this period, Jackson's attitude toward the nuUi- 
fiers was candid but discreet. To James Hamilton, Jr's., assur- 
ance. May, 1828, that the state would ''take no strong m^easure 
until your election is put beyond a doubt, " he rephed in words 
which would have been understood by a man less devoted to his 


enthusiasm. It was much to be regretted, he said, that the tariff 
came up for discussion at this time: "There is nothing I shudder 
at more than the idea of a separate Union. . . . The State 
governments hold in check the federal and must ever hold it in 
check, and the virtue of the people supported by the sovereign 
states, must prevent consolidation, and will put down that cor- 
ruption engendered by the executive, wielded, as it has been 
lately, by executive organs, to perpetuate their own power. The 
result of the present struggle between the virtue of the people 
and executive patronage will test the stability of our govern- 
ment. " ' 

September 3d Hayne wrote. He denied that his people desired 
disunion, as charged from some quarters, and declared they 
were loyal to Jackson and believed in his fairness. ''Should 
Mr. Adams be reelected," he said, "and should his adminis- 
tration continue to act on the pohcy of wholly disregarding the 
feelings and interests of the Southern States; should they push 
the manufacturing system to the point of annihilating our for- 
eign commerce, and above all, should they meddle with our 
slave institutions, I would not be answerable for the conse- 
quences. I think our Legislature will probably take strong 
grounds on these subjects, but I have no apprehension of their 
going at this time beyond a formal manifesto setting forth 
the injuries of the South, and giving a solemn warning against 
the consequences of a continuous disregard of our rights and in- 
terests. Should you be elected, as there is every reason to be- 
lieve, we shall look to you as a Pacificator. "* The manifesto, to 
which he referred, was undoubtedly Calhoun's Exposition. 

Hayne's letter was a warning and a suggestion. There is no 
evidence of Jackson's real feeling about the matter. Outwardly, 
at that time, he gave no token of opposition, but he yielded noth- 

>J. Hamilton, Jr., to Jackson, May 2$, 1828; Jackson to J. Hamilton, Jr., June 29, 1828, Jackson Mss. 
'Hayne to Jackson, September 3, 1828, Jackson Mss. 


ing to the nullifiers in their desire to have a secretary of the 
treasury favorable to a lower tariff. Calhoun's connection with 
the movement was soon known in Washington, at least as early as 
inauguration day, but this could hardly have affected Jackson. 
Nullification was as yet entirely theoretical, it was in touch wi'th 
the Southern party, he was still well disposed toward the vice- 
president, and party harmony was essential. But the control- 
ing faction was opposed to Calhoun, and in that was the pos- 
sibility of much hostility. 

The bold challenge of 1828 was followed by a year and a 
half of singular calm. Did they wait for the expected triumph 
of Calhoun in 1832, or were they endeavoring to learn what 
Jackson would do if the program should proceed at once? Neither 
question can be answered, but Calhoun's expectations in the 
former respect must have been deeply bound up with those of 
the South Carolina party, and a realization of this gave courage 
to his enemies. The Webster-Hayne debate in January, 1830, 
placed the two theories of the union definitely before the nation. 
People everywhere were taking sides, and it began to be asked 
on which the President would be found. Within three months 
of the famous debate the question was answered at the Jeffer- 
son dinner. 

In the autumn of 1829, the President learned of Calhoun's 
position in regard to the invasion of Florida, during the winter 
and early spring the Eaton affair was in its most annoying stage, 
and that also bore on his feeling toward Calhoun. It was, 
therefore, natural that he should have made the occasion of de- 
nouncing nullification that for striking Calhoun a severe and un- 
expected blow. April 15th, was Jefferson's birthday, long observed 
by democrats for renewing their devotion to party principles. 
As the day approached in 1830, the South Carolina group pre- 
pared to take prominent part in its celebration. Their object, 
says Van Buren very plausibly, was two-fold; (i) to get the sym- 


pathy of Virginia by exalting Jefferson and by stressing the re- 
lation of their own doctrine to the resolutions of 1798, and (2) 
to please Georgia, long opposed to South Carolina, by praising 
her position in the affair of the Cherokees, itself a kind of nulh- 

Invitations were sent as a matter of course to Jackson and 
Van Buren. The two took counsel and agreed that Jackson 
at the dinner should give a toast which should announce the 
hostility of the administration to nullification. The sentiment 
was written down and placed in his pocket before he went to the 
dinner. When called on he arose and proposed: "Our Union, 
it must be preserved!" Consternation seized the state rights 
group. Hayne, quick witted and resourceful, hastily suggested 
to the speaker that the word "federal" be placed before the 
word "union. " He thought this would make the toast lean some- 
what to a state rights interpretation. Now this, says Van Buren, 
was the way the sentiment was first written, but Jackson, 
scrawling it off on his toast-card just before he arose, omitted 
"federal." No objection was made to its restoration. 

Calhoun, who followed, gave a toast more expressive of South 
CaroHna principles — " The Union, next to our liberty most 
dear! May we all remember that it can only be preserved by 
respecting the rights of the States and distributing equally the 
benefit and the burthen of the Union!"' It lacked the laconic 
force of Jackson's utterance, nor did it come with the same sense 
of authority. It is noteworthy that the next day Forsyth wrote 
to Crawford the letter which brought forth the avowal of Cal- 
houn's attitude in the Seminole affair.' 

The South Carohnians did not take offense at the toast but 
tried to lessen its effect by asserting that it must be understood 
in a "Pickwickian sense." Some of them took comfort out of 

»Van Buren, Autobiography, IV, 99-107, Van Buren Mss. 
'See above, II., 509. 


the Maysville veto, which came a month later, but among them 
were few of those who followed Calhoun closely. In the state, 
they tried to create the feeling that they had the President's 
support. About this time — in May, 1830 — Joel R. Poinsett, 
returning from Mexico, arrived in Washington and had a frank 
talk with Jackson about South Carolina affairs. The latter 
showed that he was committed against nullification which he 
pronounced madness. Poinsett proceeded to South Carolina, 
where an active union party was being organized. In it were 
former Governor Taylor, D. R. Williams, D. E. Huger, James 
L. Petigru and Hugh S. Legare. Between these two parties 
there was much scowHng with some stronger action during the 
second half of 1830, Early in the next year, Calhoun pub- 
lished his attack on Van Buren and Jackson, and in the following 
summer he uncovered his position as champion of nullification 
and gave a vigor to the protesting party in his state which up 
to that time it did not have. 

These events seem to indicate that throughout the quiescent 
period in 1830, the movement waited on Jackson. The vice- 
president arrived in Washington a few days before New Year's 
determined to keep aloof from the President. He refused to 
attend the New Year's reception at the White House and showed 
to whomever asked to see it the hostile correspondence of the 
preceding summer. To his friends, he wrote in deprecation of 
their confidence in the President: "The position which General 
Jackson has taken of halting between the parties," he said, "as 
if it were possible to reconcile two hostile systems, must keep us 
distracted and weakened during his time. To expect to be able 
to support him, taking the position he has, and to unite the South 
in zealous opposition to the system, which he more than half 
supports, is among the greatest absurdities. Had he placed 
himself on principle, and surrounded himself with the talents, 
virtue and experience of the party, his personal popularity would, 


beyond all dcubt, have enabled us to restore the Constitution, 
arrest the progress of corruption, harmonize the Union, and there- 
by avert the calamity which seems to impend over us; as it is, 
that very popularity is the real source of our weakness and dis- 
traction. . . . Believing that an united effort of the South is 
hopeless during his time, we must next look to the action of our own 
state, as she is the only one, that can possibly put herself on her 
sovereignty. Nothing must be omitted to unite and strengthen 
her, for on her union and firmness, at this time, the Hberty 
of the whole country in no small degree depends.'" In the 
'Exposition Calhoun established himself as covert leader of nulh- 
fication; in this letter he came out as open leader of the cause. 

An incident of midsummer, 1830, shows how the game was 
played in the plan to win Jackson for one side or the other. 
When Poinsett arrived in Charleston, the union faction gave him 
a dinner which was intended to rally their own followers. The 
nuUifiers decided to have a dinner of their own and made the 
arrival of Senator Hayne the occasion. The event was a great 
success and attracted notice throughout the country. James 
Hamilton, Jr., sent an account of it to Van Buren, with whom he 
was in frequent correspondence.' He added a warning against 
Poinsett, charging him with a declaration against devolution, 
that is, against handing the presidency down to a successor. And 
then Hamilton shrewdly observed that he himself was for the 
reelection of Jackson and that the influence of the United States 
Bank in the state was against the nulhfiers. He evidently 
hoped this would draw the sympathy of the man at Washington, 
of whom, Calhoun declared a half year later, as we have seen, 
that he only could unite the whole South in the cause of nulli- 
fication. ' 


•Calhoun, Correspondence (Jameson, Editor), 280. 

'I.Hamilton, Jr., to Van Buren, September 20, 1830; Van Buren to Jackson, July 25, 1830; Van Buren 


It is impossible to say how near Jackson came during this 
period of waiting to fulfil the hopes of the nulHfiers. With most 
of their leaders he was on friendly terms, but whether his motives 
were political or otherwise does not appear. In his ordinary 
moods he was a good politician and quite as capable of a deep 
game of delay as some who were not so violent in their moments 
of excitement. 

Van Buren's attitude at this time is more easily seen. Ham- 
ilton's letters impressed him, and on the one just mentioned, 
he endorsed the opinion that the letter showed that in the Charles- 
ton dinner, the nuUifiers went further than they intended. A 
few days after he heard of that affair, he wrote to Jackson that 
nulHfication was dechning and the more reliable element among 
its supporters would soon return to a better state of mind. 
This shrewd poHtician was very timid and dependent on his 
colleagues for his views. Both faiHngs here tended to bring 
him into acquiescence with the part of the scheme it was desired to 
make him play. 

Having brought Van Buren to a yielding state of mind, the 
nuUifiers sought through him to affect the will of Jackson him- 
self. Hayne cautiously made the approach. October 28th — it 
was still 1830 — he wrote to Van Buren in anticipation of ap- 
proaching events. The situation in South CaroHna, he said, 
was exaggerated by enemies out of the state. No measures had 
been adopted or contemplated looking "in the remotest degree" 
to a dissolution of the union: the announcement of an abstract 
right on the part of a state to judge of an infraction of the con- 
stitution and to provide means of redress, he asserted, "no more 
impHes the immediate and rash exercise of that power than the 
assertion of the right of a state to secede from the Union (which 
all seem to admit), implies that the Union ought to be imme- 
diately dissolved. . . . 'The extreme medicine of the State 
is not likely to become our daily bread.' If our friends in Wash- 


ington have the smallest uneasiness at the state of affairs in 
South Carolina, bid them dismiss their fears. No rash measures 
will be adopted — but tranquility will never be restored to the 
South until the American System is abandoned, and if the federal 
government shall go on in the assumption of unconstitutional 
power, collision with the States will sooner or later become 

As to practical affairs, Hayne admitted that the legislature 
was about to vote on a convention, but since a two-thirds vote 
was necessary to call such a body, he thought it would not carry. 
But if it should be called, it would undoubtedly be more con- 
servative than the legislature. Its effect would be to draw the 
attention of the country to the burden of the South on account 
of the tariff, and that would give Jackson an opportunity to 
intervene as a "pacificator." The letter reveals the part the 
nullifiers hoped to get the President to play, and this probably 
accounts for their quiet attitude in 1830. They were willing 
to award to Jackson the glory of making a compromise, if he 
could only be relied upon to play the right part at the proper 

But Jackson was not suited for the part he was desired to 
assume. The only pacification he was apt in making was such 
as he gave to the Creeks in 18 14 and to the army of Pakenham 
a few months later— the peace of submission. He was already 
determined that the plans of the nulhfiers were "mad projects," 
and he caused his friends to know his position.' In the autumn 
the attempt to call a convention was defeated in the legislature 
by the efforts of the active union party, who were already be- 
ginning to assert in the state that the President was on their 
side. They could cite his Jefferson birthday speech as well as his 
declarations to friends to show that he was against the nullifiers. 

'Van Buren Mss. 

•Jackson to Robert Olivvr. October 26. 1830, Poinsett to Jackson, October 13. 1830; Jackson Mss. 


Calhoun's special friends knew of the quarrel of the preceding 
summer, and they must have known how hopeless it was to 
expect help from Jackson. The vice-president, fresh from con- 
sultations with these friends, arrived in Washington late in De- 
cember and began at once to prepare the pamphlet he soon hurled 
at Van Buren. He would have been pleased, as we have seen,' 
to keep the President out of the quarrel entirely, but that was 
impossible. From that time, Calhoun became the chief reliance 
of the nullifiers, and his powerful aid, with the surrender of 
thoughts of compromise, gave the party the dominance in the 


In the summer of 1831, two Charleston merchants, both 
nullifiers, undertook to test the constitutionality of the tariff 
laws. They refused to pay the bonds they had given to guar- 
antee the payment of duties on certain commodities, alleging 
the illegaHty of a protective tariff. The district-attorney was 
instructed to prosecute them, but he, a nullifier, refused and 
resigned his office. Jackson's first impulse was to impeach him 
for violating his oath, but that v/as too impracticable, and he 
contented himself with sending a secret agent to Charleston to 
report on the progress of events while proceedings to collect 
the bonds were halted. At the same time, he was in constant 
correspondence with the union leaders in the city, particularly 
Poinsett, from whom he received full information. Letters to 
and from these leaders constitute a valuable source of infor- 
mation for this phase of the movement.' 

While things hung in the balance, ahnost at the last moment 
before the appearance of the Calhoun pamphlet, Hayne and his 
friends undertook to get one of their supporters appointed dis- 
trict-attorney in South CaroUna. Jackson refused to make the 

'See above, II., si7- 

2They are found in the Jackson Mss., in the Library of Congress, and in the Poinsett papers in the pos. 
session of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. The latter collection has been freely used by Stille in a sketch 
of The Lije and acriii^es uj Jem ri.. ratitsM t'enn.-iylvaaw Magazine oj History, 1888. 



appointment, and Hayne wrote a remonstrance against his 
action, arguing that the administration ought to be as fair as 
the state rights party in South Carohna, which placed union 
men in state office regardless of their politics. Jackson replied 
frankly that he did not believe a state could nuUify a law of 
congress and that he would be highly blamable if he appointed 
a man to execute the laws of the union who openly avowed that 
one of those laws could not be executed in the state in which he 
lived. It was a considerate letter, and it expressed great per- 
sonal consideration for many of the nullifiers. It must have 
been the result of careful consideration; for on the back of 
Hayne's letter he wrote in terms less cautious: "Note — I draw 
a wide difference between State Rights and the advocates of 
them, and a nullifier. One will preserve the union of the States. 
The other will dissolve the union by destroying the Constitution 
by acts unauthorized in it. '" This comment has logical defects, 
but the letter to Hayne must have left no doubt in that gentle- 
man's mind in regard to the attitude of the President. 

Having lost hope of Jackson's aid, the nuUifiers now pro- 
ceeded, as Calhoun indicated in January,' to organize that force- 
ful protest which was to run so close to disunion. Even after 
the publication of the pamphlet in regard to the breach with the 
President, Calhoun thought it best to say little about Jackson 
and to concentrate the opposition on Van Buren,' his purpose 
being, evidently, not to give the former a pretext to take decided 
part in the controversy. But this was soon seen to be impossible. 
May 19th, a dinner was given to McDuffie in Charleston, at which 
the most extreme nullification sentiment was avowed. Even 
this did not arouse Calhoun. He saw the tendency it would 
have to commit the state, but he favored moderation for the 
present, believing it necessary to give the thmking portion of 

'Jackson to Hayne, February 6, 1831; Hayne to Jackson, February 4, 1831, Jackson Mss. 

'See above, II. ss7- 

*Calhoun, Correspondence (Jameson, Kditor), t&g, 2go. 


the democratic party time to rally to him, after his exposure of 
Van Buren/ His hesitation lasted until July 26th, when he came 
definitely forward as the avowed champion of the nullifiers. His 
challenge was expressed in the Address on the relations which 
the States and General Government Bear to Each Other, a 
restatement of the arguments of the Exposition of 1828. 
From that time he was the open and preeminent leader of the 
South Carolina movement, giving it a powerful impetus and 
making it clear that the people of the state could no longer avoid 
a choice between union and nullification. 

When the Address \\\^.s given to the public,, Jackson's 
position was made equally clear. July 4th, both sides in Charles- 
ton made elaborate preparations to celebrate the holiday. There 
were speeches by the respective leaders, and the unionists read 
publicly with great pride a letter from Jackson announcing com- 
plete opposition to nullification, an opinion, he said, "which I 
have neither interest nor inclination to conceal.'" This letter 
was dated June 14th, the day before Berrien, the last opposition 
member, left the cabinet and several days before the angry con- 
troversy between Eaton and Ingham incensed both sides. It 
seems that in this step Jackson acted deliberately: the alliance 
with Calhoun was repudiated, friends of Calhoun were thrust 
out of the cabinet, and now the administration was ranged 
against nullification. The democratic party had cast off the 
semblance of nationahsm which internal improvements had 
imphed, it was about to crush that extreme form of state rights 
which came to a head in South Carolina. 

In the following winter, the tariff was again before congress. 
A new bill was passed, the chief purpose of which was to remove 
the inequalities which won for the bill of 1828 the name, "Tariff 
of Abominations." It was much like the bill of 1824, and was 

•Calhoun Correspondence, 294; Niles, Register, XL., 336 ' 

•Nile«, ResisUr, XL., 351- 


stiT strongly protective. It did not satisfy the South, and the 
nul^'-fiers, whose aim was to threaten so loudly that the majority 
would abandon some of their numerical advantage, decided that 
the contest should go on. 

The tariff passed in July. South Carolina found it exceedingly 
objectionable and the nullifiers raised loud cries in the campaign 
then waging and demanded a convention to consider the state's 
relation to the new law. The results at the polls were favorable 
and the governor, an ardent nullifier, called a meeting of the 
legislature, which quickly ordered an election for a convention to 
meet on November 19th. This precipitancy was employed in 
order that the intended programme might be completed before 
the meeting of congress in December, 1832. Now appeared the 
effects of the powerful efforts of Calhoun. Nearly the whole 
state turned to his doctrine, and, November 24th, the convention 
passed the famous nullification ordinance. This instrument de- 
clared the tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and not 
binding on the state, it prohibited appeals to the supreme court 
of the United States in cases arising under this ordinance, it 
ordered all state officials except members of the legislature to take 
an oath to obey the ordinance, and it fixed February i, 1833, as 
the day when it would go into operation. It closed with a threat 
that an attempt of the federal government to oppose its enforce- 
ment would absolve South Carolina from allegiance to the union 
and leave it a separate sovereign state.' 

Three days later the state legislature met in regular session 
and passed laws to meet contingencies hkely to arise. It en- 
acted a replevin law and other bills to enable a person who re- 
fused to pay duties to recover damages from federal customs 
officers, who might seize his goods, it passed a law looking to 
armed resistance, and finally adopted a test for ridding the state 
of offici als who would not accept nuUification. Thus panopHed 

^Houston, Nullification in South Carolina, 106-111. 


South Carolina marched to the contest with the nation, at whose 
head was Andrew Jackson, keenly alive to the situation. 

September 11, 1832, before the South Carolina elections were 
held, Jackson, fully alive to the progress of nullification, sent a 
warning to Woodbury, secretary of the navy. Efforts were 
being made, he said, to win naval and army officers in Charleston 
from their loyalty to the union, and this must be prevented. 
There were plans, he asserted, to gain possession of the forts there 
in order to prevent a blockade of the place, and he directed that 
the naval authorities at Norfolk, Virginia, be in readiness to 
despatch a squadron if it were needed.' October 29th, he ordered 
the commanders of the forts in Charleston harbor to double their 
vigilance and defend their posts against any persons whatsover.* 

Early in November, he sent George Breathit to South Carohna 
ostensibly as an agent of the post-office department, but he 
carried letters to Poinsett and was instructed to visit various 
parts of the state observing the temper, purposes, and militar}' 
strength of the nullifiers. "The duty of the Executive is a 
plain one," said Jackson, "the laws will be executed and the 
Union preserved by all the constitutional and legal means he is 
invested with, and I rely with great confidence on the support of 
every honest patriot in South Carolina.'" 

When Jackson heard the news from South Carolina, he wrote 
in his fragmentary journal: 

South Carolina has passed her ordinance of nullification and 
secession. As soon as it can be had in authentic form, meet it 
with a proclamation. Nullification has taken deep root in Vir- 
ginia, it must be arrested by the good sense of the people, and by 
a full appeal to them by proclamation, the absurdity of nulli- 
fication strongly repudiated as a constitutional and peaceful 
measure, and the principles of our govt, fully set forth, as a 
government based on the confederation of perpetual union 

ijackson to Woodbury. September ii, 1832, Jackson Mss. 

'Jackson to secretary of war, October 29, 1832, Jackson Mss. 

•Jackson to Poinsett, November 7, 1832, Poinsett Papers. Stillde's sketch reprinted, 6x. 


made more perfect by the present constitution, which is the act 
of the people so far as powers are granted by them in the federal 

Here we have the germ of the nuUification proclamation. 
The ideas are not as clear as in that famous paper, but the note 
shows that he was on his o^vn initiative thoroughly opposed to 

The position of the executive, however, had some serious difn- 
culties. Legally he might interfere forcefully in state matters 
in two events: i. If the governor of the state requested him to 
suppress an insurrection; but under existing circumstances in 
South Carolina this was not to be expected. 2. To enforce the 
laws of congress; but the laws provided no clear procedure for 
such intervention when the law was violated by a state. It was 
contemplated that in an ordinary case a federal officer could 
summon a posse comitatus, as a state officer might do, to aid him 
in his duty ; but this could hardly be done against a v/hole people. 
It was an unforseen contingency, and the executive branch of 
government must find a way to meet it. Jackson realized the 
deficiency and asked congress to enact a law to remedy it; but 
until that could be done, he fell back on the theory of the posse. 
He encouraged Poinsett and his friends to be ready to be sum- 
moned on such duty, he placed arms at convenient and safe 
places, some of them across the North Carolina border, and he 
promised that if necessary, he would march to the aid of the 
defenders of the union at the head of a large force from other 
states, itself a kind of augmented posse comitalus. 

Such was Jackson's feeling: in practice, he could not go so 
far. Nullification, until the adoption of the ordinance of No- 
vember 24th, was closely bound up with the general Southern 
opposition to the tariff, and the administration hesitated to 
press it lest the whole South should become nullifiers. The 

^Jaduon Mss. 


South Carolinians played earnestly for this wider cause, and 
sought particularly to win Virginia. To that end, they stressed 
the connection between nullification and the Virginia and Ken- 
tucky Resolutions, trying to convert the regular republicans in 
that state. But the old antipathy was too strong: Virginia 
republicans of the Crawford school disliked Calhoun and all he 
stood for too much to follow him into his new vagaries. All 
this did not appear on the surface, and when in July, 1832, 
Senator Tazewell, an extreme state rights doctrinaire, suddenly 
resigned his seat in the United States senate, it caused much 
apprehension in administrative circles' which desired to avoid 
taking the initiative in a policy of repression. 

But vigilance was not relaxed. Seven revenue cutters and 
the Natchez a ship of war, were sent to Charleston with orders 
to be ready for instant action. They took position where their 
guns could sweep the "Battery," the fashionable water front, 
on which dwelt the most prominent families in the place. Troops 
were ordered from Fortress Monroe to reinforce the garrison, 
and General Scott was directed to take chief command of the 
defenses and to strengthen them as he found necessary. There 
was to be no relaxation of the customs regulations, and in all 
things the authority of the government must be unimpaired. 
But it was not desired to irritate the inhabitants, and the com- 
mander was directed to surrender all state property claimed of 
him, even to arms and military supplies. 

November i8th Jackson pronounced the movement of the nulli- 
fiers a bubble, but admitted their recklessness might lead to 
worse. In the forthcoming message, he said, he would refer to 
the affair as something to be checked by existing law. He 
would only ask that the revenue laws be changed so that in 
states where the legislature sought to defeat them, the collector 
might demand duties in cash. By ceasing to give bonds to 

^JacksoD to Poinsett, December g, 1832, Poinsett Papers, in Stilli's reprint, page 64. 


secure deferred payments, the payer of duties could^not bring 
suit in which he disputed the legahty of the duty. "This," 
declared Jackson, "is all that we want peacefully to nuUify 
the nullifyers. " ^ 

The quick and vigorous action of the nullifiers in the succeed- 
ing fortnight made him change his mind. In his annual message, 
December 4th, 1832, he referred to the danger which threatened, 
expressed the hope that the laws would prove sufficient for the 
crisis, and promised to communicate further information on the 
subject if it should be necessary.' These words disappointed 
most friends of the union, and his opponents openly expressed 
their horror. "The message, " said Adams, " goes to dissolve the 
the Union into its original elements and is in substance a complete 
surrender to the nullifiers." Jackson was much embarrassed 
by the situation. The party was alarmed at the prospect of a 
contest which might involve the whole South. When the message 
was written, some days before it went to congress, he was not 
convinced that extreme measures would be necessary. 

About this time he received a letter from Poinsett, written 
November 29th, which showed how dangerous the situation had 
become in the disaffected state. Sixteen thousand citizens, 
said the writer, were deprived of their rights by the recent action 
of the legislature and left without other source of help than the 
national government. Some unionists, Colonel Drayton among 
them, thought congress would acquiesce and let South Carolina 
go in peace : some despairing ones even talked of leaving the state 
for other homes. But Poinsett protested that he would remain 
and fight it out, whatever the consequences. Such a letter was 
calculated to arouse the deepest emotions in a man like Jackson, 
who on December 2nd, said in a letter of his own, "Nulhfication 
means insurrection and war; and the other States have a right to 

I 'Jackson to [Van Buren], November i8, 183a, Jackson Mss. 
'Richardion, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 11., sgg. 


putitdcwn. " Deceirber^th, he announced that congress would 
sustain him in a programme of force against nullification. "I will 
meet it, " he said, "at the threshold and have the leaders arrested 
and arraigned for treason. I am only waiting to be furnished 
with the acts of your Legislature to make a communication to 
Congress, asking the means necessary to carry my proclamation 
into complete effect, and by an exemplary punishment of those 
leaders for treason so unprovoked, put down this rebellion 
and strengthen our happy Government both at home and 
abroad. . . . The wicked madness and folly of the leaders, 
the delusion of their followers, in the attempt to destroy them- 
selves and our Union has not its parallel in the history of the 
world. The Union will be preserved. The safety of the republic, 
the supreme law, which will be promptly obeyed by me.'" 

The proclamation, which he issued the day after he sent this 
message of support to the union men in South Carolina, was 
a warning to the nullifiers, an appeal to the patriotism of the 
nation, and a constitutional argument against the doctrines of 
Calhoun. The doctrine of state veto on laws of congress, said 
the proclamation, is constitutionally absurd, and if allowed it 
would have dissolved the union when Pennsylvania objected to 
the excise law, when Virginia resented the carriage tax, or when 
New England objected to the War of 1812. A law thus nul- 
lified by one state must be void for all; so that one state could 
repeal an act of congress for the whole union by merely declar- 
ing it unconstitutional. Through the whole document, ran a 
strong vein of nationalistic philosophy, supporting the right of 
congress to establish protection, denying that the constitution is 
a compact of sovereign states, and announcing that a state has 
no right to secede. The proclamation closed with a fervid appeal 
to the "fellow-citizens of my native state" not to inzur the pen- 
alty of the laws by following blindly "men who are either de- 

'Jackson to Poinsett, December a and 9, 1S33, Poinsett Mss. 


ceived themselves or wish to deceive you." "The laws of the 
United States must be executed," said the President, "I have no 
discretionary power on the subject; my duty is emphatically 
pronounced in the Constitution. Those who told you that you 
might peaceably prevent their execution, deceived you; they 
could not have been deceived themselves. They know that a 
forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the laws, 
and they know that such opposition must be repelled. Their 
object is disunion. But be not deceived by names. Disunion 
by armed force is treason. Are you ready to incur its guilt?" ' 

The nullification proclamation is written with a charm of 
logic and nicety of expression worthy of John Marshall. There 
is a persistent and widely accepted tradition that it was the work 
of Edward Livingston, who as secretary of state signed it with 
Jackson. Both its literary quality and its subtlety of reasoning 
show that at least the part relating to constitutional matters was 
not the work of the President. The closing part — the appeal 
to the South Carolinians — has much of his fire and suggests 
that he wrote it originally, but that its style was remodeled by 
him who wrote the former part. As a whole, the proclamation is 
one of the best papers of an American Presid»ent and compares 
favorably with the inaugural addresses of Lincoln. 

A letter to General Coffee, written December 14th, gives Jack- 
son's, views without Livingston's charm of statement. In it is 
the following: 

Can any one of common sense believe the absurdity that a 
faction of any state, or a state, has a right to secede and destroy 
this union and the liberty of our country with it, or nullify the 
laws of the Union*; then indeed is our constitution a rope of sand ; 
under such I would not live. . . . This more perfect union 
made by the whole people of the United States, granted the 
general government certain powers, and retained others; but 

iRjchardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 640. 


nowhere can it be found where the right to nullify a law, or to 
secede from this union has been retained by the state. No* 
amendment can be made to the instrument, constitutionally, but 
in the mode pointed out in the constitution itself, every mode 
else is revolution or rebellion. The people are the sovereigns, 
they can alter and amend, and the people alone in the mode 
pointed out by themselves can dissolve this union peaceably. 
The right of resisting oppression is a natural right, and when 
oppression comes, the right of resistance and revolution are 
justifiable, but the moral obligations is binding upon all to ful- 
fil the obligations as long as the compact is executed agreeable 
to the terms of the agreement. Therefore, when a faction in a 
state attempts to nullify a constitutional law of congress, or to 
destroy the union, the balance of the people composing this 
union have a. perfect right to coerce them to obedience. This 
is my creed, which you will read in the proclamation which I 
sent you the other day. No man will go farther than I will to 
preserve every right reserved to the people, or the states; nor 
no man will go farther to sustain the acts of congress passed 
according to the express grants to congress. The union must be 
preserved, and it will now be tested, by the support I get by the 
people. I will die for the union.'" 

>j I 

In this letter we find no mental subtlety and but the simplest 
ideas of constitutional law; but in strength of will and devotion 
to the union it is splendid. 

The response of the states,' about which he was anxious, 
was soon seen to be all that could be desired. One after another 
they sent assurances of support, and later came resolutions from 
states north and south condemning nulHfication as a doctrine 
and as an expedient. There could be no doubt that if the matter 
came to the worst, ample forces would be ready to suppress the 
nullifiers. In forty days, Jackson said, he could throw fifty 

^American Historical ilagaaine (Nashville), IV., J36. 

*For responses of the states and other documeots od this subject, see Ames, State Documents on Federal 
Relations, 164-ige. 


thousand men into South Carolina and forty days thereafter as 
many more.' 

The attention of both the administration and South Carolina 
was especially directed toward Georgia and Virginia. Between 
the position of the former in regard to the Indians' and that of the 
nuUifiers there was much in common. Jackson feared that she 
would go over to the new heresy and foresaw that if he had a 
clash with her on that account, she would be ranged on the side 
of South Carolina in the larger quarrel. He urged the Georgia 
congressman and ex- Governor Troup to do all they could to avoid 
a clash and to Governor Lumpkins wrote, "My great desire is 
that you should do no act that would give to the Federal Court 
a legal jurisdiction, over a case that might arise with the Cherokee 
Indians;" and he begged Lumpkins to believe in "my continued 
confidence and respect, in which, you may always confide, until 
you hear otherwise from my own lips, all rumors to the contrary 
notwithstanding."' Under the circumstances, Georgia owed it 
to Jackson to remain quiet, and her attitude in the crisis of the 
winter was all that could be expected. Her legislature was con- 
tent to pass resolutions calling for a convention of the states to 
amend the constitution in regard to the point in question. 

Virginia was important on account of her influence. To the 
earnest entreaties of South Carolina her reply was resolutions 
in which she professed entire loyalty to the resolves of 1798 and 
1799, and the dispatch of an agent, B. W. Leigh, to urge the 
nullifiers to suspend their ordinance until congress adjourned. 
He arrived after February ist, but what he asked had been done 
before that time. A group of prominent nullifiers, acting in- 
formally, in Charleston, on January 21st, approved certain re- 
solutions advising the ofiicers of government that it would not be 
well to enforce the ordinance at present and pledging themselves 

'Jackson to Poinsett, December 9, 1832, Poinsett Mss. 
'Jackson to Lumpkins, June »», 183a, Jackson Mss. 
*Se« below, page* 684-693 


to fulfil the program of nullification if at the end of a reasonable 
time the demands of the state were not granted. The resolu- 
tions were extra legal, sensible, and effective. February ist came 
and went without conflict, and the federal officers continued to 
collect duties in the Charleston custom-house without opposition. 
Meantime, the state was greatly excited. The unionists were 
actively preparing for an encounter, though careful to do all in 
their power to prevent one through some rash deed. The nulli- 
fiers were equally self -restrained in regard to actual fighting. But 
each side prepared arms and ammunition, drilled its supporters, 
and kept watch on its antagonist. Jackson was kept informed 
of all that was done and was keen for a struggle. His fighting 
blood was up, and he threw aside all that caution which he dis- 
played earlier in the movement. "The moment they are in 
hostile array in opposition to the execution of the laws, " he wrote, 
"let it be certified to me, by the atty. for the District or the 
Judge, and I will forthwith order the leaders prosecuted and 
arrested. If the Marshall is resisted by twelve thousand bay- 
onets, I will have a possee of twenty-four thousand.'" While 
the "force bill" was before congress, he wrote: "Should congress 
fail to act on the bill and I should be informed of the illegal as- 
semblage of an armed force with the intention to oppose the 
execution of the revenue laws under the late ordinance of So, 
Carolina, I stand prepared forthwith to issue my proclamation 
warning them to disperse. Should they fail to comply with 
the proclamation, I will forthwith call into the field such a force 
as will overawe resistance, put treason and rebellion down with- 
out blood, and arrest and hand over to the judiciary for trial and 
punishment the leaders, exciters and promoters of this rebellion 
and treason." He had a tender of volunteers from every state 
in the union and could bring two hundred thousand into the 
field within forty days. Should the governor of Virginia, he 

; >Jack»on to Poinsett, January 16, 1833, Poinsett Msa. 


said, have the foliy to forbid the passage of troops through liis 
state to the scene of treason "I would arrest him at the head of 
his troops and hand him over to the civil authority for trial. 
The voluntiers of his own state would enable me to do this." ' 

When Jackson sent his proclamation to Poinsett in December, 
he said he was only waiting for certified copies of the acts of the 
South Carolina legislature putting nullification into force in order 
to ask congress for power to enforce the proclamation and punish 
the leaders of the rebellion.' This information did not come, and 
unwilling to wait longer than January i6th, he sent to congress 
on that day, a special message asking for authority to alter or 
abolish certain ports of entry, to use force to execute the revenue 
law, and to try in the federal courts cases which might arise in 
the present contingency. Five days later, a bill in accord with 
these requests was introduced in the senate by Wilkins, of Penn- 
sylvania. It was popularly called the "force bill," but the nul- 
lifiers expressed their horror by styling it the "bloody bill." 
There was much opposition to it; for many who were not 
nullifiers, were unwilling to coerce a state. 

The situation brought genuine alarm to the managers of the 
Jacksonian democracy. It was not possible to tell how much the 
Calhoun defection would weaken the party. The last stages of 
the fight against the bank were approaching when the admin- 
istration would need all its resources. Moreover, the tariff wave 
was receding. It had been partly due to the enthusiasm of the 
rural North and West for "the American system" through which, 
it was believed, cities, better transportation, and rich and pros- 
perous farming communities would soon spring up. Tliis was 
an unwarranted expectation, and the moment of elation was 
passing. Many politicians of the old republican school yielded 
to the tariff unwillingly and at the first intimation of recession 

'Jackson to Poinsett, January 24, 1833, Poinsett Mss. 
^Ibid to Ibid, December 9, 1832, Poinsett Mss. 


supported the reaction. From all these causes the time favoreJ 

Before congress met the administration was prepared to take 
a milder position on the tariff. The approaching extinction of 
the pubUc debt, which would give a surplus, made revision seem 
necessary. December 13th, in a letter in the Richmond Inquirer, 
a close friend of the government, probably Cass, secretary of war, 
suggested that Virginia propose a reduction of the tariff. This 
was better than a suggestion in the annual message, since such 
a course would tend to turn from the President the protectionist 
group. December 27th, the house committee of ways and means, 
through its chairman, Verplanck, of New York, introduced a new 
tariff bill, reducing the duties in two years to about half of the 
former rates. It was prepared by Cass, Verplanck, and other 
administration friends, but was especially supported by the New 
York school, who following suggestions from South Carolina, 
were willing to have their favorite appear as "pacificator."' Its 
appearance aroused strong hostility from the protectionists, and 
not all the New York democrats could be got to vote for it. 
It was too drastic a reduction for the circumstances, and it 
stuck in the house so long that Van Buren's opponents had the 
opportunity to pass a bill less injurious to the manufacturers; 
and in doing so, they gave the honor of the compromise to 
another than he. 

Clay came into the senate in December, 1831: early in Jan- 
uary 1833, Calhoun, resigning the vice-presidency, took the seat 
in that body made vacant by the election of Hayne to the govern- 
orship of his native state. Each new senator smarted from defeat 
at Jackson's hands, each felt that Jackson was leading the country 
to misfortune, and each was bent on impeding the course of the 
destroyer. Early in the year it was noised abroad that they 
were in alliance against the administration. In regard to the 

'Cambreleng to Van Buren, December 29, 1832, and February 5, 1833, Van Buren Mss. 


''force bill" the Kentuckian was chiefly silent. He would not 
fight the battles of the state rights advocates, not even to em- 
barrass Jackson, nor would he help suppress nullification. In the 
final vote on the bill, he did not respond on either side. His 
energy was saved for the tariff. 

But Calhoun was deeply engaged as soon as the "force bill" 
appeared in the senate. He offered resolutions in support of his 
theory of government, and when the senate brushed them aside, 
he plunged into the acrid debate with all his energy. In the 
beginning it was evident that the extreme state right demo- 
crats found the bill very disagreeable. Jackson was forced to 
see a division in his own ranks. " There are more nuUifiers here, " 
he said, ''than dare openly avow it," but he did not doubt they 
would be good Jackson men at home.' 

If his enemies had combined with the disaffected in his own 
party the bill might have been defeated. But they could no 
more combine in this way than the radical state rights men could 
support a bill to give the President the authority to suppress a 
state. Webster has been praised for coming to the defense of 
the bill. It would have been entirely captious for him to oppose 
it. He could hardly break down Hayne's nullification arguments 
in 1830 and refuse in 1833 to create the means necessary to put 
his own views into execution. But his aid was splendidly ren- 
dered and most effective. He brought the anti-Jacksonians 
with him, and these, with the loyal Jackson followers, made the 
bill safe in the senate. 

Before it could pass Calhoun withdrew his opposition in 
consequence of Clay's concession on the tariff. February 12 th the 
father of the "American system," while Verplanck's bill was 
still in the house, arose in the senate and offered a compromise 
tariff of his own. It proposed that for all articles which paid 
more than 20 per cent, duty the surplus above that rate 

'Jackson to Cryer, February 20, 1833, American Uislorical Magazine (Nashville), IV., 237. 


should be gradually reduced until in 1842 it shodd entirely dis- 
appear. Verplanck would have reduced duties within two years 
by half: Clay would do it in ten years to a 20 per cent, basis. 
The latter plan was less violent than the former and was pre- 
ferred by the manufacturers, if either must be taken. This was 
all that South Carolina contended for. Nullification was the 
club with wliich she sought to ward o2 a danger, and that danger 
gone she wilHngly threw the club away: she protested from the 
first that she disliked to use it. When the vote on the "force 
bill " was taken Calhoun and his followers left the chamber. Ob- 
stinate John Tyler would not run away, and he loved state rights 
too much to support the bill. He, therefore, remained in his 
seat and cast the only negative against thirty-two affirmative 
votes. In the house the bill passed in much the same manner, 
John Quincy Adams leading the anti- Jackson party in favor of 
the measure. 

Clay's part of the compromise was adroitly played. His bill 
was opposed in the senate because it was unconstitutional for a 
revenue bill to originate in that chamber. He then arranged 
through much quiet work to have it substituted for the Ver- 
planck bill in the other house, which through the opposition of the 
tariff party was not likely to pass at that session. February 25th, 
in the afternoon as the house was about to adjourn for dinner, 
Letcher, of Kentucky, Clay's fast friend, arose and moved the 
substitution of bills. After a short debate the change was made 
and the bill ordered engrossed for the third reading by a vote of 
one hundred and five to seventy-one. The tariff men were 
surprised, but the administration party were previously informed 
of the plan. They rallied to the proposition as part of the com- 
promise by which the South Carolina crisis was to be removed 
from the stage of action. The thing was done so quickly', 
said Benton, that the hot dinners of the representatives- were 
eaten before the food became cold.' 

>B«iton, Vio'D, I.. 3»?-3t». 


Van Buren's friends were shocked. All the honor of pacifica- 
tion to which they looked through the Verplanck bill were 
suddenly snatched away by Clay. They thought a trick was 
played on them and Cambreleng complained that everybody 
seemed to be against New York.' He was nearly right: except 
for Jackson himself, very few of the leaders in Washington seemed 
to care to help the New Yorker to the goal of his ambition. 

Although the South Carolinians resisted the passage of the 
"force bill" to their uttermost, they accepted the compromise. 
Their convention reassembled March nth to consider the situa- 
tion. It repealed the ordinance nullifying the tariff laws of 
the union and passed another nullifying the "force bill." The 
latter step was ridiculous, but it saved the face of the nullify- 
ing party and enabled it to claim complete victory. No one, 
within the state or out of it, was disposed to deny them this 
comfort. Most people were glad to be rid of an unpromising 
situation — the politicians because they had other affairs to 
arrange, and the people because they loved peace and feared 

Jackson alone of his party seems to have looked beyond the 
political significance of the situation. In spite of his latent 
feeling of protest, he temporized along with the others until the 
nulHfication ordinance was passed. This action he took as a 
challenge, and leading his unwilling followers he committed his 
party to the cause of union. His letters to Poinsett and the 
replies to them show well the conditions in South Carolina. 
But the Van Buren correspondence at this period — the letters 
of party lieutenants to Van Buren and those which passed 
between him and Jackson — show the political side. 

The nullification proclamation, as it was the first note of 
Jackson's more energetic programme, was the first sign for dissat- 
isfaction among his followers. They disliked its national tone 

iCambreleng to Van Buren, Febnxary s, 1833. Van Buren Mss. 


which Cambreleng pronounced "the metaphysics of the Mont- 
esquieu of the Cabinet." To the mass of people, he said, this 
would make no difference; they would see only an endangered 
union, whereas "the speculations are left for refinements of 
those who are only capable of transferring the special pleading 
of chancery into the councils of statesmen." ' 

The listlessness of the party in the face of disunion is another 
illustration of the divergence between its attitude and that of 
the President. The day before the date of the proclamation 
Michael Hoffman, a New York congressman, described the 
situation to Van Buren. He thought the ways and means 
committee would be satisfactory on every bank question, and 
that on the tariff it would not adopt South CaroHna's equalizing 
ultimatum; but "meanwhile South Carolina will rush on m 
furorem. The President will march against her, civil war will 
rage, and the poor fools who can see no danger now, will be 
frightened out, not of their wits, for they have none, but out of 
their folly. How they will behave then I cannot anticipate, for 
when their folly is gone, there will be nothing left of them." 
He added that General Scott thought the situation very delicate.' 

A week later so valiant a person as Benton wrote that every- 
body was concerned to prevent the beginning of bloodshed in 
South Carolina, that there was talk of an extra session of congress 
in the spring, and that all agreed peace would come if Jackson's 
suggestion in his message of a more moderate tariff were adopted, 
but the existing congress would not support this.' This idea 
found support in Cambreleng's terse forecast: "We shall do 
nothing," he wrote "but project tariffs this winter — while the 
Legislature will talk of a convention of states. We shall have 
some riots in Charleston, some bloodshed perhaps; some stormy 
debating in congress in February and the new congress will 

'Cambreleng to Van Buren, December lo, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 
^Hoffman to Van Buren, December 9, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 
■Benton to Van Buren, December 16, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 


have to act and supersede the necessity of a convention."* 
In no letter in either the Jackson or Van Buren correspondence 
is there evidence that any other leader in his party felt the 
same impulse that Jackson felt to crush resistance and enforce 
the authority of the union. 

These alarms were poured into the ear of Van Buren, who as 
vice-president-elect remained decently at Albany until March 4th. 
With characteristic, and probably necessary, caution he ap- 
proached Jackson on the subject. Our people are restive, he 
said, because the opposition try to interpret some parts of the 
proclamation as a condemnation of the state rights doctrine 
of the West and South. They find difficulty in holding meetings, 
and there is a disposition to say harsh things, which is unfor- 
tunate. Great discretion is necessary in New York on account 
of the diversity of tariff opinion and of feelings engendered in 
the late election. This he said in substance, closing with the 
assurance that he would do what he could to keep things on the 
right course." 

Jackson's reply took little notice of Van Buren's warning but 
dwelt on the imminence of armed force. The moment the 
nullifiers raised an army, he said, he would issue a proclamation 
telling them to disperse and give the marshal troops enough to 
suppress them. He would arrest the leaders and turn them over 
to the United States courts for trial. He referred to Virginia's 
late reassertion of the doctrine of 1798, saying: 

The absurdity of the Virginia doctrine is too plain to need 
much comment. If they would say, that the state had a right 
to fight, and if she has the power, to revolution, it would be right 
but at the same time it must be acknowledged, that the other 
states have equal rights, and the right to preserve the union. 
The preservation of the union is the supreme law. To shew the 

•Cambreleng to Van Buren, December g, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 
•Van Buren to Jackson. December js, 1832. Van Buren Mss. 


absurdity — Congress have the right to admit new states. When 
territories the!}/] are subject to the laws of the union; The day 
after admission they have the right to secede and dissolve it. 
We gave five millions for Louisiana. We admitted her into the 
union. She too has the right to secede, close the commerce 
of six states, and levy contributions both upon exports and 
imports. A state cannot come into the union without the consent 
of congress, but it can go out when it pleases. Such a union 
as this would be like a bag of sand with both ends open — the 
least pressure and it runs out at bcth ends. It is an insult 
to the understanding of the sages who formed it, to beheve that 
such a union was ever intended. It could not last a month. 
It is a confederated perpetual union, first made by the 
] eople in their sovereign state capacities, upon which we the 
1 eople of these United States nade a more perfect union, 
which can only be dissolved by the people who formed it, 
and in the way pointed out in the instrument, or by rev- 

Van Buren's anxiety was not allayed by this vigorous utterance 
and he wrote again. He agreed that there should be no falter- 
ing now, but warned his friend that merely passing an act to 
raise a military force was not treason and that constructive 
treason was unpopular in the United States. He advised 
Jackson to ask only for force to execute the laws. He knew 
the latter would say that this was the writer's old trick of saying, 
"'caution, caution'; but my dear sir, I have always thought 
that considering our respective temperaments, there is no way 
perhaps in which I could better render you that service which 
I owe you as well from a sense of deep gratitude as pubHc duty." 
He added that Virginia was much concerned over the proclama- 
tion that he did not think South Carolina would secede but if 
such a thing happened Virginia would desire the remaining 
states to decide whether they would form a new union without 

'Jackson to Van Buren, December as. «83», Van Buren Mss, 


the seceder or wage war to retain her in the union. The best 
solution he saw was the modification of the tariff/ 

Other letters followed from the same writer, but a fortnight 
passed before they were answered by the busy Jackson. This 
reply showed unexpected self-control. It was necessary, he 
said, to protect good citizens and federal officers in South Caro- 
lina who might fall under the state's laws of vengeance; and as 
to the tariff, it was necessary to think of both ends of the union; 
for New England, protected by the tariff, might be as willing to 
secede if protection was abandoned as the South if it was not 
abandoned. Nullification and secession must be put down once 
for all: he must give congress full notice of the danger so that 
it could act before February ist, or he would be chargeable with 
neglect of duty. "I will meet all things with dehberate firmness 
and forbearance, but wo to those nullifiers who shed the first 
blood. The moment I am prepared with proof I will direct 
prosecution for treason to be instituted against the leaders, 
and if they are surrounded with 12,000 bayonets our marshal 
shall be aided by 24,000 and arrest them in the midst thereof. 
Nothing must be permitted to weaken our government at home 
or abroad. Virginia, except a few nulUfiers and politicians, is 
true to the core. I could march from that State 40,000 men in 
forty days. Nay the}'- are ready in North Carolina, in Tennessee, 
in all western States, and from good old democratic Pennsylvania 
I have a tender of upwards of 50,000; and from the borders of 
South Carolina in North Carolina I have a tender of one entire 
Regiment. The union shall be preserved."' 

