Aaron Burr in the News
May 07- Dec. 07
December 31, 2007
Annual Meeting in Kingston,
Get information here
Attached is a description of the Peter Burr family reunion
plans. I have condensed it from information sent to me by Joyce Cole (firstname.lastname@example.org),
who is organizing this event. I believe it would make a newsworthy item for the
Further, I encourage Joyce inform you directly of further doings. In particular,
the best way for our members to have up-to-date access to her plans would be to
establish a link on our site's home page to her website once it is up and
Link to Reunion document
Season's Greetings to all ABA members
Mary mentioned how this was one of her
favorite cards received this year.
I told her it was mine too.
Thank you Lyman and Mary.
The scene of course depicts South Street
Seaport at the time Aaron Burr traveled to the docks each day.
(The Brooklyn Bridge was built later in
He was awaiting the arrival of the
schooner The Patriot with his beloved Theodosia aboard.
But it never arrived, and was considered
lost at sea.
Instead of visiting her father, she
Whose heart would not break?
Looking Back: Future governor, Revolutionary soldier born
by Claire Heininger/The Star-Ledger
Monday December 03, 2007, 7:00 AM
ON THIS DATE IN HISTORY:
On Dec. 3, 1756, Aaron Ogden was born in Elizabethtown, the son of a
legislator who would rise to a public service career of his own.
Ogden, who served in the military during the American Revolution and the
undeclared war against France, grew into a skilled orator and debater. He served
in Congress from 1801 to 1803 and was elected governor of New Jersey in 1812.
Ogden, who also had business interests in steamboat machinery, later became
embroiled in a Supreme Court case concerning the monopoly of steamboat service
in New York waters. Drained of his resources from legal bills, Ogden faced
bankruptcy and watched his home and assets seized.
He was briefly sent to debtor's prison in 1829, but his friend Aaron Burr
quickly had a law passed that exempted all Revolutionary War veterans from
imprisonment for debt. Once freed, Ogden went on to serve as a trustee of the
College of New Jersey and the collector for Jersey City.
Dear ABA members,
Antonio just telephoned and
emailed to let you know about this upcoming event.
Please try to attend if you
The lecture will discuss Aaron
Burr, DeWitt Clinton, and others.
Visit us at
for the latest in Parks news and information.
I apologize for not including the event time in the
7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2007 at Tony
The Forgotten Revolution- How New Yorkers
Created Our Political Party System
Hope to see you there,
Revolutionary Real Estate
Roger Straus III
Statesmen, soldiers and spies who made America—and the way
- By Hugh Howard
- Photographs by Roger Straus III
- Smithsonian magazine, December 2007
America's founding fathers shaped one of history's most dramatic
stories, transforming 13 obscure colonies into an emerging nation whose
political principles would change the world. But to see them in the household
settings they shared with wives and families and in the intimate context of
their very different era, is to understand the founders as individuals,
extraordinary ones, to be sure, but also men who supped and shaved, wore
slippers and read by candlelight. It was also an extraordinary time, but a time
of achingly slow communications and travel, primitive and perverse medical care,
a moral code that had only begun to condemn slavery, and ways of living that
seem today an odd mixture of the charming, the crude and the peculiar.
Continue reading article here:
New book: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/entertainment/books/20071125_1800__Dawn_of_partisan_elections.html
Thank you for mailing me the
video tape "Magnificent Doll" starring David Niven as Aaron Burr and Ginger
Rogers as Dolly Payne Todd Madison, filmed 95 minutes long in 1946. You
were correct in your warning to me that Burr's character starts out charming as
we know him, and then evolves with lies and inaccuracies to cast him as the
villain. Burgess Meridith playing Jimmy Madison becomes the hero along
with Dolly making the ridiculous speech in Richmond at the conclusion of Burr's
trial. (If any ABA member would like to publish a movie review here,
please send it to me.) When Hamilton came to Burr during the election tie, and
Burr insulted him (with roles of both reversed) I laughed so hard ! Burr's
character is basically fine until he takes Dolly to a restaurant where a sword
fight breaks out, and Burr watches it with joy. The Hollywood writers have
no perception into Burr's character at all. It is post WWII 1946, and they need
an enemy, so they twist Burr history to meld fact with fiction for the
The Blennerhassett Mansion
scene was cool. It looks like the building with side wings we all know. In
reality Aaron is not even there when the militia invades. They drink all the
wine in the cellar and vandalize the home. In the movie, Burr tells his men to
ambush and fire upon the approaching militia, and they disobey him. What
nonsense! The movie also portrays Virginia plantation owner Madison as
trying to pass a law stopping slave shipping from Africa (so Madison and others
would have a monopoly on slave children who they own for sale. ) Abolitionist
Burr is shown saying the law was unenforceable, as if he, not the Virginians
oppose slavery! When Dolly supposedly visits Burr in NYC, it's shown she
convinces him not to deal for the tied presidency. There's no mention that he
attends Theodosia and Joseph's wedding. There's no mention that Jefferson bribes
Delaware's rep. James Bayard to change his vote. Dolly has no children in
this movie except one that died. No mention that Burr was appointed guardian of
her real son. (" The education of my son is to him and to me the most
interesting of all earthly concerns")
So I now see how our Founder
Samuel Burr saw the necessity to start the ABA the year that this film was
propagandized upon the American people some 61 years ago. Thank heavens for his
standing up to the truth. We await the rebuttal film that casts Aaron Burr
as he really was.
Thank you for this nice gift
Brian. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
True life: I have a famous name
Washington University has produced its share of famous alumni, like Peter
Sarsgaard, Steve Fossett and Tennessee Williams. Few students, however, are
aware of the numerous "celebrities" that have yet to graduate. Mixed in
amongst this student body are students graced with names that are recognized
all over the world-because of someone else's fame. Here's a look at some of
the people on the campus that share names with the rich and the famous.
Aaron Burr is a sophomore in Engineering. When he introduces himself to new
acquaintances, he finds that their reactions tend to pan out in a distinctive
"You can always see them squint, you know, thinking about middle school
history," said Burr. "[They think] 'Were you a president? Did you shoot a
president?' Well, almost."
The details of the infamous Alexander Hamilton duel then come out, he discusses
the early history of the United States, he talks about the trial for treason-and
only after all that can he proceed to have a normal conversation.
Unlike the other Wash. U. pseudo-celebrities, Burr is actually related to his
more famous counterpart.
"He's an uncle, but a great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle," said Burr.
