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Wire-puller is an opprobrious name, the popular theory 
being that a President of the United States is the choice of 
the people, expressed spontaneously. But a little reflection 
will lead any intelligent person to the conclusion that the 
popular choice can not often be spontaneous. In order that 
the people may be enabled to give effective expression to their 
desires, it is necessary that, from the mass of those who 
aspire to serve them, the two men should be selected who, 
more than any others, represent the divergent tendencies of 
the time. It will not happen once in a century that two men 
will stand before the people so distinctively representative that 
the two parties will spontaneously look up to them as their 
standard-bearers. And when that does happen, the superior 
claims of those two individuals will not be apparent to their 

Therefore, before the presidential course can be cleared for 
a fair contest between two candidates, there must be a great 
deal of work done of the kind commonly stigmatized as wire- 
pulling. Rival interests must be conciliated ; competing 
vanities soothed ; undeniable claims postponed ; groundless 
pretensions put aside ; local pride flattered or allayed ; local 
prejudices ascertained and considered. Long journeys must 
be performed and long letters written ; there must be con- 
sultations in editorial sanctums, in custom-house parlors, in 
countrj' mansions, in law-offices, in the inner snugi^eries of 
great hotels, in the lobbies and committee-rooms of legislative 


As these prelimiuary labors are absolutely necessary to 
enable the people to give effectual expression to their will, 
they are not necessarily dishonorable. As a general nile, 
such labors will ho performed l>y the friends of the men whose 
elevation is sought, by the advocates of the opinions they 
represent, and by those who expect honor and advantage from 
the success of the candidate whose cause they espouse. Wire- 
pulling can not be dispensed with in a republic. We liave 
only to d(>niand, therefore, of the wire-puller that his ends 
and aims be patriotic, more than they are personal, and that 
all his movements, though necessarily secret, should be such 
as will bear exposure when their object is accomplished. 
Nothing is fair in politics but fair play. 

The man who contril)uted most to the elevation of G-en- 
eral Jackson to the presidency was Major William B. Lewis, 
of Nashville. General Jackson himself said as much. From 
the year 1822 to 1829, the principal employment of Major 
Lewis' leisure hours was electioneering for General Jackson; 
and when his efforts had been crowned with success, he 
accomjyauied the General to Washington, and lived with him 
in the presidential mansion, sharing the private apartments 
of the President, and not unfrequently his bed-chamber. 
Major Lewis, in most matters i)olitical and domestic, was Gen- 
eral Jackson's second self Nothing was done without his 
cognizance, and few things without his aid. Possessed of an 
am{)le estate, modest and unaspiring, the labors of Major 
Lewis on behalf of General Jackson were disinterested and 
voluntary, and his influence upon the General was at all times 
salutary. He almost alone retained to the last the friendship 
of General Jackson, without agreeing with him in opinion 
upon subjects of controversy. 

In the enjoyment now of a green and vigorous old age, 
Major Lewis has spent many laborious hours and days in the 
service of the readei*s of these pages, recalling and recording 
the scenes of the past, in which he acted a part so distin- 
guished. What he did for General Jackson's elevation will 
bear exposition. Nothing need be concealed ; nothing shall 


be concealed. By the aid chiefly of this worthy and obh'ging 
gentleman, nearly every controverted question relating either 
to the election or the administration of General Jackson, I 
shall be enabled to set at rest for ever. The reader shall 
know as much of those singular afiairs as though he had been 
daily closeted with General Jackson at the Hermitage, and 
nightly pillowed with him at the White House. 

It is due to Major Lewis to state that he is not to be held 
responsible for any opinion, or intimation of opinion, not 
expressetl in his own language. Often I have had to regret 
being compelled to arrive at conclusions different from those 
of gentlemen to whom the reader is under great obligations, 
and with whom it would have been a pleasure to agree. " I 
have no doubt," writes Major Lewis, " that I shall be abused 
by the former enemies, as well as by some of the pretended 
friends of General Jackson. But I shall little heed their 
abuse. My object in furnishing you with documents, letters, 
and information relating to the life and character of the 
General, has been to let the whole truth be told — to let him 
speak for himself on all proper occasions. This, I think, has 
been your policy from the commencement, and I approve it. 
Every thing that I have said or written to you, connected 
with your Life of Jackson, has been uttered with tis much 
solemnity and truthfulness as if I had been under oath." 

Major Lewis shall now tell us the curious story of Gen- 
eral Jackson's starting for the presidential race. 

The facts have never before been made public. The pop- 
ular stor}' is, that at some toAvni meeting in western Penn- 
sylvania, a mechanic, seized with a sudden and uncontrollable 
enthusiasm, tossed liis old hat skyward, and roared out the 
magic cry, '^ Hurrah for Jackson !" The meetini^ responded 
with sliouts unanimous.* The Alleghanies took it up, and 

* Another Torsion is the following : 

" No org:inizo<l body of piirtisans, no faction, no caucus, no convention, no 
committeo first nomInat.\l him. A siinpl.; mechanic in a western village of 
Pcunsylvanii^, in the sumnier of 1822, amid.-^t a ^roup of his fellow-villagers, 
'.rho wore di.scoureing on tiie services he had performed and the persecutions 


sent it ecliuing through tlie valley of the Mi88issij)pi, and all 
along the Atlantic coast. And so forth. Mr. Colt(.)n, the 
biograplier of Henry Clay, gives an account infinitely more 
absurd : " On the 8th of January, 1824, the lion. J. Q. Adams 
made a party in honor of General Jackson. The jwirty was 
a brilliant one, attended by the President of the United States, 
the foreign ambassadors, memlxirs of Congress, j)ublic func- 
tionaries, and a host of distinguished stmngers. General 
Jackson wjus, of course, the star of the evening, * the observed 
of all observers,' with Mrs. Adams on his arm, who, with 
grace and dignity, did the honors of hostess, in presenting the 
General to her various and numerous guests. General Jack- 
son, certainly, was not unknown before ; but this occasion 
lift<3d him, from the comi)aratively vulgar place of a meteor, 
in the atmosi)here of earth, to the position of a fixed orb in 
the firmament above. From that momvnt he began to bt 
thoutjht of as a candidate for the preHidenrti" 

The narrative about to be given was drawn uj) in one of 
the later yeara of General Jackson's presidency, for the grat- 
ification of a leading member of the cabinet, who (in 1859) 
is again a member of the cabinet, Cieneral Cass. Major 
Lewis begins by refuting two common errors : first, that 
Aaron Burr's letter to Governor Alston, in 181;>, was the 
direct cause of General Jackson's nomination ; secondly, that 
that nomination was elFected bv a union of the federalists 
with a faction of malcout(?nt republicans. He shows that 
Burr's letter was never seen by General Jackson, nor l)y any 
man who took a leading part in his election, until after his 
election to the presidency. He denies, too, that any feder- 
alist had any agency in the production of those letters of 
General Jackson to Mr. Monroe, the publication of which, 

ho ondurod, oxclsiimed, ' Lot us have liim for our next president, ami show Iuh 
slandeivri* that we don't hi-hov*' thoni.' The projurtal was cau^rht with enthu- 
siofltn ninl assented to witli aeoljiination. It wjw soon in notive ciroulation 
round the mljact-nt country ; for beinjj appnived of by fvery heart, it was re- 
peated by every lonirue. It made iuj way into the nowspajK'rs ; the whole 
nation heard it ; and millions who knew not wlijueo tlie su^^^o^tioii originated, 
lespouded to its propriety.*'— Jacftwn Wrcaih^ 1829, p. 61. 


he admits, did win to the Gkneral's support a large number 
of the old party. 

" I know," writos Major Lewis, " that no federalist wrote 
the letters referred to. The principal letter was written at 
my residence in the vicinity of Nashville, and was not seen 
by any one, with the exception of the General and myself, 
until it was received by Mr. Monroe. In fact it was copied 
by me, at the General's request, and sent to Mr. Monroe in 
my handwriting. The truth is, I was so struck with the 
noble sentiments it breathed, that I took an extra copy of it 
to be put upon my own private files, with the intention, 
should I outlive the General, to place it in the hands of his 
future biographer. 

" Candor, however, requires that I should admit, as I 
freely do, that the publication of this letter, together with 
that of the 6th January, 1817, had the effect of rallying to 
the support of General Jackson many of the federalists, par- 
ticularly that portion of them who supported the war, and 
hated John Quincy Adams for having turned traitor to his 
party. But in making this admission I must not be under- 
stood as countenancing, in the slightest degree, the charge 
which some have labored to establish of a combination be- 
tween him and the federalists. It must be borne in mind 
that the publication of these letters did not take place until 
May, 1824, about six months only before the presidential 
election, and could not, therefore, have been instrumental in 
bringing about a combination. 

" That these letters, when published, must have had a 
powerful effect upon that portion of the federalists named 
above, I can readily imagine from my own personal observa- 
tion in relation to several individuals, who had always be- 
longed to the federal party. I will name one. A friend of 
mine, a distinguished and leading federalist of North Caro- 
lina, was spending a few days with me, in the summer, or 
fall of 1823, and in our conversations upon political subjects 
I found he was quite undecided as to which of the presiden- 
tial candidates he would support. I pretty soon discovered. 


however, that he was bitterly opposed to Mr. Adams, whom 

he spoke of as a ^ d d traitor;' but he said nothing that 

induced me to believe he was favorably inclined toward 
General Jackson, though tliey had long been peraonal friends. 
Upon the whole, I thought his leanings were rather in favor 
of Mr. Crawford, but not by any means definitely so. After 
conversing with him the previous evening upon these sub- 
jects, I determined to make an experiment upon him the 
next morning witli General Jackson's letter of 12th Novem- 
ber, 1816, and accordingly got the copy of it I had kept, be- 
fore I went to bed, and laid it upon my table. I rose early 
the next morning, and finding my friend already up and tak- 
ing a walk in the garden, I sallied forth, and on approach- 
ing him handed liim the Gencrars letter, begged him to read 
it, and tell me what he thought of it. He took it, gave it 
an attentive perusal, and addressing himself to me, with an 
air of incredulity, imiuired if General Jackson had really 
written such a letter to Mr. Monroe. 

" ^ Certainly,' I replied. 

" ' And actually sent it ?' 

" * Yes,' I again replied. 

" ^ Lewis, you are ([uizzing me,' he said. 

" ^ No,' I assured him, ^ I am not.' 

" Upon this his countenance became animated with joy 
and delight, and he replied, 

" ^ Then Ac is my man for the presidency. Henceforth, 
from this very moment, until the election is over, will I give 
him my cordial and zealous support.' 

" He returned shortly afterward to North Carolina, and 
took a decided and energetic part in the contest, rallied his 
friends under the Jackson banner, and, in conjunction with a 
large and zealous portion of the democratic party, succeeded 
in carrying the State by upward of five thousand majority 
over the regular caucus candidate, William H. Crawford. 

" Who was this friend, methinlcs I hear you Jisk. It was 
no other than General William Polk, of Raleigh, who, on ac- 
count of his high military services in the revolutionary war, 


his energy of character, his moral worth, and great wealth, 
was one of the most distinguished and influential men in the 
State. Although the Jackson men triumphed in North Car- 
olina, yet their candidate was defeated. My gallant friend, 
however, nothing daunted, again buckled on his armor, and 
continued the conflict until complete success crowned the 
efibrts of himself and friends, in the election of General 
Jackson in the autumn of 1828." 

Having disposed of these errors, Major Lewis proceeds to 
relate the indubitable events, as they occurred under his own 
eye, and many of them at his own suggestion. 

MAJOR lewis' narrative. 

'* When General Jackson was fighting the battles of his country, and 
acquiring for himself and it imperishable glory, he never once thought, as 
I verily believe, of reaching the presidency. He did not dream of such a 
thing — ^the idea never entered his imagination. All he aimed at. or .de- 
sired at the time, was military renown acquired by patriotic services. This 
he prized far above all civil fame, and does even now, if I know any thing 
of the feelings of his heart. He was naturally and essentially a military 
man. Full of ardor, of indomitable courage, possessing the rare quality 
of inspiring every man about him with feelings as enthusiastic and daunt- 
less as his own ; quick to conceive and as prompt to execute ; vigilant and 
of untiring industry ; and, in addition to all these high and noble qualities, 
he was endowed with a sound judgment and discriminating mind. In 
fact, he had all the requisites of a great military commander, and, witli 
the s«ime theater to act upon, he would not, in my opinion, have been in- 
ferior to any of the great of either ancient or modern times. This you 
may consider extravagant ; but, I assure you, I do firmly and conscien- 
tiously believe, that by nature he was not, as a military man, inferior to 
either Alexander, Julius Caesar, or Napoleon Bonaparte, and had he oc- 
cupied the place of either, under like circumstances, would not have been 
less successful or distinguished ! 

" With these feelings and views, thirsting for military fame, and am- 
bitious of being distinguished as a great commander, is it unreasonable to 
suppose that civil honors were but little coveted, or cared for by liim ? 
No, my friend. lie did not even dream of the high civic destiny that 
awaited him, and which was to be the crowning glory of his life and char- 
acter. The first suggestion of that sort came from Kentucky, and was 
made, in the summer of 1815, by an officer who was under his command 
and assisted in the defense of New Orleans. (Mr. Edward Livingston, 

VOL. III. — 2 


too, about this time, suggested the same thing.) The letter of this officer 
was addressed to a third person, a mutual friend, who inclosed it to Gen- 
eral Jackson, as was undoubtedly expected by tlic writer. In this letter 
it was proposed that he should be forthwith brought out as a candidate ; 
but the General laughed at the idea, and, returning the letter to his friend, 
begged that nothing further might be either said or done in relation to the 
matter. The proposition was too absurd, he said, to be entertained for a 
moment In fact, nothing further was thought or said, as I believe, upon 
the subject of his being a candidate, until about the close of Mr. Monroe's 
first term. Thus began and thus ended tlie first movement in favor of 
bringing out General Jackson for the presidency. Colonel Burr, I am 
well assured, had no agency in this, for it occurred some three months be- 
fore the date of his letter to Governor Alston ; nor was it put in motion 
by any combination of militant federalists and anti-Jeffersonians. 

" As long as General Jackson remained in the miUtary service of his 
country, little was said about bringing him out for the presidency. Having 
been appointed Governor of Florida by the President of the United States, 
he resigned his commission in the army about the first of June, 1821, and 
repaired forthwith to Pensacola, to receive the territory from the Spanish 
authorities. After organizing a territorial government, and putting it in 
operation, he withdrew from all public employment, and returned to Ten- 
nessee, where he expected to spend the rest of his4ife as a private citizen. 
Nor, indeed, was it believed by his friends that tliey would bo blcvSt with 
his society very long, as his health was at that time, an<l had been for six 
or seven years previous, very feeble, and his constitution apparently 
exhausted and broken down. No sooner, however, had he become a 
private citizen, and had set himself down once more upon his own beauti- 
ful estate, the Ilermitage, than the eyes of his fellow-citizens were turned 
toward him, as having eminently entitled himself, by his brilliant and 
patriotic services, to the highest honors within the gift of a free and 
enlightened people. 

" In Tennessee, and particularly at Nashville, his friends began now to 
speak of him as a candidate, and in good earnest to take the necessary 
steps to place his name prominently before the country. It is true that 
some four or five candidates were already in tlie field ; but so confident 
were they of General Jackson's strength and popularity with the people, 
on account of his great public services, that they had no fears for the re- 
sult They not only, therefore, began to speak out upon the subject^ but 
to make their wishes and intentions known through the public journals. 
The first demonstration of this latter method of supporting him was made 
January, 1822, in one of the Nashville papers. Soon afterward, the editor 
of tlie NcuhvUle Gazette^ Colonel Wilson, took the field openly and boldly 
for the General, as his can(hdate for the Presidency. The proposition was 


cordially responded to by the people of Tennessee, and was also well re- 
ceived in other States, particularly so in the democratic and patriotic State 
of Pennsylvania. The inquiry now was, in what way shall his name be 
presented to the nation ? The most imposing manner of bringing him 
forward and presenting to the other States of the Union, it was finally 
agreed, would be by the Legislature of his own State. This would not 
only give weight to the nomination, it was beUeved, but would show to 
the whole country that we were in earnest It was determined, there- 
fore, that the necessary steps should be taken to bring him forward at the 
next session of the Legislature. 

" In these preliminary movements, it appears to me, you will be scarcely 
able to perceive any agency on the part either of Colonel Burr or the 
^ militant Federalists,' of whom so much is said. Nor had the officers 
of the army, whom he also represents as taking an active and leading 
part, anything to do with them. The truth is, they were the voluntary 
and spontaneous acts of his Tennessee friends, without the suggestions or 
promptings of any person or persons out of the State. 

" About this time, spring of 1822, I left home on a visit to North Garo 
lina to see the family of my father-in-law. Governor Montfort Stokes, who 
was then a Senator of Congress. The Governor had always belonged to 
the democratic party, and was one of its prominent and most influential 
leaders. His friendship and political support was, therefore, considered a 
matter of importance by those who were seeking favors at the hands of 
the people. What were his predilections at that time, in relation to the 
presidential aspirants, I knew not ; but, as you may well suppose, I felt 
anxious to enlist him on the side of General Jackson. He had not re- 
turned from Washington at the time I reached his residence, but arrived 
soon afterward. During my continuance at his house, I had frequent con- 
versations with him upon political subjects, and found him a warm, per- 
sonal friend and admirer of General Jackson ; but he gave not the slightest 
intimation that he preferred him for the presidency. This occasioned me 
some uneasiness, for I thonght it a matter of very great importance, as it 
regarded the General's success in North Carolina that he should have the 
support of the Governor. I determined, therefore, to have a full and frank 
conversation with liim before 1 left, upon the subject ; and it was not long 
before I had an opportunity of doing so, and learning his opinions and 
views without reserve. He frankly remarked to me that so little had as 
yet been said about General Jackson as a candidate, he had not supposed 
it was seriously intended to run him, and asked me if such was really the 
intention of his friends. 

"' Unquestionably j' I replied, and added that the Legislature of Tennes- 
see would certainly nominate him at its next session. 


"* What support do his friends expect him to get?' he inquired, *if 
nominated ?' 

" I answered, * they expect him to be supported by the whole country.* 

" Then,' he facetiously replied, ' he will certainly be elected.' 

" Assuming then a graver air and tone, he said to me that he had known 
Qeneral Jackson from boyhood, he having read law with his brother when 
quite a youth, and that there was no living man he so much admired ; but 
being already conmiitted to the suppoi-t of Mr. Calhoun, he could not 
advocate his election. This was very unwelcome news to me, but I can not 
say that it was altogether unexpected, for I was led to anticipate some- 
thing of the sort from his silence, as regarded his preference, in my previ- 
ous conversations with him. I then remarked : 

" ' But suppose Mr. Calhoun sliould not be a candidate, can not you sup- 
port the General as your next choice ?' 

" * Yes,' he promptly replied, * with great pleasure ;' but added that, at 
the same time, he had no reason to believe that anything could or would 
occur to prevent lus being a candidate. 

" Under such circumstances, this was all I had a right to expect or ask, 
and I parted with the Grovernor, when about to leave for Tennessee, fully 
satisfied that in case Mr. Calhoun should not be a candidate, he would go 
for General Jackson. In this I was not mistaken. The moment Mr. Cal- 
houn was withdrawn by his Pennsylvania friends, the Governor rallied 
upon the General, and supported him with great energy and zeal. Having 
now the support of both General Polk and Governor Stokes, the two 
leaders, I may say, of the federal and democratic parties in North Carolina, 
his friends became confident of being able to carry that State for him. 
They were not mistaken ; its vote was given to him by a large majority. 

'* I returned to Nashville about the first of June, and found the friends 
of the General in high spirits, and sanguine of success. Indeed, this feel* 
ing was not confined to Nashville : it pervaded the whole State. Under 
this state of things the legislature met, and, in a few days thereafler, the 
20th July, 1822, adopted a preamble and resolutions which placed the 
General before the country as a legitimate candidate for the presidency. 
Being now formally nominated, his fiiends in every section of the Union 
entered into the contest with increased vigor and energy. But few of the 
federalists, however, took any part in it until afler the publication in May, 
1824, of the General's celebrated letters to Mr. Monroe. Indeed, but few 
of them, if any, knew of their existence until then, though they, it has been 
alleged, had won their hearts as early as 1815. I should, however, except 
General William Polk, to whom I sho^^red the letter of the 12th Novem- 
ber, 1816, in the autumn of 1823, as before stated ; and perhaps John 
Quincy Adams also, to whom Mr. Monroe, I have no doubt, showed both 
letters, which accounts, to my mind at least, for his having sustained the 


General in his Seminole campaign with so much ability and zeal, in his 
dispatch to our Minister at Madrid. 

" The General being now fairly out as a candidate, it was considered in- 
di^nsable, in order to make his success the more certain, that the con- 
gressional caucus should be broken down. This was an engine of great 
political power, and had been used by the politicians of the country for 
twenty years in manufacturing Presidents, and unless it could be destroyed 
it would be difficult to overcome its inflaence upon those who had so long 
looked upon its nominees as the only true and legitimate party candidates. 
Wiih a view to accomplish this object, Judges Overton and Haywood, 
both able and distinguished lawyers, opened a heavy and effective fire 
upon it in a series of well written numbers, which were published in the 
Nashville papers. These, with the attacks made upon it in other quarters, 
added to Greneral Jackson^s great personal popularity, contributed greatly, 
doubtless, to the overthrow of that renowned personage, * King Caucus,' 
as it was then derisively called. It is true he mounted his throne again in 
the winter of 1823-'24, and nominated, as Mr. Monroe's successor, Mr. 
William H. Crawford; but his majesty had become powerless, and his 
nominee for the first time was badly beaten. This was the last time he 
ascended his throne, having died soon after of the wounds he received in 
the campaign of 1824, and has never been heard of since. Not even his 
ghost made its !ippearance in the presidential contest of 1828. It strikes 
me that you will be equally at a loss to perceive in all this any agency of either 
Colonel Burr, his militant federalists, or anti-Jeffersonians. 

^ As Tennessee was almost unanimous in favor of General Jackson, it 
might have been supposed that his friends would have had little or no 
trouble in that State afler his nomination. Such, however, was not the 
fact. Colonel John Williams had been a Senator from our State in Con- 
press for eight years, and as his term of service expired on the 3d of 
March, 1823, the legislature, which met in October of that year, had to 
elect a new Senator. Colonel Williams was a candidate for re-election ; 
but being a personal and political enemy of Greneral Jackson, it was de- 
termined, if possible, to defeat him, unless he would pledge himself to the 
support of the General for the presidency. This he refused to do, having 
ah-eady engaged to support Mr. Crawford. The General's friends had no 
alternative lefl them but to beat him, and this was no easy task. East 
Tennessee claimed the Senator, and the Colonel was a great favorite with 
the people of that end of the State. Besides, with the view of strength- 
ening himself in other sections, soon after the elections in August were 
over, he mounted his horse and rode through the whole State, calling on 
the members-elect to the legislature, and obtaining promises from most of 
tliem K) vote for him. They should not have thus committed themselves ; 
but, having done so, the greater part of them were disposed to redeem 


their pledges, thougli admitting they had done wrong. The most devoted 
and zealous of the General's friends were determined, however, to leave 
no stone unturned to defeat his election. vSeveral persons were spoken of 
as opposing candidates, but noue of them could obtain, it was ascertained, 
the requisite number of votes. The Ghjneral's old friend, Johnny Rhe<i. 
could come the nearest, but he lacked three votes. This was a very un- 
pleasant state of things. To elect a bitter, personal enemy of General 
Jackson, and one who was known to be in favor of Mr. Crawford for the 
presidency, would have a most injurious effect^ it was believed, upon his 
prospects. Notwithstanding he had been nominated by the legislature 
some fifteen months before, it was apprehended, if an enemy of his should 
be sent to the Senate, it would be difficult to make the other States be- 
lieve that Tennessee was in earnest in her support of him. It would cer- 
tainly have the appearance of great inconsistency, and well calculated to 
nullify the effect of his nomination. 

" This could not be permitted, and it was resolved, at all hazards, to 
defeat the election of Colonel Williams. It became necessary now to play 
a bold and decisive game. As nobody else could be found to beat the 
Colonel, it was proposed to beat him with the General himsdf! This 
having been made known produced great uneasiness and alarm among the 
more timid members, from an apprehension that even he could not be 
elected ; but Mr. Eaton and myself, who were on the ground, took upon 
ourselves the responsibility of the step, and insisted on his being nomina- 
ted to the Legislature as a candidate for the Senate. We came to the con- 
clusion that if the General must be politically sacrificed, it mattered little 
in what way it was done — whether by being defeated himself in the elec- 
tion of a United States Senator, or by the election of his bitter enemy I 
But I had no fear of liis being defeated — I did not believe it possible that 
a majority of the members would be willing to take upon themselves the 
responsibility of voting against him. He was, accordingly, nominated to 
the Legislature by Major Maney, a highly respectable member from Wil- 
liamson County — and he was elected, as I anticipated, by quite a large 
majority I Had he been beaten it might passibly have destroyed, or at 
least impaired, his prospects for the presidency ; but his defeat, it was be- 
lieved, would not be more blasting in its effect than the election of Colonel 
Williams under all the circumstances of the case. 

" These are the reasons which induced the friends of General Jackson 
to send him to the United States Senate in the winter of 1823-24 ; which 
was thought by many of his friends at the time to have been rash and im- 
politic. The General himself was far from desiring it; but there was no 
help for it, and ho submitted with a good grace. He was a soldier, and 
knew how to obey as well as to command 1 It is proper, however, to 
state that the members of the Legislature who were in favor of electing 


Colonel Williams, declared themselves to be decidedly the Mends of Gen- 
eral Jackson ; but they maintained that to support the latter did not make 
it necessary to sacrifice the former. The active and most decided of the 
G^eneraVs friends, however, differed with them in opinion. They had no 
doubt that to sustain Colonel Williams, under such circumstances, would 
be injurious to the prospects of the General for the presidency." 

And 80 General Jackson was, at once, a Senator and a 
candidate for the presidency. 

In connection with this interior view of his election to 
the Senate, the correspondence that passed between the Gen- 
eral and one of the members of the Tennessee Legislature, 
previous to the election, has a certain interest. " AH we 
want," said the member, " is a belief that you will permit 
your name to be used " To which General Jackson replied : 
" I have earnestly to request my friends, and beg of you, not 
to press me to an acceptance of the appointment. If ap- 
pointed I could not decline, and yet, in accepting it, I should 
do great violence to my wishes and to my feelings. The 
length of time I have passed in public service authorizes me 
to make this request, which, with my friends, I trust, will be 
considered reasonable and proper." « 

Only twenty-five members of the Legislature ventured to 
vote against General Jackson for the senatorship ; and such 
was the power of his name in Tennessee, that of those 
twenty-five but three were re-elected to the next legislature. 
Indeed, his popularity exercised a despotic sway in some 
portions of the State. There were districts of Tennessee in 
which a man would scarcely have been safe who was known 
to have voted against him. 

In the northern States, where the leading presses and 
politicians were already enlisted in behalf of Adams, Craw- 
ford, or Calhoun, these proceedings of the Tennessee legisla- 
ture were received with a general pooh-pooh. " Great 
General, but unfit for civil employment." ^^ The Tennessee- 
ans can not be in earnest." " Vice-President, perhaps ; but 
President — absurd 1" " Adams and Jackson — that's the 
ticket !" 




A TERRIBLE affliction fell upon Mr. Crawford. In August, 
1823, when he was fifty-one years of age, he was stricken 
with paralysis, which left him helpless, speechless, nearly 
blind, and scarcely conscious. He rallied a little in the 
course of the month, but he lay during the rest of the can- 
vass a wreck of the once stalwart and vigorous CraAvford, 
slowly, very slowly regaining his faculties. By the aid of a 
mechanical contrivance, he was just able to affix his signature 
to public documents, and thus retain his office of Secretary 
of the Treasury. He was removed ere long to a pleasant and 
retired cottage near Washington, the quiet of which was 
essential to the preservation of his life. There he lived for 
some months, visited only by his confidential clerk and his 
nearest friends. The very papers necessary to refute the cal- 
umnies of the campaign were written for him by subordinates 
in his office. 

Prostrated thus on the last reach of the course, he had 
fallen with his face toward the goal, with his eyes and his 
heart fixed upon it. He could not give up the race. Then 
was seen the sorry spectacle of politicians contending, as it 
were, over the body of the stricken chief. The Crawford 
papers and partisans strove to conceal the calamity from the 
public, asserting in a hundred paragraphs that the attack 
had not been severe, and that the patient was rapidly recover- 
ing. Friends and organs of tlie rival candidates exaggerated 
the truth, if exaggeration were possible. Piteous attempts 
were made to show the afflicted man, by driving him, prop- 
ped with cushions, about the streets of Washington. In 
January a formal bulletin of the attending physicians pro- 
nounced him free from disease, and on the way to certain, 


though slow recovery. Mr. Cobb, however, his chief of 
fnends, wrote, almost on the same day, to a confidential ally: 
'^ As an honest man, I am bound to admit that Crawford's 
health, though daily improving, affords cause for objection. 
He is very fat, but his speech and vision are imperfect, and 
the paralysis of his hand continues. His speech improves 
slowly. His right eye is so improved that he sees well enough 
to play whist as well as an old man without spectacles. His 
hand also gets stronger. Yet defect in all these members is 
but too evident."* 

The canvass raged on meanwhile. It was well to remove 
the sick man from the maddening excitements of a city where 
" every citizen was an electioneerer for the one party or the 
other, and every visitor within its walls was an active, work- 
ing partisan." " The hotels," continues the author of ^ Leis- 
ure Labors,' " were only so many caucus or club-rooms, in 
which to plan and direct the various schemes of party pro- 
cedure. The drawing-rooms were thronged alike with the 
votaries of fashion and the satellites of the different cham- 
pions; nor were these limited to the sterner sex. The theater 
was monopolized by one particular set of partisans in regular 
turn, as the most proper place for a public demonstration; 
but the artificial representations of the stage flagged and 
faded before the real exhibitions of the political drama. The 
legislative business of Congress received little or no atten- 
tion. The members thought about nothing, talked about 
nothing, and wrote home about nothing but the presidential 

During these months the questions agitated in all journals, 
all gatherings, were these : Will there be a congressional 
caucus ? and, if yes, will the party accept its nominee ? 
What a fire was kept up upon the pretensions of King Cau- 
cus, whose voice had once been so potential and unquestioned! 
All the candidates but Crawford were against the caucus. 
All the newspapers, except those devoted to Crawford, were 

♦ Cobb's Leisure labors, p. 215. 


against it. Several of the State legislatures adopted strong 
resolutions in reprehension of it. Public meetings denounced 
it. Ponderous essays were hurled at it ; facetious squibs 
assailed it. Martin Van Buren and his friends strove might- 
ily to stem the torrent, but it rolled on in ever-increasing 

A caucus, however, was destined to be held. On a certjiin 
day, early in February, 1824, appeared in the National In- 
telligenccr^ of Washington, two brief documents relating to 
the Bone of Contention. This was one : 

'' In consequence of the statements which have gone abroad in relation 
to a congressional nomination of candidates for President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of the United States, the undersigned have been requested, by many 
of their repubhcan colleagues and associate^', to ascertain the number of 
members of Congress who deem it inexpedient at this time to make such 
a nomination, and to publish the same, for the information of the people 
of the United States. 

" In compliance with this request, they have obtained from gentlemen 
representing the several States satisfactory information that of two hundred 
and sixty-one, the whole number of members composing the present Con- 
gress, there are one hundred and eighty-one who deem it inexpedient, 
under existing circumstances, to meet in caucus, for the purpose of nomi- 
nating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States ; 
and they have good reasons to believe that a portion of the remainder will 
be found unwilling to attend such a meeting." 

This paper was signed by twenty-four members of Con- 
gress, among whom were Colonel Richard M. Johnson, of 
Kentucky; Major Eaton, of Tennessee ; Robert Y. Hayne, 
of South Carolina; S. D. Ingham, of Pennsylvania; George 
Kremer, of Pennsylvania; Sam Houston, of Tennessee; and 
J. R. Poinsett, of South Carolina. 

The other document referred to was the following : 

*' The democratic members of Congress are invited to meet in the Rep- 
resentatives Chamber, at the Capitol, on the evening of the 14rh of Feb- 
ruary, at 7 o'clock, to recommend candidates to the people of the United 
States for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United 


This was signed by ten members, one of whom was John 
Forsyth. Mr. Van Buren did not sign it. 

The caucus met at the time appointed, in the hall of the 
House of Bepresentatives. A concession was made to public 
opinion and good policy so far as to admit spectators to the 
scene. This should be at least no " secret conclave/' as the 
caucus had been styled. Accordingly, the doors were no 
sooner opened, than a crowd, dense and eager, rushed to the 
galleries, and filled them to overflowing. But, alas ! there 
was no crowd upon the floor of the hall. By ones, and twos, 
and threes the members dropped in ; counted, as they en- 
tered, by politicians in the galleries, note-book in hand ; each 
accession hailed by the Crawford men with the delight of Mr. 
Crummels announcing to the mother of the Infant Phenom- 
enon that another man had come into the pit. By seven 
o'clock — all had arrived who were coming, and the caucus was 
called to order. Sixty-six gentlemen were present, of whom 
two held the proxy of an absentee. A member, looking 
round upon the scene of empty chairs, which presented a 
rather ridiculous contrast to the surging show of heads in the 
galleries, moved to postpone the meeting until the next 
month, when a fuller assemblage might be expected. 

Mr. Van Buren opposed the motion. It would be impos- 
sible, he said, to fix on any time that would be perfectly con- 
venient and agreeable for all to attend. The people were 
anxiously waiting for a nomimition, and he felt confident 
that a large portion of the republicans of the Union were 
decidedly in fiivor of this mode of nomination, and that it 
was quite time it should be made. 

So the balloting was forthwith begun. The following 
was the result of the balloting for a presidential candidate : 
William H. Crawford, 64 ; John Quincy Adams, 2 ; Na- 
thaniel Macon, 1 ; Andrew Jackson, 1. Tlie Ixilloting for 
a candidate for Vice-President immediately followed, with 
this result: Albert Gallatin, 57; John Q. Adams, 1; Eras- 
tus Root, 2 ; Samuel Smith, 1 ; William Eustis, 1 ; Wal- 


however, that he was bitterly opposed to Mr. Adams, whom 

he spoke of as a ^d d traitor;' but he said nothing that 

induced me to believe he was favorably inclined toward 
General Jackson, though they had long been personal friends. 
Upon the whole, I thought his leanings were rather in favor 
of Mr. Crawford, but not by any means definitely so. After 
conversing with him the previous evening upon these sub- 
jects, I determined to make an experiment upon him the 
next morning with General Jackson's letter of 12th Novem- 
ber, 1816, and accordingly got the copy of it I had kept, be- 
fore I went to bed, and laid it upon my table. I rose early 
the next morning, and finding my friend already up and tak- 
ing a walk in the garden, I sallied forth, and on approach- 
ing him handed him the Gcnerars letter, begged him to read 
it, and tell me what he thought of it. He took it, gave it 
an attentive perusal, and addressing himself to me, with an 
air of incredulity, inquired if General Jackson had really 
written such a letter to Mr. Monroe. 

" ^ Certainly,' I replied. 

" ^ And actually sent it ?' 

" * Yes,' I again replied. 

" 'Lewis, you are quizzing me,' he said. 

" ' No,' I assured him, ' I am not.' 

"Upon this his countenance became animated with joy 
and delight, and he replied, 

" ' Then he is my man for the presidency. Henceforth, 
from this very moment, until the election is over, will I give 
him my cordial and zealous support.' 

" He returned shortly afterward to North Carolina, and 
took a decided and energetic part in the contest, rallied his 
friends under the Jackson banner, and, in conjunction with a 
large and zealous portion of the democratic party, succeeded 
in carrying the State by upward of five thousand majoBlty 
over the regular caucus candidate, William H. Crawford. 

" Who was this friend, methiuks I hear you ask. It was 
no other than General William Polk, of Raleigh, who, on ac- 
count of his high military services in the revolutionary war, 


his energy of character, his moral worth, and great wealth, 
was one of the most distinguished and influential men in the 
State. Although the Jackson men triumphed in North Car- 
olina, yet their candidate was defeated. My gallant friend, 
however, nothing daunted, again buckled on his armor, and 
continued the conflict until complete success crowned the 
efforts of himself and friends, in the election of General 
Jackson in the autumn of 1828." 

Having disposed of these errors. Major Lewis proceeds to 
relate the indubitable events, as they occurred under his own 
eye, and many of them at his own suggestion. 

MAJOR lewis' narrative. 

^* When General Jackson was fighting the battles of his country, and 
acquiring for himself and it imperishable glory, he never once thought, as 
I verily believe, of reaching the presidency. He did not dream of such a 
thing — ^the idea never entered his imagination. All he aimed at. or .de- 
sired at the time, was military renown acquired by patriotic services. This 
he prized far above all civil fame, and does even now, if I know any thing 
of the feelings of his heart. He was naturally and essentially a military 
man. Full of ardor, of indomitable courage, possessing the rare quality 
of inspiring every man about him with feelings as enthusiastic and daunt- 
less as his own ; quick to conceive and as prompt to execute ; vigilant and 
of untiring industry ; and, in addition to all these high and noble qualities, 
he was endowed with a sound judgment and discriminating mind. In 
fact^ he had all the requisites of a great military commander, and, with 
the same theater to act upon, he would not, in my opinion, have been in- 
ferior to any of the great of either ancient or modern times. This you 
may consider extravagant ; but, I assure you, I do firmly and conscien- 
tiously believe, that by nature he was not, as a military man, inferior to 
either Alexander, Juhus Caesar, or Napoleon Bonaparte, and had he oc- 
cupied the place of either, under like circumstances, would not have been 
less successful or distinguished I 

" With these feelings and views, thirsting for military fame, and am- 
bitious of being distinguished as a great commander, is it unreasonable to 
suppose that civil honors were but little coveted, or cared for by him ? 
No, my friend. He did not even dream of the high civic destiny that 
awaited him, and which was to be the crowning glory of his life and char- 
acter. The first suggestion of that sort came from Kentucky, and was 
made, in the summer of 1815, by an officer who was under his command 
and assisted in the defense of New Orleans. (Mr. Edward Livingston, 

VOL. III. — 2 


too, about this time, suggested the same thing.) The letter of this officer 
was addressed to a third person, a mutual friend, who inclosed it to Gen- 
eral Jackson, as was undoubtedly expected by the writer. In this letter 
it was proposed that he should be forthwith brought out as a candidate ; 
but tlie Q-eneral laughed at the idea, and, returning the letter to his friend, 
begged that nothing further might be either said or done in relation to the 
matter. The proposition was too absurd, he said, to be entertained for a 
moment In fact, nothing further was thought or said, as I believe, upon 
the subject of his being a candidate, until about the close of Mr. Monroe's 
first term. Thus began and thus ended tlie first movement in favor of 
bringing out General Jackson for the presidency. Colonel Burr, I am 
well assured, had no agency in this, for it occurred some three months be- 
fore the date of his letter to Governor Alston ; nor was it put in motion 
by any combination of militant federalists and anti-Jeflfersonians. 

" As long as General Jackson remained in the military service of his 
country, little was said about bringing him out for the presidency. Having 
been appointed Governor of Florida by the President of the United States, 
he resigned his commission in the army about the first of June, 1821, and 
repaired forthwith to Pensacola, to receive the territory from the Spanish 
authorities. After organizing a territorial government, and putting it in 
operation, he withdrew from all public employment, and returned to Ten- 
nessee, where he expected to spend the rest of his "life as a private citizen. 
Nor, indeed, was it believed by his friends that they would be blest with 
his society very long, as his health was at that time, and had been for six 
or seven years previous, very feeble, and his constitution apparently 
exhausted and broken down. No sooner, however, had he become a 
private citizen, and had set himself down once more upon his own beauti- 
ful estate, tlie Hermitage, than the eyes of his fellow-citizens were turned 
toward him, as having eminently entitled himself, by his brilliant and 
patriotic services, to the highest honors within the gift of a free and 
enlightened people. 

" In Tennessee, and particularly at Nashville, his friends began now to 
speak of him as a candidate, and in good earnest to take the necessary 
steps to place his name prominently before the country. It is true that 
some four or five candidates were already in the field ; but so confident 
were they of General Jackson's strength and popularity with the people, 
on account of his great public services, that they had no fears for the re- 
sult They not only, therefore, began to speak out upon the subject, but 
to make their wishes and intentions known through the public journals. 
The first demonstration of this latter method of supporting him was made 
January, 1822, in one of the Nashville papers. Soon afterward, the editor 
of the NcuhviUe Qazettej Colonel Wilson, took the field openly and boldly 
for the General, as his candidate for the Presidency. The proposition was 


cordially responded to by the people of Tennessee, and was also well re- 
ceived in other States, particularly so in the democratic and patriotic State 
of Pennsylvania. The inquiry now was, in what way shall his name bo 
presented to the nation ? The most imposing manner of bringing him 
forward and presenting to the other States of the Union, it was finally 
agreed, would be by the Legislature of his own State. This would not 
only give weight to the nomination, it was believed, but would show to 
the whole country that we were in earnest It was determined, there- 
fore, that the necessary steps should be taken to bring him forward at the 
next session of the Legislature. 

" In these preliminary movements, it appears to me, you will be scarcely 
able to perceive any agency on the part either of Colonel Burr or the 
' militant Federalists,' of whom so much is said. Nor had the officers 
of the army, whom he also represents as taking an active and leading 
partj anything to do with them. The truth is, they were the voluntary 
and spontaneous acts of his Tennessee friends, without the suggestions or 
promptings of any person or persons out of the State. 

" About this time, spring of 1822, I lefl home on a visit to North Caro 
lina to see the &mily of my father-in-law, Governor Montfort Stokes, who 
was then a Senator of Congress. The Governor had always belonged to 
the democratic party, and was one of its prominent and most influential 
leaders. His friendship and political support was, therefore, considered a 
matter of importance by those who were seeking favors at the hands of 
the people. What were his predilections at that time, in relation to the 
presidential aspirants, I knew not ; but, as you may well suppose, I felt 
anxious to enlist him on the side of General Jackson. He had not re- 
turned from Washington at the time I reached his residence, but arrived 
soon afterward. During my continuance at his house, I had frequent con- 
versations vnth him upon political subjects, and found him a warm, per- 
sonal friend and admirer of General Jackson ; but he gave not the slightest 
intimation that he preferred him for the presidency. This occasioned me 
some uneasiness, for I thought it a matter of very great importance, as it 
regarded the General's success in North Carolina that he should have the 
support of the Governor. I determined, therefore, to have a full and frank 
conversation with him before I left, upon the subject ; and it was not long 
before I had an opportunity of doing so, and learninj^ his opinions and 
views without reserve. He frankly remarked to me that so little had as 
yet been said about General Jackson as a candidate, he had not supposed 
it was seriously intended to run him, and asked me if such was really the 
intention of his friends. 

" * Unquestionably^' I replied, and added that the Legislature of Tennes- 
see would certainly nominate him at its next session. 


"'What support do his friends expect him to get?' he inquired, *if 
nominated ?' 

" I answered, * they expect him to be supported by the whole country.* 

" Then,' he facetiously replied, * he will certainly be elected.' 

'^ Assuming then a graver air and tone, he said to me that he had known 
Qeneral Jackson from boyhood, he having read law with his brother when 
quite a youth, and that there was no living man he so much admired ; but 
being already conmiitted to the support of Mr. Calhoun, he could not 
advocate his election. This was very unwelcome news to me, but I can not 
say that it was altogether unexpected, for I was led to anticipate some- 
thing of the sort from his silence, as regarded his preference, in my previ- 
ous conversations with him. I then remarked : 

" ' But suppose Mr. Calhoun should not be a candidate, can not you sup- 
port the General as your next choice ?' 

" * Yes,' he promptly replied, * with great pleasure ;' but added that, at 
the same time, he had no reason to believe that anything could or would 
occur to prevent his being a candidate. 

" Under such circumstances, this was all I had a right to expect or ask, 
and I parted with the Governor, when about to leave for Tennessee, fully 
satisfied that in case Mr. Calhoun should not be a candidate, he would go 
for General Jackson. In this I wa^ not mistaken. The moment Mr. Cal- 
houn was withdrawn by his Pennsylvania friends, the Governor rallied 
upon the General, and supported him with great energy and zeal. Having 
now the support of both Gk»neral Polk and Governor Stokes, the two 
leaders, I may say, of the federal and democratic parties in North Carolina, 
his friends became confident of being able to carry that State for him. 
They were not mistaken ; its vote was given to him by a large majority. 

** I returned to Nashville about the first of June, and found the friends 
of the General in high spirits, and sanguine of succesa Indeed, this feel* 
ing was not confijied to Nashville : it pervaded the whole State. Under 
this state of things the legislature met, and, in a few days therealler, the 
20th July, 1822, adopted a preamble and resolutions which placed the 
General before the country as a legitimate candidate for the presidency. 
Being now formally nominated, his fiiends in every section of the Union 
entered into the contest with increased vigor and energy. But few of the 
federalists, however, took any part in it until afler the publication in May, 
1824, of the General's celebrated letters to Mr. Monroe. Indeed, but few 
of them, if any, knew of their existence until then, though they, it has been 
alleged, had won their hearts as early as 1815. I should, however, except 
Gkneral William Polk, to whom I sho^^ed the letter of the 12th Novem- 
ber, 1816, in the autumn of 1823, as before stated ; and perhaps John 
Quincy Adams also, to whom Mr. Monroe, I have no doubt, showed both 
letters, which accounts, to my mind at least, for his having sustained the 


General in his SemiDoIe campaign with so much ability and zeal, in his 
dispatch to our Minister at Madrid. 

" The Gkneral being now fairly out as a candidate, it was considered in- 
dispensable, in order to make his success the more certain, that the con- 
gressional caucus should be broken down. This was an engine of great 
political power, and had been used by the politicians of the country for 
twenty years in manufacturing Presidents, and unless it could be destroyed 
it would be difficult to overcome its influence upon those who had so long 
looked upon its nominees as the only true and legitimate party candidates. 
With a view to accomplish this object, Judges Overton and Haywood, 
both able and distinguished lawyers, opened a heavy and effective fire 
upon it in a series of well written numbers, which were published in the 
Nashville papers. These, with the attacks made upon it in other quarters, 
added to General Jackson's great personal popularity, contributed greatly, 
doubtless, to the overthrow of that renowned personage, ' King Caucus,* 
as it was then derisively called. It is true he mounted his throne again in 
the winter of 1823-24, and nominated, as Mr. Monroe's successor, Mr. 
William EL Crawford; but his majesty had become powerless, and his 
nominee for the first time was badly beaten. This was the last time he 
ascended his throne, having died soon after of the wounds he received in 
the campaign of 1824, and has never been heard of since. Not even his 
ghost made its Appearance in the presidential contest of 1828. It strikes 
me that you will be equally at a loss to perceive in all this any agency of either 
Colonel Burr, his militant federalists, or anti-Jeffersonians. 

^ As Tennessee was almost unanimous in favor of General Jackson, it 
might have been supposed that his friends would have had little or no 
trouble in that State after his nomination. Such, however, was not the 
fact. Colonel John Williams had been a Senator from our State in Con- 
gress for eight years, and as his term of service expired on the 3d of 
March, 1823, the legislature, which met in October of that year, had to 
elect a new Senator. Colonel Williams was a candidate for re-election ; 
but being a personal and political enemy of General Jackson, it was de- 
termined, if possible, to defeat him, unless he would pledge himself to the 
support of the General for the presidency. This he refused to do, having 
already engaged to support Mr. Crawford. The General's friends had no 
alternative left them but to beat him, and this was no easy task. East 
Tennessee claimed the Senator, and the Colonel was a great favorite with 
the people of that end of the State. Besides, with the view of strength- 
ening himself in other sections, soon after the elections in August were 
over, he mounted his horse and rode through the whole State, calling on 
the members-elect to the legislature, and obtaining promises from most of 
tliem to vote for him. They should not have thus committed themselves ; 
butj having done so, the greater part of them were disposed to redeem 


their pledges, though admitting they had done wrong. The most devoted 
and zealous of the General's friends were determined, however, to leave 
no stone unturned to defeat his election. Several persons were spoken of 
as opposing candidates, but none of them could obtain, it was ascertained, 
the requisite number of votes. The General's old friend, Johnny Rhea, 
oould come the nearest, but he lacked three votes. This was a very un- 
pleasant Btate of things. To elect a bitter, personal enemy of General 
Jackson, and one who was known to be in favor of Mr. Crawford for the 
presidency, would have a most injurious effect, it was believed, upon his 
prospects. Notwithstanding he had been nominated by the legislature 
some fifteen months before, it was apprehended, if an enemy of his should 
be sent to the Senate, it would be difficult to make the other States be> 
Hove that Tennessee was in earnest in her support of him. It would cer- 
tainly have the appearance of great inconsistency, and well calculated to 
nullify the effect of his nomination. 

'' This could not be permitted, and it was resolved, at all hazards, to 
defeat the election of Colonel Williams. It became necessary now to play 
a bold and decisive game. As nobody else could be found to beat the 
Colonel, it was proposed to beat him with the General himself/ This 
having been made known produced great uneasiness and alarm among the 
more timid members, from an apprehension that even he could not be 
elected ; but Mr. Eaton and myself, who were on the ground, took upon 
ourselves the responsibility of the step, and insisted on his being nomina- 
ted to the Legislature as a candidate for the Senate. We ca,jne to the con- 
clusion that if the General must be politically sacrificed, it mattered little 
in what way it was done — ^whether by being defeated himself in the elec- 
tion of a United States Senator, or by the election of his bitter enemy 1 
But I had no fear of his being defeated — I did not believe it possible that 
a majority of the members would be willing to take upon themselves the 
responsibility of voting against him. He was, accordingly, nominated to 
the Legislature by Major Maney, a highly respectable member from Wil- 
liamson County — and he was elected, as I anticipated, by quite a large 
majority I Had he been beaten it might possibly have destroyed, or at 
least impaired, his prospects for the presidency ; but his defeat, it was be- 
lieved, would not be more blasting in its effect than the election of Colonel 
Williams under all the circumstances of the case. 

" These are the reasons which induced the friends of General Jackson 
to send him to the United States Senate in the winter of 1823-24 ; which 
was thought by many of his friends at the time to liave been rash and im- 
politia The General himself was far from desiring it ; but there was no 
help for it) and he submitted with a good grace. He was a soldier, and 
knew how to obey as well as to command I It is proper, however, to 
state that the members of the Legislature who were in favor of electing 


Colonel Williams, declared themselves to be decidedly the friends of Gen- 
eral Jackson ; but they maintained that to support the latter did not make 
it necessary to sacrifice the former. The active and most decided of the 
Generars friends, however, differed with them in opinion. They had no 
doubt that to sustain Colonel Williams, under such circumstances, would 
be injurious to the prospects of the General for the presidency." 

And so General Jackson was, at once, a Senator and a 
candidate for the presidency. 

In connection with this interior view of his election to 
the Senate, the correspondence that passed between the Gen- 
eral and one of the members of the Tennessee Legislature, 
previous to the election, has a certain interest. " All we 
want,'' said the member, " is a belief that you will permit 
your name to be used " To which General Jackson replied : 
" I have earnestly to request my friends, and beg of you, not 
to press me to an acceptance of the appointment. If ap- 
pointed I could not decline, and yet, in accepting it, I should 
do great violence to my wishes and to my feelings. The 
length of time I have passed in public service authorizes me 
to make this request, which, with my friends, I trust, will be 
considered reasonable and proper." ^ 

Only twenty-five members of the Legislature ventured to 
vote against General Jackson for the senatorship ; and such 
was the power of his name in Tennessee, that of those 
twenty-five but three were re-elected to the next legislature. 
Indeed, hie popularity exercised a despotic sway in some 
portions of the State. There were districts of Tennessee in 
which a man would scarcely have been safe who was known 
to have voted against him. 

In the northern States, where the leading presses and 
politicians were already enlisted in behalf of Adams, Craw- 
ford, or Calhoun, these proceedings of the Tennessee legisla- 
ture were received with a general pooh-pooh. " Great 
General, but unfit for civil employment." " The Tennessee- 
ans can not be in earnest." " Vice-President, perhaps ; but 
President — absurd !" " Adams and Jackson — that's the 
ticket !" 




A TERRIBLE aflfliction fell upon Mr. Crawford. In August, 
1823, when he was fifty-one years of age, he was stricken 
with paralysis, which left him helpless, speechless, nearly 
blind, jand scarcely conscious. He rallied a little in the 
course of the month, but he lay during the rest of the can- 
vass a wreck of the once stalwart and vigorous Crawford, 
slowly, very slowly regaining his faculties. By the aid of a 
mechanical contrivance, he was just able to affix his signature 
to public documents, and thus retain his office of Secretary 
of the Treasury. He was removed ere long to a pleasant and 
retired cottage near Washington, the quiet of which was 
essential to the preservation of his life. There he lived for 
some months, visited only by his confidential clerk and his 
nearest friends. The very papers necessary to refute the cal- 
umnies of the campaign were written for him by subordinates 
in his office. 

Prostrated thus on the last reach of the course, he had 
fallen with his face toward the goal, with his eyes and his 
heart fixed upon it. He could not give up the race. Then 
was seen the sorry spectacle of politicians contending, as it 
were, over the body of the stricken chief The Crawford 
papers and partisans strove to conceal the calamity from the 
public, asserting in a hundred paragraphs that the attack 
had not been severe, and that the patient was rapidly recover- 
ing. Friends and organs of the rival candidates exaggerated 
the truth, if exaggeration were possible. Piteous attempts 
were made to show the afflicted man, by driving him, prop- 
ped with cushions, about the streets of Washington. In 
January a formal bulletin of the attending physicians pro- 
nounced him free from disease, and on the way to certain, 


though slow recovery. Mr. Cobb, however, his chief of 
friends, wrote, almost on the same day, to a confidential ally: 
" As an honest man, I am bound to admit that Crawford's 
health, though daily improving, affords cause for objection. 
He is very fat, but his speech and vision are imperfect, and 
the paralysis of his hand continues. His speech improves 
slowly. His right eye is so improved that he sees well enough 
to play whist as well as an old man without spectacles. His 
hand also gets stronger. Yet defect in all these members is 
but too evident."* 

The canvass raged on meanwhile. It was well to remove 
the sick man from the maddening excitements of a city where 
" every citizen was an electioneerer for the one party or the 
other, and every visitor within its walls was an active, work- 
ing partisan." " The hotels," continues the author of ^ Leis- 
ure Labors,' " were only so many caucus or club-rooms, in 
which to plan and direct the various schemes of party pro- 
cedure. The drawing-rooms were thronged alike with the 
votaries of fashion and the satellites of the different cham- 
pions; nor were these limited to the sterner sex. The theater 
was monopolized by one particular set of partisans in regular 
turn, as the most proper place for a public demonstration; 
but the artificial representations of the stage flagged and 
faded before the real exhibitions of the political drama. The 
legislative business of Congress received little or no atten- 
tion. The members thought about nothing, talked about 
nothing, and wrote home about nothing but the presidential 

During these months the questions agitated in all journals, 
all gatherings, were these : Will there be a congressional 
caucus ? and, if yes, will the party accept its nominee ? 
What a fire was kept up upon the pretensions of King Cau- 
cus, whose voice had once been so potential and unquestioned! 
All the candidates but Crawford were against the caucus. 
All the newspapers, except those devoted to Crawford, were 

♦ Cobb's Leisure Iiabors, p. 215. 




against it. Several of the State legislatures adopted strong 
resolutions in reprehension of it. Public meetings denounced 
it. Ponderous essays were hurled at it ; facetious squibs 
assailed it. Martin Van Buren and his friends strove might- 
ily to stem the torrent, but it rolled on in ever-increasing 

A caucus, however, was destined to be held. On a certain 
day, early in February, 1824, appeared in the National In- 
telligencer, of Washington, two brief documents relating to 
the Bone of Contention. This was one : 

" In consequence of the statements which have gone abroad in relation 
to a congrepsiooal nomination of candidates for President and Vice-Presi- 
dent of tlic United States, the undersigned have been requeste<3, by many 
of their republican colleagues and associates, to ascertain the number of 
members of Congress who deem it inexpedient at this time to make such 
a nomination, and to publish the same, for the information of the people 
of the United States. 

'^ In compliance with this request, they have obtained from gentlemen 
representing the several States satisfactory information that of two hundred 
and sixty-one, the whole number of members composing the present Con- 
gress, there are one hundred and eighty-one who deem it inexpedient, 
under existing circumstances, to meet in caucus, for the purpose of nomi- 
nating candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States ; 
and they have good reasons to believe that a portion of the remainder will 
be found unwilling to attend such a meeting." 

This paper was signed by twenty-four members of Con- 
gress, among whom were Colonel Kichard M. Johnson, of 
Kentucky; Major Eaton, of Tennessee ; Kobert Y. Hayne, 
of South Carolina; S. D. Ingham, of Pennsylvania; George 
Kremer, of Pennsylvania; Sam Houston, of Tennessee; and 
J. R. Poinsett, of South Carolina. 

The other document referred to was the following : 

*^ The demociatic members of Congress are invited to meet in the Rep- 
resentatives Chamber, at the Capitol, on the evening of the 14Lh of Feb- 
ruary, at 7 o'clock, to recommend candidates to the people of the United 
States for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United 


This was signed by ten members, one of whom was John 
Forsyth. Mr. Van Bmt^n did not sign it. 

The caucus met at the time appointed, in the hall of the 
House of Bepresentatives. A concession was made to public 
opinion and good policy so far as to admit spectators to the 
scene. This should be at least no " secret conclave," as the 
caucus had been styled. Accordingly, the doors were no 
sooner opened, than a crowd, dense and eager, rushed to the 
galleries, and filled them to overflowing. But, alas ! there 
was no crowd upon the floor of the hall. By ones, and twos, 
and threes the members dropped in ; counted, as they en- 
tered, by politicians in the galleries, note-book in hand ; each 
accession hailed by the Crawford men with the delight of Mr. 
Crummels announcing to the mother of the Infant Phenom- 
enon that another man had come into the pit. By seven 
o'clock — all had arrived who were coming, and the caucus was 
called to order. Sixty-six gentlemen were present, of whom 
two held the proxy of an absentee. A member, looking 
round upon the scene of empty chairs, which presented a 
rather ridiculous contrast to the surging show of heads in the 
galleries, moved to postpone the meeting until the next 
month, when a fuller assemblage might be expected. 

Mr. Van Buren opposed the motion. It would be impos- 
sible, he said, to fix on any time that would be perfectly con- 
venient and agreeable for all to attend. The people were 
anxiously waiting for a nomination, and he felt confident 
that a large portion of the republicans of the Union were 
decidedly in favor of this mode of nomination, and that it 
was quite time it should be made. 

So the balloting was forthwith begun. The following 
was the result of the balloting for a presidential candidate : 
William H. Crawford, 64 ; John Quincy Adams, 2 ; Na- 
thaniel Macon, 1 ; Andrew Jackson, 1. The balloting for 
a candidate for Vice-President immediately followed, with 
this result: Albert Gallatin, 57; John Q. Adams, 1; Eras- 
tus Root, 2 ; Samuel Smith, 1 ; William Eustis, 1 ; Wal- 


C' . .A. l-nh,.J. 


A large meeting, summoned by the friends of Calhoun, as- 
sembled in that town, and a series of resolutions were read, 
recommending Mr. Calhoun as Pennsylvania's candidate. 
The vote of the meeting was about to be taken, when a 
gentleman rose and quietly moved that the resolutions be 
amended by striking out the name of John C. Calhoun and 
inserting in its place that of Andrew Jackson. The as- 
sembly rose en masse and carried the amendment by accla- 

Philadelphia took up the magical name. At a meeting 
called in Philadelphia to select delegates to a State nomi- 
nating convention, Mr. George M. Dallas, who had been, up 
to this tinae, the advocate of Mr. Calhoun, proposed the 
name of Jackson ; saying that he did so only in deference 
to the known wishes of the people. The convention met at 
Harrisburg on the fourth of March, 1824, and made short 
work of the business before them. A spectator of the pro- 
ceedings briefly writes : " Jonathan Roberts moved that the 
convention approve the nomination agreed upon at the cau- 
cus at Washington City. This motion was negatived, ayes 
2 ; nays 123. He then moved that the electors be appointed 
without instructions to vote for any particular candidates as 
President and Vice-President. This motion was also lost — 
ayes 33 ; nays 92. Andrew Jackson was then nominated as 
the candidate for President, Jonathan Roberts being the only 
member of the convention who voted against him. John C. 
Calhoun was afterward nominated as the candidate for Vice- 
President. The vote stood thus — J. C. Calhoun, 87 ; Henry 
Clay, 10 ; A. Gallatin, 10 ; Wm. Findlay, 8 ; John Tod, 8 ; 
Daniel Montgomery, 1. Most of the above candidates except 
Mr. Calhoun, were voted for as Vice-President, by instruc- 
tion ; and I am informed, that had there been a necessity for 
a second ballot, there would have been almost an unanimous 
vote for Mr. Calhoun, as Vice-President." 

Mr. Calhoun was wise. He made a virtue of necessity, 
and withdrew his name from the list of presidential candi- 
dates in favor of General Jackson. The canvass was then 


New York against Mr. Adams and General Jackson, Mr. 
Van Buren was that man. He had a powerful inducement 
to exertion. The New York American was not far out of 
the way when it remarked, that *^ The apparent question now 
before the public is, who shall be our next President ? but 
the real question is, whether Martin Van Buren shall be 
President of the United States on and after the 4th of March, 
1833 ?" The American explains its meaning thus : " At 
that time, the great State of New York, having never fur- 
nished a President, will have irresistible claims to that honor. 
If any of her citizens are now qualified, the blossoms of eter- 
nity, fast gathering on their heads, will have fallen, they will 
be superannuated, that is, they will have passed the age of 
sixty years, that gloomy period, when the Constitution of 
New York declares that judges lose their senses, and that all 
flesh is grass. In that day Mr. Van Buren will be in the full 
strength of life, the only New Yorker fit for the Presidency." 
These slight indications of the nature of the presidential 
campaign of 1824, will enable the retider to follow under- 
standingly the personal movements of General Jackson ; to 
whom we now return. 



" Andrew Jackson, appointed a Senator by the Legis- 
lature of the State of Tennessee for the term of six years, 
commencing on the fourth day of March last, produced his 
credentials, was qualified, and took his seat." 

Decemlxir 5th, 1823, is the date of this entry in the jour- 
nal of the Senate. Twenty-six years had passed away since 
last Andrew Jackson had pressed the senatorial morocco ; 
during which period the number of senators had increased 


from thirty-two to forty-eight. And again, as we look down 
the list of names, we are astonished to observe how few of 
them are known to the present generation. Bufus King, 
Martin Van Bm-en, Nathaniel Macon, John Branch, Bohert 
Y. Hayne, Bichard M. Johnson, John M. Eaton, Thomas H. 
Benton, are all the names universally remembered at the 
present day. In the House of Bepresentatives were Henry 
Clay, Daniel Webster, C. C. Cambreleng, Egbert Ten Eyck, 
Stephen Van Bensselaer, James Buchanan, Samuel D. Ing- 
ham, Louis McLane, John Bandolph, William C. Bives, 
Andrew Stephenson, WQlie P. Mangum, George McDuffie, 
Joel B. Poinsett, John Forsyth, Sam Houston, Elisha Whit- 
tlesy, Edward Livingston. The delegate from the Territory 
of Florida was Bichard K. Call, General Jackson's former 

The session lasted six months, and General Jackson sat it 
nearly out. He made four speeches of about two minutes 
each ; one in which he testified to the valor and good service 
of an officer who had fought at New Orleans ; the others 
brief explanations respecting a projected road in Florida. He 
voted, however, on almost every question that came to a di- 

He voted for the construction of that Florida road, on 
the ground that it was necessary to the defense of the Ter- 
ritory. He voted for the abolition of imprisonment for debt. 
He voted against reducing the duty upon imported iron ; 
against reducing the duty upon cotton goods ; against re- 
ducing the duty upon wool and woolen goods ; against in- 
creasing the duty on India silks ; against removing the duty 
on cotton bagging ; for lowering the duty on blankets; for 
removing the duty of ^^four cents per pound " on frying- 

For the sake of economizing space, it may may be stated 
here, that during the two sessions of General Jackson's service 
in the Senate he voted in the affirmative on the passage of the 
following internal-improvement bills : A bill authorizing a 
road from Memphis in Tennessee to Little Bock in Arkan- 

voL. in. — 3 


sas ; a bill for making a road in Florida ; a bill to procure 
necessary surveys for roads and canals ; a bill to improve the 
navigation of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri ; a bill for 
making a road in Missouri ; a bill to subscribe to the stock 
in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company ; a bill to 
extend the Cumberland road to Zanesville ; a bill authorizing 
a subscription to the Portland and Louisville Canal Com- 

The great topic of the session was the tariff. General 
Jackson, as his votes show, was a tariff man — an advocate 
of the system of " protecting " native industry by the impo- 
sition of high duties upon the importation of manufactured 
articles. We are not left to the testimony of General Jack- 
son's votes on this question. While the revision of the tariff 
was proceeding in Congress, Dr. L. H. Colman, a member of 
the Virginia Legislature, wrote to General Jackson, asking 
his opinion upon the subject. This correspondence was very 
famous in its day, and won votes for General Jackson even 
from anti-tariff men — the General's candor and boldness 
atoning for his alleged heterodoxy of opinion. 


*» Warrkmton, Va., April 2l8t, 1344. 

^Dear Sir: Being one of the six members of the Virginia Assembly 
in the caucus last winter who voted for you as a fit and proper person to 
be supported by the people of the State for the presidency of the United 
States, and having since heard that you are in favor of the ^^ protecting duty 
policy ^^^ I take the liberty of desiring you to inform me whether you intend 
voting for the Tariff Bill now before Congress. I wish to have informa- 
tion on the subject as soon as your convenience will permit^ that I may 
answer the Fredericksburg Committee who invite my cooperation in get- 
ting up a ticket for the Hero of New Orleans. In this county you have 
many friends, and some think your support will be better in Petersburg 
than in any of the contiguous counties. Wo are anti-Tariff here ; and can- 
dor requires me to say that should you be the advocate of a measure to 
which our interest is evidently opposed — ^the zeal with which you have 
been hitherto supported will be relaxed. 

" I am, ^.y L. H. Colman." 




^ Wabhikutov Cmr, April 86tli, 1934 
" Sir : I have had the honor this day to receive jour letter of the 2l8t 
instant) and with candor shall reply to it My name has been brought be- 
fore the nation by the people themselves without any agency of mine : for 
I wish it not to be forgotten that I have never solicited office, nor when 
called upon by the constituted authorities have ever declined where I con- 
ceived my services would be beneficial to my country. But as my name 
has been brought before the nation for the first office in the gift of the peo- 
ple, it is incumbent on me, when asked, frankly to declare my opinion upon 
any political or national question pending before and about which the 
country feels an interest 

" You ask me my opinion on the Tariff. I answer, that I am in favor 
of a judicious examination and revision of it; and so far as the Tariff be- 
fore us embraces the design of fostering, protecting, and preserving within 
ourselves the means of national defense and independence, particularly in 
a state of war, I would advocate and support it The experience of the 
late war ought to teach us a lesson ; and one never to be forgotten. If 
our liberty and republican form of government, procured for us by our rev- 
olutionary fathers, are worth the blood and treasure at which they were 
obtained, it surely is our duty to protect and defend them. Can there be 
an American patriot^ who saw the privations, dangers, and difficulties ex- 
perienced for the want of a proper means of defense during the last war, 
who would be willing again to hazard the safety of our country if em- 
broiled ; or rest it for defense on the precarious means of national resour- 
ces to be derived from commerce, in a state of war with a maritime power 
which might destroy that commerce to prevent our obtaining the means 
of defense, and thereby subdue us ? I hope there is not ; and if there is, I 
am sure he does not deserve to enjoy the blessing of freedom. 

" Heaven smiled upon, and gave us liberty and independence. That 
same providence has blessed us with the means of national independence 
and national defense. If we omit or refuse to use the gifts which He has 
extended to us, we deserve not the continuation of His blessings. He has 
filled our mountains and our plains with minerals — with lead, iron, and cop- 
per, and given us a climate and soil for the growing of hemp and wool. 
These being the grand materials of our national defense, they ought to have 
extended to them adequate and fair protection, that our own manufacto- 
ries and laborers may be placed on a fair competition with those of Europe; 
and that we may have witliin our own country a supply of those leading 
and important articles so essential to war. Beyond this, I look at the 
Tariff with an eye to the proper distribution of labor and revenue ; and 
with a view to discharge our national debt. I am one of those who do 
liot beUeve that a national debt is a national blessing, but rather a curse to 


a republic; inasmuch as it is calculated to raise around the administra- 
tion a moneyed aristocracy dangerous to tlie liberties of the country. 

*' This Tariff — I mean a judicious one — ^possesses more fanciful than real 
dangers. I will ask what is the real situation of the agriculturalist ? Where 
has the American farmer a market for his surplus products ? Except for 
cotton he has neither a foreign nor a home market Does not this clearly 
prove, when there is no market either at home or abroad, that there is 
too much labor employed in agriculture ? and that the channels of labor 
should be multiplied? Common sense points out at once the remedy. 
Draw from agriculture the superabundant labor, employ it in mechanism 
and manufactures, thereby creating a home market for your breadstuHs, 
and distributing labor to a most profitable account, and benefits to the 
country will result Take from agriculture in the United States six hun- 
dred thousand men, women, and children, and you at once give a home 
market for more breadstuffs than all Europe now furnishes us. In short, 
sir, we have been too long subject to the policy of the British merchants. 
It is time we should become a little more Amejncanized , and instead of 
feeding the paupers and laborers of Europe, feed our own, or else in a 
short time, by continuing our present policy, we shall all be paupers our- 

" It is, therefore, my opinion that a careful Tariff is much wanted to 
pay our national debt, and afford us the means of that defense within our- 
selves on wliich the safety and liberty of our country depend ; and last, 
though not least, give a proper distribution to our labor, which must prove 
beneficial to the happiness, independence, and wealth of the community. 

" This is a short outline of my opinions, generally, on the subject of 
your inquiry, and believing them correct and calculated to further the 
prosperity and happiness of my country, I declare to you I would not 
barter them for any office or situation of a temporal character that could 
be given me. 

" I have presented you my opinions freely, because I am without con- 
cealment, an 1 should indeed despise myself if I could believe myself ca- 
pable of acquiring the confidence of any by means so ignoble. 

" I am, sir, very respectfully your obedient servant, 

" Andrew Jackson." 

Did Henry Clay ever deliver a speech, or Horace Greeley 
write an editorial article, more completely pervaded with the 
spirit of the protective policy, than this letter of Andrew 
Jackson ? The General really exhausted the subject. Not 
an argument escaped him. 

The residence of General Jackson this winter at the seat 


of government rendered him an object of attentions pecu- 
liarly flattering. On New Year's day, we read in the Intel* 
ligencer, Mr. Custis, of Arlington, in the presence of a nu- 
merous company, presented him with the pocket-telescope 
carried by General Washington during the revolutionary war. 
" General Jackson received the relic," says the reporter, " in 
a manner peculiarly impressive, which showed that however 
time, hard service, and infirmity may have impaired a frame 
no longer young, the heart was still entire, and alive to the 
heroic and generous feelings of the soldier, the patriot, and 
the friend." 

The eighth of January was celebrated this year with un- 
usual zest in all parts of the country. At Washington, as 
we have before recorded. General Jackson figured at a grand 
l)all given in honor of the occasion by the Secretary of State. 
In the morning of the same day another interesting gift was 
bestowed upon the General — the pistols of General Wash- 
ington, which had been given him by Lafayette, Charles F. 
Mercer, of the House of Representatives, accompanied by Mr. 
Van Rensselaer, waited upon the General at his lodgings, 
and addressed him in these words : 

" General : Allow me to fulfill the request of a friend and constituent^ 
Mr. Wm. Robinson, of Sudley, one of the legatees of General George 
Wa.-^hington, by delivering to you the arms that he wore during many of 
the vicissitudes of that revolution which conducted him to the summit of 
renown and our country to independence. 

" Tliey were tlie gift of his distinguished pupil, Lafayette, and they as- 
sociate the name of the steadiest friend of liberty in the old, with the mem- 
ory of her most distinguished champion in the new world. 

" Another interest will be imparted to these arms. In becoming yours 
on this day, they are destined to multiply the memorials of the most bril- 
liant and extraordinary achievement in the military annals of this eventful 

And yet another pageant of similar nature awaited him, 
of which the papers of the day give glowing accounts. The 
General's own simple, brief allusion to it, in a letter to his 
nephew, Andrew Jackson Donelson, will better please the 


reader : " Yesterday," he wrote on the 16th of March, " being 
my birth-day, and having entered upon my fifty-eighth year, 
I had a few friends to dine with me, and the evening was 
spent agreeably. Thus I have entered my fifty-eighth year. 
How I may end it is for Providence to decide. To-day, at 
eleven o'clock a. m., I was notified by the President to attend 
him, that he might present me with the medal voted by Con- 
gress on the 27th of February, 1815. Accordingly, attended 
by Major Eaton, General Cobb, and Mr. E. Livingston, I 
waited upon him, when, in the presence of the heads of de- 
partments, the ladies of the heads of departments, the ladies 
of the executive head, cum muHis alios ^^ in due form and 
pomp, it was presented. Of all things I hate to speak of 
myself, and these parades and pomp are most disagreeable to 
me ; you will see it all in print, and to that I refer you."t 

Early in the session mysterious whispers began to be cir- 
culated in Washington that a correspondence had passed, 
some years before, between General Jackson and Mr. Monroe, 
which, if published, would prove the General more than half 
a federalist, and blast his prospects of the presidency. The 
whispers found their way into print. So much was said and 
written respecting the correspondence that the whole nation 
was on the qui vive respecting it, and its publication was 
universally demanded. George Kremer, of Pennsylvania, a 
member of the House of Representatives, devoted to Jackson, 
wrote to the General, asking him if he had ever expressed the 
federal sentiments attributed to him. 

" No," replied the General. " My advice to the President 
was, that in the selection of his Cabinet, he should act upon 
principles like these : consider himself the head of a nation, 
not of a party ; that he should have around him the best 
talents the country could afford, without regard to the sec- 
tional divisions ; and should, in his selection, seek after men 
of probity, virtue, capacity, and firmness ; and in this way 

* So in the original 

t Autograph collection of II. C. Van Schaach, Manlius, N. Y. 


he would go far to eradicate those feelmgs which, on former 
occaaions, threw so many obstacles in the way of government, 
and be enabled, perhaps, to unite a people heretofore politic- 
ally divided." 

The correspondence was published. It was read with ex- 
treme interest, and made an impression upon the people most 
favorable to General Jackson's success. One unlucky pas- 
sage, however, called forth adverse comment. General Jack- 
son said in one of his letters that if he had been in command 
of the eastern division of the army when the Hartford con- 
vention met, he would have brought its members to court- 
martial. The Boston Gazette retorted : . " If this Hotspur of 
the South had been commander of the military department 
where the Hartford convention sat, it would have been the 
last act of his life to have interfered with that body ; all the 
forces the general government ever provided for the sea coast 
defense in New England could not for a moment have con- 
tended with the train bands of the smallest district. Had 
he attempted to punish even the doorkeeper of the Hartford 
convention, he would, like Haman, have found himself eleva- 
ted on the gaUows he had erected for others ; for among these 
quiet spirits, deliberating for the public good, were men whose 
pluck was not inferior to his own ; and who, if they were less 
fierce, were not less firm." 

Notwithstanding many little hits of this nature, it is evi- 
dent from the political writings of that day, and of subse- 
quent times, that no single event of the campaign of 1824 
won General Jackson so many votes as the publication of the 
Monroe correspondence. There are federalists still living who 
well remember laying down the newspaper containing it with 
the feeling that a second Washington had come to judgment. 
The reader has but to turn back and glance over the Gen- 
eral's principal letter, in order to see how transporting it 
must have been to the moderate, the conservative, the respect- 
able voter of 1824 ; and, above all, to the remnant of the old 
federal party, '^ proscribed" for twenty years. 

Amid the hurly-burly in which General Jackson lived this 


winter, was he an indifferent spectator ? I have before me 
several of his private letters, written to confidential friends 
at this stage of the struggle, which may serve to reveal his 
feelings : 


" City of Wasiiisgton, Feb. 9th, 1824 

" Dear Sir : The presidential question begins 

to agitate the minds of the people much. The attempt of a small minor- 
ity of the members of Congress to get up a caucus and force public opinion 
to take up a particular candidate, will still agitato it more, and [ trust will 
eventuate in prostrating the caucus system altogether. Should the people 
suffer themselves to be dictated to by designing demagogues, who carry 
on everything by intiigue and management, they can not expect to see 
their present happy government perpetuated. It must sink under the 
scenes of corruption that will be practiced under such a system ; and, in 
time, open bribery may, and I have no doubt will be resorted to, to obtain 
a scat in the presidential chair, if the people do not assume their rights of 
choosing a PrCvSident themselves. 

" In this contest I take no part. I have long since prepared my heart 
to say with heart-felt submission, ' May the Lord's will be done !' If it is 
intended by Providence that I should fill the presidential chair, I will sub- 
mit to it witli all humility, and endeavor to labor four years with an eye 
single to the public goo<l, imploring the guidance of Providence in all 
things. But be assured, it will be an event that I never wished, nor ex- 
pected. My only ambition was to spend the remainder of my days in 
domestic retirement, with my Uttle family. It has turned out otherwise, 
to my 'great annoyauce. Still, I submit with proper resignation. I thank 
you for your kind attention to Mrs. J. Be good enough to continue your 
attention to her. Present me respectfully to your good lady, Emily, and 
little family, and believe me your friend, 

" Andrew Jackson." 

general jackson to major wm. b. lewis. 

" City or Washinotox, Feb. 22d, 1884. 

" Dear Major : Mr. Crawford's friends have 

become desperate, and will do any thing — their motto, tlie end is worthy 
of tlie means. Their minority c;iucus has recoiled upon their own heads, 
and the unanimity of Pennsylvania has defeated all their plans. I refer 
you to tlie newspapers for the current news of the day. Wonder not if 
you see the attempts made to make me a federalist. The proof — a letter I 
wrote to Mr. Monroe in 1816 or '17. You no doubt recollect it It was 



copied by you ; wrote to bring into the war department Col. Drayton, 
who served throughout the late war. By some means, Mr. Monroe*s 
letter in answer to mine has got into their hands, Mr. Monroe says by 
stealth ; and I have no doubt but all my private letters are also in their 
hands. But one thing I know, that the opinions expressed are the true 
republican course ; and men, call them what you will, who risk life, health, 
and their all in defense of their country, are its real support, and are en- 
titled to share the offices of the government. Col. Drayton was said to be 
a federalist before the war. I can say truly of such that we are all federal- 
ists, we are all republicans ; and I would to Gk)d we had less professions 
and more acts of real patriotism. 

" I am truly crowded with various business ; I beg you to tender me 
affectionately to your sister, your daughter, and kiss the babes for me. 

" I had not influence enough to obtain the mission to Mexico for our 
friend, Gkneral Stokes. As soon as I found we could not succeed with 
Greneral Crabb, I threw my weight in the General's scale. I am disgusted 
with the manner and means all things are carried on here. When I was 
told that General Stokes could not be appointed because he dissipated 
sometimes at a card-table, I then tried Mr. Baldwin, with as little effect as 
any other. Governor Edmonds, of Illinois, is before the Senate. I write 
in haste and for your own eye. Your friend, 

" Andrew Jackson." 

general jackson to major wm. b. lewis. 

" WAsniNGTON, March Slst, 1824. 

" Dear Major : . . . .On the subject of Mr. Calhoun, I 
have no doubt myself but his friends acted agreeable to his understanding 
and instructions, and that he is sincere in his wishes. Some have doubted 
this, but I have not ; and I can give you, when we meet, reasons that will 
convince you I can not be mistaken. As far as his friends to the south 
have acted, it is conformable to this, and I have no doubt but both the 
Carolinas will unite in my support. You have seen the result of Pennsyl- 
vania. New York is coming out, and, it is said, some of the New England 
States, A few weeks will give us the result of the movement of New 
York. If Crawford is not supported in that State, I have but little doubt 
but he will be dropped, and, from what you will see in the National In- 
icJligencer of this morning, Mr. Clay taken up. I have no doubt if I was 
to travel to Boston, where I have been invited, that it would insure my 
election. But this I can not do ; I would feel degraded the balance of my 
life. If I ever fill tliat office, it must be the free choice of the people. I 
can then say I am the President of the nation, and my acts shall comport 
with that character. 

" I am so constantly engaged witli visitors that I have but little time 


to write, except in the night You must^ therefore, pardon this hasty 

" Present me to the young ladies, and accept my best wishes for your 
health and liappiness, and believe me your friend, 

"AjfDBEW Jackson." 


»* Washington, April 17th, 1824. 

"Dear Sir: Yours of the 2d instant is received The 

vote in the House of Representatives was yesterday takt?n, after ten weeks 
debate, on the TarifF, and passed, one hundi-ed and seven ayes, and one 
hundred and two noes. What may be its fate in the Senate I can not 

" It is well known that I am in favor of tlie general principle of the 
bill — that I am in favor of encouraging by a fair competition the manufac- 
tory of the national means of defense within ourselves ; and not to de- 
pend in time of war to procure those means fi*om the precarious source of 
commerce, wliich must always be interrupted by war, and, as in the last 
war, could not be obtained, and when obtained it was at a war price, to 
the great injury of the treasury. I am for pursuing a plan that will insure 
our national defense and national independence, encourage our agricultural 
portion of the community, and with it manufactures and commerce as the 
handmaids of agriculture, and look to the Tarifl' — after these objects are 
obtained — with an eye to revenue, to meet and extinguish our national 
debt This is my course : my conscience tells me it is right, and I will 
pursue it. 

" It is strange to me to hear men who once agreed that a national 
debt was a national curse, now advocate the policy of meeting it by loans, 
ratlier than levy an impost to pay it. I individually have always thought 
this was an improper course to pursue witli my private debts ; and, as na- 
tions are a composition of individuals, I can not believe, when applied to 
them, it is a wholesome rule. I am tlicrefore opposed to prolong the pay- 
ment of our national debt, and thereby raise up in our country a moneyed 
aristocracy dangerous to our liberty. 

" How long the TarifF bill may be before the Senate I can not say ; so 
soon as it is disposed of, and some other bilb^ I intend leaving here. 

" The papers will have given you tlie news of tlie late policy of the 
State of New York. The feelings of the people are aroused, and can not 
be allayed until their vengeance reaches those representatives who, they 
believe, have attempted to sell them for promised office. New Jersey, it 
is believed, will follow Pennsylvania. Virginia lias taken a stand against 
the caucus, and her State elections are canvassed on that ground. In Lon- 
don a Mr. Osbom has been elected by a large majority on tliis avowed 



principle. It is even now doubtful whether Mr. Crawford will get Vir- 
ginia I write in haste, and for your own eye. Accept a 

tender of my good wishes^ and believe me your friend, 

" Andrew Jaokson." 

gsnebal jackson to colonel george wilson. 

" HxBinTAeK, AQgiut 18th, 1834 

" Dear Colonel : 1 received last evening by mail the inclosed letter. 
I send it Tor your perusal. I have not seen the paper of Richie, of the 
20th ultimo, alluded to ; can not, therefore, judge of the necessity or pro- 
priety of giving any notice to this publication. Was I to notice the false- 
hoods and Mse insinuations of Richie and such unprincipled editors,* I 
could have time for nothing else. Should you, upon reference to the piece 
alluded to, think it deserves any notice, such a one as the following might 
be proper : That General Jackson's course requires neither falsehood nor 
intrigue to support it. He has been brought before the nation by the peo- 
ple, without his knowledge, wishes, or consent His support is the people. 
And so long as they choose to support him, as to himself he will not inter- 
fere. He will neither resign his pretensions, intrigue, nor combine with any 
man nor si^t of men, nor has he ever so combined or intrigued. Mr. Richie 
may, therefore, be calm. The General or his friends will never adopt the 
course of intrigue, combination, and corruption pursued by Mr. Richie and 
his political friends, for any purpose whatever. Their cause requires neither 
fisdsehood nor corruption to support it. It is the people's cause. They have 
brought A. J. before the nation. 

"I am very respectfully your friend, Andrew Jaokson." 

These letters exhibit our candidate in an honorable light. 
If any one should say, with Hamlet's mother, the gentleman 
" doth protest too much," we might reply, that like all can- 
didates he was the object of ceaseless attack. Nor did any 
man ever run for the presidency who was, at every moment 
of the canvass, entirely worthy of himself. 

* " General Jackson is elected to the Senate. He was the only man in 
Tcune&see who could out turn John WUliama He has done it The country 
uiay yet rue the change." — Richmond Inquirer^ November, 1823. 




General Jackson was in excellent spirits and high good 
humor during the whole of this contest. His frioods as- 
sured him that his success was certtiin, and they believed it 
was so. He could see for himself that no name had such 
power with the masses of the people as his. He lived in a 
cloud of incense. 

In the course of the winter he was reconciled to several 
gentlemen whom he had been long wont to reckon in the cat- 
alogue of his foes. General Winfield Scott was in Wash- 
ington at the beginning of the session ; and, desirous to 
know what he had to expect in case he should meet General 
Jackson, addressed to him the following note : " Sir, one 
portion of the American community has long attributed to 
you the most distinguished magnanimity, and the other por- 
tion the greatest desperation in your resentments — am I to 
conclude that both are equally in error ? I allude to circum- 
stances which have transpired between us, and which need 
not here be recapitulated, and to the fact that I have now 
been six days in your immediate vicinity without having at- 
tracted your notice. As this is the first time in my life that 
I have been within a hundred miles of you, and as it is barely 
possible Chat you may be ignorant of my presence, I beg leave 
to state that I shall not leave the District before the morning 
of the 14th instant." 

To this General Jackson returned the following answer : 
" Sir, your letter of to-day has been received. Whether the 
world are correct or in error, as regards my ' magnanimity,' 
is for the world to decide. I am satisfied of one fact, that 
when you shall know me better, you wdll not be disposed to 
harbor the opinion, that any thing like ^ desperation in re- 
sentment' attaches to me. Your letter is ambiguous ; but, 


concluding from occurrences heretofore, that it was written 
with friendly views, I take the liberty of saying to you, that 
whenever you shall feel disposed to meet me on friendly 
terms, that disposition will not be met by any other than a 
corresponding feeUng on my part."* 

The two Generals met soon afterward, exchanged friendly 
salutations, and remained on terms of civility for several 

A still more unexpected reconciliation was that which oc- 
curred between Mr. Clay and General Jackson. Mr. Clay 
himself tells the story :•)" " My personal acquaintance with 
General Jackson commenced in the fall of 1815, at the city 
of Washington. Prior to that time I had never seen him. 
Our intercourse was then friendly and cordial. He engaged to 
pass a week of the ensuing summer at my residence in Ken- 
tucky. During that season I received a letter from him, 
communicating his regret that he was prevented from visiting 
me. I did not again see him until the session of Congress, 
at which the events of the Seminole war were discussed. He 
arrived at Washington in the midst of the debate, and after 
the delivery, but before the publication, of the first speech, 
which I pronounced on that subject. Waiving all ceremony, 
I called to see him, intending by the visit to evince, on my 
part, that no opinion, which a sense of duty had compelled 
me to express of his public conduct, ought to affect our per- 
sonal intercourse. Mv visit was not returned, and I was 
subsequently told that he was in the habit of indulging in 
the bitterest observations upon mi>st of those — myself among 
the number — who had called in (Question the propriety of his 
military conduct in the Seminole war. I saw no more of him, 
except possibly at a distance, during the same winter, in this 
city, until the summer of the year 1819. Being, in that 
summer, on my way from New Orleans to Lexington, and 
traveling the same road on which he was passing, in the 

* Mansfield's Lifo of General Seolt p. 175. 
f Address to the Public, 1828, p. 22. 


opposite diiection, from Lexington to Nashville, we met at 
Lebanon, Kentucky, where I had stopped at breakfast. I 
was sitting at the door, in the shade, reading a newspaper, 
when the arrival of General Jackson and his suite was an- 
nounced. As he ascended the steps, and approached me, I 
rose and saluted him in the most respectful manner. He 
darted by me, slightly inclining his head, and abruptly ad- 
dressing me. He was followed by some of his suite, who 
stopped and conversed with me some time, giving me the 
latest information of my family. I afterward learnt that 
General Jackson accompanied President Monroe, in a visit to 
my family, and partook of some slight refreshment at my 
house. On leaving the tavern at Lebanon, I had occasion to 
go into a room where I found General Jackson seated, read- 
ing a newspaper, and I retired, neitlier having spoken to the 
other, and pursued my journey, in company with four or five 
traveling companions. 

" Sucli was the state of our relations, at the commence- 
ment of the session of Congress in 1823, the interval having 
passed without my seeing him. Soon after his arrival here 
to attend that session, I collected from certain indications, 
that he had resolved upon a general amnesty, the benefit of 
which was to be extended to me. He became suddenly rec- 
onciled with some individuals, between whom and himself 
there had been a long-existing enmity. The greater part of 
the Tennessee delegation — all, I believe, except Mr. Eaton 
and General Cocke — called on me together, early in the ses- 
sion, for the express purpose, as I understood, of producing 
a reconciliation between us. I related in substance all of the 
above circumstances, including the meeting at Lebanon. By 
way of apology for this conduct at Lebanon, some of the 
gentlemen remarked, that he did not intend any disrespect to 
me, but that he was laboring under some indisposition. I 
stated that the opinions which I had expressed in tlie House 
of Eepresentatives, in regard to General Jackson's military 
transactions, had been sincerely entertained, and were still 
held, but that, being opinions in respect to public acts, they 


never had been supposed by me to form any just occasion for 
private enmity between us, and that none had been cherished 
on my part. Consequently, there was, on ray side, no obsta- 
cle to a meeting with him, and maintaining a respectful in- 
tercoursa For the purpose of bringing us together, the 
Tennessee representatives, all of whom, according to my rec- 
ollection, boarded at Mrs. Claxton's, on Capitol Hill, gave a 
dinner, to which we were both invited, and at which, I re- 
member, Mr. Senator White, then acting as a commissioner 
under the Florida treaty, and others, were present. We there 
met, exchanged salutations, and dined together. I retired 
from the table early, and was followed to the door by General 
Jackson and Mr. Eaton, who insisted on my taking a seat in 
their carriage. I rode with them, and was set down at my 
lodgings. I was afterward invited by General Jackson to 
dine with him, where I met Mr. Adams, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. 
Southard, and many other gentlemen, chiefly members of 
Congress. He also dined, in company with fifteen or eight- 
een members of Congress, at my lodgings, and we frequently 
met, in the course of the winter, always rc8])ectfully address- 
ing each other." 

But the most remarkable case of reconciliation was that 
which occurred between General Jackson and Colonel Thomas 
H. Benton, whose brother Jesse's bullet General Jackson still 
carried about with him, embedded in the flesh of his left arm. 
" Well,'' exclaimed Colonel Benton, in one of his letters of 
this period, '" how many changes in this life ! General Jack- 
S(»n is now sitting in the chair next to me. There was a 
vacant one next to me, and he took it for the session. Sev- 
eral Senators saw our situation, and offered mediation. I 
declined it upon the ground that what had hap|>ened could 
neither be explained, recanted, nor denied. After this, we 
were put upon the same committee. Facing me one day, as 
we sat in our seats, he said to me, ^ Colonel, we are on the 
same committee ; I will give you notice when it is necessiiry 
to attend.' (He was chainnan, and had the right to summon 
us.) I answered, ' General, make the time suit yourself; it 



y^ill be convenient for me to attend at any lime/ In com- 
mittee we did business together just as other persons. After 
that, he asked mo how my wife was, and I asked him how 
his was. Then he called and left his card at my lodgings — 
Andrew Jackson for Colonel Benton and lady ; forthwith I 
called at his and left mine — Colonel Benton for General 
Jackson. Since then we have dined together at several 
])lace8, and yesterday at the President's. I made him the 
first bow, he held forth his hand, and we shook hands. I 
then introduced him to my wife, and thus civil relations are 
perfectly established between us. Jackson has gained since 
he has been here, by his mild and conciliatory manner."*^ 

Brother Jesse, however, who still lived near Nashville, 
burned with as furious a wrath against General Jackson as 
when, in 1813, he had laid him low with his pistol. He 
came out, during th(i summer of 1814, with a campaign 
pamphlet, in which he accused the General of every known 
offense against Divine and human laws. His charges were 
thirty-two in number. He accused the General of having 
promised offices ; of having electioneered fur himself ; of 
abandoning the interests of the Soutli by voting for the new 
tarifi'bill ; of cringing, in the city of Washington, to all his 
former enemies ; of being a cock-fighter and racer ; of being 
a fomenter of quairels and a promoter of duels ; of having 
assailed Governor Suvier when the latter was unarmed ; of 
having been in league with AaR)n Burr ; of having threat- 
ened to cut off the ears of Senator Eppes ; of having unlaw- 
fully put to death John Woods, and the six militiamen; 
and of various other crimes and misdemeanors, to the number 
of thirty-two. 

This pamphlet, though received in Tennessee with general 
ridicule, was published in many of the Crawford papers in 
tlie Northern and Eastern States, and was calculated to draw 
votes from General Jackson. Lieutenant Andrew Jackson 
Donelson and Major Lewis wrote elaborate and able replies, 
which they sent flying in the wake of tlic Bentonian missive. 

♦ Catalogue of General Jackson's Juvenile Indiscretions, p. 8. 



General Jackson was at home again in June. The Her- 
mitage was more like a hotel than a home during the sum- 
mer, so numerous were the guests whom curiosity, friendship, 
or political business brought to it. 



The result of the strife which was known before the end 
of the year, it is necessary for us to understand precisely. 
Else we shall not be able to judge correctly the subsequent 

John C. Calhoun was elected Vice-President by a great 
majority. He received 182 electoral votes out of 261. All 
New England voted for him except Connecticut and one elec- 
toral district of New Hampshire. Connecticut gave her eight 
(vice-presidential) votes for Andrew Jackson ; New Hamp- 
shire, one vote ; Maryland, one vote ; Missouri, her three 
votes. So that General Jackson received thirteen electoral 
votes for the vice-presidency, and was the choice of two entire 
States for that office — Connecticut and Missouri. Virginia 
gave her twenty-four votes for Nathaniel Macon ; Ohio gave 
her whole sixteen for Nathan Sandford of New York ; Ken- 
tucky her whole seven, and New York seven. Georgia voted 
entire for Martin Van Buren, giving him nine electoral votes. 
Little Delaware preferred Henry Clay for the second office, 
giving him two electoral votes out of three. So much for the 
vice-presidency. The result was a triumph for Mr. Calhoun, 
placed him in a commanding position before the country, and 
seemed to open the way to the easy and speedy attainment 
of the highest office. He held such cards, it was thought, 
that the game of 1832, or at latest 1836, was his own, 

VOL. Ill — 4 


Now, for the presidency. For William H. Crawford, 
only two States cast their individual vote, Georgia and Vir- 
ginia. New York gave him five votes out of thirty-six ; 
Maryland, one vote out of eleven ; Delaware two out of three. 
His vote stood thus : Virginia, 24 ; Georgia, 9 ; New York, 
5 ; Deleware, 2 ; Maryland, 1 ; total, 41. Forty-one out of 
two-hundred and sixty-one ! New York had bolted then. 
Dr. Hammond expresses the opinion, that if the electoral law, 
conceding the choice of electors to the people, had been passed 
by the friends of Crawford, the State could have been made 
to give a majority to that candidate. "I sincerely believe," 
he says, " that the discipline of party, the charm of names, 
and the high character and real merit of Mr. Crawford, to- 
gether with the horror which at that time was felt, whenever 
Clintonianism or federalism was mentioned, would have en- 
sured a triumph to the Crawford party." Another proof, 
adds the worthy historian, that " in public as well as in pri- 
vate transactions, ultimate success is most effectually secured 
by frankness and candor ; and tliat, in politics, as well as in 
private dealings between man and man, ' honesty is the best 
policy." '« 

Mr. Clay received the entire elcctoml vote of three States, 
Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio. The following was his vote : 
Kentucky, 14 ; Ohio, 16 ; Missouri, 3 ; New York, 4 ; to- 
tal, 37. 

For Mr. Adams, New England cast her undivided vote, 
and New York gave him twenty-six out of thirty-six. He 
stood thus : Maine, 9 ; New Hampshire, 8 ; Vermont, 7 ; 
Massachusetts, 15 ; Connecticut, 8 ; Rhode Island, 4 ; New 
York, 26 ; Delaware, 1 ; Maryland, 3 ; Louisiana, 2 ; Illinois, 
1 ; total, 84. 

The following was the vote for Andrew Jackson : New- 
York, 1 ; New Jersey, 8 ; Pennsylvania, 28 ; Maryland, 7 ; 
North Carolina, 15 ; South Carolina, 11 ; Tennessee, 11 ; 
Louisiana, 3 ; Mississippi, 3 ; Alabama, 5 ; Indiana, 5 ; Ili- 

♦ Hammond's Political Hiatory of Now York, iL, 1T9. 


inois, 2 ; total, 99. A plurality, not a majority. The peo- 
ple had not elected a President. 

Mr. Adams was the choice of seven States ; General Jack- 
son, of eleven States ; Mr. Clay of three States ; Mr. Craw- 
ford of three States. Still no majority. 

The population of the United States in 1820 was about 
nine and a half millions. The population of the three States 
which gave a majority for Mr Clay was 1,212,337. The pop- 
ulation of the three States which preferred Mr. Crawford was 
1,497,029. The population of the seven States which gave a 
majority for Mr. Adams was 3,032,766. The population 
of the eleven States which voted for General Jackson was 

It thus appears that General Jackson received, first, more 
electoral votes ; secondly, the vote of more States ; thirdly, 
the votes of more people than any other candidate. Add to 
these facts, the fact not less indisputable, that General Jack- 
son was the second choice of Kentucky, Missouri, and Geor- 
gia; and it must be admitted that he came nearer being 
elected by the people than any other candidate. He was, 
moreover, a gaining candidate. Every month added to his 
strength. A delay of a few weeks longer would probably 
have given him a majority. No man who surveyed the scene 
with an unprejudiced eye could doubt, that he, more than 
any one else, was the nation's choice. The opinions of a host 
of able politicians, beginning with that of Mr. Jefferson, could 
be cited in support of this position, but it needs no support. 
Simple addition and the census of 1820 are sufficient to es- 
tablish it. 

The result was not known in all its details when the time 
came for Senator Jackson to begin his journey to Washing- 
ton in the fall of 1824, That he was pretty confident, how- 
ever, of being the successful candidate, was indicated by Mrs. 
Jackson's accompanying him to the seat of government. They 
traveled in their own coach-and-four, I believe, on this occa- 
sion. The opposition papers, at least, said so, and descanted 
upon the fact as an evidence of aristocratic pretensions ; con- 


sideling it anti-democratic to employ four horses to draw a 
load that four horses sometimes could not tug a mile an hour, 
and were a month in getting to Washington. 

The family party reached the city on the 7th of Decem- 
ber. The next day General Jackson, from his seat in the 
Senate chamber, wrote a hasty note to Major Lewis : " I 
reached this city yesterday morning at 11 o'clock, all in good 
health, after a continued travel of twenty-eight days without 
resting one day. I enclose you the President's Message. You 
will see from the papers the electoral vote. If Louisiana has 
not voted for Mr. Clay, he is not in the House. When I 
have obtained the actual vote and become a little acquainted 
with the views of the political knowing-ones here, I will give 
you the speculations on the presidential question. I am anx- 
ious to hear from you — how Jesse has come out, etc. Write 
me. Give me the intelligence how our little sons are." 

December 23d. Mrs. Jackson wrote to her friend, Mrs. 
Kingsley, at Nashville, an interesting and characteristic let- 
ter — the last of hers that I possess. This was Mrs. Jackson's 
first visit to the east : 

*' The present moment," she says, " is the first I can call my own aince 
my arrival in this great city. Our journey, indeed, was fatiguing. We 
were twenty-seven days on the road, but no accident happened to us. 
My dear husband is in better health than when we came. We are board- 
ing in the same house with the nation's guest^ Lafayette. I am delighted 
with him. All the attentions, all the parties he goes to, never appear to 
have any effect on him. In fact^ he is an extraordinary man. He has a 
happy talent of knowing those he has once seen. For instance, when we 
first came to this house, the General said he would go and pay the Marquis 
the first visit Both having the same desire, and at the same time, they 
met on the entry of the stairs. It was truly interesting. The emotion 
of revolutionary feeling was aroused in them both. At Charleston, G-en- 
eral Jackson saw him on the field of battle ; the one a boy of twelve, the 
Marquis, twenty-three. He wears a wig, and is a little inclined to corpu- 
lency. He is very healthy, eats hearty, goes to every party, and that is 
every night. 

" To tell you of this city, I would not do justice to the subject The 
extravagance is in dressing and running to parties ; but I must say they 
regard the Sabbath, and attend preaching, for there are churches of every 


(leDominadon and able ministers of the gospel We have been here two 
Sabbaths. The Gkneral and myself were both days at church. Mr. 
Baker is the pastor of the church we go to. He is a fine man, a plain, 
good preacher. We were waited on by two of Mr. Balche's elders, invit- 
ing us to take a pew in his church in Georgetown, but previous to that I 
had an invitation to the other. General Cole, Mary, Emily, and Andrew, 
went to the Episcopal church. 

" Oh, my dear friend, how shall I get through this bustle. There are 
not less than from fifty to one hundred persons calling in a day. My dear 
husband was unwell nearly the whole of our journey, but, thanks to our 
Heavenly Father, his health is improving. Still his appetite is delicate, 
and company and business are oppressive ; but I look unto the Lord, from 
whence comes all my comforts. I have the precious promise, and I know 
that my Redeemer liveth. 

" Don't be afraid of my giving way to those vain things. The apostle 
says, I can do all things in Christ, who strengtheneth me. The play actors 
sent me a letter, requesting my countenance to them. No. A ticket to 
balls and parties. No, not one. Two dinings ; several times to drink tea. 
Indeed, Mr. Jackson encourages me in my course. He recommends it to 
me to be steadfast. I am going to-day to hear Mr. Summerfield. He 
preaches in the Methodist church; a very highly spoken of minister. 
Qlory to GkKl for the privilege. Not a day or night but there is the church 
opened for prayer." 

On the day on which this letter was written, General 
Jackson had the pleasure of seeing the Senate concur with 
the bill which provided so munificently for pajdng to Lafay- 
ette the debt which the nation owed him. General Jackson 
supported the bill in all its stages, both by his votes and his 
influence. Seven Senators at one time opposed it. Before 
the question of ordering the bill to be read a third time but 
" one dissenting voice was audible/' and on its final passage 
the vote was unanimous. 

