(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Children's Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Blennerhassett papers, embodying the private journal of Harman Blennerhassett, and the hitherto unpublished correspondence of Burr, Alston, Comfort Tyler, Devereaux, Dayton, Adair, Miro, Emmett, Theodosia Burr Alston, Mrs. Blennerhassett, and others .."

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 



at jhttp : //books . qooqle . com/ 



jgentn 

-mi 



-•ne 






KF 



/ar/a 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 




<j^r/$/£r/>£/<fptfL 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE 



u l . 



: I. \ .' ; i. 



;,' - * 






Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE 



BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS, 



EMBODYING TH1 



FUVATl J0U1NAI 01 IAIIAH BL1NNEEH ASSITT. 



AND THE HITHXBTO UNPUBLISHED OOBBB8PONDBNOE OF 



BURR, ALSTON, COMFORT TYLER, DEVEREAUX, DAYTON, 

ADAIR, MIRO, EMMETT, THEODOSIA BURR 

ALSTON, MRS. BLENNERHASSETT, 



AND OTHERS, THEIB CONTEMPORARIES J DEVELOPING THE PURPOSES AND 
AIMS Of THOSE ENGAGED IN THE ATTEMPTED 



WILKINSON AND BURR REVOLUTION; 

EMBRACING ALSO THE FIRST ACCOUNT OF THE 

"SPANISH ASSOCIATION OF lEHTffCIY," 

ASD A 

MEMOIR OF BLENNERHASSETT, 

BT "WILLIAM H. SAFFORD. 



CINCINNATI: 
MOORE, WILSTACH, KEYS & CO., 

26 WEST FOURTH STREET. 

18 6 1. 



Digitized by 



Google 



\^F /85/a- 



UN:VtRSITY 
LIBRARY 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year I860, 

By MOORE, WILSTACH, KEYS & CO., 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the 
Southern District of Ohio. 



Digitized by 



Google 



TO MY FRIEND, 

SENECA W. ELY, Ebq., 

THIS VOLUME 
18 RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED. 



Takglewood, November 19th, 1860. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



PREFACE. 



In the year 1850, the author published a small volume, enti- 
tled "The Life of Blennerhassett," which has passed through 
several editions. While collecting the material for it, he learned 
of the existence of the Blennerhassett manuscripts, and made an 
ineffectual effort to secure them. They were then in the cus- 
tody of B.'s invalid son, in the city of New York, who could 
not be prevailed upon to submit them to the author's inspec- 
tion. The latter was, consequently, compelled to send the work 
to the press, with such limited information as could be gathered 
from contemporaneous history and the personal reminiscences 
of friends. On the death of this son, in 1854, the papers 
passed into the possession of Joseph Lewis Blennerhassett, 
the youngest surviving child of the family, from whom they 
were obtained in the spring of 1859. 

Upon an examination, the author was gratified to find that 
his former publication, although written upon such unsatisfac- 
tory data, so far as it professed to relate the life of Blenner- 
hassett, was in every material particular correct. But the addi- 
tional fund of interesting and important information which was 
disclosed — particularly with reference to this most romantic epi- 
sode of American history — seemed to impose the necessity of an 
entire revision of his work. In the performance of this duty, 
so much new material has been added from the private mem- 
oranda, journals and correspondence of Blennerhassett, that he 
has thought it advisable to change its title. Hence he has 
adopted that of " The Blennerhassett Papers ;" and so nu- 



Digitized by 



Google 



6 PREFACE. 

merous have been the changes, that it may now be regarded as 
a separate and independent publication. 

In the selection and arrangement of the materials, he has 
endeavored, impartially, to place before the public every im- 
portant fact connected with the subject. Having no object to 
conceal the faults or infirmities, nor inclination to apologize for 
the acts, of Blennerhassett, the author has been careful to sup- 
press nothing to shield him from censure, nor has he invented 
excuses to extenuate his conduct. Wherever and whenever it 
has been necessary, for the interest of the work and the inform- 
ation of the reader, that the motives by which Blennerhassett 
was actuated should be disclosed, he has not hesitated to reveal 
them, even though it involved the invasion of private corres- 
pondence. 

It is possible, nay, probable, that much is here presented which, 
oould it have passed under the personal supervision of Mr. 
Blennerhassett, would have been materially modified, or entirely 
withheld ; particularly after time had smoothed the asperities 
of personal rancor, and obliterated the memory of private wrongs. 
But this is certainly not the province of the impartial biogra- 
pher, whose paramount aim is the verity of history, and not 
the unwarranted aggrandizement of individual character. 

These remarks apply more appropriately to the observations 
on men and measures, contained in the journal and private 
correspondence of Blennerhassett. The scathing criticisms, and, 
in many instances, unmerited censure, with which its pages are 
replete, can only be extenuated by the smarting sense of per- 
sonal injustice to which he deemed himself subjected. It is to 
be borne in mind, however, that none of his notes were ever 
intended for the public eye; that they were written exclusively 
for the entertainment of his wife and friends, at a time when 
party spirit ran high, and the jealous rivalries of leading poli- 
ticians had discarded the amenities of social intercourse ; when 



Digitized by 



Google 



PREFACE. 7 

Colonel Burr himself strove to give a partisan bias to the pros- 
ecution for treason, by charging Mr. Jefferson with political 
malevolence and private revenge. Under such considerations, 
we are prepared, at least, to excuse the warmth of his invec- 
tives, however much we may dissent from his conclusions. 
Time has demonstrated, that whatever ' personal inconvenience 
and sacrifice of private interest the arrest of the Burr Expedi- 
tion occasioned the parties immediately involved; whatever mo- 
tives may have influenced the action of the executive in the 
prosecution of its leader, it is certainly now clear, that it main- 
tained the integrity of the Union, and re-established the confi- 
dence of the world in the power and perpetuity of the govern- 
ment. 

The chapter devoted to the Spanish intrigues in Kentucky, 
seemed necessary to a proper understanding of the causes which 
induced, and the parties who influenced and projected, this 
noted undertaking. If the remarks upon the conduct of Gene- 
ral Wilkinson should seem severe, the author can only say that 
they have been prompted through no feeling of personal en- 
mity, but in justice, merely, to those who were the victims of 
his duplicity and bold breach of faith. 

He has to regret the haste with which the necessities of the 
case have compelled him to prepare the work for the press. It 
has been completed in exactly one year from the time the 
papers were submitted to his inspection, and at such intervals 
of leisure, only, as he could appropriate from the duties of an 
arduous profession. He can not, therefore, flatter himself that 
it is free from occasional errors, or that it will successfully 
escape the criticism of cultivated and correct taste. But how- 
ever numerous may be its faults, he can only hope that he may 
in some measure elude criticism through the interest which the 
subject itself creates. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

lineage of Blennerhassett ; Placed at Westminster to school; Grad- 
uates at Trinity College; The Irish Bar; Preferences, by the Irish 
gentry, for the legal profession ; Studies at the King's Inns ; Called 
to the degree of Barrister; Determines to travel ; Sets out for the 
Continent; France; Witnesses the adoption of the new Constitu- 
tion ; Returns ; Irish Revolutionists, John and Henry Sheares ; Dis- 
content of Ireland ; Monopoly of England ; English tyranny; Effect 
of American Revolution on Ireland ; On Europe ; Repeal of Stat- 
ute Sixth of George First; Blennerhassett determines on removal; 
Starts for Kingsale ; Proceeds to England ; Miss Agnew ; Marriage 
and Migration 19 

CHAPTER II. 

Ships for New York; Letter to Lord Kingsale; Ohio and Mississippi 
Valleys; Sets out for the West; Arrives at Pittsburg; Takes pas- 
sage for Marietta; Population of the village; Resolves to locate; 
Selecting a site for a residence; The Island; Moves to a block- 
house, and commences improvements ; Simplicity not consulted in 
the construction of the mansion ; Description ; Domesticity. ... 29 

CHAPTER III. 

Personal appearance of Blennerhassett; Anecdote of; Experiment; 
Proficiency in music ; simplicity of character; Anecdote of; Afraid 
of earthquakes and thunder-storms ; Mrs. Blennerhassett 50 

CHAPTER IV 

Character of the early settlers of Western Virginia ; Variety; Social 
distinctions abolished ; Amusements; Feats of strength ; Chivalry; 
Patriotism; Washington's compliment; Early settlers of Belpre*; 
New England origin ; Puritanical practices ; Bravery ; Patriotism ; 
Education ; Comparison of the two types of character 56 



Digitized by 



Google 



10 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 

Difficulties attending the early colonisation of the Mississippi Valley ; 
Navigation of the river cause of discontent ; Tardiness of Congress 
in asserting the rights of the people; Murmurings of discontent; 
Want of unanimity of the people on the subject of redresB of griev- 
ances ; Disunion advocated ; Intrigues of the Spanish Crown ; Gen- 
eral James Wilkinson ; Endeavors to secure the free navigation of 
the Mississippi; Arrested by order of the Governor of Louisiana; 
Released; Entertainment; Permission to trade; Suspicious inti- 
macy ; Gardoqui and Miro without concert of plan ; Gardoqui ap- 
points Pierre d'Arges to execute scheme; D'Arges' movements; 
Plans of Spanish agents threaten collision; Dispatch of Miro to 
Valdes ; Wilkinson sails from New Orleans to Philadelphia ; Pro- 
ceeds to Richmond ; Addresses a letter to Gardoqui ; Colonel George 
Morgan; Efforts at Colonization; Wilkinson returns acrosB the 
mountains; His splendid equipage creates suspicion; Enters into 
large contracts for tobacco; Communicates with Miro by special 
messengers ; Advises him of the disaffection of the Kentucky people, 
and the probable success of their plans ; Wilkinson suspicioned by 
Miro as working for pecuniary advancement; Dispatch of Miro; 
Major Dunn sent by Wilkinson as supercargo; Is introduced by 
letter to Miro ; Wilkinson communicates further intelligence of the 
disposition of the Eentuckians ; Major Dunn corroborates his state- 
ments; Dispatch from McGillivray, the half-breed chief; Miro elated ; 
Wilkinson still ignorant of Gardoqui' s plans ; Diplomacy ; Wilkin- 
son on a wrong scent; Wilkinson sowing the seeds of dissension 
in Kentucky; Constant agitations; Wilkinson's success animates 
others; A new cause of excitement; The new Constitution of the 
United States ; Convention of Virginia called to meet at Richmond ; 
A District Convention called to meet at Danville to frame a Consti- 
tution for the new State; Wilkinson chosen as a member; Sudden 
termination of its deliberations ; Letter on the subject from Wilkin- 
son to Miro ; South-Western feeling ; Wilkinson still suspicioned ; 
General Morgan's movements; Wilkinson's distrust of Morgan; 
Sordid desires ; British intrigue; Connally deputed by Dorchester; 
Visits Kentucky; Propositions; Interview with Wilkinson; Coun- 
terplotting; Spain consents to the navigation of the Mississippi on 
terms; Effect of the measure; Wilkinson discouraged; Apprehen- 
sions for his own safety excited; Desires to become a Spanish sub- 
ject; Is dissuaded by Miro; Miro' s hopes dampened ; Proposes to 
pension Wilkinson to guard the interest of Spain, and Sebastian to 
guard Wilkinson; Kentucky admitted; Wilkinson commissioned as 
Lieutenant-Colonel; Reason therefor; Discontent still prevailing; 
Genet's intrigue; Jacobin Clubs ; Address of the Society at Philadel- 



Digitized by 



Google 



C0NTENT8. 11 

phia ; General George Rogers Clark commissioned a Major-Gencral 
in the French Revolutionary Legions; Washington embarrassed; 
Demands the recall of Genet; General Wayne ordered to repair to 
Massac ; Tranquillity, for a time, restored 68 

CHAPTER VI. 

Clouds gathering; Burr visits the West; Object; Visits the Island; 
Interview with Wilkinson; Blennerhassett on a visit to Emmctt; 
Duped by Harte ; Letter to James Brown, Esq. ; Despondent ; Pro- 
poses to change his residence; Letter to Devereux ; Burrs first com- 
munication to Blennerhassett ; Answer to Burr ; Burr to Blenner- 
hassett; Burr's third letter ; Burr's fourth and fifth letters; Arrival 
at the Island ; Interview ; Projects ; Wirt's description ; Burr con- 
tinues recruiting; Tempting inducements held out 106 

CHAPTER VII. 

Preparations; Burr visits Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Kentucky; Terms 
of enlistment ; " Querist ; " Lexington, Kentucky; Mrs. Alston joined 
by her husband at the Island, in company with Blennerhassett; visit 
Lexington ; Reception ; Ruse ; Col. Alston ; Letter of Blennerhassett 
to Jos. 8. Lewis & Co. ; Apprehensions of the publio mind ; Retro- 
spect; Rumors of the Expedition; Graham appointed a secret agent 
to investigate its object; Instructions to Wilkinson; Marches to- 
ward Natchitoches; Orders the fortification of New Orleans; Re- 
fused forces by the Executive of Mississippi Territory ; Sends Bur- 
ling to Mexico to apprise the Viceroy; Meeting at New Orleans; 
Preparations for resistance; Mutiny in Wood county, Va.; Mrs. 
Blennerhassett alarmed ; Dispatches a messenger to Blennerhassett ; 
He returns from Lexington; Dr. Bennett; Letter to Colonel Phelps; 
Reply; Interview; Letter from Devereux; Burr'B arrest in Ken- 
tucky; Advises Blennerhassett; Discharge; Graham visits Mari- 
etta ; Interview with Blennerhassett ; Visits the Governor of Ohio 
at Chillicothe; Act of the Ohio Legislature; Militia of the State 
called out; Anecdotes; Comfort Tyler; Tyler to Blennerhassett; 
Hon. Charles Fenton Mercer; Interview; Reflections; Arrival of 
Tyler at the Island ; Blennerhassett disheartened ; Persuaded by his 
wife to proceed; Boats guarded by the militia; Toung recruits 
attempt a rescue 131 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Burr dispatches communication in cipher to Wilkinson; Revelations; 
Evidences of Wilkinson's complicity ; Wilkinson's treachery, Com- 
municates with the President; Proclamation of the President; 



Digitized by 



Google 



12 CONTENTS. 

Blennerhassett alarmed; Preparations; Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Es- 
cape of the Expedition from the Wand j Col. Phelps with his forces ; 
Ineffectual attempt to arrest Blennerhassett at Point Pleasant; 
Instructions sent to Tennessee; Graham leaves Frankfort for Nash- 
ville ; The movements of Burr; Kentucky militia ordered out; 
Burr's flotilla ; Burr leaves the Cumberland ; Lands at Fort Massac ; 
Is visited by the Commander, Captain Bissel ; Supplies Burr with a 
messenger to convey a letter to the Lead Mines in Missouri ; His 
wife presents Burr with provisions ; Burr and his party prooeed to 
Chickasaw Bluffs ; Has an interview with the Commander, Lieuten- 
ant Jacob Jackson; Fails in his designs; Communication of the 
President to Wilkinson; Burr supplies himself with lead, toma- 
hawks, etc., and proceeds to Palmyra, and thence to Bayou Pierre ; 
Blennerhassett' s Journal of the voyage down the river. 167 

CHAPTER IX. 

Morgan Neville, and William Robinson, Junior ; Embark from Pitts- 
burg in a fiatboat; Espied by the Wood county militia, and arrested ; 
Escorted to the Island to await the return of Colonel Phelps ; Diffi- 
culties with the militia ; Trial of the young men ; Conduct of the 
militia on the Island ; Mrs. Blennerhassett' s return from Marietta ; 
Her fortitude on the occasion ; Embarrassed situation ; Accepts the 
offer of the young men to convey her to her husband; Colonel 
Phelps's return to the Island; Young men embarrassed at the 
announcement of his arrival ; Character and description of Colonel 
Phelps ; Rebukes the militia for their riotous conduct ; His politeness 
to the young men ; Proffers his services in accelerating Mrs. Blen- 
nerhassett' 8 arrangement to go to her husband ; Apologises for the 
misbehavior of his men; Mrs. Blennerhassett prepares to depart; 
Leaves the Island in company with the young men; Passes the 
month of the Cumberland; Disappointed in not finding her hus- 
band; Arrives at Bayou Pierre, and is restored to Blennerhassett; 
Painful situation of Burr and Blennerhassett; Burr sinks the arms 
for the Expedition, in the Mississippi 193 

CHAPTER X. 

Proclamation of Cowles Mead in Mississippi ; Burr visited at his boats 
hy George Poindexter, Attorney-General ; Letter from Cowles Mead ; 
Surrender ; Examination before Rodney ; Jury called ; Refuse to find 
a Bill of Indictment; Censure the arrest; Burr resolves to escape; 
Letter to Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Makes flight ; Burr's forces arrested ; 
Other seizures at New Orleans ; Habeas corpus granted by Workman ; 
Wilkinson refuses to surrender his prisoners; Workman resigns; 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONTENTS. 19 

Burling returns from Mexico; Wilkinson and Admiral Drake; 
Trial and discharge of Bollman, Swartwout, Ogden and Alexander; 
Letter of Blennerhassett to Graham ; Blennerhassett arrested) and 
released on bail 199 

CHAPTER XI. 

Burr's arrival in the Tillage of Wakefield, Alabama; Inquires for 
Colonel Hin8on's ; His conduct excites suspicion ; He is pursued by 
Nicholas Perkins and Bright well, the Sheriff; Is found at Hinson's; 
His agreeableness ; Suspicions of the Sheriff; Mrs. Hinson's inquis- 
itiveness; His departure from Hinson's ; Delinquency of Brightwell; 
Perkins sets out for Fort Stoddard, to procure assistance of Lieuten- 
ant Edmund P. Gaines ; They start in pursuit ; Burr is arrested ; 
His imprisonment at the Fort; Kindness to George S. Gaines; 
Amusements at the Fort ; Burr's traveling companion, Major Ash- 
ley, arrested, and escapes ; Difficulties in procuring a guard to con- 
vey Burr to Richmond; Burr leaves the Fort under guard; Sympa- 
thy of the ladies ; Guard ; Perkins fears the influence of Burr ; Par- 
ticulars of the journey; Burr attempts to escape at Chester; Is 
unsuccessful ; Arrives at Richmond, Virginia ; Letter of Alston to 
Governor Pinkney, of South Carolina 214 

CHAPTER XII. 

Blennerhassett leaves Natches for the Island ; Letter of Blennerhas- 
sett to Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Same to same; Travel's history ; Letter 
from Mrs. Blennerhassett to Mr. Blennerhassett ; Blennerhassett to 
Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Another ; Letter from D. Woodbridge to Blen- 
nerhassett; From Mrs. to Mr. Blennerhassett; Burr to Blennerhas- 
sett; Alston to Blennerhassett; From Mrs. Theodosia Burr Alston; 
From Burr to Blennerhassett ; Arrest of Blennerhassett at Lexing- 
ton ; Advises Mrs. Blennerhassett by letter ; Narrative of the events 
by himself; Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Account of the 
arrest from the " Western World ; " Letter from Henry Clay ; Letter 
from Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett, 
from the Penitentiary; Account of the journey and incidents at 
Richmond ; Burr to Blennerhassett ; Same to same ; Blennerhassett 
to Mrs. Blennerhassett; Burr to Blennerhassett; Mrs. Blennerhas- 
sett to Mr. Blennerhassett ; Same to same ; Burr to Blennerhassett ; 
Same to same; Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett; Same to 
same ; Devereux to Blennerhassett ; Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blenner- 
hassett; Trial of Burr commenced; Counsel engaged; Verdict of 
acquittal ; Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett 281 



Digitized by 



Google 



14 CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XIII. 
Blennerhassett's Private Journal 808 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Letter from Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Same to same; 
Letter from Luther Martin to Blennerhassett; Blennerhassett to 
Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Blennerhassett to Colonel Burr ; Blennerhas- 
sett to Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Same to same ; 8ame to same ; Returns 
to Natchez; Pecuniary distress; Purchases a cotton plantation; 
Finds a home; Mrs. Blennerhassett' s management; Devereux to 
Blennerhassett ; A small remittance ; Joseph S. Lewis to Blenner- 
hassett ; Thomas Addis Emmett to Blennerhassett ; Joseph S. Lewis 
to same ; From the same ; From the same ; Blennerhassett to Gov- 
ernor Alston ; Effect of the embargo ; Island Mansion destroyed by 
fire ; Letter from Joseph S. Lewis ; From the same ; From the same ; 
From the same ; From the house of Joseph 8. Lewis & Co. ; From 
Joseph S. Lewis ; From the same ; From Joseph S. Lewis & Co. ; Burr 
in Europe; Suspicioned in England; Visits Edinburg; Returns to 
London, and iB imprisoned ; Set at large, and ordered to quit the 
kingdom ; His subsequent movements ; Returns to New York ; Letter 
from to Blennerhassett; Blennerhassett to Burr; Letter from Mr. 
Emmett 608 

CHAPTER XV. 

Origin of the Burr Expedition ; History of events preoeding ; Gayoso's 
intrigues ; Power dispatched to Wilkinson ; Plan for dismembering 
Kentucky; Wilkinson's complicity; Power's second mission; In- 
structions; Wilkinson's reply ; Spanish-American settlers ; United 
States tardy in taking possession of Spanish forts under the treaty 
of 1783; Spain is jealous of her American possessions; Memoir of 
the First Consul of France ; Advises that Wilkinson be enlisted in 
the service of France; Wilkinson the author of the Burr Expedi- 
tion ; Burr's project not a new one ; Miranda's Expedition ; Extent 
of Burr's intrigues; Misrepresentations; Wilkinson's complicity 
and treachery ; Jefferson accused 664 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Blennerhassett unsuccessful; Disposes of his Mississippi estate, and 
removes to New York; Removes to Canada in hopes of obtaining a 
Judgeship ; Unsuccessful ; " The Deserted Isle ; " Sails for Ireland ; 
Disappointed in recovering estates; Letter from Mrs. Blennerhas- 
sett; Distress of Mrs. Blennerhassett; Letter to Blennerhassett; 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONTENTS. 16 

Colonel Archibald Henderson to Mrs. Blennerhassett ; Same to the 
same ; Blennerhassett seeks office in England ; Letter to the Marquis 
of Anglesey; Letter from Mrs. Blennerhaasett; Letter to Not. de 
Courey; To Lord Courtney; From Mrs. Blennerhassett; From the 
same; To General Devereux; To J. Kingdom ; To Devereux; To the 
Marquis of Wellesley ; His history ; Marries Mrs. Patterson, of Bal- 
timore, formerly Miss Eaton ; The Tabinet Ball ; Reverses of fortune ; 
Letter from the poet Campbell ; Blennerhassett returns to Canada, 
to remove permanently to England; Mrs. Blennerhassett' b health 
declining; Letter to Lord Anglesey; Answer; ToHarman Blenner- 
Jbassett; Premonition of death; Removes to Guernsey; Death; Re- 
flections; Mrs. Blennerhassett visits the United States; Presents 
her memorial to Congress; Claim reported favorably upon; Death 
of Mrs. Blennerhassett. 682 

APPENDIX. 

I. Secret Correspondence • • • W7 

n. The Battle or Muskingum, or Deteat or the Burbites. . . 661 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



INTRODUCTION. 



More than fifty years since, the inhabitants of the 
West were gratified by the intelligence that an indi- 
vidual of rank and fortune had renounced allegiance 
to his father-land, to take up his abode among them. 
In those primitive days, every addition to the little 
band of early pioneers was deemed of some import- 
ance; but the accession of one whose manners and 
customs differed so widely from their own, who could 
build and adorn a palace in the western wilds, was 
considered an event of wonderful magnitude. 

"With satisfaction they beheld the first germs of civi- 
lization springing from beneath the plastic hand of 
taste, and bursting into full maturity through the gen- 
ial influence of wealth. This western Eden, while it 
captivated their eyes with its beauty, amazed their 
minds with the resources of its possessor. They wit- 
nessed the accomplishment of his ends in the subjuga- 
tion of nature to his will ; saw " the desert bloom and 
blossom as the rose;" stood as anxious spectators 
when the whirlwind of popular prejudice prostrated 
the hopes of his household; and wept for the desola- 
tion which succeeded. 

Since the celebrated expedition of Aaron Burr, the 
earlier fortunes of Blennerhassett have been the sub- 
ject of singular curiosity. Many have been the sur- 
mises as to the causes which led this scion of Euro- 
2 



Digitized by 



Google 



18 INTRODUCTION. 

pean aristocracy to renounce the hereditary honors 
(consequent upon family, for the secluded life of an 
unpretending republican. Some attribute it to au 
early alliance with a lady whose fortune and rank 
were unequal to those of his own ; others, to a want 
of success as a member of the Irish bar; while the 
uncharitable are anxious to throw around the subject 
conjectures of the darkest character. 

The mystery which surrounds him and his "island 
home" has served, for more than fifty years, to enter- 
tain the passing traveler, as he glides by the spot 
where once stood the American Alhambra. The mar- 
velous stories of Spain, of Moslem enchantment and 
Moorish gold, are scarcely less credible than the tales at 
such times repeated to the attentive ear of the listener. 

Memory reverts with fond delight to the earlier days 
of our youthful pastimes, when, strolling through the 
embowered coppices of the isle, or seated beneath the 
vine-clad cotton tree, the stern realities of life were 
forgotten, in the tragic narratives of by-gone years. 
Around the name of Blennerhassett, and every thing 
connected with it, was waved the enchanting wand of 
romance ; and tales of beauty, of splendor, and of crime, 
while they fascinated us with their witchery, startled 
us with his deep and dark designs. 

Who Blennerhassett truly was, and what his origin 
and destiny, it is our object to disclose; — to strip the 
subject of that mysteriousness which ignorance, wilful 
prejudice, or a love of the marvelous has thrown 
around it, and reveal to the inquiring reader the acts 
and character of the man. 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE 



BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS 



CHAPTER I. 



Little of incident is anywhere related of the early 
life of Blennerhassett. He was the youngest son of a 
distinguished family, which could trace its lineage from 
the time of King John. His grandfather, Robert, 
having emigrated from Cumberland in the reign of Eli- 
zabeth, became the head of three highly respectable 
branches of Irish gentry. 

The first son was the proprietor of Ballyseedy; the 
second of Conway Castle, Killorglin, both in the county 
of Kerry ; and the third established himself at Riddles- 
town, in the county of Limerick. 

The subject of this memoir was of the Castle Conway, 
or Killorglin line. He was born in Hampshire, on the 
8th of October, in the year 1764 or 1765, while his parents 
were on a temporary visit to England. A younger son, 
and by the laws of primogeniture, destined to a profes- 
sion, he was placed by his father at an early age, in the 
celebrated school of Westminster. He was afterward 



Digitized by 



Google 



20 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

entered at Trinity College, Dublin, where it is said he 
graduated with honor to himself and credit to his pro- 
fessors. 

At that time the Irish bar — a body formidable to the 
then existing government— comprised many sons of the 
noblemen and commoners of Ireland. The legal science 
was not then a mere trade, but a profession, requiring 
both learning and time to master its abstruse truths. 

Eloquence was looked upon as a qualification for the 
Senate, and almost every peer and commoner had a 
relative among its members. 

This inordinate preference for the legal profession is 
said to have arisen from numerous causes. Chief 
among these 'was the ambition of their gentry, and their 
family pride. The first anxiety of a parent was to secure 
for his son a calling befitting, in every particular, the 
dignity of the ancient name. In this respect the bar 
has at all times proved the highway to fortune and 
political preferment. But the consideration of wealth, or, 
perhaps, a seat in the Privy Council, were not the only 
inducements to such a selection. Although they were 
not to be regarded with indifference, yet there has also 
been an adventitious dignity conferred upon the profes- 
sion, by the political circumstances of the country, and 
the individual influence of many of its illustrious names. 
Until 1792, no Catholic could be admitted to the pri- 
vileges of a barrister, and the dignities of the profession 
were confined to a favored few. The highest families 
were anxious to secure positions, which stamped an 
aristocratic character upon the importance of the calling ; 
and to be a counsellor in those days was to be no ordi- 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN FRANCE. 21 

nary personage; the title was an indisputable passport 
to aristocratic society and intellectual association. 

Blennerhassett having, therefore, selected the law as 
the surest road to preferment and wealth, was placed 
at the King's Inns, as an entered apprentice; and at 
Michaelmas term, 1790, at the age of twenty-five, was 
generally admitted into the " Honorable Society," and 
called to the degree of Barrister therein. 

Having now successfully accomplished a severe course 
of study in which, in a few years, he had passed through 
the first literary, scientific and legal institutions of Great 
Britain ; and, by the death of his eldest brother, having 
but recently succeeded to the family estates, rendering 
exertion in his profession unnecessary as a means of sub- 
sistence, he determined before entering upon its duties, 
to indulge himself for a time in the recreation of foreign 
travel. 

Accordingly, in company with one of his companions, 
he set out for a tour upon the continent. France, both 
then as now, was the center of interest for all the world. 
For the philosopher, statesman, or man of pleasure, she 
has long possessed, and still presents, superior attractions 
over any of her sister Kingdoms. At the period of 
Blennerhassett's visit, she had been rocked by the whirl- 
wind of revolution ; and the established despotism of her 
military monarchs had been crumbled into atoms. The 
massive structure of the Bastile, every stone of which 
echoed the groans of four centuries of oppression, had 
been torn from its summit to its foundation, by the infu- 
riated advocates of popular freedom. On the anniver- 
sary of its destruction, Louis Sixteenth, with thirty 



Digitized by 



Google 



22 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

thousand delegates from the confederated National 
Guards of the kingdom, in the presence of five hun- 
dred thousand of their countrymen, had taken the oath 
of fidelity to the nation, to the Constitution, and, all 
save the monarch himself, to the king. But France was 
still trembling from the convulsions of her people. Her 
recuperative energies were starting afresh, on a new sys- 
tem of government, which lacked all the great elements 
of success. To one who had been familiar with the 
daily complainings of an oppressed nation, who, although 
himself but upon the verge of manhood, had already 
been strongly suspected of a secret league with the revo- 
lutionary spirits of Ireland, thoroughly read in the poli- 
tical writings of Voltaire, and a disciple of Rosseau, 
a more interesting and opportune period could not have 
presented itself. 

He was still an unwilling witness to the murmurs 
of the people. Confidence in the permanency of the 
government had not been secured by the affections of 
its subjects, and society had received a shock from 
which it had seemed impossible to recover. 

Having remained long enough to witness the adop- 
tion of this new measure, Blennerhassett returned to 
his own country, in time to escape the storm, which 
prostrated the hopes of its friends, and destroyed the 
life of the unfortunate Louis. There were quite a 
number of the young men of Ireland in Prance at 
the time of the emeute. Many of them entered into 
the spirit of the Revolution with great zest, and 
endeavored to enlist the sympathies of the insurgents 
in their cause against the oppression of England. 



Digitized by 



Google 



DISAFFECTED IRELAND. 23 

Among the more noted of these for their subsequent 
misfortunes, were John and Henry Sheares. They 
were hativeB of Cork, well educated, both lawyers, 
and of respectable parentage. They were present at 
the taking of the Bastile, and John was seen, on his 
return to Ireland, to flourish with exultation a hand- 
kerchief stained with the blood of Louis XVI. They 
subsequently became involved in the outbreak in 
1798, for which they were prosecuted for treason. 
Although they were ably defended by Curran, they 
were, nevertheless, convicted, and suffered the extreme 
penally of the law. Much dissatisfaction was after- 
wards expressed on account of the character of the 
evidence upon which they were found guilty. There 
was but one witness, and he a government decoy, 
who had himself counseled more treason than either 
had ever conceived. 

But the same spirit of discontent which prevailed 
in France had extended to Ireland. For centuries 
had she groaned under the oppression of England. 
Her submission to the sceptres of Henry and of 
Richard had been construed into the right of con- 
quest; and they sought to crush the native spirit 
of her people, by fomenting discord and exercising 
tyranny. Ireland had been blessed with a genial soil. 
Nature had lavished her brightest gifts upon her. 
The native character of her population was not infe- 
rior to that of other nations. But of what avail were 
fertile fields, or gigantic Intellects, when national dis- 
organization and political faction perverted the gifts 
of Providence to selfish purposes, or destroyed their 



Digitized by 



Google 



24 THE BLBNNEBHASSKTT PAPERS. 

useftilness in the general wreck of distracted govern- 
ments and divided subjects? Her manufacturing inter- 
est and commercial enterprise struggled long against 
the monopoly of England; but the superior power of 
her ruler enabled her to check their prosperity, by the 
heavy hand of arbitrary restraint. A deplorable want 
of union of sentiment, and firmness of purpose, at all 
times prevented a successful separation from her 
powerful oppressor; and every attempt to claim her 
independence proved vain and abortive. 

England, fearful of her growing strength, sought to 
subdue her spirit, by onerous exactions, and denying 
her the privilege of a free legislature. Not only against 
Ireland had she exercised her arbitrary will, but also 
against the colonies of her planting in North America. 
Vain in the conceit of her imperial power, she dared 
to exact obedience from peoples separated by the wide 
Atlantic, and command the same submission with which 
the oppressed subjects of Ireland had yielded. While 
her experimental philosophy had taught her that to 
retain her authority she must exercise tyranny, she had 
not reflected that there was a point in the system of her 
oppression, where submission ceased to be a virtue. 

The spirit of independence was hovering over the 
bloody altar of the American Revolution, when Ire- 
land again awoke to a sense of her own condition. She 
gazed with animated delight at the increasing success of 
American arms. Every new victory found a sympathetic 
influence, responding with joy, in the recesses of her own 
bosom. The feeble colonies of America, spread over a 
vast extent of territory, with but few facilities for con- 



Digitized by 



Google 



LIBERAL PRINCIPLES SPREADING. 25 

ducting a war, with a hostile Indian enemy in their rear, 
and the boasted chivalry of England at their front; 
undismayed by difficulty or the fear of defeat, after seven 
years of war, were finally victorious. The arrogance of 
England bowed its proud head to the shrine of liberty ; 
and Lord Cornwallis, her favorite general, led back the 
relics of her conquered army, to commemorate, in the 
mother country, the impotence of her power and the 
emancipation of her colonies. 

Before they had well considered the reason of their 
solicitude, the same spirit of independence had animated 
the Irish bosom ; and, in every corner of her territory, 
the fire of liberty burst forth, in a blaze that threatened 
equal destruction to British usurpation and kingly gov- 
ernment. The nation became aroused. English influ- 
ence and English interests secured partizans in church 
and state ; and opposing factions, from their intolerance 
and party animosity, had already commenced the Irish 
revolution. 

The success of the cause of liberty in the American 
colonies affected, most sensibly, the whole of Europe. 
It appeared, indeed, as though the fiat had gone forth, 
that monarchies and despotisms were for ever to cease 
from among men. " Strange and unforeseen events 
were crowding the annals of the world ; the established 
axioms of general polity began to lose their * weight 
among nations; and governments, widely wandering 
from the fundamental principles of their own con- 
stitutions, appeared carelessly traveling the road to 
ruin." 

Such was the State of Europe; presenting an aspect 



Digitized by 



Google 



26 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

not unlike that upon which we, of later days, have 
gazed (and to which we still look, with feelings of 
solicitude and hope), when Blennerhassett left the 
unhappy shores of France for those, not less discon- 
tented, of his native country. 

Ireland, it is true, from the helpless situation of 
England, at a time when her foreign wars and hapless 
defeats had exhausted the resources of that powerful 
nation, had successfully demanded the repeal of stat- 
ute sixth of George First, entitled "An Act for the 
better securing the dependency of the kingdom of Ire- 
land upon the crown of Great Britain ; " but her situa- 
tion was not less distracted than before. 

Although it was difficult to keep aloof from the entan- 
gling snares of party strife, Blennerhassett chose rather 
to pursue the more flowery paths of literature than the 
sterner and more rugged way of political preferment. 
To a mind which sought within itself for sources of 
enjoyment, the bustle and hurricane which reigned 
around served to distract his meditations, and inter- 
rupt the pleasure which, in seclusion, he had hoped to 
find. 

Being the possessor of an estate, with considerable 
additional fortune inherited at the death of his father, 
he determined no longer to remain in Ireland, subjected 
to the inconvenience and danger which usually attend 
the feuds of faction; but, in some more remote and 
peaceful region, where the infuriated mob and the 
clamor of war were never heard, he hoped to spend a 
life of repose. 

He accordingly disposed of his lands to his relative, 



Digitized by 



Google 



MARRIAGE AND MIGRATION. 27 

Mr. Mullins, afterward Baron Vintry, and made immedi- 
ate preparation for departing. Having closed his busi- 
ness he started for Kingsale, a seaport in the county of 
Cork, where his sister, the consort of Lord Kingsale 
(Baron de Courcey), at that time resided. 

His estates had yielded him an ample fortune of one 
hundred thousand dollars. From Kingsale he proceeded 
to England, to complete, his arrangements for transmit- 
ting it to America, and supplying himself with his 
necessary outfits. 

While here he frequently met with, and finally became 
affianced to, a Miss Agnew, daughter of the Lieutenant- 
Governor of the Isle of Man, and grand-daughter of the 
celebrated General of that name, who fell at the battle 
of Germantown. She was young, intelligent, and beau- 
tiful. Possessed of an uncommon degree of energy, 
coupled with a temperament of romantic ardor, she lis- 
tened, with captivated delight, to the fairy stories he 
repeated of the far-off land in the Western world. She 
did not, therefore, hesitate tor consummate the nuptials, 
and link her destinies with his in that rural paradise 
which his imagination had so vividly depicted. 

Upon the precarious sea of life, almost without com- 
pass or chart, Blennerhassett had now launched his 
adventurous barque. The sudden truth flashed across 
his mind, that he, too, was an adventurer; not, how- 
ever, for the gold of Peru, for discoveries in the material 
world, or the subjugation of a foreign power. Gold 
and honor were already his ; but these, compared to the 
revelation of truth in the great volume of nature, to 
the inquiring mind, which sought to unfold her hidden 



Digitized by 



Google 



28 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

mysteries, were but as "sounding brass and tinkling 
cymbal." 

To him, that sea appeared serene and safe, with no 
adverse winds to interrupt his onward course; while, 
in the dim distance of imagination, he descried that 
shore of sweet repose, where the deceit and treachery 
of man should never disturb the quietude of a mind at 
peace. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHAPTER II. 

Having supplied himself, in London, with an extensive 
library and a philosophical apparatus, together with 
other materials deemed necessary for future use, Blenn- 
erhassett shipped for New York in 1796, where he 
remained for several months, to study the topography 
of the country and the character of its inhabitants. 

An account of the voyage, and description of the 
country, are entertainingly given in the following letter, 
addressed to his nephew, the Hon. Thomas de Courcey, 
afterward Lord Kingsale : 

New Utrecht, Long Island, 
August 18^, 1796. 
My Dear Tom: — Although I feel that your anxiety 
and my own wishes equally urge the dispatch of this let- 
ter, yet that its end should not be altogether unattained, 
I have not only deferred beginning it since my landing 
on the 1st instant, but shall probably conclude with a 
date considerably distant from that with which I have 
commenced; for I shall sooner depend upon your rely- 
ing on the chances in fevor of the safe issue of my voy- 
age, than merely send you an account of it such a 
distance as divides every thing but our hearts, unaccom- 
panied with some account of things as they shall strike 
me in this country from time to time, which, as they 



Digitized by 



Google 



30 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

will necessarily affect my interests, will, I know, on that 
account, be more than entertaining to you. As to our 
passage, as nothing very material happened in the course 
of it, I shall only tell you that we made it very tediously, 
that is, in seventy-three days from our sailing from 
Gravesend, till we landed at New York. During our 
vicissitudes of calms and adverse winds, which, instead 
of the direct distance, compelled us to submit to a tra- 
verse sailing of, I suppose, not less than ten thousand 
miles, I was relieved from any sense whatever of confine- 
ment by the variety and awfulness of nature in the 
Western Ocean, and particularly in what is called the 
Florida Gulf Stream, together with the almost daily 
occupation of examining, and finally, when we made the 
land, correcting the dead reckoning of the ship by means 
of two excellent instruments, with which, among others, 
I provided myself in London ; the one a Hadley's sex- 
tant, the other a chronometer watch, made by the maker 
to the British Board of Longitude. 

On first setting my foot on American soil, I was visited 
with sensations which I certainly never experienced in 
the old country. With any particular description of 
these I shall not trouble you, but while they excited 
severe regrete, as I cast my eyes back on the sea that 
interposed so wide a space between me and the many 
dear ties I left behind, they soon after inspired more self- 
ish reflections to cheer me with the contemplation of so 
grand a barrier between me and the malevolence of my 
enemies, while it seemed, at the same time, the only 
limit of my natural and political independence. But 
these prospects, I must admit, merely dawn at present; 



Digitized by 



Google 



NEW YORK IN '96. 31 

and my expectations will not ripen under their meridian 
heat till I shall have acquired a landed property equal 
to that with which I have parted. 

The climate, as well as the voyage, which Maggie has 
home well, has received us kindly, and still continues to 
treat us with benignity. The situation of New York, 
with which I know Morse has acquainted you, save in 
the lower parts of the town, where, from its rapid 
increase in trade, and I may say, the almost insular situ- 
ation of the city, the inhabitants have, for some time, 
been making new ground for docks, and building lots, 
with bad and filthy stuff; its situation, I say, is provided 
with almost every requisite to check, if not destroy, the 
tendency of the climate (which in spring and summer is 
damp, and suddenly and violently variable), to produce 
the intermittent very general here, and known by the 
name of the fever and ague, which, to all appearance, is 
the same complaint with the ague in Europe. But the 
severe heat generally prevalent in the months of July 
and August, raising the thermometer some days to 96°; 
by its pernicious influence on the docks, and new low 
grounds, renders it advisable for foreigners to retire to 
the country. Principally upon this account, added to a 
severe handling from the musketoes, which, during our 
stay in town, used to come over from the Jersey shore, 
opposite to which we lodged upon the Hudson, I removed 
to this place last Saturday, where we have joined a 
tolerably pleasant party, chiefly of subscribers, who have 
built a handsome house, with a large room and balcony 
in front, of near seventy feet in length, and other apart- 
ments, containing about thirty good bed-rooms. The 



Digitized by 



Google 



32 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

situation is pleasant and cool upon the shore, compared 
with the town, from which it is distant about twelve 
miles. Here we shall remain till the latter end of the 
month, when the heat will moderate, and I shall pass 
through Jersey on my way to Philadelphia. In the 
meantime, I shall further explore this Island, having as 
yet, from the heat of the weather, done almost nothing 
in that way. But in two or three rides I have witnessed 
the general poverty of the soil which, though extremely 
shallow and sandy, exhibits a beautiful diversity of cul- 
tivated country, in the appearance of large and well 
fenced fields of cucumbers, musk and water-melons, with 
plenty of apple and peach orchards. The peaches, 
though no more attended to than your wildings in 
Kerry, have as good a flavor as the best ever produced 
at Reen. Judge then what a garden I look to in a better 
soil and climate. Grapes are universal, but seem totally 
neglected except for pies, though I am persuaded they 
might even here be brought to perfection. Indian corn 
is so much the staple of consumption on this island, that 
it alone is called corn, every other species of grain being 
distinguished by its proper name. The farmers, nine 
out of ten Dutch, or their descendants, are not only 
comfortable but rich. And though the state of agri- 
culture among them is ridiculed by the Anglo-Americans 
for its backwardness, there is not an acre of land 
between this place and New York (from the easy vent 
which the latter offers for the above-mentioned produce, 
with garden stuff, and perhaps a few other articles), that 
does not annually bring in from £25 to £30 of this, 
currency, the dollar being eight shillings here. Hence 



Digitized by 



Google 



BARLY POLITICS. 83 

I need scarcely tell you that land is extremely dear. I 
have it from good authority, that, in the back parts 
of the State, capital has been, within these five years 
past, uniformly doubled every two years by the purchase 
and re-sale of small lots of military lands. 

You remember the advantages this State possesses in 
being the best watered in the Union, both by nature and 
art, and, accordingly, all its waste lands are settling with 
surprising rapidity, chiefly from New England. These 
accounts, nevertheless, shall not, at present, seduce me 
into any purchases here, because the British funds have 
fallen considerably since I purchased into them; and 
there is now less than a twelvemonth to run of the pres- 
ent Presidency. 

It seems to be the general opinion of the few informed 
acquaintances I have yet been able to make (most of the 
persons to whom I am here addressed having retreated 
for the summer in different directions, into the country), 
that Washington will not stand as candidate again, and 
that there will be a severe contest between the North 
and the South ; the former straining every nerve to elect 
Adams, the latter making equal exertions in behalf of 
Jefferson. The expected struggle is regarded by both 
sides with eager anxiety, while maneuvering is practiced 
by both parties to the degree even of multiplying the 
States. To explain this : — You will probably have seen, 
by the papers, that a sixteenth State, viz., that part of 
the territory South- West of the Ohio, called the Tennes- 
see country, has, in the last session of Congress, been 
admitted, by virtue of the amount of its population, 

into the Union. Now it is insinuated in the Northern 
3 



Digitized by 



Google 



34 THE BLENNEMIASSETT PAPERS. 

and Middle States, where Adams is the favorite, and by 
whose preponderancy he would probably succeed, that 
the admission of Tennessee was obtained through a false 
census. However, this objection, whether true or not, 
now comes too late. The business is done. But, in order 
to effect a counterpoise, the District of Maine is to be 
separated from Massachusetts. So when you see this 
event also in the papers, you will know how to construe 
the real motives for erecting the district of Maine into a 
separate State, out of the ostensible reasons set forth for 
the measure. 

In the midst of these transactions I have had an 
opportunity of witnessing the attachment of both par- 
ties to the real interests of the country, though they 
reciprocally launch the imputations of aristocracy and 
democracy against each other; and the candor on the 
one side in allowing the superiority of Jefferson's tal- 
ents, is equalled by the honesty on the other in admit- 
ting that Adams has done more for America than his 
opponent. Still, the administration of the new Presi- 
dent, if not his election, will, in my opinion, as seems 
granted indeed, operate as a test of the constitution, to 
confound or confirm the idea in Europe, that Mr. Wash- 
ington is, alone, in America, the preserving cement of 
order and good government; and, at all events, the 
period will operate a crisis which I shall in prudence 
abide, before I settle the whole of my property on this 
side of the Atlantic. 

Upon this account, alone, I have said so much upon 
general politics; from which, however, you must not 
infer that I do not see more than equal security of pri- 



Digitized by 



Google 



EARLY TRADE. 8$ 

vate property with any that can be boasted in Europe, 
where the many have nothing to lose, compared with 
the proprietary interest; but, in this country, there is 
no peasantry. 

In the meantime speculations of every possible sort 
are driven forward daily, I think, so far, unhappily, as 
they induce a species of gambling; for one-half must 
ever lose, at every sort of play, while the advantages of 
regular trade, being reciprocal, all parties are benefited. 
These speculations are commercial, properly so called — 
and landed. I shall give you an example or two of 
each. iNo adventures in the former line have been 
more weighty or enterprising than in the article of 
flour. This I call a speculation, because flour is no 
natural subject of trade between America and Europe, 
since the latter can always raise enough for consump- 
tion; but ideas of its partial scarcity in England and 
France, during the war, have so engaged the merchant 
and farmer, that both have for the most part been ruined 
within these last eight months, the former on his disas- 
trous returns at a full third below first cost, having only 
to condole with the latter still keeping his granaries shut 
up, for he has now no market but the home; the arti- 
cle having there too fallen near six dollars in the barrel. 
Hence you will not be surprised to learn the extravagant 
prices of the necessaries of life, and the high rates of 
wages, which have not yet come down in proportion to 
the wholesale fall. Men-servants still have twelve dol- 
lars a month. Masons, at New York and Philadelphia, 
from sixteen to twenty shillings a day ; carpenters, a shil- 
ling less, and both, in country situations, according to 



Digitized by 



Google 



36 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the distance from these cities, may be had from one to 
fire or six shillings less. House-rent, also, still keeps up 
enormously ; a two-roomed house, according to its situa- 
tion, fetching from £150 to £250 in these towns, of New 
York currency. To estimate the rate of other necessa- 
ries, I shall send you a price current, which you must 
understand by adding about a third to every article for 
each hand through which it passes before it reaches the 
consumer. While the above speculations in grain and 
flour have been going forward, latterly, with such ill 
success, others have distinguished this country. Of these 
the East India trade is the most considerable ; commenced 
under every disadvantage to be apprehended from the 
great capitals, and old companies of Europe. Yet, has it 
grown to a size that now begins to alarm men's minds, 
for the great draught of specie it drains from America, 
and a conviction of the inferiority, notwithstanding the 
cheapness of the India returns, except sugar and nan- 
keens, compared with the linen articles of wear, which 
were more in use before from Europe. But adventure 
has not stopped here. Some time last summer, a Yankee, 
at a little town in the State of Massachusetts, learning 
the times were mortally sickly at Port au Prince, con- 
ceived a scheme of sending there a cargo of — coffins. 
Those commodities were made up in nests of sizes, from 
the largest to those for infants ; and, that no room should 
be lost r the inner coffin of the nest was packed with 
cakes of — gingerbread. I have only to add, that the 
speculation turned out a capital hit, — our Yankee having 
actually returned fall freighted with the best West India 
produce,, in return for his timber. 



Digitized by 



Google 



LAND SPECULATIONS. 37 

Now for the land hits. These are going on every day, 
not only in England, but even in America, on principles 
no better than horse-jockeying. In this play, also, many 
fortunes are made and lost, the adventurers purchasing 
on credit, and a presumption of re-selling within a certain 
time their former acquisitions, at an advance equivalent 
to enable them to make good their former engagements. 
But they have found their calculations to exceed dread- 
fully the capital settling this country from Europe, and 
now the paper of a Mr. Morris, of Philadelphia, who, in 
the last war, had more credit than the Union altogether, 
is selling at 4s. 6d. in the pound, though he still con- 
tinues proceeding with a house that can not cost less 
than £200,000. There is not one cipher too many. 
Hence, you'll perceive, there is yet no bankruptcy sys- 
tem established. Congress yet fear to cramp industry 
and enterprise in the young country for which they legis- 
late, or to open a door to commercial fraud by any 
attempt of that sort, which, in the present state of the 
community, they wisely imagine would prove upon trial 
too lax or too rigid. And for my part, from the little I 
have yet seen, I can not but approve of their wisdom in 
leaving the creditor in a situation to see his debtor's 
knees begin to tremble, rather than run the risk of 
bringing both to the ground together. 

You must perceive then from what has been said, that 
there must be an infinity of land of every quality and 
situation in the market, and yet Congress have adver- 
tised some townships to be sold at auction next January, 
which, upon full deliberation, they have resolved shall 
not be put up at less than two dollars an acre. There is 



Digitized by 



Google 



£8 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

however, an increase of wealth annually flowing into 
the country, unequaled in the annals of any other, from 
emigrations. These I can not now exactly estimate, hut 
their effects are visible, in the increase of settlements in 
every direction, from the Atlantic to the Ohio and 
Mississippi. Witness the population of Kentucky (now 
considered almost an old country), swollen to 73,677, and 
even of Tennessee, to 77,262. In this track I am now 
preparing to set forward, but can not say how long I 
shall be anywhere stationary for a month before the next 
fall, at which time, after having explored Kentucky, 
Tennessee, and the Miami country, concerning all of 
which you shall hear the particulars in due time. I 
shall return through the wilderness by Virginia, if a 
settlement does not arrest me in the way. . But I must 
postpone for the present any further particulars of my 
route to the West, on account of the remaining remarks 
I have to make on those parts of the country which I 
have seen since I began this letter, with which I am now 
proceeding at Philadelphia. 

On our return from Long Island, we were received 
at New York, as well by the acquaintances we made 
without as by those to whom we had introductions from 
England, more in a parental and brotherly way than 
in a manner you would call polite or elegant. European 
etiquette is not yet prevalent, or it is that which reigned 
on the other side of the water, at least half a century 
back, but toward the particular style of English dress, 
both sexes have made greater advances. But these 
matters, with the state of domestic economy, I shall 
leave for Maggie to describe. After some days stay in 



Digitized by 



Google 



TOURING IN "JERSEY." 89 

and about New York, we set out for Newark, iu New 
Jersey. On our way two objects were conspicuously 
impressive in a distance of only ten miles from our 
outset. The first, a swamp, through which we passed, 
three miles in a direct line over a well-made, new road. 
This swamp was not merely remarkable from its being 
the first I had seen, but from a hill of solid land, called 
Snake-hill, thickly wooded, which rises with almost 
perpendicular declivity to a hight in the center, that in 
an Englishman's eyes, would merit the name of a moun- 
tain. When I say that the moment you could reach the 
base of this mount, in descending toward the plain, you 
would find far less footing than in an Irish shaking-bog, 
Snake-hill will be regarded by you, as it has been by me, 
a lusus natural of no small magnitude. 

The next object, a production of art, was the bridge 
over the Hackinsack, to which may be added that over 
the Passaic river, both about three hundred yards in 
length, which unite neatness and strength of work- 
manship to an extent in timber that might well invite an 
European ten miles out of his road. The expense of 
erecting each of these, I conclude, from the account 
I have had of a similar one I have since crossed at 
Brunswick, over the Raritan, to be £30,000 Pennsylvania 
currency. Newark possessed sufficient attractions within 
itself to induce me to tarry there for some days, even 
if I had not resolved to do so for the sake of visiting the 
Passaic Falls, about fifteen miles off the main road. 

Newark, if considered as a village, which it more 
resembles than a town, is perhaps the handsomest in the 
world- Of extent, nearly three miles ; it is seated in a 



Digitized by 



Google 



40 THE BLENNBRHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

plain, clear and level as a parlor floor, on the banks 
of the Passaic, in an amphitheater environed by gently 
swelling hills. Its Academy, Court-house, and two neat 
buildings for public worship, added to nine stages, 
which, besides an infinity of wagons, every day pass 
through it between New York and Philadelphia, give 
an air of business and gaiety to the place. It is also the 
residence of many private families of respectability, 
with some of whom we were previously well enough 
acquainted to be entertained longer than we chose to 
remain there. Land is here, within five miles round, 
from £30 to £40 an acre, New York currency. 

The Passaic Falls, as they differ, I fancy, from all 
others in America, will always invite and entertain the 
naturalist. Their peculiarity arises from a fissure in the 
bed of the river, which is of solid rock, cleft in an 
oblique direction to a depth of eighty feet. The river 
meanders a considerable way in a serene current without 
a murmur, till it reaches the chasm where it falls with 
the mjyesty of thunder, and forever throws up a spray 
that, when interposed between the eye and the sun, 
exhibits an assemblage of rainbows of the most fantastic 
beauty. 

From Newark to Philadelphia, I have only to remark 
the general sandy and poor appearance of the soil 
through Jersey State, which, however, is regarded as 
one of the best cultivated in the Union, and this indeed 
appears in the large extent of its corn country, and other 
agricultural improvements which, by trimming its tim- 
ber, have rendered it sufficiently champaign to have 
caused it, during the late war, to be exposed to the 



Digitized by 



Google 



AMATEUR IMPRESSIONS. 41 

constant harrassings of the British. In this route I 
passed, with pleasing reflections, over the memorable 
grounds of Brunswick, Princeton and Trenton. At the 
latter place I crossed the Delaware, in sight of the spot 
where Providence, or his happy fortune, gave the Presi- 
dent and America that confidence in the issue of the 
contest, wherein the Hessians were surprised, which, to 
save the country, could not have been delayed for a day. 
On this side of the Delaware industry seemed to stride, 
rather than to saunter, as she did, comparatively speak- 
ing, in the States of Jersey and New York. Here, after 
traveling in every direction over the soil, which yet she 
has not deserted, you may trace her footsteps not only 
under the earth, but from thence upward through all 
the stages of manufacture wood has yet passed in any 
country, and iron full one-half as far as it has reached in 
England. Of the extent of cotton, linen and wool, 
throughout the country, I can not yet positively speak. 
A considerable capital has been embarked at Patterson, 
near the Passaic Falls, in the cotton line; but it has 
altogether failed from a variety of causes, which, I think, 
independent of the long credits given in Europe, and 
the vast wilds here doomed for half a century yet to 
howl for population, will so long, at least, frustrate all 
attempts at adventure in the three last mentioned 
branches of trade. 

The approach to Philadelphia, in this line, announces 
more a large busy city to which it leads, than any of 
those that surround New York ; yet, from the detail of 
business I have before and since seen in both, assisted by 
a commercial view of the continent, it is pretty apparent 



Digitized by 



Google 



i 

J 



42 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

that the latter place is treading hard on the heels of the 
former already, and will soon step it by. At present, 
however, you see more stir at Philadelphia, more bustle 
in the streets, and far more English activity in both sexes. 
I inclose you a plan of the city, which, with fewer defects 
than any I know of, seems to have been conceived by 
Penn, upon the best principles to suit the climate, and 
provide for the health, while it accommodates the busi- 
ness, of the inhabitants. So much for Philadelphia. 

The only great person I regret not having become 
acquainted with is the President. He unfortunately set 
off for home two days after my arrival, which prevented 
my attending his lev^e ; but the day before his departure 
we were so fortunate as to be seated at church in the pew 
opposite to him. Adieu, my dear nephew, and believe me, 
Your ever affectionate uncle, 

H. Blknnerhassett. 

P. S. — Maggie will speak for herself. 

At that time, the territory west of the Alleghanies, 
particularly the valley of the Ohio and Mississippi, was 
comparatively a wilderness. The enterprise of the pio- 
neer had driven, to more distant regions, the aborigines 
of the West. The occasional hamlet, with its few 
acres of cultivated ground, interrupted, at intervals, the 
" boundless contiguity of shade," and marked the abode 
of civilized and associated man. Villages, with rude 
habitations, here and there, broke the silence of the 
forest, and presented the cheering signs of dawning civi- 
lization. Through this vast solitude, the silvery current 
of the Ohio wended its way to the " father of waters." 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN THE WEST. 48 

The innovating steamer had never yet ruffled its bosom, 
nor startled its inhabitants with the sound of its machin- 
ery. The deer browsed among the thick undergrowth of 
its bottoms ; the fox sought shelter in its caves ; and the 
wail of the wolf was heard from the a<^acent hills. 
Lands of almost inexhaustible fertility skirted its mar- 
gin, and isles of peculiar beauty decked its surface. 

Captivated with various descriptions of the country, in 
company with his wife, Blennerhassett set out to seek 
this delightful land. Crossing the rugged barriers of the 
Alleghanies, then a tedious and difficult undertaking, 
they arrived at Pittsburgh in the fall of 1796. Here they 
obtained passage on a keel-boat, in those* days the most 
comfortable mode of traveling on the western waters, 
and shortly arrived at Marietta, a town of greater 
importance than any other in the State of Ohio. 

The population of this pleasantly-situated village was 
unusually intelligent and moral. The puritanical charac- 
ter of its earlier inhabitants gave a tone to society, which 
identifies the present generation with their fathers who 
repose in their beautiful cemetery. 

Fully satisfied with the attractiveness of the country, 
Blennerhassett abandoned his contemplated explorations 
of Kentucky and Tennessee, and resolved to locate in 
this enterprising settlement. 

During the winter his time was pleasantly occupied 
in visiting the various families, and making occasional 
excursions through the neighborhood, to select a site for 
a residence. Above the village, and within a convenient 
distance, is an eminence of considerable height, com- 
manding an extensive view of the river and surrounding 



Digitized by 



Google 



44 THE BLENNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

scenery. With this situation he was much pleased, and 
had almost determined to erect on its summit a castle, 
after the manner of many in his native country ; but the 
ascent being difficult, and the declivities too precipitous, 
he abandoned the idea, and sought a situation more easy 
of access. 

The following spring, he purchased an island in 
the Ohio river, about two miles below Parkersburg, or 
the mouth of the Little Kanawha, which, to his pecu- 
liar mind, possessed superior advantages to the adja- 
cent farm. To one of romantic temperament, its locality 
was truly delightful. Upon its sloping banks waved the 
branches of the willow, and laved their foliage in the 
passing stream. The majestic forest trees, untouched by 
the hand of civilization, reared their trunks, as monarchs 
of the land ; while the wild-brier and woodbine, blending 
in promiscuous profusion, entwined their tendrils around 
the shrubbery of the wild- wood. Flowers of rare beauty 
burst spontaneously from the soil, and mingled their fra- 
grance with the passing breeze. The feathery songsters 
warbled their notes in the secluded groves, making vocal 
each branch with nature's music. 

