Brief Descriptions From the Index of the Presidential Papers 1789-1897 Letter A: Ab-All


A.B. Plot (1824)

William H. Crawford, of Georgia, was a prominent Democratic-Republican candidate for the Presidency in 1824. During the early part of that year a series of letters signed "A.B." appeared in a Washington newspaper charging him with malfeasance in office as Secretary of the Treasury. They were written by Ninian Edwards, of Illinois, who had just been appointed minister to Mexico, and who acknowledged their authorship. Apr. 19, 1824, Edwards presented a memorial to the House of Representatives making specific charges. These he failed to sustain, and Crawford was exonerated.

Ableman vs. Booth (1858)

An important Supreme Court case maintaining the constitutionality of the fugitive-slave law of 1850. Booth was tried before a commissioner appointed by the United States district court of Wisconsin for violation of the fugitive-slave law, and ordered to appear before the district court. Failing to do so, he was imprisoned by Ableman, the United States marshal for the district, Burt was released by the supreme court of the State on a writ of habeas corpus. Later he was indicted before the United States district court, but was again released by the State supreme court. In 1858 the case came before the United States Supreme Court. Booth had pleaded the unconstitutionality of the law. The court upheld the law and reversed the decision of the State supreme court.

Abnaki or Tarrateen Indians

A confederacy of tribes of the Algonquian stock of Indians, who originally inhabited the northeastern part of the United States, Including the present State of Maine and Parts of adjoining States, and a portion of Canada. The Abnaki included the Penobscot, the Passamaquoddy, and the Amalicite tribes. They assisted the French in their wars with the English and were expatriated by the latter. The name is interpreted as meaning "the whitening sky at daybreak"__i.e. Eastern people.


A term applied during and preceding the Civil War to the members of the New England Anti-Slavery Society and those who held with them that "immediate unconditional emancipation without expatriation was the right of every slave and could not be withheld by his master an hour without sin." Jan. 1, 1831, William Lloyd Garrison Commenced the publication in Boston of a paper called The Liberator, which advocated the immediate liberation of slaves, regardless of all laws or constitutional provisions to the contrary. At the beginning of the following year he organized the above-named society, with the foregoing as its chief doctrine. Near the close of 1833 a similar society was formed in Philadelphia. From this time the question assumed national importance. In consequence of his uncompromising utterances Garrison was indicted by grand juries in several Southern States and rewards were offered for his conviction. The New York Weekly Emancipator was another organ of the Abolitionists. Some Strong pamphlets on the subject were: Justice and Expediency; or, Slavery Considered with a View to its Rightful and Effectual Remedy-Abolition, by John G. Whittier, Haverhill, Mass.; Appeal in Behalf of that Class of Americans Called Africans, by Lydia Maria Child; and The Sin of Slavery and Its Remedy, by Elizur Wright, a professor in the Western Reserve College. Abolition sentiments were not confined solely to the Northern States.


A word used to designate the earliest inhabitants of a country. In America the term is applied generally to the Indians found by the early settlers.


In law one who is guilty of a felony, not by committing the offense in person or as a principal, nor by being present at its commission but by being in some other way concerned therein, as by advising or inciting another to commit the crime or by concealing the offender or in any way helping him to escape punishment. An accessory before the fact is one who counsels or incites another to commit a felony and who is not present when the act is done: after the fact, one who receives and conceals or in any way assists the offender, knowing him to have committed a felony. The laws of different states vary as to the punishment of accessories.


A declaration before some authorized person of the authenticity of an act or deed. The word is also applied to the certificate of indorsement attached by this person to the instrument. Judges, Clerks of courts, mayors, justices of the peace, commissioners of deeds, and notaries public are authorized to take acknowledgments.

Acre Right

The share of a citizen of a new England Town in the common lands. The value of the acre right was a fixed quantity in each town, but varied in different towns. A 10-acre lot or right in a certain town was equivalent to 113 acres of upland and 12 acres of meadow, and a certain exact proportion was maintained between the acre right and salable lands.

Acts, Public

Public acts are the laws of a State and of the United States. State records are the registered deeds of property, journals of legislatures, etc. Judicial proceedings are the records of courts. Under the Constitution each State must give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State (I, 30). The chief value of this provision is that it prevents endless lawsuits. When a case has been decided in one State, it can not be opened in the courts of another State.


This term is generally applied to the President and his Cabinet. The President, as chief executive officer of the nation, may direct, without consultation, the acts of any departmental chief, guided solely by the Constitution. He is authorized, however, to consult the heads of Departments. Washington consulted with his Attorney-General and Secretaries of State, War, and the Treasury. When in 1798 the Navy Department was established, Benjamin Stoddert, its chief executive officer, was admitted to the President's council. The Postmasters-General were not called into council until 1829, during William T. Barry's incumbency. Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture were invited to seats at the council table immediately upon the establishment of their Departments, in 1849 and 1889, respectively.


