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Title: Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 2.
Author: Burr, Aaron
Language: English
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[Frontispiece: Theodosia]





"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him."



       *       *       *       *       *

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1836, by


in the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New-York.

       *       *       *       *       *



Colonel Burr's study of the law; shortness of his study; different
opinions respecting his law learning; his definition of law; his
manner of preparing causes and of conducting suits; his maxim for
sluggards; tendency to mystery in his practice; fondness for
surprising an opponent; an illustration of this remark; his treatment
of associate counsel; nice discrimination in the selection of
professional agents; their various characteristics; the same acuteness
displayed in politics; anecdote on this subject that occurred during
the contested election in 1800; great coolness and presence of mind in
civil as well as military life; an example in the death of Mr. P.;
commenced practice at the close of the revolution under the most
favourable auspices; multiplication of his papers; condensation a
peculiar trait in his mind; never solicited a favour from an opponent;
a strict practitioner; character of his mind; manner of speaking;
accorded to General Hamilton eloquence; an incident in relation to
Hamilton and Burr in the cause of Le Guen _vs_. Gouverneur and Kemble;
letter from John Van Ness Yates explanatory of Chief Justice Yates's
notes on that occasion; the effect he produced as a speaker; his
display of extraordinary talents on his trial at Richmond; his legal
opinions on various important occasions; a letter from him evincing
his great perseverance when nearly eighty years of age


A brief history of the rise of political parties in the state of
New-York; the city of New-York the rendezvous of the tories, from
which they communicated with the British ministry during the war;
feelings of the whigs on this subject; Joseph Galloway, of
Philadelphia, sails in 1778 for England; his correspondence with the
loyalists extensive; extracts from various letters written during the
war of the revolution, viz., from the Reverend Bishop Inglis, from
Isaac Ogden, from Daniel Cox, during the year 1778; from John Potts,
from Daniel Cox, from Isaac Ogden, from Daniel Cox, from Thomas Eddy,
from Bishop Inglis, from John Potts, from Bishop Inglis, from Isaac
Ogden, from Bishop Inglis, from Isaac Ogden, from Daniel Cox, during
the year 1779; from Charles Stewart, David Sproat, and James Humphrey,
Jun., printer, in 1779, in which General Arnold's _tory sympathies_
are alluded to; from Bishop Inglis, John Potts, and Christopher Sower;
from David Ogden, with the plan of a constitution for the government
of the American colonies after the whigs are conquered


Defeat of General Schuyler as a candidate for the office of governor
of the state of New-York, in opposition to George Clinton, in 1777;
commencement of the Clinton and Schuyler parties; defeat of General
Schuyler as a candidate for Congress in 1780; "a supreme dictator"
proposed; opposition of Hamilton to the project; the Clinton and
Schuyler parties continued to exist until the adoption of the federal
constitution; in 1779 a law passed disfranchising tories; in 1781 an
act confirmatory of this law; first session of the legislature after
the war held in the city of New-York, in 1784; petitions of the tories
rejected; Robert R. Livingston's classification of parties in the
state; suit of Mrs. Rutgers vs. Waddington for the recovery of the
rent of a building occupied by Waddington in the city of New-York
during the war; the mayor's court, James Duane and Richard Varick
presiding, decide against Mrs. Rutgers; great excitement and public
meetings; Waddington compromises the claim; in 1786 and 1787, sundry
laws restricting the privileges of the tories, through the
instrumentality of General Hamilton are repealed; the tories unite
with the Schuyler party; the strength of the Schuyler party in the
legislature elected from the tory counties; names of the members in
1788, 89; to which of the political parties Colonel Burr belonged;
letters from John Jay on the subject of proscribing the tories


The Livingstons were of the Schuyler party; subsequently of the
federal party; their change; reasons assigned; the federalists triumph
in the city of New-York at the election of 1799; Mr. Jefferson's
opinion as to the effect of the city election in 1800; the several
factions of the democratic party unite in this contest, through the
arrangements of Burr; the character of his friends; he is elected to
represent Orange county; the manner in which the city ticket for 1800
was formed; great difficulty to obtain Governor Clinton's consent to
use his name; interview of a sub-committee with the governor; his
denunciation of Jefferson; Burr's and Hamilton's efforts at the
election; success of the democratic party; apprehensions that the
federalists intended to change the result by fraud; a federal caucus
held on the evening of the 3d of May, 1800; letter to Duane, editor of
the Aurora, stating that the caucus had decided to request Governor
Jay to convene the legislature, and change the mode of choosing
presidential electors; federal printers deny the charge; the letter to
Jay, published in his works, thus proving the correctness of the
Aurora's statement


General Hamilton's pamphlet on the conduct of John Adams; Colonel Burr
ascertains that it is in the press; as soon as printed, a copy
obtained, and extracts sent to the Aurora and the New-London Bee;
Hamilton thus compelled to make the publication prematurely;
presidential electors chosen; letter from Jefferson to Burr; Jefferson
to Madison; tie vote between Jefferson and Burr; rules for the
government of the House of Representatives during the election;
informality in the votes of Georgia; constitutional provision on the
subject; statement of the case by Mr. Wells, of Delaware, and Mr.
Nicholas, of Virginia; balloting commenced on the 11th, and continued
until the 17th of February, 1801, when, on the 36th ballot, Mr.
Jefferson was elected president; letter from Burr to General S. Smith,
constituting him (Smith) his proxy to declare his sentiments in the
event of a tie vote


Mr. Burr's political position on being elected vice-president; letters
from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Madison; the doubtful states in Congress on
the presidential question; the doubtful persons; their appointment to
office by Mr. Jefferson; address to Colonel Burr by certain
republicans at Baltimore, on his way to Washington in 1801; his
answer, disapproving of such addresses; casting vote, as
vice-president, on the bill to repeal the midnight judiciary act;
effects of this vote; letter from A. J. Dallas on the subject; from
Nathaniel Niles; from A. J. Dallas; Wood's history of John Adams's
administration; suppression by Burr; attacks upon Burr by Cheetham and
Duane; private letters from Duane approving of Burr's conduct


Effect of Burr's silence under these attacks; allegation that Dr.
Smith, of New-Jersey, as a presidential elector, was to have voted for
Burr; denial of Dr. Smith; Timothy Green charged with going to South
Carolina as the political agent of Burr; denial of Green; General John
Swartwout charged with being concerned in the intrigue; denial of
Swartwout; Burr charged with negotiating with the federalists; denial
of Burr, in a letter to Governor Bloomfield; David A. Ogden said to
have been the agent of the federal party or of Burr in this
negotiation; letter from Peter Irving to Ogden, inquiring as to the
fact; answer of Ogden, denying the charge; Edward Livingston
represented as Burr's "confidential friend" on the occasion; denial of
Livingston; Burr, in the year 1804, commences a suit against Cheetbam
for a libel; wager-suit between James Gillespie and Abraham Smith, and
a commission taken out to examine witnesses, April, 1806; transactions
in the United States' Senate on the 18th January, 1830, in relation to
Mr. Jefferson's charge against Mr. Bayard; letter from R. H. Bayard to
Burr; from Burr to Bayard; from Burr to M. L. Davis; from Davis to
Burr; from General S. Smith to R. H. and J. A. Bayard; from R. H.
Bayard to Burr


Letter from Judge Cooper to Thomas Morris; ditto; from James A. Bayard
to Alexander Hamilton; from George Baer to R. H. Bayard;
interrogatories to James A. Bayard, in Cheetham's suit; answers to
said interrogatories by Mr. Bayard; interrogatories to Bayard in the
suit of Gillespie _vs_. Smith; answers thereto; reasons why Mr.
Latimer was not removed from the office of collector of Philadelphia;
answer of Samuel Smith to interrogatories in the suit of Gillespie
_vs_. Smith


Effect of the attacks upon Burr; power of the press in corrupt hands;
Mr. Jefferson's malignity towards Burr; his hypocrisy; false entries
in his Ana of conversations said to have been held with Burr; letter
to Theodosia; ditto; ditto; to Joseph Alston; Theodosia to Joseph
Alston; to Theodosia; ditto; to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; to Thomas
Morris; from P. Butler; to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; from Thomas
Jefferson; to Theodosia


Letter to Joseph Alston; from D. Phelps, from Joseph Brandt (Indian
chief); from William P. Van Ness; to Theodosia; to Barnabas Bidwell;
to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; from Charles Biddle; from Marinus
Willett; from John M. Taylor; from Mrs. *****; to Theodosia; ditto


Letter to Theodosia; ditto; to Joseph Alston; from Charles Biddle;
from John Coats; to Theodosia; from C. A. Rodney; to Theodosia; ftom
C. A. Rodney; from Uriah Tracy; from General Horatio Gates; from David
Gelston; to Theodosia; ditto; from Midshipman James Biddle; from John
Taylor, of Caroline


Letter from Theodosia to Joseph Alston; ditto; from A. Burr to Joseph
Alston; to Natalie; Theodosia to Joseph Alston; to Joseph Alston;
ditto; to Theodosia; to Joseph Alston; ditto; to Theodosia; ditto; to
Dr. John Coats; from Theodosia; to Theodosia; from Theodosia; to
Theodosia; ditto; ditto


Letter to Theodosia; ditto; from Theodosia; to Theodosia; from
Theodosia; from Charles Biddle; from John Taylor, of Caroline; from
Pierce Butler; to Theodosia; ditto; from Theodosia; from Theodosia;
ditto; to Theodosia; ditto; from Theodosia; to Theodosia; ditto; to
Charles Biddle; from Midshipman James Biddle


Note from Mr. Madison; from J. Wagner to Mr. Madison; from Samuel A.
Otis; letter from George Davis; from Charles Biddle; from Robert
Smith; from Robert G. Harper; from J. Guillemard; from John Vaugham;
from John Dickinson; to Charles Biddle; to Theodosia; to Peggy (a
slave); to Theodosia; to Joseph Alston; to Charles Biddle; ditto; to
Natalie Delage Sumter; to Theodosia; to A. R. Ellery; to Theodosia; to
Thomas Sumter, Jun.; to Charles Biddle; to F. A. Vanderkemp; to W. P.
Van Ness; to Theodosia; to Mrs. *****; to Theodosia; to Miss ----; to


Letter from Charles D. Cooper, which produced the duel between General
Hamilton and Colonel Burr; correspondence between the parties, with
explanations by W. P. Van Ness, second of Colonel Burr; statement of
what occurred on the ground as agreed upon by the seconds;
explanations of the correspondence, &c., by Nathaniel Pendleton,
second of General Hamilton; remarks on the letter which Mr. Van Ness
refused to receive; account of General Hamilton's wound and death, by
Dr. Hosack; remarks by General Hamilton on his motives and views in
meeting Colonel Burr; death of Hamilton; oration by Gouverneur Morris;
letter from Colonel Burr to Theodosia, dated the night before the
duel; same date to Joseph Alston


Letter to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; from John Swartwout; to
Theodosia; ditto; to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; ditto; journal for
Theodosia; to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; to Joseph Alston; to
Theodosia; to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia


Letter to Theodosia; ditto; trial of Judge Chace before the United
States' Senate; Burr presides; acquittal; letter to Theodosia; ditto;
an account of the effect of Burr's speech on taking leave of the
Senate; letter to Joseph Alston; to Theodosia; journal of his tour in
the Western country; letter to Joseph Alston


Burr's early views against Mexico; letter from General Miranda to
General Hamilton, in April, 1798 on the subject of an expedition, in
conjunction with Great Britain, against South America; from Miranda to
Hamilton, in October, 1798, announcing the arrangements made with the
British; from Miranda to General Knox, same date, on the same subject;
General Adair's statement of Burr's views; grant of lands by the
Spanish government to Baron Bastrop; transfer of part of said grant to
Colonel Lynch; purchase from Lynch by Burr; the views of Burr in his
Western expedition, as stated by himself; he is arrested on the
Tombigbee; the cipher letter; transported to Richmond; trial and
acquittal of Burr; testimony of Commodore Truxton; Dr. Bollman's
treatment by Mr. Jefferson


Excitement produced against Burr by Jefferson, Eaton, and Wilkinson;
Senate of the United States pass a bill suspending writ of Habeas
Corpus; House rejects the bill on the first reading, _ayes_ 113, nays
19; extracts from Blennerhassett's private journal; official Spanish
documents, showing that General Wilkinson, after he had sworn to
Burr's treasonable designs, despatched his aid, Captain Walter
Burling, to Mexico, demanding from the viceroy for his service to
Spain, in defeating Burr's expedition against Mexico, the sum of _two
hundred thousand dollars_; sundry letters of Burr to Theodosia, while
imprisoned in Richmond on the charge of treason


Burr sails for England on the 7th of June, 18O8; arrives in London on
the 16th of July; makes various unsuccessful efforts to induce the
British ministry to aid him in his enterprise against South America;
receives great attention from Jeremy Bentham; continues his
correspondence with Bentham after his return to the United States;
visits Edinburgh; experiences great courtesy; introduced to M'Kenzie
and Walter Scott; returns to London; the ministers become suspicious
of him; his papers are seized, and his person taken into custody for
two days, when he is released, but ordered to quit the kingdom; leaves
England in a packet for Gottenburgh; travels through Sweden, Germany,
&c.; Bourrienne's (French minister at Hamburgh) account of Burr, and
Burr's account of Bourrienne; arrives in Paris on the 16th of
February, 1810; endeavours to induce Napoleon to aid him in his
contemplated expedition, but is unsuccessful; asks a passport to leave
France, and is refused; presents a spirited memorial to the emperor on
the subject; Russell, chargé d'affaires, and M'Rae, United States
consul at Paris, refuse him the ordinary protection or passport of an
American citizen; in July, 1811, obtains permission from the emperor
to leave France; sails from Amsterdam on the 20th of September; is
captured next day by an English frigate, and carried into Yarmouth;
remains in England from the 9th of October, 1811, until the 6th of
March, 1812; arrives in New-York, via Boston, on the 8th of June,
after an absence of four years


Colonel Burr, on his return to New-York in 1811, resumes the practice
of law; prejudices against him; kindness of Colonel Troup; letter from
Joseph Alston to Burr, announcing the death of Aaron Burr Alston;
effect upon Burr; Theodosia's health precarious; Timothy Greene
despatched to bring her to New-York; letter from Greene; letter from
Greene, stating that he is to sail for New-York in a few days, on
board a schooner with Theodosia; letter from Alston to Theodosia,
expressing apprehensions for her safety; from Alston to Burr on the
same subject; from Alston to Burr, abandoning all hope of his wife's
safety; Theodosia supposed to have perished in a gale of wind early in
January, 1813; from Burr to Alston in relation to his private affairs;
Burr expresses his opinions on great, but not on minor political
questions; letter from Burr to Alston, denouncing the nomination of
Monroe for president, and recommending General Jackson; Alston
replies, concurring in sentiment with Burr, but ill health prevents
his acting; Alston's death; letter from William A. Alston to Burr,
explanatory of his late brother's will so far as Burr is interested;
from Theodosia to her husband, at a moment when she supposes that
death is approaching; Burr's continued zeal in favour of the South
American States; letter from General Toledo to Colonel Burr in 1816,
soliciting him to take command of the Mexican forces; Burr
commissioned by the Republic of Venezuela in 1819; Burr's pursuits
after his return from Europe; superintends the education of the Misses
Eden; his pecuniary situation; state of his health; paralytic; manner
of receiving strangers; restive and impatient at the close of his
life; death; conveyed to Princeton for interment; an account of his
funeral; proceedings of the Cliosophic Society



Colonel Burr's study of the law [1] has been already briefly noticed.
He brought to that study a classic education as complete as could, at
that time, be acquired in our country; and to this was added a
knowledge of the world, perhaps nowhere better taught than in the
camp, as well as a firmness and hardihood of character which military
life usually confers, and which is indispensable to the success of the
forensic lawyer. He was connected in the family circle with _two[2]
eminent jurists, who were at hand to stimulate his young ambition, and
to pour, in an almost perpetual stream, legal knowledge into his mind,
by conversation and by epistolary correspondence. The time he spent in
his studies preparatory to his admission would be considered short at
the present day; but (to use the language of another) "it is to be
recollected that at that time there were no voluminous treatises upon
the mere routine of practice to be committed to memory, without adding
a single legal principle or useful idea to the mind, and which only
teach the law student, as has been said of the art of the rhetorician,
'how to name his tools.' Burr, fortunately for his future professional
eminence, was not destined to graze upon this barren moor. He spent
his clerkship in reading and abstracting, with pen in hand, Coke and
the elementary writers, instead of Sellon and Tidd; and learnt law as
a science, and not as a mechanical art."

On the other hand, it has been said "that Colonel Burr was not a
deep-read lawyer; that he showed himself abundantly conversant with
the general knowledge of the profession, and that he was skilful in
suggesting doubts and questions; but that he exhibited no indications
of a fondness for the science, nor of researches into its abstruse
doctrines; that he seemed, indeed, to hold it and its administration
in slight estimation. The best definition of law, he said, was
'_whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained_.' This sarcasm
was intended full as much for the courts as for the law administered
by them."

If Colonel Burr may have been surpassed in legal erudition, he
possessed other qualifications for successful practice at the bar
which were seldom equalled. He prepared his trials with an industry
and forethought that were most surprising. He spared no labour or
expense in attaining every piece of evidence that would be useful in
his attacks, or guard him against his antagonist. He was absolutely
indefatigable in the conduct of his suits. "He pursued (says a legal
friend) the opposite party with notices, and motions, and
applications, and appeals, and rearguments, never despairing himself,
nor allowing to his adversary confidence, nor comfort, nor repose.
Always vigilant and always urgent, until a proposition for compromise
or a negotiation between the parties ensued. 'Now move slow (he would
say); never negotiate in a hurry.' I remember a remark he made on this
subject, which appeared to be original and wise. There is a saying,
'Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.' 'This is a
maxim,' said he, 'for sluggards. A better reading of the maxim
is--_Never do to-day what you can as well do to-morrow_; because
something may occur to make you regret your premature action.'"

I was struck, says the same friend, in his legal practice, with that
tendency to mystery which was so remarkable in his conduct in other
respects. He delighted in surprising his opponents, and in laying, as
it were, ambuscades for them. A suit, in which I was not counsel, but
which has since passed professionally under my observation, will
illustrate this point in his practice. It was an ejectment suit,
brought by him to recover a valuable tenement in the lower part of the
city, and in which it was supposed, by the able lawyers retained on
the part of the defendant, that the only question would, be on the
construction of the will. On the trial they were surprised to find the
whole force of the plainfiff's case brought against the authenticity
of an ancient deed, forming a link in their title, and of which, as it
had never, been questioned nor suspected, they had prepared merely
formal proof; and a verdict of the jury, obtained by a sort, of
_coup-de-main_, pronounced the deed a forgery. Two tribunals have
subsequently established the deed as authentic; but the plaintiff
lived and died in the possession of the land in consequence of the
verdict, while the law doubts, which form the only real questions in
the case, are still proceeding, at the customary snail's pace, through
our courts to their final solution.

To be employed as an assistant by Mr. Burr was not to receive a
sinecure. He commanded and obtained the constant and unremitted
exertions of his counsel. It was one of the most remarkable
exhibitions of the force of his character, this bending every one who
approached him to his use, and compelling their unremitted, though
often unwilling, labours in his behalf. His counsel would receive
notes from him at midnight, with questions which were sent for
immediate replies.

He showed nice discrimination in his selection of his professional
assistants. When learning was required, he selected the most erudite.
If political influence could be suspected of having effect, he chose
his lawyers to meet or _improve_ the supposed prejudice or
predilection. Eloquence was bought when it was wanted; and the cheaper
substitute of brow-beating, and vehemence used when they were
equivalent or superior. In nothing did he show greater skill than in
his measurement and application of his agents; and it was amusing to
hear his cool discussion of the obstacles of prejudice, or ignorance,
or interest, or political feeling to be encountered in various
tribunals, and of the appropriate remedies and antidotes to be
employed, and by what persons they should be applied.

Equal discrimination and acuteness was displayed in his political
movements. An anecdote which occurred in the contested election of
1800 will exemplify this remark. Funds were required for printing, for
committee-rooms, &c. The finance committee took down the names of
leading democrats, and attached to each the sum they proposed to
solicit from him. Before attempting the collection, the list, at
Colonel Burr's request, was presented for his inspection. An
individual, an active partisan of wealth, but proverbially
parsimonious, was assessed one hundred dollars. Burr directed that his
name should be struck from the list; for, said he, you will not get
the money, and from the moment the demand is made upon him, his
exertions will cease, and you will not see him at the polls during the
election. The request was complied with. On proceeding with the
examination, the name of another wealthy individual was presented; he
was liberal, but indolent; he also was assessed one hundred dollars.
Burr requested that this sum should be _doubled_, and that be should
be informed that no labour would be expected from him except an
occasional attendance at the committee-rooms to assist in folding
tickets. He will pay you the two hundred dollars, and thank you for
letting him off so easy. The result proved the correctness of these
opinions. On that occasion Colonel Burr remarked, _that the knowledge
and use of men consisted in placing each in his appropriate position_.

His imperturbable coolness and presence of mind were displayed in his
civil as well as in his military life. Against most of the
vicissitudes of a trial he guarded by his forethought and minuteness
of preparation. I was present myself, says the legal friend already
referred to, when he received with great composure a communication
which would have startled most men. Mr. P. had long been an inmate of
his house; he had been connected with him in many respects and for
many years. Colonel Burr and two other lawyers were discussing a
proposed motion in a chancery suit in which P. was the plaintiff, the
colonel himself having, an interest in the result. P. was then out of
town. A letter was brought in and handed to the colonel, which,
telling us to proceed with our debate, he carefully read, and then
placed it, in his customary manner, on the table, with the address
downwards. Our discussion proceeded earnestly for ten minutes at
least, when the colonel, who had listened with great attention, asked,
in his gentlest tone, "What effect would the death of P. have on the
suit?" We started, and asked eagerly why he put the question. "P. is
dead," he replied, "as this letter informs me; _will the suit abate?_"
The colonel was himself ill at the time, and unable to leave his sofa;
and even if there was some affectation in his demeanour, there was
certainly remarkable collectedness.

Colonel Burr commenced the practice of his profession at the close of
the revolution, under the most favourable auspices; and may be said at
one bound to have taken rank among the first lawyers of the day, and
to have sustained it until he became vice president, at which time, it
is believed, he had no superior at the bar, either in this state or in
the Union, nor even an equal, except General Hamilton.

The eclat which Burr, yet a beardless boy, had acquired by his
adventurous march under Arnold to Canada, through our northeastern
wilds, then a trackless desert; his gallant bearing at Quebec and
Monalouth; his efficient services in the retreat of our army from Long
Island and New-York; and his difficult and delicate command on the
lines of Westchester, followed him to private life, gathered around
him hosts of admirers and friends among our early patriots,
particularly the youthful portion of them, and no doubt essentially
aided him in making his successful professional _debut_. The name of
the chivalrous aid-de-camp who supported in his youthful arms the
dying hero of Quebec was familiar in the mouths of men, and from one
end of the continent to the other he was eulogized for his military
prowess. Such were the cheering auspices under which he sheathed his
sword when his physical energies would permit him no longer to wield

"He was indefatigable," says another legal friend, "in business, as he
had been in his previous studies, and no lawyer ever appeared before
our tribunals with his cause better prepared for trial, his facts and
legal points being marshalled for combat with all the regularity and
precision of a consummate military tactician. No professional
adversary, it is believed, has ever boasted of having broken or thrown
into confusion the solid columns into which he had formed them, or
having found void spaces in their lengthened line, or to have beaten
him by a _ruse de guerre_ or a surprise.

"He never heeded expense in completing his preparations for trial;
and, while laborious himself to an uncommon degree, he did not stint
the labours of others, so far as he could command or procure them.
Every pleading or necessary paper connected with his causes was in
tile first place to be multiplied into numerous copies, and then
abstracted or condensed into the smallest possible limits, but no
material point or idea was by any means to be omitted. His propensity
to concision or condensation was a peculiar trait in his mind. He
would reduce an elaborate argument, extending over many sheets of
paper, to a single page. Had he written the history of our revolution,
which he once commenced, he would probably have compressed the whole
of it in a single volume."

In his professional practice, he never solicited from an opponent any
favour or indulgence any more than he would have done from an armed
foe; but, at the same time, rarely withheld any courtesy that was
asked of him, not inconsistent with the interest of his clients. He
was a strict practitioner, almost a legal _martinet_, and so fond of
legal technicalities, that he never omitted an opportunity of trying
his own skill and that of opposite counsel in special pleas,
demurrers, and exceptions in chancery, notwithstanding the risk of
paying costs sometimes, though rarely incurred, and of protracting a

The labour of drawing his pleadings and briefs, however, at least
after his return from Europe in 1812, always devolved upon others;
and, with marginal notes of all the authorities which had been
consulted, from the year books downward, which were sometimes in law
French and law Latin, to the last reports in England and some half a
dozen of our states, in which may be properly called law English, were
submitted to his critical acumen; his thousand doubts, suggestions,
hints, and queries, which would start from his mind like a flash, and
for a moment seem to throw into inextricable confusion what had been
laboriously, and perhaps profoundly studied, at last would most
generally be adopted without material alterations or additions.

Colonel Burr's mind cannot be said to have been a comprehensive one.
It was acute, analytical, perspicacious, discriminating,
unimaginative, quick to conceive things in detail, but not calculated
to entertain masses of ideas. He would never have gained celebrity as
an author; but as a critic, upon whatever subject, his qualifications
have rarely been surpassed, though in literary matters and the fine
arts they were only exhibited in conversation. His colloquial powers
were impressive and fascinating, though he generally seemed a listener
rather than a talker; but never failed to say a proper thing in the
proper place."

As a public speaker, his ideas were not diffuse enough; or rather, he
appeared to lack fluency to make a long, and what is called an
elaborate argument upon any matter, however grave or momentous. In a
cause in which he was employed as associate counsel with General
Hamilton, an incident occurred, in relation to Chief Justice Yates,
not unworthy recording. It speaks a language that cannot he
misunderstood, and is demonstrative of the influence which he had over
the feelings as well as the minds of his hearers. It was the
celebrated case of Le Guen vs. Gouverneur and Kemble, one of the most
important, in regard to the legal questions and amount of property
involved, which at that day had been brought before our tribunals, and
in which case he completely triumphed. Only a short period previous to
his decease Colonel Burr remarked, that on this occasion he had
acquired more money and more reputation as a lawyer than on any other
during his long practice at the bar. A letter was addressed to Thurlow
Weed, Esq., requesting him to apply to the Hon. John Van Ness Yates,
son of the late chief justice, and ascertain whether the incident, as
reported, was founded on fact. To that letter Mr. Weed received the
following answer.


Albany, July 8th, 1837.


After some difficulty in finding my father's notes of the argument in
the case of Le Guen vs. Gouverneur and Kemble, I have ascertained that
the account you showed me, given in the letter of M. L. Davis, Esq.,
is in the main correct. My father's notes of General Hamilton's
argument are _very copious_. Those of Colonel Burr's are _limited_, in
this way--"Burr for plaintiff, I. The great principles of commercial
law which apply to this case are"--then follows a hiatus of some
lines. After which, as follows:--

"II. The plaintiff"--another _hiatus_.

"III. !!!!!" and this concludes all I can find.

Hamilton's eloquence was (if I may be allowed the expression)
_argumentative_, and induced no great elevation or depression of mind,
consequently could be easily followed by a note taker. Burr's was more
_persuasive_ and _imaginative_. He first enslaved the _heart_, and
then led captive the, _head_. Hamilton addressed himself to the _head_
only. I do not, therefore, wonder that Burr engrossed all the
faculties of the hearer. Indeed, I have heard him often at the bar
myself, and always with the same effect. I do not recollect, in
conversation, any particular allusion of my father's to Burr's
argument in the case of Le Guen _vs_. Gouverneur and Kemble; but I
have frequently heard him say, that of all lawyers at the bar, Burr
was the most difficult to follow in the way of taking notes. Yet Burr
was very _concise_ in his language. He had no pleonasms or expletives.
Every word was in its proper place, and seemed to be the only one
suited to the place. He made few or no repetitions. If what he said
had been immediately committed to the press, it would want no

Yours respectfully,


Colonel Burr's style of speaking at the bar was unique, or peculiarly
his own; always brief; never loud, vehement, or impassioned, but
conciliating, persuasive, and impressive; and when his subject called
for gravity or seriousness, his manner was stern and peremptory. He
was too dignified ever to be a trifler; and his sarcasm, sometimes
indulged in, rarely created a laugh, but powerfully told upon those
who had provoked it. His enunciation was slow, distinct, and emphatic;
perhaps too emphatic; and this was pronounced, by his early and
devoted friend, Judge Paterson, [3] a fault in his mode of speaking
while a youth, and seems never to have been fully corrected, as he did
that of rapid utterance, attaining the true medium for public speaking
in this respect. He spoke with great apparent ease, but could not be
called fluent, although he never appeared at a loss for words, which
were always so chaste and appropriate that they seemed to, have been
as carefully selected before they fell from his lips as if they had
been written down in a prepared speech and committed to memory. His
manner was dignified and courteous; his self-possession never for an
instant forsook him. He never appeared hurried or confused, or
betrayed the slightest embarrassment for want of ideas to support his
argument, or language in which to clothe it; and possessed a memory so
well disciplined as never to forget any thing in the excitement of the
legal forum which in the retirement of his study he had intended to
use. He has frequently been heard to say that he possessed no
oratorical talents; that he never spoke with pleasure, or even
self-satisfaction, and seemed unconscious of the effect which he
produced upon the minds of his audience.

Colonel Burr accorded the palm of eloquence to General Hamilton, whom
he frequently characterized as a man of strong and fertile
imagination, of rhetorical and even poetical genius, and a powerful
declaimer. Burr's ruling passion was an ardent love for military
glory. Next to the career of arms, diplomacy, no doubt, would have
been his choice, for which not only his courtly and fascinating
manners, but every characteristic of his mind peculiarly adapted him.
It is idle now to speculate upon what he might have been had
Washington yielded to the importunities of Madison, Monroe, and
others, and appointed him minister to the French republic. Our
country, before which he then stood in the original brightness of his
character, would have been honoured in the choice, both at home and
abroad, and his own destiny, at least, would have been widely

Notwithstanding oratory was not his forte, and he never spoke in
public with satisfaction to himself, still many anecdotes are told of
him which would show that the effect of his speeches were sometimes of
unequalled power. It is said, that at the close of his farewell
address to the Senate of the United States on his retirement from the
vice-presidency, there was scarcely a dry eye to be seen among his
grave auditors, many of whom were his bitter political adversaries.
His manner of speaking was any thing but declamatory, and more
resembled an elevated tone of conversation, by which a man, without
any seeming intention, pours his ideas in measured and beautiful
language into the minds of some small select circle, dislodging all
which they may have previously entertained upon a particular subject,
and fixing his own there, by the power of a seeming magical
fascination, which he could render, when he chose, almost
irresistible. To judge him by his success as a public speaker, few men
could be called more eloquent.

As a monument of his legal knowledge and talents, his trial at
Richmond may be referred to. The two volumes of Reports which contain
it exhibit on almost every page the impress of his great mind, in its
singular acuteness and perspicacity, and great powers of analysis and
argument. On that trial were engaged some of the ablest lawyers of our
country, and he manifestly took the lead of them all. But the
abilities which he displayed, hour by hour, and day by day, through
that long protracted contest, in which the verdict sought for by those
who then wielded the political destinies of our country was an
ignominious death, were no less remarkable than his unshaken firmness
and high moral elevation of deportment, struggling as he was for
honour and for life.

_Fiat Justicia ruat coelum_, was the motto of Chief Justice Marshall
on the trial of Colonel Burr. He was acquitted, but his acquittal was
not owing to the clemency or partiality of his judges. His acuteness
as a lawyer, and the adroitness with which he managed his defence,
contributed greatly, no doubt, in saving him from becoming a victim,
though his innocence of the charge of treason which had been brought
against him could hardly have effected that acquittal. Here, then, his
talents have done some good to his country, even if it be of a
negative character. They saved it from a stain of blood, which would
have been as indelible as is that of Admiral Byng upon the escutcheon
of England.

After Colonel Burr's return from Europe in 1812, he was engaged in
several important causes, in which he was preeminently successful. His
legal opinion in the great steam-boat cause aided in breaking up that
monopoly. He was originally employed in the important land trial of
Mrs. Bradstreet, and in the Eden causes, involving a large amount of
property in the city of New-York, and turning upon some of the nicest
points of the most difficult branch of the law of real property: he
triumphed over almost the entire force of the New-York bar, backed by
powerful corporations and individuals of great wealth, which they
profusely lavished in a long-protracted contest. He commenced the Eden
suits in opposition to an opinion which bad been given by General
Hamilton, Richard Harrison, and other members of the profession of
high standing, and on the faith of which opinions the parties in
possession of the lands had purchased and held them at the time the
suits were commenced.

Had Colonel Burr assiduously pursued the study of law through life,
like Marshall, Kent, and others, it is not easy to conjecture to what
elevated point he might have risen; but such was not his destiny; the
bent of his genius, which had received its inclination at the stirring
period of the world when he entered into active life, was military.
But to show his persevering industry in his practice as a lawyer, and
his power of enduring fatigue, even when almost an octogenarian, the
following letter, written by him, is inserted.

Albany, March, 1834.

Germond's, Wednesday Evening.

Arrived this evening between 6 and 7 o'clock, having been _forty-five_
hours in the stage without intermission, except to eat a hearty meal.
Stages in very bad order--roads excellent for wheels to Peekskill, and
thence very good sleighing to this city. The night was uncomfortable;
the curtains torn and flying all about, so that we had plenty of fresh

The term was closed this day. Nelson will hold the Special Court
to-morrow morning--have seen both Wendell and O'Connor this
evening--all ready--came neither fatigued nor sleepy.

A. B.


1. For the remarks which I am now about to present to the reader I am
principally indebted to two highly intelligent members of the bar.
_Either_ of whom is fully competent to a development of Colonel Burr's
legal character; and _neither_ of whom would be disqualified by any
prejudices in his _favour_. These gentlemen, it is believed,
entertained different views as to the Practical value of that species
of reading which is necessary to form what is by some termed "a truly
learned lawyer."

2. Colonel Burr's brother-in-law, Judge _Tappan Reeve_, and his uncle,
_Pierpont Edwards_.

3. see Vol. I., Ch. III.


Before entering upon the details connected with the election of 1800,
a brief history of the rise and progress of political parties in the
State of New-York is deemed necessary. By the Constitution adopted
during the revolutionary war, the state was divided into four
districts, viz., The Southern, the Middle, the Eastern, and the
Western. In the Southern District was included the counties of
Richmond (_Staten Island_), Kings, Queens, and Suffolk (_Long
Island_), New-York (_Manhattan Island_), and Westchester. These six
counties, from the autumn of 1776 until the summer of 1783, were in a
great measure in the possession of the British forces, and those
portions of them which were nominally within the American lines were
generally inhabited by tories and refugees. Lord North, or the most
unrelenting of his followers, were not as much opposed to American
independence as were the tories of the united provinces. The city of
New-York became the rendezvous of the most intelligent and influential
of this class. From this point they communicated with the British
premier, through their correspondents in London. Many of them that
were in exile from their late homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and
Connecticut, left their families behind them, under the protection of
the whigs. By this arrangement facilities were afforded for
ascertaining the position, resources, and movements of the rebel
armies. These facilities were not neglected, and the information thus
obtained was promptly communicated to the British commander-in-chief
in New-York, and to the ministry in England. The whigs felt that
ingratitude was returned for their hospitality, and, in consequence,
they became daily more incensed against the tories.

It is believed that the war would have terminated in 1780 or 1781, if
the British minister and his military commanders in America had not
been constantly led into errors by the opinions and advice of the
refugees, but especially those residing in the city of New-York.
Entertaining such views, the suffering whigs, in their most trying
hours, consoled themselves with the hope and belief that, when the
struggle should terminate and the country become independent, their
oppressors and persecutors would no longer be permitted to remain
among them. These were the predominant feelings of the men who were
perilling their lives and enduring every species of privation and
hardship for the freedom of their native land.

During the year 1778, Joseph Galloway, formerly of Philadelphia,
sailed for England. His correspondence was extensive, and he became
the depository of all the grievances of the American loyalists. He was
the medium of communication between them, Lord North, and Lord George
Germain. He possessed, in a high degree, the confidence of those who
were the conscience keepers of the king. Among the correspondents of
Mr. Galloway may be enumerated William Franklin, former governor of
New-Jersey, Daniel Cox, and David Ogden, members of his majesty's
council in New-Jersey, the Rev. Dr. Inglis, subsequently bishop of
Nova Scotia, and Isaac Ogden, counsellor at law of New-York, John
Potts, a judge of the Common Pleas in Philadelphia, John Foxcroft,
postmaster general of North America, &c., &c. None of Mr. Galloway's
correspondents exhibited a more vindictive spirit than the Rev. Bishop
Inglis. These letters were private and confidential, excepting so far
as, the ministry were concerned, for whose use most of them were
intended. None of them, it is believed, have ever heretofore found
their way into print. They are now matters of history. They are well
calculated to develop the secret designs of the tories, and, at the
same time, they afford the strongest view that could be given of the
patriotism, the sufferings, and the untiring perseverance of the sons
of liberty in those days. Some extracts will now be made from the
original manuscripts, for the purpose of showing, in a limited degree,
the cause, and thus far justifying the hostile feelings of the whigs
towards the refugees.

The _Rev. Bishop Inglis_, under date of the 12th December, 1778,
says--"Not less than sixty thousand of the rebels have perished by
sickness and the sword since the war began, and these chiefly farmers
and labourers. I consider it certain that a famine is inevitable if
the war continues two years longer; nay, one year war more will bring
inexpressible distress on the country with regard to provisions, and
this will affect the rebellion not less than the depreciation of their
pasteboard dollars. The rebellion, be assured, is on the decline. Its
vigour and resources are nearly spent, and nothing but a little
perseverance and exertion on the part of Britain is necessary to
supress it totally. Butler and Brandt's forces, Indians and loyalists,
I am told, amount to five or six thousand men. They have distressed
and terrified the rebels more since last spring than the whole royal

_Isaac Ogden_, under date 22d November, 1778, says--"Thus has ended a
campaign (if it deserve the appellation) without anything capital
being done or even attempted. How will the historian gain credit who
shall relate, that _at least_ twenty-four thousand of the best troops
in the world were shut up within their own lines by fifteen thousand,
_at most_, of poor wretches, who were illy paid, badly fed, and worse
clothed, and scarce, at best, deserved the name of soldiers?"

_Daniel Cox_, under date of 17th December, 1778, says--"Ned Biddle has
declined his seat in Congress. The truth is, he means to do more
essential service in the assembly, which has ordered the general sense
of the people to be taken respecting the present constitution of
Pennsylvania. Joe Reed is elected, and accepted the honour of being
president and commander-in-chief of the state."

_John Potts_, under date 1st March, 1779, says--"An opinion prevails
here that government (the British) will adopt the mode of devastation.
If that should really take place, adieu to all the hopes of the
friends of government ever again living in America. Be assured that,
should government be restored by such means, her friends would find it
impossible to travel this country without a guard to prevent
assassination. This is not only my opinion, but the real sentiments of
every friend to government. I have conversed with none, except some of
the violent tories, indeed, of New England, _who seem to partake of
the savage temper of our countrymen_." G---- N----[1] has said, in a
confidential letter to a friend of his, "that government wish to get
rid of this country, and is only at a loss how to do it without
leaving it in a situation to injure her."

_Daniel Cox_, 28th February, 1779, says--"At any rate, I see absolute
ruin attend us poor attainted loyalists should the colonies be given
up, or this place (New-York) be evacuated. I once fondly imagined
neither would happen. I wish that our old friend, the Black Prince, [2]
could have the direction here again, and have the glory of conducting
the future operations to a happy conclusion. I think he is more
calculated for it than somebody [3] else, who, though he may possess
zeal and honesty, wants head."

_Isaac Ogden_, 8th March, 1779, says--"Admiral Gambier is ordered from
this station, to the universal joy of all ranks and conditions. I
believe no person was ever more generally detested by navy, army, and
citizen, than this penurious old reptile."

_Daniel Cox_, 10th April, 1779, says--"In an open letter to me, Mrs.
Cox speaks of the increasing depreciation of the continental money,
under the allegory of an old acquaintance of mine lying in a deep
consumption. Should Great Britain be really treating, and give us up,
there must be an end to her glory. But such a misfortune I can never
believe her subject to, unless from her own folly and internal
factions of the accursed opposition."

_Thomas Eddy_, under date 5th month, 3d, 1779, says--"From accounts
received by last packet of the determined resolution of government to
pursue the war in America with vigour, I am led to believe that the
leaders in the rebellion must give up before fall. Indeed, when I
consider the dissatisfaction universally prevalent caused by the
badness of their money, I should not be surprised if such an event
would take place as soon as General, Clinton opens the campaign."

_Bishop, Inglis_, 14th May, 1779, says--"Remonstrate loudly to those
in authority against treating with the Congress--treating with them is
establishing them, and teaching the Americans to look up to them for
deliverance and protection. We have been guilty of a fatal error in
this from the beginning; we now see and feel the consequences. This
should teach us wisdom and better policy. Though we should conquer the
rebels, yet, if an accommodation is settled with the Congress, I shall
consider the colonies as eventually lost, and that in a little time,
to Great Britain."

_John Potts_, 15th May, 1779, says--"In my last I mentioned some
sanguine hopes which I could not help entertaining, from the prospect
of an election to be held in the beginning of April, for a new
convention, as they call it, in Pennsylvania. Those hopes are now
totally destroyed by the efforts of Joe Reed [4] and the violent
party. Their artful cry of tory against the party in favour of the
convention raised a flame too great to be withstood, and procured more
than twelve thousand signers to petitions against that measure, in
consequence of which the assembly rescinded the resolution for holding
the election."

"The person to whom I alluded in my last letter is the woman whom I
mentioned to you last fall as so truly enterprising. She has brought
three messages through the winter. From her I have this much further
to assure you, that great preparations are making at Pittsburgh for
the reception of troops.

"The friends of government all agree that they will be content to risk
for ever every future hope and prospect of being restored to their
estates, provided Great Britain will but secure her own authority
fully before any terms are listened to; and, when that is acknowledged
and established, then grant terms as liberal as she pleases,
consistent with good government and future security."

_Bishop Inglis_, 3d September, 1779, says--"General Tryon made two or
three descents on the coast of Connecticut, and burnt the towns of
Fairfield and Norwalk. He was accompanied by a large body of refugees,
who were extremely useful, and behaved with a resolution and
intrepidity which did them great honour. Had the descents on
Connecticut _been longer continued and carried on more extensively,
the most salutary consequences might be apprehended_.

"The delusive notion of treating with Congress, I find, still prevails
in some degree among you. Yet nothing could be more destructive to the
interest of government. Treating with them would be confirming their
usurpation. The loyalists, universally dread this above all things.
However they may differ in opinion on other points, they are unanimous
and united in this; and where so many are perfectly agreed in a matter
which is level to all understandings, it must be the evident dictate
of truth and reason."

_Isaac Ogden_, 20th September, 1779, says--"You may well ask what we
are doing here. Our army is now (including the garrison from Rhode
Island) at least twenty-four thousand men, a number sufficient to
march through the whole continent; but what do numbers avail when they
are cooped up in this dastardly manner? A want of knowledge of the
country, a want of enterprise, or a want of something else, God only
knows what, has prevented any and every attempt to interfere with the
enemy. It is not a want of sufficient force, neither is it because it
was impracticable. These are facts that the warmest of the rebels
acknowledge. Their force is really despicable when compared to the
army here. How is General Vaughan? I sincerely wish to see him at the
head of the army here, as he is the only general that has been here
that would listen to the advice of the American loyalists."

_Bishop Inglis_, 6th of November, 1779, says--"We have now within our
lines upward of twenty-six thousand effective men, as I have been
informed. Such a force, if led out and exerted with judgment and
spirit, could not be resisted by the rebels--it must bear down all
opposition. It is reported that Sir Henry Clinton is appointed sole
commissioner, with authority to choose five assistants as a counsel,
and that he is vested with power to treat with Congress, &c. It may be
very proper to have a commissioner here, vested with extensive powers;
but as to any hopes of treating with Congress about an accommodation,
be assured they are visionary. Congress have done enough to dissipate
all such fond expectations, unless their independence is acknowledged;
and I should be heartily sorry if a measure so dishonourable to the
nation, as treating with the Congress in any respect, were adopted.
Insult and obstinacy is all that can be expected from them.

"With respect to the rebellion, I am clearly of opinion that it daily
declines. Washington is the man to whom the army look for redress and
support. He is _now_ in America what Monk was in England in 1659. I
wish I could say in every respect. Were he equally disposed, he might
effect as sudden and total a revolution, here as honest George Monk
did then in England."

_Isaac Ogden_, 16th December, 1779, says--"There is an anecdote of
General Grey that I have lately heard and believe to be true, though
the fact cannot now be fully ascertained. Just before the battle of
Brandywine, an officer was despatched home by General Howe. General
Grey undertook to give him his instructions how to demean himself on
his arrival in London, &c. A copy of these instructions was found by a
countryman, and delivered to Joe Shippen (Secretary _Joe_,) who now
has them in Philadelphia. A gentleman here has seen them. As he
related them to me, you have them. 'You will first go to Lord George
Germain; he will ask you such and such question; you will answer them
_so and so_. You will then be sent to Lord North, who will ask you
these questions; you will thus answer them. You will then be sent to
the king, who will also ask you, &c.; you are also to give him these
answers. You will then be examined by the queen. She is a sensible
woman. You must answer with caution, but, of all things, be careful
that you say nothing that will condemn the conduct of General Howe.'
Some pains are taken to procure this paper from Mr. Shippen; if it can
be obtained, you will have it."

_David Ogden_, 3d December, 1779, says--"What gives me great concern
is the fear of a dishonourable peace being made with the rebels. My
fears arise from what I am told many of the officers in the army give
out that America can never be conquered; and the sooner it is given
up, and independence admitted by the crown and parliament, the better
for Great Britain; and I am also informed that they have wrote to that
purpose to their friends in England. What effect this may have on your
side of the Atlantic, backed by the anti-ministerial party with you,
enemies to monarchy and the great supporters of the rebellion in
America, time must show; but I am persuaded that the present ministers
will never give the least countenance to the independence of America.
The laying the country waste has been called cruelty by the favourers
of the rebellion, and said to be below the character of Britons; but
in cases of rebellion, it has always, by the most civilized nations,
been held justifiable, and no history affords an instance of calling
it cruelty. The great mercy shown the rebels since the commencement of
the rebellion is esteemed to be the greatest cruelty, as the lives of
many thousands would have been preserved by a vigorous, exertion of
the king's troops to distress the rebels wherever they marched, having
a strict regard not to injure the loyalists."

_Daniel Cox_, 7th December, 1779, says--"Should you see Joe Reed's
late speech to the assembly of Pennsylvania, you would imagine they
felt no shock from the Georgia defeat. [5]

If but common means are actively employed and properly conducted, the
rebellion must be crushed totally next campaign. I doubt not every
effort in the power of Congress, both abroad and at home, will be made
to carry themselves through another year; but, if you are successful
at home, they must go to the devil. For God's sake, therefore, do not
be frightened nor give us up; all must go right if You are but firm."

Reference has already been made to General Arnold's treason during the
summer of 1780.[6]

From the private correspondence of Mr. Galloway, it appears, that as
early as the autumn of 1778 Arnold was considered by the refugees as
"_lenient_," if not friendly to them, and in this light was
represented to the British ministry.

_Charles Stewart_, under date of the 17th December, 1778,
says--"General Arnold is in Philadelphia. It is said that he will be
discharged, being thought a _pert tory_. Certain it is that he
associates mostly with those people, and is to be married to Miss
Shippen, daughter of Edward Shippen, Esq."

_David Sproat_, 11th January, 1779, says--"You will also hear that
General Arnold, commandant in Philadelphia, has behaved with lenity to
the tories, and that he is on the eve of marriage to one of Edward
Shippen's daughters."

_James Humphreys, Jun_. (printer), 8th of April, 1779, says--"General
Arnold has been accused by the council of sundry misdemeanors. He has
insisted upon a trial by a court martial, and was triumphantly
acquitted. The Congress, however, have thought proper to remove him
from his command in the city of Philadelphia, he being of too lenient
a disposition to answer their cruel purposes."

This correspondence also develops the conflicting views which were
taken by the tories as to the operations of the British army. So far
as it had any influence, it was calculated to embarrass the ministry.
Only two very short extracts will be given on this subject. The
dividing point between the northern and the southern tories was
whether the main army should take possession of Hudson's river, or the
isthmus between Newcastle and Chesapeake Bay.

_Bishop Inglis_, May 14th, 1779, says--"I am still of opinion that
taking possession of Hudson's river should be the first object. When
that is done, which will effectually divide the rebel forces,
circumstances should determine whether our operations should be
directed eastward or westward."

_John Potts_, December 17th, 1778, says--"If government means to
pursue this matter, she must spare men enough to take possession of
the isthmus between Newcastle and Chesapeake Bay, and, by clearing
that country of rebels, procure sufficient provision and forage for
the whole British force in America. That country can also supply the
fleet with a great quantity of naval stores. The whole trade of
Maryland and Pennsylvania will be destroyed, and a great part of
Virginia. The interior of that peninsula is better disposed towards
the British government than any other country in the middle colonies.
If possession of Rhode Island and this place (New-York) is retained,
and that post taken, America has no access to sea from any
intermediate port but Egg Harbour, which will then be scarcely an
object. This is your plan, excepting the possession of Philadelphia
and Bordentown, and, as the troops would not be dispersed too much,
would, for that reason, be more eligible."

During the winter of 1778--79, the tories had it in contemplation to
establish a regular corps for the purpose of plundering the whigs.
About this period Colonel Burr took command of the lines in
Westchester. His opinion of this system of warfare is expressed in a
letter to General McDougall from which the following is
extracted--"Colonel Littlefield, with the party, returned this
morning. Notwithstanding the cautions I gave, and notwithstanding
Colonel Littlefield's good intentions, I blush to tell you that the
party returned loaded with plunder. Sir, till now I never wished for
arbitrary power. I could gibbet half a dozen _good_ whigs with all the
venom of an inveterate tory." [7]

Let the reader compare the above _whig_ sentiment with the following
_tory_ arrangement:--

_Christopher Sower_, 1st March, 1779, says--"An association is signing
here (New-York), according to which the loyalists are to form
themselves into companies of fifty men each; choose their own
officers; to have the _disposal_ of all prisoners by them taken; to
make excursions against the rebels, plunder them, sell the spoil,
appoint an agent to receive the money, and to divide it among them in
equal shares." [8]

In the autumn of 1779 the refugees in New-York formed a board of
delegates from the several provinces. In reference to it, _Daniel
Cox_, December 7th, 1779, says--"I have lately brought about a general
representation of all the refugees from the respective colonies, which
now compose a board, called the board of refugees, and of which I have
the honour at present to be president. We vote by colonies, and
conduct our debates in quite a parliamentary style."

_Christopher Sower_, the 5th of December, 1779, says--"The deputies of
the refugees from the different provinces meet once a week. Daniel
Cox, Esq., was appointed to the chair, to deprive him of the
opportunity of speaking, as he has the gift of saying little with many

Only one more extract will be given from the correspondence of Mr.
Galloway, and that relates to the doings of this board of refugees.
Among their labours, the manner of bringing the war to a speedy
termination, and the formation of a constitution for the British
provinces, engrossed their attention. No comments will be made on the
plan; but it will not be found unworthy a careful perusal. Although
presented as the individual suggestion of Mr. Ogden, it is evident,
from other portions of the correspondence, that it was not unadvised,
and, to the American reader, is now an amusing document.

_David Ogden_, 3d December, 1779, says--"When America submits to the
crown of Great Britain, which I take as a matter certain, and will
soon happen if proper measures are not neglected--pray, will not a
constitution and government, in a manner something similar to the
following, be most for the honour, security, peace, and interest of
Great Britain, and also for the happiness and safety of America, and
most compatible to the spirit and genius of both?

"That the right of taxation of America by the British parliament be
given up. That the several colonies be restored to their former
constitutions and forms of government, except in the instances after
mentioned. That each colony have a governor and council appointed by
the crown, and a house of representatives to be elected by the
freeholders, inhabitants of the several counties, not more than forty
nor less than thirty for a colony, who shall have power to make all
necessary laws for the internal government and benefit of each
respective colony that are not repugnant or contradictory to the laws
of Great Britain, or the laws of the American parliament, made and
enacted to be in force in the colonies for the government, utility,
and safety of the whole. That an American parliament be established
for all the English colonies on the continent, to consist of a lord
lieutenant, barons (to be created for that purpose), not to exceed, at
present, more than twelve, nor less than eight from each colony, to be
appointed by his majesty out of the freeholders, inhabitants of each
colony; a house of commons, not to exceed twelve nor less than eight,
from each colony, to be elected by the respective houses of
representatives for each colony, which parliament, so constituted, to
be three branches of legislature of the northern colonies, and to be
styled and called the Lord Lieutenant, the Lords, and Commons of the
British Colonies in North America. That they have the power of
enacting laws, in all cases whatsoever, for the general good, benefit,
and security of the colonies, and for their mutual safety, both
defensive and offensive, against the king's enemies, rebels, &c.;
proportioning the taxes to be raised in such cases by each colony. The
mode for raising the same to be enacted by the general assembly of
each colony, which, if refused or neglected, be directed and
prescribed by the North American parliament, with power to levy the
same. That the laws of the American parliament shall be in force till
repealed by his majesty in council; and the laws of the several
legislatures of the respective colonies to be in force till the same
be repealed by his majesty, or made void by an act and law of the
American parliament. That the American parliament have the
superintendence and government of the several colleges in North
America, most of which have been the grand nurseries of the late
rebellion, instilling into the tender minds of youth principles
favourable to republican, and against a monarchical government, and
other doctrines incompatible to the British constitution.

"A constitution and government something similar to the above, I am
convinced, from the knowledge I have of the temper and spirit of the
inhabitants of the colonies, will be most acceptable to them in
general (it being what they wish for), and will also be conducive to
establish a continued and lasting peace and harmony between Great
Britain and the colonies. The Congress, no doubt, as it will deprive
them of their power, will oppose the same by every artifice, as well
as every other plan of accommodation that will lessen their grandeur
and consequence. I am therefore persuaded that the Congress had best
be altogether disregarded in any overtures of accommodation to be made
or proposed, and all treaties with them absolutely refused, either
directly with them, or indirectly through the courts of France and
Spain, as men void of faith, or even common justice--deceivers of the
people, and enemies to the public weal and happiness of mankind. And
to facilitate a submission instead of a treaty, proceed with the army
against the rebels with vigour and spirit, and issue a proclamation
containing a constitution for North America, and a pardon to all who
lay down their arms and take the oath of allegiance to his majesty and
his government, _excepting_, as necessary examples of justice,

"_First_. The several members of the Continental Congress who have
been elected and served as members thereof since the declaration of

"_Second_. All governors, presidents of the supreme executive councils
or of other councils, or of any of the colonies, acting under the
Congress, or any new and usurped form of government.

"_Third_. All those who have been by his majesty appointed of his
council in any of the colonies, and since taken an active part in the
civil or military department under the Congress or under any
establishment of the rebel government.

"_Fourth_. All judges who have, since the rebellion, passed sentence
of death against any of his majesty's liege subjects, for any supposed
or real crime, committed or pretended to be committed against any law
enacted or made by the Congress, or by any of the usurped or pretended
legislatures of the colonies, making the fact or facts criminal for
which he, she, or they were condemned to suffer death.

"_Fifth_. All commissaries and others who have seized and sold the
estates of any of his majesty's liege subjects, under any pretence
whatsoever, unless it was done by the consent and orders of the
rightful owner, leaving all such to the mercy of his majesty, to be
granted to those only whose conduct merits mercy, and hold up the same
in the proclamation, if any should issue.

"Will it not be proper as well as just to have the estates of the
rebels who are gone out of the king's lines among the rebels
forfeited, confiscated, and sold by commissioners to be appointed for
that purpose, and the moneys arising on the sales to be applied to the
use of the refugees, to compensate for their sufferings by the rebels
in ease of the parliamentary donations? Will not the perfidy of France
and Spain justify Great Britain in proposing and entering into an
alliance with the courts of Russia, Prussia, and other powers, to
unite against France and Spain, the common disturbers of public
tranquillity; take and divide among them all their islands in the West


1. Lord North.

2. General Vaughan.

3. Sir Henry Clinton.

4. The Hon. Joseph Reed, whom the British attempted to bribe through
the agency of Mrs. Ferguson.

5. Referring to the discomfiture at Savannah of the combined forces of
France and the United States; the former under the command of Count
D'Estaing, the latter commanded by General Lincoln.

6. See Vol. I., Ch. XIII.

7. See Vol. I., Ch. IX.

8. On the back of Mr. Sower's letter Mr. Galloway has made, in his own
handwriting, this endorsement--"Mr. Sower is a German refugee at
New-York, and a person of the greatest influence among the Germans in


The extracts which have been given from the correspondence of Mr.
Galloway present, in a point of view sufficiently clear and distinct,
the unquestionable hostility of the tories towards the whigs; the
manner in which they wished the British ministry to conduct the
contest; the punishment they would have inflicted upon the rebels if
they had been successful, and the form in which they would have
subsequently governed the country. These views are deemed a sufficient
reason for the feelings of the whigs; a justification of those
legislative disqualifications of the tories which were adopted by the
State of New-York during the war of the revolution, and cause for the
patriotic determination that the refugees should not be protected or
permitted to remain in the land which they had so zealously struggled
to enslave.

At a very early period after the declaration of Independence, parties
were formed among the whigs. In the State of New-York, at the first
election, in 1777, for governor under the new Constitution, General
Schuyler was presented in opposition to George Clinton, but was
defeated. With that defeat it is believed commenced political
heart-burnings and collisions which, although at times smothered, were
never extinguished. Schuyler was a man of great boldness and sagacity.
He was personally unpopular, yet he possessed a commanding influence
over the mind of those with whom lie commingled or was in any manner
connected; an ascendancy which, in a measure, was to be ascribed to
the force of intellect.

On the 12th of September, 1780, General Schuyler was a candidate for
Congress. At that time the members were chosen by the legislature.
Each house, viva voce, named a candidate. The two branches then met
together and compared their nominations. If they both designated the
same individual, he was declared to be chosen. If not, they proceeded
as one body to a ballot, and the person having a majority of all the
votes given was duly elected. The house almost unanimously nominated
General Schuyler, the vote being for Schuyler, thirty-one, for Ezra
L'Hommidieu seven. The senate nominated L'Hommidieu. In joint ballot,
notwithstanding the vote Schuyler had received in the house,
L'Hommidieu was chosen. For some reason not then explained, there was
a sudden and extraordinary change of opinion in the legislature in
relation to General Schuyler.

About this period, certain individuals were for the appointment of a
"Supreme dictator, with all the powers conferred by the Roman people."
A convention was to be held at Hartford, consisting of delegates from
the five New-England states and the state of New-York, for the
purpose, among other objects, of devising more efficient measures for
the supply of the army. Judge Hobart, Egbert Benson, and General
Schuyler were the delegates. "It was for a contemplated by the
legislature to give them instructions to propose that a dictator
should be appointed, for which a majority in the more popular branch
were believed to be favourable. This 'mad project,' as Colonel
Alexander Hamilton designated it, was communicated to him by General
Schuyler in a letter of the 16th of September, 1780." [1]

The scheme was opposed with great ardour and perseverance by Governor
George Clinton, Ezra L'Hommidieu, and others; but, through the
influence of the former, in a great measure, the "mad project" was
defeated. Here again the party lines were drawn between Governor
Clinton and General Schuyler. It is highly probable that the plan for
appointing a "supreme dictator" was a principal cause for the change
of opinion respecting General Schuyler in the legislature on the 12th
of September, and contributed to defeat his election to Congress.

From this period until the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the
Clinton and the Schuyler parties continued to exist. In the ranks of
the latter there was great concert in action. On an examination of the
legislative journals from 1777 to 1788, it will be seen, that with
General Schuyler were the Jays, the Livingstons, the Van Rensellaers,
and the Bensons, and that they almost uniformly voted together.

And now of the tories. In the year 1779 some of them, who had removed
from Albany within the British lines, petitioned the legislature for
leave to return, which petition was rejected. At the same session an
act was passed requiring all counsellors and attorneys, before they
could be permitted to practice in any court, to produce evidence of
their attachment to the liberty and independence of the United States.
On the 20th of November, 1781, a special act was passed on the same
subject, confirmatory of what bad been done in 1779.

The first session of the legislature after the revolutionary war was
held in the city of New-York. It was convened by proclamation of the
governor on the 6th of January, 1784, and continued its sitting until
the 12th of May following. In the first month of the session, numerous
petitions were presented by the tories, praying to be relieved from
their banishment, and to be permitted a residence within the state.
The legislature perceived that, if they did not act promptly, their
tables would be covered with these memorials. Therefore, in the
language of Governor Clinton at the opening of the session, the
assembly said--

"While we recollect the general progress of a war which has been
marked with cruelty and rapine; while we survey the ruins of this once
flourishing city and its vicinity; while we sympathize in the
calamities which have reduced so many of our virtuous fellow-citizens
to want and distress, and are anxiously solicitous for means to repair
the wastes and misfortunes which we lament," we cannot hearken to
these petitions. They were referred to a select committee, which
committee in a few days reported against granting their prayer, and
the house instantly, without a division, agreed to the report. This
was on the 9th of February, 1784.

On the 11th of February, 1784, the assembly passed a resolution
directing that the names of those persons that had been attainted
should be communicated to the governors of the several states;
requesting to be supplied, in like manner, with "a list of the persons
proscribed or banished by their respective states, in order that
thereby the _principles of federal union_ may be adhered to and
preserved." In the senate this resolution was permitted to sleep.

Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, in a letter to John Jay dated the
25th of January, 1784, thus speaks of parties at this period. "Our
parties are, first, the tories, who still hope for power, under the
idea that the remembrance of the past should be lost, though they
daily keep it up by their avowed attachment to Great Britain;
secondly, the violent whigs, who are for expelling all tories from the
state, in hopes, by that means, to preserve the power in their own
hands. The third are those who wish to suppress all violence, to
soften the rigour of the laws against the loyalists, and not to banish
them from that social intercourse which may, by degrees, obliterate
the remembrance of past misdeeds."

On the 8th of March, 1784, Peter Yates and three hundred others
petitioned the legislature to prevent those persons who had joined or
remained with the enemy during the late war from returning, and to
prohibit such as have remained from being eligible to any office of
profit or trust. On the 31st of the same month strong resolutions were
introduced into the house, and adopted by both branches, against the
tories, declaring, among other things, "That as, on the one hand, the
rules of justice do not require, so, on the other, the public
tranquility will not permit, that such adherents who have been
attainted should be restored to the rights of citizenship."

In May, 1784, the legislature passed an act entitled "An act to,
preserve the freedom and independence of this state, and for other
purposes." The object of this law was to prohibit the tories from
holding any office. The Council of Revision returned the bill, with
objections to its passage, one of which was, "that so large a portion
of the citizens remained in parts of the _Southern District_ which
were possessed by the British armies, that in most places it would be
difficult, and in many _absolutely impossible_, to find men to fill
the necessary offices, even for _conducting_ elections, until a new
set of inhabitants could be procured."

This bill of disfranchisement, notwithstanding the objections of the
Council of Revision, was passed by more than two thirds of both
branches, and thus became a law. Such were the feelings of the
"violent whigs;" such the policy of the first legislature after the
termination of the war. But, unfortunately, among those who had fought
the battles of the revolution, there were some who doubted the
capacity of the people for self-government, while there were others
who sought power and influence at the hazard of principle. The
Schuyler party were in the minority. The Clinton party, designated by
Chancellor Livingston as the "violent whigs," were uncompromising on
the question of banishing the tories, who were numerous, especially in
the Southern District. It seemed probable, therefore, if restored to
citizenship, that they would amalgamate with the _third_ party, or
that class of whigs "who wished to suppress all violence, and to
soften the rigour of the laws against the royalists."

In March, 1783, the legislature passed an act entitled "An act for
granting more effectual relief in cases of trespass." The object of
this act was to enable the whigs at the termination of the war to
recover from the tories rent for any landed estate they might have
occupied; and in cases of suit for such rent, the act declares "that
no defendant or defendants shall be admitted to plead in justification
any military order or command whatsoever for such occupancy."

Under this statute an action was commenced by Mrs. Rutgers against Mr.
Waddington, in the Mayor's Court of the City of New-York, for the
recovery of rent for the occupancy of a brewhouse and malthouse, the
property of the said Mrs. Rutgers. The cause was argued on the 29th of
June, 1784, James Duane as Mayor, and Richard Varick as Recorder,
presiding. On the 27th of August the court gave judgment "that the
plea of the defendant was good for so much of the time as he held
under the British commander-in-chief; because, in the opinion of the
court, a liberal construction of the law of nations would make it so."
As this decision involved a great principle, and would materially
affect the whigs whose property had been occupied by the tories during
the war, it produced great excitement.

A meeting of the whigs was convened on the 13th of September, 1784. A
committee was appointed, and an address to the people of the state
prepared and published by them. That committee consisted of Melancton
Smith, Peter Ricker, Jonathan Lawrence, Anthony Rutgers, Peter T.
Curtenius, Thomas Tucker, Daniel Shaw, Adam Gilchrist, Junr., and John
Wiley. Of this committee Melancton Smith was the life and soul. He was
the author of the address--a clear, able, and unanswerable exposition
of the case. It states the determination of Mrs. Rutgers to carry it
up to the Supreme Court, and, if defeated there, to the Senate, which,
with the judges of the Supreme Court, constituted the Court for the
Correction of Errors. Having reference to the contemplated
proceedings, the address closes as follows:--

"Preparatory to such an event, we exhort you to be cautious, in your
future choice of senators, that none be elected but those on whom,
from long and certain experience, you can rely as men attached to the
liberty of America, and firm friends to our laws and constitution; men
who will spurn at any proposition that has a tendency to curtail the
privileges of the people, and who, at the same time that they protect
us against _judicial tyranny_, have wisdom to see the propriety of
supporting that necessary independence in courts of justice, both of
the legislature and people.

"Having confined ourselves to constitutional measures, and now
solemnly declaring our disapprobation of all others, we feel a freedom
in sounding the alarm to our fellow-citizens. If that independence,
which we have obtained at a risk which makes the acquisition little
less than miraculous, was worth contending for against a powerful and
enraged monarch, and at the expense of the best blood in America,
surely its preservation is worth contending for against those _among
ourselves who might impiously hope to build their greatness upon the
ruins of that fabric which was so dearly established_.

"That the principle of decision in the case of Rutgers _vs_.
Waddington is dangerous to the freedom of our government, and that a
perseverance in that principle would leave our legislature nothing but
a name, and render their sessions nothing more than an expensive form
of government, the preceding remarks must evidence.

"Permit us, on this occasion, earnestly to entreat you to join us in
watchfulness against every attempt that may be used, either violently
and suddenly, or _gently_ and _imperceptibly, to effect a revolution_
in the _spirit_ and _genius_ of our government; and _should there be
among us characters to whom the simplicity of it is offensive_, let
our attention and perseverance be such as to _preclude the hopes of a

Here again the party lines of 1777 are distinctly marked. Melancton
Smith, Jonathan Lawrence, &c., were of the Clinton party, while Mr.
Duane and Mr. Varick were attached to the Schuyler interest.

In October, 1784, the case of Rutgers _vs_. Waddington was brought
before the legislature, and on the 27th of that month the assembly

_Resolved_, That this adjudication is subversive of all law and good
order; because, if a court instituted for the _benefit and government
of a corporation_ may take upon themselves to dispense with a law of
the state, all other courts may do the like: therefore,

_Resolved_, That it be recommended to the honourable the Council of
Appointment, at their next session, to appoint such persons to be
mayor and recorder of the city of New-York as will govern themselves
by the known laws of the land.

Subsequently Waddington compromised the claim against him; but the law
in similar cases became operative, and remained so until its repeal by
the legislature. In the following session, March, 1785, an
unsuccessful attempt was made to repeal the act of 1781, disqualifying
tory counsellors and attorneys; some modification, however, of other
laws of a similar character was effected. In April, 1786, the
repealing act passed; and the restriction on the tory lawyers being
removed, they were permitted to practise in the several courts of the
state. During the same month, "an act for the payment of certain sums
of money" was amended by adding a clause, "restoring to the rights of
citizenship, on taking the oath of abjuration and allegiance," all
such persons as had been disfranchised by the third clause of the act
entitled "An act to preserve the freedom and independence of this
state," passed the 12th of May, 1784. During this session the Schuyler
party had the ascendence, and on all questions having a political
aspect the names of Alexander Hamilton, Richard Varick, C. Livingston,
Nicholas Bayard, David Brooks, James Livingston, &c., will be found on
the same side.

On the 10th of March, 1787, Mr. Hamilton asked leave, which was
granted, to bring in a bill to repeal the act entitled "An act for
granting relief in case of certain trespasses." This was the act under
which the suit had been commenced against Waddington, and which case
produced so much excitement in the summer and autumn of 1784. Mr.
Hamilton's bill passed; but, lest there should be some forgotten
statute that might restrict or limit the political privileges of the
tories, it was deemed expedient, on the 13th of April, to introduce
and pass an act under the imposing title of "An act to repeal all laws
of this state inconsistent with the treaty of peace." As its
provisions met every possible case, the tories were now placed on a
footing with the whigs. All they wanted was leaders. The rank and file
they already possessed.

The Schuyler party sought allies. The tories were numerous, especially
in the Southern District. The Clinton party, designated by Chancellor
Livingston, in his letter to John Jay, as the "_violent whigs_," were
uncompromising on the question of banishing the tories from the state.
It seemed probable, therefore, that, sooner or later, if restored to
citizenship, they would amalgamate with that class of whigs who wished
to suppress "all violence, and to soften the rigour of the laws
against the royalists."

The effect of these legislative measures on the tories was anticipated
by both friends and foes. Chancellor Livingston, in January, 1784, had
said that there were three parties in the state:--

_First_. The tories.

_Second_. The violent whigs.

_Third_. Those who wished " to soften the rigour of the laws against
the royalists."

The Council of Revision, composed of Robert R. Livingston, Justice
Morris, and Judge Hobart, had solemnly placed on record their opinion,
that, in some portions of the Southern District "it would be
difficult, and in many _absolutely impossible_, to find whigs to fill
the necessary offices even for _conducting_ elections." Under such
circumstances it was evident that the _first_ and _third_ parties must
amalgamate, and such was the result.

In January, 1788, the legislature met, and directed the call of a
State Convention, to whom was to be submitted the Federal
Constitution, as adopted by the General Convention held in
Philadelphia in May, 1787. During this session the same party lines
continued to be visible, although the respective parties had now
assumed, or were designated by new names. The Schuyler was called the
Federal party, and the Clinton the anti-Federal party; thev were
composed, however, of the same individuals, with very few exceptions.
The great, and almost the only strength which the federal party
possessed in the state was in the Southern District. Here the
acquisition of the tories rendered their power and influence
irresistible. From this district, composed of the counties of
Westchester, New-York, Richmond, King's, Queen's, and Suffolk, the
federalists had in the Assembly, during the session of 1788-89,
_twenty_ votes, and on no _party_ question did they command, during
the whole session, more than _twenty-three_ votes.

In December, 1788, a bill for carrying into operation the federal
constitution being under consideration, a proposition was made to
choose United States senators; but the federalists having a majority
in the Senate, and the anti-federalists a majority in the House of
Assembly, no compromise between the parties could be effected, and
consequently no senators were chosen.

The following persons may be considered as constituting the strength
of the Schuyler, now federal party, in the assembly of 1788-89:--

Brockholst Livingston, of the city of New-York. William W. Gilbert, "
" Alexander Macomb, " " Richard Harrison, " " Nicholas Hoffman, " "
John Watts, Jun., " " Nicholas Low, " " Gulian Verplanck, " " Comfort
Sands, " " Philip Van Cortlandt, Westchester county. Philip
Livingston, " " Nathaniel Rockwell, " " Walter Seaman, " " Jonathan
Horton, " " John Younglove, Albany county. Henry K. Van Rensellaer, "
" Stephen Carman, Queen's county. Whitehead Cornwell, " " Peter
Vandervoort, King's county. Aquilla Giles, " " Abraham Bancker,
Richmond county. John C. Dongan, " " Samuel A. Barker, Dutchess

It will be observed, that all the above Schuyler or federal members,
with the exception of _two_ from Albany and _one_ from Dutchess
county, were elected as representatives from the Southern District.

Having stated the origin and progress of the great political parties
in the State of New-York, as they appear from the public records, it
may be proper to add that Colonel Burr belonged to what was termed by
Mr. Livingston "the violent whig party." By that party, while the
tories were disfranchised, Mr. Burr was elected in 1784 to represent
the city and county of New-York in the legislature. By that party, in
1789, he was appointed attorney-general of the state. By that party,
in 1791, he was appointed a senator of the United States. By that
party, in 1792, he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court. By that
party, subsequently, he was elected a member of the Assembly and a
member of the Convention to revise the Constitution of the State, of
which convention he was president; and by that party, in 1800, he was
elected vice-president of the United States.

It is not intended to discuss the policy, the humanity, or the justice
of the several measures proposed or adopted in relation to the tories
by "_the violent whigs_," or by those whigs who wished "_to soften the
rigour of the laws against the loyalists_." The historical facts have
been given, and the sources from whence they were derived specified.
The feelings and opinions of "_the violent whigs_," are expressed by
the legislature of the state on the 9th of February, 1784, and by
Governor George Clinton at the opening of that session in the city of
New-York. They say--" While we recollect the general progress of a war
which has been marked with cruelty and rapine; while we survey the
ruins of this once flourishing city and its vicinity; while we
sympathize in the calamities which have reduced so many of our
virtuous fellow-citizens to want and distress, and are anxiously
solicitous for means to repair the wastes and misfortunes which we
lament, we cannot hearken to these petitions."

On the other hand, the sentiments and views of those whigs who wished
"_to soften the rigour of the laws against the loyalists_" are to be
found in the following extracts of letters.


"Passay, 9th April, 1783.

"The tories will doubtless cause some difficulty; but that they have
always done; and as this will probably be the _last time_, we must
make the best of it. A universal, indiscriminate condemnation and
expulsion of those people would not redound to our honour, because so
harsh a measure would partake more of vengeance than of justice. For
my part, I wish that all, except _the faithless and cruel_, may be
forgiven. That exception would indeed _extend to very few_; but even
if it applied to the case of one only, that one ought, in my opinion,
to be saved."


"Passay, 12th September, 1783.

"Europe hears much, and wishes to hear more of divisions, seditions,
violences, and confusions among us. The tories are generally and
greatly pitied; _more, indeed, than they deserve_. The indiscriminate
expulsion and ruin of that whole class and description of men would
not do honour to our magnanimity or humanity, especially in the
opinion of those nations who consider, with more astonishment than
pleasure, the terms of peace which America has obtained."


1. See Life of Hamilton, Vol. I., p. 316

2. Jay's Works, Vol. I., p. 128.


It has been seen that the Livingstons were of the Schuyler party
during the revolutionary war, and that they continued so until the
year 1787, when, in common with their political friends, they were the
warm and ardent champions of the Federal Constitution. After its
adoption, and the organization of the government under it, they soon
became dissatisfied. The cause of that dissatisfaction has been
differently explained. On the one hand it was said that they were
alarmed at the doctrines of those who had been called to administer
the government, and at the assumption of powers not delegated by the
people. That they apprehended the government was verging towards a
_consolidated national_, instead of a _federal_ government of states.

On the other hand it was alleged that the family were disappointed and
disgusted at the neglect which they experienced from General
Washington. That, as Robert R. Livingston had been, in the state
convention which adopted the Constitution, one of its most splendid
and efficient supporters, he and his connexions anticipated his
appointment to some exalted station; but that, while he was passed by
unnoticed, his colleagues in that body, John Jay and Alexander
Hamilton, had both received distinguished appointments--the one as
Chief Justice of the United States, and the other as Secretary of the
Treasury. Whatever may have been the cause of this change, it is
certain that they soon abandoned the federal, and united their
political destiny with the anti-federal party. Although these
gentlemen, as politicians, were acting in concert with Mr. Burr, yet
there was no cordiality of feeling between them. In their social
intercourse, however, the most perfect comity was observed; and as
they were in a minority, struggling to break down a party haughty,
proscriptive, and intolerant beyond any thing that the American people
had beheld, they zealously united their efforts in effecting the
revolution of 1800.

Soon after the adoption of the new constitution, the anti-federal
party were recognised by a name more descriptive of their principles
and their views. They assumed the title of democrats. They considered
themselves anti-consolidationists, but not anti-federalists. They knew
that a section of the dominant party were the friends of a splendid
national government. That they were the advocates of a system, by
means of which all power would have concentrated in the general, and
the state governments been reduced to the level of mere corporations.
Against this system the democrats reasoned and contended with unabated
zeal. They were the early, unflinching, and faithful champions of
state rights_.

From the year 1790 until 1800, the democratic and federal parties were
alternately triumphant, both in the city and in the state of New-York.
In the former, the result of an election was frequently decided by the
operations of some local or exciting topic. No decisive contest took
place between the parties previous to 1800, founded on any great or
controlling principle of government. But, during the years 1798 and
1799, the whole country was agitated from one extreme to the other.
Revolutionary France was convulsed, and, in the midst of her
convulsions and sufferings, was daily committing the most cruel and
wanton excesses towards her own citizens, while she was offering
taunts and insults to foreign nations. The federal party seemed to
sigh for a war with France. Pretending that they apprehended a French
invasion, a large standing army was raised. At the head of this army,
second in command to General Washington, was placed General Alexander
Hamilton. To support the army and other useless extravagant
expenditures, a land tax and an _eight per cent._ loan was found
necessary. To silence the murmurs of an oppressed people, a sedition
law was enacted. Such were some of the fruits of the elder Mr. Adams's

In the autumn of 1799 and the winter of 1799-1800, the interesting and
vital question was presented to the American nation:--Will you sustain
this administration and these measures, and thus rivet chains upon
yourselves and your posterity? Or will you calmly, but firmly and in
union, resort to the constitutional remedy (the ballot-boxes) for
relief from wrongs and oppressions which, if permitted to endure, must
terminate in the horrors of intestine war? Here was a question of
principle; and, it is believed, a question which was to decide the
character of the government. Each party felt that it was a mighty
struggle, decisive of its future political influence, if not of its

The elections in the state of New-York were held in the month of
April. In the year 1799 the federalists had a majority in the city of
more than nine hundred. During the summer, it was universally conceded
that on the state of New-York the presidential election would depend,
and that the result in the city would decide the fate of the state.
That this opinion was as universal as it was true, cannot be more
distinctly exhibited than by the following extract of a letter from
Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Madison, dated 4th March, 1800.

"In New-York all depends on the success of the city election, which is
of twelve members, and of course makes a difference of twenty-four,
which is sufficient to make the two houses, joined together,
republican in their vote. * * * * * * Upon the whole, I consider it as
rather more doubtful than the last election (1796), in which I was not
deceived in more than a vote or two. * * * * * * In any event, we may
say, that if the city election of New-York is in favour of the
republican ticket, the issue will be republican; if the federal ticket
for the city of New-York prevails, the probabilities will be in favour
of a federal issue, because it would then require a republican vote
both from New-Jersey and Pennsylvania to preponderate against
New-York, on which we could not count with any confidence."

Reference has been made to the conflicting factions of which the
democratic party was now composed. The Clinton section, the Livingston
section, and the Burr section. The first and last were apparently the
same, but not so in reality. Colonel Burr's commanding talents had
acquired for him an influence in the ranks of the democratic party in
other states, which created some jealousy in the Clinton family, the
younger and collateral branches of which were extremely hostile to
him. The ambition of Burr, sustained by a daring spirit and
unconquerable perseverance, awakened the apprehensions of Governor
George Clinton lest he should be supplanted. The governor was a man of
great sagacity and shrewdness. But these two sections, or, perhaps,
more properly, the heads of them, united in their opposition to the

During the winter of 1800, the efforts of Colonel Burr to bring about
a concert in action of these discordant materials were unceasing. With
his own personal friends he had no difficulty, for it was ever one of
his characteristics to secure inviolable the attachment of his
friends. They were of the most ardent and devoted kind. Confiding in
his patriotism and judgment, and feeling that he was incapable of
deceiving them, they seemed willing, at all times and under all
circumstances, to hazard their lives and fortunes in his support. They
were generally young men of gallant bearing and disinterested views.
No sordid calculations were made by them. No mercenary considerations
influenced their conduct. They beheld in Colonel Burr a patriot hero
of the revolution, who had commingled with their fathers in the
battle-field, and who had perilled every thing in his country's cause.
Such were his friends, and such their zeal in his behalf. It was here
that Colonel Burr was all-powerful, for he possessed, in a pre-eminent
degree, the art of fascinating the youthful. But with all this tact
and talent, he was credulous and easily deceived. He therefore often
became the dupe of the most worthless and unprincipled.

Mr. Burr held frequent private meetings with his most intimate and
confidential friends. At all these meetings it is believed the success
of the democratic party was the only question under consideration. No
local or personal interests were permitted to be discussed. The
triumph of the party, as a whole, was the great object. By his
adherents, it was deemed indispensable that he should be a member of
the legislature to be chosen in April, which body was to appoint the
presidential electors. While, on the other hand, it was considered not
less necessary that he should be free to act at the polls in the city
of New-York during the election. How was this to be effected? After
much conference and deliberation it was resolved that he should be
elected from Orange county, if the arrangement could be made, and the
execution of the plan was intrusted principally to Peter Townsend,
Esquire, of Chester, who, with the aid of other influential friends,
accomplished it.

