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Mr. Shields, from the moment he was taken, became very deaf, and the British officer, failing to elicit from them the least information, determined to put them in a room together, and place some one at hand, to listen to their conversation. Suspecting something of the kind, they framed their discourse to suit their own purposes. After speaking of their condition and prospects, and their defeat of all attempts of the British to obtain information from them, Shields continued, -"But how greatly these gentlemen will be disappointed in their expectations ! for Jackson, with the twenty thousand men he now has, and the reënforcements from Kentucky which must speedily reach him, will be able to destroy any force that can be landed from these ships.” All this was heard by the British, and no doubt contributed to the abandonment of their design so soon after their defeat. General Jackson continued his preparations for resist
Patroles were stationed through the country to convey to him whatever information they could obtain. The legislature of the state laid an embargo on all vessels in the port, that their crews might be placed in the navy, and that the enemy might not be supplied thereby with provisions. Surrounded with spies and disaffected persons, General Jackson suggested to the legislature the necessity of suspending the execution of the writ of habeas corpus. But they moved so slowly, and entered the work with so much reluctance, that he assumed the responsibility, and at once declared martial law. With all the vigilance he had exercised, he had the mortification to learn that the British had landed unobserved through an obscure bayou, and had made prisoners of a company of militia, on the Mississippi. He ordered the signal guns for battle to be fired, marched through the streets of the city to meet the enemy below, surrounded on all sides with screaming women and children. Compassionating their distress, he requested an aid-de-camp to tell them, in French, that the enemy should never reach the city. The effect was immediate. Quiet and confidence were restored. Under cover of night, General Coffee advanced towards the British lines. The ship of war Caroline was directed to fall down the river, and open a fire on the
British camp, which was to be the signal of attack by land. As the Caroline floated slowly down the river, she was hailed, by the first picket, in a low voice; but, no answer being returned, she was supposed to be a vessel sent by the disaffected in New Orleans, loaded with provisions for the British, and permitted to anchor in a place opposite to the very middle of the encampment; where suddenly she opened a most destructive fire, and compelled the British to leave their camp, and take refuge in the surrounding darkness.
General Coffee had not yet reached the British, and, pressing on as fast as possible for that purpose, unexpectedly received the fire of their whole line. He charged them in turn, and drove them from ditch to ditch, whenever they made a stand, until they reached a branch of the levee, behind which they were sheltered from the American fire, and from which it was believed to be too dangerous to attempt to dislodge them. Meanwhile, on the right, where General Jackson commanded, the Americans were equally successful, and the British were thrice beaten, and had retreated for nearly a mile. Learning the strong position taken by the British on the left, General Jackson found it necessary to relinquish the idea, which he had hitherto entertained, of capturing the army, and concluded to remain in the defensive. He strengthened his defences by every means in his power, filling the breastwork with bags of cotton, and felt fully prepared to give the enemy a reception which would banish all desire of further acquaintance.
On the morning of the 8th of January, information was brought to the lines, that the enemy, in full force, were advancing rapidly to the attack. The outposts had hardly time to come in before the British came in sight. A rocket from each end of their line was the signal to commence their fire. They filled the air with rockets, shells, and cannon balls, and approached with a confidence and steadiness which seemed to insure victory. But now the Americans poured in upon them, from every part of their line, a most tremendous fire of musketry, cannon, and grape shot, which annihilated the front of the column, and piled a rampart of dead bodies in front of the British line; they
died not away.
wavered for a moment, and, with the exception of a few braver than the rest, retreated before the range of the American guns. General Packenham, on the first appearance of hesitation in his advancing columns, placed himself at their head, and urged them on; but it was but for a moment; he immediately fell, pierced with bullets. Generals Gibbs and Keene were carried, wounded, from the field. Almost maddened with desperation, General Lambert, and the surviving officers, again urged the army to the conflict, and again the brave fellows advanced, to become victims for the American riflemen, who never desired a larger mark than a squirrel or a tree-top. Again the roll of the American musketry began, and continued without one moment's intermission, sounding not like a discharge of fire-arms, but like a peal of thunder, of which the sound
It was too much even for the flower of Wellington's army, the bravest soldiers in Europe, to withstand ; they rushed in confusion from the field, leaving it, for the space of three hundred yards, along the whole front of the American line, covered with the dead and wounded, over whom they were compelled to leap, in effecting their retreat, often slipping down upon the field, in the blood of their slaughtered comrades. The British retired within their lines ; and, despairing, with their weakened and dispirited forces, of success in attempting to dislodge the Americans, they retreated to their shipping, General Lambert having written a request to the conqueror that their wounded should be provided with assistance. In a few days, news of peace arrived, and filled every heart with unmingled joy.