Before General Jackson had been many days in Washing- 
ton, he received a confidential message from De Witt Clinton, 
which, besides being in itself important, is another proof 
that an expectation of Jackson's election to the presidency 
pervaded the country. " In the latter part of December," 
says Dr. Hammond, " I went to Washington, as the agent 
of the State, to settle its account with the general govern- 


ment. Before I left Albany, I had, by special appointment, 
an interview with Governor Clinton, at which he stated to me 
that he had not the least doubt but that Jackson would be 
elected, and he instructed me to say to him that he wished 
him to form his cabinet without any personal reference to 
him (Mr. C); that he could not accept of any appointment 
which would render it necessary for him to leave the State of 
New York ; and that the only solicitude he felt was, that 
General Jackson should so form his cabinet as would secure 
prosperity and success to his administration."** 



The people having failed to elect a President, it devolved 
upon the House of Representatives, voting by States, each 
State having one vote, to elect one from the three candidates 
who had received the highest number of electoral votes. A 
majority of States being necessary to an election, some one 
candidate had to secure the vote of thirteen States. The 
great question was to be decided on the 9th of February, 

Henry Clay, though excluded from the coming competi- 
tion by the smallncss of his electoral vote, became, as soon 
as that fact was known, the most important personage in 
Washington ; the man upon whom all eyes were fixed, upon 
whom all hopes depended. The influence which he wielded 
in the House of Representatives, derived from his long con- 
nection with it, from his winning cast of character, from 
his strenuous will, from his eloquence, placed it in his power 
to give the election to whichever of the candidates he prefer- 

* Hammond'8'PoUtical Histoiy of Now York, il, 189. 


red. He was Warwick the king-maker. He was Banquo 
who should get kings, but be none. From being the great 
defeated, he was amused to find himself the universally 

" In the same hour," he wrote, January 8th, 1825, to his 
friend and neighbor, Mr. Francis P. Blair, " I am sometimes 
touched gently on the shoulder by a friend, for example, of 
General Jackson, who will thus address me, ' My dear sir, 
all my dependence is upon you ; don't disappoint us ; you 
know our partiality was for you next to the hero ; and how 
much we want a Western President.' Immediately after a 
friend of Mr. Crawford will accost me, ^ The hopes of the 
Republican party are concentrated on you ; for God's sake 
preserve it. If you had been returned, instead of Mr Craw- 
ford, every man of us would have supported you to the last 
hour. We consider him and you as the only genuine Repub- 
lican candidates.' Next a friend of Mr. Adams comes with 
tears in his eyes, ^ Sir, Mr. Adams has always had the great-* 
est respect for you, and admiration of your talents. There is 
no station to which you are not equal. Most undoubtedly 
you are the second choice of New England, and I pray you 
to consider seriously whether the public good and your own 
future interests do not point most distinctly to the choice 
which vou ou(]jht to make/ How can one withstand all this 
disinterested homage and kindness .?" 

Mr. Clay was not on cordial terms with either of the two 
highest candidates. His relations with General Jackson have 
been described by himself in a passage which we have already 
given. He was far from being a lover or an admirer of Mr. 
Adams. He had opposed, with all his eloquence and all his 
influence, many of the most important measures of Mr. Mon- 
roe's administration ; of which administration Mr. Adams 
had been the animating soul and the exculpatory pen. That 
very Spanish Treaty which gained Florida and yielded Texas, 
upon which Mr. Adams particularly plumed himself, had 
been denounced by Mr. Clay in the House of Representatives, 
There had been, moreover, a personal difference between the 


Secretary and the Speaker, growing out of the negotiations 
at Ghent in 1814. And, in no circumstances conceivable, 
could there have been cordiality between the warm, popular, 
generously ambitious Clay, and the patient, plodding, au- 
stere, ambitious Adams. 

Nor, in deciding the question before him, was Mr. Clay 
to make or mar his own fortunes. He was destined to create 
enemies and to encounter obloquy, however he decided it. 
We may, also, hazard the assertion that to whomsoever he 
should give the presidency, he would himself be invited to 
make his own selection of the offices in the gift of the Presi- 
dent. No one, I think, can survey the whole scene of conten- 
tion, as it appeared in the spring of 1825, without assenting 
to that conclusion. So far as his own interests were con- 
cerned, there was but one consideration calculated to bias his 
determination. If he gave the presidency to Jackson, it 
would injure his own prospects for the neoct succession, as the 
republican party would hesitate to select a candidate from 
the west to succeed a western president. Turn about is fair 
play. In 1828 or 1832, the slighted North— New England, 
New York, Pennsylvania — would urge a powerful claim to 
the succession — powerful but not irresistible. 

No man can say that General Jackson would have ap- 
pointed Mr. Clay to high office, if Mr. Clay had given him 
the appointing power ; but it is extremely probable that he 
would. Mr. Clay received at least one most significant hint 
to that effect, from a gentleman who stood high in General 
Jackson's regard. The following statement was written by 
Mr. Clay himself, for the use of his biographer, Rev. C. Col- 
ton, and still exists in Mr. Clay's hand- writing : " Some 
time in January, 1825, and not long before the election of 
President of the United States by the House of Representa- 
tives, the Hon. James Buchanan, then a member of the 
House, and afterward many years a Senator of the United 
States from Pennsylvania, who had been a zealous and influ- 
ential supporter of General Jackson in the preceding can- 
yass, and was supposed to enjoy his unbounded confidence, 



called at the lodgings of Mr. Clay in the city of Washington. 
Mr. Clay was at that time in the room of his only messmate 
in the house, his intimate and confidential friend, the Hon. 
R. P. Letcher, since Governor of Kentucky, then also a 
member of the House. Shortly after Mr. Buchanan's entry 
into the room, he introduced the subject of the approaching 
presidential election, and spoke of the certainty of the elec- 
tion of his favorite, adding that ' he would form the most 
splendid cabinet that the country had ever had.' Mr. Letcher 
asked ' How could he have one more distinguished than that 
of Mr. JeflTerson, in which were both Madison and Gallatin ? 
Where would ho be able to find equally eminent men ?' Mr. 
Buchanan replied that he ' would not go out of this room for a 
secretary of state,' looking at Mr. Clay. This gentleman [Mr. 
Clay] playfully remarked that * he thought there was no timber 
there fit for a cabinet officer, unless it were Mr. Buchanan 
himself.' Mr. Clay, while he was so hotly assailed with the 
charge of bargain, intrigue, and corruption, during the admin- 
istration of Mr. Adams, notified Mr. Buchanan of his intention 
to publish the above occurrence ; but, by the earnest entreaties 
of that gentleman, he was induced to forbear doing so." 

Another scene occurred at Washington during the winter 
that favors our conjecture. The Hon. J. Sloane, of Ohio, 
member of the House at that time, relates it. Mr. Sloane 
chanced to be in company, one evening in December, with 
Grencral Sam Houston, of Tennessee, a warm partisan and 
friend of General Jackson. The conversation turned, of 
course, to the great topic. " General Houston commenced 
by suggesting that he supposed the Ohio delegation were all 
going to vote for General Jackson. To this I answered that 
I could not undertake to speak for them, for, so far as I 
knew no meeting or consultation had taken place among 
them. The manner of General Houston was anxious, and 
evinced much solicitude ; and at this point of the conversa- 
tion he exclaimed, ' What a splendid administration it would 
make, with Old Hickory as President and Mr. Clay as Secre- 
tary of State.' Having often before expressed to General 


Houston my opinion of the several candidates, I did not, at 
that time, think proper to repeat it, contenting myself with 
an implied acquiescence in the correctness of his declaration. 
The conversation was continued for a considerable time, and 
for the most part had relation to Westxjrn interests as con- 
nected with the presidc?ncy, and was concluded by General 
Houston observing, ' Well, I hope you from Ohio will aid us 
in electing General Jackson, and then your man (meaning 
Mr. Clay) can have anything he pleases.' "* 

Mr. Crawford, we must mention here, was considered out 
of the arena. His health was, as yet, very far from being 
reestablished. He was a tottering, imbecile old man — old 
prematurely. His friends, with Mr. Van Buren at their 
head, were passive, and had resolved, in caucus assembled, to 
remain so.f Their hopes of success were founded on the ap- 
parent probability that neither General Jackson nor Mr. 
Adams could command a majority of States, in which case 
the choice might fall upon Crawford. 

Poor Crawford himself clung to this hope to the very last. 
He was induced by it to figure in a truly pitiable scene. 
" It had now been a long time," says his biographer, " since 
he had mingled with the public. He had not been present 
at any of the numerous festive and social meetings for which 
this season is famous. To drawing-rooms and soirees he was 
an utter stranger. Only a select and intimate few were in 
the habit of visiting him, even at his home. A few days 
previous to the time of election, however, and to the surprise 
of nearly all Washington, his friends conveyed him to the 
Capitol, and kept him there in company for several hours. 
The old man looked much better than was generally expected, 
and deported himself with accustomed amenity and dignity. 
Many who saw him only from a distance were most agreeably 
disappointed. Those with whom he shook hands and spoke, 
however, were observed to leave him with grave faces, and 
with all the signs and tokens of a melancholy interview. 

* Private Correspondenco of Tlonry Clay, p. 489. 

^ HaiDinood's Political HiatoTj of Now York, vol. u. p. 640, Note C. 



Among these last was Clay himself ; and it was afterward 
remarked by one of Crawford's friends, who was present, that 
his manner on that occasion told plainly enough that their 
hopes of his cooperation and support were at an end. ^ De- 
fects were but too evident,' as Cobb had written to his friendsy 
and these sounded the funeral knell to his chances for the 

The choice being thus narrowed to two candidates, what 
considerations ought to have influenced Mr. Clay's decision ? 
A federalist might have doubted, but a republican ought not 
to have done so. The candidate that had come nearest to an 
election by the people was obviously the one for whom a tnily 
democratic member of Congress would have given his vote. 
All questions respecting the comparative fitness of the candi- 
dates were impertinent, one would think. Mr. Clay, how- 
ever, did not think so. Though he persuaded himself that 
Mr. Adams was the man whom the nation most desired, 
yet it is very evident from his letters that this was not the 
controlling consideration with him. Before leaving home in 
November, before the result of the popular election was 
known, he declared to confidential friends that in no circum- 
stances whatever would he vote for General Jackson. He 
told Col. Thomas H. Benton so about the middle of De- 
cember, three weeks before he wrote the letter to Mr. Blair, 
which is quoted above. " I left Washington," says Col. 
Benton, " on the 15th of December, on a visit to my father- 
in-law, Colonel James McDowell, of Virginia, where Mrs. 
Benton then was ; and it was before I left Washington that 
I learned from Mr. Clay himself that his intention was to 
support Mr. Adams. I told this at that time to Colonel 
McDowell, and any friends that chanced to be present, and 
gave it to the public in a letter which was copied into many 
newspapers, aud is preserved in Niles' Register. I told it as 
my belief to Mr. Jefferson on Christmas evening of the same 
year, when returning to Washington and making a cull on 
that illustrious man at his seat, Monticello ; and believing 

♦ Cobb's Leisure Labors, p. 218. 


then that Mr. Adams would be elected, and, from the neces- 
sity of the case, would have to make up a mixed cabinet, I 
expressed that belief to Mr. JeflFerson, using the term, famil* 
iar in English history, of ' broad bottomed,' and asked him 
how it would do ? He answered : * Not at all — would never 
succeed — would ruin all engaged in it.' Mr. Clay told his 
intentions to others of his friends from an early period."*^ 

The reasons that induced Mr. Clay thus to disregard the 
known wishes of the west appear plainly enough in his famil- 
iar correspondence. To Mr. Blair he again wrote late in 
January : " Mr. Adams, you know well, I should never 
have selected, if at liberty to draw from the whole mass of 
our citizens for a President. But there is no danger in his 
elevation now, or in time to come. Not so of his competitor, 
of whom I can not believe that killing two thousand five 
hundred Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the various 
difficult and complicated duties of the chief magistracy." 
To Mr. Francis Brooke, of Maryland : " As a friend of 
liberty, and to the permanence of our institutions, I can not 
consent, in this early stage of their existence, by contributing 
to the election of a military chieftain, to give the strongest 
guaranty that the republic will march in the fatal road which 
has conducted every other republic to ruin." 

The adhesion of Mr. Clay to the Adams party, which he 
took no great pains to conceal, rendered its success nearly, 
but not absolutely certain. The old federalists, who could 
never quite forgive Mr. Adams for deserting them, still hesi- 
tated. Long excluded from office, they were anxious to know 
whether Mr. Adams, if elected, would continue to proscribe 
them. It was the infiuence of Daniel Webster, more than 
that of any other man, that finally removed the hesitation of 
the few members of the federal party that still lingered on 
the public stage. A curious, cautious letter of Mr. Webster 
on this subject exists, which throws light on the interior state 
of things at the time. It was addressed to a member of the 
house who had applied to Mr. Webster for advice. Mr. 

* Benton's Thirty Years, i, 48. 


Webster replied that, though not intimate with Mr. Adams, 
lie had great confidence in his patriotism and ability, and 
Ibelieved that he would pursue a liberal and conciliatory 
course toward the federal party. He should vote for him, and 
felt willing to advise his friends to do so. 

To this letter Mr. Webster appended the following note : 
*' I read this, precisely as it now stands here, to Mr. Adams, 
on the evening of February 4. He said, when I had got 
through, that the letter expressed his general sentiments, and 
such as he was willing to have understood as his sentiments. 
There was one particular, however, on which he wished to 
make a remark. The letter seemed to require him, or expect 
him, to place one federalist in the administration. Here I 
interrupted him, and told him he had misinterpreted the 
writer's meaning. That the letter did not speak of those ap- 
pointments called cabinet appointments particularly, but of 
appointments generally. With that understanding he said 
the letter contained his opinions, and he should feel it his 
duty, by some such appointment, to mark his desire of disre- 
garding party distinctions. He thought either of them, if 
elected, must necessarily act liberally in this respect. In 
consequence of this conversation, I interlined in this letter 
the words ' in proper time and manner.' I made no other 
alteration in it." 

Col. Benton, though the political disciple of Mr. Clay, as 
well as his admiring friend and relative, proved restive on 
this occasion. Nay, more than restive ; flatly rebellious. 
He refused, point-blank, to aid his chief in bringing in Mr. 
Adams to the presidency, averring that General Jackson was 
the preference and darling of the west, and that he (Thomas 
Benton) was not the man to assist in frustrating the wish of 
the section which had trusted and honored him. At that 
time Missouri had but a single representative in the house, 
Mr. John Scott, who was thus invested with the importance 
of carrying the vote of an entire State in his pocket. Mr. 
Scott being equivalent to New York's thirty-six members, or 
Pennsylvania's twenty-eight, there was a terrible struggle on 


the part of Mr. Clay's friends and Col. Benton to enlighten 
Mr. Scott's understanding. 

Long did he waver between these two powerful influences. 
The following correspondence shows the result of the con- 
test : 


" WAfiiiiNcjTOX Crrv, Feb. 8, 18». 

" Hon. T. H. Benton — Dear Sir : Notwithstanding the conversation 
we had on Thursday evening and on Friday, from which you might justly 
conclude that I would not vote for Mr. Adams, I am now inclined to think 
differently, and unless some other change in my mind takes place, I shall 
vote for him ; I take the earliest opportunity to apprise you of this fact, 
that you may not commit yourself witli friends on the subject. 

" John Scott." 
col. t. h. benton to mr. scott. 

''Sen ATX GnAMBKR, Feb. 8tb, 1825. 

" Sir : I received on the morning of the 6th instant your note of the 
5th, in which you make known to me your intention to give the vote of 
Missouri to Mr. Adams. 

" Sinister rumors, and some misgivings of my own, had been prepar- 
ing my mind for an extraordinary development; but it was not until I had 
three times talked with you, face to face, that I could believe in the reality 
of an intention so inconsistent with your previous conversations, so repug- 
nant to your printed pledges, so amazing to your constituents, so fatal to 

" The vote which you intend thus to give is not your own — it belongs 
to the people of the State of Missouri. They are against Mr. Adams. I, 
in their name, do solemnly protest against your intention, and deny your 
moral power thus to bestow your vote. 

" You have been pleased to make a reference, in one of your conversa- 
tions, to my personal wishes in this election. I now reiterate that I dis- 
dain and repel tlie appeal ; and again remit you to the exalted tribunal of 
honor and duty. 

" For nine years we have been clovsely connected in our political course ; 
at length, the connection is dissolved, and dissolved under circumstances 
which denounce our everlasting separation. 

" For some expressions which you felt as unkind, in our conversation 
on Sunday, I ask your pardon and obHvion. I have a right to give you 
my opinion on a point of public duty, but none to inflict a wound on your 


feeliDgSy and, in this unexpected breaking of many ties, there is enough of 
unavoidable pain, without the gratituous infliction of unkind words. 

"To-morrow is the day for your self-immolation. If you have an en- 
emy, he may go and feed his eyes upon the scene ; your former friend 
win share the afflicting spectacle. 

" With sincere wishes for your personal welfare, I remain, &c., 

"Thomas H. Benton." 

Col. Benton, I may add, after ascertaining that Mr. Clay 
was not one of the highest three candidates, had canvassed 
vigorously for Mr. Crawford. Finding Mr. Crawford's elec- 
tion impossible, he transferred his influence to the Jackson 
party, and remained its stalwart, loud, and potent champion 
from that time to the end of his mortal career. 

It was during this exciting season, that General Jackson 
was painfully reminded of that terrible day when Charles 
Dickinson fell before his unrelenting aim, twenty years be- 
fore. He was closeted late one night with a member of Con- 
gres, in deep converse upon the coming event. The mem- 
ber's object, it is said (I know not with what truth), was to 
induce General Jackson to unite his political fortunes with 
those of Mr. Clay — adopting Mr. Clay as his premier and 
successor. Long he pleaded (it is said) with the old man, 
and pleaded in vain. At 12 o'clock he took his leave. The 
hall lamp of the hotel having been extinguished, the General 
went stumbling up stairs to his apartment in the dark. 
Upon reaching the top, he supposed that he had yet to as- 
cend one stair, and, made an awkward step forward, and 
nearly fell. The viscera which had been displaced by Dick- 
inson's ball and had falsely healed, were again severed from 
the breast-bone, and the internal wound was thus reopened. 
The General staggered to his room, and lay for more than a 
week quite disabled. He had several attacks of bleeding at 
the lungs, and remained subject to such attacks during the 
rest of his life. Many times, he was brought by them to the 
verge of the grave, and the affection was probably aggravated 
by his mode of treating it. When threatened with an attack, 
he would lay bare his arm, bandage it, take his penknife from 


his pocket, call his servant to hold the bowl, and bleed him- 
self freely. Often, indeed, during his presidency, he performed 
this operation in the night without any assistance. 

Up to the time of the election. General Jackson and Mr. 
Clay continued to be on terms of civility with one another. 
" I reached Washington several days before him," wrote Mr. 
Clay in the address previously quoted. " Shortly after his 
arrival, he called to see me, but I was out. I returned the 
visit, considering it in both instances one of mere ceremony. 
I met with him but rarely during that session, and always 
when I did see him, in company. I sought no opportunities 
to meet him, for having my mind unalterably fixed in its re- 
solution not to vote for him, I wished to inspire him with no 
hopes from me. The presidential election never was a topic 
to which the most distant allusion was made by me, in any 
conversation with him, but once, and that happened at a din- 
ner given by the Russian Minister, the late Baron of TuyU, 
on the 24th December, 1824. I recollect the day, because it 
was the birth day of the late Emperor Alexander. About 
thirty gentlemen composed that party, and among them, Mr. 
Adams, Mr. Calhoun, General Jackson, and, I think, Mr. 
Macon. Just before we passed from the drawing into the 
dining room, a group of some eight or ten gentlemen were 
standing together, of whom General Jackson and I were a 
part, and Internal Improvements (I do not recollect how) 
became the subject of conversation. I observed to him in the 
course of it, that if he should be elected President, I hoped 
the cause would prosper under his administration. He made 
some general remarks which 1 will not undertake to state, 
lest I should do him injustice." 

The demeanor of General Jackson during these exciting 
weeks won him many admirers. On the very morning of the 
election, when Washington was breathless with expectation, 
he conversed on the only topic with a composure that was 
extremely becoming. Mr. Hezekiah Niles, of the Register 
reported an interview which he had with the General on that 
morning: '^Though I had frequently seen and conversed 


with him during the session of Congress, and always with 
much freedom on his part and real respect on mine, and not- 
withstanding we had spent many hours together, he never 
before had referred to the presidential question. He seemed 
resolved to avoid it, and it was not proper in me to press 
it upon him. But now ho spoke of the elections made by 
the people, and of that about to be made by the House of 
Bepresentatives, with a great deal of frankness and feeling. 
With the former he expressed himself gratified. The poll 
that had been made by him was honorable, and he was 
thankful for the confidence the people reposed. He could 
never forget it. But there was no assumption of merit in 
himself that he deserved it ; it was the people's own business, 
and they had done as they pleased. He then expressed him- 
self after the following manner : He had no doubt but that 
a great portion of the citizens would be satisfied with the 
choice about to be made, and he seemed to think it most 
probable that it would devolve upon Mr. Adams. He fur- 
ther observed that many, in his opinion, were unpleasantly 
situated, seeing that they were compelled to act either against 
Mr. Adams or himself. But this was a matter of smsdl im- 
portance compared with an adherence to the provisions of 
the Constitution, and the prompt and harmonious election of 
a President, which now belonged to the representatives of 
the States. It was well, he said, that persons should differ 
in opinion, that truth may be the more easily ascertained ; 
but, he added, with that earnestness and force which is pecu- 
liar to him, we should always recollect that, in maintaining 
our oian opinions, we naturally grant the right to others of 
supporting theirSy or lose every pretension to republicanism. 
And he further remarked it was a matter of small moment 
to the people who was their President, provided he adminis- 
tered the government rightfully." 

At noon, on the 9th of February, the members of the 
Senate, with their president at their head, preceded by the 
sergeant-at-arms, entered the Representatives' hall. The 
president of the Senate was invited to a seat at the right 

VOL. III. — 6 


hand of the Speaker, and the Senators took their seats to- 
gether in front of the Speaker's chair. Every member of the 
House was in his place except one, who was known to be sick 
at his lodgings. The galleries were packed with spectators, 
and the areas were thronged with judges, ambassadors, gov- 
ernors of States, and other privileged persons. The first 
business in order was the formal opening of the electoral 
packets, and the formal announcement that Mr. Calhoun 
had been elected Vice-President ; that no one had received a 
majority of electoral votes for the presidency, and that the 
House of Representatives had then to elect a President from 
the three highest candidates — Jackson, Adams, and Craw- 

The Senators retired. The roll of the House was called 
by States, and the members of each delegation took their 
seats together. The vote of each State was deposited in a 
box by itself, and placed upon tables. The tellers previously 
appointed, Daniel Webster and John Randolph, proceeded 
to open the boxes and count the ballots. 

A long contest had been expected. The friends of Craw- 
ford were present in great force, fondly hoping that the House, 
after wearying itself by repeated ballotings, would turn to 
their candidate and end the affair by giving him the election. 

The result, when announced by the tellers, surprised al- 
most every one ; surprised many of the best informed poli- 
ticians who heard it. Upon this first ballot, Mr. Adams 
received the vote of thirteen States, which was a majority. 
Maryland and Illinois, which had given popular majorities 
for Jackson, voted for Adsuns. Kentucky, Ohio, and Mis- 
souri, which had given popular majorities for Clay, voted for 
Adams. Crawford received the vote of four States, Dela- 
ware, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. General Jack- 
son, for whom eleven States had given an electoral majority, 
received the vote of but seven States in the House. 

When the election of Mr. Adams was announced by Mr. 
Webster, there was a momentary burst of applause from the 
galleries, followed by some hissing. The House paused in its 


proceedings, and ordered the galleries to be cleared, and they 
were cleared accordingly. The House adjourned a few min- 
utes afterward, and the friends of the (Afferent candidates 
hastened away to congratulate or console. 

Three of the warmest of the partisans of Crawford re- 
paired to his residence to announce to him the sudden failure 
of all his hopes. Mr. Cobb was one of the three, but he 
dared not witness the first shock of his chiefs disappointment 
The other two, Messrs. Macon and Lowry, went into the 
room of the ambitious invalid. "Crawford was calmly reclin- 
ing in his easy chair, while one of his family read to him from 
a newspaper. Macon saluted him, and made known the result 
with delicacy, though with ill-concealed feeling. The invalid 
statesman gave a look of profound surprise, and remained silent 
and pensive for many minutes, evidently schooling his mind to 
a becoming tolerance of the event which had for ever thwarted 
his political elevation. He then entered freely into conver- 
sation, and commented on the circumstances of the election 
as though he had never been known as a candidate. He even 
jested and rallied his friend Cobb, whose excess of feeling 
had forbidden him to see Crawford until the shock had passed 
— ^for he knew that the enfeebled veteran would be shocked. 
The conversation, on the part of these friends, was not un- 
tinged with bitterness and spite, vented against the promi- 
nent actors in both the adverse political factions, but more 
especially against those of the successful party, as being more 
immediately responsible for the crushing overthrow of their 
own beloved candidate. Crawford himself refrained from 
giving utterance to the least exceptionable sentiment, and be- 
haved, during the remainder of his stay in Washington, with 
a mildness and an urbanity befitting one of his exalted sta- 
tion, who had just staked and lost his political fortune."*^ 

A few days after, Mr. Cobb wrote thus despondingly : 
" The presidential election is over, and you will have heard 
the result. The clouds were black, and portentous of storms 

* Cobb's Leisure Labco^ p. 227. 


of no ordinary character. They broke in one horrid bursty 
and straight dispelled. Every thing here is silent. The vic- 
tors have no cause to rejoice. There was not a single window 
lighted on the occasion. A few free n^oes shouted, ^ Huzza 
for Mr. Adams !' But they were not joined even by the cring- 
ing populace of this place. The disappointed submit in 
sullen silence. The friends of Jackson grumbled at first 
like the rumbling of distant thunder, but the old man him- 
self submitted without a change of countenance. Mr. Craw- 
ford's friends changed not their looks. They command uni- 
versal respect. Adams has caused it to be announced that 
they shall have no cause to be dissatisfied. Two days ago 
the Treasury Department was tendered to Crawford, and re- 
fused. On the same day General Jackson paid him a friendly 
and civil visit, but nothing passed but an interchange of civil- 
ities Crawford will return home, and we must 

do the best we can with him. Should he and our friends 
wish that he should again go into the Senate, the way shall 
be open for him. I am sick and tired of every thing here, 
and wish for nothing so much as private Ufe. My ambition 
is dead." 

There was a great crowd, however, besides "free negroes," 
to salute the Rising Sun. There was a presidential levee 
that evening, to which all Washington rushed ; and there 
was a pleasant gentleman among the throng who has been so 
obliging as to tell the world, in his most agreeable manner, 
what he saw in the rooms of the White House on that occa- 
sion. We quote from the " Recollections" of Mr. S. G. Good- 
rich : 

" I shall pass over other individuals present, only noting 
an incident which respects the two persons in the assembly 
who, most of all others, engrossed the thoughts of the visit- 
ors — Mr. Adams the elect. General Jackson the defeated. It 
chanced in the course of the evening that these two persons, 
involved in the throng, approached each other from opposite 
directions, yet without knowing it. Suddenly, as they were 
almost together^ the persons around, seeing what was to hap- 


pen, by a sort of instinct stepped aside and left them face to 
face. Mr. Adams was by himself ; General Jackson had a 
large, handsome lady on his arm. They looked at each other 
for a moment, and then General Jackson moved forward, 
and reaching out his long arm, said : ' How do you do, Mr. 
Adams ? I give you my left hand, for the right, as you see, 
is devoted to the fair : I hope you are very well, sir.' All 
this was gallantly and heartily said and done. Mr. Adams 
took the General's hand, and said, with chilling coldness : 
' Very well, sir ^ I hope General Jackson is well !' It was 
curious to see the western planter, the Indian fighter, the 
stem soldier, who had written his country's glory in the blood 
of the enemy at New Orleans, genial and gracious in the 
midst of a court, while the old courtier and diplomat was 
stiff, rigid, cold as a statue ! It was all the more remarkable 
from the fact that, four hours before, the former had been 
defeated, and the latter was the victor, in a struggle for one 
of the highest objects of human ambition. The personal 
character of these two individuals was in fact well expressed 
in that chance meeting : the gallantry, the frankness, and 
the heartiness of the one, which captivated all ; the coldness, 
the distance, the self-concentration of the other, which repel- 
led all." 

The repulsive manner of Mr. Adams in official stations 
was not exhibited, it appears, in circles more private. Judge 
Brackenridge writes of him : " The first time I had the 
pleasure of seeing Mr. Adams, was in the summer of 1817, 
when he arrived at New York with his family, after a long 
and tedious passage across the Atlantic. Lodging in the 
same house, I soon formed an acquaintance with him. I 
found him in his domestic intercourse remarkably free and 
affable, and in his family particularly amiable. He was then 
in the prime of life ; in his manner open and communicative, 
and even playful and facetious in a small circle of friends. 
I afterward saw him often in public, when he appeared cold 
and distant, and even awkward, which I attributed partly to 
natural reserve in the midst of promiscuous company, and 


partly to the diplomatic habit of dismissing all expression 
from his countenance, derived from his position abroad. 
Knowing his natural warmth of disposition, I was surprised 
when I afterward saw him, as the chief magistrate of the 
nation, receive a splendidly dressed personage, glittering in 
gold and feathers, with a formal coldness that froze like the 
approach to an iceberg.''* 

Five days after the election, Mr. Clay wrote a hasty note 
to his friend, Francis Brooke : " Southard remains in the 
Navy department. I am offered that of the State, but have 
not yet decided. The others not yet determined on. Craw- 
ford retires. What shall I do T' 

We all know what he did. He deliberated a week, con- 
sulted with friends, and accepted the office. Warnings he 
had, but he disregarded them. He evidently knew not what 
he did, and anticipated nothing of what followed. " From 
the first," he wrote to Mr. Crittenden, "I determined to 
throw myself into the hands of my friends, and if they ad- 
vised me to decline the office, not to accept it ; but if they 
thought it was my duty, and for the public interest, to go 
into it, to do so. I have an unaffected repugnance to any 
executive employment, and my rejection of the offer, if it 
were in conformity to their deliberate judgment, would have 
been more compatible with my feelings than its acceptance. 
But as their advice to me is to accept, I have resolved accord- 
ingly, and I have just communicated my final determination 
to Mr. Adams. An opposition is talked of here ; but I re- 
gard that as the ebullition of the moment, the natural off- 
spring of chagrin and disappointment." 

* Eulogy upon John Quinoy Adams. By Hoa II. M. Braokonridge. Pitfci^ 
burgh, 1848. 




Well, reader, and was General Jackson so loftily acqui- 
escent in his defeat as he seemed ? 

Sunning for the presidency is not unlike the pursuit of a 
coy, bewitching damsel, whom one has long been accustomed 
to see at a distance, and to admire without a thought of 
possessing her. But the swain gets more intimately ac- 
quainted with her at length. She smiles upon him when he 
approaches. She seems not to disdain, nor to disUke the as- 
sociation of his name with hers, nor to prefer the society of 
other men to his. He has been wont to think of himself as 
an awkward, ungainly fellow, fit to ^' command an army in a 
rough way/' but not to win so fair a prize as that fair hand. 
Yet the intoxicating thought will steal, at last, into his 
mind, that the enchanting creature may be his. From that 
moment he is in love. 

Bivals appear upon the carpet. They were there before, 
but he regarded them not ; tall, handsome rascals, more used 
to the carpet than himself. But, after all, what are they ? 
Talkers merely. While he was on the frontiers, fighting his 
country's battles, and gaining victories over her enemies, and 
ending a disastrous war in a blaze of glory, that shines still 
in every American countenance, they were speaking pretty 
speeches and writing paper arguments. And some of them 
(by the Eternal !) presume to sneer at his pretensions, because 
he served his country in her hour of need, because he aban- 
doned home and family, and went forth into the howling wil- 
derness to fight and starve 1 Military chieftain, forsooth ! 
They took good care to keep their skins whole ! No one 
can accuse them of risking any thing for their country — the 
speech-makers ! 

The lover thinks he has fairly won the girL She gives a 


bashful, hesitating, half consent — ^hesitating, because some 
of her relatives do not quite fancy him. But just as every 
thing is about to be settled to the satisfaction of everybody 
— just as papa is about to say yes, and brother Tom is coming 
round, a sly Kentuckian, by secret arts, lures the damsel from 
her real inclination, and he reads the marriage in next morn- 
ing's paper ! 

He puts a good face on the matter, of course. No one 
shall see him tear his hair. No one shall hear his impreca- 
tions. No one shall have it to say that he caught him cry- 
ing. But he is flesh and blood notwithstanding. He had 
loved the maiden more ardently than he supposed, and the 
long chase has enhanced her charms a thousandfold 1 

General Jackson, then, we must plainly avow, was most 
indignant at his defeat, if not keenly disappointed by it. 
The confidential letters written by him between the day of 
the election and that of the inauguration of Mr. Adams, 
show this plainly enough. 

To his friend, Major Lewis, five days after the election, 
he dashed off the following note : " I am informed this day, 
by Colonel R. M. Johnson, of the Senate, that Mr. Clay has 
been offered the office of Secretary of State, and that he 
will accept it. So, you see, the Juda^ of the West has 
closed the contract and will receive the thirty pieces of silver. 
His end will be the same. Was there ever witnessed such a 
barefaced corruption in any country before ? The Senate (if 
this nomination is sent to it) will do its duty. No imputa- 
tion will be left at its door. We will soon be with you. 
Farewell. Mr. Clay told Colonel J. the above." 

On the 20th of February, eleven days after the election, 
he wrote to Col. George Wilson, editor at Nashville : " The 
public journals will have given you the result of the presiden- 
tial election, and how it was brought about by the union of 
Clay and his fnends with Mr. Adams. The predictions in 
part have been fulfilled. Mr. Clay, it is said, has been offered 
the office of Secretary of State, and it is also said he has 
agreed to accept it. This, to my mind, is the most open, 




daring cormption that has ever Bhown itself under onr gov- 
ernment, and if not checked by the people will lead to open 
direct bribery in less than twenty years. For what is this 
barter of office for votes but bribery. 

" Mr. Clay is prostrate here in the minds of all honest and 
honorable men. What will be his fate in Kentucky I can 
not say ; but Mr. Bibb, who is here, says this act will pros- 
trate him in Kentucky. 

" Mrs. J. has been unwell for about three weeks. She is 
recovering, and I hope will be able to travel so soon as the 
Senate can rise. I can not leave it until it rises, for the vir- 
tue of the Senate, I have great hopes, will prevent the con- 
summation of those corrupt bargains for office." 

On the same day he wrote again to Major Lewis, and at 
greater length, on the same subject. The larger part of this 
letter was evidently written with a view to its being shown. 
It repeats the sentiments of the hasty note just given, but 
expresses them with more moderation. 


"Cmr OF Wabhinotow, FebroArj 20th, 1826. 

" Dear Major : You have seen from the public journals that the ru- 
mors of unioD, and barter for office, between Mr. Clay's friends and Mr. 
Adams have been verified by the result of the presidential election. The 
information now is, that the contract, so far as Mr. Clay is concerned, is 
fulfilled, by the offer by Mf. Adams to Mr. Clay of the appointment of Sec- 
retary of State, which, it is said, Mr. Clay has agreed to accept I have, 
as you know, always thought Mr. Adams to be an honest, virtuous man, 
and had he spumed fi-om him those men who have abandoned those prin- 
ciples they have always advocated, that the people have a right to govern, 
and that their will should be always obeyed by tlieir constituents, I should 
still have viewed him as an honest man ; and that the rumors of bargain 
and sale was unknown to him. But when we see the predictions verified 
in the result of the presidential election — when we behold two men, polit- 
ical enemies, and as different in political sentiments as any men can be, so 
suddenly unite, there must be some unseen cause to produce this political 
phenomenon. This cause is developed by applying the rumors before the 
election, to the result of that election, and to the tender of, and acceptance 
of the office of Secretary of State by Mr. Clay. 


'* These are facta that will confirm every unbiased mind, that there must 
have been a secret understanding between Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay, of 
and concerning these schemes of corruption, that has occasioned Mr. Clay 
to abandon the will and wishes of the people of the West, and to form the 
coalition so extraordinary as the one he has done. 

" You know my inmost feelings upon the subject of the presidential 
election. I can reiterate with truth, that if it had not been for the means 
used, I would be happy at the result, as it gives me the liberty, when I 
choose, to retire once more to my peaceful dwelling. But when I reflect 
that the result has been brought about by the offer to Mr. Gay of the 
Secretary of State's office, and his influence with other members, I look 
forward and shudder for the liberty of my country. If at tiiis early period 
of the experiment of our republic, men are found base and corrupt enough 
to barter the rights of the people for proffered office, what may we not 
expect from the spread of this corruption hereafter ? May we not expect 
to see not only proffer of office, but direct bribery, by an ambitious dema- 
gogue, who is guided by no principle but that of self-aggrandizement. 

" From Mr. Clay's late conduct, my opinion of him, long ago expressed, 
is but realized. From his conduct on the Seminole question, I then pro- 
nounced him a political gambler, and from his late conduct in the abandon- 
ment of all tliose republican principles which he always professed, and by 
which he had obtained the support of the people, and forming such an al- 
liance, so unexpectedly, with a man he had denounced before the nation, 
and all this for the office of the Secretary of State, reveals the fact of his 
gambling. Would it be too much to infer that his ambition might induce 
him to reach the executive chair by open and direct bribery, as well as the 
barter of office ? These are my reflections, and I can not, from the scenes 
lately and now acting here, refrain from shuddering for the liberty of my 

'' There is no other correction of these abuses but the suflrages of the 
people. If they apply calmly and judiciously this corrective, they may 
preserve and perpetuate the liberty of our happy country. If they do 
not, in less than twenty-five years we wiU become the slaves, not of a 
'military chieftain,' but of such ambitious demagogues as Henry Clay. 
It is, then, necessary that the people should look to it now, as corruption is 
in the bud, before it extends itself further among the representatives in 

" Mrs. J. has been unwell for some weeks, but is now mending, and I 
hope will be able to travel as soon as the Senate rises, which I can not 
leave until it does, as I have a hope there is a redeeming spirit in the vir- 
tue of the Senate, which may prevent the oonsmnmation of this corrup- 
tion of barter for office. 

^ We will be with you, I hope, shortly. In the meantime, present us 


affectionately to your family, and receive for yourself our best wishes. 
Adieu. "Andrew Jackson." 

(Private.) " P. S. On the result of the election, a number of my 
fiiends requested that I should not answer that I would or would not suf- 
fer my name again to be run as President ; nor to say whether I would 
resign or not my seat in the Senate. It is said that Mr. Adams has agreed 
with Clay to give him all the support he can to keep up his name in the 
West I have now no doubt but that I have had opposed to me all the 
influence of the Cabinet except Calhoun. Would it not be well that the 
papers of Nashville and the whole State should speak out with moderate 
but firm disapprobation of this corruption, to give a proper tone to the 
people, and to draw their attention to the subject ? When I see you I 
have much to say. There is more corruption here than I anticipated, and 
as you know, I thought there was enough of it" 

Lastly, we have the once celebrated " Swartwout letter/' 
written February 22, whereby hangs a tale. Mr. Samuel 
Swartwout had been in Washington since the election ; had 
been one of those who invited General Jackson to a public 
dinner a day or two after the election ; had been in daily 
familiar intercourse with the Greneral. Keeping these facts 
in view, does the following epistle read like the unprompted 
effusion of private friendship, or like the contrived utterance 
of the politician for effect upon the public ? 


" WA8II1NGT0H City, February 22, 1826. 

" My Dear Sir : Yesterday I received your communication adverting 
to the reasons and defense presented by Mr. Clay to Judge Francis Brooke 
why duty and reflection imposed upon him the necessity of standing in op- 
position to rac, because of my being, as he styles me, a ' military chieftain.' 
I had seen the letter before, and when it first appeared I did entertain the 
opmion that some notice of it might perhaps be necessary, for the reason 
that the expression seemed to convey with it the appearance of personal- 
ity more than anything else ; and could the opinion be at all entertained 
that it could meet tlie object, which was doubtless intended, to prejudice 
me in the estimation of my countrymen, I might yet consider some notice 
of it necessary. Such a belief, however, I can not entertain, without in- 
sulting the generous testimonial with which I have been honored by 
ninety-nine electors of the people. 

" I am well aware that this term, * military chieftain/ has, for some 


time past, been a cant phrase with Mr. Clay and certain of his friends, but 
the vote with which I have been honored by the people is enough to sat- 
isfy me that the prejudice which was thereby sought to be produced has 
availed but little. This is sufficient for me. I entertain a deep and heart- 
felt gratitude to my country for the confidence which she has manifested 
toward me, leaving to prejudiced minds whatever they can make of the 
epithet ' military chieftain.' 

" It is for ingenuity greater than mine to conceive what idea was in- 
tended to be conveyed by the term. It is very true that, early in life, 
even in the days of my boyhood, I contributed my mite to shake off the 
yoke of tyranny, and to build up the fabric of free government And when 
lately our country was involved in war, bearing then the commission of 
Major-Q«neral of militia forces in Tennessee, I made an appeal to the patri- 
otic citizens of the West, when three thousand went with me into the field 
to support her eagles. If this constitutes me a ' military chieftain,' I am 
one. Aided by the patriotism of the western people, and an indulgent 
Providence, it was my good fortune to protect our frontier border fix)m the 
savages, and successfully to defend an important and vulnerable point of 
our Um'on. Our hves were risked, privations endured, and sacrifices made 
— and, if Mr. Clay pleases, martial law declared — ^not with any view of per- 
sonal aggrandizement, but for the preservation of all and everything that 
was dear and valuable — the honor, the safety and glory of our country ! 
Does this constitute the character of a 'military chieftain?' And are 
all our brave men in war, who go forth to defend their rights, and the 
rights of the country, to be termed ' military chieftains,' and denounced 
therefor? If so, the tendency of such a doctrine may be to arrest the 
ardor of useful and brave men in future times of need and peril With me, 
it will make no difference ; for my country at war, I would aid, assist, and 
defend her, let the consequences to myself be what they might. 

" I have, as you very well know, been charged, "by some of the design- 
ing politicians of this country with taking bold and high-handed measures ; 
but as they were not designed for any benefit to myself I should not, under 
similar circumstances, refrain from a course equally bold. That man who, 
in times of difficulty and danger, shall halt at any course necessary to re- 
tain the rights, privileges, and independence of his country, is imsuited to 
authority. And if these opinions and sentiments shall entitle me to the 
name and character of a ' military chieftain,' I am content so to be con- 
sidered ; satisfied too, that Mr. Clay, if he pleases, shall give that as a rea- 
son to the citizens of the West, why, in his opinion, I merited neither his 
own nor their confidence. 

" Mr. Clay has never yet risked himself for his country. He has never 
sacrificed his repose, nor made an efibrt to repel an invading foe. Of 
course, " his conscience" assured him it was altogether wrong in any other 


man to lead his countrymen to battle and yictorj. He who fights, and 
fights successfully, must, according to his standard, be held up as a ^ mil- 
itary chieftaia' Even Washington, could he again appear among us, might 
be so considered, because he dared to be a virtuous and successfiil soldier, 
a correct man, and an honest statesman. It is only when overtaken by 
disaster and defeat, that any man is to be considered a safe politician and a 
correct statesman. 

*' Defeat might, to be sure, have brought with it one benefit. It might 
have enabled me to escape the notice and animadversions of Mr. Clay ; but 
considering that, by an opposite result, my country has been somewhat 
benefited, I rather prefer it, even with the opprobrium and censure which 
he seems disposed to extend toward me. To him, thank God, I am in no 
wise responsible There is a purer tHbunal to which I would in preference 
refer myself— to the judgment of an enhghtened, patriotic, and uncorrupted 
people. To that tribunal I would rather appeal, whence is derived what- 
ever of reputation either he or I may possess. By a reference there, it 
will be ascertained that I did not solicit the office of President ; it was the 
frank and flattering call of the freemen of this country, not mine, which 
placed my name before the nation. When they failed in their colleges to 
make a choice, no one beheld me seeking, through art or management, to 
entice any representative in Congress from a conscientious responsibility 
to his own, or the wishes of his constituents. No midnight taper burnt by 
me ; no secret conclaves were held ; nor cabals entered into to persuade 
any one to a violation of pledges given or of instructions received. By me 
no plans were concerted to impair the pure principles of our republican in- 
stitutions, nor to prostrate that fundamental maxim, which maintains the 
supremacy of the people's will On the contrary, having never in any 
manner, either before the people or Congress, interfered in the slightest de- 
gree with the question, my conscience stands void of offense, and will go 
quietly with me, regardless of the insinuations of tliosc who, through man- 
agement, may seek an influence not sanctioned by integrity and merit. 

" Demagogues, I am persuaded, have done more injury to the cause of 
fi^edom and the rights of man than ever did a military chieftain, and in 
our country, at least in times of peace, should be much more feared. I 
have seen something of tliis in my march through life ; and have seen some 
men, too, making the boldest professions, who were more influenced by 
selfish views and considerations, than ever they were by the workings of 
an honest conscience. 

" I became a soldier for the good of my country. Difficulties met me 
at every step, but I thank God it was my good fortune to surmount them. 

" The war over, and peace restored, I retired to my farm to privato 
life, where, but for the call I received to the Senate of the Union, I should 
have contentedly remained. I have never sought office or power, nor have 


I ever been willing to hold any post longer than I could be useful to my 
country, not myself; and I trust I never shall. If these things make me 
one, I am a ^military chieftain.' I am, very respectfully, your obedient 
servant, Andrew Jaokson." 

If the letter to Mr. Swartwout was not written for the 
public, the public was soon afforded an opportunity of in- 
specting it. Mr. Swartwout, early in March, a very few days 
after General Jackson wrote the letter, sent a copy of it for 
publication to the New York National Advocate, accompanied 
by a note of introduction. "It was not intended for the 
public eye," said Mr. Swartwout, " yet it contains so just an 
exposition of the enlightened views and noble conduct of the 
distinguished author, that I can not forbear soliciting its pub- 
lication in your valuable paper." 

Mr. Clay made some cutting comments upon the Swart- 
wout letter in an address to his constituents, soon after. " It 
is true," said he, " that it has been my misfortune never to 
have repelled an invading foe, nor to have led my countrymen 
to victory. If I had, I should have left it to others to pro- 
claim and appreciate the deed." Mr. Clay ridiculed the pre- 
tense that the letter was intended only for the eye of the 
person to whom it was addressed. " Of all the citizens of the 
United States," he remarked, " that gentleman is one of the 
last to whom it was necessary to address any vindication of 
General Jackson. He had given abundant evidence of his 
entire devotion to the cause of the General. He was here 
after the election, and was one of a committee who invited 
the general to a public dinner, proposed to be given to him 
in this place. My letter to Judge Brooke was published in 
the papers of this city on the 12th of February. The Gen- 
eral's note, declining the invitation of Messrs. Swartwout and 
others, was published on the 14th, in the National Journal. 
The probability, therefore, is, that he did not leave this city 
until after he had a full opportunity to receive, in a personfid 
interview with the General, any verbal observations upon it 
whic^ he might have thought proper to make. The letter 


to Mr. Swartwout bears date the 23d of February. If re- 
ceived by him in New York, it must have reached him, in 
the ordinary course of mail, on the 25th or 26th. Whether 
intended or not as a ^ private communication,' and not for 
the * public eye,' as alleged by him, there is much probability 
in believing that its publication in New York, on the 4th of 
March, was then made with the view to its arrival in this 
city in time to affect my nomination to the Senate. In point 
of fact, it reached here the day before the Senate acted on 
that nomination."* 

The end of the session arrived. Mr. Clay, upon resign- 
ing the Speaker's chair, delivered the usual address to the 
house, in the course of which he stated that during his 
speakership of nearly fourteen years, not one of his decisions 
had been reversed. The inauguration occurred on the well- 
known day, and the multitude rushed, as usual, to the White 
House, to congratulate the new President. General Jackson 
was prominent among the congratulating throng, on this oc- 
casion also. " General Jackson, we were pleased to observe," 
wrote an editor present, " was among the earliest of those 
who took the hand of the President, and their looks and de- 
portment toward each other were a rebuke to that bitterness 
of party spirit which can see no merit in a rival, and feel do 
joy in the honor of a competitor." 

In the course of the evening, General Jackson met in one 
of the apartments of the presidential mansion his old Phila- 
delphia friend, Colonel Duane, of the Aurora, whom he had 
known and admired when first he represented Tennessee in 
Congress. " Colonel," said the General with emotion, " you 
know how I must feel."t 

In the Senate chamber that morning General Jackson, 
being the oldest Senator present, had administered to Mr. 
Calhoun the oath of office ; after which the Vice-President 
took his seat as President of the Senate. 

* MaUory's Life and Speeches of Henry Clay, voL L, p. 504 

f The grandson of Colonel Daane fayorod me with this little anecdote. 


The nomination of Mr. Clay to the office of Secretary of 
State was sent to the Senate on the seventh of March. It 
was not confirmed unanimously. A majority of nearly two 
to one, however, voted for the confirmation, and the affiiir 
was settled without debate. Among those who voted for 
confirming were Colonel Benton, General Harrison, and 
Mr. Van Buren. Among those who voted against it were 
Messrs. Berrien and Cobb of Georgia, Mr. Branch of North 
Carolina, General Jackson, Major Eaton, Mr. Hayne of South 
Carolina, and John Randolph. The vote stood : for the con- 
firmation, 27 ; against it, 15 ; absentees, 7.* 

A few days after, General Jackson and his family b^an 
their long journey homeward. It was like a triumphal pro- 
gress. At Baltimore a ball was given in his honor ; a review 
of the troops was held ; Mrs. Jackson received a crowd of 
ladies in her parlor ; the General a thronging multitude of 
gentlemen in his ; and the party were escorted several miles 
beyond the city by a cavalcade. Every town through which 
they passed seemed to turn out en masse to welcome the il- 
lustrious defeated. 

Nashville, as usual, gave him a prodigious reception. 
After the usual interchange of addresses, the General was 
conducted to the dining-room of the old Nashville inn, which 
was decorated for the occasion, and a large company sat 
down to the customary banquet The General's old friend, 
the Hon. George W. Campbell, presided. Among the toasts 
given on this occasion were these two : 

By General Jackson — ^^The late achievements of the 

* " I requested," said Mr. Clay, in his Lexington speech, of 1827, " a Sen- 
ator of the United States, when mj nomination should be taken up, to ask of the 
Senate the appointment of a committee of inquiry, unless it should appear to him 
altogether unnecessary. One of our Senators was compelled, by the urgcnc}* 
'of his private business, to leave Washington before my nomination was disposed 
of; and as I had but little confidence in the fidelity and professed friendship of 
the other, I was constrained to present my application to a Senator from another 
State. I was afterward' informed that when it was acted upon, General Jack- 
son, and every other Senator present, was silent as to the imputation now made : 
no one presuming to question my honor or integrity." 


South Americans on the fields of Ayachuco — ^may they be in 
the history of liberty another Yorktown/' 

By Andrew Hynes — " The friends of internal improve- 
ment — ^they are the benefactors of their country." 

" And so home." 

The reader is left to make his own reflections upon these 
events. When the story is told, the duty of the biographer 
is done, and that of the reader begins. There may be those 
who would have had this contrast between General Jackson's 
private utterances and General Jackson's public behavior 
suppressed or softened. There may be those who think that 
more is due to the memory of a favorite hero than to truth ; 
or, in other words, that more is due to Andrew Jackson than 
to the people of the United States. If any such there be — 
and I have been told there are such — their applause is dis- 
honor, their censure glory. For those who wish to know the 
truth, and only for those, these pages have been toilfully pre- 

It was stated at the beginning that Andrew Jackson was 
not a model to copy ; no man is ; but a specimen to study, as 
every man is. As his circumstances become more difficult, his 
duties more complex and important, he makes larger demands 
both upon the insight and the charity of the student. 



Since Jeflerson's day, there have been in the world two 
parties of political theorists. 

One of these, for lack of a better name, we may take the 
liberty of styling the Paternal-Government party, because 
they think that the relation between government and people 

VOL. III. — 6 


shoold be similar to that which exists between parent and 
children. Government, they say, should do as much for the 
people as it can, leaving the people free to attend to their 
private business. Government should undertake great na- 
tional works, such as bridges, canals, and roads; should found 
great national institutions, such as colleges, banks, libraries, 
museums, observatories, laboratories ; should monopolize 
certain branches of industry, such as carrying letters and 
other very small parcels, teaching children in common schools, 
and their parents in state-supported churches ; and, in all 
ways possible, should think for the people, contrive for the 
people, take the lead of the people, and work out by govern- 
mental machinery the people's welfare.* 

Government, say these philosophers, among whom are 
some of the noblest of the race, should be both powerful 
and splendid — the source of honor, the nation's voice, orna- 
ment, and strength. It should be powerful, that it may 
eflFectually do its great duty ; splendid, because man is a 
creature of imagination, who loves to lose a sense of personal 
insignificance in contemplating greatness in his governors and 
representatives, and can not stand unabashed before a being 
like himself who has been decorated with a word. Duke, 
baron, lord, marquis, why not ? How economical to reward 
illustrious services to the State by permitting a man to prefix 
four letters, quite meaningless, to his name. If a few letters 
of the alphabet are at once so valued and so costless, why 

* " A good administration is composed of a regular system of taxes, of a 
prompt and impartial mode of collecting them ; of a system of finances which 
assures public credit ; of an honorable magistracy, which will cause the laws to 
be respected ; finally, of a system of administrative machinery which will cause 
the life to circulate fh)m the center to the extremities, and from the extremities 
to the center. But that which especially distinguishes a good administration 
is, that it calls forth all kinds of merit, and all rare faculties to illuminate its 
career and put in operation all improvements; that it represses with vigor all 
abuses; that it meliorates the lot of the poorer classes ; that it rouses to activity 
all branches of industry ; that it holds a just balance between rich and poor, 
between those who labor and those who employ, between the agents of power 
and those who are controlled by them." — yapoUsonic Idecu, by Louis NapoleoiL 


not bestow them ? K it is so sweet to human nature to 
adorn itself with a name, what good reason is there for refus- 
ing to gratify it so far ? 

The American lovers of the paternal government theory 
do not carry it to these lengths. They stop short of the 
State Churchy and the titles. But in the essence of the mat- 
ter, there is no difference that I can see between the opin- 
ions of the emperor of Russia, Louis Napoleon, Thomas 
Carlyle, the old federalists, and the New York Tribune. 

Mr. Carlyle speaks of a "teaching service," and looks 
for the r^neration of England to a "Reformed Downing 
Street." Mr. Greeley a bom conservative, is strenuous for the 
State support of common schools, and asks Congress to help 
build a Pacific railroad. 

The other theory of government is the Jeffersonian — ^the 
world-is-govemed-too-much theory. 

The party who hold to the Jeffersonian creed are of opin- 
ion that the office of government is solely to maintain justice 
between man and man, and between the nation and other 
nations. It should have nothing to do with carrying letters, 
supporting schools, digging canals, constructing railroads, or 
establishing scientific institutions. Its business is simply to 
suppress villains, foreign and domestic. The people are to 
be left absolutely free to work out their welfare in their own 
way ; free, especially in all departments of industry, from the 
paralyzing touch of governmental patronage. 

This party think that government can not do any thing 
in the way of internal improvements so well, so cheaply, so 
exactly at the right time, as the people themselves ; and that 
if the people have not within themselves the energy, the in- 
telligence, the virtue requisite for the development of their 
resources, and the improvement of their minds, and the in- 
struction of their children, no machinery of government, no 
power from above or from without, can do it for them. 
Let government confine itself to its one duty of compelling 
the faithful performance of contracts, the protection of every 


man in his rights, and leave the rest to the people, is the 
substance of this theory. 

For example. Paternal government offers munificent re- 
wards to inventors, authors, and artists. A government con- 
ducted on the Jeffersonian principle simply enacts a patent 
law and a copyright law, securing to ingenuity and talent the 
profit of their productions. (Result — sixty inventions a 
week.) A paternal government would attempt to decolonize 
American literature, by forbidding the re-publication of for- 
eign works, and offering premiums to those of home produc- 
tion. A government of the opposite description will, it is 
hoped, accomplish the end desired by international copyright 
treaties. Paternal government establishes and supports 
schools ; Jeffersonian government ordains (or should) that 
no ignoramus shall vote, and sees to it (or should) that no 
parent, guardian, or master defrauds a child, ward, or ap- 
prentice of the means of acquiring knowledge. Paternal 
government founds a national bank ; free government enacts 
a New York banking law. Paternal government builds rail- 
roads, or, if it does not build them, regulates them, inspects 
them, lays down numberless rules designed to protect passen- 
gers. Free government simply holds a railroad company re- 
sponsible for damages, makes it pay for every limb broken, 
for every hour lost ; in a word, compels it to do what it was 
paid to do, and what it contracted to do. Paternal govern- 
ment pours the people's money in a ceaseless stream into the 
Erie canal. Jeffersonian government would sell the canal to 
the highest bidder, and thus turn a nuisance into a blessing 
— a source of corruption into a means of civilization. Pa- 
ternal government will, perhaps, undertake a Pacific railroad ; 
who does not know with what result ? One day after it 
should be known that government will keep its palsying and 
corruptive hands off that enterprise— worthy only of a great 
PEOPLE — measures would be begim for doing the work by 
private enterprise : and private enterprise would do it pre- 
cisely at the right moment, on precisely the best route, in 
precisely the best mode the circumstances permit. 

1825.] AN OLD CONTBOYEBSY. ' 85 

This theory of government, incompletely set forth in the 
writings of Mr. JeflFerson, has been recently elaborated with 
singular lucidness and power by an English author, Mr. Her- 
bert Spencer, whose work on " Social Statics" Mr. JeflFer- 
son ought to have lived long enough to have read, such keen 
delight would he have had in seeing his cherished opinions 
stated with the clearness of light, and demonstrated as Eu- 
clid demonstrates propositions in geometry. This work, not 
yet re-published in the United States, will be a school book 
among us some day. And how Mr. JeflFerson would have 
reveled in that wonderful work, conceived wholly in the 
anti-patemal spirit. " The History of Civilization in Eng- 
laod," by Henby Thomas Buckle, the greatest man that 
ever wrote history. 

The JeflFersonian system, besides its general claims, has a 
peculiar adaptedness to the federal government of the United 
States, because that government can undertake no work of 
internal improvement, can found no national institution, which 
will not seem to do more for one section of the Union than 
for others. 

The extreme JeflFersonians were accustomed to support 
their opinions chiefly on the ground of an adherence to the 
letter and spirit of the Constitution, instead of broadly as- 
serting that their theory was founded in justice and wisdom, 
and was, therefore, of universal application. Hence they 
were called " strict constructionists" and " States' rights 
men." Thus De Witt Clinton, though reckoned among the 
very strictest of the strict constructionists, was the great 
supporter of the canal policy of the State of New York. It 
was only the solitary thinkers of the liberal party who dreamt 
of carrying out their theory to its legitimate results. So far, 
however, as the federal government was concerned, the de- 
cided republicans clung to the JeflFersonian doctrine during 
the twenty-four years' administration of the government by 
Mr. JeflFerson and his disciples. 

But disciples are not always faithful to the doctrines of 


the master. Nor are masters always true to the systems 
that bear their name. 

In his first message, Mr. JeflFerson said, that " Agricul- 
tmre, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pil- 
lars of our prosi)erity, are most thriving, when left most free 
to individual enterprise." In his fifth message, he hesitat- 
ingly proposed an amendment to the Constitution which 
would admit of the endowment of a national university. 
" Education," said he, " is here placed among the articles of 
public care ; not that it would be proposed to take its ordin- 
ary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which 
manages so much better all the concerns to which it is equal ; 
but a public institution can alone supply those sciences which, 
though rarely called for, are yet necessary to complete the 
circle, all the parts of which contribute to the improvement 
of the country, and some of them to its preservation." Again, 
in his last message, when puzzled with surplus revenue, he 
asked : " Shall it lie unproductive in the public vaults ? shall 
the revenue be reduced ? or shall it not rather be appropri- 
ated to the improvements of roads, canals, rivers, education, 
and other great foundations of prosperity and union, under 
the powers which Congress may already possess, or such 
amendment of the Constitution as may be approved by the 
States ? While uncertain of the course of things, the time 
may be advantageously employed in obtaining the powers 
necessary for a system of improvement, should that be thought 

Mr. Jefferson, however, was always consistent in this — 
that internal improvements, however desirable, were not au- 
thorized by the Constitution of the Union. 

Mr. Madison renewed the recommendation of a national 
university (first proposed by President Washington), and was 
brought, at last, to assent to the establishment of a national 
bank. Mr. Monroe, though supposed to be a stricter con- 
structionist than his predecessor, also recommended the found- 
ing of a national university, and proposed measures for amend- 
ing the Constitution, so as to legalize a grand system of 


internal improvement by the general government. He also 
recommended the voting of money by Congress to repair the 
Cumberland road. " Surely," said he, in his message in 1822, 
" if Congress had a right to appropriate money to make the 
road, they have a right to appropriate it to preserve the road 
from ruin." Unquestionably. The gradual change in the 
tone of Mr. Monroe's messages on this dividing question, was 
attributed at the time to the influence of Mr. John Quincy 
Adams, Secretary of State. 

And perhaps justly. Mr. Adams was a federalist by birth, 
by disposition, by early association, by confirmed habit. He 
abandoned the federalists for reasons which had nothing to 
do with the fundamental issues between the two parties, and 
his inaugural address as President revealed the fact to all the 
world. "The magnificence and splendor of their public 
works," said he, " are among the imperishable glories of the 
ancient republics. The roads and aqueducts of Rome have 
been the admiration of all after ages, and have survived thou- 
sands of years after all her conquests have been swallowed up 
in despotism, or become the spoil of barbarians. Some diver- 
sity of opinion has prevailed with regard to the powers of 
Congress for legislation upon objects of this nature. The 
most respectful deference is due to doubts, originating in pure 
patriotism, and sustained by venerated authority. But nearly 
twenty years have passod since the construction of the first 
national road was commenced. The authority for its con- 
struction was then unquestioned. To how many thousands 
of our countrymen has it proved a benefit ? To what single 
individual has it ever proved an injury ?" 

In his first annual message, Mr. Adams went unexampled 
lengths in this direction. The phrases " our country " and 
" the government " seem to have been synonymous in his mind. 
In glowing paragraphs, he recommended a national univer- 
sity, exploring expeditions, an astronomical observatory, and 
the construction of roads and canals. " The spirit of im- 
provement," he concluded, " is abroad upon the earth. It 
stimulates the heart, and sharpens the faculties, not of our fel- 


low-citizens alone, but of the nations of Europe, and of their 
rulers. . , . While foreign nations, less blessed with that 
freedom which is power than ourselves, are advancing with 
gigantic strides in the career of public improvement, were we 
to slumber in indolence, or fold up our arras and proclaim to 
the world that we are palsied by the will of our constituents, 
would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence, and 
doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority ? In the course of 
the year now drawing to its close, we have beheld under the 
auspices, and at the expense of one State of this Union, a 
new University unfolding its portals to the sons of science, 
and holding up the torch of human improvement to the eyes 
that seek the light. We have seen, under the persevering 
and enlightened enterprise of another State, the waters of our 
western lakes mingled with those of the ocean. If under- 
takings like these have been accomplished in the compass of 
a few years, by the authority of single members of our Con- 
federation, can we, the representative authorities of the 
whole Union, fall behind our fellow-servants in the exercise 
of the trust committed to us for the benefit of our common 
Sovereign, by the accomplishment of works important to the 
whole, and to which neither the authority nor the resources 
of any one State can be adequate ?*' 

This is pretty decided. But Mr. Rush, the Secretary of 
the Treasury, in one of his annual reports, as far surpassed 
Mr. Adams as Mr. Adams surpassed his predecessor. Mr. 
Rush said it was the duty of government " to augment the 
number and variety of occuj)ations for its inhabitants ; to 
hold out to every degree of labor, and to every modification 
of skill, its appropriate object and inducement ; to organize 
the whole labor of a country ; to entice into the widest 
ranges its mechanical and intellectual capacities, instead of 
suflering them to slumber ; to call forth, wherever hidden, 
latent ingenuity, giving to eflbrt activity, and to emulation 
ardor ; to create employment for the greatest amount of 
numbers by adapting it to the diversified faculties, propensi- 

1825.] AN0LDC0NTR0VBR8Y. 89 

ties, and situations of men, so that every particle of ability, 
every shade of genius, may come into requisition." 

In the palmiest days of the federal party, was there ever 
uttered such arrant, such innocently arrogant nonsense ? 

Thus the old controversy was re-opened. Thus there was 
a real and fidr ground of opposition to the new administra- 
tion. Federalism, supposed to be dead, was living, rampant, 
and sitting in the seat of power,** 

The long, bony finger, the piercing screech of John Ran- 
dolph, of Virginia, were promptly raised in execration of 
these pernicious delusions. John Randolph despoiled of his 
natural hopefulness, cheerfulness, kindliness, by disease alone ! 

* Tbe following is an extract ttom the third annilal message of Mr. John 
Quincy Adams : " The expediency of providing for additional numbers of offi- 
cers in the two corps of engineers will, in some degree, depend upon the num- 
ber and extent of the objects of national importance upon which Congress may 
think it proper that surveys should be made, conformably to the act of the 30th 
of April, 1824. Of the surveys which, before the last sessioq of Congress, had 
been made under the authority of the act, reports were made : 1. Of the board 
of internal improvement on the Chesapeake and Ohio canal ; 2. On the continu- 
mnce of the national road from Cumberland to the tide waters within the District 
of Cohimbia; 3. On the continuation of the national road from Canton to Znnes- 
ville ; 4. On the location of the national road from Zanesville to Columbus ; 6. 
On the continuation of the same road to the seat of government in Missouri ; 6. 
On a post road from Baltimore to Philadelphia ; 7. Of a survey of Kennebec 
River (in part); 8. On a national road from Washington to Buffalo ; 9. Ou the 
j»ur\ey of Saugatuck Harbor and River; 10. On a canal from Lake Pontchartrain 
to the Mississippi River; 11. On surveys at Edgarton, Newburyport, and Hy- 
annls iLirbor; 12. On survey of La Plaisanoe Bay, in the Territory of Michi- 
'^n ; and reports are now prepared, and will be submitted to Congress, on 
;?urveys of the peninsula of Florida, to ascertain the practicability of a canal to 
connect the waters of the Atlantic with the Gulf of Mexico, across that penin- 
sula; and also of the country between the Bays of Mobile and of Pensacola, 
with (he view of connecting them together by a canal ; on surveys of a route 
for a canal to connect the waters of James and Great Kenhawa Rivers ; on the 
survey of the Swash in Pamlico Sound, and that of Cape Pear, below the town 
of Wilmington, in North Carolina ; on the 8ur\'oy of the Muscle Shoals, in the 
Tennessee River, and for a route for a contemplated communication between the 
Hiwasseo and Coosa Rivers, in the State of Alabama. Other reports of surveys 
upon objects pointed out by the several acts of Congress of the last and preced- 
ing sessions, are in the progress of preparation, and most of them may be com* 
pleted before the close of this session." 


The least Buncoinbized, most guileless of public men 1 One 
of the last individuals produced among us ! In these days, 
we are nearly all foolish alike, wise alike, weak alike, strong 
alike. In other days, there were varieties of human nature, 
which made men interesting ta one another. No one can read 
Mr. Garland's well executed biography of John Randolph with- 
out feeling that if he was a wreck, he was the wreck of a man. 

John Randolph had an old grudge against the name and 
race of Adams — even against John Adams, who was also an 
individual. "John II.," Randolph humorously styled the 
new President. " It is no secret," said Mr. Randolph, in one 
of his earliest fulminations against the revived doctrines, 
" that I was in New York when John Adams first took his 
seat as Vice-President. I recollect — ^for I was a schoolboy 
at the time — attending the lobby of Congress when I ought 
to have been at school. I remember the manner in which 
my brother was spurned by the coachman of the Vice-Pres- 
ident for coming too near the arms emblazoned on the escutch- 
eon of the vice-regal carriage. Perhaps I may have some of 
this old animosity rankling in my heart ; and, coming from 
a race" (Pocahontas) " who are known never to forsake a 
friend or forgive a foe, I am taught to forgive my enemies ; 
and I do, from the bottom of my heart, most sincerely, as I 
hope to be forgiven. But it is 7n]/ enemies, not the enemies 
of my country." And he proceeds to satirize the doctrines 
of the " speech and message," and, especially, " the doctrine 
that goes to take the whole human family under the Presi- 
dent's special protection." In another of these fierce anti- 
federal harangues, Mr. Randolph spoke of the union of Mr. 
Adams and Mr. Clay as the " coalition of BlifiJ and Black 
George — the combination, unheard of till then, of the puri- 
tan aud the black-leg ;" a remark which caused the famous 
duel between Randolph and Clay, in 1826. 

Mr. Clay's showy scheme of uniting all the republics of 
North and South America in a kind of league, or Holy Al- 
liance, called forth intense opposition. It came to naught, 
and we need not dwell upon it. 


1825.] AK OLD C0NTB0VEB8T. 91 

Then, Mr. Adams, in accordance with his half pledge to 
Mr. Webster, appointed a few federalists to office. The mis- 
sion to England, offered first to De Witt Clinton, and de- 
clined by him, was given to Mr. Bofus King, the most 
oonspicaons of the surviving members of the old party. 
This appointment, creditable as it was to the President and 
to the country, was little relished by the republican party, 
though Mr. King had for a short time acted with that 

The administration of Mr. Adams was, in one respect, so 
superior to any which the country has since known, that it 
will long be looked back upon by intelligent citizens with 
mingled pride and sorrow. It was a decent administration. 
A laige proportion of those who served it were gentlemen : 
i, t.y educated men of principle ; men who had had mothers 
that taught them to be kind, and &thers who compelled 
them to do ri^t. The transcendent meanness, the unspeak- 
able stupidity of removing honest men from subordinate offices 
on account of their political opinions, was unknown to the 
administration of John Quincy Adams. He removed but 
two place-holders, and both for cause. In the third month 
of his presidency he wrote these wise, these prophetic words : 
^'The custom-house officers throughout the Union, in all 
probability, were opposed to my election. They are all now 
in my power ; and I have been urged very earnestly, and 
from various quarters, to sweep away my opponents and pro- 
vide for my friends with their places. I can justify the 
refusal to adopt this policy only by the steadiness and consist- 
ency of my adhesion to my own. If I depart from this in 
any one instance, I shall be called upon by my friends to db 
the same in many. An invidious and inquisitorial scrutiny 
into the personal disposition of public officers will creep 
through the whole Union, and the most sordid and selfish 
passions wiU be kindled into activity, to distort the conduct 
and misrepresent the feelings of men, whose places may be- 
come the prize of slander upon them."* 

• Quincy'B Life of J. Q. Adams, p. 147. 

92 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1825. 

John Binus, too, tells us : " On the arrival in Philadel- 
phia of President Adams, he did me the honor of an invita- 
tion. I waited on him at the Mansion House Hotel, and 
took an opportunity to introduce the subject of his appoint- 
ments. I was promptly told that Mr. President Adams did 
not intend to make any removals. I bowed respectfully, as- 
suring the President that I had no doubt the consequence 
would be that he would himself be removed so soon as the 
term for which he had be<?n elected had expired. This inti- 
mation gave the President no concern, and assuredly did in 
nowise affect his previous determination."* 

The honorable conduct of Mr. Adams in this particular, 
accorded with that of his predecessors. It may, perhaps, be 
said that no man had been dismissed from a subordinate 
post under the general government for partisan reasons 
merely. A place under government was generally r^arded 
as a provision for life, and office-holders enjoyed the dignity, 
and exhibited the fidelity which permanent appointments 
alone have ever secured or can secure. In a word, the public 
business was conducted on principles upon which private 
business is conducted, and the public clerk had the same mo- 
tives for good conduct as the private clerk has. The retention 
of his place, and his advancement to a better, were the nat- 
ural and just reward of efficiency and fidelity. 

Against the new administration, therefore, was soon ar- 
rayed a powerful party of *' strict constructionists" in Con- 
gress, headed by John Randolph, a host of office-seekers, and 
the great mass of those who had supported General Jackson, 
and who were soon to believe that he had been kept out of 
Ae presidency by a corrupt bargain. 

But was not General Jackson, the reader may ask, as de- 
cidedly committed to the internal improvement and protec- 
tive tariff policy as Mr. Adams ? Almost. But the fact 
was not so generally known. And did he not, in his letters 
to Mr. Monroe, recommend the appointment of federalists to 
office ? He did. Well, then, how could the opposition to 

* BeooUectioDa of John BiniiB, p. 260. 


Mr. Adams on these grounds be made available for the 
advancement of General Jackson ? The question is more 
easily asked than answered. Bead on. 

As this chapter was about to be consigned to the printer, 
I received from Mr. Nicholas P. Trist a copy of a political 
letter written by General Jackson in 1801, which claims in- 
sertion here : 


** Kkoxyills, Sept 1, 1801. 

" Dear Sir: Through life I have held it a sacred duty I owed to my 
country and myself never to give my suffrage to a candidate for a seat in 
the Congress of the United States, unless I was convinced that his politi- 
cal sentiments were congenial with those he represented, and ■ that he 
would speak and do the will of his constituents ; and being now informed 
that you are a candidate for the honor of representing the citizens of the 
State of Tennessee, in the representative branch of the federal legislature, 
believing, as I do, that any citizen who does obtain the suffrage of the 
freemen of Tennessee, must be a character, the composition of which is 
virtue, talents, and the true whig principles of seventy-six ; in short, sir, 
that he must be a republican, and in politics like Caesar's wife, not only 
chaste, but unsuspected. 

"The first two component parts of this character I know you to 
possess ; the latter, as to myself, I have ever thought you did. But^ sir, 
the public mind has been lately led to believe that your political senti- 
ments are doubtful, and some nave held you up as an aristocrat. These 
reasons have operated upon me to call upon you to answer the following 
interrogatories : 

" First Are you, and have you always been an admirer of the true whig 
principles of 76 ? 

" Have you always been an admirer of State authority ? 

" Are you now, and have you always been an admirer of the constitu- 
tion of the United States, friendly to its administration, agreeable to the 
true literal meaning of the instrument, and banishing the dangerous doc- 
trine of implication ? 

" Have you always been, and are you now opposed to standing armies 
in time of peace ? 

"Are you now, and have you always been inimical to a standing 
naval armament? 

" Are you now, and have you always been opposed to foreign politi- 
cal connections ? 


" Are you now, and have you always been opposed to the extension 
of the executive patronage ? 

** Have you always been, and are you now an advocate for freedom 
of religion, and the freedom of the press ? 

" Are you now, and have you always been friendly to economy in the 
public disbursements, and an enemy to the system of loans ? 

" And, lastly, are you a real republican in principle, and will you be a 
republican in practice ? 

" The above questions are put to you by a sincere friend in private 
life, and one who is very much disposed to extend to you his httle politi- 
cal support. He expects, however, that these questions will be answered 
with your usual candor on other subjects. Tliis letter is not confidential, 
nor will your answer bo viewed as such. It is as well for the gratification 
of inquiring friends as myself. 

" Accept, sir, of my respects, and believe ino to be your obedient 
servant, " Andrew Jaokson. 

** Doctor William Diokson.** 

This is Jcffersonian, as far as it goes, and it touches in a 
rude way most of the points then in controversy between the 
Adams men and the JefFersonians. 



According to the time-honored usages of the Kepublican 
party, the presidency was disposed of for twenty-four years. 
Mr. Adams expected to hold his place for eight years. Mr. 
Clay expected to succeed him, as previous Secretaries of State 
had succeeded their chiefs. Mr. Clay would, of course, serve 
eight years, and appoint a Secretary of State to be his suc- 
cessor in 1841. And, doubtless, there were worthy young 
gentlemen, not a few, who had an eye fixed hopefully upon the 
year 1849. 


But the dethronement of King Caucus had changed all 
that. The " secretary dynasty/' as it was called, was pos- 
sible only so long as the sphere of contention was confined to 
the narrow compass of the Capital. Neither Mr. Adams 
nor Mr. Clay seem to have been aware of the fact, but it was 
a fact, and the managers of the Jackson party knew it. The 
resolution to make General Jackson a candidate for 1829 
dated from the moment when the result of the election in the 
House of Representatives was known. It was, at once, re- 
solved to appeal to "another tribunal." 

Tennessee, as we have seen, welcomed her defeated Gen- 
eml home in the summer of 1825, as conquerors are welcomed. 
In October of the same year, me seventh month of the new 
administration, the legislature of Tennessee, with three dis- 
sentient voices, passed a resolution to the effect that " Gen- 
eral Andrew Jackson, of this State, be recommended to the 
freemen of the United States, as a fellow-citizen, who, by his 
numerous and faithful public services, in the cabinet and in 
the field, his energy and decision, his political qualifications, 
and strict adherence to the principles of republicanism, merits 
to be elected to the office of chief magistrate of this Union, 
at the next presidential election." 

A few days after, it was whispered in the legislature that 
General Jackson was on his way to the capital of the State. 
It was forthwith resolved that " as an evidence of the respect 
and attachment entertained by this legislature, in common 
with our fellow-citizens, towards General Andrew Jackson 
for his high personal qualifications, and numerous and impor- 
tant services rendered to his country, that the two branches 
of this general assembly will receive him on the day next 
after his arrival at the seat of government, at 12 o'clock, in 
the representative hall ;" and that " one or both of the speak- 
ers, on behalf of the two houses, shall deliver, at such time, 
to General Jackson an address, expressive .of the high per- 
sonal satisfaction they feel in relation to the course he pur- 
sued, during the pendency of the late presidential election." 

The General was received and addressed, accordingly, and 


deliver jd a suitable reply. He banded to one of tbe speak- 
ers, on tbe same occasion, a written paper, wbicb proved to 
be tbe resignation of bis seat in tbe Senate of the United 
States. General Jackson was notbing if not belligerent. 
Tbis document, like bis farewell address to tbe army, was as 
mucb designed to wound enemies as to gratify friends. It 
was mainly a bit at Mr. Clay for accepting office under Mr. 
Adams ; but not so bold and direct a blow as tbat wbicb the 
same band dealt at " Jacob Brown " in 1821. General Jack- 
son began by saying tbat, when bis name was first proposed 
for tbe senatorsbip, be bad been given to understi^nd that a 
longer period of service than two years would not be expected 
of him. Two years bad elapsed. He was still in some doubt 
whether or not be should resign his seat, when certain late 
proceedings of tbe legislature had resolved his doubts, and in- 
duced him to resign forthwith. He then proceeded to remark 
approvingly upon a proposed amendment to tbe constitution 
of the United States, limiting the service of tbe President to 
a single term of four or six years. He was in favor of such 
an amendment. 

Having disposed of this subject, he came to tbe real ob- 
ject of his discourse. 

" And, indeed," he continued, " I would go further, with 
a view to sustain more effectually in practice, the axiom 
wbicb divides the three great classes of power into independ- 
ent constitutional checks; I would impose a provision ren- 
dering any member of Congress ineligible to office under the 
general government during tbe term for which he was elected 
and for two years thereafter, except in cases of judicial office ; 
and these I would except for the reason tbat vacancies in this 
department are not frequent occurrences, and because no bar- 
rier should be interposed in selecting for the bench men of the 
first talents and integrity. Their trusts and duties being of 
the most responsible kind, the widest possible range should 
be permitted tbat judicious and safe selections might be 
made. Tho politician may err, yet bis error may be presently 
relieved, and no considerable injury result ; but with judges, 


particularly in the last resort, error is fatal, because without 
a remedy. 

" The eflfect of such a constitutional provision is obvious. 
By it Congress, in a considerable degree, would be free from 
that connection with the executive department which at pres- 
ent gives strong ground of apprehension and jealousy on the 
part of the people. Members, instead of being liable to be 
withdrawn from legislating on the great interests of the na- 
tion through prospects of the executive patronage, would be 
more liberally confided in by their constituents, while their 
vigilance would be less interrupted by party feelings and 
party excitements. Calculations from intrigue or manage- 
ment would fail ; nor would their deliberations or investiga- 
tion of subjects consume so much time. The morals of the 
country would be improved, and virtue, uniting with the la- 
bors of the representatives, and with the official ministers of 
the law, would tend to perpetuate the honor and glory of the 
government. But if this change in the Constitution should 
not be obtained, and important appointments continue to de- 
volve upon the representatives in Congress, it requires no 
depth of thought to be convinced tliat corruption will become 
the order of the day, and that under the garb of conscientious 
sacrifices to establish precedents for the public good, evils of 
serious importance to the freedom and prosperity of the re- 
public may arise. It is through this channel that the people 
may expect to be attacked in their constitutional sovereignty, 
and where tyranny may well be apprehended to spring up in 
some favorable emergency. Against such inroads every guard 
ought to be interposed, and none better occurs than that of 
closing the suspected avenue with some necessary constitu- 
tional restriction. We know human nature to be i)rone to 
evil ; we are early taught to pray that we may not be led 
into temptation, and hence the opinion that by constitutional 
provisions all avenues to temptation on the part of our po- 
litical servants should be closed." 

If General Jackson, then, is ever elected President, he 
will not appoint to office members of Congress 1 I wonder 

VOL. ui — 7 


if Messrs. Eaton, Ingham. Branch, Berrien, Livingston, For- 
syth, Stephenson, Buchanan, and other gentlemen supposed 
to have an interest in the matter, believed this in 1825. If 
they did, some of them gave extraordinary proofs of disin- 

General Jackson's resignation liaving been accepted by 
the legislature, Judge Hugh L. White, of East Tennessee, 
was elected to serve during the remaining four years of Jack- 
son's term. Judge White, an old friend and fellow-soldier 
of General Jackson, had contributed all his influence, in the 
presidential campaign of 1824, to the election of the General. 
The Jackson party, therefore, in sending Judge White to the 
Senate, gained a Senator who was devoted to the elevation of 
their candidate. The new Senator, moreover, was from prin- 
ciple and clear conviction a "strict constructionist" — more 
than a Jeffersonian ; a man peculiarly hostile to the revived 
federalism of the new administration. The magnificent 
dreams of Messrs. Adams, Clay, and Bush, awakened all his 
old repugnance to the party of the past. He had, therefore, 
a twofold motive for exertion in his new sphere : warm af- 
fection for General Jackson, and intense antipathy to the 
opinions of Mr. Adams. Judge White was, also, an honest 
man, nicely conscientious, strict and punctual in the discharge 
of every duty known to him, whether public or private. Not 
exempt from human foibles, not splendid in natural endow- 
ments, he was one of the most respectable and honorable of 
public men. 

The renomination of General Jackson by the State of 
Tennessee, premature as it seemed, was not suffered to fall 
to the ground. In May, 1826, the nomination was indorsed 
by an immense public meeting in Philadelphia, and in No- 
vember of the same year a powerful movement in his behalf 
was begun in Georgia. Long before the usual time of begin- 
ning the quadrennial agitation, he was placed before the 
people in most of the States as the candidate for the presi- 
dency in opposition to the reelection of Mr. Adams. 

During the next three yeai*s, General Jackson, though he 


passed most of the time at home, was the central figure in an 
extraordinary number of receptions and public dinners. To 
judge from the newspapers of the day, he could not stir 
abroad without finding a committee in his path, who took 
possession of him bodily, conveyed him to some public ban- 
queting hall, and got him on his legs to speak. A large 
number of his replies to invitations and other letters found 
their way into the newspapers, most of which are but repeti- 
tions of those which the reader has already seen. The follow- 
ing, however, is a pleasant and honorable exception : 



'^Nashyillb, Tsn., May 24, 18M. 

"Gsntlemen: I take the liberty to address you upon a subject in 
which I feel great interest, as it is one with which I know the welfare 
and happiness of our country to be intimately connected. It relates to 
the blessings of education, which, without doubt, constitutes the chief 
support of the liberties which our forefathers bequeathed to us. 

"There is now in operation at Nashville a college, which, with a 
little more pecuniary encouragement, is Ukely to become one of the most 
flourishing institutions in the United States. It is situated in a part of the 
great valley of the West, where the feelings, habits, and manners of the 
people are purely republican. The climate is healthy, and the means of 
support are cheap and abundant The institution will, therefore, extend 
it3 advantages to the poor, as well as the rich, and prepare for the serv- 
ice of their country the sons of the farmers and mechanics, as well as 
those who by fortune are exempt from the necessity of labor. 

" The president is an accomplished gentleman of the first acquirements, 
and the subordinate professors are gentlemen highly esteemed for literary 
and scientific attainments. But to place upon a lasting foundation the 
property of this college, it is requested to obtain funds for two more pro- 
fessorships, which were created last year, and which the Board of Trus- 
tees have thought proper (in honor of the good Lafayette and the humble 
services I had rendered the country) to call by the names of Lafayette and 

" It is well known that the good Lafayette is destitute of the means 
to make a permanent endowment of this nature, as is the case also with 
myself, otherwise these professorships would have been filled ere this. 
Our resort is to appeal to the liberality of those who have the means to 
make donations, and the disposition to yield them, for the lasting benefit 

100 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K80N. [1825. 

of an institution so well calcolated to prepare the American youth for the 
councils of our common country. 

" Without doubt, the trustees had two motives in view in honoring 
Lafayette and myself (if I may be pardoned for speaking of myself in con- 
junction with that illustrious benefactor) with the names of those profes- 
sorships — the one to compliment our names with the perpetuity which it is 
hoped the institution will experience, the other to cooperate upon the 
feelings of such as may derive an additional inducement from the circum- 
stance, to contribute an endowment which, with tlie smiles of Providence, 
will, I trust, redound to the credit of its patrons and the general cause of 

" The object of this letter, then, gentlemen, is to ask you to present, or 
cause to bo presented to the good citizens of New Orleans, the enclosed 
paper, or one of its purport, and to receive and remit such aid as each 
citizen may bo disposed to give. It La not expected of any to give but a 
small sum. Small donations will enable the more persons to aid in the 
establishment of those professorships, and to testify their respect for the 
cause of literature and science. 

** I am. very respectfully, your most obedient servant, 

"Andrew Jackson. 

** Messrs. General Planch^, Col. Preston, Bi^Jor A. Davexac, J. J. Mercler, Jan., Eiq., OoL 

Mannael White.'* 

From the mass of Geneml Jackson's political utterances 
at this period I select only one paragraph, written in July, 
1826. He had been invited to accompany Mrs. Jackson to 
Harrodsburgh Springs, in Kentucky. He declined, partly on 
the ground of a slight improvement in his wife's health, but 
chiefly because the journey would be thought a political one. 
" When I reflect," he wrote, " upon the management and in- 
trigue which are operating abroad, the magnitude of the 
principles which they are endeavoring to supplant, and the 
many means which they can draw to their assistance from 
the patronage of the government, I feel that it is not less 
due to myself and principle than to the American people, 
particularly so far as they have sanctioned my political creed, 
to steer clear of every conduct out of which the idea might 
arise that I was maneuvering for my own aggrandizement. 
If it be true that the administration have gone into power 
contrary to the voice of the nation, and are now expecting. 


by means of this power thus acquired, to mold the public 
will into an acquiescence with their authority, then is the 
issue fairly made out, shall the government or the people 
rule. And it becomes the man whom the people shall indi- 
cate as their rightful representative in the solemn issue, so to 
have acquitted himself, that while he displaces these enemies 
of liberty, there will be nothing in his own example to 
operate against the strength and durability of the govern- 

It is painful to copy such sentences. But it is es- 
sential to the integrity of this work to do so. It is neces- 
sary to show that it was the habit of General Jackson's 
mind to attribute the conduct of his opponents to the 
lowest motives from which that conduct could be imagined 
to proceed. 

The health of Mra Jackson continued to be precarious 
during the whole of this period. Her disease was an affec- 
tion of the heart, which was liable to be aggravated by ex- 
citement. She never approved of the General's running for 
office ; and, if now she wished him to succeed, it was only 
because she knew he wished it. Unceasingly she strove to 
turn his thoughts to those subjects in which alone she found 
comfort, which alone she thought important. She warned 
him not to be dazzled nor deluded by his popularity ; of 
which her good sense as a woman, no less than her opinions 
as a Presbyterian, taught her the emptiness. One Sunday 
morning, a communion Sunday, in 1826 or 1827, as they 
were walking toward the little Hermitage church, she be- 
sought him to dally no longer with his sense of duty, but, 
then and there, that very hour, in their own little church, to 
renounce the world and all its pomps and vanities, and 
partake of the communion with her. He answered, " My 
dear, if I were to do that now, it would be said, all over the 
country, that I had done it for the sake of political effect. 
My enemies would all say so. I can not do it now^ but I 
promise you that when once more I am clear of politics I 
will join the church." 


This incident he related, with tears in his eyes, many 
years after to his beloved friend Blair, of the GlobCy as they 
stood under the tall trees of the grove in which the church 



Too much, by a hundred thousand pages, having been 
already written upon this sorry business, I have been sorely 
tempted to pass it over without mention. The disgraceful 
story must be told, however. It belongs to our subject. It can 
not be suflfered to pass into that oblivion which has ruthlessly 
swallowed so much that was better worth preservation. 

" Give us a good cry to go down to the country with," 
say the London clubs to a shaky ministry anticipating a dis- 
solution of Parliament. The Jackson party had a most teU- 
ing cry in the campaign of 1828, and we are now to learn 
how they got it. 

General Jackson, as we know, left Washington after the 
election in theHouseof Representatives, convinced that there 
had been a corrupt understanding between Mr. Clay and 
Mr. Adams, to the eflfect that Clay should make Adams 
President, on condition that Adams should appoint Clay 
Secretary of State. General Jackson, as we have just ob- 
served, was always prone to think evil of those who opposed 
him, as well as to be too indulgent to those who support- 
ed him. On this occasion, as on many others, his propensity 
was stimulated by those who hoped to thrive by his assist- 

I. On the 28th of January, 1825, twelve days before the 
election in the House of Representatives, the following letter 


was published anonymously in a Philadelphia newspaper, 
called the Columbian Observer : 

** Wasbinotok, Jan. 25, 1825. 

" Dear Sir : I take up my pen to inform you of one of the most dis- 
graceful transactions that ever covered with infamy the republican ranks. 
Would you believe that men, professing democracy, could be found base 
enough to lay the ax at the very root of the tree of liberty 1 Yet, strange 
as it is, it is not less true. To give you a full history of this transaction 
would far exceed the limits Of a letter. I shall, therefore, at once proceed 
to give you a brief account of such a bargain as can only be equaled by 
the famous Burr conspiracy of 1801. For some time past, the friends of 
Clay have hinted that they, like the Swiss, would fight for those who pay 
best Overtures were said to have been made by the friends of Adams 
to the friends of Clay, oflfering him the appointment of Secretary of State, 
for his aid to elect Adams. And the friends of Clay gave the information 
to the friends of Jackson, and hinted that if the friends of Jackson would 
offer the same price, they would close with them. But none of the friends 
of Jackson would descend to such mean barter and sale. It was not be- 
lieved by any of the friends of Jackson that this contract would be ratified 
by the members from the States which had voted for Clay. I was of opin- 
ion, when I first heard of this transaction, that men, professing any honor- 
able principles, could not^ or would not be transferred, like the planter 
does his negroes, or the &rmer does his team of horses. No alarm was 
excited. We believed the republic was safe. The nation having delivered 
Jackson into the hands of Congress, backed by a large majority of their 
votes, there was on my mind no doubt that Congress would respond to 
the will of the nation by electing the individual they had declared to be 
their choice. Contrary to this expectation, it is now ascertained to a cer- 
tainty that Henry Clay has transferred his interest to John Quincy Adams. 
As a consideration for this abandonment of duty to his constituents, it is 
said and believed, should this unholy coalition prevail. Clay is to be ap- 
pointed Secretary of State. I have no fear on my mind. I am clearly of 
opinion we shall defeat every combination. The force of pubUc opinion 
must prevail, or there is an end of liberty." 

II. The editor of the Columbian Observer forwarded to 
Mr. Clay a copy of the paper containing this precious eflfu- 
sion. On the first of February, Mr. Clay replied to it in the 
National Intelligencer, by a card : 

" I have seen," said he, " without any other emotion than tliat of in- 


efifable contempt, the abuse which has been poured upon me by a scurril- 
ous paper issued in this city, and by other kindred prints and persons, in 
regard to Uie presidential election. The editor of one of those prints, 
udiered forth in Philadelphia, called the Columbian Observer, for which I 
do not subscribe, and which I have never ordered, has had the impudence 
to transmit to me his vile pai)er of the 28th instant. In this number is 
inserted a letter, purporting to have been written from this city, on the 
25th instant, by a member of the House of Representatives, belonging to 
the Pennsylvania delegation. I believe it to be a forgery ; but if it be 
genuine, I pronounce the member, whoever he may be, a base and infam- 
ous calumniator, a dastard, and liar ; and if he dare unvail himself, and 
avow his name, I will hold him responsible, as I here admit myself to be, 
to all the laws which govern and regulate men of honor." 

III. Two days afterward, appeared in the Intelligencer a 
communication, entitled "Another Card," which read as 
follows : 

" George Kremer, of the House of Representatives, tenders his respects 
to the Honorable H. Clay, and informs him that^ by reference to the editor 
of the Columbian Observer , he may ascertain the name of the writer of a 
letter of tlie 25th ult., which, it seems, has afforded so much concern to 
H. Clay. In the mean time, George Kremer holds himself ready to prove, 
to the satisfaction of unprejudiced minds, enough to satisfy them of the 
accuracy of tlie statements which are contained in that letter, to the ex- 
tent that tliey concern the course and conduct of H. Clay. Being a repre- 
sentative of the people, he will not fear to * cry aloud and spare not,' when 
their rights and privileges are at stake." 

This George Kremer was an honest, illiterate rustic, ec- 
centric in costume and manners, a man absurdly out of 
place in an assembly of educated persons. " Mr. Kremer," 
wrote Daniel Webster to his brotlier Ezekiel, " is a man with 
whom one would* think of having a shot, about as soon as 
with your neighbor, Mr. Simeon Atkinson, whom he some- 
what resembles." He was a little, bustling, credulous man 
of fifty, much stared at in Washington from his wearing a 
leopard-skin over-coat of curious cut. 

IV. Mr. Clay read Kremer's card before going to the 
House on the morning of February 3d. From his place in the 


Speaker's chair he addressed the House on the subject, and 
demanded an immediate investigation of the charge. ' Stand- 
ing/ said the Speaker, ' in the relation to the House, which 
both the member from Pennsylvania and himself did, it ap- 
peared to him, that here was the proper place to institute the 
inquiry, in order that, if guilty, here the proper punishment 
might be applied ; and if innocent, here his character and 
conduct might be vindicated. He anxiously hoped, therefore, 
that the House would be pleased to order an investigation to 
be made into the truth of the charges. Emanating from 
such a source as they did, this was the only notice which he 
could take of them.' 

Mr. Forsyth moved the appointment of a select committee 
for the investigation. Whereupon, Mr. Kremer rose arid said, 
that " If, upon investigation being instituted, it should ap- 
pear that he had not suflScient reason to justify the state- 
ments he had made, he trusted he should receive the marked 
reprobation which had been suggested by the Speaker. Let 
it fall where it might, he was willing to meet the inquiry, 
and abide the result." 

After a debate of a day and a half, the committee was 
ordered and appointed. It consisted of seven members, 
Messrs. Barbour, Webster, M'Laine, Taylor, Forsyth, Saun- 
ders, and Rankin. 

V. The committee met, and summoned Mr. Kremer to 
appear before them with the proofs of the charges he had 
made. Mr. Kremer, in a long, rambling communication, re- 
fused to coine before the committee ! The House, he said, 
had no jurisdiction over the conduct of members out of the 
House. ^' I protest, therefore, most solemnly against the as- 
sumption of any jurisdiction, either by the committee or the 
House of Representatives, that shall jeopardize my right to 
communicate freely to my constituents whatever I may believe 
necessary for the public good. Whatever assent I may have 
given, was done hastily, relying on the conscious rectitude of 
my conduct, and regarding my own case, without having re- 
flected duly on the dangerous principles involved in the pro- 


ceedings, and can not therefore be considered as a waiver of 
my rights. The Speaker's appeal was sudden and unexpected, 
and if iny admission was made, without due regard to all the 
circumstances and principles of the case, it could be no mat- 
ter of surprise. In deciding the jurisdiction of the Committee 
and the House, I feel the authority of another tribuncUj be- 
fore which I shall cheerfully appear, and bring forward, forth- 
with, those facts and circumstances, which, in my opinion, 
fully authorize the statements contained in my letter. These 
I shall spread before my constituents, to whom I am amen- 
able for all my conduct." 

The explanation of Kremer's conduct is simple and obvi- 
ous. He was the merest tool of adroit managers. He con- 
fessed, in conversation with members, that he did not write 
the letter which appeared in the Columbian Observer. Kremer 
did not even comprehend the language of the letter. He told 
Mr. Brent of Louisiana, in the hearing of two other members 
of Congress, that he never intended to charge Mr. Clay with 
corrupt conduct. To other gentlemen he said he was willing 
to apologize to Mr. Clay. It is equally certain that he did 
not write the communication to the Select Committee. Mr. 
Clay's bold and manly conduct in bringing the matter before 
the House, surprised poor Kremer into a promise to substan- 
tiate his charge. His managers, however, knew well that 
such a course would be fatal to their project, which was to 
confine the discussion of the matter to that " other tribunal/' 
namely, the ignorant and credulous portion of the voters at 
the next presidential election. 

Mr. Clay was of the opinion that the author of the letter 
in the Columbian Observer was Senator John H. Eaton of 
Tennessee, and that the writer of Kremer's communication 
to the Select Committee was Samuel D. Ingham, a member of 
the House from Pennsylvania. There were reasons for this 
opinion ; but as they were not good enough to convert the 
opinion into certainty, we need not dilate upon them. If 
Eaton and Ingham were guilty in the dastardly affair, they 
had their reward — they had their punishment. Mr. Ingham, 


it may be well to add, was one of those Pennsylvanians who 
had originally preferred Mr. Calhoun for the presidency, and 
suspended their efforts in his behalf, in deference to the evi-. 
dent wish of the people. 

VI. The Select Committee reported (February 9th, the 
day of the election) that, as Mr. Kremer had refused to come 
before them, they could take no further steps. The subject 
then dropped. The election occurred, and Mr. Clay accepted 
the office of Secretary of State. General Jackson started 
homeward, disappointed, indignant, believing himself to have 
been cheated out of the presidency. 

VII. On his journey home. General Jackson was, as before 
narrated, the object of universal attention. He had to figure 
in many public receptions, which were the more enthusiastic be- 
cause of the growing belief among the Jackson men, that he had 
been unjustly, if not corruptly, deprived of the office to which 
the people wished to elevate him. The General, it seems, con- 
versed with his partisans upon the late events, with the utmost 
possible freedom. Some of his remarks were said to have 
been of a character so extraordinary, that I will not venture 
to give them in any other language than that of the original 
reporters. In judging these statements, allowance must be 
made for the imperfections of the human memory, and for 
the perverting tendency of political strife ; these statements 
having been made during the fury and madness of 1828. 

Daniel Large, of Philadelphia, testified : "On my way 
down the Ohio, from Wheeling to Cincinnati, in the month 
of March, 1825, on board the steamer General Neville, among 
many other passengers were General Jackson and a number 
of gentlemen from Pennsylvania, some of whom remarked to 
the General that they regretted that he had not been elected 
President instead of Mr. Adams. General Jackson replied, 
that if he would have made the same promises and offers to 
Mr. Clay that Mr. Adams had done, he (General Jackson) 
would then, in that case, have been in the presidential chair. 
But he would make no promises to any ; that if he went to 
the presidential chair, he would go with clean hands, and un- 


controlled by any one. These remarks of General Jackson 
were made in the hearing of Mr. James Parker, of Chester 
county, Mr. William Crowsdill, of this city, and myself, and 
a number of other gentlemen unknown to me." 

William Crowsdill, of Philadelphia, testified that " the 
statement made by Mr. Daniel Large is a faithful account of 
General Jackson's conversation on the occasion alluded to." 

William Sample testified that, meeting General Jackson 
on the same journey, he had said to him, " Well, G^neral^ 
we did all we could for you here, but the rascals cheated you 
out of it ;" to which the General replied, " Indeed, my old 
friend, there was cheating, and corruption, and bribery, too. 
The editors of the National Intelligencer were bribed to 
suppress honest George Kremer's letter." These words, 
added Mr. Sample, were uttered in a " room full of gen- 

Two persons testified that they heard a Mr. Sloan narrate 
a conversation he had had with General Jackson about the 
same time, in the course of which the General said that, early 
one morning, Mr. Clay called on him at his lodgings, which 
was quite an unusual circumstance, and after a few compli- 
ments had passed, Mr. Clay observed : " General, I have no 
doubt of your election now." The General stated : " I read 
his heart in a moment," but replied to Mr. Clay that "if 
elected, he would exercise his best judgment in executing the 
duties of his office ;" that Mr. Clay, meeting with no encour- 
agement, politely bid him good morning, and left the room ; 
and in a few days he understood that Mr. Clay had declared 
himself in favor of John Q. Adams. " This," said the Gen- 
eral, "Mr. Clay will not have the hardihood to stand before 
me and deny." The General further stated, by way of com- 
ment, that there was no doubt, had he observed to Mr. Clay, 
" If I am elected, I will do something for you," that he 
(Jackson) would have been the President. 

The most circumstantial statement, however, was that of 
the Rev. A. Wylie, a noted clergyman of that day : 


** WAsniNOTON', Pebmary 15th, 1828. 

" When General Jackson arrived at Bunland's, on his return from Con- 
gress^ in the spring of 1825, the agitation of the public mind was extreme, 
from the belief then prevalent that his elevation to the presidency had 
been prevented by intrigue and management on the part of Messrs. Adams 
and Clay. My own mind, I confess, was not altogether imdisturbed on 
this subject, feeling, as the head of a family — who, in the common course 
of nature, must share after me in the destinies of our beloved country — a 
deep interest in the preservation of our liberties, which I believed, from what 
I knew of the history of republics, were not likely to perish in any popu- 
lar convulsions, until the people themselves should first find Iheir rights in- 
vaded by those in power. Feeling, fi*om the force of such considerations, 
a ayropathy for Q-eneral Jackson, I was induced, though I had no previoua 
personal acquaintance with him, to pay him my respects. The following 
dialogue took place : 

" A. * You return, General, from a boisterous campaign.' 

" B. * Yes, sir.' 

" A. * One in which you were not quite so successful as in some former 

" B. * My success in those to which you allude was owing to the firm- 
ness of the brave men whom I had the honor to command.' 

"A * It is more honorable, however, to lose than to win in such a con- 
test as that lately concluded at the federal city, i^ indeed, things were 
managed as has been reported.' 

" B. * And who can doubt it ?' 

" A, * Why, General, one would hardly suppose that such men as J. 
Q. Adams and H. Clay would, in the face of the nation, engage in such a 

" B, ' But lot any man in his senses take a view of tlie circumstances — 
let him compare for instance, tlie prediction of honest George Krenier with 
its accomplishment' 

" A. ' But were not the talents and local situation of Mr. Clay sufficient 
to justify the confident expectation of his appointment. There is, how- 
ever, another circumstance, which, if true, will settle the point' 

" B. ' What is that ?' 

*' A. * The proposition that is said to have been made to you — is that a 

fact r 

" ^. * Yes, sir, such a proposition was made. I said to the bearer — 
* Qro tell Mr. Clay, tell Mr. Adams, tliat if I go into that chair, I go with 
clean hands and a pure heart, and tliat I had rather see them, together 
with myself, engulfed to the earth's center, than to compass it by such 
means.' The very next day or shortly after (which of the expressions it 


was is not now recollected), Mr. Clay and his friends declared for Mr. 

