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new and useful. How often, and how truly, individual, or how insignificant the subject. has the same remark been made of him. Nor | With Mr. Jefferson this was a sacred law, and is this wonderful; when we reflect, that that as he always wrote at a polygraphic desk, copies mind of matchless vigor and versatility had have been preserved of every letter. His corbeen, all its life, intensely engaged in conversing respondence travelled far beyond his own counwith the illustrious dead, or following the march try, and embraced within its circle many of the of science in every land, or soaring away, on its most distinguished men of his age in Europe. own steady and powerful wing, into new and What a feast for the mind may we not expect unexplored regions of thought.

from the published letters of these excellent Shall I follow him to the table of his elegant men! They were both masters in this way, hospitality, and show him to you in the bosom though somewhat contrasted. Mr. Adams, of his enchanting family? Alas! those attic plain, nervous, and emphatic, the thought days are gone; that sparkling eye is quenched; couched in the fewest and strongest words, that voice of pure and delicate affection, which and striking with a kind of epigrammatic force. ran with such brilliancy and effect through the Mr. Jefferson, flowing with easy and careless whole compass of colloquial music, now bright melody, the language at the same time pruned with wit, now melting with tenderness, is of every redundant word, and giving the thought hushed for ever in the grave! But let me leave with the happiest precision, the aptest words a theme on which friendship and gratitude have, dropping unbidden and unsought into their I fear, already been tempted to linger too long. places, as if they had fallen from the skies;

There was one solace of the declining years and so beautiful, so felicitous, as to fill the mind of both these great men, which must not be with a succession of delightful surprises, while passed. It is that correspondence which arose the judgment is, at the same time, made captive between them, after their retirement from pub- by the closely compacted energy of the argulic life. That correspondence, it is to be hoped, ment. Mr. Jefferson's style is so easy and harwill be given to the world. If it ever shall, i monious, as to have led superficial readers to speak from knowledge when I say it will be remark that he was deficient in strength; as if found to be one of the most interesting and af- ruggedness and abruptness were essential to fecting that the world has ever seen. That strength. Mr. Jefferson's strength was inherent “cold cloud” which had hung for a time over in the thoughts and conceptions, though hidden their friendship, passed away with the conflict by the light and graceful vestments which he out of which it had grown, and the attachment threw over them. The internal divinity existof their early life returned in all its force. They ed and was felt, though concealed under the had both now bid adieu, a final adieu, to all finely harmonized form of a man; and if he did public employments, and were done with all not exhibit himself in his compositions with the the agitating passions of life. They were dead insignia of Hercules, the shaggy lion's skin and to the ambitious world; and this correspond- the knotted club; he bore the full quiver and ence resembles, more than any thing else, one the silver bow of Apollo; and every polished of those conversations in the Elysium of the an- shaft that he loosened from the string told with cients, which the shades of the departed great unerring and fatal precision : were supposed by them to hold, with regard to the affairs of the world they had left. There Δεινη δε κλαγγη γενετ' αργυρεοιο βιοιο. are the same playful allusions to the points of difference that had divided their parties; the These two great men, so eminently distinsame mutual, and light, and unimpassioned guished among the patriots of the Revolution, raillery on their own past misconceptions and and so illustrious by their subsequent services, mistakes; the same mutual and just admiration became still more so, by having so long survived and respect for their many virtues and services all that were most highly conspicuous among to mankind. That correspondence was, to them their coevals. All the stars of first magnitude, both, one of the most genial employments of in the equatorial and tropical regions, had long their old age; and it reads a lesson of wisdom since gone down, and still they remained. Still on the bitterness of party spirit, by which the they stood full in view, like those two resplenwise and the good will not fail to profit. dent constellations near the opposite poles,

