That Jackson was very stubborn, even his closest friends
admit. His stubborness, very likely, may not have
added to his agreeableness as a friend and companion.
But it is one of the things we Americans need to
learn—that with the personal, home disposition of
our public men we have nothing to do. Their public
service is all that in any way concerns us or belongs
That Jackson was stubborn there is no doubt, but his
stubbornness certainly rendered this country good
service during his administration.
This strong, self-educated, self-respecting man had
certain peculiarities of pronunciation, which he had
acquired in childhood. The word development,
for example, he would pronounce as though it were
One day, during his Presidency, he was conversing with
a foreign minister. The gentleman, though not an
Englishman, had been educated in England, and prided
himself upon his correct pronunciation of it.
"Devil-ope-ment," said General Jackson, thereby
causing the minister to raise his eyebrows, and to
pronounce the word correctly. The President,
apparently not noticing the impolite correction, again
Again the minister repeated the word with its proper
accent, saying with emphasis, "de-vel-opment."
 "Excuse me, Mr. Dash. You may call it
de-vel-opment if you please; but I say
devil-ope-ment, and will say
devil-ope-ment, as long as I revere the memory
of good old Dr. Waddell!" referring to a former
The anecdote is a graphic illustration of two traits
which marked General Jackson. He feared the face of no
man, and he allowed no one to push him from a
position he had taken. Few men so imperfectly educated
as was General Jackson would have had the courage to
adhere to a false pronunciation in the face of a
scholar who corrected him.
Of course, an obstinate, wrong-headed man is liable to
make serious blunders. But that risk is compensated
for by this fact: no man accomplishes much who has not
stubborn resolution, and having a high standard does
not stubbornly endeavor to attain it.