Could the mind, in pursuit of seclusion and repose, 
picture to its imagination a situation more desirable? 
Here might his cultivated taste adorn, to every extent, 
the ruder touches of nature, and mellow into softer 
shades the harsher outlines of her pencil; here might 
the mind, unfettered from worldly cares, drink deeper 
draughts from Truth's ever-flowing fountain; here, 

"At the shadowy close of day, 
When the hushed grove has Bung its parting lay; 



Digitized by 



Google 



ON THE ISLAND. 45 

When pensive Twilight, in her dusty car, 

Comes slowly on, to meet the evening star, 

Above, below, aerial murmurs swell, 

From hanging wood, brown heath, and bushy dell 

A thousand nameless rills that Bhun the light; 

Stealing soft music on the ear of night; 

So oft the finer movements of the soul, 

That shun the sphere of pleasure's gay control, 

In the still shades of calm seclusion rise, 

And breathe their sweet, seraphic harmonies." 

When fatigued with the severer studies of science, he 
could amuse himself with the traditions and stories of 
several intelligent revolutionary soldiers who resided on 
the Belpr6 shore ; or, as game abounded, might engage 
in the delightful sports of hunting and fishing. 

That portion of the island purchased by Blennerhas- 
sett, was known by the familiar cognomen of " Backus's 
Island," and contained about one hundred and seventy 
acres. General Washington, it is said, embraced this 
gem of nature, in the many valuable tracts of land 
entered by him on the bottoms of the Ohio. 

In 1798, Blennerhassett, having purchased the upper 
portion of the island, at a cost of four thousand five 
hundred dollars, moved into a block-house situated near 
the head. This, to those who had enjoyed the splendor 
of palaces, with the many conveniences which the arts 
of civilization afford, was a sorrowful exchange which 
few could desire, and fewer still would have made. lie 
energetically commenced clearing the grounds of the 
thick growth of timber and underwood, for a site upon 
which to erect a dwelling. Many hands were requisite, 
in addition to the slaves he had recently purchased, for 



Digitized by 



Google 



46 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the laborious task. The forest trees were uprooted, and 
their boughs and trunks conveyed away. The small 
inequalities, not suiting his fastidiousness, were smoothed 
and regulated as fancy dictated. 

Vainly ambitious to excel any private residence west 
of the mountains, and to fashion it after those of his 
own country, economy and simplicity were not consulted 
in its construction. " The house and offices I occupy," 
he writes Devereux, the Irish patriot refugee, " stand me 
in upward of thirty thousand dollars, not mentioning 
gardens and shrubbery, in the English style, hedges, post 
fences, and complete farm-yards, containing barns, sta- 
bles, overseers' and negro houses," etc. 

To the mind of the voyager descending the river, as 
the edifice rose majestically in the distance, spreading its 
wings to either shore, the effect was magical; and 
emotions were produced, not unlike those experienced 
in gazing on the Moorish palaces of Andalusia. There 
was a spell of enchantment around it, which would fain 
induce the credulous to believe that it had been created 
by magic, and consecrated to the gods. On a nearer 
approach, was observed the beautifully graded lawn, 
decked with tasteful shrubbery, and interspersed with 
showy flowers; while, a little in the distance, the elm 
threw its dark branches over a carpet of most beautiful 
green sward. Beyond these, the forest trees were inter- 
mingled with copse-wood, so closely as to exclude the 
noon-day sun ; and, in other places, they formed those 
long sweeping vistas, in the intricacies of which the eye 
delights to lose itself; while the imagination conceives 
them as the paths of wilder scenes of sylvan solitude. 



Digitized by 



Google 



ELENNERHA6SETT , 8 SEAT. 47 

The space immediately in the rear of the dwelling was 
assigned to fruits and flowers; of which the varieties 
were rare, excellent and beautiful; and the manner in 
which they were disposed over the surface, unique, ele- 
gant and tasteful. Espaliers of peach, apricot, quince 
and pear trees, extended along the exterior, confined to a 
picket fence; while, in the middle space, wound laby- 
rinthine walks, skirted with flowering shrubs, and the 
eglantine and honey-suckle flung their melliferous blos- 
soms over bowers of various forms. 

On the south was the vegetable garden, and adjoining 
this, a thrifty young orchard, embracing many varieties 
of fruit, promising abundant supplies for future use. 
Xot entirely neglecting the useful for the ornamental, a 
hundred acres had been cleared where were cultivated 
the various crops adapted to the soil.* 

♦The Lower Kanawha is one hundred and fifty yards wide at its mouth. 
Opposite to this river is the town of Belpre*, three miles from which is 
Backus' b Island. On leaving Marietta, a lady and gentleman, who had 
been on a visit there, desired a passage to the island. This request was, 
with much pleasure, granted ; and I had only to lament that the voyage 
was so short, which was to terminate my acquaintance with persons so 
truly interesting and amiable. The island hove in sight to great advan- 
tage from the middle of the river, from which point of view little more 
appeared than the simple decorations of nature— trees, shrubs, and flowers 
of every perfume and kind. The next point of view, on running with the 
current, on the right hand side, varied to a scene of enchantment; a lawn 
in the form of a fan inverted presented itself, the nut forming the center 
and summit of the island, and the broad segment the borders of the water. 
The lawn contained one hundred acres of the best pasture, interspersed 
with flowering shrubs and clumps of trees, in a manner that conveyed 
a strong conviction of the taste and judgment of the proprietor. The 
house came into view at the instant I was signifying a wish that such a 
lawn had a mansion. It stands on the immediate summit of the island, 
whose ascent is very gradual, is snow white, two stories high, and fur- 
nished with wings which interlock the adjoining trees, confine the 



Digitized by 



Google 



48 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Such was the residence of Blennerhassett, after he had 
expended much labor and money to render it the reality 
of what before was but ideal, an image of which had 
long haunted his dreams of youthful fancy, as the picture 
of sylvan beauty, of peaceful solitude, and of calm 
repose. How marke.d the mutations of a few short 
years ! Ireland, but as yesterday, claimed him as a 
representative of one of her great families, and the 
uncompromising advocate of her long neglected rights. 
The deference, due alike to rank and birth, in a monarch- 
ical government, was his by inheritance ; and the favor 



prospect, and intercept the sight of barns, stables, and out-houses, which 
are so often suffered to destroy the effect of the noblest views in England. 
The full front of the house, being the signal for pulling in for the island, 
we did so immediately, and fell below a small wharf that covered an eddy, 
and made the landing both easy and secure. There was no resisting the 
friendly importunity of my passengers; no excuse would be taken; to 
stop the night at least was insisted upon, and with a convincing expression 
that the desire flowed from hearts desirous not to be refused. There is 
something so irresistible in invitations of such a nature, that they can not 
be denied. I gave instructions respecting my boat /and giving the lady 
my arm, we walked up the beautiful lawn, through which a winding path 
led to the house. It was tea-time; that refreshment was served and con- 
ducted with a propriety and elegance which I never witnessed out of 
Britain. The conversation was chaste and general, and the manners of 
the lady and gentleman were refined, without being frigid ; distinguished, 
without being ostentatious ; and familiar, without being vulgar, importu- 
nate, or absurd. Before the entire decline of day, we walked in the gar- 
dens, which were elegantly laid out in your country's Btyle, produced 
remarkably fine vegetables, and had a very favorable show of. standard 
peaches and other fruits. We next turned into the woods. I soon per- 
ceived why the island was named Bacchus. The island took its cognomen 
from the gentleman of whom it was purchased. It abounds with vines 
which grow to great hight and strength, but never produoe to any perfec- 
tion. The path we had taken led to the water, the border of which brought 
us to the boat, where, it seems, all the servants of the family had assem- 
bled to hear what news my people might have brought into their little 
world. We found them seated on the green around Mindeth, who, proud 



Digitized by 



Google 



DOMESTICITY. 49 

of courts and of coronets was obtained without an effort, 
and resigned without control. Around him, a restless 
and distracted population were daily enacting scenes of 
outrage and oppression; and the hand of civilization, 
while it gave energy to intellect, and advanced the arts 
and sciences, proved a powerful auxiliary in aggravating 
the causes, and perpetuating the scenes of the revolution. 
To-day we view him as the retired citizen of a republic, 
in the bosom of the forest of the Western world, with 
no tie of kindred, save the faithful companion of his 
bosom, and the two little sons, Dominick and Harman, 
who had been added to his household. Quietly retired 
from the busy haunts of man, his hours of study were 
only intruded upon by the friendly visits of his neigh- 
bors, to whose natures, dissimulation and flattery were 
alike unknown, and whose society and attachment he 
cherished by reciprocal attentions. 

to be their historian, related tales of such peril, that they gazed on him 
with sensations of wonder and astonishment. I saw the lady so pleased 
with this scene, and so delighted in particular with Cuffee's truly rural 
establishment, that I proposed supping on the shore. My proposition was 
joyfully acceded to, and instructions £Wen accordingly. After chatting 
some time on subjects immediately rising out of occurring incidents, and 
admiring the versatility. of mind which one time finds felicity in towns, 
and midnight masquerades at another, acknowledges happiness on the con- 
trasted theater of the rivers and wildernesses, we sat down to our repast, 
and in a short time paid it the strong encomium of a satiated appetite. 
Next morning I with difficulty tore myself away from this interesting 
family. Ton will excuse me for omitting the names of this amiable couple. 
They were emigrants of the first distinction from Ireland. — Ache 9 Travel* 
im America, a eerie* of letter* addreued to a friend m England in 1806. 
4 



Digitized by 



Google 



J 



60 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 



CHAPTER III. 

Blennerhassett was about six feet in stature, of slen- 
der proportions, and slightly stooping. He was entirely 
devoid of that suaviter in modo, which is so attractive to 
the gentler sex, and not unfrequently captivates the 
minds of firmer mold, in society at large. His forehead 
was prominent, and claimed for its possessor an intelli- 
gence above the ordinary capacity of mankind. His 
nose was the distinguishing feature of a face which wore 
an aspect of seriousness and thought, almost amounting 
to cold reserve. Like many of the nobility, he was 
extremely near-sighted ; and, unlike many of the pres- 
ent age, who ape this defect of nature, he found it a 
matter of serious inconvenience. In gunning, particu- 
larly (an amusement of which he was passionately fond), 
he had usually to be accompanied by his wife, or some 
one of his servants, who levelled his fowling-piece and 
brought it to bear on the game. Peter, a domestic, who 
sometimes attended him, was in the habit of taking 
his station at a short distance, and giving directions 
after the following manner : 

" Now, level, Mr. Blennerhassett. A little to the left ! 
Now to the right ! — there ! — steady !— -fire ! " — Oft' would 
go the gun, and not unfrequently the game. 

His usual dress was of the " old English style, with 



Digitized by 



Google 



EXPERIMENT. 51 

scarlet, or buff-colored, small-clothes and silk stockings ; 
shoes, with silver buckles ; and a coat generally of blue 
broad-cloth. When at home, his dress was rather care- 
less ; often, in warm weather, in his shirt sleeves, with- 
out coat or waistcoat ; and, in winter, he wore a thick 
woollen roundabout or jacket."* 

Retiring in disposition, his life was sedentary and 
studious ; books and philosophical experiments possess- 
ing greater attractions than the gay and fashionable 
assemblies of the ball-room. Always entertaining, he 
never indulged in trivial conversation, but interested his 
audience in something calculated more to instruct the 
understanding than to amuse their fancy. 

His scientific studies, which were much facilitated by 
means of his various apparatus, included chemistry, elec- 
tricity, galvanism, and astronomy. By the aid of a tele- 
scope and solar microscope, it was with much satisfaction 
that he could demonstrate the truth of his theories by 
practical observation, and acquaint himself more fully 
with the motions and positions of the planets, as well as 
the minuter bodies of the earth. While experimenting 
in chemistry, he had conceived the idea that animal sub- 
stance might be so adipocerated as to subserve the use of 
spermaceti for light. He accordingly placed pieces of 
meat in a small inlet from the river, to undergo a chemi- 
cal change. When the proper time had elapsed, as he 
supposed, to test the truth of his theory, on visiting the 
cove he found the finny tribes of the water had antici- 
pated his experiment by converting the meat into food. 



•Hildreth— "American Review," 1848. 



Digitized by 



Google 



52 THK BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS, 

The act was not repeated, and his theory remained unde- 
monstrated. 

He was a connoisseur in music, and performed admir- 
ably upon the violin and violincello. Many of his hours 
of recreation were whiled away with this delightful 
amusement; and, being an adept, pieces of his own 
composition were played with animating effect 

Of an unsuspecting disposition, he was easily imposed 
upon by the misrepresentations of others. Not unfre- 
quently had he to pay enormously for his practical know- 
ledge of life and human nature. It is reported of him 
that, on one occasion, having employed an individual to 
collect muscle shells from the beach, on which they were 
scattered in great profusion, when the laborer came to 
receive his pay, Blennerhassett inquired the reason of 
his high charge. 

" The diving's so deep, and the shells are so scarce." 

" But," replied Blennerhassett, " you do not dive, do 
you?" 

"Ay, indeed! In fifteen feet water." 

Believing there was no occasion for misrepresenting a 
fact, which could be readily ascertained by a short walk 
to the river, Blennerhassett paid the man his money — a 
anm equal to five times the real value of the shells. 

Of a nervous temperament, he not unfrequently 
imagined objects which had no existence in nature, 
and apprehended evils that were never to be realized. 
Earthquakes and thunder-storms, to him, were intensely 
alarming ; and such was his timidity on the approach of 
a threatening cloud, that it was his usual custom to close 
the* doors and windows of his house, and place himself 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE LADY. 53 

in the centre of a bed, to avoid the accidental effects of 
the electric fluid. 

Of his forensic talents, or legal ability, he never, 
in this country, gave evidence. He was not deficient, 
however, in either. The county court of Wood county 
recommended him to the Governor of Virginia for the 
magistracy ; and by his Excellency he was duly commis- 
sioned: but presuming it a condescension for which he 
should be poorly paid, and still less respected, he mod- 
estly declined to "qualify/' and remained a private 
citizen. 

Let us turn, for a time, from the man, to contem- 
plate the person and character of his companion. 
History affords but few instances where so much 
feminine beauty, physical endurance, and many social 
virtues, were combined with so brilliant a mind, in 
the person of a female. 

Her stature was above the ordinary bight of her sex; 
her form well proportioned p,nd beautifully symmetrical ; 
her manners of the most captivating gracefulness, with 
sufficient dignity to repel familiarity and command 
respect. Her dark-blue eyes, beaming with love and 
affection, and "sparkling with life and intelligence," 
looked forth from beneath the long brown lashes, which 
hung as curtains to conceal their charms. Features of 
Grecian mold, embellished by a complexion whose car- 
nation hue health and the hand of nature alone had 
painted. Her hair, which was of a dark-brown color, 
was usually concealed beneath a head-dress of rich- 
colored silk worn after the manner of the Turkish 
forban. 



Digitized by 



Google 



54 THE BLENNERUASSETT PAPERS. 

Her mind was not less polished than her manners; 
and the fluency with which she wrote and spoke the 
French and Italian languages, indicated a high degree 
of cultivation, to which few, even in this golden age of 
science and letters, have ever attained. Her taste for 
dramatic composition led her to adopt, as a favorite pas- 
time, the rehearsal of Shakspeare's plays. These were 
usually executed with an effect which would have done 
honor to more professed connoisseurs, and exhibited a 
talent which needed only cultivation to have won lau- 
rels of lasting freshness in the theatrical world. Her 
familiarity with various French and English authors ren- 
dered her an agreeable companion for the man of letters, 
and proved a valuable assistant to her husband in recal- 
ling to mind some opinion or expresion of an author 
which had escaped his memory. 

She cultivated, to some extent, a taste for poetry, and 
produced several pieces which are still in existence. As 
we are enabled to offer a specimen of her powers in this 
flowery department of literature, we forbear an expres- 
sion of opinion, but leave the lines to represent their 
authoress. 

But it is only in the evcry-day affairs of life that we 
can gain a perfect knowledge of the true character of 
individuals. It was in this peculiar sphere that Mrs. 
Blennerhassett exhibited an uncommon degree of excel- 
lence, and won the affection of all within her influence. 
She adapted her customs to the society around her, and 
joined in their amusements and festivities with all the 
spirit of one accustomed to frontier life from earliest 
infancy! Riding on horseback was a delightful ajad 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE HOUSEWIFE. 65 

healthy exercise, in which she frequently participated. 
At such times, she was usually habited in a fine cloth 
riding-dress, of scarlet color, richly bespangled with gold 
lace and glittering buttons. From her downy hat waved 
" the graceful plume of the ostrich," and the rich folds 
of her drapery fell gaily over the flanks of her noble 
steed. Over hill and through dale, with the fleetness 
of the deer, she took her course, and seldom did her 
attendant get a glimpse of his sprightly charge until 
she checked her speed to await his coming. 

That she was capable of extraordinary physical endur- 
ance was frequently demonstrated by the long and speedy 
walks she performed, whether on business or visiting 
some favorite friend. She has been known to accom- 
plish a pedestrian tour, of from ten to twenty miles, 
with as much ease as other ladies would make their 
usual calls among city or village acquaintances. Fences 
or fallen timbers were no impediments. Bounding over 
them with astonishing agility, she carelessly pursued her 
way, as though tracing the more familiar paths of the 
wild woods. 

Although she participated in the various amusements 
through the country, and was the ruling spirit of every 
assembly, she never neglected the ordinary duties of her 
household ; every apartment received her personal atten- 
tion, from the kitchen to the chambers, and was duly 
cleansed and arranged according to her direction. By 
her were the daily tasks of the servants assigned, while 
she performed with cheerfulness the duties devolving 
upon herself. 



Digitized by 



Google 



56 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 



CHAPTER IV. 

The character and habits of life of the early settlers 
of Western Virginia, are topics which have engaged the 
labors of but few pens ; but they are not the less inter- 
esting on that account. 

Many of the inhabitants of this new, and hitherto 
uncultivated, portion of the State, were intelligent sons 
of families of distinction in the " Old Dominion." The 
great abundance of game of nearly every variety, the 
free and exciting sports of a life in the Western wilds, 
devoid of care and free from the conventional restraints 
of society ; the health-invigorating glorious fun of fol- 
lowing 

" The stag to the slippery crag, 

And chasing the bounding roe/ 1 

combined to allure the ardent and pleasure-loving youths 
from the tamer scenes of their childhood to those bound- 
less fields of new and ever-changing excitement. Others 
enjoying smaller patrimonies, hearing of the rich allu- 
vial bottoms of the Ohio and its tributaries, and the 
low price at which land could be procured, deserted their 
less inviting homesteads to seek new sources of wealth 
beyond those blue peaks which many regarded as the 
Western limit of civilization. Penury, and the exhaust- 
ed lands of other portions of the State, drove no incon- 



Digitized by 



Google 



FRONTIER LIFE. 67 

siderable number in search of genial soil, where the 
hand of man might realize rich returns from the toil 
bestowed upon it ; or the abounding game should furnish 
supplies without the eftbrt which nature requires of 
those who seek her bounties. 

Populated by these various classes, enticed thither 
through considerations as different as the dispositions 
and circumstances of the individuals themselves, that 
love of society which is seldom lost in man served to 
banish distinctions of rank, and render an absolute 
equality essentially necessary to their social existence. 
Around the blazing fire, the son of the wide-famed 
statesman tripped merrily in the mazes of the dance 
with the daughter of the unknown peasant. The 
scholar, orator and divine strove, in eager emulation, 
to plant their rifle-balls as near the center of the target 
as that of the uncultivated woodsman. 

Remote from friends, from society, and the pleasing 
associations of earlier years, they devised amusements in 
every thing, and made frolic of labor itself. A house- 
raising, or log-rolling, was as cheerfully attended as the 
wedding of a favorite friend; and a corn-husking col- 
lected the inhabitants from several miles around. The 
almost daily interchange of civilities, and constant asso- 
ciation of the various classes, as well for the purpose of 
joint protection against the deadly rifle of the savage, 
as the innate love of company, served to mold the 
general character of the population into a distinct type, 
peculiar to themselves, and stamped their virtues with 
an originality which the mutations of time have failed 
to change. 



Digitized by 



Google 



58 THE BLENNER1IASSETT PAPERS. 

The Virginian, thus re-molded (if we may be allowed 
the expression), from his active habits of life, was capable 
of extraordinary feats of strength and astonishing agility 
of limb. For a wrestle or a foot-race, he was always 
ready, and never refused a challenge to take a trial at 
either. While, to gratify his revenge, he would have 
grappled with Apollo for the tripod of the temple ; yet 
the overflowing fountains of his heart gushed forth, in 
streams of sympathy, for the misfortunes of his fellow- 
men. Chivalrous, brave, and independent, "he would 
not have courted Neptune for his trident, nor Jove for 
his power to thunder." With a generosity bordering on 
extravagance, his house, his horse, his gun — yea, every 
thing but the sacredness of virtue — were at the disposal 
of his friends. Clad in the buck-skin moccasin, with a 
hunting-shirt of linsey-woolsey, his rifle on his shoulder, 
and a butcher-knife at his side, he never changed his 
apparel to suit the circumstances under which he was 
placed ; and, whether pursuing the fleeting game, visit- 
ing a neighbor, or attending the services of the church, 
the same attire was suitable both to the day and the 
occasion. 

The deer hunt, the horse-race, and ever-glorious fox- 
chase, were the usual sources of amusement among the 
men ; while the women found enjoyment at the various 
wool-pickings and quiltings throughout the neighbor- 
hood. The circumstance of their spending so much 
time in the enjoyment of lawful amusements, is to be 
accounted for in the fact, that, at that early period, they 
had but few desires to be satisfied, and fewer wants to 
be supplied. There being then but little, if any, demand 



Digitized by 



Google 



WESTERN PATRIOTISM. 69 

for agricultural produce, it was unnecessary to raise 
more than the consumption of the immediate vicinity 
required. Remotely situated from the extravagance and 
luxury of more cultivated society, there was no need of 
mahogany sideboards, groaning with champagne, nor 
of Brussels nor Turkey carpets to decorate their floors. 

Their unflinching patriotism was repeatedly tested in 
the Revolution, and in various engagements with the 
Indians. At the first call of their country's voice, the 
animated response was heard in every hamlet. "When 
they had neither the soldier's uniform, nor equipages, 
nor arms, they seized their trusty rifles ; and, from their 
smiling fields of toil, from the pleasant scenes of their 
sportive pastimes, they flew to win a soldier's name or a 
soldier's grave. The result of their efforts shall glow 
beneath the pencil and the pen — shall live in national 
song, and survive in the spirit-stirring anthem, till none 
are worthy to repeat the strain, or to paint the scenes of 
their country's glory ! When the question of the pur- 
chase of Louisiana was first mooted in our national 
councils, and it was then urged that the inhabitants of 
that territory would prevent a free and easy navigation 
of the Mississippi river; — " Give me," said Washington, 
" three hundred picked men, well-tried and true, of old 
West Augusta,* and I will carve my way to the Gulf." 
What higher compliment could have been paid to the 
patriotism and bravery of the original settlers of the 

•This was the term appliM to all the territory west of the Allegha- 
nies, known as the Nortb-West Territory. Augusta County then com- 
prising the whole. 



Digitized by 



Google 



60 THE BLENNKRHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

trans- Alleghany country, of whom a few still remain, 
as land-marks by which to trace the characters of the 
departed ? 

While this type of character occupied the Eastern 
shore of the Ohio, that of the West contained another, 
as marked and distinct as that of the Cavalier from the 
Roundhead. Many revolutionary officers and soldiers of 
the Northern States, who had exhausted their resources 
in fighting the battles of their country, and who, from 
the depleted state of the national finances had to 
remain for a time without indemnity, either for their 
services or losses, sought this new land, where they 
could recuperate their shattered fortunes by economy 
and industry. Others, too, of the sons of New England, 
attracted also by the fruitful valleys of this beautiful and 
majestic river, bade farewell to the rocky and ungrateful 
soil of their birth, and, with a plow and a bed, a Bible 
and a wife, set out for the West. Here, hundreds of 
miles from father Aminidab and mother Patience, they 
set themselves industriously to work, clearing up farms, 
from which to realize fortunes, as soon. as the circum- 
stances of the country would permit. That their most 
sanguine expectations have been fully realized, is hap- 
pily demonstrated by the fields waving with grain, val- 
leys filled with herds, and hills covered with flocks, 
which meet the eye of the traveler as he passes along 
the stream. While the meed of praise has been awarded 
them for their indefatigable industry, they have not been 
regarded as possessing that generous hospitality which 
is characteristic of their neighbors of Virginia. Edu- 
cated to believe there was no product without labor, no 



Digitized by 



Google 



blennsrhassett's neighbors. 01 

wealth without economy, they indulged but little in 
amusements, and were careful against expense. In their 
moral and religious observances, they were rigidly aus- 
tere. Like the Puritans of Plymouth Rock, from whom 
they were descended, the Bible formed the chief rule of 
their conduct. Their family government was based upon 
its precepts, and its holy teachings were listened to, each 
Sabbath, in the " forest sanctuary." True, some there 
were who occasionally broke over the more austere les- 
sons which had been taught them by their parents, but 
the exceptions, "like angels' visits, were few and far 
between/' If their liberality at any time exhibited 
itself, it was usually toward objects of charity, or to 
spread the teachings of that gospel which they had been 
taught ever to revere. For bravery and devotion to the 
welfare of their country, they were justly regarded the 
equals of their neighbors; and acts of Indian cruelty 
were jointly revenged by the two. Having enjoyed 
early advantages in the best schools and academies of 
their native States, they were fully informed upon the 
subjects usually taught at such institutions, and many 
possessed talents of superior brilliancy. 

Such were the men with whom Blennerhassett had 
cast his fortunes. The variety of characters, perhaps, 
was as great, if the number of persons was far less, as 
that of the society he had recently abandoned. There 
was the hospitable Virginian, who, though he neither 
claimed nor desired the titular dignity of a nobleman, 
exhibited a generosity equal to that of its proudest 
possessor, — a generosity which knew no bounds, and 
awaited no emergency for its exercise. With a reckless 



Digitized by 



Google 



62 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

profligacy, he scattered his bounties broadcast; threw 
open the doors of hospitality; lavishing, with an 
unsparing hand, the gifts which fortune had bestowed 
upon him. There was the high-toned chivalry of the 
Crusades, which stooped to no baseness ; cringed to no 
superior; nor was intimidated by menace; performing 
kindnesses, without ostentation, acts of daring, without 
boasting, and relieving the wants of the distressed, 
without the hope of reward. There was the zealous 
Puritan, acknowledging no superior but God; no law 
binding on the moral man but the Bible; no religion 
but that of Calvin ; rejecting the unmeaning forms of 
Popery; combating the doctrine of apostolic success- 
Bion; and discarding, in his worship, the use of the 
gown, the surplice, and the prayer-book. There, the 
meek and pious Christian, dispensing charities without 
parsimony ; visiting the sick and the afflicted, and min- 
gling the comforts of religion with the sad and agoniz- 
ing scenes of death. And there, too, alas ! — the crafty 
and wily miscreant, making promises never to be ful- 
filled; taking advantages in trade; regarding neither 
the teachings of Holy Writ, nor the precepts of moral- 
ity ; but ever faithless, ever insincere, prostrating virtue 
without compunction, and indulging in every lawless 
vice. 



Digitized by 



Google 



TROUBLE BREWING. 68 



CHAPTER V. 

Before entering upon the more important incidents 
in the life of Blennerhassett, a preliminary view of 
Western history is necessary to a knowledge of subse- 
quent events. 

But few of the millions who now populate the valley 
of the Mississippi, are familiar, eveA by tradition, with 
the difficulties which attended its early colonization. 
While the States of the Atlantic had engaged the 
energies of the government, the pioneers of the wilder- 
ness had been seriously neglected. That young and 
fertile region lay yet an unbroken forest, but sparsely 
inhabited, and separated from the sea-board by inter- 
minable mountains and boundless solitudes. Shut out 
from the avenues of trade, it contributed nothing to the 
resources of the government, then much reduced by the 
Revolution, and the demands of its citizens were regard- 
ed as burthens to the State, and useless exactions from 
the public treasury. Nature; it is true, had supplied 
it with those noble rivers, now the great arteries of 
trade, but the arbitrary interdict of Spain had closed 
them against the enterprise and energy of the people. 

The navigation of the Mississippi had been a fruitful 
source of complaint almost from the first occupation 
of the territory. Favorites had been rewarded by the 



Digitized by 



Google 



64 THE BLBNNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

authorities of Louisiana, but even these had been com- 
pelled to contribute to the Spanish Crown. Congress 
had been frequently solicited to assert the rights of the 
people, whose prosperity was retarded by the restrictive 
intercourse of trade, yet such was the embarrassment 
of the government, they could but faintly hope for relief, 
and that, if at all, at a distant day, and under many 
disabilities. 

The murmurings of discontent which thus far had been 
comparatively, but faintly, heard, began now to assume 
a more threatening tone. Those who had been most 
loyal in their affection for the Republic, faltered in their 
allegiance to the confederation. The Government had 
been admonished of a rupture of the Union, and a forci- 
ble alliance with a rival power. Measures of relief had 
been seriously determined on, but the manner of their 
accomplishment was a subject of no little diversity of 
opinion. While some advocated the separate* organiza- 
tion of a new Republic, independent of the United 
States, and closely allied with Spain, others desired 
annexation to Louisiana, and submission to Spanish 
domination. Some there were who advised a war with 
Spain, as affording a pretext for seizing on New Orleans ; 
while a fourth suggested that Congress should be pre- 
vailed on to show preparation for war, and by alarming 
their apprehensions, " extort from the Cabinet of Madrid 
what it persisted in refusing." The fifth and last sug- 
gested, that France should be solicited to procure a 
retrocession of Louisiana, and to extend her protection 
to the inhabitants of Kentucky.* 



Martin's History oT Kentucky, Vol. II, p. 101. 



Digitized by 



Google 



GEN. WILKINSON. 65 

The extension of its American possessions, and the 
control of trade, had long been the desire of the Span- 
ish Crown. The occasion was opportune, and did not 
escape the superior vigilance of its public servant. The 
obstruction to navigation, which had been purposely 
thrown in the way of the inhabitants of the upper 
country, seemed now to have produced the desired 
result ; and Miro, the Governor of Louisiana, flattered 
himself, from the discontent which appeared every where 
prevailing, that at no distant day he could report to the 
Cabinet the dismemberment of Kentucky from the 
Union, and its voluntary acknowledgement of Spanish 
domination. 

General James Wilkinson was at that time one of the 
leading men of the district. He had been a successful 
soldier in the Revolution, and greatly distinguished him- 
self by his unflinching courage and superior military 
tact. Like many of his compatriots, at the close of the 
war, he had been left with limited pecuniary resources, 
and found it necessary to turn his attention to other 
pursuits. Still comparatively young, with a vigorous 
constitution, and superior intellectual attainments, he 
hoped soon to establish an independence of fortune, and 
elevate himself to distinguished civic position. With a 
remarkably discriminating judgment, few men better 
understood the motives which influence human action, 
and none more successful in wielding that knowledge 
to his own advantage. 

In the fall of 1787, having laden a boat with tobacco 
and flour, he descended to New Orleans, with the osten- 
sible purpose of making arrangements with the Spanish 
5 



Digitized by 



Google 



63 THE BLENNERII ASSETT PAPERS. 

authorities, by which to secure to the inhabitants of the 
upper waters the free navigation of the river, and a 
market for their products. Scarcely had he landed, 
however, before ho found himself surrounded by a 
retinue of officers, who informed him that they were 
directed to seize upon his cargo, which had been confis- 
cated to the Government, and that he himself was 
required to appear before the Governor. Miro soon dis- 
covered that the individual, of all others, whom he could 
have most desired for the furtherance of his objects, was 
then in his presence, a suppliant for his favor. He 
found in "Wilkinson a man of ripe experience and exten- 
sive influence. Insinuating in address, bold but reserved, 
with a ready familiarity in the passing affairs of foreign 
governments, not less than in those of his own, he pos- 
sessed in an eminent degree many of the higher qualities 
of an accomplished diplomatist. Hence, it was of the 
first importance that his services should be secured to the 
interest of the crown, which might thus, by the efficient 
aid of an emissary in disguise, perfect its plans without 
the hazard of detection. At the close of the interview, 
the boats were released, and permission granted to 
dispose of the cargo. A generous display of hospitality, 
on the part of the Governor and citizens, soon succeeded. 
Costly feasts and brilliant assemblages became the daily 
entertainment, to which Wilkinson was invited. Per- 
mission was also granted him to " introduce into Louis 
iana, free of duty, many Western articles of trade which 
were adapted to the market." 

The sudden and growing intimacy between the Span 
ish Governor and American planter had been marked b} 



Digitized by 



Google 



SPANISH INTRIGUE. 67 

many, and excited a suspicion of intrigue between the 
two. It was slyly insinuated that something beyond 
commercial privileges was in negotiation; but with its 
objects and entire extent they were, as yet, imperfectly 
acquainted. Nothing was at that time disclosed further 
than that' Wilkinson had written a dissertation " respect- 
ing the political interests of Spain and the inhabitants 
of the United States, dwelling in the regions upon the 
Western waters." This was addressed to Miro, to be 
forwarded to the King of Spain, with whom he desired 
it to be known that he was then negotiating for the free 
navigation of the Mississippi. But it has been asserted, 
and certainly not without proof, that this communica- 
tion was intended by Wilkinson to conceal a different 
design, indorsed by Miro, and to which but few others 
were privy. 

Gardoqui, the Spanish minister in Philadelphia, with- 
out the knowledge of Miro, and, therefore, without con- 
cert of plan, had conceived the project of settling 
Louisiana by emigration from the United States. By 
this means he hoped to draw to the interest of the 
Spanish Crown the people of Kentucky, which should 
result in her secession from the Union, with other dis- 
tricts then similarly disaffected. 

To Pierre d'Argfts, Gardoqui committed the execution 
of his scheme. By authority of the Cabinet at Madrid, 
he invited the inhabitants of Kentucky, and those dwell- 
ing along the Cumberland, to remove to West Florida, 
and the Florida district of Lower Louisiana, and place 
themselves under the protection of Spain. Liberal 
grants of land, with extensive privileges, were offered to 



Digitized by 



Google 



68 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

all who desired to better their condition ; and as a greater 
inducement to those owning property, slaves, stock, 
farming utensils, and provisions for two years, were to be 
admitted free ; while a duty of twenty-five per cent, was 
levied upon property imported into the colony for trade 
or consumption. 

But the plan of the Spanish representative threatened 
a collision with that of Miro. Both were ambitious of 
the favor at court, with which the success of their under- 
takings would be rewarded; and hence they desired to 
keep as a secret the means by which the object was to be 
effected. 

In a dispatch addressed by Miro on the 8th of January, 
1788, to Vald&s, the Minister and Secretary of State for 
the department of the Indies, writing of the plans of 
D'Argds, he says: "I fear that they may clash with 
Wilkinson's principal object. In the first place, D'ArgSs 
having presented himself here with very little pru- 
dence and concealment, it may turn out, that Wilkin- 
son, in Kentucky, being made aware of the mission of 
this agent, may think we are not sincere, and that, 
endeavoring to realize his project without him, we use 
him merely as a tool to facilitate the operations of 
D'Argds. Under 'the impression that D'Argds may reap 
the whole credit of the undertaking, in case of success, 
it may happen that he will counteract them ; for this 
reason I have been reflecting for many days, whether it 
would not be proper to communicate to D'ArgSs Wilkin- 
son's plans, and to Wilkinson the mission of D'Argda, in 
order to unite them, and to dispose them to work in 
concert. But I dare not do so, because D'Argfcs may 



Digitized by 



Google 



Wilkinson's movements. 69 

consider that the great projects of Wilkinson may destroy 
the merit of his own, and he may communicate them to 
some one who might cause Wilkinson to be arrested as 
a criminal; and, also, because Wilkinson may take 
offense at another being admitted to participate in con- 
fidential proceedings upon which depended his life and 
honor, as he expresses himself in his memoir."* 

In the same dispatch he continues: "The delivering 
up of Kentucky into his Majesty's hands, which is the 
main object to which Wilkinson has promised to devote 
himself entirely, would forever constitute this province 
a rampart for the protection of New Spain. * * 

****** * * 

The Western people would no longer have any induce- 
ment to emigrate, if they were put in possession of a 
free trade with us. This is the reason why this privilege 
should be granted only to a few individuals having influ- 
ence among them, as is suggested in Wilkinson's memo- 
rial, because, in their seeing the advantages bestowed on 
the few, they might be easily persuaded to acquire the 
like by becoming Spanish subjects.". 

Wilkinson, having remained several months at New 
Orleans, instead of returning to Kentucky by way of the 
river, sailed for Philadelphia, from whence he proceeded 

* This official dispatch of Miro's reveals the fact of what had before rested 
only on suspicion, that Wilkinson prepared two memorials to the king — one 
for the eye of the public, particularly the people of the West, asserting their 
rights and the importance of their trade to Louisiana and to Spain, and ex- 
pressing his fears, in the meantime, lest the English should intervene, and, 
by joining with the disaffected portion of the western districts, wrest from 
the Spanish crown its possessions in Louisiana; the other, intended only 
for the Cabinet at Madrid, disclosing a plan for the acquisition of Ken- 
tucky, by her separation from the Union and attachment to Louisiana. 



Digitized by 



Google 



70 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

to Richmond, Virginia, then the seat of Government for 
the Kentucky District. From this point he addressed a 
letter to Gardoqui, relative to the affairs of Louisiana, 
and, as he subsequently informed Miro, to sound him 
upon his plans, and to divert his attention from himself, 
as he had been informed that his own reception at New 
Orleans had been the subject of comment by the Span- 
ish Minister. 

Gardoqui, in the meantime, was busily engaged in car- 
rying forward his scheme of colonization. Col. George 
Morgan, a soldier of the Revolution, had conceived 
himself greatly injured by the Government, in rejecting 
what he believed a meritorious claim, and smarting 
under his disappointment, resolved to avail himself of 
the opportunity of placing himself beyond the limits of 
the United States, and, by securing a liberal grant of the 
Spanish Crown, to restore his broken fortunes in the 
fertile valley of the Mississippi. Having applied to Gar- 
doqui, he obtained the conveyance of a vast tract of 
land, situated some seventy miles below the mouth of 
the Ohio, upon which he stipulated to place a large num- 
ber of families, and subsequently laid out the town of 
New Madrid. D'Argds had already informed Charles de 
Grandprd, Governor of Natches, to have preparation 
made for the reception of fifteen hundred and eighty-two 
families, which were expected soon to arrive from Ken- 
tucky to take possession of their promised bounties.* 

* To each family not owning negroes was granted six arpens of land, 
fronting a bayou or water-course, with forty in depth, making a total of 
two hundred and forty arpens ; to such as had two, three, or four glares, 
or had a family composed of four or six adult unmarried sons capable of 
working, ten arpens in front by forty in depth ; to such as had from tea 



Digitized by 



Google 



Wilkinson's movements. 71 

During the month of February, 1788, Wilkinson re- 
turned across the mountains to Kentucky. His splendid 
equipage and numerous servants attracted the attention 
and excited the wonder of his old companions, while 
rumors were freely circulated, that his sudden exhibition 
of wealth was to be attributed to something beyond the 
profits on his Southern cargo. It was suggested that 
others, who should follow his example, might discover 
the source from whence it sprung, and that the philoso- 
pher's stone, which was to turn every thing it touched 
into gold, lay \yithin the limits of the Spanish dominion. 
On the subject of the navigation of the Mississippi he 
grew quite enthusiastic, demonstrating in glowing lan- 
guage the benefits to be derived from direct commercial 
relations with New Orleans, and at the same time inform- 
ing his friends of the exclusive privileges which had 
been granted him by the Spanish Governor. He entered 
into large contracts for tobacco, and at once excited the 
jealousy of his rivals by the liberal prices offered for 
western products.* 

Soon after his return he dispatched a pirogue, with two 
oarsmen, to New Orleans, conveying a communication! 



to twenty negroes, fifteen a r pens by forty ; and to those owning more than 
twenty negroes, twenty arpens by forty. 

• Marshall's History of Kentucky, Vol. I, p. 283. 

fMost of these dispatches, if not all, were originally in cypher; they • 
are to be found at length, and in Spanish, in the archives of Spain. Copies 
made in compliance with a resolution of the Legislature of the State of 
Louisiana, under the supervision of M. de Gayangos, a gentleman distin- 
guished for his learning and literary works ; and also under the direction 
of his Excellency Romulus Saunders, who was then the United States Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary at Madrid, arc deposited in the office of the Secretary 
of State at Baton Rouge. — Oayarres UUlory of Lom»Una } Vol, III, p. 211. 



Digitized by 



Google 



72 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

to Miro, informing the latter of his safe return across 
the mountains, and assuring him that their joint de- 
sign was soon to be accomplished, as Kentucky had 
separated herself from Virginia, and the rest, as Spain 
desired, must inevitably follow. " I have," he says, " col- 
lected much European and American news, and have 
made various interesting observations for our political 
designs. It would take a volume to contain aft that I 
have to communicate to you. But I dispatch this letter 
with such haste, and its fate is so uncertain, that I hope 
you will excuse me for not saying more until the arrival 
of my boats, and, in the meantime, I pray you to content 
yourself with this assurance, all my predictions are verify- 
ing themselves, and not a measure is taken on both sides of 
the mountains which does not conspire to favor ours. * * * 
I beg you to be easy, and to be satisfied that nothing 
shall deter me from attending exclusively to the object 
we have in hand, and I am convinced that the success 
of our plan will depend on the disposition of the court" 

Whether Wilkinson was really in earnest in carry- 
ing into execution the designs of the Spanish Gov- 
ernor, may, by some, be regarded as a matter of con- 
jecture; but that he was, nevertheless, using him for 
pecuniary gain, is clearly established by Miro's frequent 
dispatches to the home government, recommending the 
purchase of increased amounts of tobacco, in which it 
was known that Wilkinson was then dealing. 

" There is no means," he writes, " more powerful to 
accomplish the principal object we have in view, in the 
memorial which has been laid before his Majesty, than 
the promise, that the government will take as much as 



Digitized by 



Google 



MAJOR DUNN. 78 

six millions of their tobacco, instead of the two millions 
which arc now bought from them." 

In a subsequent dispatch, after the arrival of several 
flat-boats, owned by Wilkinson, and under charge of 
Major Dunn, which the Governor was assured cost seven 
thousand dollars in Kentucky, Miro says, that, from the 
beginning, "Wilkinson had informed him that he was not 
possessed of any pecuniary resources ; that on the recom- 
mendation of the Intendant, he had obtained a loan 
of three thousand dollars from a gentleman in New 
Orleans, and, therefore, requested that his cargo should 
not be seized, as he had pledged the product of its sale 
to refund the sum, and to pay his crew, and the amount 
due on the tobacco, which had been purchased oh credit. 
The balance was to enable him to support himself with- 
out embarrassment, and to contribute to preserve and 
increase his influence in his own State. " Although his 
candor," he continues, " and the information which I 
have sought from many who know him well, seem to 
assure us that he is working in good earnest, yet I am 
aware it may be possible that his intention is to enrich 
himself at our expense, by inflating us with hopes and 
promises which he knows to be vain. Nevertheless, I 
have determined to humor him on this occasion." 

Dunn had left Kentucky, in charge of the boats and 
cargo, on the 15th of May, bearing with him a letter of 
introduction from Wilkinson. He informed the Gov- 
ernor and Intendant that the Major was an old military 
companion, who had come to settle in the country during 
his absence. The reliance which he placed in his honor, 
his discretion, and his talents, had induced him, after 



Digitized by 



Google 



74 THE BLENNERI1ASSETT PAPERS. 

sounding his disposition witli proper caution, to choose 
him as a fit auxiliary in the execution of their political 
designs, which he had embraced with credulity. Dunn, 
he said, would, therefore, present himself in order to 
confer w T ith them on those points which w r ould require 
more examination, and to concert with them those 
measures which they might deem necessary to expe- 
dite " our" plan, and that, through him, he, Wilkinson, 
might be able to receive the new instructions which they 
might deem expedient to send him. " I have also chosen 
him, he continues, " to bring back the product of the 
present cargo of my boats." 

For these reasons, he wished to recommend him as one 
worthy of their entire confidence, and as a safe and saga- 
cious man, who was properly acquainted with the poli- 
tical state of the American Union, and with the circum- 
stances of the Western country. 

lie further informed them, that on the first day of 
January of the next year (1789), by mutual consent, the 
district of Kentucky would cease to be subject to the 
jurisdiction of Virginia. That while it was true it had 
been stipulated, as a necessary condition of their inde- 
pendence, that Kentucky should be acknowledged as an 
independent State by Congress, and be admitted, as such, 
into the Federal Union, yet a convention had already 
been called to form the constitution of that district, and 
he felt persuaded that no action on the part of Congress 
would ever induce the people to abandon the plan which 
they had adopted, although he had received recent intel- 
ligence that that body would, beyond a doubt, recognize 
Kentucky as a sovereign State. 



Digitized by 



Google 



PROJECTING. 75 

The convention was to meet in July ; and in the mean- 
time he would inquire into the prevailing opinions, and 
should thereby be able to ascertain the extent of the 
influence of the members elected. When that was done, 
after having previously come to an understanding with 
two or three individuals capable of assisting him, he 
should disclose so much of their great scheme as might 
appear appropriate. He, as yet, had been communicative 
but to two individuals ; he, however, had sounded many ; 
and wherever he had made known to any of them Miro's 
answer to his memorial, it had given the greatest satis- 
faction. Col. Alexander Leatt Bullitt, and Harry Innis, 
the Attorney-General, were the only persons to whom 
he had fully communicated; and should any mishap 
befall him before the accomplishment of their ends, he 
desired the Spanish authorities to address themselves to 
these gentlemen, whose political designs, he asserted, 
agreed with their own. An early organization of the 
State government was anticipated, at which time it was 
intended to appoint an agent to treat with Spain ; and as 
for Congress opposing any obstacle to the measure, it 
was ridiculously absurd ; for under the federal compact, 
that body could neither furnish men nor money ; and, as 
to the new government, Rhould it ever establish itself, it 
would have to encounter difficulties which would keep it 
weak for three or four years, before the expiration of 
which, he had good reason for believing, that himself 
and Miro would complete their negotiations, and would 
become too strong for any force that could be sent 
against them. 

Urging upon the authorities the great importance of 



Digitized by 



Google 



76 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

permitting him to trade unmolested, and allowing but 
few individuals to pass duty free, he says : " The only 
tie which can preserve the connection of the Western 
country with the Atlantic States, is the necessity of 
relying on them altogether for their supplies of such* 
articles as are not manufactured by the people; and as 
soon as they ascertain that these can be procured 
through the river, their dependent state will cease, 
and with it all motives of connection with the other 
side of the Apalachian mountains." 

Major Dunn confirmed the statement of Wilkinson, 
and assured Miro that the next year after the meeting 
of the first assembly, in which Kentucky would act as 
an independent State, she would separate from the Fed- 
eral Union. He further assured the Governor, that 
many of the most distinguished citizens of the State 
had expressed themselves to that effect, and that the 
direction of the current of the rivers, which washes in 
front of their dwellings, pointed clearly to the power to 
which they should ally themselves. 

About this time Miro was much gratified at the receipt 
of a copy of a dispatch from McGillivray, the half-breed 
Chief of the Salapouches, to the Governor of Pensacola, 
in which he informed the Spanish official that the settlers 
in the Cumberland and Kentucky districts, against whom 
he had committed many atrocities, had sued for peace ; 
and, as an inducement to a cessation of hostilities, had 
assured him that they would throw themselves into the 
arms of his Majesty, as subjects, and were determined 
to free themselves from their dependence on Congress, 
because that body could not protect either their persons 



Digitized by 



Google 



DIPLOMACY. ' 77 

or their property, nor, by favoring commerce, promote 
their prosperity: hence they owed no obedience to a 
power which was incapable of benefiting them. 

Elated with the prospects of success, Miro's dispatches 
to the King spoke so encouragingly, and with such confi- 
dence, that they did not fail to create high hopes in the 
breast of the Cabinet as to the favorable result of his 
plans. Martin Navarro, his associate, had left the prov- 
ince for Spain, and Miro exercised in his own person the 
two offices of Intendant and Governor. No other person 
had been sent to supply his place ; it being deemed best 
to leave negotiations entirely with the few who had been 
admitted to the secret, lest "Wilkinson and his associates 
might be exposed. 

Until now, Gardoqui and the Governor had been act- 
ing separate parts. Both were ambitious to accomplish 
their projects, and both were emulous of the rewards 
which were to follow. Neither had communicated his 
secrets to the other, while both were struggling for a 
common design. With such privacy had they conducted 
their several schemes, that even Wilkinson was as yet 
uninformed of the secret agency of D'Argds. Miro had 
failed to apprise him of it for fear of the displeasure it 
might occasion him and Gardoqui, through a distrust 
of the General, and a desire to accomplish his object 
without his co-operation. 

The diplomacy displayed by these two officials of his 
Majesty evinces talents of no ordinary ability. Both 
were dealing with an experienced tactician, who prided 
himself upon his superior sagacity. He had, as yet, 
gained neither the affection of the one, nor the confi- 



Digitized by 



Google 



78 THE BLKNNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

dence of the other. Both had read their antagonist, 
and conceived they knew the individual with whom they 
confederated. Miro had, therefore, to suppress a smile at 
Wilkinson's ingenuousness in communicating the fact 
that he had heen approached hy both French and Eng- 
lish emissaries, who were busily engaged in enlisting, 
each in his own behalf, the interests of Kentucky. 

" It is to my knowledge," writes Wilkinson, " that the 
Court of Versailles has, for years past, been collecting 
every sort of information with reference to this district, 
and that it would give a great deal to recover its posses- 
sions on the Mississippi. In the year 1785, a knight of 
St. Louis, named D'Argis, arrived at the falls of the 
Ohio, gave himself out for a naturalist, and pretended 
that his object was to inquire into the curious produc- 
tions of this country, but his manner of living contra- 
dicted his assertion. He made few acquaintances, lived 
very retired, and during one year that he remained here 
he never went out of Louisville, where he resided, fur- 
ther than six miles. On his perusing the first memorial 
which the people of this district presented to the Legis- 
lature of Virginia, on the question of separation, he 
expressed his admiration that there should be in so new 
a country, a writer capable of framing such a composi- 
tion; then, after having made some reflections on the 
progressive importance of our settlement, he exclaimed 
with enthusiasm, 'Good God! my country has been 
blind, but its eyes shall be opened/ The confidential 
friend of this gentleman was a Mr. Tardiveau, who had 
resided many years in Kentucky. D'Argis used to draw 
drafts on M. dc Marbois, then Consul of France, at New 



Digitized by 



Google 



RUMORKD TREATY.. 79 

York ; and, finally, he lived as one who belonged to the 
family of Count de Moustier, the French Minister ; and 
I am informed, from a good source, that he presented to 
this same Count de Moustier, a very elaborate memorial 
on these settlements, which was forwarded to the Court 
of France. 

"Perhaps, sir," he continues, "you will think this 
information frivolous, but I am sure you will believe that 
it proceeds from my devoted zeal for the interests of 
Spain. Please remember that trifles light as air, fre- 
quently are, for the faithful and the zealous, proofs as 
strong as those of Holy Writ." * This same D'Argds 
was then in the actual service of Gardoqui, under 
instructions from the Court of Madrid, and in conference 
with Miro. 

Wilkinson had been actively engaged in sowing the 
seeds of dissension in Kentucky. George Muter, Harry 
Innis, John Brown and Benjamin Sebastian, conspicuous 
and influential men, had been admitted to the secret, and 
were fully committed to the enterprise. Possessing 
talents of marked ability themselves, they, nevertheless, 
looked to Wilkinson for counsel and direction. The 
people were kept in constant agitation by conventions 
and meetings on the subject of their grievances. The 
Secretary of State, Mr. Jay, it was asserted, had formed, 
or was about to form, a treaty with Spain, by which the 
exclusive right to navigate the Mississippi for twenty-five 
years, on the part of his Majesty, was to be recognized 
by the United States Government. Delegates had been 

♦Gay aire, Vol. Ill, p. 288. 



Digitized by 



Google 



80 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

assembled from the principal counties of Kentucky, had 
discussed their grievances, and had separated without 
any organized plan. The people became distracted, their 
burthens became more and more intolerable ; and many 
seemed willing to resort to any thing that promised a 
present relief. It was true that not a few of the evils of 
which they complained were imaginary — some unavoid- 
able — perhaps all, in time, would have been satisfactorily 
adjusted ; yet they conceived themselves aggrieved, and 
it was the policy of their leaders to cultivate such a 
belief. 

Wilkinson had returned in February, 1788. He had 
sailed from New Orleans to Philadelphia ; visited Rich- 
mond, Virginia ; was present in the Assembly when the 
separation of Kentucky was voted on, and was greatly 
gratified when the result was announced. His entrance 
into Lexington was grand and imposing. He had left 
there poor and in debt, only the summer before, but now 
flourished in splendid chariot, drawn by four richly- 
caparisoned horses, and attended by several slaves.* 
Unfavorable rumors were freely circulated. By some, it 
was hinted that at New Orleans he had sold both his 
cargo and himself; that, in fact, he had taken the oath 
of allegiance, and had already become a subject of Spain. 
He informed them, himself, of the exclusive privileges 
granted him by the Governor, by which he could ship 
tobacco, and deposit it at the king's store at ten dollars 
the hundred, which was a privilege allowed only to his 
Majesty's subjects. He advocated the right to navigate 



* Marshall's History of Kentucky, Vol. I, p. 268. 



Digitized by 



Google 



OBNOXIOUS FEDEBALISM. 81 

the Mississippi, urged the great importance of a com- 
mercial connection of the two countries, and insinuated 
that it might all he effected by a separation from the 
Union and the independence of Kentucky. Many were 
already convinced ; others felt that their prosperity had 
been too long retarded by the inactivity of the Govern- 
ment. "What has been accomplished by Wilkinson," 
they argued, " may also be effected for ourselves." As 
yet they had derived no benefits from the Union ; but as 
an independent State they could form an alliance with 
Spain, and reap the advantages of her liberal patronage. 
The incredulous, of whom there were many, were reluct- 
ant to move. Although they divined the object of Wil- 
kinson's mission, still he stood high in popular favor, 
and they were cautious of giving offense. Some there 
were, who would have openly denounced him, but the 
facts upon which to base an accusation had been care- 
fully concealed. By the multitude, however, his acts 
were highly extolled, and he was flattered by the 
acknowledgement that to him alone were the citizens 
of the West indebted for opening that navigation, which 
Mr. Jay had offered to surrender, and of realizing that 
commerce which Congress had failed to secure. 

But there was a new cause of excitement which 
promised to facilitate his design. The merits of the new 
Constitution of the United States, which had been 
recently adopted by eleven States of the Union, was the 
subject of universal interest. The policy of its accept- 
ance was daily discussed in bar-rooms, at the hust- 
ings, and in social assemblies. Many of its provisions 

were known to be unpopular with a majority of the 
6 



Digitized by 



Google 



82 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

citizens of Kentucky, yet it was hoped that the objec- 
tions might all be obviated by subsequent amendment. 
The people of the Kentucky district had been called 
upon to send delegates to Richmond, to meet in Conven- 
tion in the month of June, at which time it was expected 
that Virginia would declare her sentiments upon the 
subject. The session was protracted for three weeks. 
At length a vote was taken, on the 20th of June, and 
the instrument ratified by a vote of eighty-eight to 
seventy-eight ; but three of the Kentucky members vot- 
ing for it, while eleven declared against it. 

While the preliminary elections were being held, for 
members of the Convention at Richmond, the people 
were also required to select delegates to a District Con- 
vention, to assemble at Danville, charged with the 
important trust of framing a Constitution for the new 
State. Wilkinson was chosen a member of that body. 
It convened on the 28th of July, and proceeded to 
organize. Its deliberations, however, were suddenly 
terminated, by the announcement of its president, that 
he had received a dispatch stating that Congress had 
declined any further action on the subject of Kentucky ; 
had, in fact, adjourned without having passed an act for 
her admission into the Confederation, and leaving the de- 
cision, on that important question, to the Congress about 
to be formed under the recently-adopted Constitution.* 

" From this proceeding of Congress," writes Wilkin- 
son to Miro, " it resulted that the Convention was of 
opinion that our proposed independence and separation 



* Marshall's History of Kentucky, Vol. I, p. 228. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SOUTH-WESTERN FEELING. 88 

from Virginia, not being ratified, its mission and powers 
were at an end, and we found ourselves in the alternative, 
either of proceeding to declare our independence, or of 
waiting according to the recommendation of Congress. 
This was the state of affairs when the Honorable Caleb 
Wallace, one of our Supreme Judges, the Attorney Gen- 
eral, Innis, and Benjamin Sebastian, proposed a prompt 
separation from the American Union, and advocated, 
with intrepidity, the necessity of the measure. The arti- 
fice of Congress was exposed, its proceedings reprobated, 
the consequences of depending on a body whose interests 
were opposed to ours, were depicted in the most vivid 
colors, and the strongest motives were set forth to 
justify the separation. The arguments used were un- 
answerable, and no opposition was manifested in the 
course of the debates. It was conceded, unanimously, 
that the present connection was injurious to our interests, 
and that it could not last any length of time. Never- 
theless, sir, when the question was finally taken, fear and 
folly prevailed against reason and judgment. It was 
thought safer and more convenient to adhere to the 
recommendation of Congress, and, in consequence, it was 
decided that the people be advised to elect a new Con- 
vention, which should meet in the month of November."* 
"To consolidate the interest and confirm the confi- 
dence of our friends ; to try our strength ; to familiarize 
the people with what we aim at ; to dissipate the appre- 
hension which important innovations generally produce, 
and to provoke the resentment of Congress, with a view 

• Gayarre's History of Louisiana, Vol. III., p. 227. 



Digitized by 



Google 



84 THE BLBNNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

to stimulate that body into some invidious political act 
which might excite the passions of the people ; these are 
the motives which influence me, and on which I rely fbr 
my justification." 

Wilkinson's solicitude for the measure at length 
became so apparent, that it excited the suspicions of 
the people. But, judicious in selection of his agents — 
adroit in pushing others forward, while he, the arch 
mover, concealed himself behind the screen of secrecy, 
corresponding monthly with the Spanish authorities, and 
forwarding volumes of plans and information respecting 
affairs, not only in Kentucky, but throughout the United 
States, he presents an unparalleled success in the art of 
traitorous diplomacy. 

General Morgan was now actually in league with the 
Spanish authorities. He had accepted his grant; had 
surveyed the land, and laid out the town of New Madrid. 
It was a princely donation, extending from the mouth 
of the St. Francis to point Cinque Hommea, embracing 
from twelve to fifteen million of acres. Already had 
fifty adventurous settlers planted themselves in this 
garden of the Western wilderness. But the settlement 
presented a serious impediment to Wilkinson's progress. 
It was too near the scene of his own operations not to 
become familiar with his intrigues; besides, it was 
known that the town had been purposely established to 
intercept descending trade, for which reason it had been 
declared a free port of entry. "Probably," says Wil- 
kitason to Miro,* "it will destroy the noble fabric of 

• QayarrVs History of Louisiana, Vol. JUL, ft. 244. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SATAN REPROVING SIN. W 

which we have laid out the foundation, and which we 
are endeavoring to complete." 

" I am informed," he continues, " that Morgan intends 
visiting you as soon as he shall have finished the survey 
of the lands conceded to him. Permit me to supplicate 
you, my esteemed friends, not to give him any knowl- 
edge of my plans, sentiments, or designs. It is long 
since he has become jealous of me; and you may rest 
assured that, In reality, he is not well aftected toward 
our cause, but that he allows himself to be entirely 
ruled by motives of the vilest self-interest, and, there- 
fore, that he will not scruple on his return to destroy 
me." 

That Morgan was prompted by the incentive with 
which he had been charged, Miro did not feel disposed 
to question. Men were only to be influenced in such an 
undertaking by the strongest considerations of private 
advantage. In fact, it was to that interest only he 
appealed, and by it alone he could hope for success. 
But, emanating from such a souree, it was Satan reprov- 
ing sin. Himself a soldier and officer of the Revolution, 
who had passed successfully through many a scene of 
doubtful conflict ; who, at the sacrifice of his private for- 
tune, and at the imminent peril of his life, had aided 
in effecting the independence of that country he now 
secretly conspired against ; who had received her honors, 
her confidence, and her gratitude ; — was not he himself 
now seeking, for Spanish influence and Spanish gold, to 
tear down the noble fabric he had helped to rear, and 
transfer to Spanish despotism those liberties for which so 
gallantly he had fought ? " It is not necessary," says 



Digitized by 



Google 



86 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Wilkinson to Gardoqui,* " to suggest to a gentleman of 
your experience and knowledge that man throughout the 
world is governed hy private interest, however variously 
modified it may be. Some men are avaricious, some are 
vain, some are ambitious. To detect the predominant 
passion, — to lay hold, and to make the most of it, — is 
the most profound secret of political science." 