" Such was the conversation, as nearly as can bo recollected. It wa? 
rapid, and carried on in such a tone of voice as not to be heard by many 
in the room. The Messrs. Murdocka, who, I believe, were present, must 
have heard a part of it. Most of the sentences were not announced in 
full, but taken up and answered by the parties as soon as their drift and 
bearing were understood, except the last, which was pronounced emphatic- 
ally. Of this I am the more certain, as it made an impression which wasi, 
on my mind, deep and vivid." 

Mr. J. H. Waring furnished the following : "I was pres- 
ent at one of these conversations, when the General observed, 
in speaking of the late election, that ' the people had been 
cheated; thai the corruptions and intrigues of Washington 
had defeated the will of the people in the election of their 
Presidents I waited till this branch of the conversation was 
closed, and finding no palliative, left the company, which waa 
large, and composed of ladies and gentlemen of the first re- 
spectability, and at a public tavern. Several followed, and 
his remarks became the subject of street conversation, in 
which I remarked, that, highly as I was disposed to think of 
the General, particularly for his military success, I could not 
approve such a course ; that if corruption existed, and that 
known to him, he surely should not have been the first to 
greet Mr. Adams upon his elevation." 

VIII. None of these remarkable utterances found their 
way into print at that time ; but the poison worked in the 
mind of the unsuspecting voter. Kremer kept his promise to 
refer the matter to " another tribunal." " Are the charges 
true ?'' he asked on the stump. " Can any one doubt it, who 
considers that Mr. Clay has performed the act, which the 
letter charges him with intending to do, and now holds the 
office, which was proclaimed as the consideration for the ser- 
vice rendered ?" Imagine nonsense of this kind repeated in 
a thousand newspapers, roared from a thousand stumps, in- 
sinuated in a thousand congressional appeals to rural Bim- 
combe ; Mr. Adams silent meanwhile, from a sense of official 



decorum ; Mr. Clay silent for lack of a responsible accuser, 
for lack of a tangible accusation. 

IX. At length, however. General Jackson was brought 
before the public as the accuser of Mr. Clay. 

In the spring of 1827, a large party was dining one day 
at the Hermitage, when General Jackson used language with 
regard to Mr. Clay similar to that which he employed on his 
way home from Washington, in 1825. Among the company 
present were several gentlemen from Virginia, one of whom 
was the afterward famous Carter Beverly, a member of one 
the " First Families." Another gentleman present on the 
the occasion was a young New Yorker, Silas M. Stilwell, af- 
terward a leading New York politician, and still living 
among us. Mr. Stilwell was so alarmed at the General's 
" imprudence," that he ventured, after dinner, to remonstrate 
with him, saying that among so large a company there was 
sure to be some one who would imprudently repeat what had 
been so imprudently uttered. 

" Oh, you Yankees 1" exclaimed the General, laughing ; 
".how suspicious you all are ! Why these are Virginia gen- 
tlemen. Not one of them would repeat any thing he has 
heard at my table." 

Mr. Stilwell was right, however. Shortly afterward 
(March 8th, 1827), the following letter, from Carter Beverly 
to a friend, found its way, as such letters will, into the col- 
umns of a newspaper of North Carolina : 

*• I have just returaed from General Jackson's. I found a crowd of 
company wiUi him. Seven Virginians were of the number. He gave mo 
a most friendly reception, and urged me to stay some days longer with 
him. He told me this morning, be/ore all his company, in re[)ly to a ques- 
tion tliat I put to him concerning the election of J. Q. Adams to tlie pres- 
idency, that ilr. Clay's friends made a proposition to his friends, that, if 
they would promise, /or him [General Jackson] fwt to put Mr. Adams into 
the scat of Secretary of State, Mr. Clay and his friends would, in one hour, 
make him [Jackson] the President. He [General Jackson] most indig- 
nantly rejected the proposition, and declared he would not compromit 
himself; and unless most openly and fairly made the President by Con- 
greflSj he would never receive it. He declared, that he said to them, he 


would sec the whole earth sink under tliem, before he would bargain or 
intrigue for it" 

This letter immediately went the round of the press, 
eliciting comment exultant or indignant, according to the 
political character of the editor printing it. The veracity of 
the author having been called in question, he wrote to Gen- 
eral Jackson to confirm his statements. General Jackson 
replied at length ; and this letter also was surreptitiously 
copied and printed. 

General Jackson's letter to Mr. Beverly contained the 
following narrative : 

" Early in January, 1825, a member of Congress, of high respectability, 
visited me one morning, and observed that he had a communicution he 
was desirous to make to me ; that he was informed there was a great in- 
trigue going on, and that it was right I should be informed of it; that he 
came as a friend, and let me receive the communication as I mighty the 
friendly motives through wliich it was made he hoped wouM prevent any 
change of friendsliip or feeling in regard to him. To which I replied, from 
his high standing as a geutleinan and member of Congress, and from his 
uniform friendly and gentlemanly conduct toward myself, I could not 
suppose he would make any communication to me which ho supposed was 
improper. Therefore, his motives being pure, let me think as I might of 
the communication, my feelings toward him would remain unaltered. The 
gentleman proceeded : He said he had been informed by the friends of 
Mr. Clay, tliat the friends of Mr. Adams had made overtures to them, say- 
ing, if Mr. Clay and his friends would unite in aid of Mr. Adams' election, 
Mr. Clay should be Secretary of State ; that the friends of Mr. Adams 
were urging, as a reason to induce the friends of Mr. Clay to accede to 
their proposition, that if I were elected President, Mr. Adams would be 
contitmed Secretary of State (innuendo, there would be no room for Ken- 
tucky) ; that the friends of Mr. Clay stated, the West did not wish to sep- 
arate from the West, and if I would say, or permit any of my confidential 
friends to say, that in ca5c I were elected President, Mr. Adams sliould 
not be continued Secretary of State, by a complete union of Mr. Clay and 
his friends, they would put an end to the presidential contest in one hour. 
And he was of opinion it was right to fight such intriguers with their own 
weapons. To which, in substance, I replied — that in politics, as in every 
tiling else, my guide was principle; and contrary to the expressed and un- 
biased will of the people, I never would step into the presidential chair ; 


and requested him to say to Mr. Clay and his friends (for I did suppose he 
had come from Mr. Clay, although he used the term of ' Mr. Clay's friends') 
that before I would reach the presidential chair by such means of bargain 
and corruption, I would see the earth open and swallow both Mr. Clay 
and his friends, and myself with them. If they had not confidence in me 
to believe, if I were elected, that I would call to my aid in the cabinet 
men of the first virtue, talent^ and integrity, not to vote for me. The sec- 
ond day ufler this communication and reply, it was announced in the news- 
papers that Mr. Clay had come out openly and avowedly in favor of Mr. 
Adams. It may be proper to observe, that, on the supposition that Mr. 
Clay was not privy to the proposition stated, I may have done injustice to 
him. If so, the gentleman informing me can explain.'' 

X. Upon obtaining a copy of this letter, Mr. Clay pub- 
lished ^'a direct, unqualified and indignant denial/' and called 
upon General Jackson for proof. " Such being the accusation, 
and the prosecutor, and the issue between us," concluded Mr. 
Clay, " I have now a right to expect that he will substan- 
tiate his charges, by the exhibition of satisfactory evidence. 
In that event, there is no punishment that would exceed the 
measure of my offense. In the opposite event, what ought 
to be the judgment of the American public, is cheerfully sub- 
mitted to their wisdom and justice." 

XI. General Jackson replied at great length. But the 
only passage that touched the issue was tliis : " This disclo- 
sure was made to me by Mr. James Buchanan." 

General Jackson concluded his long address with a re- 
mark which shows that he had forgotten some of the incidents 
of his homeward journey, in the spring of 1825. " The ori- 
gin," says he, " the beginning of this matter, was at my own 
house and fireside — where, surely, a freeman may be permit- 
ted to speak on public topics, without having ascribed to him 
improper designs. I have not gone into the highways and 
market- J )laces to proclaim my oi)inions, and in this, feel that 
I have differed from some, who, even at public dinner-tables, 
have not scrupled to consider me a legitimate subject for 
speech and the entertainment of the company. And yet, 
for this, who has heard me complain ? No one. Trusting 
to the justice of an intelligent people, I have been content to 

VOL. III. — 8 


rely for security on their decision, against the countless as- 
saults and slanders, which are sought so repeatedly to be 
palmed upon them, without seeking to present myself in my 
own defense ; and still less to become the ' responsible accus- 
er' of Mr. Clay, or any other person." 

XII. Mr. Buchanan, thus unexpectedly appealed to in 
the hearing of the whole nation, found himself in an awkward 
position. Locked in the memories of Mr. Clay and his friend 
Letcher, was a little story, given on a preceding page, which, 
though innocent enough, would have had an undesirable 
effect, if told just then, upon the class of voters who were 
represented by such men as the Honorable George Kremer. 
On the other hand, how could Mr. Buchanan contradict bis 
chief .^ In these perplexing circumstances, Mr. Buchanan 
promptly took the witness stand, and completely exonerated 
Mr. Clay. In a long communication to the editor of the 2/aift- 
caster Jotirnaly he gave the following statement : 

" The duty which I owe to the public, and to myself, now compels me 
to publish to the world the only conversation which I ever held with Gen- 
eral Jackson, upon the subject of the last presidential election, prior to its 
tennination." . . . "On the 30th of December, 1824, (I am able to fix 
the time, not only from my own recollection, but from letters which I wrote 
on that day, on the day following, and on the 2d of January, 1825,) I called 
upon General Jackson. Aflcr the company liad lefl him, by which I found 
him surrounded, he asked me to take a walk with him ; and, while we 
were walking together upon the street, I introduced tlie subject I told 
him I wished to ask him a question in relation to the presidential election ; 
that I knew he was unwilling to c(.>iivtjrsc upon the subject ; that, there- 
fore, if he deemed the cpiestion improper, he might refuse to give it an an- 
swer : that my only motive in asking it, was friendship for him, and I 
trusted he would excuse me for thus introducing a subject about which I 
knew he wished to be silent His reply was complimentary to myself and 
accompanied with a request that I would proceed. I then stated to him 
tljere was a report in circulation, that he had determined he would appoint 
Mr. Adams Scicretjiry of State, in case he were elected President^ and that 
I wished to ascertiin from him whether he had ever intimated such an 
intention ; that he must at once perceive how injurious to his election sudi 
a report might be ; that no doubt tliere were several able and ambitious 
men in the country, among whom I thought Mr. Clay might be include<^ 



who were aspiring to that office ; and, if it were believed he had aU^ady 
determined to appoint his chief competitor, it might have a most unhappy 
effect upon their exertions, and those of their friends ; that, unless he had 
so determined, I thought this report should be promptly contradicted under 
his own authority. I mentioned it had already probably done him some 
injury. . . . After I had finished, the General declared he had not 
the least objection to answer my question; that he thought well of Mr. 
Adams, but he never said or intimated that ho would, or would not^ ap- 
point him Secretary of State ; that these were secrets he would keep to 
himself — ^he would conceal them from the very hairs of his head ; that if 
he believed his right hand then knew what his left would do on the subject 
of appointments to office, he would cut it ofi* and cast it into the fire ; that 
if he ever should be elected President, it would be without solicitation, 
and without intrigue, on his part ; that he would then go into office per- 
fectly free and untrammeled, and would be left at perfect liberty to fill the 
offices of the government with the men whom, at the time, he believed to 
be the ablest and the best in the country. I told him that this answer to 
my question was such a one as I had expected to receive, if he answered 
it at all ; and that I had not sought to obtain it for my own satisfaction. 
I then asked him if I were at liberty to repeat his answer? He said that 
I was at perfect liberty to do so, to any person I thought proper. I need 
scarcely remark that I aflerward availed myself of the privilege. The 
conversation on this topic here ended, and in all our intercourse since, 
whether personally, or in the course of our correspondence. General Jack- 
son never once adverted to the subject, prior to the date of his letter to 
Mr. Beverly. I called upon General Jackson, upon the occasion which I 
have mentioned, solely as his friend, upon my individual responsibility, and 
not as the agent of Mr. Clay or any other person." 

Mr. Clay and his friends exulted exceedingly, and thought 
the day their own. " I could not desire," wrote Clay to a 
friend, "a stronger statement from Mr. Buchanan. The 
tables are completely turned upon the General. Instead of 
any intrigues on my part and that of my friends, they were 
altogether on the side of General Jackson and his friends." 
Daniel Webster wrote to Mr. Clay : ^' I do not think that 
General Jackson can ever recover from the blow which he 
has received. Many persons think Buchanan's letter can- 
did, I deem it otherwise. It seems to me to be labored 
very hard to protect the General, as far as he could, with- 
out injury to himself. Although the General's friends. 


this way, however, a£fect to consider Buchanan's letter as 
supporting the charge, it is possible the Gleneral himself, and 
the Nashville Commentators may think otherwise, and com- 
plain of Buchanan. I should expect this with some confi- 
dence if they received the letter a little earlier than they 
may have seen the turn which the Atlantic editors have at- 
tempted to give it. As these last have pretty generally agreed 
to say that the letter does support the General, the NashviUe 
CommeritatorSy if they see the example in season, may be dis- 
posed to follow it." 

The General himself did think otherwise, though he did 
not tell the public so. Long afterward he wrote to his friend 
Major Lewis : " Your observations with regard to Mr. Bu- 
chanan are correct. He showed a want of moral courage in 
the affair of the intrigue of Adams and Clay — did not do 
me justice in the expose he then made, and I am sure about 
that time did believe there was a i)erfect understanding be- 
tween Adams and Clay about the presidency and the Secre- 
tary of State. This I am sure of But whether he viewed 
that. there was any corruption in the case or not, I know not} 
but one thing I do know, that he wished mc to combat them 
with their own weapons — that was, let my friends say if I 
was elected I would make Mr. Clay Secretary of State. 
This, to me, appeared deep corruption, and I repelled it with 
that honest indignation as I thought it deserved." 

General Jackson made no further publication on the sub- 
ject at the time. He retired from the discussion. 

XIII. Mr. Clay, however, deemed it proper to vindicate 
himself still more completely. He caused a circular letter to 
be addressed to every member of the House of Representa- 
tives who voted for Mr. Adams, restating General Jackson's 
chcirgc of bargain and corruption, and asking whether he 
(the member addressed) knew or believed that such a bargain 
had been made. 

To these questions every member but two sent prompt 
replies, exonerating Mr. Clay and his friends in the most un- 
equivocal and emphatic language. 


The eloquent words of Mr. Adams on the subject, uttered 
when there was no longer a personal motive for uttering 
them, are well known : " Prejudice and passion have charged 
Mr. Clay with obtaining office by bargain and corruption. 
Before you, my fellow-citizens, in the presence of our country 
and Heaven, I pronounce that charge totally unfounded. 
This tribute of justice is due from me to him, and I seize 
with pleasure the opportunity afforded me of discharging the 
obligation. As to my motives for tendering to him the de- 
partment of State when I did, let that man who questions 
them come forward ; let him look around among statesmen 
and l^slators of this nation, and of that day ; let him then 
select and name the man whom, by his preeminent talents, 
by his splendid services, by his ardent patriotism, by his all- 
embracing public spirit, by his fervid eloquence in behalf of 
the rights and liberties of mankind, and by his long experi- 
ence in the affairs of the Union, foreign and domestic, a 
President of the United States, intent only upon the welfare 
and honor of his country, ought to have preferred to Henry 
Clay. Let him name the man, and then judge you, my fel- 
low-citizens, of my motives." 

XIV. General Jackson never retracted the charge of bar- 
gain, nor ceased to believe in the guilt of Mr. Adams and Mr. 
Clay. During the last year but one of his life, Mr. Clay 
being a candidate for the presidency, he wrote the follow- 
ing card for publication in the Nashville Union, and it was 
published in that newspaper in May, 1844 : 

" My attention has been called to various newspaper articles, referring 
to a letter said to have been written by me to General Hamilton, recanting 
the charge of bargain made against Mr. Clay, when he voted for Mr. 
Adams in 1825. 

" To put an end to all such rumors, I feel it to be due to myself to state, 
that I have no recollection of ever having written such a letter, and do not 
believe there is a letter from me to General Hamilton, or any one else, 
that will bear such a construction. Of the charges brought against both 
Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay, at that time I formed my opinion as the country 
at large did — from facts and circumstances that were indisputable and con- 
clusive ; and I may add, that this opinion has undergone no change. 


" If Gkneral Hamilton, or any one else, has a letter from me on this 
subject) all that thej have to do is to apply to him for it. As for myself I 
have no secrets, and do not fear the publication of all that I have ever 
written on this or any other subject*' 

These are all the facts relating to the charge of bargain and 
corruption which are essential to the proper understanding 
of it. No charge was ever more plausible or more ground- 
less, unless it be that which ruined Aaron Burr's political pros- 
pects in 1801 ; and, with that exception, none was ever more 
completely refuted. The refutation was as public as the ac- 
cusation. Why, then, did seven-tenths of the voters of the 
United States believe it ? Why did it overthrow an admin- 
istration, and frustrate for ever the cherished hopes of Mr, 
Clay^s friends ? 

First, Mr. Clay's conduct, in giving Mr. Adams the presi- 
dency, was undemocratic. This republic was set up on a 
certain principle, and the spirit of that principle required 
that Andrew Jackson, of Tennessee, should have been elected 
President by the House of Representatives, on the 9th of 
February, 1825. The principle may be wrong. Time may 
prove it to be wrong. Federalists then thought it wrong. 
But the republican party obtained power, and for twenty- 
four years retained the supremacy, because it professed a 
contrary belief, because it thought the fundamental principle 
of the government right, feasible, and safe. When Mr. Clay, 
before the result of the popular election was known, an- 
nounced to his friends in Kentucky that he could conceive of 
no circumstances whatever which would induce him to sup- 
port General Jackson for the presidency, he seemed to show 
a defective faith in the cardinal principle of his party and of 
the Constitution. His party naturally resented the defection. 
As a private citizen he was not bound to support Greneral 
Jackson ; but as a representative in Congress, his task was 
to ascertain and to indulge the obvious desires of the people 
whose representative he was. 

Secondly, The voters of the United States might then be 


divided into three classes. First, there were the voters who 
were patriotic enough to take a hearty interest in the politics 
of their country, and intelligent enough to be swayed by ar- 
guments addressed to the understanding. Such voters are 
the salt of the nation, who have preserved it — who now sus- 
tain it — who will deliver it. But they were not a majority. 
Then, there was a class of voters who were intelligent 
enough to be swayed by arguments addressed to the under- 
standing, but not patriotic enough to take an interest in poli- 
tics — ^rich people, who drew large revenues from the country 
they aflfected to despise — over-refined scholars, who dawdled in 
Paris, when they should have been instructing their country- 
men at home — dainty philosophers, who surveyed the arena 
from a safe distance, and discoursed knowingly about it, 
when they should have stripped and entered, and done brave 
battle, showing blackguards how gentlemen can fight, and 
driving them in ignominy from the ring. 

But these two classes combined were not a majority in 
1825. In the present happy year of our Lord, we are all of 
us free and enlightened citizens, of course. But the events 
with which we are now occupied occurred thirty-five years 
ago, when there was an immense number of people in the 
country who were not intelligent enough to be moved by 
ailments addressed to the understanding. There were 
voters who could feel, but not think ; listen to stump ora- 
tions, but not read ; comprehend the logic of a Kremer, but 
not that of Henry Clay ; who could be wheedled, and flat- 
tered, and drilled by any man who was quite devoid of public 
spirit, principle, and shame, but could be influenced by no 
man of honor, unless he was also a man of genius. This was 
the fatal class of voters. Here was the field of the managing 
politician. These were the voters who were the hope of the 
schemer, the despair of the patriot. They were numerous in 

And so the Jacksonians had their cry for 1828. You 
may be sure they kept it ringing. 

Yet no cry, however telling, no enthusiasm, however wild 


and general, ever carried a presidential election, nor ever 
will. The union of a powerful southern interest with a re- 
spectable northern one, or the union of a powerful northern 
with a respectable southern interest, has been always deemed 
essential to success by knowing politicians, and has always 
been essential hitherto. General Jackson, as a candidate for 
the presidency, was nothing in 1824, till Pennsylvania took 
him up, and would have been elected in 1824, if New York 
had joined Pennsylvania. New York must be brought into 
line in 1828. Who will do it for him ? 



Yes, Martin Van Buren, late the opponent of Jackson^ 
the ally of Crawford. Not De Witt Clinton, who had been 
for many years General Jackson's friend and eulogist, and 
who, it was supposed, cherished an expectation of succeeding 
him in the presidency. Mr. Van Buren must do the work, 
or it will not be done. Mr. Clinton was no politician. Mr. 
Van Buren was the politician of the State. 

But how are we to know any thing about a man who was 
supposed to excel all men in concealing his motives and his 
movements ? If one could get a peep at the pages of that 
autobiography which Mr. Van Buren is preparing for publi- 
cation after his death ! But as that can not be, we must 
resort to other sources of information. It is something, how- 
ever, to know that Mr. Van Buren feels that the story of his 
life is one which will bear telling. 

From long poring over all the materials accessible, I have 
come to know tliat the serious charges against this gentleman 
are either untrue, or less than half true. Conceding that 
politics is a game, I find that he has never gnibbed nor slily 
filched the stakes, but played fairly, according to the ^^ usages 

■ • ■ • 


*- . 




O 7 T^^Oi^it^^Uc.^^^ 

« , 


1825.] MARTIN VAN BURBN. 121 

of the party/' Few men have been more hated. It is comforting 
to honest blunderers to know that no man is so hated as he 
who makes it a point to have no enemies, and in no man are 
so many faults discovered as in him who never commits one. 

Martin Van Buren, like the party of which he was a 
leader, learned his principles from Thomas Jefferson, and his 
tactics from Aaron Burr. This remark explains both his 
career and his party's. 

Columbia County in the State of New York was noted, in 
the olden time, as the residence of certain opulent families. 
There the Livingstons had their seat ; there the Van Rensse- 
laers had large possessions ; and around the great proprietors 
gathered a considerable number of connections and friends, 
forming a circle who held a position in the county similar to 
that of the great families in a county of England. Here, in 
1782, when as yet the distinction was marked between patri- 
cian and plebian, Martin Van Buren was bom. He was bom 
in a log-house. His father was a worthy, illiterate man, who 
cultivated a small farm, and kept a small tavem. He was a 
man of such imperturbable good temper, that he never had a 
quarrel in his life. His wife, we are told, was the motive- 
power of the &mily — an active, polite person, fond of politics, 
and uncommonly sagacious in the management of her affairs. 

Martin was a bright, lively, handsome boy. He went to 
the village school, and had no other educational advantages. 
His familiar letters, down to a late period of his life, contain 
grammatical slips. Apprenticed in his fourteenth year to 
the village attorney, he was compelled, by a statute then in 
force, to serve seven years before getting his license to prac- 
tice. The law then made a distinction in ftivor of students 
who had received a classical education — admitting them to 
practice after three years, study of the law. 

Before he had completx^d his term of study, we find the 
youth in New York, a student in the office of William P. 
Van Ness, who is still famous as the friend and second of 
Colonel Bun-, in his lamentable duel with General Hamilton. 
Burr was then at the height of his career, Vice-President of 


the United States, and, as it was supposed, the candidate 
for the successiou to the presidency. He lived in great style ; 
had his country house and town house ; and dispensed in 
both a lavish hospitality which he could ill afford. He never 
appeared so imposing or so strong as then, when he stood on 
the flowery verge of ruin. The young student, it appears^ 
was thrown into frequent contact with this shining figure, 
who inherited from his father a passion for protdges. Burr 
was struck with the beauty and talents, the diligence and en- 
ergy of the country youth, and, we are told, made an impres- 
sion upon his forming character, and communicated to him 
the results of his experience in politics and law. 

The life-maxims of the Vice-President the student cer- 
tainly did not imbibe. Mr. Van Buren's private conduct 
has always been correct, and though of a generous and help- 
ful disposition, he early and always practiced the art of living 
within his income. 

Aaron Burr's politics were learned in the camp. Enam- 
ored of military life, he conducted his business, after the re- 
turn of peace, ui)on military principles. He liked to regard 
himself as a kind of general-in-law, his clerks as aids-de-court, 
and to have his orders obeyed with the silent promptness of 
military discipline. When he, unhappily, turned politician, 
and became the manager of a party, he adhered to the same 
system. A party, he would maintain, in order to carry elec- 
tions, must submit to discipline ; must execute faithfully, 
and even blindly, the decrees of its leaders. Whatever is de- 
cided upon in the conclaves of the legitimate and recognized 
chiefs is law to the rank and file, which they must execute 
to the letter, on pain of proscription. 

If the Burrian Code were wTitten out, as time developed 
it, it would contain, I imagine, the following propositions : 


I. Politics is a Grame, tlie prizes of which are offices and contracts. 

II. The Game, so far as Our Side is concerned, must be played with 
strict fairness. With respect to the Other Side, all is fair in politics, as in. war. 

III. In elective governments, all politics necessarily resolve themselyes 

1825.] HABTIK YAK BUBEK. 123 

into a contest for the high^t place. That gained, all is gained. To that 
end, therefore, everything else is to be subordinate. 

rV. The people are sovereign — as Queen Victoria is sovereign. Treated 
always with the profoundest deference, the sovereign in nothing. In 
£ngland the ministers, in America the politicians, are everything. But the 
sovereign is to be humored to the top of his bent, and so led. 

V. Fidelity to party is the sole virtue of the politician. He only is a 
politician who would vote unhesitatingly for the Devil, if the Devil were 
regularly nominated. One sin only is unpardonable — ^bolting. 

VL No man must be allowed to sufifer on account of his fidelity to his 
party. No matter how odious to the people he may have made himself by 
his fidelity, he must be provided for the moment it can be safely done. 

VII. The party door must always stand wide open for the reception of 
converts from the other side, but shut rigorously against repentant rene- 

Vin. Personal enmities are to be most scrupulously avoided. In deal- 
ing with an opponent, he must be treated with a view to his one day be- 
coming " one of us." 

IX. Nothing is more fatal in politics than a premature publication of 
the programme. Nothing is to be done to-day which can as well be done 
to-morrow. A surprise is often half a victory. 

X. Every partisan must contribute to a contest both according to his 
means and his disposition ; rich, liberal men, money ; rich, mean men, in- 
fluence and name ; active men, labor ; idle men, the show of their presence ; 
eloquent men, eloquence ; cool, shrewd men, management and direction ; 
all men, without one exception, votes. 

XL Local organization is the main reliance for victory. Every ward, 
town, village, hamlet, neighborliood, must have its party organiziition — its 
every voter recorded and his disposition ascertained and noted down. 

XIL A great State influence is the preliminary and price of national 
distinction. No man can be great ia Washington who is not master of his 
own State ; who is not the Clay of Kentucky, the Crawford of Georgia, 
the Calhoun of South Carolina, the Webster of Mjissachusetts. On the 
same principle, a man must be preeminent in his County, before he can be 
powerful at Albany. Political distinction, like charity, must begin at home. 
It must have an impregnable basis of locality, and expand from a fixed 
center. A man who carries a County in his pocket can have what he 
wants at Albany ; a man who is master of a State can have his choice of 
the pickings at Washington. 

XIII. When there is a conflict between the party in the whole Union 
and the party iu the State, or between the party in the State and the party 
in the county, a man must adhere to the behests of a majority of his own 
local organization. That is to say, a private must obey the orders of his 


own immediate captain, though that captain may be in mutiny against 
his colonel That is the captain's afi&ir, not the private's. Thus, if Tomp- 
kins is the regular nominee of the party in New York, and Crawford is 
the regular nominee of the party in the Union, the New York democnt 
must support Tompkins, until the party leaders in New York decide to 
drop Tompkins. 

XIV. It is a great art to enlist young men in the cause. Young men 
work more and demand less than old men. Besides, they have fidth ; a 
commodity unknown to the old politician. 

XV. In a political manager many qualities are desirable, but only one 
is indispensable, namely, discretion. 

XVI. Many men can speak ; few can hold their tongue. Many men 
can act; few know how to wait One half the politician's art consists in 
silence and waiting. As that helmsman is most skillful who keeps the 
ship to her course with the fewest movements of the helm, as that is the 
great chess-player who wins by the fewest moves, so that poUtician will 
best succeed who speaks seldom, does little, and writes never. But when 
he does move, the result must be an era. 

XVII. A politician once well on the course, and fit to be upon it, can 
only be destroyed by liis own hands. 

XVIII. Newspapers are indispensable auxiliaries. Editors are to be 
unscrupulously used, but never implicitly trusted. An editor who is, in 
fortune, one degree above the starvation point, is in the condition most 
favorable to complete eflSciency. When an editor has become personally 
powerful, or even pecuniarily independent, his utility as a party tool is 
gone. If he shows the slightest symptom of restiveness or aspiration, the 
very highest talent the party can command must be brouglit to bear in 
effecting hw suppression. 

XIX. The end and aim of the professional pohtician is to keep great 
men down, and to push little men up. Little men, owing all to the wire- 
puller, will be governed by him. Great men, having ideas and convictions, 
are perilous, even as tools ; must be used cautiously, and never advanced 
to posts of influence and honor. Indeed, it were better to abolish them 

How much of this precious system our young student 
learned from its founder, and how much he gathered from 
the attached disciples who surrounded him, I know not. It 
is evident that some of these ideas found lodgment in his 
mind, and were exemplified in his conduct. The fatal flaw 
in the system is the smallness of its object. The calamity of 
poor Burr was, that he had not understanding enough to 

1825.] MARTIN VAN BUBBN. 126 

take the idea of the new republic. He attached the puerile 
European value to place, ignorant of the truth that he 
who serves his country in a public oflSce is no more honorable 
than he who serves it in his private shop. The superior dig- 
nity of simple citizenship to any post in the gift of citizens 
was never apparent to hira. He thought the servant was 
greater than the master. 

Mr. Van Buren returned to his native village in 1803, 
twenty-one years of age, and hung out his sign-board, noti- 
fying the public that Van Buren and Miller were attorneys- 
at-law. Politics were the absorbing topic in Columbia county. 
Mr. Van Buren was known there as a rather extreme Jeffer- 
sonian, a strict constructionist, a stickler for State rights. 
He acted in accordance with the Burrian code in 1804, by 
voting i^ainst Colonel Burr when he ran for the governorship 
of New York, in opposition to the regular republican candi- 
date. He sided with the Clintons, and other devotees of 
New York, against Mr. Jefferson's embargo. Mr. Van Buren, 
however, during the next six years after settling in Kinder- 
hook, was chiefly a zealous and laborious village lawyer, 
winning his way to a wider sphere by doing the best for his 
clients there. 

Then he removed to Hudson, the capital of his county, 
where for seven years more he toiled at the bar, dividing the 
business of the countv with a federalist rival. Keen were 
the encounters, it is said, between these able men. Mr. Van 
Buren ever cool, vigilant, adroit, courteous, persuasive ; gain- 
ing something even from defeat. His support of Mr. Daniel 
D. Tompkins for the governorship, in 1808, procured him 
the office of surrogate of Columbia, which he held four years, 
and was then removed to make way for the restoration of the 
gentleman whose removal liad created a vacancy for himself. 

Thus early in New York was the execrable system in 
vogue of distributing offices among victorious partisans, as 
soldiers divide the spoils of conquest. Mr. Van Buren has 
often been accused of introducing this odious feature of par- 
tisan strife. The truth is, however, that twice he was its 


victim before ever he had held a position which placed it in 
his power either to remove or to appoint. It was a fault in 
him that he did not exert all his influence to put an end to a 
system which tends to take government out of the hands of 
honest men, and hand it over to the custody of blackguards. 
He ought to have done this ; and the more, as his instincts 
nwolt at such a perversion of a public trust. When himself 
holding power, he has reduced the removals to the minimum 
of the supposed party necessities. " I prefer an office," he 
once said, " which has no patronage. When I give a man an 
office, I oflfend his disappointed competitors and their friends, 
and make enemies of the man I remove and his friends. Nor 
am I certain of gaining a friend in the man I appoint, for, in 
all probability, he exi)ected something better." 

Governor Tompkins, by his election to the vice-presidency, 
and still more by indulging in a habit induced by his pe- 
cuniary misfortunes, was removed from the sphere of com- 
petition. Then the politics of New York were resolved into 
a struggle for sui)remacy between the proud, patriotic, mal- 
adroit Clinton, and the imperturbable, skillful, courteous, ret- 
icent Van Buren. The Republican party was divided into 
two well-balanced factions, Clintonians and Bucktails ; the 
Bucktails, so named from a branch of the Tammany Society 
wearing the tail of a deer in their hats. The Bucktails were 
reckoned the extreme democrats, the radicals. Indeed, they 
were frequently styled Radicals by their opponents, and in 
1824, Mr. Crawford was often called the Radical Candidate, 
and the caucus that nominated him the Radical Caucus. 

Dr. Hammond hits off the public chanicter of De Witt 
Clinton in a sentence : " His objects were always magnificent, 
his ends were always such as evinced an elevated and lofty 
mind, but he did not seem to be aware of the necessity of 
providing ways and means to accomplish those ends." Of his 
rival, Martin Van Buren, we may observe that, whether his 
objects were magnificent or the contrary, whether his ends 
evinced a lofty or a common mind, he was always thoroughly 

1825.] MARTIN VAN BUREN. 127 

aware of the necessity of providing ways and means to ac- 
complish them. 

The politics of the State of New York are supposed to be 
beyond the comprehension of a finite being. From the early 
days of its adhesion to the Union, its politics have been in- 
volved, embittered, and, I may add, ignoble, to an unexam- 
pled degree. Great families, rival factions, ambitious men, 
have striven and schemed, with amazing pertinacity, not so 
much for the welfare and honor of the State, as for the 
possession of the lucrative offices which its early wealth cre- 
ated, and its early folly left open to ceaseless competition. 
Besides the great prizes which the State itself held out to 
successful management, there was an impression in the public 
mind that the State of New York, with its largo population 
and important commerce, was entitled te give a President to 
the Union ; and that it only remained for some one of her 
citizens to acquire a State preeminence and a respectable 
national reputation, to secure the prize. The secret aim, 
then, of the leading politicians seems to have been te keep 
down their rivals ; while politicians in other States, particu- 
larly, those who were identified with the "Virginian dy- 
nasty," were supposed to have an interest in preventing any 
New Yorker from over-topping his competitors. 

In 1812, when Mr. Van Bureu first appeared in Albany 
as a member of the legislature, that extraordinary man, Do 
Witt Clinton, had just been put in nomination for the pres- 
idency against Mr. Madison. He expected support from two 
classes of citizens ; first, those who were opposed to the war ; 
secondly, those who thought Mr. Madison ill-fitted to conduct 
the war with success. Mr. Van Buren, in accordance with 
the principles of the New York democracy, supported Mr. 
Clinton, and contributed, j)erhap8, more than any other man 
to the respectable vote which Clinton received. In 1816, Gov- 
ernor Tompkins was the choice of New York for the presi- 
dency, and Mr. Van Buren adhered to the decree of his party 
He went to Washington to electioneer for Mr. Tompkins, 
but ascertaining that the ex-governor could not obtiiin the 


nomination of the Congressional Caucus, he supported his 
claims coldly, and offered no serious opposition to those of 
Mr. Crawford. 

Mr. Van Buren inherited from his father a temper that 
nothing could ruffle, and he possessed an unrivaled talent for 
holding his tongue. His principles and his disposition equally 
impelled him to be courteous to all men. Compelled by his 
position in the republican ranks to be generally in opposition 
to Governor Clinton, he conducted the warfare, according to 
Dr. Hammond, on such principles and in such a manner, that 
Clinton himself, a few days before his death, confessed that 
he had no just ciiuse of complaint against him. The hasty 
private letters of Mr. Van Buren which were surreptitiously 
published, some years ago, by Mr. William L. Mackenzie, do 
not reveal to us the dishonest politician, nor the self-seeker 
regardless of right and jwojiriety, and bent on gaining ad- 
vancement by all means, fair and foul. They show us, on the 
contrar}-, a quiet, jovial, gentlemanlike, vigilant lawyer con- 
ducting the affairs of a party in accordance with the usages 
which he found established ; and conducting them with a 
nice regard to the claims of partisans and a real concern for 
the pul)lic interest. The great statesman, intent only on the 
public good, identified only with great principles and great 
measures, they do not exhil)it to us. 

Mr. Van Buren has been strikingly faithful to his friends. 
It is honorable to him that when Col. Burr returned home in 
1812, ruined past hope, and so odious that a man incurred 
odium who was known to be his friend, Mr. Van Buren, 
then just entering public life, not only called upon him, but 
received him into his own house as a guest. It is possible 
that the subsequent zeal of Mr. Van Buren for the abolition 
of imprisonment for debt, and his later efforts to secure pen- 
sions for revolutionary officers, were, in some degree, stimu- 
lated by his knowledge that Buit had a personal interest in 
both those measures. In the same spirit he came powerfully 
to the rescue of his friend, Governor Tompkins, when the 
Governor, owing to his careless or unskillful book-keepiug| 

1825.] HABTIK VAN BUBEN. 129 

was in danger of being both ruined and disgraced as a public 
defiEtulter. Mr. Van Buren's speech on the Governor's behalf 
occapied nearly two days. Dr. Hammond says : " It was 
one of the most ingenious, able, and eloquent speeches I ever 
heard. It has been the custom of the opponents of this 
gentleman, both in the State and nation, to give him credit 
for great tact and management as a mere politician, and to 
deny that he possesses those high and exalted powers of mind 
which always distinguish the great statesman and the com- 
manding parliamentary orator. But any fair-minded man, 
who has heard Mr. Van Buren on great and important ques- 
tions in our legislative assemblies, whether state or national, 
will not hesitate to award him the meed of high merit." 

One of Mr. Van Buren's public acts claims our attention 
for a moment, before proceeding to his agency in the presi- 
dential campaign of 1828. In the New York Constitutional 
Convention of 1821, he had the courage and wisdom to insist 
that true democracy does not require the manifest absurdity 
of what is falsely called " universal suffrage." He contended 
that while the path leading to the dignity of voter should 
be open equally to all men, yet every man aspiring to that 
rank in the commonwealth should give some evidence of fit- 
ness to discharge its obligations understandingly. He ad- 
hered to the old world qualification, it is true, which is to be 
regretted ; but no other had then been thought of. A voter, 
he maintained, should at least be a householder. He depre- 
cated the •* abandoning of all qualifications, and throwing 
open the ballot-boxes to every body — demolishing, at one 
blow, the distinctive character of an elector, the proudest and 
most invaluable attribute of freemen." 

Some of the reasons given by Mr. Van Buren for his 
course on this question have a particular interest for the 
inhabitants of the city of New York : 

" Among the many evils," said he, " which would flow from a wholly 
unrestricted suflfrage, the following would be the most injurious, viz. : 

" Ihrst, It would give to the city of New York about twenty-five thou- 
BUid votes, while under the liberal extension of the right on the choice 

vou itt, — 9 


of delegates to this convention, she has but about thirteen or fourteen 
thousand. The character of tlio increased number of votes would be such 
as would render their elections rather a curse than a blessing, which would 
drive from the polls all sober-minded people ; and such, he was happy to 
find, was the united opinion, or nearly so, of the delegation from that 

" Secondly. It would not only be injurious to them, but that injury 
would work an equally great one to the western and northern parts of the 
State. It was the present consolation of our hardy sons of the West that 
for their toils and their suQTerings in reducing the wilderness to cultiva- 
tion, they were cheered by the conviction, not only tliat they would be 
secure in the enjoyment of their dearly bought improvements, in conse- 
quence of their representation in the legislature, but that any increase of 
that representation gave them a still greater influence tliere. As far as it 
respected this State, their march and the march of empire kept pace. 
This arose from the circumstance of the representation in the State being 
founded on the number of electors, and because almost every man in a 
new county was an elector, under the existing and contemplated qualifi- 
cations ; while in the old counties, and especially in cities, there were great 
numbers who would not be embraced by them. So great was this effect 
that the city of New York alone would, under tlie vote of the other day, 
have become entitled to additional voters, over those who voted at the 
election of delegates, equal, or nearly so, to the whole number of votes of 
Ontario or Genesee. The direct consi^quence of which would be, that the 
additional representation of fourteen members, which are next year to be 
distributed among the counties, would, instead of going principally to the 
West, be surrendered to the worst population of the old counties and 

^^And Tliirdly. The door will be entirely closed against retreat, what- 
ever might be our after-conviction, founded on oxporience, as to the evil 
tendency of this extended suffrage. The just equilibrium between the 
rights of those who have, and tliose who have no interest in the govern- 
ment, could, when once thus surrendered, never be regained, except by 
the sword. 

Fancy the effect of this passage read aloud in that classic 
retreat of the Unterrificd, known to the long-suffering sons 
of Manhattan by the name of the Pewter Mug I 

Whether the course of events since these words were 
uttered has or has not demonstrated their wisdom, the same 
sons of Manhattan are competent to decide. The particuloi 
qualification proposed by Mr. Van Buren is one which the 


1825.] MARTIN VAN BUBEN. 131 

world has outlived. The important question, which will be- 
come more pressing every year, is, whether there should be 
any .qualification ; whether the sufirage system, which ex- 
cludes all women, however wise, however taxed, and admits 
all men, however ignorant and irresponsible, is, or is not, one 
upon which this republic can achieve the bright career which 
lies, in possibility, before it. 

In 1825, and the three years following, Mr. Van Buren 
reaped the reward of many labors and of much patient wait- 
ing. His hand was full of ccu'ds, and all his cards were 
trumps. He had achieved such a singularly advantageous 
position, that whatever happened, he was nearly sure to gain. 
One after another, the men who might have stood between 
him and the objects of ambition had been removed either by 
death or by age, or by the gratification, through his instru- 
mentality, of their political desires. All but Clinton. Clin- 
ton was Governor again, and would be nothing but Governor 
or President. Mr. Van Buren was a Senator of the United 
States, and was elected to a second term in 1827, by a great 
majority. The sudden death of Governor Clinton, in 1828, 
removing from the scene the only man in New York that 
could be considered Mr. Van Buren's competitor, left him 
undisputed master of the situation. Indeed, the two men 
had ceased, for the time, to be rivals or opponents, for both 
had resolved upon supporting General Jackson for the presi- 

Along with Mr. Randolph, and the other strict construc- 
tionists in Congress, Mr. Van Buren had early taken sides 
against the administration of Mr. Adams, and maintaincjd the 
attitude of opposition to the end. In his letter accepting 
the senatorship in 1827, he said : " It shall be my constant. 
and zealous endeavor to protect the remaining rights reserved 
to the States by the federal constitution ; to restore those of 
which they have been divested by construction ; and to j)ro- 
mote the interests and honor of our common country." Or, 
to use the language of Dr. Hammond, " Mr. Van Buren and 
his friends had put all their political capital at stake against 


the Adams administration/' And this involved the support 
of Greneral Jackson in 1828 ; for there was no other man in 
the nation who had the remotest chance of carrying the day 
against the administration. True, General Jackson had gone 
all lengths for a protective tariff. True, General Jackson 
had voted for some of the odious internal improvements. 
Still, he was a Southern man ; and, perhaps, his opinions on 
the vexed questions were not as unchangeable as his will. In 
any case, there was no choice of men. Jackson, and Jackson 
only, could turn out Adams, and introduce a new dynasty, 
a new order of succession.* 

* There was one difficulty in the waj of Mr. Van Boren's support of General 
Jackson which wo must briefly notice. The support of the General aeomed to 
invoWc the necessity of electing Mr. Calhoun a second time to the Tice-preai- 
dency, which would greatly enhance the prestige of his name. Mr. Calboaa ma, 
moreover, the man abhorred of Crawford, Mr. Van Buren'a some time politioel 
chie£ A letter, published some years later, by Duff Green, in his United SUUet 
Telegraphy and vouched for by him, explains with apparent truth, bow th\a ob- 
jection was removed : 

" A party," says this writer, "of certain individuals in Now Toric wished to 
run De Witt Clinton for Vice-President Clinton opposed it on the ground that 
Calhoun and himself were of the same party, and nothing could be gained bj it 
The same individuals or party still pressed him to become a candidate on the 
Jackson ticket Clinton still urged that the project w&s not advisable^ and 
would bo prejudicial to the party and his own &mo. After much peraoaaioii, he 
agreed that if Tennessee would nominate him, it would show that Jackaon wai 
in favor of it, and that New York might follow. Mr. Balch was made the in- 
strument to sound General Jackson. Crawford was written to ; Balch gets the 
answer ; enclo.<K)d it to General Jackson, with a suggestion that Calhoun ooght 
or might be dropped, and Clinton taken up. In a few days General Jadcson 
called on Mr. Balch, and mtumed the letter of Crawford, stating to Mr. Baloh 
that ho at first felt like investigating the matter, but upon reflection concluded to 
leave it to time ; that he was sorry ho had scon the letter; that Calhoun had 
been his friend, to all appearances, for the last ten years, and he felt disposed to 
rely on him as such. He wished all political differences put to an end, and not 
to be revived, as no good could grow out of them. He was willing the oonntij 
might settle these matters, and all such, as it had done. That he never deeertod 
his friends, and could in no way connive at the proposal of taking up Clinton and 
putting do>^'n Calhoun ? That he thought highly of Clinton, and had no doubt 
but the country, at a proper time, would also do justice to Mr. Clintoo. Thus 
spoke Jackson. Mr. Balch says, 'I immediately wrote to Mr. Van Buren an ao* 
count of the interview. I was fully persuaded of the strong attachment of Qeo- 


1825.] MARTIN VAN BUREN. 133 

The resolution of Mr. Van Buren to support General 
Jackson was formed as early, probably, as the year 1825, but 
he kept that resolution to himself, and enjoined the same ret- 
icence upon his confidants. Dr. Hammond discourses amus- 
ingly upon this feature of the campaign. " Never," he says, 
" was a political party in a better state of discipline than 
was the Van Buren or democratic party in New York during 
the years 1826, '27 and '28. A sense of common danger, 
which was entertained by the leaders of that party, probably 
had a great effect in inducing them to act in concert. A 
large majority of the party were opposed both to Mr. Adams 
and Mr. Clinton. They had no confidence either in the 
State or national executive. They wished to change both ; 
but in order to effect that change, it was necessary so to con- 
duct their political operations as to draw into their support 
a considerable portion of the friends of the governor, and es- 
pecially of the democratic friends of Mr. Adams. I hazard 
little, with those who were at that day in active life, and 
knew the state of public 'feeling, in asserting that had the 
question been taken between Mr. Adams and General Jack- 
son at any time during the first two years of the presidency 
of the former, a very large majority of the people would have 
declared for Mr. Adams. Hence, Mr. Van Buren and his 
friends enjoined most rigidly on all their adherents not to 
commit themselves on the presidential question. They averred 
that their sole object was to preserve the entire union of the 
democratic party, and that when that party at the proper 
time should announce its preference for either of the presi- 
dential candidates, they would in good faith endeavor to carry 
into effect its determination. The democratic newspapers 
(and especially the Albany Argus) were conducted with 
great skill and address in accordance with this scheme. So 

eral Jackson to Calhoun. I therefore advised Van Buren to give up the idea of 
Clinton, and support Calhoun ; for if they eucceodod in electing Clinton Vice- 
President, that be felt assured that Jackson would make Calhoun Secretary of 
State, and Van Burcn's prospects would be blasted forever.' " 


rigidly were these injunctions of what has been called the 
Albany regency enforced, that several individuals, fascinated 
with the personal character of General Jackson, who openly 
declared their preference for him, were at least silently re- 
buked and partially put in political Coventry by the same 
class of men who had themselves at that time fully deter- 
mined that General Jackson was to be their candidate. These 
sagacious politicians foresaw that if at that early day the 
General was proclaimed as the democratic candidate, so for- 
midable would the opposition then be that all expectations 
of success (and the expectation of success many times se- 
cures it) would be annihilated. Therefore it was that the 
regency preached and practiced the doctrine of non-commit- 

" After the reelection of Mr. Van Buren to the United 
States Senate, more freedom was tolerated in the expression 
of opinions favorable to Jackson and adverse to Adams. 

" Another circumstance which contributed to strengthen 
the Jackson party in New York was, that at the commeace- 
ment of the administration of Mr. Monroe, General Jackson 
had written to him a letter in which he expressed an opin- 
ion, that inasmuch as the points of difference between the 
federal and i-epublican parties had ceased to exist, the period 
had anived when the national appointing power might select 
its officers from that class of citizens personally the most de- 
serving, and who were best calculated to discharge their 
official duties for the public benefit. This sentiment was 
extremely agreeable to the federalists of this State, and highly 
lauded by them. From the year 1801 down to the present 
time, with the exception of some insignificant appointments 
made by Mr. Monroe and Mr. Adams, the federalists, as a 
party, had been, by the national executive, excluded from par- 
ticipation in the national patronage. Many federalists, judg- 
ing from the sentiments contained in General Jackson's letter 
to Mr. Monroe, entertained an opinion that if the former 
could be placed at the head of the general government, this 

1825.] MARTIN VAN BUREN. 135 

system which they denominated proscription, would be abol- 

It was not until late in 1827 that the democratic party 
was permitted to come out plainly for General Jackson. 
Then, all the Van Buren papers spoke in concert. "The 
effect," says Dr. Hammond, " was prodigious. All the ma- 
chinery, the construction of which had for two years put in 
requisition the skill and ingenuity of Mr. Van Buren and his 
friends at Albany, was suddenly put in motion, and it per- 
formed to admiration." 

When Congress met, Mr. Van Buren exerted his influence, 
and successfully exerted it, to secure the election to the 
Speakership of Mr. Andrew Stephenson of Virginia, a con- 
nection by marriage of his own family, and an opponent of 
the Adams administration. Ere long, Mr. Van Buren was 
announced as the Jackson candidate for the Governorship of 
New York. Observe his " cards." He was already a Senator 
of the United States. If defeated in the contest for the gov- 
ernorship, he was still a senator. And whether defeated or 
not, it was well " understood," that he was to be the Secre- 
tary of State in the administration of General Jackson. 

That Mr. Van Buren was to hold this position in the cab- 
inet of General Jackson was as well known to the chosen few 
at Albany in the summer of 1828, as it was to the public in* 
the spring of 1829. So avers Dr. Hammond. I may add, 
that it was as well known to General Jackson in the summer 
of 1828, as it was in the spring of 1829. Precisely how, or 
where, or through whose agency, this "understanding" was 
effected, I can only guess. Senator Eaton of Tennessee, I 
think, could have given us tlie most exact information on 
this subject. He w^as the traveling member of the Jackson- 
ian party in those years. 

John Binns, in his blunt, straightforward way, relates a 
little incident, which is worth noting in this connection. 
" Soon after General Jackson's nomination (for the campaign 
of 1828), General Eaton, then the special confidant and polit- 
ical friend of General Jackson, and one with whom I had had 


some previous personal intercourse, called on me, with the 
declaration that he was authorized by General Jackson to 
assure me that, ' if I would advocate the election of the Gen- 
eral, when he was elected President, I should, if I thought 
well of it, remove to Washington City, become the editor and 
proprietor of the government newspaper, and do as much as 
I chose of the public printing ; or, if I did not wish to leave 
Philadelphia, as much of the public printing as I desired 
should bo forwarded to Philadelphia for me to do, at the gov- 
ernment prices/ I assured General Eaton that 'I was as 
grateful as any man could be for the distinguished services 
which General Jackson had rendered the United States, bat 
that, after what I had written and j)ubli8hed in relation to 
the General, I could not, from self-respect, give myself the 
lie direct, as I must do, if I were now to advocate his elec- 
tion.' "<* 

Perhaps, in the course of this journey. General Eaton gave 
Mr. Van Burcn a call. Indeed, the two senators sat very 
near one another in the Senate Chamber, the lobbies of which 
afforded convenient nooks for confidential intercourse. 

I do not believe that General Jackson "authorized" Eaton 
to make that corrupt offer to Mr. Biuus. The truth is, that 
General Jackson gave up the conduct of the campaign to a 
few friends, of whom Senator Eaton was the traveling, and 
Major Lewis the home confederate. Precisely what was done 
by his friends in his name and for his cause, General Jackson 
knew and did not know. He must have winked occasionally. 
He develoi)ed a fine winking talent. He could also look away 
and not see what was going on. 

The General, it api>ears, became conversant, during these 
years, with New York politics, and liked the strict military 
way in which the party was governed in that State. " I am 
no politician," he said one day to a young New Yorker, " but 
if I were a politician, I would be a New York politician." 

* BocoUoctioiia of tho Lifb of John Binna, p. 253. 


-?vr jA.^';ss.C'n. 

1828.] THB OAMPAIGN OF 1828. 137 



The friends of the administration were not alarmed. Mr. 
Clay himself was not. Mr. Adams, if less confident than his 
sanguine Secretary of State, expected a reflection. Mr. 
Webster, then on the most cordial terms with Henry Clay, 
and a pillar of the administration, felt sure of success as late 
as the spring of 1827. Mr. Webster, like most of the edu- 
cated inhabitants of Boston, knew nothing of the people of 
the United States, and was generally wrong in his political 

To his friend, Jeremiah Mason, who was battling in New 
Hampshire with editor Isaac Hill, Mr. Webster, in April, 
1827, expressed a deliberate confidence that the people would 
sustain the administration. " A survey of the whole ground," 
he wrote, " leads me to believe confidently in Mr. Adams' re- 
election. I set down New England, New Jersey, the greater 
part of Maryland, and, perhaps, all Delaware, Ohio, Ken- 
tucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Louisiana for him. We must 
then get votes enough in New York to choose him, and I 
think can not fail of this. It is possible we may lose four 
votes in Kentucky, but I do not expect it. At the same 
time it is not impossible that Pennsylvania may go for Mr. 

So much for prophecy. But the acutest politicians are 
at fault when they predict the result of a popular election 
two years, two weeks, two days distant. Mr. Van Buren 
himself, we are assured by Dr. Hammond, was confident of a 
reelection in 1840. 

The campaign of 1828 opened with a stunning flourish of 
trumpets. Louisiana, like New York, was a doubtful and 
troublesome State. Its scattering vote of 1824 it was highly 
desirable to concentrate in 1828 ; and it was resolved that 


enthusiasm should effect in the southwest what management 
was accomplishing in New York. In 1827 the legislature of 
Louisiana, which had refused to recognize General Jackson's 
services in 1815, invited him to revisit New Orleans, and 
unite with them in the celebration of the eighth of January, 
1828, on the scene of his great victory. General Jackson, 
who in 1804 would not call upon his friend Jeffereon, lest he 
should seem to be a suitor for the governorship of Louisiana ; 
General Jackson, who in 1824 declined to visit Boston, though 
assured that the visit would secure his election to the presi- 
dency ; General Jackson, who in 1826 would not go to the 
Harrodsburg Springs, for fear the object of the journey 
should be misinterpreted, accepted the invitation of the legis- 
lature of Louisiana. His blood was up. He was resolute to 
win. Congress had been calling up the forgotten affair of 
the Six Militia men, and the case of John Woods, and the 
arrests at New Orleans. The Eighth of January should 
/ The reception of General Jackson at New Orleans on this 

occasion was, I presume, the most stupendous thing of the 
kind that had ever occurred in the United States, and has 
been surpassed since that day only by the reception of the 
orator Kossuth in the city of New York. Delegations from 
States as distant as New York were sent to New Orleans to 
swell the eclat of the demonstration. " The steamer Court- 
land,'* says an eye-witness, "with the committee appointed 
to meet the guest of Louisiana, left New Orleans on the 
twenty-eighth of December. It was pleasing to observe, as 
we proceeded on our way, that the enthusiasm kindled in the 
city was felt intensely in distiint parts of the State. In Con- 
cordia, as well as in the city of New Orleans, the people knew 
their deliverer ; every heart palpitated at the sound of his 
name, and the anticipation of his arrival. We reached 
Natchez on the first of January, an auspicious day, and preg- 
nant with glorious remembrances. That city was filled with 
a vast multitude, impatiently waiting for our guest. On 
the morning of the fourth, the day he had fixed for reaching 

1828.] THE CAMPAIGN OF 1838. 139 

Natchez, the heights on the river were filled with spectators ; 
all eyes were turned upon the stream in breathless expecta- 
tion. At last a white smoke, curling like a mist over the 
tops of the cypress trees, proclaimed the approach of the 
Pocahontas. The surrounding hills rang with loud huzzas, 
greeting their arrival. A procession along the picturesque 
margin of the river ; a dinner, at which ardent devotion was 
guided and tempered by decorum and politeness, and a ball, 
at which the beauty of Mississippi was exhibited with all 
that taste could add to natural charms and native grace ; the 
enthusiasm of the whole population, the shouts of the multi- 
tude, proclaimed that Louisiana and Mississippi were united 
by ennobling sympathies. 

*^ At twelve o'clock at night, General Jackson reembarked 
in the Pocahontas; some hours afterward, the committee of 
Louisiana followed in the Courtland; and then both boats, 
united together, descended the stream, checking occasionally 
their velocity, as it was intended to reach New Orleans on 
the eighth. 

" At last the morning of the auspicious day dawned upon 
New Orleans. A thick mist covered the water and the land, 
and at ten o'clock began to rise into clouds ; and when the 
sun at last appeared, it served only to show the darkness of 
the horizon, threatening a storm in the nortli. It was at 
that moment the city became visible, with its steeples and 
the forest of masts rising from the waters. At that instant, 
too, a fleet of steamboats was seen advancing toward the 
Pocahontas, which had now got under way, with twenty-four 
flags waving over her lofty decks. Two stupendous boats, 
lashed together, led the van. The whole fleet kept up a con- 
stant fire of artillery, which was answered from several sliips 
in the harbor and from the shore. General Jackson stood 
on the back gallery of the Pocahontas, his head uncovered, 
conspicuous to the wliole multitude, which literally covered 
the steamboats, the shipping, and the surrounding shores. 
The van which bore the revolutionary soldiers and the rem- 
nant of the old Orleans battalion passed the Pocahontas, 


and, rounding to, fell down the stream, while acclamations 
of thousands of spectators rang from the river to the woods, 
and back to the river. 

'^ In this order the fleet, consisting of eighteen steamboats 
of the first class, passed close to the city, directing their 
course toward the field of battle. When it was first descriedi 
some horsemen only, the marshals of the day, had reached 
the ground. But in a few minutes it seemed alive with a 
vast multitude, brought thither on horseback and in carriageSi 
and poured forth from the steamboats. A line was formed by 
Generals Planch{3 and Labaltat, and the committee repaired 
on board the Pocahontas^ in order to invite the General to 
land and meet his brother-soldiers and fellow-citizens. I 
have no words to describe the scene which ensued." 

The rest can be imagined — the landing at the levee of the 
city, the procession, the banquet, the scenes at the theater. 
"Mrs. Jackson," adds the chronicler, "who, with several 
ladies from Tennessee, accompanied her husband, was met 
and waited upon, the moment she landed from the Pocahon- 
tas, by Mrs. Marigny, and other respectable ladies, who, after 
having congratulated her on her safe arrival, conducted her 
to Mr. Marigny's house, where refreshments had been pre- 
pared, and where she received the salutations of a large and 
brilliant circle." The festivities continued four days, at the 
expiration of which the General and his friends reembarked 
on board the PocaJiontas, and returned homeward. 

The campaign now set in with its usual severity. During 
the rest of the year, the country rang Avith the names of Jack- 
son AND Calhoun, Adams and Rush. The contest, during 
this final year, became one of personalities chiefly. Against 
Mr. Adams, every possible change was rung upon Bargain and 
Corruption. He was accused of federalism, of haughtiness, 
of selfishness, of extravagant expenditures, and, 0, crime of 
crimes ! of polluting the White House, that sacred abode of 
purity and wisdom, with a billiard table t Mr. Adams' son 
and secretary had actually bought, out of his allowancOi & 
billiard table, and set it up in an apartment of the presiden- 

1828.] THB CAMPAIGN OF 1828. 141 

tial mansion. Mr. Adams was further accused of being a 
Unitarian ; upon which a statement appeared in the papers, 
declaring that the President attended and was a trustee of a 
Presbyterian Church, to which he had contributed eighteen 
hundred dollars. It was charged against him, that the East 
Boom, in which his excellent mother had hung clothes to dry, 
was now furnished with such appalling extravagance, that 
country members were quite overcome at the spectacle ; and 
could only relieve their minds by quoting Cicero against Cat- 
aline — tempora, mores ! 

General Jackson was accused of every crime, offense, and 
impropriety that man was ever known to be guilty of. His 
whole life was subject to the severest scrutiny. Every one of 
his duels, fights, and quarrels was narrated at length. His 
connection with Aaron Burr was, of course, a favorite theme. 
The eleven military executions which he had ordered, begin- 
ning with John Woods and ending with Arbuthnot and Am- 
brister, were all recounted. John Binns, of Philadelphia, 
issued a series of hand bills, each bearing the outline of a 
coffin-lid,upon which was printed an inscription recording the 
death of one of these victims. Campaign papers were first 
started this year. One entitled, We the People^ and another, 
called the Anti-Jackson Expositor^ were particularly prom- 
inent. The conduct of General Jackson in Florida during 
his governorship of that Territory was detailed. The pecu- 
liar circumstances of his marriage, long forgotten, were par- 
aded with the grossest exaggerations, to the sore grief of good 
Mrs. Jackson, and to the General's unspeakable wrath. The 
mother, too, of General Jackson was not permitted to rest 
quietly in her grave. Mrs. Jackson once found her husband 
in tears. Pointing to a paragraph reflecting on his mother, 
he said, " Myself I can defend ; you I can defend ; but now 
they have assailed even the memory of my mother." 

To refute the charges against the General, the famous 
Tennessee " White-washing Committee" was called into ex- 
istence. Major William B. Lewis suggested the measure, and 
was one of the most laborious members of the committee. 


He has also favored the readers of these pages with a brief 
account of its origin and transactions. " The flood-gates of 
abuse," writes Major Lewis, " were not only opened upon 
him, but the most infamous slanders were published in the 
administration papers against his wife, one of the most be- 
nevolent and pious of women. With a view of defending 
the chai-acters of both against the attacks of his enemies, his 
friends at Nashville siiw the necessity of taking immediate 
steps; and a public meeting of the citizens wjis, therefore, 
called (at my instance) for the purpose of taking into con- 
sideration the best method of accomplishing this object. At 
this meeting the following preamble and resolutions were 
adopted : 

" * This meeting believes the present to be a conjuncture, when every 
honest and jii?t exertion should be employed to promote the election of 
that great and honest man, Andrew Jackson, to the presidency of the 
United Stat(^s, and that to make those exertions moat eflicient, a commit- 
tee should be organized, whose duty it will be to frame and publish an 
address to the j)coplo of the United States, such as may be best adapted 
to cflfoctuato the great object in view, and wliose further duty it will be, as 
occasion may require, and so far as within their power, ' to detect and 
arrest fal<*ehood and calumny, by tlie publication of truth, and by furnish- 
ing either to the public or to individuals, whether alone or associated, full 
and correct information upon any matter or subject within tlieir knowl- 
edge or power,' properly connected with the fitness or qualification of 
Andrew Jackson to fill the oflicc of President of the United States. 

** * Resolved^ therefore^ Tiiat John Overton, Robert C. Foster, George 
W. Campbell, William L. Brown, John Catron, Robert Whyte, Thomas 
Clail)orno, Joseph Philips, Daniel GnUiam, William B. Lewis, Jcs<e Whar- 
ton, Edward Ward, Alfred Balch, Felix Robertson, John Shelby, Josiah 
Nichol, William White, and John McNairy, be selected to compose the 

"This committee was composed of some of the ablest 
and most distinguished citizens of the State, whose duty it 
was, as stated above, to vindicate the reputation of General 
Jackson against the malignant attacks and foul calumnies 
of his enemies. With the character and standing of most of 
these gentlemen you are well acquainted. I will remark, 

1828.] THE CAMPAIQN OF 1828. 143 

however, that John Overton, the chairman, George W. 
Campbell, W. L. Brown, Kobert White, and John Catron, 
had all occupied seats upon the bench of the Court of Ap- 
peals, the highest court in the State, and the last named is 
now one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United 
States. So well (ind so eflSciently did this committee dis- 
charge its duty to the General and the country, that it soon 
received from the enemies of General Jackson the cognomen 
of the * White-washing Committee.' It successfully and 
triumphantly defended his character against the charges of 
inhumanity and a blood-thirsty disposition, in having had six 
militia men shot, during the last war with England, for de- 
sertion, and of being concerned with Col. Burr in his designs 
against the United States. Nor was it less successful in de- 
fending the reputation of Mrs. Jackson against the attacks 
upon her by those demons in human shape. 

" One of the newspapers which took the lead in these in- 
famous attacks upon the reputation of Mrs. Jackson was the 
National Journal^ published in Washington, which was said 
to be the especial organ of President Adams himself. So 
well satisfied of this was General Jackson, at least, that he 
refused to call on Mr. Adams (as it was thought in courtesy 
he should have done) when he reached Washington in Feb- 
ruary, 1829. He thought that a man who would permit a 
public journal, which was under his control, to assail the 
reputation of any respectable female, much less the wife of 
his rival and competitor for the first oflice in the world, was 
not entitled to the respect of any honorable man, and he 
would not, therefore, go near him. This was the reason why 
he did not call upon him, and not from a want of magnanim- 
ity or sense of what was due to the chief magistrate of the 
nation, as it was alleged by his enemies at the time/' 

It was natural, I may add, for General Jackson to hold 
Mr. Adams responsible for the publications of the National 
Journal. He supposed, of course, that Mr. Adams exerted 
the control over the newspapers that were especially devoted 


to him, that he himself did over the Jackson papers of Ten- 

Major Lewis docs not allude to his own labors as a mem- 
ber of the committee. To him was assigned the congenial task 
of defending liis friend, Mrs. Jackson. He traveled to the 
lower country in search of evidence, and devoted half the year 
to this one object ; collecting an amount of testimony in sup- 
port of Judge Overton's statement (previously given in these 
page^) that gave it general belief. Mrs. J^kson testified, 
in the strongest terms, her gratitude to Major Lewis for this 
great service. 

With regard to the other labors of the Wliite-washing 
Committee, they doubtless had their effect. But there was a 
paragraph of two or three lines, which was set afloat in the 
Jackson newspapers in the course of the summer, that prob- 
ably did as much as all their publications, to remove the im- 
pression made upon tlie average voter by the case of the six 
militia men and the executions in Florida. This was the 
paragraph : 

" Cool and Deliberate Murder. — Jackson coolly and deliberately pot 
to death upward of fifieon hundred British troops on the 8th of January, 
1815, on the plains below New Orleans, for no other offense than tliat they 
wished to sup in the city that night." 

This was a crushing and blinding argument. For those 
who could not read it, there was another, which was legible 
to the most benighted intellect. In every village, as well aa 
upon the corners of many city streets, was erected a Hickory 
Pole. Many of these poles were standing as late as 1845, rot- 
ten mementoes of the delirium of 1828. 

One feature of this campaign may remind some readers of 
recent presidential elections. Threats of a certain character 
were used to intimidate northern voters ; or, rather, such 
threats were said to have been uttered. The following par- 
agraph from the New York American reads more like 1860 
than 1828 ; but it appeiired in July of the latter year : 

" Jacksonism. — ^It is distinctly charged upon Mr. Senator Rowan of 
Kentucky, that he has declared, if Mr, Adams he retleded President^ ih% 

1828.] THE CAMPAIGN OF 1828. 145 

Congress wHl he the last that will ever sit in the United States. The last 
lUchmond Whig imputes to Mr. Speaker Stevenson^ a sentiment nearly 
similar, expressed publicly, in these words — * that if General Jackson was 
not elected, the Union would be dissolved,^ The same Virginia journal 
quotes as the opinion * of a Judge of the General Court of Virginia, at Nor- 
folk,' that ' if Mr. Adams was not put out by the voice of the people^ they 
wmdd he willing to put him out by forced When to these sentiments of 
graye senators and judges, are added the inflammatory resolutions and pro- 
ceedings of certain districts in South Carolina, the open invitations to a 
separation of the Union contained in some Jackson journals of that State — 
and when it is found that in every instance these sentiments are indulged, 
this most flagitious tone is held by partisans of General Jackson, and by 
tllem only, can it be unfair, unreasonable, or unjust, to impute the doctrines 
thus broached, as the doctrines of the party ?" 

The same paper published the only editorial article that 
I have found which condemned General Jackson on the ground 
that he was a slave-holder. It was common then to speak of 
Q^neral Jackson as the " Farmer of Tennessee," but the edi- 
tor of the American objected to the phrase. " Let us see/' he 
remarked, " what is the Farmer of Tennessee ? Possessing a 
fine and extensive domain with a vast mansion, not a farm- 
house, but The Hermitage, surrounded by a host of slaves — 
this farmer of Tennessee eats the bread of idleness and lux- 
ury. The whip of the overseer quickens the servile labors 
whereby he — one of those privileged boings, born to consume 
the fruits of the earth, is sustained — and men, immortal as 
himself, are daily ' driven a field,' like oxen ; and their 
strength taxed to the uttermost, perhaps, that he, their mas- 
ter, may add another race-horse to his stud, or stake an ad- 
ditional bet upon a favorite game-cock. Of personal labor, 
the hands of this ^ farmer,' are innocent ; for, where slavery 
exists, labor is held to degrade the white man." 

This article, however, was excej^tional. The dread sub- 
ject entered not directly into the contest. The dividing 
questions between north and south were questions relating to 
the tariff. 

This was a busy summer with the politicians, minor and 
major. Isaac Hill, editor of the Nexo Hampshire Patrioty 

VOL. m. — 10 


was doing zealous battle for Jackson and Calhoun in a State 
that had not yet become democratic. He was a sore thorn in 
the side of Ezekiel Webster and Jeremiah Mason during this 
year of fury. If one Nicholas Biddle could have looked a 
year or two into the future, he would have thought a million 
dollars a moderate price for the head of Isaac Hill ; for it was 
Isaac who dropped the spark, that lighted the match, that 
fired the train, that exploded the magazine, that blew up a 
Bank in which Mr. Biddle had a considerable interest. 

Two other gentlemen, then unknown to fame, were ex- 
tremely active this summer. They were citizens of Kentucky, 
and one of them was the editor of a newspai>er. Both had 
been near friends and warm partisans of Henry Clay. One 
was a relative of Mr. Clay, and the other had been a tutor in 
his family. But both were now striving, with all their might 
and all their ingenuity, in behalf of General Jackson — organ- 
izing the very militia companies into electioneering clubs. One 
of these gentlemen was named Amos Kendall ; the other, 
Francis P. Blair. 

At Washington, General Duff Green was publishing his 
United States Telcgra-ph, the central organ of the Jackson- 
ians. At New York, Colonel James Watson Webb, the edi- 
tor of the Courier, was doing great service on the same sida 
The New York Courier and Inquirer was, for twenty years, 
the first newspaper on the western continent. It was the 
jiaper that gave the im])ulse to the press of New York which 
has led to its present development. Associated with Colonel 
Webb, at that time, was an individual who has since become 
better known to the i)eople of Manhattan — James Gordon 

* The followiiii^ is a specimen of Mr. Bennett's electioneering paragraphs of 
this period : — " The iinpoteiicy of the attacks which liave been made upon Gen- 
eral Jacktaoii during tlio last three years, by tlio Adams party, reminds us of an 
anecdote: ' Mother,' bawled cut a great two-listed girl one day, *my too itchos!' 

* Wcl , scratch it then.' * I have, but it wont stay scnitchod I' 

" * ifr. Clay, Mr. Clay," cries out two-listed Undo Toby, 'Jackson's a coming — 
Jackson's a-coming I' * Well, then,' says Clay, * anti-tariff him in the JoumaV 

* I have, bat he wont stay anti-tariffcd.' ' Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay,' bawls oat Aider- 

1828.] THB OAMPAIGN OF 1828. 147 

Mr. Ingham, too, made himself conspicuous as the pam- 
phleteer and manager-general of the Jackson party in Penn- 
sylvania. Major Eaton continued to be the same party's 
circulating medium. 

And there was yet another personage who was zealous for 
General Jackson's election : namely, Aaron Burr. In what 
way Colonel Burr contributed to the cause, I can not say. 
But persons who lived with him at the time, represent him 
to have been secretly but actively engaged in electioneering 
for General Jackson. Mysterious messengers came and went. 
Noted Jackson men, and some of the most noted, were clos- 
eted long and often with the little silent old man, in his back 
office ; " from nine in the morning till dark," says one gentle- 
man, who was then an apprentice of Burr. Then, there was 
a gentleman who made journeys to Virginia, whose expenses 
were paid by Burr, and whose business was supposed to be to 
nnite certain factions in Virginia in the support of Jackson. 
But all this is too vague and unimportant for more than 
mention. It rests on the gossip of law-clerks and office-boys. 
But when we consider that several of the conspicuous sup- 
porters of General Jackson in this vicinity were members of 
the Burrite faction of 1800, and that others remained Burr's 
friends to the day of his death, and assisted to bear his body 
to the grave, it is reasonable to conclude that Burr contri- 
buted advice and suggestion, at least, to the General's cause 
in 1828. 

Congress adjourned May 26. Members who had spent 

man Blnna, *tho old farmer's a-ooming, a-coming.' *Woll, tlion,' says Harry, 
* coflSn-band-bill Uim/ *I have,' says Binus, *but bo wont stay coffin-band- 
billcd.' • Mr. Adams, Mr Adams,' says Joba IT. Pleasants * the hero's coming, 
actoolly coming. * Well, then,' says Mr. Adanaa, * Burr him, and traitor him.' 
•I have, but ho wont stny Burred or traitorod.' ' Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay,' says Charles 
Ilammond, 'Jackson is coming.' 'Well,' says Clay, ' provo him an adulterer 
and a negro-trader.' * I have,' says Charles, * but ho wont stay an adulterer or 
a negfro-trader.' ' Mr. Clay, Mr. Clay,' b-iwls out the full Adams slandering 
cbonifi^ * we have called Jackson a murderer, an adultoror, a trailor, an ignor 
amus, a fool, a crook-back, a pretender, and so forth ; but he wont stay any of 
these names.' *Ho wont,' says Mr. Clay; 'why, then, I shan't stay at Wash- 
ington, that's all r** 


the winter and spring in electioneering at Washington were 
anxious to continue their labors among the people, on the 
stump. One incident of congressional electioneering is too 
curious, too well authenticated, too instructive, too shame- 
ful, to be passed by in silence here. Colonel Thomas H. 
Benton, then a member of the Senate, relates it in a note to 
one of the volumes of his Abridgment of the Debates, con- 
fessing that he took part in the proceeding. The State of 
Ohio desired an appropriation of half a million acres of pub- 
lic land in aid of the Scioto Canal. Ohio, with regard to the 
coming election, was set down by both parties as a doubtful 
State — a State yet to be won or lost. Let Colonel Benton 
tell the rest : 

" The presidential election depending, and the friends of 
the two candidates both anxious to gain the vote of Ohio 
for their favorite, conceived the same idea about the same 
time, namely, that a liberal grant of land to the State would 
be a help to the candidate whose supporters obtained it. So, 
both parties (members from Ohio, of course,) moved in the 
business, e^ch bringing in a separate bill, and each for the 
full amount of land expected. But the friends of Jacksou 
were a little the quickest, and got in their bill first, and 
secured it the first consideration in the committee of the 
whole, where it was agreed to ; and then, being ahead and 
sanctioned in the committee, its passage was considered to be 
a matter of course when reported in the house. But here 
'that most extraordinary accident' (as it was facetiously 
termed in debate) happened. The bill which had been before 
got behind. The one below it on the calendar got above it in 
the file ; and, being taken up first, was passed before the 
' accident' was discovered. This was fatal to the other bill — 
'death and destruction to it,' as one of its friends declare ; 
it being impossible to expect two bills, for two grants of land 
to one State, to pass at the same time. 

" And so was the event. The bill of the Jackson party, 
coming on after the other had passed, was rejected, and re- 
mained so — a reconsideration having been refused. Then the 

1828.] THE OAMPAiaN OF 1828. 149 

friends of the lost bill ran up to the Senate, told what had 
happened, and appealed to their friends there to checkmate 
the move, by getting the lost bill added to the other as an 
amendment when it came up for concurrence. This was 
done ; and the same bill being agreed to in the house as an 
amendment which had been rejected as a bill, the State of 
Ohio received the two grants, when neither party hoped for 
more than one in the beginning. 

'* Such was, and such may be, national legislation in high 
party times ; great public measures ostensibly decided as 
meritorious, and sinistrously passed or rejected upon a party 
calculation !"* 

The most real issue in the presidential contest of 1828 
was one which was not stated at the time, nor generally per- 
ceived. The question was, whether " universal suffrage/' so 
called, was to have any practical effect in the United States. 
Down to this period in the history of the republic, the edu- 
cated few had kept themselves uppermost. Cabinets, con- 
gresses, legislatures, governors, mayors, had usually been 
chosen from the same class of society as that from which the 
governing men of Europe are chosen. Public life was sup- 
posed to require an apprenticeship, as much as any private 
profession. In short, the ruling class in the United States, 
as in all other countries, was chiefly composed of men who 
had graduated at colleges, and had passed the greater part of 
their lives on carpets. 

The educated class were not equal to the duty assigned 
them — that of instructing and guiding their less fortunate 
countr}'men. They were not then equal to it, and they are 
not now. Jefferson accepted his share of this great trust, and 
worthily strove to perform his share of this great duty. His 
life is but a catalogue of benefactions to the people. But 
among American citizens of his social eminence, how many 
were there, how many are there, with understanding enough 
to comprehend, with magnanimity enough to live up to the 

* Abridgment^ vol. x., p. 197. 


height of the great sentiment which breathed all the life into 
this republic that it has ever possessed ? How have this 
class hugged their gentilities, genealogies, conservatisms, and 
all the other antiquated and effeminating nonsense, of which 
Europe itself is beginning to be ashamed, and is preparing 
to cast off as a tawdry and ragged old cloak ! 

The truly helpful men and women of this republic have 
oftenest sprung from the cabin, and learned to read by the 
light of pine-knots, and worked their way up to their right- 
ful places as leaders of the people, by the strength of their 
own arm, brain, and resolution. 

The scepter was about to be wrested from the hands 
of those who had not shown themselves worthy to hold it 
When they felt it going, however, they made a vigorous 
clutch, and lost it only after a desperate struggle. In these 
Jacksonian contests, therefore, we find nearly all the talent, 
nearly all the learning, nearly all the ancient wealth, nearly 
all the business activity, nearly all the book-nourished intel- 
ligence, nearly all the silver-forked civilization of the country, 
united in opposition to General Jackson, who represented the 
country's untutored instincts. 



The number of electoral votes in 1828 was two hundred 
and sixty-one. One hundred and thirty-one was a majority. 
General Jackson received one hundred and seventy-eight ; 
Mr. Adams, eighty-three. 

With the exception of one electoral district in Maine, 
Messrs. Adams and Kush received the entire vote of New 
England ; New Hampshire itself, despite the exertions of 
Isaac Hill, voting for them. 

Of the thirty-six electoral votes cast by the State of New 


York, Adams and Bush obtained sixteen ; Jackson and Oal* 
houn, twenty. 

New Jersey voted entire for Adams and Rush ; so did 
Delaware. In Maryland, the same candidates obtained a 
bare majority — six votes to Jackson's five. In Georgia, Mr. 
Crawford had still influence enough to withdraw seven votes 
out of nine from Mr. Calhoun, and throw them away upon 
William Smith, of South Carolina. The entire vote of 
Greoigia, however, was given to General Jackson, Mr. Craw- 
ford more than consenting thereto. 

Every other State in the Union — ^Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
both Carolinas, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Louis- 
iana, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois — ^gave an un- 
divided vote for Jackson and Calhoun. For the vice-presi- 
dency Mr. Calhoun received one hundred and seventy-one 
votes, out of two hundred and sixty-one. There were no 
scattering or wasted votes except the seven cast for William 
Smith in Georgia. 

In all Tennessee, Adams and Bush obtained less than 
three thousand votes. In many towns, every vote was cast 
for Jackson and Calhoun. A distinguished member of the 
North Carolina legislature told me that he happened to enter | 
a Tennessee village in the evening of the last day of the presi- 
dential election of 1828. He found the whole male popula- 
tion out hunting ; the objects of the chase being two of their 
fellow-citizens. He inquired by what crime these men had 
rendered themselves so obnoxious to their neighbors, and was 
informed that they had voted against General Jackson. The 
village, it appeared, had set its heart upon sending up a unan- 
imous vote for the General, and these two voters had frus- 
trated its desire. As the day wore on, the whisky flowed 
more and more freely, and the result was a universal chase 
after the two voters, with a view to tarring and feathering 
them. They fled to the woods, however, and were not 

♦ There was a respectable opposition to General Jackson in some parts of 
Tennesfloe-— respectable in every particular except numbers. 


On the day (Nov. 10th) on which the result of the elec- 
tion began to be considered certain in New York, the evening 
papers announced that General William Henry Harrison, of 
Ohio, appointed Minister to Colombia, was going on board 
the United States ship Erie^ under the usual salute. He 
went to sea that afternoon. He might as well have brought 
his trunk ashore, and quietly gone back to Ohio. 

It was not in Tennessee only that the opponents of the 
victorious party were threatened with violence. Alderman 
Binns, of Philadelphia, the author of the " Coffin Hand Bills," 
tells a story in point. " As soon," he says, '' as the result of 
the election was known, a rumor ran through the multitude 
that it would be well if they were to mob the office of the 
Democratic Press. This proposition was soon improved 
upon by another, to wit : that to punish the editor appropri- 
ately for his coffin hand-bills, an empty coffin should bo forth- 
with procureil, and taken with them, in order to put the 
eilitor of the Press into it and carry him round the town. 
The first thinjx I did on receivinjc the above verv unwelcome 
information was to lock and put the wooden bar across the 
publishing office door, on Chestnut Street, and bolt it. I 
then made fast the front door, the outside window-shutters 
on the second floor, and the back door, and a door which 
opened into the alley. All this had not been long accom- 
plished before ' the stormy wave of the multitude' was heard 
approaching. My faithful wife accompanied me, caiTying the 
light, and giving what aid she could. We went quietly up 
stairs into the front garret, taking our children and the girls 
with us. The mob, the night being dark, had many lights 
of various kinds and colors, and shouted vociferously. Wo 
were as still as mice. My wife and I then went on the roof 
of the house, and peeping over the edge of the copping-stone, 
I saw at the front door the coffin, without a lid, in which it 
was proposed to carry me round the city, and land me, or 
water me, I knew not where. Having ascertained that they 
could not force the doors, the more violent among the mob 
threw stones at them and at the window-shutters, many of 


1828.] BK817LT OF THB ELECTION. 153 

which they split. Some idea of the yelling of this moh may 
be imagined when I inform the reader that Chestnut Street, 
firom Second to Third Streets, with all its alleys, was crowded 
with angry, noisy people. After two or three hoars' scream- 
ing and screeching, the rioters slunk away in squads, taking 
with them the coffin and whatsoever else they had brought. 
There was a meeting of some of my personal friends the 
next morning, and it was determined that myself and family 
should for a night or two leAve the house, and sleep in the 
houses of some friends. The next night, some thirty or more 
fiiends took possession of my house, which was supplied with 
food and all things necessary for their comfort, and for the 
defense of the house and office. The street at night was 
again filled with a noisy mob for several hours, after which 
they dunk away. The family returned, after three nights' 
absence, and we heard no more of the baffled besiegers.'' 

The news of General Jackson's election to the presidency, 
I am informed by Major Lewis, created no great sensation at 
the Hermitage, so certain beforehand were its inmates of a 
mult in accordance with their desires. Mrs. Jackson quietly 

** Well, for Mr. Jackson's sake, I am glad ; for my own 
port, I never wished it." 

The people of Nashville, greatly elated by the success of 
their General, resolved to celebrate it in the way in which 
they had long been accustomed to celebrate every important 
event in his career. A banquet unparalleled should be con- 
sumed in honor of his last triumph. The day appointed for 
this affiiir was the twenty-third of December, the anniversary 
of the Night Battle below New Orleans. Geneml Jackson 
accepted the invitation to be present. 

Certain ladies of Nashville, meanwhile, were secretly pre- 
paring for Mrs. Jackson a magnificent wardrobe, suitable, as 
they thought, for the adornment of her person when, as mis- 
tress of the White House, she would be deemed the first lady 
in the nation. 




For four or five yeai-s the health of Mrs. Jackson had 
been precarious. She had complained, occasionally, of an 
uneasy feeling about the region of the heart ; and, during the 
late excitements, she had been Subject to sharper pains and 
palpitation. The aspersions upon her character had wounded 
deeply her feelings and her pride. She was frequently found 
in tears. Long esteemed as the kindest and most motherly 
of women, she had of late years been revered by a circle of 
religious ladies as their chief, their guide, their ornament 
That her name should be ruthlessly dragged into the public 
prints ; that she, a faithful wife of thirty-seven years, should 
be held up to the contempt of the whole country as an adul- 
teress, was more than she could endure. It aggi*avated her 
disease ; it shortened her life. Perhaps, if the truth were 
known, it would be found that she is not the only female vic- 
tim of our indecent party contentious. 

I learned the story of her death from good " Old Hannah,'' 
the faithful servant in whose arms she breathed her last. 

It was a Wednesday morning, December 17. All was 
going on as usual at the Hermitage. The General was in the 
fields, at some distance from the house, and Miu Jackson, ap- 
parently in tolerable health, was occupied in her household 
duties. Old Hannah asked her to come into the kitchen to 
give her opinion upon some article of food that was in course 
of preparation. She performed the duty required of her, and 
returned to her usual sitting-room, followed by Hannah. Sud- 
denly, she uttered a horrible shriek, placed her hands upon 
her heart, sunk into a chair, struggling for breath, and fell 
forward into Hannah's arms. There were only servants in 
the house ; many of whom ran frantically in, uttering the 
loud lamentations with which Africans are wont to give vent 
to their feelings. The stricken lady was placed upon her bed, 


and while messengers hurried away for assistance, Hannah 
employed the only remedy she knew to relieve the anguish of 
her mistress, " I rubbed her side," said the plain-spoken Han- 
nah, " till it was black and blue." 

No relief She writhed in agony. She fought for breath. 
The (General came in alarmed beyond description. Tlie doc- 
tor arrived. Mrs. A. J. Donelson hurried in from her house 
near by. The Hermitage was soon filled with near relatives, 
friends, and servants. With short intervals of partial relief, 
Mrs. Jackson continued to suffer all that a woman could suf- 
fer, for the space of sixty hours ; during which her husband 
never left her bed-side for ten minutes. On Friday evening 
she was much better ; was almost free from pain ; and 
breathed with far less difficulty. The first use, and, indeed, 
the only use she made of her recovered speech was, to protest 
to the General that she was quite well, and to implore him 
to go to another room and sleep, and by no means to allow 
her indisposition to prevent his attending the banquet on the 
23d. She told him that the day of the banquet would be a 
very fatiguing one, and he must not permit his strength to be 
reduced by want of sleep. 

Still, the General would not leave her. He distrusted 
this sudden relief. He feared it was the relief of torpor or 
exhaustion ; and the more, as the remedies prescribed by 
Dr. Hogg, the attending physician, had not produced their 
designed effect. Saturday and Sunday passed, and still she 
lay free from serious pain, but weak and listless ; the General 
still her watchful, constant, almost sleepless attendant. 

On Monday evening, the evening before the 23d, her dis- 
ease appeared to take a decided turn for the better ; and she 
then so earnestly entreated the General to prepare for the 
fatigues of the morrow by having a night of undisturbed 
sleep, that he consented, at last, to go into an adjoining room 
and lie down upon a sofa. The doctor was still in the house. 
Hannah and George were to sit uj) with their mistress. 

At 9 o'clock, the General bade her good night, went into 
the next room, and took off his coat, preparatory to lying 


down. He had been gone about five minutes ; Mrs. Jackson 
was then, for the first time, removed from her bed, that it 
might be rearranged for the night While sitting in a chair 
supported in the arms of Hannah, she uttered a long, loud, 
inarticulate cry ; which was immediately followed by a rat- 
tling noise in the throat Her head fell forward upon Han- 
nah's shoulder. She never spoke nor breathed again. 

There was a wild rush into the room of husband, doctor, 
relatives, friends, and servants. The General assisted to lay 
her upon the bed. " Bleed her," he cried. No blood flowed 
jfrom her arm. " Try the temple. Doctor." Two drops 
stained her cap, but no more followed. 

It was long before he would believe her dead. He looked 
eagerly into her face, as if still expecting to see signs of re- 
turning life. Her hands and feet grew cold. There could be 
no doubt then, and they prepared a table for laying her out. 
With a choking voice, the General said : 

" Spread four blankets upon it If she does come to, she 
will lie so hard upon the table." 

He sat all night long in the room by her side, with his 
face in his hands, " grieving," said Hannah, and occasionally 
looking into the face, and feeling the heart and pulse of the 
form so dear to him. Major Lewis, who had been immedi- 
ately sent for, arrived just before daylight, and found him 
still there, nearly speechless and wholly inconsolable. He 
sat in the room nearly all the next day, the picture of despair. 
It was only with great difficulty that he was persuaded to 
take a little coffee. 

" And this was the way," concludM Hannah, " that old 
mistus died ; and we always say, that when we lost her, we 
lost a mistus and a mother, too : and more a mother than 
a mistus. And we say the same of old master ; for he was 
more a father to us than a master, and raany's the time 
we 've wished him back again, to help us out of our troubles." 

The sad news reached Nashville early on the morning of 
the 23d, when already the committee of arrangements were 
busied with the preparations for the General's reception. 


'' The table was well nigh spread/' said one of the papers, 
'' at which all was expected to be hilarity and joy, and our 
dtisens had sallied forth on the morning with spirits light 
and buoyant, and countenances glowing with animation and 
hopCi when suddenly the scene is changed : congratulations 
are turned into expressions of condolence, tears are substi- 
tuted for smiles, and sincere and general mourning pervades 
the community/' In the course of the morning the follow- 
ing announcement was published : 

" The committee appointed by the citizens of Nashville to superintend 
the reception of Gknend Jackson on this day, with feelings of deep regret 
ttmoance to the public that Mrs. Jackson departed this life last night, be- 
tween the hours of 10 and 11 o'clock. 

" Bespect for the memory of the deceased, and a sincere condolence 
with him on whom this providential affliction has fallen, forbid the mani- 
ftstition of public regard intended for the day. 

" In the further consideration of the painful and unexpected occasion 
wfaidi has brought them together, the committee feel that it is due to the 
exemplary virtues and exalted character of the deceased, that some public 
tfoketk should be given of the high regard entertained toward her while 
fiTing: They have therefore resolved — 

** That it be respectfully recommended to their fellow-dtisens of Nash- 
ville^ in evidence of this feislingy to refrain on to-morrow from the ordinary 
panoitB of life." 

To which the mayor, Dr. Felix Robertson, added a reso- 
lution of the board of aldermen : 

" The committee on behalf of the citizens having determined that it is 
proper to abstain from business on to-morrow, therefore, 

** Eeiolved, That the inhabitants of Nashville are respectfully invited to 
abstain from their ordinary business on to-morrow, as a mark of respect for 
the memory of Mrs. Jackson, and that the church bells be tolled from 1 
until 2 o'clock — ^being the hour of her funeral." 

On the day of the funeral, every vehicle in Nashville was 
employed in conveying its inhabitants to the Hermitage. 
The grounds about the mansion were crowded with people. 
" Such a scene," wrote an eye-witness, ^' I never wish to witness 
jBgain. The poor old gentleman was supported to the grave 


by General Coffee and Major Butledge. I never pitied any 
person more in my life. The road to the Hermitage wag 
almost impassable, and an immense number of persons at- 
tended the funeral. The remains were interred in the lower 
part of the garden. I never before saw so much affliction 
among 8er\'ants on the death of a mistress. Some seemed 
completely stupified by the event ; others wrung their hands 
and shrieked aloud. The woman who had waited on Mrs. 
Jackson had to be carried off the ground. After the funeral 
the old gentleman came up to me, took my hand, and shook 
it. Some of the gentlemen mentioned my name. He again 
caught my hand, and squeezed it three times, but all he 
could utter was, * Philadelphia.' I never shall forget his 
look of grief." 

The papers of Tennessee, without distinction of party, 
joined in commemorating the virtues of the deceased. " Her 
pure and gentle heart," said the RepMican^ " in which a sel- 
fish, guileful, or malicious thought never found entrance, was 
the throne of benevolence ; and under its noble influence her 
faculties and time were constantly devoted to the exercise of 
hospitality, and to acts of kindness. To feed the hungr}*^, 
to clothe the naked, to sui)ply the indigent, to raise the hum- 
ble, to notice the friendless, and to comfort the unfortunate, 
were her favorite occupations ; nor could the kindness of her 
soul be repressed by distress or prosperity ; but like those 
fountains which, rising in deep and secluded valleys, flow on 
in the frost of winter and through summer's heat, it main- 
tained a uniform and refreshing current. Thus she lived; 
and when death approached, her patience and resignation 
were equal to her goodness ; not an impatient gesture, not a 
vexatious look, not a fretful accent escaped her ; but her last 
breath was charged with an expression of tenderness for the 
man whom she loved more than her life, and honored next to 
her God." 

The remains of Mrs. Jackson still lie in the comer of the 
Hermitage garden, next those of her husband, in a tomb pre- 
pared by him in these years for their reception. It resem- 


bles, in appearance, an open summer-house — a small, white 
dome supported by pillars of white marble. The tablet that 
covers the remains of Mrs. Jackson reads as follows : 

" Here lie the remains of Mrs. Rachel Jackson, wife of President Jack- 
son, who died the 22d of December, 1828, aged Gl. Iler face was fair ; 
her person pleasing, her temper amiable, her heart kind ; she delighted in 
relieving the wants of her fellow-creatures, and cultivated that divine 
pleasure by the most liberal and unpretending methods ; to the poor she 
was a benefactor ; to the rich an example ; to the wretched a comforter ; 
to the prosperous an ornament : her piety went hand in hand with her be- 
nevolence, and she thanked her Creator for being permitted to do good. 
A being so gentle and so virtuous, slander might wound but could not dis- 
honor. Even death, when he tore her from the arms of her husband, could 
but transport her to the bosom of her God.'* 

General Jackson never recovered from the shock of his 
wife's death. He was never quite the same man afterward. 
It subdued his spirit and corrected his speech. Except on 
occasions of extreme excitement, few and far between, he 
never again used what is commonly called "profane lan- 
guage;" not even the familiar phrase, "By the Eternal." 
There were times, of course, when his fiery passions asserted 
themselves ; when he uttered wrathful words ; when he 
wished even to throw off the robes of office, as he once said, 
that he might call his enemies to a dear account. But these 
were rare occurrences. He mourned deeply and ceaselessly 
the loss of his truest friend, and was often guided, in his do- 
mestic affairs, by what he supposed would have been her will 
if she had been there to make it known. 

Before resuming the course of events which this bereave- 
ment interrupted, I will extract a few passages from a letter 
written for the readers of these pages by a lady who, when a 
little girl less than nine yejirs of ago, witnessed in Nashville 
many of the scenes attending the death of Mrs. Jackson and 
the departure of the President-elect for the seat of govern- 
ment. She was the daughter of an officer of General Jack- 
son's division, and became the wife of another officer whose 
commission, as she remarks, bears " Old Hickory's signature." 


" My personal knowledge," writes this obliging and gifted 
Lidy, " of the General and Mre. Jackson dates back to the 
time when I was not yet nine years old, the summer preced- 
ing his fii^st election ; and my impressions are, of course, those 
of a child ; but, perhaps, none the less correct on tliat ac- 
count. Being honest and unprejudiced, they may avail as 
much, as far as they go, as if I had been much older. What 
I write, you may dei)end upon as truthful, although there 
may not be much of it. 

" At the time to which I refer, my father, then a captain in 
the United States Army, was stationed at Nashville, on the 
recruiting service. His family was with him, and we boarded 
at the Nashville Inn, kept by a Mr. Edmonson, the home of 
all the military officers whom business or pleasure called to 
Nashville. It had also been for a long time the stopping 
place of Old Hickory and his wife, whenever they left their 
beloved Hermitage for a temporary sojourn in the city. At 
this house we were domiciled with them weeks at a time. 
Eating at the same table with persons who attracted so much 
attention, and meeting them familiarly in the public and pri- 
vate sitting rooms of the establishment, I of course felt well 
acquainted with them, and my recollections of them are very 
vivid even now. The General's appearance has been so often 
and correctly described, that it would seem almost unneces- 
sary to touch upon it here ; but it will do no harm to give my 
impressions of him. Picture to yourself a military-looking 
man, above the ordinary height, dressed plainly, but with 
great neatness ; dignified and grave — I had almost said stern 
— but always courteous and affable, with keen, searching 
eyes, iron-gray hair, standing stiffly up from an expansive 
forehead, a face somewhat furrowed by care and time, and 
expressive of deej) thought and active intellect, and you have 
beibre you the General Jackson who has lived in my memory 
for thirty years. 

" Side by side with him stands a coarse-looking, stout, little 
old woman, whom vou mif^ht e^silv mistake for his washerwo- 
man, were it not for the marked attention he pays her, and the 



love and admiration she manifests for him. Her eyes are 
bright, and express great kindness of heart ; her face is 
rather broad, her features plain ; her complexion so dark as 
aknost to suggest a mingling of races in that climate where 
such things sometimes occur. But, withal, her face is so 
good-natured and motherly, that you immediately feel at ease 
with her, however shy you may be of the stately person by 
her side. Her figure is rather full, but loosely and carelessly 
dressed, so that when she is seated she seems to settle into 
herself in a manner that is neither graceful nor elegant. I 
have seen such forms since then, and have thought I should 
like to experiment upon them with French corsets, to see 
what they would look like if they were gathered together into 
some permanent shape. This is Mrs. Jackson. I have heard 
my mother say that she could imagine that in her early youth, 
at the time the General yielded to her fascinations, she may 
have been a bright, sparkling brunette ; perhaps, may have 
even passed for a beauty. But being without any culture, 
and out of the way of refining influences, she was, at the 
time we knew her, such as I have described. 

" Their affection for each other was of the tenderest kind. 
The General always treated her as if she were his pride and 
glory, and words can faintly describe her devotion to him. 
The Nashville Inn was at this time filled with celebrities, 
nearly all warm supporters of the General. The Stokes 
family, of North Carolina, were there, particular friends of 
his, and many other families whose names have escaped my 
memory. I well recollect to what disadvantage Mrs. Jackson 
appeared, with her dowdyfied figure, her inelegant conversa- 
tion, and her total want of refinement, in the midst of this 
highly cultivated group, and I recall very distinctly how the 
ladies of the Jackson party hovered near her at all times, ap- 
parently to save her from saying or doing any thing which 
might do discredit to their idol. With all her disadvantages 
in externals, I know she was really beloved. She was a 
truly good woman, the very soul of benevolence and kind- 
ness, and one almost overlooked her deficiencies in the knowl- 
voL. in — 11 


edge of her intrinsic worth, and her real goodness of heart 
With a diflFerent husband, and under different circumstances, 
she might have appeared to greater advantage ; but there 
could not be a more striking contrast than in their case. 
And the strangest of it all was, that the General did not 
seem aware of it. 

"My father visited tliem at the Hermitage more than 
once. It was customary for the army oflScers to do this as a 
mark of respect to the General, and they frequently remained 
in their hospitable mansion several days at a time. The 
latch-string was always out, and all who visited them were 
made welcome, and felt themselves at home. I remember 
my father's telling an anecdote characteristic of Mrs. Jack- 
son, which impressed my young mind forcibly. After the 
evening meal at the Hermitage, he and some other oflScers 
were seated with the worthy couple by their ample fire-place. 
Mrs. Jackson, as was her favorite custom, lighted her pipe, 
and having taken a whiff or two, handed it to my father, 
saying : ^ Honey, wont you take a smoke ?* 

" The enthusiasm of the people of Nashville for their 
favorite has been descanted upon years ago. I remember 
well the extravagant demonstrations of it, especially after the 
result of the election was known. 1 walked the streets with 
my father the night of the illumination, to see the brilliant 
display. I think but two houses were dark, and these were 
both mobbed. One was the mansion of Judge McNairy, 
who, you know, was once a friend of Jackson, but for some 
reason became opposed to him, and at that time was one of 
the very few whigs in Nashville. On that triumphant night 
the band played the hymn familiar to all, beginning ^ Blow 
ye the trumpet, blow,' and ending ' The year of Jubilee is 
come, return ye ransomed people home.' This certainly 
seemed like deifying the man whom they delighted to honor, 
and I remember it seemed very wicked to me. 

" When the old man finally started for Washington, a 
crowd of ladies were assembled on the piazza of the hotel, 
overlooking the Cumberland Kiver, to 'see the conquering 


1828.] DEATH AT THE HERHITAGli. 163 

hero go,' I mingled with them, and distinctly remember 
hearing one lady say she had had a good-bye kiss from the 
General, and she should not wash it off for a month. Oh ! 
what a noise there was ! A parrot, which had been brought 
up a democrat, was hurraing for Jackson, and the clapping, 
shouting, and waving of handkerchiefs have seldom been 
equaled. When the steamboat passed out of sight, and they 
realized that he was really gone, the city seemed to subside 
and settle down, as if the object of its being was accom- 

" But the sad part of my remembrances is the death of Mrs. 
Jackson. Early one bright, pleasant morning, my father 
was putting on his uniform, to go with the other officers then 
in the city, to the Hermitage, to escort the President-elect to 
Nashville. Before he had completed his toilet, a black man 
left at the door a hand-bill, announcing Mrs. Jackson's 
death, and requesting the officers to come to the Hermitage, 
with the usual badges of mourning, to attend her funeral. 
She had died very suddenly at night, without any apparent 
disease, it being very generally supposed that her death was 
occasioned by excess of joy at her husband's election. When 
it was discovered that she was dead, the General could not 
be prevailed upon to part with her body, but held it tightly 
in his arms until almost forced from his embrace. 

" This news caused great commotion. Many ladies went 
out to superintend the funeral, and displayed more zeal than 
judgment by arraying the body in white satin, with kid 
gloves and slippers. Pearl ear-rings and necklace were like- 
wise placed upon it ; but, at the suggestion of some whose 
good sense had not entirely forsaken them, I believe these 
ornaments were removed. The day of the funeral proving 
damp and drizzly, the walk from the house to the grave was 
laid with cotton for the procession to pass over. 

''Notwithstanding the grief displayed by the friends of 
this really good woman, on account of her sudden death, it 
was supposed by many that they felt it, after all, a relief ; 
for it was a matter of great anxiety how she would appear as 


mistress of the White House, especially as some of her warm 
but injudicious friends had selected and prepared an outfit 
for the occasion more suitable for a young and beautiful 
bride, than for a homely, withered-looking, old woman."^ 
Who can record impressions like a woman ? 



There was no time for mourning. Haggard with grief 
and watching, " twenty years older in a night," as one of his 
friends remarked, the President-elect was compelled to enter 
without delay upon the labor of preparing for his journey to 
Washington. His inaugural address, the joint production of 
himself. Major Lewis, and Henry Lee, was written at the 
house of Major Lewis, near Nashville. But one slight alter- 
ation was made in this document after the General reached 
the seat of government. General Jackson furnished the 
leading ideas ; Major Lewis made some suggestions ; Henry 
Lee gave it fonn and style. 

Before leaving home, the General drew up a series of rules 
for the guidance of his administration, one of which was, that 
no member of his cabinet should be his successor. General 
Jackson left home resolved to do right in his high office. I 
know this to be true. Whether he ruled wisely or the con- 
trary, it is certain that he left the grave of his wife deter- 
mined, in his inmost soul, to stand by the people of the 
United States, and administer the government with a single 
eye to their gooi But woe to those who had slandered and 
killed that wife I These two feelings had no struggle for 

* Tho New York American suggested for the epitaph of Mrs. Jackson the Ibl- 
lowing words : 




1829.] IKAUGUBATION . 165 

mastery in his peculiarly constituted nature. In him they 
were one and the same. 

