July 19, 1829

President Andrew Jackson Writes of His Loneliness in the White House

Autograph Letter Signed
1 page
SMC 518
President Jackson, installed in the White House but four months, writes poignantly of his loneliness there:
 
I am very lonesome, my son being absent, & my health is not good, & my mind much perplexed with thought.
 
He tells Earle that he is anxious to see him, and grateful to hear that he will be with him soon.
 
Jackson’s White House, it needs to be noted, was a lonely place for the president. Despite guests for dinner every night; the live-in presence of his daughter-in-law, his niece and nephew, their cousins, and more children of all ages than have ever lived in the White House since – and permanent guest Ralph Earle, as well; Jackson desperately missed his wife Rachel, who had died shortly before his inauguration, only six months earlier.
 
The President’s reference to his health being “not good” is noteworthy, too – if only as a marvel of understatement. Chronically infected, prone to migraines, with badly decayed teeth, and suffering, acutely, from dysentery - which he treated with liberal doses of calomel, which contained mercury and thus poisoned him –Jackson also had, since 1806, a bullet lodged in his chest that caused fevers, chest pain, shortness of breath and the coughing up of blood and pus: he ranks as the sickliest of presidents.
Autograph Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, Washington, July 19, 1829. To R.E.W. Earl.
Read transcript Bookmark