On the day Jackson wrote this determined letter, Silas Wright 
wrote in another strain to Van Buren. Everything, he said, 
was at stake, even the union as well as "our most favorite politi- 
cal hopes and prospects." For the time he seems to have forgot- 

'Vaa Buren to Jackson, December 27, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 

»Jackson to Van Buren, January 13, 1833, and Cambreleng to Van Buren, December a6, 1832, Van Buren 


ten that all his hope consisted in sticking close to that leader 
who alone could carry into safety the head of the New York 
group. In consternation he demanded that Van Buren tell 
him how to vote on the Verplanck bill, he admitted that he had 
never voted from conviction on the tariff question, but from expe- 
diency, and declared himself willing to do it again. As to others, 
"the President is very well and cool, calm, and collected, but 
very firm and decided as to the use of force. As to the sustention 
of his position that a state cannot secede he is very sensitive, 
and even abuses mildly Mr. Ritchie." The secretary of war was 
"highly excited" and 3,IcLane in the treasury department, 
"is much more so.'" 

Jackson's keen observation of the situation did not relax 
and for the next month the politicians tried to find a way out of 
the labyrinth. The postponement of the execution of the 
nullification ordinance seemed only to delay the day when he 
must strike rebellion. By this time he had lost most of his 
interest in the attempt to settle the tariff question; and when 
Clay's compromise was introduced he was quick to resent the 
prospect that it should take precedence of the "force bill." 
"I am just informed," he wrote hastily to Grundy on the night 
of April 13th, " that there will be another move to lay the judiciary 
[' force '] bill on the table until Mr. Clay's tariff bill is discussed. 
Surely you and all my friends will push that bill tlirough the 
senate. This is due the country, it is due to me, and to the 
safety of this union and surely you and others of the committee 
who reported it will never let it slumber one day until it passes 
the senate. Lay all delicacy on this subject aside and compel 
every man's name to appear upon the journals that the nulli- 
fiers may all be distinguished from those who are in support of 
the laws, and the union."' His efforts were not successful. His 

»Wright to Van Buren, January 13, 1833, Van Buren Mss. 

^Jackwn to Grundy, February 13, 1833, Atncrican Eistorical Magatine, (Nashville), V., 137. 


bill — in the letter to Grundy he calls it "my bill" — passed the 
senate before Clay's compromise tariff bill, but they both 
reached Jackson for signature on the same day. It must have 
made him feel that it was worth little to provide a means of 
checking the pretensions of a wilful state while giving it at the 
same time the object for which its wilfulness was exerted. Null- 
ification was South Carolina's weapon. Using it successfully 
in 1833 showed how it could be used and established her prestige 
in the practice. Had the desires of Jackson been supported 
by a less timid group of politicians state rights might now have 
been broken and a sterner struggle in the succeeding generation 
might have been avoided. 

It is difficult to give Clay and Calhoun their just places in 
this affair, so well are mingled selfish and apparently sincere 
motives; it is easier to praise Webster, although when he fought 
for the union he but stood where he stood before; but as regards 
the President there can be no such hesitation. He forsook his old 
position, cast aside the formulas of his party, and declared for 
the union when it was in danger. His poHtical philosophy was 
a simple one, when put to the test. It embraced obedience 
to his authority, hatred of monopoly, and courage to carry out 
his purposes. The first and the third united to shape his course 
on nullification: the second and third united to direct it in the 
next great crisis of his career, the struggle against the Second 
United States Bank. 




So FAR this account of Jackson's administration has been chiefly 
concerned with the evolution of the Jacksonian party. In 
1824, one man's popularity boldly utilized, drew together a vast 
number of voters. To them were joined the groups by Crawford, 
Calhoun, and Clinton, each fully suppHed with poHticians of 
all grades. When the party came into power it was a group 
of factions which slowly became an organic unit. The alignment 
of interests into the Calhoun and Van Buren groups, the ex- 
clusion of the opponents of Van Buren from the cabinet, the 
identification of the New Yorker with the original Tennessee 
following, the formation of a cabinet devoted to this faction, 
the clever ehmination of Calhoun until he was forced into party 
rebelhon, and finally the escape from a struggle with the South 
at the instance of South Carolina whereby the party might be 
rent in twain; these were the chief steps in the process of unifi- 
cation, and each has been explained at length. 

At th^head of this array stood Jackson, probably stronger 
through his forceful personality than any other American since 
Washington. He was no economist, no financier, no intelHgent 
seeker after wise and just ideals, and his temper and judgment 
were bad; but his will was the coherent force of a party organiza- 
tion more complicated, and yet better adjusted, than existed 
before that time in our government. Courage, knowledge of 
the people, simplicity of manner, the common man's ideal of 
honesty and patriotism, and a willingness to discipline his sub- 



ordinates when necessary were the qualities which kept the 
party oganization effective. "Jackson's popularity will stand 
anything," said his friends in expressing their confidence in his 
leadership. His opponents said he was drunk with power. 
Popular hero or tyrant he was now, in the years 1832 and 1833, 
come to the supreme test of his strength, the open fight against 
the bank. 

The Second Bank of the United States was chartered in 1816, 
to continue for twenty years with one year more to close its 
affairs. The capital was thirty-five millions, one fifth subscribed 
by the government. This subscription was paid in a note 
at 5 per cent, interest, and it was believed that the dividends 
and the rise in the value of the stock would bring the public 
treasury a good profit on the transaction. A board of twenty-five 
directors, one fifth appointed by the President of the United 
States, selected the bank's administrative ofiicers, created 
branches with local boards of directors, invested the bank's 
funds, and provided for its other business. Foreign stock- 
holders were not to vote for directors and frequent reports 
must be made by the bank to the secretary of the treasury. 

The most important other features of the charter were as fol- 
lows :(i) The banlc might issue notes without restriction, but they 
must all be signed by the president of the institution and must be 
redeemed in specie under penalty of paying 12 per cent, inter- 
est per annum on notes for which specie was refused. (2) Its 
notes w^ere receivable for government dues, a privilege ex- 
tended to notes of state banks only when they were redeemed 
in specie. (3) It kept the public deposits without interest, a 
valuable privilege in the prosperous years during which the 
charter ran. {4) It was to pay a bonus of one and a half mil- 
Hons and to transfer pubHc funds without cost to the government. 
(5) The secretary of the treasury might remove the deposits from 
the bank, but he should "immediately lay before congress, if 


in session, and if not, immediately after the commencement 
of the next session, the reasons for such order or direction." 
But was congress then to pass on the reasons submitted ? And 
would the deposits be restored if it did not approve? On this 
point the charter was not so clear that it escaped much later 

The size and privileges of the bank gave it power over other 
banks, and such was the intention of congress. It received large 
quantities of state bank-notes and by presenting them for re- 
demption forced the banks of issue to maintain adequate specie 
reserves and to refrain from overissue. No single state bank 
or possible combination of them was able to exercise the same 
influence over the great bank, which was thus able to appro- 
priate to itself much of the volume of new bank-notes which 
the business of the country demanded. This, probably, was its 
most pronounced monopolistic feature. 

The bank inevitably had the opposition of the state banks, 
and since the latter were connected with local poHtics it became 
an issue in state pohtics. Bad management and the panic 
of 1819 made it necessary to take over large quantities of real 
estate, especially in the West, and when this was later sold at 
an advance the former owners gnashed their teeth. "I know 
towns, yea cities, . . . where the bank," said Benton in 
183 1, "already appears as an engrossing proprietor." Out 
of this hostility of the people and the politicians grew state 
legislation intended to check or destroy the federal incorporated 
institution. The bank was saved by the interference of the 
supreme court. In two cases, McCulloch vs. Maryland (1819) and 
Osborn vs. the Bank (1824), it was held that a state had no power 
over a bank incorporated by congress. Thus baffled, popular 
hostflity receded but did not die. It survived in local differences, 
and when Jackson raised his voice against the bank it came to 

^F*r the charter, see United Slates Statutes at Large, III., 366. 


his aid. Some of his strongest supporters, as Amos Kendall 
and Frank P. Blair, of Kentucky, were warm in the early fight 
to restrain that institution. 

Nicholas Biddle was president of the bank when it completed 
this victory. He graduated at Princeton, became a lawyer, 
dabbled in literature, and at length was secretary of legation in 
London and Paris. In 18 19, through political influence, he was 
appointed government director of the bank. He knew something 
of political economy and now gave himself to the study of bank- 
ing, of which his active mind soon achieved the mastery. He 
was a man of personal power, came to dominate the board of 
directors, and in 1823 was elected president to succeed Langdon 
Cheves. He quickly became the controling force in the insti- 

When Cheves became president in 18 19 bankruptcy was 
imminent. He adopted a severe pohcy, curtailed loans, collected 
debts without regard to persons, and brought affairs again to 
a safe condition. But he made himself unpopular and his resig- 
nation gave pleasure to the bank's patrons. Biddle profited 
by the reaction. He increased loans moderately, enlarged the 
note issues, and made some slight concessions to the state banks. 
Business generally was good, and results justified his liberality. 
He reorganized the branches, got better directors as opportu- 
nity offered, and adopted better banking methods. Dividends 
increased and the bank's stock became more valuable. 

Besides having many sober qualities Biddle was bold and 
imaginative. In the beginning he restrained these impulses, 
but as success came he gave them freer play. Holding down the 
issues of state banks as much as his favored position permitted, 
he enlarged his own circulation from four and a half millions in 
1823 to twenty-one millions in 1832. This caused dissatisfaction 
on the part of the competing banks, but it was not like him to 
turn aside on account of his opponents. He had much latent 


pride, he loved his own power, and soon became the chief force 
in the administration of the bank. He was allowed to control 
the selection of the private directors, the appointment of the 
committees, and thus he became, as was inevitable with a strong 
man, the centre of the bank's policy as truly as Jackson was the 
dominant force in the national goverimient. When his will was 
limited by his opponents his resourcefulness was apt to find 
some way to circumvent them, as was shown m the case of the 
branch drafts. 

These drafts cam.e into existence in the following manner: 
In developing his policy of restraining overissue of state banks 
he wished to put cut large amounts of his own notes. But the 
charter provided that he and his cashier must sign all such notes, 
and it was a severe tax on his physical strength to sign as many 
as were needed. Four times before his term of office the bank 
asked that this feature of the charter be amended, but congress 
always refused, probably because they desired to use this pecu- 
liarity of the law to restrain the issue of the bank. Biddle con- 
strued it as an act of pique. A cautious man would have yielded, 
but not he. He invented the branch draft, in size, design, and 
coloring so much like a bank-note that the average man took it 
for one. It was drawn by the branch on the mother bank in 
Philadelphia and made payable to some subordinate of the 
branch, or order. The subordinate endorsed it, and it became 
transferable. These drafts were received without question by 
the bank and the public and until 1835 by the government itself. 
They were not illegal and they were all redeemed by the bank; 
but they were a subterfuge and the anti-bank group declared 
that they were a practical violation of the charter. 
Biddle could not have kept the bank out of pohtics, and he 
* probably did not expect to do it. The fact that its charter 
must be renewed made the question a political one. The general 
revival of state rights theories had its bearing, and the personnel 


of the bank's management had an influence on the question; 
for men of dignity and wealth, as were the directors and officers, 
naturally opposed Jackson's election. On the other hand, 
wherever the anti-bank party existed it as naturally turned to 
Jackson. In Kentucky and New Hampshire this was particu- 
larly true. Biddle understood the situation, but observing that 
the opposition came from the less intelligent portion of the 
Jackson supporters, he hoped he could by reasonable methods 
carry his cause through congress. He could count on all the 
Adams men and on the followers of Calhoun. His chief trouble 
would come from old-school followers of Crawford and from the 
Jacksonian democrats, not a very formidable combination. 
Biddle looked upon it as a group inspired by ignorance and 
prejudice, and he felt that it would yield before the intelligence 
which he could bring to bear on the matter. His expectations 
would in all probability have been accomplished but for the 
opposition of Andrew Jackson. 

We know little of Jackson's early attitude on the subject, but 
all we know marks him for an opponent in one way or another. 
In 181 7 "the aristocracy at Nashville," as he later called it, 
tried to secure the estabhshment of a branch in the tovm. They 
encountered a state law forbidding a bank without a state charter, 
but got it repealed in spite of the opposition of Jackson and many 
others.' Later in the same year he refused on constitutional 
grounds to sign a memorial for such a branch; but he was willing 
to recommend certain men for officers in the branch, not as an 
endorsement of the institution but as a testimonial of the char- 
acter of the persons.' 

In New Orleans in 18 21 when about to assume the office of 
governor of Florida he asked the branch in that city to cash a 
draft on the state department for ten or fifteen thousand dollars 

'The date of this recommendation was formerly given as 1827, but Catterall correctly places it as 1817; 
See Second Bank of the United States, 183. 
•Jackson to Benton, November 29, 1837, Jackson Mss. 


and was refused because at that time the parent bank had ordered 
that drafts should not be cashed. The incident annoyed him. 
He could have got the money by selling a draft to brokers in 
the city, but he said he would never discount his government's 
bills, "and more particularly to the branch bank of the United 
States, in which is deposited all the revenue of the government 
received in this place." ' 

In 182 1, while governor of Florida, he forwarded a petition 
for a branch at Pensacola. Opponents later took this to indicate 
that he then favored the bank; but he repUed with evident 
truthfulness that in sending the petition he merely acted for 
others and was not committed to support the request. There 
is no evidence to show that his bank views changed after his 
election. On the contrary such facts as we have go to support 
his plain assertion made in 1837 : "My position now is, and has 
ever been since I have been able to form an opinion on this sub- 
ject, that Congress has no power to charter a Bank, and that the 
states are prohibited from issuing bills of credit, or granting a 
charter by which such bills can be issued by any corporation or 

During the six years throughout which Jackson was before the 
country as presidential candidate nothing happened to show 
his views on this question. But the increasing certainty that 
he would be President made him an object of interest to the bank. 
In 1827 a branch was created at Nashville and thither came 
Gen. Thomas Cadwalader, of Philadelphia, agent of the bank, 
to supervise its establishment. He became acquainted with 
Jackson, and the two corresponded after the agent's return to 
Philadelphia. Cadwalader's letters are filled with insinuating 
f riendUness. In one he regrets that he cannot settle in Nashville, 
and he extends a warm invitation for Jackson and Mrs. Jackson 

ijackson to Adams, April 24, 1821; American State Papers, Foreign, IV., 756. 
^Jackson to Benton, November 2g, T837, Jackson Mss. 


to visit Philadelphia. " Mrs. Cadwalader," he concludes, " desires 
me to say that no endeavor will be spared to supply to Mrs. J. 
the places of those warm friends whom she will leave behind her."* 

Election day had not quite arrived when he wrote in a pean of 
glorification that the Philadelphia contest went "right" and that 
Sergeant was defeated. Coming to the bank he said: "Having 
had a particular agency in selecting the first list of Directors 
of the office of the Bank in your Quarter, I feel very anxious to 
know how far public opinion approves of the administration." 
Complaint had come to him that the men were unpopular, that 
the president was selfish and had no influence out of his ofiice, 
that relatives of the president were given unwarranted favors 
in borrowing, that G. W. Campbell was the only proper man 
on the board, and that under pretext of getting business men in 
oflSce "our friend Major Lewis is removed in order to make way 
for a man recently accused and convicted (in public opinion) 
of fraud for a series of years by the use of false weights at his 
cotton gin." He closed by saying he should be grateful if Jack- 
son would convey any useful information on this subject to him, 
either personally or as a director in the parent bank.' 

Nothing could be plainer than this offer to hand the Nash- 
ville branch over to the Jackson party; the reply was creditable 
to the writer of it "Never having been," said Jackson with 
dignity, "in any manner, connected with Banks, and having very 
little to do with the one here, I feel myself unable to give you any 
satisfaction about it." The directors, he added, were reputed 
honest men, most of them were Europeans who had recently 
settled in the neighborhood, and some were young men who were 
under obligations to the president of the branch. He had heard 
complaints but could not say whether they were true or not, but 
"if it is any part of the policy of the mother bank to conciliate 

*Cadwalder to Jackson, June 2t, 1828, Jackson Mss. 
•Cadwalader to Jackson, October is, 1828, Jackson Mss. 


the states and make their Branches acceptable to the people, 
then I think a portion of their board at least, should have been 
composed of men better known, and possessing more extensive 
influence than most of the directory of the Bank at Nashville 
do."' Here were both dignity and poHcy. 

Polk assures us that in the winter before the first inauguration 
Jackson talked freely to his friends at the "Hermitage" about 
his opposition to the bank. The President's own recollection 
of the matter supported Polk in the assertion that a declaration 
against the bank was incorporated in the first draft of the inaug- 
ural address, probably an early, rough draft, from which the 
intended matter was dropped at the suggestion of friends.' 

Soon after the inauguration Jackson returned to the subject, 
writing to Grundy in regard to a national bank scheme. The 
latter had long been interested in banks, being the author of the 
Tennessee law of 1820 creating a loan office.' What he said to 
Grundy is not preserved, but the latter said in his reply: "On 
the subject of the National Bank you have in view — I admire 
the project and believe that the president of the U. States, 
who shall accomphsh it, will have achieved more for his country, 
than has ever been eft'ected by any act of legislation, since the 
foundation of the government. I will furnish as early as I can 
my views at large on that subject, agreeably to your request." 

Five months later Grundy sent an outline plan of a bank 
v/ith a capital stock of forty millions based on the national 
revenues, half of the capital to be owned by the states in pro- 
portion to population, the rest to be owned by the federal gov- 
ernment, and the central directors to be elected by congress. 
The plan had little influence, perhaps not as much as a suggestion 
of John Randolph's which probably reached Jackson about the 

•Jackson to Cadwalader, November i6, 1828, Jackson Mss. 

sSee above, II., 410.5 See also Congressional Debates, X., Part II., 2263. 

'Sumner, Life of J ackson (edition 1899), 158, 150- 

'Grundy to Jackson, May 22, 1829, Jackson Mss. 


end of December, 1829. IniSii, said he, he prepared a plan of 
a bank to take the place of the first bank: it was to be attached 
to the customs of the government and the great custom-houses 
were to be branches to keep and pay out funds.' 

While Jackson thus thought of the bank from the standpoint 
of principles, some of his party managers considered it from a 
practical side. They charged, and they probably believed, that 
it took active part in politics m several states in the election of 
1828. The charge seems to have been true to some extent in 
Kentucky. The victors were hardly in the saddle before they 
began to talk openly about their wrongs. They may have in- 
tended to frighten the bank, with the object of lessening its parti- 
ality for the opposition and of getting members of their own party 
appointed directors. The result showed that Biddlewas not proof 
against their designs. 

The incident which best served them was the charges against 
strong-willed Jeremiah Mason, president of the Portsmouth, 
N. H., branch, and friend of Daniel Webster. Isaac Hill, 
leader of the rural wing of the Jackson party there, charged 
that Mason discriminated against administration men in making 
loans, that he was cold in his manner and generally unpopular. 
The complaint was made to Ingham, secretary of the treasury, 
in June, 1829, and he sent it to Biddle. About the same time 
Biddle received complaints directly from Senator Woodbury 
with other protests of the same nature, and he concluded the 
situation demanded serious consideration. But he made the 
initial mistake of getting angry. He wrote two letters on the 
same day, July 18, 1829, explaining in one of them the situation 
in Portsmouth. This was calmly stated and made a good show- 
ing for Mason. But in the other he undertook to defend the 
bank from the imputation of partisanship. There were not, 
he thought, another five hundred persons in the country so free 

^Randolph to J. H. Burton, December 13, 1829, Jackson Mss. 


from politics as those who directed the affairs of the bank and 
its branches. He was confident of his position, and as for the 
demands of those enemies he made by refusing credit, he felt 
that "even in the worst event, it is better to encomiter hostiHty, 
than appease it by unworthy sacrifices of duty." 

It was indiscreet to open this phase of the affair; for it gave 
Ingham an opportunity to shift the correspondence from the 
facts and to rest it where he could appeal to party feeling. In 
his reply he nearly ignored the first of the two letters but turned 
to the other eagerly. He said: 

While I would scrupulously forbear to assume any fact de- 
rogatory to the character of your board or those of the branches, 
it is not deemed incompatible with the most rigid justice, to 
suppose that any body of five hundred men, not selected by an 
Omniscient eye, cannot be fairly entitled to the unqualified 
testimony which you have been pleased to offer in their behalf. 
It is morally impossible that the character of all the acts of the 
directors of the branches, much less their motives, could be 
known to the parent board; hence, the declaration that "no 
loan was ever granted to, or withheld from an individual, on 
account "of political partiahty or hostility," must be received 
rather as evidence of your own feelings, than as conclusive 
proof of the fact so confidently vouched for. 

In closing Ingham reiterated his right to keep an eye on the 
bank's relation to politics, said he knew this would be attributed 
to false motives, but that he should do his duty as an ofi&cer 
of the government. 

Before Biddle replied to this the Portsmouth investigation 
was ended in Mason's favor. Reporting this, he added, as though 
he could not resist the temptation to argue: 

Your predecessors, Mr. Morris, General Hamilton, Mr. 
Wolcott, Mr. Gallatin, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Dallas, Mr. Crawford, 


and Mr. Rush, were gentlemen of acknowledged intelligence 
and fidelity to their duty. Yet, neither during the existence 
of the first Bank of the United States, even when there were no 
government directors, nor since the existence of the present bank, 
nor in the interval between them, does it seem even to have 
occurred to them that it formed any part of their duties to 
enquire into the political opinions of oflScers of the banks in 
which public funds were deposited. 

Analyzing and construing the secretary's letter he alleged that 
it contained three false assumptions: (i) that the treasury could 
influence the election of bank ofiicials, (2) that there was ''some 
unexplained but authorized action of the government on the 
bank " of which the secretary was the proper agent, and (3) that 
he could and should make suggestions in regard to the attitude 
of the bank toward pohtical matters. 

This letter was undiplomatic. Aggression was not Biddle's 
cue, but he did not know it. Like most of his class, he had 
contempt for these new politicians who rode into power under 
cover of popular enthusiasm for a war-lord. He believed they 
dared not attack so powerful an institution as the bank. He 
did not reahze until too late the immense strength of popular 
feeling as embodied in the new party. 

Ingham showed a better comprehension of the situation. He 
denied flatly the first and third of his correspondent's assertions 
but assented to the second. The relation of the bank to the 
currency, the credit, and the political life of the country gave 
him, he said, the right to enquire into the actions of the institution. 
And he added significantly, speaking of himself as the secretary 
of the treasury: 

Before he can be tempted to exercise the authority with 
which Congress have invested him, to withdraw the public 
deposites, he will do as he has done, submit directly to your 
board whatever imputation may be made, and respectfully, 


resolutely, and confidently ask, nay demand, the fullest examina- 
tion; and he trusts that he may not be misconceived when he 
adds, that nothing could, in his opinion, more imperatively 
exact this energetic movement than a well formulated convic- 
tion of the bank's being, as was said of its predecessor, an engine 
of pohtical party. 

He also said, and it was with clearer political wisdom than 

I must premise, notwithstanding the peculiar incredulity 
shown to similar [previous] assurances, that no wish is, or ever 
has been, felt by me, to convert or attach the influence of the 
bank to any political party, but, on the contrary, speaking with 
"unreserved freedom," although in the joint discharge of public 
functions, comity and co-operation cannot be too much culti- 
vated; in the arena of party conflict which you almost tempt 
me to believe unavoidable, the hostility of the bank, as a 
political engine, would be preferable to its amity. 

Biddle submitted this letter, like the others, to his board of 
directors. They evidently realized to what a state of irritation 
the affair was tending and at their behest he wrote that as the 
secretary disclaimed the views attributed to him they were 
satisfied, and he withdrew their protest against those views.* 

This ended the incident. In it the administration showed its 
teeth, probably all it intended to do in the beginning. Biddle 
showed, also, his method of opposition: it was incautious, over- 
sanguine, and liable to underestimate the strength of popular 
feeling against the bank. But reflection lessened pugnacity, 
and before the correspondence closed various administration men 
were appointed directors in the branches. For aU his strong 
words Biddle bent easily to necessity; and not persistence so 
much as bad judgment accomplished his defeat. 

•This controversy is described, and the correspondence is published, in Reports oj CommilUei, 1st session, 
•and . congress. Volume IV., 437, et ssg. 


Jackson took no part in this affair, although he must have 
watched it keenly. An extract from Biddle's letter of September 
I5th5 was sent to him and on the back we read in Jackson's hand: 
"Biddle's letter. Repeats their good feelings to the adminis- 
tration and their great aid offered to it in the payment of the 
late sum of the public debt? Why this so often mentioned? 
Answer for poHtical effect — and newspaper slang &c. ?. . . 
The act of Congress their guide — true, but if that charter is 
violated is there no power in the government to inquire and 
correct if true. . . . See answer. The reply as to the 
purity of the Branch directors well said."'' This endorsement 
in Jackson's own hand shows that in the autxmm of 1(829 he was 
keenly alive to the political activity of the bank and on the 
whole suspicious and hostile. 

Biddle knew not Jackson's feelings and was already planning 
to make the administration his friend. October 14th, while liis 
correspondence with Ingham was in progress, Biddle was 
writing to Lewis, on whom he relied for influence with the 
administration, seeking to establish an understanding with 
the President. He desired his letter shown to Jackson, 
which was done. Lewis, who was friendly to the bank, replied 
hopefully, asserting that the latter had high esteem for Biddle 
personally and saying that politics should not enter into the 
management of the institution. Biddle also sent friends to 
Washington to assure the head of the government that 
reports of poHtical discrimination in the branches were exag- 
gerated. By this means and by placing Jackson men on 
the directorates of some of the branches he felt that this 
danger was passed. He even asked Lewis to induce the 
President to speak favorably in the annual message of the 
aid the bank had given in redeeming $8,710,000 of the. debt 
In the preceding July. The assistance in that transaction was 

ijaduoit Mm. 


really considerable and Jackson readily promised to do what 
was desired, and kept his promise, as his message shows.' At 
that time he had no specific grudge against the bank, although 
he was generally opposed to it. Lewis, leaning as usual to the 
institution, made more of this concession than the facts warranted 
and deceived the over-sanguine bank president. "I think you 
will find," he wrote, "the old fellow will do justice to the Bank." 

Biddle, pleased with this success, determined to move for 
re-charter. He conceived a plan by which through the opera- 
tions of the bank he would pay the remaining national debt 
by January 8, 1833, knowing well how quickly Jackson would 
catch at the idea of making the anniversary of the battle of New 
Orleans the time for achieving an object so much in his heart. 
The idea, suggested through the faithful Lewis, pleased the Pres- 
ident, who asked for particulars. They were as follows: For 
a new charter and for the government's seven millions of stock 
in the bank and cash equal to one half the par value of the 
thirteen millions two hundred and ninety-six thousand of 3 
per cent, revolutionary debt still unpaid, Biddle would give the 
seven million dollars certificate of indebtedness, bearing interest 
at 5 per cent., which the government owed for its stock and 
assume all of the 3 per cents. The remaining debt, a little 
more than thirty-seven millions, he thought might be redeemed 
from the surplus revenue in the time specified. It is true that 
about nine millions of this was not due until the years 1833- 
1836, but there would be enough surplus revenue to meet this, 
and if the government would pay the money to the bank he would 
also assume that. He even suggested that he would agree to 
give in addition a bonus of one and a half milHons. 

By this offer the bank seemed to be willing to assume twenty 
millions of debt in exchange for six miUions six hundred and 
forty-eight thousand dollars to meet half the revolutionary 

'Richardson, Messases and Papers of the Presidents, II., 451. 


3 per cents, and for the government's bank stock, a total 
of little more than thirteen millions par value. But it was not 
really so advantageous to the national treasury. The 3 
per cents, were then worth less than par and the bank stock was 
worth one hundred and twenty-five and with a new charter would 
probably be worth one hundred and fifty. Professor Catterall 
justly observes that the property the government was asked to 
transfer was worth to the bank under the proposed conditions 
as much as seventeen millions, so that Biddle would be giving 
for the new charter, bonus included, only four and a half millions, 
and not the seven and a half mHUons which on its face the offer 
seemed to imply. This plan was communicated to Lewis, Nov- 
ember 15, 1829.' 

For all this the propostition was a good one, and Jackson was 
impressed by it; but it did not overcome his constitutional 
scruples, and he said as much. Biddle went to Washington, 
had a conversation with the President, and carried away the 
conviction that he would at last overcome aU objections and 
get what he wanted. He has left the following memorandum 
in his own hand which gives the distinct idea that Jackson 
in the interview made no definite promises but bore himself 
with dignity and seK-restraint: 

Mr. Biddle: I was very thankful to you for your plan of 
paying off the debt sent to Major Lewis. I thought it my 
duty to submit it to you. 

I would have no difficulty in recommending it to Congress, but 
I think it right to be perfectly frank with you. I do not think 
that the power of Congress extends to charter a Bank ought 
[out] of the ten miles square. 

I do not dislike your Bank any more than all banks. But 
ever since I read the history of the South Sea bubble I have been 
afraid of Banks. I have read the opinion of John Marshall 
who I believe was a great and pure mind — and could not agree 

>Catterall, Second Bank, x88-xg4> has well described this incident. 


with him — though if he had said, that as it was necessary for the 
puiposes of the national government there ought to be a national 
bank I should have been disposed to concur. But I do not think 
the congress has a right to create a corporation out of the ten miles 
square. I feel very sensibly the services rendered by the Bank 
at the last pa\TTient of the national debt and shall take an op- 
portunity of declaring it publicly in my message to congress. 
That is my own feeling to the Bank — and Mr. Ingham's also 

— He and you got into a difficulty thro' the f oolisliness — if I 
may use the term of Mr. HiU. 

Observing he was a little embarrassed I, [Biddle] said "Oh, 
that has all passed now." He said with the Parent Board and 
myself he had ever reason to be satisfied — that he had heard 
complaints and then mentioned a case at Louisville of which 
he promised to give me the particulars. 

I said "Well I am very much gratified at this frank explana- 
tion. We shall all be proud of any kind mention in the message 

— for we should feel like soldiers after an action commenced by 
their General." "Sir," said he, "it would be only an act of 
justice to mention it."' 

Biddle probably did not appreciate Jackson, whom popular 
opinion thought easily influenced. He doubtless knev/ that 
the majority of the cabinet were for the bank, he counted strongly 
on Lewis, and he said that some other advisers, meaning members 
of the "Kitchen Cabinet" had become friendly. He could not 
have included among them Amos Kendall who never favored 
the bank. Later he was surprised at the annual message and 
thought Jackson had deceived him; but without more specific 
information than he gave it is hard to believe this of a man whose 
nature was admittedly frank to the point of rashness. It is 
easier to think that the bank president counted too much on 
his own manipulations. However that may be, he was in no 
position to complain that the question of recharter was prema- 
turely opened. 

'Catterall, Second Bank, lyo, 184, 19s, tldnks this document an unsigned letter from Jackson to Biddle. 
But tbe handwriting is Biddle's and its content is only explainable as above. 


The first annual message, December 8, 1829, was expected 
v/ith keen interest. Near the close of the document was the 

The charter of the Bank of the United States expires in 1836, 
and its stockholders will most probably apply for a renewal 
of their privileges. In order to avoid the evils resulting from pre- 
cipitancy in a measure involving such important principles and 
such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that I cannot, in justice 
to the parties interested, too soon present it to the dehberate 
consideration of the legislature and the people. Both the 
constitutionahty and the expediency of the law creating this 
bank are well questioned by a large portion of our fellow-citizens, 
and it must be admitted by all that it has failed in the great end 
of establishing a uniform and sound currency. 

Under these circumstances, if such an institution is deemed 
essential to the fiscal operations of the Government, I submit 
to the wisdom of the Legislature whether a national one, founded 
upon the credit of the Government and its revenues, might not 
be devised which would avoid all constitutional difiiculties and 
at the same time secure all the advantages to the Government 
and country that were expected to result from the present bank. 

Remonstrance came at once from the friends of the bank, 
and the Adams men echoed the protest. To say that the bank 
had not given the country a uniform and sound currency was 
undoubtedly an error and indicates the superficiality of his 
ideas of finance. He probably meant that the bank failed in 
the purpose for which it was established because the country 
had a variety of depreciated state bank-notes, but a good financier 
would have known that the bank measurably restrained such 
issues and prevented far worse conditions than existed. 

The message was also criticized because it raised at this early 
date a question which must be settled after the end of the term 
for whic h he was elected. But on that point he stood on better 

'Richardson, Msssaget and Paitrs oj th* Presidents, II., 463. 


ground. There was an educational value in an early considera- 
tion of the matter; for if the bank ought not to be rechartered 
the people ought to have their attention called to it soon enough 
to form an opinion. If financial evils should come from such 
a precipitation of the question, that was an evil inherent in the 
system by which financial interests were made dependent on 
poHtical connections. 

The reference to the bank pleased all who supported the school 
of revived state rights as well as that vast democratic mass whose 
poHtical consciousness Jackson was then calling into existence, 
men who resented the privileges of a great monied corporation. 
Business interests and persons generally who did not distrust 
wealth found it ill advised, and the poHticians who followed Clay 
and Adams stimulated their opposition. But Jackson did not 
falter; he wrote on December 19th: 

I was aware the bank question would be disapproved by all 
the sordid and interested who prize self-interest more than the 
perpetuity of our liberty, and the blessings of a free republican 
government. . . . The confidence reposed by my country 
dictated to my conscience that now was the proper time, and, 
although I disHked to act contrary to the opinion of so great a 
majority of my cabinet, I could not shrink from a duty so impe- 
rious to the safety and purity of our free institutions as I con- 
sidered this to 'be. I have brought it before the people, and I 
have confidence that they will do their duty. ' 

And he took up at once the formulation of a plan for a bank 
to replace the one then in existence. He had talked over his 
idea with the facile Hamilton; and he now asked him to work 
out the details in two plans, one for a bank subordinate to the 
treasury department, which would receive deposits, transfer 
the public money, and establish a sound and uniform currency; 
"the other of a mixed character which may fulfil all the purposes 

•Hamilton, Reminiscences, 151. 


of a bank, and be free from the infringement of state rights and 
our Constitution." Two weeks earlier Hamilton was informed 
in confidence that in a certain contingency he would become 
secretary of state, and he applied himself to the task now required 
with such industry that on January 4, 1830, he sent the President 
a scheme for the creation of five "offices of deposit" to receive, 
collect and disburse the national funds.' But nothing came of 
Jackson's efforts at that time. Congress was soon considering 
his suggestions with such an unfavorable attitude as to preclude 
further development of his ideas. 

But they were continually in his mind, and in a letter of July 
17th, he stated them in a way which, though not very explicit, 
leaves no doubt of the spring of his aversion to the institution 
then existing. He wrote: 

I have not time to go into the Bank question at present, can 
only observe, that my own opinion is, that it should be merely 
a National Bank of Deposit, with power in time of war to issue 
its bills bearing a moderate rate of interest, and payable at the 
close of the war, which being guaranteed by the national faith 
pledged, and based upon our revenue would be sought after by 
the monied capitalists, and do away, in time of war, [with] the 
necessity of loans. This is all the kind of a bank that a republic 
should have. But if to be made a bank of discount as well as 
deposit, I would frame its charter upon the checks of our govern- 
ment, attach it to, and make a part of the revenue, and expose 
its situation as part thereof annually to the nation, and the 
property of which would then onure to the whole people, instead 
of a few monied capitalists, who are trading upon our revenue, 
and enjoy the benefit of it, to the exclusion of the many. The 
Bank of deposit, and even of discount would steer clear of the 
constitutional objections to the present Bank, and all the profits 
arising would accrue and be disposable as other revenue for the 
benefit of the nation.' 

'Hamilton Reminiscences, 151 (2). 

•Jackson to .July i7i 1830, Jackson Mss. 


Jackson preserved a letter from Alfred Balch, a Nashville 
supporter, wliich voices the ordinar}^ complaints against the 
bank, complaints which sunk deeply into Jackson's mind. Balch 

Old Mr. Crutcher told me a few days ago, that he had a 
check on the Bank of the U. States last week, drawn by a pubUc 
officer, payable at sight at Pliila. He went to the ofiSce here 
and wished cash for it. They charged him one per cent, for 
advancing the money. Notes payable at the office at Boston 
are thrown in here. If you wish to receive silver for them you 
must pay two and one-half per cent. Instead of loaning money 
here at 6 per ct., they will buy a bill on the ofiice at New 
Orleans, charge you i}^ per cent, premium and 6 per ct., ail 
payable in advance and the office at New Orleans will charge you 
i3^ per cent, for accepting it there. So that the object of this 
immense institution is to make money, to secure a large dividend 
for the benefit of the great stock-holders on the other side of the 
Atlantic. As to the effects of the office here, they must in the 
end prove in the last degree calamitous. Those who borrow are 
encouraged in their extravagant modes of dressing and living 
which are far greater than their means will justify. Many are 
building little palaces, furnishing them in very expensive style, 
and the children of many are dressed as though they were the 
sons and daughters of princes. What may remain of the 
wrecks produced by these splendid folUes wiU after a few years 
be seized on by this Mammoth Bank. ' 

The writer was a man of note in Tennessee, a politician of 
influence, and a supporter of Van Buren. His opinion was not 
worse than that of the average man in the country; and it was 
this average opinion, which resented the bank as a great and 
devouring monopoly, that gave the ultimate stroke to what 
Jackson repeatedly called "the hydra of corruption." 

That part of the message which related to the bank was referred 

>Balch to Jaduon, January 7, 1830, Jafkaon Maa. 


in the senate to the committee on finance and in the house to the 
committee of ways and means. Biddle welcomed this as an 
opportunity to get endorsement for the bank, since he knew that 
each house was now in its favor. He wrote the report of the 
former committee ahnost verbatim' and furnished the facts 
on which the latter rested. WTien these reports were accepted 
in the two houses he scattered them broadcast throughout the 
country. He said he was anxious lest this activity and the 
opposition of congress should irritate the president.' That 
he could have the least doubt on the point shows that he knew 
not Jackson. 

The bank situation at this time derived a peculiar significance 
from its connection with Calhoun, who in May of this year 
came to a definite, but not yet announced breach with the Pres- 
ident. McDufne, Calhoun's representative in the house, was 
chairman of the ways and means committee, whose report not 
only supported the bank of the United States, but contemptu- 
ously declared that the proposed substitute was fraught with 
danger. It would increase the patronage, become an engine 
of tyranny, and fail to give needed banking facilities. Perhaps 
the Calhoun wing of the party thought it time to show that 
they were not identified with Western ideals. Van Buren also 
played his part. He professed strict state rights theories, 
which showed Jackson that his heart was right, while to his 
friends he said — with an eye on the financial influence of New 
York — that with Madison he thought that doubts of the power 
of congress to create the bank were settled by the decisions of 
the supreme court and by the acquiescence of the people.' Every 
little helped, and the upshot was that the McDuffie report 
awakened Jackson's wrath. He called on J. A. Hamilton to 
write a crushing reply and got willing compHance, but with 

*Catterall, Second Bank, 198, note 3. 
•Catterall, Second Bank, 199, note 5. 
•Hamilton, Reminiscences, zso. 


admirable calmness he returned the paper with the request 
that Calhoun's name be stricken from it. 

"From a correspondence lately between him and myself," 
he continued, "in which I was obliged to use the language of 
Caesar, 'Et tu, Brute?' it might be thought to arise from personal 
feeling, and arouse the sympathy of the people in his favor. 
You know an experienced general always keeps a strong reserve, 
and hereafter it may become necessary to pass in review the 
rise and progress of this hydra of corruption, when it will be 
proper to expose its founders and supporters by name. Then, 
and then only, can his name be brought with advantage and 
propriety before the nation. I return it for this correction, 
wliich, when made, and two following numbers forwarded with 
it, I will have them pubhshed in the Telegraph. This is the 
paper, for more reasons than one.' 


It was good politics to make Green publish the piece; for it 
would tend to weaken McDufiie as the exponent of the Calhoun 
faction, and Jackson did not feel strong enough in the party to 
try to go alone. But he foresaw the open breach and was 
determined to have a new editor.' 

To sum up, he opposed a bank in the hands of individual 
capitahsts, Eastern men and foreigners, who might and probably 
did have a large political influence through a series of powerful 
lobbies as well as through participation in nominations if not in 
actual elections. He beheved that a bank attached to the 
treasury would give all necessary banking services. His plan 
would build up a patronage quite as dangerous as the influence 
of the present institution, but he was honestly unconscious of 
danger from that source. He knew that Biddle was striving for 
re-charter, that he circulated thousands of documents favorable 
to the bank, that he employed Gallatin and others to write for 

' Hamilton. Reminiscences, 168. 

'Jackson to Lewis, June 26, 1830, Mss. New York Public Library. 


it, that Webster was a member of the central board of directors, 
and that all its influence would be brought to bear on members 
of congress to get a new charter. At this time the Calhoun 
controversy, the Eaton affair, and the cabinet dissensions 
embarrassed the party, and it took a great deal of courage to 
drive the quarrel with the bank into the midst of this complex 
political situation. But he did not hesitate. No other man then 
in pubHc life, says Van Buren, equaled him in confidence that 
the people would support one who labored with sincerity for 
their interests.' 

During the autiunn of 1830 Biddle induced many bank sup- 
porters to urge Jackson to change his views. They found him 
calm but reticent. They got the impression, and it became 
a certainty with Biddle himself, that while the President pre- 
ferred his own bank plan he would not veto a new charter if 
congress took the responsibiHty of passing it. The moment 
seemed propitious, and the bank's president determined to ask 
for a charter at the coming session. His hopes were transitory; 
for the second message, December 6, 1830, repeated the declar- 
ations of the first and amplified the President's scheme for a bank. 

Some autograph notes prepared in anticipation of this occasion 
indicate that the plan incorporated in the message was essenti- 
ally Jackson's. They have this other advantage that they show 
what he at that time really thought of the existing bank. The 
corporation, he said, had two disadvantages, (i) It was unconsti- 
tutional because congress had no power to create a corporation, 
because it withdrew capital from the control of the state, because 
it bought real estate without the consent of a state, which the 
federal government itself could not do; and (2) It was dangerous 
to liberty because through its officers, loans, and participation 
in politics it could build up or pull down parties or men, because it 
created a monopoly of the money power, because much of the 

>Van Buren, Autobiography, VI., 36, Van Buren Mss. 


stock was o^iTied by foreigners, because it would always support 
him who supported it, and because it weakened the state and 
strengthened the general government. Two things about these 
reasons are notable: nothing was said about the failure of the 
bank to give a good currency, and the institution is not pro- 
nounced unsafe. On the contrary, much is said for the bank. 
"This Banli," says the memorandum, "renders important ser- 
vices to the Government and country. It cheapens and facili- 
tates all the fiscal operations of the Government. It tends in 
some degree to equalize domestic exchange, and produce a sound 
and uniform currency." It was not to be destroyed but a sub- 
stitute provided "which shall yield all its benefits, and be ob- 
noxious to none of its objections." There is every reason to 
believe that at this time Jackson's attitude toward the institu- 
tion was reasonable and well meaning. 

The bank party were discouraged. Their newspapers found 
the proposed substitute unworthy of serious notice. But the 
situation was not alarming. Lewis gave Biddle private assur- 
ances of peace,' and he well might do so; for as yet the chief 
members of the administration circle were for the bank. The 
policy of opposition was distinctly Jackson's, and he was not 
disposed to push his ideas for the present. No bill to re-charter 
was introduced in the winter of i83o-'3i, congress adjourned in 
March, the cabinet was reorganized in May and June, and 
harmony reigned in the party. Most of the new cabinet were 
friendly to the bank, but none would oppose the President openly 
on what was now a fixed policy with him. McLane, secretary 
of the treasury, an old federalist, favored the bank, but the 
President liked him personally and each was disposed to overlook 
the conviction of the other on this crucial point. Livingston 
was for temporizing, but Taney, who became attorney-general 
was a resolute state rights man and gave a vigorous mind with 

'Catterall, Second Bank, 204, note i. 


a vast capacity for work to the destruction of the bank, which 
he disliked as much as Kendall or Jackson, himself. Cambre- 
leng pronounced him "the only efficient man of sound princi- 
ples in the Cabinet.'" Outside of it Blair gave powerful aid 
with the Globe and Kendall planned unceasingly. Van Buren, 
whose hand in the conflict was usually conceded, was sent to 
England, but his New York supporters followed Jackson faith- 

Thus throughout the first congress under Jackson the bank 
controversy was precipitated, but neither side ventured to carry 
it to the final stage. Each made a definite appeal to public 
opinion, Jackson by his statements that the objects for which 
the institution was founded were not accomplished, that it was, 
in fact, a menace to good government, and by his proposition 
that its functions be given to a bank in the profits of which the 
capitalists of the country should not share. The bank was now 
put on the defensive, although the time was coming when it 
must assume the initiative and ask for its object or pass out of 
existence. Newspaper comment on each side was acrimonious 
and the people were taking sides with more passion than judg- 
ment. The twenty-second congress, which met December 5, 
1 83 1, saw the conflict fought to its legislative close. 

JCambreleng to Van Burea, February s. 1832, Van Buren Mas; Jacksoa to Blair, January 17, 1843, Jackson 



As THE beginning of the new congress approached Biddle became 
ahve to the situation. He was already in communication with 
McLane and Livingston, both of whom favored a new charter. 
The former went to Philadelphia in October and pledged the 
administration to a more pacific policy. He said that since 
Jackson knew he could not get his own bank scheme adopted 
he would accept the old charter with certain modifications. It 
was agreed that McLane, as secretary of the treasury, should 
advocate re-charter in his own report and that the President 
in the message should say that having brought the matter before 
congress he would leave it with them. Both features of the 
agreement were kept, McLane's literally but Jackson's with a 
modification which gave uneasiness to the bank. He said in 
the message, December 6, 183 1, that he still held "the opinions 
heretofore expressed in relation to the Bank as at present organ- 
ized," but that he would "leave it for the present to the inves- 
tigation of an enlightened people and their representatives." ' 
Reasserting his previous opinions and speaking about the 
approval of the people were matters not considered in the secret 
conference in Philadelphia. 

It seems likely that McLane misjudged Jackson. Knowing 
his inexperience and mistaking the import of his cordiality in 
personal relations, he based his assurances not merely on what 
Jackson said but on what he thought he could induce him to 
say. We know not what Jackson told him, since no first hand 

'Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., i$i. 



evidence survives on the point. All our information comes 
from Biddle, who had it from McLane and others equally biased 
toward the bank. They were all striving to influence the Pres- 
ident, especially the secretary of the treasury, who would gain 
in public esteem if he could take the party safely through this 
perplexing situation. Jackson probably was carried further 
by this assault than he realized. He liked McLane's frank way 
of dealing with him and forgave him the contrary report on 
the bank. "It is an honest difference of opinion," he said, 
"and in his report he acts fairly by leaving me free and uncom- 
mitted. This I will be on this subject." ' 

The growing ascendency of McLane dismayed the anti-bank 
men. They began to say Jackson had surrendered, and they 
never forgave the secretary for what they considered a treach- 
erous and selfish policy.' When the President knew of their sus- 
picions he denied the imputation of shifting, saying: "Mr. 
McLane and myself understand each other, and have not 
the slightest disagreement about the principles, which will 
be a sine qua non in my assent to a bill rechartering the 

The situation favored wire-pulling. A group of New York 
democrats sought to advance their own interests by getting a 
charter for a bank to replace the existing institution, but the 
scheme was weak poHtically and financially and did not go far. 
The bank democrats sought to reconcile the President's oft- 
mentioned bank plan with something the present bank would 
accept as a modification of their charter. They used all their 
power of persuasion on him, and he probably gave up something 
for the sake of the party; but he talked little and we cannot say 
what he relinquished. Divided as the party was, it was evident 

•Jackson to Van Buren, December 6, 1831, W. Lowrie to ibid, February ay, 1832; Van Ness to ibed March 
0, 1832; Van Buren Mss. 
»J. A. Hamilton to Van Buren, December 7, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 
•Jackson to Hamilton, December 12, 1831, Reminiscences. 234. 


that the bank question ought to be deferred until after the coming 
election : on this point aU democrats were agreed. 