Besides this affectionate intercourse between which never set to the inhabitants of the neighthem, you are aware of the extensive corres-boring zones. pondence which they maintained with others, But they, too, were doomed at length to set; and of which some idea may be formed by those and such was their setting as no American letters which, since their death, have already bosom can ever forget! broken upon us through the press, from quar- In the midst of their fast decaying strength, ters so entirely unexpected. They were con- and when it was seen that the approach of sidered as the living historians of the Revolu- death was certain, their country and its glory tion, and of the past age, as well as oracles of still occupied their thoughts, and circulated wisdom to all who consulted them. Their with the last blood that was ebbing to their habit in this particular seems to have been the hearts. Those who surrounded the death-bed same; never to omit answering any respectful of Mr. Jefferson report, that in the few short letter they received, no matter how obscure the lintervals of deliriuin that occurred, his mind manifestly relapsed to the age of the Revolu- | affairs! Philosophy, recovered of her surprise, tion, He talked, in broken sentences, of the may affect to treat the coincidence as fortuicommittees of safety, and the rest of that great tous. But philosophy herself was mute, at the machinery, which he imagined to be still in moment, under the pressure of the feeling that action. One of his exclamations was, “Warn these illustrious men had rather been translated, the committee to be on their guard;" and he than had died. It is in vain to tell us that men instantly rose in his bed, with the help of his die by thousands every day in the year, all over attendants, and went through the act of writing the world. The wonder is, not that two men a hurried note. But these intervals were few have died on the same day, but that two such and short. His reason was almost constantly men, after having performed so many and such upon her throne, and the only aspiration he splendid services in the cause of liberty-after was heard to breathe, was the prayer, that he the multitude of other coincidences which seem might live to see the fourth of July. When to have linked their destinies together-after that day came, all that he was heard to whis- having lived so long together, the objects of per was the repeated ejaculation—“Nunc Dom- their country's joint veneration—after having ine dimittas ”-Now, Lord, let thy servant de- been spared to witness the great triumph of part in peace! And the prayer of the patriot their toils at home-and looked together from was heard and answered.

Pisgah's top, on the sublime effect of that grand The patriarch of Quincy, too, with the same impulse which they had given to the same glocertainty of death before him, prayed only for rious cause throughout the world, should, on the protraction of his life to the same day. His this fiftieth anniversary of the day on which prayer was also heard: and when a messenger they had ushered that cause into light, be both from the neighboring festivities, unapprised of caught up to Heaven, together, in the midst of his danger, was deputed to ask him for the their raptures! Is there a being, of heart so honor of a toast, he showed the object on obdurate and sceptical, as not to feel the hand which his dying eyes were fixed, and exclaimed and hear the voice of Heaven in this wonderful with energy, "Independence for ever!” His dispensation! And may we not, with revercountry first, his country last, his country ence, interpret its language? Is it not this? always!

“These are my beloved servants, in whom I am

well pleased. They have finished the work for “O save my country-Heaven! he said—and died !” which I sent them into the world; and are now

called to their reward. Go ye, and do like Hitherto, fellow-citizens, the fourth of July wise ! " had been celebrated among us, only as the anni

One circumstance, alone, remains to be noversary of our independence, and its votaries ticed. In a private memorandum found among had been merely human beings. But at its last some other obituary papers and relics of Mr. recurrence—the great jubilee of the nation-the Jefferson, is a suggestion, in case a memorial anniversary, it may well be termed, of the over him should ever be thought of, that a liberty of man-Heaven, itself, mingled visibly granite obelisk, of small dimensions, should be in the celebration, and hallowed the day anew erected, with the following inscription : by a double apotheosis. Is there one among us to whom this language seems too strong? Let him recall his own feelings, and the objection

THOMAS JEFFERSON, will vanish. When the report first reached us,

Author of the Declaration of Independence,

Of the Statutes of Virginia, for Religious Freedom, of the death of the great man whose residence And Father of the University of Virginia. was nearest, who among us was not struck with the circumstance that he should have been re- All the long catalogue of his great, and moved on the day of his own highest glory? splendid, and glorious services, reduced to this And who, after the first shock of the intelli- brief and modest summary! gence had passed, did not feel a thrill of mourn- Thus lived and thus died our sainted Patriots ! ful delight at the characteristic beauty of the May their spirits still continue to hover over close of such a life. But while our bosoms were their countrymen, inspire all their counsels, yet swelling with admiration at this singularly and guide them in the same virtuous and noble beautiful coincidence, when the second report path? And may that God, in whose hands are immediately followed, of the death of the great the issues of all things, confirm and perpetuate sage of Quincy, on the same day—I appeal to to us the inestimable boon, which through their yourselves is there a voice that was not hushed, agency he has bestowed; and make our Columis there a heart that did not quail, at this close bia the bright exemplar for all the struggling manifestation of the hand of Heaven in our sons of liberty around the globe!


