On the occasion of presenting a gavel made of wood from the late President Jackson’s land to the Third Congress of the Scotch-Irish in America in 1891, Reverend D. C. Kelley, took the time to address an accusation of vulgarity against President Jackson’s Scotch-Irish rearing.
Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was the son of recent Scotch-Irish immigrants. His parents emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1765, bringing with them two children. Andrew himself was born in the region between the two Carolinas in 1767. Jackson was a member of the House of Representatives and a senator for Tennessee before he took office in 1829 as president. Reverend Kelley contends that Jackson’s Scotch-Irish heritage worked the opposite of vulgarity in him.
In defending President Jackson’s character, Reverend Kelley focused on several key attributes:
Love of country
Duty before all else
High level of courtesy towards women – Reverend Kelley quotes from a biography of Jackson: “Throughout life Jackson was noted alike for spotless purity and for a romantic and chivalrous respect for the female sex. In the presence of women his manner was always distinguished for grace and courtly politeness.”
Forward thinking, exemplified by his 1834 declaration regarding the adverse effects of strong drinks on one’s health.
While defending against some specific criticisms, Reverend Kelley highlighted the following:
Even less noble characteristics have their uses, such as his fighting temperament, which proved advantageous in his foreign policy.
While the author could not defend Jackson’s gambling, he did go as far to say that Jackson went about this vice in a “manly form.”
Any mistakes related to the home front during his presidency are attributable to Jackson having too much heart.
Reverend Kelley concludes his address by lamenting the dearth of writings pertaining to the deeds and gallantry of the Scotch-Irish throughout history.