He was accompanied to Washington by his nephew, 
Andrew Jackson Donelson, who was to be his private secre- 
tary; by Mrs. Andrew Jackson Donelson, who was to preside 
over the official mansion ; by a beautiful and accomplished 
neice of Mrs. Jackson, who was to reside with him, and assist 
Mrs. Donelson to do the honors of his house ; by Henry Lee, 
his able scribe, who went with him to be appointed to an 
office ; and, lastly, by Major Lewis, whose intention was 
merely to witness the inauguration and then return to his 
plantation. The artist. Earl, followed the General soon, and 
resided at the White House during the whole period of Gen- 
eral Jackson's occupation of it, engaged always in painting 
the President's portrait. It was well understood by the 
seekers of presidential favor that it did no harm to order a 
portrait of General Jackson from this artist, who was face- 
tiously named the king's painter. Mr. Earl never stood still 
for lack of orders. 

The party left Nashville on a Sunday afternoon about the 
middle of January. The journey to Washington — every one 
knows what it must have been. The complete, the instan- 
taneous acquiescence of the people of the United States in the 
decision of a constitutional majority — a redeeming feature of 
our politics — was well illustrated on this occasion. The steam- 
boat that conveyed the Gtjneral and his party down the Cum- 
berland to the Ohio and up the Ohio to Pittsburg, a voyage 
of several days, was saluted or cheered as often as it passed a 
human habitation. At Cincinnati, it seemed as if all Ohio, 
and, at Pittsburg, as if all Pennsylvania, had rushed forth to 
shout a welcome to the President-elect. Indeed, the whole 
country appeared to more than acquiesce in the result of the 

Very many of the supporters of Mr. Adams felt, doubt- 
less, as Ezekiel Webster felt, when he wrote to his brother 
Daniel, in February, 1829 : " The people always supported 
Mr. Adams' cause from a cold sense of duty, and not from 


any liking of the man. We soon satisfy ourselves that we 
have discharged our duty to the cause of any man, when we 
do not entertain for him one personal kind feeling, and can 
not, imless we disemhowel ourselves, like a trussed turkey, of 
all that is human nature within us. If there had been at 
the head of affairs a man of popular character, like Mr. Clay, 
or any man whom we are not compelled by our natures, in- 
stincts, and fixed fate to dislike, the result would have been 

So, the whole country joined, at last, in the cry. Hurra 
for Jackson ! Some few daring spirits at Hartford, we are 
told, burned the President-elect in effigy in the evening of the 
sacred 8th of January ; but the public indignation was such, 
that the authorities of the city offered a reward of one hun- 
dred dollars for the " conviction of the persons engaged in it." 
So says the sedate Mr. Niles ; who also records, in his brief 
manner, without comment, that General Jackson did not call 
upon President Adams on his arrival in Washington. The 
reader knows why he did not. The precious register of Mr. 
Niles rescues likewise from oblivion the fact, that " General 
Merkle of Franklin Market, New York," sent to General 
Jackson "a piece of the celebrated ox, Grand Canal, as a 
suitable tribute of General Merkle's high respect for the pa- 
triotism General Jackson has uniformly displayed in the pub- 
lic service of his country, and hopes at the same time it may 
arrive to grace his table on the 4th of March." 

General Merkle had the pleasure of receiving an autograph 
acknowledgment from General Jackson : " Permit me, sir, to 
assure you of the gratification which I felt in being enabled 
to place on my table so fine a specimen of your market, and 
to offer you my sincere thanks for so acceptable a token of 
your regard for my character."* 

♦ " Butcher Politen-esb. — ^An English butcher lately sent a haunch of pure 
Southdown mutton to tho Emperor. lie baa since received, through the medium 
of the French ambassador in London, an autograph letter from the Tuileries, ao> 
knowledging the thanks of tho Emperor, and accompanying it with a gold medal 
iutriosicaUj worth twenty guineas." — Newspaper^ 1860. 


Qj^,:A ^,*^.S=;>, 


1829.] INAUGURATION. 167 


Hurra for Jackson! It was the universal cry. Mr. 
Adams would not have written to General Merkle, of Frank- 
lin Market, New York, perhaps. Was there a butcher in the 
Union who did not take the Gteneral's autograph as a per- 
sonal compliment ! 

While General Jackson was receiving hundreds of visitors 
daily at his rooms in the Indian Queen Tavern, commonly 
styled the Wigwam, the White House, we are informed, was 
nearly deserted. Judge Story mentions, in one of his letters 
to his wife, that the "birth-night ball" (February 22d), was 
thinly attended this year. " Mr. Adams has no more favors 
to bestow, and he is now passed by with indifference by all 
the fair-weather friends. They are all ready to hail the ris- 
ing sun. Never have I felt so forcibly the emptiness of pub- 
lic honors and public favor." Eight years later, there was a 
setting sun who was not "passed by with indifference" by 
friend or foe. 

From the seemingly rash and careless remarks of General 
Jackson upon the alleged bargain between Messrs. Adams 
and Clay, some readers may have inferred that the General 
was not, at all times, master of his tongue. Such an infer- 
toce is incorrect. When it was his cue to be silent, no man 
could keep his own counsel better. All Washington was 
busied, during these weeks; with conjectures as to the course 
of the President-elect, and above all, as to his intentions with 
regard to appointments and removals. But all conjecturing 
was vain. Nothing was ascertained until he chose to reveal 
it. Daniel Webster wrote home just before the General's ar- 
rival : " General Jackson will be here about the 15th Febru- 
ary. Nobody knows what he will do when he does come. 
Many letters are sent to him ; he answers none of them. His 
friends here pretend to be very knomng ; but be assured, not 
one of them has any confidential communication from him. 
Great efforts are making to put him up to a general sweep, 
as to all offices ; springing from great doubt whether he is 
disposed to go it." 

A few days after General Jackson's arrival, Mr. Webster 


resumed his observations upon the scene around him. " Of 
course," said he, " the city is full of speculation and specula- 
tors. ^A great multitude/ too many to be fed without a 
miracle, are already in the city, hungry for office. Especially, 
I learn, that the typographical corps is assembled in great 
force. From New Hampshire, our friend Hill ; from Boston, 
Mr. Greene ; from Connecticut, Mr. Norton ; from New 
York, Mr. Noah ; from Kentucky, Mr. Kendall ; and from 
everywhere else, somebody else. So many friends ready to 
advise, and whose advice is so disinterested, make somewhat 
of a numerous council about the President-elect ; and, if re- 
port be true, it is a council which only ' makes that darker, 
which was dark enough before.' For these reasons, or these 
with others, nothing is settled yet about the new cabinet. 
I suppose Mr. Van Buren will be Secretary of State ; but 
beyond that, I do not think any thing is yet determined." 
This was written on the 19th of February. 

Coming events, however, were already casting shadows 
before. A Washington letter of the time, published in the 
New York American^ contains this note-worthy passage : 
" There are strong symptoms of a speedy dissolution of the 
' Combination.' The ends of both sections of the party are 
answered. The game has been run down, and, like hounds, 
they are about fighting for the prey they have made their 
own. Van Buren's friends wish to have him in the Cabinet. 
To this Calhoun's object, and these rival chieftains scatter 
through the crowd, by means of their partisans, ambiguous 
phrases, pregnant with future contests and political divi- 

General Jackson, meanwhile, so closely concealed his in- 
tentions that, as late as the second of March, Mr. Webster 
still wrote home that nobody in Washington knew whether 
many or any changes in the subordinate offices of the govern- 
ment would be made. " Probably," he wrote, " General 
Jackson will make some removals, but I think not a great 
many immediately. But we shall soon see." Yes, we shall 
Boon see. 

1829.] INAUaURATlON. 169 

The day of the inauguration was one of the brightest and 
balmiest of the spring. An eye-witness shall describe to us 
the memorable scene : 

" No one who was at Washington at the time of General 
Jackson's inauguration is likely to forget that period to the 
day of his death. To us, who had witnessed the quiet and 
orderly period of the Adams' administration, it seemed as if 
half the nation had rushed at once into the Capital. It was 
like the inundation of the northern barbarians into Home, 
save that the tumultuous tide came in from a different point 
of the compass. The West and the South seemed to have 
precipitated themselves upon the North and overwhelmed it. 
On that memorable occasion you might tell a ^ Jackson man' 
almost as far as you could see him. Their every motion 
seemed to cry out ^ victory !' Strange faces filled every pub- 
lic place, and every face seemed to bear defiance on its brow. 
It appeared to me that every Jackson editor in the country 
was on the spot. They swarmed, especially in the lobbies of 
the House, an expectant host, a sort of Praetorian band, 
which, having borne in upon their shields their idolized 
leader, claimed the reward of the hard-fought contest. His 
quarters were assailed, surrounded, hemmed in, so that it 
was an achievement to get into his presence. On the morn- 
ing of the inauguration, the vicinity of the Capitol was like 
a great agitated sea ; every avenue to the fateful spot was 
blocked up with people, in so much that the legitimate pro- 
cession which accompanied the President-elect could scarce 
make its way to the eastern portico, where the ceremony was 
to be iKirformed. To repress the crowd in front, a ship's 
cable was stretched across about two-thirds of the way up the 
long flight of steps by which the Capitol is approached on 
that side, but it seemed, at times, as if even this would scarce 
prove sufficient to restrain the eagerness of the multitude, 
every man of whom seemed bent on the glory of shaking the 
President's hand. Never cjin I forget the specfcicle which 
presented itself on every side, nor the electrifying moment 
when the eager, expectant eyes of that vast and motley mul- 


titude caught sight of the tall and imposing form of their 
adored leader, as he came forth between the colunms of the 
portico, the color of the whole mass changed, as if by mir- 
acle ; all hats were oflf at once, and the dark tint which usu- 
ally pervades a mixed map of men was turned, as by a magic 
wand, into the bright hue of ten thousand upturned and ex- 
ultant human faces, radiant with sudden joy. The peal of 
shouting that arose rent the air, and seemed to shake the 
very ground. But when the Chief Justice took his place and 
commenced the brief ceremony of administering the oath of 
office, it quickly sank into comparative silence ; and as the 
new President proceeded to read his inaugural address, 
the stillness gi*adually increased ; but all efforts to hear 
him, beyond a brief space immediately around, were utterly 

Mr. Webster, in his serio-comic manner, remarks : " I 
never saw such a crowd here before. Persons have come five 
hundred miles to see General Jackson, and they really seem 
to think that the country is rescued from some dreaxlfid 

The ceremony over, the President drove from the Capitol 
to the White House, followed soon by a great part of the 
crowd who had witnessed the inauguration. Judge Story, a 
strenuous Adams man, did not enjoy the scene which the 
apartments of the " palace," as he styles it, presented on this 
occasion. " After the ceremony was over," he wrote, " the 
President went to the palace to receive company, and there 
he was visited by immense crowds of all sorts of people, from 
the highest and most polished, down to the most vulgar and 
gross in the nation. I never saw such a mixture. The reign 
of King Mob seemed triumphant. I was glad to escape from 
the scene as soon as possible." A letter writer said : " A 
profusion of refreshments had been provided. Orange punch 
by barrels full was made, but as the waiters opened the door 
to bring it out, a rush would be made, the glasses broken, the 
pails of liquor upset, and the most painful confusion pre- 

* Arthur J. Stansbury, in Arthur's Home Gazette, May, 1851. 


1829.] INAUGURATION. 171 

vailed. To such a painful degree was this carried, that wine 
and ice-creams could not be brought out to the ladies, and 
tubs of punch were taken from the lower story into the gar- 
den, to lead off the crowd from the rooms. On such an oc- 
casion it was certainly difficult to keep any thing like order, 
but it was mortifying to see men, with boots heavy with mud, 
standing on the damask satin covered chairs^ from their eager- 
ness to get a sight of the President." 

The inaugural address of the new President, which has 
been characterized as vague and meaningless, seems to me to 
be as plain and straightforward as his peculiar and difficult 
position admitted. On the one hand. General Jackson, by 
his writings and his votes, was committed to a protective 
tariff and internal improvement policy. On the other, he 
had been elected to the presidency by the strict construction- 
ist party. HisL inaugural was a clear enough acceptance of 
the leadership of the party which had elected him. The en- 
tire subject of internal improvements was disposed of in one 
short sentence, which is, considering the circumstances, almost 
comic. " Internal improvements," said the President, " and 
the diffusion of knowledge, so far as they can be promoted by 
the constitutional acts of the federal government, are of high 
importance." Not another word. Henry Lee, I imagine, was 
not the author of that sentence. 

The tariff men were favored with the following : " With 
regard to a proper selection of the subjects of impost, with a 
view to revenue, it would seem to me that the spirit of equity, 
caution, and compromise in wliich the constitution was 
formed, requires that the great interests of agriculture, com- 
merce, and manufactures, should be equally favored; and 
that, perhaps, the only exception to this rule should consist 
in the peculiar encouragement of any products of either of 
them that may be found essential to our national independ- 

For those who might chance to remember General Jack- 
son's farewell address to the army, a long paragraph was in- 
serted, which declared standing armies " dangerous to freo 


governments in time of peace," and entitled a patriotic militia 
" the bulwark of our defense/' and " the impenetrable aegis" 
of our liberties. 

For the illumination of any who might have been recently 
looking over the Monroe correspondence, a few sentences were 
added, which made half the office-holders in the country 
quake in their 8li})pers : " The recent demonstration of pub- 
lic sentiment inscribes on the list of executive duties, in char- 
acters too legible to be overlooked, the task of reform, which 
will require, particularly, the correction of those abuses that 
have brought the patronage of the federal government into 
conflict with the freedom of elections, and the counteraction 
of those causes which have disturbed the rightful course of 
appointment, and have placed or continued power in unfaith- 
ful or incompetent hands." 

It was in this passage that the slight alteration, before 
alluded to, was made after the General reached Washington. 
Mr. McLean, who was expected to continue in the office of 
Postmaster-General, objected to the policy dimly shadowed 
forth in these remarks, and they were, in consequence, so 
changed as to make the President himself responsible for the 
acts contemplated. The phrase " executive duties" was sub- 
stituted for one which was supposed to throw the responsi- 
bility more upon the members of the Cabinet. As Mr. 
McLean was still intractable, he was comfortably shelved on 
the bench of the Supreme Court, which he has since adorned. 

Mr. Clay left Washington a few days after the inaugura- 
tion. A public dinner was given before his departure, at 
which he spoke of the new President in language and tem- 
per highly honorable to himself : 

" That citizen," said he, "has done me much injustice — wanton, un- 
provoked, and unatoned injustice. It was inflicted as I must ever believe, 
for the double purpose of gnitifying private resentment, and promoting per- 
sonal ambition. 

"When, during tlie late canvass, ho came forward in Uie public prints, 
under his proper name, with his charge agmnst me, and summoned before 
the public tribunal his friend and his only witness to estabUsh it, the aox. 



/■^r^ ^^j-iU. 

1829.] THE CABINBT. 173 

10118 attention of the whole American people was directed to the testimony 
which that witness might render. He promptly obeyed the call, and tes- 
tified to what he knew. He could say nothing, and he said nothing which 
cast the slightest shade upon my honor or integrity. What he did say, 
was the reverse of any implication of me. Then, all just and impartial 
men, and all who had faith in the magnanimity of my accuser, believed 
that he would voluntarily make a public acknowledgment of his error. 
How far this reasonable expectation has been fulfilled let his persevering 
and stubborn silence attest 

" But my relations to that citizen by a recent event are now changed. 
He is the Chief Magistrate of my country, invested with large and exten- 
sive powers, the administration of which may conduce to its prosperity, or 
occasion its adversity. Patriotism enjoins as a duty, that while he is in 
that exalted station, he should be treated with decorum, and his official acts 
be judged of in a spirit of candor. Suppressing, as far as I can, a sense of 
my personal wrong, willing even to forgive him, if his own conscience and 
our common Qod can acquit him ; and entertaining for the majority which 
has elected him, and for the office which he fills, all the deference which is 
due from a private citizen, I most anxiously hope, that under his guidance, 
the great interests of our country, foreign and domestic, may be upheld, 
our free institutions be unimpaired, and the happiness of the nation, be con- 
tinued and mcreased." 



It is not so well known to the public, as it is to society 
in Washington, that there is an imaginary difiference of rank 
between the members of the cabinet. The Secretary of State, 
every one knows, is at the head of the cabinet, and sits at the 
President's right hand in cabinet councils, and takes prece- 
dence of every one except the President and the Vice-Presi- 
dent. Next to him is the Secretary of the Treasury, who 
also has more valuable offices in his gift than any other cab- 
inet minister ; the entire custom-house system of the country 
being under his control. The Secretary of War ranks third,, 
and the Secretary of the Navy fourth. The Attorney-Gen- 


eral formerly closed the list, as the Post-Master General waa 
not, technically speaking, a member of the cabinet. Early 
in the administration of the new President, however, that 
officer was formally created a cabinet minister. 

So little was known of General Jackson's intentions with 
regard to cabinet appointments that some of the members of 
the cabinet of Mr. Adams were actually in doubt whether 
they ought to resign or not. Mr. Wirt, the Attorney-Gen- 
eral, wrote to Mr. Monroe, asking his opinion on the point. 
Mr. Monroe advised him to resign, but added, that, in all 
probability, the new President would desire to retain the ser- 
vices of an officer who, for twelve years, had discharge<l the 
duties of his place to universal acceptance. So well did Gen- 
eral Jackson keep his secret, that no man in or out of Wash- 
ington, except the chosen few, know who would compose the 
new administration, until the General, with his own hands, 
gave to the editor of the Telcgrajyh the list for publication. 
It appeared in the official newspaper on the 2Gth of Febru- 
ary. It would not even then have seen the light but for the 
secret opposition made to one of the appointments. 

Soon after General Jackson arrived at the seat of govern- 
ment, he informed Edward Livingston of Louisiana, that Mr. 
Van Buren was the foreordained Secret^iry of State of the 
incoming administration, and offered him the choice of the 
seats remaining. Mr. Livingston, just then elected to the 
Senate, i)referred his Senatorship to any office in the govern- 
ment except the one already appropriated. 

In distributing the six great oifices. General Jackson as- 
signed two to the north, two to the west, and two to the 

Mr. Van Buren accepted the first place without hesita- 
tion, resigned the governorshij) of New York after holding it 
seventy days, and entered upon his duties at Washington 
three weeks after the inauguration. 

Samuel D. Ingham, of Pennsylvania, was appointed to 
the second j)lace in the cabinet, that of Secretary of the 
Treasury. Mr. Ingham came of a sturdy Bucks county 

1829.] THE CABINET. 175 

Quaker family, a thriving, industrious race, settled there for 
four generations. His father, a physician, farmer, and cloth- 
ier, was also a devotee of classical learning;, and a dissenter 
from the tenets of the broad-brimmed sect. His son, Samuel, 
showing no gieat inclination for classical knowledge, was ap- 
prenticed to a paper-maker, and, in due time, set up a paper- 
mill on the paternal farm, which proved a successful venture. 
From the peaceful pursuits of business he was drawn away 
gradually into the whirl of politics, presiding at town and 
county meetings of the democratic party ; serving in such 
offices as justice of the peace, member of the Assembly, and 
Secretary of the commonwealth, until, in 1813, he took his 
seat in the House of Representatives ; a position which, with 
one short interval, he held until his transfer to the cabinet 
of General Jackson. He was not a speaking member, nor 
did he ever acquire any general celebrity ; but, as a business 
man, his services upon important committees were valued. 
His 8uca«sful management of his private business, in circum- 
stances of more than usual difficulty, constructing his mill in 
a region where not a mechanic whom he employed had ever 
seen one, and starting it with far more credit than capital, 
proves him to have been a man of executive ability. His 
conduct with regard to the bargain and corruption cry stamps 
him a false or a iiaiTow soul. In Pennsylvania, during the 
late canvass, he had aided poor Krenior with all his talents 
and all his influence in deluding the voters of his native State 
into the belief that Mr. Adams had obtained the presidency 
through a corrupt understanding with Mr. Clay. He wrote 
an electioneering pamphlet against Mr. Adams,, which that 
gentleman characterized as a gross misrepresentation of his 
conduct and opinions. Mr. Ingham, as wo have before stilted, 
was one of the original Calhoun men of Pennsylvania. He 
was still a friend and ally of Mr. Calhoun, and it was thought 
at the time that he owed his place in the cabinet to Mr. 
Calhoun's influence. This was probably not the case. Ing- 
ham had done enough during the late campaign to give him 
a first place in the regard of the new President ; and the 


Jackson members of Congress from Pennsylvania, on being 
consulted by General Jackson, united in naming Ingham as 
Pennsylvania's elect and precious. 

John H. Eaton, Senator from Tennessee, was appointed 
Secretary of War. General Jackson was, from the first, de- 
termined to have in his cabinet one of his own Tennessee 
circle of friends. The choice lay between the two Senators^ 
Eaton and White. Feb. 23d, Major Eaton wrote the follow- 
ing note to Judge White : " A letter, received some time ago 
from General Jackson, stated he desired you or me to be near 
him. In a recent conversation with him, he remarked that 
he had had a full and free conversation with you ; and at the 
close remarked that he desired to have me with him. I pre- 
sumed, without inquiring, that he had probably talked with 
you on the subject, and that you had declined accepting any 
situation, as you before had told me would be your feelings. 
Nothing definite has taken place on this matter between 
General Jackson and myself, and I hope you know me well 
enough, and my regard and friendship for you, to know this, 
that I should never permit myself to stand in competition 
with any desire you may entertain. If you have any desire, 
say so to me in confidence, and it shall so be received. If 
you have none, then in reference to every and all considenw 
tions I should consent to any such appointment. Think of 
this, and give me your opinion frankly."* 

Every one acquainted with Judge White knew well what 
reply he would make to such a communication. Major 
Eaton was appointed. 

Major Lewis favors the reader with a brief account of 
Eaton's career. " He lived," writes Major Lewis, "at Frank- 
lin, a small town eighteen miles south of Nashville. It is 
the county scat of Williamson county, one of the finest 
counties in the State, and is situated on the road leading 
from Nashville to Columbia, the town in which President 
Polk lived. Major Eaton, however, during the whole time 
he was in the Senate (a period of eleven years) spent the 

• Meraoira of Hugh L. White, p. 2G6. 


1829.] THE CABINET. 177 

greater part of his time in Washington. He was a native of 
North Carolina, and came to Tennessee in 1808, or 1809, then 
being about twenty-two years of age. Having lost his father, 
the duty of taking care of his mother and his younger 
brother and sister devolved upon him, he being the eldest 
son. He purchased a comfortable residence in town for the 
fiunily, and a tract of land in the neighborhood to place their 
negroes upon ; and, after having made these arrangements, 
he returned to North Carolina, and, in due time, moved the 
whole family to Tennessee, and located them in Franklin, 
where his mother resided as long as she lived. 

^* Mr. Eaton was a man of education, having graduated, 
I think, at Chapel Hill, and was a lawyer by profession. 
Although a young man, and comparatively a stranger, and 
without family connections, he soon acquired a very respect- 
able standing at the bar. He practiced not only in Franklin, 
where he lived, but in the adjacent counties, and, in the 
course of a few years, he became, by his pleasant and agree- 
able manners, and fine conversational talent, quite a favorite 
both of the bar and the bench. He was also a pleasant and 
interesting speaker, and, by his finely modulated voice, never 
failed to command the attention of the auditory. In 1818, 
he was appointed a Senator in Congress, by Governor 
McMinn, to fill a vacancy occasioned by the resignation of 
the Hon. George W. Campbell, who had been sent to Russia 
as Minister, by President Monroe. Among those most active 
in getting up a recommendation to the Governor for his ap- 
pointment to the Senate, was our distinguished fellow-citizen, 
John Bell. He was afterward elected three times to the Sen- 
ate by the legislature of his State, but he had served only 
two years, I think, of his last term when General Jackson 
offered him a seat in his cabinet, which was accepted. After 
this, having lost his mother, brother, and sister, he never re- 
turned to Tennessee to live." 

For the moment this narrative must content us. We 

shall have to return to this gentleman ere long, and complete 

Major Lewis' story. 
VOL. in — 12 


Tho Navy Department was assigned to John Branch, for 
many years a Senator from North Carolina. Mr. Branch 
was not one of those who achieve greatness, nor one of those 
who have greatness thrust upon them. He was bom to it. 
Inheriting an ample estate, he lived for many years upon his 
plantations and employed himself in superintending their 
culture. A man of res]X3ctable talents, good presence, and 
high social position, he was naturally enough chosen to rep- 
resent his State in the Senate, afterward to be its Grovemor, and 
again to the Senate. In his public career I find one act re* 
corded which was peculiarly calculated to secure him the favor- 
able consideration of General Jackson. He voted against the 
confirmation of Henry Clay, as Secretary of State, in 1825. For 
the rest. Governor Branch was a gentleman of the strict con- 
stnictionist })ersua8ion, a friend of Mr. Calhoun, an entirely re- 
spectable, but not a brilliant nor even a well-known character. 

John McPherson Berrien, of Georgia, was appointed At- 
torney-General. Mr. Berrien was born and educated in New 
Jersey, graduating at Nassau Hall, but was admitted to the 
bar in Georgia, where he rose to great and merited eminence 
as a lawyer, Judge, and legislator. Appearing as a Senator 
in 1824, he exhibited talents more than respectable, and was 
noted for somewhat extreme opinions on those questions 
which were destined to create painful differences between 
North and South. A warm, even passionate lover of the 
Union, he yet opposed most vigorously the tariff bill, for 
which General Jackson had voted, and was among the fore- 
most in his opposition to the revived heterodoxy of Mr. Adams' 
messages. He, too, like Governor Branch, voted against 
Mr. Clay's confirmation in 1825 ; and, like Governor Branch, 
looked up to Mr. Calhoun as the South's peculiar chamjnon. 

William T. Barry, of Kentucky, was appointed Post- 
master General. Elected to Congress at' the age of twenty- 
seven, Mr. Barry had been in public life for twenty years ; 
chiefly, however, in State offices. He fought in the war of 
1812 with great credit, under General Harrison, and was af- 
ter^val'd the conspicuous friend of Henry Clay^ supporting 

1829.] THE CABINET. 179 

him for the presidency in 1824. But Mr. Clay's conduct in 
giving the presidency to and accepting office under Mr. 
Adams, Major Barry could not stomach ; and there was first 
a coolness and then a bitterness between the old friends. To 
aid in defeating the administration and to bring in General 
Jackson, he had consented to run for the governorship of 
Kentucky against the Clay candidate, an office which he had 
more than once declined, and did not then desire. He just 
lost his election, but the canvass powerfully aided the Jack- 
son party, and gave them confident hopes of carrying the 
State at the presidential election, which hopes, we know, 
were realized. How could General Jackson feel otherwise 
than grateful to the man who had put upon Henry Clay the 
exquisite mortification of losing the support of his own Ken- 
tucky? Major Barry was an agreeable and amiable man, 
but not a man of business — ^not the man for the most per- 
plexing post in the administration. Nor was he generally 
known, even by name, beyond the borders of his own State. 

The Cabinet, taken as a whole, and compared with those 
which had preceded it, could not bo called splendid. There 
was some show of justice in a common remark of the time : 
" This is the millennium of the minnows." Leaving Mr. Van 
Buren out of view, the only cohesive element in it, common 
to all, was an aversion to Mr. Clay. Eaton was a Jackson man; 
Ingham, Branch, and Berrien, were Calhoun men ; but all 
were anti-Clay men. The reader will not have to read many 
pages more before imbibing an impression that the anti-Clay- 
ism of these gentlemen was that which particularly endeared 
them to the new President. The appointment to the Bussian 
Mission of John Randolph, who had fought a duel with Henry 
Clay three years before, strengthens this conjecture. 

I should mention, perhaps, in justice to General Jackson, 
that Henry Clay had himself taken the stump during the 
late campaign in Kentucky, and denounced the General in 
terms of unmeasured, and, sometimes, indecent severity. 
Gentlemen who heard Mr. Clay on these occasions, inform 
me that his printed speeches are moderate and tame com- 


pared with those which he delivered in the open air, to the 
"hunters of Kentucky," during the campaign. He could 
not speak of the bargain and corruption calumny without 
boiling over with fury, and pouring forth a torrent of fierc5e 
Kentuckian invective. No doubt there were obliging indi- 
viduals among the crowd, who took care that Mr. Clay's 
wrathful phrases should be reported to General Jackson. It 
was, moreover, a fixed idea in the Grenerars mind, that the 
secret originator of the calumnies against Mrs. Jackson was 
no other than Mr. Clay. Mr. Clay solemnly denied and com- 
pletely disproved the charge, but he could never remove that 
fixed idea from the soul of General Jackson. 

Such, then, was the first Cabinet of the new President 
With the exception of Mr. Van Buren, its members had no 
great influence over the measures of their chief, and play no 
great part in the general history of the times. There were 
other individuals who stood nearer to the President than they 
did, and exerted over him a far more potent influence. 

A few days after the inauguration, Major Lewis, who had 
his quarters in the White House, informed the President that 
he was about to return to Tennessee, as it was the planting 
season and his plantation required his attention. "Why, 
Major," said the President, "you are not going to leave me 
here alone j after doing more than any other man to bring me 
here ?'' The General clung to his Tennessee friends, ever 
lonely, always mourning for his dead wife. Major Lewis re- 
lented. It was agreed that he should accept an auditorship 
of the treasury, and remain a member of the President's 
family. Major Lewis, I must remind the reader, was a 
brother-in-law of Major Eaton. It seems a trifling fact to 
mention twice. The reader will discover soon that it was one 
of those little facts which influence great aflairs. 

General Duff Green, editor of the United States Tdt^ 
graph, was much about the person of the President during 
the first month of his administration, and was supposed to 
have more influence over him than perha])s, he really pos- 
sesssed. He had been the editor of a newspaper at St. LouiSy 

1^9.] THE CABINET. 181 

and had come to Washington, some months before, a poor 
man, to effect an exchange of his paper for one published in 
Washington. He succeeded in his object ; supported Gen- 
eral Jackson with all the ardor and ability of which he was 
master ; obtained in the spring of 1829, before the inaugur- 
ation, a share of the public printing ; was then a prosperous 
gentleman ; and his paper became the confidential organ of 
the new administration. He was fierce for the removal from 
office of those who were not devotees of the new administra- 
tion. General Green was and is a jovial soul, a capital story- 
teller, a pleasant host, liberal in expenditure, formed to go 
gaily with the tide, not to bufiet the billows of opposition. 

Editor Isaac Hill from New Hampshire, was in high fa- 
vor at the White House from the very beginning of the new 
administration. The early life of this man was so curiously 
like that of Horace Greeley, that the narration of it would 
answer as well for the one as the other. A poor, little, lame 
New Hampshire boy. Consumed with a passion for reading. 
Scoaring the country for books. Beading every thing, from 
"Law's Call to the Unconverted" to a penny almanac. 
Tramping miles for a newspaper. Learning the printer's 
trade because he so loved to read. Serving his time in the 
office of that very Farmer's Cabinet^ at Amherst, New Hamp- 
shire, which the youthful Greeley lay in wait for by the road- 
side and devoured in secret. Setting up a newspaper with 
immense difficulty, and struggling for years for a circulation 
in a State that was a stronghold of federalism, until he made 
it democratic. A prosperous man, at length. He published 
books, and kept a thriving book-store, and had other irons in 
the fire, which he contrived to keep hot. A keen party man, 
and made the more so by many years of active but unsuccess- 
ful warfare with a party that despised more than they hated 
the name of democrat. During the strife of 1828, he had 
written, and spoken, and schemed, and traveled for Jackson, 
incurring rancorous hostility and sufilTing personal violence. 
Unable to carry the State for his candidate, he had fought 
such a fight for him as excited General Jackson's admiration 


and gratitude. The indomitable Isaac went to Washington 
to console hhnself with the triumph of the inauguration, and 
the new President gave him more than a friendly welcome. 
Before the month of March closed, Isaac Hill found himself 
appointed to the second ComptroUership of the Treasury, at 
a salary of three thousand dollars a year, and ten clerkships 
in his gift. Like Duff Green, he was urgent for the removal 
of those who had opposed the election of General Jackson. 

"Every State in New England," said he in the New 
Hampshire Patriot, in November, 1828, "is now governed 
by the same aristocracy that ruled in 1798 — that ruled during 
the late war. The republicans here are in a minority ; but 
the late election show them to be a glorious majority of the 
whole Union. A band of New England democrats have en- 
countered the dominant party at vast odds — they have suf- 
fered every species of persecution and contumely. Shall these 
men not be protected by the administration of the people un- 
der General Jackson ? If that administration fail to ex- 
tend this protection, then indeed it will fail of one of the 
principal objects for which the people placed them in power 
by at least two to one of the votes of the Union." 

Was there ever a pair of ears so prepared to listen favor- 
ably to such sentiments as those of General Jackson in 1829 ? 
Will he be able to carry out the doctrines avowed in certain 
letters to Mr. Monroe in 1816 and 1817 ? 

Amos Kendall, late the editor of a Jackson paper in Ken- 
tucky, a native of Massachusetts, was present at the inaugur- 
ation, was taken into the President's confidence, was ap- 
pointed fourth Auditor of the Treasury. He began his long 
official career with the most virtuous resolutions. " The in- 
terest of the country," he wrote to a friend, March 24th, 
1829, "demands that the Fourth Auditor's office shall be 
filled with men of business, and not with babbling politicians. 
Partisiin feelings shall not enter here, if I can keep them out. 
To others belong the whole business of electioneering. To 
me and my clerks other duties are assigned. Them I shall 
endeavor to discharge in the spirit of reform, which has made 

1829.] THE OABIKET. 183 

Cteneral Jackson President. Vain I may be, proud I am, 
that the President has given me an opportunity to aid him 
in proving that reform is not an empty sound, and is not to 
apply merely to a change of men. Henceforth, assiduously 
devoted to my official duties, I shall leave my enemies and 
his, to their freedom of speech and the press, resting my 
claims to public confidence on my acts." 

Man proposes ; the System disposes. Never was there a 
busier electioneering office-holder than Mr. Kendall. He was^ 
however, a man of indefatigable industry, and performed both 
his in-door and out-door duties with zeal. 

These were the gentlemen — ^Lewis, Green, Hill and Ken- 
dall — who, at the beginning of the new administration, were 
supposed to have most of the President's ear and confidence, 
and were stigmatized by the opposition as the Kitchen Cab- 
inet. Major Donelson, as the private secretary of the Presi- 
dent, was also a personage of importance in the White House 
and in the society of Washington. General Call, formerly 
the General's aid, now the delegate from the Territory of 
Florida, was much the President's friend and often his com- 

Colonel James Watson Webb, it is evident from the col- 
umns of the Courier and Enquirer^ was kept better advised 
of the secrets of the White House than any other editor out 
of Washington. Colonel Webb, as it chanced, had particu- 
lar relations both with Mr. Van Buren and with Mr. Cal- 
houn. He was a native of the same county as Mr. Van 
Buren, and had long been his friend and supporter. Mr. 
Calhoun, on the other hand, had given Colonel Webb his 
commission in the army, and given it to him in such circum- 
stances, and in such a manner, as secured him the friendship 
and gratitude of the young soldier for life. 

In after times, when the course of political events placed 
the Courier in opposition to Mr. Calhoun, no word disrespect- 
ful to him j)ersonally was admitted into its editorial columns ; 
nor did Colonel Webb ever visit Washington, even at that 
mad period, without calling upon his early benefactor. 




William O'Neal kept at Washington for many years a 
large old-fashioned tavern, where members of Congress, in 
considerable numbers, boarded during the sessions of the na- 
tional legislature. William O'Neal had a daughter, sprightly 
and beautiful, who aided him and his wife in entertaining his 
boarders. It is not good for a girl to grow up in a large 
tavern. Peg O'Neal as she was called, was so lively in her 
deportment, so free in her conversation, that, had she been 
bom twenty years later, she would have been called one of 
the "fast" girls of Washington. A w^itty, pretty, saucy, ac- 
tive tavern-keeper's daughter, who makes free with the in- 
mates of her father's house, and is made free with by them, 
may escape contamination, but not calumny. 

When Major Eaton first came to Washington as a Sen- 
ator of the United States in the year 1818, he took board at 
Mr. O'Neal's tiiveni, and continued to reside there every win- 
ter for ten years. He became acquainted, of coui*se, with the 
family, including the vivacious and attractive Peg. When 
Greneral Jackson came to the city as Senator in 1823, he also 
went to live with the O'Neals, whom he had known in Wash- 
ington before it had become the seat of government. For 
Mrs. O'Neal, who was a remarkably efficient woman, he had 
a particular respect. Even during his presidency, when he 
was supposed to visit no one, it was one of his favorite relax- 
ations, when worn out with business, to stroll with Major 
Lewis across the "old fields" near Washington to the cot- 
tage where Mrs. O'Neal lived in retirement, and enjoy an 
hour's chat with the old lady. Mrs. Jackson, also, during her 
residence in Washington in 182.5, became attached to the 
good Mrs. O'Neal and to her daughter. 

In the course of time Miss O'Neal became the wife of 
purser Timberlake of the United States Navy, and the niother 

1829.] MRS. EATON, 185 

of two children. In 1828 came news that Mr. Timberlake, 
then on duty in the Mediterranean, had cut his throat in a fit 
of melancholy, induced, it was said, by previous intoxication. 
On hearing this intelligence, Major Eaton, then a widower, 
felt an inclination to marry Mrs. Timberlake, for whom he had 
entertained an attachment quite as tender as a man could 
lawfully indulge for the wife of a friend and brother-mason. 
He took the precaution to consult General Jackson on the 
subject. " Why, yes. Major," said the General, " if you love 
the woman, and she will have you, many her by all means." 
Major Eaton mentioned, what the General well knew, that 
Mrs. Timberlake's reputation in Washington had not escaped 
reproach, and that Major Eaton himself was supposed to have 
been too intimate with her. " Well," said the General, 
" your marrying her will disprove these charges, and restore 
Peg's good name." And so, perhaps, it might, if Major 
Eaton had not been taken into the Cabinet. 

Eaton and Mrs. Timberlake were married in January, 
1829, a few weeks before General Jackson arrived at the seat 
of government. As soon as it was whispered about Wash- 
ington that Major Eaton was to be a member of the new 
Cabinet, it occurred with great force to the minds of certain 
ladies, who supposed themselves to be at the head of society 
at the Capital, that, in that case, Peg O'Neal would be the 
wife of a cabinet minister, ^nd, as such, entitled to admission 
into their own sacred circle. Horrible to contemplate ! For- 
bid it, morality ! Forbid it, decency ! Forbid it, General 
Jackson ! 

Among those who were scandalized at the appointment of 
Major Eaton was the Kev. J. N. Campbell, pastor of the 
Presbyterian church in Washington, which the General and 
Mrs. Jackson had both attended, and which, it was supposed. 
President Jackson would attend. Not caring to spe^ik with 
the General himself on the subject, Mr. Campbell communi- 
cated the ill things he had heard of Mrs. Eaton to the Rev. 
E. S. Ely, of Philadelphia, who had known General Jackson 
in his mercantile days, and had come to Washington to wit- 


ness the inauguration of his old friend. Dr. Ely desired to 
converse with General Jackson on the subject, but finding no 
opportunity to do so in Washington, wrote to the General, 
after his return to Philadelphia, a very long letter, in which 
he detailed all the charges he had heard against Mrs. Eaton. 
He informed the President that she had borne a bad reputa- 
tion in Washington from her girlhood ; that the ladies of 
Washington would not speak to her ; that a gentleman, at 
the table of Gadsby's Hotel, was said to have declared that he 
personally knew her to be a dissolute woman ; that Mrs. 
Eaton had told her servants to call her children Eaton, not 
Timberlake, for Eaton was their rightful name ; that a cler- 
gyman of Washington had told Dr. Ely, that a deceased 
physician had told him, that Mrs. Timberlake had had a mis- 
carriage when her husband had been absent a year ; that the 
friends of Major Eaton had persuaded him to board else- 
where, for the sake of getting him away from Mrs. Timber- 
lake ; that Mrs. Jackson henself had entertained the worst 
opinion of Mrs. Timberlake ; that Major Eaton and Mrs. 
Timberlake had traveled together, and recorded their names 
on hotel registers as man and wife, in New York and else- 

For your own sake, said the reverend doctor, for your dead 
wife's sake, for the sake of your administration, for the credit 
of the government and the country, you should not counte- 
nance a woman like this. 

Tliis letter was dated March 18th, 1829. General Jack- 
son replied to it immediately, and in a manner peculiarly 
characteristic. Indeed, all his most peculiar traits were ex- 
hibited in the course of this affair. 


" Washikotox, March 23, 1839. 

*' Dear Sir : Your confidential letter of the 18th instant has been re- 
ceived in the same spirit of kindness and friendship with which it was 

" I must here be permitted to remark that I sincerely regret you did 
not personally name this subject to me before you left Wasliington, as I 


1829.] MBS. EATON. 187 

could, in that event, have apprised you of the great exertions made by Clay 
and his partisans, here and elsewhere, to destroy the character of Mrs. 
Eaton by the foulest and basest means, so that a deep and lasting wrong 
might be inflicted on her husband. I could have given you information 
that would at least have put you on your guard with respect to anonjrmous 
letters, containing slanderous insinuations against female character. If 
8udi evidence as this is to be received, I ask where is the guarantee for 
female character, however moral — however virtuous f 

" To show you how much you have been imposed upon, and how much 
Mrs. E. has been slandered, I am warranted in the positive contradiction 
of the very first charge made against her — ' that she was in ill- fame before 
Mr. Eaton ever saw her* — from the united testimony of the Hon. John 
Bhea, Dr^ Hogg, and others who boarded with Mr. O'Neal, long before 
ICr. Eaton was a member of Congress. If you feel yourself at liberty to 
give the names of those secret traducers of female reputation, I entertain 
no doubt but they will be exposed and consigned to public odium, which 
should ever be the lot of those whose morbid appetite delights in defama- 
tion and slander. 

" As to the information of Mr. ^ of Baltimore, I will barely re- 

maiic that he may be a respectable man ; but surely yon will agree with 
me, that a charge so malignant in its character, unless accompanied with 
indubitable evidence of the criminality of the act, should not have been 
made, and shows him at once to be destitute of those just, manly, and 
diaritable feelings, which should be characteristic of every good and vir- 

toons man. In .contradiction of Mr. *s information to you, I have 

many letters from Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other States, con- 
gratulating me and the nation on the selection of Mr. Eaton as one of my 
Cabinet. Besides these, many members of Congress, and among them the 
leading members of the New York delegation, expressed personally their 
high gratification at his appointment You were assuredly justified in 
stating to my friends that I have no information, nor ever had, on which 
any reliance ought to be placed, of any infamous conduct of Mrs. Eaton. 

" One observation on the bank conversation. The place whore the 
remark was made is sufficient evidence, to my mind, that it emanated from 
Clay or his satellites, with a view of completing what he had Tiere begun. 
I am fully warranted in charging Mr. Clay with circulating these slander- 
ous reports, from information derived from a very intelligent lady, who met 
Mr. Clay and his wife on her way to this city. This lady says Mr. and 
Mrs. Clay spoke in tlie strongest and most unmeasured terms of Mrs. 
Eaton. She inquired of them to know upon what grounds these charges 
reste<]. * Rumor^ mere rumor^' was the answer. So far from this attempt 
to injure Mrs. Eaton on the part of these personages having the eflect 
intended, the lady, as soon as she arrived, sought to become acquainteOk 


with her aud Mr. Eaton. Now, my dear sir. justice to female diaracter, 
justice to me, and justice to Mr. Eaton, require that these secret agents in 
propagating slander should be made known lo Mr. Eaton, that he may be en- 
abled to defend the character of his wife against such vile and unprincipled 
attacks. Would yon, my worthy friend, desire me to add the weight and 
influence of my name, whatever it may be, to assist in crusliing MrsL 
Eaton, who, I do believe, and have a riglit to believe, is a much injured 
woman, and more virtuous than some of her enemies 7 

*' It is due to me to be made acquainted witli the names of those bank 
directors who have dared to throw an imputation on the memory of my 
departed wife. Men who can be base enough to speak thus of the dead, 
are not too good secreiiy to slander the living ; and they deserve, and no 
doubt will receive, the scorn of all good men. Mr. Eaton has been known 
to me for twenty years. His character heretofore, for honesty and moral- 
ity, has been unblemished ; and am I now, for the first time, to change my 
opinion of him, because of the slanders of this city ? Wo know, here, that 
that none are spared. Even Mrs. Madison was assailed by these fiends in 
human shape. Mrs?. Commodore has also been singled out as a vic- 
tim to be sacrificed on Uie altar of defamation, because she left this city 

and traveled precisely in the way agreed on by Commodore , but did 

not promulgate to the gossips here. I speak advisedly in relation to this 

matter, for I have seen a letter from Commodore , giving an cxpos^ 

of tliis whole transaction, justifying his wife's conduct and vindicating her 
innocence. He expresses a determination, when he retiuns to tliis coun- 
try, to investigate the afiair, and punish the defumers of his wife's charac- 
ter ; and I sincerely hope he may live to do it, for I am disgusted even to 
loatliing at the licentious and depraved state of society. It needs puri- 

'* You were badly advised, my dear sir, when informed * that Mrs. 
Jackson, while in Washington, did not fear to put the seal of reprobation 
on such a character as Mi's. Eaton.' Mrs. Jackson, to the last moment of 
her ]il'i\ brlieved Mrs. Eaton to be an innocent and much injured womain, 
so far as relates to the tales about her and Mr. Eaton, and none other ever 
reached her or ine. As Mrs. J. has been introduced into this afiair, and as 
she loved truth while living, and she and myself have taken Uie (illegible) 
Psalm for our guide, to which I refer you, I will give you a concise history 
of the information which I and Mrs. Jackson possessed upon this subject 
First, let me remark that Major O'Neal is a mason, Mr. Timberlakc was a 
mason, and ^Ir. Eaton is a mason ; therefore, every person who is ac- 
quainted with the obligations of masons, must know that Mr. Eaton, as a 
mason, could not have criminal intercourse with another mason's wife, with- 
out being one of the most abandoned of men. The high standing of Mr. 
Eaton, as a man of moral wortii and a mason, gives the lie direct^ in my 

1829.] KB 8. EATON. 189 

ot i matian, to such a charge^ and ought to do it^ unless the fiu^ts of his al- 
leged goOt shall be dearly and unequivocally established, when, should that 
be the oase^ he ought and would be spumed with indignation. 

^ I became acquainted with Major O'Neal in thb dty before Gongrese 
•f«r ait in it I nerer saw him again until 1819, when I Tisited his house 
to pvy my reqpects to Mr. Eaton, who in December preceding took lus 
asBl in the Senate for the first time. In 1823 I again visited the city in 
the character of Senator from Tennessee, and took lodging with Mr. Eaton 
at Major CNeal'Sy when and where I became acquainted with Mr. and 
Mim Timbeiiake. I was there when Mr. Timberlake left this country for 
ikm Mediterraoean, and was present when he took leave of his wife, chil- 
dnn, and fiunily. He parted with them in the most afiectionate manner, 
M he did also with myself and Mr. Eaton. Between him and the latter 
gantleman there appeared to be nothing but friendship and confidence fix>m 
itm first time I saw them at Major O'Neal's, until the day of his departure. 
Wrom the situatioD and proximity of the rooms we occupied, there could 
not have been any illicit intercourse between Mr. Eaton and Mrs. Tim- 
beriake without my having some knowledge of it; and I assure you, sir, 
IImiI I saw nothing, heard nothing which was calculated to excite even the 
4gfateat suspicion. Shortly after Mr. Timberiake left Washington for the 
Maditmanean, I was told in great confidence that it was rumored in the 
a$j that Mr. Eaton and Mrs. Timberlake were too intimate. I met it, as 
I meet aU slandeiB, with a prompt denial, and inquired from what source 
Hm rumor came^'aad found it originated with a female, against whom 
tlMn was as rnndi said as is now said against Mrs. Eaton. This report 
CHBe to the ear of Mrs. Jackson through the same channel ; but to the 
dsj of her death she believed it to be a base slander, as I do at this day. 
Aa to what servants may have said about her telling them not to call her 
sfaBdran Timberiake, but Baton, it is matter of regret to me that you have 
named it My dear sir, if the tales of servants, who become offended by 
being dismissed, are to be believed, what security has your dear wife for 
bar Tirtuoiia character, or that of any other lady ? 

'^ It is reported that* Mr. Timberlake declared Lo would never again 
xetom to this country, in consequence of Mr. Eaton having seduced his 
wife. How can such a tale as this be reconciled with the following facts ? 
While now writing, I turn my eyes to the mantel-piece, where I behold 
• present sent me by Mr. Timberiake of a Turkish pipe, about three weeks 
before his death, and presented through Mr. Eaton, whom in his letter he 
caDs ' his fiiend.' Now, sir, could this be so, if he did really believe Mr. 
Eaton had injured him, or wronged him ? No, I am sure you will say 
it 18 impossible. 

*^ I have not the least doubt but that every secret rumor is circulated 
fagr the minions of Mr. Clay, for the purpose of injuring Mrs. Eaton, and 


through her, Mr. Eaton ; but I assure you that such conduct shall never 
have my aid. 

" When Mrs. E. visits me (she has not done so since the 4th), I shaU 
treat her with as much politeness as I have ever done, believing her vir- 
tuous, at least as much so as the female who first gave rise to the foal tale, 
and as are many of those who traduce her. As to the determination of 
tlic ladies in Washington, I have nothing, nor will I ever have any thing 
to do with it I will not persuade or dissuade any of them from visiting 
Mrs. Eaton, leaving Mrs. Eaton and them to settle the matter in their own 
way ; but I am told that many of the ladies here have waited on her. 

" The villain who could have used such an expression at a public table, 

as has been related to you by Mr. , of New York, ought to have 

been instantly kicked from the table, and that Mr. did not thus treat 

him, instead of telling you of it, does not elevate him much in my esti- 
mation. A man who could be so base and wanton in his conduct would 
not hesitate to slander the most virtuous female in the country, nay, even 
the Saviour, were He on earth. With regard to the tale of the clergyman, 
it seems to me to be so inconsistent witli the charities of the Christian 
religion, and so opposed to the character of an embassador of Christy that 
it gives me pain to read it. Now, my dear friend, why did not this clergy- 
mcin come liimself and tell me this tale, instead of asking you to do it ? 
His not ha\'ing done so, convinces me that he did not beheve it, but was 
willing, through other sources, to spread the vile slander. If he had been 
told this by tlie attending physician himself, ho had nothing to fear from 
giving his name, provided he was a person of responsibility; if he derived 
it from any other source than Uie doctor, he himself became a slanderer. 
Tiie New Testament contains no such uncharitable examples as given by 
our Saviour while a sojourner on earth. I pray you write this clergyman, 
and remind him of the precepts contained in the good old book. If he 
reads it, he will know where to find them. 

'^ I am authorized to say it is untrue that Mr. Eaton ever changed 
his lodgings, from tlie first time he went to Major O'Neal's to the present 
day, except for a few weeks, which was in consequence of his being (m 
several committees much pressed with business, and making it necessary 
for him, a short time, to be near the CapitoL I should like to know the 
names of the members of Congress who saw the names of Mr. Eaton and 
Mrs. Timberlake entered on the tavern register as man and wife, and the 
date of those entries. If my memory serves me correctly, Mr. Eaton 
never traveled in company with Mrs. Timberlake but once, and then her 
husband went along, nor do I believe they went as far as New York ; but 
in this I may be mistaken. But, suppose it to be true, are we to infer 
guilt from tliat circumstance ? If the owner of the house, or his bar- 
keeper, were to place upon their register the names of Mr. and Mrs. Eaton, * 

1829.] MB8. EATON. 191 

what would that prove ? Why, only that they supposed the lady with 
him, on his arrival at the inn, was his wife — a mistake, I will venture to 
say, that often occurs. There is, I expect^ about as much truth in this 
story as the one that informed you, on your arrival at Philadelphia, that 
Mrs. Eaton was to preside at the President's house, or the one that repre- 
sented her as intending to visit your city, in company with Major Lewis, 
to assist in purchasing furniture for the presidential mansion. Now, my 
dear sir, when such a bare-faced and unfounded misrepresentation as this 
can meet you in the teeth, I set down all that has been told you as un- 
worthy entirely of credit 

" Major Lewis will go on shortly to see his daughter, at school in Phil- 
adelphia, and Mrs. Eaton, for aught I know, may go with him, to purchase 
furniture for her own house, as I am told she and Mr. Eaton intend keep- 
ing house. I suppose she has a right to travel, as well as any other person^ 
if she chooses to do so; and if she desires to go under the protection of 
Miyor Lewis, if he nor her husband object, I do not think any other person 
has a right ; but I do not know that she designs going at all — I am inclined 
to think she does not Mrs. Eaton has not been in my house since I moved 
into it, but should she do so, the same attention and respect will be shown 
to her that are shown to others. On my nieces I lay no restriction. I 
only enjoin it on them to treat aU well who may call to see them ; tliey 
are required to visit none but those they may think proper. 

" Permit me now, my dear and highly esteemed fHend, to conclude this 
hasty, and I fear unintelligible scrawl Whilst on the one hand we should 
shun base women as a pestilence of the worst and most dangerous kind 
to society, we ought^ on the other, to guard virtuous female character with 
vestal vigilance. Female virtue is like a tender and delicate flower ; let 
but the breath of suspicion rest upon it, and it withers and perhaps perishes 
forever. When it shall be assailed by envy and malice, the good and the 
pious will maintain its purity and innocence, until guilt is made manifest — 
not by rumors and suapicians, but by facts and proofs brought forth and 
sustained by respectable and fearless witnesses in the face of day. Truth 
shuns not the light ; but falsehood deals in sly and dark insinuations, and 
prefers darkness^ because its deeds are evil. The Psalmist says, * The liar's 
^>ngue we ever hate, and banish from our sight' 

" Your friend, Andrew Jaokson." 

Dr. Ely promptly replied to this formidable letter. He 
was glad to learn, he said, that the President was so sure of 
Mrs. Eaton's innocence, and expressed a hope, that if she had 
done wrong in past times, she would now be restored by re- 
pentance to the esteem of the virtuous. Dr. Ely was, evi- 


192 LIFE OF ANDREW JACE80K. [1829. 

dently, not quite convinced of Mrs. Eaton's immaculate pu- 
rity. The President hastened to renew his eflForts in her 
defense. He wrote again to his reverend friend. 


** Wabbinotov Cirr, April 10. ISA 

" Mt Dkar Sir : I have just received your friendly and frank letter of 
the 4th instant ; and finding tliat you have been badly advised as to some 
matters on the subject under consideration, I am induced once more to 
write you. And first I must remark, that I have always thought repentance 
presupposes the existence of crime, and should have been gratified had you 
pointed to tlie proof of Mrs. Eaton's criminality before you recommended 

" In your letter you say you had been assured by a gallant man that 
the rumors of which you speak, had been communicated to Mrs. Eaton and 
myself. This is not true, unless in confidence, or the information having 
be(Mi given by a lady, as stated to you in my last letter. If 1 am right in 
my conjectures as to the gallant man alluded to, he never did see any thing 
criminal in Mrs. Eaton, as he has always positively assured mo ; and the 
rebuff this gallant gentleman would have met with, if he had related it^ 
would have convinced you that Mrs. Timberlake was not of such easy 
virtue. From that time to the present period they have been unfriendly. 
I think I well know the gentleman alluded to, and if I am not mistaken, 
although I entertain a high opinion of him, yet I do know there is no man 
whose prejudices run higher. 

" I will rel.ite a circumstance which has lately occurred, and then you 
can judge wliether attempts have not been made to destroy Mrs. Eaton's 
character upon mere rumor, unfounded and under secrecy. Soon after 
General Call returned from Philadelphia he communicated to me that he 
had received, confidentiatty, from a high-minded, honorable man, * informa- 
tion of a correspondence in writing between Mr. Eaton and Mr. Timber- 
lake, which fixed on Mr. and Mrs. Eaton positive criminality — and that he 
ha<l seen it.' I replied, as I always had done to the General, that this was 
a positive and unfounded slander, and that he ought to give up the name 
of such a xnUain ; for, said I, pointing to the tobacco-pouch, * thai, with the 
note which accompanied it, is my evidence that Mr. Timberlake had the 
utmost confidence in Mr. Eaton to the day of his death.' I insisted that 
it was due to Mr. Eaton to give him the name of this man, as he was de- 
termined to have justice done himself and lady. But, as lias always been 
the case, the name of this man could not be had, it was in confidence. It 
is thiLS, my dear sir, this and all other slanders are circulated and promoted. 

*' I have since obtained a power of attorney (from Timberlake to Eaton)^ 

1829.] MRS. EATON. 193 

a copy of which I enclose you. Besides this, there are letters of a more 
recent date, expressive of the highest confidence in Mrs. Eaton and of the 
most friendly feeling. Yet it has been stated, and confidently circulatedy 
that the conduct of Mr. Eaton was the cause of Mr. Timberlake's cutting 
his throat! Can any man, disposed to do justice and support truth, believe 
such tales, after reading the enclosed power of attorney and the letters re- 
ferred to ? They afford to my mind the most satisfactory evidence of the 
entire confidence reposed in Mr. Eaton by Mr. Timberlake up to the pe- 
riod of his death. Instead of communicating these slanderous tales to Mr. 
Eaton, they are concealed under the pledges of confidence by those who 
pro/ess friendship for him. I do not wish to be understood as saying that 
these reports have never reached his ear , but I do say, that no one, so far 
as I am advised, has ever said to him, that such a gentleman of high stand' 
mg has taken upon himself the responsibility of charging either Mr. or Mrs. 
Eaton with any act of crimincUitg or even impropriety, I am sure our 
friend General Call has not, but to me he has said such rumors were in cir- 
culation, and when investigated were traced to the female alluded to in my 
last letter. In all Gk^neral Call's conversations with me, and they have 
been frequent and confidential^ he never did intimate any knowledge of 
Mrs. Eaton which was calculated, in my opinion, to cast even a shade of 
sn^icion on her virtue. The very act which gave rise to his suspicions 
was one which, in my judgment, should have given him a more exalted 
opinion of her chastity. 

"Mr. Eaton has very recently understood that the virives of two gentle- 
men in this city, have been speaking disrespectfully of himself and Mrs. 
Eaton, and he has, as it has been intimated to me, with promptness at- 
tended to the matter, and I doubt not tliat their lips will bo hermetically 
sealed for the future. I have often reflected upon myself with some sever- 
ity for ever having received, confidentially, any communication prejudicial 
to tlie character and standing of Mr. Eaton. I have known him for twenty 
vears, without a speck upon his moral character, and my friend General 
Call has always united with me, in expressions of his great moral worth. 
I would then ask you, if such confidence existed between Mr. Eaton and 
Mr. Timberlake, to the day of the death of the latter, as is conclusively 
i^hown by the enclosed power of attorney, and the other evidence referred 
to, would not Mr. Eaton have been the basest man on earth, to have vio- 
late<i his confidence, and severed the ties that exist between masons? His 
general character forbids the idea, and his having taken her as his wife, is 
x>nclusive to my mind that he knew her to be virtuous. If he had been 
oase enough to violate the confidence reposed in him by her husband, and 
to burst the bonds of masonry, he would have left her in disgrace and mis- 
ery, instead of taking an object so vile and so loathsome to his bosom. 
Permit me now to say to you, in the language of sincerity, that I do not 
VOL, III. — 13 


believe there is a beings worthy of belief, that can or will dare to state a 
single facij going to show criminality or a want of virtue in her. Why, 
then, will not these secret slanderers, if they believe what they propagate, 
and have the proof — why not come out boldly, and like men armed with 
truth, be responsible for what they are daily in the habit of seeretiy and 
e(Wi^</cw/Mi% circulating? Truth fears not the open day, but falsehood 
and vile slander delight in darkness, and under the garb of friendship and 
in tlie name of confidence, circulate their poison. 

" I question very much if any one ever told Mr. Eaton more than that 
rumors were afloat injurious to his character, until lately. No individuals 
were ever pointed out as speaking disrespectfully of Mr. Eaton and his 
wife, except the two ladies mentioned above; and from my knowledge of 
the man, I feel confident) tliat so soon as he can trace tliese slanders to any 
responsible source, he will make the individual responsible to him, be be 
who he may. I know he has been most cruelly treated by two men, who^ 
to his face, liave been always most friendly ; and yet by innuendoes behind 
his back, have added to these slanders. 

" The opinion I had of Mrs. Commodore when I last wrote you, 

I still entertain. Afler reading Commodore 's letter to Mr. Skinner 

of Baltimore, I could not give credence to the reports which had been cir- 
culated about her, and my beUef of her innocence has since been strength- 
ened by corroborating statements made to me here. If her father is really 
wealthy, as is stated to be the case by you, he is unworthy of confidence ; 
for in nn apphcation which he has made to me for office, he assures me it 
is made in consequence of his poverty 1 Again you say, * if the Conuno- 
dore would furnish tlic authors of the rumors against his wife he must be- 
gin with her own fatlier,' etc. Now, permit me to say tliat unless you have 

it from Mr. 's own lips, you ought not to beUeve he has been instro- 

mental in circulating these rumors about his daughter. I have received a 
letter from him, in his own hand writing, in which he speaks in the most 
indignant manner of the authors of the slanders against his child, and sol- 
emnly declares his firm conviction of her innocence. 

" I liave been thus explicit, my dear sir, knowing tliat you love the 
trutli, but believing that you have opened your ear to tales which, if I 
judge rightly of the high character you allude to, should never have been 
repeated to you ; for he has either acted treacherously to me, or tdd 
you of things which have no existence. In short, he has told me himself 
that he ii(.*ver did see any act of Mrs. Eaton which was improper, thongh 
he believed her a thoughtless, volatile woman. I have written to the 
gentleman, informing him of the power of attorney, the letters, etc, etc., 
referred to above. From this evidence of confidence on the part of Mr. 
Timberlake in Mr. Eaton, I ask, can you believe such tales, without some 
direct and positive proof of criminahty, and that^ too, from the lips of in- 

1829.] MRS. EATOK. 195 

diTiduals whose standing in society entitled them to credit? Where is 
the witness who has thus come forth in substantiation of these slanderous 
charges? None has yet done so, nor do I believe any will; for I believe 
the reports are entirely destitute of foundation. 

" It puts me in mind (if I may be permitted to refer to the circum- 
stance by way of illustration) of a tale circulated here the other day, to 
wit^ ' that I was seized with spasms in the stomach, which would have 
occasioned my insiarU death, but for the immediate assistance of Dr. Hen- 
derson, who was at hand and saved me.* This was asserted to be an in- 
dubitable fact, and from the lips of Dr. Henderson himself Now, my 
worthy friend, the truth is, I had no spasms, nor had I ever seen or heard 
of Dr. Henderson before, to the best of my recollection. But still the 
tale was told, and confidently believed to be true. It was repeated in 
the presence and hearing of my friend, Mrs. Love, who promptly contra- 
dicted it ; but she was met with the reply, * I have it from the mouth of 
Dr. Henderson himself; it must be true.' Thus it is with most of the 
tales, rumors, and surmises, which are put in circulation by the gossips of 
the world. Unless I am greatly mistaken, when all the facts and circum- 
stances connected with this attempt to destroy Mr. Eaton, and blast the 
reputation of his wife, are brought to light, it will be found, in point of 
malignity and wickedness, to have few parallel cases. 

" Please present me most kindly to your amiable wife, and believe 
roe to be sincerely your friend, Andrew Jackson." 

These letters convey but a faint idea of the interest felt 
by General Jackson in the vindication of the lady. He sent 
a gentleman to New York to investigate the hotel-register 
story. He wrote so many letters and statements in relation 
to this business that Major Lewis was worn out with the 
nightly toil of copying. The entire mass of the secret and 
confidential writings relating to Mrs. Eaton, all dated in the 
summer and autumn of 1829, and most of them originally in 
General Jackson's hand, would fill about eighty-five of these 
pages. And besides these, there was a large number of papers 
and documents not deemed important enough for preserva- 
tion. To show the zeal and energy of General Jackson in 
the defense of a friend, I will append a catalogue of the 
papers preserved : 

1. Letter of Dr. Ely to the President, stating the rumors. 
2. The President's reply, given above. 3. Dr. Ely to the 


President. 4. The President's second letter to Dr. Ely, given 
above. 5. Copy of purser Timberlake's power of attorney to 
Major Eaton. 6. A large batch of certificates by Timber- 
lake's shipmates, showing that the purser had always spoken 
most affectionately of his wife and children, and had cut his 
throat in a fit of gloom, caused by dissipation on shore. 7. 
Dr. Ely to the President ; says he is going to New York to 
inquire into the conduct of the lady there. 8. Dr. Ely to the 
President ; says he has been to New York, and there is no 
truth in the stories. 9. Rev. J. N. Campbell to the Presi- 
dent ; begs him not to throw the weight of his great influ- 
ence against him in his difference with Major Eaton. 10. 
The President to Rev. J. N. Campbell ; says he will not, 
11. Rev. J. N. Campbell to the President ; he is glad to hear 
it. 12. A narrative by the President, duly signed and at- 
tested, of an interview between himself and the Rev. J. N. 
Campbell, which narrative the reader shall have the pleasure 
of perusing. 13. A finishing letter from the President to the 
Rev. J. N. Campbell. 16. Fifteen certificates of Mrs. Eaton's 
good character, addressed to the President, in reply to in- 
quiries by him. 17. A correspondence between Major Eaton 
and the Rev. J. N. Campbell. 

All this, and much more, in the first months of a new 
administration ! General Jackson, indeed, made the cause 
his o^vn, and brought to the defense of Mrs. Eaton all the 
fire and resolution with which, forty years before, he had si- 
lenced every whisper against Mrs. Jackson. He considered 
the cases of the two ladies parallel. His zeal in behalf of 
Mrs. Eaton was a manifestation or consequence of his wrath 
against the calumniators of his wife. 

The General was so urgent in demanding of Dr. Ely the 
names of the i)ersons who had spoken ill of Mrs. Eaton, that 
the doctor wrote, at length, to Mr. Campbell, advising him 
to call upon the President, and tell him all he knew. Mr. 
Campbell, in consequence, sought an interview with General 
Jackson. What transpired on this occasion the General 
deemed so important, that he wrote out for preservation a 


1829.] MBS. SATOK. 197 

statement of it, with an account of the proceedings to which 
the interview led. 


'<BE IT REMEMBERED, that on Tuesday evening, the 1st of Sep- 
tember, 1829, 1 was in mj parlor, when the door-keeper came to, and in- 
formed me, that the Reverend Mr. Campbell wanted an interview with me 
in my office. I went immediately up to my office, where I found Mr. 
Campbell and Major Donelson. Major Donelson having retired, Mr. 
Campbell observed, he supposed I knew his business, or the object of his 
business with me. I assured him that I did not He then said that he had 
received a letter from Dr. Ely, which made it proper for him to inform me 
that he was the Presbyterian preacher or clergyman alluded to in Dr. Ely's 
letter to me, as having given the information relative to the iale of the de- 
ceased doctor, upon the subject of the miscarriage of Mrs. Timberlake, now 
Mrs. Eaton, in the absence of her husband, under circumstances which 
made it manifest that the child could not be his, as related to me in a let- 
ter from Dr. Ely. I was much astonished at this avowal, and replied that 
it was the first intimation I ever had that he was the Presbyterian clergy- 
man who gave currency, through Dr. Ely, to this viU icUe^ and assured him 
that I never had the least suspicion of his being the author, and that in 
paasiug the subject through my mind, I had done injustice to another, for 
which I was sorry, although I had never named him to any one. 

" Mr. Campbell then read to me part of Dr. Ely*s letter, and entered into 
an explanation of his motives for not having made his communication di- 
rectly to me. Ho said he knew Dr. Ely was my friend, and he wished 
me to be informed of those charges against Mrs. Eaton before I appointed 
Major Eaton a member of my Cabinet ; that he had enjoined on Mr. Ely 
secrecy ; that he considered it confidential, and charged him, tliat if he did 
not give it to my own ear, not to lisp it to any one. It was upon this 
condition alone that Mr. Ely was authorized to give up his name to me. 
He complained that Dr. Ely had not treated him well in communicating 
the information to otlicrs, and particularly to Mrs. Eaton. 

To which I replied, I regretted that either he or Dr. Ely had not come 
directly to me with the tale, before Dr. Ely left Washington. If they had 
done so, I told him, I could easily have shown them the falsehood of 
some of the charges contained in Dr. Ely's letter to me, and would have 
pointed out to them some of the unhappy consequences tliat must now 
inevitably take place. I told him that I never had beard of this tale, cir- 
culated as coming from a dead doctor, before I read it in Dr. Ely's letter ; 
that I was surprised Dr. Ely had not told him he had advised me in a 
confidential note, the Saturday before he lefl Washington, not to be drawn 


from my delerminatiQD of appointing Mr. Euton a member of my Cabinet, 
as his talents and my confidence in liim made it uecessary for me Vj liave 
him near me. Tliis I had determined on, and when next I saw bim, told 
him that I could not be shaken in my purpose ; that Major Eaton came 
into my Cabinet by my persuasion, and not fr<»n his own choice ; that I 
knew liim intimately for twenty years and upward, and beUered his 
moral character to be without a blot 

" Mr. Campbell then detailed tlie information derived from this dead 
doctor, whom he called by the name of Craven. 

*' The manner of his relating the circnmstances drew my particular at- 
tention, and I observed to him, as soon as he had gotten through, that this 
dead doctor tale was to me, in itself, incredible. As related by Mr. Camp- 
bell it is substantially as follows : — ' The doctor told him that he had been 
called to Mrs. Timberlake as a physician, in consequence of her having 
been thrown from her carriage and much hurt ; that when he entered the 
room where Mrs. Timberlake and an old woman were, they broke out into 
a loud laugh, and told him he was too late — that Mrs. Timberlake had 
miscarried, and he had lost his job ; that Mr. Timberlake had been so long 
absent from home, that it was well known that the infant could not have 
been his/ 

" I drew Mr. Campbell's attention to the absurdity of this story as re- 
lated, and asked him if he had ever thought of the dilemma in which the 
dead doctor would be placed for kUiiig such a iaUj and he for believing 
and reporting it. 1 asked him if he did not know that doctors were pro- 
hibited by law from revealing the secrets of a sick bed, and if he did not 
suppose this doctor would be considered a base man and unworthy of 
credit^ the moment this story was presented to the public. I told him the 
honorable, moral, and religious part of the community would have no con- 
fidence in the representations of such a man, and that he would be held 
responsible for it, inasmuch as he had avowed himself the author of its cir- 

" Mr. Campbell then observed, he believed that he (the doctor) had 
stated tliat he accidentally happened in, and had not be^n sent for as a 

" I told Mr. Campbell it was still more absurd to suppose that a mar- 
ried woman, so long absent from her husband tliat every one must know 
the child could not be his, would so wantonly publish her own disgrace 
and infamy to the world, when she had no need of a physician in her 
private chamber. This version of the story, I observed to him, was too 
absurd and ridiculous, as well as inconsistent with every principle and 
feeling of human nature, to be believed even by the most orgulous ; and 
tliat I was astonished a man of his good sense could, for one moment, 
give credence to it, and particularly as it involved the character of a lady. 

1829.] MRS. EATON. 199 

I then inquired of Mr. Campbell what date the dead doctor had given to 
this transaction — the date being important 

« He replied, in 1821. 

" I asked him if he was aware of the situation he would be placed in 
i^ on inquiry, it should appear that Mr. Timberlake was in this country, 
and never out of it in 1821. 1 told him I was under the impression 
that it would so appear, whenever examined into ; that I was induced to 
believe he had not been absent from the United States from the close 
of the war until 1824; that I had understood he was detained here 
prosecuting a claim against the government for property thrown overboard 
by Commodore Decatur previous to the capture of the frigate President 
Having lost his vouchers, he was unable to settle his accounts, and, therefore, 
being considered a defaulter, could not get public employment 

" Mr. Campbell replied that Mr. Timberlake, from the information of 
the Doctor, must have been absent in that year. 

" I answered it was my opinion he would find himself mistaken, and 
it would be well for him to make inquiry, and as a Christian and preacher 
of the Gospel, it would be his duty, if he found he had been mistaken in 
this information, to repair the injury he had done female character by say- 
ing to Mrs. Eaton, and to the world, that on inquiry he found there was 
no truth in the tale of his dead Doctor. Justice and Christianity, I told 
him, demanded this of him. 

'' Afler some further conversation on the subject of Mrs. Timberlake 
visiting his family, and the visit being returned, and that a friendly inter- 
course was kept up between the two families, until Dr. Craven gave him 
the information relative to the abortion, when all intercourse ceased, I 
asked Mr. Campbell why he did not, when he received this information, 
and before he terminated the friendly relation which had subsisted between 
his family and Mrs. Timberlake, go to her and inform her of this vile iaU^ 
and the name of the person from whom he had received it, and say to her 
that she must remove this stain upon her character, or all intercourse be- 
tween them must cease. This, I told him, was what I thought he, as a 
Christian, ought to have done, pursuing the golden rule of doing to othei-s 
as we would they should do unto us. This would have given her an op- 
portunity of showing her innocence , or, if she failed, then, with a clear 
conscience, he and his family could have withdrawn from her society. 

^* The date having been given by Mr. Campbell, as stated by the dead 
doctor, it being an important fact by which to judge of the truth or false- 
hood of tliis dory, I at once determined to liave inquiry made .'is to where 
Mr. Timberlake was in all the year 1821 ; and while ruminating on this 
subject, Major VV. B. Lewis came into my office and inquired relative to 
Mr. Campbell's business with me (he having been in the parlor below 
when the doorkeeper told me the Rev. Mr. Campbell wished to have a 


private interview with me). I told him Mr. Campbell came to avow him- 
self to be the clergyman alluded to in Dr. Ely's lotter to me, who had in- 
formed him (Ely) of the reported miscarriage of Mrs. Timbcrlake, when it 
was well known the child could not be her husband's, in consequence of liis 
long absence from the country ; and that Mr. Campbell had affixed to tliis 
transaction a date — 1821. This. I observed, was tangible, and by it the 
truth or falsehood of tlie tale might be tested. I requested Major Lewis 
to ascertain, if it Avas practicable to do so, where ilr. Timberlake was in 
all tliat year, assuring him that I was convinced, in my own mind, and had 
so said to Mr. Campbell, that Mr. Timbcrlake was here during the whole 
year 1821 ; that I had never heard of his leaving the United States until 
the spring of 1824; that I had seen him at Mr. O'Neal's in the winter of 
1823 and 1824, and was there when he took leave of his family, prepara- 
tory to a cruise up the Mediterranean. 

" On the evening of the 2nd of September, instant. Major Lewis in- 
formed me that he had made the inquiry, as requested by me, and had 
learned that Mr. Timberlake was a merchant in tliis city about that time, 
and that his books were now in tlio possession of Mrs. Eaton, wliich, if 
looked into, would in all probability show where he was during the year 
1821. I resolved to go and examine the books myself, and on the same 
evening — 2nd September — I accordingly went up to Major Eaton's. 

" On entering the parlor, I found no one there but John Henderson, 
Major Eaton's nephew, who informed me that his uncle was up stairs with 
his aunt, who was very sick. I desired him to go up and request his uncle 
to come below, as I Avanted to see him. Major Eaton came down and in- 
vited me to walk up and see Mrs. Eaton. I did so, and found her very HI 
and in bed. After a short conversation with her, and being informed of 
an inU^rview ha<:l with Mr. Campbell on that day, I asked Mrd. Eaton if 
she had the mercantile books of Mr. Timberlake in her possession. She 
said she had. 1 desired to know if she would permit me to see them. 
She said not only me, but any one. I then went down stairs to the par- 
lor, wore the books were brought to me, and I examined (hem. I soon 
found from entries — said to be in the handwriting of Mr. Timberlake — 
that he was in tliis country and in this city tliroughout the year 1821. 
Before leaving Major Eaton's, I took extracts from the books of Dr. 
Sim's and Major O'Neal's accounts, to show Mr. Campbell, and to prove to 
him that Mr. Timberlake must liave been here in that year, and as late as 
February, 1822, as the entries were made in his own handwriting. 

"I was convinced in my own mind that on exhibiting this proof to 
Mr. Campbell, he wolud at once see the cruelty of this charge, as made by 
his dead doctor, and the injustice done Mrs. Eaton, and would so declare 
to Mrs. Eaton and all others. I, tliercfore, on my return home, requested 
Major Donelson to wait upon Mr. Campbell, and having heard that CoL, 

1829.] MRS. EATOK. 201 

Towson, by request of Mr. Campbell, was present at the interview between 
the hitter gentleman and Major Eaton and his lady, on the 2d instant, I 
desired Major Donelson to request the Colonel to accompany Mr. Camp- 
bell and be present at the interview I wished to have with him. 

" Agreeably to my request, the Rev. Mr. Campbell called at my office 
on the morning of the 3d inst, when an interview was had in the pres- 
ence of Col Towson and Major Donelson. Ailer stating to Mr. Campbell 
and Col. Towson the reason which had induced me to request tliis meet- 
ingy it being in consequence of a conversation had with Mr. Campbell, at 
his own request^ on the 1st inst, I stated the result of my inquiry as to 
the fact where Mr. Timbcrlake was in the year 1821, and having the 
proof in my hand, observed that it' evidenced, beyond all contradiction, 
that the tale of the dead doctor could not be true. I further observed that 
if any doubts existed as to the entries being in the handwriting of Mr. 
l^berlake, the books could be seen, and that fact clearly ascertained. 

" Mr. Campbell then said, I must have misunderstood him as to the 

" I replied, I could not ; he must recollect, at the time he made the 
statement^ how earnestly I brought to his view the dilemma in which he 
would be placed if, at the date given to this transaction, Mr. Timberlake 
should be proved to be in this country. Notvirithstanding tliis, he (then) 
BtiU persisted in the declaration of Mr. Timberlake*s absence in that year. 

** He, however, now maintained that I had mistaken him as to the 

" I again told him as positively I had not. I then asked him to give 
a date to the transaction, if it was not in 1821. He refused. I replied, 
that the date being all important, for on this depended the innocence or 
guilt of the lady, I requested that he would give to it a date. He did not 
and would not After taking out some papers, and looking over them, ho 
said Mr. Timberlake was absent, from his memoranda, in the autumn of 

" I observed to him that there was neither justice nor Christianity in 
making a charge which goes to the destruction of female character, with- 
out affixing to it a date, by which truth or falsehood could be tested. Still, 
however, Mr. Campbell, in his last interview, {)ositively refuso(l to give a 
date, although in his first he had given 1821, and insisted that Mr. Tim- 
berlake must have been absent Col. Towson and Major Donelson being 
present, their written statement is referre<l to as cxj)lauatory of what was 
further said at this interview — being on the 3d instant. 

" I will barely add, in conclusion, that Mr. Campbell stated he had 
employed Mr. Key as counsel, who had told him his proof was sufficient 
He further said his statement would be corroborated by the evidence of 
the mother and wife of Dr. Craven. I cautioned him not to be too san- 


guine with regard to his proofs. He said that he and Col. Towson had 
seen the mother and wife of Dr. Craven that morning, etc., etc. 

" This statement is made from memoranda in writing, taken immedia- 
tely after the conversation took place, firom day to day ; and although the 
very words may not be given, I am certain the whole, as far as I have 
attempted to state the conversation, is substantially correct 

" Andrew Jackson." 


*' P. 8. — I requested Mr. Campbell to explain his motives in coming 
to me to avow himself as the author of this secret slander against Mrs. 
Eaton ; but this he failed satisfactorily to do. It was well known that I 
had been long and intimately acquainted with Major Eaton, knew his 
worth, and was satisfied that a blemish did not rest upon his moral charac- 
ter. Why he did not go to Mr. Eaton with it, who was here, I can not 
teU. He was the person who should have been informed of this slander, 
and especially as both Mr. Campbell and Dr. Ely acknowledged to me in 
the presence of my cabinet, Mr. Van Buren, Mr. Ingham, Mr. Branch, Mr. 
Barry, and Mr. Berrian, and also Major Lewis and Major Donelson, that 
they entirely acquitted Major Eaton of the charge of improper or criminal 

" Why this persecution of Mrs. Eaton — the motives which induced to 
such conduct — I leave to the decision of the moral and Christian world. 
Mrs. Eaton is the wife of Major Eaton, which is the strongest evidence 
he can give in her virtue. Does Mr. Campbell wish to separate man and 
wife by his false tales? Surely this is not the doctrine taught by our 
Saviour, and which, if he reads his Bible, he may find in every page of 
that sacred book. 

" Andrew Jackson." 

The postscript to General Jackson's statement was evi- 
dently added some days after the date affixed to the body of 
the narrative, because the postscript alludes to a cabinet 
council held on the 10th of September. This council the 
President invited Mr. Campbell to attend in the following 
letter : . 


**WASBnfOTOH, September 10th, 1829. 

" Dear Sir : After our interview in the presence of Colonel Towson 
and Major Donelson, Mr. Key sought one with me, in which he submitted 
certain propositions as the basis of an accommodation of the existing diffi- 
culty between yourself and Major Eaton, the result of which was nothing 

1839.] HB8. BATOK. 203 

inor^ thaa an agreement to saepend any further action npon the eubjeot 
ontil the aniTal of Mr. My, who was to be requested to yisit this plaoe im- 

** Ht. Ely has since arrived, but I do not peroeire, notwithstanding 
your fiulure as far as I am informed, to sustain the ohaige against Mrs. 
Eaton's character, that you are disposed to make those acknovidedgments 
whidi, it occnrs to me, an ambassador of Christ ought) on such an occasion, 
lo make. Ttus being the fiust^ and judging from your letter oi the 5th, and 
from insinuations made to me by Mr. Ely in regard to the supposed reluo- 
tanoe of certain clerks to testify in the case, that my relation to it has been 
cr may be misconceived, I have determined to call my Cabinet together 
tfus evening at 7 o'ckxsk, when I have asked Mr. Ely to attend, and will 
be happy also if you wiU, for the purpose of disclosing to them what has 
happened ; so that whatever may be the course oi the affiur hereafter, no 
misonderstanding of my motives and agency in it, therefore, may exist 

^ Having ever entertained the highest regard for the moral diaracter 
of Mr. Eaton, I brought him into my Cabinet, with the fullest persuasion 
that the catne of virtue and religion, which it has been my pride through 
fifb to support^ would be benefited by iL I wanted no information to satitrfy 
me of the purity of his character. As my friend, years of intimacy and ex- 
perience with him, supplied the most abundant evidence of it ; but a differ- 
ent sentiment, entertained by others, has been obtruded upon me, in a 
manner which, I must say, invariably excited my distrust of its sincerity. 
In this I may be wrong, but the golden rule which requires us to do to 
others what we vrould have others do to us^ seems to me so plainly to 
have required that the cause of such a sentiment should have first been 
communicated to Mr. Eaton, that I cau not yet give up this distrust 

*' It can only be removed by the complete establishment of the fact 
npon which they have been supposed to rest their belief of his criminal in- 
tercourse with Mrs. Timberlake, and until this is done, justice to her, to 
myself^ and Uie country, requires that afler the proposed council with my 
Cabinet, I should bold no future conversation with yourself or any one else, 
in reUtion to this subject Your obedient servant, 

** Andrew Jackson."* 

What occurred at the meeting of the Cabinet in the even- 
ing, Oeneral Jackson did not think proper to have recorded. 
From other 8omx>es I learn some particulars. 

The members of the Cabinet, Dr. Ely, and Mr. Campbell 
assembled, the President opened the proceedings with 

* All these documents are from the MSS. of Miyor Wm. B. Lewia 


an address upon the meanness of calumny, and concluded by 
giving an account of the late investigations. The dispute 
between himself and Mr. Campbell upon the date of the al- 
leged miscarriage was renewed with much acrimony. Mr. 
Campbell declared that he had not intended to give the year 
1821 as the precise date of Dr. Craven's story. He had seen, 
that very morning, the Avidow and the daughter of Dr. Craven, 
who both confirmed his previous statement, and agreed that 
1826 was the year when the damning event occurred. The 
President still insisted that Mr. Campbell had irrevocably 
committed himself to the year 1821. He further declared 
that Dr. Craven's wife and daughter had given two versions 
of the "dead-doctor tale," which were irreconcilable. The 
President would not hear Mr. Campbell further on that point. 
He had originally said 1821, and by 1821 he must abide. 

The President, then turned to the other charges. " As to 
the allegation," said he, " that Mrs. Jackson had an unfavor- 
able opinion of Mrs. Timberlake, I declare of my own knowl- 
edge that it is false." The charge that Major Eaton and 
Mrs. Timberlake passed the night together in a New York 
hotel dwindled first, said the President, into a story that they 
Lad been seen on a bed together, and, afterward, that they 
had been seen sitting on a bed together. He called upon Dr. 
Ely to state the result of his inquiries in New York. 

The reverend gentleman told his story, and concluded by 
saying that there was no evidence to convict Major Eaton of 
improper conduct. 

" Nor Mrs. Eaton either," broke in the President. 

" On that point," said the Doctor, " I would rather not 
give an opinion." 

" She is as chaste as a virgin !" exclaimed the President. 

When Dr. Ely had finished his narrative, Mr. Campbell 
asked to be allowed to say a few words in his own justifica- 
tion. He declared that, in all that he had done, his object 
htid been to save the administration of General Jackson from 
reproach, and the morals of the country from conttimination. 
He hiid communicated nothing to the opponents of the ad- 

1829.] MB8. BATON. 205 

ministration. He conceived that the evidence which had 
been elicited justified him in the course he had deemed it 
light to pursue. 

As he was proceeding to remark upon the evidence. Gen- 
eral Jackson interrupted him with marked asperity of man- 
ner, saying that he had been summoned thither to give 
evidence, not discuss it. 

Mr. Campbell then said : " I perceive that I have mis- 
taken the object of the invitation to come here ; that it was 
not to give me an opportunity of saying any thing in my 
justification. I have therefore only to say, that I stand 
leady to prove, in a court of justice, all I have said, and more 
than I have said, or would have dared to say three days 

He then bowed to the council and retired. The council 
broke up soon after, and the President deemed Mrs. Eaton a 
vindicated woman. It is needless to say, that the church 
over which the Bev. Mr. Campbell presided was no longer 
favored with the attendance of the President of the United 

Whether the efforts of the President had or had not the 
eSset of convincing the ladies of Washington that Mrs. Eaton 
was worthy of admission into their circle, shall in due time 
be related. Upon a point of that nature ladies are not con- 
vinced easily. Meanwhile, the suitors for presidential favor 
are advised to make themselves visible at the lady's receptions. 
A card in Mrs. Eaton's card basket, is not unlikely to be a 
winning card. 




Constitution makers do all they can to support the 
weakness of human virtue when subjected to the temptations 
of power and place. But virtue can not be dispensed with 
in this world. No system of " checks and Mances" can be 
made so jx^rfect but that much must be left, after all, to the 
honor of governing persons. 

Among the powers entrusted to the honor of presidents 
of the United States was the dread power of removing from 
office, without trial or notice, the civil employees of the gov- 
ernment. In the army and navy, no officer can 1k3 cashiered, 
no ])rivate dismissed, without trial — without being heard in 
his defense. In the civil service of the country, every man 
holds his i)lace at the will of the head of government. 

This fearful power over the fortunes of individuals and 
the happiness of families, is held, necessarily, in our present 
imperfect civilization, by a large number of persons in private 
life ; and it is one of the ten thousand proofs of the inherent 
loving-kindness of human nature, that this power is generally 
exercised with a considerable regard for the feelings, the ne- 
cessities, and the rights of the employed. The claim of old 
servants to indulgence and protection is almost universally 
recognized. The right of a person about to be dismissed 
from an employment to as long a notice of dismission before- 
hand as can be conveniently given, few persons are unfeeling 
enough to deny. The good policy of h(;lding out to the 
faithful employee the prospect of a permanent retention of 
his place, and his promotion, by and by, to a better, no one 
but a politician has been foolish enough to question.' 

It does not appear to have occurred to the gentlemen who 
formed the Constitution under which we live, that there could 
ever be a President of the United States who would abuse the 
1)0 wer of removal. His own responsibility for the conduct 


of those whom he appointed was supposed to be sufficient to 
make him careful to appoint the right men to the right 
places ; and his feelings, as a man and a gentleman, were 
deemed an adequate protection to those right men in their 
right places. 

It is delightful to observe with what a scrupulous consci- 
entiousness the early Presidents of this republic disposed of 
the places in their gift. Washington set a noble example. 
He demanded to bo satisfied on three points with regard to an 
applicant for office : Is he honest ? Is he capable ? Has he 
the confidence of his fellow-citizens ? Not till these ques- 
tions were satisfactorily answered did he deign to inquire re- 
specting the political opinions of a candidate. Private friend- 
ship between the President and an applicant was absolutely 
an obstacle to his appointment, so fearful was the President 
of being swayed by private motives. " My friend/' he says, 
in one of his letters, " I receive with cordial welcome. He 
is welcome to my house, and welcome to my heart ; but with 
all his good qualities he is not a man of business. His oppo- 
nent, with all his politics so hostile to jne, is a man of busi- 
ness. My private feelings have nothing to do in the case. I 
am not George Washington, but President of the United 
States. As George Washington, I would do this man any 
kindness in my power — as President of the United States, I 
can do nothing." 

There spoke the man wlio was a gentleman to the core 
of his heart. 

If General Washington would not appoint a friend be- 
cause he was a friend, nor a partisan because he was a parti- 
san, still loss was he capable of removing an enemy because 
he was an enemy, or an opponent because he was an oppo- 
nent. During his administration of eight years, he removed 
nine persons from office ; namely, six unimportant collectors, 
one district surveyor, one vice-consul, and one foreign minis- 
ter. We all know that he recalled Mr. Pinckney from Paris 
because that conservative gentleman was offensive to the 


French Directory. The other dismissals were all " for cause." 
Politics had nothing to do with one of them. 

The example of General Washington was followed by his 
successors. John Adams doubted, even, whether it was 
strictly proper for him to retain his son in a foreign employ- 
ment to which President Washington had appointed him. 
He removed nine subordinate officers during his presidency ; 
but none for political opinion's sake. JeflFerson, owing to 
peculiar circumstances well known to readers of history, re- 
moved thirty-nine persons ; but he himself repeatedly and 
solemnly declared, that not one of them was removed because 
he belonged to the party opposed to his own. The contrary 
imputiition he regarded in the light of a calumny, and re- 
futed it as such. In one respect Mr. JeflFerson was even over 
scrupulous. He would not appoint any man to office, how- 
ever meritorious, who was a relative of his own. Mr. Madi- 
son made five removals ; Mr. Monroe, nine ; Mr. John 
Quincy Adams, two. Mr. Calhoun tells us,* that during the 
seven years that he held the f)ffice of Secretory of War only 
two of his civil subonUnates were removed, both for improper 
conduct. In both cases, he adds, the charges were investi- 
gated in the presence of the accused, and " the officers were 
not dismissed imtil after full investigation, and the reason 
of dismission reduced to writing and communicated to them."t 
Colonel McKenney mentions, in his " Memoirs," that when a 
vacancy occuiTed in one of the departments, the chief of that 
department would inquire among his friends for " a qualified" 
person to fill it. 

Nor was this scrupulousness due to any lack of aspirants 
for governmental employment. Mr. John Quincy Adams 
says, in one of his letters, that he was tormented with cease- 
less, with daily applications for office. In the last year of 

♦ Works of John C. Calhoun, ii., 439. 

f " Napoleon was a despot, it is said ; yet he never dismissed any one finom 
public office without an inc^uiry and report of fuct^ and rarely ever withoat 
hearing the accused functionary : never when the questions iuYolvod were cinl 
c;> ud mini strati ve." — yapoleonic Ideas, By Ijouis Napoleon, 


Mr. Monroe's presidency, when the fourth auditorship of the 
treasury fell vacant, there were, among the army of appli- 
cants for the place, five United States Senators and thirty 
members of the House of Representatives !* 

Up to the hour of the delivery of General Jackson's in- 
angural address, it was supposed that the new President would 
act upon the principles of his predecessors. In his Monroe 
letters he had taken strong ground against partisan appoint- 
ments, and when he resigned his scat in the Senate he had 
advocated two amendments to the constitution designed to 
limit and purify the exercise of the appointing power. One 
of these proposed amendments forbade the reelection of a 
President, and the other the appointment of members of 
Congress to any office not judicial. 

The sun had not gone down upon the day of his inaugu- 
ration before it was known in all official circles in Washing- 
ton that the ^' reform" alluded to in the inaugural address 
meant a removal from office of all who had conspicuously op- 
posed, and an appointment to office of those who had con- 
spicuously aided the election of the new President. The 
work was promptly begun. Figures arc not important here, 
and the figures relating to this matter have been disputed. 
Some have declared that during the first yeiir of the presi- 
dency of General Jackson two thousand persons in the civil 
employment of the government were removed from office, and 
two thousand partisans of the President appointed in their 
stead. This statement has been denied. It can not be de- 
nied that in the first month of this administration more re- 
movals were made than had occurred from the foundation 
i»f the government to that time. It can not be denied that 
the principle was now acted upon that partisan services 
should be rewarded by public office, though it involved the 
removal from office of competent and faithful incumbents. 
CoL Benton will not be suspected of overstating the facts 
respecting the removals, but he admits that their number. 

o N. T. American, April 3, 1824. 
VOL. III. — 14 


during this year, 1829, was six hundred and ninety. He ex- 
presses himself on this subject with less than his usual 
directness. His estimate of six hundred and ninety does not 
include the little array of clerks and others who were at the 
disposal of some of the six hundred and ninety. The esti- 
mate of two thousand includes all who lost their places in 
consequence of General Jackson's accession to power ; and, 
though the exact number can not be ascertained, I presume 
it was not less than two thousand. Col. Benton says that 
of the eight thousand postmasters, only four hundred and 
ninety-one were removed ; but he does not add, as he might 
have added, that the four hundred and ninety-one vacated 
places comprised nearly all in the department that were 
worth having. Nor does he mention that the removal of the 
postmasters of half a dozen great cities was equivalent to 
the removal of many hundreds of clerks, book-keepers, and 

General Hanison, who had courteously censured (General 
Jackson's course in the Seminole war, who had warmly de- 
fended his friend, Henry Clay, against the charge of bargain 
and corruption, was recalled from Colombia just four days 
after General Jackson had acquired the power to recall him. 
General Harrison had only resided in Colombia a few weeks 
when he received the news of his recall. A Kentuckian, who 
was particularly inimical to Mr. Clay, was sent out to take 
his place. 

The appointment of a soldier so distinguished as Greneral 
Harrison to represent the United States in the infant repub- 
lic of Colombia was I'cgarded by the Colombians as a great 
honor done them, and an emphatic recognition of their dis- 
puted claim to a place among the nations. A purer patriot, 
a worthier gentleman, than General William Henry Harrison, 
has not adorned the public service of his country. His sin- 
gular merits as a scholar, as a man of honor, as a soldier, and 
i\a a statesman, were only obscured by the calumny and eolo- 
gium incident to a presidential campaign. My studies of 


1829.] TSBBOB AMONG O FF IC E-HOLD EB 8 . 211 

the Indian affiiirs of the country have given me the highest 
idea of his valor, skill, and humanity. 

Samuel Swartwout was among the expectants at Wash- 
ington — an easy, good-natured man ; most inexact and even 
reckless in the management of business ; the last man in the 
whole world to be intrusted with millions. He had hopes of 
the coUectorship of New York. On the fourteenth of March 
he wrote from Washington to his friend, Jesse Hoyt, to let 
him know how he was getting on, and to give Hoy t the bene- 
fit of his observations — ^Hoyt himself being a seeker. " I 
hold to your doctrine fully," wrote Swartwout, " that no 
d d rascal who made use of his office or its profits for the 
purpose of keeping Mr. Adams in, and General Jackson out 
of power, is entitled to the least lenity or mercy, save that of 
hanging. So we think both alike on that head. Whethei 
or not I shall get any thing in the general scramble for plun- 
der, remains to be proven ; but I rather guess I shall. What 
it will be is not yet so certain ; perhaps keeper of the Ber- 
gen lighthouse. I rather think Massa Pomp stands a smart 
chance of going somewhere, perhaps to the place you have 
named, or to the denl. Tour man, if you want a place, is 
Col. Hamilton''^ — ^he being now the second officer in the 
government of the Union, and in all probability our next 
President. Make your suit to him, then, and you will get 
what you want. I know Mr. Ingham slightly, and would 
recommend you to push like a devil if you expect any thing 
from that quarter. I can do you no good in any quarter of 
the world, having mighty little influence beyond Hoboken. 
The great goers are the new men ; the old troopers being all 
spavined and ring-boned from previous hard travel. I've 
got the hots, the fet-lock, hip-joint, gravel, halt, and found- 
ers ; and I assure you if I can only keep my own legs, I 
shall do well ; but I'm darned if I can carry any weight with 
me. When I left home, I thought my nag sound and strong, 
bot the beast is rather broken down here. I'll tell you more 

* Acting Secretarj of Stato until the arrival of Mr. Van Buron. 


about it when I see you in Xew York. In seriousness, my 
dear sir, your support must come from Mr. Van Buren and 
Mr. Col. Hamilton ; I could not help you any more than 
your clerk."* 

The President, distracted with the number of applica- 
tions for the New York collectorship, and extremely fond of 
the man who had * pushed like a devil,' a quarter of a century 
before at Richmond, gave Swartwout the place. Upon his 
return to New York, his proverbial good nature was put to 
a severe test ; for the applicants for posts in the custom- 
house met him at every turn, crowded his office, invaded his 
house, and stuffed his letter-box. There was a general dis- 
mission of Adams men from the New York Custom House, 
and the new appointments were made solely on the ground 
that the applicants had aided the election of General Jack- 

Henry Lee was appointed to a remote foreign consulship, 
a place which he deemed beneath his talents and an inade- 
quate reward for his services. He would have probably ob- 
tained a better place but for the fear that the Senate would 
reject the nomination. The Senate did reject his nomination 
even to the consulship, and by such a decided majority that 
nothing could be done for him. Even Colonel Benton voted 
against him. Lee, I may add, died soon after in Paris, where 
he wrote part of a history of the emperor Napoleon. 

Terror, meanwhile, reigned in Washington. No man 
knew what the rule was upon which removals were made. 
No man knew what offenses were reckoned causes of removaly 
nor whether he had or had not committed the unpardonable 
sin. The great body of officials awaited their fate in silent 
horror, glad when the office hours expired at having escaped 
another day. " The gloom of suspicion," says Mr. Stansbury, 
himself an office-holder, " pervaded the face of society. No 
man deemed it safe and prudent to trust his neighbor, and 
the interior of the department presented a fearful scene of 
guarded silence, secret intrigue, espionage, and tale-bearing. 

* Mackenxie^B Van Buron, p 19t. 



A casual remark, dropped in the street, would within an 
hour, be repeated at head quarters ; and many a man received 
unceremonious dismission who could not, for his life, conceive 
or conjecture wherein he had oflFended/' 

At that period, it must be remembered, to be removed 
from office in the city of Washington was like being driven 
from the solitary spring in a wide expanse of desert. The 
public treasury was almost the sole source of emolument 
Salaries were small, the expenses of living high, and few of 
the officials had made provision for engaging in private busi- 
ness or even for removing their families to another city. No 
one had anticipated a necessity of removal. Clerks, appointed 
by the early presidents, had grown gray in the service of the 
government, and were so habituated to the routine of their 
places, that, if removed, they were beggared and helpless. 

An old friend of General Jackson's was in Washington 
this summer. He wrote on the 4th of July to a friend : " I 
have seen the President, and have dined with him, but have 
had no free communication, or conversation with him. The 
reign of this administration, I wish an other word could be 
used, is in very strong contrast with the mild and lenient 
sway of Madison, Monroe, and Adams. To me it feels harsh 
— ^it seems to have had an unhappy eflfect on the free thoughts, 
and unrestrained speech, which has heretofore prevailed. I 
question whether the ferreting out treasury rats, and the cor- 
rection of abuses, are sufficient to compensate for the reign 
of terror which appears to have commenced. It would be 
well enough if it were confined to evil-doers, but it spreads 
abroad like a contagion : spies, informers, denunciations — the 
fecula of despotism. Where there are listeners there will be 
tale-bearers. A stranger is warned by his friend on his first 
arrival to be careful how he expresses himself in relation to 
any one, or any thing which touches the administration. I 
had hoped that this would be a national administration — but 
it is not even an administration of a party. Our republic 
henceforth, will be governed by factions, and the struggle will 
be who shall get the offices and their emoluments — a struggle 


embittered by the most base and sordid passions of the hu- 
man heart." 

So numerous were the removals in the city of Washing- 
ton that the business of the place seem paralyzed. In July, 
a Washington paper said : 

" Thirty-three houses which were to have been built this year have, we 
learn, been stopped, in consequence of the unsettled and uncertain state of 
things now existing here ; and the merchant can not sell his goods or col- 
lect his debts from the same cause. We have never known the city to be 
in a state like this before, though we have known it for many years. The 
individual distress, too, produced, in many cases, by the removal of the 
destitute officers, is harrowing and painful to all who possess the ordinaiy 
sympathies of our nature, without regard to party feeling. No man, not 
absoluteljT brutal, can be pleased to see his personal friend or neighbor sud- 
denly stripped of the means of support, and cast upon the cold charity of 
the world without a shelter or a home. Frigid and insensible mast be the 
heart of that man who could witness some of the scenes that have lately 
been exhibited here, without a tear of compassion or a throb of sympathy. 
But what is still more to be regretted is, that this system, having been onoe 
introduced, must necessarily be kept up at the commencement of every pree- 
idential term ; and he who goes into office knowing its limited and uncer- 
tain tenure, feels no disposition to make permanent improvements or to 
form for himself a pennanent residence. He, therefore, takes care to lay 
up what he can, during his brief official existence, to carry off to some more 
congenial spot, where he means to spend his life, or reenter into business. 
All, tlierefore, that he might have expended in city improvements is with- 
drawn, and the revenue of the corporation, as well as the trade of the city, 
is so far lessened and decreased. It is obviously a most injurious policy as 
it respects the interests of our city. Many of the oldest and most respect- 
able citizens of Washington, those who have adhered to its fortunes through 
all their vicissitudes, who have ^ grown with its growth and strengthened 
with its strength,' have been cast off to make room for strangers who fed 
no interest in the prosperity of our infant metropolis, and who care not 
whether it advances or retrogrades." 

As an illustration of the state of things in Washington at 
this time, I will here transcribe the story of Colonel T. L. 
McKenney, for many years the honest and capable superin- 
tendent of Indian affairs, appointed to that office by. Mr. 
Monroe : 


" Some time afler General Jackson had been inaugurated, the Secretary 
of War, Major Eaton, inquired of me if I had been io see the President f 
I said I had not *Had you not better go over?' * Why, sir?* I asked— I 
have had no official business to call me there, nor have I now ; why should 
I go?" *You know, in these times,* replied the Secretary, *it is well to culti- 
Tate those personal relations, which will go far toward securing the good 
will of one in power —and he wound up by more tlian intimating that the 
President had heard some things in disparagement of me ; when I deter- 
mined forthwith to go and see him, and ascertain what they were. On 
arriving at the door of the President's house, I was answered by the door- 
keeper that the President was in, and having gone to i-eport me, returned, 
saying the President would see me. On arriving at the door, it having 
been thrown open by the door-keeper, I saw the President very busily en- 
gaged writing, and with great earnestness; so much so, indeed, that I 
stood for some time before he took his eyes oiT the paper, fearing to inter- 
Tvpt him, and not wishing to seem intrusive. Presently he raised his eyes 
from the paper, and at the same time his spectacles from his nose, and 
looking at me, said, ' Come in sir, come in.' ' You are engaged, sir ?' 
' No more so than I always am, and always expect to be,' drawing a long 
breath, and giving signs of great uneasiness. 

