Andrew Jackson As A Treason Project - Pt 2
April 28, 2012 • 2:00PM

By Anton Chaitkin

This report was originally published in Executive Intelligence Review in December 2007 as part of The American Patriot series. We will be publishing it in three separate parts over the next several days. This is the second installment. Part 1 Part 3

Burr's and Van Buren's Jackson Project

The early Democratic Party was shaped principally by two rather overtly satanic personalities, New York political boss Martin Van Buren, and later, Rothschild financier and speculator August Belmont. The party came into being in the late 1820s around Burr's and Van Buren's project of making a celebrity President out of the thuggish Tennessee feudalist, Andrew Jackson.

Jackson began his career as a debt-collecting lawyer on the Tennessee frontier, after the American Revolution. His physical courage, strength, and endurance, his absolute ignorance of history or moral ideas, his intense rages, and his habit of shooting opponents made Jackson a valuable asset to the wealthiest land barons, slave traders, and speculators who were his clients and initial sponsors.

Frontier Tennessee was being pulled in two directions. In the tradition of pioneer patriot leader Daniel Boone, revolutionary militia chief John Sevier served as the popular first governor, after Tennessee was admitted to the Union as a state. Sevier and his associates worked for the orderly settlement and progress of the western United States. Opposed to Sevier and his supporters, were oligarchs and adventurers—including Jackson—concentrated in Nashville and western Tennessee, forming a political faction led by William Blount. Blount was accounted a pro-British "Federalist."

At the outset of the independent republic, Spain, not the United States, controlled the lower Mississippi River, New Orleans, and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. American settlers to the west of the Appalachian Mountains had as yet no practical means of transporting goods to the East Coast or Europe, except on the Mississippi and its tributaries, and thus had to traverse foreign territory. This American vulnerability in relation to the unstable Spanish Empire was a source of anxiety to the Union's defenders, and a lever of intrigue for the Spanish and, more importantly, for the British, who still had regular Army outposts (before the Jay Treaty, 1795), and Indian allies and irregular forces operating all around the American frontier. Adding to the problem was the fact that North Carolina, which had included the region of Tennessee, had at first rejected the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. government commenced operations under the Constitution early in 1789. On Feb. 13, a few days before the First Congress went into session, the 21-year-old Andrew Jackson addressed a letter to his fellow intriguer, the district militia commander Daniel Smith.12Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, John Bassett, ed., (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1926-35), Vol. 1, p. 16. In the letter Jackson introduced Smith to a French-born Spanish army officer and intelligence agent named Andrew Fagot, who was working to bring the western American settlements under Spanish control. Jackson transmitted Fagot's request to serve as an intermediary for disgruntled Americans to break their allegiance to the U.S.A. and make a treaty with the Spanish Governor of the Louisiana Territory, Estaban Miró. The charitable construction put on this and the subsequent transactions of what became known as the "Spanish Conspiracy," is that Jackson and his older colleagues did not view the United States as necessarily a permanent entity. Militia commander Smith sent Fagot back to Governor Miró, with a message accepting Fagot as the faction's representative.13Ibid., p. 17. Miró then wrote to the Spanish government: "The inhabitants of the Cumberland [i.e., Tennessee] ... would in September send delegates to North Carolina ... to solicit from the legislature ... an act of separation," which would place "the Territory under the dominion of His Majesty."14Quoted in Burke Davis, Old Hickory: A Life of Andrew Jackson (New York: The Dial Press, 1977), p. 19. In October 1790, Jackson received from Governor Miró, without payment, a valuable tract of Mississippi riverfront land 30 miles north of Natchez, where Jackson commenced erecting a slave plantation.

The George Washington Administration concluded a treaty with Spain in 1795, for the right of cargo deposit in New Orleans, which, with the admission of Tennessee to the Union in 1796, might have calmed the treasonous intrigues with the Spanish. But the British—at the time the world's only superpower—now came directly into play.

Faction leader William Blount went to the U.S. Senate. Andrew Jackson, whom Blount had boosted into politics, went to the House of Representatives. Eleven months after taking his seat, Blount was expelled from the Senate (July 8, 1797), for leading a plot to recruit American settlers and Indian tribes to aid the British military to seize the Gulf coast from Spain. The Blount forces designated Jackson as Blount's replacement, and Jackson was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat by the state legislature.

In this period Blount and Jackson both worked closely with Aaron Burr, who was a Senator until March 1797. Burr, who would launch the "Jackson for President" project, was connected by marriage to the highest-level British army and espionage leaders, and his New York political apparatus included British army colonel and intelligence officer Charles Williamson.

