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Collection Andrew Jackson Papers

Andrew Jackson Papers: Provenance

Essay by Manuscript Specialist John McDonough. Originally published as the Introduction to the Index to the Andrew Jackson Papers (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Manuscript Division, 1967).

Andrew Jackson, in a letter written less than three weeks before he died, remarked to Amos Kendall, his close friend and one-time Postmaster General: "On the subject of my papers- you are to retain them so long as you think necssary [sic] to use them- Should you die they are to pass forthwith into Mr. [Francis P.] Blair's hands- I have full & unlimited confidence in you both, that my papers will be safe in your hands & that they never will be permitted to be used but for a proper use." [1] Kendall, then at work on Jackson's biography, assured Jackson that his injunction would "be held sacred" and expressed his belief that Blair would cherish and defend his fame and honor as carefully as Kendall himself would. [2]

Andrew Jackson. Lithograph by E. B. & E. C. Kellogg, c. 1843. Book illustration from Portrait gallery of distinguished American citizens by W. H. Brown, 1845. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. LC-USZ62-3551.

In spite of Jackson's concern over the future safety of his records and the assurances of his friends that all would be well, the corpus of the Jackson Papers was to suffer from dispersal, removal, and loss. The painstakingly assembled Jackson Papers in the Library of Congress testify to this dispersal since the Library's collection of more than 22,500 manuscripts is the result of some 100 distinct accessions, whether by gift, purchase, or transfer, involving a multitude of sources and dating back to 1899. The course of further dispersal may be traced in the lengthy list of institutions reporting a collection of Jackson Papers among their holdings. [3] Jackson himself contributed to this dispersal since he was always anxious that the controversies, large and small, with which his life was filled should be properly viewed in the journals of the day as well as in the perspective of history. Yet he was not a Thomas Hart Benton and could not undertake his own self-justification, and he even showed some sensitivity when asked to recall the past for the benefit of would-be biographers. Henry Lee, for example, was told: "I cannot speak of myself, or relate anecdotes of myself which have not been worded by others- should I attempt this, the most secret recess, could not conceal my shame." [4] Although not wishing to speak of himself, Jackson was willing to have others do it and generally smoothed the way for those applying to make use of his records. For this reason the story of the Jackson Papers, particularly during his lifetime, but also for a good many years thereafter, is closely related to the attempts made by successive biographers to place the Hero of New Orleans before the American people.


Jackson's awareness that the episodes in which he had been involved were assuming historical significance and that his papers would reflect his role in these seems to date from the time of the Creek War. At least the manuscript sources for Jackson's career prior to 1813 are meager, in spite of periods of service as United States Representative and Senator, and his occupancy of important judicial and military positions in the State of Tennessee. Beginning with the Creek War days, however, Jackson carefully accumulated his papers, often noting on a letter the name of the writer, a summary of contents, and the date and nature of his reply. This personal archive began to be used almost at once, even as it was developing into what eventually became a source central to the history of an era. [5]

The smoke from the battle of New Orleans had scarcely lifted before proposals were made to write the life of Jackson. Early in March 1815 Dr. David Ramsay, physician, Revolutionary patriot, and the historian of South Carolina and of the American Revolution, "readily consented" to a suggestion from his fellow South Carolinian, Robert Y. Hayne, that he write the life. Work would commence as soon as "very particular information" on Jackson's early life could be furnished by his aide-de-camp, John Reid. [6] Col. Arthur P. Hayne, who had been with Jackson at New Orleans, joined with his brother in urging Reid to use his "best exertions to accomplish. . . the object we have in view."

Our Beloved Country asks for it- if possible, it will give additional lustre to our Campaign- the work coming too from the hands of the American Polybius . . . will find its way into Europe- and our Campaigns on the Mississippi, will thus greatly increase the respectability of the American character throughout the Civilised World- The General I am sure, will consent to it- Dr. Ramsay has set his heart upon it- [7]

Within a few days of the writing of this letter Dr. Ramsay lay dead, shot by a man whom he had once, and apparently with dead accuracy, medically certified as insane.

Colonel Hayne was shaken but still anxious to "take time by the forelock" and suggested to Reid that Thomas Cooper would be pleased to undertake the life. [8] Yet, there is no indication that Cooper ever seriously considered the project, although at a later date he did interest himself in advancing John Reid's prospects as a biographer. [9]

One who pressed forward and brought to completion a description of Jackson's recent campaigns was Maj. Arsène Lacarrière Latour, chief engineer during the New Orleans campaign. Little is known of Latour, but his volume has been held in high esteem. [10] One of its significant features, displaying Latour's skill as a collector of data, is a 190-page appendix containing well over 100 letters, proclamations, orders, resolutions, reports, and other documents. Many of these were readily accessible to Latour in Niles' Weekly Register and other publications; the procurement of other items, such as letters of Jean Lafitte, must have required ingenuity. [11] There is no indication that Jackson provided Latour with documents or assisted him in any way although he doubtless would have been willing to cooperate.

Edward Livingston, the New York expatriate who had served Jackson well in the New Orleans campaign, at one time seemed to have been briefly interested in preparing a life of the General. At least John Reid corresponded with him during the spring and summer of 1815 and on one occasion discussed a short sketch of the General that was being forwarded. [12] Reid later reported that he was "diving into four chests'-full" of the Jackson Papers, and that "several 'grabs'" had been made "without catching anything but 'muddy leaves.'" [13] Jackson, preoccupied with army affairs, thought Livingston was assisting Latour. Upon learning otherwise, he encouraged Livingston to take up the work, saying "I know of no pen that could do the subject more justice than yours." [14] Whatever Livingston's ambitions may have been, it appears that he never commenced a life of Jackson. [15]

John Reid had long nurtured literary ambitions of his own, even while required to serve those of others. He was totally dedicated to Jackson, the close bond that existed between the two men having been forged and tried during the Creek War. In the dark January days of 1814, writing to his "Dear Betsy" from Fort Strother, Reid had attacked those who had marched away, abandoning the campaign. He declared: "A day shall come- if I live it shall- when the whole truth shall be known; . . . those base fabricators of lies shall appear . . . in their true colors." [16] A letter to his mother indicated that he was more than Jackson's amanuensis.

I have been the depository of his secret views & plans, & the sole manager of all his public & confidential papers. With all these, which it is of so much consequence to understand correctly, I must be supposed to be better acquainted, than any other can be, who might be appointed to succeed me, no matter what superiority of talents he might possess. [17]

At the war's end, Reid lingered in New Orleans with Jackson and then accompanied him on the return to Nashville and the Hermitage. During the summer of 1815, as Jackson recovered from the long months of hard campaigning, the demand for an account of his career persisted. Yet Dr. Ramsay was dead, Cooper and Livingston were not seriously interested, and Latour's work was being carried on at a distance from Jackson and his papers. It is not surprising, therefore, that John Reid, who had helped to create the Jackson papers, had watched over them on the General's military travels, and searched through them in behalf of others, now chose to act on his own resolve to make the "whole truth" known.

As late as July 1815 Reid had been engaged in working for others. A draft of a letter in his papers is endorsed "To Parson Craighead, Judge Overton & others. July 1815." In this, Reid entreated them as "old and intimate acquaintances" of the General, to supply him with useful information, explaining that he had undertaken to furnish "such facts & relations as may enable some fit Historian to record the life of Genl. Jackson." [18] Before the end of July, however, Reid himself was established as the historian fit to chronicle Jackson's career, and proposals for a subscription publication of a history of the late war in the South were drawn up in July and August 1815. [19] Reid's qualifications were strongly asserted: "Having accompanied the general as Aid-De-Camp, in his several expeditions, and being in possession of his books and papers, the author persuades himself that no other person who is likely to engage in it, can be so well acquainted with the facts necessary to the undertaking." Admittedly "very little known to the world," Reid included in the printed proposal letters from William Carroll, John Coffee, and others, attesting to the author's qualifications and unusual talents. A letter from Jackson was printed, stating that Reid had charge of his "public papers" and affirming "unlimited confidence" in his youthful aide. [20] Jackson explained further in a letter to Livingston, how Reid had come to the task.

Major Reid was solicited to undertake this publication by a number of his influential friends, after the death of Doctor Ramsey. I beg your patronage to this work, you will be rewarding merit. The Major has all the official documents in his possession and can give a more correct narrative of facts, than could be given by any other person, without bestowing on the subject stout labour and research. [21]

The ever-watchful Col. A. P. Hayne pledged his support to Reid and predicted great popularity for his work. He foresaw a sale of 50,000 copies and an independent fortune to be made therefrom. Yet the principal value of the work would be its service to Jackson, "yet destined to fill a still higher station in the Dignity of the Republic." Reid's was a crucial role, for he had known Jackson's "sleepless nights, his fastings and his constant and most unremitting exertions. . . ." In a final practical suggestion, Hayne hoped the work would appear before the close of the next session of Congress. [22]

Not much is known of Reid's working habits as a historian. He remained close to Jackson, [23] and it must be taken for granted that he had easy access to his commander's papers. His days could not be given entirely to study and writing though, for Jackson required his talents in matters relating to the army, and during the summer and early autumn of 1815 time was divided between the Nashville headquarters and the nearby Hermitage. In October Jackson, accompanied by Reid, traveled by horseback to Washington, arriving November 17 [24] and remaining until late December. On the return trip Reid stopped in New London, Va., to visit his father. Jackson continued on to Nashville and there received the "painful intelligence" on February 2 of Reid's sudden death.

He was attacked with an inflammatory fever, which baffled the skill of his Physicians, & terminated his existence in eighteen hours. Thus has one of the best and bravest of men escaped ten thousand dangers in the field of Battle, to fall victim to a burning fever. He is a serious loss to his country & family. [25]

Questions involving the status of Reid's history and the safety of the Jackson papers had to be considered immediately. Abram Maury, Reid's father-in-law, with the thought of assisting his grandchildren and widowed daughter, asked Jackson whether Reid had been in possession of all the materials necessary for the completion of the work and if another hand could finish it. If not, he wondered if the papers could be sold for the benefit of the family. [26] Jackson's views were contained in a letter to John Reid's father, Nathan Reid, Jr., and as was his custom, no questions were left unanswered. The interests of the young family "must be attended to, and the book must be finished for their benefit." In declaring that care must be taken of his papers, Jackson also remarked on how they should be used.

It is all important to me that all papers of a public nature and all others pertaining to my offices, be carefully preserved. Whoever finishes the work must have free access to the originals, or copies must be made out and furnished them. The original papers must be sent to me, well bound up, the expense of which I will pay. In the event of none of his friends or acquaintances in Virginia undertaking to complete the work, please send on all the papers, books and manuscripts contained in the trunk, and Major Maury and myself will endeavor to have the book finished by some competent person, and will see that the proceeds are applied to the benefit of his family.

I will depend upon your care of the papers until a safe opportunity offers for their conveyance to me. If Mrs. Reid returns to this country, let the trunk with the papers be sent on with her . . . . Please write me at once and give me information whether any of Major Reid's friends will undertake finishing the book . . . . Any labor or information in my power shall be freely bestowed to have the work completed. [27]

Jackson must have written to Abram Maury in a similar vein, for Maury assured him that arrangements would be made for his son Daniel to convey the papers to the Hermitage. If Daniel should already have departed Virginia, then Maury would "send purposely for them . . . ." He added his opinion that the work begun by his son-in-law could best be continued by a man "in the Western Country," and many came to mind—Edward Livingston, Abner L. Duncan, James Steptoe, W. A. Trimble, Jenkin Whitesides, and the Reverend Gideon Blackburn. [28]

While consideration was being given to the question of a fit successor to John Reid [29] the indefatigable Col. A. P. Hayne again interjected his views. Telling Jackson of an interview he had had with Judge William Johnson "of the Supreme U.S. Court & of S. Ca.," he related that the Judge was willing, if the materials were collected and placed in his hands, to write the book and present it to Mrs. Reid. [30] When Colonel Hayne later learned that John Eaton had been chosen to complete the work, he expressed his pleasure in the choice and stated that it was now his conviction that Judge Johnson had offered his pen out of "Love of Literary Fame."[31]

John Henry Eaton in 1816 was an attorney in Franklin, Tenn., and a member of the State House of Representatives. He was not well known beyond Franklin, and the Nashville Whig of June 4, 1816, [32] in announcing that the biography of Jackson would be completed, used the occasion to call favorable attention to Eaton. Jackson himself assured Reid's father that Eaton would complete the work "in a manner to meet the expectations of the publick, to the interest of his [Reid's] dear little family, and in a style worthy of the original author." [33]

It had been hoped that the book would be ready for the press before the end of the summer of 1816, but this could not be achieved. Some of the delays and difficulties encountered are explained by Eaton in his preface to the first edition of the Life, which appeared in 1817, almost a year after he had taken up the work. After stating that all the original papers had been in his possession, and as a consequence "there was no avenue to error" except the intentional one, which he disclaimed, Eaton briefly eulogized Reid and then went on to discuss his own role. In responding to the entreaties of Reid's relatives and friends, Eaton hoped to be the instrument whereby Reid's young family would achieve a measure of financial security. As a practical matter, Eaton had undertaken the project thinking that "perhaps, the greater part of the work was already digested, and only needed to be transcribed and properly prepared for the press . . . ." He found otherwise,

for as yet the papers were in Virginia. Unforseen difficulties . . . arose, when on their arrival in Nashville, it was found, that scarcely one third of it had been prepared; while the residue remained to be sought for, through an immense quantity of papers, without any arrangement or order. [34]

Yet in spite of the difficulties that had been presented, and the troublesome research that lay ahead, the arrangement had been announced and Eaton had found that it was too late to retract.

