The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 2: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session Page: 37
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APPENDIX TO THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE.-
28th Cong 1st Sess.
Fine on General Jackson—Mr. Dickinson.
H. of Heps.
proposes to restore a fine imposed by a Louisiana
judge upon a Tennessee general; and being a Ten-
nessee man, I desire to make a few remarks in re-
gard to it. The gentleman from Louisiana [Mr.
Dawson] remarked that this oughtnot to be a party
question; that men of candor and uprightness,
when the restoration of a fine is to be made to a dis-
tinguished commander, who had rendered high and
valuable services to his country, should not suffer
their party feelings to control their votes. Mr.
Chairman, I reciprocate that sentiment. And to
know whether we shall do ourselves, and the Con-
stitution, and the country justice, in the votes we
give, let us take a very brief view of the ground
upon which the judge acted. General Jackson, at
New Orleans, was surrounded by great difficulties.
He was of opinion the danger which threatened the
whole Southwestern country justified him in decla-
ring martial law, and converting the city of New Or-
leans into a military camp. General Jackson ex-
pressed the opinion then, that the necessity of taking
this coursc was so absolute, that otherwise he could
not save the city, and the Southwest from being laid
waste by the British army. He has since repeated
this opinion. Have we any right to doubt his sin-
cerity? I think not. Acting upon that opinion, he
declared martial law, and made New Orleans his
Judge Hall knew that General Jackson had no
power, under the Constitution of the United States,
to suspend the laws by a declaration of martial law;
and did not think the crisis so urgent as to justify
the substitution of the military for the civil authori-
ties. And when he was applied to for a writ of ha-
beas corpus by Louallier, a citizen, who had been
arrested as a spy by command of the general, the
judge did not think he had any discretion to refuse
it. But General Jackson not believing that the
danger which threatened the country was yet at an
end, continued to enforce martial law, and disre-
garded the process of the court. The judge was
ordered to leave the city, and was put beyond the
lines of the camp. After the treaty of peace was
received, General Jackson was summoned before the
district court of Louisiana, by authority of Judge
Hall, for a contempt in disregarding the writ of habe-
as corpus, and fined one thousand dollars.
What evidence is there that Judge Hall, in impo-
sing this fine, did not act as conscientiously and as
faithfully in the discharge of his official duty as did
the commanding general? None, sir; none. What
reasons have been adduced to prove that Judge Hall,
in imposing this fine upon the commander of the
Southern army, acted from vindictive feelings, and
not from a sense of duty?
One reason given by the able gentleman from
Louisiana [Mr. Slidelt,] that this fine was im-
posed from personal dislike is, that the judge was
not in the battle, and therefore a coward. And he
attempted to make the impression that a judge was
expected, on such occasions, to have his gun and his
knapsack; and that, if he did not have them, he must
be a coward. This seems to me certainly a new
principle. But how it is further proved that the
judge was a coward? Geneial Jackson is ordered to
appear before him; a Tennessee general, at the head
of a Tennessee army, surroundcii by his life-guard,
idolized by the citizens of New Orleans, the ladies
waving their handkerchiefs as the defender of the
city advances. He approached the judgment seat.
Was the judge a coward for imposing a fine of a
thousand dollars upon hirn, under such circum-
stances! Was he a coward for upholding what he
considered the just authority of the court?
What, sir, was the conduct of Cicero when he
stood up before Caesar, the conqueror of Gaul? He
quailed under his stern gaze; and to propitiate his
u2ntrr armu silent leon"
What, sir, was the conduct of Judge Hall when
the hero of New Orleans stood before him? Did he
cower under the glance of his fieiy eye? Did he
utter any such sentiment? No, sir; no. He de-
"Iii'ei armi le°es. noil sihnt."
Call you this cowardice? If this be cowardice, I
hope, as long as we have a Government and laws, we
may have such cowards to sit upon our judicial
Another reason given by the gentleman that the
judge proceeded from personal dislike of General
Jackson was, that he was an Englishman, and could
not forgive the general for beating a British army;
and that this feeling is inherent in Englishmen.
