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VOL. I. 





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'.SO 10.55 


DEC 99 1883 


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Entered, according to Act of Conjrrees, In the year 1S89, t 
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District oi 

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1. B. Slf ITU A ftOM, 

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" Oh, hang General Jackson !" exclaimed Fanny 
Kemble one day, after dinner, in the cabin of the 
ship that brought her to the United States, in the 
summer of 1832 ; so wearied was the vivacious lady 
with the din of politics, and the incessant repetition 
of the name associated with all the topics of that 
stormy period. And what a scene was that, when 
the Old Man, victorious over Nullification, and about 
to deal his finishing blow at the Bank, visited New 
York, and was borne along Broadway on one roar- 
ing wave of upturned faces and flashing eyes ; when 
it seemed, said a spectator, as if he had but to speak 
the word, and they would have proclaimed him on the 
spot a king ! 

To this hour, the fame of General Jackson is a cap- 
ital item in the capital stock of a political party. It is 
one of our standing jokes, founded on fact, that in some 
of the remote rural districts, the ancient inhabitants 
still go to the polls under the impression that they are 
voting for old General Jackson. How many of the 
last eight Presidents would ever have taken up their 
residence in the White House, if they had not been 
helped towards it through him ? Not one ! 


Of this man, who made such a stir in the world, who 
rendered to his country services which it will never 
cease to value, whose name is still a power among us, 
there has not yet appeared a biography which is both 
complete and credible. There is none which its own 
author thinks, or would claim, to be adequate to the 
subject. Hence these volumes, which attempt to sup- 
ply the deficiency. 

The value of a work of this kind depends, of course, 
wholly upon its credibility ; and this is particularly the 
case with one which, besides containing much that is 
new, contains also much that is unexpected. A brief 
account of the author's labors will, perhaps, be the best 
way of enabling the reader to judge how far he may 
i abandon himself' to the narrative before him. 

To collect and examine all that has been previously 
written on his subject, is obviously the first duty of 
every author. After a few months' search among the li- 
braries, bookstores, and bookstalls, there had risen round 
me those mountains of lies and trash (with some gems 
of truth and good sense shining from the midst there- 
of,) which are described in other preliminary pages of 
this volume. The greater part of these publications 
are what we term " Campaign literature," a peculiar 
product of the United States ; less discreditable to us, 
perhaps, than the aids to an enlightened use of the 
franchise employed elsewhere — beer, bribes, ribbons, 
the honeyed talk of ladies, and such rougher arguments 
as unclean missives and broken heads. Nevertheless, 
campaign literature is dreadful stuff, particularly when 
it is cold. It can not be trusted at all. These cam. 


paign Lives of General Jackson, for example, either 
pervert or suppress every act and trait of his, the 
frank statement of which could produce an unfav- 
orable effect upon the mind of a single voter. Eat- 
on's work, from which the rest are chiefly derived, does 
not mention the name of Aaron Burr, says nothing of 
the Benton affray, nor the Dickinson duel. Yet Eaton 
was one of the most%onest of all the Jacksonian writ- 
ers ; for it was better to pass over these most influen- 
tial affairs in silence, than to relate them with purposed 

For many months I was immersed in this unique, 
bewildering collection, reading endless newspapers, 
pamphlets, books, without arriving at any conclusion 
whatever. If any one, at the end of a year even, had 
nsked what I had yet discovered respecting General 
Jackson, I might have answered thus : " Andrew 
Jackson, I am given to understand, was a patriot 
and a traitor. He was one of the greatest of gen- 
erals, and wholly ignorant of the art of war. A 
writer brilliant, elegant, eloquent, without being able 
to compose a correct sentence, or spell words of four 
syllables. The first of statesmen, he never devised, 
he never framed a measure. He was the most can- 
did of men, and was capable of the profoundest dis- 
simulation. A most law-defying, law-obeying citizen. 
A stickler for discipline, he never hesitated to dis- 
obey his superior. A democratic autocrat. An ur- 
bane savage. An atrocious saint." So difficult is it 
to attain information respecting a man whom two 
thirds of his fellow-citizens deified, and the other 


third vilified, for the space of twelve years or 

In this condition of doubt, I set out on a tour of the 
southern and south-western States, in search of knowl- 
edge. At Washington I conversed with politicians of 
the last generation, who have now no longer an inter- 
est in concealing the truth. I visited North Carolina, 
where General Jackson was borif, and where he stud- 
ied law and was admitted to the bar ; South Carolina, 
where he grew from infancy into manhood ; Tennessee^ 
where he lived so long and so happily ; Alabama, the 
scene of his early exploits ; and other States, a third 
of the Union in all ; receiving in each the recollections 
of men and women, bond and free, who knew him well, 
knew him at all periods of his life, lived near him, and 
with him, served him and were served by him. One 
woman still lingers in extreme old age, who thinks she 
remembers him an infant in his mothers arms. With 
her I conversed ; as also with the gentleman who 
caught the hero's head when it fell forward in death. 
I listened, also, to many who were always opposed to 
the man, and still like him not. Manuscript letters of 
the General's in great numbers were freely given me 
to copy, and other manuscripts only less valuable than 
these. Old files of Tennessee newspapers came to 
light, that were full of Jackson and his early wild ca- 
reer. It seemed sometimes in Nashville as if the city 
had formed itself into a Committee of the Whole, for 
the purpose of overwhelming the stranger with papers, 
reminiscences, and hospitality. 


And thus it was that contradictions were recon- 
ciled, that mysteries were revealed, and that the 
truth was made apparent. 

It would be a pleasure to record here the names of 
all those to whom the readers of these volumes are in- 
debted for whatever renders them of any value. But 
the list could not be complete. Ladies object to the 
parade of their names in print. Some gentlemen think, 
with the Duke of Wellington, that the truth is some- 
thing dangerous to tell, and may involve in harm even 
those who are remotely connected with the telling of 
it. " I should like much to tell the truth," said the 
Duke, when meditating the writing of his own me- 
moirs, " but if I did, I should be torn in pieces." 1 
believe his Grace underrated the quality of his own 
countrymen ; as those Americans do theirs, who 
think that what the people of the United States 
want is the dull, respectable, half-truth, instead of 
the truth. Some do, perhaps. The majority want 
the Life of General Jackson written, as he himself, 
in one of the last sentences he ever penned, said he 
wished it written — with simple fidelity. 

Some years ago, a young English clergyman, fresh 
from the ecclesiastical dainties of Oxford, was ap- 
pointed to one of the most rural of parishes, in a 
county that had as yet only heard of Dr. Pusey. The 
parish church was a picture. A fine, solid, old struc- 
ture of the middle ages ; with its ancient belfry, 
and climbing ivy, and cawing rooks, and niche for holy 
water, and venerable graveyard, and all the other an- 
tiquities most dear in the eyes of a clerical Oxonian of 


that day. But the interior of the church was a sad 
disappointment, and to the young priest a perpet- 
ual sorrow. There were not wanting indications 
that it had been originally finished in a costly and 
superior manner. There were pillars, small and 
large ; there was groining in the roof ; there were 
tombs and monuments, and some dim remains of an- 
cient carving. But the whole was covered with 
what appeared to be the dust of centuries, hard- 
ened into a dark and dismal crust. 

How to restore the ancient edifice ! How to make 
the interior correspond with the picturesque exterior ! 

The church-wardens, the parish-clerk, the sexton, 
all concurred in opinion on the subject ; and that opin- 
ion was — whitewash ! With horror the fastidious pas- 
tor rejected the suggestion. But it led him to reflec- 
tion, and reflection to inspection, and inspection to 
experiment, and experiment to discovery. The old 
church, he found, had been for centuries subject 
periodically to the sacrilege of whitewashing. The 
dismal crust with which the interior was covered 
was nothing more than the whitewash of ages. The 
proper way, then, to restore the edifice to its orig- 
inal character, was to remove with careful iiiind 
this odious accumulation from every part of the sur- 
face, and let out its character to the light. 

It was a labor of years. With his own hands 
the zealous clergyman wrought. With his own reve- 
nues he kept the work in progress. At length, on 
an Easter morn, he saw Ids task complete, and the 
church was as fresh, and clean, and characteristic, as 


when, six hundred years before, a Catholic bishop had 
chanted its consecration. What marvels were re- 
vealed ! Marble pillars, tombs elaborately wrought 
and brilliantly colored, oaken carvings, and finely 
finished walls of yellow stone. 

But yet the church was not a perfect church. The 
whitewash which had imprisoned many beauties, had 
concealed some flaws — some serious, nay, repulsive and 
shocking flaws. It was still an old church, a very old 
church, which the modern eye had to learn to allow 
for, and to like; and some there were in the parish 
who, after all, would have preferred the glare and 
monotonous perfection of a new and tWck coat of 
whitewash. But the greater number saw with pleas- 
ure that now their old church, whatever its defects 
and faults, was honest, curious, interesting, real. Not 
a model to copy, but a specimen to study. 





The Life of Andrew Jackson, Major General 
in the service of the United States : compris- 
ing a history of the War in the South, from 
the commencement of the Creek Campaign 
to the termination of hostilities before New 
Orleans. By John Henry Eaton, Senator of 
the United States. Philadelphia, 1824T 8vo. 
468 pp. 

[Published originally about 1818. The basis 
of all the popnlar lives of Jackson ; valuable 
for its rail details of the Creek War. Not de- 
signedly false, bat necessarily so, because 
written on the principle of omitting to men- 
tion every act and trait of Its subject not cal- 
culated to win general approval. The author 
was a neighbor and friend of General Jackson, 
afterwards a member of his cabinet.] 

Memoirs of General Andrew Jackson, to- 
gether with the Letter of Mr. Secretary Adams, 
in vindication of the execution of Arbuthnot 
and Ambrister, and the other public acts of 
General Jackson, in Florida. Bridge ton, N. J., 
1824. 8vo. 40 pp. 

[A pamphlet of the presidential campaign 

The Life of Major General Andrew Jackson : 
comprising a history of the War in the South, 
from the commencement of the Creek Cam- 
paign to the termination of hostilities before 
New Orleans. Addenda: containing a brief 
history of the Seminole War and Cession and 
Government of Florida. By John Henry 
Katon. Senator of the United States Congress. 
Philadelphia, 1823. 12 mo. 885 pp. 

[The original work of Major Eaton, with 
some additional pages, narrating such of the 
incidents of the Seminole War as the author 
thought proper.] 

Civil and Military nistory of Andrew Jack- 
ton, late Major General in the Army of the 
United States, and Commander-in-Chief of 
the Southern Division. By an American 
Officer. New York, 1825. Vimo. 859. 

[Contains a nearly complete set of General 
Jackson's military dispatches.] 

A concise Narrative of General Jackson's 
First Invasion of Florida, and of his immortal 
Defense of New Orleans: with Remarks. 
Second edition, with Additions, by Aristides. 
New York, 1827. 12mo. 24 pp. 

[A campaign pamphlet of the presidential 
election of 182-8. J 

Memoirs of Andrew Jackson. late Major- 
General and Commander-in-Chief of the 
Southern Division of the Army of the United 
States. Compiled by a Citixen of Massa- 
chusetts. Boston, 1828. 12mo. 270 pp. 

fA reproduction of Eaton, with some errors 
of Eaton much exaggerated.] 

A History of the Life and Public Services 
of Major General Andrew Jackson. Impar- 
tially compiled from the most authentic 
sources. 1828. 8vo. 87 pp. 

[An Adams 1 pamphlet of the presidential 
campaign of 1828. An ingenious perversion.] 

An Impartial and True History of the Lifo 
and Services of Major General Andrew Jack 
son. 1828. 12mo. 82 pp. 

[Adverse to General Jackson. Ingeniously 
and laboriously done.] 

Reminiscences; or an Extract from tho 
Catalogue of General Jackson's "Juvenile 
Indiscretions," between the ages of Twenty- 
three and Sixty. Nashville and New York, 
1828. 8vo. 8 pp. 

[A list of General Jackson's alleged quar- 
rels, fights, affrays, and duels, numbered from 
one to fourteen.] 

The Jackson Wreath, or National Souvenir: 
containing a Biographical Sketch of General 
Jackson until 1$19. By Robert Walsh, Jr., 
Esq. ; with a continuation until the present 
day, embracing a view of the recent political 
struggle. By Doctor James M'Henry. Phila- 
delphia, 1829. 8vo. 88 pp. 

[A sort of Jacksonlan Gift-Book — a catch 
penny enterprise.] 

Biography of Andrew Jackson, President 
of the United States, formerly Major General 
in the Army of the United States. By Philo 
A. Goodwin, Esq. Hartford, 1882. 12mo. 
421 pp. 

fA "Campaign" Life, done as well as a 
ng of the kind can be.] 

Life of Andrew Jackson, President of the 
United States of America. Bv William Cob- 
bett, M. P. for Oldham. New York, 1884. 
ISmo. 196 pp. 

[Taken verbatim from Eaton ; with the ad- 
dition of a few pastes of matter designed for 
political effect in England. This Is the work, 
in the dedication of which to the people of 
Ireland, Mr. Cobbett styles General Jackson 
u the bravest and greatest man now livinir in 
this world, or that has ever lived in this 
world, as far as my knowledge extends."] 

Life of Andrew Jackson, Private, Military, 
and Civil, with Illustrations. By Amos Ken- 
dall. New York, 1844. 8vo. To be com- 
pleted in fifteen numbers. 

[Of this work seven numbers appeared, 
bringing the life down nearly to the end of 
the Creek War. Discontinued on account of 





the expansion of the telegraphic business with 
which the author became connected at an 
early day.] 

A Sketch of the Life of General Andrew 
Jackson, and of the Battle of Mew Orleans, 
with an engraving of the Battle-ground, writ- 
ten for the Knickerbocker Magazine. New 
York, 1845. 8vo. 16 pp. 

[Written on the occasion of General Jack- 
son's death.] 

Memoirs of General Andrew Jackson, 
Seventh President of tho United States: con- 
taining a full account <>f his Indian campaigns 
and defense of New Orleans ; and numerous 
anecdotes illustrative of his character ; to- 
gether with his Veto of the Bank Bill, Proc- 
lamation to the Nulliflers, Farewell Address, 
etc, etc To which is added tho Eulogy of 
Hon. George Bancroft, delivered at Washing- 
ton, I). 0. Compiled by a Citizen of West- 
ern New York. Auburn, 1845. 12mo. 

[A brief outline, founded on Eaton.] 

Monument to the memory of General An- 
drew Jackson : containing Twenty-five Eu- 
logies and Sermons delivered on the occasion 
of his Death. To which is added an Appen- 
dix, containing General Jackson's Procla- 
mation, his Farewell Address, and a certified 
copy of his Last Will. The whole preceded 
bv a short sketch of his life. Compiled by B. 
M. Duscnbery. Philadelphia, 1S46. 

FA volume of indiscriminate eulogies, most- 
ly by interested politicians, valueless, except 
as showing the popular idea of Jackson's life 
and character.] 

Pictorial Life of Andrew Jackson. By John 
Frost, LL D. Philadelphia, 1847. Svo. 
560 pp. 

[Compiled chiefly from Eaton and other 
easily accessible sources. Highly onlogistic] 

Jackson and the Generals of the War of 
1812. By John S. Jenkins, A. M. Philadel- 
phia, 1S54. 12mo. 407 pp. 

[Short Lives of Jackson, Brown, Gaines, 
Harrison, Macomb, Pike, and Scott.] 

Addresses on the Presentation of the Sword 
of General Andrew Jackson to the Congress 
of the United States, delivered in the Senate 
and House of Representatives February 26, 
1855. Washington. 1*55. Svo. 40 pp. 

[Contains Colonel Thomas H.Benton's nar- 
rative of the events that called General Jack- 
son to the field. Also the correspondence 
accompanying the presentation of the Sword 
to the nation.] 

Life and Public Services of General Andrew 
Jackson, Seventh President of the United 
States; including the most important of his 
State Papers. Edited by John S. Jenkins, 
A. M. ; with the Eulogy delivered at Wash- 
ington City. June 21st. 1S45, by Hon. George 
Bancroft. New York, 1857. 12mo. 891 pp. 

[A short, popular Life ; repeats all the old 
errors ; adds a few new incidents.] 

Harpers' New Monthly Magazine for Janu- 
ary, 1855. New York. 

[Article I. is a glowing narrative (beauti- 
fully illustrated) of the life of General Jack- 

son, by Mr. B. J. Loosing, author of t 
Field-book of the Revolution.] 

The History and Antiquities of the Com 
of the Town of Carrickfergus, from the eai 
est records to the present time ; also a Stai 
tical Survev of said Countv. By Sam 
M*Skirain. 'Belfast, 1829. Svo. 405 pp. 

[The history of a county in which the i 
cestors of General Jackson lived for ma 

New and Popular History of Ireland, fn 
the beginning of the Christian Era to the pr 
ent time. London, 1851. 8 vols, in 1. 12mo 

[Notices of Carrickfergus and its eai 

The Irish Sketch-Book. William M. That 
eray. New York, 1847. 8vo. 

[Narrative of a tour in Ireland. The m» 
enlightening book of its class. Gives ma 
particulars of the contrast between the Not 
of Ireland and the other Irish provinces. J 

Historical Sketches of North Carolina, frt 
1534 to 1*51. Complied from Original Re 
ords. Official Documents, and Tradition 
Statements; with Biographical Sketches 
her distinguished Statesmen, Jurists, La 
vers, Soldiers, Divines, etc By John 
Wheeler, late Treasurer of the State. Phi! 
delphla, 1851. Svo. 

[No mention of young Jackson, nor of 1 
family, but details some of the events 
which ho and his brothers took part.] 

Interesting Revolutionary Incidents, ai 
Sketches of Character, chieflv in the '*0 
North State." By the Rev. E." W. Caruthei 
I). D. First and Second Scries. Philad* 
phia, 1856. 12mo. 

[Abounds in revolutionary anecdotes, illn 
trative of the fierce partisan warfare th 
raged in North Carolina during the latt 
yean of the Revolution, in the midst of whi< 
the boy, Andrew Jackson, grew to manhood 

The annals of Tennessee to the end of tl 
Eighteenth Century; comprising its sett)* 
ment. as The Watausra Association, from 17< 
to 1777 ; a part of Nonh Carolina, from 177 
to 1784 ; the State of Franklin. 1784 to 178; 
a part or North Carolina, 1788 to 1790; tl 
Territory of the United States, South of tl 
Ohio, from 179» to 1796; the State of Tel 
nessee from 1796 to 1S00. By J. G. M. Ranr 
sey, A. M.. M. D., etc, etc. Philadelphia, 185: 

IGives very full details of the early hlstor 
of Tennessee. Not much of Jackson.] 

History of Middle Tennessee; or Life an 
Times of* General James Robertson. By / 
W. Putnam, Esq., President of the Tennesse 
Historical Society. Nashville, 1859. 8vc 
668 pp. 

[A very full account of the settlement < 
the Cumberland Valley. Contains curioui 
information respecting General Jackson' 
early career in Tennessee, and of the court 
at which he practiced. Frequently quoted ii 
these pages.] 

A Short Description of tho State of Ten 
nessee, lately called the Territory of th» 
United Suites. South of the River Ohio. T< 



accompany a map of that country. Phila- 
delphia, 1*96. lSino. 86 pp. 

[Shows the progress of Tennessee to the 
year 1796.] 

Journal of a Tour In the Unsettled Parts of 
North America, in 1796 and 1797. By the 
ute Funds Bally, F. R. S., with a Memoir 
of the Author. London, ISM. Svo. 415 pp. 

[The author traversed the entire leiurth of 
Tennessee, and visited Nashville in 1797, and 
describes what he saw.j 

Sketches of History, Life, and Manners in 
the Wert. By James Hall. 2 vols. 12mo. 
Philadelphia, 1885. 

[Qivea some glimpses of pioneer life.] 

Western Characters; or Types of Border 
Life in the Western States. By T. L. M*Con- 
n«l. New York, 1858. 12mo. 878 pp. 

[Eleven set essays on border life.] 

Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, the 
Backivoods Preacher. Edited by W. P. 
Strickland. New York; 1856. 12mo 525 pp. 

S?4intains anecdotes of General Jackson, 
of the early days in Tennessee. Aperies 
of astounding pictures of frontier barbarism.] 

The Republican Court Bv Rufus W. Gris- 
wold. 4to. New York, 1858. 

[Society in Philadelphia, when Andrew 
Jackson was member of Congress in 1796 and 

History of the Discovery and Settlement, 
of the Valley of the Mississippi by the three 

Seat European Powers, Spain, France and 
rest Britain, an<l the subsequent Occupa- 
tion, Settlement and Extension of Civil Gov- 
ernment by the I'nited States until the year 

1846. By John W. Monette, M. D. 2 vols, 
8vo. New York, 1846. 

W [Contain* account of the Burr panic. Creek 
ar. New Orleans campaigns and first inva- 
sions of Florida. Fullest on the Burr panic] 

Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel Da- 
vid Crockett, of West Tennessee. New York, 

1847. 12 mo 209 pp. 

[Crockett fought In some of the tattles of 
the Creek War, and served in the early legis- 
lature of Tennessee.] 

A Picture of a Republican Magistrate of the 
New School ; Wing a full-length likeness of 
bis Excellency, Thomas Jeffeison, President 
of the United States. To which i> added a 
short CriticiMii of the Characters and Preten- 
sions of Mr. Madison. Mr. Cllnto-i and Mr. 
Pinkney. By John Thierry Dan vers, of 
Virginia. New York, 1 SOS. Svo. 96 pp. 

[A spirited and severe review of Mr. Jeffer- 
son's administration, including a defense of 
Aaron Burr. Endeavors to >how that Burr 
was ruined by Jefferson for political and \wr- 
sonal reasons. A curious rello of an old con- 

Life of Thomas Jefferson." Bv Henry S. 
Randall. LL.D. 8 vols Svo. 'New York, 
Derby & Jackson, 1S58. 

[Mr. Jefferson's opinion of General Jack 
sou, and other matters.] 

Llfo of Tecamseh and of his Brother, the 
Prophet, with a historical Sketch of the 
Shawnee Indians. By Benjamin Drake. 
Cincinnati, 1850. 12mo. 285 pp. 

[Important, because but for the machina- 
tions of Teoumseh, Jackson would never have 
become a famous general. It was Tecumseh 
who gave Jackson his opportunity.] 

nistory of the Discovery of America, of 
the Landing of our Forefathers at Plymouth, 
and of their most remarkable Engagements 
with the Indians in New England from their 
first Landing, in 1620, until the final Subju- 
gation of the Natives in 1679. To which is 
annexed the Particulars of almost every 
important Engagement with the Savages 
at the Westward to the Present Dav. in- 
cluding the Defeats of Generals Braridock, 
Harmer and St Clair by the Indians at the 
Westward, the Creek and Seminole Wars, 
etc By Henry Trumbull. Boston, 1*81. 
8vo. 256 pp. 

[A most miscellaneous collection, which 
happens to contain some earlyaccounts of 
events preceding the Creek War; among 
others, one of the first narratives of the mas- 
sacre at Fort Minn, written near the scene.] 

History of Alabama, and, Incidentally, of 
Georgia and Mississippi from the earliest 
Period. By Arthur James Pickett, of Mont- 
gomery. 2 vols. 12aio. Charleston, 1351. 

[Contains information respecting Tecum- 
seh, a minute account of the massacre at Fort 
Minis, and important particulars of the Creek 
War. A valuable work.] 

Georgia Scenes, Characters and Incidents, 
etc, in the first Half Century of the Repub- 
lic. Bv a native Georgian. New ~\ ork, 
155$. 214 pp. 

[A series of graphic sketches of wild south- 
ern life. One of the most popular of books in 
tiie South.] 

Wild Western Scenes. A Narrative of Ad- 
ventures in the western Wilderness, wherein 
the Exploits of Daniel Boone, the great Amer- 
ican Pioneer, are particularly described, etc. 
1 etc Bv J. B. Jones. Philadelphia, 1858. 
12 1 no. 2G8 pp. 

[A novel.] 

The Life of Major General William H. Har- 
rison, Ninth President of the I'nited States, 
by H. Montgomery. Cleveland, Ohio, lfc52, 
12mo. 465 pp. 

[Some information respecting Tecumseh. 
Account of General Harrison's resigning his 
commission ; to which commission Jackson 

Biography and History of the Indians of 

North America from its first Discovery. By 

■ Samuel G. Drake. Boston, 1S51. Svo. 720 


[Account of the Creek Indians. Brief 
narrative of Jackson's Indian campaigns.] 

Treaties between the United States and 
Indian Tribes from 1778 to 1837. Washing- 
ton, 1SS7. Svo. 

[Contains the treaty of Fort Jackson and 



otaer treaties negotiated by General Jackson 

with the Indians.] 

The Life of Sam Houston. The only au- 
thentic Memoir of him ever published. New 
York, 1855. 12mo. 492 pp. 

[Done in anticipation of General Houston's 
running for the presidency in 1856. Better 
than campaign lives generally. Gives true 
account of young Houston's exploits in 
Creek War.] 

A Journal containing an accurate and inter- 
esting Account of the Hardships, Sufferings, 
Battles, Defeat and Captivity of those heroic 
Kentucky Volunteers and Regulars, com- 
mand im I by General Winchester, in the years 
1512 and 1*13. Also two Narratives by Men 
that were wounded in the Battles on the 
River Raisin and taken captive by the In- 
dians. By Elias Darnell. Philadelphia, 1854. 
18ino. 9s pp. 

[A curious narrative of a Kentucky volun- 
teer, showing the nature of that service in the 
war of 1812.] 

History of the late War between the United 
8tates and Great Britain; comprising a mi- 
nute Account of the various military and 
naval Operations. By II. M. Brackcnridge. 
Philadelphia, 1846. l'imo. 293 pp. 

[One of the earliest, and much tho best, of 
the shorter histories of the war of 1812. 
Judge Bruckenridze was an old acquaintance 
oi General Jackson, and served as his secre- 
tary and translator when the general was 
Governor of Florida.] 

Memoirs of William Ellery Channlng, with 
Extracts from his Correspondence and Manu- 
scripts. 8 vols. 12mo. Boston, 1848. 

[Shows feeling of New England during 
war of 1812. and the impression produced 
there by some of General Jackson s public 

The Second War with England. By J. T. 
Headley, author of *' Napoleon and his Mar- 
shals," etc., etc 12tno. 2 vols. New York, 

[Presents a rapid, vivid view of the whole 

An authentic History of the Second War 
for Independence; comprising Details of the 
military and naval Operations from the Com- 
mencement to the Close of the recent War ; 
enriched witli numerous geographical and 
biographical Notes. By Samuel Ji. Brown. 
18mo. 2 vols. Auburn, 1815. 

[Valuable rhlefly for the large number of 
letters and documents in the appendices and 
notes. J 

The Crisis on the Origin and Consequences 
of our political Dissensions. To which is 
annexed the late Treaty between the Unite* I 
States and Great Britain. By a Citizen of 
Vermont Albany, 1815. 8vo. 96 pp. 

[A pamphlet of the war of 1812. An essay 
on the evils supjtosed to result from the con- 
flict of parties. A defenso of the Federal- 
ists. Throws licht upon the public feeling 
during the war.] 

The United States and England ; bo in:,' a 

Reply to the Criticism on Inrraiquin's D 
tors contained in the Quarterly Itevieto I 
.January, 1814. New York, 1815. 8vo. 1 

[Shows the bitterness of feeling betwe 
the two countries during the war of 1812.] 

Mr. Insersoll's Speech on the Loan Bil 
Tuesday, February 15th, 1814. 8vo. 88 pf 

[C. J. Ingersoll. Finances of War of 1811 

Address to the People of the United Stat* 
By Touchstone. 1812. 

[Anti war. Anti Madison. Pro De Wi 

An Address of Members of the House < 
Representative* of tne Congress of the Uniti 
States to their Constituents on the Subje 
of the War with Great Britain. Raletg 
North Carolina. IS 12. 

[A temperate anti-war pamphlet signed I 
thirty-four members of the House of Repr 

An Exposition of the Conduct of Fram 
toward America. Illustrated by Cases d 
cided in the Council of Prises in Paris. £ 
Lewis Goldsmith, Notary Public. New Yor 
18 10. 8vo. 99 pp. 

[A mass of facts and documents relating i 
French spoliations on American commcrt 
during the reign of Napoleon I. ; particular! 
<luring the operation of the Berlin and Mild 
Decrees. An Important pamphlet. Its ol 
ject was to show that France, not Englan* 
was America's real enemy.] 

History of tho Second War between tk 
United States of America and Great Britaii 
Declared by Act of Congress tiie 18th c 
June, 1812, und concluded by peace the 154 
of February, 1815. By Charles J. Ingersol 
4 vols. 8vo. Philadelphia, 1852. 

[A work of considerable Interest and powe 
but wrongly entitled. It should have bee 
called. Recollection* of the public and »n 
wtte L{fe of a Democratic Member of Con 
grem, or something to that effect. One vol 
umo is chiefly occupied by the author's eon 
venations with Joseph Bonaparte.] 

Historical Memoir of the War in Wei 
Florida and Louisiana in 1814 and 1815, wit 
an Atlas. By Mnjor A LavJ»rlerc Lat..i'i 
princi|>al Engineer in the late Seventh Mill 
tary Distriot, United States Army. Wrlttci 
originally in French, and translated for th 
author by II. P. Nugent, Esq. Philadelphia 
1816. 8vo. 256 pp. With 79 appendices. 

[A work of the highest value and lmpor 
tance by an officer of Ignited States Engineer! 
who served most usefully in tho defense o: 
New Orleans. Contains nearly all the docu 
merits relating to the campaign. It wil 
remain the chief source of information witl 
regard to the defense of the South-west ii 
I3l4and 1815.] 

Jackson and New Orleans. An authenth 
Narrativo of the memorable Achievements o: 
the American army, under Andrew Jackson 
before New Orleans, in the Winter of 18b 
and 1815 By Alexander Walker. New York 
1856. 12mo. 411 pp. 



of Hartford ConToitlog. Ab- 
. roe *nd hTiaJcaoD. Tab peacfl 
•Juicing* In IBIS.] 

Lottamaf General Adair and General Jack- 
>n relatlTo lo the Charge ofCownrdlo* nude 

[Thil work li ™i of lb. k<! txeesM i [Foil 
pl*niorAniiTlonliUt«TlB«lilenM~maM.I •mint-* 
rleh In bet*, told with iplrtl and affect. II 

nerds only * thorongh reiI»lon ind * *lllhl 

claulc eicell'ence To no ilngl* Tolamo (J Lb< 
mihornf tbio war* to much Indebted u to 
"Jicliean end New (Mean*.- By the oldei 
Inhabitants of New Orleane Iti greet merit fav. 
been fully Appreciated.] 

Note* on the War 1b the Booth, with bl 
ofnpolal Sketehe* of the Lire* or Mont- 
*wnor/, Jackaon, Sorter, the lato Qovernoi Tha Campaign nf the Smith Arm 

* - "Kfa.. *__»..- „._.,™1 io,,j .3 .■" £■**- BBikJVoVth*' 

■f tbe New Orleans 

lease. LaxlBfton, Kentucky, 1 

l*iy mid emhltlered con-Mponde 

Fifty Yean la both Heiniipberee; 
mlnlacenee* <,[ the Life of ■ former He 
Br Vlnoent Noll* lata of New ( 

■ la 1814 and 1813. By CiptalB John Henrr 

■ Cooke. London. IMS 

[A Britujhofflcari narrative of what hoaav 
' and aiperieaoed In the New Orlrant oun- 


or exaggerates and fThr 
Unit «*"'»! "o'T u> Orlenn 

Carlo, H. U. » Toll. Hvo. London, 

nthor tor.ed at the battle or New - 
n tha Brltlib army, and afterward* 

base* of "Crescent City" 
.key Hall. New York, SSSl 

*■ Proceeding* or the Court Martial upon 
» I Lieutenant Colonel Mullen*, of lh* F0H7- 
rr- I fourth Innuitry. LoadoB, ISIS. 

[Deoeribei the B eld H It bow li, and give* rMnllen* commanded the fortj-fbnrth Brit- 

at groatj y In fault. Tha | 

a Appendix 

By William 

off oppoelUoo or Federal paper at % aor> } °L tbfl 9 

reatlng matter.] 

[An En. 

Genertl Jackass 'e Fir 

Hugne.ud by »>flectlom ob tbo Injuiiloe of Offl. 

Jod»H*llVa'l91S. °By Cbarie* J*lng*r*olL tried. 

Washington, IMS. *"" 

of New Orleane. Valuable doeumei 
Becollcettona of a Lift 

Examination of iilipileh'o* tad duouinent* of the hlghcit 

Lecurd from tho War Department, 

the ffi.l of oXralliacBMon JV.r 

■iaf^Lftteie'fmm "he™ War "flqmVmT.'n. 
Illcxally maeaacred. Wadilnglon, ISM 

r. Men 


rich. iTOla. 1 

VOL. I. 2 


derExnoeed. The Cur 
io 8U Mllliu-men, anted from offlcld 




of the Jackson Central Committee. 1823. 
Svo. 15 pp. 

[A defense of General Jackson's conduct, in 
ordering the execution of the Six Militia-men, 
:it Mobile, in 1816.] 

Monumental Inscription. Philadelphia, 
1328. 8vo. 16 pp. 

[A collccUon of the "Coffin Hand-bills," 
published by John Blnns, of Philadelphia. 
Designed to keep alive (in the mind* of 
voters) the memory of the Six Militia-men 
executed at Mobile, in 1815, by order of Gen- 
eral Jackson.] 

The Territory of Florida; or Sketches of 
the Topography, Civil and Natural History 
of the Country, the Climate, and the Indian 
Tribes, from the first discovery to the pres- 
ent time. By John Lee Williams. New 
York, 1$37. Svo. 

[Has information respecting General Jack- 
son's first and second invasions of Florida; 
but incomplete and unsatisfactory. In other 
respects a valuable work.] 

Memoir upon tho Negotiations between 
Spain and the United States of America, 
which led to the treaty of 1819, with a Statis- 
tical Notice of that country ; accompanied 
, — . — ^ with an Appendix, containing important 
t y\. , "m>cumTmts/ Tty D. Luis D* Ogls, late Mi nister 
Plenipotentiary noar that Republic Trans- 
lated from the Spanish, with Notes, by Tobias 
Watkine. Baltimore, 182L Svo. 152 pp. 

[Chiefly a description of the United States. 
Contains very little to justify the first part of 
its title. The author was a frequent protester 
against General Jackson's invasion or Florida. 
Ilia work Is nearly worthless ; and the appen- 
dix contains but one document, and that of no 

General Jackson's conduct in the Seminole 
War, delineated in a History of that Period, 
affording conclusive reasons why he should 
not be next President By Samuel Perkins, 
Esq. Brooklyn, Conn. 1828. 8vo. 89 pp. 

[A temperate and well-written pamphlet, 

Presenting the facts in a light unfavorable to 
General Jackson.] 

Residence at the Court of London. By 
Richard Rush. Philadelphia, 1883. 8vo. 

[Mr. Rush was the American Minister in 
England during General Jackson's second 
invasion of Florida, In 1818. He describes 
the effect produced in England by the news 
of the execution of Arbuthnot and Am- 

Royal Gazette and Bahama Advertiser of 
1818. Nassau, New Providence. 

[Contains the anti-Jockwn view of the exe- 
cution of Arbuthnot and Ambrlster, who 
went from New Providence to Florida. Con- 
tains all the documents relative to the de- 
scent of the band of adventurers upon Amelia 
Island in 1817.] 

Speech of the Honorable James Tallmadge, 
Jr., of Dutchess county, New York, in the 
House of Representatives of the United States 
on the Seminole War. New York, 1819. 8vo. 

[Defends the execution of Arbuthnot a* 

Trial of Arbuthnot and Ambrbter. Pre 
cocdings of the Court Martial as transmltte 
to the President 131b. 

[Published in various forms. May be foon 
at the end of u Civil and Military History o 
Andrew Jackson. By an American officer. 
Also in two or three Congressional documenl 
of the session of 1818 and 1S19.] 

Message of the President of the Unite 
States, transmitting Copies of the Com 
spondence between the Governor of Georgi 
and Major General Jackson on the Subject o 
the Arrest of Captain Obcd Wright Waal 
lngton, 1818. 8vo. 21 pp. 

[A document of the Seminole War. Corn 
spondence hostile.] 

Message from the President of tho Unite 
States, transmitting a Report of tiie Secretar 
of State, with tho Documents relating to 
Misunderstanding between Andrew Jacksoi 
while acting as Govermnftif the Florldas, an 
Elijius Frometin, Judge of a Court thcreii 
also the Correspondence between the Seen 
tary of State and the Minister of Spain o 
certain Proceedings in that Territory, etc 
etc. Washington, 1822. 8vo. 81Spp. 

[Sufficiently described in the title page.] 

Corresjiondence between General Andre 
Jackson and John C. Calhoun, President ai 
Vice President of the United States, on tl 
Subject of the Course of the latter in the D 
liberations of the Cabinet of Mr. Monroe « 
tho Occurrences in the Seminole War. Waal 
lngton, 1881. 8vo. 52 pp. 

[This was the correspondence which te 
mfnated friendly relations between Gener 
Jackson and Mr. Calhoun.] 

Sketches of St. Augustine, with a View < 
its History and Advantages as a Resort f< 
Invalids. By R. K. Sewall. New York, 18* 

[Contains anecdotes of the cession of Floi 

! The Letters of Algernon Sidney in Dofeni 
; of Civil Liberty and against the Kncroacl 
| inents of military Desimtism.' Written t 
, an eminent Citizen of Virginia, ana first pul 
llshed in the Richmond Inquirer in 1818 ai 
j 1819. Richmond, 1880. Svo. 65 pp. 

[Severe review of General Jackson's mil 
tary career.] 

Jndge Brackenridgo's Letters. Washln, 
ton, 1882. 8vo. 13 pp. 

[A series of Letters by H. M. Rrackrnridg 
General Jackson's secretary and translator i 
Florida; giving the history of hU connects 
with General Jackson, and accusing the gei 
eral of inconsistency and deceit. Contaii 
interesting information and documents.] 

The Lives of James Marii&o'i and Jatm 
Monroe, Fourth and Fifth Presidents of tl 
United States. By Johu Quincy Adam 
With historical Notices of their Admlniatr 
tiona. Buffalo, 1851. 12mo. 432 pp. 

[An enlargement of two orations. M 
Adams's statements are too general and U 
guarded for the work to be of much biograp 




leal valuo. His object wu rather to tell as 
little as possible tiian as much as possible. 
His success was complete. Madison and 
Monroe remain the mythical personages they 

Niles's Weekly lUgUUr. 78 vols. *8to. 
Baltimore. From 1312 to 1848. 

[Every volume, except the first and second, 
contain* important matter respecting Gen- 
eral Jackson's public acts. Innumerable doc- 

Abridgement of the Debates of Congress 
from 1789 to 1856. By the Author of the 
Thirty Years' View (Thomas H. Benton). 
15 vols. 8vo. New York, 1857. 

[All the volumes, except the third and 
fourth, contain Jaeksontan matter.] 

Congressional Documents. Washington. 

[The documents containing information 
concerning the acts of General Jackson are 
too numerous for mention. See, in particu- 
lar, those of the years 1815, 1818. 1821, 1828, 
1829, 1880, 1831 to 1888.] 

Ten Years of Preacher Life : Chapters from 
an Autobiography. By William Henry Mil- 
bora. New York, 1859. 12uio. 868 pp. 

[Anecdotes of Gen. Jackson, Sketches of 
Southwestern Ufe,Offlcial Life inWasbingt'n.] 

The Life and Times of Aaron Burr, Lieu- 
tenant Colonel in the Army of the devolu- 
tion. United States Senator; Vice President 
of the United States, etc By J. Parton. 
New York, 1S58. 12mo. 700 pp. 

[A glimpse or two of General Jackson. 
Burr's opinion of Jackson. Burr's agency in 
the nomination of Jackson to the presidency.] 

Memoirs of Aaron Burr, with miscellane- 
ous Selections from his Corresfiondence. By 
Matthew L. Davis. 2 vols. New York, 1887. 

[Contains Burr's brief account of his visits 
to General Jackson In 18U5 and 1806, and his 
letter recommending Jackson as the demo- 
cratic candidate for the presidency in 1816.] 

The Letters of Wyoming to the People of 
the United States on the presidential elec- 
tion, and in favor of Andrew Jackson. Orig- 
inally published in the Columbian Obterver. 
Philadelphia, 1824. 

[A series of spirited papers of the presiden- 
tial campaign or 18:24. Famous in their day. 
Very severe upon Crawford, the "regular" or 
* caucus" candidate of the Democratic party.] 

Leisure Labors ; or, Miscellanies, historical, 
literary tind political. By Joseph B. Cobb. 
New York, 1858. 12mo. 408 pp. 

[Valuable chiefly for a memoir of William 
H. Crawford, one of Jackson's competitors for 
the presidency in 1824; for the writing of 
which the author had peculiar advantages.] 

An Address of Henry Clay to the Public, 
containing certain Testimony in Refutation 
of the Charges against him made by General 
Andrew Jackson touching the late presiden- 
tial Election. New Brunswick, 1828. 8vo. 
66 pp. 

[Mr. Clay's defense against the charge of 
"bargain and corruption" In the election of 
President by the House of Representatives in 

Life and Times of Henry Clay. By Calvin 
Colton. 8vo. 2 vols. New York, 1846. 

[Very full account of the M bargain and cor- 
ruption" affair.] 

Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams. 
By Josiah Quincy, LL.D. Boston, 1858. 8vo. 
429 pp. 

[Moderate, painstaking, accurate, colorless. 
Just such a life of Mr. Adams as Mr. Adams 
wrote of other men. No new light upon the 
vexed subjects. A valuable and creditable 
work, though written on the ancient princi- 
ple of presenting the public with a perfect 

Life and Public Services of John Quincy 
Adams, Sixth President of the United States. 
With the Eulogy delivered before the Legis- 
lature of New York. By William H. Seward. 
Auburn, 1849. 12mo. 404 pp. 

[An outside, eulogistic work ; not such a 
book as the reader would naturally expect 
from Senator Seward. Throws no light on 
the vexed questions.] 

Mr. Chilton's Letter to Mr. Wtckltffe on 
the Expenditures of the last and present Ad- 
ministrations. Washington, 1880. 8vo. 8 pp. 

[A defense of the administration of John 
Quincy Adams against the charge of extrava- 
gance J 

General Jackson and James Buchanan. 
Letter from Francis P. Blair to the Public. 
Washington, 1856. 8vo. 15 pp. 

[A pamphlet written to reveal the agency 
of Mr. Buchanan In the u bargain and corrup- 
tion" business of 1825. Contains information 
respecting General Jackson's pecuniary affairs 
after his retirement from the presidency.] 

Truth's Advocate and Monthly Anti 
Jackson Expositor. By an Association of 
individuals. Cincinnati, 1828. 

[A campaign publication presenting the 
leading acts of General Jackson's life in the 
most unfavorable light, but valuable from the 
mass of documents given.] 

Proceedings and Address of the New Jersey 
Delegates in favor of the present Administra- 
tion of the General Government, assembled 
in Convention at Trenton, February 22, 182S 
Trenton. Svo. IS pp. 

[Nominated John Quincy Adams for Presi 
dent, and Richard Rush for Vice President. 
Address temperate and forcible.] 

The Voice of Virginia on the Approaching 
Election. Svo. 8 pp. 

[For the reflection of Adams in 1828. 
Dwells on the violence of Jackson, and his 

Address of the Fayette County Correspond- 
ing Committee on the Proceedings in the 
Senate of Kentucky, against the President, 
Secretary of State, and Members of Congress ; 
and on other subjects connected with the ap- 
proaching presidential election Lexington, 
Ky. Svo. 40 pp. 

[Warm anti-Jackson pamphlet of IS2S ; de- 
signed particularly to counteract the efforts 
of Amos Kendall and Francis P. Blair, who 
were striving to carry the State of Kentucky 
for General Jackson.[ 


Idreaa to the People of the United 
H,ine au examination or ■ pamphlet, 

■Ming pamphlet of the presl- 
;n of less.] 

[Mr. Bilins was 

KneiL and pnhllabei 

the taiuous " Coinn Handbill*. 

the People oftho United States. N«T« 
18*8. 8vo. IS pp. 


Iho Comenondenos of hli Friends, Family 
mid PupIJi; together with brief NoUoss, 
Sketches mil Anecdotes, IllostnUra of tht 

Bibllo career of Polk, Calhoun, Jacksoe, 
nrr, mo, etc, etc. By William L. llu- 

.ftmei Gordon Be on 


Si PI'- . 

Mini of ISIS and 1WK, adow^pliooof General 
Waahlnpon. TIr. Bennett »aa then the 
anil Inquirer.] 

Biography of Martin Van Baron, Vice Presi- 
dent of the United States; with an Appendix 
Containing selection* from bin Writings, In- 
cluding hi* SneealMi In the Senate of the 

the Revolution, aod In favor of abolishing 

dMaiMntaTaaMni whleb\!ll\«\nJuii« 
Into Letter of Colonel Tbmi II, Kenton 10 

the Convention of the State of MMialppI. 
OompUed ^n.l edited by William Km mo no*. 
Washington, 1633. liino. 
[Written 10 promote the election of Martin 

Forsyth, Marry and others In the Senate on 
the President's nomination of Mr. Van Bans 

The Cabinet and TaUiman. Heir York. 
1B2». ISmo. 
[Aklndofnnnnalorgifttaook. Contain! a 

pages. Extremely eulogistic] 

ndenec. L 

ana, lsS 8vo ^ ™ ™ I together with a Kevlow of hit Poller 

tliiVf nu li*£^o,^ m dSoni, , n ».T. antt ' PW^SS' &?m£ a * M ' 

Votes and Speeches of Martin Tan 
on the .ubjcct of the Bight of Snf- 
II Qualification* of Colored Persons to 
nil the Appointment or Election uf 

■iojraphy, t 

The Honae that Jonathan 
eal Prtmor for lSSi With t> 


- tA parody on the - House that Jack built" 

(ha Stale of Now York (assembled to amend Designed to ridicule General Jaotsun and 

the. Cnttituuim In Ivil ) Duly nil Hum Ileal- Mr. Van BureB.] 

[Shows Mr. Van Bur 

ny, 184H 

tory of the pre. 

. Benton 

Idency. Kendall 

- ... suffrage ulate as 18-J1. aiming In third beet. An Exposition of Mar- 
On ground or hi* opposition to It was. that tin Van Buren '• Bclgn. Washington, Dlitrlet 

die-, al^uMcr-M tiers, and Pewter-mngglsn* [Nothing.] 

. *.*...'" "„_ _ , . The Northern Men with Southern Prlnol- 

S" C'".»nd the Southern Man with American 

« tie p rlne |,,(„ ; or , , view of the compsrall™ 

'='"''- Ch.msof Goner*] William H. Harrison and 

™~~i™~a — .■? """" Martin Van Bunm. Esq. Candidate* for the 

any. ia*l. Svu. 37 pp. presidency, to the Support of - " ■• 

[One of the most elaborate of Mr. Van I the Southern State.. Washlr, 

Tompkins against the charge of misusing t] 
public money.] 
The Life and Tinea of Martin Van Boxen 

if April, ISIS, To 

ton, 1810. S 
r right* that white nan 



8pMeh of Mr. Holmes, of Maine, in the 
Senate of the United States, on bis Resolu- 
tions calling upon the President of the United 
States for the Reasons of his removing from 
Office, and filling the Vacancies thus created, 
in the Recess of the Senate. Washington, 
1880. 8vo. 28 pp. 

[The best thing that appeared at the time 
against the removals. Contains a catalogue 
of all the removals from office by Presidents 
Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, 
Monroe and John Qulncy Adams, and the 
cease of each so Car as known.] 

Mr8."Barney'8 Letter to President Jack- 
son. Baltimore, June 18th, 1829. 8vo. 4 

[Commodore Barney was dismissed from 
office by General Jackson, and his family thus 
deprived of their means of support This is 
Mrs. Barney's remonstrance.] 

The Lives and Opinions of Benjamin 
Franklin Butler, United States District 
Attorney for the Southern District of New 
York, and Jesse Hoyt, Counselor at Law, 
formerly Collector of Customs for the Port of 
New York. By William. L. Mackenzie. Bos- 
ton, 1845. 8vo. 152 pp. 

[A mass of the private letters of Butler, 
Hoyt, Swartwout, Martin Van Buren, John 
Van Buren. Cambrellng, James Gordon Ben- 
net, M. M. Noah and other New York politi- 
cians, connected by remarks gossippy and 
satirical. It is a book of gossip and scandal 
that never ought to have appeared, but con- 
tains some things not to be overlooked by an 
Inquirer into the Jacksonian period. Throws 
light on office-seeking and appointments.] 

Memoirs, Official and Personal, with 
Sketches of Travel among the Northern 
and Southern Indians; embracing a War 
Excursion and Descriptions of Scenes along 
the Western Bonier. By Thomas L. M'Kin- 
ncy, lata Chief of the Bureau of Indian Af- 
fairs. New York, 1846. 8vo. 2 vols, in 1. 

[Narrates interviews between President 
Jackson and Colonel M'Rinney, throwing 
light on the manner in which offices were 
vacated and filled under General Jackson. 
Colonel M'Kinney was removed from ofiloe 
by General Jackson.] 

Political Sketches of Eight Years in Wash- 
ington. By Robert Mayo, M. D. Baltimore, 
1889. 8vo. 214 pp. 

[The tirade of a disappointed office-seeker 
against the administration of General Jack- 
son, with here and there a glimpse of inter- 
esting fact, which gives the work a certain 

Fragments of Jacksonism, alias. Clandestine 
Van Burenism. By Robert Mayo, M D. 
Washington, 1840. 8vo. 80 pp. 

[Another rigmarole by the officious and 
disappointed Mayo. Reveals much of the 
office-slavery at Washington. Contains let- 
ters of General Jackson, Amos Kendall and 

Reply to a Letter published by Henry Orne, 
In the Boston Evening BulMin* with an Ap- 
pendix. By Nathaniel Greene, late editor of 

the Boston 8taU&man. Boston, 1899. 8vo. 
89 pp. 

[An editorial qnarrel. Some choice glimp- 
ses of interior politics.] 

Candid Appeal to the American Public, in 
reply to Messrs. Ingham, Branch and Berrien, 
on the Dissolution of the late Cabinet. By 
John H. Eaton. City of Washington, 1881. 
9vo. 56 pp. 

[Major Eaton's version of the cabinet ex- 
plosion of 1881.] 

CaurUr and Inquirer, of 1881. New York. 

[Contains all the documents of the affair of 
Mrs. Eaton.] 

Essays on the Present Crisis in the Condi- 
tion of the American Indians ; first published 
in the National Intittigeneer nnder the sig- 
nature of William Penn. Boston, 1829. tfvo. 
112 pp. 

[Against the forcible removal of the Chero- 
kee* to the Indian Territory west of the Mis- 

Speeches on the passage of the Bill for the 
removal of the Indians, delivered in the Con- 
gress of the United States, April and May, 
1880. Boston, 1880. 12mo. 8(4 pp. 

[Ten speeches against the forcible removal 
of the Cherokees to the Indian Territory 
west of the Mississippi — the great question of 
1880. The principal speech is by Edward 

Opinion on the Right of the State of 
Geonria to extend her Laws over the Chero- 
kee Nation. By William Wirt, Esq. Balti- 
more, 1880. 8vo. 29 pp. 

[This opinion was solicited by the Cherokee 
chiefs. Adverse to the claims of Georgia.] 

The Argument of the Secretary of the 
Treasury upon the Constitutionality of a Na- 
tional Bank. Philadelphia, 1791. 8vo. 40 pp 

[By Alexander Hamilton. The earliest of 
innumerable bank pamphlets.] 

Desultory Reflections upon the Ruinous 
Consequences of a non-renewal of the Charter 
of the Bank of the United States. By M. 
Carey. Philadelphia, 1810. 8vo. 44 pp. 

[A relic of one of the early bank contro- 
versies ; of no interest now.] 

Observations on the State of the Currency, 
with suggestions for equalizing its value, and 
reducing the uniformity of the Banking Sys- 
tem in the United States. January 1, 1829 
8vo. 24 pp. 

S Nothing to do with the bank war, which 
not begin till some months later. Infor- 
mation respecting the bank.] 

Notes on the Early Settlement of the 
North-western Territory. By Jacob Burnett. 
Cincinnati. 1S47. 1 vol. 8vo. 

[lias account of the commercial disasters 
1 caused by the sudden discontinuance of 
branch of the United States Bank at Cincin- 
nati, in 1822.] 

Bank of the United States. Report, lions* 
of Representatives, April 18, 1880. 8vo 
80 pp. 




5 *Tlw» -v* 

[Report of the Committee of Ways and * 
Means on tho portion of the President s Mes- 
I » 1 sage of 1829, relating to the Bank of the 
►* ' United States. Adverse to the bank.] 

Bank of tho United States. House of Rep- 
resentatives. Document 460. 1888. 8vo. 
572 pp. 

[A huge volume, containing: 1, Report of 
the majority of a select committee appointed 
by the House to inquire into the affairs of the 
bank ; 2. Report of the minority ; 8, Report 
of John Qulncy Adams.] 

Address to the Citizens of Middlesex. New 
Brunswick, N. J M 1887. 8vo. 15 pp. 

[Sharp review of General Jackson*s cur- 
rency measures.] 

Oration delivered at the Democratic Re- 
publican Celebration of tho Fourth of July, 
1888. By Edwin Forrest, Esq. New York, 

1888. Bvo. 24 pp. 

[Alludes to General Jackson's u Experi- 
ments" with regard to the currency. Extols 
Experiments in the abstract ; meaning there- 
by General Jackson's.] 

Society, Manners and Politics in the United 
States; being a series of Letters on North 
America. By Michael Chevalier. Boston, 

1889. 8vo. 467 pp. 

[M. Chevalier was in the United States 
during the bank war of General Jackson's 
Administration, and gives an outside French 
view of the same, which has some Interest, 
but small value.] 

Facts for the Laboring Man. By a Labor- 
ing Man. Newport, R. I.. 1840. 8vo. 102 pp. 

[Condemnatory review of General Jack- 
son's and Mr. Van Baren's currency meas- 

Extracts from the Veto Message of General 
Andrew Jackson, and other Documents re- 
lating to the United plates Bank, respectfully 
recommended to the particular attention of 
the independent electors of the city of Now 
York. By a Committee especially appointed 
tor this purpose. New York, 1882. 8vo. 
81 pp. 

[A campaign pamphlet of 1882, to promote 
the reflection of General Jackson.} 

The War on the Bank of the United States; 
er a Review of the Measures of the Adminis- 
tration against that institution, and the pros- 
perity of the country. Philadelphia, 1884. 
8vo. 155 pp. 

[Ono of the most powerful and elaborate of 
our political pamphlets. Against the Ad- 

Considerations on tho Currency and Bank- 
ing System of the United States. By Albert 
Gallatin. Philadelphia, 1881. 8vo. 108 pp. 

[An enlarged edition of Mr. Gallatin's 
essay. This is one of the publications which 
the bank was accused of disseminating at the 
expense of the stockholders.] 

Thirty-Seven and Fifty-Seven: a brief 
Popular Account of all the Financial Panics 
and Commercial Revulsions in the United 

States, from 1690 to 1857. By members of 
the New York Press. New York, 1857. 12mo. 
69 pp. 

[Contains a sketch of General Jackson's 
currency measures, with the opinions of lead- 
ing men as to their agency In producing the 

revulsion of 1887.] 

Napoleonio Ideas. By the Prince Napoleon 
Louis Bonaparte. Illustrated by James A. 
Dorr. New York, 1S59. lftmo. 154 pp. 

[The author was in the United States dar- 
ing General Jackson's war with the United 
States Bank, and briefly indicates htajinpret- 
sions of the same.} 

General Jackson Vetoed ; being a Review 
of the Veto Message of the Bank of the 
United States. 12mo. 24 pp. 

[Presidential campaign of 1883.] 

Review of the Veto ; containing en Enun- 
ciation of the Principles of the President's 
Message, and his Objections to the Bill to 
Modify and Continue the Act rechartering 
the Bank of the United State*. Philadelphia; 
1822. 8vo. 66 pp. 

[An able and temperate bank pamphlet] 

Essay on the Spirit of Jaeksontsm, as ex- 
emplified in Its deadly hostility to the Bank 
of the United States, and in the odious cal- 
umnies employed for its destruction. By 
Arlstides. Philadelphia, 1885. 8vo. 151 pp. 

[A series of newspaper articles collected. 
Very bitter against Jackson and his Mends. 
Severe review of the Portsmouth affair . 

An Account of Colonel Crockett's Tour to 
the North and Down East, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty- 
four; his object being to examine the grand 
manufacturing establishments of the country , 
and also to find out the condition of its litera- 
ture and morals, the extent of Its commerce, 
and the practical operation of u the Experi- 
ment* 1 Written by btmself. Philadelphia, 
1S85. 12mo. 216 pp. 

[An electioneering tour, humorously re- 
lated, for the purpose of preventing the suc- 
cession of Mr. Van Buren to the presidency. 
Crockett turnend against his old commander 
on the currency question.] 

Narrative and Correspondence concerning 
the Removal of the Deposits, and Occur- 
rences connected therewith. Philadelphia, 
1888. 8vo. 176 pp. 

[By W. J. Duane, Secretary of the Treas- 
ury under General Jackson, hut dismissed 
because he would not remove the public 
money from the United States Bank. This is 
Mr. Dunne's narrative of the events that led 
to his dismissal. Two hundred and fifty 
copies only were printed, which were dis- 
tributed among the author's friends. Vory 
scarce. One copy in Astor Library.] 

Speech of the Honorable Nathaniel P. 
Talfmadge, of New York, on the Subject of 
the Removal of the Deposits from the Bank 
of the United State*. Delivered in the Senate 
of the United states, March, 1884. City of 
Washington, 1884. 8vo. 84 pp. 



[A. defense of the administration against 
Mr. Clay's resolutions of censure.] 

Speech of Mr. Bufus Choate on the Ques- 
tion of the Removal of the Deposits. Deliv- 
ered in the House of Representatives, March 
28th, 1884. Washington, 1884. 8vo. 28 pp. 

[Against the removal.] 

Report of the Committee of the Directors 
of the Bank of the United States. 12mo. 43 

[The Bank's reply to the accusations of the 
President contained in the paper read to the 
cabinet in 1588, in which the President Justi- 
ne*! the removal of the deposits. Documents 
tn the appendix.] 

Speech of the Honorable Mr. Porter, of 
Louisiana, in opposition to the Motion made 
by Mr. Benton to expunge from the Journal 
of the Senate the Resolution of the 24th of 
March, 18*4, disapproving of the Removal of 
the Deposits by the President Delivered on 
Tuesday, March 22d, 1886. 8vo. 28 pp. 

[Against the administration.] 

Cabinet Literature, the President's Consist- 
ency, etc Baltimore, 1882. 8vo. 18 pp. 

[A series of articles, from the Baltimore Pat- 
riot, criticising the first term of General 

The Conduct of the Administration. Re- 
printed from the Boston Daily Advertiser 
and Patriot. Boston, 1882. 8vo. 86 pp. 

[A very severe review of the measures of 
General Jackson's first term. Said to have 
been written by Mr. Alexander Everett.] 

Important Facts for the People. Philadel- 
phia, September, 1882. 8vo. a pp. 

[A stirring anti-Jackson sheet designed to 
win votes for Clay and Sargent] 

The Crisis. By Edmund Pendleton. 1882. 

[A series of letters addressed to Senator J. 
S.Johnson upon the administration of Gen- 
eral Jackson. Opposition.] 

United Slate* Telegraph Extra. Wash- 
ington, 1882. 

[A campaign paper, by Duff Green, pub- 
lished in the interest of the Calhoun faction, 
and designed to prevent the reelection of Gen- 
eral Jackson. Contains much amusing trash 
of various kinds ; curious, like the wreathed 
lava of an extinct volcano.] 

Proceedings of the National Republican 
Convention of Toung Men which assembled 
in the City of Washington, May 7th, 1S82. 
Washington, 1882. 8vo. ' 24 pp. 

[This convention nominated Henry Clay 
and John Sargent to run against Jackson and 
Van Buren.] 

Address to the People of the United States, 
Washington, 1882. 8vo. 4 pp. 

[A pamphlet of the presidential campaign 
of 1882. By a Senator— Webster apparently.] 

An Address to the People of Maryland 
from their Delegates in the late National Re- 
publican Convention. Made in obedience to 

a Resolution of that Body. Baltimore, 1882. 
8vo. 62 pp. 

[A severe and able review of General Jack- 
son's first term. Dwells upon Rotation, the 
Cabinet Explosion and the Bank Veto.] 

The Beauties of " Reform ;" or, the muni :. ■ 
cent Blessings of the great Reformation. J ; 
Telcmachns. Mew Brunswick, New Jer»ty. 
1882. 8vo. 16 pp. 

^Mere denunciation. A campaign pam- 

Works of John C. Calhoun. I vols. 8ro. 
New York, 1854. 

[Comments on General Jackson's measures. 
Defense of Nullification. Hostility between 
Calhoun and Jackson.] 

The Life of John Caldwell Calhoun. By 
John S. Jenkins, Author of the Life of J. K>. 
Polk, etc^ eta Auburn, 1850. 12mo. 454 

[Says nothing of what it ought to havo said 
most Superseded by a later publication.] 

The Calhoun Text-Book. New York. 1848 
12mo. 86 pp. 

[A collection of newspaper articles com- 
mendatory of Mr. Calhoun, published in an- 
ticipation of his being a candidate for the 
presidency in 1844.] 

Obituary Addresses delivered on the occa- 
sion of the Death of the Hon. John C. Cal- 
houn, a Senator of South Carolina, in the 
Senate of the United States, April 1, 1850. 
Printed by order of the Senate of the United 
States. Washington, 1850. 8vo. 89 pp. 

[Speeches by Messrs. Butler, Clay, Web- 
ster, Busk and Clemens. Funeral sermon by 
Rev. 0. M. Butler.] 

Message from the President of the United 
States, transmitting copies of the Proclama- 
tion and Proceedings in relation to South 
Carolina, January 16th, 1833. 8vo. 119 pp. 

[Contains ail the documents relating to the 
Nullification movement] 

Memoirs of a Nullifier ; written by himself. 
By a Native of the South. Columbia, S. C. 
1882. 12mo. 110 pp. 

[A tolerably executed satire; one of the 
products of the Nullification excitement, illus- 
trative of the feelings of tho South Carolini- 
ans, and showing their dislike of the people of 
New England.] 

A Yankee among the Nnlliflers; an Auto- 
biography. By Elnathan HI tn wood, Esq. 
New York. 1888. 12mo. 152 pp. 

[A rotort to the u Memoirs of a Nullifier ;" 
equally well done, and in a better spirit] 

The Dissolution of the Union ; n sober Ad- 
dress to all those who have any interest in the 
Welfare, tho Power, the Glory or the Happl- 
noss of the United States. By a Citisen of 
Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, August 25, 1882. 
8vo. 80 pp. 

[An antl-nulllfleatton pamphlet. Gives a 
history of the movement from its beginning. 
Not a party publication.] 

Proceedings at the Republican Celebration, 


at Washington, . 


leeiUngulshment of the [ [Shorn the rut popularity of 6 
the Victory at New ■ Jackson during his prasidaiicy. Nam 

{Speeches of BmUd. II. M. Johnson ml I Me»u« or General Jaokaon, with * ihorl 
otters. More Dun one hundred toast*. I Bkelob or bit Life. Concord, N. H- 1987 
Shocking adulation of President Jsoksou by I2mo. 42a pp. 

of Daniel Webater. Bolton, IB58. Gen- 
'oil. ; den< 

it measures of General Jacasou's ad- . Bt 

d Lewie Case, with tl 

Privato Correspondence of U.ol.l Water*,. ' £SM"SS£rt5B£ * tftS? 

flSS? "L* 1 " "*""■ 15o " on • m ftJM* *TS-VTBS5pT wla; 


The N»tl..._. _ 

gulehed Americans, conducted by Jan 
ring. Hew YoJC, and James B. L. 

member or Qenersl Jackson's Cabinet. A 
voluminously than usual. J 

The UnUtd SU1U1 JfotunrftM and Semo- 

th* iuerlun Asadeav olX' Flna'ArS! °i [TI ' 11 P eriodle »Jj nnc0 M fj " nou » " a ,nn0 ' 


al Jackson's lending L1 f e 

dice of the Supreme Court of Ibe United 
BlOmphyoflsnaoHIII, of New Hampshire; Stale*, and De» ProfMsorofLnwnt Harvard 
with uApiwadlx, comprising selections from University. Edited b J bie soa/WUHan W. 

Concord, N. H. 1839. ISmo. MS pp. ' [Contain* letters WTllten by Judge Story 

was soppueed to be a member of the Kitchen I A Memoir or Hngh Lawson White, Judge 
Cabin ill ' of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, Member 

' . . _ , „ , _ , nf the Senate of the United Stales, etc etc. 

Lettera of J. Downing. Major Rownlne- W|Ih g,Ljetlis»n from his Speeches and Cor- 
Till. Mllltls, Second Brigade, to his "Id r, lend, ,„,,„,„,,.„„, Eli |„,l by NincT N . Soott, 
Mr. Dwlght. of the n» York DaU ¥ Advtr- OB „^ f ni ,, ' P h 1 1. del phis, ISSe 

Hur- \' n * Vn,l- IftU 1Smo flofl nn. ".. _ . . . . r ^ 

[The Life of a 
General '" 

■c«!ly in 

ental It 

rodlglously populo 

Society In America. Br llan 

Author of ■' Illustrations of V ^ - „, c , l-lc] 

my. 2 Tola. New Yort 1SJT. ^ (JlllM States Manual of Biography 

[IutwviewwUhPrealdent.Ieek.ioa. Llrely and Hlst-ry. Containing Llvesof the Preef- 

fijmele portraiture or Clay, Webster, Calhoun dents and Vice Presidents of Ihn United 

and other*. Gllmpieirfjlftjn ^uMfjtM- States, and the ^Cabinet Offlcerj. *to v 

■ By .lojr, 

'.Marshall. Philadelphia. 1 

A Collection of the Political Writings of 
William Leixett. selected and arranged with 
'if Theodore Sedgwick, Jr. 2 vols. 

[Ai one or tbe 'editors of the Seining Pott, 

Mr. Uiwtt support.*! the Administration of 

equal mall. Ills writings, of course, are full 



The Private Correspondence of Henry 
Claj". Edited by Calvin Oolion, LL.D. 
" o( Public Beonnmy. Trinity Col- 
•gc New Toth, ISM. S»o. 643 pp. 


[Gunmen L. 
Thirty Toai 

■„. (;..,„j,il,,i „ 
New York. IS 

d by Din 



laoator of thirty years (Thomas 
2 rats. Bvd. New York, 166*. 

[Nearly rma half of [his Tola 
* deroted to tba administrate 

By K. 6, Borton. No.yort.lSWl. 

[A bom. 


•Mom). ; Paper*. _, _ . 

lima. «Spp. 

« wort. [A campaign life of Ihs deepcet dye, aiUn| 

Lndres not i slum of light whan •lone light in 

nl Blchsrd 

Famous Parsons end Place, By U. Parkei- J> brief memoir of a man long Intimately 
Willis. New York, 1S5L lamo. sMnp. allied with Jackson. II tells nothing that wo 

I Describes General Jackson aa he enneand i (•rt'eul*"'! wlehtoknow. Beprinta Colonel 
si tin Inauguration of Mr. Ten Bu»a ! ■ ,,to ™' 1 oelebrated Sunday-mall report.] 
Glimpses of Washington life.] The Poll deal Mirror; or Rerlew of JkA- 

PnloFeetafortoeDemocncy. 1684. 8to- «™l™- New York, 1888. ISmo. olflpp. 

(An effective and Teh Boru J^SSE* ™- Tlf ' v " f ^"'^ ■ ,tckf '° n ' 3 «'" 
* i "" -1 of Martin 

An Oration dsliTored on the Occasion of moetelatx 

Mem"y of General Andrew Jackson in the ™™ BIU ' 
eityurfae,nph[s.Jso U aiy8tb.l9». By Hun- , D*™» 
oriole Andrew Ewlng, of Nashville. Nssk- !J" atT X 
villa. 18M. Bra it no. ""no, •* 

of the kind ret 


NpirUqf-J6. Nashville, Tennessee. Jnne 
•016, ISM, to Juovr Both, 194L 

{A campaign paper of 1840. devoted to Gen- 
eral Harrison. Contains a large number of 
anlelei relating to the poller of General 
Jackson, and aomo lett*raof the General's. A 
few grains of wheat in a bushel of chaff.] 

The Life of James K. late President 
of the I'nltcd Ststee. Br John 9. Jenkins. 
Hudson ISM. llmo. SWlpp. 

[A llfeufo nun closely allied to Jackson 

does Dot arid much to our knowledge of the 
■sen or of the pan he played. ] 

He and pnhllo Services of .Tan 
late hfinl.ter to England, a 



Report of the Cot 

os of G an oral Jsck- 

uments. etc Compiled 
lyli. Williams and B.J. 
o. Now York, 
ark, fully Justifying Ita 

nemorallun of the Death of General Andrew -President of the United Statue, 
law York, IMS. Byo. 189 pp. 
[A specimen of corporation lob printing, 
lontalns funeral oratU by Benjamin T. 
lotler, Comispondonce, etc., aprcsd out to 

olnmo Instead of a pamphlet] 

In the collection of the above the author was greatly aided by the friendly- 
and intelligent teal of Iff. William Gowans (ai Center street, New York), the 
king of the second-hand book trade of the United States. Ho one can go fiw 
in an undertaking- of this kind without availing himself of Mr, Qowani' wonder- 
nil stock, and his still more wonderful knowledge of books. 





























• •• 







































































































The traveler in Ireland, we are told, on approaching its 
northern province from the south, observes an agreeable 
change coming over the aspect of the country. The hovels 
of the peasantry and the cabin-suburbs of the towns gradually 
improve. Clean and comfortable inns take the place of the 
slatternly taverns of middle and southern Ireland, in which 
nothing is what it professes to be, and nothing does what it 
was intended to do. Well-cultivated farms, with substantial 
farm-houses in good repair, with orchards and gardens, are 
seen on every side. An air of thrift and comfort, seldom ob- 
served elsewhere in the Emerald Isle, pervades the scene, and 
the tourist draws a long breath of relief, and thanks Heaven 
that he has come once more to a region where man is fighting 
the battle of life, not defeated and apathetic, but with vigor, 
wisdom, and resolution — a victor ! 

The appearance of the people, too, has changed. The 
troops of beggars that lie in wait for the jaunting car at the 
foot of every hill in less favored parts of Ireland, have van- 
ished. The loose-haired, ragged, and bare-legged girls of the 
south are no longer seen. The girls of Ulster wear their hair 
neatly braided, have dresses clean and whole, and are rarely 
seen without stockings. The men discard the " old well of a 
hat which covers the popular head at the other end of the 
island," as well as the knee-breeches, and the long, loose, ill- 
made coat ; and appear in a costume less picturesque, per- 
haps, but far better adapted to every purpose but idling in 

VOL. I.- 


the sun. The faces of the people, as Mr. Thackeray re- 
marked, " are 6harp and neat — not broad, lazy, knowing- 
looking, like that of many a shambling Diogenes who may be 
seen lounging before his cabin in Cork and Kerry/' A Scotch 
twang is noticed in the brogue of the people, and they speak 
more simply and to the point. A man gives you a down- 
right answer, says the author just quoted, without any grin, 
or joke, or attempt at flattery. Nor do the small shopkeepers 
exhibit great bragging sign-boards, and name their places of 
business emporiums and repositories. 

The contrast is strongly marked, also, between Dublin, 
with its dingy magnificence, its picturesque desolation, and 
Belfast, the metropolis of the North — plain, solid, thriving, 
and densely peopled ; a city of humming factories ; of small 
counting-houses and immense business ; of finished streets 
and elegant villas in the outskirts ; of reading rooms, Ath- 
enaeums, and courses of lectures ; a city with all the modern 
improvements, in which a North-of-England man, or a New 
England man, finds himself at home. Belfast, says our 
humorist, " looks hearty, thriving, and prosperous, as if it 
had money in its pockets and roast beef for dinner ; it has no 
pretensions to fashion, but looks, mayhap, better in its hon- 
est broadcloth, than some people in their shabby brocade. 
The houses are as handsome as at Dublin, with this advan- 
tage, that people seem to live in them. They have no at- 
tempt at ornament, for the most part, but are grave, stout, 
red-brick edifices, laid out at four angles in orderly streets 
and squares." 

Whence this contrast between two adjacent sections of a 
small island? Why has Ulster prospered, while Ireland 
languished ? Why was it that, when Ireland starved, there 
was comparative plenty in Ulster ? Why, when a pater- 
nal government, fearful for its revenues, forbade Ireland to 
manufacture woolens, did the men of Ulster "have a dash at" 
flax, and gain such victories over it, that now Belfast exports 

* Thackeray's Irish Sketeh-Book. 


annually a hundred million yards of linen, while the wharves 
of Dublin are deserted ? Why should a province which was 
for ages desolated by internal broils and foreign inroads, a com- 
mon fighting-ground of Irish, Scotch, and English, so wild 
and poor as not to be represented in some early Parliaments, 
the last province to feel the effects of orderly rule, a region 
less favored in climate and soil than the counties of the 
south, have been the first to share in the modern prosperity 
of the British empire, and the only one which, through all 
discouragements and hindrances, has held on its prosperous 
way ? 

Because King James I., of various memory, did one wise 
thing. He found the north of Ireland subdued, but lying 
waste and unpeopled from the long wars. Instead of bestow- 
ing the forfeited lands upon courtiers and soldiers in large 
tracts, he divided them into small portions, which he granted 
to settlers, especially ordaining that "no one shall obtain 
grants of land which he is unable to plant with men." This 
was the essential feature of his plan : the details are not im- 
portant to us. Large numbers of Protectant Scotchmen, 
who had but to cross a narrow frith to get to this more genial 
region, availed themselves of the king's wise procedure. They 
settled in Ulster ; made another and a nobler conquest of it 
than the royal troops had made ; intermarried with the na- 
tives of the isle ; and founded that remarkable race, which so 
curiously blends diverse qualities, and is at once named and 
described by the compound, Scotch-Irish. 

The Irishman is a very familiar character to us all. His 
rollicking fun, his ready wit, his eloquence, his fierce resent- 
ments, his ardent affections, his wonderful sacrifices for those 
he loves, his inexact intellect, (the liveliness of his imagina- 
tion overpowering his sense of truth,) his careless habits and 
love of ease — who does not know ? The truth is, the Irish- 
man belongs nearer the sun, whence he came ; where man can 
lounge, and laugh, and play away half the summer days, with- 
out being brought to such a strict account as that to which 
winter subjects the men of the North. Add to the stern 


necessities of winter, the exactions of a northern land-system, 
and the decrees of a long unsympathizing government, and 
you reduce the Irishman to the condition in which we find 
him in the southern counties of the green island. 

But, if he gives up the struggle of life, he supplies the 
world with half its fun and fancy : himself often miserable, 
but always interesting and picturesque ; the chosen of novel- 
ists, the delight of the stage, the sketching tourist's best 
friend, and never wanting to the comic corner of newspapers. 

The Scotchman, on the contrary, is just the man to ex- 
tract a livelihood from a hard soil and an ungenial clime. 
He must have been indigenous to the North, one would think. 
The most orderly, the most truthful, the most persistent of 
men ; slow to feel, though susceptible of the deepest feeling ; 
capable of enthusiasm, but not easily roused; as brave as 
the bravest, but unacquainted with the shilalah ; not slow 
to take offense, but moody in his wrath; not jocular nor 
witty, though social and fond of his own quaint and quiet 
humor. Sir Walter Scott seems scarcely to do justice to his 
countrymen, when he says that they are insensible to humor. 
" How is it," he asked, " that our solemn, proud, dignified 
Celt, with a soul so alive to what is elevating, and even ele- 
gant, in poetry and feeling, is so super-eminently dull as re- 
spects all the lighter play of fancy ? The Highlander never 
understands wit or humor. Paddy, despite all his misery 
and privations, overflows with both. I suppose he is the 
gayest fellow in the world, except the only worse-used one 
still, the West India nigger." ° 

The Scotch-Irish are a tough, vehement, good-hearted 
race, who have preserved in full measure the Scotch virtues 
of honesty, prudence, and perseverance, but exhibit the show- 
ing traits of the Irish, subdued and diminished. A plain, 
simple, and pure people, formed to grapple with practical 
affairs ; in dealing with which they often display an impet- 
uosity which is Irish, and a persistence which is Scotch. 

* Lockhart's Life of Scott, chap, lxiii. 


They have not the taste or gift for art, of which no Irishman 
of pure Wood seems to be quite destitute. Our traveler tells 
us, that in the south and middle of Ireland, when he was 
sketching out-of-doors, he was always surrounded by a crowd 
of spectators, watching the progress of his picture with the 
keenest delight. But in the north, he might sketch all day 
without attracting the slightest attention. The people were 
too busy to linger on their way, and wholly indifferent to an 
occupation which they would feel to be a frivolous misuse of 
time. Their genius shines in other pursuits. They possess 
a sturdiness of understanding, and sometimes a certain quick 
and piercing intelligence, which throws a Drummond glare 
upon a limited space, though it leaves the general scene in 

One trait in the character of these people demands the 
particular attention of the reader. It is their nature to con- 
tend for what they think is right with peculiar earnestness. 
Borne of them, too, have a knack of extracting from every 
affair in which they may engage, and from every relation in 
life which they form, the very largest amount of contention 
which it can be made to yield. Hot water would seem to be 
the natural element of some of them, for they are always in 
it. It appears to be more difficult for. a North-of-Irelander 
than for other men to allow an honest difference of opinion 
in an opponent ; so that he is apt to regard the terms oppo- 
nent and enemy as synonymous. Hence, in the political and 
sectarian contests of the present day, he occasionally exhibits 
a narrowness, if not ferocity of spirit, such as his forefathers 
manifested in the old wars of the clans and the borders, or in 
the later strifes between Catholic and Protestant. It is 
strange that so kind and generous a people should be so fierce 
in contention. " Their factions," says Sir Walter Scott, 
speaking of the Irish generally, " have been so long enven- 
omed, and they have such a narrow ground to do their battle 
in, that they are like people fighting with daggers in a hogs- 

Not less envenomed are the controversies of the Scotch- 


Irish. Judge how much fighting blood lurks in the veins of 
these steady-going weavers of linen, from the following para- 
graph from Mr. Thackeray's inimitable Sketch-Book : — 

" The three churches are here pretty equally balanced — Presbyterians, 
25,000, Catholics, 20,000, Episcopalians, 17,000 ; each party has two or 
more newspaper organs ; and the ware between them are dire and unceas- 
ing, as the reader may imagine. For whereas, in other parts of Ireland, 
where Catholics and Episcopalians prevail, and the Presbyterian body is 
too small, each party has but one opponent to belabor; here, the Ulster 
politician, whatever may be his way of thinking, has the great advantage 
of possessing two enemies on whom ne may exercise his eloquence ; and 
in this triangular duel all do their duty nobly. Then there are subdivisions 
of hostility. For the Church, there is a High-church and a Low-church 
journal ; for the Liberals, there is a Repeal journal and a No-repeal jour- 
nal. For the Presbyterians, there are yet more varieties of journalist opin- 
ion, on which it does not become a stranger to pass judgment. If the 
Northern Whig says that the Banner of Ulster l is a polluted rag which has 
hoisted the red banner of falsehood,' (which elegant words may be found 
in the first-named journal of the 13th October,) let us be sure the Banner 
iias a compliment for the Northern Whig in return ; if the Repeal Vindi- 
cator and the priests attack the Presbyterian journals and the Home Mis- 
sions, the reverend gentlemen of Geneva are quite as ready with the pen 
as their brethren of Rome, and not much more scrupulous in their lan- 
guage than the laity. When I was in Belfast, violent disputes were raging 
between Presbyterian and Episcopalian Conservatives with regard to the 
Marriage Bill ; between Presbyterians and Catholics on the subject of the 
Home Missions ; between the Liberals and Conservatives, of course."* 

AH this shows a people earnest and sincere in their con- 
victions, capable of taking the deepest interest in subjects 
which have nothing to do with the price of linen. 

And these very people, apart from their strifes, are singu- 
larly tender in their feelings, liberal in gifts and hospitality, 
and most easy to be entreated. On great questions, too, 
which lift the mind above sectarian trivialities, they will, as 
a people, be invariably found on the anti-diabolic side : 
equally strenuous for liberty and for law, against " mobs and 
monarchs, lords and levelers," as one of their own stump ora- 

* Irish Sketch-Book, vol ii., chap. xii. 


ton expressed it. The name which Bulwer bestows upon 
one of his characters, Stick-to-righte, describes every genuine 
son of Ulster. 

A curious humor, however, relieves the rough and bristling 
character of these people. Their clergymen, for example, 
will utter dry jokes upon points of theology, which would 
shock the divines of a graver race ; but, with the light of the 
jest still playing about their faces, they would go to the 
stake for their faith, or cleave the skull of a Catholic who 
stood in arms against it. 

It is to be observed, also, of these remarkable people, that 
the two races whose good and less good qualities they share, 
are blended in different proportions in every individual. 
Some are Scotch-Irish, and others are Irish-Scotch. Some 
come to their Scotch traits only after sowing a plentiful crop 
of the most Irish wild-oats. Some are canny Scots in re- 
pose, and wildly Irish in contention. Some, at times of keen 
excitement, exhibit, in a surprising manner, an Irish dash 
and daring, controlled by Scottish wariness. And some will 
imbibe an opinion or a prejudice with Irish readiness, and 
then cling to it with Scotch tenacity. 

It could not but be that a race so bold and enterprising 
should have contributed its proportion to the tide of emigra- 
tion which has peopled America. Transferred to the wider 
sphere afforded on this continent, the North-of-Irelanders 
have, upon the whole, done great honor to their blood and 
instincts, their love of liberty and regard for right. Such of 
them as have attained distinction here have done so, not so 
much by originality of thought or project, as by originality 
of career. There is an abounding energy in these men which 
enables them to do ordinary things in an extraordinary and 
memorable manner ; exhibiting a rare union of enterprise, 
perseverance and prudence. In most of them there is a touch 
of eccentricity. 

Among the men of North-of-Ireland stock whose names 
are familiar to the people of the United States, the following 
may serve to illustrate some of the foregoing remarks : John 


town, of a thousand inhabitants, supported chiefly by fishing 
and the manufacture of linen. The old castle on the crag 
was falling to ruin, and was garrisoned only by a hundred 
and fifty men. Small farmers tilled the adjacent land. The 
music of the loom was heard in nearly every house of town 
and country. Carrickfergus was remarkable for nothing but 
the orderly diligence of its people, and the chronic fury with 
which they carried on the party contests of the day. 

In this town and its vicinity, for an unknown number of 
generations, lived the forefathers of Andrew Jackson. An- 
drew Jackson's grandfather, Hugh Jackson, was a linen- 
draper there in the year 1160, and suffered in a " siege" of / V 6 U 
the town which occurred in that year. Hugh Jackson was 
the father of four sons, all of whom were settled in the neigh- 
borhood as farmers. The youngest of his sons, Andrew by 
name, the father of the subject of this work, was a married 
man in 1765, and had two sons, Hugh and Eobert. Beyond 
these few facts, which were derived from General Jackson's 
recollection of conversations with his mother, nothing is 
known, or can now be discovered, of the Jacksons : in Car- 

The siege of Carrickfergus, which figures as a terrible 
affair in some of the biographies of General Jackson, was, in 
reality, of so trifling a nature as to be almost ridiculous. 
After the fierce and bloody storming of the town in 1689, by 
the adherents of King William, Carrickfergus enjoyed repose, 
disturbed only by a brief flurry of alarm in 1745, when a 
rumor prevailed that the Pretender was coming. The loyal 
Protestants of Carrickfergus formed new companies of militia 
and prepared to defend the place. But the Pretender came 
not, and the town soon fell again into the even tenor of its 
way. Fifteen years passed, in which there was neither war 
nor rumor of war. One morning in February, 1760, to the 
equal astonishment and consternation of the people, a French 
fleet, of three large armed vessels, sailed into the bay, and, 
anchoring near the town, proceeded to land a force of seven 
hundred troops. The officer in command of the castle would 




The traveler in Ireland, we are told, on approaching its 
northern province from the south, observes an agreeable 
change coming over the aspect of the country. The hovels 
of the peasantry and the cabin-suburbs of the towns gradually 
improve. Clean and comfortable inns take the place of the 
slatternly taverns of middle and southern Ireland, in which 
nothing is what it professes to be, and nothing does what it 
was intended to do. Well-cultivated farms, with substantial 
farm-houses in good repair, with orchards and gardens, are 
seen on every side. An air of thrift and comfort, seldom ob- 
served elsewhere in the Emerald Isle, pervades the scene, and 
the tourist draws a long breath of relief, and thanks Heaven 
that he has come once more to a region where man is fighting 
the battle of life, not defeated and apathetic, but with vigor, 
wisdom, and resolution — a victor 1 

The appearance of the people, too, has changed. The 
troops of beggars that lie in wait for the jaunting car at the 
foot of every hill in less favored parts of Ireland, have van- 
ished. The loose-haired, ragged, and bare-legged girls of the 
south are no longer seen. The girls of Ulster wear their hair 
neatly braided, have dresses clean and whole, and are rarely 
seen without stockings. The men discard the " old well of a 
hat which covers the popular head at the other end of the 
island," as well as the knee-breeches, and the long, loose, ill- 
made coat ; and appear in a costume less picturesque, per- 
haps, but far better adapted to every purpose but idling in 

VOU I.- 


odious disabilities. In 1708, the "quarter-sessions grand 
jury" of the county unanimously signed an address to the 
queen, recounting the grievances of the act, and urging its 
repeal It is mentioned as an extraordinary piece of conde- 
scension on the part of Queen Anne, that she received this 
address graciously, and permitted its publication in the Ga- 
zette. The tones of Carrickfergus, upon learning that the 
queen had bestowed " such a distinction/' as Mr. McSkimin 
styles it, upon the dissenters, were indignant, and gave out 
that the address was a forgery, and so denounced it in the 
Flying Post. Whereupon, the grand jury issued a certifi- 
cate or proclamation of its genuineness, signed by each juror. 
One of the jurors thus signing was John Jackson. And this 
is the only glimmer of light upon our subject which the his- 
tory of Carrickfergus affords. 

Upon the general character of the people inhabiting that 
corner of Ireland, Mr. McSkimin gives us much information. 
Note well these illustrations of the party spirit which pre- 
vailed in Carrickfergus when General Jackson's father was a 
school-boy : 

" The government being apprehensive that the Pretender meditated 
the invasion of some part of these kingdoms, an array of the militia of this 
place was ordered, in common with those of the county of Antrim. Soon 
after, the Rev. Edward Mathews, curate of Carrickfergus, circulated a re- 
port that the Rev. Patrick Adair had left the town when the militia were 
about to be sworn in, although requested to stay by the mayor, who 
dreaded a disturbance among the dissenters, on account of a false report 
having gone abrgad, that ' they must all swear to be Churchmen.' This 
statement, on the authority of Mr. Mathews, also appeared in the pamphlet 
called * The Conduct of the Dissenters ;' but was immediately contradicted, 
not only by Mr. Adair, but also by Richard Horseman, mayor, and Wil- 
liam Wilkinson, a respectable inhabitant These false reports, as might 
be expected, led to some disagreeable incidents. Mr. Mathews and Mr. 
Adair, meeting soon after at the south end of Essex street, had such warm 
words respecting the above statement, that blows ensued — when the 
former is said to have been overcome. 

" Tradition likewise affirms, that in the summer of 1714, the tories 
went so far as to take up by force the Dissenters' Catechism, when ex- 
posed for sale in the market-place, and even threatened to nail up their 


place of worship ; and that a military officer, proceeding to put this threat 
into execution, fell dead on Gravott's bridge, West street 

" The rancorous spirit of intolerance and persecution appears to have 
been pretty generally abroad about this time. On the 17th July, same 
year, the grand jury of the county of Antrim assembled at assize, with 
other gentlemen and freeholders of said county, prepared an address, to be 
presented to her Majesty Queen Anne. In this address, they highly ap- 
proved of the before-mentioned test ; strongly reprobated any secession 
from the established Church ; and declared their unshaken loyalty to her 
1 Sacred Majesty,' in opposition to those who, as they said, would * transfer 
it to their Sovereign Lord — The People.' They concluded by declaring 
that they would, ' with the utmost zeal and indignation, pursue those fac- 
tious spirits,' whom ihey represented as endeavoring to undermine the 
throne. Her Majesty died on the 1st August following, and this address 
fell to the ground. 

" The news of her Majesty's decease was received here by those par- 
ties with very opposite sensations. Some of the whigs flew to the parish 
church, and began ringing, on its bell, ' a merry peal.' 

• it 

The reader is not to infer from such scenes as these, that 
the citizens of Carrickfergus loved contention for its own sake. 
The grievances of which the dissenters complained were such 
as a high-spirited people can not submit to in silence. The 
dissenters, largely in the majority as they were, were denied 
participation in the government, were taxed for the support 
of the established Church, and were scarcely recognized as 
fellow-subjects by the dominant party. In later days, since 
the most offensive of the distinctions between dissenters and 
churchmen have been abolished, they have lived in compara- 
tive peace and friendliness with the still privileged sect. At 
least, there is no further record of the Church curate and the 
dissenting clergyman coming to blows in the street. 

As early as 1756, when the father of General Jackson 
may have been old enough to be a member of it, there was a 
Patriot Club in Carrickfergus, which declared in its Plan of 
Association, that it was ready " to defend the king and con- 
stitution," and to oppose " all measures tending to infringe 
the Sacred Right of the People." Mr. McSkimin's work con- 
tains abundant proof of his assertion, that the people of Car- 
rickfergus " have evinced a due share of public spirit, which 


has been always conspicuous when the interests of the nation 
appeared to be concerned. On those occasions, they have 
ever been amongst the foremost to declare their approbation 
or disapprobation of the measure in question ; and have in- 
variably supported the popular side, as far as in their power/' 
The people in the adjacent country appear to have been 
remarkably simple in their character and manners. When 
Andrew Jackson, the elder, tilled his few hired acres there, a 
hundred years ago, the people still believed in witches, fairies, 
brownies, wraiths, evil eyes, charms, and warning spirits. 
They had only just done trying people for witchcraft ; and 
the ducking-stool for scolding wives still existed, and may 
have been occasionally used. They nailed horse-shoes to the 
bottoms of their churns ; they had faith in a seventh son ; 
they trembled when a mirror was broken, or a dog howled ; 
they undertook no enterprise on Friday, nor would change 
their residence on Saturday. Some of their customs, as de- 
scribed by the historian of Carrickfergus, were exceedingly 
curious. The following may interest some of their innumer- 
able descendants in the United States : — 

"A kind of punishment was formerly inflicted occasionally, called 
Riding the Stang, meaning riding upon a sting, that is, receiving chastise- 
ment for some offense of which the common law did not take any cog- 
nizance. On those occasions some low fellow, who represented the delin 
quent, was mounted on a long pole carried on men's shoulders, and in this 
way he was taken about the streets, the bearers occasionally halting, and 
he making loud proclamation of the person's real or alleged offense, the 
crowd huzzaing. They afterwards repaired to the residence of the ot* 
fender, where a grand proclamation was made of his crime, or misde- 
meanor ; after which the company dispersed, giving three hearty cheers. 

" Although the people are generally Protestants, yet if a person is sud- 
denly deranged, or a child overseen, the lower orders rarely apply to their 

• The following is an extract from the ancient records of Carrickfergus : — 
"October, 1574, ordered and agreede by the hole Court, that all manner of 
Skoldes which Shal bo openly detected of Skolding or evill wordes in manner of 
Skolding, & for the same shal be condemned before Mr. Maior and his brethren, 
Shal be drawne at the Sterne of a boate in the water from the ende of the Pear© 
rounde abought the Queenes majesties Cassoll in manner of ducking," etc., etc. 


own minister for relief, bat to some Roman Catholic priest, and receive 
from him what is termed a priest's book. This book, or paper, is sowed in 
the clothes of the afflicted person, or worn as an amulet about the neck ; 
if lost, a second book is never given to the same person. 

" On the death of a person, the nearest neighbors cease working till the 
corpse is interred. Within the house where the deceased is, the dishes, 
and all other kitchen utensils, are removed from the shelves, or dressers; 
looking-glasses are covered or taken down, clocks are stopped, and their 
dial-plates covered. Except in cases deemed very infectious, the corpse is 
always kept one night, and sometimes two. This sitting with the corpse 
is called the Wake, from Like-wake (Scottish), the meeting of the friends 
of the deceased before the funeral. Those meetings are generally con- 
ducted with great decorum ; portions of the Scriptures are read, and fre- 
quently a prayer is pronounced, and a psalm given out fitting for the sol- 
emn occasion. Pipes and tobacco are always laid out on a table, and 
spirits or other refreshments are distributed during the night. If a dog or 
cat passes over the dead body, it is immediately killed, as it is believed 
that the first person it would pass over afterwards, would take the fatting 
sickness. A plate with salt is frequently set on the breast of the corpse, 
and is said to keep the same from swelling. 

" On Shrove Tuesday, called also Fasten' s e'en, or pancake eve, it is 
customary to eat pancakes. Formerly the barbarous practice of throwing 
sticks at cocks was practiced on this day. The devoted bird was tied to a 
stake, and persons standing off a few perches, threw at him with a staff, 
his brutal owner receiving one penny for each throw till he was killed. 
The custom ceased about 1794. 

" Easter Monday is a day of very general festivity, and on it cock- 
fights are usually held. In the afternoon, if the weather is fine, young 
men and women resort to a green, south of the town, called Ranbuy, and 
ioin in some rustic sport, which concludes by their return into town late in 
the evening, playing thread 1he needle. Same day, children dye eggs vari- 
ous colors, and repairing to some gentle declivity, trundle them till they 
break, on which they are eaten. 

u On May eve, young boys and girls resort to the fields and gather 
Mayflowers, which they spread outside of their doors. Sprigs of rowan 
tree were formerly gathered same eve, and stuck above the inside of the 
out-door heads, to keep off the witches. The herb yarrow (mil/olium) is 
gathered to cause young girls to dream of their future husbands. Some 
females who have cows, rise very early on May morning, and proceed to 
the nearest spring well, and bring home a portion of its water. This is 
called, ' getting the flower of the well,' and those who practice it believe 
that their cattle are thus secured against charms for that season. 

u In harvest^ when the last of the farmer's corn is about to be cut, a 


small portion of the best is plaited and bound up. The men then stand at 
a certain distance, and throw their hooks at it till it is cut, on which they 
give three cheers. This is generally called winning the churn, but in some 
parts of the parish it is called the hare. It is carried home and laid above 
the door : the name of the first young woman who enters afterwards, it is 
said, will be that of the wife of the young man who has put it there. A 
like custom is observed in Devonshire, and in all likelihood it came here 
with the settlers from thence. 

" On winning the churn, the reapers are usually regaled with a special, 
feast, also called the churn. Formerly this feast consisted of a profusion 
of homely fare, such as bread, cheese, butter, cream, etc., and generally 
concluded with a dance, the master and mistress joining without distinc- 
tion in the general festivity. Of late years, this rustic feast has been cor- 
rupted by the introduction of tea and whiskey, and the former simplicity 
of the entertainment is in a great measure lost 

" Formerly a custom prevailed, which was termed calling the Waits. 
A short time before Christmas, young men or boys assembled each morn- 
ing about five o'clock, and proceeded with music to the houses of the most 
respectable persons, where they played some lively tunes. One of the 
party then bade good morning to each of those within, beginning with the 
master, and ending by calling out the hour of the morning, and state of 
the weather. These visits were continued till some days after Christmas, 
when they called in daylight, and received a donation in silver, which was 
always spent in the ale-house. This custom ceased in 1796, or 1797, when 
all nocturnal meetings were prohibited. 

" Late on Christmas eve, young men and boys assemble and collect 
carts, cars, gates, boats, planks, etc., with which they block up the Irish or 
West gate of this town. There is a vague tradition that the custom origin- 
ated in the Protestant inhabitants shutting the gates on the Roman Catho- 
lics, when they went out to mass on Christmas eve. 

" Within memory, it was common with boys to assemble early at their 
school-house on the morning before Christmas, and to bar out the master, 
who was not admitted till he promised a certain number of days' vacation. 
Early on Christmas day, the boys set out to the country in parties of eight to 
twelve, armed with staves or bludgeons, killing and carrying off such fowls 
as came in their way. These were taken to their respective school-rooms, 
and dressed the following day. To this feast many persons were invited, 
who furnished liquors, or other necessaries ; the entertainment usually 
continued for several days. As civilization increased, these marauding 
feasts became less popular. 

" During the Christmas holidays it is yet common with young boys to 
assemble at night, fantastically dressed with paper ornaments, and to pro- 
ceed to the different houses, each repeating in turn the words of some 


character in the well-known Christmas rhymes. After these orations, 
halfpence are solicited, and usually given, whicli are spent in liquors or 

" Formerly great numbers of men and boys resorted to the fields on 
this day to play at skinny, which game was sometimes warmly contested 
between the inhabitants of different townlands ; the custom has almost en- 
tirely ceased, a few boys only assembling to this diversion. 

" The following things are generally observed here as prognostics of 
the weather, on which the moon is believed to have great influence at all 
seasons. If the new moon appears with her disk nearly upright, or what 
is termed on her back, rough weather is considered certain during her 
time. Saturday's change is thought to forebode storms and rain ; hence 
the remark, ' a Saturday's change is enough in seven years.' At the full 
and quarters of the moon's age, change of weather is expected. When a 
circle appears about the moon, called a brongh, stormy weather is looked 
for within twenty-four hours ; hence it is said, 'a far off brough and a near 
hand storm.' If small floating white clouds appear, which are called cat 
hair, rain is looked for next day ; and when a meteor is seen at night, 
called a shot star, it is thought that it will be wet or stormy the day fol- 

" The singing of the red-breast in the evening on the top of a tree or 
bush, is deemed a token of fine weather. Swallows flying low are believed 
to indicate rain ; flying high, the reverse. The dor-beetle, or bum-clock, 
seen abroad in the evening, is supposed to forebode good weather. When 
the roaring of Strangford bar is heard in this lough by the fishers, they 
conclude that the wind will blow hard from the south. If Scotland is dis- 
tinctly seen with the naked eye, and the Copeland Islands appear high, a 
gale is expected from the eastward. When the sun appears nearly encom- 
passed by a circle, severe weather is expected, and the wind from that 
direction where the breach was in the circle. If a figure appears in the 
morning in the clouds, like part of a rainbow, which the fishers call a Dog, 
they expect stormy weather; if seen in the evening, the reverse; — hence 
their adage, 

" ' A dog at night U a tailor's delight, 

A dog in the morning will bark before njght' 

" By some, this appearance is called a weather-gaw. If a star is seen 
near the moon, which they call Hurlbassey, tempestuous weather is looked 
for by them." 

Among the descendants of the Scotch-Irish in New 
Hampshire and North Carolina, some traces of these rustic 
customs and beliefs may still be observed. General Jackson 
vol. i. — * 


himself, to the end of his life, never liked to begin any thing 
of consequence on Friday, and would not, if it could be 
avoided without serious injury to some important interest. 



In 1765, Andrew Jackson the elder, with his wife and 
two sons, emigrated to America. He was accompanied by 
three of his neighbors, James, Robert, and Joseph Crawford, 
the first-named of whom was his brother-in-law. The peace 
between France and England, signed two years before, which 
• ended the "old French war" — the war in which Braddock 
was defeated and Canada won — had restored to mankind their 
highway, the ocean, and given an impulse to emigration from 
the old world to the new. From the north of Ireland large 
numbers sailed away to the land of promise. Five sisters of 
Mrs. Jackson had gone, or were soon going. Samuel Jack- 
son, a brother of Andrew, afterwards went, and established 
himself in Philadelphia, where he long lived, a respectable 
citizen. Mrs. Suffren, a daughter of another brother, fol- 
lowed in later years, and settled in New York, where she has 
living descendants. 

When Andrew Jackson emigrated, George III. had 
reigned five years. America was resisting the Stamp Act, 
which was repealed a year later when Chatham came into 
power, and Franklin had borne his testimony against it at 
the bar of the House of Commons. Frederic II. was begin- 
ning to be " called the Great," and the death of Pompadour 
had just left the throne of France vacant. Washington was 
learning how to govern himself and his country in the school 

* Kendall's Life of Jackson, page 10. 

1765.] THE EMIGRANT 8. 47 

in which genuine statesmanship is learned — the management 
of a private estate. 

Andrew Jackson was a poor man, and his wife, Elizabeth 
Hutchinson, was a poor man's daughter. The tradition is 
clear and credible among the numerous descendants of Mrs. 
Jackson's sisters, that their lot in Ireland was a hard one. 
They were weavers of linen, the price of which fluctuated in 
the early day of its manufacture more injuriously than it now 
does. The grandchildren of the Hutchinson sisters remember 
hearing their mothers often say, that in Ireland some of these 
girls were compelled to labor half the night, and sometimes 
all night, in order to produce the requisite quantity of linen. 
Linen-weaving was their employment both before and after 
marriage ; the men of the families tilling small farms at high 
rents, and the women toiling at the loom. The members of 
this circle were not all equally poor. There is reason to be- 
lieve that some of them brought to America sums of monev 
which were considerable for that day, and sufficient to enable 
them to buy negroes as well as lands in the southern wilder- 
ness. But all accounts concur in this : that Andrew Jackson 
was very poor, both in Ireland and in America. Besides 
this, tradition has nothing of importance to communicate 
respecting him, except that he and his wife were Presbyteri- 
ans, as their fathers were before them. The Hutchinson sis- 
ters, however, are remembered as among the most thrifty, 
industrious and capable of a race remarkable for those quali- 
ties. There is a smack of the North-Irish brogue still to be 
observed in the speech of their grandchildren and great-grand- 
children. " He went till Charleston," and "there never was 
seen the like of him for mischief," are specimens of their talk. 
General Jackson himself, to a very nice ear, occasionally be- 
trayed his lineage by the slightest possible twang of Scotch- 
Irish pronunciation. 

I may as well remark here as anywhere, that the features 
and shape of head of General Jackson, which ten thousand 
sigu-boards have made familiar to the people of the United 
States, are common in North Carolina and Tennessee. In 


the course of a two months' tour in those States among the 
people of Scotch-Irish descent, I saw more than twenty well- 
marked specimens of the long, slender, Jacksonian head, with 
the bushy, bristling hair, and the well-known features. There 
is a member of the North Carolina Legislature, and a judge in 
Tennessee, so strongly resembling General Jackson, that it 
could scarcely fail to be remarked in any company where they 
were, if the name of Jackson should be mentioned. The ven- 
erable Dr. Felix Robertson, of Nashville, the first man born 
in that part of the Cumberland valley, who is still living to 
wonder at what two generations of men have wrought in that 
garden of the South-west, has often been accosted in the 
street as General Jackson, though he is not so much like the 
General as many other gentlemen whom I have seen. In 
Carrickfergus, there are probably many Jacksons walking 
about the streets unrecognized ; the type being evidently one 
from which nature has been in the habit of taking impres- 
sions for many generations. I think it probable, for the same 
reason, that Andrew Jackson the elder strongly resembled his 
son in form and feature. The General's mother, moreover, 
according to tradition, was a " stout woman," and among 
the numerous descendants of her sisters there is no likeness 
to General Jackson to be observed. 

The party of emigrants from Carrickfergus landed at 
Charleston, and proceeded, without delay, to the Waxhaw 
settlement, a hundred and sixty miles to the north-west of 
Charleston, where many of their kindred and countrymen 
were already established. This settlement was, or had been, 
the seat of the Waxhaw tribe of Indians. It is the region 
watered by the Catawba river, since pleasantly famous for its 
grapes. A branch of the Catawba, called the Waxhaw Creek, 
a small and not ornamental stream, much choked with logs 
and overgrowth to this day, runs through it, fertilizing a con- 
siderable extent of bottom land. It is a pleasant enough un- 
dulating region, an oasis of fertility in a waste of pine woods ; 
much " worn" now by incessant cotton-raising, but showing 
still some fine and profitable plantations. The word Wax- 

1765. J THE EMIGRANTS. 49 

haw, be it observed, has no geographical or political meaning. 
The settlement so called was partly in North Carolina and 
partly in South Carolina. Many of the settlers, probably, 
scarcely knew in which of the two provinces they lived, nor 
cared to know. At this day, the name Waxhaw has van- 
ished from the maps and gazetteers, but in the country round 
about the old settlement, the lands along the creek are still 
called " the Waxhaws." 