Wilkinson's object was too transparent not to be 
detected by the penetration of Miro. " Some men are 
avaricious, some are vain, some ambitious." Wilkinson, 
he knew, combined the whole. " Hundreds," says he in 
a subsequent letter,f " have applied to me on this subject 
who are determined to follow my example ; and I do 
not deceive myself, nor do I deceive you, sir, when I 
affirm that it is in my power to lead a large body of 
the most opulent and most respectable of my fellow- 
citizens whither I shall go myself at their head ; and I 
flatter myself that, after the dangers I have run, and 
the sacrifices which I have made — after having put my 
honor and my life in your hands — you can have no 
doubt of my favorable disposition toward the interests 
of his Catholic Majesty, so long as my poor services 
may be necessary." 

"After having read these remarks, you will be sur- 
prised at being Informed that, lately, I have, jointly 
with several gentlemen of this country, applied to Don 
Diego Gardoqui for a concession of land, in order to 
form a settlement on the Yazoo. The motive of this 



*1 Jan'y, 1789; Gayarre, Vol. Ill, p. 247. 
t Gayarre, Vol. Ill, p. 238, Feb. 12, 1789. 



Digitized by 



Google 



BRITISH INTRIGUE. 87 

application is to provide a place of refuge for myself and 
uay adherents, in case it should become necessary for us 
to retire from this country in order to avoid the resent- 
ment of Congress," 

In the meantime, the attention of the representative* 
of the British Government had been attracted toward 
the intrigues of the Spanish authorities with some of 
the more influential citizens of the "West. It had been 
currently reported, that a severance from the Union had 
been determined on, and that the people were ready to 
throw themselves into the arms of any power which 
would protect them from Indian hostilities, and guar- 
antee the free navigation of the Mississippi. 

A Doctor Connally was deputed by Dorchester, Gov- 
ernor of Canada, to visit Kentucky and ascertain the 
disposition of the people. He arrived at Louisville in 
the month of October, 1788, having traveled through 
the wilderness from Detroit to the Great Miami, and 
thence down the Ohio. He gave attentive audience to 
the numerous complaints of the citizens, and suggested 
a plan by which they could relieve themselves from 
the embarrassments which the neglect of Congress had 
thrown around them. Great Britain, he asserted, was 
desirous to assist American settlers in their claim to the 
free navigation of the river. She would join them, with 
zeal, to open up this avenue of trade, and arrest from the 
Spanish Crown the Territory of Louisiana. Although 
the forces in Canada -were too few to allow of any dimi- 
nution of their number, yet Dorchester stood ready to 
supply the implements of war, and would equip ten 
thousand men with money, provisions and clothing. 



Digitized by 



Google 



88 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

As soon as the plan of action should be agreed upon, 
these articles would be forwarded from Detroit, through 
Lake Erie, to the Miami, and thence to the Wabash, to 
be transported to any point on the Ohio where the neces- 
sities of the case might require. A fleet of light vessels 
would be ready at Jamaica, to take possession of the 
Balize, simultaneously with an attack to be made by the 
upper settlements. He desired to raise two regiments in 
Kentucky, and was authorized by Dorchester to confer 
rewards and honors on the men of influence who might 
desire to join him. Officers of the late Continental 
army who would take command, should rank the same 
in grade with the officers of Great Britain.* 

The proposition of Connally met with little encour- 
agement. Dorchester had incited the hostilities of 
Indians against the Government of the United States, 
and the inhabitants of the West had been the chief 
sufferers. Their desolated homes were yet draped in 
mourning for the victims of savage barbarity. Their 
wounds were too fresh, and their resentment too impla- 
cable, easily to forget the sanguinary authors of their 
sorrow, or to forgive their not less cruel abettors. Wil- 
kinson had heard of Connally's arrival, and wrote him, 
requesting an interview. His object was to penetrate Mb 
designs, that they might be communicated to the Span- 
ish Governor. Connally was unsuspecting, and revealed 
his plans without reserve. Wilkinson listened atten- 
tively, and was surprised at the boldness of his measures 
and the extent of his ambition. Great Britain was not 

* Marshall's History of Kentucky, Vol. I, p. 848. 



Digitized by 



Google 



COUNTERPLOTTING. TO 

only contemplating a recovery of her American possess- 
ions, lost to her at the conventions of Utrecht and Aix 
la Chapelle, but, also, the extension of their limits to 
the Gulf of Mexico. His own interests were not less 
involved in the scheme than those of Spain; for with 
the loss of Spanish empire followed the loss, to him, of 
Spanish favor and contemplated fortune. It was import- 
ant to check the enterprise ; but it was equally import- 
ant to avoid suspicion, and give no offence to Connally. 
He desired to impress him with the implacability of pri- 
vate resentment, and the impossibility of an English 
alliance. The manner of its accomplishment is com- 
municated to Miro in his letter of the 12th of Feb- 
ruary, 1789* 

"In order to justify this opinion of mine, and to 
induce him to go back, I employed a hunter, who 
feigned attempting his life. The pretext assumed by 
the hunter was the avenging of the death of his son, 
murdered by the Indians at the supposed instigation of 
the English. As I hold the commission of a civil judge, 
it was, of course, to be my duty to protect him against 
the pretended murderer, whom I caused to be arrested 
and held in custody. I availed myself of this circum- 
stance to communicate to Connally my fear of not 
being able to answer for the security of his person, and 
I expressed my doubts whether he could escape with his 
life. It alarmed him so much, that he begged me to 
give him an escort to conduct him out of our territory, 
which I readily assented to ; and on the 20th of Uoveni- 

•Gayarre Vol. III., p. 287 



Digitized by 



Google 



90 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ber he re-crossed the Ohio on his way back to Detroit. I 
did not dismiss him without having previously impressed 
upon him the propriety of informing me, in as short a 
time as possible, of the ultimate designs of Lord Dor- 
chester." 

To induce emigration and trade, the Spanish Gov- 
ernment, contrary to the remonstrances of Wilkinson, 
finally consented that the products of the upper coun- 
try might pass through the Mississippi on the payment 
of a duty of fifteen per cent This, as he had foretold, 
operated to retard the progress of his plans. With the 
prospect of a ready market, labor resumed its wonted 
activity, and the murmurs of the people were silenced. 
Lands rose rapidly in value, wages were increased, and 
the pursuits of agriculture promised an adequate return 
for the capital employed. Apprehensive of having it 
perish on their hands, they had heretofore been deterred 
from raising more than the consumption of the imme- 
diate neighborhood demanded; "but now," said Wil- 
kinson,* "they have no longer any such fears, on 
account of the ready outlet they find, at New Orleans, 
for the fruits of their labor." 

Other circumstances, too, were rapidly combining to 
allay the public discontent. As a measure of policy, the 
President had distributed a few of the public offices 
among those who were regarded as disaffected toward 
the Government, and whose loyalty might be purchased 
as readily by the bestowal of executive favor as by the 
tempting promises of Spanish gold. "On my arrival 

•Gayarre, Vol. III., p. 277. 



Digitized by 



Google 



COVERING RETREAT. 91 

here," writes Wilkinson to Miro,* " I discovered a great 
change in those who had been so far our warmest friends. 
Many who loudly repudiated all connection with the 
Union, now remain silent. I attribute this to the hope 
of promotion, or to the fear of punishment. According 
to my prognostic, Washington has begun to operate on 
the chief heads of this district. Innis has been appointed 
a Federal Judge, with an annual salary of one thousand 
dollars ; George Nicholas, District Attorney ; Samuel 
McDowel, son of the President of the Convention, and 
Marshall, to offices somewhat resembling that of Alguazil 
Mayor; and Peyton Short, the brother of our chargS 
d'affaires at Versailles, is made a Custom-house officer ; 
but he has resigned, and will probably visit you next 
spring. I do not place much reliance on George Nicholas 
and Samuel McDowel. But I know Harry Innis is 
favorable to Spain and hostile to Congress, and I am 
authorized to say, that he would prefer receiving a pen- 
sion from New Orleans than from New York. Should 
the king approve our design, on this point, it will have 
to be broached with much delicacy, caution and judg- 
ment." He adds : " I fear that we can rely on a few 
only of my countrymen, if we can not make use of 
liberal donations." 

But Wilkinson's apprehensions began now to be 
excited for his own safety. If he was to be thus aban- 
doned by his associates, and his plans defeated by the 
admission of Kentucky into the Union, some provision 
was necessary by which to escape the odium of defeat. 

*26th January, 1790. Gayarre, Vol. Ill, p. 278. 



Digitized by 



Google 



92 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPER8. 

The monopoly of the upper trade had been swept from 
his grasp by the last act of the Court at Madrid. It had 
placed on terms of equality' all who possessed the capital 
and energy to compete for the patronage of the Spanish 
Government. Scores of boats, laden with the products 
of the country, were pouring their commerce into the 
lap of New Orleans. The new Constitution proved much 
more popular than was generally anticipated, and was, 
day by day, increasing in favor with the people. Wash- 
ington, too, the illustrious commander in the Revolution, 
was now the chosen chief of the Union, and his selection 
had inspired a spirit of loyalty which it was difficult, 
nay, dangerous to tamper with. Already had Wilkinson 
been marked as a traitor, and spies were vigilant in seek- 
ing the evidences of his intrigue. " My situation," says 
he,* " is mortally painful ; because, while I abhor du- 
plicity, I am obliged to dissemble. This makes me 
extremely desirous of resorting to some contrivance 
that will put me in a position in which I flatter myself 
to be able to profess myself publicly the vassal of his 
Catholic Majesty, and, therefore, to claim his protection 
in whatever public or private measures I may devise to 
promote the interest of the Crown." " You may rest 
assured," he adds, "that the constant persecutions of 
Congress can not produce the slightest impression on my 
attachment and zeal for the interests of Spain, which I 
shall always be ready to defend with my tongue, my pen 
and my sword." 

It would be presumed that Miro would gladly have 

♦Gajarre, VoL IIL p. 280. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MIRO'S DISTRUST. 98 

assented to the proposition, and suggested the " contriv- 
ance " by which to have secured him " a vassal of Spain," 
but the Spanish Governor knew too well that Wilkin* 
son's power to subserve his Majesty's interest, lay in his 
connection with the people of Kentucky, and his intimate 
knowledge of the affairs of the Federal Government. 
For were it once understood he had become a subject 
of Spain, he would, of necessity, be excluded from par- 
ticipation in their affairs, and his influence lost to the 
interest of Louisiana. 

" I much regret," replied Miro,* " that General Wash- 
ington and Congress suspect your connection with me, 
but it does not appear to me opportune that you declare 
yourself a Spaniard, for the reason which you state. I 
am of opinion that this idea of yours is not convenient, 
and that, on the contrary, it might have prejudicial results. 
Therefore, continue to dissemble, and to work as you 
promise, and as I have above indicated. 

Miro now began to feel gloomy forebodings of the 
result. Wilkinson's late communication had dampened 
his hopes, and rendered him suspicious even of the Gen- 
eral himself. He was either the victim of punic faith, or 
his American emissary had been himself deceived. Yet 
he was reluctant to believe that Wilkinson, although 
willing to become a traitor to the Union, could also 
prove a traitor to Spain. Perhaps an over-weaning con- 
fidence had induced him to promise what he never could 
perform. It might be that, full of zeal, and persuaded, 
from the experience of the past, that he could bring 

•Gayam, Vol. Ill, p. 234. 



Digitized by 



Google 



94 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

round to his own opinions the chief men of Kentucky, 
he had declared in anticipation that he had won over 
many of them. But still, it was a fact, that he had never 
once approached them on the main question, and now 
that encountering invincible obstacles and, above all, 
personal risks, it might be his desire to avail himself of 
the motive set forth in his letter to cover his precipitation. 

" Nevertheless," said Miro, " I am of the opinion that 
said Brigadier-General ought to be retained in the service 
of his Majesty, with an annual pension of two thousand 
dollars, which I have already proposed in my confidential 
dispatch, No. 46,* because the inhabitants of Kentucky, 
and of the other establishments on the Ohio, will not be 
able to undertake any thing against this province with- 
out his communicating it to us, and without his making, 
at the same time, all possible efforts to drive them from 
any bad designs against us, as he has already done re- 
cently. Miro concludes, by recommending that a pension 
be granted to Sebastian, " because I think it proper," said 
he, " to treat with this individual who will be able to enlighten 
tne on the conduct of Wilkinson, and on what we have to 
expect from the plans of the said Brigadier- General" 

We have at length arrived at a point in the history of 
this intrigue which renders it unnecessary to pursue it 
further. The key is disclosed which unlocks the door 
of mystery, and reveals other truths which for half a 
century have been enveloped in darkness and in doubt ; 
Wilkinson pensioned to guard the interests of Spain, and 
Sebastian to betray his confederate Wilkinson. 



•Gayarre, Vol. Ill, p. 286. 



Digitized by 



Google 



STILL TROUBLED. 95 

Time rolled on. Kentucky had been admitted into 
the Union, as an independent State. Wilkinson bore 
the commission of a Lieutenant-Colonel, signed by 
George Washington, and was in actual command of the 
American forces. The announcement of his appoint- 
ment spread consternation among his enemies, and elated 
his confederates. The question was repeatedly asked, 
k4 By whom was he recommended?'* "By myself,*' 
replied Col. Marshall, who had been his most formida- 
ble opponent. He considered Wilkinson, he said, well 
qualified for the commission he bore; that while he 
remained unemployed by Government, he regarded him 
as dangerous to the tranquillity of Kentucky, perhaps to 
her absolute safety. If his commission did not secure 
his fidelity, it would place him under control, in the 
midst of faithful officers, whose vigilance would make 
him harmless, if it did not make him honest. Wilkin- 
son would not be permitted to command the army while 
there existed a doubt of his integrity, and General 
Washington remained as President of the Republic. At 
sdl events, he could see no good reason for not putting 
the lion in the toils which he himself had solicited.* 

Although the admission of Kentucky into the Union 
for a time silenced the complaints of the people, yet it 
failed to restore a unity of sentiment and concert of action. 
The navigation of the Mississippi was still the subject of 
discord, not only between the authorities of Louisiana, 
and the western inhabitants of the States, but also 
between the mother country and the American Repub- 

* Marshall's History of Kentucky, Vol. II, p. 891 



Digitized by 



Google 



96 THE BLBNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

lie. Negotiations had been protracted, misunderstandings 
had ensued, and an imbittered diplomatic controversy 
threatened a collision of arms between the contending 
countries. Miro, after a service of twenty years, had 
been recalled to Spain, at his own request, and the gov- 
ernment of the province committed to the Baron de 
Carondolet. Louis Sixteenth had perished on the scaf- 
fold, and Charles the Third, as the avenger of his death, 
had declared war against his ruthless executioners. The 
astounding news of the French Revolution had crossed 
the Atlantic and penetrated the forests of the western 
hemisphere. It gave new hopes to the friends of free- 
dom in Europe, and fresh impetus to the cause of liberty 
throughout the civilized world. 

Genet, the representative of the French Republic, had 
not been a disinterested spectator of the intrigues of 
Spain. His mind involuntarily reverted to that unfortu- 
nate day when the King of France, grown disgusted 
with a possession which, for more than half a century, 
had been the cause of .heavy expense, without giving 
even a faint promise of adequate compensation in the 
future, ceded to his cousin the King of Spain, without 
any remuneration whatever, but merely from the pure 
impulses of his generous heart, and from a sense of the 
affection and friendship which existed between them, all 
the country known under the name of Louisiana ; thus, 
by one stroke of the pen, stripping France " of those 
boundless possessions which she had acquired at the cost 
of so much heroic blood and so much treasure, and 
which extended in one proud, uninterrupted line from 
the mouth of the St. Lawrence to that of the Mississippi ; 



Digitized by 



Google 



BIENVILLE. 07 

the adventuroos and much-enduring population which 
had settled there, and had overcome so many perils, 
under the flag of France, coldly delivered over to the 
yoke of foreign masters." He heard yet the prayerful 
remonstrance of the citizens of New Orleans against the 
impolitic and ungrateful usurpation. In a retrospect of 
the past he saw the venerable Bienville, with a body bent 
by the infirmities of eighty-six years, yet with his intel- 
lectual faculties unimpaired, with the tears gushing from 
his eyes, prostrate before the Duke de Choiseul, in hum- 
ble supplication, pleading the cause of that country for 
whose welfare and prosperity he had spent a life of toil 
and self-denial. " Was France now to give up the last 
inch of that territory which he had acquired for her at 
the cost of so many perils, and so much endurance? 
Was it for the Spaniards he had called New Orleans into 
life ? Were the Louisianians ; were the numerous mem- 
bers of his own family, whose homes he had selected in 
the cradle of his future fame; were his many friends 
and the old companions of his labors, to be no longer his 
countrymen?"* He recalled also the indignation of 
those Acadians who, under the humiliating treaty 
between England and France, had been thrust out 
by British force from their quiet and happy habita- 
tions, where 

"Blemidon rose, and the forests of old, and 
Aloft on the mountains 



• Gayarre's History of Louisiana, Vol. H, p. 129. 

7 



Digitized by 



Google 



98 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Sea-fogs pitched their tents, and mitts 

From the mighty Atlantio 
Looked on the happy valley," 

and who had, 

" Friendless, homeless, hopeless, wandered from 

City to city; 
From the cold lakes of the North to 

Sultry savannas; 
From the bleak shores of the sea, to the land 

Where the Father of Waters 
Seizes the hills in his hands, and 

Drags them down to the ocean." 

How they wept on the receipt of the intelligence that 
they were again transferred to a foreign power against 
their consent and without their knowledge ; how Lafrd- 
n\ere and his followers had defied the authorities of 
Spain, and declared never to acknowledge any domin- 
ion but that of their own beloved France ; how they 
took possession of the government, and were only sub- 
dued by the appearance at the Balize of a Spanish 
Armada under the renowned O'Reiley. He had reason 
for believing that a remnant of that feeling still existed 
among the French settlers in Louisiana; and although 
years had elapsed, and most, if not all, who had been 
the actors in those scenes had passed away, yet it was 
believed that their recollections were still green by tra- 
dition, and their descendants still cherished an affection 
for the land of their forefathers; and now that France 
had become the champion of her governments and 
republican liberty, more than ever would they long for 
her dominion, or seek her protection in any effort they 



Digitized by 



Google 



GENET. 99 

might make to secure a like government for them- 
selves. 

Genet, therefore, set himself privately to work to 
effect a revolution in Louisiana; hoping, with the aid 
of the western settlers, to establish an independent 
government under the protection of France. At his 
instance, Jacobin clubs were formed in many of the 
principal cities of the United States, which were to be 
the active agencies for effecting this purpose. The 
society at Philadelphia, in the beginning of the year 
1794, had caused to be printed and circulated an address 
from the freemen of France to their brothers in Louisi- 
ana. In this they declared that the moment had arrived 
when despotism must disappear from the earth; that 
France, having obtained her freedom, and constituted 
herself into a Republic, after having made known to 
mankind their rights, after having achieved the most 
glorious victories over her enemies, was not satisfied 
with success, by which she alone would profit, but 
declared to all nations that she was ready to give her 
powerful assistance to those that might desire to follow 
her example ; that the French nation, knowing their sen- 
timents, and indignant at seeing them the victims of 
the tyrants by whom they had been so long oppressed, 
could and would avenge their wrongs. " Now is the 
time," continues the address, " to cease being slaves of a 
government to which you were shamefully sold, and no 
longer to be led on, like a herd of cattle, by men who, 
with one word, can strip you of what you hold most 
dear — liberty and property." 

Recapitulating a long catalogue of grievances to 



Digitized by 



Google 



100 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

which their brothers had been subjected, they say: 
"You quiver, no doubt, with indignation. Tou feel 
in your hearts the desire of deserving the honorable 
appellation of freemen; but the fear of not having 
assistance, and of failing in your attempt, deadens your 
zeal. Dismiss your apprehensions; and know ye that 
your brethren, the French, who have attacked with 
success the Spanish Government in Europe, will in a 
short time present themselves on your coast with naval 
forces; that the republicans of the western portion of 
the United States are ready to come down the Ohio 
and Mississippi, in company with a considerable num- 
ber of French republicans, and to rush to your assist- 
ance, under the banners of France and Liberty, and 
that you have every assurance of success. Therefore, 
inhabitants of Louisiana, show who you are; prove 
that you have not been stupefied by despotism, and 
that you have retained in your breasts French valor 
and intrepidity. Demonstrate that you are worthy of 
being free and independent, because we do not solicit 
you to unite yourselves with us, but to seek your own 
freedom. "When you shall have the sole control of your 
own actions, you will be able to adopt a republican con- 
stitution, and, being assisted by France, as long as your 
weakness will not permit you to protect or defend your- 
selves, it will be in your power to unite voluntarily with 
her and your neighbors, the United States, forming with 
these two Republics an alliance which will be the liberal 
basfs on which, henceforth, shall stand our mutual politi- 
cal and commercial interests. Tour country will derive 
the greatest advantages from so auspicious a revolution ; 



Digitized by 



Google 



G. ROGERS CLARK. 101 

and the glory with which you will cover yourselves, will 
equal the prosperity which you will secure for the coun- 
try and for posterity. Away with pusillanimity ; Ca ira 1 
ca ira! audaces fortuna juvat." * 

Genet also dispatched Lachaise and Michaux to Ken- 
tucky, to organize a force which was to descend the 
Mississippi to New Orleans, and act in concert with the 
French inhabitants. The time of their arrival in the 
country was peculiarly propitious. They found the peo- 
ple divided in political sentiment, but all insisting on free 
navigation. Jacobin clubs were organized, and inflam- 
matory appeals were issued, setting forth the grievous 
burthens under which they continued to labor. Too 
long, they asserted, had the citizens of the West placed 
implicit dependence on the impartiality and virtue of 
the General Government. Patient under the ungener- 
ous local policy by which that government had been 
uniformly actuated; patient under the delays which it 
had feigned, and the obstacles which it had opposed to 
the procurement of their rights; patient under the for- 
ever-to-be-detested attempt to barter away that right; 
they had hitherto submitted to the oppressive exactions 
of the jealous Spaniards, and had not even raised their 
faltering voices to say to the arbiters of their fate : " You 
have done amiss." " Awake," they exclaimed, " from 
your lethargy! think and act for yourselves. Let the 
example of France and her glorious success animate 
you in the pursuit of those advantages which nature 
has bestowed upon your country." 

General George Rogers Clark, a man of distinguished 
military merit, then a prominent citizen of Kentucky, 



Digitized by 



Google 



102 THE BLENNERUASSETT PAPERS. 

had been commissioned, by Genet, a Major- General in 
the French Revolutionary Legions on the Mississippi, 
with power to name and commission other officers, and 
to raise a military force for the reduction of the Spanish 
posts on that river ; to open its trade, and give Freedom 
to its inhabitants. 

All persons serving the expedition were to receive one 
thousand acres of land ; those engaging for one year, two 
thousand ; and an enlistment of two years, or during the 
war with France, three thousand acres. Officers were 
to receive in proportion to other French troops ; lawful 
plunder was to be equally divided according to the cus- 
toms of war, and every precaution taken to secure the 
safe return of those who might wish to quit the service. 
France was to supply the munitions of war, and commis- 
sions to grade according to the number that each could 
bring into the service. 

Genet had also sent his emissaries to other States in 
the South and West, who had been successful in stimu- 
lating a spirit of adventure among many of the inhabi- 
tants. In Tennessee, and on the frontiers of Georgia, it 
was reported that large forces were being assembled, 
who, it was expected, would act in concert with the 
Creek warriors, in a descent upon the Spanish dominions. 

Thus, through the energy of the French plenipoten- 
tiary, had a formidable expedition been set on foot for 
the subjugation of Louisiana, with the declared purpose 
of revolutionizing her institutions, and rendering her an 
independent Republic, with Genet as its recognized head. 

Of this new enterprise against the interests of Spain, 
Wilkinson and his adherents were silent, but not careless, 



Digitized by 



Google 



WASHINGTON EMBARRASSED. 103 

observers. Although then holding the commission of a 
lieutenant-colonel in the army of the United States, and, 
as was surmised, a secret pensioner of his Catholic 
Majesty, he neither openly encouraged nor publicly con- 
demned the contemplated expedition. The terms of the 
address, the grievances enumerated, and the measures 
of relief proposed, were almost in the exact language 
with which it had been his custom to inflame the peo- 
ple, except the new idea of wresting from Spain her 
possessions in Louisiana. 

In the mean time, rumors of the projected design hav- 
ing reached the ears of the President, General Washing- 
ton issued his instructions to Generals Wayne and St. 
Clair, as also the Governor Shelby, of Kentucky, com- 
manding them immediately to suppress any movement 
having for its aim any attack against the Spanish domin- 
ions. The reply of the latter caused the executive and 
his cabinet much concern. They feared that Shelby 
himself had either given in his adhesion to the cause, or 
was privately disposed to countenance his execution. 

The great sympathy which was manifested for the 
friends of liberty in France — a deep sense of gratitude for 
her generous aid in the American Revolution, together 
with a lawless spirit of adventure in many of the more 
restless and discontented leaders of the country, rendered 
the extent of Genet's influence among the people a matter 
of painful uncertainty to the President. He felt his situa- 
tion to be one of embarrassment. While he conceived 
it to be the true policy of the Government to observe a 
strict neutrality between the contending powers of Europe, 
there was, nevertheless, a large party, with powerful 



Digitized by 



Google 



104 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

leaders at their head, who differed from him in opinion, 
and who openly declared their sympathy for the masses 
contending against despotism in the old world. Again, 
it was a fact, that having successfully thrown off the 
authority of Great Britain, many were impatient of 
restraint, and yielded, at most, a reluctant ohedience to 
the power of the new Government. Yet, while these 
symptoms of revolt were manifesting themselves in 
several parts of the country, and seemed to threaten 
the stability and security of the Union, they stimulated 
Washington to stricter vigilance and more decisive 
action. He feared the influence of Genet's rash and 
revolutionary design, condemned his interference with 
the peaceful relations of the United States, and demanded 
his recall. Anxious to harmonize the interests of every 
section of the confederacy, he considered that amicable 
relations with European powers were indispensable to 
the prosperity, if not to the existence, of the Union itself. 
General Wayne was therefore ordered to repair immedi- 
ately to Massac, on the Ohio, to construct a military fort 
and intercept any descending force hostile to Louisiana. 

These and other effective measures on the part of the 
executive, together with the condemnation and recall of 
the French minister, served to disband the enterprise, 
and, for a time, restore tranquillity to the country. Thus 
were the citizens of the West, for a period of several 
years, kept in constant agitation by the intrigues of 
foreign powers, aided by the disaffection of a few ambi- 
tious spirits, who, for personal aggrandizement, were 
willing to sacrifice their own integrity, and their coun- 
try's welfare. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 




Digitized by 



Google 



CLOUDS GATHERING. 105 



Digitized by 



Google 




Digitized by 



Google 



CLOUDS GATHJBBTNG. 105 



CHAPTER VI. 

Eight years had already elapsed since Blennerhassett 
bad made the island his residence. The flowers and 
shrubbery planted by his hands had now sprung up in 
luxuriant perfection, and regaled the senses with their 
fragrance. The products of his husbandry secured at 
least a comfortable supply of all the necessaries of life, 
and more than this would have been superfluous. The 
independence of his situation enabled him to procure any 
or all of the delicacies which a more epicurean taste 
might have desired ; but these had been resigned, with 
the pomp and glitter of his former station. Around him 
he viewed a contented family, rejoicing in the buoyancy 
of health, and with the sprightliness of youthful vivacity. 
The returning seasons brought with them returning 
pleasures. New scenes of interest, new engagements, 
and wider fields of usefulness, daily presented themselves 
to his awakening impulses ; but, in the midst of all this 
peace and cheerfulness — this " constant sunshine of the 
soul " — a dark and portentous cloud gathered in the hori- 
zon of his effulgent future, destined soon to burst with 
sad fatality upon the unsuspecting circle of his house- 
hold. 

In the spring of 1805, Aaron Burr, late Vice-President 
of the United States, after the closing of the session of 



Digitized by 



Google 



106 THE BLEXNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Congress, set out on a journey through the Western 
States. The object of this tour, although never definitively 
declared, was doubtless three-fold : 

First. To ascertain the sentiments of the people of 
the West upon the subject of a separation from the At- 
lantic States. 

Secondly. To enlist recruits, and make arrangements 
for a private expedition against Mexico and the Spanish 
provinces, in the event of a war between the United 
States and Spain, which at that time seemed inevitable. 

Thirdly. In the event of a failure of both of these 
measures, to purchase a tract of land of Baron Bastrop, 
lying in the Territory of Louisiana, on the Washita river. 
Upon this, he contemplated the establishment of a colony 
of intelligent and wealthy individuals, where he might 
rear around him a society remarkable for its refinement 
in civil and social life. That each of these stupendous 
enterprises was determined on, is clearly inferable from 
the evidence afterward adduced against him. 

With a mind tortured by remorse for the unfortunate 
duel with Hamilton, sickened by disappointment in polit- 
ical preferment, disgusted with the more pacific measures 
of Jefferson, he could only direct his thoughts in scenes 
of outward conflict, and bury the disquietudes which 
were tearing his soul, by plunging into deeds of wonder- 
ful magnitude. 

Knowing full well the advantages which wealth and 
influence would add to either undertaking, he sought first 
to secure the co-operation of the most conspicuous char- 
acters of the country. Blennerhassett was a shining 
treasure, too valuable to remain unnoticed — a gentleman 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE BMMETTS. 107 

of opulence and ease, possessing a mind of superior scien- 
tific acquirements ; and who, from the discontents of his 
own country, it would readily be presumed, was- well 
acquainted with military tactics ; such a personage would 
indeed prove a powerful auxiliary in any measure he had 
proposed to himself. Burr, accordingly, landed at the 
island, and, in company with a Mr. Shaw, strolled over 
this far-famed paradise. The family were absent from 
home on a visit to the East. Having partaken of the 
hospitality of those left in charge, Burr re-embarked on 
board of his boat, and proceeded down the river to view 
the country and hold conferences with the inhabitants at 
various points. 

General Wilkinson, who commanded the western forces, 
was, at that time, temporarily at Fort Massac, near 
the mouth of the Ohio. As a previous correspondence 
had been held between them, which had brought them 
into intimate relations, Burr wished to ascertain with 
what confidence he could rely on the aid of that officer 
and his men, in the event of an expedition to Mexico. 
The result of that interview has never been definitely 
ascertained ; but it was strongly suspected, however, that 
Wilkinson assured him of his support. Here, the Ex- 
Vice-President was furnished by the General with an 
elegant barge, sails, colors, and ten oars, with a sergeant 
and ten able hands to prosecute his journey. 

About this time, Blennerhassett, having received intel- 
ligence of the arrival in New York of his classmate and 
friend, the celebrated Thomas Addis Emmett,* who had 

* There were three Emmetts, sons of Dr. Emmett, who had been State- 
physician at Dublin, and was an extreme liberal in his political opinions. 



Digitized by 



Google 



108 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

been compelled to flee hiB country by reaeon of serious po- 
litical difficulties, hastened to meet him. The feelings of 
the exiles, as they again clasped hands on the western bor- 
ders of the Atlantic, can only be fully appreciated by those 
who have experienced similar vicissitudes. Here he found 
one with whom he could freely sympathize, and who, in 
return, could as freely sympathize with him. Often, in 
early life, had they sported together over the same green 
meadows, and participated in the same amusements. And 
when, at a more advanced age, they had been honorable 
competitors for academic honors, no selfish ambition had 
served to loose the bonds which early childhood welded, 
although the contest was never so spirited, or the prize 
was never so dazzling. Still later in life, they had deplored 
together the fate of their country ; had witnessed her deep 
degradation, and sighed over the hopeless prospects which 
were shadowed in the distant future. After several 
weeks spent with his friend, during which time he re- 
newed his former acquaintance in the city, he returned to 
his family on the island. 

But a short time previous, a young man by the name 
of Harte, the son of an acquaintance in Ireland, having 



Temple, the eldest, who distinguished himself in the university and at the 
bar, died at the age of thirty. Thomas Addis, born in 1764, also became 
a barrister, got involved in the revolt of 1798, was allowed to expatriate 
himself, arrived at New York in 1804, where he was at once admitted to 
practice (by special dispensation, although opposed, Phillips says, by 
Chancellor Kent), became attorney-general of New York in 1812, and died 
in 1827, greatly respected and lamented. Robert, who was only twenty- 
three years old, joined in the insurrection of 1808; was tried, condemned 
and executed — lamented even by multitudes who disliked his politics. 
Robert Emmett's defense, as it is called, though actually spoken after his 
condemnation, when called on to receive judgment, is one of the most 
touching specimens of eloquence ever uttered. — Mackenzie. 



Digitized by 



Google 



IMPOSED UPON. 109 

applied to Blennerhassett for pecuniary aid, presented a 
letter of introduction, purporting to have been written 
by bis father. His address was that of a gentleman, and 
the respectability of his family connection precluded any 
doubt as to the truthfulness of his representations. Pre- 
vious to his departure from England, he said, he had 
taken the precaution to obtain drafts in London, on a 
house in Boston, for the sum of one thousand pounds ; 
that on his arrival in the United States he found the 
house to be fictitious ; that as this was his sole reliance 
he had been left entirely destitute of funds. He thought 
that he should not be chargeable with carelessness, as he 
had previously advised with Sir Owen Hunt, who had 
assured him that the gentleman with whom he dealt was 
a man of strict integrity. The story was a plausible one, 
and Blennerhassett, desirous of performing an act of 
charity toward the young gentleman, furnished him with 
letters of credit and introduction to many of his influ- 
ential acquaintances, among which was one to Colonel 
Burr, and another to the Hon. James Brown, a brother- 
in-law of the colonel. From the various sources to 
whom he had been accredited, Harte obtained large sums 
of money, and fled to Canada. It subsequently appeared 
that he had forged the letter of introduction to Blenner- 
hassett, and, at the tifrie of his appearance at the island, 
was an exile from his father's house for similar practices 
in England. On being advised of the facts by Mr. Brown, 
Blennerhassett addressed him the following reply : 



Digitized by 



Google 



110 the blennerha8sett papers. 

Wood Court-Housb, Va., 

December 9th, 1805. 
Jambs Brown, Esq., 

Dear Sir : — On my arrival home yesterday evening, I 
received your two letters of the 13th and 18th August 
last, which have laid at the office here, I know not how 
long. By them I fear you have no effects of Harte's in 
your possession, as you do not mention the horses I un- 
derstood, by Mr. Shaw, he left with you, which, with the 
presumption I had requested you to indorse his drafts to 
an amount not exceeding a thousand or twelve hundred 
dollars, induced me, as I wrote you November 7th, from 
New York, to risk the return of one of the drafts you 
indorsed for one thousand dollars. But your letters re- 
ceived here, have caused me the utmost concern, lest I 
should not be in time by to-morrow's post to advise Mr. 
Morton, as Mr. Clay has suggested, to arrest the draft be- 
fore its return upon you, though I am persuaded my 
protegS has altered my figures, which, indeed, would make 
no difference to your disadvantage, if he had done so to 
the last dollar I am worth. Be the effect, therefore, what 
it may upon my property, your time and ingenuity might 
have been better spent than in justifying the steps you 
had taken to accommodate Mr. Harte upon my recom- 
mendation. 

I will only add, I shall. take my chance of whatever in- 
demnity you can procure for me, by an attachment of any 
property within your reach. That Harte still is the son 
of the man I expected, I have a letter from his father 
acknowledging, but declaratory of his having fully dis- 



Digitized by 



Google 



DESPONDENT. Ill 

carded him, long ago, and affording me no prospect of 
retribution. 

I should hope the pleasing intelligence I have fre- 
quently had of Mr. John Clay's present good circum- 
stances, may permit me to anticipate he will settle with 
me for the sale he made of a negro woman of mine, in 
Kentucky, through you. 

The hints you have given of the predilection you en- 
tertain for your last chosen meridian, have kindled in 
our minds a fire of enthusiastic curiosity, which our pres- 
ent embarrassments will constantly fan, until your details 
shall extinguish it with a faithful muster of the fogs and 
musquitoes of the Mississippi. 

But in sober sadness, I wish to learn with what capital, 
or in what speculation or profession, I could enjoy your 
neighborhood, when I can bid adieu to the spot on 
which I have so long hoped I should rest my bones for- 
ever. I am inclined to hope my highly-valued friend, 
Woodbridge,* would accompany me, if he could see any 
mercantile prospects more inviting than this country 
affords. I have no doubt your friendship will find a mo- 
ment of repose in your present cares of fame and fortune, 
in which I highly rejoice, to gratify mv expectation in 
this respect. 

Since I find you give us such just credit for the senti- 
ments with which Mrs. Brown and yourself have inspired 
us, I will offer no repetition of them — only a more possi- 
ble prospect of personally testifying them, you may be 
sure, makes them more vivid, even in the abandonment 

* The mercantile partner of Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



112 THE BLBNWERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

of books and science, to' which, I fear, the state of my 
affairs will henceforth, I know not how long, condemn me. 
Farewell ! dear Brown, and believe me always to be 
Your attached Mend, 

H. Blbnnerhassstt. 

On the 15th of December, 1805, he dispatched the fol- 
lowing letter to General Devereux : * 

My dear Devereux: 

Sensible for your kind concern for us, I use the first 
opportunity since our return home to acquaint you, that 
we effected our journey with safety, and had the blessing 
to find our dear boy recovered, so that nothing threatens 
henceforward to interfere with our enjoyment of your 
company when we can obtain it, but unavoidable atten- 
tion to some embarrassments my circumstances have 
lately undergone ; the effect of which more and more dis- 
poses me to endeavor to change my situation, by selling 
or letting this place to effect a removal to another, where 
I could embark in mercantile pursuits, or the resumption 
of my old profession. 

Now, not wishing to advertise the place, I know no 

* General Devereux was a descendant of one of the most ancient and 
noted families of Ireland. One of his ancestry drew his sword upon 
Queen Elizabeth, when she slapped him in the face for his impertinence, 
and insisted that if she were a man he would dispatch her for the indig- 
nity. He finally became reconciled, but was subsequently beheaded for 
treason. The General was one of the leaders of the United Irishmen in 
the Rebellion of '96 and 1803, and subsequently made his escape to the 
United States. He afterward joined Bolivar in the Columbian Revolution, 
where he greatly distinguished himself by his bravery and military skill. 
On the emancipation of the South American Republics, he was made Min- 
ister to Russia, and, I believe, afterward to the United States. 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 




Digitized by 



Google 



FOR SALE. US 

better means of disposing of it than through the industry 
of your friendship, I, therefore, request your attention 
to my views, and the following description of my situa- 
tion, to enable you to procure such a purchaser or tenant 
as would suit me, and effect our common happiness by a 
residence in the same place. Respecting the farm, which, 
through want of skill and capital, I am unable to make 
the best advantage of, you may, with the utmost truth 
and honor, represent it as containing about two hundred 
acres of the richest land in the world, which, rented out 
to the poorest of tenants, can, at any time, command a 
rent of five dollars per acre, payable in corn at the market 
price in this country ; but would prove more lucrative in 
the hands of a capitalist, with forty or fifty negroes, who 
would engage in raising hemp or tobacco. These pro- 
ducts better afford a rent of twenty-five huudred dollars 
a year than one thousand in the other way. Such a rent 
I should expect of such a tenant as I could let the whole to, 
namely, a gentleman of fortune, disposed to reside in this 
country, who would find an elegant seat with (a desirable) 
convenient improvements ; no want of which would dis- 
turb his care or withdraw his attention for the ease and 
profit with which he might reside here, whence he might 
send his tobacco, cordage, cotton or flour, to New Orleans, 
at the rate of one dollar and a quarter per barrel, where 
the market will always afford him a medium price, twelve 
or fifteen per cent, higher than the farmer dependent on 
the Atlantic towns can have, without taking into consid- 
eration the excess of western produce. 
If a purchase should be preferred, I could not in justice 

to my family sell at less than twenty-five years' credit, on 
8 



Digitized by 



Google 



114 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the above twenty-five hundred dollars, which would be 
then sinking a serious part of the money I have expended 
on this place, which may be easily conceived when it is 
understood the house and offices I occupy, stand me in 
upward of thirty thousand dollars, not to mention gardens 
and shrubbery, in the English style — hedges, post-fences, 
and complete farm-yards, containing barns, stables, over- 
seers' and negroes' houses, etc., etc. ; though, for the sake 
of removing from a place which does not now so well 
suit myself, I would sacrifice somewhat of the money I 
have expended. 

Any one disposed to treat for the place will be apprised 
beforehand, by all who have seen it, from the most unob- 
serving passenger, to Mr. Harris, of its good order, 
richness and elegant situation, opposite the handsome 
settlement of Belpr6, fourteen miles below Marietta, and 
within view of Wood Court-House in Virginia, in the 
midst of a country, where "the lumber and provision trade, 
with ship-building, has commenced, and will be established 
above and below it, from Pittsburgh to the falls of the 
Ohio. 

I would only direct a purchaser's attention to this 
sketch, which he can easily verify, and the rent required 
for such an establishment can not be considered high, 
when compared with what is so unaccountably obtained 
for a single house in Baltimore. If the style and extent 
of the house should be demanded, it may be stated as 
highly and completely finished, containing, with the 
wings connected to it by circular corridors, thirty-six 
windows, glazed with lights 12 by 18 inches. 

You will not forget to have General Macon, who lives 



Digitized by 



Google 



RESPONSIBILITIES. 116 

on an island near Georgetown, and I hear, like myself, 
prefers an insular situation, informed how commodiously 
he might accommodate his family, if I have truly heard, 
he desires to move to the western country, in which case 
I could take landed property of his below, at a valuation, 
in exchange, if he would give me my price. 

H. Blbnnerhassett. 

Among other letters which he mentions as having ac- 
cumulated during his absence at the East, was his first 
communication from Colonel Burr, regretting that the 
absence of Blennerhassett from home had deprived him 
of the pleasure of improving his personal acquaintance, 
when visiting his island residence. In an insinuating but 
guarded manner, he alluded to the talents of Blenner- 
hassett, as deserving of a higher sphere than that in 
which they were employed. He was surrounded, to be 
sure, with all the comforts of life, but those very comforts 
only served to effeminate the mind, for want of active 
engagements. His pleasures were merely passive, and 
were better suited to the negative enjoyment of the rude 
and unconscious herd, than to those delightful sensations 
experienced by the intelligent mind when in the active 
exercise of all its ennobling powers. There were other 
considerations, too, which should induce him to feel that 
physical effort was necessary. He was surrounded by a 
growing family, who demanded of him superior advan- 
tages over those to be obtained in his new and unpolished 
neighborhood. His fortune was gradually diminishing, 
while no effort was made to add to his present estate. 
The inevitable consequence therefore must be the impov- 



Digitized by 



Google 



116 THE BLENX3PHASSETT PAPERS. 

erishment of his children by his listless attention to all 
financial affairs. Suggesting several plans by which 
Blennerhassett might enhance his fortune, and render 
himself a more important individual in society, he left 
him to meditate on the truthfulness of the picture so 
dexterously set before him. 

Such apparently disinterested counsel, from one whose 
judgment and experience he respected, caused Blenner- 
hassett to turn his attention, more particularly than he 
had hitherto done, toward himself and his own affairs. 
The result was all that Burr could have desired. It 
called forth the suggestions with reference to his removal, 
in his letter to Brown, and gave rise to the following cor- 
respondence : 

- December 21tf, 1805. 
Aaron Burr, Esq., 

Sir : — The receipt of your letter, by post, has been de- 
layed until my return home from Baltimore. While it 
enables me to return my acknowledgments for the honor 
of your kind remembrance, it affords the opportunity of 
expressing my extreme regret that we were absent at the 
time of your intended visit. This disappointment can 
not be removed but by another of like condescension, 
which may, in some measure, compensate us for the past. 

The mention, sir, you have made of the attention you 
were pleased to give to young Mr. Harte, on my recom- 
mendation, would alone make it my duty to apologize for 
having obtruded upon your notice a man whose acts, as I 
have heard since he left this, have qualified him for no 
better situation than that of a jail. But my belief that 
he was really the son of the gentleman in Europe I took 



Digitized by 



Google 



CALCULATIONS. 117 

him for, which turns out to be correct, though he is dis- 
carded by his father, and the confidence and credit ob- 
tained from me, through a letter from his father, which I 
supposed authentic, by which I have lost four thousand 
dollars: these circumstances, sir, your liberality will 
regard as some ground of excuse for the liberty I had 
taken with you. I am now about to venture another, on 
my own account, to which I presume to request an 
answer at your first convenient leisure. 

Estimating the value of your reflections on the view 
you have taken of the western country, and particularly 
of Louisiana, I have thought it of great importance to 
obtain your sentiments to confirm or correct the irresist- 
ible attraction my friend, Mr. James Brown, assures me I 
should follow, to settle in his vicinity, if I would but 
visit that country. His words are, my " removal would 
be inevitable " — an expression, truly, strong enough, when 
viewed through my regard for his friendship, and my 
confidence in his judgment, to endanger my repose on 
this island, where for eight years I have dreamed and 
hoped I should rest my bones forever. 

But the interests of a growing family, I feel, will sum- 
mon me again into active life, to the resumption of my 
former profession of the bar, mercantile or other enter- 
prise, if I should find an opportunity of selling or letting 
my establishment here to a gentleman who could, with- 
out a sacrifice, give me a price by which I should not lose 
too much of the money it stands me in, say $50,000 ; or 
afford me a rent of $2,500, which, by proper manage- 
ment, it might be made to realize without paying, at the 
highest rate, half the yearly value of the extensive and 



Digitized by 



Google 



118 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

numerous conveniences on the place, with a detail of 
which I forbear to trouble you, observing, merely, that 
there is now in good order, say two hundred acres, which, 
with twenty well-managed hands, employed in raising 
hemp, would afford a handsome profit. In either way, 
if I could sell or leave the place, I would move forward 
with a firmer confidence in any undertaking which your 
sagacity might open to profit and fame. 

Having thus advised you of my desire and motives to 
pursue a change of life, to engage in any thing which 
may suit my circumstances, I hope, sir, you will not 
regard it indelicate in me to observe to you how highly I 
should be honored in being associated with you, in any 
contemplated enterprise you would permit me to partici- 
pate in. The amount of means I could at first come 
forward with would be small. You might command my 
services as a lawyer, or in any other way you should sug- 
gest as being most useful. I could, I have no doubt, unite 
the talents and energy of two of my particular friends, 
who would share in any fortune which might follow 
you. The gentlemen alluded to are Mr. Dudley Wood- 
bridge, junior, of Marietta, and Mr. Devereux, of Balti- 
more, a cidevant-general in the Irish rebel army, neither 
of whom, it is proper to remark, could be prevailed upon 
to enlist in the undertaking. 

Not presuming to know or guess at the intercourse, if 
any, subsisting between you and the present Government, 
but viewing the probability of a rupture with Spain, the 
claim for action the country will make upon your talents, 
in the event of an engagement against, or subjugation 
of, any of the Spanish Territories, I am disposed in the 



Digitized by 



Google 



LETTER FROM BURR. 119 

confidential spirit of this letter to offer you my friends, 
and my own services to co-operate in any contemplated 
measures in which you may embark. 

In making this proposition, I hope, sir, you will feel 
that it flows in a conviction of your judgment and talents, 
from a quarter that ever did and always will prefer to 
seek fortune and fame through the call, rather than the 
coercion, of any government. 

A further development of my views would at present 
aggravate the trespass on your time by this letter, too 
much prolonged, and would besides, I hope, be a guaran- 
tee of the perfect confidence you may repose in my 
integrity in any communication you may be pleased to 
honor me with. 

I shall await with much anxiety the receipt of your 
reply, and with warm interest in your success and pros- 
perity, 

I remain, dear sir, your obliged and obedient servant, 

H. Blennerhasbett. 



Burr to BlennerhassetL 

Washington City, April lbth, 1806. 
Dear Sir : — Your very interesting letter of the 21st of 
December, arrived here just after I had passed through 
this city on my way to South Carolina, and was not 
* received until about two months after its date : the sub- 
ject of it has since that time been daily in my mind. 
Independently of considerations personal to myself, I 
learn with the utmost pleasure that you are to be restored 
to the social and the active world. Your talents and 



Digitized by 



Google 



120 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

acquirements seem to have destined you for Something 
more than vegetable life, and since the first hour of our 
acquaintance, I have considered your seclusion as a fraud 
on society. 

The confidence you have been pleased to place in me is 
extremely flattering, and it would seem that there has 
been, without explanation, a sort of consent between our 
minds. In a matter of so much moment, and on which I 
am so imperfectly informed, it would be hazarding too 
much to offer advice ; yet it is due to the frankness of 
your letter, to acknowledge that I had projected, and still 
meditate, a speculation, precisely of the character you 
have described. It would have been submitted to your 
consideration in October last, if I had then the good for- 
tune to find you at home. The business, however, 
depends, in some degree, on contingencies, not within 
my control, and will not be commenced before December 
or January, if ever. From this circumstance, and as the 
matter, in its present state, can not be satisfactorily ex- 
plained by letter, the communication will be deferred 
until a personal interview can be had. With this view I 
pray to be informed of your intended movements the 
ensuing season, and in case you should visit Orleans, at 
what time, and at what port you may be expected on the 
Atlantic coast. But I must insist that these intimations 
be not permitted to interrupt the prosecution of any 
plans which you have formed for yourself — no occupation 
which shall not take you off the continent can interfere 
with that which I may propose. You would certainly 
be pleased, probably charmed, with the manners and the 
society of Orleans. As a place of business, too, it offers 



Digitized by 



Google 



ANOTHER LKTTER. 121 

great advantages; most of those who style themselves 
lawyers, are become visionary speculators, or political 
fanatics. Mr. Brown, by avoiding these follies, has in- 
spired confidence, and is growing rich. The country is 
deficient in the means of education, and the climate is 
thought, I believe with reason, unfriendly to children. 

We shall have no war unless we should be actually in- 
vaded. Some estimate of the views and temper of our 
Government may be formed from the proceedings of the 
House of Representatives, with closed doors. A copy of 
that part of their journal is sent for your amusement. 

Accept, dear sir, assurances of the great consideration 
and respect with which I am, 

Yours obediently, A. Burr. 

H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 



Burr to Blennerhassett. 

Baltimore, May 17th, 1806. 
Dear Sir : — About the 15th of April, I wrote you from 
"Washington, in answer to your letter of December, 
apologizing, at the same time, for the lapse of so great 
a period between the date of your letter and that 
of my reply. For God's sake, therefore, do n't retaliate 
on me in this particular. My movements for the sum- 
mer, as far as can now be ascertained, will be to return to 
Philadelphia to-morrow, to pass one month (something 
less) in that vicinity ; thence to Bedford, in the mount- 
ains of Pennsylvania, where I may remain several weeks, 
taking excursions to Pittsburgh, Union Town, etc. The 
mountain part of my project is for the health of my 



Digitized by 



Google 



122 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

daughter * who has just come on from South Carolina, to 

pass the season with me. I would take her on to your 

house, if it were not for the extreme inconvenience of 

re-ascending, especially with the incumbrance of a three- 

yeaf-old child. With entire respect, 

Your friend and obedient servant, 

A. Burr. 

Address me at Washington city. If the "city" be 
omitted, your letter may go to forty Washingtons with- 
out meeting that which is intended. In case of a direct 
opportunity to Philadelphia, you may address me there, 
to be left in the "Post-office" The former, however, is 
the safer mode. A. Burr. 

H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 



Burr to Blennerhassett 

Philadelphia, July 24th, 1806. 
Dear Sir : — Owing to an absence of unexpected dura- 
tion from this city, your letter of the 23d of May was not 
received until a few days ago. My daughter has gone 
on to Bedford. My engagements in this city not permit- 
ting me to attend her, I shall follow in a few days, and 
be at your house before the 20th of August. Let me 
find you at home, or not far off. I propose to pass two 
or three days with you. My daughter was charmed with 
your hospitable and friendly overture, and wished much 
to avail herself of it. This, however, will not be in her 

• Mrs. Alston, wife of Col. Jos. Alston, Governor of South Carolina. 



Digitized by 



Google 



burr's letter. 128 

power till October, the period of my return from Ken- 
tucky, when it is probable she may. 

I omit, till a personal interview, a further answer to 
your obliging letter. 

Two young gentlemen of respectable connections and 
character, are on their way down the river, Mr. P. 
Swartwout,* of New York, and Mr. S. Ogden, of New 
Jersey. I have desired that they would stop at your 
door, hand you this, and wait long enough to answer any 
inquiries you might please to make about Cis-Montane 
men or things. I pray that they may experience your 
wonted courtesy 

Very respectfully, your friend and faithful servant, 

A. Burr. 



Burr to Blennerhassett. 

Bedford, August 15th y 1806. 

You perceive, my dear sir, that I have made a little 
progress. I shall leave this to-morrow, but a detention 
of two or three days at Pittsburgh will not allow me the 
hope of seeing you at Belpr£ before the 23d or 24th. 

I leave here my daughter and her son, who have both 
greatly profited by the use of the waters, or, what is per- 
haps more probable, by the mountain air. She desired 
much to accompany me to your house, but we have com- 
promised by my consenting that she shall meet me at 
Belpr6 on the 1st of October. 

With great respect, yours, A. Burr. 

H. Blennerhassett. 

• Samuel Swartwout, afterward collector of New York. 



Digitized by 



Google 



124 THE BLENNERIIASSETT PAPKRS. 

Some time in the month of August, 1806, Col. Burr, 
in company with Col. De Pestre* and Dudley Wood- 
ridge, Junior, arrived at the island. At this time, as we 
are informed, Burr, with considerable reserve, partially 
revealed the objects and plan of the contemplated enter- 
prise. Prom information received from reliable sources, 
he was induced to believe that the sentiments of a re- 
spectable majority of the people of Orleans and Missis- 
sippi Territories were disaffected to the Government; 
that such was the dissatisfaction of the people, unless 
early measures were adopted to prevent it, they would 
fling themselves into the arms of any foreign power 
which should pledge itself to protect them. In such an 
event, the "Western States would be placed In a dilemma, 
out of which they could only escape by an eastern or 
western ascendancy of interests ; that after an examina- 
tion of the subject, so clearly satisfied would they become 
that their connection with the Atlantic States was inimi- 
cal to western interests, they would no longer consent to 
the alliance, but would sever themselves from the Union. 
So far as he was personally concerned, he had no further 
interest in the event than of a speculative character. The 
people, however, should be advised, lest they should be 
unexpectedly involved in a crisis for which they were 
unprepared. 

The separation of the Western from the Atlantic 
States, he assured them, was no new project. It was a 
subject of daily discussion at the seat of Government, 

* Burr's confidential agent or minister, who had been sent on a mission 
to Europe, and was then in negotiation with the representative of the 
Spanish Court. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONSULTATION. 125 

and by some of the heads of the department; that it 
was seriously apprehended the maladministration of 
the Government might precipitate the event much sooner 
than it was desired or expected. So thoroughly disgusted 
were the people of New Orleans with the conduct of the 
administration, both with reference to themselves, and as 
to Spanish American affairs, that he expected to hear of 
their beginning a revolt by seizing on the bank and cus- 
tom-house and appropriating to themselves the revenues 
and forces of the Territory. Even then, he declared, 
there was a society of young men in New Orleans, 
denominated "The Mexican Society," who had seized 
and shipped a number of cannons belonging to the 
French, for a Mexican invasion, and that while there, 
but a short time previous, he himself had been solicited 
to become their leader. 

With the questions of a war with Spain, and the 
separation of the Western from the Atlantic States, 
Burr declared he had no concern; but, in any event, 
neither would interrupt his enterprise; nor would they 
be adverse to his own views, let them precede or follow 
his own undertaking. 

He assured Blennerhassett that he was advised as to 
the views of the Administration ; that the expulsion of 
the Spaniards from the American Territory then vio- 
lated by them, or even an invasion of Mexico, would be 
pleasing to Mr. Jefferson, if either could be effected with- 
out a declaration of war against Spain, which was now 
prevented by parsimony on the one hand, and dread of 
France on the other. 

As this interview and its results, somewhat figura- 



Digitized by 



Google 



126 THE BLENNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

tively drawn by Mr. "Wirt, on the trial at Richmond, 
have invested the name of Blennerhassett with greater 
interest than, perhaps, it would have otherwise attained, 
it is here inserted: 

"A shrubbery, which Shenstone might have envied, 
blooms around him; music that might have charmed 
Calypso and her nymphs, is his; an extensive library 
spreads its treasures before him ; a philosophical appara- 
tus offers to him all the mysteries and secrets of nature ; 
peace, tranquillity and innocence shed their mingled de- 
lights around him ; and, to crown the enchantment of 
the scene, a wife who is said to be lovely, even beyond 
her sex, and graced with every accomplishment that can 
render it irresistible, has blessed him with her love, and 
made him the father of her children. The evidence would 
convince you, that this is only a faint picture of real life. 
In the midst of all this peace, this innocence, this tran- 
quillity, this feast of mind, this pure banquet of the 
heart, the destroyer comes : he comes to turn his paradise 
into a hell ; yet the flowers do not wither at his approach, 
and no monitory shuddering, through the bosom of their 
unfortunate possessor, warns him of the ruin that is com- 
ing upon him. A stranger presents himself. Introduced 
to their civilities by the high rank he had lately held in 
his country, he soon finds way to. their hearts by the dig- 
nity and elegance of his demeanor, the light and beauty 
of his conversation, and the seductive and fascinating 
power of his address. The conquest was not a difficult 
one. Innocence is ever simple and credulous ; conscious 
of no designs itself, it expects none in others ; every door 
and portal of the heart are thrown open, and all who 



Digitized by 



Google 



RECRUITING. 127 

choose it, enter. Such was the state of Eden when the 
serpent entered its bowers. The prisoner " (Burr), " in a 
more engaging form, winding himself into the open and 
unpractised heart of Blennerhassett, found but little diffi- 
culty in changing the native character of that heart, and 
the objects of its affections. By degrees, he infuses into 
it the poison of his own ambition ; he breathes into it 
the fire of his own courage ; a daring and desperate thirst 
for glory ; an ardor panting for all the storms and bustle 
and hurricane of life. In a short time, the whole man is 
changed ; and every object of his former delights relin- 
quished. No more he enjoys the tranquil scene ; it has 
become flat and insipid to his taste. His books are aban- 
doned ; his retort and crucible thrown aside ; his shrub- 
bery blooms and breathes its fragrance upon the air in 
vain, he likes it not ; his ear no longer drinks the melody 
of music, it longs for the trumpet's clangor and the can- 
non's roar. Even the prattle of his babes, once so sweet, 
no longer affects him, and the angel-smile of his wife, 
who hitherto touched his bosom with ecstasy so unspeak- 
able, is now unfelt for and unseen. Greater objects have 
taken possession of his soul ; his imagination has been 
dazzled by visions of diadems, and stars, and garters, and 
titles of nobility ; he has been taught to burn, with rest- 
less emulation, at the names of Cromwell, Caesar, and 
Bonaparte," etc. 

Leaving his daughter with Mrs. Blennerhassett, Burr 
proceeded immediately to recruiting men for the expe- 
dition. His mind was now fully determined on the en- 
terprise. Every thing appeared favorable ; and what was 
to prevent the realization of his dreamR? 



Digitized by 



Google 



128 THE BLENNEBHASSBXT PAPEBS. 

" Far away to the south-west, a thousand miles beyond 
the Mississippi, lay a vast and wealthy empire, governed 
by tyrants whom the people hated, and defended by 
troops whom soldiers should despise. For years, the 
riches of that kingdom were the theme of travelers. Her 
mines were inexhaustible, and had flooded Europe with 
gold. Her nobles enjoyed the revenues of emperors ; her 
capitol was said to be blazoned with jewels. It was 
known to look down on the lake, into whose waters the 
unhappy Guatemozin had cast the treasures of that long 
line of native princes, of which he was the last. Men 
dreamed of that magnificent city as Aladdin dreamed of 
his palaces, or Columbus of Cathay. Costly statues; 
vessels of gold and silver; jewels of untold value ; troops 
of the fairest Indian girls for slaves ; all that the eye de- 
lighted in, or the heart of man could desire, it was cur- 
rently declared, would form the plunder of Mexico. A 
bold adventurer, commanding an army of Anglo-Saxon 
soldiers, could possess himself of the empire. The times 
were favorable to the enterprise. The priesthood through- 
out Mexico was disaffected, and would gladly lend its aid 
to any conqueror who secured its privileges ; and the 
priesthood then, as now, exercised a paramount influence 
over the weak and superstitious Mexicans. America, too, 
was thought to be on the eve of a Spanish war, when the 
contemplated expedition might easily be fitted out at 
New Orleans. Burr saw the glittering prize, and resolved 
to seize it. He would conquer this gorgeous realm, and 
realize, in this new world, as Napoleon did in the old, a 
dream of romance. 