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In May, 1807, Aaron Burr was arraigned in , dermine the liberties of a great portion of the the Circuit Court of the United States, held at people of this country, and subject them to a Richmond, Virginia, for treason, in preparing usurper and a despot, we are obliged to use the

terms which convey those ideas. Why then the means of a military expedition against the are gentlemen so sensitive? Why on these ocpossessions of the King of Spain, with whom casions, so necessary, so unavoidable, do they the United States were at peace.* Under the shrink back with so much agony of nerve, as if,

instead of a hall of justice, we were in a drawdirection of President Jefferson, Mr. Wirt was

ing-room with Colonel Burr, and were barbarretained, to assist the United States Attorney ously violating towards him every principle of in the prosecution, and in the course of the decorum and humanity? trial, he spoke as follows:

Mr. Wickham has, indeed, invited us to con

sider the subject abstractedly; and we have MAY IT PLEASE your Honors: It is my duty been told that it is expected to be so considto proceed, on the part of the United States, in ered; but sir, if this were practicable, would opposing this motion. But I should not deem there be no danger in it? Would there be no it my duty to oppose it, if it were founded on danger, while we were mooting points, pursucorrect principles. I stand here with the same ing ingenious hypotheses, chasing elementary independence of action, which belongs to the principles over the wide extended plains and Attorney of the United States; and as he would Alpine heights of abstracted law, that we should certainly relinquish the prosecution the mo- lose sight of the great question before the court? ment he became convinced of its injustice, so This may suit the purposes of the counsel for also most certainly would I. The humanity the prisoner; but it does not, therefore, necesand justice of this nation would revolt at the sarily suit the purposes of truth and justice. It idea of a prosecution, pushed on against a life will be proper, when we have derived a prinwhich stood protected by the laws; but whe-ciple from law or argument, that we should ther they would or not, I would not plant a bring it to the case before the court, in order thorn, to rankle for life in my heart, by open, to test its application and its practical truth. ing my lips in support of a prosecution which I In doing which, we are driven into the nature felt and believed to be unjust. But believing, of the case, and must speak of it as we find it. as I do, that this motion is not founded in jus- But, besides, the gentlemen have themselves tice, that it is a mere manæuvre to obstruct the rendered this totally abstracted argument cominquiry, to turn it from the proper course, to pletely impossible; for one of their positions is, wrest the trial of the facts from the proper that there is no overt act proven at all. Now, tribunal, the jury, and embarrass the court that an overt act consists of fact and intention, with a responsibility which it ought not to feel, has been so often repeated here, that it has a I hold it my duty to proceed—for the sake of fair title to Justice Vaughan's epithet of a “dethe court, for the sake of vindicating the trial cantatum.” In speaking then of this overt act, by jury, now sought to be violated, for the we are compelled to inquire, not merely into sake of full and ample justice in this particular the fact of the assemblage, but the intention of case, for the sake of the future peace, union, it; in doing which, we must examine and deand independence of these States, I feel it my velope the whole project of the prisoner. It is bounden duty to proceed. In doing which, I obvious, therefore, that an abstract examination beg that the prisoner and his counsel will recol- of this point cannot be made; and since the lect the extreme difficulty of clothing my argu- gentlemen drive us into the examination, they ment in terms which may be congenial with cannot complain, if, without any softening of their feelings. The gentlemen appear to me to lights or deepening of shades, we exhibit the feel a very extraordinary and unreasonable de picture in its true and natural state. gree of sensibility on this occasion. They seem

This motion is a bold and original stroke in to forget the nature of the charge, and that the noble science of defence. It marks the we are the prosecutors. We do not stand genius and hand of a master. For it gives to here to pronounce a panegyric on the prisoner, the prisoner every possible advantage, while it but to urge on him the crime of treason against gives him the full benefit of his legal defencehis country. When „we speak of treason, we the sole defence which he would be able to must call it treason. When we speak of a trai- make to the jury, if the evidence were all intor, we must call him a traitor. When we troduced before them. It cuts off from the speak of a plot to dismember the Union, to un- prosecution all that evidence which goes to A fall report of this extraordinary trial was taken in

connect the prisoner with the assemblage on short hand by Mr. T. Carpenter, and published in three the island, to explain the destination and obvolumes, 1807. See note at page 174, in the first volume of jects of the assemblage, and to stamp beyond this work; also the speech of Mr. Randolph, at the samo controversy the character of treason upon it. place.

