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funds ;” an abundant gold and silver currency; elected ;-receiving but 99 electoral votes out of the public debt paid off; the treasury made 261. In the year 1828 he was first elected, reindependent of banks; the Indian tribes remov- ceiving 178 out of 261 votes; and in 1832 he ed from the States; indemnities obtained from was a second time elected, receiving 219 out all foreign powers for all past aggressions, and of 288 votes. Surely there must have been 10 new ones committed ; several treaties obtain- something besides an old military recollection to ed from great powers that never would treat make these two elections so different from the with us before; peace, friendship, and cornmerce two former ; and there was! That something with all the world; and the measures established else was principle! and the same that I have which, after one great conflict with the expiring stated in the beginning of this chapter as enterBank of the United States, and all her affiliated ing into the canvass of 1828, and ruling its issue. banks in 1837, put an end to bank dominion in I pass on to the last disparagement. “A victory the United States, and all its train of contractions which was a very ordinary achievement, and only and expansions, panic and suspension, distress to be remembered where battles were rare." and empirical relief. This is the answer which Such was not the battle at New Orleans. It the respective periods of the beginning and the was no ordinary achievement. It was a victory ending of General Jackson's administration of 4,600 citizens just called from their homes, gives to the flippant imputation of no capacity without knowledge of scientific war, under a leadfor civil government. I pass on to the next. er as little schooled as themselves in that parti** The majority of the enlightened classes al- cular, without other advantages than a slight ways opposed to him.” A majority of those class- field work (a ditch and a bank of earth) hastily es which Mons. de Tocqueville would chiefly see thrown up-over double their , numbers of in the cities, and along the highways—bankers, British veterans, survivors of the wars of the brokers, jobbers, contractors, politicians, and spe- French Revolution, victors in the Peninsula and culators-were certainly against him, and he as at Toulouse, under trained generals of the Welcertainly against them: but the mass of the in- lington school, and with a disparity of loss never telligence of the country was with him! and before witnessed. On one side 700 killed (insustained him in retrieving the country from the cluding the first second and third generals); deplorable condition in which the “ enlightened 1400 wounded ; 500 taken prisoners. On the classes ” had sunk it! and in advancing it to that other, six privates killed, and seven wounded; state of felicity at home, and respect abroad, and the total repulse of an invading army which which has made it the envy and admiration of instantly fled to its “wooden walls," and never the civilized world, and the absorbent of popula- again placed a hostile foot on American soil. tions of Europe. I pass on. “ Raised to the Pre-Such an achievement is not ordinary, much less sidency and maintained there solely by the " very” ordinary. Does Mons. de Tocqueville recollection of the victory at New Orleans." judge the importance of victories by the numHere recollection, and military glare, reverse the bers engaged, and the quantity of blood shed, action of their ever previous attributes, and be- or by their consequences ? If the former, the come stronger, instead of weaker, upon the lapse cannonade on the heights of Valmy (which was of time. The victory at New Orleans was gain- not a battle, ror even a combat, but a distant ed in the first week of the year 1815; and did cannon firing in which few were hurt), must not bear this presidential fruit until fourteen and seem to him a very insignificant affair. Yet it eighteen years afterwards, and until three previ- did what the marvellous victories of Champauous good seasons had passed without production. bert, Montmirail, Château-Thierry, Vauchamps There was a presidential election in 1816, when and Montereau could not do—turned back the the victory was fresh, and the country ringing, invader, and saved the soil of France from the and imaginations dazzled with it: but it did not iron hoof of the conqueror's horse! and was make Jackson President, or even bring him for commemorated twelve years afterwards by the ward as a candidate. The same four years after- great emperor in a ducal title bestowed upon one wards, at the election of 1820—not even a can- of its generals. The victory at New Orleans didate then. Four years still later, at the election did what the connonade at Valmy did-drove back of 1824, he became a candidate, and—was not the invader! and also what it did not do-de
stroyed the one fourth part of his force. And, limit of manly life: “The days of our years are therefore, it is not to be disparaged, and will not threescore years and ten; and if by reason of be, by any one who judges victories by their strength they be fourscore years, yet is their consequences, instead of by the numbers engaged. strength labor and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, And so the victory at New Orleans will remain and we fly away.” He touched that age in in history as one of the great achievements of 1828; and, true to all his purposes, he was true the world, in spite of the low opinion which the to his resolve in this, and executed it with the writer on American democracy entertains of it. quietude and indifference of an ordinary transacBut Mons. de Tocqueville's disparagement of tion. He was in the middle of a third senatorial General Jackson, and his achievement, does not term, and in the full possession of all his faculties stop at him and his victory. It goes beyond of mind and body; but his time for retirement both, and reaches the American people, their re- had come-the time fixed by himself; but fixed publican institutions, and the elective franchise : upon conviction and for well-considered reasons, It represents the people as incapable of self- and inexorable to him as if fixed by fate. To government—as led off by a little military glare the friends who urged him to remain to the end to elect a man twice President who had not one of his term, and who insisted that his mind was qualification for the place, who was violent and as good as ever, he would answer, that it was mediocre, and whom the enlightened classes op- good enough yet to let him know that he ought posed : all most unjustly said, but still to pass to quit office before his mind quit him, and that for American history in Europe, and with some he did not mean to risk the fate of the Archbishop Americans at home.
