Four American Patriots - Alma H. Burton

The Story of Andrew Jackson

Jackson, Andrew


Perhaps you have already heard something about General Andrew Jackson, and you may have seen the old soldier's portrait, or one of his statues which stand in parks and other public places.

Andrew Jackson was such a wonderful man, and did so much for our country, that I am sure you will be glad to read all that you can about him.

His father, whose name was also Andrew Jackson, was a poor farmer in Carrickfergus, on the north coast of Ireland.

He rented a few acres of land from a rich lord, who threatened, every time he could not pay his rent, to turn him out of his cabin. His wife was a sad-eyed little woman, who wove linen all day long; but, with their hardest work, they could barely get food enough for themselves and their children.

One day Jackson received a letter from a friend who had gone to America to live. The friend wrote that he could have his passage paid across the ocean, if he would only come to North Carolina, and build a home in the pine forest.

It was a long time before the poor farmer gave any heed to the letter.

He loved the peat bogs where he had always lived, and where his parents and grandparents had lived before him, and he could not make up his mind to leave the kind neighbors who toiled and suffered like himself.

Then, perhaps, there was a failure of crops, or, perhaps, the rich landlord said something cruel about his rent—just why it was I do not know; but, in the end, he concluded to go to America.

And so Andrew Jackson, his wife and two boys, Hugh and Robert, took sail in an emigrant ship.

They landed at Charleston, in South Carolina, and went to the Waxhaw settlement in North Carolina, where their friend from old Ireland was living.

Now, this was in the year 1765, the very time when the Stamp Act was causing so much excitement in America. In all the towns along the coast the people were talking about the tyranny of King George of England.

But Andrew Jackson did not hear very much about the king or the Stamp Act. He was busy felling trees and planting corn. He was proud to call the little farm his own, and thought that America was the most wonderful country in the world.

His wife picked the wild flax, and spun and wove it into cloth; and the bloom came back to her cheeks, and she sang all day long as she worked at the wheel.

But sorrow soon came to her even in this land of plenty and song. In two years Andrew Jackson died.

A few days after, on the 15th of March, 1767, another son was born.

He was a wee, frail baby, and his wails mingled with the sound of mourning for the husband, who slept on the hillside.

"I will call him Andrew," said the weeping mother. "Perhaps he will grow handsome and strong, like his father!"


When Andrew was three weeks old, his mother moved across the border, from North Carolina into South Carolina, where her brother lived.

"He'll never stand the journey," said the good women of the neighborhood, as he was bundled up with shawls, and put away in a basket.

But the journey was made, although the rough winds blew, and Andy was soon unloaded at his uncle's door.

"He'll not live to feel his first tooth!" croaked the good women of this new neighborhood.

But Andrew kept growing in spite of all they said. He clinched his little fists at colic, measles, and whooping cough. He talked very early, and walked instead of crawled, and set the whole house in a roar if any one chanced to take liberties with his toys.

"If you ask me for things, you may have them," he said, "but you shall not touch them without my leave."

"Touchy!" sniffed his brothers, but they did not often cross him because he was so much younger than themselves.

When Andy was old enough, he went to school with his brothers. Little did the master think, as he peered over his spectacles, that he was looking at a future President of the United States.

Andy seemed timid and modest. He was tall and thin; his head was long and narrow; his face was pale, and about it hung thin hair as white as flax. But what eyes the child had! They were a clear blue, that flashed like steel in the sun.

"The lad looks too meek for this earth," said the kind hearted teacher to himself. He patted Andy's flaxen head and gave him a seat on the lowest bench.

Andy showed his mettle the very first time that a lubberly fellow teased him. He could not strike back with his puny fists, but, while the master was busy, he shaped a big boy out of paper. Then, with a grim gesture of warning, he fastened a paper string about the paper boy's neck, and flung him dangling from the bench. It was soon noised about the school that Andy Jackson was too savage to be teased.

He showed no end of pluck. "We can throw him three times out of four," said his mates, "but he'll never stay thrown."

"Easy, lad, easy," said the master, one day, as he caught the little spitfire in the act of rushing upon a playmate. "Thou'llt have others to fight besides thy school-fellows, if I read the signs aright."

At this very time strange news was creeping up the valley of the Waxhaw. British soldiers were trying to make the Americans obey unjust laws and people were saying there would soon be war.

Then tidings of the battle of Lexington came.

Andy was not sure where Lexington was, but he knew that Americans lived there, and that the British king had sent over troops to fight them.

That was quite enough to know. He had heard from his mother how the cruel lords of Ireland oppressed the poor, and he was furious because the king's laws were making Americans suffer like the Irish.

He stamped round and round the little log cabin where he lived; he fastened the steel of a scythe to a pole, and mowed down the tall weeds in a rage.

"Out with the tyrants!" he cried. "Oh, if I were a man now, how I would sweep down the British with my grass blade!"

Word came that South Carolina had raised troops to resist the British soldiers. Then one courier brought news that the king's governor had fled to his ships in the harbor; and then another courier rode in haste to tell how the fleet at Charleston had been driven out to sea.

It was hard work to study in those days; even the master was unlike himself. He wandered about the room as if he could not keep quiet.

And one hot July morning when Andy reached the school, he found the door shut. What did it mean? The road was full of wagons and horsemen. They were all going one way.

Andy followed the crowd and reached the court house. He heard men talk of a "Declaration of Independence."

Now, he was only nine years old, and did not understand just what a Declaration of Independence was; but when men threw up their hats and made the woods ring with their shouts he was quite sure it was a good thing, and he, too, threw up his cap of coon-skin and shouted with all his might.

After this I am sure that the bench at school saw very little of Andy Jackson.

He hung about the blacksmith shop, which stood in a clearing near his house, to watch the men of Carolina fashion old saws into swords and melt pewter mugs into bullets.

And as they worked they told how General Washington had been defeated at Brandywine, and how a British general had surrendered at Saratoga.

