Lot 38 of 419:
Letters from Thomas McKenney to Peter Force  

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$2,400
$4,000 - $6,000

Archive of 18 letters, articles & other correspondence of Thomas McKenney, most to Peter Force

McKenney, Thomas




Various sizes, in ink, most undated and unsigned, most addressed to Peter Force as editor of the National Journal. Significant archive of letters and articles from Thomas McKenney to Peter Force, printer, archivist, and at this time editor of the National Journal, a semi-weekly, then daily, publication devoted to the candidacy of John Quincy Adams in 1824, which continued publication for some seven years after that contested election. Thomas McKenney, appointed head of the newly organized bureau of Indian affairs in March of 1824 following his tenure as superintendent of Indian trade, was heavily involved in politics, and the correspondence reflects to modus operandi of the period – submitting articles and editorials to newspapers, rather than appearing on the Sunday morning talk shows of today. He was, of course, to gain his lasting fame for his History of the Indian Tribes of North America, in collaboration with James Hall, featuring the splendid portraits of Charles Bird King. The archive comprises: Letter to the editor regarding the prospects of William H. Crawford’s election by the Electoral College in the 1824 presidential contest – slim or none, according to McKenney. 2½ pp. * Letter to the editor about the “recent Creek controversy” which had been solved with “both Wisdom and firmness.” 2 pp., with note by McKenney on 4th page asking that it be re-copied before being sent to the printer, as he wished to remain anonymous “unless the Secy. of War or President may want to know.” * Letter to the editor regarding election returns in North Carolina, which the Raleigh Register “(A Radical paper)” say favor Crawford, though this of course is not the case. 1½ pp. * Letter to Peter Force, signed by McKenney, asking for a subscription to the National Journal for his office, which he would pay for, and another for his home, which he wanted for free, as “my object is to use the private paper for purposes of commenting for it.” 2 pp., addressed on 4th page. Dated July 23, 1824. * Letter regarding an address relative to the Weems attack, and suggesting distribution of handbills. 1 page. * Letter regarding an article that was submitted to the National Intelligencer, and the concurrent issuance of handbills, which the writer hoped could be forestalled. 1+ pp. * Letter signed by McKenney, advising Force that he could use a letter he wrote that was to appear in the Baltimore Announcer. 1 page. Dated July 8, 1825. * Letter addressed to Messers. Gales & Seaton, referring to the attack on McKenney by [Mason] Weems, “who has ventured to circulate the trash which the common scavenger has been so long forcing through his common sewer in regard to me.” 3+ pp. * Letter addressed to Capt. Force, signed by McKenney, regarding an article he is submitting. 1 page. * Letter to Capt. Force, signed by McKenney, regarding a submission of an opinion piece, noting that “I find your paper, like the Intelligencer shuts out all things of this kind except the everlasting debates in Congress, the details of which are no more interesting to 19-20ths of your readers than would be blank columns, but are doubtless extremely so to the speakers…” 2 pp. * Letter to Force, signed by McKenney, regarding an article he had submitted that had not been printed. 1+ pp. * Letter to Force, signed by McKenney, regarding a lawsuit for indebtedness that had been served on McKenney, proclaiming his innocence, and saying of the accuser, “the man who could order the body of his fellow man imprisoned, for debt, must be far gone in all the degradation of feeling which belonged to other and less liberal days…” 2¼ pp. Dated May 1, 1826. * Letter to Force, signed by McKenney, advising him to publish the two articles sent. 1 page. * Article or editorial submitted by McKenney, regarding election of 1824, cheering Adams' victory over Crawford in New York. 1¼ pp. * Letter signed by McKenney, addressed to the editors of the National Journal, promising to furnish an article by 12 noon, “I wish you to send Isaac up for it, or come yourself.” 1 page. * Letter/article addressed to Peter Force, signed by McKenney (but asking his name be kept out of it), regarding the expenses in the investigation of the conduct of Com. Porter, which were closer to $1000 than the $20,000 reported. 2 + pp. * Letter, to Gales & Seaton, signed by McKenney, asking why an article he submitted was not published. 2 pp. * Letter from Peter Force to McKenney, asking him to submit an article he had mentioned, with a reply note from McKenney to Force, regarding an article in a rival publication. 1 page. Provenance: A private California collection.

Lot Amendments

Varying amounts of wear, but most in very good condition.

Item number:
Shipping info:
Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.