JACKSON, Andrew, President. Autograph letter signed ("Andrew Jackson") to William Robinson, Washington, D.C., 8 January 1824. 1 page, 4to, neatly mounted on a larger sheet, otherwise fine.
JACKSON ACKNOWLEDGES THE GIFT OF WASHINGTON'S SADDLE PISTOLS, GIVEN TO WASHINGTON BY LAFAYETTE
Jackson, a national hero widely regarded as "savior of his country" in the aftermath of his stunning victory in the Battle of New Orleans, is presented with an historic pair of saddle pistols given to Washington by his protg, the Marquis de Lafayette. This letter has particular importance as it is the only known letter in which Jackson acknowledges receiving the pistols from Washington's relative, William Robinson: "The pistols, which you tendered me thro Colo. [Charles Fenton] Mercer, have been this day rec'd, and I beg you to accept in return my sincere thanks. You could have offered me nothing more acceptable, as instruments, which in the hands of the father of his country, & of him who was his bosom asociate, contributed to the establishment of the independence we enjoy, they derive additional value, & merit to be considered sacred & holy relics. I shall keep them Sir, feelingly impressed with a remembrance of their peculiar history; and of the kindness of yourself expressed towards me in their presentation."
Although there is no record of an official presentation, it is almost certain that the officer's saddle pistols referred to in this letter were given to Washington by Lafayette. The pistols were manufactured in Metz, where Lafayette was at one time stationed. The pistols passed to the wife of William Robinson, a collateral descendent of Washington. Robinson, in turn, presented the pistols to Andrew Jackson as a tribute to his outstanding services during the War of 1812. During his visit to the United States in 1825, Lafayette was shown the pistols when he visited Jackson, and confirmed that they were the same pistols he had given to Washington years before. On his death, Jackson willed the pistols to Lafayette's son; today this remarkable pair are privately owned, and are presently exhibited at Jackson's home, the Hermitage.