The next question was, Of whom shall the assembly ticket for the city
be composed? On the suggestion of Colonel Burr, the names of certain
distinguished individuals, venerable in years, and respected for their
services, for months before the election were put in circulation as
candidates; and, among others, Governor George Clinton and General
Horatio Gates. At length the nominating committees were chosen; but so
general had been the conversations as to suitable candidates, that
very little diversity of opinion prevailed in the formation of the

The following persons were nominated: George Clinton, Horatio Gates,
Samuel Osgood, Henry Rutgers, Elias Nexsen, Thomas Storm, George
Warner, Philip I. Arcularius, James Hunt, Ezekiel Robins, Brockholst
Livingston, and John Swartwout.

In this ticket the three sections of the democratic, but at this
election designated the _republican party,_ are fully represented.
Governor Clinton at the head of one section, Brockholst Livingston
representing another, and General Gates, well known to be the personal
and political friend of Colonel Burr. This ticket being nominated by
the committee, the difficulty was to procure their consent to stand as
candidates. A majority of them had no expectation of success. They
considered the contest as a forlorn hope, and shrank from being set up
as targets to be shot at. Governor Clinton, General Gates, Brockholst
Livingston, and others, had repeatedly declared their fixed
determination not to permit their names to be used.

A sub-committee was appointed to wait upon the candidates, and obtain
permission to present their names for approval to a general meeting of
citizens to be convened for that purpose. The sub-committee consisted
of Aaron Burr, David Gelston, John Swartwout, John Mills, and Matthew
L. Davis. After various communications and much persuasion, _nine_ of
the candidates consented, some of them conditionally. But Governor
Clinton, General Gates, and Brockholst Livingston were for a time
immoveable. At length Colonel Burr induced Judge Livingston to agree
that he would serve, if Governor Clinton and General Gates consented
to serve. The sub-committee next waited upon General Gates, and
Colonel Burr appealed to him in the most mild and persuasive language.
After much importunity he yielded, provided Governor Clinton was also
a candidate.

No terms can give a correct idea of the scenes between Governor
Clinton and the sub-committee, for they had an interview with him on
three different days. The last was at the house of Colonel Burr, where
Mr. Clinton met the committee by appointment. He never did consent to
stand, but pledged himself to Colonel Burr and the committee that he
would publish nothing in the newspapers, reserving to himself the
right (which he subsequently exercised) of stating in conversation
that his name was used without his authority or permission. Thus it is
evident, that but for the matchless perseverance of Colonel Burr, the
ticket, as it stood, never could have been formed, and, when formed,
would have been broken up, and the republican party discomfited and

An imperfect sketch of the scene at the house of Colonel Burr was
published in the year 1802, in a pamphlet under the signature of
_Aristides_. The following is extracted from it. The note of reference
here given is also extracted. Its correctness was never publicly
denied by either of the gentlemen named. There exists no longer any
reason for concealment on the subject; and it is therefore now
admitted that this _note_ was written from memorandums made at the
time by the author of this volume.


"Governor Clinton, however, remained unmoved by the most earnest
solicitations; and, with matchless firmness, resisted the arguments of
Mr. Burr, who forcibly asserted that it was a right inherent in the
community to command the services of an individual when the nature of
public exigences seemed to require it. He was inflexible to the last,
and then was nominated and elected without a distinct expression of
his approbation. Justice, however, induces me to acknowledge, that the
reasons he assigned for the reluctance with which he acted were
plausible and potent.

"He explicitly declared that he had long entertained an unfavourable
opinion of Mr. Jefferson's talents as a statesman and his firmness as
a republican. That he conceived him an accommodating trimmer, who
would change with times, and bend to circumstances for the purposes of
personal promotion. Impressed with these sentiments, he could not,
with propriety, he said, acquiesce in the elevation of a man destitute
of the qualifications essential to the good administration of the
government; and added other expressions too vulgar to be here
repeated. 'But,' said he, with energy, 'if you, Mr. Burr, was the
candidate for the presidential chair, I would act with pleasure and
with vigour.'"

It is so notorious that these were Governor Clinton's sentiments, that
it is scarcely necessary to produce authority to prove it. To remove,
however, every doubt in the reader's mind, I will refer him to Mr.
David Gelston, Mr. John Mills, Mr. John Swartwout, or Mr. Matthew L.
Davis, in whose presence these sentiments, and many others more
disrespectful, if possible, were uttered. It was at the house of Mr.
Burr, who, anticipating the evil consequences that at that critical
moment would result from such conduct in Governor Clinton, insisted,
before he left the house, that he should promise his friends to desist
from using such language previous to or during the election. This was
very reluctantly complied with on the part of Mr. Clinton.

"Notwithstanding this, they were continually reiterated by his son,
who publicly and loudly animadverted upon the character of Mr.
Jefferson with the most vulgar severity. Similar sentiments were
certainly entertained by all Governor Clinton's connexions, as their
conduct during the election clearly evinced. Mr. Dewitt Clinton,
through the whole contest, never appeared at the poll, but observed
the most shameful indfference and inactivity."

The nomination of a ticket having been made and approved at a public
meeting over which Anthony Lispenard presided, its effect upon both
parties was tremendous. The character and standing of the candidates
seemed a presage of victory. It elated, and gave life and vigour to
the republicans, while it paralyzed and depressed the federalists.

Never before or since has a ticket been presented to the citizens of
New-York composed of men combining such talents, patriotism,
experience, and public services, as the republican assembly ticket for
the year 1800.

Those who possess a knowledge of the character of Colonel Burr know
what were his qualifications for execution. The plan of the campaign
having been opened, it only remained to be executed. In the
performance of this duty, all Mr. Burr's industry, perseverance, and
energy were called into operation. Nor were the federal party idle or
inactive. They possessed wealth and patronage. Led on to the contest
by their talented chieftain, General Hamilton, whose influence in
their ranks was unbounded, they made a desperate but ineffectual
resistance to the assaults upon their political citadel. If defeated
here, their power was gone, and the administration of the government
lost. Both General Hamilton and Colonel Burr exerted themselves
personally at the polls during the three days of election. They
repeatedly addressed the people, and did all that men could do. They
frequently met at the same polls, and argued, in the presence of large
assemblages, the debatable questions. Their deportment towards each
other and towards their opponents was such as comported with the
dignity of two of the most accomplished and courtly gentlemen of the
age in which they lived.

The polls of the election opened on the morning of the 29th of April,
and finally closed at sunset on the 1st of May. Immediately after, the
inspectors commenced counting and canvassing the ballots. Sufficient
progress was made during the night to render it, in a great measure,
certain that the republican ticket had succeeded; and on the 2d of May
this result was announced, the average majority being about 490. All
doubt as to the presidential vote of the state of New-York was now
removed, unless the federal party, in their expiring agonies, could
devise some plan by which the will of the people, thus clearly
expressed, should be defeated. Such apprehensions were entertained,
and, it was soon discovered, not entertained without good reason.

In both branches of the legislature elected in 1799 the federalists
had a majority. The time of service of the members would expire on the
1st of July, 1800. After the nomination of the republican assembly
ticket, but previous to the election in April, 1800, it was suspected
that certain federalists had in contemplation a project to render the
city election null and void if the republicans succeeded. When the
polls were closed, therefore, discreet and intelligent men were placed
at them to guard, if it should be found necessary, the inspectors from
committing, inadvertently, any errors, either in canvassing or making
their returns. Every movement, subsequently, of leading federal
gentlemen was narrowly and cautiously watched. The result of the
election was announced on the 2d of May. On the 3d of May, in the
evening, a select and confidential federal caucus was held. On the 4th
a letter was written to William Duane, editor of the Aurora, stating
that such a caucus had been held the preceding night, and that it was
determined by the caucus to solicit Governor Jay to convene the
existing legislature forthwith, for the purpose of changing the mode
of choosing electors for president, and placing it in the hands of the
people by districts. The effect of such a measure would have been to
neutralize the State of New-York, and, as the result finally proved,
would have secured to the federal party their president and
vice-president. This letter was published in the Aurora of the 6th of
May, and called forth the denunciations of those federal papers whose
conductors were not in the secret. The author of the letter was
assailed as a _Jacobin_ calumniator, and the whole story was
pronounced a vile fabrication. One of the New-York city papers
reprinted the letter, and thus closes its commentary on it:--"Where is
the American who _will not detest the author of this infamous lie_? If
there is a man to be found who will sanction this publication, he is
worse than the worst of Jacobins!"

What effect, if any, was produced by this immediate exposure of the
caucus proceedings, it is not necessary now to inquire. It is
sufficient to say that the development was, in all its parts,
literally correct, and the subject is here introduced for the twofold
purpose of showing, _first_, the vigilance, promptitude, and
arrangement of the republican party of that day; and, _second_, the
means to which certain desperate federalists were willing to resort
for the purpose of retaining power. That the representations contained
in the publication of the Aurora were strictly true, is now matter of
recorded history.

In the life of John Jay, vol. i., p. 412, the letter addressed to the
governor on this subject is published. It bears date _one day_ after
the publication in the Aurora, but before the paper reached the city
of New-York. The author of the work, after some preliminary remarks,
Says--"These details will explain the proposal made in the following
letter, which was received by the governor _from one of the most
distinguished federalists in the United States_." [1]


New-York May 7, 1800.


You have been informed of the loss of our election in this city. It is
also known that we have been unfortunate throughout Long Island and in
Westchester. According to the returns hitherto, it is too probable
that we lose our senator for this district.

The moral certainty, therefore, is, that there will be an anti-federal
majority in the ensuing legislature; and the very high probability is,
that this will bring Jefferson into the chief magistracy, unless it be
prevented by the measure which I shall now submit to your
consideration; namely, the immediate calling together of the existing

I am aware that there are weighty objections to the measure; but the
reasons for it appear to me to outweigh the objections; and, in times
like these in which we live, it will not do to be over scrupulous. It
is easy to sacrifice the substantial interests of society by a strict
adherence to ordinary rules.

In observing this I shall not be supposed to mean that any thing ought
to be done which integrity will forbid; but merely that the scruples
of delicacy and propriety, as relative to a common course of things,
ought to yield to the extraordinary nature of the crisis. They ought
not to hinder the taking of a legal and constitutional step to prevent
an atheist in religion and a fanatic in politics from getting
possession of the helm of state.

You, sir, know in a great degree the anti-federal party; but I fear
you do not know them as well as I do. 'Tis a composition, indeed, of
very incongruous materials, but all tending to mischief--some of them
to the overthrow of the government, by stripping it of its due
energies; others of them to a revolution after the manner of
Bonaparte. I speak from indubitable facts, not from conjectures and
inferences. In proportion as the true character of the party is
understood, is the force of the considerations which urge to every
effort to disappoint it; and it seems to me that there is a very
solemn obligation to employ the means in our power.

The calling of the legislature will have for object the choosing of
electors by the people in districts; this (as Pennsylvania will do
nothing) will ensure a majority of votes in the United States for a
federal candidate. The measure will not fail to be approved by all the
federal party, while it will, no doubt, be condemned by the opposite.
As to its intrinsic nature, it is justified by unequivocal reasons of
_public safety_.

The reasonable part of the world will, I believe, approve it. They
will see it as a proceeding out of the common course, but warranted by
the particular nature of the crisis and the great cause of social

If done, the motive ought to be frankly avowed. In your communication
to the legislature, they ought to be told that temporary circumstances
had rendered it probable that, without their interposition, the
executive authority of the general government would be transferred to
hands hostile to the system heretofore pursued with so much success,
and dangerous to the peace, happiness, and order of the country. That
under this impression, from facts convincing to your own mind, you had
thought it your duty to give the existing legislature an opportunity
of deliberating whether it would not be proper to interpose, and
endeavour to prevent so great an evil, by referring the choice of
electors to the people distributed into districts.

In weighing this suggestion, you will doubtless bear in mind that
popular governments must certainly be overturned; and, while they
endure, prove engines of mischief, if one party will call to its aid
all the resources which vice can give, and if the other (however
pressing the emergency) confines itself within all the ordinary forms
of delicacy and decorum.

The legislature can be brought together in three weeks, so that there
will be full time for the object; but none ought to be lost.

Think well, my dear sir, of this proposition; appreciate the extreme
danger of the crisis; and I am unusually mistaken in my view of the
matter if you do not see it right and expedient to adopt the measure.

Respectfully and affectionately yours.

Mr. Jay's biographer adds--"On this letter is the following
endorsement in the governor's hand, _Proposing a measure for party
purposes which I think it would not become me to adopt_."


1. As there were but _few_ of "the most distinguished federalists in
the United States" residing at that time in the city of New-York, the
intelligent reader will form his own conclusions as to the source from
whence it emanated.


During the summer of 1800 General Hamilton prepared for the press his
celebrated pamphlet, entitled--"A letter from Alexander Hamilton,
concerning the public conduct and character of John Adams, Esq.,
president of the United States." It was the design of the author of
this pamphlet that it should be privately printed, and circulated in
South Carolina only a few days before the election, for the purpose of
preventing Mr. Adams from getting the vote of South Carolina, but
securing it to Mr. Pinckney, who was the federal candidate for the
vice-presidency. The consequence would have been to place Mr.
Pinckney's electoral vote higher than Mr. Adams's, and thus, if the
federal party succeeded, Mr. Pinckney would have been elected
president and Mr. Adams vice-president. Colonel Burr ascertained the
contents of this pamphlet, and that it was in the press. Its immediate
publication, he knew, must distract the federal party, and thus
promote the republican cause in those states where the elections had
not yet taken place. Arrangements were accordingly made for a copy, as
soon as the printing of it was completed; and when obtained, John
Swartwout, Robert Swartwout, and Matthew L. Davis, by appointment, met
Colonel Burr at his own house. The pamphlet was read, and extracts
made for the press. Mr. Davis was charged with forwarding these
extracts to William Duane, editor of the Aurora, and to Charles Holt,
editor of the Bee, printed in New-London, which was accordingly done,
and the extracts immediately published. [1]

The effect of this sudden and unexpected explosion was such as might
have been anticipated. It rent the federal party in twain. The
publication, from time to time, of extracts, and the excitement which
was produced throughout the country by them, at length compelled Mr.
Hamilton to authorize the publication of the entire pamphlet; and
accordingly, in October, as the electors were to be chosen in
November, it was advertised for sale in the Daily Gazette. The editor
of the paper explained that it was not the intention of General
Hamilton to give publicity to this letter at the time it was made
public; but that extracts from it by some unknown means had found
their way to the public, and therefore the whole was now given.

Further evidence of the vigilance and efficiency of Colonel Burr in
promoting the revolution of 1800 is deemed unnecessary. It is most
solemnly believed that the overthrow of the federal party at that time
would not have been accomplished but through his zeal, sagacity, and
industry. His friends, therefore, have ascribed to him, and not
without some foundation, the election of Mr. Jefferson to the

Governor Jay having refused to comply with the wishes of "one of the
most distinguished federalists in the United States," as proposing a
measure for party purposes which he (Governor Jay) thought it would
not become him to adopt, the legislature did not convene until the
fourth day of November, 1800, and on the sixth they proceeded to the
choice of electors for president and vice-president. The republican
ticket prevailed. It was composed of the following, persons:--

    Isaac Ledyard, of Queen's County.

    Anthony Lispenard, of New-York.

    P. Van Courtlandt, of Westchester

    James Burt, of Orange.

    Gilbert Livingston, of Dutchess.

    Thomas Jenkins, of Columbia.

[continued list of Republican electors]

    Peter Van Ness, of Columbia.

    Robert Ellis, of Saratoga.

    John Woodworth, of Rensellaer.

    J. Van Rensellaer, of Albany.

    Jacob Eacker, of Montgomery, and

    William Floyd, of Suffolk.

The vote stood:--

                      Republican.     Federal.
In the Senate 18 24 In the Assembly 64 39

Thus, on joint ballot, the republican majority was nineteen; and
consequently, as the city of New-York elected _twelve_ members, if the
federalists had succeeded in the city, they would have had, in joint
ballott, a majority of from six to ten.

As a part of the history of this election, the following letter and
extracts from letters are here inserted.


Washington, December 15, 1800.


Although we have not official information of the votes for president
and vice-president, and cannot have until the first week in February,
yet the state of the votes is given on such evidence as satisfies both
parties that the two republican candidates stand highest. From South
Carolina we have not even heard of the actual vote, but we have
learned who were appointed electors, and with sufficient certainty how
they would vote. It is said they would withdraw from yourself one
vote. It has also been said that a General Smith, of Tennessee, had
declared that he would give his second vote to Mr. Gallatin, not from
any indisposition towards you, but extreme reverence to the character
of Mr. Gallatin. It is also surmised that the vote of Georgia will not
be entire. Yet nobody pretends to know these things of a certainty,
and we know enough to be certain that what it is surmised will be
withheld, will still leave you four or five votes at least above Mr.
Adams. However, it was badly managed not to have arranged with
certainty what seems to have been left to hazard. It was the more
material, because I understand several high-flying federalists have
expressed their hope that the two republican tickets may be equal, and
their determination in that case to prevent a choice by the House of
Representatives (which they are strong enough to do), and let the
government devolve on a president of the Senate. Decency required that
I should be so entirely passive during the late contest, that I never
once asked whether arrangements had been made to prevent so many from
dropping votes intentionally as might frustrate half the republican
wish; nor did I doubt, till lately, that such had been made.

"While I must congratulate you, my dear sir, on the issue of this
contest, because it is more honourable, and, doubtless, more grateful
to you than any station within the competence of the chief magistrate,
yet, for myself, and for the substantial service of the public, _I
feel most sensibly the loss we sustain of your aid in our new
administration. It leaves a chasm in my arrangements which cannot be
adequately filled up. I had endeavoured to compose an administration
whose talents, integrity, names, and dispositions should at once
inspire unbounded confidence in the public mind, and ensure a perfect
harmony in the conduct of the public business. I lose you from the
list,_ and am not sure of all the others. Should the gentlemen who
possess the public confidence decline taking a part in their affairs,
and force us to take persons unknown to the people, the evil genius of
this country may realize his avowal that 'he will beat down the
administration.' The return of Mr. Van Benthuysen, one of your
electors, furnishes me a confidential opportunity of writing this much
to you, which I should not have ventured through the postoffice at
this prying season. We shall, of course, see you before the fourth of
March. Accept my respectful and affectionate salutations."

The letter is, in a great measure, incomprehensible. It indicates
nothing but Mr. Jefferson's extreme terror and apprehension lest he
should be disappointed in his anticipated elevation to the presidency.
It displays the _tact_ of the ostrich, and the _sincerity_ of a
refined Jesuit. What does Mr. Jefferson mean by the declaration that
he had formed a cabinet, of which Mr. Burr was to be a member? What
when he says--_"I lose you from the list?_' Can any man believe that
Mr. Jefferson expected to be elected president, but that Colonel Burr
would be defeated; and that, acting upon such a state of facts, he had
already selected the members of his administration, and that Mr. Burr
was one of them? The supposition is absurd; but, without such a
supposition, what becomes of the truth of Mr. Jefferson's declaration
when he says--"I feel most sensibly the loss we sustain of your aid in
our new administration. _It leaves a chasm in my arrangements_ which
cannot be adequately filled up?" If this letter is carefully read and
analyzed, its object may be comprehended. It was written a few weeks
before the balloting was to take place in Congress. Mr. Jefferson
expresses doubt as to the vote Mr. Burr will receive, but considers it
certain that he will have "four or five votes at least above Mr.
Adams." Four days after this letter he writes in a very different tone
to a friend.


"Washington, December 19, 1800.


"Mrs. Brown's departure for Virginia enables me to write
confidentially what I would not have ventured by the post at this
prying season. The election in South Carolina has, in some measure,
decided the great contest. Though, as yet, we do not know the actual
votes of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Vermont, yet we believe the votes to
be, on the whole, Jefferson, 73; Burr, 73; Adams, 65; Pinckney, 64.
Rhode Island withdrew one from Pinckney. There is a possibility that
Tennessee may withdraw _one_ from Burr, and Burr writes that there may
be one vote in Vermont for Jefferson. But I hold the latter
_impossible_, and the former _not probable_; and that there will be an
absolute parity between the two republican candidates. This has
produced great dismay and gloom on the republican gentlemen here, and
exultation in the federalists, who openly declare they will prevent an
election, and will name a president of the Senate _pro tem._ by what,
they say, would only be a _stretch_ of the constitution. The prospect
of preventing this is as follows. Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
Kentucky, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and New-York can be counted on for
their vote in the House of Representatives, and _it is thought, by
some, that BAER of Maryland and LINN of New-Jersey will come over._"

The preceding extract shows that Mr. Jefferson entertained no doubt
"that there would be an absolute parity between the two republican
candidates," notwithstanding his doubting remarks on that subject to
Colonel Burr. Hopes were also entertained "that Mr. Baer of Maryland
and _Linn of New-Jersey would come over._" Reference will hereafter be
made to these two states. The result of the electoral vote was as Mr.
Jefferson anticipated. _Seventy-three_ republican and _sixty-five_

Although the ballots for president and vice-president had not been
examined officially, yet it was well known that there was a tie
between Mr. Jefferson and Colonel Burr.

On the 5th of February, 1801, Mr. Bayard, in the House of
Representatives, offered a resolution declaring that, in case of a
tie, the house would continue to ballot until a choice of president
was made. It was referred to a select committee, and, on the 10th, it,
with other rules to govern the house during the balloting, was
adopted. The Senate passed a resolution that the ballots should be
opened with closed doors. William H. Wells, of Delaware, of the
Senate, and John Nicholas, of Virginia, and John Rutledge, of South
Carolina, of the House of Representatives, were appointed tellers.

On the 11th of February the ballots were opened. During the
performance of this ceremony a most extraordinary incident occurred.
As it is known to but few now living, and never been publicly spoken
of, it has been deemed proper to record it here, as a part of the
history of that exciting contest.

The Aurora of the 16th of February, 1801, remarks, that "the tellers
declared that there was some informality in the votes of Georgia; but,
believing them to be true votes, reported them as such." No
explanation of the nature of this informality was given; nor is it
known that any has ever been given since. Had it been announced at the
time, there can be no doubt it would have proved fatal to the election
of Mr. Jefferson. Whether the interest of our country would or would
not have been thereby promoted, is not a question for discussion here.

By the Constitution of the United States at that time it was provided,
Art. 2, sect. 1, "The electors shall meet in their respective states,
and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be
an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a
list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for
each, _which list they shall sign, and certify_, and transmit, sealed,
to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the
President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the
presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open _all the
certificates_, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having
the greatest number of votes shall be the president, if such number be
_a majority of the whole number of electors appointed_; and if there
be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of
votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose, by
ballot, one of them for president; and if no person have a majority,
then from the _five highest_ on the list the said house shall, in like
manner, choose the president. But, in choosing the president, the
votes shall betaken by states, and a majority of all the states shall
be necessary to a choice."

From the above extract it will be seen that the Constitution is
imperative as to the _form_ and _manner_ in which the electoral
returns are to be made. The ceremony of opening was performed in the
presence of the two houses. The package of a state having been opened
by the vice-president, it was handed by him to the tellers. Mr.
Jefferson was the presiding officer. On opening the package endorsed
Georgia votes, it was discovered to be totally irregular. The
statement now about to be given is derived from an honourable
gentleman, a member of Congress from the state of New-York during the
administration of Mr. Jefferson, and yet living in this state. He says
that Mr. Wells (a teller on the part of the Senate) informed him that
the envelope was blank; that the return of the votes was not
authenticated by _the signatures of the electors, or any of them,
either on the outside or the inside of the envelope, or in any other
manner_; that it merely stated in the inside that the votes of Georgia
were, for Thomas Jefferson _four, and for Aaron Burr _four_, without
the signature of any person whatsoever. Mr. Wells added, that he was
very undecided as to the proper course to be pursued by the tellers.
It was, however, suggested by one of them that the paper should be
handed to the presiding officer, without any statement from the
tellers except that the return was informal; that he consented to this
arrangement under the firm conviction that Mr. Jefferson would
announce the nature of the informality from the chair; but, to his
utmost surprise, he (Mr. Jefferson) rapidly declared that the votes of
Georgia were _four_ for Thomas Jefferson and _four_ for Aaron Burr,
without noticing their informality, and in a hurried manner put them
aside, and then broke the seals and handed to the tellers the package
from the next state. Mr. Wells observed, that as soon as Mr. Jefferson
looked at the paper purporting to contain a statement of the electoral
vote of the state of Georgia, his countenance changed, but that the
decision and promptitude with which he acted on that occasion
convinced him of that which he (a federalist) and his party had always
doubted, that is to say, Mr. Jefferson's decision of character, at
least when his own interest was at hazard. Mr. Wells further stated,
that if the votes of Georgia had not been thus counted, as it would
have brought all the candidates into the house, Mr. Pinckney among the
number, Mr. Jefferson could not have been elected president.

The same honourable member of Congress further stated, that some few
years after receiving the above information from Mr. Wells, he became
intimately acquainted with John Nicholas, who was one of the tellers
referred to, and who had removed from Virginia into the western part
of the State of New-York. Mr. Nicholas gave to the honourable member
the same statement in substance, not knowing that it had been
previously derived from Mr. Wells. Mr. Nicholas was a warm personal
and political friend of Mr. Jefferson, and declared that he never felt
so astounded in his life as when he discovered the irregularity. He
claimed some credit for the adroit manner in which he had managed Mr.
Rutledge, so far as to obtain his consent to hand the paper to Mr.
Jefferson without public explanation from the tellers, and which was
effected by a conciliatory appeal to the magnanimity of the member
from South Carolina.

The whole number of electoral votes given at the election in 1800 was
_one hundred and thirty-eight_: necessary to a choice, _seventy_. Mr.
Jefferson and Mr. Burr had each, according to the return made,
seventy-three. Georgia gave _four _votes. If that number had been
deducted from Jefferson and Burr, as illegally returned, of which
there is no doubt, they would have had only _sixty-nine_ votes each;
consequently they would not have had, in the language of the
Constitution, "a majority of the whole number of electors appointed,"
and the candidates out of which a choice of president must be made
would have been Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Burr, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Pinckney.
The federal members would then have said to the republicans, We will
unite with you in the choice of either of the gentlemen presented to
the house except Mr. Jefferson; and if the government is to be brought
to a termination by our failure to elect a president, the
responsibility will be on you. And is it to be believed, that in such
a case the _doubtful_ members who were sighing for office, if any such
there were, would have rejected the suggestion in toto?

The balloting continued from the 11th until the 17th of February
inclusive. _Nine_ states were necessary to a choice. On the first
ballot Mr. Jefferson had _eight_, Mr. Burr _six_, and _two_ states
were divided. At every ballot the same result was announced, until the
_thirty-sixth_ ballot, which was given on the 17th of February, when
Mr. Jefferson was declared duly elected, _ten_ states having voted for

On the first ballot Mr. Jefferson received New-York, New-Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and

Mr. Burr received New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, Delaware, and South Carolina --_six_.

Divided, Vermont and Maryland--_two_.

On the final ballot Mr. Jefferson received New-York, New-Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee,
Maryland (_four_ votes and _four_ blanks), Vermont (_one_ vote and
_one_ blank)--_ten_.

Mr. Burr received New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and

Delaware _blank_, South Carolina _no vote_.

During the balloting _one hundred and six_ members of the House of
Representatives were present. Of this number _fifty-one_, on the first
ballot, voted for Mr. Jefferson; and on no subsequent vote was that
number increased. The election was effected by the states of Maryland
and Vermont giving their vote, instead of remaining _equally divided_,
and thus having no vote; and that change was produced in Maryland by
Mr. Craick, Mr. Dennis, Mr. Baer, and Mr. Chew Thomas voting _blank_,
and Mr. Lewis R. Morris, of Vermont, in like manner voting blank,
leaving Mr. Matthew Lyon the sole representative of the state.

Previous to the balloting, Mr. Burr addressed to General S. Smith, of
Baltimore, a member of the House of Representatives, the following
letter. It will be seen by the date, that as soon as Colonel Burr
supposed that there was a probability of a tie, he constituted General
Smith his proxy to declare his sentiments.


"New-York, 16th December, 1800.

"It is highly improbable that I shall have an equal number of votes
with Mr. Jefferson; but, if such should be the result, every man who
knows me ought to know that I would utterly disclaim all competition.
Be assured that _the federal party can entertain no wish for such an
exchange_. As to my friends, they would dishonour my views and insult
my feelings by a suspicion that I would submit to be instrumental in
counteracting the wishes and the expectations of the United States.
And I now constitute you _my proxy to declare these sentiments_ if the
occasion should require." [2]

Baltimore, February 28, 1801.

Sir--Many of the citizens of Baltimore, who have just now heard of
your arrival among them, beg leave to congratulate you and themselves
upon the success of the late election of President and Vice-president
of the United States. They, in a particular manner, appreciate that
patriotism which disclaimed competition for the presidential chair
with that other eminent character who has finally been called to
it--as setting a just value upon the will of the people.

By order of the meeting.


To Aaron Burr, Vice-president elect of the United States of America.


1. Mr. Tucker, in his life of Jefferson, ascribes the defeat of the
federal party in South Carolina to General Hamilton's pamphlet. Its
premature publication, no doubt, contributed largely to produce this

2. The effect of this letter upon public opinion may be judged of by
the following, among other testimonials which might be inserted.


This contest in Congress produced, almost immediately, strong feelings
of dissatisfaction between some of the friends of Mr. Jefferson and
Colonel Burr. Jealousies and distrust had previously existed. Mr.
Jefferson was anxious that Mr. Madison should be his successor in
office. The Clinton and Livingston families were prepared to unite in
a crusade against Colonel Burr; the chieftains of each section hoping
to fill the station from which he was to be expelled. General Hamilton
was in favour of the election of Mr. Jefferson, as opposed to Colonel
Burr. The result afforded him a triumph, and be was prepared, when
opportunity should present, to prostrate his late successful opponent.
Such was the state of parties, and such the feelings of leading and
distinguished partisans, when Colonel Burr entered upon the
vice-presidency, on the fourth of March, 1801. He was hemmed in on
every side by political adversaries, ready for the onset so soon as it
should be deemed expedient to make it. Every movement, every
expression at the convivial board or in the social circle, and every
action, was carefully watched and noted for future use, if, by the
exercise of ingenuity and misrepresentation, such expression or action
could be so tortured as to operate injuriously to him. These several
sections, each acting within its own sphere, impelled by conflicting
motives, were untiring in their efforts to accomplish the great
object--the ruin of the vice-president. They combined wealth, talents,
and government patronage.

The following short extracts from letters, written as early as 1794
and 1795, will show what were the wishes of Mr. Jefferson (so far as
any reliance can be placed on professions) in relation to Mr. Madison.


"Monticello, December 28, 1794.


"I do not see in the minds of those with whom I converse a greater
affliction than the fear of your retirement; [1] but this must not be,
_unless to a more splendid and more efficacious post_. [2]

There I should rejoice to see you; I hope I may say, I shall rejoice
to see you. I have long had much in my mind to say to you on that
subject; but double delicacies have kept me silent. I ought, perhaps,
to say, _while I would not give up my own retirement for the empire of
the universe_, how I can justify wishing one, whose happiness I have
so much at heart as yours, to take the front of the battle which is
fighting for my security."


"Monticello, April 27, 1795.


"In mine, to which yours of March the twenty-third was an answer, I
expressed my hope of the only change of position I ever wished to see
you make, and I expressed it with entire sincerity, because there is
not another person in the United States who, being placed at the helm
of our affairs, my mind would be so completely at rest for the fortune
of our political bark. The wish, too, was pure, and unmixed with any
thing respecting myself personally. * * * * * *

"If these general considerations were sufficient to ground a firm
resolution never to permit myself to think of the office (president),
or be thought of for it, the special ones which have supervened on my
retirement still more insuperably bar the door to it. My health is
entirely broken down within the last eight months; _my age requires
that I should place my affairs_ in a clear state; these are sound, if
taken care of, but capable of considerable dangers if longer
neglected; and, above all things, the delights I feel in the society
of my family, and in the agricultural pursuits in which I am so
eagerly engaged. _The little spice of ambition which I had in my
younger days has long since evaporated, and I set still less store by
a posthumous than present name_."

It is a remarkable fact, that, previous to the balloting in Congress,
all parties and sections of parties concurred in the opinion that the
election would finally be determined, as it was, by New-York,
New-Jersey, and Maryland. These _three_ states would render the
election of Colonel Burr certain; _two_ of them could elect Mr.
Jefferson. The vote, of New-York was to be decided by _Theodorus
Bailey_, of Dutchess county, and _Edward Livingston_, of the city of
New-York; the vote of New-Jersey by Mr. _Linn_, and the vote of
Maryland by Mr. _Dent_ or Mr. _Baer_.

In the Commercial Advertiser of the thirteenth of February, 1801, a
paper opposed to the election of Colonel Burr, there is published an
extract of a letter from a member of Congress, dated Washington,
February 10, which states that, upon the second ballot, it is expected
that New-York, New-Jersey, and Maryland will vote for Mr. Burr.

On the sixth of February, 1801, a leading and influential republican
member of Congress writes to his correspondent a letter, from which
the following is extracted:--

"I have not time to answer your letter as fully as I could wish, as it
would have been my desire to communicate to you not only facts, _but
some of the reasons which have induced us to adopt the steps we have
heretofore taken_. But, at all events, it is important that you should
have an immediate knowledge of the present situation of affairs.

"It is reduced to moral certainty, so far as any reliance can be
placed on the solemn determinations of men, that either Mr. Jefferson
will be chosen, or that there will be no choice made. The republican
majorities of eight states (including _Linn_ [3] of New-Jersey, and
the New-York representation, [4] the republican half of Maryland,
including Mr. Dent, [5] and Lyon of Vermont, are _pledged_ to
persevere in voting for Mr. Jefferson to the end, be the consequence
what it will."

Colonel Burr, soon after his election, gave his enemies an opportunity
to cavil. It would be impossible to enter into all the details
connected with this subject; but the principal charges which were made
against the vice-president, and assigned as reasons for opposing his
renomination, will be briefly presented. The replies to or
explanations of them, by the parties implicated, will also be given.

Late in November, 1801, when Mr. Burr was on his way to Washington to
take his seat in Senate as vice-president, he was addressed by certain
citizens of Baltimore, on which occasion he remarked, "Time will not
allow me to return you a written answer, but I must be permitted to
state my disapprobation of the mode of expressing public sentiment by
addresses." This gave offence to some, and, by the artful and
designing, was misrepresented. Mr. Burr, during the years 1798 and
1799, had beheld, with mortification and disgust, the adulatory, if
not sycophantic addresses presented to President Adams. This reproof,
therefore, of his friends, evinced his natural independence of
character as well as the purest republican notions.

In the month of January, 1802, a bill to repeal what was termed by the
republicans the federal midnight judiciary act, was pending before the
Senate. On the 27th of January, a motion was made to refer the bill to
a committee for the purpose of amendment. On this motion the votes
were, _ayes_, 14; _noes_, 14. The vice-president, Colonel Burr, was in
the chair. He said--"I am for the affirmative, because I never can
resist the reference of a measure where the Senate is so nicely
balanced, and when the object is to effect amendment that may
accommodate it to the opinions of a large majority, and particularly
when I can believe that gentlemen are sincere in wishing a reference
for this purpose. Should it, however, at any time appear that delay
only is intended, my conduct will be different."

This decision afforded the enemies of Colonel Burr an opportunity to
break ground more openly against him. He was now charged with aiding
the federal party in their efforts to embarrass the administration,
and with the design of defeating the wishes of the American people. As
yet, the charge of intriguing and negotiating with the federalists to
obtain the presidency in opposition to Mr. Jefferson had not been
made. The allies had not yet sufficiently poisoned the public mind
against the vice-president, nor had they subsidized the requisite
number of presses for carrying on the work of destruction. While the
grand assault was meditating, and these _feints_ were carrying on
against the vice-president, he was constantly receiving approbatory
letters from intelligent and well-informed citizens, many of whom
cowered beneath the storm when, in the height of its fury, it burst
upon the victim. From among a number the following are selected:--


Philadelphia, 3d February, 1802.[6]


On the judiciary question, I wrote my sentiments to Mr. Wilson
Nicholas early in the session. I am sorry our friends have taken so
peremptory a position, as the very circumstance of having taken it
will render it difficult to move them. I cannot concur with them in
the policy or expediency of the measure. The business of the court
will not allow me to give my reasons in detail, but you shall have my

1. There never was a case in which a party could be more justified in
expressing their resentment, on account of the manner of passing the
act; the manner of organizing the courts; the nature of the opposition
to the repeal, denying its constitutionality, and menacing a civil

2. The repeal would be constitutional, from a review of the
principles, and terms of the constitution itself; of the peculiar
situation of the country ; its growing population ; its extending
prospects; its increasing wants, pursuits, and refinements, &c.; of
the analogy to the Judiciary Institution of England, where independent
of the legislature is not within the policy or provision of the
statutes relative to the commissions of the judges; of the analogy to
the Judiciary Institutions of the sister states, which have all been
subject to legislative interference occasionally. In Pennsylvania
particularly, the constitution declares that the judges shall hold
their commissions during good behaviour; yet it expressly authorizes
the legislature to abolish the Court of Common Pleas, &c.; and of the
precedents in the existing act of Congress, which is an exercise of
the power _sub modo_.

3. But notwithstanding the indignation I feel, in common with our
friends, at the manner of passing the Circuit Court act; and
notwithstanding my perfect conviction that Congress has the power of
repealing the act, I think the repeal would be impolitic and
inexpedient. If it would be impolitic acting on party principles, it
would be inexpedient of course; but I mean, also, that it would be
inexpedient on account of the use that Pennsylvania (and I presume the
same as to other states) has derived from the institution:

1st. _It is impolitic_.

The republicans are not agreed on the constitutionality of the repeal.
The people at large have imbibed strong prejudices on the subject of
judicial independence. The repeal would be ascribed to party
animosity; and if future amendments should be made, it would be
considered as a personal proceeding, merely to remove the present
judges: the hazard of loss in public opinion is greater than the hope
of gain. There is a mass of the community that will not be fermented
by the leaven of party passions. By persons of this description, the
motive and effect will be strictly analyzed and purified. The mere
resuscitation of the old system will either expose the administration
of justice to inconceivable embarrassments, or demonstrate the motive
to be abstractedly a party one, by calling for an immediate reform.
The clamour of the federalists will at least have a reasonable

2. _It is inexpedient_.

The mere repeal will reinstate a system which every man of common
sense and candour must deprecate. It will entirely destroy
institutions susceptible of being modelled into a form economical as
well as useful. It will deprive some states of tribunals which have
been found highly advantageous, to the despatch of business. I allude
particularly to Pennsylvania. In this state justice, as far as
respects our state courts, is in a state of dissolution, from the
excess of business and the parsimony of the legislature.

With this view of the subject you will perceive that I think--_First_,
There ought not to be a total repeal. _Second_, There ought to be

If, however, a repeal should take place, I am clearly of opinion that
it would be unjustifiable to make any provision for the ex-judges. On
this point and on the introduction of amendments I will, if you desire
it, amplify by a future post.

The zealous republicans are exciting some intemperance here, in
opposition to a memorial from our bar, which, you will perceive, is
confined to the operation of the law in this state as a matter of
fact, and not to any controversy of a constitutional or political

I shall be anxious to hear from you as often as you can spare a
moment, and particularly while the judiciary bill is pending.

Yours, with great regard,



February 17, 1802.


Permit me to thank you most sincerely for the vote you gave in favour
of Mr. Dayton's motion to refer the judiciary bill to a select
committee; not because I am by any means satisfied it is not best that
bill should pass, but because I earnestly desire that republicanism
should on every occasion display the spirit of conciliation, as far as
can be done without the destruction of principle. I am every day more
and more satisfied that the cause is more endangered by the want of
such displays than by every thing besides. The fate of parties in and
about Congress will ultimately be determined by the great body of the
well informed in the middle walks of life. It is happy, in some
respects, that these are generally so far from the scene of action as
to be tolerably free from the blinding influence of those passions
which the scene itself is calculated to excite. They wish for every
thing that tends to convince the great public that republicanism,
instead of being hostile, is friendly to moderation and harmony. Shall
we not do well to mark with great care and precision the sunken rocks
and shoals on which self-denominated federalism has dashed itself to
pieces? Among these I would enumerate their too eager and violent
pursuit of their object. Had they been patient and accommodating, the
eyes of the public would have been still hoodwinked, until habit,
gradually acquired, would have rendered an expensive monarchy the most
agreeable government. But, thank Heaven, they, by overacting, exposed
their own feelings and designs. Will not the same pertinacity and
precipitation endanger the better--the opposite cause? It is a
prevalent idea among us middling people, that a good government must
be a moderate one; and we are exceedingly apt to judge of the spirit
of the government from the spirit of our rulers. Every thing
non-conciliating bears in its very front strong symptoms of a
tyrannical spirit.

I am, sir, the more gratified by your moderation because (though I am
ashamed to avow it) I have heard you was too impetuous. Pardon my
mistake; and suffer me to entreat you to encourage a steady pursuit of
republican measures in that way which will convince the bystanders
that the actors are uniformly and irresistibly urged to pursue them by
cool conviction, resulting from a candid, extensive, and philanthropic
survey of the great object. Passion and caprice very illy become so
awfully sublime an object as that for which well-informed republicans

With sentiments of respect, your obedient servant,



Philadelphia, 3d April, 1802.


The judiciary storm has passed away for the present. I perceive,
however, that an effort is making to improve the old system without
increasing the number of judges; and we are once more unanimous at the
bar of Philadelphia in rejoicing that Paterson, and not Chase,
presides in our circuit. I had begun an outline of courts and
jurisdictions agreeably to your wish; but I lost the hope of its being
adopted when finished, so I abandoned the labour. Perhaps it may be
worth while to renew the scheme, with a view to a future session.

There are some rumours of jealousy and dissatisfaction prevailing
among the republican leaders, in the executive as well as the
legislative departments of the federal as well as of our state
government. It will be disgraceful, indeed, if the rumours axe true.
Very sincerely yours,


Such were the sentiments and views of many of the most pure and
intelligent of the republican party in relation to a repeal of the
judiciary act of 1800. The preceding letters express the opinions
entertained by thousands who were opposed to federal men and federal
measures, but who wanted time for reflection; and yet, when Colonel
Burr voted to recommit the repealing bill for the purpose of
ascertaining whether it could not be rendered more satisfactory, the
conspirators cried aloud, _Crucify him--crucify him_.

The plot now began to thicken. During the year 1801, a Scotchman by
the name of Wood was employed to write "_A History of John Adams's
Administration_." Ward & Barlas, booksellers in New-York, were the
proprietors of the copyright, and printed 1250 copies. William Duane,
editor of the Aurora, furnished the author a portion of his materials,
and became the agent to negotiate with a London bookseller for the
publication of an edition in England. In the summer or autumn of 1801
Colonel Burr was informed of the progress of the work, and procured a
copy before it was ready for publication. On examining it, he came to
the conclusion that it was calculated to do the republican party more
injury than good. It abounded with misrepresentations, errors, and
libels. Mr. Burr, through a friend, agreed to pay a stipulated sum for
the suppression of the work, under the most solemn assurance that no
copy or copies would be permitted to go into the hands of any third
person, but that the whole edition should be delivered to the agent
who was to pay the money. Before the time of payment arrived, it was
ascertained that a copy or copies had been parted with, and would not
be returned. The contract was, therefore, never carried into effect.
Pending this negotiation, Mr. Duane, through Wood or Ward & Barlas,
was made acquainted with the arrangements which were in progress.
Cheetham, the editor of the American Citizen, was also informed of
what was doing. This was considered a most favourable opportunity for
assailing the vice-president, and charging him with the design of
suppressing the History of John Adams's Administration for the purpose
of keeping the people in ignorance of the wrong doings of the federal
party. Although the assailants had a full view of the whole ground,
yet the attack was commenced by innuendoes, indicating ignorance of
the true state of facts. The charge operated most injuriously upon the
republican character of Colonel Burr. The injury was irreparable, and
the attacks continued with unexampled malignity.

This brief statement, it is hoped, will be found sufficiently explicit
to be intelligible. And now for the conduct of Mr. Duane on the
occasion. His object, and the object of his employers, was
accomplished; but whether a short development of the whole case will
or will not add to his fame, the reader must determine.

On or about the 27th of February, 1802, the editor of the Aurora, in
his paper, states that a curious fact has lately been brought to light
in New-York; that Wood had completed his engagement with Ward & Barlas
to furnish a history of John Adams's Administration, and that 1250
copies were printed, but suppressed at the desire of some person. Mr.
Duane then animadverts with harshness, and expresses a wish to get a
clew to the names of the person or persons who suppressed the work.

On the 31st of May, 1802, the Aurora states that the American Citizen
and the Evening Post have commenced a warfare, of which Mr. Burr is
the object; that the principal matter of charge is the suppression of
Wood's History of John Adams's Administration; and then adds--"We are
fully possessed of one side of the subject, and have perused the
suppressed book attentively."

On the 12th of July, 1802, the Aurora says--"So far as it relates to
Mr. Burr, my opinions have been uniform and reiterated to his
particular friends, that if the motives for the suppression of the
book were not _satisfactorily explained to the public_, his standing
with the republican interest was gone."

During the period between February and July, 1802, the Aurora
reprinted the slanders of Cheetham against Mr. Burr in relation to the
suppressed book, and continued, from time to time, his own attacks
upon the vice-president. While thus _publicly_ giving currency to
these calumnies, would it be believed (if asserted) that Mr. Duane was
_privately_ writing Colonel Burr, and approving of his conduct in
suppressing the work? One of his letters on this subject is deemed
sufficient to a right understanding of the case. It will now be given
without comment. * * * * *


Thursday, April 15, 1802.


I think it fortunate that the pamphlet of Mr. Wood has not yet been
published, and that it would be much more so if it were not ever to
see the light. It has disappointed my expectations of finding in it at
least some useful reflections and reasonings, however little novelty
there might be in the facts. But, even in the narration of facts, I
find numerous errors, and not a few misrepresentations of things
notorious to every man who has attended with understanding to the
course of public affairs. There is in it a _something_, too, of a
character very different from what was represented to me; the adoption
of the story of Hamilton [7] and Lafayette, if it is not the effect of
an indifference to accuracy, or a coldness in pursuit of truth, is
something much worse, and at least is suspicious: there is more of the
same kind of matter, and less attention to the influence and views of
such characters, than the subject required. I consider it, upon the
whole, as a hasty, crude, and inconsistent production, calculated
rather to produce evil than the least good--as it would be attributed
to the republicans, with all its faults and inconsistencies, and a
credit assumed from it as a party confession of merit, in a particular
character, which is not founded, at least in the way stated in the
pamphlet. Were some parts of it omitted, and false statements
rectified, it might not do any harm; and perhaps it might be found
advisable to adopt some plan of that kind, making a careful _record of
the omissions_ to insert any future _misrepresentations_, and a like
record of such _additions_ or _alterations_. This might be very easily
done by printing the pages anew which contain the exceptionable parts,
and, if necessary, substituting reflections or anecdotes, founded in
fact, in their places. This might be done at a small expense. The
thing, thus corrected, published; and, if any effort should be made to
misrepresent, credit would be derived even by the defence, and the
exposure of the motives for suppressing the misstatements.

This I have thought proper to write you, and I hope will, in its
object and motives, find with you an excuse for doing so.

I am, with respect, your obedient servant,



1. Mr. Madison was then a member of Congress.

2. President of the United States.

3. Appointed by Mr. Jefferson supervisor of internal revenue for the
state of New-Jersey.

4. Edward Livingston and Theodorus Bailey; the former appointed United
States district attorney for the district of New-York; the latter
subsequently appointed postmaster of the city of New-York, and removed
from the country, a distance of nearly one hundred miles, to take
charge of the office. Cheetham, editor of the _American Citizen,_ some
time after Mr. Livingston's appointment, in referring to him,
says--"Should Mr. Burr's _confidential friend ever become dangerous,
we will show what he has been and what he is_."

5. Appointed United States marshal for the Potomac district of

6. This letter is dated _seven_ days after Mr. Burr's casting vote in
the Senate.

7. The story here referred to is thus related by Wood in his history:
"In the year 1780, he (Hamilton) was promoted to the rank of colonel,
and at the siege of Yorktown commanded the attack on one of the
redoubts, the capture of which decided the fate of Lord Cornwallis and
his army. The conduct of Mr. Hamilton on this occasion was truly
honourable, and, in the history of his life, ought to weigh against
several of those scars that have since stained his character. Previous
to the attack, the Marquis de Lafayette proposed to General Washington
to put to death all the British troops that should be found in the
redoubts, as a retaliation for several acts of barbarity committed by
the royal army. The steady and nervous mind of Washington, which was
ever known to yield to the virtuous prejudice of compassion, gave his
assent to the bloody order. But Mr. Hamilton (the tenderness of whose
feelings has led him into error), after the redoubts were subdued,
took the conquered under his protection, and proved to his enemies
that Americans know how to fight, but not to murder." [General
Hamilton, in a letter referring to this same story, says--"Positively
and unequivocally, I declare that no such or similar order, or any
intimation or hint resembling it, was ever by me received or
understood to have been given."


Colonel Burr's silence under these reiterated attacks, with such means
of defence as his enemies knew that he possessed, encouraged and
imboldened them to make other and more daring assaults. He was now
charged, in general terms, with intriguing for the presidency, in
opposition to Mr. Jefferson; with endeavouring to obtain federal
electoral votes, and thus to defeat Mr. Jefferson and promote his own
elevation; with having entered into terms and conditions with federal
members of Congress in the winter of 1800; and with having committed
himself to, that party, in the event of success through their
instrumentality. These slanders were countenanced and circulated in
whispers by men high in authority, until the political integrity of
Colonel Burr was so far ruined as to render any defence, on his part
or on the part of his friends, useless and unavailing. The hireling
press now boldly entered upon specific charges; naming the parties
with whom Colonel Burr or his friends had negotiated, and the agents
whom the vice-president had employed to effect his purposes. These
details were given in a manner so circumstantial, as, by their
audacity, seemingly to command confidence. The slanders were
circulated with industry and rapidity, while the contradictions rarely
met the public eye, except through the medium of a federal press,
which publication, with the already prejudiced republican, was
construed as evidence of the truth of the charge. The principal
instances of specific cases will now be presented as briefly as

The presidential electors of the state of New-Jersey were federal. Dr.
Samuel S. Smith, president of Princeton College, was an elector. The
Hon. Jno. B. Prevost, son of Mrs. Burr by her first husband, was
married to the daughter of Dr. Smith. This circumstance rendered
plausible a story invented and propagated by the calumniators of
Colonel Burr. They boldly charged that "_Dr. Smith, of New-Jersey, was
secretly to have voted for Mr. Burr, and thus made him President of
the United States_." To this charge Dr. Smith replied as follows :--


Princeton, July 29, 1802.


In your paper of Monday, July 26, under the article entitled _A View
of the Political Conduct of Aaron Burr, Esq_., by the author of the
_Narrative_, I observe some very gross misrepresentations, which I
conceive it to be a duty that I owe to Mr. Burr, the New-Jersey
electors, and myself, to declare to be absolutely false. Mr. Burr
never visited me on the subject of the late election for president and
vice-president--Mr. Burr never conversed with me a single second on
the subject of that election, either before or since the event. No
project or plan of the kind mentioned in that paper was proposed or
hinted at among the electors of New-Jersey. I am assured that Mr. Burr
held no intrigue with them on that occasion, either collectively or
individually. They were men above intrigue; and I do not know that he
was disposed to use it. At their meeting, they unanimously declared
that a fair and manly vote, according to their sentiments, was the
only conduct which was worthy of their own characters or of their


It was next charged that Colonel Burr had sent, at his own expense,
special agents to different states, previous to the choice of
electors, with the view of influencing their selection, and to promote
his own elevation to the exclusion of Mr. Jefferson. The agents named
were Mr. Abraham Bishop, of New-Haven, and Mr. Timothy Green, of
New-York. It was asserted that Mr. Bishop was Mr. Burr's agent at
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, during the session of the legislature that
appointed the presidential electors.

In August, 1802, Mr. Bishop published a full and explicit refutation
of the charge. He denied that Mr. Burr sent him to Lancaster, or that
he went there for any purposes personally or politically regarding
that gentleman. The publication of Mr. Bishop is not readily to be
found; but he is still living, and subsequently was appointed by Mr.
Jefferson collector of the port of New-Haven.

In relation to Mr. Green, it was alleged that he was sent to Columbia,
South Carolina, for similar purposes, and that he "_corresponded with
the vice-president on the subject of the then approaching election,
under cover to John Swartwout_." The replies of Mr. Green and Mr.
Swartwout were as follows:--

"New-York, October 11, 1802,


"In the _American Citizen_ of this day you have made a publication, to
which you have affixed your names. In this you have stated, 1st, That
Timothy Green, of this city, was despatched as an agent to Columbia,
the seat of government of the state of South Carolina, by the
vice-president. 2dly, That he was the eulogist and intercessor for the
vice-president. 3dly, That he sent the vice-president despatches
regularly, addressed to Mr. John Swartwout, of this city, under cover.

"Now, as you have been most egregiously imposed upon by some
disorganizing person, it is your duty and mine that the public be
immediately furnished with both what were and what were not my
inducements and motives in making a journey in November, 1800, to
Columbia, and of my conduct while there. For this purpose you will
please to insert in your paper of to-morrow the following corrections
to your statement:--

"1st, I aver that I never went on any message of a political nature to
Columbia, in South Carolina, or to any other place for the
vice-president or any other person; neither was I ever requested or
desired by the vice- president or by any other person to go to
Columbia, in South Carolina, or any other place, on any political or
electioneering mission, of any name or nature whatsoever. On the
contrary, my journey to Columbia, in South Carolina, in the year of
our Lord 1800, and my engagements until my return in 1801, was wholly
unsolicited by any person (except my debtors in South Carolina), and
were solely of a commercial nature, and for which I had been preparing
eight months before.

"2dly, That I never wrote a letter to the vice-president of a
political nature; neither did I write him any information relative to
the presidential election in South Carolina, neither did I ever
enclose a letter, directed to the vice-president, in a letter or cover
directed to Mr. John Swartwout.

"3dly, That my letters to Mr. Swartwout while in South Carolina were
unsolicited, and written solely with the motive to relieve the minds
of my friends from the anxiety necessarily attendant on a state of
suspense, while an important event is hourly expected to take place.

"4thly, That I never was in the habit of eulogizing public men,
neither did I vary from my usual manners while in South Carolina. I
had no occasion to intercede for the election of Colonel Burr: all the
fear I had while there was lest a compromise should take place, as the
political parties were nearly balanced in the state legislature. This
I did, as far as in my power, conscientiously endeavour to prevent;
knowing that, if union and good faith were not inviolably preserved
among the constitutional republicans, our past, present, and future
exertions would be unavailing.



"New-York, October 13, 1802.


"In your seventh letter addressed to Aaron Burr, Esq., Vice-president
of the United States, published in the American Citizen of the 11th
instant, I notice the following paragraph, viz.:--

"Meantime, Sir, you had your eye on South Carolina; you despatched an
agent, Mr. Timothy Green, of this city, to Columbia, the seat of
government of that state. It was questionable whether South Carolina
would give you a single vote. At that period you were scarcely known
in the state. Mr. Green was at Columbia at least two months. He, was
your eulogist; your intercessor; he sent you despatches regularly;
they were addressed to Mr. John Swartwout, of this city, under cover,
and by him communicated to you.

"You will please to inform the public, through the medium of your
paper, that the above paragraph, so far as relates to my receiving
letters under cover, or communications from Timothy Green for Aaron
Burr, is utterly destitute of truth.


In a pamphlet entitled "A View of Aaron Burr's Political Conduct," it
was charged that "Mr. Burr, while in the city of New-York, carried on
a negotiation with the heads of the federal party at Washington with a
view to his election as President of the United States. A person was
authorized by them to confer with him on the subject, who accordingly
did so. Mr. Burr assented to the propositions of the negotiator, and
referred him to his confidential friend to complete the negotiation.
Mr. Burr stated that, after the first vote taken in the House of
Representatives, New-York and Tennessee would give in to the

To this Colonel Burr replied, in a letter to _Governor Bloomfield_, of
New-Jersey, under date September 21, 1802:--

"You are at liberty to declare from me that all those charges and
insinuations which aver or intimate that I advised or countenanced the
opposition made to Mr. Jefferson pending the late election and
balloting for president; that I proposed or agreed to any terms with
the federal party; that I assented to be held up in opposition to him,
or attempted to withdraw from him the vote or support of any man,
whether in or out of Congress; THAT ALL SUCH ASSERTIONS AND

In the pamphlet already referred to, and various newspaper
publications, it was alleged that General Hamilton had personal
knowledge of Colonel Burr's negotiations with the federalists. On the
13th of October, 1802, the editor of the New-York Evening Post
(William Coleman) states that he is authorized to say that General
Hamilton, at a dinner at Edward Livingston's, declared that he had no
personal knowledge of any negotiation in reference to the presidency
between Colonel Burr and any person whatever.

It will be recollected that Colonel Burr, in his letter to Governor
Bloomfield, denied the charge of "having proposed or agreed to any
terms with the federal party." The person named as being the agent of
the federalists, with authority to confer with Colonel Burr, was David
A. Ogden, Esq., of the city of New-York, who was intimately connected
with General Hamilton in professional business. Dr. Peter Irving was
at that time the proprietor and editor of a highly respectable daily
journal (Morning Chronicle) published in the city of New-York. The
facts in relation to this charge are developed in the following


"New-York, November 24, 1802.


"Though I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, I
flatter myself that the contents of this letter will preclude the
necessity of an apology for addressing you.

"It has been asserted in various publications that Mr. Burr, during
the late election for president and vice-president, entered into
negotiations and agreed to terms with the federal party, or with
certain individuals of that party, with a view to advance himself to
the office of president to the exclusion of Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Burr,
in a letter to Governor Bloomfield, dated the 21st of September last,
declared that all such allegations were false and groundless; and the
charges have been renewed in more recent publications, which point to
you by name as the person through whom such negotiations were carried
on and terms concluded. It has now become interesting to a great
portion of the community to be informed how far these assertions and
charges have been authorized by you, or are warranted by your
knowledge of facts.

"Having received frequent anonymous communications for the Morning
Chronicle relative to these matters, and being unwilling to occupy the
paper with vague and unsubstantial conjectures or remarks on a subject
of such importance, I am induced to apply directly to yourself as an
authentic source of information. I do this with the more confidence,
from a persuasion that you can have no wish to suffer false reports to
circulate under the authority of your name for mere party purposes;
and that, in the actual posture of things, you cannot be averse to
declare publicly and explicitly your agency, if any, in the business.
I take the liberty, therefore, of requesting your written declaration
to the points above stated, together with any circumstances you may be
pleased to communicate tending to establish the truth or falsehood of
the charges in question.

"I have the honour to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



New-York, November 24, 1802.


"Though I did not conceive it to be incumbent upon me, or in itself
proper to notice a publication in a newspaper in which my name was
used without my permission or knowledge, yet I have no objection to
reply to an inquiry which comes in the shape of that contained in your
letter, and from a person of your standing in society.

"I declare that my journey to the city of Washington, in the year
1800, was purely on private business, and without any understanding or
concert whatever with Colonel Burr, whom I met at the stage-office on
his way to Trenton, not having had before the least intimation of such
a meeting; and that I was not then or at any time charged by him with
any commission or errand of a political nature. In the course of our
journey, no political conversation took place but of a general nature
and in the presence of the passengers.

"When about to return from the city of Washington, two or three
members of Congress, of the federal party, spoke to me about their
views as to the election of president, desiring me to converse with
Colonel Burr on the subject, and to ascertain whether he would enter
into terms. On my return to New-York I called on Colonel Burr, and
communicated the above to him. He explicitly declined the explanation,
and did neither propose nor agree to any terms. I had no other
interview or communication with him on the subject; and so little was
I satisfied with this, that in a letter which I soon afterward wrote
to a member of Congress, and which was the only one I wrote, I
dissuaded from giving support to Colonel Burr, and advised rather to
acquiesce in the election of Mr. Jefferson, as the less dangerous man
of the two to that cause with which I believed the public interest to
be inseparably connected.

"There are no facts within my knowledge tending to establish the truth
of the charges specified in your letter.

"With due respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,



It was then boldly asserted that Edward Livingston was "the
confidential friend" to whom Mr. Ogden was referred "to complete the
negotiation;" whereupon Mr. Burr made a call upon Mr. Livingston, to
which the following reply was given:--


"In consequence of certain insinuations lately circulated, I think it
proper to declare that you did not, in any verbal or written
communication to me, during the late presidential election, express
any sentiment inconsistent with those contained in your letter to
General Smith, [1] which was published, or evincing any desire that
the vote of the state should be transferred from Mr. Jefferson to

"I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


"The Vice-president of the United States."

In the hope of giving some support to these, calumnies, Mr. William S.
Pennington, of New-Jersey, addressed a letter to the editors of the
American Citizen, in which he asserted that General John Swartwout had
written to Robert Williams, of Poughkeepsie, pending the election,
recommending or countenancing the support of Mr. Burr for president to
the exclusion of Mr. Jefferson. To this General Swartwout replied:--


"The false colouring given by the relation of one William S.
Pennington, in a letter to Denniston & Cheetham, which appeared in the
American Citizen of the 22d inst., and their subsequent malicious
remarks, oblige me once more to ask pardon for obtruding myself on the
public attention.

"I declare, on my honour, that I did not at any time advise the
election of Mr. Burr as president of the United States to the
exclusion of Mr. Jefferson; nor did I ever write to any person or
persons to that effect; and I hereby authorize Mr. Robert Williams to
publish any letter or letters he may have received from me on the
subject of the late presidential election. I am induced to contradict
the base slanders of those exclusive patriots by a regard to truth
only, and not from a conviction that it would have been either
dishonourable to me, or disadvantageous to the country or the
republican party, to have promoted the election of Mr. Burr to the
presidential chair.


"New-York, January 23."

The principal specifications, intended as explanatory of the general
charge against Colonel Burr of intriguing for the presidency, have now
been given. The replies of the parties implicated accompany them. A
whole generation has passed away since these scenes occurred, and yet
the time has not arrived when they can be calmly reviewed with
impartiality and free from prejudice. They may serve, however, as
beacon-lights for those who are now figuring or may hereafter figure
on the great political theatre of our country. Through life, Colonel
Burr committed an error, if he did not display a weakness, in
permitting his reputation to be assailed, without contradiction, in
cases where it was perfectly defensible. His enemies took advantage of
the sullen silence which he was known to preserve in regard to
newspaper attacks. Under these attacks he fell from the proud eminence
he once enjoyed to a condition more mortifying and more prostrate than
any distinguished man has ever experienced in the United States.

Different individuals, to gratify different feelings, have ascribed
this unprecedented fall to different causes. But one who is not
altogether ignorant of the springs of human actions; whose
partialities and prejudices are mellowed by more than threescore years
of experience; who has carefully and laboriously, in this case,
examined cause and effect, hesitates not in declaring that, from the
moment Aaron Burr was elected vice-president, his doom was unalterably
decided, if that decision could be accomplished by a combination of
wealth, of talent, of government patronage, of favouritism and
proscription, inflamed by the worst passions, and nurtured by the hope
of gratifying a sordid ambition. The contest in Congress fixed his
fate. Subsequent events were only consequences resulting from
antecedent acts.

In the progress of this work no desire has been evinced, none is felt
to screen Colonel Burr from censure where it is merited. But the man
who can read, unmoved, the evidence which has already been presented
of the injustice done him in the charge of having intrigued and
negotiated with the federal party for the presidency, must possess
more of philosophic than of generous or magnanimous feelings. It would
seem that the task of recording the presidential contest in Congress,
in the spring of 1801, was now brought to a close. But not so. There
yet remains another and imposing view to be presented. Whatever may
have been the wishes of Colonel Burr, it is certain that they were so
far under his own control as to prevent him from entering into any
negotiation, bargain, or intrigue to obtain the presidency. There is
not the slightest evidence of any such attempt on his part, while
there is strong, if not conclusive proof to the contrary. Can as much
be said in favor of his great competitor on that occasion? This is the
view that remains to be taken. But, before presenting the testimony in
the case, some explanation is necessary as to the manner in which it
was first obtained and subsequently made public.

In the year 1804, a suit was instituted by Colonel Burr against James
Cheetham, editor of the American Citizen, for a libel, in charging him
with intriguing for the presidency. This suit was commenced by Mr.
Burr with reluctance, and only to gratify personal friends. It
progressed tardily, impediments having been thrown in the way of
bringing it to trial by the defendant, and probably the cause not
sufficiently pressed by the complainant. In 1805 or 1806, some persons
who were really desirous of ascertaining not only the truth or falsity
of the charge, but whether there was any foundation for it, determined
on having a _wager-suit_ placed at issue on the records of the court,
and then take out a commission to examine witnesses. Accordingly, the
names of _James Gillespie_, plaintiff, and _Abraham Smith_, defendant,
were used. The latter at the time being a clerk in the store of
Matthew L. Davis, then in the mercantile business, trading under the
firm of Strong & Davis.

It was universally believed, that if there were two men in Congress
that could unfold the whole negotiation if any had taken place, those
two men were James A. Bayard, of Delaware, and Samuel Smith, of
Baltimore. The former, a federal gentleman of high standing, the sole
representative of a state in the Congress of 1800, and thus
possessing, at any moment, the power of deciding the contest in favour
of Mr. Jefferson. The latter, a political and personal friend of Mr.
Jefferson, and the very individual whom Colonel Burr had previously
selected as his proxy to declare his sentiments, in case there was a
tie between Mr. Jefferson and himself. A commission was accordingly
taken out, and, on the 3d of April, 1806, Mr. Bayard and Mr. Smith
were examined. No use, however, was made of these depositions until
December, 1830, being a period of nearly twenty-five years.

On the publication of Mr. Jefferson's writings, the sons of the late
James A. Bayard felt that the memory of their father had been
wrongfully and unjustly assailed in two paragraphs in the fourth
volume of this work. The first of these paragraphs, on the 28th of
January, 1830, was read in the United States Senate by the Hon. Mr.
Clayton, of Delaware, General Samuel Smith and Edward Livingston both
being members of the Senate and present. He read the following:

"_February 12, 1801_. Edward Livingston tells me that Bayard applied
to-day or last night to General Samuel Smith, and represented to him
the expediency of coming over to the states who vote for Burr; that
there was nothing in the way of appointment which he might not
command, and particularly mentioned the secretaryship of the navy.
Smith asked him if he was authorized to make the offer. He said he was
authorized. Smith told this to Livingston and W. C. Nicholas, who
confirms it to me," &c.

Mr. Clayton then called upon the senator from Maryland (Mr. Smith) and
the senator from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston) to disprove the statement
here made by Mr. Jefferson.

Mr. Smith, of Maryland, rose and said "that he had read the paragraph
before he came here to-day, and was, therefore, aware of its import.
He had not the most distant recollection that Mr. Bayard had ever made
such a proposition to him. Mr. Bayard, said he, and myself, though
politically opposed, were intimate personal friends, and he was an
honourable man. Of all men, Mr. Bayard would have been the last to
make such a proposition to any man; and I am confident that he had too
much respect for me to have made it under any circumstances. I never
received from any man any such proposition."

Mr. Livingston, of Louisiana, said, "that as to the precise question
which had been put to him by the senator from Delaware, he must say,
that having taxed his recollection as far as it could go on so remote
a transaction, he had no remembrance of it."

The sons of the late Mr. Bayard, not yet being satisfied as to the
other paragraph, resolved on an investigation of the subject, and with
this view one of them wrote the following letter. [2]


Wilmington, March 8, 1830.


In the fourth volume of Mr. Jefferson's Writings, lately published by
his grandson, page 521, under the head of a note made April 15, 1806,
occurs the following paragraph, after the detail of a conversation
held with you about a month previously:--

"I did not commit these things to writing at the time, but I do now,
because, in a suit between him and Cheetham, he has had a deposition
of Mr. Bayard taken which seems to have no relation to the suit, nor
to any other object than to calumniate me. Bayard pretends to have
addressed to me, during the pending of the presidential election in
February, 1801, through General Samuel Smith, certain conditions on
which my election might be obtained; and that General Smith, after
conversing with me, gave answers from me. This is absolutely false. No
proposition of any kind was ever made to me on that occasion by
General Smith, or any answer authorized by me. And this fact General
Smith affirms at this moment."

Mr. Jefferson supposes this deposition to have been made in your suit
against Cheetham. I have some reason to think he is mistaken as to the
precise case in which it was made. However this may be, I am anxious
to procure a copy of it, as returned with the commission under which
it was taken.

If I may not be considered as trespassing too far on your time and
attention, will you permit me to ask whether the deposition referred
to by Mr. Jefferson is still in existence? In what case it was taken?
And whether a copy of it can be procured?

I have the honour to be, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,



New-York, March 10, 1830.


I have this day received your letter of the 8th inst., containing an
extract from the fourth volume of the writings of Mr. Jefferson. I
have not seen that book, and, on inquiry, do not learn that there is a
copy in this city.

The suit referred to is not that of Cheetham, but one instituted,
without my agency or knowledge, _on a wager_. The title not now
recollected. A commission to take testimony was transmitted to me,
then at Washington, and several depositions thereupon taken; copies of
all of which may, no doubt, be found among the papers of the late Mr.

A gentleman well informed of these matters is now at Albany, where I
expect to meet him about the 20th inst., when it may be in my power to
give you further satisfaction on the subject of your letter.

I pray in the mean time to be informed whether you are a son of the
late Mr. Bayard. Or how, if at all related to him. And what use it is
proposed to make of the communications you may receive. Permit me to
add, it will at all times afford me great pleasure to gratify the
family of Mr. Bayard on this or on any other occasion.

I have the honour to be, very respectfully,



New-York, March 15, 1830.


I enclose you copies of a letter from Mr. Richard H. Bayard, with my
answer, and have only to inquire whether I may refer to you to answer
this letter of Mr. Bayard; your memory being better than mine, and I
not having the depositions in question, or any copies thereof at this
moment at my command. If you should write, please to enclose your
letter to me. I think it was you who got up that suit. Pray give me
the title and date.

I expect to be in Albany early next week. In your answer to this, let
me know where to find you. God speed you.



Albany, March 18, 1830.


The irregularity of the mails has prevented my receiving your letter
of the 15th inst., with its enclosures, until this day.

I have read Mr. Bayard's letter to you under date of the 8th inst. All
the circumstances connected with the subject to which it refers are
within my recollection; but, absent as I am from my papers, I am
unwilling to speak with great confidence in relation to events which
have occurred nearly thirty years since.

The deposition of Mr. Bayard, to which I presume Mr. Jefferson alludes
in his memorandum of the 15th of April, 1806, was taken, as you
remark, in the case of _a wager_. The title of the cause I do not now
recollect; but Abraham Smith, a clerk in my store, was one of the
parties, and I think the period was during the winter of 1805. It may
have been a year later.

In that deposition Mr. Bayard states that a negotiation in regard to
the pending election between Mr. Jefferson and Colonel Burr, in
February, 1801, was entered into with Mr. Jefferson, through Mr.
Nicholas, of Virginia, and General Samuel Smith, of Maryland; and that
Mr. Jefferson did agree to certain stipulations or conditions therein
specified. It is proper for me to add, that to both Robert G. Harper
and General Smith the same interrogatories were propounded that were
answered by Mr. Bayard, and that the testimony (if my memory is
correct) of Mr. Bayard was, in every material point, sustained by both
these gentlemen. These examinations were made under a commission
issued out of the Supreme Court of our state.

Several copies of these depositions were made from the originals, and
I have reason to believe that one copy of them was in the possession
of Mr. Bayard or Mr. Harper, and another in the possession of Stephen
R. Bradley, Esq., of Vermont. They were read by different gentlemen;
among them, I think, was General John P. Van Ness, of Washington city,
and Rundolph Bunner, Esq., late a member of Congress from this state,
who, I have no doubt, can and would, if asked, detail their contents.
I should suppose that General Smith would not only recollect the
occurrences in February, 1801, but the contents also of the deposition
to which he has sworn.

During the contest I was the advocate of Mr. Jefferson's election, and
corresponded with different members of Congress; among the number were
Edward Livingston and Albert Gallatin, Esquires. The letters I then
received enumerated not only the _doubtful states_, but the _doubtful
men_ of both parties which were in Congress. These letters have been
carefully preserved.

It is due to the character of the late Mr. Bayard to remark, that, so
far as the circumstances have come to my knowledge, there was nothing
in the transaction calculated in the slightest degree to impeach his
fidelity to his party or his honour. The object of the negotiation was
not to aggrandize or to elevate himself or his friends, but to secure
and perpetuate certain cardinal points of federal policy.

I have not seen the works of Mr. Jefferson, but I will obtain and
examine them with care and attention. The history of the times to
which these memorandums and documents relate are enveloped in thick
darkness. Whether the period has yet arrived when an effort should be
made to dispel that darkness is problematical. The means, however, do
exist of proving, to the satisfaction of the most skeptical, what are
the facts in the case; and, consequently, of doing full justice to all
the parties concerned; and that duty, however unpleasant, shall, at a
proper crisis, be fairly, impartially, and fearlessly performed.

At my advanced age I do not wish to be drawn into newspaper
controversies; nor can I be induced, prematurely, to make any
publication on the subject alluded to in this letter. At the same
time, you are at liberty to communicate the whole or any part of its
contents to Mr. Bayard, in the expectation that it will be used

Respectfully, your friend,



Washington, April 3, 1830.


Ill health, and disinclination to go back to circumstances which
happened thirty years past, has prevented an earlier answer to your
letter. In the extract you have sent me from Mr. Jefferson's writings,
it is said--"Bayard" (alluding to his deposition) "pretends to have
addressed to me, during the pending of the presidential election in
February, 1801, through General Smith, certain conditions on which my
election might be obtained, and that General Smith, after conversing
with me, gave answer for me. This is absolutely false. No proposition
of any kind ever was made to me on that occasion by General Smith, or
any answer authorized by me; and the fact General Smith affirms at
this moment"--to wit, 15th of April, 1806. Yes, gentlemen, it was (I
believe) on that day I put into the hands of Mr. Jefferson a press
copy of _my deposition in the case of Cheetham_, [3] in which _I
perfectly recollect that I deny having ever received from Mr.
Jefferson any proposition of any kind to be made by me to Mr. Bayard
or any other person. Not, perhaps, in those words, but in detail to
that effect_; or having ever communicated any proposition of the kind
as from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Bayard.

My experience in life has shown that few men take advice unless it
comports with their own views. I will, however, recommend that you let
well enough alone. Your father was a bitter, most bitter enemy of Mr.
Jefferson; his enmity was known to all, and, I presume, to Mr.
Jefferson; it was therefore very natural for him to conclude that the
suit of Cheetham had been got up for the express purpose of obtaining
the oath of your father with the view of injuring him, and that your
father had advised such a course. _My recollection of what passed on
the occasion is as strong as if it had happened yesterday_. I will
give you a detail in as few words as possible.

Two or three days before the election was terminated, a member, who I
suppose had been deputed by the federal party, called on me to
converse on the subject. I held little conversation with _him_. Your
father then called on me, and said that he was anxious to put an end
to the controversy; that, in case of dissolution, Delaware never could
expect to obtain her present advantages; that, if satisfied on certain
points, he would terminate the contest. He then went on to state those
points: they were three or four. I can now remember only _three_, to
wit--the funding system, the navy, and the retaining or dismissal of
federalists then in office. I answered promptly that I could satisfy
him fully on two of the points (which two I do not now recollect), for
that I had had frequent conversations with him on them, and I stated
what I understood and believed to be his opinions, and what I thought
would be his rule of conduct; with which explanation your father
expressed his entire satisfaction, and on the third requested that I
would inform myself.

I lodged with Mr. Jefferson, and that night had a conversation with
him, _without his having the remotest idea of my object_. Mr.
Jefferson was a gentleman of _extreme frankness_ with his friends; he
conversed freely and frankly with them on all subjects, and gave his
opinions without reserve. Some of them thought that he did so too
freely. Satisfied with his opinion on the third point, I communicated
to your father the next day--that, from the conversation that I had
had with Mr. Jefferson, I was satisfied in _my own mind_ that his
conduct on that point would be so and so. But I certainly never did
tell your father that I had any authority from Mr. Jefferson to
communicate any thing to him or to any other person.

During the session of Congress of 1805-6, your father told me that a
little lawyer in Delaware had (he supposed at the instance of Colonel
Burr) endeavoured to get from him a deposition touching a conversation
with me; that he had refused it; that Burr had, however, trumped up a
suit for the sole purpose of coercing his deposition and mine, and
said that a commission to take testimony was now in the city, and that
he apprized me that I might be prepared. I asked him what he would
state in his deposition. He answered similar to the quotation you have
sent. I told him instantly that I had communicated to him my _own
opinion_, [4] derived from conversation with Mr. Jefferson, and not
one word from him to your father; and that my testimony would, as to
that point, be in direct hostility. He then said, the little fellow
will have our testimony by some means or other, and I will give mine.
I answered that I would also. A few nights afterward Colonel Burr
called on me. I told him that I had written my deposition, and would
have a fair copy made of it. He said, trust it to me, and I will get
Mr. ----- to copy it. I did so, and, on his returning it to me, I
found words not mine interpolated in the copy. I struck out those
words, had it copied again, and, to prevent all plea of false copying,
I had a press copy taken of it. When I appeared before the commission,
I found a deposition attached to that of your father, and asked how
they came by that. They answered that it had been sent to them. I
requested them to take it off; that I had the deposition in my hand to
which alone I would swear; they did so, and my deposition was
attached. The next day (I think) I called, and told Mr. Jefferson what
had passed, read to him the press copy, and asked him if he
recollected having given to me the opinions I had detailed. He
answered that he did not, but it might be so, for that they were
opinions he held and expressed to many of his friends, and as probably
to me as any other, and then said that he would wish to have a copy. I
told him that I had no use for it; he might, and I gave him the press

You have now a tolerable full view of the case, and will see that no
possible censure can attach to Mr. Jefferson; that a diversity of
opinion will arise from publication as to your father's credibility or
mine, and that both may suffer in the Public estimation. I will
conclude that, during my long life, I have scarcely ever known an
instance of newspaper publication between A. and B. that some obloquy
did not attach to both parties.

I am, gentlemen, with respect,

Your obedient servant,



Wilmington, Delaware, April 22, 1830.


I have just received your letter of the 10th ult., in answer to mine
of the 8th, the reason of which delay is to be found in the fact of
your having directed it to Wilmington, North Carolina. It was
accordingly conveyed to that place, and was returned and received by
me this morning.

I reply to your inquiries that I am the eldest son of the late James
A. Bayard, and that the object which I have in view is the vindication
of his character from the aspersion contained in the passage in Mr.
Jefferson's writings, a copy of which I sent you.

It is true that among my father's papers I have found rough copies of
the deposition made in your suit against Cheetham, as well as of that
made in the wager case. Together with the first-named deposition there
is also a copy of the interrogatories; but, in the latter case, simply
a rough copy of the deposition, without title, or any memorandum of
the names of the parties. You will perceive at once the necessity of
accompanying the deposition in the wager case with its _title_ and a
copy of the interrogatories, in order to show, in the first place, Mr.
Jefferson's error in the statement of the case, and, secondly, to
refute his assertion that the deposition had "nothing to do with the
suit, or with any other object than to calumniate him."

The subsequent part of his statement will be met by the deposition
itself, by reference to concomitant circumstances, and such
corroborating testimony as time has spared. Being anxious to avoid all
room for cavil, by publishing the depositions as returned with the
respective commissions, lest, perchance, there should be some slight
verbal inaccuracies, I applied to you, believing it was in your power
to give the information necessary to enable me to procure certified
copies of the record.

You have thus, Sir, an entire exposition of my motives for addressing
you my letter of the 8th ult.; and, in conformity with the sentiment
you are so good as to express in the conclusion of your letter, I
doubt not you will furnish me with such information as you possess on
the subject.

I wrote some time since to Mr. Edward N. Rogers, of your city, to
procure for me copies of my father's and General Samuel Smith's
depositions in _both_ cases. He informs me, by his letter of the 17th
inst., that the depositions in your suit against Cheetham are not to
be found in the office; that the case went off by default, and he
supposes they were never filed. At all events, the clerk cannot now
find them.

You will probably be able to state what became of them, and whether
copies can be procured. I will ask of you, therefore, the favour to
communicate to him information on this point, as well as the _name_ of
the _wager case_, that he may be enabled to comply with my request,
with the execution of which he has been so kind as to charge himself.

I have the honour to be, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,



1. See Ch. V.

2. It is considered proper to state here that the correspondence which
follows is published without the privity or consent of either of the
Mr. Bayards. It is found among the papers of Colonel Burr, and is
intimately connected with a history of the transaction.

3. The suit was James Gillespie _vs_. Abraham Smith. See deposition.

4. Will the reader examine the deposition, especially what relates to
Mr. McLean and Mr. Latimer?


The necessary information having been given to Mr. Bayard to enable
him to procure the depositions of his father and General Smith, they
were accordingly obtained from Mr. Bradley, of Vermont. Before
presenting them, it may not be improper to give the letters of two
members of Congress, one of which enters somewhat into a history of
the case, and _both_ of which negatives, in the most positive manner,
any attempt of Colonel Burr, or any person acting in his behalf, to
negotiate, bargain, or intrigue with the federal party for the office
of president.


