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Upon reaching his quarters he sent back an aid-de-camp
to the court-room with a check on one of the city banks for a
thousand dollars ; and thus the offended majesty of the law
was supposed to be avenged.

It is not to be inferred from the conduct of the people in
the court-room that the course of General Jackson, in main-
taining martial law so long after the conclusion of peace was
morally certain, was generally approved by the people of New
Orleans. It was not. It was approved by many, forgiven
by most, resented by a few. An effort was made to raise the
amount of the Generars fine by a public subscription, to which
no one was allowed to contribute more than one dollar. But
Nolte tells us (how truly I know not) that, after raising with
dif&cultj'* one hundred and sixty dollars, the scheme was
quietly given up. He adds that the court-room on the day
of the General's appearance was occupied chiefly by the Bar-
ratarians and the special partizans of the General.

The administration mildly, but decidedly, rebuked the
proceedings of General Jackson. April 12th, the acting Sec-
retary of War, Mr. A. J. Dallas, wrote thus to the General :
. . . . ''' I assure you, sir, that it is a very painful task
to disturb for a moment the enjoyment of the honorable grati-
fication which you must derive, as well from the consciousness
of the great services that you have rendered your country as
from the expressions of approbation and applause which the
nation have bestowed on those services. But representations
have been recently made to the President respecting certain


acts of military opposition to the civil magistrate that re-
quire immediate attention^ not only in vindication of the just
authority of the laws^ hut to rescue your own conduct from
all unmerited reproach." ....

" From these representations it would appear that the
judicial power of the United States has been resisted, the
liberty of the press has been suspended, and the consul and
subjects of a friendly government have been exposed to great
inconvenience by the exercise of military force and command.
The President views the subject in its present aspect with
surprise and solicitude ; but in the absence of all information
from yourself relative to your conduct, and the motives of
your conduct, he abstains from any decision, or even expres-
sion of an opinion upon the case, in hopes that such explan-
ations may be afforded as will reconcile his sense of public
duty with a continuance of confidence which he reposes in
your judgment J discretion and patriotism. He instructs me,
therefore, to request that you will, with all possible dispatch,
transmit to this department a full report of the transactions
which have been stated. And in the meantime it is pre-
sumed that all extraordinary exertion of military authority
has ceased, in consequence of the cessation of all danger, open
or covert, upon the restoration of peace.

" The President instructs me to take this opportunity of
requesting that a conciliatory deportment may be observed
towards the State authorities and citizens of New Orleans.
He is persuaded that Louisiana justly estimates the value of
the talents and valor which have been displayed for her de-
fense and safety, and that there will be no disposition in any
part of the nation to review with severity the efforts of a
commander acting in a crisis of unparalleled difficulty, under
the impulse of the purest patriotism."

General Jackson replied to this communication by for-
warding to the Secretary the rejected paper, in which he had
caused to be stated his reasons for proclaiming and maintain-
ing martial law. The matter was then allowed to drop, and
was heard of no more for many years.

VOL. II. — 21




The G-enerars troubles were at an end. He remained at
New Orleans twenty-four days after the arrival of the treaty
of peace, settling the accounts of contractors and merchants,
and enjoying the festivities set on foot by the grateful citizens.

Signer Nolte tells us that he found the Greneral a hard man
to deal with. " My claim/' says Nolte, " was a double one,
first, for seven hundred and fifty woolen coverings, taken out
of my warerooms ; second, for two hundred and fifty bales
of cotton, taken from the brigantine Pallas. For the fii'st I
received the price that was current on the day that the land-
ing of the English was announced — eleven dollars per pair.
All settlements required the G-enerars ratification and signa-
ture. On this occasion he gave both, but with the remark
that as my goods had been taken to cover the Tennessee
troops, I should be paid in Tennessee bank notes, upon which
there was a discount of nearly ten per cent. I was silent."
But with regard to the price of the cotton Nolte and the
General could not agree at all ; Nolte demanding the price
the cotton was worth then — the General offering only the
price at which the cotton was held when it was used in forti-
fying the lines. " I made a written protest," says Nolte,
*^ but the General would not notice it. Then I determined
to call on him in the hopes of awakening a sense of justice in
him. He heard me, but that was all. ^ Are you not lucky,'
he asked, ^ to have saved the rest of your cotton by my de-
fense ?' ^Certainly, General,' I said, ^as lucky as anybody
else in the city whose cotton has been thus saved. But the
difference between me and the rest is, that all the others have
nothing to pay, and that I have to bear all the loss.' ^Loss !'
said the General, getting excited, ' why, you have saved all!'
I saw that argument was useless with so stiff-necked a man,
and remarked to him that I only wanted compensation for

