A Repentant Jacksonman

Cincinnati Daily Gazette
August 22, 1834

(At a meeting recently held at Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, Mr. Dunlop, who had been a strong friend of Jackson, renownced his support. From a speech of great talent and humor we extract the following, which is well worthy of perusal. Mr. D is a mechanic. By a number of our citizens he may be recollected, as the man who made the famous speech in the Manufactuer's Convention here, on the subject of axes. He seemed then to have about as much fear of British axes, as he has now of the "Hero of two wars and a hundred broils.")

I was once, sir, a follower of Jackson -- I say follower, for no one who has aided him to degrade, endanger, distress and insult his country, deserves an epithet more courteous. I then thought him firm in his purpose, true to his profession, patriotic in his measures, and choice of his associates. I now think him neither.

I need not detain this assemblage forty days and forty nights in breaking up the great deep, and opening the windows of his infirmities, and pouring forth the floods of his folly, the vacillations of his conduct, the vagaries of his passions. I need not portray his exercises of unjustifiable power, his disregard of the constituted authorities of the country, and his indifference to the complaints of the people. I need not compile a harmony, or I had better say a discordance, of his political doctrines, or draw a contrast between his professions when a candidate, his meek submissions to the will of the people before his election, and the performances of the man, when invested with authority, and his contempt for the people when he had received the last favors he could hope to enjoy. These things are familiar to us all, and are fully written in the chronicles of the times.

We are told Mr. Chairman, that we are too deeply indebted to this our hero to repine. The fawning sycophants that minister to his vanity, tell us we owe General Jackson an immense debet for the service he has rendered to our country -- that he fought and gained the battle of the 25th Dec., of Orleans, and Eckmuefaw, forsooth.

What, sir, do the people of this republic owe General Jackson? It is gratitude? If it is, has he not had it to the fullest measure? Has not the tributes of hearts been unceasingly poured out for the last nineteen years to him? Has he not received the thanks of his nation from individuals, from public meetings, from the Assemblies of the Representatives of the people through his whole United Nation? Have not votes of public thanks been sufficiently tendered to him? Has he not received testimonials of our estimation of his services, in swords and medals, and monuments, to his heart's content? Has not gratitude of this nation been as free, as ample and as long continued as the heart of a patriot could ask? Have we not fully paid up, in overwhelming measures, this item of his claims?

Do we owe him praise and panegyric? In the name of heaven, is he yet unsatisfied with flattery. Have not the historians perpetuated his exploits? Have not poets and painters and sculptors, vied to eternalize his name? Has not the learned University of Harvard dubbed him a doctor? Have not dignified assemblies of Congress and the Senate sufficiently eulogized his glory, and lauded his feats? Have not the thousands of Anniversary Orators on National Independence for nearly twenty years taxed their ingenuity sufficiently for courtly praise for him? Have not throats enough warbled his name, from courtly hall to the humblest cottage, from the theatre to the brothels. Has the piano and guitar, the fiddles and jews harp, been too seldom strung to great glory? Have not the public prints poured their nauseous flattery in torrents copiously enough? What epithets of adulation have been refused him? Has he not been style "the Roman" and by way of special eminence "the Old Roman?" -- Has he not heard repeated yet enough, that He is "the Second Washington," "the Greatest and the Best," "the Hero of the Two Wars," "the Preserver of the Constitution" "the savior of his country?" Has he not been called every thing yet bestowed upon the most despotic tyrants by the crawling dependents of their footstools? Has not servility taxed her fruitful brain of panegyrics to his actions, till she herself sickened at her subserviency, & her glib and restless tongue tired itself out in enlogies the most fulsome? What more of praise and flattery does he demand? Has he not been lauded to the skies in every part of the country? Has he not been shown in marble, and plaster, and wood, and canvass, enough to gratify his insatiable appetite for applause? Has he not graced the ball room saloons in the mimic majesty of busts and pictures enough? Has he not floated on fags and swung upon sign-posts? Has he not presided over ten thousand banqueting balls and enlivened and excited the debauch to his heart's content? Have not hogsheads of wine glittered in the wine glass for him, & been the pledge of faith of his followers? Has not his head been stamped upon medals, and ribbons, and crockery, till we can't look about but he frowns upon us? Why, sir a man cannot even take drink but we see him on the pitcher, or in the bottom of the tumbler. No Representative, sir, I believe, but can appeal to his bust or his portrait, or some trophy of his fame, in the halls of legislation.

Sir, a man can't get shaved without feeling his presence or his razor or his box. No barber conceives his shop sufficiently decorated to receive his customers without bedizzening his walls with this resemblance of his chieftain. Our very habiliments may bear the impress of his bloated reputation. We have Jackson hats, and Jackson coats and Jackson jackets, and Jackson trousers, and Jackson boots, and Jackson slippers. From our public squares to the country taverns, -- from the Hall of State to our modest homes, all is Jackson, Jackson, Jackson.-- Why, sir, a man can't enter into the retirement of his bed-chamber, but he may see his head, his services, and maybe now, sir, his wounds displayed upon the curtains of his windows, or his couch. And yet, sir, we are told we have not lauded enough. His maw still calls for more of the nutriment of flattery. Though guns and drums and trumpets have thundered his exploits -- though crowds have followed him in his journeyings -- though we have huzzahed in thousands at his presence, and tossed our caps at his coming, and climbed to the windows and to chimney tops to see him pass-- though even Black Hawk, his fellow soldier, drew less crowded streets, the Hero of New Orleans asks more flattery and fawning. So little satisfied is he with the ceaseless praise of the people, he has got to praising himself -- verifying the old adage, that," as his trumpeters are dying, he trumpets for himself."

When, sir, General Jackson is thus lauded--when, his measures, good and bad, are thus sustained and defended-- what more does he want? What is it he asks us yet to endure to discharge this mighty debt our country owes him? A debt, so far as grateful hearts and endless panegyric can pay, is full paid. If He has the approval of his own conscience, He has had all the noblest patriot can desire-- But, sir, it is still rung in our ears that we are yet his debtors.

When we complain of his measures, & ask to represent our grievances, we are told of our obligations to him, and that it is our duty to endure yet patiently, more, longer, for the sake of him we owe so much. What else is it we can owe him? Is it money? Let him name his sum -- let him tell us how much his battles of Eckmuefaw and the Horse Shoe are worth -- at what he estimates his care of the morals of the people, and his lessons of political economy -- let him tell us what price his Kitchen Cabinet is worth, and what he'll take to retire to the saloons of the Hermitage; let him say what he'll take for Taney, for Kendall, and for Whitney, et id omne genius -- so far as this country is concerned, I'll engage, sir, it will be cheerfully voted to him. He make keep the $100,000 of salary received during his military career; He make keep the $200,000 he will receive for eight years of Presidency; he may retire with the $300,00 received from the Treasury of the United States for his public services, into the bargain. We will agree to state no account with him. We'll ask nothing for the reams of panegyric poured upon him, nothing for the flattering orations, the clouds of resolutions to his praise, nothing for the oceans of ink spilt in his service, the powder we have wasted and the guns we have bursted for him; nothing for the millions of lies we have told for him, nothing for consciences seared and faith severed. We'll charge him nothing for confidence destroyed, trade prostrated, commerce crippled, factories abandoned, and workmen unemployed; nothing for broken hearts and broken fortune; nothing for the insults to the constituted authorities, his official usurpations, and indifference to the public voice and public suffering; nothing for sapping the moral effcacy of the Constitution; if he'll only retire from office, and suffer the country to recover from the political incubus that is calmly brooding over its struggling slumbers.