of Grenada. He resigned his senatorial honors Regard for Mons. de Tocqueville is the cause as he had worn them—meekly, unostentatiously
, of this correction of his errors: it is a piece of in a letter of thanks and gratitude to the General respect which I do not extend to the riffraff of Assembly of his State ;-and gave to repose at European writers who come here to pick up the home that interval of thought and quietude which gossip of the highways, to sell it in Europe for every wise man would wish to place between the American history, and to requite with defama- turmoil of life and the stillness of eternity. He tion the hospitalities of our houses. He is not had nine years of this tranquil enjoyment, and of that class: he is above it: he is evidently not died without pain or suffering June 29th, 1837, inten:ionally unjust. But he is the victim of the -characteristic in death as in life. It was eight company which he kept while among us ; and his o'clock in the morning when he felt that the subook must pay the penalty of the impositions preme hour had come, had himself full-dressed practised upon him. The character of our coun- with his habitual neatness, walked in the room try, and the cause of republican government, and lay upon the bed, by turns conversing kindrequire his errors to be corrected: and, unhap- ly with those who were about him, and showing pily, I shall have further occasion to perform by his conduct that he was ready and waiting, but that duty.
hurrying nothing. It was the death of Socrates, all but the hemlock, and in that full faith of which the Grecian sage had only a glimmering, He directed his own grave on the point of a sterile ridge (where nobody would wish to plough),
and covered with a pile of rough flint-stone, CHAPTER XXXIX.
(which nobody would wish to build with), deem
ing this sterility and the uselessness of this rock RETIRING OF MR. MACON.
the best security for that undisturbed repose of PHILOSOPLC in his temperament and wise in his the bones which is still desirable to those who conduct, governed in all his actions by reason are indifferent to monuments. and judgment, aud deeply imbued with Bible In almost all strongly-marked characters there images, this virtuous and patriotic man (whom is usually some incident or sign, in early life, Mr. Jefferson called “the last of the Romans) ” which shows that character, and reveals to the had long fixed the term of his political existence close observer the type of the future man. So at the age which the Psalmist assigns for the it was with Mr. Macon. His firmness, his pa
triotism, his self-denial, his devotion to duty conduct—this preference for a suffering camp and disregard of office and emolument; his mod- over a comfortable seat in the General Assemesty, integrity, self-control, and subjection of bly? Mr. Macon answered him, in his quaint conduct to the convictions of reason and the dic- and sententious way, that he had seen the faces tates of virtue, all so steadily exemplified in a of the British many times, but had never seen long life, were all shown from the early age of their backs, and meant to stay in the army till eighteen, in the miniature representation of indi- he did. Greene instantly saw the material the ridual action, and only confirmed in the subse- young man was made of, and the handle by quent public exhibitions of a long, beautiful, and which he was to be worked. That material was exalted career.