1815.] HOME IN TRIUMPH. 323

my cotton, and that the best compensation would be to give
me precisely the quantity that had been taken from me, and
of the same quality ; that he might name one merchant and
I another, -who should buy and deliver to me the cotton, and
that he should pay the bill. ^ No, no, sir/ he answered, ^ I
like straightforward business, and this is too complicated.
You must take six cents for your cotton. I have nothing
more to say.' As I again endeavored to explain, he said,
^ Come, sir, come — take a glass of whisky and water ; you
must be d — d dry after all your arguing.' "

A few days after the announcement of peace, a party of
Tennesseans arrived in New Orleans, and among them, to
the G-eneral's great joy, Mrs. Jackson and little Andrew, their
adopted son, then a boy of seven. Mrs. Jackson, a thorough
planter's wife, homely in costume and speech, then grown
corpulent, and of complexion extremely dark, was a strange
figure among the elegant Creole ladies of New Orleans.
Never before had she visited a city larger than the Nashville
of that day. She frankly confessed to Mrs. Livingston that
she knew nothing about fine company and fine clothes, and
had no resource but to throw herself upon the guidance of
her friends. Mrs. Livingston undertook the task of select-
ing for her suitable dresses for the various public occasions
on which she was expected to appear. The anti-Jackson
party published a caricature at the time, in which the short
and stout Mrs. Jackson was represented standing upon a
table, while Mrs. Livingston was employed in lacing her
stays, struggling to make a waist where a waist had been,
but was not. It was remarkable that General Jackson,
though himself an adept in drawing-room arts, and at home
in elegant society, was blind to the homely bearing and coun-
try manners of his wife. He put great honor upon her at
New Orleans ; in all companies, on all occasions, giving
proof to the world that this bonny brown wife of his was to
him the dearest and the most revered of human beings. The
ladies of the city soon gathered round her, and made much
of her. Among other marks of regard, they presented her


with that valuable but rather showy set of topaz jewelry,
which appears on her person in the portrait that hangs still
in the parlor of the Hermitage. To the General, also, the
ladies presented a valuable diamond pin. " The world heaps
many honors on me," said he to the ladies, "but none is
greater than this."

Nolte gives us a comical account of the grand ball at the
Exchange, where the General and Mrs. Jackson gave the com-
pany a taste of a frontier breakdown. Nolte was one of the
committee of arrangements. " The upper part of the Ex-
change was arranged for dancing, and the under part for
supper, with flowers, colored lamps, and transparencies with
inscriptions. Before supper, Jackson desired to look at the
arrangements unaccompanied, and I was appointed to con-
duct him. One of the transparencies between the arcades
bore the inscription, ^Jackson and victory: they are but one.'
The General looked at it, and turned about to me in a hail-
fellow sort of way, saying, ^ Why did you not write, "Hickory
and victory: they are but one." ' After supper we were treated
to a most delicious ^as de deux by the conqueror and his spouse.
To see these two figures, the General, a long, haggard man,
with limbs like a skeleton, and Madame la Generale, a short,
fat dumpling, bobbing opposite each other like half-drunken
Indians, to the wild melody of ^Possum up de Gum Tree^ and
endeavoring to make a spring into the air, was very remark-
able, and far more edifying a spectacle than any European
ballet could possibly have furnished."

