“In a short time I set out for my own home; yes, my own home, my own soil, my humble dwelling, my own family, my own hearts, my ocean of love and affection, which neither circumstances nor time can dry up. Here, like the wearied bird, let me settle down for a while, and shut out the world.”
But hunting bears had lost its charms for Crockett. He had been so flattered that it is probable that he fully expected to be chosen President of the United States. There were two great parties then dividing the country, the Democrats and the Whigs. The great object of each was to find an available candidate, no matter how unfit for the office. The leaders wished to elect a President who would be, like the Queen of England, merely the ornamental figure-head of the ship of state, while their energies should propel and guide the majestic fabric. For a time some few thought it possible that in the popularity of the great bear-hunter such a candidate might be found.
Crockett, upon his return home, resumed his deerskin leggins, his fringed hunting-shirt, his fox-skin cap, and shouldering his rifle, plunged, as he thought, with his original zest, into the cheerless, tangled, marshy forest which surrounded him. But the excitements of Washington, the splendid entertainments of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, the flattery, the speech-making, which to him, with his marvellous memory and his wonderful fluency of speech, was as easy as breathing, the applause showered upon him, and the gorgeous vision of the Presidency looming up before him, engrossed his mind. He sauntered listlessly through the forest, his bear-hunting energies all paralyzed. He soon grew very weary of home and of all its employments, and was eager to return to the infinitely higher excitements of political life.
General Jackson was then almost idolized by his party. All through the South and West his name was a tower of strength. Crockett had originally been elected as a Jackson-man. He had abandoned the Administration, and was now one of the most inveterate opponents of Jackson. The majority in Crockett’s district were in favor of Jackson. The time came for a new election of a representative. Crockett made every effort, in his old style, to secure the vote. He appeared at the gatherings in his garb as a bear-hunter, with his rifle on his shoulder. He brought ’coonskins to buy whiskey to treat his friends. A ’coonskin in the currency of that country was considered the equivalent for twenty-five cents. He made funny speeches. But it was all in vain.
Greatly to his surprise, and still more to his chagrin, he lost his election. He was beaten by two hundred and thirty votes. The whole powerful influence of the Government was exerted against Crockett and in favor of his competitor. It is said that large bribes were paid for votes. Crockett wrote, in a strain which reveals the bitterness of his disappointment: