« ZurückWeiter »
THE SEVENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
HE family of ANDREW JACKSON were of Scottish ori, gin, his earlier known ancestors having emigrated from Scotland to the province of Ulster, in Ireland, in the time of Henry VII. His grandfather was a linendraper near Carrickfergus, in Ireland, and had four
sons, all respectable farmers. Andrew, the youngest, married Elizabeth Hutchinson, and in 1765 he emigrated to America, He purchased lands and settled in the Waxhaw settlement, in South Carolina, where, on the 15th of March, 1767, his son Andrew, the subject of this memoir, was born.
Andrew's father died about the time of his birth, leaving his widow and children (the two elder ones were born in Ireland) in very comfortable circumstances. She desired to see her youngest son prepared for the ministry in the presbyterian church, and with this view she placed him under the tuition of Mr. Humphries, the principal of the Waxhaw academy. There he obtained a tolerable knowledge of Latin and Greek, and a pretty thorough training in the common branches of an English education. The tumults of the opening Revolution reached the region of the Waxhaws: and at the early age of nine years, Andrew became accustomed to the excitements which that event produced. His studies were interrupted, and his mind became inflamed with a burning zeal to enrol himself among the defenders of his country.
In 1778, active military operations were commenced in South Carolina. The militia were called to the field to repel the invading foe, and Hugh, the eldest of Andrew's brothers, was slain. In 1780, a battle was fought in the Waxhaw settlement, and it was there that young Jackson first saw the direful effects of British oppression; and his youthful heart glowed with patriotic desire to avenge the bloody deed. Although but
Enters the revolutionary army.-- Elected to the United States senate.- Burr's expedition. a little more than thirteen
of age, he joined a volunteer corps with his brother Robert, and served under General Sumter.
In 1781, both brothers were taken prisoners; and soon after being released, they returned with their mother to the Waxhaws, where Roberţ died from the effects of a wound* and sickness. Their mother soon after died, and Andrew was the only survivor of the Jackson family who came to America.
When the Revolution closed, young Jackson, with some property and none to advise or restrain him, fell into bad habits, which threatened his ruin. But he suddenly reformed, and in 1784 commenced the study of ·law at Salisbury, North Carolina. Soon after completing his studies, the governor appointed him solicitor for that portion of the state now known as Tennessee. In his professional travels he endured many hardships, and was frequently brought into collision with the Indians.t
In 1791, he married Mrs. Rachel Robards, a beautiful and accomplished woman, who had been previously divorced from her husband.
In 1795, he was chosen a member of the convention for forming a state constitution for Tennessee; and he was elected the first representative of the new state in Congress, and took his seat in December, 1796. He was soon after elected to the senate of the United States, and took his seat in November, 1797, being then just past thirty years of age. He acted with the democratic party in opposition to the administrations of Washington and Adams. Soon after leaving the senate, he was appointed judge of the supreme court of his state ; and he also held the commission of a major-general of the militia. In 1804, he resigned his judgeship, and, in the enjoyment of a competent fortune, he retired to his plantation near Nashville.
In 1805, he was visited by Colonel Aaron Burr: and again in 1806 Burr was an inmate of his house. Believing Burr's expedition to be against Mexico, in case of a war with Spain, he promised him assistance; but during his last visit, being suspicious that Burr's intentions were inimical to the United States, he withdrew his friendship, and was subsequently in command of a militia force detailed to arrest him for treason. But Burr had got beyond his reach, and was afterward arrested by other parties.
When, in 1812, the United States declared war against Great Britain, Jackson ardently longed for an opportunity to enter the army. One soon offered, and in January, 1813, he descended the Mississippi at the
• While a prisoner, he was severely wounded by a blow upon his head by a British officer, because he refused to do some menial service for him. Andrew was also ordered one day to clean the muddy boots of a British officer, and, on refusing to do it, received a severe sword-cut.
+ On account of his gallantry, the Indians called him “ Sharp Knife" and “Pointed Arrow."
# Burr always highly respected Jackson, and it is said that as early as 1815 he named him as a suitable candidate for the presidency.
a Nov. 7,
Expeditions against the Indians. — Battle of New Orleans. — The Seminoles. head of a body of volunteer troops, destined for the defence of New Orleans and vicinity. They were, however, soon after marched home and discharged, the necessity for their serving seeming no longer to exist.*
Early in 1813, he was appointed to the command of an expedition against the Creek Indians, who, in connexion with the northern tribes, were committing dreadful massacres upon the frontiers.f He reached the Indian country in October, 1813, and after several severe battles he brought them to the knee of submission.