John Spencer Bassett has stated that Jackson took great interest in Eaton's work, that it was done under his eye, some of it in his own house, and that he probably read the chapters as they were written. [35] Work was completed late in the winter of 1817 and Eaton then journeyed to Philadelphia to supervise the printing. He wrote to Jackson in March, reporting on delays that would prevent him from getting away until perhaps the last of May. [36] Jackson, still watchful of Reid's interest, informed Abram Maury and added his "sanguine hopes, that the Book will do credit to the original author & redound to the benefit of his amiable reli[c]t, & sweet little children." [37] When the book appeared later in 1817 it was under the joint authorship of Reid and Eaton. A number of editions followed at intervals thereafter and Reid's name was dropped as joint author. [38]

Jackson's continued prominence made it increasingly evident that he was in contention for high political office, and by 1819 conditions seemed right for the preparation of another friendly life. James Gadsden, a military man with a good record of service under Jackson in the Southwest and on the Gulf Coast, was drawn to the work; in fact, Jackson may have suggested it to him. [39] Gadsden, although willing, declared that he did not have "a talent for historical writing" and, since his genius was "rather slow," he would have to "substitute industry for poverty of intellect." [40]

It is not entirely clear that Jackson intended to place his papers in Gadsden's keeping, but Gadsden seemed to assume that such was the case, and he elaborated on his plans.

When I made the request of the transfer of your papers it was with a view of preserving them, and of doing justice to your Actions at some future period through the assistance of some Literati of this country- Under existing circumstances I could execute nothing . . . . but if I obtain the appointment you have recommended me to, much leisure time will fall to my lot which I would most willingly devote to arranging the matter & putting it in form for a history if I do not write it myself- You may therefore pack up your papers in readiness to be sent to this country, unless you can find some individual near you who will undertake the narrative- [41]

Gadsden returned to the subject a few weeks later, in much the same terms. Still wishing that the project "could fall into more abler hands" he offered to give his best efforts if no other could be found. Nothing could be done in haste, however, and he reminded Jackson that "Eatons & Reeds work required nearly two years- Wirt was 4 years composing his life of Patric Henry and 9 in collecting materials-" If the activity of Jackson's mind could "await the slow progress of a dull genius," then the papers could be sent as early as possible to Gadsden's "snug box on Mobile Point." [42]

It is apparent that the papers were not sent since the request was renewed after Gadsden's retirement from the Army in 1822. In somewhat different terms he then wrote:

You know you promised me as an inheritance your public papers books documents etc. These though valuable may not contain all the matter relating to your campaigns which live only in your recollection- I wish you therefore at every leisure moment to throw together in a book . . . . your recollection of all important events of your life public and private . . . . I do not calculate myself to become the Historian of your Campaigns but would feel pleased to have the documents which relate to them placed in able hands- To you we are indebted for the most brilliant part of our National history. [43]

Jackson, in a rather confused response to this letter, gave the impression that he was ready to fall in with Gadsden's plans, and had favored them for some time. Writing from the Hermitage, he remarked somewhat curiously, "My public papers I have long since given to you," then added that he would have them "carefully colated & Boxed for you." In thus resigning his papers to Gadsden "with great pleasure," Jackson requested only that they be preserved and returned to his adopted son when Gadsden was through with them. [44] In spite of this declaration, there is no evidence that Jackson sent any part of his papers, nor that Gadsden ever renewed his application for them. [45]

While Gadsden was discussing the General's papers in 1819, Col. Robert Butler, a Jackson aide, examined the papers and provided a description of them as they were at that time. He reported that he had been unable to find a file of papers from the Secretary of War in 1814, or any papers relating to the Seminole War. A letterbook containing correspondence between Jackson and Gen. Winfield Scott was missing. Butler recommended that the papers be "all collected together and properly arranged." He offered his services for the project, suggesting that such work would make it possible to find at all times any papers Jackson might desire. At present the papers were "deranged, some here, others at Nashville and many at your house-" [46] If Butler was set to this task, there is no record of it.

The next to take an interest in the preparation of a Jackson biography, based on access to the General's papers, was Henry Lee, the son of "Light Horse Harry" Lee. He had been briefly associated with Jackson some years before and during part of the administration of John Quincy Adams had managed to hold a position in the Post Office without incurring Jackson's displeasure. He resigned this office in 1826, informing Jackson that his situation had been "laborious and responsible without being honourable or lucrative." Furthermore, since he anticipated the election of Jackson to the presidency, and since this would be the Nation's greatest triumph, he wished to write a distinct and fair account of the General's life and character. In biography as in anatomy Lee recognized that only dead subjects should be dissected, but "the peculiar circumstances in which Envy & Merit have conspired to place you, render it important that a better knowledge of you should be communicated to your country men, than they now have." [47]

Without awaiting a reply from Jackson, Lee set forth on a search for documents in Washington. He wrote to the Secretary of War, James Barbour, seeking permission to examine Jackson's correspondence with the Department. It would not be sufficient to examine a particular document here and there; rather, it would be necessary to make "a minute and frequent inspection of the whole chain of correspondence from the time [Jackson] was called into the service of the U. States until he left it." [48] Secretary Barbour was not disposed, on his own initiative, to permit such a thorough-going study of the Department's correspondence files. Letters to Jackson were recorded among the Department's letters to numerous correspondents and these records could not be opened to Lee without at the same time furnishing access to the entire body of material covering the periods of correspondence with Jackson. Strictly speaking, there was no objection to giving access to the correspondents with Jackson, but it could not be done "without equally exposing that of others to which there are insuperable objections." In a gesture of impartiality, Barbour suggested that if a Member of Congress could be prevailed upon to call for the Jackson correspondence it would be furnished "with as much dispatch as practicable." [49]

In the meantime Jackson had given thought to Lee's ambition to write the biography and announced that he would "with great pleasure" furnish any official, public documents necessary for that purpose that could not be obtained from Latour's history, from Major Eaton, or in Washington. [50] Lee, in reply, recounted his difficulties with Barbour, noting that he had been repelled by the "'Earl of Empty Barrels'- under the dictation no doubt of the whole coalition." Disappointment in Washington, however, could be offset by visiting in the neighborhood of the Hermitage where he would have access to Jackson's military papers and be able to clarify points in the narrative directly. Sam Houston and other friends of Jackson had urged this course and Lee enthusiastically resolved to make the journey, for "Homer travelled for wisdom, from Greece to Egypt, & I may afford to journey from Virginia to Tennessee for truth." [51]

Once in Nashville Lee encountered difficulty and seemed ready to abandon his plans altogether. There was confusion over the intentions of John Eaton to revise his Life,[52] and Jackson himself seems to have shown some reluctance to give full access to his papers. [53] But the principal reason for the diminution of Lee's role as biographer was the necessity to prepare for the presidential campaign of 1828. As a member of the Hermitage entourage [54] at such a time Lee's skills had to be utilized on demand, rather than at leisure. One of his activities, and one which drew upon the information he had been accumulating, was a lengthy published vindication of Jackson in reply to "electioneering calumnies." [55] The biography remained incomplete, though not forgotten.

By the summer of 1828 Lee sought to improve his health by escaping eastward from the heat of Tennessee. Jackson wished him well [56] and gave him letters of introduction endorsing his intention to acquire "further information on the subject of the last war, a history of which he has already commenced, and seems to be prosecuting with great ability and justice." [57] More than a year later, with Jackson now in the White House, and Lee on the point of departing for Algiers to take up the post of consul general, the biography was mentioned again. Lee felt that he had always been handicapped in his work since Jackson had taken back "the memo you once gave me" and had never shown him the confidential correspondence with Monroe. Furthermore, Jackson's "withholding materials" had led to difficulties with Duff Green, who had advanced expenses and now was calling for a refund. Green would have to be refused, or given an order "on the Dey of Algiers, which ever he likes best." [58]

The lives of Lee and Jackson diverged at this point and never drew close again. Yet questions and uncertainties concerning the biography lingered on, and were not satisfactorily answered during Jackson's lifetime or thereafter. A manuscript in the Jackson Papers stands as evidence that Lee achieved at least part of his ambition to write Jackson's life. Unsigned, and otherwise undocketed, the manuscript may nontheless be unreservedly attributed to Henry Lee. It consists of 78 folio leaves, the narrative commencing with a description of the migration of the Jackson family from Ireland and then relating the major events of Andrew Jackson's life up to the dismissal of his army from service in 1813. [59]

During the early days of Jackson's first administration Amos Kendall, one-time tutor in the Kentucky household of Henry Clay and influential editor of Frankfort's Argus of Western America, became one of the President's closest Washington friends and confidants. He was also the most persistent of the General's contemporary biographers, as well as the one who became most fully involved in the handling of his papers. It appears that Kendall first showed an interest in writing about Jackson as early as 1827, [60] while still in Kentucky. The call to public service under Jackson, however, caused these early plans to be put aside with the hope that they could be implemented upon the return of quieter days. [61] Such days were not soon in coming, for Kendall was totally involved during the 8 years of Jackson's incumbency, and he remained as Postmaster General under Martin Van Buren until 1840.

Jackson, in his retirement at the Hermitage, stood by Kendall and the pledges he had made favoring him as biographer. On at least one occasion President Van Buren persuasively intervened in behalf of George Bancroft, urging Jackson "to permit us to say to Mr. Bancroft that he shall have your papers, & write your life. He is precisely the man. A root & branch Democrat and the best writer in the U. States." [62] Jackson replied that he could not "do anything to injure the feelings, or mar the prospects of Mr. Kendall-" If Kendall should assent to the delivery of the papers to Bancroft, Jackson would "yield them with pleasure, as it is the wish of my friends." [63] Either Kendall's assent was withheld, or it was not sought. [64]

By June of 1842 Kendall appeared ready at last to address himself seriously to the work of preparing Jackson's biography. He wrote from Washington saying that he found the materials at hand "defective in making out a full and accurate account of your life." From a previous visit to the Hermitage he remembered that Jackson had mentioned "a large mass of papers not arranged which you contemplated having overhauled." Kendall hoped to have access to these and proposed a visit to the Hermitage in late summer or early fall for the purpose of arranging and examining the papers, as well as for conferring with his host. [65] Jackson indicated that he had no doubt that many of his papers would be of importance in the narrative of his life and assured Kendall of the pleasure he would have in throwing them all open to him if he should come out to the Hermitage in the fall. [66]

Francis P. Blair, editor of the Congressional Globe and eminent Jacksonian, watchfully following events in Washington, felt that things were not going well with Kendall and duly reported to Jackson. There was a matter of "pecuniary embarrassments," and his health was also bad. Blair thought, in fact, Kendall's health was so "seriously impaired" he would not be able to finish the work he had set for himself—"His constitution is evidently tottering and all the time & strength he has left cannot at best be sufficient to do full justice to his great subject . . . ." As a solution, Blair urged that Jackson make a disposition in his will of "the papers in Mr. Kendall's hands to assure the fulfilment of the task comited to him in case of his death and failure to perform it." Blair, if given charge of such a trust would see it faithfully and ably executed. Bancroft was anxious for the assignment and if Kendall should die or become disabled, Bancroft, "the ablest historian of this or any other country" would be "the man of all others to do it." [67] Jackson deplored Kendall's declining health and prepared for any eventuality:

. . . should he be taken from us,- then my dear friend, I wish you take my papers into your possession, and dispose of them as your judgtment may suggest- I will thus provide in a schedule to my will- but I hope providence may restore his health & long prolong his life- There are many other papers that may be necessary for Mr. Kendall to have, yet here among my papers. Mr. Kendall was promised to come out this fall & select them as I am unable to do so. [68]

Toward the end of the summer of 1842, Kendall found that he would be unable to visit the Hermitage in the fall, and for reasons other than his health. Prolonged litigation in the matter of Stockton and Stokes, mail contractors, going back to his days as Postmaster General, resulted in his being confined to the "prison limits" of the District of Columbia. [69] Since he was restrained from visiting Tennessee, he suggested that James A. McLaughlin, a nephew of Mrs. Kendall, be allowed to serve as a substitute. Although young, McLaughlin was "competent to the task and in honor and fidelity is above suspicion." [70] This arrangement was agreeable to Jackson and in informing Kendall he wrote rather revealingly of the removal of his papers at the time he left the White House.

At the city I had my papers well arranged, but from my debilitated state when packing up to leave Washington, my papers were unknown to me at the time, thrown permiscuously into boxes, placed all in confusion, from which, I have not health to reclaim them, and I am fearfull some of them, valuable to history, lost. But when Mr. McLaughlin arrives, may be regained, and should anything prevent him, I will try to have them looked over, selected and sent to you. To prevent there being purloined on their way to you, I will send them thro Mr. Blair, who will hand them to you. [71]

McLaughlin left Kendall on November 24, and started for the Hermitage. In a letter of introduction Kendall said that he would have occasion to communicate with Jackson or McLaughlin "almost daily while he is under your roof." [72] A few days later he wrote a long letter detailing his plans for the biography—it would appear in numbers, commencing in the spring—and urged that there be free communication with McLaughlin in order that the narrative might be interspersed with anecdotes for the interest of the general reader. [73]

Jackson announced on December 12 that McLaughlin had arrived and that the two of them had begun to examine the papers. Anything proper for the preparation of the life would be selected and sent. [74] A few weeks later he complained that the papers were so "numerous" that it was taking much time to go through them. Many of those that would be sent might prove to be useless, so Kendall was to "cull them" as suited his views, and those not used by him could be returned when he was done with them. [75]

McLaughlin's stay at the Hermitage proved to be a long and arduous one. His frequent letters to his uncle, beginning in December 1842, and continuing on into mid-March 1843, as well as those written by Jackson to Kendall over this period, tell of the industry and exertions put forth in behalf of the distant biographer. Young McLaughlin busied himself at the Hermitage "from breakfast to bed time nearly in examining the Genl's papers." Anything that seemed to be of even the least use was set aside to be forwarded. Because Jackson considered everything "perfectly safe" in Kendall's hands, there would be no time wasted in making copies. McLaughlin wrote that everything would be sent directly. [76] Jackson continued reluctant to entrust the selected papers to the mails under his frank, and advantage was taken of friends who happened to be making the journey northward. One trunk of papers was conveyed to Kendall by J. G. Harris, editor of the Nashville Union,[77] Jackson's description of these papers reveal his feelings.