" He would surround his throne with dukes and mar- 



Digitized by 



Google 



ENTHUSIASM. 129 

shals, and princes of the empire. The pomp of chivalry, 
the splendors of the East, should he revived in this court. 
Realms equally rich, and even more easy of spoil, opened 
to the South, to whose conquest his successors, if not 
himself, might aspire. Perhaps nothing would check his 
victorious banner until he had traversed the continent, 
and stood on that bold and stormy promontory, where 
the contending waters of the Atlantic and Pacific lash 
around Cape Horn." 

With that eloquence of expression and power of im- 
agination which were peculiarly his, he infused into the 
minds of his auditors a thirst, like his own, for the bril- 
liant scenes of Mexico. At Marietta he had an opportu- 
nity of meeting with the militia, who were assembled for 
the purpose of an annual training. Being called upon 
for that purpose, he exercised the regiment in a few evo- 
lutions, by which he demonstrated to the doubting his 
superior knowledge of military tactics, and capability for 
commanding. A ball succeeded the training, in the even- 
ing. The congregated beauty of the surrounding neigh- 
borhood greeted him with their smiles ; while the men 
of rougher mould gave encouragement to his enterprise. 
Offers of distinction and rank, and the dazzling dreams 
of wealth, were arguments irresistible to the young and 
adventurous ; and Burr soon found himself surrounded 
by men impatient for the expedition. 

Let it not be presumed that the honest and patriotic 

spirits of the West for a moment contemplated treachery 

to their country, or meditated a willful violation of her 

laws. They who had breasted the storms of adversity, 

in every conceivable shape ; who had scaled the barriers 
9 



Digitized by 



Google 



130 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

of the Alleghanies, amid the dangers of Indian warfare ; 
who, for many years, had stood upon the frontier of civ- 
ilization, and grappled, in deadly conflict, with the ene- 
mies of their country and their race; who had pursued 
the savage to his wigwam and startled him from his 
mountain fastness ; these were men whom impartial his- 
tory must pronounce incapable of a crime so base, so 
revolting to the mind of every patriot. But they were 
deceived, in their over-credulousness, in the statement of 
Burr, and joined the expedition, under the well-grounded 
belief that Jefferson favored it ; and that, in the event of 
war, it would be neither illegal nor contrary to the wishes 
of the government. 



Digitized by 



Google 



WETTING IT UP. 131 



CHAPTER VII. 

Ik the month of September, 1806, Burr commenced 
active preparations for the contemplated expedition. 
Contracts for fifteen large bateaux, sufficient to con- 
vey five hundred men, and a large keel-boat for the 
transportation of provision, arms, ammunition, etc., 
also for flour, whisky, corn-meal, and other eatables, 
were entered into; for the most of which Blenner- 
hassett became responsible. Much of the corn, from 
which the meal was made, was raised and kiln-dried 
on the island. 

While these operations were being carried forward, 
Burr visited Chillicothe, then the seat of government 
of Ohio, and continued his trip to Cincinnati, and 
thence to Kentucky. The object of this tour was to 
extend his acquaintance, and add new recruits to his 
enterprise. Each private was to supply himself with 
proper arms and clothing, and to receive, as a com- 
pensation for his services, one hundred acres of land 
on the Washita; while officers were to receive accord- 
ing to their grade. 

Soon after his departure, Blennerhassett prepared a 
series of essays which appeared in the Ohio Gazette, a 
newspaper published at Marietta, by Fairlamb, under 
the signature of Querist These exhibited a general 



Digitized by 



Google 



182 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

and relative view, in a political aspect, of the Union and 
the western country ; presenting motives of expediency 
which should induce a separation from the Atlantic 
States in a peaceable and constitutional manner. He 
designed to prepare the minds of his fellow-citizens for a 
crisis which he believed was sooner or later approaching, 
not from the motives of Burr, but from the state of 
affairs then existing on the Mississippi, at which an es- 
pousal of eastern or western ascendancy would determ- 
ine their future prosperity. A second, and perhaps 
paramount, object was to divert public attention from 
too close a scrutiny of the plans against Spain, which, if 
successfully concealed, might be tacitly approved by the 
Government, and suffered to proceed without serious in- 
tervention. I insert but one of these communications, 
as the whole are too voluminous for the design of this 
work: 

September, 1806. 

To the Editor of the Ohio Gazette: 

Sir: — Of all the causes that produced our colonial 
war, which terminated in the establishment of our inde- 
pendence, it has appeared to me that the most operative, 
if it has ever been fully appreciated by our politicians, 
has been least insisted upon. Our complaints and our 
struggles against the mother country, however they have 
attempted to be bastardized by the blunders of the igno- 
rant or the craft of the designing, had really a commercial 
and no other parentage. The unbiassed judgment of 
posterity will no doubt decide that the good people of the 
colonies, however justly entitled to all the rights they 
have vindicated, were, nevertheless, in establishing them, 



Digitized by 



Google 



ESSAYING. 133 

from the beginning to the end, ths unconscious instru- 
ments of a small party or interest among themselves; 
namely, the commercial. To prove this truth, the im- 
parted history of our own times will adduce ample evi- 
dence, without need of citing our early petitions and 
remonstrances to Britain, which alone would place it 
beyond all doubt. 

That the colonies then, in effect, took upon them the 
burden of the war for the advantage of merchants, though 
the issue of it has produced the greatest benefit to us all, 
is so far our concern at this day as to induce us to ex- 
amine the influence of the present commercial interest in 
the United States at large, and the western country in 
particular. And this becomes the more necessary, as the 
present party in power are said, by their adherents, to be 
political economists of the school of Monsieur Quesnai, 
desirous to promote the agricultural at the expense of the 
commercial interest ; while their predecessors in office, as 
rigid followers of Mr. Colbert, would advance on an en- 
tirely opposite system. But neither the one nor the other 
will promote the resources of any country without great 
modification. 

If the opinion I have formed be well founded, that the 
war we have happily concluded by our independence was 
produced by the interests of the mercantile system on the 
Atlantic, I have been led, also, to suspect that the polit- 
ical federation of the State comprises within it, in like 
manner, the spirit of a commercial confederacy; the 
effects of which, I trust, our penetration and conduct will 
succeed to direct to further beneficial consequences to our 
country than are contemplated or regarded by its members. 



Digitized by 



Google 



184 THE BLENNERIIASSETT PAPERS. 

In examining the. commercial history of all nations, I 
have nowhere found a parallel to such a degree of trade 
carried on in any other country as that of our own, with 
the protection of so small a navy, and the assistance of so 
much foreign capital. The extent of our navy is known 
to every one. But it is not, probably, generally under- 
stood, that two-thirds of the capital made use of is not 
our own, but that of foreigners and belligerents — some of 
it embarked in our home and foreign trade ; the rest in 
our carrying trade. What influence from this source 
may flow into the country it much concerns us to weigh 
und watch. But I have observed some resemblance in 
the general character of our Atlantic commerce, and the 
Teutonic confederacy, founded in Germany about the 
middle of the thirteenth century. There was created a 
commercial confederacy of cities, distant from each other 
in local situation and interests. The Hanseatic towns 
associated for trade, not only all the maritime cities of 
Germany, but even comprehended some of France and 
England — the whole directing the partial views and inter- 
ests of individual members to the profit of the company. 
The Atlantic confederation has conciliated the different 
interests of the North and South, with the general profit 
of the whole. The Teutonic confederacy was carried on 
without interfering with the various sovereigns on whom 
they depended. The Atlantic confederacy has hitherto 
progressed with a successful accommodation of the vari- 
ous sovereignties and local interests of the respective 
States. The German confederacy became objects of the 
jealousy, and victims of the hatred of other nations, by 
the arrogance arising out of their prosperity in appropri- 



Digitized by 



Google 



VATICINATIONS. 135 

ating to themselves the trade of the world which they 
had engrossed. The Atlantic confederacy may reach a 
similar prosperity, but will expire by a like fate. 

From this hasty sketch of the state and principles of 
our Atlantic commerce, we are naturally led to ask, "in 
what manner these cis- Allegheny countries can control or 
be effected by its interests ? " As to the latter member 
of this query, I have already said enough to show how 
diligently we should guard against the insinuation of 
its influence among us, and shall reserve myself on that 
topic for such further animadversion as may hereafter 
bo due to the contingent remarks of others. But as to 
the former, our means or our motives to injure the com- 
mercial pursuits of our brothers on the Atlantic, will 
now engage my attention. 

When I hear suggestions made of the danger of our 
rivaling the Atlantic States in their trade, 1 really sus- 
pect some motives for uttering them worse than igno- 
rance. That the whole western country must, at least 
for a lapse of ages, content itself under the injunctions 
of nature, with the condition of an agricultural and manu- 
facl!uring country, is a proposition too evident to be 
seriously questioned by any one. In the present state of 
information, it is equally known to the fishermen of 
Nantucket, and the rice-planter of Georgia, that it will 
forever remain impracticable for our shipping to perforin 
a return voyage against the currents of our long rivers ; * 
that the port, of New Orleans, our only outlet, must 
always, from its situation, be indefensible against a single 

* Steam had not then been applied to the purposes of navigation. 



Digitized by 



Google 



136 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

frigate, and that from our distance from the sea, and 
many temporary obstacles added to those that are already 
stated to be perpetual and insurmountable by ourselves, 
the United States, or some other commercial power, must 
ever be the carriers of our surplus produce from New 
Orleans. 

It was no serious alarm, therefore, of our being ever 
able to entertain the project of appropriating generally to 
ourselves, either a part of their foreign or of their carry- 
ing trade that has hitherto engendered in the Atlantic 
merchant a desire to foster a scheme of jealous and narrow 
policy, which they have succeeded in infusing into all our 
cabinets and councils against the advancement of our 
western interests since the Revolution, which, from the 
period of the reservation of the Salt springs, to the last 
moderate increase of the price, in what are called Con- 
gressional lands, our trusty representatives have so tem- 
porarily forborne to expose to their constituents. The 
real object was, the monopoly of the West India market. 
But that market they must share, and indeed abandon to 
us, however our political situation may vary. It should 
not, however, be inferred, that the use we can make of 
it, for a great many years to come, can materially injure 
the commercial interest of the Atlantic States. How 
paltry, then, has been the little jealousy of us, conceived 
upon this ground ! How mean and treacherous the conceal- 
ment of it from the people ! But how criminal has been 
every system of all our Federal and Republican cabinets, 
as regarding this division of the Union, how masked to 
our citizens, we will now inquire. 

A wilderness that hardly had felt the footsteps of civil- 



Digitized by 



Google 



PIONEERING. 187 

ized man, is pierced in the midst of a foreign war. Our 
adventurous citizens first encounter all the miseries of the 
forest, and the savage warfare of the Indians, in prospect 
of acquiring a patrimony for their children. Their num- 
bers are small, but they maintain their posts, and even 
march against a foreign foe on their frontier, whilst their 
brethren are encountering him on the sea-board. After 
many vicissitudes of hardship and privation, they are 
joined in the woods by their relatives and friends, who 
only brought with them, out of the Revolutionary war, 
the scars and wounds they received in fighting for their 
country, depending on her gratitude for the recompense 
of their labors. Thus united, all strive in common against 
the savages, and participate in the equal prospect of in- 
demnity from the State and from Congress. In a short 
time they discover that those lands which owed all their 
worth to themselves are ceded to the Union. Indian 
titles are set up, and extinguished by some trinkets and 
some spirits, and the real conquerors of the country, 
are either confined to the corn fields they had planted, 
or left to pine unknown in some more distant retreats 
in the wilderness. Such has been the fortune of our 
adventurers into the country generally, for twenty years, 
from Pittsburgh to the Mississippi, particularly in Ken- 
tucky, Such has been the retribution of our country to 
her children, who have shed their blood for her honor 
and independence ! 

Notwithstanding all restrictions, however, of impolicy 
and injustice, our country advances in population and 
settlement. Immense numbers of emigrants from the old 
States flock to our woods, and unite with us in forcing 



Digitized by 



Google 



138 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS 

the face of our wilderness to unbend somewhat of the 
rigors of its savage features to take upon it the cheering 
smiles of agriculture. In ten or twelve years our disin- 
terested statesmen on the Atlantic felicitate our delegates 
on the growing prosperity of our country; profess to 
them assurances of the fatherly love and protection of the 
Federal Government ; invite them to return into the 
family of the Union, from which they had eloped by 
their emigration, so soon as they shall be entitled to re- 
admission therein, by some years probation in passing 
through the purgatory of a territorial government, when 
they shall be honored by being permitted to contribute to 
State and Federal revenues, not through the coercion of 
an ordinance of Congress, but by their own representa- 
tives ; when, instead of no representative government at 
all, they shall be placed under two, without paying both 
of which, they will be neither able to protect themselves 
against Bonaparte or the grand Mogul, to make laws for 
the restraint of crimes or the security of property in the 
woods. Such or similar topics of comfort and admonition 
have been swallowed by the large ears of our representa- 
tives ; such they have echoed to their constituents. The 
people, on their side, illy fitted, by their habits and occu- 
pations, for Bounding the depths of these speculations, 
have innocently believed their interests, if not duly at- 
tended to, were not at least betrayed. But now they be- 
gin to inquire what mysterious complication of circum- 
stances reduces them to the necessity of supporting two 
governments, with two judiciaries to repress private 
wrongs, and enforce private rights, in a country where 
both are few and simple ; to contribute two revenues to 



Digitized by 



Google 



querist's conclusions. 189 

two executives, some of them non-resident among them, 
and all alive to their own interests ; in short, to pay the 
wages of a double representation, which has hitherto 
neglected or sacrificed the proper objects of its mission. 
When we soberly interrogate ourselves on these subjects 
we readily find a clue that will easily lead us out of the 
mazes of the labyrinth in which we have so long wan- 
dered. We shall then behold, in the open field of inves- 
tigation, into which I perhaps have first entered, the two 
principal, if not the only, enemies of our rights and inter- 
ests — ill-founded prejudices of commercial growth and 
origin in the Atlantic States, against the effects of our 
prosperity in the western country, and the neglect of that 
inquiry or information hitherto by our citizens, which 
should enable them properly to appreciate their civil and 
political situation both present and to come. 

How far I may have deserved well of the country in 
reconnoitering the enemy in his trenches, as I promised 
in my last, and have endeavored in this paper, I will not 
presume to judge. At some after period, when the 
warmth of interest, passion and party shall subside, I will 
patiently, and I hope with dignity, abide the judgment 
of my fellow-citizens. In the same spirit I shall, in my 
next paper, consider those objections that have occurred 
to me against the measure of a severance of the Union, 
with the reputations they may require. But I wish it 
understood, that I have no intention of recommending 
either the mode or the time in which it should be effected. 
An individual embarked in the vessel of my country, 
when I alarmed my shipmates with my report, that the 
helm is deserted or improperly manned, I do not pre- 



Digitized by 



Google 



140 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

sume to dictate to them how or whither they should steer 
till called upon to do so. In the mean time, however, the 
timid or designing among the crew may do well to com- 
pose their alarms, or regulate their schemes, by an implicit 
assurance that through all changes and chances of the 
voyage I shall always be found at my post, wherever pri- 
vate honor or public duty may summon me. 

Querist. 

Lexington, Kentucky, was then a central point in the 
western Territories of the United States ; then, as now, 
its society was of the most intelligent and' refined in 
the Mississippi valley. The best and most ancient and 
honorable families of Virginia and the South had its 
legitimate representatives in her gay assemblies. No one 
accustomed to the elegancies of refined society, either in 
the old or new world, ever visited its hospitable mansions 
without an agreeable surprise at the taste and cultivation 
of its ladies, and the high-toned gallantry of its men, 
No other village of equal population, no other suburban 
settlements, I assert it not disparagingly, could boast a 
longer catalogue of equally illustrious names. In those 
days, to cross the Alleghennies without running over to 
Lexington, would be to visit France without a stroll along 
the Boulevards, or to wander over Italy without look- 
ing in upon the Vatican. 

In the month of October, Mrs. Alston, the accom- 
plished daughter of Col. Burr, was joined by her husband 
at the Island Mansion. The ostensible object of the 
visit was *the re-establishment of her health, and the 
gratification of her father, who desired her company on 



Digitized by 



Google 



COL. ALSTON. , 141 

bis wild and solitary rambles. Lexington had been 
designated as the point of rendezvous, and thither they 
repaired, accompanied by Blennerhassett. The manner 
of their reception — the marked respect and generous hos- 
pitality which was every- where extended, flattered them 
with the hope of the popularity of the movement. Meas- 
ures were immediately initiated for a thorough organiza- 
tion. It was strongly suspected that meetings for this 
purpose were being secretly held after the manner of 
those inaugurated by Genet. Hence the utmost precau- 
tion was necessary to conceal from the public observation 
every thing that might excite their alarm. Among the 
desirable qualities for a successful commander, it is said, 
not the least is the art of conducting a safe retreat, as 
well as a decisive attack. He should know how to cover 
his retiring files, as well as to order to an advance. To 
quiet the apprehension of the country it was necessary to 
adopt some plausible pretext with which to mask the real 
design, and actually to be embraced in case of a failure. 
Hence it was announced that the object of the movement 
was the colonization of the Bastrop lands. A purchase 
was therefore agreed upon for several thousand acres 
lying on the waters of the "Washita, which, with many 
of the uninitiated, was supposed to be their real destina- 
tion. 

Col. Alston was a man ot large fortune. He was ex- 
tensively engaged in the culture of rice, in the State of 
South Carolina; but a succession of failures in crops had 
left him destitute of ready means to supply the neces- 
sities of Burr. These, upon his personal guaranty, were 
furnished by Blennerhassett, who had to resort to his 



Digitized by 



Google 



142 v THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

friends for his own accommodation. The following letter 
throws some light upon the subject, and may settle the 
question which was afterward disputed : 

Lexington, Ky., Oct. 18th, 1806, 
Messes. Jos. S. Lewis & Co., Phila. : 

Dear Sirs : — Having found in this place a most valua* 
ble opportunity of participating with some friends of the 
first respectability and resources in the Union, in a com- 
mercial and land speculation, the prospect of effecting 
which depends on my obtaining a credit with you, or 
some other friends, for eight or ten thousand dollars, by 
your honoring my drafts at sixty and ninety days, I feel 
no hesitation in resorting to your approved friendship for 
my accommodation. In order to supply the deficit of my 

actual funds, under your management, in the stock, 

I can vouch for your receiving about one thousand pounds 
Irish on my account, in the course of twelve months. 
But I can at any time give security on the vast estates, 
and other property of Joseph Alston, Esq., of South 
Carolina, who is absolutely exempt from all manner of 
incumbrance, and is the son-in-law of Col. Burr. 

In a case of such interest and importance, which, be- 
sides in the event of my success, will not be indifferent to 
your mercantile concerns hereafter, I hope I need urge 
no further apology, for the first freedom of this kind I 
have ventured with you. 

I shall therefore expect your answer as soon as I can 
have it by post, directed to me at home ; and, in the 
mean time, I remain as I ever shall, dear sirs, 

Your faithful friend, Harman Blennerhassett 



Digitized by 



Google 



RETROSPECT. 143 

P. S. — I can not embark on an aid short of $8,000, but 
$10,000 would improve the concern I look for almost 
doubly. H. B. 

The expedition, in the eyes of many, began now to 
assume a serious aspect; and, through the medium of the 
press, attracted the attention of those more remote from 
the scene of preparations. Apprehension and alarm 
seized'on the public mind, and spread dismay throughout 
the country. Spain had refused us compensation for her 
spoliations during a former war. Our commerce passing 
on the Mobile river continued to be obstructed by arbi- 
trary duties and vexatious searches. The boundaries of 
Louisiana remained in dispute, producing much uneasiness 
and discontent in the south-west. The Government had 
been deterred from a declaration of war by Napoleon, 
from the effects of whose arms Europe was then trem- 
bling, and who had intimated that France would take 
part with Spain in any contest she might have against 
the United States. Adding to this, the impressment of 
American seamen by British vessels, and it will be seen 
our nation was at once reduced to a situation of painful 
humiliation. 

Feeble, indeed, would be that rid which a disunited 
people could render, in time of perils such as these. 
Never before, in the history of the nation, had rebellion 
and disunion so openly avowed itself. How far this dis- 
affection extended was, to many, a matter of mysterious 
and anxious conjecture. Burr had, but a few years previ- 
ous, closed a close and popular canvass for the executive 
chair. It was known that, not only his partisans, but his 



Digitized by 



Google 



144 THE BLBNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

personal friends, were numerous; many of whom were 
men of wealth and influence, who could rally to their 
standard a formidable number to support the cause of 
faction. Party malevolence and personal animosity added 
fuel to the flame, and ultimate ruin hung, as a withering 
pall, over the destinies of the country. 

A rumor was gaining ground that a numerous and 
powerful association, extending from New York, through 
the Western States, to the Gulf of Mexico, had been 
formed ; that eight or ten thousand men were to rendez- 
vous in New Orleans, at no distant period; and from 
thence, with the co-operation of a naval force, follow 
Burr to Vera Cruz ; that agents from Mexico had come 
to Philadelphia during the summer, and had given assur- 
ances that the landing of the expedition would be fol- 
lowed by such an immediate and general insurrection as 
would insure the submission of the existing Government, 
and silence all opposition in a very few weeks; that 
a part of the association would descend the Alleghenny 
river, and the first general rendezvous would be at the 
rapids of the Ohio, toward the 20th of October, and from 
thence the aggregate force was to proceed in light-boats, 
with the utmost velocity, to New Orleans, under an 
expectation of being joined on the route by men raised 
in the State of Tennessee and other quarters. 

It was said that the maritime co-operation relied on 
was from a British squadron in the West Indies ; that 
active and influential characters had been engaged in 
making preparations for six or eight months past, which 
were in such a state of readiness that it was expected the 
van would reach New Orleans in December, where the 



Digitized by 



Google 



ON THE LOOK-OUT. 145 

necessary organization and equipment would be com- 
pleted with such promptitude that the expedition would 
leave the. Mississippi toward the first of February. It 
was added, that the revolt of the slaves, along the river, 
was relied on, as an auxiliary measure; and that the 
seizure of the banks of New Orleans was contemplated 
to supply the funds necessary to carry on the enterprise.* 

Mr. Jefferson, then President of the United States, 
through considerations of caution, and to quell the appre- 
hension of danger, adopted the precautionary measure of 
appointing Graham, the Secretary of the Territory of 
Orleans, a secret agent of the Government, with instruc- 
tions to spy out and investigate any plot hostile to the 
national interest ; empowering him to enter into confer- 
ences with the civil and military authorities in the "West, 
and, with their aid, to call on the spot whatever should 
become necessary to discover the designs of the supposed 
conspirators ; and also to bring the offenders to punish- 
ment, when he should have fully ascertained their in- 
tentions. 

It being known, at this time, that many boats were in 
preparation, stores and provisions collected, and an un- 
usual number of suspicious characters in motion, on the 
Ohio and its tributaries, orders were given to the Gov- 
ernor of the Mississippi and Orleans Territories, and to 
the commanders of the land and naval forces, to be on 
their guard against surprise, and in constant readiness to 
resist any enterprise that might be attempted. 

On the 8th of November, instructions had been sent to 



* Martin's History of Louisiana. 
10 



Digitized by 



Google 



146 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

General "Wilkinson, to hasten on accommodations with 
the Spanish commander on the Sabine, and fall back with 
his principal force on the hither bank of the Mississippi.* 
This order, however, had been anticipated by "Wilkinson, 
who, on the 5th of the same month, three days previous 
to the dispatch of the instructions, having received intel- 
ligence that the Spanish camp on the Sabine would be 
broken up on that day, began his march toward Natchi- 
toches. Immediately on his arrival there, he had directed 
Porter to proceed with the utmost expedition, and to 
repair, mount, and equip for service, every piece of ord- 
nance in the city ; to employ all hands in preparing 
shells, grape, canister and musket cartridges, with buck- 
shot; to have every fieldpiece ready, with horse, harness 
and drag-rope, and to mount six or eight battering can- 
nons on fort St. Charles and fort St. Louis, below and 
above the city, and along its front, flanks and rear. 

Porter left Natchitoches with all the artifices, and com- 
pany of one hundred men, and had been followed by 
dishing with the rest of the forces, leaving only one 
company behind. Wilkinson, on his way to New Or- 
leans, stopped at Natchez, and made application to the 
Executive of the Mississippi Territory for a detachment 
of five hundred men of its militia to proceed with him ; 
but, declining to communicate his motives in making the 
requisition, the Governor refused a compliance with so 
mysterious a demand, 

From this place, Wilkinson, on the fifteenth of Novem- 
ber, dispatched Burling, one of his aids, to Mexico, for 



* Jefferson's Message of 22d of January, 1807. 



Digitized by 



Google 



RUMORS CONFIRMED. 147 

the ostensible purpose of apprising the Viceroy of the 
danger with which his sovereign's dominions were men- 
aced ; but, in reality, as the general mentions in his mem- 
oirs, on grounds of public policy and professional enter- 
prise, to attempt to penetrate the veil which concealed 
"^he topographical route to the city of Mexico, and the 
military defenses which intervened — feeling that the 
equivocal relation of the two countries justified the ruse* 

As soon as Wilkinson arrived in New Orleans, he held 
an interview with Governor Claiborne ; at which time it 
was deemed expedient to convoke the merchants of the 
city, to adopt precautionary measures for their security. 
The latter, in an animated address, exhorted them to 
assist him in his efforts for the defense of the city, and 
solemnly swore, in the enthusiastic style peculiar to him, 
that, if it were taken by the vessels, he would perish in 
the endeavor to repel the assault. The meeting adopted, 
unanimously, some spirited and patriotic resolutions. A 
considerable sum was subscribed to be distributed as 
bounty among such sailors as might engage to serve on 
board the ships. Many of the guns of the city were 
placed upon the merchantmen in the river; and a re- 
spectable fleet was suddenly formed, to oppose that of the 
British, which was expected from the West Indies. 

The rumors which had" induced this energetic action, 
on the part of the Government, had been but recently 
confirmed by the reception, on the part of the President, 
of the proceedings of a meeting in Wood County, Vir- 
ginia, expressive of alarm for the safety of the country, 



* Martin's History of Louisiana, 



Digitized by 



Google 



148 THE BLKNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

by the- accumulating evidences of the complicity of Burr 
and Blennerhasset, in a mysterious and, as many believed, 
treasonable design. 

The cause of their apprehension proceeded from a par- 
tial revelation of the objects of the expedition to some 
of his more intimate acquaintance, by Blennerhassett* 
and to whom, also, he had made a secret acknowledgment 
of the authorship of " Querist." 

Mrs. Blennerhassett, having learned of the meeting, 
and being informed that a battalion of three companies, 
under command of Col. Phelps, were then mustering at 
the Point (Parkersburg), intending to make a descent 
that evening, to burn the mansion and seize the kiln- 
dried corn, dispatched Peter Taylor to Kentucky, to in- 
form her husband of the danger with which his person 
and property were menaced. 

On the receipt of the intelligence he immediately left 
for home. Reflecting on his way that he should be un- 
provided with the means of defense to protect himself 
against the attack of the militia, he called upon Dr. Ben- 
nett, of Mason County, Virginia, to learn any particular 
of which he was advised, and to secure such aid as the 
Doctor might be able to afford him in the defense of his 
property at the Island. He protested the innocence of 
their designs, and abjured any" intention of a separation 
of the Union, unless by the voluntary act of the people, 
when such a measure should be rendered expedient. He 
communicated the fact of the purchase of the Bastrop 
lands, and desired to enlist such persons as might be 
desirous of emigrating. Taking leave of the Doctor at 
the ferry, he arrived at the Island on the following day. 



Digitized by 



Google 



GRATEFUL SENTIMENTS. 149 

The excitement had by no means abated. Rumoh* had 
reached him that an attempt would be made on his per- 
son that evening ; but as Col. Phelps had assured Mrs. 
Blennerhassett, during the absence of her husband, that 
she should be protected against violence, he felt no imme- 
diate apprehension of danger. On being informed of the 
facts, he dispatched, by a messenger, the following com- 
munication to the Colonel : 

Wood County, Nov. M, 1806. 
Colonel Phelps: 

Dear Sir: — Just returned home, after a journey of 
seven hundred miles, I hasten to express to you the satis- 
faction with which I learned, on the road, that you had 
been invested with the command of the two volunteer 
companies that had been raised in this country during my 
absence, as that circumstance afforded me a sure guaran- 
tee against the idle reports I had heard, of any misguided 
violence intended by my neighbors against my family or 
property while I was not on the ground to defend them. 
But the information my wife has given me of the purport 
of the friendly message you sent her, at a time when you 
thought it would be expedient, has laid me under per- 
sonal obligations to you, and rendered it a duty with me 
to endeavor to revive our former neighborly intercourse, 
especially at a season when so much misconception mis- 
leads the people, propagated, as I have no doubt I can 
satisfy you, by your enemies and their own, when I shall 
have the pleasure of an hour's unreserved conversation 
with you, in which I expect I can make you some propo- 



Digitized by 



Google 



160 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

sitions that will engage your attention and be serviceable 
to your best interests. I therefore embrace the earliest 
opportunity of soliciting an interview with you, and, in 
consideration of my fatigue, I take the liberty of request- 
ing to see you this evening, and accept of a bed with us ; 
or 5f that should be inconvenient to you, I shall do my- 
self the pleasure of attending any appointment you may 
designate for to-morrow. 

I am, dear sir, your obliged and obedient servant, 

Harman Blennerhassett. 



Col. Phelps to Blennerhassett. 

Newport, Nov. 6th, 1 806. 
Dear Sir : — From circumstances of business, it was out 
of my power to attend at Col. Cushing's so early as my 
appointment. A short time after you left there I went 
over, and found your note requesting me to wait upon 
you this day. I am sorry that, from similar circum- 
stances, I shall not be able to comply ; but, if you should 
be at home, I shall do myself the pleasure to wait upon 
you to-morrow. 

Your obedient servant, Hugh Phelps. 

Col. Phelps having visited Blennerhassett, according to 
appointment, the latter thanked him for informing his 
wife of the rumors which were afloat, and the measures 
which had been adopted to arrest the designs of himself 
and associates. He effected, however, to ridicule the 
reports he had heard of the injuries threatened his fam- 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONSULTATION. 151 

ily, and suggested that he suspected the other party in 
the country under the influence of the Hendersons, was 
becoming so strong that its leaders would probably over- 
turn the Colonel's interest, on which alone they had 
hitherto depended for whatever popularity they had 
acquired, and cautioned the Colonel against any coalition 
or co-operation they might seek with him, in exciting 
clamor or suspicion against the views or intentions of 
Aaron Burr or his friends, which the past conduct of the 
Hendersons toward him should induce him to avoid. 

Col. Phelps, in reply, complained much of the ill-treat- 
ment he had received from the Hendersons. Blennerhas- 
sett stated his concern with Aaron Burr in a land pur- 
chase; that he solicited or invited no person to join in 
the emigration, though many had voluntarily offered to 
do so, but added that if the Colonel wished a. concern for 
himself or his friends, he might look to the example 
of General Jackson, and other characters of distinction, 
who, Blennerhasaett understood, were going to join in 
the settlement with many associates; that, as to the 
rumors and suspicions that had been circulated of Col. 
Burr, or his friends, which accused them of engaging in 
any thing against the laws of the United States, such 
were wholly groundless ; but it was not unlikely that the 
proximity of the purchase to that part of the country 
where an engagement had already taken place, or might 
soon be expected, between General Wilkinson and the 
Spaniards, would engage Col. Burr and his friends in 
some of the earliest adventures of the war; General 
Jackson being already prepared to march with one thou- 



Digitized by 



Google 



152 THE BLBNNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

sand or fifteen hundred of his Tennessee militia, when- 
ever he should think himself authorized by the orders or 
wishes of the Government to put that body in motion. 
Col. Phelps received this information with declining to 
embark himself, on account of his family and the unset- 
tled state of his affairs, but said he had no doubt many 
young men from "Wood county would be glad to go with 
Blennerhassett, to whom he would recommend the specu- 
lation, as he might have opportunities. 

From General Devereaux. 

Baltimore, Oct. 13/A, 1806. 
Harman Blennerhassett, Esq. : 

My dearest Friend : — Your last esteemed letter I have 
duly received. I am both rejoiced and saddened at it. 
Rejoiced I am, that it should be my good fortune to be so 
kindly held in the light I see I am, by those so dear to 
me, as you and your estimable lady. I am, however, 
both saddened and distressed, that my affairs are not in 
that train to permit me to join you in this month, as I 
had fondly contemplated, and as you so much wish. 
Such is the nature of our business, that it is utterly im- 
possible for me to wind it up at present, and this from 
new and unexpected obstacles — obstacles which I shall 
fully explain to your satisfaction, and the satisfaction of 
our great and common friend, when we meet. 

How grateful and flattered do I feel, my valued sir, for 
the good opinion you are pleased to express and entertain 
of me. On this subject I shall only further add, that I 
trust I shall never disappoint you in these sentiments, 



Digitized by 



Google 



PROSECUTION. 158 

and that I may yet have opportunities of evincing my 
gratitude by actions instead of words. 

Please present your worthy Mrs. Blennerhassett with 
my kindest and best respects, and assure yourself, my 
ever dear sir, of the warm attachment I shall ever feel 
for you, and those that belong to you. 

Yours most truly, J. Devereux. 

p # S. — Should you see our distinguished friend shortly, 
recall me to him with that ardent respect and attachment 
which I feel for him. Do n't forget. 

Shortly after his arrival at the island, Blennerhassett 
was joined by Burr, who had also returned from Ken- 
tucky and his journey through Ohio. He did not remain 
long, however, at the scene of preparations on the Mus- 
kingum. Having completed his arrangements, he left 
Blennerhassett to superintend the construction of the 
boats, to make the necessary preparation, and to follow 
him, as soon as practicable, to the mouth of the Cumber- 
land, with the men, provisions and boats. 

Burr proceeded down the Ohio to Kentucky, where he 
had hardly landed before he was arrested, and carried 
before the United States' Court, on a charge of " treason- 
able practices, and a design to attack the Spanish do- 
mains, and thereby endanger the peace of the United 
States." He announces the fact as follows : 

Lexington, Nov. 6th, 1806. 
Yesterday, Mr. Jos. Davis, the district attorney of the 
United States, made an application to the federal court at 



Digitized by 



Google 



154 THE BLENXERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Frankfort, for a warrant to apprehend nie for treasonable 
practice, or on some suspicion thereof. The charge is 
not well-defined by my informant, but the substance is, 
" a design to attack the Spanish dominions, and thereby 
endanger the peace of the United States." How this 
charge was supported, I have not heard ; but absurd and 
ridiculous as it may appear, the judge has taken time 
until this day to consider if he should refuse to grant the 
warrant. He must expect a tornado of abuse from the 
W. World and some other papers. It is also probable, 
that villains enough may have been found to encounter 
all the perjuries which may be thought necessary to grat- 
ify malice. These things taken together, it is fair to 
infer, as probable, that the warrant will be granted. Un- 
fortunately this being a proceeding on suspicion, and 
previous to any inquiry by a grand jury, no immediate 
trial can be had, and the object undoubtedly is to give a 
sort of sanction to the. charge by this measure, in order 
to influence public opinion. You perceive, my dear sir, 
that this step will embarrass me in my project of the 
Washita settlement. I pray, however, that you will have 
no solicitude about me ; and it will afford me the highest 
gratification, if my friends should feel as little anxiety for 
the result as will be felt by your faithful and affectionate, 

A. Burr. 
IT. Blennerhassett, Esq. 

P. S. — You perceive that this event will deprive me of 
the pleasure of seeing you at your own house. I should 
not have disturbed your repose with this relation, had 



Digitized by 



Google 



DISSUASION. 155 

I not known that it would come to you with exaggera- 
tions through an hundred channels. A. B. 

The arrest was premature, and Burr was discharged 
for want of evidence. 

Near the middle of November, Graham, the Govern- 
ment's confidential agent, proceeded to Marietta, where 
extensive preparations were going on. Here he met, and 
held an interview with, Blennerhassett. After discoursing 
upon the subject of the expedition, with a frankness 
which was only warranted by a well-founded belief (from 
what Burr had previously intimated) that Graham was 
considered as one of the recruits, Blennerhassett read to 
him some communications he had just received by the 
hand of Capt. Elliott, and also from the preceding one 
of Bnrr, in relation to his arrest and trial at Frankfort, 
npon which Blennerhassett animadverted with great 
severity. Graham finding Blennerhassett was laboring 
under a delusion, in regard to the part that he was to 
perform in the transaction, informed him that Burr's 
representations, as to him (Graham) being with or favor- 
ing the expedition, were groundless. With no little sur- 
prise, he asked Graham whether he had not heard of an 
association, in New Orleans, for the invasion of Mexico. 
Upon Graham venturing to assure him that there was no 
such association there, Blennerhassett stated that he had 
been informed by Bradford, the printer of the "Gazette 
d'Orleans," that about three hundred men had already 
joined the expedition. 

Considering Blennerhassett most cruelly deceived, Gra- 



Digitized by 



Google 



156 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ham endeavored to draw him off from the undertaking, 
in which he was engaged ; and conceiving it the policy 
of the Government to prevent, rather than to punish, 
such enterprises, he informed Blennerhassett that, so far 
from being concerned in the plan, he was the Govern- 
ment's authorized agent to inquire into the facts relative 
to the enterprise in the western country, and to take such 
steps as might be necessary for repressing it. He then 
stated to Mr. Blennerhassett, from reasons drawn from 
Burr's visit to New Orleans during the preceding sum- 
mer, from the information which the Government had 
received, and from the nature of the preparations which 
Blennerhassett himself was then making, why he believed 
the object of Burr was either to attack the Territories of 
Spain or those of the United States ; and added, that any 
collection of armed men on the Ohio river would, under 
the circumstances, be considered a violation of the laws, 
and repressed accordingly. 

The object and extent of the preparations at Marietta 
having ben fully ascertained by Graham, according to 
instructions, he visited the Governor of Ohio, at Chilli- 
cothe, to procure the aid of the State authorities in sup- 
pressing the suspected formidable measures. Governor 
Tiffin communicated the matter to the Legislature, then 
in session, whereupon an act was immediately passed, en- 
titled " An act to prevent certain acts hostile to the peace 
and tranquillity of the United States, within the jurisdic- 
tion of the State of Ohio."* 

* Chase's Statutes of Ohio, Vol. I, p. 553. 



Digitized by 



Google 



INCIDENTS. 157 

Under this act, Governor Tiffin ordered but the militia 
of the adjacent neighborhood, under command of Major- 
General Bell, of Marietta, with instructions to that 
officer to take forcible possession of the boats and stores, 
not only upon the Muskingum, but also of all others of a 
suspicious character descending the Ohio. 

A warlike array of undisciplined militia, with cannon, 
necessary equipage and arms, stationed themselves along 
the banks of the river, to cut off the forces expected from 
above. Many amusing jokes were played off at the 
expense of the raw recruits during this campaign — such 
as setting an empty tar-barrel on fire, and placing it in an 
old boat or raft of logs, to float by in the darkness of the 
night. The sentries, after duly hailing, and receiving no 
answer, would fire a shot to enforce their command ; but 
still " dread silence reigned," and calmly the phantom 
vessel, with her stolid crew, floated onward and down- 
ward in utter recklessness. Irritated at such manifest 
contempt of their high authority, they plunged into the 
stream to seize the boat and capture its luckless navi- 
gators, when naught appeared but the remains of a log 
and a barrel, which some laughter-loving wag had 
freighted for their mischance and his amusement. 

On another occasion, they had learned that Tyler * and 
his men had passed down the river as far as Blennerhas- 
sett's island, from whence he was expected to return, to 
re-capture the boats and provisions. To cut off all possi- 
ble communication with Marietta, where the boats were 

* Comfort Tyler was one of Burr's principal captains. 



Digitized by 



Google 



158 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

tied, particular instructions were given, in the evening, 
to bring away all the water-craft from the lower side of 
the Muskingum. Several sailors, who boarded on the 
opposite shore, considered the opportunity for sport too 
favorable to pass unimproved. The plan first proposed 
for the accomplishment of this end, was to raise an 
armed party, with blank cartridges, and fire at the senti- 
nels. Upon strict search, however, they found that all 
the muskets, blunderbusses, rifles and shot-guns had been 
previously appropriated by the militia. The cannon was 
then thought of, when this, also, it was ascertained, had 
been called to the aid of the State authorities. Determ- 
ined not to be defeated, in the laugh they had promised 
themselves, they resorted to the expedient of emptying a 
half-keg of powder into a canvas sack, wrapping it closely 
with twine. This they deposited under ground, care 
being taken to leave a communication with the contents 
by means of a priming-hole and slow-match. At mid- 
night, when all, save the faithful and lonely sentinels, 
were enjoying that repose so necessary to the refreshment 
of the wearied soldier, after a destructive attack 

" On whisky and peach-brandy," * 

a confused and foreboding sound, from the opposite 
shore, grated unmusically on the ear of the guards. Al- 
though appearances were somewhat ominous, yet they 
concluded not to disturb the slumbers of their brothers 
in arms until a more satisfactory demonstration had been 

* See Appendix. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SLIGHTLY SCARED. 159 

made. For this opportunity they were not kept long in 
suspense. Suddenly the earth began to heave and throe, 
as if drunk with the heel-taps of the soldier's glasses, 
and, following in quick succession, a report, that many 
mistook for the summoning trump of the end of time. 
The scene which succeeded is more easily imagined than 
described. Those less confused did, indeed, take time to 
adjust their outside garments, but much the greater num- 
ber started with nothing but their nether vestments, 
without regard to uniform or military parade. Here 
stood one, vainly struggling to thrust his feet through 
the arm-holes and sleeves of his linsey icarmus, while, at 
his side, a companion had drawn his pants over his 
shoulders, illustrating, most ludicrously, but literally, 
the lines of doggerel : 

" Put on his shirt outside his coat, 
And tied his breeches round his throat. 

Shivering, in the chill winds of December, they " hur- 
ried in hot haste " to the tanta-ran-ta of the trumpeter, 
and the rub-a-dub-dub of the " drum-major-general." 
Whether any had taken the precaution to "load" or 
"prime" is a question which time and reflection have 
never settled. The major, who was a tailor, is said to 
have charged the cannon with his goose; the State hav- 
ing made no provision for ammunition. The deputy, as 
he mounted his horse, was heard to say, that, " as great 
men were scarce, he thought it best to flee from danger." 
Had Tyler and his men been the real cause of their 
alarm, he would doubtless have met with a stern re- 



Digitized by 



Google 



160 THE BLBNNERHA8SKTT PAPERS. 

sistance, but, fortunately for him, he was unconsciously 
asleep at the Island. 

To Comfort Tyler, a chief assistant from New York, 
had been committed the duties of purveyor. It was 
expected that he would procure the necessary supplies in 
Pittsburgh, and descending the Ohio, join Blennerhassett 
at the Island. For want of means, and the delay of sev- 
eral associates who had appointed to meet him on the 
Ohio, he was detained beyond the time designated for his 
departure. To quiet the apprehension which his absence 
had occasioned, and in answer to a letter which had been 
forwarded from Blennerhassett, he writes as follows : 

Pittsburgh, Nov. 14*A, 1806. 

Dear Sir: — Your favor, by Capt. Elliot, is duly re- 
ceived, for which I thank you. My calculations have 
at all times been to leave Beaver on the first of next 
month. The only difficulty that I have to encounter is, 
the procuring the provisions necessary for my settlers, 
some of whom are behind, and I fear they will not arrive 
in time ; but I shall be off with the few that may happen 
to l^e with me, and trust to those behind to follow on. I 
shall also encourage some gentlemen to forward on flour, 
pork and whisky, with a promise that they may have 
their pay for them on the way. 

I have been unfortunate in having means furnished me 
equal to fulfilling contracts that might have been made 
for the article of whisky, in a particular manner, as the 
merchants are under the necessity of paying ready cash 
for it (they can not procure it on a credit). I expected 



Digitized by 



Google 



NO SALE. 161 

Mr. Thompson or a Mr. Hopkins would have returned to 
me with some means, to enable me to make greater 
speed, but as they do not come, must suppose they have 
cither not met with our friend, who is the principal agent 
in the purchases, or that the distance has been too far for 
them to return by this time. I think, however, that 
before you receive this, one of the men will be at Mari- 
etta, on their way to me ; but be assured, that no time 
shall be lost on my part to be ready and on my way by 
the 1st; and by the 8th of the month, can, of course, 
be with you, or, at farthest, on that day. I shall, how- 
ever, expect instructions through you, how and where I 
am to call, and of whom I may expect aid in any case : 
not being acquainted with any one, after I leave Beaver, 
I shall therefore expect some person to look for me, with 
your letter of introduction to me, with directions where 
I am to call on you. In the mean time, 

Believe me, dear sir, your faithful friend, 

Comfort Tyler. 
H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 

On Saturday evening, the 6th of December, the Hon. 
Charles Fenton Mercer, in the course of his journey east 
of the mountains, stopped at the island, with the view of 
purchasing this " most elegant seat in Virginia." Finding, 
however, that Blennerhassett estimated it at fifty thous- 
and dollars, which (he remarked) was ten thousand less 
than it had cost him, Mr. Mercer abandoned the idea of 
purchasing; and the rest of his time, during the visit, 
was spent in conversation with Blennerhassett and his 
11 



Digitized by 



Google 



162 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

accomplished lady. It turned upon his removal to the 
" "Washita" — the name of his new purchase. With great 
earnestness, he pressed Mr. Mercer to become a partici- 
pant; suggesting how much it would augment his for- 
tune, and enforcing the inducement by an assurance that 
the society he invited him to join would soon become the 
most agreeable and select in America. He spoke of Burr 
as the moral head of it ; and when Mr. Mercer expressed 
a doubt of the permanency and happiness of a union 
formed under such auspices, and dwelt upon such traits 
of Burr's general character as he deemed exceptionable, 
Blennerhassett vindicated him, with the enthusiasm of 
an ardent admirer. 

Blennerhassett having intended to visit Marietta on 
Sunday evening, Mr. Mercer proposed accompanying 
him, as that was directly on his route. As a tribute of 
merited gratitude, he remarks, that he left the mansion 
in perfect good will to all its inhabitants; regretting 
that the engagements of its proprietor and his own 
dreary journey, but just begun in the commencement of 
winter, forbade him to prolong a visit which, although so 
transient, had afforded him so much pleasure. All that 
he had seen or heard corresponded so little with the 
criminal designs imputed to Blennerhassett, that, if he 
could have visited him with unfavorable* sentiments, 
they would have vanished before the light of a species 
of evidence which, if not reducible to the strictest 
rules of legal testimony, had, nevertheless, a potent in- 
fluence over all sensitive hearts; and which, though it 
doth not possess the formal sanction of an oath, hath 



Digitized by 



Google 



VINDICATION. 168 

often in it a great deal more truth than statements thus 
verified. 

" What ! " remarks Mr. Mercer, " will a man who, 
weary of the agitations of the world, of its noise and 
vanity, has unambitiously retired to a solitary island in 
the heart of a desert, and created a terrestrial paradiae, 
the very flowers, and shrubs and vines of which he had 
planted and nurtured with his own hands ; a man whose 
soul is accustomed to toil in the depths of literature; 
whose ear is framed to the harmony of sound, and whose 
touch and breath daily awaken it from a variety of melo- 
dious instruments ; will such a man start up, in the de- 
cline of life, from the pleasing dream of seven years' 
clumber, to carry fire and sword to the peaceful habita- 
tions of men who have never done him wrong? Are his 
musical instruments and his library to become the equi- 
page of a camp ? Will he expose a lovely and accom- 
plished woman, and two little children, to whom he 
seems so tenderly attached, to the guilt of treason, and 
to the horrors of war ; a treason so desperate ? — a war so 
unequal? Were not all his preparations better adapted 
to the innocent and useful purpose which he avowed, 
rather than to the criminal and hazardous enterprise 
which was imputed to him ? Whence arose those impu- 
tations ? From his union with Col. Burr. But it is evi- 
dent he has been led to this union from his admiration 
of the genius, and confidence in the virtue and honor, of 
the person with whom it has connected him. That 
which, with a harsh-judging world, is the foundation of 
a belief of his guilt, when thoroughly and candidly ex- 



Digitized by 



Google 



164 THE BLKNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

arained, carries on its face, therefore, the stamp of his 
innocence." 

On the same day of the arrival of Mr. Mercer at the 
Island, also landed Comfort Tyler, with his boats and 
provisions, and a small party of men under his com- 
mand. He found Blennerhassett much disheartened as 
to the enterprise, and nearly resolved to abandon it 
altogether. Through the persuasive eloquence of his 
wife, however, who had now enlisted in the undertak- 
ing with heroic enthusiasm, and the arrival of Tyler's 
men, " the lord of the isle," as if some demon of evil 
haunted his footsteps, and urged him on to an un- 
known destiny, yielding rather to the wishes of others 
than to the dictates of his own better judgment, again 
embarked his fortune and fame in the enterprise of 
Burr. 

The boats and stores at Marietta being in readiness for 
embarkation, orders were issued to the guard to exercise 
the utmost vigilance in preventing their departure. Sus- 
picions of the illegal character of the enterprise became 
daily more confirmed. Many had already abandoned it, 
while others hesitated to commit their fortunes to one 
whom popular prejudice condemned, and to whom popu- 
lar rumor had attributed such alarming designs. Blen- 
nerhassett saw that the storm was rapidly gathering, and 
to delay would result in his own discomfiture and the 
defeat of the expedition. 

On the evening of the 8th of December, a party of 
young men, assembled at the hospitable fireside of a 
Belpr£ neighbor, were engaged in animated conversation 



Digitized by 



Google 



ON THEIR MUSCLE. 165 

on the subject of the enterprise before them. They were 
yet young, but ardent and daring, and joined the expe- 
dition from the love of adventure, and to visit foreign 
lands. Above all, they desired to realize the enchant- 
ments of those vast and far-off savannas which fancy, 
bending her iris of many-colored hues, had draped in 
perpetual verdure, where myriads of blossoms, exhaling 
delicious odors, gemmed the variegated landscape with 
their dazzling sheen. Reposing In the honor and cour- 
age of their leaders, they determined to explore that 
unknown world beyond, heedless alike of the admo- 
nition of friends, and the perils by which they were 
surrounded. 

The boats at the mouth of the Muskingum were in the 
hands of the authorities, and it was determined to bring 
them away by a coup (Fassail. As the night closed in, 
the young men ended their conference, and proceeded in 
a body to the scene of operation. This was their first 
adventure, and became intensely exciting from its nov- 
elty. The route lay along the ravine of the Ohio for a 
distance of about twelve miles. The road being nearly 
obscured by over-hanging boughs, the surrounding dark- 
ness afforded effectual protection against observation. 
Advancing with caution, they eluded the vigilance of 
the soldiers until they approached the shores of the Mus- 
kingum. As they proceeded to unfasten the boats, the 
noise attracted the attention of a sentinel, and the alarm 
was given. An exciting engagement ensued. No arms 
were used, their efforts being wholly directed to main- 
taining the custody of the boats by physical force. 



Digitized by 



Google 



166 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

Friend and foe were equally undistinguishable. The 
contest for a time seemed doubtful, as the middle of 
the stream had been reached, and the darkness rendered 
pursuit difficult. At length, however, they were all re- 
captured by the authorities, save one, which with its crew 
was safely conducted to the Island, and the young men 
returned to their homes, greatly amused with the inci- 
dents of their first engagement. 



Digitized by 



Google 



BURR IN CYPHER. 167 



CHAPTER VIII. 

On the 29th of July, 1806, Burr had dispatched, from 
Philadelphia, by the hands of Swartwout, to General 
Wilkinson, the following communication in cypher : 

" Your letter, postmarked 13th May, is received. At 
length I have obtained funds, and have actually com- 
menced. The eastern detachments from different points, 
and under different pretenses, will rendezvous on the 
Ohio, 1st of November. Every thing internal and 
external favors our views. Naval protection of Eng- 
land is secured. Truxton is going to Jamaica, to arrange 
with the Admiral on that station. It will meet us at the 
Mississippi. England, a navy of the United States, are 
ready to join, and final orders are given to my friends 
and followers. It will be a host of choice spirits. Wil- 
kinson shall be second to Burr only, and Wilkinson shall 
dictate the rank and promotion of his officers. Burr 
will proceed westward 1st of August, never to return. 
With him go his daughter and grandson. The husband 
will follow in October, with a corps of worthies. Send, 
forthwith, an intelligent friend with whom Burr may 
confer. He shall return immediately with further inter- 
esting details : this is essential to harmony and concert 
of movement. Send a list of all persons known to Wil- 
kinson west of the mountains, who could be useful, with 



Digitized by 



Google 



16S THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

a note delineating their character. By your messenger, 
send me four or five of the commissions of your officers, 
which you can borrow under any pretense you please. 
They shall be retained faithfully. Already are orders 
given to the contractor to forward six months' provision 
to points Wilkinson may name ; this shall not be used 
until the last moment, and then under proper injunc- 
tions. Our project, my dear friend, is brought to a point 
so long desired. Burr guarantees the result with his life 
and honor, with the lives, and honor, and the fortunes 
of hundreds, the best blood of our country. Burr's plan 
of operation is to move down rapidly, from the falls, on 
the 15th of November, with the first five hundred or one 
thousand men, in light boats now constructing for that 
purpose, to be at Natchez between the 5th and 15th of 
December, there to meet you> there to determine whether 
it will be expedient, in the first instance, to seize on, or 
pass by, Baton Rouge. ... on receipt of this, send Burr 
an answer, .... draw on Burr for all expenses, etc. 
The people of the country to which we are going are 
prepared to receive us ; their agents, now with Burr, say 
that if we will protect their religion, and will not subject 
them to a foreign power, that, in three weeks, all will be 
settled. The gods invite ?t* to glory and fortune; it 
remains to be seen whether we deserve the boon. The 
bearer of this goes express to you; he will hand a 
formal letter of introduction to you, from Burr ; he is 
a man of inviolable honor and perfect discretion, formed 
to execute rather than project, capable of relating facts 
with fidelity, and incapable of relating them otherwise. 
He is thoroughly informed of the plans and intentions 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE PLOT PROSPERING. 169 

of , and will disclose to you, as far as you inquire, 

and no further; he has imbibed a reverence for your 
character, and may be embarrassed in your presence; 
put him at ease, and he will satisfy you." * 

The mystery in which it was ever the delight of Burr 
to enshroud himself— the secrecy with which he had thus 
far conducted his plans, revealing them but vaguely, 
even to those who from their position and aid were 
entitled to his confidence — forbids the conclusion that 
Wilkinson had remained unadvised of his designs or 
uncommitted to his enterprise. After the perusal of 
Burr's letter, to believe otherwise would be to charge 
him with madness, and of this he was never accused. 
Wilkinson was known to be friendly to Burr. He had 
held secret conferences with him, at the seat of govern- 
ment, only the Spring before, and that, too, after Burr's 
return from the western country, and while actively 
engaged in organizing his schemes. When on the Ohio, 
the closest intimacy had existed between them. Wilkin- 
son had freely imparted information of the country, and 
acquainted him with the dispositions of the leading 
inhabitants ; had furnished him with letters of introduc- 
tion to his friends, and supplied him with facilities for 
travel. On the 28th of May, 1805, he had written to 
General Adair, from the falls of the Ohio : " I was to 
have introduced my friend Burr to you, but in this I 
failed by accident. He understands your merits, and 



* The words in italics were stricken out, and, in some instances, sup- 
plied by others, in the copy which was presented to the Legislature of 
Louisiana by General Wilkinson. His reason for the alteration being to 
divert public suspicion from himself as being connected with Burr. 



Digitized by 



Google 



170 THE BTJENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

reckons on you. Prepare to visit me, and I will tell you 
ail. We must have a peep into the unknown world 
beyond me.* On the 9th of June, in the same year, he 
writes Daniel Clark, of New Orleans: "This will be 
delivered you by Col. Burr, whose worth you know well 
how to estimate. If the persecutions of a great and 
honorable man can give title to generous attentions, he 
has claims to all your services. You can not oblige me 
more than by such conduct, and I pledge my life to you 
it will not be. misapplied. To him I refer you for many 
things improper to utter, and which he will not say to 
any other." f Only on the 16th of July, but thirteen 
days previous to the cypher letter, General Dayton, of 
Ohio, had written him : " Your present is more favorable 
than your late position, and as you can retain it without 
suspicion or alarm, you ought, by no means, to return 
from it, until your friends join you in December, some- 
where on the river Mississippi. Under the auspices of 
Burr and Wilkinson I shall be happy to engage, and 
when the time arrives, you will find me near you. Write 
and inform me, by first mail, what may be expected from 
you and your associates. In an enterprise of such 
moment, considerations, even stronger than those of affec- 
tion, impel me to desire your cordial co-operation and 
active support. Wealth and honor, courage and union, 
Burr and Wilkinson ! Adieu." Again, on the 25th day 
of July, but five days before the date of the cypher let- 
ter, Dayton writes : " It is well ascertained that you are 

* Clark's Proofc against Wilkinson, p. 158. 
f Clark's Proofs against Wilkinson, p. 1 19. 



Digitized by 



Google 



burr's designs. 171 

to be displaced at the next session. Jefferson will affect 
to yield reluctantly to the public sentiment, but yield he 
will; prepare yourself, therefore, for it; you know the 
rest. You are not a man to despair, or even disposed, 
especially when such prospects offer in another quarter. 
Are you ready? Wealth and Glory! Louisiana and 
Mexico ! " * 

Again, it was charged that Burr's designs were inim- 
ical to the United States ; that his plan comprehended a 
dismemberment of the western country ; that he was to 
seize on New Orleans, and revolutionize the Territory ; 
that, crossing the gulf, he was to land at Vera Cruz, 
march to the city of Mexico, and establish a mighty 
empire, extending from the Apalachian Mountains to 
the borders of the Pacific, of which he himself was to 
be the chief. Several millions of dollars were reported 
on deposit in the banks at New Orleans, which, with a 
feigned regard to the rights of private property, he de- 
signed appropriating, with the hope of returning it when 
time and circumstances should render it convenient. 
Burr himself informs Wilkinson, that he will meet him 
at Natchez, "there to determine whether it will be 
expedient to seize on, or pass by, Baton Rouge." And, 
referring to Swartwout, he adds : " The bearer of this 
goes express to you from Burr; he is a man of inviolable 
honor, and perfect discretion ; capable of relating facts 
with fidelity, and incapable of relating them otherwise. 



* Clark's Proofs against Wilkinson, p. 158. This letter was also in 
cypher, being the same character used in the correspondence between 
Burr and Wilkinson. 



Digitized by 



Google 



172 THE BLBNNERHAS6KTT PAPERS. 

He is thoroughly informed of the plans and intentions 
of Burr, and will disclose to you so far as you inquire, 
and no further." 

Wilkinson was commander-in-chief of the army of 
the United States, and Governor of Natchitoches. His 
whole force was in active service, thoroughly disci- 
plined and drilled. Obeying the dictates of honor, as a 
soldier, if not prompted by the impulses of a patriot, 
he was bound by every consideration of duty to arrest 
the progress of the scheme. Of all others, therefore, he 
was the most to be feared, and the most to be avoided by 
Burr. Yet while his plans are but partially revealed to 
his acknowledged confederates, while he diligently en- 
deavors to elude the suspicions of his enemies, Burr suf- 
fers no opportunity to escape, without fully informing 
him of his designs, and asking his advice upon questions 
of doubtful expediency. To regard Wilkinson, there- 
fore, in any other light than a chief accomplice, after the 
perusal of the cypher letter, would render the act of 
writing it the sheerest folly imaginable. 

But Burr was the victim of a misplaced confidence. 
Wilkinson, through considerations of a personal charac- 
ter, fully to be explained in a subsequent chapter, revealed 
the plan and fastened the treason upon Burr. On the 
21st of October, he communicated the substance of the 
cypher letter to Mr. Jefferson, then President of the 
United States, who, on the 27th of November, issued his 
proclamation, warning and enjoining those who had been 
led to participate in the unlawful enterprise to withdraw 
without delay, and requiring all officers, civil and mili- 
tary, of the United States, or any one of the States or 



Digitized by 



Google 



ON THE QUI VIVE. 173 

Territories, to be vigilant, each within his respective 
department, in searching out and bringing to punishment 
all persons engaged or concerned in the undertaking. 

