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It has been seen that Colonel Burr's military life terminated in July, 1779. Immediately afterwards he commenced the study of law with his friend, Judge Patterson; and, having completed it with Mr. Thomas Smith, was admitted to practise at Albany in January, 1782. In the previous year he married Mrs. Prevost, a lady of loyalist connections and considerable wealth. In the spring of 1784, he was elected to the state legislature; he attended two sessions as a member, during one of which he distinguished himself by his active and able opposition to what was known as the Mechanics' Bill—a bill to confer chartered privileges of unlimited extent on a few individuals connected with mechanical pursuits, and to connect them with the corporation of the city of New York. It was defeated mainly through the agency of Mr. Burr. From 1785 to 1788, he was unknown as a politician. His own health was precarious, and that of Mrs. Burr caused him constant alarm. He had but one child, a daughter, on whose education he bestowed the greatest care, and to whom he seems to have appropriated all the gentleness of his nature. As has been already stated, Burr, in 1787, was ranked with the anti-federal party, and in the spring of that year was an unsuccessful candidate for the legislature. In September, 1789, he was appointed by Governor Clinton attorney-general of the state of New York, which office he filled with great distinction till 1791, when he was elected to the senate of the United States. His colleague and political opponent was Rufus King. In 1792, he was appointed by Mr. Clinton judge of the supreme court, which honour however he promptly declined. During his term of service, Mr. Burr was a leading member of the opposition party, and, as we have already stated, took an active part in all the discussions of the senate. None of his speeches, however, are preserved by his biographer. In 1800, the democratic party triumphed in the state of New York, and Burr was taken up and elected with Mr. Jefferson on its ticket. Here Mr. Davis's volume concludes.

Before we leave the historical part of this work, there are two subjects incidentally referred to which are worthy of a passing remark. Mr. Davis has made two statements, on the authority of Colonel Burr, which we have no hesitation in saying are totally destitute of foundation. The first is a revolutionary incident thus related :

“In the summer of 1780, Major Andre, of the British army, was in correspondence with Mrs. Arnold (the wise of General Arnold), under a pretext of supplying her, from the city of New York, with millinery and other trifling articles of dress. On the 23d of September, 1780, Major Andre was captured, and the treason of the general discovered. When this news reached West Point, Mrs. Arnold became, apparently, almost frantic. Her situation excited the sympathy of some of the most distinguished officers in the American army. Mrs. Arnold, having obtained from General Washington a passport and permission to join her husband in the city of New York, left West Point, and on her way stopped at the house of Mrs. Prevost, in Paramus, where she stayed one night. On her arrival at Paramus thé frantic scenes of West Point were renewed, and continued so long as strangers were present. Mrs. Prevost was known as the wife of a British officer, and connected with the royalists; in her, therefore, Mrs. Arnold could confide.

“As soon as they were left alone Mrs. Arnold became tranquillized, and assured Mrs. Prevost that she was heartily sick of the theatrics she was exhibiting: She stated that she had corresponded with the British commander-ihat she was disgusted with the American cause, and those who had the management of public affairs—and that, through great persuasion and unceasing perseverance, she had ultimately brought the general into an arrangement to surrender West Point to the British. Mrs. Arnold was a gay, accomplished, artful, and extravagant woman. There is no doubt, therefore, that, for the purpose of acquiring the means of gratifying an inordinate vanity, she contributed greatly to the utter ruin of her husband, and thus doomed to everlasting infamy and disgrace all the fame he had acquired as a gallant soldier, at the sacrifice of his blood. Mrs. Prevost subsequently became the wise of Colonel Burr, and repeated to him these confessions of Mrs. Arnold.

“ The preceding statement is confirmed by the following anecdote. Mrs. Arnold was the daughter of Chief Justice Shippen, of Pennsylva

She was personally acquainted with Major Andre, and, it is believed, corresponded with him previous to her marriage. In the years 1779–80, Colonel Robert Morris resided at Springatsbury, in the vicinity of Philadelphia, adjoining Bush Hill. Some time previous to Arnold's laking command of West Point, he was an applicant for the post. On a particular occasion, Mrs. Arnold was dining at the house of Colonel Morris. After dinner a friend of the family came in, and congratulated Mrs. Arnold on a report that her husband was appointed to a different but more honourable command. The information affected her so much as to produce hysteric fits. Efforts were made to convince her that the general had been selected for a preferable station. These explanations, however, to the astonishment of all present, produced no effect. But, after the treason of Arnold was discovered, the family of Colonel Morris entertained no doubt that Mrs. Arnold was privy to, if not the negotiator for, a surrender of West Point to the British, even before the general had charge of the post.” Vol. I. pp. 219, 220.

