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caught the fever which raged among the prisoners, and soon after ended her days. Thus Andrew Jackson was left the only survivor of the family of his father, the remainder having been brought to the grave by the ruthless tyranny of the British, to avoid which he had sought a home in the wilds of America. Deprived of the counsel of his excellent mother, and thrown into the society of some of the most extravagant young men of Charleston, who resided at the Waxhaws while the British held that place, Jackson commenced wasting his patrimony, and corrupting his habits.
But foreseeing that by continuing in the mad career he had commenced, he would eventually come to rely for support upon his own unaided exertions, he suddenly checked himself in his course of dissipation, and returned to his studies. The pulpit he now abandoned for the bar, and his legal acquirements were directed by two eminent counsellors, Judge McCay and Colonel Stokes. He had not pursued pleasure more ardently than he now sought for proficiency in his legal studies, and he received a license to practise as an attorney in two years from the time when he devoted his attention to the law. Those two years had been spent at Salisbury, in North Carolina, in which state he continued until 1788. In that year he acčompanied Judge McNairy to the western district of North Carolina, comprising what is now the state of Tennessee. The judge had recently been appointed, and he was going thither to hold his first court. When they reached that district, Jackson found that the young adventurers of the place had become indebted to the merchants, and had conspired to retain in their interest the only lawyer in the country, so that the creditors were unable to prosecute their claims. They joyfully hailed the arrival of another lawyer, and Jackson, on the morning after his arrival, issued seventy writs. Such a prosperous opening was a strong inducement for him to remain in that part of the country, and the attempts made by the debtors to force him to leave it, produced a directly opposite effect. Fearing to encounter the bold lawyer in a per
sonal attack, these persons caused him to be assailed by bullies, a class of the most abandoned men, who were accustomed to decide every question by a fight. The first attack of this kind was made by a flax-breaker, remarkable for his strength and brute courage. Jackson reduced him to submission with his own winding-blades. When conversing with a gentleman concerning business, a noted bully approached and trod purposely on Jackson's foot. The young lawyer pushed him off, and brought him to the ground with a blow of a slab. The crowd interfered to stop the conflict, but the bully, with horrid imprecations, snatched a stake from the fence and attempted to renew the attack. Jackson requested the crowd to stand aside, and moved with a firm step and steady eye towards the ruffian, who, struck with terror, dropped the stake, and fled into the woods. His bold conduct in these attacks convinced his enemies of their inutility, and he was therefore suffered to proceed in the prosecution of his professional duties without molestation.
His industry and talents recommended him to all the better portion of the community, and even his enemies respected while they feared and hated him. He received the appointment of attorney for the western district, and soon after discovered that enormous frauds had been practised in the North Carolina land office. These he deemed it his duty to expose, and he prosecuted the perpetrators. The hostility of a large protion of the inhabitants, who were often interested in these fraudulent transactions, was by this means drawn down upon his head.
His business as attorney was divided between Jonesborough, and Nashville, and other settlements on the Cumberland river. Between these places there was a wilderness of two hundred miles, which Jackson crossed twenty-two times in the performance of his duties. The crossing of this wilderness was a task of no little difficulty and danger. The Cherokees and Choctaws on the south, and the Shawnees on the north, waged almost perpetual warfare with the early settlers, who were in this manner accustomed to the use of arms, and skilled in savage tactics. Jackson soon became known as one of the boldest of the brave spirits with which the country abounded, and the fear and respect entertained for him by the Indians is evinced by the names of “Sharp Knife,” and “Pointed Arrow,” which they applied to him. To the experience he acquired in these journeys, perhaps, is to be attributed much of the success which subsequently attended his operations in the country of the Creeks.
The distinction which his courage and resolution in these and similar situations had acquired for Jackson was widely extended. He stood high in the estimation of all classes, and his fellowcitizens embraced every opportunity of honouring him with their confidence. He was chosen a member of the convention for the formation of a constitution for the new state of Tennessee, and when that state was admitted into the Union, he was her first rep:esentative in Congress. One year afterwards, in 1797, he was chosen a member of the Senate of the United States for the state of Tennessee. He connected himself with the republican party, but resigned in 1799, on account of the great preponderance of the federalists in the Senate. On his return to Tennessee, he took an active part in the election which transferred the executive power from the hands of Mr. Adams to those of Thomas Jefferson.