The anti-bank men were alarmed at these developments. 
J. A. Hamilton spoke in dismay of making a flying trip to London 
to talk over the matter with Van Buren. Cambreleng wrote, 
January 4, 1832, that Jackson stood entirely alone, and that 
McLane, Livingston, Cass, Lewis, Campbell, were for the bank. 
"Woodbury," he said, "keeps snug and plays out of all the 
corners of his eyes. Taney, strange as it may seem, is the best 
Democrat among us. He is with Kendall, Hill, Blair, etc. 
Barry, I presume, I should have put with the President, or else 
in the last list. McLane has burnished all his sateihtes with the 
Bank gold and silver. Somehow or other they all begin to 
think the Bank must be re-chartered." Neither Hamilton nor 
Cambreleng would say that Jackson had entirely surrendered.* 

John Randolph, also, wrote to remonstrate. On his opposition 
to "the Chestnut Street Monster," he said, rested his support 
of the administration; for he considered this the overshadowing 
issue. If Jackson disappointed him in this respect he would 
still support him against Clay, Webster, Calhoun, and Adams — 
"the best of the set" — but his vote would be delivered with 
forceps.' Jackson replied at once. Reports that he was for 
the bank were not true, he said: he believed it unconstitutional 
and " on the score of mere e:fpediency dangerous to liberty, and 
therefore, worthy of the denunciation which it has received 
from the disciples of the old Republican school." He believed it 
had failed to serve the country as was expected and would never 
give it his oflScial sanction; and as to McLane's report, that was a 
matter of individual opinion over which he, Jackson, had no 
control. When Randolph got this letter he was very ill but 
managed to send a reply worthy of his wit. "I see," he wrote, 

'Hamilton to Van Buren, December 33, 1831; Cambreleng to Van Buren, January 4, 1833; VanBureaMss. 
( 'Randolph to Jackson, December 19, 1831, Jackson Mss. 


"that with your arch enemy the grand Nullifier working in the 
Senate with the CoaHtion and his clientele dependent upholding 
the Bank in the other House and all working against you that 
you have Sysiphean labor to perform. I wish I were able to 
help you roU up the stone, but I cannot. I am finished." On 
this letter Jackson endorsed as directions for his secretary; 
"Regret liis indisposition and never fear the triumph of the 
U. S. Bank while I am here." ' 

Nor was McLane liimself sure of his ground with the Presi- 
dent; he told the bank it ought to be satisfied with the message, 
that it showed Jackson was wavering, and that if time were 
given him, he vv^ould become convinced of his error. Both 
McLane and Lewis urged that in the meantime the President 
ought not to be pressed. Every party consideration demanded 
that he veto a charter introduced in the coming session of con- 
gress but they put their advice on other grounds. He would, they 
thought, take a charter now as a challenge and veto it, even if 
he thought it would mean defeat in the next election.' 

Clay's followers, the national republicans, were dismayed at 
the apparent agreement between the President and the bank. 
They considered the bank controversy their chief asset; and 
Clay was in no mood to let McLane's clever manipulation with- 
draw it from their hands. In their national nominating conven- 
tion in December, 183 1, they championed the bank, arraigned 
Jackson for his hostility to it, and asked the people not "to 
destroy one of their most valuable establishments, to gratify 
the caprice of a chief magistrate, who reasons and advises upon 
a subject, with the details of which he is evidently unacquainted, 
in direct contradiction to the opinion of his own official coun- 
sellors. . . . He is fully and three times over pledged to the 
people to negative any bill that may be passed for re-chartering 

'Jackson to Randolph, December 22, 1831; Randolph to Jackson, January 3, 1831, 1833; Jackson Mss. 
*Cattexall, Second Bank, 218, 3ig, notes i, 2 and 4. 


the bank, and there is little doubt that the additional influence 
which he would acquire by reelection, would be employed to 
carry through Congress the extraordinary substitute which he 
has repeatedly proposed." * 

In congress the leading national republicans urged an aggres- 
sive policy. They beHeved a veto would leave them in good 
fighting shape in the coming campaign, and even if Jackson were 
reelected they expected such a majority in the two houses 
that the charter could be carried over a veto. Let the bank but 
act boldly, they said, and the world should see. 

For a brief time Biddle was courted by two parties, the sup- 
porters of Clay and the democratic faction which followed 
McLane. He hesitated and considered, seeking to get the 
best results for the institution over which he presided. To pro- 
ceed now meant a veto: everybody told him that. Should he 
take McLane at his word, keep the bank out of the coming 
campaign, and trust Jackson not to veto it afterward? What 
assurance had he from Jackson himself that he could rely on 
democratic friendship? Was the party not afraid of the election 
and merely seeking for time? For if the bank did not ask for a 
charter now it must do so in Jackson's next term. It could not 
escape Jackson's veto, if he were determined to give it. Thus 
Biddle pondered, weighing the arguments on each side. He 
himself was a national republican. His friend, John Sergeant, 
who was long a trusted standing counsel for the bank, was 
candidate for vice-president on that ticket. Webster, another 
retained counsel and a member of the central directorate, 
was a leader in that party, and the whole financial connection 
was trained with it. It was the side to which he would event- 
ually turn if necessary, and in the absence of definite assurances 
from Jackson himself it was probably considerations like these 
that weighed most with him. 

»Niles, Register, XLI., 3x0. 


January 6th he forwarded to Dallas, democratic senator from 
Pennsylvania, the memorial of the bank asking for a new charter, 
and on the ninth it was presented in each house. In the senate 
it was referred to a select committee of which Dallas was chair- 
man. In the house it was sent to the committee on ways and 
means, McDuffie, chairman. Four and a half months it lay un- 
touched while each side gave itself to the task of arousing the 
country to the situation. Petitions were secured in large num- 
bers, the most notable being from banks and business organ- 
izations in favor of the bank. But that which commanded most 
attention, after the congressional investigation,' was a memorial 
passed by the Pennsylvania legislature with nearly a unanimous 
vote in favor of the charter. It was beHeved that Jackson could 
not be reelected without the vote of this critical state.' 

McLane was discouraged by the introduction of the bank's 
memorial. Four days before it appeared he protested to Biddle, 
saying that if his advice to defer action were not taken he could 
do nothing further for the bank. He now became indifferent, 
but Livingston took up the work his colleague let fall. An 
intimation was given that a charter might not be vetoed, and 
Biddle caught at the hint. A new negotiation began in which 
he declared of Jackson: ''Let him write the whole charter with 
his own hands. I am sure that we would agree to his modifi- 
cations; and then let him and his friends pass it. It will then be 
his work. He will then disarm his adversaries." With these 
instructions, Ingersoll, Biddle's agent, approached Livingston, 
who now claimed to speak for the administration. February 2 2d, 
they drew up a plan with the following new features: (i) The gov- 
ernment to own no stock but to appoint directors on the parent 
board and one on the branch directorates. (2) States to tax 
the bank's property as they taxed other property within their 

'See below, p. 617. 

'Catterall, Second Bank, 221-233. 


borders. (3) The bank to hold no more real estate than it needed 
for its own use. ( J A portion of the stock in the bank to be 
opened to new subscriptions. 1 5) The directors to name two or 
three of their number one of whom the President of the United 
States would appoint president of the bank. The first three 
of these features were offered as Jackson's terms, the others as 
coming from other persons in the administration circle. Biddle 
approved all but the last, which he passed over in silence.' 

Professor Catterall thinks that here Livingston spoke truly 
for the President, but it seems more probable that the secretary 
misjudged his superior. Jackson's strong assurances to Randolph 
show that up to this time he played a game, concealing h:s real 
purpose from the bank democrats and working for party har- 
mony. It ought to require stronger evidence thin the general 
assertion of the enthusiastic and impractical Livingston to show 
that Jackson was now willing to retreat after the combat was 
joined. Two months earlier he said of Livingston, "He knows 
nothing of mankind. He lacks in this respect that judgment 
which you [Van Buren] possess, in so eminent a degree, his mem- 
ory is somewhat failing him."* Is it likely that Jackson would 
now have revealed himself to one of whom he spoke such things? 
Moreover, Livingston later told Parton that Jackson would 
have accepted a charter if the bank had been a little complaisant.' 
This was in opposition to Livingston's position in 1832, when he 
said Jackson had agreed to accept a charter and when the bank 
was entirely complaisant. It adds a shade of doubt to Living- 
ston's credibiHty as a witness of Jackson's intentions in February 

During all this time the anti-bank democrats had been as 
quiet as Jackson himself. But now they came forward with a 

'Catterall, Second Bank, 224-228. 

•Jackson to Van Bur^n, December 17, 1831, Jackson Mss. See also Van Buren, Autobiography, VI.. 186, 
Van Buren Mss. 
'Life of Jackson, III., 30S- 


play that checked all attempts at compromise. It was such a 
simple thing that we must think it was held back for just such 
an emergency. Benton has the credit of originating the idea. 
At his suggestion Clayton, in the house, moved an investigation 
into the affairs of the bank. Since that institution was applying 
for re-charter it could not oppose the investigation, nor could it 
hurry the charter through until the inquiry was made. A com- 
mittee was appointed, the majority democrats, with Clayton 
for chairman. For six weeks it gave itself to the task, taking 
evidence in Washington and Philadelphia. At the end it sub- 
mitted three reports, one by the majority against the bank, one 
by the minority in support of the bank, and an individual 
report by John Quincy Adams, concurred in by one other member 
of the committee. The last was a scathing denunciation of the 
whole movement against the bank/ The findings of the majority 
have not received much respect from posterity, so far as they 
involve principles of finance; but they displayed certain weak 
points in the bank's conduct which appealed strongly to the 
popular mind when the report became an important campaign 
document. They had little influence on the fight within congress, 
where members' minds were already made up. 

The bank sent its shrewdest lobbyists to Washington to watch 
the situation. Horace Binney, reputed one of the best lawyers in 
the country, appeared soon after the memorial was introduced ;Cad- 
v/alader did what he could, and Samuel Smith, of Baltimore, was 
nearly as energetic; but on May 20th, as the debates were about 
to begin, Biddle himself went to Washington and took person:.! 
charge of the fight outside of congress. Three days later the bi'.l 
was taken up in the senate, June nth it passed by a vote of 
twenty-eight to twenty and was sent to the house, where it passed 
July 3rd by one hundred and seven votes to eighty-five. 

Jackson's veto came promptly, prepared probably by Taney, 

'These three reports are in Congressional DebaUs, VIII., part III., Appendix, 33-73. 


who wrote many of his papers in connection with the bank affair. 
It attacked the bill on grounds of constitutionality and expe- 
diency. It was written with an eye to the coming campaign, 
and the most important features were the following :J 

The bank was a monopoly extended for fifteen years beyond 
its existing term for which the proposed bonus of three miUion 
dollars was not adequate payment. With re-charter the stock 
would undoubtedly be worth one hundred and fifty dollars a 
share, and instead of continuing to have the old bank "why 
should not the government sell out the whole stock and thus 
secure to the people the full market Value of the privileges 
granted?" Moreover, other citizens than the present share- 
holders — who were foreigners and a few wealthy Eastern capi- 
tahsts — had asked to be allowed to subscribe for a part of the 
stock, and their rights should not have been ignored : they would 
have given more than the bonus provided in this bill. But it 
is said that closing up the bank would make a pressure in business : 
this was not true in any just sense, since the time was ample 
for easy adjustment to new conditions, and any pressure resulting 
must be due solely to the deliberate action of the bank. 

The charter by obhging the bank to furnish lists of stock- 
holders made it possible for the states to tax the shares, but this 
became a blemish in the eyes of the President, since in the West 
and South, wher.e the bank realized a large part of its profits, 
there were few shareholders. For example, there were none in 
Alabama, yet the Mobile branch made ninety-five thousand 
dollars of profit the preceding year, all taken out of the state, 
much of it for foreigners, and the state not allowed to tax it one 

By the new charter the notes of a branch were to be redeemed 
by any branch without discount when offered by a state bank. 
This was very well so far as the state banks were concerned, 

>For the veto see Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 576. 


said the veto, but why discriminate against the individual 
holders of branch notes? 

Foreign stockholders were not to vote, and as the stock went 
abroad the holders of it at home would have an increasing share 
of power until the bank was at last controlled by a small clique 
of our own bankers. But if war occurred with the nation in 
which the foreign holders hved their position would give them a 
great advantage over us. The American officers of the bank 
would be subservient to the foreign shareholders, "and all its 
operations within would be in aid of the hostile fleets and armies 
without. Controlhng our currency, receiving our public moneys, 
and holding thousands of our citizens in dependence, it would be 
more formidable and dangerous than the naval and military 
power of the enemy." The writer of the paper thus found no 
difficulty in making the foreign shareholders powerless in times 
of peace and predominantly powerful in times of war. 

There was much like this, five pages of it at the beginning 
and three at the end, but in between these two parts was an argu- 
ment on constitutionality which could have come from no other 
member of the anti-bank coterie than Taney. It was in itself 
a veto message and repeated some of the things which went 
before or came after it. It was expressed in concise, legal style, 
in contrast to the loose illogic of the rest of the document. It 
is as if it were furnished to the President as a message proper, 
was deemed too cold for popular reading, and was lengthened 
at each end by some such purveyor of balderdash as Isaac Hill 
or Amos Kendall. 

In this interior, more argumentative, part the writer laid 
down the President's view of his relation to the supreme court. 
This tribunal, said the message, "ought not to control the co- 
ordinate authorities of this government. . . . Each public 
ofl5cer who takes an oath to support the Constitution swears 
that he will support it as he understands it, and not as it is under- 


stood by others. . . . The opinion of the judges has no more 
authority over Congress than the opinion of Congress has over 
the judges, and on that point the President is independent of 
both. The authority of the supreme court must not, therefore, 
be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive when 
acting in their legislative capacities, but to have only such influ- 
ence as the force of their reasoning may deserve." This 
statement has often been quoted without the last sentence in 
it. Such an omission does injustice to Jackson, so far as the 
sentiment can be said to be his. 

The bank men received the veto message with shouts of delight. 
They believed it would make converts for their side and ordered 
thirty thousand copies printed for distribution. Biddle said of 
it: "It has all the fury of a chained panther, biting the bars of 
his cage. It is really a manifesto of anarchy."* This utterance 
shows how much the head of the bank party was carried away 
by the ardor of combat. The message contained neither fury 
nor anarchy. There was ignorance of finance in it, but it was 
shrewdly planned to reach a class of people whom Biddle and the 
important men who dealt in banking understood no more than 
Jackson understood the bankers. For every respectable citizen 
whom the message disgusted there were many average men who 
believed that the accumulation of great wealth in the hands of 
one corporation threatened liberty and to these its reasoning 
was satisfactory. 

The veto drew party lines for the democrats, some of whom 
voted for re-charter with misgivings. But they must now stand 
for Jackson or against him. The very rejoicing of the na- 
tional repubHcans hardened the allegiance of democrats to their 
own party. While many politicians nearer home sent assurances 
of support, James Buchanan, in St. Petersburg, sent in his sub- 
mission. Till now, he said, he was for the bank, but the veto 

'Clay, Correspondence, 341. 


converted him; he would support his leader. More interesting 
still is the course of Senator Dallas, whom the bank selected 
to lead its fight in the senate. The first evidence of Jackson's 
wrath filled him with dismay, and before the end of the session 
he was talking to his intimates about repudiating the bank. 
Arrived at home he fulfilled his threat. He said: 

A iev^ days satisfied me, that my friend, The Bank, was, 
either with or without its own consent and connivance, tak- 
ing a somewhat too ostensible part in the political canvass. 
The institution, as an useful agent of government, is one 
thing — its directors or managers, or partizans, are quite 
another thing — both united are not worth the cause which 
depends on the re-election of Jackson. On the very day of 
my arrival, I passed by a large Town-meeting convened to 
denounce the Veto and uphold the bank — and the sight of 
it roused me into an immediate effort to procure a counteracting 
assemblage on the same spot, that day week. Some very kind 
friends strove to throw cold water upon my ardor by hinting 
that my votes and speeches in the Senate were recent and well 
remembered — that my position would be awkward, if I did 
not fall into the ranks of those who at least condemned the 
Veto, etc. I took counsel of my conscience and judgment — 
and iDeing perfectly self-convinced that I might be both a true 
and constant friend of the Institution, and at the same time an 
unflinching adherent to Democracy and the re-election of Jack- 
son, I attended the meeting — made my speech — and felt 
instantly relieved from what seemed to me, before, might be 
thought an undecided and equivocal attitude. The truth is, as 
you know, that altho solicitous to save the corporation by a 
re-charter, I never conceived it to be of the immense and essen- 
tial importance described by my Senatorial neighbor on the 
left and rear — I was always for the sentiment which is now 
hoisted most high — Jackson, bank or no bank.' 

In applying for a charter and throwing himself into the hands 

* G. M. Dallas to Bidford Brown, no date but in 1832, probably late in the summer. See Trinity College 
(North Carolina) Historical Papers, VI, 68. 


of the national republicans Biddle made the bank the chief ques- 
tion of the presidential contest, and the stumps throughout the 
icountry rang with cries for and against until the November 
election was held. Jackson's two hundred and nineteen votes 
to Clay's forty-nine can only be considered as the nation's verdict. 
The President ever claimed that Biddle ought to have accepted 
the result as final, and that if he had done so the later evils in 
the situation would have been avoided. It is certain that Biddle 
did not think the fight ended. He hoped by some turn to wrest 
victory from the situation. Foreseeing the distress which must 
attend the closing of the bank, he hoped that it would be enough 
to show the American people the folly of 1832, and to induce 
them to reverse their verdict. 

During the campaign of 1832, and in the controversy over the 
removal of the deposits in 1833, many charges were made against 
the bank. Some were true, some partly true, and some false. 
It seems well to deal with them here.' 

I. It was charged that directors, especially in the branches, 
were appointed from political motives. The charge was partly 
true. From the beginning directors were selected with the 
intention of favoring the party in power. Biddle found the 
system in force when he took office but disapproved of it and 
did something to check it. It existed when Jackson became 
President of the United States. Directors were usually taken 
from the merchant class, most of whom opposed him. From the 
victors came a demand for representation on the boards. Biddle 
was too practical to resist absolutely. He threw the Nashville 
branch entirely into Lewis's hands and held back only when he 
saw that this prince of spoilsmen was bent on getting control 
of all the branches in the West. The trouble here lay with the 
system, not with Biddle. Americans were hot partisans: there 

'These charges have been so well summed up in Professor Catterall's eleventh chapter (pages 243-284) 
that I have been left no choice but to follow his treatment with little addition of new facts. — The Author. 


was no neutral class from whom strictly non-partisan directors 
could be supplied. 

2. The bank was said to lobby in its own behalf. It never 
denied the assertion; but it declared that it used no corrupt 
methods, and proof to the contrary was not produced. Jackson 
claimed that it bribed its way in congress, but this was the vapor- 
ing of partisan anger. Nevertheless the wealth of the bank, 
its able direction, and its extended influence gave it great power 
through the use of what may be termed legitimate lobbying. 
It is a question if merely in this kind of activity it could be 
pronounced a harmless participant in public life. 

3. There were frequent charges of using money at the polls. 
The charge was repeated most forcefully and with most details 
in regard to the Kentucky branches. It was alleged that in 
1828, two hundred and fifty dollars of the bank's money were 
used outright in treating at the polls and in hiring hacks to take 
voters to the voting places. Worden Pope, connected with the 
Louisville branch, denied this charge. He was the man accused 
in it and said that the "new court" party had spent money in 
politics and he merely "beat them with their own dirty stick," 
but that all the money he used was his own and he spent it of 
his own volition.' Reliable evidence on such a point is difficult 
to obtain, but when the officers individually avowed the practice, 
the public was naturally sensitive about the action of the bank. 

4. Biddle was accused of giving special favors to congressmen, 
such as lending money on insufficient security, transferring 
money for them without charge, and paying their salaries in 
drafts on distant cities without cost, favors which he did not 
extend to private persons. Facts to prove these assertions 
were adduced, although the occurrences were not so common 
as the professed terror of the democrats implied. He also 

ijackson to Ingham, December 20, 1830; R. Desha to Jackson. December $, 1828; W. Pope to Jackson 
June ig, 1831; Jackson Mss. 


advanced the money for congressmen's salaries in anticipation 
of the passage of the general appropriations bill and without 
interest. By loss of such interest and of exchange on drafts 
the bank gave to members of congress several thousand dollars 
a year. Biddle's pliilosophy on matters like these is expressed 
in the following words: 

The existence of this institution must depend on the opinion 
entertained of it by those who wiU before long be asked to continue 
its Charter and altho' I would sacrifice nothing of right or of 
duty to please them or to please anybody, still if a proper occa- 
sion presents itself of rendering service to the interior proving 
the usefulness of the Bank, so as to convert enemies into friends, 
we owe it to ourselves and to the stockholders not to omit that 

5. Another charge was subsidizing the press. It was persist- 
ently made and widely beUeved. Biddle, it was thought, lent 
money readily to newspapers and made them his tools, and only 
those were considered honest which did not wear his collar. Yet 
his avowed policy was otherwise. When Webster advised him 
to help Gales and Seaton, publishers of the Intelligencer, on the 
ground that their influence was useful, he refused pointedly, 
saying that it would be a just reproach to the bank to undertake 
to lend its funds under such conditions. This he said in 1828, 
when the question of re-charter was not up; but three or four 
years later he made large loans to editors, some of them the most 
important defenders of the bank in the profession, and others 
opposed to it. The Intelligencer now got over forty-four thou- 
sand dollars and Duff Green of the Telegraph, since Calhoun's 
defection a friend of the bank, got twenty thousand. Biddle 
declared that ail these loans were made as mere business propo- 
sitions, and it was pertinently asked if editors alone should be 
denied accommodation — as pertinently as Jackson asked if 

'Biddle to Webster, December a, i8a8, quoted by Catterall, Secona Bank, 257. 


editors alone should be denied appointments to office. The 
matter is perplexing; for we cannot know how much a loan to a 
supporter was an inducement to defend the bank, or how much 
one to an opponent was given because a refusal would be heralded 
as an act of oppression. It was only one of the unfortunate 
complications arising from the connection of the bank with 

But in one loan Biddle was not clear of wrong-doing. The 
Courier and Enquirer, of New York, was one of the most impor- 
tant papers in the country. Its editors were J. Watson Webb, 
James Gordon Bennett and Major M. M. Noah. Webb was 
for Adams, but his associates were for Jackson and fixed the 
policy of the paper. In 1831 they formed a scheme against the 
bank, as Bennett described it. Through the aid of Silas E. 
Burrows, a merchant with a shifty political connection, they 
got fifteen thousand dollars from Biddle, in Philadelphia, giving 
in exchange Noah's note endorsed by Webb for eighteen months. 
The note was payable to Burrows, who transferred it to Biddle 
and from him personally received the money, and it was only 
some months later that the President entered it on the books of 
the parent bank; but as soon as it was given the journal changed 
its policy and began to advocate re-charter. In February, 
1832, when an investigation of the bank was moved in the house 
of representatives. Burrows appeared in Philadelphia, borrowed 
fifteen thousand dollars of the bank, and with it took up the 
tell-tale note, thus transferring the debt from the editors to 
himself. In the same year Noah left the paper and it came out 
for Clay. In August Webb borrowed twenty thousand and in 
December fifteen thousand more. With accrued interest his 
debt amounted to a little less than fifty-three thousand dollars. 
A part of it, eighteen thousand six hundred dollars, was protested 
in 1833, and two years later he offered to settle it at ten cents 
on the dollar. Webb claimed that when the debt was made the 


paper was ample securit}' for its repa}-n:en:. Bu: :he devious 
manner in which the first loan was secured, the fact that the 
time allowed amounted to five years — which was against the 
rule of short loans for ordinar\" patrons — and the efforts to 
conceal it from the investigating committee show that it was 
not an ordinary* busiuess transaction. 

6. The liberal circulation of speeches, pamphlets, and maga- 
zine articles was considered an e\il by Biddle's enemies. His 
own point of \-iew was irreproachable. The first bank, he 
thought, was destroyed in 1811 because the people did not under- 
stand its services. "I saw the manner in which the small dema- 
gogues of that day deceived the community-,'' he said — "and 
I mean to tr\- to prevent the small demagogues of this day 
repeating the same delusions."' He threw himself into the task 
of enlightenment with his usual energy, and he soon had the 
appearance of trying to carr>' the popular mind by storm. To 
the democrats it seemed that he identified himseH with the prop- 
aganda of their enemies. They complained that a semi-pubHc 
institution should use its money against them. WTien the 
investigations showed that in 183 1 the directors in Philadelphia 
gave the bank's president power to spend money for necessar>- 
purposes without vouchers and without reporting the purpose 
of expenditure, the democrats made bitter complaint. The 
authority' was excessive: it witnessed the confidence of the 
directors in Biddle but it ought not to have been granted. 

7. Biddle's power was really autocratic, and it was alleged that 
he used it improperly. By the rules he was a member of each 
committee of the directors, and by the rules of 1833 he named 
e\^ery committee but one. The most important committees 
in the transaction of business were those on discounts, which 
met twice a week, and on exchange, which met daily. His 
strong personality dominated each group, as, indeed it dominated 

to Gales, Much 2. 1832; qaattd by CattenO, Seamd Bami, sM. noCs i. 


the board and even the shareholders. At meeting of the 
latter he usually held mdi\ddually or jointly with others a major- 
ity of the proxies, and from the time he showed himself success- 
ful in the management of the institution his word was decisive 
in annual meetings. He was of the t\pe frequent enough in the 
financial world, a strong willed man who takes the initiative 
and whose assumption of authority is approved on account of 
his success. 

8. The charge which attracted most attention was in connec- 
tion vnth. the redemption of the 3 per cents., the facts of which 
were as follows: In March, 1832, the government notified the 
bank that in July it would pay half of the thirteen millions of 
this debt still outstanding. The moment was inopportune for 
Biddle: the government had recently paid a large amount of 
its debt for which the bank furnished the money out of the 
deposits, and it was not able to furnish six and a half millions 
more in specie on such short notice. But he himself was to 
blame. He knew the pohcy of Jackson was to pay the debt 
as fast as possible, and he could well have assumed that all the 
surplus which was accumulating in the treasur}' would be used 
for that purpose. Instead of reserving it in his vaults, he had 
incautiously lent it to the investing pubhc, and it could not 
quickly be called in. Lending had been too Hberal in the past 
year, and sLx months earher he gave orders to lend no more 
unless it was necessary- to support the \-ital business of the 
countr}\ Time and again he repeated this warning, but the 
branches were lax, or the impetus of speculation was irresistible, 
and discounts went on increasing at the rate of ten millions in 
sLx months.' 

The only other thing was to postpone the pa}Tnent of the 
debt. Biddle appealed to the government with that in \'iew 
and was given an extension of three months. Within this addi- 

iCatterall, SK<md Bani, 146. 


tional time the bank could not hope to withdraw the necessary 
money from the business of the country, especially as it soon got 
notice that on January i, 1833, the government would pay the 
other half of the 3 per cents. Then Biddle conceived, with the 
aid of Cadwalader, the plan of postponing a large part of the 
installment by a deal with its holders. Cadwalader was sent 
to London to offer the foreign bondholders the obligations 
of the bank at one year's time with interest at 3 per cent, for 
these bonds to the amount of five millions. Bonds thus secured 
were to be turned over to the government, which would relieve 
itself from all responsibility by cancelling them. Thus the bank 
would take the place of the government for this much of the 
debt, which it would be able to extend one year. 

Some of the foreigners gave approval to the scheme, but antici- 
pating that some would be slow to accept it, Cadwalader 
arranged that the Barings, of London, should buy for the bank 
the rest of the required amount and withhold the certificates 
from the government. Now the charter of 18 16 forbade the 
Bank of the United States to buy government stock. The 
scheme as arranged by Biddle was no violation of this law, but 
Cadwalader's modification of it was quite another thing. More- 
over, it involved delay in the payment of the debt, which would 
certainly give offense in Washington. Cadwalader seems to have 
desired to keep the affair secret, but it was known at once in 
London and soon after in New York. It was reported to Biddle 
in two letters, the first informally and a few days later in the 
written agreement with the Barings. The latter was received in 
Philadelphia, October 12 th, after its substance was published in 
New York. The president of the bank at once repudiated it; 
but his enemies said he did not repudiate the informal agreement 
and only rejected the formal one because he found the matter 
had become public. 

The affair caused much comment. Cadwalader took all the 


blame on his own head, and the bank managed to get the money 
for the 3 per cents. No one could justify the purchase of bonds 
in violation of the charter; but Biddle did not think the attempt 
to interfere with the government's plan to pay the debt unjustifi- 
able. "Supposing that the certificates are delayed for a few 
months," he said, "what harm does that do to anybody? The 
interest has stopped — the money remains in the Treasury; so 
that instead of depriving the Government of the use of its funds, 
directly the reverse is true, for the Government retains the 
funds and pays no interest." 

The various charges against Biddle were greatly exaggerated 
by his enemies. He was painted as drunk with the power which 
money gives, and the denunciation was so extravagant that he 
benefited by the reaction. But he is not to go scot free. He 
did not buy votes to control elections, but he appointed partisan 
directors when he thought it necessary; he did not really sub- 
sidize the press, but he was unquestionably entangled with Noah 
and Webb in an unjustifiable manner: he did not bribe legislators, 
but he employed a strong lobby, gave favors to members of 
congress, and by circulating their speeches identified himself 
with party propaganda: he did not improperly lend the bank's 
money to friends, but he took the authority into his own hands 
and against its own rules until he had the power to do so : he did 
not authorize the purchase of the 3 per cents., but he showed 
himself defiant of the will of government in trying to postpone 
payment in order to get out of a situation into which his own 
carelessness had brought him. 

We ought not to forget that Biddle's difficulties were great. 
The nation was not wise enough to exercise poHtical oversight 
over so large a machine as the bank. It had a feeling that a 
corporation as powerful as this was dangerous to liberty, and 
it would not be shown otherwise. Biddle's well-meant efforts 
to enhghten the people were thought to be attempts to hide his 


own errors. Jackson frequently declared for " a complete divorce 
of the government from all banks": if there is no other reason 
for this, it would be enough that the separation he established 
has prevented the recurrence of the painful scenes and contro- 
versies which were precipitated by an enraged people about the 
Bank of the United States in the days of its destruction. 



The presidential election was now over, and the veto was sus- 
tained. Many people hoped that the question would be dropped 
and the bank allowed to die peacefully when the charter expired, 
but not Jackson. He beheved that the bank by calling in its 
loans could distress the people until they demanded re-charter. 
He believed, also, that congressmen were not proof against the 
wiles of the bank and that a democratic majority might, in the 
face of strong business pressure and by means of bribes, be in- 
duced to pass a charter over his veto. He decided to remove 
the deposits at once, and thus to cripple the bank's fighting 
power, to settle the question before the election of 1836, and to 
avoid jeopardizing the public deposits at the time when the last 
fight for re-charter must come up. 

Van Buren, who was opposed to the bank on constitutional 
grounds, wished to see the question settled before the next 
election. He suggested that congress be asked to estabhsh a 
bank such as Jackson would approve in the District of Columbia, 
with branches only by the consent of the states concerned.* 
It was believed that congress could not be induced to take this 
step, and Van Buren then supported removal. But he feared 
its influence on his following in the North, and by common 
consent he was allowed to remain as much as possible in the 
background in the contest about to begin. 

Nothing was to be expected from the congress which in the 
recent session passed the charter. If a blow was struck it must 

1 >Vaa Burea to Jackson, November x8, 1832, Van Buren Mss. 



be by the executive itself; and the long vacation beginning March 
4, 1833, afforded the opportunity for such action. Up to that 
time nullification and the tariff compromise occupied the atten- 
tion of the politicians. Everybody, Jackson included, was will- 
ing to let the bank question He till those matters were disposed 
of; but their program was made out and only awaited the adjourn- 
ment of congress to be put into force. This was in spite of the 
fact that in the preceding December, Henry Toland, appointed 
by Secretary McLane to investigate the condition of the bank, 
reported that the institution was perfectly sound, and in spite 
of the plainer fact that the house of representatives on March 
2nd by a large majority declared that the deposits were safe in 
its custody. 

The anti-bank democrats were prepared to ignore Toland and 
congress, but they could not ignore the secretary of the treasury, 
since he alone could give the order for removal. McLane was so 
strong a man that he could not easily be dismissed, and some 
other way must be found to dispose of him. It was discovered 
that Rives desired to return from Paris and that Livingston 
wished to have his place. It was accordingly arranged to make 
the transfer and to give McLane the secretaryship of state which 
Livingston would reHnquish. For the vacant treasury a New 
York man was first thought of, probably because the Van Buren 
men could be counted on; but the idea was rejected, and a Penn- 
sylvanian was taken. WiUiam J. Duane.was the man, suggested, 
it seems, by McLane.* He was the son of the former repubhcan 
editor, ancient enemy of Gallatin, Dallas, and the whole conser- 
vative republican faction. The old man was the leader of the 
masses, whose support was essential to carry the state against 
the bank, and it seemed a good thing to have the son deal the 
blow which was now meditated. 
_JDuane was not an able man. Henry Lee, when he turned 

»Jackson to Van Buren, September is, 1832, Van Buren, Autobiography, V., 180-195, Van Buren Mss. 


against Jackson, described him as "that other Darling whom 
you fished up from the desk of a dead miser, and the bottom of 
the Philadelphia Bar, to put in the seat which was once filled by 
Alexander Hamilton."' The offer was made by McLane m 
behalf of the President, and after hesitating for two months 
Duane accepted January 30, 1833. It was not the plan to change 
the cabinet until after the tariff muddle was cleared up, and so 
it was not until June ist that the new secretary took his place. 

Jackson was now in constant consultation with Kendall, 
Blair and Taney, the most active enemies of the bank. To 
accomplish their purpose would deprive the government of a 
safe place of deposit and lessen the volume of sound currency in 
the country. To meet the objections on these accounts they 
urged that state banks of undoubted soundness could be got to 
keep the deposits, and as for the currency, the country would 
be better off if only hard money was used. 

But they were more immediately concerned with the political 
phase of the question. As a manifesto on this side Amos Kendall 
prepared a letter to the secretary of the treasury giving reasons 
I for removal. He mentioned the insecurity of the funds, but 
dwelt on the political aspects of the matter. The bank, he said, 
was as much of an enemy as it could be and removing the de- 
posits would not increase its hostility. On the other hand, the 
state banks, now intimidated by the great corporation, would 
become friends of the government as soon as they knew the 
public money was taken away from that corporation. Removal 
would please the South and West and have the support of the 
banks of New York, always jealous of Philadelphia's preeminence 
in financial affairs. Pennsylvania, he admitted, would be 
dissatisfied, but New England cared little for the bank and could 
be ignored. Re-charter, thought Kendall, was likely if nothing 
was done. Congress was full of doubt and the bank would 

>Lee to Jackson, December 37, 1833, Jackson Mss. 


corrupt enough members at the next session to have its way. 
But vigorous action now would commit the friends of the admin- 
istration, show that the banks were unnecessar>% and answer 
the complaint of many Jackson men that "it is useless to buffet 
the bank with our left hand as long as we feed it with our 

Three days after his lieutenant delivered this manifesto 
Jackson submitted five questions to his cabinet. He asked: 
(i) Has anything happened since congress met last to justify a" 
new charter? (2) is the bank reliable and faithful to its duties? 

(3) should there be a new bank, and if so with what privileges? 

(4) should re-charter be allowed with modifications? and (5) 
what should be done in the future wdth the deposits? Comment- 
ing on his own questions Jackson indicated that he was against 
the continuation of the deposits. 

It was about this time, a little earlier or later, that he took 
the ad\dce of the cabinet as to whether it would be wiser to 
proceed against the bank by a writ of scire facias or to remove 
the deposits. They all agreed that a writ would be unwise: 
it would come at last to the supreme court, and no one could 
doubt how Marshall would decide it. 

The President soon knew the attitudes of the secretaries. 
Li\'ingston and Cass were for the bank, Barry and Taney were 
outspoken against it, Woodbury was not clear in his reply to the 
questions asked, but beUeved that if the bank continued it ought 
to have new directors and stockholders on the principle that 
the old set had received the benefits of it long enough. McLane 
took two months to write a long reply to each question. He 
thought the bank safe, the deposits in no danger, and he opposed 
removal. "The winding up of [the bank's] concerns without 
embarrassment to the country," he said, "is under the most 
favorable circumstances rather to be hoped than expected. 

'Kendall to McLane, March z6, 1833, Jackson Mss. 


It is not for the Government to add to the mherent difficulties 
of the task, but rather to aid in obviating them; not for the sake 
of the hank, but rather that of the community.^' On the report 
Jackson endorsed, "There are some strong points in this report 
all ably discussed. — A. J."' 

, It is hard to reconcile this outward appearance of delibera- 
tion with his inward suspicion and irritation. To intimates he 
spoke of a newly discovered combination between Clay and 
Calhoun which secured the recent tariff law in order that the 
revenues should be large and remain on deposit for the benefit 
of the bank. These utterances throw so much light on his 
intellectual quality that one of them is given at length: 

This combination wields the U. States Bank, and with its 
corrupting influence they calculate to carry everything, even its 
re-charter by two thirds of Congress, against the veto of the 
executive, if they can do this they calculate with certainty to 
put Clay or Calhoun in the Presidency — and I have no hesita- 
tion to say, if they can re-charter the Bank, with this hydra of 
corruption they will rule the nation, and its charter will be per- 
petual, and its corrupting influence destroy the liberty of our 
country. When I came into the administration it was said, 
and believed that I had a majority of seventy-five. Since then, 
it is now believed it has been bought over by loans, discounts 
&c., &c., until at the close of last session, it was said, there was 
two thirds for re-chartering it. It is believed that in the last 
two years, that it has loaned to members of congress and sub- 
sidized presses, at least half a million of dollars, the greater part 
of which will be lost to the Bank, and the stockholders, — and 
if such corruption exists in the green tree, what will be in the 

Such has been the scenes of corruption in our last congress, 
that I loath the corruption of human nature and long for retire- 
ment, and repose on the Hermitage. But until I can strangle 
this hydra of corruption, the Bank, I will not shrink from my 

>McLane to Jackson, May 20, 1833, Jackson Mss. 


duty, or my part. I think a system may be arranged mth the 
State Banks, with all the purposes of deposits, and facilities 
of the government in its fiscal concerns, which if it can, will 
withdraw the corrupting influence now exercised over congress 
by this monied institution which wiU have a healthy effect 
upon the legislation of congress and its morals, and prevent 
the continued drain of our specie from the western states to 
the East, and to Europe to pay the dividends. I am now en- 
gaged in this investigation, and I trust that a kind superin- 
tending providence will aid my deliberations and efforts.' 

Jackson had real doubts about the disposal of the deposits 
if they were removed. He asked several friends if they would 
be safe in the state banks. Kendall urged their entire security, 
and other advisers wrote to the same effect. Hugh L. White, 
of Tennessee, approved of the state banks and suggested that 
all the funds be deposited in one state bank — one of those in 
Virginia would serve — and let this bank distribute the money 
among other institutions and become responsible to the govern- 
ment for its safety. As to the time of removal, that ought to 
have been when the bank failed to call in the 3 per cents., but 
the opportunity having passed and congress having declared 
the institution solvent, public opinion would not now support 
removal. He advised that the matter be submitted to congress 
at its next session.' 

An appeal to congress was not the purpose of Jackson, and 
it was decided early in May to proceed with his plans. It was 
time for action, if the matter was to be accomplished before con- 
gress met in December. First, the cabinet was reorganized. 
Livingston went to Paris, scandalizing his friends by borrowing 
eighteen thousand dollars from the wicked bank before his 
departure. McLane took the state department, and Duane 

'Jackson to Cryer, April 7, 1833, American Historical Magazine, (N'ashville,) IV., 239. 
*White to Jackson, April 11, 1833; Thomas Ellicott to Jackson, April 6, 1833; Powhatan Ellis to Jackson 
July 2, 1S33, Jackson Mss. 


on June ist became secretary of the treasury. The President 
was now ready to proceed. He desired to set things going before 
June 6th, when he was to leave on a visit to New England. 

Duane was not told beforehand what was expected of him, 
but he was stupid if he did not have a pretty clear knowledge of 
the situation. For three months and a half he carried on a game 
of fence the object of which was to defer action. Jackson at 
first pressed him gently, showing for once forbearance and 
self-control. In the beginning he merely stated what was wanted, 
and when Duane demurred told him to take time and report 
on the matter when the trip to the North was over. Meanwhile 
he promised to send the secretary a statement of his views. 

The day he began his journey Jackson wrote Van Buren as 

I want relaxation from business and rest, but where can I 
get rest; I fear not on this earth. When I see you I have much 
to say to you. The Bank and change of deposits, have engrossed 
my mind much, is a perplexing subject, and I wish your opinion 
before I finally act. This is the only difiiculty I see now on our 
way. I must meet it fearlessly, as soon as I can digest a system 
that will insure a solvent currency.' 

Three days later KendaU also wrote to Van Buren. Jackson, 
he said, was decided about the necessity of removal, but was 
still debating as to the time and the new method of keeping the 
deposits. In anticipation of this visit Kendall sent Van Buren 
the following outline of a plan of procedure with reasons for 
action: Place the deposits with two banks in New York and 
with one each in Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and pos- 
sibly in Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans, 
with the understanding that these banks should collectively 
guarantee the safety of the funds, though they should place some 

iJacksoD to Vaa Buren, June 6, 1833, Van Buren Mss. 


of the money in such other banks as they should select with the 
approval of the treasury. This, it will be seen, was an ampli- 
fication of White's suggestion. 

Kendall further suggested the gradual withdrawal of funds 
then in the Bank of the United States. This, he said, ought to 
be done "soon enough to take the last dollar out of the United 
States Bank and present a new machine in complete operation 
before the next session of Congress" and it ought to begin before 
September at least. The bank, which had hitherto been on the 
defensive, would thus yield the advantage of that position to 
the government; the state banks, liberated from their fears of 
the "great Mammoth," would become friends of the govern- 
ment; and these facts, with the popularity of Jackson, would 
carry the country. 

In New York the President and vice-president went over the 
matter, and June 26th the former sent his decision to the secretary 
of the treasury. He outlined a plan for removal with the essen- 
tial features of Kendall's plan and inclosed a long exposition of 
the whole question, evidently from the pen of Kendall. He gave 
little more time to his journey. Illness prostrated him in Boston, 
and in a very feeble condition he set out northward but not 
until he attended Harvard commencement, where the president 
and corporation conferred upon him the honorary degree of 
doctor of laws. The honor was lost on its recipient, who cared 
nothing for such a compliment, and it angered his opponents, 
especially John Quincy Adams, who after that referred to 
him as "Doctor Andrew Jackson." At Concord, N. H., the 
traveler became so ill that he gave up the journey and 
returned to Washington as quickly as possible, arriving there 
July 4th. 

He soon invited Duane to an interview. The latter was 
recovering from a severe illness and arrived very weak and 
pale. Jackson met him warmly, took both his hands in his 


own, reproved him for coming out in such an enfeebled condi- 
tion, and told him to defer the interview until strength returned.* 
Duane willingly complied, and July 12th he delivered in person 
a long letter summarizing his reasons for not removing the deposits 
until the matter was referred to congress. On the fifteenth there 
was a conference in which the two men came no nearer together, 
but they preserved their good temper, Jackson protesting his 
admiration for the frankness of his secretary. But Duane 
was not really frank; for he still hesitated to say whether or not 
he would do what was expected of him. 

Several interviews followed," in which neither man convinced 
the other; but Duane was induced to appoint Kendall special 
agent to interview state banks and report on their availabiHty 
as places of deposit. He did this reluctantly, but said that if 
when he considered the report he was unable to order the removal 
of the deposits he would retire from the administration. This 
was the first real satisfaction Jackson got from the secretary, 
and shortly afterward he went to the Rip Raps, in Hampton 
Roads, for a month's rest. He was accompanied by Blair, 
and the two had daily conferences about the poHtical situation. 
Kendall meanwhile industriously visited the bankers of the cities 
to the northward. 

It was a critical period in the conflict. Duane was fighting 
for time; McLane and most of the cabinet supported him; and 
Van Buren himself, bound to his leader by every possible interest, 
could not bring himself to favor immediate action. It was at 
best but little time that could be gained before congress met: 
why not let it pass ? Many persons, whigs and democrats, felt 
that an order for removal would but make plainer the incompe- 
tence and passions of the President and in that way make surer 
the fight for ultimate re-charter. Would Jackson yield before 

'Van Buren, Autobiography, V., 902, Van Buren Mss. 

'For the facts in the Duane controversy reliance has been had chiefly on Duane's Narrative, where the letters 
are given on both sides. 


the fears of his friends or the evident glee of his opponents? 
The banlc men were extremely busy. Biddle exerted himself 
to send to Jackson an avalanche of petitions in favor of the 
bank. They came from all kinds of business organizations 
and reflected the general apprehension of disaster if the centre 
of the banking function were struck down. McLane was also 
active. He was in close touch with Duane, so that some men 
said he was the real head of two departments. He conceived a 
compromise, which about the middle of August he laid before 
Van Buren. He proposed that Jackson should assert executive 
control over the deposits, order their removal on January i, 1834, 
and announce it in his message to congress. He would thus avoid 
the imputation of ignoring congress. Kendall heard of the 
scheme on his travels and said he would accept it if McLane, 
Duane, and the bank democrats would agree to use their 
influence to remove the deposits when congress met; otherwise 
he feared a two thirds majority would order the continuation of 
the bank.' 

About this time Jackson appealed to Van Buren for advice. 
That cautious gentleman was in a difficult position. His well- 
known support of McLane in general caused him to be considered 
persistently friendly to the bank denocrais, ?ndso good a judge 
of events as James Gordon Bennett thought the plan to remove 
the deposits was hatched by Kendall to kiU Van Buren along 
with the bank.' Appealed to directly, the vice-president sought 
to avoid the responsibility of a direct answer. He knew nobody, 
he said in reply, whose opinion on such a matter was worth so 
much as that of Silas Wright, whom he had sent for; and later 
he would write more definitely. 

''This bank matter," he added, "is to be the great finale of 
your public hfe, and I feel on that account a degree of solicitude 

>Kendall to Jackson, August xt and 14, 1833, Jackson Mss. 
'Bennett to Van Buren, Siijtember 25 (2), 1833, Van Buren Mss. 


about it but little less than that which is inspired by the public 
considerations connected with it. I hope that we shall in the 
end see the matter in precisely the same light; but be that as it 
may, inasmuch as I know no man in the purity of whose inten- 
tion as it respects the public I have greater, if as great, confidence 
as I have in yours, and as I cannot but look upon you as incom- 
parably the most faithful, efficient, and disinterested friend I 
have ever had, so I go with you against the world, whether it 
respects men or things."' 

Wright duly reported that three of the leading democrats in 
Albany favored immediate removal, one advised waiting on 
congress, while he himself was for the plan suggested by McLane. 
Van Buren supported his friend's recommendation. Let all 
arrangements be made at once, he said, and especially the 
selection of the state banks of deposit, three of which ought to 
be in New York, and it would be better to have four there; for 
** those engaged in them, Hke the rest of their Fellow Creatures 
are very much governed by their own interests." ' 

To this Jackson replied in mild surprise that Van Buren had 
accepted the plan of McLane. It brought real alarm into the 
breast of the New Yorker, who, in company with Washington 
Irving, was then about to set out on a four weeks' trip to the 
Dutch settlements on the North River and Long Island. He 
wrote hastily to explain that he and Wright were not understood, 
that they gave their advice thinking that January ist began the 
fiscal year, but since they learned that October ist served for that 
purpose they were not so decided. In fact, they only preferred 
New Year's Day, but would yield to the wisdom of the President. 

And then came to Van Buren a more disquieting message. 
Jackson, beset by doubts, wanted his best lieutenant with him 
and asked him to come to Washington. It was a rude interrup- 
tion of the carefully planned visit to the Dutch. Van Buren 

iv^an &axm to Jackson, August 19, 1833, Jackson Mss. 

'Silas Wright to Van Buren, August 3Sth; Van Buren to Jackson, September 4, 1833; Jackson Mss. 


wanted to keep himself as free as possible from the commotion 
at the capital. His letter declining the suggestion also contains 
other interesting matter: 

" I shall be governed in that matter," he wrote, " altogether by 
your wishes. You know that the game of the opposition is 
to relieve the question, as far as they can, from the influence 
of your well-deserved popularity with the people, by attributing 
the removal of the Deposits to the soHcitations of myself, and 
the monied junto in N. York, and as it is not your habit to play 
into the enemies hands you will not I know request me to come 
down unless there is some adequate inducement for my so doing. 
With this consideration in view, you have only to suggest the 
time when you wish me to come down, and I will come forthwith. 
. . . And always remember that I think it an honor to 
share any portion of responsibility in this affair. 