Men came very often up the Waxhaw with news from the battlefields.

When, at last, Andy heard of the surrender of Charleston to the British, he could not rest at home.

He mounted his horse and rode off with his brothers to join a party of scouts in pursuit of the British redcoats.

The Young Prisoner of War

Andrew was now thirteen years old and as tall as a man. He was fearless and bold, and none more than he won renown as a scout.

About this time Tarleton, the British general, raided the settlements on Waxhaw Creek. He bribed and frightened many of Jackson's neighbors to join his army.

He pinned a red rag on their coats to show that they favored the British; but you may be sure that no red rag was pinned to the coat of Andrew Jackson.

He and his brothers escaped to the woods, and fought their foes as long as they could.

At last Robert and Andrew were captured. When a haughty officer ordered Andrew to black his boots, he stood proudly before the scowling redcoat and said: "Sir, I am a prisoner of war, and demand to be treated as such."

"Impudence!" shouted the officer. "Black the boots instantly."

The slim boy drew himself up; his eyes blazed like fire as he cried: "I am not a servant to any Briton that breathes!"

The officer struck at him with a sword. He parried the blow with his hand, but bore the scars to the end of his life.

Hugh died from neglect of wounds received in a battle. Andrew and Robert were taken to the town of Camden, which the British had captured.

They were kept, with nearly three hundred other Americans, in an open field surrounded by a high board fence.

Disease soon killed many, and starvation killed more.

Their only hope was that some American troops would come to rescue them from what seemed worse than death itself.

At last, they heard the sentinels say that General Greene was marching toward Camden.

There was great excitement in the little pen over this news. All day the prisoners wandered about the high fence, peering at every splinter to find an opening where they might see out.

At night, Andrew pried a knot from a board. He waited anxiously for the first peep of dawn.

When, at last, the friendly light came, he stood at the opening and spied an army on Hobkirk's Hill. He knew the men were Americans by their blue and buff uniforms, and by their flag with its thirteen bars of red and white and its thirteen stars on a field of blue.

His heart beat fast as he saw this new American banner fluttering over the general's tent. He let others climb up to get a peep at it. One of the stars was for South Carolina. How the prisoners longed to leap over the fence and fight for that star!

But British guards stood outside the enclosure. The unhappy prisoners could only huddle in a bunch to hear Andrew tell what he saw outside.

While General Greene was waiting for cannon, his soldiers were busy with their morning chores. Some were stirring fires under great pots to boil their breakfasts; some were washing linen in the little stream that ran at the foot of the hill; some were polishing muskets, and some were playing games.

One tall officer came out of headquarters, and, mounting his horse, rode from tent to tent.

"That must be General Greene himself!" shouted Andrew in a hoarse whisper.

"Hurrah! give us a squint at him, Andy," said the waiting men.

"Yes, that is he, sure enough," said one. "You can tell him by his straps."

Greene was with Washington at Brandywine," said another.

"Aye," said another, "and he helped capture the Dutch at Trenton on a Christmas!"

They scrambled over each other to catch a glimpse of the hero. "Where's our Marion, the 'Swamp Fox'?"

"Can't see him, but if he's not there he's somewhere else!"

Suddenly, in the midst of the whispers, there sounded a clash of arms and a stamping of horses back of the prison fence.

"What's that? What's that?" now fairly shouted the startled men.

Andrew was at the knot-hole again; he saw the British General Rawdon leading his troopers out to surprise the camp. They rode very fast, with loud hurrahs, as if they had already won the battle.

The Americans made a rush for arms in the tents. Then they rallied, and swept down the hill at Rawdon's rear.

The prisoners fairly shouted now. What did it matter if the sentinels heard?

Many rushed pell-mell toward the door of the prison, expecting to be free in the wink of an eye.

But Andrew stood close to the knot-hole; he saw how horses ran riderless, how the bluecoats were mowed down by the redcoats, and how, at last, Greene and his men retreated beyond the other side of Hobkirk's Hill.

When the sound of the pursuing army died away, the prisoners fell back in despair. It seemed as if they would never escape from the prison pen.

Now, all this time Mrs. Jackson had been trying to find her boys. When she reached Camden, she so moved the hearts of the officers by her tears that they exchanged Andrew and Robert for some British prisoners. Her arms were soon around the poor lads.

Robert was so ill that he was placed on a horse; the mother rode another horse. Andrew was gaunt and pale; he was without jacket or shoes, and so weak that he could hardly stand, yet he walked behind the horses; and thus the three plodded over forty miles to their old home.

Then both boys fell ill with the smallpox. Robert died, but Andrew recovered.

When news came of disease among the American prisoners in the harbor of Charleston, Andrew's mother resolved to go as a nurse to the pest-laden ships. She arrived at Charleston, but soon after died of the fever; and so Andrew Jackson, at the age of fifteen, was left all alone in the world.

The Lawyer

About the time Andrew's mother died, Cornwallis, the British general, surrendered his army to Washington at Yorktown, and soon all the red coats withdrew from the southern states.

The American families who had fled to the forests for safety returned to their homes on the coast. Among these were some young men whom Jackson knew.

After they had gone he was so lonesome that he sold his little homestead and followed them to Charleston. There he fell in with some wild fellows and wasted his money. He soon saw the folly of this and began to take life more seriously. First he worked as an apprentice in a saddler's shop, but he much preferred riding in a saddle to making one. Then he taught school for a time, but could not endure to be penned in with dullards and drones; so he mounted his horse and rode to Salisbury, North Carolina, to study law.

The king's lawyers had fled the country during the war and there was a fine opening in the courts for young Americans.

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had just begun their practice before the bar in New York, and John Quincy Adams was preparing to return from Europe in order to enter Harvard College.

Others who would one day become noted lawyers were Henry Clay, a boy of seven, in the "slashes "of Virginia; Daniel Webster and Lewis Cass, of New Hampshire; John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina; Thomas H. Benton, of North Carolina; and Martin Van Buren, of New York. These last were toddling infants two years old; yet they were destined to be friends or foes to the Irish immigrant's son.

