Thomas Jefferson Papers

Andrew Jackson to Thomas Jefferson, 6 February 1822

From Andrew Jackson

Hermitage Feby 6th 1822

Dr Sir,

While Doctr Thos G. Watkins Resided in this state; there was a considerable difference between him & myself—which I am informed has operated much to the Docts prejudice—

He calld on me yesturday at my house for the purpose of reconcilliation.1 He made such explanations as has induced me to restore him to the standing he occupied in my estimation before the unpleasant difference—took place

At his request it affords me pleasure to make this communication—

I am happy to learn from the Doctr that you continue to enjoy good health in your old age—

may this long continue & your life be preserved many years for the benefit of society & the literary world is the fervent wish of your sincere friend & obt Set.

FC (DLC: Jackson Papers); entirely in Jackson’s hand; endorsed by Jackson, in part: “Copy of a letter to Mr Jefferson on the subject of Thos G Watkins.” Not recorded in SJL and probably never received by TJ.

The considerable difference between Jackson and Thomas G. Watkins began when Watkins signed a petition honoring Charles Henry Dickinson after Jackson killed him in a duel in May 1806. Watkins then physically assaulted Jackson’s friend Thomas Augustine Claiborne that July over the same controversy. John Sommerville wrote to Jackson on 4 Feb. 1822 from Nashville, informing him that Watkins was still being criticized for his alleged misconduct in 1807 relating to his patient Polly H. Davis’s will and urging Jackson to help Watkins regain public favor “by giving him the hand of friendship and of reconciliation” through a letter to TJ and another, not found, to James Madison (Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 11 vols. description ends , 2:101–9, 5:141–3, quote on p. 143).

1Omitted period at right margin editorially supplied.

Index Entries

  • Claiborne, Thomas Augustine; T. G. Watkins assaults search
  • Davis, Polly H.; will of search
  • Dickinson, Charles Henry; duel with A. Jackson search
  • dueling search
  • Jackson, Andrew; and T. G. Watkins search
  • Jackson, Andrew; and TJ’s health search
  • Jackson, Andrew; duel with C. H. Dickinson search
  • Jackson, Andrew; letter from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and conflict between A. Jackson and T. G. Watkins search
  • Sommerville, John search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; and A. Jackson search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; and P. H. Davis’s will search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; and TJ’s health search
  • Watkins, Thomas G.; assaults T. A. Claiborne search