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PRINTED BY WII.LIAM STAVELY,
Jv'o. 99, South Second Street.
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A CANDID VIEW
WHO OUGHT TO BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT?
Political zealots will answer this question at once, by a reference to
the decision of some party tribunal: but the candid and reflecting will
find it necessary to consider many things before they decide. I am
merely a citizen, pledged to the dogmas of no partisan leader, with no-
thing to hope from either candidate, and nothing to fear, except in com-
mon with the other good people of the country. I am interested in the
perpetuation of our free institutions, for I have children; I am anxious
that our government should give repose at home, and protection abroad
to all who support it, for I am an American by birth and in prmciple;
and I am zealous for its honour : it is the part of ray patrimony, which
I am most unwilling to squander.
I have thought over the matter carefully; and the following pages re-
cord my opinions, as they have been dispassionately formed, of the cha-
racters of the two candidates, and of their claims to the public gratitude
and confidence. I have offered them to the printer, because, as truth
can never wear two faces, they may perhaps lead others to think as I do;
or perhaps they may invite some better regulated mind to expose my
errors, and thus lead me to a more correct conclusion than that which I
have formed for myself. I care little for Mr. Adams or General Jackson,
compared with my country and the cause of truth.
What are the personal characters of the candidates ? This is with me
the primary question: a reprobate at home, can make but a sorry saint
To answer this question, we must look at the conduct of the two men,
and at the circumstances in which they have been placed. Character
can be fairly judged of in no other way. There is little merit in him,
who, never being tempted, has never sinned ; and he may readily be
pardoned, who, living always in obscurity, has had no opportunity of
doing service to the state.
Luckily for the impartial inquirer, the history of both is easily read,
and the difference between them is so boldly marked, that no one ca»
confound their characteristic virtues, or their peculiar faults.
Andtevv Jackson was the son of a farmer, who died while his children
were young, becjueathing to iheai little more tlian a spotless name. Be-
fore he was fifteen 3'ears of age, with the enthusiasm which lias always
marked his career, Jackson enrolled himseif with his two brothers, in the
ranks of the Revolutionary army. His eldest brother died soon after on
the field of battle; the other sunk under the effects of a neglected sabre-
wound; and his mother yielding to the pressure of her sorrows, shortly
followed them to the grave. Andrew Jackson was thus left at an early
age without a protector, and almost without a kinsman. After a service,
distinguished for its fidelity and spirit, where all were faithful and gallant,
he left the camp, and applied himself assiduously to the study of the law.
He had been admitted to the bar of North Carolina, when in 17S8, he
took up his abode in the then wilderness of Tennessee. His strong manly
sense, his integrity and warmth of heart, soon gathered a circle of friends
around him, of the blunt yeomanry of that district: he imbibed their
frank and generous spirit; and perhaps partook of their faults. It is
said, that in early life, he was ibnd of the sports of the field, and that
he so far yielded to the false notions of honour by which the western
states are yet distinguished, as to take part in a duel.
Years of patriotic service, and of uninterrupted regard to the obliga-
tions of piety have not been sufficient, in the estimation of some among
us, to wipe out this offence. Perhaps they are right; but the people
among whom he lives have been more charitable. They have surely
forgiven him at home. He is now the guardian, whom men select for
their orphans, he is the executor of their wills, the arbiter whom neigh-
bours invite to decide their disputes, the adviser of the widow and the
friendless. Nor, it would seem, has the country been more severe. The
State of Tennessee has showered its honours upon him; the national go-
vernment has invited him to a seat in the Cabinet; the Presbyterian
Church, always slow to confide in those who have erred, has named him
as the head of one of her most important committees; and the people
of the west, who know him better than we can, have united warmly in
supporting hin) for the highest oflice in the land.
Mr. Adams was the son of a rich and distinguished citizen of Massa-
chusetts. From his infancy, he was surrounded by all the captivating
refinement of literature and ease: his desk was covered with books, and
his board with delicacies. He was, however, always temperate in his
habits, and prided himself most on the untiring assiduity, with which he
could continue to direct all his powers to a single object. He inherited
the fiery and vindictive passions of his father ; but admonished by his
father's errors, he was enabled at an early age, to assume the staid and
still character, which from the days of tlie pilgrims has marked the out-
ward demeanour of the people of New England. He had some of the
virtues, and not a few of the less respected traits of the Yankee cha-
racter. Like his brethren, he was industrious, frugal, cautious, and
moral in his external deportment ; but liberality of temper and of purse,
freedom from selfishness, and frankness of spirit, have never been cnu-
merated among the points of his character, lie k<'|)t from chilrlhoocl,
and still keeps, a diary, in which he has not failed to make daily registry
of whatever he has said of things or persons, and whatever others have
said to him ; a practice admirably fitted to provide before hand the ma-
terials of future controversy^ but which makes few friendships. Mr.
Adams has no personal friends. His Boston associations have protected
him from the enormity of duelling; for in Massachusetts, no respectable
man would bear a challenge : but the same associations have made him
more correct in his conduct than in his creed ; and those of his advocates,
who differ from him in religion, regret that he has been led away into the
errors of the Unitarian church. He is not popular : — of the offices which
it has been his fortune to fill, one only has been the gift of the people.
It was his first office, that of member of the Massachusetts Senate: he
was afterwards a candidate for Congress, but failed. In the transactions
of private life, his honesty has never been successfully assailed; but his
supporters admit, that his frugality sometimes approaches parsimony,
and that his extreme accuracy might in some instances, be mistaken for
Both are men of excitable temperament. General Jackson is perhaps
more easily roused, but Mr. Adams' passion is more lasting. The
former speaks as he feels, and when he feels: the latter reflects, and still
is angry, but speaks not. As the analogies of human character would
lead us to expect, General Jackson is quick to resent an injury, and as
quick to forgive one : he keeps no record of his disputes. Had he such a
diary as Mr. Adams has, he would find it more difficult to forget the wrongs
he has received. General Jackson has warm affections, and repays kindness
with cordiality: Mr. Adams, more confident perhaps in his own powers,.has
a lower estimate of the value of friendship. It was a severe remark, but it
came from a man who had served him often, that, " like the unfortunate
head of the house of Stuart, he has never forgotten an enemy, or remem-
bered a friend."
It must be acknowledged too, that Mr. Adams has not always selected
the most appropriate moments for the expression of his opinions and
feelings. It would have been better, to assail Fisher Ames, while living
and armed for defence, than to accuse his memory, however boldly.
The celebration of our National festival was not honoured by his grateful
reminiscences of the mental calamity, with which it pleased Heaven to
visit the sovereign, from whose allegiance we had withdrawn : — besides,
we were at peace with that sovereign, and the orator was our Secretary
of State. Our government during the late war was doubtless enfeebled
by our domestic dissensions, and endangered by foreign pressure ; yet,
our minister at the court of a mediating power, should have forborne to
characterize it as weak and penurious. The victory at North Point
might have been freshly remembered in his flowing soul, without breath-
ing a sentiment of blood upon the libation, or sneering at the obsequies
of a gallant soldier.