Another proof of the poverty of Andrew Jackson is this : 
the Crawfords, who came with him from Ireland, bought 
lands near the center of the settlement, on the Waxhaw 
Creek itself, lands which still attest the wisdom of their 
choice ; but Jackson settled seven miles away, on new land, 
on the banks of Twelve Mile Creek, another branch of the 
Catawba. The place is now known as "Pleasant Grove 
Camp Ground," and the particular land once occupied by the 
father of General Jackson is still pointed out by the old peo- 
ple of the neighborhood. How large the tract was, I have 
not been able to ascertain ; as, since that day, there have 
been so many changes in the counties of that part of North 
Carolina, that a search for an old land-title is attended with 
peculiar difficulty. The best information now attainable 
confirms the tradition which prevails in the Waxhaw coun- 
try, that Andrew Jackson, the elder, never oumed in America 
one acre of land. General S. H. Walkup, of Union county, 
a distinguished member of the Senate of North Carolina, a 
lawyer in the region where he has lived from his birth, has 
made this matter a subject of special and laborious investiga- 
tion. " I have examined," he writes to me, " the offices of 
the Register of Deeds at Wadesborough in Anson county, and 
Charlotte in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, to find 
out whether General Jackson's father ever owned any land, 
and I have also examined the old papers of the tract on which 
he once lived. But I can not find that he ever owned any 
land. No evidence of any title in him can be found. My 
own opinion is, that he never did own any land, and it is 
well known that he was extremely poor ; and therefore it 


was that after his death his widow removed to Waxhaw 
Creek among her relatives." On Twelve Mile Creek, how- 
ever, Andrew Jackson planted himself, with his family, and 
began to hew out of the wilderness a farm and a home. The 
land is in what is now called Union county, North Carolina, 
a few miles from Monroe, the county seat. The coimty was 
named Union, a few years ago, in honor of the Union's in- 
domitable defender, and in rebuke of neighboring nullifiers. 
It was proposed to call the county Jackson, but Union was 
thought a worthier compliment ; particularly as the patriotic 
little county juts into South Carolina. 

For two years Andrew Jackson and his family toiled in 
the Carolina woods. He had built his log-house, cleared 
some fields, and raised a crop. Then, the father of the fam- 
ily, his work all incomplete, sickened and died : his two boys 
being still very young, and his wife far advanced in preg- 
nancy. This was early in the spring of 1767. 

In a rude farm-wagon the corpse, accompanied, as it 
seems, in the same vehicle by all the little family, was con- 
veyed to tnc old Waxhaw church-yard, and interred. No 
stone marks the spot beneath which the bones have mold- 
ered ; but tradition points it out. In that ancient place of 
burial, families sleep together, and the place where Andrew 
Jackson lies is known by the grave-stones which record the 
names of his wife's relations, the Crawfords, the McKemeys 
and others. 

A strange and lonely place is that old grave-yard to this 
day. A little church (the third that has stood near that 
spot) having nothing whatever of the ecclesiastical in its ap- 
pearance, resembling rather a neat farm-house, stands, not 
in the church-yard, but a short distance from it. Huge trees, 
with smaller pines among them, rise singly and in clumps, as 
they wore originally left by those who first subdued the wil- 
derness there. Great roots of trees roughen the red clay 
roads, The church is not now used, because of some schism 
respecting psalmody and close communion ; and the interior, 
unpaintod, uncoiled, and uncushioned, with straight-backed 

1767.] THE EMIGRANTS. 51 

pews, and rough Sunday-school benches, looks grimly wooden 
and desolate as the traveler removes the chip that keeps the 
door from blowing open, and peeps in. Old as the settle- 
ment is, the country is but thinly inhabited, and the few 
houses near look like those of a just-peopled country in the 
northern States. Miles and miles and miles, you may ride 
in the pine woods and " old fields" of that country, without 
meeting a vehicle or seeing a living creature. So that when 
the stranger stands in that church-yard among the old graves, 
though there is a house or two not far off, but not in sight, 
he has the feeling of one who comes upon the ancient burial- 
place of a race extinct. Rude old stones are there that were 
placed over graves when as yet a stone-cutter was not in the 
province ; stones upon which coats-of-arms were once en- 
graved, still partly decipherable ; stones which are modern 
compared with these, yet record the exploits of revolutionary 
soldiers ; stones so old that every trace of inscription is lost, 
and stones as new as the new year. The inscriptions on the 
grave-stones are unusually simple and direct, and free from 
sniveling and cant. A large number of them end with 
Pope's line (incorrectly quoted) which declares an honest 
man to be the noblest work of God. One of the inscriptions, 
the longest of them all, I copied, because it seemed a good 
illustration of the character of this virtuous, but consciously- 
virtuous race. The history thus bluntly recorded was that 
of many who lie in old Waxhaw church-yard, and the charac- 
ter portrayed is Jacksonian : 

" Here lies the body of Mr. WiJliam Blair, who departed this life in the 
64th year of his age, on the 2d of July, a. d. 1821, at 9 p. m. He was 
born in the county of Antrim, Ireland, on the 24th of March, 1759. When 
about thirteen years old, he came with his father to this country, where he 
resided till his death. 

" Immediately on his left are deposited the earthly remains of his only 
wife, Sarah, whose death preceded his but a few years. 

" He was a revolutionary patriot, and in the humble station of private 
soldier and wagon -master, he contributed more to the establishment of 
American independence than many whose namc3 are proudly emblazoned 
on the page of history. 


"With his father's wagon he assisted in transporting the baggage of 
the American army for several months. He was in the battles of the 
Hanging Rock, the Eutaw, RatlifTs Bridge, and the Fish Dam Ford on 
Broad River. In one of these battles (it is not recollected which) he re- 
ceived a slight wound, but so far was he from regarding it, either then or 
afterwards, that when it was intimated to him that he might avail himself 
of the bounty of his country, and draw a pension (as many of his camp 
associates had done) ho declared, that if the small competence he then pos- 
sessed failed him, he was able and willing to work for his living, and, if it 
became necessary, to fight for his country without a penny of pay. 

" In the language of Pope, ' The noblest work of God is an honest 

*' No farther seek hi« merits to disclose, 

Or draw bis frailties from their dread abode. 
There they alike in trembling hope repose. 
The bosom of his father and his God.'* 

The bereaved family of the Jacksons never returned to 
their home on the banks of Twelve Mile Creek, but went 
from the church-yard to the house, not far off, of one of Mrs. 
Jackson's brothers-in-law, George McKemey by name, whose 
remains now repose in the same old burying-ground. A few 
nights after, Mrs. Jackson was seized with the pains of labor. 
There was a swift sending of messengers to the neighbors, 
and a hurrying across the fields of friendly women ; and be- 
fore the sun rose, a son was born, the son whose career and 
fortunes we have undertaken to relate. It was in a small 
log house, in the province of North Carolina, less than a 
quarter of a mile from the boundary line between North and 
South Carolina, that the birth took place. 

Andrew Jackson, then, was born in Union county, North 
Carolina, on the 15th of March, 1767. 

General Jackson always supposed himself to be a native 
of South Carolina. " Fellow-citizens of my native State !" 
he exclaims, at the close of his proclamation to the nullifiers 
of South Carolina ; but it is as certain as any fact of the 
kind can be that he was mistaken. The point is one of small 
importance, but as it may be questioned, and as the people of 
the Carolinas have shown much interest in it, I will give the 


briefest possible summary of the evidence which fixes the 
birth of General Jackson in North Carolina. The evidence 
was collected and drawn up in convincing array by General 
S. E. Walkup, a most worthy gentleman. Born and brought 
up in the neighborhood, General Walkup was aided in his 
inquiries by a perfect knowledge of the country and of the 
unimpeachable character of his witnesses. I went afterward 
myself over the same ground, and heard the same story from 
many of the same persons ; but the whole credit of setting 
this matter right belongs to the honorable and patriotic gen- 
tleman just named. 

First, let us establish the fact that the birth took place 
at the house of George McKemey.f 

Benjamin Massey, an old resident of the vicinity (as are, 
or were, the other testifiers), gives his recollections of what 
he heard Mrs. Lathen, who was present at the birth, say on 
the subject. Mrs. Lathen said 

" That she was about seven years older than Andrew Jackson \ that 
when the father of Andrew Jackson died, Mrs. Jackson left home and 
came to her brother-in-law's, Mr. McCamie's, previous to the birth of 
Andrew ; after living at Mr. McCamie's awhile, Andrew was born, and 
she was present at his birth ; as soon as Mrs. Jackson was restored to 
health and strength she came to Mr. James Crawford's, in South Carolina, 
and there remained." 

John Carnes says : — 

" Mrs. Leslie, the aunt of General Jackson, has often told me that 
General Jackson was born at George McCamie's, in North Carolina, and 
that his mother, soon after his birth, moved over to James Crawford's, in 
South Carolina ; and I think she told me she was present at his birth ; 
but at any rate, she knew well he was born at McCamie's." 

James Faulkner, second cousin of General Jackson, states 

" That old Mr. Jackson died before the birth of his son, General Jack- 

* Published, in part, in the North Carolina Argus of September 23d, 1 858, 
aod the rest deposited in the Historical Society of North Carolina. 

f This name is spelt in various ways in the depositions. I follow the spell- 
ing of his tombstone in Waxhaw church-yard. 


son, and that his widow, Mrs. Jackson, was quite poor, and moved from 
her residence on Twelve Mile Creek, North Carolina, to live with her 
relations on Waxhaw Creek, and while on her way there, she stopped 
with her sister, Mrs. McCamie, in North Carolina, and was there deliv- 
ered of Andrew, afterward President of the United States ; that he learned 
this from various old persons, and particularly heard his aunt, Sarah Lathen, 
often speak of it and assert that she was present at his, Jackson's, birth ; 
that she said her mother, Mrs. Leslie, was sent for on that occasion, and 
took her, Mrs. Lathen, then a small girl about seven years of age, with 
her, and that she recollected well of going the near way through the fields 
to get there; and that afterward, when Mrs. Jackson became able to 
travel, she continued her trip to Mrs. Crawford's, and took her son Andrew 
with her, and there remained" 

John Lathen, second cousin of General Jackson, says : — 

" The following is about what I have heard my mother, Sarah Lathen, 
say in frequent conversation about the birth-place of Andrew Jackson, 
President of the United States. She has often remarked that Andrew 
Jackson was born at the house of George McCamie, and that she, Mrs. 
Lathen, was present at his birth. She stated that the father of Andrew 
Jackson, viz., Andrew Jackson, Sr., lived and died on Twelve Mile Creek 
in Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, and that soon after his death, 
Mrs. Jackson left Twelve Mile Creek, North Carolina, to go to live with 
Mr. Crawford, in Lancaster district, South Carolina. That on her way, she 
called at the house of George McCamie, who had married a sister of hers, 
Mrs. Jackson, and while at McCamie's, she was taken sick, and sent for 
Mrs. Sarah Leslie, her sister, and the mother of Mrs. Sarah Lathen, who 
was a midwife, and who lived near McCamie's. That she, Mrs. Lathen, 
accompanied her mother, Mrs. Sarah Leslie, to George McCamie's ; that she 
was a young girl, and recollects going with her mother ; they walked 
through the fields in the night, and that she was present when Andrew 
Jackson was born. That as soon as Mrs. Jackson got able to travel after 
the birth of Andrew she went on to Mr. Crawford's, where she afterward 

Thomas Faulkner, second cousin of General Jackson, 
says : — 

" My recollection of what Mrs. Sarah Lathen said of the birth-place of 
Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, was about this : I have 
often heard her say that Mrs. Betty Jackson, the mother of Andrew 
Jackson, ' was taken sick at the house of George McCamie, and sent for 
Mrs Sarah Leslie at the time when she was delivered of Andrew Jackson, 


1767.] THE EMIGRANTS. 55 

and that she, Mrs. Leslie, took her daughter, Mrs. Lathen, with her on 
the night of Jackson's birth ; and that they walked through the fields, the 
near way, from Mrs. Leslie's to G-eorge McCamieV I have often heard 
my grandmother, Sarah Leslie, say ' that she was sent for on the night of 
the birth of Andrew Jackson by her sister, Mrs. Betty Jackson, who was 
taken sick at the house of her brother-in-law, George McCarnie, and that 
she took her daughter, Sarah Lathen, then a small girl, with her ; that 
they walked the near way, through the fields, to McCamie's, and that 
she was present when Andrew Jackson was born at the house of said 
George McCarnie.' These women were both of sound minds and excel- 
lent memories and characters up to the time of their deaths. Mrs. Leslie 
died about fifty years ago, and Mrs. Lathen died thirty-five years ago. I 
am now seventy yeare of age, and reside now, where I have ever since 
rny birth, in Lancaster district, South Carolina, near Craigsville post office, 
and about two miles from the old Waxhaw church." 

To the same effect testify Samuel McWhorter, Jane 
Wilson and others. 

James D. Craig, formerly a resident of Waxhaw, now of 
the State of Mississippi, states that he remembers hearing 
old James Faulkner say that once while sleeping with Andrew 
Jackson at the McKemey house, Andrew told him that he 
was born in that house. Mr. Craig further says that he has 
heard Mrs. Cousar, a very aged lady, long a near neighbor of 
McKemey, say that she remembered perfectly the night of 
Andrew Jackson's birth, as she was sent for to assist, and 
reached the McKemey house before the infant was dressed. 
Mr. Craig lias also heard Charles Findly, deceased, say that 
he " assisted in hauling" the corpse of Andrew Jackson from 
his house on Twelve Mile Creek to the Waxhaw church- 
yard, and in interring it there ; that he brought Mrs. Jack- 
son and her boys with the corpse, and, after the funeral, 
conveyed them to the residence of George McKemey, where, 
soon after, Andrew was born. 

This testimony leaves no reasonable doubt that the birth 
took place at the house of McKemey. Nor is there the least 
difficulty in finding the precise spot where that house stood. 
The spot is as well known to the people of the neighborhood 
as the City Hall is to the inhabitants of New York. The 


testimony of the late Thomas Cureton, Esq., long the owner 
of the place, and father of its present proprietor, will suffice 
to satisfy the reader on this point : — 

" I, Thomas Cureton, senior, being about seventy-five years of age, do 
hereby certify that my father, James Cureton, came to this Waxhaw Set- 
tlement from Roanoke River, in North Carolina, about seventy-three years 
ago, as I am informed and believe, when I was about one year old ; and 
my brother, Jeremiah Cureton, who was about twenty years older than 
myself, came with him. My brother, Jeremiah Cureton, bought the 
George McCamie place some time after he came to this county, in about 
1796, and settled down on the same place and in the same house where 
George McCamie lived. He remained there a few years, and until he 
bought the place where William J. Cureton now lives. I know the George 
McCamie place well It lies in North Carolina, about a quarter of a mile 
east of the •public road leading from Lancaster Court House, South Caro- 
lina, to Charlotte, North Carolina, and to the right of said road as you 
travel north ; and lies a little east of south from Cureton's Pond on said 
public road, and a little over a quarter of a mile from said pond. My 
brother, Jeremiah Cureton, always called that the McCamie house, and the 
McCamie place. My brother, Jeremiah Cureton, was of the opinion, from 
information derived from old Mrs. Molly Cousar, the mother of Richard 
Cousar, that Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, was born 
at the George McCamie place as above described. Mrs. Cousar was a 
neighbor, and lived then, at the time of the birth of General Andrew Jack- 
son, and until her death, in South Carolina, about one mile west from the 
George McCamie house, and was a very old woman when she died, which 
was about thirty-five years ago. She was a woman of undoubted good 
moral character, and her veracity was unquestionable. The Leslie houses 
lay about half a mile in a southern direction from the McCamie house, and 
north of Waxhaw Creek, and east of the public road. I have lived for the 
last seventy-two or three years within three or four miles of the McCamie 

To this add the following from Thomas J. Cureton, Esq., 
the present hospitable proprietor of the place : — 

" This McCamie house lies about half a mile south-east of where I now 
live, and is in Union county, North Carolina, formerly called Mecklen- 
burg county, North Carolina ; and is a little over a quarter of a mile south- 
east of what is called Cureton's Pond, and about a quarter of a mile east 

1767.] THE EMIGRANTS. 57 

of the State line, and the public road leading from Lancaster Court House, 
South Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina, and about one and a half 
miles north of Waxhaw Creek. I have the old land papers for said tract, 
which was patented to John McCane, 17G1, upon a survey dated 8th Sep- 
tember, 1757 ; conveyed by McCane to Repentance Townsend, 10th April, 
1761, and by Townsend to George McCamie, 3d January, 1766 ; and by 
George McCamie to Thomas Crawford, 1792 ; and from Crawford and 
wife, Elizabeth, to my father, 23d July, 1796 ; and by my father to my- 
self, and which I still own. My father came from Virginia with my grand- 
father, James Cureton, to Roanoke, North Carolina, and from there to Wax- 
haws, South Carolina, and purchased the McCamie place, where he lived 
a few years, and then removed to the place where I now reside in Lan- 
caster district, South Carolina, where he remained until his death in 1847 ; 
being then eighty-four years of age." 

And so we dismiss this unimportant but not wholly unin- 
teresting matter. 

In a large field, near the edge of a wide, shallow ravine, 
on the plantation of Mr. W. J. Cureton, there is to be seen a 
great clump, or natural summer-house, of Catawba grape 
vines. Some remains of old fruit trees near by, and a spring 
a little wav down the ravine, indicate that a human habita- 
tion once stood near this spot. It is a still and solitary place, 
away from the road, in a red, level region, where the young 
pines are in haste to cover the well-worn cotton fields, and 
man seems half inclined to let them do it, and move to Texas. 
Upon looking under the masses of grape vine, a heap of 
large stones showing traces of fire is discovered. These stones 
once formed the chimney and fire-place of the log-house wherein 
George McKemey lived and Andrew Jackson was born. On 
that old yellow hearth-stone, Mrs. Jackson lulled her infant 
to sleep, and brooded over her sad bereavement, and thought 
anxiously respecting the future of her fatherless boys. Sacred 
spot ! not so much because there a hero was born, as be- 
cause there a noble mother suffered, sorrowed and accepted 
her new lot, and bravely bent herself to her more than 
doubled weight of care and toil. 

Mrs. Jackson remained at this house three weeks. Then, 
leaving her eldest son behind to aid her brother-in-law on his 


farm, she removed, with her second son and the new-born 
infant, to the residence of another brother-in-law, Mr. Craw- 
ford, with whom she had crossed the ocean, and who then 
lived two miles distant. Mrs. Crawford was an invalid, and 
Mrs. Jackson was permanently established in the family as 
housekeeper and poor relation. 



To the old people in the Carolinas who are descended from 
the sisters of Mrs. Jackson, Andrew Jackson is not so much 
the famous President and the victorious General, as he is little 
Andy, the mischief-loving son of good aunt Betty. Andy 
did this ; and Andy went there ; when Andy was at New 
Orleans, and when Andy was President — they say in familiar 
talk about him by the huge fire-places of their old farm-houses. 
He is well remembered in that part of the country, as there 
are twenty people living there who were in the habit for 
many years of hearing their parents tell stories of him ; sim- 
ple, honest, hospitable people, whom to hear is to believe. 
So changeless is the South, so secluded do the farmers there 
live from the world of men and books, that these kind people 
are evidently just what their grandfathers were before the 
Revolution, and their great-grandfathers in Carrickfergus. 

In the family of his uncle Crawford, Andy spent the first 
ten or twelve years of his life. Mr. Crawford was a man of 
considerable substance for a new country, and his family was 
large. He lived in South Carolina, just over the boundary 
line, near the Waxhaw Creek, and six miles from the Ca- 
tawba River. The land there lies well for farming ; level, 
but not flat ; undulating, but without hills of inconvenient 
height. The soil is a stiff, red clay, the stiffest of the stiff, 


and the reddest of the red ; the kind of soil which bears hard 
usage, and makes the very worst winter roads anywhere to 
be found on this planet. Except where there is an interval 
of fertile soil, the country round about is a boundless contin- 
uity of pine woods, wherein, if you lose your way, you may 
wait long for a chance to inquire. To this day, wild turkeys 
and deer are shot in those woods, and the fanners in Wax- 
haw take their cotton to market in immense wagons of an- 
tique pattern, a journey of half a week, and camp out every 
night. As evening closes in, the passing traveler sees the 
mules, the negro driver, the huge covered wagon, the farmer, 
and sometimes his wife with an infant, grouped in the most 
strikingly picturesque manner, in an opening of the forest, 
around a blazing fire of pine knots, that light up the scene 
like an illumination. Just so, doubtless, did the farmers in 
Andy's day transport their produce ; and, many a time, I 
doubt not, he slept by the camp-fire ; for the Carolina boys 
like nothing better than to go to market with their fathers, 
and share in the glorious adventure of sleeping out-of-doors. 
In such a country as this, with horses to ride, and cows to 
hunt, and journeys to make, and plenty of boys, black and 
white, to play with, our little friend Andy spent his early 

There is an aged slave woman known in the neighborhood 
as old Aunt Phyllis, living still on the Crawford farm, who 
lived there when Mrs. Jackson, ninety-two years ago, brought 
her infant to her sister's house. Aunt Phyllis appeal's to re- 
member her coming vividly. I saw the old lady in her cabin, 
one of a small street of negro-cabins, pottering over the fire, 
and keeping an eye on half a dozen small images of God cut 
in ebony, while their parents were abroad in the fields. She 
is bent half double, but is otherwise remarkably well pre- 
served. At the mention of the name of Jackson, every 
wrinkle in her old face laughed ; but her recollections of the 
boy and his mother are scanty in the extreme. She remem- 
bers Mrs. Jackson as a stout woman who was always knitting 
or spinning ; " a very good woman, and very much respected." 


Of the boy she has one distinct reminiscence, which the polite 
reader must excuse me for repeating. As every eye sees what 
it is capable of seeing, so every memory retains what belongs 
to it to retain ; and the memory of Aunt Phyllis is a mem- 
ory in point. What she recollects of Andy is, that she as- 
sisted to cure him of a disease which she called the " big 

" There is two itches," she explained, " the big itch and 
the little itch ; the little itch aint nothing to the big itch ; 
the big itch breaks out all over you, and do frighten a body 

Her general recollection of the boy is, that he was the 
most mischievous of all the youngsters thereabouts ; always 
up to some prank and getting into trouble. Beyond this, 
nothing could be obtained from Aunt Phyllis, except a gentle 
hint to her visitors tending to remind them that tobacco is 
the solace of old age. 

In due time the boy was sent to an " old-field school," an 
institution not much unlike the road-side schools in Ireland, 
of which we read. The northern reader is, perhaps, not 
aware that an "old. field" is not a field at all, but a pine 
forest. When crop after crop of cotton, without rotation, 
has exhausted the soil, the fences are taken away, the land 
lies waste, the young pines at once spring up, and soon cover 
the whole field with a thick growth of wood. In one of these 
old fields, the rudest possible shanty of a log-house is erected, 
with a fire-place that extends from side to side, and occupies 
a third of the interior. In winter, the interstices of the log 
walls are filled up with clay, which the restless fingers of the 
boys make haste to remove in time to admit the first warm 
airs of spring. An itinerant schoolmaster presents himself 

* Tho author of " Georgia Scenes" describes an edifice of this kind : " It was 
a simple log -pen, about twenty feet square, with a doorway cut out of the logs, 
to which was fitted a rude door, made of clapboards, and swung on wooden 
hinges. The roof was covered with clapboards also, and retained in their places 
by heavy logs placed on them. 1 he chimney was built of logs diminishing in 
size from the ground to the top, and overspread inside and out with red clay and 


in a neighborhood ; the responsible fanners pledge him a cer- 
tain number of pupils ; and an old-field school is established 
for the season. Such schools, called by the same name, exist 
to this day in the Carolinas, differing little from those which 
Andrew Jackson attended in his childhood. Beading, writ- 
ing, and arithmetic were all the branches taught in the early 
day. Among a crowd of urchins seated on the slab benches 
of a school like this, fancy a tall, slender boy, with blue 
bright eyes, a freckled face, an abundance of long sandy hair, 
and clad in coarse copperas-colored cloth, with bare feet 
dangling and kicking — and you have in your mind's eye a 
picture of Andy as he appeared in his old-field school days 
in the Waxhaw settlement. 

But Mrs. Jackson, it is said, had more ambitious views 
for her youngest son. She aimed to give him a liberal edu- 
cation, in the hope that he would one day become a clergy- 
man of the Presbyterian Church. It is possible that her con- 
dition was not one of absolute dependence. The farm of her 
deceased husband may have been held, though not owned by 
her ; and either let to a tenant, or worked on shares, may 
have yielded her a small income. The tradition of the neigh- 
borhood, however, says nothing of this, but represents her as 
a poor, dependent woman. It is possible, too, that her rela- 
tions in Ireland may have contributed something to her sup- 
port. General Jackson had a distinct recollection of her re- 
ceiving presents of linen from the old country, and, particu- 
larly, one parcel, the letter accompanying which was lost, to 
the sore grief of the good lady ; for, in those days, a letter 
from " home" was a treasure beyond price. The impression 
that she was not quite destitute of resources is strengthened 

mortar. The classic hut occupied a lovely spot, overshadowed by majestic 
hickorys, towering poplars, and strong-armed oaks. * * * A largo three 
inch plank (if it deserve that name, for it was wrought from the half of a tree's 
trunk entirely with the ax), attached to the logs by means of wooden pins, 
served the whole school for a writing-desk. At a conveniant distance below it, 
and on a line with it, stretched a smooth log, resting upon the logs of the house, 
which answered for the writers' seat" 
voii. I. — 5 


by the fact, that Andrew, at an early age, attended some of 
the better schools of the country — schools kept by clergymen, 
in which the languages were taught, and young men prepared 
for college and for the ministry. 

The first school of this kind that he attended was an 
academy in the Waxhaw settlement, of which one Dr. 
Humphries was master. The site of the large log-house in 
which Dr. Humphries kept his school is still pointed out, 
but no traces of it remain ; nor can any information respect- 
ing the school, its master, or its pupils, be now obtained. 
There is also a strong tradition that young Jackson attended 
a school in Charlotte, N. C, then called Queen's College, a 
school of renown at that day. The inhabitants of the pleas- 
ant town of Charlotte all believe this. Jackson himself once 
said that he went to school there. When a delegation went 
from Charlotte to Washington to ask Congress to establish a 
mint in the gold region, President Jackson was told by one 
of them that gold had been found in the very hill on which 
Queen's College had once stood. To which the President 
replied, " Then it must have grown since I went to school 
there, for there was no gold there then ;" a remark which the 
geologists of Charlotte still facetiously quote when the ques- 
tion of the origin of gold is discussed among them. I was 
also assured that young Jackson attended the famous school 
of Dr. Waddell, one of whose pupils was John C. Calhoun, 
and was inclined to believe the story, until I discovered that 
Dr. Waddell did not open his academy until after Jackson 
had left school for ever. 

In proof that Jackson had once been a pupil of Dr. Wad- 
dell, an anecdote was related to me by one of the General's 
most intimate friends and fellow-soldiers. General Jackson, 
as his associates remember, had certain peculiarities of pro- 
nunciation, to which he always adhered. For example, he 
would pronounce the word development, as though it were 
written, devil-ope-ment, with a strong accent upon ope. One 
day, during his presidency, he so pronounced it, when in con- 
versation with a foreign minister, who, though not English, 


had been educated in England, and plumed himself upon his 
knowledge and nice pronunciation of the English language. 
" Devil-ope-inent," said the General, with emphasis. The 
ambassador lifted his eyebrows slightly, and, in the course of 
a sentence or two, took occasion to pronounce the word cor- 
rectly. The President, seeming not to remark his excellency's 
benevolent intention, again said " Devil-ope-ment ;" where- 
upon the fastidious minister ventured once more to give 
the word its proper accent. No notice was taken of the im- 
polite correction. 

" I repeat it, Mr. " continued the President ; " this 

measure is essential to the devil-ope-ment of our resources." 

" Really, sir," replied the ambassador, " I consider the 
de-vcZ-opment of your country" — with a marked accent 
upon the vel. 

Upon this, the General exclaimed, "Excuse me, Mr.. 

. You may call it de-veZ-opment, if you please ; but / 

say devil-ope-ment, and will say devil-ope-ment as long as I 
revere the memory of good old Dr. Waddell !" 

The inference from this story, that Jackson attended Dr. 
Waddell's school, was natural. But that Dr. Waddell's 
school did not exist during Jackson's school-days, we have 
incontrovertible evidence. Waddell, however, was a famous 
preacher as well as teacher, and the youth may have imbibed 
a reverence for his character and caught his pronunciation, 
without having been under his instruction. 

There are yet living several jn^reons whose fathers were 
schoolmates of Andrew Jjickson ; and though none of them 
can say positively where he went to school, nor who were his 
teachers, nor what he learned, yet all of them derived from 
their fathers some general and some particular impressions 
of his character and conduct as a school-bo v. Such incidents 
and traits as have thus come down to us, will not be regarded, 
I trust, as too trivial for brief record. 

* See Memoir of T>r. Waddell in Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, 
Allen's Biographical Dictionary, eta 


Andy was a wild, frolicsome, willful, mischievous, daring, 
reckless boy ; generous to a friend, but never content to sub- 
mit to a stronger enemy. He was passionately fond of those 
sports which are mimic battles ; above all, wrestling. Being 
a slender boy, more active than strong, he was often thrown. 

"I could throw him three times out of four," an old 
schoolmate used to say ; " but he would never stay throwed. 
He was dead game, even then, and never would give up." 

He was exceedingly fond of running foot-races, of leaping 
the bar, and jumping ; and in such sports he was excelled by 
no one of his years. To younger boys, who never questioned 
his mastery, he was a generous protector ; there was nothing 
he would not do to defend them. His equals and superiors 
found him self-willed, somewhat overbearing, easily offended, 
very irascible, and, upon the whole, " difficult to get along 
with." One of them said, many years after, in the heat of 
controversy, that of all the boys he had ever known, Andrew 
Jackson was the only bully who was not also a coward. 

But the boy, it appears, had a special cause of irritation 
in a disagreeable disease, name unknown, which induces a 
hftbit of — not to put too fine a point on it — " slobbering." 
Woe to any boy who presumed to jest at this misfortune ! 
Andy was upon him incontinently, and there was either a 
fight or a drubbing. There is a story, too, of some boys 
secretly loading a gun to the muzzle, and giving it to young 
Jackson to fire off, that they might have the pleasure of see- 
ing it " kick" him over. They had that pleasure. Springing 
up from the ground, the boy, in a frenzy of passion, ex- 
claimed : 

" By G— d, if one of you laughs, HI kill him !" 

And no one dared to laugh. He was a swearing lad from 
an early age ; and indeed he needed to begin early, in order 
to acquire that wonderful mastery of the art to which he 
attained in after life, surpassing all known men in the fluency 
and chain-shot force and complication of his oaths. It was 
a swearing age, the reader will remember. Our army had 
not long been home from Flanders. The expression, " By 



G — d," was almost as familiar to the men of that day as 
mon Ditu now is to Frenchmen, or mein Oott to Germans. 
It was used commonly by fox-hunting clergymen, there is 
reason to believe. So, at least, we may infer from the comedies 
and novels of the period. 

Frolic, however, not fight, was the ruling interest of Jack- 
son's childhood. He pursued his sports with the zeal and 
energy of his nature. No boy ever lived who liked fun better 
than he, and his fun, at that day, was of an innocent and 
rustic character, such as strengthens the constitution, and 
gives a cheery tone to the feelings ever after. It is a way 
with boys to have certain cant words, or gibberish, which 
they delight to repeat fifty times a day, to the wonder of their 
elders, who, forgetting their own childhood, can not conceive 
what pleasure there can be in saying over without object a 
form of words without meaning. There is no pleasure in it 
perhaps ; but healthy boys are so bursting with life that 
they must have an escape-valve of some kind that can be 
turned at any moment. A specimen of Andy's gibberish is 
remembered by one of his surviving second cousins, who 
heard it from his father. The reader may make what he 
can of it. 

" Set the case : you are Shauney Kerr's mare, and me 
Billy Buck ; and I should mount you, and you should kick, 
fell, fling and break your neck ; should I be to blame for 
that ?" 

Imagine this roared out by young Sandy-head as he came 
leaping headlong from the school-house door, ready to defy all 
young creation to a race, a wrestle or a jumping match, while 
he playfully laid sprawling as many of his friends as he could 
trip unawares, comforting each with the judicial formula, 
" Set the case : you are Shauney Kerr's mare, and me Billy 
Buck ; and I should mount you, and you should kick, fall, 
fling and break your neck ; should I be to blame for that ?" 
There you have Andy Jackson. 

Of his conduct within the school-room there is little to 


report. A letter to the author from Dr. Cyrus L. Hunter, 
of Lincoln county, North Carolina, contains the substance 
of all that can now be gathered on this subject : — 

" My father, the late Rev. Humphrey Hunter, of G-aston county, emi- 
grated from Ireland to this country, when only four years old, with a wid- 
owed mother, and landed at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1759. Soon 
afterward, they continued their journey, and settled in the extreme south- 
eastern part of Mecklenburg, now Union, county, North Carolina. About this 
period, and subsequently, the fertile lands of the Catawba river and its trib- 
utaries were attracting a numerous emigration from the northern States. In 
this section of country my lather and Andrew Jackson attended school to- 
gether. Jackson was several years the younger. He boarded, for a time, at my 
grandmother's. There was a school about this time, of considerable notoriety, 
in the Waxhaw settlement I can not positively now say, from my father's 
narration, whether it was there, or at some other primary school, they 
spent a portion of their youthful days in a similar pursuit — that of a useful 
education. It is possible some one of the oldest inhabitants in that vicinity 
may be traditionally enabled to point out the precise location of the vener- 
able school-house, as the chimney spot of the humble mansion in which 
Jackson was born, within the limits of North Carolina, is still visible, like a 
ample but enduring mound which chronicles an important event in history, 
and calls up time-honored remembrances. In that neighborhood my father 
and Jackson, of the same Scotch-Irish stock, imbued with the same relig- 
ious sentiments and reared under the same moral training, prosecuted their 
studies together with that coidiality of feeling which pertains to kindred 
soul?. I have no recollection of my father narrating any remarkable pas- 
sages of Jackson's boyhood. He spoke of "his making commendable prog- 
ress in his studies, of his ardent and rather quick temperament The 
impression left upon my mind would lead me to say that he was an 
impulsive youth, ambitious, courageous and persevering in his undertakings. 
My father also spoke of him being remarkably athletic. They frequently 
engaged in wrestling and jumping — two of the most prominent sports of 
that early period. After the close of this school, my father entered the 
army in defense of liberty, and thus was separated in future life from his 
youthful schoolmate.'* 

To this I can only add a second-hand reminiscence of a 
rainy-day debate between Andy and one of his uncles, related 
to me by a son of that uncle. The subject of discussion was, 
What makes the gentleman ? The boy said, Education ; 
the uncle. Good Principles. The question was earnestly dfr- 



bated between them, without either being able to convince 
the other. 

If our knowledge of the school-life of Jackson is scanty, 
we are at no loss to say what he learned and what he failed 
to learn at school. He learned to read, to write, and cast ac- 
counts — little more. If he began, as he may have done, 
to learn by heart, in the old-fashioned way, the Latin gram- 
mar, he never acquired enough of it to leave any traces of 
classical knowledge in his mind or his writings. In some of 
his later letters there may be found, it is true, an occasional 
Latin phrase of two or three words, but so quoted as to show 
ignorance rather than knowledge. He was never a well- 
informed man. He never was addicted to books. He never 
learned to write the English language correctly, though he 
often wrote it eloquently and convincingly. He never learned 
to spell correctly, though he was a better speller than Fred- 
eric II., Marlborough, Napoleon, or Washington. Few men 
of his day, and no women, were correct spellers. Indeed, we 
may say that all the most illustrious men have been bad spell- 
ers, except those who could not spell at all. The scrupulous 
exactness in that respect, which is now so common, was 
scarcely known three generations ago. Even in the manu- 
scripts of Jefferson, Burke, Pope, and Addison, there are 
errors of spelling and capital letters which it is difficult to 
attribute to careless penmanship. Jackson's bad spelling 
has, of course, been much exaggerated, but he frequently mis- 
spelled what boys call " hard words ;" and sometimes spelled 
the same word in two or three different ways in the same let- 
ter. His mistakes, however, during the last forty years of 
his life, did not average more than five to a page. His style, 
when he wrote at leisure and for purposes merely formal, was 
that of a person unaccustomed to composition. Awkward 
repetitions occur, and mistakes in grammar, as well as spell- 
ing. But when his feelings were excited, he could pour a 
flood of vehement eloquence upon paper, and with such rapid- 
ity, that his manuscript would be wet two or three pages 
behind. But even this required correction. Not one public 


paper, of any description, signed "Andrew Jackson," ever 
reached the public eye exactly as Jackson wrote it. Often, 
he would write a letter or a dispatch, have it copied by a 
secretary, and then re-write it himself. Some of his most 
famous passages — those which are supposed to be peculiarly 
Jacksonian — he never so much as suggested a word of, nor 
saw till they were written, nor required the alteration of a 
syllable before they were dispatched. It is nevertheless a 
fact, as before remarked, that he was more truly the author 
of his public writings than almost any others of our public 
men have been of the documents which bear their names. 
His secretaries wrote with his fiery mind, though with their 
own practiced hands, and wrote with more nerve and warmth 
when writing for him than they ever could for themselves. 
Just as sub-editors will so catch the spirit and manner of their 
chief, as to write articles that are universally taken for his 
— articles, too, more forcible and pointed than the juniors 
could write for a journal of their own. The secret was, that 
Jackson supplied the courage — a prime ingredient of power- 
ful composition. " I take the responsibility," he would say 
on all occasions, when a subordinate faltered. 

The schools, then, contributed little to the equipment of 
this eager boy for the battle of life. He derived much from 
the honest and pure people among whom he was brought up. 
Their instinct of honesty was strong within him always. He 
imbibed a reverence for the character of woman, and a love 
of purity, which, amid all his wild ways, kept him stainless. 
In this particular, I believe, he was without reproach from 
youth to old age. He deeply loved his mother, and held her 
memory sacred to the end of his life. He used often to speak 
of the courage she had displayed when left without a pro- 
tector in the wilderness, and would sometimes clinch a re- 
mark or an argument by saying, " That I learned from my 
good old mother." He once said, in speaking of his mother : 
" One of the last injunctions given me by her, was never to 
institute a suit for assault and battery, or for defamation ; 
never to wound the feelings of others, nor suffer my own to 


be outraged : these were her words of admonition to me ; I 
remember them well, and have never failed to respect them ; 
my settled course through life has been to bear them in mind, 
and never to insult or wantonly to assail the feelings of any 
one ; and yet many conceive me to be a most ferocious ani- 
mal, insensible to moral duty, and regardless of the laws both 
of God and man/' * 

And so ends our too meager account of the school life of 
this remarkable man. 

He was nine years old when the Declaration of Independ- 
ence was signed. By the time the war approached the Wax- 
haw settlement, bringing blood and terror with it, leaving 
desolation behind it, closing all school-houses, and putting a 
stop to the peaceful labors of the people, Andrew Jackson 
was a little more than thirteen. His brother Hugh, a man 
in stature, if not in years, had not waited for the war to 
come near his home, but had mounted his horse a year before, 
and ridden southward to meet it. He was one of the troop- 
ers of that famous regiment, to raise and equip which, its 
colonel, William Richardson Davie, spent the last guinea of 
his inherited estate. Under Colonel Davie, Hugh Jackson 
fought in the ranks of the battle of Stono, and died, after the 
action, of heat and fatigue. His brother Robert was a strap- 
ping lad, but too young for a soldier, and was still at home 
with his mother and Andrew, when Tarlton and his dragoons 
thundered along the red roads of the Waxhaws, and dyed 
them a deeper red with the blood of the surprised militia. 

* Eaton's Life of Jackson, page 434. 




The yeoman's service which Andrew Jackson's small ex- 
ploits in the revolutionary war were made to perform in three 
presidential campaigns, have rendered them more familiar than 
credible to the people of the United States. For the same 
reason, there is a certain unbelief in the New Orleans cam- 
paign, the finest defense of native land recorded in recent 
history. I will confess that it was to me a surprise to discover 
that the stories of Jackson's revolutionary adventures, when 
simply told, are both probable and true. The authority for 
them is General Jackson himself. Most of those heretofore 
published, and some not yet in print, I have heard narrated 
by surviving friends of the General, as they were accustomed 
to hear them told by him. Some additional incidents I gath- 
ered in those counties of the Carolinas wherein he wandered 
and suffered during the war. 

It was on the 29th of May, 1780, that Tarleton, with three 
hundred horsemen, surprised a detachment of militia in the 
Waxhaw settlement, and killed one hundred and thirteen of 
them, and wounded a hundred and fifty. The wounded, 
abandoned to the care of the settlers, were quartered in the 
houses of the vicinity ; the old log Waxhaw meeting-house 
itself being converted into a hospital for the most desperate 
cases. Mrs. Jackson was one of the kind women who minis- 
tered to the wounded soldiers in the church, and under that 
roof her boys first saw what war was. The men were dread- 
fully mangled. Some had received as many as thirteen 
wounds, and none less than three. For many days Andrew 
and his brother assisted their mother in waiting upon the 
sick men ; Andrew, more in rage than pity, though pitiful 
by nature, burning to avenge their wounds and his brother's 


Tarleton had fallen upon the Waxhaws like a summer 
storm, which bursts upon us unawares, does its destructive 
work, and rolls thundering away. The families who had fled 
returned soon to their homes, and the wounded men recovered, 
or found rest in the old church-yard. Then came rumors of 
the approach of a larger body of royal troops under Lord 
Rawdon, who soon arrived in the Waxhaw country, de- 
manding of every one a formal promise not to take part in 
the war thereafter. Mrs. Jackson, her boys, the Crawfords 
and a majority of their neighbors, abandoned their homes and 
retired a few miles to the north, rather than enter into a 
covenant so abhorrent to their feelings. A few days later, 
Rawdon was compelled to retrace his steps, and the Waxhaw 
people returned to their farms again. Once more that sum- 
mer they were alarmed by a hostile assemblage a few miles 
distant, and prepared for a third flight ; but the " murderous 
tories" were dispersed in time, and our friends still clung to 
their homes. The men who were able to bear arms were gen- 
erally away with their companies, and the women, children 
and old men passed their days and nights in fear, ready at 
any moment for flight. 

Tarleton's massacre at the Waxhaws kindled the flames 
of war in all that region of the Carolinas. Many notable ac- 
tions were fought, and some striking though unimportant 
advantages were gained by the patriot forces. Andrew Jack- 
son and his brother Robert were present at Sumpter's gallant 
blundering attack upon the British post of Hanging Rock, 
near Waxhaw, where the patriots half gained the day, and 
lost it by beginning too soon to drink the rum they captured 
from the enemy. The Jackson boys rode on this expedition 
with Colonel Davie, a most brave, self-sacrificing officer, who, 
as we have said, commanded the troop of which Hugh Jack- 
son was a member when he died after the battle of Stono. 
Neither of the boys were attached to Davie's company, nor 
is it likely that Andrew, a boy of thirteen, did more than 
witness the affair at the Hanging Rock. If he was in a po- 
sition to observe the movements of the troops, or if he over- 


heard the comments of Colonel Davie upon the battle, he re- 
ceived a lesson in the art of war. Colonel Davie attributed 
the failure of the attack to the circumstance that the men 
dismounted a hundred yards too late. " Dismounting under 
fire is an operation that tasks the discipline of the best troops, 
and is sure to discompose militia," maintained Colonel Davie 
in the council. Sumpter thought it best to dash in on horse- 
back to a point near the enemy's works ; then dismount, and 
rush upon them on foot. This was attempted, but the at- 
tempt was only half successful, owing to the confusion caused 
by dismounting under fire. The rum finished what error be- 
gan, and the affair ended in a debauch instead of a victory. 

This Colonel Davie, Hugh Jackson's old commander, was 
the man, above all others who led Carolina troops in the Rev- 
olution, that the Jackson boys admired. He was a man after 
Andrew's own heart ; swift, but wary ; bold in planning en- 
terprises, but most cautious in execution ; sleeplessly vigil 
ant ; untiringly active ; one of those cool, quick men who 
apply mother-wit to the art of war ; who are good soldiers 
because they are earnest and clear-sighted men. So far as 
any man was General Jackson's model soldier, William Rich- 
ardson Davie of North Carolina was the individual. Davie, 
it is worth mentioning, was a native of England, and lived 
there till he was five years old. 

The boys rejoined their mother at the Waxhaw settle- 
ment. On the 16th of August, 1780, occurred the great dis- 
aster of the war in the South, the defeat of General Gates. 
The victor, Cornwallis, moved, three weeks after, with his 
whole army, toward the Waxhaws ; which induced Mrs. 
Jackson and her boys once more to abandon their home for a 
safer retreat north of the scene of war. 

How Mrs. Jackson and her son Robert performed this 
journey in those terrible days, there is no information. But 
through the excellent memory of a lady who died only a very 
few years ago, the reader can have a clear glimpse of Andrew 
as he appeared to mortal view while he was on his northward 
journey, just after the defeat of Gates. The lady referred to 


was Mrs. Susan Smart, to whose high respectability and care- 
ful veracity all the people of Charlotte, North Carolina, near 
which she lived for fourscore years, will cheerfully testify. 
Her single reminiscence of Andrew Jackson I obtained from 
her intimate friends in Charlotte to whom she was in the 
habit of telling it. 

Time — late in the afternoon of a hot, dusty September 
day in 1780. Place — the high road, five miles below Char- 
lotte, where Mrs. Smart then lived, a saucy girl of fourteen, 
at the home of her parents. The news of Gates' defeat had 
flown over the country, but every one was gasping for details, 
especially those who had fathers and brothers in the patriot 
army. The father and brother of Mrs. Smart were in that 
army, and the family, as yet, knew nothing of their fate ; a 
condition of suspense to which the women of the Carolinas 
were well used during the revolutionary war. It was the 
business of Susan, during those days, to take post at one of 
the windows, and there watch for travelers coming from the 
South ; and, upon spying one, to fly out upon him and ask 
him for news of the army, and of the corps to which her father 
and brother were attached. Thus posted, she descried, on the 
afternoon to which we have referred, riding rapidly on a 
"grass pony," (one of the ponies of the South Carolina 
swamps, rough, Shetlandish, wild), a tall, slender, " gang- 
ling fellow ;" legs long enough to meet under the pony al- 
most ; damaged wide-brimmed hat flapping down over his 
face, which was yellow and worn ; the figure covered with 
dust ; tired-looking, as though the youth had ridden till he 
could scarcely sit on his pony ; the forlornest apparition that 
ever revealed itself to the eyes of Mrs. Susan Smart during 
the whole of her long life. She ran out to the road and 
hailed him. He reined in his pony, when the following brief 
conversation ensued between them : — * 

She. — " Where are you from ?" 

He.—" From below." 

She. — " Where are you going ?" 

He.— " Above." 


ur f" 

She.—" Who are you for ? l 
' He.—" The Congress. 1 

She. — " What are you doing below ?' 

He. — " Oh, we are popping them still." 

She (to herself). — "It's mighty poor popping such as 
you will do, any how." (Aloud). — " What's your name ?' 

He. — " Andrew Jackson." 

She asked him respecting her father's regiment, and he 
gave her what information he possessed. He then galloped 
away toward Charlotte, and Susan returned to the house to 
tell his news and ridicule the figure he had cut — the gangling 
fellow on the grass pony. Years after, she used to laugh as 
she told the story ; and later, when the most thrilling news 
of the time used to come to remote Charlotte associated with 
the name of Andrew Jackson, still she would bring out her 
little tale, until, at last, she made it get votes for him for the 

Good fortune gave me the acquaintance, in Charlotte, of 
a gentleman who is the grandson of the lady to whose house 
Andrew was going on this occasion. He was bound to Mrs 
Wilson's, a few miles above Charlotte, where he spent several 
weeks. Mrs. Wilson, a distant connection of Mrs. Jackson, 
was the mother of an eminent clergyman of North Carolina, 
Rev. Dr. Wilson, who was a boy when Andrew Jackson rode 
to his mother's house on the grass pony. The two boys soon 
became friends and playmates, though the rough ways and 
wild words of Andrew rather astonished the staid son of Mrs. 
Wilson, as he used many a time to relate. The gentleman 
referred to above is a son of Dr. Wilson, and remembers two 
or three interesting things which his father and grandmother 
were accustomed to report of the boy. 

At Mrs. Wilson's, Andrew paid for his board by doing 
what New England people call "chores." He brought in 
wood, " pulled fodder," picked beans, drove cattle, went to 
mill and took the farming utensils to be mended. Respect- 
ing the last named duty there is a striking reminiscence. 
" Never," Dr. Wilson would say, " did Andrew come home 


from the shops without bringing with him some new weapon 
with which to kill the enemy. Sometimes it was a rude 
spear, which he would forge while waiting for the blacksmith 
to finish his job. Sometimes it was a club or a tomahawk. 
Once he fastened the blade of a scythe to a pole, and, on 
reaching home, began to cut down the weeds with it that 
grew about the house, assailing them with extreme fury, and 
occasionally uttering words like these : 

"Oh, if I were a man, how I would sweep down the 
British with my grass blade I" 

Dr. Wilson remembered saying to his mother when they 
were talking of Andrew one day, 

" Mother, Andy will fight his way in the world." 

The doctor lived to see his prediction fulfilled, and, 
though he would never vote for his old companion, he 
rejoiced exceedingly when he heard, sixty years after, that 
this swearing, roystering lad had come to be a contrite 
old man. Mrs. Wilson's chief recollection of her young 
guest was that he was particularly willing to go out with her 
into the garden and help her pick beans for dinner, which 
she attributed to the obligingness of his disposition, but 
added, " Andy did like corn and beans, though." 

Whether Mrs. Jackson and Robert lived at the Wilsons' 
during this autumn and winter, along with Andrew, or at 
some other house in the vicinity, is not remembered. In 
February, 1781, the country about the Waxhaws being tran- 
quil, because subdued, Mrs. Jackson, her sons and many of 
her neighbors, returned to their ravaged homes. Andrew 
soon after passed his fourteenth birthday, an overgrown 
youth, as tall as a man, but weakly from having grown too 
fast. Then ensued a spring and summer of small, fierce, 
intestine warfare ; a war of whig and tory, neighbor against 
neighbor, brother against brother, and even father against 
son. General Jackson used to give, among other instances of 
the madness that prevailed, the case of a whig who, having 
found a friend murdered and mutilated, devoted himself to 
the slaying of tories. He hunted and lay in wait for them, 


and, before the war ended, had killed twenty ; and then, 
recovering from that insanity, lived the rest of his days a 
conscience-stricken wretch. The story of Mrs. Motte, who 
assisted to fire her own house — the finest house in all the 
country round — rather than it should serve as a British post, 
was another which the General remembered of this period. 

Without detaining the reader with a detail of the revolu- 
tionary history of the Carolinas, I yet desire to show what a 
war-charged atmosphere it was that young Andrew breathed 
during this forming period of his life, especially toward the 
close of the war, after the great operations ceased. The 
reader shall, at least, have a vivid glimpse or two of the Car- 
olinas during the Revolution. 

The people in the upper country of the Carolinas little 
expected that the war would ever reach settlements so remote, 
so obscure, so scattered as theirs. And it did not for some 
years. When at last the storm of war drew near their bor- 
ders, it found them a divided people. The old sentiment of 
loyalty* was still rooted in many minds. There were many 
who had taken a recent and special oath of allegiance to the 
king, which they considered binding in all circumstances. 
There were Highlanders, clannish and religiously loyal, who 
pointed to the text, " Fear God and honor the king," and 
overlooked the fact that the biblical narrative condemns the 
Jews for desiring a kingly government. There were Mora- 
vians and Quakers, who conscientiously opposed all war. 
There were Catholic Irish, many of whom sided with the 
king. There were Protestant Scotch-Irish, whigs and agita- 
tors in the old country, whigs and fervent patriots in the new. 
There were place-holders, who adhered to their official bread 
and dignity. There were trimmers, wjio espoused the side 
that chanced to be strongest. The approach and collision of 
hostile forces converted most of these factions into belliger- 

* Mecklenburgh, tho county of North Carolina in which Jackson was born, 
from which county Union was afterwards set off, was so named in honor of 
Queen Charlotte, who was a princess of Mecklenburgh. Hence, also, the names 
Charlotte and Queen's College. 


ents, who waged a most fierce and deadly war upon one 
another, renewing on this new theater the border wars of 
another age and country. It was a war of chiefs rather than 
generals, of banditti rather than armies ; a war of exploits, 
expeditions, surprises, sudden devastation, fierce and long 
pursuits ; a war half Indian and half Scotch-clannish. Such 
warfare intensely excites the feelings, and allows no interval 
of serenity. 

Who can imagine the state of things when such an occur- 
rence as this could take place, and be thought quite regular 
and correct ? "A few days afterward (1780), in Rutherford 
county, N. C. (a hundred miles from Waxhaw), the principal 
officers held a court martial over some of the most audacious 
and murderous tories, and selected thirty-two as victims for 
destruction, and commenced hanging three at a time, until 
they hung nine, and respited the rest." This is mentioned 
without remark in a matter-of-fact account of the battle of 
King's Mountain, by an officer who fought in that battle. 

And there is a little story of one Hicks, the scene ofVhich 
was the Scotch-Irish region of North Carolina, within fifty 
miles of Waxhaw. A band of tories came to his solitary 
house one dark night, upon the common errand of spoliation 
and murder. " Having locked the doors and made the best 
arrangements he could, at the moment, he kept himself con- 
cealed and told his wife not to open the door unless it became 
necessary in order to prevent them from breaking it down. 
Accordingly, when they demanded admittance, she mildly 
refused, telling them that she could not admit them at that 
hour of the night, and requested them not to trouble her any 
further; but when they got axes and were about to break it- 
open, she requested them not to break it and she would open 
it for them. During this time Hicks had remained silent, 
and kept himself where he could not be seen. His wife had 
been the only spokesman, and they did not know that there 
was anybody else in the house, except from the intelligence 

* Wheeler's History of North Carolina, il, 107. 
vol. t. — 6 


which they had received before they came. Having opened 
the door, when the foremost, man entered, and as soon as he 
had fairly got inside, Hicks shot him dead on the spot, and 
the rest became panic-struck and gave back. This was a 
shock which they did not expect, and such an act, so deliber- 
ately and promptly done, made the impression on them that 
there must be more men in the house. The darkness aided 
their imagination, and, as the one who had been killed was 
their leader, and the most courageous one among them, they 
would not venture to march over his dead body into the midst 
of that mysterious silence, but all fled with precipitation, and 
never attempted again to assail his house." 

There is another story, told by the same collector (who is 
a distinguished clergyman of North Carolina), which throws 
light upon the state of things, though it tasks the reader's 
credulity : — 

" The opposite parties in that region had so often assumed each other's 
distinctive badges, that a man, especially one who had taken no part in 
the military operations of the day, when he met a company, unless he 
knew some of them personally, or had some way of distinguishing them 
other than their cockades or party uniform, would be utterly at a loss; 
and such, unfortunately, was the case with Fred. Smith. One of these 
parties came upon him unexpectedly one day in the neighborhood, and, 
not knowing him, asked him the usual question in such coses, ' Who are 
you for ?' and having to guess, he happened to guess wrong, naming the 
party opposite to the one into whose hands he had fallen. Without fur- 
ther proof or examination the order was given, ' Hang him up,' and it 
was instantly obeyed. As they did not design to kill him outright, but 
merely to teach him a salutary lesson, after letting him hang as long as 
they thought they could with safety, they cut him down and let him go. 

" Not long after, the other party met with him, in a different direction, 
and, as a matter of course, put to him the usual test question, ' Who are 
you for ?' Whether he had ever learned the * rule of contraries' we 
know not, but, as he had already suffered so much for saying that he be- 
longed to such a party, he concluded that it could not be worse with him, 
and named the other, that is, the one which had hung him before. As he 
had to guess again without any thing to guide him, he unfortunately 

* Caruthers' Revolutionary Incidents in the Old North Stato, it, 25). 


guessed wrong, and the order was given, 'Hang him up/ which was 
forthwith obeyed. With quite as much humanity as the others, after he 
had hung as long as they thought he would bear to hang without ' giving 
up the ghost,' they cut him down and let him go, with an earnest but 
friendly admonition that if they ever found him again on the wrong side it 
would be the last of him. 

" In process of time, some other company met with him, and not 
knowing him, asked him the same question, ' Who are you for 7 but 
having suffered so much already from both the contending parties, and not 
wishing to run the risk of suffering the same again for a mere mistake of 
name, he concluded to try another, and said he was for the deviL Whether 
this was a mere guess or certain truth we have not learned ; but they 
thought if that was the case, the sooner he was pnt out of the way the 
better. So, making the limb of a tree answer for a gallows and a grape 
vine for a halter, they swung him off and immediately left him, thinking 
that they had started him on his journey to ' that undiscovered country 
from whose bourne no traveler returns ;' but one of them, more humane or 
more considerate than the rest, made an excuse to stay behind, and, as 
they were soon out of sight by descending the hill or by following a turn 
in the road, he cut him down before he was quite dead."* 

But, of all the stories of the war in the South, there ifl 
none which seems to reveal so much of the spirit and tem- 
per of the time, as that simple but thrilling narrative of the 
young Carolina heroine, Mrs. Slocumb. Who that reads it 
can ever forget it ? 

" The men all left on Sunday morning. More than eighty went from 
this house with my husband. I looked at them well, and I could see that 
every man had mischief in him. I knew a coward as soon as I set my 
eyes upon him. The tories more than once tried to frighten me, but they 
always showed coward at the bare insinuation that our troops were about 
Well, they got off in high spirits, every man stepping high and light, and I 
slept soundly and quietly that night and worked hard all the next day ; 
but I kept thinking where they had got to, how for, where and how 
many of the regulars and tories they would meet ; and I could not keep 
myself from that study. I went to bed at the usual time, but could not 
sleep. As I lay — whether waking or sleeping, I know not — * I had a dream/ 
yet it ' was not all a dream.' (She used the words, unconsciously, of the 
poet who was not then in being.) I saw distinctly a body wrapped in my 

* Garuthers' Revolutionary Incidents in the Old North State, il. 253. 


husband's guard coat, bloody, dead, and others, dead and wounded, on the 
ground about him. I saw them plainly and distinctly. I uttered a cry, 
and sprang to my feet on the floor ; and so strong was the impressiou on 
my mind that I rushed in the direction the vision appeared, and came up 
against the side of the house. The fire in the room gave little light, and I 
gazed in every direction to catch another glimpse of the scene. I raised 
the light. Every tiling was still and quiet My child was sleeping, but 
my woman was awakened by my crying out or jumping on the floor. If 
ever I felt fear, it was at that moment Seated on the bed, I reflected a 
few moments, and said aloud, ' I must go to him.' I told the woman I 
could not sleep, and would ride down the road. She appeared in great 
alarm ; but I merely told her to lock the door after me, and look after the 
child. I went to the stable, saddled my mare — as fleet and easy a nag as 
ever traveled — and in one moment I was tearing down the road at full 
speed. The cool night seemed, after a mile or two's gallop, to bring reflec- 
tion with it, and I asked myself where I was going, and for what purpose. 
Again and again I was tempted to turn back, but I was soon ten miles from 
home. I knew the general route our little army expected to take, and at day- 
break I was thirty miles from home, and had followed them without hesita- 
tion. About sunrise, I came upon a group of women and children standing and 
sitting by the roadside, each one of them showing the same anxiety of mind 
I felt Stopping a few minutes, I inquired if the battle had been fought 
They knew nothing, but were assembled on the road to catch intelligence. 
They thought Caswell had taken the right of the Wilmington road and gone 
toward the north-west (Gape Fear). Again was I skimming over the 
ground through a country thinly settled and very poor and swampy ; but 
neither my own spirits nor my beautiful nag's failed in the least We 
followed the well-marked trail of the troops. The sun must have been 
well up, say eight or nine o'clock, when I heard a sound like thunder, 
which I knew must be cannon. It was the first time I ever heard a can- 
non. I stopped still. Presently the cannon thundered again. The battle 
was then fighting. ' What a fool I' thought I ; * my husband could not 
be dead last night, and the battle only fighting now ! Still, as I am so 
near, I will go on and see how they come on and see how they come out' 
So away we went, faster than ever, and soon I found by the noise of the guns 
that I was near the fight. Again I stopped. I could hear muskets, I 
could hear rifles and I could hear shouting. I spoke to my mare and 
dashed on in the direction of the firing and shouts, now louder than ever. 
The blind path I had been following brought me into the Wilmington road 
leading to Moore's Creek Bridge, a few hundred yards below the bridge. A 
few yards from the road, under a cluster of trees, were lying perhaps twenty 
men. They were the wounded. I knew the spot, the very trees, and 
the position of the men I knew as if I had seen it a thousand times. 


I had seen it in my dream all night! I saw all at once; but, in an in- 
stant, my whole soul was centered in one spot ; for there, wrapped in his 
bloody guard-cloak, was my husband's body 1 How I passed the few yards 
from my saddle to this place, I never knew. I remember uncovering his 
head and seeing a face clothed with gore from a dreadful wound aoross the 
temple. I put my hand on the bloody face ; 'twas warm, and an unknown 
voice begged for water. A small camp kettle was lying near, and a stream 
of water was close by. I brought it, poured some into his mouth, washed 
his face, and behold it was Frank Cogdell! He soon revived and could 
speak. I was washing the wound in his head. Said he, ' It is not {hat ; 
it is thai hole in my leg thai is killing me.' A puddle of blood was standing 
on the ground about his feet I took his knife, cut away his trowsers and 
stocking, and found the blood came from a shot-hole through and through 
the fleshy part of his leg. I looked about and could see nothing that 
looked as if it would do for dressing wounds but some heart leaves. I 
gathered a handful and bound them tight to the holes, and the bleeding 
stopped. I then went to the others, and, doctor 1 I dressed the wounds 
of many a brave fellow who did good fighting long after that day. I had 
not inquired for my husband ; but, while I was busy, Caswell came up. 
He appeared very much surprised to see me, and was, with his hat in 
hand, about to pay some compliment ; but I interrupted him by asking, 
' Where is my husband ?' ' Where he ought to be, madam ; in pursuit of 
the enemy. But pray,' said he, l how came you here ?' * Oh, I thought, 
replied I, ' you would need nurses as well as soldiers. See 1 I have dressed 
many of these good fellows ; and here is one' (going to Frank and lifting 
him up with my arm under his head so that he could drink some more 
water) ' would have died before any of you men could have helped him.' 

I I believe you,' said Frank. Just then I looked up, and my husband, as 
bloody as a butcher, and as muddy as a ditcher, stood before me. * Why, 
Mary !' he exclaimed, * what are you doing there ? Hugging Frank Cog- 
dell, the greatest reprobate in the army ?' ' I don't care,' I cried, * Frank 
is a brave fellow, a good soldier, and a true friend to Congress.' i True, 
true, every word of it,' said CaswelL * You are right, madam ;' with the 
lowest possible bow. I could not tell my husband what brought me there. 
I was so happy, and so were all It was a glorious victory ; I came just at 
the height of the enjoyment. I knew my husband was surprised, but I 
could see he was not displeased with me. * It was night again before our 
excitement had all subsided. Many prisoners were brought in, and among 
them some very obnoxious ; but the worst of the tories were not taken 
prisoners. They were, for the most part, left in the woods and swamps 
wherever they were overtaken. I begged for some of the poor prisoners, 
and Caswell readily told me none should be hurt but such as had been 
guilty of murder or house-burning. In the middle of the night I again 


mounted my mare and started home. Caswell and my husband wanted 
me to stay till next morning, and they would Bend a party with me ; but 
no I I wanted to see my child, and told them they could send no party 
who could keep up with me. What a happy ride I had back 1 and with 
what joy did I embrace my child as he ran to meet me 1"* 

No boy of the least spirit could escape the contagion of 
feelings like this. There was certainly one who did not. 
There were others, also, as we may infer from one of Mr. 
Lossing's anecdotes : — " The British officers were hospitably 
entertained by Dr. Anthony Newman, notwithstanding he 
was a whig. There, in the presence of Tarleton and others, 
Dr. Newman's two little sons were engaged in playing the 
game of the battle of the Cowpens with grains of corn, a red 
grain representing the British officers, and a white one the 
Americans. Washington and Tarleton were particularly 
represented, and as one pursued the other, as in a real battle, 
the little fellows shouted, 'Hurrah for Washington, Tarleton 
runs ! Hurrah for Washington !' Tarleton looked on for 
awhile, but becoming irritated, he exclaimed, ' See the cursed 
little rebels/ " 

This mention of Tarleton brings to mind a scene which 
most strikingly exhibits the character of a man who stamped 
his character upon the war in the Carolinas. It was de- 
scribed, with unusual ability, years after, by a gentleman 
whom Cornwallis had once employed to convey a dispatch to 
Tarleton. The narrative was published, long ago, in the 
Petersburg Intelligencer, and had a great run at the time, 
as such a piece could not fail to have : — 

" As soon," wrote the old tory messenger, " as I came in view of the 
British lines I hastened to deliver myself up to the nearest patrol, inform- 
ing him that I was the bearer of important dispatches from Lord Corn- 
wallis to Colonel Tarleton. The guard was immediately called out, the 
commander of which, taking me in charge, carried me at once to Tarleton's 
marque. A servant informed him of my arrival, and returned immediately 
with the answer that his master would see me after a while, and that, in 

* Mrs. EUet's Women of the Revolution. 


the meanwhile, I was to await his pleasure where I then was. The 
servant was a grave and sedate looking Englishman, between filly and sixty 
years of age, and informed me that he had known Colonel Tarleton from 
his earliest youth, having lived for many years in the family of his father, a 
worthy clergyman, at whose particular request he had followed the colonel 
to this country with the view that, if overtaken by disease and suffering in 
his headlong career, he might have some one near him who had known 
him ere the pranksome mischief of the boy had hardened into the sterner 
vices of the man. ' He was always a wild blade, friend/ said the old man, 
' and many a heart-ache has he given us all ; but he '11 mend in time, I 
hope.' Just then my attention was attracted by the violent plungings of 
a horse which two stout grooms, one on each side, were endeavoring to 
lead toward the spot where we were standing. He was a large and power- 
ful brute, beautifully formed, and black as a crow, with an eye that actually 
seemed to blaze with rage at the restraint put upon him. His progress 
* was one continued bound, at times swinging the grooms clear from the 
earth as lightly as though they were but tassels hung on his huge Spanish 
bit, so that with difficulty they escaped being trampled under foot. I asked 
the meaning of the scene, and was informed that the horse was one that 
Tarleton had heard of as being a magnificent animal, but one altogether 
unmanageable ; and so delighted was he with the description, that he sent 
all the way down into Moore county, where his owner resided, and pur- 
chased him at the extravagant price of one hundred guineas; and that, 
moreover, he was about to ride him that morning. * Hide him I' said I, ' why, 
one had as well try to back a streak of lightning. The mad brute will cer- 
tainly be the death of him.' ' Never fear for him,' said my companion, ' never 
f.-ur for him. His time has not come yet' By this time the horse had 
been brought up to where we were ; the curtain of the marque was pushed 
aside, and my attention was drawn from the savage stud to rivet itself upon 
his dauntless rider. And a picture of a man he was 1 Rather below the 
middle height, and with a face almost femininely beautiful. Tarleton pos- 
sessed a form that was a perfect model of manly strength and vigor. 
Without a particle of superfluous flesh, his rounded limbs and full broad 
chest seemed molded from iron, yet, at the same time, displaying all the 
elasticity which usually accompanies elegance of proportion. His dress, 
strange as it may appear, was a jacket and breeches of white linen, fitted 
to his form with* the utmost exactness. Boots of russet leather were half 
way up the leg, the broad tops of which were turned down, the heels gar- 
nished with spurs of an immense size and length of rowel. On his head 
was a low-crowned hat, curiously formed from the snow-white feathers of 
the swan, and in his hand he carried a heavy scourge with shot well 
twisted into its knotted lash. After looking around for a moment or two, 
as though to command the attention of all, he advanced to the side of the 


horse, and, disdaining the use of the stirrup, with one bound threw himself 
into the saddle, at the same time calling on the grooms to let him go. For 
an instant the animal seemed paralyzed ; then, with a perfect yell of rage, 
bounded into the air like a stricken deer. 

" The struggle for masteiy had commenced — bound succeeded bound 
with the rapidity of thought ; every device which its animal instinct could 
teach was resorted to by the maddened brute to shake off its unwelcome 
burden — but in vain. Its ruthless rider proved irresistible, and clinging 
like fate itself, plied the scourge and rowel like a fiend. The punishment 
was too severe to be long withstood, and at length, after a succession of 
frantic efforts, the tortured animal, with a scream of agony, leaped forth 
upon the plain, and flew across it with the speed of an arrow. The ground 
upon which Tarleton had pitched his camp was an almost perfectly level 
plain, something more than half a mile in circumference. Around this, 
after getting him under way, he continued to urge his furious steed, amid 
the raptures and shouts of the admiring soldiery, plying the whip and spur 
at every leap, until wearied and worn down with its prodigious efforts, the 
tired creature discontinued all exertion, save that to which it was urged 
by its merciless rider. 

" At length, exhausted from the conflict, Tarleton drew up before his 
tent, and threw himself from the saddle. The horse was completely sub 
dued, and at the word of command followed him around like a dog. The 
victory was complete. His eye of fire was dim and lusterless, drops of 
agony fell from his drooping front, while from his laboring and mangled 
sides the mingled blood and foam poured in a thick and clotted stream. 
Tarleton himself was pale as death, and as soon as he was satisfied of his 
success, retired and threw himself on his couch. In a short time I was 
called into his presence, and delivered my dispatches. I have witnessed 
many stirring scenes, both during the Revolution and since, but I never 
6aw one half so exciting as the strife between that savage man and savage 

There are volumes of such stories as these ; but these 
must suffice. How often must the boy have drunk in with 
greedy ear such tales ; and how they must have nourished in 
him those feelings which aie akin to war and strife ! I won- 
der if he chanced to hear that at Charleston, in the early 
period of the war, cotton bales were used in the construction of 
a fort.° I wonder if he heard of the servants of the British 
officers thickening their masters' soup with hair-powder, in 


* Ramsay's Revolution in South Carolina, L, 141. 


the scarcity of flour ; of Marion splitting saws into sword 
blades ; of the patriot militia going to battle with more men 
than muskets, and the unarmed ones watching the strife, till 
a comrade fell, and then running in to seize his weapon, and 
to use it. It is likely. In his inflamed imagination, the 
mild Cornwallis figured as a relentless savage, Tarleton as a 
devil incarnate, and all red-coated sons of Britain as the nat- 
ural enemies of man. " Oh, if I were a man, how I would 
sweep down the British with my grass blade !" 

Well, the time had now come, when Andrew and his 
brother began to play men's parts in the drama. Without 
enlisting in any organized corps, they joined small parties 
that went out on single enterprises of retaliation, mounted 
on their own horses, and carrying their own weapons. Let 
us see what befell them while serving thus. 



Of the adventures of our young trooper there is but one 
to record which was not calamitous. It was a trifling affair ; 
but the story illustrates the time and the boy. 

In that fierce, Scotch-Indian warfare, the absence of a 
father from home was often a better protection to his family 
than his presence, because his presence invited attack. The 
main object of both parties was to kill the fighting men, and 
to avenge the slaying of partisans. The house of the quiet 
hero Hicks, for example, was safe, until it was noised about 
among the tories that Hicks was at home. And thus it came 
to jkisr, that when a whig soldier of any note desired to spend 
a night with his family, his neighbors were accustomed to 
turn out, and serve as a guard to his house while he slept. 
Behold Robert and Andrew Jackson, with six others, thus 


employed one night in the spring of 1781, at the domicil of a 
neighbor, Captain Sands. The guard on this occasion was 
more a friendly tribute to an active partisan than a service 
considered necessary to his safety. In short, the night was 
not far advanced, before the whole party were snugly housed 
and stretched upon the floor, all sound asleep, except one, a 
British deserter, who was restless, and dosed at intervals. 

Danger was near. A band of tories, bent on taking the 
life of Captain Sands, approached the house in two divisions ; 
one party moving toward the front door, the other toward the 
back. The wakeful soldier, hearing a suspicious noise, rose, 
went out of doors to learn its cause, and saw the foe stealth- 
ily ncaring the house. He ran in in terror, and seizing Andrew 
Jackson, who lay next the door, by the hair, exclaimed, 

" The tories are upon us !" 

Andrew sprang up, and ran out. Seeing a body of men 
in the distance, he placed the end of his gun in the low fork 
of a tree near the door, and hailed them. No reply. He 
hailed them a second time. No reply. They quickened 
their pace, and had come within a few rods of the door. By 
this time, too, the guard in the house had been roused, and 
were gathered in a group behind the boy. Andrew discharged 
his musket ; upon which the tories fired a volley, which 
killed the hapless deserter who had given the alarm. The 
other party of tories, who were approaching the house from 
the other side, hearing this discharge, and the rush of bullets 
above their heads, supposed that the firing proceeded from a 
party that had issued from the house. They now fired a vol- 
ley, which sent a shower of balls whistling about the heads 
of their friends on the other side. Both parties hesitated, 
and then halted. Andrew having thus, by his single dis- 
charge, puzzled and stopped the enemy, retired to the house, 
where he and his comrades kept up a brisk fire from the win- 
dows. One of the guard fell mortally wounded by his side, 
and another received a wound less severe. In the midst of 
this singular contest, a bugle was heard, some distance off, 
Bounding the cavalry charge ; whereupon the tories, con- 


eluding that they had come upon an ambush of whigs, and 
were about to be assailed by horse and foot, fled to where 
they had left their horses, mounted, dashed pell-mell into the 
woods, and were seen no more. It appeared afterwards, that 
the bugle-charge was sounded by a neighbor, who judging 
from the noise of musketry that Captain Sands wag attacked, 
and having not a man with him in his house, gave the blast 
upon the trumpet, thinking that even a trick so stale, aided 
by the darkness of the night, might have some effect in 
alarming the assailants. 

The next time the Jackson boys smelt powder, they were 
not so fortunate. The activity and zeal of the Waxhaw 
whigs coming to the ears of Lord Rawdon, whom Cornwallis 
had left in command, he dispatched a small body of dragoons 
to aid the tories of that infected neighborhood. The Waxhaw 
people hearing of the approach of this hostile force, resolved 
upon resisting it in open fight, and named the Waxhaw 
meeting-house as the rendezvous. Forty whigs assembled 
on the appointed day, mounted and armed ; and among them 
were Robert and Andrew Jackson. In the grove about the 
old church, these forty were waiting for the arrival — hourly 
expected — of another company of whigs from a neighboring 
settlement. The British officer in command of the dragoons, 
apprised of the rendezvous by a tory of the neighborhood, 
determined to surprise the patriot party before the two com- 
panies had united. Before coming in sight of the church, he 
placed a body of tones, wearing the dress of the country, far 
in advance of his soldiers, and so marched upon the devoted 
band. The Waxhaw party saw a company of aimed men 
approaching, but concluding them to be their expected 
friends, made no preparations for defense. Too late the error 
was discovered. Eleven of the forty were taken prisoners, 
and the rest sought safety in flight, fiercely pursued by the 
dragoons. The brothers were separated. Andrew found him- 
self galloping for life and liberty by the side of his cousin, Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Crawford ; a dragoon close behind them, and 
others coming rapidly on. They tore along the road awhile, 


and then took to a swampy field, where they came soon to a 
wide slough of water and mire, into which they plunged their 
horses. Andrew floundered across, and on reaching dry land 
again, looked round for his companion, whose horse had sunk 
into the mire and fallen. He saw him entangled, and trying 
vainly to ward off the blows of his pursuers with his sword. 
Before Andrew could turn to assist him, the lieutenant re- 
ceived a severe wound in the head, which compelled him to 
give up the contest and surrender. The youth put spurs to 
his horse and succeeded in eluding pursuit. Robert, too, 
escaped unhurt, and in the course of the day the brothers 
were reunited, and took refuge in a thicket, in which they 
passed a hungry and anxious night. 

The next morning, the pangs of hunger compelled them 
to leave their safe retreat and go in quest of food. The 
nearest house was that of Lieutenant Crawford. Leaving 
their horses and arms in the thicket, the lads crept toward 
the house, which they reached in safety. Meanwhile, a tory- 
traitor of the neighborhood had scented out their lurking- 
place, found their horses and weapons, and set a party of 
dragoons upon their track. Before the family had a sus- 
picion of danger, the house was surrounded, the doors were 
secured, and the boys were prisoners. 

A scene ensued which left an impression upon the mind 
of one of the boys which time never effaced. Regardless of 
the fact that the house was occupied by the defenseless wife 
and young children of a wounded soldier, the dragoons, bru- 
talized by this mean partisan warfare, began to destroy, with 
wild riot and noise, the contents of the house. Crockery, 
glass, and furniture, were dashed to pieces ; beds emptied ; 
the clothing of the family torn to rags ; even the clothes of 
the infant that Mrs. Crawford carried in her arms were not 
spared. While this destruction was going on, the officer in 
command of the party ordered Andrew to clean his high jack- 
boots, which were well splashed and crusted with mud. The 
boy replied, not angrily, though with a certain firmness and 
decision, in something like these words : 

1781.] F0RTUNE8 OF THE FAMILY. 89 

" Sir, I am a prisoner of war, and claim to be treated as 

The officer glared at him like a wild beast, and aimed a 
desperate blow at the boy's head with his sword. Andrew 
broke the force of the blow with his left hand, and thus re- 
ceived two wounds — one deep gash on his head, and another 
on his hand, the marks of both of which he carried to his 
grave. The officer, after achieving this gallant feat, turned 
to Robert Jackson, and ordered him to clean the boots. 
Robert also refused. The valiant Briton struck the young 
man so violent a sword-blow upon the head, as to prostrate 
and disable him. 

Those who were intimately acquainted with Andrew 
Jackson, and they alone, can know something of the feelings 
of the youth while the events of this morning were tran- 
spiring; what paroxysms of contemptuous rage shook his 
slender frame when he saw his cousin's wife insulted, her 
house profaned, his brother gashed ; himself as powerless to 
avenge as to protect. " Til warrant Andy thought of it at 
New Orkans" said an aged relative of all the parties to me 
in an old farm-house not far from the scene of this morning's 
dastardly work. 

To horse. Andrew was ordered to mount, and to guide 
some of the party to the house of a noted whig of the vicin- 
ity, named Thompson. Threatened with instant death if he 
failed to guide them aright, the youth submitted, and led the 
party in the right direction. A timely thought enabled him 
to be the deliverer of his neighbor, instead of his captor. In- 
stead of approaching the house by the usual road, he con- 
ducted the party by a circuitous route, which brought them 
in sight of the house half a mile before they reached it. An- 
drew well knew that if Thompson was at home, he would be 
sure to have some one on the look out, and a horse ready for 
the road. On coming in sight of the house, he saw Thomp- 
son's horse, saddled and bridled, standing at a rack in the 
yard ; which informed him both that the master was there 
and that he was prepared for flight. The dragoons dashed 


forward to seize their prey. While they were still some hun- 
dreds of yards from the house, Andrew had the keen delight 
of seeing Thompson burst from his door, run to his horse, 
mount, and plunge into a foaming swollen creek that rushed 
by his house. He gained the opposite shore, and seeing that 
the dragoons dared not attempt the stream, gave a shout of 
defiance, and galloped into the woods. 

The elation caused by the success of his stratagem was 
soon swallowed up in misery. Andrew and Robert Jackson, 
Lieutenant Thomas Crawford, and twenty other prisoners, 
all the victims of this raid of the dragoons into the Wax- 
haws, were placed on horses stolen in the same settlement, 
and marched toward Camden, South Carolina, a great British 
depot at the time, forty miles distant. It was a long and 
agonizing journey, especially to the wounded, among whom 
were the Jacksons and their cousin. Not an atom of food, 
nor a drop of water was allowed them on the way. Such 
was the brutality of the soldiers, that when these miserable 
lads tried to scoop up a little water from the streams which 
they forded, to appease their raging thirst, they were ordered 
to desist. 

At Camden their situation was one of utter wretchedness. 
Two hundred and fifty prisoners in a contracted enclosure 
drawn around the jail ; no beds of any description ; no med- 
icine ; no medical attendance, nor means of dressing the 
wounds ; their only food a scanty supply of bad bread. 
They were robbed even of part of their clothing, besides be- 
ing subject to the taunts and threats of every passing tory. 
The three relatives, it is said, were separated as soon as their 
relationship was discovered. Miserable among the miserable ; 
gaunt, yellow, hungry and sick ; robbed of his jacket and 
shoes ; ignorant of his brother's fate ; chafing with sup- 
pressed fury, Andrew passed now some of the most wretched 
days of his life. Ere long, the small-pox, a disease unspeak- 
ably terrible at that day, more terrible than cholera or plague 
has ever been, broke out among the prisoners, and raged un- 

* Kendall's Life of Jackson, page 61. 


checked by medicine, and unalleviated by any kind of attend 
ance or nursing. The sick and the well, the dying and the 
dead ; those shuddering at the first symptoms, and those 
putrid with the disease, were mingled together ; and all but 
the dead were equally miserable. 

For some time Andrew escaped the contagion. He was 
reclining one day in the sun near the entrance of the prison, 
when the officer of the guard, attracted, as it seemed, by the 
youthfulness of his appearance, entered into conversation 
with him. The lad soon began to 6peak of that of which his 
heart was full — the condition of the prisoners and the bad 
quality of their food. He remonstrated against their treat- 
ment with such energy and feeling that the officer seemed to 
be moved and shocked, and, what was far more important, he 
was induced to ferret out the villainy of the contractors who 
had been robbing the prisoners of their rations. From the 
day of Andrew's remonstrance the condition of the prisoners 
was ameliorated ; they were supplied with meat and better 
bread, and were otherwise better cared for. 

What a thrill of joy ran through the prisoners' quarters 
one day at the rumor that General Greene was coming to 
their deliverance ! He came with a brave little army of 
twelve hundred men. He approached within a mile of Cam- 
den ; but, having outstripped his artillery, he deemed it best 
to encamp upon an eminence there, and wait for the guns to 
come up before attacking the place. To this conclusion he 
was the more inclined, as Lord Rawdon's force, in Camden, 
was inferior to his own. What excitement among the pris- 
oners during the six days of General Greene's halt upon 
Hobkirk's Hill ! On the arrival of General Greene's army, 
they were hurried out of the redoubt about the jail, which 
was exposed to the cannon of an attacking enemy ; but, upon 
the British general discovering that Greene had no cannon, 
they were permitted to return. The American army remain- 
ing inactive, Lord Rawdon resolved, inferior as his force was, 
to attack General Greene's camp before his artillery should 
arrive ; a bold design and boldly executed. On the 24th of 


April the prisoners more than suspected, from the movements 
of the troops in the town and from the flying whispers which 
will precede a battle, that Greene was to be attacked the very 
next morning. The battle would decide their fate as well as 
that of one of the hostile armies. 

The enclosure in which the prisoners were confined would 
have commanded a perfect view of General Greene's position 
but for a board fence which had been recently erected on the 
summit of the wall. On the afternoon of the 24th, Andrew 
looked for a crevice in the fence, but not one could he find. 
In the course of the night, however, he managed, with the 
aid of an old razor blade which had been generously bestowed 
upon the prisoners as a meat knife, to hack out a knot from 
the fence. The morning light found him spying out the 
American position with eager eye. 

What he saw that morning through the knot-hole of his 
prison was his second lesson in the art of war. An impressive 
lesson it proved, and one he never forgot. There was the 
American encampment spread out in full view before him at 
the distance of a mile. General Greene, being well assured 
of Rawdon's weakness, and anticipating nothing so little as 
an attack from a man whom he supposed to be trembling 
for his own safety, neglected precautions against surprise. At 
ten in the morning, when Rawdon led out his nine hundred 
men to the attack, Andrew, mad with vexation, saw Greene's 
men scattered over the hill, cleaning their arms, washing 
their clothes and playing games, totally unprepared to resist. 
Bawdon, by taking a circuitous route, was enabled to break 
upon Greene's left with all the effect of a surprise. From 
his knot-hole the excited vouth saw the sudden smoke of 
musketry, the rush of the Americans for their arms, the 
hasty falling in, the opening of Greene's fire, the fine dash of 
American horse upon Rawdon's rear, which almost turned 
the tide of fortune and made every heart in the prison leap 
for joy as Andrew described it to the listening throng below 
him ; then the wild flight of horses running riderless about 
the hill, the fire slackening, and, alas ! receding, till Raw- 




don's army swept over the hill and vanished on the other 
side, Greene in full retreat before him ! 

The prisoners were in despair. Andrew's spirits sank 
under this accumulation of miseries, and he began to sicken 
with the first symptoms of the small-pox. Robert was in a 
condition still worse. The wound in his head had never been 
dressed, and had not healed. He, too, reduced as he was, 
began to shiver and burn with the fever that announces the 
dread disease. Another week of prison life would have prob- 
ably consigned both these boys to the grave. 

But they had a friend outside the prison — their mother, 
who, at this crisis of their fate, strove with the might of love 
for their deliverance. Learning their forlorn condition, this 
heroic woman went to Camden, and succeeded, after a time, 
in effecting an exchange of prisoners between a Waxhaw cap- 
tain and the British general. The whig captain gave up 
thirteen soldiers, whom he had captured in the rear of the 
British army, and received in return the two sons of Mrs. 
Jackson and five of her neighbors. When the little family 
were reunited in the town of Camden, the mother could but 
gaze upon her boys with astonishment and horror — so worn 
and wasted were they with hunger, wounds and disease. 
Robert could not stand nor even sit on horseback without 

The mother, however, had no choice but to get them home 
immediately. Two horses were procured. One she rode her- 
self. Robert was placed upon the other, and held in his seat 
by the returning prisoners, to whom Mrs. Jackson had just 
given liberty. Behind the sad procession, poor Andrew 
dragged his weak and weary limbs, bare-headed, bare-footed, 
without a jacket ; his only two garments torn and dirty. 
The forty miles of lonely wilderness that lay between Cam- 
den and Waxhaw were nearly traversed, and the fevered lads 
were expecting in two hours more to enjoy the bliss of repose, 
when a chilly, drenching, merciless rain set in. When this 
occurred, the small-pox had reached that stage of develop- 
ment, when, after having raged within the system, it was 
vol. l — 7. 


about to break out in those loathsome sores which give vent 
to the disease. Balk that effort of nature to throw off the 
poison, and it is nearly certain to strike in and kill ; and 
nothing is so sure to do this as a cold bath. The boys reached 
home, and went to bed. In two days Robert Jackson was a 
corpse, and his brother Andrew a raving maniac. 

A mother's nursing, medical skill, and a constitution 
sound at the core, brought the youth out of this peril, and 
set him upon the way to slow recovery. He was an invalid 
for several months. 

In the summer of 1781, a great cry <rf anguish and de- 
spair came up to Waxhaw.from the Charleston prison ships, 
wherein, among many hundreds of other prisoners, were con- 
fined some of the sons of Mrs. Jackson's sisters, and other 
friends and neighbors of hers from the Waxhaw country. 
Mrs. Jackaon had seen at Camden what prisoners of war may 
suffer, when officers disdain their duty, and contractors are 
scoundrels. She had also seen what a little vigor and tact 
can effect in the deliverance of prisoners. Andrew was no 
sooner quite out of danger than his brave mother resolved to 
go to Charleston (distant one hundred and sixty miles), and 
do what she could for the comfort of the prisoners there. 
The tradition of the neighborhood now is, that she performed 
the entire journey on foot, in company with two other women 
of like mind and purpose. It is more probable, however, and 
so thought General Jackson, that these gallant women rode 
on horseback, carrying with them a precious store of gifts and 
rural luxuries and medicines for the solace of their imprisoned 
relatives, and bearing whole hearts full of tender messages 
and precious news from home. Protected, because unpro- 
tected, they reached Charleston in safety, and gained admis- 
sion to the ships, and emptied their hearts and saddle-bags, 
and brought such joy to the haggard prisoners as only prison- 
ers know, when angel women from home visit them. 

And there the history of this blessed expedition ends. 
This only is further known of it, or will ever be. While 
stopping at the house of a relative, William Barton by name. 


who lived two miles and a half from Charleston, Mrs. Jack- 
son was seized with the ship fever, and, after a short illness, 
died, and was bnried on the open plain near by. I have con- 
versed with the daughter of William Barton, who is now 
Mrs. Thomas Faulkner, of Waxhaw ; but she was not born 
when Mrs. Jackson died in her father's house, and she is 
able to add nothing to our knowledge of that event. One 
little fact she has heard her mother mention, which shows 
the careful honesty of this race. The clothes of Mrs. Jack- 
son, a sorry bundle, were sent back from Charleston all the 
way to her sorrowing son at Waxhaw. 

It was not in the nature of Andrew Jackson not to mourn 
deeply the loss of such a mother ; and as he lay recovering 
by imperceptible degrees from his illness, he had leisure to 
dwell upon her virtues and his own unhappinns. It was 
always a grief to him that he did not know wHfere her re- 
mains were laid. As late in his life as during his presidency, 
he set on foot some inquiries respecting the place of her 
burial, with the design of having her sacred dust conveyed to 
the old church-yard at Waxhaw, where he wished to erect a 
monument in honor of both his parents. It was too late. 
No exact information could then be obtained, and the pro- 
ject was given up. No stone marks the burial-place either 
of his father, mother, or brothers. 

And so Andrew, before reaching his fifteenth birthday, 
was an orphan ; a sick and sorrowful orphan ; a homeless 
and dependent orphan ; an orphan of the Revolution, remem- 
ber. He remembered it. 




Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on the 19th of 
October, 1781. Savannah remained in the enemy's hands 
nine months, and Charleston fourteen months, after that 
event ; but the war in effect terminated then, North and 
South. The Waxhaw people who survived returned to their 
homes, and resumed the avocations which the war had inter- 

The first event of any importance in young Jackson's life, 
after peace was restored to his neighborhood, was a quarrel. 
He was li Ag then at the house of Major Thomas Crawford, 
where, uls^one Captain Galbraith had his quarters, a com- 
missary of the American army. Galbraith having taken dire 
offense at Andrew for some cause unknown, threatened to 
chastise him ; upon which the lad told the irate officer, that 
before lifting his hand to execute his threat, he had better 
prepare for eternity. Galbraith forbore to strike ; but such 
ill feeling existed between the two that, soon after, Andrew 
went to live at the house of Mr. Joseph White, a relative of 
Mrs. Crawford, and a resident of the Waxhaw region. A 
son of this gentleman was a saddler. For six months, while 
Andrew lived with the family, he worked in the saddler's 
shop as regularly as the state of his health permitted. A 
low fever, similar to the fever and ague, hung about him 
long after his recovery from the small-pox, and kept him 
weak and dispirited. His short experience as a saddler's 
boy seems to have given him a predilection for that trade ; 
at least, he apprenticed a proteg6 to it forty years after. 

With returning health returned the frolicsome spirit of 
the youth, which now began to seek gratification in modes 
less innocent than the sportive feats of his school-boy days . 

• Kendall's life of Jackson. 





Several Charleston families, of wealth and social eminence, 
were living in the neighborhood, waiting for the evacuation 
of their city. With the young men of these families Jackson 
became acquainted, and led a life with them, in the summer 
and autumn of 1782, that was more merry than wise. He 
was betrayed by their example and his own pride into habits 
of expense, which wasted his small resources. That passion 
for horses, which never left him, began to show itself. He 
ran races and rode races, gambled a little, drank a little, 
fought cocks occasionally, and comported himself in the style 
usually affected by dissipated young fools of that day. His 
aunts and uncles, no doubt, shook their heads and predicted 
that Andy would come to no good with his fine friends ; and 
perhaps they said as much to the youth, and said it too 
often, or in the wrong way, for Andrew seems not to have 
warmly loved his Carolina relations. He struck down no 
roots into the soil of his birth, and never revisited it nor held 
much communication with its inhabitants after he left it. 
But he left it young, and vast regions of wilderness stretched 
between him and his native State. He felt that he had no 
living kindred, and said so at a time when he had many cous- 
ins and second cousins living in North and South Carolina. 
I fancy there was little sympathy between this wild, irasci- 
ble, aspiring youth and his staid, orderly elders. He was 
probably regarded as the scapegrace of the family. 

In December, 1782, to the joy and exultation of all the 
southern country, Charleston was evacuated, and its scattered 
whig families were free to return to their homes. Andrew, 
finding the country dull after the departure of his gay com- 
panions, suddenly resolved to follow them to the city. He 
mounted his horse, a fine and valuable animal that he had 
contrived to possess, and rode to Charleston through the 
wilderness. There, it appears, he remained long enough to 
expend his slender stock of money and run up a long bill 
with his landlord. He was saved from total ruin by a curious 
incident, which is thus related by one who heard it from him- 
self : " He had strolled one evening down the street, and 


was carried into a place where some persons were amusing 
themselves at a game of dice, and much betting was in prog- 
ress. He was challenged for a game by a person present, by 
whom a proposal was made to stake two hundred dollars 
against a fine horse on which Jackson had come to Charles- 
ton. After some deliberation, he accepted the challenge. 
Fortune was on his side ; the wager was won and paid. He 
forthwith departed, settled his bill next morning, and returned 
to his home. " My calculation/' said he, speaking of this 
little incident, " was that, if a loser in the game, I would 
give the landlord my saddle and bridle, as far as they would 
go toward the payment of his bill, ask a credit for the balance, 
and walk away from the city ; but being successful, I had 
new spirits infused into me, left the table, and from that 
moment to the present time I have never thrown dice for a 

His solitary ride home through the woods, after this nar- 
row escape, gave him an opportunity for reflection, which he 
improved. He came to the conclusion that he had passed 
the year 1782 very foolishly, and that if he meant to achieve, 
or be any thing in this world, he must alter his way of life. 
In some degree he did so ; not that he eschewed sport, or even 
gambling, as has been alleged. He was a keen lover of sport 
for many and many a year after this Charleston adventure ; 
and some of the sports then in vogue, and in which he de- 
lighted, were such as are shocking to the better feelings of 
this generation. Cock-fighting, for example. It is totally 
out of our power to understand how a man of feelings so ten- 
der as his, who could not hear a lamb Meat at night without 
getting up to relieve it, could take delight in seeing cocks 
mangle and kill one another. Yet so it was. 

Upon the return of the young man to the home of his 
childhood, he evidently took hold of life more earnestly than 
he had done before. He made some attempts, it is said, to 
continue his studies. Three entirely credible informants tes- 

* Cabin* and TaliemanSbT 1829, page 4. 


tify that Andrew Jackson was a schoolmaster at this period 
of his life. One of these informants is Mr. John Porter, 
aged seventy-seven, still living near the birth-place of Gen- 
eral Jackson ; "a man so strictly honest," says General S. 
H. Walkup, " that any statement he may make will be cer- 
tainly correct." Mr. Porter says : " Andrew Jackson was 
frequently at my father's house, and taught school in the 
neighborhood ; one of my brothers and sisters went to school 
to him." The long suppression of a fact so honorable to the 
young man, might throw some doubt upon it, if the works 
that might have given it had not been written on the prin- 
ciple of leaving out every thing of particular interest Nothing 
is more certain than that part of the small cash capital upon 
which Andrew Jackson started in his career, was earned amid 
the hum and bustle of an old-field school. It is the more 

* To this statement Mr. Porter added subsequently, at the request of General 
Walkup, the following special certificate : — 


South Carolina, 
Lancaster District. 

J, John Porter, do hereby certify that I have frequently heard my father 
speak of General Andrew Jackson, and say that he (Jackson) taught an English 
school soon after the close of the revolutionary war, perhaps in the year 1783 or 
1784, in Lancaster district, and in the neighborhood of the Waxhaw M. E. 
Church. I have often beard my brother and sister speak of going to school to 
him then and there. Subscribed to this 31st day of May, 1859. 

John Porter. 
Witness, S. R. Porter. 

General Walkup also kindly procured and forwarded the following : — 

South Carolina, 
Lancaster District, 


I, Elizabeth T. White, do hereby certify, that I have frequently heard my 
mother speak of General Andrew Jackson teaching school, and of her going to 
school to him in the neighborhood of her father's, which was near the Waxhaw 
M. E. Church ; and that be taught soon after the close of the revolutionary war. 

E. T. White. 
Sworn and rabscribed to this 31st day of May, 1859, before me, 

Thomas R. Maoill, Notary Public 
Witness, 8. R. Poster. 



certain, as the uniform tradition of the Waxhaw country is, 
that he was a very poor young man, who inherited nothing 
from his father, because his father had nothing to leave. 
The old people there scout the idea of "old man Andrew" 
having owned the land on which he lived. The tradition at 
Charlotte is, that when young Andrew attended Queen's Col- 
lege, on the hill where the gold grew, he often passed along 
down the street to school, with his trowsers too ragged to 
keep his shirt from flying in the wind. 

The fact of his possessing a horse worth two hundred dol- 
lars seems, at first, irreconcilable with these traditions of his 
poverty. At the North it would be so ; but not at the 
South. No boy in the rural parts of the South, with so many 
uncles around him as young Jackson had, could get far on 
toward manhood without receiving the gift of a colt. At the 
South a man without a horse is only less unfortunate than a 
man without legs. Every youth of respectable connections 
has one, as a matter of course. Thus we find Hugh Jack- 
son, though without property, mounting his own horse to go 
with Colonel Davie's troop to the war. Robert, too, was 
mounted, as well as Andrew," as soon as the boys were old 
enough to serve in the field. The South may be defined as 
the region where every thing is a long way off; where you go 
five miles to see your next-door neighbor, seven miles to 
church, fifteen miles to a store, thirty miles to court, a three 
days' journey to market. What can a man do in such a 
country with no legs but his own ? 

For a year certainly, and, probably, for two years, after 
Andrew's return from Charleston, he remained in the Wax- 
haw country, employed either in teaching school, or in some 
less worthy occupation. Peace was formally proclaimed in 
April, 1783. The peace, it is well known, produced a re- 
markable effect upon the legal profession. By excluding the 
old tory barristers, and creating many new causes of action, 
it threw into the hands of the whig lawyers a very lucrative 
business. At the same time, a career in public life lay open 
to the young men of the triumphant party, large numbers of 



whom the peace had thrown out of the profession of arms. 
The result was, that young men of spirit in all parts of the 
country were looking to the law for a vocation, and the old 
lawyers had plenty of new students. Some time between the 
proclamation of peace and the winter of 1784-5, Andrew 
Jackson resolved upon studying law. In that winter he 
gathered together his earnings and whatever property he may 
have possessed, mounted his horse again, and set his face 
northward in quest of a master in the law under whom to 
pursue his studies. 

He rode to Salisbury, North Carolina, a distance of 
seventy-five miles from the Waxhaws. Either because he met 
no encouragement at that place, or for some other reason be- 
yond our guess, he then journeyed sixty miles westward, to 
Morganton, Burke county, North Carolina, where lived Col- 
onel Waightstill Avery, a famous lawyer of that day, and 
the owner of the best law library in that part of the country. 
He applied to Colonel Avery for instruction, and for board 
in his house. It was a new and wild region of country, and 
the house of Colonel Avery, like all others in the vicinity, 
was a log-house of the usual limited size. He was, therefore, 
much against his will, compelled to decline receiving the ap- 
plicant into his house ; and as there was no other boarding- 
place to be found in the neighborhood, the young man had 
no choice but to return to Salisbury. 

At Salisbury he entered the law office of Mr. Spruce 
McCay, an eminent lawyer at that time, and, in later days, 
a judge of high distinction, who is still remembered with 
honor in North Carolina. 

Andrew was not quite eighteen years of age when he 
found himself installed as a student of law. He thus had 
the start of most of the distinguished men with whom, and 
against whom, he afterwards acted. Henry Clay was then a 

• These facts I learn from Colonel Isaac T. Avery, of Burke county, North 
Carolina, a son of the Colonel Avery to whom Jackson applied on this occasion. 
The present Colonel Avery lives on or near the site of the log-house wherein his 
father lived when young Jackson rode up to his gate in the winter of 1784. 


fatherless boy of seven, living with his mother in the Slashes 
of Hanover county, Virginia. Daniel Webster was toddling 
about his father's farm in New Hampshire, a sickly child of 
four. Calhoun was an infant not two years old at his father's 
farm-house in South Carolina. John Quincy Adams was a 
young man of seventeen, about returning home from Europe 
to enter Harvard College. Martin Van Buren, a child two 
years old, might have been seen, on fine days, playing on the 
steps of liis father's tavern in Kinderhook. Crawford— once 
so famous, now reduced to twelve lines in a biographical dic- 
tionary — was a Georgia school-boy of twelve. Aaron Burr 
was just getting into full practice as a New York lawyer, 
amiable, happy, fortunate, the future all bright before him. 
Benton, Biddle, Taney, Cass, Buchanan, Blair, Kendall, 
Lewis, Woodbury, Eaton, Duane and the rest, were not 



Salisbury, the capital of Rowan county, is a pleasant 
old town in the midst of that undulating, red-clayed region 
of North Carolina, the products of which are wheat, cotton, 
turpentine and gold, as well as the worst roads and the most 
obliging people in the world. It was an old town, for Amer- 
ica, when the Revolution began. Secluded from the com- 
mercial world, dependent for its increase and wealth upon 
the adjacent country, it has only grown to be a place of eight 
hundred inhabitants in a hundred years. The recent rail- 
road has given an impulse to the town which will soon 
change its character. At present it can not be essentially 
different from what it was in young Jackson's day. Two 
straight, broad, shady streets crossing each other at right 

1785.] THE LAW STUDENT. 103 

angles ; other and narrower streets running parallel with 
these ; a little church or two ; a newspaper ; an academy ; 
two ancient, spacious taverns, more like hamlets than houses ; 
a few prosperous-looking stores ; a score of comfortable villa- 
like houses, and a hundred other tenements in various stages 
of that dilapidation which is so common in the southern 
towns. The public wells, in the middle of the streets, have 
not yet been provided with pumps, but exhibit the sheds, 
wheels and buckets of generations past, and there is one, 
near the tavern where Jackson used to live, so extremely 
ancient in appearance that he may have stopped at it on his 
way home from " the office" to quench his thirst. 

Agreeable and inviting are the red, well-shaded streets 
of Salisbury, except when long rains have softened the clay, 
and heavy wagons have cut deep into it. Then they are by 
no means inviting. Then the task of getting across the 
streets is one from which the boldest man in the tightest 
boots might shrink. Then the omnibus, which conveys the 
single arriving traveler from the depot to the tavern, strains 
to the uttermost the powers of four horses, two negroes, and 
all benevolent by-standers, while the mud-crusted vehicle 
rocks and plunges like a Cape Cod fishing smack riding out a 
gale off Newfoundland, and the lone biographer within is 
hurled hither and thither, and clutches at his carpet-bag con- 
vulsively, and bites his tongue, and gasps for breath and calls 
on the gods for deliverance. 

In one of the back streets of this old town, on the lawn 
in front of one of its largest and handsomest mansions, close 
to the street and to the left of the gate, stands a little box 
of a house fifteen feet by sixteen, and one story high. It is 
built of shingles, several of which have decayed and fallen 
off. It is too small for a wood shed or a corn crib, and is in 
the wrong place for a hen house or a negro cabin ; so that, if 
a stranger's eye should chance to be arrested by so insignifi- 
cant an object, he would be puzzled to decide its purpose. If 
he should push open the door, he would be still more at a 
loss. The inside walls are ceiled. There are remains of old 


wainscoting on one side. Some stout, dark-green shelv- 
ing remains. The floor is littered and heaped high, and the 
fire-place is filled, and the shelves covered with old moldy 
books, pamphlets, Congressional documents (full of Jackson), 
speeches franked by the authors thereof, old letters and law 
papers, Philadelphia magazines of forty years ago, odd vol- 
umes of poetry, and other relics of a busy, cultivated life long 

This little decaying house of shingles was the law-office 
of Spruce McCay, when Andrew Jackson studied law under 
him at Salisbury, in 1785 and 1786. The mansion behind it 
stands on the site of the house in which Mr. McCay lived at 
the time, and the property is still owned and occupied by a 
near connection of his, who has preserved the old office from 
regard to his memory. In that office, along with two fellow- 
students, McNairy and Crawford, Andrew Jackson studied 
law, copied papers, and did whatever else fell to the lot of 
law students at that day, for nearly two years. In one of 
the main streets of the town, a few yards from the office, 
still stands the Rowan House, the tavern in which the three 
students boarded and caroused — a rambling old place, com- 
posed of many buildings, after the southern fashion, with vast 
fire-places, high mantels, and curious, low, unceiled rooms. 
The landlord shows a little apartment which young Jack- 
son is said to have occupied ; and it may have been that one, 
as well as another. But there is no doubt that the huge and 
lofty fire-place in the office of the hotel, is the fire-place 
round which these three merry young blades often quaffed 
their landlord's punch, and tossed up to decide who should 
pay for it. 