In May, 1814, General Jackson received the appointment of majorgeneral in the United States army, on the resignation of General Hörrison. During the summer he acted as diplomatist in negotiating treaties with the southern Indians, which he effected to the entire satisfaction of his government. Learning that a body of British troops were at Pensacola (then in possession of Spain), drilling a large number of Indians for war, he advised his government to take possession of that port. Subsequently, having about thirty-five hundred men under his command for the defence of the southern country, he captured Pensacolaa on his own responsibility, and put an end to difficulties in that quarter. On the 1st of December he arrived at New Orleans, and made his headquarters there. He set about preparing for its defence, and, in order to act efficiently, declared martial law. On the 21st of December he had a battle with the British, nine miles below the city; and on the 8th of January the decisive battle of New Orleans was fought.I On the 13th of February an express arrived at headquarters with intelligence of the conclusion of peace between the United States and Great Britain. In every section of the Union the triumph at New Orleans was hailed with the greatest joy, and Jackson became exceedingly popular.
In 1818, he was called to act in conjunction with General Gaines in suppressing the depredations of the Seminole Indians in Florida. In the course of the campaign he took possession of St. Marks, and again of Pensacola, although in the possession of the Spanish. This act portended trouble with Spain, but the speedy cession of Florida to the United States removed all cause. On the close of the campaign he resigned his commission in the army.
In 1821, President Monroe appointed him governor of Florida; and in 1823 he was offered the station of minister to Mexico. In 1822, the
• He was ordered to disband them at Natchez, but foreseeing the great misery it would produce, as many of them had no means of returning home, he disobeyed orders and marched them back. His act was subsequently approved, and the expenses paid.
+ They were instigated by Tecumseh and his brother. The latter was a prophet of un. bounded influence.
Great rejoicings succeeded; children dressed in white strewed his way with flowers, and a Te Deum was sung in the cathedral, where the bishop presented the general with a chaplet of laurel.
Elected president of the United States. — Nullification.— The French indemnity. legislature of Tennessee nominated him for president of the United States ; and in 1823 it elected him United States senator. In 1824, he was one of the five candidates for president, and received more votes than any of his competitors, but not a sufficient number to elect him. In 1825, he entertained La Fayette at his estate called the “ Hermitage." In 1828, he was elected president of the United States by a majority of more than two to one over Mr. Adams.* Mr. Calhoun was elected vice-president.
The administration of Jackson, of eight years' duration, was, like his life, an eventful one, but our prescribed limits will permit us only to briefly refer to the principal events which distinguished it.
The spirit of the advice which Jackson had given to Monroe was not regarded by himself, and he chose for his cabinet, and other appointments, men of his own party exclusively. During the first year of his administration a great many removals from office took place, and this subjected him to severe animadversions.
The hostility of the southern portion of the Union to the tariff of 1828, evolved bold doctrines concerning state rights; and in 1830 the principle known as “ nullification” was openly avowed by Mr. Calhoun and his southern friends. The legislature of South Carolina had previouslye
declared the tariff-law unconstitutional. Virginia, Georgia, a Feb.,
and Alabama, sided with South Carolina, and assumed that the sovereignty of the states was so absolute that they had the right to nullify any act of the general government. This was an alarming doctrine, and the dissolution of the Union seemed near at hand. But the energy of the president was equal to the emergency. He issued a proc
lamation, and sent troops to Charleston, to act as occasion
might require. These energetic measures were approved by the great body of the people, and active nullification soon disappeared./
In 1830, the French government having changed hands, Mr. Rives; United States minister at Paris, negotiated a treaty, by which the payment of nearly five millions of dollars, for depredations upon our commerce about the close of the last century, was stipulated. It was to be paid in six annual instalments; but the French chamber of deputies neg
* Just before departing for Washington in 1829, to assume the reins of government, be lost bis estimable wife. The bereavement weighed heavily upon his spirits, and he entered upon his exalted duties with a sad heart.
+ He appointed Martin Van Buren, of New York, secretary of state ; Samuel D. Ingham, of Pennsylvania, secretary of the treasury ; John H. Eaton, of Tennessee, secretary of war, John Branch, of North Carolina, secretary of the navy; and John M.Pherson Berrien, of Georgia, attorney-general.
Near the close of 1832, the legislatore of South Carolina passed an act nullifying the reve. nue-laws, and authorizing the governor of the state to call out the militia to sustain the act, if necessary.
|| A compromise-bill offered by Mr. Clay, providing for a gradual reduction of duties antil 1843, tended to allay the excitement, and to satisfy the less fiery advocates of nullification.