It would be easy to multiply these illustrations. But it is not
necessary in an enquiry into the personal character of the candidates.
It should be conceded at once, that both are respectable as private
citizens^ each having faults, no doubt ; but both of them known
as good memoersof the family, and of the neighbourhood, and of the
ivider Circle of society. Neither is wanting in apparent respect for reli-
gion Mr. Adams is a constant attendant of the several churches at
VVasliington, and General Jackson has long been an habitual worshipper
with the congregation nearest his residence. Either of them, placed in
tlJe oflice of President, will be sufficiently exemplary, as a man.
PUBLIC SERVICES OF MR. ADAMS.
We come to another question : what has been the character of the two
candidates in public life.?
.frT'''^.';T-''u'"'''"" ''^^'"■^ ^^^' P"^^'^' b°th have filled important
offices: let their history be examined candidly, but freely and without fear.
Ihe education of Mr. Adams was well fitted to prepare him for a poli-
tical career. He pursued his collegiate studies with assiduity and suc-
cess : few have graduated with more distinction. There is, however a
department of education, too often neglected, which exerts a yet more im-
portant influence over the character of the pupil. It is the education of
example, of the household. Blr. Adams, as a politician, here too was for-
tunate. _ H,s father had led in the assemblies of the people, he was pro-
mment in the state and general congress of the Revolution, and in early
file at least, had the reputation of a singularly popular and influential man.
lo one who has studied language more than mankind, it would appear
strange, that in a nation of republicans, love of country, and love of the
people popularity and patriotism should have meanings so widely differ-
ent. 1 he well known distinction is in the object. The politician, who
seeks only his own advancement, finds it indispensable that he should se-
cure popular favour:— the patriot may be, and for a time often is, un-
The father of Mr. Adams understood this distinction perfectly well.
1 robably, no man who has held office in our country, was more ambitious
ol public applause, or more supremely selfish in his ultimate object. Go-
vernor Hutchinson says, that he knew him to declare in early life, " so
long as there is one man superior to me in wealth, in power, or in station,
1 cannot be happy." The father, skilled and disciplined in all the arts of
the politician and the courtier, himself undertook the political education
of his cluldj and before Mr. John Q. Adams had attained the age of man-
hood, he himself became a politician and courtier by profession.
It is scarcely possible to expose the moral firmness of a young man to
a severer trial. Persuade him, that influence, and fame, and office, are
the objects of life; and native ingenuousness and youthful integrity, the
bud and promise of his character, wither and fade away. He becomes
convinced by degrees of the truth of that apothegm of the elder Adams :
in political conduct, the party, which is least scrupulous in the use of
means, has the best chance of success;" and in a few years, he finds him-
self prepared, like Gen. Conway, in the British Parliament, to employ
every auxiliary <- which God and Nature may have put into his hands.""
Yet this was the trial, to which Mr. John Q. Adaras was exposed from
his very boyhood. He was little more than ten years old, when he began
those circuits of the European courts, to which more than a third of his
whole life has been devoted. His earliest associations were with politi-
cians, among whom selfishness was the universal principle of action: —
he has lived in one almost unbroken sequence of diplomatic dignities:-—
his years have been spent among political negotiations, in which dissimu-
lation is too often essential to success, and address is recognized as the
substitute of virtue. He saw power jeoparded and lost by manly feeling
and unsuspecting honour: he saw it acquired and retained by every in-
triguing statesman, who had wit enough to deceive his associates, or base-
ness enough to betray them. These things he saw ; and he had been
taught by his father, that power was the great end of living. —
Mr. Adams had been for many years a public minister, when the elec-
tion of Mr. Jefterson drove his father into retirement. Apprehensive
that he might be recalled, or unwilling perhaps to give his countenance to
what then appeared to him an ephemeral administration, he left the Court
of Berlin in 1801, and on his return to America, was at once hailed by
the Federal party of Massachussetts, as one of their most favoured cham-
He justified their afiection by the zeal with which he entered into their
views, and the devotion with which he laboured to advance them. In
the grave assemblies at Faneuil Hall, he was the federal moderator:— no
man was more faithful in the toils of the committee-room :— his exuberant
style gave warmth and brilliancy to their addresses and reports : and
the lighter productions of satire and ridicule were indebted to him for
almost all their pungency. His allusion in the poem of " Dusky Sally"
to Mr. Jefferson's domestic habits, has been censured as indecent ; but it
was in the spirit of the day. Fessenden, and a Uibe of humbler poetasters
followed in his wake, and some who could not rival his wit, were yet
praised for the accuracy with which they imitated the less praiseworthy
characteristics of his eflusions. JMr. John Q. Adaras was the fondling of
The earliest opportunity was seized, to bring him upon the theatre of
political life. In 1802, he was chosen a member of the Massachusetts
Senate. His conduct in this office secured yet more firmly the confidence
of the leading federalists; though his extreme ardour had the unhappy
effect of diminishing the confidence of the people at large : At the dec-
tion which followed for a Congress-man from Boston, he was a candidate
again; but his democratic opponent was elected. The next winter re-
paid the mortification of this defeat : a Senator of the United States was
to be chosen; and in spite of the persevering hostility of the democratic
members, the federal majority in the Legislature, of which he was a
member, succeeded in appointing Mr. Adams.
Massachusetts was at this period the focus of federalism, and Mr,
Adams was its appropriate representative. He took his seat in the
council of the nation, the same bold implacable federalist, that he had
been while a candidate. His political associates from the middle and
soiilliern states, were startled at the fierceness of his denunciations, and
the bitterness of his feeling. He had become under the constitution, one
of the President's official advisers : but such were his opinions of Mr.
Jefferson, that he shrunk from his approach, and withdrew even from the
courtesies of the Presidential mansion. For five years he continued the
unwavering, unpitying leader of the party.
The political sentiments of the nation, had, however, undergone a
change. The federalists in their adversity, had taken counsel rather of
feeling than policy^ and adopting unconsciously the tone of Mr. Adams,
whose filial reverence doubtless added severity to his party rancour, they
had lost by their violence many of their more timid, and not a few of
their most judicious supporters. The defeat of Mr. Adams, senior, in
1800, was followed up in 1804 by the second election of Mr. Jefferson;
and one state after another, adopted the political sentiments of the gene-
ral government. But in New England, the federalists still retained the
ascendancy; and it was not till 1807, that the democrats triumphed in
Massachusetts. This election, however, sealed the political character of
the Union : the " men on the fence," as they have since been termed, no
longer foand a difficulty in choosing sides; and the defeated federalists
saw opponents rising round them in every district. It seemed that the
rout was about to become universal, and politicians were hourly expecting
the sauve qui pent to begin.