Salisbury teems with traditions respecting the residence 
there of Andrew Jackson as a student of law. Their general 
tenor may be expressed in the language of the first old resi- 
dent of the town, to whom I applied for information : " An- 
drew Jackson was the most roaring, rollicking, game-cocking, 
horse-racing, card-playing, mischievous fellow, that ever lived 
in Salisbury." Add to this such expressions as these : " He 


1785.] THE LAW STUDENT. 105 

did not trouble the law-books much ;" " he was more in the 
stable than in the office ;" " he was the head of all the row- 
dies hereabouts." That is the substance of what the Salis- 
bury of 1859 has to say of the Andrew Jackson of 1785. 

Nothing is more likely than that he was a roaring, rol- 
licking fellow, overflowing with life and spirits, and rejoicing 
to engage in all the fun that was going ; but I do not believe 
that he neglected his duties at the office to the extent to 
which Salisbury says he did. There are good reasons for 
doubting it. At no part of Jackson's career, when we can 
get a look at him through a pair of trustworthy eyes, do we 
find him trifling with life. We find him often wrong, but 
always earnest. He never so much as raised a field of cotton 
which he did not have done in the best manner known to 
him. It was not in the nature of this young man to take a 
great deal of trouble to get a chance to study law, and then 
entirely to throw away that chance. Of course he never be- 
came, in any proper sense of the word, a lawyer ; but that 
he was not diligent and eager in picking up the little legal 
knowledge necessary for practice at that day, will become less 
credible to the reader the more he knows of him. Once, in 
the White House, forty-five years after this period, when 
some one from Salisbury reminded him of his residence in 
that town, he said, with a smile, and a look of retrospection 
on his aged face, " Yes, I lived at old Salisbury. I was but 
a raw lad then, but I did my best." 

There is now in Salisbury but one person who was a resi- 
dent of the place when Jackson was a student of law, and 
that is Aunt Judy, an aged and beloved servant of the family 
who live on the site of the former residence of Judge McCay. 
Aunt Judy, at that time, was a girl about twelve years old, 
and belonged to the landlord of the Rowan House, where she 
waited at table, and assisted in the general work of the house. 
She remembers the three Inseparables at the tavern, Jack- 
son, Crawford and McNairy. Jackson, she says, was a fair, 
clear-complexioned young man, with long sandy hair — " one 
of the genteel young men of the place." He owned horses, 


she thinks ; certainly he was much occupied with horses, 
and was often away on parties of pleasure. He was very fond 
of the ladies, quite a beau in the town, and a very gay, lively 
fellow, says Aunt Judy. She remembers just one trifling inci- 
dent of those merry times. Jackson and his two friends came 
home from hunting one day, and left their guns in Jackson's 
Toom, which opened upon the street. While the lads were 
gone to dinner, she was sent to put Jackson's room in order ; 
and while there, took up one of the guns, and began to 
" fool with it." It went off in her hands, and threw a shower 
of buck-shot about the room. She heard the thunder of the 
boarders rushing to see what was the matter, but waited not 
to explain. She dropped the gun, ran out of the room, and 
concealed herself till the flurry was over. That is all Aunt 
Judy can remember clearly. She thinks she used to hear 
that all three of the students went away from Salisbury, un- 
able to pay their bill at the tavern. She has also a dim 
recollection of once handing young Jackson a glass of water 
at dinner ; but she never spoke to him, nor he to her. 

Among the most respectable ladies in Salisbury, are the 

Misses , whose ancestors were old residents of the town 

when Lord Cornwallis had his quarters near their father's 
house. Their parents, aunts and uncles were living in the 
town when Jackson lived there. One of their uncles, George 
Dunn by name, was in Jackson's own roystering set, and 
afterwards went with him to Tennessee, and lived long in his 
family. These ladies, therefore, are well informed respecting 
the life of Jackson in their native town ; and the more so, as 
their mother was much in the habit of talking of him in their 
hearing after he became famous. They fully confirm the 
current tradition of the town with regard to the young stud- 
ent's sportive habits. He played cards, fought cocks, ran 
horses, threw the "long bullet" (cannon ball, slung in a 
strap, and thrown as a trial of strength), carried off gates, 
moved out-houses to remote fields, and occasionally indulged 
in a downright drunken debauch. But he was not licentious 
nor particularly quarrelsome. 

1785.] THE LAW STUDENT. 107 

Two or three incidents are remembered by the Misses. 
-, as related by their mother and others 

Foot-races were much in vogue at that time — a sport in 
which the long-limbed Jackson was formed to excel. Among 
the runners was one Hugh Montgomery, a man of some note 
in revolutionary annals, who was as remarkable for strength 
and bulk &s Jackson was for agility. To equalize the two in 
a foot-race, Montgomery once proposed to run a quarter of a 
mile on these conditions : Montgomery to carry a man on his 
back, Jackson to give Montgomery a start of half the distance. 
Jackson accepted the challenge, and the absurd race was run 
amid the frantic laughter of half the town ; Jackson winning 
by two or three yards. All came into the winning-post in 
good condition, except the man whom Montgomery had car- 
ried. In his eagerness to win, Montgomery had clutched and 
shaken him with such violence, that the man was more dam- 
aged and breathless than either of the two competitors. 

One can not be long in Salisbury and talk of Jackson, 
without hearing a horrible story of his bringing his mistress 
to a Christmas ball, to the scandal and disgust of all the 
ladies present, who left the ball-room in a body, and made 
Salisbury so uncomfortable a place for the offender, that he 
left soon after, and completed his studies in another town. 
The mother of the ladies just referred to was present at the 
ball where the events occurred which £ave rise to this story, 
and related them many a time to her daughters. There was 
a dancing school then in Salisbury, which, of course, the gay 
Jackson could not fail to attend. The dancing school re- 
solved to give a Christmas ball, and Andrew Jackson was 
appointed to serve as one of the managers thereof. There 
were living at that time in Salisbury two women of ill- 
repute, a mother and daughter, Molly and Rachel Wood — 
women notoriously dissolute — a by-word in the county of 
Rowan. Jackson, who was excessively fond of a practical 
joke, sent these two women tickets of admission to the ball, 
" to see what would come of it," as he said. On the evening 
of the ball, lo ! the women presented themselves, flaunting 


in all the colors of the rainbow. Some confusion ensued. 
The dancing was suspended. The ladies withdrew to one 
side of the room, half giggling, half offended. Molly and 
Bachel were soon led out, and the ball went on as before. 
In the course of the evening, when it came out that Jackson 
had sent them invitations, the ladies took him to task ; upon 
which, he humbly apologized, declaring that it was merely a 
piece of fun, and that he scarcely supposed the women would 
have the face to make their appearance ; and if they did, he 
thought the ladies would take it as a joke. The ladies for- 
gave him more easily than some modern readers of the story 
will, who will judge this tremendous joke by the standard of 
the decorous year of our Lord in which they have the happi- 
ness to live. It certainly was carrying a joke very far, and 
if the young ladies had sent him to Coventry for it, it would 
have served him right. 

One other Salisbury story, from the same most trust- 
worthy source: once upon a time, the three law-students 
and their friends celebrated some event, now forgotten, by a 
banquet at the tavern. The evening passed off most hilari- 
ously. Toward midnight, it was agreed that glasses and de- 
canters which had witnessed and promoted the happiness of 
such an evening, ought never to be profaned to any baser use. 
They were smashed accordingly. And if the glasses, why not 
the table ? The table was broken to splinters. Then the 
chairs were destroyed, and every other article of furniture. 
There was a bed in the room, and the destroying spirit being 
still unsatiated, the clothes and curtains were seized and torn 
into ribbons. Lastly, the combustible part of the fragments 
were heaped upon the fire and consumed. Wild doings 
these. Most young men have taken part in some such mad- 
ness once ; only, it is not generally mentioned in their biog- 

Forty years after these events, it came to the ears of old 

Mrs. , the mother of the ladies before alluded to, that 

Andrew Jackson was talked of for the presidency. She was 
accustomed to relieve her mind on the subject by words like 

1786.] THE LAW 8TUDENT. 109 

these: "What! Jackson up for President? Jackson? 
Andrew Jackson ? The Jackson that used to live in Salis- 
bury? Why, when he was here, he was such a rake that 
my husband would not bring him into the house ! It is 
true, he might have taken him out to the stable to weigh 
horses for a race, and might drink a glass of whiskey with him 
there. Well, if Andrew Jackson can be President, anybody 

A leaf of the Rowan House book, on which the landlord 
kept his account with Jackson, is said to be still in existence, 
but not visible to mortal eye. Those who profess to have 
seen the leaf, describe it to have contained three kinds of 
entries : first, the regular charges for board ; secondly, 
charges for pints, quarts and gallons of whiskey ; thirdly, 
an account, per contra, in which the landlord acknowledges 
his indebtedness to Jackson for certain sums won by the lat- 
ter at cards, or by betting upon races. 

But enough of this. From these traditions and* stories 
we learn merely that, when Jackson studied law at Salis- 
bury, he was exceedingly fond of the sports of the time, and 
indulged in them, perhaps, to excess. Salisbury, at that 
period, was noted for the gayety of its inhabitants, and con- 
tinued to be until about thirty years ago. The old race 
course, upon which young Jackson so often ran his horses and 
ran himself, where he beat the huge Hugh Montgomery 
with a man on his back, and where he enjoyed the happiest 
days of the happiest part of his youth, is now grown over with 
wood and almost forgotten. The young men lounge on the 
street corners, silently consuming their energies with their 
tobacco, waiting for the time to come when the honest old 
games shall return freed from the vices which drove them 
into disgraceful exile. The good people of Salisbury think 
their town is more moral now than it was in young Jackson's 
day. It is certainly more quiet. 

Our student completed his preparation for the bar in the 
office of Colonel John Stokes, a brave soldier of the Revolu- 
tion, and afterward a lawyer of high repute, from whom 
tol. i. — 8. 


Stokes county, North Carolina, took its name. Colonel 
Stokes was one of those who fell, covered with wounds, at 
the Waxhaw massacre in 1780, and may have been nursed in 
the old meeting-house by Mrs. Jackson and her sons. 

Before the spring of 1787, about two years after beginning 
the study of the law, Andrew Jackson was licensed to prac- 
tice in the courts of North Carolina. 



Our young friend was twenty years of age when he com- 
pleted the preliminary part of his education at Salisbury. 
Before pending him forth to try conclusions with the world, 
we will take the liberty of detaining him a moment here on 
the threshold while we survey his person and equipment. It 
is, indeed, necessary to state briefly what kind of young man 
young Jackson was, in order to render credible much that is 
soon to be related, as well as to correct the impressions which 
the wild ways of his youth may have made upon the reader's 
mind. The occasional audacities and irregularities of a young 
man like this were likely to be remembered and exaggerated. 

He had grown to be a tall fellow. He stood six feet and 
an inch in his stockings. He was remarkably slender for that 
robust age of the world, but lie was also remarkably erect ; 
so that his form had the effect of symmetry without being 
symmetrical. His movements and carriage were singularly 
graceful and dignified. In the accomplishments of his day 
and sphere he excelled the young men of his own circle, and 
was regarded by them as their chief and model. He was an 
exquisite horseman, as all will agree who ever saw him on 
horseback. Jefferson tells us that General Washington was 
the best horseman of his time, but he could scarcely have 
been a more graceful or a more daring rider than Jackson. 



Young Jackson loved a horse. From early boyhood to 
extreme old age he was the master and friend of horses. He 
was one of those who must own a horse, if they do not a 
house, an acre or a coat. Horses may be expected to play a 
leading j>art in the career of this tall young barrister. 

Into the secrets of forest and frontier life Jackson was 
early initiated. He was used to camping out, and knew how 
to make it the most luxurious mode of passing a night known 
to man. He was a capital shot, and became a better one by 
and by. " George," his favorite servant in after years, used 
to point out the tree in which he had often seen his master 
put two successive balls into the same hole. His bodily 
activity, as we have seen, was unusual. He was a young 
man of a quick, brisk, springy step, with not a lazy bone in 
his body ; and though his constitution was not robust, it was 
tough and enduring beyond that of any man of whom history 
gives account. 

He was far from handsome. His face was long, thin and 
fair ; his forehead high and somewhat narrow ; his hair, red- 
dish-sandy in color, was exceedingly abundant, and fell down 
low over his forehead. The bristling hair of the ordinary 
portraits belongs to the latter half of his life. There was but 
one feature of his face that was not common-place — his eyes, 
which were of a deep blue, and capable of blazing with great 
expression when he was roused. Yet, as his form seemed 
fine without being so, so his face, owing to the quick, direct 
glance of the man, and his look of eager intelligence, pro- 
duced on others more than the effect of beauty. To hear the 
old people of Tennessee, and, particularly, the ladies, talk of 
him, you would think he must have been an Apollo in form 
and feature. 

The truth is, this young man was gifted with that mys- 
terious, omnipotent something, which we call a presence. 
He was one of those who convey to strangers the impression 
that they are " somebody ;" who naturally, and without 
thinking of it, take the lead; who are invited or permitted to 
take it, as a matter of course. It was said of him, that if he 


should join a party of travelers in the wilderness, and re- 
main with them an hour, and the party should then be 
attacked by Indians, he would instinctively take the com- 
mand, and the company would, as instinctively, look to him 
for orders. 

He was wholly formed by nature for an active career. 
The back of his head, where the propelling powers are said 
to have their seat, was very massive ; perhaps, disproportion- 
ately so to the quantity of man to be propelled. A phrenol- 
ogist, who had marked the smallness of his reflective faculty, 
along with such tremendous vital force, would have argued 
ill of his future, till he observed the remarkable prominence 
of his perceptive organs, and the full development of some 
portions of the upper moral region of the brain. " Here is a 
young fellow," he might have said, " who will hold on if he 
takes hold, and go far if he sets out ; but he will generally 
take hold of the right thing, and set out to go to the right 
place ; but, right or wrong, he will not let go, nor turn 

He was a brave young man, without being, in the slight- 
est degree, rash. If there ever lived a, prudent man, Andrew 
Jackson was that individual. He dared much ; but he never 
dared to attempt what the event showed he could not do. 
The reader is requested to banish from his ingenuous mind, 
at his earliest convenience, the notion that Jackson was a 
person who liked danger for its own sake, and who rushed 
into it without having weighed (in his own rapid way) the 
probable and possible consequences. He was consummately 
prudent. We have heard a great deal of his irascibility ; 
and he most assuredly was an irascible man. But, observe ; 
he seldom quite gave up the rein to his anger. His wrath 
was a fiery nag enough ; but people who stood close to him 
when he was foaming and champing and pawing, could sec 
that there was a patent curb in his bridle which the rider 
had a quiet but firm hold of. It was a Scotch-Irish anger. 
It was fierce, but never had any ill effect upon his own pur- 
poses ; on the contrary, he made it serve him, sometimes, by 


1787.] JACKSON AT TWENTY. 113 

seeming to be much more angry than he was ; a way with 
others of his race. " No man" writes an intimate associate 
of his for forty years, " knew better than Andrew Jackson 
when to get into a passion and when not" Yet, for all that, 
he was, sometimes, a most tinder-like and touchy fellow — iis 
we shall see. 

This young lawyer, like most of those who had seen and 
felt what liberty had cost, was a very warm lover of Iris 
country. He remembered — how vividly he remembered ! — 
the scenes of the recent Revolution ; his mother's sad fate, 
and its cause ; the misery and needless death of his brother ; 
his own painful captivity ; the Waxhaw massacre ; the rav- 
aged homes of his relatives and neighbors ; Tarleton's un- 
sparing onslaughts ; and all the wild and shocking ferocities 
of the war, as it was waged in the border counties of North 
Carolina. These things made the deepest imaginable im- 
pression upon his mind. He could scarcely place other citi- 
zens upon the same level as the soldiers of the Revolution ; 
whom he regarded as a kind of republican aristocracy, en- 
titled, before all others, to honor and office. At this age, 
and long after, he cherished that intense antipathy to Great 
Britain which distinguished the survivors of the Revolution ; 
some traces of which could be discerned in the less enlight- 
ened parts of the country until within these few years. In 
these respects, he was the most Ameiican of Americans — 
an embodied Declaration-of-Independence — the Fourth-of- 
July incarnate ! 

His mother, we have said, designed him for the church. 
We find him choosing the profession of the law. We shall 
discover, too, that he distinctly sets up to be a man of the 
world, and goes through life as such, down almost to the 
very end. The thing called the Code of Honor was the ten 
commandments of the men-of-the-world of that day, and 
their god was Reputation. How was it that the rustic 
Jackson, the son of such parents as his, the connection of 
half the members of the old Waxhaw Presbyterian church, 
should have gone this road ? There is no clear light to be 


had upon the point. The war, I presume, introduced him 
to the habits and feelings of soldiers ; and his fine friends 
from Charleston may have given him some distaste for the 
simple old ways of the Waxhaw settlement. But he came 
of blood too honest and kindly to suffer, from this adoption 
of the Code of Honor, that moral annihilation which it 
brought upon some of his contemporaries. His instincts 
were better than his principles. The virtues of Honesty and 
Chastity — kindred and fundamental, from which come all 
the good and joy of life — were his, as it were, by inheritance. 
Jackson was one of those who may be said to be solvent by 
nature; a fact which goes far to justify the immovable 
confidence which the masses of the people caine to have 
in their unlettered, and, in some respects, unlovely hero ; 
while they never could be brought to love or trust some of 
his contemporaries, whose debts were as magnificent as their 

But we must not linger too long on the threshold. Our 
young friend has a very long and most eventful journey be- 
fore him. The rest of his equipment is sufficiently known. 
From the schools he has derived little ; from the law-books 
not much ; from fortune nothing. He mounts ; he is away. 
He leaves Salisbury possessing little beside the horse he rides, 
his lawyer's license, a law-book or two, youthful energies and 
youthful hopes. 

A year now goes by, in which he is nearly lost to view. 
He used to say that, after being admitted to the bar, he lived 
awhile at Martinsville, Guilford county, North Carolina, 
where two intimate friends of his, Henderson and Searcy, 
kept a store. That village has long ago disappeared ; there 
is but one old, uninhabited house now to be seen where it 
stood. There is a tradition in the State, that he accepted a 
constable's commission this year — an office of more conse- 
quence then than now. The strong probability is, that he 
assisted his friends in their store, and so gained an insight 
into the mystery of frontier store-keeping, which he after- 
wards turned to account.. 

1788.] TO TENNESSEE. 115 

While he was thus employed, and waiting for a chance to 
begin the practice of his profession, a suitable field of action 
was preparing for him over the mountains. 



The settlement of a new region, in the old, heroic times, 
was a progressive affair. At first the wilderness, unbroken 
and unknown, excited only the curiosity of the advanced set- 
tlers. Some wandering Indian, in answer to their eager ques- 
tions, would draw upon the earth a rude map of the land 
desired, and give, in Indian grunts and gestures, some hints 
of its great features, its mountains, rivers, lakes and hunting 
grounds. One daring hunter, of the Boone or Leather- 
stocking stamp, at last, would venture in to explore the vast 
unknown, and, returning, tell to gaping groups the wonders 
he had seen. A trader next, keen in the pursuit of furs, and 
anxious to find fresh Indians, who would sell a beaver skin 
for a bead, essayed the pathless wild. Other traders would 
soon follow in his trail. Hunters would then advance some 
distance into the wilderness, and build their cabins, and live 
for months on the banks of a secluded stream, and then re- 
turn laden with the spoils of the trap. Thus the country 
gradually became known. 

Settlers, who meant to till the soil and found homes, would 
next invade the wilderness, and plant themselves on the fav- 
orable locations nearest their former homes. Others would 
join them. New settlements would be formed. A mania 
for emigrating to the new country would begin to rage in the 
old settlements, and the forests to resound with the tramp, 
and bells, and rifles of successive companies. Before the new 
settlements were well established, there would begin encroach- 

116 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK60N. [1788. 

nients on the territory of the Indians, or a wanton murder 
of an Indian occurred. The Indians would retaliate, and 
then the period of Indian warfare set in, and lasted till the 
surrounding tribes were subdued or intimidated. 

A process like this had been going on in Tennessee during 
the whole life of Andrew Jackson. Captain William Bean, 
the first settler in Tennessee, went into that country when 
Andrew was two years old. Russell Bean, with whom Jack- 
son had once a curious interview, to be related hereafter, was 
the first white child born in Tennessee. By the time Jackson 
began the study of the law, there were some thousands of 
settlers west of the Alleghanies, and the old blazed pathway, 
by which, in single file, the first settlers penetrated the moun- 
tain wilderness, was beginning to be widened and smoothed 
down into some rough resemblance to a road. Nay, Spruce 
McCay, Jackson's master in the law, and Waightstill Avery, 
of Burke county, to whom he had first applied for instruc- 
tion, had attended court at Jonesboro, the first court ever 
held in Tennessee, and could tell the young student all 
about the new country ; and while Jackson was studying 
law and playing pranks at Salisbury, events were transpiring 
on the other side of the Alleghanies which made that district 
the talk of the whole State, and, particularly, the talk of all 
who had the entree of law offices. 

The whole of what we now call Tennessee — that central 
oblong block on the map, extending from the Alleghanies to 
the Mississippi — was known to the youthful Jackson and his 
cotemporaries as Washington county, North Carolina. So it 
was named in 1777, when Andy was a school-boy. After- 
ward it formed two counties of North Carolina, and then 
three. Soon after the Revolution, North Carolina, not 
unwilling to get rid of a country which, owing to the Indian 
wars, was getting to be more troublesome than profitable, 
offered to cede her territory west of the mountains to Con- 
gress, as her share of the expenses of the Revolution, provided 

* Bamany'B TenneMee, page 274. 

1788.] TO TENNESSEE. 117 

Congress would accept the grant within two years. The set- 
tlers, hearing the news of this act, and hearing it incorrectly 
related, feared a two years' interval of no government, and at 
once set up a government of their own, declaring their inde- 

Whereupon, North Carolina repealed her act of cession, 
and reclaimed her progeny ; but the settlers, not compre- 
hending these maternal caprices, and having tasted the sweets 
of independence, held on their way, completed the organiza- 
tion of their State, named it Franklin, and elected John 
Sevier governor. Flat rebellion, said the authorities of the 
parent State. A period of distraction and turbulence ensued. 
Two sets of officers in all the settlements, one appointed by 
the authorities of North Carolina, the other by those of 
Franklin ; hot disputes between the two, often ending in 
blows ; one set of court officers ejecting the other from the 
court room ; two parties in every town and county ; " Hur- 
rah for North Carolina," the battle-cry of one ; " Hurrah for 
Franklin," the watch-word of the other. 

In these circumstances, Governor Caswell, of North Caro- 
lina, wrote an explanatory and conciliatory address to the 
western settlers, which convinced and won over so large a 
majority of them, that the State of Franklin melted away, 
and left Governor Sevier without a government. North 
Carolina, like a good mother that she was, forgave all her re- 
bellious children, except Sevier, who had been the hero of the 
revolt, and who was still the idol of the western country. 
Him she laid in wait for, captured, and brought a prisoner 
to Morganton, Burke county, where he was to be tried. 

A party of Sevier's devoted friends hurried over the moun- 
tains to the rescue of their chief, the hero of thirty battles. 
Their plan was, according to an eye-witness, to obtain his 
release by stratagem, and if that failed, to tire the town, 
burst open the prison-doors, and bear off the prisoner to the 
mountains. The frontier village of Morganton was swarm- 

* Narrative of William Smith, in Ramsey's Tennessee, page 428. 


ing with people, drawn together by the fame of thy prisoner 
and the notoriety of the recent events. The rescuing party 
were six in number, four of whom concealed themselves near 
the town, while the other two, Cozby and Evans, went for- 
ward into it. These two rode on to a point near the court 
house, tied their horses, hid their rifles, and boldly entered 
the throng; their hunting-shirts — the common costume of 
the period — hiding their pistols. Evans led to the court 
house door a famous mare of Sevier's, and stood there hold- 
ing the bridle carelessly, apparently an unconcerned spectator 
of the scene around. 

Cozby entered the court house, and there saw his leader 
arraigned before the judge, undergoing trial for high crimes 
and misdemeanors. The prisoner turned his head, and their 
eyes met. Sevier knew that rescue was near ; but, warned 
by a shake of Cozby's head, he made no sign, though a tear 
of grateful joy was observed to steal down his bronzed and 
manly countenance. There was a pause in the proceedings. 
Cozby stepped before the judge, and said in a quick, emphatic 
manner, that made every one start — 

" Judge, have you done with that man ?" 

At this moment, Sevier caught a glimpse of his favorite 
mare through the opened door of the court house. Taking 
advantage of the confusion caused by Cozby's question, he 
sprang to the door, leaped to the saddle, and broke away 
through the crowd. , 

" Yes/' said a voice in the court house, " I'll be d — d if 
you're not done with him I" 

The confederates were soon together at the rendezvous 
outside the town. That night they slept at the house of 
a friend twenty miles away, and were soon safe on the other 
side of the Alleghanies. The next year, Sevier was elected 
to the Legislature of North Carolina, and, on presenting him- 
self at the capital, an act of oblivion was passed, and he took 
his seat in triumph ! 

Jackson may have witnessed this celebrated rescue of 
Governor Sevier. About the time of ita occurrence, in 1788, 


1788.] TO TENNESSEE. 119 

he was at Morganton, on a visit to Colonel Waightstill 
Avery, and on his way to the western wilds of Tennessee. 
Morganton was then the last of the frontier towns of North 
Carolina, and the starting-place for emigrants to the West. 

Upon the settlement of the difficulties between North 
Carolina and her western counties, John McNairy, a friend 
of Jackson's, was appointed judge of the Superior Court for 
the western district. Jackson was invested with the office of 
solicitor, or public prosecutor, for the same district. This 
office was not in request, nor desirable. It was, in fact, diffi- 
cult to get a suitable person to accept an appointment of the 
kind, which was to be exercised in a wilderness five hundred 
miles distant from the populous parts of North Carolina, and 
where the office of prosecutor was sure to be unpopular, diffi- 
cult and dangerous. Thomas Searcy, another of Jackson's 
friends, received the appointment of clerk of the court. 
Three or four more of his young acquaintances, lawyers and 
others, resolved to go with him, and seek their fortune in the 
new and vaunted country of the West. The party rendez- 
voused at Morganton in the spring or early summer of 1788, 
mounted and equipped for a ride over the mountains to 
Jonesboro, then the chief settlement of East Tennessee, and 
the first halting-place of companies bound to the lands on 
the Cumberland river. 

There was but one mode of traversing the wilderness. 
"A poor man," says Ramsey, "with seldom more than a 
single pack-horse, on which the wife and infant were carried, 
with a few clothes and bed-quilts, a skillet and a small sack 
of meal, was often seen wending his way along the narrow 
mountain trace, with a rifle on his shoulder, the elder sons 
carrying an ax, a hoe, sometimes an auger and a saw, and 
the elder daughters leading or carrying the smaller children." 
Our cavalcade of judge, solicitor, clerk and lawyers, wended 
their way in double file along the same road, each riding his 
own horse ; a pack-horse or two carrying the effects of the 
learned judge. Every horseman had in his saddle-bags a 
small wallet, in which he carried letters from citizens in the 


old States to settlers in the new — a service most cheerfully 
and punctiliously performed in those days, Mr. Ramsey 
tells us. At night, of course, there was no choice but to 
camp out in the open air by the side of the path. Be- 
tween Morganton and Jonesboro there were then no hostile 
Indians, and the first stage of the journey was performed 
without difficulty and without adventure. Indeed the trace 
between these towns had become a road, safe for wagons of 
a rough frontier construction. 

Jonesboro, long the principal town of East Tennessee, 
and often the scene of Jackson's labors at the bar, was ten 
years old, or more, when the judicial party reached it. It 
had grown to be a place of fifty or sixty log-houses. It had 
a new court house even. The first courts had been held in 
any house that could be obtained ; but early in the history of 
Jonesboro, the people had built a house expressly for the pur- 
pose of holding courts. It was a small edifice of unhewn 
logs, sixteen feet square, without windows or floor. A year 
or two before Jackson's arrival, this primeval structure, hav- 
ing ceased to satisfy the inhabitants, they set about building 
one more spacious and elegant, which was thus described in 
the original plan : " The court recommend that there be a 
court house built in the following manner, namely : twenty- 
four feet square, diamond corners, and hewn down after it is 
built up ; nine feet high between the two floors ; body of the 
house four feet above upper floor ; floors neatly laid with 
plank ; shingles of roof to be hung with pegs ; a justice's 
bench ; a lawyers' and clerk's bar ; also a sheriff's box to 
sit in."° 

At such a stage of legal development had Jonesboro ar- 
rived, when Jackson first saw it in 1788. 

The judge and his party remained several weeks at Jones- 
boro, waiting for the assembling of a sufficient number of 
emigrants, and for the arrival of a guard from Nashville to 
escort them. Nashville is one hundred and eighty-three 

* Ramsey's Tennessee, p. 281. 


1788.] TO TENNESSEE. 121 

miles from Jonesboro. The road ran through a gap in the 
Cumberland mountains, and thence entered a wilderness 
more dangerously infested with hostile Indians than any 
other portion of the western country — not even excepting the 
dark and bloody land of Kentucky. The original advertise- 
ment in the State Gazette of North Carolina, of November 
28th, 1788, announcing the departure of Judge McNairy's 
company for the Cumberland settlements, indicates the perils 
of the way : " Notice is hereby given, that the new road 
from Campbell's station to Nashville, was opened on the 25th 
of September, and the guard attended at that time to escort 
such persons as were ready to proceed to Nashville ; that 
about sixty families went on, amongst whom were the widow 
and family of the late General Davidson, and John McNairy, 
judge of the Superior Court ; and that on the 1st day of 
October next, the guard will attend at the same place for the 
same purpose." 

A strong tide of emigration was setting westward then. 
North Carolina had rewarded such of her citizens as had 
done service in the revolutionary war, with grants of land 
in Tennessee west of the Cumberland mountains. The fame 
of the fertility of that region attracted other emigrants. 
Perhaps, too, the renown of such gallant and wise pioneers 
as James Robertson, John Donelson, and their comrades, a 
host of choice spirits, whose worthy monument is the Nash- 
ville of to-day, had its influence in inducing many adventur- 
ous young men to brave the notorious dangers of the Cum- 
berland valley ; for the possession of which two races were 

Of Jackson's journey through the wilderness on this occa- 
sion, but one authentic incident is now remembered ; which 
comes to me, in a direct line, by trustworthy channels, from 
the lips of Thomas Searcy, the clerk of the Superior Court, 
who rode by Jackson's side. 

It was a night scene. The company, nearly a hundred in 
number, among whom were women and children, had just 
passed through what was considered the most dangerous part 


of the wilderness. They had marched thirty-six hours, a 
night and two days, without halting longer than an hour ; 
the object being to reach a certain point, which was thought 
to be safe camping-ground. The place was reached soon 
after dark, and the tired travelers hastened to encamp. 

The spectacle presented by theii camp may have been 
precisely such as is described in that favorite novel of the 
West, called " Wild Western Scenes :" — " A circle of tents 
was formed round the fire, constructed of thin poles bent in 
the shape of an arch, and the ends planted firmly in the 
earth. These were covered with buffalo skins (or tent cloths) 
which would effectually shield the inmates from the rain ; 
and quantities of leaves, after being carefully dried before 
the fire, were placed on the ground within, over which were 
spread buffalo robes with the hair uppermost ; and thus, in 
a brief space, were completed temporary, but not uncomfort- 
able places of repose. The ends of the tents nearest to the 
fire were open to admit the heat and a portion of light, that 
those who desired it might retire during their repast, or en- 
gage in pious meditations undisturbed by the more clamor- 
ous portion of the company. A majority of the emigrants 
were seated on logs brought thither for that purpose, and 
feasting quietly from several large pans and well-filled camp- 
kettles, which were set out for all in common." 

Earlier in the evening than usual, the exhausted women 
and children of the party crept into their little tents, and 
went to sleep. The men, except those who were to stand 
sentinel the first half of the night, wrapped their blankets 
round them, and laid down under the lee of sheltering logs, 
with their feet toward the fire. Silence fell upon the camp. 
All slept save the sentinels, and one of the party who was 
not inclined to sleep, tired as he was, Andrew Jackson by 
name. This young gentleman sat on the ground, with his 
back against a tree, smoking a corn-cob pipe, for an hour 
after his companions had sunk into sleep ; whether because 
he enjoyed his pipe, or suspected danger, tradition saith not. 

1788.] TO TENNESSEE. 123 

About ten o'clock, as he was beginning to doze, he fell to 
observing the various notes of the owls that were hooting in 
the forest round him. A remarkable country this for owls, 
he thought, as he was falling asleep. Just then, an owl that 
he had heard at a considerable distance, startled him by set- 
ting up a louder hoot than usual nearer the camp. Some- 
thing peculiar in the note struck his attention. In an in- 
stant he was the widest awake man in Tennessee. All his 
mind was in his ears, and his ears were intent on the hoot- 
ing of the owls. He grasped his rifle, and crept cautiously to 
where his friend Searcy was sleeping, and woke him. 

"Searcy," said Jackson, "raise your head and make no. 

" What's the matter ?" asked Searcy. 

"The owls — listen — there — there again. Is n't that a 
little too natural ?" 

" Do you think so ?" asked Searcy. 

" I know it," replied Jackson. " There are Indians all 
around us. I have heard them in every direction. They 
mean to attack before daybreak." 

The more experienced woodsmen were roused, and con- 
firmed the young lawyer's surmise. Jackson advised that the 
camp be instantly but quietly broken up, and the march 
resumed. His advice was adopted, and the company neither 
heard nor saw any further signs of the presence of an enemy 
during the remainder of the night. A party of hunters, who 
reached their camping ground an hour after it had been aban- 
doned, lay down by their fires and slept. Before the day 
dawned, the Indians were upon them, and killed all but one 
of the party. Near the same spot, in the following spring, 
when Judge McNairy was returning to Jonesboro, and had 
no Jackson in his retinue, his party was surprised in the 
night by Indians, and narrowly escaped destruction. One 
white man was killed, besides one friendly chief and his son. 
The judge and his companions were put to total rout, fled, 
swam the river upon which they had encamped, and left their 


horses, camp equipage and clothing in the hands of the sav- 

Before the end of October, 1788, the long train of emi- 
grants, among whom was Mr. Solicitor Jackson, reached 
Nashville, to the great joy of the settlers there, to whom the 
annual arrival of such a train was all that an arrival can be — 
a thrilling event, news from home, reunion with friends, in- 
crease of wealth, additional protection against a foe power- 
ful and resolute to destroy. Ramsey says : " The new comer, 
on his arrival in the settlements, was everywhere and at all 
times greeted with a cordial welcome. Was he without a 
family ? He was at once taken in as a cropper or a farming 
hand, and found a home in the kind family of some settler. 
Had he a wife and children ? They were asked, in back- 
woods phrase, ' to camp with us till the neighbors can put 
up a cabin for you/ " 

Great news reached Nashville by this train ; news that 
all was right with the new national Constitution, a majority 
of the States having accepted it ; news that the Legislatures 
of the States were about choosing presidential electors, who 
would undoubtedly elect General Washington the first Presi- 
dent of the republic. Washington was inaugurated in the 
April following the arrival of Jackson at his new home. 

* Bamsey's Tennessee, p. 484. 





There must have been good stuff in Frenchmen once. 
The best proof of manhood which that race has given, since 
it banished its Site, the Huguenots, was its assisting to 
explore and colonize our western wilderness. The modern 
Frenchman looks on the map of Europe for his country's 
glory. More glorious to Frenchmen is the map of North 
America, which French valor and endurance, a hundred and 
fifty years ago, scattered all over with French names. New 
Orleans, Canada, the French trappers and voyageurs of Coop- 
ers's novels and living's narratives, are better evidence of 
sterling metal than Austerlitz and Marengo. 

For man has done few things more truly remarkable than 
the conquest of North America from the wilderness and the 
savage. The revolutionary war was a very small matter in 

Consider Nashville, for example. There is no region bet- 
ter adapted to the purposes of man than that of which Nash- 
ville is the center and capital. A gently undulating and most 
fertile country ; a land of hard wood, with the beautiful river 
Cumberland winding through the midst thereof. It happens 
that the country which is best for the civilized man is best 
for the savage also. The valley of the Cumberland was a 
hunting-ground so keenly coveted by surrounding tribes that 
the race which originally held it, worn out by the incessant 
wars, abandoned it in despair ; so that when French M. 
Charlville, in 1714, established himself on the site of Nash- 
ville, he found the country almost depopulated, and, conse- 
quently, abounding in the wild beasts whose skins he came 
to trap and trade for. In an old deserted Shawnee fort on 
the rocky bluffs of the Cumberland, M. Charlville and his 
French trappers stored their goods and furs. 

The Frenchmen, it seems, trapped and traded in peace 
vol. i. — 9 


for many years ; Indian instinct not discerning in them the 
possible subduers and masters of the country. Boone passed 
westward in 1769. A party of nine or ten hunters penetrated 
the Cumberland wilderness in 1771, but remained not. In 
1779 a little company of pioneers, nine in number, headed 
by Captain James Robertson, pitched their camp upon the 
site of Charlville's abandoned settlement, with the design of 
settling there. Not another white man within a hundred 
miles. No effective succor nearer than three hundred. Twen- 
ty thousand Indians, the most warlike and intelligent of their 
race, within a week's run. 

Captain James Robertson left the ' settlements' about 
Jonesboro with the understanding that his friend, Colonel 
John Donelson, a brave and wealthy old Virginia surveyor, 
was at once to follow him to the banks of the Cumberland 
with a party of emigrants. Robertson and his party were 
only pioneers, who were to build huts and plant corn against 
the arrival of the main body under Donelson. Robertson's 
party consisted of men ; Donelson's of families, among whom 
was the family of Robertson himself. To avoid the toil and 
peril of the route through the wilderness, then little known 
and unbroken, Colonel Donelson conceived the astounding idea 
of attempting to reach the new settlement by water : down 
the river Holston to the Tennessee, down the Tennessee to 
the Ohio, up the Ohio to the Cumberland, up the Cumber- 
land to Captain Robertson and a New Home. The whole 
distance was considerably more than two thousand miles. No 
man, white or red, had ever attempted the voyage. The 
greater part of the route was infested by Indians. The pro- 
ject, in short, was worthy, for its boldness, of the destined 
father-in-law of General Jackson. Among those who shared 
the dangers of this voyage was Rachel Donelson, the leader's 
daughter, a black-eyed, black-haired brunette, as gay, bold 
and handsome a lass as ever danced on the deck of a flat boat, 
or took the helm while her father took a shot at the Indians. 
We shall meet this young lady often in the course of our nar- 


The voyage lasted four months. Colonel Donelson kept 
a journal, in which he entered whatever occurred that was 
unusual, but with such brevity, that the history of that long 
voyage, as written by Donelson, could be printed on six of 
these pages. The manuscript is still preserved in the family 
of one of his grandchildren, entitled, " Journal of a Voyage, 
intended by God's Permission, in the good boat Adventure, 
from Patrick Henry on Holston river to the French Salt 
Springs on Cumberland river; kept by John Donald- 

Starting in the depth of a winter long remembered for its 
severity, the " good boat" was often delayed by the fall of 
water and " most excessive hard frost ;" so that two months 
passed before it began to make good progress. Joined by 
other boats in the spring, the Adventure floated down the 
winding, rippling, beautiful Tennessee, in company with a 
considerable fleet, bound for the lower country. Many and 
dire were the mishaps that befell them. Sometimes a boat 
would run upon a shoal, and remain immovable till its entire 
contents were landed. Sometimes a boat was whirled around 
a bend and dashed against a projecting point, and sunk. 
Once a young man went hunting, and did not return. They 
fired their four-pounder and searched the woods, but in vain. 
The fleet sailed away, but the old father of the lost hunter 
staid behind, alone in the wilderness, to continue the search. 
Both were rescued at length. One man died of his frozen 
limbs. Two children were born. On board one boat, con- 
taining twenty-eight persons, the small-pox was raging, and 
it was agreed that this boat should always sail a certain dis- 
tance behind the rest, but within hearing of a horn. The 
wily Indians pounced upon the infected boat, killed the fight- 
ing men, took prisoners the women and children, carried off 
the contents of the boat into the woods, and nothing further 
was seen of either. " Their cries were distinctly heard," says 
the journal, " by those boats in the rear ;" and it was a great 
grief to the whole company, " uncertain how soon they might 
share the same fate." The Indians caught the small-pox, of 


which hundreds died before the disease had spent its 
force. 1 * 

By and by, they came to " the place called the Whirl or 
Suck, where the river is compressed within less than half its 
common width by the Cumberland mountain, which juts in 
on both sides." There the whole fleet was brought to the 
verge of ruin. In rushing by the narrowest part of the 
Whirl, called the Boiling Pot, one of the large canoes was 
overturned, and all the effects of one of the families were 
thrown into the river. It was the family of a man poorer 
than the rest ; so all the fleet, " pitying his distress, con- 
cluded to halt and assist him in recovering his property." 
While engaged in this benevolent work, suddenly a fire was 
opened on them by a large force of Indians, concealed in the 
cliffs above. The emigrants sprang to their boats, and hur- 
ried away, with four of their number wounded. All along 
this narrow part of the river, the Indians, hidden in the clifls, 
kept firing down upon the boats, but without effect. All got 
safely through the Whirl but one. " Jennings' boat is miss- 
ing," Colonel Donelson quietly enters in his journal. Then, 
resuming his pen, he continues : " We have now passed 
through the Whirl. The river widens with a placid and gen- 
tle current, and all the company appear to be in safety except 
the family of Jonathan Jennings, whose boat ran on a large 
rock, projecting out from the northern shore, and partly im- 
mersed in water, immediately at the Whirl, where we were 
obliged to leave them, perhaps to be slaughtered by their 
merciless enemies." 

But Jennings proved to be a man difficult to slaughter. 
It was Wednesday afternoon when the fleet left him to his 
fate on the sunken rock. On Friday, Colonel Donelson com- 
pleted his story in his journal thus : " This morning, about 
four o'clock, we were surprised by the cries of, l Help poor 
Jennings,' at some distance in the rear. He had discovered 
us by our fires, and came up in the most wretched condition. 

* Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee. 


He states, that as soon as the Indians discovered his situa- 
tion, they turned their whole attention to him, and kept up 
a most galling fire at his boat. He ordered his wife, a son 
nearly grown, a young man who accompanied them, and his 
negro man and woman, to throw all his goods into the river 
to lighten their boat, for the purpose of getting her off; him- 
self returning their fire as well as he could, being a good sol- 
dier and an excellent marksman. ° ° Mrs. Jennings and 
the negro woman succeeded in unloading the boat, but chiefly 
by the exertions of Mrs. Jennings, who got out of the boat 
and shoved her off, but was near falling a victim to her in- 
trepidity, on account of the boat starting so suddenly as soon 
as loosened from the rock. Upon examination, he appears 
to have made a wonderful escape, for his boat is pierced in 
numberless places with bullets. It is to be remarked, that 
Mrs. Peyton, (whose husband was one of Robertson's over- 
land party,) who was the night before delivered of an infant, 
which was unfortunately killed upon the hurry and confusion 
consequent upon such a disaster, assisted them, being fre- 
quently exposed to wet and cold, then and afterward ; and 
that her health appears to be good at this time, and I think 
and hope she will do well. Their clothes were very much cut 
with bullets, especially Mrs. Jennings." 

What women could endure, and dare, and do, in those 
days ! 

Down, down the Tennessee, until they reached the Muscle 
Shoals, where they had a dire disappointment. At that 
place, Captain Robertson had agreed to leave certain signs 
for Colonel Donelson's guidance ; at least to show him that 
white men and friends had been there. But Robertson, 
struggling for life in that fierce, unexampled winter, had not 
been able to send a party across the country from the Cum- 
berland settlement to the Tennessee. So Colonel Donelson 
had nothing to do but trim his boat, take the helm, set his 
teeth, and run through the Shoals. " When we approached 
them they had a dreadful appearance to those who had never 
seen them before. The water being high made a terrible 


roaring, which could be heard at some distance, among tli6 
drift-wood heaped frightfully upon the points of the islands ; 
the current running in every possible direction. Here we did 
not know how soon we should be dashed to pieces, and all 
our troubles ended at once. Our boats frequently dragged 
on the bottom, and appeared constantly in danger of striking. 
They warped as much as in a rough sea. But by the hand 
of Providence we are now preserved from this danger also. 
I know not the length of this wonderful shoal ; it has been 
represented to be twenty-five or thirty miles. If so, we must 
have descended very rapidly, as indeed we did, foi .we passed 
it in about three hours." 

The crowning entry of this journal is that which records 
the arrival of the boats at the junction of the Tennessee and 
Ohio ; from which point Colonel Donelson's course lay up 
the stream. One word of this entry I take the liberty to 
italicise : " Our situation here is truly disagreeable. The 
river is very high, and the current rapid ; our boats not con- 
structed for the purpose of stemming a rapid stream ; our 
provisions exhausted ; the crews almost worn down with 
hunger and fatigue ; and know not what distance we have 
to go, or what time it will take us to reach our place of des- 
tination. The scene is rendered still more melancholy, as 
several boats will not attempt to ascend the rapid current 
Some intend to descend the Mississippi to Natchez ; others 
are bound for the Illinois — among the rest my son-in-law 
and daughter. We now part, perhaps, to meet no more, for 
I am determined to pursue my course, come what will/' 

And so he did. The good boat Adventure was poled, and 
rowed, and towed, and tugged, and sailed up the swift Ohio 
into the tranquil Cumberland and up the tranquil Cumber- 
land to the new settlement. The leader of the expedition 
made the last entry into his journal on the 24th of April, 
1780: "This day we arrived at our journey's end at the 
Big Salt Lick, where we have the pleasure of finding Captain 
Robertson and his company. It is a source of satisfaction 
to us to be enabled to restore to him and others their fam- 


ilies and friends who were entrusted to our care, and who, 
sometime since, perhaps, despaired of ever meeting again. 
Though our prospects at present are dreary we have found a 
few log-cabins which have been built on a cedar bluff above 
the Lick by Captain Robertson and his company." 

And so the colony was planted. This was but eight 
years before the arrival of Judge McNairy and his party of 
young lawyers. During the whole of that period, the settlers 
had to battle for existence. The first spring they nearly 
starved ; for the extraordinary winter had exhausted the 
corn and thinned the game. In " the settlements," that is, 
in East Tennessee and Kentucky, corn sold that season at 
one hundred and sixty-five dollars per bushel. The Indians, 
always hovering round, made it dangerous to go a hundred 
yards from the station. Poor Jonathan Jennings, whose 
miraculous escape from the Whirl we have noted, escaped 
only to fall before a lurking savage during his first summer 
at his new home. Never were a people so beset. While 
some planted corn, others had to watch against the skulking 
foe. When the girls went blackberrying, a guard invariably 
turned out to escort them, and stand guard over the sur- 
rounding thickets. Nay, if a man went to a spring to drink, 
another stood on the watch with his rifle cocked and poised. 
Whenever four or five men, says the annalist of Tennessee, 
were assembled at a spring or elsewhere, they held their guns 
in their hands, and stood, not face to face as they conversed, 
but with their backs turned to each other, all facing different 
ways, watching for a lurking or a creeping Indian, f 

* " To pass from station to station, though so near to each other tnat the re- 
port of a rifle could be heard the distance, was to ' run the gauntlet ' with peril 
of life. And yet these people mado almost daily visits to each other." — Putnam'* 
History of Middle Tennessee, page 135. 

f Governor Blount explains one dangerous peculiarity of this region, in a let- 
ter to the Secretary of War, dated 1792. " The settlements," he says, " extend 
up and down the Cumberland river, from east to west, about eighty-five miles, 
and the extreme width from north to south docs not exceod twenty-five miles, 
and its general width does not exceed half that dfctnuce ; aud not only the coun- 
try surrounding the extreme frontier, but the interior part, (which is to be found 

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With all their precautions, not a month passed in which 
some one did not fall before the rifle of the sleepless enemy. 
It was a wonder the little band was not driven away or exter- 
minated. On one occasion, indeed, it required all of Captain 
Robertson's influence and eloquence to induce the settlers 
not to abandon the spot, as its old proprietors, the Shawnees, 
had done before them, and, more recently, the band of trad- 
ers and trappers under Charlville. There were times when 
even Robertson and his friends might have fled, if to fly had 
not been more perilous than to stay. 

The settlement grew apace, however. When Jackson 
arrived in 1788, the stations along the Cumberland may have 
contained five thousand souls or more. But the place was 
still an outpost of civilization, and so exposed to Indian hos- 
tility, that it was not safe to live five miles from the central 
stockade — a circumstance that influenced the whole career 
and life of our young friend, the newly-arrived solicitor ; for 
whom let us delay no longer to find lodgings. 

Colonel John Donelson took root in the country and 
flourished greatly. Lands, negroes, cattle, horses, whatever 
was wealth in the settlement, he had in greater abundance 
than any other man. They point out still, near Nashville, 
the field he first tilled, and the spot where he made his won- 
derful escape from the Indians ; a story I had the pleasure of 
hearing one of his grandsons tell, but have not the space here 
to repeat. During one of the long winters, when an unex- 
pected influx of emigrants had reduced the stock of corn 
alarmingly low, Colonel Donelson mercifully moved off, with 
all his corn-consuming host, to Kentucky, and there lived till 
the seasons of plenty returned. During this residence in Ken- 
only by comparison with the more exposed part,) is covered generally with thick 
and high cane, and a heavy growth of large timber, and where there happens to 
be no cane, with thick underwood, which afford the Indians an opportunity of 
lying days and weeks in any and every part of the district in wait near the 
houses, and of doing injuries to the inhabitants, when they themselves are so hid or 
secured that they have no apprehensions of injuries being done in return ; and they 
escape from pursuit, even though it is immediate. This district has an extreme 
frontier of at least two hundred miles.'' — Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee 


tucky, his daughter Rachel gave her heart and hand to Lewis 
Robards, and the brave old man returned to the Cumberland 
without her. 

Many were the adventures and the exploits of this sturdy 
pioneer — this hero, who never suspected that he was a hero. 
Yet after so many hair-breadth escapes, by flood and field, his 
time came at last. He was in the woods surveying, far from 
home. Two young men who had been with him came along 
and found him near a creek, pierced by bullets ; whether the 
bullets of the lurking savage or of the white robber was never 
known. It was only known that he met a violent death from 
some ambushed cowardly villains, white or red ; his daughter 
Rachel always thought the former. She thought no Indians 
could kill her father, who knew their ways too well to be 
caught by them. 

When young Jackson arrived at the settlement, he found 
the widow Donelson living there in a block-house, somewhat 
more commodious than any other dwelling in the place ; for 
she was a notable housekeeper, as well as a woman of prop- 
erty. With her then lived her daughter Rachel and her 
Kentucky husband, Lewis Robards. Robards had bought 
land five miles from the Lick, and was living with his mother- 
in-law until the Indians should be sufficiently subdued or 
pacified to render it safe to live so far from the settlement. 
Jackson, soon after his arrival, went also to live with Mrs. 
Donelson as a boarder — an arrangement no less satisfactory 
to her than to him. It was a piece of good fortune to her 
to have another man in her spare cabin as a protector against 
the Indians ; while he had found the best boarding place in 
the settlement — not the least pleasant feature of it being 
the presence of the gay and lively Mrs. Robards, the best 
story-teller, the best dancer, the sprightliest companion, the 
most dashing horsewoman in the western country. 




The young solicitor, immediately upon his arrival in the 
western settlements, was astonished to find a world of law 
business awaiting him. 

One would have supposed that a community situated as 
this was, struggling to maintain its foothold in a remote 
wilderness swarming with hostile savages, could have dis- 
pensed, for a while, with the costly luxury of law ; i. e., law- 
yer's law. But no. One of the first things done in all the 
western settlements was the building of a court house and 
jail ; and lawyers, licensed or unlicensed, were always in wait- 
ing to occupy the one and empty the other. In the records 
of the first court ever held in Nashville, which was in 1783, 
occurs this entry : " The court then proceeded to fix on a 
place for the building of a court house and prison, and agreed 
that, in the present situation of the settlement, it be at Nash- 
borough. Size of the court house to be eighteen feet square, 
with a shade of twelve feet on one side of the length of the 
house ; said house to be furnished with the necessary benches, 
bar, table, etc., fit for the reception of the court. Also a 
prison, fourteen feet square, of hewed logs of a foot square. 
* * * To be done on the best and most reasonable terms, 
and that the same be vendued on the lowest price that can 
be had/'* 

These edifices, be it observed, were an improvement upon 
similar structures in some other parts of the territory, and 
attest the importance and public spirit of the Nashville set- 
tlements. The court house at Greeneville, for example, 
wherein the short-lived State of Franklin was debated and 
voted into existence, was a cabin of unhewn logs roofed with 
clapboards, without floor, door, loft or window, light being 

* Ramse/a Tennessee, page 496. 


admitted between the logs. And it was in court houses like 
this — some a little better, some not so good — that Andrew 
Jackson practiced law for nearly ten years, and laid the foun- 
dations of his fame and fortune. 

Jackson's arrival, as we have intimated, was most oppor- 
tune. The only licensed lawyer in West Tennessee was en- 
gaged exclusively in the service of debtors, who, it seems, 
made common cause against the common enemy, their cred- 
itors. Jackson came not as a lawyer merely, but as the 
public prosecutor, and there was thai in his bearing which 
gave assurance that he was the man to issue unpopular writs 
and give them effect. The merchants and others, who could 
not collect their debts, came to him for help. He undertook 
their business, and executed it with a promptitude that 
secured his career at the bar of Tennessee. Before he had 
been a month in Nashville, he had issued, it is said, seventy 
writs to delinquent debtors. He was the man wanted. And 
this was the first instance of a certain good fortune that 
attended him all through his life : he was continually find- 
ing himself placed in circumstances calculated to call into 
conspicuous exercise the very qualities in which he excelled 
all mankind. 

It had not been his intention to settle in the western 
wilderness ; but business opening so well, and the country 
being evidently formed for the maintenance of a great com- 
monwealth, he was not long in coming to the determination 
to make it his future home. How wise the choice was, no 
one, familiar with Nashville and its vicinity, need be told. 

Such of the old court records of West Tennessee as have 
escaped time, fire and vermin, contain just enough about An- 
drew Jackson to show that he jumped immediately into a 
large practice. It was customary then for a lawyer to attend 
every court held in the State. Two months after his arrival 
in the western country we find him attending court in Sum- 
ner county, near the Kentucky border, a day's ride from 
Nashville. The tattered records of Sumner county contain 
this entry : 


" January 12th, 1789. Andrew Jackson, Esq., produced 
his license as an attorney-at-law in court, and took the oath 
required by law." 

Some debtors of his Nashville clients, perhaps, had moved 
off to Sumner county, a still newer settlement, and had for- 
gotten the old debts. The solicitor was upon them. Later 
records of the same county show that he attended the courts 
thereof regularly for many years. He was the first lawyer 
who ever practiced in that county. Another entry from the 
same records is this : * 

"October 6th, 1790. Andrew Jackson, Esq., proved a 
bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gasper Mansker, for a 
negro man, which was 0. K." [A common western mistake 
for 0. R., which means Ordered Recorded. Hence, perhaps, 
the saying " 0. K."] 

The records of the quarter sessions court of Davidson 
county, the county of which Nashville is the capital, show, 
that at the April term, 1790, there were one hundred and 
ninety-two cases on the two dockets (Appearance docket and 
Trial docket) ; and that Andrew Jackson was employed as 
counsel in forty-two of them. On one leaf of the record of the 
January term, 1793, there are thirteen suits entered, mostly 
for debt, in every one of which Andrew Jackson was employed. 
At the April term of the same year, he was counsel in seventy- 
two out of one hundred and fifty-five cases. In most of these, 
he was counsel for the defense. At the July term of the 
same year, he was employed in sixty cases out of one hun- 
dred and thirty-five ; and at the October term, in sixty-one 
cases out of one hundred and thirty-two. In the four terms 
of 1794, there were three hundred and ninety-seven cases be- 
fore the same court, in two hundred and twenty-eight of 
which Jackson acted as counsel.* And during these and 
later years, he practiced at the courts of Jonesboro, and other 

towns in East Tennessee. 


* Special Researches of Colonel A. W. Putnam, President of Tennessee 
Historical Society. 


But what was the nature of these numerous suits ? Dis- 
puted land claims formed the staple of the law practice in all 
the early western settlements. Next to these, cases of assault 
and battery seem to have been the most numerous. A few 
extracts from the old court records of West Tennessee may 
amuse the reader : — 

" Whereas, in an affray that happened on the second day of September, 
1793, between Wm. Pillows and Abram Denton, in fighting, the said Pil- 
lows bit off the uper eend of Denton's right year, upon which s d Pillows 
come into open court together with Abram Denton, and the s 4 Pillows 
openly declared that he bit of his year aforesaid, without any intention of 
injuring s* Denton." 

" And w Wickerham b'ng sworn, say !h y* he saw Wm. Hamilton go to 
turn y 6 Deft, out of his house, on which y e s d Deft resisted ; & they laid 
hold on one anorher and fell, y e plff. uppermost : And when they were 
parted, he saw y* y e 8 d plff.' nose was bit> but saw no blows pass. 

" Jas. Buchanan and Wm. Simpson corroborated y e ab've." 

" Ezekiel Smith of s d county was summoned to ans r unto Joel Stearns, 
a comp* of assault and battery, to damage of £200. Whereas y e s d Stearns 
saith that he was abused by s d Smith, having of him tied, whipped him 
with switches on his naked skin — likewise took y* s d Stearns, fastened him 
with a cord round his neck, raised him up to a limb of a tree, till he felt 
all the pains that he would have felt in death. The first thing that he 
knew after that, he y* s d Stearns, was lying on y e ground, that y* s d 
Smith bid him rise — and that he has made no satisfaction to y 6 3 d 

" Appeared Humphrey Hogan bound in recognizance at suit of John 
Kitts — for good behavior, &c. . . . John Barrow sworn: Sayeth, 
Hogan threatened he will kill Kitts 1 hogs, if he did not keep them from his 
door, and also whip himself. ... To make friends, Kitts agreed to 
dismiss recognizance and pay the costs." 

" Frederick Stump fined l d paper money, for taking the sixth part of 
corn ground at his mill, as tolL — l d ." 

" Ordered that corn be received for taxes at two shillings and eight- 
pence per bushel ; good fat bear meat, if delivered where troops are sta- 
tioned, four-pence per pound; prime buffalo beef, three-pence; good 
venison, if delivered as aforesaid, nine-pence ; bacon, nine-pence ; dried 
beef, six-pence ; salt, two shillings four-pence per pound." 


" State } For stealing a pair of leather leggins. Proof taken : 
vs. \ judgment passed tbat he be reprimanded, and acquitted 

Bazil Fry. \ on paying costs." 

" The grand jurors present Joshua Baldwin for altering his name to 
Joshua Campbell, and Ephraim Peyton, for taking away, by force, a maiv 
from Joshua." 

" I, John Irwin, of my free will and accord, do hearby acknowledge 
and certify the Raskelly and Scandoullous Report that I have Raised and 
Reported Concearned Miss Polly McFadin, is faulse and groundless, and 
that I had no Right, Reason or Cause to Believe the same. Given under 
my hand this 26. March 1793." 

"The court passed a resolution that Cassar be permitted to build a 
house in one corner or side of the Public Lott for the purpose of selling 
cakes and beer, etc., so long as he conducts himself in an orderly manner 
and has permission from his master." 

At the July session of the county court of Davidson county, 1791. 
" John Rains is fined five shillings, paper money, for profane swearing."* 

On one occasion, when the log court house at Nashville 
had become exceedingly unclean and out of repair, one of the 
lawyers rose and addressed the honorable court as follows : 
u May it please your honors, it is a rule of equity that every 
3uitor shall come into court with a clean shirt-tail. With- 
out unnecessary offense to the majesty of law, the ermine of 
the judges, or purity of anybody, I defy suitor or advocate, 
much more the honorable court, to maintain pure thoughts 
and white linen in such a sheep-fold and pigsty." Whereupon 
it was " ordered that David Hay repair the court house by 
making two doors, well fixed and hung, with three window 
shutters well hung, and the house well chinked, sweeped, 
washed and cleansed, and the benches repaired." 

Such were the scenes in which our young lawyer passed his 
early years of manhood. What with his extensive practice 
and his long journeys, he was the busiest of men. Half his 
time, as I conjecture, must have been spent in traveling. 
During the first seven years of his residence in Tennessee, he 
performed the journey through the mountain wilderness that 
lay between Jonesboro and Nashville, a distance of nearly 

* All from Putnam's History of Middle Tenn 


two hundred miles, twenty-two times ; and this at a time 
when a man was in peril of his life from the Indians at his 
own front door. 

It is important, for more reasons than now appear, that 
the reader should understand the condition of Nashville and 
West Tennessee with regard to the hostile Indians at the 
South. Take one fact : from the year 1780 to 1794, the 
Indians killed, within five or seven miles of Nashville, one 
person in about every ten days. The number killed during 
the year 1787, the year before Jackson's arrival, was thirty- 
three. From the catalogue of Indian murders in Haywood's 
History of Tennessee I copy a few items : — 

"June 2d, 1791, the Indians killed John Thompson in his own corn- 
field within five miles of Nashville. June 14th, they killed John Gibson 
and wounded McMoon in Gibson's field, eight miles from Nashville. They 
killed Benjamin Kirdendall in his own house in Sumner county, and plun- 
dered his house of every thing the Indians could use. In June, 1791, 
three travelers from Natchez to Nashville were found dead on the trace 
near the mouth of Duck river; there were eight in company, and only 
two came in. On the 3d of July, 1791, Thomas Fletcher and two other 
men were killed on the north side of Cumberland ; their heads were en- 
tirely skinned. In the same month a man was killed within a hundred 
and fifty yards of Major Wilson's, on the public road, as he was riding up 
to his house. On the 12 th, Thomas White was killed in the Cumberland 
mountains. January 19, 1792, the Indians killed Robert and William 
Sevier. March, 1792, the Indians attacked the house of Mr. Thompson 
within seven miles of Nashville, killed and scalped the old man, his wife, 
his son and a daughter, and made prisoners Mrs. Caffrey, her son, a small 
boy and Miss Thompson. March 5th, 1792, twenty -five Indians attacked 
Brown's Station, eight miles from Nashville, and killed four boys. On the 
6th, they burnt Dunham's Station. On the 12th, they killed Mr. Murray 
on his own plantation, at the mouth of Stone's river (seven miles from 
Nashville). April 5th, they killed Mrs. Redcliff and three children. On 
the 8th, they killed Benjamin Williams and party, consisting of eight men, 
in the heart of the Cumberland settlements. On the 24th of May, 1792, 
General Robertson and his son Jonathan Robertson were at or near the 
Robertson Lick, half a mile from his station, where they were fired upon 
by a party of Indians. The General was wounded in the arm, and thrown 
by his horse among the Indians. His son was wounded in the hip, but 
feeing the dangerous situation in which his father was, he dismounted, 


though so badly wounded, and fired on them as they rushed toward his 
father. This checked them for a moment, and gave time to the General 
to get off, and both got safely into the station. December 29th, John 
Haggard was killed^ and scalped six miles from Nashville; twelve balls 
were shot into him. His wife had been killed by the Indians in the sum- 
mer, and he left five small children in poverty and wretchedness." 

And so on for many pages ! 

Felix Grundy, who passed his childhood amid these perils, 
once alluded to them in the Senate of the United States, when 
he spoke with touching eloquence. " I was too young," said 
he, " to participate in these dangers and difficulties, but I 
can remember when death was in almost every bush, and 
every thicket concealed an ambuscade. If I am asked to 
trace my memory back, and name the first indelible impres- 
sion it received, it would be the sight of my eldest brother 
bleeding and dying under the wounds inflicted by the toma- 
hawk and scalping knife. Another, and another, went in the 
same way ! I have seen a widowed mother plundered of her 
whole property in a single night ; from affluence and ease re- 
duced to poverty in a moment, and compelled to labor with 
her own hands to support and educate her last and favorite 
son — him who now addressos you. Sir, the ancient suffer- 
ings of the West were great. I know it. I need turn to no 
document to teach me what they were. They are written 
upon my memory — a part of them upon my heart. Those 
of ub who are here are but the remnant, the wreck, of large 
families lost in effecting the early settlement of the West. 
As I look around, I see the monuments of former suffering 
and woe. Ask my colleague what he remembers ? He will 
tell you that while his father was in pursuit of one party of 
Indians, another band came and murdered two of his brothers. 
Inquire of yonder gentleman from Arkansas what became of 
his brother-in-law, Oldham ? He will tell you that he went 
out to battle, but never returned. Ask that representative 
from Kentucky where is his uncle, the gallant Hardin ? He 
will answer that he was intrepid enough to carry a flag of 
truce to the hostile savages ; they would not recognize the 


protection which the flag of peace threw around him, and he 
was slain. If I turn to my old classmate and friend, now a 
grave and potent Senator, I am reminded of a mother's cour- 
age and intrepidity in the son whom she rescued from savage 
hands, when in the very grasp of death." 

Many an old man in Tennessee and Kentucky still lin- 
gers on this side of the grave, who speaks in the same strain, 
and recounts similar scenes. 

The earliest letter of Jackson's that I have been able to 
discover, dated February 13th, 1789, the fourth month of his 
residence at Nashville, relates to the Indian troubles. It was 
addressed to General Daniel Smith, a leading man in the 
West then and long afterwards. The letter is that of a man 
unused to composition, as the reader will observe : — 


44 Sib : — I had the pleasure of seeing Captain Fargo yesterday, who put 
me under obligations of seeing you this day, but as the weather seems dull 
and heavy, it prevents my coming up : but I commit to you in this small 
piece of paper the business he wants with you : he expresses a great friend- 
ship for trie welfare and harmony of this country : he wishes to become a 
citizen and trade to this country by which means, and through you I think 
we can have a lasting peace with the Indians : he wishes you to write to 
the Governor informing him the desire of a commercial treaty with that 
country. He will then importune the Governor for a privilege or permit 
to trade to this country, which ho is sure to obtain, as he is related to his 
Excellency. Then he will show the propriety of having a peace with the 
Indians for the purpose of the benefit of the trade of this country : and 
also show the Governor the respect this country honors him with by giv- 
ing it his name :f he bears the commission of Captain under the King of 
Spain, which is an honorable title in that country, and can, in my opinion, 
do a great deal for this ; and hope? you will do him the honor as to see 
him upon tin's occasion before he sets out for the Orleans, and I think it 
the only immediate way to obtain a peace with the Savage. I hope you 
will consider it well, and give me a few lines upon the occasion by 
Colonel Donelson, who hands you this, as I have the good of this country 

• Democratic Review, voL Hi., page 162. 

f That pai t of Tennessee was called Mero District, after the Spanish gov 
ernor, Mero. 

VOL. I. — 10 


at heart, and I hope also if you will do Mr. Fargo the honor as to go and 
see him upon the occasion, as you go down you will give me a call, as I 
I think I could give you some satisfaction on this subject This, sir, from 
your very Humble Servant, 

Andrew Jackson.* 

Jackson does not appear to advantage on paper at this 
period. He was more at home in the wilderness, eluding the 
Indians' vigilance, or pursuing them to their retreats. He 
had rare adventures during those long horseback rides from 
court house to court house — journeys that sometimes kept 
him camping out in the woods twenty successive nights. 
The shorter journeys he occasionally performed alone, pro- 
tected only by the keenness of his eye and ear, passing 
through regions where he dared not kill a deer or light a fire 
for fear the flames or the report of his rifle should convey 
the knowledge of his presence to some hidden savage. The 
long journeys, from the Cumberland to Jonesboro and Knox- 
ville, he often made in company with the guard that turned 
but to conduct parties of emigrants to the western settlements, 
and sometimes with a smaller party of lawyers and clients. 

One lonely night passed in the woods was very vividly 
remembered by him. He came, soon after dark, to a creek 
that had been swollen by the rains into a roaring torrent. 
The night was as dark as pitch, and the rain fell heavily. 
To have attempted the ford would have been suicidal, nor 
did he dare to light a fire, nor even let his horse move about 
to browse. So he took off the saddle, and, placing it at the 
foot of a tree, sat upon it, wrapped in his blanket and hold- 
ing his rifle in one hand and his bridle in the other. All 
through the night he sat motionless and silent, listening to 
the noise of the flood and the pattering of the rain drops 
upon the leaves. When the day dawned, he middled his 
horse again, mounted, swam the creek, and continued his 

On his way home from Jonesboro court, with only three 

* MSS. of Historical Society of Tennessee. 


companions, he reached the river Amory one evening at the 
point where it gushes out of the Cumberland mountains, and 
saw on the opposite bank the small, smouldering fires of a 
party of hostile Indians. Jackson, assuming the command, 
directed his comrades to abandon the road at diiferent points, 
so as to leave no trace behind, and then led them into the 
mountains along the banks of the stream. All night they 
traveled, guided only by the noise of the waters, and, at 
dawn of day, came to the edge of the river with the intention 
of crossing. The March rains had made it a rushing flood ; 
and the nearness of the enemy rendered the keeping of their 
powder dry a matter of the utmost importance. So, instead 
of plunging in, in the usual style of the backwoods, they 
made a raft, upon which they placed all their effects, except 
their horses, which were to swim over afterward. Jackson 
and one of his companions jumped upon the raft and pushed 
off, leaving two others upon the bank with the horses. Bude 
oars had been rigged to the sides of the raft, at which the two 
men tugged away, with their backs toward the head of the 
stream. The men on the shore perceived that the raft wag 
carried swiftly down the stream, and cried out to Jackson to 
return. He, not aware of his swift downward progress, did 
not heed their outcries, but strove with all his might to gain 
the opposite bank. At length, discovering that the raft was 
nearing the edge of a fall, he attempted to return. He 
strained every muscle and nerve in his efforts to bring the 
soggy and lumbering craft to the shore he had left, along 
which his two friends were running to keep abreast of him. 
In vain. The raft was already rushing toward the fall with 
accelerated and accelerating swiftness, when Jackson tore one 
of the long oars away from its fastening, and, bracing .himself 
in the hinder part of the raft, held out one end of the oar to 
the men on shore. Luckily, they caught it, and were able to 
draw them in to the bank. 

Then his comrade reproached him for mot returning when 
they had first called out. His reply was very characteristic, 
and explains much in his remarkable career : 


"A miss is as good as a mile. You see how near 1 can 
graze danger. Come on, and I will save you yet." 

He did so. They resumed their march up the stream, 
spent a second night supperless in the woods, found a ford 
the next morning, crossed, continued their journey, and saw 
the Indians no more. 

Once, as he was about to cross the wilderness, he reached 
the rendezvous too late, and found that his party had started. 
It was evening, and he had ridden hard, but there was no 
hope of catching up, unless he started immediately and trav- 
eled all night. With a single guide he took the road, and 
came up to the camp tires just before daylight ; but his friends 
had already marched. Continuing his journey, he was startled 
when daylight came, to discover the tracks of Indians in the 
road, who were evidently following the travelers. Equally 
evident was it to the practised eyes of these men of the woods, 
that the Indians outnumbered the whites. They pressed for- 
ward, and paused not till the tracks showed that the enemy 
were but a few minutes in advance of them. Then, the guide 
refusing to proceed, Jackson divided the stock of provisions 
equally with him, saw him take his way homeward, and kept 
on himself toward the Indians, resolved, at all hazards, to 
save or succor his friends. At length he came to a place 
where the Indians had left the path, and taken to the woods, 
with the design, as Jackson thought, of getting ahead of the 
white party, and lying in ambush for them. He pushed on 
with all speed, and reached his friends before dark, just after 
they had crossed a deep, half-frozen river, and were drying 
their clothes by their camp fires. He told his news. The 
march was instantly resumed. All that night and the next 
day they kept on their way, not daring to rest or halt, and 
reached toward evening the cabins of a company of hunters, 
of whom they asked shelter for the night. The boon was 
churlishly refused, and they marched on in the teeth of a 
driving storm of wind and snow. They ventured to encamp 

* Kendall's Idle of Jackson, p. 86. 


at length. Jackson, who had not closed his eyes for sixty 
hours, wrapped himself in his blanket, and slept soundly till 
daylight, when he awoke to find himself buried in snow to 
the depth of six inches. The party of Indians, meanwhile, 
had pursued unrelentingly, until reaching the huts of the in- 
hospitable hunters, they murdered every man of them, and, 
satisfied with this exploit, left the travelers to complete their 
journey unmolested. 

We have seen above that no less a person than General 
Robertson, the wise and heroic founder of the Cumberland 
settlements, was attacked and wounded, in his own fields, by 
the Indians. Jackson was one of the party who pursued the 
savages on that occasion into their fastnesses. With four- 
teen companions, he went ten miles into a trackless cane- 
brake, fell upon the Indian camp at break of day, put them 
to flight without the loss of a man, and captured their 

This it was to be a pioneer lawyer in Tennessee. 

Two years passed after Jackson's arrival at Nashville be- 
fore any thing of great importance occurred to him. He 
performed his journeys, attended his courts, gained and lost 
his causes, grew in the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and 
struck down various and vigorous roots into his adopted soil. 



In Virginia, in the olden time, if a man, convinced of his 
wife's infidelity, desired to be divorced from her, he was 
obliged to procure an act of the legislature authorizing an 
investigation of the charge before a jury, and pronouncing 
the marriage bond dissolved, provided that jury found her 


In the winter of 1790-1, Lewis Robards, of Kentucky 
(originally part of Virginia), the husband of the beautiful 
and vivacious Rachel Donelson, appeared before the Legisla- 
ture of Virginia with a declaration, to the effect that his 
wife Rachel had deserted him, and had lived, and was living, 
in adultery with another man, to wit, Andrew Jackson, 
attorney-at-law. Whereupon, the Legislature of Virginia 
passed an act, entitled, " An Act concerning the marriage of 
Lewis Robards," of which the following is a copy : — 

'* Sect. 1. — Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That it shall and 
may bo lawful for Lewis Robards to sue out of the office of the Supreme 
Court of the district of Kentucky, a writ against Rachel Robards, which 
writ shall be framed by the clerk, and express the nature of the case, and 
shall be published lor eight weeks successively, in the Kentucky Gazette ; 
whereupon the plaintiff may file his declaration in the same cause, and the 
defendant may appear and plead to issue, in which case, or if she does not 
appear within two months after such publication, it shall be set for trial by 
the clerk on some day in the succeeding court, but may, for good cause 
shown to the court, be continued until the succeeding term. 

" Sect. 2. — Commissions to take depositions, and subpoenas to summon 
witnesses, shall issue as in other cases. 

" Sect 3. — Notice of taking depositions, published in the Kentucky 
Gazette, shall be sufficient. 

u Sect 4. — A jury shall be summoned, who shall be sworn well and 
truly to inquire into the allegations contained in the declaration, or to try 
the issue joined, as the case may be, and shall find a verdict according to 
the usual mode; and if the jury, in case of issue joined, shall find for the 
plaintiff, or in case of inquiry into the truth of the allegations contained in 
the declaration, shall find in substance, that the defendant hath deserted 
the plaintiff, and that she hath lived in adultery with another man since 
such desertion, the said verdict shall be recorded, and, Thereupon, the mar- 
riage between the said Lewis Robards and Rachel shall be totally dissolved."* 

Having obtained this act, Robards let the matter rest for 
two years. The following transcript from the records of 
Mercer county, Kentucky, shows the final result of his pro- 
ceedings : " At a court of Quarter Sessions, held for Mercer 
county, at the court house in Harrodsburgh, on the 27th 
day of September, 1793, this day came the plaintiff by his 

♦ Henning's Statues at large, vol 12, p. 227. 



attorney, and thereupon came also a jury, to wit : James 
Bradsbery, Thomas Smith, Gabriel Slaughter, John Light- 
foot, Samuel Work, Harrison Davis, John Bay, Obediah 
Wright, John Miles, John Means, Joseph Thomas, and Ben- 
jamin Sanless, who being elected, tried, and sworn, well and 
truly to inquire into the allegation in the plaintiff's declara- 
tion, specified upon oath, do say, that the defendant, Rachel 
Robards, hath deserted the plaintiff, Lewis Robards, and 
hath, and doth, still live in adultery with another man. It 
is therefore considered by the court that the marriage be- 
tween the plaintiff and the defendant be dissolved." 

These are the naked facts of the case— the lying facts of 
the case. The most chaste of women, and one of the few 
irreproachable public men of his day, are recorded adulterers ; 
and what is most remarkable, the record is correct. Rachel 
Robards did run away from her husband, and did live with 
Andrew Jackson for the space of two years before she was 
divorced. The explanation of this mystery can be best given 
in the words of the late Judge John Overton, of Tennessee, 
who saw the rise and progress of the intimacy between Jack- 
son and Mrs. Robards, and was personally cognizant of the 
events which grew out of it. His statement is undoubtedly 
correct in all the important particulars. If in any respect it 
falls short of the truth, it is in* describing the intercourse be- 
tween Jackson and Robards. Jackson was no great philoso- 
pher. It is extremely likely that his conversations with the 
jealous husband were not characterized by that moderation 
of statement and demeanor which might be inferred from a 
hasty reading of Judge Overton's narrative. In fairness it 
should be mentioned, that Overton's statement was prepared 
and published in 1827, when Jackson was a candidate for the 
presidency. In fairness, too, it should be added that a gentle- 
man of high consideration in Tennessee spent months in inves- 
tigating this single affair, and accumulated a mass of evidence 
in support of this version of it, which demonstrates its truth. 

* Major William B. Lewis, of Nashville. 

148 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1791 

judge Overton's narrative. 

*' In the fall of 1787, 1 became a boarder in the family of Mrs. Robards, 
the mother of Lewis Robards, in Mercer county, Kentucky. Captain 
Robards and his wife then lived with old Mrs. Robards. 

" I had not lived there many weeks before I understood that Captain 
Robards and his wife lived very unhappily, on account of his being jealous 
of Mr. Short. My brother, who was a boarder, informed me that great 
uneasiness had existed in the family for some time before my arrival. 
As he had the confidence and good will of all parties, a portion of his con- 
fidence fell to my share, particularly the old lady's, than whom, perhaps, a 
more amiable woman never lived. The uneasiness between Captain Rob- 
ards and lady continued to increase, and with it great distress of the 
mother, and considerably with the family generally ; until early in the year 
1788, as well as uow recollected, I understood from the old lady, and per- 
haps others of the family, that her son Lewis had written to Mrs. Robards' 
mother, the widow Donelson, requesting that she would take her home, as 
he did not inteud to live with her any longer. Certain it is, that Mrs. 
Robards' brother, Samuel Donelson, came up to carry her down to her 
mothers, and my impression is, in the fall or summer of 1788. I was pres- 
ent when Mr. Samuel Donelson arrived at Mrs. Robards', and when he 
started away with his sister; and my clear and distinct recollection is, that 
it was said to be a final separation at the instance of Captain Robards ; for 
I well recollect the distress of old Mrs. Robards, on account of her daughter- 
in-law Rachel going away, and on account of the separation that was 
about to take place, together with the circumstance of the old lady's em- 
bracing her affectionately. In unreserved conversations with me, the old 
lady always blamed her son Lewis, and took the part of her daughter- 

■ " During my residence in Mrs. Robards' family, I do not recollect to 
have heard any of the family censure young Mrs. Robards, on account of 
the difference between her husband and herself; if they thought otherwise, 
it was unknown to me ; but recollect frequently to have heard the old lady 
and Captain Jouett, who married the eldest daughter of the family, at 
that time, express the most favorable sentiments of her. 

" Having finished my studies iu the winter of '88-9, it was deter- 
mined to fix my residence in the country now called West Tennessee. 
Previously to my departure from Mrs. Robards', the old lady earnestly 
entreated me to use my exertions to get her son Lewis and daughter-in- 
law Rachel to live happily together. 

" Their separation for a considerable time had occasioned her great un- 
easiness, as she appeared to be much attached to her daughter-in-law, and 
she to he* Captain Lewis Robards appeared to be unhappy, and the old lady 



told me ne regretted what had taken place, and wished to be reconciled to his 
wife. Before I would agree to concern myself in the matter, I determined 
to ascertain Captain Robards' disposition from himself, and took occasion 
to converse with him on the subject, when he assured me of his regret 
respecting what had passed ; that he was convinced his suspicions were 
unfounded ; that he wished to live with his wife, and requested that I 
would use my exertions to restore harmony. 

*' I told him J would undertake it> provided he would tlirow aside all 
nonsensical notions about jealousy, for which I was convinced there was 
no ground, and treat his wife kindly as other men. He assured me it 
should be so ; and it is my impression now, that I received a message from 
old Mrs. Robards to Mrs. Lewis Robards, which I delivered to her on my 
arrival at her mother's, where I found her some time in the month of 
February or March, 1789. The situation of the country induced me to 
solicit Mrs. Donelson to board me, good accommodations and boarding being 
rarely to be met with, to which she readily assented. 

" Mr. A*. Jackson had studied the law at Salisbury, N. C, as I under- 
stood, and had arrived in this country in company with Judge McNairy, Ben- 
net, Searcy, and perhaps David Allison, all lawyers seeking their fortunes, 
more than a month or two before my arrival. Whether Mr. Jackson was 
at Mrs. Donelson's when I first got there in March, 1789, 1 can not say ; if 
he was, it must have been but a little time. My impression now is that 
he was not living there, and having just arrived, I introduced him into the 
family as a boarder, after becoming acquainted with him. So it was we 
commenced boarding there about the same time; Jackson and myself, 
our friends and clients, occupying one cabin, and the family another, a few 
steps from it. 

" Soon after my arrival, I had frequent conversations with Mrs. Lewis 
Robards, on the subject of living happily with her husband. She, with 
much sensibility, assured me that no effort to do so should be wanting on 
her part; and I communicated the result to Captain Robards and his 
mother, from both of whom I received congratulations and thanks. 

** Captain Robards had previously purchased a preemption in this coun- 
try on the south side of Cumberland river, in Davidson county, about five 
miles from where Mrs. Donelson then lived. In the arrangement for a 
reunion between Captain Robards and his wife, I understood it was agreed 
that Captain Robards was to live in this country instead of Kentucky ; 
that untd it was safe to go on his own land, which was yearly expected, 
he and his wife were to live at Mrs. Donelson's. Captain Robards became 
reunited to his wife some time in the year 1 788 or 1 789. Both Mr. Jack- 
son and myself boarded in the family of Mrs. Donelson — lived in the cabin 
room, and slept in the same bed. As young men of the same pursuits 
and profession, with but few others in the country with whom to associate, 


besides sharing, as we frequently did, common dangers, such an intimacy 
ensued as might reasonably be expected. 

"Not many mouths elapsed before Robards became jealous of Jackson, 
which, I felt confident, was without the least ground. Some of his irrita- 
ting conversations on this subject, with his wife, I heard amidst the tears 
of herself and her mother, who were greatly distressed. I urged to Ro- 
bards the unmanliness of his conduct, after the pains I had taken to produce 
harmony, as a mutual friend of both families, and my honest conviction that 
his suspicions were groundless. These remonstrances seemed not to have 
the desired effect As much commotion and unhappiness prevailed in the 
family as in that of Mrs. Robards in Kentucky. At length I communicated 
to Jackson the unpleasant situation of living in a family where there was 
so much disturbance, and concluded by telling him that we would endeavor 
to get some other place. To this he readily assented ; but where to go 
we did not know. Being conscious of his innocence, he said he would 
talk to Robards. 

" What passed between Captain Robards and Jackson, I do not know, 
as I was absent somewhere, not now recollected, when the conversation 
and results took place, but returned soon afterward. The whole affair was 
related to me by Mrs. Donelson, the mother of Mrs. Robards, and, as well 
as I recollect, by Jackson himself. The substance of their account was, 
that Mr. Jackson met Captain Robards near the orchard fence, and began 
mildly to remonstrate with him respecting the injustice he had done his 
wife, as well as himself In a little time Robards became violently angry 
and abusive, and threatened to whip Jackson ; made a show of doing so, 
etc. Jackson told him he had not bodily strength to fight him, nor would 
he do so, feeling conscious of his innocence, and retired to his cabin, telling 
him at the same time that, if he insisted on fighting, he would give him 
gentlemanly satisfaction, or words to that effect. Upon Jackson's return 
out of the house, Captain Robards said he did not care for him nor his 
wife — abusing them both ; that he was determined not to live with Mrs. 
Robards. Jackson retired from the family, and went to live at Manskerls 
station. Captain Robards remained several months with his wife, and 
then went to Kentucky in company with Mr. Thomas Cruthers and prob- 
ably some other persons. 

" Soon after this affair Mrs. Robards went to live at Colonel Hay's, 
who married her sister. After a short absence I returned to live at Mrs. 
Donelson's, at her earnest entreaty— every family then desiring the associ- 
ation of male friends as a protection against the Indians. This took place, 
to the best of my recollection, in the spring of 1790. 

" Some time in the fall following there was a report afloat that Captain 
Robards intended to come down and take his wife to Kentucky. Whence 
the report originated I do not now recollect) but it created great uneasiness 


both with Mrs. Donelson and her daughter, Mrs. Robards — the latter of 
whom wa9 much distressed, as she was convinced, after two fair trials, 
as she said, that it would be impossible to live with Captain Robards ; and 
of this opinion was I, with all those I conversed with who were acquainted 
with the circumstances. Some time afterward, during the winter of 1791, 
Mrs. Donelson told me of her daughter's intention to go down the river to 
Natchez, to some of their friends, in order to keep out of the way of Cap- 
tain Robards, as she said he had threatened to " haunt her." Knowing, 
as I did, Captain Robards' unhappy jealous disposition, and his temper 
growing out of it, I thought she was right to keep out of the way, though 
I do not believe that I so expressed myself to the old lady or to any other 

" The whole affair gave Jackson great uneasiness, and this will not ap- 
pear strange to one as well acquainted with his character as I was. Con- 
tinually together during our attendance on wilderness courts, whilst other 
young men were indulging in familiarities with females of relaxed morals, 
no suspicion of this kind of the world's censure ever fell to Jackson's share. 
In this — in his singularly-delicate sense of honor, and in what I thought 
his chivalrous conceptions of the female sex, it occurred to me that he 
was distinguishable from every other person with whom I was acquainted. 

" About the time of Mrs. Donelson's communication to me respecting 
her daughter's intention of going to Natchez, I perceived in Jackson symp- 
toms of more than usual concern. I determined to ascertain the cause, 
when he frankly told me that he was the most unhappy of men, in having 
innocently and unintentionally been the cause of the loss of peace and 
happiness of Mrs. Robards, whom he believed to be a fine woman. In 
this I concurred with him, but remonstrated on the propriety of his not 
giving himself any uneasiness about it It was not long after this before he 
communicated to me his intention of going to Natchez with Colonel Stark 
with whom Mrs. Robards was to descend the river, saying that she had 
no friend or relation that would go with her or assist in preventing Stark 
and his family and Mrs. Robards from being massacred by the Indians, 
then in a state of war and exceedingly troublesome. Accordingly, Jack- 
son, in company with Mrs. Robards and Colonel Stark, a venerable and 
highly-esteemed old man, and friend of Mrs. Robards, went down the 
river from Nashville to Natchez, some time in the winter or spring of 
1791. It was not, however, without the urgent entreaties of Colonel Stark, 
who wanted protection from the Indians, that Jackson consented to accom- 
pany them ; of which I had heard before Jackson's conversation with me 
already alluded to. 

" Previously to Jackson's starting, he committed all his law-business to 
me, at the same time assuring me, that as soon as he should see Colonel Stark 
and family and Mrs. Robards situated with their friends in the neighbor- 


hood of Natchez, he would return and resume his practice. He descended 
the river, returned from Natchez to Nashville, and was at the Superior 
Court in the latter place in May, 1791, attending to his business as a 
lawyer and solicitor general for the government. About, or shortly after 
this time, we were informed that a divorce had been granted by the Legis- 
lature of Virginia, through the influence, principally, of Captain Robards 1 
brother-in-law, Major John Jouett, who was probably in the Legislature 
at that time. 

"This application had been anticipated by me. The divorce was un- 
derstood by the people of this country to have been granted by the Legis 
lature of Virginia in the winter of 1790-1791. I was in Kentucky in 
the summer of 1791, remained at old Mrs. Robards', my former place of 
residence part of my time, and never understood otherwise than that 
Captain Robards' divorce was final, until the latter part of the year 1793. 
In the summer of 1791, General Jackson went to Natchez, and, I under- 
stood, married Mrs. Robards, then believed to be freed from Captaii 
Robards by the divorce in the fall of 1791. They returned to Nashville 
settled in the neighborhood of it, where they have lived ever since, be- 
loved and esteemed by all classes. 

44 About the month of December, 1793, after General Jackson and 
myself had started to Jonesborough, in East Tennessee, where we prac- 
ticed law, I learned for the first time that Captain Robards had applied 
to Mercer Court, in Kentucky, for a divorce, which had then recently 
been granted, and that the Legislature had not absolutely granted a divorce, 
but left it for the court to do. I need not express my surprise, on learn- 
ing that the act of the Virginia Legislature had not divorced Captain 
Robards. I informed General Jackson of it, who was equally surprised ; 
and during our conversation, I suggested the propriety of his procuring a 
license on his return home, and having the marriage ceremony again per- 
formed, so as to prevent all future caviling on the subject. 

" To this suggestion, he replied, that he had long since been married, 
on the belief that a divorce had been obtained, which was the understand- 
ing of every person in the country ; nor was it without difficulty he could 
be induced to believe otherwise. 

" On our return home from Jonesboro, in Januaiy, 1794, to Nashville, 
a license was obtained, and the marriage ceremony performed. 

" The slowness and inaccuracv with which information was received in 
West Tennessee at that time will not be surprising, when we consider its 
insulated and dangerous situation, surrounded on every side bv the wilder- 
ness, and by hostile Indians, and that there was no mail established till 
about 1797, as well as I recollect 

u Since the year 1791, General Jackson and myself have never been 
much apart, except when he was in the army. I have been intimate in 



his family, and from the mutual and uninterrupted happiness of the Gen- 
eral and Mrs. Jackson, which I have at all times witnessed with pleasure, 
as well as those delicate and polite attentions which have ever been recip- 
rocated between them, I have been long confirmed in the opinion, that 
there never existed any other than what was believed to be the most hon- 
orable and virtuous intercourse between them. Before their going to 
Natchez, I had daily opportunities of being convinced that there was none 
other ; before being married in the Natchez country, after it was under- 
stood that a divorce had been granted by the Legislature of Virginia, it is 
believed there was none." 

To this narrative, so simple, yet so full, there is little to 
add at this place. It was at Bayou Pierre, near Natchez, 
that the couple lived awhile after their marriage. The skel- 
eton of the log-house, on the hanks of the Mississippi, in 
which they passed their honeymoon, was standing a few 
years ago, and may be still, if that most inconstant Missis- 
sippi has not carried it away to the Gulf of Mexico. The 
house in which they were married a second time, near Nash- 
ville, is also standing, and is known to the old inhabitants of 
the vicinity. 

It was a happy marriage — a very happy marriage— one 
of the very happiest ever contracted. They loved one an- 
other dearly. They held each other in the highest respect. 
They testified the love and respect they entertained for one 
another by those polite attentions which lovers can not but 
exchange before marriage and after marriage. Their love 
grew as their years increased, and became warmer as their 
blood became colder. No one ever heard either address to 
the other a disrespectful, an irritating, or unsympathizing 
word. They were not as familiar as is now the fashion. He 
remained " Mr. Jackson" to her always ; never " General ;" 
still less " Andrew." And he never called her " Kachel," but 
" Mrs. Jackson," or " wife." The reader shall become better 
acquainted with their domestic life by and by. Meanwhile, 
let it be understood, that our hero has now a Home, where 
lives a Friend, true and fond, to welcome his return from 
" wilderness courts ;" to cheer his stay ; to lament his depart- 
ure, yet give him a motive for going forth ; a Home wherein 


— whatever manner of man he might be elsewhere — he was 
always gentle, kind, and patient ! 

He was most prompt to defend his wife's good name. 
The peculiar circumstances attending his marriage made him 
touchy on this point. His temper, with regard to other causes 
of offense, was tinder ; with respect to this, it was gunpowder. 
His worst quarrels arose from this cause, or were greatly ag- 
gravated by it. He became sore on the subject ; so that, at 
last, I think he could scarcely hate any one very heartily 
without fancying that the obnoxious person had said some- 
thing, or caused something to be said, which reflected on the 
character of Mrs. Jackson. For the man who dared breathe 
her name except in honor, he kept pistols in perfect condition 
for thirty-seven years. 

The social standing of Jackson at Nashville was not, in 
the slightest degree, affected, unfavorably by his marriage. 
One proof of it is this : in October of this very year he was 
elected one of the trustees of the Davidson Academy, a body 
composed of the first men and clergymen of the place. The 
original record of his election is still legible in the following 
terms : — 

" 1791. October 8th.— Board met at Spring Hill. Adjourned to 
meet at Mr. Clarke's, in Nashville, at 10 o'clock, Monday, 10th inst. 

" Met accordingly. 

" Ordered, that Mr. Andrew Jackson be appointed a Trustee in the 
room of Colonel William Polk, removed."* 

He continued to serve on this board until the year 1805, 
attending the meetings with uncommon regularity, and tak- 
ing a leading part in the external affairs of the institution ; 
which finally became the Nashville University. 

* Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee. 





The prosperity of Western Tennessee dates from Septem- 
ber, 1794, when General Robertson, provoked beyond endur- 
ance by the frequency and audacity of the Indian outrages, 
sent an expedition into the Cherokee country, and dealt such 
a blow at the tribe as induced it to leave the Cumberland 
settlements in peace ever after. This was the Nickajack 
expedition — justly famous in the annals of Tennessee — a 
gallant and romantic affair. The Indians would have been 
pursued into their own country long before but for the 
respect in which the authority of the federal government 
was held. President Washington, always a friend of peace, 
and very compassionate toward a race which he knew was a 
thousand times more sinned against than sinning, was slow 
to authorize retaliatory measures against the Indians. But, 
during this autumn, opportunity carried the day against 
patriotic forbearance. A young man, who had spent some 
years of his boyhood as a prisoner among the Cherokees, 
offered to pilot an army over the mountains into their hith- 
erto inaccessible retreats. This turned the scale. General 
Robertson resolved to wait no longer for the consent of a 
government two months' journey distant, but struck the 
blow, and struck it effectually. Thus the prediction of a 
sagacious old Cherokee squaw was fulfilled. When the 
Indians were hesitating whether to kill or spare the boy- 
prisoner, the old woman said, " If you do not kill him, he 
will soon be grown, and will then get away and guide an 
army here, and we shall all be killed." Her advice was not 
heeded, and the Nickajack expedition was the consequence. 

It was long supposed, and is so set down in many books, 

* Ramsey V> Tennessee, page 611. 


that Jackson accompanied this expedition as a private soldier. 
Recent investigation, however, renders it certain that he took 
no part in it. . It is also against probability that a man of 
so much importance as he then was in the territory, should 
have been willing, or even permitted, to serve in the capacity 
of a private. He had, moreover, a considerable reputation as 
an Indian fighter and wilderness traveler. Indeed, there is 
reason to believe that he already held a commission in the 
militia service ; for, in a letter of Governor Blount's to Gen- 
eral Robertson, dated as far back as 1792, we read this sen- 
tence : " Can't you contrive for Hay to resign, and I will 
promote DoiieUon and appoint Jackson second major/'f 
There is no doubt that he favored the expedition. It is 
probable that one ground of his dissatisfaction with the 
administration of General Washington was its reluctance to 
engage in war with the western Indians. 

His absence from the expedition is easily accounted for. 
Besides being in the full tide of a most extensive and laborious 
practice, he held an important office under the very adminis- 
tration which forbade such expeditions. It was his official 
duty to suppress the expedition — not join it. When Tennes- 
see became a territory of the United States, the circuit solici- 
tor, naturally enough, became the district attorney. Hence, 
doubtless, the absence on such an occasion of the most war- 
like personage in the western country. 

It was just after the Nickajack expedition that emigrants 
began to pour into the valley of the Cumberland in a cease- 
less torrent. In a little moldy old book, published at Phila- 
delphia in 1796, for the evident purpose of attracting emigrants 
to Western Tennessee, we read that " on the last summer 

* " There is abundant evidence in the Tennessee Historical Society to justify 
ine assertion that General Jackson was not in that expedition. The testimony 
of the late Captain John Davis, Colonels William Pillow and Brown, Charles and 
Beale Boeloy, yet living, is concurrent and unquestionable, and wholly in oppo- 
sition to the statement in the Annals." — Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee, 
page 478. 

f Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee, page 398. 


a good wagon road was cut across Cumberland mountain, 
and it was passed by thirty or forty wagons in the fall. 
The late friendly conduct of the Cherokee Indians, in conse- 
quence of a long Talk with Governor Blount, and the amic- 
able disposition of the Spanish government, has greatly altered 
the condition of settlers on Cumberland river, and made them 
perfectly happy. Several thousands. crossed the Cumberland 
mountain in September, October and November last, in de- 
tached families, without a guard and without danger. The 
Indians treated them with kindness, visited their camp at 
night, and supplied them plentifully with venison." 

No mention of the Nickajack expedition. By no means. 
Our Indians, you perceive, Messrs. Emigrants, are swayed by 
the friendly talk of a governor, and lie in ambush only to 
surprise the passing trains with presents of venison ! ! 

As the country prospered, its district attorney could not 
but prosper with it. He was a prospering man by nature. 
The land records of 1794, 1795, 1796 and 1797, show that it 
was during those years that Jackson laid the foundation of 
the large estate which he subsequently acquired. Those were 
the days in which a lawyer's fee for conducting a suit of no 
great importance might be a square mile of land, or, in western 
phrase, " a six-forty." The circulating medium of Europe, 
says some witty writer, is gold ; of Africa, men ; of Asia, 
women ; of America, land.* Jackson appears frequently 

* Colonel A. W. Putnam, in his History of Middle Tennessee, says, in writ- 
ing of this period : " The amount of silver and gold was very small. Horses 
and cows, axes and cow-bells, constituted the ready ' circulating medium.' To 
this indispensable yet variable currency was added the ' military warrants' for 
land, and, as small change, the Guard certificates. Peltries and I'.uffalo hides 
served very well to supply tho demand for * foreign exchange,' or rather eastern 
md southern purchases. Small supplies of salt, sugar and coffee, came from 
Orleans ; usually by the way of Illinois ! and Kentucky ! Tho necessity of axes 
and cow-bells, and the high value set upon them by the pioneer settlers, may be 
understood, when we reflect that the cattle were ' turned into the brakes to 
browse;' and 'must be belled that they might be found ;' and ' axes wore indis- 
pensable in clearing lands, felling trees, making fences and building houses.' 

" Persons now living (1858) remember to have heard, in trade, tho expressions, 
•two-twenty' and 'six-forty/ 'I will give or take a 640.' These amounts iudi- 
VOL, I. — 11 


in the records of the years named as the purchaser and as- 
signee of sections of land. He bought six hundred and fifty 
acres of the fine tract which afterwards formed the Hermit- 
age farm for eight hundred dollars — a high price for that 
day. By the time that Tennessee entered the Union in 1796, 
Jackson was a very extensive land-owner, and a man of fair 
estate for a frontier's man. One proof of his wealth is, that, 
in 1797, he sold more than six thousand dollars worth of land 
to a gentleman in Philadelphia, and had several thousand 
acres left. The secret of his prosperity was, that he acquired 
large tracts when large tracts could be bought for a horse or a 
cow-bell, and held them till the torrent of emigration made 
them valuable. 

The second letter of Jackson's (in the order of dates) 
which I have found, relates to the division of a piece of land. 
It was addressed, like the one previously quoted, to his brother- 
in-law, General Daniel Smith, and is dated Poplar Grove. 
October 29th, 1795. 


" Sir : Captain John Hays and myself wish to have our land divided ; 
for which purpose, to-morrow is appointed, wish to get the favor of you to 
do the business, as we wish it done accurate ; therefore hope you will do 
us the favor to come to my house this evening, so that we may take an 
early start to-morrow. Will thank you to bring with you your compass 
and chain. If you can not come, will thank you to favor me with the loan 
of your compass and chain by the bearer. I am, sir, with the highest 
esteem, your most obedient servant, Andw. Jackson."* 

The office of public prosecutor held by Jackson during 

cated so many acres of land. There is a 6-tO very near the city of Nashville, on 
the Lebanon Pike, which was onco sold for ' three axes and two cow-bells,' as we 
have been credibly informed. ' A faithful rifle and a clear toned bclT were traded 
for auother tract. Each of theso pieces of land is now worth many thousands 
of dollars. One of the most valuablo farms in Maury was lost and won at a 
game to us unknown, and is to this day called by the name ' Rattle and Snap.' '• 

* To this tattered and yellow note was pinned a piece of paper in another 
hand, containing the following : 

44 Friday, Oct. 30 ) Mr. Jackson's and John Hays' land Beg's 

Clias. Mitchel and Jno. Bokey. Sat a Sugar tree and Small hackborry on S 



the first seven or eight years of his residence in Tennessee, 
was one that a man of only ordinary nerve and courage could 
not have filled. It pet in array against him all the scoundrels 
in the territory. Those were the times when a notorious 
criminal would defy the officers of justice, and keep them at 
bay for years at a time ; when a district attorney who made 
himself too officious was liable to a shot in the back as he 
rode to court ; when two men, not satisfied with the court's 
award, would come out of the court house into the public 
square and fight it out in the presence of the whole popula- 
tion, judge and jury, perhaps, looking on ; when the public 
prosecutor was apt to be regarded as the man whose office it 
was to spoil good sport, and interfere between gentlemen. 
Jackson had his share of " personal difficulties," as rough- 
and-tumble fights are politely termed in that country to this 
day. One of these, which occurred when he was young in 
his office, I can relate in very nearly his own words. He told 
the story, one day, in the White House, to a very intimate 
friend, who expected to be assailed in the streets for his ar- 
dent support of the administration. 

" Now, Mr. B.," said the General, " if any one attacks 
you, I know how you'll fight with that big black stick of 
yours. You'll aim right for his head. Well, sir, ten chances 
to one he'll ward it off ; and if you do hit him, you won't 
bring him down. No, sir," (taking the stick into his own 
hands,) "you hold the stick .so, and punch him in the stomach, 
and you'll drop him. I'll tell you how I found that out. 
When I was a young man practicing law in "Tennessee, there 
was a big bullying fellow that wanted to pick a quarrel with 

bank of Cumberland, opposite Jones Island, E 256 po-S 7G K 22 po to the aft 
cor opposite the mouth of McNeill Spring branch, E at 110 left McNeil's Spring 
brand), which wo had crossed several times — at 183 po crossed Bo wen's line at 
220 po the cor aft bore from us X 8 po. 1. 

"Saturday, 31st Oct. — From McNeil's Spring- K 40 to a point in Bowen's line 
in a dry branch. N 110 po along Bowen's line to a Dogwood in Roberts Noith 
Boundary — along it E 32 po to the aft supposed to be the Beg's--S 2* E 262 po 
to a point in Hugh Ilay ? s line W. 204 po to a wt Hickory Box alder and elm 
8apKn — North 258 po to a red O on the bluff £9 po above the aft." 


me, and so trod on my toes. Supposing it accidental, I said 
nothing. Soon after, he did it again, and I began to suspect 
his object. In a few minutes he came by a third time, push- 
ing against me violently, and evidently meaning fight. He 
was a man of immense size, one of the very biggest men I 
ever saw. As quick as a flash, I snatched a small rail from 
the top of the fence, and gave him the point of it full in 
his stomach. Sir, it doubled him up. He fell at my feet, 
and I stamped on him. Soon he got up savage, and was 
about to fly at me like a tiger. The bystanders made as 
though they would interfere. Says I, ' Gentlemen, stand 
back, give me room, that's all I ask, and I'll manage him.' 
With that I stood ready with the rail pointed. He gave me 
one look, and turned away, a whipped man, sir, and feeling 
like one. So, sir, I say to you, if any villain assaults you, 
{jive him the pint in his belly/' 

The effect of such a victory in giving a man influence and 
status in a frontier country can be imagined. 

Another stick story is current in Tennessee. The ferry 
across the Cumberland having been leased for the sum of one 
hundred dollars per annum, General Daniel Smith remarked, 
at a meeting of the trustees of the Academy : 

" Why, that is enough to pay the ferriage of all the trus- 
tees over the river Styx." 

"Sticks ?" replied Jackson. "I want but one stick to 
make my way." 