"Six greats, something like that…people always get a crack out of the fact that
I'm related to him."
Despite his lineage Burr has no political aspirations, and actually plans to be
Because of the actions of his forefather, Aaron's name occasionally causes a
somewhat mixed reaction.
"Initially, it's never a bad reaction," said Burr. "But they'll start talking to
me about it…saying I was America's first supervillian [and] stuff like that. A
lot of people ask me if I'm good with guns, if I'm going to take over [part of
the United States]…just little history cracks…but occasionally some people
online named Hamilton will send me some pretty mean things…I try to laugh it
His high school history teachers would give him a hard time, but in general Burr
finds that people get used to the famous moniker pretty quickly.
"In eighth grade I even did a little history project about him," said Burr. "I
dressed up and everything."
He's handled the pressure of celebrity and still manages to live a fairly normal
"Of course, I still get some funny looks when I check stuff out of the library,"
I found a video of Gore Vidal speaking on Aaron Burr. It is
interesting if you haven't seen it.
I had trouble downloading it, but
hopefully you won't :)
'Heaven's homicidal beauty returns to print
Palm Beach Post Books Editor
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Ben Ames Williams' Leave Her to Heaven was the basis for a memorably
demented Technicolor extravaganza starring Gene Tierney and Cornel Wilde. The
story concerns a beautiful woman so controlling and obsessed with her man that
she kills anybody who has any potential for diverting his attention from her -
his brother, other women, basically anybody other than a clerk in a grocery
store. Williams was a popular novelist between the World Wars with a specialty
in historical themes (All the Brothers Were Valiant, etc.).
Leave Her to Heaven has been reprinted by the Chicago Review Press,
and it turns out to be very close to its film adaptation, except the movie has
better dialogue. Williams did sweep and story pretty well, but his dialogue was
of the "Richard, will it please you to know that we are to have a son?" variety.
Also reissued by the Chicago Review is Anya Seton's first novel, My
Theodosia, a novel about the daughter of Aaron Burr. Seton was a more
assured stylist than Ben Ames Williams, although always a romanticist, but her
subject is fascinating.
Her book is based on the historical record as it existed in 1941, and it's
odd that nobody else has thought to write a book about Burr's daughter. .......
What about Richard Cote's Theodosia in 2003 ?
Holiday song & dance
Local shows a must-see this season
Jason and Christine Cox sing and dance to the song "Baby it's Cold
Outside" during the Alabama Theater Christmas Show.
Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach
The show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on
Saturdays through Dec. 22. There also are 2 p.m. shows on Nov. 23, Nov. 27, Nov.
30, Dec. 5 and Dec. 7. There is no show Dec. 23-25, with 7:30 p.m. shows Dec.
26-30 and 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are $37.95, $39.90 and $44.95.
What you'll hear | Don't expect to hear the unfamiliar here:
This show is all about the classics, beginning with a medley featuring tunes
such as "White Christmas," "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and "Deck
the Halls." The singers and dancers perform flawlessly, and the women's costumes
are so pretty you'll wish you were in the show. The show gives each of the
talented musicians some time in the spotlight, too.
Back for her eighth year in the Christmas show is teenager Victoria Huggins of
St. Pauls, N.C., a little girl with a powerful voice especially suited for tunes
such as "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Also part of the
cast is 14-year-old dancer Aaron Burr of North Myrtle Beach. As with all
the Alabama Theatre shows, comedian Grant Turner, as Ricky Mokel, is a crowd
favorite. He entertained the crowd with his comments about why U.S. 17 Bypass is
called a bypass and more.
What you'll see | If the songs don't get you in the Christmas
spirit, the decorations surely will, with tastefully decorated trees in the
lobby and auditorium. The show scenery takes you to a winter village scene, a
toyland and, for the final act, home.
Seen in the gift shop | From T-shirts to toys to wacky hats,
you'll find it there. Also Christmas show host Greg Rowles and comedian Grant
Turner were greeting visitors and selling their CDs in the lobby during
At the concession stand | You can snack on popcorn, candy, ice
cream and soft drinks.
— Gwen Fowler, The Sun News
||Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Ft. Massac Encampment this weekend in Metropolis
By Diane Wilkins, Marion Daily Republican
....In 1794, President George Washington ordered the fort rebuilt, and for
the next 20 years it protected U.S. military and commercial interests in the
U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr and Gen. James Wilkinson, who allegedly drew
up plans to personally conquer Mexico and the American southwest, met at Fort
Massac during the summer of 1805. Edward Everett Hale later used the setting of
Fort Massac and the Burr-Wilkinson plot as basis for his classic historical
novel, “The Man Without a Country.” ....
My name is Robert Botts & I have been researching my family for some years now.
I came across a book on google searcg call 'Aaron Burr part 2' written by Samuel
Wardel in 1925. In the limited search it mentions a portrait of one of Burr's
lawyers, a Benjamin Botts, on page 200. This gentleman was my (4X) great
grandfather. I was wondering if you have a copy of the book & could tell me if
it is the same is the attached file that I got from the Weems-Botts Musuem
website. If not, would it be possible to get a scanned file?
Thank you for your time & effort & hope to hear from you soon.
Can any members help him?
I have Sam Wandell in 1927 and 1936.
No reference to Botts there
I have a copy of the 1925, Samuel H. Wandell and Meade Minnigerode, two volume
biography titled, AARON BURR. There is a portrait of Benjamin Botts on page
200 with the caption "Now reproduced for the first time from an original
portrait in the possession of the family." This portrait clearly matches the
one presently on the ABA web site with your letter. Unfortunately the picture
from the book will not scan well. If you will provide me your address I will
send you a copy.
I have been collecting Burr letters and artifacts for nearly 15 years. I have
been looking for a letter or some other example of your Great Grandfather's
handwriting. Thus far, he and Jack Baker are the only lawyers involved in
Burr's treason trial that have alluded me. Benjamin Botts, the youngest on
Burr's team of lawyers, demonstrated a great deal of legal talent during
Burr's trial. It is my understanding that he died as a result of a fire quite
early in life. Burr later helped the Botts family in some way that at present
escapes my memory. Please contact me if you wish a copy of the portrait or if
you have an original letter of your Great Grandfather's to spare.
Brian D. Hardison
Founding Chauvinist Pig?
If you really want to analyze the founding fathers through their love
Alexander Hamilton is the man to watch, the only blackmail-paying,
apology-offering adulterer in the bunch. Washington, Adams, Jay, the long and
loyally married, can sit this one out. A scamp from early on and a flirt well
into his widowed 70s, Franklin was ultimately more talk than action. Which
again raises that pesky question: What to do with Jefferson? .....