But they who had elected Mr. John Adams to the presidency, and
who, when at the second election he fell by his own weight, had trans-
ferred their support to Mr. Burr, were men of Roman nerve. It would
have been vain to nominate one of their own body, in opposition to
Mr. Madison, who was already indicated by the democrats as the succes-
sor to Mr. Jefferson ; but they still stood firm in their party-ranks, deter-
mined to contend for their principles to the last. They could not faii to
observe, that their overthrow was attributable in a great degree, to the
violent counsels of Mr. John Q. Adams; but even in the vexation of de-
feat, they had too much honour to forsake, and too much gallantry, even
to reproach him.
It was at this time, and under these circumstances, that IMr. Adams
meditated his greatest political movement. The principles which he had
imbibed in boyhood from his father, naturally suggested it ; but it re-
quired all the philosophy which lie had gathered in his courtly circuits,
to carry it into execution.
Early in the winter of 1807, while attending the Senate at Washing-
ton, he waited on Mr. Giles* of Virginia, the confidant of the President,
•Note. — Thoug'h this account of Mr. Adams' communications with Mr.
Giles and Mr. Jcficrsoa has been long bcfoi-e the public, and has never been
contradicted, it may be proper to declare tht; authority on which it rests. It
was first published by Governor Giles himselfin the Richmond Enquirer under
his own sig-nature, in the month of February, 1828, tog'ether with a letter from
Mr. Jcflerson to Governor Giles on the same subject. Governor Giles has since
frc-qyicntly repeated the story, and has invited Mr. Adams to deny it, if unti-ue.
Mr. John Randolph and the aged Mr. Macon, who were both in Congress in
1807 — 8, have affirmed its truth on the floor of the Senate.
and announced to liim a perilous and most imporiant secret. The (cde
ralists of New England, be said, had long found in l:im an associate in
politics; but he could not bring himself to be their accomplice in treason.
He then went on to detail the circumstances of a conspiracy, having for
its object the dismemberment of the Union, and the annexation of the
Eastern Slates to the Province of Canada: he declared the names of the
ringleaders, men united to him by the treble ties of party friendship,
and blood; and finally, he announced his determination to ally himself
with that patriotic party whom he had heretofore opposed, while he
absolutely declined by anticipation, any office with which they might be
disposed to reward his adhesion.
At Mr. Giles' invitation, as that gentleman has since informed tJie
public, this singular communication was repeated by Mr. Adams to Mr.
Jefferson in person, coupled with new denunciations of the men who had
always been his patrons, and some of whom, by a singular misapplica-
tion of loyalty, are yet found among his adherents.
The President wondered and believed. How could he do otherwise?
The man who had shunned him as an adder, now came frankly into hi";
cabinet, as one who sacrifices personal antipathies to public duty: it was
the chief of the federalists who came to reveal the secrets of their nefa-
rious counsels : it was the son of old Mr. Adams, denouncing men who
were his father's advisers while in office, and who had shared his defeat.
How could he doubt ? Even Mr. Madison, with all his characteristic wa-
riness, was unable to resist the well told story: he too believed it ; and a
few years afterwards, when President, he applied a large sum of public
money, to purchase from the notorious John Henry, a packet of evidence
in support of the charge.
It has been said, that new converts are the most zealous : a few weeks
enabled Mr. Adams to prove that he had transferred his zeal, as well as
his confidence, to the democratic administration. On the 18th of De-
cember, Mr. Jefferson by a secret message, recommended the imposition
of further restrictions on our foreign commerce. A bill was immediately
introduced into the Senate, laying an embargo on all vessels in our ports,
and at three o'clock in the at"ternoon, little more than two hours after th'*
message was presented, the bill had passed the Senate, and v/as before
the House of Representatives, Such pressing haste in a matter that
went to the annihilation of our trade, was deprecated by the federal
Senators, and by several gentlemen of the other party. Mr. Macon and
Mr. Crawford, solicited a postponement of the question, till the following
morning: they wished time, they said, to deliberate ; perhaps the rea-
sons in favour of the measure might be sufficient; but they doubted.
Mr. Adams was the immediate representative of a district, whose inte-
rests were to be most affected by the proposed law: one fifth ot all the
exports of the United States were at that time from the ports of Massa-
chusetts. He rose, and in reply to Mr Crawford, made the wonderfu!
declaration: '• I would not deliberate — I would not hesitate — I would
act: Doubtless the President, who has recommended this measure, has
such further reasons as will justify it." The bill was passed: and to this
hour, very manj ul his toiistituents refor the ruin of their fortunes to
this so suddenly imbibed confidence in the discretion of the executive.
The public mind had, up to the time of the embargo, been engrossed
with the alleged conspiracy of Aaron Burr. Among the many who had
been accused as his associates, was Mr. John Smith, then a Senator from
Ohio; — but Mr. Burr having been acquitted, the prosecution against the
others had been at once abandoned. It was well known that Mr. Jeffer-
son was strongly persuaded of the existence of the plot, whatever might
have been its object, and that he was anxious to procure the conviction
and punishment of at least some one of the parties. This was the next
subject on which Mr. Adams disclosed his plenary reliance on executive
Nine days after the passage of the embargo law, he presented a report
to the Senate on the case of Mr. Smith. He declared in this document,
that the conspiracy was fully proved, not indeed by legal evidence, but
by evidence derived from the executive files that should be deemed suffi-
cient; and that Mr. Smith was no doubt guilty, though he had not been
tried, and if tried, could not in the opinion of the committee, have been
convicted: — he spoke of justice as a cripple, to whom the crutches of the
law could never give the necessary vigour and speed: — he said, that Mr.
Smith " had asked a hearing and had offered evidence, and had required
to be confronted with liis accusers, as if," continued the report, " the
committee were a Circuit Court of the United States;" — all which the
committee had at once refused; and thereupon they recommended to the
Senate, to declare by resolution, that Mr. Smith had been " guilty of par-
ticipating in the conspiracy of Aaron Burr against the peace, liberties,
and union of the people," and forthwith to expel him from the Senate.
This report, be it remarked, was presented after a jury of the country had
on their oaths declared that Mr. Burr, himself, was not guilty of that con-
spiracy, and after the law officer of the United States had entered a nolle
prosequi in the case of Mr, Smitli.
On the eighth of January, 1808, a letter was read from Mr. Smith, re-
newing to the Senate, tlie requests which he had unsuccessfully made to
the committee. He solicited (I copy from the National Intelligencer ol
that day,) " 1. to be informed specifically of the charges against him:
2. to be allowed process to compel the attendance of witnesses: and 3.
to be allowed the privilege of counsel." Strange as it may appear, (I
copy uerfiaffm from the Intelligencer,) " Mr. Adams concisely assigned
his reasons against a compliance with the two first of these requests."
