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King Ferdinand II of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (ruling Sicily and the southern half of the Italian peninsula), was seen as a liberalizing influence when he assumed the throne upon the death of his father, Francis I, in 1830. Here, Jackson thanks the King for coming to terms for indemnification for the seizure of American vessels by French marshal Joachim Murat (brother-in-law of Napoleon and King of the Two Sicilies from 1808-1815). ANDREW JACKSON.
Letter Signed, as President, co-signed by Secretary of State Edward Livingston, Washington, DC, January 30, 1833. To King Ferdinand II of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Exceptionally fine condition. With original addressed envelope and intact Secretary of State Office wax and paper seal. 1 p. 9⅝ x 15 in.
“To His Majesty The King of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies,
Great and Good Friend,
To testify to your Majesty the sincerity of the Government of the United States in its Negotiations, I have transmitted to Augusté Davezac, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States near His Majesty, the King of the Netherlands, the ratification on the part of this Government, of the Convention between the Government of the United States of America, and His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies, concluded and signed at Naples on the fourteenth day of October 1832, by the Plenipotentiaries of your Majesty and of the United States. And the said Augusté Davezac is instructed to take the necessary measures for the exchange of the Ratifications in convenient time and the execution of this Business. I beseech your Majesty therefore to give full credence to whatever the said Augusté Davezac shall say to you on the part of the United States, concerning the same, and to receive the said Ratification, in the name of and on the part of the United States of America, whenever it shall be tendered by him, in exchange for a similar Ratification, on the part of your Majesty to be delivered at the same time, to the said Augusté Davezac.
I pray God to have your Majesty in His Holy Keeping.
Written at Washington the thirtieth day of January 1833,
Your Good Friend,
By the President,
Edw Livingston Secretary of State.”
The Convention of October 14, 1832 between the United States and Two Sicilies
“The U.S. claims against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies originated when the state confiscated goods under Napoleon’s commercial decrees from 1806 to 1814. The United States held that the Neapolitan government was responsible for depredations to American ships; the king’s minister contended that the claims occurred when an interloper – Napoleon’s brother-in-law Joachim Murat – controlled Naples.
In 1832, John Nelson, the U.S. Minister to the Two Sicilies, persuaded the government to settle the claims. Nelson later wrote the State Department that the ‘friendly visit’ of a squadron of American warships aided the negotiations. In the convention, the king of the Two Sicilies agreed to pay America $2,119,230 over a 10-year period at 4% interest.” [Quoted from Brune, Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations: 1607-1932]
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdoms of Sicily and Naples were separated in 1282, but reunited by Alfonso V of Aragon in 1442. When he died, his brother John II of Aragon kept Sicily, and his bastard son Ferdinand became King of Naples. In 1501, Ferdinand II of Aragon reunified the two kingdoms under the authority of the Spanish throne. After the War of Spanish Succession, in 1713 Sicily was granted to the Duke of Savoy, and in 1714, Naples was given to Emperor Charles VI. In 1720, the two kings traded Sicily for Sardinia, thus reuniting Naples and Sicily. In 1738, a Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was founded under Ferdinand, who was then confusingly called Ferdinand III of Sicily, Ferdinand IV of Naples, and Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.
Bourbon line control was interrupted in 1799, when, in the name of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte captured Naples. Napoleon was overthrown, but in 1806, became Emperor again, and again dethroned the current King Ferdinand. Napoleon appointed his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King of Naples. In 1808, Napoleon removed Joseph to Spain and appointed his brother in law, Joachim Murat, as King of the Two Sicilies, though this meant control only of the mainland portion of the kingdom. Throughout this Napoleonic interruption, King Ferdinand remained in Sicily, with Palermo as his capital. King Ferdinand I was restored by the Congress of Vienna of 1815. He established a concordat with the Papal States, which previously had feudal rights on the land. Two Sicilies was the largest of the Italian nation states, lasting until 1861, when it was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy. (above excerpted from Wikipedia).
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) More nearly than any of his predecessors, Andrew Jackson was elected by popular vote; as President he sought to act as the direct representative of the common man. Born in a backwoods settlement in the Carolinas in 1767, he received sporadic education. But in his late teens he read law for about two years, and he became an outstanding young lawyer in Tennessee. Fiercely jealous of his honor, he engaged in brawls, and in a duel killed a man who cast a slur on his wife Rachel. Jackson prospered sufficiently to buy slaves and to build a mansion, the Hermitage, near Nashville. He was the first man elected from Tennessee to the House of Representatives, and he served briefly in the Senate (resigning due to financial difficulties).
A major general in the War of 1812, Jackson became a national hero when he defeated the British at New Orleans. In 1824 some state political factions rallied around Jackson; by 1828 enough had joined “Old Hickory” to win numerous state elections and control of the Federal administration in Washington. In his first Annual Message to Congress, Jackson recommended eliminating the Electoral College. He also tried to democratize Federal office holding. Already state machines were being built on patronage, and a New York Senator openly proclaimed “that to the victors belong the spoils…” Jackson took a milder view. Decrying officeholders who seemed to enjoy life tenure, he believed Government duties could be “so plain and simple” that offices should rotate among deserving applicants.
As national politics polarized around Jackson and his opposition, two parties grew out of the old Republican Party – the Democratic Republicans, or Democrats, adhering to Jackson, and the National Republicans, or Whigs, opposing him. Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and other Whig leaders proclaimed themselves defenders of popular liberties against the usurpation of Jackson. Hostile cartoonists portrayed him as King Andrew I. Behind their accusations lay the fact that Jackson, unlike previous Presidents, did not defer to Congress in policy-making but used his power of the veto and his party leadership to assume command. The greatest party battle centered around the Second Bank of the United States, a private corporation but virtually a Government-sponsored monopoly. When Jackson appeared hostile toward it, the Bank threw its power against him. Clay and Webster, who had acted as attorneys for the Bank, led the fight for its recharter in Congress. “The bank,” Jackson told Martin Van Buren, “is trying to kill me, but I will kill it!” Jackson, in vetoing the recharter bill, charged the Bank with undue economic privilege.
His views won approval from the American electorate; in 1832 he polled more than 56 percent of the popular vote and almost five times as many electoral votes as Clay. Jackson met head-on the challenge of John C. Calhoun, leader of forces trying to rid themselves of a high protective tariff. When South Carolina undertook to nullify the tariff, Jackson ordered armed forces to Charleston and privately threatened to hang Calhoun. Violence seemed imminent until Clay negotiated a compromise: tariffs were lowered and South Carolina dropped nullification. In January of 1832, while the President was dining with friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England. Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, “By the Eternal! I’ll smash them!” So he did. His favorite, Van Buren, became Vice President, and succeeded to the Presidency when “Old Hickory” retired to the Hermitage, where he died in June 1845. [Jackson bio excerpted from http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/andrewjackson]
Auguste Genevieve Valentin Davezac (originally spelled D’Avezac, 1780-1851), two-time American chargé d’affaires to The Netherlands, was a leading criminal attorney in New Orleans and a key player in Louisiana politics. Davezac was Edward Livingston’s brother-in-law and a friend and former aide-de-camp to Andrew Jackson.
“Andrew Jackson.” http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/andrewjackson
Brune, Lester H. Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations: 1607-1932
Meacham, Jon. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. New York: Random
Nolan, Cathal J. Notable U.S. Ambassadors Since 1775: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood
Pub., 1997), pp. 69+
Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson & His Indian Wars. New York: Viking, 2001.