He was again called into public life at the age of thirty by his appointment to the bench of the Supreme Court of the state. Though he reluctantly accepted this office, he performed its duties with his usual firmness. The robber, the murderer, and the outlaw, were brought to justice, the innocent and the injured were protected and avenged, and the hitherto despised authority of the court was everywhere respected and acknowledged.
On the occasion of holding his first court at Jonesborough, an exceedingly strong and ferocious man, named Russell Bean, was indicted for assaulting his child when intoxicated. The sheriff, a timid man, feared to approach him, though he was in the court yard, and made to the court the return that Bean would not be taken. Judge Jackson refused to receive the return, and directed the sheriff, if necessary, to summon the posse comitatus. The sheriff, when the court adjourned, summoned the judge himself as part of the posse. Jackson procured a loaded pistol, and advanced towards the armed desperado, who was bidding defiance to the laws.
As Jackson came near him, he began to retreat, but stopped, threw down his arms, and surrendered at the command of the resolute judge.
John Sevier, the governor of the state, was among the number of his enemies. His enmity to Jackson was naturally shared by the party which supported him, and rose to such a height, that a combination was formed to mob him when he should come to hold his court at Jonesborough, in the fall of 1803. He was so sick on the road as to be scarcely able to sit his horse; but he learned the reception which awaited him, and pressed forward eagerly to Jonesborough. He was suffering from a high fever when he arrived, and he therefore retired to his room and lay down upon his bed. Shortly after, Colonel Harrison, with a regiment of men, arrived in front of the house, prepared to tar and feather him. He was advised to lock his door, but he arose, threw it wide open, and sent a friend with his compliments to the colonel, to say that his door was open to receive him and his regiment whenever they chose to wait upon him; and that he hoped the chivalric colonel would lead his men, and not follow them. The message was delivered, the mob dispersed, the colonel apologized for the inconsiderate violence of his conduct, and became thenceforward one of the firmest friends of General Jackson.*
An attack made upon him in Knoxville by Governor Sevier drew forth a challenge from Jackson, but the conduct of the governor was so vacillating and cowardly, that the judge finally attacked him in the midst of his friends, and would have chastised him with a cane but for their interference. These altercations with the governor, who was implicated in the land frauds, the perpetrators of which Jackson was resolved to punish if he continued on the bench, rendered his position there irksome in the extreme, and he resigned in 1804, six years after his appointment.
* Kendall's Life of Jackson.
He had accepted the office of major-general of Tennessee, when it was tendered to him by a vote of the field officers, but the discharge of its duties interfered little with the enjoyment of a peaceful retirement. The practice of his profession had acquired for him a fortune suited to his limited wants, and he devoted himself to the business of planting on his farm on the banks of the Cumberland.
His passion for fine horses led him to turn his attention to raising them from good stock, and few if any men were more successful. The desire of exhibiting horses of his raising, and of recommending them to purchasers, naturally led him to bring them out upon the race-courses. Some difficulties had arisen about a sum of money forfeited to him by a Mr. Erwin and Charles Dickinson, his son-in-law. This was satisfactorily adjusted, but there were other persons who desired to bring about a duel between Jackson and Dickinson, and they unfortunately succeeded. Dickinson was accounted the best shot in his country: the prospect of a fight with Jackson flattered his pride, and he readily complied with the suggestions of those about him to push matters to extremities. Much newspaper altercation followed, and insults passed freely. At length Dickinson gave into the hands of the printer a paper containing direct imputations of cowardice, and a notice that the writer was about to leave the state. This drew from Jackson a challenge, which was accepted, and the time fixed. Dickinson spent the intervening period in perfecting his practice, boasted how often he had hit the general chalked out on a tree, and offered to bet that he would kill his antagonist at the meeting. All this was