That is to say, he would refuse to his brother Senator, whom he had ac-
cused, the privileges guaranteed to the basest felon in the lowest courts,
that of knowing the charges against him, and that of subpoenas for his
witnesses. This time, however, Mr. Adams found the majority of the
Senate, disposed to " deliberate" before they would " act :" Mr. Smith
was permitted to bring forward his witnesses, and the accusation, like the
indictment, ended in smoke.
But the gre.t object of Mr. Adams was attained : he had evinced his
unlimited devotion to the principles of his new allies; and from this
time forward, he was as zealous in supporting Mr. Jefferson's administra-
tion, as he had before been fierce in opposing it. Old republicans, whose
ideas of liberty had been formed at home, were unable to equal the self-
surrendering confidence, which he lavished on the President whenever
opportunity presented. They smiled sometimes at the anxious zeal
with which he manifested his conversion to the " Islamism of demo-
cracy," and sometimes ihey were obliged to control it. They enjoyed
perhaps his vituperation of Mr. Ames and Mr. Pickering ; but they nega-
tived his proposition to suspend the habeas corpus act.
Under Mr. Adams' direction, the federal party in Massachusetts had
sunk into a minority: his apostacy was the signal of its restoration to
power. The restrictive system was borne impatiently by a community
of merchants : the Legislature reflected the popular sentiment ; and in the
month of May, 1808, they appointed a federal successor to Mr. Adams.
He had but one short session more to serve; and a new administration
was then to begin at Washington. He secured to himself the character
and future hopes of a martyr, by a voluntary surrender of his remnant of
Senatorial life. He resigned in June, 1808.
He waited not long for his reward. One of the first acts of Mr. Madi
son was to nominate him for a mission to Russia ; and in August, 1809,
he assumed again the diplomatic vesture. A succession of additional ap-
pointments and outfits carried him the third time from court to court over
the continent of Europe. He was now at St. Petersburg, and now at
Ghent, and then in St. Petersburg again, and then at London; or at least
if he did not make all these peregrinations, he was authorised to do so,
and was paid accordingly. Some of these constructive journeys have
lately been the subject of obnoxious remark. But probably there was
no other way in which the splendid services of Mr. Adams could be ade-
quately paid, and the times are past and gone when statesmen were wont
to consider a nation's gratitude as their best reward.
He returned from Europe in 1817, and immediately entered upon the
duties of Secretary of State. Few men could have been found so well
fitted by their education and habits for this laborious and responsible post.
A master of international law, conversant with the negotiations of the
day, and familiar with all the secret machinery of the courts of the conti-
nent, he was peculiarly qualified lo conduct the correspondence of the
American government with foreign powers. Habituated as a minister
abroad, to act under the direction, and advocate the opinion of others,
there was no fear of his transcending the instructions of the President, or
venturing too far upon the suggestions of his own judgment. He was,
withal, a man accustomed to work, whose manners precluded him from
entering into the fascinations of gay society, and who, however ambitious
to introduce the regulations of official etiquette, might be approached by
the rudest backwoodsman with the assurance that the secretary was not
more favoured by the graces than himself. His style of writing, and his
temper, were almost the only objections to the choice of Mr. Adams.
The secretary of state has been called the heir presumptive of the pre-
sidency. Mr. Adams was not the man to relinquish his right to the sue-
cession. At the close, therefore, of Mr. Afonroe's administration, he of-
fered himself wiih the Secretary at War, and tl)e Speaker of tiie House of
Representatives, ^. candidate for popular favours. The secretary of the
treasury had also been named by a caucus of members of Congress; and
a fifth candidate was spontaneously nominated by the people themselves.
As the choice in the result was between Mr. Adams and the candidate last
referred to, let us consider fur a few minutes what stations he had filled,
and how he had conducted himself in them.
PUBLIC CAREER OF GENERAL JACKSON.
The history of General Jackson's public services is so interwoven with
Jlie history of our country's glory, that it is difficult to speak of what he
has done, without transcending the proper limits of a sketch like this. It
IS, h<nvever, for that very reason, the less necessary. There are ft-w citi-
zens ot the United States, who did not thirteen years ago join in the ho-
mage which was spontaneously rendered to him by the nation: there is
scarcely a boy who does not remember the illuminations and the bonfires,
and the votive processions, with which the victory of New Orleans was
celebrated, and who cannot tell how severely he sudered, and how
gallantly he conquered.
His faults, too — thanks to the spirit of detraction which has brutalised
the party presses of the country—are as well known as his achievements.
Indeed, they were never hid: duplicity and concealment have no place
in his character.
Soon after his arrival in Tennessee, he entered e.xtensively on the prac-
tice of his profession: probably, no young member of the bar ever rose
more rapidly into the most responsible business of the courts. The dis-
trict south of the Ohio had just been organised, and he received, without
solicitation, the appointment of attorney for the United States.
He continued exclusively devoted to his profession till the year 1796,
when he was elected to a seat in the convention which framed the original
constitution of Tennessee. His services in that body are yet gratefully
remembered by the people of the state: he was the unvarying champion
ot liberal principles, and it was by his influence that several aristocratic
features, which had been proposed by others, were excluded from the
Tennessee having been admitted into the Union, he was invited to be
her first representative in the Congress of the United States; and the next
year a vacancy occurring in the Senate, he was transferred to that body.
Congress was at this time nearly divitled in political sentiment, and
party violence was at its height, lioth sides seemed anxious to distin-
guish themselves by the fierceness of their opposition to each other, rather
than by a regard to the business of the state. His own opinions were
decided; but he was not ambitious to retain a post in which he could
'iothopeto be useful. He accordingly resigned in the year 1708, and
returned to the walks of his profession.
Shortly after he wasarged to accept a seat on (he bench of the Supreme
Court; but his circumstances in life were yet far from independent, and in
a few monilis he retired to the farm on which he yet lives, near Nashville.
On thf Indian frontier every man is of necessity a snldier. While en-
gaged in the business of a farmer, he was repeatedly called upon to head
parties of his countrymen for the pi^rpose of repelling the incursions of
the savages. He had been commissioned as the only major-general of
the state, in the year 1797, and the duties of that office were frequently to
be performed in the field. But as the country about him became settled,
these occasions were more rare; and for many years before the declaration
of war against Great Britain, he remained at the Hermitage, the quiet and
well satisfied cultivator of his own soil.
The commencement of hostilities in the west drew him from his retire-
ment. The massacre by the Creek Indians at Fort Mimras of several
hundred persons, under the direction of Tecumseh and his brother, the
celebrated prophet, had produced a degree of excitement before unknown
in Tennessee; and General Jackson was placed in command of the volun-
teers, who were collected for the purpose of chastising the murderers.