We have no proof that Judge Hall was ail English-
[Here. Mr. Barnard stated that he had learned
from a gentleman in this city who knew Judge Hall,
that he was at a college in Pennsylvania when about
But, sir, suppose he was an Englishman by birth:
would that have disqualified him for the office of
judge 011 that occasion? Is there a member upon
this floor who believes that a man who has sworn
allegiance to this country, because he happens to be
an Englishman is necessarily a traitor at heart
when the United States and Great Britain are in
conflict, and that he is always compelled to be so?
Is an Englishman more likely to be a traitor, under
such circumstances, than a Frenchman or a Scotch-
man? And has it been reserved for the gentleman
from Louisiana to make the discovery that an Eng-
lishman loves England more than a Frenchman
loves France, or than a Scotchman loves his native
highlands? Is there any other countryman who
loves his country better than a Frenchman? Who
takes more delight in dwelling upon the achieve-
ments of the warriors of his country? Did you
ever know a Frenchman who did not take as much,
if not more pleasure in dwelling upon the exploits
of Bonaparte, than the Englishman did upon those
of Wellington? Did the fact of Judge Hall's being
an Englishman render him less fit to discharge the
duties of his office than if he had been a Frenchman
or a Scotchman? Sir, it would not; and I cannot
think the honorable gentleman from Louisiana will
insist upon this argument, when he sees the conclu-
sion to which it will force him. Sir, there is no
proof of Judge Hall's having acted corruptly, or
from unworthy passions, in the discharge of his
Dr. Linn, the lamented Senator from Missouri,
put this question, in my opinion, upon its true
ground. He was a noble man. He was a sincere
friend of General Jackson. He said: '-He would
express no opinion as to the conduct of the judge.
It was not necessary that it should be called in
question. Both the judge and the general may have
been right. Both may have been acting in the faith-
ful discharge of their duties to the country." He
did not think it necessary to make Judge flail cul-
pable—to heap abuse upon his memory, in order to
justify General Jackson. That is a question for
posterity to determine, when those who were then !
upon the stage of action, and their passions, have (
passed away forever. 1
I hope that no amendment will be to this
bill, which will place obloquy upon the iBie of this
man, by raking over the ashes of a transaction
which occurred more than twenty-five years ago,
and casting reproach "upon a judicial officer who has
left neither brother nor son to defend his good name;
who lias not left behind him a friend of his boyhood
here, who can tell whether he was a native of Eng-
land or America. General Jackson's lame is not in
need of such support as that would give it.
But the gentleman who has just taken his scat
[Mr. Weixf.r] said that my friend [Mr. Peyton]
had represented General Jackson as a beggar, ask-
ing for a gratuity, or a pension. The gentleman is
mistaken in this. My colleague did not place Gen.
Jackson in that position in regard to this bill; nor
did I understand him as intending to make any such
impression upon the members of this House. All
who know General Jackson, know that neither his
circumstances in life, his spirit, or his feelings, will
allow him to be presented before this House, or the
country, as a beggar. My colleague puts this ques-
tion precisely upon the ground I do, and the ground
taken by Dr. Linn. T desire to vote for the restora-
tion of this fine to Genera! Jackson. I intend to do
so, if the bill continues in its present shape, i think
General Jackson rendered most important and valua-
ble services at New Orleans. I do not think there
was another military man m the country who could
have done better; I doubt if any other general would
have done so well in that service. The Government
received this fine from lum upwards of twenty-five
years ago; which was paid by him hi a nmnmr that
reflected as much honor upon him as did the saving
of the city. 1 shall vote to restore it back, with in-
terest, to him; which is all that this bill proposes.
But if it is amended in such a manner as to put a
censure upon the judge, (who, to say the least of him,
displayed great moral firmness in imposing this fine;
and, by doing so, gave the most striking example
of the judiciary controlling the military power that
has occurred in our national history,) I will vote
against it; I do not believe any of my political
friends in this House will votefor it; nordo I believe,
thus amended, it will pass the Senate. I hope the
bill will not be amended, but continue as it came
from the hands of its author, [Mr. C. J. Ingersoll.]