Jackson was seventeen years old when he began to study law. He was tall and slim; his face was long and thin, with a high, narrow forehead; his eyes were deep blue, and his glance was open and frank.

He made many friends in his new home. Indeed, all through life he found friends wherever he went, because he was honest, generous, and true.

Now, while Andrew Jackson, the raw country lad, was studying law in Salisbury, some men, whom you know very well, were busy trying to form a government.

There was no government of the United States at that time as there is now. Each state still governed itself.

The Continental Congress, which had kept the states together during the war, was falling to pieces.

"Something must be done to form a government," said the patriots who had struggled to save the country.

And George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others wrote letters and made speeches about the need of a permanent union among the states.

Perhaps it was hearing some of these noble men talk that set Andrew Jackson to thinking more seriously than ever. He studied law in earnest, and succeeded so well that in 1788 he was appointed public prosecutor for the Western District of North Carolina.

The District Attorney

The Western District of North Carolina lay beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a vast wilderness where Indians still lived, but it was being slowly settled by the white men.

Whenever Jackson saw the rough hunters come into Salisbury to sell their packs of skins, he questioned them about the West; the more he heard of it, the more he thought he would like to go there.

And so when he was made public prosecutor for the land beyond the mountains, he gladly set out with a hundred other adventurers.

Pack horses carried their tents and cooking vessels, and all the men had rifles. They passed through Cumberland Gap and were soon in a vast forest. Danger lurked on every side. Scouts went in advance all day, and sentinels stood guard while their comrades slept.

One night, after the camp was silent, Jackson was lying against a tree enjoying the cool breeze, when he heard an owl hooting in the distance. Soon another owl hooted.

"There are many owls in these woods," he thought.

Then another owl, with a strange hoarseness in its call, hooted quite near the camp. Jackson started from his seat; he glided over to a friend, and touched him gently.

"What's the matter?" growled the sleeper.

"Listen!" whispered Jackson. "Hear the owls!"

"You're not afraid of owls, Jackson?" said his friend, with a laugh.

"But listen to that again! It's too natural. It's Indians; I'm sure of it. They're giving signals and gathering about us."

The two aroused some hunters, who declared that Indians were near. Tents were quickly packed, and the company moved silently on.

That very night some passing hunters, who found the deserted campfire, lay down to sleep, and before dawn all but one were killed by the Indians.

Jackson's party traveled through great forests, where the leaves were turning red and yellow, and at the end of October reached Nashville, on the Cumberland River.

The settlers read the letters they had brought in their saddle-bags, and questioned them eagerly about everything in the states.

When they heard that the majority of the colonies had adopted the Constitution of the United States, and that electors were to choose a president, they said George Washington, of Virginia, would be elected; and, surely enough, he was, in April, 1789.

Soon after the election, news was brought that the western district of North Carolina had been ceded to the United States, and called the Southwest Territory, and that President Washington had appointed Andrew Jackson to be the district attorney.

Now the district attorney was a very important officer. Many who moved to the West had forgotten to pay their debts, and it was the attorney's duty to remind them of it; he had to punish for land stealing and horse stealing, and to settle drunken quarrels.

Court day was the greatest day of the year. Friends and foes met then, and almost as many quarrels were begun as were settled.

When the offenders were not satisfied with the decision of the court, they would often hurry from the house and fight out the dispute, with the judge and jury looking on.

Jackson went on horseback from one courthouse to another. He was in constant danger from the Indians, but he was in almost as much danger from those whom he punished.

When bullets whizzed past him in the forest, he laughingly said: "A miss is as good as a mile!" And the more he was persecuted, the more he was determined to stay at Nashville.

The Congressman

In 1791, Andrew Jackson married Rachel Robards. She was a bright-eyed beauty whose father had been one of the wealthiest men on the frontier. They lived very happily together.

In 1792, the territory just north of Jackson's district was admitted to the Union and called Kentucky.

Then people in the Southwest Territory began to talk about organizing a state government and joining the Union.

"If Kentucky can send its representatives to the Congress at Philadelphia, why can't we?" said Jackson and his friends.

There was much talking about the matter on court days and at log rollings and corn huskings.

At last, with a deep sense of the important steps they were to take, delegates oiled their hair with bear's grease, and donned their best buckskins.

With muskets in their hands and bowie-knives in their belts, they pushed through the wintry woods to Knoxville, a thriving little village on the Holston River.

Among those who went none had more influence than Andrew Jackson. In the court house at Knoxville, where the logs were piled high in the great fireplace, he helped to frame the constitution for a state.

"What shall we name our state?" asked these lawmakers. "Let its name be Tennessee, after the river—the 'River with the great Bend'," said Jackson. Then messengers took the constitution to Philadelphia, to ask Congress to admit Tennessee into the Union.

Now at this time there were two political parties. The Federalist party feared to give too much power to the masses of the people, and the Republican party feared the power of the learned and rich.

Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists declared that the United States government was not yet stable enough to allow a crowd of Western ruffians to send delegates to Congress.

But Aaron Burr and the Republicans said that they would risk the rough frontiersmen any time sooner than the aristocrats of the cities.

The Republicans had their way, and Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the sixteenth state. Then who should be elected the first representative in Congress?" Andrew Jackson!" shouted almost everybody in Tennessee.

And so the new congressman mounted his horse and set out on the journey to Philadelphia, nearly eight hundred miles away.

When he reached the capital city, he seemed quite out of place. He was tall and lank; his hair hung over his face and was tied at the back in an eel-skin; his dress was peculiar, and there were many rumors afloat about his rude life in the West.

When he attempted to make a speech, he choked and hesitated; but for all that, he helped pass a bill to repay the people of Tennessee for the expenses of an Indian war. This made him more popular at home than ever.