You will find them a miscelaneous set- containing many things relating to the difficulties I had in my variagated life- they are not assorted, being, as the printer would say, thrown into pie at Washington, when packing to be sent home, and when I had no strength to attend to them, and now finding at different times papers that related to subjects over which we had passed, which were only endorsed and put with bundles that related to other subjects- being advised by Col Harris that he would call for them on the 7th instant. These papers are submitted to you in the fullest confidence in your talents & honour, that all that you may not use will be kept and restored to my adopted son A. Jackson jr. I hope these papers, added to those you now have will enable you to produce a Book, that may aid you & relieve you from your pecuniary imbarrasments. [78]

Kendall agreed to comply with Jackson's wishes and then asked that McLaughlin's efforts be expanded to include interviews with William Carroll, General Armstrong, "and others of your friends who have lived near you or been associated with you in the public service." He did not want McLaughlin to leave Tennessee until he had "gleaned every thing which can give importance and interest to my work." [79] Carroll promised a "hearty and immediate compliance" [80] with Kendall's request and McLaughlin went to Nashville several times to see him, with little result. Carroll evidently preferred to write out his own reminiscences of Jackson, rather than avail himself of McLaughlin's assistance. This annoyed McLaughlin and he reported that Carroll was "confined to his room by what I call gout but he appears disinclined to think so. He is a complete old gossip, all talk and no action. . . ." [81]

An effort was also made to get the papers of Gen. John D. Coffee, who had been Jackson's unwavering friend and trusted military lieutenant. [82] Coffee's son, Alexander, in response to a request from the Hermitage, reported that all of his father's military papers had been preserved and that as soon as the family could look them over those desired would be forwarded to do with as Jackson thought proper. [83] This good news made Jackson eager to learn more. Writing in apparent haste, he said that he wanted all of his own letters to Coffee, all general orders, and "if he kept a military Journal, I would like to have it, as mine is lost- all his military papers on this march to pensacola, and then to the Mississippi, and from that to Neworleans, and any he was whilst at Neworleans & up to the close of the campaign in 1815-" [84] Alexander Coffee made the selection and told Jackson that among his father's papers, or at least those that he thought would be of service, Jackson would find "General orders and letters from you in 1813 - 14 - & 15 besides all other papers in our possession that bear on important matters." A journal was not found. [85]

Two bundles of General Coffee's papers arrived soon thereafter, and within a few days McLaughlin left the Hermitage. Jackson announced both events to Kendall, saying that he would look into the papers and send Kendall those that might be useful. [86] Kendall, who was anxious to receive them, replied that he had written to J. G. Harris, asking him to seize a "safe opportunity" to send Coffee's papers. [87] Harris received the papers in mid-April and Jackson told Kendall that in them he would find some orders and letters to Coffee that were not in the letterbooks, since "a general who fites much, has but little time to write or copy letters, or orders. The general who writes much, never fights a great deal." [88]

Kendall's industry during the winter of 1842-43 appears to have matched that of Jackson and McLaughlin. Sometime in February he issued his proposal "to publish, in fifteen or more numbers, the Life of General Andrew Jackson." The task, he noted, had been "undertaken with the approbation of General Jackson himself, who has kindly put into the author's hands his books and papers, public and private . . . ." [89] Kendall intended that the first number should be out by the first of May [90] and then, if his health continued good, there should be a number each month thereafter. [91]

At about the same time that Kendall's proposal was circulating, the prominent author and lawyer, Charles Jared Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, began preparing a defense in the matter before Congress concerning the restoration of the fine levied against Jackson for his contempt of Judge Hall in New Orleans in 1815. For this purpose Ingersoll expressed interest in receiving some of the papers that had been entrusted to Kendall. [92] It does not appear that he ever got the papers he wanted, but he worked on through the summer of 1843 and earned the praise of Francis P. Blair for his diligence and ability. His volume, Gen. Jackson's Fine, appeared later in 1843. [93] Jackson said that the case had been put "on the true ground" [94] and he wrote to tell Ingersoll that he would "always be remembered by me with gratitude." [95] Ingersoll, as a result of his work on the fine, became interested in the preparation of a wider study of the War of 1812, [96] and eventually wrote Historical Sketch of the Second War Between the United States of America and Great Britain, 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1845-49).

Kendall had been overly optimistic in thinking the he could have the first number of the Life ready in May. In fact, it was October before he was able to tell Jackson: "At length, I have the satisfaction to present you with the first number of your Biography." [97] He hoped that any errors in this or succeeding numbers would be noted. Jackson acknowledged the receipt of the first number with thanks and pointed out a single error he had discovered. [98] The two men continued to correspond over the less than 20 remaining months of Jackson's life, often about the writing of the Life and the recollections it prompted in its subject. [99] Kendall, in this period, was ultimately able to bring out seven of the proposed fifteen numbers. There is no question but that Jackson saw five of them, [100] and he may have seen all seven. Some of the copies that he examined, bearing his brief holograph corrections and annotations, are in the Rare Book Room of the Library of Congress. [101]

In spite of Kendall's long preoccupation with the matter of obtaining Jackson's papers, an examination of his published work gives no indication that these records were widely used. In the entire seven numbers that were published Kendall makes use of hardly more than a score of what can be called exact citations. Of these, none can be related to manuscript materials in the two series of general correspondence in the Library of Congress collection of Jackson Papers. The citations can be related, however, to the several small volumes "Letters and Orders" (Series III) containing copies of military letters sent and received, and copies of general orders, 1812-16. It appears that Kendall had access to these useful volumes and in all probability used only these, ignoring, or only using for general background purposes, the far greater mass of Jackson papers that had been made available to him.

Kendall never produced anything further in the way of a biography of Jackson. This may have been due to the dramatic change in his fortunes resulting from his becoming involved in the demanding business of marketing the stock of S.F.B. Morse's telegraph company. Yet, he continued to cling to the Jackson papers, and for years to come was to share in their custody with his onetime friend, Francis P. Blair. An enmity that grew up between the two men, however, was to become exacerbated by the question of this custodianship and greatly contributed to the impairment of the integrity of the Jackson Papers. Jackson, who had a sincere affection for both men, had tried to draw them together and, trusting in the eventual achievement of this, did not take the part of one over the other. [102]

In his last few years Jackson customarily viewed the state of his health with pessimism and resignation. In the spring of 1845 his premonitions of death became more marked, and he undertook to make arrangements for the safety and preservation of his papers. [103] Turning to Blair, he wrote in April:

This may be the last letter I may be able to write to you. But live or [die I am your] friend. . . and leave my papers and reputation into your keeping, as far as justice is due to my fame, I know you will shield it. [104]

On May 3 Jackson addressed Blair again, and more explicitly. After stating that he had not heard from Kendall lately, and discussing the possibility of getting from him those papers not actually needed, Jackson declared:

When Mr. Kendall has done with my papers I wish them handed over to you, to whom I will them, for the defence of my reputation. There are many private papers that ought to go into no other hands but a confidential friend. [105]

Jackson then wrote to Kendall, directing that the papers in his keeping, when he was done with them, or at his death, were to pass on to Blair. Jackson closed this letter, his last to Kendall, with the hope that the two of them might "at last meet in a blissfull immortality-" [106] Kendall hastily responded, giving the assurances Jackson had sought and declaring that the fault would be his if they failed to meet in the hereafter. [107] This letter arrived a few days after Jackson's death on June 8, 1845.


With the death of Jackson the record of the descent of his papers necessarily changes for the worse. While he was alive, those who sought the General's papers, for whatever purpose, were obliged to come before Jackson. Now dissidence and conflicting ambitions were unrestrained by his stern presence and by the need to meet his standards.

Frank Blair asserted his claim to the papers almost at once. To Andrew Jackson, Jr., the General's adopted son, Blair wrote in July 1845 that the General had said "expressly in one of his letters that 'he wills them to me.'" Blair valued this bequest "more than I would John Jacob Astor's fortune." He hoped to defend and found Jackson's fame on an "imperishable basis" and for this purpose would avail himself of the genius of George Bancroft. At the same time Blair had no desire to hamper Kendall's efforts in this direction, but stressed the fact that it had been Jackson's own wish that all of his papers be consolidated in his hands as soon as possible. Copies could be made of anything Kendall might designate. Blair framed the critical question for Andrew Jackson, Jr.: "If the General has expressed the same wish to you would it not be well for you as his heir to say to Mr. Kendall that he wished them to come into my hands at once if I would agree to furnish copies & to express the same wish on your part if you think it advisable." [108]

The subject of Jackson's papers and the preparation of his biography even came up for discussion in the White House at this time. President Polk recorded in a diary entry of September 29, 1845, that a meeting with George Bancroft, he and Andrew J. Donelson urged Bancroft to take charge of the papers and write the life. Donelson knew that Blair thought this desirable, and Bancroft appeared willing. [109]

Francis P. Blair was still taking great care, however, to gather as complete a file of the papers as possible. In October he announced in a long letter to Andrew Jackson, Jr., "the safe arrival of the venerable Chief's papers" from the Hermitage. They were now under his roof, and after they were bound up in volumes they would "be carefully lodged in a Bookcase appropriated to them alone, and to be preserved to the remotest posterity." But he was also "exceedingly anxious" to acquire all the papers in Kendall's hands, and those that Maj. A. J. Donelson was known to have. Blair hoped that Andrew Jackson, Jr., would see Donelson and arrange to have the papers assembled at the Hermitage, whereupon Montgomery Blair would call and bring them on to Washington. With regard to the papers Kendall had, Blair insisted that there was no way to retrieve them except through young Jackson. He advised writing to Kendall, giving assurances that his privileged role as biographer would not be compromised, that copies of necessary papers could be made, and that access to the entire collection when assembled would be granted. "Submit this view of things to him as from yourself," Blair advised Jackson, " and as a matter you have a right to insist upon for your father's sake, and as rightfully to be expected . . . ." [110]

Andrew Jackson, Jr., took up the task Blair had set for him, dutifully preparing a letter for Kendall in which he included the points suggested by Blair. He even forwarded the letter to Blair for his prior consideration. [111] Kendall would be informed:

Being the sole Executor of the last will & testament of my Dear Father- and expecially designated by him to carry out his wishes as it regards all his effects- his request in relation to the papers now in your possession was as follows viz after I am gone, send all my papers here to my friend Blair and those in the hands of my friend Kendall I request also to be handed over to Mr. Blair-

Andrew Jackson, Jr., then gave Kendall all the pledges Blair had discussed with him earlier. [112] The letter gave Blair "great satisfaction" because it flattered his "pride & affections" and assured him of the son's "strong preferences" as well as those of the father. He then recommended certain modifications in the letter to Kendall, concluding:

If you think well of this suggestion I would be glad you would make the alterations in your note according with the copy I send you. If you do not think the changes advisable I will send the letter as it is, by Montgomery to Mr. K. If you adopt my suggestions please date the letter on the day you re-write it. [113]

Because of the dearth of Kendall Papers it cannot be determined whether or not Andrew Jackson, Jr., adopted Blair's suggested revisions, copied and dated the letter anew, and sent it on to Kendall. [114]

Concern over the need for a biography of Jackson seems to have waned over the next few years. Kendall was drawn more and more deeply into business. Bancroft was busily engaged in public life, and had literary projects sufficient to fill his days. Taney, who had also been mentioned as a candidate for the honor, was absorbed in his duties as Chief Justice of the United States. Blair's custodianship of the Jackson Papers in this period, although commendable for efforts to augment the collection through the acquisition of papers from Kendall and Donelson, fell somewhat short of perfect. In July 1847, in a letter to Martin Van Buren, he remarked: "I send you by this days' mail a parcel of autographs for Mrs. Martin- your friend, whom I will presume to call mine also. I have picked them from a multitude which I selected out of Genl. Jacksons papers as not necessary to file." As if this were not enough, he added that Montgomery had recently busied himself "in winnowing the chaff from the grain of the immense mass which the General garnered." Much that was "interesting, curious, & valuable" had been found, but Blair imagined that the most important papers were still in the hands of Kendall and Donelson. Donelson was thought to have retained all that had come into his hands during the Presidency, and Blair felt that he had "manifested a great deal of prevarication in baffling my attempts to get them." [115]

A few weeks later Blair wrote to Van Buren again, and after discussing Nicholas Trist's mission in Mexico, said: "Trist's letters to Genl Jackson (almost exclusively about his own health & the physic he took & how it operated) amount I should suppose to at least a thousand pages." [116] If Blair was not being entirely facetious, which seems unlikely, this must represent a prime example of the chaff winnowed by the Blairs, for there are only a few Trist letters remaining in the Jackson Papers today. It does not seem likely, either, that Trist's letters were returned to him, since they do not appear in the Trist Papers in the Library of Congress, nor are they mentioned in descriptions of Trist Papers at the University of North Carolina and in the Virginia Historical Society.

