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In January, 1846, when seventy-eight years of age, he took part in the great debate on the Oregon question, displaying intellectual vigor, and an extent and accuracy of acquaintance with the subject, which excited great admiration. At the close of the session, on the 17th of November, he had an attack of paralysis while walking in the streets of Boston. He, however, so far recovered, that he soon resumed his official duties in Washington. As he entered the house on the 16th of February, 1847, for the first time since his illness, every member instinctively rose in token of respect; and by two members he was formally conducted to his seat. After this, though constantly present, he took but little part in the debates.
It has been said of President Adams, that when his body was bent and his hair silvered by the lapse of fourscore years, yielding to the simple faith of a little child, he was accustomed to repeat every night, before he slept, the prayer which his mother taught him in his infant years. There is great moral beauty in the aspect of the venerable, world-worn statesman, folding his hands and closing his eyes, as he repeated, in the simplicity and sincerity of childhood, the words,
"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep:
If I should die before I wake,
floor of Congress,
On the 21st of February, 1848, he rose on the with a paper in his hand, to address the speaker. Suddenly he fell, again stricken by paralysis, and was caught in the arms of those around him. For a time he was senseless, as he was conveyed to a sofa in the rotunda. With reviving consciousness, he opened his eyes, looked calmly around, and said, "This is the end of earth;" then, after a moment's pause, he added, "I am content." These were his last words. His family were summoned to his side; and in the apartment of the speaker of the house, beneath the dome of the Capitol, the theatre of his labors and his triumphs, - he soon breathed his last.
The voices of denunciation were now hushed, and all parties united in tributes of honor to one of the purest patriots, and one of the most distinguished statesmen, America has produced.
Birth and Education. - A Bad Boy. - Keeps School. -Studies Law. - Emigrates. Frontier Life. Low Tastes. - A Representative. - Senator. - Judge. - Shop-keeper. - MajorGeneral. Quarrels and Duels. - Marriage and its Romance. - Fight with the Bentons. War with the Indians. - Defence of New Orleans. - Passion and Violence. President of the United States. - Administration. - Retirement. - Conversion. - Religious Character. - Death.
"PAINT me as I am," said Cromwell to the young artist. There were lights and shades in the character of Andrew Jackson, and
HERMITAGE, -RESIDENCE OF ANDREW JACKSON.
the world wishes to know him as he was. One hundred years ago, in 1765, an Irishman of Scotch descent, extremely poor, emigrated, with his wife and two infant children, from the North
of Ireland to South Carolina. George III. had then been five years on his throne. The old French war, which gave Canada to England, had just ended. The humble emigrants had no money to purchase land. They, however, landing at Charleston, penetrated the wild interior, in a north-west direction, a hundred and sixty miles, and built their log hut on a branch of the Catawba River, called Waxhaw Creek, formerly the seat of the Waxhaw Indians. They were on the boundary-line between the Carolinas.
The lonely settlers in this wilderness of pines had reared their cabin, cleared an opening in the forest, and raised one crop, when the husband and father fell sick and died. Mrs. Jackson, with her two little boys, and just on the eve of again becoming a mother, was thus left in utter destitution. Not far from the cabin of the deceased, there was a room built of logs, called a church. The corpse was taken in a wagon; the widow and her two chil dren sat by its side; and in a field near by the body was buried, no one can now tell where.
The grief-stricken widow did not return to her desolated home. There was nothing to draw her there. From the grave, she drove a few miles to the cabin of Mr. McKenney, who had married her sister, and who lived across the border, in North Carolina. There, in that lonely log hut, in the extreme of penury, with a few friendly women to come to her aid, she, within a few days, gave birth to Andrew Jackson, the child whose fame as a man has filled the civilized world. It was the 15th of March, 1767. A few lines tell this story. But where is the pencil or the pen which can delineate its true pathos?--the cabin, the pain-crushed, heart-stricken mother, the clotheless babe, the coarse fare, the penury, the wild surroundings, and the cheerlessness with which the dark future opened before the widow and the orphans.