Under the authority, and by virtue of this proclama- 
tion, the Virginia militia, of Wood county, were called 
out, by command of Col. Hugh Phelps, of Parkersburg, 
as soon as he had received the intelligence, which was 
not until the 8th or 9th of December. 

On the 10th of the month, Blennerhassett, having 
received information of the preparations making by 
Col. Phelps, who, it was expected, would march to the 
island on the following day, to take possession of his 
person, boats and stores, became much alarmed. 

Having advised with his followers as to the propriety 
of remaining longer under these threatening circum- 
stances, it was determined that further delay would be 
perilous to the enterprise. Orders were accordingly 
issued to have every thing in immediate readiness to 
precipitate their departure before the dawn. 

The island soon became the scene of busy preparation. 
It was night, and innumerable lights flitted back and forth 
along the walks, and up and down the river. Voices in 
suppressed tones were heard uttering the words of com- 
mand, while the muffled oars of the* boatmen scarcely rip- 
pled the stream. The kitchen fire of the mansion reflected 
the shadowy outlines of bending forms, hurriedly engaged 
in running balls and folding cartridges. No longer the 
halls echoed the peal of merriment. No longer was heard 
the boisterous laugh, the piquant jest, and song of revelry. 
No longer the music of the violin inspired the dance. A 
new zeal had animated them ; the hour for action had ar- 



Digitized by 



Google 



174 THB BLENNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

rived ; and, as the curtain lifted on the scene, each man 
assumed his roll in this grand, imposing drama. Such 
was the celerity with which the stores were transported to 
the hoats, that, long before midnight, nothing remained 
to delay the embarkation of the new commander and his 
eager followers. 

But, of all that busy crowd, none were more active than 
Mrs. Blennerhassett. An inspired enthusiasm had seized 
upon her, and urged her forward to wonderful effort. She 
seemed indeed the ruling spirit of the occasion. As her 
sylph-like form glided gracefully through the various 
apartments, from kitchen to hall, and from parlor to 
chamber, tarrying a moment to direct a servant, or deliver 
a message from her husband, many paused from their oc- 
cupations, to catch a glimpse of the heroine of the expe- 
dition, and stood in wrapt admiration of her grace and 
energy. With her, the die had been cast, and on it de- 
pended her happiness or her ruin. To retreat, even if re- 
treat were possible, involved the loss of property, of social 
relation, and, above all, her own proud self-respect, which 
never yet had yielded to the temptations of fortune or the 
maledictions of envy. "Onward! onward!" she urged 
to the hesitating and doubting husband. "To the pla- 
teaux of the sunny South ; to the land of perennial ver- 
dure, where grow the citron and the olive, the orange and 
the pine apple ; to the land of gold ; to the Imperial City, 
the gay, the dlite, the dazzling empire of the new world." 
The prize was indeed a tempting one. But eight years 
previous, they had left the shores of England, as adven- 
turers in the forests of the Western world ; they were now 
soon to return, not as private personages, but to the Court 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE E8CAPADB. IJJ 

of St. James — Blennerhassett as the proud representative 
of that giant empire, sweeping in its mighty circumfer- 
ence over half of the continent, with its millions of sub- 
jects, and she as the heroine of the conquest, and the 
partner of his triumphs. " Go," she urged, " before the 
minions of the Government are upon you. Wait not for 
me and the children ; they dare not molest the mother and 
her innocents. We shall follow at a more opportune sea- 
son, and meet again beyond the powers which pursue." 

Calling her maids to her assistance, she busied herself 
in arranging such articles of clothing as might be needed 
by her husband before she could reach him, at the com- 
pletion of which nothing was found neglected which could 
contribute to his health or administer to his comfort. 

As the last trunk left the hall, the clock announced the 
hour of midnight — the eventful moment of departure. 
Blennerhassett, issuing from bis chamber, ordered all 
hands to the river. Drawing her robes about her, his wife 
placed her arm through his, and both proceeded to the 
boats in close consultation. A deep snow lay upon the 
ground. The winds, sweeping the long reaches of the 
river, sighed among the leafless branches. It was pene- 
tratingly cold. On the beach, near the stream, a large fire 
curled its flames into the air, dissipating the immediate 
darkness, and painting spectral forms against the curtain 
of night still further beyond. Encircling this, Blenner- 
hassett and his companions held secret council preparatory 
to their final departure. Not the least among these was 
his anxious and hopeful wife. To elude pursuit and pass 
Gallipolis in safety was the subject under immediate dis- 
cussion. Nahum Bent was called forward and inquired ot^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



176 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPER8. 

whether he could not furnish horses for Tyler and Blen- 
nerhaasett, and, crossing the country by land, meet them 
somewhere in the vicinity of that place, that the two might 
thence proceed through Ohio and Kentucky, to the mouth 
of the Cumberland. But Bent had but one horse, though 
he thought another could be procured from a Belpr<5 
friend. lie was directed by Blennerhassett to visit Cap- 
tain Dana, and request the purchase or loan of one, and 
meet him above Gallipolis, where himself and Tyler would 
leave the boats, and, passing around the town, intercept 
them at a point below. 

Mrs. Blennerhassett suggested that less inconvenience 
would be occasioned by taking a canoe, which lay adja- 
cent, and on their approach to the town, the two should 
leave the boats, and floating leisurely by in an open vessel, 
used only for short voyages, would awaken no suspicion 
on the part of those who had been set to watch. As 
Blennerhassett was proceeding to give further directions, 
the company were suddenly startled by the abrupt intru- 
sion of an officer, who, attracted by the light, had been 
watching their movements during the night. Stepping 
forward to Blennerhassett, he clapped his hand upon his 
shoulder and exclaimed : 

" I arrest you, Harman Blennerhassett, in the name and 
by the authority of the State of Ohio ! " 

Instantly the muzzles of seven or eight muskets were 
leveled at the intruder's breast, and the sharp click of their 
locks sent a thrill of indescribable sensation through every 
nerve. Apprehending fully the danger of his situation, 
General Tupper, as they now distinguished him to be, 
cried out : 



Digitized by 



Google 



COL. PHELPS. 177 

" Forbear, men ! Forbear ! Would you act bo rashly ? " 

" By the gods ! " exclaimed one, " we will protect our- 
selves, at all hazards, from an arrest. If in doing so it 
should become necessary to use our arms, we shall not 
hesitate to shoot, not only you," he added, "but all 
others who may interfere." 

The General, finding resistance had been determined 
on, and that his own person was in imminent peril, 
endeavored to persuade Blennerhassett to reconsider his 
resolution of departure, surrender himself to the Govern- 
ment, and stand his trial, assuring him that it would 
satisfy the public indignation and curiosity, and result in 
no particular inconvenience to himself. 

Finding, however, that he was deaf to entreaty, and 
was fully resolved and settled in his purpose, Tupper 
bade him and the party adieu, and wished them a safe 
escape down the river, and a fortunate adventure. 

The conference thus abruptly ended, Blennerhassett, 
bidding his wife an affectionate farewell, with directions 
to follow as soon as her convenience would permit, em- 
barked on board, and unmooring the boats, floated down 
the stream.* 

In thus abandoning the partner of his bosom, with her 
helpless and defenseless household, Blennerhassett had 
not mistaken the character of the individual who, he 
rightly presumed, was soon to take charge of his man- 
sion. From intimate association with the man, he knew 
that innocence and feebleness would ever be sacredly 
regarded by Col. Phelps ; that, while duty to the calls 



* Albright' e Evidence on the Trial of Burr. 
12 



Digitized by 



Google 



178 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

of his country compelled him to exercise the functions 
of his office, and that, too, in defeating the plans of his 
most intimate friend and associate, that power would be 
exerted with the strictest adherence to the laws of hu- 
manity and the highest sentiments of honor ; that while 
no menaces would deter him from the disagreeable duty 
imposed, no act of wanton violence should stain the 
honor of the friend. 

On the succeeding morning, Col. Phelps, with a small 
body of men, proceeded to the island. They found it 
deserted by its proprietor. Inquiries were made among 
the servants, who informed them of the circumstances 
of the preceding evening ; adding, that Mrs. Blennerhas- 
sett was then on her way to Marietta, to secure, if possi- 
ble, the boat originally intended for the conveyance of 
Blennerhassett and his family to the Washita. 

Leaving the greater portion of his men in possession 
of the premises, Col. Phelps started across the country to 
intercept the descending boats, at the mouth of the Great 
Kanawha. None having passed, during the previous day, 
answering to the description of those of which he was 
in pursuit, Col. Phelps informed the citizens of his de- 
signs, and procured a party to watch the river that 
night. Accordingly, a large fire was built upon the bank, 
around which the watch attempted to keep their mid- 
night vigils. Following that ancient custom of "keep- 
ing the spirits up by pouring spirits down" — like the 
model " officer," who was enamored of the " landlady of 
France " — they soon became oblivious to military duty, 
and reckless of the consequences to result from their in- 
attention. Taking advantage of the darkness of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



ALL AFLOAT. 179 

night, Blennerhassett glided silently by, without disturb- 
ing the slumbers of the guard, and, before the early 
dawn, was many miles beyond his discomfited pursuers. 
At the mouth of the Cumberland, he joined the flotilla 
of Burr, which was then awaiting accessions both from 
that river and the Ohio. 

Xot apprised, until late, that boats were being con- 
structed on the Cumberland, the effect of the President's 
.proclamation had been trusted to, for some time, in the 
State of Tennessee ; but, on the 19th of December, simi- 
lar communications and instructions with those of the 
neighboring States, were dispatched, by express, to the 
Governor, and a general officer of the western division 
of the State ; and, on the 23d, Graham, the agent, left 
Frankfort for Nashville, to put into activity the means 
of that State also. Burr, however, had been too prompt 
in his movements for the agents of the Government. 
On the 22d of the same month, he had descended the 
Cumberland, with two boats laden with provision and a 
fow additional forces. 

The Governor of Kentucky, after the arrest and dis- 
charge of Burr, hearing of his arrival at the mouth of the 
Cumberland, with a flotilla of numerous vessels, and that 
he was there congregating his forces, ordered out the 
militia for his arrest; but Burr, anticipating the move- 
ment, slipped his moorings and proceeded on. 

The flotilla now consisted of four boats under command 
of Tyler, two under Burr, two under Floyd, one under 
Ellis, one under Blennerhassett, and a commissary boat 
under Dean. 

On the evening of the twentyi-ninth, Burr stopped a 



Digitized by 



Google 



180 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

short distance below Fort Massac, then under the com- 
mand of Capt. Bissell. The following morning, he was 
visited by that officer, who gave him a polite invitation to 
visit the fort and partake of its hospitalities. It is due to 
Capt. Bissell to state, (although the evidence on this point 
is conflicting,) that he was, at that time, without any in- 
structions from the Government. He remarks, that he 
had learned, unofficially, of Burr's arrest and acquittal in 
Kentucky ; hence, he concluded, that his mission was one 
of peace, and for the purpose, ostensibly held out, " of 
colonizing the Bastrop lands." He furnished Burr with a 
messenger, to convey a communication to the lead mines 
in .Missouri, as well as one or two men for his enterprise, 
and a small quantity of provision ; the latter, however, 
Bissell asserts, was sent by his wife, who was an early 
acquaintance of Burr, and who returned it, in compliment 
for a barrel of apples which Burr had forwarded to her. 

On the evening of the third of January, 1807, Burr, 
with one boat, landed at Chickasaw Bluffs, a military sta- 
tion at that time commanded by Lieut. Jacob Jackson. 
He immediately dispatched a messenger to the commander 
of the fort, to inquire if quarters could be furnished him 
during the night, who shortly returned with an affirmative 
answer. The following morning, he had an interview 
with Jackson, on the sulgect of the expedition, in which 
he stated that he was going on a project of which many 
wished to know, but, from their inquisitiveness, he was 
not disposed to gratify them, but assured him that it was 
an enterprise which would be honorable to him, Jackson, 
and would be the making of those who should follow 
him, provided they survived the undertaking. Every ar- 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE PRESIDENT'S LETTER. 181 

gument was resorted to, to shake the fidelity of that 
young officer, to his country, and prevail on him to join 
the expedition, with the whole of the forces under his 
command. To the ardent and enthusiastic mind of youth, 
panting for scenes of glory and distinction, his offers of 
fame and emolument were truly tempting; particularly as 
they were enforced by the sophistical reasoning of that 
astute and experienced diplomatist. But, to his honor, 
and to the honor of American youths, particularly Ameri- 
can officers, he foiled the attempts of the seducer, and 
came off moral victor in the attack. While in the service 
of his country, no offer of wealth, or place, or power, 
could decoy him from the path of rectitude. The Govern- 
ment had confided the command of that fort to his 
youthful hands, and so long as he retained that trust, his 
best energies should be exerted to preserve it with fidelity 
and honor. 

On the 3d of January, 1807, the President dispatched 
the following communication to Gen. Wilkinson: — "I 
had yesterday intended to recommend, to Gen. Dearborn, 
the writing to you weekly, by post, to convey informa- 
tion of our affairs in the West, as long as they are inter- 
esting ; because it is possible, though not probable, you 
might sometimes get the information quicker this way 
than down the river ; but the General received, yesterday, 
information of the death of his son in the East Indies, 
and, of course, can not now attend to business. I, there- 
fore, write you a hasty line, for the present week, and 
send it in duplicate by the Athens and Nashville route. 

" The information in the inclosed paper, as to the pro- 
ceedings in the State of Ohio, is correct. Blennerhassett's 



Digitized by 



Google 



182 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

flotilla, of fifteen boats and two hundred barrels of 
provisions, is seized, and there can be no doubt that 
Tyler's flotilla is also taken ; because, on the 17th of De- 
cember, we know there was a sufficient force assembled 
at Cincinnati to intercept it there, and another party was 
in pursuit of it on the river above. We are assured that 
these two flotillas composed the whole of the boats pro- 
vided. Blennerhassett and Tyler had fled down the 
river. I do not believe that the number of persons en- 
gaged for Burr has ever amounted to five hundred; 
though some have carried them to one thousand or 
fifteen hundred. A part of these were engaged as set- 
tlers of Bastrop's land, but the greater part were engaged 
under the express assurance that the projected enterprise 
was against Mexico, and secretly authorized by this Gov- 
ernment Many expressly enlisted in the name <of the 
United States. The proclamation, which reached Pitts- 
burgh, December 2d, and other parts of the river suc- 
cessively, undeceived both these classes, and, of course, 
drew them off; and I have never seen any proof of their 
having assembled more than forty men, in two boats, 
from Beaver, fifty in Tyler's flotilla, and the boatmen of 
Blennerhassett. I believe, therefore, that the enterprise 
may be considered as crushed ; but we are not to relax in 
our attentions until we hear what has passed at Louis- 
ville. If every thing, from that place upward, be suc- 
cessfully arrested, there is nothing from below that [is] 
to be feared. Be assured that Tennessee, and particu- 
larly General Jackson, is faithful. The orders lodged 
at Massac and the Chickasaw Bluffs, will probably secure 
the interception of such fugitives from justice as may 



Digitized by 



Google 



PRECAUTION. 188 

escape at Louisville ; so that I think you will never see 
one of them. Still, I would not wish, till we hear from 
Louisville, that this information should relax your prepa- 
rations in the least, except as far as to dispense with the 
militia of Mississippi and Orleans, leaving their homes, 
under our orders of November 25th. Oiily let them con- 
sider themselves under requisition ; and be in a state of 
readiness, should any force, too great for your regulars, 
escape down the river. You will have been sensible that 
those orders were given while we supposed you were 
on the Sabine, and the supposed crisis did not admit 
the formality of their being passed by you. We con- 
sidered Fort Adams as the place to make a stand, be- 
cause it covered the mouth of Red river. You have 
preferred New Orleans, on the apprehension of a fleet 
from the West Indies. Be assured, there is not any 
foundation for such an expectation, but the lying exag- 
gerations of these traitors to impose on others and swell 
their pretended means. The very man whom they 
reported to you as having gone to Jamaica and to 
bring the fleet, has never been from home, and has 
regularly communicated to me every thing which had 
passed between Burr and him. France or Spain would 
not send a fleet to take Vera Cruz; and, though one 
of the expeditions, now near arriving from England, is 
probably for Vera Cruz, and perhaps already there, yet 
the state of things between us renders it impossible 
they should countenance an enterprise unauthorized by 
us. Still, I repeat, that these grounds of security must 
not stop our proceedings or preparations until they are 
further confirmed. Go* on, therefore, with your works 



Digitized by 



Google 



184 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

for the defense of New Orleans, because they will always 
be useful, only looking to what should be permanent 
rather than means merely temporary. Tou may expect 
further information as we receive it; and, though I 
expect it will be such as will place us at our ease, yet 
we must not place ourselves so, until we be certain, but 
act on the possibility that the resources of our enemy 
may be greater and deeper than we are yet informed. 

"Tour two confidential messengers delivered their 
charges safely. One arrived yesterday only, with your 
letter of November 12th. The oral communications he 
made me are truly important. I beseech you, take the 
most special care of the two letters which he mentioned 
to me — the one in cypher, the other from another con- 
spirator of high standing — and send them to me by the 
first conveyance you can trust. It is necessary that all 
important testimony should be brought to one center, in 
order that the guilty may be convicted and the innocent 
left untroubled." 

On the 5th of January, having supplied himself with 
thirty pounds of lead and three dozen tomahawks, to- 
gether with other articles, Burr proceeded down to 
Palmyra, and thence to Bayou Pierre. 

Note. — The following is a Journal of Blennerhassett's Voyagb 
down the river: 

16*A December. — Tuesday, we left Jeffersonville ; crossed the falls; 
nothing extra; all our boats crossed safe. 

17 th. — Pursued our journey at twelve o'clock at night; landed at Salt 
river; took in seven hands; stopped some time; and started again at four 
o'clock in the morning. About ten o'clock, A. M., parted with Colonel 
Tyler, and four keel-boats left us. We had a very bad night, occasioned 
by heavy rain, which continued until morning. 



Digitized by 



Google 



VOYAGE DOWN. 185 

18th. — Nothing remarkable; passed Anderson's river at thirty-five min- 
utes past two o'clock, A. M. ; passed one of the keel-boats at twelve o'clock 
at night. 

19dL— Passed French Island at half-past nine, A. M. ; passed Green river 
at half-past eleven, A. M. About one, P. M., had some trouble about a canoe, 
which some of our hands, being ashore after wood, had taken away. The 
owner followed ; we had to pay him two dollars, and give up the canoe. 
Nothing more worth notice, until we arrived at Red Bank, then about sun- 
down ; found it to be a place of small note ; there we remained two hours, 
and proceeding, passed Diamond Island about twelve o'clock at night. 

20th. — About five, P. M., met with some difficulties among some sawyers, 
which is a term given by boatmen to old trees, which settle in the river, 
and which rise and fall by the rapidity of the current. They are often 
dangerous, and sometimes fatal. Immediately after disengaging our 
boats from the difficulty, we were prevented from proceeding by a ledge 
of rocks; with much hazard we cleared ourselves about seven; passed 
Highland Creek, where Btands a town of small note, entirely inhabited 
by Roman Catholics. At half-past nine passed the Wabash river, came 
up with Colonel Tyler and his boats. In the forks of the Ohio and 
Wabash, stand a few houses, but of no consequence. The latter river 
here is of considerable magnitude, and runs into the Ohio, opposite the 
center of an island, which takes its name from the river. The Ohio, here, 
has a beautiful appearance, interspersed with handsome plantations along 
its banks. Four miles below the mouth of the Wabash, there is a large 
island, the name unknown to us. At half-past twelve, P. M., arrived at 
Shawneetown : this is a place of deposit for the salt, made at the saline, 
but of no other importance, being a place of no trade. 

2Ut. — Nothing remarkable. 

22<Z. — Nothing in the course of the day, but had a very wet night. 

28£ — A beautiful day ; nothing extra. 

24th. — Very windy ; repaired our boats, they being very leaky in the 
roofs. At eleven o'clock, P.'M., an express arrived from Colonel Burr 
informing us of his intentions to meet us at Cumberland river; likewise 
orders for us to proceed; but we were prevented by high winds, so 
remained that night. 

Burr to BlennerJuutett. 

Near Nashville, Dec. 20, 1806. 
My young friend Stokely Hays, the son of a respectable old revolution- 
ary officer, will hand you this, and will bring me your reply. I have 
experienced distressing delays ; but shall be at the mouth of the Cumber- 
land on the 23d, Sunday. Please to repair thither. Enter on the east 
(upper) side of the island, which lies in the mouth of the river. 

I anticipate impatiently the pleasure of meeting you. 

A. BURR, 
H. Blennebhasbett, Esq. 



Digitized by 



Google 



186 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

25th. — Left Shawneetown at eight o'clock, A.M.; the wind fresh and 
ahead. Passed an island, name unknown to us. This day the wind blew 
so hard, that our boats were totally separated ; with much difficulty our 
boat reached the Kentucky shore, after riding a tremendous swell; re- 
mained until sundown, and then proceeded on to join the rest of our 
company, who were in the same dilemma, being obliged to put in on the 
Indiana shore. 

26**.— About five o'clock, A. M., one of Mr. Blennerhassett's boats joined 
us, being one of fifteen 'that were stopped at Marietta. At half-past seven 
o'clock passed the Rock and Cave ; went ashore and viewed it ; found no 
curiosities, more than a hollow cavern. Passed Hurricane Island and Creek 
at half-past ten o'clock ; passed Clover Creek, eleven o'clock, on the In- 
diana side ; passed the Copperas Banks at half-past three, P. M., Indiana 
shore. 

27M.— Arrived at Cumberland river, at half-past , A.M.; joined 

Col. Burr, at the above place. The day was very stormy, and put our lit- 
tle fleet to considerable trouble. 

Burr to Blmnerkassett. 

Sunday Evening. 
It is said that you have landed a mile below. We must all be stationary 
till morning. Send to me by return of this boat, Mr. Hays, with five 
hundred in twenty post notes, and fifty dollars in silver. 

We will endeavor to start all the heavy boats at an early hour in the 
morning : those below are to wait till those above shall come down. A 
gun will be fired as a signal for moving. 
All is well, very well, at this garrison. 

Your friend, 

A. BURR. 
P. S. — Mr. Elliot has handed me some money. The silver is necessary, 
if it can be come at, and about three hundred dollars of paper. Hays 
need not come. 

2Sth. — This day a boat joined us from Cumberland river, with Cols. 
Burr, Harris, etc., on board. Pushed off on our journey, and landed on 
the Kentucky shore eight miles distant from the above place. In conse- 
quence of high wincls, we landed about eight o'clock, P. M. 

29tk. — This day pushed off at eight o'clock, A. M.; wind ahead and 
strong; obliged to land immediately opposite the mouth of Tennessee 
river, where we lay by for several hours ; pushed off again at sundown, 
and passed Fort Massac at half-past eleven, P. M., and landed one mile 
below. 

ZOth. — Pushed off at five o'clock, A. M. ; pleasant weather; came into 
the Mississippi at half-past three o'clock ; passed the Iron Banks at half- 
past eight o'clock, and passed the Chalk Banks at half-past nine, A. M. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JOUBNAL CONTINUED. 187 

Sl$L — Pleasant weather; nothing happened worth notice. Landed, at 
sundown, on the Louisiana shore. 

January lit. — This day landed at New Madrid, at nine o'clock, A. M.; 
remained about three hours, and left one of our hands, Major G. Wood, 
behind with a canoe, in order to engage some men that purposed coming 
on with us. This evening on coming ashore, owing to our being in rear 
of the fleet, and going after dark, our boat ran aground, but got off with 
some difficulty, and effected a good landing in a short time. 

2d. — Pushed off this day at four o'clock, A. M. ; passed the little prairie 
at eight o'clock ; fine weather ; landed at five o'clock at the Little Horse-shoe. 

3d. — Pushed off this day about five, A. M. ; passed a number of islands ; 
saw no inhabitants. I believe the whole of the fleet, our boat only ex- 
cepted, got into an eddy ; we escaped only, and by our timely exertions 
gained the opposite side of the island and river, say the right hand side ; 
the rest put ashore. Although contrary to Colonel Burr's orders, we alone 
pushed on. 

4th. — This day at seven, A. M., we landed at the Chiokasaw Bluff, where 
there is an American garrison, commanded by Lieut. Jackson. 

6th. — This day at six o'clock, A. M., left this place, and floated all day, 
and landed at nine, P. M., on an island, in consequence of a very high 
wind ; pushed off again at eleven o'clock. 

StA. — Floated all day j nothing extra. 

1th.— Do. 

8th.— Do. 

9th. — Floated all day, until two o'clock, P. M. ; landed to wait for Col. 
Burr; got some wood; perceived the sign of horses, but no inhabitants 
any where to be found ; pushed off again at three o'clock, being joined by 
the Colonel and his boats; floated all night through a very dangerous 
navigation ; about eight o'clock one of Col. Tyler's boats being lashed to a 
flat, and striking against a sawyer, was broken loose, in consequence of 
which Capt. Dean's boat stopped, and dispatched a keel-boat in search of 
the one lost. Major Floyd's boat put ashore, in consequence of being de- 
terred by a sudden squall of wind, which arose about eight o'clock ; the 
rest of the boats proceeded. 

10tk— At four o'clock, A. M., got into an eddy; could not get out, the 
night being very dark ; stayed until daylight appeared - r then got out, and 
came up with Col. Burr's two boats, namely, the boat he lived in, and one 
that had horses ; they gave us a signal for landing, with which we complied, 
and effected a landing in the Mississippi Territory. About twelve o'clock 
thiB day, Col. Burr pushed down the river with a bateau and twelve men, 
and appointed to meet us again at Bayou Pierre ; passed Palmyra at half- 
past one o'clock'; passed several islands, and landed about fifteen miles 
below. 

llth.— This day pushed off at eight, A. M, and landed at Bayou Pierre 
at four o'clock, P. M.; joined Col. Burr and party; had some intention of 



Digitized by 



Google 



188 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

staying at this place some time, but were prevented by a rumor spreading 
in the country of our intentions being hostile, in consequence of which a 
party of militia came and stationed themselves in the woods, some dis- 
tance from our boats, with an intention to stop us the next morning. 
We being apprised of their intentions, pushed off in the night, and landed 
four miles below, on the Louisiana shore. 

12tk— This day were visited by Col. and some of his dragoons; 

talked with Col. Burr respecting his business, and went away well satis- 
fied. This day Major Floyd joined us from Natchez. 

ISth. — This day were visited by Col. Fitipatrick and some of his dra- 
goons; we brought them over the river; talked with Col. Burr, and 
seemed well pleased. Col. Fitzpatrick brought with him about sixty men, 
all armed, in order to stop us ; but on hearing our business, he sent the 
men home, and left us quietly. 

14th. — Visited by several militia officers. 

16th. — Visited by Col. Shields, Gov. Williams's aide-de-camp, who con- 
versed with Col. Burr, and appointed a meeting between him and the 
Governor, and then departed. 

17 {h. — This day Col. Burr started, agreeably to his appointment, to meet 
the Governor at the mouth of Cole's Creek, with several gentlemen with him. 
This day was remarkable for a heavy fall of snow, perhaps fflur inches deep. 

ISth. — The water falling rapidly, we thought it prudent to remove from 
our situation ; and, agreeably to the orders of Mr. Blennerhassett, two of 
our boats moved down the river about a mile, being afraid of being blocked 
in by a bar that was outside of the creek, where we then lay. 

19 th. — This day Col. Fitzpatrick, with some other officers, came on board, 
and took an inventory of all the stores and property we had on board ; 
we then pushed off, but were immediately challenged by a Major Flaharty, 
with about thirty armed men, in a keel-boat, who ordered ub to put on 
shore. Being told that his Colonel was in the rear, and that it was by his 
sanction we put off, he left, and troubled us no more. That night we put 
on shore at the Petit Gulf, on the Louisiana side; Major Flaharty and 
party immediately opposite, on the other side. 

20th. — This day, about ten o'clock, in consequence of a very bad land- 
ing, we thought proper to remove our boats up the river, which we effected. 
This day several boats trading to New Orleans were stopped by Major 
Flaharty and party, examined, and permitted to proceed. 

{The rest of this Journal is in the handtoritiny of Harmon Blennerhastett.] 

In the evening the Major visited H. B. ; professed friendly intentions, 
and a determination to join us, with the greater part of his regiment. 

2Ut. — We received news of the approach of a Capt. Davison, with a party 
of horBe, coming, under the orders of Col. Fitzpatrick, to search for concealed 
arms, supposed to have been secreted in the brush ; during the night a party 
was sent out by to obviate effectually the success of the design. 



Digitized by 



Google 



JOURNAL, CONTINUED. 189 

22d. — This morning an altercation took place between Majors Floyd and 
Flaharty, which induced the former to address a letter to the latter in a 
sort of defiance. This measure haying been taken without my approba- 
tion, I informed Major Floyd I would not co-operate with him in any acts 
he should enter into upon his letter or motives, but should, by myself and 
my party, resist such conduct on the part of Major Flaharty as I should 
deem improper, or as occasion required. Major Floyd, I believe, appre- 
hending no attack or removal of our boats from their present station, 
seemed to yield to my observation, and in the morning made a visit to 
Major Flaharty, to engage with him in a shooting-match. On his return 
to the boats, he informed me that Major Flaharty, this evening, expected 
fresh orders from the Government, to enable him to move our boats down 
to Cole's Creek. Eleven o'clock at night, there were several shot fired 
from Major Flaharty' s party on boats passing by to bring them to, but 
without effect. Damage to the boats or their men unknown. This morn- 
ing Col. Comfort Tyler was taken from his boats, by an escort of the 
militia, to appear before the Governor at Washington, the seat of the Ter- 
ritorial Government, about thirty miles from our station. The officer, 
Capt. Davison, who made the requisition to Col. Tyler, observed to him 
that he had no warrant. Col. Tyler agreed to the Governor's wishes with- 
out that requisite. This day Major Flaharty, who can neither read or 
write, and is not a magistrate, informed me that he had taken and for- 
warded to the Governor the affidavit of a man, who deposed before him, 
that he had seen, fifty miles above our present position in the Petit Gulf, 
thirteen of Col. Burr's boats containing arms and ammunition, with an 
unusual number of men. During several days past, some individuals of 
our party have been obliged, at Washington, to undergo examination, and 
enter into recognizance to testify, on the part of the United States, against 
A. B. at the next federal court, to be held on the first Monday in February. 

About ten o'clock this morning, Major Floyd communicated to me the 
following letter, received by Capt. Burney from Major Flaharty : 

January 28d, 1807. 
Sir : — Not wishing to go to rash measures, I have to inform you that I 
must comply with the orders of the commander-in-chief, if you keep your 
present position ; and, as I am certain that it can't be injurious to your- 
self nor any of the people with you, I wish you to move opposite the 
mouth of Cole's Creek, where the communication 4s more convenient for 
you and me. Tou mentioned in your letter to me, yesterday, that you did 
not wish to put the militia to any more trouble. Your compliance will save 
the march of two companies that are ready to join me, if called on. 
I am, with much esteem, 

Tours, etc., 

JACOB FLAHARTY, 
Ma job Floyd. Major, 2d Regiment, 



Digitized by 



Google 



190 THE BLBNKBRHA86BTT PAPERS. 

On perusal of the above letter, which Flaharty could not write, I ac- 
quainted Major Floyd that if it was worthy of credit in the intimation it 
held out of the orders of the commander-in-chief, and the truth of his 
menaced reinforcements of two companies, it might as well answer our 
present views and situation to comply as to adhere to the determination 
expressed yesterday, of maintaining our present position ; that, on the 
other hand, the Governor would be as responsible to us and the law for any 
impropriety of conduct toward us by the militia, as for any other acts of 
authority unduly exercised toward us. I therefore suggested to him the 
substance of the following letter in reply to Flaharty : 

Petit Gulf, January 2Za\ 1807. 
Sir : — Tour communication, by the hands of Capt. Burney, I just now 
had the honor of receiving. You mention your wish for us to move to the 
mouth of Cole's Creek ; the request I would take a pleasure in complying 
with, had not Col. Burr directed me to stay where we now are until his 
further commands. I do expect to have a messenger from Col. Burr to-day, 
perhaps time enough to move down this evening. At all events, we will 
determine, to-morrow morning (23d), what step will be proper for us to 
take. Report says, the officer commanding the district opposite you is 
determined to prevent the commanding officer of the Mississippi Territory 
from interfering with the jurisdiction of the Territory of Orleans. This 
report, if true, may be proper for you to be informed of. At all events, 
we are awaiting a legal investigation into our conduct; and I contend 
that, during that investigation, and while we are, properly speaking, in 
the hands of its authority, the military law has no right to interfere. I am, 

Respectfully, etc., 

DAVIS FLOYD. 
Major Flahartt. 

This letter, by means of the unfounded suggestion, submitted to Major 
Floyd, of the jealousy of the people on the Louisiana side, of any en- 
croachments on their jurisdiction, or by other matter it contained, pre- 
vented Flaharty from carrying his declarations into effect, if he really 
had authority under orders from the Governor so to do ; and he was re- 
moved from his post opposite to us the following morning (24th), on the 
arrival of Col. Fitzpatrick, who substituted only a party of ten men, under 
the command of Capt AbramB, with orders to board boats civilly, without 
firing upon them, and seise only such arms and ammunition as they might 
contain. Col. Burr, this day, returned to the boats from Washington, 
where he had remained since the 17th under a voluntary submission to the 
civil authority, which had been exacted of him at Cole's Creek, on his 
reception there on the 17th by Mead, at the head of five or six hundred 
of the militia, half armed and generally discontented, in disregard of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEMORALIZATION. 101 

connection that had been entered into by Mead and himself. The Acting- 
Governor, it now appeared, had threatened him with all the armed force of 
the country unless he submitted. No securities, however, were required 
for his appearance at the adjourned Federal Court, to be holden on the first 
Monday in February. His own single recognizance was taken, in the sum 

of dollars. Accordingly, his return to the boats was free. I Boon 

heard from him that Mr. Mead had received dispatches announcing the 
statements by Flaharty of what had passed between him and Major Floyd, 
which so exasperated the Governor, that he threatened to have Floyd 
brought to him in irons, but was induoed to retract his menaces on learn- 
ing Flaharty's character to be fraught with the utmost ignorance and 
assurance, while Major Floyd's temper was both mild and amiable. Col. 
Burr also acquainted me with the indignation the Federal Judge, Rodney, 
had expressed at the exercise of the military law over Col. Burr and his 
friends, both in the Mississippi and Orleans Territories ; the Judge assur- 
ing him, in opposition to the U. S. Attorney, Mr. Poindexter, that the civil 
authority of the Territory was competent to try him ; adding, at the same 
time, that if Wilkinson, or any other military force, should attempt to 
remove his person out of the Mississippi Territory, prior to his trial, he, 
the Judge, would again, as he expressed it, put on old " '76/' and march 
out in support of Col. Burr and the Constitution. This day, about three 
o'clock in the afternoon, my family arrived in the boat of Mr. Thomas 
Butler, who, having, on his way from Pittsburgh, called to take them on 
board at my house, on the Ohio, there underwent, with eight or ten other 
gentlemen, a captivity for three days, diversified in its scenes by a mock 
trial, in my hall, alternate insult and plunder, committed in common on 
them, my family and property, in a variety of particulars, for which I 
refer to Mr. Neville's journal. 

25th. — Nothing material occurred till eight o'clock at night, when we 
cast off to drop down about twenty-six miles, to Cole's Creek, opposite 
which we took another station on the Orleans shore. Here we remained, 
without any material prospect of a change in our affairs, till the 27th, when 
we heard that intelligence had reached Mississippi Territory that Col. B.'s 
drafts on New York had been protested, and that Gov. Williams, who had 
returned to resume the functions of his office in the Mississippi Territory, 
was reported to be friendly disposed toward us. Col. B. determined to 
visit the Governor, and set out next morning (28th) for that purpose, and 
to prepare, probably, for his trial on the following Monday. Reports now 
reached us of the near approach to Natchez of a division of nine or ten 
gun-boats, under the command of Commodore Shaw, bearing a special order 
from the " Secretary of the Navy " to take Col. Burr, or the next in com- 
mand under him, and to take or destroy all the boats under his command. 
By this time the effects of general disorder and want of regulation in the 
use or distribution of liquors and provisions, with a total disregard of all 
pretense at authority whenever attempted to be assumed by superiors, 



Digitized by 



Google 



192 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

which had long since manifested themselves throughout all our numbers., 
now openly broke out among particular leaders, who even threatened to 
turn out of their boats the provisions, in payment for the demands of some 
of the men who had become discontented and threatened to leave us. 

29<A. — Nothing occurred till 2d of February, when the Court at Washing- 
ton had not that day charged the grand jury, who, of course, had not found 
any bill against Col. Burr, owing to objections, I suppose, made by the 
Attorney-General, to the jurisdiction of the Court over actions done by 
Col. Burr, without the limits of their Territory. Next day (Feb. 8d), 
Mr. N. brought me intelligence of the arrival of Graham at Washington, 
and of his having had an interview with Col. Burr. 



Digitized by 



Google 



YOUNG AMERICA. 198 



CHAPTER IX. 

Morgan Neville and William Robinson, jun., with a 
party of fourteen young men, early in December, em- 
barked from Pittsburgh, in a flat-boat Most of these 
were sons of gentlemen of affluence and ease, who knew 
but little of the realities of life, farther than was learned 
within the walls of an academy. 

They had proceeded down the river, as far as Parkers- 
burg, when their boat was driven on the shore by 
the ice during the night, and they were espied by the 
Wood county militia, and the whole party arrested as 
accomplices of Burr. 

With "savage magnificence," they were escorted to 
the island, to await the return of Col. Phelps, who was 
then absent, at Point Pleasant, in an ineffectual attempt 
to arrest Blennerhassett. Somewhat chagrined at their 
luckless adventure, so far, the young men endeavored to 
pass their time as pleasantly as possible, by ridiculing 
the militia, and threatening them with the strong arm 
of the law. 

But the intrepid captors were not to be deterred from 
duty. They parried the sarcasm of their adversaries, 
and occasionally retorted with considerable effect. The 
impertinence of the captives, at length, becoming insup- 
portable, three justices of the peace were sent for, to 
13 



Digitized by 



Google 



194 THE BLENNERHA6SETT PAPERS. 

institute an examination into the facts, to commit for 
further trial, or acquit, the young men, as the evidence 
might warrant. 

They were accordingly arraigned, and, after a fiill 
investigation of the facts, mostly upon the evidence of 
the young men themselves, the court acquitted them of 
all hostile designs against the United States. 

" During the trial, the mob-spirit of the militia began 
to run riot, and, by the time it was ended, all was con- 
fusion. The well-stored cellars of the mansion began to 
pour forth their riches ; drunkenness ensued ; fences 
were torn down, to pile upon the blazing fire of the sen- 
tinels ; the shrubbery was trampled under foot." 

In the midst of this scene of confusion, Mrs. Blenner- 
hassett returned from her unsuccessful visit to Marietta, 
whither she had gone to procure the family boat of 
Blennerhassett. A scene of such desolation and ruin 
of all that was fair and beautiful, and around which her 
young affections had clung with fond associations, was 
calculated to crush a heart whose native character was 
remarkable for its strong attachments to the objects of 
its love ; but she had long since resigned her beautiful 
abode, for the more tempting lands which her imagina- 
tion had dressed in fancy's brightest colors, where serener 
skies and gayer flowers " shed their mingled delights " 
over the perennial green of nature's bosom. The suc- 
cessful issue of the expedition was to her a matter of 
weightier moment than all other considerations; and, 
thus it was, she remained unmoved amid the general 
wreck of her fair possessions, by the ruthless mob. 



Digitized by 



Google 



COL. PHELPS. 



195 



Her situation, however, was one of painful embarrass- 
ment. Blennerhassett, having departed in haste, with- 
out making arrangements for her voyage, and the refusal 
of the authorities, at Marietta, to deliver her the boat, 
constructed for that especial purpose, left her, for a time, 
in almost hopeless despair of joining her husband at the 
appointed place* The weather had been intensely cold, 
and the fast-accumulating ice, in the Ohio, appeared to 
forbid a re-union with Blennerhassett until the following 
spring, when, in all probability, she could only find him 
in the Spanish dominions. It was, therefore, with feel- 
ings of mingled gratitude and pleasure that she accepted 
the proffer of a room in the boat of Thomas Butler, one 
of the young men, who promised to make the accommo- 
dations as comfortable to herself and children as the 
circumstances of her situation would permit. 

During the course of the evening, Col. Phelps returned 
from his tour across the country. In this unexpected 
arrival, the young men had new cause of anxiety and 
alarm. They had congratulated themselves upon their 
successful defeat of the functionaries of the law, which 
they attributed mainly to their superior tact in mystify 
ing their judges, and intimidating their accusers ; but 
here was one who could not be duped by sophistical 
reasoning, or swerved from his duty by the fear of con- 
sequences. Although dressed in the usual style of the 
backwoodsmen of that day, the careless manner in which 
he wore his garb added gracefulness to a form both 
attractive and commanding. They recognized in him, 
an individual of physical as well as intellectual superi 



Digitized by 



Google 



196 



THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 



ority, and therefore wisely concluded to assume a differ- 
ent bearing from that they before had observed toward 
their captore and judges.* 

In a thoughtful and classic attitude, he surveyed the 
destruction of the premises, and the evident marks of 
bacchanalian revelry which the party under his command 
had disgraced themselves; then, turning upon them a 
look of withering rebuke, he spoke in such terms of in- 
dignation as caused them to shrink with fear and trepi- . 
dation. " Shame ! men," he exclaimed ; " shame on such 
conduct! You have disgraced your district, and the 
cause in which you are concerned ! " 

To the party of strangers, however, he was courteous 
and attentive. They soon ascertained that they had no 
cause to apprehend the frustration of their plans by Col. 
Phelps ; indeed, so far from that, he willingly acceded to 
their wishes, in permitting the departure of Mrs. Blen- 
nerhassett, and proffered his services, in accelerating her 
arrangements to go to her husband, who, he said, he 
knew could never return to her. To Mrs. Blennerhassett 
he expressed his deep sense of mortification, for the riot- 



* The following anecdote of him, related by General Cass, in his work 
styled " France, its King, Court and Government," is perfectly character- 
istic. He say 8 : 

" I recollect a similar incident, which took plaoe in a small Tillage upon 
the banks of the Ohio. The court was in session, and the presiding officer 

was a Colonel P , a man of great resolution, and of herculean frame. 

A person entered the court cabin, and, by his noise, put a stop to the pro- 
ceedings. He was ordered out, and the sheriff attempted to remove him : 
but he put himself upon his reserved right*, and made such a vigorous re- 
sistance that the officer retired from the contest. Colonel P— , there- 
upon, descended from the bench, coolly took off his coat, gave the 
brawler a severe beating, and, after putting him out of his house, resumed 
his garment and' his seat, and continued his judicial functions. 11 



Digitized by 



Google 



DESERTION. 107 

oufl acts of his misguided men, and assured her, of what 
she was already aware, that if he had been present, the 
shameful act would not have occurred. 

" Early next morning, Mrs. Blennerhassett commenced 
her preparations for a final farewell of the island Eden, 
where, for eight years, she had been the presiding genius. 
Her energy and zeal were such, that, in a few hours, she 
took possession of the humble chamber prepared for her 
in the boat, and, by the assistance of Col. Phelps, who 
rivaled the young men in courtesy, the necessary stores 
and furniture were embarked. On the 17th day of De- 
cember, the boat swung from the shore, lashed to another 
of the same class, belonging to A. W. Putnam, of Belprfi." 

In the latter part of December, they passed the mouth 
of the Cumberland, where it was expected she would join 
her husband; but, as we before have shown, he had 
passed out of the Ohio into the waters of the rapid Mis- 
sissippi, and moored at the entrance of Bayou Pierre. 
Early in January, she was restored, with her children, to 
Blennerhassett, who received them with that deep-felt 
affection which a parent and husband can only appreciate. 

The situation of Burr and Blennerhassett had now 
become one of painful anxiety. It was evident, from 
surrounding circumstances, that the strong hands of the 
general and State governments had become too powerful 
for the small forces under their command. Burr saw that 
he was the "victim of bad faith." Those who had 
favored the enterprise at first, and gave him to understand 
that their aid could be relied on, abandoned their designs, 
upon the issuing of the President's proclamation. The 
authorities of the States and Territories bordering on the 



Digitized by 



Google 



198 THE BLEXNERHASBETT PAPERS. 

Ohio and Mississippi rivers had ordered out the militia, 
for the apprehension of the parties ; and; from Pittsburgh 
to the Gulf, the most rigid measures had been adopted, to 
give an effectual check to the further progress of the 
expedition. 

As for Blennerhassett, his situation was cheerless in 
the extreme. For Burr, had he abandoned his home with 
all its endearments, his books, his studies, his property, 
and, withal, was deeply involved for debts contracted for 
the enterprise. As if the furies were not yet satiated in 
their revenge, he was hunted and pursued, as a malefac- 
tor, and momentarily expected the chilling touch of the 
officer of the law, to summon him to justice. 

On a dark and dreary night, in the month of January, 
as the flotilla pushed slowly from the landing at Petit 
Gulf, might have been observed the master-spirit of the 
expedition, seated on a rough stool, in the inclement 
cabin of a flat-boat, lighted only by the cheerless rays of 
a solitary candle, and the decaying embers of a rudely- 
constructed fireplace. With his face buried in his hands, 
while his elbows rested on a table of unplaned boards, he 
who had heretofore braved the disappointments which 
had attended his undertaking, with a fortitude that 
Astonished, while it gave confidence to, his followers, 
now sat gloomy and dejected. Upon what he mused is 
beyond human ken; but, starting suddenly from his 
revery, he caught up an axe, and directed his attendant 
to make an opening in the side of the boat. Through 
this, in the silence of the night, when he supposed there 
was none to witness, the chests of arms for the expedition 
were silently sunk beneath the waters of the Mississippi. 



Digitized by 



Google 



POINDBXTER. 199 



CHAPTER X. 

Cowlbs Mead, secretary of the Mississippi Territory, 
performing the duties of Governor, had, on the third day 
of December, 1806, issued his proclamation for the arrest 
of " the Burr conspirators ; " and, at the same time, call- 
ing on the officers of the Government to take the oath 
of fidelity to the United States. To this proclamation, 
Burr, on the 12th of January, 1807, replied in a letter of 
some length, in which he disavowed any designs hostile 
to the tranquillity of the country, stating that his only 
object was a peaceable settlement of the lands of his new 
purchase. "If the alarm which has been excited," he 
remarks, " should not be appeased by this declaration, I 
invite my fellow-citizens to visit me at this place (Bayou 
Pierre), and to re<5eive from me, in person, such further 
explanations as may be necessary to their satisfaction, 
presuming that when my views are understood, they will 
receive the countenance of all good men." This letter, 
he requested, might be read to the militia, who, he under- 
stood, were assembled for his arrest. 

Having moved his boats to the western margin of the 
Mississippi river, a short distance below Bayou Pierre, he 
was visited by George Poindexter, Esq., the Attorney 
General of the Territory, who had been appointed by 
Mead as an honorary ald-de-camp for the arrest of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



200 THE BLBNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

parties. The object of this visit was to gain correct in- 
formation as to the situation of Burr ; to ascertain his 
views, so far as they might be communicated; and to 
procure his peaceful surrender to the civil authorities. 

Major Shields, who accompanied Poindexter, delivered 
to Burr the following letter from the Acting-Governor : 

Washington, January 16th, 1807, 

Sir : — Your approach to this country has excited not 
only the apprehensions of the General Government, but 
alarmed, in a high degree, the good citizens of this Ter- 
ritory. From these causes I have ordered my militia to 
rendezvous at such places as will enable them to guard 
this Territory against any design inimical to this govern- 
ment; but having heard, through Col. Waldridge, that 
you profess perfect innocence of the views charged to 
you, I have thought proper to send to you a confidential 
aid-de-camp, to receive from you such information on 
this subject as you may please to make. He will com- 
municate freely with you, and you may implicitly confide 
in every assurance which he may make in my name. I 
haye the honor to be, 

Your humble servant, 

Cowles Mead. 
To Col. A. Burr. 

P. S. The gentleman attending Major Shields, is an 
honorary aid, and one who likewise possesses my fullest 
confidence. Mr. Poindexter, though a high civil officer, 
visits you as my aid. Yours, etc., 

Cowles Mead. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SURRENDER. 201 

Thef sentence relating to guarding the Territory against 
any designs inimical to the Government, Burr repeated 
with a sneer, adding that he had no intention to injure 
the citizens of the United States, " As to any projects 
or plans," he continued, " which may have been formed 
between General Wilkinson and myself, heretofore, they 
are now completely frustrated by the perfidious conduct 
of Wilkinson ; and the world must pronounce him a per- 
fidious villain. If I am sacrificed, my portfolio will prove 
him to be such." He stated further, that, so far from 
having any designs hostile to the citizens of the United 
States, he intended to have met Mr. Mead, at Port Gib* 
son, on the day of the general muster, which happened 
at that place about the time of his arrival at Bayou 
Pierre; but was deterred from so doing, by the belief 
that he would be assassinated, if seen passing through 
the Territory. 

Mr. Poindexter then requested him to surrender him- 
self peaceably to the fcivil authorities ; stating that, un- 
less he did, the Governor would certainly arrest him by 
force. Burr declared his willingness at all times to sub- 
mit, and proposed that an interview should take place 
between himself and the Acting-Governor, at some con- 
venient place, on the next day ; claiming protection from 
personal violence in the mean time. 

Stipulations were entered into, by which it was agreed 
that Burr should be returned to his boats, if Mead should 
not accept of his surrender ; that his flotilla should re- 
main in the position it then occupied, until after the pro- 
posed interview should have taken place ; and that, in 



Digitized by 



Google 



202 THE BLENNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

the mean while, his men should commit no breach of the 
peace, or violate any law of the United States or Missis- 
sippi Territory. The place designated for the conference 
was the house of Thomas Calvert, a respectable citizen 
of the Territory, who resided near the mouth of Cole's 
Creek, where the detachment of militia which descended 
the river was stationed. 

Burr, accordingly, on the seventeenth day of January, 
dropped down the river as far as Thomas Calvert's, ac- 
companied by Col. Fitzpatrick, who directed him to be 
taken in charge by Captain Davidson's company of dra- 
goons. Here he was joined, according to appointment, 
by Mead ; when further stipulations were required as to 
the terms of his surrender. These were, first, that the 
agreement entered into, for the purpose of procuring that 
interview, should be declared void. Secondly, that Burr 
should give himself up, unconditionally, to the civil 
authority. And, thirdly, that his boats should be searched, 
and all military stores and apparatus found on board be 
disposed of, as the Executive should think fit. 

To these terms, the Acting-Governor required Burr's 
unequivocal reply, in fifteen minutes; and, if not agreed 
to, he was to be instantly returned to his boats, and the 
militia ordered to seize the whole party by force. 

As there was no chance of escape, the conditions were 
accepted of and carried into effect. Burr declared his 
unwillingness to fall into the hands of Wilkinson, and 
requested, if any attempt should be made to arrest him 
by a military force from New Orleans, that it might be 
opposed. He was conducted to the town of Washington, 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE JURY. 203 

where he was delivered over to the custody of the law, 
and the examination of the witnesses immediately com- 
menced before Judge Rodney. 

Mr. Poindexter was called on, in his official capacity as 
attorney-general, to give his written opinion as to the 
course which ought to be pursued. He, accordingly, fur- 
nished an able argument against any attempt to try the 
accused in the courts of the Territory. He stated that 
they had no evidence to convict him of any offense com- 
mitted in Mississippi ; that the Supreme Court of the 
Territory, to which a jury was about to be summoned, 
had no original jurisdiction of any prosecution, and could 
only take cognizance of law reserved at the trial in the 
Circuit Court. It was his opinion, therefore, that Burr 
should be sent to the city of Washington, where the Su- 
preme Court of the United States would be in session ; 
and the judges, attending from every part of the Union, 
could direct him to be tried in the District, where, from 
the evidence, it might appear that an overt act of treason 
had been committed. 

But Judge Rodney thought differently ; and a venire 
facias was issued, requiring the attendance of seventy-six 
jurors, at an adjourned session of the Supreme Court of 
the Mississippi Territory, to be held in February. From 
the number attending, at the appointed time, a grand 
jury of twenty -three persons was selected, who received 
a charge from the judge and were adjourned until the 
next day. 

The following morning, a motion was made, by the 
attorney-general, to discharge the grand jury ; first, be- 
cause the court did not possess original jurisdiction in any 



Digitized by 



Google 



204 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPBR8. 

case ; secondly, because the depositions, submitted to his 
inspection, did not furnish sufficient evidence to convict 
Burr of the offenses with which he was charged, so as to 
bring them within the Mississippi Territory ; and, thirdly, 
that a warrant might issue, transmitting the accused to a 
court having competent jurisdiction, to try and punish 
him, if guilty of the crime alleged against him. The 
court being divided on this motion, it was, in conse- 
quence, overruled, and the grand jury retired. The 
attorney-general, thereupon, determined to prefer no in- 
dictment, and left the court-room. 

In the afternoon the jury returned with the following 
presentments : 

"The grand jury of the Mississippi Territory, on a due 
investigation of the evidence brought before them, are 
of opinion that Aaron Burr has not been guilty of any 
crime or misdemeanor against the laws of the United 
States, or of this Territory ; or given any just cause of 
alarm or inquietude to the good people of the same. 

"The grand jurors present, as a grievance, the late 
military expedition, unnecessarily, as they conceive, fitted 
out against the person and property of the said Aaron 
Burr, when no resistance had been made to the civil 
authorities. 

" The grand jurors also present, as a grievance, destruct- 
ive of personal liberty, the late military arrests,* made 
without warrant, and, as they conceive, without other 
lawful authority; and they do sincerely regret that so 
much cause has been given to the enemies of our glorious 

• The arrests of Bollman, Swartwout, Ogden and others, at New Orleans, 
on suspicion of being engaged in the expedition. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SUSPENSE. 205 

Constitution, to rejoice at such measures being adopted, 
in a neighboring Territory, as, if sanctioned by the Ex- 
ecutive of our country, must sap the vitals of our polit- 
ical existence, and crumble this glorious fabric in the 
dust." 

The attorney-general declared his astonishment at such 
unwarrantable presentments by the grand jury, and, in- 
forming the court that he should take no notice of them, 
retired. Judge Rodney strongly reprobated such conduct 
on the part of the jury, and, after rating them in no very 
mild terms, dismissed them without delay. 

In the evening of the day on which the court sat, Burr 
visited the house of Colonel Osborne. He had asked to 
be discharged from his recognizance, as he had fully com- 
plied with its terms ; but, learning that it was the inten- 
tion of Gov. Williams to seize on his person the moment he 
was discharged by judicial authority, he requested John 
Dana, one of his force from Belprf, with two others, to 
convey him, in a boat, to a point about twenty miles from 
Bayou Pierre, whence he could escape across the country. 

Before leaving, he hastily advised Mrs. Blennerhassett 
of the result of the investigation, as followsc 

Washington, January 81sf, 1807. 
Mas. M. Blennerhassett : 

Our persons and our property are safe from violence 
and from pursuit. It is with regret and mortification 
that I acknowledge, that, at present, nothing more can be 
said ; yet there is reason to hope for something more, for 
permission (how humiliating !) to go on to Washita. 

My presence is necessary here, and will be so for three 



Digitized by 



Google 



206 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

or four days. The separation from my friends is extremely 
irksome and painful. Adieu. A. Burr. 

Procuring a boatman's dress, in which to disguise him- 
self, he proceeded on his tour. Upon hearing of his 
escape, Williams issued a proclamation, offering two 
thousand dollars for his apprehension and safe delivery to 
the proper authorities. A few days afterward, a negro 
boy was discovered near the mouth of Cole's Creek, oppo- 
site which the boats were stationed, riding on a horse 
which belonged to Burr, and having on his surtout coat. 
These circumstances created a suspicion; the boy was 
searched, and, sowed up in the cape of his coat, was found 
a note to the following effect : 

" If you are yet together, keep so, and I will join you 
to-morrow night. In the mean while, put all your arms 
in perfect order. Ask no questions of the bearer, but tell 
him all you may think I wish to know. He does not 
know that this is from me, nor where I am." 

To C. T. and D. F * 

From Blennerhassett's journal it appears that, to add to 
their discomfiture, they learned that Burr's drafts on New 
York had been returned protested. General disorder 
reigned among his followers, who having indulged to ex- 
cess on the use of ardent spirits, and witnessing the total 
destruction of his enterprise, had thrown off all authority, 
and threatened to appropriate the supplies in compensa- 
tion for their wages. 

In consequence of the discovery of Burr's letter to 



• Comfort Tyler and Davis Floyd. 



igitized by 



Google 



MORE ARRESTS. 207 

Tyler and Floyd, the men were arrested and placed under 
guard, wherfe they were detained until the alarm was 
over. Many, if not all of them, were permitted occa- 
sionally to walk about, free of restraint, on their parole 
of honor. 

In the mean while, several arrests of the supposed ac- 
complices of Burr had been made at Fort Adams and 
New Orleans. Among the number were Bollman, Ogden, 
Swartwout, Adair, Dayton, Smith and Alexander, against 
whom the most rigid and unjustifiable authority had 
been exercised by General Wilkinson; in many cases 
upon bare suspicion, and without resistance at any time 
to civil authority. General Adair, who had arrived at 
ISTew Orleans on the 10th of January, was besieged by 
one hundred and twenty men, under command of Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Kingsbury, accompanied by one of Wil- 
kinson's aids. They seized upon him while at dinner in 
a public-house, dragged him from the table, and con- 
ducted him to head-quarters, where he was placed in 
confinement, and secreted, until an opportunity offered to 
convey him away.* It was even attempted, in the Legis- 
lature of Louisiana, at the suggestion of the Governor, 



♦An Irish gentleman of wit and humor happened to be confined in 
prison for debt, when it was announced to him by one of the officials, that 
Gen. Adair was in the adjoining room. He immediately struck up in a 
full musical roice, to the tune of Robin Adair : 
" Ye are welcome to Orleans, 

Johnny Adair, — 
Te are welcome to Orleans, 

Johnny Adair I 
How does little Aaron do? — 
And Irish Blanny, too? — 
Why did'nt they come with you, 
Johnny Adair I 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE BLBHNBKHASSBTT PAPERS. 

to suspend the writ of habeas corpus — that inestimable 
guarantee to the liberties of every American citizen, 
more effectually to aid the harsher application of mili- 
tary law and military dictation. 

Toward the writs of habeas corpus, issued by the courts, 
to bring the accused parties before them, Wilkinson ob- 
served the most profound contempt. So ineffectual was 
the process of the courts, in bringing either the prisoners 
or Wilkinson before them, that Judge Workman recom- 
mended to the Governor, that Wilkinson should be 
opposed by force of arms. He stated that the violent 
measures of that officer had produced great discontent, 
alarm and agitation in the public mind ; and unless such 
proceedings were effectually opposed, all confidence in 
-Government would be at an end. He urged the Governor 
to revoke the order, by which he had placed the Orleans 
volunteers under Wilkinson's command, and to call out 
and arm the rest of the militia as soon as possible. He 
stated it as his opinion, that an army would not oppose 
the civil power, when constitutionally brought forth, or 
that if they did, the Governor might soon have men 
enough to render the opposition ineffectual.* 

No satisfactory answer having been made to Workman 
by the Governor, he again addressed him on the subject. 
It was notorious, he remarked, that the commander-in- 
chief of the military forces had, by his own authority, 
arrested several citizens for civil offenses, and avowed on 
record, that he had adopted means to send them out of 
the Territory, openly declaring his determination to usurp 



* Martin's History of Louisiana. 



Digitized by 



Google 



DILEMMA. 209 

the functions of the judiciary, by making himself the 
only judge of the guilt of the persons he suspected, and 
asserting in the same manner, and without contradiction, 
that his measures were taken after several consultations 
with the Governor. 

Although a common case would not require the step 
he was taking, yet he deemed it his duty, before any 
decisive measure was pursued against him, who had all 
the regular force, and, in pursuance of the Governor's 
public orders, a great part of the Territory at his disposal, 
to ask whether the executive had the ability to enforce 
the decrees of the court of the county ; and if he had, 
whether he would deem it expedient to do it in the pres- 
ent instance ; or whether-the allegations, by which Wil- 
kinson supported the violent measures, were well founded. 

" Not only the conduct and power of Wilkinson," he 
continued, " but various other circumstances peculiar to 
our present situation — the' alarm excited in the public 
mind, the description and character of a large part of the 
population of the country — might render it dangerous in 
the highest degree to adopt the measure usual in ordinary 
cases, of calling to the aid of the sheriff the posse comi- 
tatus, unless it was done with the assurance of being sup- 
ported by the Governor in an efficient manner." 