Many things gave Jefferson debilitating headaches — the death of
his mother and the trial of Aaron Burr among them — but the news of Rebecca
Burwell’s engagement to a rival set off the first. It does not seem too much to
label the affair an obsession on Jefferson’s part, though generally he was tepid
in his tributes, except where architecture was concerned. There is no question
that he took the news badly. There is equally little question that a long sulk
followed. On the other hand, brooding was a Jeffersonian specialty. After his
college graduation, he warned that he would in all likelihood die soon, a claim
he made regularly for the next 63 years.
See article here
||work in progress
||10/13/2007 2:12:33 P.M. Eastern Daylight
The Redemption of Comfort Tyler 10/13/07
Comfort Tyler was one of the first settlers in the Finger Lakes region of
New York and quartermaster to Aaron Burr’s attempt to establish a colony
including free blacks in the Arkansas-Louisiana Territory
The Onondaga Heudenausaune were the keepers of the Iroqois Nation’s Central
Fire. They named Comfort Tyler To Whan La Gua for his ability to work
easily in both Indian and White worlds. They showed him how to process
local salt bogs for food preservation. This was essential for all settlers
barging down the Ohio and Mississippi. Burr’s connections in New Orleans,
the most French and cosmopolitan city in America, made him a threat to the
Virginia Plantation slaveholding interests. If Burr, a leading abolitionist
(and feminist) among the founding fathers, should succeed in Louisiana, he
could move the Deep South and the West, all the way to Mexico City, out of
the Confederacy. Without these states, there would be no demographic
possibility for the Civil War.
Tyler was arrested by Jefferson and brought to the Richmond trial with Burr
(1807). His case was dismissed after Burr was found not guilty, but his
political life, like Burr’s, was destroyed. Tyler became ashamed of his
association with the former Vice President.
Today the heirs of Tyler’s commercial salt industry have made Lake Onondaga
the most polluted in New York State. The local Iroqois have sued the state,
the Federal government, and Monsanto Chemicals et al. to clean up their
Confederacy’s former central meeting place. Contemporary Iroqois fault
Tyler for being the great father of excess capitalism not inclusive
While the legal settlement of this case is being dragged out by the
polluters and the Courts, the true Redemption of Comfort Tyler lies
We had a wonderful meeting in Richmond.
Here are photos.
Oct 9, 2007
before the Annual Luncheon
Burr's farewell speech to the Senate on March 2, 1805 was recorded by a reporter
from the Washington Federalist & reported in that paper on March 13. Burr
told Theodosia that the reporter's version was "awkwardly and pompously told"
(Burr to Theodosia, Mar. 13, 1805, Davis, ed., Memoirs 2:360), but it's
the only version we have. The speech was analyzed by Thomas L. Gordon in his
article "Aaron Burr's Farewell Address" in Quarterly Journal of Speech,
Vol. 39 (1953), pp. 273-82.
It was great to see you at the meeting. I think it was a great success.
Great seeing you.
Dear ABA members,
I came across and old ABA pamphlet in my archives which was produced on
February 6, 1947, shortly after the founding of the organization.
Attached are the first scanned pages from the publication.
Hope to see you in Richmond.
Thank you Frank for making this available
for our readers.
Here is a scan of a picture from
New Jersey article with comments about
Thank you Brian for inviting me to The
Hermitage for Dr. Nancy Isenberg's lecture.
Our friends at The Hermitage are so
gracious and knowledgeable about Theodosia, and when she resided there.
What a wonderful dinner they hosted for
us at the 1790 Ho-Ho-Kus Inn!
The display of your artifacts was
Dr. Isenberg's 45 minute talk had everyone spellbound, and full
of positive questions that she later answered brilliantly.
This is part of the audience. 90 made reservations, and
even more attended.
Dr. Nancy Isenberg, Judge Brian Hardison, with a copy of the
watch photograph he gave as a present to The Hermitage,
and your faithful webmaster Pete, looking forward to
Richmond next week.
Military orders for Battle of Bunker Hill realize
An original, two-page military document issuing direct orders by the
Commanding General of the American Forces in the days immediately preceding the
famous Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, sold for $22,050 in a mail bid and
Internet sale held August 25 by Early American History Auctions
[USPRwire, Thu Sep 13 2007] An original, two-page military
document issuing direct orders by the Commanding General of the American Forces
in the days immediately preceding the famous Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, sold
for $22,050 in a mail bid and Internet sale held August 25 by Early American
History Auctions (www.EarlyAmerican.com). All prices include an 18% buyer's
The document is dated June 14-16, 1775, and contains regimental orders from
General Artemus Ward, the Commander of the American and Continental and Patriot
Militias at Cambridge (outside Boston). The dates are significant, since they
coincide with the official founding of the United State Army by the Continental
Congress. June 14th has forever since been celebrated as Flag Day here.
“This document was one of our favorite lots of the sale,” remarked Dana Linett,
president of Early American History Auctions. “The winning bidder was a woman
who bought it as a gift for her husband's collection. I'm sure he was very
pleased. It's a true piece of American history.” Mr. Linett added the sale was
“our most heavily bid-on auction of the year. Most lots exceeded their
In other highlights:
The top lot of the sale was a 1694 Carolina Elephant Token, PCGS graded Very
Fine-30, that crossed the block at $25,960. The piece was able to soar past the
high estimate of $24,000 by its great condition, but also because of its rarity:
on the side that says “God Preserve Carolina The Lord's Proprietor, 1694,” the
“O” is over the “E” in 'Proprietor.' An elephant is clearly visible on the
The biggest surprises of the sale was an 1860 ferrotype portrait pin of Abraham
Lincoln – beardless – in choice near mint condition. The pin was expected to
fetch no more than $1,800, but a pair of determined bidders drove the final
gavel price to an astounding $12,980. The pin featured a sharp, clean image of
Lincoln from his first presidential campaign, in an elegant, gilt brass oval
oil-on-canvas painting that served as cover art for the auction catalog, titled
“President Jefferson and His Cabinet, 1801,” unsigned and in choice extremely
fine condition, realized $11,800. Depicted in the 26” x 45.5” painting are
President Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, Secretary of State James
Madison and other cabinet members, in an ornate, carved, gold-painted wooden
Filibuster: a Brief History
Written by EditorsChoice
|Thursday, 06 September 2007
It has been many years since the last real filibuster was held in the
U.S. Senate. In the meantime there have been numerous procedural
filibusters, an interesting concept that is unique to our American political
system. Here is a brief history about how the procedural filibuster came
The U.S. Constitution contains a provision that each house of Congress
may determine their own set of rules and procedures. The early Senate
adopted many of their rules from the British parliamentary experience.