patriotism ; that handle a sense of duty; and He was of that age, and a student at Princeton laying hold of this handle, he quickly worked college, at the time of the Declaration of Ameri- the young soldier into a different conclusion from can Independence. A small volunteer corps was the one that he had arrived at. He told him he then on the Delaware. He quit his books, join- could do more good as a member of the General ed it, served a term, returned to Princeton, and Assembly than as a soldier; that in the army resumed his studies. In the year 1778 the South- he was but one man, and in the General Assemern States had become a battle-field, big with bly he might obtain many, with the supplies their own fate, and possibly involving the issue they needed, by showing the destitution and of the war. British fleets and armies appeared suffering which he had seen in the camp; and there, strongly supported by the friends of the that it was his duty to go. This view of duty British cause; and the conquest of the South and usefulness was decisive. Mr. Macon obeyed was fully counted upon. Help was needed in the Governor's summons; and by his representhese States; and Mr. Macon, quitting college, tations contributed to obtain the supplies which returned to his native county in North Carolina, enabled Greene to turn back and face Cornwallis,
joined a militia company as a private, and march--fight him, cripple him, drive him further back ed to South Carolina-then the theatre of the than he had advanced (for Wilmington is South enemy's operations. He had his share in all the of Camden), disable him from remaining in the hardships and disasters of that trying time; was South (of which, up to the battle of Guilford, at the fall of Fort Moultrie, surrender of Charles. he believed himself to be master); and sending ton, defeat at Camden; and in the rapid winter him to Yorktown, where he was captured, and retreat across the upper part of North Carolina. the war ended. He was in the camp on the left bank of the Yad- The philosophy of history has not yet laid hold kin when the sudden flooding of that river, in of the battle of Guilford, its consequences and the brief interval between the crossing of the effects. That battle made the capture at YorkAmericans and the coming up of the British, ar- town. The events are told in every history: rested the pursuit of Cornwallis, and enabled their connection and dependence in none. It Greene to allow some rest to his wearied and broke up the plan of Cornwallis in the South, and exhausted men. In this camp, destitute of every changed the plan of Washington in the North. thing and with gloomy prospects ahead, a sum- Cornwallis was to subdue the Southern States, mons came to Mr. Macon from the Governor of and was doing it until Greene turned upon him North Carolina, requiring him to attend a meet- at Guilford. Washington was occupied with ing of the General Assembly, of which he had Sir Henry Clinton, then in New-York, with been elected a member, without his knowledge, 12,000 British troops. He had formed the heroic by the people of his county. He refused to go: design to capture Clinton and his army (the and the incident being talked of through the French fleet co-operating) in that city, and therecamp, came to the knowledge of the general. by putting an end to the war.
All his preparaGreene was a man himself, and able to know a tions were going on for that grand consummation mait. He felt at once that, if this report was true, when he got the news of the battle of Guilford, this young soldier was no common character; and the retreat of Cornwallis to Wilmington, his indetermined to verify the fact. He sent for the ability to keep the field in the South, and his young man, inquired of him, heard the truth, return northward through the lower part of and then asked for the reason of this unexpected Virginia. He saw his advantage—an easier prey
-and the same result, if successful. Cornwallis tinental paper money, from which the civil or Clinton, either of them captured, would put functionaries who performed service, and the faran end to the war. Washington changed his mers who furnished supplies, suffered as much plan, deceived Clinton, moved rapidly upon the as any. On this principle he voted against the weaker general, captured him and his 7000 men; bill for Lafayette, against all the modern revoand ended the revolutionary war. The battle lutionary pensions and land bounty acts, and of Guilford put that capture into Washington's refused to take any thing under them (for many hands; and thus Guilford and Yorktown became were applicable to himself). connected; and the philosophy of history shows His political principles were deep-rooted, intheir dependence, and that the lesser event was nate, subject to no change and to no machinery father to the greater. The State of North Caro- of party. He was democratic in the broad sense lina gave General Greene 25,000 acres of west of the word, as signifying a capacity in the people ern land for that day's work, now worth a million for self-government; and in its party sense, as of dollars; but the day itself has not yet obtain- in favor of a plain and economical administraed its proper place in American history. tion of the federal government, and against lati
The military life of Mr. Macon finished with tudinarian constructions of the constitution. He his departure from the camp on the Yadkin, and was a party man, not in the hackneyed sense of his civil public life commenced on his arrival at the word, but only where principle was concernthe General Assembly, to which he had been ed; and was independent of party in all his sosummoned—that civil public life in which he was cial relations, and in all the proceedings which continued above forty years by free elections, he disapproved. Of this he gave a strong inrepresentative in Congress under Washington, stance in the case of General Hamilton, whom Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, and long the he deemed honorable and patriotic; and utterly Speaker of the House; senator in Congress un- refused to be concerned in a movement proposed der Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams; to affect him personally, though politically opand often elected President of the Senate, and posed to him. He venerated Washington, aduntil voluntarily declining; twice refusing to be mired the varied abilities and high qualities of Postmaster General under Jefferson ; never tak- Hamilton; and esteemed and respected the emiing any office but that to which he was elected; nent federal gentlemen of his time. He bad afand resigning his last senatorial term when it fectionate regard for Madison and Monroe ; but was only half run. But a characteristic trait Mr. Jefferson was to him