The sufllerings which his little army underwent in the protracted cam-
paign which followed, the manner in which he shared with them every
privation and toil, the brilliant exploits by which those sufferings were il-
lustrated, and the complete success by which they were at last repaid, are
known to every one. In the month of April, 1813, the Indian war was
at an end, and General Jackson returned to Nashville.
He had, however, scarcely thrown off the military garb, when he re-
ceived a commission of Brigadier General, and on the day following, a
commi sion of Major General in the army of the United States. He was
immediately called into active service in the Floridas, where he remained
until the 22d of November, when he hastened to take command for the
defence of New Orleans.
His conduct from that period till the retreat of the British army is re-
corded on the brightest page of our history. Never was defence more
hopeless, never more important, never so glorious ; and never was a
people more grateful. The popular voice proclaimed him the benefactor
of his country: — the cities vied with each other in celebrating his patriot-
ism and his successful energy; — the churches swelled their Te Deums,
and repeated the prayers of grateful hearts; — the state legislatures voted
him swords and medals ; — and Congress hastened to tender him national
thanks and civic honours.
The victory at New Orleans closed the war: for a few weeks the de-
feated enemy hovered about the coast of Florida, and succeeded in re-
ducing fort Bowyer; but in the month of February, authentic information
was received of the treaty of peace, and hostilities ceased.
Although, however, the Indian tribes were to a certain extent included
in the general pacification, it was manifest that the southern frontier of
the Union was still open to their incursions. The Seminole Indians par-
ticularly, who inhabited the territory adjoining Florida, were at this time
under the entire control of a kw British traders, from whom they conti-
nued to re&eive large supplies of munitions of war. There was great rea-
son to believe that these men, excited by the appetite of gain, were en :
deavouring to engage the savages in renewed attacks upon the American
settlements; and it was obvious tiiat the Spanish authorities, it not un-
willing, were at any rate too weak to restrain them. Under these circum-
stances, General Jackson reluctantly yielded to the wishes of the Presi-
dent, Mr. Madison, and retained his commission. He was subsequently
directed to march against the Seminoles, whose repeated and horrible
murders had filled the frontier with alarm, and to take measures for pre-
venting their recurrence. The campaign was of short duration; the In-
dians were routed; the British traders, with their troop of outlaws, were
dispersed; and the fortresses, under whose protection they endeavoured
to make a stand, passed into the possession of the American army.
When Mr. Monroe entered upon the presidency in 1817, he invited
General Jackson to accept the place of Secretary at War, and to advise
with him in the arduous duty of selecting his cabinet: General Jackson
declined the station ; but his letters to the president, on the subject of the
undue influence of party names in reference to appointments to office, will
be admired so long as liberal sentiments are cherished or respected.
In 1821, General Jackson received from the President and Senate the
appointment of Governor of the Floridas. They had been ceded to the
United States by treaty, two years before ; but the ratification had been
delayed until this time. Connected with this appointment was a commis-
sion to receive possession of the colonial archives from the Spanish offi-
cers; and as it was anticipated, that the former governor, Colonel Callava,
would probably throw obstacles in the way, he was invested with the al-
most unlimited authority of a governor general of Cuba. In the result, it
appeared, that even these powers were not too ample for the emergency.
But the vigilance of General Jackson detected the fraudulent projects of
his Spanish predecessor, and his energy frustrated them: the titles of the
residents were secured, and Colonel Callava retired to Spain, with all the
angry feelings of a disappointed and needy dignitary.
Jackson had accepted the post of Governor of Florida with the clear
understanding that he should be permitted to resign it so soon as the new
government could be organised by his exertions. The station was one
of great responsibility, emolument, and honour ; but he was anxious to di-
vest himself of the cares of office, and hastened back to his farm and fire-
side. ^ Here he remained a private citizen, refusing the distinction of mi-
nister plenipotentiary to the court of Mexico, of which Mr. Monroe soli-
cited his acceptance, until the winter of 1823, when yielding to the urgent
wishes of his friends, he a second time, after an interval of twenty-five
years, took his seat in the Senate of the United States. Cut the people
"of Pennsylvania and Tennessee having formally nominated him for the
office of chief magistrate of the Union, he refused to remain in a situation
which exposed his conduct to misconstruciion, and in 1825 he resigned
the re.mainder of his senatorial term. For the last three years he has
Iiv((l on his farm.
Mr. Corr.a. who was a shrewd observer of men and things, remarked
when in this country as the minister of Portugal, " the man who can pass
the ordeal of an x\merican election, is fit for a communion with angels.''
It was scarcely to be expected that the lenp;tliened and brilliant services
of Andrew Jackson could screen him from this ordeal. No man who has
faithfully discharged duties like those which were repeatedly imposed on
him, can hope to escape the enmity of the vile, and the censures of the
timid. In many instances, it was his business to develope fraud, to pun-
ish crime, to watch over immense interests, amidst a concourse of em-
barrassing circumstances, surrounded by faithless associates, and open
enemies. How could he escape their hostility whom it was his duty to
expose and condemn ?
Before General Jackson was a candidate for the presidency, the only
complaints against him were those made originally by the Spanish govern-
ment, and afterwards repeated by a committee of the Senate. It was said
that he had without legal warrant executed two white men whom he
had taken prisoners during the Seminole campaign, and that he had vio-
lated the neutrality of the Spanish territory. The facts on which these
charges rest have been the subject of so much remark, that it is hardly
necessary to dilate on them. As to the first charge, the truth was, and
yet is admitted, that the white men who are referred to were found asso-
ciated with the Indians, instigating them to the commission of every
atrocity, and exuhing with them over the massacre of women and infants.
It is admitted that they were fairly if not formally tried, and that the
evidence against them was conclusive. When to these admissions is
added the fact, that the President did not censure the proceeding — that
Congress justified it — and that the British government, whose subjects
they were, has never to this hour complained of it ; but that, on the con-
trary, it has been referred to on the floor of parliament as a transaction
fully warranted by circumstances; surely if there was error on the part of
General Jackson, it may be forgiven.
The second charge was ably repelled by Mr. Adams, while secretary
of state, in his letter to our minister at the court of Madrid. lie proved
incontestably that the conduct of Gen. Jackson in taking possession of
St. Marks and Pensacola was in accordance with the conceded principles
of the law of nations: they were posts of refuge for the enemies of the
United States, and nurseries of crime against our peace. The Spanish
government had declared its inability to exclude the retreating savages
from its territory, or to prevent their return to ours: — nothing remained
to the American general but to occupy with his army these posts, whic!)
were useless to Spain, and formidable sources of injury to our citizens.
This transaction, too, received the sanction of the president, and was sub-
jected to congressional scrutiny, without being disapproved.
Since the contested election of 1824, other charges have been indus-
triously sought against General Jackson. It has been said that in the
year 1807 he was an adherent of Aaron Burr in his projected treason.
