{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

Rare Book Video – The Trial of Richard Lawrence for his Assassination Attempt on President Andrew Jackson

The latest installment in our Rare Book Video series features the trial of Richard Lawrence for his assassination attempt on President Andrew Jackson. Lawrence believed that he was King Richard III and Jackson’s veto of the bill to reauthorize the charter of the Second Bank of the United States had deprived him of a dispensation owed to him by Congress. To exact his revenge, Lawrence waited for Jackson as he exited a funeral at the United States Capitol Building. To learn what happened next, watch the video below.

One Comment

  1. Pete S
    December 5, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Lawrence was clearly mentally ill but he was also suffering from lead poisoning from the paints he used. He was a house painter by training but also painted landscapes as a hobby. Paint was lead based back then. Water pipes were soldered with lead solder and some water containers were made of lead at that time. Tin food cans were being made in 1830 and these were lead soldered together. So naturally the lead leached into the food. Lawrence melted lead to mold bullets for his pistols and he “shot at marks” (target practiced) with these guns often. He frequently fired pistols out of the window at night. Probably to clear damp charges or old loads of black powder. Lawrence was noticed as having a “peculiar gait” when he walked and this is a symptom of lead poisoning. He complained to his sister of pain in his stomach. This was known as “painter’s colic” yet another symptom of lead poison. He may also have been suffering from mercury poisoning. He was seen in the company of a prostitute on several occasions and may have contracted a STD. Common treatment for this was liquid mercury. This would have produced brain damage, hallucinations, etc.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.