Traditional British parliamentary procedures included a section about the
concept that allows a member to interrupt debate on an issue by raising a
motion to call the “previous question.” If this motion is seconded and
passed, then the question is put to an immediate vote with no further debate
allowed. Thomas Jefferson wrote about this procedure in his Manual of
Parliamentary Practice. Not surprisingly then, a similar procedure appeared
in the list of rules used by the Continental Congress in 1788. In 1789 the
rules adopted by the U.S. Senate also included a similar section about
calling the “previous question.”
Vice President Aaron Burr, in his farewell speech to the Senate in March
of 1805, recommended that the rule regarding the "previous question" be
discarded since it had been used only once during the previous 4 years. When
the rules were rewritten in 1806, the section about the "previous question"
However, the rules of the Senate still granted authority to the presiding
officer of the Senate, the Vice President, to use his discretion to bring to
an end long, dilatory speeches and to disallow meaningless motions. In fact,
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr each used this power during
their terms as Vice President.
As the years went by this power was viewed suspiciously as one that could
potentially be abused. An incident in 1825 caused the Senate to revise their
rules. Vice President Calhoun allowed Senator Randolph to ramble on daily
over a three month period about irrelevant subjects,.......
Please find attached an email with attachments concerning the Isenberg lecture
and exhibit at The Hermitage. Please post on the website. Let me know if you
are coming. Thanks
I am planning to attend Brian.
See you there.
Aaron Burr Artifacts
Link to pdf about Hermitage Lecture
In anticipation of the upcoming lecture by Dr. Nancy
Isenberg, author of the new book Fallen Father: Life of Aaron Burr, The
Hermitage has placed on exhibition a special display of loaned historical
artifacts related to this “Founding Father.” The exhibition opens on August 4th
and runs through September 19th, the date of Dr. Isenberg’s lecture
at The Hermitage.
The Burr artifacts on exhibition have been loaned to the
museum from the collection of Brian Hardison and include Burr’s personal pocket
watch and four original autographed letters. The watch was commissioned by Burr
in 1790 and was later presented as a gift to his wife Theodosia. Three of the
letters reveal Burr’s military involvement during the Revolutionary War. In the
fourth letter, perhaps the most touching, Burr writes about the 1794 death of
his beloved wife Theodosia. It was Theodosia, the widow of James Marcus
Prevost, who married Aaron Burr fourteen years earlier inside her home, The
Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey.
The origin of The Hermitage National Historic Landmark may
be traced back to pre-Revolutionary times when it was home to the patriotic
Prevost family. During that time, The Hermitage was host to notable eighteenth
century figures such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis de
Lafayette. In the early 1800s, the house was purchased by the Rosencrantz
family who resided there for the next 160 years. In 1847, the small red
sandstone Dutch style structure was enlarged and remodeled into the Romantic
Gothic style home as it appears today.
The lecture by Dr. Nancy Isenberg, from the University of
Tulsa, will take place on Wednesday, September 19th at 7:30 pm at The
Hermitage Educational and Conference Center, 335 North Franklin Turnpike,
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423. The lecture is part of the year-long History Lecture
Series at The Hermitage, which is open to the general public. For more
information, please call (201) 445-8311.
Really, how much do you know about Aaron Burr, other than the
fact that he killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel he didn't even want to fight?
Gore Vidal gave us a fictionalized account of Burr in his 1973 novel Burr.
Ron Chernow portrayed Burr as a villain — but a fascinating one — in his
biography of Alexander Hamilton.
Nancy Isenberg's years of research have yielded a very readable
history of this complex, elegant man — a former vice president — whose political
life ended the day Alexander Hamilton's did. (Read
an excerpt.)But as Isenberg shows, when Burr's Washington aspirations died,
his life as a Western explorer blossomed.
I hope you have been well and are enjoying the summer.
Just wanted to let you know, in case you have not otherwise heard, that the
Hermitage is having Nancy Isenberg give a lecture on "The Private and Public
Worlds of Aaron Burr" on Wednesday September 19 at 7:30. We would very much
like to have you come. As you, I am sure, know Isenberg has just written a
very positive life of Burr and we look forward to her talk. She will be east
from the U. of Tulsa in mid-September.
We have been trying to contact all of the Burr Associates. Mr. Hardison
called and has arranged with us to show the items in his Burr
collection. They have just been at the Grolier Club in NYC , and we will show
them through August until the lecture in September.
If you have a chance I hope you will circulate our invite to other Burr
Associates and to our Weehawken friends.
It would be very enjoyable to see and talk with you again.
Thank you Henry.
I have posted your email message to me on our web site
I am planning to attend the 9/19 lecture.
Glad that you and Brian could display his exhibit.
Best wishes to all at the Hermitage.
My brother, Stuart Johnson desires you to put this on the web
for the ABA:
new book by Prof Michael J. Drexler
Secret History ;or the horrors of St. Domingo and Laura
isbn: 978-1-55111-346-3 paperback $17.95 u s
P O Box 1243
Peterborough O N, Kpj 7H 5
or fax to: 705-743 8353
shipping $5.00 for the first book, 50cents for each additional
email is customerservice @broadview press.com
also my book : The Burrs
I am still selling for $15.00 plus $3.00 shipping
send to VonMelsbach de Bures Pub Co.
318 W Grant St.
Lancaster, Pa. 17603
phone is 717-295-1596
my book has info that goes along with these 2 books by Prof
The Grolier Club exhibit ended this past Saturday. It was a great success. I
would like to thank everyone who attended. With your assistance, Aaron Burr's
Watch, three Burr Revolutionary War (1776-1777) letters and Burr's 1794 letter
to Timothy Edwards concerning the death of Burr's wife are now on exhibit at
The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ through September 20, 2007. The exhibit is
there to coincide with the previously announced presentation on Burr by Dr.
Nancy Isenberg at The Hermitage on September 19, 2007. Please inform the
membership. I hope this email finds you well.
