Spectacular 4 pp, 8 x 10, Philadelphia, March 18th, 1831, written
by one M. Cone to brother, providing intensive and extraordinary detail into
the rift between Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun.
The Cone family was an early notable family in Philadelphia. Our writer, M. Cone, provides superlative insight and details of the fight between President Andrew Jackson and Vice President John C. Calhoun, which resulted in Calhoun’s resignation.
The relationship problems began during the Seminole War when Jackson was a general and Calhoun was President James Monroe’s Secretary of War. The rift continued when Calhoun became Jackson’s vice president. Two issues in particular increased the conflict between the men -- the Nullification Crisis and the Petticoat Affair. Calhoun supported South Carolina’s right to nullify federal tariff legislation, which, he believed, unfairly favored the North. While Vice President, Calhoun’s wife organized Cabinet wives (petticoats) against Peggy Eaton, wife of Secretary of War John Eaton. The wives alleged that the Eatons engaged in an adulterous affair and refused to socialize with them. This created an intolerable situation for Jackson.
Our writer begins by providing an overview of family health issues, but highlights individual and important details of the rift between Jackson and Calhoun, claiming that the Jackson Party is completely split apart. “Jackson and Calhoun are in open war, with Jackson accusing Calhoun of deceit regarding the Seminole War.” As Secretary of War under President Monroe, Calhoun ordered Jackson, a general at the time, to lead the invasion of Florida during the Seminole War.
In part, “…The Jackson party has split completely. The President [Andrew Jackson] and Vice President [John C. Calhoun] are at open war. Mr. Calhoun has issued a pamphlet containing his correspondences with Gen. Jackson, which terminated in a decided rupture. It is evident that Mr. Calhoun considers [Martin] Van Buren as the principal actor. The President accused Calhoun of having acted a deceitful part towards him, respecting the Seminole War. He believed until lately, he said, that Mr. C while a member of Mr. Monroe’s Cabinet, had entirely approved of his [Jackson’s] conduct in taking possession of Pensacola [FL] and H. Marks, whereas he now finds he was at that time inimical to him, proposing his arrest and that notwithstanding he had constantly expressed a friendship for him. Mr. Calhoun proves satisfactorily that the general knew at the time that in his opinion he had transgressed his orders, but having believed that his motive for doing so was good and patriotic he had consequently been his friend since and had promoted his election. Mr. [William] Crawford [Secretary of the Treasury], who was one of Mr. M’s [Monroe’s] Cabinet at that period, has acted…in revealing the secrets of the Cabinet (which are always deemed sacred) and for the vile purpose too of injuring Mr. Calhoun’s popularity. The Gen. appears at great disadvantage in this affair. Mr. Crawford prostrated having in a letter addressed to Mr. Calhoun been greatly of falsehood and Mr. Calhoun’s vindication is complete. It is said the latter intends to be a candidate for the next Presidency for the purpose of defeating Jackson’s reelection who has kindly consented to yield as he says to the people’s wishes and serve another term should they so will it. Should this be the case, Clay’s success is certain. It indeed seems probable at any rate that he will succeed. The Jackson Party is going downhill fast. It is, however, mortifying to all Americans who feel for the dignity of their country to see their rulers appear to the world in so unfavorable a light. It is ever injurious to the cause of freedom and of republicks everywhere, that such degrading scenes should occur here where a good example should be set. The President goes on with his reforms and has within a few days displaced Commodore Bainbridge from his station in the Navy Yard and has appointed Commodore Warrington in his stead. I really consider Jackson a fool as well as an ignorant, furious and vindictive man. I have often thought he was a mere Puppet in the hands of Van Buren but a letter, which appears in Calhoun’s book, written by the Gen. at the Hermitage, when he had no one with him to consult, is so miserably penned as to give a convincing proof of his want of capacity. I think I see you simile at my venturing to discuss Politicks, but not recollecting anything else at this moment that would be so likely to interest you, I have written more on this subject than I had first intended…Your sincerely attached sister M. Cone”
Light toning, folds, very readable.
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