[1833 ALS to U.S. Secretary of War Lewis Cass from U.S. Treasury Official, Dr. Robert Mayo, concerning the Controversy over a leaked Memorial written by Mayo published in Washington Newspapers].
1833 Letter to U.S. Secretary of War Lewis Cass from Dr. Robert Mayo, a U.S. Treasury official, likely concerning the first compilation of U.S. pension laws. These laws and regulations were compiled by May and published in 1833: The Pension Laws of the United States, including Sundry Resolutions of Congress, 1776-1833.
Mayo’s compilation was published by Secretary Cass’ War Department and printed at the Globe Office, publishers of the Washington Globe, a newspaper sympathetic to sitting Democratic president, Andrew Jackson. Mayo’s letter to Cass concerns a controversy over a memorial written by Mayo and related materials published in various Washington newspapers. Mayo writes (in full, save a postscript):
I drew the memorial of Sundry Citizens and presented it by the request of several of them. After a synopsis of it was published in The Intelligencer and several abusive notes were also published by some of the signers of it, I drew by the request of several of the signers, a vindication of, & comment upon the responsibility, respective of the signers, & those who made the statement, for their use, which they wished to publish in the Globe, but the Editor declined, & consequently I endeavoured to dissuade them from publishing. I has been since published in another paper with considerable alterations & additions, not by myself nor made with any approbation, nor am I at all responsible for the publication in any way—the whole matter being out of my control at the time, & for a long time back. Mr. Blair [Francis Preston Blair, editor of the Washington Globe and nephew to President Andrew Jackson] has seen what I wrote at the request of those signers and he will be able to recollect how far the lately published article differs from what he saw—there was no crimination in any thing that I said of any officers—any thing in that way that has appeared has been introduced since it went out of my hands.
In 1840, Mayo was famously involved in a lawsuit for libel against editors Francis Preston Blair and Blair’s partner, John Rives, of the Washington Globe. That controversy, which also pitted Mayo against Andrew Jackson, involved a letter penned by Jackson concerning Sam Houston’s plan to liberate Texas from Mexico. Mayo had informed Jackson in December 1830 of Houston’s plot, but details of Jackson’s knowledge of the affair only became public much later and threatened to taint Jackson with scandal. Blair and Rives accused Mayo of having stolen Jackson’s letter to embarrass him, so Mayo sued them for libel; the case was thrown out the following year.
Description: [1833 ALS to U.S. Secretary of War Lewis Cass from U.S. Treasury Official, Dr. Robert Mayo, concerning the Controversy over a leaked Memorial written by Mayo published in Washington Newspapers].
[Washington (D.C.), August 25, 1833]. pp. Autograph Letter Signed. 4to. Bifolium with integral address leaf; red wax seal. Folds; short closed tear at fore-edge of address leaf, not affecting text; Very Good.