He was soon chosen a senator; and among the very first to greet him in the Senate was Aaron Burr, who had helped pass the Indian Bill. The two men became great friends, and their friendship lasted as long as they lived.

Jackson did not like to live in Philadelphia, and soon resigned his position to go back home. He had already seen much while in office. He had seen President Washington enter the Chamber of Representatives to deliver his last address. He had seen John Adams inaugurated President, and he had met Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who would some day be presidents.

But little did the rough frontiersman think that he himself would ever be President, and little did any one else think it, either!

Storekeeper, Judge, and Planter

When Jackson returned to Tennessee, he brought with him a train of packhorses loaded with goods. He built a cabin in Clover Bottom, near Nashville, and filled it with farming implements, salt, sugar, blankets, cotton and woolen goods, and many other things.

Then he exchanged these wares for skins, raw cotton, corn, wheat, and pork to send down the Mississippi to New Orleans, where he received good Spanish dollars in exchange.

People came many miles to trade at the store in Clover Bottom. Indians came, but they were such thieves that Jackson did not allow them to enter the store. He made them stand in a row at a window, through which he handed out their supplies.

After a time, Andrew Jackson was appointed judge of the supreme court of Tennessee and major-general of the militia, and he built a fine house and lived in style.

Then he was unfortunate in business. He had to sell his fine house and most of his land to pay his debts, and he moved back to the little log cabin where he had first begun housekeeping.

"Rather go to bed supperless than to rise in debt," was Andrew Jackson's motto.

He held his good name higher than anything else. His reputation for honor was so great that men always trusted him. When a citizen of Tennessee wanted a loan from a banker in Boston, he showed the names of many prominent men in his state.

"Do you know Andrew Jackson?" asked the banker.

"Yes, but he is not worth a tenth as much as either of these men whose names I offer you."

"No matter," replied the shrewd banker; "Jackson has always paid his debts. If you can get him to sign your paper, we will loan you the money."

After Jackson found himself so deeply involved, he resigned his judgeship to become a planter. Soon his cotton, corn, and tobacco throve greatly, and his horses were the fattest and his slaves the most industrious in the state.

Those were happy days for Andrew Jackson and his wife. They called their cabin the "Hermitage." At first there were only three rooms in the Hermitage, yet everybody was made welcome, from the peddler with his pack to the governor who came in his coach.

And here in 1805 came Aaron Burr. He had killed. Alexander Hamilton in a duel, and was very unpopular in the states east of the mountains; but he was well received by the people of Tennessee. They remembered how he had helped the territory to become a state.

Jackson remembered how kindly he had treated him in Philadelphia, and he invited him to his home.

And so Burr, the wanderer, spent many days at the Hermitage. He talked much about the conquest of Mexico.

Mexico was then a vast territory belonging to Spain. Besides the present boundary, it included what is now Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, California, and parts of Colorado and Kansas.

Jackson was still major-general of the Tennessee militia, and he pledged himself to build boats and equip men for the expedition.

After Burr had gone, reports came that he was plotting not only to conquer Mexico, but to make himself emperor over all the states west of the Alleghany Mountains.

These reports displeased Jackson very much. He wrote to some one, "I would die in the last ditch before I would see the Union disunited."

And when Burr came again, to Clover Bottom, Jackson told him plainly enough that he would not lend aid to divide the Union. Burr declared that he had no intention of separating the West from the East.

Jackson believed him; and when President Jefferson ordered the arrest of Aaron Burr on the charge of treason to the United States, he hastened to Richmond, Virginia, to defend his friend at court.

We shall find that all through his life Andrew Jackson dared to do what he thought was right, and never deserted a friend in his hour of need.

"Old Hickory"

Even after Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio became states, the settlers west of the Alleghanies lived in fear of the Indians.

The dusky warriors crept through the forests to shoot at farmers who plowed in the fields, or hunters who followed their game; but they could not keep peace among themselves long enough to unite in a war against the white men. At last, Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief, wandered alone in the forest. He was continually planning how to drive the pale-faces away from the hunting-grounds. He decided to unite all the Indian nations into one great army, and he stirred up the tribes north of the Ohio until they sharpened their tomahawks and danced together around the red pole of war.

Then he paddled across the beautiful river and visited the Creeks, of Alabama. He chided them for following the customs of the white men which made the once noble warriors so weak.

"Lay aside the soft blankets of wool," he said, "and don the skins of the forest."

"The Great Father is angry when he hears the noise from your muskets. Put away the thunder of the white men and take up again the bow and the hatchet."

While Tecumseh was thus busy in the South, his warriors in the North were defeated by General William Henry Harrison in the battle of Tippecanoe; and when the chief returned to find them scattered and slain, he fled to the British in Canada.

Now, the British were very unfriendly to the Americans. They insulted the Stars and Stripes on the ocean, and seized American sailors on board of American ships.

And when the British officers became so bold that they steered their men-of-war into our own harbors to seize our ships as prizes, President Madison declared war against Great Britain.

This was on the 19th of June, 1812. There were battles on land and on sea.

At first the Americans had the worst of it. The great fort at Detroit, in what is now Michigan, surrendered. Almost everything went wrong, until Captain Oliver H. Perry cleared Lake Erie of British ships.

Then General William Henry Harrison defeated a British army on the Thames River, in Canada. Tecumseh was slain in this battle, and many Indian warriors deserted from the British.

Meantime, General Jackson, of Tennessee, was not idle. He offered to bring two thousand five hundred volunteers into the field, and his offer was accepted. The troops were ordered South. It seemed very important to guard the Gulf of Mexico. If New Orleans were seized by the British, the whole valley of the Mississippi might be lost.

Florida at that time belonged to Spain. The Spanish king hoped that, if England might conquer the United States, the country west of the Alleghanies would be annexed to Florida.

Spain claimed to be neutral, but allowed the British to use Florida as a base of supplies, and aided them by drilling the Indians and giving them muskets of English make.