Washington, February 10, 1801.


We have this day locked ourselves up by a rule to proceed to choose a
president before we adjourn. * * * * * * * We shall run Burr
perseveringly. You shall hear of the result instantly after the fact
is ascertained. _A little good management would have secured our
object on the first vote_, but now it is too late for any operations
to be gone into, except that of adhering to Burr, and leave the
consequences to those who have heretofore been his friends. If we
succeed, a faithful support must, on our part, be given to his
administration, which, I hope, will be wise and energetic.

Your friend,



February 13, 1801.


We have postponed, until to-morrow 11 o'clock, the voting for
president. All stand firm. Jefferson eight--Burr six--divided two.
_Had Burr done any thing for himself, he would long ere this have been
president._ If a majority would answer, he would have it on every


Washington, January 7, 1801.


I have been but a few days in this city; but, since my arrival, have
had the pleasure to receive the letter which you did me the honour to
write on the 27th ult. I am fully sensible of the great importance of
the subject to which it relates, and am, therefore, extremely obliged
by the information you have been so good as to communicate.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is considered that at least, in the first instance, Georgia, North
Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New-Jersey, and
New-York will vote for Mr. Jefferson. It is probable that Maryland and
Vermont will be divided. It is therefore counted, that upon the first
ballot it would be possible to give to Mr. Burr six votes. It is
calculated, however, and strongly insisted by some gentlemen, that a
persevering opposition to Mr. Jefferson would bring over _New-York,
New-Jersey, and Maryland._ What is the probability relative to
New-York?--your means enable you to form the most correct opinion. As
to New-Jersey and Maryland, it would depend on Mr. Linn of the former
and Mr. Dent of the latter state.

I assure you, sir, there appears to be a strong inclination in a
majority of the federal party to support Mr. Burr. The current has
already acquired considerable force, and is manifestly increasing. The
vote which the representation of a state enables me to give would
decide the question in favour of Mr. Jefferson. At present I am by no
means decided as to the object of preference. If the federal party
should take up Mr. Burr, I ought certainly to be impressed with the
most undoubting conviction before I separated myself from them. I
cannot, however, deny that there are strong considerations which give
a preference to Mr. Jefferson. The subject admits of many and very
doubtful views; and, before I resolve on the part I shall take, I will
await the approach of the crisis, which may probably bring with it
circumstances decisive of the event.

The federal party meet on Friday for the purpose of forming a
resolution as to their line of conduct. I have not the least doubt of
their agreeing to support Colonel Burr. Their determination will not
bind me; for though it might cost me a painful struggle to disappoint
the views and wishes of many gentlemen with whom I have been
accustomed to act, yet the magnitude of the subject forbids the
sacrifice of a strong conviction.

I cannot answer for the coherence of my letter, as I have undertaken
to write to you from the chamber of representatives, with an attention
divided by the debate which occupies the house. I have not considered
myself at liberty to show your letter to any one, though I think it
would be serviceable, if you could trust my discretion in the
communication of it.

With great consideration,

Your obedient servant,



Frederick, April 19, 1830


In compliance with your request, I now communicate to you my
recollections of the events of the presidential election by the House
of Representatives in 1801. There has been no period of our political
history more misunderstood and more grossly misrepresented. The course
adopted by the federal party was one of principle, and not of faction;
and I think the present a suitable occasion for explaining the views
and motives at least of those gentlemen who, having it in their power
to decide the election at any moment, were induced to protract it for
a time, but ultimately to withdraw their opposition to Mr. Jefferson.

I have no hesitation in saying that the facts stated in the deposition
of your father, the late James A. Bayard, so far as they came to my
knowledge, are substantially correct; and although nearly thirty years
have elapsed since that eventful period, my recollection is vivid as
to the principal circumstances, which, from the part I was called upon
to act, were deeply graven on my memory. As soon as it was generally
known that the two democratic candidates, Jefferson and Burr, had the
highest and an equal number of votes, and that the election would
consequently devolve on the House of Representatives, Mr. Dent, who
had hitherto acted with the federal party, declared his intention to
vote for Mr. Jefferson, in consequence of which determination the vote
of Maryland was divided.

It was soon ascertained that there were six individuals, the vote of
any one of whom could at any moment decide the election. These were,
your father, the late James A. Bayard, who held the vote of the state
of Delaware; General Morris, of Vermont, who held the divided vote of
that state; and Mr. Craik, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Dennis, and myself, who
held the divided vote of Maryland. Much anxiety was shown by the
friends of Mr. Jefferson, and much ingenuity used to discover the line
of conduct which would be pursued by them. Deeply impressed with the
responsibility which attached to their peculiar situation, and
conscious that the American people looked to them for a president,
they could not rashly determine either to surrender their
constitutional discretion, or disappoint the expectations of their

Your father, Mr. Craik, and myself having compared ideas upon the
subject, and finding that we entertained the same views and opinions,
resolved to act together, and accordingly entered into a solemn and
mutual pledge that we would in the first instance yield to the wishes
of the great majority of the party with whom we acted, and vote for
Mr. Burr, but that no consideration should induce us to protract the
contest beyond a reasonable period for the purpose of ascertaining
whether he could be elected. We determined that a president should be
chosen, but were willing thus far to defer to the opinions of our
political friends, whose preference of Mr. Burr was founded upon a
belief that he was less hostile to federal men and federal measures
than Mr. Jefferson. General Morris and Mr. Dennis concurred in this

The views by which the federal party were governed were these:--They
held that the Constitution had vested in the House of Representatives
a high discretion in a case like the present, to be exercised for the
benefit of the nation; and that, in the execution of this delegated
power, an honest and unbiased judgment was the measure of their
responsibility. They were less certain of the hostility of Mr. Burr to
federal policy than of that of Mr. Jefferson, which was known and
decided. Mr. Jefferson had identified himself with, and was at the
head of the party in Congress who had opposed every measure deemed
necessary by the federalists for putting the country in a posture of
defence; such as fortifying the harbours and seaports, establishing
manufactories of arms; erecting arsenals, and filling them with arms
and ammunition; erecting a navy for the defence of commerce, &c. His
speculative opinions were known to be hostile to the independence of
the judiciary, to the financial system of the country, and to internal
improvements. All these matters the federalists believed to be
intimately blended with the prosperity of the nation, and they
deprecated, therefore, the elevation of a man to the head of the
government whose hostility to them was open and avowed. It was feared,
too, from his prejudices against the party which supported them, that
he would dismiss all public officers who differed with him in
sentiment, without regard to their qualifications and honesty, but on
the ground only of political character. The House of Representatives
adopted certain resolutions for their government during the election,
one of which was that there should be no adjournment till it was

On the 11th February, 1801, being the day appointed by law for
counting the votes of the electoral colleges, the House of
Representatives proceeded in a body to the Senate chamber, where the
vice-president, in view of both houses of Congress, opened the
certificates of the electors of the different states; and, as the
votes were read, the tellers on the part of each house counted and
took lists of them, which, being compared and delivered to him, he
announced to both houses the state of the votes; which was, for Thomas
Jefferson 73 votes, for Aaron Burr 73 votes, for John Adams 65 votes,
for Charles Pinckney 64 votes, for John Jay one vote; and then
declared that the greatest number and majority of votes being equal,
the choice had devolved on the House of Representatives. The members
of the house then withdrew to their own chamber, and proceeded to
ballot for a president. On the first ballot it was found that Thomas
Jefferson had the votes of eight states, Aaron Burr of six states, and
that two were divided. As there were sixteen states, and a majority
was necessary to determine the election, Mr. Jefferson wanted the vote
of one state. Thus the result which had been anticipated was realized.

The balloting continued throughout that day and the following night,
at short intervals, with the same result, the 26th ballot being taken
at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 12th of February. The balloting
continued with the same result from day to day till the 17th of
February, without any adjournment of the house. On the previous day
(February 16), a consultation was held by the gentlemen I have
mentioned, when, being satisfied that Mr. Burr could not be elected,
as no change had taken place in his favour, and there was no evidence
of any effort on the part of himself or his personal friends to
procure his election, it was resolved to abandon the contest. This
determination was made known to the federal members generally, and
excited some discontent among the violent of the party, who thought it
better to go without a president than to elect Mr. Jefferson. A
general meeting, however, of the federal members was called, and the
subject explained, when it was admitted that Mr. Burr could not be
elected. A few individuals persisted in their resolution not to vote
for Mr. Jefferson, but the great majority wished the election
terminated and a president chosen. _Having also received assurances
from a source on which we placed reliance that our wishes with regard
to certain points of federal policy in which we felt a deep interest
would be observed in case Mr. Jefferson was elected_, the opposition
of Vermont, Delaware, and Maryland was withdrawn, and on the 36th
ballot your father, the late James A. Bayard, put in a blank ballot,
myself and my colleagues did the same, and General Morris absented
himself. The South Carolina federalists also put in blank ballots.
Thus terminated that memorable contest.

Previous to and pending the election, rumours were industriously
circulated, and letters written to different parts of the country,
charging the federalists with the design to prevent the election of a
president, and to usurp the government by an act of legislative power.
Great anxiety and apprehensions were created in the minds of all, and
of none more than the federalists generally, who were not apprized of
the determination of those gentlemen who held the power, and were
resolved to terminate the contest when the proper period arrived. But
neither these rumours, nor the excitement produced by them, nor the
threats made by their opponents to resist by force such a measure, had
the least influence on the conduct of those gentlemen. They knew the
power which they possessed, and were conscious of the uprightness of
their views, and of the safety and constitutional character of the
course they had adopted. I was privy to all the arrangements made, and
attended all the meetings of the federal party when consulting on the
course to be pursued in relation to the election; and I pledge my most
solemn asseveration that no such measure was ever for a moment
contemplated by that party; that no such proposition was ever made;
and that, if it had ever been, it would not only have been
discouraged, but instantly put down by those gentlemen who possessed
the power, and were pledged to each other to elect a president before
the close of the session.

I am respectfully, Sir,

Your most obedient servant,


INTERROGATORIES to be administered to James A. Bayard, Esq., of the
state of Delaware, late a member of Congress for the United States
from the said state of Delaware, a witness to be produced, sworn, and
examined in a cause now depending in the Supreme Court of Judicature
of the state of New-York, between Aaron Burr, plaintiff, and James
Cheetham, defendant, on the part of the defendant.

1st. Do you know the parties, plaintiff and defendant, or either and
which of them, and how long have you known them respectively?

2d. Were you a member of the House of Representatives, in Congress of
the United States, from the state of Delaware, in the sessions holden
in the months of January and February, in the year 1801?

3d. Was there not an equal number of votes for Thomas Jefferson and
Aaron Burr, as president and vice-president of the said United States,
at the election for those officers in the December preceding, and did
not the choice of a president consequently devolve on the said House
of Representatives?

4th. Did not the said house ballot for the president several times
before a choice was made? if so, how many times? Was not the frequency
of balloting occasioned by an attempt on the part of several members
of Congress to elect the said plaintiff, Aaron Burr, as president? Do
you know who such members were? if so, what were their names?

5th. Do you know that any measures were suggested or pursued by any
person or persons to secure the election of Aaron Burr to the
presidency? if so, who were such person or persons? Did _he_, the said
Aaron Burr, know thereof? Were there any letter or letters written
communicating such an intention? if so, were such letter or letters
forwarded to him through the postoffice by any person, and who? Has he
not informed you, or have you not understood (and if so, how?) that he
was apprized that an attempt would be made to secure his election?

6th. Did he or any other person (and if so, who?) ever communicate to
you, by writing or otherwise, or to any other person or persons to
your knowledge, that any measure had been suggested or would be
pursued to secure his election? When were these communications made?

7th. Had not some of the federal members of Congress a meeting at
Washington, in the month of December, 1800, or of January or of
February, 1801, at which it was determined to support Aaron Burr for
the presidency? Or if there were any meeting or meetings to your
knowledge, in respect to the ensuing election for a president of the
United States in the said House of Representatives, what was advised
or concluded upon, to the best of your remembrance or belief? Was not
David A. Ogden, of the city of New-York, attorney at law, authorized
or requested by you, or some other member or members of Congress, or
some other person, and who in particular, to call upon the plaintiff
and inquire of him--

1st. What conduct he would pursue in respect to certain cardinal
points of federal policy?

2d. What co-operation or aid the plaintiff could or would afford
towards securing his own election to the presidency? or if you or some
other person did not authorize or request the said David A. Ogden to
make such communication to the plaintiff in exact terms, what, in
substance, was such authority or request? Do you know, or were you
informed by the said David A. Ogden or otherwise, that he or any other
person had made the said communication to the plaintiff, or the same
in substance? Do you know, or have you been informed (and if so, how?)
that the plaintiff declared, as to the first question, it would not be
expedient to enter into explanations, or words to that effect? That,
as to the second question, New-York and Tennessee would vote for him
on a second ballot, and New-Jersey might be induced to do the same, or
words to that effect? Did you ever communicate with the plaintiff, or
he with you, on the subject? Do you know any person who did
communicate with him? and if so, what did he say?

Did you not receive a letter or letters from Alexander Hamilton, of
New-York, and late Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, now
deceased, in the month of January or February, 1801, or at some other
time, and when, respecting the election of a president of the United
States? Did he not communicate to you that the said David A. Ogden had
been requested to see the plaintiff for the purposes aforesaid? And
what in particular were the contents of such letters or letter, or
communication? Do you know that any, and if so, what measures were
suggested or pursued to secure the election of said plaintiff as
president; and did the said plaintiff know, or was he informed
thereof, or what did he know, or of what was he informed? Had you any
reason or reasons to believe that any of the states would relinquish
Thomas Jefferson and vote for Aaron Burr as president in the said
election in the said House of Representatives, or that the said Aaron
Burr calculated on such relinquishment? If so, which state or states,
and what was the reason or reasons of such belief?

8th. Do you know any matter, circumstance, or thing which can be
material to the defendant in this cause? If yea, set the same forth
fully and particularly.

_Interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff_.--Do you know of any
matter or thing that may be beneficial to the plaintiff on the trial
of this cause? If so, declare the same fully and at length, in the
same manner as if you had been particularly interrogated thereto.

Miller & Van Wyck, Attorneys for Defendant.

Approved, March 6, 1805.

B. Livingston.

The deposition of James A. Bayard, sworn and examined on the twenty
---- day of ----, in the year of our Lord 1805, at Wilmington, in the
state of Delaware, by virtue of a commission issuing out of the
Supreme Court of Judicature of the state of New-York, to John Vaughan,
---- or any two of them, directed for the examination of the said
James A. Bayard, in a cause there depending between Aaron Burr,
plaintiff, and James Cheetham, defendant, on the part and behalf of
the defendant.

1st. To the first interrogatory this deponent answers and says, As a
member of the House of Representatives, I paid a visit of ceremony to
the plaintiff on the fourth of March, in the year 1801, and was
introduced to him. I had no acquaintance with him before that period.
I had no knowledge of the defendant but what was derived from his
general reputation before the last session of Congress, when a
personal acquaintance commenced upon my becoming a member of the

2d. To the second interrogatory, this deponent saith, I was.

3d. To the third interrogatory this deponent saith, There was an
equality of electoral votes for Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Burr, and the
choice of one of them did, of consequence, devolve on the House of

4th. To the fourth interrogatory this deponent saith, The house
resolved into states, balloted for a president a number of times, the
exact number is not at present in my recollection, before a choice was
made. The frequency of balloting was occasioned by the preference
given by the federal side of the house to Mr. Burr. With the exception
of Mr. Huger, of South Carolina, I recollect no federal member who did
not concur in the general course of balloting for Mr. Burr. I cannot
name each member. The federal members at that time composed a majority
of the house, though not of the states. Their names can be ascertained
by the journals of the House of Representatives.

5th. To the fifth interrogatory this deponent saith, I know of no
measures but those of argument and persuasion which were used to
secure the election of Mr. Burr to the presidency. Several gentlemen
of the federal party doubted the practicability of electing Mr. Burr,
and the policy of attempting it. Before the election came on there
were several meetings of the party to consider the subject. It was
frequently debated, and most of the gentlemen who had adopted a
decided opinion in favour of his election employed their influence and
address to convince those who doubted of the propriety of the measure.
I cannot tell whether Mr. Burr was acquainted with what passed at our
meetings. But I neither knew nor heard of any letter being written to
him on the subject. He never informed me, nor have I reason to
believe, further than inference, from the open professions and public
course pursued by the federal party, that he was apprized that an
attempt would be made to secure his election.

6th. To the sixth interrogatory the deponent saith, Mr. Burr, or any
person on his behalf, never did communicate to me in writing or
otherwise, or to any other persons of which I have any knowledge, that
any measures had been suggested or would be pursued to secure his
election. Preceding the day of the election, in the course of the
session, the federal members of Congress had a number of general
meetings, the professed and sole purpose of which was to consider the
propriety of giving their support to the election of Mr. Burr. The
general sentiment of the party was strongly in his favour. Mr. Huger,
I think, could not be brought to vote for him. Mr. Craik and Mr. Baer,
of Maryland, and myself, were those who acquiesced with the greatest
difficulty and hesitation. I did not believe Mr. Burr could be
elected, and thought it vain to make the attempt; but I was chiefly
influenced by the current of public sentiment, which I thought it
neither safe nor politic to counteract. It was, however, determined by
the party, without consulting Mr. Burr, to make the experiment whether
he could be elected. Mr. Ogden never was authorized or requested by
me, nor any member of the house to my knowledge, to call upon Mr.
Burr, and to make any propositions to him of any kind or nature. I
remember Mr. Ogden's being at Washington while the election was
depending. I spent one or two evenings in his company at Stiller's
hotel, in small parties, and we recalled an acquaintance of very early
life, which had been suspended by a separation of eighteen or twenty
years. I spent not a moment with Mr. Ogden in private. It was reported
that he was an agent for Mr. Burr, or it was understood that he was in
possession of declarations of Mr. Burr that he would serve as
president if elected. I never questioned him on the subject. Although
I considered Mr. Burr personally better qualified to fill the office
of president than Mr. Jefferson, yet, for a reason above suggested, I
felt no anxiety for his election, and I presumed if Mr. Ogden came on
any errand from Mr. Burr, or was desirous of making any disclosures
relative to his election, he would do it without any application from
me. But Mr. Ogden or any other person never did make any communication
to me from Mr. Burr, nor do I remember having any conversation with
him relative to the election. I never had any communication, directly
or indirectly, with Mr. Burr in relation to his election to the
presidency. I was one of those who thought from the beginning that the
election of Mr. Burr was not practicable. The sentiment was frequently
and openly expressed. I remember it was generally said by those who
wished a perseverance in the opposition to Mr. Jefferson, that several
democratic states were more disposed to vote for Mr. Burr than for Mr.
Jefferson; that, out of complaisance to the known intention of the
party, they would vote a decent length of time for Mr. Jefferson, and,
as soon as they could excuse themselves by the imperious situation of
affairs, would give their votes for Mr. Burr, the man they really
preferred. The states relied upon for this change were New-York,
New-Jersey, Vermont, and Tennessee. I never, however, understood that
any assurance to this effect came from Mr. Burr. Early in the election
it was reported that Mr. Edward Livingston, the representative of the
city of New-York, was the confidential agent for Mr. Burr, and that
Mr. Burr had committed himself entirely to the discretion of Mr.
Livingston, having agreed to adopt all his acts. I took an occasion to
sound Mr. Livingston on the subject, and intimated that, having it in
my power to terminate the contest, I should do so, unless he could
give me some assurance that we might calculate upon a change in the
votes of some of the members of his party. Mr. Livingston stated that
he felt no great concern as to the event of the election, but he
disclaimed any agency from Mr. Burr, or any connexion with him on the
subject, and any knowledge of Mr. Burr's designing to co-operate in
support of his election.

7th. The deponent, answering that part of the seventh interrogatory
which relates to letters received from the late Alexander Hamilton,
says, I did receive, in the course of the winter of 1801, several
letters from General Hamilton on the subject of the election, but the
name of David A. Ogden is not mentioned in any of them. The general
design and effect of these letters was to persuade me to vote for Mr.
Jefferson, and not for Mr. Burr. The letters contain very strong
reasons; and a very earnest opinion against the election of Mr. Burr.
In answer to the residue of the same interrogatory, the deponent
saith, I repeat that I know of no means used to promote the election
of Mr. Burr but persuasion. I am wholly ignorant of what the plaintiff
was apprized of in relation to the election, as I had no communication
with him directly or indirectly; and as to the expectation of a change
of votes from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Burr, I never knew a better ground
for it than the opinions and calculations of a number of members.

8th. In answer to the eighth interrogatory the deponent saith, I know
of nothing which, in my opinion, can be of service to the defendant in
the cause.

To the interrogatory on the part of the plaintiff the deponent
answers, Having yielded, with Messrs. Craik and Baer, of Maryland, to
the strong desire of the great body of the party with whom we usually
acted, and agreed to vote for Mr. Burr, and those gentlemen and myself
being governed by the same views and motives, we pledged ourselves to
each other to pursue the same line of conduct and act together. We
felt that _some concession_ was due to the judgment of the great
majority of our political friends who differed with us in opinion, but
we determined that no consideration should make us lose sight for a
moment of the necessity of a president being chosen. We therefore
resolved, that as soon as it was fairly ascertained that Mr. Burr
could not be elected, to give our votes to Mr. Jefferson. General
Morris, of Vermont, shortly after acceded to this arrangement. The
result of the ballot of the states had uniformly been eight states for
Mr. Jefferson, six for Mr. Burr, and two divided. Mr. Jefferson wanted
the vote of one state only; those three gentlemen belonged to the
divided states; I held the vote of the state of Delaware; it was
therefore in the power of either of us to terminate the election.
These gentlemen, knowing the strong interest of my state to have a
president, and knowing the sincerity of my determination to make one,
left it to me to fix the time when the opposition should cease, and to
make terms, if any could be accomplished, with the friends of Mr.
Jefferson. I took pains to disclose this state of things in such a
manner that it might be known to the friends of Mr. Burr, and to those
gentlemen who were believed to be most disposed to change their votes
in his favour. I repeatedly stated to many gentlemen with whom I was
acting that it was a vain thing to protract the election, as it had
become manifest that Mr. Burr would not assist us, and as we could do
nothing without his aid. I expected, under these circumstances, if
there were any latent engines at work in Mr. Burr's favour, the plan
of operations would be disclosed to me; but, although I had the power,
and threatened to terminate the election, I had not even an intimation
from any friend of Mr. Burr's that it would be desirable to them to
protract it. I never did discover that Mr. Burr used the least
influence to promote the object we had in view. And being completely
persuaded that Mr. Burr would not co-operate with us, I determined to
end the contest by voting for Mr. Jefferson. I publicly announced the
intention, which I designed to carry into effect the next day. In the
morning of the day there was a general meeting of the party, where it
was generally admitted Mr. Burr could not be elected; but some thought
it was better to persist in our vote, and to go without a president
rather than to elect Mr. Jefferson. The greater number, however,
wished the election terminated, and a president made; and in the
course of the day the manner was settled, which was afterward adopted,
to end the business.

Mr. Burr probably might have put an end sooner to the election by
coming forward and declaring that he would not serve if chosen; but I
have no reason to believe, and never did think that he interfered,
even to the point of personal influence, to obstruct the election of
Mr. Jefferson or to promote his own.

Interrogatories to be administered to witnesses to be produced, sworn,
and examined in a certain cause now depending and at issue in the
Supreme Court of Judicature of the people of the state of New-York,
wherein James Gillespie is plaintiff, and Abraham Smith defendant, on
the behalf of the defendant.

1st. Do you or do you not know Thomas Jefferson, president of the
United States? If yea, declare the same, together with the time when
you first became acquainted with him.

2d. Was you a member of the House of Representatives of the United
States, at Washington, in the session of 1800 and 1801? If yea, state
the time particularly.

3d. Do you or do you not know that in the years 1800 and 1801, Thomas
Jefferson and Aaron Burr had each an equal number of votes given by
the electors for president and vice-president of the United States,
and that consequently the right of electing a president devolved upon
the House of Representatives of the United States? State your
knowledge herein particularly.

4th. Do you or do you not know, or have you heard so that you believe,
of any negotiations, bargains, or agreements, in the year 1800 or
1801, after the said equality became known and before the choice of
the president, by or on behalf of any person, and whom, with the
parties called federal or republican, or either of them, or with any
individual or individuals, and whom, of either of the said parties,
relative to the office of president of the United States? If yea,
declare the particulars thereof, and the reasons of such your belief.

5th. Do you or do you not know Aaron Burr, late vice-president of the
United States? If yea, declare the same, with the time when your
acquaintance commenced.

6th. Do you know, or have you heard so that you believe, of any
negotiations, bargains, or agreements in the year 1800 or 1801, by or
on behalf of the said Aaron Burr, or by or on behalf of any other
person, and whom, with the parties called federal or republican, or
either of them, or with any individual, and whom, of the said parties,
relative to the office of president of the United States? If yea,
declare the same, with all the particulars thereof, and the reasons of
such your belief.

7th. Did you receive any letters from the said Aaron Burr after the
said equality of votes was known and before the final choice of a
president? If yea, what was the tenour of such letter? Did the conduct
of the said Aaron Burr correspond with the declarations contained in
the said letter? Declare your knowledge and belief, together with the
grounds and reasons thereof.

Deposition of the Honourable James A. Bayard, a witness produced,
sworn, and examined in a cause depending in the Supreme Court of the
state of New-York, between James Gillespie, plaintiff, and Abraham
Smith, defendant, on the part of the plaintiff, follows.

To the first interrogatory deponent answers and says, I do not know
either the plaintiff or defendant.

To the second interrogatory he answers and says, I was personally
acquainted with Thomas Jefferson before he became president of the
United States, the precise length of time I do not recollect. The
acquaintance did not extend beyond the common salutation upon meeting,
and accidental conversation upon such meetings.

To the third interrogatory he answers and says, I was a member of the
House of Representatives of the United States, during the fifth,
sixth, and seventh Congresses, from the 3d of March, 1797, to the 3d
of May, 1803.

To the fourth interrogatory he answers and says, The electoral votes
for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr for president of the United States
were equal, and that the choice of one of them as president did
devolve on the House of Representatives.

To the fifth interrogatory he answers and says, I presume this
interrogatory points to an occurrence which took place before the
choice of president was made, and after the balloting had continued
for several days, of which I have often publicly spoken. My memory
enables me to state the transaction in substance correctly, but not to
be answerable for the precise words which were used upon the occasion.
Messrs. Baer and Craik, members of the House of Representatives from
Maryland, and General Morris, a member of the house from Vermont, and
myself, having the power to determine the votes of the states from
similarity of views and opinions during the pendency of the election,
made an agreement to vote together. We foresaw that a crisis was
approaching which might probably force us to separate in our votes
from the party with whom we usually acted. We were determined to make
a president, and the period of Mr. Adams's administration was rapidly

In determining to recede from the opposition to Mr. Jefferson, it
occurred to us that probably, instead of being obliged to surrender at
discretion, we might obtain terms of capitulation. The gentlemen whose
names I have mentioned authorized me to declare their concurrence with
me upon the best terms that could be procured. The vote of either of
us was sufficient to decide the choice. With a view to the end
mentioned, I applied to Mr. John Nicholas, a member of the house from
Virginia, who was a particular friend of Mr. Jefferson. I stated to
Mr. Nicholas that if certain points of the future administration could
be understood and arranged with Mr. Jefferson, I was authorized to say
that three states would withdraw from an opposition to his election.
He asked me what those points were: I answered, First, sir, the
support of the public credit; secondly, the maintenance of the naval
system; and, lastly, that subordinate public officers employed only in
the execution of details established by law shall not be removed from
office on the ground of their political character, nor without
complaint against their conduct. I explained myself that I considered
it not only reasonable, but necessary, that offices of high discretion
and confidence should be filled by men of Mr. Jefferson's choice. I
exemplified by mentioning, on the one hand, the offices of the
secretaries of state, treasury, foreign ministers, &c., and, on the
other, the collectors of ports, &c. Mr. Nicholas answered me that he
considered the points as very reasonable; that he was satisfied that
they corresponded with the views and intentions of Mr. Jefferson, and
knew him well. That he was acquainted with most of the gentlemen who
would probably be about him and enjoying his confidence in case he
became president, and that, if I would be satisfied with his
assurance, he could solemnly declare it as his opinion that Mr.
Jefferson, in his administration, would not depart from the points I
had proposed. I replied to Mr. Nicholas that I had not the least doubt
of the sincerity of his declaration, and that his opinion was
perfectly correct; but that I wanted an engagement, and that, if the
points could in any form be understood as conceded by Mr. Jefferson,
the election should be ended; and proposed to him to consult Mr.
Jefferson. This he declined, and said he could do no more than give me
the assurance of his own opinion as to the sentiments and designs of
Mr. Jefferson and his friends. I told him that was not
sufficient--that we should not surrender without better terms. Upon
this we separated; and I shortly after met with General Smith, to whom
I unfolded myself in the same manner that I had done to Mr. Nicholas.
In explaining myself to him in relation to the nature of the offices
alluded to, I mentioned the offices of George Latimer, [2] collector
of the port of Philadelphia, and Allen M'Lane, collector of
Wilmington. General Smith gave me the same assurances as to the
observance by Mr. Jefferson of the points which I had stated which Mr.
Nicholas had done. I told him I should not be satisfied or agree to
yield till I had the assurance of Mr. Jefferson himself; but that, if
he would consult Mr. Jefferson, and bring the assurance from him, the
election should be ended. The general made no difficulty in consulting
Mr. Jefferson, and proposed giving me his answer the next morning. The
next day, upon our meeting, General Smith informed me that he had seen
Mr. Jefferson, and stated to him the points mentioned, and was
authorized by him to say that they corresponded with his views and
intentions, and that we might confide in him accordingly. The
opposition of Vermont, Maryland, and Delaware was immediately
withdrawn, and Mr. Jefferson was made president by the votes of ten

To the sixth interrogatory the deponent answers and says, I was
introduced to Mr. Burr the day of Mr. Jefferson's inauguration as
president. I had no acquaintance with him before, and very little
afterward, till the last winter of his vice-presidency, when I became
a member of the Senate of the United States.

To the seventh interrogatory the deponent answers and says, I do not
know, nor did I ever believe, from any information I received, that
Mr. Burr entered into any negotiation or agreement with any member of
either party in relation to the presidential election which depended
before the House of Representatives.

To the eighth interrogotary the deponent answers and says, Upon the
subject of this interrogatory I can express only a loose opinion,
founded upon the conjectures at the time of what could be effected by
Mr. Burr by mortgaging the patronage of the executive. I can only say,
generally, that I did believe at the time that he had the means of
making himself president. But this opinion has no other ground than
conjecture, derived from a knowledge of means which existed, and, if
applied, their probable operation on individual characters. In answer
to the last part of the interrogatory, deponent says, I know of
nothing of which Mr. Burr was apprized which related to the election.

(Signed) J. A. Bayard.

_District of Columbia, Washington_.

The deposition of the Honourable James A. Bayard, consisting of six
pages, was taken and sworn to before us, this 3d day of April, A. D.



Deposition of the Honourable Samuel Smith, Senator of the United
States for the state of Maryland, a witness produced, sworn, and
examined in a cause depending in the Supreme Court of the state of
New-York, between James Gillespie, plaintiff, and Abraham Smith,
defendant, on the part and behalf of the defendant, as follows:

1st. I knew Thomas Jefferson some years previous to 1800; the precise
time when our acquaintance commenced I do not recollect.

2d and 3d. I was a member of the House of Representatives of the
United States in 1800 and 1801, and know that Thomas Jefferson and
Aaron Burr had an equal number of the votes given by the electors of
president and vice-president of the United States.

4th. Presuming that this question may have reference to conversations
(for I know of no bargains or agreements) which took place at the time
of the balloting, I will relate those which I well recollect to have
had with three gentlemen, separately, of the federal party. On the
Wednesday preceding the termination of the election, Colonel Josiah
Parker asked a conversation with me in private. He said that many
gentlemen were desirous of putting an end to the election; that they
only wanted to know what would be the conduct of Mr. Jefferson in case
he should be elected president, particularly as it related to the
public debt, to commerce, and the navy. I had heard Mr. Jefferson
converse on all those subjects lately, and informed him what, I
understood were the opinions of that gentleman. I lived in the house
with Mr. Jefferson, and, that I might be certain that what I bad said
was correct, I sought and had a conversation that evening with him on
those points, and, I presume, though I do not precisely recollect,
that I communicated to him the conversation which I had with Colonel

The next day General Dayton (a senator), after some jesting
conversation, asked me to converse with him in private. We retired. He
said that he, with some other gentlemen, wished to have a termination
put to the pending election; but be wished to know what were the
opinions or conversations of Mr. Jefferson respecting the navy,
commerce, and the public debt. In answer, I said that I had last night
had conversation with Mr. Jefferson on all those subjects; that be had
told me that any opinion be should give at this time might be
attributed to improper motives; that to me he had no hesitation in
saying that, as to the public debt, he had been averse to the manner
of funding it, but that he did not believe there was any man who
respected his own character who would or could think of injuring its
credit at this time; that, on commerce, he thought that a correct idea
of his opinions on that subject might be derived from his writings,
and particularly from his conduct while he was minister at Paris, when
be thought he had evinced his attention to the commercial interest of
his country; that he had not changed opinion, and still did consider
the prosperity of our commerce as essential to the true interest of
the nation; that on the navy he had fully expressed his opinions in
his Notes on Virginia; that he adhered still to his ideas then given;
that he believed our growing commerce would call for protection; that
he had been averse to a too rapid increase of our navy; that he
believed a navy must naturally grow out of our commerce, but thought
prudence would advise its increase to progress with the increase of
the nation, and that in this way he was friendly to the establishment.
General Dayton appeared pleased with the conversation, and (I think)
said, that if this conversation had taken place earlier, much trouble
might have been saved, or words to that effect.

At the funeral of Mr. Jones (of Georgia) I walked with Mr. Bayard (of
Delaware). The approaching election became the subject of
conversation. I recollect no part of that conversation except his
saying that he thought that a half hour's conversation between us
might settle the business. That idea was not again repeated. On the
day after I had held the conversation with General Dayton, I was asked
by Mr. Bayard to go into the committee-room. He then stated that he
had it in his power (and was so disposed) to terminate the election,
but he wished information as to Mr. Jefferson's opinions on certain
subjects, and mentioned, I think, the same three points already
alluded to as asked by Colonel Parker and General Dayton, and received
from me the same answer in substance (if not in words) that I have
given to General Dayton. He added a fourth, to wit: What would be Mr.
Jefferson's conduct as to the public officers? He said he did not mean
confidential officers, but, by elucidating his question, he added,
such as Mr. Latimer, of Philadelphia, and Mr. M'Lane, of Delaware. I
answered, that I never had heard Mr. Jefferson say any thing on that
subject. He requested that I would inquire, and inform him the next
day. I did so. _And the next day (Saturday) told him that Mr.
Jefferson had said that he did not think that such officers ought to
be dismissed on political grounds only, except in cases where they had
made improper use of their offices to force the officers under them to
vote contrary to their judgment. That, as to Mr. M'Lane, he had
already been spoken to in his behalf by Major Eccleston, and, from the
character given him by that gentleman, he considered him a meritorious
officer; of course, that he would not be displaced, or ought not to be
displaced. I further added, that Mr. Bayard might rest assured (or
words to that effect) that Mr. Jefferson would conduct, as to those
points, agreeably to the opinions I had stated as his_. Mr. Bayard
then said, We will give the vote on Monday; and then separated. Early
in the election my colleague, Mr. Baer, told me that we should have a
president; that they would not get up without electing one or the
other of the gentlemen. Mr. Baer had voted against Mr. Jefferson until
the final vote, when I believe he withdrew, or voted blank, but do not
perfectly recollect.

5th. I became acquainted with Colonel Burr some time in the
revolutionary war.

6th. I know of no agreement or bargain in the years 1800 and 1801 with
any person or persons whatsoever respecting the office of president in
behalf of Aaron Burr, nor have I any reason to believe that any such

7th. I received a letter from Colonel Burr, dated, I believe, 16th
December, 1800, in reply to one which I had just before written him.
The letter of Colonel Burr is as follows:--

"It is highly improbable that I shall have an equal number of votes
with Mr. Jefferson; but, if such should be the result, every man who
knows me ought to know that I would utterly disclaim all competition.
Be assured that the federal party can entertain no wish for such an
exchange. As to my friends, they would dishonour my views and insult
my feelings by a suspicion that I would submit to be instrumental in
counteracting the wishes and expectations of the people of the United
States. And I now constitute you my proxy to declare these sentiments
if the occasion shall require."

I have not now that letter by me, nor any other letter from him to
refer to; the preceding is taken from a printed copy, which
corresponds with my recollection, and which I believe to be correct.
My correspondence with him continued till the close of the election.
In none of his letters to me, or to any other person that I saw, was
there any thing that contradicted the sentiments contained in that

(Signed) S. SMITH.

_City of Washington, in the District of Columbia_.

The deposition of the Honourable Samuel Smith, written upon five
pages, was duly taken and sworn to before us, two of the commissioners
named in the annexed commission, at the capitol in the said city of
Washington, on the fifteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one
thousand eight hundred and six, and of the independence of the United
States the thirtieth.


         DAVID STONE.


1. Judge Cooper, of Cooperstown, state of New-York.

2. During the year 1802 unsuccessful efforts were made by the
democracy of Philadelphia to have Mr. Latimer removed from the office
of collector. The federal party complained of the number of removals
which had already been made. The Aurora of June 29, 1802, referring to
this subject, says--"We can tell them (the federalists) that the most
lucrative office under the government of the United States in this
commonwealth, the emoluments of which amount to triple the salary of
the governor of this commonwealth, is now held by _George Latimer,
collector of the customs;" and on the 29th September, he adds, "Let
any man of candour say if Latimer ought not long since to have been
discharged from his office." Mr. Duane had not then read the
depositions of Messrs. Bayard and Smith, and perhaps was ignorant of
the _arrangements_ by virtue of which this gentleman and Mr. M'Lane,
of Delaware, were retained in office.


A history of the presidential contest in Congress in the spring of
1801, with an account of some of the circumstances which preceded and
followed it, has now been presented. It afforded the enemies of
Colonel Burr an opportunity to lay a foundation deep and broad, from
which to assail him with the battering-rams of detraction, falsehood,
and calumny. From that day until the period when he was driven into
exile from the land of his fathers, he was pursued with an intolerance
relentless as the grave. The assailants of his reputation and their
more wicked employers felt and knew the wrongs they had done.
Self-abased with reflecting on the motives which had impelled them to
action, their zeal for his ruin became more fiery, and they faltered
at no means, however dishonourable, to effect their object. The power
of the press is great. But, painful as the remark is, it is
nevertheless true--the power of the press to do evil is much greater
than to do good. The power of the press is too often irresistible when
conducted by unprincipled and corrupt men, pampered by the smiles and
the patronage of those filling high places. A stronger illustration of
this remark cannot be found in history than the case of Aaron Burr
from 1801 to 1804. At the height of his popularity, influence, and
glory in the commencement of 1801, before the close of 1804 he was
suspected--contemned--derided, and prostrated; and this mighty
revolution in public opinion was effected without any wrong act or
deed on the part of the vice-president.

The charge against him was that he had been faithless to the political
party which had sustained him through life; that he had negotiated,
bargained, or intrigued with the federalists to promote his own
election to the exclusion of Mr. Jefferson. The public mind became
poisoned; suspicions were engendered; his revilers were cherished; the
few stout hearts that confided in his political integrity, and nobly
clustered around him, were anathematized and proscribed. The
mercenary, the selfish, and the timid united in the cry--down with

It has been seen, that whenever and wherever the charge was rendered
tangible by specification, it was met and repelled. For a refutation
of the general charge, Mr. Bayard's and Mr. Smith's testimony is
sufficiently explicit. Concurring testimony could be piled upon pile;
but, if there remains an individual in the community who will not be
convinced by the evidence which has been produced, then that
individual would not be convinced "though one were to rise from the
dead" and bear testimony to the falsity of the charge.

The details in relation to the presidential contest of 1801 have
occupied much time and space. This could not be avoided. It fixed the
destiny of Colonel Burr. Besides, it forms a great epoch in the
history of our country and its government, and has been but
imperfectly understood.

Mr. Jefferson's malignity towards Colonel Burr never ceased but with
his last breath. His writings abound with proof of that malignity,
smothered, but rankling in his heart. Let the highminded man read the
following extracts Mr. Jefferson, in a long and laboured letter to
Colonel Burr, written uninvited, not in reply to one received, dated
Philadelphia, 17th June, 1797, says--"The newspapers give so minutely
what is passing in Congress, that nothing of detail can be wanting for
your information. Perhaps, however, some general view of our situation
and prospects since you left us _may not be unacceptable. At any rate,
it will give me an opportunity of recalling myself to your memory, and

In his _Ana_, under date of the 26th of January, 1804, he says--, "I
had never seen Colonel Burr till he came as a member of Senate. [1]

_His conduct very soon inspired me with distrust. I habitually
cautioned Mr. Madison against trusting him too much_."

Thus, according to his own showing, while he was endeavouring "_to
recall himself to the memory_" of Colonel Burr "_and evidencing his
esteem for him_," he was "_habitually cautioning Mr. Madison against
trusting him too much_."

Again. January 26, 1804, be says--"Colonel Burr, the vice-president,
called on me in the evening, having previously asked an opportunity of
conversing with me. He began by recapitulating summarily _that he had
come to New-York a stranger some years ago; that he found the country
in possession of two rich families (the Livingstons and Clintons);
that his pursuits were not political, and he meddled not_," &c.

Now who that knows the history of Colonel Burr's life will believe one
sentence or one word of this statement? In the year 1778, Colonel Burr
was in command on the lines in Westchester. In July of that year he
was appointed by General Washington to receive from the commissioners
for conspiracies the suspected persons. He remained at this post
during the winter of 1778-79. Ill health compelled him, in March,
1779, to resign. In the autumn of 1780 he commenced the study of law
with Judge Paterson, of New-Jersey, where he remained until the spring
of 1781, when be removed to Orange county, in the state of New-York,
and continued the study of law. In 1782 he was licensed by the Supreme
Court of the state of New-York as counsellor and attorney, and
immediately commenced practice in Albany. In July of that year he was
married, then twenty-six years old. In April, 1783, through an agent,
he hired a house in the city of New-York, and removed his family into
it as soon as the British evacuated the city. In the spring of 1784,
six months after his removal into the city, he was elected to
represent it in the state legislature. [2]

In the face of these facts, to talk of his "_having come to New York a
stranger some years ago, and finding the state in possession of two
rich families_," &c. What absurdity! But, shrinking from these
disgusting and revolting exposures, the reader, it is believed, will
cheerfully turn to the perusal of those letters which again presents
to his view Colonel Burr in the domestic and social scenes of life.


Trenton, January 2, 1800.

The question--_When shall we meet_? is already answered; but I must
now answer it anew, and for a more distant day; perhaps Wednesday,
perhaps Thursday; but you will hear again. Your letters amuse me; your
recovery rejoices me; your determination not to torment yourself is
neither from philosophy nor spleen--it is mere words, and an attempt
to deceive yourself, which may succeed for the moment; _ergo_, no
determination; _ergo_, not founded on philosophy; _ergo_, not on
resentment; _ergo_, neither. I have no doubt but _chose_ is on the
way; the journey cannot at this season be performed in thirty days.

My compliments to A. C. M., and am very much obliged to them. It is
the most fatiguing thing imaginable for such crude tastes as those of
Theodosia and A. B. You had better apologize. You are sick and I am
absent. But you have not mentioned the day--neither that of the
beauty's ball, for which I owe you much ill will, and therefore my
next shall be to _Natalie_, to whom all good wishes.



Albany, January 29, 1800.

You must be weary of hearing that "I have not yet a line from you, and
that John and Alexis are not arrived," but you must submit to hear
often of what so often employs my thoughts.

Most of all, I amuse and torment myself by fancying your occupations,
your thoughts, your attitudes at different hours in the day and
night--generally I find you reading or studying; sometimes musing; now
and then counting the time of my probable absence. In comes C. C.--a
pleasant interruption, or a note from C. C., and then follows trouble
and embarrassments, and sometimes scolding. They are always answered,

We have agreed that the cause of Le Guen shall come on next Tuesday.
It will last the whole week. The week following I shall hope to leave
this place; but I may be deceived, for the court may take a week to
consider of the business, and I cannot leave the ground till the thing
be determined.

Adieu, chere amiè,



Albany, February 13, 1800.

Your letter by this day's mail, dated the 13th, and postmarked the
12th, is one of those hasty and unsatisfactory scraps which neither
improve you nor amuse me. I pray you never to write to me with the
mere motive of getting rid of the task. These performances always lead
me to fear that all other tasks are performed in the same manner; but
adieu to tasks and reproaches. I will endure your haste or your
silence without a murmur. One is not always in the bumour to write,
and one always writes as much as the humour prompts.

I am here sentinel over the interest of Le Guen, and cannot leave the
post until the final decision be had, of which, at present, I form no
conjecture as to the period; but I entertain no doubt of Le Guen's
eventual success.

Among the letters forwarded by you is one recommending to me in very
high terms a Mr. Irving, or Irwin, [3] from London; pray inquire who
he is, and where to be found, and be able to inform me, on my return,
if I _should_ happen to return.

Mr. Eacker has offered his services to take a letter. You see that I
cannot refrain from improving every occasion of assuring, you how very
truly I am your faithful friend and affectionate father,



Albany, February 15, 1800.

This will be handed you by Mr. Brown, [4] secretary to General
Hamilton. By the two preceding mails I had nothing from you; by that
of this day I am again disappointed. I do indeed receive a very
pleasant little letter, but I expected a volume. Would it be an
intolerable labour, if, precisely at half past nine o'clock every
evening, you should say, "I will now devote an hour to papa?" Or even
half an hour. Your last letter, though not illy written, has evident
marks of haste.

I agree entirely with your eulogium on our amiable friend; but one
point you overlook. Her heart is as cold as marble, And you mistake
the effusions of politeness, mingled with respect, for symptoms of
tender emotions.

The argument of the cause of Le Guen is concluded. I fear that I must
wait for the final decision of the court before I can leave Albany.
To-morrow I go with John to Schenectady. I am more impatient to return
than I can express.



Albany, March 5, 1800.

I had taken my passage for this day, and anticipated the pleasure of
dining with you on Saturday. But--but--these buts--how they mar all
the fine theories of life! But our friend Thomas Morris [5] has
entreated in such terms that I would devote this day and night to
certain subjects of the utmost moment to him, that I could not,
without the appearance of unkindness, refuse. He would, I know, at any
time, devote a week or month, on like occasion, to serve me. How,
then, could I refuse him one day? I could not.

But, again, more buts. _But_ after I had consented to give him a day,
I sent to take passage for to-morrow, and lo! the stage is taken by
the sheriff to transport criminals to the state prison. I should not
be much gratified with this kind of association on the road, and thus
I apprehend that my journey will be (must be) postponed until Friday,
and my engagement to dine with you until Monday.



New-York, January 15, 1801.


Your two letters have been received, and gave me great pleasure. We
are about to begin our journey to Albany. I propose to remain there
till the 10th of February; possibly till the 20th. If you should come
northward, you will find a letter for you in the postoffice of this

The equality of Jefferson and Burr excites great speculation and much
anxiety. I believe that all will be well, and that Jefferson will be
our president. Your friend,



Poughkeepsie, January 24, 1801.

Thus far have we advanced on this _terrible_ journey, from which you
predicted so many evils, Without meeting even with inconvenience. How
strange that Mr. Alston should be wrong. Do not, however, pray for
misfortunes to befall us that your character may be retrieved; it were
useless, I assure you; although I am very sensible how anxious you
must now be to inspire me with all due respect and reverence, I should
prefer to feel it in any other way.

We shall go from hence to Albany in a sleigh, and hope to arrive on
Sunday evening, that we may be _settled_ on Thursday. Adieu. Health
and happiness.



Albany, February 17, 1801.

I have heard that you reached Fishkill on Sunday, and thence conclude
that you got home on Monday night. When in Philadelphia, send a note
to Charles Biddle, inquiring, &c., and to inform him that you are
going South. He will call and see you, being one of your great
admirers. Desire Doctor Edwards to give Mr. Alston a line to Cesar
Rodney, of Wilmington, a very respectable young man. He will introduce
you to the venerable Dickenson, who, knowing my great respect for him
(which you will also take care to let him know), will be pleased to
see Mr. Alston and you on that footing. At Baltimore, either call
immediately on Mrs. Smith, or let her know of your arrival. You are to
wait in Baltimore until I overtake you, which will be on the 28th at
the latest. Adieu.



Washington, March 8, 1801.

Your little letter from Alexandria assured me of your safety, and for
a moment consoled me for your absence. The only solid consolation is
the belief that you will be happy, and the certainty that we shall
often meet.

I am to be detained here yet a week. Immediately on my return to
New-York I shall prepare for a tour to Georgetown or to Charleston;
probably a water passage.

I.B. Prevost has been hurrying off Senat and Natalie; but for his
interposition they would have relied wholly on me, and I had already
proposed that they should go with the chancellor some time in the
summer or autumn, which would have been then or never, as I had
pleased; but he (I.B.P.) has advised otherwise, and strongly urged
their immediate departure. I think I shall be able to prevent it.

Would Mr. Alston be willing to go as secretary to Chancellor
Livingston? I beg his immediate answer.

Adieu, ma chere amie.



Washington, March 11, 1830.

By the time the enclosed shall reach Mr. Alston, it will have
travelled about three thousand miles. It will certainly deserve a kind
reception. I leave mine open for your perusal; the other appears to be
from _Miss Burr_.

Your Dumfries letter was received yesterday. To pass a day in Dumfries
is what you could not at any time very much desire; but to pass one
there against your will, and a rainy day too, was indeed enough to try
your tempers.

On Sunday, the 15th, I commence my journey to New York; there I shall
not arrive till the 25th. Nothing but _matrimony_ will prevent my
voyage to Charleston and Georgetown; and even so great an event shall
only postpone, but not defeat the project I am sorry, however, to add
that I have no expectations or decided views on this subject. I mean

It gives me very great pleasure to hear that Colonel W. Hampton is
become, in some sort, your neighbour, by having purchased a plantation
within fifteen or twenty miles (as is said) of Georgetown. Write me if
this be so.

I have written to Frederick [6] as you commanded; that I might not err
in expressing your ideas, I enclosed to him your letter. You have no
warmer friend on earth; no one who would so readily hazard his life to
serve you. It always seemed to me that you did not know his value.

Certain parts of your letter I cannot answer. Let us think of the
expected meeting, and not of the present separation. God bless thee



New-York, Match 29, 1801.

On Wednesday, the 18th, I left the great city. At the Susquehannah the
wind was rude; the river, swollen by recent rains, was rapid. The
ferrymen pronounced it to be impossible to pass with horses, and
unsafe to attempt it. By the logic of money and brandy I persuaded
them to attempt it. We embarked; the wind was, indeed, too mighty for
us, and we drove on the rocks; but the boat did not bilge or fill, as
in all reason it ought to have done. I left Alexis and Harry to work
out their way; got my precious carcass transported in a skiff, and
went on in a stage to pass a day with "thee and thou." I was received
by the father with parental affection--but of "thee." How charming,
how enviable is this equanimity, if real. There is one invaluable
attainment in the education of this sect; one which you and I never
thought of: it is "_tacere_." How particularly desirable this in a

At Philadelphia I saw many--many, who inquired after you with great
interest--_sans doubte_. Among others I saw B., lovely and
interesting; but adieu to that. It cannot, must not, will not be; and
the next time I meet B., which will be in a few days, I will frankly
say so.

I approached home as I would approach the sepulchre of all my friends.
Dreary, solitary, comfortless. It was no longer _home_. Natalie and ma
bonne amie have been with me most of the time since my return (about
twenty-four hours past). My letters from Washington broke up that
cursed plan of J. B. P.; they do not go in the parliamentaire; they do
not know when they go; and, in short, they rely wholly on me, so that
thing is all right.

The elegant and accomplished Mrs. Edward Livingston died about ten
days ago. Mrs. Allen is in town; she is in better health than for
years past. As to my dear self, I am preparing with all imaginable
zeal for a voyage to Charleston. One obstacle interposes; that you can
conjecture. That removed, and I shall be off in forty-eight hours. I
hope to be at sea by the 20th of April; but, alas! perhaps not. In
eight days you shall know more of this.

Your letters have been received as far as Halifax. We conclude that
you got home on the 16th. It has been snowing here this whole day most
vehemently. You are blessed with "gentler skies." May all other
blessings unite.



New-York, April 15, 1801.

Your letters of the 24th and 25th March, received yesterday, give me
the first advice of your safe arrival at Clifton. The cordial and
affectionate reception which you have met consoles me, as far as any
thing can console me, for your absence.

My last will have advised you of the alteration in the plans of
Natalie. Of all this she will write you; but I must say a word of my
own plans. The ship South Carolina is now in port, and will sail on
Monday next. I wish to take passage in her; but a thousand concerns of
business and obstacles of various kinds appear to oppose. I shall
combat them all with the zeal which my ardent wishes for the voyage
inspire; yet I dare hardly hope to succeed. You shall hear again by
the mail of Saturday.

Your female friends here complain of your silence; particularly Miss
C., and, I am sure, _elle a raison_.

The reasons which you and your husband give against the voyage to
France concur with my judgment. You can go a few years hence more
respectably, more agreeably. Adieu, chere enfalit.



New-York, April 27, 1801.

Our election commences to-morrow, and will be open for three days. The
republican members of assembly for this city will be carried by a
greater majority than last year, unless some fraud be practised at the
polls. The corporation have bad the indecent hardiness to appoint
known and warm federalists (and no others) to be inspectors of the
election in every ward. Hamilton works day and night with the most
intemperate and outrageous zeal, but I think wholly without effect.

If any reliance may be placed on our information from the country,
Clinton will be elected by a large majority. The best evidence of
dispassionate opinion on this subject is, that bets are two to one in
his favour, and that the friends of Van Rensellaer wager with
reluctance with such odds.



New-York, April 29, 1901.

This morning will sail the brig Echo, the only vessel in harbour
destined for South Carolina. I do not go in her. With unspeakable
regret, therefore, the projected visit is abandoned--wholly and
absolutely abandoned. The pain of my own disappointment leaves me no
room for any sympathy with yours. There is one insurmountable
obstacle, which I leave you to conjecture. If that were removed, it
would yet, for other reasons, be barely possible for me to go at this
time. But enough of disappointment; let us talk of indemnifications.

On the 5th of June I must be at the city of Washington, After the 12th
I shall be at leisure, and will meet you anywhere. Write me of your
projects, and address me at that place. How can Mr. Alston,
consistently with his views of business, leave the state for five or
six months, as you have proposed, for your Northern tour?

Of the voyage to France I have written to you both about a fortnight
ago. I heartily applaud your judgment, and the motives which have
influenced it. You may by-and-by go in a manner much more

How very oddly your letters travel. That of the 30th March arrived on
the 15th, instant; and yesterday, those of the 6th and 13th by the
_same_ mail. To solve this phenomenon, I am led to believe that they
have moved with a velocity proportioned to the spirit which was
infused in them by the writer. Thus, the first crawled with a torpor
corresponding with its character. It reminded me of the letter of a
French lady, which I have shown you as a model of elegance. "_Mon cher
mari, je vous ecris parceque je n'ai rien a faire: je finis parceque
je n'az rien a dire_." This was, indeed, the substance of yours; but,
being spread over a whole page, the laconic beauty was lost, and the
inanity only remained. The second, a grave, decent performance,
marched with becoming gravity, and performed the Journey in
two-and-twenty days; but the third, replete with sprightliness and
beauty, burst from the thraldom of dulness, and made a transit
unparalleled in the history of the country.

You will find in this theory some incentive to the exertion of genius;
and I entertain no doubt but that, ere long, your letters will be sped
with the rapidity of a ray of light.

We have laughed at your horse negro, and have been very much amused by
the other charming little details. Thus letters should be written.

By this vessel I send two dozen pairs of long coloured kid gloves, and
half a dozen pretty little short ones, _pour monter a cheval._ They
are directed to your husband. I wish you would often give me orders,
that I may have the pleasure of doing something for you or your
amiable family.

I had like to have forgotten to say a word in reply to your inquiries
of matrimony, which would seem to indicate that I have no plan on the
subject. Such is the fact. You are or were my projector in this line.
If perchance I should have one, it will be executed before you will
hear of the design. Yet I ought not to conceal that I have had a most
amiable overture from a lady "who is always employed in something
useful." She was, you know, a few months past, engaged to another;
that other is suspended, if not quite dismissed. If I should meet her,
and she should challenge me, I should probably strike at once. She is
not of that cast, yet a preference to rank only is not very flattering
to vanity; a remark which may remind you of "_Le moi._"

Adieu, chere enfante.



New-York, May 26, 1801.

Another parlementaire is preparing in this port, and _ma bonne amie_
and Natalie are again preparing to sail; but you may rest assured that
they will not go. Their preparations are evidently mere form, and they
are ready to yield to gentle persuasion. Yet you must not delay your
voyage hither, to aid, if necessary.

But, for a reason much more weighty, you must hasten--_il faut_. I
want your counsel and your exertions in an important negotiation,
actually commenced, but not advancing, and which will probably be
stationary until your arrival; more probably it may, however, in the
mean time, retrograde. Quite a new subject.

Who should present himself a few days ago but A. Burr Reeve. He has
come, with the consent of his father, to pass some weeks with me--more
astonishment. I have put him in the hands of Natalie. She will find it
a hard job, but she has entered on the duty with great zeal and
confident hopes of complete success.

By the time this can reach you, you will be ready to embark for
New-York. You will find me in Broadway. Richmond Hill will remain
vacant till your arrival. Adieu.



New-York, August 20, 1801.

Mr. Astor, if he should not meet you to deliver this letter, will send
it after you. Yet I dare not trust to such hazards the letters which I
have received for Mr. Alston and you, I persevere, therefore, in the
determination to retain them.

I was so very solicitous that you should see Niagara, that I was
constantly filled with apprehension lest something might prevent it.
Your letter of the 29th of July relieves me. You had actually seen it.
Your determination to visit Brandt gives me great pleasure,
particularly as I have lately received a very friendly letter from
him, in which he recapitulates your hospitality to him in _ancient
days_, and makes very kind inquiries respecting you; all this before
he could have entertained the remotest idea of seeing you in his own

Natalie and M. Senat have been for some weeks past at Trenton ; they
are now on their return, and will be here to-morrow. Vanderlyn, of
whom I said something in my last, will immediately set about her
picture. They (Natalie and Senat) are to go with the chancellor about
the last of September.

Wheeler will be here in a few days. Hampton is actually married to a
charming young girl--so General M'Pherson tells me. I forget her name.
Mr. Ewing is appointed consul to London, and has sailed. Mrs. Allen is
still at Elizabethtown. Adieu.



New-York, September 18, 1801.

Mr. Vanderlyn, the young painter from Esopus, who went about six years
ago to Paris, has recently returned, having improved his time and
talents in a manner that does very great honour to himself, his
friends, and his country; proposing to return to France in the spring,
he wishes to take with him some American views, and for this purpose
be is now on his way through your Country to Niagara. I beg your
advice and protection. He is a perfect stranger to the roads, the
country, and the customs of the people, and, in short, knows nothing
but what immediately concerns painting. From some samples which he has
left here, he is pronounced to be the first painter that now is or
ever has been in America. Your affectionate friend,



Philadelphia, September 19, 1801.


I was yesterday afternoon favoured with your friendly letter of the
16th. On the subject of removal from office, it appears to my finite
judgment that it should be done sparingly, and only where it was
absolutely necessary. It is true, that the appointments during the
latter part of Mr. Washington's administration, and the whole of Mr.
Adams's, were partial. It will, I think, be prudent not to follow
their examples. Every man removed adds twenty enemies to republicanism
and the present administration, while it gives us not one new friend;
for that man whose patriotism depended on his getting a place for
himself or connexion, is neither worth attending to nor keeping right.
You must be sensible that a general assault from one end of the line
to the other will be made on the present administration. It is,
therefore, highly incumbent to be moderate, though firm, to prove to
the great body of the landed interest, the true support of good
government, that the present administration are the friends of an
equal, mild, economic, and just government. We may expect the
political vessel to be assailed by waves, but we must steer an even
straightforward course--united as friends in the same fate.

Your observation respecting the political state of South Carolina is
more flattering to me than I merit. My offering for senator is out of
the question; but I am not, neither shall I be inactive on that
occasion. I shall always feel happy in meeting you anywhere.

You will shortly see a statement of the Carolina election in print, by
a gentleman who was present. I was not present, though I believe I
know the facts. The thing will not be passed over without notice.
Circumstantial facts are collecting. I regret that my two letters from
Carolina at that time did not get to your hand. Your friend,



Albany, October 15, 1801.

Our Convention [7] met on Tuesday the 13th, and will probably continue
in session five or six days longer. I shall forthwith return to
New-York, beyond which I have no plan for the month of November,
except, negatively, that it will not be in my power to visit South
Carolina till spring.

On the road I passed half an hour with Mrs. L., late Mary A. She
appeared most sincerely glad to see me. She is still beautiful;
something ennuyed with the monotony of a country life; talked of you
with the warmest affection. It is really a fraud on society to keep
that woman perpetually buried in woods and solitude.

I am extremely solicitous to know how you get on. Pray make easy
journeys, and be not too impatient to get forward. Never ride after
dark, unless in case of unavoidable necessity, and then on horseback.
What a volume of parental advice. God bless you both.



New-York, November 3, 1801.

It is very kind indeed to write me so often. Your last is from
Petersburgh. "Like gods," forsooth; why, you travel like--; that,
however, was a very pretty allusion. I have repeated it a dozen times
and more. Your other letters also contain now and then a spark of
Promethean fire: a _spark_, mind ye; don't be vain.

And so--has returned _sans femme_; just now arrived. He saw you and
spoke to you, which rendered him doubly welcome to A. B.

You made two, perhaps more conquests on your Northern tour--King
Brandt and the stage-driver; both of whom have been profuse in their
eulogies. Brandt has written me two letters on the subject. It would
have been quite in style if he had scalped your husband and made you
Queen of the Mohawks.

Bartow, &c., are well. Mrs. Allen better. Mrs. Brockbolst Livingston
dead. Mrs. Van Ness has this day a son. Thus, you see, the rotation is
preserved, and the balance kept up.

There are no swaar apples this year; some others you shall have, and
"a set of cheap chimney ornaments." I have not asked the price, but
not exceeding _eight hundred dollars!_ Did you take away "The man of
Nature?" I proposed to have sent that with some others to L. N., but
you have thus marred the project.

Since I began this letter I am summoned to leave town two hours before
daylight to-morrow morning, to return next day, when I shall know
definitely the result of the sale, which, indeed, is the object of the
journey. On my return I passed a day with M. A. Monsieur is cold,
formal, monotonous, repulsive. Gods! what a mansion is that bosom for
the sensitive heart of poor M. Lovely victim! I wish she would break
her pretty little neck. Yet, on second thought, would it not be better
that he break his? _He_ is often absent days and weeks. _She_ has not
seen the smoke of a city in five years; but this is dull. I had
something more cheerful to say; this, however, came first, and would
have place. And here am I, at midnight, talking such stuff to
bagatelle, and twenty unanswered letters of _vast importance_ before
me! Get to bed, you hussy.


November 5.

This letter was nicely sealed up and laid on my table; late last night
I returned from the country, and found the letter just where I left
it. Very surprising! This was so like my dear self, that I laughed and
opened it, to add that Richmond Hill will probably be sold within ten
days for _one hundred and forty thousand dollars_, which, though not
half the worth, is enough and more.



New-York, November 9, 1801.

This fine day brings me your two letters from Raleigh and
Fayetteville, 28th and 30th of October. It is quite consoling to find
that you will have taken the precaution to inquire the state of health
before you venture your precious carcass into Charleston. A fever
would certainly mistake you for strangers, and snap at two such plump,
ruddy animals as you were when you left New-York.

You shall have apples, and nuts, and a cook, and _lucerne_ seed. As to
_femme de chambre_, I cannot speak with certainty. I have put in
motion the whole French republic on the occasion. Mrs. Kemble's friend
cannot be found. Most probably Madame S. has tortured into Gamble some
name which has not a letter of Kemble or Gamble in it.

Natalie sailed the Thursday after you left town, and she is probably
_now_ in Havre with her mother. A letter received from Madame d'Lage
[8] since Natalie sailed, advises us that she is there waiting for
her, which is indeed most fortunate, and relieves me from a small
portion of the anxiety which I suffer for that charming girl. Yet,
alas! there is room for too much. I expect to see her here within a

Anna wonders you do not write to her. It never occurred to her that
she had not written to you: so she is now occupied, and you may soon
expect at least twenty pages from her indefatigable pen. I am going to
see Board. There is an ancient story of a man who once gave life and
spirit to marble (you may read it in the form of a drama in Rousseau).
Why may not this be done again? The sale of Richmond Hill goes on, and
will, I believe, be completed within eight days. The price and the
terms are agreed; some little under works retard the conclusion.

Adieu, my dear Theodosia.



New-York, November 15, 1801.

I send the enclosed newspaper merely on account of the proceedings of
the Rhode Island legislature. They are on the second page. That, in
New-England, men should be found hardy enough to oppose, in public
speeches, the recommendation of a thanksgiving sanctioned by the usage
of one hundred and fifty years; that this opposition should prevail,
and the recommendation be rejected by a large majority of a House of
Assembly, are events the most extraordinary which the present
generation hath beheld.

It has been announced in your gazettes that I am to visit Charleston
this month. Nothing is more true than that my warmest wishes have
urged me to verify this expectation; but it is equally certain that I
shall do no such thing. When I expressed the hope of seeing your state
previously to the session of Congress, I did not know that I was
chosen a member of the Convention by the county of Orange, much less
could I foresee that I should be president of that Convention; and no
individual suspected that fifteen days would have been consumed in
accomplishing the business of six hours. These circumstances ought to
redeem my character, in this instance, at least, from the charge of
versatility or caprice, Vale.



Washington, November 18, 1801.


Your favour of the 10th has been received, as have been those also of
September 4th and 23d, in due time. These letters, all relating to
office, fall within the general rule which even the very first week of
my being engaged in the administration obliged me to establish, to
wit, that of not answering letters on office specifically, but leaving
the answer to be found in what is done or not done on them. You will
readily conceive into what scrapes one would get by saying _no_,
either with or without reasons; by using a softer language, which
might excite false hopes, or by saying _yes_ prematurely; and, to take
away all offence from this silent answer, it is necessary to adhere to
it in every case rigidly, as well with bosom friends as strangers.

Captain Sterret is arrived here from the Mediterranean. Congress will
have a question as to all the Barbary powers of some difficulty. We
have had under consideration Mr. Pusy's plans of fortification. They
are scientifically done and expounded. He seems to prove that no works
at either the Narrows or Governor's Island can stop a vessel; but to
stop them at the Hook by a fort of _eight thousand_ men, and
protecting army of _twenty-nine thousand_, is beyond our present ideas
of the scale of defence which we can adopt for all our seaport towns.
His estimate of _four millions of dollars_, which experience teaches
us to double always, in a case where the law allows, but (I believe)
_half a million_ ties our hands at once. We refer the case back to
Governor Clinton, to select half a dozen persons of judgment, of
American ideas, and to present such a plan, within our limits, as
these shall agree on. In the mean time, the general subject will be
laid before Congress. Accept assurances of my high respect and



New-York, November 20, 1801.

It is several days since I wrote to you, and many more since I
received a letter from you. That from Fayetteville is still the last.

"Gamble's" protegée could not be found. You will probably gain by the
exchange. That whom I shall send you is a good, steady-looking animal,
_agée vingt trois_. From appearance, she has been used to count her
beads and work hard, and never thought of love or finery. The enclosed
recommendation of Madame Dupont, the elder, will tell you more. You
are in equal luck with a cook. I have had him on trial a fortnight,
and he is the best I ever had in the house; for cakes, pastry, and
jimcracks, far superior to Anthony. In short, he is too good for you,
and I have a great mind not to send him; you will be for ever giving
good dinners. He has something of the manner and phisiognomy of Wood,
your teacher. _M'lle la femme de chambre and Monsieur le Cuisinier_
are both pure French (not creole), and speak well the language. He
will take with him a quantity of casseroles and other implements of
his etat. They will be shipped off next week.

The sale of Richmond Hill is all off; blown up at the moment of
counting the money, partly by whim and partly by accident; something
else will be done to produce the effect. I go to Philadelphia in two
or three days; but shall return, and not set off for Washington till
near Christmas. Mrs. A.'s health is much improved. God bless thee.



Philadelphia, November 26, 1801.

Your letter of the 7th of November, from _Yaahanee_, is received at
this place. Though I am in the house with Mr. and Mrs. Lowndes, and
several other Carolinians, yet we are wholly ignorant of your
position. No one ever heard of Yaahanee. I suspect it to be some
Mohawk word, which T. B. A. has been pleased to retain and apply--a
very pretty name, I acknowledge. Your reception has, indeed, been
charming; it reads more like an extract from some romance than matter
of fact happening in the nineteenth century within the United States.
I will ride fifty miles out of my way to see that lady.

The great business, as you are pleased to call it, has brought me
hither. Not merely to see the statue, nor have I yet seen it; but am
in the way. It will be a heavy job, considering that B. is on the
spot. To return to the business. It will go on; it must go on; it
shall go on. It will be Christmas before I see the city of Washington.
My lodgings are near the capitol, and next door to Law, who has
removed since we were together at his house. Your cook and maid must
be detained at New-York till my return, which will be in about eight

Your letter is pretty and lively, and indicates health, content, and
cheerfulness, which is much better than if you had told me so, for
then I should not have believed a word of it.

You have learned from the newspapers (which you never read) the death
of Philip Hamilton. [9]

Shot in a duel with Eacker, the lawyer. Some dispute at a theatre,
arising, as is said, out of politics. The story is variously related;
will give you a concise summary of the facts, in fifteen sheets of
paper, with comments, and moral and sentimental reflections. To this I
take the liberty of referring you.



New-York, December 8, 1801.

By the ship Protectress you will receive all your things, together
with cook and maid. To sail on the 14th. On the day of sailing I will
write to you, enclosing the bills of lading.

Your interesting letter of the 23d is this day received. It brings me
to the familiar acquaintance with your amiable circle, and admits me
to your fireside more than any thing you have written. Mrs. Allen is
here. Anna will, to all appearance, be married before spring to a
merchant of the name of Pierpont. Catharine is astonished that she has
not yet an answer to her letter. I have told her that she can by no
possibility have one before Christmas. In your reading, I wish you
would learn to read newspapers; not to become a partisan in politics,
God forbid, but they contain the occurrences of the day, and furnish
the standing topics of conversation. The reading of newspapers is a
knack which you will acquire in six weeks, by reading, during that
time, every thing. With the aid of a gazetteer and atlas, you must
find every place that is spoken of. Pray, madam, do you know of what
consist the "Republic of the Seven Islands?" Do you know the present
boundaries of the French republic? Neither, in all probability. Then
hunt them.

Now, one word of self. I came here on the 6th, and shall remain in
New-York till near the 20th. Then to Washington. The business is in a
prosperous way. My great love for the fine arts, especially sculpture,
may detain me a week in Philadelphia. Adieu, ma belle.



1. Mr. Burr had left the Senate previous to the date of this

2. This is not all. It has already been demonstrated, and the fact is
notorious, that, from the year 1777 until after the adoption of the
Federal Constitution, the Livingstons and Clintons were not acting in
concert. The Livingstons were of the Schuyler party. Before the
revolutionary war there were two great contending families in the
state of New York; but they were the Van Rensellaers and the
Delancies. The former espoused the whig cause, the latter the cause of
the tories.

3. George W. Irwin, subsequently minister to the court of Spain.

4. Major General Jacob Brown, late of the United States army.

5. Former United States Marshal of the Southern District of the state
of New-York, and son of that distinguished revolutionary financier,
the Honourable Robert Morris.

6. Frederick Prevost, son of Mrs. Burr by her first husband.

7. A Convention to revise the Constitution of the State; of which
Convention Colonel Burr was president.

8. The mother of Natalie.

9. Son of General Alexander Hamilton.



New-York, December 13, 1801.

Herewith is enclosed a duplicate of the bill of lading, specifying the
articles shipped for you on board the Protectress--She sailed this
afternoon. The president's message, of which a copy was sent you by
this ship, will have reached you through other channels long before
her arrival.

One idea contained in this message is much applauded by our ladies.
They unite in the opinion that the "energies of the men ought to be
principally employed in the multiplication of the human race," and in
this they promise an ardent and active co-operation. Thus, then, is
established the point of universal coincidence in political opinion,
and thus is verified the prophetic dictum, "we are all republicans, we
are all federalists." I hope the fair of your state will equally
testify their applause of this sentiment; and I enjoin it on you to
manifest your patriotism and your attachment to the administration by
"exerting your energies" in the manner indicated.

    "To kill is brutal, to create Divine."

I propose--now observe, this is not to be published--I propose early
in the spring to take a ramble with you through your mountains. You
had best say nothing of your project of a location in the hills until
it shall be executed; for, if competition should arise before you
shall be suited, it would increase the expense of an establishment. I
am impatient to hear that you are settled and at work. Very



New-York, December 15, 1801.


The enclosed copy of a letter from Captain Brandt to Isaac Chapin,
Esq., superintendent of Indian affairs in the state of New-York,
comprising (I conceive) the plan by him committed to me, and to which
he alludes in his letter to yourself, for introducing moral
instruction among the Indians. This plan, agreeably to his request,
was recommended by the superintendent, and, so far as it respects the
ordination of a missionary, has been accomplished.

It yet remains, Sir, to provide means of support; and when the
question respecting the instruction of their youth can be determined,
by what means and in what manner this shall be effected.

I will, at present, only use the freedom to suggest whether it might
not conduce to the furtherance and facilitating the above design to
appropriate for their accommodation a suitable portion of land at or
in the vicinity of Sandusky. Were the scattering tribes concentrated,
and with them some of their countrymen and others as patterns of
industry and morality, such circumstances must be highly favourable to
attempts to bring them into the habits of civilization.

I am, with great respect,



Grand River, May 7, 1800.


About three weeks since I received a message from Obeel to attend a
council at Buffalo, where I expected the pleasure of seeing you. We
attended and waited a few days; but the chiefs there not being ready
to meet us, and we having business which required our attendance at
this place, were under the necessity of coming away. Had I been so
fortunate as to have met you there, it was my intention to have
conversed with you upon a subject which I have long considered as most
important and interesting to the present and future well being of the
Indians, on _both sides_ of the lakes and at large; namely, their
situation in a moral point of view, and concerning measures proper to
be taken in order that regular and stated religious instruction might
be introduced among them.

You well know, Sir, the general state of the Indians residing on the
Grand River, as well as in other parts. A considerable number of some
of these nations have long since embraced Christianity, and the
conversion of others must depend, under the influence of the Great
Spirit, on the faithful labours of a resident minister, who might
visit and instruct both here and elsewhere, as ways and doors might,
from time to time, be opened for him.

The establishment and enlargement of civilization and Christianity
among the natives must be most earnestly desired by all good men; and
as religion and morality respect mankind at large, without any
reference to the boundaries of civil governments, I flatter myself
that you, sir, will approve what many of the chiefs here, with myself,
are so greatly desirous of.

I have in view, as I have before suggested, the welfare of the Indians
at large, being fully persuaded that nothing can so greatly contribute
to their present and future happiness as their being brought into the
habits of virtue and morality, which, I trust, may and will be
gradually effected by instruction, if properly attended and enforced
by example.

I well know the difficulty of finding a gentleman suitably qualified,
and willing to devote his life to the work of a missionary among them;
and especially one of talents and manners to render him agreeable in a
degree highly to favour his usefulness. And, in order to satisfy
myself in this respect, I have faithfully inquired and consulted, and
am clearly of opinion that Mr. Davenport Phelps, who is recommended as
a gentleman of virtue and respectable accomplishments, is the most
suitable character for this office of any one within my knowledge. My
long acquaintance with his family, and particular knowledge of him, as
well as the Opinion and wishes of the most respectable characters
among the white people in this vicinity, who earnestly wish, for
themselves as well as for us, that he may be ordained a missionary,
make me earnestly hope that you will officially recommend both the
design and him to the right reverend bishops in the United States, or
to some one of them, and to such other characters as you may think

From the consideration that religion and politics are distinct
subjects, we should not only be well satisfied to receive a missionary
from a bishop in the United States, but, for various other reasons,
would prefer one from thence. We shall be able here to do something
considerable towards Mr. Phelps's support; and I doubt not but others,
who have ability, will be disposed to assist in promoting so good a
work. I will add no more than that I have great satisfaction in being
confident of your friendly and influential exertions in this important
affair, and that I am, with great sincerity, yours, &c.,



New-York, December 15, 1801,

Yesterday Mr. Phelps, mentioned in the enclosed, delivered to me two
pairs of moccasins, directed--"From Captain Joseph Brandt to Mr. and
Mrs. Alston." Your ship having sailed, I don't know how or when I
shall forward them to you; but we will see. I send the original letter
of Captain Brandt merely to show how an Indian can write. It is his
own handwriting and composition. Upon this notice of his attention you
should write him a letter of acknowledgment for his hospitality, &c.,
which you may enclose to me at Washington.

Dear little Anna is shortly to be married to a Mr. Pierpont, whom I do
not personally know; but he is said to be rich and handsome--a young
man of industry and credit as a merchant. I think it will do pretty
well. E. has a lover--a man of consideration and property--measures
six feet eight inches and a half, shoes off; but so very modest that
they never will come to an explanation unless she shall begin. So no
more at present from your loving father,



New-York, January 2, 1802.

Since your departure the affair with Wood [1] has assumed a very
singular aspect. When I told the printers that the negotiation was at
an end unless they acceded to my proposition, it produced much
agitation ; and yesterday they called to inform me that they had taken
the opinion of good counsel on the subject; that their determination
was not to publish, but to hold you liable for the expenses. Wood
informs them that he acted merely as your agent; that all his
proposals were in strict conformity to your directions.

Davis and Swartwout are of the opinion that we ought to get the work
published in its present form, if possible:

1. Because our opponents say it unfolds the views of the federal
party; that it exposes their principal men, &c., and therefore we wish
to withhold it:

2. Because, if a new edition appears with the _same facts and
character_, they will say it has been subsequently introduced:

3. Because, if _it_ is brought out now, the attempt to check it will
have a favourable tendency.

How far these ideas are correct, and what steps are best to take, you
will now be able to determine, and instruct me accordingly. The truth
is, that instead of being unwilling and reluctant to suppress, they
dare not publish the work without indemnity. I am anxious to know your
opinion on the subject, and hope to hear from you on Tuesday next.

W. P. Van Ness.


Washington, January 12, 1802.

Just arrived at the city of Washington, this 12th day of January, A.
D. 18O2. I have only time, before closing of the mail, "to send you
these few lines, hoping they may find you in good health, as I am at
this present time," &c.

A form of salutation to be found in a public letter of Julius Cesar,
and in one of Cicero's familiar epistles.

Your letters which greet me here are of the 2d and 20th of December
only; only two. Why, I expected to find a dozen, and some of them down
to within three or four days of this date. Having a hundred letters
before me unread, I must defer writing to you for the present. Adieu.



Washington, January 16, 1802.

Your letter of the 20th December (the venison letter) is still the
last, though the Carolinians here have so late as the 3d and 4th of
January, of which I am a little jealous. It is quite unlucky that you
have been out of Charleston when your things arrived. How cook and
maid will dispose of themselves for the interim, I know not. Mighty
meek and humble we are grown. You really expect to do the honours of
your house _equal_ to, &c. I know better. It will be one of the most
cheerful and amiable houses in the United States. I am gratified that
you do not start with splendour; to descend with dignity is rare.

Pray make no definitive arrangements against the mountains. My heart
is set on running over them with Mr. Alston in the spring. Why may not
Papa Alston be weaned as well as Papa Burr? My movements must depend
on the adjournment of Congress. Some say we shall adjourn the middle
of April, and some the middle of June. As yet, I know nothing of the
matter; for, during the few days I have been here, I have been
enveloped in ceremonies. I am pleasantly lodged near the capitol.
Eustis opposite to me. Law and Iruko my nearest neighbours.

Good venison is not to be had at this season, and to send indifferent
any thing (except a wife) from New-York would be treason. Yet, on this
important subject, venison meaning, I have written to New-York. You
need not expect it, for I repeat that the best cannot now be had.

You must walk a great deal. It is the only exercise you can take with
safety and advantage, and, being in Charleston, I fear you will
neglect it. I do entreat you to get a very stout pair of over shoes,
or short boots, to draw on over your shoes. But shoes to come up to
the ankle bone, with one button to keep them on, will be best; thick
enough, however, to turn water. The weather has not yet required this
precaution, but very soon it will, and I pray you to write me that you
are so provided: without them you will not, cannot walk, and without
exercise you will suffer in the month of May. To be at ease on this
subject, you must learn to walk without your husband--alone--or, if
you must be in form, with ten negroes at your heels. Your husband will
often be occupied at the hours you would desire to walk, and you must
not _gener_ him: oh, never. Adieu.



Washington, February 1, 1802.