0, those were wild times ! Jackson had not been long at 
the bar before he fought a duel. His antagonist was that 
Colonel Waightstill Avery, of Morganton, North Carolina, 
to whom he had once applied for instruction in the law, and 
with whom he afterwards practiced at the Jonesboro court. 
The present Colonel Isaac T. Avery, of Morganton, is a son of 
that gentleman. Upon applying to him for information, I was 
gratified to receive, not only an account of the duel, but also 
many other anecdotes and reminiscences of great interest, 
throwing light upon our subject, where it needed light most. 
Some of Colonel Avery's stories relate to a later day than 



that which we are now investigating, but as it seems a pity 
to break into fragments so interesting a communication, I 
transcribe his letter entire at this place. One or two of the 
on dits mentioned are not quite correct, but we have a certain 
interest in knowing what was said and believed of the man 
at that early day. 

" My first knowledge of General Jackson," says Colonel 
Avery, "is traditionary. He came to Morganton, with a 
view to study law with my father, prompted by the fact that 
my father had at that time the best law library in western 
North Carolina. The country was new. My father's im- 
provements were of the log-cabin order, and want of house- 
room rendered it inconvenient to receive the young man into 
his family as a boarder, though he was desirous to do so. 
Jackson returned to Salisbury, and studied law with Spruce 
McCay, who was afterwards circuit judge. The office in 
which he studied still stands, and was pointed out to me last 

" My father never was the law partner of General Jack- 
son, as has been alleged. If Jackson ever practiced in the 
courts east of the Blue Ridge, it was only for a short time, 
until he could obtain a Superior Court license. He paid a 
visit to my father on his way to settle in the West. He 
passed directly on to a block house near where Nashville now 
stands, then a hostile frontier, and boarded with Mrs. Donel- 
son, the mother of the lady he afterwards married. 

" Under the judicial system of North Carolina, there were 
then but three district courts in what is now Tennessee, in 
which all appeals, and important civil and criminal suits, 
were tried. They lasted fifteen days. Notwithstanding the 
distance apart, they were attended by every prominent law- 
yer in the State. Jonesboro was the only court on that side 
of the Blue Ridge that my father attended. They had crim- 
inal courts of Oyer and Terminer there, when the jails were 

" In the trial of a suit one afternoon, General Jackson 
and my father were opposing counsel. The General always ' 


espoused the caua^of his client warmly, and seemed to make 
it his own. On this occasion, the cause was going against 
him, and he became irritable. My father rather exultingly 
ridiculed some legal position taken by Jackson ; using, as he 
afterwards admitted, language more sarcastic than was called 
for. It stung Jackson, who snatched up a pen, and on the 
blank leaf of a law book wrote a peremptory challenge, which 
he delivered there and then. It was as promptly accepted. 
My father was no duelist ; in fact, he was opposed to the 
principle, but, with his antecedents, in that age and country, 
to have declined would have been to have lost caste. The 
occurrence was not noticed or known in the court house. 
They remained until the cause was put to jury, when my 
father went into the street to look for a friend. After some 
little time, he found General John Adair, who consented to 
act. The arrangements occupied some further time, and 
when the parties met, in a hollow north of Jonesboro, it was 
after sundown. The ground was measured, and the parties 
were placed. They fired. Fortunately, neither was hit. 
General Jackson acknowledged himself satisfied. They 
shook hands, and were friendly ever after. 

" The late Samuel P. Carron, when member of Congress 
from this district, conversed with General Jackson, then 
President, and also with General Adair, on this subject, and 
their statements agreed precisely with the one given above. 

" In my twelfth year I was taken to a Grammar School 
kept by the Rev. Mr. Doak, eight miles from Jonesboro. 
My father permitted me to stay with him during those 
fifteen-day courts, and I saw much of General Jackson then 
and subsequently. I will give you some characteristic inci- 
dents which I witnessed, as well as some on dits of that day, 
so well vouched that I have no doubt they are correct. In 
recalling my reminiscences, I shall not place them in chrono- 
logical order, but jot them down as they occur to me. 

" I was at Jonesboro court, at one time, when every house 

* There was a comic incident connected with this duel that General Jackson 


in the own was crowded. About twelve o'clock at night, a 
fire broke out in the stables of Rawlings, the principal hotel- 
keeper of the place. There was a large quantity of hay in 
the stables, which stood in dangerous proximity to the tav- 
ern, court house, and business part of the town. The alarm 
filled the streets with lawyers, judges, ladies in their night- 
dresses, and a concourse of strangers and citizens. General 
Jackson no sooner entered the street than he assumed the 
command. It seemed to be conceded to him. He shouted 
for buckets, and formed two lines of men reaching from the 
fire to a stream that ran through the town ; one line to pass 
the empty buckets to the stream, and the other to return 
them full to the fire. He ordered the roofs of the tavern and 
of the houses most exposed to be covered with wet blankets, 
and stationed men on the roofs to keep them wet. Amidst 
the shrieks of the women, and the frightful neighing of the 
burning horses, every order was distinctly heard and obeyed. 
In the line up which the full buckets passed, the bank of the 
stream soon became so slippery that it was difficult to stand. 
While General Jackson was strengthening that part of the 
line, a drunken coppersmith, named Boyd, who said he had 
seen fires at Baltimore, began to give orders and annoy per- 
sons in the line. 

" ' Fall into line !' shouted the General. 

" The man continued jabbering. Jackson seized a bucket 
by the handle, knocked him down, and walked along the line 
giving his orders as coolly as before. He saved the town! 

" I was in Jonesboro when the first difficulty occurred 
between Jackson and Governor Sevier. Sevier had been 
Major General, and had just been elected Governor (1796). 
Jackson wished him formally to resign the Major General- 
ship, as the Governor was ex officio conimander-in-cliief, and 
Jackson wished and expected to fill the office. Sevier for 

would not telL A gentleman once mentioned the duel to him. "Who told 70U 
about it?" asked the President, laughing. •• General Adair." " Did he tell you 
what happened on the ground ?" " No." '* Well, then, / shan't," replied the 
Geueral, still laughing. — J. P. 


some reason refused. High words passed between them. 
Jackson challenged Sevier. Sevier refused to fight on the 
ground of his poverty and numerous family ; adding, that it 
was not necessary for him to fight to prove his bravery, as 
he had done that where brave men should, against the ene- 
mies of his country. This increased the bad feeling between 
them. They met in Knoxville some time after and quarreled 
again. In the course of the dispute, Jackson mentioned his 
services to the State (on the frontier, I suppose). 

" c Services ?' replied Sevier. ' I know of no great ser- 
vice you have rendered the country, except taking a trip to 
Natchez with another man's wife.' 

" i Great God !' cried Jackson, ' do you mention her 
sacred name ?' 

" Several shots were fired in a crowded street. One man 
was grazed by a bullet ; many were scared ; but, luckily, no 
one was hurt. Jackson's exclamation, * Great God !' became 
a by- word among the young men at Knoxville. 

" Shortly after, on the main road from Knoxville to 
Kingston, then a garrisoned fort, Sevier and his eldest son 
by his second marriage, a youth of seventeen or eighteen, 
were met by General Jackson and Dr. Vandyke of the army, 
I think. On approaching, General Jackson drew his pistol 
and called on Sevier to defend himself. Sevier jumped off 
his horse ; but, as he did so, his horse ran off with his hols- 
ters. Young Sevier drew on General Jackson, swearing he 
would protect his fkther. Vandyke drew on young Sevier, 
swearing he would protect General Jackson. At this mo- 
ment travelers rode up, who interposed, and the pistols were 
uncocked. Before the end of his official term, Governor 
Sevier was within prison bounds (for debt), and whether 
they ever became friendly I do not know. I should suppose 
not. Sevier had touched on a subject that was with Jackson, 
like sinning against the Holy Ghost, unpardonable. 

" I was present one evening in Jonesboro, when General 
Jackson was talking to some dozen of his friends. He told 
them that in passing through a town in Virginia he learned 


at breakfast that Patrick Henry was to defend a criminal 
there that day. He was induced to stop. 

" * No description I had ever heard/ said Jackson, warmly, 
' no conception I had ever formed, had given me any just 
idea of the man's powers of eloquence/ 

" Pleasant Miller of Virginia, and George W. Campbell 
of North Carolina, both lawyers then of Tennessee, were sit- 
ting on a bed in the room. After Jackson had finished his 
eulogy, Campbell remarked, 

" ' It is d— d extraordinary that some men can get credit 
for talents they never possessed, while others who really have 
talents are never spoken of/ 

" He seemed to wish it to be inferred from this observa- 
tion that Henry was not the man Jackson had described him 
to be ; but that he, George W. Campbell, was. A very 
awkward pause, felt to be such by the whole company, en- 
sued. At length, Miller slapped Campbell on the thigh, and 

" ' If we only had him here in the county court, I'd be 
d— d, George, if we shouldn't make a perfect fool of him/ 

" Jackson sprang to his feet and cried, 

" i By G— d ! bring me my pistols/ 

" Captain Penny and Captain Phagan, two of his warm 
friends, ran up to him, and said, 

" ' Why, General, what's the matter ? What do you want 
with your pistols ?" 

" ' By G — d, I want to kill Miller. He can never die in a 
better time, for, by the Eternal, that speech will immortalize 
him !' " 

" On the 3d of July, 1809, I rode from Rutherford court 
house to Nashville. I there saw the General in a character 
new to me. He had made a main of cocks with Patton An- 
derson, to be fought on the Fourth for six hundred and fortv 
acres of land. Whatever General Jackson did was the fash- 
ion. His influence over young men was unbounded. Cock- 
iighting was, accordingly, the order of the day. I passed ox 

166 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1795 

carts and wagons loaded with chickens. They were arriv- 
ing by boats, too, from up and down the Cumberland. Gen- 
eral Jackson won the main, but the lighting by amateurs 
continued. On the third afternoon of the fighting, I think, 
' when I went to the pit with George W. Campbell, a chicken 
of the General's, after being cut down, revived, and, by a 
lucky stroke, killed his antagonist. Upon this, I heard Jack- 
son say to Campbell, 

"'There is the greatest emblem of bravery on earth. 
Bonaparte is not braver !' 

" They were drinking quantities of mint-julep. I remained 
at the pit long enough to see large sums of money and several 
horses change hands. I suppose it was ennui, or want of 
excitement, that made him do it. I never heard of his fight- 
ing chickens before or after this occasion, though he may 
have done it. 

" As having connection with General Jackson, and as illus- 
trating the manners of the time, I must say something of 
Russell Bean, the gunsmith. He was the most perfect model 
of a man, for strength and activity, I ever saw ; perfectly 
fearless, and, when excited, desperate ; a man of good family. 
He married a daughter of Colonel Charles Kobison, an illit- 
erate old man, who had fought under Sevier at King's Moun- 
tain, and made campaigns against the Indians. Bean and 
his wife had several children. Disposed to ramble, he went 
to Connecticut, brought home all the improvements then 
known in the manufacture of rifles, and established a manu- 
factory of arms. He bought a flat boat on the Nollichucky 
river, and freighted it from the profits of his business. Steer- 
ing the boat himself, he descended to New Orleans, where he 
amused himself, for some time, in horse racing and foot 
racing. He returned to Jonesboro, after a year's absence, on 
the Monday when the court convened, during which the fire 
occurred, and found his wife at the tavern with an infant in 
the cradle. Her seducer was a merchant of the town, named 
Allen. Bean, though not addicted to drink, went out and 
got drunk. Returning to his wife's room, he took the child 


from the cradle, and cut off its ears close to its head. I saw 
the child three minutes afterward. Bean was taken, tried, 
convicted, branded in the hand and sentenced to twelve 
months' imprisonment. A jail was no obstacle to a man of 
his skill and strength. He broke out the first night, which 
wa& the night of the Jonesboro fire. He was still in sight, 
however, when the flames burst forth. He rushed in, tore 
the stable doors from their hinges to release the horses, scaled 
the roofs of the houses, spread wet blankets, and did more 
than any two men, except General Jackson, in saving the 
town. The next morning, Governor Sevier, who only wanted 
an excuse, pardoned him from the imprisonment. 

" Time passed. Bean wanted to kill Allen, the seducer 
of his wife, and concealed himself. It was while he was in a 
difficulty with Allen's brother that the sheriff was ordered to 
bring him into court, and reported that he could not arrest 
him ; upon which, Jackson, who was then the presiding 
judge, said, ' Summon me.' As soon as Bean, who had 
retreated down the street, saw him approaching, he said, ' I 
will surrender to General Jackson/ He walked into the 
court room and was fined. 

" Bean's wife obtained a divorce, and removed to Knox- 
ville. Bean, meanwhile, seduced a reputable girl near Jones- 
boro, and, like Sharpe by Beauchamp, he persuaded a good 
looking journeyman he had, to visit her and make her his 
mistress. The young man became fascinated with her, and 
agreed to marry her after her accouchment, and go West. 
Soon after, Bean was awakened one night by a woman, who 
placed a new-born infant, wrapped in a blanket, in his arms. 
He immediately sent out for a sucking bottle and whatever 
else was necessary, and raised the child without a nurse. He 
told me it was not much more trouble than a little pig, and 
that he took pleasure in it. Ten years after, he was at Knox- 
ville with a boat. His wife, who was still living there, had 
conducted herself well in the interim. The cropped child and 
the one he had raised were both dead. General Jackson was 
in the town at the time, and interested himself in bringing 


Bean and his wife together again. He said it was his regard 
for old Colonel Bobison, and for the Bean family, that in- 
duced him to use his influence. He succeeded. They were 
married again, and, years after, they were living happily 
together. All the latter part of this statement I had from 
Bean's own lips. A true narrative of his life and adventures 
would show that truth is stranger than fiction. 

" As I have alluded, without thinking of it, to Mrs. Jack- 
son in my account of the quarrel with Sevier, I will venture 
to give you the version of General George L. Davidson, a 
man of high character, who afterward led a regiment from 
this neighborhood to meet General Jackson in the Creek 
nation. He was the General's warm friend and zealous sup- 
porter. He was a youth in the block house of Mrs. Donelson 
when Jackson first took board with that lady on the banks 
of the Cumberland. Mrs. Donelson kept the best house in 
the country, and with her lived her daughter, a beautiful 
woman born in North Carolina, but now married to a Ken- 
tuckian named Hoards. Jackson, always polite, was par- 
ticularly so to the beautiful Mrs. Bobards, without an ill 
thought on the part of any one except Bobards, who seems 
to have been a jealous fellow. One afternoon a guard was 
turned out to escort the ladies to a blackberry patch, when 
Bobards remarked to several of the guard that he thought 
Jackson was too intimate with his wife. The men all liked 
Jackson, and some of them told him what Bobards had said. 
He sought an opportunity, and told Bobards that if he ever 
connected his name with that of Mrs. Bobards in that way 
again, he would cut his ears out of his head, and that he was 
tempted to do it any how. Bobards went to the nearest 
magistrate, and swore out a peaee warrant. Jackson was 
arrested by a constable, and a guard summoned from the 
block house to guard him — Bobards accompanying. On the 
way, Jackson asked one of the guard for his butcher knife. 
He at first refused ; but on Jackson's pledging his honor that 
he would do no harm with it, the knife was given him. 
Jackson examined the point and the edge, glancing the while 


at Robards. Robards became alarmed, and began to run. 
Jackson pursued him into the cane, then returned, and went 
to the magistrate. No prosecutor appearing, the warrant 
was dismissed. Robards never returned to the block house, 
but went to Kentucky. His wife was afraid to rejoin such an 
insanely jealous husband. At what time Robards instituted 
proceedings for a divorce I do not know. Jackson, seeing 
she had lost her husband on his account, swore by the Eter- 
nal he would take her under his own protection, and, not 
long after, they stepped into a boat, descended to Natchez, 
and were married by a Roman Catholic priest. They were 
afterward married by a Protestant clergyman, I believe. 

" My father, I may add, liked General Jackson, and 
thought, as I think, that, notwithstanding his infirmities of 
temper and strong will, he had admirable traits of character, 
that compelled those who saw much of him to love and 
admire him/' 



The rush of population into the Territory was such that, 
m July, 1795, the Territorial Legislature ordered a census to 
be taken for the purpose of ascertaining whether there was 
not the requisite number of inhabitants for the admission of 
the Territory into the Union as a sovereign State. The Legis- 
lature further enacted that "if it should appear that there 
are sixty thousand inhabitants, counting the whole of the 
free persons, including those bound to service for a term of 
years, and excluding Indians not taxed, and adding three 
fifths of all other persons" (a delicate way of describing them), 
" the governor be authorized and requested to recommend to 
the people of the respective counties to elect five persons for 


each county, to represent them in convention, to meet at 
Knoxville, at such time as he shall judge proper, for the 
purpose of forming a constitution or permanent form of 

In November following, the governor announced, as the 
result of the census, that the Territory contained seventy- 
seven thousand two hundred and sixty-two inhabitants, of 
whom ten thousand six hundred and thirteen were " all other 
persons." He therefore called upon the people to elect dele- 
gates to the convention for making a constitution, and named 
January 11th, 1796, as the day for their assembling at Knox- 
ville. The convention met accordingly, fifty-five members 
in all, five from each of the eleven counties. The five mem- 
bers sent up from Davidson county were John McNairy, 
Andrew Jackson, James Robertson, Thomas Hardeman 
and Joel Lewis. Thus we find our young adventurer, after 
seven years' residence in the Territory, associated on equal 
terms, in a most honorable trust, with the judge of the Supe- 
rior Court and with the father of the Cumberland settle- 
ments. To one of them, at least, he was superior in literary 
attainments ; for General Robertson, the wise, the brave, the 
gentle, was taught to read by his wife after his marriage. 

The convention met in a small building, which afterward 
served as a school-house, standing in the outskirts of the new 
town of Knoxville, surrounded by tall trees of the primeval 
wilderness. The building was fitted up for the reception of 
the important assembly at an expense of twelve dollars and 
sixty-two cents ; ten dollars for scats, and the rest for " three 
and a half yards of oil cloth" for the covering of the table. 
But the early proceedings of the convention exhibited a still 
more remarkable example of economy. The Legislature had 
fixed the compensation of the members at two dollars and a 
half a day, but had forgotten to appropriate any compensa- 
tion for the secretary, printer and door-keeper. The conven- 
tion, therefore, with curious and quaint disinterestedness, 
resolved that, inasmuch as "economy is an amiable trait in 
any government, and, in fixing the salaries of the officers 



thereof, the situation and resources of the country should be 
attended to," therefore, one dollar and a half per diem is 
enough for us, and no more will any man of us take, and 
the rest shall go to the payment of the secretary, printer, 
door-keeper and other officers. 

The rules adopted by the convention were similar to those 
which prevail to this day in the British House of Commons. 
These are among the most noticeable : — 

"1. When the Speaker is in the chair, every member may sit in his 
place with his head covered. 

'* 2. Every member shall come into the House uncovered, and shall 
continue so at all times but when he sits in his place. 

"3. No member, in coming into the House or removing from his place, 
shall pass between the Speaker and a member speaking, nor shall any 
member go across the House, nor from one part thereof to another, while 
another is speaking." 

" 8. He that digresseth from the subject to fall on the person of any 
member, shall be suppressed by the Speaker." 

" 18. Upon adjournment, no member shall presume to move until the 
Speaker arises and goes before." 

The convention being organized, it was voted that the 
" House proceed to appoint two members from each county 
to draft a constitution, and that each county name their 
members." The members from Davidson count v selected 
Judge McNairy and Andrew Jackson to represent them in 
this committee. A constitution was soon drafted, and the 
whole business of the convention concluded in twenty-seven 

It is a proof of the progress of democratic principles in 
the United States, that a constitution containing such pro- 
visions as that adopted by this convention should have been 
praised by Jefferson and bewailed by the Federalists, as the 
most republican one then in existence. According to this 
constitution, no man could be a member of the Legislature 
who did not own two hundred acres of land. A governor 
must possess a freehold estate of five hundred acres. A free- 
holder could vote as soon as he came into a county, while a 


man who owned no land had to reside six months before 
voting. Clergymen were excluded from the Legislature. The 
first draft even excluded them from "any civil or military 
office or place of trust within this State." But, "on motion 
of Mr. Carter, seconded by Mr. Jackson," the article was 
amended so as to render them ineligible only to seats in the 
Legislature. At the same time, it was provided that no one 
should be received as a witness who denied the existence of a 
God or disbelieved in a state of future rewards and punish- 

The debates of the convention were neither published nor 
reported ; nor, indeed, was it a debating body. The journal 
,shows that Jackson took an important, but not a leading 
part in the proceedings. There is a tradition that it was he 
who suggested the present name of the State. There was 
already a county in the Territory named Tennessee, the dele- 
gates from which readily agreed to bestow the name upon the 
State, and select another for their county. Among the few 
motions " seconded by Mr. Jackson" was one which divided 
the Legislature into two Houses, a Senate and a House of 
Representatives. Judge McNairy was in favor of one House, 
and so carried it ; but the next day, on motion of Mr. Wil- 
liam Cooke, seconded by Jackson, the vote was reconsidered, 
and two Houses agreed upon. 

The claim of the Spaniards to the exclusive navigation 
of the Mississippi was a sore point with all western people 
at this time, and for many years before and after. Through 
the efforts of Mr. William Blount, the convention adopted 
into the Bill of Rights, as an essential part thereof, the 
declaration that "an equal participation of the free navigation 
of the Mississippi is one of the inherent rights of the citizens 
of this State ; it can not, therefore, be conceded to any prince, 
potentate, power, person or persons whatever." Bear this in 
mind : it belonged to a western man of that day, and from 
that day onward for twenty years, to execrate Spaniards. 

And so the constitution being formed, after twenty-seven 
days' labor, the convention adjourned, taking a dollar and a 


half a day for their own services, and paying their door-keep- 
er two dollars a day. Jackson recrossed the " Cumberland 
Mountain" and the wilderness lying beyond it, and returned 
to his happy home. 

The State was promptly organized. A Legislature was 
elected, and " Citizen John Sevier," we are officially informed, 
was chosen the first governor. Citizen John Sevier ! And 
yet this was after Robespierre had been guillotined, and Gen- 
eral Bonaparte had quelled the insurrection of Paris. But 
Tennessee was a very democratic State, and the tide of a new 
influence, or of a reaction, would be late in reaching a region 
so remote from the center of American affairs — Philadelphia. 
Moreover, Citizen John Sevier appears to have had federal -. "; " mK ;*/< 
leanings, for when President Adams was preparing for war 
with France, and had appointed Washington commander-in- 
chief, and Hamilton inspector general and second in com- 
mand, he nominated John Sevier, of Tennessee, one of the 
brigadier generals. 

Colonel Avery is in error with regard to the major gen- 
eralship of militia. Governor Sevier never held the office of 
major general. He was long a brigadier general ; which 
office, upon his election as governor, he at once resigned, and 
George Rutledge was elected in his stead. George Conway 
was elected major general, and he it was whom Andrew Jack- 
son, a few years after, succeeded. 

On grounds purely technical, and for reasons chiefly polit- 
ical, the Federalists in Congress delayed the admission of re- 
publican Tennessee into the Union ; Kufus King, of New 
York, being a conspicuous opponent, and Aaron Burr a lead- 
ing advocate, of her immediate admission. But, on the 1st 
of June, 1796, all difficulties were adjusted, and Tennessee 
became the sixteenth member of the confederacy. William 
Blount and William Cooke were elected the first United 
States Senators from the new State. Three presidential 
electors were chosen, who cast the vote of the State for Jef- 

* Ramsey's Tennessee, p. 667. 
VOL. I. — 12 ' 


ferson and Burr. As yet, Tennessee was entitled to but one 
member of the House of Representatives. Early in the fall 
of 1796, Andrew Jackson was elected by the people to serve 
them in that honorable capacity. Soon after — for the jour- 
ney was a long one, and more difficult than long — he 
mounted his horse, and set out for Philadelphia, distant 
nearly eight hundred miles. 

Tennessee at that time felt herself aggrieved by the gen- 
eral government, and was a claimant for redress. Great ex- 
penses had been incurred in sending troops against the Indi- 
ans, which expenses, it was feared, the general government 
would object to reimburse, on the ground that it had not 
authorized, but forbidden, any invasion of the Indian terri- 
tory. There was also a dispute with the Cherokees upon the 
everlasting question of boundary, and the government inclined 
to side with the Indians, and actually did, after Jackson's 
departure, send troops to Knoxville to support the Indians 
in their demands. Andrew Jackson, as I conjecture (in the 
absence of information) owed the honor of being the first 
representative of Tennessee in the House of Representatives, 
to his warm espousal of the claims of the State, and to the 
fact that he was supposed to be the very man to support 
those claims with spirit and effect on the floor of Congress. 

It is not probable, however, that he was elected without 
opposition, as there are indications, in the scanty records of 
the period, that there were those in the State who regarded 
him with no friendly eye. From the journal of the Tennes- 
see House of Representatives, it appears that, July 30th, 1796, 
Mr. Seth Lewis, a member of that body, moved for leave, 
and presented a remonstrance from Andrew Jackson, stating 
that the money which had been appropriated for his com- 
pensation as attorney general of the Territory, had been ex- 
pended for other objects, and asking a further appropriation 
in lieu thereof. The remonstrance was referred to the Com- 
mittee on Claims ; but before the committee reported, the 
amount claimed by the attorney general was inserted in the 
.general compensation bill. When this bill came before the 


House, it was moved by Mr. Newall, and seconded by Mr. 
Grass, that " the section making compensation to Andrew 
Jackson for his services as attorney general during the con- 
tinuance of the territorial government," be stricken out ; 
*hich was carried, yeas ten, nays nine. A day or two after, 
the Committee on Claims reported as follows : " Your com- 
mittee, to whom was referred the remonstrance of Andrew 
Jackson, are of opinion that if the money appropriated by 
law in Mero district to the payment of the attorney, haw 
been appropriated to the use of the Territory, that his re- 
monstrance is, in part, reasonable, and ought to be granted." 
The end of the affair is thus recorded : " On motion, the re- 
port of the committee, to whom were referred the remon- 
strance of Andrew Jackson, was taken up, and, after some 
debate, was concurred with by the casting vote of the 
Speaker/' Beyond these naked facts of the disputed claim, 
nothing can now be ascertained respecting it. 

But the new member is on horseback, on his way to the 
seat of government — the great and famous city of Phila- 
delphia. The reader shall see part of the wild road he trav- 
eled on this occasion. 



To understand a man, it is necessary to know a good deal 
of the country which he represented. Before exhibiting An- 
drew Jackson on the public stage, I desire to afford the 
reader a near view of Tennessee, as he might himself have 
seen it had he traversed its entire length, at the time when 
Nashville was only a cluster of log-houses, and the country 
generally " a howling wilderness." 

* From MSS. Notes of Colonel A. W. Putnam, President of Tennessee Hi* 
torical Society. 


In 1796 and 1797, an adventurous young Englishman 
named Francis Baily, afterwards a well-known and wealthy 
member of the London Stock Exchange, later in life an 
astronomer of note, founder and president of the Royal 
Astronomical Society, made an extensive tour in the " un- 
settled parts of the United States of North America." He was 
a forerunner of the tribe of European tourists in America, and 
among the worthiest of the tribe ; for, in addition to his being 
a man of knowledge and liberal ideas, he traveled at a time 
when traveling in America was an employment that tasked 
to the uttermost the courage and endurance even of a born 
backwoodsman. It happened that Mr. Baily, on his return 
to New York from New Orleans, passed through a large part 
of Tennessee, staid a few days at Nashville, and performed 
that very journey through the wilderness, between Nashville 
and Knoxville, that Jackson so often traveled with such 
various adventures. That journey, even in 1797, was no 
joke. Baily's narrative enables us to form an idea what it 
must have been in the earlier years of Jackson's practice at 
the bar. 

From this work, which is not generally accessible in the 
United States, I propose to make a few extracts. Tennessee 
readers, I think, will be in teres ted to see their beautiful 
native State as Francis Baily saw it in the summer of 1797. 
Other readers, it is presumed, will not object to view, through 
such an honest pair of eyes, the country in which Andrew 
Jackson became the man he was, and which he helped to 
wrest from savage men and savage nature. I take up Mr. 
Baily's story at the point where he has reached the banks of 
the Tennessee river, sixty miles west of Nashville, and is 
wondering how he shall cross a stream so wide and swift. 
He crossed it as Jackson must often have crossed it, as he did 
other rivers too wide to ford or swim. " This river," says the 
tourist, " at the place where we had to cross it, was above a 
quarter of a mile wide, and flowed with so rapid a stream, 
that it was with difficulty that a person (breast high) could 
stand against it ; at the same time it appeared to glide along 



in silent dignity, with its surface smooth and unruffled, and 
its body dark and clear, at once proclaiming the depth and 
importance of the current/' 

The only resource was to take over the baggage on rafts, 
and drive the horses across, " as we had been used to do be- 
fore/' Part of the company succeeded very well in this enter- 
prise, though not until after many an hour of most exhausting 
toil. But the future astronomer was not so fortunate. He 
and his two comrades had prepared their raft, loaded it, 
driven over their horses, launched the raft into the swift 
stream, gained the middle of the river ; two men in front tow- 
ing the raft with ropes around their shoulders, and Mr. Baily 
performing the office of a rudder behind it. But the stream 
was too much for their strength, and ere long they found 
themselves borne irresistibly down the river — a river twelve 
hundred miles long, its banks peopled with doubtful Indians ! 

" Imagine us," says the astronomer, " with this prospect before us, with- 
out any hope of ever reaching our companions, our heads just above water, 
our hands clinging to the. raft and supporting our weary bodies, our provi- 
sions before our eyes, but ourselves unable to touch them, as the least dis- 
turbance given to our raft would instantly overwhelm it • so that we were 
in danger of perishing by want in the midst of plenty ; the trees and banks 
flying beyond us, and ourselves carried along with an astonishing rapidity, r , 
aud hastening to a river abounding with ^alligators and other ravenous \ 
jinimals, unable to defend ourselves ; — imagine this, and a thousand other * 
things still more horrid, which fancy at the moment created, and you will 
have a tolerable idea of our situation at this time. What was to be done ? 
Nothing. We were resigned to our late, be it good or bad ; and even in 
tliis forlorn situation could not help being merry, and passing our jokes 
upon each other. So true is it, that in the midst of health, death did 
not strike us with the same terror as when accompanied with a lingering 

" We were now nearly wafted out of the sight of our companions, who 
stood on the shore commiserating our situation, but unable to render us 
any assistance. One of those who were with us jocosely halloed out to 
them, tiiat we were under sailing orders, and could not stop to speak to 
them, as a breeze had just sprung up: I told him I hoped the gale would 
be prosperous. By this time we had been carried four or five miles down 
the stream, when one of my companions, casting his eyes around, observed 



something near a point of land below, which he took for some men on the 
water. As we could not imagine what should bring any human being into 
this quarter of the country, except Indians, whom we did not expect to 
see now, as they were in a state of war, and consequently kept themselves 
very secret, we thought he must be deceived. However, a few minutes 
convinced us to the contrary, and clearly discovered two men of a dark 
countenance in a canoe close to the shore, working against the stream. 
This, you will say, was a joyful sight to us ; but we did not regard it as 
such at first: for as it is natural to mankind to suggest the. worst, particu- 
larly in any unpleasant situation, so we immediately fancied that these 
people were Creek Indians — a natio n almost continually at w ar with the 
Americans, who, if they discovered us, would actually murder us. Under 
tliis Idea," we were in doubt whether we should hail them or not, for we 
were now got pretty near to them, and they could not distinguish our heads 
from the raft, which appeared to a person situated near the shore like a 
bundle of logs, or the top of a tree floating down. I used all the arguments 
I could to induce my fellow-travelers to hail them, and told them, that 
thereby they might exchange what appeared to me a prospect of certain 
death, for a possibility, at least, of escape ; and that if they let this chance 
[kiss by, they not only would not deserve, but most probably would not 
meet with, another to save them from the danger that awaited them ; but 
fear worked upon them so far, that they said they knew they were Creeks, 
and were determined to continue on as they were going. However, as I 
looked upon it almost as an interposition of Providence for our safety, 1 
halloed to them as long and as loud as I could, when they came opposite 
to us. They looked about for a long while, and could not imagine from 
whence the sound proceeded; but on my repeating it, and waving my 
hand, I observed them to push from the shore and make toward us. Even 
this did not appease my companions : for when the Indians took up their 
paddles to row toward us, they said they had taken up their guns, and 
were going to fire upon us ; and one of them said he actually saw him pull 
the trigger ! ! 1 so astonishingly does imagination work upon a perturbed 
mind. They were not long in approaching us, and we soon found that they 
were no enemies; for, smiling at our situation, they came alongside and 
took us into the canoe. We then took our baggage and the cord from the 
raft, and assisted the Indians in paddling up to the place from whence we 
set out, letting our unfortunate raft drift down the current — the sport of 
the winds and the waves." 

Having overcome this " tremendous obstacle," as Mr. 
Baily justly styles it, the party proceeded on their way to- 
ward Nashville, a distance of sixty or seventy miles. They 


were seven days in performing this journey, during which 
they came near starving — so destitute was that region then 
of inhabitants and resources. Not a white man did they 
meet, nor any sign of a civilized abode, until they came 
within twelve miles of Nashville. But, at length, " the 
path began to widen, and assume the marks of being much 
frequented ; and soon after we observed evident tracks of 
cows and other animals, which plainly indicated to us that a 
settlement was near at hand ; and about eleven o'clock, to 
our great happiness and comfort, we descried the first civil- 
ized habitation since our leaving Natchez. Nothing could 
exceed our joy upon this occasion ; we jumped, halloed, and 
appeared as elated as if we had succeeded to the greatest es- 
tate imaginable. It was not long ere we approached the 
door of this auspicious mansion ; but we met with a repulse 
which at first diminished somewhat the pleasure with which 
we were before transported. 

" An old woman came to the door, and told us that the 
settlement was but just formed ; and that therefore she could 
afford us no shelter nor provisions ; but that there was an- 
other well-established plantation about a mile and a half 
further on, where we might meet with refreshment, etc. 
This latter sentence revived us again, and we once more pur- 
sued our journey to the desired spot. We soon approached 
it, and entering the yard saw the horses of our late compan- 
ions ranging about in a field near the house. This was an 
agreeable sight to us, as it was one trouble off our minds ; 
and ft was not long ere they themselves came out to meet us, 
and congratulate us on our entry into civilized life. We 
were not far behind them, for they had arrived there only 
this morning, and had immediately ordered something to be 
got ready for a meal. 

" This plantation belongs to a Mr. Joslin ; it is situated 
about six or seven miles from Nashville, and is one of the 
last settlements on the patli toward the wilderness. It has 
been formed about seven or eight years, and consisted of sev- 
eral acres of land tolerably well cultivated ; some in corn 


some in meadow, and others in grain, etc. His house was 
ibrnied of logs, built so as to command a view of the whole 
plantation, and consisted of only two rooms ; one of which 
served for all the purposes of life, and the other to hold lum- 
ber, etc/' 

After devouring their meal of glorious pork and beans, 
the Londoner kept on his way to the town. When he got 
a little nearer the place, he found the houses and plantations 
more and more frequent. 

" We even met within three or four miles of the town, two coaches 
fitted up in all the style of Philadelphia or New York, besides other car- 
riages, which plainly indicated that a spirit of refinement and luxury had 
made its way into this settlement. As we approached the town, thi- plan- 
tations on either side of the road began to assume a more civilized appear- 
ance, yet still not such as one observes in the neighborhood of large towns 
and cities. It was near seven o'clock when we reached Na?hville. The 
sight of it gave us great pleasure, as, after so long an absence from any com- 
pact society of this kind, we viewed the several buildings with a degree of 
satisfaction and additional beauty which none can conceive but those who 
have undergone the same circumstances. We inquired for the best tavern 
in the place; and having ascertained where it lay, we hastened to it, and, 
giving our horses to ihe ostler, entered the house and sat down, completely 
happy in having performed this laborious and troublesome journey. 

" We had still, however, another wilderness to go through ere we 
arrived at the settled parts of the United States ; but as this town was a 
kind of resting place for us, we did not look forward to any further diffi- 
culties and dangers, but considered our journey as at an end. In fact, the 
principal part of it was, for now I had not much more than a thousand 
miles further to go ; but this I had to travel by myself, as my companion 
left me at this place, in order to proceed to Kentucky, whereas my route 
lay through Knoxville, on the Holstein river. Next day, 

" Tuesday, August 1st, — I went round to view the town, found it 
pleasantly situated on the south-west bank of the Cumberland river, and 
elevated above its bed about eighty or one hundred feet. The river here 
is about two hundred yards wide. The country all around consists of a 
layer of fine black mold on a bed of limestone, which in many places pro- 
jects through the surface, and shows itself in dark gray protuberances. In 
the year 1780, a small colony, under the direction of James Robertson, 
crossed the mountains and settled in this place ; but it was not till within 
these few years that it could be called a place of any importance. 


'• This town contains about sixty or eighty families ; the houses (whioh 
are chiefly of logs and frame) stand scattered over the whole site of the 
town, so that it appears larger than it actually is. The inhabitants (like all 
those in the new settled towns) are chiefly concerned in some way of busi- 
ness ; a storekeeper is the general denomination for such persons, and under 
this head you may include every one who buys and sells. There are two 
or three taverns in this place, but the principal one is kept by Major Lewis. 
There we met with good fare, but very poor accommodations for lodgings ; 
three or four beds of the roughest construction in one room, which was 
open at all hours of the night for the reception of any rude rabble that had 
a mind to put up at the house ; and if the other beds happened to be occu- 
pied, you might be surprised when you awoke in the morning to find a 
bed-fellow by your side whom you had never seen before, and perhaps 
might never see again. All complaint is unnecessary, for you are imme- 
diately silenced by that all-powerful argument — the custom of the country, 
and an inability to remedy it; or perhaps your landlord may tell you that 
if you do not like it, you are at liberty to depart as soon as you please. 
Having long been taught to put up with inconveniences, I determined for 
the future to take things as I found them, and if I could not remedy them, 
to be content. Besides, I did not feel the ill effects of this rough accom- 
modation so much as other persons might in traveling from a more civilized 
part of the world, because every thing which was beyond a piece of bread 
and bacon, and the cold hard ground, appeared to me as a luxury. 

" I know no other particulars of this place, except that it is the princi- 
pal town in this western division of the State; and that the country about 
is pretty well settled, considering the time since its first establishment : 
what other particulars you rnuy wish to know of tlus new State*, you may 
learn in Morse or Imlay. There are several other little towns in the neigh- 
borhood ; in fact, the banks of the Cumberland river, on both sides, are well 
cultivated for a considerable distance. Major Nelson, who boarded with 
me at Major Lewis's, is forwarding a settlement, and laying off a town at 
the head of Harper's creek, about twenty-five miles off, where he sells his 
half-acre town lots for ten dollars, ami his out lots of ten acres for thirty 
dollars, on the condition that improvements are to be made, and a house 
built within two years. The price of land about the vicinity of this place, 
unimproved, is from one to four and five dollars, according to its situa- 
tion and neighborhood. 

" I did intend to have waited at Nashville for some time, in order to 
rest my horse ; but not being able to fin<tany person in the neighborhood 
who had a good pasture, and being rather tired of my lodgings, I deter- 
mined to proceed. My course now was. towards Knoxville, a town lying 
on the Holstein river. Between Nashville and that place, I have already 
told you, there is a wilderness about three hundred miles long, which I had 


to cross. Phis tvilderness properly commences about sixty-two miles from 
Nashville, though the whole of that distance is scarcely better than a 
wilderness, after you proceed about half a dozen miles from town ; for the 
houses are so far apart from each other, that you seldom see more than two 
or three in a day. I was determined also in starting so soon, by the idea 
that I should meet with a plantation on the road, where I should find a 
pasture, and where I should accordingly stop and refresh my horses ; for 
there is no part of these new settlements but you may take this liberty, if 
you pay them well for it; the idea of their being hospitable and doing a 
kindness to strangers for nothing is false. This hospitality is only shown 
to neighbors, etc., where they expect it will be repaid by the same return, 
and arises from a want of inns on the road, where travelers may call and 
do as they please." 

On the 2d of August, he mounted one horse, and led 
another loaded with baggage, and started alone upon his way 
eastward, pursuing the same paths as those which Jackson 
had traveled a few months before, when he went to Congress. 

" I directed my steps toward the water side, (Cumberland river,) and 
being put across by the ferryman to the opposite shore, (for which I paid 
him one-sixteenth of a dollar,) I kept the main path through the woods, 
(as I was directed,) and made the best of my way to a Mr. Blackamoor's, 
distant about nine miles, where I intended to sleep that night. The 
gloomy and majestic scenery of the surrounding objects, you would be 
apt to imagine, would excite a degree of melancholy in a person not used 
to such scenes ; but this was not the case with me. By a frequent fa- 
miliarity with such objects, I had become callous to their ill effects, and 
indulged only those ideas which afforded the highest pleasure and the 
most grateful contemplation. Surrounded on each side with a deep wall 
of woods, I enjoyed the serenity of the evening in silent meditation: 
every thing which I saw and heard taught me a lesson which required not 
the powers of oratory to embellish it. So soon as the sun had taken his 
station below the horizon, the moon began to spread her silver light, and 
to ahine in silent majesty through the openings of the trees : and it was by 
her kind assistance that I reached my destined port; for, by my ignorance 
of the way, I had mistaken the path, and (wandering about the woods 
without a guide) did not reach my place of destination till between eight 
and nine o'clock. I approached the house, and found that I could be ac- 
commodated with lodging there ; accordingly I unpacked my horses, and 
taking the baggage within doors, I led them to the field, and gave them 
some corn. I then began to inquire for something for my own supper ; 



but was informed that I could have nothing but some Indian bread and 
butter, and some milk, which is a standing di3h in all these new countries 
Accordingly, I sat down to this rough fare, and having made a hearty 
meal, went and sat in the open air to enjoy the serenity of the evening ; 
and when the time came for retiring to rest, I took my blankets out and 
spread them on the hard ground, though there was a very good bed pre- 
pared for me within doors. But habit has such an influence over the 
human mind, that this mode of sleeping (which at one time appeared very 
rough and unpleasant) was now the preferable of the two ; and I adopted 
it as the most agreeable. In the morning — 

" Thursday, August Bd, — When I came to discharge my reckoning, I 
found they had the impudence to charge me a dollar for this rough accom- 
modation ; that is, for a little bread and butter, and some corn my horses 
had eaten. I could not but be angry at this imposition ; but as there was 
no remedy, and as I disliked any altercation, I gave them the money and de- 
parted. As I expected to meet with settlements in different places on my 
way, I had not laid in any provisions, but depended merely upon what I 
could get at these settlements : however, I soon found that I reckoned 
without my host; for I proceeded the whole of this morning without being 
able to obtain a morsel of anything to eat I called at almost every plan- 
tation I saw, but they were so poor, or so distressed for provisions them- 
selves, that I could get nothing. About the middle of the day I saw a 
mill at a short distance. Here, I thought, there was no fear of not getting 
something. Accordingly I hurried on to the place ; but how great was my 
surprise to find these people in the same unfortunate situation, and that 
the mill, owing to the dryness of the season, had not been in motion some 
months ! To make the case still worse, I understood there was but one 
more settlement for a considerable distance. I accordingly hastened to 
this place ; but they pleaded the same excuse. However, after a great 
deal of entreaty, I got them to give me a piece of bread which they had 
left at their morning's meal ; therefore, hastening with this down to a brook 
which ran by the side of the house, I sat me down upon a log and made 
a comfortable breakfast Alasl cried I, if mankind did but know how 
little would satisfy them, they would not pursue so eagerly the bubble 
riches ; which as often brings discontent and un happiness, as it does the 
meiiiis of satisfying their inordinate passions. If we take a view round 
the world, how often do we see that fortune scatters her favors on the 
most worthless objects, and that happiness (the end and aim of every one) 
by no means keeps pace with an increase of wealth ! And I, with my 
crust steeped in the pure spring of nature, am as happy and contented as 
the proudest monarch that sits upon a throne. You will excuse this 
digression ; but as you wished for a faithful detail of ray journey, you 
must be content to receive all the remarkable impressions which were 

184 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1797. 

made upon my mind — to receive not only the outward and visible, but also 
the inward and spiritual. 

" Having suffered my horses to graze about a little, and to eat some 
corn which I had purchased at the house, I resumed my course once more, 
and at about eight o'clock got to Mr. Kirby's, (distant from Blackamoor's 
eighteen miles.) Here I found a great difficulty to gain admittance. 
There was no one at home but the woman of the house and some of the 
servants. She said her husband was gone out, and she did not know 
whether he would return that night or not; and that he would be very 
angry if she suffered any one to sleep there when he was absent. From 
the current of the poor woman's discourse, I perceived her husband was 
jealous of her ; and as there was no other plantation near tliis place, I 
wished, both for her sake and my own, that he would arrive. Whilst I 
was putting up this pious ejaculation, who should appear at the gates but 
the very man himself; and as this removed all the charms of bolts and 
bars, I unpacked my horse, and led him away to the pasture. As to my- 
self, I returned and made such another meal as I did last night ; and that 
done, I took my blankets out of doors, and lay down in the open air till 

" Friday, August Ath, — When I started pretty early, and got to Major 
Blackamoor's (three miles) to breakfast Here I found a good pasture for 
my horses, and tolerably good accommodations for myself; and the people 
of the house appearing very civil, I resolved upon stopping here for a week 
or ten days in order to relieve my horses. 

" The Major was one of those early emigrants who had come here at 
theirs* settling of the country ; he had got a good deal of land about him, a 
great part of which was in a rude state of cultivation. His house remained 
the same as when it was first built, and of course cut no very striking 
figure ; but as it was like all the rest in this country, its uncouth appear- 
ance and rough accommodation escape particular attention. Its situation 
was about two or three miles to the northward of the Cumberland river, 
and the soil consisted of a rich earth lying on a bed of limestone, which 
pervades the whole of this country. Mr. Blackamoor is a major in the 
militia, and possesses several negroes under him, who work upon the 
plantation : in fact, the whole drudgery (both of house and field) is com- 
mitted to the slaves, under the superintendence of the master. I have 
already observed to you that there are few or n< » taverns in these newly- 
settled countries; but that almost all the farmers who live near the road 
will take in strangers and travelers, giving them what is called * dry en- 
tertainment,' that is, board and lodging, but without any spirituous liquors. 
For this entertainment they generally take care to charge enough, as I 
have also remarked elsewhere. 

" Major Blackamoor was one of these gentlemen, though I must con- 



feas that his charges were more moderate than many* I had witnessed. 1 
stopped here about a week, when on 

" Thursday, August 10th, a Mr. Davidson, of Kentucky, happened to 
stop to dine here ; and informed me that he was on his way to Knoxville, 
and wished for some one to accompany him. As this was the route I was 
pursuing, I embraced the opportunity, and told him we had better proceed 
together, to which he consented ; and having mentioned it to our host, he 
promised to get us some provisions ready for our journey; for we were • 
now anived at a point on the road where we could not expect to derive 
much assistance in this way from the inhabitants, as they were all new 
settlers, and had scarcely sufficient to keep themselves. Accordingly, the 
next morning, — 

" Friday, August 11th, — having put up a sufficient quantity of beef, 
bacon, flour, &c, (the common provisions upon such occasions,) we started 
together rather early. We had not proceeded many miles ere we stopped 
at a house where Davidson met with some of his relations, who prevailed 
upon him to stop with them a few days, and paid that they would accom- 
pany him. He consented, and told me that he could not proceed on with 
me unless I would wait for him ; but I (not wishing to delay any longer) 
took my leave of him, and continued on my way by myself, determined to 
cross the wilderness alone, if I should not meet with any one to accom- 
pany me. I traveled on till about half-past five, when I came to a small 
creek which I was told (when I set out) was eight miles from the ferry. 
As I had ndw passed all the settlements except the one at the ferry, (which 
I could not reach that night,) I determined to halt here, as there was a 
nice clear stream, and plenty of cane and grass for my horses. I accord- 
ingly crossed the creek, and aiighted at a spot which I observed had been 
used for the same purposes before. The first thing I did was to collect 
plenty of wood together and to kindle a fire : this I soon accomplished. 
I then went to the stream, and filling my tin cup with water, hung it over 
the fire and made me some coffee, at the same time opening my wallet, 
and laying out all my provisions. I then sat me down upon the ground, 
and made a heaity and a comfortable meal; and after roving about to en- 
joy the wildness of the place, returned to my fire, and spreading my blan- 

• None of the houses in this part of the world are built higher than the 
ground floor ; and the flooring (if any) is made of very rough boards laid on the 
ground, sometimes on joists, and sometimes not ; but always with great holes 
between the planks. When I was at this man's house, one of the slaves saw an 
enormous snake gliding under my bed, and passing through one of these holes 
iu the floor. The Major, to my comfort, told me that they sometimes got into 
the bed, but that they would not hurt me. So soon does custom get the better 
of th^se things, that he did not seem to care much about it 


ket, lay me down to rest This was the first night I had ever slept out in 
the woods alone ; I therefore could not but remark my own feelings upon 
the occasion. I expected that it would havo appeared more dismal and 
melancholy than it really did ; bi.t, whether I had become callous to all 
those ideal apprehensions which we are too often disposed to anticipate 
without any cause, or whether I was in that temper of mind not to regard 
the gloominess and loneliness of the place in which I was, I cannot pretend 
• to say ; but certain it is, that I laid down with all the composure imagina- 
ble, and slept very soundly, without ever once waking, till the morning. 

" Saturday, August 12th. — Started by daylight on my journey, and 
proceeded on to the ferry. When I came within two miles of the place I 
was brought to the brow of the high lands on which I had been traveling 
all this time. From this spot I had a most delightful view of the surround- 
ing country, and of the distant hills which border upon the Cumberland, 
presenting a wild, mountainous appearance, which could not fail to interest 
the spectator. Having descended into the bottom, I passed one or two 
habitations, and at last came to the ferry house, where I stopped, and giv- 
ing my horses some corn, took breakfast with my host> who furnished me 
with coffee and some fried rashers of bacon, served up with Indian bread : 
a common breakfast in this part of the country, where nothing better is to 
he had. This man's house stands immediately upon the banks of the 
river ; and to the advantage of cultivating his own plantation, he unites 
the profits of the ferry. The river is here one hundred and seventy yards 
wide ; and a little distance below the house a stream called " The Caney 
Pork" comes in. This is a considerable branch of the Cumberland river, 
and is so called from the quantity of cane brakes on its banks. This spot 
is sixty-two miles from Nashville by land, though by water it is one hun- 
dred and thirty. I was ferried across here about ten o'clock I paid one 
eighth of a dollar for each horse, though at Nashville I only paid one six- 
teenth. It is customary not to charge any thing for the passenger, only 
for his horses. I was landed on the opposite shore, exactly on the point 
of land where the two rivers met The prospect from the middle of the 
stream was delightful : you appeared in the centre of three grand rivers, 
whose banks were everywhere formed of lofty eminences, towering over 
each other with a kind of majestic pride, and covered with verdure to their 
very summits. 

" On leaving this mansion, I took my farewell of all kind of society till 
I arrived at the opposite side of the wilderness. I ascended the banks 
with my two horses, and striking into the woods, directed my steps the 
nearest way to my desired port I had now no prospect before me but of 
traversing the howling desert by myself, and of wandering alone and un- 
protected through this dreary wilderness. Owing to the frequent com- 
munication which is commonly kept up between the eastern and western 



parts of this State, I found no great difficulties in ascertaining the right 
path, though sometimes I have been in very disagreeable dilemmas on 
this head. Not far from the ferry, I met with a party of travelers going 
to Nashville. We stopped and had some little conversation together, and 
then separated, and each pursued his destined route. They wondered 
very much to see me by myself in the woods, and recommended me to 
wait for company. 

" Towards the afternoon I ascended one of those high hills with which 
these rivers are surrounded. I had understood it was a very long and a 
very difficult one ; and that I should find but one spring of water through 
out the whole distance of it, which if I passed, I should not meet with any 
more till I descended a considerable way into the valley. The day was 
very hot* and both my horses and myself consequently very dry. I 
watched very narrowly for the spring, which issued from the side of the 
mountain, and actually descended several paths which appeared to lead 
me down to it ; but, fruitless in my search, I determined to pursue my 
journey, and not to stop till I reached the brook in the valley. 

" Night came on, and I had not yet reached the brow of this moun- 
tain ; but in about an hour after dark I found myself on the descent, and, 
soon after, reached the valley below. Overcome with the fatigue of this 
troublesome journey, I would willingly have laid me down to rest at the 
foot of the mountain, and suffered my horses to have refreshed themselves 
with the pasture they should find there ; but the pains of extreme thirst, 
which had not been allayed since the morning, were too powerful to be 
neglected ; I was therefore obliged to proceed. The afternoon had been 
beautifully fine, and gave reason for indulging the hope of an equally pro- 
pitious day on the morrow ; but alas ! scarce had the sun set below the 
horizon ere I perceived the clouds begin to assemble together and to indi- 
cate an approaching storm ; to heighten the scene, also, I heard the rumb- 
ling noise of distant thunder, and, soon after, perceived the faint flashes of 
the fiery lightning. I thought the elements were very unkind to me the 
first night of my embarking in the wilderness alone ; yet, as I had long 
before this learned to bear the sports of fortune, I resolved, also, not to 
suffer this little deviation from the smooth track to ruffle my temper. I 
therefore pursued my course without an unpleasant or discordant thought 

" I continued on till I found the thunder and lightning increase upon 
me. It was now near ten o'clock, and dark as pitch, save when the vivid 
flashes kindly lent me a ray of light to help me on my way. I had observed 
no signs of water, and, fearful that I should not be able to kindle a fire if I 
continued on till the rain descended, I determined, parched as I was with 
thirst, to stop and take up my abode for the night 

" I got together all the wood I could discover near me, and, kindling a 
fire large enough to roast an ox, and which I thought might be able to 


withstand any rain which might fall, spread ray blanket and lay down to 
rest I had scarce accomplished all this ere the storm approached upon 
me. The lightning began to be more frequent, and the rain to descend, 
and in such torrents did it come down, that this vast flame, whioh I had 
so lately kindled, was soon extinguished. The rain refreshed me very 
much, and, regardless, of all the bustle about me, and the state of darkness 
in which I was now left, I fell fast asleep, wrapped up in my blanket, and 
having my head reclining upon a log of wood for a pillow. In this situ- 
ation, overcome with fatigue, and ( indifferent in my choice to live or die/ 
I weathered out this storm, and slept very soundly till three or four o'clock 
in the morning, when I awoke and found the elements had not ceased their 
contest, but were still warring against each other in all the impetuosity 
and rage of two discordant enemies. As to myself, I observed that I was 
nearly covered with water, for I had chosen a hollow place, which served 
as a bed for both me and the water, and, had I continued there much 
longer, it would have approached my head. You will naturally conceive 
that this drove away all sensations of thirst : it did so, and I awoke very 
much relieved from that inconvenience ; and, rising from my bed and 
wringing my blankets, went and lay down on a higher spot of ground, and 
slept very soundly till morning, 

" Sunday, August 13&, — When I awoke and found every cloud dis- 
persed, and the sun rising beautifully in the east This agreeable contrast 
with the preceding night induced me to say, with Othello, 


• If after every storm there comes such calm,' etc, 

and I ' proceeded on my course rejoicing.' I had not gone far before I 
came to the little rivulet which I had been seeking so long : but now, as 
all thirst was departed, I passed it without scarcely deigning to look at it 

"About nine or ten o'clock I ascended the Cumberland mountain?. 
These mountains are a spur from the Alleghany, and separate from them 
about the middle of Virginia, proceeding in a south-western direction, and 
giving rise to several famous rivers, all of which flow into the Ohio, and 
water the new States of Tennessee and Kentucky. They are not q;iite so 
high as the Alleghany mountains, and, at the place where I passed over 
them, they are about fifty miles across, and, in some places, are perfectly 
Jevel at top, watered with fine streams, and affording many excellent situ- 
ations for plantations, agreeably to what I have already said of the Alle- 
ghany mountains. There is one place in particular, called the Crab Orchard, 
which is ten miles from the east foot of the mountains, and at the west foot 
of the Spenser's Hill, which I will describe when I arrive at it 

" My first approach to these mountains was along a plain almost void 
of trees, and covered entirely with grass; and at the termination I saw the 
base of the mountains, ranged in majestic order before me, bidding defiance 


To my approach, and indicating the difficulties I should have to encounter 
in the accomplishment I was obliged to dismount from my horse to 
ascend these steep eminences. I observed the soil to be composed of a 
red earth, which made the hill appear as if there had been a quantity pf 
bricks broken and scattered about. The rain had made it very slippery. 
which rendered it very unpleasant. It was near an hour before I got to 
the top of this first hill, which was a prelude to what I had to encounter, 
for I observed, at some distance, the tops of other eminences whose sides 
I had to mount, and, these ascended, still more at a greater distance, which 
reminded me of Pope's line in his Essay on Criticism : 


* Hills peep o'er hill*, and Alps on Alps arise' 

"The sun had shone very bright ever since he had risen, and dried up 
what little moisture the rain had kindly distributed last night It was 
now between eleven and twelve o'clock, and time for me to rest both 
myself and my horses ; but as I could observe no water anywhere, I was 
obliged to proceed. I continued on for some little distance, and at last 
observed a hollow in the ground, where some rain water had lodged on the 
day preceding. Here I alighted, and, kindling a fire, made some coffee, 
and fared sumptuously on some bread and butter and mutton which I had 
brought with me from Mr. Blackamoor's. Here, being all alone, I saun- 
tered about the woods to observe the fine romantic views which my pecu- 
liarly elevated situation afforded me. I then returned to my encamp- 
ment, and reclined under the shade of some lofty trees for an hour or two, 
and, after giving my horses time to graze about the woods, pursued my 

" I continued on my way this afternoon without meeting with any 
thing very remarkable. The agreeable diversity of hill and dale with 
which this State is favored, together with the delightful views of a fine 
romantic country, served to dissipate that ennui and wearisomeness which, 
perhaps, I might otherwise have experienced. There had been an army 
across this place about two or three years ago, and I took a pleasure in 
observing their track through the woods, and in tracing out their different 
encampments as they went along. In some places I could hardly discover 
any remains of their march ; in others, it was distinctly visible. I deter- 
mined upon halting early this evening, not only that I might thereby 
rest my horses from the fatigue of ascending such steep eminences, but 
also that I might be enabled to kindle a fire and take my repast before the 
night set in. Just before six I came to a brook, which I followed some 
little way into the woods, in order that I might get off the path and avoid 
discovery, and (having singled out a convenient spot surrounded by a 
thicket on eviry side) I unpacked my horses, and determined to tarry 
here all night Thus you behold me a third time encamped out in the 
VOL. I. — 13 


woods by myself. I was by this time got pretty well used to it, so that I 
lay down with as little concern as if I had been surrounded by a numerous 
party. My sleep was undisturbed till the morning — 

• "Monday, August 14$, — When I awoke, and pursued my journey 
alone. As I was proceeding on ray way on foot up one of the steep emi- 
nences among these mountains, whom should I discover (on turning round) 
at some distance behind me, but Mr. Davidson, whom I had left a few 
days ago in the settlements. 1 immediately stopped my horses and halted 
till he came up. It was a joyful meeting to us both, as we were each trav- 
eling alone. He informed me that his friends having declined accompany- 
ing him, he had made the best of his way to overtake me ; that he had 
passed two nights alone in the desert, and had tracked me to the very 
spot in which we were then speaking. We compared notes respecting our 
situation on the stormy night of the Saturday, and found that we could 
not have been a great way from each other. Under such circumstances 
it would have been fortunate to have found a companion. 

" Our conversation now beguiled the path amazingly, and we reached 
the summit of the mountain without having experienced any toil or fatigue. 
Our course lay now over a smooth plain, and the agreeableness of the place 
would have induced us to halt, had we found any water near ; but there 
being a scarcity of that article, we were obliged to pursue our journey still 
further. At length, finding that our search was fruitless, we sat us down 
and finished our repast without any liquid whatever to appease the press- 
ing calls of thirst, which the heat of the climate and the labor of the journey 
induced. As I was wandering about, according to my custom, to observe 
the beauties of the country, I saw in some few places the tracks of deer 
or other animals on the ground, which were filled with water, the last re- 
mains of the storm on the twelfth. These tracks hardly contained a wine- 
glass full apiece, and were so shallow that we could not take up the water 
with a spoon which we had with us without mixing it with the dirt at the 
bottom ; we therefore cut a flat stick, and hollowing it out somewhat in 
the middle, took it up drop by drop, and placed it in a tin cup till we had 
nearly filled it, and having collected sufficient for a draught, drank it up, 
and thus appeased the pressing calls of nature. We then pursued our 
journey, and were continually delighted with the romantic scenery of the 
country, a fine view of which we gained when we reached the summit of 
the various eminences with which this part of the countiy abounds. 
About four o'clock we arrived at Oba's river; it was a pretty wide stream, 
but very shallow, and full of large stones, or rather rocks, which, together 
with its craggy sides, contrasted with the surrounding woods, formed a 
picturesque and pleasant appearance. I should have been surprised to find 
§o large a stream at the top of the mountains ; but as I observed the same 
thing on the Altoghany mountains, and justly concluded that this was the 



tsource of all the large navigable streams that water this country, my sur- 
prise was somewhat abated. We did not proceed far beyond this place 
ere we encamped ; and we had scarcely kindled our fire, before we were 
joined by a party of three other persons who were traveling the same way 
as we were, and who, observing our fire, had made toward the place 
where we encamped, with an intent of passing the night with us. We 
were happy to see them, as it not only strengthened our party, but also 
enlivened a few hours which otherwise we might have passed very dull for 
want of company. We set our new visitors to collect wood for tho fire ; 
and there being an appearance of rain, we formed a curious kind of Indian 
tent out of the bark of some trees which we saw scattered about This 
appeared to be an old encamping place, as there were the remains of sev- 
eral fires and camps on every side of the little stream of water on whose 
banks we halted. Our fears were, however, groundless ; for the night 
passed away very pleasantly, and the next morning — 

41 Tuesday, August 15$, — We continued our journey. Wc had not met 
a single person in the wilderness all this time, since I took leave of the 
few travelers I met with on the banks of the Cumberland river. However, 
this morning we met with a party of emigrants who were traveling to the 
western division of this State, and who had got a wagon along with 
them, together with a few cows and other cattle. They appeared heartily 
fatigued with the labors of the journey, and inquired of us how far it was 
to the termination of the wilderness. We gave them but a bad account 
of the roughness of the roads, of which they said they had encountered 
enough already. In return we asked them concerning the state of the 
paths which we were pursuing, of which they also could give no flattering 
account ; in particular, they told us that we were approaching toward a 
part where we should find great scarcity of grass in the woods ; and con- 
sequently that we ought to take advantage of those spots where we should 
observe any. Having delayed some little time in conversation, we pro- 
ceeded on, and soon after halted to take our morning's repast We did not 
continue here so long as we had used to do, as we wished to reach the 
Crab Orchard in the evening. We accordingly hurried on ; and having 
passed two small rivers, or rather creeks, we arrived at that spot about five 

" Here we halted some time in order to admire the beauties of the 
place. It is a fine large plain, or natural meadow, containing many hun 
dred acres, and covered throughout its whole extent with a tall, rich grass, 
surrounded on every side by the neighboring mountains, and watered with 
several fine springs, which flow from one end to the other. The scenery 
of the craggy mountains, covered with trees to their very top, contrasted 
with the smooth level of the plain, afforded us a view highly picturesque, 
novel, and enchanting ; and one which we could not but dwell on with 


pleasure. Near one end of it, and not far from the road, is a very great 
natural curiosity. It is a subterraneous cavity in a rock under the moun- 
tains, down which you descend, by some steps cut in the stone, into a large 
spacious room, through which runs a clear, limpid stream of spring water, 
which rises from the rock at one end and flows out at the other, through a 
passage under ground, and disgorges itself in the open air, not far from the 
entrance to the cave. I thought within myself, that this would form an 
admirable situation for a settlement, and this subterraneous cavity would 
afford an excellent convenience for a spring house* being always cool even 
in the hottest seasons. 

" With regret we left this delightful spot, and proceeded on about one 
mile and a half farther, to the foot of Spenser's Hill, where there was an 
excellent spring of water, and plenty of grass and pea- vine for our horses. 
Just before we reached this spot we met a party of horsemen, who were 
bound also to the western division of this State. The number of persons 
whom we now met surprised me very much, never having before noticed 
anything of the kind in a desert wilderness ; but it must be observed that, 
since the Indians have been at peace, traveling has been more secure, and 
small parties have not feared to trust themselves along the wilderness ; and 
as emigration is increasing very fast, there is great probability that this 
road will, in the course of a few years, be as secure as any in the United 

" We endeavored to persuade this party to join us this evening ; but as 
they were in a hurry to proceed they soon left us, and we presently after 
reached the place of our destination. 

" As we had experienced great want of water in our jonrney across 
these mountains, anything which partook of the nature of a stream would 
have been acceptable to us : how much more then must it be to meet with 
one of the finest springs the earth ever produced ! We drank of it as if 
it were nectar, and had it possessed any spirit, we should have lain down 
overcome with its fume3. We kindled a fire for the night, and then led 
our horses away to a neighboring spot abounding with rich grass and pea- 
vine. We then returned to our encampment, and passed away the remain- 
ing part of the day in observing the beauties of the place. We were now 
at the termination of the smooth plain I have been mentioning, and (after 
having made some circuitous turnings) were arrived at the foot of one of 
the highest ridges of these mountains, the ascent of which is remarkably 
Steep and difficult As I was wandering about, admiring the beauties of 
the place, and embosomed in the woods and mountains, I could not but 
reflect what an insignificant creature I appeared among these magnificent 

* A spring house is a very common appendage to an American farmer's 
tabHshment, oven in these rough countries. It is a substitute for an ice-house. 



works of the divine Creator ; and it threw me into a train of thought 
somewhat similar to what I should conceive Addison was in, when he 
penned certain numbers of the Spectator. We strolled about here till it 
was quite dark, and returning to the rest of our company (by the light of 
the fire they had kindled), spread our blankets and lay us down to rest ; 
and the next morning, 

"Wednesday, August 16M, — Awoke pretty early, in order to surmount^ 
before the heat of the day, the difficult path which lay before us. This 
was no less than one of the steepest and longest mountains I remember to 
have passed over. It was with difficulty our pack-horses could ascend it, 
and we were obliged to halt several times, or they would not have been 
able to proceed. Having reached the summit, we proceeded on pretty 
well afterwards, as the descent was by no means so rapid ; and when we 
reached the foot of the mountain on the other side, we halted at the first 
stream of water to refresh ourselves and our horses. Coming down from 
these mountains, we had a most delightful view of the surrounding country. 
The spurs or ridges of mountains which projected from the side of this vast 
base, formed an agreeable variety of hill and dale immediately under us ; 
and the distant plain, or sea of woods beyond, formed a delightful and 
enchanting contrast 

" We did not stop long at our breakfast, but (wishing to proceed on 
our journey) saddled our horses, and made the best of our way to Clinch 
river, where we arrived about three o'clock. Here we took leave of the 
wilderness, and observed once more the marks of civilized life. On the 
banks of the Clinch river we remarked a small Indian encampment, where 
a few Indian women were dressing some victuals : they told us their hus- 
bands were gone out to hunt. Whilst our horses were ferrying across in 
the boat (wliich belongs to a man who has a plantation on the opposite 
shore) we entered into conversation with them, and exchanged some salt 
and gunpowder for some mockasons which they had got 

" Clinch river, where we crossed it, was two hundred and eighty yards 
wide, and was within sight of its junction with the Tennessee, of which it 
is one of the principal branches. It is thirty miles below the junction of 
the HoLstein and Tennessee rivers. We paid for our ferriage one eighth of 
a dollar for each horse. It will be observed, by an inspection of the map, 
that from the time we took the Cumberland mountains to this place we 
have been traveling within the Indian country. The Indians keep this 
tract of land in full sovereignty, and have not yet parted with their title to 
it to the United States. But soon after we leave the banks of the Clinch 
river, we get once more within the proper limits of the State of Tennessee. 
After refreshing ourselves at the ferry we continued our journey, intending 
to reach this evening an encampment of men, women and children, which 
was formed between this place and Knoxville. These people were wait- 


ing to set out to settle some lands on the Tennessee river, but (as there 
lately had been a dispute with the Indians with respect to the running the 
line which divided their territory from the United States) they thought it 
best to wait the issue of the negotiation which was pending. The limits of 
the Indian territory had been fixed by the treaty of Holstein ; but it being 
some years after ere the line was actually run, they found (when they came 
to survey that part of the country) that a number of inhabitants had 
encroached and settled on the Indian territory. This was not at all to be 
wondered at, as it is almost impossible to know exactly where a line 
(drawn only upon paper) will actually strike when it comes to be 
measured. As the United States (agreeably to the policy which they 
have universally adopted) were determined that the Indians should have 
no just cause of complaint, they ordered all the families which had so 
encroached to remove within the limits of the United States, and the 
President actually sent a detachment of the army into the country to 
enforce his commands. This was the bone of contention which was the 
subject of conversation in every place I went into. The inhabitants firmly 
opposed being removed from their settlements, and they were supported 
in their opposition by the encouragement of those who were within the 
limits of the United States, as they ail hate the Indians, and think a little 
deviation from justice is a thing to be overlooked where their two interests 
clash with each other. So far does prejudice carry us ! And I believe the 
inhabitants were prepared to defend themselves against the soldiery with 
the point of the sword. Happily, things did not come to these extremi- 
ties, for it was discovered that the line which had been drawn by the sur- 
veyors was not agreeable to the treaty ; that, if it had been drawn right, it 
would not have cut off any of the inhabitants of the State within the Indian 
limits. Accordingly, a representation of this case was made to the Gen- 
eral Assembly at Knoxville, who forwarded a remonstrance to the Presi- 
dent of the United States; and, at the same time, formed a number of 
resolutions indicative of their determination not to suffer the inhabitants to 
be turned out of their possessions. Such was the state of the country when 
I was in it We reached the encampment about sunset, and, having kin- 
dled a fire among them and turned our horses into the wood* to search for 
pasture, went round to visit the different parties we saw there. They were 
scattered over a rising ground, near which were some fine springs of w.tter. 
They seemed to lament their situation, in being deprived of going to settle 
the land which they had justly and fairly bought, and were so worked up 
by the apparent hardness of their case that, had things taken a contrary 
turn, I believe they would have forced their way by the point of the 
bayonet We strolled about among them till it was quite dark. The sight 
of any kind of society quite enlivened us, and we returned to our grassy 
bed in health and spirits. In the morning, 


" Thursday j August 17tfi, — We rose again to pursue our journey. It 
was some time before we could find our horses, as they had strayed further 
into the woods than we had ever known them to do before. By the 
assistance of some of our kind companions, we soon recovered them, and, 
taking leave of this little society, directed our steps toward Knoxville, the 
capital of the State. Soon after we started, I took leave of my compan- 
ions, as they were going another road from the one I was pursuing. I 
therefore jogged on by myself, admiring, in silence, the different agreeable 
objects which were continually presenting themselves to my eyes. About 
one o'clock I stopped at a plantation which I saw on the road, and, having 
alighted from my horse and given him some corn, walked into the house 
to get sometlung for myself; for at all these places you may take this 
liberty if you pay them well for it. I found the family just set down to 
some soup or kind of broth, which was made by boiling Indian corn and 
bacon together, or in some such way. It was to me very good, as I was 
extremely hungry, though at any other time or place I might have rejected 
it with disgust Having tarried here about an hour, I pursued my journey. 
and, within about a mile or two of Knoxville, passed through the detach- 
ment of the army which had been sent down here to enforce the President's 
command. The band was just playing a military air, and a number of 
people had come from the town to hear and to see. It was an agreeable 
sight to me, as I found myself emerged at once from the bosom of the 
wilderness to all the charms of civilized life. I stopped a little here, and 
recognized some of the officers whom I had seen before on the Ohio. 
Soon after, I left them, and, at six, reached the town of Knoxville, which is 
forty miles from Clinch river. Ccetera desunt"* 

Here Mr. Baily's journal abruptly ends. He accom- 
plished the journey from Nashville in fifteen days. His 
diary gives us a lively idea of the country which Andrew 
Jackson went to Philadelphia to represent. If, however, 
he had gone that way in the autumn months, when emi- 
grants were wont to journey westward, he would have found 
the road less lonely. In a New York paper of November, 
1796, I find a paragraph which states that a gentleman had 
met, in four days' travel from Nashville to Knoxville, one 
hundred and seventy-five wagons, and ten times that number 

* Journal of a Tour in the Unsettled Parts of the United States of North 
America in 1796 and 1797. By the lato Francis Baily, F. R. S., President of 
the Royal Astronomical Society. London, 1851. 


of " bat horses," on their way to the Cumberland settlements. 
Another paragraph, of about the same date, mentions, as a 
remarkable item of intelligence, that the road through the 
Cumberland Gap was then safe for wagons containing a ton 
of merchandise 1 



Jackson reached Philadelphia about the first of Decem- 
ber — The Honorable Andrew Jackson of Tennessee. Albert 
Gallatin, a leading member of Congress at that time, remem- 
bered him, in after years, as " a tall, lank, uncouth-looking 
personage, with long locks of hair hanging over his face, and 
a queue down his back tied in an eel skin ; his dress singular, 
his manners and deportment those of a rough backwoods- 
man ;"° a description which no friend of Jackson's later 
years will admit to be correct. Nevertheless, so he may have 
appeared to the sedate and European Gallatin, looking back 
through a long vista of years at a man whose character and 
opinions he deplored. Philadelphia, then a city of sixty-five 
thousand inhabitants, was the center of all that the young 
republic could boast of the intelligent and the refined. 

The period during which Jackson served in Congress has 
recently received such frequent illustration that it must be 
fresh in the recollection of the reading public. Mr. Irving's 
Fifth Volume, which relates the rise of the democratic party 
(with more truth than sympathy) is the fifth volume of a 
household work. The reader, therefore need only be briefly 
reminded of two or three features of the time, which must 
have made a particular impression upon the young represent- 
ative from Tennessee. 

* Hildreth's History of the United States. 

1796.] FILTHY DEM0CRAT8. 197 

We have heard, in our own day, of the Great Unwashed. 
From an anecdote related of Mrs. Washington, it may be in- 
ferred that Democrats have held a reputation of that kind 
from a very early period of their existence as a Power in the 
world. One day in the second term of her husband's presi- 
dency, Mrs Washington's watchful ear observed that the 
harpsicord of her niece, Nelly Gustis, ceased playing. It was 
the young lady's time for practice, and her aunt was too 
strict a disciplinarian to allow her to waste those hours. 
The music was not resumed for some time, and in the midst 
of the untimely pause, the mistress of the presidential man- 
sion heard some one leave the room in which the young 
maiden was. She went in to learn his name. The young 
lady not volunteering the information, the attention of Mrs. 
Washington was suddenly attracted to a disfiguring mark on 
the wall, which had been painted a delicate cream color. 

"Ah," cried she, "it was no Federalist. None but a 
filthy Democrat would mark a place on the wall with his 
good-for-nothing head in that manner." 

There are representative anecdotes, as well as representa- 
tive men, and this appears to be one of them. Whether true 
or false, or half true, is not of the slightest consequence : 
it correctly indicates the drawing-room sentiment of the 
period, and has a special interest for us, inasmuch as An- 
drew Jackson was a " filthy Democrat." A filthy Demo- 
crat of that day was one who sympathized with, and be- 
lieved in, the French Revolution ; who thought the United 
States doubly bound — bound by gratitude and by community 
of principles — to aid the French republic in her struggle 
with the " leagued despotisms ;" who thought it due to the 
human nice that the Mistress of the Seas should be humbled, 
and that the United States ought to assist in that undertak- 
ing ; who opposed the conciliatory measures of Washington's 
administration, and held in abhorrence Hamilton's finan- 
cial system, the funding of the Public Debt, the National 

* Griswold's Republican Court 



Bank, and its issues of Paper Money ; who hated kings, 
nobles, and all privileged orders, with a peculiar warmth of 
animosity ; and who believed in Republicanism, pure and 
simple, as established by the Constitution, and as expounded 
by Jefferson. 

But why continue the enumeration, when before me lies 
the list of toasts given at the Evacuation Day banquet of the 
Tammany Society of the city of New York, on the twenty- 
fifth of November, 1796, just as Andrew Jackson was reaching 
Philadelphia ? These will give the reader an idea of what 
the filthy Democrats were then thinking about. Every toast 
was a hit at the Federal party, either in its form or its sub- 
stance : — 

" 1. The people of the United States and their President. 

" 2. The virtuous Congress of 1 776, who decreed the freedom of three 
millions of their fellow-citizens, thousands of whom afterwards sealed it 
with their blood. (Three cheers.) 

"3. The republic of France. May the wisdom and energy of her 
counsels confound and dismay, while her armies and navy overwhelm and 
annihilate her enemies. 

" 4. Spain and the other powers who have acknowledged the republics 
of America, France and Holland. May they be an example to the des- 
pots of the world, who are yet blind to the happiness of the human race. 

" 5. A lasting peace, founded on the basis of equ»i rights, to the bel- 
ligerent powers of Europe ; may they never more unsheath the sword in 
defense of despotism. 

"6. Citizens Jourdan, Buonaparte, Moreau, Bournonville, and the other 
brave officers and soldiers of the French armies ; success to their arms, and 
may their exertions secure the constitution and liberties of the French re- 
public. (Six cheers.) 

" 7. Success and prosperity to all who contend for the equal rights of 
man. (Nine cheers.) 

" 8. May the late infamous British treaty be expunged from the laws 

of our land, and the blank filled up with Here was written the first and 

last act of American ingratitude and pusillanimity. (Twelve cheers.) 

" 9. Eternal love and gratitude to the French nation ; may the men 
who would connect us with Great Britain justly incur the resentment of 
every genuine American. (Twelve cheers.) 

u 10. The voluntary exiles of our city and country, who sacrificed their 
alj, to establish ous freedom and independence. (Six cheers.) 


" 11. The memory of those American citizens who fell martyrs to the 
cause of our country ; may we never forget to celebrate their victorious 

"12. May the ' exercise of heels' so nobly displayed on the 25th No- 
vember, 1783, be for ever improved to the advantage of republicans. 

" 13. The American fair. May their smiles be propitious to the cause 
of Freedom, and their approbation be only bestowed on the friends of their 

"14. A speedy evacuation of this city by all the tories, royalists and 
British emissaries; may their retreat be to the tune of * Yankee Doodle.' 
(Fifteen cheers.) 

" 15. May the tricolor flag soon wave in triumph on the Tower of Lon- 
don, and may the oppressed citizens of Britain regain their lost rights and 
enjoy perpetual freedom. 

" 16. The day we celebrate ; may we ever remember the greasy flag- 
staff and the triumph of Liberty."* 

Jackson reached Philadelphia at a peculiarly interesting 
moment. The country had just passed through the agonies 
of the first contested presidential election, and every one was 
waiting with baited breath to learn the result. As Jackson 
was always a great reader of newspapers, we may be sure that 
he read in republican Greenleaf, a few mornings after his 
arrival, the following article, explanatory of the hour, as well 
as expressive of his own ardent feelings : — 

" The day before yesterday, the dye was cast, and the ballots for Presi- 
dent and Vice President irrevocably sealed up in the respective districts of 
the United States. Every citizen will acknowledge the great importance 
of this election ; and that the future prospects of this great people will be 
materially affected by the issue, none will deny. 

" Jefferson and Adams are fairly on the ground, but which, or whether 
either of them, will come out first at the stake, is problematical in the 
opinion of many. Pinckney and Burr are candidates for Vice President, 
and should there not be a uniformity in voting for these gentlemen, the 
chair, mayhap, will fall to the lot of one of them. We do not, however, 
admit this probability to outweigh the first, and look forward with steady 
eye in expectation that Jefferson or Adams will be the man. If neither 

• GreenleaPs New York Journal and Patriotic Register, of November 
29th, 1796. 


should be elected, it is probable neither of them would accept the second 
seat, and electioneering will not yet be done with. 

" Wherein would the true interests of the United States be differently 
pursued by Jefferson and Adams ? 

11 Jefferson believing it in the power of man to render their state happier, 
would naturally persevere in the support of those pure republican principles 
with which we began our glorious career. 

" Adams believing man incorrigible, but with iron bands, would as nat- 
urally lead on to kings, lords and commons, and soon bring the people into 
such a happy bondage, that, like the lambs that were led to the slaughter, 
they would smile on the hand which raised them to such eminence, and 
inure their souls to pure servility." 

All of which was gospel to the Honorable Mr. Jackson 
and his fellow-Republicans. This first contested presidential 
election exhibited the same revolting phenomena as those with 
which the present generation is familiar. It was a strife of 
loud-contending Lies. One party said: "Fellow-citizens, 
Monarchy or Eepublicanism is the question at issue, Those 
who desire monarchy and a war with France, our sister re- 
public and glorious ally, to whom we owe our liberty, will 
vote for Mr. John Adams, who is known to be a monarchist 
and an enemy to France." To which the other party replied : 
"All who wish to see the horrors of the French Revolution 
reenacted in America, the guillotine set up in our streets 
and a Robespierre in the chair of state, will vote for Thomas 
Jefferson, the Infidel, the leveler, the agrarian, the calumnia- 
tor of Washington, the crack-brained enthusiast/' Nor were 
the less conspicuous characters spared. In the Republican 
papers I see Hamilton accused of fomenting the Whisky In- 
surrection, in order that he might have an opportunity of 
showing his prowess in suppressing it. It was also insinuated 
that he was in the habit of laughing in his sleeve at the Presi- 
dent, while the language of adulation was ever on his lips 
when he approached him. Porn- Burr, upon whom such a heavy 
odium has since fallen, appears to have escaped with less than 
his fair share of vituperation. " British Guineas" was a fre- 
quent rallying cry of the Republicans, as "British Gold" 
was in subsequent elections. There was little mincing of 



words either. When the Gazette of the United States pre- 
dicted that the licentiousness of the [Republicans would end 
in the guillotine, the Aurora wanted to know whether the man 
who said so was " more a fool or a beast ?" The jokes of the 
campaign, however, were exceedingly mild compared with 
those of more modern days. " Do you know the reason," 
asked one gentleman of another, "why vessels are making such 
short voyages this summer to England ?" Of course, the 
gentleman addressed did not know. " The reason is," re- 
sumed the other, " that since the ratification of Jay's treaty, 
we have been drawing nearer England." Prodigious ! This 
is given in a New York paper, in a paragraph by itself, 
headed " Anecdote." 

Tennessee had taken a particular interest in this election, 
for two reasons : it was the first in which she had ever taken 
part ; and, secondly, she saw in it the means of punishing 
the party that had opposed and delayed her admission into 
the Union. I have a letter, written by William Blount, 
Senator elect from Tennessee, dated Philadelphia, September 
26th, 1796, addressed to Governor Sevier, which, I think, is 
worth inserting here, as showing the state of feeling among 
leading Tennesseeans during that campaign : — 

" I request you," wrote Mr. Blount, " to send my commission on by 
my colleague, Mr. Cocke. Permit me to say that it is my opinion that it 
will be the true interest of Tennessee in particular, and of the Union in 
general, to promote the interest of Jefferson and Burr for President and 
Vice President at the ensuing election, and it is my opinion, founded upon 
the best information that the nature of the case admits of) that they will be 
elected. I hope they will meet your approbation and receive your sup- 

" That Jefferson is a friend of our country I suppose nobody in Ten- 
nessee doubts, and I pronounce positively that Mr. Burr, from a combina- 
tion of circumstances, may be ranked among its very warmest friends. 
None of the southern States, except South Carolina, will vote for Mr. 
Pinckney for Vice President, but generally for Burr, and it is generally 
believed that such of the northern States as talk of Mr. Pinckney mean 

* From Autograph Collection of Gordon L. Ford, Esq., of New York. 


only thereby to promote Mr. Adams' election, and in the end not vote Mr. 
Pinckney. Perhaps this business had best not be spoke of aloud, at least 
I would not like to have it understood that there was any premeditated 
plan in the business. Mr. Fiske, who will have the honor to deliver you 
this letter, I believe, is with us in his wishes as to President and Vice 
President, but I would advise you not to speak freely with him on this 
subject From me he kuows nothing of it, and there are but few who do. 
Truth is, that I have taken a great agency in this election, and have been 
induced so to do by the part the adverse party took against the admission 
of Tennessee. I believe I have before told you that Benjamin Hawkins 
was appointed agent to the four southern nations of Indians ; he left that 
place yesterday, and goes to the Tuckabatchees, where he means to reside, 
by way of General Pickens'. His appointment is only temporary, and he 
may or may not be confirmed by the succeeding President. Do not sup- 
pose I have had any agency in his appointment, for I have not; he 
did not need it, for he is a favorite of the present President. Pray pre- 
serve peace at all events this year, as it is desirable in every point of view. 
You can't conceive what a puppy of a Secretary of War we have ; he was 
by the author of creation intended for a diminutive taylor. This is not 
an official letter. Yours, sincerely, 

" Wm. Blouitt. 

"P. S. — It is here believed that Spain has declared war against Britain. 
The French are going on with their successes as their most sanguine 
friends could wish. Britain must be humbled, and that she should be so is 
the interest of all nations. For the current news of this place, 1 refer you 
to the bearer, Mr. Fiske." 

One other circumstance remains to be noted. Jackson 
came to Philadelphia at one of those periods of commercial 
depression to which the country has always been liable. The 
financial reader is aware that the 8U8]>en8ion of specie pay- 
ments by the Bank of England, which lasted twenty-two 
years, began in February, 1797, about two months after 
Jackson's arrival in Philadelphia. The depression in Phila- 
delphia was already severe, and the failures were numerous, 
though the great crash was still a year distant. In all times 
of public disaster, one of the first of public necessities is a 
scapegoat, and never so much as when the cause of the gen- 
eral distress is something so simple, and, therefore, so puz- 
zling, as paralysis of business. When the government has 

/ /ftf Pri-JZcw* 

1796.] IN THE HOUSE. 203 

anything to do with th«3 pecuniary affairs of the nation, — 
when the government is the proprietor or manager of the 
controlling bank, for example, then the government is inva- 
riably the scapegoat. It was so when Jackson, for the first 
time, came in contact with the great world. He saw the 
general prostration of credit ; and when he sought to know 
the cause of this dire effect, whether he sought it in conversa- 
tion with Republican members, or in the flaming and confi- 
dent organs of his party, he heard and read but this : Ham- 
ilton — Paper Money — Over-issues — National Bank ! 



Among the fifty-six members of the House of Repre- 
sentatives who were present on the first day of the session, 
December 5th, 1796, was Andrew Jackson, the sole reprg-,' 
sentative of a State that has since senf^twelve members to &J- Ssjj > 
that House. The arrivals of the next few days increased the \ » u 
number of members present to eighty-nine. Few of their 
names have escaped oblivion. These only are remembered by 
any considerable number of the present generation : Fisher 
Ames, of Massachusetts ; Chauncey Goodrich, of Connecti- 
cut ; Albert Gallatin, of Pennsylvania ; James Madison, of 
Virginia ; Edward Livingston, of New York. And Chauncey 
Goodrich is known more as Peter Parley's uncle than as a 
member of Congress. John Adams, the Vice President of 
the United States, and President elect, was in the chair of 
the Senate, the list of whose members presents but one name 
that retains to this day a national celebrity : Aaron Burr. 

The first business transacted in the House shows the sim- 
plicity of the times. A member presented a petition from 
Thomas Lloyd, who offered to take short-hand reports of the 


proceedings of the House at the rate of thn^ v mus: 

sheet, or at a salary of a thousand doll'-. ., . v -- .. ,i ■ :.i 
furnish each member with fiv* •,...•*. • i '• • ::"-, 

printed and bound, for an addi >n-.- ww .. :■ • i- ;ed and 
forty dollars. This modest p. ,»■•*■;'■• . inferred to a 
special committee, who reporter • \-k< -Ay upon it ; but the 
House, after an animated debate, rejected it. " The debates 
are printed well enough in the newspapers/' said the opposing 
members, " and if each member should be furnished with five 
copies of the proposed report at the public expense, the mails 
of the whole country will be burthened* with their transpor- 
tation !" One gentleman remarked that members might as 
well be furnished, at the public expense, with the works of 
Peter Porcupine (William Cobbett) or the Rights of Man. 
To all of which the new member from Tennessee listened 
with a mind unprophetic of the Congressional Globe. 

On the third day of the session, a quorum of the Senate 
having reached Philadelphia, and both Houses being assem- 
bled in the Representatives' chamber, Jackson saw General 
Washington, an august and venerable form, enter the cham- 
ber and deliver his last speech to Congress ; heard him 
recommend the gradual creation of a navy for the protection 
of American commerce in the Mediterranean against the 
pirates of Algiers ; heard him modestly — almost timidly — 
suggest that American manufactures ought to be at least so 
far encouraged and aided by government as to render the 
country independent of foreign nations in time of war ; heard 
him recommend the establishment of boards of agriculture, a 
national university and a military academy ; heard him 
mildly expose the stupidity of paying low salaries to high 
officers, to the exclusion from high office of all but men of 
fortune ; heard him denounce the spoliations of our com- 
merce by cruisers sailing under the flag of the French 

° "There is now a clerk in the New York post office who used to cany the 
whole of the southern mail, from the Battery to the post office, on his back." — 
Evening Post, April, 1859." 


1796.] IN THE HOUSE. 205 

republic; heard him conclude his fifteen minutes' address 
with these words : 

11 The situation in which I now stand, for the last time, 
in the midst of the representatives of the people of the 
United States, naturally recalls the period when the present 
form of government commenced ; and I can not omit the oc- 
casion to congratulate you and my country on the success of 
the experiment ; nor to repeat my fervent supplications to 
the supreme Ruler of the universe and sovereign Arbiter of 
nations, that his providential care may still be extended to 
the United States ; that the virtue and happiness of the peo- 
ple may be preserved ; and that the government which they 
have instituted for the protection of their liberties may be 

When, amidst the profoundest silence, the President had 
finished his speech, he presented a copy of it to the President 
of the Senate, and another to the Speaker of the House. He 
then withdrew, and the Senators returned to their own 

At that day, it was customary for each House to prepare, 
and in person deliver, a formal reply to the President's open- 
ing speech. It was in connection with the reply of the Rep- 
resentatives to the President on this occasion, that the new 
nicml>er from Tennessee is said to have voted to censure Gen- 
eral Washington ; a charge upon which all the changes were 
rung in the presidential campaigns of 1824, 1828, and 1832. 
Let us see how much truth there was in the accusation. I 
use the words charge and accusation, because the vote re- 
ferred to has always been viewed in that light ; as though it 
were not meritorious in a representative to censure a popu- 
lar hero if he honestly deemed his conduct censurable. 

A committee of five, Messrs. Ames, Baldwin, Madison, Sit- 

greaves and William Smith, were appointed to draw up an 

address to the President. It was expected, and it was proper, 

that an address which was to be the farewell of the House to 

the first man in the nation, should be more elaborate and 

warm than any previous response to an annual speech. Ac- 
vol. i. — 14 


cordingly, on Monday, December 11th, when members came 
into the chamber, they found lying on their desks the follow- 
ing draft of the address prepared by the committee : — 

'address to the president." 

" Sir, — The House of Representatives have attended to your communi* 
cation respecting the state of our country, with all the sensibility that the 
contemplation of the subject and a sense of duty can inspire. 

" We are gratified by the information that measures calculated to en- 
sure a continuance of the friendship of the Indians, and to maintain the 
tranquillity of the interior frontier, have been adopted; and we indulge the 
hope that these, by impressing the Indian tribes with more correct con- 
ceptions of the justice, as well as power of the United States, will be 
attended with success. 

" While we notice, with satisfaction, the steps that you have taken in 
pursuance of the late treaties with several foreign nations, the liberation of 
our citizens who were prisoners at Algiers, is a subject of peculiar felicita- 
tion. We shall cheerfully cooperate in any further measure that shall ap- 
pear, on consideration, to be requisite. 

" We have ever concurred with you in the most sincere and uniform 
disposition to preserve our neutral relations inviolate ; and it is, of course, 
with anxiety and deep regret we hear that any interruption of our har- 
mony with the French republic has occurred ; for we feel with you and 
with our constituents the cordial and unabated wish to maintain a per- 
fectly friendly understanding with that nation. Your endeavor*! to fulfill 
that wish, can not fail, therefore, to interest our attention. And while we 
participate in the full reliance you have expressed on the patriotism, self- 
respect, and fortitude of our countrymen, we cherish the pleasing hope 
that a spirit of justice and moderation on the part of the republic will en- 
sure the success of your perseverance. 

" The various subjects of your communication will, respectively, meet 
with the attention that is due to their importance. 

" When we advert to the internal situation of the United States, we 
deem it equally natural and becoming to compare the tranquil prosperity 
of the citizens with the period immediately antecedent to the operation of 
the government, and to contrast it with the calamities in which the state 
of war still involves several of the European nations, as the reflection de- 
duced from both tend to justify, as well as excite, a warmer admiration of 
our free Constitution, and to exalt our minds to a more fervent and grate- 
ful sense of piety towards Almighty God for the beneficence of His provi- 
dences by which this admin jt ration has been hitherto so remarkably dis- 


Vi^« lS&*-~^ 

1796.] IN THE HOUSE. 207 

" And while we entertain a grateful conviction that your wise, firm, 
patriotic administration has been signally conducive to the success of the 
present form of government^ we can not forbear to express the deep sen- 
sations of regret with which we contemplate your intended retirement 
from office. 

" As no other suitable occasion may occur, wc can not suffer the 
present to pass without attempting to disclose some of the emotions which 
it can not fail to awaken. 

" The gratitude and admiration of your countrymen are still drawn to 
the recollection of those resplendent virtues and talents which were so 
eminently instrumental to the achievement of the Revolution, and of which 
that glorious event will ever be the memorial. Your obedience to the 
voice of duty and your country, when you quitted reluctantly a second 
time the retreat you had chosen, and first accepted the presidency, afforded 
a new proof of the devotcdness of your zeal in its service, and an earnest 
of the patriotism and success which has characterized your administration. 
As the grateful confidence of the citizens in the virtue of their chief magis- 
trate has essentially contributed to that success, wc persuade ourselves 
that the millions whom we represent participate with us in the anxious 
solicitude of the present occasion. 

" Yet we can not be unmindful that your moderation and magnanimity, 
twice displayed by retiring from your exalted stations, afford examples no 
less rare and instructive to mankind than valuable to a republic. 

" Although we are sensible that this event, of itself, completes the 
luster of a character already conspicuously unrivaled by the coincidence of 
virtue, talent*?, success and public estimation, yet we conceive that we owe 
it to you, sir, and still more emphatically to ourselves and to our nation, (of 
the language of whose hearts we presume to think ourselves at this mo- 
ment the faithful interpreters,) to express the sentiments with which it is 

" The spectacle of a whole nation, the freest and most enlightened in 
the world, offering by its representatives the tribute of unfeigned appro- 
bation to its first citizen, however novel arid interesting it may be, de- 
rives all its luster — a luster which accident or enthusiasm could not bestow, 
and which adulation would tarnish — from the transcendent merit of which 
it is the voluntary testimony. 

" May you long enjoy that liberty which is so dear to you, and to 
which your name will over be so dear. May your own virtue and a na- 
tion's prayers obtain the happiest sunshine for the decline of your days 
and the choicest of future blessings. For your country's sake— for the 
sake of republican liberty — it is our earnest wisli that your example may 
be the guide of your successors ; and thus, after being the ornament and 
safeguard of the pres% nt age, become tfce patrimony of our descendants." 


The friends of the administration endeavored to have this 
address read and acted upon immediately ; but the opposition, 
after a debate in which all the party passions of the day were 
unlisted, succeeded in postponing its consideration until the 
day following. It was then read, paragraph by paragraph, 
and debated for two days ; the opposition striving to reduce 
its glowing panegyric, and damn the administration with 
faint praise. Every prominent debater spoke ; both days of 
the debate were field days. The outline of one opposition 
speech, that of William B. Giles, of Virginia, will suffice to 
show the leading grounds of objection to the address, and the 
si>irit in which it was opposed. Mr. Giles in substance said : — 

" I do not object to a respectful and complimentary address to the 
President, yet I think we ought not to carry our expressions beyond the 
bounds of moderation. I hope we si: all adhere to truth. I observe many 
parts of the address which are objectionable. It is unnatural and unbe- 
coming in us to exult in our superior happiness, light, wisdom or advan- 
tages, and thus reflect on the unhappy situation of other nations in their 
troubles. It is insulting to them. If we are thus happy, it is well for us, 
and we should enjoy our happiness without boasting of it to all the world. 

'As to those parts of the address which speak of the wisdom and firm- 
ness of the President, I must object to them also. On reflection, I can see 
a want of wisdom and firmness in the administration during the last six 
years. I may be singular in my ideas, but I believe our administration has 
neither been wise nor firm. I believe, sir, that a want of wisdom and 
firmness has brought this country into its present alarming situation." 
{Danger of war with France; exchanges deranged ; business depressed ; 
panic.) " If, after such a view of the administration, I were to come into 
this House and show the contrary by a quiet acquiescence in such expres- 
sions, gentlemen would think me a very inconsistent character. If we take 
a view of our foreign relations we shall see no reason to exult in the wis- 
dom or firmness of the administration. I think that nothing, so much as a 
want of wisdom and firmness, has brought us to the situation in which we 
now stand. 

" If gentlemen had been satisfied with placing the President in the 
highest possible point of respect among men, the vote of the House would 
have been unanimous; but the proposal of such adulation could never 
expect success. Take a view of our internal situation. Behold the ruined 
state of publif =«nd private credit, which has never before been so deranged. 
What a shiiipcfui scene this city alone exhibits, owing, as I suppose, to the 

1796.] IK THE HOUSE. 209 

immense quantity of paper issued." (Intense approved on the part of the 
gentleman from Tennessee.) "Surely this could afford no ground for admi- 
ration of the administration that caused it ! 

" I must acknowledge that I am one of those who do not think so 
much of the President as some others do. When the President retires 
from his present station I wish him to enjoy all possible happiness. I wish 
him to retire. I wish that this was the moment of his retirement I think 
that the government of the United States can go on very well without 
him, and I think he will enjoy more happiness in his retirement than he 
possibly can in his present situation. What calamities would attend the 
United States, and how short the duration of its independence, if but one 
man could be found fitted to conduct the administration. I think there 
are thousands of citizens in the United States able to fill that high office, 
and fill it with credit to themselves and advantage to the country. Much 
has been said, and by many people, about the President's intended retire- 
ment For my own part, I must acknowledge that I feel no uncomforta- 
ble sensations about it I am perfectly easy in the prospect of that event 
It will be very extraordinary if gentlemen, whose names in the yeas and 
nays are found in opposition to certain prominent measures of the admin- 
istration, should now come forward and approve those measures. 

" To return to the last paragraph but one, where we call ourselves the 
'freest and most enlightened people in the world.' Indeed, the whole 
paragraph is objectionable. I disapprove the whole of it If I am free, if 
I am happy, if 1 am enlightened more tl«m others, I wish not to proclaim 
it on the house top. If we are free and enlightened, it is not the duty of 
this House to trumpet it to the world." 

And much more to similar effect. The debate was con- 
tinued. Some unimportant emendations were made in the 
address. The passage declaring that we are the most free and 
enlightened nation was changed by omitting the superlative. 
At length, toward the close of the second day, Edward Liv- 
ingston brought the debate to a crisis, and to an end, by dis- 
tinctly moving to strike out the words, "wise, firm and 
patriotic administration ;" .and to insert in their place, 
" Your firmness, wisdom and patriotism." The very brief 
debate which ensued on this motion will both interest the 
reader and prepare him for the yeas and nays : — 

" Mr. Livingston could not say that all the acts of the President had 
been wise and firm ; but he would say that he believed the firmness, wis- 


1 t 


dom and patriotism of the President, had been signally conducive to the 
success of the present form of government. He was willing to give him 
every mark of respect possible, but he believed some of his public acts of 
late had rendered the present motion necessary. 

" Mr. William Smith, of South Carolina (one of the committee who had 
drawn up the address), opposed the amendment, as he thought the gentle- 
man who proposed it, conceded the words to imply more than was meant 
by them — they are not meant to include every act of the Executive. He 
thought that the administration in general had been wise, firm and pa- 
triotic ; that the wisdom and firmness of the President had been conducive 
to the present form of government. Had not the words been put in the 
reported address, he thought it would not have been of consequence whether 
they were ever inserted. But the difference is very great, now that they 
are inserted. They are made public ; and, to erase them now, and substi- 
tute words in any manner deficient in sentiment to them, would be to carry 
censure and not respect. 

" Mr. Giles observed, that he thought the administration had been 
deficient in wisdom. Many gentlemen, he said, were very particularly 
opposed to the British treaty, and to the great emission of transferable 
paper. Could it then be supposed these gentlemen could, in this instance, 
so change their opinions ? He believed that the President possessed both 
wisdom and firmness. He was willing to compliment the President as 
much as possible in his personal character, but he could not think it appli- 
cable to his administration. 

"Mr. Gilbert hoped and presumed that the motion of his colleague 
would not obtain, ne understood that the House addressed the President 
in answer to his speech, always as a public man, and not in his private ca- 
pacity. How extraordinary, then, will it appear in this House to refer 
only to his private conduct ! It is, in substance, complimenting him as a 
private man, while the very words reprobate him in his public station. 
We are now to address him as the President of tde United States. We 
may tell him of his wisdom and his firmness, but what of all that unless we 
connect it with his administration ? 
J "Mr. Isaac Smith.— iThe_ sin of ingratitude is worse than, the sin ol 

. witchcraft;, and we. shall damn ourselves "to everlasting famejf we with- 
hold the mighty tribute due to the excellent man whom we pretend to ad- 
dress. Posterity, throughout all future generations, will cry out shame on 
us. Our sons will blush that their fathers were his foes. If excess were 
possible on this occasion, it would be a glorious fault, and worth a dozen 
of little, sneaking, frigid virtues. I abhor a grudging bankrupt pay men t, 
where the debtor is much more benefited than the creditor. The gentle- 
man from Virginia misrepresents his own constituents — I am sure he does 
all the rest of the Union. On the present occasion we ought not to con- 


1796.] IN THE HOUSE. 211 

suit our own little feelings and sensibilities. We should speak with the 
heart and in the voice of millions, and then we should speak warm and 
loud. What ! * damn with faint praise,' and suppress, or freeze the 
warm, energetic, grateful sensations of almost every honest heart from 
Maine to Tennessee I I will not do it ! Every line shall burn ! This is a 
left-handed way of adoring the people. 

" Mr. Dayton (the Speaker) said, the motion then before them was of 
great importance, and every man who thought favorably of the President's 
administration should there make a stand. For, if the words were struck 
out, it would convey an idea to the world that it was the opinion of that 
House that the administration of the President had neither been wise nor 
patriotic. Gentlemen might very well concur in the address in its present 
form, wiio did not think that every single act of the President had been 
wise or firm, since it was his administration in general which was referred 
to, and not each individual act He hoped, therefore, the amendment 
offered would be decidedly opposed, and that the words proposed to be 
struck out would be retained. 

" Mr. Gallatin spoke to the same, or similar purport. He did not 
approve all the acts of the administration. The British treaty he could not 
call a successful measure. But as to the funding and banking systems 
that had been adopted, whatever evils had come from them, they were 
legislative acts, for which the administration could not be held accountable. 
He should vote for the original address." 

The question was taken on Mr. Livingston's amendment, 
and decided in the negative. The whole address was then 
read with the slight amendments previously ordered, and the 
question was about to be submitted as to its final acceptance, 
when Mr. Thomas Blount of North Carolina demanded the 
yeas and nays, in order that posterity might see that he did 
not consent to the address. Posterity, which has nearly for- 
gotten Mr. Blount, will doubtless oblige him so far. The 
yeas and nays were then taken, with this result : For ac- 
cepting the address, sixty-seven votes ; against its accept- 
ance, twelve. The following gentlemen voted against it : 
Thomas Blount, Isaac Coles, William B. Giles, Christopher 
Greenup, James Holland, Andrew Jackson, Edward Liv- 
ingston, Matthew Locke, William Lyman, Samuel Maclay, 
Nathaniel Macon, and Abraham Venable. 

Jackson's vote on this occasion merely shows that in 


1796 he belonged to the most radical wing of the Jefferso- 
nian party, the " Mountain" of the House of Representatives. 
His vote does honor to his courage and independence, if not 
to his judgment. It was impossible for a natural fighting 
man, such as he, to approve Jay's treaty, or sympathize with 
England against France, or forgive the administration for its 
seeming tolerance of the Indian massacres in Tennessee. 

