Andrew Jackson is Thankful That Pennsylvania “remains firm and immoveable” in its Support, and Extols the Constitution’s Guarantee of Religious Freedom
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“notwithstanding all the slanders that Power, and its panders, have wickedly invented, & circulated against me—Truth is Mighty & will prevail…”
“Amonghst the greatest blessings secured to us under our constitution is the liberty of worshipping god as our conscience dictates…”
Presidential candidate Andrew Jackson, in the running against incumbent John Quincy Adams, thanks a supporter for a positive report from Pennsylvania. Though Jackson doesn’t detail the slanders against him, they undoubtedly involved his relationship to his wife Rachel. Opponents labeled the couple as adulterers; they were apparently unaware that her divorce had not been finalized when they married in 1791. Realizing the error, they re-married in 1794.
The Reverend Ezra Stiles Ely had preached a July 4 sermon, “The Duty of Christian Freemen to Elect Christian Rulers.” Jackson exhibits a remarkable degree of restraint here, as he acknowledges the solidarity of the different Christian denominations, and, at the same time, hews to the broader policy of religious freedom. ANDREW JACKSON.
Autograph Letter Signed to the Reverend Ezra Stiles Ely, July 12, 1827. 2 pages with integral address leaf.
Hermitage, July 12th 1827—
My Dear & respected Sir
I have Just recd your letter of the 20th of June last, & thank you for your prompt attention to the business I took the liberty to request your attention.
It is a source of much consolation to me, to be informed, that Pensylvania remains firm & immoveable, notwithstanding all the slanders that Power, and its panders, have wickedly invented, & circulated against me—Truth is Mighty & will prevail, & under this belief, I remain tranquil on my farm attending to my domestic concerns, believing that a day of retributive Justice will arrive.
I feel grateful for the friendship of the Presbyterian brethren—Having been educated & brought up under the dicipline of the Presbyterian rule (my mother being a member of that Church) I have always had a preferrence for it. Amonghst the greatest blessings secured to us under our constitution is the liberty of worshiping god as our conscience dictates—all true Christians love each other, and while here below ought to harmonize; for all must unite in the Realms above; I have thought one evidence of true religion is, when all those who <2> believe in the ample atonement of our crucified Savior are found in harmony & friendship together.
My enemies have charged me with every crime but hypocracy; I believe they have never alledged this against me, & I can assure you no change of circumstances, or exalted office can work a change upon me; I will remain uniformly the same, whether in the chair of State, or at the Hermitage. My habits are too well fixed now to be altered.
Mrs. J. desires to be presented kindly to you, your lady, & Mrs. Corswell, to all I write my kindest salutations, & believe me very respectfully your friend
The Revd. Ezra Stiles, Ely
[Address leaf:] The Revd Ezra Stiles Ely Philadelphia.
Ezra Stiles Ely (1786-1861), a frequent Jackson correspondent, was a controversial Presbyterian minister who preached from the Pine Street Church in Philadelphia. His assessments of female morality would play a key role in “The Petticoat Affair,” which stemmed from the marriage between Secretary of War John Eaton and Margaret O’Neale, the daughter of a Washington boarding-house keeper. O’Neale’s dubious reputation led to the couple’s ostracism by the wives of other cabinet members, in particular Mrs. John C. Calhoun. The resulting split forced Eaton and several other members of Jackson’s cabinet to resign, and left Jackson embittered with those he held responsible. Ely suffered his own reversals, being accused and acquitted of charges ranging from perjury to financial malfeasance.
Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, fought in the Revolutionary War while still an adolescent. He went on to study law, served as solicitor for the Tennessee territorial government and was elected to the U.S. Congress when Tennessee achieved statehood. After two terms in the House (1796-97), Jackson won a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he served (1797-98) until resigning to accept the position of judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court (1798-1804). He commanded Tennessee forces during the 1813 Creek War, earning a commission as major general in the U.S. Army (1814). Jackson became a national hero following his 1815 victory against the British at the Battle of New Orleans. “Old Hickory” went on to defeat the Seminoles in Florida, leading to the U.S. acquisition of that territory from the Spanish. He then served as governor of the territory (1821-23), before returning to the U.S. Senate (1823-1825).
Jackson’s 1824 presidential run was unsuccessful. (The election was thrown into the House of Representatives, which declared John Quincy Adams the winner. Jackson accused Adams and Henry Clay of making a “corrupt bargain” to achieve that result.) Jackson went on to win the presidency in 1828. The viciousness of the attacks on Rachel Jackson is generally acknowledged as having contributed to her death that December, at age 61, two weeks after Jackson won the election. He was re-elected in 1832. His two terms were marked by the emergence of “Jacksonian Democracy,” creation of the spoils system, expansion into Texas, Indian removals, the Nullification Crisis and his war against the Bank of the United States. At the end of his second term, having groomed his protégé Martin Van Buren to succeed him, Jackson retired to The Hermitage, his Tennessee estate. Jackson continued to play a role in party politics until his death in 1845.