Jackson wrote to the secretary of war that he could conquer Florida and plant the American eagle on the walls of Pensacola and St. Augustine; and he made everything ready for a long campaign on the Gulf of Mexico.

It was midwinter when the general and his men boarded their boats on the Cumberland River. They paddled down the Ohio to the Mississippi, and it took them a month to pass through the ice to Natchez. Here Jackson spent another month waiting for orders from Washington. He kept the men hopeful by his ardor.

Once, when they seemed discouraged at the delay, he asked: "Where is the man that would not prefer to be buried in the ruins of his country than to live the slave of lords and tyrants?"

And when, at last, the orders came, they said to dismiss his troops, as it did not appear that the British would go South.

Jackson was greatly grieved over the result of his expedition, but he marched his men home through more than five hundred miles of forests and prairies. He gave up his three horses to carry the sick and walked like a common soldier.

He kept such stout courage that one man called him "tough," another called him "as tough as hickory," and then in gratitude they called him "Old Hickory," and the name of "Old Hickory" clung to him till the day of his death.

The Creek War

If Jackson was not needed at New Orleans, he was needed to defend his country somewhere else.

The Creeks in the South could not forget the warnings of Tecumseh. They met in council, and pondered how they might drive out the white men. When an earthquake shook their wigwams, they said, "Tecumseh is stamping his foot in anger;" and when a meteor shot across the sky, they said, "It is the soul of Tecumseh, which can not rest till the palefaces are driven from the hunting-grounds."

The British officers at Pensacola offered five dollars apiece for American scalps, and the zeal of the warriors increased. Soon the settlements on the frontiers of Georgia and Tennessee were attacked, and the whites abandoned their farms and fled to the forts.

"We will carry war into the heart of their country," said General Jackson, of the Tennessee militia, and his men marched again to the South.

On one of the first battlefields an Indian baby was found clinging to its dead mother. The squaws in camp said, "Kill the papoose, for all of its kin are dead."

But General Jackson took the child to his own tent. He mixed brown sugar with water and kept it alive until it could be sent to the Hermitage.

Here the Indian baby found a home, and was loved like a son until he died at the age of seventeen.

There were many battles in this campaign against the Creeks. The Indians were driven step by step into their hiding places.

At last, Jackson halted on the banks of the Coosa and waited for supplies. No supplies came, because the rivers were then too shallow to float the boats.

There was soon nothing to eat but acorns and bark from the trees. It is said that one morning the general invited his officers to breakfast with him in his tent. Although starving themselves, they supposed that he had plenty to eat. When the proper hour arrived, a tray of acorns and a pitcher of water were brought in.

"Sit down, gentlemen," said Jackson; "this is my breakfast; but a soldier never despairs. Heaven will preserve us from famine and return us home conquerors."

The days of fasting continued until the Tennesseeans declared they were ready to fight, but not to starve, and began to pack up to go home. All that General Jackson said had little effect.

When the militia started on their homeward march, Jackson called on the volunteers to help stop them. But very soon the volunteers themselves revolted, and then Jackson turned the guns of the militia against the volunteers.

Things continued to grow worse and worse, until Jackson promised that if no supplies came within two days he would break up the camp. The two days passed by, but not a bite of anything was in sight. The soldiers demanded that he should keep his promise.

"If only two will remain with me," said the general, "I will never abandon the fort;" and his face showed such anguish that more than a hundred rallied about him to pledge their support.

Most of the men started homeward. They soon met the long train of provisions, and with shouts of joy new camp fires were built and oxen were killed. The woods rang with merriment, while the soldiers feasted and drank.

Then with strength came boldness. The men declared that, now their legs were strong enough, they would go home in spite of Jackson. But they had hardly started before the fiery general was in their path.

There he stood. His face was pale, his eyes blazed like balls of fire, his gray hair rose straight up, as he cried in tones that echoed through the woods that he would shoot the first man who moved a step forward. The soldiers fled in a panic before him and returned to their tents.

Soon more recruits came, and the Indian war commenced again. "Until all is done, nothing is done," said Jackson.

He invaded the Holy Ground on the Tallapoosa, where the Indians declared no white man might enter and live, and prophets were slain, and warriors, squaws, and papooses perished. When the chiefs begged for peace, the army disbanded.

Soon after this, the Creeks met at Fort Jackson in the Holy Ground, to make a treaty. Jackson sat in a great circle of warriors.

"I have done the white people all the harm I could," said a chief; "and if I had an army, I would yet fight, but I have none. Once I could arouse my warriors, but I cannot arouse the dead. My warriors can no longer hear my voice. Their bones lie bleaching on the battlefields. You are a brave man, Jackson. I rely on your generosity."

Then another spoke: "A warrior went to the British on the lakes," he said; "when he returned, he brought gifts which made our warriors murder the Americans. Then the British at Pensacola misled the warriors.

"When you had your first war against the British we were young and foolish, and fought against you; but Father Washington warned us never to interfere between the British and the Americans. Now, if ever the British say we must fight again I will tell them no."

The most of the warriors agreed that their rivers might be navigated and that roads might be opened out through their country.

The Battle of New Orleans

While General Jackson was fighting the Indians, the fleets of Great Britain had been bringing more troops to America. A British army burned Washington, and President Madison and his Cabinet fled from the city.

People began to say that the British would soon place troops in every town and keep them there until the Americans swore allegiance to the king.

But you may be sure that Andrew Jackson never said such a thing as that. When a fleet sailed round the reefs of Florida and landed troops at Pensacola, he marched against Pensacola.

The Spaniards surrendered, the British withdrew to their ships, and the Indians scattered through the forest.

Then Jackson set out for New Orleans, in Louisiana, a hundred and seventy miles away.

Now, Louisiana had just been admitted to the Union. The people of the new state were mostly Spanish, French, and negroes.

