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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 Jefferson was elected, the opposition of Vermont, Delaware, and Maryland was withdrawn, and on the 36th ballot, your father, the late James A. Bayard, put in a blank ballot, myself and my colleagues did the same, and General Morris absented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 apprised 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 runours, 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 tbey 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 prívy to all the arrangements made, and attended all the meetings of the federal party when consulting on the course to be pursued in rela. tion 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.” pp. 114-119.
In February 1804, Colonel Burr, then vice-president, was nominated for the situation of governor of the state of New York. He was opposed by Judge Morgan Lewis, the regular democratic candidate, who was successful. The contest was excessively acrimonious. Burr had the luck of possessing the most determined opponents in the ranks of both the great political parties of the country. Immediately upon Mr. Burr's being placed in opposition to Jefferson, all the bitterness of that gentleman's nature—and every one will admit him to have had å tolerable share of that quality-was poured forth upon his rival. Destruction to his political hopes and prospects was determined upon by the adıninistration-and the inferiors in the line of office-holders and dependents followed suit of course, allowing none of the bile of their leader to be diluted in their use of it. Hamilton's antipathy to Burr was grounded upon much more honourable motives—a real dislike, approaching to abhorrence, of his principles, sentiments, and conduct. This, so far as respected his public career, he was not backward at any period in expressing. Burr was goaded to fury by the result of the governor's election. It showed him that he had lost entirely the confidence of the democratic party—and that there was but little prospect of success with any, so long as Hamilton and his friends lived and retained their influence. He therefore determined to single out the “evil genius of this country"_as Mr.
Jefferson was pleased on one occasion to designate General Hamilton-and call upon him for explanations which he felt assured his rival would never offer, and that therefore a hostile meeting must be the result—or, if he did offer them, that his character with men of the world would be gone for ever. The country knows full well how Mr. Burr succeeded in his objectand the melancholy upshot of the protracted discussion.
The particulars of the duel, and the causes which led to it, have been so often discussed as not to fail to be familiar. We therefore do not mean to dwell upon them at any length, but intend merely to present a few extracts, which are either in themselves peculiarly interesting or have the merit of some novelty. The general impression, we believe, ever since the unfortunate occurrence, has been unfavourable to Mr. Burrand even the partial exhibition of the case which his biographer furnishes, cannot remove it in the slightest degree. No one can peruse the correspondence without a conviction of predetermined hostility on the part of Burr-and the intention of a resort to the ultima ratio among " men of honour.” A perusal of the letters induced very mournful trains of thought. That such a man as Hamilton should have been induced from a false sense of what was due to his position in society, to violate the laws of his country and of his God, and against, too, the convictions of his own better nature, cannot indeed be recalled without painful enotions. Would that the awful consequence had been longer felt in its effects upon the tone and temper of society.
We give what fell from the pen of each just before the expected meeting. It is related of Hamilton
"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 politi
cal 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 disarowal 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. Í 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 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 country.
“ 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 explanation 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 io 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 ihis particular.
“ A. H.” The duel took place on the 11th of July, 1804, on the 10th, Mr. Burr wrote thus to his daughter :
“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 dolJars in cash as a reward for her fidelity. Dispose of Nancy as you please. She is bonest, 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.) ladvise you, by all means, to keep him as the valet of your son. Persuade Peggy to live with you you
“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, tjed with a red string, which you will find in the litile 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.
“ A. BURR. "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.
“A. BURR." And on the same day to his son-in-law, Governor Alston
“New YORK, July 10, 1804. "My dear sir-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.
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
I 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 improvemenis.
“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. É. Hunt, who was one of your chancellors.
“Messrs. R. Bunner, William Duer, John Duer, and J. W. Smith, of