Connect this motion with that which was made the other day, to compel us to begin with the opened it. I will treat that gentleman with proof of the overt act, in which, from their candor. If I misrepresent him, it will not be zeal, gentlemen were equally sanguine, and ob- intentionally. I will not follow the example, serve what would have been the effect of suc- which he has set me, on a very recent occasion. cess in both motions. We should have been I will not complain of flowers and graces, where reduced to the single fact, the individual fact, none exist. I will not, like him, in reply to an of the assemblage on the island, without any argument as naked as a sleeping Venus, but of the evidence which explains the intention certainly not half so beautiful, complain of the and object of that assemblage. Thus gentle- painful necessity I am under, in the weakness men would have cut off all the evidence, which and decrepitude of logical vigor, of lifting first carries up the plot almost to its conception, this flounce, and then than furbelow, before I which, at all events, describes the first motion can reach the wished for point of attack. I which quickened it into life, and follows its keep no flounces or furbelows ready manufacprogress until it attained such strength and ma- tured and hung up for use in the millinery of turity as to throw the whole western country my fancy, and if I did, I think I should not be into consternation. Thus, of the world of evi- so indiscreetly impatient to get rid of my wares, dence which we have, we should have been re- as to put them off on improper occasions. I duced to the speck, the atom which relates to cannot promise to interest you by any classical Blannerhassett's Island. General Eaton's de- and elegant allusions to the pure pages of Trisposition, (hitherto so much and so justly re- tram Shandy. I cannot give you a squib or a vered as to its subject,) standing by itself would rocket in every period. For my own part, I have been without the powerful fortification have always thought these flashes of wit, (. derived from the corroborative evidence of they deserve that name,) I have always thought Commodore Truxton, and the still stronger these meteors of the brain, which spring up and most extraordinary coincidence of the Mor- with such exuberant abundance in the speeches gans. Standing alone, gentlemen would have of that gentleman, which play on each side of still proceeded to speak of that affidavit, as the path of reason, or sporting across it with they have heretofore done; not declaring that fantastic motion, decoy the mind from the true what General Eaton had sworn was not the point in debate, no better evidence of the soundtruth, but that it was a most marvellous story! ness of the argument with which they are cona most wonderful tale! and thus would they nected, nor, give me leave to add, the vigor of have continued to seek, in the bold and wild the brain from which they spring, than those extravagance of the project itself, an argument vapors which start from our marshes and blaze against its existence and a refuge from public with a momentary combustion, and which, floatindignation. But that refuge is taken away. ing on the undulations of the atmosphere, beGeneral Eaton's narration stands confirmed be- guile the traveller into bogs and brambles, are yond the possibility of rational doubt. But I evidences of the firmness and solidity of the ask what inference is to be drawn from these earth from which they proceed. I will enrepeated attempts to stifle the prosecution and deavor to meet the gentleman's propositions in smother the evidence? If the views of the tþeir full force, and to answer them fairly. I prisoner were, as they have been so often will not, as I am advancing towards them with represented by one of his counsel, highly hon- my mind's eye, measure the height, breadth and orable to himself and glorious to his country, power of the proposition; if I find it beyond why not permit the evidence to disclose these my strength, halve it; if still beyond my views? Accused as he is of high treason, he strength, quarter it; if still necessary, subdiwould certainly stand acquitted, not only in vide it into eighths; and when, by this process reason and justice, but by the maxims of the I have reduced it to the proper standard, take most squeamish modesty, in showing us by evi- one of these sections and toss it, with an air of dence all this honor and this glory which his elephantine strength and superiority. If I find scheme contained. No, sir, it is not squeamish myself capable of conducting, by a fair course modesty; it is not fastidious delicacy that of reasoning, any one of his propositions to an prompts these repeated efforts to keep back the absurd conclusion, I will not begin by stating evidence; it is apprehension; it is alarm; it is that absurd conclusion as the proposition itself fear; or rather it is the certainty that the evi- which I am going to encounter. I will not, in dence, whenever it shall come forward, will fix commenting on the gentleman's authorities, the charge; and if such shall appear to the court thank the gentleman, with sarcastic politeness, to be the motive of this motion, your Honors, I for introducing them, declare that they conwell know, will not be disposed to sacrifice clude directly against him, read just so much public justice, committed to your charge, by of the authority as serves the purpose of that aiding this stratagem to elude the sentence of declaration, omitting that which contains the the law; you will yield to the motion no fur- true point of the case which makes against me; ther than the rigor of legal rules shall imperious- nor, if forced by a direct call to read that part ly constrain you.

also, will I content myself by running over it I shall proceed now to examine the merits as rapidly and inarticulately as I can, throw of the motion itself, and to answer the argu- down the book with a theatrical air, and er. ment of the gentleman, (Mr. Wickham,) who claim, "just as I said,” when I know it is just