" I had just said, ' I am here, sir, at the instance of the Secretary of 
War,' when the door was tlirown open, and three members of Congress 
entered. They were received with great courtesy. I rose, saying, * You 
are engaged, sir : I will call when you are more at leisure;' and bowed 
myself out On returning to my office, I addressed a note to the President 
of the following import : ' Colonel McKenncy 's respects to the President 
of the United States, and requests to be informed when it will suit his 
convenience to see him ?' to whicli Major Donelson replied, * The Presi<ient 
will see Colonel McKenney to-day, at twelve o'clock.' I was punctual, 
and found the President alone. I commenced by repeating what I had 
said at my first visit, that I was there at the instance of the Secretary of 
War, who had more than intimated to me that impressions of an unfavor- 
able sort liad been made upon him with regard to me ; and that I was de- 
sirous of knowing what the circumstances were that had produced them. 
* It is true, sir,' said the President, * I have been told things that are highly 
discreditable to you, and which have come to me from such sources as to 
satisfy me of their truth.' * Very well, sir, will you do me the justice to 
let me know what these things arc that you have heard from such respec- 
table sources ?' * You know. Colonel McKenney, I am a candid man — 
*I beg pardon, sir,* I remarked, interrupting him, * but I am not here to 
question that^ but to hear charges, which it appears have been made to 
you, affecting my character, either as an officer of the government or a 
man.' ' Well, sir,' he resumed, * I vrill frankly tell you what these charges 


are, and, sir, they are of a character which I caa never respect* 'No 
doubt of timt, sir ; but what arc they ?' ' Wiij, sir, [ am told, and on the 
best authority, that you were one of the principal promoters of that vile 
paper, We the People^ as a contributor toward establishing it^ and as a 
writer afterward, in which my wife Rachel was so shamefully abused. I 
am tokl, further, on authority no less respectable, that you took an active 
part in distributing, under tiic frank of your ofBcc, the ^^cojffin hand-bilk^* 
and that in your recent travels, you largely and widely circulated the 
militia pamphlet.' Here he paused, crossed his legs, shook his foot, and 
clasped his hands around the upper knee, and looked at me as tliough he 
had actually convicted and prostrated me ; when, aft^r a moment's pause, 
I asked, * Well, sir. what else ?' * Why, sir,' he answered, * I think such 
conduct highly unbecoming in one who fills a place in the government such 
as you fill, and very dtjrogatory to you, as it would be in any one who 
should be guilty of such practices.* * All this,' I replied, * may bo well 
enough ; but I request to know if this is all you have heard, and whether 
there are any more charges ?' * Why, yes, sir, there is one more ; I am 
told your office is not in the condition in which it should be.* * Well, sir, 
what more ?' * Nothing, sir ; but these are all serious charges, sir.* * Then, 
sir, these comprise all ?' ' They do, sir.* * Well, General,' I answered, * I 
am not going to reply to all this, or to any part of it, with any view to re- 
taining my office, nor do I intend to reply to it at all, except under the aol- 
emnity of an oath,' when I threw up my hand toward heaven, saying, 
' the answers I am about to give to these allegations, I solemnly swear, shaU 
be the truth, the whole truOi, and nothing hut the trtUh. My oath, sir, is 
taken, and is no doubt recorded — ' Ho interrupted me, by saying, * You 
are making quite a serious affair of iU' *It is, sir, what I mean to do,* I 

" Now, sir, in regard to the paper called " We the People,^* I never did, 
directly or indirectly, either by my money, or by my pen, contribute to- 
ward its establishment, or its continuance. I never circulated one copy 
of it, more or less, nor did I subscribe for a copy of it, more or less ; nor 
have I ever, to the best of my knowledge and belief, handled a copy of it, 
nor have I ever seen but two copies, and these were on the table of a 
friend, among other newspapers. So much for that charge. In regard 
to the *' coffin Jiand-hiUs,*^ I never circulated any, either under the frank of 
my office or otherwise, and never saw but two ; and am not certain that 
I ever saw but one, and that some fool sent me, under cover, from Rich- 
mond, in Virginia, and which I found on my desk among other papers, oo 
going to my office ; and which, on seeing what it was, I tore up and threw 
aside among the waste paper, to be swept out by my messenger. The 
other, which I took to be one of these bills, but which might have been an 
account of the hanging of some convict^ I saw some time ago, p>endent 


from a man's finger and tliumb, he having a roll under his arm, as he 
crossed Broadway, in New York. So much for the coffin hand-bills. As 
to the " militia pamphlet," I have seen reference made to it in the news- 
papers, it is true, but I have never handled it — have never read it, or cir- 
colated a copy or copies of it, directly or indirectly. And now, sir, as to 
mj office. That » my monument ; its records are its inscriptions. Let 
it be examined, and I invite a commission for that purpose ; nor will I 
retam to it to put a paper in its place, should it be out of place, or in any 
other way prepare it for the ordeal ; and, if there is a single flaw in it, or 
any just grounds for complaint, either on the part of the white or the red 
man, implicating my capacity — my diligence, or want of due regard to the 
interests of all having business with it, including the government, then, sir, 
you shall have my free consent to put any mark upon me you may think 
proper, or subject me to as much opprobrium as shall gratify those who 
have thus abused your confidence by their secret attempts to injure mo.* 

" ' Colonel McKenney,' said the General, who had kept his eyes upon 
me during the whole of my reply, * I believe every word you have said, 
and am satisfied that those who communicated to me those allegations were 
mistiken,* * I thank you, sir,' I replied, ' for your confidence, but I am not 
satisfied. I request to have my accusers brought up, and that I may be 
allowed to confront them in your presence.* * No — no, sir,' he answered, 
' I am satisfied ; why then push the matter farther ?' when, rising from his 
diair, he took my arm, and said, ' Gome, sir, come down, and allow me to 
introduce you to my family.' I accompanied him, and was introduced to 
Mrs. Donaldson, Major Donaldson, and some others who were present, 
partook of the offering of a gloss of wine, and retired. 

" The next morning I believe it was— or if not the next, some morning 
not far off* — a Mr. R-b-s-n, a very worthy, gentlemanly fellow, and well 
known to me, came into my office. * You are busy, Colonel ?* he said, as he 
entered. * No, sir, not very,* I replied ; * come in — I have learned to write 
and talk too, at the same time. Come in ; sit down ; I am glad to see 
you.' Looking round tlie office, the entire walls of which I had covered 
with portraits of Indians, he asked, pointing to the one that hung over my 
desk, * Who is that ?' * lied- Jacket,' I answered. ' And that?' ' Shtn-yuah- 
O Wa^sin^ I replied ; and so he continued. He then asked, * Who wrote 
the treaties with the Indians, and gave instnictions to commissions, and, 
in general, carried on the correspondence of the office ?' * Those are within 
the circle of my duties, the whole being under a general supervision of the 
Secretary of War,' I answered. ' Well, then,* after a pause, he said, * the 
office will not suit me.' ' What office,' I asked. * Tliis,' he replied ; * Gen- 
eral Jackson told me, this morning, it was at my service ; but before see- 
ing the Secretary of War, I thought I would come and have a httle chat 
"with you first.' 


" I rose from my cliair, saying — * Take it, my dear sir, take it The 
sword of Damocles has been hanging over my liead long enough.* *No/ 
said he, ' it is not the sort of place for me. I prefer an auditor's office, 
where forms are established.' This worthy citizen had, in the fullness of 
his heart, doubtless, and out of pure affection for General Jackson, made 
that distinguished personage a present of tlie pair of pistols wliich Gen- 
eral Washington had carried during the war of the Revolution."* 

Colonel McKcnney retained his office some time longer, 
because the Sexjretary of War assured the President that 
its duties were complex and numerous, and could not be 
discharged by a person inexperienced in Indian affairs. He 
tells us, however, that he was kept in constant suspense, 
and had, occasionally, an ominous warning : "My chief 
clerk, Mr. Hambleton, came into my room one morning, 
soon after I had taken my seat at my table, and putting his 
hands upon it, leaned over. I looked up, and saw his eyes 
were full of teare ! To my question — * Is any thing the mat- 
ter, Mr. Hambleton ?' ' Yes, sir — I am pained to inform 
you, that you are to be displaced to-day ! Wo all feel it 
Our connection has been one of unbroken harmony ; and we 
are grieved at the thought of a separation. The President 
has appointed General Thompson, a member of Congress, of 
Georgia — hjB boards at my mother's, and I have it from him- 
self. He says I shall remain, but the rest of the clerks he 
shall dismiss, to make room for some of the President's 
friends.' * Well, Mr. H.,' I replied, * it is what I have been 
constantly looking for. Your annunciation doe« not at all 
surprise me ; indeed, it puts an end to my suspense ; and, 
apart from the pain of leaving you all, and the thought that 
others are to be cut adrift, as well as myself, I feel relieved.' 
He walked a few times across my room, and then retired to 
his, which joined mine. Two hours after, I heard walking 
and earnest talking in the passage. They continued for half 
an hour. When they ceased, Mr. Hambleton came into my 
room, his face all dressed in smiles, saying, * It is not to be /' 
* What is not to be ?' * You are not to go out. When 

* McKenney's Momoirs, p. 200. 


General Thompsoii came to the secretary this morniDg, with 
the President's reference to him, to assign him to your place, 
he wag told, before he could act, he (the secretary) must see 
the President. The result of the secretary's interview with 
the President was, you were to be retained, and General 
Thompson is referred back to the President for explanation. 
Thompson is in a rage about it.' " 

Another illustrative anecdote, which, though it may not 
be wholly true, is so like others that arc known to be so, that 
I venture to think it is, at least, founded in fact. A member 
of Congress, appointed to a foreign mission, consulted the 
President as to the choice of a secretary of legation. " The 
President declined all interference, and remarked to the min- 
ister that the United States government would hold him re- 
sponsible for the manner in wliich he discharged his duties, 
and that he would consequently be at liberty to choose his 
own secretary. The minister returned his acknowledgment ; 
but before taking leave, sought his advice in regard to a 
young gentleman then in the State Department, and who was 
highly recommended by the secretary. General Jackson 
promptly said, ^ I advise you, sir, not to take the man. He 
18 not a good judge of preaching.' The minister observed 
that the objection needed explanation. ' I am able to give 
it,' said the General, and he thus continued : ' On last Sab- 
bath morning I attended divine service in the Methodist Epis- 
copal church in this city. There I listened to a soul-inspir- 
ing sermon by Professor Durbin of Carlisle, one of the ablest 
pulpit orators in America. Seated in a pew near me I ob- 
served this identical young man, apparently an attentive lis- 
tener. On the day following he came into this chamber on 
business, when I had the curiosity to ask his opinion of the 
sermon and the preacher. And what think you, sir ? The 
young upstart, with consummate assurance, pronounced that 
sermon all froth, and Professor Durbin a humbug ! I took 
the liberty of saying to him : My young man, you are ahum- 
bug yourself, and don't know it ! And now,' continued the 
old man, ' rest assured, my dear sir, that a man who is not a 


better judge of preaching than thai, is unfit to be your com- 
panion. And besides/ he added, * if he were the prodigy the 
Secretary of State represents him to be, he would be less anx- 
ious to confer his services upon you — he would rather be 
anxious to retain them himself/ " 

As a general rule, the dismission of officers was sudden 
and unexplained. Occasionally, however, some reason was 
assigned. Major Eaton, for exam])le, dismissed the chief 
clerk of the War Department in the terms following : " Major 
: The chief clerk of the Department should to his prin- 
cipal stand in the relation of a confidential friend. Under 
this belief, I have appointed Doctor Randolph, of Virginia. 
I take leave to say, that since I have been in this Depart- 
ment, nothing in relation to you has transpired to which 
I would take the slightest objection, nor have I any to 

These facts will suffice to show that the old system of 
appointments and removals was changed, upon the accession 
of General Jackson, to the one in vogue ever since, which 
Governor Marcy completely and aptly described when ho said 
that to the victors belong the spoils. Some of the conse- 
quences of this change are the following : 

I. The government, formerly served by the elite of the 
nation, is now served, to a very considerable extent, by its 
refuse. That, at least, is the tendency of the new system, 
because men of intelligence, ability, and virtue, universally 
desire to fix their affairs on a basis of permanence. It is the 
nature of such men to make each year do something for all 
the years to come. It is their nature to abhor the arts by 
which office is now obtained and retained. In the year of our 
Lord 1859, the fact of a man's holding office under the 
government is presumptive evidence that he is one of three 
characters, namely, an adventurer, an incompetent person, or 
a scoundrel. From this remark must be excepted those who 
hold offices that have never been subjected to the spoils sys- 
tem, or offices which have been " taken out of politics." 

II. The new system places at the disposal of any govern- 


ment, however corrupt, a horde of creatures in everj' town 
and county, bound, body and soul, to its defense and con- 

III. It places at the disposal of any candidate for the 
presidency, who has a slight prospect of success, another 
horde of creatures in every town and county, bound to sup- 
port his pretensions. I once knew an apple-woman in Wall 
Street who had a personal interest in the election of a Presi- 
dent. If her candidate gained the day, her " old man" would 
get the place of porter in a public warehouse. The circle 
of corruption embraces hundreds of thousands. 

IV. The spoils system takes from the government em- 
ployde those motives to fidelity which, in private life, are 
found universally necessary to secure it. As no degree of 
merit whatever can secure him in his place, he must be a 
man of heroic virtue who does not act upon the principle of 
getting the most out of it while he holds it. Whatever 
fidelity may be found in oflSce-holdei-s must be set down to 
the credit of unassisted human virtue. 

In a word, the spoils system renders pure, decent, orderly, 
and democratic government impossible. Nor has any govern- 
ment of modern times given such a wonderful proof of 
inherent strength as is afforded by the fact that this govern- 
ment, after thirty years of rotation, still exists. 

At whose door is to be laid the blame of thus debauch- 
ing the government of the United States ? It may, per- 
haps, be justly divided into three parts. Fii*st, Andrew 
Jackson, impelled by his ruling passions, resentment, and 
gratitude, did the deed. No other man of his day had auda- 
city enough. Secondly, The example and the politicians of 
New York furnished him with an excuse for doing it. 
Thirdly, The original imperfection of the governmental ma- 
chinery seemed to necessitate it. As soon as King Caucus 
was overthrown, the spoils system became almost inevitiible, 
and, perhaps. General Jackson only precipitated a change, 
which, sooner or later, must have come. 

While the congressional caucus system lasted, confining 


the sphere of intrigue to the city of Washington, politicians 
did not much want the aid of the remote subordinate em- 
ployees of the government. But when the area of president 
making was extended so as to embrace the whole nation, 
every tide-waiter, constable, porter, and postmaster could 
lend a hand. Well, then, do not burst with virtuous rage, 
until you have duly reflected upon the fact, too well known, 
that tlie average disinterested voter can only with difficulty 
be induced even to take the trouble to go to the polls and de- 
posit his vote. Without the stimulus of interested expecta- 
tion, how is the work of a presidential campaign to be got 
done ? Who will paint the flags, and pay for the Roman 
candles, and print the documents, and supply the stump! 
The patriotic citizen, do you answer ? Why does he not do 
it then ? 

The spoils system, we may hope, however, has nearly run 
its course. It is already well understood, that every service 
in which efficiency is indispensable must be taken out of pot- 
itics ; and this process, happily begun in some departments 
of municipal government, will assuredly continue. The first 
centur}' of the existence of a nation, which is to last thirty 
centuries or more, should be regarded merely in the light of 
the " Great Republic's " experimental trip. A leak has de- 
veloped itself It will be stopped. 

The course of the administration with regard to removals 
excited a clamor so loud and general as to inspire the oppo- 
sition with new hopes. The old federalists who had aided to 
elect General Jackson were especially shocked. Occasionally, 
too, the officers removed did not submit to decapitation in 
silence. The most remarkable protest published at the time 
was from the wife of one of the removed, Mrs. Barney, a 
daughter pf the celebrated Judge Chase. Her husband's case 
was one of peculiar hardship, and she narrated it with the 
eloquence of sorrow and indignation : 

" My husband, sir, never was your enemy. In the overflowing patriot- 
ism of his heart, he gave you tlie full measure of his love for your military 
services. He preferred Mr. Adams for the presidency, because he thought 


him qualified, and you unqualified, for the station. He would have been a 
traitor to his country, he would have had even my scorn, and have deserved 
yoora, had he supported you under such circumstances. He used no means 
to oppose you. He did a patriot's duty in a patriot's way. For this he is 
proflcribcd — punished! Oh I how punished I My heart bleeds as I write. 
Crael sir ! Did he commit any offense worthy of punishment against God, 
or against his country, or even against you ? Blush while you read this 
question ; speak not, but let the crimson negative mantle on your cheek I 
No^ sir — on the contrary, it was one of the best acts of his life. When he 
bared his bosom to the hostile bayonets of his enemies, he was not more in 
the Une of his duty, than when he voted against you ; and had he fallen a 
martyr on the field of fight, he would not more have deserved a monument, 
than he now deserves for having been worse than martyred in support of 
the dearest privilege and chartered right of American freemen. Careless 
•8 you are about the effects of your conduct, it would be idle to inform you 
of the depth and quality of that misery which you have worked in Uie 
bosom of my family. Else would I tell a tale that would provoke sympa- 
thy in any tiling that had a heart, or gentle drops of pity from every eye 
not accustomed to look upon scenes of human cruelty * with composure.' 
Besides, you were apprised of our poverty ; you knew the dependence of 
eight little children for food and raiment upon my husband's salary. You 
knew that, advanced in years as he was, without the means to prosecute 
any regular business, and without friends able to assist him, the world 
would be to him a barren heath, an inhospitable wild. You were able, 
therefore, to anticipate the heart-rending scene which you may now re- 
alize as the sole work of your hand. The sickness and debility of my hus- 
band now calls upon me to vindicate his and his children's wrongs. The 
natural timidity of my sex vanishes before the necessity of my situation ; 
and a spirit, sir, as proud as yours, although in a female bosom, demands 
justice. At your hands I ask it Return to him what you have rudely 
torn from his possession ; give back to his children their former means of 
securing their food and raiment ; show that you can relent, and that your 
rule has had at least one exception. The severity i)racticed by you in this 
instance is heightened, because accompanied by a breach of your faith, 
solemnly pledged to my husband. lie called upon you, told you frankly 
that he had not voted for you. Wliat was your reply ? It was, in sub- 
stance, this, * that every citizen of tlie United States liail a right to express 
his pohtical sentiments by his vote ; that no charges had been made against 
Major Barney ; if any should be made, he should have justice done ; he 
should not be condemned unheard.' Then, Iiolding him by the hand with 
apparent wartutli, you concluded — 'Be. assured, sir, I shall be particularly 
cautious how I listen to assertions of applicants for olHce.' With these as- 
surances from you, air, the President of the United States, my husband re- 


turned to the bosom of his family. With these rehearsed, he wined away 
the tears of apprehension. The Presirlent was not the monster he had been 
represented. They would not be reduced to beggary — ^haggard want 
would not be permitted to enter the nian'^ion where he had always been 
a stranger. The husband and the father had done nothing in violation of 
his duty as an ofTicer. If any malicious slanderer should arise to pour liis 
poisonous breath into the cars of the President, the accused would not be 
condemned unheard, and his innocence would be triumphant — tliey would 
still be h.'ippy. It was presumable also, tliat, possessing the confidence 
of three successive administrations (whose testimony in his favor I pre- 
sented to you), he was not unworthy the office he held ; besides^ the signip 
tures of a hundred of our first mercantile houses establislied the fact of his 
having given perfect satisfaction in Uie manner he transacted the business 
of his office. In this state of cahn security, without a moment's warning-^ 
like a clap of thunder in a clear sky — ^your dismissal came, and, in a moment, 
the house of joy was converted into one of mourning. Sir, was not this 
the refinement of cruelty ? But this was not all. The wife whom yott 
thus agonized, drew her being from tlie illustrious Chase, whose voice of 
tlmndor early broke the spell of British allegiance, when in the American 
Senate, he swore by Heaven that he owed no allegiance to the British 
Crown — one, too, whose signature was broadly before your oyes, affixed 
to the Charter of our Independence. The husband and the father whom 
you have thus wronged, was the first-born son of a hero, whose naval and 
militiiry renown brightens the pages of your country's history, from *76 to 
I8I5, with whose achievements posterity will not condescend to compare 
yours; fur lie fought amidst greater dangers, and he fought for Independ- 
ence. By the side of that father, in the second British war, fought the son ; 
and the glorious 12th of September bears testimony to his unshaken intrep- 
idity. A wife, a husband, tiius derived ; a family of children drawing their 
existence from this double revolutionary fountain, you have recklessly, 
causelessly, perfidiously, and therefore inhumanly, cast helpless and desti- 
tute upon the icy bosom of the world ; and the children and tlie grand- 
children of Judge Ciiase and Commodore Barney are poverty stricken upon 
ths soil which owes its freedom and fertility, in part, to their heroic patri- 

The reader ought to be informed, I think, that his friend 
and benefactor. Major Lewis, opposed this fatal removal policy 
from the beginning to the end. " In relation to the principle 
C'f rotation," he once wrote to General Jackson, " I embrace 
this occasion to enter my solemn protect against it ; not on 
account of my office^ but because I hold it to be fraught' with 


• 1 





the greatest mischief to the country If ever it should be 
carried out in extenaOy the days of this republic will, in my 
opinion, have been numbered ; for whenever the impression 
shall become general that the government is only valuable on 
account of its offices^ the great and paramount interest of the 
country will be lost sight of, and the government itself ulti- 
mately destroyed. This, at least, is the honest conviction 
of my mind with regard to these novel doctrines of rotation 
in office." 

Gen. Jackson's private letters this summer, to friends in 
Tennessee, show that he was a sick, unhappy, perplexed old 
man. On the 7th of June, he wrote thus to an old friend : 


•* WAflBDfOTOic, June 7, 1829. 

"My Dear Sir : Your letter of the 19th ultimo is just received. What 
satisfaction to me to be informed that you and Mr. Hume had visited the 
Hermitage and tomb of my dear departed wife. How distressing it has 
been to me to have been drawn by public duty from that interesting spot 
where my thoughts delight to dwell, so soon after this heavy bereavement 
to mingle with all the bustle, labor, and care of public life, when my age, 
my enfeebled health and constitution, forewarned me that my time can 
not be long upon earth, and admonished me that it was time I should place 
my earthly house in order, and prepare for another, and, I hope, a better 

" My dear wife had your ftiture state much at heart She often apoke 
to me on this interesting subject in the dead hours of the night, and has 
shed many tears on the occasion. Your reflections upon the sincere inter- 
est your dear sister took in your future happiness are such as sound reason 
dictates. Yes, my friend, it is time that you should withdraw from the 
turmoils of this world, and prepare for another and better. You have well 
provided for your houseiiold. You have educated your children, and fur- 
nished them with an outfit into life suflBcient, with good management and 
economy, to build an independence upon. You have sufficient around you 
to make you and your old lady independent and comfortable during life ; 
and, when gone hence, perhaps as much as will be prudently managed ; 
and if it should be imprudently managed, then it will be a curse rather 
than a blessing to your children. I therefore join in the sentiments of my 
deceased and beloved wife, in admonishing you to withdraw from the busy 
scenes of this world, and put your house in order for the next, by laying 
bold of ' the one thing needful' Go, read the Scriptures. The joyful prom- 
VOL. III. — 15 


ises it contains will be a balsam to all your troables, and create for 70a 
a kind of heaven here on earth, a consolation to your troubled mind that 
is not to be found in the hurry and bustle of this worid. 

" Could I but withdraw from the scenes that surround me to the private 
walks of the Hermitage, how soon would I be foimd in the solitary shades 
of my garden, at the tomb of my dear wife, there to ^>end my days in 
silent sorrow, and in peace from the toils and strife of this life, with which 
I have been long since satisfied. But this is denied me. I can not retire 
with propriety. When my friends dragged me before the public, contrary 
to my wishes, and that of my dear wife, I foresaw all this evil, but I 
obliged to bend to the wishes of my friends, as it was believed it was 
oessary to perpetuate the blessings of liberty to our country and to put down 
misrule. My political creed compelled me to yield to the call, and I coii- 
soled myself with the idea of having the counsel and society of my dear 
wife ; and one term would soon run round, when we would retire to the 
Hermitage, and spend our days in the service of our God. 

'* But oh 1 how fluctuating are all earthly things I At the time I least 
expected it^ and could least spare her, she was snatched from me, and I 
lell hero a solitary monument of grief, without the least hope of any hi4>- 
piiiotu hero below, surrounded with all the turmoils of public life, and no 
time for rt^onmUon or for friendship. From this busy scene I would to 
dud I uoiild rutiro and live in solitude. 

"How muoh the conduct of corrodes my feelings! I 

have JiiHt rocHMvoii a letter from him to , in which he says there is 

a VftOttiuiy at Uu> Franklin Academy, and promises to write me. If he 
UoiiM nut f{u U) Hchool, I will withdraw from him all supplies that may in- 
lUilgtt oxtraviij^aniH^ and confine him to such means as, with economy, will 

kciwp him lit^iHUiU Wo are all in tolerable healtL is in the 

fkmily way. Little Jackson growing finely, and all join in our best wishes 
to you and your amiable lady, and all our connections and good neigh- 
bom. Your IVioud, Andrew Jackson. 


« l\ S. — Mr. Steel (overseer) has written me but one letter. Say to 
him to write mo how much crop he has in, how many colts, lambs^ and 
oalvoB, and how my last year's colts are, and of the health of my 


" I loam old Ned and Jack are both dead. Jack was a fine boy, bat 
if he was well attended to, I lament not He has gone the way of all the 
earth. A. J." 

In a similar strain the President, later in the year, wrote 
to Judge Hugh L. White : " Both of us, I do supix)8e, would 

1829.] 8U0CB88FUL POLITICIAN'S 8T0RT. 227 

be more contented and happy in private life ; but the Lord 
hath willed it, and we must submit. How grateful I feel to 
you for your kind and friendly visit to the Hermitage, where 
lies all that made life desirable to me, and whose loss I can 
never cease to mourn, and over whose tomb I would like to 
spend the remnant of my days in solitude, preparing to meet 
her in a happier and a better world." 

Before proceeding to the important affairs of General 
Jackson's administration, I will give a still nearer view of 
the President's office. The perusal of the following narra- 
tive will greatly aid the reader to comprehend that peculiar 
and intense personality which was able to accomplish so much, 
once, the weakest and the strongest then incarnate. 


SUCCESSFUL politician's STORY. 

No matter for my name. Call me X. Clark. X may 
signify that I am an unknown quantity. Clark will indicate 
my early vocation. " My whole " will convey a hint that I 
am not what I was. 

Our family is one of the oldest of the old New York fam- 
ilies. Our portraits show it. We appear in brocade and 
diamonds, in ruffles and pig-tail, on canvas that was woven 
long before the revolution. We were torics then, high tones, 
staunch for church and king. In later days we went over 
to the popular side. We were republicans in Jeflferson's 
time ; buck- tails in Van Buren's ; democrats in Jackson's. 
Our family stood high in the party. My great uncle was 
supposed to know as much of the proceedings of the Albany 
B^ncy as the Albany Regency itself ; and Mr. Van Buren, 
our political chief, the great buck of the buck-tails. New 


York's favorite son, was my great uncle's friend. We deemed 
the fact stupendous, for Mr. Van Buren filled a great space 
in the public mind in the days when I was young. To my 
boyish fancy he was the very chief of men, foremost among 
the foremost, orator, statesman, magician, victor I 

I was bred to the mercantile business. At fourteen, I 
swept the store and carried the keys. At twenty, I was a 
clerk in full communion. At twenty-two, a book-keeper. 
At twenty-six, I rejoiced in the title of secretary to a com- 
pany. A more unsophisticated young man than I was at 
that age did not exist. Brought up to mind my own business, 
accustomed to deal with merchants of the old school, who 
said little, and meant all they said, acquainted only with the 
politics of a quiet mercantile ward, in which none but men 
of substance and respectability took a leading part, I had in 
me as little of the politician as can be imagined. So un- 
acquainted was I with the world, that when a man said to 
me, " Mr. Clark, I am glad to see you," or, " I shall be glad 
to serve you," I believed him. Indeed, the member of our 
old firm, whose ways I cliiefiy relished, was a man of such a 
nice sense of truth, that if he had said he was glad to see a 
person whom he was not glad to see, he would have felt that 
he had told a lie. I supposed, in my innocence, that it was 
so with all great men. 

In the spring of 1829, two events occurred of the first im- 
portance in my history. General Jackson became President 
of the United States, and the company of which I was the 
secretary ceased to exist. I said to myself, " I have lived in 
New York long enough ; it is time I saw something of the 
world. Our party is in power, and our party is a party that 
rewards its friends. I'll go to Washington, and get a clerk- 
ship in one of the departments." My uncle approved my de- 
termination, and gave me a letter of introduction to Mr. Van 
Buren. My honored friend of the old firm, who was also a 
member of Congress, gave me a handsome recommendation 
as a correct and skillful accountant, and this also was in the 
form of a letter of introduction to Mr Van Buren. " Ctov- 

18Si9.] snooiSBfUL politician's stobt. 229 

emor Yan Boren" we called, him in those days, for we had 
elected him Qovemor in the preidoas autunm. When I ob- 
tained my letters of introduction, his appointment as Secre- 
taiy of State and his resignation of the governorship had just 
been annonnoed, and the great man was daily expected to 
paas throngh New York on his way to Washington. 

He cama I had read in the morning papers that he was 
to arrive by the day boat firom Albany, akd I went down to 
die dock to get a sight of him. Having never seen him, I 
ftlt extremely carious to behold the man of whom I had 
heard so much, and who, I hoped, was about to do something 
gnat for me. Two gentlemen were walking up and down 
the hurricane deck, arm in arm, while the boat was getting 
into her berth. One was a short gentleman, of middle age ; 
the other a very young man. The crowd on the wharf were 

** The Governor must have come,"" I said to a bystander, 
^'but why don't he show himself? He ought to be up there 
on the hurricane deck.'' 

^'There he is" said the person I had addressed ; ''that 
litde fellow in the surtout, and thafs his son walking with 

What a surprise I What a disenchantment I It had 
been a fixed idea with me that Governor Yan Buren was a 
man of the same magnificent physical proportions as Gover- 
nor Clinton. I expected him to be even more imposing and 
superb than Clinton. I had also a general notion that all 
governors were vast, which was owing, I suppose, to the cir- 
cumstance that the only Governor I had ever seen seemed so 
to my wondering young eyes. It is impossible for this gener- 
ation to conceive what a great man a Governor was thirty or 
forty years ago. 

I saw the fiither and son drive away in a carriage. They 
were going, as I knew, to the City Hotel, the great hotel of 
that day, situated in the lower part of Broadway, a region 
long siDce ^ven up to business. I followed them leisurely on 
foo^ and on reaching the hotel, found the bar-room crowded 


with politicianSj anxious to " pay their respects" to the new 
premier. In a few minutes the doors of the great dining- 
room were thrown open, and the clerk of the house, mounted 
on a chair, cried out : 

" Gentlemen who desire to see Mr. Van Buren ¥rill please 
walk into the dining-room." 

We thundered in — fifty or sixty of us ; politicians in and 
out of place ; these wanting to get in, those to stay in. We 
were all hail fellows well met, and there was a roar of joYial 
talk and banter. Politicians, you know, are friendly to every 
body ; for no man knows who can or who can not forward 
his views, nor how soon a man now powerless may be in a 
position to help. After waiting a while, all expecting the 
great man to present himself, a waiter appeared, and said : 

" Gentlemen, Mr. Van Buren requests your cards." 

The old stagers laughed. There was a general fumbling 
in pockets. 

" Cards ?" said I. " What does he want our cards for ? 
I have no card with me. I shall write a note to the Gt)v- 


Amid the merriment of the group nearest me, I wrote 
my notes in something like these words : 

" Sir — I am the bearer of two letters of introduction to 

you : one from my uncle, Mr. , and the other fix)m 

my friend, the Hon. . I have called for the pur- 
pose of delivering them to you, and shall be glad if you will 
name an hour when it will be convenient for you to receive 
them. I am, etc. " X. Clark." 

I folded my note, and placed it on the tray with the cards. 
The waiter vanished, reappeared, and delivered himself as 
follows : 

" Gentlemen, Mr. Van Buren sends his compliments, and 
says he is fatigued with his journey, and requests the honor 
of your company this evening, at eight o'clock, one and alL 
Mr. Clark will please to wait 1" 

I became instantly the lion of the room. I was severely 

1829.] SUCCESSFUL politician's story. 231 

" Clark," said one, " you are a made man. You '11 get 
the best office in the gift of the goveniment. Not a doubt 
of it." 

The crowd oozed away into the congenial bar-room again, 
the great doors were shut, and I was left alone seated by the 
fire. I sat some minutes, waiting and wondering, and think- 
ing what I should say to the Coming Man. Without having 
heard any one enter, I looked up at length, and lo ! there, on 
the opposite side of the fire-place, sat the Magician ! We 
rose and exchanged the usual salutations. I presented my 
letters, which Mr. Van Buren courteously took and read de- 
liberately. He re-folded them, and said, as he did so : 

" I highly esteem your uncle, and also your friend Mr. 

. No men in the State stand higher in my regard than 

they. If I can do any thing to oblige them or forward yom* 
yiews, it will give me great pleasure." 

Here the interview, as I afterward knew, would have 
properly ended. But such was my utter inexperience of the 
great world, that I took these words of simple civility in 
their literal acceptation. I felt that I was a " made man." 
There was no doubt that the Secretary of State could forward 
my views if he wished to do so, and he had just informed me 
that he did wish it. What more could a young man desire ? 
How often, in later times, have I wondered at this incredible 
simplicity in a boy of twenty-six. 

The Governor sat silent, expecting and desiring me to 
take my leave. Not perceiving his intent, I asked, with the 
assurance of perfect verdancy : 

" When do you go to Washington, Mr. Van Buren ?" 

" When do I go to Washington ?" he said, with a bland 
stare, which mildly intimated, " What is that to you, young 
man ?'' 

" Yes, sir," I continued ; " I wish to know when you are 
going to Washington. It is important to me that I should 

" Well," said he, " I can't say exactly. In a few days, I 

232 LIFE or ANDREW JACKSON. [1829. 

" A few days, sir !" said I ; " not sooner ?" 

" Why," said he, " won't that suit you ?" 

" Well, no, Mr. Van Buren," I replied, " I can't say it 
does, exactly." 

" Indeed !" he continued, " I am sorry you are not suited. 
When do you propose to go yourself ?" 

" I thought of going to-morrow morning." 

'' So soon ?" 

" Why, yes, sir. That is, if you have no objection. Have 
you any ?" 

" I ? Oh, by no means. I think you can't do better than 
go to-morrow morning." 

" I thought not, sir," said I, all unconscious of the ab- 
surdity of my proceedings, cand of his astonishment. 

Again there was an awkward pause. Again the great man 
waited for me to take my hat and leave. I did nothing of 
the kind. 

" Mr. Van Buren," I resumed, " I don't know a soul in 
Washington. I should be obliged to you if you would give 
me a letter or two of introduction to your friends there." 

This request, as I afterward understood, was almost too 
much even for his invincible politeness. He stared outright 

" A letter of introductiofi ?" said he, musingly. " Let 
me see. Who is there in Washington just now ? The At- 
torney-General is absent, I think, and so is the Secretary of 
the Treasury. Governor Branch is there, I believe, and Mr. 

I fancied, afterward, that he tried to overawe me by an 
array of distinguished names. I was deaf and blind to all 
hints, however, and said, 

" Oh, Mr. Van Buren, it 's no matter about those other 
gentlemen. A letter to Mr. Eaton or to Governor Branch 
will answer." 

" Oh, they wiU do, will they ?" 

" Perfectly," said I. 

As he made no movement toward writing, I ventured to 
place the writing materials that I had just used nearer to 

1829.] SUCCESSFUL politician's story. 233 

where he was sitting, and waited for him to indite the letters. 

" Oh/' said he, " you wish me to write noWj do you ?" 

" Well, sir," I replied, " I should like it ; but if it 's in- 
convenient, I '11 call again in the course of the day." 

'^ No," said he ; and he turned to the table and b^n to 

He produced the following epistle : — " Messrs. Eaton and 
Branch : This will be handed to you by my young friend, 
Mr. Clark, who precedes me to Washington. Any attentions 
you may show him will be highly estimated by yours, etc. 

" M. Van Buren." 

With this passport to fortune in my pocket, I left the 
{HPesence ; and very glad, I think, must Mr. Van Buren have 
been to get rid of his innocent " young friend." 

On the third morning after this interview, I awoke in the 
City of Washington. After a stroll about its wide and 
dreary expanses, I proceeded, with my precious letter in my 
pocket, to the office of the Secretary of the Navy. The ante- 
chamber into which I was shown was crowded with people 
waiting their turn to be admitted to the new dispenser of 
places. Verdant as I was, my three day's experience as an 
office-seeker seemed to have made me free of the craft, and I 
knew at a glance that every man in that room had come to 
ask an appointment. I waited, and waited, and waited. 
Two hours must have passed before it came my turn to see 
the Secretary. I was shown in, at length, and, advancing 
awkwardly and slowly to Mr. Branch, who sat at a table, 
wearing the air of a man who had been bored to within an 
inch of his life, and had almost lost the power of paying at- 
tention, I said : 

" I have a letter here, sir, from Mr. Van Buren." 

He took the letter, without seeming to comprehend what 
I had said, and was proceeding languidly to open it. He 
looked up at me. I suppose I was abashed at the coldness 
of his reception, and probably did not cut a very promising 
figure. In a loud, off-hand, and, as I thought, most imper- 
tinent and insulting manner, he said, 


" Well, young man, and what do you want ?" 

I was no longi^r abashed. A sudden fury seized me, and 
I cried, 

" What do I want^ sir ? I want nothing, sir. Nothing 
whatever. Yes, sir, I do want something. I want that let- 
ter ! It is from Mr. Van Buren, but I '11 not trouble you 
with it, sir. I request that you will hand it back to me." 

He did so. I seized the letter from his hand, turned upon 
my heel, and stalked away, boiling. " By heaven," said I to 
myself, as I went fuming down the steps, " if this is the way 
of doiug business in Washington, the quicker I get back to 
Wall-street the better." 

The cool air of Pennsylvania Avenue restored me to some 
degree of composure. I had half concluded to start home- 
ward the next morning, when it occurred to me that my let- 
ter of introduction was addressed to Mr. Eaton as well as 
to Mr. Branch, and that it would be an absurd proceeding to 
give up the game with a card in my hands. To the War De- 
partment building I accordingly directed my steps, and was 
admitted at once to the presence of the chief. As it was late 
in the afternoon, the business of the day was nearly concluded, 
and the Secretary was at leisure and in excellent humor. 
Major Eaton was a stout, good-humored, agreeable man, ex- 
tremely easy and cordial in his manners. He rose at my en- 
trance, read my letter with attention, shook hands with me 
heartily, and invited me to be seated, and make known my 

Like Mr. Van Buren, he said he would be glad to pro- 
mote my wishes in any way that might be in his power. We 
chatted a quarter of an hour in a friendly manner upon the 
affairs of our party in New York, when Mr. Eaton observed, 

" This letter, I perceive, is addressed to Governor Branch 
as well as to myself You will see the Governor, I presume." 

" No, sir," said I, with tremendous emphasis, " I am not 
going to see Governor Branch. I have called upon Governor 
Branch, and shall not repeat the visit, I can assure you.' 

" No ! Why, has anything unpleasant occurred ?^ 



18S9.] BUOOXSSFUL politician's 8T0BT. 235 

I then told him my story as I have told it to you^ b^in- 
niiig with my interview wit^ Mr. Van Buren in New York, 
and ending with my abmpt departure from the office of the 
Secretary of the Navy. Seldom have I seen any one so con- 
vulsed with langhter as Major Eaton was during the recital 
of my adventures. He lay back in his chair and shouted with 
laughter. He stood up and laughed. He walked up and 
down and laughed. He lay on the lounge and laughed. I 
laughed, too, and saw, for the first time, how ludicrous some 
of my performances had been. When I had finished the jolly 
secrotaiy said, 

** Now, Mr. Claik, will you have the goodness to tell me 
that story all over again ?" 

I repeated it, verbatim^ and with the same result as be- 
fore. Then said Eaton, 

" One more favor I have to ask of you. I want you to 
oome to my house, this evening, and tell that story to Mrs. 
Baton, exactly as you have told it to me." 

I went to his house in the evening, and found assembled 
there a large company of gentlemen, who paid assiduous court 
to the lady. Mrs. Eaton was not then the celebrated charac- 
ter she was destined, ere long, to be made, and I knew noth- 
ing of the peculiar position she held in the society of the 
capital. To me she seemed a strikingly beautiful and fascin- 
ating woman, all graciousness and vivacity ; the life of the 
company. Her rooms, as I soon found, were the resort of the 
extreme Jackson men, and her favor was supposed to be the 
indispensable preliminary to preferment. Ignorant of all this, 
I told my story, to the lady's great amusement, and that of 
all her guests. I thought that I had made rather a brilliant 
dSnU into the society of Washington ; and went to my hotel 
well pleased with my prospects and myself. 

Mr. Van Buren arrived shortly after, and I waited upon 
him, of course. What influences, besides those already men- 
tioned, were brought to bear in my favor, I know not ; but, 
in a few days, I had the gratification of learning that I was 
appointed to a clerkship in the Department of State, and that 


my attendance was required on tLe following morning at 10 
o'clock. The place to which I was appointed was not con- 
spicuous, but confidential ; and, as I then thought, munifi- 
cently remunerated. I had in charge the finances of the de- 
partment, and was the usual confidential messenger from the 
Secretary of State to the President. It was the very place 
of all others, that I would have chosen, and the very place I 
felt myself fitted to fill with credit. My gratitude to the Sec- 
retary was boundless, and so was my desire to stand high in 
his regard. 

At ten in the morning, I presented myself at the office of 
the Secretary of State. My predecessor, as I learnt afterward, 
had received no intimation that he was to be removed up to 
that moment. He was a protege of the late President, Mr. 
Adams, and supposed that, according to previous usage, he 
would be retained, whoever might be displaced. He had a 
young family dependent solely upon his salary, and was him- 
self an exceedingly amiable and worthy gentleman. Mr. Van 
Buren, upon seeing me enter his apartment rang for a mes- 
senger, to whom he said, 

" Inform Mr. Jones* that I wish to speak with him for a 

Mr. Jones appeared. Mr. Van Buren addressed him in 
these words, 

"Mr. Jones, I beg to make you acquainted with Mr. 
Clark of New York. The government, Mr. Jones, has no 
further occasion for your services in this department. Mr. 
Clark is appointed your successor. Have the goodness to take 
him to your room, and give him what information he requires 
respecting his duties." 

The blow was so sudden and so unexpected, that poor 
Jones could scarcely conceal his feelings. He stood, for a 
moment, paralyzed and speechless, and then left the room 
without a word. I followed him to his office, upon reaching 
which, he said, in a tremulous voice, and a wild, absent man- 


* Fictitious name. 


*' Ezcnae me a moment, Mr. Olark, this is rather Budden. 
I will rejoin yon in a moment/' 

He staggered out of the room, and remained absent about 
ten minutes. When he returned, all traces of emotion had 
vanished, both fit>m his countenance and his manner, and he 
proceeded, with perfect courtesy and much patience, to ex- 
plain to me the nature and routine of my future duties. I 
pitied him from my soul. I would not dismiss a scullion from 
my kitchen so. Nor would Mr. Van Buren. It was the Sys- 
tem that beggared poor Jones, and made me a ^^ made mao.'' 
A System, like a Corporation, has no souL (But it ought to 
be damned, nevertheless.^ — ^Bepobteb.) 

On r^oining Mr. Van Buren, he said to me, 

'^ I know nothing about this place of yours. Find out 
the law and govern yourself by it.'' 

He said to me, afterward, that he hated patronage. He 
preferred an office that had none. 

<< No matter how you dispense it, you make enemies. The 
man you remove is your enemy. His friends are o£fended. 
The man you appoint is not likely to be satisfied, and aU the 
UDBUOoessfril applicants feel themselves injured." 

'^ I am an exception to your remark, Mr. Van Buren," 
sttd I, " for I am perfectly satisfied with my place. I would 
not change it for any in the department. I could wish 
nothing better." 

As I had charge of some of the Secret Service funds, the 
disbursements from which required the President's special 
authorization, the course of my duties led me often to the 
White House. My first interview with the President dis- 
played my faculty of honest blundering to fine advantage. 
Charged as I was, on that interesting occasion, with a packet 
of papers from my chief, I marched up to the door of the 
piesidential mansion, big with a sense of the grandeur of my 
mission. I had also an extreme desire to see General Jack- 
son, whom I had been accustomed from childhood to revere. 
An Irish porter answered my ring. 


" I wish to se« the President," said I, perhaps not with 
the condescension which becomes a great man. 

The man replied, in a tone of the most irritating non- 

" The President is engaged, and can't be seen." 

" But I must see the President," said I, in a very decided 
manner. " I have business with the President." 

He said he would take up a card. So I hastily wrote on 
one the name of Mr. Van Buren, meaning that I was there 
by that gentleman's orders, and was his representative. I 
added some indistinct words to that effect, which, as I soon 
learned, were either illegible or not observed. The porter be- 
came obsequious enough when he had caught the name I had 
written, and invited me to take a seat in the vestibule. He 
took up my card, and instantly returned with a request for 
me to ** walk up." 

I walked up. I entered the President's office, where half 
a dozen gentlemen were seated in conversation. On my pre- 
senting myself at the door, the whole group, including the 
President, rose, and, after eyeing me a moment, burst into 
laughter. I stood astonished and abashed. The President, 
however, immediately explained the cause of this sudden 

** Mr. Clark, I presume," said he, very politely. 

" The same, sir," said I. 

" Excuse our laughing, Mr. Clark," he continued. " I 
just glanced at your card, and seeing the name of Mr. Van 
Buren, concluded that we were about to see that gentleman." 

I explained how the error arose, and, in doing so, hap- 
pened to use a phrase, the selection of which would have done 
honor to the most adroit of politicians. 

" I brought no card of my own, Mr. President," said I, 
" as it did not occur to me that a messenger from Mr. Van 
Buren could be refused admittance. And when your porter, 
sir, said that you were engaged and could not be seen, I 
thought / would take the responsibility of sending up the 
name of Mr. Van Buren." 

1829.] SUCCESSFUL politician's story. 239 

Upon this, the General gave a most energetic pull at the 
bell-rope. The offending porter appeared. 

" This gentleman/' said the President, " is to be admitted 
at all times. Mark my words — ^at all times. Mr. Clark, be 
seated. In a few moments I shall be at your service." 

He spoke in a peculiarly frank and cordial, yet authori- 
tative manner. There was the master in his every tone, but 
a master whom it would be a delight to serve. I loved him 
from that hour. In his presence I always felt entirely at 
home, but in Mr. Van Buren's, though I wiw him every day, I 
never felt so. My business with the President, at that time, 
was merely formal. He examined the statement I had brought 
with me, signed it, and I took my leave. I noticed that the 
pen with which he wTote was a steel one of remarkable size. 
Some one asked him, one day, when he complained of his 
pen, if he should take it to the blacksmith's for repair. It 
was a great pen, and he wrote with a furious rapidity, some- 
times, that I have never seen equaled. 

A few days after this interview, Mr. Van Buren, who had 
been for a day or two employed upon an important foreign 
dispatch, requested me to make a fair copy of the same, and 
take it to the President, and ask him if it correctly expressed 
his views. The Secretary of State, I may add, devoted him- 
self most laboriously to the duties of his department, and 
took great pains with liis official letters. He used to write 
on paper ruled very wide, so that he could add to or alter 
them the more conveniently. This particular dispatcli came 
to my hands, I remember, black with erasures and interline- 
ations. I copied it and took it up to the President, who 
read it over with great deliberation, and sat brooding over it 
for some minutes after he had finished it. He broke silence 
at length : 

" Well, Mr. Clark, I don't see the use of beating round 
the bush in this way, when you can say what you mean in a 
straightforward manner. What do you think of it ?" 

" I, Mr. President ? I am incapable of judging of such 
an affair. My opinion is worth nothing." 


" That 's for me to say/' rejoined the Gkneral ; " I want 
your opinion." 

" Well, sir," said I, " since you ask me, I must say that 
the straightforward way of saying a thing has always seemed 
to me the best. In fact, I know no other. But really, Gen- 
eral, I am very inexperienced, and perhaps — " 

" I think just so," broke in the General, energetically. 
" Leave the paper with me, Mr. Clark, and I '11 see Mr. Van 
Buren myself about it. Ask him to step up and see me." 

I obeyed. The next morning I fancied that the manner 
of my chief was somewhat more reserved toward me than 
usual. He dropped a remark in the course of the day, which 
led me to infer that he did not approve of my observation to 
the President, non-committal though it had been. I then 
narrated to him the interview just as it occurred. I told him 
I had shrunk from expressing an opinion, but the President 
had demanded it peremptorily, and I was compelled to give 
it, such as it was. He seemed satisfied with my explanation, 
and never alluded to the circumstance again. He may have 
remembered it, however. I know I thought so ten years af- 

Before many days elapsed, I was again in the President's 
private office, on an errand of the same nature, when he again 
asked my opinion of the paper I had brought him to read. I 
was not going to be caught a second time. Indeed, I had 
made up uiy mind beforehand that I would venture no more 
opinions on any subject in that apartment. So I said, in my 
blunt way : 

" Mr. President, I really wish you would n't ask me what 
I think. The truth is, sir, Mr. Van Buren didn't seem 
pleased that I gave you my opinion the other day about the 

I then told him what Mr. Van Buren had said, and how 
I had explained the matter. The General laughed heartily. 

" Why, he wasn't offended, was he ?" he asked. "He 
couldn't be." 

"No," said I, "he wasn't offended. Still he didn't 

1829.] 8U00E88FUL POLITICIAN'S STORT. 241 

like it, and I would decidedly prefer not to give any more 

The General was exceedingly merr)' at this reply. At 
length he said : 

"Come, my young friend, tell me honestly what you 
think of this passage, and I'll promise not to tell Van Buren 
any thing about it." 

I then gave him my opinion. Always after that he asked 
me what I thought of the papers which I submitted to his 
perusal, and often prefaced his question by assuring me, in a 
jocular manner, that he would not tell Van Buren. 

I soon became quite familiar with the General. Never 
was there a man so beset with importunate applicants for 
favors as he. One day, when I had had to wait long for an 
opportunity to transact business with him, I chanced to make 
a remark which, I think, had an important effect upon my 
whole subsequent career. He had got rid of his visitors one 
after another, and at last we two sat alone in the office. He 
had signed my accounts with his great pen, and we were con- 
versing on some topic of the day. He seemed tired and mel- 
ancholy, and I was moved to say something kind to him. I 
saw not before me the conquering general nor the illustrious 
President, but a tired, sad old man, far from his home and 
friends, fartliest of all from his wife, and approached chiefly 
by flatterers, beggars, and sycophants. What to say to him 
I knew not, but I contrived, at last, to blunder out this : 

" General, I should think you'd feel lonely here." 

" Lonely ?" he exclaimed. " How can you think so ? 
Most people would think I liad plenty of company. What 
makes you think I am lonely ?'' 

" Well, General," I replied, '* I don't mean lonely exactly. 
But it is not here as it was at the Hermitage, where your 
friends could come in and chat with you in a social way." 

" No," said the President, " it is not here as it was at the 
Hermitage. There you're right, my young friend." 

" I'll tell you, General," I continued, ** exactly what I 
mean. Every one that comes here has an ax to grind. At 

VOL. III. — 16 


least it seems so to mc, and, in fact, they say so them- 

" Yes," said the General, " I suppose that's so. Now, 
let me ask you, what ax have you to grind ?" 

" My ax is ground," said I. 

" It is, is it ?" said the General, laughing. 

" Yes, sir, my ax is ground. I have the pleasant- 
est place in the department, and I am perfectly satisfied 
with it." 

" You are perfectly satisfied, are you ?'* 

" Perfectly." 

" You have reached the summit of your ambitioo, 
then ?" 

" Certainly, General. I ask nothing better. I wish no- 
thing better." 

" You have no ax to grind at all ?" 

" None, General, none whatever." 

" Neither for yourself nor for any body else ?" 

*^ Neither for myself nor for any body else." 

Upon this the old man rose, took my hand, and said 
with much tenderness : 

" My young friend, come often to see me, and we'll have 
many a good chat together, just as if we were at the Her- 



From that time forward I can not be mistaken in sup- 
posing I was a favorite with General Jackson. He treated 
me w^ith the most marked cordiality, and appeared to give 
me all his confidence. The time came when I put his favor 
to the lest, and it stood the test, as I will relate by and by. 

Mr. Van Burcn well knew my intimacy with the Presi- 
dent, but it made no difl*erence in his own demeanor toward 
me. Mr. Van Buren never employed the arts of personal con- 
ciliation of which he has been accused. To me he was alwavs 
perfectly polite, but cold and reserved. I tried hard to win 
his regard, but never felt that I had made the slightest pro- 
giess toward it. Even when I had rendered him a personal 
service, out of the line of my official duty, I could not lessen 

1829.] SUCCESSFUL politician's stobt. 243 

the distance between us by a hair's breadth. He had a sin- 
gular aversion to accounts, and an inaptitude for keeping 
them that was strange in a man who was so careful to dis- 
charge his pecuniary obligations. Soon after he arrived in 
Washington he came to me, with a puzzled expression of 
countenance, and said that his bank account was all in con- 
fusion, and that he would be very much obliged to me if I 
would look it over, and tell him positively whether he had 
aoy money in the bank or not. I told him I would do it 
with much pleasure, and asked him for his check-book. 

" Check-book ! check-book !" said he, " what is that ?" 

He actually did not know what a check-book was ; and, 
indeed, they were not commonly used, thirty years ago, ex- 
cept by business men. When I had straightened out his 
account, I procured him a check-book, and explained to him 
the mode of using it. He manifested the same delight as a 
child does in a new toy, and I saw him show it as a great 
curiosity to one of his Southern friends. 

I remember a curious incident of my intercourse with the 
Secretary of State. I had occasion to call upon him at his 
own house one morning, when I found him writing. 

" Bead that letter, Mr. Clark," said he, when he had 
finished, " and tell mo what you think of it." 

I read the letter, and said : 

" I will tell you what I think of it with a great deal of 
pleasure, Mr. Van Buren, if you will tell me what it's 

" That will do," he replied ; "I think it will answer." 

He then folded the letter, and immediately turned to the 
business upon which I had come. The letter was so worded 
that no one unacquainted with its subject could have attached 
the slightest meaning to any part of it. 

This extraordiuarv man, cold and cautious as he seemed 
to ine and to the woi Id, was exceedingly amiable, and even 
jovial, in his own liome. I caught him once lying on a sofa, 
engaged in a downright romp with his boys, which he finished 
by throwing a sofa-cushion at one of them. He was also, at 


times, very frauk iu avowiug bjth his opinions and his expe- 
dients. One day, after ho had astonished a company of Vir- 
ginians with a display of what seemed to them almost a 
miraculous familiarity with the local politics of Virginia^ I 
asked him how lie had acquired his information, adding that 
the Virginians, upon going out, had expressed boundless won- 
der at the extent of his knowledge. He answered that he had 
gathered most of it from those very Virginians with whom 
he had conversed. He had allowed them to talk ad libitum^ 
and by adding what they let fall to what he knew before, he 
was able to appear to know more than they did. 

The terror of Mr. Van Buren's public life was this : to be 
thought an intriguer. The very pains which he took to avoid 
the appearance of intrigue wtis often the means of fastening 
the chai*ge upon him. 

But to return to General Jackson. The General was a 
striking illustration of the doctrine of comi>ensation. His 
will, if directly resisted, was not to be shaken by mortal 
power ; but, if artfully managed, he was more easily swayed 
and itii posed upon than any man of his day. There was a 
certain member of Congress who had set his heart upon a 
foreign mission, and had long tried to compass his aim, with- 
out cflFect. He obtained a clue, iu some way, to one of the 
General's weaknesses, and clianged his tactics in consequence. 
He cultivated my acquaintance assiduously, and accompanied 
me sometimes to the White House, where he gradually 
established himself upon a footing of office familiarity. I 
saw Iiim one afternoon perform the following scene in the 
Generars private office, myself being the only spectator 
thi*reof. The President was smoking his pipe. 

** General Jjickson," began the member, "I am about to 
ask you a favor — a favor, sir, that will cost you nothing, and 
the government nothing, but will gratify me exceciUngly." 

'' It's granted, sir," said the President. " What is it ?" 

^^ Well, General, I have an old father at home who has 
as great an esteem for your character as one man can have 
for another. Before I left home^ he charged me to get for 


him, if possible, one of General Jackson's pipes, and that is 
the favor I now ask of you/' 

'^ Oh, certainly," said the General, lai^hing and ringing 
the bell. 

When the servant came, he told him to bring two or three 
dean pipes. 

" Excuse mo, Gtineral," said the member, " but may I 
ask you for that very pipe you have just been smoking ?" 

" This one ?" asked the General " By all means, if you 
prefer it." 

The President was proceeding to empty it of the ashes, 
when the member once more interrupted him. 

"No, General, don't empty out the tobacco. I want 
that pipe just as it is, just as it left your lips." 

The member took the pipe to the table, folded it care- 
fully and reverently in a piece of paper, thanked the General 
for the precious gift with the utmost warmth, and left the 
room with the air of a man whose highest flight of ambition 
had just been more than gratified. 

In a little less than three weeks after, that man departed 
on a mission to one of the South American States, and it was 
that pipe that did the business for him. At least I thought 
so ; and if there is any meaning in a wink, he thought so 
too. It was also a fact, as he in confidence assured me, that 
his old father did revere General Jackson, and wotdd be much 
gratified to possess one of his pipes. I once heard a pill- 
vender say to one who had laughed at his extravagant ad- 
vertisements : 

" Well, these pills of mine, to my certain knowledge, 
have cured some iKjople." 

Speaking of ofHce-sceking, I will relate to you the singu- 
lar process by which a clerk in the War Department was 
transformed into a Senator of the United States. If I had 
not been an eye-witness of this man's extraordinary proceed- 
ings, I could not believe the story. He was a loud, bluster- 
ing, fluent, idle politician from the north, a protege or friend 
of one of the Burrites. He was sitting on the piazza of a 



hotel, uiic aftei'iioou (an employ luent he was much addicted 
to), when a young man from the south began to declaim 
against the administration, and to denounce with particular 
warmth the Burrite just referred to. 

" Sir," said the war-clerk, *' if you feel it necessary tu 
8pe4ik in that way, I will thank you to Bi>eak in a lower tone. 
The gentleman whom you are abusins; is a friend of mine." 

" I don't care a who's your friend. I shall say what 

I please of the scoundrel, and as loud as I please." 

The clerk flew at the young southerner ; but the by- 
standers interfered before much damage was done. In a few 
minutes, an officer of the army presented to the clerk a chal- 
lenge from the young gentleman, which the clerk accepted. 
He asked me to be his second. I knew just as nmch of the 
dueling science as he did, which was nothing at all ; nor did 
I think it proper for an employee of the government to 
bring discredit upon it by engaging in an affair of that kind. 
I declined peremptorily ; and advised him to procure the as- 
sistance of a military man who understood such things. He 
started in pursuit of the only officer with whom he had ex- 
changed a syllable in Washington, a captain to whom he had 
been casually introduced the evening before in a bar-room. 
He found his man and induced him to serve. 

"What are your weapons.^" asked the second. "You 
have the choice, you know." 

"Have I .^" exclaimed the clerk. "By Heaven, then, I 
have him on the hip. I choose small swords. Time, to morrow 
morning at sunrise." 

The second remonstrated. The principal insisted. The 
second of the Southerner protested. The clerk was inflexible. 
A postponement wiis asked, that weapons might be procured, 
and the young gentlemen instructed in tlieir use. But, no ; 
tlie next morning at the rising of the sun was the only time 
the clerk would hear of Late in the evening, after many 
hours of negotiation and the interchange of notes innumer- 
able, the second of the Southerner formally declined the meet- 
ing. The next morning the clerk posted the young man as a 

829.] SUCCESSFUL politician's story. 247 

oward on all the walls of WashiDgton. In the course of the 
lay I met the victorious clerk and asked him where he had 
earned the use of the small sword. 

" Small sword ?" said he. " I never had one in my hand, 
don't know what it is. And I knew he didn't." 

He gained great eclat by this proceeding. He was re- 
;arded as a champion of the administration ; and the Presi- 
lent, who could no more help sympathizing with a fight than 
. duck can help liking water, was intensely gratified. The 
ame day news came that an important vacancy had occurred 
Q a remote Territory, and my fighting friend saw that his 
lOur had come. He immediately wrote a resignation of his 
lerkship, dating it on the day of the challenge, and presented 
t to the chief of his department with these words, 

" Of course, sir, before accepting the challenge yesterday, 
'. resigned my place in the department. I am not the man 
o connect the administration with a duel. Here it is, sir, 
lated as you will perceive, yesterday." 

The Secretary was delighted. The President was com- 
)letoly won. Bather than not reward a partisan who had 
ought for him, or who had shown a willingness to fight, he 
rould almost have resigned his own office in favor of the 
champion. He gave the ex-clerk the vacant place. He gave 
lim nine letters of introduction to personal friends in the Ter- 
itory. Shortly after, that Territory was admitted into the 
Jnion as a sovereign 8tate, and my fighting friend came back 
o Washington as one of its Senators. He served out his 
vhole term ^vithout once revisiting the State he represented, 
md then retired to private life. 

This incident reminds me of a conversation I once had with 
he President upon the subject of party appointments. I said, 

" I want to ask you, General, about your advice to Mr. 
llonroe, that politics should not influence appointments. 
3ow do you reconcile that doctrine with the conduct of your 
idministration ?" 

His countenance assumed a knowing, slightly waggish ex- 
iression, as he replied, 


" Young man, we are never too old to learn." 

On another occasion ho said, 

'^ I am no politician. But if I were a politician, I would 
be a New York politician." 

I had not held my clerkship long before I discovered that 
the accounts of all the departments were kept in the most an- 
tiquated and awkward manner. Custom and tradition ruled 
supreme. Some accounts in the treasury department were 
kept just as tliey were in the days of Alexander Hamilton, 
and according to modes devised and established by him. I 
did all I could for years to get the system of book-keeping by 
double entry introduced, but I met with insuperable diffi- 
culty. Not a man in high ])lace knew what double entry 
was, or could be made to know. After a long struggle, I 
succeeded so far as to induce a certain Secretary of the Treas- 
ury to promise to examine a trcjitisc on the art of book-keep- 
ing by double entrj'. I sent him one instantly, and ho)>ed 
much from his well-known zeal and supposed intelligence. 
Some days after I rc^ceived a message from the Secretary, ask- 
ing me to call at his oilice, as he had made up his mind upon 
the subject of double entry, and wished me to learn his con- 
clusions. I waited upon him. 

" Ah, Mr. Clark, walk in. I am now prepared to show 
you, sir, that double entry is no better than single." 

He took down a volume of English parliamentary reports, 
turned to the evidence given by the inventor of a new sjrstem 
of book-keej)ing before a committee, and pointed to these 
words : ^' Double entiy itself is no safeguard against omis- 
sions and false entries." 

" There !" said the Secretarj', triumphantly. " You see? 
High authority, sir. A professor of book-keeping ! No safe- 
guard against omissions and false entries !" 

'^ Why, Mr. S<?cretiiry," siiid I, utterly confounded at the 
man's simplicity, " no system can prevent omissions and false 
entries. If your clerk sells five hundred barrels of flour, and 
enters four hundred, or omits to enter them at all, how can 
any system of book-keeping prevent it ? The same dishon- 

1829.] SUCCESSFUL politician's story. 249 

estj can make the book balance, no matter how false the en- 
tries may be. All book-keeping presupposes a desire on the 
part of the book-keeper to make an honest record, and all we 
claim for double entry is, that it enables him to do so with 
greater convenience, certainty, and expedition. Double entry 
is a self-corrector. Your book-keeper knows, to a certainty, 
whether he has or has not made an exact record." 

The Secretary scratched his wise noddle witli the end of 
his pen for a minute or two, and then delivereil himself thus: 
f " Mr. Clark, I will frankly admit that you have explaiiieil 
away that difficulty with a great deal of ingenuity. I grant 
the force of your reasoning. But, sir, there is a difficulty in 
the way that is jxjrfectly insunnountable. You can not argue 
it down. It excludes argument." 

" Indeed, sir !" said I. " What is that ?" 
" Well, sir," he rejoined, " this is an economical govern- 
ment, and no Congress toill ever cojisent to double the num- 
ber of clerks in this department !'* 

I am well aware that in telling this story I dniw largely 
upon the credulity of the listener. Nevertheless, it is true. 
And this very Secretary held his office longer, I believe, 
than it has ever been held by any other incumbent since 
the foundation of the government. I gave up double entry 
after that, and I presume they are keeping accounts in Wash- 
ington in the good old way to this hour. 

It is not an entirely pleasant thin^ to be a member of the 
Cabinet. All feel the pressure from above. All feel that a 
breath ummikes them, as a breath hath made. Men feel alike 
whose j)lace and preferment doi)end upon the will of another 
man. Whether they be Cabinet ministers or Cabinet por- 
ters, the moral effect of the position is the same. 

I will relate one more of my interviews with General 
Jackson, which left an indelil)le impression upon my mind, 
and, I think, had an eftect upon my fortunes. It was a tri- 
fling affair, but it is trifles that sliow character. 

In the Northeast boundary dispute, the king of the Neth- 
erlands offered his arbitration. The offer was accepted, and 



we of tlie State Department were much occupied iu preparing 
the necessary documents for transmission to EiirojKJ. One 
day, in the course of these preparations, a gentleman con- 
nected witli the commission, a ratlier pompous individual, a 
son of a foreign consul, born and educated abroad, came into 
my office and requested me to have one set of the documents 
printed on the finest tinted drawing-paper, and bound in the 
most gorgeous and costly manner possible. Tliis set, he said, 
was for the king's own use. The documents, he further re- 
marked, ought to be bound in Paris, for the work could not 
be done in America as it ought to be. Nevertheless, I must 
have them done as well as the state of the arts in the United 
States admitted, regardless of expense. 

Ni^ttled both by the maimer and the matter of this gen- 
tleman's discourse, and not perceiving any necessity for such 
a lavish expenditure of the public money, I told him that, 
the Secretary of State being absent from the city, I did not 
feel authorized to comply with his wishes. Nothing of the 
kind had ever been done before in the department, and any 
tiling so unusual could only be warranted by the Secretary's 
s|)ecial order. The documents were numerous, and would 
form several large voIuuk.'s. 

*' But, sir," said he, with much hauteur, " you forget that 
these volumes are designed, not for ambassadors and secreta- 
ries, but for the kin^i: of a countrv." 

'' Well," said I, " without the express orders of the Sec- 
retary of State or of the President, I must decline doing any 
thing in the matter." 

" I will assume the entire responsibility," he replied, "and 
hold you blameless. If the Secretary of State disapproves, I 
will take the consequences." 

" Very well," said I, " if you shoulder the responsibility 
I will proceed." 

After he had taken his departure, however, I looked into 
the law and the precedents, and became satisfied tlnit there 
was neither law nor precedent for the work proposed. I also 
calculated the expense of the printing and binding, and found 


IS29.] SUCCESSFUL politician's story. 251 

it would <imount to several huiidred dollars. The more I 
thought over the matter the greater was my repuguanco to 
ordering the work, and the result of my cogitations was, that 
I went to the White House to consult the President on the 
subject. I found the President alone, and soon told my 

As I proceeded, the General left his seat and began to 
walk up and down the room, quickening his pace as I went 
on. At length he broke into a loud and vehement harangue, 
still pacing the floor. 

" Go on, Mr. Clark," ho exclaimed ; " you are perfectly 
correct, sir. Tell this gentleman from me, that Benjamin 
Franklin, in his woolen stockings, was no disgrace to his 
country. This government will never sanction what these 
gentlemen wish. The same habits brought reflections upon 
the last administration — those beautiful portfolios, those 
treaty boxes, and other things of that kind. It shall not be 
done, sir. I say again, sir, and I wish those gentlemen to 
know it, that no man ever did such honor to his country 
abroad as old Ben. Franklin, who wore liis homespun blue 
woolen stockings, and all Paris loved him for it. Go on, sir, 
as you have begun. Have these things done — not meanly — 
bat plain and simple, conformable to our republican ])riiici- 

pies. This Mr. , I believe, is a Frenchman. He has 

foreign notions. He has got his appointment ; but if he had 
not got it, I do not say he would. A king, indeed ! What 'a 
a king, that he should receive things in this splendid style ? 
We ought to have things done in the best, plain, unpretend- 
ing manner, and no other ; and so, sir, have them done. 
Now, sir, you know my views, and the Secretaiy of State's 
also, for his views are mine in those things. Therefore go on 
as you deem right, religiously, and fear not. Say to the com- 
missioner that I do not approve these extravagances. When 
he arrives in Europe he may have them fixed according to his 
notions, at his own expense, not the government's. Heaven 
and earth may come together, but Andrew Jackson will never 
8wer>'e from principle." 


" I am proud, Greneral," said I, " to have your approba- 
tion of my course. There is just one other remark that I 
would like to make, with your permission." 

" Proceed, sir," said the President, with the air of a man 
ordering a charge of cavalry. 

"This commissioner," said I, "is a man of power and 
reputation. I am, as you are aware, in a position very differ- 
ent from his. It seems to me that, like a cockboat encomi- 
tering a seventy-four, 1 shall be swamped. He is, besides, a 
friend of the Secretary of State. I never knew an instance 
of a subordinate getting on in any other way than by defer- 
ring to the wislies of his chief." 

" No exception to that rule ?" ho asked, with one of hiB 
knowing looks. 

" 1 liave never known one," I replied. 

" I think there are exceptions, Mr. Clark. I think there 
arc. I believe you will not be swamped on this occasion, Mr. 
Cockboat. Any commimication you may receive from the 
Secretary of State, during his absence, bring to me." 

I took leave, returned to my office, and immediately 
wrote to the commissioner the following letter : 

" Sir — The President^ in a conversation with mc this morniDg, directed 
me to inform you that he (iid not authorize, but expressly forbade, that the 
port-fuho books relating to the Northeast Boundary for the arbitrator, the 
King of the Netherlands, should be done in any other manner thaa that 
of plain, republican simplicity ; remarking, at the same time, that no dif- 
ference should exist between those destined for the King and any others 
that emanate from the government. He happily illustrated hia ideas on 
this sulyect, by tlie expression that, in his opinion, Benjamin Franklin, in 
his blue stoc^kings, was no disgrace to his country. During the conversa- 
tion I had with him, he directtid mo to say to you, that he wished eveiy 
thing of tlie kind done in the best plain and substantial manner, and not 
according to foreign ideas of such things, and expressly directed me in this 
case to have them done in that manner. Understanding from you that 
these documents must be completed with dispatch, they will be done in the 
manner described in the shortest time possible. I am, etc., 

« X. Clark." 

I luckily kept a copy of this epistle. I say luckily, for a 


18S9i] 8n€0B8'8ruL pqliticiav'b stobt. 253 

iaj or two after, upon going to tlie President upon other 
boflineflB, I found him oool and reserved toward me. I asked 
him the reason. 

^^ Tou have written an abusive letter to the conunift- 
Amet" said he. 

^'Noy General, I have not I wrote him just such a let- 
ter as you directed, and here is a copy of if 

He read the letter and said it expressed his ideas exactly, 
and he was perfectly satisfied with it. His good humor was 
restored, and he again told me to bring to him any letter I 
might receive from the Secretary of State. It happened that 
I neeived from the Secretary a note the very next day, which 
read as follows : ^^ Dear sir — ^Please tell my housekeeper that 
I shall be at home on Tuesday/' Having occasion to visit 
the President that afternoon, I informed him that I had re- 
ceived from the Secretary of State a communication. He 
read it. 

^ Why/' said he, '^ this bas nothing to do with the matter 
in band.'' 

*-* No, General ; but your words were, ^ Bring me any let- 
ter yon may receive from the Secoietary ;' you made no ex- 

" Right, right, sir," said the President ; " I see you are a 
military man/' 

The time came, at length, when I, too, was a suitor for 
presidential favor, and I venture to say that no one has ever 
obtained a lucrative office more easily and unexpectedly than 
I did. By accident I heard of the vacancy one mail before 
any one else in Washington. It was an office that secured 
to a prudent incumbent not income merely, but competence; 
one of those city places the fees of which had been fixed 
when the city was a small town. The mere growth of the 
city had rendered this office one of the best things in tlie ^ift 
ci the federal government. In twenty-four hours there would 
have been fifty applicants for it — in a week, two hundred. 

I went straightway to the President's office, and addressed 
him in words like. these : 



" General, the no-mattcr-what-ship of New York is va- 
cant. You will be notified of the fact to-morrow morning. 
It was long ago undci'stood between you and myself, that the 
straightforward way of doing business was the best, and I 
will proceed in that way upun the present occasion. I will 
ask you two questions. Do you consider me competent to 
discharge the duties of that office ?" 

" I do," said the President. 

** Will you give me the appointment ?" 

" I will," was his instantaneous reply. 

And he did. My name was sent to the Senate immedi- 
ately. The nomination was confirmed, and I wjis soon at my 
new post, to the great astonishment of several worthy gentle- 
men who were striving, with might and main, by night and 
day, to secure the place for themselves. At the expiration 
of my term of four yeai*s, I went to Washington and asked a 
reappointment in precisely the same manner, and received for 
answer the same emphatic and instantaneous " I will," as bi'- 
fore. On this occiision, the private secretary being busy, he 
requested me to write my own nomination. I did so, but as 
it was deemed best that the document should go to the Sen- 
ate in tlie usual hand-writing. Major Donelson copied it, and 
sent it to the capitol. 

The General invited me to dinner. I had sent him some 
montlis before, a barrel of hickory nuts, and after dinner he 
said to a servant, 

** Bring some of Mr. Clark's hickory nuts." 

"I am flattered, General," said I, "that you should re- 
member it." 

" Oh," said he, " I never forget my friends." 

At the table, I observed, every guest was provided with 
two forks, one of steel, the other of silver. The President 
adhered to the primitive metal. 

Mr. Forsyth was then Secretary of State. I called upon 
him, and informed him of my reap})ointment, and that my 
name was then before the Senate. 

" Have you called upon your Senatoi*s ?" he asked. 


" I have not/' was my innocent reply ; " I did not sup- 
pose it necessary/' 

" Oh, no," said he, " it is not necessary. If General Jack- 
son says so, that 's enough. There 's no Secretary of State, no 
Senate, no any body — if Geueml Jackson has made up his 

Mr. Van Buren, who was sitting near^ laughed. Mr. For- 
syth laughed, I laughed, we performed a laughing trio ; in the 
midst of which I took my leave, well assured in my own mind, 
that I had the best of the joke. 

Four years later, however, Mr. Van Buren being Presi- 
dent, I took a slightly different view of the matter. As the 
expiration of my second term drew near, I employed all the 
usual arts, and some of the unusual ones, to secure a reap- 
pointment, and entertained confident hopes of success. In- 
deed, I felt assured of it, and had reason to do so, though 
from the President himself I had heard nothing. My second 
term expired, and still I had learnt nothing of the fate of my 
application. The next morning, at 10 o'clock precisely, a gen- 
tleman entered my office, and, presenting his commission, in- 
formed me, with the utmost politeness, tliat I was no longer 
in the service of the government, and that I saw before me that 
dread being — terror of all office-holders — a successor I 

I have seen many heads taken off in my time, but never 
one quite so neatly as my own. 



The people of the United States eanie naturally enough 
by their old distrust of paper-money and banks. As early as 
1690, we reiul in the old NeioS'Lcttcrs^ it required, in the vil- 
hige of New York, two paper dullars to buy one silver one. 
The colonists had been disastrously fighting the French in 


Canada, and paying expenses in paper. In 1745, the great 
and famous expedition against Louisburgh, in Cape Breton, 
was paid for partly in the same unsubstantial coin, which had 
so depreciated in 1748 that to get one hundred pounds in 
gold it was necessary to give — 

In Massachusetts* paper, 1,100 pounds. 

" New York " . , . . . 190 " 

" East Jersey " 190 " 

" West Jersey " 180 " 

" Pennsylvania ** 180 " 

" Maryland " 200 " 

" Virginia " 125 " 

" North Carolina " 1,000 " 

" South CaroUna " 700 " 

The torrents of paper-money issued during the revolu- 
tionary war, which sunk in value to nothing, converted the 
old prejudice against paper promises-to-pay into an aversion 
that had the force of an instinct. To this instinctive aver- 
sion, as much as to the constitutional objections urged by 
Mr. Jefferson and his disciples, was owing the difficulty ex- 
perienced by Alexander Hamilton in getting his first United 
States bank chartered. Hence, also, the refusal of Congress 
to recharter that bank in 1811. Hence the unwillingness of 
Mr. Madison to sanction the charter of the second bank of the 
Upited States in 1816. But the bank was chartered in 1816, 
and went into existence with the approval of all the great 
republican leaders, opposed only by the extreme Jeffersonians 
and by the few federalists who were in public life. Yes, the 
federalists, among whom was Daniel Webster. They op- 
posed it ostensibly because of some of the provisions of the 
charter which they deemed unwise ; the real ground of oppo- 
sition being that it was a republican measure, designed to 
Hilieve the country from some of the financial evils aggra- 
vated by the late war. 

But, long before General Jackson came into power, the 
bank appeared to have lived down all opposition. In the 
presidential campaign of 1824 it was not so much as men- 
tioned, nor was it mentioned in that of 1828. In all the 


political pamphlets, volumes, newspapers, campaign papers, 
barlesques, and caricatures of those years, there is not the 
most distant allusion to the bank as a political issue. The 
bonk had become a universiilly accepted fact. General Jack- 
son himself, though naturally averse to paper money — an op- 
ponent of Hamilton's bank in 1797, and not an advocate for 
that of 1816 — had yet advised the establishment of a branch 
at Pensacola, and had signed a certificate in 1828, recom- 
mending certain persons for president and cashier of the 
branch at Nashville.^ 

At the beginning of the administration of General Jack- 
son, the bank of the United States was a truly imposing in- 
stitution. Its capital was thirty-five millions. The public 
money deposited in its vaults averaged six or seven millions ; 
its private deposits, six millions more ; its circulation, twelve 
millioos ; its discounts, more than forty millions a year ; its 
aoDiial profits, more than three millions. Besides the parent 
bank at Philadelphia, with its marble palace and hundred 
clerks, there were twenty-five branches in the towns and 
cities of the Union, each of which had its president, cashier, 
ind board of directors. The employees of the bank were more 
than five hundred in number, all men of standing and infiu- 
snce, all liberally salaried. In every county of the Union, in 
5very nation on the globe, were stockholders of the bank of 
the United StiUes. One-fifth of its stock was owned by 
foreigners. One-fourth of its stock was held by women, 
Drphans, and the trustees of charity funds — so high, so un- 
ijuestioned was its credit. Its bank-notes were as good as 
gold in every part of the country. From Maine to Georgia, 
from Georgia to Astoria, a man could travel and pass these 
notes at every point without discount. Nay, in London, 
Paris, Rome, Cairo, Calcutta, St. Petersburgh, the notes of 
the bank of the United States were worth a fraction more or 
a fraction less than their value at home, according to the 
current rate of exchange. They could usually be sold at a 

* Memoirs of Hugh L. Whitei 
TOL. III. — 17 


premium at the remotest commercial centers. It was not 
uncommon for the stock of the bank to be sold at a premium 
of forty per cent. The directors of this bank were twenty- 
five in number, of whom five were appointed by the Presi- 
dent of the United States. The bank and its branches 
received and disbursed the entire revenue of the nation. 

At the head of this great establishment was the once re- 
nowned Nicholas Biddle. To his pen Mr. Biddle owed his 
conspicuous position. A graduate of Princeton — a student 
of law in Philadelphia — secretary of legation at Paris, first 
under General Armstrong, then under Mr. Monroe — afterward 
Philadelphia lawyer and editor of a literary magazine — author 
of the " Commercial Digest," prepared at the request of 
President Monroe — unsuccessful candidate for Congress. In 
1819 Mr. Monroe appointed him Government Director of the 
Bank of the United States, in which office he exhibited so 
much vivacity and intelligence, that, in 1823, he was elected 
president of the institution by a unanimous vote. It was a 
pity. Mr. Biddle was a man of the pen — quick, graceful, 
fluent, honorable, generous, but not practically able ; not a 
man for a stormy sea and a lee shore. The practically able 
man is not fluent of tongue or pen. The man who can not, 
to save his soul, sell a cargo of cotton at a profit, is your man 
to write brilliant articles on the cotton trade. In ordinary 
times, Mr. Biddle would have doubtless been able to retain 
his title of the Emperor Nicholas, of which he was a little 
vain, and to conduct his bank along the easy path with gen- 
eral applause. But he fell upon evil days, and the pen that 
made him ruined him. 

He was one of those charioteers with whose magnificent 
driving no fault can be found, except that, at last, it upsets 
the coach. How many such charioteers there are in this 
world ! 

There is a tradition in Washington to this day, that Gen- 
eral Jackson came up from Tennessee to Washington, in 
1829, resolved on the destruction of the Bank of the United 
States, and that he was only dissuaded from aiming a para- 




graph at it in his inaugural address by the pnidence of Mr. 
Van Buren. No less distinguished a person than Mr. Ban- 
croft has fallen into this error.* 

General Jackson had no thought of the bank until he had 
been President two months. He came to Washington ex- 
pecting to serve but a single term, during which the question 
of re-chartoring the bank was not expected to come up. The 
bank was chartered in 1816 for twenty years, which would 
not expire until 1836, three years after General Jackson 
hoped to be at the Hermitage once more, never to leave it 
The first intercourse, too, between the bank and the new ad- 
ministration was in the highest degree courteous and agre^ 
able. A large payment was to be made of the public debt 
early in the summer, and the manner in which the bank 
managed that affair, at some loss and much inconvenience to 
itself, but greatly to the advantage of the public and to the 
credit of the government, won from the Secretary of the 
Treasury a warm eulogium. " I am fully sensible," wrote 
Mr. Ingham to Mr. Biddle, on the 6th of June, " of the dis- 
position of the bank to afford all practicable facility to the 
fiscal operations of the government, and the offers contained 
in your letters with that view are duly appreciated. As you 
have expressed the willingness of the bank to make the funds 
of the Treasury immediately available at the various points 
where they may be required for the approaching payment of 
the debt, the drafts for effecting the transfers for that object 
will be made to suit the convenience of the bank as far as the 
demands of other branches of the service will permit." And, 
on the 19th of June, when the business had been nearly done, 
he added : " I can not close this communication without ex- 

• In his eulogy of Goncral Jackson, pronounced at Washington, in Juno, 
1845, Mr. Bancroa said: " Ho came to tho presidency of the United Stiitcs re- 
■olTed to deliver the government from tho Bank of tho United States, and to 
restore the rogulaiiou of excliangos U) the rijjlitful depository of that power — the 
oomuierco of t!ie country. He h:id designed to declare his views on this subject 
in his inaugural address, but was pcrsualed to relinquish that purpose, on the 
groiuid thttt it belougcd ratlier to a legislative message." 


pressing the satisfaction of the department at the arrange- 
ments which the bank has made for effecting these payments 
in a manner so accommodating to the Treasury, and so little 
embarrassing to the community." And when all was over, 
the Secretary again expressed his gratitude and admiration. 

But while this affair was going on so pleasantly, trouble 
was brewing in another quarter. Isaac Hill, from New Hamp- 
shire, then second Comptroller of the Ti'easury, was a great 
man at the White House. He had a grievance. Jeremiah 
Mason, one of the three great lawyers of New England, a 
Federalist, a friend of Daniel Welwter and of Mr. Adams, 
had been appointed to the presidency of the branch of the 
United States Bank at Portsmouth, New Hampshire — much 
to the disgust of Isaac Hill and other Jackson men of that 
little State. Isaac Hill desired the removal of Mr. Mason 
and the appointment in his place of a gentleman who was a 
friend of the new administration. 

That the reader may see the movements of this gentleman 
as they appeared to General Jackson, and that he may fully 
understand the process by which the administration were 
brought into collision with the parent bank, I will present 
here a brief condensation of the papers and letters relating to 
the " Portsmouth affair," in the order in which they wer^- 
produced. The correspondence began in June and ended in. 
October. I believe myself warranted in the positive asser^ 
tion, that this corre8j)ondence relating to the desired removal 
of Jeremiah Mason was the direct and real cause of the de- 
struction of the bank. If the bank had been complaisant 
enough to remove a faithful servant. General Jackson, I am 
convinced, would never have opposed the rechartering of the 

June 27. A ])ctition, signed by fifty-eight citizens of 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was addressed to the Directors 
of the Bank of the United States. It states that the Ports- 
mouth branch has been conducted in a manner " partial, 
harsh, novel, and injurious to the interest of the bank ;" and 
that the president of the branch is the guilty person. Asks 


lis removal, and the appointment of a president and board 
>f directors acquainted with the business necessities of Ports- 
nouth, and disposed to dispense the favors of the bank im- 

June 29. A similar petition from Portsmouth, signed by 
ifty-six members of the New Hampshire legislature. It states 
hat small, safe loans have been refused to business men in 
Portsmouth, while, at the same time, large sums were loaned 
ut of the State at greater risk ; and that the course pursued 
y the President was " destructive to the business of Ports- 
louth and offensive to the whole community." Asks the 
emoval of the president and dii^ctors, and the appointment 
f others named in the petition, 

June 27. Levi Woodbury, of New Hampshire, United 
Itates Senator, to Mr. Ingham, Secretary of the Treasury. 
ilarked " Confidential." Repeats the comj^laints of the pe- 
itions. Adds that Jeremiah Mason is a particular friend 
f Mr, Webster J who was supposed to have had much to 
lo with procuring his appointment ; that the appointment, 
inpopular at first, has now become odious through Mr. Ma- 
K>n's ungracious manners and partial, vacillating conduct 
Advises the prompt removal of the president and directors, 
f it can be effected. P. S. " I understand the board is se- 
ected for this branch early in July" — next month, 

July 11. S. D. Inj::ham to Nicholas Biddle. Encloses 
Hr. Woodburjr's letter, and says that similiar complaints 
lave been received from Kentucky and Louisiana. Adds, 
;hat the administration would learn with extreme regret that 
political relationship bad any influence upon the granting or 
A'ithholding of bank facilities. Compliments the parent bank 
lighly upon the manner in which it has discharged its trust 
* in all its immediate relations to the government." 

July 17. Isaac Hill to J. N. Barker and John Pember- 
ton of Philadelphia. Encloses the two New Hampshire peti- 
;ions and asks Messrs. Barker and Peraberton to hand them 
to the president of the bank. Admits that the movement 
)riginated in a suggestion of his own. Endorses all the 


Statements of the petitions. Concludes by saying, that the 
"friends of General Jackson have had but too much reason 
to complain of the branch bunk at Portsmouth ;" that all 
they now want is, that it " may not continue to be an engine 
of political oppression ;" and that, of the ten persons pro- 
posed in the legislative petition for directors, six are Jackson 
men and four Adams men. Mr. Hill quotes a private letter 
from Portsmouth, which accuses Mr. Mason of being " unac- 
commodating to pensioners," of making large loans to his 
brother-in-law at Boston, while " refusing to accommodate 
our merchants with two or three thousand dollars, and this, 
too, on the very best paper." 

July 18. Nicholas Biddle to S. D. Ingham. " Confiden- 
tial." Acknowledges the receipt of the secretary's letter en- 
closing that of Senator Woodbury. States that the letter 
has been submitted to the directors of the parent bank, who 
will investigate Mr. Woodbury's allegations, and, if they are 
substantiated, apply "an appropriate corrective." Mean- 
while, injustice to Mr. Mason, he will say^ of his own knowl- 
edge, that neither politics nor Mr. Webster suggested the 
selection of Mr. Mason. Mr. Webster did not even know of 
the nomination of Mr. Mason, until after it was made. 
Quotes a recent letter of Mr. Woodbury to himself, in which 
Mr. Woodbury says: "It is notorious that the charge* 
against Mr. Mason in his i)resent office originated exclusively 
with his political fi'ieiids, and it was not till they creatinl a 
personal rancor and inflamed condition of the public mind, 
seldom if ever before witnessed in this region, that others in- 
terposed from a supposed danger to the interests of both the 
town and the biuik." Mr. Biddle gave a short history of Mr. 
Mason's appointment : 

" The office at Portsmouth had originally the misfortune to have at its 
head a Mr. Cults, who ended by defrauding the United States of upward 
of $20,000 of the pension fund, which the hank wiis obliged to replace, and 
lust year the office was nearly prostrated in the general ruin which spread 
over that country. Out of $400,000 of loans, $148,000 was thrown under 
protest ; still further protests were expected, and the actual loss sustained 


"^bere will not be less than $112,000. At this period, the late president^ a 
^^orthy man, but not calculated for such a state of things, resigned his place, 
amd it became necessary at once to adopt the most energetic measures to 
save the property of tlie bank. A confidential officer was dispatched to 
Portsmouth, who found the affairs of the office in great jeopardy, covered 
with the wrecks which lad management and the most extensive fi-ands 
hud occasioned. To retrieve it, it became necessary to select a man of first 
rmte character and abilities ; such a man was Mr. Mason. Of his entire 
competency, especially in detecting the complicated frauds, and managing 
the numerous law suits which seemed inevitable, there could be no doubt 
Of bis political opinions, we neither knew nor inquired any thing. In 
order to induce him to give up so much of his valuable time to the service 
of the bank, an estimate was made of the probable amount which we 
would have to pay for the professional services of a lawyer, and, by engag- 
ing Mr. Mason in that character, we were enabled to obtain his consent to 
accept the appointment. Since he has been in office, he has been exceed-^ 
ingly useful — ^lias saved the bank from great losses — has secured the bad 
debts — nor, until Mr. Woodbury's letter, was I informed of any complaini 
against him. What is, mort^over, to be much considered, is, that while he 
has been gradually reducing the old accommodation loans, he has actually 
increased the amount of the general loans of the office." 

Mr. Biddle added, that he was inclined to attribute the 
clamor against Mr. Mason to his vigor in enforcing the pay- 
ment of the old protested notes. He appended a long state- 
ment, showing that the bank had never been influenced in the 
bestowal of its favors by political considerations, and declar- 
ing that it never should be. 

July 23d. S. D. Ingham to Nicholas Biddle. A well- 
written and ingenious letter in reply to Mr. Biddle's last. 
The secretary remarked that he was not prepared for such a 
sweeping assertion as that of Mr. Biddle, when he said that 
since the founding of the bank, no loan was ever granted or 
withheld through political partiality or hostility. Human 
nature being what it is, it was not credible that live hundred 
men, not selected by Omniscience, had been wholly exempt 
in all cases from the bias of party feelings. Mr. Biddle's as- 
sertion he therefore received ' ' rather as evidence of Mr. Bid- 
die's own feelings than as conclusive proof of the fact so con- 
fidently vouched for." The secretary would not assume the 


truth of the Portsmouth charges, but he did object " to a 
course of action which either resists inquiry, or, what is of the 
same tendency, enters upon it with a full persuasion that it 
is not called/or." 

July 31. Jeremiah Mason to Nicholas Biddle. Informs 
Mr. Biddle that Isaac Hill is endeavoring to remove the pen- 
sion agency from the branch bank at Portsmouth to Concord, 
Hill's object being to "benefit a small bank at Concord, of 
which, till his removal to Washington, he was the president." 
Says that though Concord is more central, Portsmouth is 
more convenient to a majority of the pensioners ; and that, 
as the disbursements to pensioners amount to eighty thousand 
dollars a year, the removal of the agency will be a great loss 
to the branch bank. Thinks it can not be done legally. 
Mr. Mason concluded by saying he had heard that complaints 
of his official conduct had been forwarded to the parent bank, 
and that he desired to be informed what they were. "If," 
said he, " the memorial and letters contain all the absurd un- 
truths that were made use of to obtain signers to them, they 
must be extraordinary productions." 

August 3. John H. Eaton, Secretary of War, to Jere- 
miah Mason. States that "it has been found necessary" to 
remove the pension agency from Portsmouth to Concord, and 
that a pension agent has been appointed to reside at Con- 
cord. Bequests Mr. Mason to deliver into the custody of 
that agent all the books, papers, and money belonging to the 
pension agency. 

August 10. Jeremiah Mason to Nicholas Biddle. En- 
closes the order of the Secretary of War for the transfer of 
the pension agency books, and says that, considering the order 
illegal, he thinks he shall not obey it until authorized to do 
so by the parent bank. " The Secretary of War," he re- 
marks, " has no control over the navy and privateer funds, 
and yet it seems by his letter that the order to transfer them, 
with the invalid and revolutionary funds, is to come from 
him. No intimation is given of any direction of the Presi- 
dent of the United States for doing this." 


August 13. Jeremiah Mason to Nicholas Biddle. Says 
that the newly appointiid Concord jK3nsion agent has pre- 
sented himself at the branch bank at Portsmouth, and for- 
mally demanded the books. Mr. Mtison had refused to give 
them up, and informed the agent that he must wait for in- 
structions from the parent bank. In consequence of this 
movement, the pensions, then just due, would not be paid. 

August 17. T. Cadwallader, acting president of the bank 
of the United States, to Jeremiah Mason. (Mr. Biddle being 
absent froiii Philadelphia, and on his way to Portsmouth, 
where he intended to invejstigate personally the charges 
against Mr. Mason, the instructions of the parent board 
were communicated to Mr. Mason by the acting president.) 
" You are instructed," said Mr. Cadwallader, " respectfully 
to inform the Secretary of War that no such authority as he 
claims is perceived in the acts of Congress ; and that, as the 
bank must act under legal responsibility, you must request 
him to have the goodness to point out whence his authority 
is derived, stating that, to i)revent inconvenience to the 
government, as well as to individuals, the jmyments to the 
pensioners will be continued as heretofore, until a further 
communication shall have been received from him, and sub- 
mitted to the ])arent board." 

August 25. James L. Edwards, pension clerk in the 
War Department, to Jeremiah Mason. Stiitcs that the Sec- 
retary of War was absent from Washington, not anticipat- 
ing any difficulty in the transfer of the pension agency. 
Bequests Mr. Mason to go on paying the pensions as usual, 
and when Major Eaton returns the affair will be disposed of 
by him. 

September 15. Nicholas Biddle to S. D. Ingham. This 
was the letter which finally and fatally embroiled the bank 
of the United States with General Jackson's administration. 
It was an honest, able, right, imprudent letter. Mr. Biddle 
had spent six days at Portsmouth, and had satisfied himself 
and satisfied the directors that tlie charges ag?xiust Mr. Mjison 
were " entirely groundless." ** The most zealous of Mr. 


Mason's enemies did not venture to assert that he had ever, 
on any occiision, been influenced by political feelings, and 
this public opinion, so imposing in the mist of distance, de- 
generated into the personal hostility of a very limited, and, 
for the most part, very i)rejudiced circle. Mr. Mason was, 
there/ore, immediately re-elected.'' 

Having stated this result of the investigation, the presi- 
dent of the bank proceeded to declare the judgment of the 
bank upon the principles involved in the pending dispute. 
The bank, in effect, defied the administration. 

" Presuming," said Mr. Biddle, " that we have rightly ap- 
prehended your views, and fearful that the silence of the 
bank might be hereafter misconstrued into an acquiescence in 
them, I deem it my duty to stixte to you in a manner per- 
fectly respectful to your official and personal character, yet so 
clear as to leave no possibility of misconception, that the 
board of directors of the Bank of the United States, and the 
boards of directors of the branches of the Bank of the United 
States, acknowledge not the slightest responsibility of any 
description whatsoever to the Secretiiry of the Treasury 
touching the political opinions and conduct of their officers, 
that being a subject on which they never consult, and never 
desire to know, the views of anv administration. It is with 
much reluctance the board of directors feel themselves con- 
strained to make this declaration. But charged as they are 
by Congress with duties of great importance to the country, 
which they can hope to execute only while they are exempted 
from all influences not authorized by the laws, they deem it 
most becoming to themselves, as well as to the Executive, to 
state witli pert'oct frankness their opinion of any interferenc« 
in the concerns of the institution confided to their care." . . 

October 8. S. D. Ingham to Nicholas Biddle. Mr. Ing- 
ham's reply is as long as a president's message. He expends 
pages in endeavoring to show that Mr. Biddle had misstated 
some of his previous positions, and other pages in siiying how 
good and pleasant a thing it is to see a Secretary of the 
Treasury and a president of the United States Bank dwelling 

1829.] riBBT BLOW AT THE BANK. 267 

togetlier in unity. The substantial meaning of his letter is 
tlus : ** Mr. Biddle, you are altogether too touchy ; instead 
of resenting suggestions from the Secretary of the Treasury, 
you ought to welcome them." 

One paragraph of Mr. Ingham's letter contains a threat, 
to which subsequent evento gave significance, though at the 
time it made but a slight impression : '^ The administration 
18 empowered to ctct upon the bank in various ways : in the 
appointment or removal of five of the directors ; in the with'- 
drawing of the public deposits; in the exaction of weekly 
statements, and the inspection of its general accounts ; and 
in all the modes incident to the management of the pecuniary 
ooUections and disbursements of the government. That these 
opportunities of action might be perverted and abused is con- 
ceivable, but, subjected to the principle on which we early 
and cordially agreed, they become causes of security and 
benefit ; and before I dismiss this branch of the subject, I 
take the occasion to say, if it should ever appear to the sat- 
iifiiction of the Secretary of the Treasury that the bank used 
its pecuniary power for purposes of injustice and oppression, 
he would be faithless to his trust if he hesitated to lessen its 
capacity for such injury, by withdrawing from its vaults the 
public deposits.'' 

The conclusion of Mr. Ingham's long letter was as fol- 
lows : " No one can more fervently desire than I do, that 
the bank shall, in all its ramifications, be absolutely inde- 
pendent of [)arty ; that it shall so conduct its afiiiirs as to 
accomplish every purpose for which it was intended, and 
stand above the reach of the least plausible suspicion. No 
one can see with more unalloyed satisfaction its fiourishing 
condition, or has borne more cheerful testimony to the char- 
acter of its present management. Having labored ardently 
to create it, I may not be supposed the first to contaminate 
or decry it ; but, however imposing its attitude, if once St'itis- 
fied that the powers of its charter and the resources of its 
wealtii are debased and perverted to practices at war with the 
liberties of the country, and the rights and interests of my 


fellow-citizens, no consideration of a personal nature will 
curb me in exercising the legal power with which I may be 
invented, to check its tendencies and reform its abiises ; and 
it will be my care not less than my duty, never to surrender 
any of the rights vested in the government for this pur- 

October 9. Nicholas Biddle to 8. D. Ingham. In this 
letter, which concluded the correspondence, Mr. Biddle ex- 
plained some passages of his former letters, and heartily re- 
sponded to the Secretary's desire that the bank should be 
totally independent of party. 

So the Bank of the United States triumphed over Isaac 
Hill, Mr. Woodbury, and the administration. It was a dear 

The reader has perused the previous pages of this work to 
little purpose if he does not know what effect upon the mind 
of the President the bank's calm defiance was certain to pro- 
duce. Before the next month closed, the editors of the New 
York Courier and Enquirer received a confidential hint from 
Washington, that the forthcoming Presidential Message would 
take ground against the Bank of the United States. So says 
Mr. James Gordon Bennett, who was then the active, work- 
ing man of that great newspaper. 

" For a considerable time," says Mr. Bennett, " after I 
joined the Courier and Enquirer in 1829, and the greater 
portion of which journal I then wrote with my own hand — 
and up to the year 1830, it presented no particular hostility 
to the United States Bank. I think it was in the month of 
November, 1829, when M. M. Noah was Surveyor of the 
Port, that in going to his office one day, I found him reading 
a letter which he had just received from Amos Kendall, and 
which informed him that ground would be taken against the 
Bank by General Jackson in the message to be delivered the 
next month on the opening of Congress. On the same day, a 
portion of Amos Kendall's letter, with a head and tail put to 
it, was sent over to the Courier office, and published as an 

1829.] 0ONOBK8B MBKT8. 269 

editorial next moniiiig. This was the first savage attack on 
the United States Bank in the colnmns of the Cowrier and 



Obkebal Jacksoh prepared his Messages very much as 
the editor of a metropolitan journal ^^ gets up " his thundering 
leaders ; only not quite so expeditiously. He used to begin 
to think about his Message three or four months before the 
meeting of Congress. Whenever he had ^^ an idea/' he would 
make a brief memorandum of it on any stray piece of paper 
that presented itself, and put it into his capacious white hat 
for safe keeping. By the time it became necessary to put the 
document into shape, he would have a large accumulation of 
these memoranda, some of them consisting of a few words on 
Ae margin of a newspaper, and some of a page or two of 
foolscap. These were all confided to the hands of Major Don- 
elson, the President's fsiithful and diligent private secretary, 
whose duty it was to writo them out into orderly and correct 
English. Thus was formed the basis of the Message, to 
which the members of the Cabinet added each his proportion. 
4t is not difficult, in reading over the volume of General 
Jackson's Messages, to detect the traces of the General's own 
large steel pen. 

Congress met on the seventh of December. Such was the 
strength of the administration in the House of Representa- 
tives, that Andrew Stephenson was re-elected to the Speak- 
ership by one hundred and fifty-two votes out of one hundred 
and ninety-one. This Congress, however, came in. with the 
administration, and had been elected when General Jackson 


The Message, eagerly looked for, as a first Message always 


is, was delivered on the day following that of the organization 
of the House. A calm deliberateness of tone marked this 
important paper. If any where the hand of the chief was 
particularly apparent, it was where, on opening the subject 
of the foreign relations, in the midst of friendly declarations 
and confident hopes of a peaceful settlement of all points in 
dispute, the President observed that, the country being blessed 
with every thing which constitutes national strength, he 
should ask nothing of foreign governments that was not right, 
and submit to nothing that was wrong ; flattering himself, he 
said, that, aided by the intelligence and patriotism of the 
people, we shall be able to cause all our just rights to be re- 
spected. After this Jacksonian ripple, the Message flowed on 
with Van Buren placidity to its close. 

But who would have thought to find, in a first Message 
of Andrew Jackson, Great Britain singled out for compli- 
ment ? " With Great Britain," said the Message, " alike 
distinguished in peace and war, we may look forward to years 
of peaceful, honorable, and elevated competition. Every 
thing in the condition and history of the two nations is cal- 
culated to inspire sentiments of mutual respect, and to carry 
conviction to the minds of both, that it is their policy to pre- 
serve the most cordial relations. Such are my own views ; 
and it is not to be doubted that such are also the prevailing 
sentiments of our constituents." What does this mean ? We 
shall see ere long. 