the full and perfect remains to be told of his military life—one that exemplification of the republican statesman. has neither precedent nor imitation (the example His almost fifty years of personal and political of Washington being out of the line of compari- friendship and association with Mr. Randolph is son): he refused to receive pay, or to accept pro- historical, and indissolubly connects their names motion, and served three years as a private and memories in the recollection of their friends, through mere devotion to his country. And all and in history, if it does them justice. He was the long length of his life was conformable to this the early friend of General Jackson, and intimate patriotic and disinterested beginning: and thus with him when he was a senator in Congress the patriotic principles of the future senator were under the administration of the elder Mr. Adams; all revealed in early life, and in the obscurity of and was able to tell Congress and the world who an unknown situation. Conformably to this be- he was when he began to astonish Europe and ginning, he refused to take any thing under the America by his victories. He was the kind obmodern acts of Congress for the benefit of the server of the conduct of young men, encouragsurviving officers and soldiers of the Revolution, ing them by judicious commendation when he and voted against them all, saying they had suf- saw them making efforts to become useful and fered alike (citizens and military), and all been respectable, and never noting their faults. He rewarded together in the establishment of inde- was just in all things, and in that most difficult pendence ; that the debt to the army had been of all things, judging political opponents,-to settled by pay, by pensions to the wounded, by whom he would do no wrong, not merely in half-pay and land to the officers; that no mili- word or act, but in thought. He spoke frequenttary claim could be founded on depreciated con- I ly in Congress, always to the point, and briefly
and wisely; and was one of those speakers which professions; yet, when speaker of the House of Mr. Jefferson described Dr. Franklin to have Representatives, he displaced Mr. Randolph from been--a speaker of no pretension and great per- the head of the committee of ways and means, formance,-who spoke more good sense while he because the chairman of that committee should was getting up out of his chair, and getting back be on terms of political friendship with the adinto it, than many others did in long discourses ; ministration,—which Mr. Randolph had then and he suffered no reporter to dress up a speech ceased to be with Mr. Jefferson's. for him.
above executive office, even the highest the He was above the pursuit of wealth, but also President could give; but not above the lowest above dependence and idleness; and, like an old the people could give, taking that of justice of the Roman of the elder Cato's, time, worked in the peace in his county, and refusing that of Postfields at the head of his slaves in the intervals master-General at Washington. He was opof public duty; and did not cease this labor until posed to nepotism, and to all quartering of his advancing age rendered him unable to stand the connections on the government; and in the hot sun of summer-the only season of the year course of his forty-years' service, with the absowhen senatorial duties left him at liberty to fol- lute friendship of many administrations and the low the plough, or handle the hoe. I think it perfect respect of all, he never had office or conwas the summer of 1817,—that was the last time tract for any of his blood. He refused to be a (he told me) he tried it, and found the sun too candidate for the vice-presidency, but took the hot for him—then sixty years of age, a senator, place of elector on the Van Buren ticket in 1836. and the refuser of all office. How often I think He was against paper money and the paper sysof him, when I see Washington robustious tem, and was accustomed to present the strong men going through a scene of supplication, tribu- argument against both in the simple phrase, that lation, and degradation, to obtain office, which this was a hard-money government, made by the salvation of the soul does not impose upon hard-money men, who had seen the evil of paperthe vilest sinner! His fields, his flocks, and his money, and meant to save their posterity from it. herds yielded an ample supply of domestic pro- He was opposed to securityships, and held that ductions. A small crop of tobacco—three hogs- no man ought to be entangled in the affairs heads when the season was good, two when bad of another, and that the interested parties alone -purchased the exotics which comfort and ne- —those who expected to find their profit in the cessity required, and which the farm did not pro- transaction-should bear the bad consequences, duce. He was not rich, but rich enough to dis- as well as enjoy the good ones, of their own pense hospitality and charity, to receive all guests dealings. He never called any one "friend” in his house, from the President to the day la- without being so; and never expressed faith , in borer-no other title being necessary to enter the honor and integrity of a man without acting his house but that of an honest man; rich up to the declaration when the occasion required enough to bring up his family (two daughters) it. Thus, in constituting his friend Weldon N. as accomplished ladies, and marry them to ac- Edwards, Esq., his testamentary and sole execucomplished gentlemen-one to William Martin, tor, with large discretionary powers, he left all Esq., the other to William Eaton, Esq., of Roan- to his honor, and forbid him to account to any oke, my early school-fellow and friend for more court or power ivr the manner in which he than half a century; and, above all, he was rich should execute that trust. This prohibition enough to pay as he went, and never to owe a was so characteristic, and so honorable to both dollar to any man.
parties, and has been so well justified by the He was steadfast in his friendships, and would event, that I give it in his own words, as copied stake himself for a friend, but would violate no from his will, to wit: point of public duty to please or oblige him. Of this his relations with Mr. Randolph gave a sig- “I subjoin the following, in my own handnal instance. He drew a knife to defend him in writing, as a codicil to this my last will and testhe theatre at Philadelphia, when menaced by is to say, having full faith in the honor and in
tament, and direct that it be a part thereof-that some naval and military officers for words tegrity of my executor above named, he shall not spoken in debate, and deemed offensive to their be held to account to any court or power what