On the day following, at two in the afternoon, the mem- 
bers of the House, as the courteous custom then was, marched 
in procession to the residence of the President, who received 
them in his long dining-room, where they formed a semicir- 
cle round him, as he stood before the fire-place. The Speaker 
read the address which had cost so much trouble. The Pres- 
ident briefiy replied. The members then returned to their 
chamber, and this great business was done. 

Jackson's next vote was also Jeffersonian. Savannah, 
then called a " frontier town of Georgia," was nearly de- 
stroyed by fire, and Congress was asked for an appropriation 
in aid of the sufferers. The appropriation was refused by a 
majority of fifty-five to twenty-four ; Andrew Jackson voting 
against it. 

On Thursday, December 29th, 1796, the member from 
Tennessee first addressed the House. In 1793, while Ten- 
nessee was still a Territory under the federal government, 
General Sevier, induced thereto by extreme provocation and 
the imminent peril of the settlements, led an expedition 
against the Indians without waiting for the authorization of 
the general government. One of those who served on this 
expedition was a young student by the name of Hugh L. 
White, afterwards Judge, Senator, and candidate for the 
presidency. Young White killed a great chief, the King- 
fisher, in battle. After the return of the expedition, it 
became a question whether the government would pay the 
expenses of an expedition which it had not authorized. To 
test the question, Hugh L. White sent a petition to Con- 
gress asking compensation for his services. On the day named 
above, the subject came before the Committee of the Whole 


1796.] IN THE HOUSE. 213 

House ; when a report on Mr. White's petition, from the Sec- 
retary of War, was read. The report recounted the facts, and 
added, that it was for the House to decide whether the prov- 
ocation and danger were such as to justify the calling out of 
the troops. Whereupon, " Mr. A. Jackson" rose and said : — 

" Mr. Chairman : I do not doubt that, by a recurrence to 
the papers presented, it will appear evident that the meas- 
ures pursued on the occasion, were both just and necessary. 
When it was seen that war was urged upon the State ; that 
the knife and the tomahawk were held over the heads of wo- 
men and children, and that peaceable citizens were murdered, 
it was time to make resistance. Some of the assertions of 
the Secretary of War are not founded in fact, particularly 
with respect to the expedition having been undertaken for 
the avowed purpose of carrying the war into the Cherokee 
country. Indeed, those assertions are contradicted by a ref- 
erence to General Sevier's letter to the Secretary of War. I 
trust it will not be presuming too much when I Bay, that, 
from being an inhabitant of the country, I have some knowl- 
edge of this business. From June to the end of October, the 
militia acted entirely on the defensive, when twelve hundred 
Indians came upon them and carried their station, and threat- 
ened to carry the seat of government. In such a state of 
things, would the secretary, upon whom the executive power 
rested in the absence of the governor, have been justified, had 
he not adopted the measure -he did of pursuing the enemy ? 
I believe he would not. I believe the expedition was just and 
necessary, and that the claim of Mr. White ought to be 
granted. I, therefore, propose a resolution to the following 
effect : — 

" Resolved, That General Sevier's expedition into the 
Cherokee nation, in thj year 1793, was a just and necessary 
measure, and that provision ought to be made by law for pay- 
ing the expenses thereof." 

Some debate ensued, during which it was proposed to 
refer the subject to the Committee on Claims, to which Mr. 
Jackson objected. 


" I own," said he, " that I am not very well acquainted 
with the rules of the House ; but from the best idea I can 
form this would be a very circuitous mode of doing busi- 
ness. Why now refer it to the Committee on Claims, when 
all the facts are stated in this report, I know not. If this 
is the usual mode of doing business, I hope it will not be 

, The further consideration of the subject was soon after 
deferred, and the House adjourned. 

On the day following, Mr. Andrew Jackson presented a 
petition from George Colbert, a Chickasaw chief, who asked 
compensation for supplies furnished by his tribe to a detach- 
ment of Tennessee volunteers. The petition was referred to 
the Committee on Claims. After which, the petition of Mr. 
Hugh L. White again came up. The resolution offered on 
the previous day was read, and the mover thereof, Mr. Jack- 
son, again addressed the House. 

" Already," said he, " the rations found for the troops of 
this expedition have been paid for by the Secretary of War, and 
I can see no reasonable objection to the payment of the whole 
expense. As the troops were called out by a superior officer, 
they had no right to doubt his authority. Admit a contrary 
doctrine, and it will strike at the very root of subordination. 
It would be saying to soldiers, ' Before you obey the com- 
mand of your superior officer, you have a right to inquire 
into the legality of the service upon which you are about to 
be employed, and until you are satisfied, you may refuse to 
take the field/ This, I believe, is a principle which can not 
be acted upon. General Sevier was bound to obey the orders 
he had received to undertake the expedition. The officers 
under him were obliged to obey him. They went with full 
confidence that the United States would pay them, believing 
that the United States had appointed such officers as would 
not call them into the field without proper authority. If 
even the expedition had been unconstitutional, which I am 
far from believing, it ought not to affect the soldier, since he 
had no choice in the business, being obliged to obey his su- 

1796.] IN THE HOUSE. 215 

perior. Indeed, as the provisions have been paid for, and as 
the ration and pay rolls are always considered as a check 
upon each other, I hope no olgection will be made to the reso- 
lution which I have moved." 

A gentleman having remarked that he could sec no con- 
nection between the resolution and the petition, Mr. Jackson 
explained : — 

" By referring to the report, it will be seen that the Sec- 
retary of War has stated that to allow the prayer of this 
petition would be to establish a principle that will apply to 
the whole of the militia in that expedition. If this petition- 
er's claim is a just one, therefore, the present petition ought 
to go to the whole, as it is unnecessary for every soldier em- 
ployed on that expedition to apply personally to this House 
for compensation." 

The question was debated at considerable length. Mr. 
James Madison spoke strongly on Jackson's side. The sub- 
ject was finally referred to a select committee of five, Mr. A. 
Jackson chairman ; who reported, of course, in favor of the 
petitioner, and recommended that the sum of twenty-two 
thousand eight hundred and sixteen dollars be appropriated 
for the payment of the troops, which was done. 

The member from Tennessee did not again address the 
House of Eepresentatives. His name appears in the records 
thenceforth only in the lists of yeas and nays. 

In a debate on direct taxation, the question was warmly 
contested whether slaves should be taxed, as well as land. 
Jackson voted for taxing them, as did a large majority of the 
members, including those from the South. Mr. Benton 
explains this vote by saying, that in the slave States the peo- 
ple were used to the taxation of both slaves and land, and 
that to have omitted slaves would have seemed to them like 
sparing the rich, and burdening the poor with the whole 
weight of direct taxation. 

On the eighth of February, 1797, Jackson saw Mr. Vice 

* Benton's Abridgment, ii. 56. 


President Adams, in the presence of both Houses of Con- 
gress, open the packets containing the electoral votes for a 
successor to General Washington. For Adams, seventy-one ; 
Jefferson, sixty-eight ; Thomas Pinckney, fifty-nine ; Burr, 
thirty ; with scattering votes for Samuel Adams, Jay, Clin- 
ton, and others. The Vice President modestly announced 
that the " person" who had received seventy-one votes was 
elected President. A few weeks later, I presume, the honor- 
able member from Tennessee witnessed the inauguration ; 
" scarcely a dry eye but Washington's ;" " the sublimest 
thing yet exhibited in America," said the chief actor in the 

Jackson's other votes during the session were these : for 
finishing the three frigates, United States, Constellation, and 
Constitution ; against the continuance of the system of buy- 
ing peace with Algiers ; against an appropriation of fourteen 
thousand dollars for the purchase of furniture for the new 
presidential mansion at Washington ; against the removal of 
the restriction which confined the expenditure of public 
money to the specific objects for which each sum was appro- 

Congress adjourned on the third of March, and Andrew 
Jackson took a final farewell of the House ; for at the war 
session of the following summer he did not appear. 



Jackson's conduct in the House of Representatives was 
keenly approved by Tennesseeans. Senator Cocke wrote 
home during the session : " Your representative, Mr. Jack- 
son, has distinguished himself by the spirited manner in 
which he opposed the report (of the Secretary of War, upon 


1797.] IN THE SENATE. 217 

the petition of Hugh L. White). Notwithstanding the mis- 
representations of the Secretary, I hope the claim will be 
allowed ; if it is, a principle will be established for the pay- 
ment of all services done by the militia of the Territory." 6 
When, therefore, the news came, soon after, that Mr. Jack- 
son had been completely successful, and that, in consequence 
^ of his exertions, every man in Tennessee, who had done ser- 
. vices or lost property in the Indian wars, might hope for 
condensation from the general government, it may be con- 
cluded that the representative was a very popular man. 

Accordingly, a vacancy in the Senate of the United States 
occurring this year, Andrew Jackson received the appoint- 
ment, and returned to Philadelphia in the autumn of 1797, 
a Senator. The session began on the thirteenth of Novem- 
ber. On the twenty-second, " Andrew Jackson, appointed a 
Senator by the State of Tennessee, produced his credentials, 
which were read ;" whereupon, " the oath required by law 
was administered" to him and other new members, by the 
temporary chairman of the Senate ; Vice President Jefferson 
not having yet arrived. 

And that is nearly all we know of the career of Andrew 
Jackson in the 'Senate at that time. His record is a blank. 
In the list of yeas and nays, his name never occurs, though 
that of his colleague is never wanting. 

The business of that session was so late in reaching the 
Senate that four months passed before there was a single 
division of sufficient importance to be recorded in Mr. Ben- 
ton's voluminous Abridgment. Congress was waiting, the 
President was waiting, the new army was waiting, the coun- 
try was waiting, to learn the issue of negotiations with France ; 
to leam whether it was necessary to legislate for peace or for 
war. The Senators from Tennessee, meanwhile, were occu- 
pied, so far as they were occupied at all, with the arrange- 
ment of the dispute between Tennessee and the general 
government on the subject of the Cherokee boundary, re- 

* Ramsey's Tennessee, page 677. 


spec ting which the new State had sent to Congress a weighty 

We have one letter written during this session by Senator 
Jackson to General Kobertson, the father of the Cumberland 
settlements, with whom Jackson was afterword on terms of 
cordial intimacy. The allusion to Bonaparte in this letter is 
very noticeable. We shall see, later, that Jackson was an 
ardent Bonapartist down to the end of that conqueror's 
career : — 


Philadelphia, January 11th (or 21st), 1798. 
"Sir: — Congressional business progresses slowly; all important ques- 
tions postponed until we are informed of the result of our negotiation with 

The Tennessee memorial has attracted the attention of the two 
Houses for some time. Many difficulties presented themselves, and many 
delays thrown in the way. Policy dictated to us that the only thing that 
could strike at the root of opposition, and secure succes?, was a nomination 
of commissioners by the President for the purpose of holding a treaty with 
the Oherokeos. This was fortunately brought about, and, I believe, will 
have the desired effect Opposition is on the decline, and 1 have no doubt 
but a treaty will be ordered. The Senate agree in the expediency of the 
measure, but differ with the President in the numhfr of commissioners 
n-jcc&ary. This has occupied the Senate to delay in agreeing to the nomi- 
nation of the President ; and as those in nomination may be withdrawn, 
and others presented, I am not at liberty to give you their names. 

It appeai-s to be the wish of the President, by the treaty contempla- 
ted, to purchase all the land from the Indians that they will sell ; and I do 
hope that Tennessee river will become the line. When this is completely 
acted upon by both Houses, I will write you more in detail ; and should it 
be earned intc effect, of which I have no doubt, I trust it will be acknowl- 
edged that the delegation have done their duty so far as related to that 

France has finally concluded a treaty with the Emperor and the King 
of Sardinia, and is now turning her force toward Great Britain. Bona- 
parte, with one hundred and fifty thousand troops (used to conquer), is 
ordered on the coast, and called the army of England. Do not then be 
surprised if my next letter should announce a revolution in England. 
Should Bonaparte make a landing on the English shore, tyranny will be 
bumbled, a throne crushed, and a republic will spring from the wreck, and 

1798.] IN THE SENATE. 219 

millions of distressed people restored to the rights of man by the con- 
quering arm of Bonaparte. I am, sir with sincere respect, your most 
obedient servant) 

Andrew Jackson.* 

In April, 1798, Senator Jackson asked and obtained leave 
of absence for the remainder of the session. He went home 
to Nashville, and immediately resigned his seat in the Senate. 
This he did partly because he was worn out with the tedium 
of that honorable idleness ; partly because he felt himself out 
of place in so slow and " dignified" a body ; partly because 
he was disgusted with the administration and its projects ; 
partly because it was " understood" that, if he resigned, his 
connection, General Daniel Smith, would be appointed to the 
vacated seat ; but chiefly for reasons, personal and pecuniary, 
which will be explained hereafter. 

What, then, becomes of Mr. Webster's oft-quoted report 
of Jefferson's recollections of Senator Jackson ? In 1824 Mr. 
Webster spent some days at Monticello, and noted down the 
substance of what he heard and saw there. He represents Mr. 
Jefferson as saying, " I feel much alarmed at the prospect of 
seeing General Jackson President. He is one of the most 
unfit men I know of for such a place. He has very little 
respect for law or constitutions, and is, in fact, an able mili- 
tary chief. His passions are terrible. When I was President 
of the Senate, he was Senator, and he could never speak on 
account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him 
attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage. His 
passions are, no doubt, cooler now ; he has been much tried 
since I knew him, but he is a dangerous man." 

All of Mr. Webster's Monticello notes have been called in 
question, and some of them are known to be incorrect. Mr. 
Randall, the biographer of Jefferson, prints a letter from "one 
as familiar with Mr. Jefferson, with his views and modes of 
expression, as any one ever was," which letter contains the 
following passage : — " You ask me if Mr. Webster has not too 
strongly colored the Jackson portrait. I can not pretend to 

* Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee, page 544. 

220 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1798. 

know what iny grandfather said to Mr. Webster, nor can I 
believe Mr. Webster capable of misstatement. Still, I think 
the copy of the portrait incorrect, as throwing out all the lights 
and giving only the shadows. I have heard my grandfather 
speak with great admiration of General Jackson's military 
talent. If he called him a ' dangerous man/ ' unfit for the 
place' to which the nation eventually called him, I think it 
must have been entirely with reference to his general idea 
that a miltary chieftain was no proper head for a peaceful 
republic, as ours was in those days. I do not myself remem- 
ber to have heard him say any thing about General Jackson 
in connection with this subject except that he thought his 
nomination a bad precedent for the future, and that a suc- 
cessful soldier was not the sort of candidate for the presiden- 
tial chair. He did not like to see the people run away with 
ideas of military glory." 

Still, Mr. Jefferson's words may have been correctly re- 
ported. And, indeed, there were moments, during that ses- 
sion of Congress, when a fighting man of the Jackson stamp 
may have choked with fuiy. The insolence of the French 
Directory, and Mr. Adams' wise and humane reluctance to 
appeal to arms were enough to excite the ire of the Senator 
from Tennessee. The reader need only be reminded that this 
was the time when Chief Justice Marshall, C. C. Pinckney, 
and Elbridge Gerry, the most imposing embassy ever sent by 
the United States to a foreign country ; were refused recogni- 
tion by the French government, with peculiar circumstances 
of indignity and insult ; while the spoliations upon Amer- 
ican commerce by French privateers continued. And yet 
President Adams did not recommend a declaration of war ! 
Even Washington wondered at the President's forbearance. 
This noble hesitation on the part of Mr. Adams, this refusal 
to regard the conduct of the corrupt and bankrupt Directory 
as the act of France was something most uncongenial to the 
feelings of an ardent and young lover of his country. 

* Randall's Jefferson, vol iii, page 507. 






rnit. w« ni'AKE. 

1798.] IN THE SENATE. 221 

There was a President, forty years later, who brought a 
dispute with France to a crisis in a most summary manner. 
The time had come for summary measures. It is probable 
that the insight which that President obtained into French 
character at this exciting time, had much to do with his 
course in the days of Louis Philippe. It is, perhaps, a coin- 
cidence wortli noting, that Louis Philippe, a young fugitive 
then fnmi distracted France, passed through Tennessee and 
visited Nashville just as Jackson was returning home from 
his first visit to Philadelphia. The French prince was at 
Nashville in May, 1797.° 

Of Jackson's mode of life in Philadelphia during his two 
sessions, we know scarcely anything. From his letters of a 
later period I learn that he became acquainted there with 
that truly remarkable character, William Duane, of the 
Aurora^ most potent of Republican journals. Nothing is 
more likely tlmn that he dandled upon his knee Mr. Duane's 
little son, William, whom he was destined, one day, to make 
a cabinet minister. He formed a very high idea of Mr. 
Duane's character and talents. Born to fortune in the State 
of New York, disinherited for marrying a lady of a religion 
different from that of his family, young Duane had wandered 
oiF to the East Indies, where he edited a paper, and took the 
part of the Sepoys in one of their rebellions against British 
authority. He was forced to leave the country, and went to 
England, where he procured employment on the newspaper 
which is now known as the London Times. Returning to 
his native land, he threw himself into the politics of that 

* " lie (king Louis Philippe) inquired from what States we came, and said he 
had been ?.s far west as Nashville, Tennessee, and had often .slept in the wood* 
quite as scindly as he ever did in more luxurious quarters. Ho begged pardon 
of Mr. Carr. who was from South Carolina, for saying that he had found the 
southern taverns not particularly good. He preferred the North. . . He speaks 
the language with all th'? careless correctness and fluency of a vernacular tongue. 
We were all surprised at it. It is AmeiHcan English however. Ho has not a 
particle of tko cockney drawl, haif Irish and half Scotcli, with which many En- 
glishmen speak."— Pt tailings by the Way. By X. R Willis. Utter XVII. 
VOL. I. 15 


turbulent peiiod which followed the French Revolution. He 
wrote a history of the French Revolution. He wrote learn- 
edly on military subjects. He joined Mr. Bache in the editor- 
ship of the Aurora, and wrote so powerfully in behalf of 
Jefferson and Republicanism, that he long enjoyed the credit 
of having effected the first national triumph of the Republican 

With Aaron Burr, who had taken a leading part in ad- 
vocating the prompt admission of Tennessee into the Union, 
and who then ranked next to Jefferson in the esteem of Re- 
publicans, Jackson became acquainted, as a matter of course. 
Burr was omnipotent with your honest Country Member. 
That Jackson was pleased with the man and gratified with his 
attentions, there is abundant reason to believe. I imagine, 
too, that the Tenneeseean caught from Burr something of that 
winning courtliness of manner for which he was afterwards 
distinguished above all the gentlemen of his time, except 
Tecumseh and Charles X.° Occasionally, I presume, the 
member from Tennessee might have been seen at the house 
of Vice President Jefferson, the great chief of the party to 
which he was attached. From later letters of Jackson's, it 
is to be inferred that his acquaintance with Mr. Jefferson, at 
this time, was somewhat intimate. 

His most admired acquaintance among the public men of 
the day appears to have been Edward Livingston, the Repub- 
lican member of the House of Representatives from New 
York ; one of the intellectual young men of that time who 
went along with Jefferson heart and soul in his political opin- 
ions. A true Democrat, a lover of Jackson — we shall meet 
him again ere long, and often, and get better acquainted with 
him before we part. There is a notice in an old number of 
the Democratic lieviviv of this early intimacy between Edward 
Livingston and Andrew Jackson ; but it is, unfortunately for 
our purpose, written in the style which official organs are 
wont to employ w r hen they discourse of Presidents and Secre- 

* These two exceptions .alone I have heard made by those competent to judgo. 


1798.] IN THE SENATE. 223 

taries of State. Nevertheless, as it is the only glimmer of 
light now attainable on this part of Jackson's career, the 
reader may care to avail himself of it : — 

" It was while Livingston was in Congress, that was formed that inti- 
mate friendship between him and Andrew Jackson, which lasted for nearly 
half a century. Never were two natures more totally unlike attracted 
toward each other by those inexplicable sympathies which often link men 
the more closely together by reason of the very causes which would seem 
to tend to create a reciprocal repulsion. The one, of a contemplative spirit, 
speculative, endowed with a great power of analysis, but judging slowly — 
studying man, but from his studious habits mingling but rarely among their 
masses, and then rather in their state of aggregation than in the isolated 
individual — born of an opulent family, and educated in the midst of the 
most polished society of the country, and among some of the most distin- 
guished men in France — fond of the arts, and of letters, having cultivated 
with equal zeal that science which gives force and accuracy to thought, and 
that polite literature which teaches to clothe it in the forms that adorn its 
manifestations to the minds of others. « 

" The other, sprung from the ranks of the democracy in the broa Jest 
sense of the word— owing to himself, and to himself alone, both his educa- 
tion and his fortune — having encountered nothing but obstacles in his path, 
owing to the people alone his advancement, and cherishing a perpetual 
remembrance of their patronage — marching straight up to difficulty, and 
trampling it under foot, without ever turning it — in all that regards science 
and letters having had leisure only to study elementary books, but," — 
eta, etc., etc. 

" This high and bold spirit exercised upon me, from the first interview, 
the power of an irresistible spell. I loved to hear him relate to me the 
struggles of his youth with poverty and ignorance ; his childish and pa- 
triotic delight on the day when, like a young courser, he bounded into the 
forest, rifle in hand, to seek the continental troops encamped on the eve of 
the first battle in which he felt the movement of his warlike instinct In 
Congress he spoke but rarely ; but when he did rise, shaking his hair, and 
surveying the assembly with his eagle glance, the most profound silence 
reigned throughout it. 

" I once had the opportunity of hearing Jackson speak of the origin of his 
intimacy with Livingston. ' I felt myself suddenly attracted toward him,' 
he said, ' by the gentleness of his manners; the charm of his conversation, 
gay without frivolity, instructive without the ostentation of instructing ; by 
the profound acquaintance he already possessed of the theories of society, 
and of the laws in their relation to the characters of nations ; by his un- 
limited confidence in the sagacity of the people, and of their capability of 


self-government, tbrough the agency of representatives specially instructed 
to express the opinion of their constituents on great questions of general 
interest, still more than on those of local concern ; and above all, by that 
lovely and holy philanthropy, which impelled him from his youth to miti- 
gate the severity of those penal laws whose cruelties serve only to inspire 
in the masses a ferocity that always maintains an equilibrium with that of 
the laws which govern them.' "* 

There is a basis of truth in this high-flown fragment. 
The two men had a cordial esteem for one another, and re- 
tained it as long as they lived. At this moment, a bust of 
Edward Livingston adorns the hall of the Hermitage, and a 
portrait of Jackson, the gift of the General to his aid-de- 
camp, is among the most cherished treasures of Mr. Living- 
ston's family. 

Philadelphia was a gay place at that time, and particu- 
larly during the sessions of Congress. Country members must 
have deplored the removal of the seat of government to the 
wilderness on the banks of the Potomac. The advertisements 
in the papers of that day show an unexpected variety of pub- 
lic amusements. On the 3d of January, 1797, according to 
"Claypoole's American Daily Advertizer," the people of 
Philadelphia, besides having the privilege of visiting Mr. 
Peale's New Museum, had their choice of visiting the follow- 
ing entertainments : — 

At the " Old Theater, Cedar street/' there was the famous 
Signor Falconi, who bound himself to perform marvelous 
feats, as per advertisement : " This evening, Signor Falconi 
will give another of his philosophical performances, when, by 
particular desire, will be exhibited the so much admired ex- 
periment which was performed the first night, viz., the Dove. 
The performer will request any person to write any question 
they please on paper, who will be at liberty to put it into a 
loaded pistol, and discharge it out of the window ; the exhib- 
itor will neither see nor touch the paper ; and, to the aston- 
ishment of the spectators, a dove will instantly appear with 

* Democratic Review, vol viiL, p. 368. 


1798.] IN THE SENATE. 225 

the answer in his bill — with other new experiments. Signer 
Falconi, being ambitious to contribute as much as is in his 
power to the amusement of the generous citizens, takes this 
opportunity ofimproving his performance by a lively represent- 
ation of an engagement between two Frigates, or a Sea Fight. 
This exhibition will undoubtedly be very entertaining to the 
spectators ; they will be able to distinguish the maneuvering of 
the two ships, the sight of the guns as they are firing, with the 
concomitants, the rigging and sails made ragged by the shot ; 
the continuation of the battle, with the one losing her main 
topmast ; the roaring of the sea, and the smoking of the guns, 
the view of the boats and wounded men on the surface of the 
water, will give to any person who has not seen one, a perfect 
idea of a sea fight ; while the conclusion of it, together with the 
ingenuity of the performance, must be highly pleasing to every 
American ; with other scenery equally entertaining. To con- 
clude with the celebrated Dancing Master. To begin pre- 
cisely at half past six. Tickets to be had of Mr. North, next 
door to the Theater. N. B. Box, three quarters of a dollar ; 
pit, half a dollar ; gallery, one quarter of a dollar." 

If this failed to tempt the gentleman from Tennessee, he 
could hardly resist the attractions of the " Pantheon, and 
Rickett's Amphitheater/' which announced exercises in 
" Horsemanship :" " This evening, The Ruins of Troy, or 
the World turned upside down. A song by Miss Sully. 
Between the intervals of the stage, Mr. Ricketts will exhibit 
various feats in the equestrian exercises. Preceding the 
Poney Races a dance called the Merry Jockies or Sports of 
New Market. Poncy races with real ponies. The whole to 
conclude with the grand pantomime of the Death of Captain 
Cook. Boxes One dollar. Pit half a dollar. Doors open at 
5, and performance to commence at a quarter after six 
o'clock. Days of performance this week to be Tuesday, 
Thursday and Saturday." 

Then there were " Readings and Recitations at College 
Hall, Moral, Critical and Entertaining." " Mr. Fennell re- 
spectfully informs the Public that this Evening, Jan. 3rd at 


7 o'clock, will be delivered — 1st part, prefatory observations, 
including selections from Dr. Young, on Time, Man, Life. 
Part 2d. The effects of Sorrow, exemplified in the distresses 
of a daughter ; McKenzie. The Prisoner ; Sterne. Maria 
1st and 2d part, Sterne. The Beggar's Petition, Dr. Perci- 
val. Part 3d. The effects of virtue as exemplified in the 
character of a good man ; Young — The Country Clergy- 
man ; Goldsmith ; Domestic Happiness, Thomson ; with 
occasional remarks on the authors. " Tickets (half a dollar 
each) to be had of Mr. Poulson, jun. at the Library — at 
Mr. McElwee's Looking glass store, No. 70 South Fourth 
Street, and at Mr. Carey's, bookseller, Market Street. Sub- 
scriptions are received by Mr. Zachariah Poulson, Jun. at the 
Library, where the ladies and gentlemen who may be inclined 
to honor the undertaking with their patronage, are respect- 
fully requested to send their names and receive their tickets." 

And as if all this were not enough, there was to have 
been a concert, but — " The subscribers to the Ladies' Con- 
cert are respectfully informed that the Concert is postponed 
till Tomorrow fortnight, Mrs. Grattan being so indisposed 
with a cold as to render it impossible for her to perform." 

From pleasures such as these, and all the other delights 
of metropolitan life, Jackson turned away, longing to be em- 
ploying his time to better advantage in wild Tennessee, and 
believing, as he said, that his friend and neighbor, Daniel 
Smith,* could serve the State better in the Senate than he 
could. Early in the summer of 1798, he was at home again, 
a private citizen, and intending to remain such. 

* Eaton's Life of Jackson, page 19. 




But it 6cems he could not yet be spared from public life. 
Soon after his return to Tennessee, he was elected by the 
Legislature to a 6eat on the bench of the Supreme Court of 
the State ; a post which he said he accepted in obedience to' 
his favorite maxim, that the citizen of a free commonwealth 
should never seek and never decline public duty. The office 
assigned him was next in consideration, as to emolument, to 
that of governor ; the governor's salary being seven hundred 
and fifty dollars a year, and the judge's six hundred. He re- 
tained the judgeship for six years, holding courts in due suc- 
cession at Jonesboro, Knoxville, Nashville, and at places of 
less importance; dispensing the best justice he was mas- 
ter of. 

Not a decision of Judge Jackson's is on record. The re- 
corded decisions of the court over which he presided began 
with those of Judge Overton, Jackson's successor. To the 
present bar of Tennessee, therefore, it is as though no Judge 
Jackson ever sat on the bench ; for he is never quoted, nor 
referred to as authority. Tradition reports that he main- 
tained the dignity and authority of the bench, while he was 
on the bench ; and that his decisions were short, untechnical, 
unlearned, sometimes ungrammatical, and generally right. 
Integrity is seven tenths of a qualification for any trust. 
When not blinded by passion, by prejudice, or by gratitude, 
Judge Jackson's sense of right was strong and clear. More- 
over, the cases that came before the courts of Tennessee at 
that dav were usually such as any fair-minded man was com- 
potent to decide correctly. Jackson, I believe, wore a gown 
while in court, as did also the lawyers of that period, even in 
far-off Tennessee. This I infer from an entry in the old 
records of Davidson Academy, which orders the students to 


wear a gown of light, black stuff, over their clothes, similar 
to those worn by " professional gentlemen." 

Lord Eldon assumed the judge's wig very nearly at the 
time when our lawyer of the wilderness held his first court at 
Jonesboro and arrested the redoubtable rifle-maker, Kussell 
Bean. Wh»t extreme varieties of the same character ! 
Eldon, staggering under the load of his own learning, able to 
do anything rather than make up his mind, or change it ; 
Jackson, comprehending a thing at a glance, or never ; one 
sitting aloft in grand old Westminster Hall ; the other 
holding his rude court beneath the grander and older Tennes- 
see woods ; one, the last result and perfect representative of 
old-world legal science ; the other, a new man in a new 
world, with little to guide him but the interior sense of right 
of which legal science is the imperfect expression ; Eldon 
pondering for weeks over a technicality ; Jackson dispatch- 
ing fifty cases in fifteen days. Neither was a perfect judge, 
even in his own sphere ; but swift Jackson in the woods may 
have been a truer ally and abler promoter of right than 
solemn Eldon in Westminster. 

The llussell Bean anecdote, which, with variations, has 
been going the rounds of the papers for about forty years, is 
a good illustration of the gradual development of a popular 
story. The truth of it has already been related by Colonel 
Avery. The anecdote, founded on that truth, is infinitely 
more amusing : — 

"Judge Jackson was holding court at a shanty at a little village in Ten- 
nessee, and dispensing justice in large and small doses, as seemed to him 
to be required in the case before him. One day during court, a great hulk- 
ing fellow, armed with pistol and bowie knife, took it upon himself to 
parade before the shanty couit house, and cursed the judge, jury, and all 
there assembled, in set terms. 

" ' Sheriff/ sang out the judge, ' airest that man for contempt of court, 
and confine him.' 

41 Out went the sheriff, but soon returned with the word to the judge 
that he had found it impossible to take the offender. 

* See page 167 of this volume. 



u l Suiiiiiiou u posse, then,' said the judge, 'and bring him before inc.' 

" The sheri 11' went out again, but the task was too difficult; he could not, 

or dared uot> lay his hands on the man, nor did any of the posse like the 

job any bettor than he did, as the follow threatened ' to shoot the first 

skunk that come within ten feet of him.' 

"At tliis the judge waxed wroth, to have his authority put at defiance 
before all the good people of that vicinity ; so he ciied out> ' Mr. Sheriff, 
since you can not obey my orders, summon me ; yes, sir, summon me.* 

" * Well, judge, if you say so, though I don't like to do it; but if you 
will try, why I suppose I must summon you/ 

" * Very well,' said Jackson, rising and walking toward the door, * I 
adjourn this court ten minutes.' 

" The ruffian was standing a short distance from the shanty, in the cen- 
ter of a crowd of people, blaspheming at a terrible rate, and flourishing his 
weapons, and vowing death and destruction to all who should attempt to 
molest him. 

" Judge Jackson walked very calmly into the center of the group, with 
pistols in hand, and confronted him. 

" 'Now,' said he, looking him straight in the eye, l surrender, you in- 
fernal villain, this very instant, or I'll blow you through!' 

" The man eyed the speaker for a moment, without speaking, and then 
put up his weapons, with the words, ' There, judge, it's no use, I give in,' 
and suffered himself to be led by the sheriff without opposition. He was 
completely cowed. 

44 A few days after the occurrence, when the man was asked why he 
knocked under to one person, when he had before refused to allow himself 
to be taken by a whole company, he replied : 

" ' Why,' said he, * when he came up, I looked him in the eye, and I 
saw shoot, and there wasn't shoot in nary other eye in the crowd ; and so 
I say 8 to myself, says I, boss, it's about time to sing small, and so I did.' " 

This story I have in several different versions, cut from 
newspapers of various dates, which rfiow that, like the steam 
engine, it is a growth, rather than an invention, each period 
contributing some little addition to the delightful whole. It 
was reserved for this ingenious generation to add the crowning 
paragraph, which alludes to the vocalization of the noblest of 

It was while Jackson was judge of the Supreme Court of 
Tennessee that his feud with Governor Sevier came to an 
issue. This affair, considering that one of the belligerents 


was Governor of the State, and the other its supreme judge, 
must be pronounced one of the most extraordinary of " dif- 

John Sevier was a man after a pioneer's own heart. Past 
fifty at the time of which we are writing, he was still the 
handsomest man in Tennessee ;° of erect, military bearing ; 
a man of the Hunting Shirt ; easy, affable, generous, and 
talkative ; fond of popularity, and an adept in those arts by 
which it is won ; a Prince of the Backwoods ! For twenty 
years he was the fighting man of Tennessee, the hope and 
trust of beleaguered emigrants, and the terror of the maraud- 
ing savage. He fought in thirty-live battles, and was never 
wounded and never defeated. Mr. Ramsey tells us that " the 
secret of his success was the impetuosity and vigor of his 
charge." "Himself," adds the annalist, "an accomplished 
horseman, a graceful rider, passionately fond of a spirited 
charger, always well mounted at the head of his dragoons, he 
was at once in the midst of the fight. His rapid movements, 
always unexpected and sudden, disconcerted the enemy, and 
at the first onset decided the victory. He was the first to in- 
troduce the Indian war-whoop in his battles with the savages, 
the tories, and the British. More harmless than the leaden 
missiles, it was not less efficient, and was always the precursor 
and attendant of victory. The prisoners at King's Mountain 
said, i We could stand your fighting, but your cursed hallo- 
ing confused us ; we thought the mountains had regiments 
instead of companies.' Sevier's enthusiasm was contagious ; 
he imparted it to his men. He was the idol of the soldiery, 
and his orders were obeyed cheerfully, and executed with pre- 
cision. In a military service of twenty years, one instance is 
not known of insubordination on the part of the soldiers, or 
of discipline by the commander." 

When the fighting times were over, and Tennessee be- 
came a State, Sevier was elected the first governor, and he 

• MSS. Notes of Colonel A. W. Putnam. Colonel Putnam (great grand- 
son of "Old Put*') is a son -in-law of one of Governor Sevier's sons. 


was reelected every two years until he had served three terms. 
Then he was out of office for two years, because, by the con- 
stitution of the State, no man could serve as governor for 
more than three successive terms. But as soon as he was 
eligible again, he was again elected, and served for a second 
period of six years, at the end of which he was transferred tp 

With this man, so entrenched in popular esteem, Judge 
Jackson was at deadly feud. The remote cause of the dif- 
ference, was, perhaps, their similarity of position, both being 
men of a popular cast, and both having a number of friends 
zealous for their honor and advancement. Perhaps the veteran 
Sevier did not relish the rapid rise to popularity and high of- 
fice of so young a man as Jackson. Perhaps, at that time, 
as later in his life, Jackson was too quick to believe evil oi 
one who stood to him in the relation of competitor and rival ; 
a fault of human nature. 

But the immediate occasion of the rupture was this: on 
his way to Philadelphia in the fall of 1796, Jackson fell in 
with a young traveler, who told him that there was a com- 
pany of land speculators in Tennessee, who were forging 
North Carolina land-warrants, and selling, on various other 
pretexts, Tennessee lands to which they had no right. Jack- 
son, always strenuous for fair dealing and fair play, thought 
proper to write to the Governor of North Carolina, giving 
him an account of the young man's statement ; and the gov- 
ernor laid the letter before the Legislature. An investigation 
ensued. It was found that the information was not without 
foundation, and it led to measures which interfered with land 
speculation in Tennessee, threw some doubt on all land titles, 
and caused large numbers of Tenneeseeans to look upon 
Jackson as a man who had done an officious and injurious 
action. The affair made a great clamor at the time. One 
man, Stockley Donelson, a connection of Jackson's by mar- 
riage, was indicted for conspiracy and fraud, and the torn 
remains of the indictment are still preserved in the collection 
of the president of the Tennessee Historical Society. Among 


those who had unsuspectingly bought and sold the lands said 
to have been fraudulently obtained, was no less a personage 
than John Sevier, Governor of the State. And among the 
quarrels that grew out of the business, was a most fierce one 
between him and the innocent cause of all the trouble, Judge 

First, there was a coolness between the two men ; then al- 
tercations ; then total estrangement ; then loud, recriminating 
talk on both sides, reported to both ; then various i>ersonal 
encounters, of which I heard in Tennessee so many different 
accounts, that I was convinced no one knew anything about 
them. At last, in the year 1801, Jackson gained an advan- 
tage over Sevier which was peculiarly calculated to wound, 
disgust, and exasperate the impetuous old soldier, victor in so 
many battles. 

Sevier was then out of office. The major generalship of 
militia was vacant, and the two belligerents were candidates 
for the post, which at that time was keenly coveted by the 
very first men in the State. Nor was it then merely an affair 
of title, regimentals, and showy gallopings on the days of 
general muster. There were then Indians to be kept in awe, 
as well as constant rumors and threatenings of war with 
France or England. The officii of Major General wa6 in the 
gift of the field officers, who were empowered by the consti- 
tution to select their chief. The canvassings and general agi- 
tation which preceded the election on this occasion may be 
imagined. The day came. The election was held. There 
was a tie, an equal number of votes being cast for Jackson 
and Sevier. In such a conjuncture, the Governor of the 
State, being, from his office, commander-in-chief of the mili- 
tia, had a casting vote. Governor Roane gave his vote for 
Jackson, who thus became the Major General, to the discom- 
fiture of the other competitor. 

A year or two later, Sevier was a candidate for the govern- 
orship again, and a campaign ensued which revived and in- 
flamed all the old animosities. East Tennessee was full of 
Sevier's partisans, who, in the course of the canvass, imbibed 


the antipathy of their chief to the favorite of West Ten- 

In the fall of 1803, while Jackson was on his way from 
Nashville to Jonesboro, where he was about to hold a court, 
he was informed by a friend, who met him on the road, that 
a combination had been formed against him, and that on his 
arrival at Jonesboro he might expect to be mobbed. He was 
sick, at the time, of an intermittent fever, which had so 
reduced his strength that he was scarcely able to sit on his 
horse. But, on hearing this intelligence, he spurred forward, 
and reached the town ; but so exhausted that he could not 
dismount without help. Burning with fever, he lay down 
upon a bed in the tavern. A few minutes after, a friend 
came in anil said that Colonel Harrison and a " regiment of 
men" were in front of the tavern, who had assembled for the 
purpose of tarring and feathering him. His friend advised 
him to lock his door. Jackson rose suddenly, threw his door 
wide open, and said, with that peculiar emphasis which won 
him so many battles without fighting, 

" Give my compliments to Colonel Harrison, and tell him 
my door is open to receive him and his regiment whenever 
they choose to wait upon me, and that I hope the colonel's 
chivalry will induce him to lead his men, not follow them/' 

The regiment, either because they were ashamed to harm 
a sick man, or afraid to attack a desperate one, thought bet- 
ter of their purpose, and gradually dispersed. Judge Jackson 
recovered from his fever, held his court as usual, and heard 
nothing further of any hostile designs at Jonesboro. 

His next court was at Knoxville, the capital of the State, 
the residence of Governor Sevier, where the Legislature was in 
session. The presence of the Legislature, and the convening 
of the Supreme Court, had filled the town with people. The 
land fraud excitement was at its height, as the subject was 
about to come before the Legislature. Judge Jackson arrived 
in due time, and opened his court without molestation ; but 

* Komi ill, page 10G. 


as he was leaving the court house at the end of the first day's 
session, he found a great crowd assembled in the square before 
the door, in the midst of which he observed his enemy, the 
governor, sword in hand, haranguing the excited multitude. 
The moment Jackson appeared upon the scene, Sevier turned 
upon him, and poured upon him a volley of vituperation ; to 
which Jackson promptly responded. A wild altercation 
ensued, in the course of which, it is said, Sevier frequently 
defied Jackson to mortal combat. They separated at length, 
and Jackson sent the governor a challenge, which was 
accepted ; but as they could not agree as to the time and 
place of meeting, the negotiation ended by Jackson suddenly 
posting Sevier as a coward — the absurd act of an angry man. 

In those mad, fighting times there was in vogue, besides 
the duel, a kind of informal combat, which was resorted to 
when the details of a duel could not be arranged. A man 
might refuse the " satisfaction" of a duel, and yet hold him- 
self bound to meet his antagonist at a certain time and place, 
either alone or accompanied, and "have it out" with him 
in a rough-and-tumble fight. So, on this occasion, there was 
an " understanding" that the belligerents were to meet at a 
designated point just beyond the borders of the State. Jack- 
son was there at the appointed time, accompanied by one 
friend. The governor, accidentally detained, did not arrive 
in time. Jackson waited near the spot for two days ; but 
no irate governor appearing above the horizon, he deter- 
mined to return to Knoxville and compel Sevier to a hostile 

He had not gone a mile toward the capital before he 
descried Governor Sevier approaching on horseback, accom- 
panied by mounted men. Reining in his steed, he sent his 
friend forward to convey to Sevier a letter which he had pre- 
pared during the two days of waiting ; in which he recounted 
their differences from the beginning, stating wherein he con- 
ceived himself to have been injured. Sevier declined to receive 
the letter. On learning this, Jackson appeared to lose all 
patience, and resolved to end the matter then and there, cost 


what it might. He rode slowly toward the governor's party 
until he was within a hundred yards of them. Then, level- 
ing his cane, as knights of old were wont to level their lances, 
he struck spurs into his horse, and galloped furiously at the 
governor. Sevier, astounded at this tremendous apparition, 
and intending, if he fought at all, to fight fairly and on terra 
Jirma, dismounted ; but, in so doing, stepped upon the scab- 
bard of his sword, and fell prostrate under his horse. Jack- 
son, seeing his enemy thus vanish from his sight, reined in 
his own fiery steed, and gave time for the governor's friends 
to get between them and prevent a conflict. Through the 
efforts of some gentlemen in Sevier's party who were friends 
of both the belligerents, the affair was patched up upon the 
spot, and the whole party rode toward Knoxville together in 
amity. Nor was there any renewal of the combat. The 
anger of the antagonists and their friends found vent in news- 
paper statements, and after a brief paper war, exhausted 

About this time, too, Jackson quarreled with his old 
friend, Judge McNairy, with whom he had emigrated to 
Tennessee, an affair only noticeable from the nature of the 
provocation. McNairy had caused the removal of General 
Robertson from the Chickasaw agency, which lost their 
friend Searcy his office of clerk of the agency. Jackson 
was exceedingly indignant at this, and expressed his indig- 
nation in terms which made a between McNairy and 
himself that was never entirely healed. 

* " The principals," writes Colonel A. W. Putnam, " although never recon- 
ciled at any personal meeting or correspondence, ceased to talk of the difficulty, 
and, we think, ceased to cherish enmity towards each other. In some of Gov- 
ernor Sevier's children the feeling of bitterness towards General Jackson was 
long porj>ctuated, and perhaps in the bosom of no one so intense as in that cf 
Colonel George W. Sevier (my father-in-law); but even he visited the Hermitage, 
and I think dined there with the General, after his retirement from the presi- 
dency. They had each become members of the Presbyterian church, and the 
second son of Colonel Sevier had married Sarah Knox, a niece of Mrs. Jackson 
(and who had bec?n partly educated or raised ia the family, at the Hermitage.)" 


During one of the latter years of his judgeship, a new 
county of Tennessee, in the Cumberland valley, was named 
Jackson. That name now occurs on the map of the United 
States one hundred and ninety-one times. Fourteen States 
of the Union rejoice in a Jackson county, and each State has 
an average of half a dozen towns so called. Forty places in 
the United States are named Hickoby, not all of which were 
so designated from the prevalence of the timber of that name. 
But Jackson county, Tennessee, was the first of these geo- 
graphical honors. There is but one name upon our map 
which occurs more frequently than that of Jackson — Wash- 
ington — which may be counted one hundred and ninety-eight 
times. The other popular favorites fall far below these in 
geographical distinction. We have but a hundred and thirty- 
six Franklins, a hundred and ten Jeffersons, ninety-one 
Monroes, seventy-six Madisons, sixty-four Adamses, forty-two 
Clays, thirty-four Lafayettes, sixteen Calhouns, and fourteen 
Websters. Geography, without being one of the exact 
sciences, seems to have reflected the popular judgment pretty 
accurately in this distribution ; which, republican geography, 
of course, was bound to do. 

After the explosion of his feud with Governor Sevier, 
Judge Jackson, never pleased with his office, nor feeling him- 
self adapted to it, became more dissatisfied than ever, and 
longed to exchange the bench for a place demanding less con- 
finement, and more action. In 1803, the purchase of Louisiana 
was completed, and Jackson had an expectation of receiving 
from President Jefferson the appointment of Governor of 
that Territory. A letter which he wrote in the spring of 
1804 to his friend George W. Campbell, member of Congress 
from Tennessee, explains his feelings and wishes with regard 
to the office. To afford the reader an opportunity of judging 
of Judge Jackson's orthography, I leave this letter uncor- 
rected. It was written at the city of Washington, April 
28, 1804. For what purpose the writer was there at that 
time will appear hereafter. 



"Dear Sir, I reached this place on last evening — I have been detained 
on my journey since I had the pleasure of meeting yon, four days by high 
waters and an inflaniation in my leg — which has in a great measure sub- 
sided but I am not free from pain. 

The President is at Montcello, he has lost his daughter Mrs. Epps — 
Not a hint who is to be appointed to the government of New Orleans — 
I did not call to see the President — my reasons I will I will concisely state 
and leave you to Judge whether they arc, or not founded upon Just prem- 
ises — It was not known to me wither he had made the appointment, in case 
I had waited upon him and the office of Governor of New Orleans not 
filled it would have been perhaps construed as the call of a courteor — and 
of all chactera on earth my feelings despise a man capable of cringing to 
power for a benefit or office — and such characters that are capable of bend- 
ing for the sake of an office is badly calculated for a representative system, 
when merit alone should lead to preferment — these being my sensations — 
and believing that a call upon him under present existing circumstances 
might be construed as the act of a courteor, I traviled on enjoying my 
own feelings — And let me declare to you that before I would violate my 
own ideas of propriety, I would yeald up any office in the government was 
I in possession of the most honorable and lucrative — Who the choice is to 
fall upon is not known here unless to the secretary of State — but I have 
reason to conclude that Mr. Claiboum will not fill that office, I have also 
reason to believe that if a suitable character can be found who is master 
of the French Language that he will be prefered — I think that, a proper 
qualification for the Governor of that country to possess, provided it is 
accompanied with other necessary ones — I never had any sanguine expec- 
tations of filling the office. — If I should it will be more than I expect — But 
permit me here again to repeat, that the friendly attention of my friends, 
and those particularly that I am confident acted from motives of pure friend- 
ship towards me, (among whom I rank you,) never shall be forgotton, 
gatitude is always the concomitant of a bosom susceptable of true friend- 
ship, and if 1 know myself, my countenance never says, to a man that I 
am his friend but my heart beats in unison with it Permit me here with 
that candor that you will always find me to possess, to state that I am truly 
gratified to find tliat you constituents alone are not the only part of the 
union that think highly of your Legislative conduct, it extends as far as 
your speeches have been read, and you are known as a member of the rep- 
resentative branch — May you continue to grow in popularity on the basis 
of your own merit — And as long as you are guarded by your own Judg't 
this will continue to be the case, this is in my opinion the only road to a 
lasting popularity, for the momenta man jealdshis Judgt to popular whim, 
VOL. I. — 16 


he may be compared to a ship without its ruder, in a gale — he is sure to be 
dashed against a rock — accept my dear sir, my warmest wishes for your 
welfare. Andrew Jackson.* 

July the 24th, 1804, Jackson's resignation of his judgeship 
was accepted by the Legislature, and he found himself, to his 
unfeigned relief, once more in private life, free to devote him- 
self to his own affairs, which urgently called for his attention. 
For some years after his retirement from the bench, he was 
sometimes called, and called himself, Judge Jackson. So, at 
least, I conclude from a pleasant little narrative received from 
a venerable and most estimable lady of Nashville, which shall 
conclude and alleviate this warlike chapter. 

" It was in 1808," began Mrs. K., " when I was a girl of 
sixteen, that I first saw General Jackson. It was in East 
Tennessee, at the house of Captain Lyon, whose family myself 
and another young lady were visiting. We were sitting at 
work one afternoon, when a servant, who was lounging at the 
window, exclaimed, ' Oh, see what a fine, elegant gentleman 
is coming up the road !' We girls ran to the window, of 
course, and there, indeed, was a fine gentleman, mounted on 
a beautiful horse, an upright, striking figure, high jack-boots 
coming up over the knee, holsters, and every thing handsome 
and complete. He stopped before the door, and said to a 
negro whom he saw there : 

" l Old man, does Captain Lyon live here ?' 

" The old man gave the desired information. 

" i Is he at home ?' inquired the stranger. 

" He was not at home. 

" ' Do you expect him home to-night ?' 

" Yes ; he was expected every moment. The old man was 
there waiting to take his horse. 

" ' Well, my good boy/ continued the stranger, ' I have 
come to see Captain Lyon ; and, as he is coming home to- 
night, I will alight and walk in/ 

" The old negro, all assiduity and deference, led the horse 

* From MSS. left by Hon. George W. Campbell, in possession of his family. 


to the stable, and the stranger entered the house, where we 
girls were sitting as demurely as though we had not been 
peeping and listening. We all rose as he entered the room. 
He bowed and smiled, as he said : 

" l Excuse my intruding upon you, ladies, in the absence 
of Captain Lyon. I am Judge Jackson. I have business 
with Captain Lyon, and am here by his invitation. I hope I 
do not incommode you/ 

" We were all captivated by this polite speech, and the 
agreeable manner in which it was spoken. Soon after, Captain 
Lyon entered, accompanied by two officers of the army, one of 
whom was Doctor Bronaugh. We had a delightful evening. 
I remember Jackson was full of anecdote, and told us a great 
deal about the early days of Tennessee. Dr. Bronaugh, as it 
happened, sat next to me, and paid me somewhat marked at- 
tentions. The party broke up the next morning, and we saw 
Judge Jackson ride away on his fine horse, and all agreed 
that a finer looking man or a better horseman there was not 
in Tennessee. Years passed before I saw him again. I was a 
married woman, though he knew it not. He recognized me 
in a moment, and so well did he remember the incidents of 
this evening, that the first salutations were no sooner over, 
than he said, laughing, 

" ' Well, Miss , and how is that handsome young of- 
ficer who was so attentive to you at Captain Lyon's ?' 

" ' General/ said I, ' permit me to present to you my 
husband, Captain K.' 

" Not another word was said about the handsome young 




The aristocracy of a country are they who wield its 
resources. In the United States, therefore, the business man 
is lord. 

Was it for this reason that democratic gentlemen, who 
have written of General Jackson, have so sedulously shirred 
over the fact that, during several years in the prime of his 
life, he kept a store ? The silence on this subject of all those 
who could have told us something about it from personal 
knowledge, has made it a task of extreme difficulty to obtain 
the desired information. The following account of his bus- 
iness career, compiled from many sources, personal, manu- 
script and printed, may not be entirely correct in minor 
particulars, but is so, I believe, in essential ones : — 

Some trade was carried on between the Cumberland set- 
tlements and the Atlantic provinces almost from the first. 
Salt was brought, on pack horses, all the way from Rich- 
mond, in Virginia, and from Augusta in Georgia, and was 
sold in Tennessee at ten dollars a bushel. At that day, we 
are told, the salt gourd was the treasure of every cabin. 
Iron also was brought, on pack horses, from the East, and 
sold at fabulous prices ; so that it was used only in the 
repairing of plows and such other farming utensils as could 
not be made wholly of wood. Only wooden nails, latches 
and hinges were known in the settlements for many years. 
The hunting shirts of skins or home-spun cloth, moccasins, 
hats of home-dressed fur, were generally worn, and rendered 
dry goods brought from the East unnecessary. But when 
Jackson came to the Cumberland, in 1788, Nashville was 
already the center of an active trade, not only with the eastern 
States, but with Natchez and New Orleans. " Ten horses, 
]wicked with goods from Philadelphia, traveling by slow 
stages through the length of Virginia, and arriving at the 

1804.] MAN OP BUSINESS. 241 

Bluff in the fall of the year 1786, was a sight worth looking 
at, and proves that Nashville was not then a 'one horse 
town/ "* 

There is some slight reason to believe that Jackson dabbled 
in trade as soon as he had been long enough in his new home 
to get any thing to trade upon. Among the collections of 
the Tennessee Historical Society may be seen a note addressed 
by J. C. Montflorence to Andrew Jackson, dated July 23d> 
1790, which reads as follows : — " Dear Sir : Please to ac- 
count with Captain Anthony Hart for the little venture of 
Swann skins which you were so obliging as to take down to 
the Natchez for me. And you will oblige very much, dear 
sir," etc., etc. 

There are no means of elucidating this writing, preserved 
by chance so long while so many things of greater value have 
been lost. We at least learn from it that when Jackson 
accompanied Kachel Eobards to Natchez in 1791, he per- 
formed the journey not for the first time. If Mr. Montflor- 
ence, who was also an active lawyer, sent his " little venture" 
down to Natchez, it is likely enough that Jackson did so too. 
But his absorbing business, during the first ten years of his 
residence in Tennessee, was the practice of the law. Land 
being then almost a legal tender, he became, as we have 
before remarked, the owner of large tracts, which, rising in 
value every year, and rising rapidly after the Nickajack expe- 
dition, made him comparatively rich. Land' which he bought 
for half a dollar an acre in 1790 was worth five dollars an acre 
in 1798 ; in which year he owned, I presume, not less than 
fifty thousand acres. 

We have seen him abruptly resigning the honorable post 
of Senator of the United States. To be a member of Con- 
gress, at that day, from a State so remote as Tennessee, (six 
weeks' journey from Philadelphia) absorbed nearly the whole 
year ; and this alone would have rendered such a man as 
Jackson, formed for activity and keen in the pursuit of for- 

* Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee, page 174. 


tune, averse to filling the office. Nor was there ever a man 
less inclined than he to pass the best hours of every day for 
seven successive months, quiescent in a red morocco chair, 
playing Senator. In 1798, while still holding his seat in the 
Senate, he succeeded in selling to a merchant of Philadelphia, 
who desired to invest money in western lands, some thou- 
sands of his own wild acres, for the sum of six thousand six 
hundred and seventy-six dollars. The purchaser was David 
Allison, then one of the most extensive merchants in the 
country, a man whose paper, had he lived in our day, would 
have been styled " gilt-edged." Allison paid for the land in 
three promissory notes, which were payable, as I conjecture, 
at intervals of a year, or a year and a half. But so high was 
the credit of Allison, that Jackson was able with these long 
notes, endorsed by himself, to buy in Philadelphia a stock of 
goods suitable for the settlements on the Cumberland river. 
He then resigned his seat in the Senate ; sent on his goods 
by wagons to Pittsburg, by flat-boat down the Ohio to 
Louisville, by wagons again, or pack horses, across the coun- 
try to the neighborhood of Nashville ; and went home him- 
self to sell them. 

He lived then upon a plantation called Hunter's Hill, 
about thirteen miles from Nashville, and two miles from the 
" Hermitage" that was to be. He owned there a tract of 
many thousand acres, of which a part was the subsequent 
Hermitage farm. A small portion only of his estate was 
under culture, but his importance in the neighborhood was 
attested by his living in a frame house, at a time when a 
house not made of logs was a curiosity. Long ago this man- 
sion was burnt, but there is still standing, or recently was, 
a small block house near Hunter's Hill, which Jackson is said 
to have used as a store, and from a narrow window of which 
he sold goods to the Indians ; whose thieving propensities 
obliged him to exclude them from the interior of the estab- 

* Pa pore in the suit of Andrew Jackson against Andrew Erwin. Nash- 
ville, 1813. 

1804.] MAN OF BUSINESS. 243 

lishment. In the selling of his goods and the general man- 
agement of his business, he was, for some years, assisted by 
John Hutchings, a near relation of Mrs. Jackson. 

Jackson, as we have seen, accepted the judgeship of the 
Supreme Court; intending to continue his little store in 
operation, and to snatch time enough between his courts to 
make an occasional swift journey to Philadelphia for the pur- 
chase of a fresh supply of goods. For a while all went well 
with him. But, before the first Allison note was due, came 
the crash and panic of 1798 and 1799, during which David 
Allison failed. Notice was forwarded to Jackson to provide 
for the payment of the notes with which he had bought his 
stock of goods. This was a staggering blow ; not only be- 
cause the amount of the loss was large, but because the notes 
had to be paid in money, real money, money that was cur- 
rent in Philadelphia, which, of all commodities, was the one 
most scarce in the new States of the far West. To the honor 
of Andrew Jackson be it recorded, that each of these large 
notes was paid, principal and interest, on the day of its ma- 
turity. To do this cost him a long and desperate effort, one 
more severe, perhaps, than any other of his whole life, public 
or private. But it was done. In doing it, however, he be- 
came involved in various ways. He was an embarrassed and 
anxious man during the whole period of his judgeship, and 
found himself, after six years of public service, embarrassed 
and anxious still. 

Andrew Jackson was a man singularly averse to anything 
complicated ; and of all complications the one under which 
he was most restive was Debt. He hated Debt. So, about 
the year 1804, he resolved upon simplifying, or " straighten- 
ing out" his affairs, and commencing life anew. He resigned 
his judgeship. He sold his house and improved farm on 
Hunter's Hill. He sold twenty-five thousand acres, more or 
less, of his wild lands in other parts of the State. He paid 
off all his debts. He removed, with his negroes, to the place 
now known as the Hermitage, and lived once more in a house 
of logs. He went more extensively into mercantile business 


than ever. Soon, we find him connected in business with 
John Coffee ; the firm now being, Jackson, Coffee & Hutch- 
ings. Coffee had before been engaged in business in a neigh- 
boring village, and, says tradition, had failed. The store 
occupied by the firm of Jackson, Coffee & Hutchings was a 
block house, standing then, and standing now, on Stone's 
River, at a place called Clover Bottom, four iniles from the 
Hermitage, and seven from Nashville. The old block house 
is now a pile without inhabitant ; the mortar is falling out 
of the interstices ; the windows are broken ; the roof is rotting 
away. Coffee (not yet married to Mrs. Jackson's niece) lived 
in the block house then, as well as sold merchandise therein, 
and Jackson rode over in the morning from the Hermitage, 
served in the store all day, and rode home at night, with the 
regularity of a man of business. Need I add, that this John 
Coffee, the partner of Andrew Jackson, was afterwards his 
faithful comrade in the wars — General Coffee, the Hero of the 
Twenty-third of December 1814 ! 

Jackson was now a man with many irons in the fire. 
First, there was his farm, cultivated by slaves, superintended 
by Mrs. Jackson, in the absence of her lord. The large fam- 
ily of slaves, one hundred and fifty in number, of which he 
died possessed, were mostly descended from the few that he 
owned in his etorekeeping days. He was a vigilant and suc- 
cessful farmer. To use the language of the South, " He 
made good crops." He was proud of a well-cultivated field. 
Every visitor was invited to go the rounds of his farm, and 
see his cotton, corn, and wheat, his horses, cows, and mules. 
He had, also, a backwoodsman's skill in repairing and con- 
triving, and spent many a day in putting an old plow in order, 
or finishing off a new cabin. 

On his plantation he had a cotton-gin, a rarity at that 
day, upon which there was a special tax of twenty dollars a 
year. The tax books of Davidson county show that in 1804 

* Tho cotton-gin was invented by Eli Whitney of Massachusetts, about 
1793. So that tho invention made rapid progress. 

1805.] HAN OF BUSINESS. 245 

there were but twenty-four gins in the county, of which An- 
drew Jackson was the owner of one. This cotton-gin served 
to clean his own cotton, the cotton of his neighbors, and that 
which he took in exchange for goods. 

The business of his store was of several kinds. He sold 
goods brought from Philadelphia, such as cloth, blankets, 
calico, and dry goods generally ; prices on the Cumberland 
being about three times those of Philadelphia. Broadcloth 
bought in Philadelphia for five dollars a yard, Jackson, Cof- 
fee & Hutching8 sold in their store for fifteen dollars. They 
also dealt in salt, grindstones, hardware, gunpowder, cow bells, 
and whatever else the people of the neighborhood wanted. 
In payment for these commodities, they took, not money, but 
cotton, ginned and unginned, wheat, corn, tobacco, pork, skins, 
furs, and, indeed, all the produce of the country. This pro- 
duce they sent in flat-boats down the Cumberland, the Ohio, 
and the Mississippi to Natchez, where it was sold for the 
market of New Orleans. It appears, also, that the firm made 
it a business to build boats for other traders, their situation 

* The following Price Current is copied from the Impartial Review, of Nash- 
ville, of January 17, 1807. It may servo to show the nature of mercantile busi- 
ness at Nashville at the time when Andrew Jackson was a merchant in the 
vicinity : — 


$ Ctfl. $ eta. 

Ashes, Pearl and Pot none. Furs, small 35 

Bacon none. Feather*, per lb 60 

Beef, per cwt 3 Hogs* Lard, per lb 9 

Butter, per lb 16 1-3 Lead, per cwt 10 

Bees' Wax, per lb 25 Leather, soal 27 

Bear Skins, from 75 cts to 2 Lime, per bush 16 

Beaver Fur, per lb 1 Meal, Indian, from 42 cts. to 60 

Bar Iron, per cwt 10 Pork, por cwt. 8 60 

Bricks, per 1000 8 Potatoes, per bnsh 87 l-5f 

Cotton, loose, per cwt. 15 Rice, per lb. 9 

Cotton, baled 17 Salt, per bush, by the bbl 2 

Cotton Baling, per yd 83 Stares, per 1000 8 

Cotton Cordage, per lb 16 Tobacco, per cwt 8 

Candles, per lb. 18 1-2 Tallow, per lb 10 

Corn,perbbl 1 Tar, per gall 66 2-8 

Castings, per cwt 10 Twine, per lb 68 

Deer Skins, per cwt 16 Wheat none. 

Flour, country, per cwt 8 Whisky, per gall 75 

Floor, imported, per bbl 8 


on a branch of the Cumberland giving them facilities for 
that. At one time, too, probably before Coffee joined them, 
Jackson and Hutchings had a branch of their store at Galla- 
tin, the capital of Sumner county, Tennessee, twenty-six miles 
from Nashville. 

* The following are advertisements from the Impartial Review, of January 17, 
1807 :— 

I am authorized by a respectable mercantile bouse in New Orleans to pur* 
chase one thousand bales of COTTON, also $1000 worth of BEAR SKINS, for 
which approved BILLS on New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, will be given 
in payment A. Foster. 

T. OVERTON has Negroes to hire, among which are several mechanics. 
Also LANDS for sale in various parts of the State. 
Soldiers' Rest, January 9, 1807. 

CAUTION. — The subscriber having been at very considerable expense of in- 
closing that bend of Cumberland river, known by the name of Robertson's Bend, for 
the purpose of confining and raising stock ; and finding that private remonstrance 
will not prevent individuals from going into it repeatedly with guns and dogs, 
Interrupting his stock, leaving his fences down, and even riding through his cot- 
ton fields, to the considerable injury of his crops, is compelled to take this method 
to caution all persons from entering said inclosure, on any pretense whatever, 
with gun or dog, as he is determined to deal with them (if detected) according to 
law. Any person wishing to go in quest of stock supposed to be within the in- 
closure can call at my house and obtain permission. James Robertson. 

December 17, 1806. 

Bills of Exchange. — On Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Lon- 
don ; also Pennsylvania Bank POST BILLS. Apply to 

M. G. Cullen k Co., New Orleans. 

Who will advance four fifths of the amount of all Cotton, and a proportion- 
able part of the value of all other produce addressed to their House in Liverpool. 
For sale, BILLS on London, at sixty days. 

THE subscriber wishes to inform the citizens of Nashville and its vicinity 
that he intends carrying on the Ilouse Painting Business in all its various 
branches (equal to any in Europe). He also intends quilting, glazing, and nil 
other works which may come before him in his line. He hopes the small per- 
formance which he has made at Wm. T. Lewis' may meet the approbation of 
the community. Ezkkiel Hudnall. 

January 9, 1807 

MARRIED— On Thursday evening last, Mr. STEPHEN CANTREL, to the 
agreeable and justly admired Miss JULIET WINVLE, both of this place. 

1805.] MAN OF BUSINESS. 247 

General Jackson's fine horses were also a source of profit 
to him. At that period a good horse was among the pio- 
neer's first necessities and most valued possessions ; and, to 
this day, the horse is a creature of far more importance at 
the South, where every one rides and must ride on horse- 
back, than at the North, where riding is the luxury of 
the few. 

In the southern States, too, the horse is chiefly used for 
the saddle ; there being a servile class of quadrupeds, mules, 
namely, to perform the more laborious and less honorable 
work of the plantation. The consequence is, that the quali- 
ties prized in the horse are those which fit him to bear his 
master along with grace, spirit and speed ; the qualities which 
are summed up in the expression, thorough-bred. At an 
early day, therefore, we find the Tennesseeans devoting great 
attention to the rearing of high-bred horses — a business after- 
wards stimulated by their passion for the turf. Soon after 
Jackson left the bench, he set off for a tour in Virginia, then 
universally renowned for her breed of horses, for the sole 
object of procuring the most perfect horse in the country. 
The far-famed Truxton was the result of this journey ; 
Truxton — winner of many a well-contested race, and pro- 
genitor of a line of Truxtons highly prized in Tennessee to 
this hour. 

The horses of Nashville and its vicinity have not deteri- 
orated. The spectacle of a perfectly developed, undiminished 
Man, mounted on a faultless Horse, all gentleness and fire, 
mighty in size, swift of pace, and magnificent in form, is one 
which often delights and shames the pale northener in the 
neighborhood of Nashville. There is a gentleman living near 
that pleasant city an owner of many horses, not one of which 
has a pedigree less than two hundred years long. 

To all these sources of profit — farm, cotton-gin, store, flat- 
boat and horse — was added, it is said, an occasional transao- 

* Many of these particulars were derived from William Donelson, Esquire, a 
younger brother of Mrs. Jackson, who lives and has lived all his life near the 
Hermitage, and speaks of these tilings from personal knowledge. 


tion in negroes. There is an odium attached to this business 
in the slave States, as is well known ; and, consequently, the 
alleged negro trading of General Jackson has excited a great 
deal of angry controversy. I was myself informed, in a mys- 
terious whisper, by a southern gentleman in high office, that 
this was the only " blot" on the character of the General. It 
is not necessary to investigate a subject of this nature. The 
6imple truth respecting it, I presume, is, that having corre- 
spondents in Natchez, and being in the habit of sending down 
boat-loads of produce, the firm of which he was a member 
occasionally took charge of negroes destined for the lower 
country, and, it may be, sold them on commission, or other- 

The following letter was published in the newspapers of 
1828, for the purpose of drawing votes from General Jack- 
son. It was written by a Mr. S. K. Blythe, of Ash Grove, 
Tennessee : — 

" Sir : In reply to your inquiry as to my knowledge of General Jack- 
eon being concerned in buying and selling slaves, I will briefly state that 
about the year 1805 or 1806 General Jackson and a Mr. Hutchings, his 
nephew by marriage, had a store in Gallatin. About that time, they pur- 
chased, of Dr. Rollins, a negro boy, and sent him to the lower country to 
sell. The negro had been previously in the hands of Dr. Rollins, to cure a 
sore leg, and was sold by Rollins to them, with a knowledge, by both par- 
ties, of that fact, as I understood at the time. Some time afterward, I had 
been up the Ohio, and on my return by the way of Smithland, I came to 
the place called the Horse Ford, below Eddyville, where boats were com- 
pelled to stop by reason of low water, where I saw the negro above alluded 
to, in a barge on his return from the lower country, where they had been 
unable to sell him by reason of his leg breaking out afresh. When the 
negro came home, he was put under Dr. Ward, and died. Jackson and 
Hutchings sued Rollins for a fraud in the negro. The suit was pending 
several years, and finally decided in favor of Rollins. I was summoned as 
a witness in the case. I have heard that there were other slaves purchased 
by Jackson and Hutchings, and sent to the lower country for sale ; but it 
is so long since, that I do not recollect any other particular case than the 
one named, and this one is impressed on my memory from the circum- 
stance of the long and vexatious lawsuit to which Dr. Rollins was subjected, 
and the other facts related as above." 

1805.] MAN OF BUSINESS. 249 

No importance is to be attached to this letter. The pur- 
pose for which it was written, the length of time that elapsed 
between the transaction and the time when the account of it 
was drawn up, destroy its value as evidence. I may state 
here, that General Jackson took slavery for granted. In no 
letter of his, of the hundreds I have perused, is there a sen- 
tence indicating that he had ever considered the subject as a 
question of right or wrong. His slaves loved him, and revere 
his memory. He was the most indulgent, patient, and gen- 
erous of masters ; so indulgent, indeed, that the overseers 
employed by him in later years, often complained of the con- 
sequent laxity of discipline on the estate. 

Respecting General Jackson's mode of dealing, we have 
agreeable information. "A cool, shrewd man of business," 
remarked a venerated citizen of Nashville. " He knew the 
value of an article. He knew his own mind. Hence, he was 
prompt and decided. No chaffering, no bargaining. c I will 
give or take so much ; if you will trade, say so, and have done 
with it ; if not, let it alone.' A man of soundest judgment, 
utterly honest, naturally honest ; would beggar himself to 
pay a debt, and did so ; could not be comfortable if he thought 
he had wronged any one. He was swift to make up his mind ; 
yet was rarely wrong ; but whether wrong or right, hard to be 
shaken. Still, if convinced that he was in the wrong, no man 
so prompt to acknowledge and atone. He was a bank hater 
from an early day. Paper money was an abomination to him, 
because he regarded it in the light of a promise to pay, that 
was almost certain, sooner or later, to be broken. For his 
own part, law or no law, he would pay what he owed ; he 
would do what he said he would." 

The credit of General Jackson was remarkably high in 
Tennessee at this time, and continued so to the end of his 
life. There was never a day when his name to paper did not 

* Dr. Felix Robertson, son of General James Robertson. Dr. Robertson, as 
before stated, was the first boy born m NashviHo. He remembers Jackson from 


make it gold. The anecdote relating to this, which has been 
afloat in the papers so long, may not be true, but it might 
have been : " Some time in 1838 or 1839, a gentleman in 
Tennessee became involved and wanted money ; he had prop- 
erty and owed debts. His property was not available just 
then, and off he posted to Boston, backed by the names of 
several of the best men in Tennessee. Money was tight, and 
Boston bankers looked closely at the names. i Very good/ 
said they ; i but, but — do you know General Jackson ?' i Cer- 
tainly/ i Could you get his endorsement ?' ' Yes, but he is 
not worth a tenth as much as either of these men whose names 
I offer you/ l No matter ; General Jackson has always pro- 
tected himself and his paper, and we'll let you have the money 
on the strength of his name/ In a few days the papers with 
his signature arrived. The moment these Boston bankers 
saw the tall A and long J of Andrew Jackson, our Ten- 
nesseean says he could have raised a hundred thousand dol- 
lars upon the signature without the slightest difficulty." 

The store of Jackson, Coffee & Hutchings, it appears, did 
not prove very profitable. Some bad debts were made, and 
as there was then no mail between Nashville and the lower 
country, there was no way of ascertaining beforehand the 
market price of the commodities bought for transportation to 
New Orleans. Sometimes the boat-loads of produce reached 
a glutted market and there was a heavy loss. Moreover, the 
enormous cost of bringing goods from Philadelphia to the 
Cumberland narrowed the " margin" for profit, besides absorb- 
ing a large amount of money. The tradition is, that, after 
some years of storekeeping, Jackson sold out to Coffee, 
taking notes payable at long intervals in payment for his 
share ; that Coffee floundered on awhile by himself and lost 
all he had in the world ; that, afterwards, Coffee gave up the 
business, resumed the occupation of surveying, prospered, and 
married a niece of Mrs. Jackson ; that, on the wedding day, 
General Jackson did the handsome and dramatic thing — 
brought out Coffee's notes from his strong box, tore them in 
halves, and presented the pieces to the bride, with a magni 

1805.] MAN OF BUSINESS. 251 

ficent bow. Which latter incident has the merit of being 
entirely probable ; for his generosity to the relatives of his 
wife was boundless. 

Once, during these years of business activity, General 
Jackson came within an ace of total ruin, and all through his 
ignorance of law. When David Allison failed, he owed one 
Norton Prior twenty thousand dollars or more, which was 
secured by a mortgage on a tract of eighty-five thousand 
acres of land in Tennessee, the property of Allison. Prior, 
desiring to foreclose the mortgage, engaged Joseph Anderson, 
a noted Tennessee lawyer, to transact the business for him. 
Anderson was elected United States Senator, and being, 
therefore, unable to attend to the matter, engaged Andrew 
Jackson, who was about to retire, as he supposed, to private 
life, to procure the foreclosure. If successful, Jackson was 
to have as his fee ten thousand acres of the land. Upon 
reaching Tennessee, Jackson, as we have seen, was elected 
Judge of the Supreme Court ; which excluded him from 
practice at the bar. He accordingly confided the matter to 
his old friend John Overton, agreeing to divide his fee of ten 
thousand acres equally with Overton on the completion of the 
foreclosure. Suit was brought in the United States District 
Court. The mortgage was foreclosed. Jackson received his 
five thousand acres, which, during his subsequent embarrass- 
ments he sold out in small parcels to settlers, giving them 
warranted titles. That is to say, he bound himself, in case 
the titles ever proved unsound, to buy back the land, not at 
the price at which he sold it, but at the price it might be 
worth in the market at the time when the defect in the title 
appeared. Such was the law of Tennessee at that day. 

Years passed ; the lands had trebled, quadrupled in value, 
and were covered with houses, barns, cotton-gins, and all the 
improvements of the growing country ; when lo ! a lawyer, 
who was interested in a portion of the Allison lands, discov- 
ered that the court which had decreed the foreclosure of the 
mortgage had no jurisdiction in the matter ! It was a fed- 
eral court. Neither Prior nor Allison were citizens of the 


State in which the suit was brought, and both were citizens 
of Pennsylvania. Such was the ignorance, at that day, even 
among leading lawyers, of the laws growing out of the two- 
fold sovereignty, the State and the United States ! 

Upon hearing the whispered doubt as to the jurisdiction 
of the court, Jackson hurried away to his friend, George W. 
Campbell, at Nashville, and laid the case before him. Camp- 
bell told him at once that the proceedings in the foreclosure 
were void, and the titles to the lands worthless. Jackson 
saw ruin staring him in the face ; since the redemption of 
the lands at their enhanced value, and the purchase of all 
the improvements upon them, would require an amount of 
money, the payment of which would leave him penniless and 
in debt beyond hope of extrication. Nor was he alone in- 
volved. Every owner of the original tract of eighty-five 
thousand acres held his land by the same worthless title ; and 
those owners could then be numbered by hundreds ! 

" What's to be done ?" asked Jackson of his friend Camp- 
bell, when all the horrors of the situation broke upon him. 
" If our titles are void, whose title is good ? Whose are the 
lands ?" 

To which Judge Campbell replied, that the foreclosure 
not having occurred, the lands belonged to the heirs of David 
Allison, though it was still subject to the twenty thousand 
dollar mortgage. 

" Go to the heirs of Allison," said Campbell in substance, 
"armed with your claim against the Allison estate, which 
now must amount to nearly fourteen thousand dollars. They 
are in your power ; you are in theirs. Exchange claims with 
them. Give up their father's notes held by you. Get from 
them in return, first, a renunciation of their merely technical 
claim to this land ; and, secondly, the legal right to pay oft* 
the mortgage. That done, your titles are sound, and you 
can make such terms with the other owners of the lands as 
will secure you the payment of your old claims upon David 
Allison. They will be only too happy to pay their just pro- 

1805] BUN OF BUSINESS. 253 

portion of the price you will pay for securing them in their 

The next morning's dawn saw the prompt Jackson 
mounted for a ride of four hundred miles through an Indian 
wilderness into Georgia, where the impoverished heirs of 
Allison were living. He found them, stated his business, 
accomplished his object by the payment of a small sum in 
cash, and returned a happy man, rescued from the jaws of 
ruin. In arranging terms, however, with the other proprietors 
of the tract, disputes arose, as might have been expected. A 
lawsuit of twelve years' duration was the result, which ended 
at last in compromise. 

Jackson was still a keen lover of sport. The people about 
Nashville increased very rapidly both in numbers and wealth 
after the new century began. It became a gay and somewhat 
dissipated place. Billiards, for example, were played to such ; 
excess, that the game was suppressed by act of the Legislat- \ 
ure. The two annual races were the great days of the year, j 
Cards were played wherever two men found themselves to- 
gether with nothing to do. Betting in all its varieties was 
carried on continually. Cock-fights were not unfrequent 
The whisky bottle — could that be wanting ? 

In all these sports — the innocent and less innocent — An- 
drew Jackson was an occasional participant. He played bil- 
liards and cards, and both for money. He ran horses and bet 
upon the horses of others. He was occasionally hilarious 
over his whisky or his wine, when he came to Nashville on 
Saturdays. At the cock-pit no man more eager than he. 
There are gentlemen of the first respectability now living at 
Nashville who remember seeing him often at the cock-pit in 
the public square adjoining the old Nashville inn, cheering on 
his favorite birds with loudest vociferation. 

" Hurrah ! my Dominica ! Ten dollars on my Dominica I" 
or, " Hurrah ! my Bernadotte ! Twenty dollars on my Ber- 
nadotte ! Who'll take me up ? Well done, my Bernadotte ! 
Mv Bernadotte for ever !" 

VOL. I. — 17 




The wilderness does not fall before the backwoodsman's 
brawny arm, and become a pleasant habitable land, without 
leaving behind in the heart of its subduer something of its 
own wildness. Nor can the civilized man contend with the 
savage in deadly warfare for life and home, without ex- 
changing qualities, usages, and arts with the foe. The west- 
ern man of the olden time had much of the Indian in him. 
He caught the Indian's stealthy footstep ; imbibed some- 
thing of his passion for revenge ; abandoned himself like him 
to the carouse, and learned to dispense with nearly all that 
the Indian does not use. And this was peculiarly the case 
in the south-western States ; where, as soon as the settlers 
began to prosper, they began to be relieved from labor by 
slaves ; and were almost as free to wander and amuse them- 
selves as the Indian is who has a toiling squaw at home. 

The slaves, too, were not the docile creatures we see their 
descendants now. Southern newspapers of that day, I ob- 
serve, abound in advertisements of " new negroes ;" negroes 
raw and 6avage from the African coast. The same papers, 
naturally enough, teem with advertisements of runaway 
slaves. From looking over a file of Georgia papers of 1790 
to 1800, one would infer that the insertion of such advertise- 
ments was the chief end of the paper's existence, and the 
principal source of the printer's revenue. 

General Sam Houston, a Tennesseean of the old school, 
had this state of things in his memory, perhaps, when he 
wrote his recent letter against reopening the African slave 
trade. " If this were once done," writes the old soldier, 
" the South would be overrun by African barbarians, and 
our lives, and, what is worse, our homes and our families, 
would be subject to their barbarities." Inevitably. The 



present generation knows nothing of the terrible process by 
which African savages were converted into patient and sub- 
missive servants. Still less can the southern man of to-day 
perceive that his own race has been most powerfully influ- 
enced by the servile one. The traveler sees clearly enough 
that the white man, in exchanging qualities with the black, 
has not made a very good bargain. The black man has im- 
bibed some of the white man's best qualities ; the white man 
has caught some of the negro's worst. 

Civilization was in the minority at that day. Every thing 
was against it. Abundance — Idleness — Indians — Africans — 
Isolation — Whisky ! Is it surprising that the combined in- 
fluence of these, where there was little to counteract their 
effect, should have converted large numbers of the conquering 
race into savages, and made almost every man a savage in 
some degree ? 

We have now to do with one phase of this savageism 
— fighting. The revolutionary war introduced among the 
people of rustic America the practice of resorting to arms for 
the settlement of quarrels. Every man who had worn a sash 
or even shouldered a musket in that contest, seems to have 
hugged the delusion that he was thenceforth subject to the 
Code of Honor. He retained the title and affected the tone 
of a soldier. I call it affectation ; believing that no man 
with Saxon blood dominant in his veins ever yet fought a 
duel without being distinctly conscious that he was doing a 
very silly thing. Yet there never existed a people so given 
to dueling and other domestic battling as the people of the 
South and West from 1790 to 1810. In Charleston, about 
the year 1800, we are told, there was a club of duelists, in 
which every man took precedence according to the number of 
times he had been "out ;"° so difficult was it for the duelists 
to support the reproaches of their own good sense. " I be- 
lieve," says General W. H. Harrison, " that there were more 
duels in the north-western army between the years 1791 and 

* Fry's National Gazette, Philadelphia, 1826. 


1795 than ever took place in the same length of time, and 
amongst so small a body of men as composed the commis- 
sioned officers of the army, either in America or any other 

As late as 1834, Miss Martineau tells us, there were more 
duels fought in the city of New Orleans than there are days 
in the year : " Fifteen on one Sunday morning ;" " one hun- 
dred and two between the 1st of January and the end of 


In the interior settlements, if dueling was rarer, fighting 

of a less formal and deadly character was so common as to 
excite scarcely any notice or remark. It was taken for 
granted, apparently, that whenever a number of men were 
gathered together for any purpose whatever, there must be 
fighting. The meetings of the Legislature, the convening 
of courts, the assemblages out of doors for religious purposes, 
were all alike the occasion both of single combats and general 
fights. " The exercises of a market day," says the Rev. Mr. 
Milburn, " were usually varied by political speeches, a sheriff's 
sale, a half a dozen free fights and thrice as many horse 

David Crockett was a member of the Tennessee Legislat- 
ure about this time — a green and gawky gentleman from one 
of the remote counties. He tells us how he behaved to a 
brother member, who had alluded to the new-comer as the 
"gentleman from the cane." His story shows that private 
combat was then regarded as a thing entirely of course when 
men differed : — 

" Well," says Crockett, " I had never made a speech in my life. I 
didn't know whether I could speak or not ; and they kept crying out torn} 
' Crockett, answer him — Crockett, answer him : — why the deuce don't you 
answer him ?' So up I popped. I was as mad as fury ; and there I stood 
and not a word could I get out. Well, I bothered, and stammered, and 
looked foolish, and still there I stood ; but after a while I began to talk. I 

* Montgomery's Life of Harrison, page 319. 
f Society in America, ii., p. 189. 


don't know what I said about my btU, but I jerked it into him, I told 
bim that he had got hold of the wrong man ; that he didn't know who he 
was fooling with ; that he reminded me of the meanest thing on God's 
earth, an old coon dog barking up the wrong tree. 

" After the House had adjourned, seeing Mr. M 1 walking off alone, 

I followed him and proposed a walk. He consented, and we went some- 
thing like a mile, when I called a halt Said I, ' M 1, do you know 

what I brought you here for ?' * No.' ' Well, I brought you here for the 
express purpose of whipping you, and I mean to do it' But the fellow 
said he didn't mean anything, and kept 'pologising, till I got into a good 
humor. We then went back together; and I don't believe anybody ever 
knew anything about it 

" I'll tell you another story of this same man : 'Twan't long after my 

difficulty with M 1, before he got into a fight with a member of the 

Senate, in which he was worsted — for he had his ruffle torn off, and by 
accident it remained on the battle ground. I happened to go there next 
morning, and having heard of the circumstance, knew how the ruffle came 

there. I didn't like M 1 much, and I determined to have some fun. 

So I took up his fine cambric ruffle and pinned it to my coarse cotton shirt 
— made it as conspicuous as possible, and when the House met, strutted in. 

I seated myself near M 1 ; when the members, understanding how it 

was, soon filled the House with a roar of laughter. M 1 couldn't stand 

it, and walked out I, thinking he might want a fight, though I had tried 
him, followed after ; but it didn't take place ; and after a while he came 
up and asked me if that wasn't his ruffle. I told him yes, and presenting 
it, observed that I looked upon it as the flag of the lower House, which, m 
battle, had been borne off by the Senate ; and, that being a member of the 
lower House, I felt it my duty to retake it"* 

The same facetious narrator tells us of another legislator 
who, on being accused of corrupt practices, mounted the 
stump for the purpose of refuting the calumny. But his 
rage was such that he could not utter a coherent sentence. 
So he jumped down, saying, " I won't explain ; but I'm 

d d if I can't whip the man that started the report," and 

ran off in search of him. He could find no author ; but, 
added David, his willingness to fight was taken as fair proof 
of his innocence. Those were the days when the Legislature 
convened at seven o'clock in the morning, and when the 

* Sketches and Eccentricities of David Crockett of West Tennessee, p. 90. 


neighbors of David Crockett so disdained the trammels of 
custom as to name their girls, Tom, Jack, and Harry, and 
their boys, Mary, Jane, and Susan. 

We should not naturally look into the biography of a 
clergyman for illustrations of the fighting habits of a people. 
We find, however, some of the most characteristic and aston- 
ishing of Tennessee fights recorded in the autobiography of 
glorious old Peter Cartwright, who fought and preached this 
region through in the early part of the century. It is a 
question, which converted most sinners, his fighting or his 
preaching. Here is a scene, among the most curious and sug- 
gestive, as well as amusing, of any ever described. It was a 
camp meeting in the woods : — 

" We had a great many tents, and a large turn-out for a new country, 
and, perhaps, there never was a greater collection of rabble and rowdies. 
They came drunk, and armed with dirks, clubs, knives, and horsewhips, 
and swore they would break up the meeting. After interrupting us very 
much on Saturday night, they collected early on Sunday morning, deter- 
mined on a general riot At eight o'clock I was appointed to preach. 
About the time I was half through my discourse, two very fine-dressed 
young men marched into the congregation with loaded whips, and hats on, 
and rose up and stood in the midst of the ladies, and began to laugh and 
talk. They were near the stand, and I requested them to desist and get 
off the seats ; but they cursed me, and told me to mind my own business, 
and said they would not get down. I stopped trying to preach, and called 
for a magistrate. There were two at hand, but I saw they were both 
afraid. I ordered them to take these men into custody, but they said they 
could not do it. I told them, as I left the stand, to command me to take 
them, and I would do it at the risk of my life. I advanced towards them. 
They ordered me to stand off, but I advanced. One of them made a pass 
at my head with his whip, Jjut I closed in with him, and jerked him off 
the seat A regular scuffle ensued. The congregation by this time were 
all in commotion. I heard the magistrates give general orders, command- 
ing all friends of order to aid in suppressing the riot. In the scuffle I 
threw my prisoner down, and held him fast ; he tried his best to get loose ; 
I told him to be quiet, or I would pound his chest well. The mob rose, 
and rushed to the rescue of the two prisoners, for they had taken the other 

* Sketches and Eccentricities, p. 40. 




young man also. An old and drunken magistrate came up to me, and 
ordered ine to let my prisoner go. I told him I should not. He swore if 
I did not, he would knock me down. I told him to crack away. Then 
one of my friends, at my request, took hold of my prisoner, and the drunken 
justice made a pass at me ; but I parried the stroke, and seized him by the 
collar and the hair of the head, and fetching him a sudden jerk forward, 
brought him to the ground, and jumped on him. I told him to be quiet^ 
or I would pound him well. The mob then rushed to the scene ; they 
knocked down seven magistrates, and several preachers and others. I 
gave up my drunken prisoner to another, and threw myself in front of the 
friends of order. Just at this moment the ringleader of the mob and I 
met ; he made three passes at me, intending to knock me down. The last 
time he struck at me, by the force of his own effort he threw the side of 
his face toward me. It seemed at that moment I had not power to resist 
temptation, and I struck a sudden blow in the burr of the ear and dropped 
him to the earth. Just at that moment the friends of order rushed by hun- 
dreds on the mob, knocking them down in every direction. In a few 
minutes the place became too strait for the mob, and they wheeled and 
fled in every direction ; but we secured about thirty prisoners, marched 
them off to a vacant tent, and put them under guard till Monday morning, 
when they were tried, and every man was fined to the utmost limits of the 
law. The aggregate amount of fines and costs was near three hundred 
dollars. They fined my old drunken magistrate twenty dollars, and re- 
turned him to court, and he was cashiered of his office." 

A scene without a parallel; in which ancient Law and new 
Lawlessness are curiously contrasted. How remarkable, that 
when there was enough regard for law to secure such ample 
and prompt punishment, there should also have been so much 
rampant barbarism ! At another of these outdoor gatherings 
the brave preacher had a hot altercation with a notorious sin- 
ner, who rejoiced in the title of Major, a leading man in the 
neighborhood : — 

" He flew into n desperate rage, and said if he thought I would fight 

him a duel, he would challenge me. 

" l Major,' said I, very calmly, l if you challenge me I will accept it.' 

" * Well, sir,' said he, * I do dare you to mortal combat' 

u i Very well, I '11 fight you ; and, sir,' said I, 'according to the laws of 

honor, I suppose it is my right to choose the weapons with which we are 

to fight' 


" * Certainly,' said he. 

" * Well,' said I, 4 then we will step over here into thU lot, and get a 
couple of corn stalks ; I think I can ficish you with one.' 

" But 0, what a rage he got into. He clenched his fists and looked ven- 
geance. Said he, * If I thought I could whip you, I would smite you in a 

" l Yes, yes, Major L.,' said I, ' but, thank God, you can't whip me ; 
but don't you attempt to strike me, for if you do, and the devil gets out 
of you into me, I shall give you the worst whipping you ever got in all 
your life,' and then walked off and left him." 

Observe this story, too, and the mighty Peter's manner of 
telling it : — 

" There were two young men in this settlement, of wealthy and '^esp^'-f- 
able parentage, who were distantly related. They both were paying at- 
tention to a very wealthy young lady. Some jealousy about rivalship 
sprung up between them ; they were mutually jealous of each other, anil 
it spread like an eating cancer. They quarreled, and finally fought ; botli 
armed themselves, and each bound himself in a solemn oath to kill the 
other. Thus sworn, and armed with pistols and dirks, they attended camp 
meeting. I was acquainted with them, and apprised of the circumstances 
of this disagreeable affair. On Sunday, when I was addressing a large con- 
gregation, and was trying to enforce the terrors of the violated law of God, 
there was a visible power more than human rested on the congregation. 
Many fell under the preaching of the word. In closing my discourse I 
called for mourners to come into the altar. Both of the*?e young men were 
in the congregation, and the Holy Spirit had convicted each of them ; their 
murderous hearts quailed under the mighty power of God, and with dread- 
ful feelings they made for the altar. One entered on the right, the other 
on the left. Each was perfectly ignorant of the other being there. I went 
deliberately to each of them, and took their deadly weapons from their 
bosoms, and carried them into the preacher tent, and then returned and 
labored faithfully with them and others (for the altar was full) nearly all the 
afternoon and night. These young men had a sore struggle; but the great 
deep of their hearts was broken up, and they cried hard for mercy, and while 
I was kneeling by the side of one of them, just before the break of day, the 
Lord spoke peace to his wounded soul. He rose in triumph, and gave some 
thrilling shouts. I hastened to the other young man, at the other side of 
the altar, and in less than fifteen minutes God powerfully blessed his soul, 
and he rose and shouted victory; and as these young men faced about they 
saw each other, and starting simultaneously, met about midway of the altar, 


and instantly clasped each other in their arms. What a shout went up to 
heaven from these young men, and almost the whole assembly that were 

So much for the gallant pioneer preacher., whom, how- 
ever, we shall meet again, preaching valiantly to General 
Jackson, and sitting at the table of the Hermitage, an honored 
guest, because he had done so. 

Nolte, the New Orleans broker and banker, author of 
"Fifty Years in both Hemispheres," not the most veracious 
work that could be named, tells us, among other things, that 
" A frightfully cruel practice prevailed at that time among 
the greater part of the rude inhabitants of the western States. 
It consisted in allowing the finger-nails to grow so long, that, 
by cutting them, you could give them the form of a small 
sickle ; and this strange weapon was used, in the broils that 
constantly occurred, to cut out the eyes of the hostile party. 
This barbarous action was called gouging. Upon this excur- 
sion through Kentucky I saw several persons who lacked an 
eye, and others, both of whose eyes were disfigured. The ex- 
asperation then reigning throughout the United States, in 
relation to the difficulties with England, was much greater 
in the western provinces than along the sea coast, and the 
feeling was very intense. As I passed through Frankfort, on 
my way from Lexington to Louisville, I was told that the 
Legislature of Kentucky was just then in session. I had 
scarcely entered the legislative hall, when I heard a very en- 
thusiastic orator dealing forth a violent diatribe against En- 
gland, with the following words : ( We must have war with 
Great Britain — war will ruin her commerce — commerce is the 
apple in Britain's eye — there we must gouge her !' This 
flower of oratory was received with great applause." 

The same author relates another and more striking anec- 
dote : " Young Baring (the banker) was traveling through 
the western part of Virginia, which was at that time peopled 
by the roughest class of Americans, and the vehicle he used 
was a very handsome and newly-varnished traveling carriage. 
In accordance with the favorite custom of these wild fellows, 

262 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1806. 

who usually carried a pen-knife or a nail in their pockets, one 
of the idlers, who stood and leaned about the door of the tav- 
ern, where he had alighted for refreshment, amused himself 
by scratching with a nail all sorts of ridiculous figures on the 
varnish of the carriage doors. Baring, who came out of the 
inn, and caught our friend engaged in this agreeable and polite 
occupation, the instant he saw what was going on, very sharply 
expressed his disapprobation. The loiterer responded, ' Look 
here, sir, don't be saucy ; we make no ceremony. T'other 
day we had a European fellow here, like yourself, who was 
mighty saucy, so I pulled out my pistol and shot him dead, 
right on the spot. There he lies !' Baring rejoined, in the 
coolest manner imaginable, by asking, ' And did you scalp 
him, too ?' The American was so struck with this, and felt 
this reproach upon his savage rudeness so keenly, that, after 
gazing at Baring suddenly and earnestly for a moment in 
silence, he exclaimed, ' By God ! sir, you must be a clever 
fellow ! let's shake hands !' " 

It does not seem to have occurred to the narrator of this 
story, that the wild Virginian had not killed any " European 
fellow," but was merely testing the mettle of the stranger in 
his own wild way ; or, as he might have expressed it, was 
" feeling around for a fight." 

Perhaps no anecdote of this description conveys a more 
vivid idea of the love of combat which animated some of the 
early settlers, than the famous one which opens the volume, 
entitled " Georgia Scenes." It is one of the best managed 
anecdotes we have. The narrator was traveling in that se- 
cluded part of Lincoln county, Georgia, which was formerly 
called " The Dark Corner," a region noted for its natural 
beauty : — 

" Rapt with the enchantment of the season and the scenery around me, 
I was slowly rising a slope, when I was startled by loud, profane, and 
boisterous voices, which seemed to proceed from a thick covert of under- 
growth about two hundred yards in the advance of me, and about one 
hundred to the right of my road. 

" ' You kin, kin you V 


(< t 

Yes, I kin, and am able to do it I Boo-oo-oo ! Oh, wake snakes, 

and walk your chalks I Brimstone and fire ! Don't hold me, Nick 

Stoval I The fight's made up, and let's go at it my soul if I don't 

jump down his throat, and gallop every chitterling out of him before you 
can say ' quit !' 

" * Now, Nick, don't hold him I Jist let the wild-cat come, and Til 
tame him. Ned'll see me a fair fight ; won't you, Ned ?' 

•' ' Oh, yes ; I'll see you a fair fight, blast my old shoes if I don't.' 

" * That's sufficient, as Tom Haynes said when he saw the elephant 
Now let him come.' 

11 Thus they went on, with countless oaths interspersed, which I dare 
not even hint at, and with much that I could not distinctly hear. 

" In Mercy's name ! thought I, what band of ruffians has selected this 
holy season and this heavenly retreat for such Pandaemonian riots 1 I 
quickened my gait, and had come nearly opposite to the thick grove 
whence the noise proceeded, when my eye caught indistinctly, and at in- 
tervals, through the foliage of the dwaif oaks and hickories which inter- 
vened, glimpses of a man or men, who seemed to be in a violent struggle; 
end I could occasionally catch those deep-drawn, emphatic oaths which 
men in conflict utter when they deal blows. I dismounted and hurried to 
the spot with all speed. I had overcome about half the space which sep- 
arated it from me, when I saw the combatants come to the ground, and, 
after a short struggle, I saw tho uppermost one (for I could not see the 
other) make a heavy plunge with both his thumbs, and at the same instant 
I heard a cry in the accent of keenest torture, * Enough I My eye's out!' 

" I was so completely horror-struck, that I stood transfixed for a mo- 
ment to the spot where the cry met me. The accomplices in the hellish 
deed which had been perpetrated had all fled at my approach ; at least I 
supposed so, for they were not to be seen. 

" ' Now, blast your corn-shucking soul,' said the victor (a youth about 
eighteen years old) as he rose from the ground, * come cutt'n your shines 
'bout me agin, next time I come to the court house, will you ? Get your 
owl-eye in agin if you can !' 

11 At this moment he saw me for the first time. He looked excessively 
embarrassed, and was moving off, when I called to him in a tone embold- 
ened by the sacredness of my office and the iniquity of his crime, 'Come 
back, you brute ! and assist me in relieving your fellow-mortal whom you 
have ruined for ever!' 

"My rudeness subdued his embarrassment in an instant; and, with a 
taunting curl of the nose, he replied, ' You needn't kick before you're 
spurr'd. There a'nt nobody there, nor ha'nt been nother. I was jist stein 1 
how I could 'a /out.' So saying, he bounded to his plow, which stood in 
the corner of the fence about fifty yards beyond the battle ground. 


" And, would you believe it, gentle reader hhis report was true. All 
that I had heard and seen was nothing moM nek less than a Lincoln re- 
hearsal ; in which the youth who had just \ei\ me had played all the parts 
of all the characters in a court house fight 

" I went to the ground from which he had risen, and there were the 
prints of his two thumbs, plunged up to the balls in the mellow earth, 
about the distance of a man's eyes apart ; and the ground around was 
broken up as if two stags had been engaged upon it" 

But to resume. The reader will not be misled by these 
and other stories of frontier battlings. The majority of the 
pioneers, doubtless, lived in peace with their neighbors all 
the days of their lives.* Nor was there any necessity, even 
for a public man, to fight duels. There was Judge Hugh L. 
White of Tennessee, a man of proved courage, who set his 
face against the practice of dueling from the beginning of his 
career, and lost nothing either of the good will or the respect 
of his neighbors thereby. In 1817, he procured the passage 
of a stringent law which almost put an end to duels in Ten- 
nessee. It must be added, however, that Judge White was 
an exceptional character. Such was his tenderness of feeling, 
such his horror of shedding human blood, that he would not 
permit the annalist of Tennessee to so much as record his 
youthful exploit of killing the Indian chief, the King-fisher, f 

For a man of General Jackson's blood and principles to 

* Hie present frontier region of the United States exhibits a state of society 
similar to that which once prevailed in Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky. 

There is a fighting class among the settlers in the Rocky Mountains. But, 
" this class," writes Mr. Horace Greeley, in June, 1859, " is not numerous/' He 
adds, however, that it is " more influential than it should bo in giving tone to the 
society of which its members form a part. Prone to deep drinking, soured ip 
temper, always armed, bristling at a word, ready with the rifle, revolver, or 
bowie-knife, they give law and set fashions which, in a country where the regu- 
lar administration of justice is yet a matter of prophecy, it seems difficult to over- 
rule or disregard. I apprehend that there have been, during my two weeks' 
sojourn, more brawls, more fights, more pistol shots with criminal intent, in this 
log city of one hundred and fifty dwellings (Danver), not three fourths completed 
nor two thirds inhabited, nor one third tit to be, than in any community of uo 
greater numbers on earth." — N. Y. Tribune, June, 1859. 

f Memoirs of EL L. White, by Nancy N. Scott. 

1806.] JACKSON "CANES" MR. T. SWANN. 265 

have lived in the Tennessee of that day without fighting, was 
impossible. His blood was hot, and his principles were those 
of a soldier of fifty years ago ; principles, remember, to which 
he was a convert, not an heir ; and a convert is apt to be 
over zealous. His good traits, no less than his bad ones, in- 
volved him in disputes which, there and then, could end only 
in fighting. He could not have been Andrew Jackson and 
not fought. 


Un l xt-po" 


An industrious citizen of Tennessee, during a certain 
presidential campaign, made a collection of General Jack- 
son's fights and quarrels, devoting himself to the work with 
the zeal which belongs to a collector, and never giving up the 
search till his cabinet contained, to use his own language, 
"nearly one hundred fights, or violent and abusive quarrels." 
Then, resting from his labors, he published, after the manner 
of collectors, a descriptive catalogue of the most remarkable 
of his treasures, numbered from one to fourteen. 

Another Tennesseean, professing to be actuated only by a 
desire for knowledge, arranged the subject in the form of a 
catechism, or series of questions, which he contrived to draw 
out to the number of seventeen, as thus : Did General Jack- 
son get into an affray with one Macklin, and receive a cudgel- 
ing from that unknown individual ? What was the nature 
of the castigation which the Hero of two Wars received from 
Hugh Montgomery ? For what offense did Robert Weakly, 

* Reminiscences ; or, an Extract from the Catalogue of General Jackson's 
" Juvenile Indiscretions" between the ages of Twenty-three and Sixty. New 
York, 1828. 


justice, bind Andrew Jackson to keep the peace toward Lewis 
Robards in 1790 ? Was General Jackson second in a duel 
between two boys of eighteen, Alexander Donelson and J. 
Winsted, and did he set them up at six feet ? Did John 
Brown die in jail at the suit of General Jackson for debt, and 
if he did, why such rigor ? Was there a mysterious funeral 
at the Hermitage last summer ? Did General Jackson, 
when he was second to Thomas Overton in his duel with 
John Dickerson, call out to a carpenter, as they were going 
to the ground, to get a coffin ready for Dickerson ? What 
about General Jackson's quarrels with John McNairy, David 
McGavock, William Polk, Robert Weakly, John Strother 
and Robert Haves ? How came the Hero to run Sam Jack- 
son through the body in the streets of Nashville ? and so on 
as far as number seventeen. 

We need not rake over the ashes of all these extinct quar- 
rels. Andrew Jackson lived seventy-eight years. Granting 
that he had in his life a hundred quarrels, it does not make 
the average per annum unreasonably high, considering that 
it was his principle to make his friend's quarrel his own, and 
considering, too, that during the first fifteen years of his resi - 
dence in Tennessee he held offices which necessarily brought 
hiin into collision with the entire rascality of the State. 

With regard to the personal violence to which some of 
these controversies led, the reader must be aware that, in 
Tennessee, when Andrew Jackson was a young man, people 
of warm temperament seldom quarreled without fighting. 
They thought it best to bring disputes to the swift arbitra- 
ment of battle, and so end them. They felt as valiant old 
Cartwright felt when some one threatened to " whip" him. 
" Well, sir," said the fighting preacher, " I never like to live 
in dread. If you really intend to whip me, come and do it 
now." The man continuing to bluster and threaten, the 
indomitable Peter got off his horse, and thus addressed the 
man : " Now, sir, you have to whip me, as you threatened, 
or quit cursing me, or I will put you in the river, and baptize 
you in the name of the devil, for surely you belong to him." 

1806.] JACKSON "CANES" MR. T. SWANN. 267 

" This settled him/' remarks Cartright ; and soon after, 
when the preacher was a candidate for office, the would-be 
whipper voted for him, and remained, ever after, his warm 
friend. That was the true western method — Jackson's 
method — to let a quarrel blaze itself out as soon as pos- 
sible, not smolder for years, souring and corroding two 

Let most of the old Jacksonian quarrels pass into oblivion. 
Some of them, however, were of such a nature, and are so 
notorious, that they can not be omitted in any fair account 
of his career. We have now arrived at one of these. The 
series of trivial and absurd events which led to the horrible 
tragedy of the Dickinson duel — events which, but for that 
tragic ending, would be nothing more than amusing illustra- 
tions of the manners of a past age — now claim our serious 

It all grew out of a projected horse race that was never 

General Jackson, always fond of the turf, as all men of 
his temperament were, are, and will always be, was in these 
years particularly devoted to it, because it was a source of 
profit to him as well as pleasure. The Nashville race-course, 
too, was then at Clover Bottom, close to his own store, a 
superb circular field on Stone's river, famous as being the 
place where old Colonel Donelson, after his adventurous 
river-voyage, planted his first corn ; famous, too, for having 
borne fine crops of corn for sixty years without rotation. A 
beautiful field it is, just large enough for a mile course, with 
the requisite margin for spectators and their vehicles. Here 
Jackson trained his racing colts ; here he tried the paces of 
his renowned horse, Truxton, when he first brought him home 
from Virginia ; here, every spring and autumn, he attended 
the races, among the most eager of the motley throng which 
those great occasions assembled. The ownership of Truxton 
rendered General Jackson a leader of the turf for some years, 
as that horse was conceded to be superior to any other in that 
part of the great West. 