New Orleans, its capital, was different from any other city in the United States. It was fortified by an old wall, with bastions at four corners where sentinels always stood. And there was a great cathedral, and a curious town hall; and there were houses with arcades, lattices, and balconies. On the levees by the Mississippi River were piles of cotton bales, and casks of sugar and molasses, waiting to be shipped to the West Indies.

As Jackson entered the city, he marked well these piles of casks and bales, and made up his mind just what to do with them. He said that they should help him in the fight.

The people of New Orleans hailed his approach with delight. "Jackson's come! Jackson's come!" went from lip to lip in Spanish, French, and English, and "Yankee Doodle" was sung on the streets by singers who could not pronounce the words.

Now, the people of this strange city had looked for a grand general with a mustache and epaulettes and a staff of officers in splendid uniforms.

They saw a tall, thin man, dressed in threadbare clothes, with a short, blue cloak, and boots reaching to the knee, and with him were five or six others as poorly dressed as himself.

Jackson soon showed that he was every inch a general. He did not rest a moment. He declared martial law. He gave orders that all street lamps should be put out at nine o'clock, and that no one should enter or leave the city without passports from headquarters. He appealed to the French, Spanish, free negroes, and Americans to defend their state from the redcoats.

He even called on the smugglers for aid. There was old Jean Lafitte, who had an island in the Gulf where he hid the rich booty he seized. Jackson promised pardon for his smuggling, and soon the ships of the sea robbers lay in wait for the British fleet.

Jackson summoned the engineers to examine the bayous and harbors, and hundreds of men were set to digging ditches and carrying dirt in wheelbarrows, shovels, and carts. Bales of cotton and hogsheads of sugar were heaped into line.

One rich dealer in cotton called to Jackson: "You must appoint a guard for this cotton of mine."

"Certainly," replied Jackson. "Here, sergeant, give this gentleman a musket and ammunition and station him in the line of defence. No man is better qualified to guard cotton than the man who owns it!"

There were plenty of volunteers. The young aristocrats of the city became aids-de-camp; regiments in flatboats came down from Nashville; friendly Indians gathered in feathers and war paint, and soon five thousand men were toiling day and night on the breastworks.

"There'll be time enough for sleep when we've driven the villains into the swamp," said Jackson. The army was still at work on the twenty-fourth of December.

Now, at that very time, in the town of Ghent across the sea, a treaty of peace was being signed between the agents of Great Britain and those of the United States; but there was no ocean cable then to carry this news to America.

No one in the United States expected peace yet, and the eyes of all were turned toward the army at New Orleans. President Madison and his cabinet, the senators, and members of the House of Representatives at Washington waited eagerly for news. One naval officer studied the map of New Orleans, and said it could not be defended against a fleet of fifty vessels, armed with a thousand cannon.

Twenty thousand British soldiers were confident of success. They were the flower of England's army and navy; many of them had fought against Napoleon, and some of their ships had been in great victories on the Nile River, in Egypt.

"I shall eat my Christmas dinner in New Orleans," said the British admiral.

"Perhaps so," said General Jackson when he heard of it, "but I shall have the honor of presiding at that dinner!"

Ladies sent a message to ask what they should do if the city were attacked. "Say to them," said the general, "not to be uneasy. No British soldier shall enter New Orleans as an enemy unless over my dead body."

At last, the British in red, and green, and tartan plaids marched toward the earthworks.

Perhaps at that very moment General Jackson remembered the British officer who had struck him across the head because he would not black his boots, and perhaps he remembered how his two brothers and his mother had died in the first war with the redcoats.

His cannon belched fire from the wall in front of him, and a score of British officers fell. A retreat was sounded.

Then on the eighth day of January, the soldiers of King George advanced again. On they came and their cannon balls whistled a greeting.

"Don't mind those rockets," said Jackson; "they are mere toys to amuse children!"

"Old Hickory" seemed to be everywhere at one time. "Stand to your guns!" he cried to one. "See that every shot tells!" he called to another.

In twenty-five minutes the victory was won, but it had been an awful battle for the British. More than two thousand of them were killed and wounded.

Only eight of Jackson's men were killed and thirteen wounded. And when the guns ceased firing, and the sentinels called down from the watchtowers of New Orleans that the redcoats had fled to their ships, songs of praise rang out from the cathedral, and the people flocked into the streets to welcome the return of the conqueror.

Now, all this time rumors good and bad had reached the cities east of the mountains. Snow storms delayed the couriers, and when, at last, the news of victory came, people could hardly believe it.

"And who is Jackson?" they cried. But it was not long till all the newspapers had plenty to say about Andrew Jackson of Clover Bottom, in Tennessee; and Congress gave him a vote of thanks and ordered a gold medal in his honor.

When the tardy report of the Treaty of Ghent arrived, Federalists and Republicans, who had not spoken for years, clasped hands like old friends. There were bonfires and wild huzzas, and long lines of sleighs drove through the streets of many towns with "Peace" on the hat-bands of the drivers.

"Hurrah for Jackson!" called the merry-makers as they passed each other with jingling bells.

During all the year the merchant vessels had lain idle in the harbors with tar barrels over the masts toy protect them. "Madison's nightcaps," the barrels had been called; and now that commerce was safe again, thousands flocked down to the wharves to see Madison's nightcaps lifted off as the ships sailed away to foreign ports.

The Union was stronger than ever. Every one had fought for it, or paid for it, or wept for it in this war of 1812. But Andrew Jackson received more honor than any other man. One poet wrote:—

"A happy New Year for Columbia begun

When our Jackson secured what our Washington won."

Governor of Florida

After a few months' rest at the Hermitage, the hero of New Orleans went on horseback through the Cumberland Gap toward Washington, and all along his pathway people turned out to greet him.

In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, now very old, offered a toast in his honor. At Washington, he became the idol of the hour. His stateliness won the hearts of the ladies, and his cordial manner pleased the men. He was made a major-general of the United States army, and had riches, honor, and fame.