The letter concluded by requesting a precise and speedy 
answer to the preceding inquiries, and an assurance that 
if certain of the Governor's support, the judge would 
forthwith punish, as the law directed, the contempt 
offered to the court. On the other hand, should the 
Governor think it impracticable to afford the required 
aid, the court and its officers would no longer remain 
14 



Digitized by 



Google 



210 THE BLENNEKHASSETT PAPERS. 

exposed to the contempt or insults of a man whom they 
were unable to punish or resist. 

The same silence and indifference having been observed 
by the Governor toward the last, as toward his former 
communication. Workman resigned his office as he had 
before indicated.* 

Burling, who had been sent to Mexico, returned, with- 
out having accomplished the object of his mission. It 
appears that, instead of his being sent " to penetrate the 
veil which concealed the topographical route to the city 
of Mexico, and the military defenses which intervened," 
as alleged by Wilkinson, he was, on the contrary, com- 
missioned to display to the viceroy the great pecuniary 
sacrifices made by that general, to frustrate the plan of 
invasion meditated by the Ex- Vice-President against the 
kingdom of Mexico, and to solicit, in consideration of 
such important services, a pretty round sum of at least 
two hundred thousand dollars.^ 

Don Joseph de Yturrigaray received this communica- 
tion with due contempt and indignation, bidding his in- 
terpreter to tell Mr. Burling that General Wilkinson, in 
counteracting any treasonable plan of Mr. Burr, did no 
more than comply with his duty ; that he, the viceroy, 
would take good care to defend the kingdom of Mexico 
against any attack or invasion ; and that he did not think 
himself authorized to give one farthing to Gen. Wilkin- 
son, in compensation for his pretended services. He, 
thereupon, ordered Burling to leave the city of Mexico, 

* Martin's History of Louisiana. 

f Correspondence of Maria Ines Jauregui de Yturrigaray, Vice-queen. 
Davis's Life of Burr, yoI. ii, p. 401. 



Digitized by 



Google 



INCREDULITY. 211 

and had him safely escorted to the port of Vera Cruz, 
where he embarked for New Orleans. 

On the seventh of December, previous, Wilkinson had 
dispatched Lieutenant Swann, of the army, to Jamaica, 
with a letter to the officer commanding the naval force 
on that station, informing him of Burr's plans, and that 
a report was afloat that the aid of a British naval arma- 
ment had been either promised or applied for : he there- 
fore warned him, and all other British military and naval 
officers, that their interference, or any co-operation on 
their part, would be considered as highly injurious to the 
United States, and affecting the then present amicable 
relations between the two nations. The communication 
concluded with a hope, that the British government 
would refrain from any interference, and prevent indi- 
viduals from affording aid to the enterprise; assuring 
him that the writer would, with all the force under his 
command, resist any effort of a foreign power to favor 
Burr's projects. 

To this Admiral Drake replied, that, from the style 
and manner in which the communication was written, he 
was at a loss how to answer it ; but begged him, Wilkin- 
son, to be assured, that British ships of war would never 
be employed in any improper service, and that he should 
ever be ready most cheerfully to obey the orders of his 
sovereign. Sir Eyre Coote trusted, and sincerely be- 
lieved, the representations made to Wilkinson were to- 
tally groundless, as his letter contained the only intelli- 
gence received* on the subject.* 

* Martin's History of Louisiana. 



Digitized by 



Google 



212 THE BLENNBRHA8SBTT PAPERS. 

Bollman and Swartwout were conducted to the city of 
Washington for trial. After having been imprisoned, 
for some time, on the charge of treason, as joint-conspira- 
tors with Burr, they were discharged from confinement, 
by order of the Supreme Court, as the evidence was not 
sufficient to retain them longer in custody. 

Ogden and Alexander were transported to Baltimore, 
as accomplices in the same crime. The former of these 
was taken before a magistrate, in the city, and set at lib- 
erty for want of sufficient proof. The latter was released, 
in Washington, whither he had been recently conducted, 
because of the improper averment of the offense. 

Blennerhassett, having learned that Graham, while in 
the vicinity of the island, had obtained the affidavit of 
Col. Phelps, which, among others, had been forwarded 
to the President, addressed him the following letter : 

Douglas Pebbt, Feb. 24, 1807. 
J. Graham, Esq.: 

Sir : — Having heard, from respectable authority, that 
you have forwarded to the President an affidavit of Hugh 
Phelps, wherein he deposed that I had imparted to him 
certain views or objects, in which I participated with 
Col. Burr, hostile to the United States, or to some of the 
Spanish dominions, I am naturally led to inquire how far 
I may inflame or abate the persecution, with which I am 
honored by the Government or its agents, by proposing 
to you to forward another affidavit, to the same quar- 
ter, deposing that Col. Phelps had declared, soon after 
the only interview I had with him, that I did not commu- 
nicate to him the object. I can not pretend to state the 



Digitized by 



Google 



PB0TE8TATI0N. 213 

facts that may appear on the face of the affidavits on 
either side, until such documents come forward, any more 
than the tenor of fifty other affidavits or testimonies I 
can procure from my neighbors of respectable character, 
who will testify to the very contrary of what Col. Phelps 
has done — men, all of them, possessing my good opinion, 
and believing Mr. Phelps is the last man in the world I 
would venture a secret with, if I had any. 

Provided, sir, with such means of counteracting the 
evidence of Mr. Phelps, or any other that may be ad- 
duced against me, I can have no other solicitude for the 
issue of an arraignment any where than the intervening 
distress in which my family will be thereby involved. 
But as this nor any other consideration shall ever influ- 
ence me to shrink from investigation, I now, sir, invite, 
through you, all the justice or persecution of the Govern- 
ment. Why, or how, I may have become personally ob- 
noxious to them, or to yourself, the public may hereafter 
understand. But if I am singled out as an early victim 
or example, I shall wish not to be severed from my 
family, by being thrown on board a prison ship, while I 
tender security for my appearance at the city of Washing- 
ton or elsewhere, whenever it may be required. 

I request your answer, and with due consideration, 
I remain, sir, your obedient servant, 

HAEMAN BLSNmBBHABSBTT. 

Blennerhassett was arrested and recognized to appear 
at the next District Court for the Territory of Mississippi, 
where we shall leave him for the present, to follow the 
fortunes of Burr. 



Digitized by 



Google 



214 THE BLENNEBHAS8ETT PAPBBS. 



CHAPTER XI. 

Late at night, about the last of February, Burr, with a 
companion, arrived at a small log tavern, in what is now 
the village of Wakefield, in Washington county, Alabama. 
Without alighting, he called at the door, and inquired 
of the inmates if Colonel Hinson resided in the neigh- 
borhood. Receiving for answer that he did, they further 
informed him that the house was seven miles distant ; the 
road to be traveled, obscure and difficult ; and a deep and 
turbid creek lay in the route. Nothing daunted, he 
eagerly sought information as to the forks, and directions 
as to crossing the stream. This having been communi- 
cated, he put spurs to his horse, leaving the observers 
involved in astonishment. 

Near midnight, the glimmering of a light, through the 
distant trees, directed the travelers to the rude but com- 
fortable quarters of Colonel Hinson. Having hailed and 
received no answer, they dismounted and entered the 
kitchen, where the remaining embers in the fireplace 
were soon kindled into a comfortable blaze. Seating 
himself before it, Burr left his companion to take charge 
of the horses, and had just begun to feel comfortable, 
when he was interrupted by a stranger, who, he con- 
cluded, had ridden till late to reach desirable lodgings. 
But in this he was mistaken. The real cause of hia 



Digitized by 



Google 



HESITATION. 215 

appearance, at this unseasonable hour, originated in 
Burr's mysterious departure from the inn. As it after- 
ward appeared, Colonel Nicholas Perkins observed, by 
the light of the fire, as Burr sat upon his horse, that, 
although he was coarsely dressed, yet he possessed a 
countenance of unusual intelligence ; an eye of sparkling 
brilliancy; and a demeanor wholly unsuited to the garb 
he wore. The tidy boot, in particular, which his vanity 
could not surrender, with his other articles of finer cloth- 
ing, attracted Perkins's attention, and led him to con- 
clude that the gentleman before him was none other than 
the famous Colonel Burr, described in the proclamation 
of the Governor. 

Perkins immediately started after Theodore Bright- 
well, the sheriff, who occupied an adjacent cabin; and, 
awakening him from his slumbers, hurriedly communi- 
cated the circumstances of the traveler's appearance, 
conversation and departure, and requested him to join 
him in the pursuit of the parties. Brightwell consented ; 
and the two, mounting their horses, took the road to 
Hinson's. The night was cold and windy, and the moan- 
ings of the lofty pines, along the solitary road, rendered 
their journey gloomy and inauspicious. Still they pressed 
on ; for the object of their pursuit was of no small im- 
portance, at that particular time, to the minions of the 
Government. As they arrived in sight of the illuminated 
dwelling, Perkins, recollecting that the travelers had seen 
him at the tavern, declined entering, but sent Brightwell, 
whom he requested to return to him, at a certain place in 
the woods, after he had ascertained whether or not the 
suspicious individual was Aaron Burr. 



Digitized by 



Google 



216 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

As Brightwell called at the door, his voice was recog- 
nized by Mrs. Hinson, who was his relative, and who 
until now had remained silent in another room, through 
fear of the strangers, in the absence of her husband. She 
soon prepared something to eat for her unknown guests. 
As Burr seated himself at the table, he thanked her, in 
the most courteous terms, for her kindness, and apolo- 
gized for the trouble he had imposed upon her. His con- 
versation was sprightly and agreeable, so much so, indeed, 
that Mrs. Hinson soon discovered that the gentleman and 
his attire did not correspond. His attention was often 
directed to Brightwell, who stood before the fire, and at 
whom he cast the keenest glances, evidently endeavoring 
to read Ms thoughts. A momentary separation having 
taken place during the night, between Burr and his com- 
panion, at the suggestion of Brightwell, the latter was 
asked by Mrs. Hinson if she had the honor of entertain- 
ing, as her guest, the celebrated Col. Burr. Fearing to 
make the disclosure, the man remained silent, and shortly 
after left the room. 

Early in the morning, Burr privately communicated to 
Mrs. Hinson his real name, and regretted the absence of 
her husband, whom he had seen at Natchez, and with 
whom he had promised himself to remain a week ; but 
that, as he was detected, he should prosecute his journey. 

After inquiring the route to Pensacola, and Mrs. Car- 
son's ferry on the Tombigbee, he called for writing 
materials, and indited several letters. His companion, 
who had been dispatched on the back route, for some 
purpose, returned about nine o'clock, and the two again 
set out for the " cut-off" not very far distant. 



Digitized by 



Google 



RE-ARREST. 217 

For some unaccountable reason, which has never yet 
been explained, Brightwell neglected to return to Per- 
kins, whom he left highly excited and shivering in the 
cold. Having remained at his post until his patience was 
exhausted, and supposing that Brightwell, probably on 
account of the fascinations of Burr, or the pity which 
had seized him, in his behalf, had betrayed their plans, 
Perkins mounted his horse, and rode rapidly to the house 
of Joseph Bates, at Nannanhubby Bluff, to avoid the 
creek which intervened on the main route to Fort Stod- 
dart. Here he was furnished with a canoe, and a negro 
to navigate it, and, descending the Tombigbee, arrived at 
the military station early in the morning. The late Gen- 
eral Edmund P. Gaines was then the lieutenant in com- 
mand. Perkins briefly acquainted him with the particulars 
of the preceding night's adventure, and of his suspicions, 
which, although of slight foundation, had nevertheless 
impressed him with solid convictions of truth. Placing 
himself at the head of a file of mounted soldiers, the 
lieutenant started in pursuit, accompanied by Perkins. 
They shortly encountered the object of their search, with 
his traveling companion, and the sheriff, Brightwell. 
The parties having met, Lieutenant Gaines accosted one 
of the strangers, remarking, that he presumed he had the 
honor of addressing Colonel Burr. 

"lama traveler," answered Burr, " and in a strange land, 
and do not recognize your right to ask such a question." 

" I arrest you, at the instance of the United States," 
replied Gaines. 

" By what authority do you arrest me, a stranger on 
the highway, on my own private business?" 



Digitized by 



Google 



218 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

The lieutenant then informed Burr that he was an 
officer of the United States army, and held in his hand 
the proclamation of the President, as well as that of the 
Governor of the Mississippi Territory, directing his arrest 

Burr asked him if he was aware of the responsibility 
of arresting a traveler ; to which Gaines answered, that 
he was perfectly aware of his duties, in the premises, and 
should endeavor to perform them. 

Burr then entered into a brief argument to show that 
these proclamations should never have been issued, and 
that in following their dictates, the lieutenant would be 
subjecting himself to much damage and blame. His 
manner was firm; his air majestic; and his language 
impressive; but the resolute young officer told him his 
mind was made up; the prisoner must accompany him 
to his quarters, where he would be treated with all the 
respect due the Ex- Vice-President of the United States, 
so long as he made no attempt to escape. He was then 
conducted toward Fort Stoddart, where the parties ar- 
rived in the evening, and an apartment being assigned 
the prisoner, he took his dinner alone. 

Late at night, a groaning was heard in an adjoining 
room. Burr arose, opened the door, and ascertained that 
George S. Gaines was suffering from severe indisposition. 
He approached the sufferer's bed and kindly offered his 
services, as he had traveled much, and had some knowl- 
edge of medicine. They soon entered into a sprightly 
conversation in regard to the state of the country, and 
particularly on the subject of the Choctaw Indians, 
among whom Gaines lived, as United States factor. The 
next day, being introduced to the wife of the command- 



Digitized by 



Google 



A HARD ROAD. 219 

ant, who was a daughter of the late Judge Toulman, 
Burr dined with the family, and enlivened the company 
with his wit and elegant discourse. In the evening, he 
played chess with Mrs. Gaines, with whom he was often 
a frequent competitor in that interesting game. Of 
nights, he sought the company of the invalid, who be- 
came exceedingly attached to his society. During their 
midnight conversations, how often would the good heart 
of his auditor grieve over the misfortunes of Burr. But 
it was a remarkable fact, that, as often and long as they 
were together, this unfortunate man never once alluded 
to his arrest, his troubles, or his future plans. From his 
early youth, it had been his custom to conceal things in 
relation to himself, and he always endeavored to throw 
an air of mystery over his acts. 

After Burr had been secured, as a prisoner at Fort 
Stoddart, Perkins departed for Wakefield, and caused the 
arrest of his traveling companion, who proved to be 
Major Ashley. He was placed under a guard, from 
whom he escaped and made his way to Tennessee, where 
he afterward made himself serviceable to his friend, in 
collecting evidence in his behalf for the trial at Rich- 
mond. 

Three weeks had passed away since the arrest of the 
distinguished prisoner, and still the lieutenant had been 
unable to convey him to the seat of the general govern- 
ment for trial. The difficulties were great, and, for a 
time, the undertaking appeared impracticable. In those 
days, there were comparatively no roads, no ferries, and 
few men could be found, in that sparsely-settled country, 
who would undertake a journey so long and perilous, 



Digitized by 



Google 



220 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

over savage lands. The inclemency of the weather, at 
that season of the year, added much to the unpleasant* 
ness of the tour, and, with many, formed an insuperable 
objection, as they must, necessarily, for want of houses 
of accommodation, be exposed, both night and day, to 
the vicissitudes of the month of March. At last, Burr 
left the fort, under guard, and proceeded, in a govern- 
ment boat, up the Alabama river, into the Tensaw lake, 
accompanied by Lieutenant Gaines, and stopped at the 
house of John Mills. The ladies of the house, seeing 
the strait to which Burr was reduced, wept, through sym- 
pathy for his misfortunes. One of the number, it is said, ^ 
a Mrs. Johnson, named her son in honor of this distin- 
guished individual. He is still alive, and is not the only 
boy bearing the name of "Aaron Burr" in the State of 
Mississippi. The ladies every where espoused his cause, 
in the south-western New World. It is a prominent and 
noble trait, in female character, to admire a man of dar- 
ing and generous impulses, and to pity and defend him 
in his adversities. 

At the boat-yard, in the present county of Baldwin, in 
the State of Alabama, the crew disembarked, where 
William and John Pierce (who introduced the first cotton 
gins into Alabama) had a trading establishment. Gaines 
gave the command of the guard to Perkins, and directed 
him to convey the prisoner to Washington city. His 
guard consisted of Thomas Malone, of Alabama, Henry 
B. 13lade, of North Carolina, two McCormacks, of Ken- 
tucky, and two United States' soldiers. They were all 
men whom Perkins selected, and upon whom he could 
rely in any contingency. He took them aside, and ob- 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN THE FOREST. 221 

tained the most solemn pledges, that, upon the whole 
route to Washington, they would hold no interviews with 
Burr, nor suffer him to escape alive. Perkins knew the 
fascinations of Burr, and he feared his familiarity with 
his men ; indeed, he feared the same influences upon him- 
self. His character, for making strong impressions upon 
the human mind, and attaching men to him by associa- 
tion, was well known to the world. 

When Burr fled from the authorities in the Mississippi 
Territory, he had disguised himself in a boatman's dress. 
His pantaloons were of coarse, copperas-dyed cloth, with 
a roundabout of inferior drab. His hat, a flapping, wide- 
brim beaver, had, in times long past, been white, but now 
gave evidence of having encountered much rough weather. 
Placed upon his fine horse, he bestrode him most elegant- 
ly, and flashed his large, dark eyes, as though he were at 
the head of his New York regiment. Each man carried 
provisions for himself, and some for the prisoner. They 
were all well mounted, with no arms except pistols in 
holsters, and two muskets borne by the soldiers. » On the 
last of February, they set out upon their long and peril- 
ous journey. Within a quarter of a mile from the point 
of departure, the dreadful massacre at Fort Mimms 
occurred six years after. Pursuing the Indian path, 
which led from the " 'Bigby settlement " to Fort Wilkin- 
son, on the Oconee, they reached a point thirty miles dis- 
tant the first day. At night, the only tent in the company 
was pitched for the prisoner, who reposed himself upon 
his blankets. The country abounded in immense pine 
forests. Here the Ex-Vice-President lay the first night, 



Digitized by 



Google 



222 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

before the blazing fire, which threw a glare over the dis- 
mal woods. 

To what an extremity had he now been reduced ! In 
the boundless wilds of Alabama, under a small and com- 
fortless tent, amid the perils of Indian barbarities, with 
the cry of the panther, answered by the howl of the 
hungry wolf ringing in his ears ; while the moaning of 
the winds through the tops of the lofty trees added 
dreariness to the solitude of the night ; with none with 
whom to hold converse ; surrounded by a guard to whom 
he dared not speak ; a prisoner of the United States, for 
whose liberties he had fought, and whose Government he 
had helped to form ; exiled from the State of his adop- 
tion, whose statutes and institutions bore the impress of 
his mind ; deprived by death of his devoted wife ; his 
only child then on a distant coast of Carolina ; his pro- 
fessional pursuits abandoned, and his fortune swept away ; 
the magnificent scheme of the conquest of Mexico up- 
rooted, and the fragments dispersed; slandered and 
hunted down, from one end of the Union to the other ; 
these were considerations sufficient to weigh down an 
ordinary individual, and sink him to an untimely grave. 
But his was no common mind; and the characteristic 
fortitude and determination which had ever marked his 
course, still sustained him in the darkest hour. In the 
morning, he arose cheerfully, and pursued his course. 
Although guarded with vigilance, his few wants were 
gratified, as far as they could be, and he was treated with 
respect and kindness. The trail being narrow and 
obscure, Burr rode in the middle, having a part of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



ON THE MARCH. 223 

guard in front, while the rest followed behind, in single 
file. The route lay about eight miles south of the pres- 
ent city of Montgomery, then an Indian town called 
Eaconcharte — meaning Bed Ground. 

In the year 1811, General Wade Hampton cut out the 
" Federal Road " along this trail, which was well known 
to early settlers as the only highway in South Alabama. 
The guard passed by the site of the present Mount 
Meigs, and stopped at the house of "Old Milly," the 
former wife of a British soldier, who, with her husband, 
in 1770, left the barracks in Savannah and came to the 
Creek Nation. She had long been a resident of these 
wild woods, now lying in the county of Montgomery. 
Her husband, at this time a colored man, named Evans, 
was employed by Perkins to pilot the party across the 
dangerous creeks, Lime, Dubahatchee and Calabee, all of 
which they had to swim. It was a perilous and fatiguing 
march ; and, for days, the rain descended in chilling tor- 
rents on those unsheltered horsemen, collecting in rivulets 
and swimming them at every point. Hundreds of Indians 
thronged the trail, and the party could have been shot 
down ; but the fearless Perkins bore on his distinguished 
prisoner, amid angry elements and human foes. In their 
journey through Alabama, they always slept in the 
woods, near swamps of reeds, upon which the belled and 
hobbled horses fed during the night. After a hastily- 
prepared breakfast, it was their custom again to remount, 
and march on, in gloomy silence, which was but occa- 
sionally broken by a remark about the weather, the 
creeks, or the horses. Burr was a splendid rider, sitting 
firmly in the saddle, and ever on the alert. He was 



Digitized by 



Google 



224 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

always a hardy traveler, and although wet for hours, 
with cold and drizzling rains, riding forty miles a day, 
and at night stretched upon the hare ground, on a thin 
pallet, yet, in the whole distance to Richmond, he was 
never heard to say that he was sick, or even fatigued. 
At the Chattahoochie, was a crossing-place, owned by an 
Indian named Marshall. The effects of the expedition 
were carried over in canoes, while the horses swam along- 
side. In this manner they passed the Flint and Ocmul- 
gee. At Fort Wilkinson, on the Oconee, they entered 
the first ferry-boat they had seen on the whole route. A 
few miles further on, they were sheltered by the first 
civilized roof — a house of entertainment, kept by one 
Bevin. While breakfast was preparing, and the guard 
were seated around a large fire, the host, like all publicans 
on the highway, inquired from whence they came. As 
they were from the " 'Bigby settlements," he immediately 
fell on the fruitful theme of the traitor, Aaron Burr. He 
asked if he had been taken ? " Was he not a very bad 
man ? " " Was n't everybody afraid of him ? " Perkins 
and his party were very much annoyed and embarrassed, 
and made no reply. Burr was sitting in a corner by the 
fire, with his head down ; and, after listening to the 
inquisitiveness of Bevin until he could endure it no 
longer, he raised himself up, and, planting his fiery eyes 
upon him, said : 
" I am Aaron Burr ; what is it you want with me ? " 
Bevin, struck with his appearance, the keenness of his 
look, and the solemnity and dignity of his manner, stood 
aghast, and trembled like a leaf. He uttered not another 
word while the guard remained at his house. 



Digitized by 



Google 



UNSUCCESSFUL RUSK, 225 

When Perkins reached the confines of South Carolina, 
he watched Burr more closely than ever ; for in this State 
lived the son-in-law of Burr, Col. Alston, a gentleman of 
talents, wealth and influence, and afterward Governor of 
the State. Upon reaching the frontiers of Georgia, he 
endeavored to convey the prisoner in by-roads, to avoid 
the towns, lest he should be rescued. The plan was at- 
tended with difficulty ; they were lost often ; the march 
impeded ; and the highway was again resumed. Before 
entering the town of Chester, in South Carolina, the 
party halted. Two men were placed before Burr; two 
on either side, and two behind ; and, in this manner, they 
passed near a tavern on the street, where many persons 
were standing; while music and dancing were heard in 
the house. Burr conceived it a favorable opportunity for 
escape ; and, suddenly dismounting, exclaimed : ' 

"I am Aaron Burr, under military arrest, and claim 
protection of the civil authorities!" 

Perkins leaped from his horse, with several of his men, 
and ordered him to remount. 

"I will not!" replied Burr. 

Not wishing to shoot him, Perkins threw down his 
pistols, and, being a man of prodigious strength, and 
the prisoner a small man, seized him around the waist 
and placed him in his saddle, as though he was a child. 
Thomas Malone caught the reins of the bridle, slipped 
them over the horse's head, and led him rapidly on. The 
astonished citizens had seen a party enter their village 
with a prisoner ; had heard him appeal to them for pro- 
tection; had witnessed the feat of Perkins; and the 

party vanished, before they had time to recover from 
15 



Digitized by 



Google 



226 THE BLKNXERHA8SBTT PAPERS 

their confusion ; for, when Burr dismounted, the guards 
cocked their pistols, and the people ran within the piazza 
to escape from danger. 

Burr was still, to some extent, popular in South Caro- 
lina ; and any wavering or timidity on the part of Per- 
kins would have lost him his prisoner ; but the celerity of 
his movements gave no time for the people to reflect, be- 
fore he was far in the outskirts of the village. Here the 
guard halted. Burr was highly excited ; he was in tears ! 
The kind-hearted Malone also wept at seeing the uncon- 
trollable despondency of him who hitherto had proven 
almost iron-hearted. It was the first time any one had 
ever seen Aaron Burr unmanned. 

The guard becoming very much alarmed on the subject 
of Burr's rescue, Malone and Henry advised the purchase 
of a carriage. The former took charge of the guard, 
while Perkins returned and purchased a gig. The next 
day, Burr was placed in a vehicle, and driven, without 
further incident, to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Here Per- 
kins received dispatches from the President, requiring 
him to convey the prisoner to Richmond. The guard 
took the stage, and soon reached that place. The ladies 
of the city vied with each other in contributing to the 
comfort of Burr. Some sent him fruit; some clothes; 
some wine; some one thing; some another. Perkins 
and his men went to Washington; were paid for their 
services, and returned to Alabama, by way of Tennessee * 



* The foregoing incident* are taken from Pickett's History of Alabama. 
With but few exceptions, I hare followed nearly the exact language of 
the author. 



Digitized by 



Google 



IMPLICATION. 227 

Col. Alston, finding himself deeply implicated by the 
proclamation of the President, and mortified at the indis- 
cretion of Col. Burr, to release himself of the suspicion 
which rested upon him, promptly addressed the following 
communication to his Excellency Charles Pinckney, then 
Governor of South Carolina : 

Oaks, February 6th, 1807. 
Dear Sib: — I have received and read the President's 
Message with deep mortification and concern; but the 
letter annexed to it, stated to be a communication in 
cyphers from Col. Burr to Gen. Wilkinson, excites my 
unfeigned astonishment. I solemnly avow that, when 
that letter was written, I had never heard, directly or 
indirectly, from Col. Burr, or any other person, of the 
meditated attack on New Orleans ; nor had I any more 
reason to suspect an attack on that place, or any other 
part of the United States, than I have at this moment to 
suspect that our militia will be forthwith ordered on an 
expedition against Gibraltar. On the other hand, I had 
long had strong grounds for believing that Col. Burr was 
engaged by other objects, of a very diiferent nature from 
those attributed to him, and which I confess the best 
sentiments of my heart approved. I need not add that 
those objects involved not the interests of my country. 
Without adverting to that integrity of principle, which 
even my enemies, I trust, have allowed me, can it bo sup- 
posed that a man situated as I am — descended from a 
family which has never known dishonor, happy in the 
affection and esteem of a large number of relations and 
friends, possessed of ample fortune, and standing high in 



Digitized by 



Google 



228 THE BLEKNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the confidence of his fellow-citizens— could harbor, for an 
instant, a thought injurious to the country which was the 
scene of those blessings? The supposition would be 
monstrous. No, sir ; it was but a short period before the 
impression became general, that apprehended the possi- 
bility of Mr. Burr's intentions being hostile to the Union ; 
and the moment which gave birth to that apprehension, 
gave birth to the resolution which became a citizen. I 
confess, however, there are times even now, when, in 
spite of the strong facts which have been exhibited, I am 
almost inclined to believe my suspicions injurious. What- 
ever may be thought of the heart of Mr. Burr, his talents 
are great beyond question, and to reconcile with such 
talents, the chimerical project of dismembering the 
Union, or wresting from it any part of its Territory, is 
difficult indeed. I traveled through a part of the western 
country, during the last summer, and have no hesitation 
in saying, that either of those projects would have been 
as much reprobated there as in the Atlantic States. With 
respect, however, to the communication annexed to the 
President's Message, which occasions you the trouble of 
this letter : after my solemn assurances to you that I had 
never given Col. Burr, or any other person, the smallest 
reason to imagine that I could be induced to engage in 
any project against my country, it would be infinitely 
satisfactory to me, could I explain to you, with the same 
certainty, the motive which led him to introduce my name 
as he did. But here, unfortunately, all is conjecture. 
Two motives only suggest themselves. He imagined, 
perhaps — which, by the way, he has no right to do— 4hat 
his influence would be sufficiently great to induce mv 



Digitized by 



Google 



MOTIVE. 229 

assent, and thought, therefore, he might as well consider 
it already obtained ; or, which is more probable, he might 
have imagined, that by the apparent concert of a number 
of persons from different States, a stronger impression would 
be made on his correspondent Considerable effect, too, was, 
no doubt, anticipated by Mr. Burr's discernment from the 
perfect self-confidence which would have been manifested 
by his taking with him his daughter, receiving my co- 
operation, and thus embarking in the scheme the fortunes 
of his infant grandson, the only relative, except his 
daughter, that he has. But whatever the motive which 
drew from Col. Burr the expressions contained in this 
letter to Gen. Wilkinson, facts, incontrovertible fads, prove 
that he had no authority for making them. His daughter 
did not go with him; the navy of the United States is still 
faithful to its duty ; Commodore Truxton, I am told, at 
the very moment he was said to have gone to the West 
Indies, was in Philadelphia, which I know not whether 
he has ever left ; and I, instead of following with a corps 
of worthies j am now at my usual residence, where I have been 
ever since the adjournment of the Legislature, peaceably 
directing the plowing of my rice-fields, and preparing 
my lands for the ensuing crop. This is conclusive. A 
conspirator against the happiness and liberties of his 
country would have been, at this moment, very different- 
ly employed. Conspirator ! the blood that burns my 
cheek, as I write the word. But I meant to confine 
myself simply to the disavowal I have made you, of a 
single action or word hostile to my country. To feel 
even that disavowal necessary is sufficiently painful : I 
have yielded, however, to circumstances, and made it. 



Digitized by 



Google 



280 THE BLENNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

My unequivocal manner of making it, I trust, will not 
leave a doubt upon one candid or honest mind. Still I 
am aware that the common interchange of good offices 
with a man with whom I have been long nearly con- 
nected, may have given rise to circumstances which, 
however innocent in themselves, malignity will delight 
in distorting, and the illiberal among my political adver- 
saries exult in disseminating. I am aware that there will 
be men base enough ; for you and I have, not long since, 
seen proofe of it, to whisper even the circumstance of my 
connection, by marriage, with Col. Burr, as a circum- 
stance warranting suspicion. About the opinions of such 
men I am indifferent. To the more ingenious and better 
part of my fellow-citizens, of whatever sect or party, I 
can only solemnly repeat, as I have done to you, sooner 
would I have perished than harbored a thought sub- 
versive of the liberties, the happiness, or the integrality of 
my country. Let me always be judged by my own acts, 
and I shall be satisfied. If Mr. Jefferson or Qen. Wil- 
kinson ever find any thing to urgp against me, let it be 
adduced. My residence is well known, and I shall never 
shrink from investigation. Nay more, presumption, where 
I can not repel it by positive proof, shall be received as 
good evidence, and the slightest suspicion which I can not 
satisfactorily explain, shall be admitted as guilt. 
I remain, my dear sir, with much respect and regard. 
Tours always, Joseph Alston. 



Digitized by 



Google 



REDEEMING THE Tin. ' 231 



CHAPTER XII. 

Blbnkerhassktt having been arrested and discharged 
in the Mississippi Territory, imagined no further annoy- 
ance from the Government. Feeling desirous to ascer- 
tain the situation of his property at the island, which he 
had learned from his wife and others was much injured 
by the proceedings of the Wood county militia, he left 
Natchez in June, with the intention of visiting it. 

The following correspondence will advise the reader of 
the incidents of his journey, and afford satisfactory in- 
formation, in the mean time, of the situation of the 
respective parties : 

Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Gibson's Port, Saturday, June ISfA, 1807. 

I arrived here about half-past seven o'clock this morn- 
ing, after having lost half the day yesterday by lying by 
at Greenville, with a headache too heavy to ride with. I 
am now perfectly well, and after losing to-day with the 
Belpr6 folks here, and the detention occasioned by getting 
little Bay shod, shall resume the journey this evening. 

The road is pretty open, having been lately cut out ; 
but 1 shall endeavor, by traveling a good part of the 
night, to make up for whatever indulgence of shelter or 
rest I may allow the horses and myself in the day. I 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE BLRNNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

find the cap the most comfortable luxury I ever traveled 
with, And think I can adjust a simple handkerchief about 
my head and face in a way to parry the musquitoes, or 
their more formidable companions>the horse-flies. 

I have no care, I assure you, for any thing* affecting 
myself, but through you and my boys ; could I, then, only 
be assured, that you would be as industrious to seek your 
recreation, and frequently shift the subject of your labors, 
as you are criminal in protracting the intervals of your 
sedentary occupations, — that my boys would not be ever 
exposed to the sun bareheaded and barefoot, my reflec- 
tions on my business, or subjects of interest or amuse- 
ment would not, I protest, suffer a moment's interruption. 
Improve, then, the blessing you did not expect, for you 
could never find it on the Ohio, which a benignant God 
has reserved for you among strangers, in the generous 
regards of so many worthy families and individuals who 
have become your friends. Farewell ! 

Har. Blennerhassett. 

Give my particular love to Scott and F , and kiss. 

Anne and the boys for me. 

Mrs. Blennerhassett. 



Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

TOCKSHISH, IN THE CHICKASAW NATION, 

(310 miles from Natchez,) June 14th, 1807. 
I rest here to-day under the most severe embarrass- 
ments I have suffered since I left you ; namely, the state 
of my tormented legs. The respite, however, is not less 
necessary for my horses, which have hitherto performed 



Digitized by 



Google 



travel's histoby. 288 

veiy well. I mention the condition of my legs the more 
freely, because I know you will not disregard such an 
affliction. But whether from the heat of the weather, 
meager, and often scanty meals, the state of my blood 
has contracted an acrimonious habit it never had before, 
't is certain the myriads of musquitoes and horse-flies, 
with the almost incessant perspiration that I suffered for 
five days after I left you, which allowed me no repose, 
until exhaustion made me callous, and sleep now in my 
cot, then on the ground, prepared a revival of fresh sensi- 
bility to new sufferings, — all, I can aver, were not more 
intolerable than the anguish of my legs, which the ardor 
of my industry to prosecute my journey would not until 
now permit me to find ease, even when at rest ; no doubt, 
chiefly from so much pendent motion on horseback. But 
to that benignant Providence, which has so often had mer- 
cy upon me, be rendered all gratitude and thanksgiving. 
I shall make good my journey, as I can convert my eye 
into a microscope, by which I am enabled, through Di- 
vine goodness, to make this pen write to you. Through 
the same favor I shall pass unhurt through all the diffi- 
1 culties and dangers I may yet encounter, and I will again 
embrace you and our boys, or we shall be indemnified 
hereafter. 

I omit to detail, at present, particulars of the journey 
hitherto. It is true, women and children perform it, for 
women will attempt and perform any possible undertak- 
ing, and they will not leave their teams behind ; but it is 
no less certain, that many of them languish on the way ; 
and the hardiest boatmen, and even Joe, who behaves 
admirably, swear they will never again attempt it at this 



Digitized by 



Google 



284 THE BLENNBBHASSBTT PAPERS. 

season of the year. We are now, by estimation, about 
216 miles from Nashville, of which distance there is about 
fifty miles yet to pass through this Nation. We shall 
take from this place a fresh supply of corn for our horses, 
and a recruit to our remaining provisions, of two quarts 
of parched meal. You will see by the map, we shall 
then, when we cross Duck river, enter Tennessee, where 
we shall want for nothing. Water has been tolerably 
convenient and palatable so far; henceforward, I am 
told, it will be very good and plenty. I have had no 
scruple in drinking heartily while contending with heat, 
horse-flies, smoke and musquitoes. How fondly have I 
wished for the solacing society of Harding and Russel. 
! how I could walk then. 

The Chocataw country, for an extent of 250 miles which 
I have passed through, has not been altogether uninter- 
esting, either from the condition of the natives, who are 
beginning, at least in the vicinity of this path, to enter 
somewhat into the pastoral state, and in some solitary 
instances, from the example of about one hundred white 
men, settled through their Nation, exhibit some com- 
mencements of agriculture, or from the appearance of 
their country, nine-tenths of which consist of either 
prairies or timber lands, well stocked with a variety of 
fine grass and plants, which exhibit a pleasing appearance 
— from the total freedom from brush and underwood, 
which disfigure all the forests you have seen in America. 
But the Chickasaw lands, for twenty miles back we have 
traveled since we entered the Nation, deserve, in every 
point of view, the character of a Paradise, so far as any 
inland country, without the features of water scenery in 



Digitized by 



Google 



bissel's impeachment. 235 

its landscape, can claim it. Besides the beauty and 
variety of the whole vegetable clothing of the country, 
the clearly undulating surface of its woods, and the more 
advanced progress of the Chickasaws in agriculture, and 
the domestic economy that provides for the comforts of 
life, contrasted, as it is, with a tenacity of most of their In- 
dian habits and manners, form altogether a variety truly 
interesting. This people must, in less than fifty years, 
become as respectable, in the " shepherd state," as they 
have hitherto been in the characters of the best warriors 
of all the tribes south of the Ohio. They have already 
no hunting ground nearer to them than the Mississippi, 
100 miles distant. This circumstance will insure it. 

I have heard, by the way, pretty consistently, that Bis- 
sel is impeached, and will probably suffer for his civilities 
to Col. Burr. Jackson is sent down to the Heights, or 
Orleans, to be tried on a multitude of charges, and Ser- 
geant D is taken round by "Wilkinson to testify to — 

God knows what. 

When you write, as you will, I trust, every week until 
first of November, be careful to set down nothing that 
may not meet the public eye ; and I think it safest to 
inclose to me, under cover to Gen. Tupper. I trust you 
will soon accustom yourself to the free enjoyment of all 
the hospitable kindness and attention that will be tend- 
ered to you from Natchez to Bayou Sara: this is one of 
my best hopes, as I fear not we shall be able to find 
opportunities hereafter to requite the goodness of our 
friends. As I constantly meditate on the prospect of 
your satisfaction with them, they all pass in review of 
my most grateful remembrance. During such moments, 



Digitized by 



Google 



236 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

however, my thoughts seem to soar on the wings of fancy, 
to a hight at which I lose sight of all other mortals, 
except the Scotts ; while at other intervals of my reflec- 
tions, I seem to gravitate, like falling bodies through the 
air, to Harding, as the immovable center of your comfort 
and protection during my absence. I hope you got my 

first letter from Gibson's Port, and my second from C , 

100 miles back. I have only time to say again, God 
bless you and the boys ! The post hurries me. 

Harhan Blennerhassett. 
I shall resume the journey before day, to-morrow, 7 
o'clock P. M. 



From Mrs. to Mr. Blennerhassett. 

July 6th. 

I received your letter from, the Nation, also the one 
previous to it, but derived but little pleasure from the 
general tenor of the last. Its contents are too gloomy, 
and I wanted no addition to the causes of low spirits I 
have experienced ever since you left ; for these, however, 
I know I am to blame. I trust you are in good health. 
Our dear, fine boys are almost the only children here who 
keep well, and grow fat. 

While I find my society more than ever courted, there 
is, and will be till you return, an insurmountable barrier 
to my peace of mind, in the fear of 'your becoming in- 
volved in private quarrels. If they can, with honor, be 
avoided, I trust and pray they will. 

I see no reason for any despondency whatever. We 
can undoubtedly make a good beginning here, and, from 



Digitized by 



Google 



TRBATMBNT. 237 

what I have experienced since your departure, I am per- 
fectly satisfied that this climate, in summer as well as 
winter, is every way more desirable than the one I left 
on the Ohio, so that, please God ! our happiness is now 
more in our own keeping than ever before. I trust your 
limbs are already well; if not, I wish you to try the 
leaves of the Jamestown weed. You need only take two 
or three of them, and, after softening them a little by 
beating between the palms of your hands, bind them well 
on the sores, after having first washed them with sugar 
of lead. Repeat the dressing three times, and then apply 
salve made of sugar of lead. 

I hope you will be able to procure all the things men- 
tioned on your list. If you can, I want you to get some 
of the early cucumber that the Barnes's used to have up 
the Kanawha, and bring every rare-ripe peach tree which 
can be moved out of the garden, as I find that sort are 
not grown in this country. If Peter Taylor, the gardener 
of Blennerhassett, comes, he must bring every flowering 
shrub he can move, or you find room for. 

I left a pair of wafer (not waffle) irons in the kitchen, 
which I wish to have again, if possible. Should it be 
convenient to send my side-saddle, by safe hands, before 
you come yourself, I hope you will do so, as, perhaps, I 
may need it, though I have, at present, more carriages at 
my service than I can possibly use. I trust, however, 
this state of dependence may be removed by your bring- 
ing me some sort of a vehicle on your return. 

In my next I shall give you a full account of the way 
in which I have spent my time since you left me : mean- 
while, you can hardly calculate the attentions I receive 



Digitized by 



Google 



238 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

from every one ; but Harding and the Scotts will ever be 
foremost in real affection. Ruple, I fancy, is on his way 
up, as is also Captain Leonard. 

I have some prospect of exchanging houses with Cap- 
tain Voss. He went two days since in pursuit of Peter 
Dexter for that purpose, and has not yet returned. Mr. 

H will manage the business for me, and when I have 

completed moving, I shall take leave of town, for two or 
three weeks, for Second Creek, accompanied by Miss 
Percy, who has not yet been able to join me, but makes 
fair promises. Should she fail, Mrs. Whittle will go 
with me. 

I have had a most pressing invitation from Mr. and 
Mrs. Borlin, and am expected to visit them when I go 
down : she is a charming little woman. Mr. Hunt has 
not yet returned, but is expected daily. I have hired 
Diana out. Molly and her Spaniard do every thing for 
me ; she is very good, and he the most obliging creature 
in the world. He stays here a great deal, goes to market, 
gets wood, and is said to be a very honest man. 

An aid to General Wilkinson met you near the Nation, 
and said you were well. He also circulated a report, and 
even told Scott, that it was now discovered that Jefferson 
was concerned with Burr, and had even given him his 
cypher. Harman says I must say they are good boys ; 
but Dominick* replies, that would be a falsehood. I 
send you their ugly faces. Remember me with affection 
to the Belpr^ folks. God bless you! farewell till next 
week! 

M. BLENNERHASSETT. 



* The too children of Mr. and Mrs. Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



ARRIVAL. 289 

P. 6. I find I must inclose this in a wrapper (envelope), 
as I am too lazy to copy it, and am hourly expecting com- 
pany to call. Tell Peter Taylor, if he should not like to 
stay with us, he can, hy supplying the Natchez market, 
very soon make a handsome independence for his family ; 
but he had better leave them where they are for the 
present, as they will be much healthier, and he can main- 
tain them there for almost nothing compared to the cost 
of living here ; besides, when he deems it prudent, he 
can have them brought down at almost any time. Say to 
Amy that the boys speak every day of her children, and 
that none of them shall have reason to repent coming to 
this countrh. 



Blennerhas8ett to Mrs. Blennerhassett 

Nashville, June 29th, 1807, past 5 P. M. 

I arrived here about one o'clock this day, being the 
eighteenth since I left you, including about three and a 
half days, during which I lay by ; namely, at Greenville 
and Gibson's Port, nearly one and a half days ; one at 
Tockshish, in the Chickasaw Nation, from whence I 
wrote to you, as I did from Gibson's Port ; and one more 
a little within the entrance of this state, fifty-three miles 
back, occasioned by the state of the horses, all of which 
had completely given out with fatigue and sore backs. 
It required much address to get here, even when we did ; 
and here we are to remain, for five days at least, to get 
the horses and my legs in a condition to proceed, and 
perform the remainder of the journey. 

My entrance into the Unitpd States has not been very 



Digitized by 



Google 



240 THE BLENNBRHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

auspicious. Last Friday evening, soon after I had passed 
what is called the line that separates Tennessee from the 
Wilderness, I endured, for upwards of an hour, the heavi- 
^ est fall of rain I was ever under ; indeed, none ever fell 
heavier. Packing through mud in the pathway, covered 
with six miles of running water all along, part of the 
time in the dark, I was still, however, able to keep my- 
self perfectly dry, by passing my head through a hole in 
the middle of my blanket, which hung on my shoulders 
and covered me every-where, a contrivance I supposed 
myself indebted for to the care Hardings' servants have 
had of my great coat. The next mishap was my last de- 
tention, fifty-three miles back. The next was meeting a 
man yesterday morning, about forty-five miles back, who 
looked strongly at me, and passing by to a man who was 
traveling in company with me, inquired of him my name ; 
then said he had a letter for me, but would not deliver it, 
as it lay, he said, in the bottom of his saddle-bags. Had 
Joe or I learned this before we had traveled too far to 
turn back, we should certainly have had the letter, one 
way or another. You will get it, I hope, and forward it, 
with any others you receive for me, with all possible dis- 
patch. 

Journeying on hither, I was much mortified, as I 
stopped to breakfast yesterday, by the perusal in a paper 
of the first proceedings at Richmond against Col. Burr, 
which evince the most rancorous malice of the Govern- 
ment against his life. But they will be disappointed by 
the negative and cautious conduct he has all along pur- 
sued. In the course of the proceedings it appears Jeffer- 
son's runners have been industrious enough to ferret out 



Digitized by 



Google 



A DREAM. 241 

Peter Taylor and Jacob Albright, to prove that there was 
a body of armed men assembled on Blennerhassett's 
Island. This may surprise you, but it matters not. I 
need not write to you the particulars I have further seen ; 
they will reach you by the papers sooner then through me. 
Some short time before day this morning, my next tor- 
ment was a dream, where I slept last night, ten miles 
back, in which I beheld our Harman fallen a victim to 
the bite of a dog, and you an insane mourner, wan and 
sallow, without a tear. You know I am sincere in deny- 
ing all virtue to dreams, either as cause or effect of human 
events. I therefore mention this, with every confidence 
in God's mercy, that he will permit you to tell me our 
darling boy has continued well, long after the period of 
my dream. But the manner in which you there appeared 
to me has all day long so haunted me, that I wished, soon 
after I got my valise taken to my room, to chase away 
such a phantom with a view of the little Mammy, when, 
alas! my yet last and greatest misfortune was visited 
upon me — the treasure, the greatest, after yourself and 
the boys, I could have in this world, for if I do not 
i^cover it it is irreparable — how shall I mention it? I 
lost your second self. Joe sets out twenty miles back- 
ward, to-morrow early, in quest of it, where we have 
some hopes of recovering it. O ! had Mrs. Alston, by 
one of the best impulses that ever actuated her, had she 
purloined it, how consoling would be the prospect of my 
journey, it would animate me to visit it. How, my love, 
will you soothe this heaviest of my sorrows? I have 
complained to you of none until this overtook me. May 

this be the last letter you will receive from me in such a 
16 



Digitized by 



Google 



242 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

state of mind as I now suffer under ; may I be blest with 
the recovery of that talisman that I now so fully feel 
would never fail to keep my strength from falling, and 
my hopes from becoming forlorn in the midst of all I 
may suffer from the malice of my enemies— captivity or 
death. Perhaps it is reserved for me to recover this sol- 
ace of every trouble that I shall endure, until I again em- 
brace you. 

So far I had written yesterday. You will feel with 
what weight at my heart, though I knew before I sat 
down this letter will not leave this before Friday. To- 
day, Tuesday, I have been chiefly occupied — since I got 
Joe off on the greatest service, if successful, he can ever 
render me — with further perusals of the proceedings at 
Richmond, up to the 6th instant, when Wilkinson had 
not arrived, though hourly expected, as it was supposed 
he must have set out three weeks sooner from Orleans 
than he did. I hope your friends, Harding and Scott, 
will get you the fullest accounts of the trial, from time to 
time. Nothing can hardly interest you more. You may 
read some things that may alarm you for A. B. or H. B. ; 
but I have no doubt the rancor of Government will be 
baffled in its purpose to fasten any treason upon us, or 
oven a misdemeanor. 

This place appears very dull and ugly, but tolerably 
cheap. The inhabitants are chiefly the offcastings of 
North Carolina, and I do not know a single face I have 
yet seen. The living, of course, at this inn, is rough and 
uncomfortable, except the tea and coffee, which will 
redeem many sins of the table with me. But the attend- 
ance is very bad every-where, and criminal, where I want 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH. 248 

it most, in the stables, at a time when I can not walk. 
On this view of my situation, I have thoughts of moving 
Bix or eight miles onward to-morrow, there to wait for 
whatever Thursday's post may bring here for me ; and 
endeavor to get the poor horses on, by easy journeys, as 
well as we can. It is now almost nightfall. I look for 
and dread Joe's return every hour to-night. You see, 
however, I am lighter at heart than I was yesterday ; and 
is not this a crime in my situation, yet no- way mended ? 
I had not light to finish the last sentence *of Tuesday 
evening, when Beaumont, the pilot, who took me over 
the Falls in one of Floyd's boats, called upon me to in- 
quire after him, and told me Mrs. F. had paid the debt 
of nature, about the middle of this month, having left 
behind her a fine child. It is painful, but necessary, that 
we should be the messengers of these sad tidings, if they 
have not otherwise reached him, because his affairs at 
home require his speedy return, his property of every sort 
depending only on the care of a negro wench, 

. Yesterday, I spent the whole day in perplexing anxiety 
for Joe's absence, and the care of my unfortunate legs, 
on which it is not only misery to walk, but even to put 
them on the ground for a moment. They also prevent 
my rest a considerable part of the night. Nothing seems 
to succeed but close bandaging from the toe to the knee, 
which I have again resorted to. Up to this moment, Wed- 
nesday noon, July 2d, we have no intelligence of the thief 
who, we doubt not, stole my treasure. I have more than 
one runner out after him ; have offered ten dollars, and 
would not depart hence, if myself and horses were able, 
till all chance was hopeless. Joe has returned, after a 



Digitized by 



Google 



244 THE BLENNBBHA6SETT PAPERS. 

fruitless and unremitting search for him of forty hours. I 
hope Russell has returned, and is received as he deserves* 

Assure Kitty I cordially wish her no worse a husband 
than would write to her, and feel for her, after thirteen 
years' trial, as I do for you. I depend upon his vaccinating 
Harman, and attending you all three, if necessary. The 
state of your chest, I rely on your solemn promise to me, 
has surely been submitted to him, and I hope he has lost 
no time to administer every palliative and preventive he 
could best imagine. My concern for your keeping the 
boys 7 heads and feet always covered, I can never cease to 
dwell upon and repeat. 

I must leave you for some sort of dinner. God grant 
I may be able to add one more pleasing line than any I 

have yet written, before the mail closes this evening. 

Well, " par hazard," I have made a better dinner than 
any I have had yet in this place, i. e., the first bit of 
wheaten bread I could eat, and one cut of good mutton, 
well roasted. But does this ennui afflict a man who was 
satisfied and cheerful, after forty -five miles' ride, with half 
a tin-cup of water-gruel twice a day, in an Indian wilder- 
ness ? Have I only returned into what is called civilized so- 
ciety, to wish myself out of it? Much have I projected to 
execute of that active exertion which Harding so kindly 
urged me to. But I am now a cripple, without a leg to 
stand upon, or a mind capable of emerging from that sea 
of trouble in which it has sunk so deeply. I shall, how- 
ever, wait the news next Monday's mail may bring from 
the eastward. It is not impossible some tidings may 
arrive to determine me hence westward, even direct to 
the chance of an asylum, under the government of Grand 



Digitized by 



Google 



PROMISE. 245 

Pri; for I have little doubt Jefferson, if he can not 
effect our ruin by our conviction, will seek it by harrass- 
ing us to beggary. I think if I should be prosecuted 
with the virulence that has marked the proceedings 
against Burr, my acquittal, by the trouble and expense 
that would be incurred to obtain it, would be worth little 
more than a condemnation. One thing is certain, I shall 
take nothing from you to fee lawyers. I shall have none 
that may not volunteer their assistance. So you will 
have another short letter from this place, or its neighbor- 
hood, to announce to you upon what terms, and in what 
temper, I leave it: my anxiety augments largely for fre- 
quent and long letters from you- 

I trust you have long since left the Chateau of Poin- 
dexter, and have previously made every necessary ar- 
rangement for a regular intercourse with the Post-office 
at Natchez. I hourly expect Col. Panil, whom I over- 
took and passed by 150 miles back, without seeing him. 
I wish he was come to break in upon my ennui. I have 
nothing to comfort me but this last refuge — hope. All 
this tumult of my heated head — has it been kindled by 
you, or a trinket? God bless you all three, and all our 
good friends. The mail is near closing. Adieu. 

Harmam Blbnnbrhassett. 



Blennerhassett to Mrs. Blennerkassett. 

Nashville, Sunday, July 6th, 1807. 
As I am very anxious to leave this to-morrow evening, 
after I shall peruse whatever I may find interesting by 
the mail, which may occupy me the best part of the day, 



Digitized by 



Google 



246 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

I now use that time it might cost me to-morrow to tell 
you my legs are now nearly quite well, which I am in- 
debted for, to a week's rest, and the most careful skill I 
possess. Col. Panil arrived here on Friday evening, 
much improved in his looks by his long journey, in which 
he did not distress himself by hard riding, whatever he 
might otherwise have suffered from insects and hot 
weather. He eats like a dray-horse, and can not find a 
single complaint, in the catalogue of all human, bodily 
infirmities to appropriate to himself. There is one there, 
however, which, though he will not see it, or utter its 
name, has fastened pretty hard upon him. Hypochon- 
dria has marked him for her own, and he will sink under 
her, unless he abandons his plantation near Natchez. I 
have been so far particular, that you may, if you have an 
opportunity, convey to his family a more unbiassed 
sketch of his situation, than they will probably receive 
from himself. 

By a private arrival here to-day, I collect, by calcula- 
tion on the intelligence by way of Knoxville, Wilkinson 
had arrived at Richmond, but did not probably get there 
before the 17th or 18th ultimo. It .is most likely the 
grand jury has been detained to the period of his arrival. 
I hope to-morrow's papers will afford more satisfaction. 
Have you really missed writing to me by two mails that 
have left Natchez since I came away, without your hav- 
ing been prevented by something you could not obviate. 
Judge of my mortification to see Col. Panil read letters 
from home of 23d, while I was looking over Natchez 
papers of the same date, after I had left you on the 11th. 
It will give me five days' work to get to Lexington, say 



Digitized by 



Google 



LAST REFUGE. 247 

200 miles, with horses in the condition of mine ; and, as 
I shall endeavor not to delay there longer than two days 
to rest the horses, I fear I have little chance of hearing 
from you before I reach Marietta; so little have you 
cared, or so unhappily have you been forbidden to use 
the time which is past. You will surely need no further 
hints of this sort. I hope you have not suffered the 
idolatrous grief, with which I filled my last letter, to 
affect you much. It was a weakness in me to pour the 
melancholy effusions of my heart into your breast ; but 
how could I resist so natural a remedy for my pain? 
While I possessed your image, I did not feel how really I 
was an idolater. When my hard fortune deprived me of 
it, I could see nothing in the loss so lively as the image 
of your death. Hence, hope, my last refuge, led me to 
dwell upon yourself; besides, I thought you could not be 
afflicted by my misfortune as I am. Joe, and others, are 
out still, and yesterday I again advertised in the paper, 
and am not absolutely in the abandonment of despair to 
recover my treasure. I already feel, however, time will 
wear out the impression of this calamity, as it effaces all 
others. So far in my fifth letter, which I will continue 
to-morrow. 

The mail arrived late this morning, Monday, 7th, and 
brings no Richmond papers. I have seen, however, a 
Virginia paper of the 12th ultimo, by which it appears 
that Burr had applied to the court for a " subpena duces 
tecum" directed to the President, requiring him to appear 
as a witness, and bring along with him a letter, he stated 
in one of his messages to Congress to have received from 



Digitized by 



Google 



248 THE BLENKERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

Wilkinson, which letter has not yet been made public. 
The chief justice doubted of the power of the court to 
order the personal attendance of the President, and fixed 
upon the next day to have his mind made up, by an argu- 
ment on the motion. 

It has rained so hard, by frequent and heavy showers 
all day, that I should not have set out at any rate. To- 
morrow I shall be accompanied by a Doctor Floyd, the 
husband of the ci-devant Miss Preston. We shall be 
together better than half the way, when he will strike 
off to Louisville. Since writing the above, I have seen 
some lengthy articles of further proceedings at Richmond, 
which you may first learn, and inform Harding, -etc., that 
Burr's motion has been granted, after great and splendid 
exertions by himself and his counsel, particularly Edmond 
Randolph, and that the celebrated original cypher letter 
is not forthcoming, having been said to be lost; that 
Randolph (Edmond) said in court, " Wilkinson, in a few 
weeks, would be in the rank of a private citizen ; " and 
that from private letters received here, it is believed, that 
immediately after the trial, he will have to settle his pri- 
vate accounts with Gen. Jackson, and four or five other 
persons. I have also seen a detailed account of the object 
and issue of a Mr. Burling's mission to Mexico, by 
which it appears he was chiefly sent to insure the balance 
of $300,000, of which Wilkinson had before received 
$120,000, transported from St. Antoine to his quarters on 
mules, in the night. On the whole, Mr. Jefferson and 
his party must be ruined, by the support they have 
afforded Wilkinson, even if it were possible Burr could 



Digitized by 



Google 



PROPERTY ATTACHED. 249 

be convicted of any thing. Farewell, my love ! if I do 
not write again on the road, I shall immediately on reach- 
ing Lexington. 

Harmax Blennerhassett. 
Monday, 12 at night. 



Richmond, June fith, 1807. 

Dear Sir : — Your favor of February last was received 
by me a few days before I left Marietta for Richmond. 
I most sincerely regret that a service of foreign attach- 
ment, of the 20th of February, has placed such of your 
property as was under my control out of my power. The 
writ was served on account of Miller, of Kentucky ; and 
Sanders, of Kentucky, has since filed in a claim. A writ 
of foreign attachment has also been served on D. Wood- 
bridge, Esq., attaching the claims you had upon him; 
and all your movable property at the " Island " is at- 
tached. A certificate from the sheriff follows, by which 
you will perceive that property of every description in 
my hands was attached : 

" I do hereby certify, that on the 20th day of February, 
1807, 1 served a writ of foreign attachment on D. Wood- 
bridge, as garnishee of H. Blennerhassett, attaching all 
the lands, tenements, goods, rights and credits, moneys 
and effects, which the said Blennerhassett might have in 
his, the said Woodbridge's hands, or possession. 

" John Clark, Sheriff. 

" County of Washington, State of Ohio" 

The inclosed letters, with one which I shall lodge in 



Digitized by 



Google 



250 THE BLBNNKRHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

the Post-office at the same time with this, I took the lib- 
erty of opening in February, just as I was going over the 
mountains, thinking they might require some attention 
and answers. I should have sent them to you long since, 
but did not know where to direct them. You will receive 
here, with your account, a letter from Col. Cushing, which 
makes a different package, but will be put in the office at 
the same time. I expected to have seen you at this place. 
The report in our country was, that you were arrested, 
and were to have your trial at Richmond. I should think 
it much better for your interest, if you do not return to 
the Island, to have an attorney vested with full powers, 
to attend to your business in Marietta and Virginia. 
Your property has, and will continue to suffer very much, 
unless you have a person authorized to attend to it. You 
probably heard from Col. Cushing, that your negroes had 
left Virginia, and were strolling about on our side of the 
river ; that Barker, in consequence of a letter of yours, 
of the 9th December, had recovered about $400 for the 
work done on four unfinished boats, although he had 
offered before to take from me $200, which circumstance 
was known to James Wilson ; that the Neals and Phelpa 
had recovered a considerable sum against you, to satisfy 
which demands, Ransom, and a greater part of your mov- 
able property on the Island, was sold. I can not give 
you any particulars relating to these transactions, as I 
was over the mountains from February until May, and 
the day I arrived at home was subpoenaed to attend Col. 
Burr's trial, at this place. Buell has gone on, under the 
direction of the Government, to sell such a part of the 
pork, meal, etc., etc., as he attached, and the boats are 



Digitized by 



Google 



NO POLITENESS. 251 

fitting up to take the United States' troops to St. Louis. 
Wishing yourself and family much happiness, I am, 
Tour obedient servant, D. Woodbridge. 



Mrs. Blennerhassett to Blennerhassett. 