Little Andrew was a pet at headquarters. The General
could deny him nothing, and spent every leisure moment in
playing with him, often holding him in his arms while he
transacted business. One evening, a lady informs me, some
companies of soldiers halted beneath the windows of head-
quarters, and the attending crowd began to cheer the General
and call for his appearance — a common occurrence in those
days. The little boy, who was asleep in an adjoining room, was
awakened by the noise, and began to cry. The General had
ri^en from his chair, and was going to the window to present

1815.] HOME IN TKIUMPH. 325

himself to the clamoring crowd, when he heard the cry of the
child. He paused in the middle of the room, and seemed in
doubt for a moment which call he should first obey, the boy's
or the citizens'. The doubt was soon resolved, however. He
ran to the bedside of his son, caught him in his arms, hushed
his cries, and carried him (in his night gown) to the window,
.where he bowed to the people, and, at the same time^ amused
the child with the scene in the street.

During these happy days some of the English ofiElcers came
up to the city and viewed^ with intense interest, the scene of
the late contest. A letter written by the American officer
who conveyed to General Lambert the news of the ratification
of the treaty of peace mentions this circumstance. "We
went down the river," he says^ "in a sisteen-oared barge,
and had several respectable young gentlemen of the city with
us, and a band of music furnished by them. We arrived at
Dauphin Island in three days, and anchored abreast of the
British camp about four o'clock in. the afternoon, and fired
a salute^ while the band played our favorite tunes of Hail
Coluxifibia and Yankee Doodle, The shore was lined with
hundreds of Englishmen, cheering over and over, as they
knew by the flag at our masthead that we brought them the
welcome news of peace. We remained on the island three
days, and were treated with every mark of attention and re-
spect by all of them, and then proceeded on to Mobile to
.inform our army there of the news of peace. On our return
we stopped again at Dauphin Island and took several English
officers on board and brought them up to town. All these
officers have the greatest desire to see this city and our lines
on the battle ground, where we beat them so handsomely.
We run them very hard about it, which they took in good
humor, and they candidly acknowledged ^that they had
fought many hard battles in France, Spain, etc., but never
met with such play as they received from us Yankees I'
After their retreat from New Orleans, they landed on Dau-
phin Island, which then was a desolate place, but now it
looks like a complete town. They have about eight thou-


sand men there, who are almost in a state of starvation. We
are now supplying them with provisions of every kind.''"'*'

To which another singular fact may be added. General
Lambert's division returned to Europe in time to take part in
the battle of Waterloo^ fought on the 18th of June, 1815, and
afterwards marched to Paris with the victorious army. At
Paris some of the officers who had been prisoners at New
Orleans met the very Americans at whose houses they had
been quartered, and exchanged suppers in renewal of the
friendship then formed. Our invaluable friend Nolte was
there. " Suddenly one day/' he tells us, " I found myself
surrounded by several English officers, who greeted me with a
cheery ' How do you do, Mr. Nolte ?' My newly-found ac-
quaintances were Major Mitchell, Lieutenant Dobree, and
others, who had fallen into our hands as prisoners at New
Orleans, and who felt very grateful for the friendly treatment
they had experienced there in my house during the brief
period that elapsed after their capture until the ratification
of peace at Ghent."

General Winfield Scott was in Paris then, and in the
course of his stay presided at a banquet of ninety Americans,
and gave, as the toast of the occasion, " General Jackson and
his glorious defense of New Orleans."

Amid the excitement caused in Europe by the return of
Napoleon from Elba, the battle of Waterloo, and the subse-
quent exile of the emperor, little was heard, and less was
thought, of the events that had transpired in the delta of the
Mississippi. A vague, brief, and incorrect buUetinf was pub-

'^ National Intelligencer, May 15, 1815.

\ The following is a copj of this document, which, Mr. Gobbett says, " was
- dressed up to gull the people of England with :"

" Bulletin. — War Department, March 8, 1815.

» Captain, Wylly arrived this morning with dispatches from Major General
Lambert, detailing the operations against the enemy in the neighborhood of New
Orleans. It apears that.the army, under the command of Major General Eleane,
was landed at the head of the Bayonne, m the yicinity of New Orleans, on the

1815.] HOME IN TEIUMPH. 327

lished in the English official Gazette, and then the expedition
against New Orleans was allowed to be forgotten.