While he was U.S. Vice President, Burr fatally shot Alexander Hamilton (July 11, 1804), in a duel over Hamilton's exposé of Burr's treason. The coroner's jury returned a verdict of murder, and Burr fled to South Carolina, then to Philadelphia, where he conferred with Colonel Williamson, who had just escorted a new British ambassador, Anthony Merry, back from London to Washington. Merry then wrote back to the Foreign Office, "I have just received an offer from Mr. Burr ... to lend his assistance to his majesty's government in any matter in which they may think fit to employ him, particularly in endeavoring to effect a separation of the western part of the United States from that which lies between the Atlantic and the mountains, in its whole extent."15Merry to Harrowby, Aug. 6, 1804, taken from the British archives in the late 19th Century and quoted in Henry Adams, History of the United States of America in the First Administration of Thomas Jefferson (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921) Vol. II, p. 395. Colonel Williamson would immediately take Burr's proposals to Britain's Foreign Secretary Lord Harrowby.

To effect this scheme, Burr's confederate Edward Livingston, formerly New York's mayor, had moved to Louisiana, when the United States gained control of it in 1803. Livingston and British intelligence agent James Workman formed the Mexican Association of New Orleans, whose avowed purpose was to seize Louisiana, and, together with a British naval force, conquer Spanish-controlled Mexico.

In May 1805, Burr arrived in Nashville, and spent nearly a week with Jackson at his home, the Hermitage. Jackson, then a major general of the Tennessee militia, began recruiting mercenaries for Burr's private army, and arranged for boats to float them down the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. Shortly after Burr departed, Jackson killed a man in a duel. Burr went to New Orleans to arrange the insurrection, and returned in August to spend another week with Jackson.

Burr came back to the Hermitage again in September 1806, and Jackson arranged for him to be honored at a public ball as a "true and trusty friend of Tennessee."16Davis, op cit., footnote 14, p. 51. In November 1806, Burr sent Jackson an order and $3,500 in cash for five boats and military provisions. Jackson had work started on the boats and got 75 men recruited for the Burr expedition.

When a stranger stopped at the Hermitage, blabbing about the Burr plot to divide the Union, which the stranger was on his way to join, Jackson was alarmed at how widely and indiscriminately known the scheme had become. He sent out messages designed to put himself and Burr in the clear; he warned of a plan to divide the Union, and named U.S. Gen. James Wilkinson as the mastermind.

Meanwhile, Jackson expedited the building of the boats for Burr. The first legal action was taken against Burr's treason shortly afterward.

Wilkinson, whom Burr had sought to aid the plot, wrote to President Jefferson and exposed Burr. In November, Jefferson issued a proclamation warning of a conspiracy, ordering the plotters arrested, and asking patriotic citizens to aid their government. When the boats Burr had ready in Ohio were seized by state authorities, Burr returned to the Hermitage and Jackson gave him two of the boats under their contract, and sent his nephew along with the Burr expedition.

Secretary of War Henry Dearborn sent Jackson a letter (received Jan. 1, 1807), declaring that "it is industrially reported" among the Burr plotters "that they are to be joined by two regiments under the Command of General Jackson...." Dearborn asked Jackson to prove the reports wrong by helping to defeat the conspiracy.

Aaron Burr was arrested for treason while attempting to flee in disguise into Spanish territory. At Burr's trial in Richmond, Va., Jackson was subpoenaed as a star witness. During the trial, Jackson went into the streets to harangue the crowd against President Jefferson, as a coward who backs down in the face of British aggression, but persecutes and tortures Aaron Burr. This rhetoric against the anti-British Jefferson made Jackson very popular with tory political forces in the South.

Jackson told Burr's friend and Richmond defender, Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke, that Burr was innocent, that Wilkinson must be blamed for the conspiracy and for betraying Burr. In this period, Jackson and Randolph were members of a national faction known as the Quids, enemies of Jefferson who accused him of selling out the anti-nationalist cause. Randolph managed to become foreman of the grand jury for the Burr case, and the only evidence against Burr they allowed was an ambiguous letter to General Wilkinson. Such evidence as the British ambassador's letter on Burr's proposal was not known of until much later. The jury found Burr not guilty.

At the trial, Jackson made the acquaintance of Samuel Swartwout, Burr's lieutenant and main assistant in the conspiracy, who had transmitted a letter in code from Burr to Wilkinson. Swartwout's brother John, Burr's longest-standing assistant, had waited in Burr's home while Burr was shooting Hamilton, and fled New York after the duel to avoid prosecution as a murder accomplice.