The newspapers will have shown the position of the bill now before the
Senate for the repeal of the act of last session establishing a new
judiciary system; and that the bill, when on its third reading, was,
by the casting vote of the vice-president, referred to a select
committee. This day notice has been given that a motion to discharge
that committee will be made to-morrow. It should be noted that the
arrival of Mr. Bradley has given a vote to the republican side; hence
it may be presumed that the committee will be discharged, and that the
bill will pass the Senate to-morrow, and that in the course of three
weeks it will become a law. I state this, however, as mere conjecture.

The constitutional right and power of abolishing one judiciary system
and establishing another cannot be doubted. The _power_ thus to
deprive judges of their offices and salaries must also be admitted;
but whether it would be _constitutionally moral_, if I may use the
expression, and, if so, whether it would be _politic_ and expedient,
are questions on which I could wish to be further advised. Your
opinion on these points would be particularly acceptable.

With entire respect and esteem,

Your obedient servant,



Washington, January 22, 1802.

Still silent. Yet is 20th December the latest date which I have
received from you; hence I infer that you have remained at Georgetown
much longer than was intended. Five weeks without hearing from you!
Intolerable. Now I think to repose myself in sullen silence for five
weeks from this date. I know that the apples and nuts will bring you
out again. Thus children are moved; but I also thought that a pretty
little letter, even without bonbons, would have done the same. I have
a very beautiful elegy on a lady whom you love better than any one in
the world; even better, I suspect, than L. N., and I was about to send
it, but I won't till I hear from you: a nice, handsome letter; none of
your little white ink scrawls. They talk of adjourning. No; I won't
tell you that either. I have nothing to say of myself, nor any thing
to ask of you which has not been often asked. Tell me that Mari is
happy, and I shall know that you are so. Adieu, my dear little
negligent baggage. Yes; one question. Do you leave your cards T. B. A.
or Joseph A.? What are L. N.'s? And one injunction repeated. Do not
suffer a tooth to be drawn, or any operation to be performed on your



Washington, February 2 1802.

Your letter of the 10th of January was the first evidence of your
existence which I had received for near a month preceding. I hope your
wife is allowed the use of pen, ink, and paper. Her letter, three days
later, has been also received. The successful "execution of your
energies" is highly grateful to me. It _seems probable_ that I shall
pronounce, in person, on the merit of the workmanship somewhere about
May day.

The repeal of the judicial system of 1801 engrosses the attention of
both houses of Congress. The bill is yet before the Senate. You may
have observed that some days ago it was referred to a special
committee by the casting vote of the vice-president. Bradley having
arrived two days ago, and the republicans having thus an additional
vote, the committee was this day discharged, and it is highly probable
that the bill will pass the Senate to-morrow. On this subject I
hesitate, though it is not probable that my vote will be required. Of
the constitutionality of repealing the law I have no doubt, but the
equity and expediency of depriving the twenty-six judges of office and
pay is not quite so obvious. Read the Constitution, and, having
informed yourself of the out-door talk, write me how you view the

It has for months past been asserted that Spain has ceded Louisiana
and the Floridas to France; and it may, I believe, be assumed as a
fact. How do you account for the apathy of the public on this subject?
To me the arrangement appears to be pregnant with evil to the United
States. I wish you to think of it, and endeavour to excite attention
to it through the newspapers. If you publish any thing, send me the
papers which may contain it.

Truxton is going out to the Mediterranean with three large and one
small frigate. Apprehensions are entertained that our good ally,
George III, does secretly instigate and aid the Barbary powers. We do
not know that Tunis has declared war, but such an event will not
surprise me.

I have not heard a syllable of any changes made or to be made in
offices in your state, and, for reasons well known to you, I shall
neither make an inquiry nor offer advice. C. Pinckney's nomination was
confirmed by one vote. All the other nominations have been confirmed,
mostly without opposition.

Theodosia writes me that the mountain plan is wholly abandoned for
Sullivan's Island. I do not, however, as yet abandon it; and, if I can
get hence early in April, I think of going direct to Columbia, there
to establish myself till you shall both condescend to visit me.

When you shall be both settled in your own house, I crave a history of
_one day,_ in the manner of Swift's journal to Stella; or, as you do
not like imitation, in your own manner. Vale.


TO THEODOSIA. Washington, February 2, 1802.

I have just received a pretty little letter from C. C., all on nice,
pretty figured paper, such as you love, and she talks a great deal
about you; the substance of it is, that you are an ugly, little, lazy,
stupid, good-for-nothing knurle, and that she is very sorry she ever
wrote you a line. I can't vouch for the very words, but I think this
is a fair abridgment of that part of her letter which concerns T. B.
A. I wish you would teach half a dozen of your negroes to write; then
you might lay on the sofa, and, if you could submit to the labour of
thinking and dictating, the thing would go on.

We make a pleasant society here, so that one may get through the
winter without ennui. I live at Mr. Law's, not nominally, but in fact.
Mrs. Madison is distant one mile. Anna Payne [2] is a great belle.
Miss Nicholson [3] ditto, but more retired; frequently, however, at
Mrs. Law's. But pray, miss (madam), as to busts and statues, all the
B.'s being out of the question, is there nothing in this line to be
found in South Carolina? I suppose it never came into your head to
think or inquire. Pray shake your little noddle, to give the brains,
if any there be, a little action; but who can do two things at once?
That's true. I forgive thee all thy sins, without any further penance
than that which you have imposed on yourself. But write C. and poor
little Anna, to congratulate her. Tell her what a fine fellow I learn
her husband is. Mrs. Anna Constable Pierpont.

We have a perpetual summer here. I am weary of it, though, in truth, I
care nothing about it. With you it must be burning hot.

The cook had only Peggy to aid him; but as Peggy is equal to about
forty South Carolina Africans, he is very reasonable if he asks only
thirty-five, and ought to be indulged. Your maid will make a miserable
housekeeper, and be spoiled as femme de chambre, which last character
is, I take it, the more important one. The poem or elegy is not sent,
and is not forgotten. I am now going to smoke a segar and pray for



Philadelphia, February 3, 1802.


I enclose you a letter for Commodore Truxton. Should he be gone to
Norfolk, please to forward it.

Every _gentleman_ here, and, what I am sure you think of much more
consequence, every _lady_, was much pleased with your vote on the
judiciary bill. Those who do not think it unconstitutional to repeal
the law are of opinion it would be very injurious to do it. Your



New-York, February 4, 1802.


What a racket this vile judiciary law makes. It must be repealed; but
how the judges, who have their appointment during good behaviour, are
to be removed without making a breach in the constitution, is beyond
my abilities to develop. It will not, however, be the first assault on
that instrument; and, if two wrongs could make one right, this account
might be squared. But that horrid law must, indeed it must, be

I have received your two favours, one dated the 28th of January, and
the other without date. The effect of the abolition of the internal
taxes on Mr. Osgood [4] gives me no concern. He has plenty of other
business, and money enough without the income from his office.

God bless you; you have my prayers always; and who dare say they are
not as good as a bishop's, or any member of a Presbyterian synod?
Sometimes I think I'll turn Presbyterian, that I may have the benefit
of their prayers not to outlive my useful days; an event I deprecate
above all others, and this is a prayer I never heard in our church--I
mean my church, which, you know, is the Episcopal. Most sincerely your


FROM JOHN M. TAYLOR. Philadelphia, February 5, 1802.


I had the pleasure of writing you some days ago, since which there are
petitions circulating through the city for a repeal of the judiciary
system. My own opinion is that there is no necessity for such a
measure, as the two houses of Congress have the subject before them,
and their decision will be had ere the petitions can be sent forward,
and I have no doubt it will be repealed.

I have reasoned with all those who thought you ought to have voted
against it being referred to the committee of five, that your
intention must have been to afford the opposite party time to discuss
the subject fully, so that they might not say of you and your friends
(as Governeur Morris has said) that they pertinaciously forced it on
the then minority. I think it is better to give them time.

Yours, very respectfully,


FROM MRS. *******.

New-York, February 9, 1807.

At the sight of my writing you will exclaim--" She is unhappy, or she
would not write to me." 'Tis not so, my dear friend; I am neither more
nor less happy than when you left here. With every passing day I have
resolved to inform you of my health, but from day to day it has been
deferred, till I suppose my very existence is forgotten. Let me, then,
awaken your recollection, by presenting to you the image of my
thoughts, and retrace, however faintly, the impression I once
flattered myself to have made on your memory.

Tell me how you do, and how you pass your time. Taking lessons of
Wisdom from your Minerva? or flying after the Atalanta's of Virginia,
more swift than their celebrated racers? or, more probably, poring
over musty records; offering your time, your pleasures, your health,
at the shrine of Fame; sacrificing your own good for that of the
public; pursuing a chimera which ever has and ever will mock the
grasp; for, however the end may be crowned with success, the motives
will be questioned, and that justice which has been refused to a
Regulus, a Brutus, a Publius, who can hope for?

I once admired for device a _skyrocket_, and for motto--_Let me perish
so I be exalted_." I afterward changed my opinion, and preferred the
_glow-worm_ twinkling in a hedge. But I now reject them both. They
strike for a moment, but neither of them are impressive; and it is
thus, in changing, we pursue that something "which prompts, the
eternal sigh," which never is, which never can be attained. These
reflections arise continually on my reading the newspapers, where your
actions are so freely canvassed and so illiberally censured. They
often excite my wrath; but when I consider that my anger can no more
check their calumnies than the splendour of your reputation be clouded
by their impotent attempts, my indignation subsides, and I console
myself by saying,

  "Vain his attempt who strives to please them all."



Washington, February 21, 1802.

Your letter of the 31st, accompanied by a note dated 1st February,
came by the mail of yesterday. A few lines from Mr. Alston, received
some days before, advised me of your journey to Clifton, and of the
distressing occasion. My heart sinks within me when I think of that
lovely and disconsolate woman. Your conduct was worthy of you and of
my daughter. She must be restored to reason and to life, by being
convinced that she has some motive for enduring existence. If no other
can be shown, at least she can be persuaded that she is necessary to
you. But I learn from your letter, though you say nothing of it, that
although she feels with anguish, yet she will not sink into
despondency. This testifies a mind of that dignity and firmness which
you had taught me to expect.

Nothing could have been more fortunate than the revival of the
project. It will divert the attention and summon up the spirits. You
must not condemn; it would be better to cherish it. Enter into all the
details. Transport yourselves to Europe, and there take a nearer view
and more accurate estimate of the dangers and advantages. Let those
who oppose it offer something in lieu. What! is she to wear out her
youth and beauty, dissipate her talents, and exhaust her spirits
without an object in life or a place in society? Without enjoyment,
without distinction? These hints will make you think I may hereafter
say more.

My life has no variety, and, of course, no incident. To my feelings
your letters are the most important occurrence. I am blessed with
three of them in three months. It did not use to be so. It would be no
excessive encroachment on your precious time to give me an hour twice
a week the evening preceding the post days. This I shall expect; _and
then_, and after one more communication, to be presently mentioned, I
will write definitely as to my spring projects.

It is of sculpture: a hint in your last indicates that you have
something in view. Be pleased to give me name and description, in some
mystical, sybillistical way, which, in case of robbery of mail, will
not disclose too much. One letter may contain the name, and another
the comment--_"Car ou l'arreter?_" is rather too mystical. I can make
nothing of it, having studied it a full hour to no purpose.

I entreat that you will always enclose your letter in a blank sheet,
on which is to be the seal and superscription. Health and blessings.


TO THEODOSIA Washington, February 23, 1802.

On the 4th day of March next I propose to write you of certain matters
and things of high import, heretofore touched, but not elucidated to
the entire satisfaction of all the parties concerned, if, in the mean
time, you shall be of good behaviour.

This, however, was not what I sat down to say, nor can I by any
possible means recollect what it was; but, in truth, I had something
to communicate or something to ask. I don't know which. That we have a
great snow storm and cold weather (now) will be no news to you, for
they will undoubtedly both be at Charleston long before this letter.

I project, as you may have understood, a journey southward at some
time, yet nameless, during the current year (or century). Now, if my
evil stars or good ones should, against my will and my judgment, take
me through Norfolk, I am ruined and done; and there my journey will
most infallibly end. That I had better be hanged or drowned, you will
readily agree. The antidote or preventative is in your hands, or, if
you please, head. The bust, slightly referred to in the letter of the
1st of February, has occupied some of my waking and sleeping moments.
Be more particular, and especially the estimated value in dollars and
cents; also, in what year or era manufactured, and the character and
merit of the work, as it strikes your fancy, but with some minuteness.
You know my rage for sculpture has cost me some money and led me into
some bad bargains. Thank God, I have got rid of them _all._ If you
will have _Pet_ or _Peet, Peter, Peter Yates, Peter Alston, Petrus
Burr_ (or by every other name he may be known) taught to write a good
hand, and make me a present of him, I will subscribe myself your very
much obliged and humble servant,



1. The author of "A History of John Adams's Administration." This
letter relates to the suppression of that book, which, although its
publication was suspended for a time, was published according to the
advice of General John Swartwout and M. L. Davis

2. Sister of Mrs. Madison.

3. Daughter of Commodore James Nicholson, and sister of Mrs. Gallatin.

4. Samuel Osgood, Commissioner of Internal Revenue



Washington, February 22, 1802.

Never were orders obeyed with more promptitude and effect. It is not
twelve hours since I desired (directed) you to write, and lo! a letter
dated the 9th of February. And even "enclosed in a blank sheet of
paper." A zealous manifestation of reciprocity is due to such
respectful attention, and thus, in obedience to the high commands of
T. B. A., I do most sincerely and devoutly execrate all the postboys
and the legislatures of the two most noble states the Carolinas.

You women: it is so with you all. If one wishes to exhibit the best
side, one must provoke you. Gratify your wishes and expectations, or,
still worse, anticipate them, and it produces a lethargy. How have I
laboured for three months, working and writing to please a certain
lady: nothing comes but inanity and torpor. I provoke her, and behold
the effusions of spirit and genius. Be assured that I shall not
speedily relapse into the same error. Indeed, I knew all this before;
but I thought it was only one's mistress that was to be thus
managed--it is sex.

For certain reasons of state, neither the name nor the epitaph can yet
be given ; nor can it now be said precisely when. The verses are
allowed to be very beautiful. Those on the anniversary of the wedding
were received (this day) in the presence of two poets and a poetess,
who said handsome things of them. The _ess_ being a maiden of
thirty-five, drew a deep sigh.

Indeed, it is impossible to say, for I never before heard of such a
thing as that any public body should "ajourn." They do commonly
adjourn; and if, perchance, this should be what you mean, and you
shall write me so, I will do my best to give you a categorical answer.

Natalie arrived at Orleans on the twenty-sixth day; meaning that she
had twenty-six days' passage. She has written both from Orleans and
Nantz. Her letters are full of good sense, of acute observation, of
levity, of gravity, and affection. No news of her mother, Adieu,



Washington, February 26, 1802.

The arrival of your letter of the 14th justifies me in noticing you by
this mail. Your newspapers of the same date, and also of the 15th,
contain particulars of the races; but so technically expressed that I
comprehend nothing of it. Your story is quite intelligible as far
forth as it is legible. I am very glad that Papa Alston has won once.
It is, I am told, the first time in his life. Where is Hampton all
this while, that you say nothing of him? Already I have told you that
on the 4th of March I shall say something of the adjournment, if, in
the mean time, you behave well. I shall not go first to New-York. Send
back your chairs. General Smith's carriage has just ran away with four
ladies, viz.: Mrs. Smith, Miss Speare, Miss Smith, and Mrs. Law. Miss
Smith was taken up dead, and brought home dead. After twenty-five
minutes she began to show signs of life. In two hours she began to
know those about her, and now (three hours) she is perfectly well; and
having been stripped and thoroughly examined, it cannot be discovered
that she has received the slightest injury, save being frightened to
death, as before mentioned. Miss Speare came off unhurt. Mrs. Smith
and Mrs. Law are much bruised. You will, I hope, understand that the
horses ran off with the carriage, and not that the carriage, of its
own mere motion, ran off with the ladies. Adieu.



Washington, February 27, 1802.

Last evening Eustis happened in my room while I was at Smith's
(opposite); he saw the cover of your letter, and the few lines which
it contains. He wrote what you will find enclosed, and left it on my
table. His cure is radical; that which I recommend is temporary.

A dull, raw, misty, vile day. Mrs. Law confined to her bed, as I
expected, but not dangerous. The Smiths doing pretty well.

The judiciary bill debating in the House of Representatives, being the
last day of the second week devoted _exclusively_ to that subject. It
may and it may not be finished next week. When this shall be done
with, we may be able to make some sort of calculation as to the
duration of the session.

Your last letter is pleasant and cheerful. Careless, incorrect,
slovenly, illegible. I dare not show a sentence of it even to Eustis.
God mend you.



Washington, March 4, 1802.

You have supposed it to be from malice that I have not written you of
the adjournment and of my intentions. The truth is, that I know little
more of those matters than you do, and I have chosen rather to
postpone it _en badinant_ than to write you crude conjectures; yet I
can do but little more at present.

I left New-York with a determination not to return till I should have
seen you and Charleston, and I arranged my business for an absence of
six months. I had hoped that the session of Congress would close by
the 15th of March or the 1st of April. On my arrival here every one
said so, and I had like to have written it to you; but appearances did
not seem to justify the expectation of a short session. The business
is hardly commenced, and I see no prospect of an adjournment until
some time in May. This is a great embarrassment; and your project of
remaining on the coast is another. I could, with pleasure, have passed
the summer with you in the mountains; but the heat and dissipation of
Sullivan's Island is not so inviting. All this, however, is nothing to
the purpose of your inquiry. To come to the point. I still propose to
go South the instant I can disengage myself from this place; which may
be a very few days before the close of the session. I shall be at
least twenty days on the road. I entreat you, however, not to excite
any expectation on the subject of my visit; not even to mention my
intentions, until we shall see how far it may be in my power to
execute them. The judiciary bill being out of the way, I am in hopes
we shall engage zealously in the despatch of business. Of this matter
I shall write further when I shall receive answers from you to my late
letters. They may hasten or retard my movements a little, but not
much. Adieu.



Washington, March 8, 1802.

From an accurate attention to the dates of your letters, I discover
that you write on Sunday only; that if, by accident or mental
indisposition, to which people in warm climates are liable, the
business should be put off for that day, it lays over to the next
Sunday, and so to a third or fourth, according to exigences, active or
passive. Your letter, dated the 22d, but, in fact, written on Sunday
the 21st, was received by the mail preceding the last, which brought
nothing. This letter is a confirmation of my theory of provocations,
which I have lately enlarged and more accurately defined, deducing it
from philosophical principles, and adapting it to different
_climates_. When this volume shall be ready for publication, I propose
to add, in an appendix, by way of illustration, a series of our

What you say of Huger shall receive due attention. Which _Maria_ did
your husband go for, the biped or the quadruped? It is impossible to
determine from any thing in your letter. On the subject of busts you
are more whimsical than even your father; just now you had something
in view; but, on the 22d of February, "worse than any part of the
United States." I have no time to give you now an explanation of your
ice phenomenon, but will talk with T.I. and W.E. on the subject. Your
last was sealed _on the writing_, a vulgarism which I again condemn.



Washington, March 8, 1802.

At the moment of closing your letter, this scrap of a newspaper [1]
caught my eye, and is sent for your amusement. It is aimed at Aaron
Burr, by whom, it is well known, the publication of the book [2] is
delayed or suppressed. The book consists of five hundred pages,
principally low scurrility and illy-told private anecdotes; with about
thirty pages of high eulogium on A. B. There may, for aught I know,
have been twenty other publications criminating the person by whom the
work has been suppressed. They are so utterly lost on me, that I never
should have seen even this, but that it came enclosed to me from a
friend in New-York, who is solicitous for _my honour_, &c.

You may judge of the purity and decency of the book when I mention
that some dozen of persons, by name, are charged with being bribed by
British gold, and there is a surmise that General Pinckney is not
reputed very _honest_. Of all the federal men, General Hamilton alone
is treated with respect, even to flattery. My "solicitous friend" has
given me a curious fact, of which I was ignorant till the receipt of
his letter. Barlas, a Scotchman, the publisher of the book, is private
tutor to the children of General Hamilton. Adieu.



Washington, March 8, 1802.

I learn, with a good deal of regret, that the mountain plan is
abandoned; at least, that no measures are taken or meditated for its
execution. I should cheerfully acquiesce in any reasons founded on
motives of economy, convenience, regard to law business, or personal
influence; but the solitary one assigned to me by Theodosia is, that
you and she _"may be near papa and mamma"_. Of this, too, I
acknowledge the force; yet it might be considered that the mountain
residence was intended for certain months only, and that during the
residue (the greater part) of the year, papa and mamma might indulge
their fondness. I had seen, or fancied that I saw in this project the
assurance of health to yourself and wife, and sound constitutions to
your children; profit in the location; amusement and economy in the
residence, and an increase of your influence and connexions. How far
it might comport with professional engagements, if seriously pursued,
was not considered. One personal motive, I confess, might have
influenced my judgment; the pleasure I had promised to myself in
passing the summer with you, and in projecting little schemes of
improvement and occupation. It is, indeed, with some hesitation that I
shall visit your coast after the middle of May, and there is now no
prospect of an adjournment of Congress before that time. Nevertheless,
I shall come, though _at your hazard_, which, you know, would be a
great consolation to me if I should be caught by a bilious fever in
some rice swamp. The situation of Theodosia, so far from being an
objection, ought, in my mind, to be an additional and strong motive.
With her Northern constitution she will bring you some puny brat that
will never last the summer out; but, in your mountains, one might
expect to see it climb a precipice at three weeks old. Truly, I mean
to be serious, and beg to know whether you have, in fact, resolved,
and whether the resolution has, in good faith, been the result of
reflection or of inertness. You will pardon the surmise. I allow
something for the climate, much for the influence of example; and
then, considering the uncommon warmth of the winter! it must be
fatiguing even to talk of any thing requiring exertion.

The rapidity, however, with which your house has been furnished and
established ought to redeem your wife from any share in this reproach.
On the 22d of February I find her fully occupied in those concerns,
with hopes of accomplishing the object by the time of my arrival. She
was then, however, taking an eight days' repose, that she might renew
her labours with more vigour at the expiration of that time. But,
again, gravely I inquire where I am to find you about the middle or
last of May. I presume, in the place where this will find you.
Locomotion is labour.

I entreat your prompt attention to the enclosed memorandum, from my
good friend Mr. Law. He says that Chisholm has never informed him of
the disposition of the indents mentioned in his letter, of which the
enclosed is a copy. Pray inquire and advise me. The thing is of small
moment; but I should be gratified in the occasion to show an interest
in his concern, for I am daily overwhelmed by the multiplied
kindnesses of himself and wife.

The gazettes will tell you better, I suspect, than I can what is doing
in the House of Representatives. The sloth with which things move is a
daily source of vexation to me, as tending to protract the session. I
dine with the president about once a fortnight, and now and then meet
the ministers in the street. They are all very busy: quite men of
business. The Senate and the vice-president are content with each
other, and move on with courtesy.

Your Rutledge will be in Charleston in the course of this month. I
hope you are on terms of civility with him, for I receive from him the
most marked politeness. He will tell you of many strange things. God
bless you ever.



Philadelphia, March 13, 1802.


Mr. Eckfeldt brought me five medals, four of which I sent by Mr. Ross;
the other shall be disposed of as you direct. The die of Truxton's
medal broke after fifty-two had been struck. I suppose Truxton will
feel more pain for this accident than he would to hear of the death of
his friend T. Coxe.

You mentioned that if Murray wrote in favour of Richard Jones, you had
no doubt he would be appointed a midshipman. If the Secretary of the
Navy sees the enclosed letter, perhaps he will give him a warrant. It
could be forwarded by Commodore Truxton, who I do not expect will sail
before the 1st of April. Although I frequently trouble you about
different persons, believe me, my clear Sir, I do not wish you to do
any thing whatever that will be disagreeable to you.

Mrs. Wilkinson is much obliged to you for your friendship to the
general, which she says she will never forget. When James [3] sailed
he desired I would inform you that he would write you as soon as he
had any thing worth writing about. I believe you have no friend feels
a warmer attachment to you than James. Sincerely yours,



Easton (Maryland), March 13, 1802.


I have long had it in serious contemplation to address a letter to
you, but have frequently been restrained, from a knowledge that your
time has been and still is devoted to public service, and that every
moment is precious; and often I have been prevented by my own
avocations and engagements on this our bustling stage. I have vanity
enough to think I possessed a share of your esteem and friendship,
which could only originate from your belief that I had a claim to the
virtues, truth, candour, and sincerity. I detest the character of a
hypocrite, and flatter myself no part of my past conduct can fix it
upon me. Then permit me, with solemn truth, to declare, that when I
see your name in the prints, I feel involuntarily an animating glow,
and it immediately brings to my recollection incidents sometimes
producing pleasing, and at others painful sensations, in which we have
been mutually engaged and gone hand in hand. Although, to borrow the
language of our president, there may exist shades of political
difference between us, I have been your defender; and it was well
understood and known that I spoke from an intimate acquaintance with
you as a soldier and a gentleman.

Frequent reflection upon the various scenes we have encountered
together has led me to lament the great distance that has so long
prevented any social intercourse; but if the following description of
a new route, when you revisit New-York, meets your approbation, I may
again have the happiness of a friendly salute of the hand. I have
travelled from Philadelphia to Annapolis, _via_ Baltimore, and ever
thought it a rugged road. I propose that you should come to Annapolis,
where exceeding commodious passage-boats constantly ply, and you will
in a few hours be landed at Haddaway's, upon our eastern shore, from
whence a line of stages run to Philadelphia.

Upon this route you will see a great number of your friends, added to
which there will be novelty and ease. I cannot, indeed, promise you
any romantic objects, such as _Caratoncka_ or Morenci Falls, or
gigantic mountains, such as we clambered together in 1775; but you
will see a country approaching a high state of cultivation, and a
number of towns, the most of which bear evident marks of daily
improvement. Between these towns are interspersed gentlemen's seats;
some of them beautifully situated, and the inhabitants generally
affable, courteous, and hospitable. As to your ease, if you do not
travel in your own carriage, you will find the horses and carriages
equal to any others; the public houses comfortable, the country
abounding with the good things of this world, whether flesh, fish, or
fowl, and the road good, having occasionally what may with propriety
be called gentle ascents and descents. My friends, Mr. Robert Wright,
of the Senate, and Joseph H. Nicholson, of the House, who live
directly on the road I have described, will confirm what I have
written. Let me, then, once again enjoy your company, and that at my
own hermitage. I shall be gratified by introducing the old lady, my
two girls, and my boy to the companion and friend of my youth. They
will endeavour to make their _lillapee_ of a superior savour to what
our cooks in days of yore could do for us. And although, as Partridge
says, "non sum qualis eram," I shall certainly use my best exertions,
while with us, to render your time agreeable.

Your sincere and old friend,



Washington, March 14, 1802.

Your letter of the 1st, postmarked the 3d, was received last evening.
I regret that L. N. did not come to town, believing that you only
could console her; that she would make you an intelligent companion;
and that you could restore the tone of her mind, without diminishing
the firmness of your own.

Papa's present was the most gallant and charming thing that could have
been imagined. By Mr. Rutledge, who goes to-morrow, I send this papa a
little token which has been some weeks waiting for an opportunity. Mr.
Rutledge will tell you how I do, and what I do, and, _to an hour_,
when Congress will adjourn. He sets off to-morrow, and will be in
Chilton about four days after this letter; of course, I do not write
by him.

It is probable that the box went with the ship which took your first
cargo; but, as no one paid the least attention to the landing of the
articles, nor to compare the delivery with the invoice, it may have
been left on board. I will, however, write to New-York.

The story of P. is a fable. We are on the best terms, and he calls
very often to see me. The elegy may now be seen in the newspaper,
which, considering how nearly it touched you, I thought the best mode
of communication. Avoid sights. You say nothing of the progress of
housefurnishing and housekeeping.

Your last was sealed, as too often before, on the writing. If your
_Mari_ denies you a sheet of paper to enclose a letter, pray lay out
_one_ of your four hundred dollars for this purpose. Adieu, ma chere


P. S. Somebody (I believe the Spectator) says that a postscript is
always the most important part of a lady's letter. This, then, will be

I have had three letters from Natalie. All full of interest and
amusement. Her remarks are equal to those of Lady Mary W. Montague for
their truth and spirit, and far superior to any of our diplomatic
communications. She is to travel from Nantz to Paris (about four
hundred and fifty miles) _with her maid and postillion only_: an
enterprise which no woman in France under forty hath executed without
shipwreck during the last hundred years. Yet Natalie will do it
without injury and without suspicion. I have taught her to rely on
_herself_, and _I_ rely on her pride.

I have said, and truly, that the story of P. is a fable. It may,
however, by remote concatenation, and with the aid of great fancy and
a little malice, have grown out of a trifling and ridiculous incident
which took place at New-York, and which I am sure you have heard. P.
was laughed at, and has behaved better ever since. There are at least
twenty (my neighbour, Mrs. Law, says fifty) such anecdotes now
circulating in this vicinity, _all equally unfounded_. Without any
appeal, therefore, you may contradict all such as are inconsistent not
only with truth, but with probability. A lady of rank and consequence,
who bad a great curiosity to see the vice-president, after several
plans and great trouble at length was gratified, and she declared that
be was the very ugliest man she had ever seen in her life. His bald
head, pale hatchet visage, and harsh countenance, certainly verify the
lady's conclusion.

Your very ugly and affectionate father,



Wilmington, March 15, 1802.


This will be delivered to you by Dr. A. Alexander, of Newcastle, in
this state. He has ever been a uniform and firm friend to the
principles of our late glorious revolution. He has served many years
in the capacity of a senator, and also of a representative in our
legislature, and can give you particular information as to the public
pulse here. He is a personal friend of mine; one whom I can recommend
in the strongest terms.

I had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 10th inst. on yesterday,
and was very happy to hear from you. The advice you kindly give me I
shall cheerfully take. It has ever been my maxim to be moderate but
firm. _Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re_, should be an axiom with all
politicians. We continue to progress in the high way of republicanism,
and you will find, by our toasts, we have not forgot one of its ablest
supporters. [4] With great personal regard,

Your sincere friend.



Washington, March 19, 1802.

From your letter of the 6th, received last evening, I infer that you
are in some sort settled in your own house; that you pleased yourself
on that day is very grateful; that, too, I should have inferred from
the spirit of your letter. By the "attack on Sullivan's Island" was
intended an attack on the plan of residence.

I am just going on an errand to Baltimore, _de retour_ on Tuesday; so
that by the next mail you will have nothing from me. Where will you be
from the 10th to 15th May? In Charleston, Sullivan's Island, or
Clifton? Is L. N. coming to live with you? I am quite charmed with
John and Sally. Preparations for Baltimore occupy me so entirely that
I cannot even think of you by this mail. Adieu.

A. B.

March 20.

The preceding was written the morning of yesterday. I folded, and
directed, and took it to Senate, thinking there to add a word. At ten
last night I found it lying in my pocket. The weather (rain) has
prevented my Baltimore jaunt which was planned for this day. The hope
of an early adjournment recedes. In short, all is uncertainty. It will
depend more on the thermometer than on the progress of business. When
the heat shall be intolerable here, shall I set my face towards the
sun? I think I will. If you had been in the mountains! but that is not

Natalie arrived in Paris the 31st December; her mother not there; but
numerous friends, who fatigue her with civilities. Her heart is in the
United States.

This will remain in the postoffice till the 23d. If, in the mean time,
I receive a letter from you, a supplement will accompany this. Adieu.



Wilmington, March 20, 1802.


I have perused with much pleasure the papers enclosed in your
highly-acceptable favours. The proposed state will possess the
republican tone, and give additional weight to the scale which already
so strongly preponderates. The repeal of all internal taxation will be
sensibly felt by the people, and will _popularize_ our administration.
The expense of collecting those taxes, in consequence of the swarm of
pensioners attached to them, points them out as the proper object of
retrenchment. The brown-sugar gentry in Congress; your tea-sippers and
salts-men (not Attic), who, by-the-by, have laid all those duties,
cannot _agitate_ the public mind on those topics.

I am happy to discover in the proceedings of the republicans so much
moderation, firmness, and unanimity. I trust their opponents will not
hereafter think they want _nerve_. This conduct forms a striking
contrast with federal gasconade; and the effect of those things, in a
free country, is not easily calculated by common rule.

The polite and kind invitation you give me I should certainly accept
of if in my power. I had thought seriously of it some weeks back; but
you must know I have purchased a little tract of land adjoining Dr.
Tilton's, which I once showed you, and have cut out abundant work for
the season. This, Dr. Tilton says, is to restore my health perfectly.
There are many friends at Washington it would give me great pleasure
to see, but none more than yourself.

Must sincerely yours,



Washington, March 29, 1802.

The sermon, for which I am indebted to your goodness, is now returned,
with many thanks for the loan.

I have perused it with pleasure, and, I hope, profit. It is an
excellent treatise, worthy of the attention of every man, and more
emphatically so of men in high and responsible stations in government.

Our time is short, my friend, too short to allow an opportunity of
retrieving almost any misspense of it; much more so to allow a
redemption for any neglect to perform great public services when once
happily in our power. God grant that you may be profited by this, and,
in turn, be more profitable to this distracted nation.



New-York, March 30, 1802.


Yesterday I was favoured with your obliging letter of the 23d inst. by
Mr. Peter Townsend; also, with a most beautiful silver medal from the
die I have presented you. It is in the highest polish and perfection.
In respect to the tin medal and its case, I have only heard of them
from you, as I never received either, or a single line from Mr.
Dallas. But men so much engaged in business seldom have time to attend
to such small affairs.

When you see Dr. Murray, present my affectionate respects to him; he
is, indeed, an old and highly esteemed friend. As to news, I never
expect any from statesmen high in office. So far as the session of the
Congress has proceeded, _I_, poor little _I_, am satisfied with what
they have done. Taxes and law diminished should be approved of by the
many. The stricken deer will weep; but the powerful will, I trust, be
generous to those who are not malignant. The charming Miss Church was,
on Thursday, married to Mr. Cruger. But I have a more serious piece of
news for your private ear. Young Secretary Sumter, on the passage to
Europe, fell desperately in love with Miss Natalie d'Lage. They landed
at Nantz, near her mother's chateau. The old lady is a furious
royalist, and will not hear of her daughter's being married to a
republican; perhaps you know more than I can tell you what is likely
to be the result.

Mr. Townsend goes so immediately to Orange county, that he prevents my
intended civilities; but I trust be will hereafter put it in my power
to cultivate his acquaintance. For any thing I see, your session will
be shortly over.

Judge Brockholst Livingston took his seat in the City Hall yesterday.
This phenomenon (what shall I call it?) in office or in policy has
caused a grumbling in the legislature, where it seems to be laid aside
for future contention; but you will hear more from your
correspondents. I am told it is nicknamed the Livingston act. My Mary
is well, and has every desire to oblige you.

Affectionately yours,



New-York, April 3, 1802.


I am favoured with yours of the 30th ult., with its enclosure. The
subject contained in my letter of the 22d to you has, in several
instances, become so important, that I wrote yesterday to Mr. Gallatin
on the same business.

You are, in general, so apt to decide promptly and correctly, that if
you had at once told me my construction of the law referred to was
right, I should have wanted no more. We begin to look better in the
city--alarms are less frequent, confidence is gaining, and business

I have just received permission from the secretary of the treasury to
make some additional inspectors. Mr. L. shall be gratified, but my
authority is limited to the 15th of November next. If you have a
particular wish for any other person, please let me know immediately.

Yours, truly,



Washington, April 5, 1802.


Different accidents and interruptions prevented me from writing by the
two last mails; a very unusual omission, and thus happens what, I
believe, has never before occurred, that I have two of your letters
unanswered, those of the 19th and 22d, both affecting and interesting.
The last of them acknowledges the receipt of a letter from me dated
March 9th. Now, I did not write any letter under that date, it must be
a forgery. On the 8th and 12th I did write to you.

It is, I hope and believe, true that Richmond Hill is competent to all
purposes; but nothing is done nor can be speedily done. The thing
constantly eludes a conclusion, and matters are, in fact, now as badly
circumstanced as one year ago. When I left New-York I arranged my
affairs of _all kinds_ for six months' absence, which would extend to
the middle of June, with the determination to go hence to South
Carolina, in which determination I persist; yet you know that _a
single letter may take me in a contrary direction_, and mar all my
plans of pleasure. This, and this only, produces the instability of my
resolutions, and the equivocal tenour of my letters on the subject of
the visit.

Nothing certain can be predicated of the adjournment; but I am quite
resolved not to remain here beyond the 25th, more probable that I may
leave it on the 19th. In either case, it will be vain to address a
letter to me at Washington after the receipt of this, as I shall not
be here to receive it. My route will be through Richmond and
Petersburgh to Fayetteville, and thence to Georgetown and Clifton,
where I presume I shall find Papa Alston, Ellen, &c. You may address
me a line to Richmond, and another to Fayetteville, merely to say how
you are, and who more are dead. Recollecting, when you write, that it
will be very uncertain whether they will reach me; still, on my
arrival at those places, I shall be quite out of humour if I find no
letter from you, and _will stay a week_ at each place in hopes of
receiving one.

I have ordered Vanderlyn to send you, from New-York, both his and
Stuart's picture of A. Burr; and have told him to ship himself for the
port of Charleston on the 1st of May.

I have also desired that my beautiful little bust of Bonaparte be sent
to Mr. William Alston.

You may send a letter to meet me at Clifton, and two or three to each
place if you find my movements so retarded as to admit a probability
of their being received. Adieu.



Washington, April 12, 1802.

Your letter of the 29th came by the last mail, exactly, as heretofore,
on the eighth day after the date of your last preceding. Whether it be
invariably Sunday or not, at least it is always octo-diurnal. Pray get
an eight-day clock, and then all family matters will move on in strict
uniformity. Thank your husband for his letter about Mr. Law's indents.

The instability of all human concerns has been a theme of remark for
the last 4000 years. Lately, very lately, I wrote you of my
determination to leave this city on the 26th. I then thought so, as
you will readily believe; because, why should I deceive my dear little
Theodosia? Now this thing is altered, for reasons too numerous and
mighty to be here enumerated; and, besides, you know our doctrine is
not to give reasons, but to let the facts speak for themselves. On
this occasion, however, even your hard heart would yield to the
motives which govern me. The plan, I say, is all altered. Instead of
leaving this fair region, as was gravely proposed, on the 26th of this
month, the present project is to part from all I here hold dear on the
20th (the _twentieth_) inst., which piece of caprice I hope you will
pardon. If no letter intervenes before that day, Papa Alston may
expect to see me in some twelve or fifteen days thereafter. I shall
hope to find letters at Richmond, Fayetteville, &c. Adieu.



Clifton, May 3, 1802.

At the moment of my arrival on Friday evening I wrote you from Mr.
Kinlock's. The day following (May 1) I came here, and, being without
horses, sent on Sunday morning to engage the whole stage, which was to
go to-morrow, and, as I understand, reaches Charleston in a day.
Unfortunately, the stage was full--not even a seat vacant for the
vice-president. I am, therefore, doomed to remain here one day longer,
and to be two days on the road. My horses not having arrived, Mr.
Alston will, on Wednesday morning, set out with me in his curricle. We
shall dine and stay the night of Wednesday at Mrs. Mott's, and on the
day following, Thursday evening, reach Charleston.

I now send my man George (late Azor Le Guen, now George d'Grasse) to
Georgetown. If he can get a place in the stage, he goes on with my
baggage; if not, he sends this letter, with all affectionate good
wishes. William arrived here this afternoon, and tells us that you are
well, and your husband _ill_. This is exactly wrong, unless he means
to take the whole trouble off your hands, as some good husbands have
heretofore done; so, at least, Darwin records. God bless thee, my dear



U. S. Ship Constellation, at Gibraltar, May 8, 1802.


As the frigate Philadelphia will sail in a few days for America, I
cannot neglect so good an opportunity of writing, and returning you my
sincere thanks for the marked civilities I have received at all times
from you, particularly at New-York in the summer of 1800. Be assured,
Sir, I feel the liveliest sense of the obligations I am under for the
many favours conferred upon me, and shall ever feel extremely happy to
have it in my power to render you any service.

Owing to our being perplexed with almost constant easterly winds, we
did not make the land until the 24th ult., when we made Cape Canter,
on the coast of Africa. On the 28th we got into the Straits of
Gibraltar, but the wind heading us off the rock, we were obliged to
bear away for Malaga. There we found the Essex and Philadelphia at
anchor. On the 3d inst. we left Malaga, and arrived here in company
with the Philadelphia and Essex on the 5th, and I expect to remain
until Commodore Truxton arrives on the station.

While the ship lay at Malaga I had an opportunity of seeing every
thing that could attract the eye of a stranger. The country round the
city is extremely fertile, abounding with all the different kinds of
fruit-trees. Indeed, the lower class of the Spaniards subsist almost
entirely upon fruit, the produce of the country. The chief articles of
exportation are grapes, figs, raisins, oranges, anchovies, wines, &c.
Their streets are very narrow, running at random in every direction.
Their houses are mostly built of marble, four stories high, different
families occupying different stories of the same house. They have two
or three forts, built on eminences adjacent to the city for its
protection, but they are out of order and decaying.

I anticipate enjoying a very pleasant cruise, as we seem to be
favoured with every thing that could render our situation agreeable.
Captain Murray is one of the best of men, and treats us with all the
kindness and attention we could wish. The climate is mild and healthy.
The Tripolitans keep among themselves, and never venture out, so that
we shall have nothing to do but to visit the different ports of the
Mediterranean. The closest friendship and harmony prevails among the
officers of the ship. Every thing, in short, that we could wish, we
seem to have, to make our situation comfortable. Pray remember me
kindly to Mrs. Alston, and believe me, with esteem and respect, your
most obedient servant,



Virginia, Caroline, May 25, 1802.


Your favour, covering the medal struck to commemorate the most
brilliant exploit of the American war, from some cause unknown to me,
never arrived until this instant. It is particularly acceptable from
the circumstance of my having imbibed a personal affection for General
Gates by having served under him for a few months.

It would be quite premature in me to consider whether I would go into
Congress unless it was probable that I could. The government have no
means of providing for the gentleman you mention; and if they had, to
do so for the purpose of making room for another might expose them to
censures which they will hardly encounter. As to a voluntary
resignation of his station, there are some circumstances in his case
which do really justify him in refusing to do it, unless for some
better prospect of public benefit.

Not until some days after you left this was it discovered that you had
forgotten your travelling map. I lamented the inconveniences to which
the oversight would expose you, but had no mode of removing them,
despairing, from a recollection of your horses, that either of mine
would be fleet enough to overtake you. The map could, therefore, only
be taken care of for the purpose of being restored to you. Permit me
to hope that you will allow me to do this at my own house as you
return; and that you will apprize me of your resolution to do so, both
that I may be at home and that I may enjoy the hope of your company
before the pleasure is realized. Farewell.



1. A paragraph cut from the Aurora.

2. Wood's History of John Adams's Administration.

3. The present Commodore James Biddle.

4. The vice-president, Colonel Burr. This letter was written more than
a year after the presidential contest in Congress.

5. At that time a member of the United States Senate.



New-York, June 24, 1802.

We arrived yesterday morning, exactly the eighth day since I left you.
Our passage was pleasant, inasmuch as we had no storms, and the most
obliging, attentive captain. I never met with more unremitted
politeness. He was constantly endeavouring to tempt my appetite by all
the delicacies in his own stores. To the child he proved an excellent
nurse when I was fatigued and the rest sick. We are now in my father's
town-house. Mrs. Allen had gone up the North River before my arrival;
thus I have seen neither her nor her sons. John is to return and be
married in a few days.

I have just returned from a ride in the country and a visit to
Richmond Hill. Never did I behold this island so beautiful. The
variety of vivid greens; the finely-cultivated fields and gaudy
gardens; the neat, cool air of the cit's boxes, peeping through
straight rows of tall poplars, and the elegance of some gentlemen's
seats, commanding a view of the majestic Hudson, and the high, dark
shores of New-Jersey, altogether form a scene so lively, so touching,
and to me now so new, that I was in constant rapture. How much did I
wish for you to join with me in admiring it. With how much regret did
I recollect some rides we took together last summer. Ah, my husband,
why are we separated? I had rather have been ill on Sullivan's Island
with you, than well separated from you. Even my amusements serve to
increase my unhappiness; for if any thing affords me pleasure, the
thought that, were you here, you also would feel pleasure, and thus
redouble mine, at once puts an end to enjoyment. You do not know how
constantly my whole mind is employed in thinking of you. Do you, my
husband, think as frequently of your Theo., and wish for her? Do you
really feel a vacuum in your pleasures? As for your wife, she has bid
adieu to pleasure till next October. When, when will that month come?
It appears to me a century off. I can scarcely yet realize to myself
that we are to be so long separated. Do not imagine, however, that I
mean to beg you to join me this summer. No, my husband, I know your
reasons, and approve them. Your wife feels a consolation in talking of
her sorrows to you; but she would think herself unworthy of you could
she not find fortitude enough to bear them! God knows how delighted I
shall be when once again in your arms; but how much would my happiness
be diminished by recollecting that your advancement and interest
suffered. When we meet, let there be nothing to alloy a happiness so
pure, so unbounded. Our little boy grows charmingly; he is much
admired here. The colour of his eyes is not yet determined. You shall
know when it is.

As our papers were mixed, I left my writing-desk open; pray lock the
drawers and desk both, and keep the key yourself.

Have you any rice on hand yet? It sells here for five dollars cash. If
you have any, had you not better send it? Papa intends writing to you
on the subject.

I began a letter to you this morning in time for the mail, but was
prevented by innumerable visits, which commenced before I was dressed
for breakfast. I am most impatiently waiting for a letter from you. I
hope you wrote soon after my departure. I am counting every minute to
next Wednesday, when I hope to receive one, though I have many fears
it is too early. With how much anxiety do I expect a letter. Maybe,
one of these days, I may tell you of a piece of weakness of mine on
that subject; maybe, for I do not know whether it is quite right for a
wife to display all her foibles in that way to her husband. We have
not determined when or where we shall move in the country. It shall
certainly not be long ere we leave the city.

Anna Pierpont is well. She and husband go on merrily. They love each
other very much, and that is half the battle. She begged me not to
omit giving a thousand loves to you. My love to the Hugers. Tell them
I have seen Nancy. She looks better than they ever saw her. She has
got a colour, and is so much more beautiful that I scarcely recognised
her. Adieu, mon bien aimi.



New-York, June 26, 1802.

When, when will the month of October come? It appears to recede
instead of approaching; and time, which extinguishes all other
sorrows, serves but to increase mine; every moment I feel that I have
lost so much of your society which can never be regained. Ah, my
husband, what can be pleasure to your Theo., unassisted by the charms
of your presence and participation? Nothing. It is an idea which has
no place in my mind unconnected with you.

I send you M'Kenzie; there is no London edition in town more elegantly
bound. Before my departure you complained grievously of the bad cigars
sold in Charleston. In the hope that this city affords better, I send
you a box containing a thousand; the seller took some trouble to
choose the best for me, and I have added some Vanilla and Tonka beans
to them. May the offering please my great Apollo! If you should do so
rash a thing as to visit the city during the summer, pray smoke all
the time you remain there; it creates an atmosphere round you, and
prevents impure air from reaching you.

I wish, also, that you would never be in town before or after the
middle of the day. I have somewhere heard that persons were less apt
to catch infectious disorders at that time than any other, and I
believe it. Have you never remarked how highly scented the air is
before sunrise in a flower-garden, so much so as to render the smell
of any flower totally imperceptible if you put it to your nose? That
is, I suppose, because, when the sun acts with all his force, the air
becomes so rarefied, that the quantity of perfume you inhale at a
breath can have no effect; while, on the contrary, during the night,
the vapours become so condensed that you perceive them in every blast.
May not the same be the case with noxious vapours? It is said that the
fever in Charleston does not arise from that, but the filth of the
streets are quite enough to make one think otherwise. Perhaps I am
wrong both in my reason and opinion. If so, you are able to correct;
only do as you think best, and be prudent. It is all I ask. I imagine
the subject worth a reflection, and you cannot err. Montesquieu says
he writes to make people think; and why may not Theodosia?

We have this evening been to visit Mrs. Caines (late Mrs. Verplanck)
at her country place. The marriage was thus published--Married, G.C.,
Esq., counsellor of law, from the West Indies, _and now having a work
in the press_, to Mrs., &c. That work has been the cause of some
curiosity and not a little amusement.

I dined the other day with Mrs. Montgomery. The chancellor has sent
her out a list of statues, which are to be so exactly imitated in
plaster as to leave the difference of materials only. The statues are,
the Apollo Belvidere, Venus de Medicis, Laocoon and his children,
Antinous, and some others. The patriotic citizens of New-York are now
subscribing to the importation of a set here for the good of the
public. If they are really perfect imitations, they will be a great
acquisition to this city. But, _selon moi_, there is the difficulty.
Our son looks charmingly. Adieu.



New-York, June 28, 1802.

And do you, indeed, miss your Theo.? Do you really find happiness
indissolubly blended with her presence? Ah! my husband, how much more
amiable you are as the man than as the philosopher! How much better
your wife can love you! The latter character produces a distance
between us; it so resembles coldness, that it annihilates all that
free communication of the heart, that certainty of the most perfect
sympathy and concord of feeling, which affords so much real happiness.
Believe me, it is a very mistaken idea, that to discover sensibility
at parting with a friend increases their sorrow. No; it consoles them.
That apparent indifference, instead of lessening their pain at
separation, only adds to it the mortification of finding themselves
alone; wounds their feelings by the idea that, where they expected the
most sincere reciprocity, they meet with the most calm tranquillity;
and, above all, it is apt to make them involuntarily exclaim--If I am
thus regretted, how little shall I be thought of! How soon forgotten!
Never, then, my beloved, attempt to play the philosopher. If you see a
friend weeping, weep with them. Sympathy is the sovereign cure for all
wounds of the heart.

Your letter of the 16th, which I received yesterday, delighted me the
more as it was unexpected. I did not _hope_ you would have written so
soon; still less did I imagine a letter from Charleston would reach
this on the eleventh day after date. How anxious I am for to-morrow.
Perhaps I may hear from you again.

S. appears more pleased with New-York than any person I ever saw from
South Carolina. With the beauty of the country it is impossible not to
be delighted, whether that delight is confessed or not; and every
woman cannot fail to prefer the style of society, whatever she may
say. If she denies it, she is set down in my mind as insincere and
weakly prejudiced.

Pray write your journal this summer; you have little else to do. I
should be charmed to find it finished on my return. Adieu.



New-York, July 3, 1802.

Your letter of the 19th of June, covering two for Theodosia, was
received this morning. She, with Lady Nisbett and your boy, sailed
yesterday for Red Hook (120 miles north) on a visit to Mrs. A., who
had solicited this attention in terms and under circumstances which
admitted of no refusal. The boy has grown surprisingly. The mother has
recovered her appetite and spirits. I shall go up to take care of them
in ten or fifteen days.

I desired your father to bring or send a barrel of rough rice (rice
unpounded). The young Scotchman of whom I spoke to him has already
invented a machine which I think will clean ten times as much as your
pounding machine with the same power; that is, ten times as fast. Send
the rice that we may try.

As to the publications of Cheetham and Wood, it is not worth while to
write any thing by way of comment or explanation. It will, in due
time, be known what they are, and what is Dewitt Clinton, their
colleague and instigator. These things will do no harm to me
personally. What effect they may have on the cause is a problem.

I forgot to pay Placide for two or three times bathing. Give him a
guinea for me. Yours, affectionately,



New-York, July 5, 1802.

Your letter of the 22d of February, announcing your intended marriage,
is this minute received. Nothing could be more grateful to me than
your proposed connexion with Mr. Sumter. I know little of him
personally, but his reputation and standing in society fully justify
your choice, and I pray you to assure him that I shall most cordially
take him to my bosom as a son. With his father I have been long
acquainted, and always greatly respected him. We were fellow-soldiers
during our revolutionary war, in which he acted a most distinguished
part, though we were not then known to each other. We served together
some years in Congress, and laboured in the same party. These
circumstances never fail to generate attachments, and I am truly happy
in being more closely allied to him.

I perceive, and with pleasure, that I shall pass much of my time in
South Carolina, and shall divide it between you and Theodosia; but the
mountains are my favourite residence. Which is my favourite daughter I
have not yet been able to decide. We must not, however, abandon
New-York. I will have you both here, if possible, every year, and at
Richmond Hill you shall renew the recollection of the happy hours of
your childhood.

I have been long impatient, my dear Natalie, to write you on this
subject, but I waited for advice from yourself. I was mortified to
learn from common report _only_ an event so nearly interesting, and
which I had supposed you would have communicated to me the first. Your
letter, however, has been long in America, and has travelled nearly
two thousand miles in pursuit of me, having come in this morning from

I arrived here on the 23d with Theodosia, her boy--a most lovely boy,
and her sister, Lady Nisbett, who salutes you as a sister, and longs
to embrace you. We had a most charming passage of seven days.

This is a great holyday. We are celebrating, with show and much noise,
the 4th of July. This may appear to you a little ridiculous when you
look at the date of this letter; but, _madame_, please to look at your
almanac, and you will see that yesterday was Sunday. I should not have
attempted to write to you amid so much bustle; but the good Mr.
Arcambal came in just as I received your letter, and informed me that
there was an immediate and safe opportunity to France, and I was
impatient to express to you and your husband my participation in your
joys, and hearty approbation of your union. God bless you, my dear


P.S. I have not received a line from your mamma in some years. I am
not at all surprised at her repugnance to your marriage with a
democrat, the son of a rebel. She must hate, above all things,
democrats and rebels. But tell her, as doubtless you have told her a
thousand times, that she is wrong; and that we are not like your
French democrats. Encore, adieu.



New-York, September 3, 1802.

What a pity minds could not be made sensible of each other's approach!
Why were we not so formed, that when your thoughts, your soul were
with your Theo., hers could be enabled, by the finest sensation of
sympathy, to meet it. How superior to writing would that be! A letter
is a month old before it is received; by that time other thoughts and
subjects engage the writer. The sentiments expressed in it seem no
longer warm from the heart. I have been all this evening divining your
occupation. Sometimes I imagine you writing or reading, and then the
hope that you are thinking of me arises. Pray what have you been
doing? If you can possibly recollect, let me know. After all, it is
more than probable that you have been smoking with Huger, entirely
absorbed in your society and segar.

How does your election advance? I am anxious to know something of it;
not from patriotism, however. It little concerns me which party
succeeds. Where you are, there is my country, and in you are centred
all my wishes.

Were you a Brutus, I should be a Roman. But were you a Caesar, I
should only wish glory to Rome that glory might be yours. As long as
you love me, I am nothing on earth but your wife and your friend:
contented and proud to be that.

Mr. M'Pherson is much better. He sits up--I mean out of bed, a great
part of the day. Mr.----- spent about three hours with him yesterday.
What a Chesterfieldian that is; he has not had the civility to call on
me, although you were so attentive to him. He has grown sentimental.
He caught a moscheto the other day, and kept it under a tumbler to
meditate on, because it reminded him of Carolina, and consequently of
Miss -----. What man under heaven ever before discovered an analogy
between a moscheto and his mistress? I am very happy you have chosen
chess for your amusement. It keeps you constantly in mind how poor
kings fare without their queens. Our little one has been very amiable
to-day. Adieu.



New-York, July 19, 1802.

On Saturday (17th) Mr. and Mrs. Alston, Lady Nisbett, and Charlotte
took passage for Red Hook. The wind has been so favourable that they
undoubtedly arrived yesterday before dinner. Charlotte had three or
four fits of ague and fever, but had escaped two days before she
sailed, and was again in health.

You will herewith receive the second book. The malice and the motives
are in this so obvious, that it will tend to discredit the whole. The
charges which are of any moment will be shown to be mere fabrications.
But there seems at present to be no medium of communication. The
printers, called republican in this city (Denniston and Cheetham), are
devoted to the Clintons, one of them (Denniston) being nephew of the
governor, and, of course, cousin to Dewitt. Wood, after absconding for
some time, returned to this city, was put in jail, where he lay some
days and until taken out by _Coleman_. You will shortly receive an
explanation of this controversy, but not from me. Very affectionately



New-York, August 2, 1802.

Your letter of the 18th is received. Mr. Williams had before shown me
the pamphlet, and had informed me that it had produced all the effect
that the writer could have wished, which is the best evidence of the
merit of the work. It is evidently a hasty performance, and
incorrectly printed, yet it displays ability as a writer, and
sentiments honourable to him as a man.

Wood's book has surprised us. We all expected a new series of abuse
against A.B. It should be entitled "The Confessions of John Wood, one
of the Conspirators lately associated with James Cheetham and Dewitt
Clinton against the vice-president." It shows pretty clearly the
motives and views of this clan.

The enclosed paper will give you the particulars of the affair of
Swartwout and Clinton. You will perceive that the latter indirectly
acknowledges that he is an agent in the calumnies against me.

I am about to take possession of Richmond Hill for the reception of
Theodosia and her boy, and shall go for them in about ten days. We
propose to pass part of September in Orange county.

The letter herewith enclosed came to me under a _blank_ cover; through
inattention, I broke the seal without looking at the superscription.
The first sentence betrayed my error, and I have scolded her a good
deal for her blank cover. Affectionately yours,



New-York, August 8, 1802.

With extreme reluctance, _madame_, I am constrained to resign to Dr.
Brown the honour of escorting you hither. The circumstances which have
led to this measure are briefly noted in a letter which I have this
day written you by the mail.

By Tuesday the 9th inst. I shall be settled at Richmond Hill, ready to
receive you and your incumbrances. Tell Mr. and Mrs. Alston, &c., that
I hope there to have the pleasure of accommodating them more to their
satisfaction than was in my power in the little mansion in Broadway.

The moment you shall receive this, send a line for me to the
postoffice, saying how you are, when you will move, &c. Leave with the
postmaster a written direction to forward to New-York all letters for
Mrs. Joseph Alston. I recommend to you to go round by Stockbridge to
see Binney. She is there at the house of Mr. Bidwell. You will also
there see your old great-uncle Edwards. But this is left to your
discretion. If you go through Pittsfield, you should call and see H.
Van Schaack, for whom Dr. Brown has a letter of credence. Make your
journey perfectly at your ease; _id est_, with dignified leisure.
Write me at every post-town, for I shall have a deal of impatience and
anxiety about you and your little nonentity.

All your friends here are well except George's dog and one of his
South Carolina birds. We are all in the bustle of moving. Heighho! for
Richmond Hill. What a pity you were not here, you do so love a bustle;
and then you, and the brat, and the maid, and thirty trunks would add
so charmingly to the confusion. Adieu.



New-York, September 8, 1802.

The debility and loss of appetite which your wife has experienced
alarmed me; yet I was totally ignorant of the cause. I was first
informed of it by Dr. Bard, who came accidentally to this city about a
fortnight ago. He, with Hosack and Brown, all of whom I consulted,
joined with me in opinion that she ought immediately to wean her child
or provide a wet nurse. This she peremptorily refused, and the bare
proposition occasioned so many tears and so much distress that I
abandoned it. Within the last three days, however, she has such a loss
of appetite and prostration of strength, that she is satisfied of the
necessity of the measure for the sake of the child, if not for
herself; and I have this day sent off a man to the country to find a
suitable nurse. The complaint continued from the period of her
_confinement_ during the whole time that she remained in Charleston.

It is most unfortunate that she left the Springs. While she was there,
either by means of the air or the water, or perhaps both, she had got
quite rid of the complaint, and there is no doubt but that, had she
remained there a fortnight longer, the cure would have been radical.
The ride to Hudson, only thirty miles, brought on a relapse; and, with
slight variations, the affliction was increased and her strength
diminished. Bard advised the Springs, and was quite angry that she
left them.

There is nothing in this disorder which immediately threatens life;
nor is it, at present, attended with pain; but if it should become
fixed upon her, of which there is danger unless speedily cured, it
will unfit her for every duty and every enjoyment in life. The
medicines, which under the direction of Bard she used at Lebanon, have
hitherto proved ineffectual since her return. I have written fully to
Eustis, and expect his answer within two or three days.

The present state of her health and strength will not, I think, admit
of an attempt to take her to either of the Springs, or I should not
hesitate to go off immediately with her. I have, however, strong and
well-grounded hopes that, when she shall have a nurse, and resume the
use of proper remedies, a cure will be effected.

I have thought that you ought to be informed of these facts, as well
to explain the varied accounts which you may have received of her
health, as to anticipate the vague or exaggerated relations which you
may receive through other channels.

Most affectionately yours,



New-York, September 30, 1802.

Another mail has arrived, but to your Theo. it has brought only
unhappiness. It is now a week since I received your last letter. You
are ill. You have been imprudent, and all my fears are fulfilled.
Without any one near you to feel for you, to attend to you, to watch
every change and share every pain. Your wife only could do that. It is
her whose soul clings to yours, and vibrates but in harmony with it;
whose happiness, whose every emotion, more than entirely dependant on
yours, are exchanged for them. It is she only who forgets herself in
you, and who, in gratifying your wishes or alleviating your pain,
serves the interest nearest her heart. I know you have friends with
you; but, when you lose your vivacity, and your society is robbed of
its usual charms, they will find your chamber dull, and leave it for
some more amusing place. They cannot, like your little Theo., hang
over you in your sleep, and, with a beating heart, listen to every
groan and tremble at every noise. Your son, too, were we with you,
would charm away your cares. His smiles could not fail to sooth any
pain. They possess a magic which you cannot conceive till you see him.
Would we were with you, my beloved. I am miserable about you. Adieu.
Heaven bless my husband, and I am happy.



New-York, October 30, 1802.

I have just received yours of the 21st. You already know the result of
my confinement in bed. It certainly relieved me for some time, which
proves how easily that cure would have succeeded at first. I have now
abandoned all hope of recovery. I do not say it in a moment of
depression, but with all my reason about me. I am endeavouring to
resign myself with cheerfulness; and you also, my husband, must summon
up your fortitude to bear with a sick wife the rest of her life. At
present, my general health is very good; indeed, my appearance so
perfectly announces it, that physicians smile at the idea of my being
an invalid. The great misfortune of this complaint is, that one may
vegetate forty years in a sort of middle state between life and death,
without the enjoyment of one or the rest of the other.

You will now see your boy in a few days, and you will really be very
much pleased with him. He is a sweet little rascal. If Heaven grant
him but to live, I shall never repent what he has cost me. Adieu.



New-York, October 15, 1802.

In my letter of yesterday I said nothing of your son. He is well, and
growing as you could wish. If I can see without prejudice, there never
was a finer boy.

Of yourself I have a good deal to say; more than I can find time to
write, and some things which cannot be written. Except the little
practical knowledge which you may have gained by mingling with your
committee-men, &c., your summer and autumn have, I perceive, been
lost--lost, I mean, as to literary acquirements. From your companions,
I presume, little is to be gained save the pastime of a social hour.
Yet time goes on, and you have much to do.

To the execution of any project, however, health is a sine qua non.
Whether you can ever enjoy it in Charleston or on Sullivan's Island
has become a problem in my mind. I was quite shocked with your wan
appearance when I first met you last spring. How different from that
which you took hence the fall preceding. With every advantage
attainable in your climate, you have scarcely been free from fever
during the season. This cannot fail to debilitate both mind and body.
If these hazards are to be annually encountered with similar effects,
and worse may be apprehended, it is a price far beyond the value of
any benefits which Charleston can offer. The _mountains_, a more
_Northern latitude_, or the _grave_, must be your refuge. Pray think
of these things. If I should not go to South Carolina this fall, nor
you come hither, let us meet in Washington next winter. After the
rising of your legislature, you may find time for that journey. But I
should prefer to see you here immediately after your election, if
there be time for your return before the session of the legislature.
Your health must require this change. _Here_ you may freeze out all
your "miasmata" and surplus bile in ten days, and go to Columbia with
nerves well strung and blood well purified.

My solicitude for your frequent appearance in courts is _no way_
diminished. The applause which I heard bestowed upon you sunk into my
heart. I could distinguish that which you merited from the fulsome
eulogy which was uttered through politeness. Your talent for writing
is enviable, and, with cultivation, will be unrivalled (nothing
without cultivation, remember). No one wishes so ardently as I do, not
even you, that these advantages should be improved. But these
considerations are unimportant compared with those which regard your

If you should leave Charleston, give special orders about your
letters, for I may write what I should wish no one but you to see.
Affectionately adieu.



New-York, November 5, 1802.

The cold weather of the last ten days has had a happy effect on
Theodosia. She is so far restored that I can with confidence assure
you she will return in health. The boy, too, grows fat and rosy with
the frost. They have taken passage in the brig Enterprise, Captain
Tombs, the same with whom we came last June. She will have the control
of the cabin, and will be perfectly well accommodated. I regret she
will sail so soon (the 12th), as well because I cannot attend her as
that I could have wished her health and that of the boy to have been
still more confirmed. Yet I cannot any longer resist her impatience.
You must not delay your journey to Columbia in expectation of her
arrival. It is important that you be on the ground the first day, and
it is to be desired that you could be there two or three days before
the commencement of the session. If you should be gone, she projects
to follow you, of which I advise you, that you may leave your
directions. When you shall see her and son, you will not regret this
five months' separation. I rejoice that you are to meet Major Pinckney
on the floor of your assembly. "_The Citizen_" (Cheetham and
Denniston's), in publishing a list of members chosen in Charleston and
its vicinity, omitted your name; but took care to add, by way of
extract from a pretended letter, that the Alstons were of no
consideration or influence in South Carolina. There is no bound to the
malice of these people. The conspiracy was formed last winter at
Washington. A little reflection will indicate to you the description
of men, the motives, and the object of this combination.

Apologize for me to Ch. Marshall that I do not fulfil my engagement to
accompany him from Charleston to Washington. I hope you will bring him
with you.

Would Charles Lee accept the place of secretary of the Senate? It is
worth twenty-three hundred dollars per annum, and not laborious. The
secretary, you know, is chosen by the Senate. Otis, the present
incumbent, will probably decline. If you should think that Lee would
desire it, and the thing should appear to you proper, it should be
suggested to your senators. Of the legislative subjects mentioned in
one of your letters, I hope to find time to say a word on Sunday (7th
inst.). God bless you.



New-York, December 4, 1802.

So you arrived on the 24th, after a passage of ten days; you and the
Charleston packet on the same day. All this I learned last night; not
from you. Vanderlyn and I drank a bottle of Champagne on the occasion.

Though this relieves me from the great anxiety under which I laboured,
still there are many details of your passage, your arrival, &c., on
which nothing but your letter can satisfy me. For some unknown reason,
the mail is now eighteen days on the road.

Vanderlyn has finished your picture in the most beautiful style
imaginable. When it was done, he exclaimed with enthusiasm, "There is
the best work I have ever done in America."

Your letter must be addressed to Washington. The dear little boy, I
hope, made a good sailor. Adieu.



New-York, December 16, 1802.

Your letter of the 26th November came yesterday, that of the 25th the
day preceding. You see, therefore, that twenty-one days had elapsed
from the time of your arrival to the receipt of your first letter.
This is not by way of reproach, for it is an unpleasant truth that,
for the last six or eight weeks, the Charleston mail has been twenty
days on the way. Had it not been for the intelligence by water of your
safe arrival, we should have concluded that you and Kate [1] were now
dancing with Amphitrite. How jealous her majesty would have been at
the presence of two such rivals.

The day after you left us, though the weather was mild, not even a
frost, the leaves of the trees about the house began to fall, and in
three days they were as bare as in midwinter, though you may recollect
that you left them in perfect verdure. This, I am sure, was sympathy
and regret. I shall respect these trees for their sensibility. It was
in harmony with my feelings; for, truly, all was dreary.

Yes, I enter into all your little vexations; but while I write, and
long before, they probably have passed away, and are succeeded by new
ones. Kate will help you to laugh them off. Kiss her for me. Not a
word, not a line from your husband since the 30th of October. We
ought, nay, we must, every day add something to our experience, and
usually at some cost.

I expect to leave this in about a week. Henceforth, therefore, address
me at Washington. On my arrival there we will begin to talk of our
spring and summer plans. You did well, very well to give up the
Columbia project. I really wish you had given the pair of horses in
your own name. In all such cases, that which is most grateful to you
will be so to me. Butter shall be sent. The card plate must be

_Maybe_ I may write you from Philadelphia; not again from this city,
unless I should receive from you something very pretty. Vanderlyn
projects to visit Charleston, but I am sure he will not. He is run
down with applications for portraits, all of which, without
discrimination, he refuses. He is greatly occupied in finishing his
Niagara views, which, --indeed, will do him honour. They will be four
in number, and he thinks of having them engraved in France. You hear
the roaring of the cataract when you look at them. Kiss the dear
little boy. Adieu, ma belle.



Washington, January 26, 1803.

Your last letter, and the only one received within a month, is dated
the 14th inst., and written, I suppose, at your plantation. It gives
me the satisfaction of knowing that you and your boy are well, and
nothing more. How long you are to remain there, where next to go, and
every thing leading to a knowledge of your occupations and intentions,
is omitted. One half of the letter is a complaint of my silence, and
the other half (nearly) an apology for yours, You know (or am I now to
tell you) that you and your concerns are the highest, the dearest
interest I have in this world; one in comparison with which all others
are insignificant.

Recollect, my dear Theodosia, that in five weeks Congress will adjourn
(3d March); that I shall then go in some direction, but in what is yet
unsettled; that my movements will depend essentially on yours. Tell
me, therefore, where you are to pass the summer, when you are to leave
Charleston, and all the details. If these matters should not yet be
settled, let it be forthwith done. If you are not to go northward, it
is not probable that I shall see you in some time, for I have thoughts
of going on a tour through the western country, which, if executed,
will consume the whole summer. I offer you and your family Richmond
Hill for the season, and will meet you there in May or June, or when
you please. Perhaps would come to make the voyage with you, by land or
water. Sullivan's Island will not, I hope, be thought of. How is it
that I have not a line from _Mari_, in answer to several letters which
I wrote him from New-York?

I entreat you to answer this letter distinctly, and in all its parts;
for there will not be time for another letter and reply before I shall
be off. My love to Kate. You do not say whether she grows handsome or
ugly, nor is it any matter which while on the plantation.

I can't conceive how you all stow yourselves in that little wreck of a
mansion. Please to write over, in some way, the erased part of your
letter. You must be very destitute of wit and contrivance. No essence
in Washington. I still prefer musk, but not to be had. One would think
you had suffered some injury from perfumes. Your message and
commission to Mrs. Madison will be delivered. My mode of life,
establishment, &c., are the same as last year, except that I bought a
chariot, having some hope of seeing you and your husband here. As I
shall not write again until I hear where you are, I may as well say
now all that occurs to me.

On my way through Philadelphia I rode out to Lansdown, to see our
beautiful little K. and Mrs. L. They appear to love you with all their
hearts. K. especially talked of you with an interest which could not
be affected. The ladies find fault with her dress, her person, her
manners; in short, with every thing appertaining to her. Mrs. L. has
also her full share of the eulogium. K. is _toujours belle_. At
Wilmington I did not see friend S. She had gone to church. God bless



Washington, February 23, 1803.

It is from me, my dear sir, that apologies are due; but you have
kindly anticipated all I could make. I thank you for this instance of
your goodness; for your friendly recollection; above all, for the
justice you do to my heart and feelings. Your last letter has been
received. It is without date, and came by the mail of yesterday. You
see that I am resolved not to furnish a new occasion for apologies by
further negligence. Whether, after the adjournment, I shall go North
or South, is yet undetermined. If northward, I propose to take the
route which you had the goodness to describe, and to pass at least
some hours with you. I shall insist on a dish of lillipee, in order to
give a more dramatic effect to the review which we will take of past

Dearborn, now minister of war, was our fellow-traveller through the
wilderness. If you will designate more particularly the papers you
wish to recover, I will with pleasure make search for them. Accept, I
pray you, the assurance of my undiminished regard and esteem.



Clifton, March 17, 1802.

Ever since the date of my last letter, for it was not forwarded till
some days after, I have been quite ill; till within these two or three
days totally unable to write. The whole family, as well as myself, had
begun to think pretty seriously of my last journey; but, fortunately,
I have had the pleasure of keeping them up a few nights, and drawing
forth all their sensibility, without giving them the trouble of
burying, mourning, &c.

I was one night so ill as to have lost my senses in a great measure;
about daylight, as a last resource, they began plying me with old
wine, and blisters to my feet. But, on recovering a little, I kicked
off the blisters, and declared I would be dressed; be carried in the
open air, and have free use of cold water. I was indulged. I was
carried below, where I drank plentifully of cold water, and I had my
face, neck, and arms bathed with it, and it assisted most
astonishingly in recovering me. The day before yesterday I was put on
a bed in a boat and brought here. The change of air and scene have
assisted me wonderfully. I am again getting well. Indeed, the rapidity
with which I gain strength surprises the whole family. The secret is,
that my constitution is good. I exert myself to the utmost, feeling
none of that pride, so common to my sex, of being weak and ill.
Delicacy and debility are sometimes fascinating when affected by a
coquette, adorned with the freshness of health; but a pale, thin face;
sunken, instead of languishing eyes; and a form, evidently tottering,
not gracefully bending, never, I suspect, made, far less could they
retain a conquest, or even please a friend. I therefore encourage
spirits, try to appear well, and am rewarded. In a few days I shall be
on the high road to health. Mari is well, and the boy charming. Adieu.



Philadelphia, June 3, 1903.

I have only to announce my safe arrival yesterday noon. Went forthwith
to see the B.'s. They were all out of town. Will be back to-day.

Send me the number of volumes of the American Encyclopedia. I wish to
complete the set, and must, therefore, know the deficiencies. I have
seen none of your acquaintance save the Biddles. To-morrow (if I
should in the mean time receive a letter from you) I shall add
something. You are the two most spiritless young persons I ever knew.
Pray muster up energy enough to do something more than lounge on
sofas. Go on Sunday to Ludlow's. Ask some of your friends often to
dine with you. There is a little boy right opposite my window who has
something of the way of "mammy's treasure." Don't be jealous; not half
so handsome. I have had him over to my room, and have already taught
him to _bang_. Adieu.



New-York, June 4, 1803.

Encore stupid. For Heaven's sake, what do you imagine I can find to
say once a day that is worth saying, shut up thus, either tinkling on
the harp or holding a tête-à-tête conversation? You must, indeed, have
a high opinion of my genius and the fertility of my imagination.

Pray how do you advance? Heavy business, is it not? I beg you will
perform your promise, and write me the history of it. I'll bind it in
red morocco, and keep it for the advantage and instruction of the boy.
Adieu. Do not forget my commission, and return soon.



Philadelphia, June 5, 1803.

I received yesterday your first letter. Pray no more apologies about
your stupidity, &c., because on that subject I am perfectly informed.
Be pleased to recollect that your letters cannot be answered the day
they are received. We are now even. I wrote you on Friday.

I went this morning to see L. and Keene. The former, as usual, polite,
friendly, and cheerful. The latter something improved by a very slight
acquisition of embonpoint; so very slight, however, as not to be
obvious to common optics. They will pass their summer at their present
residence, and I have almost promised that you shall make them a

But I should have narrated in the order of events according to their
dates or in the order of the importance. Neither hath been observed,
which argues ill of my temper of mind for the principal pursuit. Cette
----- spoils me. From that intercourse I return faintly to the line of
duty. On Friday I saw the inamorata, and it happened as we had feared;
for really I did not know whom I had the honour to address; nor could
I, with certainty, discover during the interview, for I saw but one.
The appearance was pleasing. There was something pensive and
interesting. It exceeded my expectations. It was a visit of ceremony,
and passed off as such. This day I met the whole four at dinner. My
attentions were pointed, and met a cheerful return. There was more
sprightliness than before. Le pere leaves town to-morrow for eight
days, and I am now meditating whether to take the fatal step
to-morrow. I falter and hesitate, which you know is not the way. I
tremble at the success I desire. You will not know my determination
till Wednesday. In the mean time I crave your prayers.

I entreat you to ride about. Your monotonous life can never restore
your health; nay, it is hostile to recovery. The business part of my
journey assumes some importance, but the result is uncertain. Adieu.



Philadelphia, June 6, 1803.

The plot thickens, and I do not find it possible to communicate
faithfully the details, without hazarding too much in case of loss of
the letter. Something, however, may be said.

I called at the house this morning; before I had asked for any one in
particular, the servant bid me in, and in a few minutes Inamorat sole
appeared. This looked like secret understanding or sympathy; perhaps,
however, it was only as head and representative of the family. She
looked well; but, unfortunately, a trifling carelessness in dress had
nearly concluded the farce. Recollecting, however, that they were
packing up for a temporary removal, to take place this very day, an
apology was obvious. Having made to myself the apology, I went
further, and found that there was politeness, _at least_, in receiving
me, and in so prompt an attendance under such circumstances. After ten
minutes le pere came in; conversation became general, and I took

Returning home, and pondering on the subject most profoundly for full
five minutes, I boldly took up my pen, and wrote le pere that I wished
a few minutes' conversation with him at his own house in the course of
the day. Within an hour he was at _my room_ to receive the
communication. Now paint to yourself a desperate miscreant on the
point of committing self-murder, trembling with anxiety, choking for
want of utterance, &c. Having formed the portrait to your own taste, I
must tell you that there was no such figure. The salutations, on
meeting, passed as usual. An expression or two of sensibility to the
courtesy which anticipated so promptly the intended visit, and then
some unembarrassed direct questions and monosyllabic answers. "Is
----- under any engagement?" _None_. "Would it be agreeable to you
that ----- should make overtures?" &c. _Certainly_. A very
complimentary thing, however, was said by le pere. It was agreed that
the suiter should make known his pretensions, he (le pere) declining
to intermeddle. _End of the first act_.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters, both
dated June 4. Evidently they cost you great labour.

June 7.

I left this open that I might acknowledge the receipt of one by this
morning's mail. I am gratified to have it in my power. The accident to
the harp has been very fortunate, inasmuch as it enabled you to make
out a long letter on the subject. However it may be broken, nothing is
so easy to be repaired. Kiss dear little _bang_.



Philadelphia, June 7, 1803.

As you were informed yesterday, my _Celeste_ has gone with the family
(le pere excepted) to pass a fortnight six miles from town. I go
to-morrow morning to recommend myself; and that no time may be wasted,
and these six mile rides may not be too often repeated to no purpose,
I shall not go much round about the subject, but come pretty directly
to the point; of all which you will be duly informed.

Truly, if my head be as confused as my narrative, it will be of little
use to me in the negotiation. I should have begun by relating what
happened this morning. There are, however, two ways of telling a
story. One by beginning with the oldest event, and so travelling down
to the close of the tale, and this is the mode commonly used by
philosophers and historians. The other, is by commencing with the most
recent fact or earliest incident, which is the mode universally
practised by lovers, and, generally, by poets. I could even quote
Homer and Virgil as authorities in support of this latter method.
Further I may add, that this retro-progressive arrangement seems more
congenial with the temper and feelings of the fair sex. Thus, you see,
most ladies turn first to the last chapter of a novel or romance. In
defence of this practice I could dilate to the utmost extent of many
sheets; but, intending soon to publish an essay on the subject, I
leave for the present the residue to your reflections, and return to
the interview of this morning.

I was admitted without hesitation, and was presently joined by
Celeste, though I had not particularized any one as the object of my
visit. For some minutes she led the conversation, and did it with
grace and sprightliness, and with admirable good sense. I made several
attempts to divert it to other subjects--subjects which might have
nearer affinity, again, to others; unsuccessfully, however; yet,
whether I was foiled through art or accident, I could not discover. Be
assured she is much superior to l'ainée.

  "I would be wooed, and, not unsought, be won."

So I conjectured she thought, and she was right.



Philadelphia, June 8, 1803.

I told you the negotiation should not be long. It is
finished--concluded--for ever abandoned--_liber sum_. Celeste never
means to marry; "firmly resolved." I am very sorry to hear it, madam;
had promised myself great happiness, but cannot blame your
determination. "No, certainly, sir, you cannot; for I recollect to
have heard you express surprise that any woman would marry, &c., and
you gave such reasons, and with so much eloquence, as made an
indelible impression on my mind." Have you any commands to town,
madam? I wish you a good-morning. _End of the second and last act_.

The interview was about an hour. Celeste was greatly agitated;
behaved, however, with great propriety. The parting was full of
courtesy, and there is reason to hope that there will be no hanging or

I dined to-day chez Rush. The two elder daughters are in Canada. The
little Julia, now about ten, is growing up very lovely and _tres
gentile_. Afterward called to see your friend, Mrs. Stewart, and her
beautiful daughter. She is really beautiful. To-morrow I dine chez la

The law business goes on slowly; may be finished about Tuesday next,
after which I shall hasten to those who love me, when I shall
endeavour to rouse them from their lethargy, and give them a little
zest for life. Just now I recollect that I have no letter from you
this morning, at which I was confoundedly vexed. I stop, therefore,
and shall withhold even this for a day, by way of punishment. You will
say that you were not well, that you were engaged in company, that the
servant neglected to take the letter, or some such trite thing. All
nonsense. Bon soir.

Thursday morning.

Your letter of Tuesday, containing the history of the dinner, is
received this morning. Truly, I think that Mr. and Mrs. Moore and Clem
might, with any tolerable aid, have made the dinner gay. Mr. and Mrs.
Moore have both a great deal of wit, and are both well bred. Clem is
by no means deficient. It must, therefore, have been the fault of
yourself and husband. If the harp is not essentially injured, I would
not purchase a new one. Kiss little _bang_.



New-York, June 9, 1803.

