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Andrew Jackson Appoints an Indian Agent, Discusses Family Matters, Horse Racing, and the Need for a Good Cotton Crop to Rebuild His Burned Home
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Andrew Jackson needs an agent “well acquainted with the Indian character, and all the laws regulating intercourse with them” to supervise negotiating the first treaty between the U.S. Government and the Plains Indians, as well as the need for liquid cash: “the burning of my House [the Hermitage] & furniture makes a good [cotton] crop now necessary to meet my wants.” He also laments that he may have to sell his colts, along with news about his family.

ANDREW JACKSON. Autograph Letter Signed as President, to William Donelson. Washington, D.C., August 31, 1835. 3 pp, 7¾ x 9¾ in., on two conjoined sheets, with address leaf in Jackson’s hand.

Inventory #23213.01       Price: $9,500

Complete Transcript

                          Washington, August 31, 1835

Your letter of the 20th instant reached me yesterday. I regret to hear that
your dear Elisabeth is indisposed, but hope that it may not be of long duration. - present to her my prayers for her speedy recovery.

I have had no intelligence of the death of Major F. Armstrong, only thro’
your letter - I hope it may not be true - he was an excellent officer, and worthy man - it will be difficult to fill the office well - it is one of great responsibility, requires the agent to be well acquainted with the Indian character, and all the laws regulating intercourse with them - and whilst I would with much pleasure serve Mr. Wright, who I believe an honest and worthy man, still I fear he is not sufficiently acquainted with Indians & and the Indian character to discharge the duties of that appointment - nothing will be done until the death of Major Armstrong is reported to the Dept. of War.


I sincerely thank you for the information communicated with regard to the situation of my farm, building & health of my family. From the smallpock being raging so near, with the Colera ravaging your country we felt great solicitude about you all, but I feel grateful to a kind providence, for his protecting care of you all & our families - May he continue that blessing to you all. It is a pleasing prospect to me to hear that the Hermitage once more presents the prospect of plenty - it was a source of great regret as well of great expense to me, to see want instead of its usual abundance, When I was last at home - I now hope, under the management of Mr. Hobbs, we will be able without having to buy almost every thing, have abundant supply of all comforts that can be produced on a farm.

Andrew will be out soon, - he & Sarah
[Andrew Jackson, Jr. and wife] are now at Philadelphia - the two little ones were quite ill with cold & cough - Indeed since we returned from the Rip Raps [an artificial island built in 1817 at the mouth of the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia; President Jackson used it as a retreat], all the children have been taken sick, but are now getting well, and we may now say that all the family enjoy health - and all join me in kind salutations to you & all our connections - Andrew will return from Philadelphia in ten or twelve days, and be in Tennessee the latter end of next month.

I am apprehensive from the great Growth of our cotton & the continued wet that it will be late opening, and an early frost mar be very injurious, & may be impaired thereby - you do not inform me whether any cotton is opening, or any picking out in the neighbourhood - from the newspapers I see, that the new crop
is in the markett in Georgia, and has been sold at 22/100 - This is a good price, and I would engage my crop, the whole, at fifteen cents at home.

You see I commenced on a leaf instead of a sheet which you must ascribe to bad vision & haste. give my respects to Stockley
[his brother] & say to him as he is reported to be on the racing calendar, we would be glad to hear from him the prospects of the colts – their real merits, and that of Mombrino [Major Andrew Jackson Donelson’s race horse], as I wish to bring mine into the market for sale this fall, if I caught a proper price for them.

Give my kind regards to your Mother, tell her that Emily, Andrew [his wife’s niece and her husband Major Donelson, his private secretary] & all the dear little ones are in good health - the children have been a little sick but are now well Jackson [their 9-year-old son A.J. Donelson, Jr.] is improving fast & learns well. I will thank you occasionally to write me the prospects of the crop - the burning of my House & furniture [an October 13, 1834, fire gutted the interior] makes a good crop now necessary to meet my wants.

I am affectionately yours / Andrew Jackson.

Historical Background
In 1832, President Jackson had appointed Francis W. Armstrong as Indian agent for the Choctaws west of the Mississippi and, in 1834, as Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Western Territory. His assignment was to supervise the tribes were native to what is now Oklahoma and the tribes (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole) that were being removed from the southeastern states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of the western Carolinas. In March 1835, Armstrong, Fort Gibson commandant General Matthew Arbuckle, and ex-North Carolina Governor Montfort Stokes were tasked with negotiating peace between the U.S. government and the area’s native tribes, primarily the Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita tribes.

On August 6, 1835, after a long illness, Armstrong died at his Choctaw Agency home two weeks before a scheduled council meeting with the Indians. Nonetheless, the commission met with Indians, although the tribes refused to enter Fort Gibson. Instead, an impromptu meeting place consisting of a brush arbor and log seats was constructed at Camp Holmes. By this time, the Kiowa had departed. After two days of negotiations, the parties signed the Treaty of Camp Holmes on August 24, 1835. Its 10 articles called for the native tribes to live in peace with the United States as well as with the tribes that were being relocated to “Indian Territory.” It was the first treaty negotiated between the United States and Plains Indian tribes. The Kiowa, Plains Apache, and Tawakoni tribes signed a similar treaty in 1837.

Jackson also discusses his family, and is concerned that wet weather would damage his cotton crop and harvest. He had reason to worry; a chimney fire the previous Fall had destroyed the majority of his house and he would need “a good crop” to rebuild. He must have made money on his cotton, as he hired the same architects who built “Tulip Grove,” the nearby home of his nephew Andrew Jackson Donelson to rebuild the Hermitage in grand Greek Revival style.

Andrew Jackson Donelson (1799-1871) was the nephew of Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president. He attended West Point and assisted his major-general uncle in the Seminole campaigns, 1820-1822. He also assisted Jackson’s 1824 and 1828 presidential campaigns and was the President’s personal secretary. He was later a diplomat to the Republic of Texas, Prussia, and Germany, as well as vice presidential candidate in Millard Fillmore’s unsuccessful American Party candidacy in 1856.

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845).  Seventh President of the U.S. (1829-1837), born in Waxhaw, South Carolina.  Trained as a lawyer, elected to Congress (1796), and to the Senate (1797) for Tennessee, and later served as Supreme Court Judge in that state (17898-1804).  During the war of 1812, he served as Commander of the South and secured his military fame through campaigns against the Creek Indians and a victory over the British at New Orleans (1815).  Jackson’s politics split the Republican party during his first term, resulting in the formation of the Democratic Republicans, or Democrats, of which Jackson was a member and the National Republicans, or Whigs.  Jackson’s election in 1828 was the first in which a great number of people had become involved in electoral politics, and his supporters demanded a share of the spoils.  His administration satisfied them by removing government employees wholesale and replacing them with its friends.  This system would come to dominate American politics for the rest of the century.  Jackson relied heavily on the use of his veto and party leadership to assume command rather than defer to Congress in policy-making.  His failure to re-charter the Second Bank of the United States, a federally sponsored private corporation, caused its collapse but ultimately won the approval of the American public. 

Condition

Infill at lower corner of second sheet. Tape remnants across horizontal centerfold of first page and on fourth page do not affect legibility. Pictorial blind embossed seal of Philadelphia papermaker Thomas Amies in lower right of first page. Fine condition.

Sources

“Treaty of Camp Holmes,” Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/T/TR009.html


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