Could some good angel then have opened to that Christian mother (for she was a true Christian of the Presbyterian faith) the future career of her son,-his renown, his influence, his conversion to Christ, his triumphant death, and that honor, glory, and immortality to which we trust he has attained in the spirit-land,- she might have smiled through her anguish, and exclaimed, "These light afflictions are indeed but for a moment, and work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Mother and child have long ago met in heaven, and earthly griefs are gone forever.
Three weeks after the birth of Andrew, the widow, leaving her eldest little boy with Mr. McKenney, went with the babe and the other child a distance of two miles to the cabin of another brotherin-law, Mr. Crawford, whose wife was an invalid. Here Mrs. Jackson remained with her children for ten years, receiving the hospitality of her kind brother, and repaying it, as far as possible, by that hard work of washing, mending, and cooking, which is inseparable from frontier-life.
Andrew, or Andy as he was universally called, grew up a very rough, rude, turbulent boy. His features were coarse, his form ungainly; and there was but very little in his character, made visible, which was attractive. A companion said of him, " Andy is the only bully I ever knew who was not a coward." A mother's prayers must have been ascending earnestly for him; for even then, in her utter penury, she was endeavoring to devise some way by which she could educate him for the Christian ministry.
When five or six years of age, he was sent to what was called a school, in a wretched log pen about twenty feet square. Here he learned to read tolerably well. Spelling was an art which he never attained. He learned to write in characters which those skilful in hieroglyphics could read. He also became somewhat familiar with the four fundamental rules of arithmetic. This seems to be about the substance of all the school education he ever received.
He grew up to be a tall, lank boy, with coarse hair and freckled cheeks, with bare feet dangling from trousers too short for him, very fond of athletic sports, running, boxing, wrestling. He was generous to the younger and weaker boys, but very irascible and overbearing with his equals and superiors. He was profane, marvellously profane, -a vice in which he surpassed all other men, and which clung to him, until, after the age of threescore years, be learned of Christ to "swear not at all."
The character of his mother he revered; and it was not until after her death that his predominant vices gained full strength. Through some unknown influence, he imbibed such a reverence for the character of woman, and such firm principles of purity, that in that respect he was without reproach.
When nine years of age, the Declaration of Independence was signed. The billows of war soon swept down into the Carolinas,
bringing terror, blood, and desolation to the humble cabins of the Waxhaw. More intense was the animosity, and more bitter the strife, between the patriot and the tory, than between the armies which were facing each other in the field. As Tarleton and his dragoons came thundering along, the older brother, Hugh, not yet eighteen years of age, rode with a volunteer company to meet him, and died of heat and exhaustion at the battle of Stono. With three hundred horsemen, Tarleton surprised a detachment of militia at the Waxhaw settlement, killed one hundred and thirteen, wounded one hundred and fifty, and captured or put to flight all the rest. The old log meeting-house was used as a hospital. Mrs. Jackson was unwearied in nursing the wounded soldiers. Andrew, a boy of thirteen, and his brother, assisted their mother in these works of mercy. Andrew at times expressed the most intense desire to avenge their wounds and his brother's death.
In August, 1780, the victorious army of Cornwallis rushed upon Waxhaw; and Mrs. Jackson, with her two boys, fled before them. Andrew was placed in the family of Mrs. Wilson, in Charlotte, where he paid for his board by being a servant of all work. Here his rage against the British found vent in forming various kinds of weapons, which he would swing, expressing the delight it would give him thus to beat the British down. He remained in this place for about six months, and then the family returned to their ravaged home at Waxhaw. Andrew was now fourteen, tall as a man, but slender and weak from his rapid growth. Terrible was the maddened strife in that neighborhood between whig and tory. A band of tories made a midnight attack upon the house of a whig. Andrew Jackson was there as one of the guard. Quite a little battle ensued, in which he behaved gallantly, and the tories were repulsed. This was the first time he took part in active service. Cornwallis sent a body of dragoons to aid the tories. They surrounded the patriots, routed them with slaughter, and Andrew and his brother were taken prisoners. A British officer ordered him to brush his mud-spattered boots. “I am a "I am a prisoner of war, not your servant," was the reply of the dauntless boy. The brute drew his sword, and aimed a desperate blow at the head of the helpless young prisoner. Andrew raised his hand, and thus received two fearful gashes, other upon his head. The officer then turned to his brother Robert with the same demand. He also refused, and received a
one upon his hand, and the