I received yesterday your three letters of the 5th and 6th. They made
me laugh, yet I pity you, and have really a fellow feeling for you.
Poor little Rippy, so you are mortgaged! But you bear it charmingly;
do you think this courage will last, or is it only a spasm? Spasmodic
love. It is really quite new. The trifling incident in relation to
dress you must pardon. I am a _connoisseur_ in these things, and can
assure you they are very pardonable.

I am all anxiety and impatience for to-day's mail. But it surprises me
that _primo mobile_ is forgotten. Pray, have you lived altogether on
pepper? We shall ride to Montalto this afternoon, and you shall know
our reception. I am too anxious for my letters to add a word more.
Poor Starling!



Philadelphia, June 10, 1803.

Yesterday I dined chez la Raz; a very pleasant party. The farce of
eight days past had been forgotten, or recollected only as a dream.

Just as I sit down to write to you I receive a note from Celeste,
advising me that she is in town for a few hours, and will be happy to
see me. What in the name of love and matrimony can this mean? The
conclusion was definitive, and a mutual promise that neither would
ever renew the subject. I am all impatience, and I go to hear. You
shall know to-morrow.



New-York, June 10, 1803.

My apology for not writing this morning is enclosed. We have been
dining with Mrs. Laight to-day, and have been much amused. We are to
take them, with Miss Laight and Miss Brown, in curricle and coachee to
Montalto to-morrow afternoon. We are absolutely two demonstrations of
two laws in mechanics. When we repose it requires a great exertion to
move us, and when put in motion we go on.

My interruption last evening prevented me from wishing you joy at the
declaration of independence. What are your plans now. Cher petit pere,
the boy kisses you; but I do not, because you remain so long in



1. Her cousin, Catharine Brown, daughter of Dr. Joseph Brown.



Philadelphia, June 11, 1803.

_Continuation of the Story of the Loves of Reubon and Celeste_.

Your recollection must be recalled to the fatal and decisive interview
of Wednesday. The result only was stated in a former letter. It would
have required too much time to compress into the compass of one or two
sheets a conversation of two hours. The details are therefore omitted;
but a circumstance which will increase your surprise at the incident
related yesterday morning is, that, on Wednesday night, Reubon
received by the hands of a servant of Celeste, sent for the sole
purpose seven miles, a letter from her, couched in civil terms, but
expressing "an unalterable determination never to listen again to his
suit, and requesting that the subject might never be renewed." Reubon
returned home late last evening, and was told that a boy had been
three times in the course of the afternoon and evening to deliver him
a message, but refused to say from whom he came. The last time the
servant of Reubon traced the boy to the house of Celeste in town. It
was not known that Celeste had been that day in town, and no
conjecture could be formed as to the owner of the boy or the object of
his message. The note received by Reubon this morning explains the
mystery. The letter which I wrote you by the mail left Reubon puzzling
his brain to discover the meaning of that note, and just going out to
obey the challenge which it conveyed. He went, as you were apprized,
and has just now returned and communicated what you shall now hear.

Some years ago, a worthy country judge, having heard a cause very
ingeniously debated by lawyers on each side, when he came to charge
the jury, did it in the words following: "Gentlemen of the jury, you
must get along with this cause as well as you can; for my part, I am
swamp'd." Now Reubon is exactly in the case of this judge, and I am at
a loss what to advise him. You could unravel this thing in five
minutes. Would to God you were here; but to the story.

He found Celeste with a visitor; some female neighbour, who sat a full
half hour. Celeste betrayed considerable agitation when Reubon came
in, and the most palpable impatience at the long stay of the lady
visitor. At length she went, and the parties were alone. As she had
desired the interview, it was her place to speak first. After a pause
and several efforts, she, with some trepidation, said that she feared
the letter which she had writen had not been expressed in terms
sufficiently polite and respectful; she had wished an opportunity to
apologize; and here she stuck. Reubon ought in mercy and in politeness
to have taken up the conversation; but he, expecting no such thing,
was taken by surprise, and remained dumb, with a kind of half grin.
The duette, at this moment, would have made a charming subject for the
pencil of Vanderlyn. Celeste was profoundly occupied in tearing up
some roses which she held in her hand, and Reubon was equally
industrious in twirling his hat, and pinching some new corners and
angles in the brim. At length he recovered himself so far as to gain
utterance. He denied, plumply, that there was want of politeness or
respect in the letter; and, after many awkward detours and
half-finished sentences, he said he would return the letter, and would
consider it as cancelling the determination which it contained, and
proposed to call on her in the country to-morrow morning to renew his
suit. This was _faintly_ opposed. He changed the course of
conversation, without insisting on a formal permission or refusal, and
then went into the subject of celibacy and matrimony, and passed an
hour tête-à-tête. It may be worth noting that, towards the close of
the conversation, some one knocked, and that she went out and ordered
the servant to deny her, from which it may be inferred that she was
not disagreeably engaged, and that she did not wish to be interrupted.

Now, ma Minerve, is not this a very ridiculous posture for so grave an
affair? And is not Reubon in a way to be coquetted, with his eyes
open? I rather think he erred in giving to the apology of Celeste any
other meaning than she literally expressed. Thus he might have
compelled her to be more explicit. On the other hand, if she did in
fact repent, and so suddenly, it would seem too harsh and fastidious
to shut the door against all treaty and negotiation. Upon the whole,
however, I conclude that if she wished, for any kind reason, to
retreat, she should have gone further, and held out something like
encouragement; in short, have met him half way. It may, I know, be
replied, that her habits of life and singular education forbid every
thing like advance; and that a lady may always presume that her lover,
if sincere, will seize the slightest ground for hope; and that, in the
logic of love, an equivocal refusal is assent. Certainly, this last
interview has been illy managed on the part of Reubon, but I have not
yet resolved what to advise. This is left open till morning, when
perhaps a word may be added.

Saturday morning.

From the state of things it is obvious that there can, at this hour,
be no new fact to communicate; but I have no longer any doubts as to
the meaning of the late scene, nor as to the line of conduct to be
pursued by Reubon. The note of Celeste is one of those trifling
incidents which are too small for calculation, which may have arisen
from the trifling motive assigned. Perhaps from a little spirit of
coquetry, perhaps a mere piece of sport. He shall, therefore, take no
further notice of it; not even to go out this morning to see her, as
he had solicited and engaged; and, when he shall next meet her, make
some slight apology. Thus the thing is settled.



Philadelphia, June 12, 1803.

I am weary, and so must you be, of this story of Reubon and Celeste.
It is, however, closed, and you will, after this letter, hear no more
of it.

Reubon agreed to comport himself in the manner advised in my last.
Immediately after this determination, Celeste sent a servant to inform
him that she was in town! He called to see her; returned the offensive
letter, and told her that, as he understood that it was the manner and
not the substance of the letter which had induced her to recall it, it
would be quite unnecessary for her to take the trouble of writing
another. They talked of indifferent matters. Reubon, quite at ease,
played the man of the world, and, in my opinion, the man of sense.
Before they parted, her face was flushed like a full-blown rose. She
begged his permission to destroy the letter, which was certainly a
very useless request, considering that the letter was wholly in her
power. During the interview, Celeste, having no roses to occupy her
hands, twisted off two corners of a pocket-handkerchief.

This reference (the law business), of which I informed you something,
has become extremely troublesome and disagreeable. I am apprehensive
that it will detain me here nearly the whole of this week.

Binny looks remarkably well, and talks much about you. Dennis and
wife, from Savannah, are here. _Madame est toujours belle_. I can't
express to you my impatience to be with you, your husband, and little
one. Truly I think with horror of passing five days more here. Pray
form no plans of distant rides until my return.



New-York, June 14, 1803.

As to Celeste, _voila mon_ opinion. She meant, from the beginning, to
say that awful word--_yes_; but not choosing to say it immediately,
she told you that _you_ had furnished her with arguments against
matrimony, which in French means, Please, sir, to persuade me out of
them again. But you took it as a plump refusal, and walked off. She
called you back. What more could she do? I would have seen you to
Japan before I should have done so much. I still, however, like your
plan. My opinion is not, perhaps, well founded, and it is best to be
on the safe side. If she is determined to be kind, she will find out a
way of expressing it, or she is not worth having. I am quite pleased
with her, and am waiting the arrival of the mail with the utmost

"Treasure" is well, notwithstanding all predictions on my folly in his
dress. You must be home for my birthday, (the 20th inst.), or I'll
never forgive you; or, rather, I shall not spend it pleasantly.



Philadelphia, June 16, 1803.

No letter by this mail; being the fourth omission and violation of
promise since the 1st inst.

The birthday must be kept. It shall be "honoured by my presence." You
will therefore make your preparations, and, among other articles for
your feast or party, I recommend two fiddlers, not barbecued or
roasted, but _en plein vie_.

If this should be received on Friday morning, in season to be answered
by that day's mail, I beg to have a line from you, if only a _bon
jour_; after which, no more letters can be received. You shall not
have any distant parties or jaunts until I can partake. I am even
jealous of the Fort Washington tour. Indeed, you can't go there
without me, for no one can so well show you the ground.

If Mr. Kane and his wife (late Miss Clarke) should be in town, pray
call on them immediately, and make them and the sister of the party.
Recollect they have many claims to your civilities. His sister, Mrs.
Thomas Morris, was very kind to you at Genesee. Mr. Kane himself
overwhelmed us with good offices on a certain occasion at Albany, and
the frequent hospitalities of John Innes Clarke can never be
forgotten. Be prompt, therefore, and courteous.



Ballston, July 20, 1803.

Behold us, _cher pere_, at this fountain of health; and now my only
wish is to leave it as soon as possible. On arriving here we found
that your letter to H. Walton had not been received; but we have been
very fortunate in getting a house entirely to ourselves, and one quite
as pleasantly situated as that you mentioned. Mr. Walton has been
extremely polite to us. We dined there on Monday, and in the evening
went to a ball, which surpassed my expectations in brilliancy. I
danced twice, but I am unable to tell you whether I looked well or
danced well; for you are the only person in the world who says any
thing to me about my appearance. Mari generally looks pleased, but
rarely makes remarks. On my return, therefore, I wished for you to
learn some account of myself; for vanity and diffidence had a combat
in which each so well maintained its ground that the affair is still
left undecided.

General Smith and family are here. Never was ennui more strongly
depicted than in the countenance of madame and sister. They appear
absolutely bereft of every thing like exertion. Mr. -----, on the
contrary, while he owns that this is not one of the most pleasant
places he has ever seen, is still lively and agreeable. Such are the
baneful effects of our education. Put out of our usual sphere of
acquaintance, or the old routine of amusement and occupation, we
rarely have knowledge of the world enough to discover any pleasant
qualification that may exist in a stranger, and to put it to any use
if it obtrude itself on our notice; and still less are we taught to
create amusements for ourselves.

The boy is pretty well, but I confess I have many doubts as to the
healthiness of this place for children. Every morning since our
arrival there has been a thick mist, which the sun does not disperse
till nine or ten o'clock. I kiss you with all my heart.



Philadelphia, February 3, 1803.


The business of New-Orleans is much talked of here. In my opinion, and
it is the opinion of many others, we should immediately take
possession, and then treat about it. We have no business to make
excuses for the conduct of the Spanish government, by saying that they
gave no orders to treat us in this manner. For my own part I do not
fear a war with France and Spain. We could do more injury to them than
they could do us. If we were at war with them, and Great Britain did
not join us, we should have our ports filled with their seamen, and
the coasts of France and Spain would soon swarm with our cruisers.

I remember, just before the commencement of the revolutionary war, my
mother was disputing with an English officer. He said the Americans,
of right, should not go to war; they could do nothing; they could get
no person to head them. She replied, that the Americans would have no
difficulty in finding some person to command their army; that she had
seven sons, and, if necessary, would lead them herself to oppose their
army. _Two_ of her sons fell during the war in the service of their
country. I have seven sons, whom I would much sooner lead to the field
than suffer our country to be insulted. Your friend,



Virginia, near Port Royal, March 25, 1803,


By your note from the Bowling Green I find you are under two mistakes.
One, that I am a candidate for Congress; the other, that I am making a
book. As to the first, I have withstood all solicitation; and,
although a few gentlemen have been pleased, without my knowledge, to
make a stir, as it is called, nothing will come of it, and the old
colonel will once more be felicitated.

As to the second, writing is one of my amusements, but in a wild,
careless, and desultory way. Judge, then, how unlikely such scraps are
to come out a book. Not that I would hesitate to publish any thing
which might do these people good, however it might effect my own name,
about which the fifty years which have passed over my head have
rendered me quite indifferent. My time goes along tolerably enough,
one way or another. Fancy furnishes me with passions and amusements,
and about one hundred dollars a year more than meets every want I have
which money can gratify.

This election affair has, however, exposed me to five or six essays in
the newspapers, composed of lies, malice, and nonsense. One writer (an
old tory) charges yourself and Colonel Smith with having met in caucus
here, to plot the expulsion of Anthony New from Congress. I would have
given five guineas had you called again, for it is probable you would
have met Smith at my gate, and another pretty piece would have
appeared most prodigiously entertaining. Well, if you will call in
June, I will give you a hearty welcome to the best I have. May you be

Your friend,



Near Darien, Georgia, March 30, 1803.


The letter you did me the honour of writing, with the accompaniments
you so kindly forwarded, have my warm and grateful acknowledgments.
The selection of _ten miles square_ for the seat of government
appeared to me at the time, and has continued, an excrescence on the
Constitution, like a wart on a fair skin. Neither the foreign
ministers nor the resident citizens in the federal city have any thing
to alarm them under state laws. There is no finger of blood in the
laws of Maryland or Virginia. I am of Mr. Bacon's opinion--return the
sovereignty to the states. I hope we shall preserve peace with Spain.
I observe, with much gratification, that the debates in Congress are
much more decorous than they were last session.

The object or end of Mr. Monroe's mission I am ignorant of, as I do
not correspond with any public character but yourself. I suppose an
explanation with France respecting New-Orleans. I leave my farm in a
few days for Philadelphia, where it would afford me pleasure to see

Your friend,



New-York, July 30, 1803.

It was kind to announce to me, by the earliest opportunity, your safe
arrival at Lebanon. Tell me more precisely the movements and
intentions of the family, as they will in some measure control mine. I
am negotiating for the possession of Richmond Hill, by exchanging with
Colonel F. for my house in town. It will be interesting indeed to have
you and your boy at the house where you have been once so happy. We
will trace back our childish sports and our more grave amusements. In
the sale of this estate I reserve the house and a due portion of the
ground about it; yet a good price will tempt me to part with it.

Some obscure hints in one of your letters have saddened my heart. From
_son pere_ I have merited neither suspicion nor reserve. Is it, then,
criminal that a person of mature age should converse on a subject most
highly interesting with the friend most likely informed? Yet did I not
even give advice; invariably and inflexibly I declared that I would
never interfere in the matter unless son pere concurred. Have you
forgotten the mad project of going to England? the anxiety and misery
it cost us for some days? I should have thanked the man who had thus
treated my child. Indeed, my dear Theodosia, such things sink into my
soul. They seem to invade the very sanctuary of happiness. Had I any
thing so much at heart as to render him happy? That I love him, you
best know. God bless my dear Theodosia.



Providence, R. I., August 1, 1803.

I left New-York two days after you, that is, on Saturday, and had a
pretty little passage of forty-eight hours. We were, on board, a
British custom-house officer, a sensible, pleasant man, who played
chess with me; two ladies, rather pretty, who did not molest us,
_point exigentes_, bien amiable; five little children, who neither
cried nor quarrelled the whole way! yet cheerful and playful.

Six days have I passed here very pleasantly. To-morrow I go, whither
is not determined. You may, however, address me at New-York, which
will most probably be my destination.

All those you saw when you were last here inquire about you with great
civility and interest, and say pretty things of you. Don't be vain,
madam, for I take this to be a kind of flattery to me, or to be so
intended. Miss C. talks much of you, and L. N., and Miss A. Can you
imagine what are Miss C.'s occupations and arrangements? Never; so
I'll tell you. Why, she instructs two nieces and a nephew (things of
twelve or thirteen) in astronomy, natural philosophy, and principles
of botany! Her boudoir has globes, several mathematical instruments,
&c. All this I discovered by accident; for she denies it all most
strenuously, and with some pretty, unaffected embarrassment. Be
assured this is an amiable, sensible girl. I don't believe you know
her value: so I pray you to study her. She left town yesterday with
her mother for Lebanon. Mr. C. went on Friday to New-York. What care
you for all that?

Are you a good girl? Do you drink the waters, and bathe, and ride, and
walk? I hear Mrs. W. is handsomer than during her widowhood, of which
I am very glad. Mr. Russel left this on Thursday, intending to pass
through Albany and Ballston on his way to Niagara. If he should come
into your vicinage, desire Mr. Alston to recollect him. His wife is
with him. I never saw her.

Tell me who you see, and what you do, and what are your plans. You had
best return by Boston and Providence if you should have time. Can you
make little _chose_ drink the water? I dare say not. If I were there I
would force some down his little throat. God bless you all.



New-York, August 6, 1803.

Your letter of the 20th of July was received from the postoffice on my
arrival last evening. There must be some anachronism in the date, for
you left New-York on the 21st. I learn, however, that you arrived,
were well, and had danced. Lord, how I should have liked to see you
dance. It is so long; how long is it? It is certain that you dance
better than anybody and looked better. Not a word of the Spring
waters, their effects, &c.

I made the journey from Providence by land in four days. Near town,
yesterday, P.M., I met Mr. and Mrs. Harper, of Baltimore. They are to
breakfast with me this morning; so I must make haste, for it is now
eight o'clock. How bad I write to-day. With Mr. and Mrs. Harper was a
pretty-looking, black-eyed lass, whose name I did not hear. I hope she
is coming out to breakfast, for I like her. There was also that
Liverpool merchant, who used to hang on Butler so in Charleston. I
hope he won't come.

I wrote you from Providence, on Monday last, all I had to say of it
and its inhabitants. I found the whole country, from Providence to
this place, greatly alarmed about the yellow fever, said to be in
New-York, and dreadful stories in circulation, as usual. There have
been some suspicious cases, and some decided instances of yellow
fever. Our practising physicians, however, our mayor and
police-officers deny its existence. There is no alarm in town. The
coffee-house is attended as usual. This length of intolerable heat
has, I fear, prepared an atmosphere for the kind reception, if not for
the generation of the fever. Now I hear the carriage. _Bon jour_. Be a
good girl. Love to H. 'Twas nothing but a cart.

L. and her little bang are here (_chez nous_); how happy are you
mothers. She will descant on its beauties by the hour; will point them
out to you distinctly, lest they might escape notice. The hair, the
nose, the mouth, and, in short, every feature, limb, and muscle, is
admirable and is admired. To all which I agreed.

Jerome Bonaparte is not here; nor is it certain that he is on the
continent. The French consul, whom I met in the road, told me, with
_une maniere mysterieuse_, that he had something to communicate on
that subject. Maybe he is come, maybe he isn't. I conjecture that he
is come or coming.

Here they come, in earnest. I see only one lady in the carriage; so
miss has not come; well, she may stay.



New-York, August 8, 1803.

Your amiable letter of the 1st inst. has not yet come to hand, and
therefore cannot yet be acknowledged; perhaps it has not yet been

Indeed, we are about to be scourged with the plague called yellow
fever. John Bard dead; but, to keep the account good, Billy B. has
twins (boys). Catharine Church Cruger (Mrs. Peter C.) has a son. But
of the deaths. We die reasonably fast. Six or eight new cases reported
yesterday. Of those who take the fever three fourths die. The
coffee-house was, nevertheless, pretty well attended. No appearances
of alarm until to-day. Several families have removed from the
neighbourhood of the Tontine Coffee-house, and five times the number
will remove to-morrow. Laight claimed Mr. Alston's promise of
Montalto, and I have admitted his pretensions. He will take possession
to-morrow or next day. Our pretty (beautiful) Mrs. Talbot, late Miss
Truxton, more lately Mrs. Cox, is in my neighbourhood.

I write in town, and in the most outrageous hurry, having nothing to
do, but having, according to custom, omitted writing till the moment
of closing the mail. Mr. and Mrs. Harper did come, and with them that
black-eyed young lady, which proved to be Miss Chase, of Baltimore.
Mr. ----- came also.

Do you know Miss Joanna Livingston? Pray recollect all her good and
amiable qualities. Reflect profoundly. Adieu, ma chere amie.



Washington, October 16, 1803.

We arrived here yesterday somewhat fatigued. I was, however, very
happy to find myself at Washington, for we had, in the morning, been
near taking quite a different route. Some part of our harness having
broken on the top of a pretty long descent, fortunately the leaders
were frightened by the wheel horses crowding on them; and running
aside, one got his leg over the pole and was stopped, or you would not
have had the pleasure of receiving this interesting scribleriad, and
the _poor world_ would have been deprived of the heir-apparent to all
its admiration and glory.

Our friend L. I have not seen. She was not to be seen. She has gone to
Lancaster, and intends returning by the way of Harper's Ferry. Her
journey is taken with a view to recruit herself after a severe attack
of the bilious fever; with which, also, her little daughter has been
at the point of death--literally, I am told. Lest I might lose the
pleasure of seeing her by some mistake, I would not trust to the
information of Tunnecliffe as to her absence, but made him send
directly to her house. There; is not that little incident related in
the true heroic style? Mrs. Madison and myself have made an
interchange of visits to-day. She is still pretty; but oh, that
unfortunate propensity to snuff-taking. We drank tea with Mr. and Mrs.
Gallatin by invitation. Nobody asked us to eat. The markets are bad, I
hear. We live very well, however, and, if you have not engaged
lodgings, I advise to apply here also.

To-morrow takes us to Dumfries, and the next day beyond
Fredericksburgh. _Le pere_ is at Bowling Green. I bear travelling
remarkably well. Headaches have disappeared, and my appetite
increases; but poor little _gampy_ does not like the confinement of
the carriage.

On inquiry, we find that the one-eyed Nicholas who was in Congress is
named John, and has only three brothers, Wilson, Robert, and Normond;
so your man is an impostor, consequently you have been imposed on and
cheated out of fifty dollars. Wade Hampton arrived here this evening.



Petersburgh, October 21, 1803.

We reached this last night without any accident or even incident, but
with great fatigue. Mr. Alston appears so distressed and worn out with
the child's fretting, that it returns on me with redoubled force.

_Le pere et frere_ are here. _Toujours honnête et bon_. They
breakfasted with us, for we are obliged to take separate lodgings, and
my husband has now gone to the races with them; a party of pleasure I
was very willing to resign for you and repose. The longer I live, the
more frequently the truth of your advice evinces itself, and never was
there any thing more true than that occupation is necessary to give
one command over themselves. I confess I feel myself growing quite
cross on the journey, and it is really to be feared that, unless we
soon finish it, the serene tranquillity of my placid temper may be
injured. Novel reading has, I find, not only the ill effect of
rendering people romantic, which, thanks to my father on earth, I am
long past, but they really furnish no occupation to the mind. A series
of events follow so rapidly, and are interwoven with remarks so
commonplace and so spun out, that there is nothing left to reflect
upon. A collection of images, which amuse only from their variety and
rapid succession, like the pictures of a magic lantern; not like a
piece of Vanderlyn, where the painter makes fine touches, and leaves
to your vanity at least the merit of discovering them. Oh! would I had
my friend Sterne. Half he says has no meaning, and, therefore, every
time I read him I find a different one.

The boy has perfectly recovered. He remembers you astonishingly. He is
constantly repeating that you are gone, and calling after you. When I
told him to call Mr. Alston grandfather--"Grandfather gone," says he.
I kiss you from my heart.



Lumberton, S. C., October 29, 1803.

Thank Heaven, my dear father, I am at Lumberton, and within a few days
of rest. I am sick, fatigued, out of patience, and on the very brink
of being out of temper. Judge, therefore, if I am not in great need of
repose. What conduces to render the journey unpleasant is, that it
frets the boy, who has acquired two jaw teeth since he left you, and
still talks of _gampy_. We travel in company with the two Alstons.
Pray teach me how to write two A's without producing something like an

We expect to reach Georgetown on the 1st of November. There we shall
remain three or four days, and then proceed to Charleston. Adieu.
_Mille baises_.



Clifton, November 8, 1803.

You are surprised at my date, but my last must have prepared you for
it in some degree. I received such warm and repeated solicitations to
come here, that I accepted. We came on the 3d, and shall remain here
till the day after to-morrow, when-oh!-oh! I go to Hagley, where we
shall remain till Natalie's arrival, which will carry me to
Charleston. It might appear ill-natured and ungrateful for the
kindness John and Sally show me to regret residing at Hagley. But you,
who always put the best construction on my words and deeds, will
allow, that a place in which we have suffered much and run a risk of
suffering more must be unpleasant.

We have visited the Oaks house since our arrival. The lazy workmen
have been wasting their time, and have not yet finished what two
Northern workmen would have done in a month. They are in the act of
plastering, and that will not be dry enough to admit us in some time.
Thus I shall remain with John till Mr. Alston returns from Columbia.
Do you not think we may safely enter the house then? The plastering
will be finished in less than a week hence; and the legislature, you
know, adjourns at Christmas. I am particular on this subject, because
I have known persons to suffer much from inhabiting a house too newly
finished, and I wish to have your opinion.

I am extremely anxious to hear from you. When we parted you were
engaged in talking over a bargain with Mr. Astor. Pray tell me the
event of your deliberations. I had almost forgotten to tell you that
we have every prospect of a capital crop.



New-York, November 7, 1803.

Your letter from Chester was received in due time; that from
Washington came only yesterday, having lain there fourteen days before
it was put into the office. By this time you must have received all
those which I have written to you since your departure--not a single
one. This is the first time that I have put pen to paper at you; but I
have been too busy, selling. All is sold, and well sold; not all,
however. The house, outhouses, and some three or four acres remain.
Enough to keep up the appearance, and all the pleasant recollections
of your infantine days, and some of your matronly days also, are
reserved with interest. This weighty business, however, is completed,
and a huge weight it has taken from the head and shoulders, and every
other part, animal and intellectual, of A. B.

Mr. M'Kinnon wrote me, last June, a letter, which I received a few
days ago, and with it came two shawls or cloaks (a kind of worked
muslin, all the rage in Paris and London at that date), some visiting
cards, and ornamented message paper. Half his letter is to you and of
you. He begs you to accept one of the shawls, and to give Frances the
other. I executed his instructions by giving F. one. Surely it is not
worth while to send the other to the Oaks for the admiration of your
Africans. It is, in my opinion, beautiful; though, at first sight, I
thought so little of it that I was going to give it to Peggy or Nancy.
Of the cards I enclose a sample.

If little _gamp_ could read, I should write to him volumes. I find my
thoughts straying to him every hour in the day, and think more of him
twenty fold than of you two together. Mrs. Laight and child are well.
They move to town in six or eight days. Anna is well. Cath. C. la la.



New-York, November 22, 1803.

My last went by water, in care of young Gibbs, the baker's son, with
the curricle box, and some other articles which I have forgotten. The
letter contained some samples of M'Kinnon's present. The shawl is
still retained as being too precious to be sent by sea or land. Is
this right?

Mr. Astor left with me some days ago for Mr. Alston a very beautiful
map of Lower Canada, price _ten_ dollars, and two views of Montreal
and its vicinity, _two guineas_. I am particularly charged by Mr.
Astor to inform Mr. Alston that his landlord at Montreal paid to him
(Mr. Astor), for the account of Joseph Alston, Esq., the sum of _one
half guinea_; the said landlord having discovered, after the departure
of the said Joseph Alston _et ux_., that they had not taken with them
two bottles of Madeira wine which the said landlord had charged in the
bill of the said Joseph Alston, and for which he had received payment.
Thus I have discharged myself of a commission which has been enjoined
upon me at least ten times.

Roger Morris's place, the large handsome house on the height beyond
Mrs. Watkins, is for sale. I can get it for Richmond Hill with _four_
acres. Shall I exchange? R. M.'s has one hundred and thirty acres. If
I leave Richmond Hill, however, had I not better buy in town, that you
may have a resting-place there ? Dear little _gampy_; tell me a great
deal about him, or I shall not value your letters. Indeed, I will
return them unopened. Is not that good Irish?

Mr. Law has arrived. Miss Wheeler [1] is also at Washington, and A. B.
at New-York-_tant mieux_. Would you think it? I have been coquetted by
a rich widow, and really I had some thoughts of yielding.

Jerome Bonaparte is here, and he will keep me three days to dine him.
We have exchanged visits, but have not yet met. I think I have mixed
up here every thing I have to say to T. B. A. or J. A. No one word of
politics; but, on further reflection, Mari will be at Columbia when
this arrives.



Washington, December 4, 1803.

I arrived this afternoon, and found here your three letters from
Petersburgh, Lumberton, and Georgetown. The last is dated the 2d of
November. How very long ago. These letters are very satisfactory,
except on the article of your health; of that you must speak a little
more plainly. How long are you to stay in Charleston? Without knowing
this, I am at a loss where to address you. I shall conclude that you
will remain there till the return of Mr. Alston from the legislature.

The manner of your letters pleases me "prodigiously." There is ease,
good sense, and sprightliness. That from Petersburgh merits still
higher encomium. Tell dear little _gampy_ that I have read over his
letter a great many times, and with great admiration. Mrs. Law, to
whom I showed it, thinks it a production of genius.

That good and ill fortune never come in single strokes, but in
sequences, you have heard since you were four years old. Since we
parted I have been almost daily surprised by some pleasant occurrence
or discovery of a personal nature. I pray it may continue a little
longer; even till a bust is found and obtained.

Mrs. Law was vexed and mortified beyond measure at missing you. She
has bid me say more things than this sheet would hold. The Misses
Butler are all here. I shall see them to-morrow. Mary Allen, that was,
now Mrs. Livingston; that beautiful little Miss Gray, whom we saw in
Boston; she became Mrs. Dobel, then a widow, and now Mrs. Payne.

At Philadelphia Mrs. Lenox and K. almost quarrelled with me for your
passing their gate without calling. They had made some preparation,
and, in good faith, desired your visit. Miss Boadley, too, talked of
you with great interest. At Wilmington I saw no one of your
acquaintance; nor at Baltimore, except Susan Smith, who is there on a
visit from Princeton.

To go back to New-York. All things are much as you left them, except
that what regards gamp is a good deal better. Mrs. Laight, and child,
and sisters all in good condition and in high spirits. Have already
been dancing--I believe twice. At Mrs. General G.'s I met by accident
Mrs. Rogers. She is a pleasant, cheerful, comely woman, to appearance
not past thirty-eight or forty. You know we had heard otherwise.
Eustis has sprained his ankle, which puts him, for the present, out of
the gay world. I have not been abroad except to dine with Mrs. L. I am
rejoiced at what you tell me of La Gree.

Pray take immediately in hand some book which requires attention and
study. You will, I fear, lose the habit of study, which would be a
greater misfortune than to lose your head. M'Kinnon has sent me out a
beautiful picture of the celebrated Madame Ricammier. It is a good
deal like your pretty widow, Mrs. Wright. _Bon soir_.



Charleston, November 19, 1803.

All your trouble, good precepts, and better example have been thrown
away on me. I am still a child. Your letter of the 7th inst. reached
me yesterday. Of course it made me very happy; but those pretty little
playthings from D. M'Kinnon delighted me. I looked at them over and
over, with as much pleasure as a miser over his hoard. But you must
send me the shawl. I shall be down at the races, and want to have the
gratification of displaying it.

From my date and my last letter you imagine that Natalie is in town,
but you are mistaken. I came down in the hope of meeting her, and to
buy some furniture for the Oaks. Mari on business. I return to
Waccamaw to-morrow morning early. My husband left me to-day for
Columbia. He received your letter too late to answer it hence, but
will do so from Columbia. As for me, I am in the height of bustle and
confusion. Before seven this morning I had packed up two or three
trunks, and unpacked them all again. Is not that industry? I write as
if I were in a hurry. You may perceive the state of my head and house
from the style of my letter. More from Hagley. Good-by.



Washington, December 6, 1803.

Since closing a letter to you last evening, I have received two more,
8th and 19th of November. You are a good girl to write so often. Oh,
yes! I knew how much of a child you were when I sent the pretty
things. Just such another child is _son pere_.

I write from my breakfast-table, having not yet been abroad, and
having denied myself to everybody. I have, therefore, nothing now to
say, and should not so soon have _troubled_ you again, but for that
part of your letter which speaks of the condition of your house. I
hasten to say that, in my opinion, your house will not be a fit or
healthy residence for your boy before the middle of April or 1st of
May. The walls may, to the touch, appear dry in three or four weeks;
but shut up any room for twelve or twenty-four hours, and enter before
it be aired, you will meet an offensive, and, as I believe, a
pernicious effluvia; an air totally unfit for respiration, unelastic,
and which, when inhaled, leaves the lungs unsatisfied. This is the air
you will breathe if you inhabit the house. I could, perhaps, show
chymically how the atmosphere of the closed rooms becomes thus azotic,
but I prefer to submit to the test of your senses.

The shawl shall be ordered on, since you will risk it. Yes, go to the
races, and appear to be amused. Be more social.



Washington, December 9, 1803.

When any thing amuses me, my first thought is whether it would not
also amuse you; and the pleasure is but half enjoyed until it is
communicated. The enclosed has suggested this prologue.

Perhaps I did not tell you that Kate made breakfast for Bonaparte one
morning at my house: a breakfast _à la François_, at twelve o'clock.
Of four ladies, she was the only one who spoke French, and she really
seemed inspired. No Parisian could have been more fluent, graceful, or

I have nothing to add of A. B., nor of any of the rest of the
alphabet; and my breakfast being on table, farewell.



Clifton, December 1, 1803.

I have been here about a week, _cher pere_. Since your letter by
Gibbs, have not received a line from you. I do not know whether to be
most sorry or mad: a little of both troubles me at present; but, to
punish you for your silence, I will not tell you which preponderates.
Pray write to me immediately.

On the morning after writing to you in Charleston, I set off for the
country, as determined on; and, since my arrival, have learned that
Natalie was at my house in less than three hours after my departure.
Sumter's business will not allow him time to come here, so that I
shall go there. William drives me down in his curricle, and we shall
set off to-day--this morning--now. The flat is in the canal; the
curricle on board; my clothes not yet packed up; so good-by. Before I
finish I must tell you that I have again heard from La Greque; she is
astonishingly improved in appearance, so say others, and is very
happy. She has sent me a Parisian bonnet, two beautiful handkerchiefs,
and a pair of walking shoes. To the boy a French and English library;
and to Mari a beautiful little golden candlestick, and wax tapers to
light his segar.

My health is infinitely improved, and I attribute it to nothing but
the continual bustle I have been kept in for three weeks past. What a
charming thing a bustle is. Oh, dear, delightful confusion. It gives a
circulation to the blood, an activity to the mind, and a spring to the



Washington, December 27, 1803.

Indeed, indeed, my dear little Theodosia, I will write to you very
soon. Don't scold and pout so, and I will tell you _how_ I visited
Annapolis, and _how_ I returned about an hour ago. All that, however,
may be told in half a line. I went and returned in my own little
coachee. But what I did and who I saw are other matters. Something,
too, about Celeste, and something about Madame G., whom you are
pleased to term the rich widow. This, I think, will keep you quiet a

Your letter, written on your return from seeing Natalie, is received.
You are a dear good little girl to write me so; and of dear little
_gampy_, too, so much, yet never enough. God bless thee.



Clifton, December 10, 1803.

Behold me again at Clifton; and, in good truth, I begin to be cloyed
with the delights of bustle. William and myself left this the day
after the date of my last. Some difficulty in crossing the horses
delayed us till then. We reached Charleston on the second day, and I
found Natalie delighted to see me, and still pretty. She has grown
thinner, much thinner; but her complexion is still good, though more
languid. The loss of her hair is, however, an alteration much for the
worse. Her crop is pretty, but not half so much so as her fine brown
hair. I write you all these foolish little particulars because you
enter into them all, or, rather, are sensible of all their importance
to us. Natalie has a lovely little daughter called after her.

Mr. Sumter is very affectionate and attentive to her, and polite to
me. I like him infinitely better than I did. He is an amiable,
good-hearted man, with talents to render him respectable. The people
of Charleston have paid Natalie every possible attention; indeed, much
more than I ever received.

Your letter of the 22d of November greeted me on my arrival here. The
exchange has employed my thoughts ever since. Richmond Hill will, for
a few years to come, be more valuable than Morris's; and to you, who
are so fond of town, a place so far from it would be useless. So much
for my reasoning on one side; now for the other. Richmond Hill has
lost many of its beauties, and is daily losing more. If you mean it
for a residence, what avail its intrinsic value? If you sell part, you
deprive it of every beauty save the mere view. Morris's is the most
commanding view on the island. It is reputed to be indescribably
beautiful. The grounds are pretty. How many delightful walks can be
made on one hundred and thirty acres! How much of your taste
displayed! In ten or twenty years hence, one hundred and thirty acres
on New-York island will be a principality; and there is to me
something stylish, elegant, respectable, and suitable to you in having
a handsome country-seat. So that, upon the whole, I vote for Morris's.

You, perhaps, have not yet heard of the death of J. M'Pherson. He
expired on the road from town to his brother's. Poor Sally was with
him, and John here. He has gone for her, and thus Hagley will be
deserted for a long time.

Men are indubitably born monkeys. _Gampy_ imitates me in every thing I
do, and to-day I had a lesson not to be forgotten. He was playing in
my room while I was dressing; quite at the commencement of my toilet,
_toute a fais en desabille_, I ran out in the entry to call my maid;
while engaged in that operation, I turned round and saw my brother's
door opening within a few yards of me; girl-like, or rather babylike,
I ran to my room, threw the door open violently, and uttering a
scream, was at the other end of it in one jump. The boy, who was
busily engaged in eating mint-drops, no sooner heard me scream and
appear frightened than he yelled most loudly, and, running to me,
caught my clothes, clinched his fists, and appeared really alarmed for
two minutes. It was not affectation. Do you think this trait ominous
of a coward? You know my abhorrence and contempt of those animals.
Really I have been uneasy ever since it happened. You see I follow
your injunction to the letter. How do you like this essay? Have you
enough of _gampy_ now?



New-York, July 20, 1800.


The President has hauled out into the stream. Your boys left my house
yesterday and went on board. They have gained very much of my esteem
and attachment by their amiable manners, their modesty, and good
sense; the friendship which I formerly bore them on your account is
now due to them on their own.

The more I reflect on the destination of these young men, the more I
am pleased with it; and if I had but one son, I think I should place
him in the navy.

If the object be ambition, our navy presents the best prospect of
honour and advancement. A young man of merit may be sure of rapid
promotion and opportunities of distinction. If the pursuit be wealth,
still the navy offers the fairest and most honourable means of
acquiring it.

But another reason, perhaps not often attended to nor generally
believed, would weigh very much with me. The young men of our day,
those, I mean, who are deemed to be in the higher ranks of life, are
addicted to gross and vicious habits, which are often ruinous to their
health and constitutions, and always corrupt the morals and enfeeble
the mind. In naval life they are certainly much less exposed to these
vices. The profession calls for the active exertions both of body and
mind; and I have always remarked that sailors, I mean those among them
who are men of education, and are stimulated by motives of honour or
ambition, have a generosity of temper, a frankness and manliness of
character, which is much more seldom seen in other orders of life.

I am, therefore, firmly persuaded that, situated as our country now
is, a young man of activity and talents has the best chance for
health, fortune, and honour by entering the navy. Your sons are under
peculiar advantages, for you may be assured that they will find not
only a friend, but truly a parent in Captain Truxton. We have talked
much about them, and I am happy to find that his dispositions towards
them are such as you could wish.

I am, dear sir,

Your very affectionate friend and servant,


Recollect, if you please, the Trenton bridge, and find me a copy of
the law--any information with regard to the difficulties--the expense,
and probable income--also the doings of the commissioners, if indeed
they have done any thing.


Tripoli Prison, November 29, 1803.


I sit down to fulfil the promise made at parting, of writing you upon
our arrival in the Mediterranean. I had flattered myself with the
pleasure of hearing from you frequently during the long and happy
cruise which I had contemplated; for, although the greater part of our
time was to be spent far up the Mediterranean, where opportunities to
America rarely occur, yet I should have written you from every port we
visited, sealed, and forwarded my letters as a conveyance offered. But
fate, it seems, had cruelly ordained that we should not realize those
prospects of pleasure and gratification which we had, with so much
certainty, calculated upon; and that this cruise, which had promised
to be so agreeable, should be suddenly terminated, in its very
commencement, by events the most distressing to ourselves and our
friends, and which may involve our country in difficulties and
perplexities with this regency.

For the unfortunate events of the thirty-first ultimo, the lamentable
day which terminated in the loss of our ship [2] by being wrecked on
rocks within a few miles of this town, and in ourselves becoming
prisoners of war to the Bashaw of Tripoli (I should have said slaves,
for we certainly are in the most abject slavery, our very lives being
within the power and at the very nod of a most capricious tyrant), let
me refer you to statements which I presume you will already have seen
before the receipt of this. Suffice it to say, that the shoal we run
upon was never laid down on any chart yet published, nor ever before
discovered by any of our vessels cruising off this coast;
consequently, the charts and soundings justifying as near an approach
to the land as we made, not the smallest degree of censure can be
attached to Captain Bainbridge for the loss of the ship. That, after
having grounded, every effort was made, and every expedient tried,
without effect, that could have the remotest probability of getting
her afloat; and that, after having sustained the fire of the enemy's
gunboats for upward of four hours, and a re-enforcement approaching
from the town, while our guns were rendered almost useless from the
careening of the ship, there seemed no alternative left but the cruel,
mortifying one of hauling down our colours. Let me also tell you that
the treatment we received from these savages was such as raised our
utmost indignation. Our swords were snatched from us; the money, and
every thing in our pockets was stolen; some had their boots pulled off
to examine if something was not concealed there; and some had their
very coats stripped off their backs, which the barbarians exultingly
put upon themselves; and, as if the trophies of some signal victory,
seemed to triumph in obtaining what fortune alone had put them in
possession of. To murmur at their treatment was only to expose
ourselves to repeated and more provoking insults; to resist was only
hazarding our lives. We were therefore obliged, however degrading in
our own opinion, to submit to these lawless, unfeeling robbers.

We were all conducted, amid the shouts and acclamations of the rabble
multitude, to the palace, and there ushered into the presence of the
mighty bashaw, who, seated in state, with his council about him, and
surrounded by guards, awaited our coming. He asked a variety of
questions, principally concerning our ship and our squadron; and,
after having us all paraded before him, and taken a full survey of
each of us, at which a gracious smile appeared upon his countenance,
expressive of his inward satisfaction at so unexpected a piece of good
fortune, we were carried by our guards to the house allotted for us
during our imprisonment in this country. It was the American consular
house formerly occupied by Mr. Catchcart.

Here we were left undisturbed to our own reflections till the
fifteenth instant. A few days previous to this the prime minister had
written to inform Captain Bainbridge that a letter had been received
from the Tripolitan captain of the ship captured by the U. S. Frigate
John Adams, in which he complained of being ill treated by Captain
Rogers; that, in consequence of this, he should be under the necessity
of retaliating such ill treatment upon us, unless Captain B. would
immediately write to Commodore Preble, and _order_ him to deliver up
all the prisoners he had, in which latter case we should continue to
be treated as heretofore. No exchange was proposed, but we were to
deliver up seventy-eight prisoners merely to ensure our not being
cruelly treated. Captain B. told him that he would write to Commodore
Preble, and acquaint him with their demands; but as to ordering or
requesting him to deliver up the prisoners in question, he would not
do it. We were, therefore, conducted to the castle, under the idea of
being put to work. The change, indeed, was an unpleasant one, from a
large, commodious house, to what they called a castle, which was, in
fact, a most loathsome prison. We were crammed into the same room with
all our ship's company--how well calculated to contain such a number,
you may be enabled to judge, when I tell you that the place was about
eighty feet by twenty-five. How comfortable, when I tell you that the
only place to admit the air was through a small aperture in the top of
the house, grated over, with no floor, nor a single article of
furniture, so that, when we were tired standing up, we were obliged to
lay down on the ground. While there, Lisle, the admiral,
_accidentally_ passed, and was very much _surprised_ at our removal.
He came to inquire the cause, observing that he had understood a
letter was received, mentioning that the Tripolitan prisoners had been
illy treated by Captain Rogers. Captain Bainbridge told him, that if
such a letter had been written, the writer had asserted a most
malicious falsehood; that the laws of the United States absolutely
forbid any prisoners being illy treated; and that having grounded,
every effort was made, and every expedient tried, without effect, that
could have the remotest probability of getting her afloat; and that,
after having sustained the fire of the enemy's gunboats for upward of
four hours, and a re-enforcement approaching from the town, while our
guns were rendered almost useless from the careening of the ship,
there seemed no alternative left but the cruel, mortifying one of
hauling down our colours. Let me also tell you that the treatment we
received from these savages was such as raised our utmost indignation.
Our swords were snatched from us; the money, and every thing in our
pockets was stolen; some had their boots pulled off to examine if
something was not concealed there; and some had their very coats
stripped off their backs, which the barbarians exultingly put upon
themselves; and, as if the trophies of some signal victory, seemed to
triumph in obtaining what fortune alone had put them in possession of.
To murmur at their treatment was only to expose ourselves to repeated
and more provoking insults; to resist was only hazarding our lives. We
were therefore obliged, however degrading in our own opinion, to
submit to these lawless, unfeeling robbers.

We were all conducted, amid the shouts and acclamations of the rabble
multitude, to the palace, and there ushered into the presence of the
mighty bashaw, who, seated in state, with his council about him, and
surrounded by guards, awaited our coming. He asked a variety of
questions, principally concerning our ship and our squadron; and,
after having us all paraded before him, and taken a full survey of
each of us, at which a gracious smile appeared upon his countenance,
expressive of his inward satisfaction at so unexpected a piece of good
fortune, we were carried by our guards to the house allotted for us
during our imprisonment in this country. It was the American consular
house formerly occupied by Mr. Catchcart.

Here we were left undisturbed to our own reflections till the
fifteenth instant. A few days previous to this the prime minister had
written to inform Captain Bainbridge that a letter had been received
from the Tripolitan captain of the ship captured by the U. S. Frigate
John Adams, in which he complained of being ill treated by Captain
Rogers; that, in consequence of this, he should be under the necessity
of retaliating such ill treatment upon us, unless Captain B. would
immediately write to Commodore Preble, and _order_ him to deliver up
all the prisoners he had, in which latter case we should continue to
be treated as heretofore. No exchange was proposed, but we were to
deliver up seventy-eight prisoners merely to ensure our not being
cruelly treated. Captain B. told him that he would write to Commodore
Preble, and acquaint him with their demands; but as to ordering or
requesting him to deliver up the prisoners in question, he would not
do it. We were, therefore, conducted to the castle, under the idea of
being put to work. The change, indeed, was an unpleasant one, from a
large, commodious house, to what they called a castle, which was, in
fact, a most loathsome prison. We were crammed into the same room with
all our ship's company--how well calculated to contain such a number,
you may be enabled to judge, when I tell you that the place was about
eighty feet by twenty-five. How comfortable, when I tell you that the
only place to admit the air was through a small aperture in the top of
the house, grated over, with no floor, nor a single article of
furniture, so that, when we were tired standing up, we were obliged to
lay down on the ground. While there, Lisle, the admiral,
_accidentally_ passed, and was very much _surprised_ at our removal.
He came to inquire the cause, observing that he had understood a
letter was received, mentioning that the Tripolitan prisoners had been
illy treated by Captain Rogers. Captain Bainbridge told him, that if
such a letter had been written, the writer had asserted a most
malicious falsehood; that the laws of the United States absolutely
forbid any prisoners being illy treated; and that he knew Captain
Rogers had given no just cause of complaint; that, even supposing he
had, that could not justify their retaliating upon us; it would not
tend to produce a reconciliation, but would have a quite opposite
effect; that, however, we were in their power, and they might
sacrifice the whole of us; but the United States had men and ships
enough to send in our places.

In the evening we were reconducted to our former house, probably in
consequence of the interposition of the Danish and French consuls in
our behalf. The reason of our removal to the castle, as given out to
us, was in order to retaliate upon us ill treatment which they say
their prisoners received from us. A more probable reason was this:--

When our ship was plundered, all our chests and trunks, with every
article of clothing, was carried off. The prime minister, with the
view of making money, bought in at reduced prices as many of our
clothes as he could collect, and offered them to us for twelve hundred
dollars. Captain Bainbridge would not purchase them. Disappointed in
his expectations of pecuniary profit, and, instead of gain, sustaining
loss, he probably sought consolation in his disappointment by
increasing the weight of our misfortunes. The prime minister and
admiral are both renegadoes, the former a Prussian, the latter a

How long we are to remain in this savage country God only knows. No
doubt it must depend in a great measure upon the exertions that are
made in our favour. We rely with implicit confidence that the
government of our country will make the most speedy, as well as
effectual measures for our release. While we are here, our lives must
be in constant jeopardy and uncertainty. Adieu. Remember me
affectionately to Mrs. Alston; and believe me,

With much esteem and respect,

Your most obedient servant,



1. Subsequently Mrs. Commodore Decatur.

2. The Philadelphia.

3. Now Commodore Biddle, and son of the late Charles Biddle.


An amendment to the Constitution of the United States having been
proposed by Congress, and doubts existing as to the manner in which it
should be authenticated and transmitted to the several states, Mr.
Burr, as president of the Senate, addressed a note on the subject to
the secretary of state, Mr. Madison, and to the secretary of the
Senate, Mr. Otis, to which the following replies were made.


Department of State, December 11, 1803.

J. Madison presents his respects to the vice-president, who will find
in the enclosed the information afforded by the office of state on the
subject of former amendments to the Constitution. Mr. Beckley
recollects, that in one of the instances, copies equal to the number
of the states were made out in the clerk's office of the House of
Representatives. In the other, I understood from him that the copies
were not furnished to the executive; but it does not appear, from any
thing in the office of state, whether this was or was not the case.


Department of State, December 10, 1803.


I find that all the amendments to the Constitution, though none of
them are signed by the president, have been enrolled in this office. I
do not find that the first set was forwarded by this department to the
states, though the president was requested to communicate them, as
appears by the journals. The last amendment was forwarded by the
secretary of state, by direction of the president, to the governors of
the states.

The vice-president called this morning and stated two questions, which
I was then unable to answer, _viz_., Whether the enrolment took place
here, and whether the amendments were forwarded to the states from

It is to enable you to give him satisfaction on these points that I
have written this. With great respect, your obedient servant,



Senate Chamber, December 15, 1803.


In answer to the note you did me the honour to send this morning, my
first impression was that the amendments for each state should be
enrolled in the office of the secretary of the Senate, as the
resolution commenced in Senate. This impression arose from the
proceeding in the _first_ instance, when the enrolments were made in
the House of Representatives, where the amendments, commenced. This
was at a time when the secretary of Senate and clerk of the House of
Representatives were empowered to publish the laws. But, since the
establishment Of the department of state, the amendments to the
Constitution have been enrolled in the office of that house where they
originated. This enrolment, as a bill, hath been sent to the President
of the United States, with a joint resolution that he would forward
authenticated copies. This was the case in March, 1794, as you will
see by the journals of Senate. To confirm this idea, a resolution is
on the table of the House of Representatives for the above purpose. If
precedent is of avail, it certainly devolves, in the distribution, on
the office of state.

Hearing there was some uncertainty, I have, through a friend,
transmitted my opinion to the secretary of state.

Very respectfully,



Leghorn, December 3, 1803.

A letter to my brother [1] of this date will give you a detail of my
pursuits since leaving Malaga until my arrival in Leghorn. I have only
to say of Tuscany that two months have passed away in endeavouring to
repair the ravages of Italian physicians. My pursuits, though not
profitable, have still been flattering to myself. I am at the house of
F. C. Degen, who married Miss Russell, of Boston. She is acquainted
with you, and often retraces the hours you spent with Mrs. Russell. I
may add, that I have been not only a welcome, but most happy guest of
this worthy family for six weeks. My hours of relaxation have not been
employed in playing the _cavallero cervante_, but in acquiring the
Italian; and, with the assistance of a tolerable tutor, I am making
great progress. Pisa and Lucca I have been at twice, and about the
20th of this month I shall visit Florence. From thence I proceed to
Rome, Naples, Palermo, and Malta, where I am directed to join the
commodore, he having given me furlough for the purposed route.

I refrain speaking of those places _all the world_ have seen. Should
my expectations be realized when at Rome, I shall certainly offer you
my first _essay_. Nothing has yet been done in the way of making me
rich. The hospital establishment lays over till spring. Commodore
Morris offers to leave me as chargé des affaires for Tripoli in the
event of peace. If nothing better can be done, I will remain. Eaton
has resigned the consulship of Tunis. Who will be appointed? Rufus
King is expected daily in Tuscany. He sails early in the spring for
the United States.

I ought not to omit mentioning Mrs. Derby, who arrived here a few days
since from Florence. I have spent some pleasant hours with her. She is
unaffected and untinctured with the licentious manners of Paris and
London. We shall meet at Rome. I yesterday dined with Mr. Pinckney,
our minister for the court of Spain. He wants, I think, _ministerial
dignity_, whatever may be his talents.

I have written you several times, and although this gives me no claim
to expect a letter, yet, when you learn that I have not received a
line from the United States since leaving it, you may judge how great
is my desire, and what would be my gratification in hearing from you.
The beautiful Mrs. D. is in the parlour, and I have been sent for
three times. With perfect respect,



Philadelphia, December 12, 1803.

If you can, without inconvenience, let me know how James stands as a
midshipman, I wish you would do it. Having lost a brother, a son, and
two nephews in the service, I have some right to expect James will not
be neglected. I have not the honour of knowing the secretary of the
navy, but I am told he is a very worthy and respectable gentleman.




Washington, December 31, 1803.


It was my intention to have had the pleasure of calling upon you for
the purpose of having some conversation with you about Mr. Biddle,
midshipman. Not knowing what is the precise object of his father's
inquiries, my communication may not afford the expected explanations.
I can only state to you, at present, that the official reports which
have been made of him by his commanding officers are highly
favourable, and that, of course, I have a strong disposition to afford
to him every opportunity of improvement, and to give him every
advancement in the navy that can be done consistently with the just
pretensions of his fellow-officers.

We regret sincerely that the weather has deprived us of the pleasure
of presenting, in person, our reciprocal compliments and solicitations
of the season.

Respectfully yours,



Baltimore, December 20, 1803.

Mr. Carroll, my dear sir, requests me to assure you that it will give
him very particular pleasure to see you at his house on Christmas day,
and as many days before and after as you may find it agreeable to
favour him with your company. He regrets that there will not, at that
time, be a room which he can offer you; but, in every thing except the
article of lodging, he hopes that you will be his guest while you find
it agreeable to remain at Annapolis.

Yours truly,



February 22, 1803.

SIR, You will not, I hope, think me over intrusive when I take the
liberty of introducing to your attentions and kindness the Earl of
Selkirk, a young nobleman who has a project of making a settlement for
some of his countrymen on the western side of the Atlantic. I need say
nothing more of him. His merits will speak for themselves; and give me
leave to add, that I am happy in this opportunity of expressing my
grateful sense of your kindness and attention to me during my
residence in the United States. With great respect, your obedient



Wilmington (Delaware), January 3, 1804.


I cannot resist, until morning, the pleasure of acknowledging how much
I am indebted to you for an acquaintance with Doctor Peter Irving and
Mr. Bishop. I found them all you intimated, and much more; and
sincerely hope the reciprocation you anticipated may have taken place.
We spent the evening with Mr. Dickinson, and, I believe, with mutual
pleasure; and they have just left my house, Dr. Irving the last. We
have many fine tales of the satisfaction inspired by a common sense of
_public rights_, but I query whether a just sense of _political
wrongs_ do not bind men more closely together.

A very curious game, indeed, has been played here since you passed
through our borough. A special caucus has been held, to counteract the
political machinations which are to arise out of my pleasurable
interview with you; but the clamour is unexpectedly checked. Some
wicked man in New-York had the assurance to send to Mr. Dickinson and
myself each a copy of a pamphlet, entitled, "_An Examination, &c., by
Aristides_," and, after perusing it with equal pleasure and avidity, I
had the imprudence to hand it to a disinterested republican, who read
it with the highest satisfaction. In one week it has passed through
several hands, and has excited no inconsiderable interest. Dr. Irving
has promised me a supply as soon as practicable.

I am authorized to say that Mr. Dickinson was never prejudiced, and is
now highly gratified. He indeed regretted that I had not assured you,
when here, that his opinion was untarnished by the malignant clamour
of demagogues.

It is a more than lamentable fact, that factions have arisen up in
several states which are determined to prostrate every man who might
be capable of opposing them, or dared to lisp one expression of
dissent to the machinations of favouritism. But, though I have borne
too much, I am unalterably resolved to adhere inflexibly to the ground
I have taken, and stand or fall in the honest path of political

There is a crisis in the affairs of men which sooner or later unveils
the hidden features of selfishness; and there is no position in which
my opinion is more fixed than in the utility of a firm union of honest
men. If the cabals of the day be not speedily arrested, where shall
our political bark be anchored? The Sylla of oligarchy, or Charybdis
of disorganization must be the portion of our government. Of all
tyrannies, oligarchies are the most delusive and dreadful, and anarchy
is equally to be deplored.

Wishing you, my dear sir, complete retribution for the past, and happy
in the reflection of having preserved myself uncontrolled by artifice,

I am sincerely your friend,



Wilmington, Delaware, 4th 1st mo, 1804.


Thy letter of the 30th of last month was delivered to me yesterday by
Abraham Bishop, and I desire thee to accept my thanks for introducing
one to the other.

He was so kind as to spend some hours with me, and I was exceedingly
pleased with the traits of character displayed in the course of our
conversation. He appears to me to be a man who possesses great and
well-directed energies of mind. I rejoice in the prospect he opened to
me of the advancement of republican principles and measures to the

I am thy sincere friend,



Washington, January 2, 1804.

Last evening I received the answer of Robert Smith, of which a copy is
enclosed. It may be satisfactory to you to know, _officially_, that
James is favourably spoken of, and is in estimation with the
government. A more precise answer could not, perhaps, be expected from
a minister. The application may secure him from being forgotten, and
the answer from being prejudiced in any future arrangements. He shall
be informed of your precise object by



Washington, January 3, 1804.

This is only to assure you that I am in perfect health. That General
Jackson is my good friend; that I have had no duel nor quarrel with
anybody, and have not been wounded or hurt.

Jerome Bonaparte, wife, maids of honour (Miss Spear _et al_.), &c.,
&c., will be here to-morrow. There are various opinions about the
expediency, policy, decency, propriety, and future prospects of this
match. I adhere to Mrs. Caton. To be sure the French laws say
something on this subject. As you are a learned lady, I will not say
what; but, if you avow ignorance, you shall have all I know: not in my
next, for Annapolis is yet on hand. Indeed, matters thicken so fast,
that I may possibly leave this within twenty days to go northward,
without saying a word about it. I hope the shawl (or cloak) has
arrived safe, and that it may be so displayed as to add beauty to
grace and grace to beauty.



Washington, January 4th or 5th, 1804.

How could I forget to tell you the very important event of the
marriage of Jerome Bonaparte with Miss Patterson.

It took place on Saturday, the 24th ult. Mrs. Caton approves of this
match, and therefore A. B. does, for he respects greatly the opinions
of Mrs. Caton.

I like much your reasoning about Morris's place and Richmond Hill. Yet
would not a permanent residence in town for some, for many, for all
reasons, be better? La G. is much better than I had heard--_d'un
certaine_ age, and well-looking, considering that circumstance.
Cheerful, good-tempered, the best of housewives, and, as it is
thought, _willing_.

Celeste--(for this I begin a new line) Celeste will be seen on the way
home, but that La R. spoils every thing in that place. La Planche;
that you will never find out. I bet you thirty guineas against M'K.'s
shawl. By-the-by, the shawl is ordered on; at this moment, perhaps, on
the perilous ocean, and unensured. La Planche, I say, was seen on our
way hither. All right and pretty; improved since the last inspection.
Great friend of La R.; _tant pis_. Lex et ux. ill suited; mischief
brewing. _Gamp_, the mutual friend and confidant.

Now for the trip to Annapolis. No, not now either. It is past two
o'clock in the morning (no matter of what day, for I don't intend to
date this, seeing it will equally suit all dates), and I am (not)
sleepy. Yet I will go to bed, and not be kept up by any such baggage.
So good-morning. Poor little Natalie, I have not written her a line.
What's the matter I don't write to Natalie any more? I say I will go
to bed. The fire is out, and I have no wood.



Washington, January 4, 1804.

You may assure the family that I never was in better health; that I
have not been wounded or hurt, and have had no quarrel with anybody. I
received your letter of the 29th this evening. Let nothing hinder you
from going to school punctually. Make the master teach you arithmetic,
so that you may be able to keep the accounts of the family. I am very
much obliged to you for teaching Nancy. She will learn more from you
than by going to school.

I shall be at home about the last of this month, when I will make you
all New Year's presents. Tell Harry that I shall expect to find a good
road up to the house. Tell me what Harry is about, and what is doing
at Montalto. Sam and George are well.

You must write to Mrs. Alston about Leonora's child. Enclose your
letter to me. I hope little Peter is doing well.



Washington, January 17, 1804.

Your kind wishes on the new year are received this evening in your
letter dated 3d January, 1803. No matter what date, such things are
always welcome. I don't believe it came into my head to say Happy New
Year! my heart is so full of good wishes for you every day in the
calendar. Yet I like to see attention paid to all _les jours de fête_.
I am very sorry for poor Charlotte, and do most sincerely sympathize
with Sally. She must know my great attachment for her brother.

Of my plans for the spring nothing can be said, for nothing is
resolved. It is not probable that I shall be able to visit you; but I
shall expect you very early. If you are to come by land, I will meet
you on the road; perhaps in this place, perhaps in Richmond. I do not
now see that it will be possible for me to visit South Carolina. Now,
what are your plans? The shawl was ordered on the very day I received
your commands; whether it has actually been sent I know not, but most
probably it has.

Of the boy you never say enough. Nothing about his French in your
last. I hope you talk to him much in French, and Eleonore always. A
letter from Peggy says that Eleonore's boy was well on the 13th. Your
icehouse and vaults are finished. Of Annapolis I find the newspapers
have anticipated me. They will tell you where I dined, and supped, and
whom I saw.

Madame Bonaparte passed a week here. She is a charming little woman;
just the size and nearly the figure of Theodosia Burr Alston; by some
thought a little like her; perhaps not so well in the shoulders;
dresses with taste and simplicity (by some thought too free); has
sense, and spirit, and sprightliness. A little of the style and manner
of Susan Smith.

Mrs. Merry [2] is tall, fair, fat--_pas trop_, however. No more than a
desirable embonpoint. Much of grace and dignity, ease and
sprightliness; full of intelligence. An Englishwoman who has lived
much in Paris, and has all that could be wished of the manners of both
countries. An amiable and interesting companion, with whose
acquaintance you will, next summer, be much gratified. She proposes to
pass some time in New-York.

I want a French translation of the Constitution of the United States,
and, for the purpose, send you a copy in English. It will, I fear, be
a great labour to you; but I cannot get it done here, and it may not
be useless to you to burnish up your French a little. Do you ever hear
from Natalie? I have not yet written to her. How scandalous.

You do not say whether the boy knows his letters. I am sure he may now
be taught them, and then put a pen into his hand, and set him to
imitate them. He may read and write before he is three years old.
This, with speaking French, would make him a tolerably accomplished
lad of that age, and worthy of his blood.

A most bitter cold day. _Bon jour_.



Washington, January 18, 1804.

I have been greatly flattered by the applauses bestowed on your speech
at Columbia. Send me half a dozen copies. Why have you not already
done it?

The papers herewith enclosed will show you our possession of
Louisiana, and the manner of it. The Spanish government will endeavour
to limit our west bounds to the Mississippi, with the addition of the
Island of Orleans only; on this consideration that government would
still hold on the west bank of the Mississippi, from the river
Iberville to the 31st degree of latitude, an extent of one hundred

In attempting to legislate for our newly-acquired territory, it is
doubted whether the Louisianians can be received into the Union
without an amendment to the Constitution. Consider of this. Again, are
they citizens of the United States, or can Congress make them such? A
bill establishing a form of government is now before the Senate; when
it shall have passed that house I will send you a copy. It is at
present in too crude a state to merit your notice.

The newspapers will have informed you that a committee has been
appointed in the House of Representatives to inquire into the official
conduct of Judge Chace. Peters is associated with him, but he is not
the object, and the insertion of his name was accidental. This
inquiry, as is obvious, is with a view to an impeachment. If it result
in an impeachment, and an immediate trial be had, Congress will sit
till May or June. Yours very affectionately,



Washington, January 20, 1804.

Dear Sir,

I thank you for the letter and the newspaper; for a short letter too,
written on your return from Lancaster, which has not yet been

It is seriously my intention to visit you next week, if I can get
away, which will depend a little on the state of business in Senate.
The association of Peters with Chace was, I believe, accidental. It
was moved (I think by one of your members), and, as they sat together
on the bench, it was not, at the time, seen how they could be
separated. I presume it affords him a new subject for wit. On receipt
of this, write me one line, saying when Mr. R. will leave
Philadelphia. God bless you.



Washington, January 23, 1804.


When I last wrote you (about Thursday, I think), I felt the approaches
of a headache, which I concluded would be, as usual, the torment of
twenty-four hours only. On the contrary, it has pursued me without
intermission. I have undergone cathartic, emetic, and phlebotomy,
operations not experienced by me in twenty years, and all to no
purpose. The pain continues, but to-day has allowed me to leave my bed
for an hour or so at a time. At one of these intervals I now write to
you to say that this incident has rendered my journey doubtful, though
on the day I last wrote you I informed the Senate that I should have
occasion to be absent for two or three weeks.

It is extraordinary that all these medical experiments, and a total
abstinence from food for three days, has produced no diminution of
strength or spirits. At this instant I feel able to start for
Philadelphia (the snow eight inches deep) not withstanding. It will,
however, be impossible to move before Thursday, if at all.

January 24.

After writing, last evening, the nonsense on the other page, I
recollected that the mail had closed. This postscript is added to say
that I am much better to-day; but little pain, yet my head too weak to
bear the least motion, and fear it will not allow me to travel for
several days.

I. Brown is again in the chair as president of the Senate. It was a
hard election. Ten or twelve ballotings. The Virginia interest
supported Mr. Franklin. Yours,



Washington, January 25,1804.

Your safe arrival, my dear Natalie, gave me the greatest joy.
Theodosia has given me a detailed account of yourself and your lovely
little girl. All as I could wish. I could never realize that you were
not lost to me till I heard that you were actually on American ground.
Your letter relieved my anxieties and fulfilled my hopes, by assuring
me of your unabated affection. But when or where, I pray, are we to
meet? Engage Mr. Sumter to come and pass the summer with me at
New-York; by the summer I mean from the 1st of May till the middle of
November. Theodosia has told you that I am wholly at Richmond Hill,
and that her house is only five miles off. You will review with
pleasure the scenes of your sportive childhood, and you will gratify
the fondest wishes of your affectionate friend and father,


P. S. I enclose some papers for the amusement of your husband. Pray
present them to him with the assurance of my respectful and
affectionate regard. You, too, my dear Natalie, will read with
instruction and amusement the account of Louisiana.

A. B.


Washington, January 25, 1804.

A letter from Mari, without a line from Theodosia, is novel. If the
compliment should be returned, I should bring an old house about my
ears. But no apologies or explanations.

I hate them, and the matter will be forgotten before they can reach

I have been a week confined to my room by a headache, but there are no
mortal or alarming symptoms. On Saturday I take a ride to Baltimore,
where I am to dine with Madame Bonaparte. Then on to Philadelphia;
thence, perhaps, to New-York, and here again by the time your answer
can arrive. Have not yet written to Natalie. How shameful!

Fine sleighing here. Eight inches snow; clear and cold. Having nothing
more at present of great importance to add I remain yours, &c.,


P. S. Since the conclusion of this performance I have set down in a
rage, and written a _pretty_ little letter to Natalie. Lord, how much
easier and lighter I feel.

A. B.


Washington, January 27, 1804.

The _brochure_, containing proclamations and manifestoes regarding
Louisiana, was intended to accompany those which I lately transmitted
to you for Mr. Sumter.

You will be proud, as a New-Yorker, to see that the first attempt to
create a taste for painting and sculpture has been made in our city.
We have about forty busts and groups. Lailson's theatre (west side
Greenwich-street) has been fitted up for their reception. It forms a
circular room of about sixty or seventy feet diameter, lighted by a
dome, and to us, who have seen nothing better, the thing, of course,
looks well. Come and see our infant efforts.

I am just leaving this place for a few days on a visit to
Philadelphia; a visit, however, of business only. On my return you
will hear again from me. In the mean time, pray write me when I may
expect you at New-York.



Washington, January 29, 1804.

There is no end to the trouble such a baggage gives me. Another thing
occurs, which, forsooth, must be sent to her too. It would not,
perhaps, merit so high an honour as that of being perused by
your----eyes and touched by your fair hands, but that it is the
production of a youth [3] of about nineteen, the youngest brother of
Dr. Peter Irving, of New-York.




Washington, January 29, 1804.


Your letter of the 6th of January is received at the moment that I am
leaving this city on a tour to Philadelphia for two or three weeks. I
can, therefore, only acknowledge it. The map was a most acceptable
present. I value it greatly as the work of Madame Ellery; a
circumstance which my vanity has not allowed me to conceal.

You may rely on my zeal and my good will. You can estimate their
importance. On my return you will hear again from me.

The bill, or project of law, herewith enclosed, is now under debate in
the Senate. You will, therefore, consider it as a project merely, not
yet a law. In the course of this discussion it may receive important
alterations, and may be finally rejected. Do not, therefore, suffer
any copy to be taken of it, still less to get into newspapers, if any
you have. You may show it to whom you please. If you have any
acquaintance with Mr. Daniel Clarke, pray let him see it. I wish his
and your opinions, though they may, probably, be received too late to
influence the result. Mr. Clarke is not known to me personally, but
very much through our common friend General Dayton. With respectful
compliments and thanks to Mrs. Ellery, I am your friend,

A. Burr.


Havre de Grace (Susquehannah), January 30, 1804. In a former letter I
told you we had eight inches snow at Washington. On Saturday last,
28th, fell six or eight inches more, so that we had a foot depth of
snow, cold weather, and, of course, good sleighing. The vice-president
having, with great judgment and science, calculated the gradations of
cold in different latitudes, discovered that for every degree he
should go north he might count on _four and a half inches_ of snow.
Thus he was sure of _sixteen and a half_ inches at Philadelphia;
_twenty-one inches_ at New-York, and so for all the intermediate
space. Hence he wisely concluded to take off the wheels from his
coachee and to set it on runners. This was no sooner resolved than
done. With his sleigh and four horses he arrived at Baltimore at early
dinner. Passed the evening with Madame Bonaparte; all very charming.
Came off this morning; fine sleighing. A hundred times he applauded
the wisdom of his plan. Within _six_ miles of the Susquehannah the
snow appeared thin; within _four_, the ground was bare. It had not
thawed, but none had fallen. He dragged on to this place, and here he
is in the midst of the most forlorn dilemma. This is palpable fraud in
_monsieur le tems_, to hold out such lures merely to draw one into
jeopardy. Having neither wife nor daughter near me on whom to vent my
spleen, renders the case more deplorable. It is downright desperation.

After pacing the floor with a very quick step for about five minutes,
I determined to call for a good dinner and a bottle of wine, and,
after the discussion whereof, I hope to be more able to meet the
exigence. You shall presently know.

New-York, February 8, 1804.

Just arrived--all well. The dinner and wine mentioned t'other side
operated so happily, that, before the repast was concluded, I ordered
my horses to the door, drove over the Susquehannah on the ice, and
came that night to the head of Elk. Next day to Chester, having seen
friend Dickenson _en passant_ (the daughters not visible, on account
of the loss of their mother, who died _last summer_), and breakfasted
in Philadelphia on the morning of the 1st of February. The ebullition
of the 30th January was intended to have been finished at Havre de
Grace and sent to the postoffice. I came off in too much haste, and,
seeing it now in my writing-case, I thought it a pity that so precious
a morceau should be lost to the world.

_Tout le monde_ is marrying at Philadelphia. You will not have a
_single single_ (decipher that) acquaintance there on your return.
Yes, La R., La Planche, and La Bin. may remain. I went to a wedding
supper at Mrs. Moore's, whose daughter has married Willing--could any
one suppose she was _unwilling_? Execrable! Mr. Boadley died a few
days ago. Madame of course was invisible. Ann Stuart will, most
likely, marry P. C.--very well. She is very pretty. Mary Rush just
married Manners, a captain in the British army. She looked quite
melancholy, being on the point of setting off for Niagara, where her
husband is stationed. Binney and Keene look better than I ever saw
them. Keene is learning the harp. They are at lodgings in town, and,
happening to be near my quarters, I saw them two or three times a day.

I left Philadelphia yesterday, and arrived, as you see, after a very
pleasant journey. Fine, mild winter weather. Roads hard and smooth.
Note. I left my runners and got wheels at Philadelphia. How could I
omit Celeste and her sisters, whom I saw several times? What of that?
Pray can it be true that she was engaged to a young man whom we knew
and valued, and who lately died in your country? To-morrow I am to see
La G. Pray for me.

To-morrow, February 9th.

A most ugly northeast storm of rain, and hail, and mist. Shall not see
La G. to-day. God bless thee.



New-York, February 16, 1804.

In one hour I shall be on the west side of the Hudson river, and in
the mail stage. Goldsmith is the very book I should have recommended.
A critical knowledge of historical events may assist a statesman or
form a pedant. For you, something less will do, and something more is
necessary. La G. will not do. I have written twice to Natalie.

Say to Mari, the Clintons, Livingstons, &c., had not, at the last
advice from Albany, decided on their candidate for governor. Hamilton
is intriguing for any candidate who can have a chance of success
against A. B. He would, doubtless, become the advocate even of Dewitt
Clinton if he should be the opponent.



Baltimore, February 21, 1804. I left New-York on the 16th. The roads
were so very bad that I sent back Sam, George, and the horses from
Trenton, and came on in the mail stage _sans valet_. One great
discovery has been made by the experiment, namely, that George is not
only useless on the road, but requires abundance of my care, so that,
in fact, I have less trouble without him.

On the way I saw Celeste, and renewed, with some levity, a certain
subject. It excited an agitation perfectly astonishing. The emotion
was so great as to produce universal tremour, which attracted the
notice of the company (there was a room full); I was exceedingly
alarmed and perplexed, having imagined the denouement of last summer
to have been conclusive, in good faith. Undoubtedly there is some
secret agent, some underwork, perhaps restraint, of which I am
ignorant. I strongly suspect that she has done violence to her
feelings. Shall I or shall I not investigate this point? Humph!

I have just been visiting Monsieur Dubourg, president of the French
College. The visit, indeed, was to the institution rather than to the
man. Both please me greatly. It (the college) seems to me to possess
some advantages over any other in the United States; more decorous
subordination. The living languages, French and Spanish, may there be
learned by association and habit. The French, the Spanish, the English
(I mean the learners of those languages) are each in separate
apartments. Not a word is spoken but in the language intended to be
taught. It is even the medium of instruction for every other branch.
The Senats speak Spanish fluently. _Bon soir_.



Washington, February 27, 1504.


On my return from New-York a few days past, I had the pleasure to meet
here your father, and to receive your letter of the 21st of January.
It is not probable that it will be in my power to visit South Carolina
this spring. If, fortunately, I should find leisure for a journey
which I have so much at heart, my first object would be Statesburgh;
but as Mr. and Mrs. Alston will be in New-York early in the season, I
entertain hopes that this, with other motives, may induce you to pass
the summer and autumn with me. Yet great as is my solicitude to see
your wife and child, to renew my acquaintance with you, to tender you
my friendship and affection, and to claim a return, I would by no
means urge a measure inconsistent with your interest. Of this you only
can judge. I should not, perhaps, have repeated the invitation
expressed in my last letter to Natalie, but that I learn from your
father that her health has suffered materially. Hence I am filled with
apprehension of the effects of your long summer on a northern
constitution already debilitated.

Presuming that you hear from your father as much as you desire to know
of the doings of Congress, I abstain from those subjects. Be assured
of the great consideration and esteem with which I am your friend,



Washington, March 3, 1804.

Your letter of the 28th February, covering a newspaper, was received
last evening. It cannot yet be settled whether there will be
commissioners to run the boundary line with Spain; but I will mention
the thing to the Smiths, who still profess friendship for General
Wilkinson. My direct interference otherwise would not probably be
useful to him. Please to put the enclosed, for Truxton, in the
postoffice. One of his friends here (not a man in power, for he has, I
believe, no such friend) thinks he will certainly be called into
service; and he states to me pretty plausible grounds for the opinion.
Yet I doubt, which is perhaps the result only of my ignorance.

I shall be with you the last of next week, or, at farthest, within ten
days, on my way home.

Very affectionately yours,



Washington, March 6, 1804.


Immediately on the receipt of your letter of the 15th of February, I
wrote to Mr. Madison for the information you desired. It affords me
great pleasure to learn that you are engaged in a literary pursuit so
congenial with your taste and your talents. If I can in any way
promote your views in this or in any other instance, I entreat that
you will command me, _without apology_. I have now the satisfaction to
enclose you Mr. Madison's answer, which I this day received.

You speak of a letter written to me some time ago-on the subject of
Captain Ingraham's voyage. It is impossible, sir, that I can have been
guilty of so gross an inattention as to have permitted a letter from
you to have remained unnoticed. I have no recollection of that which
you mention, and am persuaded that it never came to hand.

Allow me to repeat the assurance of the very great consideration and
respect with which I am

Your obedient servant,



Washington, March 7, 1804.

Friday last was the day assigned for the appearance of Judge Pickering
on his impeachment. He did not appear; but an _amicus curiae_
suggested that the judge was insane, and tendered the proof of that

This has given rise to some troublesome questions, rendered more
embarrassing by the total want of rule or precedent, and still
increased by some dissatisfaction on the part of the managers, which
seems to have also infected the House of Representatives. In this
dilemma it would be improper that I should leave the Senate.
Considerations, however, of a nature which you will more readily
approve, have had an influence in detaining me. A decision is hoped
this day on the points now under discussion. I take my leave as soon
as this business is disposed of, and will be with you in the course of



New-York, March 28, 1804

Your letter, dated early in this month--I don't recollect the very
day, having left the letter in town; but you write so seldom that a
reference to the month is sufficiently descriptive; your letter, then,
of March, announcing your removal to the Oaks, the pretty description
of your house and establishment, _and all that_, were very amusing. I
had really begun to doubt whether you were not all dead or something

I shall get the speech, no thanks to you; there is a copy in
Philadelphia, for which I have written, and it will come endorsed by
the fair hand of Celeste: truly her hand and arm are handsome. I did
not see her on my way through--_tant mieux_; for I took great affront;
thence ensued explanations, &c. Nothing like a quarrel to advance
love. La Planche I did see twice in one day; the last a long, very
long visit. Lovely in weeds. La G., of whom you inquire, is of the
grave age of forty-six; about the age of the vice-president.

They are very busy here about an election between Morgan Lewis and A.
Burr. The former supported by the Livingstons and Clintons, the latter
_per se_. I would send you some new and amusing libels against the
vice-president, but, as you did not send the speech, nor did even
acknowledge the receipt of one of the many public documents which I
took the trouble of forwarding, it may be presumed that this sort of
intercourse is not desired.

Ph. Church and Miss Stewart, of Philadelphia, it is said, are to be
married; Duer (which Duer I don't know) and Miss M. Denning reported
as engaged; Bunner and Miss Church said to be mutually in love; on his
part avowed, on hers not denied.

The Earl of Selkirk is here: a frank, unassuming, sensible man of
about thirty. Whether he thinks of La R. is unknown to the writer. He
dines with me on Monday.

If you had one particle of invention or genius, you would have taught
A. B. A. his _a, b, c_ before this. God mend you. His fibbing is an
inheritance, which pride, an inheritance, will cure. His mother went
through that process. Adieu.



New-York, April 3, 1804.

I hasten to acknowledge your long, interesting, and beautiful letter
of the 14th. It is received this morning, and finds me in the midst of
occupations connected with the approaching election: of course, every
moment interruptions.

The History of Frederic II. will amuse you. You will read Montesquieu
with interest and instruction. Yet he has a character--I mean that his
"_Esprit des Loix_" has a character above its merit. His historical
facts are, nevertheless, collected and arranged with judgment, and his
reasoning is ingenuous. The political dogmas are not, however, to be
received as axioms. They are neither founded on experience nor on a
knowledge of human nature.

You improve greatly in your style and manner of writing. A little more
pains and a little more reading, and you will exceed Lady Mary W.
Montague. Practice, however, is indispensable. The art of writing is
an acquirement, as much as music or dancing.

April 7.

Since the 3d I have vainly endeavoured to get a minute to write to
you. It will not, I fear, be possible before the 30th inst., when, or
soon after, I hope to be in Philadelphia, whence you will hear from
me. As you have a great taste for mischief, I send you a new paper [4]
established in this city, by whom edited unknown. Some of the numbers
are allowed to have wit. Whether these have any I know not. God bless


TO MRS. -----

New-York, April 18, 1804.

Your vanity, if in any degree concerned, will be fully satisfied by
the assurance that my heart, my wishes, and my thoughts will be with
you. The mortal part of me is indispensably otherwise engaged. As you
cannot fail to have admirers, you cannot fail to be amused. Knowing
that you are happy, I shall be so by sympathy, though in a less
degree, as reflected light is less potent than direct.



New-York, April 25, 1804.