In that shape it censures no one; and in that shape I
believe it will receive the approval of both branches
of the national legislature.
I understand the movement of the sagacious and
adroit gentleman from Ohio, [Mr. Weller,] who,
in connexion with his high-wrought eulogies upon
General Jackson, announces that the Democracy
will rally under the same flag and principles they
did in 1840. I would recommend to the gentleman
to secure a leader of more "bone and substance"
than he then had, whose merits would not make
these eulogies on General Jackson necessary to raise
him to the presidency. The gentleman from Ohio
is one of the most adroit politicians upon this floor,
as his speech evinces; and his anxiety to make polit-
ical capital for Mr. Van Buren out of the military
achievements of General Jackson, is the cause of
his effort to interpose the name of that illustrious
man between the two great parties that divide the
nation. He knows the name of General Jackson is
the tower of strength of the Democratic party; and
that, by it, they once raised Mr. Yan Buren to the
presidential chair; and that, without its aid, Mr.
van Buren could never have been elected President.
But this manceuvre will never succeed again. I can
tell the gentleman from Ohio this artifice is in vain—
that he Vill find it is a worn-out trick. The pas-
sage of this bill does not require either such eulo-
gies upon General Jackson, or abuse of Judge Hall.
Those who desire its passage in both Houses of
Congress, should not seek to make it a party ques-
tion, or put it in such a position, either by speeches
or amendments, a's will prevent gentlemen of either
political party from voting for it.
I am not insensible to the eulogies which have
been passed upon the Southern army, and its illus-
trious commander. They warm my heart; for they
are praises bestowed upon a soldier of my native land,
and upon soldiers many of whom are my constituents
and friends—men who shared with General Jackson
the toils and glorifjs of all his battles—men who
were with him at "Talladega, and throughout the
campaign in the Creek country, (now known as Al-
abama)—men who partook with him in the danger
and glory of defending New Orleans, the most splen-
did of all his military achievements. Sir;> there is
not a congressional district in America which num-
bers among its citizens a larger number of General
Jackson's soldiers than the one I have the honor to
represent. Yet, sir, my consituents—I might add
the people of Tennessee, who, to General Jackson's
"faults, were ever a little blind, but to his virtues
very kind," and who sustained hnn so zealously
for the presidency—will not, on account of his mili-
tary services or wishes, sustain Mr. Van Buren
and his sub-treasury jiolicy against what they believe
to be the true policy and interests of their country.
They rejected them both most signally in 1840.
They will, by a vote equally as decided, reject them
again in 1844.
The friends of General Jackson have it in their
power to show him to posterity, in connexion with
this fine, in an attitude a* glorious to him as that of
victor at New Oceans. Let them follow out the
suggestions of a Senator from Louisiana, who pro-
posed a "painting of the scene in the court room
when this fine was imposed and paid. The -war-
rior, fresh from the field of battle, in his military
dress, bowing in submission to the decree of the
court; thus "teaching posterity, by his example,
that great truth which they should not fail to learn—
which should be deeply impressed upon their
hearts, and which lies at the basis of our institu-
tions "that the military should always be sub-
ordinate to the civil authority." They could, m
this wav, serve his fame far more eftectually than
bv draggm"- ills name into the political conflicts of
tfie day. They might rely on it, they could never
make anything by thrusting Geneial Jackson for-
ward in the next presidential contest. They would
find the people would regard such an attempt as sn
insult to their understanding. Such had been the
case in Tennessee. The attempt to make political
capital there out of General Jackson's services, for
the purpose of sustaining Mr. Van Buren, had sig-
nally failed. He would tell gentlemen it was a
worn-otrt trick—that they would not be al le, with
all their skill, to hide the fox of New l'ork m
mane of the lion of Tennessee.
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 2: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session, book, 1844; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2368/m1/47/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.