Martin Van Buren, by 1849, found himself at leisure and became interested in enhancing his own collection of papers, at the expense of Jackson's. He wrote Blair saying that he wished to bind up his "correspondence with Genl. Jackson and Mr. [Silas] Wright for preservation, & if you see no objection will thank you to let me have my letters to the Genl. for that purpose." Assurances were given that the papers would never be destroyed and that they would always be open to Blair's inspection so that he would "have an opportunity to see both sides." [117] Blair favored Van Buren's request and told him that the letters to Jackson had been gathered into a bundle and would be forwarded at "the first safe opportunity." Kendall undoubtedly had some of these letters also, but Blair had not yet been able to get them and thought it likely that "I shall never get them till the devil gets him." [118]

Blair's gloomy prophecy was not fulfilled. A few months later, while attending to the same subject—the return of Van Buren's letters—Blair almost casually announced that Kendall had delivered up some of Jackson's papers.

I have all your letters snugly put together in bundles- save those that may be found in the trunks Kendall has turned over to me- He says he has given me all he had, but I have reason to doubt.- I will have what he has delivered at Jackson Hall & brought me here & will examine them and after reading over your letters already bundled & those I may find, will send them to you in New York, by some trustworthy friend. [119]

Another year elapsed before Blair actually got around to sending Van Buren the letters culled from Jackson's papers, the delay possibly being due to the need to search through those in Kendall's trunks. [120] After committing the papers to the care of Gen. John A. Dix, Blair reviewed his rights in them, but expressed the hope that Van Buren's pen might illuminate "the heroic age" of the Jackson and Van Buren administrations and "show off the civic victories" with which it had been crowned. [121]

It has been stated that Van Buren and his heirs carefully selected from among his papers those that should be preserved for posterity, while anything found to be incriminating, including some of the Jackson correspondence, was probably burned. [122] Whatever that situation may have been, there is now in the Library's Van Buren Papers a considerable number of letters that passed between the two men. Worthington C. Ford, Chief of the Manuscript Division when the Van Buren Papers arrived in the Library in 1904, counted 105 letters from Van Buren to Jackson in the collection and there were at least 150 from Jackson. [123]

Unsatisfactory and incomplete as the record may be in the matter of the Van Buren episode, F. P. Blair's references to the papers delivered by Kendall are even fewer and more cursory. At the very least it appears that a substantial group of Jackson's papers, probably in two trunks, was delivered by Kendall to "Jackson Hall," the name given by Blair to the home of the Congressional Globe on Pennsylvania Avenue. [124] It also appears that these papers remained at Jackson Hall for many years, long forgotten by later generations of the Blairs.

By the spring of 1851 Thomas Hart Benton decided to bring out a memoir of his public life. For that purpose he claimed F. P. Blair's assistance and also requested the use of Jackson's papers. Both were promised and Benton felt that Blair had been "well satisfied to have an opportunity of executing his trust so commodiously." [125] Blair still complained that Kendall was holding back the most important of Jackson's papers, and felt that it was a scheme "to prevent any publication from any hand but his own-" He feared Colonel Benton's memoir might stir Kendall to quarrel publicly with his views, but drew comfort from the thought that if this should happen "the Hyena will find himself in the Lions' Jaws-" [126]

With characteristic industry Benton completed two stout volumes comprising his Thirty Years' View, or history of the working of the American Government from 1820 to 1850. He acknowledged his debt to the Jackson Papers on the title page of the work, mentioned them again in his Preface, and in discussing a heretofore unpublished Jackson manuscript elsewhere in his text mentioned that the "literary legatee of General Jackson," F. P. Blair, had turned this material over to him "with trunks full of other papers . . . ." [127]

James Parton appeared on the scene in 1857, energetically preparing himself for the writing of Jackson's biography. After exhausting most of the available literature on his subject he visited the areas where Jackson had lived and worked and sought out men who had been close to him, in hopes of drawing forth their recollections. He talked with the politicians of the last generation in Washington and went on to North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama, reading files of local newspapers and everywhere conversing with the great and the small. He was particularly impressed by Nashville where it sometimes seemed "as if the city had formed itself into a Committee of the Whole, for the purpose of overwhelming the stranger with papers, reminiscences, and hospitality." [128] Blair and Kendall were not as generous. They both gave some assistance but tended to withhold their manuscript sources from the independent-minded Parton. [129] However, with all of the fresh resources that were available to him, it is understandable that Parton might fail to press for access to the large masses of unarranged and relatively unexplored Jackson manuscripts. His approach to Martin Van Buren, for example, reflects charm and urbanity, rather than an impatience that will not be put off.

I have thought it due my subject and to you, to give you the opportunity of contributing to my work the information which you alone can give . . . . A little general conversation with you on the politics of New York, & any pleasant reminisces [sic] of the General that you might relate at your fireside, are all I desire. [130]

Parton's first volume was published in 1859, and the remaining two appeared in 1860. Public acceptance of the work was immediate and, because of the acclaim it won, Frank Blair's fond hopes for a life written by Bancroft dimmed beyond recall. Similarly, there was now no point in Kendall's clinging to the idea that he might one day resume his work. Parton's biography may have displeased some of the old Jacksonians, but they must have recognized the futility of attempting to displace it. [131] The work not only removed the most likely Jackson biographers from the field, but discouraged others from taking up the subject for years to come. In fact, the Jackson Papers went undisturbed by a major biographer until John Spencer Bassett utilized them early in the 20th century for his study of Jackson, the first edition of which appeared in 1911. [132]

Although the interval between Parton and Bassett was a long one, much happened that affected the Jackson Papers in one way or another. In the first place, Amos Kendall died in 1869, reproaching himself for not completing his Life of Jackson. [133] Francis P. Blair survived him by several years, dying in 1876. With the passing of these two, who had been the principal keepers of Jackson's manuscripts for so long, it was probably inevitable that further dislocation of the collection would take place. One episode illustrating this derives from the activities of a Col. William G. Terrell of Kentucky, identified as a correspondent for the Cincinnati Commercial.

Terrell's story is rather long and complicated but not entirely satisfactory. It is of interest because it sheds some light on the Jackson Papers at a time when little is known of them from other sources, because it gives rise to questions that are still unanswered, and because it reveals something of the inheritors of the trust first passed from Jackson to Kendall and F. P. Blair.

The Cincinnati Commercial on February 4, 5 and 10, 1879, published 72 letters, introducing them editorially as "letters written by Andrew Jackson to Amos Kendall, and not heretofore published." Col. W. G. Terrell, who had submitted the letters, indicated that he had transcribed them as literally as possible, since attempts to improve Jackson's style "would be painting Cromwell without his wart." [134] The only reference to the source from whence the letters came was supplied in an editorial column in the Commercial of February 10 stating that they had been found among Kendall's papers.

Colonel Terrell, some years after the event, supplied his own explanation of how this group of Kendall-Jackson correspondence had come into his hands. According to a memorandum found in his papers at the time of his death in 1905 or 1906, the Colonel was in Washington in the winter of 1878-79 and sought out William Stickney, son-in-law of Kendall and compiler of the Autobiography.[135] During the course of a visit at Stickney's home the subject of Jackson's letters to Kendall came up, and Stickney brought out a "bulky package" apparently containing two or three hundred letters. The two men spread them out on a billiard table and spent some time in examining them. Terrell, wanting to study them more thoroughly and at his leisure, received Stickney's permission to take them to his hotel. He later was granted permission to copy whatever of them he wished for his newspaper. The originals were then returned to Stickney and copies were sent off for publication in the Commercial.

Terrell's curiosity did not end here. In the letters that he had transcribed he had noted a discussion of the papers Jackson had entrusted to Kendall. Terrell now approached Stickney in June 1879 assuming that he either had these papers or could say where they were. Stickney denied having knowledge of such a group of Jackson's papers but presumed that they were in possession of the Blairs. The two men then sought out Montgomery Blair but, according to Terrell, were received in a manner indicating that the old animosities were still alive. Denying that he had ever seen the papers they spoke of, Blair remarked that Stickney himself was the one who ought to know of their whereabouts. In reply Stickney said that although he had been associated with the Kendall family for almost 30 years, during which he long had charge of Kendall's papers, at one time even building a house for their accommodation and arrangement, he had never seen the Jackson papers in question. This agitated Blair and he told of his father's efforts to recover the papers and Kendall's refusal to comply with Jackson's last wishes with regard to them. Additional charges were made concerning Stickney's own culpability and responsibility in the matter. Reiterating his ignorance of the entire affair, Stickney departed.

Terrell would not be put off the track. He now recalled having read a letter in which Kendall said that his daughter might be of service in copying some of the General's papers. Thinking this might be a reference to Mrs. Stickney, Terrell discovered that as a girl she had, indeed, often done copying for her father. On one occasion she had gone with him to the old Globe office where there were a couple of trunks containing papers. Some of the papers were taken by her father and she had made copies. Stickney thought it unlikely that they could have been part of Jackson's papers, and even more unlikely that the trunks would still be there, but Terrell followed up the clue and called at the old Globe office. There he met and stated his business to a Mr. Rives, whom he took to be the son of Frank Blair's old partner, John C. Rives, with the following result:

"Well," he said, "there is a big room at the top of the house in which there is a lot of stuff, and if the trunks you speak of are in the building they must be there. I will go with you and see." We ascended several flights of stairs, and on the top-most floor came to an ironclad door, which Mr. R. unlocked and opened. We entered a long, low room, filled with bound newspaper files, old volumes of the Congressional Globe, unbound documents of all sorts, and the usual debris of a printing and publishing office. I began the search immediately, and in less than a quarter of an hour discovered hidden under a pile of rubbish two-old fashioned hair trunks. Both were unfastened, and on raising their lids I found them nearly filled with papers, tied up in packages. A slight examination showed me that they were those I was in search of. [136]

Montgomery Blair, when informed of the discovery, thought Terrell was mistaken about the nature of the material but granted him permission to have it taken to his lodgings. There, in the company of Gen. Alfred Pleasanton, Terrell examined the papers until convinced that his original surmise was correct—they were the papers Jackson had delivered to Kendall. Blair, having had second thoughts on the matter, now left word that the papers should be removed to his house. Terrell had hoped to take the papers to Kentucky but agreed to their transfer to Blair's Washington residence where he was given free access to them.

While engaged in inspecting the papers over a period of several weeks Terrell learned in conversations with Montgomery Blair that a chest of Jackson's papers had been brought away from the Hermitage after a visit in 1845. The papers had been placed in the Blair residence in Silver Spring, but he had not seen them in years. However, his son Woodbury recalled having seen such a chest at his grandfather's, and it was duly searched out and brought in from the country. Terrell described it as "a huge affair and filled to the top with papers, evidently about all that was left after the selection made for Mr. Kendall." Soon thereafter Terrell developed eye trouble and could not examine the papers further. Upon recovering he was called to Kentucky on other business.

Colonel Terrell's recollections, as presented in his memorandum, would seem to provide a credible account of the reunion of the two main portions of the Jackson Papers. What they do not give is satisfaction that the integrity of the Kendall group at "Jackson Hall" was unimpaired (and, indeed, that Kendall had withheld no others); that all of the Jackson papers from Silver Spring were discovered and delivered to Montgomery Blair [137] at his city residence; and the Colonel Terrell's association with the papers was entirely concluded.

The next event of importance in the uneven course followed by the Jackson Papers began with the introduction of, and agreement to, a Senate resolution of February 29, 1884, to the effect that in the matter of the the Jackson Papers "the Committee on the Library be instructed to inquire into the propriety and expediency of purchasing said collection of papers from General Jackson's legal heirs, and having the same edited and published as the property of the Government for the use of the Congressional Library." [138] Since the Jackson heirs did not then have possession of the corpus of the General's papers, they sought to establish their right to them. This was attempted on February 16, 1885, when a bill for injunction, discovery, and relief was filed in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, with Andrew Jackson, the son of Andrew Jackson, Jr., Administrator de bonis non, ranged as complainant against Woodbury Blair and Mary Elizabeth Blair, both children of Montgomery Blair, as defendants. [139] The records in the case are not extensive, consisting largely of the original bill, the joint answer of Mary and Woodbury Blair to the bill, with exhibits, several extensions of time given the complainant to furnish evidence in support of his bill, postponements, and the final decree. The exhibits consist of a copy of a letter of May 3, 1845, from Jackson to F. P. Blair in which Jackson said he willed his papers to Blair, [140] and extracts of two letters from Andrew Jackson, Jr., to Blair. In the first of these extracts young Jackson is quoted as saying: "In my father's will . . . nothing is said about his papers," and, "I know father was anxious for you to have his papers, that you and his friend Mr. Bancroft should do justice to his life . . . ." [141] In the second he said that after consulting with Major Lewis he had decided to ask Amos Kendall to place his Jackson papers in the hands of Blair. [142] The originals of these letters have not been found in either the Blair or Jackson Papers, although in discussing the exhibits in their "joint answer" the Blair stated that they were "prepared to produce and prove the originals at the hearing or such earlier time as the court may require."