The Message recommended that all " intermediate agency" 
in the election of the President and Vice-President shall be 
abolished, and the service of the President limited to a single 
term of four or six years. One passage in this part of the 
Message was, doubtless, designed to be particularly interesting 
to Mr. Clay and his friends. In case the election, through the 
number of candidates, devolves upon the House of Repre- 
sentatives, remarked the President, the will of the people may 
not be always ascertained, or, if ascertained, may not be re- 
garded. Circumstances may give the power of deciding the 
election to a single individual '' May he not be tempted to 

11829.] OOKQRESS MEETS. 271 

^lame his reward V In any case, thought the President, it 
is worthy of consideration, whether representatives should not 
be disqualified from holding oflSce under a President of their 
own electing. 

In two brief, pregnant paragraphs, every sentence a dis- 
tinct proposition, and every proposition an error, the mes- 
sage defended the course of the government in its removals 
and appointments. The leading ideas of this passage were, 
that a long tenure of office is almost necessarily corrupting ; 
that an office-holder has no more right to his office than the 
office-seeker ; and that if any one had a right to complain of 
a removal from office it was not the luckless individual who 
had been suddenly deprived of the means of subsistence with- 
out cause. 

The tariff was referred to with the vagueness unavoidable 
by a w^riter who was a protectionist in principle and a free- 
trader from necessity. The late tariff, said the message, had 
neither injured agriculture and commerce, nor benefited man- 
ufacturers, as much as had been anticipated ; but '^ some 
S3iodifications " were desirable, which should be considered 
nd discussed not as party or sectional questions. The time 
near at hand when the public debt would be all dis- 
csharged. The gradual reduction and speedy abolition of the 
duties on tea and coffee were, therefore, recommended. 

The finances of the country were in a satisfactory condi- 
-Cion. Nearly six millions in the treasury ; receipts for the 
year 1830 estimated at twenty-four millions six hundred 
"thousand dollars ; expenditures to be little more than twenty- 
six millions. Nearly twelve and a half millions of the public 
<icbt had been paid during the year, leaving only forty-eight 
and a half millions. When this debt shall have been dis- 
charged, the President continued, then will arise the great 
question, whether the surplus revenue should not be appor- 
tioned among the several States for works of public utility, 
and thus put to rcBt for ever the long-vexed question of in- 
ternal improvements. In connection with this subject there 
was an emphatic declaration : ^^ Nothing is clearer, in my 


view, than that we arc chiefly indebted for the success of the 
constitution under which we are now acting to the watchful 
and auxiliary operation of the State authorities. This is not 
the reflection of a day, but belongs to the most deeply rooted 
convictions of my mind. I can not, therefore, too strongly 
or too earnestly for my own sense of its importance, warn you 
against all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of State 

The message suggested the formation of a Home Depart- 
ment to relieve the pressure on the Department of State. 

The policy of the government on the Cherokee question 
was clearly foreshadowed. The Cherokees were given to un- 
derstand that an independent sovereignty within the bounds 
of a sovereign State could not, in any circumstances whatever, 
be tolerated, and Congress was advised to set apart an ample 
district west of the Mississippi for the permanent occupancy 
of such tribes as could be induced to emigrate thither. 
"But," added the President, "this emigration should be 
voluntary ; for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the 
aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers, and seek a 
home in a distant land." 

Near the close of the message were the famous little par- 
agraphs which sounded the first note of war against the 
United States Bank : 

" The charter of Uie Bank of the United States expires in 1836, and its 
stockholders will most probably apply for a renewal of their privileges. In 
order to avoid the evib resulting fix>m precipitancy in a measure involving 
such important principles, and such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that 1 
can not, injustice to the parties interested, too soon present it to the delib- 
erate consideration of the legislature and the people. Both the constitu- 
tionality and the expediency of the law creating this bank are well ques- 
tioned by a large portion of our fellow-citizens ; and it must be admitted 
by all, that it lias failed in the great end of establishing a uniform an J sound 
currency. Under these circumstances, if such an institution is deemed es- 
sential to the fiscal operations of the govercment, I submit to the wisdom 
of the legislature whether a national one, founded, upon the credit of the 
government and its revenues, might not be devised, which would avoid all 
constitutional difficulties ; jmd, at the same time, secure all the advantages 


to the goTernment and country that were expected to result from the pres- 
ent bank.'* 

The President did not enumerate among the advantages 
of the bank which he suggested, that it would add to the pa- 
tronage of a democratic administration. Such a bank as he 
proposed would be merely an appendage to the Treasury De- 
partment, and all its employees would be as much at the mercy 
of the government as a treasury-clerk. 

Such was the message ; in which the/or^i7er in re was so 
biappily veiled by the suaviter in modo. It was^ upon the 
^hole, a candid and straightforward document. It gave no 
ancertain sound. The glove was fairly thrown down, though 
Lhrown with a certain grace, and the glove of finer kid than 
asuaL What was thus plainly announced as the policy of 
:;he administration was carried out with a consistency and 
resolution rarely paralleled. 

The debates began. No president ever watched the pro- 
iseedings of Congress with more attention than President 
Jackson. Nothing escaped him. No matter to how late an 
bour of the night the debates were protracted, he never went 
to sleep till Major Lewis or Major Donelson came from the 
3apitol and told him what had been said and done there. We 
roust note such events of the session as were of particular 
Interest to him. 



The proceedings of the Senate were the first to kindle 
the President's ire. The Senate was not so disposed to con- 
firm as the President had been to appoint. The executive 
sessions, that had previously been so short and so harmonious, 
were now protracted and exciting. Sometimes the Senate 

VOL. III. — 18 


was engaged for several days (once five days) in succession in 
the single business of confirming the nominations that were 
sent in from the presidential mansion. Some of the nomina- 
tions were in the Senate for several months vrithout being 

Although the proceedings in executive session are secret, 
many of the Senate's executive acts during this session were 
such as could not be concealed. A large number of the nom- 
inations were opposed, and several, upon which the Presi- 
dent had set his heart, were rejected. No less than twenty- 
one Senators voted against the confirmation of Henry Lee, 
among whom were six of General Jackson's most intimate 
friends and most decided partisans. Edward Livingston, 
Thomas H. Benton, Felix Grundy, R. Y. Hayne, Levi Wood- 
bury, and Hugh L. White, voted against him. Seven others 
of the President's nominations were rejected by majorities less 
decided ; and several more escaped rejection only by a vote 
or two. 

The most remarkable case of rejection was that of Isaac 
Hill. It was also the one that gave the President the deepest 
offense, and which he avenged most promptly and most strik- 
ingly. The pretext for Mr. Hill's rejection was, that in the 
course of the late campaign he had libeled Mrs. Adams. 
He denied the charge, averring that, in his capacity of pub- 
lisher, he had merely published a book of European travel 
that contained the aspersions complained of. 

It was not unreasonable for General Jackson to conclude, 
and it is not unfair for us to conjecture, that it was Isaac 
Hill's conduct in the Portsmouth affair against the bank of 
the United States that caused a majority of the Senate to 
vote against his confirmation to the second comptrollership 
of the treasury. Mr. Hill, moreover, was a man of inferior 
presence, small and slight, lame and awkward. He was not 
the " style" of person whom Senators had been accustomed 
to see in high and responsible positions under the gov- 

The President set about righting the wrong which he 


felt his friend had received with a tact and vigor all his own. 
A long communication was prepared at Washington for pub- 
lication in the New Hampshire Patriot^ calculated to make 
every Jackson man in the State regard the rejection of Isaac 
Hill as a personal affront. If Mr. Amos Kendall was not the 
author of this artful and forcible production, then I am sure 
Mr. Amos Kendall can tell us who was. " I assure you sir," 
said this anonymous writer, " on my oton personal knowledge, 
that the President has entire confidence in Mr. Hill, and 
looks upon his rejection as a blow aimed at himself. He 
can not protect those whom he honors with appointments 
from combinations of designing men operating on the approv- 
ing power ; but the people can. Enjoying the confidence and 
esteem of the President and his whole cabinet, Mr. Hill re- 
turns to you with pure hands and an honest heart. Those 
who have been defeated in their ambitious designs by his per- 
severance ; those who find the abuses by which they profited 
corrected by his vigilance ; those who wish to destroy Gen- 
eral Jackson, defeat all reform, and plunge our government 
into the sea of corruptions from which it has been redeemed, 
exidt in Mr. Hill's rejection. But the real friends of the 
President and his principles look to the people and legislature 
of New Hampshire to wipe away the stigma cast upon this 
just and true man, by the unjust and cruel vote of the Sen- 
ate. Let them say, by an act so signal that it can not be 
misunderstood, whether the President did wrong in the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Hill, and whether a man so distinguished 
for his virtues, his talents, and his services, is unworthy of 
public station."* 

Precisely so. The term of Mr. Senator Woodbury was 
about to expire. Waiving a reelection for reasons better 
known to himself than to the public, Mr. Woodbury lent his 
great influence in New Hampshire to the support of Isaac 
Hill for the seat in the Senate about to be vacated. Hill 
was taken up by the Jackson men in the State with prompt 
enthusiasm, and a large number of the other party joined in 

* Biography of Isaac Hill, p. 100. 


the support of a man who was supposed to have been the 
victim of aristocratic pride and bank influence. He was 
elected by an unusual majority, and came back to Washing- 
ton a member of the body that had deemed him unworthy of 
a far less elevated post. " Were we in the place of Isaac 
Hill/' said the Courier and Enquirer, " we would reject the 
presidency of the United States, if attainable, to enjoy the 
supreme triumph, the pure, the unalloyed, the legitimate 
victory of stalking into that very Senate and taking our seat 
— of looking our enemies in the very eye — of saying to the 
men who violated their oaths by attempting to disfranchise 
citizens, " Give me room — stand back — do you know me ? I 
am that Isaac Hill, of New Hampshire, who, in this very 
spot, you slandered, vilified, and stripped of his rights ; the 
people, your maaterSj have sent me here to take my seat in 
this very chamber, as your equal and your peer/' 

By this election of Isaac Hill to the Senate several things 
were effected, some of which were peculiarly pleasing to Gen- 
eral Jackson. Isaac Hill was more than reinstated. A restive 
Senate, a haughty bank, a hated Henry Clay, were rebuked 
and warned. New Hampshire was gratified, and won, Levi 
Woodbury was put in reserve for that place in the Cabinet 
which he had the rare fortune to retain for so many years. 
And all this was as purely the effect of Andrew Jackson's 
volition as though he had been autocrat instead of President. 

The confirmation of Amos Kendall and Major Noah, two 
strong anti-bank men, was powerfully opposed in the Senate. 
The session was nearly at an end before their cases were de- 
cided. Daniel Webster, on the 9th of May, wrote to his 
friend Dutton : " On Monday we propose to take up Ken- 
dall and Noah. My expectation is that they will both be con- 
firmed by the casting vote of the Vice-President, if the Senate 
should be full, as I think it will be. A week ago I was con- 
fident of their rejection, but one man who was relied on, will 
yield, I am fearful, to the importunities of friends and the 
dragooning of party. We have had a good deal of debate in 
closed session on these subjects^ and sometimes pretty warm. 


Some of the speeches, I suppose, will be hereafter published ; 
none of mine, however. Were it not for the fear of the out- 
door popularity of General Jackson, the Senate would have 
n^atived more than half his nominations. There is a burn- 
ing fire of discontent, that must, I think, some day break 
out When men go so far as to speak warmly against things 
which they yet feel bound to vote for, we may hope they will 
soon go a little further. No more of politics.'* 

Mr. Noah was rejected by a vote of 25 to 23. Mr. Ken- 
dall was confirmed by the casting vote of the Vice-President. 

The disgust and anger of the President at the conduct of 
the Senate in rejecting so many of his friends were extreme. 
General Duff Green afterward reported a conversation which 
he had with the President on the subject in the early part of 
this session : 

President — '' I have sent for you that we may converse on the subject 
of my nominations before the Senate. It is time that you should let the 
people know that, instead of supporting me and my measures, Congress is 
engaged in President making.'* 

Editor, — ^* I trust that you know that I would not hesitate to say so if 
I believed the pubUc interest required it ; but excuse me for saying that, 
before I can censure Congress for not supporting your measures, I should 
be possessed of the views of the admitiLstration, that I may be enabled to 
reply to those who ask to be informed what those measures are." 

President (much excited). — " Look at my message, sir ; you will find 
them there — in the message, sir." 

Editor. — '* Some of your bust friends complain that your message is so 
general in its terms, that no special measure is recommended ; and I believe 
that the want of concert among your friends is attributed to the fact that 
there is no concert in your Cabinet Tliere being no Cabinet councils, 
tiiere is no one who feels authorized to recommend any measure upon the 
authority of tlie administration, because it is understood that no measures 
are considered and adopted jis such. Your friends in Congress complain 
that you do not hold Cabinet councils." 

The President (more excited). — " Let Congress go home, and the people 
will teach them the cons<?quence of neglecting my measures and opposing 
my nominations. How did you obtain your popularity, sir, as an editor ? 
Was it not by opposing Congress ? Sp(jak out to tlie people, sir, and tell 
them that Congress are engaged in intrigues for the presidency, instead of 


supporting my measures, and tlie people will support you as they have 

Editor. — " You complain that the Senate have not approved of your 
nominations. Will it not be miwise to anticipate the objections of that 
body ? Your nominations may yet be approved ; and if any should be 
rejected there may be reasons which would justify the Senate. If I were 
to assail the Senate, it would be attributed to your influence, and thus 
array against you the body itself and those who deem it essential to pre- 
serve its independence. I cau not know what impediments he in the way 
of your nominations, and can not condemn imtil my judgment disap- 

President — " The people, sir, the people will put these things to rights, 
and teach them what it is to oppose my nominations I"* 

The removal-and-appointment question was ably discussed 
Id both houses during the session^ and many plans were sug- 
gested for limiting the dread power of removal. But against 
so powerful an administrative majority in the house, nothing 
could be done on a question which was made a strictly party 
one, and by the proper adjustment of which the party in 
power could not but be a loser. Mr. Webster, it appears 
from his correspondence, had doubts whether the constitution 
gave the President the power to remove without the consent 
of the Senate. He consulted Chancellor Kent on the point, 
and the Chancellor's reply strengthened his doubt. 

The bank of the United States enjoyed two triiunphs 
during this session of Congress. The Committee of Ways 
and Means, to which was referred that part of the President's 
message that related to the bank, a committee headed by the 
distinguished Mr. McDuflBie, of South Carolina, report^ 
strongly in favor of the existing bank, and as strongly against 
the bank proposed by the President. 

Later in the session, Mr. Potter, of North Carolina, in- 
troduced into the house four resolutions adverse to the bank. 
First, that the constitution conferred no power to create a 
bank ; secondly, that if it had, the establishment of the bank 
was inexpedient ; third, that paper-money and banks are in- 

* United States Telegraph. 


jnriouB to the interests of labor, and dangerous to liberty ; 
fonrihy that the house will not consent to the re-charter of 
the bank. These resolutions were immediately laid upon the 
table by the decisive and significant vote of eighty-nine to 
sixty-six. The President must proceed cautiously, there- 
fore. He did proceed cautiously, but not the less resolutely. 
The bank exulted, and exulted openly ; but the bank was a 
doomed bank, notwithstanding. 

The removal of all the southern Indians to a territory 
west of the Mississippi was a measure which G-eneral Jack- 
son entirely approved, and upon which, indeed, he was 
resolved. It was much debated this winter, and most strenu- 
ously opposed. The philanthropic feelings of the country 
were aroused. The letter of many treaties was shown to be 
against the measure. The peaceful Society of Friends op- 
posed it. A volume of the leading speeches in opposition to 
the removal was widely circulated. The opinions of great 
lawyers were adverse to it. It was, indeed, one of those wise 
and humane measures by which great good is done and great 
evil prevented, but which cause much immediate individual 
misery, and much grievous individual wrong. It was painful 
to contemplate the sad remnant of tribes that had been the 
original proprietors of the soil, leaving the narrow residue of 
their heritage, and taking up a long and weary march for 
strange and distant hunting-grounds. More painful it would 
have been to see those unfortunate tribes hemmed in on every 
side by hostile settlers, preyed upon by the white man's cu- 
pidity, the white man's vices, and the white man's diseases, 
until they perished from the face of the earth. Doomed to 
perish they are. But no one, I presume, has now any doubt 
that General Jackson's policy of removal, which he carried 
out cautiously, but unrelentingly, and not always without 
stratagem and management, has caused the inevitable process 
of extinction to go on with less anguish and less demoraliza- 
tion to the whites than if the Indians had been suffered to 
remain in the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. 
To this part of the policy of General Jackson, praise little 


qualified can be justly awarded. The " irrevocable logic of 
events " first decreed and then justified the removal of the 
Indians. Nor need we, at this late day, revive the sad de- 
tails of a measure which, hard and cruel as it was then 
thought, is now universally felt to have been as kind as it 
was necessary. 

I have had the advantage of conversing upon the Indian 
policy of General Jackson with the first authority in the land 
upon all subjects relating to the red man's mournful history 
— Mr. Henry R. Schoolcraft, of Washington. Mr. School- 
craft did much service, under the General, as Indian Com- 
missioner, in negotiating treaties. It was he who bought 
from the Indians, after a long winter of most tedious n^otia- 
tion, a gre^it part of what is now the State of Michigan. Said 
Mr. Schoolcraft : 

" General Jackson was direct and explicit in giving in- 
structions. He knew the white man, and he knew the red 
man, and he knew how each was accustomed to treat the 
other. When the United States bought the Michigan lands, 
crowds of white men came on to Washington with claims 
against the Indians for the United States to pay. 

" ' Don't pay them one dollar,' said the General. * Pay 
the Indians honorably for their lands, their full value, in sil- 
ver — not blankets, not rifles, not powder, but hard cash ; and 
let their creditors collect their own debts. Don't you jiay one 
of them, neither now nor at any future time. When white 
men deal with Indians, the Indians are sure to get into debt 
to the white men ; at least, the white men are sure to say so. 
I won't hear of i)aying any of their " claims." The rascals 
are here now, I suppose. The town will be full of them, but 
I won't j)ay a dollar, and you may tell them so.' 

" In fact," added Mr. Schoolcraft, " every boarding-house 
in Washington contained some of these claimants ; a state of 
things which General Jackson only inferred from his own ex- 
perience in Indian treaty-making. It was one of his canny 

This was the session of Congress signalized by the great 



debate between Mr. Hayne and Mr. Webster, the first of many 
debates upon nullification. The future readers of this dis- 
cussion will be at a loss to discover, either in Mr. Foot's reso- 
lution that gave rise to it, or in Mr. Hayne's first speech upon 
that resolution, an adequate cause for Mr. Webster's magnifi- 
cent explosions of eloquence. The source of his inspiration 
is to be sought in the unrecorded feeling of the hour. That 
tarifi* bill for which General Jackson had voted, followed as 
it was by a depression in the market for Southern produce 
had created in the Southern States an extreme and general 
discontent. Georgia, in the spring of 1829, had sent to 
Washington a solemn protest against the existing tariff, 
which Mr. Berrien presented to the Senate in an impressive 
speech. Both the protest and the speech, however, expressed 
the warmest devotion to the Union. But in South Carolina 
other language had been used. A distinguished citizen of 
that State had publicly said, that it was time for the South 
to begin to calculate the value of the Union ; and the remark 
had been hailed with what seemed, at a distance, to be gen- 
eral applause. In the chair of the Senate sat Mr. Calhoun, 
who was already regarded by Southern extremists as their 
predestined chief. There was a small, loud party in Wash- 
ington who were already in the habit of giving utterance to 
sentiments with regard to the Union which, familiar as they 
are to us in 1859, thrilled with horror the patriotic spirits of 
thirty years ago. 

In these circumstances, Mr. Samuel A. Foot, of Connect- 
icut, introduced his harmless resolution to inquire into the 
expediency of suspending for a time the siile of the public 
lands. The debate upon this resolution, which has made it 
so memorable, was a brilliant accident, which surprised no 
one more than it surprised the eminent men who took the 
leading part in it. " The whole debate," wrote Mr. Webster 
to one of his friends, " was a matter of accident. I had left 
the court pretty late in the day, and went into the Senate 
with my court papers under my arm, just to see what was 
passing. It so happened that Mr. Hayne very soon rose in 


his first speech. I did not like it, and my friends liked it 

The entire ofiense of Mr. Hayne's speech is contained in 
one of its sentences, if not in a single phrase. " I am one of 
those," said Mr. Hayne, " who believe that the very life of 
our system is the independence of the States, and that there 
is no evil more to be deprecated than the consolidation of this 
government.'* Tliis was the little matter that kindled so 
great a fire. 

General Jackson, not yet believing that the doctrine of 
nullification was destined to become formidable, and being 
very friendly to Mr. Hayne, the brother of his old aid-de- 
camp and Inspector-General, was disposed, at the moment, 
to sympathize with the champion of South Carolina. Major 
Lewis, upon returning from the capitol after hearing the first 
day's portion of Mr. Webster's principal speech, found the 
General up, as usual, and waiting for intelligence. 

" Been to the capitol. Major ?" asked the President. 

" Yes, General." 

" Well, and how is Webster getting on ?" 

" He is delivering a most powerful speech," was the reply. 
" I am afraid he 's demolishing our friend Hayne." 

" I expected it," said the General. 

The President was not long in discovering that there was 
possible danger in the new doctrine. His own position with 
regard to it was peculiar, inasmuch as he had been elected to 
the presidency by the aid of the extreme southern or states- 
rights party. It is evident that the nullifiers at this stage of 
their operations, expected from the President some show of 
acquiescence and support. They were quickly undeceived. 

It had been a custom in Washington, for twenty years, 
to celebrate the birth-day (April 13th) of Thomas Jefferson, 
the apostle of democracy. As General Jackson was regarded 
by his party as the great restorer and exemplifier of Jeffer- 
sonian principles, it was natural that they should desire to 
celebrate the festival, this year, with more than usual eclat. 
It was so resolved. A banquet was the mode selected ; to 



which the President, the Vice-President, the Cabinet, many 
leading members of Congress, and other distinguished persons 
were invited. Colonel Benton, who attended the banquet, 
narrates the part played in it by the President and Mr. Cal- 

" There was a full assemblage when I arrived, and I observed gentle- 
men standing about in clusters in the ante-rooms, and talking with anima- 
tioo on something apparently serious, and which seemed to engross their 
thoughts. I soon discovered what it was — that it came from the promul- 
gation of the twenty-four regular toasts, which savored of the new doctrine 
of nullification ; and which, acting on some previous misgivings, began to 
spread the feeling, that the dinner was got up to inaugurate that doctrine, 
and to make Mr. Jefferson its father. Many persons broke off, and refused 
to attend further ; but the company was still numerous, and ardent, as was 
proved by the number of volunteer toasts given — above eighty — in addition 
to the twenty-four regulars ; and the numerous and animated speeches de- 
liyered — the report of the whole proceedings filling eleven newspaper col- 
umns. When the regular toasts were over, the President was called upon 
for a volunteer, and gave it — the one which electrified the country, and has 
become historical : 

"'Ottb Fedebal Union: It inrsr be preserted.' 

" This brief and simple sentiment, receiving emphasis and interpretation 
from all the attendant circumstances, and from the feeling which had been 
spreading from the time of Mr. Webster's speech, was received by the pub- 
lic as a proclamation from the President, to announce a plot against the 
Union, and to summon the people to its defense. Mr. Calhoun gave the 
next toast ; and it did not at all allay the suspicions which were crowding 
every bosom. It wjis this : 

*' * Tlie Union : Next to our Liberty the most dear : may we all remem- 
ber that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States, and 
distributing equally the benefit and burden of the Union.' 

'* This toast touched all the tender parts of the new question — ^liberty 
before union — only to be preserved — State-j'ighia — inequality of burdens 
and benefits. Those phrases, connecting themselves with Mr. Hayne's 
speech, and with proceedings and publications in South Carolina, un vailed 
NULLIFICATION, as a now and distinct doctrine in the United States, with 
Mr. Calhoun for its apostle, and a new party in the field of which he was 
the leader. The proceedings of the day put an end to all doubt about the 
justice of Mr. Webster's grand peroration, and revealed to the public mind 
the fact of an actual design tending to dissolve the Union."* 

♦ Thirty Years' View, L 148. 


It was supposed, at the time, that the toast offered by the 
President was an impromptu. On the contrary, the toast 
was prepared with singular deliberation, and was designed to 
produce the precise effect it did produce. Major Lewis favors 
the reader with the following interesting reminiscence : " This 
celebrated toast * The Federal Union — It must be preserved/ 
was a cool, deliberate act. The United States Telegraphy 
General Duff Green's paper, published a programme of the 
proceedings for the celebration the day before, to which the 
General's attention had been drawn by a friend, with the sug- 
gestion that he had better read it. This he did in the course 
of the evening, and came to the conclusion that the celebra- 
tion was to be a nullijication affair altogether. With this 
impression on his mind he prepared early the next morning 
(the day of the celebration) three toasts which he brought 
with him when he came into his office, where he found Major 
Donolson and myself reading the morning pa])ers. After 
taking his seat he handed them to me and asked me to read 
them, and tell him which I preferred — I ran my eye over them 
and then handed him the one I liked best. He handed them 
to Major Dunelson also with the same request, who, on read- 
ing them, agreed with me. He said he preferred that one 
himself for the reason that it was shorter and more expressive. 
He then put that one into his pocket and threw the others 
into the fire. That is the true history of the toast the Gi3n- 
eral gave on the Jefferson birth-day celebration in 1830, which 
fell among the nullifiers like an exploded bomb ! 

" 1 believe I related to you, when at my house, the anec- 
dote that occuiTcd in the General's office between him and a 
South Carolina member of Congress, who called to take leave 
of him. The General received him with great kindness, 
offering his hand, and begging him to be seated. After a few 
minutes of conversation, the member rose, and remarked to 
the General that he was about to return to South Carolina, 
and desired to know if he had any commands for his friends 
in that quarter. The General said, ' No, I believe not,' but 
immediately recalling what he had said, remarked, * Yes, I 



have ; please give ray compliments to my friends in your 
State, and say to them, that if a single drop of blood shall be 
shed there in opposition to the laws of the United States, I 
will hang the first man I can lay my hand on engaged in such 
treasonable conduct, upon the first tree I can reach/ " 

If the nullifying faction of the States Eights party were 
offended by the President's toast, the patriotic majority of 
that party were gratified, a month later, by his veto of the 
Maysville and Lexington road bill. No more internal im- 
provements, said the President in his veto message, until 
two things are done, namely, the national debt paid, and the 
constitution revised so as to distinctly authorize appropria- 
tions for the construction of public works. 

Though this celebrated veto message was not marked by 
the clearness of statement which characterized the President's 
first message to Congress, yet his real objections to the meas- 
ure were sufficiently conspicuous. With the instinct of solv- 
ency strong within him, General Jackson had so set his heart 
upon the early extinction of the national debt, that any pro- 
position involving an expenditure of the public money tliat 
could be safely avoided or deferred would have been unwel- 
come to him. In four years, he remarked, if no unusual di- 
version of the public funds be permitted, the debt will be 
extinguished ; and " how gratifying the effect of presenting 
to the world the sublime spectacle of a republic, of more than 
twelve millions of happy people, in the fifty-fourth year of 
her existence — after having passed through two protracted 
wars, the one for the acquisition and the other for the main- 
tenance of Uberty — free from debt, and with all her immense 
resources unfettered !" 

Congress, he added, was, on the one hand, diminishing 
the public revenue, by reducing the duties on tea, coffee, and 
cocoa, and, on the other, favoring appropriations for public 
works, which, in this very year, threiitened to make the ex- 
penditures exceed the revenue by ten millions of dollars. Ho 
conld not consent to such an untimely liberality, and the 
less as he had emphatically declared his sentiments upon the 


subject in his annual message. Appropriations for internal 
improvements had always been the occasion of bitter conten- 
tions in Congress. The power of the federal government to 
appropriate money for such purposes was, at least, ill de- 
fined, and before any general system of using even the future 
surplus revenue for national works should be inaugurated, 
it would be best so to amend the constitution as to define 
its powers with the utmost exactness. The Cumberland road 
was an instructive admonition on this point. " Year after 
year contests are witnessed, growing out of eflforts to obtain 
the necessary appropriations for completing and repairing this 
useful work. While one Congress may claim and exercise 
the power, a succeeding one may deny it ; and this fluctua- 
tion of opinion must be unavoidably fatal to any scheme, 
which, from its extent, would promote the interests and ele- 
vate the character of the country." 

This veto, the first of a long series, excited a prodigious 
clamor among the opposition. The opposition, however, 
could not command a two- thirds vote in either house. So 
the bill was lost. It is questionable if, from the volume of 
presidential messages, an argument more unanswerable can 
be selected than this Maysville veto message. Would that 
the 2)rinciples it unfolds had been permanently adopted ! It 
did vast good, however, in checking the torrent of unwise ap- 
propriation, and in throwing upon the people themselves the 
task of making the country more habitable and accessible. 

I am sure it did not diminish the zest of General Jack- 
son's opposition to the Kentucky turnpike to know, as he did 
well know, that Mr. Clay, in 1826, at the close of an after- 
dinner speech to some of his constituents, a speech severely 
denunciatory and sharply satirical of General Jackson, had 
giv(»n this toast : " The continuation of the turnpike road 
which passes tlirough Lewisburg, and success to the cause of 
internal improvement, under every auspice." Nor was it 
it unknown to General Jackson that the managers of the 
road, to testify their gratitude for past services, had erected, 


at a conspicuous point in the road, a monument in honor of '^f 
Henry Clay ; which, I believe, still stands. 

Three other internal improvement bills were passed dur- 
ing the last days of the session. Two of these the President 
retained until after the adjournment of Congress, which was 
equivalent to vetoing them. The other he disposed of in the 
following brief message : — " To the Senate of the United 
States : Gentlemen, I have considered the bill proposing to 
authorize a subscription of stock in the * Washington Turn- 
pike Boad Company,' and now return the same to the Senate 
in which it originated. I am unable to approve this bill ; and 
would respectfully refer the Senate to my Message to the 
House of Kepresentatives on returning to that House the bill 
to authorize a subscription of stock in the Maysville, Wash- 
ington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Road Company, for 
a statement of my objections to the bill herewith returned. 
The Message bears date on the 27th insUmt, and a printed 
copy of the same is herewith transmitted." 

A quiet but effective defiance. The Senate voted again 
upon the bill, and came within five of carrying it by the 
requisite two-thirds. Colonel Benton and Edward Livingston 
voted for it. This was the last act of the session. Congress 
adjourned on the thirty-first of May. 



These may seem trivial words with which to heada chaj)- 
ter that treats of dynasties, successions to the presidency, and 
other high matters. Believing, however, that the political 
history of the United States, for the last thirty years, dates 
from the moment when the soft hand of Mr. Van Buren 
touched Mrs. Eaton's knocker, I think the heading appro- 


General Jackson succeeded in showing that the charges 
against Mrs. Eaton were not supported by testimony, but he 
did not succeed in convincing the ladies who led the society 
of Washington that Mrs. Eaton was a proper person to be 
admitted into their circle. They would not receive her. Mrs. 
Calhoun would not, although she had called upon the lady 
soon after her marriage, in company with the Vice-President, 
her husband. Mrs. Berrien would not, although Mr. Berrien, 
ignorant, as he afterward said, of the lady's standing at the 
capital, had been one of the guests at her wedding. Mrs. 
Branch would not, although Mr. Branch had been taken into 
the Cabinet upon IJjEajor Eaton's suggestion. Mrs. Ingham 
would not, although the false gossip of the hour had not 
wholly spared her own fair fame. The wives of the foreign 
ministers would not. Mrs. Donelson, the mistress of the 
White House, though compelled to receive her, would not 
visit her. " Any thing else, uncle," said she, " I will do for 
you, but I can not call upon Mrs. Eaton." The General's 
reply, in eflfect, was this : " Then, go back to Tennessee, my 
dear." And she went to Tennessee. Her husband, who was 
also of the anti-Eaton party, threw up his post of private 
secretary, and went with her ; and Mr. Nicholas P. Trist, of 
the State Department, was appointed private secretary in his 
stead. Six months after, however, by the interposition of 
friends. Major Donelson and his wife were induced to return 
and assume their former positions in the mansion of the 

The two strongest things in the world were in collision — 
the will of Andrew Jackson and the will of lovely woman ; 
of which latter the poet saith or singeth : 

" If she will, she will, you may depend on 't, 
If she won't, she won't, and there 's an end on 't" 

Three weeks after the inauguration, when the President 
was in the midst of his correspondence with Dr. Ely, and 
when his feelings upon the subject of that correspondence 


Brere keenest, Mr. Van Buren arrived in Washington to enter 
ipon his duties as Secretary of State. 

Mr. Van Buren was a widower. He had no daughters. 
ft-pprised of the state of things in Washington, he did what 
WBB proper, natural, and right. He called upon Mrs. Eaton 
—received Mrs. Eaton — made parties for Mrs. Eaton ; and, 
>n all occasions, treated Mrs. Eaton with the marked respect 
irith which a gentleman always treats a lady whom he believes 
bo have been the victim of unjust aspersion. A man does 
lot get much credit for an act of virtue which is, also, of all 
the acts possible in his circumstances, the most politic. 
ifany men have the weakness to refrain from doing right, 
)ecau8e their doing so will be seen to signally promote their 
cherished objects. We have nothing to do with Mr. Van 
Baren's motives. I believe them to have been honest. I be- 
ieve that he faithfully endeavored to perform the ofEce of 
)il upon the troubled waters. The course he adopted was 
he right course, whatever may have been its motive. 

The letter-writers of that day were in the habit of amus- 
,ng their readers with the gossip of the capital, as letter- 
irriters are now. But not a whisper of these scandals es- 
»ped into print until society had been rent by them into 
lostile " sets " for more than two years. After the explosion, 
me of the Washington correspondents gave an exaggerated 
md prejudiced, but not wholly incorrect account of certain 
(cenes in which " Bellona" (the nickname of Mrs. Eaton) 
ind the Secretary of State had figured. It was among the 
liplomatic corps, with whom Mr. Van Buren had an official 
\B well as personal intimacy, that he strove to make converts 
X) the Eatonian cause. It chanced that Mr. Vaughan, the 
British minister, and Baron Krudener, the Russian minister, 
vere both bachelors, and both entered good-naturedly into 
;he plans of the Secretary of State. 

" A ball and supper," says the writer just referred to, 
^ were got up by his excellency, the British minister, Mr. 
Vaughan, a particular friend of Mr. Van Buren. After various 
stratagems to keep Bellona afloat during the evening, in which 

VOL. III. — 19 


almost every cotillon in which she made her appearance was 
instantly dissolved into its original elements, she was at length 
conducted by the British minister to the head of his table, 
where, in pursuance of that instinctive power of inattention 
to whatever it seems improper to notice, the ladies seemed 
not to know that she was at the table. This ball and supper 
were followed by another given by the Russian minister (an- 
other old bachelor). To guard against the repetition of the 
mortification in the spontaneous dissolution of the cotillons, 
and the neglect of the ladies at supper (where, you must ob- 
serve, none but ladies sat down), Mr. Van Buren made a. 
direct and earnest appeal to the lady of the minister of Hol- 
land, Mrs. Huygens, whom he entreated in her own language 
to consent to be introduced to the * accomplished and lovely 
Mrs. Eaton.' 

*^ The ball scene arrived, and Mrs. Huygens, with un- 
common dignity, maintained her ground, avoiding the ad- 
vances of Bellona and her associates, until supper was 
announced, when Mrs. Huygens was informed by Baron 
KrudentT that Mr. Eaton would conduct her to the table. 
She declined and remonstrated, but in the meantime Mr. 
Eaton advanced to offer his arm. She at first objected, but 
to relieve him from his emban-assinent, walked with him to 
the table, where she found Mrs. Eaton seated at the head, 
beside an empty chair for herself Mrs. Huygens had no al- 
ternative but to become an instninient of the intrigue, or 
decline taking supper ; she chose the latter, and taking hold 
of her husband's aim, withdrew from the room. This was 
the offense for which General Jackson afterward threatened 
to send her husband home. 

" The next scene in the drama was a grand dinner, given 
in the east room of the palace, where it was arranged that 
Mr. Vaughan was to conduct Mrs. Eaton to the table, and 
place her at the side of the President, who took care, by his 
marked attentions, to admonish all present (about eighty, 
including the principal officers of the government and their 
ladies) that Mrs. Eaton was one of his favorites, and that 


he expected her to be treated as such in all places. Dinner 
being over, the company retired to the coffee-room, to indulge 
in the exhilarating conversation which wine and good com- 
pany usually excite. But all would not do — ^nothing could 
move the inflexible ladies." 

How exquisitely gratifying to General Jackson Mr. Van 
Buren's emphatic public recognition of Mrs. Eaton must 
have been, every reader will perceive. General Jackson had 
thrown his whole soul into her cause, as has been abundantly 
shown in previous pages of this volume. But it was not Gen- 
eral Jackson alone whom Mr. Van Buren's conduct penetra- 
ted with delight and gratitude. It completely won the four 
persons who enjoyed more of General Jackson's confidence 
and esteem than any others in Washington. First, Major 
Eaton, the President's old friend and most confidential cab- 
inet-adviser. Secondly, Mrs. Eaton. Thirdly, Mrs. O'Neal, 
the mother of Mrs. Eaton, the friend of the President and of 
his lamented wife. Lastly, but not least in importance. Ma- 
jor William B. Lewis, an inmate of the White House, the 
President's most intimate and most constant companion, and 
formerly the brother-in-law of Major Eaton. The preference 
and friendship of these four persons included the preference 
and support of Amos Kendall, Isaac Hill, Dr. Randolph, and 
all the peculiar adherents of General Jackson. 

Mr. Van Buren was, moreover, just the man to "get along 
with " General Jackson. No one could ever quarrel with a 
gentleman who never gave and never took offense. Even 
¥nth Mr. Clay he remained always on terms of jocularity. 
Mr. Clay writes in 1834 : " Mr. Van Buren yesterday offered 
to bet me a suit of clothes upon each of the elections in the 
city of New York and in your State. ... I told him 
yesterday, that if the people entertained the administration 
in its late measures, I should begin to fear that our experi- 
ment of free government had failed ; that he would probably 
be elected the successor of Jackson ; that he would introduce 
a system of intrigue and corruption that would enable him 
to designate his successor ; and that, after a few years of 


lingeriDg and fretful existence, we should end in dissolution 
of the Union, or in despotism. He laughed^ and remarked 
that I enteHained morbid feelings, I replied with good na- 
ture, that what I had said, I deliberately and sincerely be- 

And Jesse Hoyt^ in recommending a valet to the Secre- 
tary of State, mentioned that the man's only fault was bod 
temper, which, he added, was of no consequence in the ser- 
vant of a man who could never provoke it. It has, also, been 
frequently remarked, that a constitutionally irascible man 
finds his delightful counterpart in one who is constitutionally 
cool and good tempered. Accordingly, we find Mr. Van 
Burcn writing home to his friend Hoyt, when he had been 
only a month in Washington : " The story you tell about 
the President's great confidence in Mr. Berrien, and little in 
me, is the veriest stuflf that could be conceived. The repeti- 
tion of such idle gossip constrains me to say, what I am 
almost ashamed to do, that I have found the President affec- 
tionate, confidential, and kind to the last degree ; and that I 
am entirely satisfied that there is no degree of good feeling 
or confidence which he does not entertain for me. He has, 
however, his own wishes and favorite views upon i>oint8 which 
it is not my province to attempt to control. Upon every mat- 
ter he wishes to have the truth and respects it ; and will in 
the end satisfy all of the purity of his views and intentions." 

The public events of the summer of 1829, and those of 
the succeeding session of Congress, being known to the reader, 
I now invite attention to certain occurrences that took place 
this year in the private apartments of the President's house, 
of the highest importance, though never before made known. 

The year 1829 had not closed before General Jackson was 
resolved to do all that in him lay to secure the election of 
Mr. Van Buren as his successor to the presidency. Nor did 
that year come to an end before he began to act in further- 
ance of the project. Before me is a letter from Andrew 
Jackson to his old friend Judge Overton of Tennessee, dated 
December 31st, 1829, which contains proof of this assertion. 


To this letter is appended a Note by Major Lewis, explana- 
tory of its secret purpose. For the convenience of the reader^ 
the Note shall be submitted to his perusal first 


"The following letter was written under circumstances and for the 
purposes stated in the following remarks. All through the summer and 
&n of 1829, General Jackson was in very feeble health, and in December 
of the same year his friends became seriously alarmed for his safety. In- 
deed, his physical system seemed to be totally changed. His feet and legs 
particuUriy had been much swollen for several months, and continued to 
get worse every day, until his extreme debility appeared to be rapidly as- 
■mniDg the character of a confirmed dropsy. The Greneral himself was 
fiiHy aware of his critical and alarming situation, and frequently conversed 
with me upon the subject The conversations occasionally led to another 
mbject) in which I took a deep interest^ to wit^ the election of Mr. Van 
Buren as his successor. This I thought highly important, for the purpose 
of carrying out the principles upon which the General intended toadmii>- 
isfer tlie government But if he were to die so soon afler his advent to 
power, I greatly feared this object would be defeated. However, oven in 
that event, I did not entirely despair of success. It occurred to me that 
Qeneral Jackson*s name, tliough he might be dead, would prove a power- 
fill lever, if judiciously used, in raising ^ir. Van Buren to the presidency. 
I therefore determined to get the General, if possible, to write a letter to 
some friend, to be used at the next succeeding presidential election (in 
case of his death), exi)ressivo of tlic confidence he reposed in Mr. Van 
Buren's abilities, patriotism, and qualifications for any station, even the 
biglicst within the gifl of the people. Having come to this resolution, I 
embraced the first favorable opportunity of broaching the subject to him, 
md was happy to find that ho was not disposed to interpose the slight- 
est objection to the proposition. He accordingly wrote a letter to his old 
fiiend, Judge Overton, of which the preceding is a duplicate, and handed 
it to me to copy, witli authority to make such alterations as I might think 
proper. After copying it (having made only a few verbal alterations), I 
requested him to read it, and if satisfied with it, to sign it He read it, 
and said it would do, and then put his name to it^ remarking, as he re- 
turned it to me : 

'^ * If I die, you have my permission to make such use of it as you may 
think most desirable.' 

'' I will barely add, tliat the General wrote this letter to his old and 
confidential friend, Jud^^; Overton, at my particular request, and with a 
full knowledge of the object for which I wished it written. He has, for- 


tunately for the country, however, recovered his health, and tliere will now, 
I hope, be no necessity for using it. In conclusion, I will further remaik, 
that both the signature and indorsement, as will be perceived, are in 
General Jackson's own proper hand-writing."" 

(the letter.) 

general jackson to judge overton. 

** Wasuikotom , I>ec; Slst, 1S80. 

" My Dear Sir : I have been anxiously awaiting the acknowledgment 
of my message to Congress forwarded to you, with such remarks as its 
subject-matter might suggest. But, as yet, I have not heard from you. 
As far as I hare seen it commented on in the public journals, it has been 
well received, except in the Abbeville district, Soirth Carolina, where it 
has been severely attacked. It is an old adage that * stniws show which 
way the wind blows.* I assure you this has somewhat astonished, though 
I can not say it has suprised mc^ because I had hints that some of my oW 
friends had changed, and tlie case of Major Eaton was thought to present 
a fair opportunity of destroying him and injuring me, by circulating se- 
cretly foul and insidimrs slanders against him and his family. Be it so ; I 
shall pursue the even tenor of my way, consulting only the public good— 
not the popularily of any individual. 

" Coiigress Ls progressing with its labors, and I think I see in the com- 
mencement a little new leaven trying to mix itself with the old lump ; but 
I beheve the old will be hard to mix with the new. I regret also to say 
there is some little feeling still existing in a part of my cabinet. I am 
in hopes, however, that harmony will be restored, and that union of feel- 
ing and action which so happily prevailed when this administration waa 
first organized, will be again revived. I do not think 1 have been weD 
treated by those members who have been instrumental in introducing dis- 
cord into my cabinet. They knew as well before as they did after their 
appointments who were to compose my cabinet If they had any objec- 
tion to associating upon terms of equality with any of the other members, 
they should have had candor enough to say so, before they accepted the 
offer of a seat in the cabinet I still hope, however, that I shall not be 
driven to extremities ; but should action become necessary on my part> 
you may rest assured I shall not hesitate when the public interest re- 
quires it 

" It gives me pleasure to inform you that the most cordial good feeling 
exists between Mr. Van Buren, Major Barry, and Major Eaton. These 
gentlemen I have always found true, harmonious, and faithful. They not 
only most cheerfully cooperate with me in promoting the public weal, but 
do every thing in their power to render my situation personally as pleas- 


ant and comfortable as the nature of my public duties will admit. Permit 
me here to say of Mr. Van Buren that I have found him every thing that 
I could desire him to be, and believe him not only deserving my confi- 
dence, but the confidence of the nation. Instead of his being selfish and 
intriguing, as has been represented by some of his opponents, I have ever 
found him frank, open, candid, and manly. As a councilor, he is able 
and prudent — republican in his principles, and one of the most pleasant 
men to do business with I ever saw. He, my dear friend, is well quali- 
fied to fill the highest office in the gifl of the people, who in him will find 
a true friend and safe depository of their rights and liberty. 

" I wish I could say as much for Mr. Calhoun and some of his friends. 
Ton know the confidence I once had in that gentleman. I, however, of 
him desire not to speak ; but I have a right to believe that most of the 
troubles, vexations, and difficulties I have had to encounter, since my ar- 
rival in this city, have been occasioned by his friends. But for the present 
let this suffice. I find Mr. Calhoun objects to the apportionment of tlie 
surplus revenues among the several States, after the public debt is paid. 
He is, also, silent on the bank question, and is believed to huve encouraged 
the introduction and adoption of the resolutions in the South Carolina Leg- 
islature ' relative to the tarifil I wish you to have a few numbers written 
on the subject of the apportionment of the surplus revenue, after the na- 
tional debt is paid. It is the only thing that can allay the jealousies arising 
between the different sections of the Union, and prevent that flagitious 
hg-roUiiig-legislaiion^ which must, in the end, destroy every thing like har- 
mony, if not the Union itself. The moment the people see that the surplus 
revenue is to be divided among the States (when there shall be a surplus), 
and applied to internal improvement and education, they instruct their 
members to husband the revenue for the payment of the national debt, so 
that the surplus, afterward, may be distributed in an equal ratio among the 
several States. If this meets your view, by giving it an impulse before the 
people, in a few written numbers, you will confer on your country a bless- 
ing that will be hailed as no ordinary boon by posterity, who must feel its 
benefits. I feel the more anxious about this, because I have reason to be- 
lieve a decided stand will be taken by the friends of Mr. Calhoun, in Con- 
gress, against the policy, if not the constitutionality, of such a measure. 
Let me hear from you on the receipt of this. Present me affectionately to 
your amiable family, and believe me to be, 

" Your friend, Andrew Jackson." 

Judge Overton, I believe, never knew the purpose for 
which this letter was written. The copy retained was signed 
by General Jackson and placed among the secret papers of 


Major Lewis, where it reposed until copied for the readers of 
these pages in 1858. 

General Jackson and Major Lewis knew how to keep a 
secret ; and this secret was confided, at first, to no one. Yet 
I find, from the correspondence of Mr. Webster and others, 
that some inkling of the truth with regard to General Jack- 
son's preference of Mr. Van Buren for the succession, escaped 
the inner offices of the White House almost immediately. 
Sixteen days after the letter to Judge Overton had been writ- 
ten, Mr. Webster wrote to liis friend, Dutton : " Mr. Van 
Buren has evidently, at this moment, quite the lead in influ- 
ence and importance. He controls all the pages on tho back 
stairs, and flatters what seems to bo at present the Aaron's 
serpent among the President's desires, a settled purpose of 
making out the lady, of whom so much has been said, a per- 
son of reputation. It is odd enough, but too evident to be 
doubted, that the consequence of this dispute in the social 
and fashionable world, is producing great political effects, and 
maij very probably determiiie who shall be successor to the 
present chief magistrate. Such great events," etc., etc., eta 

A month later (February 27th, 1830) Mr. Webster wrote 
to Jeremiah Mason : " Calhoun is forming a party against 
Van Buren, and as the President is supi^sed to be Van Bu- 
ren's man, the Vice-President has great difficulty to separate 
his opposition to Van Buren from opposition to the President. 
Our idea is to let them pretty much alone ; by no means to 
act a secondary part to either. We never can and never must 
support either. While they are thus arranging themselves 
for battle, that is, Ciilhoun and Van Buren, there are two 
considerations which are likely to be overlooked or disregarded 
by them, and which are material to be considered. 1. The 
probability that General Jackson will run again ; that that 
is his present purpose I am quite sure. 2. The extraordinary 
power of this anti-Masonic party, especially in Pennsyl- 

Mr. Webster was correct in his opinion that General 
Jackson was likely to '^ run again," but he was exceedingly 



mistaken in supposing that the fact was " overlooked" by Mr. 
Van Buren. Mr. Van Buren was far too acute a politician 
not to be aware that there was only one man in the country, 
and he Andrew Jackson, who, in 1832, could defeat the com- 
bined opposition of Calhoun and the South, Clay and the 
West, Webster and the North. Mr. Van Buren, from the 
first, insisted upon General Jackson's running a second time. 
It was an essential part of the programme. It was that which 
alone could make the rest of the programme possible. 

Then there loas a programme ? Most assuredly. The 
" Jackson party" came into power against the " Secretary dy- 
nasty ;" but that party had not been in power a year before it 
had arranged a programme of succession so long, that it would 
have required twenty-four years to play it out. It was di- 
vided into three parts of eight years each : Andrew Jackson, 
eight years ; Martin Van Buren, eight years ; Thomas H. 
Benton, eight years. It will be safe for any one to deny this, 
because such programmes are never put into writing, and can 
seldom be proved. But I am assured it is a fact. The intel- 
ligent reader will find evidence of it in the political history 
of the time. 

Among the invaluable papers of Major Lewis we must 
look to discover the mode by which General Jackson was 
brought before the people for reelection. The first steps were 
taken when the President had served just one year. Bead 
attentively the following letter, which was written in the 
presidential mansion : 


" WA8ini«aTOK, March lltb, 1S80. 

" Dear Sir : Yours of the 15th has been received, and, as stated, the 
nomiDation of Mfljor Lee has been rejected by the Senate. Though very 
much to be regretted, yet it is no evidence of tlie President's want of 
popularity in that body. Major Lee's own connections were the cause of 
his rejection. 

" You have, no doubt, lieard of the unfortunate affair relative to his 
domestic relations ; which, however, on account of deep and sincere re- 
[tentance, all the good and liberal minded were disposed to forgive. 


Not 80 with his connections. They pressed the subject upon the Senate 
in such a maimer as to compel Lee's own friends to vote ap^ainst him. It 
does not in any manner affect the administration, as the responsibility of 
the nomination must rest upon those who recommended him; but it must 
deeply wound his feelings, and prove, I fear, greatly injurious to his future 
prospects in life. 

" With regard to General Jackson's serving another term, it would be 
improper for mo, perhaps, situated as I am, to say any thing ; but, my dear 
sir, almost every friend he has, I mean real fiHends^ thinks with you, that 
there is no other way by which the great Republican party, who brought 
him into power, can be preserved. Clay's friends are beginning to hold up 
their heads again ; their countenances are brightening, not on account of 
Chilton's letter, for he is of too little consequence, but because of the anti- 
cipated pplitvS between the friends of those who aspire to succeed the pres- 
ent chief magistrate. It is certainly necessary, as you suggest, that some 
steps should be taken to quiet the public mind ; but perhaps I may differ 
witli you as to what should be done, and how it should be done. I do not 
tnink it would be proper for Grcneral Jackson to avow at this time, his de- 
termination to serve another term ; nor do I think it would be prudent 
for his friends here, to take the lead in placing his name before the na- 
tion for reelection. According to the General's oum principles (always 
practiced on by him), he can not decline serving again if called on by the 

" I am not authorized to say that he would permit his name to be used 
again, but knowing him as I do, I feel confident that if he believed the in- 
terest of the country required it, and that it was the wish of the people he 
should serve another term, he would not hesitate one moment If, then, it 
is the desire of your State that he should serve another term let the mem- 
hers of her legislature express the sentiments of the people upon that suhfeeL 
But let it be done in such a way as not to make it necessary for him to 
speak in relation to the matter. Such an expression of pubHc sentiment) 
would come with better grace from Pennsylvania than from any other 
quarter, and would have a more powerful effect — because of her well-known 
democratic princii)les, and because she has always been tlie General's 
stronges-t friend. If any thin{/ he done in the business the sooner the better, 

" You will have seen in the papers that Commodore Porter has been 
nominated to succeed Major Lee. Every one here rejoices at it. 

*^ Yours sincerely, W. B. Lewis." 

In this letter was inclosed another — for Major Lewis never 
did these things by halves — the nature and object of which 
he himself explains in one of his precious Notes. 




" The indosed letter was prepared and seat by me to Harrisburg, for 
the members of the legislature to sign and forward to tlie President of the 
United States, provided a uiajority of them concurred in the views therein 
taken. Col. Stanbaugh, to whom it was inclosed, consulted with them 
upon the subject, and afler making a few verbal alterations, a mnjority of 
the members signed and transmitted it to the President This was the 
first movement made toward bringing out General Jackson for a second 
term. It was afterward followed up by the legislatures of Now York and 
Ohio, principally upon my suggestions and advice to the friends of the ad- t/ 
ministration in those two States. Indeed, I wrote several letters to my 
friends ui Ohio also (of which I kept no copies), and procured others to 
be written, urging the absolute necessity of such a step at tlie next meet- 
ing of their legislature, as the most cifectual, if not the only means of de- 
feating the machinations of Mr. Calhoun and his friends, who were resolved . 
on forcing General Jackson from the presidential chair after one term. 
The peculiar situation of the Vice-President, it was believed, made this 
necessary. He was tlien serving out his second term, and as none of his 
predecessors had ever served more than eight years, his friends thought it 
might be objected to, aud perhaps would be injurious to him, to be pre- 
sented to tlie nation for a third term. Under this view of tlie subject, 
they did not seem disposed to hazard the experiment But what was to 
be done ? It would not do for him to retire to the shades of private life 
fix* four long years. He could not run for a third term, and they dare 
not run liim in opposition to General Jackson. Seeing no other way by 
which these perplexing ditficulties could be surmounted, and believing 
there would be danger in further postponing his pretensions, his friends 
boldly resolved to get rid of the General, upon the ground that it was un- 
derstood, during the canvass, that he was to serve lour years only in case 
of his election. It was to defeat this project of the Vice-President and 
his friends that I opened a correspondence with Col. Stanbaugh, aud sug- 
gested to him the necessity of bringing out General Jackson again, and 
the manner of doing iU The scheme succeeded admirably, and in a few 
months the hopes of Mr. Calhoun and his partisans were completely 
withered, and the idea of driving General Jackson from the field aban- 
doned altogether." 


"Ha&risbuso, March 20, 1880. 

7b Jlis Excellency Andrew Jackson, President of the United Slates. 

"Dear Sir: The undersigned, members of the legislature of Pennsyl- 
vania, beibre closing the duties assigned them by their constituents, beg 


leave to tender to you their beat wishes for your health and happiness, and 
to express to you the confidence reposed by them in the sound republican 
principles which mark the course of your administration. The second 
political revolution effected in the year 1829 is progressing in a way to at- 
tain those g^at results which were fondly anticipated, and which, in the 
end, we ardently hope will tend to cement in stronger bonds the repub- 
lican feelings of the country. In a free government like ours, parties must 
and will exist ; it should be so, inasmuch as it serves to make those who 
are dominant vigilant and active in the discharge of the important duties 
which give life, health, and activity to the great principles by which, as 
a free people, we should be governed. If the voice of Pennsylvania, which 
has recently been prominently and effectively exerted in the election of 
our present distinguished chief magistrate, can have influence, it will, as 
heretofore, be exerted in inducing you to permit your name and distin- 
guished services again to be presented to the American people. We 
deem it of importance to the maintenance of correct republican principles 
that the country should not thus early be again drawn into a warm and 
virulent contest as to who shall be your successor. 

" If the people can indulge a hope that, in acceding to their wishes as 
heretofore, the warmth of former contests may be spared, they will be 
able to repose in peace and quiet, and before the end of your second term, 
will expect with confidence that the great principle of governmental reform 
will be so harmonized and arranged that the affairs of the nation for the 
future will move on certainly, peacefully, and happily. Expressing what 
we feel and believe to be the language of our constituent^*, we claim to in- 
dulge the expectation that your avowed principle ' neither to seek nor to 
decline to serve your country in public office,' will still be adhered to, that 
thereby the people may obtain repose, and toward the termination of your 
second term be better prepared to look around and ascertain into whose 
hands can be best confided the care and guardianship of our dearest rights, 
our happiness, and independence. 

" This communication is not made with the intention of obtaining from 
you any declaration at this time upon this subject We are aware that 
persons would be found to call such a declaration premature, before some 
general expression of satisfaction in relation to the course you have pursued 
had been exhibited, and time afforded for it to be evinced. Pennsylvania, 
heretofore first to express her attachment upon this subject, seeks only to 
maintain the position she has assumed, and to express through her repre- 
sentatives her continued confidence in your stern political integrity, and 
the wise, judicious, republican measures of your administration, and to 
cherish the hope that the country may again be afforded the opportunity 
of having those services, the benefit of which she is now so happily enjoy- 
ing. On this subject^ sir, we speak not only our own sentiments and opin- 


ion^ but feel that the people will accord to the suggestion, and every where 
respond to what we have declared. 

** Wifiliing you long life, health, and happiness, we remain your friends 
and fellow citizens." 

To this address sixty-eight names were finally appended. 
Colonel Stanbaugh, in a letter to Major Lewis, narrates how 
those names were obtained : 

"I can not tell you," he wrote, March 31, "how much I feel rejoiced 
that you see the necessity of placing General Jackson's name before the 
American ]>eople without delay as a candidate for reelection. Two modes 
presented themselves to me as well calculated to afford our friends at Wash- 
ington a pretext for announcing the General's name as a candidate. One 
was a letter, to be addressed to him, approving the measures of his ad- 
ministration, etc., by the General Committee of Correspondence of this 
State, of which I am a member ; and the other way that suggested itself 
was a call from tlie different presses in the State which supported him at 
the last election. I had prepared letters to carry both these plans into exe- 
cution, and although some of our presses, you arc aware, are under the 
control of a certain influencCy I believe I could get them all to come out 
on the subject. No matter what the private views and feelings of jM)liti- 
cians may be who claim to belong to the democratic party, they will hesi- 
tate before they give their own opinions and wishes^ when the question is 
put to them, either to support or reject the old hero. 

"Pennsylvania is stiQ sound, depend upon it, no matter what time- 
serving politicians, high in power^ may say to tlic contrary ; but just as 
certain it is, that tlie salvation of the democratic party, as well hero as in 
Other States, depends upon General Jackson's being again a candidate. 

" Your letter convinced me at once that this subject can no where 
* originate witli better grace than in tlie Pennsylvania Legislature,' and 
there it shall originate if God spares my life till to-morrow. The views 
you sent me could not, in my opinion, be altered for the better, and I drew 
up a letter from them, with but a trifling variation, or rather addition. 
There were fifteen members at my house yesterday afternoon, every one 
of whom signed tlie letter, and at once came into the spirit of the subject. 
Two more — Senators — were here this morning and signed it. On Tuesday 
I hope we will be enabled to send it to the Patriot Chief. Would it not, 
my dear sir, be good policy for other States friendly to General Jackson to 
follow Pennsylvania immediately with similar dec^larations ? It might all 
be done before Congress adjourns. Wiite to me, if you please, by return 
mail, and give mo your opinion as to the ])lace the letter had better make 
ite first appearance. I think tlic Pennsylvania Reporter would be the 


proper place. It would have the appearance of being the act of the mem- 
ber£!j and state that they were in good earnest on the subject. The sooner 
it is published, I think, the better. If you write by return mail I will get 
your letter on Wednesday, and I can have the other published in Friday's 
paper. Remember me to tlie President, to Major Eaton, and Mrs. Eaton.*' 

Major Lewis promptly replied. The address was published 
in the paper named by Colonel Stanbaugh, preceded by these 
words : " We are pleased to lay before our readers the fol- 
lowing letter, signed by sixty-eight members of the Legisla- 
ture, expressing their approbation of the wise, judicious, 
republican measures of General Jackson's administration, 
and respectfully urging him again to become a candidate for 
the presidency." 



Could the Cabinet be other than an unharmonious one? 
It was divided into two parties upon the all-absorbing ques- 
tion of Mrs. Eaton's character. For Mrs. Eaton were Mr. 
Van Buren, Major Eaton, Mr. Barry, and the President. 
Against Mrs. Eaton were Mr. Ingham, Mr. Branch, Mr. Ber- 
rien, and the Vice-President The situation of poor Eaton 
was most embarrassing and painful ; for the opposition to his 
wife being feminine, it could neither be resisted nor avenged. 
He was the most miserable of men, and the more the fiery 
President strove to right the wrongs under which he groaned, 
the worse his position became. The show of civility kept up 
between himself and the three married men in the Cabinet 
was, at last, only maintained on occasions that were strictly 
official. Months passed during which he did not exchange a 
word with Mr. Branch except in the presence of the 



To add to his disgust, charges were trumped up against 
himself of having, in settling the accounts of the late purser, 
Timberlake, connived at a fraud upon the government. An 
anonymous letter was sent him of a truly fiendish character. 
" Revenge is sweet/' said this nameless devil, " and I have 
you in my power, and I will roast you, and boil you, and bake 
you ; and I hope you may long live to prolong my ])leasure. 
Lay not the flattering unction to your soul, that you can es- 
cape me. I would not that death, or any evil thing, should 
take you from my grasp for half the world." Never was a 
Cabinet minister so tormented before his time. 

After enduring this unhappy state of things for nearly a 
year, the President's patience was completely exhausted, and 
he was determined that his Cabinet should either be harmon- 
ized or dissolved. Mr. Ingham afterward placed on record the 
manner in which the difficulty was, for a time, disposed of. 
His statement, which accords with the narratives of Mr. 
Branch and Mr. Berrien, is correct in its material particulars. 

" On Wednesday, the 27th of January, 1830," wrote Mr. Ingham, "Col- 
onel R M. Johnson, of Kentucky, waited on me in the Treasury Depart- 
ment, and after some prcHminary conversation, in which he expressed his 
reijret that my family and tliat of Mr. Branch and Mr. Berrien did not visit 
Mrs. Eaton, he said that it had been a subject of great excitement with the 
President, who had come to the determination of having hannony in his 
Cabinet by some accommodation of this matter, lie. Colonel JoJmson, 
was the friend of us all, and had now come at the request of the President 
to sec whether any thing could be done : who thought that, when our 
hwiies gave parties, tliey ought to invite Mi-s. E.itoii ; and as they had 
never returned her call, if they would leave the first card and open a 
formal intercourse in that way, the President would be sati>'fied ; but un- 
l««a something was done of this nature, he had no doubt, indeed he knew 
that the President was resolved to have harmony, and woukl probably re- 
move Mr. Branch, Mr. Berrien, and myself. I replied to Colonel John- 
son, that in all matters of oflicial business, or having any connection there- 
with, I considered myself bound to maintain an open, frank, and liarmoniou? 
intercourse with the gentlemen I was ;u^ociated with. That the President 
had a right to expect the exertion of my best faculties, and the employ- 
ment of my time, in the puV)lic service. As to the family of Mr. Eaton, 
1 felt an obligation on me not to siiy any tiling to aggravate the difficulties 



which he labored under, but to observe a total silence and neutrality in 
relation to the reports about his wife, and to inculcate the same courae as 
to my family, and if any other representations had been made to the 
President^ they were false. Having prescribed to myself this rule, and 
always acted upon it, I liad done all that the President had a right to 
expect. That the society of Washington was liberally organized ; tliere 
was but one circle, into which every person of respectable charactefi dis- 
posed to be social, was readily admitted, without reference to the circum- 
stance of birth, fortune, or station, which operated in many other placeii 
That we had no right to exert official power to regulate its social inter- 
course. That Mrs. Eaton had never been received by the society her«, 
and it did not become us to force her upon it ; that my family had, there- 
fore, not associated with her, and had done so with my approbation ; and 
that the President ought not, for the sake of his own character, to inter- 
fere in such matters. But if he chose to exert his power to ibrco my 
family to visit any body they did not choose to visit^ he was intorferiug 
with what belonged to me, and no human power should regulate the so- 
cial intercourse of my family, by means of official or any other power 
which I could resist. If I could submit to such control, I should be un- 
worthy of my station, and would despise myself. That it was eminently 
due to the character of the President to have it known that he did not 
intcifcre in such matters ; and that the course we liad pursucil was pre- 
servative of his honor and political standing. I had taken my ground on 
mature reflection as to what was due to my family, my friends, and the 
administration, witiiout any prejudice to Major Eaton or his wife, and had 
fully detennined not to change it^ whatever might be the consequence. 

*'Col. Johnson said that he had been requested by the President to 
have a conversation with the Secretary of the Navy and the Attorney- 
General also ; but, from what I had »iid, he supposed it would be of no 
avail. The President expressed a hope that our families would liavo been 
willing to invite Mrs. Eaton to their large parties, to give tlie appearance 
of an ostensible intercourse, adding that he was so much excited that he 
was like a roarinij Uon. He had heard that tlie lady of a foreign minister 
ha(i joined in the conspiracy against Mrs. Eaton, and he had sworn that he 
would send her and her husband home if he could not put an end to such 
doings. I replied, that it could hardly be i)ossiblc that the President con- 
templated such a step. Col Johnson replie<l tliat he certainly did ; and 
asrain remarked that it seemed to be useless for him to see Mr. Branch 
and Mr. Beriien. I told him that each of us had taken our course upon 
our own views of the propriety without concert ; and that he ought not to 
consider me as answering for any but mysel£ He tiien proposed tliat I 
should meet him at Mr. Branch's, and invite Mr. Berrien, that cvoning at 
seven o'clock, which was agreed to. Col. Johnson came to my house 



about six, and we went up to Mr. Berrien's, having first sent for Mr. 
Branch. On our way to Mr. Berrien's, Gol. Johnson remarked tiiat the 
President had informed liim tliat he would invite Mr. Branch, Mr. Berrien, 
and myself, to meet him on tlie next Friday, when he would inform us, 
in the presence of Dr. Ely, of his determination ; and if we did not agree 
to comply witli his wishes, he would expect us to send in our resig- 

" Upon our arrival at Mr. Berrien's, Col. Johnson renewed the subject 
in presence of him and (Governor Branch, and repeated substantially, though 
I thought ratlier more qualifiedly, what he had said to me. Ue did not go 
8o much into detail, nor do I recollect whether he mentioned the Prcsi 
dent's remarks as to the lady above mentioned and Dr. Ely; those 
gentlemen will better recollect Mr. Branch and Mr. Berrien replied, as 
unequivocally as I had done, that they would never consent to have the 
social relations of their families controlled by any power whatever but 
their own. Mr. Branch, Mr. Berrien, and myself went the same evening 
to a party at Col. Towson's, where a report was current tliat we were to 
be removed forthwith, of which I had no doubt at the time. 

" The next morning. Col. J. came to my house and said that he ought, 
perhaps, to have been more frank last evening, and told us positively that 
the President had finally determined on our removal from office, unless 
we agreed at once tliat our families should visit Mrs. Eaton, and innte 
her to tlieir large parties ; and that he had made up his mind to designate 
Mr. Dickins to take charge of the Treasury Department, and Mr. Kendall 
to take charge of the Navy Department, and would find an Attomcy- 
Gkneral somewhere. I observed that my course was fixed, and could not 
be changed for all the offices in the President's gift ; and it made no more 
difference to me than to any other person whom the President designated 
to take my place. In the evening of the same day. Col. J. called again, 
and informed me that he had just been with the President, who had 
drawn up a paper explanatory of what he had intended and expected of 
us; that some of his Tennessee friends had been with him for several 
lioura; tliat his passions luid subsided, and he liad entirely changed his 
ground. He would not insist on our families visiting Mrs. Eaton ; ho only 
wishc*] us to assist in putting down the slan<lers against her ; that he be- 
lieved her innocent, and he thought our families ought to do what they 
could to sustain her, if they could not visit her j and that he wished to see 
me the next day. Col. Johnson added that the President had been ex- 
ceedingly excited for several days, but was now perfectly calm .ind mild. 
The next day I waited on the President, and opened the subject by stat- 
ing that Col. Johnson had informed me that he wished to see me, to wliich 
he assented, and went into a long argument to show how innocent a 
woman Mrs. Eaton was, and how much slie had been persecuted, and 
VOL. III. — 20 


mentionc<l the names of a number of ladies who hmi been active in this 

persecution, and that the lady of a foreign minister was also one of the 

conspirnU)rs ; adding that he would send her and her husband home, and 

] teach him and his master that a wife of a member of his cabinet was nut 

I to be thus treated ; that Mrs. Eaton was as pure and chaste as Mrs. Don- 

elson's infant daughter, but there was a combination here among a number 

of ladie:*, not those of the heads of departm^aits, to drive her out of so- 

cietv, and to drive her husband out of oflic*? ; but he would be cut into 

I inch pieces on the rack before he wouUl sufler him or his wife to be in- 

' jure«l l»y their vile calumnies; that he was resolved to have harmony in 

his caliiuet., and he wished us to join in putting down the slanflers against 
Mrs. Katon. 1 observed to the Prcsiil(?nt that I had never considered il 
incumbent on me to investigate the chanicter of Mrs. Katon ; such a scrr- 
ice did not, in my judgment, come within the scojxj of my duties to the 
government ; it belonged to society alone to determine such matters. The 
powtT of tlie administration could not change the opinion of the com- 
munity, ev(Mi if it could be properly ustni to contn:»l the ndations of ilouies- 
tic life in any case. The society of Washington must be the be.-'t judges 
of whom it ouglit to receive. 1 regretted the diiricultius which Major 
Eaton labored under, and had felt it to be my duty not to aggravate them. 
I had intt'iided at an early day to have had a conversation witli him on 
tlic snbjeetj with a view to have our s«x'ial relations delined ; but no uppor^ 
tunity had oflered without volunttiering one, and it had not been done in 
that way. The course I had taken was, however, adopted with great can», 
to save his feelings as much as j)os.sible, consistent with what was due to 
my family, and the oomnmnity with which we were associated. I con- 
sider the charge of my family to be a sa»:red trust, belonging exclusively 
t^) mvself as a mend.>cr of scKiietv. The administration had nothing to do 
with it, more than with that of any otlier individual, and political power 
eouhl not l)e properly exerted over tlu'ir social inti-rcourse, and it wa« im- 
portimt to his n^putation to have it un lersi«.K.i.i that he did not inteifero in 
such matters. Tljat I was not aware of any want of harmr>ny in tJie cabi- 
net; I had not seen the sHght est symptom of such a feeling in its delibera- 
tions, and I was pj'ifeetly certain that my official conduct had never been 
influenced in t\w. slightt?st degree by a fi'eling of that nature. I saw no 
ground, thiTcfon*, for tlie least change on my part in this respect. 

"To which the Presi<lent replie<l in a changed tone, Uiat he ha>l 
the most entire confi<lence in n)y integrity and capacity in ex«»cuting the 
duties of the di'partnu'nt, and expresse<i his |H.Tlect satisfiiction. in that 
R'spect, with my whole (Minduct; ho hail never supposed for a moment 
that my oflicial acts had been inllucncod in the lea^t degree by any unkind 
feeling toward Major Eaton ; and he did not mean to insist on our families 
visiting Mrs. Eaton. He had been nmch excited for some time past 


by tlie combination against her, and he wished us to aid him in putting 
down their slanders, adding that she was excluded from most of the invi- 
tations to parties; and when invited, she was insulted ; that the lady of a 
foreign minister, before referred to, had insulted her at Baron Krudcncr*8 

" I remarked, that some injustice might be done to that lady on that 
occasion ; although she might not choose to associate with Mrs. Eaton, I 
did not think she intended to insult her ; she might have supposed that 
there was some design, not altogether respectful to herself in the offer of 
the attendance to supper of the Secretary of War, whose wife she did not 
visit; instead of that of the Secretary of State, w^hich, according to the 
QBiud practice, she probably considered herself entitled to. I was present, 
and saw most of what had happened. She evidently thought herself ag- 
griered at something, but acted with much dignity on the occasion. I saw 
no appearance of insult offered to Mrs. Eaton. He replied that he had 
been fiiUy infbnned, and knew all about it ; and but for certain reasons 
which he mentioned, he would have sent the foreign minister before re- 
ferred to and his wife home immediately. 

" After some further conversation on this and other matters, in which 
I consider the President as having entirely waived the demand made 
throngh Col. Johnson, that my family must visit Mrs. Eaton, as the condi- 
tion of my remaining in office, and in which he expressed himself in terms 
of personal kindness toward me, I took my leave. He did not show me, 
or read any paper on the subject" 

Col. Johnson explained, on reading this statement, that, 
in his extreme desire to restore peace, he had gone further in 
his communications with the Secretaries, than the President 
authorized him to go. The suggestion with regard to their 
inviting Mrs, Eaton to their " large parties/' he said, was his 
own, not the President's. **Tlie complaint made by Gen- 
eral Jackaon against Messrs. Ingham, Branch and Berrien 
was that they were using their influence to have Major Eaton 
and his family excluded from all respectable circles, for the 
purpose of degrading him, and thus drive him from oflSce ; 
and that the attempt had been made even upon the foreign 
ministers, and in one case had produced the desired effect. 
He proposed no mode of accommodation or satisfaction, but 
declared expressly that if such wiis the fact, he would dismiss 
them from office. He then read to me a {Miper containing the 
principles upon which he intended to act, which disclaimed 


the right to interfere with the social relations of his cabinet 
. . . When the President mentioned this charge of con- 
spiracy, I vindicated you against it. I gave it as my opinion 
that he was misinformed. To prevent a rupture, I requested 
the President to postpone calling upon those members of his 
cabinet till Saturday, that I might have the opportunity of 
two days to converse with them. When I made my report 
to the President, I informed him that I was confirmed in my 
opinion previously expressed, that he had been misinformed 
as to the combination and conspiracy. I informed him of 
your unequivocal and positive denial of the fact, and commu- 
nicated every thing which transpired between us calculated 
to satisfy his mind on the subject. It was this report of 
mine that gave him satisfaction, and changed his feelings and 
determination — ^not his ground as you have supposed ; with 
me lie had no ground to change. He had assumed none ex- 
cept that which I have stated ; nor did I ever make use of 
such an expression to you that he had changed his ground. 
It is true that I informed you that the President was very 
much excited, but I do not now recollect the precise language 
used to convey my idea of that excitement. I presume you 
had the advantage of your i)rivate memoranda, when you say 
I compared him to a roaring lion." 

A day or two after, the President offered his personal me- 
diation for the purpose of restoring harmony between Major 
Eaton and Mr. Branch. Mr. Branch accepted the President's 
offer. " I have received," he wrote to the President, January 
29th, "your note of yesterday's date, and do most cheerfully 
accept your friendly mediation ; more, however, from a desire 
to give you an additional evidence of the friendly feelings 
which have actuated my bosom toward yourself, than from a 
consciousness of having given to Major Eaton just cause for 
the withdrawal of his friendship. As a further manifestation 
of the frankness which I trust will ever characterize my con- 
duct, I agree to meet him this day at two o'clock, in the pres- 
ence of Major Barry, at Mr. Van Buren's, and in his presence 


The hostile secretaries met at the house of the Attorney- 
General, in the presence of that functionary and of Mr. Barry. 
" Here," says Eaton, " Mr. Branch expressed friendship for 
me, and in the strongest terms declared, that he did not en- 
tertain an unkind feeling toward me, and wished he had a 
glass in his bosom, through which his every thought could be 
read. He spoke of the non-intercourse between our families, 
and said, he had not the slightest objection to a free associa- 
tion ; but that he could not control his. I promptly answered, 
that I did not desire his or any other family to visit mine, 
except with their own free consent ; and that it was my de- 
sire our families should, in that respect, pursue such a course 
as they thought fit and proper. We shook hands and parted 
as friends. Mr. Berrien affected much satisfaction at this re- 
conciliation, and pretended to hail it as the harbinger of fu- 
ture harmony and good will." 

And so this affair was temporarily adjusted. For the 
next fifteen months there was the semblance of harmony 
among the members of this ill-assorted Cabinet. The Presi- 
dent, however, did not often consult the three gentlemen who 
had families. The time-honored Cabinet councils were sel- 
dom held, and were at length discontinued. Mr. Van Buren 
maintained and strengthened his position as the President's 
chief counselor and friend. The President spoke of the Sec- 
retary of State, among his familiars, by the name of " Van," 
and called him " Matty" to his face. 



Scarcely had the Cabinet been pacificated, when the 
suppressed feud between General Jackson and Mr. Calhoun 
was changed, so far as the President was concerned, into 
avowed and irreconcilable hostility. 


Mr. Van Buren has long rested under the imputation of 
having precipitated this quarrel for purposes of his own. The 
reader, however, is aware that General Jackson's antipathy 
to Mr. Calhoun was strong as early as December, 1829, and 
that Mr. Van Buren liad no need, for purposes of his own, 
to inflame tlie President's ire against his Southern competitor 
for the succession. The incident which filled up the measure 
of the President's wrath against the Vice-President, it can 
now be shown, was one with which Mr. Van Buren had 
nothing to do. He was as innocent of this quarrel as the 
humblest clerk in his department, as Mr. Calhoun himself 
came at last to know. 

Major Lewis, the innocent cause of the explosion, and a 
participant in all the events that led to it, has had the good- 
ness to write out, for the reader's edification and entertnin- 
ment, a complete history of the affair. His narrative, which 
is circumstantial and exact, puts to rest forever all the dis- 
puted questions respecting a feud which has produced, and is 
producing, effects upon the course of political events. 


" Dear Sir : I have taken up the pen, in accordance with your reqaest, 
with tlie view of relating to you the circumstances which led to tlie quarrel 
between General Jackson and Mr. Callioun. In doing this, I will be as 
brief as the nature of the affair will admit; but, at the same time, I feel 
disposed to communicate every thing in connection with it tliat may be 
deemed necessary to a full and perfect understxmding of the subject I 
have for a long time intended to perform this task, but have neglected it, 
and, perhaps, should never have undertaken it, il' you had not made the 
request. It is many years since the circumstances that I now intend to 
relate transpired, but all the leading and most essential portions of them 
are still fresh upon my mind. 

" The Seminole campaign, which was commenced by Grcneral Jackson 
in December, 1817, and was brought to a close by him the following 
spring, was undoubtedly the main cause of the quarrel, but there were 
otlier circumstances that had also something to do with it, which I will re- 
late before I get through with my narrative. 

" That his proceediugs in conducting that campaign should have been 
the cause or occasion of a nipture between tliem, was a thing, I am Borei 
the General could not possibly have anticipated, as he had been led to be- 


liere that Mr. Calhoun approved all that he had done. Perhaps there was 
no one connected with the government with the exception of Mr. Monroe, 
in whom he had greater confidence than Mr. Calhoun, or for whom he had 
a stronger attachment This was owing, in part, to the zeal, the ability, 
and the efficiency with which he supported, as a member of the House of 
Representatives, the war of 1812, but perhaps more particularly on account 
of one of tlie first acts he performed after receiving the appointment of 
Secretary of War. At the time of his appointment a serious niisimder- 
standing existed between the General and the acting Secretary of War, 
Mr. George Graham. It seems that General Jackson, apprehending diffi- 
culty with the Indians in the Nortliwest, bordering upon Canada, stationed 
an officer in whom he had great confidence, with a suitable command, in 
tliat quarter, for the purpose of watching the Indians and British traders, 
but more especially, I suspect, the Earl of Selkirk, who was moving 
through that section of country about that time, with no good intentions, 
as the General believed, toward the United States.* Well, witliout giving 
the General any notice of his intention, the acting Secretary ordered this 
officer upon other duty, taking him away entirely from the past where the 
General had stationed him. Against this he protested most energetically, 
denying that he had any right to interfere with tlie arrangement of his 
troops without consulting him, and forthwith Issued a general order to the 
officers under his command, and within his military district, that in future 
they wei-e to obey no order emanating from the War Department unless 
it passed through the general in command I It was on account of tliis 
general order tliat he and General Scott became involved in an angry and 
bitter personal correspondence. 

" Mr. Calhoun, very soon after he entered upon the duties of his office 
as Secretary of War, in order to put a stop to such personal controversies, 
and to 6atL«(fy General Jackson, as it was alleged, wrote him an official let- 
ter, assuring him tliat, in future, all orders for his military district should 
pass through him.f This was granting all that the General contended for, 
and was exceedingly gnitifying to him, and no doubt added greatly to his 
personal regard for the Secnjtary. 

" It was not long after this that he was ordered on the celebrated Sem- 
inole campaign, and doubtless it was comnienced with the best an<l kindest 
feelings for Mr. Calhoun, on whom he counted fully as a friend that he 

• If the Ooneral hnd got hold of the F!arl. and been able to prove that he had 
been exciting the Indians against our frontier settlements, ho would in all pro- 
bability have made his upreonfeitt for the eases of Arbuthuot and Ambrislcr. 

f See a copy of Mr. Calhoun's letter of December 29, 1819, horowith in- 
doted.— Vol ii., p. 375. 


could at all times and under all circumstances rely to do him justice, aS 
least ; and more tlian tliis he neither expected nor desired, of course. 

" After the campaign had been brought to a close, the General returned 
10 Tennessee in exceedingly bad liealth, and worn almost to a skeleton ; 
but he bad scarcely got home when a portion of the newspaper press, aided 
by politiciaas and demagogues, commenced assailing him with great vio- 
lence and bitterness, which was kept up until Congress met, in November, 

1818. Tliis body had scarcely taken their seats, when strong indications 
were given by its members that the attacks were soon to be transferred 
from the columns of the newspapers and the stump to the halls of Con- 
gress. The General was kept well advised of what was going on both in 
and out of Congress by his Washington friends. About the latter part of 
December or the first of January, it was reported tliat the military com- 
mittee of the House was investigating the General's conduct in relation to 
the Seminole campaign, and it was believed they would report to the 
House a resolution in favor of censuring him. He received this informa- 
tion in Nashville, on the morning of the 7th of January, and deteruiined 
at once to leave for Washington without a moment's delay. Afier Iiaving 
dispatched some business he came down to attend to, he returned to the 
Hermitage in the evening, and the next morning early he set out for Wash- 
ington on horseback, accompanied by two of his staff. TravcHng rapidly 
on to Kingston, a distance of 100 miles, he fell in with the Washington 
mail stage, and concluding to leave their horses at Kingston, ho and his 
companions took passage in the stage and proceedetl on to Washington in 
that. On his route he passed through Knoxville, Abingdon, and Winches- 
ter, Virginia, but having reached the last named place too late to make a 
connection with the Washington stage, he and his companions were ne- 
cessarily detained for a short time. 

" When the citizens of the village heard of his arrival and detention, 
they flocked in great numbers to see and pay their respects to him ; but 
some of the most ardent of hLs admirers, not satisfied with this manifesta- 
tion of respect, proceeded to get up, on the spur of the occasion, a small 
supper party, and invited him and his traveUng companions to join them. 
The invitation was accept<jd, and in the course of the evening, being called 
on for a sentiment, the General gave the following toast — * John C. Oal- 
lioun ; an honest man is the noblest work of Gknl' — showing in the strong* 
est and most emphatic language he couM U5ie, the great confidence he re- 
posed in his honor and integrity I But this is not the only occasion in 
which his confidence had been manifested, as I shall presently show. An 
arrangement having been effected for the continuance of the General's 
iourney to Washington, distant seventy-five or eighty miles, he and his 
friends left, and reached that city on the morning of the 23d of Januaryi 

1819, a little before sunrise. The second letter he wTote me after his ar- 



rival is dated 30th January, and is in relation to certain injurious imputa- 
tions which had been published in the Philadelphia Aurora newspaper, 
agftinst Mr. Calhoun, by a Nashville correspondent, which, if in my power, 
he wished me to have corrected. The General, in his letter, says — ' I find 
Mr. Calhoun is sore from the remarks made by B. B. in the Philadelphia 
Aurora. He has profe^ed to be my friend, approves my conduct and that 
of the President Mr. Monroe has told the members, if an opportunity 
offers, to declare on the floor of Congress, in addition to what Mr. Adams 
has said, that he fully and warmly approves every act of mine, from first 
to last, of the Seminole campaign.' In a P. S. to his letter, the General 
adds, * If you know B. B., tell him to exonerate Mr. Calhoun from a coali- 
tion with Mr. Crawford.' 

" Those communications, addressed to the Aurora^ were written by me, 
and the passage complained of by Mr. Calhoun is in the following words — 
* I regret that I am under the necessity of adrpitting that your suspicions, 
as regards the Secretary of War, are not altogether groundless. Late in- 
formation from Washington City assures us here that he is playing a 
double game. This may be so, but for the honor of human nature, I hope 
it is not I can not abandon altogether the good opinion I once enter- 
tained of him, at least not until I have other evidence of his duplicity than 
that which rests upon mere suspicion. I still flatter myself that my cor- 
respondent there, as well as you, may be mistaken.' 

" Aflcr the receipt of the Gkineral's letter referred to above, in my next 
communication to the Aurora^ dated the 20th February, 1819, 1 state that, 
' In my letter to you of the 9th, and published in the Aurora of the 28th 
ultimo, I remarked that it was with regret that I was under the necessity 
of admitting that your suspicions, as it regarded the Secretary of State, 
were not altogether groundless — that late intelligence from Washington 
City assured us here he was playing a double game, etc. I had been in- 
formed, previous to writing that letter, that Mr. Calhoun had, at the same 
time he was professing the warmest friendship for General Jackson, joined 
the standard of his enemies, who had combined for the Laudable purpose> 
not only of undermining his military reputation, but also to drive him 
from the array. It affords me great pleasure to find that my correspond- 
ent hail been led into an error, in attributing to Mr. Calhoun a course of 
conduct so dishonorable. In justice to him, therefore, I feel it my duty 
to state that I am entirely satisfied now his conduct has been honorable 
and correct, anfl that he is, as he has always professed to bo, the sincere 
friend of General Jackson,* etc. 

" This, then, was a full and complete withdrawal of the alleged unjust 
imputation made against Mr. Calhoun, in the letter to the Aurora of the 
9th January, 1819. and of course left no cause of complaint, whether just 
or unjust, against General Jackson or his friends. The Gen(Tal acted, on 


this occasion, as a true and sincere friend, by promptly doing aU that was 
in his power to have the alleged unjust imputations withdrawn. But this 
is not all. I have additional evidence to show that the GTcneral's friend- 
ship for Mr. Calhoun continued for years after the date of the letter re- 
ferred to above. On the 11th January, 1825, in a letter addressed to me, 
he says — * It was stated to me yesterday, that if I was elected, it would 
loe against the whole Cabinet influence, combined with that of the Speaker. 
If this he true, and success should be mine, it will be the greater triumph 
of principle over intrigue and management Whether there is any tnith 
in this rumor I know not^ and if there is, I would suppose that Mr. Cal- 
houn is not in the combination. Let things terminate as they may, nothing 
will induce me to depart from the course I have adopted. If I go into 
the office, it shall be by the unsolicited will of the people, and I shall not 
envy the man who gets there in any other way.' Even this is not all. I 
received another letter from him after the election of Mr. Adams, in which 
he says, * I am satisfied that Mr. Calhoun was the only friend I had in the 

This letter has, unfortunately, been mislaid, and not being able to lay 
my hands on it just now, I am not able to give the exact date of it I have 
a distinct recollection, however, of the expression quoted above. 

" I have adverted to the foregoing facts and circumstances as evidences 
going to show conclusively that General Jackson looked upon Mr. Calhoun 
as one of his best friends, so late as the winter and spring of 1825. Indeed 
I might say to the day of his inauguration on the 4th of March, 1829, as 
there is not a particle of evidence in existence, as I believe, to prove the 
slightest change in their personal relations to that time. In February, 
1825, at a time of great poUtical excitement, when every bosom was filled 
with suspicion and distrust, we find the General declaring that he consid- 
ered Mr. Calhoun the only friend he had in Mr. Monroe's Cabinet on that 
important and eventful occasion. Strong proof this, I should say, of his 
confidence in him, as well as his own sincerity and fidelity. But was this 
confidence and devotion on the part of the General reciprocated by Mr. 
Calhoun? I doubt it, and I think I have good reason for doubting it If 
any one will attentively read a certain part of Mr. Webster's great speech 
in reply to Colonel Hayne of Soutli CaroUna, in February, 1830, I think 
he will be induced to doubt whether Mr. Calhoun was the only friend that 
the General had in Mr. Monroe's Cabinet^ pending the contest in the 
House for tlie presidency ; or, indeed, whether he was his friend at all. I 
allude to that portion of Mr. Webster's speech which is in reply to Colonel 
Hayne's Shakesperian quotations in which he made allusion to Banquo's 
Ghost I did not see the point and force of the remarks at the lime tlie 
speech was delivered, because I had never heard it intimated, or suggested 
by any one that Mr. Calhoun was really in favor of Mr. Adams being chosen 

1830.] BREAKS WITH THE V 1 C £ - PR K SID E X T. 315 

by the House, in preference to Gk^neral Jackson ; nor did I understand it 
until I was told by a gentleman, whom I met at a dining purty at the 
hooae of the illustrious Charles Carroll of Carrollton, on the 20th Septem- 
ber, 1831 (Mr. Carroirs birth-day), that Mr. Calhoun had adually pledged 
hkmtdfto support Mr. Adams, I do not recollect his name, but he was said 
to be a gentleman of high character, and lived in the neighborhood of Car- 
roUton. He did not speak of it as a rumor, but as a * fixed fact,' as General 
Gushing would say. This was perfectly new to me, but when I connected 
with it Webster's splendid reply to Hayne, and his pointing and shaking 
his finger, at the same time, at Calhoun (who was in the chaii), and ex- 
daiming with great significancy, ' Is it not so, sir ?' I must confess that I 
do not feel myself at hberty to doubt it. If I have not misconstrued the 
meaning of Mr. Webster's remarks, there can be no doubt that Mr. Cal- 
houn secretly favored tlie election of Mr. Adams, and promised him his sup- 
port; but finding, afterward, that Mr. Clay was to be brought within the 
line of * safe precedents,' and looked to for the succession, he deserted Mr. 
Adams and sought slieUcr beneath the folds of the broad and patriotic ban- 
ner of Old Hickory. It did not, however, afibrd him protection long. 
Ton know how the General dealt with deserters, whether regulars or 
militia I 

"I will now proceed to relate the circumstances which led to the 
breach and final separation of those distinguished men. At the session of 
1827 the legislature of Louisiana adopted a resolution inviting General Jack- 
ion to unite with his friends of that State, on the 8th of Pebruary, 1828, in 
celebrating the anniversary of the great victory achieved over tlie British 
fiBTcea on the 8tli January, 1815. The invitation was accepted by the Gen- 
eral and, during tlie Christmas holidays, the 27th December, 1827, I think 
it was, he left Nai<hvillc for N»iw Orleans on board the steamboat Pocahon- 
ioMj commanded by Captain Barnes, which had been tendered to him by 
the owners, free of all charges, for the conveyance of himself and friends 
to New Orleans, and back again to Nashville. Among the friends of the 
General, who took passage on board the Pocahontas was Colonel James 
A. Hamilton, son of the distinguished General Alexander Hamilton of the 
Revolution. The Colonel was a member of a committee that had been ap- 
pointed by the General's friends of the city of New York, to meet him at 
New Orleans and unite with his other friends there, in celebrating the 8th 
January, and proposed, with the consent of tl^o otlier members of the com- 
mittee (Thaddeus Phelps and Preserved Fish, I bcUeve) to come by the way 
of Nashville and pass down the river with tlie General and his Tennessee 
friends. The party consisted of the General, Mr^^. Jackson and Major 
Donelson of liis family ; General Houston and staff. Judge Overton, Dr. 
and Mrs. Shelly, myself and a few others whose names are not now recol- 
lected. Having time to spare, the Pocahontas leisurely descended the 


river, stopping at a few places only until she reached Natchez, where, by 
previous engagement, the General was to partake of a public dinner given 
to him by his friends and old comrades-in-arms. Here we were detained 
until late in the evening, when the Pocahontas was again got under way, 
and dropped slowly down the river, on her way to the great emporium of 
the Southwestern States. About this time, and on this portion of our 
journey it was, I had an interesting conversation with Colonel Hamilton 
which led, ultimately, to very important results. On several previous occa- 
sions we had conversed about the pendincr presidential election, and of tlic 
General's prospects generally ; but on this occasion he inquired of me par- 
ticularly with regard to the vote of Georgia. I told him the Qt^neral's 
friends at N.'u<«hville were of the opinion that the probabilities were in favor 
of his gutting it, unless Mr. Crawford's friends should unite in opposition 
to him, and possibly in that event he might lose it. 

" ' But we count much, Colonel,' I said, ' upon the general Southern 
feeling which is undoubtedly in favor of the General.' 

*' He inquired of mo if I did not think Mr. Crawford and his friends 
might be conciliated. 

" ' If that can be done,' he added, * Georgia would undoubtedly give 
her vote to the General.' 

" He thought it was an object deserving the attention of his friends, 
and expressed a willingness to assist, if desired, in removing all doubts and 
difficulties in rohition to the vote of that important Southern State. Col- 
onel Hamilton then inquired if I was acquainted with the original cause 
of quarrel between the General and Mr. Crawford. 

" * Yes,' I told him, * I knew all about it from the beginning to that 

" ' I should like very much,' he said, * to be made acquainted with all 
the circumstances in relation to it' 

" ' The original cause,' I remarked, ' grew out of a treaty Mr. Crawford 
made, in the spring of 1816, with the Clierokee Indians, when he was Sec- 
retary of War, against the advice and remonstrance of tlie General In 
this treaty Mr. Crawford allowed them a large body of land to which they 
hail no claim whatever, and which had been previously ceded to the United 
States by the Creek Indians. In the summer of 1814 the General made 
a treaty at Fort Jackson with the Creeks, after tlieir surrender and sab- 
missiou to the authorities of the United States, and in that treaty the 
whole of the country from the settlements on the Bay of Mobile to the 
Tennessee line, a distmce of some two hundred or two hundred and fifty 
miles, including nearly all the State of Alabama, and which he considered 
of great importance to the whole country, and vitally so as regarded the 
growth anfl prosperity of the southwestern portion of it^ was ceded to the 
United States. 


" * The Cherokee chiefe were present at th«it treaty, ninl cI.uiik* 1 n Lirjro 
portion of tlie land, the best and ino-tt important portion, but from n full 
investigation of the matter it was clearly shown tliat they had no ri<;ht to 
it wliatevcr. They endeavoreti to get the Creoks to say it belongtMl to 
them, alleging, as a reason, they would have to give it up at any rate. 
Weatherford, the principal chief of the Creek nation, refused. He sniJ it 
did not belong to them, and he would make no such admission. Yet, in 
opposition to the advice of the Gen<*ral, Mr. Crawford recogniwjd thti claim 
of the Cliorokrres to it, at the risk of sacrificing the great advantages which 
were secured to us by the Treaty of Fort Jackson.* 

" * The General had two im{K>rtant objects in view, in requiring the 
Creeks to cede to the United States the whole of that vast tract of land 
as an indemnity for the expenses of the war. First, to separate the Creeks 
and Cherokees, on the east, from the Choctaws and Cliickasaws, on the 
west, by planting a dense and strong population of whiter* b(»tween them, 
who, in future, would hold tliem in check. Secondly, l»y opening and 
settling that region of country, to strengthen and give protection to Mobile 
and the settlements upon the bay. Every body now must see the wisdom 
and foresight of his views, who has any knowle<lge of the immense popu- 
lation and wealth embraced within tlie limits of the country ceded by tlie 
Fort Jackson Treaty. Under all the circumstances, it is not at all surprising, 
it seems to me, that the General should have felt indignant at the unac- 
countable conduct of Uie Secretary of War. 

" * But,' I remarked to Colonel Ilamilton, ^ this is not tho only thing the 
General complains of, and concerning which he was exceedingly sensitive. 
He was induced to believe that Mr. Crawford had a principal agency in 
getting up the movement in Congress against him in Janujiry, 1810, upon 
the subject of the Seminole canjpaign. This he inlerred from the active 
part his i>ersonal friends were taking against him in Congrcs.-', and more 
especially Mr. Cobb, who represonti.'d Mr. Crawford's district in Con;.^'.^s, 
and was a confidential and devoted friend of his, and all of whom zealously 
supported the resolution of cen:*ure, reported to tiie House of Representa- 
tives by tlie Military Committee However, I have not heard the General 
say much about Mr. Crawford of late,* I observed ; ' indeed, I may say, 
ootliing, since Mr. Adams was ehosi-n President over both of them, by the 
House, in 1825 ! Nor do I know what are his feelings now in relation to 
those old di.sputes. His mind, of late, has be»'n too much occupieil, I pre- 
sume, with matters of higher import than to dwell upon things that have 
become obsolete.' 

• This is catted the "Treaty of Fort Jackson;" but, more properly spoak- 
iug, it was a capitulation ; an act of surrendering to an enemy, upon stipulated 
terms or ounditioDS. A sufficient quantity of tlieir land was demanded hy the 
goremincDt of tho United States to iudonmify them for tbo oxpon.ies of the war. 
— W. B. L, 


" Colonel Hamilton said that he was Tery desirous that a reconciliation 
should be eflfccted, if possible, between them, and asked mo if I would be 
willinj^ to speak to the Gk?neral upon the subject. He intended, he said, in 
returnini( to New York, to pas3 through the Southern States^ and expected 
to see Mr. Crawford, and nothing would give him more pleasure than to 
be the medium of a reconciliation between them. I told him if he desLretl 
it I would, with great pleasure, speak to the General upon the subject, and 
let him know what he thought of iL I accordingly sought an opportunity 
of having a conversation with the Gheneral in relation to the matter. After 
informing him what Colonel Hamilton had said, and the strong desire he 
felt that a reconciliation should take place between him and Mr. Craw- 
ford, he remarked to me that formerly his feelings toward Mr. Crawford 
had bf^cn pretty bittor, and he thought he had sufficient grounds for them, 
but the causes which gave birth to them had all passed away, and tliat he 
had no longer any such feelings. 

*' ' Mr. Crawford,' he added, ^ is truly an unfortunate man, and is more 
des<»rving sympathy than the enmity of any one, and especially on account 
of his physical prostration.' 

" ^ Am I at liberty, then,' I asked, * to say to Colonel Hamilton that 
you are willing that every thing heretofore of an unpleasiint nature shall 
be buried in oblivion ?' 

" ' Perfect Iv so,' was his answer. 

" I relate<l this to the Colonel, who was exceedingly gratified at it 
and said he had no doubt it would be cordially responded to by Mr. 

'* We were now rapidly approaching the great center of attraction. 
Many steamboats had passe<l us crowded with passengers. It looked as 
if all the boats that belong(»d to the great father of rivers, and its numerous 
tributaries, had .so mana<?ed and re^nilated their affairs as to be at Orleans 
on the 8tli of January, and taking with them immense crowds from the 
great W<*st and Southwest 

" It was now the 7th, and we were but a few miles above Orleans, and 
our n«.)b]e boat Pocahontas was rounded to, and we lan<led about an hour 
before sunset, where we remained until about eleven o'clock tlie next day. 
The weather was clear, warm, and bright, promising a beautiful day for 
the celebration of the ever memorable and glorious eighth. But promises 
are not always to be relied on, and in this case they were completely 
fal:«ified. The following morning was dark and gloomy. In the south was 
to be seen a heavy cloud, giving unmistakable indications of an approach- 
ing thunder storm, wliich wore realized about nine or ten o'clock, when 
the rain commenced falling in torrents, accompanied by thunder and light- 
ning. It ditl not last long, however, and was followed by a most mag- 
nificent rainbow, which seemed to span the entire city, and was considered 


1830.] BREAKS WITH THE VI C E- P R E 8 I D E N' T . 319 

by the people a most auspicious omen. I am not ^oing to bore you with 
an aoooant of the celebration. If so disposed, I am not competent to do 
it justice. It was undoubtedly the most magnificent pageant I ever saw 
of the kind J and I Iiave seen many. Besides, it would be out of place 
here. Suflice it to say that the General was feasted and caressed by his 
friends some five or six days, and he then left for Nashville on board the 
Pocahontas, under the command of his true and trusty friend, Capt Barnes. 
Before she was permitted to leave the landing, however, sho was literally 
crmmmed with all sorts of g(X)d thing.-^ such as winos, brandy, fruits, sweet' 
meats, etc, by liis kind and grateful frien<Is, whose city he had saved from 
murder, pillage, rapine, and other crimes of a still more revolting charac- 
ter, if what was averreil at the time can be relied on as true. 

" CoL Hamilton left about tlie same tune, but he, as he said he should 
do on our trip down, returned through Georgia, Virginia, etc. The Gen- 
eral and his party reached Nashville without the occurrence of a single 
accident from tlie time we left home. I heard nothing of CoL Hamilton 
from the time we parted in New Orleans. 

" Soon after I returned to Nashville I received a letter from Mr. Eaton, 
one of our Senators in Congress, informing mo that my daughter, who was 
at school in Philadelphia, was quite ill, and had been so for some time. 
and added he thouglit I had better come on to see her witliout delay. 

« The day after I got his letter, the 3d April, 1828, I left for Phila- 
delphia, taking Washington in my route, and on reaching that city, I 
learned from Mr. Eaton that he had just got a letter from the lady who 
had charge of my daughter, informing him that she was much better. 

" This was very gratifying news, and made it unnecessary for mo to 
hasten my departure from Washington. Wiiile there I was made ac- 
quainted with Mr. Van Buren, it beiug the first time I had ever met with 
him. I found the General's friends were all in high spirits, an<l counting 
with great certainty upon his being elected. Indetul, I found the same 
confidence existing among his friends everywhere, from the time I left 
home unt'd I reached the city. After remaining a few (lays, I left for Phila- 
delphia, and was happy to liiul, on my arrival, that my daughter's health. 
under the skillful treatment of that eminent phy.siciau, Dr. Physic, had been 
entirely restored. I did not remain long, however, in that city ; and, as I 
was anxious to get back homo, I hurried on to New York, which, never 
having visited, I desired to see. The morning atler my arrival there I 
called upon Col. Hamilton, and had a long conversation with him in rela- 
tion to his trip through the Southern States. Every thing in that ({uarter, 
he assured me, looked bright and promising. Our friends, he added, were 
confident of carrying every State for the General. I im^uirod of hiui if he 
saw Mr. Crawford as he passed through Millivlgoville. He said he ilid 
not, unfortunately, in consequeuji* of his beiug out on his circuit holding 


couit, and was not expected to return for a week or two. He regretted 
it, but it was impossible for him to wait, and had, therefore, concluded to 
mention the subject he desireil to speak to Mr. Crawford about to Gover- 
nor Forsyth. He relat^'d to the Governor fully the conversation we had 
on board of tlic boat us we passed down the river, and also wliat passed 
between the General and myself uynyn the subject of an amicable settle- 
ment of the differences which had so long existed between him and Mr. 
Crawford, find desired the Governor to communicate it to Mr. Crawford 
when he returned to Milledgeville. This he promised to do, and adviK 
nie of tlie reply that Mr. Crawford might make to it I inquired of him 
if he had heard from the Governor in relation to the matter since. He 
said that he hud, and he was greatly surprised at what Mr. Crawford hid 
authorized him to say. He (^Ir. Crawford) remarked that he had been 
ciiargcd with having proposed, in cabinet council, to liave the General ar- 
rested, etc., whicli he siiid was false. No such proposition was ever made 
by him ; but tliat ^Ir. Calhoun did propose his arrest and punisliment in 
some way, showing on various occasions a hostility to Iiis proceedings in 
Ills Seminole oampuigu. Col. Hamilton handed me Governor Forsyth's 
letter to read, and I confess I was not less surprisiMl tlian the Colonel 
seemed to be, knowing, as I did, the pains Mr. Calhoun had taken to im- 
press upon the General's mind that he had stood firmly by him, and sus- 
tained him in relation to his proceedings in that celebrated campaign. In 
January, 1819, I received information from Washington which induced 
me to doubt the sincerity of Air. Calhoun's friendship for the General, and 
80 iftated in a communication I sent to the Philadtiphia Aurora : but on 
receiving u letter from General Jackson, assuring me he had no doubt of 
the sincerity of his friendship, and requesting me to liave the statement 
alluded to above contradicted, I had, from that time until I saw Governor 
Forsyth's letter, looked upon him as a sincere friend of the General I do 
not recollect the exact words of Mr. Crawlbrd, as reported by Governor 
Forsyth, but what is stated above is substantially correct. 

