« PreviousContinue »
PREFACE TO VOLUME 3.
This volume completes the work Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History and I feel that it is due the public to extend thanks for the very cordial reception given it during the past three years. It has been sold in forty-two States, the Canal Zone and Paris, France, and many strong testimonials and endorsements have been sent me from various parts of the United States. Old friends who helped in the last edition rendered material aid in this and new friends came forward also.
My thanks are tendered to Hon. John K. Shields, Col. John B. Brownlow, Capt. Wm. Rule, Judge Hugh L. McClung, J. Harry Price, Miss Mary U. Rothrock, Mrs. Inez Deaderick, Miss Mary Nelson, Mrs. Tapley Portlock, Hon. L. D. Smith, Hon. James Maynard and Miss May Rogers all of Knoxville;
To Milton B. Ochs of Chattanooga;
To Hon. John W. Gaines, Mrs. Bettie M. Donelson, Col. John Trotwood Moore, W. E. Beard, and Miss Will Allen Dromgoole, all of Nashville;
To Adolph S. Ochs of New York; Col. Sam King and Mrs, Blanche Laffitte of Bristol, Tenn.; Wm. Heiskell Brown and Miss Sophie Brown of Greeneville, Tenn.; Dean Albert C. Holt of Tusculum College near Greeneville; Dr. Archibald Henderson of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Mr. Sam'l M. Wilson, Lexington, Kentucky; Hon. T. A. E. Weadock of Detroit, Michigan; Mrs. Sarah W. N. Leonard of Baltimore, Maryland; Hon. Gideon Morgan of Mayes County, Oklahoma; Mr. and Mrs. W. O. Hart of New Orleans, Louisiana; E. W. Hughes and Miss Myrtle Leonard of Washington County, Tennessee; Congressional Libary, Washington, D. C.; Newberry Library, and Arthur Meeker, Chicago; Otto Bernet of the American Art Association of New York and Bureau of National Literature, New York, H. M. Williams. President.
I am more and more convinced that the proper way to write history and the most efficient way to study it, is through complete documents, and hence there are introduced entire here some of
the strongest of Jackson's State Papers. These papers are known to but few Americans and have been seen by a less number, yet a study of them is necessary to anything like an adequate apprehension of the great force and patriotic strength of Jackson as a man and of the moves of his two administrations.
So entire documents of other kinds have been inserted here which were fast growing scarce, with total extinction by time or fire or accident evidently not far away.
May I be permitted to express the opinion that I have presented here a juster estimate of Mrs. Andrew Jackson, Peggy O'Neal and Hon. W. G. Brownlow, and have created a better historical setting for all three. The treatment accorded to Mrs. Jackson and Peggy O'Neal is among the super infamies of politicians and newspapers of Jackson's day. I have examined every scrap of evidence affecting the character of both and find not a whisper against Mrs. Jackson except the trip of Jackson with Mrs. Robards and some of her friends on a boat to Natchez. This of course, according to Mrs. Grundy's code of social ethics was unpardonable, and by those who tremble at Mrs. Grundy's frown, must be conceded to be indiscreet. But that would never have been thought of if the rumored divorce had turned out to be true, or if Jackson had never been a candidate for president. This gave Jackson's enemies a club to strike with and the slander factories material to operate on.
The assaults on Peggy O'Neal's character were investigated by both friend and foe, and the charges against her found not to have even one leg to stand on. Two unscrupulous preachers, J. W. Campbell at Washington and E. S. Ely in Philadelphia, were two of the busiest calumnators. Campbell collected some slanderous gossip, carried it to Ely and procured him to carry it to Jackson and that started the investigation. Ely himself went to New York to investigate the hotel register which he had told Jackson, on the authority of Campbell, gave the evidence of Maj. Eaton and Peggy having registered there as man and wife, and found Campbell's charge baseless. It was with a view to sound to the bottom all of the venerable slanders against Mrs. Eaton that I read everything tangible or evidential alleged against her, and have reproduced the many pages that appear in this volume so that the reader can form an opinion for himself.
So far as Gov. Brownlow is concerned no one writer, whatever his force or learning, can at this day eliminate all the prejudice
against him in many sections of the country. It will have to be left to the slow process of time. Union men and their descendants will laud the Governor forever; secessionists and their descendants will condemn him. His fame is inseparately bound up in the controversy of Union against Secession, and as the champions of secession mellow in their opinions, so will they mellow toward Brownlow. In their bitterness toward him because he was a Union man, his enemies have always ignored the fact that in all respects except the preservation of the Union, Brownlow was a southern man through and through. He was an out-spoken champion of slavery and was himself a slave-holder. He was bitter but everybody was bitter in that vast contest of war. He was one of the best hated men in all history, and also one of the most lavishly praised, and both on account of a public question. Few personal charges were made against him. His personal integrity could not be questioned. He was simple in habits and appearance and fully looked the part of a Methodist preacher all over, which he was. The kindliest of neighbors, he was charitable to those in want and in all personal relations a model citizen. I never saw the Governor but twice; once in the last illness of my father when he called one Sunday afternoon to pay his respects; and once in 1876 in Staub's Theatre in Knoxville, when Henry S. Foote, a former member of the Confederate Congress, was making a speech for Hayes and Wheeler, as an Elector for the State at Large in Tennessee, when Gov. Brownlow, in bad health, was lying on a couch on the stage.
In Eastern Tennessee, occupied as it was successively by the Confederate and Unions armies, there was infinite bitterness, followed by reprisals by both sides, and with Brownlow's terrific. denunciation of disunion men, it has always been a wonder to me he was not killed a hundred times.
I think I may confide to the reader that the completion of this third volume mark's the fruition of an expectation of a lifetime, indulged in from boyhood and the fulfillment of which never for a moment was ever doubted, namely, that the time would come when I would be the author of a work or works on some historical or economical subject.
My father decreed that I should be a lawyer, my mother wanted