To this assertion are opposed the contemporary declarations of Mr. Jef-
ferson, that Gen. Jackson was one of the most useful among those by
whom Burr's intentions were detected and baffled, — General Jackson's
■jwn letter to govert^or Claiborne, of Louisiana, written at the lime, in
which he declares his suspicions that a treasonable project was on fooj.
and suggests the necessity of watchfulness and energy on the p;nf of the
government, — and the united testiniony of those who are familiar with the
history of the western states for the last twenty years.
Another objection to General Jackson is found in the fact, that a
short time previous to the news of peace, he approved the sentence of a
court noartial, under which several mutineers suffered death. This charge
derives all its interest from the circumstances which attended its investi-
gation by the House of Representatives. Th it a mutiny, such as this
was, should have led to the trial and punishment of the delinquents, was
certainly not a matter of astonishment or horror; — and, after a court
martial, composed of their own associates and neighbours, hud thought
it essential to the safety of the army, that capital punishment should be
inflicted, — that the commanding general, at the distance of two hundred
miles, seiiarated from the scene of their crimes and their trial by an
almost trackless wilderness, should have felt it his duty to let the sentence
take effect, was scarcely criminal on his part; — and that certain stipen-
diaries should, by the aid of doggrel monodies, forged letters, and wood-
cut monuments, labour to misrepresent these facts, and mislead the public
sj-mpathies, was to hnve been expected. But that a high functionary of
lite government should '-ondescend to the irregular arrangement of docu-
ments, so as by confusing the order of incidents to make that appear un-
authorised, which had been positively commanded: — this would appear
the most wonderful incident in the electioneering campaign, were it not
that the same dignitary had afterwards employed himself in distributing
printed copies of the same documents arranged in the same delusive
order, after the device had been discovered and exposed. Happily for
the honour of our cotmtry, Mr. Adams is not chargeable with any but
the official follies of his secretaries: whatever may be his faults, his ene-
mies acquit him most fully of all connivance at a baseness like this.
Posterity will wonder as it reads that Jackson's conduct at .\ew Or-
leans has also been the theme of censure, ft is easy, after the desperate
field has been fought and won, when the enemy has left our shores, and
*' Peace again her wheaten garland wears," — it is easy, as the stern neces-
sities of the moment of peril fade away upon the memory, for casuists to
discuss with keen-set argument, the propriety of each particular resort
which was prompted by the exigency. But it is enough for the patriot
that the motive was honest, and for the statesman that the result was suc-
cesstul. Who questions the purity of Jackson's motives in the campaign
ot Oi leans? What honourable mind can bring itself to doubt his patriot-
ism, his mere patriotism in all the progress of the sie^e? — When will it be
denied that the very measures to which his energy gave being, were dic-
tated by an exclusive and intelligent regard to the interests of his country^
■ — If ho appropriated the property of others to the purposes of defence, had
he not previously exhausted his own? — If he violated the law, was it not for
the preservation of liberty ? — Fie broke througli the forms of the constitu-
tion; but was it not to save the land? — Where would have been the consti-
tution, and what the law. had the storming party entered New Orleans?
"' A itiict observance of the written laws," says Mi". Jefferson, in a,
letter which has been recently published, -'is doubtless one of the
high duties of a good citizen: but it is not the highest. The laws of ne-
cessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are
of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to
written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property,
and all those who are enjoying them with us ; thus absurdly sacrificing
the end to the means. VVhen, in the battle of Germantown, General
Washington's army was annoyed from Chew's house, he did not hesitate
to plant his cannon against it, altTiough the property of a citizen. When
he besieged Yorktown, he levelled the suburbs, feeling that the laws of
property must be postponed to the safety of the nation. While that army
was before York, the Governor of Virginia took horses, carriages, pro-
visions, and even men, by force, to enable that army to stay together till
it could master the public enemy ; and he was justified. A ship at sea,
in distress for provisions, meets another having abundance, yet refusing a
supply; the law of self preservation authorizes the distressed to take a
supply by force. In all these cases the unwritten laws of necessity', of
self-preservation, and of public safety, control the written laws of raeum
" The ofiicer who is called to act on this superior ground, does indeed
risk himself on the justice of the controlling powers o'" the constitution,
and his station makes it his duty to incur that risk. But those controlling
powers, and his fellow citizens generally, are bound to judge according to
the circumstances under which he acted. They are not to transfer the
information of this place or moment to the time and place of his actions
but to put themselves into his situation. The line of discrimination be-
tween cases may be difficult ; but the good ofiicer is bound to draw it at
his own peril, and throw himself on the justice of his country and (he rec-
titude of his motives."
There are yet some other charges against Gen. Jackson, which false in
fact, and unimportant if true, have been made of consequence only by
the zeal with which his friends have laboured to disprove them. One of
them may serve as a specimen. It has been recently discovered, that
General Andrew Jackson is ignorant of the art of spelling ; that he is
grossly illiterate. Assuredly, '■' if it be .so, it is a grievous fault." Let
us examine how it stands: perhaps in the hasty review which we have
made of the history of the candidates, their literary qualifications may
have been too slightly noticed.
Maternal fondness and piety had destined Andrew Jackson to the mi-
nistry. Before entering the army as a soldier, he had already acquired a
knowledge of the Latin language, and had made some progress in Greek.
He was for two years a student of law, nine years a practising lawyer,
twice a Senator, once a Judge, a Governor of a territory, and the com-
mander for several years of a military district. While he held this com^
niand, Col. Monroe was the Secretary at war; yet Col. Monroe was after-
wards desirous of placing him in his Cabinet. His correspondence with
the different departments at Washington would fill many volumes, and as
Secretary or as President, Col. Monroe had read it all ; yet he tendered
him the mission to Mexico. If the story of Jackson's ignorance be true,
there is no way to account for these things, except by supposing that Col.
Monroe himself may be somewhat unskilled in the orthographic mystery,
and thus taking an appeal from his judgment in the matter. If so, the
correspondence itself is on the files, and the curious must examine for
They will find, who take this trouble, that as for the matter of his letters^
it is plain, simple, common sense; and that as for the style, it is rapid,
but clear, and never requires a second reading to discover its meaning.
They will encounter kw brilliant metaphors, no Greek quotations, no
toilsome and painful struggles after eloquence. Language, said a great
diplomatist, was given to man to conceal his thoughts: if this be so, Gen.
Jackson will be found unskilled in the appropriate use of words. But if to
state facts precisely and forcibly, to point out the connection between pre-
mises and the conclusion to which they tend, and to transfer to others the
vivid impress of his own warm feelings: if these be the object of language,
then must it be admitted by all who have examined the productions of his
pen, that Andrew Jackson writes well and eloquently.