Burr met again with Jackson in Tennessee months after the trial. Burr (still under murder indictment) and Samuel Swartwout then went to England. Swartwout made arrangements with the British secret intelligence service's top strategist, Jeremy Bentham, for Burr to live with Bentham while in exile there.

Burr's sponsor, and later Andrew Jackson's most avid international supporter, Bentham had published famous defenses of usury and pederasty. Bentham had written with contempt in October 1776, against the defense of human rights in America's July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence: "This they 'hold to be' a 'truth self-evident.' At the same time, to secure these rights they are satisfied that Government should be instituted. They see not ... that nothing that was ever called Government ever was or ever could be exercised but at the expense of one or another of those rights, that ... some one or other of those pretended unalienable rights is alienated.... In these tenets they have outdone the extravagance of all former fanatics."

We note that Arthur Schlesinger gushes, "Jeremy Bentham, the great English reformer, confided to Jackson, as one liberal to another, that he [agreed with Jackson's] doctrine of rotation [appointing supporters to public offices]."17Schlesinger, op cit., footnote 2, p. 46.

Burr and Swartwout returned to New York in 1812; Burr's remaining legal difficulties were apparently quietly overcome by Treasury Secretary Gallatin. Swartwout began serving as Jackson's political aide and New York agent. Burr resumed a legal practice, a pioneer in what became the infamous tradition of Wall Street lawyers.

He had been put back into the game by the British Empire's anti-American strategist, Bentham. Burr now sought to turn American politics out of the nationalist consensus, using a front-man, his recent co-conspirator, Andrew Jackson, who was at that time a militia general, being counseled by Burr's aide Swartwout.

The British Army invaded Louisiana in 1815, at the very end of the War of 1812. Their inhuman officers threw the British troops against invulnerable American defenses manned by expert Kentucky riflemen, whose commander was Gen. Andrew Jackson. The resulting slaughter of the British soldiers was the final event of the war, actually following the signing in Europe of a peace treaty, about which the combatants were not yet informed. During the buildup to the Battle of New Orleans, Burr's lieutenant Edward Livingston served as Jackson's aide-de-camp.

Burr now went into action on a one-man crusade promoting Jackson for President of the United States, based on his fame as a military hero. Burr worked initially through his son-in-law, Joseph Alston, the ex-governor of South Carolina. He told Alston that the hated Monroe must be kept out of the Presidency at all costs; the Virginia Presidential dynasty, Washington-Jefferson-Madison-Monroe, must be aborted, now that it was under nationalist control. Burr's role must be kept from the public: "I could wish to see you prominent in the execution of it [lobbying for Jackson's candidacy]," Burr wrote to Alston. "It must be known to be your work."18Burr to Alston, Nov. 29, 1815, quoted in Milton Lomask, Aaron Burr: Conspiracy and Years of Exile, 1805-1836 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982), pp. 366-367.

Alston died soon afterward. But it was Burr's men Samuel Swartwout and Edward Livingston who pushed the Jackson Presidential candidacy over the next few years.

Swartwout continued as Jackson's confidential advisor, and manipulator. He goaded Jackson to attack as a "corrupt bargain," the election of John Quincy Adams and Adams' appointment of Henry Clay as Secretary of State; this became the main point of Jackson's eventually successful campaign for the Presidency.

Jackson as President would appoint Samuel Swartwout Collector of the Port of New York, a very powerful and the most lucrative office the President could award. Swartwout was eventually driven from office on charges of embezzlement. Later Jackson would appoint Livingston Secretary of State.

This is the second part of a three part blog series. Part 1 Part 3


12Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, John Bassett, ed., (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1926-35), Vol. 1, p. 16.
13Ibid., p. 17.
14Quoted in Burke Davis, Old Hickory: A Life of Andrew Jackson (New York: The Dial Press, 1977), p. 19.
15Merry to Harrowby, Aug. 6, 1804, taken from the British archives in the late 19th Century and quoted in Henry Adams, History of the United States of America in the First Administration of Thomas Jefferson (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921) Vol. II, p. 395.
16Davis, op cit., footnote 14, p. 51.
17Schlesinger, op cit., footnote 2, p. 46.
18Burr to Alston, Nov. 29, 1815, quoted in Milton Lomask, Aaron Burr: Conspiracy and Years of Exile, 1805-1836 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982), pp. 366-367.

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