I can scarcely express the joy communicated to me by 
your last letter from Nashville. Thank God, the anxiety 
of your mind is somewhat relieved. I have little doubt 
that Col. PanniPs hypochondria did you more service 
than even a cheerful companion could have done. "What 
a misfortune, in your state of mind, not to have got the 
letter which Mr. Tyrrel, of this place, passed you with 
in his saddle-bags. I now inclose it, and hope by this 
time the attachments may be in a fair way to be taken 
off our poor property. I inclose every other letter I have 
received, except one from D. Woodbridge and one from 
Col. Cushing, as I trust, long before this reaches you, 
you will have seen them both. I feel greatly for the im- 
pression which must be made on you by the present state 
of the Island ; but think, my dear husband, how thankful 
we may be to have preserved the health of our dear boys, 
and also yours, during such a dreadful journey. 

Col. Burr has every thing in his favor, and I now think 
will never let us sustain any eventful injury. Tou can't 
think with what joy and pride I read what he says of his 
daughter. I never could love one of my own sex as I do 
her : how can she live with such a man as Alston? You 
see he has not had humanity, or even politeness enough, 



Digitized by 



Google 



252 THE BLBNNBRHA8SBTT PAPERS. 

to answer your letter. I did not write the mail after 
your departure, and the week following. Thought the 
surest way for my letter to reach you would be to write 
to Lexington. I wish I had calculated better, but trust 
your uneasiness is long since removed. After I wrote 
last week, I went to spend some time with the Scott's ; 
but after leaving town, I learned of the arrival of a 
French Consul, who wished to rent my house. Mrs. 
Whittle — to whom I am under the greatest obligations — 
was confined with a pleurisy. I was therefore under the 

necessity of spending a day at with her, and took 

that opportunity of engaging half of James Moon's 
house, on the condition that if he had an offer for the 
whole, he was to give me the refusal. Mrs. Whittle keeps 
possession of the other half, where she will reside a good 
deal when recovered, which I hope will be soon, as she 
was much better yesterday, which I spent with her. We 
are to go together to Second Creek, where I have press- 
ing invitations from Berling's family to visit, but I am in 
doubt whether I ought to go there; I will consult my 
valuable friend and adviser on all occasions. Poor man! 
he has much anxiety about Winthrop, who has constant 
returns of pleurisy, and as he is cutting two back teeth, 
we are in hopes they are the cause of his illness. My 
visit to Scott's, you see, was curtailed, as I went out on 
Monday evening, and returned on Thursday, when I saw 
the gentleman whose name I do n't yet know ; referred 
him to Harding, saying my rent would be the same I paid 
myself, and he might have the place for the continuance 
of my lease. I then went home ; about the middle of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



REMOVAL. 263 

day, Thursday, had all my things packed up, and many 
of them removed that evening. The rest I had here, and 
next morning took possession of my new habitation, 
which was in such disorder that it took me two days, 
with the assistance of Molly and her husband, to settle 
myself, so that altogether I underwent much fatigue; 
but, thanks to my constitution, I am recovering from a 
bad cold, received from exposure when heated, and pains 
in all my limbs, occasioned by my violent exertions, and 
being too tired to sleep for three nights ; but yesterday I 
rested well with Mrs. Whittle, and last night slept sound- 
ly. I have this day put Dominick to a most excellent 
school in town, in a healthy, airy place. Thanking God 
for every thing, our situation is a Paradise to the one we 
left ; you will soon feel the benefits of it ; 't is impossible 
here to feel heat at any hour of the day, and I have every 
convenience around me, but still I miss the Island. 

Harman says, u tell * Pappy ' I am a very good boy." 
Dominick has just returned from school to dinner. He 
bids me tell you how he loves you ; he has come home 
quite pleased, though Mr. Harding and I left him crying 
at school. The schoolmaster's name is Graham, and it 
seems he had taken it into his head, " it was, as he said, 
that Graham who was bad to Col. Burr and us." You 
must know, I have lately learned from Col. Scott that 
Graham actually proposed to him to invite Col. Burr to 
his plantation, and when there, under the shelter, as it 
might be supposed, of his honor and hospitality, to pro- 
cure good horses, and kidnap him off to the Federal city. 
Col. Scott made answer, that he already had done his 



Digitized by 



Google 



254 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

duty, under the command of Wilkinson, by going to 
Cole's Creek, and would do nothing more. He, Scott, 
was rather intoxicated when he told me this. God bless 
you ! M. Blbnnerhassbtt. 

Harman Blennkrhassett, Esq. 



Burr to Blennerhassett. 

Richmond, May 21st, 1807. 
H. Blennerhassett, Esq. : 

I have barely time, by the opportunity of Mr. Tyrrell, 
to assure you and Mrs. Blennerhassett of my devoted 
attachment and regard, and to express my sympathy for 
all the vexations you have encountered. Mr. Tyrrell will 
tell you of all the strange things which are passing here. 
Of the bills, the first which you indorsed has been paid 
by Mr. Alston. The $10,000 indorsed at Lexington are 
in the hands of an agent with whom I am in negociation 
at this place. That which was left with Mr. Luckett has 
not, to my knowledge, been negociated. Within a few 
months after my release from this place, I may hope to 
be in cash for all these and some other purposes. 

May God preserve you and yours in health and spirits. 

A. Burr. 

If you should not go on the Washita lands, would you 
like a conveyance of the quantity promised to you. Tell 
Mrs. B. that the one-half of every letter I receive from 
my daughter is concerning her. Affectionate regards 
and grateful acknowledgments to our learned and amiable 
friend Harding. 



Digitized by 



Google 



ERRONEOUS JUDGMENT. 255 

Alston to Blennerhassett. 

Oaks, June 22d 9 1807. 
Dear Sir : — You perceive, from the very first word I 
have written, that I address you with the same feelings 
with which we parted. There are certain expressions in 
your letter of April last, which, if you recollect, you must 
acknowledge, are not calculated to conciliate : they spring, 
however, so manifestly from a zealous attachment to Col. 
Burr, and a misapprehension of my feelings, that they 
have produced none of those sensations which, under 
different circumstances, they would not fail to excite. I 
pass them over, too, the more readily, as I am persuaded 
from your temper, the moment of discovering your error 
will be the moment of regret at having indulged it. 
Suffer me then to assure you, I have inflicted none of 
those wounds upon my " friends or relatives " which you 
apprehend. Col. Burr feels that he has not the smallest 
grounds of resentment against me ; he is perfectly satis- 
fied ; nor does there exist a shadow of that animosity 
between us that you deprecate. The fact is, from not 
having a view of the whole ground, you have judged 
precipitately and erroneously of my error, in giving faith 
to the letter attributed to Col. Burr by Gen. Wilkinson, 
I have long been satisfied from several quarters. Noth- 
ing but the shape, apparently so unquestionable, in which 
it came, could have gained it credit with me, for a mo 
ment. These things, however, will shortly be put to 
rights. As soon as the trial, now pending at Richmond, 
is over, the event of which, I am persuaded, can not but 
be favorable, Col. Burr will be with us. A letter from 



Digitized by 



Google 



256 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

him, of the 12th instant, announces health, spirits and 
confidence. Your letter was received the beginning of 
the present month, and, but for the necessity of ascertain- 
ing the intentions of Col. Burr upon the subject of it, 
should have been acknowledged immediately. I for- 
warded it to him directly, and have just heard from him. 
He informs me that the bill-holders have instituted no 
suit against you, but are at present expecting payment 
from him; that he has hopes of shortly effecting an 
arrangement by which he shall be able to meet the bills 
himself, which will, of course, relieve you, and render a 
reference to me unnecessary. He adds, that a gentleman, 
as agent for him, was to set out in a few days for the 
western country, thrbugh whom you should hear further 
and more amply upon the subject; These expectations 
of Col. B., I trust, will be accomplished. I have this day 
written to him, making certain offers which, I hope, will 
facilitate them ; but should they unfortunately fail, I shall 
certainly consider myself bound, both in honor and 
justice, to fulfill my engagement to you. The total 
failure of my crop, caused by the storm of last fall, has 
occasioned me a temporary embarrassment; but should 
your reimbursement devolve upon me, I shall cheerfully 
make any arrangement for a settlement which may prove 
satisfactory : the troubles and vexations you have under- 
gone, the dreadful solicitudes and painful situation, so 
long endured by your amiable family, have my liveliest 
sympathies. The energy of mind, which distinguishes 
Mrs. Blennerhassett, has had a painfully ample field for 
exertion; but the storm is past, and better moments, I 
trust, are about to arrive. Of the friendly attentions and 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 




f<7tZ&teO^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



INDISPOSITION. 2&Z 



Digitized by 



Google 



Digitized by 



Google 



INDISPOSITION. 257 

unremitting hospitalities received from you during our 
tour through the western country, allow me to assure you 
of my grateful recollections. Were it within the scope 
of probabilities, I need not tell you how much pleasure 
the presence of yourself and family, at the Oaks, would 
give us. Tender, I pray you, to Mrs. Blennerhassett, my 
profound and most friendly respects. 

Believe me, with much esteem, your very obedient, 

Joseph Alston. 

Harman Blennerhassett, Esq. 

P. S. Being unwell myself, Mrs. Alston has acted as 
my amanuensis. It is so customary at this time to pub- 
lish extracts from every letter in which the name of Col. 
Burr happens to be mentioned, that I was about to 
observe to you, what you will readily perceive without 
the observation, that this is not meant for the same pur- 
pose, but merely for your own perusal. 

J. A. 

Having acted as amanuensis for Mr. Alston, I now beg 
leave to speak for myself, and inquire after the health of 
Mrs. Blennerhassett ; her fortitude has, I hope, supported 
her through the troubles of the winter. May they be 
the last she has ever to encounter. I wrote to her last 
autumn, but I suppose my letter has not reached her. 
The fulfillment of our mutual promise of corresponding 
would afford me great pleasure ; for it will now be the 
only means of supporting, a friendship, which I flatter 
myself commenced in conformity of sentiment and sin- 
cerity ; but whatever may be the length of our separation 
or discontinuance of intercourse, the happy days I spent 
17 



Digitized by 



Google 



268 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

on the Ohio, and the character of Mrs. B., will remain 
indelibly impressed on the mind of her friend and 
admirer. T. B. Alston.* 



* One individual alone clung to Burr in his hour of trial ; need -we say 
that it was a woman, the only daughter of the accused. 

If there is a redeeming feature in the character of Burr, it is to be found 
in his love for that child. From her earliest years, he had educated her 
with a oare to which we look in vain for a parallel among his contempo- 
raries. She grew up, in consequence, no ordinary woman. Beautiful 
beyond most of her sex j accomplished as few females of that day were 
accomplished, she displayed to her family and friends a fervor of affection 
which not every woman is capable of; the character of Theodosia Burr 
has long been regarded almost as wc would regard that of a heroine of 
romance. Her love for her father partook of the purity of a better world ; 
holy, deep, unchanging;' it reminds us of the affection which a celestial 
spirit might be supposed to entertain for a parent, cast down from heaven, 
for sharing in the sin of the " Son of the Morning." No sooner did she 
hear of the arrest of her father, than she fled to his side. There is nothing 
in human history more touching than the hurried letters, blotted with 
tears, in which she announced her daily progress to Richmond ; for she 
was too weak to travel with the rapidity of the mail. Even the character 
of Burr borrows a momentary halo from hers, when we peruse his replies, 
in which, forgetting his peril and relaxing the stern front he assumed 
toward his enemies, he labored only to quiet her fears, and inspire 
her with confidence in his acquittal. He even writes from his prison 
in a tone of gayety, jestingly regretting that his accommodations are not 
more elegant for her reception. Once, and once only, does he melt; and 
that is to tell her that in the event of the worst, he will die worthy of 
himself. 

After his trial, Burr went abroad, virtually a banished man. He was 
still full of his schemes against Mexico and the Spanish provinces; but 
in England he met with no encouragement, the nation being engaged in 
the Peninsular war. He afterward visited France, where his petitions 
were equally disregarded, the Emperor being engrossed in the Continental 
wars. Here his funds failed. He had no friend to apply to, and was forced 
to borrow, on one occasion, a couple of sous from a cigar-woman on the 
corner of the street. 

At last he returned to New York; but in how different a. guise from 
the days of his glory I No cannon thundered at his coming, no crowd 
thronged the wharf. Men gazed suspiciously upon him as he walked along, 
or crossed the street to avoid him, as one having the pestilence. But be 
was not, be thought, wholly destitute. His daughter still lived ; his heart 



Digitized by 



Google 



blsnnerhassbtt's arrest. 259 

Richmond, June 29M, 1807. 
Dear Sir : — I recommend to you to place Mrs. Blen- 
nerhassett and your children with Mrs. Alston, till these 
agitations shall be composed. 

For other matters, I refer you to my friend, Major Ash- 
ley, who will hand you this. 

Faithfully, yours, A. Burr. 

Mr. A. will perform his engagement. The bill for two 
thousand dollars was duly paid. 
H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 



To Mrs. M. Blennerhassett. 

Lexington, Ky., Tuesday Eve., July 14fA, 1807. 
On my arrival here to-day, I was taken into custody 
for my indorsement of some of Col. Burr's bills, of 
which I am now getting clear by an arrangement Mr. 



yearned to clasp her to his bosom. She left Charleston, South Carolina, 
accordingly, to meet him. But although more than thirty years have 
elapsed, no tidings of the pilot-boat in which she sailed have ever been 
received. Weeks grew into months, and months glided into years. Yet 
her father and husband watched in vain for her coming. Whether the 
vessel perished by conflagration, whether it foundered in a gale, or whether 
it was taken by pirates, and all on board murdered, will never be known, 
until the great day when the sea shall give up its dead. 

It is said that this blow broke the heart of Burr ; and that though in 
public he maintained a proud equanimity, in private tears forced them- 
selves down his furrowed cheeks. He lived thirty years alter this event ; 
but, in his own words, " felt Bevered from the human race." He had 
neither brother, nor sister, nor lineal descendant. No man called him by 
the endearing name of friend. The weight of fourscore years was on his 
brow. He was racked by disease. At last death, so long desired, came ; 
but, it is said, in a miserable lodging and alone. Was there ever such a 
retribution ? Aicontmotjs. 



Digitized by 



Google 



260 THE BLENNERHA8SBTT PAPERS. 

Clay is" drawing up between Mr. Sanders and me, effected 
by my transferring Col. Alston's obligation, etc. Col. 
Mead's son, by a rapid journey from Richmond, per- 
formed in twelve days, brings intelligence of bills of in- 
dictment having been found against Col. Burr and my- 
self for high treason and a misdemeanor, and that Burr 
is in close custody. The Federal marshal sent out to 
summon a jury from Wood county, and the trial fixed to 
come on the 3d of August. Burr's situation is thought 
to be perilous, as may be my own. If I go on to the 
Island or Marietta, I must expect to be immediately sent 
to Richmond. I have no idea of attempting an escape, 
which I could probably effect by Detroit to Canada. I feel 
conscious of all want of law or evidence to convict me, and 
shall therefore not seek to avoid an arrest anywhere, but 
promptly appear on any call for me at Richmond. Wil- 
kinson will fall and be disgraced, whatever fate may 
attend Burr or myself. Seven of the grand jury were 
for presenting or indicting him, but all were unanimous 
for indicting Burr and me. I shall advise with Mr. Clay, 
this evening, on my situation, and the course I should 
pursue. It has appeared to me probable I should be 
arrested here, and sent on from hence ; Mr. Clay thinks 
that will not be ; you shall hear from me, however, the 
first new opportunity. Dudley Woodbridge, Edm. Dana, 
David Wallace, and almost every one you could suspect, 
have been taken to Richmond on subpenas; John and 
S. Henderson, of course. Bollman has refused the Presi- 
dent's pardon, as I should, unless it were issued upon 
petition to him from yourself and my respectable ac- 
quaintances in the Mississippi Territory and the United 



Digitized by 



Google 



INTERRUPTION. 261 

States, unsolicited by me. I will not fly, even from Wood 
county witnesses and juries. 

I must now tell you I was interrupted when I had writ- 
ten so far, by a visit from Mr. David Mead, to arrest me 
on the part of the United States. He is an amiable, kind 
young man, with whom I shall set out in a few days for 
Richmond. He has offered me every service since I have 
been confined, and is very busy in summoning witnesses 
on behalf of Col. Burr. He has just left me in a new 
lodging, which is very comfortable, I assure you, being a 
clean, airy room in the jail, left entirely to myself, where, 
I call God to witness to you, I do not feel at all uneasy at 
the sense of confinement. It is true, I have not yet tried 
it half an hour ; but the same Providence that has ever 
supported me will let my time and my reflections flow as 
smoothly here as if I were at liberty. You must serve the 
same God, and by strong and steady endeavors think of 
this, and the worst that persecutions can inflict upon me, 
as lightly as I do. Attend to the duties you owe, and the 
delights that will be afforded you, by our dear boys, till I 
see them again, which I shall surely do somewhere. For- 
ward to Richmond an affidavit from my valued friend 
Harding, stating at large the proceedings that were had 
against me at Washington, and a duplicate, for fear of a 
miscarriage. The jailer, a civil American, of the name 
of Prentiss, has just informed me has orders to let no 
one speak to me but in his presence, and to let no letters 
come to me or go from me. I have just sent him out to 
demand of Col. Crocket, the United States Marshal, or 
Mr. Bibb, their Attorney, that I may write to you a sealed 
letter or an open one, as they will venture to prescribe. 



Digitized by 



Google 



262 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

He returns with an answer that I may send closed letters 
to you ; but any others I may wish to write must be seen 
by him and the jailer before they are sealed. I make 
memoranda of all these occurrences, which I read over to 
the jailer, and he has engaged to sign. 

If you wish to sympathize with me, do not grieve for 
my situation, as I am not at all discouraged. This even- 
ing, 't is true, is warm ; but how much more distressing 
was the heat in the vast prairies and barrens I have 
passed through, tormented, too, day and night with 
insects, from which I am here free. Is my tumbler 
so greasy I can not wash it clear ? I am chemist enough 
to know that not a particle of the grease will adhere to 
the water ; and how very much cooler is my drink ! I 
have just been sent, per Joe, a mug of good tea, with 
toast, from Mrs. J., with mattress, sheets, etc. My win- 
dows are grated, but large and open, and their appear- 
ance no more disturbs my reflections, which kind Heaven 
never suffers to fail me, in place or time, than the figure 
of those we sometimes admired on the Island. You must 
dismiss, then, all concern for every mortification you will 
falsely think I suffer, except what arises from the want 
of the picture, which I do 'nt yet despair of, through the 
kind offices of a young man at Nashville, a printer, of 
the name of Rob. Alleson, who has kindly assured me he 
will engage himself to forward it to you or me. I must 
now close, to insure this letter time enough in the office 
to go by to-morrow's mail. Joe has just come to take 
them. God bless you! Write every post. Kiss my 
boys for me, and never fear a failure of my spirits or my 
constancy. Harman Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FRIENDSHIP PROVED. 268 

To Mrs. M. Blennerhassett. 

Lexington, July 18*A, 1807. 

It should afford you the fullest proof of my contentment, 
in my present situation, to learn, that without any inter- 
ruption of good health, I have not appropriated any part 
of my time, since Tuesday, to writing to you. When I 
was closing my letter to you that day, I thought it would 
go from hence next morning ; I am happy since to hear 
it will not go forward before this, which, I hope, you will 
first read. In the midst of my occupation, by the cares 
of my concerns with the Government, I have made 
arrangements for removing, I expect, the greatest part 
of the incumbrances affecting our property on the Island. 
Miller, who, you know, attached the chief part of our 
effects, is not here, but will probably accept of the same 
accommodations, accopted by Mr. Sanders, namely, a 
transfer of Alston's obligation, with a deed of trust on 
the Island, as a further security. Our valued friend 
Harding will explain this to you. lie ought to see my 
letters to you, while the press of more indispensable occu- 
pation prevents my writing to him. Details relating to 
my arrest on Tuesday evening, and the proceedings that 
have already, and will hereafter occur, you will see, must 
be too voluminous to find place in my letters. You must 
content yourself with the statement you will find ot 
them in the papers. I will not fail, however, to give you 
such particulars as you may not see there. 

The degrees of adversity seem to graduate the scales 
of friendship, and the sincerity of the professions we 
receive in life. I have been visited by Col. Meade, who 



Digitized by 



Google 



264 THE BLENNEKHASSBTT PAPERS. 

has not probably ridden to town for two years, on any 
two other occasions, while Morton, the Harts, and many 
others you would first count upon, have not appeared 
within the walls. More call upon me, however, than I 
wish to see, while poor Tracy is offended with me, be- 
cause I will not take any of the little money he has 
gathered by so many years' hard earning, and several 
other persons daily load me with general offers of service. 
If confinement could, in itself, have any ills for me, they 
could not fail to be greatly abated, by the interest excited 
by my visitors and the unremitting exercise of my pen. 
But while I have these resources — aided, besides, by the 
kindest attentions of the jailer and his family, who in no 
instance omits to render my situation not only easy, but 
even comfortable, without transgressing the line of de- 
markation between his duty and his inclination — I hope 
the ease I experience, and the indifference I feel toward 
future prospects, will not induce you to suspect that the 
most loathsome dungeon, or the most unjust issue of my 
prosecution, could exhibit me unworthy of the favor of 
your constancy and virtue. Although I live very com- 
fortably in every respect, Mrs. Sanders, late Miss Nich- 
olas, persists in sending me a nice breakfast every 
morning, and Mr. Postlethwaite has endeavored to pro- 
cure my removal to his house, a mile distant in the 
country ; but popular passion is so strongly engaged on 
the side of the Government, that it could not be effected 
in this focus of Democracy ; the ardor of which, however, 
I am generally assured — the manner of my deportment, 
and address in the court — have cooled down .into some 
degree of sympathy and confidence in my honor. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SPECIAL DIRECTIONS. 265 

I have been very much engaged the last two days in 
preparing letters and various papers for Joe to take to 
the Island. I got him off in the afternoon ; he took with 
him two new horses I got for the three I left Natchez 
with, which he will take to his uncle's on the Monanga- 
hela, and keep until he takes them down to Richmond, 
where I shall want him and Scott to prove the inveterate 
animosity borne me by some of the Wood county wit- 
nesses I expect to appear against me. I think it probable 
I may have occasion, on my defense, to make use of the 
first letter I wrote to Col. Burr; that being destroyed, 
probably my letter-book may be received as evidence of 
its contents. The book, therefore, which I left in the 
small trunk, containing my papers, together with every 
letter you can there find, or in any part of my writing- 
desk, from Col. Burr to yow, or myself, you must, with 
the aid of Mr. Harding, or other friends, whose zeal and 
punctuality can be depended upon, have forwarded to me 
at Richmond, together with the morocco case, containing 
my music, and the two sheets of manuscript I lent 
Mrs. Wallace, with my spectacles; the whole carefully 
packed, sealed and directed, in a small trunk or box, in 
the safest and most expeditious manner, by Orleans, to 
some port where I may get the earliest intelligence of its 
arrival, and thence procure it by the coach. I expected 
the return to town last evening of my young friend, Da- 
vid Meade, from the country, where hfc is fatiguingly 
employed in serving subpenas for witnesses on the part 
of Col. Burr. On Monday I shall set out in his charge — 
he being deputy-marshal — with a guard of four, three, at 
least, of whom are respectable, and will, I am assured, 



Digitized by 



Google 



266 THE BLENNERHA8SBTT PAPERS. 

prove agreeable companions. I am extremely sorry to 
find the injury to private individuals of this country in 
consequence of a baseless authority for Burr's financial 
operations here last autumn, far exceeding my greatest 
suspicions. If it be shown that he had not funds and 
friends pledged to him to warrant his drafts, his conduct 
would appear nefarious enough to displace all the friend- 
ships he ever formed. These strictures are particularly 
extracted from me by something I have heard of him 
relating to myself in a pecuniary sense, which will be 
examined, and come hereafter to your knowledge, if ma- 
terial. They may therefore be kept secret from all but 
friends, in whose honor and attachment we can confide. 
David Meade has just left me. We shall certainly go on 
Monday, and proceed by easy journeys, comfortably 
equipped. Beware to enter upon Dominick's heart, but 
by small and cautious advances while informing him of 
my situation. Welcome the means you may derive from 
it, of forming him to a habit of patience and courage in 
suffering; pity for the vices of mankind, and a steady 
contempt for malice, which the vengeance of power can 
never subdue. As it regards yourself, reflect and rejoice 
that your husband will not be unworthy of you by the 
tenor of his life ; while, through all the trials he may yet 
pass, the approving spirit of your virtue will embellish 
his fame and smile upon his courage. I have written to 
my friends, Jas. S. Lewis & Co., to honor Mr. Harding to 
amount of $500 or $600 to answer your occasions, as well 
as to accept all bills drawn by yourself, to amount of my 
remaining funds in their hands: this last instruction I 
gave them in contemplation of your making a small pur- 



Digitized by 



Google 



DETENTION. 267 

chase, and having need of Borne money to make ready 
payments and prepare for getting in a crop the ensuing 
season, which you ought to endeavor to effect for the 
children in the manner I have proposed; though any 
other you may be advised to will not be displeasing to 
me. Mr. Biggs will soon, I hope, reach Natchez, with 
some few hands, and I have begged of Col. Cushing to 
endeavor, as soon as possible, to send you every thing he 
can from the Island, from whence I think it probable you 
will receive some supplies in the course of this fall. My 
detention at Richmond will extend nearly to Christmas, 
owing to the distances from which I shall be obliged to 
collect my witnesses ; so that if I shall be able to run the 
gauntlet through Democratic juries and witnesses, you 
may easily calculate the time I could return to you by 
sea, or by land and the Ohio, taking the Island in my 
way. In the mean time, it is possible I shall not be kept 
in jail, but confined in a comfortable way in the Peniten- 
tiary, or other safe quarters, under guard, at Richmond, 
as Burr now is. The federal marshal there has a good 
character from David Meade, and is brother to General 
Scott. Continue to repeat to all our worthy friends, par- 
ticularly Harding, Col. and Mrs. Scott, and Russell, etc., 
etc., my grateful obligations for their goodness to you ; 
tell Russell I do not cry " Divil burn the iron boults," 
though I sometimes sing " Smolileu." 

A mail in to-day from Natchez, and no letters from 
you. I have had but one; the postmaster's date being 
23d ult., concerning the boys', works. For God's sake, 
write oftener, and give me the. satisfaction of hearing 



Digitized by 



Google 



268 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

how many of my letters, this making the seventh of 
eighth, you received from your husband, 

Harman Blennerhassett. 

P. S. As I can't write to many of your friends, I hope 
all will excuse me. 

Sunday noon, July 19th. — I am just going out to walk 
in town, to make some visits with the jailer. H. B. 



The following is a notice of the arrest and proceeding 
alluded to, taken from the " New World :" 

Lexington, July 21st. 
On Tuesday last Herman Blennerhassett arrived in this 
town from the Mississippi Territory. Immediately oil 
his arrival he was arrested, at the instance of Mr. Saun- 
ders, on a civil process, and hefore his discharge was 
again arrested hy the marshal for the Kentucky district, 
on an affidavit made hy Mr. David M'eade, the purport 
of which was, that Blennerhassett had been indicted for 
treason, and a true bill found by the grand jury at Rich- 
mond, Virginia. It fortunately happened that Judge 
Todd was in town, before whom Mr. Blennerhassett was 
immediately brought ; but as he wished to be heard by 
counsel, he was committed to jail, and ordered to be 
again before the judge at nine o'clock the next morning, 
at which time he read to the court an affidavit which he 
had drawn up. The crowd was so. great that the editor 
was unable to hear the whole of it, but he understood it 
went to give a history of his arrest and discharges in the 



Digitized by 



Google 



EXTRACT. 

Mississippi Territory ; of his being on his journey home, 
when he heard at Danville of the indictment being found 
against him ; of the means he used to ascertain the truth 
of the report ; and that being satisfied of its correctness, 
he had hastened to this place, to surrender himself to 
Mr. Bibb, attorney for the United States ; that soon after 
he arrived he was arrested upon a civil process ; that he 
had met with Mr. Clay, to whom he communicated his 
intentions, and requested advice as to the mode he should 
adopt ; that Mr. Clay said he was too much engaged to 
attend at that time to his applications, but promised to 
see him on the subject at nine o'clock the next day. He 
declared it to be his- wish to be sent on to Richmond to 
receive his trial at that place. Mr. Clay, as counsel, 
assured the court, that he was instructed by his client to 
express his wish to be sent on for trial ; he only wished 
an unnecessary rigor might not b*e observed, and that he 
might be forwarded in a manner as delicate as the nature 
of his situation would permit. Mr. Clay at the same 
time took the liberty, as a citizen, to protest against, or 
rather object to, the mode which had been pursued by 
the court ; he viewed the proceedings unprecedented and 
illegal. He, however, wished it to be understood, that 
his observations were made as a citizen, and not at the 
instance of Mr. B. ; it was his real wish to be sent on for 
trial. Mr. Bibb stated that he had provided himself with 
authorities to prove the proceedings proper ; but that he 
had that morning inquired of Mr. Clay whether any ex- 
ceptions would be taken to the legality of the proceedings, 
and being informed that none would be taken, had neg- 



Digitized by 



Google 



270 THE BLENNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

lected to bring his authorities into court; that he was 
now surprised to find the exceptions taken. 

Mr. Clay stopped him again, to declare that the excep- 
tions were not by the consent of Mr. B., who he believed 
was really desirous of being conveyed to Richmond. 

Mr. Blennerhassett assured the court that Mr. Clay 
had justly stated his desire, and pledged himself, that 
whatever might be the decision of the judge, he would 
accompany Mr. Meade, the deputy-marshal, to Richmond. 
But he wished not to be understood as making a parade 
of willingness which he did not feel, of meeting investi- 
gation, as he was more desirous of going as a prisoner at 
the public charge, than at his own expense, as his fortune 
was greatly impaired. He made an affecting appeal to 
the citizens of Lexington, which would have been very 
favorably received, had not the high crimes with which 
he was charged forcibly rebutted it. He spoke of the 
friendly attention and hospitable treatment experienced 
by himself and family, and hoped they would not believe, 
without evidence, that their attentions had been bestowed 
on unworthy objects. 

The judge took time to make up an opinion as to take 
up the proceedings which ought to be had in the case ; 
and issued a warrant for his commitment and safe keep- 
ing, until the district-judge could be applied to, who 
ordered him to be delivered to the court in Richmond, 
without delay. 

He was yesterday sent off, attended by Mr. Meade and 
a guard of five men. 



Digitized by 



Google 



UNPLEASANT TI DENGS. 271 

Lexington, July 22d, 1807. 

Sir : — Your favor of the 20th was delivered to me ; the 
apology you offer, on the subject of my fee, is abundantly 
sufficient, and the compensation you propose, adequate. 
You will be pleased to inclose a Virginia bank note to 
me from Richmond, by the mail. I did not understand 
that by the agreement between Mr. Sanders and you, 
Mr. Miller was to be any way interested in the " deed of 
trust" upon your Island, and am pretty positive it waa 
not agreed that he should- be concerned in it, which is 
evident, indeed, from the face of the deed itself. Never- 
theless, you may give Miller an order upon Sanders, to 
pay him out of the proceeds of the sale of the Island, 
if they should exceed Mr. S.'s demand, and Mr. Alston 
should not be willing or forced to pay according to his 
engagement. I think, therefore, you ought to acknowl- 
edge the deed before the General Court in Virginia. 
You will only, by refusing to do it, give Mr. Sanders the 
unnecessary trouble of having the deed returned to be 
proven and certified from this place, or commencing a 
suit against you, to coerce an acknowledgment. 

Your obedient servant, Henry Clay. 

Harman Blennerhassett, Esq. 



Natchez, August 3d, 1807. 
My dearest Husband : — After having experienced the 
greatest disappointment at not having heard from you 
for two mails, I at length learn of your arrest, which 
afflicts and mortifies me, because it was an arrest. 



Digitized by 



Google 



272 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

think, had you of yourself gone to Richmond, and so- 
licited a trial, it would have accorded better with your 
pride, and you would have escaped the unhappinees of 
missing my letters, which I wrote every week to Mari- 
etta. God knows what you may feel and suffer on our 
account before this reaches you to inform you of our 
health and welfare, in every particular; and knowing 
this, I trust and feel your mind will rise superior to every 
inconvenience that your present situation may subject 
you to ; despising, as I do, the paltry malice of the up- 
start agents of Government, and that you may in some 
measure be the means of exposing them to the world. 
Let no solicitude whatever for us damp your spirits ; we 
have many friends here, who do the utmost in their 
power to counteract every disagreeable sensation which I 
suffer from your absence. I have removed into a part of 
Mr. Moon's house, where I can scarcely feel the heat of 
the weather, having let mine to the French Consul, who 
has come to reside here. The boys have a good school, 
and I find many conveniences here which I wanted at 
Poindexter's house. Mrs. Whittle spends most of her 
time here, which is a great advantage now, when I do n't 
go any-where, which I have determined not to do till I 
learn the result of your affairs, though pressed by all my 
acquaintances to go to the country, where I spent some 
time before I learned of the alteration of your course. I 
inclose several letters of business to General Tupper, at 
Marietta, for you, among which was the one that Mr. 
Sorrel, of this place, had in his possession when he passed 
you in the wilderness, but which can be of no conse- 
quence now. Mr. Biggs has returned with only three 



Digitized by 



Google 



STRONG ATTACHMENT. 273 

negroes, not having been able to procure funds for more. 
I shall live in the hope of hearing from you next mail, 
and entreat you, by all that is dear to us, not to let any 
disagreeable feelings on account of our separation ener- 
vate your mind at this time. Remember, that every one 
will read with great interest whatever concerns you, but 
still, do n't trust too much to yourself; consider your 
want of practice at the bar, and, if I still retain the same 
influence over you which you have over me, do n't spare 
the fee of a lawyer ; we shall never miss it in this coun- 
try, and if we did, that, in such a case, should be no con- 
sideration now. Assure Col. Burr of my warmest ac- 
knowledgments for his and Mrs. Alston's kind remem- 
brance, and tell him to assure her that she has inspired 
me with a warmth of attachment that never has, nor ever 
can diminish while I live. I wish him to urge her to 
write to me* a letter from her now would be most accept- 
able God bless you ! M. Blennerhassett. 

I hope you have done tormenting yourself about the 
loss of my picture. I inclosed you, to Marietta, what is 
of infinitely more value, the profiles of the two darling 
lovely boys. 



To Mrs. M. Blennerhassett 

Richmond Penitentiary, 

Tuesday, Aug. 4tth, 1807. 
Do n't startle at a word ; I am not in the quarters of 
old M ; you must wait for a description of my lodg- 
ing until I conclude some little account of my journey, 
18 



Digitized by 



Google 



274 THE BLBNNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

This has been as comfortable and accommodating as the 
severity of the weather and much fatigue would permit. 
The guard, consisting of five gentlemen, vied with each 
other all the way in emulating the exertions of that excel- 
lent young man, David Meade, to promote my ease. I 
had, consequently, no restraint, and might, I believe, have 
effected my escape, if I had been disposed to attempt it. 
We arrived in town to-day, the 16th inclusive since we 
left Lexington, a quarter before 2 o'clock. We rode up 
to the Washington tavern, where we had an excellent 
dinner; after which I was visited by another deputy- 
marshal with a warrant for high-treason, and conducted 
in a carriage to this place, where I am lodged in a suite 
of commodious apartments, affording me a walk of forty 
paces in length, lately occupied by Col. Burr, who has 
been removed to another house, under guard, for the 
more convenient intercourse with his counsel during his 
trial; these are numerous, and all volunteers in his 
defense. I was not half an hour here when I had a lively 
note from Col. Burr, a present of tea, sugar and cakes 
from Mrs. Alston, and a visit from Alston, and Edmond 
Randolph, to offer his advice and services gratis. Morgan 
Neville has been looking for me, and was denied admit- 
tance to my room at the tavern, through officiousness or 
mistake, for all my friends may come here to me, though 
I can't go out to them. Mr. Randolph and Alston assure 
me the prosecutions for treason have already become 
ridiculous among the best informed, so that none of us 
will probably be hanged, nor can a conviction for the 
misdemeanor be effected from any thing we can learn, 
any more than from any acts or declarations of ourselves, 



Digitized by 



Google 



PRIDE. 275 

for none such ever escaped us to warrant one. Our only 
indemnity, therefore, will consist in our promoting the 
eclat, or whatever it may be, which will reward the zeal 
of the Government for our persecution. 

I had a visit to arrest the progress of my letter from 
Mr. Mercer; he sat fully two hours with me, and was as 
interesting as he always is. My new lodging, though 
spacious and commodious, is unfurnished ; I have there- 
fore been forced to have indispensable necessaries fur- 
nished from the tavern, which, however, I shall only 
continue until I can make more economical arrangements. 
In my anxiety to save for you and the boys, I must still 
indulge my pride by spurning the liberal subsistence 
allowed by the United States to their State prisoners, of 
fifty cents per day. I hope you will duly receive my two 
letters from Lexington jail, and forward the things I 
therein wrote for. Request of Harding to see or write 
to Tyler, to advise him to offer a surrender of himself, 
and get subpened, if he does not hear soon after you get 
this, that the Government will abandon the chase they 
are at present engaged in ; I say abandon, for it is now 
generally believed, by all parties, that two of the grand 
jury, of the most respectable character, would not have 
concurred in finding any bill for treason, and none, pro- 
bably, would have been found, if these had not mistaken 
the meaning of the judge's report of his opinion in case 
of Swartwout and Ogden. Having yesterday rode forty- 
five miles, and thirty-five to-day, before the variety of 
incidents that has occupied me this evening, and having 
other matters to engage me for an hour before I go to 
bed, I will reserve the rest of this sheet for such part of 



Digitized by 



Google 



276 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the news of to-morrow as may concern me, and may not 
reach you through the papers. Good night. 

Wednesday ', 11 o'clock, P. M. — Variety is charming, and 
never more pleasantly exemplified than in the succession 
■of that of my levees here. I believe I should have been 
stupid, or perhaps indisposed a little to-day, from the 
transition from great exercise in the open air and broiling 
sun to sudden confinement, if I was not almost hourly 
stimulated by the appearance of some person I am pleased 
to see, or the hearing of some news to interest me. As 
to persons, I have seen this morning Mr. Botts, who will 
also take part in my defense, without pecuniary compen- 
sation from me, and I expect his example will be followed 
to-morrow by a similar offer from Mr. AVickham. Tell 
Harding my indictment, as appears from a printed copy 
sent to me this evening, contains two counts ; the first for 
levying war against the United States on the 10th of De- 
cember, which will be attempted to be supported by the 
perjured evidence of Taylor and Albright, of resistance 
made to General Tupper's arresting me; while Tupper 
will prove he never attempted to arrest me, or any of the 
party ; for which insolent behavior of his, bye-the-bye, 
it is rumored that he is threatened also with a State pros- 
ecution. The other count is for planning, and going 
down the river on the 11th, to effect the seizure of New 
( )rleans, which I suppose the evidence of the Hendersons 
is chiefly relied upon to maintain ; but this testimony I 
shall also, I expect, be able to defeat; also, let him know 
or read that in filling many of the blank spaces with my 
name, which occurs several times, an e is uniformly used 
in the Christian name, instead of an a, as I have ever 



Digitized by 



Google 



POSTPONEMENT OF TRIAL. 277 

written it, and in the surname an a is as often used as 
an e. I want to learn from him whether any, and what, 
advantages may be taken of these variances, and when ? 

To return to my visitors — D. Woodbridge and Edmond 
Dana called in the morning, both my. friends, by whom I 
heard Joe had safely given all the papers I charged him 
with to Col. Cushing. A great deal of property has been 
sold, I hear, but the purchasers are fHendly enough to offer 
to let me have it, by placing them as they were before the 
sales. No negroes are sold, but all are vagrant and latitant ; 
still none will be lost. The laws of Virginia and Kentucky 
only allow an absent debtor or defendant to come in 
within seven years, and set aside, or seek redress for a 
sale made against law or equity. Again, it seems as if 
every one I ever knew, and more, were now in Richmond ; 
for to-day the prosecuting counsel had about one hundred 
witnesses called in court, and, for the second time, put off 
the trial for two days, because about fifty more did not 
appear; and nothing less than Morgan Neville and Bob 
Robison were here this evening. 

Friday, 8 o'clock, A. M. — I was a little indisposed yes- 
terday, which, with the hinderance of company, etc., pre- 
vented my writing. A small dose of ipecac, has to-day 
restored my strength and appetite, so that I hope I have 
already surmounted whatever seasoning may have been 
necessary to fit me for the sojourn I shall make in this 
place. Mr.-Wickham, as was expected, waited upon me, 
with Mr. Botts ; these, with Mr. Randolph, all three my 
gratuitous counsel, I severally and distinctly assured, no 
apprehension of a capital conviction, or sentence of death, 
could induce me to draw from the sympathies apd exi- 



Digitized by 



Google 



278 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

gencies of my family to defray any charge of my defense, 
either at present or any after period I could contemplate. 
Mr. W., a staunch Federalist, and Messrs. Randolph and 
Botts, perhaps as warm Democrats, are of opinion I shall 
be enlarged on Col. Burr's acquittal of the treason charge, 
if I can procure bail for the misdemeanor, which I sup- 
pose I could easily do, but would as soon remain where I 
am, until all the claims of Government upon me are dis- 
posed of. It will much depend on the progress and turn 
of Burr's trial, when mine can come on, though our cases 
will be kept as wide apart as truth and their merits justly 
require. It is truly painful to me to tell you to expect 
nothing from the Island, though most of the purchasers, 
even Miller, the principal, would return the property on 
the terms I have before mentioned ; yet the recovery of 
any thing depends on his acceptance of the best and only 
arrangements Alston can make. Alston is endeavoring to 
raise money here to meet all the demands, the success of 
which I shall learn to-day or to-morrow, but little depend 
upon. On failure of this, he, Alston, will assume the 
whole, payable one-half a year from next January, the 
remainder the January following, with interest. The 
impossibility, he declares, to raise money in Carolina, by 
sale or mortgage, and his having fewer negroes than his 
estates require, make this the best arrangement he can 
make ; but which, I fear, will not be accepted. I will 
endeavor to learn and effect the speediest means of for- 
warding to you as many of the negroes as possible, 
which, I suppose, you will hire out; but, in all your 
affairs, be Harding your guide. 
Alston talks confidently of Burr's recovering his de- 



Digitized by 



Google 



TENDER OF FRIENDSHIP. 279 

mands upon Government, to the amount of $50,000. 
This event would be prosperous, indeed, but I have little 
faith in it. Mercer has sat an hour with me since last 
sentence ; news to-day by him is all war, traced up to 
declarations by the President, that the ground the Gov- 
ernment will take is the inviolability of a neutral flag ; 
every one is in arms, to be ready on the first signal to 
take Quebec and the West Indies. Mercer prays you to 
accept the admiring homage of his remembrance ; I send 
my letters for you, by arrangement with him under cover 
to his friend B. Taylor^ Esq., attorney-at-law, Alexandria, 
who will duly forward them to Scott. Tou will also 
inclose to the same gentleman, who will forward your 
letters to me through Mr. Mercer. I have just received a 
tender of friendship by Mr. Ormsby, of Kentucky, from 
General Henry Lefe, and offers of soups, jellies, etc., from 
Mrs. Carrington, with their compliments. 

Prom your husband, Harman Blennerhassett. 



Burr to Blennerhassett. 

Sunday, August 4th. 
My dear Sir: — You may take it an ill compliment 
that I tell you I am heartily glad to hear of your arrival. 
Mr. Alston and Mr. Neville successively made attempts 
to see you at the tavern, but were denied. Having this 
minute heard that you have gone to my late quarters, I 
send to inquire of your health, of that of Mrs. Blenner- 
hassett's, and in what I can be useful to you. What 
counsel shall I send you ? 

Faithfully yours, A. Burr. 

H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 



Digitized by 



Google 



280 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Burr to JBlennerhassett. 

August hth, 1807. 

I am much gratified, my dear sir, by your letter and 
notes. It is impossible for us to communicate freely, ex- 
cept through the intervention of counsel. I recommend 
to you to employ Mr. Randolph and Mr. Botts, and that 
you write a line to each of them this morning. They 
will not expect money, at least at present, and when I 
shall be discharged, I shall be able to furnish it. Write 
also to your friend Emmett,* to come on forthwith. My 
trial is essentially yours; it will settle principles which 
will govern in both. The political character of Mr. Em- 
mett will give him weight ; and it is greatly to be desired 
that a man of discernment and impartiality should wit- 
ness the mode of these prosecutions and the extraordi- 
nary efforts and extraordinary means used to produce 
conviction, right or wrong. 

Your faithful friend, A. Burr. 

H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 

If there be any thing wanting to your comfort, advise 
me. 



To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Richmond Penitentiary, Aug. 13*A, 1807. 
All is going on very well ; I am hearty and in good 
spirits, but have only time to charge you to suffer not the 
appearance of a summons to bring you here, or to fret 

* Thomas Addis Emmett, of New York. 



Digitized by 



Google 



INDECISION. 281 

you, and tell you you must not obey it. Tour want of 
funds, and the helpless state of your children, must op- 
pose a barrier, which the Government will not venture to 
break down. Tell Harding to be of the same mind with 
my excellent counsel here. Adieu ! in haste for the mail. 

H. Blbnnbrhassbtt. 
Mrs. M. Blennerhassett. 



Burr to Blennerhassett. 

Friday, August 14th. 
I perceive the advantages from your presence, but am 
not at this moment able to decide whether the thing be 
practicable. One or more of our counsel will wait on 
you this afternoon, to confer on this and other points. 

I am surrounded by visitors, which prevents me from 
adding more than the assurances of my respect and at- 
tachment. 

A. Burr.* 



To Blennerhassett. 

Natchez, August l%th. 
Your first letter from Lexington has just come to hand, 
and, notwithstanding the predictions of your former one, 
I do n't find it by any means so melancholy as the first I 
received, as it assures me of your accommodations in that 
place (which I can neither bear to repeat or write) to be 



* Burr' 8 answer to a note wishing to be informed if lie (Blennerhassett) 
could be allowed to examine witnesses as his (Burr's) agent or advocate, 
or at least be present at their examination. 



Digitized by 



Google 



282 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

much better than I expected. I also feel now, that in 
such a court as Richmond, absolute falsehoods can't pass, 
when, in opposition to all that can be sworn to by Wood 
county, you have the most respectable witnesses from the 
State of Ohio ; and surely every person in Belpr£ can 
testify that Tyler's boats landed on the Island in noon- 
day, and had no arms on board, and admitting that what 
all these villains said were true, how were you concerned 
in what was done by Tyler or others ? Ashley has told 
Mr. Harding that Peter Taylor said something that in- 
jures you ; and Col. Burr writes in his letter to Harding, 
which I have seen, that " Mr. Blennerhassett has injured 
him, both by what he has said and what he has written." 
Good God ! what a world this is : tell Col. Burr, from 
me, if you think it worth while, that I wanted not this 
aggravation to my unhappiness; at least,- that I looked 
not for aggravations from him. He also writes to tell 
you to place your family with Mrs. Alston : tell him were 
Mrs. Alston only in question, I would now, this moment, 
without hesitation, take refuge with her, and that I 
should not think my life even worth its present value, did 
not I hope once more to see and converse with that 
woman whom I think almost above human nature ; but 
I would at the same time do nothing that might lessen 
the dignity of the attachment I feel for her. 

We are under the greatest obligations to Doctor Com- 
mins, for carrying your package, which you will receive 
sooner than you could any other way. 

I believe, from what I have learned, that Tyler will 
injure you, if he can ; he is by this time arrested. Kow 
let me again intreat you to spare no costs that can serve 



Digitized by 



Google 



PERJURY. 283 

you ; if our negroes come down from the Ohio, I repeat 
again, we can make a good beginning here. Capt. Percy 
has been here again, urging me to go to the Spanish 
dominions, where you will be well received, and where I 
shall make a visit, when I know the termination of your 
prosecution. I spent three days at Col. Scott's since I 
wrote the letter you will receive with this. You may 
perceive my spirits are much mended ; but I am still de- 
termined to adhere to what I then said I would, in case the 
perjury of the mob should prevail ; though every con- 
versation I hear on the subject tends to encourage me, at 
least with regard to yourself. I shall write every mail to 
assure you of the health of myself and the boys. 

Farewell for another week ! remember that your fami- 
ly are well, and that you are adored by your 

M. Blbnnbrhassbtt. 

H. Blbknerhassett, Esq. 



To Blennerhassett. 

Natchez, Aug. 26th, 1807. 
My usual depression of spirits has been much increased 
by not having received any letter from you by this mail, 
aided by the shock of hearing from Ashley to-day, for the 
first time, that it was by the perjury of Peter Taylor that 
a bill was found against you. 'T is true, I feel fully con- 
fident such evidence must be done away with ; but I also 
feel, that it is owing to this alone that you are in your 
present situation, the thoughts of which haunt me night 
and day. Gracious God ! confined in a prison in the dog- 
days, and by the perjury of a wretch not many degrees 



Digitized by 



Google 



284 THE BLENNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

from a brute ! I used to give him credit for the utmost 
honesty; Jmt it is in vain, I am convinced more and 
more every day, to expect principle without some refine- 
ment, at least where interest is concerned. Ashley says 
he hears they have given the wretch a tract of land some- 
where. If this can be proved, it will be sufficient. As 
for Albright, I can make oath to his secreting our two 
negroes, who ran away when you left the Island ; and 
Elmwood, the blacksmith, told me of his taking stolen 
melons and sweet potatoes to Marietta to sell for negro 
Jim, whom he saw steal them out of the field, where 
there were no others but mine. I see plainly enough, the 
Wood county rabble only want some pretext to vindicate 
their plunder ; but I feel great confidence in the evidence 
I trust you will have from Marietta and Belpr6, and 
hope no lawyers' fees will be spared. Why can't I be 
with you ? But I feel it would not do ; your mind is 
stronger without me, and the boys are an insurmountable 
objection to my going round, which I should only do in 
a case that I hope can't possibly happen. 

I have only been to Mrs. Scott's since I heard of your 
arrest, and shall probably not go anywhere until I learn 
the result. Miss Percy is still with me. Major T., who 
visits me often, begs to be kindly remembered to you. 
Dr. Commins left home, I believe, three days ago, for 
Richmond, where he was called as a witness by Govern- 
ment. He took with him all the papers, etc., you wrote 
for from Lexington, but I suppose this will reach you 
first, though he went through the wilderness and took a 
pack-horse. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FEVER UNAVOIDABLE. 285 

The boys are well, and still, thank God ! insensible of 
your situation, though they often pierce me to the heart 
by their questions about you, and threaten very often, 
when I correct them, to "tell their pappy how bad I 
am." They both of them join in sending, to use their 
own phrase, " their good love to their dear pappy." 

I wish, when your mind is fully disengaged from your 
present embarrassments, that you would make a thorough 
calculation of the profits and losses between this country 
and the one we have left. Perhaps you may sell the 
Island ; if you can do so, it will be best ; if not, nothing 
but a certain loss would prevent my wish of returning 
there. My attachment for that place is strong indeed, 
but not so strong as to entirely counterbalance our inter- 
est ; at the same time, I would have you consider there is 
only one thing in favor of this country — the raising of cot- 
ton — which for a moment gives it any preference ; for, in 
spite of all you may have heard, it is a sickly country, 
both for black and white. Intermitting fever is inevita- 
ble ; both the, children have had it, but Harman's was 
the worst; he was completely cured by Dr. S., with 
whom I am much delighted as 9, physician. Dominick 
was then attacked, but I stopped the progress of the dis- 
order myself. I am told Bayou Sara is much more 
healthy generally than the vicinity of Natchez, where 
fevers are constant ; and from this statement of the sick- 
ness of this country I leave you to judge how far it will 
agree with your constitution. As to mine, I believe it is 
impossible I ever should have an "intermittent;" I only 
suffer at times from the pain in my breast, which uni- 



Digitized by 



Google 



286 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPERS. 

fbrmly increases in proportion to the anxiety of my mind. 
I grow very thin, notwithstanding my appetite is good ; 
but I believe nobody's mind ever had more influence on 
the body than mine, but do n't let this concern you ; all I 
suffer now will only tend to make me completely happy, 
on your delivery from your present situation, which, I 
begin to think, must take place soon. 'T is not possible 
you can be injured by the perjury of such complete 
fools. 

The cotton crop promises very badly on account of the 
drought, in all the land about Natchez ; but wherever the 
land is new, the drought does not affect it. Now let me 
urge you to weigh well the advantages and disadvan- 
tages of this country, and let your mind be no way in- 
fluenced by what you have thought of the society of the 
place. It is not what I at first supposed it ; and any way, 
I consider it scarce a feather in the scale. If you can sell 
the Island, do n't hesitate to do so ; if not, consider that 
while we are making money here we are losing it by 
the house going to rack, and the land lying idle there; 
whereas, if we can keep up that place, it, with the in- 
crease of our negroes, will be enough for the boys; 
then, on the other hand, if we go to Bayou Sara and 
plant cotton for four or five years, we may, at the end 
of that time, be enabled to go to the Northern States. 
Consider well what I have said, and remember that, at 
all events, your happiness is the first object with your 

M. Blennerhassbtt. 



Digitized by 



Google 



BUSINESS ITEMS. 287 

Burr to Blennerhassett. 

Richmond, August 27th, 1807. 
Dear Sir : — Mr. Luckett* and I have an unsettled ac- 
count to a considerable amount. He holds a bill indorsed 
by you. If you can devise means to procure him any aid 
at this moment, it would gratify me much. 

Your faithful and obedient, A. Burr. 

H. BliENNERHASSETT, ESQ. 



Burr to Blennerhassett. 

September 1st, 1807. 

Dear Sir : — It seems that some misapprehension exists 
on the subject of the bill held by Mr. Luckett. I could 
not with delicacy propose to you to take up my bill ; but 
I repeat that it would gratify me that it could be done. 
My present inability is too manifest. Yours, perhaps, not 
very different. • If, however, you choose to request Alston 
to assume this bill as part of his engagement to you, the 
arrangement would give me real pleasure, and I have no 
doubt may be made satisfactory to him. 

I felicitate you on the events of yesterday, and am 
alway faithfully yours. 

A. Burr. 
H. Blennerhassett, Esq. 

* Mr. Luckett advanced money to Col. Burr on Blennerhassett' 8 indorse- 
ment. 



Digitized by 



Google 



288 THE BLBNNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Richmond, Va., Sept. 11th, 1807. 
A few days have elapsed since I might have written to 
you to announce the second event that rendered last 
Monday remarkable as a day on which I might be sup- 
posed to have been elated with the long desired change 
of my condition for the better. That was the termina- 
tion of my imprisonment, by the abandonment on the 
part of the prosecutors of the indictment against me for 
treason, and my admission to bail, under the other indict- 
ment for a misdemeanor. But the receipt of your letter 
of the 3d ultimo, by a speedy arrival, was the event 
which constituted the first blessing that day returned to 
so many hopes and prayers offered up to obtain it. I 
have since received, I believe, all your other letters from 
Marietta, though your negligence in omitting dates dis- 
tresses me, as I am ignorant of any time which I can con- 
nect with any thing you tell me of yourself, the boys, or 
our friends. I am delighted with the profiles. It would 
cost you more calculation than you will ever enter upon 
to discover the one-hundredth part of the lines, or parts 
of lines and curves, on which I shall rapturously specu- 
late in these bits of paper. You know it is not my tem- 
per to feel surprise or emotion on transition from one 
extreme to another. I therefore passed from imprison- 
ment to liberty with the same unconcern with which you 
have sometimes observed me to take the air, after three 
days voluntary confinement. But this may be more ex- 
plicable from some daily notes I have kept for you since 
my arrival at Lexington. Our ingenious Harding will 



Digitized by 



Google 



DEATH. 289 

not be a little surprised to learn from you, that after a 
deprivation of liberty for fifty-three days, I was freed 
from the treason case, on which I had been arrested at 
Lexington, without arraignment, and shall probably get 
clear of the misdemeanor case in the same way, by the 
success of six similar points, which will be decided, I 
expect to-morrow, by the court, in favor of Burr. So 
you see I have little prospect of an opportunity to speak 
in my own cases, especially as I am so well provided with 
counsel. Still there is a chance of my being here put on 
trial for the misdemeanor, or being involved in the issue 
of a motion to send us to the Kentucky district for trial, 
in either of which events I shall say something. 

I have had two dollars worth of letters forwarded 
from Philadelphia : first, from Ireland ; two from Mar- 
tin, one telling me to inquire after an estate he thinks 
has fallen to me of £6,000 a year, by the death of 
Lord Ross, ci-devant Oxmantown, and Captain Jones, 
in the West Indies, next to whom I stand in the entail. 
I do not wish you to build at all on this intelligence, 
though it is not at all improbable it may be realized. 
Should that ever happen, in how many instances may our 
gratitude do justice, in fact, to our dispositions. I hope 
I shall within a week re-open the small credit our nar- 
row funds will entitle us to in Philadelphia. Lewis has 
already written to me, to say he will endeavor to have 
every bill taken up his house had rejected, that he can 
come at. I board with Major Smith, at a comfortable 
house, as cheap as wc can, i. e., at seven dollars a week 
each, but shall proceed to Marietta as soon as I am dis- 
charged from the court, as I do not expect any attempt, 
19 



Digitized by 



Google 



290 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

if made for our transmissal to another district, will pre- 
vail. Do, however, continue to write hither until dther- 
wise advised. 

I can add little more by this mail than to say, I am not 
sufficiently satisfied you can so surely be healthy where 
you are, in the fall, as if you were six or seven miles from 
the river. Therefore, on the earliest threatening to your- 
self or the boys of any autumnal attack, I entreat and 
enjoin you to let nothing prevent your removal. 

It would be impossible to enumerate all our excellent 
and accomplished friends ; still more so to say the hun- 
dredth part of what my gratitude would express to them 
for their generous attention to you. You will acquit me 
of this duty with every one of them as well as you can. 
I wrote to Harding, who I hope will long enjoy his and 
Winthrop's good health. Colonel and Mrs. Scott, Mrs. 
Whittle, and friends, have, with many others, claims 
upon my grateful regards that will never be obligated. 
Your husband, Harman Blennerhassett. 

P. 8. I will endeavor to execute so much of your wishes 
as time and circumstances will permit. 



To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Richmond, Va., Oct. 1th, 1807 

I write this by Col. MoKee, who leaves town to-day for 

Natchez ; though, from occasional interruptions he expects 

in his journey, you may not get it until after one or two 

other letters of more advanced date may reach you by post. 



Digitized by 



Google 



ANTICIPATION. 291 

It will, however, serve to quiet your auxiety for my delay 
in arriving at Natchez, as that pleasure must give way to 
the control of contingencies I can not govern. This day 
all the evidence is closed on the motion now before the 
court, for our transmissal to Kentucky; the debates will 
end, and the motion be refused, I have every reason to 
believe, by Saturday ; but, in that event, I shall be de- 
tained, three or four days, to put my demands on Col- 
Burr on some footing of adjustment ; after which I pro- 
pose to use all diligence I can to haste to Marietta, from 
whence, I fear, I shall find great difficulty in effecting the 
recovery and removal of the negroes. I can not teaze 
you with particulars of my expectations ; I may have to 
go to Philadelphia or South Carolina, and, possibly, not 
be able to descend the river until after it shall break up in 
the latter part of January. You must economize in the* 
mean lime, and seek all the resources you can draw from 
the friends who surround you. I will write again by 
Tuesday's post; I have not cared to risk many letters, as 
you see weekly by the papers, or must conclude, I am 
every day before the court. I wish you to be very 
reserved in all your communications, except with Hard- 
ing, whom I wonder you have not mentioned in every 
letter I received from you. I had none since Sunday's 
mail, and since the news of our boy's sickness, by yours 
of 25th August ; I am truly miserable in my alarms for 
my Harman, whose situation, as well as your own, with 
regard to the pain in your breast, I can see yon have im- 
parted to me with reluctance and reserve. 

Perhaps we shall yet enjoy ease and wealth, if Martin's 
expectations of my succeeding to the estates of the late 



Digitized by 



Google 



292 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

D. Harman, by tlie death of Lord Oxmantown, and Capt 
Jones, shall be realized ; therefore, I only beseech Heaven 
to inspire you with the same prospects of contentment 
and delight with which I can enjoy the remainder of my 
days in a cottage with you and our boys — God grant I 
am warranted to add them. Assure Dr. S. of perfect 
esteem and confidence in his talents and learning, and 
cultivate the opportunities of his closest attendance upon 
yourself and the boys. I have no news by (his opportunity; 
it is uncertain and precarious. Adieu ! 

Harman Blennerhassett. 

P. S. I hope Harding has not missed hearing that J. 
S. Lewis, in his individual capacity, will honor bills, 
drawn for your necessities, to the amount of $500. 