Brian D. Hardison
A Change for the Electoral College
By Tim Holland 7/31/07
It seems to me that as we continue into the 21st century we
should revisit the way in which we elect our presidents. The manner in which the
electoral college is structured seems to run counter to the “one man, one
vote” principal the courts have affirmed with regard to non-presidential
elections. However, although it is impractical to eliminate the electoral
college and replace it with a simple popular vote (see Time for a Change – 1,
ToTheCenter.com June 13, 2007), there is a way to make it more responsive to
In order to bring about a change, it is necessary to understand the electoral
system itself and why it was a good idea to begin with and continues to have
The use of electors, who are the persons who actually elect the
president of the United States is found in Article II, Section 1 of the
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,
a number of Electors equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives
to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:….
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two
persons…. 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:….
The twelfth amendment to the Constitution changed Article II so that separate
votes for president and vice president were mandated. It was proclaimed on
September 25, 1804 and is the only change made to the Constitution relating to
the Electoral System. It was the response to the presidential election of 1800
where Thomas Jefferson and
Aaron Burr each received 73
electoral votes and left the election of the president up to
the House of Representatives. According to the rules set out in Article II,
Section 1, each state delegation had one vote. With 16 states voting, it would
take a clear majority of nine to elect a President. The initial vote was eight
for Jefferson and six for Burr with two states’ delegations evenly split. The
vote remained unchanged through 35 ballots until Jefferson made some concessions
to the Federalists and received ten votes on the 36th ballot, thereby giving him
the presidency and Burr the vice presidency.
The electoral college worked as designed but had one flaw: the candidate
receiving the second highest electoral vote total would become the Vice
President. After the 1804 election, the states’ representatives believed the
country would be best served by a separate and distinct electoral vote for Vice
President, hence the twelfth amendment. Even though in modern day elections.....
I have the only manuscript in the world of a full, book-length biography of
Aaron Burr written around 1919 by a former United States Senator and
Representative from Illinois - Albert J. Hopkins. I know it is impossible to
become wealthy from this book, but if anyone is interested in it I'd be happy
to show it to them.
An interesting aspect of this book is that Hopkins having spent nearly 20
years in D.C., probably knew people who knew Burr. This might put a spin on
the book that could be of interest. It might even contain some information
that no one else has ever published (although I really doubt this).
I live in Illinois. Please let me know if there are any society members
who live near me who might like to see it.
if you are interested in seeing or purchasing this book.
This is a quick note to say hello and to let you know about a program here at
The Hermitage that I believe will be of interest to the members of the Aaron
Burr Association. On Wednesday,
September 19, 7:30 p.m., Dr. Nancy Isenberg will give the first lecture in our
2007-2008 History Lecture Series, "The Private and Public Worlds of Aaron Burr."
The talk is based on Dr. Isenberg's excellent new biography Fallen Founder: The
Life of Aaron Burr and will address such questions as how politics shaped Aaron
Burr's career in the 18th century and how they are shaping his reputation today.
The Friends of the Hermitage warmly and cordially invite members of the Aaron
Burr Association who are in the New York Metropolitan area (and those who'd like
to travel) to join us for this important lecture. I hope you will help spread
The admission fee for the lecture is $7.50 per person. As you know, our space is
limited to about 125 people, so advance reservations will be required. I will
start taking reservations on August 22, 2007, at (201) 445-8311.
Hope you're having a great summer.
Anna Burr, former Bordentown district principal, at 107
By LAURI SHEIBLEY
Burlington County Times
MEDFORD — Anna T. Burr, a former principal and active community member in the
Bordentown area, died Sunday at the age of 107.
Burr was born in Bordentown City and lived there until 1983, when she moved
to the Medford Leas Retirement Community.
She worked as a teacher for several years, and then became principal of
Bordentown High School. She later served as principal of Clara Barton School and
William MacFarland Jr. School in the same district.
Roy Parcels was a student at William MacFarland Jr. School while Burr was
principal there. “She was quite a gal,” he said. “She was pretty tough, but she
was awfully fair.”
Parcels said Burr was more than a principal to her students. She was a
counselor who cared about the future of her students.
“She was interested in what you were doing and what you planned to do,”
Parcels said. “There are so many lives that she had touched.”
Charles Fisher, a teacher at Clara Barton School, said Burr was an “extremely
“She was very supportive of both her students and her staff,” Fisher said.
“The lady was stern, but had a wonderful sense of humor.”
Outside of school, Burr volunteered with numerous historical, educational and
She had been president of the Bordentown Library Board, the Bordentown
Cemetery Board, the Bordentown Good Cheer Club, and the Bordentown Visiting
She also was a member of the Bordentown Historical Society, the Burlington
County Historical Society, and the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, and she
compiled six books on genealogy. Burr was a descendent of Vice President Aaron
Burr who served from 1801 to 1805, and who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel
Burr was invited last May to tour the newly constructed Bordentown Regional
High School. Students and administrators greeted Burr with flowers and
accompanied her as she traveled through the hallways in her wheelchair.
Parcels said Burr was witty and intelligent even in old age, and took pride
in the fact that she did not take any prescribed medication.
“I just was amazed at the way she kept up to date on everything,” Parcels
Memorial services are scheduled Friday at 2 p.m. at Medford Leas, 1 Medford
Leas Way, Medford, and July 13 at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 200 Prince
St., Bordentown City.
New York Senator and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani continue to run
at or near the top of Democratic and Republican presidential polls, as they have
for months. Hovering over the horizon like a Predator drone, current New York
City mayor Michael Bloomberg co-hosted a conference on bipartisan political
solutions in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago and changed his party
registration to unaffiliated a few days later, fueling persistent speculation
(denied, so far, by him) that he might pull a Perot and make a third-party run
as a billionaire maverick. Come November 2008, voters could be facing a Subway
Series presidential race.
Historically, New York was the cradle of presidential candidates. Two of the
first politicians to spot the state's potential were Thomas Jefferson and James
Madison. In the spring of 1791 they took a vacation from their jobs as Secretary
of State and Congressman to make a tour of New York and New England, ostensibly
to collect botanical specimens but in fact to look for political allies. One
they found was the supple young New York Senator Aaron Burr. They might better
have left him alone. In the presidential election of 1800, Burr morphed from
Jefferson's running mate to his (unsuccessful) challenger for the White House
I attach, for your possible inclusion on the ABA website, the recorded file
in New York City records wherein Aaron Burr freed, in consideration of $1,
Miss Peggy, a mulatto slave. The date of the event was December 24, 1801, and
it was officially recorded January 14, 1802. I have transcribed it faithfully,
except for the insertion of some punctuation and formatting, to make the
The entire credit for this discovery goes to Kay Freeman, who has been
searching through many New York records for quite some time. I am merely
the transmitter of this message.