He returned home, but he did not remain there long. "In time of peace prepare for war," said Jackson. He posted troops at New Orleans, and held council fires with the Indians to settle disputes about land.

Then some negroes began to give trouble. Many slaves from Georgia had escaped from their masters to northern Florida. They gathered herds and flocks, and built homes, and called themselves free. They numbered nearly a thousand, and had chiefs and captains, who drilled them at arms.

After a time they seized a fort on the Appalachicola River, and began to plunder the Americans. The fort was in Florida, but, because the Spaniards did not have troops to attack it, some of Jackson's troops blew it up.

Then the Seminoles in Georgia and Alabama grew restless. They welcomed the fleeing negroes to their wigwams and raised the red pole of war as they sang of the white scalps they would take. General Jackson marched from Nashville with an army and scattered the warriors.

And when he saw that the Spaniards were aiding the Indians, he seized the fort of St. Marks, in Florida, drove out the Spanish garrison, hauled down the Spanish flag, and put in its place the Stars and Stripes.

In a few months he had broken the power of the Seminoles completely and had not lost a single man. But what about the seizure of the Spanish fort? Spain was at peace with the United States. The boldness of "Old Hickory "might bring on a war with the Spanish king. Some said that Congress, to avoid a war, should pass a vote of censure on General Jackson.

The hero was too popular with the people for this to be done, but the American troops were withdrawn from the Spanish fort.

Now, the Spanish king knew very well that he could not continue to hold Florida without the aid of a large army; and so when President Monroe soon afterwards proposed to buy the province, he sold it for five million dollars. Jackson was appointed the first governor of Florida.

In those days Florida was a wilderness of swamps and live oaks, with here and there a half-ruined fort. On the east coast was St. Augustine, the oldest town in the United States, and on the west was Pensacola, where the Spanish governor lived.

Governor Jackson marched into Pensacola with a regiment, and the Spanish flag on the government building was taken down. The Spaniards, whose lands had been sold by the king, Crowded the harbor with their household goods, and set sail for Cuba in a fleet of ships.

American adventurers hastened to buy up land for speculation, and drowsy old Pensacola soon had the appearance of a brisk American town.

Governor Jackson remained only a few months in Florida. The climate did not agree with him, and he resigned his office to return to the Hermitage. He was welcomed home with great joy by the people of Nashville. They felt that his honors were their honors, and were proud of him wherever he went.

When President Monroe visited Nashville, a ball was given in his honor; but the ornament of the ball seemed to be the general rather than the president. The two men marched into the hall arm in arm. General Jackson was much taller than President Monroe, and was dressed in full uniform.

"Ah, see our general!" whispered the citizens; "he surpasses all in the room!"

The Hermitage

And so it was in Clover Bottom that Andrew Jackson again found himself at home. The Hermitage was now a comfortable brick house with wide piazzas where rich and poor were welcomed alike.

Home of Andrew Jackson

Jackson often drove to Nashville in a carriage drawn by four handsome iron-gray horses, with black servants in liveries; and as he wound in and out among hay wagons and strings of mules that blocked up the streets, the simple country people in the market place thought him a very grand person indeed. Yet when General Lafayette stopped at the Hermitage in 1825, he was surprised at the plain living of the hero of New Orleans.

"What!" exclaimed one of the Frenchmen who accompanied him, "what! Does the most famous general in America live thus? In France he would have a palace in the city and a country seat, and his houses would be filled with liveried servants and costly silver and gold plate, and all France would be taxed to pay for his splendor!"

But the more the old marquis knew General Jackson, the more he admired, him; and after he had bidden him adieu, he said to some of his friends: "That is a great man. He has much before him yet!"

Now, it had been nearly forty years since Andrew Jackson first crossed the mountains, and wonderful changes had taken place in the West. After steamboats were invented, thousands of settlers came down the Ohio every year. Towns sprang up along the rivers; forests and prairies were made into fine farms, and schoolhouses and churches were everywhere.

So many states had been admitted into the Union that the people of the great West began to say: "Why can't we send a President to Washington? Here we are, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, and Missouri, and we have boundless territory from which to make more states. We have conquered the Indians, and driven out the wild beasts, and cut down the forests; we have sent our best men to the north to defeat the British and to the south to defeat them. We have earned a high place in the nation. Let us put on a bold front and demand the highest place. Let us ask that a man from the West shall be made President."

Ah, but who could win in an election against a candidate from the East?

"Who, indeed," cried Tennessee—"who could win but the hero of New Orleans? Who but 'Old Hickory' is known to the people on the coast?"

And so the Tennessee legislature nominated Andrew Jackson for President of the United States.

Now, just across the border was the Kentucky legislature, whose hero was Henry Clay.

"The President from the West must not be the laughing stock of scholars and statesmen," said Kentucky. "Jackson is brave, but he is ignorant. Let us name Henry Clay. He is a polished statesman. We shall never be ashamed of Harry of the West."

And so Henry Clay was nominated by his friends in Kentucky.

But the politicians of the East did not want a man from the West. They nominated John Quincy Adams and other Eastern men for the office.

Jackson himself laughed at the idea of being President. "No, I can command a body of troops in a rough way," he said, "but I am not fit to be President."

Who would be President? That was the question on the lips of all. The choice seemed to lie between Jackson and Adams.

Would it be the Western planter, the Indian fighter, the stern soldier of 1812, or would it be the elegant scholar who had spent years at the courts of kings?

The friends of Jackson hurrahed for "Old Hickory." They called him a second Washington, and it looked for a time as though he would surely be elected.

Daniel Webster wrote to his brother Ezekiel: "General Jackson's manners are more presidential than those of any of the candidates. He is grave and mild. My wife is for him decidedly."

In the end, John Quincy Adams was elected.

But the West was determined to name the next President, and the man it wanted was Andrew Jackson. Four years later, he was elected by a great vote of the people both in the East and in the West.