It is true, as I have myself found in reading over some packets of his
letters, that the old gentleman is culpably negligent, when in haste, about
dotting his i's and crossing his t's, and that he is by no means, as careful
as he might be, about beginning his sentences with capital letters. The
printer, who knows more about thl^ mntter than I do, tells mc too, that
General Jackson is really irregular in his orthography; as much so, he
says, as Mr. Jefferson or Mr. Everett, and more so than Mr. Adams. I
know Mr. Everett to be a well-educated scholar, and, I confess that I de-
tected no errors in Genera! Jackson's writing. Still, I suppose the printer
is right : it is his business to decypher manuscripts, and he has the dic-
tionary at his finger's ends.
But if General Jackson's spelling is sometimes bad, it must be conceded
that Mr. Adams' band-writing is seldom good: I doubt whether one or
the other could be recommended for usher of a township school. One of
the cardinal rules of English chirography Is, that the lines should be
parallel to the upper edge of the paper: Mr. Adams alternately writos on
the diagonals, and on those undulating lines, which painters have cha-
racterised as the lines of beauty. He does few things like common men:
his pen is of gold, neatly screwed into the head of a silver thimble, and
worn, as that useful little instrument often is, on the finger tip.
But Mr. Adams is a learned man ; he reads Byron and PuflTendorflf,
and Jean Jacques Rousseau; has studied chemistry and meteorology, and
metaphysics, and will dispute with any man " de omnibus rebus et qui-
busdam aliis," or as our friend Mathews would translate it, about " all
that sort of thing, and every thing in the world." With a little more
knowledge of human character, he would be admirably fitted for the first
chair of a university; and were I a member of the Corporation ol Har-
vard, I should certainly defer the selection of a president for that insti-
tution till after the ides of March.
S,U there are crUics who affinn .h. Mj- A^;'^^^^^^-
rlor literary ^''""^^r^^^ltanT capital letters, he is altogether
arlike attention to dots «"d P°'"^ ' fj*;'; circumlocutory, and diffuse, and
exemplary: but they say hat h>s ^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^ ,,,„,h upon the prerogative
overcharged wUh -["^TJ^^^-^J^^he^n hey assail the construction of h.s
of the grammatica Mr Grout, when in y .^ ^^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^
sentences, as violating the rules of syn ax bu t P ^^^^^.^^
when they say that h.s figures ot speecl ar 4 ^^ ^^ .^^^^p^^^
than intelligible. To this ^ay no "^"j^f "^^^j, ,„d the explanations
the closing sentence of h.s Fourth fJ^^otS '.,j^^,^,,, his -Ebony
which have been dev.sed f y hj^-^^^ J^^^ instructions, returned .n
and Topaz" toast have, like Macbettis j ^^^ ^^^^ ^^.^^^^
every case « to plague the 'n^^"^°'- ^/"'T'' speeches and writings
not happened to occupy a high offic.al station.
. ^ A ctnff " S1V they, " this madrigal would be,
"What wretched stuft, say tney, ,_
In some poor starving sonnetteer, or me.
But let J^lord once own the h W hne^.
How the wit brightens, how the .t>.e rehnes.
/-I. is, however, of small moment -.^J^eA-ncan people, w^^
the character of Mr. Adams' or G-^-j J^^^^'^';;^'^^, f,, ,he Anthology,
will never inquire whether he ^^"^^^^P^^'^^^fthe American Quarter-
or criticise his own administration in the V^f"^^' ^ ,^it_a „,an
ly. They ask that the President ^"'^"^'^.^.^"^ J''', Ses and if unused
S clear perception, sound judgment and fixed pn„^^^^^^^^^ a d ^^^ ^^^^^^
to the -y-^tifications of d.pbmac>, as e spe.^ ^^^^ ^
is termed they will like h.m all the better .^^ ^^^ ^^^.^^^^ ^^
pie who have -/;^[f ^ ^j^ el^' „terfLnce in their own. He is not
other nations, and will toleiaienu • republics, to improve
elected to be the mediator of the South Amer can P ^, . 1 ^^^
the Catholicism of their fa.th, or gathe, them to etl P^^^^^ ^^^^^
dangerous combinations^ He i-a^^^^^^^^^^^^
country alone, and to guara wiui ca ^^-^^^ ^,- inditing a protocol.
^nd this he may do without P°'"'^"?;",„^P'S\hi compfrison of the
^~ I have neither leisure nor inclination to extend tins co i _
personal qualifications of the two ,f "/^'da es Jsooi^e can be „
ble of its imperfections than myselt; but, 1 1 u , .t has the m ^
l,onest; and, as times g"> ^;-;-XTa te^JGenla^^^^^^^^^^^^ bu't it
to disguise my preference for ^^ /hai^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^.^^
has been my aim, in all cases, truly to narrate tne . ^
ference is founded. In a future number ^^yj^\'l'^l^'ZLe myself
duct of Mr. Adams since his election: at ^^^''^'l^X\Z^\ecUon\-^^
to a few simple reminiscences of the mannei in wh.ch
Whatever may be the oninions nf (i>r>c» i
it can hardly be ioubted il^^e ITl^nr '^'"^ '"'^ ^'' ^'"'"^^d,
bleia 1824 to the election ofGe:::^^S^''''^'^^-^-^^f^^our^
termine ivhat would have been the votP in th ' "°^ ^^'3^ to de-
dential electors were chosen by t e lell u e"h' d T ",'"" ^'" P*--'"
the people directly; b.t it is m/c,uestion' le h^^,'h ! tt;'"" ,'"" '^^
was expressed by a public election, Gener ?Ack' n I'l ^"P"'''* ^"'^^
ty n. his favour. Of the votes pivP^T.^ i . xt'' ^ '''"""^ '"^jori-
ral electoral tickets about T-'mo "^' "/'§'!?"' "'« Union for the seve-
Adams had little m^/e ttn lof OOoT C.' ^7^;^'/-^-"' -'^i'e Mr.
about 600 less than Mr. Cravviurd ' Of ulfl ^^'°°^' ^"'^ ^'•- day
ner, General Jackson had 99 Mr rdams frT^r"''' '" '"^^ '"«"-
Mr. Clay 37. Mr. Calhounf'a i.l^d tfrtL'nll".,?''"'"' '^' '"'
which .t was evident he would receive f.Lt^ "nanunous support
had withdrawn from the pre demid.n /^ Z'^''! "^ Vice-president,
Clay, having the smallest vote "i-f '^'T '^'' ^'^^^'""5 nnd Mr
the field, was of cou e not ret^ rn H , .1 ''if ^'^"^ "''^^ ^^™^-'"^d in
From the three others tha ^odv a in'" ^ !^"T ^^ P-P'-^^entatives.