"Allow me to say a word to you in regard to our friend McLane. 
He and I differ toto coelo about the Bank, and I regret to find 
that upon almost all public questions the bias of his early feel- 
ings is apt to lead us in different directions. Still I entertain 
the strongest attachment for him, and have been so long in the 
habit of interceding in his behalf that I cannot think of giving 
it up, as long as I believe it in my power to serve him, and his. 
From what passed between us at Washington, I think it possible, 
that he may, (if Mr. Duane resigns) think himself obliged to 
tender his resignation also, which if accepted would inevitably 
ruin him. Your friends would be obliged to give him up polit- 
ically and when stript of his influence his former FederaUst 
friends would assuredly visit their [illegible] mortifications at 
his success upon him in the shape of exultations at his fall. I 
am quite sure that if ever he tenders his resignation he will 
nevertheless be anxious to remain if he can do so with honor, and 
if you should say in reply — that you will accept his resignation 
if he insists upon it but that you confide in him &c., notwithstand- 
ing the difference between you upon this point, and that if he 
could consistently remain in the administration you would be 
gratified, I think he would be induced to withdraw it."' 

'Van Buren to Jackson, September 7, ri, 14, 1833, Jackson Mss. 



Jackson at this time was much influenced by a report from the 
government directors m Philadelphia. Before the bill to re- 
charter was introduced, when final action was still doubtful, 
Biddle was courteous to these directors, but afterward his atti- 
tude changed. In the beginning of 1833, when new committees 
were made up, no government director was appointed to a stand- 
ing committee, although later in the year two found places on 
minor committees. Saner men like Webster advised against 
this policy, but Biddle's attitude was thorough.* Early in April 
Kendall communicated to the government directors Jackson's 
desire that they should report on the condition of the bank. 
They replied that the books were not open to directors generally 
and that they could do nothing unless the secretary of the 
treasury gave them authority to inspect individual accounts.' 
But April 22nd they sent a report showing that Gales and Seaton 
had borrowed a large sum on the security of a contract to print 
the Congressional Debates, for which the money was not yet 
appropriated, but which would without doubt be paid. The 
loan was technically irregular, but it was reasonably safe. 

This report did not warrant action, but August 19th the direct- 
ors, four of them now cooperating, sent another report. They 
at last had access to the expense account and reported a large 
increase in recent years, chiefly for printing pamphlets and 
other articles in defence of the bank. They cited a resolution 
of the board, March 11,1831, authorizing Biddle to print what he 
chose to defend the bank, and under which many items were 
charged without vouchers. This, as the directors said, enabled 
the bank's president to use the whole press of the country to 
aid him in his fight, and without accountabihty, if he chose to 
go that far. As a matter of fact Biddle spent in this way without 
vouchers until the end of 1834, twenty-nine thousand and 

'Catterall, Second Bank, 3og. 

^Sullivan, Wager and Gilpin to JacksoD. April 8, 1833, Jackson Mss. 



six hundred dollars, a sum which seemed very large to 
the people of the day. It made a deep impression on the 
President, as his paper read in the cabinet on September 
1 8th' shows. 

Early in September Jackson was back in Washington pressing 
Duane for final action; and as the secretary still held that con- 
gress should be consulted the President hesitated no longer. 
Before going southward he told Taney to be prepared to take 
the treasury department, and he now proceeded with 
his plans.'' 

.-. While at the Rip Raps he dictated his reasons for remov- 
ing the deposits and sent the paper to Taney for revision. Under 
his hand it became a proper state paper and not a "combattive 
Bulletin," as Van Buren pronounced the first draft.' September 
17th the President took the opinion of the cabinet; it was as in the 
preceding March, except that Woodbury came over definitely 
to the President. Next day they were summoned to hear the 
statement of his reasons for removal. It became known as 
"The Paper read to the Cabinet on the Eighteenth of September" 
and contained the assertion that the deposits ought to be removed 
on October ist. Duane must now determine what he would do, 
since Jackson's position amounted to an order. He took a night 
to consider and announced that he would not order the transfer 
or resign. He preferred dismissal, thinking he would stand 
better with the country and thought himself justified in ignoring 
his promise to resign. Through five days Jackson sought to 
change the decision of the secretary, displaying at the same time 
the greatest personal consideration for his feelings. Nothing 
shook Duane's decision, and September 23rd he received a formal 
note of dismissal, the draft of which exists in Taney's handwrit- 

'The reports of the directors, April 22nd and August igth, are in Congressional Debates, Volume X., 
part 4. pages 69-74. 
=Taney to Jackson, August s. 1833, Jackson Mss. 
•Van Buren, Autobiography, V., 216. 


ing.' On the same day the attorney-general was authorized to 
take charge of the treasury. ^ 

Administration friends were now concerned lest McLane and 
Cass should feel compelled to resign also. They dreaded another 
explosion in the cabinet, and when they were discussing Taney's 
copy of the paper read to the cabinet they suggested as much 
to Jackson, who said he cared not; they could do no mischief; 
but that he was willing to assume the responsibility, and he 
added a clause to that effect to the paper before him. This, 
says Blair, is the origin of the oft-mentioned responsibility clause. 
When Taney read it later he was puzzled to know how it got 
in and, when Blair told of its origin, he said: "This has saved 
Cass and McLane; but for it they would have gone out and been 
ruined. As it is, they will remain and do us much mischief.'* 

When McLane and Cass consulted Jackson on the 24th he 
said they ought to be satisfied with his assumption oi respon- 
sibility unless they wished to go into -opposition. They gave 
no definite answer for some days and in the meantime he 
cast about for their successors. He desired, as he said, men who 
did not think they had "a right to transact the business of the 
departments adversely to what the Executive believes to be the 
good of the country. ... I hope for the best; but let what 
will come, the sun will continue to rise in the East and set in 
the West, and I trust in a kind Providence to guide and direct 
me and in a virtuous people's support."* 

Taney's apprehensions were groundless. September 26th he 
ordered that government funds henceforth be deposited in 
specified state banks, and immediately came such an outpouring 
of wrath that democrats generally, bank and anti-bank men, 
were driven into solid formation. McLane and Cass offered 
their resignations and Jackson, in the words suggested by Van 

ijackson Mss. 

^Van Buren, Autobiography, VI., 3, Van Buren Mss. 

'Jackson to Van Buren, September 34, 1833, Mss. Library of Congress. 


Buren, refused to accept them. Benjamin F. Butler, intimate 
friend and law partner of the vice-president, according to a 
plan previously formed by that far-seeing adviser, was given the 
vacant attorney-generalship.' 

The meeting of congress, December 2nd, saw the beginning of 
an angry struggle. The message pronounced the bank "a 
permanent electioneering engine" which sought "to control 
pubHc opinion through the distress of some and the fears of 
others." Biddle, it said, was curtailing discounts as the pubHc 
funds were withdrawn, and this was done in order to force 
restoration of the deposits and ultimate re-charter. The message 
acknowledged that the President in regard to the bank did not 
agree with the recent session of congress, for whose opinions 
generally it protested respect; and it left the issue to the judg- 
ment of the members of congress fresh from the people. The 
style of the message was Hke that of Taney. 

The secretary of the treasury reported at length his reasons 
for removing the deposits. He was the ablest man in the anti- 
bank faction, and his report is in pleasing contrast with the 
loose reiterations of suspicions and assumptions which came so 
plentifully from his colleagues. He clearly ignored Jackson's 
contention that the deposits were not safe in the bank but 
justified removal on grounds of expediency. By the sixteenth 
section of the charter he had fuU discretion to act as he saw fit. 
He must report his reasons to congress, but that body was not 
given the right to pass on them. The power to order restoration 
with the consent of the President was, however, implied in the 
general control of congress over the pubhc funds. 

The whigs and the bank, now thoroughly united, struck 
back at Jackson as they could. They believed pubhc opinion 
was outraged by removing the deposits and felt warranted in 

'Van Buren to Jackson, September 14, 1833, Jackson Mss. See also above, U., and Parton, Lije flf 
Jackson, III., 501-503. 


adopting a policy of minor restrictions which were, in fact, but 
expressions of their anger. By a vote of twenty-five to twenty 
they refused to confirm the renomination of thfe government 
directors, whom the bank party called spies. Biddle used his 
influence to secure this rejection,' but Jackson renominated 
the directors, and they were again rejected. The senate showed 
its displeasure further by repudiating Taney's nomination 
as secretary, and in 1835 they refused to confirm his nomination 
to a seat on the supreme bench, although in March, 1836, when 
the administration was somewhat stronger in the senate, he was 
by a strictly party vote confirmed as chief justice in succession 
to John Marshall. It was Taney's fortune to take an unpopular 
side in two important crises, but his mental acumen cannot be 
denied. During the rest of the administration he was the Presi- 
dent's chief adviser and wrote for him many state papers, 
among them the Farewell Address, 

The session of congress beginning in December, 1833, was a 
stormy one. In the house Jackson had a majority; in the senate 
he was in the minority, and his opponents embraced Clay, 
Calhoun, and Webster. Over six hundred petitions, chiefly 
from the trading and manufacturing towns of the seaboard, 
were sent to congress in reference to existing business distress. 
Most of them admitted that distress existed. Those prepared 
by the whigs claimed it was due to the removal of the deposits, 
and those which the democrats forwarded said that it came 
through the designs of Biddle. There can be no doubt that the 
poHticians' pictures of distress increased the feeling of panic 
beyond its natural limits. 

As deputation after deputation came to ask Jackson to restore 
the deposits he lost his temper. Let them go to Biddle, 
he said, and ask him to stop contraction. As for Jackson, he 
would never consent to re-charter the "mammoth of corruption 

>Catterall, Second Bank, 309. 



he had his foot on it and would not rehnquish his advantage; 
sooner than favor restoration of the deposits or re-charter he 
would suffer ten Spanish inquisitions. Returning delegations 
reported much like this in reply to their requests. The tone was 
enough like his private letters to make it seem very probable, 
and after a while, probably by the advice of friends, he denied 
himself to all petitioners. Announcement of his furious replies 
produced disgust among thoughtful people, but such persons 
were arrayed against Jackson long before that. It pleased the 
masses to know that their hero would not relax his hold on the 

Early in the session Clay, acceptea leader of the bank men, 
got the senate to call for the paper read before the cabinet on 
September i8th. Jackson refused on the ground that the senate 
had no right to call for a paper submitted to the cabinet. He 
meant no disrespect to the senate, he said, whose functions he 
would ever respect, but he would preserve the independence 
of the executive as a coordinate branch of the government.' 
It was a very firm reply, as dignified as the request itself, 
and it left Clay v/ithout ground of protest. The criticism that 
it was the act of a despot is baseless, since Jackson acted clearly 
within his constitutional rights. Nor is there force in the charge 
that he violated the secrecy of the cabinet in publishing the 
document. The President is not bound to keep secret his own 
utterances to the cabinet, especially in the case under consider- 
ation, where the utterance was a general defense of an action 
vitally interesting to the public. 

December 26, 1833, Clay introduced two resolutions, one 
against Jackson's and the other against Taney's part in removing 
the deposits. After much debate they were amended and 
passed in the following form: "Resolved, (i) That the Presi- 
dent, in the late executive proceedings in relation to the public 

acp I. .. .-% 

'Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, III., 36. 


revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not 
conferred by the Constitution and the laws, but in derogation 
of both. (2) That the reasons assigned by the Secretary for 
the removal are unsatisfactory and insufficient." They were 
passed, the latter on February 5th, by a vote of twenty-eight to 
eighteen, the former on March 28th, the vote being twenty-six 
to twenty. 

The resolution against Taney was to be expected, but how 
could that against Jackson be justified? Clay fell back on the 
phraseology of the law of 1789 creating the treasury department, 
in which congress, desiring to keep within its own hands the 
finances of the nation, assigned to the secretary specific duties 
and required him to report to congress, and not to the President, 
as other secretaries reported. Clay, therefore, held that the 
secretary of the treasury was the agent of congress, that under 
congress he had sole control of the deposits, and that the Presi- 
dent's interference was unwarranted. The argument was weak 
because the President had power to remove the secretary of the 
treasury and congress knew it when it gave the latter the power 
to withdraw the deposits. The secretary, therefore, must exercise 
his control over the deposits subject to the power of the President 
to remove him, and congress must have intended this to be, or 
it would have provided otherwise in the charter. 

To this attack Jackson sent a protest' in which he pronounced 
the senate's resolution unconstitutional. It was, he said, really 
a judicial act analagous to impeachment, for which the consti- 
tution provided a procedure. The argument was not convinc- 
ing, but it served to introduce a long defense of all the Presi- 
dent had done in the matter of removal, and it contained bodily 
copies of state resolutions approving his course. It was designed 
for an appeal to the people. The senate refused to enter it on 
the records, which gave his friends an opportunity to say he was 

'Richardson, Messages and Papers, III., 6g-94. 


not only condemned without a hearing, but his protest in defense 
of his conduct was treated with contempt. 

The composition of this protest illustrates Jackson's method 
of using his assistants. Butler worked on the legal side of it, 
Taney was worn out with other cares and probably did Httle, 
and to Kendall was assigned the task of presenting arguments 
of a pohtical nature. But neither subordinate was left unaided. 
Jackson worked out each phase of the protest and sent it to the 
proper man for review and suggestion.' 

When these resolutions passed the senate it seemed to many 
that Jackson's defeat was sure. Some of his friends were doubt- 
ful and his enemies were jubilant. But he did not falter. He 
looked to the approval of the people, whose feelings he under- 
stood, because he was their representative. Although arguments 
were made on each side of the controversy then waging, it was a 
battle of passions, and in it his strong spirit was at its best. 
Every charge of calamity from the course he had pursued could 
be turned by ingenious statement into a charge of evils due 
to the bank; and the public mind was not sober enough to weigh 
the nice points in the case. 

Jackson was not blindly guessing when he expressed confidence 
in the people. The election of 1832 showed how much they 
trusted him. As Van Buren said many years afterward, nothing 
but his popularity could have carried the people in the contest 
against the strongly intrenched bank. The congress which met 
in December, 1833, showed the effect. Although the senate, 
less responsive to popular will, was for the bank, the house was 
strongly against it. It showed its temper by reelecting Ste- 
venson, a thorough Jackson man, speaker, and by substituting 
James Knox Polk, equally committed to Jackson, as chairman 
of the ways and means committee, for McDuffie, Calhoun's 

'Jackson to Kendall, no date, but while this protest was being prepared. Of. Cincinnati Commercial, Feb- 
ruary 4. 1879. 


devoted agent. Removing the deposits completely identified 
the issue with Jackson, and Polk's aggressive policy forced 
members to support it or appear before the people as opponents 
of the President. Thus, while the senate passed a resolution 
for restoring the deposits, Polk was able to carry in the house 
four resolutions reported from his committee to the following 
purport: (i) That the bank should not be re-chartered, carried 
by a vote of one hundred and thirty-two to eighty-two; (2) that 
the deposits should not be restored, one hundred and eighteen 
to one hundred and three; (3) that state banks should keep 
the public funds, one hundred and seventeen to one hundred and 
five; and (4) that a select committee be appointed on the bank 
and on the commercial crisis, one hundred and seventy-one to 
forty-two. The margin of safety was not large, but it showed a 
great change in sentiment since 1832, when the charter passed 
the house by a vote of one hundred and seven to eighty-five. 

Meanwhile the advocates of the bank showed weak points. 
In the first place, their opposition was partly factious. When 
the commercial panic became acute the bank held tightly to its 
funds, although it was evident that they were not immediately 
needed. A mild spirit at the time would have done it much 
credit in the public eye. Some of its friends took this as evidence 
that it had too much power. Biddle, who was cautious and 
rash by turns, now meant that the country should have enough 
of Jackson's financiering. "The relief," he said," to be useful and 
permanent, must come from congress and from congress alone. 
If that body will do its duty, relief will come — if not, the bank 
feels no vocation to redress the wrongs inflicted by these miserable 
people. Rely upon that. ThisworthyPresident thinks that because 
he has scalped Indians and imprisoned judges he is to have his 
way with the bank. He is mistaken.'" This was in February, 1834. 

^Catterall, The Second Bank, 339. The course of the bank in this connection is discussed in Catterall's 
chapter XIII. 


Moreover, the senate majority was rent by dissension. Clay, 
Calhoun, and Webster each had his own plan of action. The 
last mentioned introduced a bill to extend the charter six years. 
Calhoun, thinking the time too short, moved to extend twelve 
years, but Clay would accept neither, and forced the others to 
inactivity in order to prevent open dissension. He was deter- 
mined to lead or oppose the combination. 

His triumph in the resolutions to censure Jackson was a barren 
victory. Already the country was going against the bank. 
People were getting accustomed to the financial distress and the 
poignancy of suffering was passing.' February 26th, Governor 
Wolf, of Pennsylvania, a consistent democrat, formerly friendly 
to the bank, sent a message to the legislature charging the bank 
with producing the pressure in the money market " to accomplish 
certain objects indispensable to its existence." ' The party in 
that state came to his support to the dismay of Biddle. In 
New York at Governor Marcy's suggestion the state issued six 
millions of stock to be loaned to the banks to relieve their embar- 

At this point Biddle was face to face with a revolt by the 
merchants, especially in New York. They formed a committee 
which said that if he did not resume discounts they would publish 
their conviction that he ought to do so. He hesitated, but at 
the end of March announced that loans would be resumed for a 
month. Immediately the pubHc declared that this action showed 
that contraction had not been necessary, and the bank was 
never able to meet the charge. Men thought, all but the out- 
spoken bank, men, that Biddle had gone into a conflict with 
Andrew Jackson using for weapon his ability to create a money 
pressure, and they concluded that abandoning the weapon in- 
dicated his defeat. 

•Catterall, Second Bank, 336-337. 

*yii\ti. Register, XLVl., 26. 

•Hammond, History of New York, II., 441; Alexander, Political History of New York, I., 400. 


The courage of the anti-bank men was admirable, their general- 
ship was excellent, but their methods were not always commend- 
able. Prejudice, ignorance, and selfishness abounded rather 
more than on the other side. For example, after denouncing 
the bank for creating distress, they declared when it resumed 
discounting that this was only done to create another oppor- 
tunity to inflict a pressure.' Of the same nature was the plan 
early in 1834 of some old bank men and some of Jackson's 
supporters in New York to have a new bank for their own 
advantage. Van Buren would not countenance the scheme. 
It would have been unwise to crush one bank to build up another 
in which administration favorites had part, and popular indigna- 
tion over such a thing must have fallen heavily on the vice- 
president, since his immediate supporters were in the scheme.' 

The congressional elections of 1834 were made to turn on the 
bank question. The most excited feeling prevailed in the 
country; and Biddle, fearing personal violence, filled his house 
with armed men as the election approached. He was not 
molested, but the election went against him by a large majority, 
and the fate of the bank was sealed. The institution was so 
dead that some whig politicians began to rejoice that they would 
not again have to carry its weight of unpopularity. Its later 
history is not a part of this story.' 

The shifting of public opinion was utilized by the administra- 
tion leaders in the fight for the expunging resolutions. When 
Clay's motion of censure passed, Benton gave notice that he 
would move to expunge it and in the following session redeemed 
his promise. Clay charged Jackson with assuming power 
illegally, and Benton moved to expunge on the ground that the 
charge was false, unjust, and passed without giving the accused 

'Polk to Jackson, August 23, 1834, Jackson Mss. 

'Van Buren to Thomas Jegcrson (of New York), January is, 1834; J. Hoyt to Van Buren, January 39, 
February 4, 1834, Van Buren Mss. 
'For an account of the closing of the bank, see Catterall, Second Bank, chapter XV. 


an opportunity to be heard. The resolution was, therefore, an 
indictment of the senatorial majority, the court of trial being 
the people. The only overt act to be alleged in support of Clay's 
charge was the dismissal of Duane, which was not unconstitu- 
tional. Benton's indictment, therefore, was essentially true, 
and Clay's impetuosity had placed his party in a bad position. 
The democrats made an issue of redressing the wrongs against 
Jackson, the people were rallied, state legislatures voted instruc- 
tions to senators, and senators gave place to others who came 
fresh from the convinced people until the complexion of the 
senate was changed. As Benton said in announcing his purpose 
to keep the matter before the people until the expunging reso- 
lutions were passed, the decision was with the American people. 

He thought he was beginning a contest of several years, but 
opinion developed so fast that victory came in less than three. 
December 26, 1836, the third anniversary of the day on which 
the condemnatory resolutions were introduced, he announced 
that retribution was about to be taken. After reading an exult- 
ing preamble he moved that black lines be drawn around the 
entry in the journal of the obnoxious resolutions and across it 
written the words, "Expunged by order of the Senate." The 
motion came up for adoption on January i6th. Foreseeing a long 
night session he provided in a committee room an abundance of 
hams, turkeys, roast beef, wines, coffee, and other food to sustain 
his friends through the struggle. His own friends said little, 
but Calhoun, Clay, and Webster in mournful speeches protested 
against what was about to be done. It was, they said, in viola- 
tion of the constitution, which required a correct journal of the 
senate's proceedings. The resolution was carried by a vote of 
twenty-four to nineteen.' 

Benton's florid language does not hide the true meaning of the 
fight. Clay's initiative was wrong: he sought to crush Jackson 

•Benton, Thirty Years' View, I., S24-SSO, S4S-S49, 717-727. 


and thought it would discredit a man to have the majority of 
the senate pronounce him guilty. The time had come when 
the people did not follow a senate vote blindly. Benton made 
them see the personal feeling in the attack of Clay, Webster, and 
Calhoun. Although his appeal contained both passion and 
misstatement, it rested on truth. The old school of politi- 
cians, Clay among them, were apt to think too little of the 
average man's abihty to understand their real motives. 

The expunging resolutions chiefly concerned the welfare of 
the party. For Jackson they were important as representing 
the end of his bank war. The revived nationaHsm of 181 5-1820 
expressed itself in the tariff, the movement for internal improve- 
ments, and the Second Bank. They were now all checked, and, 
besides that, the erratic desire for decentralization in South Caro- 
Hna was suppressed, and the tendency to aristocratic institutions 
in the hands of the conservative repubhcans was replaced by 
a vigorous and well-organized democratic party. AU these were 
the achievements of Jackson and the few men who supported 
him. They were the chief results of his administration. Prob- 
ably no other President in time of peace has effected such impor- 
tant steps in our political history. But they are not Jackson's 
only achievements. The period of his power is also marked by 
notable events in foreign affairs and by such domestic actions as 
his Indian and land policies, all of which are yet to be examined. 



The phases of Jackson's administration thus far discussed 
relate to domestic politics. Of the other phases the most 
important is foreign affairs; and in this field it will be nec- 
essary to observe his dealings with Great Britian, France, and 

The West India Trade: When Jackson became President 
England persisted in her ancient poHcy of exploiting trade with 
her colonies for the benefit of her own merchants. The West 
India trade, closed to the United States when they became an 
independent nation, was still denied to them after much nego- 
tiating. In the treaty of Ghent, 1 8 14, no relaxation was secured, 
nor were concessions obtained during Monroe's administrations. 
John Quincy Adams, secretary of state, whose vigorous policy 
served well against a nation as weak as Spain, could wring noth- 
ing from the mistress of the seas. The situation was not im- 
proved when he became President with the aggressive Clay for 
secretary of state. Retaliation succeeded here no better than 
in the days of Jefferson. ^ 

The development of this controversy was as follows: After 
due efforts at a diplomatic settlement Monroe in 18 18 resorted 
to retaliation. At his suggestion congress closed American 
ports to British ships coming from the ports not regularly open 
to American ships. We thus meant to put England in our ports 
on tne same footing in regard to the West India trade as she 
insisted on allowing us in the island ports. It was a hardship 
to the planters in the islands, for they found it convenient to 



give themselves chiefly to sugar raising and to rely on the 
United States for their food supply. 

Great Britain was anxious to save the planters and opened 
Halifax to American ships. This, she thought, would draw to 
that place the American products which had formerly gone to 
the islands and that they would be shipped thence to their 
former destination in her own ships. We met her move by 
tightening our own system. We forbade the exportation of 
our products to the West Indies in British ships and the impor- 
tation of products from that place unless they came directly. 
These regulations, it must be remembered, did not concern our 
direct trade with England, which was not affected on either side. 

In announcing the latter restriction our minister said we 
would modify it if England would make reciprocal concessions; 
but the British ministry treated the proposition with indifference. 
They soon had reason to change their views. The West Indian 
planters depended on the United States for certain supplies; 
and if they could not have them legally they would have them 
illegally. Smuggling, ever an attendant on the navigation 
laws, now became worse than before, and the British government 
could not stop it. Law-abiding planters protested against the 
situation, and in 1822 restrictions were made somewhat lighter. 
We were allowed to carry certain products to certain West 
India ports on paying colonial tariffs there plus 10 per cent, 
discriminating duty in favor of the Canadian and other British 
ports northeast of us. 

In reply Monroe opened our ports to British ships bringing 
West India products, but he imposed on them a differential 
tonnage duty of one dollar a ton and a differential impost of 
10 per cent. This concession did not concern our trade with the 
colonies on our northeast. The restrictions Monroe retained 
were thought to equalize those England retained, but to England 
they seemed excessive and she issued an order to collect a dif- 


ferential tonnage duty of four shillings sixpence on American 
ships in the West Indies. Thus the evidences of a relaxing 
policy in 1822 disappeared in 1823, and the contest went on as 
formerly. Each side stuck to its position, and although attempts 
were made at a settlement through diplomacy the situation was 
imchanged for two years. 

Finally, July 5, 1825, Parliament passed a new act which 
was a still further concession. Adams pronounced it ambiguous, 
but it offered us the same rights in the West Indies that we gave 
to English vessels in our waters, provided we accepted the offer 
in one year/ Congress failed to meet this offer, partly because 
the opposition flouted anything the administration was supposed 
to desire, and partly because the rising spirit of protection was 
instinctively against any suggestion of lower rates. 

The President thought the affair could be settled by negotia- 
tion and sent Gallatin to London to see what could be done. He 
arrived after the year of grace expired and was met with news of 
a recent order to exclude our ships from the West Indies. By no 
persuasion could he get Canning, now Foreign Secretary, to open 
the door again which some months earlier we might have 
freely entered.' 

British politics were then in a state of change, and the law of 
1825 grew out of a wave of reform. The years 1822-1825 were 
very prosperous ones: revenues increased, taxes were reduced 
and made more logical, trade expanded, and the merchants were 
too well pleased to be intolerant of change. Behind the reforms 
of the day was a group of liberal men led by Huskisson and 
Robinson. They planned large things, but in December, 1825, 
the bubble of prosperity burst, the buoyancy of reform receded, 
and hope of changing the country's colonial trade relations went 

'For documents connected with this phase of the controversy, see American State Papers, Foreign, VI.; 
84, 214-247. See also, Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 184. 
^American State Papers, Foreign, VI., 246-266, 294; Adams, Life of Gallatin , 615-620. 


with it. Canning, who relished a policy of force if he 
thought it justifiable, remained obdurate until his death in 

The position of Adams was characteristic. It was, also, just 
that which his father, minister to England in 1785, took when the 
West India trade first became a matter of negotiation after the 
revolution. He would convince England that her navigation 
laws were unwise; and England would not be convinced. He 
would make her see her true interests: Canning thought it 
humiliating in the mistress of the seas to be instructed by America. 
Loyalty to the national dignity and a willingness to hector his 
opponents came naturally to the rigid New Englander. We are 
not surprised that he closed his account of the affair by saying: 
"It becomes not the self-respect of the United States either to 
solicit gratuitous favors or to accept as the grant of a favor 
that for which an ample equivalent is exacted."' They 
were fine words, but they were not exactly appUcable to the 

In the campaign of 1828 Adams was reproached for his failure 
to accept England's offer, and his successor felt obliged to try 
to undo the wrong which was alleged to have been done. Mc- 
Lane, minister to England, was impressed with the opportunity 
he had to achieve important results. He was very ambitious 
and saw in the business the pathway to the highest hopes. His 
instructions gave him every incentive to boldness. After 
reviewing the progress of the affair since 181 5 Van Buren said 
plainly we had made three mistakes : one in denying that England 
should levy protecting duties in her colonies, another in requiring 
that British ships from the colonies to the United States should 
return thither, whereas England allowed our ships leaving her 
colonies to go anywhere, and another in faiUng to accept the offer 

'Walpole, History of England, II., 151-161, 168, 181-193. 
•Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 383. 


of 1825. McLane was to communicate as much of this to 
British minister as he saw fit.* 

We must not criticise Van Buren too severely for this attitude. 
The three errors he named are taken strictly from three which 
Gallatin announced in one of his first despatches from England 
in 1826.* Later on Gallatin added other reasons for the un- 
happy feeling over the question, but he thought the errors of 
our government very important. Van Buren, therefore, was 
only acknowledging openly what another had admitted in 
confidence to his superior. 

But Van Buren 's greatest departure from conventional 
methods of negotiating was his way of assuring England that 
his offer was reliable and justified. Our former policy, he said, 
had been submitted to the American people and by them rejected; 
and the present government now spoke with authority. "It 
should be sufficient," he added, "that the claims set up by them, 
and which caused the interruption of the trade in question, have 
been explicitly abandoned by those who first asserted them, and 
are not revived by their successors." 

Van Buren's diplomacy was direct, that of his predecessor was 
formal. He undoubtedly violated the dignified conventions of 
the service, but he gave a clear and sensible turn to the business 
in hand. His practicality is shown in the form in which he 
would have the settlement embodied. The former adminis- 
tration had preferred to act through diplomacy and a treaty, 
he said; and the English government had stood for an act of 
the legislature. But he was wiUing to use either method, as 
was thought most convenient. He says that McLane himself, 
looking through the case before his departure for England, 
concluded that the only way to re-open it after England's sum- 
mary decision in 1826 was to urge a change in American opinion 

'McLane's correspondence went to Congress, January 3, 1831, and was published in Executive Documents, 
aist congress, 2nd session, number 34, page 64. 
•Adams, Life of Gallatin, 617. 


and asked permission to proceed on that basis. Jackson con- 
sented and McLane wrote his own instructions to that intent.* 

The British government received the American advance 
cordially, but Canada protested loudly. She had advantages 
in the West Indies which would be destroyed by the proposed 
agreement. Her protest delayed action several months, but 
Van Buren had private assurances that matters went well. 
Jackson's first annual message also helped to make yielding 
easy. "With Great Britain, alike distinguished in peace and 
v/ar," said the message, ''we may look forward to years of 
peaceful, honorable and elevated competition. Everything in 
the condition and history of the two nations is calculated 
to inspire sentiments of mutual respect and to carry convic- 
tion to the minds of both that it is their policy to preserve the 
most cordial relations." ' 

But the American position was not altogether conciliating. 
While it abandoned the contention of the past, it announced a 
positive attitude for the future. "Whatever be the disposition 
which His Majesty's government may now be pleased to make 
of this subject," said McLane to Lord Aberdeen, "it must 
necessarily be final, and indicative of the poHcy to which it will 
be necessary, in future, to adapt the commercial relations of 
each country." One who knevv^ Jackson could not doubt the 
meaning of these words. 

Waiting without results at last began to exhaust the President's 
patience, and April lo, 1830, he wrote Van Buren as folio vvs: 

We ought to be prepared to act promptly in case of a failure. 
We have held out terms of reconciling our differences with 
that nation of the most frank and fair terms. Terms which, 
if England really had a wish to harmonize, and act fairly towards 
us, ought to have been met in that spirit of frankness and candor 

iVan Buren, Autobiography, V., 6i, Van Buren Mss. 
^Richardson, Ueaagts and Papers oj the Pruidenls, II., 443. 


and friendship with which we proposed them. These terms 
being rejected our national character and honor requires, that 
we should now act with that promptness and energy due to our 
national character. Therefore let a communication be pre- 
pared for Congress recommending a non-intercourse law between 
the United States and Canady, and a sufficient number of cutters 
commanded by our naval officers and our own midshipmen made 
revenue officers and a double set on every vessel &c., &c. This 
adopted and carried into effect forthwith and in six months 
both Canady and the West India Islands will feel, and sorely 
feel, the effects of their folly in urging their government to 
adhere to our exclusion from the West India trade. Will Mr. 
Van Buren think of these suggestions and see me early on Monday 
to confer upon this subject? ' 

April 6, 1830, after six months of waiting, McLane hinted to 
Van Buren that an act of congress might pave the way for success, 
and May 29th such a law was passed. It authorized the President 
to grant the necessary privileges to British ships as soon as he 
knew that England would give us similar terms.' This was 
followed by complete success in London. The British restric- 
tions were removed, and October 5, 1830, Jackson issued a 
proclamation opening the trade with the islands.' 

The arrangement merely opened the American and West 
India ports respectively to the ships of the other nations without 
restriction as to tonnage or place of departure. It did not 
lessen the right of either nation to lay imposts in the islands or at 
home. Under this feature of the case the British government 
imposed such duties that the American trade suffered greatly, 
and opponents of Jackson declared that the boasted diplomatic 
triumph of the administration was as nothing. But we never 
could hope to prevent another nation from collecting duties, 
most of all when we were committed to our own tariff policy; 

>Jacl:soa Mts. 

'Peters. UniUd States Statutes at Largt, III., 410. 

■Richaidsoa, ilissagts and Papers 0/ the Prtsidents, II., 497. 


and we had removed an unpleasant source of international 

Opponents of Jackson have said that it was the failure of 
the British colonial pohcy more than diplomatic ability that won 
the settlement of 1830. On the other hand, the British minis- 
try was more disposed to relax in 1825 than in 1830. This was 
partly due to the strong movement for economic reform in the 
former year. In the latter the whole kingdom was still alive 
for reform, but of a political kind. So far as the break-up of 
the old system of restriction was concerned, all was done in 1825 
that was done later. The task was to remove from the minds 
of the ministry the determination to resent the tone of American 
diplomacy, and that was done by the direct and practical 
methods under Jackson's direction. 

The French Spoliation Claims. Since 18 15 American citizens 
had claims against France for destruction of property under 
Napoleon. Like the matter of West India trade, they long 
encumbered our diplomacy, and it was wise to have them settled. 
W. C. Rives, of Virginia, who went to France as minister, was 
instructed to settle the claims if possible. European nations 
had similar claims in 181 5, but they were soon paid: Americans 
felt the sting which their own position thus involved. 

Rives arrived in Paris in the autumn of 1829, just after the 
Martignac ministry was replaced by the reactionary Polignac, a 
change which he thought unpropitious for his hopes. Polignac's 
first position was that France could not pay for Napoleon's 
spoliations, but when reminded that she paid other similar claims 
and that the United States should insist that the nation was 
responsible for the acts of the de facto government he promised to 
look into the matter. 

Rives pressed the subject steadily, and two months later the 
ministry agreed that they ought to pay for American property 
destroyed at sea, but were not liable for seizures under the Berlin 


and Milan decrees. Rives took this for a favorable sign, but soon 
learned that the minister was bent on delay. A reference in 
Jackson's first annual message to a possible "collision" with 
France was construed as offensive, and it took much patience 
on Rives's part to smooth matters. Finally, on February 12, 1830, 
PoHgnac admitted that the Berlin and Milan decrees grossly 
"' ; violated the law of nations, but said it would bankrupt the coun- 
try to pay all the damages from Napoleon's violations of that 
law. Under the pressure of Rives's continued demands he agreed 
that he might be willing to pay for the seizures at sea and for 
some of those under the offensive decrees. Rives disclaimed 
any special desire to establish his theory and said he would 
be satisfied with payment for losses, whatever ground it was 
placed on. It was agreed that a project be submitted to the 
king and ministry for a commission to consider the claims 
specifically, and a few days later it was announced that the 
plan was approved. 

At this point the chambers met in the beginning of March. 
They were bitterly opposed to the king for many illegal actions ; 
paying the American claims was unpopular because it would 
necessitate increased taxes; and the opposition used the occasion 
to weaken the government with the people of France. Rives, 
deeply alarmed, called on Lafayette, still a firm friend of America, 
who by his influence was able to secure the silence or moderation 
of several important newspapers, and thus the danger was 

But immediately another obstacle appeared in certain counter 
claims France brought forward. The eighth article of the 
Louisiana purchase treaty provided that French ships should 
have the privileges of the most favored nation in American 
ports, and damages were now asked because losses were incurred 
in the troublous times of Jefferson and Madison. It was a 
strained interpretation, but Rives saw it would embarrass the 


negotiations and wrote to Van Buren for permission to offer to 
meet it by reducing the duty on French wines imported into 
America. The request was granted, and May 20th he mentioned 
it to Polignac, whose willingness to concihate the commercial 
interests of his country prompted him to receive it gladly. 
Hope again revived, only to be dashed to the ground when on 
June 8 th an investigating committee reported against the claims 
on the ground that Napoleon himself would not have paid them. 
The despairing and disgusted Rives expressed his feelings in a 
private letter in which he said: "In the diplomacy of this 
government nothing is certain but what is past and irrevocable. 
Indeed, in my transactions with them I have almost come to 
adopt the vulgar rule of interpreting dreams, and from what is 
said to conclude that the precise contrary will be done." 

A week later affairs brightened without apparent cause. 
Polignac became amiable and proposed a commercial treaty in 
which should be included the concession on wines. It was 
about to be consummated, when the revolution of July 26-30 
drove Charles X into exile and placed Louis Philippe on the 
throne. Negotiations now ceased; and the unwiUingness of the 
new government to increase the taxes left little hope that the 
business would soon be resumed. 

Yet on September 9th Rives took it up again, only to be met 
by a refusal. Mole, the new foreign minister, said the claims 
were just, but the government needed money too badly to think 
of assuming their payment. Rives, however, persisted and 
secured a commission to examine them specifically. On it 
served G. W. Lafayette, son of the Revolutionary hero. The 
king interested himself in the matter, professing his sympathy 
for our claims, and urging us to have patience. 

Matters were really progressing; and added promise came 
from a handsome allusion to the king which Jackson, at 
Rives's suggestion, incorporated in his second annual message. 


Finally the commission concluded its labors late in March, 1831. 
The majority would not allow the claims under the decrees, but 
were willing to pay ten million francs for other losses. The mi- 
nority — G. W. Lafayette and Pinchon — admitted both kinds 
of claims and fixed the damages at thirty million francs. 

Subsequently Sebastiani, then the foreign minister, commu- 
nicated the decision to Rives and said the ministry, willing to be 
liberal, would pay fifteen milUons. Rives was indignant and 
said it was mockery to talk of that sum and if the offer was 
definitive the negotiation was at an end. Sebastiani said it 
was not definitive but told him to reflect on it. A fortnight 
later he offered twenty-four milHons, when Rives said he would 
settle for forty millions. After some other higgling they com- 
promised on twenty-five million francs, and it was agreed that 
we should pay France one and a half milHons for seizures on 
our own part, and the reduction of wine duties was to be made 
as an offset for the claims under the eighth article of the Louis- 
iana treaty. These terms were embodied in a treaty which 
was duly signed July 4, 183 1. It was a notable triumph for 
which Rives's energy, tact, and patience were mostly responsible. 
It pleased the American people, who saw in it another illustration 
of Jackson's just but vigorous methods of clearing our diplomacy 
of old issues.' 

\- The treaty, ratified February 2, 1832, provided for payment 
in six annual instalments, the first a year after ratification. 
But no money could be paid until it was voted by the chambers, 
and as French public opinion thought the amount agreed upon 
too large the chambers were loath to execute the treaty. It 
was not until they were about to adjourn after an eight months' 
session that the matter was taken up, and then it was dismissed 
without action. In the meantime, the secretary of the treasury 

•The facts for this narrative of the French negotiation are taken from the records in the office of the secrc' 
Ury of state in Washington. Prance, volumes 24-27. For the treaty of 1831, see Haswell. Tr€<Uies and Con- 
'>«nii»HS. 34S. 


drew a draft on the French government for the first instalment, 
which, forwarded through the United States Bank, was duly 
protested for lack of funds. On this transaction Biddle de- 
manded the usual protest charges amounting to nearly one 
hundred and seventy thousand dollars. One hundred and 
thirty-five thousand dollars of this sum were for damages, the 
rest for protest cost, interest, and re-exchange. The administra- 
tion was willing to pay all but the item for damages. The 
demand was within the meaning of the law, but to Jackson and 
to most people it seemed unfair for the rich bank to exact the 
last pound of flesh, especially since it handled so large a portion 
of surplus government funds without paying interest on them. 
This was in May, 1833, and had something to do with the deter- 
mination to remove the deposits. Jackson took refuge behind 
the government's immunity from a suit and refused to pay the 
bill. When in July, 1834, Biddle deducted the amount from 
the government's dividend as a stockholder in the bank the 
wrath of the administration was unbounded. 

In September, 1833, Livingston, succeeding Rives, arrived in 
Paris and addressed himself to the problem of getting the treaty 
executed. The king and ministry professed themselves ready 
to pay, but the chambers were obdurate, and with them Living- 
ston could have no relations. He concluded that nothing but 
a show of force would reach the ears of the French people, long 
accustomed to despise us. He hinted at such a course to the 
ministry and broadly suggested to Jackson that the coming 
annual message take a firm tone. 

The suggestion was so quickly seized that it may be doubted if 
it was necessary. In fact, June 6th Jackson ordered the navy to 
be ready for service.* October 5th he said, "There is nothing 
now left for me but a recommendation of strong measures." 
Van Buren, now a close adviser in all things, gave his approval 

>Jackton to the Secretary of the Navy, June 6, 2834, Jackson Mas. 


of an energetic policy. "Your past forbearance," he wrote, 
"will now come to our aid, and the opposition will, I trust, before 
winter be whipt." 

The message bore witness to the President's earnestness. It 
recounted the efforts to induce France to execute the treaty, 
gave the king credit for his intention to urge the chamber at 
its next session to vote the money, and declared that the 
President had exhausted his resources. If congress wished to 
await the action of the French chambers, nothing need be at- 
tempted during its coming short session; but if from the omission 
of the chambers in five sessions to provide for the execution of 
a solemn treaty it should doubt their intention to execute it, 
congress must determine for itself what course should be followed. 
"Our institutions are essentially pacific," said he in dismissing 
the subject. "Peace and friendly intercourse with all nations 
are as much the desire of our government as they are the 
interests of our people. But these objects are not to be per- 
manently secured by surrendering the rights, or permitting 
the solemn treaties for their indemnity in cases of flagrant 
wrong, to be abrogated or set aside." He dismissed the subject 
by recommending that if France did not pay we seize enough 
French property, public or private, to satisfy the claim.' 

The message reached France early in January and raised a 
storm of anger. But it also showed the people they faced a 
crisis and made the world see that the supineness of American 
diplomacy was past. Livingston reported that the higher respect 
for our government was discernible in the attitude of his fellow 
ministers in Paris. 

The French ministry dared not acquiesce in the position taken 
by Jackson. They held that the national faith was impeached, 
and after five days informed Livingston that they had recalled 
their minister in Washington and added that Livingston's 

•Richardson, Messages and Papers oj the Presidents, III.. 100-106. 


passport was at his disposal. But our representative was not 
willing to leave his post without a more definite dismissal. 
He held on for awhile and received instruction as to his conduct. 
If the chambers did not pass a law then before them to pay the 
money Livingston would close the legation and leave Paris; 
if they passed it he might leave the legation in the hands of a 
charge d'affaires and retire to a neighboring country. 

The law referred to was not defeated. It hung fire a long 
time and finally passed with the proviso that the money should 
not be paid until satisfactory explanation was made of the lan- 
guage of the annual message. Livingston at once left affairs in 
the hands of Barton, charge, and sailed for home on the Con- 
stitution, which by orders awaited his departure at Havre. 
He protested as he went that France had no right to require 
explanation of words in the President's message, a paper solely 
for the information of congress. 

The law in question was sent to Pageot, charge in Washington, 
who offered to read it to Forsyth, now secretary of state. But 
Jackson forbade such recognition, saying: "We would not per- 
mit any foreign nation to discuss such a subject. Nor would 
we permit any or aU foreign nations to interfere with our domes- 
tic concerns, or to arrogate to themselves the right to take offence 
at the mode, manner, or phraseology of the President's message 
or any official communication between the different co-ordinate 
or other branches of our government." ' 

Barton, in Paris, was at the same time instructed' that he must 
not discuss the message or give any explanation of it. He was 
directed to inform the French ministry that the Rothschilds were 
our agents to receive the money due. If it was not paid in three 
days he was to make a last formal demand for it: if it w^as not 
then paid within five days more, he was to demand his passports, 

'Jackson to Livingston, September gth; iftf-? to Forsyth, September 6, 1S35, Jackson Mss. 
'Jackson to Bartoa instructions, draft in Jackson's hand, September 6, 1833, Jackson Mss. 


close the legation, and come home. He complied with instruc- 
tions, but the only reply of the ministry was that they were 
ready to pay the money as soon as the United States would 
declare that they "did not intend to call in question the good 
faith of His Majesty's government." Barton could make no 
such concession. November 8th he asked for his passports, and 
three weeks later left Paris, closing the legation until the appear- 
ance of Cass, December i, 1836.' 

V/hen in September, 1835, Pageot offered to communicate to 
Forsyth the French law disposing of the matter he read, also 
informally, a letter in explanation of the case. Forsyth refused 
to receive it or to take a copy, but it contained the French defense. 
It admitted that the law to pay the money was thrice presented 
to the chamber and once rejected, and that it was not presented 
to the short session of August, 1835; t>ut this was because the 
king felt that it would be rejected at that session. It declared 
what seemed to be true, that the ministry sincerely desired to 
execute the treaty. As to Jackson's contention that a foreign 
government could no more notice a President's message than a 
comanittee report or a speech in congress, the reply was that 
France did not demand a categorical denial, but only assumed 
that a disclaimer would be made and suspended action until it 
came. In view of assurances to Barton, this feature of th& 
explanation was merely a quibble. :;;i 

The French complication had its influence on political corf- 
ditions. In the senate Clay introduced resolutions which 
passed unanimously, declaring that legislative action ought 
not to be taken. In France they were cited in debate to show 
that Jackson w^as not supported in congress. The house was 
less hostile. It resolved that the treaty ought to be executed 
and that steps should be taken to meet any probable emergency. 

'Livin-ston's and Barton's reports are in Letters from Ministers, state department, France, volume 47. 
Their instructions are in Instruction, France, volume for 1829-1844. See also, Richardson, Messages and 
Papers of the Presidents, III., 130-132, 135-14S, 178-185, 193-197. 


This happened in January and February, 1835. As the months 
passed public opinion sobered. There was little real apprehen- 
sion of war, but the whigs affected to believe that it might come 
through the rashness of an irascible old man. The message of 
1834 was, in fact, needlessly strong. Members of the President's 
own party urged him to be moderate in the next annual message.* 
They had some effect, although they did not seriously modify 
his private views. If France were an honorable nation, he said 
privately, she would pay the money and demand an apology 
afterward; that was what Napoleon would have done. But 
from Maine to Florida came the voice, "No apology, no expla- 
nation — my heart cordially responds to that voice.'" 

The message of 1835 showed careful treatment. There was 
a long review of the French affair justifying what had been done, 
but expressed in terms of restraint; there was also a specific 
denial of any intention "to menace or insult" France, and the 
case was closed in these words: 

France having now throuG^h all the branches of her govern- 
ment acknowledged the validity of our claims and the obHgation 
of the treaty of 1831, and there really existing no adequate 
cause for further delay, will at length, it may be hoped, adopt 
the course which the interest of both nations, not less than 
the principles of justice, so imperiously require. The treaty 
being once executed on her part, little will remain to disturb 
the friendly relations of the two countries — nothing, indeed 
which will not yield to the suggestions of a pacific and 
enlightened policy and to the influence of that mutual good 
will and of those generous recollections which we may confidently 
expect will then be revived in all their ancient force. In any 
event, however, the principle involved in the new aspect which 
has been given to the controversy is so vitally important to the 
independent administration of the Government that it can 

iGooch to Jackson, November 28, 183s, Jackson Mss; Ritchie to Van Buren, November 28, 1835; J- A. 
Hamilton to Van Buren, January 20, 1836, Van Buren Mss. 

'An undated draft, destination not given, in Jackson's handwriting, Jackson Mss. 


neither be surrendered nor compromitted v/itliout national 
degradation. I hope it is unnecessary for me to say that such a 
sacrifice will not be made through any agency of mine. The 
honor of my country shall never be stained by an apology from 
me for the statement of truth and the performance of duty." ' 

It is not difficult to guess what parts of this paragraph were 
in Jackson's original draft. 