The name of this animal indicates the feelings of Jackson 
at that time. Commodore Truxton was then in the zenith 
of his popularity, as he had added to his revolutionary re- 
nown, by overcoming, with his frigate Constellation, the 
French ships L'Insurgente, in 1799, and La Vengeance, in 
1800, both, after a well-fought action, and with a heavy loss 
on the part of the enemy. Truxton and the Constellation 
were magic names in the early part of the century. General 
Jackson could boast that he had voted for the completion of 
the Constellation at a time when the Navy was regarded as a 
federal creation, an aristocratical device of John Adams. 

For the autumn races of 1805, a great race was arranged 
between General Jackson's Truxton and Captain Joseph Er- 
vin's Plow Boy. The stakes were two thousand dollars, pay- 
able on the day of the race in notes, which notes were to be 
then due ; forfeit, eight hundred dollars. Six persons were 
interested in this race : on Truxton's side, General Jackson, 
Major W. P. Anderson, Major Verrell, and Captain Pryor ; on 
the side of Plow Boy, Captain Ervin and his son-in-law, 
Charles Dickinson. Before the day appointed for the race 
arrived, Ervin and Dickinson decided to pay the forfeit and 
withdraw their horse, which was done, amicably done, and 
the affair was supposed to be at an end. 

About this time a report reached General Jackson's ears 
that Charles Dickinson had uttered disparaging words of 
Mrs. Jackson, which, as Colonel Avery has told us, was with 
Jackson the sin not to be pardoned. Dickinson was a 
lawyer by profession, but, like Jackson, speculated in produce, 
horses, and (it is said) in slaves. He was well connected, 
possessed considerable property, and had a large circle of gay 
friends. He is represented as a somewhat wild, dissipated 
young man ; yet not unamiable, nor disposed wantonly to 
wound the feelings of others. When excited by drink, or by 
any other cause, he was prone to talk loosely and swear vio- 
lently — as drunken men will. He had the reputation of being 
the best shot in Tennessee. Upon hearing this report, Gen- 
eral Jackson called on Dickinson and asked him if he had 


1806.] JACKSON "CANES" MR. T. 8WANN. 269 

used the language attributed to him. Dickinson replied that 
if he had, it must have been when he was drunk. Fttrthar 
explanations and denials removed all ill feeling from General 
Jackson's mind, and they separated in a friendly manner. 

A second time, it is said, Dickinson uttered oflFensive words 
respecting Mrs. Jackson in a tavern at Nashville, which were 
duly conveyed by some meddling parasite to General Jackson. 
Jackaon, I am told,* then went to Captain Ervin, and ad- 
vised him to exert his influence over his son-in-law, and in- 
duce him to restrain his tongue, and comport himself like a 
gentleman in his cups. " I wish no quarrel with him," said 
Jackson ; " he is used by my enemies in Nashville, who are 
urging him on to pick a quarrel with me. Advise him to stop 
in time." It appears, however, that enmity grew between 
these two men. In January, 1806, when the events occurred 
that are now to be related, there was the worst possible feel- 
ing between them. 

I give this account of the origin of the enmity as 1 have 
received it from General Jackson's surviving associates. Not 
that they received it from him. General Jackson was so 
averse to talking of a finished quarrel, that many of his most 
intimate friends — friends of years' standing — never heard him 
once allude to this sad business. 

An affray in a Nashville tavern, between General Jackson 
and a Mr. Thomas Swann was the first act of the tragedy. 
Swann was a very young man, recently from Virginia, where 
he had completed his legal studies, and whence he had mi- 
grated to Tennessee, with excellent letters of introduction in 
his pocket. Two accounts of this affray are before me ; one 
prepared by Mr. Swann, the other by General Jackson. The 
reader shall have the substance of both of them, as published 
in the Nashville newspaper of the time, called by the impos- 
ing name of the Impartial Review and Cumberland Reposi- 
tory, edited by Thomas Eastin, one of Mrs. Jackson's innu- 
merable relatives. 

* By General Sam Houston. 
VOL. I. — 18 


Mr. Swann states his case thus : — 

" Patten Andersou" (warm friend to Jackson) u had observed in Messrs. 
George & Robert Bell's store, in presence of George Bell, Samuel Jackson 
and myself, that the notes oflered by Captain Joseph Ervin, at the time 
of paying the forfeit between Truxton and Plow Boy, wore different from 
those whicli General Jackson agreed to receive. Mr. Samuel Jackson dis- 
closed this remark to Mr. Charles Dickinson, who called on me at King, 
Carson & King's store, for a confirmation of the report. I assured him 
that the information received from Samuel Jackson was correct A few 
days after this, I met with General Jackson at his own store, and had with 
him the following conversation : — 

" { Did Captain Ervin or Mr. Dickinson (I asked) offer to you in pay- 
ment of the forfeit, different notes from those which you had agreed to 
receive at the time of making the race ?' 

" His answer was, that Dickinson's notes were the same ; but that 
Captain Ervin's were different, and assigned this reason, that the notes 
which Captain Ervin was to have staked, and which he (Jackson) agreed 
to receive, were due, and on demand ; but when he came forward to pay 
the forfeit, he offered him notes, not one (as well as I can recollect the 
expression) of which was due. 

" Not many days after this, Captain Ervin and myself were riding from 
Nashville to Cloverbottom ; Ervin asked me whether I had heard Patten 
Anderson make the statement above spoken of. I informed him I had. 
lie then asked, 

" ' Did you ever bear General Jackson say anything about it?' 

" I then related to him the conversation betwixt General Jackson and 
myself. Ervin denied the statement made by Jackson to be correct ; and 
said he would prove by the affidavits of Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Carson and 
Captain Wright, that they were the same ; that he tendered to General 
Jackson no note but what he had offered in stake ; nor did he retain any 
from him but one on Robert Thompson, for which he gave his own to the 
house of King & Carson. I advised Captain Ervin first to speak with Gen- 
eral Jackson on the subject, and we parted without further conversation. 

" On Saturday, the 28th day of December, 1805, Captain Ervin, Mr. 
Dickinson and General Jackson met in Nashville, when a conversation was 
introduced by Mr. Dickinson relative to the identity of the note3 offered by 
himself and Captain Ervin in payment of the forfeit. Mr. Dickinson 
informed me that General Jackson did, to him and Captain Ervin, acknowl- 
edge that the notes offered by them at the time of paying the forfeit were 
the same which he had agreed to receive ; and further asserted, that who- 
ever was the .author of a report, that he (General Jackson) had stated 

1806.] JACKSON "CANES" MR. T. SWANN. 271 

them to be different, was c a damned liar.' On the day after receiving this 
information from Mr. Dickinson, I wrote this note : — 

" Nashville, January 3d, 1806. 
"General Andrew Jackson : — Sir, I was hist evening informed by Mr. 
Dickinson that> when called on by Captain Ervin and himself at Mr. 
Winn's tavern, on Saturday last, to say whether the notes offered by them, 
or either of them, at the time the forfeit was paid in the race between 
Truxton and Plow Boy, were the same received at the time of making 
the race, you acknowledged they were, and further asserted that whoever 
was the author of a report that you had stated thrai to be different, was a 
damned liar ! The harshness of this expression has deeply wounded my 
feelings ; it is language to which I am a stranger, which no man, acquainted 
with my character, would venture to apply to me, and which, should the 
information of Mr. Dickinson be correct, I shall be under the necessity of 
taking proper notice of. I shall be at Rutherford court before you will 
receive this, from whence I shall not return to Nashville before Thursday 
or Friday, at which time I shall expect an answer. I am, sir, your obedi- 
ent servant, 

"TnoMAS Swann. 

" To this note General Jackson replied in a letter couched in the fol- 
lowing ambiguous expressions : — 

"Hermitage, January *7th, 1806. 

"Thomas Swann, Esq.: — Sir, late last evening was handed me, 
among my returns from Haysborough, a letter from you, of the 3d inst, 
stating information from Dickinson, etc., etc., etc. Was it not for the 
attention due to a stranger, taking into view its tenor and style, I should 
not notice its receipt. Had the information, stated to have been received 
from Mr. Dickinson, stated a direct application of harsh language to you — 
had you not known that the statement, as stated in your letter, was not 
correct — had it not taken place in the same house where you then were — 
had not Mr. Dickinson been applied to by me to bring you forward when 
your name was mentioned, and he declined — had I not the next morning had 
a conversation with you on the same subject, and, lastly, did not your let- 
ter hold forth a threat of ' proper notice,' I should give your letter a direct 
answer. Let me, sir, observe one thing : that I never wantonly sport with 
the feelings of innocence, nor am I ever awed into measures. If incau- 
tiously I inflict a wound, I always hasten to remove it ; if offense is taken 
where none is offered or intended, it gives me no pain. If a tale is listened 
to many days after the discourse should have taken place, when all parties 
are under the same roofj I always leave the person to judge of the motives 
that induced the information, and leave them to draw their own conclu- 
sions, and act accordingly. There are certain traits that always accompany 


the gentleman and man of truth. The moment he hears harsh expressions 
applied to a friend, he will immediately communicate it, that explanation 
may take place; when the base poltroon and cowardly tale-bearer will 
always act in the background. You can apply the latter to Mr. Dickinson, 
and see which best fits him. I write it for his eye, and the latter I em- 
phatically intend for him. But, sir, it is for you to judge for yourself; 
diaw your own conclusions, and, when your judgment is matured, act 
accordingly. When the conversation dropt between Mr. Dickinson and 
myself, I thought it was at an end. As he wishes to blow the coal, I am 
ready to light it to a blaze, that it may be consumed at once, and finally 
extinguished. Mr. Dickinson has given you the information, the subject 
of your letter. In return, and in justice to him, I request you to show him 
this. I set out this morning for South-west Point I will return at a short 
day, and, at all times, be assured I hold myself answerable for any of my 
conduct, and should any thing herein contained give Mr. Dickinson the 
spleen, I will furnish him with an anodine as soon as I return. I am, sir, 
your obedient servant, 

" Andrew Jackson. 

"P. S. — There were no notes delivered at the time of making the 
race, as stated in your letter ; nor was the meeting between me and Mr. 
Dickinson at Mr. Winn's tavern on that subject The subject of the notes 
was introduced by Mr. Dickinson as an apology for his conduct, the subject 
of conversation." 

Mr. Swann indulges in a variety of comments on General 
Jackson's letter, which are not important. He resumes his 
narrative : — 

" We will now tike a view of the heroic General's conduct subsequent 
to the diction of his ambiguous letter, ' and let it be remembered/ that 
the Sunday after its reception he came to town, and after having devoted 
the greater part of the evening* to the pleasures of Bacchus, he desired Mr. 
John Coffee to tell me if I wished to speak with him to do so immediately, 
as he was then ready to return home. An interview was accordingly re- 
quested, in which, contrary to my expectation, abuse was substituted for 
explanation. I told hitn I should demand that satisfaction which, as a 
gentleman, I was entitled to receive. His reply was, that if I challenged 
him he would cane me. I rejoined that his threats I despised, and if he 
dared to execute them I would put him instantly to death. He went into 
the public room at Mr. Winn's tavern, and there, in the presence of a num- 

* At the Sooth the word evening means afternoon. 

1806.] JACKSON "CANES" MR. T. 8WANN. 273 

ber of gentlemen, publicly proclaimed that if I dared to challenge him he 
would cane me, and then give me satisfaction ; boasted that he would not 
wish a better breakfast than to kill fifty such men, and insinuated that it 
would be presumption in me to challenge a man of his age and standing in 
society. In a few days he received from me a note, of which the following 
is a copy :— 

" General Andrew Jackson. — Think not that I am to be intimidated 
by your threats. No power terrestrial shall prevent the settled purpose of 
my soul. The statement I have made in respect to the notes is substan- 
tially correct The torrent of abusive language with which you have as- 
sailed me is such as every gentleman should blush to hear ; your menaces 
I set at defiance ; and now demand of you that reparation which one gen- 
tleman is entitled to receive of another. My friend the bearer of this is 
authorized to make complete arrangements in the field of honor. 

11 Thomas Swann. 
"Nashville, January 12th, 1806. 

" To this he refused giving a direct answer, saying to my friend that 
he must first know me to be a gentleman. He then introduced a conver- 
sation relative to the cause which produced the note, stating, that the ob- 
servations made to Charles Dickinson were not intended to have applica- 
tion to me, and that I could not by any possible fair construction make 
them apply to myself; but if I thought proper to trim or pare my head to 
fit the cap, he could not help it, but he did not. intend it for me ; he con- 
cluded by saying he would not answer my note, but would be in town on 
the next day. 

" From a report of these observations I was induced to believe that 
General Jackson's intentions were pacific, and expected on his arrival in 
town to receive from him overtures of accommodation. Then, judge of 
my surprise (being thrown entirely off my guard to repel any hostile attack) 
when, on the next day, passing through the public room in the tavern, (not 
knowing that General Jackson was in town) he, surrounded by his friends, 
with a large bludgeon and a brace of pistols, assailed me, without giving 
me a moment's warning to defend myself 1 The affray being ended, I 
again demanded that reparation which tho day before he had refused to 
give ; and upon this ground, that having shown a disposition to execute 
the first part of a threat made a few days before, viz., to cane and then 
give me satisfaction, he would now comply with the latter part of bis 
promise ; but the ingenious General had discovered another pretext to 
shield himself from the dangers of an equal combat — ' he did not know me 
as a gentleman.' Can he produce the testimony of a single witness to 
prove one solitary act of my life a departure from this character ? I defy 


him to do it But perhaps, being a stranger, it may be said he did not 
know whether I was or not. To those who propose this query I answer, 
he was told I had letters of introduction, and could procure certificates to 
prove I was entitled to that character. But the General is forty-five years 
of age ! I ! Ergo, the laws of his country exempt him from the perform- 
ance of military duty. In honor's code no such privileges are to bo found. 
In a court of honor no such pleas are offered." 

Such was the Swann version of this affray, to which may 
be properly added an important fact which Mr. Swann omits. 
General Jackson, in his " ambiguous" letter, made some as- 
persions upon Charles Dickinson which were the contrary of 
ambiguous, and notified Mr. Swann that those remarkably 
unambiguous expressions were designed for Dickinson's own 
eye. Swann accordingly showed the letter to Dickinson, 
who immediately wrote to General Jackson the following 
response : — 

"Jantjaby 10, 1806. 

" General Andrew Jackson, Sir : — Last evening was shown me by 
Mr. Thomas Swann a letter from you in answer to a letter he had written 
you respecting a conversation that took place between you and myself at 
Mr. Winn's tavern, etc., etc. 

" I there informed you of a report that Patten Anderson had given 
publicity to, that a different list was produced when we were about paying 
the forfeit, from the one we were to make our stake out of, and that he 
had it from you, which you denied ever sanctioning. I then informed you 
I had another author who said he did hear you say that a different list was 
brought by Captain Erwin, whicli, as soon as I mentioned, and before 1 
could give my author, you declared the author had told a damned lie; 
that so far from saying so, you had never intimated such a tiling to any 
one, and immediately asked, 4 Who was the author ?' to which I answered, 
( Thomas Swann.' You wished Mr. Swann to be called forward, which I 
declined, lest Mr. Swann might think I wished to throw the burden off my 
shoulders on his ; and the business being then entirely between Mr. Swann 
and yourself — Mr. Swann asserting that yon had told him that a different 
list was produced by Captain Erwin, and you as positively denying it. 

" After the report was circulated by Patten Anderson, Mr. Swann (as 
he informed me) was anxious to know if Patten Anderson was your her- 
ald; and further, as he had been introduced to Captain Erwin as a gentle- 
man, he was desirous of knowing if any improper conduct had been atr 

1806.] JACKSON "CANES" Mil. T. SWANN. 275 

tempted, and after he had mentioned the business to you, you answered 
concerning the stake and forfeit as stated above. 

" Your letter is so replete with equivocations that it is impossible for 
ine to understand you. But in one part of your letter you say, * had you 
not known that the statement of Mr. Dickinson was not correct,' which is 
denying that you contradicted what Mr. Swann had asserted. Should that 
be your meaning, I can prove it, not only by the assertions, but oaths of 
Mr. Samuel Jackson and Captain Ervin, whom I shall have sworn, that the 
world may know who can prove himself the gentleman and man of truth. 
Why should you have wished to have Mr. Swann called had you not de- 
nied what he had asserted ? And do you pretend to call a man a tale- 
bearer for telling that which is truth and can be proved? Mr. Swann, 
after he understood an interviow was to take place between you and my- 
self, gave me liberty to make use of his name; and on our meeting, which 
was a few days after, he asked me if I had made use of his name and what 
you had said, an impartial statement of which I detailed to him. As to the 
word, coward, I think it as applicable to yourself as any one I know, and 
I shall be very glad when an opportunity serves to know in what manner 
you give your anodines, and hope you will take in payment one of my 
most moderate cathartics. 

" Yours at command, 

'Charles Dickinson." 

Dickinson, when he wrote this letter, was on the eve of a 
tiat-boat voyage to New Orleans. By the time it reached 
General Jackson's hands, he had started down the river, and 
was miles bevond the reach of a replv. The tradition in 
Tennessee is, that all the way to New Orleans and back again 
he spent every leisure moment in practicing with the pistol, 
expecting on his return to be called out by General Jackson. 
Whether this was true or not, Jackson was so informed, and 
believed the story. 




Upon reading Mr. Swann's communication in the Impar- 
tial Review and Cumberland Repository, General Jackson 
set about preparing a reply that should overwhelm and crush 
his youthful antagonist. He seems to have bestirred him- 
self mightily. Unable to complete his reply in one week, he 
inserted a note in Mr. Eastin's newspaper to inform an ex- 
pectant public that in the next issue of the paper he would 
bestow proper attention upon a late communication signed 
Thomas Swann. 

This reply of Jackson's is surcharged with the very essence 
of biography, and is curiously characteristic of the time and 
scene. If it were not so, there would still be a kind of neces- 
sity for the insertion here of a great part of it ; for who other- 
wise could believe that grown men could have been betrayed 
by their angry feelings into such boyish behaviour ? Who 
could suppose that consequences so deadly could come of a 
dispute so petty ? Who could believe that men who, at other 
times and on other scenes, appear in a light altogether noble 
and captivating, could ever have seriously occupied themselves 
with an affair like this ? And who could imagine that such 
scenes as this correspondence reveals ever occurred in a town 
which has grown to be the polite city of Nashville ? — a city 
in which northern vigor and southern generosity combine to 
please and win the visitor. 

General Jackson thus began his communication : — 

11 Mr. Eastin : The respect I owe to the world makes it necessary that 
a publication under the signature of 'Thomas Swann,' in your Impartial 
Review of the 1st instant, should be noticed. 

" To impose upon the public attention, through the medium of your 
useful paper, is not my wish ; but as Mr. Swann has endeavored to exhibit 
to the public eye a statement of his case and character, an impartial public 


will indulge such supplementary remarks as may be necessary to complete 
the caricature. In justice to Mr. Swann, and lest the figure when finished 
may appear the work of different artists, the groundwork, and even the 
various materials of which his drawing is composed, shall be carefully 
attended to. 

" Not, however, in the new-invented style of support adoptefi by his 
friends, Mr. N. A. McNairy and Samuel Jackson— one the accredited agent 
of Mr. Swann, and the other invoked in his support To a perfect under- 
standing of the case of the complainant, let it briefly be premised, that a 
course race was made between Captain Ervin and myself, for 2,000 dollars 
in cash notes, payable at the day of the race. It was suggested that all 
Captain Ervin's notes were not payable precisely at the day. An accom- 
modation was proposed, and a schedule of the notes y and Charles S. Carson's 
verbal assumpsit (being present) was offered for 440 dollars, or thereabouts, 
which was accepted. Mr. Ervin was previously informed that I had not 
any power over one half of the bet, as Major Verrell and Captain Pryor, 
who were interested in the other half, were about to leave the country.; 
that one half must be payable at the day of the race, the other, which 
respected myself and Major W . P. Anderson, was not material. 

" Mr. Charles Dickinson is the son-in-law to Captain Ervin, and was 
interested in the race, as it is understood. This race was afterward drawn 
on account of the indisposition of Captain Ervin's horse, upon an agree- 
ment to pay eight hundred dollars as a forfeit The payment cf this forfeit 
is the circumstance which gave rise to the conduct of Mr. Swann — his pub- 
lication, the following certificates, and the subjoined remarks. The fact to 
be decided by the public is, whether Mr. Swann, in his solicitude to 
* know the true statement^' though unconcerned, has omitted, in his asser- 
tion to Mr. Dickinson and the public, some material fact, or, iu other words, 
whether I asserted that which was untrue ? 

" Mr. Hiitciiings has truly stated the assertion to which I have uniformly 
adhered, upon which Mr. Swann and myself were at issue; that issue lias 
been decided — whether in a moral manner, casuists must determine — upon 
the following certificates and analysis: — 


" Being called on by General Andrew Jackson to state a conversation 
that took place, on a certain Saturday, in his store, when Thomas Swann 
was present, with myself ^nd a number of other gentlemen, relative to the 
payment of the forfeit by Captain Ervin in the race between Plow Boy 
and Truxton, do certify that the subject was introduced by Captain P. 
Anderson, who was stating that, on that occasion, Captain Ervin had pro- 
duced a different memorandum or schedule of notes than that which was 

278 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K80N. [1806. 

produced at the time the accommodation of the race took pltfce in Nash- 
ville. General Jackson replied. 

" ' In that you are incorrect Instead of producing a different sched- 
ule, he produced none at all/ 

" Some person in the room, perhaps Mr. Swann, stepped toward the 
General, and said he had heard something on this subject, and wished to 
know the true statement To which General Jackson observed that when 
Captain Ervin asked him up to Captain Hoggatt's to receive the forfeit, he, 
Captain Ervin, produced to, and offered him notes, none of which were due 
and payable at the time ; that he, the General, refused to receive tJiem because 
one half were not due and payable ; his reason being (hat one half were the 
property of Major Verrel and Captain Pryor, who were about to leave the 
country immediately. Captain Ervin saM they were part of the same notes 
exhibited in the schedule at Nashville. The General then asked Captain 
Ervin for that schedule. He put his hands in his pockets, and, after some 
search, said it was lost or mislaid, but that Mr. Dickinson had his notes and 
memorandum or schedule (that he might be called in), out of which the 
forfeit could be paid. Mr. Dickinson was then called in, produced his notes 
and memorandum, out of which, with an order on King, Carson & King, 
the forfeit was paid. When the General had finished his statement, Mr. 
Anderson said, ( Then I have taken up a wrong idea, and am mistaken, 1 or 
words to that import, and the subject ended. 

" February 5th, 1806. John HuT0l^NG8. ,, 


"I do hereby certify that on or about the 12th day of January last I 
was in company with General Andrew Jackson, at Nashville, in Mr. 
Winn's tavern, when the General mentioned to me that some communica- 
tions had come from Mr. Thomas Swann to him some days previous to 
that, in consequence of which perhaps Mr. Swann, from the pompous airs 
he put on, might wish to say something on the subject He requested me 
to say to Mr. Swann, who was then in the house, that if he had any busi- 
ness with him (General Jackson), to make it kuown immediately, as he was 
about to leave Nashville. I complied with his request. Mr. Swann 
replied he was just waiting to speak with the General, and immediately 
stepped up to him. They walked out of the house together. After some 
minutes General Jackson came into the room (Mr. Swann passed by the 
door), and observed to him, as he passed on, and to the gentlemen in the 
house, that if Mr. Swann did attempt to support a statement made in a 
letter addressed from Mr. Swann to General Jackson (which letter the 
General showed the company), that he would cane him, inasmuch that 
the statement was false, that the author could not be a gentleman, and 


that such would be the treatment he deserved. He observed he would 
probably be in town the next day, or in a few days, as his business would 
permit, and if Mr. Swann put on any airs with htm he would cane him. 
He then left town. 

" The General's business prevented him from returning to Nashville for 
some days, in which time Mr. Swann addressed another letter, by his 
friend, Mr. Nathaniel A. McNairy, to the General, observing that the 
statements made were substantially correct, etc. The General then was 
under a promise to cane him on sight The day after the receipt of the 
last letter mentioned, General Jackson and myself went into Nashville to- 
gether, he, under a determination to make good his promise. We stopped 
at Mr. Winn's tavern ; had not been in the house but a few minutes when 
Mr. Swann came walking into the room. As soon as the General saw 
him he rose from his chair, observing, he was glad to meet with him, drew 
np his cane and gave him a very severe blow, which appeared to stagger 
Mr. Swann forward. The General gave back, as I supposed, to repeat his 
blows, came in contact with some chairs that stood behind him, and fell 
backwards over them towards the fire or hearth ; but before he was down, 
the gentlemen present caught him and prevented further blows. 

" Mr. Swann stepped back, put his hand behind him under his coat, as 
I supposed, to draw a pistol. Some person forbade his drawing. The 
General replied to the company, * Let him draw and defend himself.' The 
General put his hand behind him and drew a pistol. The company all im- 
mediately gave back, and I supposed that a fire would immediately take 
place. But when Mr. Swann saw the General draw a pistol, he withdrew 
his hand, observing that he had no such intention. The General observed 
to him, that such was the treatment he deserved, and such he would always 
give young men, conducting themselves as he had done ; that had he acted 
in a proper manner to him, he would have treated him otherwise. Mr. 
Swann observed, that he had just learned that he (the General) was come 
into the house, and that he had come down stairs to speak with him to 
pave the way for accommodation, or words to that purpose. Mr. Swann 
then withdrew from the room. 

" Some short time after, in the same day, I was called on to hear a con- 
versation between General Jackson and Mr. Nathaniel A. McNairy, the 
friend of Mr. Swann, as he expressed himself. The General observed to 
Mr. McNairy, that he knew not Mr. Swann as a gentleman; that he 
would not degrade himself by accepting his challenge ; that he was a 
stranger to him ; that his conduct towards him had been ungentlemanly. 
Consequently, he would not have any correspondence with him ; but if 
Mr. Swann was dissatisfied with him from the treatment he had received, 
that he would accommodate him thus far : that he would ride with him 
anywhere, on any ground he would name ; he would meet him in any 


sequestered grove he would point out ; or he would see him in any way 
he would suggest, through him, Mr. McNairy. He further observed, that 
if Mr. Swann had any friend, that was known to be a gentleman, who 
would step forward, in his behalf, that he there pledged himself to meet 
him on any gentlemanly ground. Mr. McNairy observed that his own 
knowledge of Mr. Swann would not justify his supporting him as a gen- 
tleman, but urged that a court of honor should be called ; that he would 
produce such certificates as he thought would support his friend. General 
Jackson referred him to me for further proceedings on the occasion, and 

" My reply to Mr. McNairy was, that I thought that gentleman's honor 
and feelings were too delicate to arbitrate ; that, under the existing circum- 
stances, I thought the General's proposals were as far as he ought to go, and 
that further satisfaction he might not expect. He, Mr. McNairy, declined 
accepting the proposition. In the meantime he observed, his only wish 
was to do justice ; that if Mr. Swann's papers did not hold him out to be 
the gentleman, he would withdraw himself from the business. He said it 
was unfortunate the General had been so rash, as he was fully convinced 
had a conversation taken place between the parties, before the General 
had struck Mr. Swaun, that the thing would have been easily settled ; in- 
asmuch as he, Mr. McNairy, and Mr. Swann, on mature reflection, had 
discovered they had misconstrued the statements that were the original 
cause of dispute; that Mr. Swann, on seeing General Jackson ride into 
town, came to see him to have an explanation. Had this have been done, 
he said, a reconciliation would, in all probability, have taken place, but the 
General's caning him was now the only cause of complaint . 

" Some hours after, in the same day, I called on Mr. McNairy, to 
know if they would accede to the proposition made him by General 
Jackson, assuring him it was the only one he would get He declined, 
saying he supposed the thing would end with a publication in Mr. 
Swann's defense. 

" Some two or three days after, when in Nashville in Mr. Winn's tav- 
ern, I was called on by General Jackson to hear a conversation between 
himself and Mr. McNairy, when General Jackson observed to Mr. Mc- 
Nairy that he had learned since he had just come to town, that McNairy 
had reported, and caused to be circulated, that when General Jackson 
refused to treat Mr. Swann as a gentleman, that he, Mr. McNniry, had 
observed that if Mr. Swann was not known as a gentleman, that he was 
one, and would meet him in behalf of his friend. Mr. McNairy replied, he 
had never said it, nor wished such an idea to go out; that he had said if 
General Jackson had a wish to fight him, he would see him ; but denied 
ever offering or wishing to meet him. General Jackson said, Major Robert 
Purdy was his author, and he would call on him. He accordingly called 


Major Purdy, who asserted firmly that Mr. McNairy had made such a 
statement to him. Mr. McNairy observed, that Major Purdy must have 
misconstrued his moaning. The Major replied, there could be no miscon- 
struction ; that the words were plain and construed themselves. Mr. Mc- 
Nairy observed, he never intended to have said such a thing, neither did 
he wish such an idea to go forth. General Jackson observed to Mr. Mc- 
Nairy, that * too much had been said on the subject, and for the future, let 
there be no misunderstanding. I now pledge you my word and my honor, 
if any gentleman on a standing with myself will come forward as the friend 
of Mr. Swann, I will at all times meet him on any gentlemanly ground.' 
Thus the thing rested, so far as the same came to my knowledge. 

•'John Coffee." 

statement of robert hays tending to show that mr. swann was not 

a gentleman. 

" I certify that, some time in the month of January last, Mr. Samuel 
Jackson stated to me that Mr. Thomas Swann had (without being asked) 
proffered him the loan of some cash, and that he would furnish him with 
as much as 200 dollars or more, if he wished it. Mr. S. Jackson replied 
(after thanking him), that he would perhaps call on him in a few days for 
a loan, which he did in a day or two following, and observed that 100 dol- 
lars would answer him. Mr. Thomas Swann observed that, he might have 
it at any time. The said S. Jackson called on him the day following for it, 
and the said Swann answered he had loaned it out, and he could not fur- 
nish him with any. The said S. Jackson further observed to me, that he 
had found out Mr. Thomas Swann, and that he had not acted the gentle- 
man with him ; to which I observed, if he acted in that manner, he treated 
you like a rascal, and said S. Jackson made answer, he did. 

" Robert Hats. 
" Haysborough, February 3, 1806." 



"Haysborough, Fobruary 3d, 1806. 

" General Andrew Jackson : — Sir, agreeable to your request, the fol- 
lowing certificate is a correct statement of a conversation that passed from 
Mr. Samuel Jackson, in the street of Haysborough, in my presence : — 

" I certify that, on or about the 24th day of January, 1806, when 
standing in the street of Haysborough, with two or three gentlemen, 

Samuel Jackson, Esq., and Mr. Lee rode up to the place where we were 

standing, and the conversation taking a turn to the subject of General An- 
drew Jackson's and Mr. Thomas Swann's quarrel, Samuel Jackson, Esq., 


did state in my presence, that Mr. T. Swann treated him very rascally, and 
commenced the statement of the circumstances ; but was interrupted 
through some cause unknown to me. The day or two following, the said 
S. Jackson having returned to Haysborough, and renewing the conversa- 
tion, stated to me, that Mr. Thomas Swann bad proffered him the loan of 
some money, without being questioned by said S. Jackson on the subject ; 
his (Mr. Samuel Jackson's) answer was (alter thanking him), if he really 
stood in need of it, he would call on him for 100 dollars. Said S. Jack- 
son, finding necessity for making the application, did so (on the day follow- 
ing), and was answered by Mr. Swann that he had loaned his money out 

"Robert Butler." 


"Some time since Mr. Thomas Swann and myself had a conversation 

respecting Mr. Samuel Jackson. Mr. Swann asked me if I did not suppose 

that Mr. Jackson was one of the damnedest rascals on earth, and observed 

he, Jackson, was a damned rascal. Some further conversation took place, 

which I can not recollect 

"Robert Pdrdt. 
" February 8, 1806." 


" Mr. Swann, in his letter and publication in your paper of the 1st in- 
stant, states ' that the notes offered by Captain Joseph Ervin at the time 
of paying the forfeit, etc., were different from those General Jackson 
agreed to receive.' What does Dickinson, his informant^ state ? That Swann 
said a different list was produced. Mr. Swann should have recollected that 
the list of notes nn<l notes offered were different. The first was produced 
when an accommodation was proposed respecting the commutation of notes 
not payable for those that were ; the second, to the payment of the forfeit, 
a fact which took place some time after the accommodation. By the ac- 
commodation, one half was payable ; when the notes were offered, no Hst 
was produced. 

" How does Mr. Swann prove tfie position he has taken, that different 
notes from the list were produced ? 

"1st By his own assertion. Mr. Hutchings was present; see his affi- 

" 2d. Mr. Charles Dickinson's information is referred to ; see Mr. Dick- 
inson's letter. He states no such tiling, but refers to a different list These 
two correctative informants speak— one of different notes actually offered, the 
other of a different list of notes. Happy concordance I These two gentle- 
men possess the key of consistency. 


" 3d. Mr. Samuel Jackson is next referred to. Mr. Swann lias not been 
so obliging as to give us any certificate, nor even a quotation from Mr. 
Jackson, of whom he was so polite as to say in the presence of Major 
Pnrdy thai he was a damned rascal! (an appropriate witness for Mr. 
Swann). It is to be lamented that he did not, but it is to be hoped that 
Colonel Hays' and Mr. Robert Butler's certificates may ease Mr. Swann of 
the labor of vindicating his friend Samuel from any imputation. No doubt 
of their having well understood each other. Mr. Jackson flatly calls Mr. 
Swann a rasad. That they have confidence in each other we have no 
doubt. Mr. Jackson, in his opinion of Mr. Swann, has disclosed the ground 
on which this good understanding rests. Upon principles of reason and of 
law, a man can not discredit his own witness. 

u 4th. Mr. Nathaniel A. McNairy is quoted by Mr. Swann in support 
of his assertion of my inconsistency. This young man has industriously 
acquired such a reputation as to make it an arduous task to add to it But 
as the selected supporter of Mr. Swann in the cause of consistency and 
bravery, it would be doing injustice to omit him. His certificate, which is 
only marked by a quotation, is introduced with triumph ; his / without date 
or signature. This hopeful youth, who forgets to-day what he has uttered 
yesterday, thinks himself secure ; but read Messrs. Baird and Purdy's cer- 
tificates and Mr. Coffee's affidavit, and see what credit can or ought to be 
attached to the statement of such a character. 

" Mr. Coffee states in substance that I would cane Mr. Swann, if he 
attempted to support the statement he had made ; that he understood Mr. 
Swann afterwards wrote me that the statement was substantially correct; 
that, agreeable to promise, I did cane him ; that Mr. Swann said, after this 
chastisement, that he had wished to pave the way for an explanation ; that 
he was present at a conversation immediately afterwards between Mr. N. 
A. McNairy, the friend of Mr. Swann, and myself, when, among other 
things, Mr. McNairy proposed a court of honor, saying at the same time that 
his acquaintance with Mr. Swann would not justify his supporting him as a 
gentleman ; and if Mr. Swann's papers did not support that character, he 
would withdraw himself. Note, Mr. Buird and Major Purdy state in sub- 
stance that this young squire of high renown told them, he observed to me 
that if Swann's character as a gentleman was not known, he would meet 
me. Mr. Coffee further states that this friend of Mr. Swann expressed much 
concern that this affair had terminated in so rash a manner ; that Mr. 
Swann had wished to see me for the purpose of an explanation ; that Mr. 
Swann and himself had misconstrued the statement made, or, in other 
words, found out that they were in an error. How shameful is it, then, to 
persist in it 

"But Mr. McNairy tells Mr. Coffee tliat the caning was the only cause 
of complaint. Then why bring the points of veracity and consistency into 


view in the publication ? When Mr. Coffee called on Mr. McNairy to 
know what he thought of my proposition for redress, observing to him it 
was all he might expect, he declined taking any further part in the affair, 
and observed, he supposed it would end in a publication in Mr. Swann's 
defense. The squire had recourse to the same method on a former occa- 
sion, and what effect it produced * the world might judge.' Mr. Coffee 
further tells us, that he was present when I called on Mr. McNairy to 
know if he had made use of the language stated in Major Purdy's certifi- 
cate. Here the valiant squire's memory failed him ; he denies that he ever 
said it, nor * did he wish such an idea to go forth.' Major Purdy, being con- 
venient, was called on. He told the squire what he had asserted, to which 
he answered, Major Purdy must have misunderstood him. Modest youth ! 
But the Major tells him he could not, for he gave his own words. Misun- 
derstood ? How ? This young man has either a vicious habit of deviat- 
ing from the truth, or a natural weakness of memory, either of which is 
equally pernicious to society, and renders him a fit compeer for his friend. 
It is difficult to find an appropriate epithet for a character who descends to 
state falsehoods, where the honor of a man is at stake ; where truth and 
justice ought to be the order of the day, with a person chosen to accom- 
pany another on the field of honor ; and, in many cases, where integrity is 
the only shield of innocence. However, the squire's conduct is in perfect 
unison with a recent act on the field of honor ; he fired before the word ; 
it was declared to be an accident ; and this prevarication, or whatever you 
may please to call it, I suppose he will declare to be another. Combine 
these two acts with the whole military feats of this young squire, and his 
deviations from the path of candor and truth in civil life. He is in my opin- 
ion (and I think the world will agree with me) deprived of that privilege 
in society which the gentleman and man of honor ought, in all cases, in 
justice to obtain. 

" Thus, reader, I have endeavored to finish the picture. The ground- 
work only appears to be conceived by the author of the publication. The 
materials existing in the statements of his witnesses may with propriety 
be said to have been selected by the author. They are, however, the 
natural result of those chosen by himself; an application of such as were 
offered have only been made. It is true that the drapery sometimes ex- 
hibits black instead of white ; but this the reader will excuse when he con- 
siders that, consistently with the plan I adopted, no other material could 
be had. A little more indulgence whilst a few other parts of the publica- 
tion are noticed. 

" Mr. Swann states in substance he was attacked in a defenseless situ- 
ation, and off his guard ; read the certificates of Messrs. Coffee and Clai- 
borne. Judge for yourselves. His own declaration snows that he came 
into the room, knowing I was there, for the purpose (to make use of his 


own words) c to pave the way for an accommodation. 1 These gentlemen 
state that Mr. Swann was about drawing a pistol I Why did he not do 
it? Any man can answer this question. Recollect, reader, his boast of 
a certain death in case I attempted to cane him. He had previously every 
assurance that I would not treat him like the gentleman, but that a caning 
would be given him in return for a challenge. 

" Here then the hero step3 forward with all the ostensible bravery of a 
duelist The faithful promise was executed. And notwithstanding hi? 
gasconading expressions, ( that no power terrestrial should prevent the settled 
purpose of his soul 1 he shrunk at the sight of a pistol, and dropped his 
hands for quarter, although one of them was placed on, and in the act of 
drawing his own. Is this like the man of courage who said, ' that instant 
death should be the consequence V Or is it like the coward when his settled 
purpose fails him t When true bravery is assailed or attacked in any way, 
it will show to the world its genuineness. Yes, as much bravery is Neces- 
sary in the act of self-defense in all cases as in the act of dueling — see Mr. 
Coffee's affidavit. 

"Mr. Swann, on this occasion, has impertinently and inconsistently ob- 
truded himself. He has acted the puppet and lying valet for a worthless, 
drunken, blackguard scoundrel, who is now at war with, and flatly contra- 
dicts, and gives Mr. Swann the lie. Here the reader can compare Charles 
Dickinson's letter with Mr. Swann's publication. 

" Mr. Swann states his desire to obtain satisfaction ; ' but an ingenious 
evasion had been discovered.' How does this agree with the evidence of 
Mr. Coffee and Major Purdy ? He is told he can have satisfaction in any 
manner, in any way or situation, but that I will not degrade myself by 
the acceptance of a challenge from a stranger whose acts and conduct had 
been inconsistent with that of the gentleman — from a man who was capa- 
ble of acting and writing to me in the manner Mr. Swann had done in his 
letters of the 3d and 12th of January. 

" But Mr. Swann complains I would not acknowledge him a gentle- 
man, and calls for proof of the contrary. If, therefore, I have not shown 
sufficiently that he has no just claim to the appellation of a gentleman, let 
him bring forth his letters introductory, or certificates, so much talked of. 
I was badly advised the day I chastised Mr. Swann, if those vouchers 
were not given by men in Virginia of known immoral and disreputable 

" Is it worth while before I take my everlasting farewell of this group, 
to notice the last falsehood asserted by Mr. Swann in his publication ? 
The fact is, I am only thirty-nine years of age, and if God should permit 
me to live thirty-nine years more, 1 will never again be caught before the 
public in competition with Mr. Swanu or any of his auxiliaries. 

" February 10th, 1806. Andrew Jackson." 

vol. I. — 19' 




Dickinson being still absent from Tennessee, the insult- 
ing language applied to him by General Jackson passed, for 
the time, without notice. But young McNairy, the " squire 
of high renown," was prompt to respond to that part of Jack- 
son's communication which related to him. The Impartial 
Review, of the next week, contained the following sarcastic 
epistle from that young gentleman : — 

" Mr. Eastin : — I would presume, from a view of the famous General s 
answer to Mr. Swann's publication in your last number, that part of the 
verdict to be expected from the public would be that the brave General 
is much more pleased in shedding bushels of ink than one ounce of blood, pro- 
vided there is an equal chance that that one ounce should be extracted from 
his own dear carcase. But give him an advantage, and he is as brave as 
Julius Caesar ; such as this : give him a large brace of rifle-barreled pistols, 
and he will race a superannuated governor on the road as he travels, or he 
will meet Mr. Swann in some sequestered spot, that the alert General may 
obtain some dishonorable advantage when no eye can see him ; or let liim 
have a pistol, and he will shoot at a man that has none, and drive him off 
to Kentucky. God knows for what offense, I apprehend the General 
knows, too. 

" Fie, fie upon it 1 General ! Come out. You can make boys fight at 
six feet distance ; risk yourself for once on equal terms, at least at ten 
yards. The risk is not great when you consider that your opponent will 
be under the impression that he has come in contact with the brave, mag- 
nanimous, invincible and honorable Major General Andrew Jackson, of Ten- 
nessee, but not commander of the navies. 

11 Let this suffice as a relish for the gentleman General until I shall have 
time to answer the charges exhibited by the braggadocio General ; espe- 
cially as it regards his honorable certifier, Mr. Coffee, who was under the 
necessity of being sworn, because he is not only honorable, but religious. 
The sagacious General would fain turn the public eye from the case of Mr. 
Swann and himself. Mr. Swann has a right to reply ; after that^ the pure 
General and myself will join issue ; or I rather expect the General will 


demur, for all he has got to do is to say a man is no gentleman. Perhaps 
lie is right ; the community can not well spare such men. In due time the 
public shall have all the documents in my power to afford, and I wish them, 
if they please, to suspend an opinion as far as regards the statement made 
in his publication against me. It is none but the cowardly who are always 
the cause of such disputes coming before the public; they ought to be 
transacted in conclave ; but the General knows the more noise there is 
made, the less danger there is of his sacred person. 

"Nashville, February 15th, 1806. Nathaniel A. McNairy. 

"N. B. — The people of the western country may think who are gen- 
tlemen and who are not, but it is reserved for the well born General to 
decide that point. N. A. MoN." 

The gauntlet thus thrown down was taken up by Mr. 
John Coffee, and a duel was the immediate result. The 
events that transpired at this duel had an influence upon the 
more serious combat that followed it. Coffee's second on this 
occasion was Major Robert Purdy, who thus relates wJiat 
occurred on the ground : — 

"On the 1st day of March, 1806, Mr. N. A. McNairy met Mr. Coffee in 
the State of Kentucky, agreeable to promise, to render Mr. Coffee satisfac- 
tion for an insult given by him (McNairy) in his publication in Mr. Eastin's 
Impartial Review of the 22d ultimo ; Mr. McNairy accompanied by his 
friend, Mr. George Bell, and Mr. Coffee by myself. 

11 Mr. Bell being requested by me to name for his friend the distance and 
mode of fighting, Mr. Bell observed, * the usual distance, thirty feet,' which 
was agreed to. Mr. Bell pointed out the mode, which is as follows : first, 
the word, * Make Ready ;' at which time the parties were to raise their 
pistols ; then, distinctly count, ' one, two, three,* and then the word ' Fire ;' 
at which time the parties were to fire ; a snap or flash to be considered as 
a fire. Should either of the pistols go off before the word * make ready' is 
given, it is to be considered as an accident, and at liberty to load again 
previous to the other's filing. Should either of the parties fire after the 
word is given, * Make Ready,' and before the word ' Fire,' the other is to 
fire at the word, should he think proper, or reserve his fire ; all of which 
was agreed to by me. 

" The ground was then laid off by Mr. Bell and myself, and we then 
threw up who was to give the word. I won it We threw up for the 
choice of positions. I won it. Mr. Bell observed to me, that if either of 
the gentlemen fired before the word, it would be a hard case to shoot them. 
I answered, it would be equally disagreeable to me ; but should either of theni 


fire before the word, they would be disgraced, wliich they must well know. 
We then proceeded to load the pistols, and called the gentlemen up, to 
whom the stipulations agreed to were read over by me, and fully explained, 
and both the gentlemen said they understood them perfectly. I then cau- 
tioned them to be careful not to lire before the word. 

" The gentlemen then took their positions, and I repeated to them once 
or twice how the word would be given, and cautioned them again not to 
lire before the word. Mr. Bell and myself took our positions, with a 
loaded pistol in our hands. I proceeded to give the word, ' Make Heady/ 
at which time both the gentlemen raised their pistols, and appeared per- 
fectly calm and deliberate. I then proceeded to count ' one,' and about 
the word * two,' Mr. McNairy fired, and shot Mr. Coifee through the 
thigh. Mr. Coffee fired immediately alter; but I am clearly of opinion 
it was in consequence of the wound he had received, that extracted 
his fire. 

11 1 immediately walked up to Mr. McNairy with my pistol cocked, and 
observed to him (McNairy) that he ought to be shot; and also observed to 
him, that was it not for the agreement between Mr. Bell and my sell, I 
would shoot him. Mr. McNairy observed, it was an accident. I replied 
to him, that accidents of' this kind on the field were inadmissible. Mr. Bell 
observed, that Air. Coifee had also fired before the word. Mr. Coifee 
auswered Mr. Bell, that he was wounded through the thigh, which caused 
his pistol to go olf. Mr. Bell admitted it might be the case. Mr. Coifee 
then advanced towards Mr. McNairy, and said to him, ' (x-d d — n you, this 
is the second time you have been guilty of the same crime. 1 I told Mr. 
Coffee to desist ; that this was an improper place to have words. Mr. Bell 
observed that they were ready to take another fire. I replied, that I would 
not suffer Mr. Coffee to take another fire ; that he had no right to do so, 
owing to the conduct of Mr. McNairy's firing before the word. Mr. Bell 
then applied to me for a compromise. 1 then observed that Mr. Coffee 
would not, unless Mr. McNairy would disavow every thing he had said of 
Mr. Coilee in the public prints, and suffer this day's transaction to be 
published, which 1 supposed Mr. McNairy would not do. Mr. Bell also ob- 
served, that Mr. McNairy would not Mr. McNairy and myself had some 
conversation on the subject of a compromise between Mr. Coffee and 
himself 1 answered him in the same way I did Mr. Bell. Mr. McNairy 
observed to me, that he always had a good opinion of Mr. Coffee, and 
that Coffee had been dragged into the business as well as himself We then 

Mr. George Bell, the second of McNairy, also published 
a statement not materially differing from the above, except 
with regard to what followed the accidental fire. "Mr 


McNairy," said Bell, " appeared to be very much hurt at his 
firing before the word, and insisted on me to tell Mr. Coffee 
that he would lay down his pistol, and that he (Coffee) might 
load his pistol, and stand at the proper distance, and have 
one shot at him, if that would satisfy him. I told Mr. Mc- 
Nairy that I did not think Mr. Coffee would do that, and this 
I think, I mentioned to Major Purdy, and he also observed 
that Mr. Coffee would not do it. As it has always been my 
wish to see men who have once been in habits of intimacy, as 
Mr. McNairy and Mr. Coffee had been, if possible, to become 
so again, I then mentioned to Major Purdy, if we could not 
bring about a compromise between Mr. Coffee and Mr. Mc- 
Nairy, at least, that they should be on speaking terms, and 
do business together as gentlemen. Major Purdy observed 
that we could not, except Mr. McNairy would disavow every 
thing that he had said of Mr. Coffee in the public prints. I 
then told Major Purdy that Mr. McNairy would never do 
that. We then parted." 

A peppery note from Major Purdy concluded this business : 
" I have been informed/' said Purdy, " by Mr. George Bell, 
that a report has been in circulation, that when Mr. Coffee 
and Mr. McNairy were on the field of honor, that Mr. Bell 
had a great deal of difficulty to keep me from shooting Mr. 
McNairy, and that said McNairy had begged his life, and 
given a certificate of his improper conduct. Whoever stated 
such conduct as respects Mr. McNairy, is a liar and rascal." 



To General Jackson's communication Mr. Swann pub- 
lished a reply of prodigious length, the main object of which 
was to prove, by certificates and affidavits, that Thomas 
Swann was a gentleman, and General Jackson a coward. 


Among the eminent Virginians who certified to Mr. Swann's 
gentlemanliness were Edmund Randolph and Edward Car- 
rington. Mr. Randolph said : " I commit to paper with 
great pleasure what I know and what I believe with respect 
to Thomas Swann, Esq. He studied the law under my ad- 
vice ; and manifested the most steady attention to it during 
the time. I had no hesitation in anticipating that he would 
become an able lawyer ; and I can with truth assert the ac- 
knowledged purity of his character." 

Eleven other men of known character testified in similar 
terms to Mr. Swann's entire respectability. 

Mr. Swann concluded his long communication with the 
following remarks : " The renowned General's famous publi- 
cation is fraught with rancorous abuse, and slanderous de- 
famation ; and contains charges which are not only unfounded, 
but entirely irrelevant to the point at issue ; one of which 
made by Samuel Jackson (a character which perhaps bears 
as great an affinity to him in disposition as in name), although 
amply in. my power to disprove, I conceive it would be too 
condescending to stoop to a serious refutation of, when ] 
reflect it was made by a man whose conduct has rendered 
him unworthy the notice of a gentleman. I shall now con- 
clude this address to the public by assuring General Andrew 
Jackson (to use a favorite expression of his own) ' that I 
shall at all times hold myself answerable for any of my con- 
duct.' " 

Mr. Swann might have spared himself the labor of pre- 
paring his voluminous reply, for while it was yet in the com • 
posi tor's hands, events were transpiring which turned the 
attention of the public away from the subordinate belligerents, 
and fixed it upon the principals. Dickinson was at home 
again. He reached Nashville about the 20th of May. 

On the 22d of May, General Thomas Overton rode out 
to General Jackson's store at Clover Bottom with the in- 
formation that Dickinson had written a most scurrilous attack 
upon Jackson, which he had placed in Mr. Eas tin's hands for 
publication, and it would appear in the n^xt number of the 


jwiper. Jackson asked Overton to hasten back to town, get a 
sight of the article, bring him an account of its contents, and 
come prepared to give an opinion as to whether it was an 
article requiring "notice." Overton complied with the re- 

" It's a piece that can't be passed over," reported Overton. 
" General Jackson, you must challenge him." 

To which Jackson replied, " General, this is an affair of 
life and death. I'll take the responsibility myself. I'll see 
the piece and form my own judgment of it." 

He mounted his horse, and rode to the office of the Im- 
partial Review. The article was shown him as afterward 
published. The following is a copy of it : — 

" Mr. Eastin : — In looking over the tenth number of your Impartial 
Review I discover that a certain Andrew Jackson has endeavored to induce 
the public to believe that some inconsistency had been attempted by me 
relative to his dispute with Mr. Thomas Swann. My letter to Andrew 
Jackson, as published by Mr. Joseph Ervin, is, I consider, a sufficient an- 
swer with any impartial person. 

" I should have never condescended to have taken any notice of An- 
drew Jackson or his scurrilous publication had it not been promised by Mr. 
John Ervin, when he published my letter at length, which Mr. Jackson, 
for some cause unknown but to himself, had not the generosity to have 
published but in part. 

" I shall take notice but of those parts of his publication which are 
intended fur myself. The first is in his publication of the 8th of February, 
which reads thus : 4 Mr. Charles Dickinson's information is referred to ; see 
Mr. Dickinson's letter. He states no such thing, but refers to a different 
list Those two correlative informants speak, one of different notes actu- 
ally offered, the other of a different list of notes. Happy concordance 1 
These two gentlemen possess the key of consistency.' 

"I have no such accommodating disposition as to compare what I 
intend to offer to the public with that of any witness whatever, and, if it 
should differ, to correal in such manner as to correspond. What any per- 
son offers for publication, if called on, I think it is his duty to swear to. 
Andrew Jackson has had several disputes, which have appeared in different 
prints of this State, and, if his mode of publishing his thoughts on his dif- 
ferent quarrels is such as to alter his publications to make them answer 
with those of his witnesses, I can only exclaim, temporal mores I 

" Another part of his publication, of the same date, is as follows : ' He/ 


alluding to Mr Thomas Swann, 'has acted the puppet and lying valet for 
a worthless, drunken, blackguard scoundrel,' etc., etc. Should Andrew 
Jackson have intended these epithets for me, I declare him, notwithstand- 
ing he is a Major General of the militia of Mero district, to be a worthless 
scoundrel, * a poltroon and a coward' — a man who, by frivolous and evasive 
pretexts, avoided giving the satisfaction which was due to a gentleman 
whom he had injured. This has prevented me from calling on him in the 
manner I should otherwise have done, for I am well convinced that he is 
too great a coward to administer any of those anodines he promised me in 
his letter to Mr. Swann. His excuse I anticipate, that his anodines have 
been in such demand since I left Tennessee that he is out of the necessary 
ingredients to mix them. I expect to leave Nashville, the first of next 
week, for Maryland. Yours, etc., 

" May 21st> 1806. Charles Dickinson."* 

One glance at this article revealed to General Jackson the 
nature of its contents. He hesitated not a moment. An 
hour later General Overton placed in Dickinson's hands the 
following letter : — 

"Charles Dickinson, Sir: — Your conduct and expressions relative to 
me of late have been of such a nature and so insulting that it requires and 
shall have my notice. Insult may be given by men, and of such a kind 
that they must be noticed and treated with the respect due a gentleman, 
although (in the present instance) you do not merit it. 

" You have, to disturb my quiet, industriously excited Thomas Swann 
to quarrel witli me, which involved the peace and harmony of society for 

"You, on the 10th of January, wrote me a very insulting letter, left 
this country, caused this letter to be delivered after you had been gone 
some days, and viewing yourself in safety from the contempt I held you, 
have now in the press a piece more replete with blackguard abuse than any 
of your other productions. You are pleased to state that you would haw 
noticed me in a different way, but my cowardice would have found a pre- 
text to evade that satisfaction if it had been called for, etc., etc. 

"I hope, sir, your courage will be an ample security to me that I will 
obtain speedily that satisfaction due me for the insults offered, and in the 
way my friend who hands you this will point out. lie waits upon you fur 
that purpose, and with your friend will enter into immediate arrangements 
for this purpose. I am, etc., Andrew Jackson." 

* From the Impartial Review of May 24th, 1806. 


Before the day closed, Jackson received, through Dr. Han- 
son Catlet, a reply to his challenge. " Your note of this morn- 
ing," wrote Dickinson, " is received, and your request shall be 
gratified. My friend who hands you this will make the neces- 
sary arrangements." 

The seconds immediately conferred, agreed upon the time 
and place of meeting, and drew up their agreement in writ- 
ing : — " On Friday, the 30th instant, we agree to meet at 
Harrison's Mills, on Red river, in Logan county, State of 
Kentucky, for the purpose of settling an affair of honor be- 
tween General Andrew Jackson and Charles Dickinson, Esq. 
Further arrangements to be made. It is understood that the 
meeting will be at the hour of seven in the morning." 

Upon reading this- over to his principal, Overton found 
him most averse to postponing the meeting for a whole week. 
Catlet had given as a reason for the delay that Dickinson had 
not a pair of dueling pistols, and it would require time to pro- 
cure a pair. This seemed a mere subterfuge to Jackson, who 
would, if he could, have fought that night. So he prompted 
his second to write the following note to Dr. Catlet : " Sir, 
the affair of honor to be settled between my friend General 
Jackson and Charles Dickinson, Esq., is wished not to be 
postponed until the 30th instant (say Friday) agreeable to 
your time appointed, if it can be done sooner. In order that 
no inconvenience on your part may occur, if you can not ob- 
tain pistols, we pledge ourselves to give you choice of ours. 
Let me hear from you immediately." 

No answer came that night, nor early the next morning. 
The impetuous Jackson urged Overton to write a second note 
to his adversary's second : " Sir, I pressed you in favor of 
my friend General Jackson for immediate satisfaction for the 
injury that his feelings had received from a publication of 
Charles Dickinson. You replied that it might not 1x3 in your 
power to obtain pistols. In my note of yesterday, in order to 
remove any obstacles as it respected pistols, I agreed to give 
you choice of ours, the other we pledged ourselves to make 
use of. For God's sake, let this business be brought to an 


issue immediately, as I can not see, after the publication, why 
Mr. Dickinson should wish to put it off till Friday." 

This produced a brief and barely civil note from Dr. Cat- 
let : " Sir, I have received your notes of yesterday and this 
date, and can only answer that it will not now be convenient 
to alter the day from that already agreed upon." 

This settled the point in dispute. On the same day the 
seconds met again, and agreed upon the following : " It is 
agreed that the distance shall be twenty-four feet ; the par- 
ties to stand facing each other, with their pistols down per- 
pendicularly. When they are ready, the single word, fire, 
to be given ; at which they are to fire as soon as they please. 
Should either fire before the word is given, we pledge our- 
selves to shoot him down instantly. The person to give the 
word to be determined by lot, as also the choice of position. 
We mutually agree that the above regulations shall be ob- 
served in the affair of honor depending between General An- 
drew Jackson and Charles Dickinson, Esq." 

This was Saturday, May 24th, 1806. The duel was not 
to take place till the Friday following. The quarrel thus 
far had excited intense interest in Nashville, and the succes- 
sive numbers of the Impartial Review had been read with 
avidity. The coming duel was no secret, though the time 
and place were not known to any but the friends of the par- 
ties. Bets, I am informed, were laid upon the result of the 
meeting, the odds being against Jackson. Dickinson himself 
is said to have bet five hundred dollars that he would bring 
his antagonist down at the first fire. Another informant 
says three thousand. But I have small belief in any of the 
ill things said of this man. 

1806.1 THE DUEL. 295 



The place appointed for the meeting was a long day's 
ride from Nashville. Thursday morning, before the dawn of 
day, Dickinson stole from the side of his young and beautiful 
wife, and began silently to prepare for the journey. She 
awoke, and asked him why he was up so early. He replied, 
that he had business in Kentucky across the Red river, but 
it would not detain him long. Before leaving the room, he 
went up to his wife, kissed her with peculiar tenderness, and 
said : 

" Good bye, darling ; I shall be sure to be at home to- 
morrow night." 

He mounted his horse and repaired to the rendezvous, 
where his second and half a dozen of the gay blades of Nash- 
ville were waiting to escort him on his journey. Away they 
rode, in the highest spirits, as though they were upon a party 
of pleasure. Indeed, they made a party of pleasure of it. 
When they stopped for rest or refreshment, Dickinson is said 
to have amused the company by displaying his wonderful 
skill with the pistol. Once, at a distance of twenty-four 
feet, he fired four balls, each at the word of command, into a 
space that could be covered by a silver dollar. Several times 
he cut a string with his bullet from the same distance. It is 
said that he left a severed string hanging near a tavern, and 
said to the landlord as he rode away, 

" If General Jackson comes along this road, show him 
that .'" 

It is also said, that he laid a wager of five hundred dollars 
that he would hit his antagonist within half an inch of a cer- 
tain button on his coat. I neither believe nor deny one of 
these stories ; but so many of the same kind are still told in 
the neighborhood, that it is safe to conclude that, on this 


fatal ride, Dickinson did affect much of that recklessness of 
manner which was once supposed to be an evidence of high 
courage. The party went frisking and galloping along the 
lonely forest roads, making short cuts that cautious travelers 
never attempted, dashing across creeks and rivers, and mak- 
ing the woods ring and echo with their shouts and laughter. 
Very different was the demeanor of General Jackson and 
the party that accompanied him. General Thomas Overton, 
an old revolutionary soldier, versed in the science, and famil- 
iar with the practice of dueling, had reflected deeply upon the 
conditions of the coming combat, with the view to conclude 
upon the tactics most likely to save his friend from Dickin- 
son's unerring bullet. For this duel was not to be the amus- 
ing mockery that some modern duels have been. This duel 
was to be real. It was to be an affair in which each man 
was to strive with his utmost skill to effect the purpose of the 
occasion — disable his antagonist and save his own life. As 
the principal and the second rode apart from the rest, they 
discufcsed all the chances and probabilities with the single 
aim to decide upon a course which should result in the dis- 
abling of Dickinson and the saving of Jackson. The mode of 
fighting which had been agreed upon was somewhat peculiar. 
The pistols were to be held downward until the word was 
given to fire ; then each man was to fire as soon as he pleased. 
With such an arrangement, it was scarcely possible that both 
the pistols should be discharged at the same moment. There 
was a chance, even, that by extreme quickness of movement, 
one man could bring down his antagonist without himself 
receiving a shot. The question anxiously discussed between 
Jackson and Overton was this : Shall we try to get the first 
shot, or shall we permit Dickinson to have it ? They agreed, 
at length, that it would be decidedly better to let Dickinson 
fire first. In the first place, Dickinson, like all miraculous 
shots, required no time to take aim, and would have a far 
better chance than Jackson in a quick shot, even if both fired 
at once. And in spite of anything Jackson could do, Dick- 
inson would be almost sure to get the first fire. Moreover, 

1806.] THE DUEL. 297 

Jackson was certain he would be hit ; and he was unwilling 
to subject his own aim to the chance of its being totally de- 
stroyed by the shock of the blow. For Jackson was resolved 
on hitting Dickinson. His feelings toward his adversary were 
embittered by what he had heard of his public practicings and 
boastful wagers. " I should have hit him, if he had shot me 
through the brain," said Jackson once. In pleasant discourse 
of this kind, the two men wiled away the hours of the long 

A tavern kept by one David Miller, somewhat noted in 
the neighborhood, stood on the banks of the Red river, near 
the ground appointed for the duel. Late in the afternoon of 
Thursday, the 29th of May, the inmates of this tavern were 
surprised by the arrival of a party of seven or eight horsemen. 
Jacob Smith, then employed by Miller as an overseer, but now 
himself a planter in the vicinity, was standing before the 
house when this unexpected company rode up. One of these 
horsemen asked him if they could be accommodated with 
lodgings for the night. They could. The party .dismounted, 
gave their horses to the attendant negroes, and entered the 
tavern. No sooner had they done so, than honest Jacob was 
perplexed by the arrival of a second cavalcade — Dickinson 
and his friends, who also asked for lodgings. The manager 
told them the house was full ; but that he never turned 
travelers away, and if they chose to remain, he would do the 
best he could for them. Dickinson then asked where was 
the next house of entertainment. He was directed to a house 
two miles lower down the river, kept by William Harrison. 
The house is still standing. The room in which Dickinson 
slept that night, and slept the night following, is the one now 
used by the occupants as a dining-room. 

Jackson ate heartily at supper that night, conversing in a 
lively, pleasant manner, and smoked his evening pipe as usual. 
Jacob Smith remembers being exceedingly pleased with his 
guest, and, on learning the cause of his visit, heartily wish- 
ing him a safe deliverance. 

Before breakfast on the next morning the whole party 


mounted and rode down the road that wound close along the 
picturesque banks of the stream. 

About the same hour, the overseer and his gang of negroes 
went to the fields to begin their daily toil ; he, longing to 
venture within sight of what he knew was about to take place. 

The horsemen rode about a mile along the river ; then 
turned down toward the river to a point on the bank where 
they had expected to find a ferryman. No ferryman appear- 
ing, Jackson spurred his horse into the stream and dashed 
across, followed by all his party. They rode into the poplar 
forest, two hundred yards or less, to a spot near the center of 
a level platform or river bottom, then covered with forest, 
now smiling with cultivated fields. The horsemen halted and 
dismounted just before reaching the appointed place. Jack- 
son, Overton, and a surgeon who had come with them from 
home, walked on together, and the rest led their horses a 
short distance in an opposite direction. 

" How do you feel about it now, General ?" asked one of 
the party, as Jackson turned to go. 

" Oh, all right/' replied Jackson, gayly ; " I shall wing 
him, never fear." 

Dickinson's second won the choice of position, and Jack- 
son's the office of giving the word. The astute Overton con- 
sidered this giving of the word a matter of great importance, 
and he had already determined how he would give it, if the 
lot fell to him. The eight paces were measured off, and the 
men placed. Both were perfectly collected. All the polite- 
nesses of such occasions were very strictly and elegantly 
performed. Jackson was dressed in a loose frock-coat, but- 
toned carelessly over his chest, and concealing in some degree 
the extreme slenderness of his figure. Dickinson was the 
younger and handsomer man of the two. But Jackson's tall, 
erect figure, and the still intensity of his demeanor, it is said, 
gave him a most superior and commanding air, as he stood 
under the tall poplars on this bright May morning, silently 
awaiting the moment of doom. 

" Are you ready ?" said Overton. 

1806.J THE DUEL. 299 


" I am ready/' replied Dickinson. 

" I am ready/' said Jackson. 

The words were no sooner pronounced than Overton, with 
a sudden shout, cried, using his old-country pronunciation, 
" Fere !" 

Dickinson raised his pistol quickly and fired. Overton, 
who was looking with anxiety and dread at Jackson, saw a 
puff of dust fly from the breast of his coat, and saw him 
raise his left ann and place it tightly across his chest. He is 
surely hit, thought Overton, and in a bad place, too ; but 
no ; he does not fall. Erect and grim as Fate he stood, his 
teeth clenched, raising his pistol. Overton glanced at Dick- 
inson. Amazed at the unwonted failure of his aim, and ap- 
parently appalled at the awful figure and face before him, 
Dickinson had unconsciously recoiled a pace or two. 

" Great God !" he faltered, " have I missed him ?" 

" Back to the mark, sir !" shrieked Overton, with his 
hand upon his pistol. 

Dickinson recovered his composure, stepped forward to 
the peg, and stood with his eyes averted' from his antagonist. 
All this was the work of a moment, though it requires many 
words to tell it. 

General Jackson took deliberate aim, and pulled the trig- 
ger. The pistol neither snapped nor went off. He looked at 
the trigger, and discovered that it had stopped at half cock. 
He drew it back to its place, and took aim a second time. 
He fired. Dickinson's face blanched ; he reeled ; his friends 
rushed toward him, caught him in their arms, and gently 
seated him on the ground, leaning against a bush. His trow- 
sers reddened. They stripped off his clothes. The blood was 
gushing from his side in a torrent. And, alas ! here is the 
ball, not near the wound, but above the opposite hip, just 
under the skin. The ball had passed through the body, be- 
low the ribs. Such a wound could not but be fatal. 

Overton went forward and learned the condition of the 
wounded man. Bejoining his principal, he said, " He won't 
want anything more of you, General," and conducted him 


from the ground. They had gone a hundred yards, Over- 
ton walking on one side of Jackson, the surgeon on the other, 
and neither speaking a word, when the surgeon observed 
that one of Jackson's shoes was full of blood. 

" My God ! General Jackson, are you hit ?" he ex- 
claimed, pointing to the blood. 

" Oh ! I believe," replied Jackson, " that he has pinked 
me a little. Let's look at it. But say nothing about it 
there" pointing to the house. 

He opened his coat. Dickinson's aim had been perfect. 
He had sent the ball precisely where he supposed Jackson's 
heart was beating. But the thinness of his body and the 
looseness of his coat combining to deceive Dickinson, the ball 
had only broken a rib or two, and raked the breast-bone. It 
was a somewhat painful, bad-looking wound, but neither 
severe nor dangerous, and he was able to ride to the tavern 
without much inconvenience. Upon approaching the house, 
he went up to one of the negro women who was churning, 
and asked her if the butter had come. She said it was just 
coming. He asked for some buttermilk. While she was get- 
ting it for him, she observed him furtively open his coat and 
look within it. She saw that his shirt was soaked with 
blood, and she stood gazing in blank horror at the sight, dip- 
per in hand. He caught her eye, and hastily buttoned his 
coat again. She dipped out a quart measure full of butter- 
milk, and gave it to him. He drank it off at a draught ; 
then went in, took off his coat, and had his wound carefully 
examined and dressed. That done, he dispatched one of his 
retinue to Dr. Catlett, to inquire respecting the condition of 
Dickinson, and to say that the surgeon attending himself 
would be glad to contribute his aid toward Mr. Dickinson's 
relief. Polite reply was returned that Mr. Dickinson's case 
was past surgery. In the course of the day, General Jack- 
son sent a bottle of wine to Dr. Catlett for the use of his 

But there was one gratification which Jackson could not, 
even in such circumstances, grant him. A very old friend of 

1806.] THE DUEL. 301 

General Jackson writes to me thus : " Although the General 
had been wounded, he did not desire it should be known 
until he had left the neighborhood, and had therefore con- 
cealed it at first from his own friends. His reason for this, 
as he once stated to me, was, that as Dickinson considered 
himself the best shot in the world, and was certain of killing 
him at the first fire, he did not want him to have the gratifi- 
cation even of knowing that he had touched him" 

Poor Dickinson bled to death. The flowing of blood was 
stanched, but could not be stopped. He was conveyed to the 
house in which he had passed the night, and placed upon a 
mattrass, which was soon drenched with blood. He suffered 
extreme agony, and uttered -horrible cries all that long day. 
At nine o'clock in the evening he suddenly asked why they 
had put out the lights. The doctor knew then that the end 
was at hand ; that the wife, who had been sent for in the 
morning, would not arrive in time to close her husband's 
eyes. He died five minutes after, cursing, it is said, with 
his last breath, the ball that had entered his body. The 
poor wife hurried away on hearing that her husband was 
" dangerously wounded/' and met, as she rode toward the 
scene of the duel, a procession of silent horsemen escort- 
ing a rough emigrant wagon that contained her husband's 

The news created in Nashville the most profound sensa- 
tion. " On Tuesday evening (afternoon) last," said the Im- 
partial Review of the following week, " the remains of Mr. 
Charles Dickinson were committed to the grave, at the resi- 
dence of Mr. Joseph Ervin, attended by a large number of 
citizens of Nashville and its neighborhood. There have been 
few occasions on which stronger impressions of sorrow on tes- 

* This account of the duel was compiled from many sources, verbal and 
printed; but most of the incidents which occurred on (he field I received from an 
old friend of General Jackson, who heard them related, and saw them acted, by 
General Overton. In narrating some of the minor events, I have had to choose 
between conflicting statements ; yet I feel confident that this account contains 
no error of importance ; no error affecting the moral quality of the principal 

VOL. I. — 20 


timonies of greater respect were evinced than on the one we 
have the unwelcome task to record. In the prime of life, and 
blessed in domestic circumstances with almost every valuable 
enjoyment, he fell a victim to the barbarous and pernicious 
practice of dueling. By his untimely fate the community is 
deprived of an amiable man and a virtuous citizen. His 
friends will long lament with particular sensibility the de- 
plorable event. Mr. Dickinson was a native of Maryland, 
where he was highly valued by the discriminating and good ; 
and those who knew him best respected him most. With a 
consort that has to bear with this, the severest of afflictions, 
and an infant child, his friends and acquaintances will cor- 
dially sympathize. Their loss is above calculation. May 
Heaven assuage their anguish by administering such con- 
solations as are beyond the power of human accident or 

But the matter did not rest here. Charles Dickinson had 
many friends in Nashville, and Andrew Jackson many ene- 
mies. The events preceding, and the circumstances attending 
the duel were such as to excite horror and disgust in many 
minds. An informal meeting of citizens was held, who could 
hit upon no better way of expressing their feelings than send- 
ing the following memorial to the proprietors of the Impartial 
Review : — " The subscribers, citizens of Nashville and its 
vicinity, respectfully request Mr. Bradford and Mr. Eastin to 
put the next number of their paper in mourning as a tribute 
of respect for the memory, and regret for the untimely death 
of Mr. Charles Dickinson." 

Seventy-three names, many of which were of the high- 
est respectability, were appended to this document. Mr. 
Eastin had no hesitation in promising to comply with the 

Upon his couch at the Hermitage General Jackson heard 
of this movement. With his usual promptitude, he dispatched 
to the editor the following letter : — " Mr. Eastin : — I am 
informed that at the request of sundry citizens of Nash- 
ville and vicinity, you are about to dress your paper in 


1806.] THE DUEL. 303 

mourning 'as a tribute of respect for the memory and re- 
gret for the untimely death of Charles Dickinson.' Your 
paper is the public vehicle, and is always taken as the 
public will, unless the contrary appears. Presuming that 
the public is not in mourning for this event, in justice to 
that public, it is only fair and right to set forth the names 
of those citizens who have made the request. The thing is 
so novel that names ought to appear that the public might 
judge whether the true motives of the signers were i a tribute 
of respect for the deceased/ or something else that at first 
sight does not appear." 

The editor, with equal complaisance and ingenuity, con- 
trived to oblige all parties. He placed his paper in mourning, 
he published the memorial, he published General Jackson's 
letter, and he added to the whole the following remarks : — 
" In answer to the request of General Jackson I can only 
observe that, previously, the request of some of the citizens 
of Nashville and its vicinity had been put to type, and as 
soon as it had transpired that the above request had been 
made, a number of the subscribers, to the amount of twenty- 
six,* called and erased their names. Always willing to sup- 
port, by my acts, the title of my paper — always willing to 
attend to the request of any portion of our citizens when they 
will take the responsibility on themselves, induced me to 
comply with the petition of those requesting citizens, and 
place my paper in mourning. Impartiality induces me also 
to attend to the request of General Jackson." 

* The following were the names actually published : Hanson Catlett, Thomas 
E. Wagaman, Thomas G. Watkins, Boyd McNairy, John McNairy, William Tait, 
Duncan Robertson, John II. Smith, Thomas Williamson, William T. Lewis, John 
Nichols, Thomas C. Clark, Daney McCraw, John Maclin, Jeremiah Scale?, Timo- 
thy Demonbrum, Elisha Johnston, James P. Downes, William B. Robertson, 
William Lytic, D. Moor, Robert Stoteart, J. Gonlan, J. B. Craighead, P. Bourn, 
Alexander Craighead, John Read, Robert P. Currin. Roger B. Sappington, 
Roger B. Currey, Thomas Swann, Ernst Benior, William Y. Probert, C. Whcstor, 
J. Baird, Hervey Lane, Samuel Finney, William Black, R. Hewett, Thomas 
Ramsey, Nathaniel McCairys, Thomas Napier, Robert Hughes, James King, 
Robert Bell, Felix Robertson. 


A week or two later, Captain Ervin, the father-in-law of 
the unfortunate Dickinson, published a brief recapitulation 
of the quarrel from the beginning, incorporating with his 
article a final statement by Mr. Thomas Swann. Swann 
exculpated Dickinson wholly. " I do avow," said he, " that 
neither Mr. Dickinson nor any other person urged me for- 
ward to quarrel with Jackson." He asserted in the most 
solemn manner that every thing had occurred just as in the 
published correspondence and affidavits it had appeared to 
occur. He admitted, however, that there was enmity be- 
tween Jackson and Dickinson before his own quarrel with 
Jackson began. 

Captain Ervin objected to Jackson's conduct in the field. 
"It may not," said he, "be improper to inquire whether 
General Jackson had a right, according to the laws of duel- 
ing, to recock his pistol after having snapped it ? It is said 
it was agreed that a snap should not be considered a fire. 
Granted ; but was it not also agreed that nothing which was 
not committed to writing should be considered as binding or 
having effect ? A snap not to be considered as a fire was not 
committed to writing. Consequently, it was not one of the 
stipulations in the agreement ; neither was it warranted by 
the usual practice ; yet such was the cruel fate of the unfor- 
tunate Dickinson. He gallantly maintained his ground, and 
fell a victim to this unguarded, illiberal and unjust advan- 
tage. Peace be to his manes ! respect to his memory, which 
will be ever dear to his friend, Joseph Ervin." 

To this the seconds replied in a joint card, certifying that 
the duel was conducted fairly, according to the conditions 
agreed upon beforehand. 

General Jackson's wound proved to be more severe and 
troublesome than was at first anticipated. It was nearly 
a month before he could move about without inconvenience, 
and when the wound healed, it healed falsely ; that is, some 
of the viscera were slightly displaced, and so remained. 
Twenty years after, this forgotten wound forced itself upon 
his remembrance, and kept itself there for many a year. 

1806.] THE DUEL. 305 

It was Dickinson's bullet that killed Andrew Jackson at 

The reader is now in possession of all the attainable infor- 
mation which could assist him in forming a judgment of this 
sad, this deplorable, this shocking, this wicked affair. Un- 
fortunately, the evidence which makes against Jackson is 
indubitable, while the extenuating circumstances rest upon 
tradition only. It is evident that he was deeply embittered 
against Dickinson before the affair with Bwann began. No 
man is competent to pronounce decisively upon Jackson's 
conduct in this business, who does not know precisely and 
completely the cause of that original enmity. A very slight 
observation of life is sufficient to show that the party most 
injured is the one that often appeals to be most in the wrong. 
A chronic grinding Wrong extorts, at length, the wrathful 
word or the avenging blow. The by-stander hears the impre- 
cation, sees the stroke, and knowing nothing that has gone 
before, condemns the victim and pities the guilty. That 
Jackson was singularly morbid upon the subject of his pecu- 
liar marriage, we shall often observe. 

It is not true, as has been alleged, that this duel did not 
affect General Jackson's popularity in Tennessee. It followed 
quick upon his feud with Governor Sevier ; and both quar- 
rels told against him in many quarters of the State. And 
though there were large numbers whom the nerve and cour- 
age which he had displayed in the duel blinded to all consider- 
ations of civilization and morality, yet it is certain that 
at no time between the years 1806 and 1812, could General 
Jackson have been elected to any office in Tennessee that 
required a majority of the voters of the whole State. Al- 
most any well-informed Tennesseean, old enough to remem- 
ber those years, will support me in this assertion. Beyond 
the circle of his own friends, which was large, there existed a 
very general impression that he was a violent, arbitrary, 
overbearing, passionate man ; but that it was safest not to 
mention the circumstance. Of his own circle, however, he 

306 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1806. 

was as much the idol then as he was when he was his country's 

* The following, cut from a leading Democratic organ in 1 859, is a good ex- 
ample of the way in which a popular hero's most doubtful actions are mado to 
minister to his popularity : — 


4i Jackson settled at Nashville between the years 1790 and 1800, and began 
the practice of the law. Dickinson was already there, following the same profes- 
sion. He was a great duelist, having killed several in duels, and almost certain 
to kill the first fire. His mode of firing was very uncommon. Instead of raising 
his pistol from his side to fire at the word, he would bring it down from atx>ve 
until be got it to tho proper level, and then fire. All of the merchants in Nash- 
ville had Dickinson retained in their behalf) and he being the only lawyer there 
until General Jackson came, no redress could bo obtained by the opposite side. 
General Jackson refused to be retained' bv these merchants to the exclusion of all 
other parties. The consequence was, that ho issued fifty writs at tho first term 
of the court at Nashville. 

" He issued writs against the merchants, who until then had gone scott free. 
This irritated them, and they (being desirous of getting General Jackson out of 
the way) incited Dickinson to provoke a dueL He began by acting on trials 
offensively to tho General. 

" He remonstrated with Dickinson, and plainly informed him that he would 
not submit to auch disrespectful treatment 

" Dickinson persisted, and General Jackson challenged him. The time and 
place for the combat were fixed upon, and tho nows spread for miles around. 
There were at least two hundred people on the ground, and bets were mado as 
if it were a horse race. 

" Dickinson himself bet that he would kill Jackson on the first fire. Dickin- 
son fired first, and his ball hit General Jackson on the right pap, and peelod his 
breast He had a callous lump there until the day of his death. As soon as the 
smoke of Dickinson's pistol blew away, and ho saw General Jackson still stand- 
ing, he exclaimed : ' Haven't I killed the damned rascal ?' General Jackson told 
General Eaton that until then he meant to give him his life ; but on hearing 
these words, he raised his pistol, fired and killed Dickinson instantly." 






It is a relief to turn from these revolting scenes to others 
in which our hero appears in a light altogether pleasing ; 
showing himself the faithful citizen and the faithful friend. 

General Jackson, as we have already mentioned, removed 
from Hunter's Hill, about the year 1804, to the adjoining 
estate, which he named the Hermitage. The spacious man- 
sion now standing on that estate, in which he resided during 
the last twenty-five years of his life, was not built until 
about the year 1819. 

A square, two story block house was General Jackson's 
first dwelling-place on the Hermitage farm. This house, 
like many others of its class, contained three rooms ; one on 
the ground floor, and two up stairs. To this house was soon 
added a smaller one, which stood about twenty feet from the 
principal structure, and was connected with it by a covered 
passage. This was General Jackson's establishment from 
1804 to 1819. These houses are still standing at the Her- 
mitage, though not so close together as they were formerly. 
The larger block house stands where it stood when occupied 
by General Jackson ; but has been cut down into a one story 
house, and used for the last thirty years as a negro cabin. 
It does not differ, in any respect, from the ordinary block 
negro cabins of the South. The interior, never ceiled, is now 
as black as ebony with the smoke of sixty years. There is 
the usual trap door in the middle of the floor for the con- 
venience of stowage under the house, for cellar there is none. 
There is the usual vast fire-place, capable of a cord of wood ; 
from which Jackson went forth to the wars, haggard and 
anxious ; to which he returned, still haggard, but with the 
light of victory in his face. The smaller house has been 


drawn up near the present Hermitage ; where it also serves 
as a negro cabin, and shows its ring of little ebony faces 
round the generous fire as the stranger peeps in. The build- 
ing which formerly connected these two stands near by, and 
is used as a store-house. " There is nothing but plunder in 
it," explained one of the negro women. 

Jackson was abundantly satisfied with his little group of 
block houses, and built the Hermitage mansion at last solely 
as a testimonial of his regard for his wife. In that pleasant 
climate, with its eight months of summer, and its thirty days 
of decided winter, a House is not the important affair it is in 
regions less genial. It is rather a luxury than a necessity ; 
a better umbrella than a tree in a long rain ; on cold nights 
a slight improvement upon camping out ; a convenience for 
mothers with young children ; an article well enough to have 
on a farm, but very far from being the terribly indispensable 
thing, it is in countries where to be houseless is death. It 
astounds northern people to see what inferior houses south- 
eners are content to occupy who could build palaces if they 
would. The truth is, they do not live in their houses. Their 
life is on horseback, in the fields, in the woods, out of doors. 
On the coldest days they do not feel comfortable unless the 
door stands wide open to let in the sun ; the air rushing in 
by a thousand apertures, and keeping the northern visitor in 
a shiver. 

In an establishment so restricted, General Jackson and 
his good-hearted wife continued to dispense a most generous 
hospitality. A lady of Nashville tells me that she has often 
been at the Hermitage in those simple old times, when there 
was in each of the four available rooms, not a guest merely, 
but a family ; while the young men and solitary travelers 
who chanced to drop in disposed of themselves on the piazza, 
or any other half shelter about the house. " Put down in 
your book," said one of General Jackson's oldest neighbors, 
11 that the General was the prince of hospitality ; not because 
he entertained a great many people ; but because the poor, 
belated peddler, was as welcome as the President of the 



United States, and made so much at his ease that he felt as 
though he had got home." (It is " put down," you observe, 
Mr. William Donelson.) 

We have now to contemplate General Jackson performing 
the rites of hospitality to a distinguished person. 

May 29th, 1805, Colonel Burr, then making his first tour 
of the western country, visited the thriving frontier town of 
Nashville. For several reasons Burr was extremely popular 
in Tennessee. He had powerfully advocated the cause of the 
young State when difficulties arose respecting her admission 
into the Union in 1796 ; a service Tennessee bore in mind 
when she voted for Jefferson and Burr in 1800, and had not 
forgotten in 1805. Colonel Burr's duel with Hamilton, which 
occurred thirteen months before this visit, would not, in any 
circumstances, have injured his standing in the Tennessee of 
that day. Hamilton was odious to the western Republicans, 
and dueling was an institution of their own. The killing of 
Hamilton restored Burr to his former standing with the 
Republican party in the western States, and the " ostracism" 
to which that act had subjected him in his own State gave 
him, in the wild West, the additional regard which we award 
to a man who is persecuted for an act that flatters our own 
customs, and assists us to forgive our own sins. Moreover, 
Burr had just descended from the office of Vice President with 
more than the eclat that ordinarily attends the assumption 
of that office. The long trial of Judge Chase by the Senate 
had attracted universal attention ; Burr conducting it, as a 
spectator remarked, with the impartiality of an angel and 
the rigor of a devil. Colonel Burr's farewell speech to the 
Senate, just then circulating in the remoter newspapers, 
was also exceedingly admired. 

Throughout the West, therefore, Burr was received as 
the great man, and nowhere with such distinction as at 
Nashville. People poured in from the adjacent country to 
see and welcome so renowned a personage. Flags, cannons 
and martial music contributed to the eclat of his reception. 
An extemporized but superabundant dinner concluded the cer- 


emonies, in the course of which Burr addressed the multitude 
with the serious grace that usually marked his demeano r in 
public. Could Jackson be absent from such an ovation — 
Jackson, who had been with the great man in Congress, and 
worked in concert with him for Tennessee ? Impossible ! 

On the morning of this bright day General Jackson 
mounted one of his finest horses, and rode to Nashville 
attended by a servant leading a milk-white mare. In the 
course of the dinner General Jackson gave a toast : " Mil- 
lions for defense, but not one cent for tribute ;" and when 
Colonel Burr retired from the apartment, General Overton 
proposed his health to the company. General Jackson 
returned home at the close of the day accompanied by 
Colonel Burr, who was to be his guest during his stay in 
that vicinity. Burr remained only five days at the Hermit- 
age, but promised to make a longer visit on his return. In 
the hasty outline of a journal which he kept for the amuse- 
ment of his daughter, he made this entry concerning his first 
visit to Nashville :— " Arrived at Nashville on the 29th of 
May. One is astonished at the number of sensible, well- 
informed and well-behaved people found here. I have been 
received with much hospitality and kindness, and could stay 
a month with pleasure ; but General Andrew Jackson, hav- 
ing provided us a boat, we shall set off on Sunday, the 2d of 
June, to navigate down the Cumberland, either to Smithland, 
at its mouth, or to Eddy ville, sixty or eighty miles above ; at 
one of which places we expect to find our boat, with which 
we intend to make a rapid voyage down the Mississippi to 
Natchez and Orleans. Left Nashville, on the 3d of June, in 
an open boat. Came down the Cumberland to its mouth, 
about two hundred and twenty miles, in an open boat, where 
our ark was in waiting. Reached Massac, on the Ohio, six- 
teen miles below, on the 6th. Here found General Wilkin- 
son on his way to St. Louis. The General and his officers 
fitted me out with an elegant barge, sails, colors and ten oars, 
with a sergeant and ten able, faithful hands." 

" Where our ark was in waiting." says Burr. We per- 



ceive from this remark, that he had made a detour for the 
express purpose of visiting Nashville, leaving his ark on the 
Ohio, and rejoining it lower down. General Wilkinson, I 
may also observe, was probably an old acquaintance of Jack- 
son's. Years before, Wilkinson had been a Kentucky store- 
keeper ; and the people of Nashville used sometimes to ride 
all the way to Wilkinson's store in Kentucky, for the pur- 
pose of procuring some article not obtainable at their own 
scantily supplied repositories. Burr's acquaintance with 
Wilkinson dated from the Revolution, when they were fellow- 

August the 6th, 1805, Burr visited the Hermitage again, 
on his return from New Orleans, as he had promised. Of 
this visit, which lasted eight days, we have no knowledge ex- 
cept that derived from Burr's too brief diary : — " Arrived at 
Nashville on the 6th August. You now see me safe through 
the wilderness, though I doubt (hussey) whether you knew 
that I had a wilderness to pass in order to get here. Yes, 
about four hundred and fifty miles of wilderness. The hos- 
pitality of these people will keep me here till the 12th in- 
stant, when I shall partake of a public dinner, given, not to 
the Vice President, but to A. B. I shall be at Lexington on 
the 19th. I have directed Bradley's new map of the United 
States to be sent to you ; this will enable you to trace my 
route, and I pray you to study the map attentively. I am 
still at Nashville (August 13th). For a week I have been 
lounging at the house of General Jackson, once a lawyer, 
after a judge, now a planter ; a man of intelligence, and one 
of those prompt, frank, ardent souls whom I love to meet. 
The General has no children, but two lovely nieces made a 
visit of some days, contributed greatly to my amusement, 
and have cured me of all the evils of my wilderness jaunt. 
If I had time I would describe to you these two girls, for 
they deserve it. To-morrow I move on towards Lexington." 

There is no doubt as to the topic upon which Colonel 

* Nieces of Mrs. Jackson. 


Burr and General Jackson chiefly conversed on this occasion. 
There was but one topic then in the western country, — the 
threatened war with Spain. 

Antipathy to Spaniards had been for twenty years a 
ruling passion with that portion of the western people whose 
prosperity depended upon their possessing free access to the 
mouth of the Mississippi. The Spanish authorities on the 
great river comported themselves so as to keep alive this ill 
feeling. They were arrogant, mean and dishonest. Even the 
placid and philosophic Baily, whose adventures in Tennessee 
we have followed in a previous chapter, lost his temper in 
dealing with them. Having been treated with singular and 
most obvious injustice by a Spanish magistrate, Baily, (who 
passed for an American,) asked him to point out the law by 
which he was guided to a decision so extraordinary. " Never," 
says Mr. Baily, " shall I forget the looks of the man at this 
(what he called impertinent) question ; for, wondering at my 
assurance, and threatening me with the horrors of the Calii- 
bouse if I any longer disputed his authority, he laid his hand 
upon his breast and told me that he was the law ; and that 
as he said the case was to be determined. I could not help 
laughing at the insulting effrontery of the man when he made 
this speech, at which he seemed more than ever enraged ; 
and, I believe, had it not been for the neighboring situation 
of the American commissioner and commander, together with 
the general revolting spirit of the district, that I should have 
been hurried off to immediate imprisonment, if not to the 

mines. 39 

This was in 1797. A long course of irritating behavior 
had, at length, brought Spain and the United States to the 
verge of war. The whole country expected it. The West 
longed for it. And, perhaps, no man then residing in the 
valley of the Mississippi looked forward to it with sucli inten- 
sity of desire as Andrew Jackson. No news would have been 
more welcome at the Hermitage than that General Wilkin- 
son had marched into Texas and begun the war. Meanwhile, 
between Burr and Jackson, as between every other two men 


that found themselves together, the question was still re- 
newed : Shall we have war with Spain ? 

Colonel Burr returned to the East. Months passed, dur- • 
ing which Jackson and Burr occasionally corresponded. The 
following is one of Burr's letters to his friend Jackson, writ- 
ten during this interval. It is a letter adapted with wonder- 
ful skill to move and rouse a man like Jackson, who was an 
ardent, and therefore a jealous lover of his country : — 


"Washington City, March 24, 1806. 

"Dear Sir: — Your letter of the 1st January arrived here whilst I was 
in South Carolina, and was not received till about two months after its 

" You have doubtless before this time been convinced that we are to 
have no war if it can be avoided with honor, or even without The object 
of the administration appears to be to treat for the purchase of the Floridas ; 
and the secret business which so long occupied Congress is believed to be an 
appropriation of two millions of dollars for that purpose. This secret is a 
secret to those only who are best entitled to know it — our own citizens. 

" But notwithstanding the pacific temper of our government^ there is 
great reason to expect hostility, arising out of the expedition under General 
Miranda. This expedition was fitted out at New York, and the object is 
pretty well known to be an attempt to revolutionize the Caraccas, which is 
the native country of Miranda. Though our government disavows all knowl- 
edge of this proceeding, which, however, is not justified to the entire satis- 
faction of the public, yet foreign courts will hold it responsible for the con- 
duct of an armament composed of American citizens, and openly fitted out 
in an American port ; and it would not surprise me if on a knowledge of 
these facts at Paris and Madrid our vessels in the ports of those kingdoms 
should be seized and measures taken for the reduction of Orleans. 

" If these apprehensions should be justified by events, a military force 
on our part would be requisite, and that force might come from your side 
of l he mountains. It is presumed that West Tennessee could not spare 
more than two regiments. 

" I am glad to learn that you have had your division reviewed ; but 
you ought not to confine your attention to those men or officers who ac- 
cidentally bear commissions. Your country is full of fine materials for an 
army, and I have often said a brigade could be raised in West Tennessee 
which would drive double their number of Frenchmen off the earth. I take 
the liberty of recommending to you to make out a list of officers from colonel 


down to ensign for one or two regiments, composed of fellows fit for busi- 
ness, and with whom you would trust your life and your honor. If you 
will transmit to me that list, I will, in case troops should be called for, rec- 
ommend it to the Department of War, and I have reason to believe that 
on such an occasion my advice would be listened to. 

" But Mr Randolph's denunciation of the President and the Secretary 
of State engage at present more of public attention than all our collisions 
with foreign powers, or than all the great events on the theater of Europe. 
I did not hear Mr. Randolph, but am told that he charged the President 
with duplicity and imbecility ; that he (the President) used bold language 
in his message to the two Houses to amuse the public, and secretly exer- 
cised his influence to prevent any vigorous measure, alluding to the busi- 
ness transacted with closed doors for the purchase of the Floridas. I will 
send you Mr. Randolph's speeches as soon as published, but presume that 
the acrimony which was manifested on the floor will not appear without 
some qualification in print 

" You will herewith receive two documents respecting Barbary affairs. 
It deserves to be remarked that though these facts were all known to the 
administration before the meeting of Congress, yet Colonel Lear still holds 
office and enjoys the confidence and support of the Executive. Neverthe- 
less, it is thought that the treaty with Tripoli will not be ratified by the 

" All these things, my dear sir, begin to make reflecting men to think, 
many good patriots to doubt, and some to despond. I am, dear sir, grate- 
fully and affectionately, your friend and servant, 

(t A. Burr."* 

Upon the receipt of this letter, General Jackson hastened 
to comply with the request it contained with regard to pre- 
paring lists of officers for two imaginary regiments. For this 
purpose, he consulted with General James llobertson and 
several other friends at Nashville. The lists were soon dis- 

A few days after, a considerable packet from Colonel Burr 
reached General Jackson through the mail, accompanied by a 
brief note addressed to the " Hon'ble Andrew Jackson, Esq'r." 
Buit had the franking privilege, but these letters to Jackson, 
I observe, are not franked, but charged the usual " twenty- 
five" cents on the outside; perhaps, because the franking 

* From M3S. of Major William B. Lewis. 



privilege was not granted to the retiring Vice President by 
the unanimous vote of the body over which he had presided. 
" Agreeably to my promise," wrote Burr, in the note accom- 
panying the packet, " you will find herewith inclosed a copy 
of Mr. Randolph's speech. It is accompanied by one of Mr. 
Swan, a Quaker fanner from New Jersey. Since these speeches 
have been published the injunction of secrecy has been taken 
off, and a copy of the journal of the proceedings with closed 
doors is also inclosed. Though you may not be immediately 
able to answer, yet I beg you will not delay to acknowledge 
the receipt of my letter of last month. I am about to visit 
Philadelphia, but you may continue to address me at this 
place (Washington). My letters will be carefully forwarded." 

This note, dated " Ap. 5th, '06," reached General Jack- 
son when he was in the midst of his affair with Swa»»-. k \ /i'/3injf 
That bloody and infernal duel was subsequently fought. 
Jackson, suffering much from his wound, suffering more from 
excitement and the coolness of friends, was an unhappy man 
during the summer of 1806, and, perhaps, in his secret soul, 
a repentant one. He, probably, thought little of Burr, or 
the Spanish difficulties, as he lay on his settee at the Her- 
mitage, waiting for the healing of his wound. With Septem- 
ber, however, came cooler days, restored health, reviving 
spirits, and — Aaron Burr. Burr had brought to the western 
country, and left on Blennerhassett Island, his daughter, 
Thcodosia ; intending never again to return to the eastern 
States. He was in the full tide of preparation for descending 
to the lower country. 

The morning after his arrival at the Hermitage, General 
Jackson, on hospitable thoughts intent, wrote to a friend in 
Nashville the following note : — " Colonel Burr is with me ; 
he arrived last night. I would be happy if you would call 
and see the Colonel before you return. Say to General 0. 
that I shall expect to see him here on to-morrow with you. 
Would it not be well for us to do something as a mark of 
attention to the Colonel ? He has always and is still a true 
and trusty friend to Tennessee. If General Robertston is 


with you when you receive this, be good enough to say to 
him, that Colonel Burr is in the country. I know that Gen- 
eral R. will be happy in joining in anything that will tend to 
show a mark of respect to this worthy visitant." 

The note produced all the effects desired. General Rob- 
ertson, General Overton, Major W. P. Anderson, and many 
others of the leading men at Nashville, rode out to the Her- 
mitage to pay their respects to Colonel Burr, and to invite 
him to their houses. "He dined with me," says General 
Robertson, in one of his letters, " and I was several times in 
his company. He told me he expected to make settlements 
with his son-in-law on the western waters. I endeavored to 
find how the Executive of our government was held with, but 
he was so guarded, I gained but little satisfaction." To 
private attentions was added the honor of an invitation to a 
public ball. Already, however, some rumors were afloat, 
attributing to Burr unlawful designs ; and there were not 
wanting those who questioned the propriety of this invitation. 
But the popularity of Burr and the influence of General 
Jackson prevailed, and the invitation was given. There are 
still a few persons living at Nashville who remember this 
famous ball ; remember the hush and thrill attending the 
entrance of Colonel Burr, accompanied by General Jackson in 
the uniform of a Major General ; and how the company lined 
the sides of the room, and looked intently on while the two 
courtliest men in the world made the circuit of the apart- 
ment, General Jackson introducing his guest with singular 
grace and emphasis. It was a question with the ladies which 
of the two was the finer gentleman. 

After a stay of a few days, Colonel Burr left Tennessee 
to take up the threads of his enterprise in Kentucky and 

October passed by. On the 3d of November, General 
Jackson, in his character of business man, received from Burr 
some important orders ; one for the building, on Stone's river 
at Clover Bottom, of five large boats, such as were then used 
for descending the western rivers, and another for the gradual 

1806.] EXPLOSION OF burr's project. 317 

purchase of a large quantity of provisions for transportation 
in those boats. A sura of money, in Kentucky bank notes, 
amounting to three thousand five hundred dollars, accom- 
panied the orders. General Jackson, nothing doubting, and 
never reluctant to do business, took Burr's letter of directions 
and the money to his partner, John Coffee, and requested 
him to contract at once for the boats, and prepare for the 
purchase of the provisions. Coffee proceeded forthwith to 
transact the business. I notice, also, that Patten Anderson, 
one of Jackson's special intimates, was all activity in raising 
a company of young men to accompany Burr down the river. 
I observe, too, that Anderson's expenses were paid out of the 
money sent by Burr to Jackson ; at least in the account ren- 
dered to Burr by Jackson and Coffee at the final settlement, 
there is an item of seven hundred dollars cash paid to Ander- 
son. Anderson succeeded in getting seventy-five young men 
to enlist in his company. 

What with the mustering of recruits, the building of 
boats and the accumulation of provisions, Clover Bottom — so 
silent and deserted now, its old wooden bridge across the deep 
ravine of a river seldom thundering under a vehicle, Jackson's 
old store standing lone and desolate in a field — must have 
presented a lively scene in the autumn of 1806. 



It was not until the 10th of November, a week after the 

receipt of Burr's orders and money, that General Jackson, 

according to his own account, began to think there might be 

some truth in the reports which attributed to Burr unlawful 

designs ; reports which he had previously regarded only as 
vol. i. — 21 


aew evidences of the malice of Burr's political enemies and 
Ms own. 

To Jackson, as to all others in Nashville, Burr had repre- 
sented that his first object was the settlement of a great tract 
of land on the Washita river ; but that, if war broke out 
between Spain and the United States, it was his intention to 
head an expedition into Texas and Mexico. For his own 
part, he said, he had little doubt that war was impending ; it 
might be expected at any moment ; it might already have 
began. The administration, he would insinuate, knew per- 
fectly well where he was, what he was doing and what he 
intended, though, for reasons of policy, they would not yet 
suffer their hand to appear. He said nothing about the 
means he had employed to precipitate the war ; nothing of 
Samuel Swartwout's secret mission to General Wilkinson's 
camp ; nothing of the letters in cipher designed to act 
upon Wilkinson's cupidity and fears ; nothing, in fact, of 
any part of his plans that could excite distrust in the minds 
of these honest and patriotic pioneers. 

But about the 10th of November, while General Jackson 
and his partners were full of Burr's business, a friend of 
Jackson's visited the Hermitage, who succeeded in convincing 
him that some gigantic scheme of iniquity was on foot in the 
United States ; a conspiracy for the dismemberment of the 
Union ; and that it was possible, nay, almost probable, that 
Colonel Burr's extensive preparations of boats, provisions and 
men had some connection with this nefarious plan. General 
Jackson's own narrative of his conversations with this anony- 
mous friend shall be laid before the reader in a moment. 
Suffice it here to say that his suspicions were aroused by them 
early in the month of November. 

He took the proper measures without loss of time. He 
told Coffee that the boats contracted for and begun must be 
finished, and the provisions bought must be paid for ; but 
that no new transaction must be entered into by their firm 
for Aaron Burr until these suspicions wore completely re- 
moved. He wrote to Burr, acquainting him with what he 

1806.] EXPLOSION OF burr's project. 319 

had heard, and demanding to know the truth. Having been 
informed by his friend that New Orleans was the preliminary 
object of the conspirators, he wrote a warning letter to Wil- 
liam C. C. Claiborne, the Governor of the Orleans Territory, 
couched in language most mysterious. The letter to Gov- 
ernor Claiborne, dated November 12th, was as follows : — 

" Sir : — Although it is a long time since I wrote you, still that friend- 
ship that once existed remains bright on my part ; and although since I 
have had the pleasure of seeing you I have waded through difficult and 
disagreeable scenes, still I have had that fondness for my old and former 
friends that I ever had ; and their memory has been more endeared to mc 
by the treachery I have experienced, since I saw you, by some newly- 
acquired ones. Indeed I fear treachery has become the order of the day. 
This induces me to write to you. Put your town in a state of defense. 
Organize your militia, and defend your city as well against internal ene- 
mies as external My knowledge does not extend so far as to authorize 
me to go into detail ; but I fear you will meet with an attack from quarters 
you do not at present expect. Be upon the alert ; keep a watchful eye upon 
our General (Wilkinson) and beware of an attack as well from our own 
country as Spain. I fear there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. 
You have enemies within your own city that may try to subvert your 
government and try to separate it from the Union. You know I never 
hazard ideas without good grounds, and you will keep these hints to your- 
self. 5*i 1 1 say again, be on the alert ; your government I fear is in danger. 
I fear there are plans on foot inimical to the Union. 

"Whether* they will be attempted to be carried into effect or not, I 
can not say; but rest assured they are in operation, or I calculate boldly. 
Beware of the month of December. I love my country and government 
I hate the Dons ; I would delight to see Mexico reduced ; but I will die in 
the last ditch before I would yield a foot to the Dons, or see the Union dis- 
united. This I write for your own eyes, and for your own safety ; profit 
by it, and the ides of March remember." 

Besides this truly awful epistle, he wrote a letter to 
President Jefferson, offering the services of his division of 
militia : — 

''To the President of the United States: — 

" Sir, — In the event of insult or aggression made on our government 
and country from ant quarter, I am well convinced that the public senti- 


meat and feeling of the citizens within this State, and particularly within 
my division, are of such a nature and such a kind that I take the liberty of 
tendering their services, that is, under my command ; and at one moment's 
warning, after your signification that this tender is acceptable, my orders 
shall be given conformably. 