Before leaving New Orleans, G-eneral Jackson presented
his friend Livingston with a miniature of himself, accompany-
ing the gift with a note expressive of his appreciation of his
aid-de-camp's services to himself and to the cause. This
miniature, stiU in perfect preservation, is the earliest portrait
of the Greneral now in existence. It is so unlike the portraits
familiar to the public, that not a man in the United States

morning of the 23d of December, without opposition ; it was, however, attacked
by the enemy in the courso of the night succeeding the landing, when, after an
obstinate contest, the enemy were repulsed at aU points with considerable loss.
On the morning of the 25th, Sir Edward Packenham arrived, and assumed the
command of the army. On the 27th, at daylight, the troops moved forward,
driving the enemy's pickets to within six miles of the town, when the main body
of the enemy was discovered posted behind a breastwork, extending about one
thousand yards, with the right resting on the Mississippi and the left on a thick
wood. The mterval between the 27th December and the 8th Januaiy was em-
ployed in preparations for an attack upon the enemy's position. The attack,
which was intended to have been made on the night of the 7th, did not, owing
to the difficulties experienced in the passage of the Mississippi by a corps under
Lieutenant Colonel Thornton, which was destined to act on the right bank of the
river, take place tUl early on the morning of the 8th. The division to whom the
stormiDg of the enemy's work was intrusted moved to the attack at that time,
but being too soon discovered by the enemy were received with a galling and
severe fire from all parts of their line. Major General Sir Edward Packenham,
who had placed himself at the head of the troops, was unfortunately killed at
the head of the glacis, and Major Generals Gibbs and Keane were nearly at the
same moment wounded. The effect of this upon the troops caused a hesitation
in their advance, and though order was restored by the advance of the reserve
under Major General Lambert, to whom the command of the army had devolved,
and Colonel Thornton had succeeded in the operation assigned to him on the
right bank of the river, yet the major general, upon the consideration of the
difficulties which yet remained to be surmounted, did not think himself justified
in ordering a renewal of the attack. The troops, therefore, retired to the position
which they had occupied previous to the attack. In that position they remained
until the evening of the 18th, when the whole of the wounded, with the excep-
tion of eighty (whom it was considered dangerous to remove), the field artillery,
and all the stores of every description having been embarked, the army retired
to the head of the Bayonne, where the landing had been originally effected, and
reembarked without molestation."


would recognize in it the features of General Jackson. Abun-
dantj reddish-sandy hair falls low over the high, narrow fore-
head, and almost hides it from view. The head is long, which
Mr. Carlyle thinks one of the surest signs of talent. Eyes of
a remarkably bright blue. Complexion fair, fresh and ruddy.
A mild, firm, plain, good country face. He wears the full
uniform of a major general of that day — ^blue coat with stiff
upright collar to the ears, epaulets, yellow vest with upright
collar and gilt buttons, ruffled shirt. The miniature reminds
you of a good country deacon out for a day's soldiering. The
still, set countenance wears what I will venture to call a Pres-
byterian expression.

The Greneral did not forget the little daughter of his
friend Livingston, but sent her a little broach in a little note,
both of which, I have heard, she still preserves. She won-
dered much, it is said, that the General should think of her
amid the hurry and bustle of his departure.

On the 6th of April General Jackson and his family left
New Orleans on their return to Tennessee, and ascended the
river as far as Natchez. There the General was detained by
the proceedings of Blennerhassett, famous from his brief con-
nection with Aaron Burr.

Mr. Blennerhassett had found in a portmanteau of Burr's
that had fallen into his possession a memorandum of the ac-
count between Colonel Burr and the firm of Jackson & Coffee.
From the memorandum it appeared that Jackson & Coffee
had not expended all the money deposited by Burr in their
hands, but that a balance of more than seventeen hundred
dollars had remained in their possession. This was true; but
the memorandum did not record what was equally true, that
this balance had been returned to Burr on the final settlement of
the account, at Clover Bottom, in December, 1806. Blenner-
hassett, who conceived that Burr was deeply in his debt, sued
General Jackson for this balance. General Coffee made an
affidavit to the effect that the money had been returned to
Burr in the very notes in which it had been received from him.