By this time it was evident that neither nation desired war, 
and France accepted the pacific utterances in the message as 
sufficient disclaimer. Before this was known in Washington 
Barton arrived with news of the last acts of his residence in 
Paris. Jackson sent another message, January 15, 1836, soft- 
ened probably through the efforts of Livingston, in which he 
firmly insisted on his position and suggested that if the money 
was not paid we should exclude French ships and goods from our 
ports. Before it could be known in France a settlement was 
practically arranged. January 27 th, Bankhead, British charge 
in Washington, offered the services of his nation to mediate the 
dispute and each side accepted. He next announced that 
France was satisfied with the message of December, 1835, ^^id 
would pay the money. All trouble disappeared quickly, and 
May loth Jackson sent a gracious message announcing that four 
of the six instalments were already paid and cordial relations 
with France were reestabhshed.' 

One characteristic touch closed the incident : February i6th 
Livingston wrote inclosing a letter from Baron de Rothschild 
intimating that France would receive a minister and that 
Livingston's reappointment would be agreeable. Livingston 
closed his letter by admitting that he had a "desire of enjoying 
on the spot the triumph of your firm and energetic measures. 


'Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, III., i6o. 

^llunt, Life of Livingston, 42&; Richa.Tdson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, III., 18S-193, 313, 3IS« 
222, 227. 
•Jackson Mss. 


Such flattery was supposed to be most effective with Jackson, 
but here it had no power. Cass got the appointment to Paris, 
and Livingston retired to private Hfe. 

Relations with Mexico: In the treaty with Spain, 1819, the 
United States gave up their claim to Texas in order to make sure 
of Florida. Many people, some of them poHticians of influence, 
like John Quincy Adams, hoped to purchase what the treaty 
relinquished. Jackson, who consented to the treaty because 
at the time he thought more of Florida than of Texas, had the 
general Southwestern feeling for Texas, but he refused the offer 
to be our first minister to Mexico after that nation became 
independent.' Ninian Edwards, to whom the place was next 
offered, was recalled before he reached his destination; and 
Poinsett, dispatched early in Adams's administration, first took 
up the task of arranging a commercial treaty between the two 
powers. Acting on instructions from Clay, he tried to get 
the new republic to accept the Rio Grande, or some other point 
south of the Sabine, for our boundary. Mexico took this as an 
attempt to profit by her weakness, her suspicions of our motives 
were aroused, and she steadily refused to yield to our plans. 
Poinsett was then directed to offer one milUon dollars for Texas, 
but he concluded that to do so would only enrage that power, 
and did not mention the offer. Instead, he concluded a com- 
mercial treaty in 1828 in which the Sabine was declared the 

When Jackson became President this treaty was not ratified. 
He suspended action upon it and sought to reopen negotiations 
for the purchase of Texas. Expressing himself confidentially to 
Van Buren he said that he thought two million dollars would 
serve to amend the Mexican constitution so as to allow a sale of 
a part of the domain, and he was willing to give five millions to 
get Texas to the ''great prarrarie or desert." He believed we 

'Jackson to Adams, March 15, 1823, Mss. in state department. 


ought to have this region, because a foreign power ought not to 
have the tributaries of the Mississippi and because ''the God 
of the universe had intended this great valley to belong to one 

Next day he outlined Poinsett's instructions and sent them 
to Van Buren. He pointed out the following advantages to 
Mexico if she sold us Texas: the boundary would be a natural 
one, the money would enable Mexico to maintain herself against 
Spain, the danger of a conflict between her citizens and ours 
would vanish, the difficulty of managing the Texans be obviated, 
and finally by surrendering the territory as a mark of esteem for a 
sister republic she would show herself "worthy of that reciprocal 
spirit of friendship which should forever characterize the feelings 
of the two governments toward each other." 

Our objects in getting Texas were: the safety of New Orleans 
and the Mississippi valley, the need of new territory for the 
Indians who must be moved from the East, and the acquisition 
of a natural boundary. He thought the middle of the great 
desert would be such a boundary, and if that could be obtained 
he would pay not more than five millions.* 

Meanwhile Poinsett was in trouble in Mexico. He took the 
side of the party favoring a democratic government, aroused the 
anger of an opposing faction which made capital out of the 
suggestion that the domain was about to be divided, and reso- 
lutions were passed against him in the legislature of one of the 
confederated states. He was no longer useful, and Jackson 
recalled him, but in doing so sought to save his feelings in all 
possible particulars. He even protested against the resolutions 
concerning Poinsett. 

Poinsett was succeeded by Col. Anthony Butler, a former 
military comrade of Jackson, whose diplomacy proved to be 

^Jackson to Van Buren, August 12, 1829, Van Buren Mss. 

^The draft is preserved in the Jackson Mss. and also in the Van Buren Mss. See also, Reeves, Diplomacy 
under Tyler and Folk, 65, note 11. 



bad. The years during which he directed our affairs in Mexico 
are pronounced by Professor Reeves "a seven years' period of 
cheap trickery."' He led Jackson to think that Texas could be 
purchased by proper negotiation and he produced on the Mexican 
government and people the worst opinion of our aim and honesty. 
His chief object seems to have been to prolong his period of 
employment and to overcast his failure by deluding the admin- 
istration with false hopes. He wrote many personal letters to 
Jackson in which he promised everything but fulfilled nothing." 
In April, 183 1, he confirmed Poinsett's commercial treaty of 1828 
and in a separate agreement accepted the boundary of 18 19. 
Both were ratified and promulgated by the American government 
in 1832.' 

Buying Texas, the greatest object of his mission, was thus 
left to further negotiation. As no direct offer moved the 
Mexicans, Butler tried indirection. He referred to Jackson a 
plan to pay five million dollars, part to Mexico and part to the 
adventurers who had acquired vast land grants in Texas. The 
scheme contained great possibility of fraud. Jackson said in 
reply that we would not take Texas subject to any land grant 
except Austin's, that we would pay the money to Mexico, and 
cared nothing about what she did with it, but that Butler must 
take the greatest care to avoid "the imputation of corruption." 

This was not encouraging, and in 1835 Butler appeared in 
Washington to urge in person a still more doubtful scheme. 
He brought a letter purporting to be from Hernandez, a priest 
in Santa Anna's household, saying that for a bribe of half a 
million to be distributed where needed the sale could be made for 
five million dollars. On it Jackson endorsed the following: 

iReeves, Diplomacy under Tyler and Polk, 69. 

^The Jackson Mss. contain many private letters from Butler to Jackson, with replies of the former. See 
February 27, 1832, October 28, 1833, February 6, March 7 and October 2, 1834: of the latter, see April 19, 
1832, and November 27, 1833, with endorsements on Butler's letters. 

'Reeves, Diplomacy under Tyler and Polk, 69-74; see also, Adams, Memoirs, XL, 343. The Hernandez 
letter is in the Jackson Mss. under date March 22, 1835. 


Nothing will be countenanced by the Executive to bring the 
Government under the remotest imputation of being engaged in 
corruption or bribery. We have no concern in the application 
of the consideration to be given. The public functionary of 
Mexico may apply it as they deem proper to extinguish private 
claims and give us the cession clear of all incumbrances except 
the grants which have been complied with. A. J. June 22-35. 

The reader will give his own interpretation to these words. 
To the writer they seem to show that Jackson was a practical 
man among other practical men, and that he was not shocked at 
the idea of bribery, but was careful that he should not commit 
it. That he did not dismiss Butler indicates a dull conscience 
on the point. But he was not willing to tolerate dallying. 
Butler was alarmed at the tone taken toward him and protested 
that he could finish the business if given another chance. He 
was sent off to his post with the information that something must 
be done before the annual message was prepared. His renewed 
despatches were, however, in the old tone of apology and delay, 
and December i6th he was recalled. Powhatan Ellis, his suc- 
cessor, quickly realized the true situation of affairs in Mexico 
and gave up the plans for purchasing Texas. 

Later Butler's proposition became known to the public, and 
he sought to justify himself by saying that in a private conversa- 
tion Jackson gave it his approval. He said he was authorized 
to distribute eight hundred thousand dollars of the purchase 
money where it would be useful and that Santa Anna was to 
get one fourth of the amount.' Jackson denied the charge 
and pronounced its maker a liar. It is a point of veracity which 
defies certainty. Butler's course as minister leaves us little 
disposition to accept his word; and Jackson's memory on points 
of controversy was apt to be bad. His memorandum quoted 
above probably expresses his real attitude at the time. 

^A. Butler to Jackson, July 28, i834> Jackson Mss. Jackson's denial is endorsed on this letter also. 


From a painting by Major R. E. W. Earl who lived with Jackson in the \\-hite House and had 
orders for many portraits. Political opponents called him the '• King's Painter." In 
this picture the posture is characteristic, but the expression of the mouth 
is like that of most of the portraits by Earl, and was con- 
sidered unsatisfactory by the friends of Jackson 


By this time the province was in the throes of revolution, 
and Mexican diplomacy took another turn. A large number 
of claims of American citizens against Mexico were taken up 
vigorously, Ellis was ordered to press their adjustment and 
if not successful to demand his passport. He followed instruc- 
tions faithfully, met a refusal, and December 16, 1836, left 
Mexico, where we had no other minister for three years.* 

One of the severest charges against Jackson in connection 
with Texas was aiding the revolutionists. It grew partly out 
of his desire for the province and more particularly out of his 
friendship for Samuel Houston, Texan leader. The first thing 
in connection with this charge is a note in his own handwriting 
in a fragmentary journal which he kept for a time after he 
became President. It reads: 

May 21, 1829 — reed from Genl. Duff Green an extract of a 
letter (Doctor Marable to Genl. G) containing declarations of 
Gov. Houston, late of Tennessee, that he would conquer Mexico 
or Texas, and be worth two millions in two years, &c. Believ- 
ing this to be the efusions of a distempered brain, but as a pre- 
cautionary measure I directed the Secretary of War to write 
and inclose to Mr. Pope, Govr of Arkansas, the extract, and 
instruct him if such illegal project should be discovered to exist 
to adopt prompt measures to put it down and give the govern- 
ment the earliest intelHgence of such illegal enterprise with the 
names of all those who may be concerned therein.* 

Of similar significance is the following: In the year 1830, Hous- 
ton was in Washington, where he fell in with a Dr. Robert Mayo. 
He spoke about his plans and Mayo revealed them to Jackson 
in a long letter. The latter endorsed the letter and ordered 
that WiUiam Fulton, secretary of Arkansas Territory, be in- 
formed of the report. Such a letter was written to Fulton 

>Reeves, Diplomacy under Tyler and Polk, 76. 
ijackson Mss. 


stating that the allegation was probably erroneous, but that 
careful watch should be made for attacks on Texas, and if such 
should be probable to communicate with the President. A copy 
of this letter was placed with Mayo's and they remained in 
Jackson's possession until he was about to leave Washington. 
Then they were both sent to Mayo, who placed them in the 
hands of John Quincy Adams. Jackson's Fulton letter was then 
read in the house of representatives by the New Englander as 
evidence that Jackson favored Houston's designs. Jackson 
did not know he returned the copy of the letter to Fulton with 
Mayo's and persisted in thinking that it was stolen from his 
files. He made, also, some bitter remarks about Adams for 
his supposed part in the transaction. But his treatment of 
Mayo's letter is like that of Marable's, and the two incidents 
show pretty clearly that he proposed to preserve neutrality, at 
least outwardly, which, in view of American feeling, was about 
all that could be expected. 

Nor can it be held that he desired Texas in order to increase 
slave territory. As a slaveholder he probably sympathized 
with the feeling that the institution should have a normal 
field for growth, but he wanted the province beyond the Sabine 
for national reasons. When President Burnet of Texas sent 
him a letter justifying annexation on sectional and political 
grounds, he repudiated the argument, saying that nationality 
was the only sufficient basis for such a policy.' 

In the beginning of the revolution Jackson ordered the district 
attorneys to prosecute violators of neutrality "when indications 
warranted,'" but the instructions were generally disregarded. 
Agents openly collected bands of "emigrants" for Texas who 
made no secret that they would fight for the revolutionists. 
Without their help Texas could not have defeated Mexico. It 

*From copy of a letter in Van Buren Mss., without date, endorsed by Van Buren, "President's Letter." 
'Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, III., 151. 


is said that most of them returned to their former homes after 
the war. Public opinion supported them, and it would have 
been difficult for the government to detain them had it been 
more serious in its efforts to do so. 

Fighting began in October, 1835 ; and in the following January, 
General Gaines, commanding the Western department, was 
ordered to the Louisiana border to protect it from Indian 
attacks, no signs of which were visible. He was ordered to 
cross the Sabine if necessary as far as Nacogdoches, fifty miles 
within the province lof Texas. He was given the 6th regi- 
ment and called on each of the governors of four neighboring 
states for one thousand mounted riflemen. When the Texans 
won their victory at San Jacinto, April 21st, he was twenty-five 
miles north of the boundary waiting for the riflemen. He now 
concluded they would not be needed and suspended the call. 
It was afterward pointed out that at this time it was generally 
believed in Texas that the war was over. But a few weeks later 
it was known that Mexico was preparing to renew the struggle. 
About the same time two white men were killed by Caddo 
Indians near Nacogdoches, and some white women and children 
were taken prisoners. Gaines declared these Indians must be 
overawed and in June, 1836, threw two hundred men into that 
place and with the rest of his force encamped on the Sabine.* 
There was no real danger from the Indians, and it is hard to 
believe that Gaines's movements were not made with an eye on 
the development in Texas.* 

When Gaines decided to occupy Nacogdoches he called out 
the militia the second time. Jackson was at the "Hermitage" 
when news of it came to Tennessee. The governor responded 
with eagerness and asked Jackson if he might send more men 
than were required of him. He was told in reply that Gaines's 

^Report of secretary of war, Congritsional Dtbatts, XIII., part a, page 13; correspondence of Gorostiza 
w^th Forajrth and Dickina; ibid, XIV., part «. 178. 


call was overruled as unnecessary and that no troops were to 
be sent unless orders came direct from the war cepartment. 
To the governor of Kentucky he sent the same directions. 
This seems to have been on Jackson's own initiative. A few 
days later he received a letter from Kendall in Washington 
saying that Gaines's advance was ill-advised and ought to be 
retraced. September 4, 1836, he ordered that general to ob- 
serve strict neutrality, not to enter Texas unless the Mexicans 
failed to restrain the Indians, and to hold no correspondence 
with either Texas or Mexican leaders. 

As soon as the Texans began to fight they appealed to Jackson 
for recognition of independence or annexation. While Houston 
was fleeing before the advancing Santa Anna, six days before 
San Jacinto, Stephen Austin sent an earnest appeal. "Oh, my 
countrymen, " he cried, "the warm-hearted, chivalrous, impul- 
sive West and South are up and moving in favor of Texas. The 
calculating and more prudent, tho' not less noble-minded North 
are aroused. . . . Will you turn a deaf ear? '" This appeal 
came as a letter to the President, cabinet, and congress. On 
the back of it Jackson wrote: "The writer does not reflect that 
we have a treaty with Mexico, and that our national faith is 
pledged to support it. The Texans before they took the step 
to declare themselves Independent which has aroused and 
united all Mexico against them ought to have pondered well. 
It was a rash and premature act, our neutrahty must be faith- 
fully maintained. A. J.'" 

The victory at San Jacinto changed the aspect of affairs. 
Commissioners came now to ask for annexation, on the following 
terms: (i) confirmation of the Texan laws, (2) assumption of 
Texan debts, (3) guarantee of land titles to bona fide settlers, 
(4) the recognitionof slavery, and (5) liberal appropriation of 

'Cannon to Jackson, August 4 ; Jackson to Cannon, August 5th; ibid to Governor of Kentucky, August 7th; 
Kendall to Jackson, August 3rd; Jackson to Gaines, September 4, 1836; Jackson Mss. 
'Jackson Mss. 


land to education.' The indorsement on Austin's letter indi- 
cates that Jackson was not entirely enthusiastic for the stnigglers. 
His action in the summer in regard to recognition and annexation 
confirms the view. June 6th the house of representatives resolved 
to recognize the independence of the province as soon as it had 
an established government. He accordingly sent a confidential 
agent beyond the Sabine to report on conditions there, and to 
the Texans he would promise nothing until he had definite 
information. He was following the example of Monroe in 
recognizing the South American states. The reports from the 
agent, Morfit, were adverse to Texas. The inhabitants, he said, 
were few and widely distributed, and probably not able to 
maintain themselves against their enemies. In a private letter 
to Jackson, Houston confessed that the new state could not 
sustain itself and appealed to his old friend to save it." December 
2ist the President in a special message recommended that recog- 
nition of independence be deferred.* It was believed that Van 
Buren inspired it.* Certainly on December 8th Jackson was 
willing to let congress act.' 

The Texans were greatly disappointed, but they soon found 
grounds to hope for better things. Sentiment in the country de- 
veloped, and talk of action by congress was heard. February 2, 
1837, Jackson took up the matter with the chairman of the 
house committee on foreign affairs. He had come to think that 
England was about to recognize Texas.* March ist the senate 
resolved to extend recognition and the house voted to pay the 
expenses of a minister to the republic if the President saw fit 
to appoint one. 

'Forsyth to Jackson, July is. 1836, Jackson Mss. 

'HDUston to Jackson, November 20, 1836; see Miss Ethel Z. Rather, The Annexation of Texas, published 
in the Quirterly of thi Historical Association of Texas, igio. 

•Richardjjn, Messages ani Papers of the Presidents, III., 26s; for some of Morfit's reports see ConsreS' 
sioruil Debates, XIII., part 2, page 82. 

'Van Buren to John Van Buren, December 22, 1835; W.Irving to Van Buren, February 34, 1836; Van 
Bur^n M33. 

^Jackson to Kendall, December 8, 1836, Cincinnati Commercial, February 4> 1879. 

'JacJuoo to Howard, February 2, 1837, Jackson Mss. 


When this matter came up the presidential election of 183O 
was approaching. The bank was dead legally, but the whigs 
openly declared their purpose to restore it. Jackson was 
extremely anxious to avoid anything which would weaken 
Van Buren's chances in the election or divide the democrats in 
congress. He and the New York group must have seen that the 
administration could not afford to identify itself too far with 
Texas. It was, said he to congress, a very delicate matter. 
The delicateness of it lay in the fact that Americans of the 
South and Southwest had revolutionized the province, Gaines 
standing conveniently by as an apparent resource in time of 
trouble. Hastily to recognize Texan independence would have 
the air of an indorsement by the administration, and that 
would imperil Van Buren's chances and threaten the continua- 
tion of Jackson's policies. 

In the summer Jackson received a letter from captive Santa 
Anna proposing American interposition between Mexico and 
the resisting Texans. He replied that he would be pleased to 
extend the good offices of his country when he knew that Mexico 
desired them. He permitted the proposer to go to Washington 
to try to make some arrangement of a pacific nature. Santa 
Anna arrived early in 1837. He was well received and set out 
for his home in February, promising to use his efforts for peace. 
In Mexico his influence was superseded by a rival, and he retired 
to his estate until a new revolution gave him an opportunity 
to regain power. Jackson thought Santa Anna a true friend of 

The only surviving evidence of his relations with Jackson 
in Washington is an undated memorandum in Jackson's hand 
which seems to refer to this period. It relates to a communi- 
cation with Santa Anna and contains an offer of three and a 
half millions for Texas, not as a purchase but as a concession 

»Ltwb to Houston, Oct. J7, 1836, Mss. in New York Public Library. 


on our part, the boundary to be the Rio Grande to thirty degrees 
latitude and thence west to the Pacific. Santa Anna, for his 
part, agreed to use his influence for peace/ 

Jackson's diplomacy satisfied the nation. What it lacked in 
dignity it gained in strength. It secured American interests in 
the West India trade, the French claims, and the Texas matter. 
In regard to the last his course was moderate and national. 
Had he taken the view of either extreme he must have driven 
the other to desperation. As he said repeatedly in the close of 
his administration, he chiefly desired to repress the growing 
sectionalism which came from the efforts of designing men. 
Both his principles and his desire to make Van Buren President 
were in support of this feeling. 

Abroad Jackson's diplomacy was well respected. Foreigners 
thought less than we about his diplomatic form. They saw 
chiefly the results of his forceful will. He brought a greater 
respect for American rights into their minds than any man 
since Washington. Van Buren reporting a conversation with 
Palmerston writes: "He said that a very strong impression 
had been made here (in London) of the dangers which this 
country had to apprehend from your elevation, but that they 
had experienced better treatment at your hands than they had 
done from any of your predecessors."* 

ijackson Mss. The correspondence of Jackson and Santa Anna is also in the j acksou Mss. , July 4 and Se^ 
lember 4, 1836. See also Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, III., 274-276. 
■Voa Buren to Jackson, September 28, 1831; Van Buren, Autobiography, III., 94. 



Besides the matter already considered, Jackson had to deal 
with certain important minor affairs, some of which he inherited 
from the preceding administration, and some others which 
were created in his own time. Of the former class was the 
task of removing the Indians from the region north of the 
Gulf of Mexico and east of the Mississippi in order to open this 
land to white settlers. 

WTien the stream of population ran into the wilderness it 
followed the Ohio in general, filling the land on each side 
and down the Mississippi to its mouth. In the North, another 
stream ran along the lake shores and, carrying the Indians of 
the old Northwest before it, gradually swept them back into 
the great plains of the newer Northwest. But the extension of 
settlements down to the Gulf made impossible such a riddance 
of the red men of the South. It left surrounded by a zone of 
white population the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chicka- 
saws, together numbering in 1825 as man}'- as fifty- three thousand 
six hundred souls; and they occupied tribal lands aggregating 
more than thirty-three million acres. They could not be pushed 
gradually back as in the Northwest : they must be exterminated 
or induced by one means or another to remove to the plains, 
where the problem of contact with the whites would be post- 
poned to a remote generation. The other alternative, peaceful 
residence among the whites, was not considered possible for any 
large body of Indians, North or South. The only thing which 
people thought feasible was to remove them bodily: and as this 



was a task for the national government its execution devolved 
on the President. 

Of the four Southwestern tribes the position of the Cherokees 
was severest, and by following the story of this nation in some 
detail we may understand the experience of the others. Although 
they held lands in both Alabama and Tennessee, their chief 
holding, more than five million acres, was in Georgia, and the 
land was very fertile. In 1802 Georgia made a general agree- 
ment with the United States, one feature of which was that the 
latter should extinguish the title of the Indian lands within 
the state's bounds "as early as the same can be peaceably 
obtained on reasonable terms." At that time the Cherokees and 
Creeks owned twenty-five million acres in the state. By 1825 
the amount had been reduced by several treaties to nine million 
acres. But the spread of cotton cultivation made their land 
seem necessary for settlement, and Georgia became eager that 
the federal government should execute the promise of 1802. 
It did not appease her to say that the Indian title could not be 
quieted either ''peaceably" or "on reasonable terms," which 
was all that was promised. She saw herself threatened perma- 
nently with the presence of an inferior people, with a govern- 
ment of their own planted sohdly within the state limits 
and claiming immunity from the state laws. Such a situation 
could not have been contemplated in the formation of the 
union; and Georgia found much sympathy with her desire to 
overthrow it, although her methods of dealing with it were 
neither reasonable nor becoming. 

The Cherokees also deserve our sympathy. They were the 
most civilized of the Southern tribes, they had passed far into 
the agricultural stage, and removal was sure to bring economic 
loss and social disorganization. They were specifically protected 
in their rights by treaties with the United States. There was 
in the beginning a feeling that an Indian treaty was not fully a 


treaty and that it was not, therefore, the supreme law of the 
land. The supreme court, in a case which arose in this contro- 
versy, decided to the contrary;* but at that time public opinion 
was so much excited in Georgia that it was not modified by the 
decision. In fact, there was something illogical in the idea that an 
Indian tribe, which had no sovereignty, could make a treaty, 
usually a mark of sovereignty; and congress recognized it in 
187 1 when it ordered that in the future agreements and not 
treaties be made with the Indians. The Cherokees had good 
advice in all phases of the controversy. In 1824 they declared 
in tribal council that they would not sell a foot of land and sent 
commissioners to Washington to ask that the agreement of 1802 
be rescinded. Calhoun, secretary of war, told them in reply that 
the agreement must be kept and the Indians must remove or 
give up their tribal authority and be absorbed with the citizens 
of Georgia. They, on their part, refused to budge, and thus 
the matter was left to simmer for five years. Meanwhile the 
state threatened the Indians and denounced the national govern- 
ment, but it did not precipitate civil war by an actual resort 
to force. 

Jackson entered the presidency when this matter was still 
unsettled. Adams showed a certain amount of sympathy for 
the constitutional position of a state threatened with division of 
its power by creating a separate authority within its border; 
but he was for legal methods and would not tolerate violence 
on the part of Georgia. Jackson, however, had a Western man's 
view of the Indian question. He showed it by a determination 
to appoint a Westerner secretary of war. Eaton, who filled 
the office, soon gave the Cherokees to understand that the govern- 
ment would not support them in opposition to the laws of Georgia. 
The Georgians were counting much on just this stand, but in 
order to be certain they waited for the first annual message. 

'Cherokee Nation vs Georgia, s Peters, 17. 


It gave them aU they required. It not only referred to affairs 
in Georgia, but it laid down a general Indian poHcy at variance 
with that previously followed and in every respect essentially 
favorable to their purposes. 

The old idea, it said, was to civilize the savages; but by 
purchasing their lands piecemeal we have kept them moving 
westward so constantly that they could not absorb civilization, 
and thus the government's object was defeated. A portion 
of the Southern Indians, however, with a fair prospect of civili- 
zation, were in conflict with the states of Georgia and Alabama, 
which claimed sovereignty respectively over everybody within 
their limits. Now the constitution guarantees that no nev/ 
state be can formed within another state without the consent of 
the latter. Does it not follow that no independent state could 
be formed within those limits? Would such a thing be tolerated 
in Maine or in New York? Jackson reported, therefore, 
that he had told the Indians they would not be supported in 
their attempt to estabhsh independent governments within 
state lines and that he advised them to settle beyond the Mis- 
sissippi. He also recommended that congress set apart an 
ample region in the Far West to which the Indians might remove 
and Uve without conflict with the whites. A few weeks later 
a bill was introduced and passed by a party vote to set aside 
a Western region and to appropriate money to aid the removal 
of those Indians who chose to accept the offer. 

This boded ill for the Cherokees. Anticipating the action of 
congress, their legislative council ordered that all who accepted 
lands in the West and settled on them should lose tribal mem- 
bership, that those who sold their property to emigrate should 
be whipped, and that those who voted to sell a part or all of 
the tribal possessions should be put to death. It was their 
reply to the attempt to lure them away. 

On the Georgians the effect of Jackson's announced view was 


equally decisive. December 22, 1829, the legislature passed a 
law to extend its authority over the Creeks and Cherokees 
on June i, 1830, with provisions to make it difficult for the 
savages to evade its enforcement. They knew definitely that 
there was now a President who would not interfere with their 
plans. Alabama and Mississippi legislatures followed the 
example of Georgia. 

On the appointed day the governor of Georgia proclaimed 
this law throughout the state. Soon afterward a clash occurred 
between state officers and the United States troops in Georgia, 
and the governor asked the President to order the withdrawal 
of the troops. The request was readily granted. It emphasized 
Jackson's position that Georgia might exercise sovereignty 
within her borders. 

The Cherokees had friends and advisers among the whites, 
and all persons opposed to state rights were naturally drawn 
to their side. They rested their case on the sanctity of their 
treaties. An Indian tribe, they contended, was a state, a 
foreign sovereign state, and a treaty with it was a part of th3 
supreme law of the land. When Georgia was about to execute 
her law of December 22, 1829, they applied to the United States 
supreme court through their counsel, William Wirt, for an in- 
junction to restrain such action. The case was argued in the 
January, 1831, term, Georgia ignoring it entirely on the ground 
of no jurisdiction. Marshall gave the decision, taking up first 
the question of jurisdiction. By the constitution the United 
States courts are open to states, citizens of states, foreign 
states, and citizens of foreign states. Manifestly an Indian 
tribe to come within the meaning of the constitution, must 
be either a state as a state within the union, or a foreign state. 
Marshall held that it was neither, that it occupied a peculiar 
position and was, in fact, a "domestic dependent nation" with 
a relation to the United States analogous to that of a ward to 


a guardian. A tribe, therefore, could not sue in the United 
States courts, and the injunction prayed for could not be granted. 
While the Cherokees lost the case in point, they were pronounced 
a state — that is, a definite civil power, and this was in opposition 
to Georgia's purpose to treat them as a mass of individuals over 
whom she might assert authority. The point would be worth 
something in resisting the state's pretensions.' 

Meantime the case of Corn Tassel came up. This brave 
had killed a fellow Cherokee, for which he was tried and con- 
demned in a state court. He appealed to the federal supreme 
court, alleging no jurisdiction in the Georgia tribunal. Although 
Wirt hurried to trial the injunction case, which was then pending, 
Georgia would not stay sentence, and Corn Tassel was executed 
before the highest court in the land could consider his fate. This 
utter defiance of the court could not have happened if the exe- 
cutive department had been disposed to protect the court. 
The case of the Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, just described, 
lost some of its strength in view of this situation. It was de- 
cided a few days after Corn Tassel was hanged. 

Another case showed even more plainly the attitude of the 
President. By the Georgia law whites might not reside with 
the Indians without state licenses. This was intended to 
exclude from the tribes those white friends who encouraged 
them not to sell their lands. Among these people were a number 
of Northern missionaries, who trusted to the United States 
law. Eleven of them were arrested for violating the state 
statute; nine yielded rather than remain in prison, but two, 
Worcester and Butler, appealed to the United States supreme 
court. Again Georgia denied jurisdiction and refused to appear, 
and again Marshall decided against her. In an opinion whose 
positive tone seems to proceed from a feeling of indignity 
that he was already ignored, Marshall held that Georgia was 

> 5 Peters, s-So. 



wrong at every point. "The Cherokees," he said, "were a 
nation, they were so recognized by the government and by 
Georgia herself until recent years, their laws were not to fall 
before a state, and the United States had the authority to pro- 
tect them. The sentence of the missionaries was pronounced 
null.' Georgia disregarded the verdict utterly, kept the mis- 
sionaries in prison more than a year to vindicate her authority, 
and finally pardoned them. 

Jackson's refusal to execute the decree of the court displeased 
the friends of the missionaries, particularly the Methodists 
and Friends, and votes were lost in the election of 1832. Van 
Buren said the defection from this cause was eight thousand in 
western New York alone.' It produced a more permanent impres- 
sion on persons interested in constitutional interpretation. The 
President justified himself on the ground that the executive, 
coordinate in authority with the judiciary, was not bound to 
interpret the constitution as the supreme court interpreted it. 
He could hardly have known his own mind on this point, for he 
put his defense on more than one ground. To Cass he wrote 
that it must rest on the principles in Johnston vs. Mcintosh.' 
He said in explanation of his general position: "No feature 
in the Federal Constitution is more prominent than that the 
general powers conferred on Congress, can only be enforced, 
or executed upon the people of the Union. This is a Govern- 
ment of the people." * This position was nearly opposite to 
that he assumed in reference to nullification within a year. 
To his friend Coffee he wrote that the diSculty was weakness 
of the government. "The decision of the Supreme Court," he 
said in allusion to the case of the missionaries, "has fallen still 
from the Government, not strong enough to protect them in 

>6 Peters, 5IS-S96. 

*Van Buren, Autobiography, HI., 119-120, Van Buren Mss. 

' 8 Wheaton, 543-605. 

'Draft in Jackson's handwriting, no date, Jackson Mss. 


' /' 

,/ / 

/•■ ' 


case of a collision with Georgia."' It seems at this time not 
to have occurred to him that the government was weak or strong 
as the executive willed. 

The fundamental explanation of Jackson's argument on this 
matter was his sympathy with Georgia. He believed that the 
Indians should not remain permanently within the borders of 
a state. Of removal as a fact Van Buren observes: "That 
great work was emphatically the fruit of his own exertions. 
It was his judgment, his experience, his indomitable vigor 
and unrelenting activity that secured success. There was no 
measure in the whole course of his administration of which he 
was more exclusively the author than this." It was a policy 
conceived in a spirit of humanity. February 22, 1831, it was 
formulated in a special message to congress.' A real friend of the 
Indians, said he, would urge them to remove. If they remained 
within state limits there would ever be trouble, and liberal 
aid ought to be given them in settling new homes. No one 
regretted the hardships incidental to the process more than he; 
but they were ills which must be endured. 

The conflict with the supreme court brought him into oppo- 
sition to Chief Justice Marshall. A popular tradition, first 
printed so far as I know by Horace Greeley, represented Jackson as 
saying after the decision in the case of the missionaries: "John 
Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."' 
It is not sure that these words were actually uttered, but it is 
certain from Jackson's views and temperament that they might 
have been spoken. His antipathy for the chief justice was so 
strong that in 1835 ^^^ refused to attend a memorial meeting 
in his honor. He avowed high appreciation of Marshall's 
"learning, talents, and patriotism," but as one who did not 
agree with the ideas of constitutional law held by the deceased 

•April 7, 1832, copy in Dyas Collection, Library of Congress. 
'Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II., 536- 
L •Greeley, The American Conflict, I., 106. 


jurist he could not unite in honoring him with those who did 

so agree. 

Jackson's refusal to execute the judgment of the supreme 
court left the Cherokees at the mercy of Georgia. They real- 
ized that they must lose in the long run, and a party of them, 
led by John Ringe, advocated removal, while another, led by 
John Ross, were for staying in Georgia. In 1835 the former 
party agreed to the cession of the remaining tribal lands to the 
United States for five million dollars and land beyond the Mis- 
sissippi. The Ross faction held out until 183S, when United 
States troops under General Scott forcibly expelled them. 
They went to Indian Territory, created by a law of 1834, when 
they received lands near those of the Creeks, Chickasaws, and 
Choctaws, who had before that time accepted the terms of the 
government. These other tribes had all locked to the Cherokee 
case for an intimation of what would be done and made terms 

The pajTnent of the public debt was another measure which 
appealed to Jackson's political sense. Scrupulous in paying his 
ovTH obhgations, he thought it equally desirable that the govern- 
ment should owe nothing. His first message held out hope of 
the early accomplishment of his desire — privately, he thought 
it might be done within his first term of office. The revenues 
from imports and land sales were large and yielded a yearly 
surplus which was used for this purpose. In 1834 the last of 
the debt was discharged. His message to congress in that 
year expressed his gratification, but he added the caution that 
the situation be not made the excuse for future extravagance. 

Extravagance was, in fact, a menace, as it ever is when there 
is a large surplus. Plans were made by various interests 
looking to the dissipation of the surplus. Internal improve- 

'Jackson to Chandler and Williams, September i8, 1835, Jackson Mss. 

*For important documents on the controversy with Geoisia, see Ames, State Docuaents on Ptdtral RilaUom 


ments would have been a ready preventive of government 
hoarding, but the Maysville veto had too well disposed of them 
to v/arrant the hope that they could be carried. The most 
probable course was one suggested from several sources, and 
very popular in the West, for distributing the surplus among 
the states after the debt was paid. The anti- tariff men de- 
clared that it was supported by the tariff party, lest an accumu- 
lating surplus should lead men to think that the tariff ought 
to be reduced. 

Early in his presidency Jackson beHeved in distributing 
the surplus among the states according to representation in 
congress. He said as much in the first draft of his inaugural 
address and he repeated it in his first annual message. If it 
could not legally be done, he said, it would be wise to amend 
the constitution so as to allow it ; and he made it a point against 
Calhoun that he opposed distributing the surplus. Jackson's 
view was in opposition to the state rights school, and as this 
group came into prominence in his party he veered away from 
distribution. There was as little reason that he should favor 
it as that he should support internal improvements, and he must 
have seen it. In his second annual message he returned to 
the subject as a means of providing internal improvements. 
The surplus, he said, should be given to the states according 
to representation in congress; for they could best assign it 
to the ends contemplated. By the time he wTote the third 
message his opinion had undergone a change. He then recom- 
mended that the tariff be so adjusted that after the debt was 
paid no more money should be taken from the people than was 
necessary for the expenses of the government.' 

The ground thus left unoccupied was seized upon by Clay — 
not at first through design on his part, but through the manipu- 
lation of his enemies. By a trick he was, forced in 1832 to take 

>SichgxdsoQ. iSuuiu Mi Paper) »/ iht PrKiivUs, U, 451, $14. isfi. 


a stand on the land question.' After deliberating he moved 
to distribute among the states the proceeds of the sale of public 
lands. He took pains to say that it was unconstitutional 
to distribute the revenue, but that the proceeds of land sales 
was another matter. The bill got through the senate, to fail 
in the house. Clay brought it forward again in December, 
1832. It was then passed and went to Jackson in the last days 
of the congress. He applied the "pocket veto" and sent 
congress when it convened in the following December his reasons 
therefor. Clay argued that the lands were a guarantee for 
the payment of the national debt, and that inasmuch as this 
was about paid the further proceeds should be distributed. 
Jackson denied the first proposition, held that no distinction 
was to be made as to the source of revenue, and objected to the 
method of distribution provided in the bill. He also found it 
at variance with the doctrine of the Maysville veto, which of 
itself was enough to insure rejection. In the veto Jackson took 
occasion to say, as he said in the message of 1832, that the 
proper way to deal with a surplus from the sale of the lands was 
to reduce the price to or near the expense of sales.* In this 
he put himself in line with the general Western land policy, 
dear to the heart of Benton and of many another Jackson leader 
from the newer states. 

But the strongest argument against approving the bill was 
its tendency to make the states look to the federal government 
for benefactions. The object of the bill was to distribute not 
the surplus of the land sales, but all the proceeds from such 
sales, while the expenses of the land offices were made a charge 
on the general revenue. This was a bill to create a surplus and 
once adopted might lead to vast extravagances of a similar 
nature. "It appears to me," said Jackson, "that a more direct 

>Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 203-208. 

'Richardson, Messages and Papers oj the Presidents, III., s(5-69. 


road to consolidation can not be devised. Money is power, 
and in the Government which pays all the public officers of the 
states will all poUtical power be substantially concentrated. 
. . . However willing I might be that any unavoidable surplus 
in the Treasury should be returned to the people through their 
State governments, I cannot assent to the principle that a 
surplus may be created for the purpose of distribution." Many 
of Clay's policies seem to have been adopted without definite 
conviction of their soundness. In seeking an exit from a perilous 
position he had hit upon a measure which he thought very 
popular; but most thinking people must have found it an 
unhealthy symptom of a feverish state of pubHc morals. There 
was abroad a strong desire for assistance from the central govern- 
ment. Clay was willing to stimulate and profit by it politically: 
Jackson did not hesitate to attack it and to seek to check it. 

The veto of 1833 did not dispose of the question. The actual 
accumulation of a surplus strengthened the demand for dis- 
tribution. By 1836 the surplus was more than thirty millions, 
and the abstraction of so much money from business channels 
was an economic evil. Clay, therefore, returned to his plan for 
rehef, which he vainly sought to get adopted in the session of 
1833-1834. Another bill introduced late in 1835 was much 
like that which Jackson vetoed in 1 833 . It proposed to distribute 
the net proceeds of the land sales during the years 1833 to 1837 
inclusive. Fifteen per cent, of the sales in the new states was 
to go to those states and the remainder was to be divided in 
proportion to federal population, the new states sharing in this 
allotment also. Clay put the net amount for 1833-1835 at 
twenty-one million. He pushed the bill with his usual skill 
and early in May it passed the senate. 

But other plans were formed. In the house a biU was now 
introduced to distribute the surplus from whatever source. 
It was called "An act to regulate the deposits of the public 


money." Some of its sections, when it took final shape, pro- 
vided more careful regulations for the banks of deposits. Others 
provided that the surplus funds of the government above 
five million dollars should be deposited with the states, accord- 
ing to federal population. It soon became known in congress 
that Jackson would approve this bill but would veto Clay's. 
Administration men were evidently alarmed at the trend of 
opinion for distribution and took this means of meeting it. 
They were pleased that the President would not longer resist 
what they considered the inevitable and carried the bill through 
the house with enthusiasm by a vote of 155 to 38. In the 
senate it was also passed, and Jackson approved it June 23, 
I S3 5. It provided that all the money in the treasury January 
I, 1837, above five million dollars, should be deposited with 
the states in four equal payments on the first days of Jmuary, 
April, July, and October. In return the states were to give 
negotiable certificates of deposit, without interest until nego- 
tiated, payable to the S3:retary of the treasury on demand. 
This preserved the form of a true deposit, by which many who 
voted for it made themselves believe the law constitutional. 
Jackson himself in his last annual message spoke as though he 
beUeved this, and he deprecated the habit of speaking of the 
distribution as though it were a loan. But practical men thought 
the payments would never be demanded. 

Jackson himself had doubts about the correctness of his 
approval and turned to Taney, then his mentor in constitutional 
matters. The chief justice replied that the precedent was bad; 
for if congress might collect money to deposit with the states 
it might do anything; that the money could not practically be 
recovered from the states; and that most democrats regretted 
the passage of the bill. But he added that he thought Jackson 
did well to approve it under the circumstances.' Probably 

' Jackson, June ao, 1836, Jackion Mm. 


the impelling cause of approval was the necessity of helping 
Van Buren in the campaign then in progress. 

By December, when congress met, Jackson's ideas were more 
definite; and he spoke severely in his annual message of the law 
just enacted. Adverting to the fact that the deposits were real 
deposits and not to be considered as gifts, he opened the whole 
discussion again. He pointed out with a clearness that suggests 
the pen of Taney the evils likely to come from the poHcy in- 
augurated, and he urged that the best way of preventing them 
was to collect smaller taxes. *'To require the people," he 
said, " to pay taxes to the Government merely that they may be 
paid back again is sporting with the substantial interests of the 
country." The paragraphs on the subject closed with a strong 
argument for economy and self-control in the government's 
financial policy.' Events about to come reinforced it, and, 
with the panic of 1837 at hand, the further distribution of ths 
surplus ceased to be a problem for the statesman. 

In the same message Jackson discussed the state of the cur- 
rency. He came out for specie as tlie money of the constitution, 
and spoke at length of the bank-note system then in use and 
much abused. He realized the danger to the country from the 
issue of notes in large excess of good business principles and he 
brought out in more than legitimate relief the bearing of the 
point on the bank controversy. 

This warning was well timed; for the accumulation of the 
large surplus in the deposit banks had led to the overissue of 
their notes. With it went a wave of speculation which called 
out a vast amount of paper from banks whose soundness was 
questionable. This was especially true in the West, where 
speculation, chiefly in land, was most prevalent. So evident 
was it that the currency was bad that Jackson issued, July 11, 
1836, through the secretary of the treasury, the celebrated 

>Rki>ardioa. Mutagtt and Paptn ef Utt Prtiidtnts, m., tir346- 


Specie Circular, by which lands must be paid for in specie. The 
occasion for this order was evident. 

In the West a distinct kind of currency had become abundant 
known as "land-ofhce money." This was the notes of the de- 
posit banks and those of such other banks as the deposit banks 
would receive. They were legally receivable for lands and 
were paid in for that purpose at the land offices, to be deposited 
in the banks, where they were lent to land speculators, who again 
paid them in for lands. The ease with which this could be done 
stimulated a great amount of speculation. Land sales before 
1834 were less than four million dollars a year; in 1835 they 
were nearly fifteen millions, and in 1836 more than twenty-four 
miUions. For these large sales the government had chiefly 
the credits of the banks in which the funds were deposited, 
and the soundness of those banks was jeopardized by their 
large loans to the speculators. Nor did the lands sold represent 
settlements. They were largely held by speculators, great and 
small, and the actual settlers must buy of them at an advance 
or take inferior lands or lands remote from the zone of settlement. 
The situation was altogether unhealthy both from a fiscal, 
a business, and an agrarian standpoint; and Jackson's deter- 
mination to check it before worse evils followed was a wise 
move. The Specie Circular caused distress among the specula- 
tors, it started a specie movement toward the West, and it 
helped to accentuate the panicky trend of 1837; but it was a 
healthy antidote to the situation of 1836 and enabled business 
men to take some precautions against danger before the storm 
actually burst. Jackson in the annual message of 1836 summed 
up its benefits as follows: 

It checked the career of the Western banks and gave them 
additional strength in anticipation of the pressure which has 
since pervaded our Eastern as well as the European commercial 


cities. By preventing the extension of the credit system it 
measurably cut off the means of speculation and retarded its 
progress in monopolizing the most valuable of the pubUc lands. 
It has tended to save the new states from a non-resident pro- 
prietorship, one of the greatest obstacles to the advancement 
of a new country and the prosperity of an old one. 

The Specie Circular was by Jackson's own admission inspired 
chiefly by the desire to restrain the land speculators. Van 
Buren justly said the people would approve it on this account. 
In this respect it was like most of his other measures relating 
to business interests. His policies toward the bank, the cur- 
rency, the sale of land, internal improvements, and the dis- 
tribution of the surplus had this thing in common: they were 
all aimed at what he considered an abuse of privilege. While 
each of these measures had its specific economic significance, 
each had, also, a common relation to the anti-monopolistic 
spirit which came as a reaction against the rapid growth of the 
speculative class. In all these matters he voiced the people's 
cry against their own exploitation. Crude as some of his ideas 
were, they were founded on some of the most permanent prin- 
ciples of equahty. It cannot be doubted that he checked 
tendencies essentially dangerous in the day of over-confidence, 
when men forgot ancient principles and looked mostly to the 
present advantage. He espoused the interest, as he thought, 
of the average man, and the average man approved it. 



At this point we turn from Jackson's conflicts and problems 
and consider the man himself. His enemies hated him and 
rarely saw his good qualities; his friends loved him and reluc- 
tantly admitted his failings; and in a sense each was right. 
Some of the good things he did are excellent and some of the bad 
things are wretched. His puzzling personality defies clear 
analysis, but we must admit that he was a remarkable man. 
He lacked much through the want of an education, and he ac- 
quired much through apparent accident, but it was only his 
strong character which turned deficiency and opportunity alike 
to his purpose and made his will the strongest influence in his 
country in his time. 

The secret of his power was his adjustment to the period 
in which he lived. Other men excelled him in experience, wisdom, 
and balanced judgment; but the American democrats of the 
day admired neither of these qualities. They honored courage, 
strength, and directness. They could tolerate ignorance but not 
hesitancy. Jackson was the best embodiment of their desires 
from the beginning of the national government to his own 

Jackson accepted democracy with relentless logic. Some 
others believed that wise leaders could best determine the policies 
of government, but he more than any one else of his day threw 
the task of judging upon the common man. And this he did 
without cant and in entire sincerity. No passionate dreamer 
of the past was more willing than he to test his principles to 



the uttermost. "You know I never despair," he said; "I have 
confidence in the virtue and good sense of the people. God 
is just, and while we act faithfully to the Constitution, he will 
smile upon and prosper our exertions."' 

Mere military glory will not explain his hold on the nation. 
It undoubtedly had much to do with his introduction into 
national politics, but it soon gave place to a popularity resting 
on other qualities. In fact, his peculiar character shone behind 
his military fame and recommended him to the people. They 
liked his promptness in invading Florida in 18 18 and his abrupt 
bridhng of the dallying Callava in 182 1 as much as his victory 
at New Orleans. Other generals won victories in the war, but 
they did not become poUtical forces through them. To the 
people the old government seemed weak and unequal, and 
Jackson, the man who solved difficulties, was elected to reform 
it. When the process of reform began his capacity as a political 
leader showed itself. Probably he could have been reelectei 
in 1832 independently of his war record. 