a president of the United s'S '^"""''' '^^ ^'^^ constitutioTl-to elect
In the electoral vote whirli uit\ *. i i • ,^
known that Mr. AdaL h^d n't ';'" '. "'' '" ^-^"^ber, J 824, it was
college, south of Ne?v England "r',^ "'T'""^ '' ^"^ °"^ ^'-'«-'
York. As the question b2el'e H us 'of"p'""^ "'"P""" "^" ^"^^^
decided by states, each bavin J,! . ^^H^iesentatives was to be
geographical limhrL\„p^ortl' '/' •'"'. 7''"^'"' '^'^' '' ^^e same
out of 'the thirteen J Z^rlnfZT"'"'' '" '°"" '"^" ^"^ «^^^"
The friends of Mr. ChyZiZ^JZ"-""? "''''^^""^ ^" '^'^ ^'^^'i""-
-rt; and before the ^^Jt::^t^::J:::z:TT '■" ^°"-
was universally understood t'laf .ho;/ t- . ' *'• Bremer, it
secure for the count,T' n son fc^i tin.n? l'''' i '" '" f'""^ ^"^ether was'to
intentions were tl^ sulct o . • ' "' "" '''^>""'8'^t ^^lect, his
classes of expectants. "^ """"' ^""J^^'"-"^ «'"0"g the several
co^:^,Trw:"srh!s::^;'''r'^ ^^ ^'^^ hi^i-st distinction in ,he
didatef^nd tirrumour of 1^^! ' ^ ^''''"' '^'' '^'''''' '^'"^ ^-'^•^■^» ^-^'n-
gained currenc;:':b:t";i!:: 'z::T7:^z^7Ti^''"''' '-'"'
"X^'K ;i::t;nrnr'"t- ^'^ ---"-''■ ^'^. Aims
a part of the rumour '''";"/'^V',u° ''"'''''>■ ^^'^'>'^' «'''i^'' ''«'™^d
eady historv of Mr 'a '^"^^^^ '^d ^v somej but those who knew the
'^"11^ nisiory Of ivjr. Adams, and the stern rcftifn,!,. ,.r n i r i
son's principles, remembered the avowal o IV c!',- ^"T'^ i^')'
W'tted that the story mi-^ht be trn^ Tb. I ^^ J^^'^'', ^""^ '''^■
way wa^ fnnnrl In ♦! ■ ^^ ''^ ""'>' seeming difficn ty in the
t^rms of doubtful fr.endsh.p, and had but a short time before been
marking out the ring for a newspaper combat. They were tyros in poli-
tics who imagined a difficulty in this.
The votes of Mr. Clay's immediate friends, added to those of New
England, would give Mr. Adams but nine votes : four more were to be
Missouri had voted for Mr. Clay in the electoral college; but Mr.
Adams' ticket had received in that state only three hundred votes,
while General Jackson's received nearly a thousand: — considerations
which even now can only be guessed at, determined Mr. Scott, the re-
presentative from that state, to give Mr. Adams her support.
Illinois had in the electoral college given a majority of votes for Gene-
ral Jackson j motives as inexplicable for the time as those which swayed
Mr. Scott, had their influence on the representative of this state, Mr.
Cook. He, too, became the supporter of Mr. Adams.
Still there were two votes wanting. New York was divided : seven-
teen of her representatives were for Mr. Adams, two were for General
Jackson, fifteen for Mr. Crawford: Mr. Crawford's ill health, however,
had induced one of his friends to doubt as to the policy of electing him.
That friend was General Van Rensselaer; but he was a high-minded
federalist, who had known Mr. Adams through all his changes: — Could
he be persuaded to trust him again ?
The Representatives of Maryland were also divided between Mr.
Adams, General Jackson, and Mr. Crawford. But Mr. Warfield had
some thoughts of changing his candidate ; and his vote would give Mr.
Adams a majority: he too was a federalist, and was not indifferent to
the interests of his old party-friends.
To control the votes of New York and Maryland, was the business of
the much talked of Webster pledge, — a pledge which, announced at first
with a variety of erroneous but unimportant details, was afierwards con-
tradicted somewhat too broadly by the over zealous friends of Mr. Adams
in the city of New York, yet is now substantially proved by evidence,
that Mr. Webster himself does not venture to gainsay. The real story,
and a part of the authority on which it rests, are thus stated in a leading
newspaper of the day. The gentlemen who are named as the witnesses,
are above suspicion; and their declaration has never been, and never will
be contradicted by a responsible person.
"Some time in the month of July or August, 1827, the Commissioners
of New Jersey for settling the boundary line with New York, met at
Newark, and afterwards at Hoboken; and Mr. Richard Stockton, Theo-
dore Frelinghuysen, Lucius Q. C. Elmer, and James Parker, were four
of the Jersey Commissioners. Mr. Stockton, in the course of the session,
in a conversation with the other three above named gentlemen, stated
that Mr. Webster had told him that ' he had in his possession a paper
purporting to be the substance of a conversation he had held with Mr.
Adams, previous to his election to the Presidency ; and which was in-
duced by his (Webster's) wish to know from Mr. Adams the policy he
would, in the event of his election, pursue towards the old federal party,
as it might have some bearing on the then pending question. That Mr.
Adams professed great regard for the federal party, and thought them en-
titled to a participation in office, in common with the whole nation, and
promised, or avowed it to be his intention, if elected, to give them a fair
participation accordingly.' Mr. Webster further said, that in order that
no mistake might afterwards occur, or that he might not be brought into
collision with Mr. Adams on the score of a misunderstanding, < he had,
on going away, reduced the subtance of the conversation to writing, and
afterwards showed it to Mr. Adams, who, after reading it, took up a pen
and corrected it in one or two points, by erasing some words, and inter-
lining others, and then returned it to him.' This paper he offered to
show to Mr. Stockton; but it is believed that Mr. Stockton did not see it,
because he had full confidence in Mr. Webster's word."
The paper referred to, was, however, communicated to Mr. Van Ren's-
selaer and Mr, Warfield: — it was too definite, they thought, to be evaded:
and they became the friends, as that word is used, of Mr. Adams.
On the 9th of February, 1825, the House of Representatives proceeded
to the election of the President. At the first ballotting, the votes of the
six New England States, — of the states of Kentucky, Ohio, and Loui-
sianna, which were supposed to be under the influence of Mr. Clay, —
and of the States of Missouri^ Illinois, New York and Maryland^ were
given to Mr. Adams; — and he was elected '
The sequel is told in a few words.
The first act of Mr. Adams was to appoint Mr. Clay Secretary of
The people of Missouri, at the earliest opportunity, indignantly dis-
missed Mr. Scott: — Mr. Adams forthwith appointed him Inspector of
land offices, with a salary of ^5000.
The people of Illinois dismissed Mr. Cook: — he was sent at once on
a secret mission, with a salary from the contingent fund of ^4500 a year.
The pledge to the federalists alone was found too costly and hazardous
to keep. It is to be renewed and regarded, when Mr. Adams obtains
rUladelphia, August, 1828.
SaRY of CONbHbSS
011895 469 5