The central point made by the Blairs was that the Jackson Papers had not been given to F. P. Blair upon any condition of trust, but that the "gift and bequest was absolute and in all respects subject to the control and disposition of the said Francis P. Blair . . . ." In their further defense they stated that Andrew Jackson, Jr., knew of and consented to the arrangement "and that from his appointment [as executor] to his death, a period of early twenty years, he never questioned at any time the absolute title of the said Francis P. Blair to the said papers." [143] Although there were a number of extensions of time in 1885 and 1886 for the furnishing of evidence by the complainant, none is found in the court papers. Finally, the decree dismissing the bill of the complainant with costs was filed on October 29, 1890.

As has been seen, Amos Kendall's delivery of a group of Jackson's papers to the Globe office in 1849 almost went unnoticed at the time, and not long thereafter seemed to have been forgotten by the Blairs. [144] It is not surprising, therefore, that in later years it was widely believed that an important body of Jackson's papers was involved in the reported destruction of Kendall's papers in a warehouse fire in Washington. Kendall had undoubtedly accumulated an extensive collection of his own papers [145] and it may have been that he had also withheld many of Jackson's papers from the Blairs in 1849. What may have been consumed in the flames of the Knox's Warehouse fire in the early morning of July 25, 1894, however, cannot be determined. Certainly no large body of Kendall's papers has ever come to light, although a few small groups have become available from time to time. In 1931 a rather large group of Jackson material appeared that was said to have been with Kendall's papers, but somehow survived the fire. These Jackson materials probably were in Kendall's hands at one time, but reports of the warehouse fire in the Washington newspapers give little encouragement to the view that they represent survivals of a fire described as a "destructive conflagration" that in the space of two hours reduced Knox's mammoth warehouse to "a pile of charred bricks and timber." [146] For several days immediately following the fire the Evening Star listed the losses that some had sustained, but there is no mention of papers or other effects of Amos Kendall, either in his name or that of the Stickneys.

Gist Blair, a grandson of Frank Blair, attempted in 1899 to arouse the interest of the eminent John Fiske in the Jackson Papers. Fiske's response to the initial overtures was encouraging:

With regard to the Jackson letters, I should like much to see them; and if they are important, I am sure I should enjoy editing them or otherwise bringing forward their contents. [147]

Fiske was very busy, though, and it would probably be two years before his hands could be freed for new tasks.

The invitation was renewed a year later when Gist Blair, acting in concert with his brother Woodbury, asked Fiske to come to Washington at a time of his own choosing in order to inspect the papers and determine for himself whether they would serve Jackson's memory by casting new light on his public acts. They offered to provide an apartment for his use and also expressed their willingness to let him carry back to the north whatever papers he wished. [148] Fiske felt that there must be a good deal that was interesting in Jackson's papers and the idea of spending a few weeks in Washington examining them was attractive but he was forced to decline, for "here comes in that demon of work to hinder me." Numerous commitments would use up all of his time until the autumn of 1901. [149] Since there was "no one so capable of editing these papers & so endowed with the true instincts of democracy" as Fiske, Gist Blair believed that the papers should await his having the time to inspect them. Nothing would be done with them in the meantime. [150] In the following year Fiske died without ever having seen the papers.

Disappointed in their attempt to bring an edition of Jackson's letters before the public, as their grandfather had been so long disappointed in the matter of having a life of Jackson prepared, the Blairs now turned to the idea of placing the papers in the Library of Congress. On February 20, 1903, Minna Blair Richey, Montgomery Blair, Gist Blair, and Woodbury Blair addressed a letter to Herbert Putnam, the Librarian of Congress. In this they spoke of inheriting from their father, the late Montgomery Blair, a collection of the official and personal correspondence and other papers of Andrew Jackson. Because the papers related to personages and events important in the Nation's history, they felt that they "should be in a permanent place of deposit where they would be well cared for, properly classified, indexed, filed, and with the aid of experts be made accessible to historical investigators." The Library of Congress fulfilled all of these requirements, and being the National Library, seemed to the Blairs to be "the natural and fitting depository." It was then declared that this letter was the instrument by which title in the collection was conveyed to the Library. [151] Because of the generous act of the Blairs, the largest group of extant Jackson papers, and one representative of nearly every phase of his life and career, became available for scholarly use.


At various times since 1903 the Library of Congress, conscious of its trust in this matter, has directed its efforts toward augmenting the Jackson collection. [152] One significant group of Jackson manuscripts, although not acquired by the Library, came to light in 1909 when John Wesley Gaines, writing in the Nashville Tennessean of April 18, described how he had purchased some Jackson papers that had been held by Col. W. G. Terrell. Gaines had learned that a "gracious old lady" had received the papers in payment of a debt due her by the late Colonel Terrell. She knew Terrell had had the papers for many years but had no knowledge of how he may have acquired them. Gaines bought them just as they were about to be thrown away and in announcing his purchase in the Tennessean, said that it was his intention to turn the papers over to Mrs. Rachel Jackson Lawrence, the daughter of Andrew Jackson, Jr., who had the "legal right to them, and certainly . . . the highest moral right." [153]

In April 1911 Gaillard Hunt, of the Library's Manuscript Division, visited Mrs. Andrew Jackson in Knoxville and discussed the purchase of papers that had been retained by Andrew Jackson, Jr., and passed down to his son, Andrew Jackson. Agreement was quickly reached and a trunk of papers reached Washington shortly thereafter. [154] This notable acquisition was described in the Librarian's annual report for 1911 as comprising

drafts of several of his messages when President, military correspondence and returns during the War of 1812 and later, his orderly book in the Creek campaign, private letters to members of his family, important letters from Lewis, Kendall, Blair and Polk, a great mass of personal accounts, dating from the beginning to the end of his career, memoranda and agreements concerning his land transactions, personal quarrels, horse breeding, planting and household affairs, and a few letters to and from Mrs. Jackson. [155]

These papers, when added to the Montgomery Blair Collection, made the Jackson Papers among the most nearly complete then in the Library's possession.

There was considerable activity involving the Jackson Papers during the period from 1919 to 1926. John Spencer Bassett had published his two-volume biography in 1911 and thereby established himself as the foremost authority on Jackson. In 1919, therefore, Dr. J. Franklin Jameson of the Carnegie Institution of Washington asked him to undertake the preparation of something "that might stand as a distinctive contribution of the Carnegie Institution to historical science or its progress"— an edition of the writings and correspondence of Andrew Jackson. [156] After much hesitancy Bassett accepted Jameson's invitation [157] and arrived in Washington in February 1920. For the next several years Bassett, Jameson, and various officials of the Library of Congress cooperated in searching out Jackson letters and papers in institutions and in private ownership throughout the country. In the process some original manuscripts and a number of copies of others were added to the Jackson Papers. [158] Bassett's first three volumes appeared before his death in 1928. He had also accomplished the greater part of the work on the final three volumes and Dr. Jameson completed what had to be done in preparing them for publication.

Late in 1930 news of the existence of a previously unknown and significant group of Jackson papers began to spread among interested parties. It appears that Marquis James, who was then hard at work on his life of Jackson, and who had scoured the land as diligently as Bassett had before him, was among the first to learn of their availability. [159] Arrangements were made for him to have first use of these fresh materials, whether before or after their sale to a private party is not known. [160] However, sometime thereafter the Library of Congress learned of the papers and steps were taken to acquire them. Negotiations were concluded toward the end of 1931 and the Library was able to announce in its annual report for 1932 that the papers had been added, since "it was plainly necessary to acquire them in order to complete a series which is constantly regarded as one of the most valuable and useful in the Library." [161] Approximately 160 letters or drafts of letters by Jackson were included, and 1,000 letters and added pieces written by others.

The provenance of this material was not satisfactorily established at the time, and recent efforts to clarify the matter have been similarly unsuccessful. Marquis James said that the papers had been found in Massachusetts, and that they were "the bulk of the so-called 'Kendall Papers' which, after all, had survived the Washington warehouse fire." [162] Although this version of the derivation of the papers is the accepted one, it cannot be said for certain that it is exact. The dealer who originally acquired the papers provided very little information on previous ownership, saying only that part of the material was discovered during the appraisal of a library, and that other lots were then found by making inquiries among the relatives of the owners of the library. [163] Whoever the owner, or owners, may have been in 1931, there is much to indicate that at least some of this material had indeed been in hands of Amos Kendall at one time. Some of the letters bear his unmistakable annotations and endorsements, and some of the interesting letters addressed to him from the Hermitage by James McLaughlin in 1843 were included in the group.

Gifts and purchases have steadily enhanced the Jackson Papers since the last major increment of 1931. Some additions were even made during World War II after the collection had been evacuated from Washington. [164] One of the more curious of these was a collection of about 600 fragments of letters and documents, obviously deliberately mutilated, purchased in 1943. The most recent large acquisition was in 1964 and was notable because it consisted of 59 discrete items bearing 60 communications: 57 by Andrew Jackson to Amos Kendall; one from Kendall to Jackson, with an integral reply by Jackson; and one unidentified. Quite apart from the size and nature of the material, certainly significant elements of themselves, these letters are of interest because they are some of those printed in the Cincinnati Commercial so long ago in 1879 and they were acquired from a descendant of Amos Kendall. With such encouragement, it is certain that the quest for papers of Andrew Jackson will go on.

Note: This essay was written by John McDonough, Specialist in the History of the National Period, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