Recorded for and at
the Request of
Miss Peggy this 14th
day of January 1802
To whom it may concern. Whereas
I have heretofore purchased from Elizabeth Crum, Widow of Benjamin Crum of
Marbletown in Ulster County, a Mulatto woman named Peggy for a term of years not
yet expired with condition that the said Peggy should be free at the expiration
of the said term. Now in consideration of one Dollar to me in hand paid, I do
hereby liberate and manumit the said Peggy and do declare her to be henceforth
free. Witness my hand and seal at the City of New York the 24th day of December
one thousand eight hundred and one.
A. Burr (s.s.)
Sealed and delivered in presence of James Clapp, State of
New York fs;
Be it remembered that on the
thirty-first day of December in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred
and one personally before me, John B. Prevost, Recorder of the City of New York,
appeared James Clapp, the subscribing witness to the within written Certificate
of Manumission, who is known to me and who being duly sworn did depose and say
that he saw Aaron Burr, the within named Grantor, sign, seal and deliver the
said within written Certificate of Manumission for and as his act and deed,
whereupon I allow it to be recorded.
Recorder of the City of New York.
Great Americans immortalized as potatoes
TEMECULA ---- What's the best way to immortalize great Americans? With a
museum or library? A plaque on a wall? A statue in a park?
For the last nine years, students in Darren Thomas' Advanced Placement history
classes at Chaparral High School have been enshrining members into the American
Hall of Fame in the form of Mr. Potato Head.
The figures are atop cabinets and shelves in Thomas' classroom.
The 2007 inductees, honored at a ceremony June 6, were Clara Barton and
Frederick Douglas. Their likenesses, created using the popular toy, join Rosa
Parks, Thomas Edison, Earl Warren, Lyndon Johnson, Mark Twain, Jane Addams,
Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore
Roosevelt, Henry Clay, John Marshall, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King,
Thomas Jefferson, Harriet Tubman and Andrew Carnegie in the Hall of Fame.
Inducted into the Hall of Shame was Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He joins Nathaniel
Forrest, the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Aaron Burr and Boss Tweed as spuds of
About 150 students are involved in the project, doing everything from designing
the figures, performing or speaking at the induction ceremonies to creating
PowerPoint presentations and display boards and working on various committees.
"I was looking for something for the end of the year," Thomas said of the
genesis of the project. "The AP test is in May, so I was looking for something
exciting and fun. I was looking for a balance of fun and serious."
Thomas said that by the time students take the AP test in early May, they have
already covered all of the curriculum for the course. But with a month left in
the school year, they need something to do.
"We've already studied everything during the course of the year," Thomas said.
"The course is so difficult. This is kind of a reward. We lighten it up for a
while. They lead a very stressful life, (I figure) let's play with the material
for a while."
What began as a simple event has grown into a major project that incoming
students look forward to, Thomas said.
"One of the first things we did was ask 'What's up with the Potato Heads,'"
junior Jake Simon said. "We've been building toward this all year. It's a
culmination of all we've learned. The AP test is the biggest academic thing,
this brings everything together and lets us enjoy the subject."
Students nominate people who have had a lasting effect on the country then
discuss each candidate's merits before voting for the enshrines.
Thomas said there is often great debate, never more than with Lyndon Johnson,
who was lauded for improving civil rights, but criticized for the Vietnam War.
Juniors Kylie Fuller, Nicole Choi, Ana Bondoc, Sherry Pinneo and Alex Cropino
were working on the McCarthy Potato Head last week. His figure was holding a
blacklist containing such names as Tom Cruise, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Depp,
Madonna and Lucille Ball.
The girls admitted they didn't know a lot about blacklisted celebrities from the
1950s, so they chose some more controversial names.
Kylie said she enjoyed being able to get creative with history.
"We learned so much this year," she said. "It's fun to be able to pull out
important aspects of history
Post a comment:
Aaron Burr was not a
Spud of Infamy.
Read "Fallen Founder". Just because he stood for women's education and voting by
the common man did not make him bad, as his political enemies wished us to
believe. Hamilton shot at him first, and Jefferson wanted his vice president
Burr hanged because he threatened plantations. But Burr won at his trial.
When will history teachers learn to stop making our students instruments of
hate? Peter T
Jun 17 2007 8:12AM
Today in History
Today is Sunday, June 24th, the 175th day of 2007. There are 190 days left in
Today's Highlight in History: On June 24th, 1948, Communist forces cut off all
land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the
western allies to organize the massive Berlin Airlift.
On this date: In 1314, the forces of Scotland's King Robert the First defeated
the English in the Battle of Bannockburn.
In 1509, Henry the Eighth was crowned king of England.
In 1793, the first republican constitution in France was adopted.
In 1807, a grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, indicted former Vice President
on charges of treason and high misdemeanor (he was later
In 1908, the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, Grover Cleveland,
died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 71.
In 1940, France signed an armistice with Italy during World War Two.
Bedford Springs is bubbling
Mountain resort to reopen July 1 after luxurious restoration
Sunday, June 17, 2007
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
||Pa. Historical Museum Commission
Above: A postcard from Bedford Springs
Below: Bedford Springs has undergone a $120 million restoration and
will reopen July 1.
Click photos for larger image.
BEDFORD -- Here at the lush Bedford Springs Resort, the Allegheny Mountains
echo with the sounds of hammers, drills and buzzing saws. This cacophony of
power tools is punctuated by regular grunts from an army of carpenters,
electricians, landscapers and men laying elegant carpet in the Eisenhower Room
or shimmering blue tile in the Eternal Springs Spa.
As the opening day of July 1 looms ......
Not to mention the elimination of all those noxious exhaust fumes, which
might interfere with taking the waters, inhaling spruce-scented breezes or
relaxing on the front porch -- attractions that drew Aaron Burr and his
ailing grandson here in 1806.
Even after two centuries, this place is all about its seven gushing
natural springs. American Indians drank from the springs long before they were
discovered in the late 1700s by Nicholas Shouffler, a gold prospector.
The magnesia spring is reportedly good for your stomach; the iron spring, a
tonic for your blood. Locals regularly fill jugs with crystal spring water. The
limestone spring lies just beyond a gold medal trout stream called Shober's Run
while the sulphur and sweet springs are closer to the hotel on Sweet Root Road.