1815.] HOME IN TRIUMPH. 329

General Jackson, on appearing "before the court, gave the same
testimony, and the case was dismissed. '•■'

With the exception of this unwelcome reminder of the
past, the journey homeward was one ovation. On approach-
ing Nashville the General was again met by a procession of
troops, students, and citizens, who deputed one of their num-
ber to welcome him in an address. At Nashville a vast con-
course was assembled, among whom were many of the troops
who had served under him at New Orleans. The greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. Within the court-house Mr. Felix
Grundy received the General with an eloquent speech, recount-
ing in glowing periods the leading events of the last cam-
paigns. The students of Cumberland College also addressed
the General. The replies of General Jackson to these various
addresses were short, simple, and sufl&cient. To Mr. Felix
Grundy he said : —

"Sir: lam at a loss to express my feelings. The- approbation of my
fellow-citizens is to me the richest reward. Through you, sir, I beg leave
to assure them that I am this day amply compensated for every toil and

** In a war forced upon us by the multiplied wrongs of a nation who
envied our increasing prosperity, important and difficult duties were assigned
me. I have laboT-ed to discharge them faithfullyj having a single eye to
the honor of my country.

" The bare consciousness of having performed my duty would have been
a source of great happiness ; but the assurance that what I have done meets
your approbation enhances that happiness greatly.

^ The following is the record, obligingly copied by Colonel B. L. 0. "Wailes,
President of the Mississippi Historical Society: —

Washington, Mississippi Territory, )

StTPEEiOE CouET OP Adams County, Friday, April 21st, 1815. f

Present — ^Hon. "Walter Leak^ and George Poindexter, Jvdges.

Herman Blennerhassett J Andrew Jackson, garnishee in tliis case, being

vs. > sworn, saith that he is not indebted to the de-

Aaron Burr. j fendant anything, nor has he any effects of the

defendant in his hands, nor does he know of any person indebted, or having any

effects of the defendant in their hands.

Judgment nisi against Andrew Jackson, garnishee in this case, set aside.


" I beg you to believe, my friends and neighbors, that while I rejoice
with you in the return of peace, and unite my prayers with yours for it^ long
continuance, it will ever be my highest pride to render you my best ser-
vices when nations, mistaking our peaceful disposition for pusillanimity,
shall insult and outrage those feelings and rights which belong to us as an
independent nation."

To the students of the college he thus replied :

" Young G-entlemen : With lively feelings of pride and joy I receive
your address. To find that even the youth of my country, although en-
gaged in literary pursuits and exempt from military duty, are willing, when
the voice of patriotism calls, to abandon for a time the seat of the muses for
the privations of a camp, excites in my heart the warmest interest. The
country which has the good fortune to be defended by soldiers animated
by such feelings as those young gentlemen who were once members of the
same hterary institution you now are, and whom I had the honor to com-
mand, will never be in danger from internal or external foes. Their good
conduct, on many trying occasions, will never be forgotten by their G-enerah

" It is a source of particular satisfaction to me that you duly appreciate
the merits of those worthy and highly distinguished generals — Carroll and
Coffee. Their example is worthy imitation; and from the noble senti-
ments which you on this occasion express, I entertain no doubt that if cir-
cumstances require you will emulate their deeds of valor. It is to such
of&cers and their brave associates in arms that Tennessee, in military
achievements, can vie with the most renowned of her sister States.

" That your academic labors may be crowned with the fullest success,
by fulfilliag the high expectations of your relatives and friends, is the
ardent and sincere wish of my heart.

"Receive, my young friends, my prayers for your future health and

To a large number of his neighbors and friends^ who met
him on his return to the Hermitage^ he said :

" The warm testimonials of your friendship and regard I receive, gen-
tlemen, with the liveliest sensibility. The assurance of the approbation of
my countrymen, and particularly of my acquaintances and neighbors, is
the most grateful offering that can be made me. It is a rich compensation
for many sacrifices and many labors. I rejoice with you, gentlemen, on
the able manner in which the sons of America, during a most eventful and
perilous conflict, have approved themselves worthy of the precious inheri-
tance bequeathed to them by their fathers. They have given a new proof

1815.] HOME IN TRIUMPH. 331

Online LibraryJames PartonLife of Andrew Jackson → online text (page 30 of 63)