  1. Andrew Jackson to Amos Kendall, Hermitage, May 20, 1845. Andrew Jackson Papers, Library of Congress (hereafter cited as Jackson Papers). Jackson's frequent and well-known irregularities of spelling, punctuation, and grammar will be reproduced without further notice. The short dash, reproduced in quotations, was widely used by Jackson and many of his contemporaries and served a multitude of purposes. [Back to text]
  2. Kendall to Jackson, New York, May 31, 1845. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  3. The National Historical Publications Commission, in its report to the President, A National Program for the Publication of Historical Documents (Washington, 1954), lists 18 institutions having collections of Jackson papers. The Commission's Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States, edited by Philip M. Hamer (New Haven, 1961) also locates and briefly indicates the size of collections of the papers of Andrew Jackson. Some of these are more fully described in The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, being compiled by the Library of Congress (5 vols. to date). Hitherto unreported, smaller collections of Jackson papers, as well as Jackson letters in other collections, should come to light as the Catalog continues to grow. [Back to text]
  4. Jackson to Maj. Henry Lee, Hermitage, December 25, 1826. Jackson Papers. Many years later, when James A. McLaughlin was at the Hermitage gathering material for Amos Kendall to use in his life of Jackson, the former President was still uncooperative in the matter of furnishing recollections founded only on his own authority. The disappointed McLaughlin, writing to Kendall, quoted Jackson as saying: "'If it should be known,' says he, 'that the truth of any little incidents which you may mention in your work is supported by my recollection only; God help my memory! I have too many enemies, Mr. McL., and if such a thing should be known to them they would tear me out of my grave to injure my character.'" McLaughlin to Kendall, Hermitage, February 14, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  5. The history of the Jackson Papers has been told twice by John Spencer Bassett, first in this preface to The Life of Andrew Jackson (Garden City, N.Y., 1911. 2 vols.), and again in the preface to the first volume of his edition of Correspondence of Andrew Jackson (Washington, 1926-35. 6 vols. and index). Hereafter cited as Corres. Prefaces prepared for vols. 2 and 3 also contain interesting data on the Jackson Papers. After Bassett's death in 1928, J. Franklin Jameson supplied the interpretative prefaces for vols. 4-6. Marquis James in Andrew Jackson, the Border Captain (Indianapolis, 1933), discusses Jackson's biographers and the Jackson Papers in his "Personal Acknowledgments," p. 427-434. [Back to text]
  6. Robert Y. Hayne to Capt. John Reid, Charleston, March 9, 1815. John Reid Papers, LC. A three-page document signed by Dr. Ramsay, April 12, 1815, and presumably addressed to John Reid, sets forth the topics and points upon which Ramsay required information. Reid Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  7. A. P. Hayne to Reid, Charleston, May 5, 1815. Reid Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  8. A. P. Hayne to Reid, Charleston, May 8, 1815. Reid Papers, LC. Hayne identified Cooper as "brother in Law to the late Dr. Priestly, and professor of Natural, Moral philosophy and Chemistry at Dickinson College." [Back to text]
  9. Cooper to A. P. Hayne [no location], January 25, 1816. Jackson Papers. Cooper mentioned he had been acting as Reid's agent in Philadelphia, arranging a contract for the publication of a biography of Jackson proposed by Reid. Jackson in writing to Cooper in 1818 said that he had "often heard you spoken of by your friend Col Hay [n] e, and, particularly, as a proper person to write the history of my life." Confidential, Jackson to Cooper, Nashville, August 24, 1818. Jackson Papers, photocopy. Cooper, in later life, favored nullification and as an advocate of Nicholas Biddle supported the Second Bank of the United States. See Dumas Malone, The Public Life of Thomas Cooper, 1783-1839 (New Haven, 1926), p. 377-381. [Back to text]
  10. Arsène Lacarrière Latour, Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814-15 (Philadelphia, 1816). A facsimile edition with an introduction by Jane Lucas de Grummond was published by the University of Florida Press, Gainesville, in 1964. Bassett considered Latour's account to be "One of the best. . . ." Corres. vol. 2. p. 128-129n. [Back to text]
  11. See Jane Lucas de Grummond's introduction to the facsimile edition of Latour's Historical Memoir, p. xlv. [Back to text]
  12. Reid to Edward Livingston, Washington, M[ississippi] T[erritory], April 22, 1815. Printed in Charles Havens Hunt's Life of Edward Livingston (New York, 1864), p. 209. [Back to text]
  13. Reid to Livingston, Hermitage, undated, ibid., p. 209. This may have been written in June, since on the 22nd Reid wrote from Nashville to his wife, Betsy, that "The General, today, removed his papers to his own house whither I shall accompany him." Reid Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  14. Jackson to Livingston, Nashville, July 5, 1815. Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 455. Jackson added that Reid was collecting, selecting, and arranging "materials necessary for a history of the Creek War" and would furnish Livingston with copies. [Back to text]
  15. Charles Havens Hunt, loc. cit. [Back to text]
  16. Reid to Betsy Reid, Fort Strother, January 6, 1814. Reid Papers, LC. The ellipses which occur are due to the seal having been torn from Reid's letter. [Back to text]
  17. Reid to Mrs. Sophia Reid, Franklin, Tenn., February 14, 1814, Reid Papers, LC. The letter was written while Reid was on a brief furlough in Tennessee. The physical strain of keeping abreast of Jackson's correspondence and reports was alluded to in a letter to Betsy, Fort Strother, January 1814. Reid Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  18. Draft in Reid's hand, July 1815. Reid Papers, LC. Feeling that "the memory of important deeds ought not to perish," Reid urged that recollections of these deeds, existing only in the minds of living witnesses, should be rescued from oblivion. [Back to text]
  19. See Jackson Papers [August 1815], for a document drafted by Reid, concluded, signed, and addressed by Jackson. In the Reid Papers, LC, there is a draft [July 1815], unsigned, but in Reid's hand, of a letter which he evidently intended to accompany copies of his proposal. In this draft Reid declared: "I have not the vanity to believe it will equal in its execution, the merit of the subject or the wishes of my countrymen; but I hope to compensate this defect, in some measure, by the faithfulness of the narrative." [Back to text]
  20. Copies of the printed proposal are in the Reid Papers, LC. It indicated that the volume would be about 400 pages long, be put to press during the ensuing winter, and be ready for delivery by spring. [Back to text]
  21. Jackson to Livingston, Nashville, September 5, 1815. Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 456. [Back to text]
  22. A. P. Hayne to Reid, Carlisle, September 13, 1815. Reid Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  23. Jackson's dependence upon Reid is brought out in his letter to Reid, dated Nashville, June 13, 1815, in the Jackson Papers. Reid was ill in Franklin, Tenn., at the time. "I have had a laborious seige of it, and wanted your aid very much- The various communications to be made has kept me verry busy . . . . I will expect to see you either here or at my house as soon as your health will permit . . . . will you continue in the service I have wrote to the Sec of War- & hope to see a few of my gallant friends Brevetted-" [Back to text]
  24. James Parton, in his Life of Andrew Jackson (Boston, 1859-60), vol. 2, p. 333-336, gives an account of Jackson's "triumphal progress." [Back to text]
  25. Jackson to Alexander J. Dallas, Nashville, February 4, 1816. Copy in Jackson Papers. Jackson said Reid died on January 19. See Jackson to William H. Crawford, Nashville, February 2, 1816. Jackson Papers. An unidentified newsclipping, probably from the Lynchburg Press, states that John Reid's "existence was terminated on the 18th current, at the residence of his respectable father near New-London, after a short but severe illness of 18 hours . . . ." A sketch of Reid's life in the Press, of May 23, 1816, attributed death to "Typhoid Pneumonia." Reid Papers, LC. Bassett gives the date as January 15 and the place as "the house of his brother in Bedford County." Corres., vol. 2, p. 234n. [Back to text]
  26. Abram Maury to Jackson, Franklin, February 8, 1816. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  27. Jackson to Nathan Reid, Jr., Hermitage, February 8, 1816. Quoted in S. G. Heiskell, Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History (Nashville, 1920), vol. 2, p. 78-79. Reid apparently carried some of the Jackson papers about with him and may have had them in Washington during the visit of November-December 1815. [Back to text]
  28. Maury to Jackson, Poplar Grove, February 17, 1816. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  29. The tendency to hold John Reid in higher regard than his limited achievements as biographer would merit is probably due to his close association with his subject, having shared the "sleepless nights" and "fastings." It also derives from the quality of what he did accomplish, and particularly from the tragic circumstances of his death. Bassett rated John Reid as "a man of unusual ability and good integrity" and found Reid's contribution to the Life "clear, vivid, and broad in spirit." Corres., vol. 1, p. xviii-xix. For another appreciation of Reid see Heiskell, vol. 2, p. 64-82. [Back to text]
  30. A. P. Hayne to Jackson, Baltimore, March 27, 1816. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  31. Hayne to Jackson, Carlisle, May 31, 1816. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  32. Cited in Dictionary of American Biography article on Eaton, by Thomas P. Abernethy. [Back to text]
  33. Jackson to Nathan Reid, Nashville, June 23, 1816. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  34. The Life of Andrew Jackson, commenced by John Reid . . . . and completed by John Henry Eaton (Philadelphia, 1817), p. iii-v. Reid had completed the first four chapters. The preface is also of interest because of its indication that the Jackson papers were removed from the Reid homestead in Virginia to Nashville. It is not known whether or not this was done in accordance with Abram Maury's plan. [Back to text]
  35. Bassett, Corres., vol. 1, p. xviii. Bassett finds Eaton "less able as a writer than Reid," but credits him with having a good mind and also for having "tried to tell a true story." Thomas P. Abernethy in his article on Eaton in the Dictionary of American Biography says the Life "proved to be a dull, uncritical attempt to lionize the Hero of New Orleans . . . ." [Back to text]
  36. Eaton to Jackson, Philadelphia, March 20, 1817. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  37. Jackson to Maury, Nashville, April 22, 1817. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  38. Reid's name was dropped from the title page of the second edition, but his contributions were still acknowledged in the preface. In the Jackson Papers there is a copy of the second edition of the Life with a number of Eaton's holograph corrections, deletions, etc. Material in the preface relating to Reid and the statements concerning Eaton's first association with the Life are marked to be omitted. In the third edition (1828), which has an addenda on the Seminole War, Reid was mentioned neither on the title page nor in the preface. [Back to text]
  39. Such is the implication of a letter from Gadsden to Jackson, New Orleans, April 15, 1819, expressing willingness to "undertake the work you wish me," despite Gadsden's preference that the task go to "an Individual more capable of doing justice to the subject, and to yourself." Jackson Papers. Bassett says that Gadsden's plan for a life of Jackson "was only the fancy of an impetuous mind. Nothing further was heard of it." Corres., vol. 2, p. 415n. [Back to text]
  40. Gadsden to Jackson, New Orleans, April 15, 1819. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  41. Ibid. The appointment Gadsden referred to was to a collectorship. Nothing came of it, for Gadsden remained in the Army until 1822. [Back to text]
  42. Gadsden to Jackson, Mobile Point, May 3, 1819. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  43. Gadsden to Jackson, Washington, April 13, 1822. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  44. Jackson to Gadsden, Hermitage, May 2, 1822. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  45. Bassett states that, as far as he could learn, Gadsden never examined the papers. Corres., vol. 1, p. xx. Gadsden himself corroborates this view, at least in respect to Jackson's private papers, in replying to a letter from Charles Ingersoll in 1845. Ingersoll at the time was preparing his Historical Sketch of the Second War (Philadelphia, 1845-49). In the Jackson Papers see a copy, probably made at the request of Francis P. Blair and sent to Jackson, of a letter from Ingersoll to Blair, Philadelphia, June 5, 1845, in which Ingersoll had enclosed a long letter from Gadsden to Ingersoll, written at Charleston, S. C., May 31, 1845. In the body of this letter Gadsden had said: "What I have communicated therefore in relation to that Campaign [New Orleans] were derived from the General in conversation, and in overlooking the official despatches in the office. If I can serve you in any way with materials for your History which came under my own observation it will afford me a pleasure to do so." If Gadsden had ever written a book about Jackson, whether anonymously or otherwise, or held any of his papers, it is likely that at this late date, 1845, he would have mentioned it. Marquis James in Andrew Jackson, the Border Captain (Indianapolis, 1933), p. 503, thinks that "possibly" 'Gadsden was the author of a Civil and Military History of Andrew Jackson by "An American Officer," which appeared in 1825, but says "this is merely a guess." The authorship of the volume, however, has recently been established by John Cook Wyllie of the Alderman Library, University of Virginia, as he relates in "Footnote for an Andrew Jackson Bibliography," in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 59, October-December 1965, p. 437. Wyllie states that "from the 'Contents' pages forward, down to the very last line of the last chapter, the text [of Civil and Military History] is a verbatim reprint of Samuel Putnam Waldo's Memoirs of Andrew Jackson, which first appeared in 1818 . . . ." [Back to text]
  46. Col. Robert Butler to Jackson, Nashville, April 25, 1819. Jackson Papers. There are no copies of the controversial letters written in 1817 by Jackson to General Scott in the Jackson Papers. Butler felt that the papers "of the Creek War should be separated from the official papers which has accrued since you joined service, and those also separate which have grown out of your different Indian Treaties together with private correspondence." [Back to text]
  47. Henry Lee to Jackson, Washington, November 18, 1826. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  48. Lee to James Barbour, Gadsby's Hotel [Washington], December 4, 1826. Retained copy in Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  49. James Barbour to Lee, Department of War, December 13, 1826. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  50. Jackson to Lee, Hermitage, December 25, 1826. Jackson Papers. Jackson had been absent in Alabama when Lee's letter arrived in Nashville. [Back to text]
  51. Lee to Jackson, Westmoreland, Virginia, March 12, 1827. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  52. This is recounted in a letter from Duff Green to Jackson, Washington, July 18, 1827. Jackson Papers. Green says that Lee had written to him of these difficulties, due to a proposal by John Eaton to abridge and otherwise revise his earlier biography. Green, who was among those who had urged Lee to take up the work, apologized to Jackson "for the trouble that Major Lee & myself have caused you." He also acknowledged that he would not wound Eaton's feelings "for any inducement . . . ." [Back to text]
  53. Jackson to Lee, at Home, December 17, 1827, Jackson Papers. Jackson addressed Lee as "present," indicating that he was at this time at the Hermitage. The two were preparing to go to New Orleans, and Jackson instructed Lee "to return all the manuscrip Books, so that I may leave them in security until we return." [Back to text]
  54. Henry A. Wise visited the Hermitage in late October 1828. It is related that among the household at the Hermitage was "Henry Lee . . . who resided there for a time and was engaged in preparing Jackson's campaign papers." Barton H. Wise, The Life of Henry A. Wise of Virginia, 1806-1876 (New York, 1899), p. 28. [Back to text]
  55. A Vindication of the Character and Public Services of Andrew Jackson in Reply to the Richmond Address, Signed by Chapman Johnson, and to Other Electioneering Calumnies. Originally published in the Nashville Republican, and attributed to Major Henry Lee, of Virginia (Boston, 1828). [Back to text]
