Papers of James Wilkinson, 1790-1818 [electronic resource].


Wilkinson, James, 1757-1825. Papers of James Wilkinson, 1790-1818 [electronic resource].

Papers of James Wilkinson, 1790-1818 [electronic resource].

The collection mainly consists of letters from James Wilkinson to his friend Samuel H. Smith, a major general in the Maryland Militia during the War of 1812 and United States senator and representative from Maryland. It is in these letters that Wilkinson is the most open, with frank comments about his foes in the territorial government, as well as about Burr and his allies, and the conspiracy trial. An example of Wilkinson's candidness can be seen in a postscript in a letter dated December 10, 1806. In it he writes, "I shall live to laugh at my vile detractors as I have done all my life -- and after being crowned Emperor of Mexico, in place of Burr, I will return to spend the eve of my life in my native state and not far from Baltimore." In another letter dated June 20, 1807, he forthrightly states that he believes the conspiracy trial will not last more than four months, as Burr will attempt to flee justice. In the same letter, Wilkinson remarks that he believes an assassination attempt will be made on his own life. Many of the letters reference Wilkinson's ongoing political conflicts with Return J. Meiggs, a politician from Ohio and judge in the Louisiana and Michigan territories; Judge John B. C. Lucas, chief justice of the Louisiana Territory; and Samuel Hammond, a member of the armed forces and Georgia state senator. Lucas served as a congressman from 1803 until he replaced Wilkinson as civil and military governor of the upper Louisiana Territory in 1805. Wilkinson often writes of his thoughts on political and military matters, discussing tensions with England and talk of an embargo against them, which would become the Embargo Act in December, 1807. The letters also frequently refer to Aaron Burr and detail Wilkinson's involvement in the ensuing conspiracy trial from his point of view. The first letter in the collection introduces a friend, John Coburn, to the governor of the District of Natchez, Manuel Gayoso. Wilkinson's papers contain a copy of a letter from Andrew Jackson to Claiborne. In it, Jackson warns Claiborne to guard against internal and external enemies, which refers to Wilkinson as "the General." There is also a letter from Harman Blennerhassett, a wealthy Irish immigrant who was one of Burr's co-conspirators, to a Dr. Wallace. In this letter, Blennerhassett requests the retrieval and shipment of personal effects left behind after his attempted escape and capture for his involvement in the Burr conspiracy. James Brown, who was appointed attorney for the United States in New Orleans by Thomas Jefferson, writes personally to Wilkinson. Brown's letter covers political matters and Wilkinson's professional struggles. Envelopes do not accompany the letters and in some cases the addressee is not known. In one instance, denoted by brackets around the name, it has been assumed that the recipient of the letter is Samuel H. Smith, as at that time he was a confidant of Wilkinson and was in frequent correspondence with him.

0.4 linear ft. ( 2 boxes)

Related Constellations

There are 14 Constellations related to this resource.

Wilkinson, James, 1757-1825 (person)

James Wilkinson was born in Maryland and served as an officer in the American Revolution. In 1783 he settled in Kentucky, where he engaged in politics, land speculation, and trade. In 1805 he was appointed governor of Upper Louisiana. Wilkinson's activities in the West implicated him in the Spanish Conspiracy and the Burr Conspiracy; he was acquitted by a court of inquiry during the Burr investigation and by a court martial in 1811. He served as a military commander in the West during the War of...

Burr, Aaron, 1756-1836 (person)

Aaron Burr (b. Feb. 6, 1756, Newark, NJ–d. Sept. 14, 1836, Port Richmond, NY) was an American politician. He was the third Vice President of the United States, serving during Thomas Jefferson's first term. Burr served as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, after which he became a successful lawyer and politician. He was elected twice to the New York State Assembly, was appointed New York State Attorney General, was chosen as a U.S. senator from the State of New York, and serv...

Gayoso de Lemos, Manuel, 1747-1799 (person)

Governor of Louisiana. From the description of Papers of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, 1794-1797. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79453621 Manuel Gayoso de Lemos was the Spanish Governor of the Natchez District, 1792-1797. Major Stephen Minor (1760?-1815) was a planter of Natchez, Mississippi. From the description of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos papers, 1792-1799. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122519472 Manuel Gayoso de Lemos was the Spanish Governor of the Natchez ...

Claiborne, William C. C. (William Charles Cole), 1775-1817. (person)

William C. C. Claiborne practiced law in Tennessee and became judge of the Superior Court of Tennessee in 1796. He became governor of the Territory of Mississippi in 1801 and was appointed to receive Louisiana from France in 1803. He served as governor of the Territory of Orleans, 1803-1812, and as governor of the State of Louisiana, 1812-1816. From the description of William C.C. Claiborne letter book, 1804-1811 (bulk 1804-1805). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86142655 Gove...

Meiggs, Return Jonathan, 1764-1824. (person)

Lucas, John B. C. (John Baptiste Charles), -1842 (person)

University of Pittsburgh. University Library System. Digital Research Library. (corporateBody)

Hammond, Samuel, 1757-1842. (person)

Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845 (person)

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829-1837) as well as a lawyer, general, and legislator. Born in the Carolinas, he served as a courier during the Revolutionary War. He read for the law during his teen years and became a lawyer in Tennessee by 1787. The first U. S. Representative for Tennessee (1796), Jackson was elected to the Senate in 1797, resigned in 1798, and served as a judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court, 1798-1804. He was later ree...

Hodgdon, Samuel, 1745-1824 (person)

Pennsylvanian; quartermaster of the U.S. Army, Mar. 4, 1791 - Apr. 19, 1792. From the description of Orders : 1791 Sept. 15-21. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 37868498 Army officer. From the description of Papers of Samuel Hodgdon, 1794-1800. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79456308 ...

Cordero y Bustamente, Manuel Antonio, 1753-1823 (person)

United States. Army (corporateBody)

The United States Army is the largest branch of the United States Armed Forces and performs land-based military operations. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 and United States Code, Title 10, Subtitle B, Chapter 301, Section 3001. As the largest and senior branch of the U.S. military, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which wa...

Smith, Samuel Harrison, 1772-1845 (person)

Dearborn, Henry, 1751-1829 (person)

Revolutionary officer. From the description of Autograph letter signed : to Capt. Callenden Irvine, 1803 July 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270529279 Army officer, U.S. Secretary of War, and U.S. representative from Massachusetts. From the description of Papers, 1800-1814. (Maine Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 70972156 Major general, politician, and statesman. From the description of Papers, 1761-1826. (Unknown). WorldCa...