So far from confiding in the statement thus given at second hand, we believe there is no fact, not susceptible of demonstration, better ascertained than that Mrs. Arnold was not privy to her husband's treachery. Mr. Sparks, who has examined this whole subject with the greatest care, has stated this to be his conviction; and the surviving members of the lady's family, some of them her contemporaries, are satisfied that ihe texture of her mind did not qualify her to be the confidante of such perilous secrets, and that Arnold knew too well the desperate game he was playing to trust her. As respects the correspondence between Andre and Mrs. Arnold prior to her marriage, the fact is probably as stated by Mr. Davis; but it is equally probable that it was a correspondence of perfect innocence--the VOL. XXI.-NO. 41.


correspondence of a gallant young soldier with a gay young lady, devoted to happy reminiscences of feasts and balls, rather than to subtle treason or dark stratagem. We therefore confidently reiterate our discredit of the whole tale of Mrs. Arnold's privity to her husband's plans, even though supported by the reflected evidence of Mrs. Prevost.

The other point to which we refer, has relation to the promise with which Mr. Davis closes his first volume. After referring to the mystery which the author thinks still environs the history of the contested presidential election of 1801, in the house of representatives, he winds up his memoir with this grandiloquent finale:

“But the period has arrived when the question should be met with manly firmness; when the voice of history should announce to posterity the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so far as it can be ascertained. The generation which were the actors in those scenes have passed away. The parties immediately interested are sleeping the sleep of death. Few, very few, indeed, now living, understand the nature of that contest. The curtain shall be drawn aside. The documents which develop its character, and which are scattered in fragments, will be brought together, and recorded (it is hoped) in a permanent and tangible form.

“ It will be seen that the immediate friends and advisers of Mr. Jefferson, until within a few hours of the balloting, bad no confidence in certain leading and distinguished members of congress, whose names shall be given, but who, on his coming into power, promptly received the most substantial evidence of his kind feelings, by appointments to office. The clearest evidence will be presented that Mr. Jefferson entered into terms and conditions with the federal party or some of their leaders ; that the honourable James A. Bayard, of Delaware, acted on the part of the federalists, and the honourable Samuel Smith, of Maryland, at present mayor of Baltimore, on the part of Mr. Jefferson; and that terms and conditions were agreed upon between them before Mr. Jefferson could be elected; while, on the other hand, it will be demonstrated that the charges which have been made against Colonel Burr of having intrigued and negotiated with the federal party to obtain the office of president, were as unjust as they were groundless. But ' I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him.'

We are far from wishing to discourage the publication of this second volume; on the contrary, we are anxious to have some of the later portions of Colonel Burr's life illustrated by the unreserved personal testimony of Mr. Davis himself, but we do not believe that it is in his power, or that of any other man living, supposing the witnesses who have testified to have told the truth, to throw any new light on the history of the election of 1801. And further, we have no hesitation in asserting, that if Mr. Davis's concluding remark is meant to convey the idea that there was a corrupt understanding between Mr. Bayard and Mr. Jefferson, there is not a shadow of authority for it, nor can be produce one tittle of evidence to sustain it. Mr. Davis must,

p. 436.

indeed, know that the charge has been more than once clearly and conclusively disproved. If nothing more is meant than that Mr. Bayard, and those of his political friends who decided the question in favour of Mr. Jefferson, endeavoured honestly to make terms and stipulations for the protection of their party, and the maintenance of its principles, there then will be little novelty in the disclosure, since the parties concerned never, we believe, from 1801 to this hour, pretended to conceal it. We say all this in fearless anticipation of Mr. Davis's second volume.

