An autograph letter signed by Duff Green, a former President Jackson loyalist who had abandoned him in favor of John C. Calhoun, to Charles A Wickliffe, an influential Whig Congressman from Kentucky. Duff Green.
An autograph letter signed by Duff Green, a former President Jackson loyalist who had abandoned him in favor of John C. Calhoun, to Charles A Wickliffe, an influential Whig Congressman from Kentucky
An autograph letter signed by Duff Green, a former President Jackson loyalist who had abandoned him in favor of John C. Calhoun, to Charles A Wickliffe, an influential Whig Congressman from Kentucky

An autograph letter signed by Duff Green, a former President Jackson loyalist who had abandoned him in favor of John C. Calhoun, to Charles A Wickliffe, an influential Whig Congressman from Kentucky

Washington, DC to Bardstown, Kentucky: 1833. Envelope or Cover. This three-page stampless folded letter measures 15.5” x 13”. It was signed and dated by Green on the “8th July 1833.” It bears a red circular Washington, DC postmark dated and a red “FREE” handstamp. (There was no charge to send letters to congressmen like Wickliffe.) The letter is in nice shape with short (1”) slits along two mailing folds. Part of one folded blank panel has been removed, possibly by Green to facilitate its sealing before being mailed. Very good. Item #009440

Duff Green had been an influential Missouri politician before he became interested in influencing political outcomes as a journalist. In 1826, he moved to Washington, DC where he purchased The United States Telegraph and used that newspaper to advance Andrew Jackson’s career.

The Telegraph became Jackson’s principal propaganda voice during his presidential campaign, and after he won the election the newspaper continued to be the most important cheerleader for his policies. In turn, Green received patronage payments from Jacksonians amounting to about $50,000 per year, quite a sum at the time.

After a schism developed between Jackson and his Vice-President from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun, over both personal issues and State’s Rights, Green sided with Calhoun. Jackson, in turn, railed against Green. After Jackson stopped Green’s patronage payments, The Telegraph became a virulent anti-Jackson, pro-Calhoun newspaper.

Green recognized that due to the factionalized nature of the U.S. political system (Calhoun Democrats, Federalists, Whigs, Anti-Masonics, and National-Republicans) it would be nearly impossible to defeat Andrew Jackson’s protégé, Martin Van Buren, in the 1836 Presidential Election without taking drastic measures. In this “confidential” letter, Green reaches out to Charles Wickliffe, an independent Whig Congressman from Kentucky. Although a Whig and opposed to Jackson, Wickliffe also opposed many policies of his party’s founders, Henry Clay ad Daniel Webster, including their positions on slavery. Green proposes a radical plan in which they together can foil Jackson and Van Buren:

“The Presidents late trip to the north was a failure Van Buren found it was for Websters benefit and he was compelled to beat a retreat. . . . He relies on party discipline and public patronage, his presses are out for a national convention of the party & he proposed to delay the meeting of the convention until the Spring of 1836 [after] the party must first be consolidated and pledged to act together When that is done the entire patronage of the Government will be exerted to bring a majority into it who will nominate Mr Van Buren. To conduct such a movement would be to ratify Mr Van Buren’s election and to place the power of appointing his successor in the hands of the President. None but the Executive favorite will be nominated by a convention called together and paid by the Executive patronage. . .. How are we to deprive Mr Van Buren of this appeal to the popular feelings? I propose to amend the Constitution, limit the service to one term, [and] give the choice to the people without Electors. . .. The advantage to the South is that it gives them the control of the Election and secures the South against the attempt to agitate the question of Slavery. If it is distinctly understood that the agitation of that question will deprive the candidate who may be in favor of Emancipation of the vote of the South, it will always rally in our favor a strong northern interest . . . having the constitutional argument in our favor. . .. Acting upon the belief that Mr Webster and his [Whig] party would ultimately hold the balance of power in his hands Mr Van Buren has been playing for the federal votes. . .. [We} are compelled to . . . assume a position between Mr Calhoun & Mr Webster. . .. Now what will be the result of our taking a bold and decided stand in favor of a candidate of our principles? . . . Do you not see that it follows that instead of assailing us, the friends of both parties, of all parties will labor to conciliate our good opinion. It follows that as our votes become of importance our principles will become popular and that from a despised and abused minority we will Soon Swell into a historical triumphant majority! . .. Will it not be well enough to move soon and with Spirit? Or will we, as in the late Presidential contest, fold our arms and permit our adversaries to grow rich by abusing us! I should be glad to hear from you and to compare roles with you on the propriety of an early and organized movement.”

Green and Wickliffe apparently never joined together as Wickliffe abandoned his role in the federal government and chose not to run for reelection to his seat in Congress, and Van Buren with Jackson’s endorsement easily won the 1836 Presidential Election, crushing the four candidates who ran against him in the Electoral College.

Green, however, continued to attack Jackson in his newspaper, until it became so intolerable to the President that he dispatched on of his Congressional attack dogs. An entry in John Quincy Adams’s diary notes that Representative James Blair "had knocked down and very severely beaten Duff Green, editor of the Telegraph...." Blair paid a "three hundred dollars fine for beating and breaking [his] bones." Yet, Green’s newspaper continued to harass Jackson until he left office.

A unique testament to the political machinations attempted by one of the most rabid anti-Jacksonians in a futile attempt to thwart the election of President Jackson’s hand-picked successor, Martin Van Buren.

Price: $900.00

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