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as I had not said. I know that, by adopting succession, and to give them those answers these arts, I might raise a laugh at the gentle- which to my mind are satisfactory. Let us exman's expense; but I should be very little amine the first: it is because Aaron Burr, not pleased with myself, if I were capable of enjoy- being present on the island at the time of the ing a laugh procured by such means. I know, assemblage, cannot be a principal in the treason, too, that by adopting such arts, there will al- within the constitutional definition or the laws ways be those standing around us, who have of England. not comprehended the whole merits of the legal In many of the gentleman's general proposidiscussion, with whom I might shake the char- tions, I perfectly accord with him: as that the acter of the gentleman's science and judgment constitution was intended to guard against the as a lawyer. I hope I shall never be capable calamities to which Montesquieu refers, when of such a wish, and I had hoped that the gen- he speaks of the victims of treason; that the tleman himself felt so strongly that proud, that constitution intended to guard against arbitrary high, aspiring and ennobling magnanimity, and constructive treasons; that the principles which I had been told conscious talents rarely of sound reason and liberty require their exclufail to inspire, that he would have disdained a sion; and that the constitution is to be interpoor and fleeting triumph, gained by means like preted by the rules of reason and moral right. these.

I fear, however, that I shall find it difficult to I proceed now to answer the several points accommodate both the gentlemen who have of his argument, so far as they could be collect- spoken in support of the motion, and to reconed from the general course of his speech. Icile some of the positions of Mr. Randolph to say, so far as they could be collected for the the rules of Mr. Wickham ; for, while the one gentleman, although requested before he began, tells us to interpret the constitution by sound refused to reduce his motion to writing. It reason, the other exclaims, “save us from the suited better his partisan style of warfare to be deductions of common sense.” What rule then perfectly at large; to change his ground as shall I adopt? A kind of reason which is not often as he pleased; on the plains of Monmouth common sense might indeed please both the to-day, at the Eutaw Springs to-morrow. He gentlemen; but, that is a species of reason will not censure me, therefore, if I have not of which I have no very distinct conception, I been correct in gathering his points from a hope the gentlemen will excuse me for not emdesultory discourse of four or five hours' length, ploying it. Let us return to Mr. Wickham, as it would not have been wonderful if I had Having read to us the constitutional definimisunderstood him. I trust, therefore, that I tion of treason, and given us the rule by which have been correct; it was my intention to be it was to be interpreted, it was natural to exso; for I can neither see pleasure nor interest pect that he would have proceeded directly to in misrepresenting any gentleman; and I now apply that rule to the definition, and give us beg the court, and the gentleman, if he will the result. But while we were expecting this, vouchsafe it, to set me right if I have miscon- even while we have our eyes on the gentleman, ceived him.

he vanishes like a spirit from American ground, I understood him, then, sir, to resist the in- and we see him no more until we see him in troduction of further evidence, under this in- England, resurging by a kind of intellectual dictment,

by making four propositions. magic in the middle of the sixteenth century, First. Because Aaron Burr, not being on the complaining most dolefully of my lord Coke's island, at the time of the assemblage, cannot bowels. Before we follow him in this excurbe a principal in the treason, according to the sion, it may be well to inquire what it was that constitutional definition or the laws of England. induced him to leave the regular track of his

Second. Because the indictment must be argument. I will tell you what it was. It was, proved as laid; and as the indictment charges sir, the decision of the Supreme Court in the the prisoner with levying war, with an assem- case of Bollman and Swartwout. It was the blage on the island, no evidence to charge him judicial exposition of the constitution by the with that act, by relation, is relevant to this in- highest court in the nation, upon the very point dictment.

which the gentleman was considering, which Third. Because, if he be a principal in the made him take this flight to England; because treason at all, he is a principal in the second it stared him in the face and contradicted his degree; and his guilt being of that kind which position. Sir, if the gentleman had believed is termed derivative, no parol evidence can be this decision to be favorable to him, we should let in to charge bim, until we shall show a have heard of it in the beginning of his argurecord of the conviction of the principals in ment; for the path of inquiry in which he was the first degree.

led him directly to it. Interpreting the AmerFourth. Because no evidence is relevant to ican constitution, he would have preferred no connect the prisoner with others, and thus to authority to that of the Supreme Court of the make him a traitor by relation, until we shall country. Yes, sir, he would have immediately previously show an act of treason in these seized this decision with avidity. He would others; and the assemblage on the island was have set it before you in every possible light. not an act of treason.

He would have illustrated it. He would have I beg leave to take up these propositions in adorned it. You would have seen it under the

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