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Series I. Correspondence between Hugh Henry Brackenridge and Alexander Addison, 1796-1798

Scope and Content Notes:

It is likely that Brackenridge writes from Pittsburgh to Addison in Westmoreland County. This run of letters is a political discussion between two legal and literary peers. Addison published a number of political works from 1796 to 1798. Brackenridge comments on a variety of political issues, including his opposition to the Jay Treaty with Britain and the Monroe-Pinckney Treaty with Spain, as well as events related to the Whiskey Rebellion. Also, Brackenridge makes references to Albert Gallatin, who defeated him in the 1795 congressional race. Brackenridge discusses Addison's political writings as both an editor and as a fellow writer. Conflict arose between the two men in September 1798 when Brackenridge published a piece in the Pittsburgh Gazette that affected Addison personally, professionally and politically. In 1802, Brackenridge's friend, John B. C. Lucas, was appointed to the Fifth District court. Conflict between Lucas and Addison led to Addison's subsequent impeachment.


Box 1
Folder 1 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, January 7, 1796

In this letter, Brackenridge writes about legal cases and Judge Smith.

Folder 2 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, February 15, 1796

Brackenridge discusses a letter of [Jean] Fauchet and a proposed treaty. He mentions various Pennsylvania judges and cases in which he is involved. Halfway through the letter, Brackenridge apologizes for his worse than average handwriting in the first part of the letter and admits to writing it late at night after drinking.

Folder 3 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, April 26, 1796

Brackenridge makes editorial comments about an article Addison has drafted for Brackenridge's Pittsburgh Gazette regarding the [Pinckney] Treaty. He encourages Addison to sign the article to give it greater weight in public debate.

Folder 4 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, April 27, 1796

Brackenridge writes to Addison to persuade him to publish a piece of writing. He goes on to comment on the conflict in the [presidential] cabinet concerning French and Spanish diplomatic actions.

Folder 5 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, April 30, 1796

[It is possible this letter is a copy.] This letter discusses plans to organize a meeting to protest the Spanish Treaty [Pinckney Treaty] and British Treaty [Jay Treaty] in support of a petition opposing [congressional] appropriations [for the British Treaty]. Brackenridge also discusses W. Findley, W. Woodbridge, Cardinal McMillan, and Gallatin.

Folder 6 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, May 20, 1796

This letter relates to Brackenridge's previous correspondence from April 30, 1796. In it, Brackenridge plans to publish a work of Addison's related to the ongoing treaty negotiations abroad.

Folder 7 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, May 1796

Brackenridge makes editorial comments on one of Addison's essays. He has apparently shared Addison's essay with John Lucas, who agreed with Gallatin and disagreed with Addison, and Dr. Stephenson. Brackenridge also writes that the appropriation they had petitioned against has gone through. Brackenridge discusses himself and Addison as writers, his desire to write a history of America, and his alienation from both political parties.

Folder 8 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, June 29, 1796

Brackenridge asks Addison to settle some business affairs on his behalf and also requests that he purchase some books. Additionally, he refers a merchant to Addison for legal advice.

Folder 9 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, July 1, 1796

This is an addendum to a previous letter requesting additional legal texts. Brackenridge also refers to a colleague's case in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and writes of distributing Addison's publication.

Folder 10 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, November 22, 1796

Brackenridge clarifies a conversation Addison had with John Lucas about an article in the Pittsburgh Gazette. He also discusses General Washington and the Miller's Run Lands and talks of elections in a postscript.

Folder 11 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, April 7, 1798

In this brief letter, Brackenridge critiques Addison's draft and jokes about his negligent treatment of Addison's, and his own, drafts.

Folder 12 Alexander Addison to Hugh Henry Brackenridge, September 3, 1798

In his letter, Addison calls Brackenridge to task for an article he published in the Gazette that embarrassed Addison professionally.

Folder 13 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, September 3, 1798

This is a Brackenridge's response to Addison's letter of September 3, 1798. In the postscript, Brackenridge asks for an interview.

Folder 14 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, September 3, 1798

Brackenridge writes to rescind his request for an interview because Addison may soon hear a case against him.

Folder 15 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, September 1798

In this letter, Brackenridge makes reference to a previous letter and some publishing issues. He also refers to his conflict with Addison and Wood.

Folder 16 Alexander Addison to Hugh Henry Brackenridge, September 4, 1798

Addison writes to Brackenridge confirming receipt of his two letters. He suggests that Brackenridge apologize to the court for publishing comments that made it look foolish and asks permission to show Brackenridge's letters to the court. He also accepts Brackenridge's offer of an interview.

Folder 17 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, September 1798

Brackenridge gives Addison permission to show his letter to the court.

Folder 18 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, undated

In this fragment, Brackenridge discusses political developments between the French and the Spanish. He also writes with news of settlers in Detroit, a visit from Sebastion [sic] and Powers, and a letter from Mr. Ross predicting war between Spain and Britain.

Folder 19 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, undated

Brackenridge opens the letter satirizing a French tutor he knows, and the French nobility in exile. He goes on to counter an argument made by Gallatin, and published by Brown, concerning treaties. He briefly describes Fergus Ferguson.

Folder 20 Hugh Henry Brackenridge to Alexander Addison, undated.

Brackenridge discusses Madison's speech. Brackenridge also mentions the petition he co-authored with Addison opposing the [Pinckney] treaty, suggesting that Gallatin and Findley found the petition treasonous.