" I did not remain long in New York, and on returning home, I pro- 
posed to avail myself of the opportunity of running up the Hudson to 
Albany, and thence along the entire line of New York's great and magnifi- 
cent canal, which had not then been long finished. I found tlie route 
rather tedious and uncomfortable, but the opportunity it aflbnled me of 
seeing such a work and the fine country through which it ran, was a suf- 
ficient coiiii)ensntion for the want of comfort I got back to Nashville 
about tlie 1st of June, fully convinced that the coalition of Adams and Clay 
was doomed to experience a most humiliating defeat at the approaching 
election, and I sought an early opportunity of so stating to tlie Geneiml. 
But I did not think it advisable to say any thing to him about Governor 
Foi-sy til's letter to Colonel Hamilton, from an apprehension that it might 


produce an explosion, as he had been kept under a constant excitement for 
the last twelve or eighteen months by the attacks of his CDcmies on him- 
self and Mrs. Jackson ; and to be made acquainted with ' this unkindcst 
cut of all ' by the hand of one whom he had considered a true friend, I was 
aiVaid would be more tlian he could bear ; and as I was not particularly 
desirous of witnessing such an exhibition just at that time, I thought it best 
not to mention it to him. 

" Well, the election took place in November, and, as every intelligent 
man in the country, not blinded by passion, or partisan feelings, supposed 
would be the case months before it occurred, the General was elected by 
an overwhelming majority. That was the verdict which the people ren- 
dered upon the charges of bargain, intrigue, and corruption, made against 
Adams and Clay, and which has never been revised, though three efforts 
have been made without efiect, one in the person of Mr. Adams, and two 
in the person of Mr. Clay. 

"The General left home in the latter part of January, 1829, for Wash- 
ington, and reached that city on the 9th or 10th, I tbink, of February. 

" We found the town crowded with strangers even at that early day, 
and the number rapidly increased from that time until the inauguration. 
Gkeat anxiety was felt by the politicians in relation to the organization of 
the new Cabinet Jealousy, distrust, and dissatisfaction soon became man- 
ifest to the most casual observer. All wanted a friend in the Cabinet, but 
as the number was limited to six, all could not, of course, be gratified. The 
fiiends of ^Ir. Calhoun were the most dissatisfied, when it was understood 
who were to compose the Cabinet. Although one half the members were 
expected to be his friends, still they were not satisfied, because they were 
not exactly the friends they wanted in the Cabinet. There was no one 
from South Carolina. The General proposed to appoint Mr. Eaton, a per- 
gonal friend of hi-? from Tennessee, but the friends of Mr. Callioun made 
great efforts to prevent it, and to have either Colonel Haync or General 
Hamilton of South Carolina substituted for him. Having failed in this, 
nothing daunted, they still kept up their efforts with the hope of being able 
to drive him (Eaton) the personal friend of the General out of the Cabi- 
net This the President considered very unkind, to say the least of it. 
He did not know that Mr. Calhoun encouraged this proceeding on the part 
of his friends, still he thought he could have put a stop to it, if so disposed. 
The truth is, that many of General Jackson's friends believed that the sup- 
port of him by the friends of Mr. Calhoun was, from the fii-st, a secondary 
consideration with them. That they were using his popularity and strengtli 
with which to break down Adams and Clay ; and then at the close of the 
GeneraFs first term, to set him aside (Adams and Clay having been pre- 
viously put out of the way), and elevate Mr. Calhoun to the presidency. 

VOL. III. — 21 


And reallj, it seems to me, that their conduct after the election would 
justify such a conclusion. 

"This state of things continued without much change or variation, uih 
til the following November. Mr. Monroe, ez-president, had been in Rich- 
mond attending a State convention, as one of its delegates^ and alter it 
adjourned, on his way home he passed through Washington, and remained 
a day or two with the view of seeing his old friends and acquaintances. 
While there, as a matter of course, he called to see General Jackson. The 
General invited him to dine with him, and, on this occasion he also invited 
the members of the cabinet, and Mr. Finch Ringold, Marshal of the District 
of Columbia, and a warm, personal, and confidential friend of Mr. Monroe'ei 
The dinner party consisted of the President, ex-President Monroe, mem- 
bers of the Cabinet, Mr. Ringold, Major Donelson, and myself. Mr. Mon- 
roe sat on the right hand of the President, Mr. Eaton on tlie leil^ Mr. 
Ringold next to Mr. Eaton, and I sat at the end of the table, having Mr. 
Ringold between me and Mr. Eaton. The other members of the Cabinet 
sat on the opposite side of the table, the Secretary of State fronting the Pres- 
ident, and Major Donelson at the other end of the table fronting me. This 
was the exact arrangement with regard to the position of each member of 
the party. 

" Some short time afler the company was seated, Mr. Ringold remarked 
to me that he was glad to see the General and Mr. Monroe together, and 
enjoying themselves so well. Mr. Monroe, he said, was a great friend of 
his upon the subject of his Seminole campaign, and stood by him witb. 
great firmness in opposition to every member of his Cabinet I remarkedl 
I always understood Mr. Monroe approved the G^nerars proceedings in 
that campaign, and was decidedly his friend ; but I was not aware that be 
was the only one of his Cabinet. 

" ' Yes, sir,' he said, * lie was the only one.* 

" * Well, tlien, if that be so, the General has been laboring under « 
very great mistake,' I replied, ' for ho has always been under the impres- 
sion that Mr. Calhoun was also decidedly his friend.' 

^' Mr. Ringold insisted that he was not Believing that Mr. Ringold 
possessed as fully the confidonce of Mr. Monroe as any man in Washing- 
ton during his administration, I was desirous of drawing him out fully 
upon tliis, at one time, very exciting subject, and therefore continued tbe 

" ' Well, tlien,' I asked, * what will you do witli Mr. Adams? Do you 
not recollect that he wrote a long and very able letter to our minister, jus- 
tifying the course of tlie General in that campaign, and vindicating the 
government in its approval of all his acts ?' 

" * Yes,' he said, ^ I remember it very well It is true, he did write a 



▼ety able letter to our minister in Madrid ; but^* said he, ' the (General is 
under no obligations to him for it, for Mr. Monroe made him do it' 

" ' Well, reallj Mr. Ringold, you surprise mo more than ever. With 
most of the Gheneral's Tennessee friends, Mr. Adams would have been their 
choice for the presidency, had the Gkneral not been a candidate.' 

" * Well, sir,' said he, ^ they were under no obligations to Mr. Adams 
for writing that letter.' 

" And he repeated that Mr. Monroe was the ordy member of his Cabi- 
net that was in favor of sustaining the General in every thing he did. 
AHer this I spoke to Mr. Eaton, and asked him if he had heard the con- 
irenation between Mr. Ringold and myself? He said he had not ; that he 
hftd been conversing with the gentleman on the opposite side of the table. 
He inquired what we had been talking about I told him that Mr. Ringold 
had assured me there was not a single member of Mr. Monroe's Cabinet 
"who approved of (General Jackson's course in Florida, when prosecuting 
hill Seminole campaign, but Mr. Monroe himself. Mr. Eaton said he must 
be mistaken, as both Mr. Adams and Mr. Calhoun were considered very 
decided friends of the General in rebtion to his proceedings on that occa- 
mo. Mr. Ringold repeated they were not, acfd that Mr. Monroe stood 
alone upon that subject in his Cabinet Here the conversation ended. 

^ Ailer dinner was over the company retired to the parlor, but did not 
remain long before they all left, with the exception of Mr. Eaton. The 
General rang for a servant, and ordered his pipe to be brought to him, as 
was bis usual habit, after the company had withdrawn. 

*^His pipe was brought, and he seemed to be in deep meditation 
while smoking, and, as I supposed, was paying no attention to the con- 
versation between Mr. Eaton and mysel£ He heard me, however, in- 
quire of Mr. Eaton if the remarks of Mr. Ringold about the Seminole war 
and Mr. Monroe's cabinet did not surprise him ; and, starting up from his 
apparent reverie, demanded to know what wo were talking about Mr. 
Eaton repeated to him what Mr. Ringold had said at the dinner-table, in 
relation to the Seminole campaign, and the opposition of Mr. Monroe's 
entire cabinet to the General's course. He seemed, however, to be in- 
credulous, and remarked that Mr. Ringold must be mistaken. 
'* I replied, ' I am not sure of that' 
" * Why are you not ?' inquired the General. 

" ' Because I have seen a letter, writt<;n eighteen months ago, in which 
Mr. Crawford is represented as saying tliat you charged him with having 
taken strong ground against you in Mr. Monroe's cabinet, but in that you 
bad done him injustice, for it was not he, but Mr. Calhoun, who was in 
favor of your being arrested, or punished in some other way.' 
" ' You saw such a letter as Viat V he inquired. 
*^ Yes, I told him I had, and read it too. 

324 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K80N. [1830. 

" * Where is that letter ?' 

" ' In New York/ I replied. 

" * In whose bands, and by whom written ?* 

" * It is in the hands of Col. Hamilton, and written by Gk>veraor Foi^ 
syth, of Georgia/ I answered. 

** ' Then,' said he, * I want to sec it, and you must go to New York to- 

" * Very well ; if you desire it, I have not the least objection.' 

"In the mommg, the General still insisting on my going to New 
York, I lefl in the early stage, and reached that city in the eTening of 
the second day. 

" Allcr supper, I called upon Col. Hamilton, and informed him of the 
object of my visit to him. He said, as regarded himself, he would have 
no objection to send Goveraor Forsyth's letter to the General, but he 
thought it would be more respectful to the Governor to see him first and 
ask his consent He remarked that Congress would meet in a few day% 
and as the Governor had just been elected to the United States Senate, he 
would soon be in Washington, and ^I will meet him there and speak to 
him on tlie subject' 

" * If that arrangement will be satisfactory to the General,* he said, * I 
would prefer it ; but if he should not be willing to wait until then, write 
me, and I will come to Washington, and bring the letter with me.' 

" I told him, as the proposition was a reasonable one, I thought the 
General would be perfectly willing to wait until the GK>vemor got to 
Washington. On my return, I saw the General, and related to him the 
arrangements the Colonel and myself had made, and he expressed himself 
entirely satisfied with it The meeting of Congress, which took place a 
few days after, brought Governor Forsyth and CoL Hamilton together, as 
was expected; and, on talking over the matter, the Governor said be 
would prefer that Mr. Crawford should bo written to upon tlie subject 
that he might speak for himself over his own signature, which, no doubt, 
he would do without the least hesitation. He preferred that course, he 
added, because his remarks to him, as stated in his letter to CoL Hamil- 
ton, possibly might not be altogether correct With Uiis understanding 
they came to my olTice, and informed me of the course it was thought 
most advisable to take. 

" I agreed with them entirely, and told Col. Hamilton I had no doubt 
the General himself would prefer tliat Mr. Crawford sliould be written to, 
and his statement obtained over his own signature. Ho then proposed 
tliat we should go and see the President, and inform him of the proposed 
arrangement We started immediately for the President's house, but tlie 
Grovernor, according to my recollection, did not accompany us, alleging 
that it was necessary for him to return to the Capitol. 



" CoL Hamilton, however, informed the Gkneral what it was proposed 
to do, and if it met his approbation, Gk>vemor Forsjth would immediately 
write to Mr. Crawford upon the subject The General said all he wanted 
was Mr. Crawford's statement, and if it was proposed to have it in his 
own hand-writing, so much the better. Gk>vemor Forsyth accordingly 
wrote to Mr. Crawford, and in due time a letter was received from him 
confirming what had been stated in the letter to Col Hamilton, with a few 
explanations and modifications. The General was then furnished with a 
copy of it, which he inclosed in a letter to Mr. Calhoun, dated May 13, 
1830, which was the commencement of the celebrated correspondence 
between those distinguished men that led to an open rupture and final 

" Mr. Calhoun, in his correspondence with the General, says, ' I should 
be blind not to see that this whole affair is a political maneuver, in which 
the design is that you should be the instrument and myself the victim, but 
ia which the real actors are carefully concealed by an artful movement' 
Again he says, ^ Your character is of too high and generous a cast to re- 
port to Buch means, eitlier for your own advantage or that of others. This 
the eontrivera of the plot well knew,* etc. Who the contrivers, plotters, 
«nd actors in these political designs against him were, can only be con- 
jectured, as he does not name them. If he intended to include me as one 
of them, I know he labored imder a great mistake ; and I think he is 
equally mistaken with regard to others who, probably, are alluded to. 
Indeed, I think he was mistaken in supposing that there was any plot at 
•0, of any kind, got up for the purpose of making apolitical victim of him. 
The Crawford developments which led to the correspondence between the 
General and himself originated, undoubtedly, in the conversation between 
CoL Hamilton and myself^ on board the steamboat, on our way to New 
Orleans, in relation to a reconciliation between the General and Mr. Craw- 
ford. In that conversation not one word was said about Mr. Calhoun or 
Mr. Van Buren, who, no doubt, was one of the persons to whom Mr. 
Calhoun aUudes in the extracts I have quoted above. In proposing a re- 
conciliation, Col. Hamilton seemed to be actuated alone by a desire to 
place the vote of Qtjorgia for the Qtjneral beyond the possibility of a doubt 
If he had any other motive or desire, he did not disclose it to me. How- 
ever, knowing the warmtli of the Colonel's friendship for Mr. Crawford, 
I thought it possible he might have another object in view, but of a very 
different character from wliat Mr. Calhoun supposed. Mr. Crawford was 
Mid to be a man of very slender means, and I thought it possible Colonel 
Hamilton desired that he and the General sliould be on good terms, with 
the hope, in case the General should be elected, of having him provided 
for under the federal government with a situation that would be more 
acceptable than the small ofi&ce he at that time held under the State of 


Georgia. But this is mere conjecture on my part, for Colonel Hamilton 
did not make the slightest intimation of the kind in his conversation 
with me. 

** With regard to Governor Forsyth's letter to Colonel Hamilton, I have 
no recollection of having ever spoken of it to any one, and probably should 
not have done so, if it had not been for the remarks of Mr. Ringold at the 
President's dinner-table. The whole affair was, as I verily believe, the 
result of accident. 

'^ It has been said, I know, that Mr. Van Buren was instrumental, 
indeed the principal agent, in getting up this quarrel ; but^ so far as 
my knowledge extends, I am bound, in justice to him, to say, that I 
think there is not the slightest grounds for such an imputation. When 
the General received Mr. Calhoi^n's long letter of the 29th May, 1830, in 
answer to his of the 13th of that month, inclosing a copy of Mr. Craw- 
ford's, it was on a Sunday morning, and just as he was about to step into 
his carriage to go to church. On ascertaining it was from Mr. Calhoun, 
he came up to my room and requested me to look over it in his absence, 
and note such portions of it as would require his particular attention. On 
his return he inquired if I had read it 

" * I have,* I repUed. 

" ^ Have you made any notes ?* 

^' ^ I have made no notes, G^enera1, for the reason that I think it is ne- 
cessary you should read the whole letter before you make any reply to 

" I then handed it to lum, and he retired to his own room to read it ; 
but he had time to read a small portion of it only before dinner was an- 
nounced. When he came down he appeared to be excited, but said no- 
thing, and as soon as dinner was over he returned to his own room and 
finished reading it After having got through with the letter he sent for me, 
and, I must say, I never saw him more excited under any circumstances 
in my life than he was on this occasion. He said he had never been so 
much deceived in any man as he had been in Mr. Calhoun — a man for 
whom he had the warmest friendship, and in whom he had reposed the 
most unbounded confidence. 

" ' In this letter (holding Mr. Calhoun's letter in his hand) he has ac- 
knowledged every thing with which he is charged by Mr. Crawford, and 
which is in direct contradiction of all his previous assurances made to me 
in relation to the Seminole campaign.' 

" Pausing for a moment, and seeming to suppress his feelings, he handed 
me the letter, and requested me to take it to Mr. Yan Buren and ask him 
to read it, and let him know what he (Mr. Van Buren) thought of it I 
stepped over with it to Mr. Yan Buren's, and directed the servant at the 
door to say to him I wished to see him in his office for a few moments. 


When he came down I remarked that the Gkneral had received a letter 
thai morping from Mr. Calhoun, in reply to his of the. 13th, and had di- 
rooted me to hand it to him, with the request that ' you will read it and 
let him know what you think of it' He took the letter out of my hand, 
opened it, and commenced reading ; but when he got to the bottom of the 
fixBt page, he stopped and very deliberately folded it up again, and said : 
'' ' Major, I prefer not to read Mr. Calhoun's letter, for I see it is to end 
in open rupture between him and the General, and I have no doubt but 
attempt will be made to hold me responsible for it Under these dr- 
imstances it may become necessary for me to make a public statement, 
as I have have had nothing whatever to do with it^ in fact know no- 
rthing about it^ I want to have it in my power to say so with a clear con- 

" He then handed the letter back to me, and begged that I would ex- 
'plain to the General his reason for not reading it When I returned to 
the President, he inquired if I had seen Mr. Yan Buren. I told him I 

" ' What does he think of Mr. Calhoun's letter ?' 

'^ ' Mr. Yan Buren thinks it is best for him that he should not read it,' 
'^Xkd I gave him his reasons for declining to do so. He smiled, and re- 

" * I reckon Yan is right I dare say they will attempt to throw the 
whole blame upon him.' 

" He requested me to band him the letter, and said * its receipt must 
be acknowledged this evening, as Mr. Calhoun will leave in the Richmond 
boat to-nigbt, or very early in the morning, and I want him to receive my 
reply before he gets off.' He then stepped into his office, acknowledged, 
in a short note, his letter of the day before, asked me to copy it^ which 
beiiig done, he dispatched his messenger with it immediately. 

** It has been frequently stated that this quarrel had its origin in the 
Eaton affair. This is a mistake. That the latter was the occasion of much 
excitement, as well as great bitterness of feeling, there is no doubt, but of 
Utdf it would not have caused a separation between tlie General and Mr. 
CalhouD. It is also true that nearly all those who exerted themselves, yirs^ 
to prevent Mr. Eaton^s appointment as a member of the Cabinet, and af- 
terward, having failed in that, to drive him out of it, were the friends of 
Mr. Calhoun. The General, however, did not seem disposed to hold him 
accountable for the acts of his friends, though he did think he could have 
controlled them if he had been so disposed ; yet, according to Mr. Calhoun's 
own k>gic, the General would have been justified in doing so. In his long 
letter to him (May 29, 1830), speaking of the course of Mr. Crawford's 
friends in both houses of Congress, upon the subject of the Seminole cam- 
paign, he says, * IFAy, ihen^ did he (Mr. Crawford) not interpote with hi$ 


friends on the Committee to do you justieeT If it were the dutj of Mr. 
Crawford, the sworn enemy, at that time, of the General, to interfere with 
his friends to do him justicei how much more so was it the duty of Mr. 
Calhoun, liis avowed friend, to interfere witli his friends, who were trjiDg 
to break up his Cabinet at tlie very commencement of his administration 1 

" You must have a pretty correct idea of the extent of tliose efforts, 
as I showed you, when here, a manuscript book containing the correspond- 
ence between the General and the Rev. Dr. Ely, and others, having reference 
to tlie same subject. In order to put a stop to such impertinent interference 
with liis public duties, he wrote down on a blank piece of paper, several 
days before his inauguration, the names of thosif he intended to bring into 
his Cabinet, and handed it to n)c, with the request that I would take it 
down to the Telegraph office, the Jackson organ, and hand it to General 
Green, the editor and proprietor, and say to him, ' I want it published in 
the Telegraph of to-morrow morning^ General Green, in looking over 
the list, was evidently disconcerted. He remarked to me that he regretted 
to see Mr. Eaton's name on it. 

" ' Why so,' I asked. 

" ' Because,' he said, ' if Mr. Eaton is taken into the Cabinet^ I tliink it 
will cause both him and the Gt^neral a great deal of trouble, which I should 
exceedin<,My regret.' 

** As Gtjneral Green was a devoted friend of Mr. Calhoun, and perfectly 
conversant witli the feelings and views of his friends generally, I tliought 
the remark presaged no good to the incoming administration. I will do 
Gkneral Green, however, the justice to say, that I do not believe he had 
the least hostility to Mr. Eaton. On the contrary, I believe he had kind 
and friendly ft^elings for hiui at that time at least. I simply remarked, in 
reply to his objection to Mr. Eaton's being brought into the Cabinet, Uiat 
the General had made up his mind on that subject, and I did not tliink it 
could be now changed. The names of the gentlemen who were to com- 
pose the new Cabinet were published in the Tdegraph the next morning. 

**But did this put an end to annoyance to the President upon that sub- 
ject ? Not at all 1 On tlie following evening he received a call from Colo- 
nel Towhon, a gallant and distinguished military officer, and at that time 
the Paymaster-General of the United States army. The parlor, as usual, 
was crowded, and the Colonel finding there was no chance of speaking to 
the General privately, asked if there was any room in which he could have 
a private inteiTiow witli him for a few minutes ? 

" * Certainly,' the General said, and invited him to his bed chamber. 

" He opened the door and begged the Colonel to walk in, but when 
he got to the door, and saw me seated at a table writing, he druw back. 

" ' Come in,' tlie General repeated, ' there is no one here but Major 
Lewis, and between him and me there are no secrets.' 






" The Colonel then came in, and he and the General seated themselves 
near the fire-place. I had no wish to listen to their conversation, but as 
the room was small, and they spoke in their usual tone of voice, I could 
not help hearing every word they said ; and as the Qeneral did not pro- 
pose I should leave the room I continued to write on, as I knew he was 
ftDxioiis that the writing upon which I was engaged should be fmished in 
time for that night's mail. Afler being seated, the Colonel remarked tliat 
he saw published in the Telegraph of that morning ^ a list of the names of 
the persons that you propose, General, it is said, to bring into your Cabi- 

" * Yes, sir,* he replied, * those gentlemen will compose my Cabinet' 

'* ' There is no objection, I believe, personally, to any of them,' said the 
Colonel, ' but there is one of them your friends think it would be advisable 
to substitute with the name of some other person.' 

" * Which of the names do you refer to. Colonel T he inquired. 

" * I mean that of Mr. Eaton,' he said. 

" ' Mr. Eaton is an old personal friend of mine,' the General remarked. 
' He is a man of talents and experience, and one in whom his State, as 
well as myself, have every confidence. I con not see, therefore,' he added, 
' why there should be any objection to him.' 

'''There is none, I believe, personally to him^ the Colonel said, 'but 
there are great objections made to his wife.' 

" * Anil pray. Colonel, what will his wife have to do witli the duties of 
the War Department?' asked the General 

" * Not much, perhaps,' said the Colonel, *but she is a person with whom 
the ladies of this city do not associate. She is not, and, probably, never 
will be received into society here, and if Mr. Eaton shall be made a mem- 
ber of the Cabinet, it may become a source of annoyance to both you and 

** * That may possibly be so,' he said, ' but Colonel, do you suppose that 
I have been sent here by the people to consult the ladies of Washington 
as to the proper persons to compose my Cabinet ? In the si'lection of its 
members I shall consult my own judgment, looking to the great and para- 
mount interests of the whole country, and not to the accommodation of 
the society and drawing-rooms of tliis or any other city. Mr. Eaton will 
certainly be one of my constitutional advisers, unless he declines to become 
a member of my Cabinet' 

" TIm; Colonel, discovering it would be useless to say any thing more 
upon the subject, rase, made his bow, and left But he did not ground 
his arms at this rebuff of the General. As he could not prevent Mr. 
Eaton from getting m, he seemed resolved, at all hazards, to drive him out 
of the Cabinet^ and he therefore continued his op]>osition to him until it 
assumed the cliaracter of disrespect both to the Secretary of War and the 


President Taking this view of his conduct, the General had made up his 
mind to have his name struck from the Army Register, and would un- 
doubtedly have done so, if Mr. Eaton had not interposed to prevent it. 

" Note. — In relating the conversation which took place in the General's 
bed chamber, between him and Colonel Towson, I do not wish to be un- 
derstood as intending any disrespect, either to the gallant colonel or the 
society of Washington, among whom I had many warm and esteemed 
friends when I lived in that city, as well as at tliis time, who would be 
ornaments to any society. In the foregoing narrative, I have been desir- 
ous of representing every occurrence correctly, and, I believe, in most in- 
stances, I have used the very words spoken, and particularly as relates to 
General Jackson. " Wm. B. Lewis. 

**NASHViLLit, Octob«r 28), 1859.** 

To complete our knowledge of this affair, it is necessary 
to glance for a moment at the correspondence between the 
President and Vice-President. 

As soon as General Jackson had obtained the letter from 
Mr. Crawford to Governor Forsyth, which declares that it 
was Calhoun, not Crawford, who had proposed the arrest or 
punishment of General Jackson in 1818, General Jackson 
sent that letter to Mr. Calhoun with a brief epistle of his 


" May 18, 183a 

"Sir: The frankness, which, I trust, has always characterized me 
through life, toward those with whom I have been in the habits of friend- 
ship, induces me to lay before you the inclosed copy of a letter from Wil- 
liam H. Crawford, Esq., which was placed in my hands on yesterday. 
The submission, you will perceive, is authorized by the writer. The state- 
ments and facts it presents being so different from what I had heretofore 
understood to be correct, requires that it should be brought to your con- 
sideration. They are different from your letter to Governor Bibb, of Ala- 
bama, of the 13th May, 1818, where you state, * General Jackson is vested 
with full power to conduct the war in the manner he may judge best,' and 
different, too, from your letters to me at that time, which breathe through- 
out a spirit of approbation and friendship, and particularly the one in which 
you say, ' I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 
20th ultimo, and to acquaint you with the entire approbation of the Presi- 
dent of all the measures you have adopted to terminate the rupture with 


the Indians.' My object in making this communication is to announce to 
joa the great surprise which is felt^ and to learn of jou whether it be pos- 
sible that the information given is correct ; whether it can be, under all 
the circumstances of which jou and I are both informed, that any attempt 
seriouslj to affect me was moved and sustained by you in the cabinet coun- 
caly 'vrhen, as is known to you, I was but executing the wishes of the gov- 
eminent^ and dothcd with the authority to ^conduct the war in the man- 
ner I might judge best.' 

" You can, if you please, take a copy: the one inclosed you will please 
return to me. I am, sir, very respectfully, your humble servant, 

'^Andrew Jackson." 

Mr. Calhoun was betrayed by his extreme desire to stand 
^well with the President, and to defeat the supposed machin- 
ations of his rival, into the weakness of replying to this let- 
ter at prodigious length. Instead of taking the proper and 
dignified ground of declining to reveal the proceedings of a 
cabinet council, he avowed that, in the belief that General 
Jackson had transcended his orders in 1818, he did express 
that opinion in the cabinet council, and proposed the investi- 
gation of General Jackson's conduct by a court of inquiry. 
He justified his course, and inveighed against Mr. Crawford 
for betraying the secret. He reminded General Jackson that 
the approbatory sentence quoted by him in his letter was 
written before the news of the seizure of the Spanish ports 
and of the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister had 
Teached Washington. He adduced many proofs of Craw- 
fiyrd's hostility to General Jackson and to himself, and de- 
nounced this whole proceeding as a plot to effect his own po- 
litical extinction and the exaltation of his enemies. He 
declared that his conduct toward General Jackson, from the 
beginning of their acquaintance, had been that of a true 
friend and faithful public servant. General Jackson's reply 
was the following : 


» May SOtb, 1830. 

"Sib: Yonr communication of the 29th instant was handed me this 
norning just as I was going to church, and of course was not read until I 


" I regret to find that you have entirely mistaken my note of the 13 th 
instant There is no part of it which calls in question either your conduct 
or your motives in the case alluded to. Motives are to be inferred from 
actions, and judged by our Gk>d. It had been intimated to me many years 
ago, that it was you, and not Mr. Crawford, who had been secretly endeav- 
oring to destroy my reputation. These insinuations I indignantly repelled, 
upon the ground that you, in all your letters to me, professed to be my per- 
sonal friend, and approved entirely my conduct in relation to the Seminole 
campaign. I had too exalted an opinion of your honor and frankness, to 
believe for one moment that you could be capable of such deception. 
Under the influence of these friendly feelings (which I always entertained 
for you), when I was presented with a copy of Mr. Crawford's letter, with 
that frankness which ever has, and I hope ever will, characterize my con- 
duct^ I considered it due to you, and the friendly relations which had 
always existed between us, to lay it forthwith before you, and ask if the 
statements contained in that letter could be true. I repeat, I had a right 
to believe that you were my sincere friend, and, until now, never expected 
to have occasion to say of you, in tlie language of Caesar, Bi tu Brute f 
The evidence which has brought me to this conclusion is abundantly con- 
tained in your letter now before me. In your and Mr. Crawford's dispute 
I have no interest whatever ; but it may become necessary for me here- 
after, when I shall have more leisure, and the documents at hand, to place 
the subject in its proper light, to notice the historical facts and references 
in your communication, which will give a very different view of this sub- 

" Itis due to myself, however, to state that the knowledge of the ex- 
ecutive documents and orders in my possession will show conclusively 
that I had authority for all I did, and that your explanation of my powers, 
as declared to (Governor Bibb, shows your own understanding of theuL 
Your letter to me of the 29th, handed to-day, and now before me, is the 
first intimation to me that you ever entertained any opinion or view of 
them. Your conduct, words, actions, and letters, I have ever thought, 
show this. Understanding you now, no further communication with you 
on this subject is necessary. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your 
obedient servant, Andrew Jackson." 

Mr. Calhoun persisted in continuing the correspondence. 
He added, however, nothing of importance to what he had 
stated in his first communication, and General Jackson again 
declared that he desired to hear no more upon the subject. 
He gave Mr. Calhoun plainly to understand that friendly re- 
lations between them were for ever out of the question. 

1830.] THE ^^globe" established. 333 

In reviewing this affair, at once so trivial and so impor- 
tant, I find no evidence whatever that Mr. Calhoun was 
guilty of duplicity toward General Jackson. Not only was 
he not bound to communicate to General Jackson the trans- 
actions of the Cabinet council, but he was bound not to re- 
veal them. Nor does it appear that he ever professed, pul)- 
licly or privately, to General Jackson or to any one else, that 
he approved all of the General's proceedings in Florida. Nor 
'was it any just cause of reproach that he did not approve 
those proc^ings. He admitted and l)elieved that General 
Jackson's motives had been patriotic, and if he disapproved 
some of his acts, the General had no right to make that dis- 
approval a ground of offense. Mr. Calhoun's only fault in 
this business was in his deigning to make any reply to the 
Gheneral's first letter, except civilly to decline giving the in- 
formation sought. He should have taken high ground at first, 
and kept it. He should have disdained to fight Mr. Crawford 
with his own weapons, and not followed his bad example of 
revealing Cabinet secrets. If he had done so. General Jack- 
son might have hated him, but could never have despised 
him. A manly defiance General Jackson liked next to com- 
plete submission. 

The truth is, that before this affair began, the President 
was, in his heart, totally estranged from Mr. Calhoun, and 
wonld have been glad of any pretext for breaking with him. 


THE **GL0BE" established. 

The feud between the President and the Vice-President, 
which was not known to the public for nearly a year after 
their correspondence closed, began to produce serious effects 
almost immediately. Among those who most lamented the 
estrangement, and had most reason to lament it, was General 


Duff Green, editor of the United States Telegraphy and 
printer to Congress. " We endeavored," he said afterward, 
in his paper, ^' to postpone the crisis by direct appeals to the 
President and to Mr. Calhoun, We refused to read the cor- 
respondence between them, because we had hoped, although 
almost against hope, even up to the last moment, that the 
eyes of the President would be opened, and that a reconcilia- 
tion would take place. When the question came in this shape 
there was less difficulty. It was not a desertion of our friends 
or of our principles. We were compelled to choose, and we 
took the weaker side ; not because we preferred Mr. Calhoun, 
but because his was the side of truth and honor." 

There is reason to believe that the inner circle of Jack- 
sonians were, in some degree, dissatisfied with the organ 
of the administration before the quarrel between General 
Jackson and Mr. Calhoun occurred. The destruction of the 
Bank of the United States being one of their fixed and most 
cherished purposes, they must have desired an organ that 
could be relied upon to aid them in the long contest which 
they saw impending. Mr. Kendall, in fact, in one of his let- 
ters to Duff Green, in 1830, held this language : " Had I 
been rejected by the Senate, I should at once have started a 
newspaper in Washington. It appeared to be the readiest 
way by which I could provide the means of comfort for a des- 
titute family, and vindicate the principles of equal rights, 
violated in the proscription of printers as a class. Besides, I 
had some ambition to promote, at this point, the great cause 
of reform." 

Mr. Kendall, however, was not rejected by the Senate, 
and the Telegraph remained the sole organ of the party at 
the seat of government. 

Soon after the difference between the first officers of the 
government was known by their friends to be irreconcilable, 
the Telegraph began, gradually and cautiously, to change its 
tone. For a considerable time General Jackson would not 
perceive the change, for be was attached to the paper and to 
its editor, and had many agreeable recollections connected 

1830.] THE "globe" established. 335 

with both. The Telegraph had supported him, both before 
and after his election, with that daring unscrupulousness 
vrhich was congenial with the feelings of this man of war. 
Mr. Kendall, however, and Major Lewis saw the coming de- 
fection of General Green very plainly, and advised the Presi- 
dent to provide in time for the establishment of another 

" No," said the General, " you are mistaken. Give Duff 
time. He will come out right after a little reflection." 

Major Lewis felt so confident of the correctness of his sur- 
mises that he wrote confidentially, and without consulting 
the President, to Mr. Gooch, of the Richmond Inquirer^ 
asking him if he would come to Washington and establish an 
organ, in case the President should, at any future time, de- 
sire it. Mr. Gooch declined. Mr. Kendall had his eye upon 
another gentleman, his old friend and voluntary contributor, 
Francis P. Blair, of Kentucky. 

Col. Benton, in his " Thirty Years' View," gives a strik- 
ing, but not quite correct account of the manner in which the 
President procured the services of Mr. Blair. " In the sum- 
mer of 1830," says Col. Benton, " a gentleman in one of the 
public offices showed the President a paper, the Frankfort 
(Kentucky) Argua^ containing a powerful and spirited review 
of a certain nullification speech in Congress. He inquired 
for the author, ascertained him to be Mr. Francis P. Blair — 
not the editor, but an occasional contributor to the Argus — 
and had him written to on the subject of taking charge of a 
paper in Washington. The application took Mr. Blair by 
surprise. He was not thinking of changing his residence and 
pursuits. He was well occupied where he was— clerk of the 
lucrative office of the State Circuit Court at the capital of 
the State, salaried president of the Commonwealth Bank 
(by the election of the legislature), and proprietor of a farm 
and slaves in that rich State." 

It is true that General Jackson was struck with the 
article referred to by Col. Benton ; but it was only after 
much subsequent persuasion and repeated proofs of Duff 


Green's defection that the President gave a reluctant consent 
that Mr. Blair should be suminoned to the rescue. Nor was 
Mr. Blair in the pleasant pecuniary circumstances detailed 
by Col. Benton. He was a man of broken fortune, forty 
thousand dollars in debt, living upon the slender emolu- 
ments of his two offices. It is surprising that the author of 
the "Thirty Years' View" should have been unacquainted 
with facts which Mr. Blair often amuses his friends by 

If the country had been searched for the express purpose 
of selecting the man best fitted for the editorship of the pro- 
posed organ, no one could have been found whose history, 
opinions, antipathies, and cast of character so adapted him for 
the post as Francis P. Blair, of Kentucky. Descended from the 
Scotch family of whom the famous Hugh Blair was a mem- 
ber, bom in Virginia, reared and educated in Kentucky, he 
had been from his youth up an ardent but disinterested poli- 
tician. For ten years he had taken part in the discussion of 
the question whether the branches of the bank of the United 
States were, or were not, subject to State taxation, a question 
that was nowhere argued with such heat and pertinacity as 
in Kentucky. Mr. Blair was f^inst the bank. The ten 
years' agitation had made him acquainted with all the vul- 
nerable points of the institution, and familiar with the weap- 
ons of attack. He was among the most decided opponents 
of the bank in the Union. Another of his special antipathies 
was nullification ; and yet another was John Quincy Adams 
and the high federalism of his message. Master of an easy 
and vigorous style, which could become slashing and fierce 
upon occasion, his whole training as a writer and a politician 
had been belligerent. He was only a warrior upon paper, 
however. In person slender and unimposing, in demeanor 
retiring and quiet, in character amiable, affectionate, and 
grateful, the man and the editor were two beings as dissimilar 
as can be imagined. Jackson men who called at the office 
of the Globe, expecting to find the thunderer of their party 
a man of Kentuckian proportions, with pistols peeping from 

1830.] THE ^' globe" established. 337 

his breast-pocket, and a bowie-knife stiffening his back, were 
amazed upon being told that the little man sitting in a cor- 
ner, writing on his knee, was the great editor they had come 
to get a sight of. 

The summons to Washington, though unexpected, Mr. 
Blair obeyed without hesitation and without delay. He 
reached the capital in sorry plight ; almost penniless, with a 
single presentable coat, and that a frock-coat ; with n great 
gash in the side of his head from an overset near Washing- 
ton. When he entered the President's office. Major Lewis 
could hardly conceal his disappointment. For weeks, Mr. 
Blair had been the coming man to all the habitues of that 
apartment. Whenever General Duff had ventured to come 
out a little bolder than usual against the administration or 
ita friends, they had said to one another, in effect, ^^ Never 
mind. Wait till Blair comes. He will talk to him." And 
ihia was he — this little man attired in frock-coat and court- 
plaster I Said Major Lewis, with a sly glance at the black 
patch, ^^ Mr. Blair, we want stout hearts and sound heads 

The General took to him at once, and he to the General. 
At the very first interview, the President revealed to him the 
situation of affiurg without any reserve whatever. The diffi- 
calties he had had in his own household, the alleged machin- 
ations of the nullifiers, the supposed atrocities of the bank, 
the imaginary devices of that arch-devil, Henry Clay, the 
cabinet combination against poor Major Eaton — ^all were un- 
folded. " There 's my nephew, Donelson," said the General ; 
" he seems to be leaning toward the nullifiers. But he 's my 
nephew. I raised him. I love him. Let him do what he 
will, I love him. I can't help it. Treat him kindly, but if 
he wants to write for your paper, you must look out for 
him." The President invited Mr. Blair to dinner. When 
the hour came, the editor was horrified to find a great com- 
pany of ambassadors and other high personages assembled in 
the East Boom, all in costume superb. The tails of his un- 
comfortable frock coat hung heavily upon the soul of the 

VOL. IIL — 22 


strangeF, who shrunk into a comer abashed and miseraUe. 
The President, as soon as he entered the room, sought him 
out, placed him at the table in the seat of honor at his own 
right hand, and completed the conquest of his heart. In 
Francis P. Blair, General Jackson gained a lover as well as 
a champion. 

Like Jonah's gourd, the Globe appeared to spring into ex- 
istence in a night — without capital, without a press, without 
types, without subscribers, without advertisements. Amos 
Kendall made a contract for the printing. Major Lewis, Mr. 
Kendall, and all the confidants of the administration exerted 
themselves to obtain subscribers. The office-holders were 
given to understand that to subscribe for the Globe was the 
thing they were expected to do, and the Jackson presses 
throughout the country, announced that the Globe was, and 
the Telegraph was not, the confidential organ of the admin- 
istration. Subscribers came in by hundreds in a day, and the 
{jrlobe became a paying enterprise in a few weeks. Partly by 
subscription, and partly by papers paid for in advance, a press 
and materials were soon purchased. A known friend of the 
bank advanced two hundred dollars for this purpose. The 
next morning, Mr. Blair, having in the meantime learned the 
probable object of this donation, returned the money. 

To swell the profits of the Globe office, the President de- 
sired to obtain for it the printing of the departments, or, at 
least, a share of that profitable business. As some of the 
secretaries showed no alacrity to make the transfer desired, 
the fertile brain of Major Lewis devised a very simple but 
quite effectual expedient for compelling them to do so. He 
induced the President to issue an order to each member of 
the cabinet, requiring him to present to the President a 
quarterly account of the sums paid, and to whom paid, in 
his department for printing. Major Lewis drew up the order. 
Major Donelson, as usual, copied it. The President signed it 
Such an order, in the peculiar posture of affairs at the time, 
was equivalent to a command to give the Globe office a shaie 
of the department printing ; and the command was obeyed. 

880L] 00NQBS8B IN SESSION. 439 

n dne tame, came the election of Messrs. Blair and Bives as 
ri&ten to Congress, which added fortune to the &me and 
ower gLven them by the Globe. Mr. John C. Bives, the 
reU4mown partner of Mr. Blair, was a gentleman who added 
reapectable literary attainments an extraordinary efficiency 
A the management of business. 

The Telegraph waged an active warfsure against General 
'ackson for several years, supporting Henry Clay for the 
onendency in 1832, with hopes for Mr. Calhoun in 1836 or 
840. The campaign of 1832 gave it a temporary inflation, 
rhich the result of that campaign changed into partial ool- 
ftpse. The editor still lives in Washington, a prosperous 
jentlunan, delighting to tell over, to after-dinner circles, the 
toty of his short and turbulent career as Jacksonian oigan. 



The administration of General Jackson, however dis- 
racted by internal broils, whatever motives of a partisan or 
lersonal character influenced it, always came before the 
fublic with an imposing air of calm dignity and single-eyed 
latriotism. No one could ever suppose, from its public 
lapera, that, from the beginning to the end of its existence, 
t scarcely knew a month of internal peace and real coopera- 
ivB harmony. 

Congress met again on the 6th of December, and on the 
ay following Major Donelson was at the Capitol with the 
nessage, one of the most carefully elaborated documents ever 
nnesented to Congress. 

It opened with jubilation. Plenty and peace had crowned 
he year. ^^ With a population unparalleled in its increase, 
ind possessing a character which combines the hardihood of 


enterprise with the considemteness of wisdom," every where 
was seen a steady improvement. A glowing paragraph ex- 
pressed the congratulations of the nation upon the success of 
the late revolution in France, which had enabled Lafayette 
to place upon the throne the prince Louis Philippe, a man 
who, the President hoped, would deserve the proud appella- 
tion of Patriot Kino. The recent diplomatic triumph of 
Mr. McLane, which placed our trade with the West Indies 
on its present footing, after six previous negotiations had re- 
sulted in failure, was explained, and the negotiators on both 
sides duly complimented, Mr. McLane being mentioned by 
name. The Sultan had opened to us the Black Sea, and 
placed our commerce, in all respects, on the footing of the 
most favored nations. With Mexico, Russia, France, Spain, 
Portugal, negotiations were pending with every prospect of 
issues advantageous to the United States. Denmark had at 
length appropriated the sum of six hundred and fifty thous- 
and dollars, the whole amount claimed, to indemnify Ameri- 
can merchants for the spoliations of 1808 to 1811, and it 
now only remained for Congress to effect a just distribution 
of the money among the claimants. 

These administrative triumphs having been detailed, the 
authors of the message grappled with the serious business of 
the occasion, which was to defend the course of the President 
in his veto of the Maysville road, and in his withholding his 
assent from the light-house bill, and the bill authorizing a 
subscription to the Louisville and Portland Canal Com- 
pany, both of which had been passed at the close of the last 
session of Congress. That the expense of constructing light- 
houses properly devolved upon the general government, the 
President did not doubt ; but there were some features of the 
light-house bill in question of which he could not approve. 
To the number of light-house keepers, already very large, the 
bill proposed to add the extraordinary number of fifty-one. 
The expenditures of the government for the protection of 
commerce were immense, and, as he had been led to conclude, 
unreasonable, and he looked rather to their diminution than 

1830.] C0NUBB8S IN SESSION. 341 

their increase. Moreover, the present bill contained the en- 
tirely fatal objection of authorizing certain surveys which 
were clearly of a local character, and designed for the promo- 
tion of local interests. 

With regard to the bill proposing a subscription of the 
public money to the stock of a private company, he was 
utterly and for ever opposed to that mode of assisting public 
works. He thought it unconstitutional, impolitic, injurious, 
and demoralizing. With his consent it should never be 

The message proceeded to vindicate the Maysville veto, 
the use of the veto power generally, and the proposed appor- 
tionment of the surplus revenue among the States. Amid 
all the clamor and controversy to which his measures had 
given rise, the President said he had been consoled by the 
reflection that if he had really mistaken the interests and 
wishes of the people, an opportunity would soon be aflforded 
them of placing in the presidential chair one who would in- 
terpret their desires more correctly. Meanwhile, the money 
saved by the vetos would be rigidly applied to the extinguish- 
ment of the public debt. 

The President repeated his recommendations for the re- 
moval of " all intermediate agency" in the election of the 
chief magistrate, and for limiting his period of service to one 

He artfully defended the policy of removing the Indians, 
denying that the removal was either unjust or inhuman. 
" Doubtless," he remarked, " it will be painful to leave the 
graves of their fathers ; but what do they more than our an- 
cestors did, or than our children arc now doing? To better 
their condition in an unknown land, our forefathers left all 
that was dear in earthly objects. Our children, by thousands, 
yearly leave the land of their birth, to seek new homes in 
distant r^ions." 

The tariff was a topic, of course, and it was touched with 
an uncertain hand, of course. The people were implored 
not to regard the tariff as a sectional matter, and to ap- 


proach it in a spirit of conciliation. The revenue of the year 
had been $24,161,018 ; the expenditures, exclusive of the 
public debt, $13,742,311 ; the payment on account of the 
public debt had been $11,354,630 ; balance in the treasury, 

The mess^e concluded with a second and louder warning 
to the United States bank. " Nothing has occurred," said 
the President, " to lessen, in any degree, the dangers which 
many of our citizens apprehend from that institution, as at 
present organized. In the spirit of improvement and com- 
promise which distinguishes our country and its institutions, 
it becomes us to inquire, whether it be not possible to secure 
the advantages afforded by the present bank, through the 
agency of a bank of the United States, so modified in its 
principles and structure as to obviate constitutional and 
other objections. It is thought practicable to organize such 
a bank, with the necessary officers, as a branch of the Treas- 
ury Department, based on the public and individual deposits, 
without power to make loans or purchase property, which 
shall remit the funds of the government, and the expense of 
which may be paid, if thought advisable, by allowing its 
officers to sell bills of exchange to private individuals at a 
moderate premium. Not being a corporate body, having no 
stockholders, debtors, or property, and but few officers, it 
would not be obnoxious to the constitutional objections which 
are urged against the present bank ; and having no means to 
operate on the hopes, fears, or interests of large masses of the 
community, it would be shorn of the influence which makes 
that bank formidable.'' 

This message was one of the longest ever presented to 
Congress. The care and elaboration of the argumentative 
portions of it show how deeply its leading topics were agitat- 
ing the public mind, and how resolutely the administra- 
tion was marching toward the objects it had prescribed to 

One event only of this session of Congress need detain vb 
— Colonel Benton's first formal attack upon the Bank of the 



United States. "The current/' says the author of the 
" Thirty Tears' View," " was all setting one way. I deter- 
mined to raise a voice against it in the Senate, and made sev- 
eral eflforts before I succeeded — the thick array of the Bank 
friends throwing every obstacle in my way, and even friends 
holding me back for the regular course, which was to wait 
until the appb'cation for the renewed charter should be pre- 
sented ; and then to oppose it. I foresaw that, if this course 
was followed, the Bank would triumph without a contest — 
that she would wait until a majority was installed in both 
Houses of Congress— then present her appUcation— hear a few 
barren speeches in opposition ; — and then gallop the renewed 
charter through." 

The speech of Mr. Benton, on this occasion, was one of 
the ablest and most effective of his whole senatorial career of 
thirty years. It emptied the Senate chamber, but it roused 
the people. We shall have, in a future page, to give the sub- 
stance of his arguments against the Bank, and, therefore, pass 
over this truly Bentonian fulmination. 

" This speech," continues Colonel Benton, " was not an- 
swered. Confident in its strength, and insolent in its nature, 
the great moneyed power had adopted a system in which she 
persevered until hard knocks drove her out of it : it was to 
have an anti-Bank speech treated with the contempt of si- 
lence in the House, and caricatured and belittled in the news- 
papers ; and according to this system my speech was treated. 
The instant it was delivered, Mr. Webster called for the vote, 
and to be taken by yeas and nays, which was done ; and re- 
sulted differently from what was expected — a strong vote 
against the Bank — twenty to twenty-three ; enough to excite 
uneasiness, but not enough to pass the resolution and Inti- 
mate a debate on the subject. The debate stopped with the 
single speech ; but it was a speech to be read by the people — 
the masses — the inillions ; and was conceived and delivered 
for that purpose ; and was read by them ; and has been com- 
plimented since as having crippled the Bank, and given it the 
wound of which it afterward died ; but not within the year 


and a day which would make the slayer responsible for the 
homicide. The list of yeas and nays was also favorable to the 
effect of the speech. Though not a party vote, it was suffi- 
ciently so to show how it stood — the mass of the democracy 
against the Bank — the mass of the anti-democrats for it." 

This being the " short session/' Congress adjourned on 
the third of March, when the Twenty-first Congress ceased 
to exist. 



Toward the close of this brief and uneventful session of 
Congress, Mr. Calhoun published his " Book," as it was sneer- 
ingly called at the time ; a pamphlet of fifty pages octavo, 
containing his late coirespondence with the President, and 
a mass of letters, statements, and certificates illustrative 
thereof. In a prefatory atldress to the people of the United 
States, Mr. Calhoun explained his reasons for making a pub- 
lication so unusual and unexpected. 

" Previous to my arrival at Washington" (in December, 
1830), said he, " I had confined the knowledge of the exist- 
ence of the correspondence to a few confidential friends, who 
were politically attached both to General Jackson and my- 
self ; not that I had any thing to apprehend from its disclo- 
sure, but because I was unwilling to increase the existing ex- 
citement in the present highly critical state of our pubUo 
affairs. But when I arrived here, late in December, I found 
my caution had been of no avail, and that the correspondence 
was a subject of conversation in every circle, and soon became 
a topic of free comment in most of the public journals. The 
accounts of the affair, as is usually the case on such occa- 
sions, were, for the most part, grossly distorted, and were, in 
many instances, highly injurious to my character. Still I 


leemed it my duty to take no hasty step, being determined 
afford time for justice to be done me without appeal to 
'ou ; and, if it should be, to remain silent, as my only ob- 
ject was the vindication of my conduct and character. Be- 
ieving that further delay would be useless, I can sec no adc- 
[uate motive to postpone, any longer, the submission of all 
he facts of the case to your deliberate and final decision." 

The i)amphlet was discussed in a strictly partisjin i^pirit ; 
U the Jackson papers condemning it, all the op])osition pa- 
lers applauding it. A few weeks after its appearance, the 
few York Courier and Enquirer gave extracts from nearly 
wo hundred democratic papers, vindicating the President 
nd condemning the course of Mr. Calhoun. " Every repub- 
ican paper in the Middle and Northern States," said the 
7ottrtcr, " friendly to Andrew Jackson's reelection, has un- 
quivocally condemned the publication made by Mr. Calhoun 
f his attack on the President. In the South, out of South 
/arolina, it is nearly the same ; and even in South Carolina, 
strong party is forming against him, and in favor of Jack- 


" Mr. Calhoun's attack on the President !" " Condemns 
inequivocally Mr. Calhoim and the nullifiers !" Artful con- 
unction ! Were the politicians far astray when they said, 
hat "General Jackson's popularity could stimd any thing?" 

The President's retort was prompt, adroit, audacious, and 
verwhelming. By a series of skillful movements, he shelved 
he three members of his cabinet — Messrs. Ingham, Branch, 
nd Berrien — who were Mr. Calhoun's friends and j)olitical 
Hies. This was done about a month after the adjournment 
f Congress, and the moment was admirably chosen. It was 
)ng enough after the publication of Mr. Calhoun's pamphlet 
)r it to have been well ridiculed in the administration pa- 
ers, and to have ceased to be an exciting topic. It was in 
he lull preceding the excitement of the coniing presidential 
lection. It was nine months before there could be any 
rouble with the Senate respecting confirmations. Indeed, 
re may truly say of this disruption of the cabinet in 1831. 


that of all known political management it was the consum- 
mate stroke. Jacksonian boldness united with Van Buren 
tact could alone have achieved it. 

A dissolution of the cabinet was the expedient hit upon. 
Mr. Van Buren and Major Eaton were to resign and to bo 
provided for. Mr. Barry, the Postmaster-General, should re- 
tain his place awhile. The obnoxious Three were expected 
to take a hint and leave ; if not, the President was prepared 
to ask their resignations. Go they should. 

Every thing was considered, and, as far as possible, pro- 
vided for before the first step was taken. Mr. Edward 
Livingston, Senator from Louisiana, was notified of coming 
events, and offered the post of Secretary of State, which he 
agreed to accept. He had recently paid off, principal and in- 
terest, the sum due from him to the government, on account 
of the misconduct of his clerks in 1803. Thus, a possible 
objection to his appointment was removed. Mr. Louis Mc- 
Lane, Minister to England, was recalled ; which provided a 
place for Mr. Van Buren and a new Secretary of the Treasury 
for General Jackson. Judge Hugh L. White, Senator from 
Tennessee, was the gentleman designed to fill the place about 
to be vacated by Major Eaton. If Judge White accepted, 
of which there was then no doubt, there would be a vacant 
seat in the Senate for Major Eaton, to which, it was thought, 
he could be appointed. Mr. Levi Woodbury was ready to 
take the place of Secretary of the Navy. 

By the bold and artful measures contemplated a great 
many desirable objects were expected to be gained. A united 
cabinet, devoted to General Jackson and to the furtherance 
of his schemes, was one object. The removal of Mr. Van 
Buren from the scene of strife to a safe and commanding po- 
sition abroad was thought to be a proceeding well calculated 
to promote his interests. Moreover, the President had made 
known to many persons, at the beginning of his administra- 
tion, his resolve that no member of his cabinet should be his 
successor. A minor object was, to retrieve the unhappy 


Eaton from his painfully embarrassing situation, and restore 
him to the place he preferred, a seat in the Senate. 

The following is the correspondence between the President 
•od the members of the Cabinet relative to the resignations. 
The reader will observe the dates : • 


** WAUinGTOir Onr, April 7, 1881. 

" DiAS Sm : Four days ago I communicated to you my desire to relin- 
qiiiah the duties of the War Department, and I now take occasion to 
npeat the request which was then made. I am not disposed, by any sud- 
den withdrawal, to interrupt or retard the business of the office. A short 
tune will be sufficient I hope, to enable you to direct your attention 
towaid some person in whose capacity, industry, and friendly disposition 
yoa may have confidence, to assist in Uie complicated and laborious duties 
of your administration. Two or three weeks— perhaps less — may be suf- 
fioitnit for the purpose. 

" In coming to this conclusion, candor demands of me to say, that it 
•lises from no dissatisfaction entertained toward yoo — ^firom no misunder^ 
standing between us, on any subject ; nor from any diminution, on my 
part| of that fiiendship and confidence which has ever been reposed in 

** I entered your Oabinet^ as is weU known to you, contrary to my own 
wkiies ; and having nothing to desire, either as it regards myself or fiiends, 
liBve ever since cherished a determination to avail myself of the first favor- 
able moment^ after your administration should be in successful operation, 
to retire. It occurs to me that the time is now at hand when I may do 
so with propriety. Looking to the present state of things — to the course 
of your administration, which, being fairly developed, is before the people 
for approval or condemnation, I can not consider the step I am taking ob- 
jectionable, or that it is one the tendency of which can be to affect or 
injore a course of policy by you already advantageously commenced, and 
which I hope will be carried out to the benefit and advancement of the 


" Tendering my sincere wishes for your prosperity and happiness, and 
for your successfiil efforts in the cause of your country, I am, very truly, 
yoor fiiend, " J. H. Eaton. 

*Tto AxDBXW Jaoisoit, President of the United States.*' 


** WAamHOTOir Grrr, April 8, 1881. 
" Dear Sir : Tour letter of yesterday was received, and I have care- 
folly considered it When you conversed with me the other day on the 


subject of your withdrawing from the Cabinet, I expressed to you a sin- 
cere desire that you would well consider of it ; for however reluctant I 
am to be deprived of your services, I can not consent to retain you con- 
trary to your wishes and inclination to remain, particularly as I well know 
tliat in 1829, when I invited you to become a member of ray Cabinet, you 
objected and expressed a desire to be excused, and only gave up your ob- 
jections at my pressing solicitation. 

" An acquaintance with you of twenty years' standing, assured me 
that in your honesty, prudence, capacity, discretion, and judgment, I could 
safely rely and confide. I have not been disappointed. With the per- 
formance of your duties, since you have been with me, I have been fully 
satisfied, and, go where you will, be your destiny what it may, my best 
wislies will always attend you. 

*' I will avail myself of the earliest opportunity to obtain some quali- 
fied friend to succeed you ; and until then, I must solicit that the accept- 
ance of your resignation be deferred. I am, very sincerely and respectfully, 
your friend, " Andrew Jackson. 

•*MaJor J. U. Eaton, Secretary of War." 


*♦ WASUiifOToy, April 11, 188L 

" Dkar Sir : I feel it to be my duty to retire from the office to which 
your confidence and partiality called me. The delicacy of this step, under 
the circumstances in which it is taken, will, I trust, be deemed an ample 
apology for stating more at large than might otherwise have been neces- 
sary, the reasons by which I am influenced. 

" From the moment of taking my seat in your Cabinet, it has been my 
anxious wish and zealous endeavor to prevent a premature agitation of the 
question of your successor, and, at all events to discountenance and, if 
possible, repress the disposition, at an early day manifested, to connect my 
name with that disturbing topic. Of the sincerity and constancy of thia 
disposition, no one has had a better opportunity to judge than yourselC 
It has, however, been unavailing. Circumstances not of my creation, and 
altogether beyond my control, have given to this subject a turn which can 
not now be remedied, except by a self-disfranchisement which, even if 
dictated by my individual wishes, could hardly be reconcilable with pro- 
priety or self-respect 

"Concerning the injurious effects which the circumstance of a member 
of the Cabinet's occupying the relation toward the country to which I have 
adverted, is calculated to have upon the conduct of public affairs, there 
can not, I think, at this time, be room for two opinions. Diversities of ul- 
terior preference among the friends of an administration are unavoidable, 
and even if the respective advocates of those thus placed in rivalship be 


patriotic cnoujfh to resist Uie temptation of creating obstacles to the ad- 
Tunoemcnt of liim to whose elevation they are opposed, by embairassing 
the branch of public service committed to his charge, they are, never! he- 
lesB, by their position, exposed to the suspicion of entertaining and encour- 
aging such views — a suspicion which can seldom fail, in the end, to 
aggravate into present alienation and hostility the prospective diflbrences 
which first gave rise to it. Thus, under the least unfavorable conse- 
quences, individual injustice is suffered, and the administration embarrassed 
and weakened. 

" Whatever may have been the course of things under the peculiar cir- 
camstances of the earlier stage of the republic, my experience has fully 
satisfied mc that at this day, when the field of selection has become so ex- 
tended, the circumstance referred to, by augmenting the motives and 
sources of opposition to the measures of the Executive, must unavoidably 
prove the cause of injury to the public service, for a counterpoise to which 
we may in vain look to tlie peculiar qualifications of any individual ; and 
even if I should in this be mistaken, still I can not so far deceive myself 
as to believe for a moment that I am included in the exceptions. 

" Tliese obstructions to the successful prosecution of public affairs, when 
saperadded to that opposition which is inseparable from our free institu- 
tions, and which every administration must expect, present a mass to 
which the operations of the government should at no time be volunrarily 
exposed. Tlie more especially should this be avoided at so eventful a 
period in the affairs of the world, when our country may particularly need 
the utmost harmony in her councils. 

" Such being my impressions, the path of duty is plain, and I not only 
sobmit with cheerfulness to whatever personal sacrifices may be involved 
in the surrender of tlie station I occupy, but I make it my ambition to 
set an example which, should it in the progress of the government be 
deemed, notwithstanding the humility of its origin, worthy of respect and 
observance, can not, I tliink, fail to prove essoncially and permanently bene- 

" Allow me, sir, to present one more view of the subject. You have 
consented to stand before your constituents for reelection. Of their de- 
cision, resting as it does upon the unboiight suffrages of a free, numerous, 
and widely-extended people, it becomes no man to speak with certainty. 
Judging, however, from the past, and making a reasonable allowance for 
tlie fair exercise of the intelligence and public spirit of your fellow-citizens, 
I can not hesitate in adopting the belief that the confidence, as well in your 
capacity for civil duties as in your civic virtues, already so sjwntaneously 
and strikingly displayed, will be manifested with increased energy, now 
that all candid observers must admit their utmost expectations to have 
been more than realized. 


'' If this promise, so auspicious to the best interests of oar common 
country, be fulfilled, the concluding term of your administration will, in the 
absence of any prominent cause of discord among its supporters, afford a 
most favorable opportunity for the full accomplishment of those important 
public objects, in the prosecution of which I have witnessed on your part 
such steady vigilance and untiring devotion. To the unfavorable influence 
which my continuance in your Cabinet, under existing circumstances, may 
exercise upon this flattering^ prospect, I can not, sir, without a total disre- 
gard of the lights of experience, and without shutting my eyes to the ob- 
vious tendency of things for the future, be insensible. Having, moreover, 
from a deep conviction of its importance to the country, been among the 
most urgent of your advisers to yield yourself to the obvious wishes of the 
people, and knowing the sacrifice of personal feeling which was involved 
in your acquiescence, I can not reconcile it to myself to be in any degree 
the cause of embarrassment to you during the period which, as it certainly 
will be of deep interest to your country, is moreover destined to bring to 
its close, your patriotic, toilsome, and eventful public life. 

" From these considerations I feel it to be doubly my duty to resign 
a post the retention of which is so calculated to attract assaults upon your 
administration, to which there might otherwise be no inducement — assaolta 
of which, whatever be their aim, the most important as well as moat in- 
jurious effect is upon those public interests which deserve and should 
command the support of all good citizens. This duty I should have dis- 
charged at an earlier period, but for considerations, partly of a public, 
partly of a personal nature, connected with circumstances which were 
calculated to expose its performance then to misconstruction and misrepre- 

'^ Having explained the motives wliich govern me in thus severing, and 
with seeming abruptness, the official ties by which we have been aaso- 
ciated, there remains but one duty for me to perform. It is to make my 
profound and sincere acknowledgments for that steady support and cheer- 
ing confidence which, in the discharge of my duties, I have, under aU dr- 
cumsiancos, received at your hands : as well as for the personal Idndnees 
at all times extended to me. 

" Rest assured, sir, that the success of your administration, and the 
happiness of your private life, will ever constitute objects of the deepest 
solicitude with your sincere friend and obedient servant, 

" M. Van Burkv. 

"The President" 


'* WASHOroTox, April 12, IttL 
" Dear Sir : Your letter resigning tlie office of Secretary of State wis 
received last evening. I could indeed wish that no circumstance liad anseu 



to interropl the rdations which have, for two years, Bubsisted between ua, 
•ad that they might have ccxitinued through the period during which it may 
Iw my lot to remain charged with the duties which the partiality of my 
ooimtiymen has imposed upon me. But the reasons you present are so 
atvODg that| with a proper regard for them, I can not ask you, on my own 
•oooont, to remain in the Cabinet 

** I am aware of the difficulties you have had to contend with, and of 
tlia benefits which have resulted to the affidrs of your country, from your 
oontiniied seal in the arduous tasks to which you have been subjected. To 
aay that I deeply regret to lose you, is but feebly to e:q)re68 my feelings 
OQ the occasion. 

" When called by my country to the station which I occupy, it was not 
without a deep sense of its arduous responsibUities, and a strong distrust 
of inya^ that I obeyed the call; but cheered by the consciousness that no 
otfwr modve actuated me than a desire to guard her interests, and to pkco 
Imt upon the firm ground of those great principles which, by the wisest 
•ad purest of our patriots, have been deemed essential to her proq>erity, I 
Tiantiired upon the trust assigned me. i did this in the confident hope of 
Bn^ng the support of advisers able and true ; who, laying aside every thing 
but a desire to give new vigor to the vital principles of our Union, would 
look with a single eye to the best means of efibcting this paramount ob- 
ject In you, this hope has been realized to the utmost In the meet 
dUBcolt and trying moments of my administratioD, I have always found 
yon sincere, able, and efficient — anxious at all times to afford me every 

" I^ however, firom circumstances in your judgment sufficient to make 
it necessary, the official ties subsisting between us must be severed, I can 
only say that this necessity is deeply lamented by me. I part with you 
only because you yourself have requested me to do so, and have sustained 
that request by reasons strong enough to command my assent I can not, 
however, allow the separation to take place, without expressing the hope, 
that this retiremeut from public affairs is but temporary ; and that if in any 
other station the government should have occasion for your services, the value 
of which has been so sensibly felt by me, your consent will not be wanting. 

" Of the state of things to which you advert, I can not but be fully 
•ware. I look upon it with sorrow, and regret the more, because one of 
its first effects is to disturb tlie harmony of my Cabinet It is, however, 
bat an instance of one of the evils to which free governments must ever be 
liable. The only remedy for these evils, as they arise, lies in the intelli- 
gence and public spirit of our common constituents. They will correct 
them — and in this there is abundant consolation. I can not quit this sub- 
ject without adding that, with the best opportunities for observing and 
judging, I have seen in you no other desire than to move quietly on in the 


path of your dtities, and to promote the harmonious conduct of public af- 
fairs. If, on this point,, you have had to encounter detraction, it is but 
another proof of the utter insufficiency of innocence and worth to sbidd 
from such assaults. 

" Be assured that the interest you express in my happiness is most 
heartily reciprocated — that my most cordial feelings accompany you, and 
that I am, very sincerely, your friend, 

" AimBEw Jacksox. 

'* P. S. It is understood that you are to continue in your office until 

your successor is appointed. 

** Martin Van Burbn, Secretary of State.'* 


** WAsmxaTOif, April IS, 18SL 

'' Sir : In communicating to me, this morning, the information of the 
resignations of the Secretary of State and Secretary of War, together with 
tlie reasons which hud induced the former to take this step, you were 
pleased to observe that this proceeding was made known to me as one of 
those whom you had associated with you in the administration of the gov- 
ernment, and you suggested that I would, after a few days* reflection, have 
a further convcrsatiou with you on this subject But, in recurring to the 
brief remarks made at the time, as well as to the letter of resignation of 
the Secretary of State, which you were good enough to submit for my pe- 
rusal, I have not been able to ascertain what particular matter was intended 
to be proposf'd fur my reflection, as connect<;d with tliis event Under 
these circumstances, and being desirous of avoiding tlic possibiUty of mi^ 
apprehension as to your views, I would respectfully inquire whether the 
measure adopted by the Secretaries of State and of War, is deemed to in- 
volve considerations on which you expect a particular communication from 
me, and, if so, of wliat nature. 

" I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant^ 

"aD. IvOHAlf. 

•*To the President of the United States." 


** WABuiNOTOir, April 19, ISH. 
" Sir : I am gratified to find myself entirely relieved, by tlie distinct 
explanations at the interview to which you invited me to-day, from the un- 
certainty as to the object of your communication yesterday, which I bad 
referred to in my note of last evening ; and have to make my acknowl- 
edgments for the kindness with which you have expressed your satisfactkm 
with the manner in which I have discharged the duties of the station to 
which you had tliought proper to invite me, and your conviction of the pob- 
lic confidence in my administration of the Treasury Department I b^ 



leave, however, to add, in my own justification, for not following the ex- 
ample of the Secretary of State and Secretary of War, in making a volun- 
taiy tender of the resignation of my office, as soon as I was acquainted 
with theirs, that I was wholly unconscious of the application, to myself, of 
any of the reasons, so &r as I was apprised of them, which had induced 
them to withdraw from the public service. It, therefore, seemed to be due 
to my own character, which might otherwise have been exposed to unfa- 
vorable imputations, that I should find a reason for resigning, in a distinct 
expression of your wish to that effect ; this wish has now been frankly 
announced, and has enabled me to place my retirement on its true ground. 

" I have, therefore, the honor of tendering to you my resignation of the 
office of Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, which you will be 
pleased to accept, to take effect as soon as my services may be dispensed 
with consistently with your views of the public interest. 

" I seize the occasion to offer you my thanks for the many testimonials 
I have received of your kindness and confidence during our official con- 
nection, and especially for the renewed assurance, this day, of the same 
aentiment ^' S. D. Ikgham. 

** Hit Ezoelleney, Axdbxw Jaokson, President of the United States.^ 


" WABUiMOTOir, April 20, 1881. 

" Sir : Late last evening I had the honor to receive your letter of that 
date, tendering your resignation of the office of Secretary of the Treasury. 
When the resignations of the Secretary of State and Secretary of War were 
tendered, I considered fully the reiisons offered, and all the circumstances 
oonnected with the subject Afler mature deliberation, I concluded to ac- 
cept those resignations. But when this conclusion was come to, it was 
•ooompanied with a conviction that I must entirely renew my Cabinet 
Its members had been invited by me to the stations they occupied ; it had 
come together in great harmony, and as a unit Under the circumstances 
in which I found myself, I could not but perceive the propriety of selecting 
a Cabinet composed of entirely new materials, as being calculated, in this 
respect at least^ to command public confidence and satisfy public opinion* 
Neither could I be insensible to the fact, that to permit two only to retire, 
woold be to afford room for unjust misconceptions and malignant misrep- 
resentations concerning the influence of their particular presence upon the 
conduct of public affairs. Justice to the individuals whose public spirit had 
impelled them to tender their resignations, also required, then, in my opin- 
ion, the decision which I have stated. However painfiil to my own feelings, 
it became necessary that I should frankly make known to you tlie whole 

" In accepting of your resignation, it is with great pleasure that I bear 
VOL, III. — 23 


testimony to the integrity and zeal with which you have managed the fiscal '" 

concerns of the nation. In your discharge of all the duties of your office. ^ 

over which I have any control, I have been fully satisfied ; and in your re- "" 

tirement you carry with you my best wishes for your prosperity and hap- "" 


" It is expected that you will continue to discharge the duties of your "3 

office until a successor is appointed. 

'' I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient serr- 
ant, ^'Akdrkw Jackson. 

**Samukl D. Ihqham, Bocretary of the Treasury." 


** Washdcotoit, April 19th, 1881. 
" Sir : In the interview which I had the honor to hold with you this « 

morning, I understood it to be your fixed purpose to reorganize your cabi- 
net, and that as to myself it was your wish that I should retire fit>m the « 
administration of the Navy Department. 

" Under these circumstances, I take pleasure in tendering to yon the < 

commission, which, unsolicited on my part, you were pleased to confer -^ 

on me. 

" I have the honor to be, with great respect, yours, etc, 

" John Bbanoh. 

•*To the President of the United SUtes.*' 


^ WABHnroTOif, April 19th, ISU. 

" Sir : Your letter of this date, by your son, is just received — accom- — 

panying it is your commission. The sending of the latter was not neoes- - 

sary ; it is your own private property, and by no means to be considered J 

part of the archives of tlie government Accordingly I return it 

" There is one expression in your letter to which I take leave to ex- — 
cept I did not, as to yourself ^ express a wish that you should retire. The ^ 
Secretaries of State and of War having tendered their resignations, I re- — 
marked to you that I felt it to be indispensable to reorganize my cabinet 
proper; that it had come in harmoniously, and as a unit; and as a part -^ 
was about to leave me, which on to-morrow would be announced, a re- " 
organization was necessary to guard against misrepresentation. These 
were my remarks, made to you in candor and sincerity. Your letter 
gives a difierent import to my words. 

" Your letter contains no remarks as to your performing the duties of 
the office until a successor can be selected. On this subject I should b» 
glad to know your views. I am, very respectfully, yours, 

<< Andrew Jaoksqh. 

**Th6 Hon. Jobs Bbaxob, Secretary of the Navy.** 




** Washxhotow, April Uth, 1881. 

" Sib : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of jours of this 
date^ in answer to mine of the same. 

'^ In reptj to your remark that there is one expression in my letter to 
which you must exoept^ I would respectfully answer that I gave what I 
understood to be the sabstance of your conversation. I did not pretend 
to quote your language. 

" I regret that I misunderstood you in the slightest degree ; I, how- 
ever, stand corrected, and cheerfully accept the interpretation which you 
have given to your own expression. 

" I shall freely continue my best exertions to discharge the duties of 
the department, untQ you provide a successor. 

" I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your obedient serv- 
antk " John Branch. 

« To tiM PTMideiit of the Unitad Stotes." 


** Washxhotow , April SO, 18SL 

" Sir : Late last evening, I had the honor to receive your letter of thai 
date, tendering your resignation of the office of Secretary of the Navy. 

" When the resignations of the Secretary of State and Secretary of 
War were tendered, I considered fully the reasons offered, and all the cir- 
cumstances connected with the subject After mature deliberation, I con- 
duded to accept those resignations. But when this conclusion was come 
to, it was accompanied with a conviction that I must entirely renew my 
cabinet. Its members had been invited by me to the stations they occu- 
pied ; it had come together in great harmony, and as a unit Under the 
drcumstances in which I found myself, I could not but perceive the pro- 
priety of selecting a cabinet composed of entirely new materials, as being 
calculated, in this respect at least, to command public confidence and sat- 
isfy public opinion. Neither could I be insensible to the fact, that to per- 
mit two only to retire would be to afford room for unjust misconceptions 
and malignant representations concerning the influence of their particular 
presence upon the conduct of public affairs. Justice to the individuals 
whose public spirit had impelled them to tender their resignations, also re- 
quired then, in my opinion, the decision which I have stated However 
painful to my own feebngs, it became necessary that I should firankly make 
known to you my view of the whole subject 

<< In accepting your resignation, it is with great pleasure that I bear 
testimony to the integrity and zeal with which you have managed the 
oonoems of the navy. In your discharge of all the duties of your office 



over which I have any control, I have been fully satisfied ; and in your re- 
tirement you carry with you my best wishes for your prosperity and hap- 
piness. It is expected that you will continue to discharge the duties of 
your office until a successor is appointed. 

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient 
servant, ''Andrew Jacksov. 

** John Bkavoh, Seeretftry of the Nayy.*^ 


** WASHnroTOK, 15th Jane, IfiSL 

" Sir : I herewith tender to you my resignation of the office of Attor- 
ney-Greneral of the United States. Two considerations restrained me 
from taking this step at the moment when your communication to the 
Secretary of the Treasury, announcing your determination to reorgaoiie 
your cabinet, first met my eye. There was nothing in the retirement of 
tlie Secretaries of State and of War, or in the distinct and personal consid- 
erations which they had assigned for this measure, which made it obliga- 
tory upon, or even proper for me to adopt a similar course. Such a step, 
witli any reference to that occurrence, could only become so, on my part, 
as an act of conformity to your wilL You had felt this, and had announced 
your wishes to the Secretaries of the Treasury and of the Navy, respec- 
tively. I had a right to expect a similar communication of them, and con- 
formed to the wishes and opinions of my fellow-citizens of Greorg^a, when 
I determined to await it An additional consideration was presented by 
the fact that I had been charged, at the moment of my departure from this 
place, with the performance of certain public duties which were yet un- 
finished, and my report concerning which you did not expect to receive 
until my return. I was gratified to learn from yourself tliat you had taken 
the same view of this subject, having postponed the communication of your 
wishes to me until my arrival at tliis place, without exixjcting in the mean 
time any communication from me. It is due to myself further to i^tate, 
that from the moment when I saw the communication referred to, I have 
considered my official relation to you as terminated, or as subsisting only 
until my return to tlie city should enable me to conform to your wishes 
by the formal surrender of my office, which it is the purpose of this note 
to make. 

" I retire, then, sir, with cheerfulness from the station to which your 
confidence had called me, because I have the consciousness of having en- 
deavored to discharge its duties with fidelity to yourself and the countiy. 
Uninfluenced by those considerations which have been avowed by tha^ 
portion of my colleagues who have voluntarily separated themselves froia 
you — totally ignorant of any want of harmony in your cabinet^ whicb 



either has, or ought to have impeded the operations of your administra- 
tion, I perform this act simply in obedience to your will. I have not the 
lightest disposition to discuss the question of its propriety. It is true that 
in a goyemment like ours, power is but a trust to be used for the benefit 
of those who have delegated it ; and that circumstances might exist in 
nrhich the necessity of self- vindication would justify such an inquiry. The 
first consideration belongs to those to whom we are both and equally ac- 
soontable. From the influence of the second you have relieved me by 
jrour own explicit declaration that no complaint affecting either my official 
3r individual conduct has at any time reached you. You have assured 
tne that the confidence which induced you originally to confer the appoint- 
oients upon me remains unshaken and undiminished, and have been pleased 
to express the regret which you feel at tlie separation which circumstances 
bave, in your view of the subject, rendered unavoidable. You have kindly 
idded the assurance of your continued good wishes for my welfare. You 
wm not, therefore, refiise to me the gratification of expressing my earnest 
iiope thaf^ under the influence of better counsels, your own and the inter- 
ests of our common country may receive all tlie benefits which you have 
mticipated from the change of your confidential advisers. A very few 
lays will suffice to enable me to put my office in a condition for the rccep- 
ion of my successor, and I will advise you of the fact as soon as its ar- 
vngement is complete. 

" I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant, 

"Jno. Macpherson Berbien. 
**Tq th« Pteiident of the United SUtes."" 


" Washimoton, Jane 15, 1S81. 

" Sir : I have received your letter resigning tlie office of Attorney- 

" In tlie conversation which I held with you, the day before yester- 
Jay, upon this subject, it was my desire to present to you the considera- 
tions upon which I acted in accepting the resignation of the other members 
of the cabinet, and to assure you, in regard to yourself, as well as to them, 
Lhat they imply no dissatisfaction with the manner in which the duties of 
the respective departments have been performed. It affords me great 
pleasure to find that you have not misconceived the character of those 
considerations, and that you do justice to the personal feelings with which 
they are unconnected. 

" I will only add that the d(;termination to change my cabinet was dic- 
tated by an imperious sense of public duty, and a thorough, though pain- 
ful conviction, that tlie stewardship of power witli which I am clothed 
called for it as a measure of justice to those who had been alike invited to 


maintain near me the relation of confidential advisers. Perceiving that 
the harmony in feeling so necessary to an efficient administration had 
failed, in a considerable degree, to mark the course of this, and having 
assented, on this account^ to the voluntary retirement of the Secretaries of 
State and War, no alternative was left me but to give this assent a lati- 
tude coextensive with the embarrassments which it recognized, and the 
duty which I owed to each member of the cabinet. 

" In accepting your resignation as Attomey-Gkneral, I take pleasure 
in expressing my approbation of the zeal and efficiency with which its 
duties have been performed, and in assuring you that you carry with you 
my best wishes for your prosperity and happiness. 

" I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

'^ Akdrkw Jackson. 

** John M. BsRBixzr, Esq." 
"P. S. — ^You will please to continue to discharge the duties of the 
office of Attorney-General until you make all those arrangements which 
you may deem necessary, on which, when completed, and I am notified 
thereof by you, a successor will be appointed. A. J." 


** Washxnotoit, Jnne 28, 1881. 

" Sm : In conformity to the suggestion contained in my note of the 
15th instant, I have to inform you that the arrangements necessary to put 
the office of Attomey-Qeneral in a condition for the reception of my suc- 
cessor are now complete. 

" The misrepresentations which are circulated in the newspapers on the 
subject of my retirement from office, make it proper that this correspond- 
ence should be submitted to the public, as an act of justice both to you 
and to mysel£ I am, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant, 

" Jno. Macphebson Berrien. 
«• To the President of the United States.*' 


*» WABimroToir, Jane 23, 1831. 

" Sir : Your note of this day is received, advising me, in * conformity 
to the suggestions contained in my (your) note of the 15th instant. I 
(you) have to inform you (me) tihat the arrangements necessary to put the 
office of the Attorney-General in a condition for the reception of my suc- 
cessor are now complete.' 

" For reasons assigned in your note, you further observe, ' make it 
proper that this correspondence should be submitted to the public, as an 
act of justice both to you and mysel£' I am sure I can have no objection 


to your sabmitting them as you propose, as yoa believe this to be neces- 
my. I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, Andrew Jaokson. 
* JoBX H. BsBsmc, Esq.** 

A dissolution of the cabinet except at the end of a presi- 
dential term, had never before occurred in the United States, 
and has occurred but once since. So unexpected was this 
event (the general public having received no intimation of 
the Eatonian scandals, and not immediately discerning the 
connection between the ct^binet explosion and Mr. Calhoun's 
pamphlet) that a slight rumor of some approaching change 
was ridiculed in the Jackson papers within three days of the 
announcement of Mr. Van Buren's resignation. It produced 
a prodigious sensation. At that day, all official distinctions 
were more valued than they now are, and a cabinet minister 
was r^arded as an exceedingly great man. It seemed as if 
the Republic itself was shaken when the great city of Wash- 
ington was agitated, as all the hive is wild when the queen-bee 
is missing. It added to the effect of the dissolution, that the 
leading editors would not, and the editors-in-ordinary could 
not give any sufficient explanation of the event. Some vague 
allusions to ^ Madame Pompadour' found their way into print, 
but the Jackson papers hurled fierce anathemas at those who 
gave them currency. 

The journals in the confidence of the administration had 
evidently received their cue, however, and strove to make the 
dissolution redound to the glory of Mr. Van Buren. The 
comments of the Courier and Enquirer will amuse the reader, 
I think. When the following remarks were written, the re- 
signation of Mr. Berrien, owing to his absence from Washing- 
ton, had not occurred : 

" What has Mr. Calhoun gained by the firebrand he has thrown into 
the democratic ranks ? Mr. Van Buren it is true has retired from office, 
bat he returns to a State where his political knowledge and consistency are 
invaluable — a State that cuu and will support him for the highest office 
when Uie proper time arrives. Mr. Callioun has strengthened Mr. Van 
Buren by his violent opposition — he has returned from the cabinet and is 
thrown back on the people with a higher reputation for disinterested sseal 


and upright principles. In this movement, however, Mr. Calhoun has sac- 
rificed Mr. Ingham and Mr. Branch, his two friends ; and the members of 
the new cabinet are not assailable on any point How stands the case, 
then ? General Jackson has lost two friends in his cabinet and gained 
four. Mr. Van Buren becomes a private citizen, and mingles again with 
his political friends in an energetic support of the President On all sides 
General Jackson is strengthened and his enemies discomfited ; well indeed, 
may Mr. Van Buren be called the * great Magician,' for he raises his wand 
and the whole cabinet vanishes. 

" What will Mr. Calhoun now say to this new order of things ? His 
friends will not venture to declare that Mr.. Van Buren rules General Jack- 
son — they can not say that Mr. Van Buren at Albany manages the afiairs 
of the administration at Washington. All motives for assailing Mr. Van 
Buren are at an end ; trouble and difficulty have been produced, but on 
whom does it fall — who suffers, who almost staggers under the blow ? 
Mr. Calhoun and his imprudent advisers." 

This view of the case commended itself to the judgment 
of a majority of the people, who are apt to relish a bold meas- 
ure, whatever its moral quality. The comments of the oppo- 
sition seemed rather to injure than to benefit their cause. 
One paper in Cincinnati said : " Let John C. Calhoun shake 
off all affectation of respect for the presumptuous and igno- 
rant dotard, who enjoys the salary and subscribes his name as 
President." Such language merely enraged and disgusted the 
friends of the President, and offended some of his opponents. 
The New York American published the following : 

"^Tolhe Bero^Tbuching his ' Unit: 
Your rats united might have been, 

But, should we juage from actions. 
We *d say, although a * Unit ' then, 

They now are Vulgar fractiona" 

Mr. Van Buren returned to New York, where his friends 
received him triumphantly. Early in August, Mr. McLane 
arrived from London, and Mr. Van Buren, soon after, went 
abroad as American Minister to the Court of St. James. Mr. 
Livingston reigned over the State Department in his stead. 
Mr. Woodbury was duly appointed Secretary of the Navy. 

On one point only did the scheme of the President fail of 


t~s g, « I ' 


suooess. Judge White refused, point blank, to accept the 
place of Secretary of War, and thus create a vacancy in the 
Senate for Major Eaton. He liad been, for some time, jealous 
of Mr. Van Buren's ascendency in the councils of the Presi- 
dent, an ascendency to which he had himself aspired, and 
which, for a short period, he had been thought to enjoy. 
Perhaps he had indulged hopes of being adopted as the suc- 
cessor of General Jackson ; for General Jackson had shown 
him his list of rules for the guidance of his administration, 
one of which was that no member of the cabinet should suc- 
ceed him. The General, too, had written to him, in October, 
1828, as soon as his election to the presidency was felt to be 
certain, in terms which ap])eared to justify such an expecta- 
tion, "I thank you kindly," wrote the General, "for the 
suggestions you have made, and will always thank you for 
yonr friendly counsel. We have grown up together, have 
passed to the top and over the hill of life together, and per- 
mit me to assure you there is no one in whom I have greater 
confidence, in their honor, integrity, and judgment than in 
yours.'* Again, in December : " It will give me pleasure at 
all times to receive your views upon all «nd every subject ; 
you have my confidence and friendship, and to you and Ma- 
jor Eaton I look as my confidential friends." Again, in the 
autumn of 1829, the President had written to him in the 
most affectionate terms, almost imploring him not to resign 
Lis seat in the Senate, where his services had been so efficient, 
and were still so much desired. 

Gradually, however, the President seemed to be estranged 
from his old friend. So, at least, thought some of the associ- 
ates of Judge White. Mr. Tazewell, a friend of both, re- 
corded his observations. **Jud<j:e White," he savs, ^^ was 
one, and, I Iwlieve, the most confidontial of all the Presi- 
dent's advisers, as w(^ll before as after his inauguration, while 
the Senate continued in session. When the Senate adjourned 
in 1829, Judge White went home and did not return until 
the commencement of the next session. I was prevented 
from taking my place in that body until February, 1830. 


Very soon after I took my scat, I saw veiy plainly that new 
relations had sprung up between the President and some of 
his former friends. Judge White did not seem to have ob- 
served this ; and his feelings toward General Jackson re- 
mained unchanged, although it was evident to all others, that 
he no lunger occupied the same place in tlie estimation of the 
President which he had done. I never knew the cause of 
this apparent estrangement, but thought it might be easily 

Was it in human nature, that Judge White should not 
detest Mr. Van Buren ? Knowing well that one object of 
this dissolution of the cabinet was Mr. Van Buren's elevation, 
he would not be prevailed upon to lend a helping hand. It 
is asserted by Colonel Benton, but denied by the biographer 
of Judge White, that the asirirations of his wife were the 
spur to his own ambition. 

When it was known that Judge White had declined a 
place in the cabinet, the most extraordinary exertions were 
made by the President and his friends to induce him to 
change his purpose. Mr. J. K. Polk, General Coffee, Mr. 
Grundy, Mr. Catron, General Armstrong, and other Tennes- 
see friends wrote to him, entreating him to accept General 
Armstrong's letter was familiar and fervent. "I have just 
parted from the President," he wrote on the 1st of May. 
" He infonns me, confidentially, that you have declined the 
office of Secretary of War. The old man said he wrote you 
yesterday, urging you still to accept. I know your friend- 
ship for the President, and I know, too. Judge, the sacrifices 
you have over been willing to make forthe love of your coun- 
try. I write this at the request of the old General, because 
he says I have been present here, and can describe plainly to 
you the situation of things as they are. The old man says, 
that all his plans will he defeated unless you agree to come, 
should it be but for a period short of the continuance of his 
administration. The public have settled down on you, Judge, 
as the man. The wishes and confidence of every one seem to 
require your acceptance. Nothing that you can offer will 


satisfy your friends ; because, as the old man says — this is a 
crisis in which he wishes his best friends to be with him — 
md you well know that you are the nearest ; so he de- 
blares. Judge. Now for my own views. The good of the 
30untry — the honor of your best friend — the character of the 
State — and, lastly, it must not bo said that aid is refused 
the old chief from Tennessee, and that, too, by Judge White. 
Judge, pardon me for attempting to influence you. I write 
i)ecause I know you will do one thing, and that is, believe 
•"hat I say. Could you but witness the anxiety of the Gen- 
Tal, and the distress that follows, under the supposition that 
'ou will not join him, I know you would yield." 

But, no. He did not yield. The Courier and Enquirer 
iformed the public that Judge White, of Tennessee, on ac- 
ount of severe domestic afflictions, had declined the office of 
«cretary of War, which the President had offered him. 
'rom that time to the end of his life. Judge White was 
tboo among the extreme Jacksonians. No more were his 
ublic labors extolled in the Globe ; no more was his advice 
sked upon important measures. He went into opposition, 
t length ; was feebly run for President against Mr. Van 
turen ; and was driven, finally, into retirement. 

A new man was summoned to the councils of the Presi- 
ent, Lewis Cass, Governor of the Territory of Michigan, 
rho was installed as head of the Dejmrtment of War in July, 
though little known, at that day, to the country at large, 
Tovemor Cass had been for nearly a quarter of a century in 
he service of the government. It was he who, as member 
f the Ohio Legislature in 1806, originated the measures 
gainst Aaron Burr which caused the explosion of that indi- 
idual's Mexican projects. Bom in New Hampshire to a 
evolutionary father, Lewis Cass trudged on foot across the 
^Ileghanies, when he was but seventet^n, to seek his fortune 
n the western wilderness. He studied law, and became a 
eading man in Ohio ; won the notice and favor of President 
Teflferson by his zeal against Burr, and received the appoint- 
nent of marshal. He served with ability and distinction 


throu;'li the war of 1812, ficirlitinK at the battle of the Thames 
by the side of General Harrison, as his volunteer aid-de-camp. 
President Madison appointed him, in 1813, Governor of 
Micliigan, a post which he held for the unusual period of 
ninetei»n years, until he was invited by General Jackson to 
the Cabinet in 1831. 

The vacant Attorney-Generalship was conferred upon Mr- 
Roger B. Taney, then Attorney-General of Maryland, now 
the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. 
Mr. Taney was a lawyer of the first distinction in his native 
State. He was one of the Federalists who had given a zeal- 
ous support to General Jackson in 1828. 

Louis McLane, who came from England to take the office 
of Secretary of the Treasury, was a native of Delaware, where 
he studied law under James A. Bayard, known in political 
history as the friend and correspondent of Alexander Hamil- 
ton. Mr. McLane, also, was a gentleman of the Federalist 
persuasion, and a friend to the Bank of the United States. 
He had distinguished himself, in London, by the zeal and 
ability with which he conducted important negotiations, and 
was supposed to be one of the numerous gentlemen then liv- 
ing who indulged hoj)es of attaining the presidency. 

As the disruption of the Cabinet occurred in April, and 
Mr. McLane did not return to the United States until Au- 
gust, there was an interregnum in the Treasury Department 
of more than three months, during which disgraceful event* 
occurred. A few weeks after the dissolution, the scandalous 
stories resi)ecting Mrs, Eaton began to circulate in the news- 
papers, and, at length, the various narratives of Messrs. Ing- 
ham, Branch, and Berrien appeared. Poor Eaton, stung to 
madness by the exposure, was betrayed into writing one of the 
absurdest notes to Mr. Ingham ever penned by an angry man. 
A hostile correspondence was the first result. 


•* Friday Nionr, Jane 17, 188L 
" Sir : I have studied to disregard the abusive slanders which have 
arisen through so d(>based a source as the columns of the U. S. Telegraph. 


I have been content to wait for the full deTelopment of what he had to say? 
and ontQ persons of responsible character should be brought forth to en- 
doFse his vile abuse of me and my family. In that paper of this evening 
is contained the following remark of my wife : * It is proved tliat the Sec- 
retaries of the Treasury, and of the Navy, and of the Attomey-Qeneral re- 
fused to associate with her.' This publication appears in a paper which 
professes to be friendly to you, and is brought forth under your immediate 
eje. I desire to know of you, whether or not you sanction, or will dis- 
avow it 

" The relation we have sustained toward each other, authorizes me to 
demand an immediate answer. Very respectfully, 

" J. H. Eaton. 

** 8. D. iMOUiJi, Esq.** 


^ WABDiiroTozf, Jane 18, 1881. 
" Sib : I have not been able to ascertain, from your note of last evening, 
whether it is the pubhcation referred to by you, or the fact stated in the 
nbgraphj which you desire to know whether I have sanctioned or will 
dittTOw. If it be the first you demand, it is too absurd to merit an an- 
iwer. If it be the hist, you may find authority for the same fact in a 
Philadelphia paper, about the first of April last, which is deemed to be 
quite as friendly to you as tlie Telegraph may be to me. When you have 
settled such accounts with your particular friends, it will be time enough 
to make demands of others. In the meantime, I take the occasion to say, 
that you must be a htUe deranged, to imagine that any blustering of yours 
could induce me to disavow what all the inliabitants of this city know, and 
perhaps half the people of the United States believe to be true. 

" I am, sir, respectfully yours, S. D. Ingham. 

■• Joan H. Eatoh, Esq.'' 


*' June 18, 1881. 
" SiB : I have received your letter of to-day, and regret to find that to a 
frank and candid inquiry brought before you, an answer itnpudent and in- 
solent is returned. To injury unprovoked, you are pleased to add insult. 
What is the remedy 1 It is to indulge the expectation that, though a man 
may be mean enough to slander, or base enough to encourage it, he yet 
may have bravery sufficient to repair the wrong. In that spirit I demand 
of you satisfacHon for the wrong and injury you have done me. 

" Your answer must determine whether you are so far entitled to the 
name and character of a gentleman as to be able to act like one. 

" Very respectfully, J. H. Eaton. 

* Bamuxi. D. lyoBAM, Esq."" 



** Wasbtxotox, Jane SO. ISSl. 
" Sir : Your note of Saturday, purporting to be a demantl of satisfius 
tion for injury done to you, was received on that day; company prevented 
nie from sending an inunediate answer. Yesterday morning your brother- 
in-law, Dr. Randolph, intruded him?elf into my room with a threat of per- 
s<.)nal nolence. I perfectly unrlerstand the part you are made to play in 
the farce now acting before the American peojAe. I am not to be intim- 
idated by threats, or provoked by abuse, to any act inconsistent with the 
pity and contempt which your condition and conduct inspire. 

'* Yours, sir, respectfully, S. D. Ingham. 

** Jons n. Eatox, Esq." 


" Sir : Your note of this morning is received. It proves to me ihit 
you are quite brave enough to do a mean aetion, but too great a coward to 
repair it. Your contempt I heed not ; your pity I despise. It is such con- 
temptible fellows as yourself that have set forth rumors of their own crea- 
tion, and taken them as a ground of imputation against me. If that be 
guod cause, then should you have pity of yourself! for your wife has not 
escaped tiiem, and you must know it. But no more ; here our correspond- 
ence closes. Nothing more will be received short of an acceptance of my 
deinand of Saturday, and noticing more be said to me until face to face we 
meet. It is not in my nature to brook your insults, nor will tliey be sub- 
mitted to. J. H. Eaton. 

"S. D. iNonAM. Esq." 

The next day Eaton attempted to carry his threat into 
execution. In a letter to the President, Mr. Ingham gave a 
version of the events of that day : " It is not necessary for 
me now to detail the circumstances which have con\'inced me 
of the existence of vindictive personal hostility to me among 
some of the officers of the government near your iH?rson, and 
supposed to be in your special confidence, which has been 
particularly developed within the last two weeks, and has 
finally displayed itself in an attempt to waylay me on my 
way to my office yesterday, as I have reason to believe, for 
the purpose of assassination. If you have not already been 
ai)prised of these movements, you may perhaps be surprised 
to learn that the persons concerned in them are the late Sec* 



retary of War and the acting Secretary of War ; and that 
the Second Auditor of the Treasury, Register of the Treas- 
ury, and the Treasurer of the United States, were in their 
company ; and that the Treasurer's and Register's rooms, in 
the lower part of the building of the Treasury Department, 
and also a grocery store between my lodgings and the office, 
were alternately occupied as their rendezvous while lying in 
wait — the former affording the best opportunity for observ- 
ing my approach. Apprised of these movements, on my re- 
turn from taking leave of some of my friends, I found myself 
obliged to arm, and, accompanied by my son and some other 
friends, I repaired to the office to finish the business of the 
day, after which I returned to my lodgings in the same com- 
pany. It is proper to state, that the principal persons who 
had been thus employed for several hours, retired from the 
Department soon after I entered my room, and that I received 
no molestation frx)m them, either at my ingress or egress. 
But having recruited an additional force in the evening, they 
paraded until a late hour on the streets near my lodgings, 
heavily armed, threatening an assault on the dwelling I re- 
side in." 

The President immediately addressed a letter to each of 
the officials charged with waylaying Mr. Ingham, enclosed to 
each a copy of Mr. Ingham's letter, and asked to be informed 
whether " you, or either of you, have had any agency or par- 
ticipation, and if any, to what extent, in the alleged miscon- 
duct imputed in his letter herewith enclosed." Every man 
of them denied in to to the accusations of Mr. Ingham. 
They were also exculpated by Major Eaton, in a card pub- 
lished in the Olohe. " From the moment" said Eaton, " that 
I perceived Mr. Ingham was incapable of acting as became a 
man, I resolved to pursue that course which was suited to 
the character of one who had sought difficulties and shunned 
all honorable accountability. I harbored no design upon the 
heart of one who had shown himself so heartless. Having 
ascertained that his sensibilities were to be found only upon 
the surface, I meant to make the proper application. On the 


19th I notified him that unless the call I had made upon 
him was promptly and properly answered, he might expect 
such treatment as I thought his conduct deserved. My note 
of the 20th also advised him of my intention. Accordingly 
it apjKjared matter of duty for me to dissolve all connection 
with the administration of the government. How, then, can 
Mr. Ingham suppose that I would involve those gentlemen in 
a disgraceful conspiracy against him ; one in which, as public 
officers, they could not engage even if inclination had sanc- 
tioned. Their own characters are a sufficient answer to the 
accusation, unaided by their positive denial of its truth. I 
did endeavor to meet Mr. Ingham, and to settle our differ- 
ence. Unattended by any one, I sought after and awaited 
his appearance during the accustomed hours for business, 
openly and at places where he daily passed to his office. He 
was not to be found ! I passed by, but at no time stopped 
at or attempt<}d to enter his house, nor to beseige it by day 
or by night." 

The next day Mr. Ingham, finding the city of Washing- 
ton neither a safe nor a comfortable dwelling-place, left it in 
disgust, and, the Globe said, in terror. He took the " whole 
of the four o'clock stage," said the Globe, and induced the 
driver to make excellent time to Baltimore. The President, 
soon after, gave Eaton the appointment of Governor of 
Florida, where he had lands and lots supposed to be valuable. 
At a later day, the President sent him to represent the United 
States at the court of Spain. Upon his return home, Eaton 
quarreled with his old chief, and remained unreconciled until 
the day of his death. Mrs. Eaton, in 1859, is still living in 
the citv of Washin»2:ton. 

The dissolution, its causes, and its consequences, were the 
newspaper tojnc of the whole summer. The entire corres- 
pondence relating to it, beginning with the Calhoun pam- 
phlet, and ending with Eaton's final statement, would form 
a volume as large as that which the reader is now holding in 
his hands. Among the documents is a labored, long, and 
tedious address by Mr. Crawford, justifying himself for be- 



traying the proceedings of Mr. Monroe's Cabinet. Eaton's 
statement asserts many things, but proves nothing. He 
labors hard, but labors in vain, to show that the alleged 
irregularities of his wife were a mere pretext, and that the 
secret of the opposition to himself was, that he was not the 
friend of Mr. Calhoun. 

The dissolution inspired the opposition with new, with 
extravagant hopes. " Who could have imagined," wrote Mr. 
Clay from his retirement, " such a cleansing of the Augean 
stable at Washington ? a change, almost total, of the cab- 
inet. Did you ever read such a letter as Mr. Van Buren's ? 
It is perfectly characteristic of the man — a labored effort to 
conceal the true motives, and to assign assumed ones, for his 
resignation, under the evident hope of profiting by the latter. 
The * delicate step,' I apprehend, has been taken, because, 
foreseeing the gathering storm, he wished early to secure a 
safe refuge. Whether that will be on his farm, or at London, 
we shall see. Meantime, our cause can not fail to be bene- 
fited by the measure. It is a broad confession of the incom- 
petency of the President's chosen advisers, no matter from 
what cause, to carry on the business of the government." 

This was written when the news of the explosion first 
reached Kentuckv. Six weeks later, he wrote : " I think we 
are authorized, from all that is now before us, to anticipate 
confidently General Jackson's defeat. The question of who 
will be the successor, may be more doubtful. The prob- 
abilities are strongly with us. It seems to me that nothing 
can disappoint the hopes of our friends, but anti-Masonry." 

Mr. Webster took a more serious view of the " prospect 
before us." He wrote to Mr. Clay, in October, urging his re- 
turn to the Senate : '^ We are to have an interesting and an 
arduous session. Every thing is to be attacked. An array 
is preparing, much more formidable than has ever yet assault- 
ed what we think the leading and important public inter- 
ests. Not only the Tariff, but the Constitution itself, in its 
elementary and fundamental provisions, will be assailed with 

VOL. ni. — 24 


talent, vigor, and union. Every thing is to be debated, as if 
nothing had ever been settled." 

True. Nullification hung like a dark cloud over tlie south- 
ern horizon. South Carolina was in a ferment. Unless the 
Tariff were rectified at the next session, South Carolina would 
do such things as then she knew not of. Mr. Calhoun, in the 
course of the summer, in an address that darkened all the 
first page of the largest newspaper then existing, avowed him- 
self a believer in the doctrine of nullification. Perhaps, this 
address was a retort to the President's " Charleston letter,'' 
so famous in its day, which had delighted the country two 
months before. That Charleston letter has an interest for us 


^Wasuikoton CiTT, Jane 14tb, 1881. 

*' Gentlemen: It would afford mc much pleasure, could I at the same 
time accept your invitation of the 5th instant, and tliat witli which I wis 
before honored by the municipal authorities of Charleston. A neoeflsaiy 
attention to the duties of my office, must deprive me of the gratification I 
^ihould have had in paying, under such circumstances, a visit to the State 
of which I feel a pride in calling myself a citizen by birth. 

"Could I accqit your invitation, it would be with the hope that all par- 
ties — all the men of talent, exalted patriotism, and private worth, who have 
Ix.'cn divided in the manner you describe, might be found united before the 
:iltar of their country on the day set apart for the solemn celebration d its 
indcpt^ndoncc — independence which can not exist without Union, and with 
it Is eternal. 