Before closing this already, we fear, protracted view of the life and character of this singular man, we may be allowed to pause for an instant on the disclosures made of his domestic life and relations. With all the gross appetites of a libertine; with a chafed temper, that, when roused, knew no control, with disappointment preying on his heart, and excitement, at times, fretting to decay his feeble constitution; with all this to make him morose and harsh, he was, in one of his domestic relations at least, the kindest, gentlest, most affectionate of human beings; and the letters which Mr. Davis has preserved, written by Colonel Burr to his daughter, from the moment when her intellect so far dawned as to make her sensible to a father's counsel, are beautiful and interesting in the extreme. The fastidious reader may object to their details, but no one, who has felt or imagined the interest which the rearing of so tender and precious a flowret as an only daughter must inspire, can think them excessive. We find him, in the press of business, and in the midst of parliamentary turmoil, seeking refuge in the holy cell of communion with his child, and pouring out the riches of his undivided affections upon her. It seems to be with him, literally,

“A lonely pure affection unopposed." It absorbed whatever of gentleness there was in his disposition, leaving a dark residuum of ill-governed and coarse appetite. It was the silver lining of the sable cloud which obscures his fame. It was, too, the affection of an intellectual parent, sedulous not only to make her love him, but to make her worthy of his love. Her education he seems to have guided and directed with considerate care; and the fruits of this solicitude were, we believe, in their maturity, all the anxious parent promised himself. We may exaggerate the merits of these letters from Colonel Burr to his daughter. We may have been too deeply impressed by the contrast of this correspondence with the arid ghastly destitution of virtuous and gentle sentiment which this volume exhibits; but such as they appeared to us when we first read them, we commend them to the perusal of our readers.


Utterly unlike these beautiful effusions of parental affection are the nauseous specimens of amorous sentimentalism with which Mr. Davis has filled so large a portion of his book, in the shape of letters from Mrs. Burr to her husband. What conceivable inducement could have operated on his mind to publish such stuff we are at a loss to imagine. They reflect no credit on the head or heart of the writer, and throw not a ray of light on the character of him to whom they are addressed. They are nauseous as developments of familiar imbecility, which it is painful to be compelled to witness. We know not what may be Mr. Davis's standard of refined sentiment, what his notions of the proper tone of conjugal correspondence; but as he has thought fit to palm off on the public a volumne stuffed full of such specimens as the following, we have a right to infer his scale is not graduated very high :

“New York, March 22d, 1784. “My Aaron had scarce quitted the door when I regretted my passiveness. Why did I consent to his departure? Can interest repay the sacrifice ? can aught on earth compensate for his presence? Why did I hesitate to decide? Ten thousand fears await me. What thought suggested my assent? The anxiety he might suffer were he to meet with obstacles to raising the sum required; should his views be frustrated for want of the precaution this journey might secure; his mortification; mine, at pot having the power to relieve him, were arguments that silenced my longing wish to hold him near me; near me for ever. My Aaron, dark is the hour that separates my soul from itself.

• Thus pensive, surrounded with gloom, thy Theo. sat, bewailing thy departure. Every breath of wind whistled terror; every noise at the door was mingled with hope of thy return, and fear of thy perseverance, when Brown arrived with the word-embarked—the wind high, the water rough. Heaven protect my Aaron ; preserve him, restore him to his adoring mistress. A tedious hour elapsed, when our son was the joyful messenger of thy safe landing at Paulus Hook. Stiff with cold, how must his papa have fared? Yet, grateful for his safety, I blessed my God. I envied the ground which bore my pilgrim. I pursued each footstep. Love engrossed his mind; his last adieu to Bartow was the most persuasive token— Wait till I reach the opposite shore, that you may bear the glad tidings to your trembling mother.' 0, Aaron, how I thank thee! Love in all its delirium hovers about me; like opium, it lulls me to soft repose! Sweet serenity speaks, 'tis my Aaron's spirit presides. Surrounding objects check my visionary charm. I fly to my room and give the day to thee. -247, 248.

THEODOSIA." There is an incident mentioned in the early part of this volume, which, taken in connection with the career and character of him to whom it relates, is full of interest. About the year 1817, when Burr's tumultuous life began to draw towards a close, when the heyday of the blood was tamed, and passion might be supposed, at least, so far to have subsided as to leave room for good impressions, he received from a female corre

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