  56. [Jackson] to Lee, Hermitage, June 23, 1828, Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  57. Some letters of introduction, unsigned and without addressee, are in the Jackson Papers under date of June 22, 1828. [Back to text]
  58. Lee to Jackson, New York, August 20, 1829. Jackson Papers. Jackson had given Lee a recess appointment as consul general to Algiers. Lee says in his letter: "You remember [Andrew J.] Donelson took back the sketch you once gave me, & I have not since seen it or a copy." There is no such sketch in the Donelson Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  59. The biography, a separately bound volume entitled Andrew Jackson, by Henry Lee, is in Series 4 of the Jackson Papers. Some of the trials and travels of Lee's manuscript can be sketchily reconstructed. After his departure for Algiers in 1829, Lee failed to receive Senate confirmation of his diplomatic appointment. Embittered, and feeling that Jackson and other friends had not treated him well, he remained abroad for the rest of his life, dying in Paris on January 20, 1837. About a year later, Jackson raised questions concerning the whereabouts of the manuscript biography Lee had been preparing at the Hermitage some 10 years before. Amos Kendall was now showing interest in preparing a biography and Jackson felt the Lee manuscript would be helpful. Enquiry was made, and it developed that Charles Carter Lee, a half-brother of Henry Lee, and William B. Lewis had acquired a trunk of Major Lee's papers in September 1837. Alphonse Pageot, son-in-law of Lewis, and at various times secretary of the French Legation in Washington and charge d'affaires, had called on Lee's widow in Paris and arranged the shipment. When Carter Lee and Lewis examined the contents of the trunk they were disappointed. Jackson was informed that a full manuscript of his life had not been found. Rather, "a few loose sheets . . . containing altogether some 40 or 50 pages" were discovered among Lee's rather skimpy papers. These sheets appeared to form a rough draft, or beginning, of Jackson's life. Carter Lee, attempting to discover whether the full biography had survived, was informed by Major Lee's widow that her late husband had destroyed many papers and letters and the remaining few had been found to be in great confusion. In March 1839 Lewis sent Jackson some of the sheets of Lee's manuscript, stating that they were not the sheets described earlier. (Whatever the explanation, the 78 folio leaves, recto and verso, of Lee's manuscript now in the Jackson Papers could be construed as closely approximating the 40 or 50 "pages" Lewis first spoke of.) Jackson then sent the Lee manuscript to Kendall. It subsequently became divided, probably through an oversight of Kendall's. The smaller part came to the Library of Congress with the main body of the Jackson Papers in 1903 and was reunited with the displaced larger part as the result of a purchase by the Library in 1931. In the Jackson Papers see Jackson to F. P. Blair, November 12, 1838; Lewis to Jackson, November 26, 1838, and March 16, 1839, and Jackson to Kendall, April 18 and April 19, 1839. See also Bassett, Corres., vol. 5, Jackson to Lewis, December 10, 1838, and May [March] 29, 1839; and Charles Carter Lee to Jackson, January 5, 1838 [1839]. Marquis James discusses p. 53 to 75 in his Andrew Jackson, the Border Captain (Indianapolis, 1933), p. 388. James had consulted these in vol. 3 of the Jackson Papers. A penciled note in vol. 3, made by J. Franklin Jameson, then Chief of the Manuscript Division, explains that the pages were removed in 1933 to be bound with p. 1-52, acquired in 1931. The discrepancy in pagination between a total of 75 and 78 is due to some pages having gone unnumbered. A few additional pages that are biographical in character, but apart from the main narrative, have been bound at the end of Lee's manuscript. James McLaughlin, while examining Jackson's papers for Kendall at the Hermitage during the winter of 1842-43, alluded to Lee's work in a way that seems to indicate that Jackson had forgotten what took place in 1838-39. McLaughlin to Kendall, Hermitage, February 14, 1843, Jackson Papers. See also McLaughlin to Kendall, Nashville, February 24 [and 25], 1843. Photocopy in Kendall Papers, LC, from original in Tennessee State Library and Archives (T.S.L.&A.). [Back to text]
  60. This is the burden of a letter from Jackson to Col. William Moor[e], Hermitage, January 4, 1827. Copy in Manuscript Division administrative files by Morton B. King, Jr., of original held by Mr. and Mrs. M. B. King of Shelbyville, Tenn. Colonel Moore had apparently advised Jackson that Kendall was seeking information in Tennessee for a biography. Jackson hoped to learn whether Kendall was progressing with the work and opined that he was "an able writer." [Back to text]
  61. Jackson and Kendall undoubtedly discussed the subject a number of times and had an early understanding. Once, in 1834, as Kendall looked to the future with some apprehension, he wrote: "From the history of your life and administration, if I shall be able to execute it with success, I look for some relief; but beyond that I have no views nor objects." Kendall to Jackson, Washington, August 21, 1834. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  62. Van Buren to Jackson, W[ashington], October 17, [18]37, Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  63. Jackson to Van Buren, Hermitage, October 29, 1837. Van Buren Papers, LC. Jackson adverted to his pledge to Kendall again in 1838: ". . . to convince you, how much you have my confidence you have only to apply to Mr. Blair for my answer, when applied to by another to write my Byography- you had my promise,- I had confidence in you- had spoken to you on that subject, and to none else could my papers be delivered for such purpose but to you, unless you declined the task." Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, March 23, 1838, Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  64. Bancroft's name did come up from time to time thereafter. He asked Jackson in 1841 to give him "copious details" of his early years in order that he might use them in preparing a history of the American Revolution. Jackson, typically unwilling to speak of himself, referred Bancroft to Eaton's Life. No specific mention was made of the Jackson papers by either man. See Bancroft to Jackson, Boston, November 11, 1841, Jackson Papers; and Jackson to Bancroft, December 9, 1841, Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 128, from original in Massachusetts Historical Society. [Back to text]
  65. Kendall to Jackson, Near Washington, June 5, 1842. Jackson Papers. Kendall had visited at the Hermitage in the fall of 1838. See Jackson to F. P. Blair, Hermitage, November 12, 1838, Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  66. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, June 17, 1842. Photocopy in Amos Kendall Papers, LC, made from original in T.S.L.&A. James K. Polk was at the Hermitage when this was written and, since he was on his way to Philadelphia, offered his services in delivering the letter to Kendall in Washington, as well as some papers relating to the Jackson-Judge Hall matter. [Back to text]
  67. F. P. Blair to Jackson, Washington, July 25, 1842. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  68. Jackson to F. P. Blair, Hermitage, August 7, 1842. Jackson's will of June 7, 1843, does not mention the disposition of his papers. Parton, vol. 3, p. 649; Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 220-223. [Back to text]
  69. The Dictionary of American Biography article on Kendall succinctly states the essentials of the case and notes that Kendall eventually received release and relief. Jackson strongly upheld Kendall's conduct. See, for example, Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, September 29, 1842. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  70. Kendall to Jackson, Washington, September 19, 1842. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  71. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, September 29, 1842. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  72. Kendall to Jackson, Washington, November 23, 1842. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  73. Kendall to Jackson, Washington, November 29, 1842. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  74. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, December 12, 1842. Jackson Papers. Jackson described some of the papers being selected and also stated: "I had a journal of all my military operations kept by my aid de camp. Major Reid- it is lost, and a great loss it is to the history of my operations against the Indians & British in the late war." For a note on the recovery of Reid's journal, many years later, see Heiskell, vol. 2, p. 428. [Back to text]
  75. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, December 21, 1842. Jackson Papers. In the meantime, Kendall had been active on another front, asking Van Buren for any means he might have of shedding light on Jackson, "whether by letters, memoranda or otherwise . . . ." Kendall to Van Buren, Washington, December 7, 1842. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  76. James A. McLaughlin to Kendall, Hermitage, December 26, 1842. Photocopy in Kendall Papers, LC, from original in T.S.L.&A. McLaughlin often appealed to Kendall for better instructions. He once asked: "Would Van Buren's letters to the General on general politics be of any use to you?" And, "Would letters from the General to Mrs. Jackson be useful in any way. I came across a bundle of them but believing them to be of no value to you I only looked at them enough to see that they were full of kindness and affection." McLaughlin to Kendall, Hermitage, January 8, 1843. Photocopy in Kendall Papers, LC, from original in T.S.L.&A. Jackson remarked in a letter to Mrs. Harriet Butler, Hermitage, June 24, 1837, that letters he had written to Mrs. Jackson were destroyed in the Hermitage fire of October 13, 1834. Information on the content of this letter, still in private hands, was supplied to the author by Dr. Robert Remini, University of Illinois, Chicago. Col. Robert Armstrong, reporting to Jackson on the fire, said that the "papers, letter Books, etc." had been saved. Armstrong to Jackson, Nashville, October 14, 1834. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  77. See J. G. Harris to Jackson, Nashville, January 6, 1843. Jackson Papers. Gen. John Armstrong was accompanying Harris. [Back to text]
  78. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, January 10, 1843. Photocopy in Kendall Papers, LC, from original in T.S.L.&A. [Back to text]
  79. Kendall to Jackson, At home, January 27, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  80. McLaughlin to Kendall [Hermitage, January-February, 1843?] Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  81. McLaughlin to Kendall, Nashville, February 24 [and 25], 1843. Photocopy in Kendall Papers, LC, from original in T.S.L.&A. McLaughlin was of the further opinion that Carroll was a "vain, avaricious, old granny." [Back to text]
  82. Jackson wrote to Mrs. Coffee, saying that he would be glad to get her husband's papers "and send them to Mr. Kendall who has all mine." Jackson to Mrs. Mary Coffee, Hermitage, February 10, 1843. Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 204, from original in Dyas Collection, Coffee MSS., Tennessee Historical Society. [Back to text]
  83. Alexander D. Coffee [to Jackson], Hickory Hill, [Ala.], February 16, 1843. Coffee Family Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  84. Jackson to Alexander D. Coffee, Hermitage, February 22, 1843. Coffee Family Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  85. A.D. Coffee to Jackson, Near Florence, March 11, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  86. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, March 20, 1843. Jackson Papers. McLaughlin left on March 17. General Coffee was a great favorite of Jackson and in this letter he said of him: "In the life of Eaton full justice has not been done to either Genl Coffee or Armstrong- there never was a more gallant act than that of Genl Coffee on Emuckfau hights.-" A second long, rambling letter containing reminiscences mixed with commentary on Coffee's papers was sent a few days later. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, March 24, 1843. Jackson Papers. An appreciation of this neglected figure is contained in Heiskell, vol. 1, p. 630-634, and vol. 3, p. 197-198, and in Aaron Boom's "John Coffee, Citizen Soldier," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, vol. 22, Sept. 1963, p. 223-237. [Back to text]
  87. Fragment, [Kendall to Jackson], postmarked March 29, [1843]. Jackson Papers. Jackson's endorsement states March 28, 1843. A large number of holograph letters written by Jackson to Coffee are in the principal correspondence series of the Jackson Papers. It appears that they were included in the Coffee papers sent by the family to Jackson. Letters addressed to Coffee by others are also contained in the Jackson Papers. Many of these "Coffee Papers" have notes in Kendall's hand on the integral covers. At the very least, therefore, Jackson got some of Coffee's papers, forwarded them to Kendall, who read them, and presumably passed them on at a later date to Francis P. Blair, from whom the main group of Jackson Papers descended. [Back to text]
  88. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, April 19, 1843. From a typescript copy in the Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  89. William Stickney, ed., Autobiography of Amos Kendall (Boston and New York, 1872), p. 505. Stickney was Kendall's son-in-law. In his introduction to the Autobiography he declares that the work was prepared in compliance with Kendall's wishes. [Back to text]
  90. Kendall to Jackson, Washington, March 19, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  91. Kendall to Jackson, fragment cited in footnote 87. [Back to text]
  92. Charles J. Ingersoll to F. P. Blair, Philadelphia, March 24, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  93. Charles J. Ingersoll, Gen. Jackson's Fine: an Examination Into the Question of Martial Law (Washington, 1843). [Back to text]
  94. Jackson to William B. Lewis, Hermitage, January 20, 1843 [1844]. Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 183. [Back to text]
  95. Jackson to Ingersoll, Hermitage, February 26, 1844. Jackson Papers. This copy in the Jackson Papers is in another hand, but has a few corrections and additions in Jackson's hand. [Back to text]
  96. Blair to Jackson, Washington, July 30, 1843. Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 225. See also, in the Jackson Papers, a copy, probably made by Blair and sent to Jackson, of a letter from Ingersoll to Blair, Philadelphia, June 5, 1845. In this, Ingersoll had enclosed a long letter from James Gadsden, Charleston, S.C., May 31, 1845, discussing "materials for your history." See note 45. [Back to text]
  97. Kendall to Jackson, Washington, October 21, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  98. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, November 2, 1843. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  99. See, for example, Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, January 9, 1844. Jackson Papers. In this Jackson discusses several errors found in the second number, then adds: "These little errors I note, that you may correct them if you think proper- it is to be precisely accurate I note them, so that you may in a second edition or next part, by a note, correct-" [Back to text]
  100. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, September 10, 1844. Jackson Papers. Jackson said that he had received the fifth number and had earlier received the third and fourth. [Back to text]
  101. In the Rare Book Room, LC, see Amos Kendall, Life of Andrew Jackson, Private, Military, and Civil (New York, 1843-44), nos. 1-7. [Back to text]
  102. The ill feeling between Blair and Kendall had probably developed over a long period. In December 1843 William L. Marcy, who had been in Washington, noted: "Blair and Kendall happened to call on me at the same time- the state of feeling between them is such that they did not speak to each other. They never had gone to this extremity before- I had a conversation with each afterwards- Their feelings towards each other are deeply hostile-" Marcy to Martin Van Buren, Albany, December 1, 1843. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  103. Jackson's will of June 7, 1843, does not make any mention of his papers. See Parton, vol. 3, p. 649, and Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 220-223, where this will is printed. [Back to text]
  104. Jackson to Blair, Hermitage, April 9, 1845. Jackson Papers. The quoted portion of this letter has been damaged, and the text has been taken from Bassett, Corres., vol. 6, p. 397, after comparison with the original. [Back to text]
