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State of Tennessee, Davidson County Court,
July Term, 1845. A paper writing, purporting to be the last will and testament of Andrew Jackson, Sen., dec'd., was produced in open court for probate, and proved thus:-Marion Adams, Elizabeth D. Love, and Richard Smith, three of the subscribing witnesses thereto, being first duly sworn, depose and say, that they became such in the presence of the said Andrew Jackson, Sr., dec’d., and at his request and in the presence of each other; and that they verily believe he was of sound and disposing mind and memory at the time of executing the same.
Ordered, That said paper writing be admitted to record as such will and testament of the said Andrew Jackson, Sr., dec’d. Whereupon Andrew Jackson, Jun., the executor named in said will, came into court and gave bond in the sum of two hundred thousand dollars, (there being no security required by said will,) and qualified according to law.
Ordered, That he have letters testamentary granted to him.
State of Tennessee, Davidson County :
I, Robert B. Castleman, Clerk of the County Court, of said county, do certify that the foregoing is a true and perfect copy of the original will of Andrew Jackson, Sr., dec'd., together with the probate of the same, as proven at the July term, 1845, of said court, as the same remains of record in my office. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and affixed the seal of said court at my office, this the 15th day of August,
in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred County and forty-five.
Ro. B. CASTLEMAN,
GEN. A. JACKSON AND COM. J. D. ELLIOTT.
The patriotic reply of General Jackson to Commodore J. D. Elliot's letter, tendering him the use of the Sarcophagus obtained by him at Palestine, as his final resting-place, having been alluded to in several of the eulogies in this work, and it having been thought proper to insert it in this place, Commodore Elliott has kindly furnished the Editor with the correspondence.
Washington City, March 18th, 1845. MY DEAR GENERAL :-Last night I made something of a speech at the National Institute, and have offered for their acceptance the sarcophagus which I obtained at Palestine, brought home in the Constitution, and believed to contain the remains of the Roman emperor, Alexander Severus, with the suggestion that it might be tendered you for your final restingplace. I pray you, General, to live on in the fear of the Lord; dying the death of a Roman soldier; an emperor's coffin awaits you. I am truly your old friend,
JESSE D. ELLIOTT. To General Andrew Jackson.
Hermitage, March 27, 1845. DEAR SIR :-Your letter of the 18th instant, together with the copy of the proceedings of the National Institute, furnished me by their corresponding secretary, on the presentation, by
you, of the sarcophagus for their acceptance, on condition it shall be preserved, and in honour of my memory, have been received, and are now before me.
Although labouring under great debility and affliction, from a severe attack from which I may not recover, I raise my pen and endeavour to reply. The steadiness of my nerves may perhaps lead you to conclude my prostration of strength is not so great as here expressed. Strange as it may appear, my nerves are as steady as they were forty years gone by; whilst, from debility and affliction, I am gasping for breath.
I have read the whole proceedings of the presentation, by you, of the sarcophagus, and the resolutions passed by the board of directors, so honourable to my fame, with sensations and feelings more easily to be conjectured than by me expressed. The whole proceedings call for my most grateful thanks, which are hereby tendered to you, and through you to the president and directors of the National Institute. . But with the warmest sensations that can inspire a grateful heart, I must decline accepting the honour intended to be bestowed. I cannot consent that my mortal body shall be laid in a repository prepared for an emperor or a king. My republican feelings and principles forbid it; the simplicity of our system of government forbids it. Every monument erected to perpetuate the memory of our heroes and statesmen ought to bear evidence of the economy and simplicity of our republican institutions, and the plainness of our republican citizens, who are the sovereigns of our glorious Union, and whose virtue it is to perpetuate it. True virtue cannot exist where pomp and parade are the governing passions; it can only dwell with the people — the great labouring and producing classes that form the bone and sinew of our confederacy.
For these reasons I cannot accept the honour you and the president and directors of the National Institute intended to bestow. I cannot permit my remains to be the first in these United States to be deposited in a sarcophagus made for an emperor or king. I again repeat, please accept for yourself, and convey to the president and directors of the National Institute, my most profound respects for the honour you and they intended to bestow. I have prepared a humble depository for my mortal body beside that wherein lies my beloved wife, where, without any pomp or parade, I have requested, when my God calls me to sleep with my fathers, to be laid; for both of us there to remain until the last trumpet sounds to call the dead to judgment, when we, I hope, shall rise together, clothed with that heavenly body promised to all who believe in our glorious Redeemer, who died for us that we might live, and by whose atonement I hope for a blessed immortality. I am, with great respect, Your friend and fellow-citizen,
ANDREW JACKSON. To Com. J. D. Elliott, United States Navy.
Navy Yard, Philadelphia, April 8, 1845. GENTLEMEN :—The interest which the National Institute has been pleased to take in the eventual bestowment of the remains of the honoured Andrew Jackson in the sarcophagus which I brought from abroad, and deposited in your institute, makes it my business now to communicate to you a copy of his letter of the 27th ultimo, lately received, on that subject.
With sentiments so congenial to his strict republicanism—and in accordance, indeed, with the republican feelings common to ourselves-he takes the ground of repugnance to connecting his name and fame in any way with imperial associations.
We cannot but honour the sentiments which have ruled his judgment in the case ; for they are such as must add to the lustre of his character. We subscribe to them ourselves; and while we yield to their force, we may still be permitted to continue our regard to the enduring marble, as to an ancient and classic relic—a curiosity in itself, and particularly in this country, as the first of its kind seen in our Western hemisphere.
From it we would deduce the moral, that, while we should disclaim the pride, pomp, and circumstance of imperial pageantry, as unfitting our institutions and professions, we would sedulously cherish the simpler republican principle of reposing our fame and honours in the hearts and affections of our country
I have now, in conclusion, to say, that, as the sarcophagus was originally presented with the suggestion of using it as abovementioned, I now commit it wholly to the institute as their own and sole property, exempt from any condition. I am, very respectfully, yours, &c.,
JESSE DUNCAN ELLIOTT, To the President and Directors of the
National Institute, at Washington.