Much has been said about his honesty. The historical 
critic and the moraHst know this for a common virtue. Most 
of Jackson's contemporaries were as honest as he, but he ex- 
celled them in candor, which is frequently pronounced honesty. 
He was apt to speak his mind clearly, although he could on 
occasion, as has been seen, be as diplomatic as a delicate case 
demanded. Van Buren said in apparent sincerity that he be- 
heved "an hones ter or in any sense a better man was never 
placed at the head of the Government." ' 

Many citations and incidents in the preceding pages witness 
Jackson's lack of restraint and fair judgment. They seem to 
suggest habitual errors of mind; but we are assured that such 
was not the case. Even Calhoun, in the bitterness of the final 

•Jackion to Van Buren, November i, 1830, Van Buren Mas. 
tVaa Biuea to Joha SUndoIpb, April 13, 1S31, Van Buren Mw. 


quarrel, admitted that in ordinary matters and when not irri- 
tated by some unusual thing he was fair and reasonable. The 
explosions of anger for which he was noted were incident to a 
tense natural temperament; and they were apt to come when 
he was off his guard. In dangers which were anticipated he 
was extremely cool. Thus at New Orleans he broke into violent 
rage when he saw the column on the west bank falling back, 
although when the lines were assailed two hours earHer he was 
complete master of himself. In the long struggles against his 
political enemies he was never surprised into some rash explo- 
sion, although many efforts were made by opponents to lead him 
into such a situation. "He was," says Van Buren, "in times 
of peculiar difficulty and danger, calm and equable in his car- 
riage and always master of his passions." * 

But Van Buren would not claim that he was fair toward an 
opponent. "The concihation of individuals," he said, "formed 
the smallest, perhaps too small a part of his policy. His strength 
lay with the masses, and he knew it. He first, and at last in all 
public questions, always tried to be right, and when he felt that 
he was so he apprehended little, sometimes too little, from the 
opposition of prominent and powerful men, and it must now be 
admitted that he seldom overestimated the strength he derived 
from the confidence and favor of the people." ' 

In England Van Buren came into contact with the Duke of 
Wellington, then a leader of the conservatives there; and he 
made the following comparison between the Duke and Jackson: 

There were many points in which he and General Jackson 
resembled each other. In moral and physical courage, in in- 
difference to personal consequences, and in promptness of action 
there was little if any difference in their characters. The 
Duke was better educated and had received the instruction of 

^Autobiography, V., 84, Van Buren Mss. 
ilbid, III., 52. 


experience upon a larger scale, but the General in native intellect 
had, I think, been more richly endowed.' 

But there was a marked dissimilarity which Van Buren 
overlooked. The Englishman was cautious, steady, and per- 
sistent; the American was aggressive, incautious, and disposed 
to throw all his strength into a frontal attack. Wellington was 
a conservative by nature, Jackson was a radical; Wellington 
in politics led the party of privilege, Jackson led the party of 
equality. Neither could have performed the task of the other. 

When Jackson became President it was expected that he would 
fall under the influence of favorites. His inexperience in national 
affairs made it essential that he should take advice freely, and 
he himself was conscious of it. But he was never a tool. In 
all his important measures he was the dominant figure. The 
Maysville veto was, perhaps, the affair in which another had 
most part, but even here Van Buren, who suggested the measure, 
was careful to base it on Jackson's known opposition to the 
invasion of state rights and to the exploitation of the public 
treasury by private parties. He approached the matter most 
cautiously and used his best tact to conceal his purpose. 

Other Presidents were dependent on advice, but they usually 
consulted their cabinet. Jackson, when a general, rarely 
held military councils; when President he rarely held cabinet 
meetings. A formal cabinet decision limited him; he preferred 
to consult whom he wished, informally and without responsibility. 
Out of such conditions grew the "Kitchen Cabinet." This 
group did not control him outright; all its members approached 
him with great caution, and they accomplished their ends only 
by tact and insinuating appeals to his feelings. 

If his policies were his own his documents were usually pre- 
pared by others. He was not a master of writing or argumen- 

^AiUobiography, IV., 167, Van Buren Mss. 


tation, but he knew well what he would f ght for. His private 
letters show crude reasoning to support objects which are dic- 
tated by common sense. His best documents are his military 
proclamations, where there is room for the play of such strong 
feelings as courage, endurance, and loyalty — qualities in 
which he was at his best. 

His lack of political knowledge made him in cases where 
knowledge was essential a bad judge of men. In 1834 he ex- 
pressed a desire to appoint Cuthbert, of Georgia, to the supreme 
bench, upon which Van Buren observed that there were two 
Cuthberts in Georgia, Alfred, of whom he had never heard that he 
was a lawyer, and John, whom he did not think equal to the 
position.* Jackson took the rebuke in good spirit, and ap- 
pointed another man. 

Van Buren's anxiety to escape blame for participating in the 
removal of the deposits has been alluded to;* but we are hardly 
prepared for the following audacious utterance made the day 
after the order to remove went into effect: 

You will see by the inclosed, that the opposition have com- 
menced the game I anticipated. Ihey have found by experi- 
ence that their abuse of you is labour lest, and they conclude 
wisely that if they could succeed in shifting the Bank question 
from your shoulders to m^ine, they would be better able to serve 
the Mammon than they are at present. Now, although I cannot 
grumble at the service they are rendering rce \\ith the people, 
by identifying me with you in this rratter, it "will not do for 
us to expose the great measure to prejudice by dcing anything 
that would tend in the slightest degree to withdraw from it 
the protection of your name.' 

The object of this pecuHarly insidious flattery probably never 

•Jackson to Van Bur™, October 27th; Van Eurcn to Jackson, November 5, 1834, Van Buren Mis. 

•See above, II., 640-649. 

'Van Saren to Jackson. O.rtober a, 1833, Van Buren Ms*. 


suspected its nature. To the faults of a friend he was singularly- 

Of associates other than Van Buren, Lewis seems to have 
had influence chiefly in personal affairs. He was at home in the 
Eaton intrigue, the exclusion of Calhoun, and the nomination 
of Van Buren in 1832. He Hved in the President's house and 
encouraged the impression that he held the key to his favor. 
He was able by this means to exert a wide influence among the 
office-seekers. Jackson used him freely in matters high and 
low. At one time he wants him to stay in Washington to keep 
an eye on the situation during the President's absence: at 
another he gives him all kinds of minor commissions, as writing 
papers and selling cotton.' Kendall had more to do with poli- 
cies, but his influence came comparatively late. He was power- 
ful in the bank controversy, a strong supporter of Jackson's 
anti-bank views, and after that war was won his influence sur- 
vived in general matters. Blair, who came into touch with the 
administration in 1830, became after a while a warm personal 
associate; but he was not a man of creative power. He loved 
Jackson and fought faithfully for him, but the many letters 
which passed between them show no evidence that he sought to 
modify the President's political life. 

But Blair gave a rich friendship. He had the homely virtues 
of the West. His home on Pennsylvania Avenue opposite the 
President's house was presided over by a wife who to a larger 
culture added the reHable virtues of Mrs. Jackson. It was a 
haven of comfort to the tired spirit and body of the harassed 
and pain-racked Jackson, and he made touching references to 
it as long as he lived. To Mrs. Blair on the eve of his departure 
from Washington he wrote the following characteristic words: 

I cannot leave this city without presenting you my grateful 

'Illustrations are found in the Ford Mss. See calendar in Bulletin oj New York Public Library, IV., 295-303. 

7g€ the life of ANDREW JACKSON 

thantva for the great kindness you have extended to me and my 
family whilst here. When sick you visited us and extended to 
me and our dear little ones all comforts within your power. 
We all t-vart with you and your dear husband and amiable family 
with sincere regret ; but I trust in a kind pro\'idence that I may 
reach home and be spared until I have the pleasure of seeing 
you and Mr. Blair and your dear Eliza at the Hermitage. You 
will receive a good welcome. I beg you to accept as a memento 
of my regai'd a heifer raised by me since my second election. 
She will bring you in mind of my fondness for good milk, and how 
I was gratified in this fondness from your liberal hands. ' 

If he had th^ failings of suspiciousness, narrowness, and vin- 
dictiveness, he had also the calmer virtues of domesticity and 
personal honor. He was peculiarly gentle with the weak. 
Women were pleased with his protecting chivalry. They ad- 
mired his grave dignity and warm emotions. For children he 
had a tender heart, and the cry of an infant aroused his warm 
sympathy. His letters contain many expressions of pride in 
the developments of the children of his adopted son and of dis- 
tress over their suffering. Into his relations with his relatives 
storms rarely entered. To them he was the clan leader and 

With true Southern feeling he took every woman seriously. 
In 1833 a New Haven spinster appealed to Van Buren to intro- 
duce her to Jackson, so that she might win his affection and 
become his wife. Her letter was forwarded to Jackson, who 
wrote in the finest possible strain, and with his own hand: 
"Whatever may be her virtues, I could make but one answer 
to any partiaHty they could form for me, and that is, my heart 
is in the grave of my dear departed wife, from which sacred spot 
no living being can recall it. In the cultivation of the sentiments 
of friendship, which are perhaps rendered more active by the 
loss I have sustained, I trust I shall always be able to produce 

'March 6, 1837, Jackson Mss. 


suitable returns for the favor of my acquaintances; and if there- 
fore I ever meet this lady I shall hope to satisfy her that I ap- 
preciate as I ought her kindness, tho' I cannot for a moment 
entertain the proposition it has led her to make."* 

Much of the affection of his old age centred in the family 
and person of his adopted son, a man whose business failures 
brought much sorrow. For the son's wife, Sarah York Jackson, 
the father had a strong affection which was well deserved by 
her calm and faithful care of his old age. His fatherly instinct 
was marked. It appears with many other virtues, in the follow- 
ing letter to Andrew Jackson, Jr., written from Washington, 
March 9, 1834, after paying many of the young man's debts: 

My dear son, I reed yesterday your letter of the i6th ultimo, 
and have read with attention, and am more than pleased that 
you have taken a just view of that fatherly advice I have been 
constantly pressing upon you, beheving as I do, that unless you 
adopt them you cannot possibly get well thro life and provide 
for an increasing family which it is now your duty to do, and have 
the means of giving them such education as your duty to them 
as a parent requires, and their standing in society, merits. 

My dear son. It is enough for me that you acknowledge your 
error, it is the error of youth and inexperience, and my son I 
fully forgive them. You have my advice, it is that of a tender 
and affectionate father given to you for your benefit and that of 
your dear and amiable family, and I pray you to adhere to 
it in all respects and it will give peace and plenty thro life and 
that of your amiable Sarah and her dear little ones. Keep 
clear of Banks and indebtedness, and you live a freeman, and 
die in independence and leave your family so. 

Before this reaches you, you will have received my letter 
enclosing Mr. Hubbs note, cancelled; and as soon as you fur- 
nish me with the full amount of the debts due by the farm, with 
any you may have contracted in Tennessee, and the contract 
with Mr. Hill for the land purchased, I will, if my means are 

»Van Buren to Jackson, July 42nd; Jackson to Van Buren, July 2S, 1833; Van Buren Mss, 


equal to the object, free you from debt and the farm, when the 
farm with the aid of your own industry and economy must 
support us, and after I am gone, you and your farrily. Hence 
it is, and was, that I was and a n so soUcitous to be furnished 
with the full information on all the points required of you. 
Those who do not settle all their accounts at the end of the 
year, cannot know what means he really possesses, for the next; 
and remember, my son, that honesty and justice to all men 
require that we should always liv^e within our own means, and 
not on those of others, when it may be, that those to whom we 
are indebted are relying on what we owe them, for their own 
support. Therefore it is unjust to live on any but our own means 
honestly and justly acquired. Follow this rule and a wise and 
just providence will smile upon your honest endeavours, and 
surround you with plenty, so long as you deserve it by your 
just and charitable conduct to all others.' 

In 1829 many persons thought that a democratic President 
would rob the office of its dignity. Their fears were only par- 
tially realized; for although the new party gave a touch of 
crudeness to life in Washington generally, the manners of the 
democratic President on formal occasions were all that could 
be desired. Francis Lieber, who visited him, spoke admiringly 
of his "noble, expressive countenance," and said: "He has the 
appearance of a venerable old man, his features by no means 
plain; on the contrary, he made the best impression on me." 

Tyrone Power, the actor, gives this account: 

As viewed on horseback, the General is a fine, soldierly, well- 
preserved old gentleman, with a pale, wrinkle! countenance, 
and a keen clear eye, restless and searching. His seat is an un- 
commonly good one, his hand apparently light, and his carriage 
easy and horseman-like; circumstances though trifling in them- 
selves, not so general here as to escape observation. . . . 
Both the wife and sister of an English officer of high rank, 

•Jackson Mm. 

•Perry, Lift of Lieber, 9a, OS- 


themselves women of remarkable refinement of mind and man- 
ners, observed to me, in speaking of the President, that they had 
seldom met a person possessed of more native courtesy, or a 
more dignified deportment." 

A more critical and less friendly observer was Nathaniel 
Sargent, who said : "In any promiscuous assembly of a thousand 
men he would have been pointed out above all the others as 
a man 'born to command,' and who would, in any dangerous 
emergency, be at once placed in command. Ordinarily, he had 
the pecuHar, rough, independent, free and easy ways of the 
backwoodsman; but at the same time he had, whenever occa- 
sion required, and especially when in the society of ladies, very 
urbane and graceful manners.'" 

John Fairfield, congressman from Maine, said of him: "He 
is a warm-hearted, honest old man as ever lived, and possesses 
talents too of the first order, notwithstanding what many of 
our Northern folk think of him. He talks about all matters 
freely and fearlessly without any disguise, and in a straight- 
forward honesty and simpHcity of style and manner which you 
would expect from what I have before said of him. I wish 
some of our good folks North could hear him talk upon a subj3ct 
in which he is interested, say the French question, which he 
talked about on Monday evening, I think their opinions would 
undergo a change.'" 

Life in the President's house now lost something of the good 
form of the Virginia regime, but it lost nothing of the air of 
domesticity. Throughout most of the two administrations the 
household was directed by Mrs. A. J. Donelson, a woman of 
firm and refined character whom the people of Washington 
greatly respected. Her husband, a private secretary of more 

»Power, Impressions of America (London), 1836, I., 279, 281. 
^Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 35, 246. 

'John Fairfield to his wife, December 9, 183s; Fairfield Mss. in the possession of Miss Martha Fairfield, 
Saco, Me. 


than ordinary ability, was related to Mrs. Jackson. Their 
presence in the White House gave something of the "Hermi- 
tage" feeling to the place. Politicians came and went as freely 
in office hours as in any exterior public office in the city. Inti- 
mates Uke Van Buren, Eaton, and Blair dropped in at any time, 
before breakfast, or in the evening, as incUnation prompted; 
and the industrious Lewis for a large part of the administrations 
lived in the house. Ordinarily the President and his family 
made one group in the evenings. If a cabinet member, or 
other official, appeared to talk about public business, he read 
his documents or otherwise consulted with Jackson in one part 
of the room, the ladies sewing or chatting and the children 
playing meanwhile in another part.* 

The levees were as republican as Jefferson could wish. George 
Bancroft thus describes one he attended in 1831: 

The old man stood in the centre of a little circle, about large 
enough for a cotillion, and shook hands with everybody that 
offered. The number of ladies who attended was small; nor 
were they brilliant. But to compensate for it there was a 
throng of apprentices, boys of all ages, men not civilized enough 
to walk about the room with their hats off; the vilest promis- 
cuous medley that ever was congregated in a decent house; 
many of the lowest gathering round the doors, pouncing with 
avidity upon the wine and refreshments, tearing the cake with 
the ravenous keenness of intense hunger; starvelings, and 
fellows with dirty faces and dirty manners; all the refuse that 
Washington could turn forth from its workshops and stables. 
In one part of the room it became necessary to use a rattan.' 

Bancroft was ever a precise gentleman and in his own day in 
the capital his entertainments were models of propriety, but 
we cannot doubt that the people at the levee he attended were 
absolutely rude. Fortunately he was at a select reception and his 

'For Vin Buren's praise of Jackson's love of family, see Autobiography, IV., 82, Van Buren Mss. 
*Howe, Life of Bancroft, I., iq6. 


impressions of it were better. ""The old gentleman," he said, ''re- 
ceived us as civilly as any private individual could have done; 
he had me introduced to all the ladies of the family, and such 
was the perfect ease and good breeding that prevailed there, 
they talked to me as though I had been an acquaintance of ten 
years' standing. ... I received a very favorable impression 
of the President's personal character; I gave him credit for 
great firmness in his attachments, for sincere kindness of heart, 
for a great deal of philanthropy and genuine good feeling; but 
touching his qualifications for President, avast there — Sparta 
hath many a wiser than he.'" 

Of a reception at the President's, December 24, 1835, we 
have this description: More than 300 guests were invited, and 
there was on this evening much scurrying of the innumerable 
hacks on Pennsylvania Avenue to take guests to the mansion. 
Entering the door we leave our wraps, cross a large empty room, 
pass another door to a room in which Jackson meets his guests. 
He receives his company by shaking hands with each, which is 
done in a very kind, courteous and gentlemanly manner, and 
sometimes with friendly warmth, according to the personage." 
We may loiter in this room if we will, but we probably pass on to 
the "blue room," whose light is so trying to the complexion that 
few ladies will linger a moment in it. Beyond that is the bril- 
liantly lighted "east room," in which the guests promenade, and 
it fills with people intermingling informally, a lively "scene 
of bowing, talking, laughing, ogling, squinting, squeezing, etc." 
In the room are many of the notables of the city, congressmen 
with their wives, senators, army and naval officers with swords 
and uniforms, and persons of distinction. The ladies are hand- 
some, or not, as nature made them, but they are uniformly 
dressed with elegance, mostly in satin gowns with here and there 
a mantle of rich silk and velvet. Ices, jellies, wine, and lemonade 
are passed continually among the guests; and at eleven o'clock 

VM, I., 99: 


supper is served. Into a large dining-room enter the guests. 
A table, or counter, surrounds the space set so as to allow the 
company to sit outside of its perimeter, next the wall. Within 
this square is a smaller table from which food and drink are 
served. Of each sort there is an abundance. "I can't describe 
this supper," says our informant; "I am not capable of it. 
I can only say it surpassed everything of the kind I ever saw 
before, and that we had everything. This party could not have 
cost the President much short of $1,500."* 

Jackson's dinners were generous and in good form. Gen. 
Robert Patterson, of Philadelphia, gives us this impression of 
one he attended: "At 4 o'clock, we went to the President's. 
The party was small, comprising only the General's family and 
ourselves. The dinner was very neat and served in excellent 
taste, while the wines were of the choicest qualities. The 
President himself dined on the simplest fare; bread, milk and 
vegetables. After dinner took' a walk through the grounds 
about the ' White House ' which are laid out with much neatness 
and order, and filled with a number of shrubs and flowers."' 

The following items from his personal accounts of 1834 will 
show how amply his table was spread: October ist, he had 
twelve pounds of veal, forty-nine of beef, and nineteen cents' 
worth of hog's fat. October 2nd, he had eight pounds of mutton, 
forty pounds of beef, and twenty-five cents' worth of sausages. 
October 3rd, it was twenty-two pounds of mutton and twenty 
pounds of beef. October 4th, he had six pounds of sweetbreads, 
sixteen pounds of mutton, three pounds of lard, $1.10 worth of 
beef, and twenty-five cents' worth of veal. For drink he was 
charged on October 13th, with one barrel of ale and half a barrel of 
beer, and on the 31st, with another barrel of ale. October ist, 
he bought three gallons of brandy, two gallons of Holland gin, 

>John Fairfield to his wife, December 25, 1835, from the Fairfield Mss. in the possession of Miss Martha 
Fairfield, Saco, Me. 
'General Patterson's diary, in possession of Mr. Lindsay Patterson, Winston-Salem, N. C. 


and one gallon of Jamaica spirits. October 13th, he bought 
three bottles of Chateau Margeaux, a like quantity of Chateau 
Lafitte, and a dozen bottles of London porter. October 22nd, 
he had two gallons each of brandy, Jamaica spirits, and Holland 

Some idea of the furnishing of the President's House under 
Jackson may be had from an inventory made March 24, 1825. 
The contents of each room appear in faithful description and 
are here reproduced because I know of no other such reliable 
account. In the entrance hall were four mahogany settees, two 
marble consul tables, two elegant brass fenders, one oilcloth 
carpet, one thermometer and barometer, and one "lamp with 
branches wants repair." In the large levee room were four 
large mahogany sofas and twenty-four large mahogany arm- 
chairs — all "unfinished," — eight pine tables, one door screen, 
one paper screen partition, one mahogany map-stand, one 
"common" wash-stand, basin and ewer, one pine clothes-press, 
and a book case in three sections. In the "Elliptical Drawing 
Room" were one "large glass and gilt chandelier, elegant," two 
gilt brown mirrors, one gilt consul table, marble top, tv^o china 
vases, one elegant gilt French mantel clock, four bronze and 
gilt candelabras with eagle heads, pair of bronze and gilt andirons, 
two sofas — gilt and satin — with twenty-four chairs, four settees 
and five footstools to match a large French carpet, double silk 
window curtains with gilt-eagle cornices and six small curtain 
pins, and with two fire screens in gilt and satin, two bronze 
candlesticks, and shovel and tongs. Beside the two rooms 
mentioned, there were on the first floor a "Yellow Drawing 
Room," a "Green Drawing Room," large and small dining- 
rooms, a china closet, a pantry, and a porter's room. There 
were a "first service" of two hundred and seventy pieces of 
French china, a " second service, dessert," of 157 pieces of crim- 

iJacksoD Mss. 


son and gilt china, a service of white and gilt china of 232 pieces, 
a white and gilt French china tea service containing 156 
pieces, a blue china dinner service of 66 pieces. The solid 
silver consisted of 28 dishes in three sizes, one coffee and two 
teapots, one urn, two large tureens with buckskin cases, one 
sugar dish, eight castor rolls, one set of castors, five nut crackers, 
with spoons, forks, fish knives, etc. Among these was one large 
chest with 167 pieces, most of which were solid silver. Another 
case had 150 pieces of French plate, and there was a French 
gilt dessert set of 140 pieces. In the basement were the kitchens, 
the steward's rooms, the servants' hall, servants' rooms with 
the scantiest furniture, this being a sample: "No. i, one cot, 
worn out, one mattress, worn out, one short bench." On the 
second floor were the family sleeping quarters with six furnished 
bedrooms, and private drawing and dressing rooms. No mention 
is made of bath rooms, and the illumination of the house was 
by candles and lamps.' 

Jackson was never a careful spender, and through this trait 
as well as by an abundant hospitality he used all his presidential 
salary, $25,000 a year. When he left Washington he was poorer 
than he entered it. ''I returned," he said, "with barely ninety 
dollars in my pockets, Beacon for my family and corn and oats 
for the stock to buy, the new roof on my house just rebuilt 
leaking and to be repaired. I carried $5,000 when I went to 
Washington: it took of my cotton crop $2,250, with my salary, 
to bring me home. The burning of my house and furniture 
has left me poor."' The "Hermitage" with its contents was 
burned in 1834.' He ordered it rebuilt, according to the old 
plans. His receipts from his farm during his absence were 
very small. 

As his administration progressed Jackson became deeply 

'See inventory in the House of Representatives Library, of Congress. 

»See endorsement on Rev. A. D. Campbell to Jackson, March 17, 1837, Jackson Mss. 

•Jackson to Van Buren, October 27, 1834, Van Buren Mss. 


engrossed in its controversies. Visitors were liable to have 
from him hot outbursts of wrath against Biddle, Clay, or Cal- 
boun. His particular friends learned to ignore such displays, 
but other persons found them disagreeable. A caller who 
alluded to contemporary pohtics might have a harangue on the 
decay of liberty.' It soon dawned on the public that the Presi- 
dent was feehng the effects of the strain on him. Victor as he 
was, sorrow pressed him down, and he was much alone. De- 
fiantly he watched his beaten foes, who dared not renew the 
battle as long as he was in power. 

The two terms of the presidency brought him continued ill 
health. Chronic indigestion made it necessary to diet strictly, 
and but for an iron will he could hardly have lived through the 
period. Beside this, he suffered continually from the wounds 
he receive'd in the Benton and Dickinson duels. For his most 
distressing attacks his favorite remedy was bleeding, and he 
insisted on using it even when he could ill afford the weakening 
effects. The winter of 1832-33 was very trying; and in the 
following spring and summer its difficulties were increased by 
the death of Overton and Coffee, two of his oldest and best 
loved friends. More than this, the period saw the culmination 
of the nullification movement and the opening of the controversy 
over the removal of the deposits. Together they brought great 
depression. "I want relaxation from business, and rest," he 
said, "but where can I get rest? I fear not on this earth.'" 
Of Coffee's death he said: "I mourn his loss with the feelings 
of David for his son [sic] Jonathan. It is useless to mourn. 
He is gone the way of all the earth and I will soon follow him. 
Peace to his manes." ' 

It was May 6th of this year that Robert B. Randolph, a 
lieutenant of the navy, discharged for irregularities in his ac- 

iSargent, Public Men and Events, II., 2X; Howe, Life of Bancroft, I., 193. 
•Jackson to Van Buren, January 6, 1833. Van Buren Mss. 
*Ibid to »4»(i, July J4i'.i833, Van Buren Mss. 


counts, assaulted Jackson in the cabin of a steamboat at the 
Alexandria dock. Randolph felt aggrieved for some words 
in the President's letter approving the dismissal. He found 
the object of his wrath seated at a table; and when Jackson, who 
did not know him, rose, Randolph thrust out his hand with the 
intention, as he later asserted, of pulling the President's nose. 
Bystanders interfered and bore the irate lieutenant to the shore. 
Newspapers of both parties deplored the affair. Jackson saw 
in it a plot to humiliate him and believed that Duff Green was 
privy to it.' The affair brought from him an outburst of his old- 
time indignation which he expressed in the following words to 

If this had been done [i. e. , if he had been told that Randolph 
approached], I would have been prepared and upon my feet, 
when he never would have moved with life from tiis tracks he 
stood in. Still more do I regret that when I got to my feet, 
and extricated from the bunks, and tables, that my friends 
interposed, closed the passage to the door, and held me, until 
I was obliged to tell them if they did not open a passage I would 
open it with my cane. In the meantime, the villain, surrounded 
by his friends, had got out of the boat, crying they were carry- 
ing him to the civil authority. Thus again I was halted at the 
warf. Solomon says, ' 'there's a time for all things under the 
sun," and if the dastard will only present himself to me, I will 
freely pardon him, after the interview, for every act or thing 
done to me, or he may thereafter do to me. ' 

This interview, so interestingly conceived, was never 
brought into reality. 

The protest of Southerners in 1835 against circulating aboli- 
tion literature in the South also was a disturbing factor. Kendall, 
since 1835, postmaster-general, was asked to exclude such matter 
from the mails on the ground that it was incendiary: he dared 

'Jackson to Van Buren, May 19, 1833, Van Buren Mss; Niles, Register, XLIV., 170. 
^Jbid to ibid. May 12, 1833, Van Buren Mss. 


not arouse the North by complying. His decision was in the 
spirit of the Missouri Compromise, which gave each section what 
it asked within its own limits. He decided that aboHtion 
literature might be mailed in the North but need not be delivered 
in the South. Jackson seems to have taken little interest in 
the compromise, but it affected him politically. The extreme 
Southerners, most of them followers of Calhoun, held meetings 
which could have no other object than to commit the Southern 
people to resentment. No man in Southern policies dared oppose 
the meetings; for to urge that the abolitionists be tolerated was 
political suicide in that section. The bolder of the leaders went 
so far as to say that Jackson was blamable because he let this 
menace develop in the nation.* 

Jackson deprecated the alarm of the South and thought that 
the agitation there was unwise, not only because it imperiled 
his own poHcies through party dissension, but also because it 
threatened disunion. John Randolph, old but undiminished in 
his opposition to Calhoun, realized how much Jackson meant 
for the preservation of nationality. "I can compare him to 
nothing," said the Virginian in his last illness, "but a sticking- 
plaster. As soon as he leaves the Government all the impurities 
existing in the country will cause a disruption, but while he 
sticks the union will last."' 

In 1836 the forces of sectionalism were not strong enough 
to affect the elections. Neither did Clay, Jackson's arch foe, 
feel strong enough to defeat him. He withheld his hand and 
trusted those democrats who objected to the elevation of Van 
Buren to produce enough disorganization to defeat the favorite. 
The defection showed first in Tennessee, where Van Buren was 
identified with the friends of Eaton and Lewis. Both these 
men were unpopular in the state, and Eaton's foes formed 

»Cf. Judge R. E. Parker to Van Buren, August 12, 18.55, Van Buren Mss. 
-Abram Van Buren to Martin Van Buren. June 3 Cor 5), 1833, Van Buren Mss. 


an efficient organization when, under Grundy's able leadership, 
they defeated his hopes of the senate in 1833. Governor Car- 
roll gave the New Yorker fair warning that if he wished the 
state he should conciliate Grundy.' 

The threatened disruption took shape in December, 1834, 
when a majority of the Tennessee members of the national 
house of representatives endorsed Judge White for President. 
Jackson was so greatly surprised at this evidence of division that 
he refused at first to believe his old friend would forsake him. 
Other states followed the lead of Tennessee. White's boom 
seemed propitiously launched, but it gained no force in the 
North and Northwest, where it was not desired to see another 
Tennessee President. Harrison, of Indiana, and Webster got 
endorsement in their respective sections, and the opponents 
of Van Buren began to hope they could throw the election into 
the house. But they could not shake the hold of the strong 
machine which the Jackson managers had built up. The 
results showed 170 votes for Van Buren and 124 for all his 
opponents. It was a party triumph, but with it was a drop of 
bitterness : Tennessee went for White and with it went Georgia, 
on which Jackson lavished all his care in the matter of the 
Cherokees. Harrison's vote was chiefly in the Northwest and 
Webster's in New England. South Carolina threw her vote 
away on Mangum, a Southern whig, but the Jackson organiza- 
tion maintained its hold on North Carolina, Virginia, Penn- 
sylvania, and New York, all old republican states, who together 
cast no of the 148 electoral votes necessary to a choice. 

From the election in November events hurried on to the 
meeting of congress in December. The last annual messagej-v^ 
December 5th, was in a tone of triumph. Of the issues before ' 
^the country in 1829, all had been settled to Jackson's satisfaction. 
Internal improvements were relegated to the background, the 

'Wm. Carroll to Van Buren, /March ii, 1833, Van Buren Mss. 


tariff was compromised and the ''American system " was checked, 
the Bank of the United States was closing up its affairs, nulli- 
fication was laid low, foreign affairs were on a satisfactory basis 
and our prestige was heightened, the national debt was dis- 
charged and revenues were abundant beyond expectation, the 
irritating situation in Georgia was pacified, and above all the 
party organization was established on a splendid popular basis. 
This totality of achievement was so great that it was hardly 
discredited by the anxiety that came from the Mexican situa- 
tion and from the uncertain state of the currency. The panic 
of the following year was not yet discernible. The message 
closed with an expression of gratitude "to the great body of 
my fellow-citizens, in whose partiality and indulgence I have 
found encouragement and support in many difficult and trying 
scenes through which it has been my lot to pass during my 
political career. ... All that has occurred during my admin- 
istration is calculated to inspire me with increased confidence 
in the stability of our institutions." * ^ 

' When this message was written he had taken steps for a more 
formal farewell. The idea was in his mind in 183 1, before he 
decided to stand for reelection.' He recurred to it in i836,_ 
and October 13th wrote to Taney, now his chief agent in pre- 
paring such papers, asking for assistance. The subjects he 
wished to treat, he said, were the glorious union and the 
schemes of dissatisfied men to dissolve it, the drift toward 
monopolies, the attempts to "adulterate the currency" with 
paper money, the rage for speculation and stock-jobbing, and 
all other things which tended to corrupt the simple virtue which 
was left us by the fathers. The danger he foresaw for the 
spirit of union especially alarmed him. "How to impress the 
pubHc," he said, "with an adequate aversion to the secrional 

iRichardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, III., 2sg. 
*Jacksoa to Van Buren, December 17, 1831, Van Buren Mss. 


jealousies, the sectional parties, and sectional preferences which 
centring on mischievous and intriguing individuals, give them 
power to disturb and shake our happy confederacy, is a matter 
which has occupied my own thought greatly." He asked Taney 
to "throw on paper" his ideas on these subjects. Taney will- 
ingly complied and promised to bring the result with him when 
he came to Washington about New Year's to open the regular 
term of the supreme court.' The Farewell Address, issuedj 
^.^•^ arch 4, 1837, follows closely the copy which is preserved in 
Taney's handwriting in the Jackson manuscripts. 

The whigs declared it presumptuous and self-conceited for 
this ignorant old man, as they called him, to send out a farewell 
address in imitation of Washington. The extravagance of 
their criticism discredited their argument and, as in other cases, 
brought sympathy to its object. Jackson as the leader of 
a great party might with propriety assume to give them advice. 
But his advice in itself was not remarkable. The appeal for 
union was well conceived, but it was overcast by the other points 
in the document, points which were after all but the re-stated 
argument of a thousand democratic stumps in the preceding cam- 
paign. But the address pleased the democrats, and many a 
copy on white satin was laid away as a valuable memento of the 

Ere the people of Washington read the address they crowded 
the famous ''Avenue" to see its author, pale and trembling 
from disease, ride up to the place at which he laid down his 
office. The scene gratified his soul. The oath was administered 
by Chief Justice Taney, twice rejected by the senate but now in 
office through an awakening of popular opinion: it was taken 
by Van Buren, who also had been made to feel the effects of the 
senate's ire. The plaudits of the great multitude were chiefly for 
the out going President. The polite and unruffled Van Buren 

•Jackson to Taney, October 13th; Taney to Jackson, October 15 and a;, X836, Jackson Mss. 


aroused little enthusiasm; but the frank, convinced, and hard- 
hitting man at his side had either the love or the hatred of 
men. For weeks before his exit from office he was overwhelmed 
by visitors, delegations, and addresses from organizations to 
express approval of his course and good will for his future. 
When he left Washington on March 7th, his journey was impeded 
by the demonstrations of his friends. Eighteen days later he 
arrived in Nashville. 

Writing to his successor he characterized his term of office 
as follows: "The approbation I have received from the people 
everywhere on my return home on the close of my official life, 
has been a source of much gratification to me. I have been 
met at every point by numerous democratic-republican friends, 
and many repenting whigs, with a hearty welcome and ex 
pressions of Veil done thou faithful servant.' This is trub' 
the patriot's reward, the summit of my gratification, and will 
be my solace to my grave. When I review the arduous adminis- 
tration through which I have passed, the formidable opposition , 
to its very close, of the combined talents, wealth and power of 
the whole aristocracy of the United States, aided as it is, by the 
monied monopolies of the whole country with their corrupting 
influence, with which we had to contend, I am truly thankful 
to my God for this happy result. ... It displays the virtue 
and power of the sovereign people, and that all must bow to 
their will. But it was the voice of this sovereign will that so 
nobly sustained us against this formidable power and enabled 
me to pass through my administration so as to meet its appro- 
bation." No words of the author could characterize Jacksor« 
better than these from his own pen. They give a sincere and 
faithful explanation of his inner self, and they are unconscious 
of their own egotism. 

ijacksoa to Van Buren, March 30, 1837, Van Buren Ms9. 



The eight years of Jackson's retirement, ending with his death 
on June 8, 1845, brought him Httle of the rest he desired. With 
keen eyes on public affairs he found abundant cause for har- 
assment in the panic of 1837, the long drawn out fight for the 
sub-treasury, the whig triumph of 1840, the quarrels of Tyler, 
the obtrusion of the slavery controversy, the question of Texan 
annexation, the restoration of the New Orleans fine, and the 
eclipse of Van Buren in 1844. In each of these questions he 
took the greatest interest, sometimes giving advice that could not 
be taken, and scolding because it was not followed, but usually 
contending for a vigorous prosecution of his former policies. 

In private affairs he had much anxiety. Bad health, which 
is particularly distressful to a man of seventy, continued to 
harass him. Probably it was only his strong will that kept 
him alive most of these years. His business entanglements had 
to be cleared by the sale of outlying lands so that to be free of 
debt he brought his holdings down to the "Hermitage" tract 
alone, on which with his 150 slaves he must support himself, 
the family of his son, and the slaves themselves. His house 
was the object of pilgrimage for many travelers, some of them 
attached frien^« .and some merely curious strangers. All were 
received with hearty demonstrations of welcome. Family, 
slaves, and visitors taxed the resources of the fertile farm to 
its utmost. 

His reception by his neighbors on his return was most cordial. 
They met him as he neared the "Hermitage," forced him to 



alight from his carriage, and read him addresses of welcome. 
A youth speaking for the children said the descendants of his 
old soldiers and friends hailed him and would serve under his 
banner. Children and loyalty ever aroused his deep interest, 
and hearing this speech he bowed his head on his cane, while 
tears rained from his eyes and from those of the bystanders. 

He fell easily into the old Hfe. Neighbors respected him 
even if they opposed him poHtically. His family pleased him 
greatly: the children of his son appealed to his heart: and old 
friends were received with the utmost graciousness. For his 
slaves he ever had the patriarch's care and authority. In 1839, 
when four of them were arrested on a • charge of murder, he 
thought they were persecuted by his enemies through spite 
and spent much time and money in acquitting them.' His 
manner of life was now sober as became^vhis age and station. 
Cock-fighting, tall swearing, and other youthful laxities were 
forgotten. He retained his love of a good horse, and gave 
himself earnestly to the welfare of his colts, but not with the 
enthusiasm of former years. 

He was hardly at home before the panic of 1837 was upon the 
country. The Specie Circular of July, 1836, which drew money 
from the East to pay for Western lands, and the distribution of 
the surplus revenue, by which nearly nine millions must be 
transferred quarterly from locahty to locality were undoubtedly 
two immediate causes. But behind both was a long series of 
land speculation. Western booming, extravagant expenditures, 
with general over-confidence and some disastrous crop failures. 
All the New York banks but three suspended specie payment 
on May loth, and the banks elsewhere immediately followed 
their example. Since by law the government could receive 
only specie and the notes of specie-paying banks, and since 
the small amount of specie was largely in hiding, the govem- 

>Jac]uon to BUur, February ao, 1839, Jackson Mbs. 


ment, though out of debt through Jackson's rigid policy, had not 
enough money to transact its business. Much of what it had 
on hand was locked up in banks which could not withstand the 
tide of depression. A further embarrassment was due to the 
fact that government funds could legally be deposited only in 
banks which paid specie for their notes, and the administration 
was thus forced to care for its funds, since none of the banks 
met this requirement. Whigs declared the Specie Circular 
responsible for the evil of the day and began the old trick of 
sending committees to Washington to ask the President for 
relief. So strong was the tide that many democrats began 
to say that the circular ought to be rescinded at least tempo- 
rarily. Van Buren withstood the demand, much to the gratifi- 
cation of Jackson, who watched him closely. Business men 
turned to the expedient of private money. Various public 
and private corporations issued their tokens of credit; and one 
of the striking resources was several kinds of copper medals 
the size of a cent which passed as such generally. They had 
mottoes of political significance. One with the inscription, 
"Executive Financiering" depicts a strong box inscribed "sub- 
treasury" being carried off on the back of a tortoise, while 
on the reverse is shown a very lively mule with the legend, 
"I follow in the steps of my illustrious predecessor." Another 
design is favorable to the democrats; on one side is the ship 
C(7n5/i7M/z(7/j with the words, " Van Buren, Metallic Currency," 
and on the other is shown a strong box above which rises Jackson, 
sword in hand, evidently guarding the treasure. Around the 
design are the words, "I take the responsibility." 

Though Van Buren would not rescind the Specie Circular, he 
called congress in extra session for the first Monday in Sep- 
tember. It seemed a good opportunity to adopt Jackson's 
cherished policy of a "complete divorce of the Government 
from all banks," both as to currency and as to the deposit 


function. He recommended, therefore, the issue of ten miUions 
of interest-bearing treasury notes, to be receivable with specie 
for government dues, and he also suggested the creation of a 
series of sub-treasury offices to hold and pay out public funds 
without recourse to banks. The first suggestion was enacted 
into law. It was an emergency measure, but something like 
it was necessary. The second was incorporated in the first 
sub-treasury bill, generally known as the "divorce bill," and 
failed in the house after passing the senate. The democrats con- 
trolled the house, but they were not united in their ideas on 
this subject, and Van Buren was not masterful enough to force 
them to do his will. 

These matters could not but interest Jackson deeply. At 
the first suggestion of trouble he urged Van Buren to be firm. 
"You may rest assured," he said, "that nineteen-twentieths 
of the whole people approve it [the Specie Circular] — all ex- 
cept the speculators and their secret associates and partners."* 
Referring to conditions in Mississippi, where slaves were selling 
for one third of the former prices, and state bank-notes were 
15 per cent, below par, he said that the government would 
have been in a wretched condition if it had continued to receive 
for its lands the notes of banks which depended on such condi- 
tions. "Let the President," he observed, "take care of the cur- 
rency or the administration will be shook to the centre." As 
to the panic, it "will pass away as soon as all the overtraders, 
gamblers in stock and lands, are broke. Hundreds are yet 
to fail." And again, "You know I hate the paper system, 
and believe all banks to be corruptly administered. Their 
whole object is to make money and like the aristocratic mer- 
chants, if money can be made all's well."* 

His letters to Van Buren and Blair were read by many of his 

*Jacks3n to Van Buren, March 22, 1837, Van Buren Mss. 
iJacJuon to Blair, April 3, iS, 34. Juae 5, 1S37, Jackson Mss. 


Washington friends and continually gave advice, insistently, 
as his nature was, but with such continued expressions of affec- 
tion that no one could have suspected him of dictation. Some 
former democrats left the party when the sub-treasury was 
proposed, and this gave him real pain. When some of the 
deserters set up a so-called democratic paper called the Madi- 
sonian, he pronounced it a "Trojan Horse, intended to cut the 
Republican wall into the citadel, and by dividing yield to the 
federal shin-plaster party, the entire Republican fortress." 
When he saw indications that Calhoun was coming back to the 
party he exclaimed, ''Be careful of CatiUne!"* 

The year 1838 brought severe illness. There was a swelling 
in the head, with delirium, after which came sores. For a time 
his life was despaired of, but with the spring he recovered and 
"had hope," as he said, "to live to see the Government di- 
vorced, a mensa and thora, from all Banks."* 

By this time Van Buren had returned to the sub-treasury, 
urging its establishment and a metallic currency in his regular 
annual message in December, 1837. The senate took up the 
matter, passing a sub-treasury bill after a long debate. The 
democrats were in a majority in the house, but were not united. 
They would not pass the senate bill and nothing was done on the 

When this happened the crisis of the panic was past. By 
August 13th, most of the banks had resumed specie payment 
and business was approaching normal conditions. But the 
arguments of the whigs made a strong impression on the public, 
and the congressional elections showed democratic reverses. 
That party did not lose the house, but its majority was reduced 
to eight with seven seats contested. By seizing these doubtful 
additions the democrats made themselves safe on party measures, 

'Jackson to Blair, September 37, 1837, Jackson M33. 
*Ibid to {bid, March a6, 1838, j&ckson Mss. 


although they laid themselves open to the charge of partisanship. 
But their forces were united on the sub-treasury. In January, 
1840, the senate passed the bill hastily and sent it to the 
house, where the whigs managed to delay the vote till the end 
of June, but not to defeat it ultimately. They sought to affect 
the elections. They predicted that the results in November 
would favor their cause, and events showed how well they cal- 
culated. The sub-treasury, from which the democrats hoped 
so much, and which eventually proved a serviceable piece of 
machinery, went into operation on July 4th, which was not 
long enough before the election to change results. 

The long delay in the house was due to the lack of united 
effort in the democrats. Van Buren was not the man to force 
a majority to do his will; and Jackson became keenly alive 
to the weakness of the situation. When he noticed that al- 
though the party had a clear majority it took two months to 
organize the house, he exclaimed: "It has truly sickened me 
to see the disgraceful proceedings of Congress by the opposition 
and the want of unity in the Republican party to check and put 
such disgraceful proceedings to our country down." June 
27th, when the struggle was near the end he urged that party 
discipline be employed and that the bill be forced through. 
What would one think, he asked, of a general who gave fur- 
loughs to his soldiers when the enemy was drawn up before 
him in line of battle? If members were absent without permis- 
sion let them be brought back by the sergeant-at-arms; for 
"it is no time for the Democratic party to use delicacy or usual 
comity to those who have combined to destroy our Govern- 
ment.'" But the ultimate triumph of the "divorce bill" gave 
him much pleasure, although it was soon offset by the chagrin 
which the whig victory produced. That event surprised him 
greatly. In October, 1838, he predicted that Clay would 

'Jackson to Blair, February is and June 27. 1840, Jackson Mss. 


not run as the candidate of his party and that Van Buren 
would not have opposition, unless the whigs put up Harrison, 
who "will be scarcely a feather, as Ohio is lost to him."' 

About this time he was asked to get a nol pros entered in the 
indictment of Randolph, who assaulted him in 1833.' He 
refused to interfere on the ground that he had not indicted 
Randolph, and he disdained to redress wrong in such a manner. 
*'I have to this old age," he said, "complied with my mother's 
advice to indict no man for assault and battery or sue him for 
slander."' But he added that he hoped Randolph, if convicted, 
would be pardoned. 

The September days brought a visit from Mrs. Blair and her 
daughter, and about the same time came Kendall to examine 
the large collection of papers Jackson had preserved for the 
historian. He was about to begin a Hfe of the hero, a work 
destined to abandonment before it reached a vital stage in the 
life of its subject. In the same autumn died Colonel Earl, 
the painter, whose chief occupation during the last ten years 
of his life was to paint portraits of Jackson. He was not an 
industrious worker. Many of his orders came from poUtical 
admirers of the President, who thought thus doubly to recom- 
mend themselves to favor, both through flattering Jackson and 
through the personal influence of the artist over him. Many 
of these orders were unfilled when the painter died. He Hved 
with the general for years and was his constant companion, 
a genial and confiding personage in whom Jackson took great 
dehght. He was shocked by Earl's death and wrote to his 
other friend, Blair: " I am taught to submit to what Providence 
chooses, with humble submission. He giveth and he taketh 
away, and blessed be his name, for he doeth all things well.' 

'Jackson to Van Buren, October 22, 1838, Van Buren Mss. 
*See above, II., page 715. 

•Jackson to Van Buren, December 4, 1838, Van Buren Mss. 
♦Jackson to Blair, October 22, 1838, Jackson Mss. 



At times his letters become reminiscent. Thanking Blair 
for past loyalty, he said: "The aid you gave me in my adminis- 
tration, in the most trying times, will not be soon forgotten by 
me — not whilst I Hve. There was no temporizing with either; 
trusting as we did to the virtue of the people, the real people^ 
not the politicians and demagogues, we passed through the most 
responsible and trying scenes, sustained by the bone and sinew 
of the nation, the laborers of the land, where alone, in these days 
of Bank rule, and ragocrat* corruption, real virtue and love of 
liberty is lo be found. May there be no temporizing by the 
present, no hotchpotch with the Banks, and the same people^ 
will be found nobly supporting the present — esto perpetuam." 

There was a gleam of the old fire of self-assertion in 1839. 
Van Buren, mindful of his chances in the following year, planned 
a tour throughout the Southwest. He spoke of visiting Jackson, , 
but Polk feared that the opposition in Tennessee would take 
this as outside dictation. The question was referred to Jackson 
for decision. He replied with bluntness. The apprehensions, 
he said, were groundless. He wanted to see Van Buren, the 
democrats of the state wanted to see him, and he himself would 
meet the visitor at Memphis and conduct him to Nashville. 
"My course," he told his friend, "has been always to put my 
enemies at defiance, and pursue my own course."' Van 
Buren's projected tour was abandoned, and that ended the 
doubts which had been raised. 

Richard Rush sent from England a letter on dueUing by the 
Earl of Clarendon. Jackson endorsed on it, "The views of 
the Earle are those of a Christian but unless some mode is adopted 
to frown down by society the slanderer, who is worse than the 
murderer, all attempts to put down duelling will be vain. The 
murderer only takes the life of the parent and leaves his character 

•An allusion to " rag-money." 

*iojd to ibid, January jq, 1839, Jackson Mss. 

■Jackson to aialt, February 20, 1839, Jackson Mss; Jackson to Vu> Buren, March 4, 1839, Van Buren Mss. 


as a goodly heritage to his children, whilst the slanderer takes 
away his good reputation and leaves him a living monument 
to his children's disgrace. — A. J.'" 

To Blair he wrote: 

I sincerely thank you for the correction of that unwar- 
rantable statement on oath of old Ringgold. There never was 
more gross falsehoods than he has stated. Governor had my 
deposition taken. But as it did not suit him and give the nega- 
tive to all which it appears Ringgold has deposed to, Mr. Butler 
writes me the Governur would not produce it. What a set of 
villains we were surrounded with in Washington. Foes exterior 
with daggers in their hearts. No wonder then that the con- 
fiding Barry fell a victim to their treachery and dishonesty. 
Even Mayo, that the secretary of war and myself kept literally 
from starving, under the assurance of friendship, purloined my 
confidential letter, handed it to Adams to do me an injury. 
This will recoil upon these confederate scamps heads, I hope. 
Say to my friend Key to spare them not as the receiver of stolen 
goods is as bad as the thief.' 

Mayo, it should be said, was suing Blair for saying in the Globe 
that the letter alluded to was stolen, and Francis Scott Key, 
with whom Jackson had friendly relations while President, was 
Blair's counsel. Gouverneur was Monroe's son-in-law. 