What nice, pretty paper. I verily believe that it would not have
entered into my head to write to you; but _Peet_ or _Peter_ just
brought in a ream of paper so handsome looking, that it tempted me to
write, and _chose_ being generally uppermost in my mind, of course it
will be addressed to _chose_, though, for aught that yet appears, it
will suit as well _quelque autre chose_.

I, too, write in a storm; an election storm, of the like you have once
been a witness. The thing began yesterday, and will terminate
to-morrow. My headquarters are in Johnstreet, and I have, since
beginning this letter, been already three times interrupted.

A very modest and amiable proposition! that I should ride sixteen
hundred miles to see a couple of _varmins_. As to your system of
economy, I should rejoice at it if I believed it; but I well know that
you will spend double at the Mills that you would here. Now for my
plan, which is to be submitted to the judgment and the _feelings_ of
Mr. Alston.

You take Richmond Hill; bring no horse nor carriage. I have got a
nice, new, beautiful little chariot, made purposely to please you. I
have also a new coachee, very light, on an entire new construction,
invented by the vice-president. Now these two machines are severally
adapted to two horses, and you may take your choice of them. Of horses
I have five; three always and wholly at your devotion, and the whole
five occasionally. Harry and Sam are both good coachmen, either at
your orders. Of servants there are enough for family purposes.
Eleonore, however, must attend you, for the sake of the heir apparent.
You will want no others, as there are at my house Peggy, Nancy, and a
small girl of about eleven. Mr. Alston may bring a footman. Any thing
further will be useless; he may, however, bring six or eight of them,
if he like. The cellars and garrets are well stocked with wine, having
had a great supply last fall. I shall take rooms (a house, &c.) in
town, but will live with you as much or as little as you may please
and as we can agree; but my establishment at Richmond Hill must
remain, whether you come or not. Great part of the summer I shall be
off eight or ten days at a time, but no long journeys. You will have
to ride every day or two to Montalto to direct the laying out of the
grounds, &c.

In this way you cannot, without wanton extravagance, expend more than
four hundred dollars. If you insist on bringing your horses, there is
now room for them, and plenty of provender. You ought to come by
water, but not to be swindled again by taking a cabin. Bring your Ada,
if you please, to finish her education.

Tell Mr. Alston that I ordered my booksellers to open a correspondence
with him, and to send out, by way of sample, and under the advice of
M'Kinnon, not to exceed the value of fifty guineas. M'Kinnon writes me
that the articles will be here by the first or before the middle of
June, shipped for New-York.

I forgot to speak of the election. [5]

Both parties claim majorities, and there never was, in my opinion, an
election, of the result of which so little judgment could be formed.
A. B. will have a small majority in this city _if to-morrow should be
a fair day_, and not else.

You may wonder how I live and mean to live in town. Peter and Alexis
are all my attendants. My breakfast is made _a la garcon_: dinners,
&c., from a neighbouring eatinghouse. Adieu.



New-York, May 1, 1804.

Your letter of the 16th of April had better luck than that other of
the 1st.; on the road, I mean, for the reception of both was equally
kind. The last arrived yesterday. I do not remember exactly what it is
about, and it is on my table in the library up stairs, and I am
writing in the dining-room beside a good fire on this evening of the
first of May. Now _madame pour quelque chose tres interessante_.

How limited is human foresight! How truly are we the sport of
accident. To-morrow I had proposed to visit Celeste, and now, alas!
_cetera desunt_.

La G. may be forty-one. Something of the style and manners of _la
tante de La_ R. Is about as silly; talks as much, and as much
nonsense; is certainly good-tempered and cheerful; rather comely,
abating a flat chest; about two inches taller than Theodosia. Things
are not gone to extremities; but there is danger--poor gampy.

The election is lost by a great majority: _tant mieux_. It does not
appear possible that I should make you a visit; even if La G. should
not prevent it, which ought to be hoped, some other thing of like kind

Tell Natalie that I have just now received her letter, which she
acknowledges to be in answer to _four of mine_. Of the boy you have
been remarkably reserved in your two last letters. I conclude,
however, that he cannot be dead, as you would, probably, have thought
that a circumstance worthy of being mentioned, at least in a
postscript. Now Natalie has written me a whole page about her girl,
for which I am very grateful.

What would you bet that La G. is not in a kind of quandary just now?
Gods! what a pathetic love-scene it will make if it shall go on.


TO MISS -----

New-York, May 20, 1804. I send you a sample of that species of
philosophy which I have thought particularly suited to your cast of
mind and the delicacy of your taste. You are to read from the 66th
page to the 125th. What precedes and follows will fatigue, without
interesting or amusing you. Indeed, some of it will not be very
intelligible, and you must not be disgusted in the outset.

The author has not noticed those advantages which personal beauty
derives from intellectual improvement, or expansion of the mind
tempered by commerce with the world, nor how grace and expression may
be thus heightened and improved. I wish some one would write a volume
on this subject. Indeed, I have had thoughts of doing it myself, and
holding you up as the example to verify my theory. To this some
thoughtless ones may object, that, where nature had done so much,
nothing was left for the work of art. There cannot be a greater error.
The essential difference between the silly and the wise consists in
their different capacity for improvement. Bestow what pains, offer
what advantages you may to a dull subject, and she will remain
stationary. One of taste and talents, on the contrary, extracts
improvement from every thing, and approaches perfection in proportion
as the means of advancement are afforded.

What grave nonsense, you will say, or at least think, if this should
find you, as is probable, surrounded by admirers uniting to persuade
you that you are already perfect; and in such company how stupid a
compliment will it seem to tell you that you may still improve; that
there are no limits to the improvement and approaches which you may
make towards perfection. Such, however ungallant, will be the language
of your admirer and friend,



New-York, May 8, 1804.

I think I have answered, or at least have noticed, your letter of the
17th, being the last which has been received, and, as usual,
postmarked nine days after its date.

The affair of La G. is becoming serious. After due reflection, this
does appear to me to be the most discreet thing--prudence,
cheerfulness, and good-temper are ingredients of importance. I will
offer homage. Are you content? Answer quickly.

Madame Bonaparte and husband are here. I have just seen them and no
more. For reasons unknown to me (doubtless some state policy), we are
suddenly become strangers.

Of all earthly things I most want to see your boy. Does he yet know
his letters? If not, you surely must want skill, for, most certain, he
can't want genius. You must tell me of all his acquirements.

It ought to have been mentioned that I have not seen my inamorata
since the time of which I wrote you, which you may think passing

May 26, 1804.

I think I will never again be so long without writing to you. It has
been a daily and nightly reproach to me since the 8th of May, the date
of the preceding part of this letter. The matter there spoken of
seemed to be in so precarious a state, that I did not like to send you
that page alone, and, in fact, knew not what to add to it. It is just
so now; but from that day to this I have not seen La G., owing partly
to accident and partly to apathy.

Your long and interesting letter of the 5th and 6th inst has been
received. It shall be answered anon. In the mean time I repeat the
injunction that you read, and in sequence. Study philosophy, if
nothing should more allure you. Darwin and Harris you have; others I
will send. Read over Shakspeare critically, marking the passages which
are beautiful, absurd, or obscure. I will do the same, and one of
these days we will compare. To improve your style and language is,
however, the most interesting point. In this you will be aided by
regaining your Latin. Gods! how much you might accomplish this year.

Miss Cruger, youngest daughter of the late widow Cruger, now Mrs.
Rogers, married two or three days ago to one of your Haywards, I think
William. A runaway job. _La mere et beau pere bien fachés_. How far
are you from Natalie?



New-York, June 11, 1804.

Your letter of the 14th of May is the last, and, I believe,
unanswered, which is rather scandalous on both sides; but the letter
of A.B.A., at the foot of yours, was far the most interesting. I have
studied every pothook and trammel of his first literary performance,
to see what rays of genius could be discovered. You remember our
friend Schweitzer, nephew and pupil of Lavater. He used to insist that
as much was to be inferred from the handwriting as from the face. I
showed him a letter from a man of great fame, and he saw genius in
every stroke. I then produced a letter from an arrant blockhead and
great knave, but so like the other as not to be distinguished, at
least by my unphysiognomical discernment. He acknowledged that there
was resemblance to an ignorant eye; but, said he, triumphantly, this
(latter) could never have made that scratch, which sybilistic scratch
was the mere prolongation of the last letter of the last word in a
sentence. Now it occurs to me that one of A.B.A.'s scratches is
exactly in the line of genius according to Schweitzer; and surely more
may be presumed from the instinctive effort of untutored infancy than
from the laboured essay of scientific cultivation. To aid your
observations in this line, I pray you to read Martinus Scriblerius.
Mr. and Mrs. Hayward are happily living with the mother.

I am stationary (_not paper, wax, and quills_), but, adjectively
speaking, unlocomotive. The affair of La G. has also been perfectly
stationary since my last, the parties not having met; but hearing that
La G. has expressed a sort of surprise, approaching to vexation, at
this apathy, the other party has _kindly_ promised an interview
to-morrow. If it should take place, you will, in due time, know the
result. Your permission or dissent is impatiently expected by



New-York, June 13, 1804.

The joint and several letter of Natalie and Theodosia was received
yesterday, and will be answered to-morrow or next day. It seems that
you write once a fortnight. Two such idle sluts might find half an
hour daily to give a sort of journal to papa.

Another interview yesterday with La G. One more would be fatal and
final. I shall seek it to-day; _after which_ I will read Moore's
fables, you impudence. My time, till near closing the mail, has been
occupied in writing to your husband. At present I can only thank you



New-York, June 24, 1804.

"To-morrow, did I say? 'Tis nowhere to be found but in the fool's
calendar;" and yet I said "to-morrow." The morrow brought me an ague
in the face, which I have been nursing from that day to this, in great
ill-humour. 'Till yesterday I could not dispense with my mufflings,
and yesterday we kept Theo.'s birthday. The Laights and half a dozen
others laughed an hour, and danced an hour, and drank her health at
Richmond Hill. We had your picture in the dining-room; but, as it is a
profile, and would not look at us, we hung it up, and placed Natalie's
at table, which laughs and talks with us.

I do not like the boy looking pale so early in the season. It argues
ill; but I like much his heroism and his gallantry. You can't think
how much these little details amuse and interest me. If you were quite
mistress of natural philosophy, he would now be hourly acquiring a
knowledge of various branches, particularly natural history, botany,
and chymistry. Pursue these studies, and also that of language. For
fifty dollars you may get, in Philadelphia, a chymical apparatus, put
up in a small box, with which more than one hundred experiments may be

Your idea of dressing up pieces of ancient mythology in the form of
amusing tales for children is very good. You _yourself_ must write
them. Send your performances to me, and, within three weeks after they
are received, you shall have them again in print. This will be not
only an amusing occupation, but a very useful one to yourself. It will
improve your style and your language, give you habits of accuracy, and
add a little to your stock of knowledge. Natalie, too, must work at
it, and I'll bet that she makes the best tale. I will be your editor
and your critic.

You laugh at me so much and so impudently, that I will not say a word
more of certain things till something be concluded. Your permission
seems to be that I may hang or drown, or make any other apotheosis I
may please. Dear indulgent creature, how I thank thee.

Pray, madam, give your orders to Peggy yourself. She writes a better
hand than I do, and would be so proud to receive a letter from
_Missy_. I have shown her that part of your letter which concerns her,
and she is now engaged in executing your commands.



New-York, July 1, 1804.

Having been shivering with cold all day, though in perfect health, I
have now, just at sunset, had a fire in my library, and am sitting
near it and enjoying it, if that word be applicable to any thing done
in solitude. Some very wise man, however, has exclaimed,

  "Oh! fools, who think it solitude to be alone."

This is but poetry. Let us, therefore, drop the subject, lest it lead
to another on which I have imposed silence on myself.

You may recollect, and, if you do not, your husband will, that he has
several times requested me to open a correspondence between him and my
bookseller in London. To introduce the thing, I desired Mr. White to
send with my next parcel of books a parcel for Mr. Alston, not
exceeding the value of fifty guineas, and referred him to Mr. M'Kinnon
for instructions. The books came out accordingly, and, with respect to
my box, all was smooth and fair; but it was alleged by the owners of
the ship and by the captain, that the box for Mr. Alston, having been
irregularly shipped, occasioned the seizure and detention of the ship,
and the owners refused to deliver the box unless I would pay thirty
guineas damages. This I declined, and the box was taken to the
custom-house, where it has lain these six weeks unopened. After the
expiration of nine months it will be opened, and the contents sold at
auction by order of the officers of the customs. I shall write to the
bookseller, Mr. White, to employ his own agent here to look to the box
as his property. This trifling tale would not have been told but to
show Mr. Alston that I really have made an attempt to establish a
correspondence for him.

You ought to be collecting a few books for your own use. One way of
forming a small library, and which I recommend to you, is to note down
the title of every book which, either from its reputation or from
perusal, you may wish to possess. Make you a small memorandum book for
this purpose. If they be written on loose scraps, by the time you get
a dozen eleven of them will be lost. I recommend to you a new
publication called the Edinburgh Review. One number is issued every
three months. The plan of the editors differs from that of similar
works in that they give more copious extracts, and notice only books
of merit or _reputation_.

I wait impatiently for some of your tales. No hasty scrawls, madam,
for I will correct nothing. We have now here three shiploads of South
Carolinians, who all find the weather intolerably hot, though I have
slept under a blanket every night except one in all June.

Jerome Bonaparte has taken Belvidere for the season. The two French
frigates remain here blockaded. C. C. says you are a good-for-nothing,
lazy ****** (I really cannot write her words; they are too dreadful,
and must be left to your imagination to supply), because you never
write to her, nor even answer her letters. I assented to all this.

All strangers go to see Montalto as one of the curiosities or beauties
of the island. Your last letter is dated the 31st of May, whence I
conclude that you submit to the labour of writing to me once a
fortnight only.



1. Matthew L. Davis.

2. The lady of the then British Minister Plenipotentiary to the United

3. Washington Irving

4. The Corrector, by _Toby Tickler_.

5. The election for governor; Morgan Lewis and Aaron Burr being the


In February, 1804, Colonel Burr was nominated, at a public meeting
held in the city of New-York, as a candidate for the office of
governor. At this meeting Colonel Marinus Willett presided as
chairman, and Ezekiel Robbins acted as secretary. Both these gentlemen
were well known as efficient members of the democratic party. Judge
Morgan Lewis was the opposing and successful candidate. This contest
was of an acrimonious character. While the great mass of the
democratic party supported Judge Lewis, a section of that party, alike
distinguished for their talents and patriotism, sustained Colonel
Burr. Nor were these divisions confined to the ranks of the democracy.
Among the federalists similar dissensions sprang up. General Hamilton,
and all that portion of politicians over whom he had a controlling
influence, opposed the election of Colonel Burr with an ardour
bordering on fanaticism. The press teemed with libels of the most
atrocious character. An event connected with this election has
rendered it memorable in the history of our state and country. A
letter, written by Dr. Charles D. Cooper, and published pending the
election, ultimately led to the hostile and fatal meeting between
General Hamilton and Colonel Burr. Immediately after the death of the
former gentleman, Judge William P. Van Ness, the second of Colonel
Burr, published the correspondence between the parties, with a
statement of the conversations he held with General Hamilton and Judge
Pendleton, the second of the general. As their accuracy has never been
called in question, they are now presented in the form in which they
then appeared.


On the afternoon of the 17th of June last (1804), says Judge Van Ness,
I received a note from Colonel Burr [1] requesting me to call on him
the following morning. Upon my arrival he alleged that it had, of
late, been frequently stated to him that General Hamilton had, at
different times and upon various occasions, used language and
expressed opinions highly injurious to his reputation; that he had for
some time felt the necessity of calling on General Hamilton for an
explanation of his conduct, but that the statements which had been
made to him did not appear sufficiently authentic to justify the
measure; that, a newspaper had, however, been recently put into his
hands, in which he perceived a letter signed Charles D. Cooper,
containing something which he thought demanded immediate
investigation. Urged by these circumstances, and justified by the
evident opinion of his friends, he had determined to write General
Hamilton a note upon the subject, which he requested me to deliver. I
assented to this request, and, on my return to the city, which was at
eleven o'clock the same morning, I delivered to General Hamilton the
note which I received from Colonel Burr for that purpose, and of which
the following is a copy.

No. I.

New-York, June 18, 1804.


I send for your perusal a letter signed Charles D. Cooper, which,
though apparently published some time ago, has but very recently come
to my knowledge. Mr. Van Ness, who does me the favour to deliver this,
will point out to you that clause of the letter to which I
particularly request your attention.

You must perceive, sir, the necessity of a prompt and unqualified
acknowledgment or denial of the use of any expressions which would
warrant the assertions of Mr. Cooper.

I have the honour to be

Your obedient servant,



General Hamilton read the note of Mr. Burr, and the printed letter of
Mr. Cooper to which it refers, and remarked that they required some
consideration, and that in the course of the day he would send an
answer to my office. At half past ten o'clock General Hamilton called
at my house, and said that a variety of engagements would demand his
attention during the whole of that day and the next; but that on
Wednesday, the 20th inst., he would furnish me with such an answer to
Colonel Burr's letter as he should deem most suitable and compatible
with his feelings. In the evening of Wednesday, the 20th, while I was
from home, the following letter, addressed to Colonel Burr, was left
at my house, under cover to me.

No. II.

New-York, June 20, 1804.


I have maturely reflected on the subject of your letter of the 18th
inst., and the more I have reflected the more I have become convinced
that I could not, without manifest impropriety, make the avowal or
disavowal which you seem to think necessary. The clause pointed out by
Mr. Van Ness is in these terms: "I could detail to you _a still more
despicable_ opinion which General Hamilton _has expressed_ of Mr.
Burr." To endeavour to discover the meaning of this declaration, I was
obliged to seek in the antecedent part of this letter for the opinion
to which it referred as having been already disclosed. I found it in
these words: "General Hamilton and Judge Kent have declared, in
_substance_, that they looked upon Mr. Burr to be a _dangerous man_,
and one _who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government_."

The language of Doctor Cooper plainly implies that _he_ considered
this opinion of you, which he attributes to me, as a _despicable_ one;
but he affirms that I have expressed some other _more despicable_,
without, however, mentioning to whom, when, or where. 'Tis evident
that the phrase "still more despicable" admits of infinite shades,
from very light to very dark. How am I to judge of the degree
intended? Or how shall I annex any precise idea to language so

Between gentlemen, _despicable_ and _more despicable_ are not worth
the pains of distinction; when, therefore, you do not interrogate me
as to the opinion which is specifically ascribed to me, I must
conclude that you view it as within the limits to which the
animadversions of political opponents upon each other may justifiably
extend, and, consequently, as not warranting the idea which Doctor
Cooper appears to entertain. If so, what precise inference could you
draw as a guide for your conduct, were I to acknowledge that I had
expressed an opinion of you _still more despicable_ than the one which
is particularized? How could you be sure that even this opinion had
exceeded the bounds which you would yourself deem admissible between
political opponents?

But I forbear further comment on the embarrassment to which the
requisition you have made naturally leads. The occasion forbids a more
ample illustration, though nothing could be more easy than to pursue

Repeating that I cannot reconcile it with propriety to make the
acknowledgment or denial you desire, I will add, that I deem it
inadmissible, on principle, to consent to be interrogated as to the
justice of the _inferences_ which may be drawn by others from whatever
I have said of a political opponent in the course of fifteen years
competition. If there were no other objection to it, this is
sufficient, that it would tend to expose my sincerity and delicacy to
injurious imputations from every person who may at any time have
conceived the _import_ of my expressions differently from what I may
then have intended or may afterward recollect. I stand ready to avow
or disavow promptly and explicitly any precise or definite opinion
which I may be charged with having declared of any gentleman. More
than this cannot fitly be expected from me; and, especially, it cannot
be reasonably expected that I shall enter into any explanation upon a
basis so vague as that you have adopted. I trust, on more reflection,
you will see the matter in the same light with me. If not, I can only
regret the circumstance, and must abide the consequences.

The publication of Doctor Cooper was never seen by me till after the
receipt of your letter. I have the honour to be, &c.,


Colonel BURR.

On the morning of Thursday, the 21st, I delivered to Colonel Burr the
above letter, and, in the evening, was furnished with the following
letter for General Hamilton, which I delivered to him at 12 o'clock on
Friday, the 22d inst.

No. III.

New-York, June 21, 1804.


Your letter of the 20th inst. has been this day received. Having
considered it attentively, I regret to find in it nothing of that
sincerity and delicacy which you profess to value.

Political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from the necessity of
a rigid adherence to the laws of honour and the rules of decorum. I
neither claim such privilege nor indulge it in others.

The common sense of mankind affixes to the epithet adopted by Doctor
Cooper the idea of dishonour. It has been publicly applied to me under
the sanction of your name. The question is not whether he has
understood the meaning of the word, or has used it according to syntax
and with grammatical accuracy, but whether you have authorized this
application, either directly or by uttering expressions or opinions
derogatory to my honour. The time "when" is in your own knowledge, but
no way material to me, as the calumny has now first been disclosed so
as to become the subject of my notice, and as the effect is present
and palpable.

Your letter has furnished me with new reasons for requiring a definite

I have the honour to be,

Sir, your obedient



General Hamilton perused it, and said it was such a letter as he had
hoped not to have received; that it contained several offensive
expressions, and seemed to close the door to all further reply; that
he had hoped the answer he had returned to Colonel Burr's first letter
would have given a different direction to the controversy; that he
thought Mr. Burr would have perceived that there was a difficulty in
his making a more specific reply, and would have desired him to state
what had fallen from him that might have given rise to the inference
of Doctor Cooper. He would have done this frankly; and he believed it
would not have been found to exceed the limits justifiable among
political opponents. If Mr. Burr should be disposed to give a
different complexion to the discussion, he was willing to consider the
last letter not delivered; but if that communication was not
withdrawn, he could make no reply; and Mr. Burr must pursue such
course as he should deem most proper.

At the request of General Hamilton, I replied that I would detail
these ideas to Colonel Burr; but added, that if in his first letter he
had introduced the idea (if it was a correct one) that he could
recollect of no terms that would justify the construction made by Dr.
Cooper, it would, in my opinion, have opened a door for accommodation.
General Hamilton then repeated the same objections to this measure
which were stated in substance in his first letter to Colonel Burr.

When I was about leaving him he observed, that if I preferred it, he
would commit his refusal to writing. I replied, that if he had
resolved not to answer Colonel Burr's letter, that I could report that
to him verbally, without giving him the trouble of writing it. He
again repeated his determination not to answer; and that Colonel Burr
must pursue such course as he should deem most proper.

In the afternoon of this day I reported to Colonel Burr, at his house
out of town, the answer and the determination of General Hamilton, and
promised to call on him again in the evening to learn his further
wishes. I was detained in town, however, this evening, by some private
business, and did not call on Colonel Burr until the following
morning, Saturday, the 23d June. I then received from him a letter for
General Hamilton, which is numbered IV.; but, as will presently be
explained, never was delivered. The substance of it will be found in
number XII.

When I returned with this letter to the city, which was about two
o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, I sent a note to General
Hamilton's office, and also to his house, desiring to know when it
would be convenient to him to receive a communication. The servant, as
he informed me, received for answer at both places that General
Hamilton had gone to his country seat. I then wrote the note of which
No. V. is a copy, and sent it out to him in the country.

No. V.

June 23, 1804.


In the afternoon of yesterday I reported to Colonel Burr the result of
my last interview with you, and appointed the evening to receive his
further instructions. Some private engagements, however, prevented me
from calling on him till this morning. On my return to the city, I
found, upon inquiry, both at your office and house, that you had
returned to your residence in the country. Lest an interview there
might be less agreeable to you than elsewhere, I have taken the
liberty of addressing you this note, to inquire when and where it will
be most convenient to you to receive a communication.

Your most obedient and very humble servant,



To this I received for answer No. VI., which follows.

No. VI.

Grange, June 23, 1804.


I was in town to-day till half past one. I thank you for the delicacy
which dictated your note to me. If it is indispensable the
communication should be made before Monday morning, I must receive it
here; but I should think this cannot be important. On Monday, by nine
o'clock, I shall be in town at my house in Cedar-street, No. 52, where
I should be glad to see you. An additional reason for preferring this
is, that I am unwilling to occasion you trouble.

With esteem I am your obedient servant,


At nine o'clock on Monday, the 25th of June, I called on General
Hamilton, at his house in Cedar-street, to present the letter No. IV.
already alluded to, and with instructions for a verbal communication,
of which the following notes, No. VII, handed me by Mr. Burr, were to
be the basis. The substance of which, though in terms as much softened
as my injunctions would permit, was accordingly communicated to
General Hamilton.

No. VII.

A. Burr, far from conceiving that rivalship authorizes a latitude not
otherwise justifiable, always feels greater delicacy in such cases,
and would think it meanness to speak of a rival but in terms of
respect; to do justice to his merits; to be silent of his foibles.
Such has invariably been his conduct towards Jay, Adams, and Hamilton;
the only three who can be supposed to have stood in that relation to

That he has too much reason to believe that, in regard to Mr.
Hamilton, there has been no reciprocity. For several years his name
has been lent to the support of base slanders. He has never had the
generosity, the magnanimity, or the candour to contradict or disavow.
Burr forbears to particularize, as it could only tend to produce new
irritations; but, having made great sacrifices for the sake of
harmony; having exercised forbearance until it approached to
humiliation, he has seen no effect produced by such conduct but a
repetition of injury. He is obliged to conclude that there is, on the
part of Mr. Hamilton, a settled and implacable malevolence; that he
will never cease, in his conduct towards Mr. Burr, to violate those
courtesies of life; and that, hence, he has no alternative but to
announce these things to the world; which, consistently with Mr.
Burr's ideas of propriety, can be done in no way but that which he has
adopted. He is incapable of revenge, still less is he capable of
imitating the conduct of Mr. Hamilton, by committing secret
depredations on his fame and character. But these things must have an

Before I delivered the written communication with which I was charged,
General Hamilton said that he had prepared a written reply to Colonel
Burr's letter of the 21st, which he had left with Mr. Pendleton, and
wished me to receive. I answered, that the communication I had to make
to him was predicated upon the idea that he would make no reply to Mr.
Burr's letter of the 21st of June, and that I had so understood him in
our conversation of the 22d. General Hamilton said that he believed,
before I left him, he had proffered a written reply. I observed that,
when he answered verbally, he had offered to put that _refusal_ in
writing; but that, if he had now prepared a written reply, I would
receive it with pleasure. I accordingly called on Mr. Pendleton on the
same day (Monday, June 25th), between _one_ and _two_ o'clock P. M.,
and stated to him the result of my recent interview with General
Hamilton, and the reference he had made to him.

I then received from Mr. Pendleton No. VIII., which follows:--


New-York, June 22, 1804.


Your first letter, in a style too peremptory, made a demand, in my
opinion, unprecedented and unwarrantable. My answer, pointing out the
embarrassment, gave you an opportunity to take a less exceptionable
course. You have not chosen to do it; but, by your last letter,
received this day, containing expressions _indecorous_ and improper,
you have increased the difficulties to explanation intrinsically
incident to the nature of your application.

If by a "definite reply" you mean the direct avowal or disavowal
required in your first letter, I have no other answer to give than
that which has already been given. If you mean any thing different,
admitting of greater latitude, it is requisite you should explain.

I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant,


A. BURR, Esq.

This letter was unsealed, but I did not read it in his presence. After
some conversation relative to what General Hamilton would say on the
subject of the present controversy, during which Mr. Pendleton read
from a paper his ideas on the subject, he left me for the purpose of
seeing and consulting Mr. Hamilton, taking the paper with him. In
about an hour he called at my house. I informed him that I had shown
to Colonel Burr the letter he had given me from General Hamilton;
that, in his opinion, it amounted to nothing more than the verbal
reply I had already reported; that it left the business precisely
where it then was; that Mr. Burr had very explicitly stated the
injuries he had received and the reparation he demanded, and that be
did not think it proper to be asked now for further explanation.
Towards the conclusion of the conversation I informed him that Colonel
Burr required a general disavowal of any intention, on the part of
General Hamilton, in his various conversations, to convey expressions
derogatory to the honour of Mr. Burr. Mr. Pendleton replied that he
believed General Hamilton would have no objections to make such
declaration, and left me for the purpose of consulting him, requesting
me to call in the course of the afternoon for an answer. I called on
him, accordingly, about six o'clock. He then observed that General
Hamilton declined making such a disavowal as I had stated in our last
conversation; that he, Mr. Pendleton, did not then perceive the whole
force and extent of it; and presented me with the following paper, No.
IX., which I transmitted in the evening to Mr. Burr.

No. IX.

In answer to a letter properly adapted to obtain from General Hamilton
a declaration whether he had charged Colonel Burr with any particular
instance of dishonourable conduct, or had impeached his private
character either in the conversation alluded to by Doctor Cooper, or
in any other particular instance to be specified, he would be able to
answer consistently with his honour and the truth, in substance, that
the conversation to which Doctor Cooper alluded turned wholly on
political topics, and did not attribute to Colonel Burr any instance
of dishonourable conduct, nor relate to his private character; and in
relation to any other language or conversation of General Hamilton
which Colonel Burr will specify, a prompt and frank avowal or denial
will be given.

The following day (Tuesday, 26th June), as early as was convenient, I
had an interview with Colonel Burr, who informed me that he considered
General Hamilton's proposition a mere evasion, that evinced a desire
to leave the injurious impressions which had arisen from the
conversations of General Hamilton in full force; that when he had
undertaken to investigate an injury his honour had sustained, it would
be unworthy of him not to make that investigation complete. He gave me
further instructions, which are substantially contained in the
following letter to Mr. Pendleton, No. X.

No. X.

June 26, 1804.


The letter which you yesterday delivered to me, and your subsequent
communication, in Colonel Burr's opinion, evince no disposition, on
the part of General Hamilton, to come to a satisfactory accommodation.
The injury complained of and the reparation expected are so definitely
expressed in Colonel Burr's letter of the 21st instant, that there is
not perceived a necessity for further explanation on his part. The
difficulty that would result from confining the inquiry to any
particular times and occasions must be manifest. The denial of a
specified conversation only would leave strong implication that on
other occasions improper language had been used. When and where
injurious opinions and expressions had been uttered by General
Hamilton must be best known to him, and of him only will Colonel Burr
inquire. No denial or declaration will be satisfactory unless it be
general, so as wholly to exclude the idea that rumours derogatory to
Colonel Burr's honour has originated with General Hamilton, or have
been fairly inferred from any thing he has said. A definite reply to a
requisition of this nature was demanded by Colonel Burr's letter of
the 21st instant. This being refused, invites the alternative alluded
to in General Hamilton's letter of the 20th.

It was required by the position in which the controversy was placed by
General Hamilton on Friday (June 22d) last, and I was immediately
furnished with a communication demanding a personal interview. The
necessity of this measure has not, in the opinion of Colonel Burr,
been diminished by the general's last letter, or any communication
which has since been received. I am, consequently, again instructed to
deliver you a message as soon as it may be convenient for you to
receive it. I beg, therefore, you will be so good as to inform me at
what hour I can have the pleasure of seeing you.

Your most obedient and humble servant,



In the evening of the same day I received from him the following

No. XI.

June 26, 1804.


I have communicated the letter which you did me the honour to write to
me of this date, to General Hamilton. The expectations now disclosed
on the part of Colonel Burr appear to him to have greatly extended the
original ground of inquiry, and, instead of presenting a particular
and definite case for explanation, seem to aim at nothing less than an
inquisition into his most confidential conversations, as well as
others, through the whole period of his acquaintance with Colonel

While he was prepared to meet the particular case fairly and fully, he
thinks it inadmissible that he should be expected to answer at large
as to every thing that he may possibly have said in relation to the
character of Colonel Burr at any time or upon any occasion. Though he
is not conscious that any charges which are in circulation to the
prejudice of Colonel Burr have originated with him, except one which
may have been so considered, and which has long since been fully
explained between Colonel Burr and himself, yet he cannot consent to
be questioned generally as to any rumours which may be afloat
derogatory to the character of Colonel Burr, without specification of
the several rumours, many of them, probably, unknown to him. He does
not, however, mean to authorize any conclusion as to the real nature
of his conduct in relation to Colonel Burr by his declining so loose
and vague a basis of explanation, and he disavows an unwillingness to
come to a satisfactory, provided it be an honourable, accommodation.
His objection is the very indefinite ground which Colonel Burr has
assumed, in which he is sorry to be able to discern nothing short of
predetermined hostility. Presuming, therefore, that it will be adhered
to, he has instructed me to receive the message which you have it in
charge to deliver. For this purpose I shall be at home and at your
command to-morrow morning from eight to ten o'clock.

I have the honour to be, respectfully,

Your obedient servant,



I transmitted this to Colonel Burr; and, after a conference with him,
in which I received his further instructions, and that no
misunderstanding might arise from verbal communication, I committed to
writing the remarks contained in No. XII., which follows:

No. XII.

Wednesday morning, June 27, 1804.


The letter which I had the honour to receive from you, under date of
yesterday, states, among other things, that, in General Hamilton's
opinion, Colonel Burr has taken a very indefinite ground, in which he
evinces nothing short of predetermined hostility, and General Hamilton
thinks it inadmissible that the inquiry should extend to his
confidential as well as other conversations. To this Colonel Burr can
only reply, that secret whispers traducing his fame and impeaching his
honour are at least equally injurious with slanders publicly uttered;
that General Hamilton had, at no time and in no place, a right to use
any such injurious expression; and that the partial negative he is
disposed to give, with the reservations he wishes to make, are proofs
that he has done the injury specified.

Colonel Burr's request was, in the first instance, proposed in a form
the most simple, in order that General Hamilton might give to the
affair that course to which he might be induced by his temper and his
knowledge of facts. Colonel Burr trusted with confidence, that, from
the frankness of a soldier and the candour of a gentleman, he might
expect an ingenuous declaration. That if, as he had reason to believe,
General Hamilton had used expressions derogatory to his honour, he
would have had the magnanimity to retract them; and that if, from his
language, injurious inferences had been improperly drawn, he would
have perceived the propriety of correcting errors which might thus
have been widely diffused. With these impressions Colonel Burr was
greatly surprised at receiving a letter which he considered as
evasive, and which, in manner, he deemed not altogether decorous. In
one expectation, however, he was not wholly deceived; for the close of
General Hamilton's letter contained an intimation that, if Colonel
Burr should dislike his refusal to acknowledge or deny, he was ready
to meet the consequences. This Colonel Burr deemed a sort of defiance,
and would have felt justified in making it the basis of an immediate
message; but, as the communication contained something concerning the
indefiniteness of the request; as he believed it rather the offspring
of false pride than of reflection; and as he felt the utmost
reluctance to proceed to extremities while any other hope remained,
his request was repeated in terms more explicit. The replies and
propositions on the part of General Hamilton have, in Colonel Burr's
opinion, been constantly, in substance, the same.

Colonel Burr disavows all motives of predetermined hostility, a charge
by which he thinks insult added to injury. He feels as a gentleman
should when his honour is impeached or assailed; and, without
sensations of hostility or wishes of revenge, he is determined to
vindicate that honour at such hazard as the nature of the case

The length to which this correspondence has extended only tending to
prove that the satisfactory redress, earnestly desired, cannot be
attained, he deems it useless to offer any proposition except the
single message which I shall now have the honour to deliver.

With great respect, your obedient servant,



I handed this to Mr. Pendleton at twelve o'clock on Wednesday the
27th. After he had perused it, agreeable to my instructions, I
delivered the message which it is unnecessary to repeat. The request
it contained was acceded to. After which Mr. Pendleton remarked that a
court was then sitting in which General Hamilton had much business to
transact, and that he had also some private arrangements to make,
which would render some delay unavoidable. I acceded to his wish, and
Mr. Pendleton said he would call on me again in the course of the day
or the following morning, to confer further relative to time and

Thursday, June 28th, ten o'clock P. M., Mr. Pendleton called on me
with a paper which he said contained some views of General Hamilton,
and which he had received from him. I replied, that if the paper
contained a definite and specific proposition for an accommodation, I
would with pleasure receive it, and submit it to the consideration of
my principal; if not, that I must decline taking it, as Mr. Burr
conceived the correspondence completely terminated by the acceptance
of the invitation contained in the message I had yesterday delivered.
Mr. Pendleton replied that the paper did not contain any proposition
of the kind I alluded to, but remarks on my last letter. I, of course,
declined receiving it. Mr. Pendleton then took leave, and said that he
would call again in a day or two to arrange time and place. Tuesday,
July 3d, I again saw Mr. Pendleton; and, after a few subsequent
interviews, the time when the parties were to meet was ultimately
fixed for the morning of the 11th of July instant. The occurrences of
that interview will appear from the following statement, No. XIII.,
which has been drawn up and mutually agreed to by the seconds of the


Colonel Burr arrived first on the ground, as had been previously
agreed. When General Hamilton arrived, the parties exchanged
salutations, and the seconds proceeded to make their arrangements.
They measured the distance, ten full paces, and cast lots for the
choice of position, as also to determine by whom the word should be
given, both of which fell to the second of General Hamilton. They then
proceeded to load the pistols in each other's presence, after which
the parties took their stations. The gentleman who was to give the
word then explained to the parties the rules which were to govern them
in firing, which were as follows: "The parties being placed at their
stations, the second who gives the word shall ask them whether they
are ready; being answered in the affirmative, he shall say--_present_!
After this the parties shall present and fire _when they please_. If
one fires before the other, the opposite second shall say _one_,
_two_, _three_, _fire_, and he shall then fire or lose his fire. He
then asked if they were prepared; being answered in the affirmative,
he gave the word _present_, as had been agreed on, and both parties
presented and fired in succession. The intervening time is not
expressed, as the seconds do not precisely agree on that point. The
fire of Colonel Burr took effect, and General Hamilton almost
instantly fell. Colonel Burr advanced towards General Hamilton with a
manner and gesture that appeared to General Hamilton's friend to be
expressive of regret; but, without speaking, turned about and
withdrew, being urged from the field by his friend, as has been
subsequently stated, with a view to prevent his being recognised by
the surgeon and bargemen who were then approaching. No further
communication took place between the principals, and the barge that
carried Colonel Burr immediately returned to the city. We conceive it
proper to add, that the conduct of the parties in this interview was
perfectly proper, as suited the occasion."

In the interviews between Mr. Pendleton and Mr. Van Ness, they were
not able to agree in two important facts that passed on the ground.
"Mr. Pendleton expressed a confident opinion that General Hamilton did
not fire first, and that he did not fire at all at Colonel Burr. Mr.
Van Ness seemed equally confident in opinion that General Hamilton did
fire first; and, of course, that it must have been _at_ his

Such was the statement made by the friend of Colonel Burr. It is now
proposed to insert such explanations of, or remarks on, the
communications between the parties as emanated from the friend of
General Hamilton. None were given previous to document No. III.
Immediately after that letter, dated 21st June, are the following

"On Saturday, the 22d of June, General Hamilton for the first time
called on Mr. Pendleton, and communicated to him the preceding
correspondence. He informed him that, in a conversation with Mr. Van
Ness at the time of receiving the last letter (No. III.), he told Mr.
Van Ness that he considered that letter as rude and offensive, and
that it was not possible for him to give any other answer than that
Mr. Burr must take such steps as he might think proper. He said,
further, that Mr. Van Ness requested him to take time to deliberate,
and then return an answer, when he might possibly entertain a
different opinion, and that he would call on him to receive it. That
his reply to Mr. Van Ness was, that he did not perceive it possible
for him to give any other answer than that he had mentioned, unless
Mr. Burr would take back his last letter, and write one which would
admit of a different reply. He then gave Mr. Pendleton the letter
hereafter mentioned of the 22d of June, to be delivered to Mr. Van
Ness when he should call on Mr. Pendleton for an answer, and went to
his country house."

[After No. V., dated June 23d, is the following:--]

"Mr. Pendleton understood from General Hamilton that he immediately
answered that, if the communication was pressing, he would receive it
at his country house that day; if not, he would be at his house in
town the next morning at nine o'clock. But he did not give Mr.
Pendleton any copy of this note."

[After No. VIII., dated June 22d, is the following:--]

"This letter, although dated on the 22d of June, remained in Mr.
Pendleton's possession until the 25th, within which period he had
several conversations with Mr. Van Ness. In these conversations Mr.
Pendleton endeavoured to illustrate and enforce the propriety of the
ground General Hamilton had taken. Mr. Pendleton mentioned to Mr. Van
Ness as the result, that if Colonel Burr would write a letter,
requesting to know, in substance, whether, in the conversation to
which Dr. Cooper alluded, any particular instance of dishonourable
conduct was imputed to Colonel Burr, or whether there was any
impeachment of his private character, General Hamilton would declare,
to the best of his recollection, what passed in that conversation; and
Mr. Pendleton read to Mr. Van Ness a paper containing the substance of
what General Hamilton would say on that subject, which is as

"General Hamilton says he cannot imagine to what Doctor Cooper may
have alluded, unless it were to a conversation at Mr. Taylor's, in
Albany, last winter (at which he and General Hamilton were present).
General Hamilton cannot recollect distinctly the particulars of that
conversation, so as to undertake to repeat them without running the
risk of varying, or omitting what might be deemed important
circumstances. The expressions are entirely forgotten, and the
specific ideas imperfectly remembered; but, to the best of his
recollection, it consisted of comments on the political principles and
views of Colonel Burr, and the results that might be expected from
them in the event of his election as governor, without reference to
any particular instance of past conduct or to private character."

"After the delivery of the letter of the 22d, as above mentioned, in
another interview with Mr. Van Ness, he desired Mr. Pendleton to give
him, in writing, the substance of what he had proposed on the part of
General Hamilton, which Mr. Pendleton did, in the following words."
[See No. IX] [After No. XII., dated June 27th, is the following:--]

"With this letter a message was received, such as was to be expected,
containing an invitation which was accepted, and Mr. Pendleton
informed Mr. Van Ness he should hear from him the next day as to
further particulars.

"This letter was delivered to General Hamilton on the same evening,
and a very short conversation ensued between him and Mr. Pendleton,
who was to call on him early the next morning for a further
conference. When he did so, General Hamilton said he had not
understood whether the message and answer was definitively concluded,
or whether another meeting was to take place for that purpose between
Mr. Pendleton and Mr. Van Ness. Under the latter impression, and as
the last letter contained matter that naturally led to animadversion,
he gave Mr. Pendleton a paper of remarks in his own handwriting, to be
communicated to Mr. Van Ness, if the state of the affair rendered it

"In an interview with Mr. Van Ness on the same day, after explaining
the causes which had induced General Hamilton to suppose that the
state of the affair did not render it improper, Mr. Pendleton offered
this paper to Mr. Van Ness, but he declined receiving it, alleging
that he considered the correspondence as closed by the acceptance of
the message that he had delivered.

"Mr. Pendleton then informed Mr. Van Ness of the inducements mentioned
by General Hamilton in the paper for at least postponing the meeting
until the close of the circuit; and, as this was uncertain, Mr.
Pendleton was to let him know when it would be convenient."

_Remarks on the letter of June 27, 1804, which Mr. Van Ness declined
to receive._

"Whether the observations on this letter are designed merely to
justify the result which is indicated in the close of the letter, or
may be intended to give an opening for rendering any thing explicit
which may have been deemed vague heretofore, can only be judged of by
the sequel. At any rate, it appears to me necessary not to be
misunderstood. Mr. Pendleton is therefore authorized to say, that in
the course of the present discussion, written or verbal, there has
been no intention to evade, defy, or insult, but a sincere disposition
to avoid extremities, if it could be done with propriety. With this
view General Hamilton has been ready to enter into a frank and free
explanation on any and every object of a specific nature; but not to
answer a general and abstract inquiry, embracing a period too long for
any accurate recollection, and exposing him to unpleasant criticisms
from, or unpleasant discussions with, any and every person who may
have understood him in an unfavourable sense. This (admitting that he
could answer in a manner the most satisfactory to Colonel Burr) he
should deem inadmissible in principle and precedent, and humiliating
in practice. To this, therefore, he can never submit. Frequent
allusion has been made to slanders said to be in circulation. Whether
they are openly or in whispers, they have a form and shape, and might
be specified."

"If the alternative alluded to in the close of the letter is
definitively tendered, it must be accepted; the time, place, and
manner to be afterward regulated. I should not think it right, in the
midst of a circuit court, to withdraw my services from those who may
have confided important interests to me, and expose them to the
embarrassment of seeking other counsel, who may not have time to be
sufficiently instructed in their causes. I shall also want a little
time to make some arrangements respecting my own affairs."

"On Friday, the 6th of July, the circuit being closed, Mr. Pendleton
informed Mr. Van Ness that General Hamilton would be ready at any time
after the Sunday following. On Monday the particulars were arranged.
On Wednesday the parties met at Weehawk, on the Jersey shore, at seven
o'clock A.M. The particulars of what then took place appear in the
statement, as agreed upon and corrected by the seconds of the
parties." [See No. XIII.]


August 17, 1804.


To comply with your request is a painful task; but I will repress my
feelings while I endeavour to furnish you with an enumeration of such
particulars relative to the melancholy end of our beloved friend
Hamilton as dwell most forcibly on my recollection.

When called to him upon his receiving the fatal wound, I found him
half sitting on the ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton.
His countenance of death I shall never forget. He had at that instant
just strength to say, "This is a mortal wound, doctor;" when he sunk
away, and became to all appearance lifeless. I immediately stripped up
his clothes, and soon, alas! ascertained that the direction of the
ball must have been through some vital part. [2]

His pulses were not to be felt, his respiration was entirely
suspended, and, upon laying my hand on his heart and perceiving no
motion there, I considered him as irrecoverably gone. I, however,
observed to Mr. Pendleton, that the only chance for his reviving was
immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted him up, and
carried him out of the wood to the margin of the bank, where the
bargemen aided us in conveying him into the boat, which immediately
put off. During all this time I could not discover the least symptom
of returning life. I now rubbed his face, lips, and temples with
spirits of hartshorn, applied it to his neck and breast, and to the
wrists and palms of his hands, and endeavoured to pour some into his
mouth. When we had got, as I should judge, about fifty yards from the
shore, some imperfect efforts to breathe were for the first time
manifest; in a few minutes he sighed, and became sensible to the
impression of the hartshorn or the fresh air of the water. He
breathed; his eyes, hardly opened, wandered, without fixing upon any
object; to our great joy, he at length spoke. "My vision is
indistinct," were his first words. His pulse became more perceptible,
his respiration more regular, his sight returned. I then examined the
wound to know if there was any dangerous discharge of blood; upon
slightly pressing his side it gave him pain, on which I desisted. Soon
after recovering his sight, he happened to cast his eye upon the case
of pistols, and observing the one that he had had in his hand lying on
the outside, he said, "Take care of that pistol; it is undischarged,
and still cocked; it may go off and do harm. Pendleton knows"
(attempting to turn his head towards him) "that I did not intend to
fire at him." "Yes," said Mr. Pendleton, understanding his wish, "I
have already made Dr. Hosack acquainted with your determination as to
that." He then closed his eyes and remained calm, without any
disposition to speak; nor did he say much afterward, except in reply
to my questions. He asked me once or twice how I found his pulse; and
he informed me that his lower extremities had lost all feeling,
manifesting to me that he entertained no hopes that he should long
survive. I changed the posture of his limbs, but to no purpose; they
had entirely lost their sensibility. Perceiving that we approached the
shore, he said, "Let Mrs. Hamilton be immediately sent for; let the
event be gradually broken to her, but give her hopes." Looking up we
saw his friend, Mr. Bayard, standing on the wharf in great agitation.
He had been told by his servant that General Hamilton, Mr. Pendleton,
and myself had crossed the river in a boat together, and too well he
conjectured the fatal errand, and foreboded the dreadful result.
Perceiving, as we came nearer, that Mr. Pendleton and myself only sat
up in the stern sheets, he clasped his hands together in the most
violent apprehension; but when I called to him to have a cot prepared,
and he at the same moment saw his poor friend lying in the bottom of
the boat, he threw up his eyes and burst into a flood of tears and
lamentation. Hamilton alone appeared tranquil and composed. We then
conveyed him as tenderly as possible up to the house. The distresses
of this amiable family were such that, till the first shock was
abated, they were scarcely able to summon fortitude enough to yield
sufficient assistance to their dying friend.

Upon our reaching the house he became more languid, occasioned
probably by the agitation of his removal from the boat. I gave him a
little weak wine and water. When he recovered his feelings, he
complained of pain in his back; we immediately undressed him, laid him
in bed, and darkened the room. I then gave him a large anodyne, which
I frequently repeated. During the first day he took upward of an ounce
of laudanum; and tepid anodyne fomentations were also applied to those
parts nearest the seat of his pain. Yet were his sufferings during the
whole of the day almost intolerable. [3]

I had not the shadow of a hope of his recovery; and Dr. Post, whom I
requested might be sent for immediately on our reaching Mr. Bayard's
house, united with me in this opinion. General Rey, the French consul,
also had the goodness to invite the surgeons of the French frigates in
our harbour, as they had had much experience in gunshot wounds, to
render their assistance. They immediately came; but, to prevent his
being disturbed, I stated to them his situation, described the nature
of his wound, and the direction of the ball, with all the symptoms
that could enable them to form an opinion as to the event. One of the
gentlemen then accompanied me to the bedside. The result was a
confirmation of the opinion that had already been expressed by Dr.
Post and myself.

During the night he had some imperfect sleep, but the succeeding
morning his symptoms were aggravated, attended, however, with a
diminution of pain. His mind retained all its usual strength and
composure. The great source of his anxiety seemed to be in his
sympathy with his half-distracted--wife and children. He spoke to me
frequently of them--"My beloved wife and children" were always his
expressions. But his fortitude triumphed over his situation, dreadful
as it was; once, indeed, at the sight of his children, brought to the
bedside together, seven in number, his utterance forsook him; he
opened his eyes, gave them one look, and closed them again till they
were taken away. As a proof of his extraordinary composure of mind,
let me add, that he alone could calm the frantic grief of their
mother. _"Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian,"_ were the
expressions with which he frequently, with a firm voice, but, in a
pathetic and impressive manner, addressed her. His words, and the tone
in which they were uttered, will never be effaced from my memory.
About two o'clock, as the public well know, he expired--

  "Incorrupta fides--nudaque veritas
  Quando ullum invenient parem?
  Multis ille quidem flebilis occidit."

Your friend and humble servant,


"After his death, a note, which had been written the evening before
the interview, was found addressed to the gentleman who accompanied
him to the field; thanking him with tenderness for his friendship to
him, and informing him where would be found the keys of certain
drawers in his desk, in which he had deposited such papers as he had
thought proper to leave behind him, together with his last will."
Among these papers was the following.

On my expected interview with Colonel Burr, I think it proper to make
some remarks explanatory of my conduct, motives, and views.

I was certainly desirous of avoiding this interview for the most
cogent reasons.

1. My religious and moral principles are strongly opposed to the
practice of duelling, and it would ever give me pain to be obliged to
shed the blood of a fellow-creature in a private combat forbidden by
the laws.

2. My wife and children are extremely dear to me, and my life is of
the utmost importance to them in various views.

3. I feel a sense of obligation towards my creditors; who, in case of
accident to me, by the forced sale of my property, may be in some
degree sufferers. I did not think myself at liberty, as a man of
probity, lightly to expose them to this hazard.

4. I am conscious of no _ill will_ to Colonel Burr distinct from
political opposition, which, as I trust, has proceeded from pure and
upright motives.

Lastly, I shall hazard much, and can possibly gain nothing by the
issue of the interview.

But it was, as I conceive, impossible for me to avoid it. There were
_intrinsic_ difficulties in the thing, and _artificial_ embarrassments
from the manner of proceeding on the part of Colonel Burr.

_Intrinsic_, because it is not to be denied that my animadversions on
the political principles, character, and views of Colonel Burr have
been extremely severe; and, on different occasions, I, in common with
many others, have made very unfavourable criticisms on particular
instances of the private conduct of this gentleman.

In proportion as these impressions were entertained with sincerity,
and uttered with motives and for purposes which might appear to me
commendable, would be the difficulty (until they could be removed by
evidence of their being erroneous) of explanation or apology. _The
disavowal required of me by Colonel Burr, in a general and definite
form, was out of my power_, if it had really been proper for me to
submit to be so questioned; but I was sincerely of the opinion that
this could not be; and in this opinion I was confirmed by that of a
very moderate and judicious friend whom I consulted. Besides that,
Colonel Burr appeared to me to assume, in the first instance, a tone
unnecessarily peremptory and menacing, and, in the second, positively
offensive. Yet I wished, as far as might be practicable, to leave a
door open for accommodation. This, I think, will be inferred from the
written communications made by me and by my direction, and would be
confirmed by the conversations between Mr. Van Ness and myself which
arose out of the subject.

I am not sure whether, under all the circumstances, I did not go
further in the attempt to accommodate than a punctilious delicacy will
justify. If so, I hope the motives I have stated will excuse me.

It is not my design, by what I have said, to affix any odium on the
character of Colonel Burr in this case. _He doubtless has heard of
animadversions of mine which bore very hard upon him_; and it is
probable that, as usual, they were accompanied with some falsehoods.
He may have supposed himself under a necessity of acting as he has
done. I hope the grounds of his proceeding have been such as ought to
satisfy his own conscience.

I trust, at the same time, that the world will do me the justice to
believe _that I have not censured him on light grounds_ nor from
unworthy inducements. _I certainly have had strong reasons for what I
have said, though it is possible that in some particulars I have been
influenced by misconstruction or misinformation_. It is also my ardent
_wish that I may have been more mistaken than I think I_ have been,
and that he, by his future conduct, may show himself worthy of all
confidence and esteem, and prove an ornament and blessing to the

As well, because it is possible that I may have injured Colonel Burr,
however convinced myself that my opinions and declarations have been
well founded, as from my general principles and temper in relation to
similar affairs, I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the
usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to
reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of
reserving my second fire, and thus giving a double opportunity to
Colonel Burr to pause and to reflect.

It is not, however, my intention to enter into any explanations on the
ground--apology from principle, I hope, rather than pride, is out of
the question.

To those who, with me, abhorring the practice of duelling, may think
that I ought on no account to add to the number of bad examples, I
answer, that my _relative_ situation, as well in public as private,
enforcing all the considerations which men of the world denominate
honour, imposed on me (as I thought) a peculiar necessity not to
decline the call. The ability to be in future useful, whether in
resisting mischief or effecting good, in those crises of our public
affairs which seem likely to happen, would probably be inseparable
from a conformity with prejudice in this particular.


The impression which the death of General Hamilton made on every class
of people in the city of New-York is best described by simply
remarking, that all party distinction was lost in the general
sentiment of respect expressed for the illustrious dead. On Wednesday
morning, the 11th of July, 1804, the parties met; on Thursday, the
12th, General Hamilton died; and on Saturday, the 14th, he was
interred, with military honours, "the Society of the Cincinnati being
charged with the direction of the funeral ceremonies of its
president-general." About noon, the different bodies forming the
procession took their respective places. The body was conducted from
the house of his brother-in-law, John B. Church, Esq., to Trinity
Church, where an appropriate oration was delivered by the Hon.
Gouverneur Morris.


New-York, July 10, 1804.

Having lately written my will, and given my private letters and papers
in charge to you, I have no other direction to give you on the subject
but to request you to burn all such as, if by accident made public,
would injure any person. This is more particularly applicable to the
letters of my female correspondents. All my letters, and copies of
letters, of which I have retained copies, are in the six blue boxes.
If your husband or any one else (no one, however, could do it so well
as he) should think it worth while to write a sketch of my life, some
materials will be found among these letters.

Tell my dear Natalie that I have not left her any thing, for the very
good reason that I had nothing to leave to any one. My estate will
just about pay my debts and no more--I mean, if I should die this
year. If I live a few years, it is probable things may be better. Give
Natalie one of the pictures of me. There are three in this house; that
of Stewart, and two by Vanderlyn. Give her any other little tokens she
may desire. One of those pictures, also, I pray you to give to Doctor
Eustis. To Bartow something--what you please.

I pray you and your husband to convey to Peggy the small lot, not
numbered, which is the fourth article mentioned in my list of
property. It is worth about two hundred and fifty dollars. Give her
also fifty dollars in cash as a reward for her fidelity. Dispose of
Nancy as you please. She is honest, robust, and good-tempered. Peter
is the most intelligent and best-disposed black I have ever known. (I
mean the black boy I bought last fall from Mr. Turnbull.) I advise
you, by all means, to keep him as the valet of your son. Persuade
Peggy to live with you if you can.

I have desired that my wearing apparel be given to Frederic. Give him
also a sword or pair of pistols.

Burn immediately a small bundle, tied with a red string, which you
will find in the little flat writing-case--that which we used with the
curricle. The bundle is marked _"Put."_

The letters of _Clara_ (the greater part of them) are tied up in a
white handkerchief, which you will find in the blue box No. 5. You may
hand them to Mari, if you please. My letters to Clara are in the same
bundle. You, and by-and-by Aaron Burr Alston, may laugh at _gamp_ when
you look over this nonsense.

Many of the letters of _Clara_ will be found among my ordinary
letters, filed and marked, sometimes _"Clara"_, sometimes "L."

I am indebted to you, my dearest Theodosia, for a very great portion
of the happiness which I have enjoyed in this life. You have
completely satisfied all that my heart and affections had hoped or
even wished. With a little more perseverance, determination, and
industry, you will obtain all that my ambition or vanity had fondly
imagined. Let your son have occasion to be proud that he had a mother.
Adieu. Adieu.


I have directed that the flat writing-case and the blue box No. 5,
both in the library, be opened only by you. There are six of these
blue boxes, which contain my letters and copies of letters, except
those two clumsy quarto volumes, in which letter-press copies are
pasted. They are somewhere in the library. The keys of the other five
boxes are in No. 5.

It just now occurs to me to give poor dear Frederic my watch. I have
already directed my executors here to give him my wearing apparel.
When you come hither you must send for Frederic, and open your whole
heart to him. He loves _me_ almost as much as Theodosia does; and he
does love _you_ to adoration.

I have just now found four packets of letters between _Clara and
Mentor_ besides those in the handkerchief. I have thrown them loose
into box No. 5. What a medley you will find in that box!

The seal of the late General Washington, which you will find in the
blue box No. 5, was given to me by Mr. and Mrs. Law. You may keep it
for your son, or give it to whom you please.

Assure Mrs. Law of my latest recollection. Adieu. Adieu.



New-York, July 10, 1804.


You will find enclosed a statement of my affairs. Swartwout and Van
Ness are joint executors with you and Theodosia. It was indispensable
that there should be an executor on the spot. I have directed them to
sell immediately my horses, and to sell nothing else until your
pleasure shall be known. I pray that Theodosia may be consulted and
gratified in this particular.

Explanations of every concern of my property is given in two sheets of
paper which accompany my will. The enclosed is an abstract.

It would have been a great satisfaction to me to have had your
assurance that you would assume my debts, and take and dispose of the
property at discretion. It may be done in a way which you would find a
convenience. My creditors would take your assumption at such time as
you might judge convenient. The property will, undoubtedly, produce
more than the amount of my debts. What you may not incline to keep may
be forthwith turned into cash.

The library, maps, pictures, and wine are articles which you will
need, and which you cannot procure without great trouble and more
money. I think, too, you would do well to retain Richmond Hill, as a
more convenient residence than Montalto, particularly as no expense
will be necessary for buildings or improvements.

My private letters I have directed to be put in the hands of
Theodosia, that she may select from them her own, those of her mother,
and some others. Among them and my copies you will find much of
trifling, something of amusement, and a little of interest.

Get from Mr. Taylor (the younger), of Columbia or Camden, my letters
to his brother-in-law, the late J.E. Hunt, who was one of your

Messrs. R. Bunner, William Duer, John Duer, and J.W. Smith, of this
city, and John Van Ness Yates, of Albany, all lawyers and young men of
talents, have manifested great and disinterested zeal in my favour on
some recent occasions. [4]

I pray you to take some notice of them, and give to each of them, and
to William T. Broome, now in Paris, some small token of remembrance of
me. William T. Broome, with great defects of temper, unites very
considerable literary talents and acquirements. A little attention
would attach them all to you.

My very worthy friend, Charles Biddle, of Philadelphia, has six or
seven sons--three of them grown up. With different characters and
various degrees of intelligence, they will all be men of eminence and
of influence. Call to see the father when you pass through
Philadelphia, and receive the sons kindly.

I have taught my friends in every quarter to look to you as my
representative. There are many of them, your discernment will
distinguish which, on whose loyalty and firmness you may rely through
all changes.

I have called out General Hamilton, and we meet tomorrow morning. Van
Ness will give you the particulars. The preceding has been written in
contemplation of this event. If it should be my lot to fall, * * * * *
* * * yet I shall live in you and your son. I commit to you all that
is most dear to me--my reputation and my daughter. Your talents and
your attachment will be the guardian of the one--your kindness and
your generosity of the other. Let me entreat you to stimulate and aid
Theodosia in the cultivation of her mind. It is indispensable to her
happiness and essential to yours. It is also of the utmost importance
to your son. She would presently acquire a critical knowledge of
Latin, English, and all branches of natural philosophy. All this would
be poured into your son. If you should differ with me as to the
importance of this measure, suffer me to ask it of you as a last
favour. She will richly compensate your trouble.

Most affectionately adieu,


The elder Prevost, [5] Augustine James Frederic Prevost, is a most
amiable and honourable man. Under the garb of coarse rusticity you
will find, if you know him, refinement, wit, a delicate sense of
propriety, the most inflexible intrepidity, incorruptible integrity,
and disinterestedness. I wish you could know him; but it would be
difficult, by reason of his diffidence and great reluctance to mingle
with the world. It has been a source of extreme regret and
mortification to me that he should be lost to society and to his
friends. The case seems almost remediless, for, alas! _he is married!_


If you can pardon and indulge a folly, I would suggest that Madame
Sansay, too well known under the name of Leonora, has claims on my
recollection. She is now with her husband at St. Jago of Cuba.



1. Colonel Burr then resided at Richmond Hill.

2. For the satisfaction of some of General Hamilton's friends, I
examined his body after death, in presence of Dr. Post and two other
gentlemen. I discovered that the ball struck the second or third false
rib, and fractured it about in the middle; it then passed through the
liver and diaphragm, and, as far as we could ascertain without a
minute examination, lodged in the first or second lumbar vertebra. The
vertebra in which it was lodged was considerably splintered, so that
the spiculae were distinctly perceptible to the finger. About a pint
of clotted blood was found in the cavity of the belly, which had
probably been effused from the divided vessels of the liver.

3. As his habit was delicate, and had been lately rendered more feeble
by ill health, particularly by a disorder of the stomach and bowels, I
carefully avoided all those remedies which are usually indicated on
such occasions.

4. They supported Colonel Burr for the office of governor in
opposition to Morgan Lewis.

5. Mrs. Burr's son by her first husband, Colonel Prevost, of the
British army.



New-York, July 13, 1804.

GENERAL HAMILTON died yesterday. The malignant federalists or tories,
and the imbittered Clintonians, unite in endeavouring to excite public
sympathy in his favour and indignation against his antagonist.
Thousands of absurd falsehoods are circulated with industry. The most
illiberal means are practised in order to produce excitement, and, for
the moment, with effect.

I propose leaving town for a few days, and meditate also a journey for
some weeks, but whither is not resolved. Perhaps to Statesburgh. You
will hear from me again in about eight days.



July 18, 1804.

The event of which you have been advised has driven me into a sort of
exile, and may terminate in an actual and permanent ostracism. Our
most unprincipled Jacobins are the loudest in their lamentations for
the death of General Hamilton, whom, for many years, they have
uniformly represented as the most detestable and unprincipled of
men--the motives are obvious. Every sort of persecution is to be
exercised against me. A coroner's jury will sit this evening, being
the _fourth_ time. The object of this unexampled measure is to obtain
an inquest of murder. Upon this a warrant will issue to apprehend me,
and, if I should be taken, no bail would probably be allowed. You know
enough of the temper and principles of the generality of the officers
of our state government to form a judgment of my position.

The statement [1] in the Morning Chronicle was not submitted to my
perusal, I being absent at the time of the publication. Several
circumstances not very favourable to the deceased are suppressed; I
presume, from holy reverence for the dead. I am waiting the report of
this jury; when that is known, you shall be advised of my movements.
At present I have decided on nothing. Write under cover to Charles
Biddle, Philadelphia.



July 20, 1804.

La G. has, on a recent occasion, manifested a degree of sensibility
and attachment which have their influence on _gamp_. Her conduct is
also highly honourable to the independence of her mind, for all her
associations and connexions would lead to a different result. An
interview is expected this evening, which, if it take place, will
terminate in something definitive.

It was, indeed, a pretty ludicrous description which you received. On
the other side you may add, real good-temper and cheerfulness; a good
education, according to the estimation of the world. I shall journey
somewhere within a few days, but whither is not yet decided. My heart
will travel southward, and repose on the hills of Santee.

Adieu, my dear child.



Philadelphia, July 29, 1804.

The coroner's jury continued to the 26th (my last New-York date) to
sit and adjourn. Upon suspicion that my friends had some knowledge of
the subject, derived either from Van Ness or me, _warrants_ have
issued to bring them in to testify. Matthew L. Davis was apprehended,
and, refusing to answer, was committed to prison, where he now lies;
probably Colonel Willett is now also in jail on the same account.
Swartwout, Van Ness, and others are secreted. How long this sort of
persecution may endure cannot be conjectured.

The ferment, which was with so much industry excited, has subsided,
and public opinion begins to take its proper course.



New-York, August 2, 1804.

I was interrupted in my letter yesterday. The jury agreed to their
verdict this morning at _two_ o'clock, _viz_., wilful murder by the
hand of A. B. William P. Van Ness and Nathaniel Pendleton accessories
before the fact. The only evidence, Bishop Moore. Edward Ferris, James
Ferris, and a Mr. Milne dissented, and contemplate a protest against
the illegal conduct of the coroner. Their counsel is James Woods. At
four o'clock this morning I despatched an express to Van Ness. The
printers, you perceive, continue their malevolence through the vilest
motives; notwithstanding all this, there is a considerable reaction.
The public palate has become satiated. The Nicholsons, the Gelstons,
the Mills's, and may other demo's are rapidly travelling back to 1800.
Mr. P. called and begged that the Chronicle might still be kept
silent. He observed, that he mixed with these people, and found it to
be the true policy. Although this is not my opinion, yet we must be
governed by the advice of the majority.

The oration (by Gouverneur Morris) has displeased many republicans of
the first water. Governor Morgan Lewis speaks of the proceedings
openly as disgraceful, illiberal, and ungentlemanly. In short, a
little more noise on their side, and a little further magnanimity on
ours, is all that is necessary. In all this bustle, judicious men see
nothing but the workings of the meanest passions. The Salem Gazette
and the Boston Chronicle seem to take the most correct ground.


Philadelphia, August 3, 1804.

The preceding is a summary of the intelligence by this day's mail. The
purport of the inquest is confirmed by a letter from J.B.P. I am
further advised that an application has been made to Governor Lewis,
of New-York, requiring him to demand me of the governor of this state,
with which Lewis will most probably be obliged to comply. I shall,
nevertheless, remain here some days (from 8 to 20), that I may the
better know the measures of the enemy. _Have no anxiety about the
issue of this business._



Philadelphia, August 2, 1804.

Your letters of the 8th and 18th of July are received; the latter
yesterday. You must not complain or find fault if I omit to answer, or
even to write. Don't let me have the idea that you are dissatisfied
with me a moment. I can't just now endure it. At another time you may
play the Juno if you please. Your letters amuse and console me.
Continue to write with this reliance, and without the expectation of
pay in kind. I owe you no thanks for a letter if you demand prompt
payment to the full amount.

All you write of the boy represents him such as I would have him. His
refusal of the peaches reminded me of his mother. Just so she has done
fifty times, and just so I kissed her; but then I did not give her

Nothing can be done with Celeste. There is a strange indecision and
timidity which I cannot fathom. The thing, however, is abandoned; and,
for a few months, I believe, all such things.

I shall be here for some days. How many cannot now be resolved. I am
very well, and not without occupation or amusement. Nothing would give
me so much pleasure as to hear that your time, or any part of it, is
usefully employed.



Philadelphia, August 3, 1804.

You will have learned, through Mr. Alston, of certain measures
pursuing against me in New-York. I absent myself from home merely to
give a little time for passions to subside, not from any apprehension
of the final effects of proceedings in courts of law. They can, by no
possibility, eventually affect my person. You will find the papers
filled with all manner of nonsense and lies. Among other things,
accounts of attempts to assassinate me. These, I assure you, are mere
fables. Those who wish me dead prefer to keep at a very respectful
distance. No such attempt has been made nor will be made. I walk and
ride about here as usual.



Philadelphia, August 11, 1804.

Your letter of the 25th July finds me in a moment of great occupation,
being on the point of embarking for St. Simons. Write to me on receipt
of this, and enclose to the postmaster at Darien, Georgia. The letter
to me to be addressed to A. B., at Hampton, St. Simons; and pray write
over again all you have written since the 25th, for the letters now on
the way will not be received for some time. I shall lay a plan for
meeting you somewhere, but whether I may have it in my power to visit
the high hills of Santee is doubtful; I fear improbable. They say
there is no going through the flat country at this season without
hazard of life. Consult your husband about this, and write me as above
directed. You shall hear from me the moment of my arrival anywhere;
that is, I shall write, and you may read as soon as you can get the

If any male friend of yours should be dying of ennui, recommend to him
to engage in a duel and a courtship at the same time--prob. est.

Celeste seems more pliant. I do believe that eight days would have
produced some grave event; but, alas! those eight days, and perhaps
eight days more, are to be passed on the ocean.

My love to Natalie; to her girl and your boy. I have received a very
charming letter from her, which shall be noticed when I get the other
side of you. Adieu.



Philadelphia, August 11, 1804.

Your letters of the 21st and 25th July are just now received, and I
have barely time to read them and transmit your orders to New-York
about Montalto.

My plan is to visit the Floridas for five or six weeks. I have desired
Theodosia to consult you whether there be any healthy point within a
hundred miles or so of St. Simons at which we might meet. Might I
safely travel through your low country at this season?

Theodosia fat and the boy pale are bad omens. For God's sake, or
rather for theirs, your own, and mine, hurry them off to the
mountains. I could, perhaps, as easily find you there as elsewhere.
Warrants have been issued in New-York against all those charged with
an agency in the death of General Hamilton, but no requisition or
demand has been made by the governor of that state on this or any
other, nor does it seem very probable that such demand will be
immediately made.

I am negotiating to get an assurance from authority that I shall be
bailed, on receipt of which I shall surrender.

The eastern republicans take part against the calumniators in
New-York. Swartwout is now here. He thinks the tide has already turned
in New-York. You had better open a correspondence with him.



Hampton, St. Simon's, August 28, 1804.

We arrived on Saturday evening, all well. The mail, which arrives but
once a week, had just gone. An accidental opportunity enables me to
forward this to Savannah.

I am at the house of Major Butler, comfortably settled. A very
agreeable family within half a mile. My project is to go next week to
Florida, which may take up a fortnight or ten days, and soon after my
return to go northward, by Augusta and Columbia, if I can find ways
and means to get on; but I have no horse, nor does this country
furnish one. In my letter to your husband, written at the moment of
leaving Philadelphia, I desired him to name some place (healthy place)
at which he could meet me. Enclose to "Mr. R. King, Hampton, St.



St. Simon's, August 31, 1804.

I am now quite settled. My establishment consists of a housekeeper,
cook, and chambermaid, seamstress, and two footmen. There are,
besides, two fishermen and four bargemen always at command. The
department of laundress is done abroad. The plantation affords plenty
of milk, cream, and butter; turkeys, fowls, kids, pigs, geese, and
mutton; fish, of course, in abundance. Of figs, peaches, and melons
there are yet a few. Oranges and pomegranates just begin to be
eatable. The house affords Madeira wine, brandy, and porter. Yesterday
my neighbour, Mr. Couper, sent me an assortment of French wines,
consisting of Claret, Sauterne, and Champagne, all excellent; and at
least a twelve months' supply of orange shrub, which makes a most
delicious punch. Madame Couper added sweetmeats and pickles. The
plantations of Butler and Couper are divided by a small creek, and the
houses within one quarter of a mile of each other; accessible,
however, only by water. We have not a fly, moscheto, or bug. I can sit
a whole evening, with open windows and lighted candles, without the
least annoyance from insects; a circumstance which I have never beheld
in any other place. I have not even seen a cockroach.

At Mr. Couper's, besides his family, there are three young ladies,
visitors. One of them arrived about three months ago from France, to
join a brother who had been shipwrecked on this coast, liked the
country so much that he resolved to settle here, and sent for this
sister and a younger brother. About the time of their arrival, the
elder brother was accidentally drowned; the younger went with views to
make an establishment some miles inland, where he now lies dangerously
ill. Both circumstances are concealed from the knowledge of
Mademoiselle Nicholson. In any event, she will find refuge and
protection in the benevolent house of Mr. Couper.

The cotton in this neighbourhood, on the coast southward to the
extremity of Florida, and northward as far as we have heard, has been
totally destroyed. The crop of Mr. C. was supposed to be worth one
hundred thousand dollars, and not an extravagant estimate, for he has
eight hundred slaves. He will not get enough to pay half the expenses
of the plantation. Yet he laughs about it with good humour and without
affectation. Butler suffers about half this loss. Part of his force
had been turned to rice. My travelling companion, secretary, and
aid-de-camp is Samuel Swartwout, the youngest brother of John, a very
amiable young man of twenty or twenty-one.

Now, verily, were it not for the intervention of one hundred miles of
low, swampy, pestiferous country, I would insist on your coming to see
me, all, all! Little _gamp_, and Mademoiselle Sum_tare_, and their
appendages; for they are the principals.

I still propose to visit Florida. To set off in three or four days,
and to return hither about the 16th of September; beyond this I have
at present no plan. It is my wish, God knows how ardently I wish, to
return by land, and pass a week with you; but, being without horses,
and there being no possibility of hiring or buying, the thing seems
scarcely practicable. Two modes only offer themselves--either to
embark in the kind of mail stage which goes from Darien through
Savannah, Augusta, and Columbia, to Camden, or to take a water passage
either to Charleston or Georgetown. Either of these being
accomplished, new difficulties will occur in getting from Statesburgh
northward. I must be at New-York the first week in November. Consult
your husband, and write me of these matters. Enclose to Mr. Roswell
King, which I repeat, lest my former letters should not have been
received. Our mail has just arrived, but has brought me no letter.

I erred a little in my history of the family of Mademoiselle N. There
are still two brothers here. One a man d'une certaine age. Though not
wealthy, they are not destitute of property.

Mr. C. has just now gone with his boat for the dashers who live about
thirty miles southwest on the main. He has requested me to escort
Madame C. on Sunday to his plantation on the south end of this island,
where we are to meet him and his party on Monday, and bring them home
in our coach. Madame C. is still young, tall, comely, and well bred.

I have been studying all the maps and gazetteers to discover the best
access to Statesburgh. Georgetown seems to be the nearest port; but
whether there be thence a direct road, I cannot discover. Does our
friend Doctor Blythe still reside at Georgetown? If so, I should
repose on him for the means of transportation. Desire Mari to write to
him to aid me in case I should take that route. If I should go to
Charleston, meaning to Sullivan's Island, for Charleston I shall at
this season most certainly avoid, I should put myself on General
M'Pherson, who, I hear, is now living there with his family; thence up
the Cooper river, about four miles above the town, is a ferryhouse and
tavern on the north side, and thence by Strawberry, where is the best
tavern in the state, is a very direct and beautiful road, and thence,
according to the maps, a very straight road to the high hills of
Santee. But how to get from that ferryhouse is a question I cannot
resolve. All these circumstances are mentioned that I may have your
advice, meaning that of your husband. And, after all, it is possible
that I may not be able to find a passage either to Charleston or
Georgetown, and so be obliged to sail for New-York. Will close this
letter, for to-morrow it must go to the postoffice at Darien, which is
only about twenty-two miles distant.

September 1.

In one of Mr. Alston's letters he spoke of taking you and A. B. A. to
the mountains; and, in a letter which I wrote him from Philadelphia, I
proposed to meet you in the mountains. Now, for aught which I as yet
know, it will be as easy for me to get to the mountains, or to the
Alps, or the Andes, as to Statesburgh, and therefore, as before, I
crave counsel.

Do yon recollect the second daughter of Mr. Barclay, of Philadelphia,
the sister of Nelly? She has grown up the very image of her sister. I
saw her very often while I was last in Philadelphia. She talked
perpetually of you, and made me promise that I would tell you so.

Adieu, my dear Theodosia. Remember that I have not received a letter
from you since that of the 22d or 25th of July. I forget which was the
date. I have no faith in the climate of your high hills, surrounded as
they are by noxious swamps. God bless and preserve thee.



St. Simon's, September 3, 1804.

You see me returned from Gaston's Bluff, now called _Hamilton's
Bluff_, a London merchant, partner of Mr. Couper. We were four in the
carriage; the three ladies and myself.

Mr. Morse informs you that this island is forty-five miles long, and
that it lies north of the mouth Altamaha, commonly spelled Alatamaha.
It is, in fact, twelve and a half miles in length, and lies southeast
of that river. Its width is about two and a half miles. There are now
residing on the island about twenty-five white families. Frederica,
now known only by the name of _Old Town_, is on the west side of the
island, and about midway between its northern and southern
extremities. It was first settled by Governor Oglethorpe, and was,
about fifty years ago, a very gay place, consisting of perhaps
twenty-five or thirty houses. The walls of several of them still
remain. Three or four families only now reside here. In the vicinity
of the town several ruins were pointed out to me, as having been,
formerly, country seats of the governor, and officers of the garrison,
and gentlemen of the town. At present, nothing can be more gloomy than
what was once called Frederica. The few families now remaining, or
rather residing there, for they are all new-comers, have a sickly,
melancholy appearance, well assorted with the ruins which surround
them. The southern part of this island abounds with fetid swamps,
which must render it very unhealthy. On the northern half I have seen
no stagnant water.

Mr. Couper, with his escort of ladies, was to have met us this
afternoon, but he has sent us word that he is taken ill on the way;
that, owing to illness in the family of the ladies who were to have
accompanied him, they have been obliged to renounce the visit. We
therefore returned as we went. At Frederica and Gaston's Bluff we were
convinced that insects can subsist on this island. Moschetoes, flies,
and cockroaches abounded.

Thursday, September 6, 1804

Just returned from Darien. And what took you to Darien? To see the
plantation of Mr. Butler on an island opposite that town, and to meet
a day sooner the letters which I expected from you. In the last object
I have been again disappointed, which I ascribe wholly to the
irregularity of the mails. It is most mortifying and vexatious to be
seven weeks without hearing of you or from you, and now a whole week
must elapse before I can expect it.

You are probably ignorant that Darien is a settlement (called a town)
on the north bank of the Alatamaha, about eight miles from its mouth.
Major Butler's Island in this river is one mile below the town. It
must become a fine rice country, for the water is fresh four miles
below Major Butler's, and the tide rises from four to five feet, and
the flats or swamps are from five to seven miles in width for a
considerable distance up the river. The country, of course, presents
no scenes for a painter. I visited Little St. Simon's and several
other islands; frightened the crocodiles, shot some rice-birds, and
caught some trout. Honey of fine flavour is found in great abundance
in the woods about the mouth of the river, and, for aught I know, in
every part of the country. You perceive that I am constantly
discovering new luxuries for my table. Not having been able to kill a
crocodile (alligator), I have offered a reward for one, which I mean
to eat, dressed in soup, fricassees, and steaks. Oh! how you long to
partake of this repast.

Wednesday, September 12, 1804.

On Friday last, hearing that Mr. Couper had returned and was very
seriously ill, I took a small canoe with two boys, and went to see
him. He lay in a high fever. When about to return in the evening, the
wind had risen so that, after an ineffectual attempt, I was obliged to
give it up, and remain at Mr. C.'s. In the morning the wind was still
higher. It continued to rise, and by noon blew a gale from the north,
which, together with the swelling of the water, became alarming. From
twelve to three, several of the out-houses had been destroyed; most of
the trees about the house were blown down. The house in which we were
shook and rocked so much that Mr. C. began to express his
apprehensions for our safety. Before three, part of the piazza was
carried away; two or three of the windows bursted in. The house was
inundated with water, and presently one of the chimneys fell. Mr. C.
then commanded a retreat to a storehouse about fifty yards off, and we
decamped, men, women, and children. You may imagine, in this scene of
confusion and dismay, a good many incidents to amuse one if one had
dared to be amused in a moment of much anxiety. The house, however,
did not blow down. The storm continued till four, and then very
suddenly abated, and in ten minutes it was almost a calm. I seized the
moment to return home. Before I had got quite over, the gale rose from
the southeast and threatened new destruction. It lasted great part of
the night, but did not attain the violence of that from the north; yet
it contributed to raise still higher the water, which was the
principal instrument of devastation. The flood was about seven feet
above the height of an ordinary high tide. This has been sufficient to
inundate great part of the coast; to destroy all the rice; to carry
off most of the buildings which were on low lands, and to destroy the
lives of many blacks. The roads are rendered impassable, and scarcely
a boat has been preserved. Thus all intercourse is suspended. The
mail-boat, which ought to have passed northward last Saturday, and by
which it was intended to forward this letter, has not been heard of.
This will go by a man who will attempt to get from Darien to Savannah
on foot, being sent express by the manager of Major Butler; but how,
or whether it will go on from Savannah, is not imagined.