This term was introduced into Europe during the Crusades. The rank of admiral in the United States Navy, as distinguished from vice-admiral and rear-admiral, was established by act of Congress July 25, 1866. There have been only three admirals, the first of whom was David G. Farragut, commissioned in 1866, and the next David D. Porter, commissioned in 1870, after Farragut's death. On the death of Porter, in 1891, the rank became extinct. In 1899 the rank was revived and George Dewey commissioned.

Admission Of States

The Declaration of Independence declares "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States" (I,6). Its adoption on July 4, 1776, created as such the original thirteen States of the Union. Shortly before this date several of the Colonies had modified their original charters and established independent local governments. Oct. 10, 1780, the Continental Congress passed a resolution providing that western territory to be ceded tot he United States "shall be settled and formed into distinct republican States, which shall become members of the Federal Union." The steps by which a Territory may become a State are: (1) A petition to Congress expressing the desire of the people for admission; (2) an enabling act passed by Congress stating the conditions of admission; (3) the adoption of a constitution and a form of State government by a convention of delegates chosen by the people; (4) the ratification of the constitution and the election of State officers by the people; (5) a proclamation by the President announcing that the Territory has become a State. The date of a State's admission to the Union is the date on which the act takes effect.

Albany Convention (1754)

One of the important predecessors of the Continental Congress and among the first definite steps taken toward national union. Upon a call issued by the Lords of Trade, commissioners from the Colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland met at Albany, N.Y., on June 19,1754, to arrange a treaty with the Six Nations of Indians. Benjamin Franklin proposed and the convention adopted a plan for colonial union. It provided for a president-general of all the Colonies, with veto power, and a grand council to be composed of from 2 to 7 delegates from each Colony, chosen by assembly for a term of 3 years each. This grand council was to be authorized to equip forces for the common defense of the Colonies and to levy taxes for their maintenance and have control of all Indian affairs. The plan was rejected by the Crown because it gave too much power to the Colonies.

The Albemarle

A Confederate ironclad ram built on the Roanoke River, below Weldon, N.C. in 1863. She was destroyed with a torpedo by Lieut. W.B. Cushing on the night of Oct. 27, 1864 (VI, 256). Before her destruction she did much damage to vessels of the United States. In 1867 she was raised, towed to Norfolk, and sold.

Algonquin Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians. At the time of the advent of white settlers into America the Algonquian linguistic division occupied by far the largest area of any of the Indian nations. The name means "those on the other side of the river" that is, the river St. Lawrence. They were spread over the territory from Labrador to the Rocky Mountains and from Hudsons Bay to Pamlico Sound. Though this territory was not exclusively peopled by Algonquian Indians, some of their tribes had wandered to the west and south through hostile nations and established their family beyond the limits of the present stock. The Cheyennes and Arapahoes had strayed westward to the Black Hills and finally into Colorado, and the Shawnees had penetrated into South Carolina and Tennessee. There were hundreds of divisions of these Indians into tribes and confederacies, the principal of which were the Abnaki, Illinois, Pennacook, Powhatan, and Siksika confederacies and the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Sac, Fox, Conoy, Cree, Delaware, Kickapoo, Mahican, Massachuset, Menominee, Miami, Micmac, Misisaga, Mohegan, Montagnais, Montauk, Munsee, Nanticoke, Narraganset, Nauset, Nipmuc, Ojibwa, Ottawa, Pamlico, Pequot, Piankishaw, Pottawotomi, Shawano, Wampanoag, Wappinger, and Algonquin tribes. The latter tribe, from which the stock takes its name, occupied the basin of the St. Lawrence and its northern tributaries in Canada. They allied themselves with the French in the early wars. About 5,000 of this tribe are now located in the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario. The Algonquian stock numbers about 95,000 at this time, of whom some 60,000 are in Canada and the remainder in the United States.

Allatoona (GA.), Battle of. (1864)

In the hope of drawing Gen. Sherman's army out of Georgia, the Confederates 36,000 strong, under Gen. Hood, threatened his railroad communications with Nashville. October 5, 1864, a division of Hood's infantry appeared before Allatoona Pass, where were stored about 1,500,000 rations. The post was held by Col. Tourtelotte, who was reinforced by Gen. Corse, thus increasing the Union force to 1,944 men. The attack was made on the 6th. The conflict lasted from 8:30 a.m. until night, when the Confederates withdrew, leaving 231 dead and 411 prisoners. Corse lost 707 men and was himself wounded. Hood crossed the Coosa Oct. 10, and Sherman's army followed him to Gaylesville by way of Rome, and then returned to Atlanta.


According to Blackstone, allegiance is "the tie which binds the subject to the sovereign in return for that protection which the sovereign affords the subject." Natural or implied allegiance is that obligation which one owes tot he nation of which he is a natural-born citizen or subject so long as he remains such, and it does not arise from any express promise. Express allegiance is that obligation which arises from an expressed oath or promise. Local allegiance is that obedience and temporary aid due by an alien to the State or community in which he resides. Local allegiance is temporary and expires with residence.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brief Descriptions From the Index of the Presidential Papers 1789-1897 Letter A: Ab-All
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of books: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897 by James D. Richardson, A Representative from the State of Tennessee published by the authority of Congress 1899.
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