June 13, 2007
June 9, 2007
Please place this e-mail and attachments on the ABA web site. I have been
given the opportunity to exhibit eight pieces of my Aaron Burr collection as
part of the New Members Exhibit at The Grolier Club located at 47 East 60th
Street, New York City. Attached please find my personal statement and the
label descriptions of the items I have chosen to exhibit. There will be
thirteen other bibliophiles exhibiting their collections. The opening of the
exhibit is next Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. (business
attire). The exhibition is on view through July 28, 2007. It is not open to
the public. However, any current ABA member who wishes to view the exhibit may
do so with my advance notice to enter. I am proud to be a member of the ABA
since 1996 and a new member of The Grolier Club. I believe you will like the
Burr items I have chosen to exhibit.
Brian D. Hardison
Click here for Exhibition
Some of the ABA members at the opening reception in NYC that night:
Amy, Debby, Bob, Brian, George and Pete (Walter Burr and Kay Freeman were not in photo)
Thanks Bob for the Grolier Club photo above.
Click here for Exhibition
Thomas Fleming brings Alexander Hamilton to
the Desmond-Fish Library
Thomas Fleming, president of the Society of American Historians
and author of Washington's Secret War, The Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr,
and the Future of America and many other acclaimed books of American history,
will speak about Alexander Hamilton at the Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison at
2pm on June 16.
This week's email comments on Fallen Founder
by ABA Members :
Dear ABA members:
I walked into Barnes & Noble this morning and saw a new book on Aaron Burr.
It's Fallen Founder, The Life of Aaron Burr (540
pages) by Nancy Isenberg. It retails for $29.95 but had a 20% discount because
it's a new hardcover. This is the first paragraph from inside the dust cover:
"The narrative of America's founding is filled with stories of godlike
geniuses -- Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson -- versus the villainous
Aaron Burr. Generations have been told that Burr was a betrayer -- of Alexander
Hamilton, of his country, of those who had nobler ideas. But that version has
been shaped by historians and writers from the eighteenth century on, who were
blinded by tabloid reports and propaganda created by Burr's political enemies
during his lifetime. It is time to discover the real Aaron Burr."
Have a good summer, and I hope to see you in Richmond.
Frank Burr 6/13
has already been reviewed in The Weekly Standard in the June 4 issue.
The review was mostly favorable both as to the book & to Burr.
Sue Bowles 6/13
Stuart Johnson, Helena Lawrence, and I were among those who attended a Nancy
Isenberg talk and book signing at Olsson's bookstore in Alexandria VA. I am
reading Fallen Founder while on vacation; it's reviews are generally favorable,
and, personally speaking, I find that Isenberg seems to have discarded, or at
least toned down, some of her earlier shallow views about Burr.
Lyman Coddington 6/14
The new book, Fallen Founder, has been reviewed several times since March,
including one by our own Dr. Ray Swick. Peter has posted several of the
reviews on the web site. It is a great book. In my opinion, it is the
definitive work on Burr to date. Also don't miss the Burr exhibit at The
Grolier Club in New York City this summer. Details on the web site.
Similar to Lyman am on vacation (from retirement) in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
on the Bras d'Or Lakes (largest saltwater inland lake complex in the world)
making my way through "Fallen Founder". The book deserves nomination for
'definitive' based on several factors, e.g. extensive footnoting, first
biography of Burr to resort extensively to the Mary-Jo Kline compilatio of
Burr legal & real estate & personal letters (would enjoy her comments on the
book) and the sorting out of conflicting views over various aspects of Burr's
life and personality.
"Fallen Founder" & "The Conspiracy Against Aaron Burr" are on the same
wave length, and although the latter (partly by reason of Oliver Perry
Sturm's demise before completing the book) is scholarly neither in the sense
of degree of documentation nor condensation, it is more readily consumable by
the casual reader and as a primer in public and high school level. Another
interesting contrast is that while "Fallen Founder" relies on in depth
research into archival material and publications, Sturm for "Conspiracy" went
into the field traveling in Europe to retrace Burr's steps and connections.
After finishing will do a precis and circulate. Reminds me of a paper
I did at college (University as the Brits phrase it) comparing Job from "The
Book of Job in the Bible) to Iago in Shakespeare's "Othello".
HENRY H (HARRY) ANDERSON 6/17
5/31/07 Boston Globe book review by a
free lance writer:
5/27 NY Times book review
I assume you've
already bought the book, but in case you haven't, attached is the New York
Time review. The book sounds very interesting.
We're having a
BBQ this afternoon (Sunday). Any chance you and Mary can join us?
NY Times must of course focus
on widower Burr's intimacy with the Swedish maid.
All the news that's
sensational to print!
Tyler Dueling pistols for sale: Interested?
Dan Tyler was cousin of Comfort Tyler.
Nancy Isenberg after delivering her lecture at Barnes & Noble,
West Windsor, NJ
With Nancy Isenberg is Gene Biddle, grandson of ABA founder
Samuel Engle Burr (who started the ABA in 1946)
Gene recalled the days when the ABA had 5000 members and annual
meetings were at magnificent ballrooms.
Pete told Nancy that the Aaron Burr
Association absolutely loves her book, and thanked her for all her thorough
Did Aaron Burr Really Try to Take Over Half of America?
|A new book attempts to restore the
reputation of the most reviled Founding Father.
Two hundred years ago today Aaron Burr was indicted
for treason. The former Vice President stood accused of an outlandish plot to
take over the American West and Mexico. He has always been presumed guilty,
though nothing has ever been proved. Now a new biography suggests that it was
all a lie, and that Burr may be the most maligned man in American history. Is
Poor Burr. In the seven years before his trial he
tied Thomas Jefferson in the presidential election of 1800, was demoted to Vice
President in an unfair backroom deal, and shot Alexander Hamilton. By 1807 his
powerful enemies were beginning to call him a traitor. Even President Jefferson
made the accusation, based largely on hearsay. Aaron Burr, nearly elected the
third President of the United States, was turning into something approaching a
In her new biography,
Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr (Viking, 544 pages, $29.95), the
historian Nancy Isenberg challenges the bad reputation that has stuck to him
ever since. She praises his heroism during the Revolution and his skill as a New
York politician and lawyer, and she demonstrates that he possessed a concrete
political philosophy. Burr is remembered mainly as Alexander Hamilton’s killer,
but Isenberg shows that Hamilton had conspired to destroy his career time and
again. Moreover, Hamilton got into ten other dueling challenges before he was
shot at Weehawken, whereas Burr actually loudly condemned the practice.
