Major Childhood InfluencesSummer - 1791
TERRA RUBRA, FREDERICK, MARYLAND
At 12 years old, met President George Washington, my childhood hero, during his visit to family home. Washington suggested that I continue with my schooling as long as possible.
First Major Legal Case1807
REPRESENTED SWOTORT AND BOLLMAN IN CONNECTION WITH AARON BURR TREASON CASE
Argued for clients up to the Supreme Court to reverse President Jefferson’s order to suspend writ of habeas corpus; court favor of my clients who were not only freed, but declared innocent of high treason.
First Significant Connection to War of 18121812
SETTLED ESTATE OF GENERAL JAMES LINGAN
My client General James Lingan was killed in the Baltimore riots surrounding anti-war protests. The Pro-war protestors attempted to burn down an anti-war newspaper office which General Lingan was trying to protect. This cemented my anti-war sentiments.
Enlisted in US Army Reserves1813
PRECIPITATED BY BRITISH ATTACK ON HARVE DE GRACE
When the British attacked the town of Harve De Grace, it sparked my patriotism as our family continued to own some plantation land in the area, and so we were now defending our homeland from a foreign enemy. With my patriotic sentiments now fired, I became an officer in the reserve army primarily for two reasons: - my education and the fact that I could afford to buy the uniform.
Battle of Bladensburg24 August, 1814
FIRST PARTICIPATION IN A MAJOR BATTLE
I was a junior officer in an artillery unit, but I found it more interesting to give advice to the generals who were defending Washington, DC.
Battle of Baltimore1812
PARTICIPATED IN SUCCESSFUL PRISONER EXCHANGE NEGOTIATIONS
My dear friend Dr. William Beans was taken prisoner by the British for treason after the Battle of Bladensburg. I asked President Madison personally if I could negotiate for his release. Colonel Skinner and I were successful in convincing the British to release Beans, victim of a misunderstanding, but we were all detained until the British were done attacking Baltimore. The rather large flag at Fort McHenry impressed me and I wrote a little poem that got published in a local newspaper. The resulting fame dominated the rest of my life
American Bible Society1816 - 1843
World famous at this point and hating it, I realized that my fame might help me achieve great things, so I pitched in to organize this major religious organization and thereby became responsible for spreading God’s word.
American Colonization Society21 December, 1817
CO-FOUNDER AND PRO-BONO LEGAL REPRESENTATION
Having a hard time getting work, I turned to my other major interest in helping to end slavery, I was part of the founding and management of this organization that became unfairly demonized by abolitionists and later referred to as the “Back to Africa” movement and embraced by President Lincoln.
Defended Sam Houston in a high profile trial1833-1832
HOUSTON WAS INVOLVED IN AN ALTERCATION WITH A U.S. CONGRESSMAN
Shortly afterwards Sam Houston relocated to Coahuila y Tejas, then a Mexican state, and became a leader of the Texas Revolution.
Prosecutor for District of Columbia1833-1841
APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT ANDREW JACKSON
1833 - Successfully negotiated a settlement of Creek Indian situation in Georgia that resulted in stopping Georgia from seceding from the union and starting a civil war. 1835. The plight of the American Indians so moved me that I joined an organiztion to help their cause and there met Noah Webster of the dictionary fame who had the same views. - Also Prosecuted Richard Lawrence for his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President Jackson. 1836. President Jackson was convinced this was an overthrow plot but I determined this genentlman was simply mad. The presendent never fogave me for that.
Ended the "Snow Riots" 1835
CALLED IN THE ARMY AND PROSECUTING ARTHUR BOWEN THE SLAVE WHO SPARKED IT
Arthur Bowen was a black slave who entered his mistresses boudoir carring an axe. His actions spurred a gang of men who called themselves "The Mechanics" to begin vandalizing Arthur Snow's restraunt. Aruther Snow was a free black man running a respectable establishment in the District. I had to call in the national guard to protect the city as there were only 10 policement in service at the time.
Prosecuted Dr. William Crandall for brining and circulating Abolitionist litereature in Washington, DC 1836
THE "SNOW RIOTS" AND ARTHUR BOWEN'S ACTIONS WERE THE "FIRST FRUIT" OF ABOLITIONIST LITERATURE.
William Crandall was obviously guilty of brining seditious materials into the District but unfortunately, (probably looking back fortunately) the jury found him innocent. My son died in a duel in the same year and that along with the sentiments of President Jackon helped me decide not to continue Prosecution of Mr. Bowen.
helped President Andrew Jackson fill Supreme Court vacancy1836
PER REQUEST OF PRESIDENT JACKSON, CONVINCED BROTHER-IN-LAW TO SERVE AS CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE COURT
Roger B. Tawny became chief justice but our conversations about slavery probably later led to his Dred Scott decision that unfortunately sparked the Civil War.
Star-Spangled Banner becomes national anthem3 March, 1932
MY WORDS SET TO A BRITISH DRINKING SONG WRITTEN AFTER MY WITNESSING 1814 BATTLE OF BALTIMORE
In 1922 Robert Ripley of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” fame brought to national attention the fact that America did not have an official anthem. I was long dead and thought that the song would be forgotten, but apparently it survived. After quite a political battle, my song was finally chosen as our National Anthem and made official by Congress.