President Andrew JACKSON. - Washington IRVING.
A 3pp. autograph letter signed, New York, Feb 19th 1834, to Francis Barber Ogden, the U.S. Consul for the Port of Liverpool, England, with seal and address panel (name obscured). Irving thanks Ogden for his contribution of ‘ten dollars towards the [Thomas Apthorpe] Cooper benefit … The papers will have shown you what a very excellent benefit we we had: three thousand dollars of the proceeds are invested ... for [the] Cooper family’. He goes on to report that ‘a few nights since [Cooper] … had a crowded house … at the Bowery Theatre, when his eldest daughter [Priscilla Cooper] appeared for the first time in the part of Virginia’. She apparently was not great as a ‘tragic’ actress (better in genteel comedies perhaps?), but he goes on ‘I confess, however, I deeply regret her having been brought forward in dramatic life, and I understand that it was very much against her own inclination’.
Irving then turns to the political situation: ‘We have hard times here as you will see by the contents of the Newspapers. The Old General [President Jackson] has set his face against the bank & the bank is screwing the public. Some how or other we [are] always certain to have a vast deal of …. misery of our own creation in this free and peaceable and prosperous country. Our bread is buttered on both sides but we will quarrel and fret and fume as to the way it is to be put into our mouths.’
Condition: Ogden’s name obscured twice (probably by Ogden, see images), repairs and creases [see images], but complete and legible.
This interesting letter from Irving is to an ex-colleague: both Irving and Ogden were appointed to their diplomatic positions in England in 1830 by Andrew Jackson. Much earlier, Ogden had served as Jackson’s ‘aide-de-camp’ at the Battle of New Orleans. Irving reports on a skirmish in Jackson’s fight against Andrew Biddle, and others, and the Second National Bank: this culminated in the so-called ‘Bank War’. Coincidentally, Irving’s earlier mention of Priscilla Cooper (1816-1889) also has Presidential connections: she married Robert Tyler in 1839. Robert’s father John Tyler stood as Vice-President in the 1840 election. After the sudden death of President William Henry Harrison, Tyler became President. By this time President Tyler’s wife Priscilla was a semi-invalid and they asked their daughter-in-law Priscilla to assist the President as White House hostess. Described as extroverted, attractive, intelligent and witty, she became the ‘de facto’ First Lady. She was also the first woman acting as First Lady to accompany the President as an official member of the Presidential party, accompanying John Tyler to Boston for the dedication of the Bunker Hill Monument in 1843.