A treaty with Spain having been effected, by which that power consented to cede Florida to the United States, General Jackson, with a salary of $5000, was appointed governor, and fulfilled the duties of his office until September, when, having effected his object in gaining complete possession of Florida, he returned to Tennessee.
He was next appointed minister to Mexico, but declined to serve in that capacity, since he could not consistently recognize the claims of the emperor.
He was then elected to the United States Senate, where he displayed the same zeal and activity in the ser
vice of his country, which had characterized his military
In the mean time, having been selected as a candidate for the presidency, he resigned his seat, and returned to his family in Tennessee. He was elected president of the United States, and was inaugurated on the fourth of March, 1829. Among the measures adopted during his administration, were the modification of the tariff, the veto of the Maysville road bill, the removal of the Georgia Indians, the veto of the bill rechartering the United States Bank, the defeat of nullification, the removal of the deposits in the United States Bank, and the recovery of indemnity for the aggressions of Brazil, Denmark, and France. He was elected for a second term to the presidency, and, at the close of his administration, retired from public life, to enjoy the pleasures afforded by agricultural pursuits, and the quiet essential to the comfort of his declining age.
MARTIN VAN BUREN. Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, was born at Kinderhook, New York state, December 5th, 1782. His parents were of Dutch descent, and in humble circumstances. The elements of his education were received, at an academy in his native village, which he left at the age of fourteen, and commenced the study of the law, in the office of Francis Sylvester, Esq., which study he finished in the city of New York, with Mr. William P. Van Ness. He was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in 1803, and commenced practice at Kinderhook. He removed to Hudson in 1809; was elected a member of the state Senate, 1812; and, in 1815, was appointed attorney-general of the state, from which office he was removed, by a revolution in politics, 1819, which elevated another party.
From 1811 to 1813, Mr. Van Buren was identified with that class of politicians opposed to the war with England, but subsequently advocated the propriety of the war, and was an efficient supporter of President Madison. On the 6th February, 1821, he was appointed by the New York legislature a member of the United States Senate. In
August following, he was a member of the Convention called to revise the constitution of the state of New York. In December, 1821, he took his seat in the United States Senate. During the presidential canvass, which resulted in the election of John Quincy Adams, Van Buren was a zealous supporter of Mr. Crawford, and distinguished for his zeal and activity against Adams's administration.
In November, 1828, Mr. Van Buren was elected governor of New York state. Though his gubernatorial career was brief, it was signalized by the adoption of the safety fund system, which combined the moneyed interests of the empire state in an indissoluble league of mutual dependence. On the 12th of March, he resigned the office of governor, being appointed by President Jackson to the office of secretary of state. In April, 1831, he resigned this station, assigning various reasons satisfactory to the president, who appointed him the same year to succeed Mr. McLane as minister to St. James. This appointment was not confirmed by the Senate. His rejection by this body was deemed by his friends a “ proscriptive act," but was more than made amends for by his election, in 1833, to the office of vice-president, by virtue of which he presided over the same body that so recently rejected him as minister to England.
More through the influence of party feeling and the approval of President Jackson, than from personal popularity, he was elected to the office of president of the United States, and was inaugurated March 4, 1837. His presidential career was one of difficulty, doubt, and peril, owing to the unfortunate derangement of our fiscal affairs, and the generally embarrassed state of the country.
His administration was far from being a popular one; and he had to contend with a violent opposition. No pains were spared to prevent his reëlection; and in this
was realized. He was succeeded by General William H. Harrison in the presidency, and retired to his native place in New York state, where he now is residing.
What subsequent changes may occur in the political world, to bring him out again into public life, is not known; but, from the counter current now set in, there is a probability that the next change in the administration