Major Butler has lost nineteen negroes (drowned), and I fear his whole
crop of rice, being about two hundred and sixty acres. Mr. Brailsford,
of Charleston, who cultivates in rice an island at the mouth of the
Alatamaha, has lost, reports say, seventy-four blacks. The banks and
the buildings on the low lands are greatly injured. We have heard
nothing from the southward, nor farther than from Darien northward. I
greatly fear that this hurricane, so it is here called, has extended
to the Waccama.

The illness of Mr. C., which still continues, and the effects of the
storm, have defeated all my plans. To get to Florida seems now
impracticable; nor do any present means occur of getting from this
island in any direction. Young Swartwout, who went ten days ago to
Savannah, has not returned, nor is it possible that he should very
speedily return. I have not received a letter since my arrival from
any person north of Savannah (yes, one from C. Biddle, of 19th
August), nor do I expect one for many days to come.

I had taken up another sheet to say something more, I know not what;
but the appearance of a fine sheep's-head smoking on the table has
attractions not to be resisted. _Laissez moi diner_, "and then," &c.

_Madame j'ais bien diner_, and _j'ai fait mettre mon_ writing-desk
_sur le table a diner_. What a scandalous thing to sit here all alone
drinking Champagne--and yet--(_madame je bois a votre santé et a celle
de monsieur_ votre fils)--and yet, I say, if Champagne be that
exhilarating cordial which (_je bois a la santé de Madame Sumtare_)
songs and rumour ascribe to it (_a la santé de Mademoiselle Sumtare_),
can there be ever an occasion in which its application could be more
appropriate, or its virtues more (_mais buvons a la santé de mon hôte
et bon ami_, Major Butler). By-the-by, you have no idea--how should
you have, seeing that you never heard a word about it?--you have no
idea, I was going to say, of the zeal and animation, of the
intrepidity and frankness with which he avowed and maintained--but I
forget that this letter goes to Savannah by a negro, who has to swim
half a dozen creeks, in one of which, _at least_, it is probable he
may drown, and that, if he escape drowning, various other accidents
may bring it to you through the newspapers, and then how many enemies
might my indiscretion create for a man who had the sensibility and the
honour to feel and to judge, and the firmness to avow (_a la santé de
Celeste un_ bumper toast). _La pauvre Celeste_. Adieu.



Frederica, St. Simon's, September 15, 1804.

Having very unexpectedly procured a boat, I left my house yesterday
afternoon, came hither by land, and proceed in a few minutes for St.
Mary's. It is possible that I may extend my tour to St. John's, and
even to St. Augustine's; but, if so, it will be very rapid; a mere
flight, for I propose to be at home (Hampton, St. Simon's) again in
eight days.

On the 12th I sent by a special messenger, who was to go from Darien
to Savannah on foot, my journal for the ten or fifteen days preceding,
with some account of the hurricane; but a man this day from Darien
says that our express can by no possibility reach Savannah; for that
every bridge and causeway is destroyed, and the road so filled with
fallen trees as to be utterly impassable. I apprehend that the roads
on the whole coast as far north, at least, as Cape Hatteras, are in
the same condition. If on my return I should receive intelligence
confirming those apprehensions, it will compel me to abandon the hope
of seeing you until the last of February. On this, as on all other
occasions, let me find that you exhibit the firmness which I have been
proud to ascribe to you. Let me hear that you are seriously engaged in
some useful pursuit. Let me see the progressive improvement of your
mind, and it will console me for all the evils of life.

My young friend Swartwout is still absent, and I suppose at Savannah.
It is not probable that I shall see him again before my return to

A Mr. Bartram, of Philadelphia, travelled through Georgia and the
Floridas in 1772. His travels are published in one large octavo
volume. Procure and read it, and you will better understand what I may
write you. I promise myself much gratification in this little trip. If
an opportunity should offer for Charleston by water, I shall venture a
letter to you. This will be forwarded before my return; if not, it
will lay here. I am writing to you before sunrise, and am now summoned
to the boat (canoe).



Hampton, St. Simon's, September 26, 1804.

I returned yesterday from my Florida excursion, about which I wrote
you on the 15th inst. The weather prevented me from going farther than
the river St. John's, about thirty miles from St. Augustine. I have
been making out for you a journal of my tour, but I still entertain a
slight hope of seeing you somewhere within a fortnight; if at all, it
will be by the 10th of October. Pray keep yourselves in readiness to
meet me at Columbia, or still more southward if I should require it.

Not a line from you or your husband since those of the 25th of July.
Your letters have either been lost in the hurricane or are now in the
mail-boat, which, by some mistake, has brought down the Darien mail
and carried it on more southward, so that it will not reach Darien
till I am off; yet I entertain a hope of finding letters at Savannah.

A boat has at length been found to take me to Savannah, and thither I
go to-morrow, or rather set out, for I shall not reach it till the
30th instant. What course I shall take thence will be determined by
what I may hear at that city. You will have a line from me as soon as
I arrive there; meaning always that the line will be written, and sent
on by the first mail, to get to you as soon as it can.

It is a fact that the Spanish ladies smoke segars. They say that a
young lady will take a few puffs and hand it to her favoured lover as
a mark of great kindness. This rumour, however, I cannot verify from
personal observation, much less have I to boast of any such favour.
But we will talk of these things if we should meet; if not, we will
write about them.

I was treated with great kindness and respect at St. Mary's, and have
everywhere experienced the utmost hospitality. My health has been
perfect and uninterrupted. God bless thee.



Savannah, October 1, 1804. Ten o'clock A.M., arrived in a storm
(northeast). They had last evening a minor hurricane here, for the
special use of this city. It overset some canoes, drowned a few
negroes, unroofed some houses, and forced in a few windows. It was the
affair of a few minutes, confined to a small space, and did no other
mischief that I learn.

My last letter to you was from St. Simon's, about the 27th ult., the
day previous to my departure. My voyage hither was full of variety,
and not of the most pleasant kind, but no accident to affect health.
My first reflection on landing was that I was one hundred miles nearer
to you; but my inquiries since my arrival afford no prospect of
getting on by land, except by the purchase of horses, to which there
is one insuperable objection. The condition of the roads has not yet
admitted of travelling northward or westward in a carriage. The mail
goes on horseback.

Not a line from any creature north of this place since I left
Philadelphia. I hear, however, that the Darien mail, which I passed at
Frederica, as mentioned with vexation in my last, had letters for me,
doubtless from you.

I was kindly interrupted in these idle regrets by visitors, who
continued in succession till dinner was announced. At the
lodging-house, where rooms were provided for me, were the governor, a
Scotch merchant, and a sea captain. In the evening a band of music
came under the window, which I supposed to be a compliment to the
governor, till one of the gentlemen who accompanied it came in and
said that a number of citizens at the door wished to see the
vice-president. Interrupted again.

Tuesday, October 2.

Firstly, your pardon is craved for this torn sheet; it was entire when
I commenced, but one half went last night to answer a note, there
being no paper in the house, and Peter abroad with my key. You have
not, I think, been introduced to Peter, my _now_ valet. It is a black
boy purchased last fall. An intelligent, good-tempered, willing
fellow, about fifteen; a dirty, careless dog, who, with the best
intentions, is always in trouble by sins of omission or commission.
The latter through inadvertence, and often through excess of zeal.
About three times a day, sometimes oftener, I get angry enough to
choke him, but his honesty and good-nature prevail. In my will, made
about the 10th of July, I recommend him to you as valet to A.B.A.

I have been this morning scouring the town and the docks in quest of
ways and means to get on. There is a packet which will sail for
Charleston on Saturday; a great way off to one so impatient as the
writer of this. No stage nor a horse to be hired. Finding that the
mail does not close till seven this evening, this letter shall be kept
open till the last moment, and shall not be closed till I have settled
some plan of getting forward, either to Statesburgh or New-York. It
will, I think, be Statesburgh. Six hours hence you shall know. Have
patience, my dear child, for six hours.

Lest I should forget it, let me now tell you that I am received with
the warmest hospitality. Notwithstanding the desolation occasioned by
the hurricane (and it is truly distressing), I have invitations which
it would require weeks to satisfy. These attentions are almost
exclusively from republicans.

Four o'clock P. M.

_Io triumphe!_ A letter; two, three letters. Two from you and one from
your husband. Since writing I have had other good luck; _viz_., two
gentlemen have offered me each an excellent horse to go as far as
Statesburgh by any route I may please. Another horse, and I am made.
Note, my young friend Swartwout is with me, and I cannot well part
with him. If another horse shall be found, I shall take the route
through Orangeburgh, as being the most direct to Statesburgh. If the
land route shall for any reason be found impracticable, I shall take
possession of a Charleston packet, and perhaps take it on to
Georgetown. By one way or the other you shall see me within ten or
twelve days. Tell Mari that his letter being received this afternoon,
and the postmaster having just now sent me word that the mail is about
to close, I can only answer him thus.

You are now to keep your ground and expect me at the hills. Pray let
A.B.A. know that _gamp_ is a black man, otherwise he may be shocked at
the appearance of A.B., who is now about the colour of Peter Yates.
Not brown, but a true quadroon yellow; whether from the effects of
climate, or travelling four hundred miles in a canoe, is no matter.



Fayetteville, October 23, 1804. I get on as usual; arrived here this
forenoon, but detained all day by some trifling repairs to the
carriage. I promised you a journal in the manner of modern travels, to
show you how such books could be made without facts or ideas. My first
four days, to wit, from Statesburgh to this place, would, I find, from
notes which I have actually taken, make about one hundred pages, and
two hundred in the manner of Rochefoucault d'Liancourt; but the labour
of so much writing has alarmed and almost discouraged me.

No more pauses, not even for weather, till Richmond, distant two
hundred miles, and proposed to be travelled in five days. I know no
person in this place but Mr. Grove, late member of Congress, who has
not called on me. Tell your husband that I have heard nothing worthy
of being communicated. Since I began to write it has begun to rain, as
if to test my determination not to be stopped by weather. Adieu, chere


Warrenton, October 27, 1804.

We parted at Fayetteville. The morning following I started one hour
before day, the moon showing us the way, and, at about seven or eight
in the evening, was at Raleigh, being full fifty miles. It was a hard
day's journey, and greater than will be made again on this trip. The
fatigues of the day were in some measure compensated by the very
hospitable reception which I met from the _negroes_ of the capital of
North Carolina. I reposed till nine the next morning, and came the
next day only to Louisburgh (twenty-nine miles), where I slept in the
little up-stairs room which you once occupied; but there is a new
landlord. The Jew is broke up. The wind had been two days strong at
northeast, threatening a storm, and raining a little from time to
time. Last night it came on in earnest, raining and blowing
vehemently. So I lay abed again till nine, and, after breakfasting for
two hours, set off at eleven in all the storm. At twelve it began to
snow, and continued to snow most plentifully till night. The ground
looked like the depth of winter in Albany. Poor Andrew was almost
perished; and _gamp's_ hands were nearly frozen; still we kept on, and
got here about five, being twenty-five miles. It will take me full
three days more to reach Richmond, and perhaps longer, for the roads
are so gullied as to be barely passable. This afternoon, stopping at a
tavern and calling for the hostler, the man told me that, _foreseeing_
the storm, he had sent him for a load of wood.

A gentleman who passed here yesterday says he left Major Butler on the
way, going to Georgia by land. When I sat down to write my head was
full of totally different matters; but, having gone on so far with
road incidents, the other concerns must be omitted.

My landlord has just been telling me that Swartwout passed here eight
days ago. They were three in the stage, all very apprehensive of being
overset, as they were to start at two in the morning. In the excess of
caution, they desired the landlord to give no rum to the driver. The
landlord promised, and gave orders to the barkeeper. When the driver
arrived, he called for a dram; was refused, and told the reason.
Resenting this indignity, he swore he would get drunk; went to a
store, bought rum, and got drunk. Set out at two, and overset the
stage the first hour. The passengers were bruised, but not very
seriously injured.


Petersburgh, October 31, 1804.

I came here on the morning of the 29th, intending to stay two hours.
The hospitalities of the place have detained me three days. A party
was prepared for me on the evening of my arrival. There were present
between fifty and sixty, all pure republican. An invitation from the
republican citizens, communicated through the mayor, to a public
dinner, was made in terms and in a manner which could not be declined.
We had the dinner yesterday at the hotel. In the evening I was
attended by some fifteen or twenty to the theatre, where I was greatly
amused, particularly by Mrs. West, whom I think the best female
actress in America, not excepting Mrs. Merry.

I send you a collection of Curran's speeches, compiled, however, only
from newspapers. There is reason to hope for one more perfect, made
under the inspection of the author. Burk's history has agreeably
disappointed me. I speak from the reading of thirty or forty pages. If
it should gain your approbation, you may render him a service by
procuring him subscriptions at the meeting of your legislature. My
horses are at the door to take me to Richmond.



Richmond, October 31 (Evening), 1804.

How faithfully I return you the paper which you _lent_ me at
Statesburgh. This is the last sheet, and I think you will have
received back all but one of them.

My journey hither from Drummond, at which place you left me on
Saturday evening, the 27th, just going to bed, beside a comfortable
fire in a furnished room (what an unconscionable parenthesis), has
been very pleasant; but why and wherefore cannot now be told, because
you know it must be reserved for "The Travels of A. Gamp, Esq., A.M.,
LL.D., V.P.U.S.," &c., &c., &c., which will appear in due time.

Virginia is the last state, and Petersburgh the last town in the state
of Virginia, in which I should have expected any open marks of
hospitality and respect. You will have seen from my note of this
morning to Mr. Alston how illy I have judged.

To think of meeting with such an actress as Mrs. West in such a place.
Her voice is as sweet as Mrs. Merry's (the actress, not the other Mrs.
Merry), her manners superior. In comedy she is unequalled. They say
she excites equally in tragedy. I have no doubt but she is good at
every thing. I could make you laugh at a ridiculous embarrassment, but
I won't; nay, I dare not, for who knows but you may first see this in
the newspaper. Madam, this is Colonel B., V.P.U.S., all out loud. Sir,
this is Mrs.-----. Miss, this is, &c., &c. The players stand, and the
pit stand, and the gallery stand. No, there is no gallery. Indeed, I
don't know when I have been better entertained with a play.

I arrived here about sunset. Am to dine to-morrow with Dr. B., and,
from appearances, might be amused here a week. At the utmost I shall
stay but two days, desiring to be at Washington on Monday. I am most
comfortably lodged.

Young Dr. Rush travels with Major Butler, which I forgot to mention to
your husband. Pray exert yourself to please and amuse Major Butler.



Washington, November 5, 1804.

I arrived last evening. You will have received my two letters of the
30th ult. and 1st instant, communicating, among other things, some
information which I received on the road respecting the feelings in
Bergen county, New-Jersey. Since that a grand jury has been
_empannelled_, who have found an indictment of murder. The witness,
Parson Mason. The presiding judge, Boudinot, one of the most vehement
of vehement federalists. The particulars shall be communicated as soon
as I can find time to write them; they will furnish you with new
materials for reflection. They talk of making a demand here.

My house and furniture have been sold for about twenty-five thousand
dollars. Seven or eight thousand dollars of debts remain unpaid. My
agents have not collected any of my debts, nor sold any of the
detached lots. The library and the wine remain. They will, I think,
become your property.



Washington, November 17, 1804.

Shall I write to her to-night, or omit it till to-morrow? Oh!
to-night, dear pappy. Well, then, to-night it shall be--"_Je vous
ecris parceque je n'ai rien a faire_," &c. That's not true; fifty
unanswered letters on my table pronounce it false.

But when I deliberated about writing, it was with a view to write you
sense--grave sense. What a dull thing is sense. How it mars half the
pleasure of life, and yet how contemptible is all that has it not. Too
much sense, by which I mean only a great deal, is very troublesome to
the possessor and to the world. It is like one carrying a huge pack
through a crowd. He is constantly hitting and annoying somebody, and
is, in turn, annoyed and jostled by every one, and he must be a very
powerful man indeed if he can keep upright and force his way. Now
there appears to me to be but two modes of carrying this pack with any
tolerable comfort to the owner.

Interrupted. A very extraordinary visit; you shall hear as soon as
they go.

The visitors were a middle-aged gentleman; a man of fortune, of
family; has travelled, and been received in the first circles on both
continents; intelligent and well-informed; prompt, rapid, and
decisive. A high federalist, yet a warm and open friend of _gamp_ on
all occasions. Reputed to be insane, of which this attachment may be
deemed an evidence. Such is Mr. Y. The other, Mr. S., a very handsome,
genteel young man, who never carried a pack. They sat two hours, and
Mr. Y. was not only rational, but amusing. The only evidence of
insanity which I have heard is that he quarrels with his dear _rib_;
and if this be deemed evidence, I fear our madhouses will soon be
filled with married men. I ought to have excepted one incident, which
has been related to me as follows:----

Mr. R., a young lawyer of reputable connexions, but who had committed
some follies, called to visit Mr. Y. After sitting some time, "Mr.
R.," says Y., "it has been reported that you are a little deranged in
mind (there had, in fact, been such a report), and I have heard that
whipping has been found a sovereign remedy; indeed, in the case of the
King of England, its benefit was manifest. Now as I have a very great
regard for you, and doubt whether your friends will take the trouble
of administering this discipline, I will take it on myself to do it."

Two stout negroes were called in. The astonished R. was seized,
stripped, and tied, and most unmercifully whipped. All, however, with
the utmost composure on the part of Y., and mingled with expressions
of kindness. When R. was taken down, bloody, lacerated, and
exhausted--"Pray, sir, walk in and take a dish of tea." "No; d---n
you." "But, as you must be somewhat fatigued with the exercise,
perhaps you would prefer some brandy and water." R. walked sullenly
off, and, as soon as he had recovered, left the neighbourhood, and has
not since been heard of.

But by this digression we have lost sight of the pack. The further
discussion of that subject must be reserved for the "Book of Travels."
The "grave sense" is still further off, and must wait a more fit
occasion. As you are skilled in ancient mythology, I pray you to
inform me whether there was ever a goddess of nonsense. A god won't
serve my purpose. Momus, for instance, is a loud, boisterous, rude,
coarse fellow.

Leave off the _vice-president_, &c., in the direction of your letters.
Let it be simply A.B. or Colonel B. Tell Mari so.



Washington, December 4, 1804.

You have doubtless heard that there has subsisted for some time a
contention of a very singular nature between the states of New-York
and New-Jersey. To what lengths it may go, or how it may terminate,
cannot be predicted; but, as you will take some interest in the
question, I will state it for your satisfaction and consideration.

The subject in dispute is which shall have the honour of hanging the
vice-president. I have not now the leisure to state the various
pretensions of the parties, with the arguments on either side; nor is
it yet known that the vice-president has made his election, though a
paper received this morning asserts, but without authority, that he
had determined in favour of the New-York tribunals. You shall have due
notice of the time and place. Whenever it may be, you may rely on a
great concourse of company, much gayety, and many rare sights; such as
the lion, the elephant, &c.

On the subject of books, since I shall write to you only by this mail,
tell Mr. Alston to order out from his bookseller the British Critic
and the Edinburgh Review from their commencement, and to be continued
as they shall come out. To form a library is the work of time, and by
having these books you may select and give orders without danger of
imposition; for though I disclaim much reliance on the judgments of
the editors, yet from their extracts and remarks a pretty correct
opinion may be formed. I recommend also that you prohibit the sending
out of any folio or quarto, unless particularly ordered. Octavo is at
about half the price, and much more convenient.

I hope you read Quintilian in the original, and not in translation;
and let me entreat you not to pass a word or sentence without
understanding it. If I hear a very good account of you, Stuart shall
make a picture to please you. God bless thee.



Washington, December 15, 1804.

The trial of Judge Chace will not come on before the middle of
January. He is summoned to appear the 2d January. I regret extremely
that you cannot be present.

Biddle and Dallas have written a joint letter to Governor Bloomfield,
of New-Jersey, urging a nol. pros. in the case of the vice-president.
Dallas has, throughout this business, behaved with an independence,
and open, active zeal which I could not have expected, and to which I
had no personal claim.

The leading republican members of the United States Senate have
addressed a similar joint letter to the governor. Many individuals of
the same _sect_ co-operate in the measure, and have expressed their
opinions by letter and in conversation. Nothing final and favourable
will promptly be done. On the other hand, nothing hostile will be
attempted. I enclose you the articles of impeachment against Judge
Chace, as agreed upon.



Washington, December 31, 1804.

Being the last time I shall write 1804. Now, how much wiser or better
are we than this time last year? Have our enjoyments for that period
been worth the trouble of living? These are inquiries not wholly
congenial with the compliments of the new year, so we will drop them.
You would laugh to know the occupation of my New Year's eve. It cannot
be written, but it shall at some time be told.

I propose to move my quarters to-morrow, and the confusion has already
commenced, and even pervades this letter. Mrs. Merry arrived a few
days ago, and looks extremely well. Madame Turreau is supposed to be
lost or captured. Mr. Chace's trial will not come on till after the
middle of January. Peter Van Ness, the father of General John P., died
on the 23d instant. He has left his sons about forty thousand dollars

Madame, when I enclose you a book or paper, be pleased, at least, to
let me know that you or your husband have read it. Pretty business,
indeed, for me to be spending hours in cutting and folding pamphlets
and papers for people who, perhaps, never open them. Heaven mend you.



1. The statement made by William P. Van Ness, Colonel Burr's second.



Washington, January 15, 1805.

At five in the morning I shall start for Philadelphia. The object of
this journey has been intimated in a former letter. One motive,
however, lays down at the bottom of my heart, and has scarcely, as
yet, been avowed to myself. You will conjecture, and rightly, that I
mean Celeste. That matter shall receive its final decision. Now, to
confess the truth, which, however, I have but just discovered, but for
this matter the journey would not have been taken. How little is this
truth suspected by the hundreds who are at this moment _ascribing to
the movement motives of profound political importance_.

I enclose you a pamphlet written with views the most friendly to A.B.
So greatly do I differ from the author, that I have desired a friend
to buy them up and burn them. I shall return to this city on the 29th.



Washington, January 28, 1805.

Your letter of the 1st of January found me at Philadelphia, and at the
moment of leaving it. Your kind wishes came so warm from the heart,
that, in a journey of eight hundred miles, at this inclement season,
they had not yet cooled.

You treat with too much gravity the New-Jersey affair. It should be
considered as a farce, and you will yet see it terminated so as to
leave only ridicule and contempt to its abettors. The affair of
Celeste is for ever closed, so there is one trouble off hand.

After you get through the book you are now reading, which I think is
Anacharsis, or is it Gibbon? you better suspend history till you have
gone through B. You do wrong to read so slow the first reading of B. I
had rather you went through it like a novel, to get fixed in your mind
a kind of map of the whole; after which, when you come to read
_scientifically_, you would better see the relations and bearings of
one part to another. In all journeys, whether on foot or on horseback,
it is a relief to know not only where you start from, but where you
are going to, and all the intermediate stages. I beg that in every
letter you will give me one line about B., and ask me questions if you



Washington, February 23, 1805.

I regret the unprofitable employment of your time, and sincerely hope
such long visitations will not be repeated; but you are something to
blame to have taken no books with you, and again for not finding one
at Clifton, where I know there are many. Still I believe in your good
intentions and in their execution. It will add greatly to my happiness
to know that the cultivation of your mind is not neglected; because I
know that without it you will become unfit for the duties, as well as
the enjoyments of life. Perhaps, also, my vanity may be something

Your last letters are written with more correctness, and apparently
with more attention than is your habit. They have amused and pleased
me much. By pleased, I mean gratified my pride. Your critical remarks
are quite interesting. I advise you, as soon as you have finished a
play, novel, pamphlet, or book, immediately to write an account and
criticism of it. You can form no idea how much such a work will amuse
you on perusal a few years hence. When A.B.A. has got so far as to
read stories of the most simple kind, the least pleasing part of his
intellectual education is finished. I might, perhaps, have added with
truth, the most laborious part.


The last public duty of any importance performed by Colonel Burr was
to preside in the case of Judge Samuel Chace, who was impeached before
the Senate of the United States for high crimes and misdemeanours.
Colonel Burr evinced his accustomed promptitude, energy, and dignity.
His impartiality and fairness won for him the applause of opponents as
well as friends; and it may be confidently asserted, that never did
president judge, in this or any other country, more justly merit
applause than did the vice-president on this occasion.

The Senate Chamber, under his immediate direction, was fitted up in
handsome style as a court, and laid out into apartments for the
senators, the House of Representatives, the managers, the accused and
counsel, the members of the executive departments, besides a
semicircular gallery constructed within the area of the chamber, which
formed from its front an amphitheatre contiguous with the fixed
gallery of the Senate Chamber.

On the right and left of the president of the Senate, and in a right
line with his chair, there were two rows of benches, with desks in
front, and the whole front and seats covered with crimson cloth, so
that the senators fronted the auditory.

The secretary of the Senate retained his usual station in front of the
president's chair; on the left of the secretary was placed the
sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, and on his right the sergeant-at-arms
of the House of Representatives.

A temporary semicircular gallery, which consisted of three ranges of
benches, was elevated on pillars, and the whole front and seats
thereof covered with green cloth. At the angles or points of this
gallery there were two boxes, which projected into the area about
three feet from the line of the front, which saved the abruptness of a
square termination, and added considerably to the effect of the coup
d'oeil. In this gallery ladies were accommodated, and they assembled
in numbers.

On the floor beneath this temporary gallery three benches were
provided, rising from front to rear, and also covered with green
cloth; these benches were occupied by the members of the House of
Representatives; on the right there was a spacious box, appropriated
for the members of the executive departments, foreign ministers, &c.

A passage was opened in front from the president's chair to the door;
on the right and left hand of the president, and in front of the
members of the House of Representatives, were two boxes of two rows of
seats; that facing the president's right was occupied by the managers,
that on the other side of the bar for the accused and his counsel.
These boxes were covered with blue cloth. The marshal of the District
of Columbia and a number of his officers were stationed in the avenues
of the court and in the galleries.

On the 3d of January, 1805, the senators were sworn as judges, and
Monday, the 4th of February ensuing, was fixed as "the day for
receiving the answer and proceeding on the trial of the impeachment of
Samuel Chace." Accordingly, on the day appointed, the senate convened,

After proclamation was made that Samuel Chace should appear
conformable to the summons, or that his default should be recorded,
Mr. Chace appeared. The president of the senate (Mr. Burr) then stated
to him, that, having been summoned to answer the articles of
impeachment exhibited against him by the House of Representatives, the
Senate were ready to hear any answer which he had to make; whereupon
Mr. Chace addressed the court.

The trial continued until Friday, the first day of March, 1805, when,
at half past twelve o'clock, the court took their seats; and the
president, having directed the secretary to read the first article of
impeachment, observed, that the question would be put to each member,
on each article separately, as his name occurred in alphabetical
order. The first article was then read. When the question was hereupon
put by the president of the court, and repeated after each article as
read, viz.:----

_Is Samuel Chase, Esquire, guilty of a high crime or misdemeanour in
the article of impeachment just read?_ The decision was as follows:--

Article 1st. Guilty 16; not guilty 18
        2d.     "   10;     "      24
        3d.     "   18;     "      16
       4th.     "   18;     "      16
       5th.  Not guilty, _unanimous_.
       6th.     "    4;     "      30
       7th.     "   10;     "      24
       8th.     "   19;     "      15

The president then said--"_There not being a constitutional majority
on any one article, it becomes my duty to pronounce that Samuel Chace,
Esquire, is acquitted on the articles of impeachment exhibited against
him by the House of Representatives_."


Washington, March 10, 1804.

Still lingering here, being detained by some trifling, important
concerns of business, for trifles are important in matters of finance;
nothing vexatious, however. That, I hope and believe, is past.

Your anxieties about me evince a sort of sickly sensibility, which
indicates that you are not well. I fear that you are suffering a
debility, arising from climate or other cause, which affects both mind
and body. When you are in health you have no sort of solicitude or
apprehension about me; you confide that, under any circumstances, I am
able to fulfil your expectations and your wishes. Resume, I pray you,
this confidence, so flattering to me, so consoling to yourself, may I
add, so justly founded?

On the 13th I shall leave this for Philadelphia. There is no reason to
think that I shall this season visit either New-York or New-Jersey.
The plan of summer operations is to go from Philadelphia to Fort Pitt
(Pittsburg), thence through the states on each side of the Ohio. To
visit St. Louis and the mouth of the Missouri; thence through
Tennessee (where pass a month) to Orleans; and thence, either by water
or land, to the Atlantic coast, not far from Yarnaco or the mouth of
the Waccama. Thus you see that you are the end of all plans, and,
wherever they may begin, the termination is the same. This tour has
other objects than mere curiosity. An operation of business, which
promises to render the tour both useful and agreeable. I may be at
Philadelphia long enough to receive your answer to this, after which
you must _surcease_ from writing till further advice. You will hear of
me occasionally on my route. Write now, therefore, all you have to

Just at the moment of writing the last word I receive a message from
the president informing me that Dr. Browne may have the office of
secretary of the government of Louisiana (which means the upper
district, whereof St. Louis is the capital). General Wilkinson is
appointed governor of that territory. St. Louis is on the banks of the
Mississippi, about twenty miles below the mouth of the Missouri. It
contains about two hundred houses, and some very wealthy people. The
inhabitants are French; retain the French manners of the last century;
are said to be hospitable; gay to dissipation; the society polished
and fashionable. All accounts represent the country as remarkably
healthy, fertile, and beautiful. The salary of secretary is, I think,
but eight hundred dollars per annum. Certain contingences, however,
will make it worth about double that sum. Wilkinson and Browne will
suit most admirably as eaters and laughers, and, I believe, in all
other particulars.

Charles Williamson has not returned from Europe, but is hourly
expected. My right of franking letters will cease on the 23d of this
month, so that you are not to expect pamphlets, &c., by the mail. God
bless thee.



Washington, March 13, 1805.

The enclosed newspaper is just now put into my hands. It is true, as
is there said, that I made a talk, as was decent and proper, to the
Senate on leaving them formally. There was nothing written or
prepared, except that it had been some days on my mind to say
something. It was the solemnity, the anxiety, the expectation, and the
interest which I saw strongly painted in the countenances of the
auditors, that inspired whatever was said. I neither shed tears nor
assumed tenderness; but tears did flow abundantly. The story in this
newspaper is rather awkwardly and pompously told. It has been gathered
up, I presume, from different relations of the facts. This newspaper
(_The Washington Federalist_) has been for months past, and, for aught
I know (for I read none of them), still is, one of the most abusive
against A. Burr. I am told that several papers lately make some
qualified compliments; thus, for instance, referring to Judge Chace's
trial--"He conducted with the dignity and impartiality of an angel,
but with the rigour of a devil." May God have you in his holy keeping


_From the Washington Federalist, 13th March_, 1805.

Having heard much said in commendation of Mr. Burr's valedictory
address to the Senate, we have solicited and procured the following,
which we present to our readers without comment.

On Saturday, the 2d of March, 1805, Mr. Burr took leave of the Senate.
This was done at a time when the doors were closed; the Senate being
engaged in executive business, and, of course, there was no
spectators. It is, however, said to be the most dignified, sublime,
and impressive that ever was uttered; and the effect which it produced
justifies these epithets. I will give you the best account I have been
able to obtain, from the relation of several senators, as well federal
as republican.

"Mr. Burr began by saying that he had intended to pass the day with
them, but the increase of a slight indisposition (sore throat) had
determined him then to take leave of them. He touched lightly on some
of the rules and orders of the house, and recommended, in one or two
points, alterations, of which he briefly explained the reasons and

"He said he was sensible he must at times have wounded the feelings of
individual members. He had ever avoided entering into explanations at
the time, because a moment of irritation was not a moment for
explanation; because his position (being in the chair) rendered it
impossible to enter into explanations without obvious danger of
consequences which might hazard the dignity of the Senate, or prove
disagreeable and injurious in more than one point of view; that he
had, therefore, preferred to leave to their reflections his
justification; that, on his part, he had no injuries to complain of;
if any had been done or attempted, he was ignorant of the authors; and
if he had ever heard, he had forgotten, for, he thanked God, he had no
memory for injuries.

"He doubted not but that they had found occasion to observe, that to
be prompt was not therefore to be precipitate; and that to act without
delay was not always to act without reflection; that error was often
to be preferred to indecision, that his errors, whatever they might
have been, were those of rule and principle, and not of caprice; that
it could not be deemed arrogance in him to say that, in his official
conduct, he had known no party--no cause--no friend; that if, in the
opinion of any, the discipline which had been established approached
to rigour, they would at least admit that it was uniform and

"He further remarked, that the ignorant and unthinking affected to
treat as unnecessary and fastidious a rigid attention to rules and
decorum; but he thought nothing trivial which touched, however
remotely, the dignity of that body; and he appealed to their
experience for the justice of this sentiment, and urged them in
language the most impressive, and in a manner the most commanding, to
avoid the smallest relaxation of the habits which he had endeavoured
to inculcate and establish.

"But he challenged their attention to considerations more momentous
than any which regarded merely their personal honour and
character--the preservation of law, of liberty, and the Constitution.
This house, said he, is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and
of liberty; and it is here--it is here, in this exalted refuge--here,
if anywhere, will resistance be made to the storms of political
phrensy and the silent arts of corruption; and if the Constitution be
destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue or
the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed
on this floor." [1]

"He then adverted to those affecting sentiments which attended a final
separation--a dissolution, perhaps for ever, of those associations
which he hoped had been mutually satisfactory. He consoled himself,
however, and them, with the reflections that, though they separated,
they would be engaged in the common cause of disseminating principles
of freedom and social order. He should always regard the proceedings
of that body with interest and with solicitude. He should feel for
their honour and the national honour so intimately connected with it,
and took his leave with expressions of personal respect, and with
prayers, and wishes," &c.

In this cold relation a distant reader, especially one to whom Colonel
Burr is not personally known, will be at a loss to discover the cause
of those extraordinary emotions which were excited. The whole Senate
were in tears, and so unmanned that it was half an hour before they
could recover themselves sufficiently to come to order, and choose a
vice-president pro tem.

At the president's, on Monday, two of the senators were relating these
circumstances to a circle which had collected round them. One said
that he wished that the tradition might be preserved as one of the
most extraordinary events he had ever witnessed. Another senator being
asked, on the day following that on which Mr. Burr took his leave, how
long he was speaking, after a moment's pause, said he could form no
idea; it might have been an hour, and it might have been but a moment;
when he came to his senses, he seemed to have awakened as from a kind
of trance.

The characteristics of the vice-president's manner seemed to have been
elevation and dignity--a consciousness of superiority, &c. Nothing of
that whining adulation; those canting, hypocritical complaints of want
of talents; assurance of his endeavours to please them; hopes of their
favour, &c. On the contrary, he told them explicitly that he had
determined to pursue a conduct which his judgment should approve, and
which should secure the suffrage of his own conscience, and that he
had never considered who else might be pleased or displeased; although
it was but justice on this occasion to thank them for their deference
and respect to his official conduct--the constant and uniform support
he had received from every member--for their prompt acquiescence in
his decisions; and to remark, to their honour, that they had never
descended to a single motion of passion or embarrassment; and so far
was he from apologizing for his defects, that he told them that, on
reviewing the decisions he had had occasion to make, there was no one
which, on reflection, he was disposed to vary or retract.

As soon as the Senate could compose themselves sufficiently to choose
a president pro tem., they calve to the following resolution:----

"Resolved, unanimously, That the thanks of the Senate be presented to
_Aaron Burr_, in testimony of the impartiality, dignity, and ability
with which he has presided over their deliberations, and of their
entire approbation of his conduct in the discharge of the arduous and
important duties assigned him as president of the Senate; and that Mr.
Smith, of Maryland, and Mr. White be a committee to wait on him with
this resolution.

_Attest_. SAM. A. OTIS, Secretary.

To which resolution Colonel Burr returned the following answer to the

"Next to the satisfaction arising from a consciousness of having
discharged my duty, is that which is derived from the approbation of
those who have been the constant witnesses of my conduct, and the
value of this testimony of their esteem is greatly enhanced by the
promptitude and unanimity with which it is offered.

"I pray you to accept my respectful acknowledgments, and the assurance
of my inviolable attachment to the interests and dignity of the



Philadelphia, March 22, 1805.

The enclosed paper will show you what is doing here. The subject of
convention is about to divide this state into new and inveterate
parties. The old names and the old animosities of federal and
republican will be lost, but the passions will have full scope in the

I am not wholly free from apprehension that you take no interest in
any thing but a rice-field. Fame says that you are about to degenerate
into a mere planter. If so, it is to be lamented that you have any
thing above common sense, and that you have learned any thing more
than to read and write, for all above common sense and school
education spoils the planter.

Though in my former letters I did not, in express terms, inform you
that I was under ostracism, yet it must have been inferred. Such is
the fact. In New-York I am to be disfranchised, and in New-Jersey
hanged. Having substantial objections to both, I shall not, for the
present, hazard either, but shall seek another country. You will not,
from this, conclude that I have become passive, or disposed to submit
tamely to the machinations of a banditti. If you should you would
greatly err.----and his clan affect to deplore, but secretly rejoice
at and stimulate the villanies of all sorts which are practised
against me. Their alarm and anxiety, however, are palpable to a degree
perfectly ridiculous. Their awkward attempts to propitiate reminds one
of the Indian worship of the evil spirit. God bless you ever.



Philadelphia, March 29, 1805.

I arrived here on the 21st instant, and shall remain here yet ten
days. John W. Smith is now here. He married Miss Duer a few weeks ago,
and will take her, with Frances, &c., to Orleans next month. Ann does
not go; but one younger than Susan, whose name I forget. Miss Dallas
is to be married in a few days to a handsome young man, just admitted
to the bar: no fortune, but said to possess talents. Poor La R. quite
pale and emaciated; the fruit of dissipation. Celeste as heretofore,
abating the influence of time, which is a little too visible;
courteous even to flattery. La Planche a recluse. Miss Binney is to be
married next week to Mr. Wallace, a young lawyer of this city of good
character and prospects.

People who are occupied are never dull, never melancholy. I learn,
then, from your letter of the 10th, that you have been a little lazy.
To be sure, if that letter was written for publication, it would do
credit to the author; but to me, _en particulier_, other reflections
might have occurred. The story, however, is prettily told, and I kiss
your hand for some other pretty things. But let me see more of the
effects of those precepts and that example.

I am apprehensive that your milk diet will not carry you through the
summer. You will want stimulus of some kind. For this purpose
something is used in all warm countries. In the West Indies they drink
rum and they die. In the East Indies and China, ginseng is the
panacea. Try ginseng. Some decoction or (bitter) infusion. When my
stomach is out of order or wants tone, nothing serves so effectually
as a cup of chamomile tea, without sugar or milk. I think this would
give you an appetite. Make the experiment. Bathing in seawater is a
grand preservative. If your bath be in the house, the best time is an
hour or two before dinner. Tepid bath; none of your cold baths for
such a machine as yours. If you have no convenience for a warm bath in
the house, set a mason to work to-morrow and make one in each of your
country houses. It is a high evidence of the barbarism of our Southern
states that, in an extent of three hundred miles, filled with wealthy
people, and in a hot climate, there should not be, in any one private
family, a convenient bathing-room. Perhaps, indeed, some ruined French
refugee may have expended fifty dollars to furnish himself and family
this luxury, as essential to comfort and cleanliness as to health.

In ten or twelve days I shall be on my way westward. My address, till
further orders, is at Cincinnati, Ohio, to the care of the Hon. John
Smith. As the objects of this journey, not mere curiosity, or _pour
passer le tems_, may lead me to Orleans, and perhaps farther. I
contemplate the tour with gayety and cheerfulness. The most weighty
solicitude on my mind is your health and that of your boy. My letters
have given you some advice as to yourself. You will have a letter from
Pittsburg, and from other points as opportunities may offer, though I
shall seldom be far from the route of some mail. God bless you



Philadelphia, April 10, 1805.

I rejoice that your nerves are in better tone, for truly, in some of
your letters, I could scarcely recognise my daughter. As to the boy, I
beseech you not to undertake to teach him the various sounds of the
letters abstractedly from the words in which those sounds are found.
This must be learned arbitrarily. Go on with his a, b, &c.; and when
he shall have learned the language, and not till then, can you teach
him (or ought it to be attempted) the principles of the construction
of that language.

My ostracism is enlivened by a constant succession of visitors from
New-York and New-Jersey. Swartwout and Bunner have just now come in,
and I have not been a day without some _one, two_, or more. They stay
generally two or three days with me, and I am privileged to take them
with me wherever I dine. Major Powell, the friend of Miss Keene, and
the lover of her mother, returned lately from Europe and died here
last week. He has left an estate of ten or twelve thousand guineas per

I met Miss Sumter (overtook meaning) at Wilmington last winter, and
thence to Baltimore we rode together in the stage. She is a frank,
sensible, amiable girl. May make a very interesting companion. I was
so much pleased with her, that I went several times to see her (two
miles), though I visited no lady. I took her to General Van Ness's,
where I made her at home. She plays on the piano in a style which may
be called superior, and has a most uncommon fine voice, which has been



Pittsburg, April 30, 1805.

Arrived in good order yesterday. Find my boat and hands ready. The
water high and weather fine. Shall set off in two hours. Have
therefore no time to give any account of my journey hither. My boat
is, properly speaking, a floating house, sixty feet by fourteen,
containing dining-room, kitchen with fireplace, and two bedrooms;
roofed from stem to stern; steps to go up, and a walk on the top the
whole length; glass windows, &c. This edifice costs one hundred and
thirty-three dollars, and how it can be made for that sum passes my

I find that Frankfort will be better than Cincinnati; so address to
me, Frankfort, Kentucky, to the care of the Honourable John Brown.


On the 30th of April, 1805, Colonel Burr and Gabriel Shaw, who had
accompanied him from Philadelphia, left Pittsburg in their boat. At
this period Colonel Burr commences, for the amusement of his daughter,
a journal of his adventures, which contains some interesting details
explanatory of the then situation of the western country. Extracts
from this journal will be made. On the 2d of May they stopped at a
little village on the north bank called M'Intosh. The next day "went
on shore in the skiff (letting the ark float on) to see the town of
_Wieling_, sometimes erroneously spelled _Wheeling_; a pretty, neat
village, well situated on the south bank, containing sixty or eighty
houses, some of brick, and some of a fine free stone found in the
vicinity. Saw several well-dressed women, who had the air of fashion
and movements of _vous autres_ on the coast."

On the morning of the 5th reached Marietta, on the north side,
"containing about eighty houses; some that would be called handsome in
any village on the continent. After breakfast" (says Colonel Burr)
"came in several gentlemen of the town to offer me civilities and
hospitalities. We have been walking several miles to see the mounds,
parapets, squares, and other remains of unknown antiquity which are
found in this neighbourhood. I am astonished and confounded; totally
unsatisfied with the conjectures of others, and unable to repose on
any plausible one of my own. I shall continue to write to you
journal-wise, but, having no copy, you must preserve the sheets, as I
may wish to refer to them for facts and dates."

Arrived at Cincinnati on the 11th May, by the course of the river
estimated to be 310 miles from Marietta. "Meeting here with General
Dayton and several old army acquaintance, remained the whole day." In
the evening started "for Louisville, which is at the rapids or falls
of the Ohio. There it is proposed to take land, to ride through part
of Kentucky, visit Lexington and Frankfort, and meet the ark again at
the mouth of the Cumberland, which empties into the Ohio about fifty
miles before its junction with the Mississippi."


Lexington (Kentucky), May 23, 1805.

My journal has grown too big to be sent by mail. I have, therefore,
only to assure you of my health and safety, without entering into any
of those details which you will see anon. Shaw is with me. To-morrow
we pursue our journey by land to Nashville in Tennessee, and thence
down the Cumberland to Eddyville, where we expect to find our boat,
and intend to go from that place to Orleans in ten days.

Arrived at Nashville on the 29th of May. "One is astonished at the
number of sensible, well-informed, and well behaved people which is
found here. I have been received with much hospitality and kindness,
and could stay a month with pleasure; but General Andrew Jackson
having provided us a boat, we shall set off on Sunday, the 2d of June,
to navigate down the Cumberland, either to Smithland at its mouth, or
to Eddyville, sixty or eighty miles above, at one of which places we
expect to find our boat, with which we intend to make a rapid voyage
down the Mississippi to Natchez and Orleans.

"Left Nashville on the 3d of June in an open boat. Came down the
Cumberland to its mouth, about 220 miles, in an open boat, where our
ark was in waiting. Reached Massac, on the Ohio, sixteen miles below,
on the 6th. Here found General Wilkinson on his way to St. Louis. The
general and his officers fitted me out with an elegant barge, sails,
colours, and ten oars, with a sergeant, and ten able, faithful hands.
Thus equipped, I left Massac on the 10th of June, Shaw in company.

"On the 17th arrived at Natchez, being by water, as estimated, nearly
eight hundred miles from Massac. Natchez is a town of three or four
hundred houses; the inhabitants traders and mechanics, but surrounded
by wealthy planters, among whom I have been entertained with great
hospitality and taste. These planters are, many of them, men of
education and refinement; live as well as yours, and have generally
better houses. We are now going through a settled country, and, during
the residue of my voyage to Orleans, about three hundred miles, I
shall take breakfast and dinner each day at the house of some
gentleman on shore. I take no letters of introduction; but, whenever I
hear of any gentleman whose acquaintance or hospitalities I should
desire, I send word that I am coming to see him, and have always met a
most cordial reception.

"Edward Livingston was married about a fortnight ago to Madame Moreau,
_veuve_, lately from St. Domingo, rich in beauty and accomplishments.
I hear so many pleasant things of Orleans, that I should certainly (if
one half of them are verified on inspection) settle down there were it
not for Theodosia and her boy; but these will control my fate.

"On the 25th of June reached New-Orleans. The lady of your laughing
friend is a charming woman. She was a widow from St. Domingo; _sans
argent et sans enfants_. Without a single good feature, she is very
agreeable. She is nearly the size and figure of Lady Nesbet. Fair,
pale, with jet black hair and eyes--little, sparkling black eyes,
which seem to be made for far other purposes than those of mere
vision. Ph. Jones is to be married in a few days to a pretty little
American, Miss Brown. The inhabitants of the United States are here
called Americans. I have been received with distinction.

"The mark of attention with which I have been most flattered is a
letter from the holy sisters, the Ursuline nuns, congratulating me on
my arrival. Having returned a polite answer to this letter, it was
intimated to me that the saints had a desire to see me. The bishop
conducted me to the cloister. We conversed at first through the
grates; but presently I was admitted within, and I passed an hour with
them greatly to my satisfaction. None of that calm monotony which I
expected. All was gayety, _wit_, and sprightliness. Saint A. is a very
accomplished lady. In manners and appearance a good deal like Mrs.
Merry. All, except two, appear to be past thirty. They were dressed
with perfect neatness; their veils thrown back. We had a repast of
wine, fruit, and cakes. I was conducted to every part of the building.
All is neatness, simplicity, and order. At parting, I asked them to
remember me in their prayers, which they all promised with great
promptness and courtesy--Saint A. with earnestness.

"This city is larger than I expected, and there are found many more
than would be supposed living in handsome style. They are cheerful,
gay, and easy. I have promised to return here next fall. I go on the
10th instant (July) by land to Kentucky, and thence, probably, to St.
Louis. _A la santé Madame_ Alston, is generally the first toast at
every table I have been. Then we say some evil things of Mr. Alston.
_Encore_, adieu. I will ask Saint A. to pray for thee too. I believe
much in the efficacy of her prayers. _Le pauvre_ A.B.A., I can find
nothing here to send him.

"Arrived at Nashville on the 6th August. You now see me safe through
the wilderness, though I doubt (hussey) whether you knew that I had a
wilderness to pass in order to get here. Yes, about four hundred and
fifty miles of wilderness. The hospitality of these people will keep
me here till the 12th instant, when I shall partake of a public
dinner, given not to the vice-president, but to A.B. I shall be at
Lexington on the 19th. I have directed Bradley's new map of the United
States to be sent to you; this will enable you to trace my route, and
I pray you to study the map attentively.

"I am still at Nashville (August 13th). For a week I have been
lounging at the house of General Jackson, once a lawyer, after a
judge, now a planter; a man of intelligence, and one of those prompt,
frank, ardent souls whom I love to meet. The general has no children,
but two lovely nieces made a visit of some days, contributed greatly
to my amusement, and have cured me of all the evils of my wilderness
jaunt. If I had time I would describe to you these two girls, for they
deserve it. To-morrow I move on towards Lexington.

"I ought to tell you how I came hither. It was thus: I embarked in a
little schooner at the mouth of the Bayou St. Jean on Lake
Ponchartrain, and landed on the opposite side of the lake about ten
miles below the mouth of the Chefonti, a traverse of about twenty-five
miles, which I made in six hours. Took a guide, and went on next
morning in a footpath; crossed the Chefonti about four miles above its
mouth, and then turned northerly; crossed the 31st degree of latitude
at forty-two miles from the Mississippi. Note; this line has been
actually run, and marked with great accuracy by commissioners on the
part of the United States and of Spain, as the north bound of the
Floridas and the south bound of the United States, till it strikes the
St. Mary's. You will see on the map. Continued on to Natchez. From the
mouth of the Chefonti to Natchez by this route is about one hundred
and forty miles. I was four days from New-Orleans to Natchez. Passed
near a week in the vicinity of Natchez, and saw some tears of regret
when I left it; but I am _now_ to give you the route; my journal will
give you the incidents.

"The path from Natchez, going northward, keeps east of the Yazoo, and,
I think, nearly on the dividing ridge between the waters of the Yazoo
and those of the Tombigbee or Tambeckbee; a vile country, destitute of
springs and of running water--think of drinking the nasty
puddle-water, covered with green scum, and full of animalculae--bah! I
crossed the Tennessee; how glad I was to get on the waters of the
Tennessee; all fine, transparent, lively streams, and itself a clear,
beautiful, magnificent river. I crossed it, I say, forty miles below
the muscle shoals, and three hundred and sixty above its mouth,
reckoning by the meanders of the river. Thence to Nashville through
the town of Franklin. On the map you will see laid down a road from
Nashville to Natchez as having been cut by the order of the minister
of war. This is imaginary; there is no such road.

"Arrived at Lexington on the 20th August, 1805. Left it for Frankfort,
distant twenty-two miles, on the 31st. I am magnificently lodged at
the house of John Brown, who married your old friend and neighbour
Miss Mason, who is, you know, the sister of _my friend_, the priest
(John Mason). She has two fine boys; the youngest, now four, I find
something like A.B.A., and, of course, amuse myself with him a great
deal. Mrs. Brown is still handsome, and speaks of you with attachment
and respect.

"My plans for the two next months are now made up, or rather imposed
on me by letters received since I last wrote you, and by my previous
engagements. On the 1st of September I leave this for St. Louis. My
route is to Louisville, 55 miles; Vincennes, on the Wabash, 150 miles;
Kaskaskias, on the Mississippi, 150 miles; St. Louis, 75 miles. These
distances are probably inaccurate, but St. Louis is called 450 miles
from this. I propose to be at Cincinnati on the 1st of October; at
Chilicothe and Marietta from the 7th to the 15th; at Pittsburg about
the 20th, and at Bedford till the 1st of November. If by that time I
should hear nothing from you, shall take measures for going by land or
water to Theoville, so that you see it must be late in November before
I can see you.

"Arrived at Louisville (Falls of the Ohio) on the 2d of September,
being sixty miles on my way to the Missouri. I have now again one
hundred and fifty miles of wilderness to encounter. I will be at
Berkeley Springs by the 20th of October, where I hope to meet you and
Mari. Address to me at the city of Washington."


Washington, November 29, 1804.

I came to Berkeley as was proposed. You were not there; no letter from
you. I sent a messenger to Washington city for intelligence, and
waited his return in unpleasant suspense. At the termination of six
days my messenger returned with letters advising that you would be at
Hillsborough, whither I resolved immediately to go, but thought it
best to take Washington in my way, in the hope of other letters. You
were all at the Oaks, and no movement spoken of. You were to go alone
to the legislature. Wife and child to be left at the Oaks.

Though oppressed with important engagements, I would nevertheless set
off with the stage of this day for Georgetown and the Oaks if I could
have been assured of finding preparations ready made for the
contemplated journey of Theodosia and the boy; but as you may have
left home without attending to this point, it seemed probable that I
might make a fruitless journey of nine hundred miles; fruitless,
except the pleasure of passing one day at the Oaks, and even this with
the alloy of your absence. My course will, therefore, be now to
Philadelphia, where I have made appointments, and either at that place
or this shall wait your reply, and we must endeavour to arrange our
plans with precision. Address me at this place.

My solicitude about the health of Theodosia is no way relieved by the
sort of recovery of which she advises me. The boy, too, has a relapse
of the ague, a disease of all others the most fatal to the infant
constitution. Great God! what sacrifices do you make, and to what end?
These solicitudes poison all my enjoyments, and often unfit me for
business. Being apprized from recollection of our personal
communications last autumn, and of our correspondence last winter, of
the engagements and ties which will prevent you, at least for some
months, from leaving South Carolina, I determine, at any sacrifice, to
rescue Theodosia and son.

There will be no war with Spain unless we shall declare it, which is
not expected. England continues a course of malevolence, which will
still continue and be borne. France, more courteous in words, under
the pressure of her own affairs. Affectionately,


The letters and extracts from the journal of Colonel Burr, which have
been given in the preceding part of this chapter, sufficiently
indicate that he was actively employed in travelling during the year
1805. From January, 1806, until August following, his time was
principally spent in the cities of Washington and Philadelphia. During
this period his correspondence [2] is voluminous, but in no manner
develops any other views than such as relate to land speculations.
Commodore Truxton, on the trial at Richmond, swore that Colonel Burr,
in the latter end of July, 1806, informed him that he was about
concluding a bargain for the Washita lands. In August Mr. Burr
commenced his western tour. In the summer and autumn, and during that
tour, he was brought before two different grand juries in Kentucky and
discharged. So far as any testimony was produced, it went to prove an
intention of settling the Washita lands. On the 3d of March, 1807, he
was arrested, by order of the government, on a charge of treason, in
the Tombigbee country, and transported to Richmond, Virginia, for


1. There was something prophetic in this prediction; for a few hours
afterward, in the House of Representatives, Messrs. Nicholson and
Randolph were betrayed into a violence of conduct which was noticed in
our last.

_Editor of the Washington Federalist_.

2. Portions of the letters to and from Colonel Burr are interesting;
many highly amusing; but the space yet remaining in which these
memoirs are to be closed renders it absolutely necessary to exclude
them from the work.


A separation of the South American provinces from the government of
Spain had long been anticipated. As early as the year 1796, while John
Jay was governor, Colonel Burr had various conversations with him on
the subject of these provinces. In these conversations Colonel Burr
expressed his views in reference to South America, which, he said, he
could revolutionize and take possession of. Governor Jay replied that
the boldness of the project would contribute to its success;
expressing his opinion that it was not impracticable. From this period
until 1805, Mr. Burr's mind seemed to have been constantly engaged in
reflecting on the feasibility of the measure, and the proper period
for carrying it into operation.

As matter of history connected with this subject, but not generally
known, it may not be improper to refer to an occurrence as early as
the year 1797, 98. About this period General Miranda was in the United
States. He formed an acquaintance with Generals Hamilton, Knox, and
other distinguished Americans. To these gentlemen he communicated his
project of revolutionizing South America. From the United States he
proceeded to England, and presented himself to the British ministry.
They entered into his views. The proposition was, that the United
States should furnish ten thousand troops, and, in that event, the
British government agreed to supply the necessary funds and ships to
carry on an expedition. As soon as Miranda had completed his
arrangements with the British minister, he addressed a letter to
General Alexander Hamilton, dated April 6th, 1798, in which he

"This, my dear and respectable friend, will be handed to you by my
countryman Don -----, who is charged with despatches of the highest
importance for the President of the United States. He will tell you,
_confidentially_, all that you wish to know on this subject. It
appears that the moment of our emancipation approaches, and the
establishment of liberty on all the continent of the New World is
confided by Providence to us. The only danger which I foresee is the
introduction of French principles, which would poison our liberty in
its cradle, and would finish by destroying yours."

So far did these arrangements advance, that Miranda again wrote
General Hamilton, under date of the 19th of October, 1798:----

"Your wishes are, in some sort, already accomplished, seeing that it
has been agreed here on one side not to employ in the operations on
land English troops; seeing that the auxiliary land forces are to be
exclusively American, while the naval force shall be purely English.
Every thing is smooth, and we wait only for the fiat of your
illustrious president to depart like lightning."

On the same day (October 19th) General Miranda wrote General Knox as

"I cannot express to you, my dear general, with what pleasure I heard
of your nomination [1] in the continental army of the United States of
America. It would appear that your _wishes_ are at length
_accomplished_, and that every possible circumstance is united, at
this moment, in our favour. Would to God that Providence would endow
us with sufficient wisdom to make the most advantageous use of these

At this time Mr. Adams, senior, was president of the United States,
and declined entering into the arrangement. It is believed that no
reply was made to the letter addressed to the president. Two questions
here present themselves to the inquiring mind.

Was there any connexion between this plan of Miranda for the invasion
of Mexico, and the raising of an army in the year 1798, under the
pretext of resisting an attack upon this country by France?

Was the policy adopted by President Adams on that occasion any way
connected with the imbittered warfare which subsequently ensued
between Mr. Adams and Mr. Hamilton? These are questions for the
consideration of speculative politicians, but not for discussion in
this place.

It has been seen that Mr. Burr was actively engaged during the years
1805 and 1806 in traversing the western country. In his latter days
Colonel Burr had no longer any motive for concealment; nor did he
evince the least desire to suppress the facts in relation to any of
his acts, even where the promulgation of those facts was calculated to
affect his moral character. According to his representations, repeated
at a time and under circumstances the most solemn [2] and impressive,
his views were twofold: viz., _First_. The revolutionizing of Mexico;
and, _Second_, A settlement on what was known as the Bastrop lands.
Burr, from early manhood, had a turn for speculation, and frequently
entered into large contracts for the purchase and sale of lands.

At this period (1806) the difficulties with Spain in relation to the
Mississippi and the right of deposite at New-Orleans created an
opinion that a Spanish war was inevitable. Such a war would have been
popular with the western people. Of these opinions and these feelings
Burr took advantage, and undoubtedly, by innuendoes or otherwise,
induced some to believe that his arrangements for the invasion of
Mexico were with the knowledge, if not the approbation of the

Previous to the cession of Louisiana to the United States, Baron P.N.
Tut Bastrop contracted with the Spanish government for a tract of land
exceeding thirty miles square near Nachitoches. By the terms of the
contract he was, within a given period of time, to settle upon these
lands two hundred families. Subsequently Colonel Charles Lynch made an
arrangement with Bastrop for an interest in this contract. Burr
purchased from Lynch nearly four hundred thousand acres, and
Nachitoches. On the trial at Richmond this purchase was established,
and the actual payment to Lynch by Burr of five thousand dollars was
also proved.

General Adair possessed the confidence of Colonel Burr in relation to
his western movements in a greater degree than any other individual.
Burr was introduced to Adair by General Wilkinson. In a letter dated
March, 1807, General Adair says, and there is no doubt truly says--"So
far as I know or believe of the intentions of Colonel Burr (and my
enemies will agree I am not ignorant on this subject), they were to
prepare and lead an expedition into Mexico, predicated on a war
between the two governments; without a war he knew he could do
nothing. On this war taking place he calculated with certainty, as
well from the policy of the measure at this time as from the positive
assurances of Wilkinson, who seemed to have the power to force it in
his own hands. This continued to be the object of Colonel Burr until
he heard of the venal and shameful bargain made by Wilkinson at the
Sabine river; this information he received soon after the attempt to
arrest him in Frankfort. He then turned his attention altogether
towards strengthening himself on the Washita, and waiting a more
favourable crisis. I thought the first of these objects honourable and
worthy the attention of any man; but I was not engaged in it, my
political as well as private pursuits forbidding me from taking a part
until it was over; nor did I ever believe, notwithstanding Wilkinson's
swaggering letters to me on that subject, which may be seen, that a
war would take place."

The grant of the Spanish government to Bastrop amounted to 1,200,000
acres. Six tenths of this grant was conveyed to Colonel Lynch, and cost
him about one hundred thousand dollars. As the time within which two
hundred families were to be settled on the land was rapidly drawing to a
close, Lynch conveyed one half his right to Burr for fifty thousand
dollars. In this purchase many private citizens of worth and
respectability were interested. The two projects, however, became in
some degree blended. The great object of Burr was the conquest of
Mexico. With this view he conferred with General Wilkinson, who was
ardent in the cause. Wilkinson's regular force, about six hundred men,
was intended as a nucleus, around which the followers of Burr were to
form. They were the only disciplined corps that could be expected. As
Wilkinson was the American commander-in-chief, and stationed upon the
borders of Mexico, he possessed the power, and was pledged to strike the
blow whenever it should be deemed expedient. This commencement of the
war would thus have been apparently under the sanction and authority of
the American government, and would have drawn to the standard of Burr
numerous volunteers from the western states. Such, undoubtedly, was the
plan; and Burr entertained no suspicion of Wilkinson's treachery towards
him until his interview with Swartwout. As soon as he made that
discovery, in the language of General Adair, "he turned his attention
towards strengthening himself on the Washita, and waiting a more
favourable crisis."

Daniel Clarke, of New-Orleans, entered into the Mexican project. He
engaged to advance fifty thousand dollars; but subsequently, from
disappointments, he was unable to fulfil his contract. General
Wilkinson detailed to Colonel Burr all the information he possessed
respecting that country, and pointed out the facilities which would
probably be afforded by the inhabitants in effecting a revolution.
Without Wilkinson's troops, Burr declared most solemnly, a short time
before his death, that he would not have made the attempt on Mexico;
that he was perfectly aware the men he would collect, so far as it
respected military operations, would be at first little better than a

Colonel Burr had repeated conferences on the subject with Mr. Merry,
the British plenipotentiary resident in the United States. Mr. Merry
communicated to his government the project of Mr. Burr. Colonel
Charles Williamson, the brother of Lord Balgray, went to England on
the business, and, from the encouragement which he received, it was
hoped and believed that a British naval squadron would have been
furnished in aid of the expedition. At this juncture Mr. Pitt died.
Wilkinson must have heard of the death of the premier late in the
spring or early in the summer of 1806. From this moment, in Mr. Burr's
opinion, Wilkinson became alarmed, and resolved on an abandonment of
the enterprise at the sacrifice of his associates.

On the suggestion of Wilkinson, Mexico was twice visited by Daniel
Clark. He held conferences and effected arrangements with many of the
principal militia officers, who engaged to favour the revolution. The
Catholic bishop, resident at New-Orleans, was also consulted, and
prepared to promote the enterprise. He designated three priests, of
the order of Jesuits, as suitable agents, and they were accordingly
employed. The bishop was an intelligent and social man. He had been in
Mexico, and spoke with great freedom of the dissatisfaction of the
clergy in South America. The religious establishments of the country
were not to be molested. Madame Xavier Tarjcon, superior of the
convent of Ursuline nuns at New-Orleans, was in the secret. Some of
the sisterhood were also employed in Mexico. So far as any decision
had been formed, the landing was to have been effected at Tampico.

During the year 1806 Colonel Burr was at the house of General Andrew
Jackson for some days. Repeated and detailed conversations were held
between them in relation to the expedition. Subsequently, General
Jackson addressed a letter to Colonel Burr, in which he alluded to
rumours that were afloat of his having hostile designs against the
United States; adding that, if this were true, he would hold no
communication on the subject; but, if untrue, and his intentions were
to proceed to Mexico, he (Jackson) would join and accompany him with
his whole division. To this the proper answer was given.

About the same time Colonel Burr wrote Senator John Smith, of Ohio, on
the subject of these rumours, in which letter he says--"If Bonaparte,
with all his army, was in the western country for the purpose of
accomplishing that object, they would never again see salt water." It
may be proper to state here that Colonel Burr's whole force at no time
exceeded _one hundred and thirty men_.

This is a brief, but it is believed to be a true and faithful account
of Colonel Burr's views and projects during the years 1805 and 1806.
In the progress of these transactions many individuals were
implicated. While the promulgation of their names might tend to
gratify an idle curiosity, it could be productive of no possible good.
(The charge of treason, now that the storm has blown over, is so
perfectly ridiculous, that one who investigates the subject will be
astounded that it ever gained credence. It originated with the most
corrupt and unprincipled, and was countenanced, propagated, and
sustained by the most malignant.) When the charge of treason was first
spread abroad, Colonel Burr appeared to be deserted and abandoned by
his confidential and devoted friends. Even his son-in-law, Governor
Alston, seemed to shrink from the consequences of an intercourse with
him. All those who were in any manner connected with the contemplated
expedition disclaimed the idea of treasonable designs, averring that,
if such were the views of Colonel Burr, they had been deceived. And
what does all this prove? Does it not demonstrate that if his object
was a separation of the Union, that object was to be accomplished
without the knowledge or aid of his friends and associates? Can any
thing place the charge in a more ridiculous point of view?

Colonel Burr was arrested as a traitor on the Tombigbee river,
Mississippi territory, and transported to Richmond, where he arrived
on the 26th of March, 1807. He was bailed until the 22d of May, when
the court was to convene. A description of the outrages and cruelty
which he endured would fill volumes. A calm and dispassionate detail
of the means which were adopted by Mr. Jefferson to obtain an
opportunity of shedding his blood, under colour of law, would be
revolting to the philanthropist and the patriot, while it would not
change public opinion of this philosopher.

In October, 1806, Mr. Swartwout delivered to General Wilkinson a
letter from Burr, written in cipher. That letter Wilkinson _altered_,
and then deciphered it. The forgery was detected before the grand
jury, and he compelled to acknowledge the fact, although he had sworn
to the translation as being correct in all its parts. Notwithstanding
Mr. Jefferson's knowledge that Wilkinson was a Spanish pensioner,
which fact Mr. Derbigny had stated to Secretary Gallatin in a letter,
and subsequently swore to its truth; and notwithstanding his perjury
before the grand jury, yet did the president sustain and countenance
the general as a fit instrument for his purposes.

Other arrests were made during this military reign of terror, _viz._,
Generals Adair and Dayton, Blennerhassett, Swartwout, Alexander,
Smith, Bollman, Ogden, &c. Burr and Blennerhasset alone were brought
to trial. On the 22d of May, 1807, came on the cause of Aaron Burr
before the Circuit Court of the United States, Judge Marshall
presiding. No indictment was found by the grand jury until the 25th of
June, when two bills were presented against Burr; one for treason, and
the other for a misdemeanour. On the 30th of June he was committed to
the penitentiary for safe keeping until the third day of August. From
the 5th until the 17th of August the court was engaged in obtaining a
jury and discussing points of law. On that day the treason case was
opened, and an examination of witnesses on the part of the government
commenced. Colonel Burr had more than thirty witnesses in attendance,
but deemed it unnecessary to call any of them.

On the 1st day of September, 1807, the jury retired, and in a short
time returned with the following verdict, which was read by Colonel
Carrington, their foreman.

"We of the jury say that Aaron Burr is not proved to be guilty under
this indictment by any evidence submitted to us. We therefore find him
not guilty."

This verdict was objected to by Colonel Burr as informal. He observed
that, whenever a verdict is informal, the court will either send back
the jury to alter it, or correct it itself; that they had no right to
depart from the usual form, &c. Mr. Hay thought the verdict ought to
be recorded as found by the jury, which was substantially a verdict of
acquittal; and that no principle of humanity, policy, or law forbade
its being received in the very terms used by the jury.

Mr. Martin said that it was like the _whole play_, "Much ado about
Nothing;" that this was a verdict of acquittal; that there was nothing
to do but to answer the question of guilty or not guilty; that it was
the case with every jury in every instance; they had or had not
evidence before them.

Colonel Carrington, one of the jury, observed, that it was said among
themselves that, if the verdict was informal, they would alter it;
that it was, in fact, a verdict of acquittal.

The court then directed that the verdict should remain as found by the
jury; and that an entry should be made on the record of "_Not

On the 9th of September a jury was empannelled to try Colonel Burr on
the indictment for misdemeanour, which consisted of seven counts; the
substance of which were, that Aaron Burr did set on foot a military
enterprise, to be carried on against the territory of a foreign
prince; _viz._, the province of Mexico, which was within the territory
of the King of Spain, with whom the United States were at peace.

After the prosecution had examined some of their witnesses, and the
court had decided that the testimony of others was not relevant, the
district attorney, Mr. Hay, made a motion that the jury be discharged.
To this motion Colonel Burr objected, insisting upon a verdict. This
was on the 15th of September. The court being of opinion that the jury
could not in this stage of the case be discharged without the consent
of the accused, and that they must give a verdict, they accordingly
retired, and very soon returned with a verdict of "_Not Guilty_."

Previous to the trial for treason it was industriously circulated that
Commodore Truxton had most honourably repelled Colonel Burr's
advances, and pointed out the infamy which awaited him. He was
subpoenaed on the part of the United States, and on his examination
said--"That Colonel Burr told him (some time in July, 1806) that he
contemplated an expedition to Mexico in the event of a war with Spain,
which he thought inevitable. He asked me if the Havannah could be
easily taken in the event of a war. I told him that it would require
the co-operation of a naval force. Mr. Burr observed to me that _that_
might be obtained. He asked me if I had any personal knowledge of
Carthagena and La Vera Cruz, and what would be the best mode of
attacking them by sea and land. I gave him my opinion very freely. Mr.
Burr then asked me if I would take the command of a naval expedition.
I asked him if the executive of the United States were privy to or
concerned in the project. He answered _emphatically_ that he was not:
I asked that question because the executive had been charged with a
knowledge of Miranda's expedition. I told Mr. Burr that I would have
nothing to do with it; that Miranda's project had been intimated to
me, but I declined to have any thing to do with such affairs. He
observed to me that, in the event of a war, he intended to establish
an independent government in Mexico; that Wilkinson, the army, and
many officers of the navy would join. I told Mr. Burr that I could not
see how any officer of the United States could join. He said that
General Wilkinson had projected the expedition, and he had matured it;
that many greater men than Wilkinson would join, and that thousands to
the westward would join. I told Colonel Burr that there would be no
war. He was sanguine there would be war. He said, however, that if he
was disappointed as to the event of a war, he was about to complete a
contract for a large quantity of land on the Washita; that he intended
to invite his friends to settle it; that in one year he would have a
thousand families of respectable and fashionable people, and some of
them of considerable property; that it was a fine country, and that
they would have a charming society, and in two years he would have
double the number of settlers; and, being on the frontier, he would be
ready to move whenever a war took place."

On his cross examination Commodore Truxton added "that he was very
intimate with Colonel Burr; that in their conversations there appeared
to be no reserve; that he never heard Colonel Burr speak of a division
of the Union; that Burr said his Mexican expedition would be
beneficial to the United States; that, so far from doubting Burr's
intention to settle the Washita lands, he was astonished at hearing he
had different views, which accounts were contained in newspapers
received from the western country."

From among numerous instances of Mr. Jefferson's idea of _honour_ and
_morality_, as practised by him and by his order pending that trial,
only one will be selected as a _sample_. Dr. Erick Bollman, the friend
of Lafayette, was arrested by the order of Wilkinson as a
co-conspirator with Burr. He was called as a witness on the part of
the United States; and in open court, the district attorney, Mr. Hay,
by order of Mr. Jefferson, tendered him a pardon, which he indignantly
refused, asserting his innocence of any act requiring a pardon.
Immediately after the trial, he published, under his own signature, an
account of what occurred between himself and the president. From that
publication, which was never controverted, sufficient will be
extracted to show Mr. Jefferson's _feelings_ and _principles_.

Bollman says, "In the month of December, 1806, I was seized and
arrested at New-Orleans by order of General Wilkinson, but in the name
of the United States. When I arrived at Charleston, Annapolis, and
Washington, the newspapers represented Colonel Burr as being at the
head of two thousand men, and they were ringing at the same time with
reports of his _pretended treason._

"These circumstances occasioned in my mind great indignation with
regard to the reports just mentioned, and great solicitude lest
General Wilkinson's conduct and Burr's situation might lead to
occurrences which Colonel Burr would deprecate, and which
involuntarily would put him in the wrong.

"I therefore requested an interview with the president of the United
States for two decided objects. 1st, To remove from his mind the false
impressions he had received with regard to treason. 2d, To endeavour
to convince him that the interests of the United States would be best
consulted by going to war with Spain, and giving countenance to the
expedition which Colonel Burr had planned.

"It appeared to me that this step might do some good, could do no
harm, and, in my situation, ought to be attempted. I saw the
president, together with Mr. Madison; and having first, when
questioned on that point, declared to the former that I had no
_personal motives_ for this interview, spoke to them to the effect
just mentioned. The day after the interview I received the following
note from the president, the original of which, in _his own
handwriting_, now remains in my possession:--

"'The communications which Doctor Bollman made yesterday to Thomas
Jefferson were certainly interesting; but they were too much for his
memory. From _their complexion and tendency_, he presumes that Doctor
Bollman would have no objection to commit them to writing, in all the
details into which he went yesterday, and such others as he may have
then omitted, Thomas Jefferson giving him _his word of honour_ that
they shall never be used against himself, and _that the paper shall
never go out of his hand_.'

January 25, 1807.

"I immediately complied with the president's request; and considering
the communication, in conformity with the tenour of his note, _as
strictly confidential_, I had no motive to be unusually guarded, or to
weigh every expression with more than ordinary care. The paper,
containing nearly twenty pages, was hardly finished, when I
immediately sent it to the president. I borrowed it from him some time
afterward when in prison, in order to take a copy, and then returned

"The whole of it goes to the two points above mentioned, _viz_., to
disprove treason, and to show the expediency of war. It can give no
other ideas to an unbiased reader, unless one or two expressions,
improperly used, and for which the allowance ought to be made, that
the English is not my native tongue, are singled out, are considered
disconnectedly with what precedes and follows, and construed in a
hostile manner.

"The president had given _'his word of honour'_ that this paper should
not be used against myself; and yet _on it_ was predicated the
pretended necessity of a _pardon_ for my personal safety. The attorney
for the district (Mr. Hay), in open court, when offering me the patent
pardon, referred to it. Nay, when I indignantly refused that pardon,
he reminded me of the _horrors of an ignominious fate_, in order, if
possible, to change my determination. Is a paper not used against me
when, on account of its contents being misunderstood, I am thus
assailed with the _tender of a badge of infamy?_ Is _life_, in Mr.
Jefferson's opinion, _all_; and _character_ and _reputation_, which
alone can render it desirable, _nothing_? The great inquest of the
nation, after hearing a great variety of testimony, and particularly
that of General Wilkinson, _by an opinion nearly unanimous on my
subject, have absolved me from guilt!_ No indictment has been
preferred against me, though they have indicted various gentlemen in
different parts of the United States. Was it, then, becoming the first
magistrate of the Union, whom I had approached with some degree of
confidence, and with regard to whom neither my conduct nor my language
have ever been unfriendly--was it becoming in _him_, in a measure, to
forestall the opinion of the grand jury, and to stigmatize me as a
pardoned criminal?

"The paper was never to get out of the president's hands, but it is
_now_ in the hands of the attorney for the Virginia district. On the
23d of June, an occurrence of which the prints have taken no notice,
the grand jury came into court. Their foreman stated that one of the
witnesses had mentioned to him an important paper, written by another
witness, which was in the possession of Mr. Hay, and of which they
wished the delivery. Mr. Hay replied, that this referred to my letter
to the president, which was in his possession, but that he did not
consider himself warranted to give it to the grand jury. He also
declared it to be his firm persuasion that the paper was written in my
own handwriting; it has further appeared that he had occasioned
General Wilkinson to read it. Through him he had brought what is
falsely stated to be its contents insidiously before the grand jury.
General Wilkinson, when before that body, and, of course, on his oath,
did assert that he knew the paper in Mr. Hay's hands; that it was my
handwriting and my signature.

"The history of the proposed pardon will have flown over Europe, and
the impression of treachery to a friend--this more detestable, more
odious crime than any infraction of the laws of the country, because
essentially fraught with turpitude, will be blended with my name in
the minds of men who may never see _this_ letter. And if all this
injury could be inflicted by Mr. Jefferson without _ill will_, merely
from want of consideration, under the disturbing influence of _passion
and resentment against Colonel Burr_, notwithstanding his mature age
and the dignity of his station, it will amount to strong proof, at
least, that I, in my humble sphere and with a more youthful
imagination, may have become warmed with the beautiful prospect of the
emancipation of an enslaved kingdom; a project which Mr. Jefferson
himself approved of and connived at when planned, not by Colonel Burr,
but by Miranda; and that I may have engaged in it without meaning any
harm to the United States or their president.

"But since the measure of the pardon has proved abortive and
ridiculous, and since the fact of his breach of the '_word of honour_'
can no longer be denied, their tone is changed. As usual, I am abused,
not for the wrong I did, but for the wrong which has been committed
upon me. They insinuate, among other things, that at Washington I had
_obtained promises_ from Mr. Jefferson, and had _agreed_ with him, for
a pardon; that I refused it at Richmond, in order to have a pretext
for withholding testimony, on the ground that it would criminate
myself, though it is well known that such promise, such agreement
never took place; and that before the grand jury, during an
examination of upward of two hours, I answered, _without a single
exception, every question that was asked me_.

"When party spirit and passion go so far, it would be improper to
remain silent; and should what I have said in my defence operate to
the prejudice of Mr. Jefferson or wound his feelings, it is not my



1. In July, 1798, Generals Hamilton, Pinckney, and Knox were appointed
major generals in the standing army raised that summer, _nominally_,
for the purpose of repelling a French invasion, at a moment when
France had not a ship of war on the ocean, and while British squadrons
were hovering on her whole coast.

2. On the 10th of June, 1835, Dr. Hosack, the friend and physician of
Colonel Burr, supposed that he could not continue but a few days,
perhaps a few hours. Mr. Burr was so informed, and was then asked by
M.L. Davis whether at any time he had contemplated a separation of the
Union. His reply was--"No; I would as soon have thought of taking
possession of the moon, and informing my friends that I intended to
divide it among them." While making the reply his indignation seemed
to be aroused.


The excitement produced by Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Eaton, and Mr. Wilkinson
in relation to Burr's movements, exceeded any thing that can be well
imagined. That grave and dignified body, the Senate of the United
States, were _terrified_, or they were _used_ for the purpose of
_terrifying_ the good people of the country. On the 22d of January,
1807, Mr. Jefferson sent a message to Congress developing the
treasonable designs of Burr and his associates. On the 26th, with the
aid of General Wilkinson, a second message was transmitted on the same
subject; and, by _accident_, about the same time that this message of
the president was received by the House of Representatives, that
honourable body received a message from the Senate also, announcing
that they had passed a "_bill for suspending the writ of habeas
corpus_," and asking the concurrence of the house. This was carrying
the _farce_ too far, and a motion was therefore made and adopted to
reject the bill on its _first reading_. Ayes 113; nays 19. Thus the
bill was rejected.

During the years 1806 and 1807 Herman Blennerhassett kept a private
journal, in which are recorded the principal incidents arising out of
his connexion with Colonel Burr. Portions of it are interesting and
amusing. The entries confirm in every particular the statements of
Truxton, Bollman, and others, and repudiate the idea of treasonable
designs. That journal, having been transmitted from England, is before
me. From it a few brief extracts will be made. It appears that in
December, 1805, Blennerhassett addressed a letter to Colonel Burr,
expressing a wish to participate in any speculation in the western
country that might present itself to Burr. A Spanish war was hourly
anticipated, and Blennerhassett proposed to join Burr in any
expedition that might be undertaken against the Spainish dominions.

In August, 1806, in consequence of this overture, Burr visited
Blennerhassett at his house on the Ohio, and the next day rode with
him to Marietta, and there they separated, Burr being on his way to
Chilicothe. From Marietta to Blennerhassett's was about fifteen miles.
Some time after Burr returned to Blennerhassett's. Burr said that an
expulsion of the Spaniards from the American territory or an invasion
of Mexico would be pleasing to the administration; if it could be
accomplished without an open formal war, which would be avoided as
long as possible, from parsimony on the one hand and the dread of
France on the other.

Blennerhassett tendered his services to Burr generally. Blennerhassett
states that General Jackson and others were to join, and that the
general was in readiness to march whenever he should think himself
authorized by the position of the government.


"The vivacity of Burr's wit, and the exercise of his proper talents,
now (at Richmond) constantly solicited here, in private and public
exhibition, while they display his powers and address at the levee and
the bar, must engross more of his time than he can spare from the
demands of other gratifications; while they display him to the eager
eyes of the multitude, like a favourite gladiator, measuring over the
arena of his fame with firm step and manly grace, the pledges of easy

"August 17, 1807. This led me to praise a pamphlet, _Agrestis_, which
Alston yesterday brought me, being two letters on Wilkinson's
proceedings at New-Orleans, which, for its arrangement and strength,
as well as for the imagery of the language, I observed would not be
unworthy of a Curran; at the same time inquiring who was the author.
Alston said that was not known. I then repeated the question to
Colonel M'Kee, who said it was a friend of ours; at least, Mr. Alston
was suspected. I mention this trifling occurrence for the sake of
observing that Alston was now silent, thereby appropriating to himself
the merit of the book, which his _wife_, I have no doubt, might
produce. To suppose Alston [1] the author would be preposterous."