  105. Jackson to Blair, Hermitage, May 3, 1845. Blair Family Papers, LC. The authority for these remarks is weaker than for those made by Jackson on April 9. It is a typed copy bearing the note: "Letter in office safe." The original of this letter has not been found in the collection of the Library of Congress. It is not printed in Bassett, Corres., nor does Bassett list it in his roster of letters printed elsewhere. See also the papers referred to in footnote 139, relating to Jackson v. Blair, which involved the contest between the Jackson and Blair heirs over possession of Andrew Jackson's Papers. [Back to text]
  106. Jackson to Kendall, Hermitage, May 20, 1845. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  107. Kendall to Jackson, New York, May 31, 1845. Jackson Papers. Kendall must have felt that this would be his last letter to Jackson. He closed, saying, "The glories of earth have been yours; the glories of Heaven await you. Happiest of Mortals; Farewell, Farewell." [Back to text]
  108. Blair to A. Jackson, Jr., Washington, July 21, 1845. Jackson Papers. Blair urged A. J., Jr., to consult with Major William B. Lewis, "a prudent, sagacious man," and also asked for a copy of Jackson's will. [Back to text]
  109. The Diary of James K. Polk is in the Polk Papers, LC. It has been edited and annotated by Milo Milton Quaife and published as The Diary of James K. Polk (Chicago, 1910, 4 vols.). Kendall was still working on his book in the summer of 1845. He was, at the time, detained in New York on business for the telegraph company, when he wrote to his wife: "I should grudge the time more had I not with me a supply of General Jackson's papers, which enable me to progress with my book. I have worked at them to-day until I am wearied . . . ." Kendall to his wife, New York, August 16, 1845. Printed in Stickney, Autobiography, p. 529-530. [Back to text]
  110. F. P. Blair to Andrew Jackson, Jr., Silver Spring, Maryland, October 22, 1842 [1845]. Jackson Papers. Blair advised that the materials in Donelson's hands included "some very important papers among them the rough draft of many official papers containing much to his honor (the Generals), which reasons of state suppressed in the public document as prepared for the exigency, and there is much in them to illustrate the history of his presidency." [Back to text]
  111. Andrew Jackson, Jr., to Amos Kendall, Hermitage, November 15, 1845. Jackson Papers. There has been some editing of this letter in pencil and in a hand other than that of A. J., Jr., most likely F. P. Blair's. The letter has been folded and is addressed to Kendall on an integral address leaf but bears no postmark nor evidence of having been sealed. It evidently was carried by Montgomery Blair to his father in Washington. [Back to text]
  112. Ibid. [Back to text]
  113. F. P. Blair to A. Jackson, Jr., Silver Spring, November 27, 1845. Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  114. In the Andrew Jackson Donelson Papers, LC, there is a pencil copy of a letter marked "verbatim extract," and entitled: "Andrew Jackson Jr.'s letter concerning Gen. Jackson's papers now in the Blair's possession." It is datelined Hermitage, July 4, 1856, but the addressee is not identified. In this, A. J., Jr., discusses the division of the General's papers between Blair and Kendall but declares: "It was no reflection upon any of Gen. Jackson's immediate family that such a disposition of his papers was made." It is also stated in this letter that when asked by the General if he would like to take charge of the papers, A. J., Jr., had replied that he was "young & inexperienced & would greatly prefer, if it met his judgment, to have them left to an able and well-tried friend." [Back to text]
  115. F. P. Blair to Van Buren, Silver Spring, July 7, 1847. Van Buren Papers, LC. Blair noted that Jackson seemed to have had correspondence "with almost every great man of the Republic from the earliest times-" and there were a "very considerable number" of Van Buren's included. William E. Smith, the biographer of the Blair family, indicates that some of the papers in Donelson's hands were acquired by the Blairs. See his The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics (New York, 1933), p. 199, where he states: "A very large box of them [Jackson papers] fell into the hands of A. J. Donelson, who held them until Blair's two sons, James and Montgomery, went to Tennessee to receive them." [Back to text]
  116. F. P. Blair to Van Buren, Silver Spring, August 25, 1847. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  117. Van Buren to F. P. Blair, Lindenwald, June 16, 1849. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  118. F. P. Blair to Van Buren, Silver Spring, July 20, 1849. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  119. F. P. Blair to Van Buren, Silver Spring, November 11, 1849. Van Buren Papers, LC Blair now felt that Kendall would never finish his history "unless it be to make himself the hero of it!" [Back to text]
  120. In a letter written many years later, F. P. Blair said Kendall still retained everything of importance. "He turned over to me nothing but the rubbish, which I employed Robt. Johnson (a very intelligent honest man), to examine carefully and he told me there was nothing of the least value to be found in it." F. P. Blair to W. L. Lewis, October 25, 1859. Bassett, Corres., vol. 1, p. xxi, from original in Ford MSS., New York Public Library. [Back to text]
  121. F. P. Blair to Van Buren, Silver Spring, November 18, 1850. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  122. Holmes Alexander, The American Talleyrand (New York, 1935), p. 422. Alexander says that Jackson, rather than Blair, sent the letters to Van Buren. In December 1856 [?] Van Buren wrote to his close friend, B. F. Butler: "I have obtained my letters to Genl Jackson & can now supply our entire correspondence from the period of our first acquaintance till his death, which will be voluminous. This I mean to publish with large portions of my correspondence with others . . . . The arrangement and selection of these will be a matter of great delicacy & require sound judgment . . . ." Van Buren to B. F. Butler, December 3, [1856?], a fragment filed with B. F. Butler to Van Buren, New York, May 1, 1857. Van Buren Papers, LC. James Schouler in "The Jackson and Van Buren Papers," The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 95, February 1905, p. 217-235, compared the two collections shortly after their arrival in the Library of Congress. He felt that too much that was trivial and insignificant had been preserved in the Jackson Papers, whereas the Van Buren Collection "though seemingly smaller, is choice and valuable, and shows a fine selecting skill in the retrospect." Schouler added that Van Buren's heirs had "shown a pious solicitude . . . for his posthumous fame." [Back to text]
  123. Memorandum [ca. 1904] in Manuscript Division's files relating to Van Buren's papers. There are some 25 letters written by Van Buren retained in the Jackson Papers. [Back to text]
  124. Jackson Hall was dedicated on July 4, 1846. See Washington Topham, "The Old Globe Offices and the Publishers," Records of the Columbia Society, vol. 35-36, 1935, p. 124-132. [Back to text]
  125. Thomas Hart Benton to General Dix, Washington, May 15, 1851. Copy in Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  126. F. P. Blair to Van Buren, Silver Spring, May 14, 1851. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  127. Thomas Hart Benton, Thirty Years' View (New York and Boston, 1854-56), vol. 1, p. 168. [Back to text]
  128. James Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson (Boston, 1859-60), vol. 1, p. viii. See also the discussion of Jackson's biography in Milton E. Flower's James Parton, the Father of Modern Biography (Durham, 1951), p. 47-60, 217-235. [Back to text]
  129. Marquis James, Border Captain, p. 428. F. P. Blair to W. B. Lewis, October 25, 1859, Bassett, Corres., vol. 1, p. xxi, from original in Ford MSS., New York Public Library. [Back to text]
  130. James Parton to Van Buren, New York, November 4, 1859. Van Buren Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  131. Marquis James, Border Captain, p. 428-429. Stickney reports in the Autobiography, p. 685-686, that Kendall was dissatisfied with Parton's Life. "It is a caricature of the noble old hero, and a libel upon his friends." [Back to text]
  132. The earliest substantial biography to intervene between Parton's and Bassett's was William Graham Sumner's, Andrew Jackson as a Public Man (Boston and New York, 1882). Charles Grier Sellers, Jr., in his "Andrew Jackson Versus the Historians," Mississippi Valley Historical Review, vol. 44, March 1958, p. 634, writes that "the melancholy truth is that from Parton's day to our own, hardly more than a half-dozen scholars have worked thoroughly through the available Jackson material." [Back to text]
  133. Stickney relates that he was called to Kendall's bedside a few nights before his death and was told: "I have sent for you, Mr. Stickney, because I want the public to know the reason why I never finished the Life of Jackson. The first was my poverty. I was too poor to collect information from all over the country. Second, every person, with one exception, who had promised material for the work, disappointed me. I could only write what I knew from personal knowledge." Autobiography, p. 686. [Back to text]
  134. Cincinnati Commercial, February 4, 1879. The letters are identified by Roman numerals. Two of them in the Commercial of February 4 bear the numeral XXVI. [Back to text]
  135. Terrell's memorandum is printed in full in Heiskell, vol. 2, p. 430-435. The memorandum was found in Terrell's papers by Congressman John W. Gaines of Nashville, Ibid., p. 426. See also the Nashville Tennessean of April 25, 1909. [Back to text]
  136. Heiskell, vol. 2, p. 432-433. [Back to text]
  137. The papers of the Blair Family, at least, are divided between the Library of Congress and the Princeton University Library. The Blair-Lee Papers at Princeton include most of Francis P. Blair's papers as well as a group of Jackson material. [Back to text]
  138. Congressional Record, 48th Congress, 1st Session, vol. 15, p. 1480, February 29, 1884. Under the date of March 7, 1884 in "Extracts from Minutes of the Joint Committee on the Library," 1861-98, in the Library of Congress Archives, it is indicated that the resolution "was referred to Mr. Voorhees, Mr. Singleton and Mr. Nutting." There are no further entries relating to Jackson in the "Extracts." [Back to text]
  139. The original court papers in the case are in the National Archives in the records of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. See no. 9336, in equity, Jackson v. Blair. [Back to text]
  140. See footnote 105. [Back to text]
  141. Exhibit "W. B. No. 2," extract of letter of June 30, 1845, court papers. [Back to text]
  142. Exhibit "W. B. No. 3," extract of letter of September 4, 1845, court papers. [Back to text]
  143. Point 8 in the Blair's "joint answer," in the court papers [Back to text]
  144. Even in 1885, just a few years after Terrell's discovery of the Kendall trunks in the Globe office, Woodbury and Mary E. Blair, in their "joint answer" filed in Jackson v. Blair, stated that "the papers entrusted to the said Kendall were never delivered by him, or his legal representatives, to the said Francis P. Blair, nor came into the possession of the latter." Montgomery Blair had died in 1883. [Back to text]
  145. William Stickney, the "editor" of Kendall's Autobiography, clearly had access to a large group of Kendall papers. [Back to text]
  146. The Evening Star, Washington, July 25, 1894. [Back to text]
  147. John Fiske to Gist Blair, Cambridge, June 21, 1899. Blair Family Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  148. Gist Blair to John Fiske, [summer 1900?]. Blair Family Papers, LC. In this letter Gist mentions without further comment: "The papers stolen from my father have not recovered [sic]." He also speaks of sending a "revised list of the papers of Gen. J. in this letter." There are several lists in the Blair Family Papers, LC. One of these, a four-page document in the hand of Gist Blair, is titled: "List of General Jackson's papers which appear important being according to number of bundles & from those so termed as Kendall papers-" This is one of the few admissions by the Blairs that papers had ever been received from Kendall. Another such list in the Blair Family Papers declares: "List continued - these are papers (now called) known as Trunk papers & in town in old trunks the bundles are numbered & marked & numbers correspond to following." The word "Trunk" has been written over a very heavy deletion that appears to begin with a "K" and end in "ll" and could have been "Kendall." This list was later typed and refers to "Trunk papers." [Back to text]
  149. Fiske to Gist Blair, Cambridge, July 18, 1900. Blair Family Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  150. Draft, Gist Blair to Fiske, October 31, 1900. Blair Family Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  151. Minna Blair Richey, Montgomery Blair, Gist Blair, and Woodbury Blair to Herbert Putnam, Washington, February 20, 1903. Copy in the files of the Manuscript Division. It was the wish of the donors that the collection be known as the Montgomery Blair Collection. [Back to text]
  152. In the months immediately following the 1903 acquisition Worthington C. Ford, Chief of the Division of Manuscripts, attempted to discover other groups of Jackson letters. He had indifferent success in writing to descendants of the principal figures that had been associated with Jackson. [Back to text]
  153. Nashville Tennessean, April 18, 1909. Since Terrell once had access to both the Kendall and Blair segments of the Jackson Papers and had visited Nashville as well, it would be difficult to say exactly where he may have collected his papers. In December 1909 Gaines visited the Library of Congress to examine the Montgomery Blair Collection and questioned the right of the Blairs to dispose of it. On the day after his visit, Senator Taylor of Tennessee submitted a resolution to the effect that the Committee on the Library be instructed to inquire into the feasibility of buying the Jackson Papers for the same purposes indicated in the earlier Senate resolution of 1884. Later in December, a copy of the Blair's "joint answer" to the bill filed by the Jacksons in 1885 was sent to Senator Wetmore, along with a letter from Woodbury Blair discussing the ownership of the papers. A copy of the Concurrent Resolution and memorandum on the subject are in the case files of the Manuscript Division. Senator Taylor called for the original court papers in Jackson v. Blair (1885-90). His letter is kept with these papers in the National Archives. [Back to text]
  154. The case files of the Manuscript Division contain memoranda, records of telephone calls, and telegrams for the period April 3-6, 1911, relating to the purchase. It was estimated that over 2,000 manuscripts were received. A sale of Jackson manuscripts in 1913 caught the attention of Gaillard Hunt. It was his feeling that it included material that should have been a part of the 1911 purchase, and that there was an understanding to the effect. Nothing came of Hunt's attempt to have his views considered. Involved in the sale were Jackson's original license and marriage certificate; 20 long letters from Jackson to his wife (1798-1820); and 25 or so additional items of correspondence and other papers, including 9 letters from Maj. W. B. Lewis. Manuscript Division's case files. [Back to text]
  155. Report of the Librarian of Congress . . . . 1911 (Washington, 1911), p. 26-27. [Back to text]
  156. Jameson to Bassett, [Washington?] March 14, 1919. Retained copy in Jameson Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  157. Bassett to Jameson, Northhampton, [Mass.] July 28, 1919. Jameson Papers, LC. [Back to text]
  158. Correspondence and other papers reflecting this activity are contained in the Jameson Papers, LC (see "Bassett" and "Jackson" files), and in the Manuscript Division's case files. [Back to text]
  159. There are brief notes dated December 5 and 27 [1930] in the Marquis James Papers, LC, indicating that some Jackson manuscripts were coming into the hands of a New York dealer. [Back to text]
  160. James states in his "Personal Acknowledges": "By a fortunate turn of events the writer had been able to begin his study of them before their existence was known to the Library." Border Captain, p. 430. [Back to text]
  161. Report of the Librarian of Congress . . . 1932 (Washington, 1932, p. 36 [Back to text]
  162. James, Border Captain, p. 430. The Librarian's Annual Report for 1932 gave them the same pedigree. [Back to text]
  163. Memoranda and correspondence in the case files of the Manuscript Division indicate the trend of speculation and the continued attempts to resolve the mystery. Dr. J. F. Jameson in appealing for provenance information from the dealer remarked: "Its emergence is surprising . . . and readers of my report would expect me to account for it, and to state, as well as I can, the history of the collection since it left the possession of the heirs of Amos Kendall." Copy of letter of July 21, 1932, in case files of the Manuscript Division. There is no evidence of a reply either in the case files or in Dr. Jameson's personal papers, LC. [Back to text]
  164. The Jackson Papers were shipped to the Alderman Library at the University of Virginia on December 29, 1941, and returned to the Library of Congress on August 14, 1944. [Back to text]