Autograph Letter Signed (to William L. Marcy?). Genet, dmond, harles.
A Christmas Gift from Edmond Genet to “Our Illustrious President” Andrew Jackson

Autograph Letter Signed (to William L. Marcy?).

Prospect Hill, December 21, 1831. Item #717

4to. 260 x200 mm., [10 ¼ x 8 inches].  1 page, plus small portions of two other pages (folio sheet, folded), approximately 150 words. Written in ink, Moderate brown stain toward center obscuring a number of words.  Letter laid down into marginal paper supports.


This letter discusses Genet's enclose Christmas gift for President Andrew Jackson (which the verso of the letter indicates to be a medallion bearing the head of Julius Caesar). Genet begs the recipient (thought to be  William L. Marcy, U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State), to give Jackson the gift, because: "no one I believe at Washington, being better than you, acquainted with my humble history in this country, as an unchangeable Republican and a zealous friend of General Jackson." Genet wished to deliver the gift to Jackson personally, but Jackson's proposed visit to Albany never materialized.


The letter is significant for several reasons. It demonstrates Genet's continued involvement with the highest political men in America, as well as his commitment to democratic ideals (now translated for the Jacksonian age). A Governor of New York, Senator, and Secretary of State, Marcy was influential on American foreign policy, and the letter demonstrates Genet's intimacy with him. "...be then My dear Sir, my Interpreter near him, and add to my letter, with your usual eloquence, what my rusticated style has not been able to express."


The contact between Genet and Jackson came at an important moment of U.S.-French relations, a subject of continuous interest to Genet, the first minister of the French Republic to the United States. President Jackson had sent William Rives as representative to France to try to negotiate a settlement of the "Beaumarchais claim," a claim by the family for repayment for services rendered by their ancestor to the American Revolution. Rives was also seeking reparations against the French for their role in the commercial crisis that preceded the War of 1812. In 1830, the U.S. had manipulated wine tariffs as a weapon in the negotiations, but by 1831 both sides were finally agreeing to settlements which favored American claims. Genet's "small hommage" to Jackson cannot have failed to figure in the President's perception of France at this crucial time in the diplomatic relationship of the two countries.


Jackson and Genet did occasionally correspond, and two letters dated 1831 are held by the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library.

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Price: $525.00

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