"August 23, 1807. My revery was soon broken in upon by the appearance
of Mr. Douglas with a stranger. I should rather have said by two
apparitions; for it was now near nightfall, and Douglas no sooner
appeared than he turned on his heel, saying, 'Colonel Duane, sir,' and
ran down stairs. The surprise of this interruption the stranger, whom
I had never before seen, did not suffer to endure long enough to allow
me to invoke the angels and ministers of grace for my protection. I
was already within the grasp of this Gabriel of the government. He
seized my hand, and bade me dismiss my surprise, however natural it
might be, on his appearance before me. I handed him a chair, and said
'I had lived long enough in this country to be surprised at nothing it
could produce or exhibit, but yet desired to learn from what cause I
had the favour of this visit.' 'Having heard Mr. Douglas observe,'
said he, 'that you would be pleased to see me--' 'Sir, Mr. Douglas has
made a mistake; he must have meant somebody else.' 'No matter,'
continued he; 'having known and seen your present situation, I could
not as a man, as an Irishman' (here he digressed to show me how he
both was and was not an Irishman), 'I would not leave this town
(Richmond) without warning you of the sacrifice now preparing to
appease the government by your friends, of which you are destined to
be the victim. You cannot desire any other key to my meaning than the
course the defence has this week taken. But if you think the
government will not cease to pursue that justice they possess the
means of ensuring, and suspect, as you ought, the designs of those you
have too long thought your friends, it might yet appear no better on
my part than a nominal service to give you these cautions: I have
therefore sought you, not to tender you words, but deeds. The only
return on your part will be that care of yourself which will find a
shield in _my honour_' (here he very awkwardly struck his breast, and
grinned a ghastly smile), 'and that confidence I can _command_ in the
government whose good faith is not misplaced in the zeal I have
testified to serve it.' To this harangue he added violent
protestations of his wishes to serve me, saying, that for that purpose
he would put off his journey back to Philadelphia, which otherwise was
irrevocably fixed for Wednesday, and would now, or at any time
hereafter, go to Washington for me, where _nothing he should ask would
be refused him_. In thanking him for the frankness and zeal with which
he cautioned me against my friends and a negligence of my safety, I
assured him I was not afraid to meet the prosecution, as I expected I
should before my arrival here, without counsel or friends; but, from
present appearances, I was more curious than interested to learn what
were those means the said government possessed of ensuring justice.
Finding by his answer that he was now disposed to allure me into a
confession of having written certain papers in the hands of the
prosecutors, I told him, the warmth of his offers to serve me could
not make me forget either his situation or my own with relation to the
government; that I cared not what writings should be charged upon me;
that I should admit none till fairly proved, which, if any such should
ever appear, I would justify, if necessary, on the scaffold. He now
summed up the objects of his mission, whatever produced it, with abuse
of Burr, Tyler, and Smith, _acknowledging that he had been served
gratis by Burr in the most handsome manner_; that the others were more
concerned against the government than I was; but swearing that he
believed, if I did not follow his advice, they would make a scapegoat
sacrifice of me for their deliverance."

"August 25, 1807. I asked Alston, 'Would you wish to see my notes of
what passed between Duane and me?' 'Yes,' said he, 'very much.' I then
read to him the minutes I had taken on Sunday evening, with which he
seemed highly pleased, and said they ought to be published. To this I
told him I could not accede. * * * * * * I informed him that Duane had
intimated that government had got possession of one of his letters to
me. 'One of my letters,' cried he; 'I never wrote to you but two upon
business of a private nature; and, by G--d, any other letter they can
have of mine must be a forgery.' 'To be sure,' said I; 'or, at all
events, from the favourable course things are now likely to take, such
a letter could do no harm.' 'But what did the rascal,' continued he,
'state to be the purport of the letter?' 'Nothing more,' said I, 'than
that you and myself were equally involved in all Colonel Burr's
projects. He then abused Duane, and repeated his wish that my notes
were published."

"September 13, 1807. I visited Burr this morning. He is as gay as
usual, and as busy in speculations on reorganizing his projects for
action as if he had never suffered the least interruption. He observed
to Major Smith and me, that in six months our schemes could be all
remounted; that we could now new model them in a better mould than
formerly, having a better view of the ground and a more perfect
knowledge of our men. We were silent. It should yet be granted, that
if Burr possessed sensibility of the right sort, with one hundredth
part of the energies for which, with many, he has obtained such
ill-grounded credit, his first and last determination, with the
morning and the night, should be the destruction of those enemies who
have so long and so cruelly wreaked their malicious vengeance upon

"September 16, 1807. I was glad to find Burr had at last thought of
asking us to dine with him, as I was rather curious again to see him
shine in a _partie quarrie_, consisting of new characters. We
therefore walked with him from court; Luther Martin, who lives with
him, accompanying us. * * * * * The dinner was neat, and followed by
three or four sorts of wine. Splendid poverty! During the chit-chat,
after the cloth was removed, a letter was handed to Burr, next to whom
I sat. I immediately smelt musk. Burr broke the seal, put the cover to
his nose, and then handed it to me, saying--'This amounts to a
disclosure!' I smelt the paper, and said, 'I think so.' The whole
physiognomy of the man now assumed an alteration and vivacity that, to
a stranger who had never seen him before, would have sunk full fifteen
years of his age. 'This,' said he, 'reminds me of a detection once
very neatly practised upon me at New-York. One day a lady stepped into
my library while I was reading, came softly behind my chair, and
giving me a slap on the cheek, said, "Come, tell me directly, what
little French girl, pray, have you had here?" The abruptness of the
question and surprise left me little room to doubt the discovery had
been completely made. So I thought it best to confess the whole fact;
upon which the inquisitress burst out into a loud laugh on the success
of her artifice, which she was led to play off upon me from the mere
circumstance of, having smelt musk in the room.' I have given this
anecdote a place here only to convey an idea of that temperament and
address which enables this character to uphold his ascendèncy over the
sex. After some time Martin and Prevost withdrew, and we passed to the
topics of our late adventures on the Mississippi, in which Burr said
little, but declared he did not know of any reason to blame General
Jackson, of Tennessee, for any thing he had done or omitted. But he
declares he will not lose a day after the favourable issue at the
Capitol (his acquittal), of which he has no doubt, to direct his
entire attention to setting up his projects (which have only been
suspended) on a better model, 'in which work,' he says, 'he has even
here made some progress.'"

"September 20, 1807. I found Burr, just after a consultation with his
counsel, secretly writhing under much irritation at the conduct of
Judge Marshall, but affecting an air of contempt for his alleged
inconsistencies, as Burr asserted he (the judge) did not, for the last
two days, understand either the questions or himself; that he had
wavered in his opinions before yesterday's adjournment, and should, in
future, be put right by _strong language_. I am afraid to say _abuse_,
though I think I could swear he used that word. I learned from Major
Smith to-day a confirmation of what Colonel de Pestre had also
mentioned to me, that Burr sets off immediately for England after his
liberation to collect money for reorganizing his projects."

"September 22, 1807. I have seen a complete file of all the
depositions made before the grand jury in Burr's possession. It must
be confessed that few other men in his circumstances could have
procured these documents out of the custody of offices filled by his
inveterate enemies. Burr asserted to-day, in court, that he expected
documents that would disqualify Eaton as a witness."

"September 26, 1807. Wilkinson, in his examination, confessed that he
had altered the cipher letter, and sworn that there were no

"Of Dudley Woodbridge, [2] it must not be concealed from those who may
have access to these _notes_ that, although he is reputed to have
given a fair, candid, and to us an advantageous testimony, _he has not
yet told the whole truth, having suppressed my communication to him of
our designs being unequivocally against Mexico_, which I suppose he
kept back because he embraced and embarked in the plan on the first
mention of it to him, though he afterward receded from it upon his own
reflections or counsel of others. Such is the address with which
ingratitude and dishonesty are made to pass in the garb of integrity,
like towcloth under fine muslin."

"October 8, 1807. I called on Burr this morning, when he at last
mentioned to me, during a short tête-à-tête, that he was preparing to
go to England; that the time was now auspicious for him, and he wished
to know whether I could give him letters. I answered that I supposed,
when he mentioned England, he meant London, as his business would
probably be with people in office; that I knew none of the present
ministry, nor did I believe I had a single acquaintance in London. He
replied, that he meant to visit every part of the country, and would
be glad to get letters to any one. I said I would think of it, that I
might discover whether I had any friends there whom it would be an
object worth his attention to know, and took leave. We can only
conjecture his designs. For my part, I am disposed to suspect he has
no serious intent of reviving any of his speculations in America, or
even of returning from Europe if he can get there."

After Colonel Burr's return to the United States from Europe, he
received several letters from Blennerhassett; in two of them he refers
to a suit which he commenced against General Andrew Jackson, in Adams
county, Mississippi territory, for a balance due Burr. In reply to an
inquiry made on the subject under date of the 4th of October, 1812, he
says, "I allude to an account between yourself and Andrew Jackson, in
his own handwriting, on which appears a balance in your favour of
$1726 62," &c. He then speaks of other papers, and adds, "As to the
manner in which I obtained the papers, it happened to be discovered
that the portmanteau you left with me, to be transmitted to Mr.
Alston, which lay at my disposal in the house of Mr. Harding, near
Natchez, was broken open by his servants. On this discovery I called
for the portmanteau, found the lock torn off, and some papers tumbled
and abused, which had seemingly been all opened. I observed and took
out the above document. The rest, with a silk tent, await the
disposition of your orders."

In another letter, in a paroxysm of passion, he threatens the
publication of a book, which he says is to be entitled,

"A review of the projects and intrigues of Aaron Burr during the years
1805, 1806, and 1807, involving therein, as parties or privies, Thomas
Jefferson, A. Gallatin, Dr. Eustis, Governor Alston, Daniel Clark,
Generals Wilkinson, Dearborn, Harrison, Jackson, and Smith, and the
late Spanish ambassador Yrujo, exhibiting original documents and
correspondence hitherto unpublished. Compiled from the notes and
private journal kept during the above period by Herman Blennerhassett,

It has been seen that General Wilkinson _altered_ the letter written
in cipher by Colonel Burr, and then swore that the translation was a
true copy of the original. This alteration was for the purpose of
establishing _treasonable_ designs in Burr and his associates, to
which fact the general had also sworn. But while he was thus urging
the charge of _treason_ at home, he had to give his Spanish employers
a different account of the movements and object of Burr. Accordingly,
after the trial at Richmond, General Wilkinson despatched Captain
Walter Burling, his aid, to demand of the vice-king of Mexico the
repayment of his expenditures and compensation for his services to
Spain in defeating Burr's expedition against Mexico. The modesty of
this demand, being only about _two hundred thousand dollars_, is
worthy of notice. The development of this fact places in a new point
of view Mr. Jefferson's confidential friend (General Wilkinson)--that
friend whom he recommended to Congress on the 22d of January, 1S07, as
having acted "with the _honour of a soldier and the fidelity of a good
citizen_." The documents are presented without comment.

_State of Louisiana, City of New-Orleans_.

Before me, William Young Lewis, notary public in and for the city of
New-Orleans, duly commissioned and sworn, this day personally appeared
Richard Raynal Keene, Esq., attorney and counsellor at law of this
city, who delivered to me, the said notary, and requested the same to
be annexed to the current records of my office, the following
documents, _to wit_:--

_First_. A certificate of the vice-queen of Mexico, dated at Madrid on
the twenty-fourth day of January, eighteen hundred and sixteen.

_Second_. A letter from the said Richard R. Keene to the Reverend Dr.
Mangan, dated at Madrid on the twenty-first day of July, eighteen
hundred and twenty-one.

_Third_. The reply of the Reverend Dr. Mangan to the aforesaid letter,
dated at Madrid on the twenty-third day of July, eighteen hundred and

All of which said documents I have accordingly annexed to my current
register, there to remain and serve as the case may be, after having
marked the same _ne varietur_, to identify them with this act.

Done and passed at New-Orleans, this twenty-fourth day of December,
eighteen hundred and thirty-six, in presence of William T. Lewis and
Gustavus Harper, both of this city, witnesses, who have hereunto
signed their names with said, and me the said notary. Signed, Richard
R. Keene, William T. Lewis, Gustavus Harper.

W. Y. Lewis, Not. Pub.

_Certificate of the Vice-queen_.

"Whereas his excellency, the Marquis of Campo-Sagrado, minister of
war, has been pleased to accede to the request of Richard Raynal
Keene, colonel of the royal armies, addressed to him under date of the
12th instant, with the view of obtaining my declaration respecting the
mission sent by the Anglo-American brigadier, James Wilkinson, to my
late husband, Don Jose Yturrigaray, lieutenant-general of the royal
armies in Mexico, during the period of his command as viceroy in that
country; now, for the purpose required, I do declare and certify,
that, having accompanied my said husband to Mexico, and stayed there
with him during the time of his command as viceroy in that country, to
wit, from the year 1802 to the year 1808, I recollect perfectly well
the aforesaid mission, which was carried into effect by a person of
the name of Burling; and although I cannot now undertake to relate all
the details of that mission, nevertheless my memory enables me to
state that, in substance, the exposition made by Keene to the minister
of war, of the artifices and stratagems resorted to by Wilkinson on
that occasion, through his confidential agent, is just and true. The
interested views manifested by Wilkinson _in his reclamation of large
sums of money for his alleged disbursements_ in counteracting the
hostile plans of the American vice-president, Burr, against Mexico,
appeared to the viceroy to be no less incompatible with the rights of
his majesty than they were _irreconcilable to the honour of an officer
and patriot_ of a foreign state. The viceroy, therefore, did not give
a single ducat to Burling, but took immediate steps for having him
removed from the country.

This is what I declare, in compliance with the requisition of his
excellency the minister of war. Madrid, January 24, 1816.


Madrid, July 21, 1821.


I send you an exposition of the vice-queen Donna Maria Ines Jauregui
de Yturrigaray, of the 24th January, 1816, relative to the intrigue
which the brigadier Wilkinson attempted to carry into effect in 1806
or 1807, through the agency of Mr. Burling, for the purpose of getting
money from the vice-king of Mexico. The vice-queen told me, in the
different conversations I had with her on this subject, that you
enjoyed the full and entire confidence of her husband, and that he,
besides speaking with you unreservedly about this affair, commissioned
you to interpret the letter which Wilkinson sent him through Mr.
Burling, the said letter having been written in English. The
vice-king, had he not died suddenly, would have given me the same
exposition which his widow gave me. It being then, in some sort, a
matter of justice that you should give your declaration relative to
the aforesaid exposition of the vice-queen, I therefore pray you to do

I will merely add that, in one of my conversations with the vice-king,
he told me that, in the aforesaid letter, Wilkinson, in speaking of
his service rendered in frustrating what he called the invasion of
Mexico by the ex-vice-president, Mr. Burr, likened himself to
_Leonidas in the pass of Thermopylae_. Be assured, reverend sir, of my
profound respect.


Colonel in the service of H. C. M.

Rev. Dr. MANGAN, _Rector of the Irish College in Salamanca._ Madrid,
July 23, 1821


I have carefully read the exposition you enclosed me in your esteemed
favour of the 21st instant, of the former vice-queen of Mexico, La
Senora Donna Maria Ines Jauregui de Yturrigaray, relative to the
famous embassy of General Wilkinson to her husband Don Joseph de
Yturrigaray, viceroy of Mexico.

As his excellency was pleased to make use of me as interpreter in the
interview he granted Mr. Walter Burling, the bearer of a letter from
the aforesaid General Wilkinson, and commissioned by him to manifest
to the viceroy the importance of his embassy, I candidly confess that,
to the best of my recollection, the exposition of the vice-queen is
perfectly correct, for the object of the famous embassy of Mr. Burling
was to display to the viceroy _the great pecuniary sacrifices_ made by
General Wilkinson to frustrate the plan of invasion meditated by the
ex-vice-president, Mr. Burr, against the kingdom of Mexico, and to
solicit, in consideration of such important services, a pretty round
sum of _at least two hundred thousand dollars_.

I cannot help observing that the viceroy, Don Joseph de Yturrigaray,
received this communication with due contempt and indignation, bidding
me to tell Mr. Burling that General Wilkinson, in counteracting any
treasonable plan of Mr. Burr, did no more than comply with his duty;
that he (the viceroy) would take good care to defend the kingdom of
Mexico against any attack or invasion, and that he did not think
himself authorized to give one farthing to General Wilkinson in
compensation for his pretended services. He concluded by ordering Mr.
Burling to leave the city of Mexico, and had him safely escorted to
the port of Vera Cruz, where he immediately embarked for the United

This is, believe me, the substance (as far as I can recollect) of the
famous embassy of General Wilkinson to the viceroy of Mexico, Don
Joseph de Yturrigaray, who certainly was not mistaken in the passage
he mentioned to you of Leonidas, as I recollect well that General
Wilkinson, after displaying in a pompous style the great difficulties
he had to encounter to render Mr. Burr's plan fruitless, concluded by
affirming--"_I, like Leonidas, boldly threw myself in the pass_," &c.

I return you the original exposition of the vice-queen, Donna Maria
Ines Jauregui de Yturrigaray, and remain yours,

PATRICK MANGAN, Rector of the Irish College of Salamanca.

RICHARD R. KEENE, Colonel in the service H. C. M.

I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of the originals
annexed to my current register. In witness whereof I grant these
presents, under my hand and seal, at New-Orleans, this 26th day of
December, 1836.


The following short extracts from the letters of Colonel Burr to his
daughter, while he was imprisoned in Richmond, will serve to show the
state of his mind under circumstances thus oppressive and mortifying.


"Richmond, March 27, 1807.

"My military escort having arrived at Fredericksburgh on our way to
Washington, there met a special messenger, with orders to convey me to
this place. Hither we came forthwith, and arrived last evening. It
seems that here the business is to be tried and concluded. I am to be
surrendered to the civil authority to-morrow, when the question of
bail will be determined. In the mean time I remain at the Eagle

"April 26, 1807.

"Your letters of the 10th and those preceding seemed to indicate a
sort of stupor; but now you rise into phrensy. Another ten days will,
it is hoped, have brought you back to reason. It ought not, however,
to be forgotten that the letter of the 15th was written under a
paroxysm of the toothache.

"You have read to very little purpose if you have not remarked that
such things happen in all democratic governments. Was there in Greece
or Rome a man of virtue and independence, and supposed to possess
great talents, who was not the object of vindictive and unrelenting
persecution? Now, madame, I pray you to amuse yourself by collecting
and collating all the instances to be found in ancient history, which
you may connect together, if you please, in an essay, with
reflections, comments, and applications. This I may hope to receive
about the 22d of May. I promise myself great pleasure in the perusal,
and I promise you great satisfaction and consolation in the

"May 15, 1807.

"Respecting the approaching investigation, I can communicate nothing
new. The grand jury is composed of twenty democrats and four
federalists. Among the former is W. C. Nicholas, my vindictive and
avowed personal enemy--the most so that could be found in this state

The most indefatigable industry is used by the agents of government,
and they have money at command without stint. If I were possessed of
the same means, I could not only foil the prosecutors, but render them
ridiculous and infamous. The democratic papers teem with abuse against
me and my counsel, and even against the chief justice. Nothing is left
undone or unsaid which can tend to prejudice the public mind, and
produce a conviction without evidence. The machinations of this
description which were used against Moreau in France were treated in
this country with indignation. They are practised against me in a
still more impudent degree, not only with impunity, but with applause;
and the authors and abettors suppose, with reason, that they are
acquiring favour with the administration."

"June 3, 1807.

"Still waiting for Wilkinson, and no certain accounts of his approach.
The grand jury, the witnesses, and the country grow impatient. It is
an ungracious thing, and so deemed, after having for six months been
branded as a traitor; after directing that Burr and his followers
should be attacked, put to death, and their property seized; after all
the violations of law and constitution which have been practised, that
government should now say it has not proof!

"Busy, busy, busy from morning till night--from night till morning,
yet there are daily amusing incidents; things at which you will laugh,
also things at which you will pout and scold."

"June 18, 1807.

"On Saturday morning General Wilkinson, with ten or eleven witnesses
from New Orleans, arrived in Richmond. Four bills were immediately
delivered to the grand jury against Blennerhassett and Burr; one for
treason and one for misdemeanour against each. The examination of the
witnesses was immediately commenced. They had gone through thirty-two
last evening. There are about forty-six. General Eaton has been
already examined. He came out of the jury-room in such rage and
agitation that he shed tears, and complained bitterly that he had been
questioned as if he were a villain. How else could he have been
questioned with any propriety?

"Poor Bollman is placed in a most awkward predicament. Some days ago
Mr. Hay, the district attorney, in open court tendered him a pardon
under the great seal and with the sign manual of _Thomas Jefferson_.
Bollman refused to receive it. Hay urged it upon him. Bollman said
that no man could force on him such a badge of infamy. Hay insisted
that he was a pardoned man, whether he would or not; and this question
will, probably, also come before the court in argument to-day or

"June 22, 1807.

On Friday Mr. Hay complained that Burr had so constantly occupied the
court for the four weeks past with his extraordinary motions, that he
(Mr. Hay) could not get an opportunity of making one on his part; he
therefore gave notice that he should, at the first interval, move for
leave to send to the grand jury interrogatories for their instruction,
to be put to the witnesses, in order that the _whole truth_ might come

"Burr said it was a thing without example, and which the court could
not permit without his assent; but he thought there was reason in the
proposal of Mr. Hay, and that he should cheerfully assent, with the
condition only that he (Burr) should also send interrogatories, to be
put to the same witnesses, the better to extract the _'whole truth.'_

"The court said that it certainly could not be permitted to Mr. Hay to
send interrogatories, being against usage and reason; but as Mr. Burr
had assented, there seemed to be no objection that both parties should
send in interrogatories; and such permission was granted, whereupon
Mr. Hay withdrew his motion."

"June 24, 1807.

"While we were engaged to-day in the argument of the question for an
attachment against Wilkinson, the grand jury came into court with
bills against Blennerhassett and myself for treason and misdemeanour.
Two bills against each of us. These indictments for treason are
founded on the following allegations: that Colonel Tyler, with twenty
or thirty men, stopped at Blennerhassett's Island on their way down
the Ohio; that though these men were not armed, and had no military
array or organization, and though they did neither use force nor
threaten it, yet, having set out with a view of taking temporary
possession of New-Orleans on their way to Mexico, that such intent was
treasonable, and therefore a war was levied on Blennerhassett's Island
by _construction_; and that, though Colonel Burr was then at Frankfort
on his way to Tennessee, yet, having advised the measure, he was, _by
construction of law_, present at the island, and levied war there. In
fact, the indictment charges that Aaron Burr was on that day present
at the island, though not a man of the jury supposed this to be true.

"This idea of _constructive war_ is, by this jury, carried far beyond
the dictum advanced by Judge Chace in the case of Fries; for Chace
laid down that the actual exertion of force, in a hostile or
traitorous manner, was indispensable to establish treason. Yet the
opinions of Chace in this case were complained of by the whole
republican party, and condemned by all the lawyers of all parties in
Philadelphia, as tending to introduce the odious and unconstitutional
doctrine of _constructive treason_.

"Out of fifty witnesses who have been examined before the grand jury,
it may be safely alleged that thirty at least have been perjured.

"I beg and expect it of you that you will conduct yourself as becomes
my daughter, and that you manifest no signs of weakness or alarm."

June 30, 1807.

"Of myself you could expect to hear nothing new; yet something new and
unexpected was moved yesterday. The counsel for the prosecution
proposed to the court that Aaron Burr should be sent to the
penitentiary for safe keeping, and stated that the governor and
council had offered to provide me with an apartment in the third story
of that building. This is extremely kind and obliging in the governor
and his council. The distance, however, would render it so
inconvenient to my counsel to visit me, that I should prefer to remain
where I am; yet the rooms proposed are said to be airy and healthy."

July 3, 1807.

"I have three rooms in the third story of the penitentiary, making an
extent of one hundred feet. My jailer is quite a polite and civil
man--altogether unlike the idea one would form of a jailer. You would
have laughed to have heard our compliments the first evening.

"_Jailer_. I hope, sir, it would not be disagreeable to you if I
should lock this door after dark.

"_Burr_. By no means, sir; I should prefer it, to keep out intruders.

"_Jailer_. It is our custom, sir, to extinguish all lights at nine
o'clock; I hope, sir, you will have no objection to conform to that.

"_Burr_. That, Sir, I am sorry to say, is impossible; for I never go
to bed till twelve, and always burn two candles.

"_Jailer_. Very well, sir, just as you please. I should have been glad
if it had been otherwise; but, as you please, sir.

"While I have been writing different servants have arrived with
messages, notes, and inquiries, bringing oranges, lemons, pineapples,
raspberries, apricots, cream, butter, ice, and some ordinary

"July 6, 1807.

"My friends and acquaintance of both sexes are permitted to visit me
without interruption, without inquiring their business, and without
the _presence of a spy_. It is well that I have an antechamber, or I
should often be gênê with visitors.

"If you come I can give you a bedroom and parlour on this floor. The
bedroom has three large closets, and it is a much more commodious one
than you ever had in your life. Remember, no agitations, no
complaints, no fears or anxieties on the road, or I renounce thee."

"July 24, 1807.

"I want an independent and discerning witness to my conduct and to
that of the government. The scenes which have passed and those about
to be transacted will exceed all reasonable credibility, and will
hereafter be deemed fables, unless attested by very high authority.

"I repeat what has heretofore been written, that I should never invite
any one, much less those so dear to me, to witness my disgrace. I may
be immured in dungeons, chained, murdered in legal form, but I cannot
be humiliated or disgraced. If absent, you will suffer great
solicitude. In my presence you will feel none, whatever may be the
_malice_ or the _power_ of my enemies, and in both they abound."

"July 30, 1807.

"I am informed that some good-natured people here have provided you a
house, and furnished it, a few steps from my _townhouse_. I had also
made a temporary provision for you in my townhouse, whither I shall
remove on Sunday; but I will not, if I can possibly avoid it, move
before your arrival, having a great desire to _receive you all in this
mansion_. Pray, therefore, drive directly out here. You may get
admission at any time from four in the morning till ten at night.
Write me by the mail from Petersburgh, that I may know of your

[On this letter is endorsed, in Theodosia's handwriting, "_Received on
our approach to Richmond. How happy it made me!_"]

The following was written after Theodosia had left Richmond and
returned to South Carolina.

"Richmond, September 28, 1807.

"It is impossible to predict when this business may terminate, as the
chief justice has gradually relaxed from former rules of evidence, and
will now hear any thing, without regard to distance of time or place.
Wilkinson has been examined, and had partly gone through the
cross-examination when we closed on Saturday. _He acknowledged, very
modestly, that he had made certain alterations in the letter received
from me, by erasures, &c., and then swore it to be a true copy._ He
has not yet acknowledged the substitution of names."

"October 9, 1807.

"Major Bruff, who was produced as a witness on my behalf, deposed
that, in a conversation with Dearborn and Rodney, the
attorney-general, in March last, he accused Wilkinson of several
crimes, and gave the names of witnesses who would establish the
charges. Those gentlemen replied that General Wilkinson _had_ stood
very low in the estimation of the President, but that his energetic
conduct at New-Orleans had raised him in estimation; that he now stood
very high, and that the president would support him; that if the
government should now prosecute Wilkinson, or do any thing to impair
his credit, Burr would escape, and that was just what the federalists
and the enemies to the administration wished."

"October 23, 1807.

"After all, this is a sort of drawn battle. The chief justice gave his
opinion on Tuesday. After declaring that there were no grounds of
suspicion as to the treason, he directed that Burr and Blennerhassett
should give bail in three thousand dollars for further trial in Ohio.
This opinion was matter of regret and surprise to the friends of the
chief justice, and of ridicule to his enemies--all believing that it
was a sacrifice of principle to conciliate _Jack Cade_. Mr. Hay
immediately said that he should advise the government to _desist from
further prosecution_. That he has actually so advised there is no

"A. BURR."


1. At this period Blennerhassett was at war with both Colonel Burr and
Alston, on the subject of their pecuniary transactions.

2. Former mercantile partner of Blennerhassett, and contractor for
building Burr's boats on the Muskingum.


On the 7th of June, 1808, Colonel Burr sailed from New-York on board
the British packet for England, via Halifax. The personal and
political prejudices which the influence of power and the death of
Hamilton had excited against him; rendered, as he conceived, a
temporary absence from this country desirable; and, at the same time,
believing that the political situation of Europe offered opportunities
for accomplishing the object he had long contemplated, of emancipating
the Spanish American colonies from the degrading tyranny of Spain, it
was his design to solicit the aid of some European government in such
an undertaking. With these views he embarked for England.

During his residence in Europe he regularly corresponded with his
daughter, Mrs. Alston, and also kept a private diary; but probably
from the apprehension that his papers were at all times subject to the
supervision of the government police, his memoranda are in a great
measure restricted to occurrences private and personal. An amusing
volume [1] _might_ be made of these daily records of his privations
and personal adventures during his protracted and forced residence in
Europe, but the limits of the present work compel us to pass hastily
over this period of his life.

He arrived in Falmouth on the 15th, and in London on the 16th July;
and on the same day, with characteristic promptitude, he presented his
letters of introduction, and, among others, to John Reeves, Esq., then
in the department of the secretary of state, through whom he seems to
have hoped to gain access to the ministry.

During the next three months he made, through Mr. Reeves and others,
various unsuccessful efforts to approach the government; but there
were two obstacles in his way, both of which were insuperable. The
Spaniards were then in the commencement of their noble resistance to
the invasion of Napoleon, and the enthusiasm of the British nation in
favour of the Spanish patriots, as well as the policy of the British
government, were absolutely opposed to any scheme for separating the
colonies from Spain. But, in addition to this obstacle, Colonel Burr,
from the moment of his landing in England, was an object of suspicion
and distrust to the government. The alien-bill was then in stern
operation, and apprehensions were entertained of the emissaries of
France; and it is not to be doubted that the same hostility which, as
we shall see, openly displayed itself in the conduct of the United
States' agents towards Colonel Burr in France, had been excited to
misrepresent and anticipate him in his negotiations with the British
government. After various interviews, that led to nothing, with Mr.
Canning, Lord Mulgrave, and Lord Melville, on the 6th November, 1808,
the following communication from A. Merry put an end to all hopes of
assistance in his plans from the English ministry:--

Sunday morning, November 6.


Although I could not see Mr. Canning yesterday, from his being gone
into the country, to stay till Tuesday morning, for the recovery of
his health, I conversed with another person of nearly equal authority,
who told me he was sure that what you proposed to me yesterday could
never be consented to, pointing it out in every way to be
impracticable. I beg you to excuse the haste in which I write, and
believe me to be, dear sir,

Your most faithful humble servant,


In private life in England Colonel Burr received much attention, and
from no one more than _Jeremy Bentham_, with whom he formed a warm and
intimate friendship. In a letter to his daughter of the 8th September,
1808, he speaks of Mr. Bentham:--"I hasten to make you acquainted with
Jeremy Bentham, author of a work entitled 'Principles of Morals and
Legislation' (edited in French by Dumont), and of many other works of
less labour and research. You will well recollect to have heard me
place this man second to no one, ancient or modern, in profound
thinking, in logical and analytic reasoning. On the 8th of August I
received a letter from him, containing a most friendly invitation to
come and pass some days with him at a farm (where he passes the
summer) called Barrowgreen, near Gadstone, and twenty miles from
London. I was not tardy in profiting of this invitation. He met me at
the gate with the frankness and affection of an old friend. Mr.
Bentham's countenance has all that character of intense thought which
you would expect to find; but it is impossible to conceive a
physiognomy more strongly marked with ingenuousness and philanthropy.
I have passed twelve days there, and shall return to-morrow, to stay
most probably till he returns to town. His house in the city, which I
now occupy solely and exclusively--[N. B. Three servants in the house
at my command]--is most beautifully situated on St. James's Park, with
extensive gardens, and built and fitted up more to my taste than any
one I ever saw. In his library I am now writing."

The friendship of Mr. Bentham was uniform and constant; and if it did
not preserve his friend from severe pecuniary privations and distress
in Colonel Burr's second residence in England, it was because the
extent of these privations was industriously and ingeniously concealed
from him. "The benevolent heart of J. B." (Burr remarks in his diary,
when apprehending an arrest for debt) "shall never be pained by the
exhibition of my distress." Bentham, long after Burr's return to the
United States, continued to correspond with him.

With William Godwin Mr. Burr also formed an intimate and friendly
acquaintance. In a visit to Edinburgh in the winter of 1809, he seems
to have been treated with great distinction; and his diary is
sprinkled with the names of visitors the most distinguished in rank,
fashion, and letters of the Scottish metropolis. He writes to his
daughter 12th February, 1809: "Among the literary men of Edinburgh I
have met M'Kenzie, author of the Man of Feeling, and Scott, author of
the Minstrel. I met both frequently, and from both received civilities
and hospitality. M'Kenzie has twelve children--six daughters, all very
interesting and handsome. He is remarkably sprightly in company,
amiable, witty--might pass for forty-two, though certainly much older.
Scott, with less softness than M'Kenzie, has still more animation;
talks much, and very agreeably."

While in Edinburgh Colonel Burr was informed by Lord Justice Clarke
that Lord Melville had mentioned in a letter that it would be
necessary for Mr. Burr to return to London. The government began now
to evince great distrust of him. He seems at one time, and before he
had abandoned all hope of receiving assistance in his political
schemes, to have resolved to resist the operation of the alien bill,
by claiming the rights of a British subject. He probably suggested
this singular claim at the instance of his friend Reeves. The ground
he took was that, having been born a British subject, he had a right
to reassume his allegiance at pleasure; or rather that it was
indefeasible, and never could be parted with. The claim appears to
have caused some sensation among the crown lawyers. It was certainly
unfounded and injudiciously asserted. Lord Liverpool pronounced it
monstrous; and it probably increased the suspicion and distrust
already existing.

On the 4th April, 1809, the government took active measures against
him. He writes in his journal of that day--"Having a confused
presentiment that something was wrong, I packed up my papers and
clothes with intent to go out and seek other lodgings. At one o'clock
came in without knocking four coarse-looking men, who said they had a
state warrant for seizing me and my papers, but refused to show the
warrant. I was peremptory, and the warrant was produced, signed
'Liverpool,' but I was not permitted to read the whole. They took
possession of my trunks, searched every part of the rooms for papers,
threw all the loose articles into a sack, called a coach, and away we
went to the alien office. Before going I wrote a note to Reeves, and
on our arrival sent it in--waited one hour in the coach--very cold,
but I refused to go in. Wrote in pencil to Reeves another note. He
came out. We had a little conversation. He could not then explain, but
said I must have patience. After half an hour more orders were that I
must go with one of the messengers to his house. On this order I first
went into the office to see Brooks, the under secretary, whom I knew
[you may recollect the transaction in July, which must have fixed me
in his memory]. He did not know me--none of them knew me--though every
devil of them knew me as well as I know you. Seeing the measure was
resolved on, and having inquired of the sort of restraint to which I
was doomed, I wrote a note to Koe, which Brooks took to show to Lord
Liverpool for his approbation to forward it--arrived at my prison, 31
Stafford Place, at four." In two days, however, he was released, and
his papers returned unopened; but he was informed he must leave the
kingdom. Some days afterward, as he still lingered, a message was
conveyed to him:--"Lord Liverpool expects you to leave London
to-morrow, and the kingdom in forty-eight hours." And on the 24th
April, 1809, he sailed from Harwich in his B. M. packet Diana for

On leaving England Mr. Burr seems to have been undetermined as to his
future movements. He was unwilling to renounce the projects which had
carried him to Europe; and all hope of assistance from England being
ended, he looked next for aid to Napoleon, whose policy, from the
resistance of Spain and the preponderancy of the British navy, was now
in favour of the independence of the Spanish American colonies. He
finally resolved to wait in Sweden till he received advices from
America, and then proceed to Paris to communicate with the emperor.

We must pass over his residence in Sweden, and his subsequent tour
through Germany to Paris, during the whole of which period he kept a
journal. He visited Hamburgh, Hanover, Saxe-Gotha, Weimar, and
Frankfort; and, though travelling without letters or introduction, it
appears from his itinerary that he was everywhere treated with
distinction and attention. At Hamburg, where he arrived the 20th
November, 1809, De Bourrienne, since known as the author of the
Memoirs of Bonaparte, was the French minister. It will be amusing,
perhaps, to compare the following extracts from De Bourrienne's work
with a brief memorandum from Colonel Burr's diary, showing in what
light they reciprocally regarded each other.

"At the height of his glory and power, Bonaparte was so suspicious
that the veriest trifle sufficed to alarm him. I recollect that about
the time the complaints were made respecting the _Minerva_
(newspaper), Colonel Burr, formerly vice-president of the United
States, who had recently arrived at Altona, was pointed out to me as a
dangerous man, and I received orders to watch him very closely, and to
arrest him on the slightest ground of suspicion if he should come to
Hamburgh. Colonel Burr was one of those in favour of whom I ventured
to disobey the orders I received from the restless police of Paris. As
soon as the minister of the police heard of his arrival at Altona, he
directed me to adopt towards him those violent measures which are
equivalent to persecution. In answer to these instructions, I stated
that Colonel Burr conducted himself at Altona with much prudence and
propriety; that he kept but little company, and that he was scarcely
spoken of. Far from regarding him as a man who required watching;
having learned that he wished to go to Paris, I caused a passport to
be procured for him, which he was to receive at Frankfort; and I never
heard that this dangerous citizen had compromised the safety of the
state in any way." _Bourrienne's Memoirs of Napoleon,_ vol. iv., p.

In his journal of November 24, Burr writes:--

"I learn that A. B. is announced in the Paris papers in a manner no
way auspicious. Resolved to go direct to the French minister, to see
if he had any orders to give or refuse me passports. Sent in my name,
but did not get out of my carriage; after some minutes the servant
returned, saying his excellency was then much engaged, but would be
glad to see me at three. At three, to minister's; begged to call
tomorrow at twelve. November 25. At twelve, the minister's; was at
once received; he is the transcript of our _Mari_, [2] only fifteen
years older, but marked with the same characters. His reception was
courteous, but with a mixture of surprise and curiosity. At once
offered me passports to any frontier town, but has no authority to do
more. Passports to go to Paris must come from Paris, and to that end I
must write. Advises that I direct reply to be transmitted to Mayence.
Asked me to dine, at his country-house tomorrow."

At Mayence, however, he found no passport; and he was detained in
suspense there and at Frankfort for a month, before permission could
be obtained to go to Paris.

On the 16th February, 1810, he arrived in Paris.

He commenced here a long and most vexatious and wearisome course of
attendance on the minister of foreign relations and other high
officers of state, endeavouring in vain, by personal solicitations and
memorials, to obtain an audience of the emperor and an answer to his
propositions. He attended the levees of the Duc de Cadore, the Duc de
Rovigo, Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia; but uniformly failed in
his efforts, and was turned off with unmeaning professions. He records
in his diary, with gratitude, the friendly attentions of Volney,
Denon, and the Duc de Bassano; but, with these exceptions, he seems to
have been treated with great coolness, even by those to whom his
hospitality had been freely tendered in America. He always suspected
that the alienation and immutable discountenance of the emperor were
to be ascribed to the representations of _Talleyrand_ and the
representatives of the United States in France.

Several months neglect and inattention at length discouraged him, and
he resolved to return home; but, on applying for a passport to the
United States, he was informed by the police that he could not have a
passport to go out of the empire. "Me voila [he writes in his
journal], prisonier d'Etat! et presque sans sous." This event changed
the course of his solicitations; and for the next year we find him,
having abandoned all projects of ambition, limiting himself to
solicitation for permission to go home, and without success. A
memorial which he addressed to Napoleon sets forth in these manly
terms the harshness and injustice of his treatment.

"While in Germany last winter I saw in the _Moniteur_ an expression of
your majesty's assent to the independence of the Spanish American
colonies. Believing that I could be useful in the execution of that
object, I hastened to Frankfort, and there addressed myself to your
majesty's minister, Monsieur Hedouville, who, at my request, wrote to
the minister of exterior relations, stating my views, and asking a
passport if those views should be deemed worthy of your majesty's
attention. A passport was transmitted to me. On the day of my arrival
in Paris I announced myself to the Duc de Cadore, and on the day
following had an audience, in which I explained, as fully as the time
would admit, the nature of my projects and the means of execution.
Further details were added in subsequent conversations had with one of
the chiefs of that department. Afterward, at the request of the Duc de
Cadore, they were reduced to writing, of which memoir one copy was
delivered to the Duc de Cadore and another to the Duc de Rovigo, to be
submitted to your majesty's perusal. After the lapse of some weeks,
having received no reply, nor any intimation that my views accorded
with those of your majesty, being here without occupation and without
the means of support, I asked a passport to return to the United
States, where not only the state of the country, but my personal
concerns, demand my presence. This passport has been refused; for
nearly four months I have in vain solicited. The only answer I receive
is--'His majesty has not signified his assent.'

"After conduct so frank and loyal on my part, it is with reason that I
am hurt and surprised at this refusal. Not only did the motives of my
visit and my conduct since my residence in France deserve a different
return; at all times I have deserved well of your majesty and of the
French nation. My home in the United States has been always open to
French citizens, and few of any note who have visited the United
States have not experienced my hospitalities. At a period when the
administration of the government of the United States was hostile to
France and Frenchmen, they received from me efficient protection.
These, sire, are my crimes against France!

"Presuming that a proceeding so distressing and unmerited--so contrary
to the laws of hospitality, to the fame of your majesty's magnanimity
and justice, and to that of the courtesy of the French nation, must be
without your majesty's knowledge, and that, amid the mighty concerns
which weigh on your majesty's mind, those of an individual so humble
as myself may have escaped your notice, I venture to intrude into your
presence, and to ask either a passport to return to the United States,
or, if in fact your majesty, with the expectation of rendering me
useful to you, should wish a further delay, that I may be informed of
the period of that delay, that I may take measures accordingly for my

This memorial passed without notice.

The following correspondence between Colonel Burr and Mr. Jonathan
Russell, then Chargé d'Affaires at Paris, and Mr. M'Rae, American
Consul at Paris, will show the conduct of representatives of the
United States to an American citizen in want and in a foreign land.


Paris, October 25, 1810.

Mr. Burr presents respectful compliments. As a citizen of the United
States, he requests of Mr. Russell an official certificate to that
effect, and will have the honour of calling for the purpose at any
hour which he may be pleased to name. The fact of Mr. Burr's
citizenship being sufficiently known to Mr. Russell, it is presumed
that other proof will be deemed unnecessary.


Paris, October 25, 1810.

In reply to Mr. Burr's note of this morning, Mr. Russell begs leave to
inform him that the province of granting passports to citizens of the
United States belongs to the consul, to whom all wishing for that
protection must apply.


Paris, October 29, 1810.

Mr. Burr presents compliments. Having addressed himself to Mr. Russell
for a certificate of citizenship, has been informed by him that the
business of granting certificates was transferred to the consul. He
therefore repeats the request to Mr. M'Rae. If a personal attendance
be deemed necessary, Mr. Burr will wait on Mr. M'Rae for the purpose
at any hour he may be pleased to appoint.


Paris, October 29, 1810.

Mr. M'Rae answers to Mr. Burr's note of this morning, that his
knowledge of the circumstances under which Mr. Burr left the United
States renders it his duty to decline giving Mr. Burr either a
passport or a permis de séjour. If, however, the opinion Mr. M'Rae has
formed and the determination he has adopted on this subject be
erroneous, there is a remedy at hand.

Although the business of granting passports and permis de séjour
generally is confided to the consul, the chargé des affaires
unquestionably possesses full authority to grant protection in either
of those forms to any person to whom it may be improperly denied by
the consul.


Paris, November 1, 1810.

On receipt of Mr. Russell's note, Mr. Burr applied to the consul; a
copy of his reply is herewith enclosed. It cannot be material to
inquire what are the _"circumstances"_ referred to by the consul, nor
whether true or false. Mr. Burr is ignorant of any statute or
instruction which authorizes a foreign minister or agent to inquire
into any circumstances other than those which tend to establish the
fact of citizen or not. If, however, Mr. Russell should be of a
different opinion, Mr. Burr is ready to satisfy him that no
circumstances exist which can, by any construction, in the slightest
degree impair his rights as a citizen, and that the conclusions of the
consul are founded in error, either in point of fact or of inference.
Yet, conceiving that every citizen has a right to demand a certificate
or passport, Mr. Burr is constrained to renew his application to Mr.
Russell, to whom the consul has been pleased to refer the decision.


Paris, November 4, 1810.

Without subscribing to the opinion of Mr. M'Rae with regard to the
appeal that lays from the erroneous decisions of the consul to the
chargé d'affaires, Mr. Russell has no objection to judging the case
which Mr. Burr has presented to him.

The man who evades the offended laws of his country, abandons, for the
time, the right to their protection. This fugitive from justice,
during his voluntary exile, has a claim to no other passport than one
which shall enable him to surrender himself for trial for the offences
with which he stands charged. Such a passport Mr. Russell will furnish
to Mr. Burr, but no other.

In the winter of 1810 and 1811, being cut off from remittances from
America, it appears from his journal that he suffered sad privations
from the want of money.

In his diary of November 23, he writes--"Nothing from America, and
really I shall starve. Borrowed three francs to-day. Four or five
little debts keep me in constant alarm; all together, about two

December 1, 1810. "----- came in upon me this morning, just as I was
out of bed, for twenty-seven livres. Paid him, which took literally my
last sous. When at Denon's, thought I might as well go to St.
Pelasgie; set off, but recollected I owed the woman who sits in the
passage two sous for a segar, so turned about to pursue my way by Pont
des Arts, which was within fifty paces; remembered I had not wherewith
to pay the toll, being one sous; had to go all the way round by the
Pont Royal, more than half a mile."

His journal for a year is filled with similar details, and would be a
melancholy narration were it not that it exhibits him under every
vicissitude, suspected and watched by the French government,
misrepresented by the representatives of his own country, treated with
almost universal coldness and neglect, cut off from all communication
with America, without money, without occupation, and without any
reasonable hope of a termination of his troubles, uniformly composed,
firm, and cheerful. Not a discontented or fretful expression is to be
found in his voluminous memoranda.

At length, in July, 1811, a ship being about sailing in ballast for
America, with Napoleon's permission, Colonel Burr, through the
influence of the Duc de Bassano, received permission to leave Paris.
He arrived at Amsterdam on the 3d of August; and after a month's
delay, apparently from the capricious tyranny of the French
authorities, he sailed for America in the ship Vigilant on the 20th of
September; and, escaping from the toils of one of the great
belligerants, he fell into the power of the other, and was on the next
day captured by an English frigate and carried into Yarmouth.

The Vigilant and the effects of her passengers were taken possession
of by the government for trial in the admiralty; and as Burr had paid
for passage to America, and was reduced very low in funds, he was
obliged to remain in England. He continued in England from the 9th of
October, 1811, till the 6th of March, 1812, when he sailed for America
in the ship Aurora, and arrived in New-York, via Boston, on the 8th of
June, 1812, just four years after his departure from America. During
his second sojourn in England he enjoyed the society and friendship of
Bentham and Godwin; but the latter could not alleviate his pecuniary
distress, and the former was probably never fully aware of it. The
diary contains a protracted record of privations, sometimes
threatening absolute and hopeless want, but endured throughout with
undisturbed and characteristic fortitude and gayety. He seems to have
missed the attentions and society which he found on his first visit to
London, and the following extract from his journal of 26th March,
1812, shows that he left England without feeling affection or regret.

"I shake the dust off my feet. Adieu, John Bull! Insula
inhospitabilis, as you were truly called 1800 years ago."


1. It is highly probable that portions of Colonel Burr's journal, with
his correspondence while in Europe, may hereafter be published in a
single volume, as a separate and distinct work.

2. Joseph Alston, son-in-law of Colonel Burr.


Immediately after Colonel Burr's arrival in the city of New-York, he
opened an office and commenced the practice of law. The high and
distinguished reputation with which he had retired from the bar in
1801 secured to him, on his return, an extensive and profitable
business. A few individuals of the profession, under the influence of
former prejudices, some of them hereditary, and as ancient as the 4th
of July, 1776, endeavoured to throw impediments in his way; but these
efforts were of short duration, and productive of but little effect.
In general, he was courteously, if not kindly received, by gentlemen
of the profession. In reference to this subject it was his request,
that while no individual should be censured, the name of his friend,
Colonel Robert Troup, should be recorded as meriting and receiving his
most grateful acknowledgments. It has been seen that their intimacy
was formed while they were yet but boys, at a period and under
circumstances "that tried men's souls." On Burr's opening his office,
Colonel Troup, having abandoned the practice of law, generously
tendered him the use of his library until it should be required for
his (Troup's) own son; which, to Burr, was a most acceptable kindness,
as he was destitute of the means of supplying even his most pressing
wants. His prospects, for the moment, were cheering and auspicious.
But they were soon "o'er-clouded with wo."

In his daughter (Mrs. Alston) and her son were centred all his hopes,
all his affections, all the ties that bound him to this life. The
following appears to have been the first letter, after his arrival in
the United States, that Burr received from his son-in-law Alston.


July 26, 1812.

A few miserable weeks since, my dear sir, and in spite of all the
embarrassments, the troubles, and disappointments which have fallen to
our lot since we parted, I would have congratulated you on your return
in the language of happiness. With my wife on one side and my boy on
the other, I felt myself superior to depression. The present was
enjoyed, the future was anticipated with enthusiasm. One dreadful blow
has destroyed us; reduced us to the veriest, the most sublimated
wretchedness. That boy, on whom all rested; our companion, our
friend--he who was to have transmitted down the mingled blood of
Theodosia and myself--he who was to have redeemed all your glory, and
shed new lustre upon our families--that boy, at once our happiness and
our pride, is taken from us--_is dead_. We saw him dead. My own hand
surrendered him to the grave; yet we are alive. But it is past. I will
not conceal from you that life is a burden, which, heavy as it is, we
shall both support, if not with dignity, at least with decency and
firmness. Theodosia has endured all that a human being could endure;
but her admirable mind will triumph. She supports herself in a manner
worthy of your daughter.

We have not yet been able to form any definite plan of life. My
present wish is that Theodosia should join you, with or without me, as
soon as possible. My command here, as brigadier-general, embarrasses
me a good deal in the disposal of _myself._ I would part with
Theodosia reluctantly; but if I find myself detained here, I shall
certainly do so. I not only recognise your claim to her after such a
separation, but change of scene and your society will aid her, I am
conscious, in recovering at least that tone of mind which we are
destined to carry through life with us.

I have great anxiety to be employed against Quebec, should an army be
ordered thither, and have letters prepared asking of the president a
brigade in that army. From the support which that request will have,
if not obtained now, I doubt not it will be at the first increase of
the military force, which, if the war be seriously carried on, must be
as soon as Congress meet. Then, be the event what it may, I shall at
least gain something. Adieu.

Yours, with respect and regard,


The effect upon Burr of this blow may be imagined by those who have
noticed his constant and unceasing anxiety for his grandson, Aaron
Burr Alston. In his intercourse, however, with the world, and in his
business pursuits, there was a promptitude and an apparent
cheerfulness which seemed to indicate a tranquillity of mind. But not
so in his lone and solitary hours. When in the society of a single
friend, if an accidental reference was made to the event, the manly
tear would be seen slowly stealing down his furrowed cheek, until, as
if awakening from a slumber, he would suddenly check those emotions of
the heart, and all would again become subdued, calm, dignified.

During this autumn (1812) Theodosia's health continued to be
precarious. Deep-settled grief, in addition to her protracted disease,
was rapidly wasting her away. She continued to correspond with her
father; but at length, in November, it was determined that she should
join him in New-York. A few short extracts of letters will unfold and
close this melancholy tale.


Charleston, S. C., December 7, 1812.

I arrived here from New-York on the 28th ult., and on the 29th started
for Columbia. Mr. Alston seemed rather hurt that you should conceive
it necessary to send a person here, as he or one of his brothers would
attend Mrs. Alston to New-York. I told him you had some opinion of my
medical talents; that you had learned your daughter was in a low state
of health, and required unusual attention, and medical attention on
her voyage; that I had torn myself from my family to perform this
service for my friend. He said that he was inclined to charter a
vessel to take her on. I informed him that I should return to
Charleston, where I should remain a day or two, and then proceed to
Georgetown (S. C.) and wait his arrival.

Georgetown, S. C., December 22, 1812.

I have engaged a passage to New-York for your daughter in a pilot-boat
that has been out privateering, but has come in here, and is refitting
merely to get to New-York. My only fears are that Governor Alston may
think the mode of conveyance too undignified, and object to it; but
Mrs. Alston is fully bent on going. You must not be surprised to see
her very low, feeble, and emaciated. Her complaint is an almost
incessant nervous fever. We shall sail in about eight days.



Columbia, S. C., January 15, 1813.

Another mail, and still no letter! I hear, too, rumours of a gale off
Cape Hatteras the beginning of the month! The state of my mind is
dreadful. Let no man, wretched as he may be, presume to think himself
beyond the reach of another blow. I shall count the hours till noon
to-morrow. If I do not hear then, there will be no hope till Tuesday.
To feelings like mine, what an interval! May God grant me one word
from you to-morrow. Adieu. All that I have left of heart is yours. All
my prayers are for your safety and well-being.

January 19, 1813.

Forebodings! wretched, heart-rending forebodings distract my mind. I
may no longer have a wife; and yet my impatient restlessness addresses
her a letter. To-morrow will be three weeks since our separation, and
not yet one line. Gracious God! for what am I reserved?



Columbia, January 19, 1813.

To-morrow will be three weeks since, in obedience to your wishes,
Theodosia left me. It is three weeks, and not yet one line from her.
My mind is tortured. I wrote you on the 29th ult., the day before
Theo. sailed, that on the next day she would embark in the privateer
_Patriot_, a pilot-boat-built schooner, commanded by Captain
Overstocks, with an old New-York pilot as sailing-master. The vessel
had dismissed her crew, and was returning home with her guns under
deck. Her reputed swiftness in sailing inspired such confidence of a
voyage of not more than five or six days, that the three weeks without
a letter fill me with an unhappiness--a wretchedness I can neither
describe nor conquer. Gracious God! Is my wife, too, taken from me? I
do not know why I write, but I feel that I am miserable.

Charleston, January 31, 1813.

A call of business to this place for a few days occasioned your letter
of the 20th not to be received till this morning. Not a moment is lost
in replying to it. Yet wherefore? You ask of me to relieve your
suspense. Alas! it was to you I looked for similar relief. I have
written you twice since my letter of December 29. I can add nothing to
the information then given. I parted with our Theo. near the bar about
noon on Thursday, the last of December. The wind was moderate and
fair. She was in the pilot-boat-built schooner Patriot, Captain
Overstocks, with an experienced New-York pilot, Coon, as
sailing-master. This vessel, the same which had been sent by
government last summer in pursuit of Commodore Rodgers's squadron, had
been selected as one which, from her reputed excellence and swiftness
in sailing, would ensure a passage of not more than five or six days.
From that moment I have heard nothing of the schooner nor my wife. I
have been the prey of feelings which you only can imagine. When I
turned from the grave of my boy I deemed myself no longer vulnerable.
Misfortune had no more a blow for me. I was wrong. It is true, I no
longer feel, I never shall feel as I was wont; but I have been taught
that there was still one being in whom I was inexpressibly interested.
I have in vain endeavoured to build upon the hope of long passage.
Thirty days are decisive. My wife is _either captured or lost_. What a
destiny is mine! and I live under it, engage in business, appear to
the world as though all was tranquil, easy. 'Tis so, but it cannot
endure. A short time since, and the idea of capture would have been
the source of painful, terrible apprehension; it now furnishes me the
only ray of comfort, or rather of hope, that I have. Each mail is
anticipated with impatient, yet fearful and appalling anxiety. Should
you hear aught relative to the object of this our common solicitude,
do not, I pray, forget me.



February 25, 1813.

Your letter of the 10th, my friend, is received. This assurance of my
fate was not wanting. Authentic accounts from Bermuda and Nassau, as
late as January 30, connected with your letter from New-York of the
28th, had already forced upon me the dreadful conviction that we had
no more to hope. Without this victim, too, the desolation would not
have been complete. My boy--my wife--gone, both! This, then, is the
end of all the hopes we had formed. You may well observe that you feel
severed from the human race. She was the last tie that bound us to the
species. What have we left? In surviving the 30th of June [1] I
thought I could meet all other afflictions with ease, yet I have
staggered under this in a manner that I am glad had not a witness.
Your letter of January 28 was not received till February 9. The Oaks,
for some months visited only at intervals, when the feelings the world
thought gone by were not to be controlled, was the asylum I sought. It
was there, in the chamber of my wife, where every thing was disposed
as usual; with the clothes, the books, the play-things of my boy
around me, that I sustained this second shock, doubled in a manner
that I could not account for. My son seemed to have been reanimated,
to have been restored to me, and to have just perished again with his
mother. It was the loss of both pressing upon me at the same moment.

Should it be my misfortune to live a Century, the 30th of June and the
10th of February are so impressed upon my mind that they will always
seem to have just passed. I visited the grave of my boy. The little
plans we had all three formed rushed upon my memory. Where now was the
boy? The mother I cherished with so much pride? I felt like the very
spirit of desolation. If it had not been for a kind of stupefaction
and confusion of mind which followed, God knows how I should have
borne it. Oh, my friend, if there be such a thing as the sublime of
misery, it is for us that it has been reserved.

You are the only person in the world with whom I can commune on this
subject; for you are the only person whose feelings can have any
community with mine. You knew those we loved. With you, therefore, it
will be no weakness to feel their loss. Here, none knew them; none
valued them as they deserved. The talents of my boy, his rare
elevation of character, his already extensive reputation for so early
an age, made his death regretted by the pride of my family; but,
though certain of the loss of my not less admirable wife, they seem to
consider it like the loss of an ordinary woman. Alas! they know
nothing of my heart. They never have known any thing of it. Yet, after
all, he is a poor actor who cannot sustain his little hour upon the
stage, be his part what it may. But the man who has been deemed worthy
of the heart of _Theodosia Burr_, and who has felt what it was to be
blessed with such a woman's, will never forget his elevation.


This distressing correspondence between Colonel Burr and Governor
Alston was continued during the year 1813; but the unfortunate
Theodosia was never again heard of, except in idle rumours and
exaggerated tales of her capture and murder by pirates. These reports,
it is believed, were without foundation. The schooner on board which
she had taken passage probably foundered, and every soul perished in a
heavy gale which was experienced along our whole coast a few days
after her departure from Georgetown.

Colonel Burr, on his return to the United States, mingled but little
in society. He only knew those who first recognised him. In the
ordinary conflicts of the political parties of the day he seemed to
feel but little interest, and rarely interfered. From them he sought
neither honour nor emolument. He pursued his profession, however, with
great ardour and some success; but was continually embarrassed, and
sometimes experienced great difficulty from the pressure of his old
debts. The following extract will afford some general idea of his


New-York, October 16, 1815.

I have found it so difficult to answer that part of your letter which
regards myself and my concerns, that it has been deferred, though
often in my mind. At some other time I may give you, in detail, a
sketch of the sad period which has elapsed since my return. For the
present, it will suffice to say that my business affords me a decent
support. If I had not been interrupted in the career which I began, I
should, before this, have paid all my debts and been at ease.

My old creditors (principally the holders of the Mexican debts) came
upon me last winter with vindictive fury. I was held to bail in large
sums, and saw no probability of keeping out of prison for six months.
This danger is still menacing, but not quite so imminent. I shall
neither borrow nor receive from any one, not even from you. I have
determined not to begin to pay unless I see a prospect of paying all.


When any great political question agitated the country, such as a
presidential election, Mr. Burr seemed to feel it his duty to express
his opinion to those whom he supposed confided in his discernment or
his patriotism. On these occasions he spake with great freedom and
boldness. Many of his letters exhibit all that sagacity and talent for
which he was so pre-eminently distinguished. It has been seen by the
extract from Blennerhassett's private journal, that he did not
complain in 1807 of any act done by General Andrew Jackson. The
following will show that he remained under the influence of similar
feelings in 1815.


New-York, November 20, 1815.

A congressional caucus will, in the course of the ensuing month,
nominate James Monroe for President of the United States, and will
call on all good republicans to support the nomination.

Whether we consider the measure itself, the character and talents of
the man, or the state whence he comes, this nomination is equally
exceptionable and odious.

I have often heard your opinion of these congressional nominations.
They are hostile to all freedom and independence of suffrage. A
certain junto of actual and factitious Virginians, having had
possession of the government for twenty-four years, consider the
United States as their property, and, by bawling "Support the
Administration," have so long succeeded in duping the republican
public. One of their principal arts, and which has been systematically
taught by Jefferson, is that of promoting state dissensions, not
between republican and federal--that would do them no good--but
schisms in the republican party. By looking round you will see how the
attention of leading men in the different states has thus been turned
from general and _state_ politics. Let not this disgraceful domination

Independently of the manner of the nomination and the location of the
candidate, the man himself is one of the most improper and incompetent
that could be selected. Naturally dull and stupid; extremely
illiterate; indecisive to a degree that would be incredible to one who
did not know him; pusillanimous, and, of course, hypocritical; has no
opinion on any subject, and will be always under the government of the
worst men; pretends, as I am told, to some knowledge of military
matters, but never commanded a platoon, nor was ever fit to command
one. "_He served in the Revolutionary War!_"--that is, he acted a
short time as aid-de-camp to Lord Stirling, who was regularly
********. Monroe's whole duty was to fill his lordship's tankard, and
hear, with indications of admiration, his lordship's long stories
about himself. Such is Monroe's military experience. I was with my
regiment in the same division at the time. As a lawyer, Monroe was far
below mediocrity.

He never rose to the honour of trying a cause of the value of a
hundred pounds. This is a character exactly suited to the views of the
Virginia junto.

To this junto you have twice sacrificed yourself, and what have you
got by it? Their hatred and abhorrence. Did you ever know them to
countenance a man of talents and independence? Never--nor ever will.

It is time that you manifested that you had some individual character;
some opinion of your own; some influence to support that opinion. Make
them fear you, and they will be at your feet. Thus far they have
reason to believe that you fear them.

The moment is extremely auspicious for breaking down this degrading
system. The best citizens of our country acknowledge the feebleness of
our administration. They acknowledge that offices are bestowed merely
to preserve power, and without the smallest regard to fitness. If,
then, there be a man in the United States of firmness and decision,
and having standing enough to afford even a hope of success, it is
your duty to hold him up to public view: that man is _Andrew Jackson_.
Nothing is wanting but a respectable nomination, made before the
proclamation of the Virginia caucus, and _Jackson's_ success is

If this project should accord with your views, I could wish to see
_you_ prominent in the execution of it. It must be known to be _your_
work. Whether a formal and open nomination should now be made, or
whether you should, for the present, content yourself with barely
denouncing, by a joint resolution of both houses of your legislature,
congressional caucuses and nominations, you only can judge. One
consideration inclines me to hesitate about the policy of a present
nomination. It is this--that Jackson ought first to be admonished to
be passive: for, the moment he shall be announced as a candidate, he
will be assailed by the Virginia junto with menaces, and with
insidious promises of boons and favours. _There is danger that Jackson
might be wrought upon by such practices_. If an open nomination be
made, an express should be instantly sent to him.

This suggestion has not arisen from any exclusive attachment to
Jackson. The object is to break down this vile combination which rules
and degrades the United States. If you should think that any other man
could be held up with better prospect of success, name that man. I
know of no such. But the business must be accomplished, and on this
occasion, and by you. So long as the present system prevails, you will
be struggling against wind and tide to preserve a precarious
influence. You will never be forgiven for the crime of having talents
and independence.

Exhibit yourself, then, and emerge from this state of nullity. You owe
it to yourself, you owe it to me, you owe it to your country, you owe
it to the memory of the dead.

I have talked of this matter to your late secretary, but he has not
seen this letter.


Your secretary was to have delivered this personally, but has changed
his course on hearing that Jackson is on his way to Washington. If you
should have any confidential friend among the members of Congress from
your state, charge him to caution Jackson against the perfidious
caresses with which he will be overwhelmed at Washington.

A. B.

New-York, December 11, 1815.

A copy of the preceding went under cover to Dr. Wragg. Since that date
things are wonderfully advanced, as your secretary will write or tell
you. These will require a written message (letter) from yourself and
others (or yourself alone, but three names would look more formal),
advising Jackson what is doing; that communications have been had with
the Northern states, requiring him only to be passive, and asking from
him a list of persons in the Western states to whom you may address
your letters.



Charleston, February 16, 1816.

Your letter of the 20th of November, entrusted to Mr. Phillips, was
received through the postoffice about the middle of last month. It
was, of course, too late, had circumstances been ever so favourable,
to be acted upon in the manner proposed. Had it even been received,
however, in due season, it would have found me utterly incapable of
exertion. On my way to Columbia, in November, I had another severe
attack of illness, which rendered absolutely impracticable either the
immediate prosecution of my journey or my attendance during the
session of the legislature. As soon as I was able to bear the motion
of a carriage, I was brought by short stages to this place, where I
have been confined ever since. Yesterday was the first time for two
months that I have been out of the house. So much for the miserable
remnant of myself.

With regard to the subject of your letter of the 20th of November, I
fully coincide with you in sentiment; but the spirit, the energy, the
health necessary to give practical effect to sentiment, are all gone.
I feel too much alone, too entirely unconnected with the world, to
take much interest in any thing. Yet, without the smallest solicitude
about the result, I shall certainly not fail to discharge my public
duty, whenever the opportunity occurs, by giving a very strong and
frank expression of my opinion on the subject suggested.

Vanderlyn, I perceive from the papers, has returned to New-York.
Nothing, I trust, has prevented his bringing back the portrait [2] you
left with him. Let me again entreat you to use your influence with him
in procuring me a good copy. I received some days since, through the
kindness of Mr. John B. Prevost, a miniature, which appears to have
been taken from Vanderlyn's portrait. The execution is good, but in
expression it is by no means equal to the portrait. There was a small
portrait of Natalie which you took with you, of which, if Vanderlyn
embraces that kind of painting in his present plan, I should be glad
also to obtain of him a copy. The original picture, I think, was the
best portrait I ever saw.

Yours affectionately,


In this depressed state of mind and debilitated state of body Governor
Alston remained until summer, when he died. Whatever may have been
appearances to the contrary, it is highly probable that, after the
death of his son and wife, he never enjoyed happiness. Their loss
continually preyed upon him. To Colonel Burr, and, it would seem, to
him alone, he unbosomed himself. All his letters breathe a deep and
settled gloom, bordering on despondency--a gloom which time could not
subdue or change.


Rosehill, near Georgetown, October 4, 1916.


It was enjoined on me, and my brother John A. Alston, verbally, by our
late brother Joseph Alston, to send a certain trunk to you, which he
never had the courage to open, containing, as he said, some things
that belonged to your daughter Theodosia; and to send a certain
collection of other articles (of dress, I believe), that had also been
hers, to the eldest daughter of Mr. J. B. Prevost. Pray point you out
the way, sir, in which our trust is to be executed.

In his will, of which a copy shall be sent you if desired, my brother
has given all demands up to you that he had against you. Very


P. S. These are alone the words relating to you in the will: "To my
father-in-law, Aaron Burr, I give, devise, and bequeath all demands I
may have against him, whether by judgment or otherwise."

The trunk and other articles above referred to were subsequently
transmitted to Colonel Burr. Among the private papers of Theodosia
there are some fragments and scraps of much interest. In the summer of
1805 she was dangerously ill, and she appears, from the following
letter, to have been greatly depressed in mind.


August 6, 1805.

Whether it is the effect of extreme debility and disordered nerves, or
whether it is really presentiment, the existence of which I have been
often told of, and always doubted, I cannot tell; but something
whispers me that my end approaches. In vain I reason with myself; in
vain I occupy my mind, and seek to fix my attention on other subjects
; there is about me that dreadful heaviness and sinking of the heart,
that awful foreboding, of which it is impossible to divest myself.
Perhaps I am now standing on the brink of eternity; and, ere I plunge
in the fearful abyss, I have some few requests to make.

I wish your sisters (one of them, it is immaterial which) would select
from my clothes certain things which they will easily perceive
belonged to my mother. These, with whatever lace they find in a large
trunk in a garret-room of the Oaks house, added to a little satinwood
box (the largest, and having a lock and key), and a black satin
embroidered box, with a pincushion; all these things I wish they would
put together in one trunk, and send them to Frederic, with the
enclosed letter. I prefer him, because Bartow's wife would have little
respect for what, however trifling it may appear, I nevertheless deem

I beg Sister Maria will accept of my watch-ring. She will find a
locket which she gave me, containing the hair of her mother; she had
better take it. If the lace in my wardrobe at the Oaks will be of any
use to Charlotte, I beg she will take it, or any thing else she
wishes. My heart is with those dear amiable sisters, to give them
something worth preserving in recollection of me; but they know that a
warm friendship is all I have to give.

Return to mamma the eagle she gave me. Should an opportunity to
Catharine Brown ever occur, send her a pearl necklace, a small diamond
ring, a little pair of coral tablets, which are among my trinkets at
the Oaks. I pray you, my dear husband, send Bartow's daughter some
present for me, and to himself and Frederic a lock of my hair. Return
Natalie the little desk she gave me, accompanied by assurances of my
affectionate recollection, and a ring of my hair. Remember me to
Sally, who is truly amiable, and whom I sincerely esteem.

I beg, also, you will write immediately to New-York, for warding some
money for the comfortable support of _Peggy_ until my father can
provide for her. Do not permit grief at the loss of me to render you
forgetful of this, for the poor creature may expire of want in the
mean time. I beg this may be attended to without delay.

To you, my beloved, I leave our child; the child of my bosom, who was
once a part of myself, and from whom I shall shortly be separated by
the cold grave. You love him now; henceforth love him for me also. And
oh, my husband, attend to this last prayer of a doting mother. Never,
never listen to what any other person tells you of him. Be yourself
his judge on all occasions. He has faults; see them, and correct them
yourself. Desist not an instant from your endeavours to secure his
confidence. It is a work which requires as much uniformity of conduct
as warmth of affection towards him. I know, my beloved, that you can
perceive what is right on this subject as on every other. But
recollect, these are the last words I can ever utter. It will
tranquillize my last moments to have disburdened myself of them.

I fear you will scarcely be able to read this scrawl, but I feel
hurried and agitated. Death is not welcome to me. I confess it is ever
dreaded. You have made me too fond of life. Adieu, then, thou kind,
thou tender husband. Adieu, friend of my heart. May Heaven prosper
you, and may we meet hereafter. Adieu; perhaps we may never see each
other again in this world. You are away, I wished to hold you fast,
and prevented you from going this morning. But He who is wisdom itself
ordains events; we must submit to them. Least of all should I murmur.
I, on whom so many blessings have been showered--whose days have been
numbered by bounties--who have had such a husband, such a child, and
such a father. Oh pardon me, my God, if I regret leaving these. I
resign myself. Adieu, once more, and for the last time, my beloved.
Speak of me often to our son. Let him love the memory of his mother,
and let him know how he was loved by her. Your wife, your fond wife,


Let my father see my son sometimes. Do not be unkind towards him whom
I have loved so much, I beseech you. Burn all my papers except my
father's letters, which I beg you to return him. Adieu, my sweet boy.
Love your father; be grateful and affectionate to him while he lives;
be the pride of his meridian, the support of his departing days. Be
all that he wishes; for he made your mother happy. Oh! my heavenly
Father, bless them both. If it is permitted, I will hover round you,
and guard you, and intercede for you. I hope for happiness in the next
world, for I have not been bad in this.

I had nearly forgotten to say that I charge you not to allow me to be
stripped and washed, as is usual. I am pure enough thus to return to
dust. Why, then, expose my person? Pray see to this. If it does not
appear contradictory or silly, I beg to be kept as long as possible
before I am consigned to the earth.

[Directed--"_My husband_. To be delivered after my death. I wish this
to be read _immediately_, and before my burial."]

Although Colonel Burr seldom interfered in the politics of his own
country, yet he continued to feel a deep and abiding interest in the
emancipation of South America. He was constantly projecting some
measure which in his opinion was calculated to promote this object. He
encouraged the friends of freedom in that benighted land. He
corresponded with those who were connected with any enterprise
favouring the revolution, and consulted and advised with all who
visited the United States, and sought his advice on the subject. The
following letter will show the wishes of distinguished Mexicans in the
year 1816.



New-York, September 20, 1816.


Although I have not the honour of knowing you personally, the
reputation of your talents and good wishes for the cause of America
have made your name familiar among us; and since this will dispense
the accustomed forms of introduction, I dare present to your
consideration the actual state of our revolution, our evils, and the
remedies which we believe may be applied to them.

It is six years since that, almost simultaneously, the standard of
liberty was raised by different provinces of Spanish America, and the
cry of independence was heard from the territory of Mexico to the
extremities of Chili. The inhabitants, determined to resist their
European oppressors, formed themselves in groups under the name of
armies, and placed at the head of them persons of the first
reputation. Hundreds of battles have been fought, decided solely by
dint of valour, without the assistance of military art or skill; the
youth and most illustrious families have been sacrificed, and even
entire populations have disappeared in a struggle so just, but
unfortunately conducted with inaptitude or marked with cruelty.

I, among others, have been honoured with the confidence of the command
of the Mexican troops; and at the close of so many sacrifices we have
only come to a knowledge of the character of the people and of
ourselves. Both are well disposed, and there is only wanting, to
complete our wishes, that these dispositions be directed with
calculation and wisdom for the public good.

My voyage to this country has for its object not only to obtain the
means for continuing the war, but to seek the person best capable of
employing them. This is the desire of that people; and I can assure
you that their wish and mine would be satisfied at the same time, if
we should have the fortune of your assuming the management of our
political and military affairs in the dangerous crisis in which we
find ourselves.

I hope that, in behalf of the cause of America and of humanity, you
will accept this offer, which I have the honour to make you in the
name of that people, and

I am, sir,

With the greatest respect and consideration,



The invitation of General Toledo was not accepted. Colonel Burr,
however, continued to act with his accustomed zeal in behalf of the
South American patriots; and in 1819 the Republic of Venezuela granted
him the following commission:--


Republic of Venezuela, Palace of the Governor, Angostura, October 9,

John Baptiste Arismendi, of the Order of Liberators,

Captain-general of the Armies, and Vice-president of the State, &c.,
&c., &c.

Whereas Aaron Burr, citizen of the United States of North America, has
proved, to the satisfaction of this government, his ardent love for
the cause of liberty and independence, and his desire to be actively
employed in its service, as one most worthy of a freeman and a
philanthropist, and most glorious for an American who has fought for
the rights of his native land:

Therefore, in compliance with his (noble) praiseworthy wishes, and in
fulfilment of a duty imposed upon me by the absence of the president
of the republic in the territory of New Grenada, and impressed with
the necessity of rendering assistance to all other countries of South
America and Mexico now contending against the civil and religious
tyranny of the Spanish government,

I hereby authorize the above-named Aaron Burr (without violation of
established laws and customs) to raise troops for sea and land
service, to aid this government or any other now struggling in the
same cause against the despotism of Spain; provided that, in thus
contending against the common enemy, he conform to established
ordinances, the laws of nations, and the acknowledged usages among
countries that aspire to emancipation and liberty.

And I declare that, it not being possible to organize _gratuitously_
naval or land expeditions in all parts of the country, the property
taken from the enemy being insufficient to defray the expenses, this
republic and any other that may be benefited or assisted by the said
Aaron Burr shall hold their funds responsible for any debts contracted
by him in the premises.

Therefore, that he may proceed with that order which the exigence of
the case requires, the _"commissioned"_ (A. B.) shall render an
account, and advise of all contracts entered into by him in the
fulfilment of his commission, in order that they may be examined and
approved in anticipation (of payment). But it will be understood that
the government is unable at this time to pay its troops regularly; and
the latter will not be justified in relying on any thing more than a
bare subsistence or an occasional provision, more or less, according
to circumstances. This notice to be given to _all_ enlisting under his
banners. This measure is rendered necessary, lest the good faith of
the government should be compromised. An account of all military
stipends will be kept by the government, that they may be liquidated
in proportion to the increase of its resources. The republic exacts
this service only during the continuance of the war. At its
termination each soldier shall receive as a bounty a landed estate of
the value of five hundred dollars; and all officers shall be paid in
proportion, in conformity with the provisions of the law, or the
decree for the division of national property, in addition to the
personal rights with which the gratitude of Venezuela constitutionally
recognises the services performed in its cause.

And that the above-named Aaron Burr may legally exert himself in
favour of the emancipation and liberty of Venezuela and New Grenada,
and all other countries of South America and Mexico now contending
against the arbitrary and oppressive power of Spain, without in any
manner giving offence to friendly or neutral powers, so long as they
shall preserve their amity and neutrality, I grant to him this
commission, signed with my hand, sealed with the provisional seal of
the republic, and countersigned by the secretary of state and foreign
affairs, in the place, day, month, and year above named.



JUAN G. ROSCW, Secretary of State and F.A.

It was thus that Colonel Burr was employed after his return from
Europe until near the close of his life. During his leisure hours, if
any such he had, his mind was occupied for several years in directing
the education of two young ladies (Misses Eden) who were his wards,
and for whom, in a protracted lawsuit, he had recovered a valuable
estate. His regular and constant correspondence with these ladies,
pointing out their errors, their improvements, and the studies which
they were to pursue from day to day, was to them invaluable, and well
calculated to "teach the young idea how to shoot." Copies of these
letters are preserved, and it was originally intended to have
published portions of them in this work, but no space remains. They
would form a pleasing and interesting treatise on female education.

Although Colonel Burr's pecuniary means were limited, yet he was not
destitute. He had an annual income of a few hundred dollars, in
addition to his half-pay as a colonel in the revolutionary army. For
two or three years before his death he suffered under the effects of a
paralysis. Much of the time he was in a measure helpless, so far as
locomotion was concerned. His general health, however, was tolerably
good, by using great precaution in his diet. He had long abstained
from the use of either tea or coffee as affecting his nervous system.
His mind retained much of its vigour, and his memory, as to events of
long standing, seemed to be unimpaired. Few octogenarians had as
little of what is termed the garrulity of age as Colonel Burr. He
never was a great talker, and in the decline of life retained much of
that dignified sedateness which had characterized his meridian. When
visited by strangers he received them with courtesy, unless his pride
became awakened by a suspicion that the visit was one of idle or
impertinent curiosity. On such occasions his manner was formal, cold,
repulsive. Under sufferings of body or mind he seldom complained; but,
during the last year of his life, he became more restive and
impatient. The friends of his youth had gone before him. All the ties
of consanguinity which could operate in uniting him to the world were
severed asunder. To him there remained no brother, no sister, no
child, no lineal descendant. He had numbered four-score years, and was
incapable, from disease, of moving abroad, or even dressing himself.
He therefore became restless, and seemed anxious for the arrival of
the hour when his eyes should be closed in everlasting sleep. At
length that hour came, and his mortal career terminated without a
struggle on Wednesday, the 14th of September, 1836, in the
eighty-first year of his age, on Staten Island, Richmond county, state
of New-York, whither he had been removed for the benefit of pure air
during the warm season. In conformity with his wish, his body was
removed to Princeton, New-Jersey. The New-York Courier and Enquirer of
the 19th of September gives the following account of his funeral.

_From the Courier and Enquirer._

"On Friday morning, the 16th of September, the body of the late
Colonel Aaron Burr was put on board a steamboat at Staten Island, and
conveyed, with a number of his friends and relatives, from New-York to
Amboy. Here it, with the followers, was received by the railroad cars
and taken to Hightstown, nine miles from Princeton. A hearse and
carriage having been previously prepared, the remains, with the
friends of the departed, proceeded immediately to Princeton College,
where the body was deposited until the hour of interment should
arrive--half past three o'clock.

"At the appointed hour, the professors, collegians, and citizens
having assembled, the ceremony commenced by a prayer to the Throne of
Grace. It was succeeded by a most eloquent, appropriate, and judicious
sermon, delivered by the president of the college; after which the
procession was formed on the college green, and proceeded to the
burying-ground under an escort of the military, accompanied by martial
music. He was interred with the honours of war. The firing over the
grave was performed by a well-disciplined infantry corps, designated
as the Mercer Guards. The professors and students of the college, and
some of the clergy and citizens, united with the relatives and friends
of the deceased in the procession.

"The interment was in the college burying-place, near the tombs of his
ancestors, in his native state, under the superintendence of the
fathers of that seat of learning where the budding of his mighty mind
first displayed itself, where it was cultivated and matured, and where
the foundation was laid for those intellectual endowments which he
afterward exhibited on the great theatre of life. He has shed a halo
of literary glory around Nassau Hall. Through a long pilgrimage he
loved her as the disciplinarian of his youthful mind. He vaunted that
he was one of her earliest and most attached sons. He joyed in her
success and sorrowed in her misfortunes. In this her last act of
respect to his memory, she has repaid those kind feelings in which he
indulged during a long life; and heartless must be the friend of the
deceased who remembers not with gratitude this testimony of regard for
the giant mind of him who must fill a large space in the history of
his country. Peace be to his manes."

_Extract from the Minutes of the Cliosophic Society._

"The Cliosophic Society having this morning received the mournful
intelligence of the decease of Colonel Aaron Burr, formerly
Vice-president of the United States, an eminent member, and one of the
founders of our institution, would, in consideration of his eminence
and talents, as well as the zeal with which he has promoted the
interests of our association, pay to his memory a tribute of respect
expressive of our admiration of his greatness and regret at his
demise. Be it therefore

_"Resolved,_ That the efforts of this individual in behalf of our
society during her infant struggle, and the affectionate interest
which he has at all times manifested for her success, claim from us an
expression of condolence for his loss and gratitude for his services.

"2d. That the whole society follow his remains to the grave as

"3d. That, as a feeble testimony of our respect, the members wear
crape on the left arm for the space of thirty days.

"4th. That these resolutions be published in the Princeton Whig,
New-York Courier and Enquirer, New-York Gazette, Commercial
Advertiser, United States Gazette, and United States Telegraph."


1. The day on which his son died.

2. The portrait of Theodosia.


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