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2d session United States. 33d Congress.

Addresses on the presentation of the sword of Gen. Andrew Jackson to the Congress of the United States online

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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 difficulty ; but
there were lesser difficulties, still serious, to be sur-
mounted. The troops had received no pay ; clothes
and shoes were worn out ; the 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
outside 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



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birth ; American by choice, by law, and feeling, and
conduct. I took some hundred pairs of shoes from him
for my regiment, and other articles; and I proclaim
it here, that patriotic men of foreign birth may see
that there are plenty of Americans to recognise their
merit — to name them with honor in high places, and
'to give them the right hand of friendship when they
are struck at.

We all returned, 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 respon-
sibility which he had assumed. His transportation
drafts were all protested ; returned upon him for pay-
ment, which was impossible, and with directions to bring
suit. This was the month of May. I was coming on
to Washington on my own account, and cordially took
charge of Jackson's case. Suits were delayed until the
result of his application for relief could be heard. I
arrived in this city ; Congress was in session — the extra
session of the spring and summer of 1813. I applied
to the members of Congress from Tennessee; they
could do nothing. I applied to the Secretary at War ;
he did nothing. Weeks had passed away, and the time
for delay was expiring 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 bold-



38

ness, and the occasion brought it out. I resolved to
take a step, characterized in the letter which I wrote to
the General as "an appeal from the justice to the fears
of the Administration." I remember the words, though
I have never seen the letter since. I drew up a memoir
addressed to the Secretary at 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, (then the 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 considera-
tion. That encouraged me — gave a gleam of hope
and a feeling of satisfaction. I thought it a good sub-
ject 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 ;



39

that Congress would have to give the relief. I an-
swered him that I thought there was a way for him to
do it ; it was to give an order to General Wilkinson's
quartermaster 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.

Thus this case of responsibility was over, but the
original cause of our concern was still in full force.
Jackson was again on his farm, unemployed, and the
fine chance gone which had flattered us so much. But
the chapter of accidents soon presented another — not
so brilliant as New Orleans had promised, and after-
wards realized, but sufficient for the purpose. The
massacre at Fort Mimms took place. The banks of
the Mobile river smoked with fire and blood. Jackson
called up his volunteers, reinforced by some militia —
marched to the Creek nation — and there commenced
that career of victories which soon extorted the com-
mission which had been so long denied to his merit,
and which ended in filling the "measure" of his own
and "his country's glory." And that, Mr. Chairman,
was the way in which this great man gained the privi-



40

lege of using that sword for his country, wMcli, after
triumphing in many fields which it immortalized, has
come here to repose in the hands of the representatives
of a grateful and admiring country.

The resolution was ordered to be read a third time ; and
being read a third time, it was unanimously passed.




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Online Library2d session United States. 33d CongressAddresses on the presentation of the sword of Gen. Andrew Jackson to the Congress of the United States → online text (page 3 of 3)