'* Ibeg leave to offer to your view the enclosed orders some short time 
ago issued by me, since which time I have not been furnished with com- 
plete returns of the volunteer companies ; but from the information I pos- 
sess, I have no doubt that three regiments of volunteers (to be commanded 
by their own officers, and such as may be recommended by their General) 
can be brought into the field, ready to march, in twenty days from the 
receipt of orders. 

" Accept assurances of my high consideration and respect, etc." 

To other friends and officials he communicated his sus- 
picions without reserve ; particularly to General Overton and 
General Eobertson. 

A month went by ; during which occurred Burr's arrest 
in Kentucky, his defense by Henry Clay, and his triumphant 
acquittal. December 14th Burr was once more in Nashville, 
intending there to load his boats, and drop down the Cum- 
berland to its mouth, where 'he was to meet his flotilla from 
Blennerhassett island. Thence they were all to float down 
together to Natchez — to Wilkinson — to Texas — to the halls 
of the Montczumas — to the throne of Spanish America — to 
an empire bounded, if bounded at all, by the limits of the 
valley of the Mississippi ; New Orleans its capital, Aaron 
the First its emperor, the brilliant Theodosia and her boy to 
succeed him ! 

Colonel Burr called at the Hermitage ; its master was 
absent. He found Mrs. Jackson cool and constrained. Re- 
turning to Clover Bottom he mentioned this unwonted cool- 
ness to Coffee, and asked him the reason of it. Coffee ex- 
plained. "At Clover Bottom," says Coffee, in a formal 
statement of these affairs, " there was a tavern ; and to this 
place Colonel Burr came and remained about a week, until 
he had got every thing in readiness for his departure down 
the river. On his first arrival General Jackson was absent 
from home ; having returned within a few days afterwards, 

1806.] EXPLOSION OF burr's pboject. 321 

the General came, in company with General Overton, to the 
Clover Bottom, where Colonel Burr resided. An interview 
took place between them and Colonel Bun-, at which they 
informed him of the suspicions and distrust that were enter- 
tained against him. Burr repelled them, and expressed deep 
regret that there should be any such ; and remarked, that he 
could and would be able to satisfy every dispassionate mind, 
that his views and objects were friendly to the government, 
and such as he had represented them to be. In a few days 
after, he left the country. A son of Colonel Hays, about 
seventeen years of age, as has been represented, nephew to 
Mrs. Jackson, went along. His father had become reduced 
in his circumstances ; had been personally known to Colonel 
Burr, during the Bevolution ; and his son was a young man 
of promise. It had been proposed to the old gentleman, that 
he should take him, and aid him in his education, which was 
consented to by his father. General Jackson gave him letters 
to Governor Claiborne, and instructed young Mr. Hays, as I 
understood at the time, that should he discover Colonel 
Burr's views to be at all inimical to the United States, or 
adverse to the designs of government, to leave him, and place 
himself under the protection and care of Governor Claiborne." 
This nephew of Mrs. Jackson, Stokely D. Hays by name, 
published an explanation of his connection with Burr. " In 
the winter of 1806-7," he says, " the Colonel came to Nash- 
ville, and sent for me when at school near there, and on meet- 
ing him, he claimed the promise which had been made to him 
on his first visit — but stated he was going by the way of the 
Mississippi, and that I must accompany him, and that he 
had seen my father and obtained his consent ; that he re- 
ceived me as a son, and I must consider him in the character 
of a father. I observed to him, that I must see and consult 
my friends, before I gave my final consent. On advising 
with them, some doubt of Mr. Burr's object was suggested, 
but he having pledged his word of honor that he had nothing 
in view hostile to the best interests of the United States, I 
determined to go with him. Mr. C. C. Claiborne was at that 


time Governor of Louisiana, and an old friend of my father's, 
and had requested him to permit me to go to New Orleans as 
his private secretary. To him General Jackson wrote a let- 
ter, and gave me to deliver, urging it on me, in the most 
earnest manner, to leave Burr, if at any time I should dis- 
cover he had any views or intentions inimical to the interests 
or integrity of the government." 

On the 22d of December, in two unarmed boats, Burr 
and his few followers left Clover Bottom. Coffee explains in 
an affidavit the nature of the final settlement between the 
adventurer and the firm of which himself wa« a member : — 
" The report of his acting in opposition to the wishes of the 
government, prevented his procuring supplies of provisions ; 
and he had not use for all the boats that had been made for 
him. Two, I believe, was the number he made use of ibr 
himself and those with him. The balance of the boats — the 
number I do not recollect — were left by Mr. Burr ; and after- 
ward, by virtue of his order in favor of Patten Anderson, the 
boats, or the proceeds thereof, were paid over to Mr. Ander- 
son. When Mr. Burr was at Clover Bottom, General Jack- 
son and myself made a settlement with him, the said Burr ; 
and, after charging him with the boats and other articles fur- 
nished him for his voyage down the river, I returned him all 
the balance of his money ($1725 62) in the very same notes 
first sent by him, and the accounts were then completely 
closed and paid on both sides, as I understood." 

Burr had not been gone many hours before the President's 
proclamation denouncing him reached Nashville, and threw 
that peaceful town, and all the country round about, into a 
delirium of excitement. Burr was immediately burnt in 
effigy in the public square. There was contention which 
man should surpass all others in the fury of his patriotic 
zeal. All this can be imagined. We have only to do with 
the performances of General Jackson on this great occasion. 

On the 1st of January, he received special communica- 

* Affidavit of Colonel John Coffee, in action of Blennerbassett vs. Andrew 
Jackson, Natchez, 1815. 

1807.] EXPLOSION OF burr's project. 323 

tions from the President and Secretary of War, ordering him 
to hold his command in readiness to march, and to use all 
means in his power to frustrate the designs of the traitors. 
To issue the requisite orders to his division, and to dispatch 
a messenger to alarm the lower country, was the work of a 
very few hours. Let the following correspondence and papers 
attest his zeal and activity. 

By a special messenger, John Murrell, he sent, among 
other letters, a note of warning to Captain Bissell, of the 
United States army, commandant of Fort Massac, on the 
Ohio, past which the mighty flotilla was expected to go. 
" Sundry reports," he wrote to Bissell, " which has reached 
me, state that there are a number of armed men, with boats 
loaded with arms and ammunition, assembled en the Ohio, 
at, or near the mouth of Cumberland, with intentions hostile 
to the peace and interedt of the United States. I have no 
doubt but you have received the President's proclamation, 
and orders from the Secretary of War, to intercept and bring 
to justice all men engaged in any enterprise contrary to the 
laws or orders of our government. If these you have not re- 
ceived, should it come to your knowledge that there is an 
assemblage of men and boats, who have illegal enterprises in 
view, it is expected that you will exert your force to take and 
bring to justice all such. You will be also good enough to 
give me information of and concerning such assemblage of 
armed men and boats loaded with warlike stores, their num- 
ber, and point of rendezvous ; and dispatch the bearer back 
without delay, with such information as you may have in 
your power to communicate." 

The messenger returned in a few days with the informa- 
tion that no warlike flotilla could be found or heard of in the 
lower country. Captain Bissell's reply to Jackson's note 
reads like satire. " This day, January 5th, per express," he 
wrote, " I had the honor to receive your very interesting let- 
ter of the 2d inst., and shall pay due respect to its contents ; 
{is yet, I have not received the President's proclamation al- 
luded to, nor have I received any orders from the Department 


of War relative to the subject-matter of your letter. There 
has not, to my knowledge, been any assembling of men or 
boats at this, or any other place, unauthorized by law or 
presidency, but should any thing of the kind make its appear- 
ance which carries with it the least mark of suspicion as hav- 
ing illegal enterprises or projects in view hostile to the peace 
and good order of government, I shall, with as much ardor 
and energy as the case will admit, endeavor to bring to justice 
all such offenders. For more than two weeks past I have 
made it a point to make myself acquainted with the loading 
and situation of all boats descending the river ; as yet, there 
has nothing the least alarming appeared. On, or about the 
31st ult., Colonel Burr, late Vice President of the United 
States, passed this with about ten boats, of different descrip- 
tions, navigated with about six men each, having nothing on 
board that would even suffer a conjecture more than a man 
bound to a market ; he has descended the rivers toward Or- 
leans. Should any thing to my knowledge transpire interest 
ing to government I will give the most early notice in my 

Meanwhile the panic in Nashville was unabated. The 
revolutionary veterans, all over fifty years of age, headed by 
General James Robertson, tendered their services to General 
Jackson in a formal address. " This is an important crisis," 
said these old men, " when the limits of legal active exertion 
ought not to be sought with a microscopic eye. So far as our 
bodily powers will admit, we cheerfully submit to the rigors 
of military institutions. Our country will require nothing 
unnecessarily of us. The thread of age will not be broken, 
but it will be used to the extent of its strength. Under 
these impressions we agree to embody ourselves, and, aged 
and infirm as we may be, offer our services and fortunes to 
our country in support of its laws and constituted authori- 

To this address, which seems to have made a profound 
impression, General Jackson sent a reply which was highly 
Jacksonian : — 

1807.] EXPLOSION OF burr's project. 325 

" General James Robertson and the Corps of Inyincibles you have 
the Honor to command : — The tender of your services at this serious crisis, 
when our government has warned us to be watchful, is honorable, not only 
to yourselves, but the country in which we live. It is interesting and 
grateful at the present moment The Executive of the Union, in whom we 
all have confidence, will not only receive it with pleasure, as a mark of 
attachment to the government and laws; but the faithful historian of pass- 
ing times can not avoid noticing it as an instance of patriotism to be found 
only in republics ; for their support they rest on the opinion and affections 
of the people, and, above all governments, union of sentiments and action 
is necessary. 

" Though all citizens must be sensible of the inestimable blessings we 
enjoy, yet your generous expression of them has filled me with emotions of 
ardor as extraordinary as the occasion which gave birth to them. May all 
men cherish such sentiments, is my sincere wish. Age, in a government 
of laws and freedom, is entitled to a claim of patriotism, but it is usually 
entitled to the highest respect from youth. The frost of age and experi- 
ence is as necessary in the moral as in the physical world. The dissipated 
attention of men is collected, and the natural relaxation of youth invigo- 
rated. Hence our union of sentiments in the position that all men ought to 
contribute their mite, in some mode, to the public good. But when age, 
in its wisdom, bounds beyond its ordinary limits of counsel and admonition 
into the hardy field of exertion, my God 1 how can I express my sensa- 

" Age, from the immutable principles of the law of nature, is entitled to 
an exemption from continued bodily exertion; but should the danger 
which threatens our country require your service in the field, it is hoped 
that the occasion may be temporary, and that you only will be wanting in 
the field of battle, where your years and meritorious services will be duly 
considered. There your commander well knows that your former services, 
presence and bravery will be equal to a regiment of men. 

" Accept the thanks of the government, and of your General to whom 
you have so generously offered your services, with the sentiments of my 
grateful respect" 

The militia were furbishing their arms and hastening to 
the rendezvous. The first troops in readiness to march were 
the two Nashville companies, who were reviewed by the Major 
General amid the enthusiasm of the town. " On Saturday 
last," 6ays the Impartial Review of January 17th, " two com- 
panies of the militia of this county were reviewed by Major 
General A. Jackson, at this place. We can not but express 


our satisfaction at the promptness with which this rendezvous 
was attended, and the patriotism displayed by the major 
general ; likewise the brigadier generals, among whom were 
Brigadier General Isaac Roberts, who, on his return from 
Duck river, received his orders and immediately hastened to 
obey them. The unity of sentiment which pervaded every 
breast on this occasion, and the general flame of indignation 
which burst forth on all sides at the recollection of the trait- 
orous conduct of the individuals whose expedition gave rise 
to the orders that called them together, is a pleasing memento 
to our fellow-citizens generally, that neither the intrigue of 
restless ambition, nor the efforts of disorganizing demagogues, 
can withdraw our affections from that Union on which our 
prosperity and happiness depend." 

A few days sufficed to allay the panic. The return of the 
General's express from the Ohio, with the news that no hoe- 
tile expedition had there been heard of, was a damper to the 
military ardor of the militia. Upon the assembling of the 
division, therefore, General Jackson delivered an address to 
them, praising their patriotic promptitude, and dismissed 
them to their homes again. This address, which was so much 
admired, that the officers with one voice demanded its pub- 
lication, was as follows : — 

"Friends and Fellow-Soldiers: — The President's proclamation, as 
well as the Secretary of War's letter to me, dated on the 19th of last month, 
has given rise to the preparatory steps taken to have the militia under my 
command in complete readiness. Those communications sound the tocsin 
of alarm. They are sufficient evidence to us that the repose of our country 
is about to be interrupted ; that an illegal enterprise has been set on foot 
by disappointed, unprincipled, arribitious or misguided individuals ; and that 
they are about to be carried on against the government of Spain, contrary 
to the faith of treaties. Other reports state that the adventurers in this 
enterprise were numerous ; that they had assembled at the mouth of Cum- 
berland river, in considerable force and hostile array ; that they had for 
their object a separation of the western from the eastern part of the United 
States; and that an attack would, in the first place, be made on New 

" These things, my fellow-soldiers, gave rise to my orders of the 2d 

1807.] EXPLOSION OF burb's project. 327 

instant, to the end that twelve companies of volunteer corps might be pre- 
pared to march on the 5th. I did at the same time order Brigadier Gen- 
eral James Winchester to take the commend. As a previous and necessary 
measure to any order to march, I dispatched a confidential express to the 
mouth of Cumberland river and to Massac, with a letter to Captain Bissell, 
the commanding officer at that place. This express returned on the 8th 
instant, from whose report, together with the information given by Cap- 
tain Bissell, we are furnished with the very pleasing news that nothing in 
that quarter is the least alarming. The alluded to address from the com- 
manding officer has been read to you on parade. Under all these circum- 
stances, added to the limited point of view which the orders given me 
must be interpreted, I have deemed proper to dismiss the corps under my 
command, and direct them to return to their respective homes until their 
country shall require their services, and until further orders shall be given. 
The appearances of unanimity, the ardor displayed on this occasion, and the 
promptness with which both the officers and men have attended to their 
duty and orders, are sure pledges to their country and to their General, 
that when emergercy shall require, they will fly with the winge of Patriot- 
ism to support the united government of their country, and the liberty it 
so bountifully affords. He also clearly sees the great physical strength of 
our country displayed much to his satisfaction, in the promptness and 
alacrity with which General Winchester, General Johnston and the officers 
and men now in view, have shown in their attention to his orders. Here 
is the bulwark of our country always sufficient to support and defend the 
constituted authorities of our government. When the insolence or vanity 
of the Spanish government shall dare to repeat their insults on our flag, or 
shall dare to violate the sacred obligations of the good faith of our treaties 
with them ; or should the disorganizing Traitor attempt the dismember- 
ment of our country or criminal breach of our laws, let me ask what will 
be the effects of the example given by a tender of service made by such 
men as compose the Invincible Grays, commanded, too, by the father of our 
infant State, General James Robertson ? 

" It must and will produce effects like these : The youthful patriot will 
be invigorated to a proper sense of duty and zeal, and the vengeance of an 
insulted country will burst upon the devoted heads of any foreign invaders, 
or the authors of such diabolical plans. When we behold aged, deserving 
and respectable men, whom the laws of their country exempt from com- 
mon military duty, the very first to come forward in the event of danger, 
and whose situation is every how comfortable at home, thus to act, what 
must be the degree of feeling and sensibility excited ? It is beyond com- 
prehension, but merits the highest encomium. 

" Friends and fellow-soldiers, I can not dismiss you without making hon- 
orable mention of the patriotism of Captain Thomas Williamson, displayed 


on the present occasion, who, in twenty-four hoars after the receipt of my 
letter, notified me he was ready to march at the head of a full company of 
volunteers. Such promptness as this will be a fit example for the hardy 
sons of freedom, should the constituted authorities require our service. 

'*' Return, fellow-soldiers, to the bosom of your families, with the best 
wishes of your General, until your country calls, and then it is expected 
you will march on a moment's warning."* 



These public writings of the General during the Burr 
panic are somewhat different in tone from his private letters 
of the same period. He was in a fog. He knew not what to 
make of this unexpected explosion, for which no cause could 
be discovered. Moreover, the letter of the Secretary of War, 
General Henry Dearborn, to himself, was couched in language 
at once " dubious" and offensive. A note which Jackson wrote, 
the day after the receipt of the Secretary's order, to his friend 
Major Patten Anderson, reveals his feelings at the time, and 
is, besides, an extremely curious epistle. This was the be- 
ginning of his difference with the administration of Mr. Jef- 
ferson, which had effects upon the history of the country. To 
Patten Anderson, January 4th, he wrote : — 

"I received your note: its contents duly observed. The receipts as 
directed I have retained. The negro girl named, if likely, at a fair price, 
I will receive. 

• " I have received some communications from the President and Secre- 
tary of War ; and your presence is required at my house to-morrow even- 
ing, or early Monday morning, to consult on means and measures, and to 
determine the latitude of the authority. It is the merest old-woman letter 
from the Secretary that you ever saw. Your presence on Sunday evening 

* From the Impartial Review of January 10th and 17 th, 1807. 


will be expected, and jour presence on Monday morning at nine o'clock 
can not be dispensed with ; you must attend. I have sent an express to 
the mouth of the Cumberland and to Massac to see and hear and make ob- 
servations. I have wrote to Captain Bissle ; but from information received 
at the moment the messenger was starting gives me reason to believe that 
Bissle is the host of Aaron Burr. Wilkinson has denounced Burr as a 
traitor, after he found that he was implicated. This is deep policy. He 
has obtained thereby thu command of New Orleans, the gun boats armed ; 
and his plan can now be executed without resistance. But we must be 
there in due time, before fortifications can be erected, and restore to our 
government New Orleans and the western commerce. You must attend. 
Give to those officers that you see assurances that all volunteer companies 
will be gratefully accepted of. We must have thirty, thirty-five or forty 
companies into the field in fifteen or twenty days ; ten or twelve in four. 
I have it from the President, I have it from Dixon, that all volunteers will 
bo gratefully accepted. To-morrow night Winchester will be with me ; I 
wish you there. The Secretary of War is not fit for a granny. I fear John 
Randolph's ideas were too correct; but dubious as he has wrote, there are 
sufficient authority to act Act I will, and by the next mail I will give 
him a letter that will instruct him in his duty, and convince him that I 
know mine. If convenient, bring the girl with you; and health and 


" A. Jackson. 

" Compliments to Mrs. Anderson. I must tell you that Bonaparte has 
destroyed the Prussian army. We ought to have a little of the emperor's 

At Washington, meanwhile, General Jackson was sus- 
pected of being in league with the alleged traitors. Among 
other letters received by the government during the panic, 
was one from a Captain Eead, of Pittsburg, who declared 
" upon his honor," that he was " firmly persuaded" that 
large bodies of troops from Tennessee, with General Andrew 
Jackson at their head, were in full march to join the traitors ! 

* The Impartial Review, at this period, frequently devoted half its available 
space to the doings of Napoleon. The number which appeared next after the 
date of this letter had a whole page respecting the Jena campaign. " The bat- 
tle of Jena," said the Review, " has erased the shame acquired by the battle of 
Rosbach, and thus in seven days determined a campaign which has quenched 
the dreadful thirst for war that tormented the court of Prussia." This shows sym- 
pathy with Napoleon. 


The Richmond Inquirer, too, of December 30th, 1806, con- 
tained a hint of similar import. " We are happy," said the 
editor of that influential journal, " to hear that General 
Wilkinson had been tampered with unsuccessfully ; we must 
acknowledge that we have entertained involuntary suspicions 
of him as well as of a militia general in Tennessee, who some 
time past issued a thundering proclamation, rousing the re- 
sentment of the people against the Spaniards." 

It was fortunately in the power of General Jackson's 
friend, George W. Campbell, member of the House of Eep- 
resentatives from Nashville, to refute these calumnies. Jack- 
son was accustomed, for many years, to write long confiden- 
tial letters to that gentleman, several of which I have had 
the advantage of copying. Among others, one written in the 
midst of the Burr excitement, containing comments upon 
that affair, written in the freedom of friendship. This letter 
Mr. Campbell laid before President Jefferson, who copied the 
parts of it relating to Burr ; which were afterwards pub- 
lished. The perusal of this letter it probably was that in- 
duced Mr. Jefferson to declare so emphatically, that Tennes- 
see was "faithful," and "particularly General Jackson." 
The original letter, yellow with age, torn with its various 
adventures and journeys, and bearing upon it the formal cer- 
tificate of the facts just stated, is still preserved, and was 
copied from the original for insertion here. 


" (Confidential.) — The late denunciation of Aaron Burr as a traitor has 
excited great surprise and general indignation against Burr. Still from the 
opinion possessed of the accuser (Wilkinson) many there are who wait for 
the proof before they will pronounce him guilty of the charge. One thing 
is generally believed, that if Burr is guilty Wilkinson has participated in 
the treason. 

" The public mind has been much agitated from various reports of Burr 
having been met at the mouth of Cumberland river with one hundred boats 
and one thousand armed men ; and it was stated as a fact, that the captain 
at Massac and all the men were going with him. Subsequent reports stated 
they had gone. An express which I had started on receipt of the Secre- 



tary of War's letter of the has returned, and states that Burr was 

at Fort Massac on the 30th ult, in company with ten boats, six men 
on board of each, without arms or anything that can afford suspicion, 
and that Captain Bcssel has been doing his duty as a valiant officer. I 
had ordered out twelve companies of volunteers on the receipt of the Sec- 
retary of War's letter to check the adventurers, which on return of express 
I dismissed. 

" I shall send you a copy of the Secretary of War's letter to me by next 
mail, with the remarks I intend making on it It is couched in such offen- 
sive terms that shows he is unfit to discharge the duties of his station, and 
that he is devoid of all knowledge on perilous occasions that ought to com- 
pose the geueral or commander. I hope I know my duty as a soldier, 
and the first duty of a good citizen, when danger threatens, to attend to 
the safety of his country. This being done, I will pay my respects to the 
Secretary of War, and duly note his letter, which I will enclose you by 
next mail, and which I hope as a brother* and a friend you will give that 
publicity to that I may direct 

" Will you permit me to bring to your view a subject that has been 
made known to me as a brother ? I mean the dispute that is likely to 
arise between you and General Robertson respecting a piece of land. This 
dispute I would advise to be left between two or three brothers to decide. 
Should it get into court it will be expensive, and create passions that never 
ought to exist between brothers ; and I have no doubt the dispute can be 
as well ended, and justice be as much attained by the verdict of three 
brothers as any other way. The land to General Robertson is a great 
thing ; he has sold it, and made a general warrantee, and this, he states, I 
think, before he knew of your claim. He also states that General Arm- 
strong is willing to return you your money, with interest, on your relin- 
quishing to General Robertson your claim to this tract And there is five 
thousand acres on Elk that can be had to satisfy the balance of the judg- 

" I hope, sir, you will view these observations as from the heart of a 
friend, who wishes you both equally well, and who does not wish to see 
you in law, unless when the rules laid down by which we are united can 
not obtain that justice that each individual is entitled to. I have never 
heard from either how the right has been derived, neither do I know how 
justice will decide ; but as the thing is between two brothers, and two that 
I highly esteem, and who I do know highly esteem each other, I would 
be truly sorry to see anything arise that would create a bitterness. And 
if you go to law, I know it will have this effect, and have others also that 
would be painful to me as a friend of both to see. 

* Campbell and Jackson were both Free Masons. 


" The General appears much hurt at you making the purchase, after you 
knew (as he states) that he had purchased ; from which I am fearful, un- 
less it is settled by two brothers or three, that it will lead on statements 
that may do neither of you any benefit. For these reasons, I have told 
him, as I now tell you, the proper way will be to leave it to three brethren. 
Such you can find as are legal characters. This he states he is willing to 
do, and I hope it will meet your wishes. 

" I have no doubt but from the pains that has been taken to circulate 
Teports, it will be rumored that I am on full march to unite with Burr. This 
I know you never will believe until you have it from myself, or from such 
a source that you know can not err. Should you ever hear that I am em- 
barked in a cause inimical to my country, believe it not. Should you hear 
that treasonable intentions have come to my knowledge, and that I have 
been" [torn], " believe them not; or that I would not put any man out of 
existence that would name such a thing to me, without on the ground of 
discovering it to the proper authorities, believe them not And if Burr 
has any treasonable intentions in view, he is the basest of all human beings. 
I will tell you why. He always held out the idea of settling Washita, un- 
less a war with Spain ; in that event, he held out the idea that from his in- 
timacy with the Secretary of War, he would obtain an appointment ; and 
if he did he would revolutionize Mexico. 

" About the 10th of November, Captain called at my house, and 

after a stay of a night and part of a day, introduced the subject of the ad- 
venturers ; and, in part, stated these intentions were to divide the Union. 
I sternly asked how they would effect it. He replied, by seizing New 
Orleans and the bank, shutting the port, conquering Mexico, and uniting 
the western part of the Union to the conquered country. I, perhaps with 
warmth, asked him how this was to be effected. He replied, by the aid of 
the federal troops, and the General (Wilkinson) at their head. I asked if he 
had this from the General. He said he had not I asked him if Colouel 
Burr was in the scheme. He answered he did not know, nor was he in- 
formed that he was ; that he barely knew Colonel Burr, but never had any 
conversation. I asked him how he knew this, and from whom he got his 
information. He said from Colonel , in New York. 

u Knowing that Colonel Burr was well acquainted with him, it rushed 
into my mind like lightning 1 Considering what he had held out to me, 
General Robertson and General Overton, and the hospitality I had shown 
him, I viewed it as base conduct to us all, and heightened the baseness of 
his intended crimes if he was really about to become a traitor. I sat down 
and wrote to Governor Smith and Dr. Dixson. I wrote to Governor 
Claiborne to put his citadel in a state of defense, without naming names, 
except Wilkason. When this was done, I wrote Colonel Burr in strong 
terms — my suspicions of him, and until they were clear from my mind, no 


further intimacy was to exist between us. I made my suspicions known 
to General Robertson and some others. Not long after, I received his an- 
swer, with the most sacred pledges that he had not, nor never had, any 
views inimical or hostile to the United States, and whenever he was charged 
with the intention of separating the Union, the idea of insanity must be 
ascribed to him. After his acquittal in Kentucky he returned to this coun- 
try, and, to all that named the subject, made the same pledges, and said he 
had no object in view but was sanctioned by legal authority, and still said 
that, when necessary, he would produce the Secretary of War's orders — that 
he wanted none but young men of talents to go with him; with such he 
wanted to make his settlement, and it would have a tendency to draw to 
it wealth and character. For these reasons, from the pledges made, if he 
is a traitor, he is the basest that ever did commit treason, and being tore 
to pieces, and scattered to the four winds of heaven, would be too good for 
him. But we will leave him for time and evidence to verify his hue. I 
have given you the outlines, and a few weeks will give you the proof 

" I have no doubt tired your patience, but I must trespass a little far- 
ther, and request your attention to a little private business. Some posts 
ago I wrote to Judge Anderson to send me on a deed for six hundred and 
forty acres of land, and enclose the courses. By same mail I wrote to Dr. 
Dixson, and enclosed him also a copy of the courses. I am fearful these 
letters have not went to hand, for which reason I take the liberty of send- 
ing you the courses, and request that you will obtain a deed from Judge 
Anderson, and send it on to me. I have sold the land, and the deed was 
to liave been made the first of this month. Thus I wrote the Judge, and I 
know, if he received the letter, he has sent it on, and it has been lost on 
the way. My dear sir, your attention to this business will confer a lasting 

" Present my compliments to Mason, Blount and any others that may 
inquire after me. With friendly wishes for your welfare and happiness, 
believe me to be, with high esteem, yours, 

"January 15th, 1807. Andrew Jackson. 

" P. S. — This letter for your own eyes." 

A few words more, and we may dismiss this Burr mystery. 
Further reflection revived in General Jackson's breast some- 
thing of his former friendship for Burr, and convinced him 
that no treason had been intended. A few months later, we 
find him at Richmond, whither he had been summoned as a 
witness in the trial of Burr. There he harangued the crowd 
in the Capitol Square, defending Burr, and angrily denounc- 
ing Jefferson as a persecutor. There are those living who 
vol. i. — 22 


heard him do this. He made himself so conspicuous as Burr's 
champion at Kichmond, that Mr. Madison, the Secretary of 
State, took deep offense at it, and remembered it to Jackson's 
disadvantage five years later, when he was President of the 
United States, with a war on his hands. For the same rea- 
son, I presume, it was that Jackson was not called upon to 
give testimony upon the trial. 

Burr, it seems, was equally satisfied with Jackson. Blen- 
nerhasset, in that part of his diary which records his prison 
interviews with Burr, says : " We passed to the topics of our 
late adventures on the Mississippi, in which Burr said little, 
but declared he did not know of any reason to blame General 
Jackson, of Tennessee, for anything he had done or omitted. 
But he declares he will not lose a day after the favorable 
issue at the Capitol (his acquittal), of which he has no doubt, 
to direct his entire attention to setting up his projects (which 
have only been suspended) on abetter model, ' in which work', 
he says, i he has even here made some progress.' " 

Jackson's feelings during his detention at Bichmond were 
partly expressed in one of his letters to his friend Anderson, 
dated June 16th, of which the following is a copy : — 

" I am still detained here ; and at what time I will be able to leave it is 
uncertain. General Wilkinson, after detaining the court for twenty days, 
has at length arrived, and the bills against Burr are sent up to the Grand 
Jury. Whether the testimony will be sufficient to convince the minds of 
the Grand Jury that guilt exists, either as to treason or misdemeanor, is 
problematical. I am more convinced than ever that treason never was 
intended by Burr ; but if ever it was, you know my wishes — that he may 
be hung. I am still more convinced that whatever may have been the 
project of Burr, James Wilkinson has went hand in hand with him ; but, 
Eaton~)ike*, when he found that such was the integrity and virtue of the 
western citizens, that a sufficient force could not be obtained, he became 
the patriot to save himself from the frowns and indignation of an insulted 
people; and to bring about that event by a lawless tyranny, which he 
found could not be carried into effect by force. There are a variety of 
opinions on the subject, which a few days will furnish sufficient light for the 
impartial mind to act on. All I wish is, that if guilt ever did exist, that all 

# Eaton was a leading witness against Burr. 


concerned may be punished ; if they are innocent, that they may be ac- 
quitted. But I have no opinion that it is just to sacrifice one as a peace- 
offering to policy, and permit others of equal guilt to pass with impunity. 
I am sorry to say that this thing has, in part, assumed the shape of a po- 
litical persecution, and for which I refer you to the papers of this place. I 
am told you receive them. A subpoena has been sent on for the President, 
with a duces tecum. What may be the return I know not ; but it appears 
that Mr. Hay,* by a change, is placed in the opposite situation that he acted 
in when Calandar was tried ; and his own doctrine is used against him. 
As soon as the Grand Jury have acted on this thing, I will advise you 

" At the race, I hope you will see Mrs. Jackson ; tell her not to be 
uneasy. I will be home as soon as my obedience to the precept of my 
country will permit I have only to add, as to the race, that the mare of 
Williams is thought here to be a first-rate animal of her size ; but, if she 
can be put up, she will fail in one heat It will be then proper to put her 
up to all she knows at once, — Adieu." 

This letter was only a very partial revelation of Jackson's 
feelings. In truth, he went all lengths in defense of Burr ; 
nor was it possible for him to support any man in any other 
way. Toward Wilkinson, whom he regarded as the betrayei 
of Burr, his anger burned with such fury that if the two 
men had met in a place convenient, the meeting could hardly 
have had any other result than a — " difficulty." An incident 
which actually did occur at Richmond, during the trial, sug- 
gested this remark. Samuel Swartwout, Burr's confidential 
secretary, aid-de-camp, embassador, and factotum, was walk- 
ing, one day, in a street of Richmond, of which the pavement 
was too narrow to admit of the convenient passing of two 
persons. What should he encounter there but the portly 
person of General James Wilkinson ! Swartwout not only 
refused to give way to the General, but, on finding himself 
in close proximity to him, fell into a paroxysm of disgust and 
rage, and shouldered the great Wilkinson into the middle of 
the street. Jackson was wild with delight when he heard of 
it. There was no man, out of his own circle of Tennessee 
friends, that General Jackson was more affectionately devoted 

* Mr, Hay was the prosecuting attorney. 

386 LIVE OF ANDREW J A OK BON. [1807. 

to than he was to Samuel Swartwout ; and this peculiar 
fondness, sustained as it was by Mr. Swartwout's winning 
cast of character, dated from that push, A lucky push it 
proved for Swartwout twenty years after. 

General Jackson returned home immediately after the in- 
dictment of Burr and Blennerhasset for treason. The editor 
of the Impartial Review thanks him for communicating the 
news of the indictment, as he passed through Nashville, July 
14th, on his way home from Bichmond. 

From that time forward, Jackson was known as a mal- 
content with the administration. In the presidential election 
of 1808, he openly avowed a preference for Monroe over Mad- 
ison, who was the candidate of the Bepublican party and of 
Jefferson. Monroe had shared with Chancellor Livingston 
the credit of the negotiations which ended in the purchase of 
Louisiana ; and, on being transferred to London, had won 
general applause by the spirited manner in which he protested 
against the Orders in Council. Beturning to the United 
States in 1808 he was a formidable rival to Madison for the 
suffrages of the Bepublicans. In the conclaves of the party 
his " claims" were admitted ; but postponed, with the " under- 
standing" (useful word ! meaning nothing — meaning all) that 
eight years later he should be the candidate of the party. 
They had formerly an amicable and pleasant way of arrang- 
ing these little differences. Until recently, the presidency 
was always bespoke twenty-four years ahead — as shall, by 
and by, be shown. Whether General Jackson carried his 
opposition to Madison so far as not to vote for him when he 
became the Bepublican candidate is not known. It is certain, 
however, that his preference for Monroe over Madison was 
known to both those gentlemen, and influenced the conduct 
of both. 




The Hermitage was more a hermitage than ever after 
these events. The enemies of the Hermit had gained a cer- 
tain triumph over him. I observe in the list of those who 
assisted in the burning of Burr's effigy at Nashville, the name 
of Thomas Swann ; which favors the conjecture that the zeal 
against Burr was, in some degree, a manifestation of enmity 
to the man who had been so conspicuously his friend. Ill- 
affected toward his former political associates, an object of 
distrust or aversion, or both, to the administration, his home 
enemies cowed, perhapjs, by the late duel, but in no degree 
conciliated, General Jackson now withdrew from commercial 
business, and devoted himself exclusively to the affairs of his 
fine plantation ; happy in a vocation of which he was master, 
and which kept him always where alone he was ever con- 
tented — at home. 

He had a very happy home. Mrs. Jackson, besides being 
an excellent manager and mistress, was also a kind and jovial 
soul. She had a wonderful memory, which contained a great 
store of anecdotes and tales. She could remember the Cum- 
berland settlements from their infancy ; had shared the perils 
of her father's famous river voyage ; had lived through that 
eventful period when the day was exceptional in which there 
was no alarm, and the week fortunate when no one was slain 
by Indians ; had heard her father, and his friend, Daniel 
Boone, and the other heroes of the wilderness, recount their 
adventures and escapes. All these tilings it was her delight 
to tell to the younger guests of the Hermitage, whose delight 
it was to hoar her. Nor was she so entirely illiterate as has 
been alleged. I have nine of her letters in my collection, one 
of which is eight foolscap pages long. The spelling of these 
epistles is bad, of course, and the grammar not faultless ; 
but their existence is at least sufficient to refute a common 


opinion in Tennessee, that Mrs. Jackson could not write. 
Unlearned, however, she was, in the lore of the schools, 
though not so in that of the woods, the dairy, the kitchen 
and the cabin. The negro women at the Hermitage, who 
remember her ways and tastes, say that there was nothing on 
the estate that she was so proud of as the remarkably fine 
spring that gushed behind the old block house, and which 
was inclosed, when the General could afford the expense ; to 
form her dairy. 

It is pleasant, too, to know that she was fond of, and ex- 
celled in, the hearty diversions of the frontier ; particularly 
in the vigorous, old-fashioned dances. She was a short and 
stout woman. The General was tall and slender. The spec- 
tacle is said to have been extremely curious when they danced 
a reel together, which they often did ; a reel of the olden 
time that would shake to pieces the frequenters of modern 
ball-rooms. The time came when she imbibed opinions (now 
giving way everywhere before more enlightened ones) which 
place a ban upon diversions which are both innocent and pre- 
servative of innocence. But in these earlier years, she was a 
gay, merry, natural human being ; happy herself, and a 
source of happiness to all around her. 

Her husband loved her with that entireness which belongs 
to the love of men, and to them only, whose lives are pure, 
from puberty to gray hairs. There was a certain stateliness, 
or reserve, too, in their intercourse — a something as different 
as possible from that slangy familiarity of recent times, which 
is employed to cover up incompetence and awkwardness, and 
which is death to the pleasure, no less than to the dignity, 
of social converse. Self-respect, and respect for one another, 
elevated and preserved their mutual love. It is true, never- 
theless, that after dinner they sat by the fire, both smoking a 
long reed pipe, of the kind still universally used in the south- 
ern States. 

Children only were wanting to complete their home. But 
children were denied them ; a sore grief to both, for both 
loved children, and desired ever to have them in their house. 



y jy^/cc u 

(O-ttC U-C-t^ 


The circle of Mrs. Jackson's relatives was so extensive that 
some of her young nephews and nieces were almost always at 
the Hermitage ; and all her relatives were his. He counted 
it among the chief circumstances of his happiness that, sepa- 
rated as he was from his own kindred by distance, he found 
in hers all that his heart and home required. 

About the year 1809 it chanced that twins were born to 
one of Mrs. Jackson's brothers, Savern Donelson. The 
mother, not in perfect health, was scarcely able to sustain 
both these new comers. Mrs. Jackson, partly to relieve her 
sister, and partly with the wish to provide a son and heir for 
her husband, took one of the infants, when it was but a few 
days old, home to the Hermitage. The General soon became 
extremely fond of the boy, gave him his own name, adopted 
him, and treated him thenceforth to the last hour of his life, 
not as a son merely, but as an only son. This boy is the 
present Andrew Jackson, Esq., of Louisiana, inheritor of the 
General's estate and name, master of the Hermitage until it 
recently became the property of the State of Tennessee. 

And here we see the immense difference between a biog- 
raphy and a life. The arrival at General Jackson's house of 
this plump and ruddy infant was an event concerning which 
it is impossible to say much in a work of this kind. But, to 
Andrew Jackson, how much more important the day than 
any 8th of January or 4th of March ! This boy, next to his 
wife, was the delight of his life, the hope of his old age. This 
boy was to perpetuate his name and preserve his estate after 
his death. He was the solace of ten thousand hours when 
victories and honors seemed but the trivial incidents of the 
past. For this boy's little rosy face, peeping from window or 
piazza, it was that he looked on coming in sight of his home 
after a long absence. And this inconceivably great addition 
to his happiness and well-being, this permanently influencing 
fact we must pass over with little more than mention. So 
true is it that only the masters of fiction can portray human 
life with an approach to correctness. 

A few years later another little nephew of Mrs. Jackson's, 


the well-known Andrew Jackson Donelson, became an inmate 
of the Hermitage, and was educated by General Jackson. 
The visitor then could often see the General seated in his 
rocking chair, with a chubby boy wedged in on each side of 
him, and a third, perhaps, in his lap, while he was trying to 
read the newspaper. This man, so irascible sometimes, and 
sometimes so savage, was never so much as impatient with 
children, wife or servants. This was very remarkable. It 
used to astonish people who came for the first time to the 
Hermitage to find that its master, of whose fierce ways and 
words they had heard so much, was, indeed, the gentlest and 
tenderest of men. They discovered, in fact, that there were 
two Jacksons : Jackson militant and Jackson triumphant ; 
Jackson crossed and Jackson having his own way ; Jackson, 
his mastership unquestioned, and Jackson with a rival near 
the throne. 

It was astonishing, too, to notice how instantaneously he 
could change from one Jackson to the other. He was riding 
along one day with his wife, when some careless wagoners drove 
their lumbering vehicle against his carriage, giving the lady a 
somewhat violent jerk. Instantly Jackson broke forth with a 
volley of execrations so fierce and terrific that the wagoners, 
who were themselves the roughest of the rough, shrunk invol- 
untarily under their wagon, amazed and speechless. They 
drove away without attempting to reply, feeling themselves 
hopelessly outdone in their own speciality. 

On this occasion, as on many similar ones, he was not a 
tenth part as angry as he seemed. He was never so angry as 
to give his enemy an advantage. Another wagon story occurs 
to me at this moment, which shows how prudent he could be 
until it was safe to give way to his feelings. The wagoners, 
it may be premised, were in those times what boatmen have 
since been in the western country, a numerous, important, 
peculiar and reckless class of men, with something of the 
gipsy, much of the Indian, and a little of the highwayman, 
in their composition. For many years, the great West de- 
pended for its supplies of manufactured goods chiefly upon 


wagon and pack-horse trains, conducted by these wild fellows 
from the Atlantic ports across the mountains. One of their 
expedients for beguiling the tedium of their long journeys was 
to stop solitary travelers and compel him to do something for 
their amusement. As General Jackson was riding along the 
lonely wilderness road between Nashville and Knoxville one 
day, he was hailed by two burly wagoners, who ordered him 
to get out of his carriage and dance for them. Feigning sim- 
plicity, he said he could not dance without slippers, and his 
slippers were in a trunk strapped behind his carriage. They 
told him to get his slippers. He opened his trunk, took out 
a pair of pistols, and advancing before them with one in each 
hand, said, with that awful glare in his eye before which few 
men could stand : — 

"Now, you infernal villains, you shall dance for me. 
Dance , . . . dance !" 

He made them dance in the most lively manner, and fin- 
ished the interview by giving them a moral lecture, couched 
in language that wagoners understood, and delivered with— 

That curious tobacco box story, still often told in Ten- 
nessee, and probably founded in truth, if not wholly true, 
illustrates the same trait. The incident occurred at Clovei 
Bottom, on the great day of the races, when the ground was 
crowded with men and horses. It was customary for the land- 
lord of the tavern there to prepare a table in the open air, two 
hundred feet long, for the accommodation of the multitude 
attending. On the day alluded to, several races having been 
run, there was a pause for dinner, which pause was duly im- 
proved. The long table was full of eager diners ; General 
Jackson presiding at one end ; a large number of men stand- 
ing along the sides of the table waiting for a chance to sit 
down ; and all the negroes of the neighborhood employed as 
waiters who could look at a plate without its breaking itself. 
A roaring tornado of horse-talk half drowned the mighty 
clatter of knives and forks. After the dinner had proceeded 
awhile, it was observed by General Jackson and those who sat 

342 LIFS 07 ANDREW JACKSON. [1809. 

near him, that something was the matter near the other end 
of the table — a fight, probably. There was a rushing together 
of men, and evident excitement. Now, " difficulties" of thi* 
kind were so common at that day, whenever large numbers of 
men were gathered together, that the disturbance was little 
more than mentioned, if alluded to at all, at Jackson's end of 
the table, where sat the magnates of the race. At length, 
some one, in passing by, was heard to say, in evident allusion 
to the difficulty : 

" They'll finish Patten Anderson this time, I do expect." 

The whole truth flashed upon Jackson, and he sprang up 
like a man galvanized. How to get to the instant rescue of 
his friend ! To force a path through the crowd along the 
sides of the table would have taken time. A moment later 
and the tall General might have been seen striding toward 
the scene of danger on the top of the table, wading through 
the dishes, and causing hungry men to pause astounded, with 
morsels suspended in air. As he neared the crowd, putting 
his hand behind him into his coat pocket — an ominous move- 
ment in those days, and susceptible of but one interpretation 
— he opened his tobacco box, and shut it with a click so loud 
that it was heard by some of the bystanders. 

" I'm coming, Patten !" roared the General. 

" Don't fire," cried some of the spectators. 

Th eory of don't fire caught the ears of the hostile crowd, 
who' looked up, and saw a mad Colossus striding toward 
them, with his right hand behind him, and slaughter de- 
picted in every lineament of his countenance. They scat- 
tered instantaneously, leaving Anderson alone and un- 
harmed ! 

Poor Anderson escaped that day, but his time was at 
hand. No Tennesseean, who can remember as far back as 
1810, can have forgotten the killing of Patten Anderson, and 
the exciting trial of the murderers. I introduce it here for 
the sake of recording a single remark that General Jackson 
made in giving his testimony on that occasion ; a remark 
that has clung to the memory of my informant, a lawyer who 


attended the trial, though he has forgotten almost every 
thing else that was said and done. 

The two brothers Anderson had two enemies, a father 
and son, named Magness. The fend originated in a transac- 
tion in land ; the Magnesses, it is said, having sold to the 
Andersons a forged warrant for a valuable tract. Be that as 
it may, these four men were inflamed with hatred, two 
against two. The altercations between them were frequent 
and bitter ; until it seemed as if nothing but blood could 
appease the wrath that burned in all their hearts. They 
were all to meet at court on a certain day, when, it was 
hoped, their case would be finally adjudicated, and the mat- 
ter disposed of for ever. A foreboding of evil oppressed the 
mind of Patten Anderson as he rode to the court, and he 
said to his companion, " If I get safe through to-day, I'll 
leave the country and go to Illinois, where I can live in peace 
with my neighbors." 

Near the court house, while the people were waiting for 
the arrival of the judge, old Magness began to talk to Patten 
Anderson on the old grievance. Both became excited. Mag- 
ness said something extremely irritating. Anderson, over- 
come with passion, raised his hand (with a dirk in it, say 
some) to strike. At that moment, young Magness, who was 
sitting near, watching (Jackson thought) for that very mo- 
ment to arrive, drew a pistol from his breast and shot Ander- 
son dead. He gave himself up to the authorities, averring 
that what he had done was done to save his father from a 
deadly stroke. 

General Jackson, and the other friends of the Andersons, 
thought they saw, in this affair, a calculated, contrived as- 
sassination. The trial, which took place at Franklin, in 
Williamson county, near the center of the State, lasted two 
weeks, and was attended by a great concourse of people. 
Franklin, then a frontier village, boasted two small taverns, 
one of which was occupied by General Jackson and the An- 
derson party, the other by the adherents of the Magnesses. 
The best lawyers in the State were engaged. Felix Grundy 


was one who defended the prisoner. Thomas H. Benton, a 
young lawyer then, was engaged on the side of the prosecu- 
tion. The feelings of all parties were roused to the highest 
pitch of excitement, and the affair seemed to resolve itself, at 
last, into a contest between the partisans and the opponents 
of General Jackson. One of my informants remembers see- 
ing General Jackson, after dinner one day, haranguing the 
multitude from the piazza of the tavern with fearful vehe- 
mence, the orator being evidently a little the worse for drink. 
One of the Magness party, going by at the time, thought 
proper to indicate his opinion of something that General Jack- 
son said, by shrugging his shoulders and saying, "Pshaw !" 
Jackson paused in his speech, and looked around for the ut- 
terer of the contempt uous interjection, saying, 

" Who dares to say pshaw at me ? By ! I'll knock 

any man's head off who says pshaw at me! " 

The offender walked on, and General Jackson finished his 
after-dinner speech. 

But this was not the remark for the sole sake of which 
the Magness story was revived in these pages. In giving his 
evidence, General Jackson was asked by counsel what was the 
character of Patten Anderson for peaceableness. This was 
thought to be a home thrust at the witness, since every one 
present knew that the unfortunate Patten was a man of high 
temper, which had betrayed him, not unfrequently, into — 
" difficulties," and General Jackson could not deny it. He 
saw the game, however, in an instant, and, in an instant, 
was ready with his superb reply : — 

" Sir," said Jackson, with his most Jacksonian look, " my 
friend, Patten Anderson, was the natural enemy of scoun- 
drels !" 

Every one drew the desired inference that the natural 
enemy of scoundrels must naturally have had a good many 
difficulties with scoundrels. 

What followed this remark is not remembered. The 
prisoner was convicted of manslaughter only, and was sen- 
tenced to be branded in the hand. The verdict, I have been 


assured, was milder than it would have been, but for the ex- 
traordinary zeal displayed by the friends of the deceased to 
secure a capital conviction. This seemed to rouse a spirit of 
opposition in the minds of the jury, which is thought to 
have saved the prisoner's life. 

Mr. Benton's allusion to this trial, with some other recol- 
lections of his, as given in the Thirty Years' View, may be 
properly added here : — * 

" The first time that I saw General Jackson was at Nashville, Tennes- 
see, in 1799 — he on the bench, a judge of the then Superior Court, and I 
a youth of seventeen, back in the crowd. He was then a remarkable man, 
and had his ascendant over all who approached him, not the effect of his 
high judicial station, nor of the senatorial rank which he had held and re- 
signed ; nor of military exploits, for he had not then been to war ; but the 
effect of personal qualities, cordial and graceful manners, hospitable temper, 
elevation of mind, undaunted spirit, generosity, and perfect integrity. In 
charging the jury in the impending case, he committed a slight solecism in 
language which grated on my ear, and lodged on my memory, without 
derogating in the least from the respect which he inspired ; and without 
awakening the least suspicion that I was ever to be engaged in smoothing 
his diction. The first time I spoke to him was some years after, at a 
(then) frontier town in Tennessee, when he was returning from a south- 
ern visit, which brought him through the towns and camps of some of the 
Indian tribes. In pulling off his overcoat, I perceived on the white lining 
of the turning-down sleeve, a dark speck, which had life and motion. I 
brushed it off, and put the heel of my shoe upon it — little thinking that I 
was ever to brush away from him game of a very different kind. He 
smiled ; and we began a conversation in which he very quickly revealed a 
leading trait of his character — that of encouraging young men in their 
laudable pursuits. Getting my name and parentage, and learning my in- 
tended profession, he manifested a regard for me, said he had received hos- 
pitality at my father's house in North Carolina ; gave me kind invitations 
to visit him, and expressed a belief that I would do well at the bar — gen- 
erous words, which had the effect of promoting what they undertook to 
foretelL Soon after, he had further opportunity to show his generous 
feelings. I was employed in a criminal case of great magnitude, where 
the oldest and ablest counsel appeared — Haywood, Grundy, Whiteside — 
and the trial of which General Jackson attended through concern for the 
fate of a friend. As junior counsel I had to precede my elders, and did 

* Benton's Thirty Years' View, L, 736. 


my best ; and it being on the side of his feelings, he found my effort to be 
better than it was. He complimented me greatly, and from that time our 
intimacy began. 

" I soon after became his aid, he being a Major General in the Tennes- 
see militia — made so by a majority of one vote. How much often depends 
upon one vote ! — New Orleans, the Creek campaign, and all their conse- 
quences, date from that one vote ! — and after that, I was habitually at his 
house ; and, as an inmate, had opportunities to know his domestic life, and 
at the period when it was least understood and most misrepresented. He 
had resigned his place on the bench of the Superior Court, as he had pre- 
viously resigned his place in the Senate of the United States, and lived on 
a superb estate of some thousand acres, twelve miles from Nashville, then 
hardly known by its subsequent famous name of the Hermitage — name 
chosen for its perfect accord with his feelings ; for he had then actually 
withdrawn from the stage of public life, and from a state of feeling well 
known to belong to great talent when finding no theater for its congenial 
employment. He was a careful farmer, overlooking every thing himself, 
seeing that the fields and fences were in good order, the stock well at- 
tended, and the slaves comfortably provided for. His house was the seat 
of hospitality, the resort of friends and acquaintances, and of all strangers 
visiting the State — and the more agreeable to all from the perfect con- 
formity of Mrs. Jackson's character to his own. But he needed some ex- 
citement beyond that which a farming life can afford, and found it, for 
some years, in the animating sports of the turf. He loved fine horses — 
racers of speed and bottom — owned several, and contested the four mile 
heats with the best that could be bred, or brought to the State, and for 
large sums. That is the nearest to gaming that I ever knew him to come. 
Cards and the cock-pit have been imputed to him, but most erroneously.* 
I never saw him engaged in either. Duels were usual in that time, and 
he had his share of them, with their unpleasant concomitant^; but they 
passed away with all their animosities, and he has often been seen zeal- 
ously pressing the advancement of those against whom he had but lately 
been arrayed in deadly hostility. 

<( His temper was placable as well as irascible, and his reconciliations 
were cordial and sincere. Of that my own case was a signal instance. 
After a deadly feud, I became his confidential adviser; was offered the 
highest marks of his favor, and received from his dying bed a message of 
friendship, dictated when life was departing, and he would have to pause for 
breath. There was a deep-seated vein of piety in him, unaffectedly show- 
ing itself in his reverence for divine worship, respect for the ministers of 

* Mr. Beaton is in error here, as he often is in unimportant details. Benton 
never lived at Nashville. 


the gospel, their hospitable reception in his house, and constant encourage- 
ment of all the pious tendencies of Mrs. Jackson,* And when they both 
afterwards became members of a church, it was the natural and regular re- 
sult of their early and cherished feelings. He was gentle in his house, and 
alive to the tenderest emotions ; and of this I can give you an instance, 
greatly in contrast with his supposed character, and worth more than a long 
discourse in showing what that character really was. I arrived at his house 
one wet, chilly evening in February, and came upon him in the twilight, 
sitting alone before the fire, a lamb and a child between his knees. Ho 
started a little, called a servant to remove the two innocents to another 
room, and explained to me how it was. The child had cried because the 
lamb was out in the cold, and begged him to bring it in, which he had done 
to please the child, his adopted son, then not two years old. The ferocious 
man does not do that ! and though Jackson had his passions and his vio- 
lence, they were for men and enemies — those who stood up against him — 
and not for women and children, or the weak and helpless : for all whom 
his feelings were those of protection and support. 

" His hospitality was active as well as cordial, embracing the worthy in 
every walk of life, and seeking out deserving objects to receive it, no mat- 
ter how obscure. Of this I learned a characteristic incident, in relation to 
the son of the famous Daniel Boone. The young man had come to Nash- 
ville on his father's business, to be detained some weeks, and had his lodg- 
ings at a small tavern towards the lower part of the town. General Jackson 
heard of it; sought him out; found him ; took him home to remain as long 
as his business detained him in the country, saying, ' Tour father's dog 
should not stay in a tavern where I have a house.' This was heart ! and I 
had it from the young man himself long after, when he was a State senator 
of the General Assembly of Missouri, and, as such, nominated me for the 
United States Senate at my first election in 1820; an act of hereditary 
friendship, as our fathers had been early friends. 

" Abhorrence of debt, public and private, dislike of banks, and love of hard 
money, love of justice and love of country, were ruling passions with Jack- 
son ; and of these he gave constant evidence in all the situations of his life. 
Of private debts, he contracted none of his own, and made any sacrifices to 
get out of those incurred for others. Of this he gave a signal instance, not 
long before the war of 1812, selling the improved part of his estate, with 
the best buildings of the country upon it, to pay a debt ... He was 
attached to his friends and to his country, and never believed any report to 
the discredit of either, until compelled by proof. He would not believe in the 
first reports of the surrender of General Hull, and became sad and oppressed 
when forced to believe it He never gave up a friend in a doubtful case, or 

* All this belongs to a later period. 


from policy or calculation, lie was a firm believer in the goodness of a 
superintending Providence, and in the eventual right judgment and justice 
of the people. I have seen him at the most desperate part of his fortunes, 
and never saw him waver in the belief that all would come right in the 
end. In the time of Cromwell, he would have been a Puritan. 

" The character of his mind was that of judgment, with a rapid and 
almost intuitive perception, followed by an instant and decisive action. 
It was that which made him a General and a President for the time in 
which he served. He had vigorous thoughts, but not the faculty of arrang- 
ing them in a regular composition, either written or spoken; and in formal 
papers he usually gave his draft to an aid, a friend, or a secretary, to be 
written over — often to the loss of vigor. But the thoughts were his own, 
vigorously expressed; and without effort, writing with a rapid pen, and 
never blotting or altering ; but, as Carlyle says of Cromwell, hitting the nail 
upon the head as he went. I have a great deal of his writing now, some on 
public affairs, and covering sheets of paper, and no erasures or interlineations 
anywhere. His conversation was like his writing — a vigorous flowing cur- 
rent, apparently without the trouble of thinking, and always impressive. 
His conclusions were rapid and immovable, when he was under strong con- 
victions, though often yielding on minor points to his friends. And no man 
yielded quicker when he was convinced ; perfectly illustrating the difference 
between firmness and obstinacy 

"He had a load to carry all his life, resulting from a temper which 
refused compromises and bargainings, and went for a clean victory or a 
clean defeat in every case. Hence, every step he took was a contest, and, 
it may be added, every contest was a victory 

" There was an innate, unvarying, self-acting delicacy in his intercourse 
with the female sex, including all womankind ; and on that point, my per- 
sonal observation (and my opportunities for observation were both large 
and various) enables me to join in the declaration of the belief expressed by 
his earliest friend and most intimate associate, the late Judge Overton, of 
Tennessee. The Roman general won an immortality by one act of conti- 
nence. What praise is due to Jackson, whose whole life was continent? 
I repeat, if he had been born in the time of Cromwell, he would have been 
a Puritan. Nothing could exceed his kindness and affection to Mrs. Jack- 
son, always increasing in proportion as liis elevation and culminating for- 
tunes drew cruel attacks upon her. I knew her well, and that a more 
exemplary woman in all the relations of life, wife, friend, neighbor, relation . 
mistress of slaves, never lived, and never presented a more quiet, cheerful, 
and admirable management of her household. She had not education, but 
she had a heart, and a good one ; and that was always leading her to do 
kind things in the kindest manner. She had the General's own warm heart, 
frank manners and hospitable temper; and no two persons could have been 


bettor suited to each other, lived more happily together, or made a house 
more attractive to visitors. She had the faculty — a rare one — of retaining 
names and titles in a throng of visitors, addressing each one appropriately, 
and dispensing hospitality to all with a cordiality which enhanced its value. 
No bashful youth or plain old man, whose modesty sat them down at the 
lower end of the table, could escape her cordial attention, any more than 
the titled gentlemen at her right and left Young persons were her delight, 
and she always had her house filled with them — clever young women and 
clever young men — all calling her affectionately * Aunt Rachel.' I was 
young then, and was one of that number. I owe it to early recollections 
and to cherished convictions — in this last notice of the Hermitage — to bear 
this faithful testimony to the memory of its long mistress, the loved and 
honored wife of a great man. Her greatest eulogy is in the affection which 
he bore her living, and in the sorrow with which he mourned her dead." 



Silas Dinsmore was agent to the Choctaw Indians. The 
Indian Agents were persons of importance in the early day. 
Appointed by the general government, they represented in 
the Indian country the power and authority of the United 
States. They paid over to the chiefs the annuity of the tribe, 
and held them to the performance of the duties of which that 
annuity was the recompense. It was the agent who strove 
to protect the Indians from the encroachments of the settlers, 
and the settlers from the thieving visits of the Indians ; who 
compelled the chiefs to deliver up offending Indians, and 
complained of white men who had done the Indians wrong. 
It was theirs, in short, to see that the inevitable process by 
which the Indian country was to change owners went on with 
as little as possible of violence, anguish, and terror. 

Clothed with an authority derived from the government 
of the United States, whose flag floated from the stafl' before 
their houses, the medium of the government's benefactions, 
vol. i. — 23 


and themselves liberally salaried, these agents sometimes 
acquired over the Indians an almost regal influence ; which 
they sometimes used for the noblest purposes. Many of the 
agents appointed by the early Presidents were not politicians, 
but men of sense and feeling, who taught the Indians some 
of the arts of civilization, while their wives showed the 
squaws how to sew, spin, knit, weave, and make bread. The 
civilization of the Cherokees began with the labors of the 
men whom President Washington sent to live among them 
in the character of agents ; good men, who united in them- 
selves the best qualities of the magistrate and the missionary. 

To their other duties was afterwards added that of pre- 
venting runaway negroes from taking refuge in the Indian 
country. The settlements were then few and far between. 
Between Nashville and the Mississippi river, between Nash- 
ville and the Gulf of Mexico, the wilderness was almost un- 
broken. That line region swarmed with Indians ; for, as 
before remarked, the country best for the white man is best 
for the Indian also. 

It was in the discharge of that part of his duty which l'e- 
lated to the protection of the interests of slave-owners that 
Silas Dinsmore gave mortal offense to some of the good people 
of Nashville, and to General Jackson. At first, it seems, 
Dinsmore was complained of for not being rigid enough in the 
enforcement of the laws. Accordingly, in the month of 
April, 1811, he caused a board to be erected on the road in 
front of his agency buildings, bearing the following inscrip- 
tion : — 


"Whereas complaints are made that runaway negroes effect their 
escape through the Indian countries, under the protection of pretended 
masters, I hereby give notice that I shall arrest and detain every negro 
found traveling in the Choctaw country whose master has not a passport 
as the law requires, and also evidence of property in such negro. 

44 Silas Dinsmore." 

* Dinsmore's salary was eighteen hundrod dollars; equal to three thousand 


He carried out this notice to the letter, stopping every 
negro whose master had not with him the requisite papere. 
This it was which gave such extreme offence. Complaints 
were accordingly forwarded to the Secretary-of-War, who 
wrote, October 15th, 1811, to Mr. Dinsmore, telling him that 
he was carrying his authority a little too far. " Complaints," 
said the Secretary (W. Eustis), "having been repeatedly 
made to this Department, from respectable sources, of the 
practice of arresting the servants of gentlemen traveling 
through the Choctaw country without passports, in future 
you will suffer the servants of persons of known respecta- 
bility of character, and where no design of fraud is appre- 
hended, to pass unmolested when acoompanying their masters, 
and you will deliver over to their masters those servants who 
have been detained for want of the requisite passports, except 
in cases where a fraudulent intention is evident/' 

This order, besides rebuking the zealous agent, threw upon 
him the responsibility of deciding, from the appearance of a 
traveler, whether he was or was not the lawful owner of the 
negroes accompanying him. Mr. Silas Dinsmore gently re- 
monstrated. " The crowd of Indians," he wrote, November 
13th, "assembled to receive their annuity, prevented me 
from answering your letter of October 15th by the return 
mail. Complaints have been made to me, as well as to your 
department, against my conduct in arresting gentlemen's 
servants. On reference to my record I find that, since the 
24th of April last, two hundred and twelve people of color 
have passed this place, only twenty-five of whom were with- 
out passports and arrested. The masters of these latter cen- 
sure, and those of the former approve my conduct. I have 
also received the thanks of every man of property in the Mis- 
sissippi Territory with whom I have conversed for the secur- 
ity my vigilance has given to their property by intercepting 
fugitive slaves, and rendering their escape, through the wil- 
derness, almost an impossibility. And while the law requires 
every person coming into this country to be provided with a 
passport, a complaint from a person violating this law, and 


to the executive part of the government, too, which is bound 
to enforce the law, would seem to come with a very ill grace. 
. . . Should you still determine that the law and former 
instructions shall in any manner be suspended, I beg that 
your orders may be general, and not impose on me the un- 
pleasant task of discriminating between the exterior appear- 
ance and the reality of a gentleman. At the moment your 
letter arrived, a negro was brought (arrested by my order) 
eighty- three miles distant. He was in the possession of Jes- 
sie McGarey, son of Colonel Hugh McGarey, of Kentucky, a 
young man of decent deportment. He, however, made his 
escape, and the negro proved to be the property of Mr. 
Barnes, a planter of the Mississippi Territory." 

A few weeks later, December 6th, he wrote to the Secre- 
tary again, and more urgently, on the subject. " By the last 
mail," he wrote, " I received letters stating, with urgent 
importunity, that four negroes had absconded, and probably 
put themselves under the protection of fictitious masters, and 
soliciting the utmost of my vigilance to intercept them. How 
can I do it consistent with your last letter ? The evil is 
great and growing, and would seem to demand the aid of 
government to check it by lawful means." 

Before the month closed he wrote a third time, enclosing 
a resolution, passed by the Legislature of the Mississippi Ter- 
ritory, approving the act of Congress under which he had 

* Resolution of the Legislative Council of Mississippi, December 18th, 1811 : — 
li Resolved, By the Legislative Council and TIouso of Representatives of the 
Mississippi Territory in General Assembly convened, that the operation of the 
third section of an act of Congress regulating trade and intercourse with the 
Indian tribes, and to preserve peace on the frontiers, has been productive of many 
beneficial consequences to the citizens of this Territory, preserving to the proper 
owners a great deal of valuable property which would otherwise havo been irre- 
vocably lost 

" Cowles Mead, Speaker of the House of Representatives. 
"Alexander Montgomery, President of tho Legislative Council. 
"Approved, December 18th, 1811. 

11 Henry Daingerfibld, Secretary of the Mississippi Territory, exe- 
cuting the powers and performing the duties of the Governor 
of said Territory in his absence." 


acted, which required that all persons going through the 
Indian country should be provided with a passport. "A 
full conviction," added Mr. Dinsmore, " of the necessity of 
executing the law of the United States, has induced me to 
continue to exact passports of all negroes until I shall receive 
positive orders to the contrary. The comparative few who 
have been stopped, and who complain, bear so small a pro- 
portion to the number who approve the law, that I should 
feel myself delinquent in neglecting to execute it as hereto- 
fore, and the resolution of the Legislature was intended to 
show or express the general impression of approbation on my 
conduct. I hope you will view the subject as I do, and at 
least pardon, if not approve, my zeal, as I verily believe noth- 
ing less will secure the property of this country." 

The replies of the Secretary of War to these letters still 
threw the responsibility upon the poor agent. " The inten- 
tion," wrote Mr. Eustis, " of the letter from this Department 
of the 15th of October last, was to invest in you a discretion 
to act in cases where, from your knowledge of the persons, 
no evil could result from a relaxation of your instructions, 
and a real grievance would ensue from a strict execution of 
them. Such a discretion was all that was contemplated, and 
all that is intended you should exercise." 

And, again, a few weeks later : — " The laws regulating 
trade and intercourse with Indians provide against all tres- 
passes and encroachments on the Indian territory, but are not 
construed to authorize the stopping of any person traveling 
through the country in a peaceable manner on the public road 
or highway ; you will, therefore, refrain from the exercise of 
any such authority hereafter." 

The affair might have rested here, if General Jackson had 
not taken it up. It chanced that he had occasion, about this 
time, to pass by the agency-house of Mr. Dinsmore with a 
considerable number of negroes, the property of a firm of 
which he was an inactive partner. Upon the dissolution of 

* All from Niles' Register, voL xxxir. 


this firm (Jackson, Coleman and Green), the junior partner 
(a relative of Mrs. Jackson's, for whose benefit the General 
had embarked some capital and more credit in the business) 
was deputed to take a number of negroes to the lower coun- 
try for sale. From the proceeds of this sale, the capital ad- 
vanced by General Jackson was to be returned to him. Some 
time after the departure of the young man with the negroes, 
word was brought to Nashville that he was mismanaging and 
abusing his trust ; that he had sold some of the negroes to 
little advantage, and was squandering the money at the 
gaming table. Jackson mounted his horse, rode to Natchez, 
and marched back the negroes toward Nashville. On ap- 
proaching the Choctaw agency, he armed two of his negroes 
and procured a rifle for himself, being resolved to settle this 
passport question in a practical manner. Having reached 
the agency without opposition, he ordered his negroes to go 
to the banks of a creek near by and take their breakfast, 
while he went in quest of the agent. Dinsmore was absent 
from home. General Jackson, therefore, could only leave a 
message for him at the agency, to the effect that he, Andrew 
Jackson, had been there — should have been glad to see Mr. 
Dinsmore — could not wait, however — was going on home- 
ward, with his negroes ; intimating that the Choctaw agent 
might make what he could of it. Jackson completed his 
journey without molestation, and made no secret, on his ar- 
rival at Nashville, of the manner in which he had defied the 
power of the too zealous Dinsmore. 

* I notice, since this cliapter was prepared, that a different account of Gen- 
eral Jackson's proceedings at the agency is in print I append, therefore, one 
of the authorities for the above statement Tho following is part of a letter 
written by Mr. R. Weakly, of Nashville, June 14th, 1828:— " I heard General 
Jackson say, .... that on tho morning ho was to pass the agency he 
armed two of his most resolute negro men, and put them in front of his negroes, 
and gave them orders to fight their way, if necessary. He further observed, 
that a friend had put into his hands the night before, or on that morning, a good 
rifle; that when he came opposite tho agency, he directed his negroes to go to 
a branch, and eat their breakfast ; that he rode up to tho agency, where he saw 
doveral Indian countrymen ; inquired of them for Mr. Dinsmore who informed 

1812.] jackson's war with dinshobe. 355 

Jackson now bestirred himself to procure the removal of 
the agent from his office ; and the agent, hearing of it, con- 
tinued to send to Washington proof upon proof of the neces- 
sity of insisting upon passports in every instance. In one of 
his dispatches to the Secretary of War, he enclosed a letter 
from a friend in Nashville, " which exhibits," wrote Dins- 
more, " a specimen of the zeal, if not the discretion of Gen- 
eral Jackson and others." Mr. C. Stump, a linseed trader in 
the Choctaw country, was the friend who wrote the letter 
referred to, of which the following is the material part : — 

" I conceive it my duty, from the friendship I owe you, to inform you 
of what is going on here to injure your standing as an agent and as a man 
of honor. It is currently stated here, by some particular persons, that you 
are, in the first place, acting in violation of the^ Jaws of your country ; 
second, that in stopping of negroes, you have ^acted impartially ; you have 
taken bonds of some, and let others pass unmolested. Also, they charge 
you with intoxication, insomuch that it renders you incapable of doing your 
duty, with general other charges not recollected by me. The Jacksons are 
collecting all the certificates in their power ; and I have been informed that 
your friend T. B.'s certificate will also be had. I have been informed that 
they have taken John Jones' certificate, John Donally's, Thomas Clay- 
bourne's, Joseph Erwin'8 and many others not now recollected. All which 
certificates they are taking, as I have been informed, for the purpose of 
sending to the Secretary of War, for the purpose to have you removed 
from office. 

u I heard our great General A. J. swear in a public company, that if 
you didn't desist in stopping of people's negroes, he would be damned if 
he did not burn you and your agency too. This I heard this hero repeat 
frequently ; and requested me as being your friend, to inform you what he 
said. However, I did not wish to be writing on such a subject, for fear of 
being dragged into the contest ; however, my feelings are such as com- 
pelled me to give you the information. I hope you will not make use of 
my name, unless necessity requires it; you know what a violent man A. 
J. is, of course. I hope you will waive any information I give you, and in 

him Mr. Dinsmore was not there, or from homo. He told them to tell Mr. Dins- 
more ho should havo been glad to have seen him, but he could not wait ; that 
he was going on homo with his negroes. A fellow named John Amp, whom I 
raised, was one of the negroes armed and put in front, as the General then 


being the author, unless it should be requested in positive terms ; your 
author then I stand at command. James Jackson is the person who is col- 
lecting said certificates, and swearing to have you removed if in the power 
of him. Impression has been made on the minds of the citizens of Nash- 
ville very unfavorable respecting of you, which I have contradicted in 
every instance, which has, in several instances, terminated in a severe 

Mr. Dinsinore, at length, put a climax to his previous 
enormities, by stopping a lady who was traveling through the 
Choctaw country with a train of ten negroes, for none of 
whom had she passports or proof of ownership ; and not only 
did he detain her negroes, but he published a card in a news- 
paper informing the public that he had done so, and should 
continue to act in a similar manner in all similar cases. 
This was too much for General Jackson to endure in silenca 
To his old friend, George W. Campbell, at Washington, he 
poured out his feelings in an epistolary torrent, foaming and 

" The ITonorable George W. Campbell, Esq., Sir : — You will receive 
herewith enclosed the certificate of John Gordon and Major Thomas G. 
Bradford, editor of the Clarion, on the subject of the card bearing date 
September 11, 1812, published in the Clarion on the 26th of September, 
1812, from Silas Dinsmore, United States agent to the Chocktaw nation, 
in the proper handwriting of the said Silas Dinsmore. You will also re- 
ceive enclosed the paper of the 26th September, containing the card of Mr. 
Dinsmore, which I beg you to lay before the Secretary of War as soon as 
this reaches you, and I beg you to communicate without delay his deter- 
mination as it respects the removal of Mr. Dinsmore. 

" When I received your letter of the 10th of April last, enclosing me 
an extract of the Secretary of War's letter to Silas Dinsmore, agent to the 
Chocktaw nation, I, nor the citizens of West Tennessee, hesitated not to 
believe that Silas Dinsmore would cease to exercise over our citizens such 
lawless tyranny as he had been in the habit of; and that our peaceful and 
honest citizens would be left to enjoy the free and unmolested use of that 
road as secured to them by treaty. You can easily judge, and so can the 
Secretary of War, our surprise and indignation at the wanton insult olTered 
to the whole citizens of West Tennessee by the publication of his card in 
the Clarion, in which he boasts tliat he has set at defiance the solemn treaty 
that secures to our citizens and those of the United States the free and 
unmolested use of that road, as well as the express instructions of the Sec- 


retary of War of the 23d of March last, and boasts his detention of a de- 
fenseless woman, and her property — and for what? The want of a pass- 
port ! And, my God 1 is it come to this ? Are we freemen, or are we 
slaves t Is this real ) or is it a dream f For what are-involved in a war 
with Great Britain ? Is it not for the support of our rights as an independ- 
ent people, and a nation, secured to us by nature's God, as well as solemn 
treaties, and the law of nations ? And can the Secretary of War, for one 
moment, retain the idea that we will permit this petty tyrant to sport with 
our rights, secured to us by treaty, and which by the law of nature we do 
possess, and sport with our feelings by publishing his lawless tyranny exer- 
cised over a helpless and unprotected female t If he does, he thinks too 
meanly of our patriotism and gallantry. 

" Were we base enough to surrender our independent rights secured to 
us by the bravery and blood of our forefathers, we are unworthy the name 
of freemen. And we view all rights secured to us by solemn treaty, under 
the constituted authority, rights secured to us by the blood of our fathers, 
and which we will never yield but with our lives. The indignation of our 
citizens is only restrained by assurances that government, so soon as they 
are notified of this unwarrantable insult, added to the many injuries that 
Silas Dinsmore has heaped upon our honest and unoffending citizens, that 
he will be removed. Should we be deceived in this, he frank with the Sec- 
retary of War, that we are freemen, and that we will support the supremacy 
of the laws, and that the wrath and indignation of our citizens will sweep 
from the earth the invader of our legal rights and involve Silas Dinsmore 
in the flames of his agency-house. We love order, and nothing but the 
support of our legal and inalienable rights would or could prompt us to an 
act that could be construed as wearing the appearance of rashness. But 
should not the source of the evil be removed, our rights secured by treaty 
restored to our citizens, the agent and his houses will be demolished ; and 
when government is applied to, and so often notified of the injuries heaped 
upon our citizens, and they will adhere to the agent who delights in tread- 
ing under foot the rights of the citizens, and exults in their distresses, the 
evil be upon the government, not upon the people who have so often com- 
plained without redress. We really hope that the evil will be cut off by the 
root, by the removal of the agent. Should this not be done, we will have 
a right fairly to conclude that the administration winks at the agent's con- 
duct under the rose, notwithstanding the instructions of the Secretary in his 
letter to Mr. Dinsmore of the 23d of March. 

" The right of nature occurs; and if redress is not afforded, I would de- 
spise the wretch that slumbers in quiet one night before he cuts up by the 
roots the invader of his solemn rights, regardless of consequences. Let 
not the Secretary of War believe that we want more than justice; but both 
from Indians and Indian agents we will enjoy the rights secured to us by 



solemn treaty, or we will die nobly in their support We want but a bare 
fulfillment of the treaty. We neither understand the tyranny of the agent 
in open violation of our rights secured to us by treaty, or the Creek law, 
that takes from the United States the right guarantied by treaty that the 
Indians who commit murders on our citizens shall be delivered up when 
demanded, to be tried by the laws of the United States and punished. 
The Creek law says the Creeks will punish them themselves. 

" These innovations, without the consent of the constituted power being 
first had, our citizens do not understand ; the information of Colonel Haw- 
kins, United States agent for the Creeks, and the information of General 
James Robertson, agent of the Chickasaw Nation, to the contrary notwith- 
standing. Neither can we, the citizens of Tennessee, believe, without 
better proof, that the hair of the head of one of the murderers of the 
Manly's family and Crawleys, at the mouth of Duck river, are disturbed by 
the Creeks, when we have proof that they lately passed near to Kaskaskia, 
fifteen in number, to join the Prophet. In this particular, we want and 
do expect the murderers delivered up agreeably to treaty. This is only 
justice; this we ask of government; this we are entitled to ; and this we 
must (sooner or later) and will have. This may be thought strong lan- 
guage ; but it is the language that freemen when they are only claiming a 
fulfillment of their rights ought to use. It is a language they ought to be 
taught to lisp from their cradles, and never when they are claiming rights 
of any nation ever to abandon. 

" Pardon the trouble I have given you in this long letter. It relates to 
the two subjects that have for some time irritated the public mind, and are 
now ready to burst forth in vengeance. 

." I am, dear sir, with due regard, 

" Your most obedient servant^ 

"September, 1812. Andrew Jackson." 

Affairs of great pith and moment soon called the atten- 
tion of all parties away from this matter ; and the public 
heard no more of Silas Dinsmore. He was not, as has been 
alleged, dismissed by the government for his enforcement of 
the law of 1802. His case was disposed of in a quieter, po- 
liter, and meaner way. In 1813 he was summoned to Wash- 
ington to explain certain items of his expenditure which the 
Secretary of War thought too large. He obeyed the sum- 
mons ; but, on reaching Washington, found that the Secre- 
tary had gone to the North to superintend in person the 
development of the campaign in that quarter. He went in 


pursuit. In the course of his search for the flitting official, 
he found himself at Lake* Erie, on the eve of Commodore 
Perry's battle. He volunteered, and fought on board of one 
of the victorious ships. During his absence, however, oc- 
curred that prodigious upheaving of the south-western tribes 
which we shall soon have to recount. In haste and terror 
the authorities of Tennessee took the responsibility of ap- 
pointing another man to fill the agency and keep the Choc- 
taws from joining the dread confederation. This agent per- 
formed his office well, and held the Choctaws to their 
allegiance. On the restoration of peace, Jackson being then 
a name of power in the land, it was found convenient to re- 
tain the new agent in office, and shelve Colonel Dinsmore ; 
who was thus reduced to poverty, and made a wanderer in 
the regions where he had formerly borne sway. He met 
Jitckson eight years later, and made an advance toward 
reconciliation ; but the General glared upon him with the 
wrath of 1812 in his eyes. 

This quarrel, we may remark, was an illustration of the 
old truth, that When honest men differ, both are in 
the right ; each founding his opinion upon truth and fact, 
though not upon the tvhole truth and all the facts. 

Nothing can be more explicit than the language of the 
Act of Congress, (approved March 30th, 1802,) under which 
Mr. Dinsmore acted. The third section ordains, " That if 
any person shall go into any country, which is alloted or se- 
cured by treaty, as aforesaid, to any of the Indian tribes 
6outh of the river Ohio, without a passport first had and 
obtained from the Governor of some one of the United States, 
or the officer of the troops of the United States commanding 
at the nearest post on the frontiers, or such other person as 

* These facts I have from an acquaintance of Colonel Dinsmore'a, who re- 
sided, and resides, near the scene of the events related. He witnessed the ren- 
contre between the two, which is alludod to in the text, and which may be 
moro fully related by and by. I presume there is no harm in saying that my 
informant is Colonel B. L. C. Wailes, President of the Mississippi Historical 


the President of the United States may, from time to time, 
authorize to grant the same, shall forfeit a sum not exceeding 
fifty dollars, or be imprisoned not exceeding three months." 

On the other hand, General Jackson could point to the 
treaty concluded between the United States and the Choc- 
taws, (signed December 17th, 1801,) which provided that a 
wagon road should be opened through the Choctaw country 
to the Mississippi river ; " and the same," said the treaty, 
" shall be, and continue for ever, a highway for the citizens 
of the United States and the Choctaws." 



At the beginning of the war of 1812, there was not a 
militia general in the western country less likely to receive a 
commission from the general government than Andrew Jack- 
son. There were unpleasant traditions and recollections con- 
nected with his name in Mr. Madison's cabinet, as we know. 
He had shown himself to be a man whose nature it was to 
style a " venerable" Secretary of War and revolutionary 
patriot, who showed less energy than he thought the occa- 
sion required, " an old granny ;" a trait of character not 
pleasing to the official mind. The Dinsmore affair could not 
have given Secretary Eustis the impression that he was an 
easy man to get along with. Mr. Madison, too, had not for- 
' gotten how General Jackson had mounted the stump in 
Richmond, and denounced the last administration, of which 
himself was premier, for its " persecution" of Aaron Burr. 
Still less could he have forgotten that when it was still an 
open question who should succeed Mr. Jefferson, General 
Jackson had given his voice for James Monroe, instead of 
James Madison. 


There were those, however, who were strongly convinced 
that General Jackson was the very man, of all who lived in 
the valley of the Mississippi, to be entrusted with its defense. 
Aaron Burr thought so for one. He had just returned to 
New York, after his four years' exile, when the war broke 
out. " There was in Congress with me," says Mr. C. J. 
Ingersoll, " a member from New York, (Dr. John Sage, of 
Long Island,) who said that on his way home, after voting 
for the declaration of war in the Twelfth Congress, he met 
that extraordinary man, Aaron Burr, in the city of New 
York, who conversed freely with him on the subject, par- 
ticularly respecting the gentlemen appointed generals in the 
army ; not one of whom, Burr said, would answer public 
expectation. Dr. Sage told him that the President thought 
it best, and in fact indispensable, to select those with some 
military character from service in the Eevolution. I know, 
said Colonel Burr, that my word is not worth much with 
Madison ; but you may tell him from me that there is an 
unknown man in the West, named Andrew Jackson, who 
will do credit to a commission in the army if conferred on 
him. This remarkable prediction of what was soon verified, 
and proof of Burr's knowledge of the then obscure individual 
he recommended to notice, occurred before General Jackson 
had, probably, ever heard a volley of musket balls, or per- 
formed any part to indicate his future military distinction." 

Burr uttered this opinion to all his friends at the time. 
He gave it strong expression at the house of Mr. Martin Van 
Buren, a rising man at Albany, who had then scarcely heard 
the name of Andrew Jackson, and was himself little known 
beyond his own State. " I'll tell you why they don't em- 
ploy Jackson," said Burr ; " it's because he is a friend of 

The late Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, claims the merit 
of having suggested the tactics which resulted in General 
Jackson's being called to the field. In the House of Repre- 

* General Jackson's Fine. By Charles J. IngereolL Page 28. 


sentatives, on the presentation of General Jackson's sword to 
Congress in 1855, Mr. Benton said : — 

" When a warrior or a statesman is seen in the midst of his career, and 
in the fullness of his glory, showing himself to be in his natural place, peo- 
ple overlook his previous steps, and suppose he had been called by a gen- 
eral voice — by wise counsels — to the fulfillment of a natural destiny. In a 
few instances it is so ; in the greater part not In the greater part there 
is a toilsome uncertainty, discouraging and mortifying progress to be gone 
through before the future resplendent man is able to get on the theater 
which is to give him the use of his talent. So it was with Jackson. He 
had his difficulties to surmount, and surmounted them. He conquered 
savage tribes and the conquerors of the conquerors of Europe ; but he had 
to conquer his own government first — and did it — and that was for him 
the most difficult of the two ; for, while his military victories were the reg- 
ular result of a genius for war and brave troops to execute his plans — en- 
abling him to command success — his civil victory over his own government 
was the result of chances and accidents, and the contrivances of others, iu 
which he could have but little hand, and no control. I proceed to give 
some view of this inside and preliminary history, and have some qualifica- 
tion for the task, having taken some part, though not great, in all that I 

11 Retired from the United States Senate, of which he had been a mem- 
ber, and from the supreme judicial bench of his State, on which he had sat 
as judge, this future warrior and President — and alike illustrious in both 
characters — was living upon his farm, on the banks of the Cumberland, 
when the war of 1812 broke out ne was a Major General in the Ten- 
nessee militia — the only place he would continue to hold, and to which he 
had been elected by the contingency of one ve\e — so close was the chance 
for a miss in this first step. His friends believed that he had military genius, 
* and proposed him for the brigadier's appointment which was alloted to the 
West That appointment was given to another, and Jackson remained 
unnoticed on his farm. Soon another appointment of general was alloted 
to the West Jackson was proposed again, and was again left to attend to 
his farm. Then a batch of generals, as they were called t was authorized by 
law — six at a time — and from all parts of the Union ; and then his friends 
believed that surely his time had come. Not so the fact The six appoint- 
ments went elsewhere, and the hero patriot, who was born to lead armies 
to victory, was still left to the care of his fields, while incompetent men 
were leading our troops to defeat, to captivity, to slaughter ; for that is the 
way the war opened. The door to military service seemed to be closed 
and barred against him ; and was so, so far as the government was con- 


" It may be wondered why this repugnance to the appointment of 
Jackson, who, though not yet greatly distinguished, was still a man of mark 
— had been a Senator and a supreme judge, and was still a Major General, 
and a man of tried and heroic courage. I can tell the reason. He had a 
great many home enemies, for he was a man of decided temper, had a great 
many contests, no compromises, always went for a clean victory or a clean 
defeat ; though placable after the contest was over. That was one reason, 
but not the main one. The administration had a prejudice against him on 
account of Colonel Burr, with whom he had been associated in the American 
Senate, and to whom he gave a hospitable reception in his house at the 
time of his western expedition, relying upon his assurance that his designs 
were against the Spanish dominion in Mexico, and not against the integrity 
of this Union. These were some of the causes, not all. of Jackson's rejec- 
tion from federal military employment 

" I was young then, and one of his aids, and believed in his military 
talents and patriotism, greatly attached to him, and was grieved and vexed 
to see him passed by when so much incompetence was preferred. Besides, 
I was to go with him, and his appointment would be partly my own. I 
was vexed, as were all his friends, but I did not despair as most of them 
did. I turned from the government to ourselves — to our own resources, 
and looked for the chapter of accidents to turn up a chance for incidental 
employment, confident that he could do the rest for himself, if he could only 
get a start. I was in this mood in my office, a young lawyer with more 
books than briefs, when the tardy mail of that time, * one raw and gusty 
day' in February, 1812, brought an act of Congress authorizing the Presi- 
dent to accept organized bodies of volunteers to the extent of filly thou- 
sand — to serve for one year, and to be called into service when some emer- 
gency should require it. 

(< Here was a chance. I knew that Jackson could raise a general's 
command, and trusted to events for him to be called out, and felt that one 
year was more than enough for him to prove himself. I drew up a plan, 
rode tliirty miles to his house that same raw day in February — rain, hail, 
sleet, wind — and such roads as we then had there in winter — deep in rich 
mud and mixed with ice. I arrived at the Hermitage — a name then but 
little known — at nightfall, and found him solitary, and almost alone, but 
not quite ; for it was the evening mentioned in the * Thirty Years' View/ 
when I found him with the lamb and the child between his knees. I laid 
the plan before him. He was struck with it, adopted it, acted upon it. 
We began to raise volunteer companies. 

" While this was going on, an order arrived from the War Department 
to the Governor (Willie Blount) to detach fifteen hundred militia to the 
Lower Mississippi, the object to meet the British, then expected to make 
an attempt on New Orleans. The Governor was a friend to Jackson and 


to his country. Ho agreed to accept his three thousand volunteers instead 
of the fifteen hundred drafted militia. He issued an address to his divis- 
ion. I galloped to the muster-grounds and harangued the young men. 
The success was ample. Three regiments were completed — Coffee, Wil- 
liam Hall, Benton, the colonels." 

A striking story ; made such by grouping particulars 
which do not belong together. That Mr. Benton made 
the suggestion with regard to raising a general's command 
of volunteers, we are bound to believe ; that he was active 
in the execution of the scheme is well known ; that the 
administration were not well affected towards General Jack- 
son at the beginning of the war, is not to be denied. Other 
parts "of Mr. Benton's fluent narrative will not bear the 
test of a comparison with dates and documents ; which is not 
to be wondered at, when we consider that the orator was 
speaking of events that occurred thirty-three years before. 
Neither in Mr. Benton's Abridgment of the Congressional 
proceedings, nor anywhere else, can I find record or trace of 
such a profuse creation of generals be/ore the declaration of 
war in June, 1812. 

So far as I can discover, it was General Jackson's charac- 
teristic promptitude in tendering his services, and the services 
of his division, and that alone, which softened the repug- 
nance of the President and his cabinet. Whatever may have 
been the feelings of the administration toward him, its con- 
duct was just and courteous. It accepted him as promptly 
as he offered himself; employed him the moment there was 
any thing for him to do ; promoted him as soon as he had 
given fair evidence of capacity ; bestowed upon each of his 
achievements its due of applause. It could have done more, 
but it was not bound to do more. It could have given him a 
commission at the commencement of hostilities. But what 
had General Jackson done to deserve or invite a distinction 
so marked ? Besides, is it not the fate of all nations (ex- 
cept the French) to lose the first campaign of every war, 
lose a fine army or two, squander some millions of money, 
throw away some thousands of lives, tarnish the old honors 




and lessen the ancient prestige, all for the sake of sparing the 
feelings of certain generals, who have proved their unfitness 
to command to-day by having distinguished themselves in 
a war of twenty years ago ? Every war develops its own 

Observe these dates : — The war was declared on the 12th 
of June. Such news is not carried, but flies ; and so may 
have reached Nashville by the 20th. On the 25th, General 
Jackson offered to the President, through Governor Blount, 
his own services and those of twenty-five hundred volunteers 
of his division ; the volunteers, doubtless, to which Colonel 
Benton refers. A response to the declaration of war so 
timely and practical, could not but have been extremely 
gratifying to an administration (never too confident in itself) 
that was then entering upon a contest to which a powerful 
minority was opposed ; and with a presidential election only 
four months distant. The reply of the Secretary of War, 
dated July 11th, was as cordial as a communication of the 
kind could be. The President, he said, had received the ten- 
der of service by General Jackson and the volunteers under 
his command " with peculiar satisfaction." " In accepting 
their services," added the Secretary, " the President can not 
withhold an expression of his admiration of the zeal and 
ardor by which they are animated." Governor Blount was 
evidently more than satisfied with the result of the offer ; he 
publicly thanked General Jackson and the volunteers for the 
honor they had done the State of Tennessee by making it. 

Thus, we find General Jackson's services accepted by the 
President before hostilities could have seriously begun. The 
summer passed, however, and the autumn came, and still he 
was at home upon his farm, waging war only with unhappy 
Silas Dinsmore. 

After Hull's failure in Canada, fears were entertained that 
the British would direct their released forces against the ports 
of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly New Orleans, where Gen- 
eral James Wilkinson still commanded. October 21st, the 

Governor of Tennessee was requested to dispatch fifteen hun- 
vol. i. — 24 


dred of the Tennessee troops to the reinforcement of General 
Wilkinson. November 1st, Governor Blount issued the requi- 
site orders to General Jackson, who entered at once upon the 
task of preparing for the descent of the river with his volun- 

The following is the address issued by the General, the 
joint production of himself and his aid-de-camp, Benton : — 

" In publishing the letter of Governor Blount, the Major General makes 
known to the valiant volunteers who have tendered their services every 
thing which is necessary for them at this time to know. In requesting the 
officers of the respective companies to meet in Nashville, on the 21st inst., 
the Governor expects to have the benefit of their advice iu recommending 
the field officers, who are to be selected from among the officers who have 
already volunteered ; also to fix upon the time when the expedition shall 
move, to deliver the definite instructions, and to commission the officers in 
the name of the President of the United States. Companies which do not 
contain sixty-six rank and file are required to complete their complement 
to that number. A second lieutenant should be added where the company 
contains but one. 

" The Major General has now arrived at a crisis when he can address 
the volunteers with the feelings of a soldier. The State to which he 
belongs is now to act a part in the honorable contest of securing the rights 
and liberties of a great and rising republic. In placing before the volun- 
teers the illustrious actions of their fathers in the war of the Revolution, he 
presumes to hope that they will not prove themselves a degenerate race, 
nor suffer it to be said that they are unworthy of the blessing which the 
blood of so many thousand heroes has purchased for them. The theater 
on which they are required to act is interesting to them in every point of 
view. Every man of the western country turns his eyes intuitively upon 
the mouth of the Mississippi. He there beholds the only outlet by which 
his produce can reach the markets of foreign nations or of the Atlantic 
States. Blocked up, all the fruits of his industry rot upon his hands ; open, 
and he carries on a commerce with all the nations of the earth. To the 
people of the western country is then peculiarly committed, by nature her- 
self, the defense of the lower Mississippi and the city of New Orleans. At 
the approach of an enemy in that quarter the whole western world should 
pour forth its sons to meet the invader and drive him back into the sea. 
Bravo volunteers ! it is to the defense of this place, so interesting to you, 
that you are now ordered to repair. Let us show ourselves conscious of 
the honor and importance of the charge which has been committed to us. 
By -the alacrity with which we obey the orders of the President let us 


demonstrate to our brothers in all parts of the Union that the people of 
Tennessee are worthy of being called to the defense of the republic. 

" The Generals of Brigade attached to the Second Division will commu- 
nicate these orders to the officers commanding volunteer companies with 
all possible dispatch, using expresses, and forwarding a statement of the 
expense to the Major General. 

" Andrew Jackson, 
" November 14th, 1812. Major General Second Division T." 

The tenth of December was the day appointed for the 
troops to rendezvous at Nashville. The Governor's order 
stated that "the volunteers will be expected to arm and 
equip themselves with their own arms, including rifles, as far 
as practicable, and to furnish themselves, as fully as may be 
conveniently in their power to do, with ammunition, camp 
equipage, and blankets ; for which a compensation may con- 
fidently be expected to be made by government, to be allowed 
and settled for in the usual mode and at the usual rates." 
The General added to this a rough description of the " uni- 
form" in which the troops were to appear : " Dark blue or 
brown," said he, " has been prescribed for service, of home- 
spun or not, at the election of the wearer ; hunting-shirts or 
coats, at the option of the different companies, with panta- 
loons and dark-colored socks. White pantaloons, vests, etc., 
may be worn upon parade. As the expedition will not ter- 
minate under five or six months, and will include the winter 
and spring, the volunteers will see the propriety of adapting 
their clothing in quantity and quality to both seasons. The 
field officers will wear the uniform which is prescribed for 
officers of the same grade in the army of the United States. 
Company officers will conform to the same regulations, if 
convenient ; otherwise, they will conform to the uniform of 
their companies." 

The climate of Tennessee, generally so pleasant, is liable 
to brief periods of severe cold. Twice, within the memory 
of living persons, the Cumberland has been frozen over at 
Nashville ; and as often snow has fallen there to the depth 
of a foot. It so chanced that the day named for the assem- 


bling of the troops was the coldest that had been known at 
Nashville for many years, and there was deep snow on the 
ground. Such was the enthusiasm, however, of the volun- 
teers, that more than two thousand presented themselves on 
the appointed day. The General was no less puzzled than 
pleased by this alacrity. Nashville was still little more than 
a large village, not capable of affording the merest shelter to 
such a concourse of soldiers ; who, in any weather not extra- 
ordinary, would have disdained a roof. There was no resource 
for the mass of the troops but to camp out. Fortunately, 
the efficient quarter-master, Major William B. Lewis, had 
provided a thousand cords of wood for the use of the men ; a 
quantity that was supposed to be sufficient to last till they 
embarked. Every stick of the wood was burnt the first night 
in keeping the men from freezing. From dark until nearly 
daylight the General and the quarter-master were out among 
the troops, employed in providing for this unexpected and 
perilous exigency ; seeing that drunken men were brought 
within reach of a fire, and that no drowsy sentinel slept the 
sleep of death. 

A gentleman of Nashville well remembers the sudden 
rage of the General on entering the tavern, about six o'clock 
in the morning, after this night of tramping in the snow and 
cold. Some one who had passed the night comfortably in 
bed, began to find fault with the authorities for having called 
together such a mass of troops without having provided shel- 
ter for them. It was a " shame," he maintained, that the 
men should have been out on such a night, while the officers 
had the best accommodations in the town. 

" You d — d infernal scoundrel," roared the General, 
" sowing disaffection among the troops. Why, the quarter- 
master and I have been up all night, making the men com- 
fortable. Let me hear no more such talk, or I'm d — d if I 
don't ram that red hot andiron down your throat." 

The fiery man I but as patient as Job while he was out 
in the blustering winter's night looking after his cold soldiers. 

The extreme cold soon passed away, however, and the 


organization of the troops proceeded. In a few days the little 
army was in readiness ; one regiment of cavalry, commanded 
by Colonel John Coffee, six hundred and seventy in num- 
ber ; two regiments of infantry, fourteen hundred men in all, 
one regiment commanded by Colonel William Hall, the other 
by Colonel Thomas H. Benton. Major William B. Lewis, the 
General's neighbor and friend, was the quarter-master. Wil- 
liam Carroll, a young man from Pennsylvania, a new favorite 
of the General's, was the brigade inspector. The General's 
aid and secretary was John Beid, long his companion in the 
field, afterward his biographer. The troops were of the very 
best material the State afforded : planters, business men, 
their sons and grandsons — a large proportion of them de- 
scended from revolutionary soldiers who had settled in great 
numbers in the beautiful valley of the Cumberland. John 
Coffee was a host in himself ; a plain, brave, modest, stal- 
wart man, devoted to his chief, to Tennessee and to the 
Union. He had been recently married to Polly Donelson, 
the daughter of Captain John Donelson, who had given them 
the farm on which they lived. 

A letter from Colonel Coffee to his father-in-law, written 
as he was about to leave the State with his mounted regi- 
ment, will serve to show the simplicity and kindliness of the 
man. No doubt many of his troopers wrote similar letters on 
the eve of their departure : — 

" A sense of duty and of justice have compelled me to address this line, 
together with its enclosure. I did not see the propriety of such an act 
until of very late, and even now it may seem to you unnecessary. Yet 
when I reflect on the uncertainty of the life of man, and the time I am 
about to leave my native country for a more unhealthy climate, independ- 
ent of any dangers I may be thrown in by a state of war, I should certainly 
be remiss from my duty were I not in the most equitable manner to make 
provision for my family were it to be my lot not to return again. I have 
drawn up an instrument expressive of my wishes, and which I here enclose 
to you. This, if it please the Almighty that I never return to my beloved 
wife and infant daughter, is my last will and testament, which, I shall rest 
assured from your parental goodness, you will have executed without devi- 
ation as far as is practicable. I will make other memorandums, and deposit 


them, that, in the last event, will enable you to understand what lands 1 
liave a claim to, and how they are situated, as well as all my other busi- 

" This letter is only intended for your own eye until it is ascertained I 
am no more. Don't speak of it to any person whatever ; for if Polly was 
brought to so serious a thought^ it would render her much more uneasy. 
I don't wish, if I return, any person but yourself to know anything of it. 
I will make notes and direct them where you may get them on all my 

" Notwithstanding this provision, I wish you to understand I feel m> 
dread but that I shall see many happy years with my family and friends 
after this — yet we know not what may happen. I fear vfcry much I have 
made a bad arrangement of my farm for the present year. I did expect 
Mr. Harris to have moved up before this, and would have had things going 
on in good order before now, but am advised he is not yet gone, winch 
leads me to fear he'll not do much. Can I beg of you, if after a few weeks 
things don't go on better, you will try and hire a man to make a crop for 
me ? If you should think it best to do so, make any bargain you can, and 
which you think best ; either part of the crop, or standing wages, if Polly 
is content with the person. I will write you again from Columbia, when 
I will be able to say whether or not Harris will move up. I am distressed 
to get away from here on the line of march. I think then the worst will 
be over. As great as my anxiety has been, I could not possibly leave 
camp one day to go home, one day since I saw you. I expect to be off 
Tuesday morning. 

" Since I wrote the foregoing part of this letter, S. Harris called here 
on his way, moving up a part of his plunder. He has promised me he will 
do every thing he can for me on the farm, yet I fear all won't be much. 
As you are passing, and when at my house, will thank you to give any 
orders you may think best towards making a crop next season. 

" Please make my respects to Mrs. Donelson and all the children, and 
accept of them yourself, whilst I remain your obedient servant, 

" John Coffee."* 

In this spirit, Colonel John Coffee began his brilliant 
military career. 

There was still a delay of several days, before the boats 
for the transportation of the infantry could be got ready. On 
one of these days, there was a grand review of the army by 
the Governor of the State, who, upon retiring from the field, 

* MSS. of Tennessee Historical Society. 


addressed a letter to General Jackson, complimenting the 
troops upon their martial appearance, their orderly conduct, 
and their evident zeal for the service. To this letter, the 
General sent the following reply : — 

" It is with the greatest pleasure and satisfaction that the Major Gen- 
eral, in behalf of himself and the brave volunteers whom he has the honor 
to command, acknowledges the receipt of your Excellency's polite and 
highly flattering address, which he has caused to be read in general orders 
on the 19th instant. They feel much gratified that their conduct^ both in 
camp and on parade, has merited the approbation of your Excellency ; and 
they cherish a belief, that they never will so far forget themselves, the 
State of which they have the honor to be citizens, and the cause which has 
elicited the spark of patriotism from every bosom of the volunteers, as to 
act in any way derogatory to the strictest rules of military discipline and 
subordination. It is true that the volunteers have experienced hardships 
and privations in the camp, and have been exposed to the * severity of the 
severest cold weather ever known here for years past, and that> too, with- 
out a murmur,' — but these hardships, as great as they may seem to be, are 
but inconsiderable, when compared to those which they are willing to en- 
dure, when required, for the benefit of the service. 

" We have changed the garb of citizens for that of soldiers. In doing 
this, we hope none of us have changed our principles; for, let it be recol- 
lected, as an invariable rule, that good citizens make good soldiers. The 
volunteers have drawn their swords and shouldered their muskets for no 
other purpose than that of defending their country against the hostile 
attacks of their enemies, the British, and their barbarous allies, the Indians, 
May they never be returned to the scabbard until the enemies of America, 
of every denomination, be humbled in the dust and constrained to yield 
that wliich, in vain, has been so often and so long demanded by amicable 
negotiation — Justice. We flatter ourselves that your Excellency will do 
us the justice to believe that there is not an individual among the volun- 
teers who would not prefer perishing in the field of battle — who would not 
cheerfully yield his life in the defense of his country, than return to the 
1 bosom of his family' and his friends, covered with shame, ignominy, and 

" Perish our friends — perish our wives — perish our children (the dear- 
est pledges of Heaven) — nay, perish all earthly considerations — but let the 
honor and fame of a volunteer soldier be untarnished and immaculate. 
We now enjoy Liberties, political, civil, and religious, that no other nation 
ou earth possesses. May we never survive thom ! No ; rather let us perish 
in maintaining them. And if we must yield, where is the man that would 

372 LIFE OF ANDREW JACK80N. [1812. 

not prefer being buried in the ruins of his country, than live the ignomin- 
ious slave of haughty lords and unfeeling tyrants ? We hope that your 
Excellency shall never blush for the honor of Tennessee. Your Excel- 
lency will not call it presumption, when the volunteers say that it is their 
full determination to return covered with laurels, or die endeavoring to 
gather them in the bloody field of Mars ! 

" Accept from the General, for himself and the volunteers, the homage 
of the highest confidence and respect 

" Andrew Jackson, Major General 

" For himself, and in behalf of the volunteers under his command." 

These writings show, better than any other words could, 
the ardor and high hope that animated the bosoms of the 
volunteers. The General himself was full of the great busi- 
ness in hand. If anything dimmed the brightness of the 
prospect before him, it was the fact that the commanding 
officer at New Orleans was the man whom, of all others in 
the world, he despised — General James Wilkinson. He felt 
a premonition, that on his arrival in New Orleans, he should 
have a collision of some kind with Wilkinson. So confi- 
dently did he expect it, that he took his dueling pistols with 
him, and a small supply of a very superior kind of powder 
that was formerly employed on the " field of honor." 

On the 7th of January, all was ready. The infantry em- 
barked, and the flotilla dropped down the river. Colonel 
Coffee and the mounted men marched across the country, 
and were to rejoin the General at Natchez. " I have the 
pleasure to inform you," wrote Jackson to the Secretary of 
War, just before leaving home, " that I am now at the head 
of 2,070 volunteers, the choicest of our citizens, who go at 
the call of their country to execute the will of the govern- 
ment, who have no constitutional scruples ; and if the gov- 
ernment orders, will rejoice at the opportunity of placing the 
American eagle on the ramparts of Mobile, Pensacola, and 
Fort St. Augustine, effectually banishing from the southern 
coasts all British influence." 

Not yet, General, not yet. Two years later, perhaps. 




