Skip to main content
View PDF

Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829

I have read the enclosed letter with attention, and if the facts adverted to would warrant the conclusion, the objections would be well founded.

There has been as yet, no important case of removal except Genl Harrison; and I am sure if Mr Richie has read the instructions given to our ministers, who were sent to Panama, he must think the recal of Genl Harrison, not ^only^ a prudent measure, but one which the interest of the country makes indispensibly necessary. I have refered to the case of Genl Harrison only, because I cannot suppose Mr Ritchie has any allusion to the Auditors & Comptroller, who were dismissed, not so much on account of their politics, as for the want of moral honesty.

The Gentleman who has been selected to supply the place of Genl Harrison is, I believe as well qualified, if not better, than any other who would have undertaken the mission to that country.

I would advise the answering of Mr Richie’s letter; and, in the most delicate manner, to put him on his guard with respect to letter writers from Washington. The letter he has extracted from, instead of being from my friend, must be from some disappointed office hunter—one who merely professes to be my friend; or perhaps, from a friend of Mr Clays in disguise. 

How could this letter writer, know what changes were to be made? How can he pretend to foretel, without knowing who are to be appointed, that the changes will be injurious to the public interest? You may assure Mr Richie that his Washington correspondent knows nothing of what will be the course of the President in appointments, or he would have known that the President has not, nor will he ever, make an appointment but with a view to the public good, and the security of the fiscal concerns of the nation. He never has, nor will he, appoint a personal friend to office, unless by such appointment the public will be faithfully served. I cannot suppose Mr Richie would have ^me^ proscribe my friends, merely because they are so. If my personal friends are qualified and patriotic, why should I not be permitted to bestow a few offices on them? For my own part I can see no well founded objections to it. In my Cabinet, it is well known that there is but one man with whom I have had an intimate and particular acquaintance, tho' they are all my friends, and in whom I have the greatest confidence. But even if it were as Mr Richie supposes, I have only followed the examples of my illustrious predecessors, Washington and Jefferson. They took from their own state, bosom friends and placed them in the Cabinet. Not only this, but Genl Washington went even farther—besides placing two of his friends from Virginia near him, he brought into his cabinet Genl Hamilton with whom, if possible, he was upon more intimate terms than I am with any member of my Cabinet. I have drawn your attention to these facts because I apprehend that our friend Mr Richie had not reflected upon the subject, or he would not have suffered himself to be so easily alarmed. I have, I assure you, none of those fears, and forebodings, which appears to disturb the repose of Mr Richie, and his Washington Correspondant. I repeat, it would be well for you to write Mr Richie and endeavour to remove his apprehension of dificulty, & danger. Say to him, before he condemns the Tree, he ought to wait and see its fruit. The people expect reform—they shall not be disappointed; but it must be Judiciously done, & upon principle.

yours respectfully


A. Jackson


[In MVB's hand.]

Mr Ritchie's Letter

to me

Mine to the President

His reply &

mine to Ritchie

Printed in PAJ, 7:132-134.

Jackson returned Thomas Ritchie to MVB, 27 March 1829, to MVB in this letter. 

Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829Andrew Jackson to MVB, 31 March 1829
Source: DLC Library of Congress
Collection: MVB Papers (DLC)
Series: Series 6 (4 March 1829-3 March 1833)