2 pages, 4to, blank integral, autograph address leaf (expertly repaired)." />
3 December 2010
JACKSON, Rachel (1767-1828). Autograph letter signed ("Rachel Jackson"), to Andrew Jackson Donelson, her nephew, Hermitage 19 October 1818. 2 pages, 4to, blank integral, autograph address leaf (expertly repaired).
"PURE AND UNDEFILED RELIGION IS THE GREATEST TREASURE ON EARTH"
An emotional and fervent letter from the future First Lady, imparting tragic news of the death of an uncle, mentioning Andrew Jackson, and offering religious advice as "a Second Mother" to her nephew at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (Mrs. Jackson's misspellings are retained): "...I feel so much interest for your welfare in every situation of your jurney through this varigated Life. My Dear young friend, think not that I flatter you when I tell you how gratifying it is to me that in all your Deportment thus far you meet our highest Expectations and may you go on and prosper in every Laudible undertaking is the Sincere wish of a Second Mother. O Andrew Death has made an other Demand & has Lost an other favourite Brother, your uncle Severn Donelson... He died with the Dropsey in the Chest, has left Seven small Children. The lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. My heart is sorrowfull indeed..." The Jacksons would adopt one of Severn Donelson's children, Andrew Jackson Donelson.
She mentions the absence of her husband: "Your Uncle Jackson has been from home going on five weeks. I hope he will be at home next week;" then makes several fervent religious admonitions: "Permit me Andrew as a Mother to drop you a few hints. I am Sincere & in earnest and I speak as one that has authority. That experience convinces me that pure and undefiled religion is the greatest treasure on Earth and all the amiable qualities hangs on that... I have had the symbols of the body and blood of a crucified redeemer. O what a priviledg. O that my Friends would fly to his Expanded arms, imbibe his Spirit, Emulate the Example and obey his Commands... Let us often heare from you. I am looking for your Uncle next weeke... Farewell my Dear Nephew, may that God who holds the Distiney of all men in his hands order your Distiney happy, in every sense of the word. Receive my blessing. Your affectionate Aunt..."
Jackson married Rachel Donelson in August 1791, before her divorce from her abusive husband Lewis Robards had become final. Upon realizing he and his wife had unwittingly committed bigamy, Jackson conducted a second marriage ceremony in January 1794. This did nothing to stop his opponents in the 1828 election from using this episode to smear both husband and wife. Jackson was convinced that the mortifying publicity hastened Rachel's death in December 1828. At her funeral he said: "In the presence of this dear saint, I can and do forgive all my enemies. But those vile wretches who have slandered her must look to God for mercy."
RARE. Only three Rachel Jackson letters have sold at auction in the last 40 years.
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