Down the Cumberland to the Ohio ; down the Ohio to 
the Mississippi ; down the Mississippi toward New Orleans ; 
stopping here and there for supplies ; delayed for days at a 
time by the ice in the swift Ohio ; grounding a boat now and 
then ; losing one altogether ; — the fleet pursued its course, 
craunching through the floating masses, but making fair 
progress, for the space of thirty-nine days. 

The weather was often very cold and tempestuous, and 
the frail boats afforded only an imperfect shelter. But all 
the little army, from the General to the privates, were in the 
highest spirits, and burned with the desire to do their part in 
restoring the diminished prestige of the American arms ; to 
atone for the shocking failures of the North by making new 
conquests at the South. On the 15th of February, at dawn 
of day, they had left a thousand miles of winding stream be- 
hind them, and saw before them the little town of Natchez. 
The fleet came to. The men were rejoiced to hear that Colo- 
nel Coffee and his mounted regiment had already arrived in 
the vicinity. 

Here General Jackson received a dispatch from General 
Wilkinson, requesting him to halt at Natchez, as neither 
quarters nor provisions were ready for them at New Orleans ; 
nor had an enemy yet made his appearance in the southern 
waters. Wilkinson added, that he had received no orders 
respecting the Tennesseeans, knew not their destination, and 
should not think of yielding his command, " until regularly 
relieved by superior authority." Jackson assented to the 
policy of remaining at Natchez for further instructions ; but, 
with regard to General Wilkinson's uneasiness on the ques- 
tion of rank, he said, in his reply, " I have marched with th« 
true spirit of a soldier to serve my country at any and every 


point where service can be rendered," and " the detachment 
under my command shall be kept in complete readiness to 
move to any point at which an enemy may appear, at the 
shortest notice." So, at Natchez, the troops disembarked, 
and, encamping in a pleasant and salubrious place, a few 
miles from the town, passed their days in learning the duties 
of the soldier. 

The Nashville papers of the spring of 1813 show that the 
whole heart of Western Tennessee went down the river with 
this expedition. Every issue from the press teemed with 
paragraphs and speculations respecting it. Diaries of the 
voyage were published. One of these, which was somewhat 
bombastic and comically exact, called forth a very tolerable 
burlesque, entitled " A Journal of the Perigrinations of my 
Tom-cat ; after the manner of a Journal of a Voyage from 
Nashville to New Orleans, by the Tennessee Volunteers." 
Rumors and conjectures respecting the destination and con- 
duct of the corps were the staple of conversation. From the 
numberless paragraphs in the Nashville Whig I copy a few 
sentences, which, tame and ordinary as they now appear, were 
devoured with intensest interest then. 

A letter dated New Madrid, January 31st, stated that 
"the detachment passed New Madrid on this day. The troops 
are healthy, and continue in high spirits. They are said to 
have made rapid progress in acquiring a knowledge of dis- 

A letter from General Jackson, dated, Natchez, February 
15th, contained a paragraph which summed up the whole 
history of the voyage : " At seven o'clock this morning I 
reached this point, after having been detained seven days on 
account of obstructions from the ice in the Ohio and Missis- 
sippi. The second regiment is up, and the cavalry will reach 
the cantonment at Washington to-morrow ; all well. No 
accident of importance has happened to us. One of our 
boats struck a sawyer, and sunk ; but no lives were lost. 
A few guns, bayonets, and boxes were injured by the fall of 
some chimneys which were erected for the accommodation of 


the men ; but by unparalleled exertions of the officers and 
men, the boat was towed ashore, and the guns, etc., taken 

Colonel Thomas H. Benton, the next day, wrote : "Gen- 
eral Jackson is ordered by General Wilkinson to disembark 
here, and wait some days until they can prepare for us at 
New Orleans ; so that, after all our delays, we are still too 
fast for the government agents below. Mobile and Pensa- 
coIa are pointed at by those who speak our destination. I 
have nothing official. Thus far all is well." 

Another officer wrote home a letter which must have been 
read with proud hearts and glistening eyes by some of the 
people of Nashville ; certainly by the inmates of the Hermit- 
age : " The army," said he, " has much gratified, as well as 
disappointed the expectation of the citizens of this Territory 
— such has been the good order maintained in camp. In- 
deed, with such a commander at their head as our beloved 
Jackson (so I will term him, for he is loved by all), any 
troops would behave well. But from the patriots of Tennes- 
see — men who have voluntarily sacrificed interest to serve 
their country — I do not look merely for good behaviour. My 
word for it, they will give a good account of themselves 
should they ever meet an enemy to contend with." 

The month of February passed away and still the army 
was in camp, employed in nothing more serious than the 
daily drill. No one knew when they were to move, where 
they were to go, nor what they were to do. The command- 
ing General was not a little impatient, and even the more 
placid Colonel Coffee longed to be in action. A letter writ- 
ten by Coffee to Captain Donclson in his tent on the first of 
March, after two weeks of anxious waiting, lets us into the 
feeling of the camp : — 

" There is no appearance of an enemy on any of our southern coasts ; 
nor can the best informed in this country see through the policy of the 
orders. General Wilkinson has advised our halting here, and General 
Jackson has approved the policy for the present, knowing this to be the 


most central point to act from — if to the East, to take possession of Florida, 
or if below, we can descend the river in a very few days. And should our 
services not be wanting at all, this is the healthiest situation to remain at, 
and nearer home when ordered to return. I have heard of the total defeat 
of General Winchester ; can not hear particulars, but the last accounts, and 
the most relied on here, say that himself and about six hundred are prison- 
ers. I hope it is no worse ; though some accounts say all perished to- 
gether except a few who made escapes. Would to God we had been 
ordered there instead of to this place. If so, perhaps we could have saved 
Winchester and his brave little detachment. I presume before this reaches 
you a final blow must be struck by General Harrison. So many calami- 
ties have befallen the North-western army, I dread to hear from it ; still 
hope the policy will have changed and a proper course pursued to insure 

" You can not imagine the spirits of our little army. Notwithstanding 
we are in an unfriendly climate, we enjoy excellent health as yet, and we 
do not calculate on being kept here until the sickly season comes on. 
Since we commenced the line of march from Tennessee, all is content; no 
murmuring or complaining. I have not had one half the trouble on the 
whole march, and since here, that I experienced while lying at Nashville and 
its vicinity. In passing through the Indian country I was very well sup- 
plied with forage and provisions on tolerable terms ; never suffered for any 
thing. The Indians were remarkably friendly and accommodating. When 
we first arrived here, some difficulty appeared relative to furnishing the 
horses of my regiment, but all is now settled and going on very well We 
get plenty of corn, and tolerably plenty of fodder and hay. The price 
given for corn at the river is sixty-two and a half cents per bushel, and 
plenty. For fodder we give two dollars and fifty cents per hundred l 
delivered in camp. Very high. 

" I live in camp in my tent. We are five miles from Natchez ; have 
never been there until to-day ; was there about two hours. The situation 
a pleasant one, though I feel more at home in my tent, where I now write, 
than anywhere else. Never enjoyed better health than I have since I left 
home. How is Polly doing ? Do keep her spirits up, and, as much as 
possible, down with you and her friends."* 

On the same day the Gen. Jackson relieved his patriotic 
impetuosity by writing a letter to the Secretary of War ; in 
which he suggested that, if there was nothing for the Ten- 
nesseeans to do in the South, they should be employed in the 

♦ MSa of Tennessee Historical Society. 

-j / 


North. This idea so inflamed his mind that, a few days 
after, he wrote even to General Wilkinson on the subject : — 
" Should the safety of the lower country admit, and govern- 
ment so order, I would with pleasure march to the lines of 
Canada, and there offer my feeble aid to the army of our 
country, and endeavor to wipe off the stain on our military 
character occasioned by the recent disasters." And when an- 
other tedious week passed, and still no orders came, and no 
enemy appeared, and the men were beginning to sicken with 
the spring heats, he wrote again to the Secretary of War, re- 
newing his offer : " I can give almost certain assurances," 
said the eager soldier, " that when I return to Tennessee I 
can augment my present force to at least three thousand men, 
who would engage for one year, if their destination should be 
towards the frontiers of Canada." 

Another week, and no orders ; and yet another. 

At length, on a Sunday morning, toward the end of 
March, an express from Washington reached the camp, and a 
letter from the War Department was placed in the General's 
hands. We can imagine the intensity of feeling with which 
he tore it open and gathered its purport, and the fever of ex- 
citement which the news of its arrival kindled throughout the 
camp. The communication was signed, "J. Armstrong." 
Eustis, then, was out of office. Yes ; he left the Department 
February 4th, and this letter was written by the new Secre- 
tary two days after. But its contents ? Was it the perusal of 
this astounding letter that caused the General's hair to stand 
on end, and remain for ever after erect and bristling, unlike 
the quills upon the fretful porcupine ? Fancy, if you can, 
the demeanor, attitude, countenance, of this fiery and generous 
soldier, as he read, and re-read, with ever-growing wonder 
and wrath, the following epistle : — 

" War Department, February 6, 1813. 

"Sir: — The causes of embodying and marching to New Orleans the 
corps under your command having ceased to exist, you will, on the receipt 
of this letter, consider it as dismissed from public service, and take measures 


to have delivered over to Major General Wilkinson all the articles of public 
property which may have been put into its possession. 

" You will accept for yourself and the corps the thanks of the President 
of the United States. 

" I have the honor, etc. 

"J. Armstrong. 
" Major General Andrew Jackson." 

Could he believe his eyes ? Dismissed ? Dismissed where ? 
Here ? Five hundred miles from home ? Dismissed without 
pay, without means of transport, without provision for the 
sick ? How could he dismiss men so far from home, to whom, 
on receiving them from their parents, he had promised to be a 
father, and either to restore them in honor to their arms, or 
give them a soldier's burial ? 

His resolution was taken on the instant never to disband 
his troops till he had led them back to the borders of their 
own State I 

" I well remember the day," said Colonel Benton, in the speech already 
quoted, " when the order came. The first I knew of it was a message 
from the General to come to him at his tent ; for, though as colonel of a 
regiment I had ceased to be aid, yet my place had not been filled, and I 
was sent for as much as ever. He showed me the order, and also his 
character, in his instant determination not to obey it, but to lead his vol- 
unteers home. 

" He had sketched a severe answer to the Secretary of War, and gave 
it to me to copy, and arrange the matter of it It was very severe. I tried 
hard to get some parts softer, but impossible. I have never seen that let- 
ter since, but would know it if I should meet it in any form, anywhere, 
without names. I concurred with the General in the determination to take 
home our young troops. He then called a ' council ' of the field officers, as 
he called it, though there was but little of the council in it — the only object 
being to hear his determination, and take measures for executing it. The 
officers were unanimous in their determination to support him ; but it was 
one of those cases in which he would have acted, not only without^ but 
against a ' council' 

" The officers were unanimous and vehement in their determination, as 
much so as the General was himself; for the volunteers were composed of 
the best young men of the country — farmers' sons, themselves clever young 
men, since filling high offices in the State and the federal governments — 
intrusted to these officers by their fathers in full confidence that they would 

I I f) 


act a father's part by them ; and the recreant thought of turning them loose 
on the Lower Mississippi, five hundred miles from home, without the means 
of getting home, and a wilderness and Indian tribes to traverse, did not 
find a moment's thought in any one's bosom. To carry them back was 
the instant and indignant determination; but great difficulties were in 
the way. The cost of getting back three thousand men under such 
circumstances must be great, and here Jackson's character showed itself 

** We have all heard of his responsibilities — his readiness to assume po- 
litical responsibility, when the public service required it He was now 
equally ready to take responsibility of another kind — moneyed responsi- 
bility ! and that beyond the whole extent of his fortune ! He had no 
military chest — not a dollar of public money — and three thousand men 
were not to be conducted five hundred miles through a wilderness country 
and Indian tribes without a great outlay of money. Wagons were wanted, 
and many of them, for transport of provisions, baggage and the sick, so 
numerous among new troops. He had no money to hire teams; he im- 
pressed : and at the end of the service gave drafts upon the quarter-master 
general of the southern department for the amount 

" The wagons were ten dollars a day, coming and going. They were 
numerous. It was a service of two months ; the amount to be incurred 
was great. He incurred it ! and, as will be seen, at imminent risk of his 
own ruin. This assumption on the General's part met the first great diffi- 
culty, but there were lesser difficulties, still serious, to be surmounted. The 
troops had received no pay ; clothes and shoes were worn out ; men were 
in no condition for a march so long and so exposed. The officers had 
received no pay— did not expect to need money — had made no provision 
for the unexpected contingency of large demands upon their own pockets 
to enable them to do justice to their men. But there was patriotism out- 
side of the camp as well as within. 

" The merchants of Natchez put their stores at our disposition — take 
what we needed — pay when convenient at Nashville. I will name one 
among these patriotic merchants — name him because he belongs to a class 
now struck at, and because I do not ignore a friend when he is struck. 
Washington Jackson was the one I mean — Irish by birth — American by 
choice, by law, and feeling and conduct. I took some hundred pairs shoes 
from him for my regiment, and other articles." 

The very day on which the order arrived, the General 
issued the requisite directions for the preparation of wagons, 
provisions and ammunition. On the next day, he dispatched 
letters, indignant and explanatory, to the Secretary of War, 


to Governor Blount, to the President, and to General Wil- 

He attributed the strange conduct of the government tc 
every cause but the right one — its own inexperience, and the 
difficulty of directing operations at places so remote from the 
seat of government. Armstrong averred that he had dis- 
patched the obnoxious order in the confident expectation of 
its reaching General Jackson before he had gone far from 
home ; as the extreme severity of the winter, he thought, 
would inevitably detain the flotilla at the mouth of the Cum- 
berland. There is no good reason now to doubt this explana- 
tion ; though, at the time, it did not look probable. The 
General thought he saw the sly hand of Wilkinson in the 
business. " You have it still in your power," wrote Wilkin- 
son, " to render a most acceptable service to our government, 
by encouraging the recruiting service from the patriotic sol- 
diers you command in an appropriate general order." Aha ! 
thought General Hotspur ; it's all a scheme, then, of this 
insidious villain to swell his own force with my gallant Ten- 
nesseeans. But, by the Eternal, 

" Til keep them all ! 
By Heaven ! he shall not have a Scot of them. 
No ; if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not 
I'll keep them, by this hand !" 

And so he did. When a recruiting officer was detected 
hanging about the camp, the General notified him that if he 
attempted to seduce one of his volunteers into the regular 
army, he should be drummed out of the camp in the presence 
of the entire corps. 

At the last moment came the orders of the government 
(which ought to have accompanied the order to disband), 
directing the force under General Jackson to be paid off, and 
allowed pay and rations for the journey home. It was too 
late. The General was resolved, whatever might betide, to 
conduct the men back to their homes, in person, as an organ- 
ized body. " I shall commence the line of march," he wrote 


to Wilkinson, " on Thursday, the 25th. Should the con- 
tractor not feel himself justified in sending on provisions for 
my infantry, or the quarter-master wagons for the transpor- 
tation of my sick, I shall dismount the cavalry, carry them 
on, and provide the means for their support out of my private 
funds. If that should fail, I thank my God we have plenty 
of horses to feed my troops to the Tennessee, where I know 
my country will meet me with ample supplies. These brave 
men, at the call of their country, voluntarily rallied round its 
insulted standard. They followed me to the field ; I shall 
carefully march them back to their homes. It is for the 
agents of the government to account to the State of Tennes- 
see and the whole world for their singular and unusual con- 
duct to this detachment." 

It was on this homeward march that the nickname of 
"Old Hickory" was bestowed on the General. From the 
time of leaving Nashville, General Jackson had constantly 
grown in the confidence and affection of the troops. The man 
was in his element at last, and his great qualities began to 
make themselves manifest. Many of the volunteers had 
heard so much of his violent and hasty temper that they had 
joined the corps with a certain dread and hesitation, fearing 
not the enemy, nor the march, nor the diseases of the lower 
country, so much as the swift wrath of their commander. 
Some, indeed, refused to go for that reason alone. How sur- 
prised were those who entered the service with such feelings 
to find in General Jackson a father as well as a chief. Jack- 
son had the faculty, which all successful soldiers possess, of 
completely identifying himself with the men he commanded ; 
investing every soldier, as it were, with a portion of his own 
personality, and feeling a wrong done to the least of them 
as done to himself. Soldiers are quick to perceive a trait of 
this kind. They saw, indeed, that there was a whole volcano 
of wrath in their General, but they observed that, to the men 
of his command, so long as they did their duty, and longer, 
he was the most gentle, patient, considerate and generous of 


vol. i. — 25 


This resolve of his to disobey his government for their 
sakes, and the manner in which he executed that resolve, raised 
his popularity to the highest point. When the little army set 
out from Natchez for a march of five hundred miles through 
the wilderness, there were a hundred and fifty men on the 
sick list, of whom fifty-six could not raise their heads from 
the pillow. There were but eleven wagons for the con- 
veyance of these. The rest of the sick were mounted on 
the horses of the officers. The General had three excellent 
horses, and gave them all up to the sick men, himself 
trudging along on foot with the brisk pace that was usual 
with him. Day after day he tramped gayly along the miry 
forest roads, never tired, and always ready with a cheering 
word for others. They marched with extraordinary speed, 
averaging eighteen miles a day, and performing the whole jour- 
ney in less than a month ; and yet the sick men rapidly 
recovered under the reviving influences of a homeward 
march, " Where am I ?" asked one young fellow who had 
been lifted to his place in a wagon when insensible and 
apparently dying. "On your way home!" cried the Gen- 
eral, merrily ; and the young soldier began to improve from 
that hour, and reached home in good health. 

The name of " Old Hickory" was not an instantaneous 
inspiration, but a growth. First of all, the remark was made 
by some soldier, who was struck with his commander's pedes- 
trian powers, that the General was " tough/' Next it was 
observed of him that he was as " tough as hickory." Then 
he was called Hickory. Lastly, the affectionate adjective 
" old" was prefixed, and the General thenceforth rejoiced in 
the completed nickname, usually the first-won honor of a 
great commander. 

On approaching the borders of the State, the General 
again offered his services to the government to aid in, or con- 
duct, a new invasion of Canada. His force, he said, could 
be increased, if necessary ; and he had a few standards wear- 
ing the American eagle, that he should be happy to place 
.upon the Enemy's ramparts. But the desired response came 


not ; and so, on the 22d of May, the last of his army was 
drawn up on the public square of Nashville waiting only for 
the word of command to disperse to their homes. 

A pleasant little ceremonial, however, was to precede the 
separation. " Previous to the dismissal/' wrote the editor of 
the Nashville Whig, " the detachment were presented witty 
a most superb stand of colors by the ladies of East Tennes- 
see. They are the richest needle-work we ever saw. The 
work is on white satin ; the colors are tastefully arranged, 
and show remarkably well. Near the top, in a crescent form, 
appear eighteen stars in orange color ; next, two sprigs of 
laurel lying athwart. And then appear these words : i Ten- 
nessee Volunteers — Independence, in a state of war, is to 
be maintained on the battle-ground of the Republic. The 
tented field is the post of honor. Presented by the ladies of 
East Tennessee, Knoxville, February 10th, 1813/ And un- 
derneath appear all the implements of war, colors, cannons, 
muskets, bayonets, drums, balls, pontoons, swords, battle- 
axes, etc., etc., very ingeniously intermingled in a manner 
that excites the utmost admiration for the taste and patriot- 
ism of the ladies. The wing of the colors is beautiful fancy 
lutestring, dove color, ornamented with white fringe and 

A complimentary letter from Mrs. Blount, the wife of the 
Governor of the State, was read on the occasion ; to which 
the General sent a becoming reply, addressed to " Mrs. Gov- 
ernor Blount, Miss Barbara Grey Blount, and Miss Eliza In- 
diana Blount." " While I admire," said the General, " the 
elegant workmanship of these colors, my veneration is excited 
for the patriotic disposition that prompted the ladies to be- 
stow them on the volunteers of West Tennessee. Although 
the patriotic corps under my command have not had an op- 
portunity of meeting an enemy, yet they have evinced every 
disposition to do so. This distinguished mark of respect will 
be long remembered, and this splendid present shall be kept 
as a memorial of the generosity and patriotism of the ladies 
of East Tennessee/' 


At a later day, he had an opportunity of making a happy 
return in kind to the ladies — as we shall see. 

The troops were dismissed, exulting in their commander, 
and spreading wide the fame of his gallant and graceful con- 
duct. " Long will their General live in the memory of the 
volunteers of West Tennessee," said the Nashville Whig, a 
day or two after the troops were disbanded, " for his benevo- 
lent, humane, and fatherly treatment to his soldiers ; if 
gratitude and love can reward him, General Jackson has 
them. It affords us pleasure to say, that we believe there is 
not a man belonging to the detachment but what loves him. 
His fellow-citizens at home are not less pleased with his con- 
duct. We fondly hope his merited worth will not be over- 
looked by the government." 

The government, quotha ? These events were not re- 
garded at Washington in the light they were at Nashville. 
Far from it. The " government" came very near making up 
its mind to let the General bear the responsibilities which he 
had incurred. Colonel Benton may continue his narrative : 
" We all returned," he says ; " were discharged ; dispersed 
among our homes, and the fine chance on which we had so 
much counted was all gone. And now came a blow upon 
Jackson himself — the fruit of the moneyed responsibility 
which he had assumed. His transportation drafts were all 
protested — returned upon him for payment, which was im- 
possible, and directions to bring suit. This was the month 
of May. I was coming on to Washington on my own ac- 
count, and cordially took charge of Jackson's case. Suits 
were delayed until the result of his application for relief could 
be heard. I arrived at this city ; Congress was in session — 
the extra session of the spring and summer of 1813. I ap- 
plied to the members of Congress from Tennessee ; they could 
do nothing. I applied to the Secretary of War ; he did 

" Weeks had passed away, and the time for delay was ex- 
piring at Nashville. Ruin seemed to be hovering over the 
head of Jackson, and I felt the necessity of some decisive 



movement. I was young, then, and had some material in 
me — perhaps some boldness ; and the occasion brought it out. 
I resolved to take a step, characterized in the letter which I 
wrote to the (General as c an appeal from the justice to the 
fear 8 of the administration. 9 I remember the words, though 
I have never seen the letter since. I drew up a memoir, ad- 
dressed to the Secretary of War, representing to him that 
these volunteers were drawn from the bosoms of almost every 
substantial family in Tennessee — that the whole State stood 
by Jackson in bringing them home — and that the State 
would be lost to the administration if he was left to suffer. 
It was upon this last argument that I relied — all those 
founded in justice having failed. 

" It was of a Saturday morning, 12th of June, that I 
carried this memoir to the War Office, and delivered it. 
Monday morning I came back early to learn the result of my 
argument. The Secretary was not yet in. I spoke to the 
chief clerk (who was afterwards Adjutant General Parker), 
and inquired if the Secretary had left any answer for me before 
he left the office on Saturday. He said no ; but that he had 
put the memoir in his side pocket — the breast-pocket — and 
carried it home with him, saying he would take it for his 
Sunday's consideration. That encouraged me — gave a gleam 
of hope and a feeling of satisfaction. I thought it a good 
subject for his Sunday's meditation. Presently he arrived. 
I stepped in before anybody to his office. 

" He told me quickly and kindly that there was much 
reason in what I had said, but that there was no way for him 
to do it ; that Congress would have to give the relief. I 
answered him that I thought there was a way for him to do 
it ; it was to give an order to General Wilkinson, quarter- 
master general in the southern department, to pay for so 
much transportation as General Jackson's command would 
have been entitled to if it had returned under regular orders. 
Upon the instant he took up a pen, wrote down the very 
words I had spoken, directed a clerk to put them into form ; 
and the work was done. The order went off immediately, 


and Jackson was relieved from imminent impending ruin, and 
Tennessee remained firm to the administration." 

And so ended this fruitless expedition to Natchez. Fruit- 
less it was of immediate military results. It was more pro- 
ductive, however, of reputation to the General in command 
than if it had been, in any ordinary degree, successful It 
left him a private citizen, indeed ; but, for the time, the most 
beloved and esteemed of private citizens in western Tennessee. 



It was through an act of good nature that General Jack- 
son was drawn into this disgraceful business. 

William Carroll (afterwards General Carroll), who went 
down the river with the expedition, in the capacity of brigade 
inspector, had but recently come to Nashville from Pitts- 
burg, where he had been a clerk or partner in a hardware 
store. He was a tall, well-formed man, much given to mili- 
tary affairs, and thus attracted the notice of General Jackson ; 
who advanced him so rapidly and paid him such marked 
attentions, as to procure for the young stranger a great many 
enemies. Carroll, moreover, was not a genuine son of the 
wilderness. With all his powerful frame and superior stature, 
there was an expression of delicacy in his smooth, fair coun- 
tenance that found small favor in the eyes of the rougher 
pioneers. Perhaps, too, in those days, there was a touch of 
dandyism in his attire and demeanor. Far different was he 
from the giant Coffee, man of the mighty arm and massive 
fist, and thundering voice, and face of bronze, and heart of 
oak ; the backwoodsman's beau-ideal of a colonel of hunting- 
shirted dragoons. Enough. Captain William Carroll had 
his enemies among the young officers of General Jackson's 

1813.] FEUD WITH THE BENT0N8. 387 

On the homeward march from Natchez, one wild young 
fellow of the anti-Carroll faction thought proper to consider 
himself insulted by Carroll, and on reaching Nashville sent 
him a challenge. Carroll declined to fight, on the ground 
that the challenger was not a gentleman. The officer who 
had borne the hostile message then challenged Carroll him- 
self, who again refused to fight, and for the same reason as 
before. The quarrel spread. Various petty and ridiculous 
things occurred, which need not be repeated. At length, the 
foes of Carroll succeeded in their object so far as to embroil 
the young man with Mr. Jesse Benton, a brother of Colonel 
Thomas H. Benton, who was away in Washington, saving Gen- 
eral Jackson from bankruptcy. Jesse Benton, for many years 
a resident of Nashville, had a good deal of his brother's fire 
and fluency, without much of his talent and discretion. He 
was a well-intentioned, eccentric, excitable man, prone to get 
himself into awkward scrapes, and to get out of them awk- 
wardly. He challenged Carroll His social standing was 
such that his challenge could not be declined, and Carroll 
was compelled to prepare for a fight. 

Unable, it is said, to procure a suitable second in Nash- 
ville, Carroll rode out to the Hermitage, stated his perplexity 
to General Jackson, and asked him to act as his " friend." 
The General was astonished at the proposal. 

" Why, Captain Carroll/' said he, "lam not the man 
for such an affair. I am too old. The time has been when 
I should have gone out with pleasure ; but, at my time of 
life, it would be extremely injudicious. You must get a man 
nearer your own age." 

Carroll replied that if this had been a quarrel of an ordi- 
nary nature he would not have asked General Jackson's 
assistance. But it was not an ordinary quarrel. There was 
a conspiracy, he said, among certain young men, to "run him 
out of the country." They wanted his commission, and were 
jealous of his standing with General Jackson. 

At the words, " run me out of the country," the General's 
manner changed. 


" Well, Carroll/' said he, " you may make your mind 
easy on one point : they sha'n't run you out of the country as 
long as Andrew Jackson lives in it. I'll ride with you to 
Nashville, and inquire into this business myself." 

Upon inquiry, General Jackson was convinced that Jesse 
Benton's fiery passions had been played upon by the enemies 
of Carroll for their own purposes, and that the challenge of 
that gentleman was something not in the least degree called 
for by the "laws of honor." He personally • remonstrated 
with Benton, and, as he thought, with good effect. But 
others gained his ear and confidence, after the General had 
returned to the tavern, and the result was, that he persisted 
in fighting. Upon learning this determination, General 
Jackson declared his purpose to stand by his young friend, 
Carroll, and to go with him to the field as his second. 

The incidents of the duel were so ridiculous that they are 
still a standing joke in Tennessee. The men were placed 
back to back, at the usual distance apart. At the word, they 
were to wheel and fire. The General, on placing his man, 
said, pointing to Benton, 

" You needn't fear him, Carroll ; he'd never hit you, if 
you were as broad as a barn-door." 

Benton was evidently a little agitated. Indeed, as he 
afterwards confessed to his physician, he had not the duelist's 
nerve, t. e., he could not quite conceal a feeling, common to 
all duelists when they are placed, that a man who stands 
eight or ten paces from the muzzle of a loaded pistol which 
is about to go off, is in a false position. 

Fire ! 

The men wheeled and raised their pistols. Benton fired 
first, and then stooped or crouched, to receive the fire of his 
antagonist. The act of stooping caused a portion of his 
frame, that was always prominent, to be more prominent 
still. Carroll fired. His ball inflicted a long, raking wound 
on the part exposed, which would have been safe but for the 
unlucky stoop. Jackson ran up to his principal, and asked 
him if he was hit. " No," said he, " I believe not." At 

1813.] FEUD WITH THE BENT0N8. 389 

that moment, Carroll observed blood on his left hand, and 
found that he had been shot in the thumb. 

" Oh, yes," he added, " he's hit my thumb." 

"I told you he would not hurt you," said Jackson ; "and 
he wouldn't have hit you at all if you'd kept your hand at 
your side, where it ought to have been." 

Benton was carried home, and his wound was dressed. 
He was confined to the house for some weeks. 

Meanwhile, Colonel Thomas H. Benton had completed 
his business at Washington, had sent on to Tennessee the 
news of his great success, and was about to return home, 
when he heard of this duel, and heard, too, that General 
Jackson had gone to the field, not as his brother's friend, but 
as the second of his brother's antagonist ! General Jackson ! 
whom he had so signally served. Soon came wild letters 
from Jesse, so narrating the affair as to place the conduct 
of General Jackson in the worst possible light. Officious 
friends of the Bentons, foes to Jackson and to Carroll, wrote 
to Colonel Benton in a similar strain, adding fuel to the fire 
of his indignation. Benton wrote to Jackson, denouncing 
his conduct in offensive terms. Jackson replied, in effect, 
that before addressing him in that manner Colonel Benton 
should have inquired of him what his conduct really had 
been, not listened to the tales of designing and interested par- 
ties. Benton wrote still more angrily. He said that General 
Jackson had conducted the duel in a " savage, unequal, unfair 
and base manner." On his way home through Tennessee, 
especially at Knoxville, he inveighed bitterly and loudly, in 
public places, against General Jackson, using language such 
as angry men did use in the western country fifty years ago. 
Jackson was informed of this. Phrases applied by Benton to 
himself were reported to him by some of those parasites and 
sycophants who made it their business to minister to his pas- 
sions and prejudices ; a class of people from whose malign, 
misleading influence men of intense personality are seldom 
wholly free. 

Jackson had liked Thomas Benton, and remembered with 


gratitude his parents, particularly his mother, who had been 
gracious and good to him when he was a " raw lad" in North 
Carolina. They had had a slight difference at Natchez, these 
two hot-headed men ; Benton having been of the opinion that 
Wilkinson, a brigadier of the regular army and a major gen- 
eral by brevet, was the military superior of Jackson, who was 
only a major general of militia. But this was a temporary 
and unimportant matter, which had not been remembered 
against him^ Jackson was, therefore, sincerely unwilling to 
break with him, and manifested a degree of forbearance 
which it is a pity he could not have maintained to the end. 
He took fire at last, threw old friendship to the winds, and 
swore by the Eternal that he would horsewhip Tom Benton 
the first time he met him. 

The vow had gone forth ; a sacred vow at that day in 
Tennessee. To all Nashville it was known that General 
Jackson had promised to whip Thomas Benton " on sight," 
to use Colonel Coffee's commercial term. Colonel Benton was 
duly informed of it. Jesse Benton, then nearly recovered 
from his wound, was perfectly aware of it. The thing was to 
be done. The only question was, When ? 

Back from Washington came Colonel Benton, bursting 
with wrath and defiance, yet resolved to preserve the peace, 
and neither to seek nor fly the threatened attack. One meas- 
ure of precaution, however, he did adopt. There were then 
two taverns on the public square of Nashville, both situatect 
near the same angle, their front doors being not more than a 
hundred yards apart. One was the old Nashville Inn (burnt 
three years ago), at which General Jackson was accustomed 
to put up for more than forty years. There, too, the Ben- 
tons, Colonel Coffee and all of the General's peculiar friends 
were wont to take lodgings whenever they visited the town, 
and to hold pleasant converse over a glass of wine, and to 
play billiards together — a game pursued with fanatical devo- 
tion in the early days of Nashville. By the side of this old 
inn was a piece of open ground, where cocks were accustomed 
to display their prowess, and tear one another to pieces for 
the entertainment of some of the citizens. 

1813.] FEUD WITH THE BENTOH0. 391 

The other tavern, the City Hotel, flourishes to this day. 
It is one of those curious, overgrown caravansaries of the 
olden time, nowhere to be seen now except in the ancient 
streets of London and the old towns of the southern States ; 
a huge tavern, with vast piazzas, and interior galleries run- 
ning round three sides of a quadrangle, story above story, and 
quaint little rooms with large fire-places and high mantels 
opening out upon them ; with long dark passages, and stairs 
at unexpected places ; and carved wainscoating, and gray- 
haired servants, who have grown old with the old house, and 
can remember General Jackson as long as they can remem- 
ber their own fathers. 

On reaching Nashville, Colonel Benton and his brother 
Jesse did not go to their accustomed inn, but stopped at the 
City Hotel, to avoid General Jackson, unless he chose to go 
out of his way to seek them. This was on the 3d of Sep- 
tember. In the evening of the same day it came to pass that 
General Jackson and Colonel Coffee rode into town, and put 
up their horses, as usual, at the Nashville Inn. Whether the 
coming of these portentous gentlemen was in consequence of 
the General's having received, a few hours before, an intima- 
tion of the arrival of Colonel Benton, is one of those ques- 
tions which must be left to that already overburdened indi- 
vidual — the future historian. Perhaps it was true, as Colonel 
Coffee grinningly remarked, that they had come to get their 
letters from the post office. They were there — that is the 
main point — and concluded to stop all night. Captain Car- 
roll called in the course of the evening, and told the General 
that an affair of a most delicate and tender nature compelled 
him to leave Nashville at dawn of day. 

" Go, by all means," said the General " I want no man 
to fight my battles." 

The next morning, about nine, Colonel Coffee proposed 
to General Jackson that they should stroll over to the post 
office. They started. The General carried with him, as he 
generally did, his riding whip. He also wore a small sword, 
as all gentlemen once did, and as official persons were accus- 




tomed to do in Tennessee, as late as the war of 1812. The 
post office was then situated in the public square, on the 
corner of a little alley, just beyond the City Hotel. There 
were, therefore, two ways of getting to it from the Nashville 
Inn. One way was to go straight to it, across the angle of 
the square ; the other, to keep the sidewalk and go round. 

1 1 











Nashville Tim. 

Our two friends took the short cut, walking leisurely along. 
When they were about midway between their inn and the 
post office, Colonel Coffee, glancing towards the City Hotel, 
observed Colonel Benton standing in the doorway thereof, 
drawn up to his full height, and looking daggers at them. 

" Do you see that fellow ?" said Coffee to Jackson, in a 
low tone. 

" Oh, yes," replied Jackson without turning his head, " I 
have my eye on him." 

They continued their walk to the post office, got their 
letters, and set out on their return. This time, however, 

1813.] FEUD WITH THE BENTON 8. 393 

they did not take the short way across the square, but kept 
down the sidewalk, which led past the front door at which 
Colonel Bentoji was posted. As they drew near, they ob- 
served that Jesse Benton was standing before the hotel near 
his brother. On coming up to where Colonel Benton stood, 
General Jackson suddenly turned toward him, with his whip 
in his right hand, and, stepping up to him, said, 

" Now, you d — d rascal, I am going to punish you. De- 
fend yourself" 

Benton put his hand into his breast pocket and seemed to 
be fumbling for his pistol. As quick as lightning, Jackson 
drew a pistol from a pocket behind him, and presented it full 
at his antagonist, who recoiled a pace or two. Jackson ad- 
vanced upon him. Benton continued to step slowly back- 
ward, Jackson close upon him, with a pistol at his heart, 
until they had reached the back door of the hotel, and were 
in the act of turning down the back piazza. At that mo- 
ment, just as Jackson was beginning to turn, Jesse Benton 
entered the passage behind the belligerents, and, seeing his 
brother's danger, raised his pistol and fired at Jackson. The 
pistol was loaded with two balls and a large slug. The slug 
took effect in Jackson's left shoulder, shattering it horribly. 
One of the balls struck the thick part of his left arm, and 
buried itself near the bone. The other ball splintered the 
board partition at his side. The shock of the wounds was 
such, that Jackson fell across the entry, and remained pros- 
trate, bleeding profusely. 

Coffee had remained just outside, meanwhile. Hearing 
the report of the pistol, he sprang into the entry, and seeing 
his chief prostrate at the feet of Colonel Benton, concluded 
that it was his ball that had laid him low. He rushed 
upon Benton, drew hid pistol, fired, and missed. Then he 
" clubbed" his pistol, and was about to strike, when Colonel 
Benton, in stepping backward, came to some stairs of which 
he was not aware, and fell headlong to the bottom. Cof- 
fee, thinking him hors du combat, hastened to the assistance 
of his wounded General. 



The report of Jesse Benton's pistol brought another actor 
on the bloody scene— Stokely Hays, a nephew of Mrs. Jack- 
son, and a devoted friend to the General. He was standing 
near the Nashville Inn, when he heard the pistol. He knew 
well what was going forward, and ran with all his speed to 
the spot. He, too, saw the General lying on the floor welter- 
ing in his blood. But;, unlike Coffee, he perceived who it was 
that had fired the deadly charge. Hays was a man of a 
giant's size, and a giant's strength. He snatched from his 
sword-cane its long and glittering blade, and made a lunge 
at Jesse with such frantic force, that it would have pinned 
him to the wall had it taken effect. Luckily the point 
struck a buttop, and the slender weapon was broken to pieces. 
He then drew a dirk, threw himself in a paroxysm of fury 
upon Jesse, and got him down upon the floor. Holding him 
down with one hand, he raised the dirk to plunge it into his 
breast. The prostrate man seized the coat-cuff of the de- 
scending arm and diverted the blow, so that the weapon only 
pierced the fleshy part of his left arm. Hays strove madly 
to disengage his arm, and in doing so gave poor Jesse several 
flesh wounds. At length, with a mighty wrench, he tore his 
cuff from Jesse Benton's convulsive grasp, lifted the dirk 
high in the air, and was about to bury it in the heart of his 
antagonist, when a by-stander caught the uplifted hand and 
prevented the further shedding of blood. Other by-standere 
then interfered ; the maddened Hays, the wrathful Coffee, 
the irate Benton were held back from continuing the combat, 
and quiet was restored. 

Faint from the loss of blood, Jackson was conveyed to a 
room in the Nashville Inn, his wound still bleeding fearfully. 
Before the bleeding could be stopped, two mattresses, as Mrs. 
Jackson used to say, were soaked through, and the General 
was reduced almost to the last gasp. All the doctors in 
Nashville were soon in attendance, all but one of whom, and 
he a young man, recommended the amputation of the shat- 
tered arm. " I'll keep my arm," said the wounded man, and 
he kept it. No attempt was made to extract the ball, and it 


remained in the arm for twenty years. The ghastly wounds 
in the shoulder were dressed, in the simple manner of the 
Indians and pioneers, with poultices of slippery elm, and 
other products of the woods. The patient was utterly pros- 
trated with the loss of blood. It was two or three weeks 
before he could leave his bed. 

After the retirement of the General's friends, the Bentons 
remained for an hour or more upon the scene of the affray, 
denouncing Jackson as an assassin, and a defeated assassin. 
They defied him to come forth and renew the strife. Colonel 
Benton made a parade of breaking Jackson's small-sword, 
which had been dropped in the struggle, and left on the floor 
of the hotel. He broke it in the public square, and accom- 
panied the act with words defiant and contemptuous, uttered 
in the loudest tones of his thundering voice. The General's 
friends, all anxiously engaged around the couch of their 
bleeding chief, disregarded these demonstrations at the time, 
and the brothers retired, victorious and exulting. 

On the days following, however, Colonel Benton did not 
find the General's partisans so acquiescent. " I am literally 
in hell here," he wrote, shortly after the fight ; " the meanest 
wretches under heaven to contend with — liars, affidavit- 
makers, and shameless cowards. All the puppies of Jackson 
are at work on me ; but they will be astonished at what will 
happen ; for it is not them, but their master, whom I will 
hold accountable. The scalping-knife of Tgc umpsy is mercy 
compared with the affidavits of these villains. " I am in the 
middle of hell, and see no alternative but to kill or be killed ; 
for I will not crouch to Jackson ; and the fact that I and 
my brother defeated him and his tribe, and broke his small 
sword in the public square, will for ever rankle in his bosom, 
and make him thirst after vengeance. My life is in danger ; 
nothing but a decisive duel can save me, or even give me a 
chance for my own existence ; for it is a settled plan to turn 
out puppy after puppy to bully me, and when I have got 
into a scrape, to have me killed somehow in the scuffle, and 
afterwards the affidavit-makers will prove it was honorably 


done. I shall never be forgiven having given my opinion in 
favor of Wilkinson's authority last winter ; and this is the 
root of the hell that is now turned loose against me." 

Shortly after the affray, Colonel Benton went to his home 
in Franklin, Tennessee, beyond the reach of "Jackson's pup- 
pies." He was appointed lieutenant colonel in the regular 
army ; left Tennessee ; resigned his commission at the close 
of the war ; emigrated to Missouri ; and never again met 
General Jackson till 1823, when both were members of the 
Senate of the United States. Jesse Benton, I may add, 
never forgave General Jackson ; nor could he ever forgive his 
brother for forgiving the General. Publications against Jack- 
son by the angry Jesse, dated as late as 1828, may be seen 
in old collections of political trash. 

Perhaps, in fairness, I should append to this narrative 
Colonel Benton's own statement of the affray, as published 
in the Franklin newspaper, a day or two after the Colonel 
returned home. The version of the affair given in this chap- 
ter is General Coffee's. I received it from an old friend of 
all the parties, who heard Genera! Coffee tell the story with 
great fullness and care, as though he were giving evidence 
before a court. Coffee, of course, would naturally place the 
conduct of General Jackson in the most favorable light. 
Benton, hot from the fray when he wrote his statement, could 
not be expected to know the whole or the exact truth. He 
seems, for example, to have left Nashville with the impres- 
sion that Jackson was not hurt at all, but had feigned a 
wound in order to escape one. And, indeed, it may be re- 
marked here, as well as anywhere, that neither the eyes nor 
the memory of one of these fiery spirits can be trusted. 
Long ago, in the early days of these inquiries, I ceased to 
believe any thing they may have uttered, when their pride or 
their passions were interested ; unless their story was sup- 
ported by other evidence or by strong probability. It is the 
nature of such men to forget what they wish had never oc- 
curred; to remember vividly the occurrences which flatter 
their ruling passion ; and unconsciously to magnify their own 

1813.] FEUD WITH THE BENT0N8. 397 

part in the events of the past. Telling the truth is supposed 
to be one of the easy virtues. What an error 1 It is an ac- 
complishment that has to be toiled for as heroes toil for vic- 
tory, as artists toil for excellence, as good men toil for the 
good of human kind. When Shakspeare said, that to be an 
honest man is to be one man picked out of ten thousand, he 
uttered an arithmetical as well as a moral truth. 

But here is Colonel Benton's statement ; which is, per- 
haps, as true as Coffee's ; and is certainly as true as Colonel 
Benton could make it at the time of writing, six days after 
the fight : — 

"Franklin, Tennessee, September 10, 1813. 

"A difference which had been for some months brewing between 
General Jackson and myself, produced on Saturday, the 4th instant, in the 
town of Nashville, the most outrageous affray ever witnessed in a civilized 
country. In communicating the affair to my friends and fellow-citizens, I 
limit myself to the statement of a few leading facts, the truth of which I 
am ready to establish by judicial proofs. 

tf 1. That myself and my brother, Jesse Benton, arriving in Nashville 
on the morning of the affray, and knowing of General Jackson's threats, 
went and took lodgings in a different house from the one in which he staid, 
on purpose to avoid him. 

" 2. That the General and some of his friends came to the house where 
we had put up, and commenced the attack by leveling a pistol at me, when 
I had no weapon drawn, and advancing upon me at a quick pace, without 
giving me time to draw one. 

" 3. That seeing this, my brother fired upon General Jackson, when 
he had got within eight or ten feet of me. 

" 4. That four other pistols were fired in quick succession ; one by 
General Jackson at me; two by me at the General; and one by Colonel 
Coffee at me. In the course of this firing, General Jackson was brought 
to the ground, but received no hurt 

" 5. That daggers were then drawn. Colonel Coffee and Mr. Alex- 
ander Donaldson made at me, and gave me five slight wounds. Captain 
Hammond and Mr. Stokely Hays engaged my brother, who, still suffering 
from a severe wound he had lately received in a duel, was not able to resist 
two men. They got him down ; and while Captain Hammond beat him 
on the head to make him lie still, Mr. Hays attempted to stab him, and 
wounded him in both arms as he lay on his back, parrying the thrusts 
with his naked hands. From this situation a generous-hearted citizen of 

VOL. 1. — 26 


Nashville, Mr. Sumner, relieved him. Before he came to the ground, my 
brother clapped a pistol to the breast of Mr. Hays, to blow him through, 
but it missed fire. 

" 6. My own and my brother's pistols carried two balls each ; for it 
was our intention, if driven to arms, to have no child's play. The pistols 
fired at me were so near that the blaze of the muzzle of one of them burnt 
the sleeve of my coat, and the other aimed at my head at a little more than 
arm's length from it 

" 7. Captain Carroll was to have taken part in the affray, but was ab- 
sent by the permission of General Jackson, as he had proved by the Gen- 
eral's certificate, a certificate which reflects I know not whether less honor 
upon the General or upon the Captain. 

"8. That this attack was made upon me in the house where the 
judge of the district, Mr. Searcy, had his lodgings! Nor has the civil 
authority yet taken cognizance of this horrible outrage. 

" These facts are sufficient to fix the public opinion. For my own part, 
I think it scandalous that such things should take place at any time ; but 
particularly so at the present moment, when the public service requires the 
aid of all its citizens. As for the name of courage, God forbid that I should 
ever attempt to gain it by becoming a bully. Those who know me, know 
full well that I would give a thousand times more for the reputation of 
Croghan in defending his post, than I would for the reputation of al the 
duelists and gladiators that ever appeared upon the face of the earth. 

"Thomas Hart Benton." 

The day on which the above was written, September 10th, 
1813, Commodore Perry gained his victory on Lake Erie. 
The news, so electric, so revivifying, reached Nashville at a 
moment when other tidings of a nature far different absorbed 
the minds of all the inhabitants of the frontier. When these 
boyish men fought their silly fight, on the 4th of September, 
the courier was already on his way from the South with a 
piece of news that would have stayed their bloody hands had 
it come in time. If they could but have knoivn what was 
transpiring on the Mobile river 1 Jackson was deeply to 
blame for that shameful affray. Judge, from following chap- 
ters, whether ever man was so exquisitely punished for a fault 
as he was for that. 




The Indian is a creature who does not improve upon 
acquaintance. Living near a tribe dispels so much of the 
romance which novelists and poets have thrown around the 
dusky race, as to induce considerable incredulity with regard 
to the tales they have told of Indian valor and generosity. 
As he now appears upon our western border, the Indian is a 
filthy, idle, cruel, lying coward, wholly a cumberer of the 
ground, incapable of any of the white man's virtues, while 
exaggerating all his vices ; respecting whom the thrifty pio- 
neer finds it hard to cherish any desire but this — to extermi- 
nate him. Behold the Indian upon his travels ! With 
sulky gravity, carrying only his pipe and rifle, he stalks across 
the prairie, his wife staggering along behind the solemn brute, 
with a huge pack upon her shoulder, and her child upon the 
pack. The modern traveler may be pardoned for being slow 
to believe much good of a people who, from time immemo- 
rial, have chosen this mode of getting over the ground. 

* Since writing the above, I find the following in one of Mr. Horace Greeley's 
letters from the far West, published in the New York Tribune, June, 1859 : — 

" The Indians are children. Their arts, wars, treaties, alliances, habitations, 
crafts, properties, commerce, comforts, all belong to the very lowest and rudest 
ages of human existence. Some few of the chiefs have a narrow and short- 
sighted shrewdness, and, very rarely in their history, a really great man, like 
Pontiac or Tecumseh, has arisen among them ; but this does not shake the gen- 
eral truth that they are utterly incompetent to cope in any way with the European 
or Caucasian race. Any band of schoolboys from ten to fifteen years of age, 
are quite as capable of ruling their appetites, devising and upholding a public 
policy, constituting and conducting a state or community as an average Indian 
tribe. . . . 

" I have learned to appreciate better than hitherto, and to make more allow- 
ance for, the dislike, aversion, contempt, wherewith Indians are usually regarded 


But every race produces superior individuals, whose lives 
constitute its heroic ages. Investigation establishes that 
Tecuinseh, though not the faultless ideal of a patriot prince 
that romantic story represents him, was all of a patriot, a 
hero, a man, that an Indian can be. If to conceive a grand, 
difficult and unselfish project ; to labor for many years with 
enthusiasm and prudence in attempting its execution ; to 
enlist in it by the magnetism of personal influence great 
multitudes of various tribes ; to contend for it with unfalter- 
ing valor longer than there was hope of success ; and to die 
fighting for it to the last, falling forward toward the enemy 
covered with wounds, is to give proof of an heroic cast of 
character, then is the Shawanoe chief, Tecumseh, in whose 
veins flowed no blood that was not Indian, entitled to rank 
among Heroes. 

The power of the Shawanoes was broken before Tecumseh 
was born. From the region of the Tallapoosa, in Alabama, 
his parents migrated, about the middle of the last century, to 
the valley of the Miamis, near their tribe's ancient seat ; and 
there Tecumseh was born. He gave signal evidence of pos- 
sessing a superior nature at the age of sixteen, when, for the 
first time, he saw a prisoner burnt. In silent horror he 
looked upon the scene. When it was over, he expressed his 
detestation of the act in such moving terms that the party 
resolved never to burn another prisoner, and, it is believed, no 

by their white neighbors, and havo been since the days of the Puritans. It needs 
but little familiarity with the actual, palpable Aborigines to convince any one that 
the pootic Indian — the Indian of Cooper and Longfellow — is only visible to the 
poet's eye. To the pro9aic observer, tho average Indian of the woods and prai- 
ries is a being who does little credit to human nature — a slave of appetite and 
sloth, never emancipated from the tyranny of one animal passion save by the more 
ravenous demands of another. As I passed over those magnificent bottoms of 
the Kansas which form the reservations of the Dela wares, Potawatamies, etc, 
constituting the very best corn lands on earth, and saw their owners sitting 
round the doors of their lodges in the height of the planting- season, and in as 
good, bright planting weather as sun and soil ever made, I could not help saying, 
' These peoplo must die out — there is no help for them. God has given this 
earth to those who will subdue and cultivate it, and it is vain to struggle against 
His righteous decree.' " 


1813.] TECUMSEH. 403 

prisoners taken by Indians under Tecumseh's command were 
ever tortured. Indeed, the Shawanoes must have been of 
kindlier blood than other northern Indians. It was among 
them that Count Zinzendorf, the Moravian missionary, labored, 
in 1742, with some success after his singular escape from as- 
sassination. The Count, so the story runs, was sitting, one 
evening, in his rude wigwam upon a bundle of dry weeds, 
which had been gathered for his bed, engaged in writing by 
the light of a small fire. A rattlesnake, warmed to life by 
the fire, was crawling unperceived over one of the old man's 
legs, when the assassins stealthily lifted the blanket that 
served for a door, and looked in. Struck with the majestic 
and venerable appearance of the Count as he sat absorbed in 
his writing, amazed that he should be unharmed by the rep- 
tile, they forbore the intended attack. For some moments, 
it is said, they stood watching the aged missionary, the silence 
of the night broken only by the distant murmur of rapids. 
Fear gathered about their savage hearts ; they glided from 
the spot, fled into the forest, and were soon eager receivers of 
the Moravian doctrine. Add to this that Logan, whose ora- 
tory Jefferson so highly extolled, was a Shawanoe. 

Tecumseh's great scheme of uniting all the western tribes, 
from Florida to the northern lakes, in one confederation 
against the whites, with the design of recovering the Indians' 
ancient heritage, was not a British project. It had nothing 
to do, in its conception, with the war of 1812. It was con- 
ceived, earned on, and, in effect, frustrated before the war of 
1812 was considered probable. Unlike Logan, Tecumseh 
was never a friend to the Americans. Too young to take 
part in the revolutionary contest, he had won distinction in 
the long Indian wars which gave such anxiety to General 
Washington during the second term of his presidency. After 
the peace, he lived for many years an Indian among Indians, 
surpassing all his tribe in the arts and feats which Indians 
honor ; a natural chief, magnificent in aspect and propor- 
tions, equally distinguished as orator, hunter and ball player. 
Of his skill in hunting it is narrated that, challenged to a 


contest by the best hunters of his tribe, he returned, at the 
end of three days, with thirty deer skins, while none of his 
competitors brought in more than twelve. 

He spent two years of his early manhood on a sporting 
visit to his parents' old friends, the Creeks of Alabama, 
among whom he formed friendships which proved of impor- 
tance to him in after years. 

It was the sale of the favorite hunting-grounds on the 
river Wabash, soon after Mr. Jefferson came into power, that 
gave Tecumseh such deep offense, and led to the conception 
of his great design.* The difficulties in treating with In- 
dians for the purchase of their lands are, first, to ascertain 
what tribe has a right to sell them ; and, secondly, to know 
what individuals of a tribe are authorized to act for the rest. 
Unhappily, the white man, always eager to " extinguish the 
Indian titles," as Mr. Jefferson politely phrased it, is not apt 
to linger long over these doubtful points ; but hastens to 
conclude his purchase, and then stands ready to defend his 
parchment right by the rifle. Hence have arisen most of our 
bloody Indian wars. It was left for the large-minded Te- 
cumseh to originate the grand doctrine that no single tribe 
could rightfully sell any portion of the lands which, as he 
claimed, belonged to the red men as a common possession. 
" The Great Spirit," said he to General Harrison, " gave this 
great island to his red children ; he placed the whites on the 
other side of the big water ; they were not contented with 
their own, but came to take ours from us. They have driven 
us from the sea to the lakes ; we can go no further. They 
have taken upon them to say this tract belongs to the Miamis, 
this to the Delawares, and so on ; but the Great Spirit in- 
tended it as the common property of us all. Our father tells 
us, that we have no business on the Wabash, the land be- 
longs to other tribes ; but the Great Spirit ordered us to 
come here, and here we will stay." 

General Harrison could not, Tecumseh would not re- 

* See Life of Tecumseh, by Beqjamin Drake, for most of these particulars. 

1813.] TECUMSEH. 405 

cede. The utmost the General could do was to refer the dis- 
pute to the President. "Well," said Tecumseh, "as the 
great chief is to determine the matter, I hope the Great Spirit 
will put sense enough into his head to induce him to give up 
this land : it is true, he is so far off he will not be injured by 
the war ; he may sit still in his town and drink his wine, 
whilst you dnd I will have to fight it out." These were pro- 
phetic words. 

For four years Tecumseh was engaged in preparing the 
tribes for a general war. He acquired an astonishing ascend- 
ency over the savage mind. A silent man in the ordinary 
circumstances of life, as the greatest men always are, he could 
employ more than the eloquence of Logan when descanting 
upon the Indian's wrongs and the white man's encroach- 
ments. General Harrison, who was long his patient and for- 
bearing adviser, and then his conqueror, speaks of him as 
" one of those uncommon geniuses which spring up # occasion- 
ally to produce revolutions, and overturn the established or- 
der of things. If it were not for the vicinity of the United 
States, he would, perhaps, be the founder of an empire that 
would rival in glory Mexico or Peru. No difficulties deter 
him. For Jour years he has been in constant motion. You 
see him to-day on the Wabash, and in a short time hear of 
him on the shores of Lake Erie or Michigan, or on the banks 
of the Mississippi ; and wherever he goes he makes an im- 
pression favorable to his purposes."* 

This Moses of the Indians had his Aaron — that brother 
of Tecumseh who figures so conspicuously in western annals 
as the Prophet. This man was a born liar— one of those 
beings, of whom eveiy race produces examples, who from 
childhood exhibit a love of falsehood for its own sake ; weav- 
ing elaborate fictions without any apparent object. But, 
what is remarkable in this prophet, as in others of his craft, 
he preached, upon the whole, a better morality than the In- 
dians had known before. The substance of his message was, 

* Montgomery's Life of General Harrison. 


that Indians should be Indians ; good Indians, but nothing 
but Indians. They should return wholly to the ways of their 
fathers, discarding, above all, the white man's whisky ; also, 
his dress, customs, implements, even to his flint and steel. 
Indian women should no more marry white men. Indian 
husbands should no more beat their wives, nor ill treat their 
children. These maxims he enforced by various ingenious 
tales. He said, for example, that he had formerly been him- 
self a great drunkard ; but on visiting, as prophets may do, 
the abode of the devil, he observed that those who had died 
drunkards were all there with flames of fire issuing from then- 
mouths ; and that, alarmed at the sight, he had reformed, 
and now called on all Indians to follow his example. To a 
surprising extent, the Indians obeyed his precepts. In con- 
nection with their reformation, however, arose a revival of 
zeal for the punishment of witchcraft, and we read of their 
roasting gne poor old woman four days to extract from her 
her diabolical secret. 

It is probable that whatever was good and useful in the 
Prophet's teaching was due to the influence of Tecumseh, 
while the lies and miracles, the ceremonies and incantations, 
were the Prophet's own work. But this conjunction of the 
Patriot and Prince of Darkness proved, as it has often done 
before, the ruin of the good cause. 

In the spring of 1811, Tecumseh, leaving his affairs in the 
hands of the Prophet, as Moses did in those of Aaron when 
he ascended the Mount, went to the South, preaching his 
crusade. Far and long he traveled, sowing the seeds of 
future wars. In Florida, among the persistent Seminoles ; 
in Georgia and Alabama, among the powerful Creeks and 
Cherokees ; in Missouri, among the tribes of the Des Moins, 
he held the war council, delivered his impassioned " talk," 
and strode away. He returned in November, 1811, only to 
learn that his brother, forsaking his own prudent counsels, 
puffed up with self-importance, had rashly attacked General 
Harrison's army with nine hundred warriors, wrought to 
frenzy by the Prophet's eloquence ; and had met with the 

1813.] TECUM8EH. 407 

disastrous defeat of Tippecanoe. The prestige of the 
Prophet, who had promised certain victory, was gone for 
ever among the northern Indians. Tecumseh's chosen war- 
riors, the nucleus of the great army he had hoped to lead, 
were killed or dispersed. The rage of the great chief availed 

The battle of Tippecanoe would have ended, or long 
deferred, Tecumseh's grand design, but for the opportune 
declaration of war between Great Britain and the United 
States on the eighteenth of June, 1812. 

Tecumseh's resolution to join the British was instantly 
taken. Some neighboring Indians inviting him to join a 
council of tribes which had determined to remain neutral, he 
replied : " No : I have taken sides with the King, my father, 
and I will suffer my bones to bleach upon this shore, before 
I will recross that stream to join in any council of neutrality/' 
In a few days he was in the field. The first blood shed in 
the war was shed through him, and the first advantage gained 
by the British was due to his assistance. At Detroit he wit- 
nessed, with mingled exultation and contempt, the surrender 
of Hull. Taken into high favor by the British generals, who 
testify in strong language to his quick intelligence, his mili- 
tary eye, his great presence and perfect courage, his scheme 
of uniting the tribes was adopted as a part of the system of 
carrying on the war. And such was Tecumseh's zeal and 
activity, and such his knowledge of Indian nature, that* the 
news of our disasters in Canada was whispered among the 
Creeks of Alabama before they had been heard of among the 
white settlers ! The fall of 1812 again found Tecumseh, 
accompanied by the Prophet and a retinue of thirty warriors, 
haranguing the Creeks in the midnight council ; and, this 
time, with prodigious effect. Now, he could point to the 
successes of the British in the North ; now he could give cer- 
tain promises of assistance from the English and Spaniards 
in Florida ; now he spoke with the authority of a British 
agent and officer. 

How important to the British was the cooperation of the 


Indians is attested by Mr. C. J. Ingersoll, whose residence at 
Washington, as a member of Congress, during the war, 
opened to him valuable sources of information. " Dread of 
the scalping-knife and tomahawk," says Mr. Ingersoll, in his 
discursive but interesting history of the war, " did more to 
save Canada for England than the equivocal loyalty of her 
Canadian subjects, the skill, valor, and admirable tactics of 
her best officers and soldiers. To dread of the savages, alone, 
Hull gave way when he first faltered. That dread took him 
back from Sandwich to Detroit ; overcame him to surrender 
Detroit, much more than hostile attack by civilized men in 
arms. They do but capture, kill, and wound enemies. But 
Indians torture, mutilate, murder, put to death with aggrava- 
tions far worse than mere homicide. Dread of the Indians 
struck the militia with panic, when they dared not pass over 
to rescue their countrymen at Queenstown. Dread of them 
induced Colonel Boersler to surrender to an inferior force 
which he might have resisted. Dread of the Indians multi- 
plied their numbers and power so fearfully to American recol- 
lections that Indian barbarities were by far the most for- 
midable of England's means of hostility against the United 

Indians are excited to the point of declaring war by a pro- 
cess similar to that by which the war spirit is kindled in a 
civilized nation. First, a war party is formed, which in- 
creases until it embraces a majority, or, at least, a formidable 
minority of the tribe. Then the " conservative" opponents 
of the war, who resist all argument, entreaty, and intrigue, 
become objects of obloquy, resentment, and, lastly, persecu- 
tion. Thus a civil war is fomented, in which, if the war 
party triumphs, war becomes the policy of the tribe, the war 
dance begins, and the warriors go forth to the ambush. So 
long had the Creeks been at peace with the settlers, and 
such progress had many of them made in civilization, and so 
many intelligent chiefs among them were peculiarly attached 
to the whites, that this process was a long and doubtful 

1813.] TBOUMSEH, 409 

It was going on when Tecumseh arrived. Colonel Haw- 
kins, the United States Indian Agent, who had for many 
years governed the Creeks and assisted them to acquire the 
arts of civilization, was holding a great council of the tribe 
when Tecumseh came into the country. Of this council, and 
Tecumseh's appearance and speech therein, Mr. Pickett, in 
his History of Alabama, gives us an interesting account : — 

" The ancient capital of the Creeks never looked so gay and 
populous. An autumnal sun glittered upon the yellow faces 
of five thousand natives, besides whites and negroes who min- 
gled with them. At the conclusion <rf the agent's first day's 
address, Tecumseh at the head of his Ohio party marched 
into the square. They were entirely naked except their flaps 
and ornaments. Their faces were painted black, and their 
heads adorned with eagle plumes, while buffalo tails dragged 
from behind, suspended by bands which went around their 
waists. Buffalo tails were also attached to their arms, and 
made to stand out by means of bands. Their appearance was 
hideous, and their bearing pompous and ceremonious. They 
marched round and round in the square ; then, approaching 
the chiefs, they cordially shook them with the whole length 
of the arm, and exchanged tobacco, a common ceremony with 
the Indians, denoting friendship. Captain Isaacs, chief of 
Coosawda, was the only one who refused to exchange to- 
bacco. His head, adorned with its usual costume — a pair of 
buffalo horns — was shaken in contempt of Tecumseh, who, 
he said, was a bad man, and no greater than he was. 

" Evory day, Tecumseh appeared in the square to deliver 
his c Talk/ and all ever were anxious to hear it ; but, late 
in the evening, he would rise and say, i The sun has gone 
too far to-day — I will make my talk to-morrow/ At length, 
Hawkins terminated his business, and departed for the 
agency upon the Flint. That night, a grand council was 
held in the great Bound-house. Tecumseh, presenting his 
graceful and majestic form above the heads of hundreds, 
made known his mission in a long speech, full of fire and ven- 
geance. He exhorted them to return to their primitive cue- 


toms, to throw aside the plow and loom, and to abandon 
an agricultural life, which was unbecoming Indian warriors. 
He told them that after the whites had possessed the greater 
part of their country, turned its beautiftd forests into large 
fields, and stained their rivers with the washings of the soil, 
they would then subject them to African servitude. He ex- 
horted them to assimilate in no way with the grasping, 
unprincipled race, to use none of their arms, and wear none 
of their clothes, but dress in the skins of beasts which the 
Great Spirit had given his red children for food and raiment, 
and to use the war-club, the scalping-knife, and the bow. 
He concluded by announcing that the British, their former 
friends, had sent him from the Big Lakes to procure their 
services in expelling the Americans from all Indian soil ; that 
the King of England was ready handsomely to reward all who 
would fight for his cause. 

" A prophet, who composed one of the party of Tecum- 
seh, next spoke. He said that he frequently communed with 
the Great Spirit, who had sent Tecumseh to their country 
upon this mission, the character of which that great chief 
had described. He declared that those who would join the 
war party should be shielded from all harm — none would be 
killed in battle ; that the Great Spirit would surround them 
with quagmires, which would swallow up the Americans as 
they approached ; that they would finally expel every Geor- 
gian from the soil as far as Savannah ; that they would see 
the arms of Tecumseh stretched out in the heavens at a cer- 
tain time, and that they would know when to begin the war. 

" A short time before daylight the council adjourned, and 
more than half the audience had already resolved to go to 
war against the Americans." 

To his public addresses from town to town, Tecumseh 
added private persuasion. He established prophets in vari- 
ous places to do the requisite howling and dancing, and to 
perform miracles. His utmost exertions were employed in 
gaining over the great chiefs. 

Among his first disciples, and quite his greatest, waa 


Wcathersford, a half-breed, a man of kindred spirit to him- 
self, possessing much of his own grandeur of idea ; handsome, 
sagacious, eloquent and brave. 

Northward Tecumseh soon returned, leaving the memory 
of his burning words and artful arguments to work in the 
minds of the southern Indians. His injunctions to secrecy 
were so well observed, that for six months after his depart- 
ure, during which the war question was intensely agitating 
tribes numbering, perhaps, thirty thousand persons, and seven 
thousand fighting men, the settlers slept in peace and tilled 
their fields without fear. As late as midsummer, 1813, the 
authorities were still in doubt whether anything serious was 
meditated by the Creeks. A few weeks later, while Tecum- 
seh lay dead on the battle-field of the Thames, his superb 
body flayed by miscreants who could not have stood before 
his living frown, his mission to the South was producing its 
effects in wide-spread terror and hideous carnage — had 
already produced the event which called Andrew Jackson 
and the Tennessee volunteers to the field again. 



August 30th, 1813, was the date of this most woeful and 
most terrible event. The place was a fort, or stockade-of- 
refuge, on the shores of Lake Tensaw, in the southern part of 
what is now the State of Alabama. 

One Samuel Mims, an old and wealthy inhabitant of the 
Indian country, had enclosed with upright logs an acre of 
land, in the middle of which stood his house, a spacious one- 
story building, with sheds adjoining. The enclosure, pierced 
with five hundred port-holes, three and a half feet from the 
ground, was entered by two heavy rude gates, one on the east- 


412 LI^E OF ANDREW, JACKSON. [18131 

ern and one on the western side. In a corner, on a slight ele- 
vation, a block house was begun, but never finished. When 
the country became thoroughly alarmed, the inhabitants along 
the Alabama river, few in number and without means of de- 
fense, had left their crops' standing in the fields and their houses 
open to the plunderer, and had rushed to the block houses and 
stockades, of which there were twenty in a line of seventy 
miles. The neighbors of Mr. Mims resorted to his enclosure, 
each family hastening to construct within it a rough cabin for 
its own accommodation. 

As soon as the fort — for fort it was called — was sufficiently 
prepared for their reception, Governor Claiborne, of Orleans, 
dispatched one hundred and seventy-five volunteers to assist 
in its defense, under the command of Major Daniel Beasley. 
Already, from the neighborhood, seventy militiamen had as- 
sembled at the fort, besides a mob of friendly Indians, and 
one hundred and six negro slaves. Upon taking the command, 
Major Beasley, to accommodate the multitude which thronged 
to the fort, had enlarged it by making a new line of picketing 
sixty feet beyond the eastern end, but left the old line of stock- 
ades standing, thus forming two enclosures. 

On the morning of the fatal day, though Major Beasley 
had spared some of his armed men for the defense of neigh- 
boring stations, Fort Mims contained no less than five hun- 
dred and fifty-three souls, a mass of human beings crowded 
together in a flat, swampy region, under the broiling sun of 
an Alabama August. Of these, more than one hundred were 
white women and children. 

Many days had passed — long, hot, tedious days — and no 
Indians were seen. The first terror abated. The higher offi- 
cers, it seems, had scarcely believed at all in the hostile inten- 
tions of the Creeks, and were inclined to make light of the 
general consternation. At least, they were entirely confident 
in their ability to defend the fort against any force that the 
Indians could bring against it. The motley inmates gave 
themselves up to fun and frolic. A rumor would occasionally 
come in with alarming news of Indian movements, and, for a 


few hours, the old caution was resumed, and the men would 
languidly work on the defenses. But still the hourly scouts 
sent out by the commander could discover no traces of an en- 
emy, and the hot days and nights still wore away without 

August 29th, two slaves, who had been sent out to mind 
some cattle that grazed a few miles from the fort, came rush- 
ing breathless through the gate, reporting that they had seen 
twenty-four painted warriors. A general alarm ensued, and 
the garrison flew to their stations. A party of horse, guided 
by the negroes, galloped to the spot, but could neither find 
Indians, nor discover any of the usual traces of their pres- 
ence. Upon their return, one of the negroes was tied up and 
severely flogged for alarming the garrison by what Major Beas- 
ley supposed to be a sheer fabrication. The other negro would 
also have been punished but for the interference of his master, 
who believed his tale ; at which interference the major was so 
much displeased that he ordered the gentleman, with his large 
family, to leave the fort on the following morning. Never did 
such a fatal infatuation possess the mind of a man entrusted 
with so many human lives. 

The 30th of August arrived. At ten in the morning the 
commandant was sitting in his room writing to Governor 
Claiborne a letter (which still exists) to the effect that he 
need not concern himself in the least respecting the safety of 
Fort Mims, as there was no doubt of its impregnability 
against any Indian force whatever. Both gates were wide 
open. Women were preparing dinner. Children were play- 
ing about the cabins. Soldiers were sauntering, sleeping, 
playing cards. The owner of the frightened negro had now 
consented to his punishment rather than leave the fort, and 
the poor fellow was tied up expecting soon to feel the lash. 
His companion, who had been whipped the day before, was 
out tending cattle at the same place, where again he saw, or 
thought he saw, painted warriors ; and fearing to be whipped 
again if he reported the news, fled to the next station some 

miles distant. 
vol. i. — 27 


All this calm and quiet morning, from before daylight 
until noon, there lay in a ravine only four hundred yards 
from the fort's eastern gate, one thousand Creek warriors, 
armed to the teeth, and hideous with war paint and feathers. 
Weathersford, the crafty and able chieftain, had led them from 
Pensacola, where the British had supplied them with weapons 
and ammunition, to this well-chosen spot, where they crouched 
and waited through the long slow morning, with the devilish 
patience with which savages and tigers can wait for their 
prey. So dead was the silence in the ravine, that the birds 
fluttered and sang as usual in the branches above the dusky 
breathing mass. Five prophets with blackened faces, with 
medicine bags and magic rods, lay among them, ready at the 
signal to begin their incantations and stimulate the fury of 
the warriors. 

At noon a drum in the fort beat to dinner ; officers and 
men, their arms laid aside, all unsuspicious of danger, we/c 
gathering to the meal in various parts of the stockade. That 
dinner drum was the signal which Weathersford had cun- 
ningly chosen for the attack. At the first tap, the silent 
ravine was alive with Indians, who leaped up and ran in a 
tumultuous mass toward the eastern gate of the devoted fort. 
The head of the throng had reached a field, one hundred and 
fifty yards across, that lay before the gate, had raised a hid- 
eous whoop, and were streaming across the field, before a sen- 
tinel saw or heard them. Then arose thp terrible cry, Indians! 
Indians ! and there was a rush of women and children to the 
houses, and of men to the gates and port-holes. Major 
Beasley was one of the first at the gate, and made a frantic 
attempt to close it ; but sand had washed into the gateway, 
and ere the obstruction could be removed, the savages poured 
in, felled the commander to the earth with clubs and toma- 
hawks, and ran over his bleeding body into the fort. He 
crawled behind the gate, and in a few minutes died, exhort- 
ing his men with his last breath to make a resolute resistance. 
At once the whole of that part of the fort which had been 
Jately added, and which was separated from the main en- 


closure by the old line of pickets, was filled with Indians, 
hooting, howling, dancing among the dead bodies of many of 
the best officers and men of the little garrison. The poor 
negro, tied up to be whipped for doing all he could to prevent 
this catastrophe, was killed as he stood waiting for his pun- 

The situation was at once simple and horrible. Two en- 
closures adjoining, with a line of port-holes through the log 
partition — one enclosure full of men, women, children, friendly 
Indians and negroes — the other filled with howling savages, 
mad with the lust of slaughter ; both compartments contain- 
ing sheds, cabins, and other places for refuge and assault — 
the large open field without the eastern gate covered with 
what seemed a countless swarm of naked fiends hurrying to 
the fort — all avenues of escape closed by Weathersford's fore- 
sight and vigilance — no white station within three miles, and 
no adequate help within a day's march — the commandant 
and some of his ablest officers trampled under the feet of the 
savage foe. Such was the posture of affairs at Fort Mims a 
few minutes after noon on this dreadful day. 

The garrison, partly recovering their first panic, formed 
along the line of port-holes and fired some .effective volleys, 
killing with the first discharge the five prophets who were 
dancing, grimacing, and howling among the assailants in the 
smaller enclosure. These men had given out that they were 
invulnerable. American bullets were to split upon their sa- 
cred persons and pass off harmless. Their fall so abated the 
ardor of the savages that their fire slackened, and some began 
to retreat from the fort. But new crowds kept coming up, 
and the attack was soon renewed in all its first fury. 

The garrison, with scarcely an exception, behaved as men 
should do in circumstances so terrible and desperate. One 
Captain Bailey took the command after the death of Major 
Beasley, and infused the fire of his own indomitable spirit 
into the hearts of the whole company ; adding an example 
of cool valor to encouraging words. The garrison maintained 
a ceaseless 4nd destructive fire through the port-holes and 


from the houses. It happened, more than once, that at a 
simultaneous discharge through a port-hole, both the Indian 
without and the white man within were killed. Even the 
boys and some of the women assisted in the defense ; and 
few of the women gave themselves up to terror while there 
remained any hope of preserving the fort. Some of the old 
men broke holes in the roof of the large house and did great 
execution upon the savages outside of the stockade. The 
noise was terrific. All the Indians who could not get at the 
port-holes to fight seem to have passed the hours of this hor- 
rible day in dancing round the fort, screaming, hooting, and 
taunting the inmates with their coming fate. 

Amid scenes like these three hours passed, and still the 
larger part of the fort remained in the hands of the garrison, 
though many a gallant soldier had fallen, and the rooms of 
the large house were filled with wounded men and minister- 
ing women. The heroic Bailey still spoke cheerily. He said 
that Indians never fought long when they were bravely met ; 
they would certainly abandon the assault if the garrison con- 
tinued to resist. He tried to induce a small party to make 
a sortie ; fight their way to the next station, and bring a 
force to attack the enemy in the rear. Failing in this, he 
said he would go himself, and began to climb the picketing, 
but was pulled back by his friends who saw the madness of 
the attempt. 

About three o'clock the Indians seemed to tire of the 
long contest. The fire slackened ; the howlings subsided ; 
the savages began to carry off the plunder from the cabins 
in the lesser enclosure ; and hope revived in many a despair- 
ing heart. But Weathersford, at this hour, rode lip on a 
large black horse, and meeting a throng of the retreating 
plunderers, upbraided them in an animated speech, and in- 
duced them to return with him to the fort and complete its 

And now fire was added to the horrors of the scene. 
By burning arrows and other expedients, the house of Mr. 
Mima was set on fire, and soon the whole structure, with its 


extensive out-buildings and sheds, was wrapped in flames; 
while the shrieks of the women and children were heard, for 
the first time, above the dreadful din and whoop of the bat- 
tle. One after another, the smaller buildings caught, until 
the whole enclosure was a roaring sea of flame, except one 
poor corner, where some extra picketing formed a last refuge 
to the surviving victims. Into this enclosure hurried a crowd 
of women, children, negroes, old men, wounded soldiers, 
trampling one another to death — all in the last agonies of 
mortal terror. The savages were soon upon them, and the 
work of slaughter — fierce, unrelenting slaughter — began. 
Children were seized by the feet and their brains dashed 
out against the pickets. Women were cut to pieces. Men 
were tomahawked and scalped. Some poor Spaniards, de- 
serters from Pensacola, were kneeling along the pickets/ 
and were tomahawked, one after another, as they knelt. 
Weathersford, who was not a savage, but a misguided hero 
and patriot, worthy of Tecumseh's friendship, did what Te- 
cumseh would have done if he had been there : he tried to 
stop this horrid carnage. But the Indians were delirious 
and frantic with the love of blood, and would not stay their 
murderous hands while one of that mass of human victims 
continued to live. 

At noon that day, as we have seen, five hundred and 
fifty three persons were inmates of Fort Mims. At sunset, 
four hundred mangled, scalped and bloody corpses were 
heaped and strewed within its wooden walls. Not one 
white woman, not one white child, escaped. Twelve of 
the garrison, at the last moment, by cutting through two 
of the pickets, got out of the fort, and fled to the swamp. 
A large number of the negroes were spared by the Indians 
and kept for slaves. A few half-breeds were made prisoners. 
Captain Bailey, severely wounded, ran to the swamp, and 
died by the side of a cypress stump. A negro woman, with 
a ball in her breast, reached a canoe on lake Tensaw, and 
paddled fifteen miles to Fort Stoddart, and bore the first 
news of the massacre to Governor Claiborne. Most of the 


men who fled from the slaughter wandered for days in the 
swamps and forests, and only reached places of safety, nearly 
starved, after many a hair-breadth escape from the Indians. 
Some of them are still living, from whose lips, Mr. A. J. 
Pickett, the historian of Alabama, gathered most of the 
particulars which have been briefly related here. 

The garrison sold their lives as dearly as they could. It 
is thought that four hundred of Weathersford's band were 
killed and wounded. That night the savages, exhausted 
with th ir bloody work, appear to have slept near the scene 
of the massacre. Next day they returned to bury their dead, 
but fatigued with the number, gave it up, and left many ex- 
posed. Ten days after, Major Kennedy reached the spot with 
a detachment of troops to bury the bodies of the whites, and 
found the air dark with buzzards, and hundreds of dogs 
gnawing the bodies. In two large pits the troops, shudder- 
ing now with horror, and now fierce for revenge, succeeded 
at length in burying the remains of their countrymen and 
countrywomen. Major Kennedy said in his report, " Indians, 
negroes, white men, women and children, lay in one pro- 
miscuous ruin. All were scalped, and the females of every 
age were butchered in a manner which neither decency noi 
language will permit me to describe. The main building 
was burned to ashes, which were filled with bones. The 
plains and woods around were covered with dead bodies. 
All the houses were consumed by fire, except the block house 
and a part of the pickets. The soldiers and officers with 
one voice called on divine Providence to revenge the death 
of our murdered friends." 

Such was the massacre at Fort Mims. The news flew 
upon the wings of the wind. From Mobile to the borders 
of Tennessee, from the vicinity of New Orleans almost to 
the coast of Georgia, there was felt to be no safety for the 
white man except in fortified posts ; nor certain safety even 
in them. In the country of the Alabama river and its 
branches, every white man, woman and child, every friendly 
half-breed and Indian, hurried to the stockades, or fled in 


wild terror toward Mobile. " Never in my life/' wrote an 
eye-witness, " did I see a country given up before without a 
struggle. Here are the finest crops my eyes ever beheld 
made and almost fit to be housed, with immense herds of 
cattle, negroes, and property, abandoned by their owners, 
almost on the first alarm." Within the stockades diseases 
raged, and hundreds of families, unable to get within those 
enclosures, lay around the walls, squalid, panic-stricken, 
sick, and miserable. Parties of Indians roved about the 
country rioting in plunder. After burning the houses and 
laying waste the plantations, they would drive the cattle 
together in herds, and either destroy them in a mass, or 
drive them off for their future use. The horses were taken 
to facilitate their marauding, and their camps were filled 
with the luxuries of the planters' houses. Governor Clai- 
borne, a generous and feeling man, was at his wits' end. 
From every quarter came the most urgent and pathetic 
demands for troops. Not a man could be spared, for no 
one knew where next the exultant savages would endeavor 
to repeat the catastrophe of Fort Mims ; and in the best 
defended forts there were five non-combatants to one soldier. 
For some weeks of the autumn of 1813, it really seemed as 
if the white settlers of Alabama, including those of Mobile 
itself, were on the point of being exterminated. 

Had Weathersford's force hastened to improve their vic- 
tory, and marched upon Mobile, ill-garrisoned and crowded 
with fugitives, it is probable the town would have fallen be- 
fore them, and a direct communication with the British fleet 
been established. But an Indian, never very wise, is a drunken 
fool after victory. He must count and trim his scalps, re- 
count his exploits, secure his plunder, and miss the substan- 
tial advantages of his success. 

This will account for the first delay, but not for the final 
relinquishment of the original design of taking Mobile. That 
is no longer a mystery. Among the papers of Governor 
Claiborne is a letter taken at a later period of the war from 
Weathersford's house, which seems completely to explain the 



course of the Indians in sparing Mobile and in directing 
their forces towards the frontiers of Georgia and Tennessee. 
The letter proves beyond question, if proof were needed, that 
the Spanish authorities of Florida sympathized with the 
Creeks in their efforts against the United States, and gave 
them all the help they could give, both moral and substan- 
tial. The letter was dated Pensacola, September 29th, 1813, 
a month after the massacre, and was written by Maxeo Gon- 
zalez Manxique, then the governor of Florida. It was ad- 
dressed to the Creek chiefs, and read as follows : 

" Gentlemen : — I received the letter that you wrote me in the month 
of August, by which, and with great satisfaction, I was informed of the 
advantages which your brave warriors obtained over your enemies. 

" I represented, as I promised you, to the Captain General of the Ha- 
vanna, the request (which the last time I took you by the hand) you made 
me of arms and ammunitions ; but until now I can not yet have an an- 
swer. But I am in hopes that he will send me the effects which I re- 
quested, and as soon as I receive them I shall inform you. 

" I am very thankful for your generous offers to procure to me the 
provisions and warriors necessary in order to retake the post of Mobile, 
and you ask me at the same time if we have given up Mobile to the Amer- 
icans ? To which I answer, for the present I can not profit of your gener- 
ous offer, not being at war with the Americans, who did not take Mobile 
by force, since they purchased it from the miserable officer, destitute of 
honor, who commanded there, and delivered it without authority ; by 
which reasons the sale and delivery of that place is entirely void and null, 
and I hope that the Americans will restore it again to us, because nobody 
can dispose of a thing that is not his own property ; in consequence of 
which the Spaniards have not lost their right to it ; and I hope you will 
not put in execution the project you tell me of, to burn the town, since 
those houses and properties do not belong to the Americans but to true 

" To the bearers of your letter I have ordered some small presents to 
be given, and I remain for ever your good father and friend, 

(Signed) « Manxique." 

Thus Mobile was spared the horrors of what would prob- 
ably have been the most terrible massacre on record. And 
thus were the Creek warriors detained in the heart of the 


country, and led by the counsels of their friend and ally to 
go and meet their doom. 

The news of the massacre at Fort Mims was thirty-one 
days in reaching New York. It is a proof how occupied 
were the minds of the people in the northern States with 
great events, that the dread narrative appeared in the New 
York papers only as an item of war news of comparatively 
small importance. The last prodigious acts in the drama of 
Napoleon's decline and fall were watched with absorbing in- 
terest. The news of Perry's victory on Lake Erie had just 
thrilled the nation with delight and pride, and all minds were 
still eager for every new particular. Harrison's victory on 
the Thames over Proctor and Tecumseh soon followed. The 
lamentable condition of the southern country was therefore 
little felt at the time beyond the States immediately con- 
cerned. Perry and Harrison were the heroes of the hour. 
Their return from the scene of their exploits was a continu- 
ous triumphal fete. 

In a room at Nashville, a thousand miles from these 
splendid scenes, lay a gaunt, yellow-visaged man, sick, de- 
feated, prostrate, with his arm bound up, and his shoulders 
bandaged, waiting impatiently for his wounds to heal, and 
his strength to return. Who then thought of him in con- 
nection with victory and glory ? Who supposed that he, of 
all men, was the one destined to cast into the shade those 
favorites of the nation, and shine out as the prime hero of 
the war ? 



Alabama was then part of Mississippi Territory. Terri- 
fied and helpless, Mississippi could look for succor only to the 
States upon her borders — Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee. 
Governor Claiborne, of Louisiana, in his capacity of general 


of militia, was near the scene of the massacre ; but, with a 
force divided among the posts in lower Alabama, he was in- 
capable of making a single effective movement. To New 
Orleans, two hundred miles distant ; to the capital of 
Georgia, three hundred miles distant ; to Nashville, four 
hundred miles distant ; to Washington, a month's journey ; 
he dispatched expresses, bearing intelligence of his situation, 
and brief, earnest entreaties for instant aid. That done, 
nothing remained for him and his comrades but to wait and 

There must have been swift express riding in those early 
days of September, and as stealthy as swift through the In- 
dian country ; for, on the 18th of the month, nineteen days 
after the massacre, we find the people of Nashville assembled 
in town meeting to deliberate upon the event ; the Rev. Mr. 
Craighead in the chair. This was Saturday. A committee, 
of which Colonel Coffee was a member, was appointed to 
confer with Governor Blount and General Jackson, and re- 
port on the following day. On Sunday morning the citizens 
were again in session, listening to an eloquent address by the 
reverend chairman, and to a series of resolutions urging the 
immediate succor of the southern settlers. It was announced 
that the Governor of the State was favorable to the measure. 
" We have to regret/' said the committee, " the present tem- 
porary indisposition of our brave and patriotic General Jack- 
son ; but we have the utmost confidence, from his declara- 
tions and his convalescent state, to announce that he will be 
able to command so soon as the freemen of Tennessee can be 
collected to march against the foe." 

The news of the massacre produced everywhere in Ten- 
nessee the most profound impression. Pity for the distressed 
Alabamians, fears for the safety of their own borders, rage 
against the Creeks, so long the recipients of governmental 
bounty, united to inflame the minds of the people. But 
one feeling pervaded the State. With one voice, it was 
decreed that the entire resources and the whole avail- 
able force of Tennessee should be hurled upon the savage 


foe, to avenge the massacre and deliver the southern coun- 

" I hope in God," wrote General Sevier, then in Congress, 
" that as the rascals have begun, we shall now have it in our 
power to pay them for the old and for the new."° This was 
the feeling of the entire South-west. 

General Jackson was prompt in issuing a most character- 
istic address to the volunteers, sending it forth before it was 
known whether the troops would receive pay for a service 
unauthorized by the general government. " The horrid but- 
cheries/' said he, "perpetrating on our defenseless fellow-citi- 
zens near Fort Stoddart, can not fail to excite in every bosom 
a spirit of revenge. * The subjoined letter of our worthy gov- 
ernor shows that the general government has deposited no 
authority in this quarter to afford aid to the unhappy suffer- 
ers. It is wished that volunteers should go forward relying 
on the justice of the general government for ultimate remu- 
neration. It surely never would be said that the brave Ten- 
nesseeans wanted other inducements than patriotism and 
humanity to rush to the aid of our bleeding neighbors, their 
friends and relations. I feel confident the dull calculations 
of sneaking prudence will not prevent you from immediately 
stepping forth on this occasion, so worthy the arm of every 
brave soldier and good citizen. I regret that indisposition, 
which, from present appearances, is not likely to continue 
long, may prevent me from leading the van ; but indulge the 
grateful hope of sharing with you the dangers and glory of 
prostrating those hell-houuds, who are capable of such bar- 
barities. In the meantime, let all who can arm themselves 
do so, and hasten to Fort St. Stephens." 

The Legislature of Tennessee, however, at once responded 
to the people's desire. On the 25th of September an act was 
passed empowering Governor Blount to call thirty-five hun- 
dred volunteers to the field, in addition to the fifteen hundred 
already enrolled in the service of the United States; the 

• MSS. of Colonel A. W. Putnam. 


State guaranteeing their pay and subsistence in case the gen- 
eral government should refuse to adopt the measure as its 
own. A sum of three hundred thousand dollars was voted 
to defray immediate expenses. 

It chanced that General John Cocke, of East Tennessee, 
a gallant and worthy gentleman, much calumniated in the 
histories of this period, was at Nashville when the express 
from Governor Claiborne arrived. General Cocke, though a 
major general, was younger in the service than General Jack- 
son, and subject to his orders when both were in the field. 
At the request of Governor Blount, he remained to concert 
the requisite measures, and, in company with the Governor, 
repaired to the bed side of Jackson. They found the Gen- 
eral extremely worn and debilitated, the fracture just begin- 
ning to heal. Governor Blount said that he had just ordered 
General Cocke to summon the troops of East Tennessee to 
rendezvous at Knoxville ; and he was prepared to give Gen- 
eral Jackson a similar order for the western division, if 
he was able to take the field. Jackson replied that his 
wounds were improving, and he thought that by the time the 
troops could assemble he would be ready to assume the com- 
mand. Governor Blount then gave the order. Jackson in- 
quired if provisions could be procured in East Tennessee for 
both divisions. General Cocke thought there could ; and 
promising, at General Jackson's request, to make the neces- 
sary requisition upon the government contractor at Knoxville, 
took his departure, carrying with him a written statement 
of the supplies that would be needed for General Jackson's 

The sick General fell vigorously to his task. On the 25th 
of September, in another spirit-stirring address, he called his 
division to the field, naming the 4th of October as the time, 
and Fayetteville, a village near the borders of Alabama, as the 
place of rendezvous. On the 26th, he dispatched his old 
friend and partner, Colonel Coffee, with his regiment of five 
hundred horse, and such mounted volunteers as could instantly 
join, to Huntsville, in the northern part of Alabama, to re- 


store confidence to the frontier. Huntsville is a hundred 
miles or more from Nashville. On the 4th of October, the 
energetic Coffee had reached the place, his force increased to 
nearly thirteen hundred men ; and volunteers, as he wrote 
back to his commander, flocking in every hour. 

The day named for the rendezvous at Fayetteville was 
exactly one month from that on which the commanding Gen- 
eral received his wounds in the affray with the Bentons. He 
could not mount his horse without assistance when the time 
came for him to move toward the rendezvous. His left arm 
was bound ai*d in a sling. He could not wear his coat-sleeve ; 
nor, during any part of his military career, could he long 
endure on his left shoulder the weight of an epaulette. Often, 
in the crisis of a maneuver, some unguarded movement would 
send such a thrill of agony through his attenuated frame as 
almost to deprive him of consciousness. It could not have 
been a pleasant thought that he had squandered in a paltry, 
puerile, private contest, the strength he needed for the de- 
fense of his country. Grievous was his fault ; bitter the 
penalty ; noble the atonement. 

Fayetteville, the place of rendezvous (more than eighty 
miles from Nashville), the General was unable, with all his 
efforts, to reach on the appointed day. He therefore sent 
forward his aid, Major John Reid, to represent him, and to 
read to the troops an address prepared for the occasion. 

General Jackson, in all his wars (both military and polit- 
ical), relied much upon the potency of words. He was accus- 
tomed to begin and end all operations with an address. That 
these compositions were never executed entirely by his own 
hand is a fact of no importance ; they expressed his ideas, 
they breathed his spirit, they declared his resolves. 

The addresses and dispatches of Jackson were universally 
admired in their day, as we can still observe in the comments 
of the old newspapers. There is a glow, a rough-and-ready 
sense and energy about them which the modern reader will 
not mistake for the bombast of the stump. They are too 
characteristic of the man, too redolent of the scenes in which 


he acted, to be omitted in any adequate narrative of his life 
and achievements. Discipline, the weak point of an army of 
militia, was the leading topic in the address read by Major 
Reid on this occasion : — 

" We are about/' said he, " to furnish these savages a lesson of 
monition ; we are about to teach them that our long forbearance has not 
proceeded from an insensibility to wrongs, or an inability to redress them. 
They stand in need of such warning. In proportion as we have borne 
with their insults, and submitted to their outrages, they have multiplied in 
number, and increased in atrocity. But the measure of their offenses is at 
length filled. The blood of our women and children, recently spilt at Fort 
Mims, calls for our vengeance ; it must not call in vain. Our borders must 
no longer be disturbed by the war-whoop of these savages, and the cries 
of their suffering victims. The torch that has been lighted up must be 
made to blaze in the heart of their own country. It is time they should 
be made to feel the weight of a power, which, because it was merciful, they 
believed to be impotent But how shall a war so long forborne, and so 
loudly called for by retributive justice, be waged ? Shall we imitate the 
example of our enemies, in the disorder of their movements and the savage- 
ness of their dispositions ? Is it worthy the character of American soldiers, 
who take up arms to redress the wrongs of an injured country, to assume 
no better models than those furnished them by barbarians ? No, fellow- 
soldiers ; great as are the grievances that have called us from our homes, 
we must not permit disorderly passions to tarnish the reputation we shall 
carry along with us. We must and will be victorious ; but we must con- 
quer as men who owe nothing to chance, and who, in the midst of victory, 
can still be mindful of what is due to humanity 1 

" We will commence the campaign by an inviolable attention to disci- 
pline and subordination. Without a strict observance of these, victory 
must ever be uncertain, and ought hardly to be exulted in, even when 
gained. To what but the entire disregard of order and subordination, are 
we to ascribe the disasters which have attended our arms in the North 
during the present war ? How glorious will it be to remove the blots 
which have tarnished the fair character bequeathed us by the fathers of 
our Revolution ! The bosom of your general is full of hope. He knows 
the ardor which animates you, and already exults in the triumph which 
your strict observance of discipline and good order will render certain." 

The rudimental character of the orders which accompanied 
this address shows how little accustomed were the volun- 
teers to the restraints of service. No sutler could sell liquor 



to a soldier without the written permission of a commissioned 
officer. Drunkenness, " the bane of all orderly encampments/' 
would subject an officer to arrest ; a private, to confinement 
until tried by a court-martial. No citizen could enter or 
leave the camp at night. No officer or soldier to sleep out 
of camp without permission. " On parade, silence, the duty 
of a soldier, is positively commanded." Even these simple 
rules were thought by this army of hunting-shirted pioneers 
to be extremely rigorous. 

Traveling as fast as his healing wounds permitted, Gen- 
eral Jackson reached Fayetteville on the 7th of October, and 
found that less than half of the two thousand men ordered 
out had assembled. But welcome tidings from Colonel Cof- 
fee awaited him. Hitherto, he had chiefly feared for the 
safety of Mobile, and had anticipated a long and weary march 
into southern Alabama. He now learned from Colonel Cof- 
fee's dispatch, that the Indians seemed to have abandoned 
their designs upon Mobile, and were making their way, in 
two parties, toward the borders of Georgia and Tennessee. 
This was joyful news to the enfeebled but fiery commander. 
" It is surely," he wrote back to Coffee the same evening, 
" high gratification to learn that the Creeks are so attentive 
to my situation as to save me the pain of traveling. I must 
not be outdone in politeness, and will therefore endeavor to 
meet them on the middle ground." 

A week was passed at Fayetteville in waiting for the 
troops, procuring supplies, organizing the regiments, and 
drilling the men ; a week of intense exertion on the part of 
the General, to whom congenial employment brought daily 

At one o'clock on Monday, the 11th of October, an ex- 
press dashed into camp with another dispatch from Colonel 
Coffee, announcing the approach of the enemy. Then was 
seen the impetuous energy of the General in command. The 
order to prepare for marching was given on the instant. A 
few minutes later, the express was galloping back to Coffee's 
camp, carrying a few hasty lines from Jackson, to the effect 


that, in two hours, he would be in motion with all his avail- 
able force. Before three, he had kept his word ; the army 
was in full career toward Huntsville. Excited more and 
more, as they went, by rumor of Indian murders, the men 
marched with such incredible swiftness as to reach Hunts- 
ville, thirty-two miles from Fayetteville, by eight o'clock the 
same evening ! It is hard to believe that an army could 
march six miles an hour for five hours, but the fact is stated 
on what may be considered the authority of General Jackson 
himself. No white men but western pioneers could perform a 
feat of that description ; and of such men, who made the 
most difficult, important, and costly conquest ever made by 
man — the conquest of the western world from the wilderness 
and the savage — who shall say what they could or could not 
do in the way of physical achievement ? At Huntsville, it 
was found that the news of the rapid approach of the Indians 
was exaggerated. The next day, therefore, the force marched 
leisurely to the Tennessee river, crossed it, and toward even- 
ing came up with Colonel Coffee's command, encamped on 
the south side of the river. 

So far all had gone well. There they were, twenty-five 
hundred of them, in the pleasant autumn weather, upon a high 
bluff overlooking the beautiful Tennessee, all in high spirits, 
eager to be led against the enemy. There were jovial souls 
among them. David Crockett, then the peerless bear-hunter 
of the West (to be member of Congress by and by, to be na- 
tional joker, and to stump the country against his present 
commander) was there with his rifle and hunting-shirt, the 
merriest of the merry, keeping the camp alive with his quaint 
conceits and marvelous narratives. He had a hereditary 
right to be there, for both his grandparents had been mur- 
dered by Creeks, and other relatives carried into long cap- 
tivity by them. " Perfectly a child of nature," observed his 
biographer, " and thrown by accident among men raised, like 
himself, on the frontiers, and consequently uneducated, he 
was perfectly at home. Naturally of a fine person, with a 
goodness of heart rarely equaled, and a talent for humor 


never excelled, he soon found his way to the hearts of his 
messmates. No man ever enjoyed a greater degree of per- 
sonal popularity than did David Crockett while with the 
army ; and his success in political life is mainly attributable 
to that fact: I have met with many of his messmates, who 
spoke of him with the affection of a brother, and from them 
have heard many anecdotes, which convince me how much 
goodness of heart he really possessed. He not unfrequently 
would lay out his own money to buy a blanket for a suffering 
soldier ; and never did he own a dollar which was not at the 
service of the first friend who called for it. Blessed with a 
memory which never forgot any thing, he seemed merely a 
depository of anecdote : while, at the same time, to invent, 
when at a loss, was as easy as to narrate those which he had 
already heard. These qualities made him the rallying point 
for fun with all his messmates, and served to give him that 
notoriety which he now possesses." 

Merriment, meanwhile, was far from the heart of the Gen- 
eral. Grappling now with the chronic difficulty of the cam- 
paign, he was torn with impatience and anxiety. 

Twenty-five hundred men and thirteen hundred horses on 
a bluff of the Tennessee, on the borders of civilization, about 
to plunge into pathless woods, and march, no one knew how 
far, into the fastnesses and secret retreats of a savage en- 
emy ! Such a body will consume ten wagon-loads of provis- 
ions every day. For a week's subsistence they require a 
thousand bushels of grain, twenty tons of flesh, a thousand 
gallons of whisky, and many hundredweight of miscellaneous 
stores. Assemble, suddenly, such a force in the most popu- 
lous county of Illinois, as Illinois now is, and it would not 
be a quite easy matter, in the space of seventeen days, to or- 
ganize a system of supply so that the army could march 
thirty miles a day into the forest, and be sure of finding a 
day's rations waiting for them at the end of every day's 
march. Colonel Coffee, moreover, had been encamped for 
eight days upon the bluff, had swept the surrounding country 

of its forage, and gathered in nearly all the provisions it could 
vol. i. — 28 


furnish. All this General Jackson had expected, and hither, 
accordingly, he had directed the supplies from East Tennes- 
see to be sent. 

General Cocke had performed all that he had promised 
by Jackson's bed side. Besides mustering his own division of 
twenty-five hundred men, and having them ready to march 
by the 2d of October, he had made the promised requisi- 
tion on the government contractor at Knoxville for the sup- 
ply of Jackson's army, which was three hundred miles down 
the river. The contractor had abundant provisions, and in- 
stantly set about dispatching them. " I believe," wrote 
General Cocke to Jackson, on the 2d day of October, "a 
thousand barrels of flour can be had immediately. I will 
send it on to Ditto's landing (Jackson's camp) without de- 
lay." To the river's side they were sent promptly enough. 
But the Tennessee, like most of the western rivers, is not 
navigable in its upper waters in dry seasons, and the flour 
which General Jackson expected to find awaiting him at 
Coffee's bluff, was still hundreds of miles up the river, 
" waiting for a rise." His whole stock, at present, amounted 
to only a few days' supply. To proceed seemed impossible. 

He was bitterly disappointed. Nor was the cause of the 
delay apparent to him, since the Tennessee, where he saw it, 
flowed by in a sufficient stream. Chafing under the enforced 
delay, like a war-horse restrained from the charge after the 
trumpet has sounded, he denounced the contractor and the 
contract system, and even General Cocke, who, zealous for 
the service, had gone far beyond the line of his duty in his 
efforts to forward the supplies. 

But General Jackson did better things than these. Per- 
ceiving now, only too clearly, that this matter of provisions 
was to be the great difficulty of the campaign, he sent back 
to Nashville his friend and quarter-master, Major William 
B. Lewis, in order that he might have some one there upon 
whose zeal and discretion he could entirely rely, and who 
would do all that man could do for his relief. Colonel Cof- 
fee, with a body of seven hundred mounted men, he sent 

1813.} TENNE88EE IN THE FIELD. 431 

away from his hungry camp to scour the banks of the Black 
Warrior, a branch of the Tombigbee. He gave the infantry 
who remained as hard a week's drilling as ever volunteers 
submitted to. Order arose' from confusion ; discipline began 
to exert its potent spell, and the mob of pioneer militia as- 
sumed something of the aspect of an army. While he was 
thus engaged, a friendly chief (Shelocta) came into camp 
with news that hostile Creeks, in a considerable body, were 
threatening a fort occupied by friendly Indians near the Ten 
Islands of the Coosa. The route thither lying in part up the 
Tennessee, Jackson resolved, with such provisions as he had, 
to go and meet the expected flotilla, and, having obtained 
supplies, to strike at once into the heart of the Indian coun- 
try and relieve the friendly fort. He lived, during these 
anxious days, with an eye ever on the river, heart-sick with 
hope deferred. 

On the 19th of October the camp on the bluff broke up. 
Three days of marching, climbing, and road cutting, over 
mountains before supposed to be impassable, brought the 
little army to Thompson's creek, a branch of the Tennessee, 
twenty-two miles above the previous encampment. To his 
inexpressible disappointment, he found there neither provis- 
ions, nor tidings of provisions. In circumstances so disheart- 
ening and unexpected, most men would have thought it bet- 
ter generalship to retreat to the settlements, and wait in safety 
while adequate arrangements were made for the support of 
the army. No such thought appears to have occurred to 
the General. Retreat at that moment would have probably 
tempted the enemy to the frontiers of Tennessee, and cov- 
ered them with fire and desolation. Jackson halted his force 
at Thompson's creek, and while his men were employed in 
throwing up a fort to be used as a depot for the still expected 
provisions, he sat in his tent for three day* writing letters the 
most pathetic and imploring. He wrote to General Cocke 
and Judge Hugh L. White, of East Tennessee ; to the gov- 
ernors of Tennessee and Georgia ; to the Indian agents among 
the Cherokces and Choc taws ; to friendly Indian chiefs ; to 


General Flourney, of New Orleans ; to various private friends 
of known public spirit ; appealing to every motive of inter- 
est and patriotism that could influence men, entreating them 
to use all personal exertions and public authority in forward- 
ing supplies to his destitute army. Give me provisions, was 
the burden of these eloquent letters, and I will end this war 
in a month. " There is an enemy," he wrote, " whom I dread 
much more than I do the hostile Creeks, and whose power, I 
am fearful, I shall first be made to feel — I mean the meager 
monster, Famine. I shall leave this encampment in the 
morning direct for the Ten Islands, and thence, with as 
little delay as possible, to the junction of the Coosa and 
Tallapoosa; and yet I have not on hand two days' supply of 

I have before me a familiar, hasty letter, written at the 
Thompson's creek encampment by Major Reid, the General's 
aid, to Major William B. Lewis, which reveals the situation 


Camp Deposit, on Thompson's Creek, October 24, 1813. 

"Major Lewis : Dear Sir : — We have cut our way over mountains 
more tremendous than the Alps, and to-day we ascend others. 

At this place we have remained a day for the purpose of establishing 
a depot for provisions ; but where those provisions are to come from, or 
when they are to arrive, God Almighty only knows. We had expected 
supplies from East Tennessee, but they have not arrived, and I am fearful 
never wilL I speak seriously when I declare, I expect we shall soon have 
to eat our horses, and perhaps th