Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Andrew Jackson Letter Signed in full as President. Three pages, 7.5" x 12.5", Washington, May 19, 1830, to Major Francis Smith Jackson's. A retained copy of a letter of apology on behalf of Andrew Jackson's adopted son, Andrew Jackson Donelson (a.k.a. Andrew Jackson, Jr.), informing Major Smith that Jackson Jr. was courting his daughter. Jackson's foremost biographer, Robert Remini, noted that Jackson's adopted son, a reckless, gullible and impulsive young man, "was constantly falling in love and then wanting to marry the girl, irrespective of her social and financial standing." (Remini, The Life of Andrew Jackson, p. 220.) In this case, the girl was the daughter of an officer -- certainly making her a proper social match. However, the impulsive Andrew Jr. had completely circumvented all formalities in betrothing himself to his latest love, and thus a mortified President sent his son back to apologize to Major Smith for the indiscretion. Jackson opened, noting: "This will be handed to you by my son, by whom I take occasion to tender to you my thanks for your kind attention to him on his late tour. I am fearful he has committed an error. If he has, I trust, you will ascribe it to this youth, diffidence and inexperience, and allow him to make atonement for it- for which purpose I send him to you. He has made known to me, since his return, the attachment he has formed for your amiable daughter, which he informs me has been expressed to her and if not reciprocated, has at least won her favorable opinion. He has erred in attempting to address your daughter without first making known to you and your lady his honorable intentions, and obtaining your approbation but he has been admonished of this impropriety, and he now waits upon you to confess it. I find his affections are fixed upon her, and if they are reciprocated with your approbation, that he looks upon the step which would follow their sanction as the greatest assurance of his happiness..." His own happiness had "almost vanished" since the loss of his wife in 1828, "except that which flows from his prosperity." Jackson then reassured the major that his son "has been reared in the paths of virtue and morality by his pious and amiable Mother, and I believe has walked steadily in them; is the only hope by which I look to the continuation of my name; and has a fortune ample enough with prudence and economy, and more than enough without them. With these prospects he presents himself again to your daughter. If you have any objections I am sure you will with frankness communicate them to him when he will withdraw from any further suit and desire only to be ranked with your and her friend. I mistake your character if in thus approaching you either he or myself run the least hazard in being misunderstood - It has been a rule with me thro life not to permit the forms of ceremony to prevent a free expression of my feelings on a subject which touches those of others. I will soon be left alone as Mjr. A. J. Donelson and family are preparing to go to Tennessee upon a visit to His disconsolate Mother. In His absence I cannot bear to be separated long from my son. Should his anticipations not be disappointed any arrangements for their completions will be at your pleasure, and on his return to me he will be prepared to meet them..." In the end, Andrew Jackson, Jr. did not wed the major's daughter. However, within a year and a half, he would marry Sarah Yorke, the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia merchant. Ironically, despite the President's assurances as to his son's financial standing, Andrew Jackson Jr., proved to be a terrible businessman and the target of numerous scams and frauds at his expense. He managed to completely dissipate his father's estate within only a few years of the President's death in 1845. An impressive letter revealing important insights into Jackson's sense of honor and propriety and his feelings toward his son's reckless behavior. Provenance: Forest H. Sweet, 1953. Usual folds, some minor marginal tears at left, early catalog description tipped to verso, else very good condition. Ex. Henry E. Luhrs Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 585

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 December 6 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search