Isenberg, who has also written about sexuality in
Burr’s era, presents her subject as a feminist. He turns out to be a progressive
advocate of female education and an admirer of Mary Wollstonecraft’s essay
“Vindication of the Rights of Woman.” Yet such admirable traits hardly answer
the most serious question: What was he planning out West?
He was certainly working on something in the forests
of the Louisiana Territory. Between his 1804 duel and his 1807 trial, he moved
up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers repeatedly. He told people he was
preparing “a grand expedition.” He may have been conspiring to separate the
lands he was on from the United States; he may have been plotting an invasion of
Spanish Mexico. His enemies claimed he was working at both; his defenders, only
The secession of the West was hardly unimaginable
then. Many Westerners were furious that their territories, not yet being states,
were unprotected by the Constitution and administered by appointed officials.
James Wilkinson, the governor of the Louisiana Territory, was one of the true
villains of American history, a double agent for the Spanish Empire.
As for the evidence against Burr, Great Britain’s
minister to America, Anthony Merry, informed London in 1805 that Burr had asked
him for funding “to effect a Separation of the Western Part of the United
States.” He said Burr had even requested that the Royal Navy seize the
Mississippi during his takeover. Merry supported the plan. But Isenberg says
Burr was merely using Merry’s dislike of the administration to fund his
filibuster of Mexico.
While traveling near Pittsburgh in 1806, Burr spent
the night at his old friend George Morgan’s house. Over dinner he averred that
the West’s separation was inevitable and tried to recruit Morgan’s sons for his
undefined expedition. His host reported this all to the government as soon as he
left. Morgan had invited Aaron Burr into his home as a friend, so it’s hard to
credit Isenberg’s insistence that he was biased against Burr. Still, the
suspicious dinner conversation proves nothing.
Most of the remaining evidence of treason is weaker,
the product of the “Burr fever” that swept the West in 1806. Newspapers
published reports that he was scheming; anonymous informants contacted President
Jefferson; and some even claimed that Burr was plotting to invade Washington
D.C. Rumors circulated that he hoped to raise a Native American militia, or buy
weapons from a corrupt Army fort. And he did, in fact, write questionable
messages to Wilkinson, referring to “things improper to letter.” Again, none of
this is solid evidence of a design against the government; indeed, it can be
taken to support Isenberg’s description of a panicked campaign of libel against
There are reasons to doubt the anti-Burr accusations.
Descriptions of the conspiracy took on absurd proportions: He was said to be
plotting to capture more than 2.5 million square miles of American and Spanish
territory, and he was said to be doing so openly, despite his being a first-rate
lawyer and clever politician. A Mississippi militia searched his boats just
before his arrest in 1807 and found no military weapons. Finally, he was tried
twice in the West for the conspiracy and found innocent both times.
The acquittals did not allay Burr fever, and in 1807
he was captured and shipped east. In the process many laws were broken.
Wilkinson turned on him, arrested his associates, and declared martial law in
New Orleans. Jefferson publicly proclaimed his former Vice President’s guilt,
biasing the investigation. The U.S. Senate tried to suspend habeas corpus to
hold Burr and his friends; the House defeated the move.
Two hundred years ago Aaron Burr was taken east to
Virginia in a cage (he had repeatedly tried to escape—sure evidence of either
his guilt or his resistance to wrongful arrest, depending on which side you
take). His trial in Richmond pitted a former Vice President against the
President. It was presided over by the chief justice, John Marshall (a friend of
Burr’s), involved four past, present, and future U.S. attorneys general in
various roles, and was attended by prominent spectators from Andrew Jackson to
Marshall began by setting out a working definition of
treason that narrowly defined the crime as open military preparation for war.
Treason, he wrote, “may be machinated in secret but it can be perpetuated only
in the open day.” Noting Burr’s lack of either soldiers or weapons, the justice
asked, “What kind of invisible army must this have been?”
A hundred and forty witnesses were listed by the
prosecution, and those called offered hearsay but no concrete evidence that met
Marshall’s standard. The prosecution relied mainly on the testimony of James
Wilkinson and William Eaton. Eaton, a hero of the recent Barbary War, had
returned to America an alcoholic known for belligerent, paranoid rants. His
accusations probably helped Burr. Wilkinson was no stronger. He was widely
disliked and widely thought of as a co-conspirator of Burr’s.
Burr sat in the courtroom, clad in black silk, and
watched his reputation crumble. The court held him innocent until proven guilty,
but there was no due process in the national press. Three months after his May
22 indictment, he was acquitted, but his name never recovered.
Though innocent of treason, Burr had definitely
plotted an invasion of Mexico, which can explain his suspicious letters to
Wilkinson and to Merry. He confessed that plan to future President Andrew
Jackson, sent supplies downriver, lobbied the American and British navies for
help, and corresponded with Mexican priests who promised local support. Worst of
all, he often told Americans in the West that he was acting as an authorized
agent of the federal government.
His Mexico scheme would have had terrible
consequences for the young republic. An invasion would have forced America into
an unwanted war with Spain and its ally France. The neutrality Jefferson had
fought so hard to maintain during the Napoleonic wars would have been undone.
Ludicrously, invading Mexico was only a misdemeanor at the time; nonetheless,
Burr is clearly not the slandered saint Nancy Isenberg suggests. His Mexico
plot, while neither treasonous nor felonious, was extremely dangerous.
Aaron Burr is remembered today for the treason he
didn’t commit and the duel he didn’t want. Isenberg works hard to rehabilitate
the fallen founder, but his bad image is partially his own fault. He refused to
publicly defend himself and never wrote his own account of events. He came to
regret this. Late in his life he wrote, “I fear I have committed a great error;
the men who knew their falsity are dead, and the generation who now read them
may take them for truths, being uncontradicted.” Finally, Nancy Isenberg
contradicts many of the truths we always knew about him.
lives in New York City and writes for Military
Mr. Grinspan will be welcome to learn
more about Burr's western expedition by attending the annual meeting in
He confuses settlement after military
action, with military action. Burr clearly was there to help if war with
Spain was first declared.
Everyone including Jefferson thought it was imminent. Burr did not know
Wilkinson was a spy for Spain. Does Military History Magazine side with
Wilkinson here just because he commanded the army? 20 squirrel shooting guns
does not constitute an arsenal. Burr never said he was an authorized
agent. etc. etc. (Pete)
Nancy Isenberg photo from book jacket
Attention ABA Members:
Founder is now available for sale. Please read at your earliest convenience. Pete
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