*' Every enlightened citizen nmst know that a separation, could it be 
cfFected, would begin with civil discord, and end in colonial dependence on 
ji foreign power, and obliteration from the list of nations. But he should 
also see that high and sacred duties which must and will, at all hazards, be 
perf<jrnied, ])rcsent an insurmountable barrier to the success of any plan of 
disorganization, by whatever j)atriotic name it may be decorated, or what- 
ever high feelings may be arrayed for iu^ support The force of these evi- 
dent truths, the eftect they must ultimately have upon tlie minds of those 
who seem for a moment to have disregarded them, make me cherish the 
belief I have expix'ssed, that could I have been present at your celebratioo, 
I should have found all parties concurring to promote the object of your 
association. You have distinctly expressed that object — ' to revive in its 
full force the benign spirit of the Union, and to renew the mutual oonfi- 


dence in each other's good will and patriotism/ Such endeavor?, calmly 
and firmly persevered in, can not fail of success. Such sentiments are ap- 
propriate to the celebration of that high festival, which commemorates the 
simultaneous declaration of Union and Independence — and when on the 
return of that day, we annually renew the pledge that our heroic fathers 
made, of life, of fortune, and of sacred honor, let us never forget that it was 
given to sustain us as a United not less than an Independent people. 

*^ Knowing, as I do, the private worth and public virtues of distinguished 
cilisens to whom. declarations inconsistent with an attachment to the Union 
have been ascribed, I can not but liope, tliat if accurately reported, they 
were the efifect of momentary excitement, not deliberate design ; and tiiut 
fiuch men can never have formed the project of pursuing a course of redre>8 
through any other than constitutional means ; but if I am mistaken in this 
charitable hope, then, in the language of the Father of our country, I would 
oonjnre them to estimate properly *■ the immense value of your national 
Union to your collective and individual happiness;' to cherish 'a cordial, 
habitoal, and immovable attachment to it ; accustoming yourselves to think 
and q)eak of it as of the palladium of your pohtical safety and prosperity, 
watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety : discountenancing what- 
ever may suggest even a suspicion that it can, in any event, be abandoned ; 
and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alien- 
ate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties 
which now link together the various parts.' 

^ Your patriotic endeavors, gentlemen, to lessen the violence of party 
dia s cn sion, can not bo forwarded more effectually than by inculcating a re- 
fiance on the justice of our National Councils, and pointing to tlie fast ap- 
proaching extinction of tlie public dcbt^ as an event which must necessarily 
produce modification in the revenue system, by which all interests, under a 
spirit of mutual accommodation and concession, will be probably protected. 

** The grave subjects introduced in your letter of invitation, have drawn 
from me the frank exposition of opinions, whicli I have neither interest 
nor indination V> conceal 

" Grateful for the kindness you have personally expressed, I renew my 
expressions of regret that it is not in my power to accept your kind invi- 
tation ; and have the honor to be, with great respect, 

" Your obedient and humble servant, Andrew Jaokson." 

That dread disease, the cholera, was first heard of in the 
United States this year. It was ravaging some portions of 
Europe, and making startling advances northward. Long 
the hope was cherished that the Atlantic ocean would arrest 
the prepress of the scourge. The country escaped it in 1831. 




This was the great session of Jackson's administratioD. 
The session of Congress preceding a presidential campaign is 
always exciting, and generally important ; but none since 
the earliest years of the republic has been so exciting or so 
important as this. Illustrious names, great debates, extra- 
ordinary incidents, momentous measures, combine to render 
it memorable. 

Strengthened by Mr. Clay's return to the Senate, and sup- 
posed to be strengthened by Mr. Calhoun's defection, magni- 
ficently endowed with talent, and supplied with every motive 
to exertion which can inflame ambition or stimulate patriot- 
ism, the opposition did all its utmost to lessen the public 
confidence in an administration which they believed to be, 
not the most corrupt one ever known in the United States, 
but the only one that had been corrupt. The " Old Man" 
of the White House was the strength and inspiration of the 
party in power. He watched the transactions at the capitol 
with the eye of a lynx, and the patient resolution of a man 
who only knows the two alternatives, to carry his point or 
perish. On the great question of the session he was almost 
alone. Not one man in his cabinet entirely sympathized with 
him. It was only in Col. Benton and some members of the 
kitchen cabinet that he found the complete acquiescence that 
was so dear, but, at the same time, so unnecessary to him. 
" Of all the men I have known," said Mr. Blair to me, 
" Andrew Jackson was the one most entirely sufiicient for 
himself." Not only had he no such word as/atV, but no be- 
lief, not the slightest, that he could fail in any thing seriously 
undertaken by him. And he never did. 

In the Senate of this Congress were Daniel Webster, 
Henry Clay, William Marcy, Theodore Frelinghuysen, Gteo. 
M. Dallas, John M. Clayton, John Tyler, Robert Y. Hayne, 



John Forsyth, Felix Grundy, Hugh L. White, George Poin- 
dexter, William B. King, Thomas H. Benton, Isaac Hill. 
In the house — John Quincy Adams, Bufus Choate, Edward 
Everett, C. C. Cambreleng, Erastus Boot, Gulian C. Ver- 
planck, John Branch, George McDuffie, John Adair, Bichard 
M. Johnson, John Bell, James K. Polk, Thomas Corwin, C. 
C. Clay. 

Curiously enough, the message was one of the quietest 
and shortest ever presented to Congress by General Jackson. 
The previous practice of defending the measures of the ad- 
ministration by elaborate argument, and preventing attack 
by anticipating it, was abandoned in the concoction of this 
document. It showed everywhere the touch of another hand. 
The diplomatic successes of the government, which had been 
numerous during the year, though not of striking import- 
ance, were set forth at length. The President concluded this 
portion of the message with a passage which, besides doing 
brave duty upon banners and in campaign papers, was quoted 
with applause in foreign countries. "I have great satisfac- 
tion in making this statement of our affairs, because the 
course of our national policy enables me to do it without any 
indiscreet exposure of what in other governments is usually 
concealed from the people. Having none but a straightfor- 
ward, open course to pursue — guided by a single principle 
that will bear the strongest light — we have happily no politi- 
cal combinations to form, no alliances to entangle us, no 
complicated interests to consult ; and in subjecting all we 
have done to the consideration of our citizens, and to the in- 
spection of the world, we give no advantage to other nations, 
and lay ourselves open to no injury." Edward Livingston had 
occasion to remember the latter part of this passage a year or 
two later. 

Bailroads, then a leading topic, and beginning to assume 
national importance, were mentioned with felicitations. 
" We have a reasonable prospect," said the President, " that 
the extreme parts of our country will be so much approxi- 
mated, and those most isolated by the obstacles of natm-o 


rendered so accessible, as to remove an appreliension, some- 
times entertained, that the great extent of the Union would 
endanger its permanent existence." 

The financial condition of the country was extremely sat- 
isfactory. The revenue of the year had reached the unprece- 
dented amount of $27,700,000. The expenditures, exclusive 
of the public debt, would not exceed $14,700,000. Not leas 
than sixteen and a half millions of the public debt had been 
jmid off during the year. The President did not conceal his 
exultation at tliis pleiisant state of things. " The amount," 
he added, " which will have been applied to the public debt 
from the fourth of March, 1829, to the first of January next, 
wliich is less than three years since the administration has 
been placed in my hands, will exceed forty millions of 

In view of the speedy extinction of the debt, Congress 
was notified that the chief business of the session must be to 
adjust the tariff to the new state of affairs ; but the subject 
was disposed of in a single paragraph, and nothing further 
was said of dividing the surplus revenue among the States. 

Again, the ixjcommendation respecting the election of 
President and Vice-President by a diicct vote of the people 
was repeated. Again the message closed with a warning to 
the United States bank. " Entertaining," said the Presi- 
dent, " the opinions heretofore expressed in relation to the 
bank of the United States, as at present organized, I felt it 
my duty in my former messages frankly to disclose them, in 
order that the attention of the legislature and the people 
should be seasonably directed to that importtint subject, and 
that it might be considered and finally disposed of in a man- 
ner best calculated to promote the ends of the constitution 
and subserve the i)ublic interests. Having thus conscien- 
tiously discharged a constitutional duty, I deem it proper, on 
this occasion, without a more particular reference to the views 
of the subject then expressed, to leave it for the present to 
the investigation of an enlightened people and their repre* 

1832.] THS BANK-TETO SS8SI0N. 375 

Of the traaaactionB of thie session, we Deed concem our- 
selves only with those that grew directly out the President's 
own course, and those which directly influenced his suhsc- 
quent conduct. 

Without delay, and, I believe, without debate, the Sen- 
ate confirmed the nominations of Edward Livingston, Louis 
UcLane, Levi Woodbury, Lewis Cass, and Rugcr M. Taney 
to their respective places in the cabinet. Not so the nomiua- 
tioa of Mr. Van Bureu to the post of British ambaSBudor. 
Mr. Calhoun, at that time, in common witb most of the op- 
position, attributed to the machinations of Mr. Yaa Bureu 
his rupture with the President, anil the dissolution of the 
cabinet. Mr. Clay and Mr. Webster were of opinion that it 
was Mr. Van Burcn who had induced the President to adopt 
die New York system of party removals. Mr. Clay ought 
to hare known the President and Mr. Van Buren better than 
to cherish an opinion so erroneous. But it seems he did not. 
And, certainly, Mr. Van Buren, by supporting the President 
in that bad system, and supplying him with jilausiblc argu- 
ments to justify it, must ever be held to share in the rcspon- 
nbility of having debauched the public service. I believe, 
however, that so far from urging the new policy upon the 
President, his influence tended to lessen the number of re- 

The leaders of the Senate had resolved upou the rejection 
of Mr. Van Buren. They knew, before Congress came to- 
gether, that this could be ilone, and they had discovered an 
available pretext far doing it. That pretext was found in 
the very trausacliuu ujwn which the late Secretary of State 
plumed himself moat, and which General Jackson esteemed 
the first and one of tlic most valuable triumphs of his admin- 

We noticed, with surprise, that the lirst Messt^ of Gen- 
eral Jackson containe<l a coiuplimont to Great Britain, a na- 
tion which the General, in 1814 and 1815, had ctiaracterii^ed 
by a variety of uncompliiucutary epithets, and concerning 
whose red-coated sons he liad revolutionary recollections of a 


disagreeable character. The complimentary paragraph was 
inserted to aid Mr. McLane in a negotiation with the British 
ministry for regaining the privilege of trading with the Brit- 
ish West Indies in American vessels. The negotiation, as we 
all know, was successful, and the great trade we now enjoy 
with those islands is chiefly the result of the treaty then con- 
cluded. Yet the pretext for rejecting Mr. Van Buren was 
found in a passage of one of his despatches to Mr. McLane 
in relation to the negotiation of that treaty — a passage which 
the President claimed as his own, and authorized a Senator 
to claim publicly for him. The following was the paragraph 
complained of : 

• " The opportunities which you have derived from a participatioD in our 
public councils, as well as other sources of information, will enable you to 
speak with confidence (as far as you may deem it proper and useful so to 
do) of the respective part taken by tliOse to whom the administration of 
this government is now committed, in relation to the course heretofore pur- 
sued !ipon the subject of the colonial trade. Their views upon Ihat point 
have been submitted to the people of the United States ; and the eottnseia by 
which your conduct is now directed are the result of the judgment exprmstd 
by the only earthly tribunal to which the late administration u^s amenahk 
for its acts. It should be sufficient that the claims set up by tliem, and 
which caused the interruption of the trade in question, have bei.*n ex- 
plicitly abandoned by those who first asserted them, and are not revived 
by their successors. If Great Britain deems it adverse to her interests to 
allow us to participate in the trade with her colonies, and finds nothing in 
the extension of it to others to induce her to apply the same rule to us, she 
will, we hope, be sensible of the propriety of placing her refusal on those 
grounds. To set up the acts of tlie late administration as the cause of for- 
feiture of privileges which would otherwise be extended to the people of the 
United States, woxdd, under existing circumstances, be unjust in itself and 
could not fail to excite their deepest sensibility. The tone of feeling which a 
course so unwise and untenable is calculated to produce would, (ioubtless^ 
be greatly aggravated by the consciousness tliat (ireat Britain luis, by order 
iu Council, opened her colonial ports to Russia and France, notwithstanding 
a similar omission on their part to accept the terms offered by the act of 
July, 1825. 

" You can not press this view of the subject too earnestly upon the con- 
sideration of the British ministry. It has bearings and relations that reach 
beyond the immediate question under discussion." 




1832.] THB BANK-V£TO SE8SI0K. 377 

** Now/' said Mr. Webster, " this is neither more nor less 
ihaii saying to Mr. McLane : ^ You will be able to tell the 
Biitiflh minister, whenever you think proper, that you, and 
I, and the leading persons in this administration, have op- 
posed the course heretofore pursued by the government and 
the country, on the subject of the colonial trade. Be sure to 
let him know that, on that subject, toe have held with En- 
f^and, and not with our own government' " Mr. Webster 
added : '' Sir, I submit to you, and to the candor of all 
just men, if I am not right in saying that the pervading 
topic throughout the whole is, not American rights, not 
American interests, not American defense, but denunciation 
of past preteMums of our own country, reflections on the 
past administrations, and exultation, and a loud claim of 
merit for the administration now in power. Sir, I would 
fiirgive mistakes ; I would pardon the want of information ; 
I would pardon almost any thing, where I saw true patriot- 
km and sound American feeling ; but I can not forgive the 
■usrifice of this feeling to mere Party. I can not concur in 
sending abroad a public agent who has not conceptions so 
laige and liberal, as to feel that in the presence of foreign 
courts, amidst the monarchies of Europe, he is to stand up 
for his country, and his whole country ; that no jot nor tit- 
tle of her honor is to come to harm in his hands ; that he 
is not to suffer others to reproach either his government or 
his country, and far less is he himself to reproach either ; 
that he is to have no objects in his eye but American objects, 
and no heart in his bosom but an American heart ; and that 
he is to forget self, to forget party, to forget every sinister and 
narrow feeling, in his proud and lofty attachment to the Be- 
public whose commission he bears.'' 

The debate was animated but brief. Fifty-one days. Col- 
onel Benton informs us, were consumed in the preliminary 
maneuvers, but the debates lasted but two. It was in the 
course of this discussion that Governor Marcy let fall an ex- 
pression which he acknowledged, when he was writing out his 
speech, that he would have willingly recalled. He had the 


houesty to place it upon record, and it has since become fa- 
mous. It occurreil at the end of the following passage : " I 
know, sir, that it is the habit of some gentlemen to speak 
with censure or reproach of the politics of New York. Like 
other States, we have contests, and, as a necessary conse- 
quence, triumphs and defeats. The State is large, with great 
and diversified interests ; in some parts of it, commerce is the 
object of general pursuit ; in others, manufacture and agri- 
culture are the chief concerns of its citizens. We have men 
of enterprise and talents, wlio aspire to public distinction. It 
is natural to expect from these circumstances and others that 
might be alluded to, that her politics should excite more in- 
terest at home, and attract more attention abroad, than those 
of many otlier States in the Confederacy. It may be, sir, 
that the politicians of New York are not so fastidious as 
some gentlemen are as to disclosing the principles on which 
they act. They boldly preach what they practice. When 
they are contending for victory, they avow their intention of 
enjoying the fruits of it. If they are defeated, they expect 
to retire from office ; if they are successful, they claim, as a 
matter of right, the advant^iges of success. They see nothing 
wrong in the rule, that to tlic victor belongs the s{>oils of the 



Mr. Van Buren found an able defender in Governor For- 
syth of Georgia. ^^Long known to me," siiid Mr. Forsyth, 
*^ as a politician and as a man, acting together in the hour of 
I)olitical adversity, when we had lost all but our honor — a 
witness of his movements wlien elevated to power, and in the 
possession of the confidence of the chief magistrate, and of the 
great majority of the people, I have never witnessed aught in 
Mr. Van Buren which requires concealment, jxalliatiou, or 
coloring — never any thing to lessen his character as a patriot 
and as a man — nothing which he might not desire to see ex- 
posed to the scrutiny of every member of this boily, with the 
calm confidence of unsullied integrity. He is called an artful 
man — a giant of artifice — a wily magician. Those ignorant 
of iiis unrivaled knowledge of human character, his power of 


penetratiDg into the designs, and defeating the purposes of 
his adversaries, seeing his rapid advance to puhlic honors, and 
popular confidence, impute to art what is the natural result 
of those simple causes. Extraordinary talent, untiring indus- 
try, incessant vigilance, the happiest temper, which success 
can not corrupt nor disappointment sour ; these arc the 
sources of his unexampled success — the magic arts — the arti- 
fices of intrigue, to which only he has resorted in his eventful 
life. Those who envy his success, may learn wisdom from 
his example.'' 

The nomination of Mr. Van Buren was rejected. Colonel 
Benton in his " Thirty Years, View," gives us some rare 
glimpses into the Senate chamber while the deed was in pro- 
gress : ^' It was Mr. Gabriel Moore, of Alabama, who sat near 
me, and to whom I said, when the vote was declared, ' You 
have broken a minister, and elected a vice-president.' He 
iisked me how ? and I told him the people would see nothing 
in it but a combination of rivals against a competitor, and 
would pull them all down, and set him up. ^ Good God !' 
said he, ^why didn't you tell me that before I voted, and I 
would have voted the other way.' *' 

• ••••.■. 

" On the evening of the day, on the morning of which all 
the London newspapers heralded the rejection of the Ameri- 
can minister, there was a great party at Prince Talleyrand's 
— then the representative at the British court, of the new 
King of the French, Louis Philippe. Mr. Van Buren, always 
master of himself, and of all the proprieties of his position, 
was there, as if nothing had hapi)ened ; and received distin- 
guished attention, and complimentary allusions. Lord Auk- 
land, grandson to the Mr. Edeu who was one of the Commis- 
sioners of Conciliation sent to us at the beginning of the 
revolutionary troubles, said to him, * It is an advantage of a 
public man to be the subject of an outrage '-7-a remark, wise 
in itself, and prophetic in its application to the person to 
whom it was addressed. lie came home — apparently gave 
himself no trouble about what had happened — was taken up 


by the i)eople — elected, successively, Vice-President and Pres- 
ident — while none of those combined against him ever at- 
tained either position. 

" There was, at the time, some doubt among their friends 
as to the policy of the rejection, but the three chiefs were 
positive in their belief that a senatorial condemnation would 
be political death. I heard Mr. Calhoun say to one of his 
doubting friends, ^It will kill him, sir, kill him dead. He 
will never kick, sir, never kick ;' and the alacrity with which 
he gave the casting votes, on the two occasions, both vital, 
on which they were put into his hands, attested the sincerity 
of his belief, and his readiness for the work. How those tie- 
votes, for there were two of them, came to happen twice, 
* hand-running,' and in a case so important, was matter of 
marvel and speculation to the public on the outside of the 
locked-up senatorial door. It was no mai*vel to those on the 
inside, who saw how it was done. The combination had a 
superfluity of votes, and, as Mr. Van Buren's friends were 
every one known, and would sit fast, it only required the 
superfluous votes on one side to go out ; and thus an equi- 
librium between the two lines was established. When all was 
finished, the injunction of secrecy was taken off the proceed- 
ings, and the dozen set speeches delivered in secret session 
immediately published — which shows that they were deliv- 
ered for effect, not upon the Senate, but upon the public 

The rejection secured Mr. Van Buren's political fortune. 
His elevation to the presidency, long before desired and in- 
tended by General Jackson, became, from that hour, one of 
his darling objects. The "party," also, took him up with a 
unanimity and enthusiasm that left the wire-pullers of the 
White House little to do. Letters of remonstrance and ap- 
probation, signed by influential members of the party, were 
sent over the sea to Mr. Van Buren, who soon found that his 
rejection was one of the most fortunate events of his public 
life. To one of these encouraging letters he forwarded a re- 
ply which did him no harm either with the party or the Pre§- 


ident. " In testifying to my public conduct," he wrote, " the 
Committee are pleased to speak with eulogium of me, as con- 
tributing while in the cabinet to the success of the present 
administration ; that signal success, I feel called upon to de- 
clare, is preeminently due to the political sagacity, unweary- 
iiog industry, and upright, straight forward course of our 
present venerated chief. All the humble merit I can claim 
is, that of having exerted myself to the utmost to execute his 
patriotic and single hearted views, and of having sacrificed all 
personal considerations to insure their success, when threat- 
ened with extraneous embarrassments. That my exertions 
were ardous, painful, and incessant, I may without vanity, 
assert : whether my sacrifices have not been repaid with 
unmerited detraction and reproach, I leave to my countrymen 
to determine. Still I shall ever regard my situation in that 
cabinet as one of the most fortunate events of my life, pla- 
cing me as it did in close and familiar relation with one who 
has well been described by Mr. Jefferson as, ^possessing more 
of the Soman in his character than any man living,' and 
whose administration will be looked to, in future times, as a 
golden era in our history. To have served under such a chief, 
at such a time, and to have won his confidence and esteem, is 
a sufficient glory, and of that, thank God, my enemies can 
not deprive me." 

It is generally supposed that it was the rejection of Mr. 
Van Buren by the Senate in 1832 that caused him to be 
adopted by the democratic party as their candidate for the 
vice- presidency in that year. Col. Benton appears to have 
been of that opinion. An attentive perusal of the Olobe and 
Courier and Enquirer for 1831 will convince any one, I think, 
that before Mr. Van Buren sailed for England, he was the 
predestined candidate of the party for the second office. I 
have a curious letter on the subject, addressed in 1831 by 
Ifajor Lewis to Amos Kendall, which contains an italicized 
word of much significance. In this letter was suggested, for 
the first time, the plan of nominating President and Vice- 
President by national convention — an idea borrowed from 


the politics of New York. The following gives an insight 
into the ways of politicians that the reader ought to prize 
highly : 


** Washimotox, 25th ^Smj. 1881. 

*' My Dear Sir : Yours of the 17th inst., written from Mr. Iflaac HillV, 
lias been received. I am much gratified to learn that our friends in New 
Hampshire, and particularly Mr. Hill, are plciised witli the appointment of 
Gk)vern()r Woodbury. It is imj)ortaut that our friends everywhere should 
harmonize' and act in concert, and particularly in the New EngLind States, 
where it is by union alone they can expect to succeed. 

" Your information with rejrard to our Boston friends accords with 
that which I have received from others. I have lately receive<l several 

letters from Boston, and among them one from my friend D ^ who 

gives a circumstantial account of Duffs visit to that place. If you seo 
Mr. Derby, please present my respects to him, and say to him I have re- 
ceived his letter. I fear the offices in that place were injudiciously disposed 
of, as, from all accounts, the gentlemen who hold tliem look more to them* 
selves than the individual who bestowed them. I am not so sure but 
it would have been better had they been given to the anti-Statesmin 

*' I feel confident, however, that every reliance may be placed in the 
good feeling and fidelity of Parker, McXiel, and Derby. The postmaster, 
N. Green, is with us, but I have not yet been favored with a visit from 
him. I have no doubt his trip to Washington is for tlie purpose of ascer- 
taining how the land lies. If that bo his object, I incline to the belief thit 
he will not be much gratified at the information he will receive. 

" I have had a conversation with several of our friends here upon the 
subject of the vice-presidency, and the universal opinion is that it is prema- 
ture to nominal a candidate. There will be great difficulty in selecting 
an individual who will be sjitisfactory to the different local interests of tbe 
Union. Mr. liarbour, it is feared, will not be acceptable to Pennsylvania 
and New York ; nor is it believed Dickinson would be willingly supported 
by the SouLhorn anti-tariff States. 

*' Mr. MoLane, I am inclined to think, would be the strongest man 
that (*ould be run by the republi(^n party ; but tliere are almost insur- 
mountable objections to him. Surrounded by so many difficulties as the 
case is, and taking every thing into consideration, many of our friends (and 
the most judicious of them) Uiink it would be best for the republican 
members of the respective legislatures to propose to the people to elect 
delegates to a national convention, to be holden for that purpose, at Har- 



riflbiirg, or some other place, about the middle of uext May. That point 
is preferred to prevent an improper interference by members of Congress, 
who about that time will leave this city for their respective homes. If the 
friends of the administration, when brought together from every part of 
the Union, in convention, can not harmonize, I know of no other plan by 
whicli it can bo done. If the legislature of New Hampshire will propose 
thifl^ I think it will be followed up by others, and have the eilect, no 
doubt, of putting a stop to partial nominations. You had better reflect 
upon this proposition, and, if you tljink with me, make the suggestion to 
our friend Hill. 

" In your letter you say, * Duflf said 3^Ir. Calhoun must be run for Vice* 
President again.' That this is their intention I have no doubt. 

** You will sec from the Globe that we had an unusually large meeting 
here last evening, friendly to the administration. It is said by Uiose who 
were present to have been twice as large as the Clay meeting that pre- 
, ceded it At tins meeting it was proposed by one of Dufl's partisans to 
add a preamble and resolutions approving CaDioun's conduct, and nom- 
inating him for reelection as Vice-President The General (Green) had 
bis myrmidons judiciously arrauged through tlie company for effect, and 
when the question for their adoption was proposed, they vociferated in 
their favor with prolonged voices. But it would not do ; the resolutions 
were voted down by an overwhelming majority. Mr. Rives, your clerk, 
who was present, told me that out of a company of about seven hundred, he 
did not beheve there were more than twenty or thirty in favor of the reso- 
lutions. Green, I am told, was very much mortified, and looked ^ excess- 
ively cowed.' Dr. and Mrs. Sliarpe have been with us. They lell here 
yesterday. The Doctor, you know, was a strong Calhoun man ; continued 
so until he saw Green ; but lilair says he lefl cured of Calhounism. The 
General is rather an unfortunate agent for the Vice-President 

" Livingston and Woodbury have entered upon the duties of their re- 
spective departnieuts. Judge White has agaiu declined. I do not know 
who will be selected to fill the War Department, but am rather of the 
opinion that Col. Dr.iyton will be tiic man. If so, it is not improbable but 
the President may oiler the appointiiieut of Attorney -General to John 
Bell, of Nashville. Those appointments, however, are not positively de- 
termined on. Every thing here looks well. The President is in good 
beslth, and looks well. Mr. Van Buren will leave, probably, the first 
week in June, and Mr. Eaton about the first of July. Please present my 
respects to Mrs. Kendall, and believe me to be sincerely yours, 

" W. B. Lewis." 

The suggestion with regard to holding a National Con- 
vention found favor in the eyes of Mr. Amos Kendall and 



Mr. Isaac Hill, though they thought Baltimore a better place 
for the purpose than Harrisburg. Accordingly, we observe 
in the Globe of July 6th, 1831, one of those mysterious 
" Extracts from the Letter of a Gentleman" (in Concord, 
New Hampshire), which are so useful in political manage- 
ment. " The Republican members of the New Hampshire 
Legislature," said the Extract from the Letter of a Gentle- 
man in Concord, Amos Kendall by name, " to the number 
of about 169 (whole number of members say 235) met last 
evening. An address and resolutions approving of the prin- 
ciples and measures of the present administration, the veto 
of the President on the Maysville Koad bill, disavowing the 
doctrine of nullification, di8appro\nng Clay's American sys- 
tem, but recommending a judicious reduction of the duties, 
disapproving of the United States Bank, passed the Conven- 
tion unanimously. The Convention also recommended a 
General Convention of Republicans friendly to the election 
of General Jackson, to consist of delegates equal to the num- 
ber of electors of President in each State, to be holden at 
Baltimore on the third Monday of May, 1832, to nominate a 
candidate for Vice-President, and take such other measures 
in support of the reelection of Andrew Jackson as may be 
deemed expc^dient. The Republican party was never more 
harmonious and united in this State than at the present time. 
It is completely identified in the support of General Jackson; 
and it is entirely out of the power of the coalition to shake 
his popularity in this State. There Ls no point in which we 
are better agreed than in decided opposition to re-chartering 
the United States Bank." 

Tlie Globe seconded the motion of Major Lewis by ap- 
pending a few " Remarks" to the Extract from the Letter of 
a Gentleman in Concord. " It is gratifying to perceive," said 
the editor of the Globe^ " that the Bank Extras sent to the 
members of the New Hampshire Legislature, have only 
aroused them to the danger of giving prolonged existence to 
that institution. The recommendation of a Convention at 
Baltimore to nominate a candidate for the Vice-Presidency 



deserves a serious consideration. It is probably the best plan 
which can be adopted to produce entire unanimity in the Sc- 
publican party, and secure its lasting ascendency." 

Thus was prepared, beforehand, the machinery by which 
Hr. Yan Buren was nominated, first for the vice-presidency, 
and, secondly, for the presidency ; by which, too, he was af- 
terward overthrown ; by which all presidents and vice-presi- 
dents, since 1832, have been nominated. With the prepa- 
ration of this machinery, which he has been accused of 
originating, he had nothing to do. Nor was he the inventor 
of it as employed in the politics of his native State. 

Beturning to the proceedings of Congress, we are com- 
pelled to notice a painful and disgraceful affair, in which 
Gteneral Houston, of Texas, was the principal actor. When 
we last parted with this distinguished man, he had just leaped 
over the breastwork of the Horseshoe Bend of the Tallapoosa, 
and had fallen wounded, all but mortally, in doing his duty 
as ensign of the thirty-ninth infantry. Since that day of 
terror and of glory, he had run a bright career, and had had 
various fortune. He had been Governor of Tennessee. He 
had represented Tennessee in the House of Sepresentatives. 
But in 1830 he had come to Washington, broken in fortune, 
unhappy in his domestic circumstances, a suitor for govern- 
mental favor. He applied for a contract for supplying rations 
to the Indians that were about to be removed, at the public 
expense, beyond the Mississippi. The President was ex- 
tremely desirous that he should have the contract — so desir- 
ous, that he seemed inclined to give it to him, contrary to 
the spirit of the law, which obliged it to be awarded to the 
lowest bidder. Colonel McKenney, the Superintendent of 
Indian Affaii*s, was of opinion that the rations could be sup- 
plied, at a profit, for less than seven cents per day for each 
Indian. Houston's bid was eighteen cents, which, McKenney 
thought, would afford a profit of thousands of dollars a week, 
and, indeed, was equivalent to the bestowal of a large fortune. 
He also contended that time should be allowed, after adver- 
tising for proposals, for bids to come in from the section of 

VOL. lU. — 26 


country where the rations were to be furnished. Time was 
not allowed. The affair was hurried on toward consumma- 
tion, and it looked, at one time, as though Houston would 
get the contract at his own price. 

At this stage of the proceedings, Duff Green, then the 
friend, confidential editor, and adviser of the President, heard 
of the scheme, and, foreseeing the clamor that would arise 
in case the contract were so bestowed, went to the President 
to remonstrate against it. " I apologized for calling," he tes- 
tified afterward before a Committee of the House, " by r^ 
ferring immediately to the contract ; said that I was confident 
that it could be furnished for much less than I understood the 
department was about to give. The President said that they 
had ascertained that the ration had cost twenty-two cents ; 
General Houston had gone on to New York, and had brought 
with him (or obtained) a wealthy partner (or security), and 
that the contract would be given to him at eighteen cents. 
I then referred to the price of beef, com, etc., in the west, 
and said I was confident the rations could be furnished at six 
cents. He replied, quickly, * Will you take it at ten V I 
said, ' No, sir.' He then said, ' Will you take it at twelve 
cents ? if you will, you shall have it at that.' I told him 
that I was not a bidder for the contract ; that, although I 
was satisfied I could realize an immense sum upon such a 
contract, I was influenced to call upon him by a desire to 
serve him and the administration, and not by a wish to specn- 
late ; and left him." 

Not satisfied with this interview. General Green addressed 
a letter, on the same day, to the Secretary -of War on the sub- 
ject. " After leaving you last evening," he wrote (March, 
1830), " I examined, for the first time, your proposals for 
rations. From my knowledge of the prices of beef and corn 
in the Western States, I am confident that the proposed ra- 
tion ought not to cost ten cents, yet I understand you to say 
that you expect to give from eighteen to twenty cents, and 
that the issue, at these prices, will amount to twelve thousand 
dollars per day. That a contract of such amount should be 



made without giving notice to the Western States, where the 
provisions must be purchased, will be a cause of attack ; but 
when I read the advertisement, and see that it is so worded as 
not to convey an idea of the speculation it affords, and con- 
nect it with the fact, which is within my own knowledge, that 
it was prepared under the special advisement of Gteneral 
Houston, who has gone on to New York, and has brought on 
from there a wealthy partner to join him in the contract, I 
should be unfaithful to the administration, to General Jack- 
son, and to myself, if I did not bring the subject before you in 
such a shape as to guard against the consequences which I 
foresee will follow any such contract as the one he contem- 
plates. Such a contract may enrich a few who are concerned 
in it, but will destroy the confidence of the public, I fear, in 
the administration, and impair the fair fame of the President, 
which it is your duty and mine to guard. Will it not be well 
to extend the time, so as to enable the people of Missouri and 
Arkansas to bid ?" 

Upon further reflection, the President was so far convinced 
of his error as to give up the plan of furnishing the rations 
by contract. General Houston was disappointed and thrown 
upon Texas. And, perhaps, the United States owes the pos- 
session of that State to the failure of General Houston to 
obtain the contract for supplying the Indians. 

Some of the facts here related having gained publicity. 
General Houston and his contract became the subject of many 
newspaper articles, satirical and vituperative. In the sum- 
mer of 1831, Houston published a Proclamation of a comical 
nature, intended to neutralize those attacks : 


" Whereas, I have recently seen a publication, originating in the Chero- 
kee Nation, east of the Mississippi, dated ' 18th May, 1831,' and signed ' L 
&,' which said publication, or letter, has been republished in several news- 
papers, such as the Kentucky Reporter^ United States Telegraphy etc., and 
as I presume it will find a general circulation, notwiUistanding the absurd 
personalities which it contains ; and as it is not the first which has found 
its way into the public prints, containing ridiculous and unfounded abuse 


of me : — ^Now know all men by these presents, that I, Sam. Houston, ' late 
Gk)vemor of the State of Tennessee,' do hereby declare to all scoundrels 
whomsoever, that they are authorized to accuse, defame, calumniate, tra- 
duce, slander, vilify, and libel me, to any extent, in personal or private 
abuse. And I do further proclaim, to whomsoever it may concern, that 
they are hereby permitted and authorized to write, indite, print^ publidi, 
and circulate the same, and that I will in nowise hold them responsible 
to me in law, nor honor, for cither the use of the ' raw material,' or the fiib- 
rication of any, or all of the above named articles connected with the 
' American System T nor will I have recourse to nullification, in any cue 
whatsoever, where a conviction would secure to the culprit the dignity of 
a penitentiary residence. And as some ingenuity has been already dis* 
played in the exhibition of specimens, and others may be induced to in- 
vest a small capital in the business, from feelings of emulation and an itch- 
ing after experiment. Be it known, for the especial encouragement of aH 
scoundrels hereafter, as well as those who have already been engaged, that 
I do solemnly propose on the first day of April next, to give to the anthor 
of the most elegant, refined, and ingenious lie or calumny, a handsome gih 
copy (bound in sheep) of tlic Kentucky Reporter, or a snug, plain cc^y of 
the United States Tdegraph (bound in dog), since its commencements 
" Given under my hand and private seal (having no seal of office) at 
Nashville, in the State of Tennessee, 13th July, 1831. 

" Sam. Houston, [l. b.]" 

In the spring of 1832 he was in Washington again, where 
he forgot his Proclamation. Before leaving the capital to 
enter upon his new and marvelous career in the Southwest, 
he was betrayed by his passions into the commission of an 
act which subjected him to the censure of the House of Rep- 
resentatives, and which he himself must, long ago, have 
learned to deplore. He committed a most atrocious and un- 
provoked assault upon a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, Mr. William Stanberry, of Ohio. The following 
correspondence explains itself : 


**WASunroToir Cnr, April 8d, IML 
" Sir : I have seen some remarks in the National InMigencer of the 2d 
instant, in which you are represented to have said, ' Was the late Secrettfy 
of War removed in consequence of his attempt fraudulently to give to Got- 
emor Houston the contract for Indian Rations?* 


** The object of this note is to ascertain whether my name was used by 

you in debate, and, if so, whether your remarks have been correctly quoted. 

" As the renuu-ks were inserted in anticipation of their regular place, I 

hope yon will find it convenient to reply without delay. I am, your most 

obedient servant^ Sam. Houston." 


" Horn or BsPEnxHTATiTW, April 4th, 188i. 

"Bot: I received this momlDg by your hands a note, signed Sam. 
Houston, quoting from the National InUUigencer of the 2d instant, a remark 
made by me in the House. The object of the note is to ascertain whether 
Mr. Houston's name was used by me in debate, and whether my remarks 
were correctly quoted. 

" I can not recognize the right of Mr. Houston to make this request 
" Very respectfully yours, etc., 

"William Stanberrt," 

Exasperated by this reply, Houston made no secret of his 
intention to assault Mr. Stanberry, who, from that time, went 
aimed to and from the capitol. Ten days elapsed, however, 
before the bad design of the irate Tennesseean was executed, 
and it was executed then with peculiar circumstances of 
atrocity. Senator Buckner, of Missouri, stood by and saw it 
done, and afterward testified without a blush, that he made 
no attempt to prevent the shameful deed. Houston, he said, 
was standing near a fence in one of the avenues, when Mr. 
Stanberry came along. " It occurred to me immediately, 
that there would be a difficulty between them. * Are you 
Mr. Stanberry ?' asked Houston. Stanberry replied very 
politely, bowing at the same time, * Yes, sir.' * Then,' said 
Houston, * you are the damned rascal ;' and with that, struck 
him with a stick which he had held in his hand. Stanberry 
threw up his hands over his head and staggered back. His 
hat fell off, and he exclaimed, ' Oh, don't !' Houston con- 
tinued to follow him up, and continued to strike him. After 
receiving several severe blows, Stanberry turned, as I thought, 
to run off. Houston, at that moment, sprang upon him in 
the rear, Stanberry's arms hanging down, apparently defence- 
less. He seized him and attempted to throw him, but was 


not able to do so. Stanberry carried him about on the pave- 
ment some little time. Whether he extricated himself, or 
Houston thrust him from him, I am not able to determine. 
I thought he thrust him from him. As Houston passed him, 
he struck him and gave him a trip — Stanberry fell. When 
he fell, he continued to halloo ; indeed, he hallooed all the 
time pretty much, except when they were scuffling. I saw 
Stanberry, after receiving several blows, put out both hands, 
he then lying on his back. I did not discover what was in 
his hands, or if any thing was, but I heard a sound like the 
snapping of a gun-lock, and I saw particles of fire. Houston 
appeared to take hold of Stanberry's hands and took some- 
thing from them which I could not see. After that, Hous- 
ton stood up more erect, still beating Stanberry with a stick 
over the head, arms, and sides, Stanberry still keeping his 
arms spread out. After Houston had given him several more 
blows, he lay on his back and put up his feet. Houston then 
struck him elsewhere. Mr. Stanberry, after he had received 
several blows, ceased to halloo, and lay, as I thought, per- 
fectly still. All this time I had not spoken to either of the 
parties, or interfered in any manner whatever. I now thought 
Stanberry was badly hurt, or, perhaps, killed, from the man- 
ner in which he lay. I stepped up to Houston to tell him to 
desist, but, without being spoken to, he quit of his own ac- 
cord. Mr. Stanberry then got up on his feet, and I saw the 
pistol in the right hand of Gov. Houston for the first time." 

On the day following, the Speaker of the House of Repre- 
sentatives received a note from Mr. Stanberry ; " Sir, I was 
waylaid in the street, near to my boarding-house, last night 
about eight o'clock, and attacked, knocked down by a blud- 
geon, and severely bruised and wounded by Samuel Houston, 
late of Tennessee, for words spoken in my place in the House 
of Representatives, by reason of which I am confined to my 
bed, and unable to discharge my duties in the house, and at- 
tend to the interests of my constituents. I communicate this 
information to you, and request that you will lay it before 
the house." 



The Speaker laid it before the house, and the house spent 
exactly one calendar month in debating the subject, hearing 
testimony, and the defense of the accused. James K. Polk, 
of Tennessee, distinguished himself by his zeal in endeavoring 
to prevent an investigation. The end of the matter in the 
house was that Houston was condemned to be reprimanded 
by the Speaker ; and reprimanded he was, but in such a 
manner as to leave the house in no doubt that the Speaker 
(Andrew Stephenson) sympathized with the assailant rather 
than with the assailed — with General Houston rather than 
with the insulted house over which he presided. 

General Jackson, I regret to be obliged to record, sus- 
tained his friend Houston in this bad deed. He said to a 
friend, in substance, that " after a few more examples of the 
same kind, members of Congress would learn to keep civil 
tongues in their heads." Perhaps the people of the United 
States will learn, after a few more examples of the same kind, 
that the man who replies to a word by a blow confesses by 
that blow the justice of that word. At a later day, when 
Houston was tried for this assault in a court of the District 
of Columbia, and was sentenced to pay a fine of five hundred 
dollars, the President nullified the proceeding by the little 
document annexed : 

" I, Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America, to 
the Marshal of the District of Columbia, greeting : 

" Whereas, at a session of the Circuit Court of the United States, held 
in and for the county of Washington and District of Columbia, in the 
year 1832, a certain Samuel Houston was convicted of an assault and bat- 
teiy, and sentenced to pay a fine of five hundred dollars and costs of pro- 

" Now be it known that I, Andrew Jackson, President of the United 
States of America, in consideration of the premises, divers good and suf- 
ficient reasons me tliereunto moving, have remitted, and do hereby remit 
mito him, the said Samuel Houston, the fine aforesaid, in order that he be 
discharged fix)m imprisonment. 

" In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name, and 
caused the seal of the United States to be afiixed to these presents. 


Done at the city of Wasbington, this third day of July, A. D. 1834, and 
of the Independence of the United States the fifty-eighth. 

" Akdrew Jacksoh." 

**B]r the President 
** John Fobbtth, Secretary of State.** 

While the Houston affair was still the talk of the coTm- 
try, another member of Congress, Thomas D. Arnold, of 
Tennessee, was most grossly assaulted, and that, too, upon 
the very threshold of the house, and in the presence of a hun- 
dred mepibers. A certain Major Heard thought proper to 
take offense at the zeal with which Mr. Arnold had denounced 
the conduct of Houston in the House of Bepresentatires. 
Meeting Arnold in the streets, he attempted to assault him 
there, but was deterred by the member's resolute defianoa 
" I was accosted," said Mr. Arnold, in a card published in 
the Telegraph, " by a man of ruffian appearance, who re- 
quired me to stop. I did so. He approached pretty near. 
I discovered he was very much agitated ; his lip quivered, 
and he turned pale. He asked if my name was Arnold ; I 
told him it was. He said, ^ Then you are the man who 
abused my friend Houston so severely.' He was going to say 
something else, but the instant I saw the subject he had 
broached, I demanded to know his name. He replied his 
name was Heard, and added, Major Heard. I told him I knew 
nothing of him, and intended to have nothing to do with 
him. I fortunately had a walking-cane in my hand, and kept 
it iu such a position that he saw I could strike as soon as he 
could. He wore a cap, and had a large stick in his hand ; I 
think it was an orange limb, headed and feruled. I turned 
my back upon him as soon as I could do it in safety. As I 
walked off, he said he * intended to whip me, and that he 
would do it yet, by God.' He did not pursue me, as I dis- 
covered. I do not wish to be protected by my constitutional 
privilege, but I think it due to the American people that 
they should know the state of things at this place." 

A few days after. Heard accomplished his purpose. Just 
after the adjournment of the house, the ruffian fell upon Mr. 

1832.] THB BANK VETO. 393 

Arnold with a club, and failing to bring him to the ground 
with that weapon, fired a pistol at him. The ball grazed 
Arnold's arm and tore his coat, and passing over his shoul- 
der, came within an ace of entering the body of Mr. Tazewell. 
Arnold felled the assailant to the ground with his cane, and 
was about to stab him with the sword thereof, when his 
arm was caught by a bystander, and Heard was taken to 

Having disposed of these personal matters, we may now 
proceed to a£birs more important. The two great topics of 
the session were the tariff and the bank. The tariff bill 
passed at this session having been the direct cause of the nul- 
lification explosion, it will be convenient to defer our account 
of it until we come to speak of nullification. As the long 
session wore on, all other subjects were swallowed up in the 
discussion of the question. Shall the bank of the United 
States be re-chartered, or shall it not ? Congress, the press, 
the President, the people, politicians, business men, all men, 
were drawn into the maelstrom of this great debate. We, 
too^ for our sins, must skirt its borders, if not plunge head- 
long in, never to emerge. 



There was division in the Bank councils. A large num- 
ber of the Bank's wisest friends desired, above all things, to 
keep the question of re-chartering out of the coming presi- 
dential campaign. Others said : "It is now or never with 
us. We have a majority in both Houses in favor of re-char- 
tering. Let us seize the opportunity while we have it, for it 
may never return." " No," said the opposite party, " the 
President will most assuredly veto the bill ; and we can not 
carry it over the veto. Then, if the President is reelected, 



which, alas ! is only too possible, the Bank is lost irrecover- 
ably. Precipitation gives us but one chance ; delay may af- 
ford us manv." 

Mr. Clay's powerful will decided this controversy. Said 
he, in substance. •' We have the President in a dilemma, upon 
one '"»f the h» -ms of which we can certainlv transfix him. The 
le<:islature nf his tavoritc State, his own devoted PennsvlTa- 
nia. Las unanininusly pronounced in favor of re-chartering 
the Bank. The Bank is in Pennsyhnnia. Pennsylvania is 
proud i'f it, and thinks her prosjKM'ity identified with it. If 
the President vetoes the bill, he loses Pennsylvania, the bul- 
wark of his power and popularity. If he does not veto the 
bill, he I'jses fatallv in the South and West. Now is our 
time." This reasoning may not have quite convinced the 
leadiui: friends of the Bank ; but the commanding influence 
of Henry Clay, then in the very zenith of his power and of 
his fame, caused it to be adopted as the policy of the insti- 

How little he knew Pennsylvania, the State that, for forty 
years, has generally controlled politics ! " Go, my son, study 
Pennsylvania,-' should be the advice of a parent launching 
his otfspriug into the sea of American politics. Pennsylvania, 
laiw. sulid, heavv, and central, is the ballast State of the 
Vniun. Pennsylvania rej)resents the " general average" of 
sense and feelinir. An event that thrills Ohio, drives New 
England mad, and New York frantic, onlv ruffles, and that 
but for a moment, Pennsylvania's ample and placid counte- 
nance. Can vou move Pennsvlvania ? Then vou are mas- 

• • • 

ter of the situation. 

Early in Uecember, when Congress had been less than 
two weeks in session, a convention of National Republicans 
(soon t<^ be styled Whigs) assembled at Baltimore to nomi- 
nate opi)osition candidates for the presidency and the vice- 
presidency. So soon did Major Lewis's suggestion bear fruit 
Henrv Clav and John Serjwant were the cimdidates selected, 
both devoted to the Bank, one a citizen of Pennsylvania. In 
the Address issued by the Convention the Bank question wa« 


1832.] THE BANK VETO. 395 

made a leading issue of the contest. The Bank was eulogized 
as a " great and beneficent institution," which, " by facilitat- 
ing exchanges between different parts of the Union, and 
maintaining a sound, ample, and healthy state of the cur- 
rency, may be said to supply the body politic, economically 
viewed, with a continual stream of life-blood, without which 
it must inevitably languish and sink into exhaustion." 

Three times, the address continued, the President had 
gone out of his way to denounce this blessed fountain of na- 
tional life, as '^ a sort of nuisance, and consign it, as far as his 
influence extends, to immediate destruction." If, therefore, 
the President be reelected, it is all over with the Bank of the 
United States. " Are the people of the United States pre- 
pared for this ? Are they ready to destroy one of their most 
valuable establishments to gratify the caprice of a chief mag- 
iBtrate who reasons and advises upon a subject, with the 
details of which he is evidently unacquainted, in direct con- 
tradiction to the opinion of his own official counselors ?" 

If any such there be, they will vote for Andrew Jackson. 
Bat no, fellow-citizens, we have a higher opinion of your 
good sense and patriotism. Clay and Sergeant, the great de- 
fenders of the sacred Bank, are, unquestionably, the men for 
whom you will cast your votes. 

So the issue between the opposition and the administra- 
tion was joined. The administration, there is good reason to 
believe, would have gladly avoided the issue at this session. 
Mr. Clay wrote to a friend, a few days after the publication 
of the address : " The Executive is playing a deep game to 
avoid, at this session, the responsibility of any decision on the 
bank question. It is not yet ascertained whether the bank, 
by forbearing to apply for a renewal of their charter, will or 
will not conform to the wishes of the President. I think they 
will act very unwisely if they do not apply." I am likewise 
assured, upon authority no less distinguished than Mr. Ed- 
ward Livingston, that, at this stage of the contest, the Presi- 
dent was really disposed to cease the war upon the bank. It 
was Mr. Livingston's opinion that if, at the beginning of 


this session, the bank had shown a little complaisance to the 
President, had consulted him, had consented to certain mod- 
ifications of its charter, the President could have been induced 
to sign the re-chartering bill. Mr. Biddle and Mr. Clay de- 
termined otherwise. They seized the earliest moment to 
taunt and defy the President, who accepted the issue. 

On the 9th of January, Mr. George M. Dallas, of Penn- 
sylvania, presented to the Senate a memorial from the presi- 
dent and directors of the bank, asking a renewal of their 
charter. The memorial, which was chiefly an apology for 
what might seem a premature agitation of the subject, was 
couched in language most modest and respectful It was not 
for them, said the directors, to speak of the value to the pub- 
lic of an institution established with so much difficulty and 
conducted with so much toil. But the bank was connected 
in so many ways with the business of the country, that it was 
hi<j;lily desirable the country should learn, as soon as possible, 
w^hether the present financial system was to cease on the 4th 
of March, 1836, or endure for many years to come. If Con- 
gress, in its wisdom, should decree the extinction of tiie 
bank, the directors would do all in their power to aid the 
community to devise new financial facilities, and would en- 
deavor to close the bank with as little detriment to the busi- 
ness of the country as their experience in the management of 
financial affairs would enable them. 

In presenting this gentlemanlike memorial, Mr. Dallas, a 
friend of the bank, admitted that he thought its presentation, 
just then, unwise. He feared that the bank "might be 
drawn into real or imagined conflict with some higher, some 
more favorite, some more immediate wish or purpose of the 
American people." Observe the senator's descending scale 
of adjectives : " Some higher, some more favorite, some more 
immediate." Hard lot, to be a statesman in a country where 
all politics necessarily resolve themselves into a contest for 
the first office — a contest renewed as soon as the wretched 
incumbent has t^kcn his seat ! Not what is best, but what 
will tell in the presidential campaign, is always the question. 

1832.] THB BANK VETO. 397 

The memorial, presented thus early in the session, was a 
prominent subject of debate during all the winter and spring 
of 1832. January, February, March, April, May, and June, 
passed away before the final passage of the bank bill was 
voted upon. And never was there exhibited so striking an 
illtistration of the maxim, that will, not talent, governs the 
world. The will of one man, Andrew Jackson, operating 
apon the will of one other man, Thomas H. Benton, carried 
the day against the assembled talent and the interested cap- 
ital of the country. The bank, as we all now believe, ought 
to have fallen ; but the mode in which the war against it was 
conducted, was arrogant, ferocious, and mean. Instead of 
opposing it on broad Jeffersonian principles, Benton kept as- 
flailing it with charges of misconduct, most of which were 
fiivolous, and all of any importance were proved to be false. 
Never were the affairs of an institution so microscopically in- 
vestigated. Never was one shown to be more free from inten- 
tional or unintentional blame. I boldly affirm, that in the 
huge volume containing the results of the official investiga- 
tion, published in the spring of 1832, not one accusation in- 
volving the integrity of the directors is sustained. The bank 
was proved to have been conducted with honesty and skill. 
Nor had the conduct or misconduct of the bank any thing 
to do with the question whether or not the bank had a right 
to exist. The mode adopted of assailing the institution could 
not have much effect upon Congress, and was not expected 
to have. The people, the voters at the next presidential 
election, were the individuals sought to be influenced by it. 

Col. Benton confesses as much in his " Thirty Years' 
View." " Seeing," he says, '^ that there was a majority in 
each house for the institution, and no intention to lose time 
in arguing for it, our course of action became obvious, which 
waa, to attack incessantly, assail at all points, display the 
evil of the institution, rouse the people, and prepare thorn to 
flOfltain the veto. It was seen to be the policy of the bank 
leaders to carry the charter first, and quietly, through the 
Senate ; and afterward, in the same way in the House. We 


determined to have a contest in both places, and to force the 
bank into defenses which would engage it in a general com- 
bat, and lay it open to side-blows, as well as direct attacks. 
With this view a great many amendments and inquiries were 
prepared to be offered in the Senate, all of them proper or 
plausible, recommendable in themselves, and supported by 
acceptable i-easons, which the friends of the bank must either 
answer, or reject without answer ; and so incur odium. In 
the House it was determined to make a move, which, whether 
resisted or admitted by the bank majority, would be certain 
to have an effect against the institution — namely, an investi- 
gation by a committee of the house, as provided for in the 
charter. If the investigation was denied, it would be guilt 
shrinking from detection ; if admitted, it was well known 
that misconduct would be found. I conceived this move- 
ment, and had charge of its direction. I preferred the House 
for the theater of investigation, as most appropriate, being 
the grand inquest of the nation ; and, besides, wished a con- 
test to be going on there while the Senate was engaged in 
passing the charter ; and the right to raise the committee 
was complete in either house. Besides the right reserved in 
the charter, there was a natural right, when the corporation 
was asked for a renewed lease, to inquire how it had acted 
under the previous one. I got Mr. Clayton, a new member 
from Georgia (who had written a pamphlet against the bank 
in his own State), to take charge of the movement, and gave 
him a memorandum of seven alleged breaches of the charter, 
and fifteen instances of imputed misconduct to inquire into, 
if he got his committee ; or to allege on the floor if he en- 
countered resistance." 

Mr. Clayton did encoimter resistance. " All these chai^ges," 
continues Col. Benton, " he read to the house, one by one, 
from a narrow slip of paper, which he continued rolling round 
his finger all the time. The memorandum was mine — in my 
hand-writing — ^given to him to copy and amplify, as they 
were brief memoranda. He had not copied them ; and hav- 
ing to justify suddenly, he used the sUp I had given him^ 

1832.] THE BANK VETO. 399 

rolling it on his finger, as on a cylinder, to prevent my hand- 
writing from being seen : so ho afterward told me himself. 
The reading of these twenty-two heads of accusation, like so 
many counts in an indictment, sprung the friends of the 
bank to their feet — and its foes also — each finding in it 
something to rouse them— one to the defense, the other to 
the attack/' 

The committee of investigation was appointed, and ap- 
pointed, of course, by an anti-bank speaker. It consisted of 
seven members — Mr. Clayton, of Georgia, (chairman), Rich- 
ard M. Johnson, Francis Thomas, C. C. Cambreleng, George 
HcDuffie, John Quincy Adams, and Mr. Watmough. The 
first four of these gentlemen were opposed to re-chartering 
the bank ; the last three were in favor of it. On the 23d of 
March, the committee had reached Philadelphia, and begun 
their investigations. Fifty days elapsed before the committee 
were ready to report, and then they were unable to agree. 
Three separate reports were accordingly presented to the 
House, one by the majority, one by the minority, and one by 
Mr. Adams. The last two exonerated the bank from all the 
important charges, and the report of Mr. Adams declared 
that the bank had been conducted with as near an approach 
to perfect wisdom as the imperfection of human nature per- 
mitted. These three reports, with the documents appended, 
form an octavo volume of five hundred and seventy-two 

Believing that the mode in which the bank had been con- 
ducted had nothing to do with the question of re-charter- 
ing, which ought to have been debated, and was decided on 
other grounds, I shall pass lightly over these formidable re- 
ports. Two or three points, however, are interesting in 
themselves, and may worthily detain us a moment. 

One of the Bentonian accusations against the Bank was, 
that it had issued notes not signed by the president and 
cashier. The directors showed that this was owing to the 
physical impossibility of those officers signing the number of 
Qoies required by the parent Bank and its twenty-five 


branches. Consequently, after taking the opinion of the 
thrw great lawyers of the day, Horace Binney, Daniel Web- 
ster, and William Wirt, the directors had authorized the 
presidents and cashiers of the twenty-five branches to issue 
checJcs, which closely resembled the notes of the Bank in 
general appearance, and were not usually distinguished from 

Another of the charges urged by Colonel Benton was, that 
the Bank was criminally profuse in its accommodation to 
editors who favored the re-chartering. Two cases were inves- 
tigated — a loan to Duff Green, of the Telegraphy and loans 
to the proprietors of the New York Courier and Enquirer, 
It was shown, first, that the loan to General Green was a safe 
and legitimate business transaction ; secondly, that at the 
time the loan was made, the Telegraph had led the opposi- 
tion against the Bank ; thirdly, that when applying for the 
loan. Green had expressly stated that " no accommodation 
given by the Bank ynll induce me to alter, in any respect, the 
course which my paper has pursued in relation to it;" 
fourthly, that Mr. Biddle had rci)lied in the following terms : 
" The Bank is glad to have friends from conviction ; but 
seeks none from interest. For mvself, I love the freedom of 
the press too much to complain of its occasional injustice to 
me ; and if the loan be made, it shall be with a |)erfect un- 
derstanding — to be i)ut into the note, if necessary — that the 
bon-owor is to speak his mind about the Bank just as freely 
as he dill before, which I take to be ' ample room and verge 
enough.' " 

Tho case of Colonel Webb and the Courier received an 
extraordinary share of attention. The readers of a New York 
newsi)aper were daily reminded, for about ten years, and are 
not yet permitted to forget, that the amount of the accom- 
modation afforded by the Bank to the Courier and Enquirer^ 
at different times, was $52,975. Tliere were three editors of 
that important newspai)er in 1830, James Watson Webb, M. 
M. Noah, and James Gordon Bennett ; the two latter opposed 
to the re-charter in toto ; the first, opposed to certain fea^ 

1832.] THB BANK VETO. 401 

tares of the Bank, but in favor of re-chartering it with modi- 
fications. The anti-Bank articles, which were a specialty of 
the paper in 1830, were written by Messrs. Noah and Ben- 
nett ; most of them by Bennett, who had an aversion to all 
banks, and who knew, and knows, how important it is to a 
daily paper to have an imposing and powerful object to at- 
tack. Colonel Webb was not the author of one of these ar- 
ticles, though he permitted their insertion, and approved 
them as a part of the party tactics of the hour. Nor was he 
aware, at that time, that the President was prepared to carry 
his hostility to the Bank to the point of its total extinction. 

" The first article," said Colonel Webb, in a letter to Mr. 
Cambreleng, " which ever appeared in our columns, was writ- 
ten in Washington about a month previous to the Message 
of 1829. It was inserted in our columns during my absence 
from the city, or without my examination. I disapproved of 
it, its arguments, and conclusions. I never, in my life, wrote 
a line against the Bank, but I permitted and sanctioned ar- 
ticles against it because we had become committed ; because 
the President had assailed it, and because I was under the 
erroneous impression that it was prostituted to the advance- 
ment of Henry Clay to the presidency. I became convinced 
that this was not the case, and I eagerly seized upon the ex- 
pression of a Jackson legislature in Pennsylvania, upon the 
danger of embroiling the two States (the folly of which Mr. 
Van Buren now suffers under), and the going out of Tylee* 
and coming in of Noah, to take the course which I was per- 
suaded would best subserve the interests of the people, and, 
at the same time, accord fully with my own opinions." 

The first consequence to the paper of its espousal of the 
caiue of the bank was a refusal on the part of the New York 
banks to afford it pecuniary accommodation. ^^ I can prove/' 
said Colonel Webb, in the same letter to Mr. Cambreleng, 
"that at the time of our espousing the re-charter of the 
United States' Bank, we had $13,500 of accommodation in 

* A former proprietor. 
VOL. lU^ — 26 


the City Bank alone^ on the endorsement of Mr. A, L. Stew- 
art ; that we had a large similar accommodation for nearly 
two years from this one institution ; tliat in consequence of 
our favorable opinions of the United States' Bank, they made 
us pay up every penny of our accommodation, and threw out 
our note with Mr. Stewart's endorsement ; that the Manhat- 
tan and National Banks pursued the same course ; and tliat, 
in consequence, we were cut oflf from our usual resources of 
obtaining those accommodations to which the amount of our 
capital employed, and the extent of our business entitled us, 
and which we surely did not sacrifice by publishing a news- 
paper. We were literally proscribed by our local institutions. 
I went to Philadelphia, and gave to Mr. Biddle a full and 
perfect history of our paper, and asked for a loan of $20,000. 
It was granted." 

The statement forwarded by Colonel Webb of the busi- 
ness of his establishment, the first of the kind then existing 
in the country, proved that the loans granted by the bank 
were safe, proper, and usual. Some of the items will interest 
gentlemen connected with the press : 3300 daily subscriben 
at ten dollars ; 2300 weekly or semi-weekly subscribers, at aa 
average of four dollars and fifty cents ; 275 advertising sub- 
scribers, at thirty dollars ; daily income from advertising, 
fifty-five dollars ; daily cash receipts for advertising, ten dol- 
lars ; gross annual income, $60,750 ; expenses, $35,000 ; pro- 
fit, $25,750 ; annual cost of paper, $22,000. Colonel Webb 
considered the establishment worth $150,000. 

The most signal triumph of the bank and its president, 
during this investigation, occurred in connection with the tes- 
timony of Reuben M. Whitney. Whitney had formerly been 
a merchant of Philadelphia and a director of the Bank of the 
United States. At this time, he was a bankrupt, and one 
of the bank's most rancorous enemies, and the chief source of 
Colonel Benton's catalogue of charges. When testifying be- 
fore the committee he gave such evidence as must have blasted 
for ever the good name of the president of the bank, if it had 
not been demonstrated to be the foulest perjury. Observe 

1832.] THE BANK VETO. 403 

the circumstantial maimer in which this individual told his 
scandalous tale : 

Quettum hy Mr, Clayian. Did Mr. Thomas Wilson, the former cashier, 
erer acquaint you with any circumstance relating to the accounts of Mr. 
Thomas fiiddle in the bank ? if yea, state fully what it was. 

Answer. Some time in 1823, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Andrews mentioned 
to me that some transactions had taken place in the bank in which T. and 
J. G. Biddle* were concerned, which they were not willing should exist 
without some member of the board being informed of them. I asked what 
they were. They replied that T. and J. Q-. Biddle had been in the habifr 
of coming to the bank, and getting money, and leaving certificates of stock 
which represented it, in the first teller's drawer, without paying interest 
They also stated, that the Messrs. Biddle had had notes discounted for them 
by the president, which were entered on the books of the preceding dis- 
count day. I asked them what sums there were of the kind in existence 
at that time. They went with me to the first teller's drawer, and we foimd 
one sum of $45,000, dated 25th May, and one for $24,000, dated 26th 
May. We then went to the discount clerk's desk, and found one note at 
fifteen days, dated 13th May, for $20,000 of T. Biddle's, and one note of 
Charies Biddle's, dated 21st May, at sixteen days, for $38,319. The two 
fonner sums represented cash, and the two latter new notes, which they 
stated to me had been discounted by order of the presidents Of all these I 
made a memorandum (now produced) at the time, which corresponds with 
the entries now in the books now shown to me. 

Question by Mr. Thomas, Did you conmiunicate these matters to the 
president? if yea, state when and where. 

Answer, Immediately aflcr examining the books I came into the pres- 
ident's room and communicated to him what had been communicated to 
me, and what I had learned by examining the books. After stating this, 
I desired that nothing of a similar nature should occur while I was a direc- 
tor of the bank. He told me there should not. 

Question hy Mr. Clayton. Did you not direct the officers to enter what 
yon discovered on the books, and was it done ? 

Answer. I directed the officers to enter on the books the money that 
had been loaned from the teller's drawer, and which was represented by 
stock certificates. It was done ; I did not see it done, but I know it was 
done. Subsequently I saw this entry of "bills receivable," which I knew 
was the entry made for that purpose. In the entry in the semi-weekly 
statement, or state of the bank, under date of 27th May, under head of 
bilb receivable, the sum of $69,000 is entered, which is the exact amount 

* Kxtensive Brokers of Philadolphia, second cousins of Nicholaa Biddle. 


of the two sums of $45,000, and 924,000, represented by stock certificites 
in the teller's drawer. 

Question by Mr, Adams, Did you in your communication, immediately 
aflcr directing the entries to be made in the books, inform the president 
that you had directed those entries to be made ? 

Answer. I can not say that I did. 

Question by Mr. McDuffie. The memorandum you have prodaoed is 
the one before referred to by you; when was it made ? 

Answer. I made it at the time the communication toas made to mebg 
Mr. Wilson and Mr. Andrews^ and this memorandum now produced it tie 

Question by Mr. Adams, Have you ever had any communication, 
written or Tcrbal, on this subject, with any member of the committee ? 

Answer. I liave, verbally, with Mr. Clayton, and in the presence of Mi; 
Cambreleng. I have also told different individuals of it immediately after 
it occurred, as well as at various times since. 

Question by Mr. Adams. Did you go to Mr. Clayton without any pre* 
vious solicitation ? 

Answer. I had received a letter from Colonel Benton, informing me he 
had recommended Judge Clayton to me. 

Question by Mr, BiddU^ the President of (he Bank. Where did the il- 
loged conversation between you, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Andrews^ tike 

Answer. In the area of the banking room, not far from the first teller's 
desk. These gentlemen, one or both of them, went with me to the teOer's 
desk. I made the memorandum of the cash there, and my memorandnm 
of the notes I made at the discount clerk's desk ; one or both of them 
went with me to the discount clerk's desk, and there I made mj memo- 
randum of the notes. Mr. Burtis was, I think, the discount clerk. I cm 
not say whether I directed the entries on the books of the loans before I 
went to the discount clerk. I gave the direction to both Mr. Wilson and 
Mr. Andrews, if both were present, or to but one, if only one was presoit 
I stated to you the particulars I had learned, as stated in the memoriD- 
(lum. You did not deny them. You colored up a good dmL I can sot 
say whether there was any person who could have overheard this conver- 
sation, but I presume not I can not say whether or not I have had aoy 
conversation with them since ; I think it probable I have, as I do not 
know how else I learned that the item of bills receivable related to theee 

At the moment^ Mr. Biddle^ astounded at this damning 
testimony, could only deny that it contained one syllable of 
truth. Shortly after, however, he proved to the conunittee, 


1832.] THE BANK VETO. 405 

by evidence the most incontestible, that (to use his own lan- 
guage), " on the very day when B. M. Whitney swears that 
he conversed with me in this room at Philadelphia, where we 
are now sitting — ^for many days before that day, and for 
many days after that day — I was actually in the city of 
Washington. The first evidence is the original minutes of 
the bank, by which it will be seen, that, from the 22d day of 
May to ihe 1st of June, I was absent from the bank, and that 
B. M. Whitney himself attended the meetings of the Board, 
when the fact of my absence was recorded." He produced a 
kage bundle of letters, written by him, and addressed to him, 
at Washington, which established the fact of his presence 
there beyond all possibility of doubt. He also showed, by 
the testimony of many witnesses, that no transaction of the 
kind described so minutely by the wretched Whitney had 
ever occurred. "Thus," said the Minority Beport, "was 
this artfully devised story, which was intended to blast the 
reputation of a high-minded and honorable man, through 
one of those extraordinary interpositions by which Provi- 
dence sometimes confounds the contrivances of the wicked, 
made to recoil upon the head of its inventor, who must for 
ever stand forth as a blasted monument of the speedy and 
retributive justice of Heaven." 

So blinded, however, was General Jackson to all moral 
distinctions by his intense hostility to the bank, that he con- 
tinued to countenance this Whitney ; welcomed him to the 
presidential mansion, and lent a greedy ear to his tales of 
bank corruption, which were then the surest passport to 
presidential favor. 

Mr. Adams intimates, at the conclusion of his report, 
that, so completely had the investigation vindicated the bank. 
Colonel Bichard M. Johnson, one of General Jackson's spe- 
cial adherents and associates, rose and declared that he " had 
seen nothing in the conduct of the president and directors in- 
consistent with the purest honor and integrity." Colonel 
Johnson, however, was an easy, good-natured man, and was 
persuaded to sign the report of the majority. He never 


would have been Vice-President if he had not. Mr. Adams 
concluded his report with these words : " Had that same 
candid and explicit declaration, due, as the subscriber believes, 
to the most rigorous justice, been made by the other members 
who sanctioned the majority report, many a painful remark 
in the paper now submitted, perhaps the whole paper itself, 
would have been suppressed. But to vindicate the honor of 
injured worth is, in his opinion, among the first of moral ob- 
ligations ; and, in concluding these observations, he would 
say to every individual of the House, and to every fellow- 
citizen of the nation, inquisitive of the cause of any over- 
anxious sensibility to imputations upon the good name of 
other men which they may here find — 

" Wlien truth and virtue an affront endures, 
The offense is mine, my fViend, and should be joursL*' 

The bill re-chartering the Bank of the United States 
passed the Senate on the eleventh of June, by a vote of 
twenty-eight to twenty, and the house on the third of July, 
by a vote of one hundred and nine to seventy-six. It was 
presented to the President on the fourth of July, and by him 
returned to Congress, vetoed, on the tenth of the same 
month. The message accompanying the vetoed bill was one 
of the longest and one of the most adroit ever sent to Con- 
gress by a President. It shows that the President, when he 
gave to Mr. Amos Kendall an appointment in the treasoiy, 
knew well what he was doing. 

The objections of the administration to the renewal of the 
bank charter, as expressed in this famous message, may be 
summed up in one ugly word, and that word is Monopoly. 

Here, said the President (in effect), is a certain small 
body of men and women, the stockholders of the bank of the 
United States, upon whom the federal government has be- 
stowed, and by the renewal bill proposes to continue, exclu- 
sive privileges of immense pecimiary value ; and, by doing so, 
restricts the lib<?rty of all other citizens. This is a monopoly. 
The granting of it, in the first place, inasmuch as the efkd 

1832.] THE BANK VETO. 407 

of the measure could not have been foreseen^ may be excused ; 
but for its continuance there is not the shadow of an excuse. 
The following odious featiu^s of the monopoly were enumer- 
ated in the message : 

1. Eight millions of the stock of the bank was held by 
foreigners. The renewal of the charter would raise the mar- 
ket value of that stock at least twenty or thirty per cent. 
Renew the charter, and the American republic will make a 
jtfesent to foreign stockholders of some millions of dollars, 
without deriving the slightest advantage from the munificent 


2. Let it be granted that the government should bestow 
this monopoly. Then a fair price should be paid for it. 
The actual value of the privileges conferred by the bill is 
computed to be seventeen millions of dollars, and the act pro- 
poses to sell those privileges for the annual sum of two hun- 
dred thousand dollars ; or, in other words, for three millions 
of dollars, payable in fifteen annual installments of two hun- 
dred thousand dollars each. 

3. The act excludes competition. Persons of wealth and 
respectability had offered to take a charter on terms more 
fiivorable to the government than those proposed by the 

4. The bill concedes to banks dealing with the bank of 
the United States what it denies to individuals. If a State 
bank in Philadelphia owes money to the bank of the United 
States, and has notes issued by the St. Louis branch, it can 
pay its debt with those notes ; but a merchant must either 
sell his St. Louis notes at a discount, or send them to St. 
Louis to be cashed. This boon to banks operates as a bond 
of union among the banking institutions of the whole coun- 
try, " erecting them into an interest separate from that of 
the people." 

5. The stock held by foreigners can not be taxed, a fact 
which gives such stock a value ten or fifteen per cent. 
greater than that held by citizens. 

6. As each State can tax only the amount of stock held 


by its citizens^ and not the amount employed in the State, 
the tax will operate unequally and unjustly. 

7. Though nearly a third of the stock of the Bank is 
held by foreigners, foreigners have no voice or vote in the 
election of the officers of the Bank. Of the twenty-five di- 
rectors, five arc appointed by the government, and twenty by 
the citizen stockholders. Stock is continually going abroad, 
and the renewal of the charter will greatly accelerate its de- 
parture. The consequence will inevitably be, to throw the 
control of the Bank into the hands of a few resident stock- 
holders, who will be able to re($lect themselves from year to 
year, and who will wield a power dangerous to the institu- 
tions of the country. 

8. Should the stock ever pass principally into the hands 
of the subjects of a foreign country, and we should become 
involved in a war with that country, the interests and feel- 
ings of the directors will be opposed to those of their coun- 
trymen. " All the operations of the Bank within would be 
in aid of the hostile fleets and armies without. ControUing 
our currency, receiving our public moneys, and holding thou- 
sands of our citizens in dependence, it would be more formid- 
able and dangerous than the naval and military power of the 
enemy." If we must have a Bank, every consideration of 
sound policy, and every impulse of American feeling, admon- 
ishes that it should be purely American. And this the more, 
as domestic capital was so abundant, that competition in 
subscribing to a local bank had recently almost led to a riot. 

From this enumeration, the Message proceeded to discuss 
the question of the constitutionality of the bill. A prelimi- 
nary remark excited great clamor at the time. " Each pub- 
lic officer," said the President, " who takes an oath to sup- 
port the Constitution, swears that he will support it as he 
umkrstanda it, and not as it is understood by others :" even 
though those " others" be the Judges of the Supreme Court 
of the United States. " The opinion of the Judges has no 
more authority over Congress than the opinion of Congress 
has over the Judges ; and, on that pointy the President is 

1832.] THE BANK VETO. 409 

independent of both." The Judges, it was true, had decided 
the law incorporating the Bank to be constitutional, but only 
on the general ground that Congress had power " to make all 
laws which shall be necessary and proper" for carrying the 
powers of the general government into execution. Necessary 
and proper ! The question, then, resolved itself into an in- 
quiry whether such an institution as this bill proposed was 
necessary and proper. To that inquiry the author of the 
Message addressed himself ; arriving, of course, at the con- 
clusion that the act contained many provisions most unneces- 
sary and most improper ; and, therefore, unconstitutional. 

The Message, which displayed throughout the marks both 
of ability and earnest conviction, concluded with the follow- 
ing admirable words — ^words that Edward Livingston learned 
to use in the old days when Thomas JeflFerson was the repub- 
lican leader, and himself a young convert to his immortal 
principles : 

" Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. 
Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth, can not be produced by hu- 
mmn iDstitutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifls of heaven and the 
fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled 
to protection by law. But when the laws undertake to add to these natural 
and just advantages, artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and ex- 
dusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, 
the humble members of society, the farmers, mechanics, and laborers, who 
haTO neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to tliemselves, 
haTO a right to complain of the hijustice of their government There are 
no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it 
would confine itself to equal protection, and, as heaven does its rains, 
shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it 
would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before mo, there seems to 
be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles. 

" Nor is our government to be maintained, or our Union preserved, by 
inTasion of the rights and powers of tlie several States. In thus attempt- 
ing to make our general government strong, we make it weak. Its true 
strength consists in leaving individuals and States, as much as possible, to 
themselves ; in making itself felt, not in its power, but in its beneficence, 
not in its control, but in its protection, not in binding the States more 
closely to the center, but leaving each to move unobstructed in its proper 


" Experience should teach us wisdom. Most of the difficulties our 
government now encounters, and most of the dangers which impend over 
our Union, have sprung from an abandonment of the legitimate objects of 
government by our national legislation, and the adoption of such principles 
as are enbodied in this act Many of our rich men have not been con- 
tent with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to 
make them richer by act of Congress. By attempting to gratify their de- 
sires, we have, in the results of our legislation, an-ayed section against sec- 
tion, interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion 
which tlireatens to shake the foundations of our Union. It is time to 
pause in our career, to review our principles, and, if possible, revive that 
devoted patriotism and spirit of compromise which distinguished the sm^ 
of the revolution, and the fathers of our Union. K we can not at once, 
in justice to tlie interests vested under improvident legislation, make our 
government what it ought to be, we can, at least^ take a stand against all 
new grants of monopoUes and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution 
of our government to the advancement of tlio few at the expense of the 
many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of 
laws and system of political economy. 

" I have now done my duty to my country. If sustained by my fel- 
low-citizens, I shall be grateful and happy ; if not^ I shall find, in tlie mo* 
tives which impel me, ample grounds for contentment and peace. In the 
difHculties which surround us, and the dangers which threaten our instita- 
tions, there is cause for neither dismay nor alarm. For relief and deliv- 
erance let us firmly rely on that kind Providence which, I am sure, watches 
with peculiar care over the destinies of our Republic and on the intelli* 
gence and wisdom of our countrymen. Through His abundant goodnesa, 
and their patriotic devotion, our liberty and Union will be preserved," 

Concerning the financial and legal principles laid down in 
this important document, financiers and lawyers differ in 
opinion. The humbler oflBce of the present chronicler is to 
state that the bank-veto message of President Jackson came 
with convincing power upon a majority of the iwjoplc of the 
United States. It settled the question. And it may be 
safely predicted that while that message endures, and the 
Union, as it is now constituted, endures, a bank of the 
United States can never exist. If ever it should be seriously 
proposed to establish one again, that message will rise fipom 
its grave in the volume of presidential messages, where it 
8leei)s forgotten, to crush the proposition. 

1832.] THE BANK VETO. 411 

It was the sin^alar fortune of the bank-veto message to 
delight equally the friends and the foes of the bank. The 
opposition circulated it as a campaign document ! Duff 
Green published it in his extra Telegraphy calling upon all 
the opponents of the administration to give it the widest 
publicity, since it would damn the administration wherever it 
was read. The New York American characterized it thus : 
'^ It is indeed and verily beneath contempt. It is an appeal 
of ignorance to ignorance, of prejudice to prejudice, of the 
most unblushing partisan hostility to the obsequiousness of 
partisan servility. No man in the cabinet proper will be 
willing to share the ignominy of preparing or approving such 
a paper." 

Nicholas Biddle himself was enchanted with it, for he 
thought it had saved the bank by destroying the bank's great 
enemy. " Tou ask," he wrote to Henry Clay, " what is the 
effect of the veto ? My impression is, that it is working as 
well as the friends of the bank and of the country could de- 
sire. I have always deplored making the bank a party ques- 
tion, but since the President will have it so, he must pay 
the penalty of his own rashness. As to the veto message, I 
am delighted with it. It has all the fury of a chained pan- 
ther, biting the bars of his cage. It is really a manifesto of 
anarchy, such as Marat or Kobespierre might have issued to 
the mob of the Faubourg St. Antoine ; and my hope is, that 
it will contribute to relieve the country from the dominion 
of these miserable people. You are destined to be the in- 
strument of that deliverance, and at no period of your life 
has the country ever had a deeper stake in you. I wish you 
success most cordially, because I believe the institutions of 
the Union are involved in it." 

So little did Mr. Biddle, and such as he, know the coun- 
try in which they lived ! As little do such now know it ! 

There was rare speaking in the Senate after the reception 
of the veto. Mr. Webster opened the debate upon it in a 
ponderous speech, which foretold the direst consequences to 
the country unless the people, at the approaching election, 


reversed the President's decision. Mr. Clay followed in one 
of his most energetic harangues, which brought him into per- 
sonal collision with Col. Benton. Benton, it must be owned, 
made some telling hits in replying to Mr. Clay. The veto, 
said the Kentuckian, has grown obsolete in England ; and 
even in France, its frequent exercise by Louis XVI. caused 
the gay Parisians to dub him with the derisive name of Mon- 
sieur Veto. True, said Benton. But what was the nature 
of the laws which that unfortunate king had annulled by hie 
veto ? ^' One was the decree against the emigrants, dooming 
to death and confiscation of estate every man, woman, and 
child who should attempt to save their lives by flying firom 
the pike, the guillotine, and the lamp-post. The other was 
a decree exposing to death the ministers of religion who could 
not take an oath which their consciences repulsed. To save 
tottering age, trembling mothers, and aflfrighted children from 
massacre — to save the temples and altars of God from being 
stained by the blood of his ministers — were the sacred objects 
of those vetoes ; and was there anything to justify a light or 
reproachful allusion to them in the American Senate ? The 
king put his constitutional vetoes to these decrees ; and the 
canaille of Saint Antoine and Marceau — not the gay and 
laughing Parisians, but the bloody canaille, instigated by 
leaders more ferocious than themselves — ^began to salute the 
king as Monsieur Veto, and demand his head for the guillo- 
tine. And the queen, when seen at the windows of her 
prison, her locks pale with premature white, the effect of ao 
agonized mind at the ruin she witnessed, the poissardes sa- 
luted her also as Madame Veto ; and the Dauphin came in 
for the epithet of the Little Veto. And now, why this al- 
lusion ? What application of its moral ? Surely it is not 
pointless ; not devoid of meaning and practical application. 
We have no bloody guillotines here, but we have political 
ones : sharp axes falling from high, and cutting off political 
heads ! Is the service of that ax invoked here upon * Gen- 
eral Andrew Veto ?' If so, and the invocation should be 


1832.] THE BANK VETO. 413 

saccessful, then Andrew Jackson^ like Louis XYI., will cease 
to be in any body's way in their march to power." 

Mr. Clay said that the veto had placed the friends of 
the President in an agonizing dilemma. ^' Their condition/' 
Baid he, '' reminds me of the fable invented by Dr. Frank- 
lin, of the eagle and the cat. The eagle pounced from 
his lofty flight in the air, upon a cat, taking it to be a pig. 
Having borne off his prize, he quickly felt most painfully the 
daws of the cat thrust deeply into his sides and body. 
While flying, he held a parley with the supposed pig, and 
proposed to let go his hold if the other would let him alone. 
No, says puss, you brought me from yonder earth below, and 
I will hold fast to you until you carry me back ; a condition 
to which the eagle readily assented." 

" Well," said Benton, " and what is the application of the 
fisible ?" ^' General Jackson is the eagle ; the bank is the cat ; 
the parley is the proposition of the bank to the President to 
sign its charter, and it will support him for the presidency — 
if not, will keep its claws stuck in his sides. But, Jackson, 
different from the eagle with his cat, will have no compro- 
mise, or bargain with the bank. One or the other shall fall 1 
and be dashed to atoms ! !" 

CoL Benton complained of Mr. Clay's indecorous mode of 
speaking of the President, which, he said, was the more im- 
proper, as Mr. Clay was a rival candidate for the suffrages 
of the people. This remark led to a most pointed and angry 
colloquy between the two Senators. 

Mr. Clay said: "There are some peculiar reasons why I 
should not go to that Senator for my views of decorum, in re- 
gard to my bearing toward the chief magistrate, and why he 
is not a fit instructor. I never had any personal encounter 
with the President of the United States. I never complained 
of any outrages on my person committed by him. I nevci 
published any bulletins respecting his private brawls. The 
gentleman will understand my allusions. I never complained, 
that while a brother of mine was down on the ground, sense- 
leflB or dead, he received another blow. I have never made 


any declarations like these relative to the individual who is 
President. There is also a singular prophecy as to the con- 
sequences of the election of this individual, which far sur- 
passes, in evil foreboding, whatever I may have ever said in 
regard to his election. I never made any ])rediction so sin- 
ister, nor made any declaration so harsh, as that which is con- 
tained in the prediction to which I allude. I never declared 
my apprehension and belief, that if he were elected, we should 
be obliged to legislate with pistols and dirks by our side."* 

Col. Benton replied : " It is true, sir, that I had an affiay 
with General Jackson, and that I did complain of his conduct 
We fought, sir ; and we fought, I hope, like men. When 
the explosion was over, there remained no ill will, on either 
side. No vituperation or systom of iMjtty persecution was 
kept up between us. Yes, sir, it is true, that I had the per- 
sonal diflSculty which the Senator from Kentucky has had 
the delicacv to brinff before the Senate. But let me tell the 
Senator from Kentucky there is no ^ adjourned question of 
veracity ' between me and Genei*al Jackson. All difficulty 
between us ended with the conflict ; and a few months after 
it, I believe that either party would cheerfully have relieved 
the other from any peril ; and now we shake hands and are 
friendly when we meet. I repeat, sir, that there is no * ad- 
journed question of veracity' between me and General Jack- 
son, standing over for settlement. If there had been, a gulf 
would have separated us as deep as hell." Col. Benton de- 
clared he had never made the dirk-and-pistol prophecy quo- 
ted by Mr. Clay. 

Mr. Clay denied that there was any adjourned question 
of veracity between himself and General Jackson. "He 
made," said Mr. Clay, "a certain charge (of bargain) against 

* Mr. Clay alluded to the foUov^ring words attributed to Mr. Benton: '*If 
General Jackson shall bo elected, he will surround himself with a pack of politi- 
eal bull dogs, to bark at all who daro to oppose his measures. For mjselt 
as I can not think of legislating with a brace of pistols in my belt, I aittll, 
in the event of the election of General Jackson, resign my seat in the Senate^ M 
every independent man will liavo to do, or risk his life and honor." 

L832.] THE BANK VETO. 415 

ne, and he referred to witnesses to prove it. I denied the 
Tuth of the charge. He called upon his witness to prove it. 
[ leave it to the country to say whether that witness sus- 
ained the truth of the President's all^ation. The witness 
[Mr. Buchanan) is now on his passage to St. Petersburg, with 
i commission in his pocket." Mr. Clay reverted to the dirk- 
ind-pistol remark attributed to Col. Benton. "Can you, 
ir," he asked, turning toward Col. Benton, " can you look 
ne in the face, and say that you never used that language 
mi of the State of Missouri ?" 

" I look, sir," replied Benton, " and repeat that it is an 
btrocious calumny ; and I will pin it to him who repeats it 


" Then," said Mr. Clay, " I declare before the Senate that 
^on said to me the very words." 

" False, false, false," roared Benton. 

" I fling back," cried Clay, " the charge of atrocious cal- 
imny upon the Senator from Missouri." 

The infuriated Senators were here called to order on all 
ides, and the chair compelled them to desist. Colonel Ben- 
on then said : " I apologize to the Senate for the manner in 
irhich I have spoken : but not to the Senator from Ken- 

Mr. Clay apologized : " To the Senate I also offer an 
kpology. To the Senator from Missouri none." 

It was quite a curious coincidence, that on one of these 
ine mornings, when Colonel Benton was so fiercely battling 
or the President in the Senate chamber, the President had 
» submit to a surgical operation for the extraction of the 
)ullet which he had carried in his left unn ever since the 
ime of the Benton affray, in Nashville, twenty years before. 
Che Greneral laid bare his arm, grasped his well known walk- 
Qg stick, and told the doctor (Dr. Harris, of Philadelphia) 
» " go ahead." The doctor made a bold incision into the 
lesh, gave the arm a squeeze, and out jumped the ball upon 
he floor. It was all over and the arm bandaged in one 
ninute. My informant does not state whether ^e General 


restored the ball to its rightful owner or his representative, 
nor whether Colonel Benton was able to look the President 
comfortably in the face that evening. 

On the 16th of July, at six o'clock in the morning, Con- 
gress adjourned. The opposition members went home to join 
their allies of the press in the attempt to convince the people 
of the United States that the veto was ruining the country, 
and would completely ruin it, unless they elected Messrs. 
Clay and Sergeant to the first offices of the government in 
the following November. 

The opposition press told the people that the veto had 
caused the stock of the great bank to decline four per cent ; 
that bricks had fallen from five dollars per thousand to three ; 
that wild consternation pervaded the great cities ; that real 
estate had lost a fourth of its value ; that western men were 
contracting to deliver pork, next season, at two dollars and a 
half if Clay was elected, and at one dollar and a half if Jack- 
son was elected ; that mechanics were thrown out of employ- 
ment by thousands, and were going supperless to bed ; that 
no more steamboats were to be built on the western riven 
until there was a change of rulers ; that the old friends of 
General Jackson were falling away from him in every direo- 
tion ; that mass-meetings were held in every State denounc- 
ing the veto ; that the Irish voters were seceding from General 
Jackson, thousands of them at one meeting ; and that the 
defeat of the tyrant was as certain to occur as the sun was 
certain to rise on the morning of election day. 




A STRANGE^ sad^ exciting^ eventful summer was that of 

It opened gayly enough. The country had never been 
tinder such headway before. In looking over the newspapers 
for May of that year, the eye is anestcd by the incident of 
Washington Irving's triumphal return home after an absence 
from his native land of seventeen years. He had gone away 
an unknown youth, or little known beyond his own circle, 
and came back a renowned author who had won as much 
honor for his country as for himself. The little speech which 
he delivered at the banquet given him in the city of New 
York, delightfully reveals the innocent astonishment which 
the young Republic, once so fearful of its future, felt at the 
mighty pace at which it seemed to be going toward gicatness. 
The modest Irving, unused to speak in public, spoke with 
fieiltering voice of his warm and unexpected welcome. But 
when he came to describe the changes he observed in his na- 
tive city, the marvelous prosperity that every where met his 
eyes, his tongue was loosened, and he burst into momentar}- 

" From the time/' said he, " that I approached the coast, 
I saw indications of the growing greatness of my native city. 
We had scarce descried the land, when a thousand sails of all 
descriptions gleaming along the horizon, and all standing to 
or from one point, showed that we were in the neighborhood 
of a vast commercial emporium. As I sailed up our beauti- 
ful bay, with a heart swelling with old recollections and de- 
lightful associations, I was astonished to eee its once wild 
features brightening with populous villages and noble jnles, 
and a teeming city extending itself over heights which I had 
left covered with groves and foR^sts. But how shall I describe 
my emotion when our city itself rose to sight, seated in the 
VOL. III. — 27 


midst of its watery domain, stretching away to a vast extent; 
when I beheld a glorious sunshine brightening up the spires 
and domes, some familiar to memory, others new and un- 
known, and beaming on a forest of masts of every nation, ex- 
tending as far as the eye could reach. I have gazed with ad- 
miration upon many a fair city and stately harbor, but my 
admiration was cold and ineflfectual, for I was a stranger, and 
had no property in the soil. Here, however, my heart 
throbbed >vith pride and joy as I admired. I had birthright 
in the brilliant scene before me — 

' This was my own, my native land.' 

'* It has been asked, * Can I be content to live in this 
countrj'^ ?' Whoever asks that question must have but an 
inadequate idexi of its blessings and delights. What sacrifice 
of enjoyments have I to reconcile myself to ? I come from 
gloomier climates to one of brilliant sunshine and ins]>iring 
pUrity. I come from countries lowering with doubt and dan- 
ger, where the rich man trembles and the poor man frowns— 
where all repine at the present and dread the future. I 
come from these, to a country where all is life and animation; 
where I hoar on everv side the sound of exultation : where 
every one speaks of the past with triumph, the present with 
delight, the future with growing and confident anticipation. 
Is this not a community in which one may rejoice to live ? 
Is this not a city by which one may be proud to bo received 
iis a son ? Is this not a land in which every one may be 
happy to fix his destiny and ambition, if possible to found a 
name ? I am asked how long I mean to remain here. They 
know but little of my heart or my feelings who cixn ask me 
this question ! —As long as I live." 

Just so the country felt as it read Mr Irving's glowing 
sentences in the month of May, 1832. 

Before the next month had run its course, a great terror 
pervaded the continent. The cholera, that had ravaged Eu- 
rope last year, and spread over America a vague alarm, broke 


out in Quebec on the ninth of June. An emigrant ship lost 
forty-two of her passengers from the disease while crossing the 
ocean, and seemed to communicate it to the city as soon as she 
anived. Swiftly the disease made its southward progress — 
swiftly, but capriciously — leaping here a region, diverging 
there, sparing some unhealthful localities, and desolating 
others supposed to be peculiarly salubrious. It reached New 
York fifteen days after its appearance in Quebec. There was 
no parade on the fourth of July. Hospitals were hastily 
prepared in every ward. The cases increiised in number for 
just one month ; at the expiration of which three hundred 
persons daily sickened, and nearly one hundred died, of chol- 
era alone. Grass grew in some of the thoroughfares usually 
thronged, and whole blocks of stores were closed. By the 
middle of August, when 2,565 j^rsons had died of the disease, 
it had so far subsided that the people who had fled b^an to 
return, and the city to regain its wonted aspect.* 

As the epidemic subsided in New York, it gained further 
South. It raged in Philadelphia, terrified Baltimore, threat- 
ened Washington, and darted malignant influences into the 
&r West. Cincinnati was attacked, and the troops stationed 
at unknown Chicago did not escape. New Orleans had it, 
instead of the yellow fever. 

As a vulture, brooding in the air, invisible, discerns its 
prey afar off, and swooping dow^nward seizes it in its horrid 
talons, unexpected, irresistible, and then, having torn the 
blood out of its heart, ascends again to the upper air, and 
surveying once more the outspread land, espies another help- 

* Tho A3llowiDg paragraph is from tbo Nt:w York Journal of Commerce of 
July 26th, 1832 : *' Thcro never was a more delightful exhibition of Chrisitian 
benevolence than is now witnessed in this city. The generous donations which 
have been recorded, and which still continue to flow in, form but an item in tho 
general aggregate. Numbers of our most accomplished ladies are engaged, day 
after day, in making garments for tho poor and distressed, while committees of 
gentlemen, who at home sit on elegant sofas and walk on Brussels carpets, are 
eearching out tho abode of poverty, filth, and disease, and administering person- 
aOy lo the wants of the wretched inmates. There is no telling tho misery which 
tb^ often meet with and relieve." 


less victim, and rushes down upon it, so did this wayward 
and terrible cholera seem to select, from day to day, for no 
reasons that science could penetrate, a fresh town to suddenly 
affright and desolate. 

About the middle of August, the President, accompanied 
by Mr. Blair and other friends, left Wasliington for a visit to 
the Hermitage, and did not return until tlie nineteenth of 
October. On this journey it was remarked the President 
paid his expenses in gold. ** No more paper-money, you see. 
fellow-citizens, if I can only j)ut down this Nicholas BiJdle 
and his monstor bank." A telling maneuver in a country of 
doubtful banks and counterfeit-detectors, distressing to all 
women, and puzzling to most men. '^ Ninety-five cnuuter- 
feits of the bills of the bank of the United States alonu," 
Col. Bentcm had kept the coimtry in mind of during the late 
debates. Gold, long since gone out of circulation, was held 
up to the ])eople as the cuiTency which the administration of 
General Jackson was struggling to restore. A golden ]»iece 
of money, as most of us remember, was a curiosity at that 
time. It was a distinction in country places to possess one. 
Clay and eternal rag-money, Jackson and speedy gold, was 
diligently represented to be the issue between the two aindi- 
dates. Storekeepers responded by announcing themselves as 
anti-bank hatters, and hard-money bakers. The administra- 
tion had given the politicians a " good cry " to go before 
the country with, and it was not allowed to fall to the 

Amid the teiTors of the cholera, one would have expected 
to liud the presidential campaign carried on with less than 
the usual spirit. There was a lull in midsummer. But, 
upon the whole, no contest of the kind was ever conductoil 
with so much energy and so much labor. The imniphlets of 
the campaign still astonish collectors by their number, their 
ability, and their size. Against the administration seem to 
have been arrayed the talent of the country, the great capital- 
ists, the leading men of business, and even the smaller banks, 
making common cause with the great bank, doomed to quick 



extinction if General Jackson were reelected. Let us note 
briefly a few instructive incidents of the contest. 

At the last moment, it appears, there was some reason to f 
fear that the machinery devised to secure the nomination of 
Mr, Van Buren would fail to effect its purpose. Among 
those who objected to place him upon the ticket with Gen- 
eral Jackson was that very Major Eaton for whom he had 
done and risked so much. Eaton was a delegate from Ten- 
nessee to the nominating convention. Major Lewis writes to 
me : " Mr. Eaton objected to the nomination of Mr. Van 
Buren, alleging that it would endanger the election of General 
Jackson. I had not seen Mr. Eaton for five or six months ; 
but learning, only the day before the convention was to meet, 
that he would oppose the nomination of Mr. Van Buren, I 
immediately wrote him in strong and decided terms, warning 
him of the danger of such a course, unless he was prepared to 
quarrel with the General ! He was sent as a delegate from 
Tennessee, and went directly to Baltimore, where the conven- 
tion was to sit, the evening before it was to meet, without 
passing through Washington as was oxi)ectcd ; but fortun- 
ately he received my letter in time to save both himself and 
Mr. Van Buren, perhaps." 

The convention met, as Messrs. Lewis, Hill, Blair, and 
Kendall had decreed it should meet, at Baltimore on the 
2l8t of May. Three hundred and twenty-six delegates were 
present. The Generars old friend. Judge Overton, of Ten- 
nessee, was to have presided over the assembly, but was pre- 
vented from doing so by sickness. The convention soon came 
to a vote upon the candidates for the second olBce. Mr. Van 
Buren received two hundred and sixty votes ; Mr. P. P. Bar- 
bour, of Virginia, forty ; Col. Richard M. Johnston, twenty- 
six. The opi)Osition noticed, with comment, that this con- 
vention adjourned without deigning to issue the usual address 
to the people. 

The plan of the Calhoun wing of the democratic party, 
if wing it could be called, and if it had a plan, was explained, 
at the time^ by Gt3neral Duff Green to one of the friends of 


Mr. Clay, aud by Mr. Clay to his nearest friend, Judge 
Brooke, of Maryland. It was a wild scheme, or seems bucIi 
to us who coolly scan it at this distance of time. " Dufif ex- 
plained fully the views and wishes of the Calhoun party. 
These are, that his name shall, in the course of the ensuing 
summer (say August), be presented as a candidate ; that, if 
no ticket is run in Virginia by our friends, and if they will co- 
operate with his, he can obtain the vote of that State ; that, 
with a fair prospect of receiving the vote of Virginia, he will 
obtain those also of North Carolina, Georgia, and South Car- 
olina, and probably of Alabama and Mississippi ; that the 
result would be to defeat the reelection of General Jackson, 
and to devolve the election on the House ; that there they 
suppose I would be elected ; and that they would be satisfied 
with my election. I have neither said nor done any thing in 
reply to all this, to commit my friends or myself. I could 
not, without dishonor, have ventured upon any sort of com- 
mitment of them. They are, in fact, free, and so I wish them 
to remain, to act according to their own sense of propriety." 

A coalition between the leader of the nullifvinj: free- 
traders and the champion of the protective system woidd 
have been an astonishing conjunction, indeed. And Mr. Clay 
does not appear to object to it on the ground of its incon- 
gruity. He proceeds to ask Judge Brooke whether the thing 
could be done, and if done, whether it would achieve the 
end desired of ousting Jackson and linishing the public career 
of Van Buren. The two factions, so irreconcilably opposed 
in principle, had already coalesced to reject the nomination 
of Mr. Van Buren ; and the well-informed Dr. Hammond, in 
his ^' Political History of New York," intimates that, at the 
same time, the subsequent compromise between nullification 
and i)rotection was substantially agreed upon. Let us not, 
however, get beyond our depth. Suffice it here to say that 
the scheme of running Mr. Calhoun, so as to throw the 
election into the House, was not attempt4}d, and that the 
forces of the opposition, except the anti-masonry i)arty, were 
concentrated upon Messra. Clay and Sergeant. 


The anti-masonry party, which had nominated Mr. Wirt 
for the presidency, and Mr. William Ellnaker, of Pennsyl- 
vania, for the vice-presidency, was a noisy and earnest party, 
but proved to have little power except in two localities, west- 
em New York and Vermont. 

The grounds upon which the opposition rested their case 
against the administration need not be repeated here. Most 
of them will occur to the reader. 

We support General Jackson, said the friends of the ad- 
ministration, because he has restored the government to the 
principles of Jefferson ; because he has stayed the corrupt 
and unconstitutional expenditure of the public money for in- 
ternal improvements designed for the benefit of localities ; 
because he has waged war upon that gigantic and overshadow- 
ing monopoly, the bank of the United States ; because on 
the tariff he stands between the two dangerous extremes of 
free trade and prohibition, and counsels moderation and com- 
promise ; because, in less than two ycai*s from the beginning 
of his administration, the trade to the West Indies, which 
had been lost by the mismanagement of that which preceded 
it, was again opened to the United States, on terms of reci- 
procity ; because, within the same period, treaties of the ut- 
most importance and difficulty have been negotiated with 
Denmark, Turkey, and France ; because the dispute on the 
subject of boundaries on our eastern frontier has been brought 
to an issue by an award advantiigeous to the United States ; 
because our relations with every portion of the world are 
harmonious, and the United States never stood higher in the 
respect of the world than at this moment ; because Andrew 
Jackson, himself sprung from the people, and in heart-felt 
sympathy with them, is the champion and defender of the 
people against monopolies, bank aristocrats, gambling stock- 
holders, and all others who prey upon the earnings of the 
fitrmer and mechanic. 

The opposition, in waging this important contest, relied 
chiefly upon banquets, speeches, pamphlets, newspapers, and 
caricatures. Caricatures, poorly designed and worse executed, 


were published in great numbers in the course of the season. 
A favorite idea of the caricaturists was to depict Mr. Van 
Buren as an infant in the arms of General Jackson^ receiving 
sustenance from a spoon in t-lie hand of the General. One 
popular picture represented the President receiving a crown 
from Mr. Van Buren and a scepter from the devil. Another 
showed the President raving at a delegation. Another gave 
Clay and Jackson in the guise of jockeys, riding a race 
toward the White House — Clay half a length a head. An- 
other represented Jackson, Van Buren, Benton, Blair, Ken- 
dall, and others, attired as burglars, aiming a huge battering- 
ram at the bank's im})regnable front door. Another portrayed 
General Jackson as Don Quixote, tilting at one of the huge 
pillars of the same marble edifice, and breaking his puny 
lance against it. 

The other party made great use of transparencies, proces- 
sions, and hickory poles. M. Chevalier, a French gentleman 
then traveling in the United States, gives an amusing account 
of the Jackson processions. They were so frequent that the 
traveler was led to suj)pose them one of the institutions of 
the country. ^^ Besides the camp-meetings," he stiys, " the 
political processiuns are the only things in this country which 
bear any resemblance to festivals. The party dinners, with 
their si)eeches and deluge of toasts, are frigid, if not repul- 
sive ; and I have never seen a more miserable aftair than the 
dinner given by the Opposition ; that is to say, by the mid- 
dle class, at Powelton, in the neighborhood of Philadelphia. 
But I sto])ped involuntarily at the sight of the gigantic 
hickory pules which made their solemn entry on eight wheels, 
for the jjurpose uf being planted by the democracy on theevt 
of the election. I remember one of these poles, with its top 
still crowned with green foliage, which came on to the sound 
of fifes and drums, and was preceded by ranks of democrats, 
bearing no other badge than a twig of the sacred tree in their 
hats. It was drawn by eight horses, decorated with ribbons 
and mottoes. Astride on the tree itself were a dozen Jack- 


son men of the first water, waving flags with an air of antici- 
pated triumph, and shouting ' Hurra for Jackson!' 

" But this entry of the hickory was but a by-matter com- 
pared with the procession I witnessed in New York. It was 
nearly a mile long. The democrats marched in good order, 
to the glare of torches ; the banners were more numerous 
than I had ever seen them in any religious festival ; all were 
in transparency, on account of the darkness. On some were 
inscribed the names of the democratic societies or sections : 
Democratic young men of the ninth or eleventh loard; others 
bore imprecations against the Bank of tlie United States ; 
Nick Biddle and Old Nick here figured largely. Then came 
portraits of General Jackson afoot and on horseback ; there 
was one in the uniform of a general, and another in the per- 
son of the Tennessee fanner, with the famous hickory cane in 
his hand. Those of Washington and Jefferson, surrounded 
with democratic mottoes, were mingled with emblems in all 
tastes and of all colors. Among these figured an eagle, not 
a painting, but a real, live eagle, ti