The campaign of 1840 opened gloomily for Van Buren. 
The confused state of the finances, the growing power of the 
abolitionists in close Northern states, and the general desire 
to repudiate a man who had no real strength aside from that of 
his predecessor all contributed to his weakness. He was a 
relentless politician and in his rise to power had pushed aside 
so many of that class that he had no deep hold on them. Un- 
like Jackson, he had none of that boldness which charms the 
people. And yet he was the embodiment of the Jacksonian 

'Rush to Jackson, August 12, 1837, Jackson Mss. 
'Jackson to Blair, June s, iSsg, Jackson Mss. 


policies, which the whigs were trying to reverse, and he must 
be kept at the head of his party. 

His opponents were in several groups, some of them Clay 
whigs and some of them democrats who would not accept 
Clay's leadership. These groups disliked one another too 
much to march under the banner of Clay, the old line whig, 
and it was seen that Van Buren could be defeated only under 
the leadership of a man against whom there were not so many 
inveterate enemies. It thus happened that the whig conven- 
tion nominated Harrison, of Ohio, with Tyler for vice-president, 
a state-rights Virginian who repudiated Jackson partly on the 
doctrine of anti-nullification and partly because he felt that 
the President assumed too much power in ordering the removal 
of the deposits. The democrats esteemed Harrison slightly 
and made the mistake of saying so in terms of undisguised 
contempt. He was a prosperous farmer of simple taste and the 
opposing papers exaggerating his poverty made him a man of 
no account. A disappointed Clay supporter was heard to say 
that if the candidate were given a pension of $2,000 a year, 
plenty of hard cider, a log cabin, and a coon, he would give 
up all pretension to the presidency. A democratic corre- 
spondent sent this gleefully to a democratic paper: other papers 
of the same party took it up, enlarging on the idea. One of 
them represented the ladies of the District of Columbia as 
raising money *'to supply the 'war-worn hero' with a suit of 
cli)thes. If you have any old shoes, old boots, old hats, or old 
stockings, send them on and they will be forwarded to the 
'Hero of North Bend."" The whigs accepted the issue on this 
basis and the famous hard-cider campaign was the result. It 
became so potent that in 1841 Polk was defeated for governor 
of Tennessee by a man of no ability whose chief performance on 
the stump was to arise with the most comical manner, draw from 

•Quoted by McMaster, History of the United States, VI., 386, Harrison lived ftt North Bead, O. 


his pocket a whig coonskin, gently stroke it with his hand, 
and say, "Did you ever see such fine fur?'" The democrats 
had shown how to appeal to the masses in one way, but their 
opponents now found a more successful way in seeking to arouse 
popular enthusiasm for a plain farmer candidate. Their success 
disgusted Jackson, who spoke with contempt of "the Logg 
Cabin, hard cider, and Coon humbuggery." 

Although the democrats had no trouble to select their candi- 
date for President, they had the greatest embarrassment in 
regard to the candidate for vice-president. R. M. Johnson, 
the incumbent, who in 1837 was only carried by a vote in the 
senate, desired reelection. Jackson and his particular following 
desired Polk for the place. So strong a contest appeared likely 
that the nominating convention decided to name no one, trusting 
the issue again to the senate, where the party was safe. Jackson 
heard of the plan before it was adopted and opposed it in several 
letters as strongly as he could. It subjected the party, he 
said with entire honesty and good sense, to the same criticism 
that it used so effectively against its opponents in 1836 — 
that as neither candidate could be elected nobody need vote 
for them.* 

During the campaign Calhoun and Van Buren drew closer 
together, and it was then that Jackson sent the latter the letter, 
already quoted' in which he acquitted him of stimulating the 
quarrel of 1830. It was written more to serve Van Buren than 
to relieve Calhoun. The latter was coming into his own. The 
passing of Jackson and of his protege removed the barrier by 
which the South Carolinian was shut out of the democratic 
party. Tyler's administration, the Texas question, and the 
growth of sectionalism in the South gave him the chance to dis- 

'Garrett and Goodpasture, Ehtory of Tennessee, i<^o. 

'Jackson to Blair, February 1$ and April 3, 1840, Jaclcson Mss. 

•/adtson to Van Buren, July 31, 1840, Van Buren Mss. Sae above, II., s»4 


solve his alliance with Clay and become again a leader of the 

To the old man at the "Hermitage," racked by disease and 
disappointed in many ways, the opening events of the new ad- 
ministration seemed ominous. He expected the whigs would 
pass a bank bill and urged that the democrats give notice as 
soon as it passed that they would fight for its repeal. He 
characterized Clay, without apparent occasion, as "always 
a swaggering, unprincipled demogogue, boldly stepping into 
difficulties, but meanly sneaking out."* He expressed his opinion 
of Harrison's military abihty in the exclamation, "May the 
Lord have mercy upon us, if we have a war during his Presi- 
dency." General Scott he called "a pompous nullity." 

The death of Harrison gave him pleasure, which he did not 
attempt to disguise from his friend Blair. "I anticipated this 
result," he said, "from the causes you have named. He had 
not sufficient energy to drive from him the office hunters, and 
he was obhged to take stimulants to keep up the system. This 
with fatigue brought on the complaint which carried him hence. 
A kind and overruHng providence has interferred to prolong 
our glorious union and happy republican system which Genl. 
Harrison and his cabinet was preparing to destroy under the 
direction of the proffigate demogogue Henry Clay. . . . 
The Lord ruleth, let the people rejoice."' He did not believe 
Tyler would surrender himself to Clay. 

The following observation, also, is interesting, coming from 
Jackson: "The Genl. [Harrison] had not sufficient energy to 
say to his heads of departments you shall not dismiss officers 
without my approbation, not remove any without a fair hearing. 
. . . Had he removed the first member of his cabinet, as I 
should have done, who attempted it without his orders, he 

'Jackson to Van Buren, March 31, 1841, Van Buren Mss. 
•Jackson to Blair, April ig, 1841, Jackson Mss, 


would have been spared by providence.'" Some allowance must 
be made for the irritation of a man old and ill, but that done, 
he still remains in such utterances as this — and his letters 
at this stage are full of them — a capricious man, whose anger 
overrides his sense of justice as well as his intellectual con- 

When Tyler quarreled with Clay in the summer of 1841 he 
drew near to the democrats, who received him gladly. Jackson 
thought to facilitate the approach by a letter congratulating 
the President on his position in relation to a bank. The Vir- 
ginian replied unctuously. He was pleased, he said, "that 
the plaudits of the multitude have received the endorsement 
of the sage in his closet.".^ 

But the purposes of Jackson and Tyler were widely apart. 
Signs of the times indicated that the enthusiasm of 1840 was 
passing, and the democrats began to have hopes for 1844. 
Jackson intended that Van Buren should have the nomination 
for vindication and as the logical candidate. Tyler hoped that 
he would be able to appear as the regular democratic candidate. 
It was preposterous that he who defeated the democrats in 
1840 should aspire to lead them four years later, but Tyler was 
capable of illogical plans. Some democrats encouraged his 
hopes, but Jackson put his veto on them. He was willing, 
he said, to receive Tyler as a penitent, but not to make him 
head of the democratic church until he did penance for the 
sins of 1840.' He was then most earnest for Van Buren and 
said that if that gentleman were elected he would go to Wash- 
ington in his old "Constitution" carriage and himself escort 
his friend to the capitol to take the oath of ofhce. * 

But Calhoun had also to be dealt with. He had no love for 

'Jackson to S. J. Hays, May 4, 1841, Transcripts in Library of Congress, 
^yler to Jackson, September 20, 1842, Jackson Mss. 
-Jackson to Blair, August 18, 1843, Jackson Mss. 
'Jackson to Blair, November 25. 1842, Jackson Mss. 


Van Buren, although he was now a loyal party man. He led 
a convinced Southern group who talked of nominating him 
for President when the democratic convention met in Baltimore 
in May, 1844. They probably knew this could not be done, 
but they were in a position to make trouble for other candidates, 
and they insisted that the interests of the South be respected. 
That they might accomplish their purposes the better they urged 
the annexation of Texas with great vigor. It was the kind of 
question to develop their strength in the South, and they cared 
little about the effects elsewhere. It was an ominous affair for 
any candidate who relied on support in both sections of the 

Jackson was now warmly in favor of annexation. He seems 
to have forgotten that there was as much likelihood that bringing 
up the question now would damage Van Buren's chances as in 
1836. Perhaps the difference lay in the fact that in 1836 he 
was better advised. He let his opinion be known; and the 
enemies of his favorite took advantage of it. They began to 
urge annexation, and Aaron V. Brown, a Tennessee congressman, 
wrote him early in 1843 to know his views on the matter. His 
reply was full and positive. Texas was ours, he said, by the 
Louisiana purchase; and although he consented to the Florida 
purchase in 1819 as the best that could be done under the cir- 
cumstances, he now censured Monroe's government for throwing 
away an opportunity to increase the national domain, and he 
attributed that action to Northern jealousy of the rising power 
of the South and West. Jackson said his change of opinion 
came when, after he was President, he discovered from Erving's 
correspondence that Spain would have given up Texas in 18 19. 
He caused to be made a series of extracts to that purport, and they 
survive among his papers. John Quincy Adams with accustomed 
vigor attacked him in a speech, and Jackson burst forth in an 
imbecomingly angry reply in the form of a letter to Gen. 


Robert Armstrong.* Perhaps the public took little interest in 
this renewal of an old conflict. 

It was a day when prominent politicians were not above 
playing tricks on one another, and Van Buren's opponents 
concealed the letter to Brown nearly a year, and in March, 1844, 
gave it to the public with the date changed to 1844. They 
had recently seen some cautious utterances of the New Yorker 
against immediate annexation, and they thus hoped to show 
that Jackson and his prot6g6 were at variance on the important 
question. When the Van Burenites saw the situation they 
hurried one of their number to the "Hermitage" to lay the whole 
case before its master; and in due time came a second letter 
from Jackson on annexation. He repeated all his former argu- 
ments, but added a strong endorsement of Van Buren, who, it 
was said, could be trusted to do what ought to be done in the 

It is doubtful on which side the advantage now lay, had not 
the affair been given a decided turn by two letters, one from 
Clay and the other from Van Buren. The Kentuckian wrote 
April 17, 1844, a letter from Raleigh, N. C, in which 
he said: "I consider the annexation of Texas at the present 
time as a measure compromising the national character, involv- 
ing us certainly in a war with Mexico, probably with other 
foreign powers, dangerous to the integrity of the Union, inex- 
pedient in the present j&nancial condition of the country, and 
not called for by any general expression of public opinion." 
This letter pleased the North, but that advantage was later 
undone by a second letter in which he tried to please his Southern 

A little earlier than this W. H. Hammett, an unpledged 
Mississippi delegate to the democratic nominating convention, 
asked Van Buren's views on the same question. The New 

»Parton, Life 0} Jackson, III., 66a. 


Yorker was suspicious of the request, and got Silas Wright to 
talk with the questioner. Hammett protested good faith and 
said he was informed that Van Buren was for annexation. 
He was assured he should have an answer, and Van Buren, some- 
what unwillingly, as it seems, wrote a very good letter, in which 
he gave reasons why Texas should not be annexed at present. 
He urged our neutral obligations, and evils coming from a lust 
for power, and said that if there came a real probability that 
Texas would fall into English hands the American people would 
rise unanimously against it. He also said that if the question 
should be forced on him as President he would follow the will 
of the American people as expressed in congress. The fact 
that these two letters, so similar in sentiment, came so nearly 
at the same time has given rise to the suspicion that there was 
an agreement between the writers that if it were necessary to 
speak they would speak as they did. Van Buren's letter was 
sent to Wright, who gave it to Hammett in Washington. Both 
men, with some others true to the leader, considered it a fine 
stroke and had it printed at once.' 

The country at large was of a decidedly contrary opinion. 
Jackson gives us a graphic picture of how the news came to 
Nashville, and it may serve for an illustration of the effect in 
other Southern communities. May 4th, the democrats in the 
town called a meeting to endorse annexation. The place was 
full of people of both parties; for neither whigs nor democrats 
dared openly oppose this policy. Early in the day came a 
mail with papers containing Clay's letter. It was received 
with chagrin by his friends and with joy by his opponents. 
Later in the day came another mail, and Van Buren's letter 
was in it. Gloom now settled on the faces of the democrats. 
The meeting dissolved with little demonstration on either side. 

iWright to Van Buren, April ii and 29, 1844, Van Buren Mss. The letters are SHmmarized by McMaster, 
History of the Untied Slates. VII., 328-330. 


Jackson was so deeply grieved that he became ill. "I would 
to God I had been at Air. V. B. elbow when he closed his letter," 
he wrote to Blair. " I would have brought to his view the proper 
conclusion. We are all in sackcloth and ashes." By the proper 
conclusion he meant that although the writer's views were as 
stated, yet in a case of supreme necessity he would favor annexa- 
tion. Jackson became convinced that Benton induced Van 
Buren to write the letter, but he gave no reason for the opinion.' 
A few days showed the seriousness of the situation. Advices 
from the states south of Tennessee began to come suggesting 
Polk for the candidate and inquiring for a good Northern man 
to run with him. "My heart bleeds to hear them, but the die 
is cast I fear," said Jackson; and he closed a fourth long letter 
to Blair on this subject in saying: "I write you now, fearful 
that my complaint, if not checked, may soon deprive me of 
the strength. I hope for the best, but with calm resignation say 
' The Lord's will be done.' " ' Thus it happened that Van Buren's 
promising hopes came to an end and the Baltimore convention 
named Polk for its candidate. 

There was much intrigue behind the defeat of Van Buren, 
and he himself attributed his misfortune to that fact. "If 
I could think with him" [Jackson], he wrote to Blair, "that my 
Texas letter controlled the proceedings at Baltimore, I would 
have a much better opinion of the actors in them. But this I 
could abundantly show was not the case, if the play were worth 
the candle. How much like the old man it is to be so entirely 
engrossed with a single idea, and that always a pregnant one. 
But whilst he is fighting the British and Mexicans, we will fight 
the Whigs.'" 

In the meantime Texan annexation came before the senate. 
Tyler favored this policy as much as Calhoun, and he lent himself 

»Jackson to Polk, June 27, 1844, Polk Papers, Library of Congress. 
'JacLiioa to Blair, May 7, 11 (a letters), and 18, 1844, Jackson Mss. 
'Van Buren to Blair, October 5, 1S44; Mss., Library of Congress. 


to the plans of the Southerners. A small party of aboUtionists 
in Texas in communication with brethren of the same opinion 
in England formed a plan by which the British government 
was to be asked to pay for the slaves then in that state on con- 
dition that Texas should declare for emancipation. Such a 
move would give England a strong hold on the country, and it 
was beUeved would lead to British occupation. Tyler was 
informed of the project, and although the British ministry 
disclaimed any purpose to support the plan, he would not be- 
lieve that it was no menace to American hopes. 

The Texans desired American annexation, but they were not 
willing to seem to press it. Van Zandt, their ageht^n Washing- 
ton, in the winter of 1843-1844 suggested that Texas woiil4 
ask for annexation if assured that two thirds of the senate 
would favor a treaty for that purpose. He proposed, also, 
that Jackson write to President Houston, of Texas, making 
the offer. Judge Catron, of the supreme court, a Tennesseean, 
inquired and satisfied himself that the senate was favorable, 
reported the fact to Jackson, who wrote at once to Houston. 
A week later Catron became convinced he was mistaken and so 
informed Jackson, who decHned to communicate that informa- 
tion to Houston, saying that the treaty ought to be offered any 
way and that if this was done American opinion would demand 
that the rich province be secured. Jackson added that he would 
close his eyes in peace if Texas were ours.' 

Jackson got Houston's reply by the hand of W. D. Miller, 
Houston's private secretary, authorized to talk to the venerable 
ex-President with the utmost freedom. The result was a letter 
to a prominent man in Washington, probably Catron, in which 
Jackson said: "The present golden moment to obtain Texas 
must not be lost, or Texas must, from necessity, be thrown into 

'Catron to Jackson, March g, 1845. Catron puts the date 1833 or 1834, but he evidently meant to say 
1843 or 1844. For this phase of the Texas question, see Executive Documents, 28th congress, ist session, vol- 
ume VI., No. 271. The Jackson letter is at page 109. ^ 


the arms of England, and be forever lost to the United States." 
He based his opinion on the assurance of Houston that Texas 
having offered annexation three times would, if now rejected, 
never agree to it again. 

Houston did what was expected, writing Jackson a long letter 
in which he urged reasons for securing Texas at once. Tyler, 
acting through his secretaries of state, Upshur and later Calhoun, 
pushed on the preparation of a treaty, and presented it to the 
senate April 22, 1844. By this time the extreme Southerners 
were vigorously demanding its approval, and the abolitionists 
in the North as vigorously urging its rejection. It cannot 
be doubted that each side looked chiefly at the bearing of the 
matter on the slavery question. So strong was the protest 
against it that the moderate men in each party were opposed 
to the treaty, and it was rejected by a vote of thirty-five to 
sixteen. But neither Tyler nor his followers thought that the 
matter was settled. 

Jackson's letters at this time were full of annexation. One 
of them was to the President, who replied to it on April 14th, 
with the assurance that the treaty of annexation was about to 
go to the senate. What that body would do he would not say, 
but the question was so powerful that it must sooner or later 
break down opposition. Tyler added: "For the part, my 
dear sir, that you have taken in this great matter, you have 
only added another claim to the gratitude of the country. God 
grant that you may live many years to enjoy the gratitude 
incident to the reflections on a well-spent life."* 

Benton's attitude toward annexation is interesting. January 
i6th, when it was newly urged, he wrote to Jackson in haste 
and confidence, supporting it warmly. " I think the annexation 
of Texas depends on you'' he said; and he wanted Jackson to 
get Houston to authorize the submission of a treaty. "It is now 

•Tyler to Jackson, April 14. 1844, Jackson Mss. 


more than twenty years," he continued, "since I had the honor 
to present your name, for the presidency, to the first Democratic 
meeting in the union, and I have supported you from that day 
to this, and as I grow older, I feel every day, increased and 
increasing confidence, in the wisdom of the great measures of 
your administration.'" 

But Benton soon reahzed the hand of Calhoun, for whom he 
ever had distrust; and he refused to vote for the treaty when 
it appeared. He placed his opposition on the ground that it 
meant war with Mexico, and he made a three days' speech 
to that effect. He pronounced the treaty, with its wide boun- 
daries for Texas, an outrage on a neutral power and a selfish 
scheme to advance the presidential aspirations of Calhoun, the 
secretary of state, under whose supervision it was prepared. 
Writing to Jackson a few days later he said that his speech 
would show all his objections to the treaty but one, and that 
it concealed a plan for "the dissolution of the union and the 
formation of a Southern confederacy to include California. 
We are in a bad way here [in Washington] about as we were in 
1824-25. . . . Since the meeting of Congress a nest of mem- 
bers of Congress have been at work to nullify the will of the 
people in the person of Mr. Van Buren, and now they [are] at 
work to nullify the convention, and break it up without a nomi- 
nation, or with the nomination of some one whom the people 
have rejected. Offices, one hundred millions of Texas lands, 
ten millions of Texas stock, are making fearful havoc among 
our public men." * 

Benton's outspoken words led to a bitter encounter in the 
senate with McDuffie, who spoke for Calhoun; and the papers 
told how after it was over the old Jacksonian encountered John 
Quincy Adams, holding out his hand and saying: "We are 

*Benton to Jackson, January lo, 1844, Jackson Mss. 

*Bentoo to Jackson, May 28, 1844, Jackson Mss. See also Meigs, Life of Benton ^44-349 


both old men, we must now unite and save the Constitution." 
When Jackson saw these words in the newspapers he wrote: 
"Do my dear Mr. Blair inform me if this can be true. If it is 
I want no better proof of his derangement, and it politically 
prostrates him." 

When Benton made the charge that politicians held Texas 
land, he could not have known that Jackson himself held such 
property. A. J. Donelson, now Minister to Mexico, writing 
to his old patron, said, December 24, 1844, that W. D. Miller, 
Houston's private secretary, was looking after Jackson's land 
claims in Texas and that they were located about eighty miles 
from the town of Washington, in that state. Miller made a 
visit to the "Hermitage" early in 1844/ Whether Jackson 
acquired these claims by purchase or by gift does not appear; but 
he could not have had them before this question came up, 
since there are in his letters several references to his property, 
and nothing is said there about possessions in Texas before 1844.* 

Tyler's attitude toward the whig program brought Jackson 
to think well of him, and his position on annexation made the 
two men friends. As the campaign of 1844 progressed it be- 
came of increasing importance that the Virginian should give 
up his pretensions to the Presidency; and at Polk's request 
Jackson undertook to persuade him to that step. He gave 
such a request through Major Lewis, and Tyler acceded to it 
in a letter to Jackson. He made no conditions, but suggested 
that his followers be received by the democrats with considera- 
tion. He was particularly anxious that Blair and Benton be 
induced to cease denouncing him and his supporters.' He 
continued to show his favor to Jackson, who was now of great 
importance to the cause of annexation. In the autumn he 

ijacksoa to Bl^r, June 24, 1844, Jackson Mss. 

'A. J. Donelson to Jackson, December 24, 1844, Jackson Mss. 

•Tyler to Jackson, August i8th, September 17th, Polk to Jackson, July 23, X844. Jackson Mss. 


appointed A. J. Donelson, Jackson's former private secretary, 
minister to Mexico. He was bent on securing Texas in the 
coming session of congress. Every effort was made to keep 
the Texans in a frame of mind favorable to annexation, a task 
probably not so difficult as appeared, and when congress early 
in 1845 passed the joint resolution for that purpose, he signed 
it on March ist, with much pleasure. Jackson also considered 
it a great achievement; Polk was pleased that a vexatious affair 
was not left over for his administration. It was the last matter 
of public interest with which Jackson was prominently connected. 

In their private relations the years of Jackson's retirement 
were not happy. A few of his friends still loved him, among 
them Blair, Van Buren, and Lewis. But many others forgot 
him as soon as he ceased to be the commander of a political 
army, with the power to make himself obeyed and the ability 
to give rewards. As man after man turned against Van Buren, 
he took the desertions as personal injuries to himself. 

His relation with Major Lewis, which was clouded by the 
latter's attitude toward the bank controversy, was strained 
for some time after March 4, 1837. Van Buren did not remove 
Lewis from his auditorship, but left him without influence. 
Jackson advised his friend to return to his estate in Tennessee, 
but the suggestion was not followed. Lewis did not gain in 
favor with the new administration, and finally, in 1839, Jackson 
hinted that he had better resign before he was forced out in 
obedience to the principle of rotation in office. This brought 
a long protest from the neglected auditor. He admitted that 
he was out of favor, but it was due to his enemies who poisoned 
the minds of those who should be grateful. Shortly after Van 
Buren's inauguration he called on the President and tried to 
converse with him in the "frank and unreserved manner we 
had been in the habit of doing before our intercourse had been 
embarrassed and clouded ^^dth distrust." But Van Buren's 


cold manner satisfied the caller that his alienation was complete. 
Lewis thought this ingratitude; for no one had stood by the 
New Yorker when he needed a friend more steadily than he. 
Let Jackson say if Van Buren had followed "the precept of 
our divine Saviour, which teaches us to do unto others as we 
would they should do unto us. The coldest heart would scarcely 
be incompetent to appreciate my feelings when I first discovered 
the petrifying change in the deportment toward me, on the part 
of one for whom I had labored night and day, and on account 
of whom I had drawn on my devoted head the opposition's 
fiercest lightning."' We can feel for Lewis. He wa? a tool, 
but a faithful one. He had served Van Buren well in 1832 
and earlier. But his day was past and he was cast aside. In 
his letter he used some sharp reproaches for Jackson, whom also 
he thought ungrateful; but these brought a reply equally 
outspoken.' The upshot of this stage of the matter was rather 
to clear the atmosphere; and after that the two men returned 
to something of their old intimacy. They exchanged letters 
at regular intervals as long as Jackson lived. 

The years of retirement brought financial embarrassment, 
the announcement of which gave grim JDy to his enemies. 
It was fit, they said, that he should suJer in the catyclasm he 
himself brought on others. But his troubles were not due 
to himself. Unwise management by his son, Andrew, Jr., 
brought an accumulation of debt. Jackson said most charac- 
teristically that it came from the machinations of his enemies,* 
but he determined to pay the indebtedness, although to do so 
would leave him shorn of all his property except the "Hermit- 
age" tract. He sought to borrow in various places, but there 
was little money to be had in the West, and from recent experi- 

'Lewis to Jackson, August 30th; Jackson to Lewis, August 13, 1839, Mss. in New York Public Library. 
•Jackson to Lewis, September 9, October 19, 1S35, Mss. in New York Public Library. Many other letters 
which passed between the two men are in the same collection. 
•Jackson to Kendall, May, 23, 1842, Cincinnati Commtrcial, February s, X879. 


ences the Eastern capitalists would not lend in that section. 
He secured $6,000 from his old friend, Plauch^, of New Orleans, 
but $10,000 more was needed. One day Blair heard Lewis 
say that the general needed to borrow. He wrote at once to 
offer $10,000 to be forwarded as soon as the appropriation bill 
passed. He perhaps saw the fitness of lending to his old patron 
some of the profits on the fat printing contracts which he got 
through that patron's favor. The loan was arranged at 6 
per cent, interest, although Jackson offered 7 per cent.; 
and it was to be repaid in three annual instalments. Blair's 
partner. Rives, insisted on sharing the honor of making the 
loan. They generously made the accommodation as much 
like a gift as possible, and extended it when the first payment 
was not met. It was still unpaid in 1855. In his gratitude to 
Blair, Jackson sent him a filly out of one of his blooded mares, 
calling her *'Miss Emuckfau," after one of his battles against 
the Creeks.* 

March 10, 1842, Senator Linn, of Missouri, introduced a 
bill to remit the fine of $1,000 laid on Jackson for contempt of 
Judge Hall in New Orleans, in 181 5. It aroused bitter opposi- 
tion from the whigs. They made it a point of civil polity to 
refuse, and Jackson made it a point of personal honor to insist 
as a means of vindication. The discussion was prolonged for 
two years, Linn dying in the interval. It was ably continued 
under the leadership of C. J. IngersoU, who ten years earlier 
was a leading lawyer for Biddle in the bank controversy. Stephen 
A. Douglas, then a young member of the house, made a speech 
in favor of the bill.' At last the fine was remitted by a law 
approved on February 16,1 844. The fine with interest amounted 
to $2,732; and Jackson sent $620 of it to Blair, $600 to pay 
interest on the loan and $20, and he playfully said, for the 

»Blair to Jackson, January i8, Jackson Mss. Jackson to Lewis, February a8, March 30, 31, AprU 2, 23, 
June 2, 1842, Mss. in New York Public Library. 
'JohnsoB, Life 0/ Douilas, 69-73. 


"outfit of Miss Emuckfau," who was with foal by Priam. The 
debate on the fine gave him great concern. "My dear Blair," 
he wrote while it progressed, "I can say to you confidently, 
unless reHeved from some of my afflictions under which I now 
labor I cannot remain long here. If providence will spare me 
to hear of your election [as printer to congress], and to see the 
result of the vote in congress on the subject of the fine imposed 
by Judge Hall I will be thankful. I hope my friends will press 
it to a final vote."* 

During the period of retirement Jackson was an object of 
veneration to many people. Admirers named their children 
for him, asked for his autograph, and so many wrote to request 
a lock of his hair that he adopted the custom of keeping 
the cHppings when he had it cut. A South Carolinian writing 
for a lock proposed to put it in a thousand-dollar locket and 
pass it down to his son as a valuable heirloom. A Philadelphia 
gentleman wrote from his Walnut Street residence in a similar 
strain, and thanked God as well as Jackson that he owned so 
great a treasure. John Y. Mason, secretary of the navy, was 
another who expressed gratitude for a lock of the general's 

The approach of Polk's inauguration revived the old ' m an's 
interest in politics. Judge Catron said that Jackson was re- 
sponsible for the election because it was he who secured the 
withdrawal of Tyler.* In securing that action, he undoubtedly 
brought the two wings of the party together, pledging Polk 
to reasonableness and securing through Tyler the cooperation 
of the extreme Southerners. The latter now desired Calhoun 
for the cabinet, but Jackson urged that it should not be granted 
them. "You could not get on with him," he said. "England 
is the place for him, there to combat with my Lord Aberdeen, 

'November 22, 1843, Jackson Mss. 

'Catron to Jackaon, November 13, 1844, Jackson Mss, 


From a daguerreotype by Dan. Adams, of Nashville. Taken a few weeks before Jackson died. 

In the background are seen the pillows on which was propped the invalid's 

body when the picture was made 


the abolition question." He also suggested that Silas Wright 
be not offered a cabinet position for the present.' 

Ofi&ce-seekers sought his intercession with the President-elect, 
among them Kendall, in financial straits. He wanted the 
Spanish mission, then filled by Irving. He wrote Jackson for 
his influence, saying it would be necessary to remove G. W. 
Irvine [sic]. Jackson was complaisant and wrote Polk as 
desired. ''There can be no deUcacy in recalling Erwin," he 
said, "he is only fit to write a book and scarcely that, and he 
has become a good Whig." * G. W. Erving was minister to 
Spain when Jackson invaded Florida in 18 18; and it seems that 
the general was not quite clear in his mind as to the difference 
between the two men. 

The state of affairs in regard to Oregon aroused his keenest 
anticipations. When he knew of England's demands, all his 
spirit rose in protest. May 2nd, five weeks before he died, he 
wrote to urge Polk to be firm, saying: "This bold avowal by 
Peele and Russel of perfect claim to Oregon, must be met as 
boldly, by a denial of their right, and confidence in our own — 
that we view it too plain a case of right on our side to hesitate a 
moment upon the subject of extending our laws over it, and 
populating it with our people. Permit me to remind you that 
during the canvass I gave a thousand pledges for your courage 
and firmness, both in war and in peace, to carry on the adminis- 
tration of our government. This subject is intended to try 
your energy. Dash from your lips the councils of the timid 
on this question, should there be any in your council. No 
temporizing with Britain on this subject now — temporizing 
jwiU not do."' 

Some of his enemies said that Jackson's mind weakened in 

'Jackson to Polk, December i6, 1844, Polk Papers, Library of Congress. 

'Jackson to Polk, December 13, 1844; Kendall to Jackson, December 2, 1844; Polk Papers, Library of 
'Jackson to Polk, May a, 1845, Polk Papers, Library of Congress. 


old age. His letters on ordinary topics show that he lost some- 
thing of the power of sustained energy, but on each matter 
which interested him the outcome of his mental activity was 
clear and positive; and the words just quoted show that on a 
subject which appealed deeply he thought as vigorously as in his 
palmiest days. His rmging call to Polk has, in fact, all the 
Napoleonic fire of his early military proclamations. 

In Jackson's old age he fulfilled the promise he had long 
since made to his wife to join the Presbyterian church. This he 
did early in the year 1839 at the end of a series of revival ser- 
vices and with the usual manifestations of conversion. For thirty- 
five years before he became President, he said, he was accustomed 
to read at least three chapters of the Bible daily/ Such a man 
could not have been at any time indifferent to religion as an 
intellectual fact, however Httle it may have affected his outward 
conduct. While President he attended the Presbyterian church 
regularly. Mrs. Calhoun, mother-in-law of the distinguished 
South Carohnian, once said that if Jackson were elected President 
in 1824, she would spend the following v/inter in Washington, 
in order to see a President who would go to church. Of her, 
it was once said that she and Jackson were "the only independent 
characters" in Washington.' In the passages in this book quoted 
from his letters are abundant evidences of a pious attitude in 
bearing sorrow and of dependence on God in times of great 
danger. These feelings increased with old age and with the 
approach of death: they do not seem to have been more fre- 
quent after the date of his conversion. Nor is there any notice- 
able decrease after that date in the angry epithets he hurled at 
his opponents. Clay and Adams to the day of his death were! 
unforgiven, and some of his last utterances were to pronounce 
them falsifiers. Religion was only one of his emotions. 

»Parton, Life of Jackson, III., 633. See also, B. F. Butler to Jackson, March 16, 1839. Jackson MS8. 
*Rev. E. S. Ely to Jackson, January a8, 1829, Jackson Mss. 


Next to his devotion to his wife Jackson's best friendship 
was with Blair. From the beginning of his retirement to the 
end of his life he wrote regularly to his friend in Washington. 
Hardly a week passed without a letter. In 1842 both Blair and 
Lewis visited the "Hermitage," and Van Buren came also on 
his tour in the South. The visits brought cheerfulness for a 
time; but the progress of disease prevented real happiness. 
Eyes failed, dizziness and weakness became more notable, and 
at last in the winter of 1844-45 came dropsical symptoms. To 
the doctors it indicated a failure of functions which precedes 
the end. They knew not hov/ to control them, and the dropsy 
developed throughout the spring. 

The letters to Blair witness in many ways^the advance of the 
disease. The patient, who knew the significance of his symptoms, 
reported faithfully all that bore on them. His handwriting, 
bold and large in ordinary times, now shows his advancing 
weakness. The characters never lose their size, but they get 
a greater slant, the loops run down and up to a point, and the 
lines are made with a fine waver which leaves its zigzag through- 
out their entire course. But for aU that, every detail to the 
crossing of t's and dotting of i's is complete, except that now and 
then a word is inadvertently omitted. 

The last letter of the series is dated May 26th, two weeks 
before he died. It contains some information for C. J. Inger- 
soll, in regard to the invasion of Florida, and after that comes 
to his health. Describing it he says: "This is my situation, 
and in what it may result God only knows. I am resting pa- 
tiently under the visitations of providence, calmly resigned 
to his will. It would be a miracle should I be restored to health 
under all these affiictions. The Lord's will be done." 

June 8, 1845, he died peacefully and two days later was buried 
by the side of his wife in the "Hermitage" garden. The long 
illness had attracted the attention of the whole country, and 


many friends came to say farewell. By his own wish the funeral 
was as simple as possible. An Oriental sarcophagus popularly 
said to have once contained the bones of Alexander Severus, 
the Roman emperor, was offered him in March, 1845, for his 
own body. He refused it, saying: "My repubhcan feehngs 
and principles forbid it, the simplicity of our system of govern- 
ment forbids it." Memorial services were held by his friends 
in many cities. Some bitter partisans would not attend them, 
even as he himself would not attend a similar meeting in honor 
of John Marshall. But with the majority of the people his 
death was a genuine sorrow. To them he was a real hero — 
a personification of a great cause, and the passing of his influence 
was a national loss. 

Time has softened some of the asperities of the epoch in which 
he hved. The American who now knows how to estimate the 
life of the Jacksonian era will take something from the preten- 
sions of his enemies and add something to the virtues hitherto 
accorded his partisans. Jackson's lack of education, his crude 
judgments in many affairs, his occasional outbreaks of passion, 
his habitual hatred of those enemies with whom he had not 
made friends for party purposes, and his crude ideas of some 
political policies — all lose some of their infelicity in the face 
of his brave, frank, masterly leadership of the democratic 
movement which then established itself in our life. This was 
his task: he was adapted to it; he did it faithfully, conscien- 
tiously, ably. Few American Presidents have better lived up 
to the demands of the movement which brought them into 





Adair, John, at New Orleans, igo, 196, 203, 

Adams, John Quincy, defends invasion of 
Florida, 268; presidential candidate, 200, 
289; defends arrest of Callava, 314; sup- 
port in 1824, 325; supp -rted by Jackson, 
326; alleged bargain with Clay, 356-363; 
Jackson's attitude toward, 365; elected 
President, 365 ; his diary on the bargain 
with Clay, 367-370; first annual message, 
381; relation to Panama Congress, 383; 
characterizes his opponents, 403; con- 
soles Clay, 403; defeated in 1828, 404; 
leaves presidency, 409; tries to check 
spoils system, 442; the Jackson-Calhoun 
rupture, 516; on Eaton-Ingham squab- 
ble, 528; on Jackson's nullification mes- 
sage, 567; supports "force bill," 576; 
report on the bank, 617; and West 
India trade, 656-658; on Jackson's Har- 
vard degree, 638; efforts to purchase 
Texas, 673; and the Mayo letter, 678; 
on Texas annexation, 735; reported re- 
conciliation with Benton, 741. 

"Address to the People of South Carolina," 

55^1 562 

Alabama, removal of Indians from, 685, 
687, 688 

AHison, David, 34 

Ambrister, R. C, taken by Jackson and 
executed, 254, 257-259; diplomatic re- 
sults, 259, mentioned, 234, 269 

Amelia Island, occupied by Gaines, 244 

Anderson, Patten, and Burr, 42, 46, 49 

Anti- Jackson group (1825), 373 

Anti-slavery literature, circulation in mails, 

Apalachicola River, a British rendezvous, 
128; fort on, 235 

Appointments to office, in Florida, 299, 300; 
practice of early Presidents, 437; of 
Monroe, 438; of J. Q. Adams, 442; of 
Jackson, 443-457; old men in office, 439, 
see Spoils System 

Arbuthnot, Alexander, attitude toward the 
Seminoles, 240; thought to be Woodbine, 
241; taken by Jackson, 254; tried and 

executed, 255, 258; diplomatic results, 
259; mentioned, 234, 251, 269 

Archer, W. S., on Jackson's cabinet, 415 

Arms at New Orleans, 190, 205, 231 

Armstrong, Major F. W., 537 

Armstrong, John, dismisses Natchez ex- 
pedition, 84; offers command to Jackson, 

Artillery, battle of, at New Orleans, 187 

Atwater, Caleb, 396 

Austin, S. F., land grants in Texas, 675; 
appeals for Texas, 600 

Autosee, battle of, 112 

Avery, Waightstill, 12 


Balch, Alfred, 503, 540, 604 

Baldwin, Henry, rejected for secretary of 
the treasury, 412 

Baltimore Convention (1-832), 542 

Bancroft, George, on_ the public service, 
456; at the White Kouse, 710 

Bank of the United States, the second, 
and Jackson's inaugural address, 430; 
in his first annual message, 477, 601; 
provisions of charter, 585; opposition to, 
586; early history, 586-589; relation 
to political parties, 588, 589, 597, 623; 
proposition to re-charter, 598; Jack- 
son's plan for, 602-604; reports of com- 
mittees on (1830), 605; plans to re- 
charter, 610, 611, 612; new charter 
passed, 617; vetoed, 618-620; effect of 
veto, 620-621; in the election of 1832, 
622; charges against, 622-629; its lobby, 
623; connection with the press, 624; 
postpones the three per cents., 627; 
removal of deposits, 631-648; govern- 
ment directors, 643 ; question of re-charter 
persists, 682; "divorce bill" passed, 726, 

727- 729 , „ , „ . 

Bankhead, Charles, and French affairs, 


Barataria Bay, 146 

Baratarians, history of, 149; their d^^alings 
with Nicholls, 150; driven from Grande 
Terre, 152; at New Orleans, 153, 175 

Barbour. James, against Jackson, 367 




Barbour, P. P., not taken into Jackson's 
cabinet, 413. 415; mentioned, 542 

Bargain, the Clay- Adams, 356-363; Jack- 
son denounces it, 379 

Baring Brothers and the three per cents., 

Barrancas, blown up, 140; surrendered to 
Jackson, 263 

Barry, W. T., appointed postmaster-gen- 
eral, 418; and cabinet reorganization, 
523, 526; on removal of deposits, 634 

Barton Thomas, P., and French diplomacy, 
669, 670, 672 

Bathurst, Lord, repudiates NichoUs's 
treaty, 237 

Battles; Tallushatchee, 97; Talladega, 98; 
Autosee, 112; Emuckfau Creek, 113; 
Enotachapco Creek, 113; Tohopeka, 116- 
118; New Orleans, 176-203 

Bayou Bienvenue, British land by it, 171 

Beasley, Major, at Fort Mims, 91 

Belize, fort at, 144 

Bennett, James Gordon, 625, 640 

Benton, Jesse, quarrel with Jackson, 68; 
opposes Jackson's candidac}'-, 393 

Benton, Thomas Hart, quarrel with Jack- 
son, 68; military ambition, 68, 86; aide to 
Jackson, 82; appwinted lieutenant-col- 
onel, 87, in; reconciled with Jackson, 
351; favors Jackson in 1825. 363; on the 
patronage, 387, 388; publishes Jackson's 
defence, 518; on the Hayne- Webster 
debate, 552; on nullification, 578; on the 
expunging resolutions, 653-655; course 
on Texas annexation, 738, 740; reported 
reconciliation with Adams, 741 

Berrien, John M., appointed attorney- 
general, 415; interview with Jackson 
in Eaton afiair, 467; dismissed from the 
cabinet, 526; controversy over removal, 
530, 562 

Beverley, Carter, letter on alleged bar- 
gain, 390 

Big Warrior, visit to Nicholls, 136 

Biddle, Nicholas, becomes president of 
the bank, 587; his policy in Ports- 
mouth bank case, 593-597; tries to win 
Jackson, 597; moves for rc-chartcr, 598; 
interview with Jackson, 599; does not 
understand Jackson, 600; plans for re- 
charter, 610; asks for new charter, 614; 
abuse of his power, 622, 626; gets pe- 
titions against removnl, 640; relation to 
govenmient directors, 643; responsibil- 
ity for panic, 646, 651, 652; fears per- 
sonal \aolence, 653 

Binney, Ilorarc, arts for the bank, 617 

Bisseli, Captain, 47, 48 

Blair, Fraxik P., selected for party editor, 
513, 540; opposition to bank, 587, 609, 
633; relations with Jackson, 705, 748; 
Jackson on aid from, 729; lends money 
to Jackson, 745 

Blair, Mrs. Frank P., Jackson's friendship 
for, 705; visits the "Hermitage," 728 

"Bloody bill," see "Force BUI." 

Blount, William, governor of territory, 25; 
expelled from senate, 34; leader of 
Tennessee faction, 74; would promote 
Jackson, 78 

Blount, Willie G., leader of Tennessee 
faction, 74; selects Jackson to command 
Natchez expedition, 80; and the Fort 
Strother mutiny, 103, 104, 107; re- 
proached by Jackson, 1 09-1 11 

Blue, Major, 143 

Bowlegs, 235, 253 

Brackenridge, Henry M., alcalde of Pensa- 
cola, 316; mentioned, 300, 302, 303, 304, 

305- 306. 307 

Bradford, Samuel, 521 

Branch, John, appointed secretary of the 
navy, 414; McLane on, 414; interviewed 
by Jackson in Eaton affair, 467; dis- 
missed from cabinet, 526; slighted in 
Nashville, 530 

Brearly, Colonel, 243 

Breathitt, George, sent to South Carolina, 

Brent, Daniel, 411 
British expedition against New Orleans, 

planned, 161-162; arrives at Cat Island, 

167; lands by Bayou Bienvenue, 171; 

attacked December 23, 176; advance 

against city, 180-203; departure, 203; 

takes Fort Bowyer, 208-211 
Bronough, Dr. J. G., 296, 300, 305, 320 
Brooke, Colonel George M., 302, 304 
Bro\vn, Aaron V., letter on Texas from 

Jackson, 735, 736 
Brown, General Jacob, 231 
Brown, John, protest against "pomf>ous 

perade," 408 
Buchanan, James, on alleged Clay-Adams 

bargain, 356, 357 
"Bulletin of Home Bound Pat-r>'-ots," 

105 note I. 
Burnet, David G., on Texas annexation, 

Burr, Aaron, his scheme discussed, 37-43; 

relation with Jackson, 43-47 
Burrows, Silas E., 625 
Butler, Anthony, minister to Mexico, 

Butler, B. F., relation to Van Buren, 524; 

appointed attorney-general, 646 



Butler, Colonel Robert, 214, 302, 305 
Butler, Colonel Thomas, arrested by Wilk- 
inson, 50 
Butler, Thomas L., 217 

Cabinet, Jackson's, organization of, 409- 
420, 47s; criticism of, 416; its good 
qualities, 419; dissolution of, 520-539; 
Jackson's relation to, 475 

Caddo Indians, 679 

Cadwalader, General Thomas, makes 
friends with Jackson, 404; visit to Nash- 
ville, 590; flatters Jackson, 591, 617; 
concerned with the three per cents., 
627, 628 

Calhoun, John C, secretary of war, 245; 
authorizes pursuit of Seminoles, 245; 
on Jackson's invasion of Florida, 267, 
278; candidate for presidency, 280, 289; 
his support, 324, 331, S33; relation to 
Jackson, 326; and Pennsylvania, 331, 
333; urged for vice-presidency, 333; 
on Jackson, 335; threatens to form 
opposition, 370; supports internal im- 
provements, 373, 479-482; 
Attacks Adams as "Onslow," 386; on 
Adams and patronage, 389; reelected 
vice-president, 405; influence in cabinet- 
making, 410, 411,412, 417, 419; review of 
relations with Jackson, 497; character- 
istics, 498; concerned in the Jackson- 
Southard squabble, 501; breach with 
Jackson, 503-519; reconciled with Van 
Buren, 514,732; effect of his pamphlet 
against Jackson, 520; Jackson's opinion 
of after the quarrel, 530; early political 
career, 544-547; espouses nullification, 
548, 554; at Jefferson birthday dinner, 
555 > openly leads nullification, 556, 560; 
on the compromise tariff, 574, 575; 
against the "force bill," 575; on the 
bank question, 605, 606; on removal of 
the deposits, 635; his bill to extend 
charter, 652; on removal of Indians, 686; 
relation to pro-slavery party, 717; 
in the election of 1844, 734, 735; 
annexation of Texas, 735, 738, 741; and 
Polk's cabinet, 746 

Calhoim, Mrs. Floride, admiration for 
Jackson, 748 

Call, R. K., 300 

Callava, Don Jos6, governor, surrenders 
West Florida, 297 ; at odds with Jackson, 
298; dispute with Vidal heirs, 301; 
arrested by Jackson, 302-309; complains 

to Spanish minister, 308; papers seized 
309; applies for habeas corpus, 310; de- 
parture for Washington, 313 

Cambreleng, C. C, on Jackson's cabinet 
(1829), 417; against the bank, 609, 
612; mentioned, 550, 577, 578 

Camden jail, Jackson imprisoned in, 10 

Campaign of 1824, 322-349 

Campbell, G. W., relations with Jackson, 
66, 76, note 4, 591 

Campbell, Rev. J. M., 462 

Campbell, J. W., 527, 612 

Canning, George, and West India trade, 

Carolina, armed schooner at New Orleans, 

176, 178, 179, 180, 183, 184 
Carolinas, Scotch-Irish in, 3 
Carroll, William, quarrel with Benton 67; 

hastens to New Orleans, 170; arrival, 

175; his troops armed, 206; mentioned 

113. 718 

Cass, Lewis, appointed to cabinet, 537, 541 ; 
and the Verplanck bill, 574; and the 
bank, 612; against removal of deposits, 
634; does not resign, 645; minister to 
France, 670, 672 

Catawba Indians, 4 

Catawba River, 4 

Catron, John, 739, 746 

Catterall, Professor R. C. H., 616 

Caucus, opposition to, 338; endorses 
Crawford, 339 

Chef Menteur, 145, 167, 170, 171 

Cherokee Indians at treaty of Fort Jackson, 
124; awarded land taken from Creeks, 
281; removal from Georgia, 684-692; cul- 
ture of, 685 

Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, case of 686, 
688, 689 

Cheves, Langdon, not admitted to Jack- 
son's cabinet, 412, 415; president of the 
bank, 587; mentioned, 545 

Chickasaw Indians, at treaty of. Fort 
Jackson, 124; removal of, 684, 692 

Choctaw Indians, at treaty of Fort Jack- 
son, 124; removal of, 684, 692 

Civil Service, inefficiency under Adams, 
439; under Jackson, 457 

Claiborne, General F. L., 113 

Claiborne, W. C. C, appointed territorial 
governor, 33; warned against Burr 
45, 51; on loyalty of Louisianians, 147; 
efforts against Baratarians, 150; at odds 
with Louisiana legislature, 158; quarrel 
with Jackson, 208, 215, 219-221 

Clarendon, Earl, on duelling, 729 

Clay, Henry, attorney for Burr, 42; can- 
didate for presidency, 280, 289, 324, 335; 



against invasion of Florida, 283-286; on 
Dr. Coleman letter, 348; as President- 
maker, 350; declares for Adams, 352, 353; 
reasons for this action, 353,370; attempt- 
ed reconciliation with Jackson, 352; 
charged with bargain, 356; offered secre- 
taryship of state, 366, 367-370; senate 
vote against his confirmation, 370; goes 
into anti- Jackson party, 376; connection 
with Panama Congress, 383; denies 
charges of bargain, 390; would leave 
cabinet, 403 ; Van Buren on, 543 ; and com- 
promise tariff, 574; favors re-charter of 
bank, 613; in election of 1832, 622; and 
removal of deposits, 635; calls for paper 
read in cabinet, 648; resolutions 
against Jackson, 648, 653; bill to dis- 
tribute surplus, 693-696; resolutions on 
French affair, 670; election of 1840, 
731; relation with Tyler, 733; his Texas 
letter, 736, 737 

Clayton, John, and the bank, 617 

Clinch, Colonel, 238, 239 

Clinton, De Witt, toasted by Jackson, 287; 
turns to Jackson, 400; death of, 401 

Clouet, Colonel, 217 

Clover Bottom, 36, 46 

Cobb, Joseph B., speech against Jackson, 

Cocke, General John, commands second 
division, 94; fails to cooperate with 
Jackson, 98, 99 

Cochrane, Admiral, proposes expedition 
against Louisiana, 162; informs Jackson 
of peace, 211 

Coffee, General John, 21, 35; in Benton 
quarrel, 69; in Natchez expedition, 80, 81 ; 
described, 81; hurried forward against 
Creeks, 93; serves against Creeks, 96; at 
battle of Tallushatchee, 97; aids Jackson 
in mutiny, 102; deserted by brigade, 106; 
at Tohopeka, 116; camp near Baton 
Rouge, 165, 168; summoned to New 
Orleans, 170; in battle of December 23, 
178; runs Creek line 236, 237; on Eaton- 
Ingham squabble, 528; his death, 715 

Coleman, Dr. L. H., correspondence with 
Jackson, 345-347, 397 

Contractors, Jackson's trouble with, 95 

Conway, General George, 56, 76 

Cook, D. P., and election of Adams, 363 

Cooper, Dr. Thomas, advice to Van Buren, 
418; mentioned, 548, 550 

"Coosa fever," 212 

Corn Tassel, case of, 689 

Cotton-bales at New Orleans battle, 188, 
note 2 

Cowan, David, 299 

Coweta, 112 

Crallfi, R. H., 518 

Crawford, James, 5, 6 

Crawford, W. H., willing to sacrifice Texas 
to get Florida, 272; presidential candi- 
date, 280, 289; beginning of quarrel 
with Jackson, 281; Jackson's opinion of, 
290; Jackson's dislike of, 319, 320, 372; 
chances in 1824, 324, 335; stricken with 
paralysis, 349; attempted reconciliation 
with Jackson, 351; his faction goes to 
Jackson, 377; and state rights, 375; 
hatred of Calhoun, 378; and the "four 
years law," 404; attitude toward inter- 
nal improvements, 482; trying to defeat 
Calhoun, 502; reveals cabinet secrets 
to Jackson, 512; his party in South 
Carolina, 548, 550 

Creek Country, importance of, 88 

Creek Indians, condition of in 1813, 88; 
alliance with British, 89; begin hostili- 
ties, 90; plans to subdue, 91 ; war against, 
90-100, 1 1 2-1 20; effects of campaign 
against, 118; at treaty of Fort Jackson, 
123; and treaty of Ghent, 233; fugitives 
in Florida, 233; boundary line surveyed, 
236, 237; outrages in 1 815, 237;Nicholls's 
treaty with, 234; repudiated by Lord 
Bathurst, 237; removal of, 684, 692 

Creek, fugitive, see Seminoles 

"Crisis, The," by Turnbull, 549 

Cumberland VaUey, settlement of, 15 

Cupples, William, 12, 13 

Cuthbert, Alfred, 704 

Cuthbert, John, 704 


Dallas, George M., 615, 621 

Dauphine Island, 203, 209 

Dearborn, Henry, Jackson on, 49 

Debt, public, payment of, 692 

December 23, battle of, 176 

Democratic party, birth of, 475 

Deposits, removal of from the bank, 631- 
654; Kendall on, 633; opinion of cabinet 
asked, 634; lu-ged on Duane, 638-640; 
petitions against, 640; McLane's com- 
promise, 640-641; removal ordered by 
Taney, 645 

Dickson, William, 45, 47 

Dickinson, Charles, duel with Jackson, 

Dinsmore, Silas, quarrel with Jackson, 65- 

Diplomacy, Jackson's, 657-683 

Ditto's Landing, 93, g'i 

"Divorce bill," see sub-treasury. 



