Before they had the secret service,
Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, was leaving a funeral when the strangest thing happened. English housepainter Richard Lawrence drew a percusion lock pistol, similar to the one seen above, and pulled the trigger. Click, the pistol misfired, and nothing happend. Lawrence then quickly drew a second pistol and squeezed the trigger, again the pistol failed to fire. At that point Andrew Jackson beat Lawrence with his cane, shouting at the top of his lungs, “Damn you sir! Damn you, you dastardly coward!” Both Jackson and Lawrence had to be restrained by several congressmen who were on hand, including Davy Crockett.
Lawrence was judged to be insane, believing that he was an English king who had been deposed by his former butler, Andrew Jackson. He would spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.
After the assasination attempt the pistols were tested several times and found to fuction reliably. The exact cause of the double misfires was never fully explained.