Andrew Jackson ALS, 1828
Jackson, Andrew (1767-1864). President of the United States (1829-1837). ALS, 1p, 8 x 10.25 in. August 24, 1828. Addressed to "Mr. Earle."
Jackson writes to his friend Mr. Earle from his home requesting that he retrieve a letter or article written by a doctor to the editor of the Knoxville Enquirer. If I should appear before the public, I will have to refer to it when looking over a review of the affair with Dickinson, writes Jackson. Mr. Earle is most likely Ralph E. Earl, Jackson's portraitist and close friend. Earl, Jackson's "court painter," was a resident of Nashville and Jackson's confidant. He followed Jackson to the White House and lived with him at the Hermitage until his death in 1838. The letter was possibly written while Jackson was campaigning for the presidency.
"The affair" Jackson refers to is his 1806 duel with Charles Dickinson. Dickinson was the son-in-law of Joseph Ervin. Ervin wagered with Jackson on a horse race. One of Jackson's friends felt Ervin mishandled the bet and spoke against him. Dickinson took personal offense to the slanderous comments and wrote Jackson several letters (as did Jackson) teeming with insults. Tensions escalated until Dickinson published a letter in the Nashville Review, calling Jackson a "worthless scoundrel." Jackson challenged him to a duel.
On the outskirts of Kentucky the two men met, ready to die for honor. Dickinson, an expert marksman, took the first shot inches from Jackson's heart. A wounded Jackson lifted his pistol and misfired. Against protocol, he pulled back his hammer again and shot a fatal bullet through Dickinson. Instead of regaining Jackson's honor, the duel tarnished it. This became a particular juicy nugget of gossip for his political adversaries who frequently referred to it to question Jackson's integrity.
The letter has typical folds and smudging from possible water damage.