Divorce in Virginia and North Carolina, 
20, note I 

Doherty, Major, at Tohopeka, 117 

Donelson, A. J., 540, 709, 742, 743 

Donelson, Mrs. A. J., mistress of White 
House, 461, leaves on account of Eaton 
affair, 473; returns, 473; mentioned, 709 

Donelson, John, founder of West Ten- 
nessee, 15, 75; death, 17 

Donelson, Stokely, concerned in Glasgow 
land frauds, 58 

Drafts, branch, 588 

Drayton, Col. William, recommended by 
Jackson for Monroe's cabinet, 339; of- 
fered cabinet position (18^9), 536, 537; 
against nullification, 567 

Duane, William, 632 

Duane, William J., appointed secretarj^ 
of the treasury, 632, 636; resists Jack- 
son's plans, 638-640; dismissed from 
the cabinet, 644 

Duelling, Jackson on, 729 

Duncan, Abner L, 217, 228 

Dunlap, General R. G., advice to Jackson, 
460; disgusted at Lewis, 460, 507, 

Earl, R. E. W., 728 

Eaton, John H., friendship for Jackson, 
279; part in cabinet-making, 410, 412, 
415; appointed secretary of war, 413, 
534) 536, 538; protest of Tennesseeans 
against, 416, 460; marriage, 459, 461; 
removal from cabinet pronounced nec- 
essary, 521; resigns, 523, 524; squabble 
with Ingham, 526-528, 562; desires 
Tennessee senatorship, 533; later career, 
538, 717; his Indian policy, 6 6 

Eaton, Mrs. John H., marriage, 459, 461; 
reception in society, 462, 464, 466; and 
cabinet reorganization, 524; mentioned, 
523, 526, 529, 530, 539 

"Eaton Malaria," characterized, 458, 469; 
transferred to Tennessee, 472; charged 
by Jackson to Calhoun, 462, 473; effects 
on Calhoun, 458; Lewis's part in, 460; 
given political turn, 463; taken before 
cabinet, 463, 467; relation to nullifica- 
tion, 55 i 

Editors, appointment of to office, 450 

Edwards, Ninian, minister to Mexico, 673 

Elections, 1824, 349; 1825, 362-365; 1828, 
404; 1832,623; 1836, 717, 718; and Texas 
annezatioQ, 68a; 1838, 652, 726; 1840, 

Ellis, Powhatan, 676, 677 

Ely, Rev. E. S., protests against Mrs. 

Eaton, 462 
Emuckfau, battle of, 113, 114 
"Emuckfau, Miss," 745, 746 
English Turn, 145, 146 
Erving, G. W., minister to Spain, 265, 267, 


Erwin, Captain Joseph, horse-race ar- 
ranged with Jackson, 61 

Everett, Edward, pronounces spoils sys- 
tem inevitable, 442 

"Exposition," Calhoun's, 550, 557, 562 

Expunging resolutions, 653-655 

Fairfield, John, describes Jackson, 709, 

Farewell Address, 719 

Federalists, attempt to win votes of, 339 

Fine, Jackson's, at New Orleans, imposed, 
228; remitted, 745 

Florida, plan to occupy, 79; Spain's weak 
hold on, 89; neutrality violated, 12S, 
132, 135; Jackson desires to invade it 
(1814), 128; acquisition of, 233 ; Jackson's 
plan to enter (1818), 245; expedition in, 
253-267; negotiations to purchase, 265, 
443; Spain's protest against invasion of, 
266; purchase completed, 271; treaty 
proclaimed, 294; Jackson governor of, 
294, 318; handed over by Spain, 297; 
Jackson's powers, 295, 311, 316; branch 
of bank in, 590 

Flournoy, Brigadier-General, 127 

Floyd, General, 112 

Forbes, Colonel, mission to Havana, 295 

Forbes and Co., 301, 309 

"Force bill" introduced, 572, 573; op- 
posed by Calhoun, 575; passed, 576; 
nullified by South Carolina, 577 

Forsyth, John, and Kremer's charges, 361; 
letter to Hamilton about Calhoun, 507, 
508, 509, 555; and French diplomacy, 
669, 670 

Fort Bourbon, 145 

Fort Bowyer, repulse of British at, 133- 
135; loss of, 208-211 

Fort Charlotte, 133 

Fort Crawford, 242 

Fort Deposit, erected, 93 

Fort Gadsden, 258, 261 

"Fort Hill Letter," 551 

Fort Jackson, erected, 119; treaty at, 123, 
233; mutiny at (1814), 213 

Fort Mims, taken by Creeks, 91 

Fort Montgomery, 140 

Fort St. Charles, 146 



Fort St. Philip, 145, 146, 167; bombarded 

by British, 202 
Fort Scott, erected, 238, 239 
Fort Strother, erected, 96; suffering at, 

99; mutiny at, 99-106 
Fort Williams, erected, 115 
For tier, Colonel, 218 
Fowltown, attacked, 244, 251 
Francis, the Prophet, visits England, 237; 

taken by Jackson, 254; executed, 

French citizens in New Orleans, conflict 

with Jackson, 224 
French spoliation claims, 663-673 
Fromentin, Eligius, appointed judge in 

Florida, 300, issues habeas corpus for 

Callava, 310; summoned before Jackson, 

312; removed from judgeship, 313; 

Monroe's attitude toward, 319 
Fulton. William, Jackson's letter to, 677, 

678 ' 

Gadsden, Captain James, concerned in 
squabble with Swift, 289 

Gaines, Gen. E. P., ordered to New Orleans, 
148; command on Florida frontier, 232, 
233; fears Creek war, 236, 237; and pas- 
sage of the Escambia, 242; presides over 
court martial, 257; relation to Texas 
revolution, 679 

Gales and Seaton and the bank, 624, 643 

Gallatin, Albert, denied office under 
Jackson, 412, 418; negotiates in regard 
to West India trade, 658 

Galveston, filibustering at, 242 

Gargon, and Negro Fort, 238, 239 

Geer, Andrew, testimony on Jackson- 
Sevier quarrel, 60 

Gentilly, plains of, 145, 167, 170, 221 

Georgia, militia sent against Creeks, 91, 
95, 118, 143; attitude of toward nulli- 
fication, 571; removal of Indians from, 
685-692; in election of 1836, 718 

Gibbs, Major-General, 162, 192, 193, 194, 
19s, 196 

Glasgow land frauds, 57 

Globe, The, established, 513 

Gordon, Captain, 129 

Grande Terre, 149 

Green, Duff, party editor, 378; on abuse 
of patronage, 389; retaliates for attack on 
Mrs. Jackson, 394; sulking, 479; in- 
fluence on Calhoun and Jackson, 499; 
pries open cabinet secrets, 529; and 
Texas revolution, 677; mentioned, 512, 
526, 624 

Gnmdy, Felix, against Dinsmore, 67; 
defeats Eaton for senator, 538; plan for 
a bank, 592; influence in Tennessee, 718 

"Gulger," 109 

Gunboats at New Orleans, 147, 169 


Hall, Brigadier-General, 96 

Hall, Judge Dominick, 153, 208; arrested 
by Jackson, 225; fines Jackson, 228; 
fine remitted, 745, 746 

Hamilton, James, jr., on Jackson's cabinet, 
415, 416. 418; on Jackson's inauguration, 
424; a Crawford man, 548; and nuUi- 
fication, 552, 557 

Hamilton, James A., and cabinet making, 
410, 419; secretary of state pro tempore, 
411; criticizes Jackson's cabinet, 415; 
on the trip to New Orleans (1828), 506, 
507; visits Georgia, 506; furnishes plan 
for bank, 602; writes reply to McDuffie's 
report, 605; opposed to bank, 612 

Hammett, W. H., 736 

Hanging Rock, battle of, 10 

Harris, Rev. John, mutinies, 213 

Harrison, W. H., and the Indians, 77; 
pre.sidential candidate, 731; Jackson 
on his death, 733 

Hartford Convention, Jackson on, 340, 

Hawkins, Benjamin, Creek agent, 89, 119, 


Hayne, Andrew P., 291, 402 

Hayne, R. Y., on Panama Congress, 385; 
on tariff, 398; offers courtesies to Mrs. 
Jackson, 404; and Jackson's cabinet, 
415; early political career, 546, 548; 
debate with Webster, 552; tries to in- 
fluence Jackson, 553, 558; dinner to, 557; 
desires nullifier for district-attorney, 560 

Hays, Colonel Robert, 21, 26, 175, 204 

Hermes, 133, 135 

"Hermitage," becomes home of Jackson, 
2,s; new house built, 318; burned, 714 

Hernandez and the purchase of Texas, 675 

"Hickory Ground," 90, 95, 119 

Hill, Isaac, rejected by senate, 478; elected 
senator, 478; against the bank, 593, 619 

Himollimico, captured and executed, 254, 


Hinds, Major, commands Mississippi dra- 
goons, 165; at New Orleans, 178, 183, 
185; pursues the British, 203 

Hoffman, Michael, 578 

Holmes, Gabriel, governor of Mississippi, 

Horse-Shoe Bend, battle of, 116 



Houston, Saui, at battle of Tohopeka, 
ir7; part in Jackson- Calhoun quarrel, 
5or; and Texas revolution, 677, 678, 
681; and Texas annexation, 739, 740 

Huger, D. E., 556 

Humbert, General, 154, 201 

"Hunter's Hill," Jackson's home, 19, 35 

Hatchings, John, 35, 137 

Huygens, Madame, and Mrs. Eaton, 466, 

Huskinson, William, and colonial trade, 658 

Inauguration (1829), 421-425; address, 


Indians, southwestern, removal of, 684-692 

Indian Territory, established, 692 

Ingersoll, C. J., and the bank, 615; and 
Jackson's fine, 745; seeking historical 
material, 749 

Ingham, S. D., for Calhoun, 331; con- 
nected with Kramer's charges, 361; ap- 
pointed secretary of the treasury, 412, 
416; relation with Eaton aflfair, 466, 467, 
468; dismissed from cabinet, 526; 
squabble v/ith Eaton, 526-528, 529, 562; 
concerned with the charges against the 
Portsmouth branch bank, 593-597 

Innerarity, John, 301 

Insolvent office-holders, dismissed by 
Jackson, 448 

Internal improvements, sketch of, 479- 
483; Jackson's views on, 483-485; May^ 
ville road bill, 485-489; effects of veto 
on internal improvements, 489-495 

Irving, Washington, friend of Van Buren, 
641; Jackson on his mission to Spain, 747 

Jackson, Andrew, genealogy, 4, note i; 
birth, s; birthplace, 5-7; early traits, 
7, 12, 14; education, 8; revolutionary 
services, 9; alone in the world, 11; be- 
gins to read law, 12; early practice, 12; 
arrives in Tennessee, 16; solicitor for 
Mero District, 17; marriage, 17-21; 
capacity as a lawyer, 20, 22, 32; re- 
lation to frontier 21; habits, 2r; ap- 
pearance as young man, 22; arrest of 
Bean, 24; attorney-general for Mero 
District, 25; judge-advocate, 26; dele- 
gate to constitutional convention, 26; 
elected to congress, 28; political views 
(1797) 28; opposed to Washington, 30; 
associations in congress, 31, ^-i; elected 
stJMtor, 33; OQ the bench, 32; fails to get 

governorship of Orleans territory, 33; 
relations with Jefferson, ^2> So, 52; 
as a merchant, 34, 35; buys and sells 
slaves, 35, 66; involved in debt, 34; 
relations with Burr, 43-47; devotion of 
the militia to, 48, 52; supports Col. 
Thomas Butler, 50; his opinion of 
Secretary Dearborn, 50; at Burr trial, 52; 
his feeling against Wilkinson, 53; 
quarrel with Sevier, 55; duel v/ith Dick- 
inson, 61; quarrel with Dinsmore, 65; 
quarrel with the Ben tons, 67; proposes 
to leave Tennessee, 70; loses touch with 
state politics, 71 

Early military career,73; elected major- 
general of militia, 75; zeal for war against 
England, 78; address to militia, 79; 
Natchez expedition, 80-86; command 
against Creeks, 92; organization of army, 
94, 96; plan of campaign, 94; battle of 
Talladega, 97; deals with mutiny, 99-106; 
deserted by army, 106-108; his opinion 
of Governor Blount, 109; reorganizes 
army, 109, iii; battle of Emuckfau, 113; 
recommended for regular rank, 114; 
advances to Fort Williams, 115; battle 
of Tohopeka, 116; ends Creek war, 118; 
ideas of peace, 1 20; return to Nashville, 
120; brigadier-general in regular army, 
122; seventh mihtary district, 123; at 
treaty of Fort Jackson, 123; 

The defense of Mobile, 126; desires to 
enter Florida, 128; correspondence with 
governor of Florida, 129; attack on Fort 
Bowyer, 134; proclamation to people 
of Louisiana, 135, 155; takes Pensacola, 
135-143; leaves Mobile for New Orleans, 
143; deals with the Baratarians, 129, 130, 
i3i> 153; enlists free negroes, 155; learns 
of danger of New Orleans, 162; idea of 
New Orleans defense, 162; arrival at 
New Orleans, 166; learns of arrival of 
British, 167; proclaims martial law, 174; 

Battle of December 23, 176-181; forti- 
fies position, 182; withstands attack on 
December 28, 185; artillery battle of 
January i, 187; his battle lines, 191; 
forces engaged, 192; battle of January 8, 
192-200; attitude toward Kentucky,' 
militia, 201; refuses to pursue British, 
203;^ military capacity of, 205, 206; 
British view of, 206; responsibihty for 
loss of Fort Bowyer, 210; plans to retake, 
211; ignores news of peace, 211; will not 
pardon mutineers 214; quarrel with 
Ix)U)siana legislature, 215; quarrel with 
Crovemor Claiborne, 218-221; recovery 
of slaves, 221; slighted by legislature, 



223; arrest of Louaillier and Hall, 225; 
fined for contcrapt of court, 220; returns 
to Nashville, 231; 

Commands southern division, 231; 
desire for Florida, 244; leads army in 
Seminole war, 245 ; asks authority to enter 
Florida, 245; expedition against Scmi- 
ncles, 253-268; trial and execution of Ar- 
buthnot and Ajnbrister, 254-258; conduct 
defended by Adams, 268; approves Flor- 
ida treaty, 272; pacified by Monroe, 
273-278; position in Tennessee, 278; 
suspected for presidency, 279, 289; 
quarrel with Crawford, 281; meets 
charges in Washington, 282; report of 
committees on invasion of Florida, 
289, 291; visits Philadelphia, New York, 
and Baltimore, 289; dilierence with 
General Swift, 289; opinion of Crawford, 
290; reply to Lacock report, 291; charge 
of land speculation in Florida, 292; 
retires from army, 294; 

Governor of Florida, 294-318; receives 
Florida, 297; at odds with Callava, 2;8; 
establishes civil government, 299; ar- 
rests Callava, 302-309; at odds with 
Fromentin, 310; authority as Governor, 
311; administrative achievement, 315; 
resigns governorship, 317; in retirement 
318; cools toward Monroe, 319; 

Political views, 323; plans to nominate 
him, 326, 327; nominated by Tennessee 
legislature, 328; loses in Louisiana legis- 
lature, 330; support in Pennsylvania, 
331-334; proposed combinations with, 
337; letter to Monroe about ofLce 
appointments, 339-344; on Hartford 
Convention, 340, 343; career as senator, 
344; on the tariif in 1824, 343, 349; 
electoral vote in 1824, 349; 

Reconciliation with Benton, 351; at- 
tempted reconciUation with Crawford and 
Clay, 351; attitude toward Adams, 354; 
bearing of, 355; alleged bargain between 
Clay and Adams, 356-363, 390; changes 
attitude toward Adams, 365-367; his 
poHtical ability, 379; resigns senatorship, 
380; position on tariff, 391; disapproves 
attack on Mrs. Adams, 394; part in his 
owQ campaign, 395; New Orleans ceh- 
bration, 402; elected president, 404; 
death rf Mrs. Jackson, 406; goes to 
Washington, 408, 409; refuses to call on 
Adams, 400; 

Ma';ing Ja cabinet, 409-420, 421 ; inau- 
guration, 421-425; inaugural address 425- 
431; rece-ves Van Buren, 433; his ap- 
poiatments to office, 443-445; removals 

from oflBce, 445-450; on the appointment 
of editors, 449-451; appointment of 
Swartwout, 452-455; defends Mrs. Eaton 
462-463, 467-470; his relation with the 
capital, 470; first annual message, 476; 
views on internal improvements, 483; 
veto of MaysviUe Road bill, 489; bad 
health 503, 715, 722; breach with 
Calhoun 503-519; cabinet reorganization, 
521-539; observes the Eaton-Ingham 
squabble, 529; on Calhoun and Branch, 
530; fondness for Van Burcn, 531, 541; 
offers White cabinet position, 533-537; 
renominated, 540; relation to nulli- 
fication, 549-550, 552-555, 556-561, 
564-574, 577, 579-580; definition of 
state rights, 561, 569, 579-58°, 581-583; 
aroused by nullificrs, 564-573; issues 
nuUification proclamation, 564, 568; 
ability as statesman, 5S4; 

Early attitude toward bank, 589-590, 
592; reply to Cadwalader, 591 ; and Ports- 
mouth branch bank, 597; interview with 
Biddle, 599; bank mentioned in first 
annual message, 601, 604; plan for a 
bank, 602-604, 606, 607; mentions bank 
in second annual message, 607; in third 
annual message, 610; reassures John 
Randolph, 612; on bill for re-charter, 
613-620; vetoes bank bill, 617; the 
election of 1832, 622; removal of deposits, 
633-646; visit to New England (1833), 
637; degree from Harvard, 638; relation 
with Duane, 638-640, 644; petitioned to 
restore deposits, 647; refuses to send 
congress paper read before cabinet, 
648; Clay's resolutions against, 648; ex- 
punging resolutions, 653-655; 

Negotiations for West India trade, 661 ; 
quarrel with France, 667-672; efforts 
to purchase Texas, 673-677; relation to 
Te.xas revolution, 676-683; results of 
diplomacy, 683; relation with Georgia 
Indians, 686; attitude toward courts, 
690, 691; opinion of Marshall, 691; pays 
public debt, 692-693; distribution of 
surplus, 693-697; favors specie currency, 

^97, 725; . . ^ ,. ^ 

Personal characteristics, 700-721; belief 
in democracy, 721; compared with Well- 
ington, 702; intimate advisers, 703-705; 
attitude toward women, 706; described 
by others, 708; entertains at White 
House, 710-713; expenses in White 
House, 714; temper, 715; attacked by 
Randolph, 715; attitude toward anti- 
slavery literature, 717; last annual 
message, 718; Farewell Address, 719; 



leaves Washington, 721; resuRs of his 
administrations, 721; restoration of fine, 
722; reception in Tennessee, 722; hfe 
in retirement, 723; panic of 1837, 725- 
727; observes political affairs, 727, 733; 
rehgious views, 82, 204, 728, 748; on 
duelling, 729; relations with Blair, 729, 
730; on campaign of 1840, 731; on death 
of Harrison, 733 ; on annexation of Texas, 
735-737; oil Van Buren's Texas letter, 
737; financial embarrassments, 744; de- 
clining health, 746; urges Polk not to 
have Calhoun in cabinet, 746; on Oregon 
question, 747; death, 749 

Jackson, Andrew, the elder, 4, 5 

Jackson, Andrew, the younger, 707, 744 

Jackson, Mrs. Elizabeth, 4, 5, 7, 10 

Jackson, Hugh, 4, 10 

Jackson, Mrs. Rachael Donelson, marriage 
to Robards, 17; marriage to Jackson, 19; 
her influence on him, 20; her letters, 121; 
visit to New Orleans, 231; at Pensacola, 
296; helps office-seekers, 299; in Wash- 
ington, 355 ; marriage questioned by- 
Adams papers, 394; illness and death, 
405; her quahties, 406; tribute from 
Lafayette, 407; Jackson prays before 
her picture, 407; smoked a pipe, 461; 
"Hermitage" sad without her, 472; 
and General Cadwalader, 590 

Jackson, Robert, 4, 10 

Jackson, Sarah York, 707 

Jackson party, composition, 377; two 
sections in (1825), 378; supports tariff of 
1828, 391; divided in cabinet making, 

Jay treaty, Jackson's views on, 29 

Jefferson, Thomas, and Col. Thomas 
Butler, 50; estimate of Jackson, 329; 
birthday dinner, 551 

Johnson, R. M., his opinion of Lewis, 432; 
favors Maysville Road, 487; statement in 
behalf of Calhoun, 515; candidate for 
vice-presidency in 1840, 732 

Johnston vs. Mcintosh, 690 

Keane, Major-General, at New Orleans, 

^ 162, 195, 207 

Kendall, Amos, appointed auditor, 449; 
in "Kitchen Cabinet," 457; A. Balch 
on, 540; opposed to bank, 587, 600, 
609, 612, 619, 633; active in removal of 
deposits, 633, 636, 637; writes papers for 
Jackson, 650; and Texas revolution, 680; 
and anti-slavery literature, 716; desires 
to be minister to Spain, 747 

Key, Francis Scott, on Jackson's inaugu- 
ration, 422; against Mayo, 730 

Kentucky, early spirit of revolt in, 39; 
Nicholls's proclamation to people of, 
133; militia at New Orleans, 190, 197-200, 

King, Rufus, 292 

"Kitchen Cabinet," foreshadowed, 399; 
members of, 457, 540; mentioned, 85, 

538, 703 
Kremer, George, and the Monroe letter, 
341; approached by Buchanan, 356; 
charges of bargain, 359-363 

Lacassonges, Michael, 53 

Lacock, Abner, report of committee 

against Jackson, 287, 290, 291 
Lafayette, George W., 665, 666 
Lafayette, Marquis de, and Jackson, 358; 

estimate of Mrs. Jackson, 407 
La Fourche, part of New OrLans defenses, 


Lafitte, John, his piracy, 130, 149; history 
of, 150; deaUngs with Nicholls, 150; 
proposition to Governor Claiborne, 151; 
defeated at Grande Terre, 152; ia Jack- 
son's army, 153 

Lambert, Major-General John, in British 
expedition, 162; arrival at New Orleans, 
189; ccnmands reserve at New Orleans, 
i93> 195; offers truce, 202; withdraws 
the army, 203; takes Fort Bowyer, 205; 
refuses to deliver fugitive slaves, 221 

"Land office money," 698 

Lathen, Sarah, 6 

Laval, Captain, wounded at Pensacola, 139 

Lawrence, Major William, defends Fort 
Bowyer, 133-135; loses Fort Bowyer, 209 

Lee, Major Henry, and Jackson's speech 
at New Orleans, 403; rejected for chief 
clerk, 411; rejected for consulship, 411; 
and Jackson's inaugural address, 431; 
on Duane, 632 

Legare, Hugh S., 556 

Leigh, B. W., 571 

Leslie, Mrs., and the Leslie tradition, 6, 7 

Letcher, R. P., confers with Adams in 
behalf of Clay, 368; and the compromise 
tariff, 576 

Lewis, Joel, 56 

Lewis, Major W. B., working for Jackson's 
political advancement, 279; and the 
letter to Monroe, 339, 340; influences 
Parton's story, 399; relation to Jackson, 
400; aids in cabinet making, 410; con- 
nection with Lee, 411, 412; favors Van 



Buren, 417, 541, 742, 743; his influence 
resented, 431 ; relation with ollice-seekers, 
445; relation to Eaton affair, 460; Dun- 
lap on, 460, 507, 539; promotes breach 
with Calhoun, 506-509; and cabinet 
reorganization, 523; part in Eaton- 
Ingham squabble, 527; loses influence in 
"Kitchen Cabinet," 540; urges Van 
Buren's nomination, 541; bank director 
at Nashville, 591; favors Biddle, 597, 
598, 600, 608, 612; influence on Jack- 
son, 705; impopular in Tennessee, 717; 
later relations with Jackson, 743 

Lieber, Francis, visit to Jackson, 708 

Lines, Jackson's, description of, 183, 184, 
185, i86, 190-192; on the west bank, 198 

Linn, Dr., senator from Missouri, on Jack- 
son's fine, 74S 

Lister, Jesse, tavern bill of, 13 

Livingston, Edward, in congress with 
Jackson, 30; relation with Baratarians, 
150, 152; heads New Orleans committee, 
154; desires to be Jackson's aide, 154, 
note i; welcomes Jackson to New Or- 
leans 166; sent to recover slaves, 202; 
and the Vidal estate, 309; on Jackson's 
cabinet, 432; offered mission to 
France, 432, 434; secretary of state, 
533, 536; Jackson opinion of, 541; 
proljable author of nuUification proc- 
lamation, 569, 578; favors the bank, 
608, 610, 612, 615, 616; minister to 
France, 632, 636, 667-669; against re- 
moval of deposits, 634; desires to re- 
turn to France, 672 

Louaillier, opposed to martial-law, 225; 
arrested by Jackson, 225 

Louis Philippe, 665 

Louisiana, loyalty questioned, 147, 154, 
216; refuses to endorse Jackson, 330; 
claims under purchase treaty, 664 

Louisiana, legislature of, clash with Jack- 
son, 174, 223 

Louisiana militia, service against British, 
158, IS9> 216, 224 

Louisiana, armed ship, in battle of New 
Orleans, 176, 178, 183, 184, 185, 186 

Louisianians, Nicholl's proclamation to, 

Lowndes, William, 545, 546 

Lowrie, Walter, 342 


Macay, Spruce, 12 

McCdeb, W. r., on Burr conspiracy, 41, 

note I 
McCulIoch vs. Maryland, 586 

McDuffie, George, and bank, 605, 606, 615; 
mentioned, 548, 561, 650, 741 

Mcintosh, Creek chieftain, 253 

Mcintosh, Major General, 143, 211 

McLane, Louis, rejected for Jackson's 
cabinet (1829), 412, 416, 419, 432; on 
Branch's appointment, 414; on Jackson's 
cabinet, 417; secretary of the treasury, 
524, 536, 541; relations with the bank 
question, 608, 610, 611; Jackson on, 611, 
612, 613, 615; opposes removal of de- 
posits, 632, 634, 639; secretary of state, 
632, 636; proposes compromise on re- 
moval, 640; Van Buren intercedes for, 
642, 645; negotiations about West India 
trade, 659-662 

McLean, John, to be postmaster-general, 
412; becomes justice of supreme court, 

McKemy, George, 5, 6 

McNairy, John, judge in Mero District, 
i6, 26 

Macon, Nathaniel, relations with Jackson, 
31; carries North Carolina for Virginia 
interest, 325; resolutions on the patron- 
age, 387, 388 

McQueen, Creek chieftain, escapes to 
Florida, 119 

McRea, Lieutenant-Colonel, in New Or- 
leans, 147, 148 

Madison, James, on Maysville veto, 493 

Marable, Dr., and Texas revolution, 677, 

Marcy, William L., 542, 652 

Marshall, John, Chief Justice, on Cherokee 
case, 690; Jackson on, 691 

Martial law, proclaimed in New Orleans, 
174, 216; its scope imcertain, 227 

Martignac ministry, 663 

Martinsville, North Carolina, 12, 13 

Mason, Jeremiah, and Portsmouth branch 
bank, 593 

Mason, John Y., gets lock of Jackson's 
hair, 746 

Mason, S. T., relation with Jackson, 31 

Mayo, Dr. Robert, letter on Texas, 677, 
678, 730 

Maysville Road bill, 485-489 

Mecklenburg County, 4 

Mero District, 16, 74 

Mexico, negotiations to purchase, 673-678; 
American claims against, 677 

Miller, W. D., 739, 742 

Militia organization in Tennessee, 74 

Missionaries, Georgia, case of. 689 

Mobile, operations around, 126-143; Brit- 
ish plans to seize, 132, 161, 162, 163, 165, 
167; defenses of, 133 



Monroe, James, supported by Jackson for 
President, 54; against occupation of 
Florida (1814), 142; calls out militia, 
163; responsibility in battle of New- 
Orleans, 206; negotiations to purchase 
Florida, 243, 255, 267; and the Rhea 
letter, 247; position on Jackson's in- 
vasion of Florida, 267, 268, reassures 
Jackson, 273-278; and General Swift, 
289; appoints Jackson governor of 
Florida, 294; attitude toward Fromen- 
tin, 319; Jackson's letter to in regard to 
appointing federalists, 339-344; appoint- 
ments in Florida, 438; Jackson's letter to, 
on appointments, 444; involved in South- 
ard quarrel, 501; statement for Calhoim, 
515; negotiations for West India trade ,637 

Montgomery, Major, killed at Tohopeka, 

Montpelier, Alabama, 296 

Morgan, General David B., at New 
Orleans, 197 

Mutiny, at Fort Strother, 99-106, mutineer 
executed, 212-215 


Nashville, settlement of, 15; Burr at, 42, 
43, 44, 46 

Negroes, enlisted in New Orleans, 155 

Negro Fort, erected, 128; presented to 
Indians, 235; seized by negroes, 238; 
destroyed by Clinch, 239 

New England and the tariff, 392 

New Orleans, defenses of, 144, 146; 
neglected by Jackson, 148; rich booty in, 
153; meeting for defense, 154; expe- 
dition planned against, 161; naval forces 
at, 165; arrival of Jackson, 166; landing 
of the British, 171; martial-law, pro- 
claimed, 173; fighting around the city, 
176-203; departure of the British, 203; 
Jackson acclaimed in city, 204; arms in, 
205; would Jackson bum the city? 
216-219; Jackson fined for continuing 
martial law in, 227-229; anniversary of 
battle celebrated (1828), 401, 500 

New York, politics in 1825-1828, 400; 
spoils system in, 441 

Nicholls, Colonel Edward, arrives in Flor- 
ida, 131; his purpose, 132; organizes 
Indians, 136; protector of the Seminoles, 
234; return to England, 237, Adams on, 
268, 269; 

Nickajack expedition, 31 

Noah, M. M,, 625 

Nominations. Jackson's rejected by senate, 

North Carolina, follows lead of Virgmia, 
325; against nullification, 581 

Nullification, influence on Calhoun's career, 
504, 516; rise of, 546-549; period of 
hesitancy, 549-561; active measure be- 
gin, 561; nullification convention, 563; 
the relation with the tariff, 546-548; 
origin of, 549; Calhoun's statement of 
doctrine of, 550-552; movement launched 
563-564; relation to other Southern 
states, 565; mentioned in Jackson's 
message (1832), 566, 567; legal means of 
opposing, 565; Jackson's proclamation 
against, 568; responses of states, 570; 
ordinance suspended, 571, 577; signifi- 
cance of movement, 583; 


OflBce-seekers, besiege Jackson, 409, 432; 

505; suffering among, 446 
"Old Hickory," nickname given, 86 
Onis, Spanish minister, on invasion of 

Florida, 265, 266 
O'Neal, Peggy, see Mrs. Eaton 
Osbom vs. the Bank, 586 
Overton, John, 17, note 1, 18, 399, 715 
Overton, General Thomas, 63, 529 

Pageot, A., charge d'affaires, 669 
Pakenham, Sir Edward, in command 

British expedition, 161, instructions, 

162; arrival at New Orleans, 183; 

killed in battle, 195 
Palmerston Lord, reception of Van Buren, 

Panama Congress, 383-387 
Panic of 1837, 723 
Parton, James, on Jackson's birthplace, 

6; his idea of Jackson, 23 
Patchell, Edward, on Jackson's nom- 
ination, 331 
Patronage, abuse of, charged against 

Adams, 387 
Patterson, Daniel T., Commodore, 147, 

165, 166; erects and serves batteries on 

west bank of river, 186, 198, 199, 200, 

Patterson, General Robert, visits Jackson, 

"Peg. O'Neal," see Mrs. Eaton 
Pennsylvania, Jackson's support in, 331- 

Pensacola, stormed by Jackson (1814), 

139; taken by Jackson, (1818), a6i; 

Adams on its capture, 270, 271; Jackson 

enters as governor, 297 



Percy, Captain, attack on Fort Bowyer, 


Petites Cocquilles, fort at, 144, 146 

Pettigru, James L., opposed to nulli- 
fication, 556 

Pierce's Stockade, 137 

Pinckney, C. C, 545 

Pinckney, Gen. Thomas, in the Creek war, 
91, III, 112, 114, 116, 119, 120, 122, 127 

Piiikney, William, 292 

Pizarro, Spanish minister, and Florida 
negotiations, 265, 267, 270; demands 
pimishment for Jackson, 267, 270 

"Plowboy," race horse, 61 

Poinsett, Joel R., against nullification, 
556, 564, 567, 573, 577; dinner to, 557; 
minister to Mexico, 673, 674 

Polignac ministry, 663, 664, 665 

Politics, personal in 1825, 376; a new stage 
under Jackson, 437 

Polk, James Knox, relations with Jackson 
movement, 396, 592; chairman com- 
mitttee of ways and means, 650; demo- 
cratic leader, 731, 732, 742, 743 

Polk, William, 341 

Pope, Governor, of Arkansas, 677 

Pope, Worden, and Louisville branch bank. 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, bank at, 

Postmaster-general, made cabinet position, 

Potter, North Carolina, 5 
Power, Tyrone, describes Jackson, 708 
Prophet, the, 77 


Randolph, R. B., attacks Jackson, 715, 

Randolph, John. Jackson's early admi- 
ration for, ^^, 53; on alleged bargain, 
383; plan for a bank, 592; against bank, 
612; on Jackson, 717 

Randolph, Dr. P. G., 527 

Rasin, battle of, 90 

Rawdon, Lord, 9 

Reeves, Professor Jesse S., on Butler as a 
minister, 675 

Reid, Major John, aide to Jackson, 82; 
helps Jackson suppress mutiny, 102 

Removals from office, 445, 447, 454; pro- 
tests against, 449 

Revolution, the, in the Waxhaws, 9 

Rhea, John, Jackson's supposed letter from, 
347, 248, 249, note I 

Ringe, John, 692 

Ringgold, Tench, 508, 730 

Rip Raps, visited by Jackson, 471, 525, 

639, 644 
Ritchie, Thomas, attacks Adams, 383; 

on Jackson's cabinet, 420; Randolph, 

John, on, 420; mentioned, 525, 533 
River aux Chines, 145 
Rives, W. C, appointed minister to 

France, 435; returns to United States, 

632; negotiations abroad, 663-667 
Roane, Archibald, supports Jackson, 57, 74 
Robards, Lewis, 17, 18 
Robards, Sarah Donelson, see Mrs. Rachel 

Donelson Jackson 
Roberts, Brigadier-General Isaac, in Creek 

war, 96, 107 
Robertson, General James, founder of 

Nashville, 15, 16, 26, 75 
Robinson, F. J., 658; 
Ross, John, 692 
Rush, Richard, on execution of Arbuthnot 

and Ambrister, 260; mentioned, 538, 

Rotation in office, a democratic doctrine, 

441, 455 

Sabastiani, French minister, 666 

St. John, Bayou, 145, 146 

St. Marks, Seminoles at, 252; taken by 

Jackson, 253; garrisoned by Americans, 

260; a subject of diplomacj', 270, 271 
Salisbury, North Carolina, 12 
San Jacinto, battle of, 679 
Santa Anna, and Texas, 675; letter to 

Jackson, 682 
Sargent, Nathaniel, describes Jackson, 709 
Scotch-Irish, settlements of, 3 
Scott, John, votes for Adams (1825), 

Seminole Indians, protected by Nicholls, 

237; lose fort, 238; at wa,r with the 

government, 240-264; negotiations about 

266-271; investigation in congress, 281- 

Sergeant, John, relations with the bank, 

Sevier, John, attacks the Indians, i6; 

quarrel with Jackson, 34, 55, 74 
Sherburne, Colonel, Jackson desires him 

appointed, 444 
Slavery, relation to nullification, 547 
Slaves, escape to British at New Orleans, 


Smith, Daniel, senator, 45. 52 
Smith, William, and South Carolina poli- 
tics, 546, 548 
"Smoke-tail," io8 



Southard, S. L., allegations against Jack- 
son, 395, soo 

South Carolina, political condition before 
nullification, 545-548; nullificalion in, 

548-583 . , 

Southwest Territory, organized, 25 
Spain and Creek Indians, 89; protests the 

invasion of Florida, 266 
Specie circular, issued by Jackson, 697- 

699; attempt to repeal, 723, 724 
Spoils system, fostered by new conditions, 

441; in various states, 441; a develop- 
ment, 456 
State rights, Jackson's idea of, 561, 569 
Stevenson, Andrew, speaker of the house, 

392, 475, 521, 650; no part in cabinet 

making, 413, 415 
Sub-treasury, 725, 726, 727 
Supplies, scarcity at Fort Strother, 99-100, 

Surplus revenue, Jackson's views on, 429, 

477, 693-697; distribution of, 693, 697 
Surry County, Jackson admitted to 

practise law, 1 2 
Suwanee, taken by Jackson, 253 
Swann, Thomas, in Dickinson-Jackson 

quarrel, 61 
Swartwout, Samuel, appointment of, 452; 

defalcation, 453 

Talladega, battle of, 97 

Tallushatchee, battle of, 91 

Tammany, Jackson the guest of, 287 

Taney, Roger B., enters cabin t, 537, 540; 
opposed to bank, 608, 612, 633; favors 
removal of deposits, 634; becomes secre- 
tary of the treasury, 644; orders deposits 
removed, 645; reasons for his action, 
646; personal relations with Jackson, 
647, 650; chief justice, 647; Clay's 
resolution against, 649 

Tariff, Coleman correspondence, 343-349, 
397; law of 1828, 391-393; in Jackson's 
first annual message, 476; cause of nulli- 
fication, 546-548; resistance planned in 
Charleston, 560; law of 1832, 562; law of 

1833, 574-577 

Tarleton, General, 9 

Taylor, Governor John, 556 

Tazewell Henry, 31 

Tazewell, L. W., ignored for cabinet, 413, 
415; offered English mission, 434; re- 
lation to party, 566 

Tchifonte, 147, 165 

Tecumseh, leads discontented Indian, 77; 
visits Creeks, 89 

Te Deum, sung in New Orleans, 204 

Telegraph, The Daily, 378, 512 

Tennessee, settlement of, 15; becomes a 
state, 26; spirit of revolt, 39; state 
poHtics, 73; militia organization, 74; 
militia under Jackson (1814), 136; 
legislature nominates Jackson, 327; re- 
moval of Indians from, 685; and the 
election of 1836, 717, 718 

Tennessee-Alabama line of communi- 
cation, 88, 119 

Tennessee, West, settlement of, 15 

Terre aux Boeufs, 145 

Texas, relinquished to get Florida, 271; 
negotiations to purchase, 673-678; revo- 
lution in, 677; annexation of, 678, 732, 
735-743; Jackson on annexation, 735 

Thornton, Colonel, operations on west 
bank, 189, 192, 197-200 

Three per cents., postponed, 627 

Tippecanoe, battle of, 77 

Tohopeka, battle of, 113, 114, 116 

Toland, Henry, investigates the bank, 632 

Toussard, Consul at New Orleans, 224 

Trade, see West India trade 

Treaty of Ghent, concluded, 208; news of 
it at New Orleans, 211, 225, 227; its 
bearing on the Creeks, 233; ignores 
trade, 656 

Treaty with France (183 1), 665 

"Truxton," race-horse, 61 

Tuckaubatchee, council at, 89 

Turkey Town, 95 

Turnbull, R. J., author of "Crisis," 549, 


Tyler, John, opposes "force bill," 576; 
his administration, 732; approved by 
Jackson, 734-742; on Texas annexation, 
739, 740; withdraws from presidential 
canvass, 742, 746 

Twelve Mile Creek, 5 

Twiggs, Major, attack on Fowltown, 244 


"Union, our! it must be preserved!" 555 
Union County, North Carolina, 5 

Van Buren, Martin, at Tammany dinner, 
287; plans in election of 1825, 364; joins 
Jackson party, 377, 378; opposes Panama 
Congress, 384; relation to tariff of 1S28, 
392; tries to win Clinton faction, 401; 
appointed secretary of state, 410; 
against Calhoun in cabinet making, 411, 
412, 416; on Jackson's cabinet, 416, 417; 



432; Dr. Copper's advice to, 418; ar- 
rival in Washington, 432; reception by 
Jackson, 433; opposes Swartwout, 452; 
on Eaton affair, 458; friendly to Mrs. 
Eaton, 464; against internal improve- 
ments, 482, 484; confers with Jackson 
about, 484-489; seeks to involve Madi- 
son in Maysville veto, 493; displacing 
Calhoun, 497; growth of his faction, 
499; Balch on candidacy of (1828), 503; 
resigns from cabinet, 522-524; not con- 
cerned in Jackson-Calhoun breach, 513- 
515; helps reorganize cabinet, 525; 
minister to England, 525, 532; Jackson's 
fondness for, 531, 535; letter from Jack- 
son, 532; poUtical capacity of, 532; 
nominated for vice presidency, 540-542; 
rejected by senate, 542; leaves England, 
544; relation tonuUifiers, 550, 557, 558; at 
Jefferson birthday dinner, 554; and tariff 
compromise, 574, 577; attitude toward 
nullification, 579-581; and the bank, 605; 
on removal of deposits, 631, 640; con- 
sulted by Jackson, 637, 640-643; tries 
to save McLane, 642; negotiation for 
West India trade, 659-662; advice on 
French affairs, 667; relation to the 
purchase of Texas, 674; relation to 
annexation of Texas, 682, 683; estimate 
of Jackson, 701, 702, 703; influence on 
Jackson, 704; in the election of 1836, 
717; inaugurated, 720; defeated in 1844, 
722; on the panic of 1837, 724; his party 
leadership, 727; proposed visit to Ten- 
nessee, 729; election of 1840, 730-733; 
election of 1844, 734, 736; Texas letter, 
736, 737; on his own defeat, 738; later 
relations with Lewis, 743 
Van Rensselaer, Stephen, 364 
Van Zandt, Mexican minister, 739 
Vaughan, Sir Charles, befriends Mrs. 
Eaton, 464; aids Van Buren in England, 

Verplanck bill, 574 
Vidal estate in suit, 301, 302, 309 
Viller^'s plantation, reached by British, 

Virginia, ignored by Jackson faction, 377, 
413, 415, 420; leadership in South, 
547, 566; attitude toward nullification, 

565, 571, 580 
Virginia-New York alliance, composition 

of, 3^3 
Virginia-Kentucky resolution, relation to 
nullification, 549, 552, 566 


Walkup, General, 6 

War of 181 2, militia law, 78 

Warrior, Big, Indian chieftain, 236, 240 

Watkins, Tobias, defaulter, 446 

Waxhaw, Creek, 4, 9, 10; meeting-house, 

4. 5 

Weathersford, submits to Jackson, 119 

Webb, J. Watson, 625 

Webster, Daniel, on office-seekers, 421; 
on Jackson, 478; debate with HajTie,. 
552; opposes nullification, 575; 583; 
bill to extend bank charter, 652 

Wellington, Duke of, compared with Jack- 
son, 702 

West India trade, negotiations concerning, 

White, Brigadier-General, fails to support 
Jackson, 98, 99 

White, Hugh L., on the bench, 33; and 
cabinet making, 410, 413; refuses 
cabinet position, 533, 534; plan for 
removal of deposits, 636; in the election 
of 1836, 718 

White, Manuel, tries to recover fugitive 
slaves, 222 

White House taken by inauguration mob, 
423; domestic life in, under Jackson, 709- 
713; interior furnishing, 713-714 

Whitesides, Jenkins, senator, 53, 70 

Wilkinson, General James, and Burr, 
39, 41, 42, 53, 54; and the Natchez 
expedition, 83, 85; mentioned, 127 

Williams, D. R., 556 

Williams, Col. John, commands thirty- 
ninth regiment, 87; in Creek campaign, 
III, 114, 115; senator, 250; defeated for 
senatorship, 337 

Winchester, Brigadier-General James, 47, 
143, 210 

Wirt, William, defends invasion of Florida, 
268; defends Cherokees, 689 

Wolf, Governor, of Pennsylvania, 652 

Woodbine, Capt. George, his career with the 
Indians, 132, 136, 234, 254, 255, 268, 269 

Woodbury, Levi, on Jackson's cabinet 
(1829), 432; offered mission to Spain, 434; 
vields to Hill, 478; enters cabinet, 537; 
and Portsmouth branch bank, S93; on 
removal of deposits, 634; mentioned, 564 

Woods, John, executed tor mutiny, 115 

Wright, Silas, at sea on Verplanck bill, 
582; on removal of deposits, 640, 641; 
and Van Buren's Texas letter, 737