President of the United States

Soon after General Jackson was elected President, his wife died. He was broken-hearted over his loss, for she had been a kind and loving wife. He wished to remain at the Hermitage, where he might be near her grave; but the people had called him to office, and he felt that he must serve them.

He took a steamboat down the Cumberland and up the Ohio to Pittsburg, and then rode to Washington to be inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1829, as the seventh President of the United States.

There were six secretaries in the official cabinet; but he did not ask much advice from these. He sought out a few friends whom he consulted so much that they were called the "Kitchen Cabinet." When Congress passed bills he did not think were best for the country, he vetoed them. If Congress could not pass them again by a vote of two-thirds they failed to become laws.

There were many questions about which people differed very much in opinion, and one of these was the tariff question. A tariff is a tax laid on certain goods imported from foreign countries.

"Out with foreign wares!" cried the manufacturing states of the North. "Put a high tariff on the manufactures from Europe, and give us a chance to make everything for ourselves!"

But the states of the South did not manufacture anything; they wanted to exchange their cotton, tobacco, rice, and indigo for the products of Europe, as cheaply as possible. They did not want to pay a tax on imported wares.

Now, President Jackson was opposed to the high tariff law. His friends in the South declared that he would have sympathy with them if they refused to allow the taxes to be collected at their ports by the government officers.

But Jackson said to himself: "This high tariff has now become a law of the land by a vote of the majority of the people; and since I was elected to execute to this law, as well as all others, I am determined to have it enforced."

The members of Congress from the South gave a great banquet, to which they invited President Jackson. He heard some of the guests say that, if Congress would not change the tariff law, the states that did not like the law might withdraw from the Union. What did that mean?

Jackson knew very well that it meant that our country should be divided into many little republics instead of being one great republic, as George Washington and others had intended when they signed the Constitution of the United States.

When the time came to make speeches, the President rose to offer a toast. All leaned eagerly forward. They thought he would say something against the tariff.

But the Man of the Iron Will looked down the long lines of brilliant men and exclaimed: "Our Federal Union, it must be preserved!" These words caused much dismay among the guests. They saw that the President would oppose any attempt to secede from the Union.

After a time South Carolina grew bold, and declared that the state would secede if tariffs were collected at her ports, and ordered the militia to be ready to act if necessary.

President Jackson did not hesitate a moment. He sent two war-ships to Charleston, and this quickly prevented a rebellion.

He lived according to the very words he had spoken when an unknown soldier in Tennessee: "I shall be found in the last extremity endeavoring to discharge the duty I owe to my country."

Death at the Hermitage

Andrew Jackson served eight years as President, and each year he grew more popular with the people.

In spite of all enemies, everything seemed to prosper during his administration. The cotton crops in the South were enormous. The wheat and corn in the middle and western states yielded more than the Americans could use, and shiploads of grain were sent to foreign lands. The national debt was paid. Steamboat lines, pike roads, railroads, and canals were built.

There were so many labor-saving machines invented that farmers and mechanics had more time to read, and some newspapers were sold for a penny apiece. American poets, historians, and orators began to be talked about in Europe. And all this progress added much to the glory of Andrew Jackson.

He put on a haughty air with the French, and forced them to pay a large amount of money for damage to our merchantmen during their wars.

He sent armies to Wisconsin and to Georgia to conquer the troublesome Indians; and when news came that the Seminoles were plotting again to massacre the white settlers, he sent troops who drove them into the swamps of Florida.

But, although Jackson fought the warriors when they were on the warpath, he wished to be just to them in times of peace.

The United States bought Indian lands, and he said: "Pay the Indians honorably for their lands their full value in silver, not blankets, not rifles nor powder, but hard cash."

And he advised Congress to set apart an Indian territory west of the Mississippi, where all the tribes might seek a home and make laws for themselves.

While on a tour through New England, cannons boomed at his approach, flags waved, and dinners were the order of the day; and when Jackson laid the corner stone of a monument to Mary, the mother of Washington, the patriotism of the people was raised to the highest pitch.

Harvard College made him a "Doctor of Laws."

"Why, Jackson can hardly write his own name," said his enemies, "and a Doctor of Laws is a title for scholars!"

A curious crowd looked on while a learned professor addressed the President in a long Latin speech. Everybody smiled. There sat "Old Hickory" on the platform, and people knew well enough that he did not understand a word that was said. When the Latin speech was over, a wag called out to Jackson for some Latin, and then everybody smiled again.

But the old hero rose politely, and, stepping forward, said, "E Pluribus Unum." It was the motto put on the American seal by Benjamin Franklin. Every schoolboy knows it who has jingled quarters in his pocket—"One made out of many!"

Who did not remember at that moment how Jackson had preserved the many states as one united country when South Carolina tried to secede? And who did not remember how he had fought, over and over again, for the Union? Cheers rent the air for the new Doctor of Laws, and the greatest scholars in the college hastened to shake his hand.

At the close of his second term he said, in his farewell address, "I leave this great people prosperous and happy."

Jackson traveled homeward by easy stages. He was now seventy years old. He lived the life of a planter the rest of his life. He was respectful to women and loving and tender to children. Even his bitterest enemies said that he had been brave and skillful as a soldier and honest and fearless as a statesman.

Nobody visited Nashville without driving out to the Hermitage to visit "The General."

In his house were many interesting relics. Not the least of these was a blue and yellow uniform worn by the hero at New Orleans, which you may see to-day in the Patent Office at Washington.

During the week, Jackson was always ready to ride or walk with his guests, but on Sundays he would say: "Gentlemen, do what you please in my home; I am going to church."

And on one Sunday in June the soul of the fearless man took its flight. He was surrounded by his family and servants and a few of his dearest friends. His last words were:

"Be good, my dear children and friends and servants. I hope to meet you all in heaven, both white and black!"

He was buried by the side of his wife in the garden of the Hermitage, and the tablet which marks his grave reads:

Born on the 15th of March, 1767.
Died on the 8th of June, 1845.