In the lead-up to the election between incumbent president John Quincy Adams and General Andrew Jackson, a widely circulated broadside known as the “coffin handbill” tarred Jackson for callously ordering the executions of six militiamen during the Creek War. A supplement to the handbill, excerpted here, gives an even grislier “eye-witness” account of Old Hickory’s purported cruelty: on the 27th march, 1814, Gen. Jackson had found, at an Indian village at the bend of the Tallapousie, about 1,000 Indians, with their squaws and children, just “running about among their huts.” It has been pretended, fellow citizens, that some of these Indians were in arms; but there is no truth in this, not an Indian in the whole country had ever shown a hostile disposition, or committed a single murder. These poor wretches were massacred in cold blood, without the least provocation…After this “sanguinary chieftain” had been guilty of these atrocious acts of barbarity, he laid down composedly, and slept upon the field, surrounded by five hundred and seventy dead human carcasses!!!…But the day after this bloody affair, “the blood thirsty” Jackson began again to show his cannibal propensities, by ordering his Bowman to dress a dozen of these Indian bodies for his breakfast, which he devoured without leaving even a fragment. Not content with committing this shocking and unnatural outrage on humanity, he attempted to compel all the officers and soldiers under his command, to make a breakfast of the same kind, alleging that it was better than camp beef; but finding that this act of tyranny would produce a general revolt, he was compelled, from necessity, to abandon the project.
…Now, my countrymen, after reading this horrid recital of bloody deeds, can you ever vote for the man to be your President, who could perpetrate them all in cold blood, and who has never done one act to recommend himself to your favor? A man whose whole life has been spent in doing as much injury as lay in his power to his country and countrymen, without ever doing for that country one single service? I am sure you cannot. Make him President, let him be invested with the power of that office for four years, and you will see the consequences when it is too late. Let a Governor of a State incur his displeasure, and he will muster an army and march to the metropolis of a State, hang up the Governor “without trial,” and should the Legislature complain, he will, in all probability, hang up every mother’s son of them by the side of their Governor, and if he should happen to have one of this anthropophagian fits on him, he and his army may devour them all before they leave the city! Let Congress incur his displeasure, and he will march to the Capitol of the United States, take it upon his shoulders with both branches of the National Legislature in it, and hurl Capitol, Congressman, and all, into the Potomac river, for the monster who can eat a dozen men for breakfast must be amazingly strong. Weigh these things well, fellow citizens, and look nearer home. Who knows but his appetite may grow fastidious, and that he will not, after a while, take a fancy to the plump rotundities and ruddy faces of our sturdy yeoman, and if he ever should, we shall see our worthy farmers and planters trussed up, roasted and eaten, with as little ceremony as they are now in the habit of roasting and eating canvass-back ducks and wild turkeys!