Devereaux to Blennerhassett. 

Baltimore, Oct. 12th, 1807. 
My dearest Friend: — I know you must think it 
strange at not having heard from me since your arrival 
in Richmond, and I am sure you must think it untimely 
in bidding you now farewell, to give only this paltry 
proof of my most affectionate regard and friendship ; yes, 
my dear Blennerhassett, my thoughts have been con- 
stantly occupied in reflecting on those poignant and try- 
ing afflictions, with which it has pleased a cruel destiny 
to overwhelm you, and for which I feel, not • as the gen- 
eral run of mankind, but as one, I may say without 
vanity, not unworthy to participate, as I really and sin- 
cerely do, in your griefs. How often have I thought of 



Digitized by 



Google 



TO HIS WIFE. 298 

Mrs. Blennerhassett ; I feel so much for your misfortunes 
that I durst not glance at the cause of them. I am now 
on the eve of embarking for our loved and native country ; 
I go by the way of England, for the more safety. Per- 
mission was granted me, by the last administration, to 
return for a twelvemonth, and I now take advantage of 
it in the hope of recovering my former estate, which, if 
I should, I may not only be a very independent, but a 
rich man in this country. Should I succeed, my friend — 
of which there is but little doubt — you and your estima- 
ble lady shall find by my actions, instead of words, what 
I truly and sincerely feel toward you both. In the mean 
time, I have made a friend for you, who offers to come 
forward in a pecuniary point of view, if necessary. The 
person is Mr. Pierce Butler, of Philadelphia, a noble- 
minded countryman of ours, with whom you need feel no 
scruple in calling upon in this way. The offer came, un- 
solicited, from himself, and he requested me to mention 
it to you. As I can not, unfortunately, at present, do 
more, I have nothing more to say, and conclude, my dear 
friend, with an affectionate remembrance to Mrs. Blen- 
nerhassett, 

Tour truly attached and unalterable friend, 

J. Devereux. 
Habhan Blbnnbbhassett, Esq. 



To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Richmond, Va., Oct. 19th, 1807. 
This day's mail, my beloved, brought me your double 
letter from Natchez, and Col. Ellis's, of the 3d and 8th 



Digitized by 



Google 



294 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

ult., though I see, by the Washington postmark, it did 
not leave that office before the 15th. You have not, I 
find, been spared by the climate. Well, I trust in the 
favor of Heaven for the full re-establishment of your 
health, through the same mercy to me that has granted 
your recovery. My misery has been severe, from not 
having heard from you for three weeks back. During 
my anxiety for the cause of my disappointment, I attrib- 
uted the latter to a relapse of Harman's sickness, which 
much distressed me. There is certainly a Providence 
which ordains, in compassion of our weaknesses, that we 
shall sometimes dread calamities far less than that it is 
pleased to conceal from us. But why do you permit your 
concern for me to weaken your strength or deject your 
spirits ? you might conclude from the papers, the worst 
that can befall me is the loss of three or four months' 
detention from you. To-morrow, I expect we will all be 
discharged ; after which nothing shall retard my return 
to you, but the care I must give to your property and 
affairs. Why fret about what you regard without due 
consideration, the disappointment of that confidence yon 
have heedlessly placed in mankind? What claim could 
your merits have upon the envy of upstarts ? Is not the 
sincere attachment of two or three friends of more value 
than the momentary and lying attentions of the crowd ? 
But why dwell as you do upon the Island ? Have you 
forgotten Marietta and Wood county, or can you regen- 
erate them? or, if we should succeed to £6,000 or £7,000 
a year, by the decease of Lord Oxmantown, etc., would 
you bury it with ourselves on the Island ? Compose your- 
self, therefore, till we meet, if it should not be these six 



Digitized by 



Google 



. FRIENDSHIP PROVEN. 295 

months; if we should still prefer a cabin near Fort 
Adams, but six miles from the Mississippi swamp, where 
none of us, please God, need fear to encounter the climate. 
I rejoice to learn that you find a new friend to replace 
some old ones, who have not stood the test. If H. has 
not sunk the man in the merchant, he will prove a 
brilliant exception to Harding's rule, pronounced against 
the influence of mercantile habits and obscure birth. It 
will be no consideration with hiiri, that we may yet draw 
for his indemnity upon other funds than our grateful 
hearts. Harding's own rule will preserve him steadfast ; 
but you should not mention to any living person the 
pecuniary prospects opened to us, were it only the better 
to enable us to prove the hearts of others, but also be- 
cause it may not be realized. 

It will not surprise you to learn that I have had unsolicit- 
ed offers of horses and money, which I have declined. No 
less than three Irishmen have come forward in this way ; 
namely, Jas. O'Hennessey, a Kerry-man, who never spoke 
to me until he rode hither, 105 miles to see me ; Mr. Pat. 
Hendren, a lawyer, in easy circumstances, settled thirty 
miles from hence ; and Mr. Pierce Butler, whom I have 
never seen, who resides in Philadelphia, is very wealthy, 

and has made an unlimited offer through D . Mr. 

Chevallter lent me $1,000 to-day, to send to a negro sale, 
which I have not used, and shall return untouched ; and, 
while I was confined in the Penitentiary, General H. Lee 
offered me similar aid through a friend. Thus we find a 
few choice spirits to .compensate for the inconstancy of 
false friends. May they reconcile us to the world. 



Digitized by 



Google 



296 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

# 

I have only written one letter by mail since I left the 
Penitentiary. I missed two post-days through my attend- 
ance on the court, or some other unavoidable occupation ; 
but I confided two letters for you to private conveyance, 
by Strickland and Col. McKee ; if you have not already 
discontinued writing to me at this place, you will do so 
from the time this reaches you. I shall possibly go to 
Baltimore and Philadelphia before I see the Ohio ; if so, 
I shall accompany Burr to one or the other, in a day or 
two. I forbear to trouble you with my motives until I 
can impart the result. 

Our long-protracted contest with the Government has 
blasted Wilkinson's fame and credit, never to be revived, 
though the investigations may not exhibit Burr's charac- 
ter or designs unequivocally immaculate. But my name 
has so regularly met your eye in the papers weekly, that' 
it was unnecessary to detail particulars ; you would, of 
course, conclude I was daily present in court. As to my 
health, I never enjoyed better ; though I had two or three 
slight illnesses while in confinement, I have since recov- 
ered much more flesh than I lost there. 

Tuesday, 20th. — Since writing the above, yesterday 
evening, I had a pretty long consultation with Burr, the 
result of which is a more probable conjecture that I shall 
go to Philadelphia with him, to try his success there in 
raising some money for me. I will write frequently to 
advise you of my movements. I have no words to ex- 
press my feelings for Kitty Perry's kindness. I hope we 
shall ever retain her attachment. 

Tour husband, If. Blennerhassbtt. 



Digitized by 



Google 



MEN OF TALENT. 297 

For various reasons, which it is not necessary here to 
enumerate, the trials of Burr, Blennerhassett, Dayton, 
John Smith of Ohio, Comfort Tyler, Israel Smith of New 
York, and Davis Floyd, were postponed, from time to time, 
until the third of August. From the fifth until the seven- 
teenth of the month, the court was engaged in obtaining a 
jury for the trial of Burr, and discussing points of law. 

Never before, in the history of the country, was wit- 
nessed so grand a display of legal acumen and forensic 
talent. Upon the bench sat the venerated Marshall, spot- 
less in purity, and, for soundness of judgment, without 
an equal. Calm, dignified, and attentive, he analyzed the 
arguments of counsel, and noted their relevancy with the 
nicety of a critic. At the bar was Wirt, whose fervid and 
soul-thrilling eloquence, even on this very trial, placed 
' him at once among the first of American orators. With 
a brilliancy of imagination which startled his auditors, 
he swayed the minds of the jury with wonderful effect. 
There, too, was Martin, who had been previously distin- 
guished, in the trial of Judge Chase, before the United 
States Senate. Every word that he uttered, like a two- 
edged sword, pierced the arguments of his opponents at 
every point. There was Hay ; always ready to take ad- 
vantage of suspicious circumstances, and wield them, 
with tenfold force, against the prisoner. There was Ran- 
dolph, — slow, calculating, and careful; building up the 
vulnerable points of his case against the attacks of his 
adversaries. There was Botts, — facetious and playful; 
sometimes descending to the ludicrous, but often rising, 
with convincing argument, to the grand. There was 
Wickham, — dignified and commanding; taking up his 



Digitized by 



Google 



298 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

subject with a master hand, and holding it to view, in 
every conceivable light. And there, too, was Burr, — 
proudly pre-eminent, in point of intelligence, to his breth- 
ren of the bar. He had been the Vice-President of the 
United States. He was accused of the highest and dark- 
est crime in the criminal code. He stood before the su- 
preme tribunal of his country, with the eyes of the 
nation gazing upon him. In the opinion of many, he 
was already condemned. He had the talent and tact, 
and the resources of the government, to contend against. 
Every faculty of his mind was exerted in his own defense. 
The magnitude of the charge ; the number of persons in- 
volved; the former high standing and extraordinary 
fortunes of the accused, had excited an interest in the 
community, such as never before had been known. The 
witnesses against him were mostly officers of the Govern- 
ment, with whom, at one time or another, he had been in 
some way connected. 

For twenty-six days, the court was arduously engaged in 
the investigation of the offense. The evidence of sixty wit- 
nesses had to be examined and noted. Meanwhile, there 
being no suitable quarters in the city, Burr was confined 
in the Penitentiary, in the suburbs of Richmond. Every 
day he was marched into court, on foot, escorted by a body- 
guard of two hundred men, which would have done honor 
to an eastern prince. On the first of September, the jury 
returned a verdicts" that Aaron Burr is not proved to 
be guilty, under the indictment, by any evidence submitted 
to us ; we, therefore, find him not guilty." Burr objected 
to the verdict, as being incorrect in point of form, and 
asked that the same might be given in the usual way — 



Digitized by 



Google 



NOT GUILTY. 299 

simply, " Not Guilty." Mr. Hay answered, that, in fact 
it was a verdict of acquittal ; and that it should be en- 
tered in the jury's own words. 

"There was no precise form of words by which the 
jury should be governed." 

" They have no right to return a written verdict at 
all," replied Burr ; " they have no right to depart from 
the usual form." He then called for the recital of the 
common directions given the jury by the clerk. They 
were read, and end as follows: 

"If you find him guilty, you are to say so: if not 
guilty, you are to say so, and no more." 

" The jury can not be indulged," said Burr. " They 
have defaced a paper belonging to the court, by writing 
upon it words which they have no right to write. They 
ought to be sent back." After a short consultation, it 
was agreed that the simple verdict of "Not Guilty" 
might be entered on the records of the court. 

On the ninth of September, Burr was again arraigned, 
upon an indictment for a misdemeanor, which consisted 
of seven counts ; the substance of which was, that Aaron 
Burr did set on foot a military enterprise, to be carried 
on against the territory of a foreign prince, viz., the prov- 
ince of Mexico, which was within the territory of the King 
of Spain, with whom the United States were at peace. 

After the prosecution had examined some of their wit- 
nesses, and the court had decided that the testimony of 
others was not relevant, the District Attorney made a 
motion to discharge the jury. To this motion Burr 
objected ; insisting upon a verdict. This was on the fif 
teenth of the month. The court, being of opinion that 



Digitized by 



Google 



800 THE BLENNERHASSKTT PAPERS. 

the jury could not, in this stage of the case, be discharged, 
without the consent of the accused, accordingly retired, 
and very soon returned with a verdict of " Not Guilty" 



To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Richmond, Va., Oct. 22rf, 1807. 

Ashley offers a desirable opportunity of informing you 
of the effect of the final order of the court here, which 
is, that Burr and myself are to be tried at Chillicothe, on 
the first Monday in next January, for a misdemeanor. I 
speak of the effect, because it is generally understood the 
Government will drop all further proceedings. The judge 
has given this as his private opinion off the bench. Hay 
has expressed the same belief; and all further ideas of 
prosecuting for treason must be at an end, as the judge, 
in giving his opinion yesterday, declared no ground was 
laid before him, by the evidence, to entertain a suspicion 
of an overt act, having been committed, which was essen- 
tial in making out the charge, though he thought proof 
enough had been exhibited of a treasonable design. It is 
therefore probable the recognizance I entered into yester- 
day with Doctor Commins and Major Smith, my securi- 
ties for my appearance at Chillicothe, will in the end be 
of no other use than to enlarge the records of the court. 

Thus, you perceive, I shall probably never again be a 
prisoner, and will not be prevented from descending the 
river, before it closes, if I do not learn, by intelligence 
expected from the President the day after to-morrow, 
through the Attorney-general, that Government intends 
to abandon all further proceedings against us. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CALCULATIONS. 801 

I think I shall go with " B." from hence, on Saturday, 
for Philadelphia, four days journey thither, and a stay of 
three or four days there will leave me a full month for 
my journey to Marietta, the transacting of whatever busi- 
ness I can finish in that quarter, and getting under way 
afloat. 

I will write a line, through the Federal city, to apprise 
you of my freedom from further probable molestation 
by Government, or obstruction in my journey to Natchez, 
where I hope to arrive, not far from New- Year's day. 
One way or the other, I am very anxious this informa- 
tion should reach you before you misconstrue or brood 
upon the statements you see in the papers of A. Burr and 
myself, being here committed, or sent off to Ohio. My 
chief object in going to Philadelphia is, to arrange my 
pecuniary demands upon A. B., though only in the pros- 
pect of securing them, and to raise by the friendships of 
Mr. Butler, or Joe Lewis, as much cash as will enable me 
to purchase a dozen slaves, whose hire or labor may give 
us subsistence until we learn the result of our expecta- 
tions from Ireland, and support our independence after 
they may fail. I will dispatch my letter through the 
Federal city this evening, but will not close this before 
to-morrow, to collect further intelligence for you. 

All friends of the Chief Justice here are as much dissat- 
isfied with his opinion yesterday as Government has 
been with all his former decisions. He is a good man, 
and an able lawyer, but timid and yielding under the 
fear of the multitude, led, as it were, by the vindictive 
spirit of the party in power. But you will console your- 
self in the assurance of my wanting nothing, through the 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

support of many friends.* And should my obligations, 
under my recognizance, prevent my return to you, .as I 
had hoped above, you must yet weather it out, without 
attempting a voyage or a journey which, instead of 
hastening our meeting, would possibly, at this season, 
prevent it forever, in this world. 

October 23d. — I shall be off to-morrow or next day, 
with Dr. Commins, etc. He and myself are endeavoring 
to procure some negroes in partnership, upon part credit, 
but I can't answer for our success. I have no hopes of 
learning here, as I expected, the designs of J. ; but if 
they are hostile, I shall find means of effecting my 
wishes, of which I have little doubt. Endeavor with 
Capt. P. to procure us a lodging in his neighborhood; 
it may be very convenient. You will hereafter learn the 
motives of this suggestion, but I shall write more fully 
from Philadelphia. 

Saturday, 24*A. — I leave this at 6 o'clock to-morrow 
morning, in company with Dr. Commins ; Burr and L. 
Martin followed next day. I shall stop a day at the 
Federal city, to learn the disposition of Government, 
where I have no doubt I shall obtain a release from all 
further demands upon me in a criminal way ; but, if I am 
not certified of this, I shall not yet be bereft of resources 
to meet and indemnify you, in as reasonable a space of 
time as you should expect. I have more to do to-night 
than will give me half sleep. Farewell! I will write 
from Philadelphia, if not sooner. 

Your faithful husband, Har. Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



PRIVATE JOURNAL. 803 



CHAPTER XIII. 

[Blennerhassett's Private Journal) kept during the trial, wherein are 
minutely narrated the incidents which occurred from the time of his 
arrest, in Kentucky, until his discharge at Richmond.] 

Richmond, Va., Aug. ith 9 1807. 
We aet out as usual from Scottsville before day, rode 

twelve miles to breakfast, then proceeded to T 's, 

eight miles on our way, where we rested one hour in ex- 
cessive heat; afterward, proceeded to Richmond, where 
we arrived at forty-live minutes past 2, P. M. Distance 

from Lexington, 564 miles. Prom T 's, Mr. Meade 

sent a note to Major Scott, the federal Marshal for the 
district of Virginia, to inform him of our approach. We 
traveled this last stage as usual, until we got within 
three-quarters of a mile of Manchester, where Mr. Meade 
left us, at a turnpike gate, and rode oft* at a quick pace. 

Now Capt. took the command of the party, and 

said to me that it would be proper to observe some order ; 
to which I answered, I had no objection. He then ordered 
Mr. Morton, the High Sheriff of Kentucky, and Mr. Wil- 
lis Morgan, to form a file in front, Mr. McCally and Mr. 
David Todd to form another in the rear, directing me to 
ride single between the files, while he took his station in 
front of the whole ; in this order he led the escort with 
the prisoner, in an easy walk, under a broiling sun, over 



Digitized by 



Google 



304 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

a road in which I was almost suffocated by the dust, 
owing to a long drought with which the country seemed 
to have been affected, and a smart breeze in our rear. 
During this embarrassment I called to the gentlemen in 
front of me to observe, " that I supposed it was not neces- 
sary those in the rear should ride so close to me." They 
did so, probably, from the Captain's having used the 
words " close order " in forming the procession. Those 
in front, however, Mr. Morton, or Mr. Morgan, answered 
me in the negative ; upon which the rear file fell back a 
few paces. We continued still in the same order, in which 
I endeavored to keep my station, as was assigned me, as 

nearly as possible, until we drew near to M bridge, 

over James river, when the Captain left his station in the 
front and rode back to the rear, I suppose to order them 
to ride closer up, for they immediately afterward did so. 
We now reached the bridge, on which the Captain shook 
hands with Col. Meyo, en passant, and telling him one of 
the gentlemen in the rear would pay the toll, which Mr. 
Todd did very expeditiously, without much deviation 
from his station. We proceeded at the same gait, until 
we entered the Main-street, commonly called the Brick- 
row, where I was disappointed to see no particular notice 
taken of the party, except by a little boy, who called out 
to some of his comrades, " O, see the troop of horse, but 
they have forgot their colors ! " The walking gait was 
still preserved until we got in sight of the Washington 
tavern, when the Captain was pleased to trot up to the 
house, in which pace we followed him as closely as possi- 
ble. On alighting from my horse, I was welcomed by 
Mr. Meade, in the presence of many gentlemen standing 



Digitized by 



Google 



OLD FRIENDS. 805 

in the portico. He then asked me to go tip stairs, ordered 
dinner, etc., after which he delivered me into the custody 
of the Deputy Marshal of the Virginia district, by whom 
I was conducted in a carriage to the Penitentiary, Mr. 
Meade and the Captain accompanying me. In the even- 
ing I was visited by Mr. Alston, Mr. Mercer and Mr. 
Randolph ; the latter having obligingly tendered me his 
services and advice as a lawyer. Here my apartments 
are large and convenient, but very warm, from the hight 
of the windows preventing a free admission of air. The 
Deputy Marshal, on taking charge of me, read a warrant 
by Judge Marshall, but refused to leave it, or a copy, 
with me. 

Wednesday, August 5, 1807. 

I slept until 7 o'clock ; had a light breakfast this morn- 
ing from the tavern ; hired a servant at $13 a month, by 
the week, he finding himself; was visited by Mr. Julian 
Dandridge, with whom I used to assist here, seven years 
ago, at the Harmonic Society ; by Prichard, the book- 
seller, whose hospitality I remember then to have re- 
ceived, and who tendered me his best services, reminding 
me of some pecuniary accommodation I had conferred 
upon him, which I had forgotten. Visited again by Mr. 
Alston, who brought me a letter from Col. Burr ; also, by 
Dudley Woodbridge, jun., Edmond Dana, with letters from 
Miller and Col. Cushing, by Mr. John Banks, who re- 
minded me of my gold chronometer in his possession, and 
hy Mr. Craughton, who conferred great civilities on me 
neven years ago at Fredericksburg, and now warmly ten- 
dered me his best services. Mr. Alston repeated orally 
20 



Digitized by 



Google 



306 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

to me the necessity Col. Burr observed in his letter for 
my employing counsel, as the only proper intermedium 
of our communications. I assured him I was very de- 
sirous of such aid, but was determined not to strengthen 
my defense, however disastrous the issue of it might 
prove, by drawing from the exigencies and sympathies of 
my family a single dollar to defray its charges. He still 
urged "me to write a few lines to Mr. Botts, which I did. 
stating that I was solicitous of the aid of Mr. B.'s talents 
on terms I wished to propose to him in person. On Mr. 
B.'s appearance soon after in my room, I stated to him 
that Col. Burr and Mr. Alston had expressed a desire 
that I would employ him, though they were apprised of 
my determination uot to spend a dollar on my defense, 
being a resolution the exigencies of my family imposed 
upon me, but Mr. Alston having assured me Col. Burr 
would arrange the matter with Mr. Botts, I wished Mr. 
B. to believe I should regard the aid of his talents on my 
trial as most beneficial to my interests, and flattering to 
my wishes. Mr. B. handsomely replied to me, by assuring 
me that he would think it dishonorable to withhold his 
professional aid from my inability to make him a pe- 
cuniary compensation. I returned, that from the state 
of my affairs that inability would probably be permanent, 
and again referred him to the contingency of Col. Burr's 
or Mr. Alston's remunerating him on my account, as well 
as on Col. Burr's, as it was in this view, and at their 
special instance I had given him the trouble of calling 
upon me, though I could sincerely assure him that, were I 
in circumstances to remunerate him in a degree propor- 
tional to the sense I entertained of his talents, etc., he 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN PRISON. 807 

would be one of the first counsel I should employ. Mr. 
B. seemed perfectly satisfied, and was pleased to say he 
would, with my leave, bring Mr. Wickham to see me, 
who, he was sure, would be happy to assist me in the 
same way with himself. I thanked this generous and 
enlightened stranger with all that awkward embarrass- 
ment with which the impetuosity of gratitude suffused 
my countenance, making every pore of my face an outlet 
to the flow of my heart, which found too narrow an issue 
at my mouth. It will soon appear how necessary it was 
to explain the occasion and manner of my interview with 
Mr. B. I took this opportunity to observe to Mr. Botts, 
that Mr. Edmond Randolph had last evening called upon 
me, and obligingly tendered his advice, by which I said I 
could not presume to suppose Mr. R. meant I should con- 
sider him as my counsel, gratuitously engaged to defend 
me on my trial. Mr. Botts was in the act of taking leave 
when I made this remark to him, which prevented my 
distinctly understanding his reply. I was visited this 
evening by my Lexington escort, en masse, who took the 
opportunity to inspect the building and the armory, took 
their grog, and then took leave. Morton, who arrested 
me so rudely, while engaged in conversation with Mrs. 

Jourdan, and Miss Van P 1, at Lexington, endeavored, 

by the most assiduous attentions on the road, to repair 
that outrage, and now, I thought, exhibited in his coun- 
tenance every concern for my situation. I find I have 
every liberty allowed me but that of passing from under 
this roof by day, or out of my room by night, the door 
being locked upon me at 8 o'clock, and opened at sunrise. 
I have got a supply of groceries and liquors ; my dinner 



Digitized by 



Google 



308 



THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 



is furnished by the tavern, and I have every prospect of 
living well. This evening I have inclosed various papers 
to Mr. Alston, showing him how my property has been 
sacrificed on the Ohio, and praying his aid to recover it 
for my children, by virtue of his responsibility for my 
indorsement of Col. Burr's protested bills. Continued 
my labors to comfort my poor wife, by another page of a 
close written letter, and went to bed at midnight. 

Thursday, August 6, 1807. 

Woke this morning with severe headache and general 
lassitude ; took a little breakfast, with no appetite. At 
10, A. M., took a small dose of medicine; repeated at 
noon ; had a long conversation with Alston, in which he 
expressed great concern for the embarrassments occa- 
sioned me by my indorsements of the bills; declaring 
that, for my sake, he would do any thing in his power, 
observing, however, that it was impracticable to raise 
money in South Carolina by sale or mortgage of lands ; 
that through his anxiety to have all the protested bills 
taken up, he now had a friend employed in this town, 
endeavoring to- raise as much money as would cover all 
the demands ; that I shall learn the result to-day or to- 
morrow, which, if successful, would remove all difficul- 
ties. I proposed to him an alienation to me on some of 
the holders ©f the bills of some negroes to be sold at 
Natchez, where, I suggested, he might avail himself of 
the advance they would fetch upon their vallie in Caro- 
lina, and by that means he would probably sink half the 
demands upon him; but after some consideration, he 
stated the value of slaves in Carolina full as high as it is 



Digitized by 



Google 



HIGGLING. 809 

at Natchez; and at last observed, that bis estates needed 
mare slaves for their cultivation than he owned. He 
offered, however, to assume all the demands upon me, if 
the creditors will accept one-half, payable with interest, 
next January twelvemonth; the other half, etc., the 
January following. But my children's property is, and 
will be, irrevocably sacrificed in the mean time. 

Quicquid delirant Reget plectuntur Achiri. 

Mr. A. next referred to a memorandum he had in his 
pocket of some inquiries to be made of me on the part of 
Col. Burr, of which two are remarkable: first, had I 
written, or would I write, to Emmett, to come to the 
trial ? second, in what instance did I intend, when I ob- 
served to Mr. Edm. Randolph, that " Col. Burr had 
sometimes been too cautious ; sometimes, too little so ? " 
To the first I answered, " that I had no doubt Emmett's 
friendship for me would bring him hither to assist in my 
defense, if he thought I stood in need of him ; but as I 
was, on the one hand, determined to expend no money in 
my own defense, I was, on the other, equally averse to 
bringing my friend on a journey from his large family, or 
withdrawing his industry from that harvest on which 
alone that family depended for their support ; but could 
I engage Mr. Emmett at a suitable compensation, I would 
write to him forthwith." Mr. A. said, "his expenses 
should be paid." I replied, I .could not say what Mr. 
Emmett might understand by the term expenses ; but I 
was sure he would never hand in an account of his 
tavern-bills or traveling charges. I must, therefore, at 



Digitized by 



Google 



810 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

present, decline to disturb him. Mr. A. was now led by 
some association of ideas to remark, that Messrs. Randolph 
and Botts had signified to Col. Burr or himself, that, when 
they offered their professional services to me, I seemed 
rather to desire to decline them, or consider them as in- 
trusive. This evening, Mr. Botts brought Mr. Wickham 
to my room, when I asked Mr. Botts " if he understood 
me in the sense Mr. Alston said he did ? " On the con- 
trary, Mr. Botts declared he did not ; nor did he think 
Mr. Randolph did. Mr. Wickham added a few words in 
compliment of my candor, and said all three considered 
themselves voluntarily engaged, without any expectation 
of pecuniary compensation from me. In answer to the 
second inquiry, I informed Mr. Alston that in making 
use of the expressions reported to Col. Burr by Mr. Ran- 
dolph, I alluded to no particular instances, but could 
easily cite some. I then instanced the confidence reposed 
by Mr. Burr in General Wilkinson, on which Col. Burr 
had known my opinion long since, and the committal of 
himself to Col. Morgan and sons, both as examples of 
defect of caution on his part, and was proceeding with 
equal ease to call up errors of an opposite nature (God 
knows, I know a hundred, both ways), when I was stop- 
ped by Mr. A/s shaking his head, expressing his assent 
to my remarks on Wilkinson, and interrupting me by 
Haying: "Mrs. Blennerhassett had good reason for her 
opinion of Col. Morgan.* I was the less scrupulous to 
enter explicitly upon these explanations for the satisfac- 
tion of Col. Burr and Mr. A., because I did not feel that 
Col. Burr had ever suffered as yet from any avoidable 



Digitized by 



Google 



"serpent's tooth." 811 

indiscretion of mine ; though I was likely to do so far 
more than I had done already by his errors. I suspected 
that he had sent Mr. Edm. Randolph to deliver me a lec- 
ture on caution ; and, above all, I should, least of all ex- 
amples I could imagine, wish to emulate the caution Mr. 
A. has exhibited to the world. Him, therefore, I re- 
garded as the most improper organ of Col. Burr's wishes ; 
nor was I yet without another motive. I had occasion to 
inform Mr. A., when on the subject of the protested bills, 
that Mr. Barton, who had had an interview here with 
Col. Burr on that business, informed me at Lexington 
that Col. Burr told him I was a bankrupt, not worth a 
dollar, or other words fully of the same import, which 4 
Mr. Barton protested he would, at any time or place, 
repeat and support. Bankrupt ! Hah ! Who made me 
so? O God of retributive justice! That Col. Burr also 
declared to him that he did not believe Mr. Alston had 
executed any writing by which he, Alston, could be bound 
to me. What ! did his memory, perhaps the most ener- 
getic of all his talents, here lose its polish by the abrasion 
of his own calamities? Did he forget that he himself 
drafted that very paper, after having considered another 
which Mr. A. had written as insufficient ? But Mr. Bar- 
ton has shown him a copy of the original, and he has 
probably recognized his own composition. 

Received some visits this evening; could get no tea, 
because Mr. Douglas, the keeper, and Harwood, one of 
his assistants, were out, and another turnkey, with whom 
I had not yet got acquainted, would lock me up at night- 
fall. Headache still continued. I went to bed about 10, 
being unable to write. 



Digitized by 



Google 



812 the blenherhassett papers. 

Friday, August 7, 1807. 

"Was visited by Mr. Mercer, who staid nearly one hour 
with me ; begged, on the part of a lady unknown to me, 
who did not wish to have her name mentioned, I would ac- 
cept of soups and jellies from her, if they were desired by 
my appetite or state of health. I told Mr. M. my grati- 
tude impelled me to take a liberty with the lady, which I 
hoped her goodness would pardon. It was to engrave 
her name on the tablets of my heart, and enable my 
family to consecrate it in their regards. He then men- 
tioned Mrs. Carrington. I prayed him to offer, in his 
own manner, a more just return of my sentiments than I 
could express. Soon after, Mr, Ormsby, of Louisville, 
Kentucky, called upon me to show me a letter signed 
H. L., directed to him by General Henry Lee, stating that 
he understood H. B., meaning myself, was friendless in 
this place, and tendering with warmth any services I 
might stand in need of. This offer I declined, charging 
Mr. 0. with a suitable verbal answer of grateful acknowl- 
edgments to the General, of whom Mr. O. cautioned me 
to beware in case of any dealing with him, at the same 
time acquainting me that the character of the General 
was, as I had long before been apprised, that of a man 
c < iii ally violent in his friendships and his enmities. From 
the numerous instances of a violation of private confi- 
dence and public faith that have of late disgraced the 
Government and the country, by liberties that have been 
taken or permitted at the Post-offices, I procured, through 
the friendship of Mr. Mercer, the means of sending my 
letters and receiving those from my wife, through B. 



Digitized by 



Google 



INDIGNANT. 318 

Taylor, Esq., attorney at law, Alexandria. Closed a long 
letter to my wife, begun as long ago as Tuesday evening, 
on my arrival in this place. Began to brief my case for 
my counsel, of which I finished first folio. Have not 
seen or heard from Mr. Alston, or Col. Burr, to-day. 
Received the papers, and continued this journal until past 
midnight 

Saturday, August 8, 1807. 

Overslept myself this morning. Spent more time than 
I could well spare in getting combed and shaved. Read 
the papers, the Federal one stating that they learn my 
arrival here ; that I speak confidently of my innocence, 
and desire a speedy investigation. Those on the other 
side, dropping the "Mister," mention my name in con- 
formity to the style of the President; and his Wood 
county myrmidons insinuate that I was caught, as it 
were, fortunately in Kentucky, from which I was brought 
hither under guard, meaning, no doubt, like a felon or 
convict, as I should be. For to-day, my only visitor was 
Mr. Hendren, a lawyer, who resides in Charles City 
county, and has generously ottered to come to town, and 
live at his own expense, whenever I will permit him to 
serve me. Mr. H. repeated assurances, which had before 
been made to me by Mr. John Banks and Mr. Ormsby, 
that the jury, not only so far ms that part of the panel 
that was returned from Wood county, but all the rest 
that completed it, from the body of the state, was grossly 
packed, with the exception of not more than two or three ; 
that Col. Burr and myself could not be too much on our 
guard, for he was persuaded that every Democrat, to a 
man, now in this town, was thirsting for our blood, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



814 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

"John Jourdan," who has returned here to-day from 
Wood county, has told me this evening he has brought 
with him ample evidence of the most damning manoeu- 
vres and intrigues that have been practiced in that quar- 
ter. Say, Thos. Jefferson ! thou philanthropic messenger 
of peace and liberty to this favored country ! under thy 
administration, are these things unknown to thy tender 
heart, or are they the unhallowed doings of thy worthy 
and industrious partisans, to overcharge or adorn the can- 
vass already burdened with the splendor of thy renown ? 
The papers will inform my friends of the. progress and 
conduct of the trial of A. Burr ; but perhaps they may 
learn only from these notes, that the issue of it, whether 
it prove serious or comical, will be the product of error 
in the grand jury that found the treason bills; for two of 
the most respectable and influential of that body, since it 
has been discharged, have declared they mistook the 
meaning of Chief Justice Marshall's opinion as to what 
sort of acts amounted to treason in this country, in the 
case of Swartwout and Ogden ; that it was under the in- 
fluence of this mistake they concurred in finding such a 
bill against A. Burr, which otherwise would have prob- 
ably been ignored. I am well to-day, and had a keen 
appetite at dinner ; soon after which, Jourdan stepped in, 
but with no particular ne\vs regarding my affairs on the 
Ohio. Saw Robinson and Mr. Simpson summoned with 
him, on the part of Col. Burr. 

Sunday, August 9, 1807. 
Visited by Prichard, at 9 o'clock, A. M. He stayed 
folly two hours, during which he confirmed many former 



Digitized by 



Google 



VEXATIOUS DELAY. 315 

accounts given me of the meanness and cowardice of Jef- 
ferson's Attorney General, George Hay, whose insolence 
to poor Prichard, some years ago, occasioned P. to throw 
a plate at his head, which terminated the affair, and kept 
Mr. Attorney, ever after, within the hounds of civility. 
P. informed me, negroes now sell in this place at the 
same prices they could be bought at wheu I was here 
before, seven years ago. He has offered to get me a 
woman, aged about thirty years, with two sons, twelve 
and eight years old, belonging to his sister-in-law, for 
|500. Eh ! Mr. Alston, are negroes so much lower here 
than in South Carolina ? He has also promised to get 
me Molly's three children, two girls and a boy, if the 
owners will part with them, upon like reasonable terms — 
as he thinks they will. After P. left me, I continued the 
briefing of my case for my counsel, and completed the 
third folio. If the prosecutors attempt again, to-morrow, 
to put off the trial to a fourth adjournment, I shall not 
think it unwarrantable to begin to suspect they fear to 
advance upon the ground they 've taken, lest the mines 
of Mexico, or of Tartarus, be sprung upon them. This 
suspicion seems to be somewhat countenanced by the cir- 
cumstance of their being correctly informed of the places 
where General Dayton has been for several days, and 
will continue, near this town, without the Marshal, who 
is certainly a vicious partisan, having yet made any 
attempt to disturb him ; while the once redoubted Eaton * 
has dwindled down in the eyes of this sarcastic town, 
into a ridiculous mountebank, strutting about the streets, 

* American Consul at Tunis. 



Digitized by 



Google 



316 THE BLENNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

under a tremendous hat, with a Turkish sash over colored 
clothes, when he is not tippling in the taverns, where he 
offers up with his libations the bitter effusions of his 
sorrows, in audibly bewailing to the sympathies of the 
bystanders — " that he is despised by the Federalists, mis- 
trusted by the Democrats, and heu ! too long for his fame, 
"too long for his purse," u Qais talia fando temper et a 
lachrymis" 

General Dayton, however, I hear, will offer himself up 
to-morrow, or the next day, and will therefore live rent- 
free like myself, for some time ; but how far reasons of 
State may prevent my partaking of his society here, I can 
not yet tell. It is | now 11 o'clock, P. M. I will walk 
about for some time with a fan, and then endeavor to 
slteep, to preserve my strength and appetite. 

Monday, August 10, 1807. 

Rose at 6, A. M., dressed, and walked until 8. Had a 

call from Col. Q r, a violent Democrat, who calls 

every one "Tory" that is not of his own party, and 
talked a great deal about ruining England in the expected 
war with the United States. D. Woodbridge stepped in 
while I was at breakfast, and returned me in frames the 

two drawings presented me by Miss Vanpool at C , 

Col. Meade's place, near Lexington, the day I left that 

town under guard for this city. After Q r took leave, 

D. Woodbridge informed me, he was told some time since 
by Col. Morgan, a subpoena had actually been dispatched, 
a fortnight past, to Natchez for my wife, and he heard 
somebody say last evening, General Wilkinson had assert- 
ed the same thing. I immediately addressed a letter to 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN COURT. 817 

Messrs. Randolph, Wickham and Botts, stating this in- 
telligence, and appealing to their feelings to vindicate, 
from this outrage of party, the rights of a wife and the 
fundamental principles of law and justice. Mr. Mercer 
called in as I was folding up the letter, and kindly took 
upon himself the charge of delivering it for me, as well 
as of inquiring at the Post-office for any letters he could 
bring me from thence. 

I had but half finished the last sentence but one, when 
I heard the voices of strangers coming up stairs, and Mr. 
Douglas entered my room with one of the Deputy Mar- 
. shals, to invite me to take an airing, that is, to attend the 
court. I was ready in three minutes, and on reaching 
the outside gate, perceived a carriage and two horse- 
guards in waiting. I stepped in, found the air and exer- 
cise very agreeable ; was told by the way, I should have 
the trouble to pass through a large crowd, to which I 
answered, " I was indifferent," and soon arrived at the 
capitol, where, without doors, I did not perceive near as 
many people as I expected; within, the court is held in 
the Hall of the Assembly, which is spacious and hand- 
some, and was pretty full at my entrance. I was first led 
by the Deputy Marshal below the bar; soon after, some- 
body else invited me to walk within it, pointing to a 
bench ; and again, I was directed to walk to the opposite 
side, directly in front of the Chief Justice's seat, where I 
sat down near a table at which Col. Burr's counsel sit. 
The court was not yet opened ; I was soon accosted, suc- 
cessively, by Messrs. Randolph, Wickham and Botts, who 
all inquired, what occasioned my appearance in court ; I 
said I was ignorant, but supposed for arraignment. The 



Digitized by 



Google 



318 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

counsel did not know I had been furnished three days 
ago with a copy of the indictment ; but I told them I had 
not yet received a list of the witnesses that might be 
called to testify against me, which I submitted to them, 
whether I was entitled to before arraignment. I then 
entered into a conversation, upon a hint from him in 
French, with Mr. Wickham, who, upon a first address to 
a stranger, possessed a talent of infusing into his manner 
an air of ease and friendly interest, that is truly adapted 
at once to engage the hearts of his acquaintance. Some 
considerable time after the court opened, it was engaged 
in a desultory way, with applications from jurors to be 
excused from serving on the trial of A. Burr, on various 
grounds, and excused. During such occupation, Col. 
Burr entered ; came over to that side where I was, shook 
me by the hand, and smilingly said, he was extremely 
glad to see me indeed. Observe, I had not before heard 
from him since Thursday. The prosecuting counsel 
seemed occupied with those of the defendant, A. Burr, in 
completing those lists of the witnesses, with the places 
of their abode, and agreeing upon some form of an ac- 
knowledgment to be made by A. B., that he had been 
duly served with the same, for which the court was pa- 
tiently waiting, when Mr. Hay coolly observed, " that it 
might, in the mean time, be as well to arraign Mr. Blen- 
nerhassett ; " to which Mr. Botts objected, for want of 
preparation by me and my counsel. Mr. Hay replied, 
that if it was not done to-day, a great deal of time would 
be lost. Mr. B. said he could not help it, it would be im- 
proper; on which Mr. Hay returned, " that I might then 
be remanded," which I soon after solicited, from the 



Digitized by 



Google 



MR. THOMPSON. 819 

warmth of the place and a wish to get back to my writ- 
ing. I therefore left the court, having bowed to the 
bench, under charge of another Deputy Marshal, and 
another gentleman, with whom I returned hither on foot, 
much heated by the walk, about fifteen minutes past 2. 
Saw and saluted many faces on leaving the court ; among 
them, ¥m. Lewis, who appeared glad to see me, and in- 
quired particularly for my family ; also, David Wallace, 
who arrived yesterday. Dined with less appetite than I 
had yesterday ; oppressed in the evening by the heat of 
the weather; tried to get cool, by walking and fanning, 
but was so weak I was obliged to lie down on the floor, 
where I slept, I know not how long, until I was awak- 
ened by the name of Mrs. Alston, at which I started up, 
as if electrified, and perceived a servant of hers with a 
large present of oranges, lemons and limes. Wrote her, 
in form of a card, three lines of devotion and gratitude, 
seizing the opportunity of inquiring after Alston, who is 
confined to the house, to pray her to let me hear again 
from her to-morrow. Drank tea as usual, at nightfall, 
and was soon after locked up. Through excessive heat, 
I have written the sixth folio of my brief, and will now 
try to sleep, it being 2 o'clock, the 11th. 

Tuesday, August 11, 1807. 

Rose late. Saw Jourdan while at breakfast. He re- 
mained all day to copy my brief. Visited in the evening 
by Dav. and Robert Wallace, with P. Howe. Had a 
friendly, sympathizing letter from Mr. Wm. Thompson, a 
lawyer of handsome talents, though a violent Democrat, 
the brother of the author of the Letters of Curtius. 1 



Digitized by 



Google 



820 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

got acquainted with him at AbingtoD, on the road hither. 
I do not hear any more of Mrs. Alston's intention to 
attend the trial of her father. I hope neither will add 
this to the many indiscretions already committed by him. 
Jupiter might invisibly elude the guards of Danae, but 
the bonne amie of the Col. does not I suppose occasionally 
pass his keepers with the same address. Proh pudor! 
Worked to-day chiefly on my brief, of which I have to- 
night, past 12, entered on the eleventh folio. 

Wednesday, August 12, 1807. 

Rose at 7, A. M. Was visited by Dav. Meade, who 
tell 8 me himself and the guard that escorted me hither 
from Kentucky will be allowed only one-half of what 
they expected, namely, instead of 10, only 5 cents per 
mile for coming and returning ; and he expects his bill 
against the United States will not be paid under two 
years after his having advanced his money for them : also, 
he understands the Marshal, Major Scott, will not pay 
Burr's witnesses, while he answers all the calls of those 
on the part of the prosecution. Does a culprit, then, 
with an empty purse, look in vain to the provisions of the 
Constitution, which declare " that the accused shall have 
compulsory process to enable him to enforce the attend- 
ance of his witnesses ;" and may he be hanged for want 
of money, as well as of innocence ? I fear the murmurs 
of agents and returning officers will be so widely diffused, 
that no one will undertake to serve subpoenas for me on 
witnesses, however material to my defense, while I will 
not lay out a dollar for promoting its success. A consid- 
erable fall of rain last night and this morning has very 



Digitized by 



Google 



FALSE WITNESS. 321 

agreeably lowered the temperature of the air, the high 
degree of which has, for a week past, been go very op- 
pressive. I have had, by Mr. Meade, another advance 
from female humanity. Mrs. Chevalier, wife of the 
French Consul, has solicited by him my acceptance of 
any refreshments or delicacies she could send me. Read 
the three papers published here, of which the " Inquirer," 
incorrectly, and rather impertinently, notices the occasion 
of my counsel's declining to permit me to be arraigned 
last Monday. Was interrupted by idle visitors, desirous 
of gratifying their curiosity to survey my countenance 
and quarters. One of them, a rejected juryman from 
Wood county, of the name of Morrison, with whom I 
am not acquainted ; the others, strangers to me, and came, 
like many others before them, without recommendation, 
to solicit employment of serving subpoenas on witnesses. 
Had a friendly visit in the evening from Mr. Fowler, in 
company with Jourdan, and procured, through a friend, 
copies of the depositions, before the grand jury, of Peter 
Taylor,. Jacob Albright, and David Wallace. The first 
having sworn that I told him we would stab all those that 
went with us to get land, and would not go on our expe- 
dition ; the second, that General Tupper arrested me on 
the "Island" the night I left it, from which I effected 
my escape by my friends directly presenting six guns at 
the General ; and the third, that I offered him the post 
of Surgeon General, if he would embark in the expedi- 
tion. " God of Truth and Justice ! " avenge such mur- 
derous villainies in mercy ; and then, my beloved wife, 
behold and adore a guardian Providence, that ordains the 

conviction of perjury to issue in the same breath from 
21 



Digitized by 



Google 



322 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the lips of falsehood accusing the innocent. Mr. Fowler 
assures me Mr. Hay begins to feel sick of the business, 
and doubts not a nolle prosequi will be entered on the rec- 
ords, on Burr's acquittal of the treason. 

Thursday, August 13, 1807. 

Rose at half-past 6 ; walked, dressed and breakfasted. 
Had a friendly letter from Prichard, requesting me to 
command his heart and hand ; also a long letter, sent by 
Phelps, but lastly from Col. Burr, from Tom Neale, con- 
fessing, at last, that 't was he bought Ransom, whom he 
will return to my wife or to myself at the same price he 
gave for him. Heard by letter from Col. Burr, in answer 
to one I wrote to him, covering another for him to for- 
ward, if he wished it, to Mr. Hendren, requesting him to 
come to town, to assist Burr with his knowledge of the 
jurymen. Heard that Alston is to-day confined to his 
bed. Visited by David Meade, with two gentlemen of 
his acquaintance, summoned as talesmen, or on another 
venire pro defectum juratorum, on the last. To one of 
these, finding he was acquainted with Will. Thompson, I 
was fortunate, in procuring an opportunity, connected 
with the subject of conversation, to show Mr. T.'s hand- 
some letter to me. As this party were taking leave, 
Messrs. Wickham and Botts appeared at the door; they 
seemed pleased to find the ennui of my confinement 
relieved by company ; sat half an hour, during which 
they told me, they understood the Hendersons would 
swear much against me, but seemed to think with me, 
their story could bear but little on either count of the 
indictment. They concurred in opinion, that I should 



Digitized by 



Google 



WILKINSON. 323 

not hurry my trial, but should rather wait until party 
prejudice was more allayed, and the great crowd of wit- 
nesses now in town somewhat dispersed. They confirmed 
to me the fact of a subpoena having been actually issued 
for my wife, her name being one on the list of witnesses 
furnished to A. Burr. My complaints on this head they 
seemed to regard as irremediable, because A. Burr is not 
her husband. In how many instances is the letter of the 
law at war with common sense, and its own principles ? 
Are not all accomplices principals in treason? are not 
Burr and myself charged by exactly similar indictments 
with the same overt acts, at the same place ; and, conse- 
quently, can the same jury, if I should choose it, or any 
other in my case, shut their eyes to testimony upon which 
Burr may be by possibility convicted? I hinted these 
ideas to these generous and accomplished advocates ; 
their silence seemed only to reply, sed ita lex scripta est. 
They, however, were of opinion that the helpless state 
of the children would justify her non-compliance with 
the summons. The moment they left me, therefore, I 
dispatched a few lines to her to that effect, which I hope 
were time enough at the office to go by this evening's 
mail. The slow march of the trial, I am told, has put 
Wilkinson out of all patience. He has been heard to 
swear in his wrath, that if Burr is not hanged, he cares 
not how soon himself were stretched on the same gal- 
lows. Mr. Botts said he saw the " Querist" at old Hen- 
derson's, and will advise my presence in court when the 
sons are produced to give their testimony. Progressed 
with my brief, of which I entered on the thirteenth folio, 
bringing the narrative of the case, so far as I hope I can 



Digitized by 



Google 



324 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

prove it, down to the period of my first interview with 
Graham, on Burr's affairs at Marietta, in last November. 
I learn or conclude by letters I have received, that old 
Richard Neale and James Wilson must be in town; I 
have as yet seen neither. Jourdan tells me, Burr lives in 
great style, and sees much company within his gratings, 
where it is as difficult to get an audience as if he really 
were an Emperor. If these things be so well founded, as 
is the hint in last Tuesday's notes, I fear Vm. Thompson 
is sketching his portraits of the characters connected 
with the trial too far West, not to lose some lines of cer- 
tain features that would not escape his pencil if he 
were here. 

Friday, August 14, 1807. 

Went down to the kitchen after breakfast, in this wing 
of the building, my servant having gone to town to beg 
of one of the cooks there to request a keeper to bring 
the barber to shave me. Cooks were preparing the din- 
ner for the convicts now confined here, to the number of 
about 130. This meal, I learned, generally consisted of 
three-quarters of a pound of meat, one and a half pints of 
soup, and one pint of corn-meal dough, which suffers by 
baking a diminution of one quarter of the weight. The 
breakfast, the only other meal allowed in the twenty-four 
hours, consists of the like quantity of the same sort of 
bread, and half a gill of molasses, diluted with a pint of 
water. Not having before spoken of the police of Ihis 
establishment, I will now mention what has fallen under 
my own observation regarding it. The convicts are con- 
fined, for various terms of years, according to their several 



Digitized by 



Google 



PRISON DISCIPLINE. 

offenBee, for which the heaviest sentence is, I believe, for 
the space of eighteen years. They are kept to labor in 
the respective trades or occupations they had been bred 
to, with no allowance of rest on any day, but Sunday, 
except during meals, being set to work at daylight, and 
leaving off at sunset. The present keeper is a 6mart, in- 
telligent man, who tells me, before he came here, the 
value of the annual labor of the prisoners did not exceed 
$5,000 ; the expenses being nearly, as at present, $11,500. 
But he speaks confidently of raising the former, in his first 
year, to $ 14,500. I believe great diligence will be neces- 
sary in him to effect it. The men have not now, as under 
his predecessor, the benefit of any work they might try to 
do, over and above the limits of their task. Mr. Douglas 
assigns two curious reasons for discontinuing that little 
indulgence to these wretches ; 1st, that it was found to 
occasion expense to the State, by encouraging some folks 
to commit and confess small offenses, in order to get 
boarded here gratis for six or twelve months, when they 
would be turned out, with a sum of money in their 
pockets, for their extra labor during their confinement, 
which they would soon renew in the same way; 2d, 
that those confined for a long term of years would prob- 
ably soon debilitate themselves through this stimulus, to 
an increase of industry, by which their maintenance 
would become a dead charge, without any return to the 
State. The stimuli of Mr. D., therefore, or his superiors 
through him, are dark confinement in the cells, and the 
cow-skin, with short allowance of bread and water, which 
is not very well calculated, to prevent the last evil — the 
debility — now sought to be avoided. My unfortunate 



Digitized by 



Google 



326 THE BLENNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

barber, I hope, fell on a lucky day for his punishment, 
well or ill deserved, for I was soon told in the kitchen 
that he was in the cells ; but expressing my concern for 
the poor fellow's misfortune, one of the cooks stepped 
out, I suppose, to signify to the proper authority the ma- 
turity of my beard, no doubt, rather than the expression 
of my sorrow; and, in ten minutes, Vaun was in my 
room with his whole apparatus. This Vaun, my friends, 
is only here for eighteen years, merely for cutting his 
wife's throat, with precisely the same sort of instrument 
with which he operates most delicately on mine, every 
other day. Nor do the largest cities I have ever lived in 
boast an artist, in his line, that should supplant him in 
my favor. The physiognomy of his countenance, and the 
steadiness of his hand, with the keenness of his instru- 
ment, admirably correspond with the firmness and sensi- 
bility of his heart — would to Ileaven I could add, its 
purity. But hideous jealousy entered there, and goaded 
this wretch to murder and madness. A gentleman of 
Petersburg, who called in last evening with David Meade, 
assured me that Vaun, on the day he killed his wife, sat 
at his door for an hour or two, showing the bloody razor 
to the passengers in the street, and telling them how he 
had used it. The gentleman declared, had he been of 
the jury, he should not have concurred in the conviction. 
This convict is black, was born free, lived in good circum- 
stances, has been to Europe, and always supported an 
excellent character. Poor Vaun ! the gloom of thy soul 
is now as dark as thy countenance ; but yet may one ray 
of Divine mercy enlighten it ! Thou shalt still shave me. 
Col. Burr wrote me to-day, that he was so surrounded 



Digitized by 



Google 



NEW VISITORS. 327 

by company he could not make up his mind upon a com- 
munication I made him by letter, of which he said he 
perceived all the importance and advantages. I wrote to 
him to summon Henderson, the father, for reasons that 
will appear by my brief, urged the advantage that would 
result from my cross-examining all the witnesses that I 
knew, particularly the Hendersons, which may be pro- 
duced against him, if in my present character I could be 
allowed to act, during his trial, as an agent or advocate 
for him ; or if that should not be permitted, that I should 
at least be in court when such witnesses appear. I also 
submitted to him the expediency of one of our counsel 
seeing my brief, so far as I had written it. He added in 
his letter that one of them should call upon me for that 
purpose, and to confer on other matters this evening. 
But I have received no such visit, and must confess I am 
rather led to ascribe my disappointment less to the negli- 
gence of the advocate than to that of the client. The 
vivacity of his wit, and the exercise of his proper talents, 
now constantly solicited here in private and public exhi- 
bition, while they display his powers and address at the 
levee and the bar, must engross more of his time than he 
can spare for the demands of other gratifications. Man 
is prone to what St. Pierre aptly names the harmony of 
contrast, in which the mind and the eye are as much de- 
lighted in physics and in ethics as the ear is in music. 
My reflections will perhaps borrow from this principle 
hereafter, in attempting to do more justice, in expression 
of character, to a third portrait of an original, so differ- 
ently appearing to my regards at Richmond and on the 
Mississippi. Was visited this morning by Belknap and 



Digitized by 



Google 



328 THE BLBNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

P 1; the latter, one of the most active in seizing the 

boats and provisions at Marietta, last December ; also by 
D. "Woodbridge, who read my brief, but to whom, as well 
as to every one else that calls upon me, I never speak on 
the subject of evidence yet, or hereafter to be, given by 
them on these trials. Had a very friendly letter from 
Col. Cushing, lamenting my situation, and assuring me 
of every exertion of hiB friendship to serve me ; another, 
from Thos. JSeale, exactly to the same effect as his last; 
also a very friendly one from Mr. John Banks, accompa- 
nying a present from Mrs. Banks, of two bottles of cor- 
dials, and a large cake. Visited by Alston, this being 
the first day he could venture out in a carriage. He says 
appearances every day strengthen the expectation of 
Burr's acquittal on both bills, Hay having been heard 
to say, out of court, he does not think he will be able to 
substantiate the charges. It is believed, however, a mo- 
tion will be made to the Court, on the acquittals, but be 
rejected, to transmit us to other districts for trial, accord- 
ing as evidence may appear or be procured, as may be 
contended to implicate our conduct as treasonable else- 
where out of this district. Douglas has also heard Duane 
confess, that he, too, is fearful Burr must be acquitted. 
Had this evening an obliging visit, and one hour's inter- 
esting French conversation with Col. de Pestre, who in- 
formed me his brother-in-law, a promising young man 
of various merit, had been turned out of his place as 
Clerk in the War Office, because he could not accuse the 
Col. of Burr-ism ; and afterward, some honorable friends 
of the Government had the delicacy to insinuate how 
handsomely the Col. might be provided for in the army, 



Digitized by 



Google 



burr's poverty. 829 

if his principles or engagements were not adverse to the 
administration. The Col. replied, that he understood the 
hint, but it neither suited his honor nor character to serve 
in such employment. Wrote to Col. Cushing, requesting 
him to forward to me an inventory of all my effects that . 
have been sold under attachments, and all my negroes, 
to my wife, or Col. Scott, or Mr. Ilarding, at Natchez, 
for her. Have not worked to-day on my brief, from a 
prospect held out by many of my discharge on Burr's 
acquittal. Chatted as usual in the evening with Douglas, 
and having left a letter I began to Miller, for to-morrow, 
continued this diary until midnight. 

Saturday, August 15, 1807. 

Half-past 8, P. M. Have not, during the forenoon, seen 
a face, but that of my servant Billy, who, by the comfort 
I derive from his remarkable neatness and assiduity, my 
wife will not think undeserving of mention in this diary, 
which I have resolved to keep only for her gratification. 
Every one is probably at court, where this is a day of # 
some interest, as the jury will probably be impanneled. 
Have done nothing but walk, and read the papers, my 
face continuing very sore with a disagreeable eruption. 
Will now finish my letter, begun yesterday, to Miller, and 
. conclude the notes of to-day after tea, by which time I 
may probably collect something worthy of notice from 
Jourdan, whom I hourly expect. While at dinner, Mr. 
Ellis called in to know if I could yet inform him when I 
might want him to serve subpoenas for me, otherwise he 
should soon leave town, seeing no prospects of getting 
any money from Col. Burr, against whom he has a de- 



Digitized by 



Google 



380 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

mand of about eleven dollars, for a boat and cargo sold 
turn in October last on the Ohio. B., it seems, has dis- 
posed of all such claims, by a declaration, it is said, he 
made in court, before my arrival, of his being a bankrupt. 
But in emptying his strong-box, which seems to have 
lost all his treasures as quickly as those that took wing 
from Pandora's,- he has, I am told, like that goddess, 
closed the lid time enough to prevent the escape of that 
hope on which some favored dependents may yet mort- 
gage to him their future services and the property of 
their children. It would even baffle the acuteness, and 
exhaust the deliberation, of our worthy Harding, to 
estimate the amount of this treasure, or conceive the 
structure of the debenture by which it is secured ; I must 
therefore explain both. Know, then, that it has been 
whispered to me, with the important gravity so confiden- 
tial a communication required, that the sum is $50,000 ; 
the security, a claim upon Government for the damages 
sustained by the culprit now trying for his life, but who 
%rill probably obtain his acquittal of the treason with 
more ease than he can procure one on another charge 
recorded against him in Kentucky, of having robbed the 
Western country of $100,000, to say nothing of the ab- 
surdity of suing the TJnited States in the face of a 
positive statute. As I was closing my letter to Miller, 
Jourdan stepped in with Rob. Nicholas, a Democrat, 
furious, keen and selfish, in chase of Alston, to secure and 
hasten the payment of bills, protested and indorsed by 
me to Sanders, to amount, with charges, etc., of $10,000, 
for which I will never give more than my bones, and the 
holder believing me determined, now depends on Alston's 



Digitized by 



Google 



QUEER CHARACTER. 331 

responsibility to me, which I have transferred to him. 
To-morrow, I shall be visited by Mr. Edmond Randolph, 
on the part of Sanders, and on my own business ; I an- 
ticipate the conference with much interest. Jourdan is 
quite desolate and dispirited by the treatment of B., of 
which he will give me particulars to-morrow. 

Sunday, August 16, 1807. 

Rose late this morning, very ill, but satisfied I was 
affected by no influence of confinement, or the place ; a 
severe headache, under which I 've all day labored, pro- 
ceeding only from a derangement of the stomach, to 
which I am frequently subject. While at breakfast, I 
was visited by Mr. P., a merchant of consideration here, 
who had not before called upon me, for which he apolo- 
gized, and in whom I admired here, in the spring of 
1800, the most amiable manners, with a fine musical taste, 
and handsome execution on the violin, he and myself, 
during my stay, being the principal performers in the 
Harmonic Society. My worthy friend Prichard led the 
way, as much heated by the warmth of his friendship as 
of his two miles' walk, bringing with him also Wood, the 
late editor of the Atlantic World, a paper, which is now 
extinct, and may be truly said to have been the last faint 
effort, save these trials, of expiring Burr-ism under the 
relentless fury of Democracy. Wood is a singular look- 
ing man, with a countenance expressive of great oddity, 
if not of genius ; of few words, with embarrassed man- 
ner, but said to be skilled in mathematics. His appear- 
ance altogether inspired some interest to know him 
better, and he will, by my desire, enable me to improve 



Digitized by 



Google 



332 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

our acquaintance. I was agreeably occupied with this 
party until General Tupper appeared ; the news of his 
arrival in town, brought me yesterday evening by Jour- 
dan, must have caused some little mental uneasiness last 
night and this morning, of which I was unable to render 
an account to myself. This intelligence could not reach 
my ears without arriving in the same instant at my heart, 
where it was at once amalgamated with all my hopes and 
anxiety for my family. With what rapidity did I calcu- 
late, over and over, and conclude that I must hear from 
Natchez by the General. I had written to my wife from 
the Chickasaw Nation, to direct to me under cover to the 
General. I hardly permitted myself to conclude an inter- 
change of salutations with him when I eagerly inquired 
for a letter ; he had none, and he left home as late as the 
5th instant. But a few more mails from Lexington and 
Marietta, without the blessing of a letter, and I shall en- 
deavor to prepare myself for more awful trials than the 
death-warrant of a wicked or a jealous Government. 
General Tupper's conversation, which lasted about one 
hour with me, was very interesting, both to my curiosity 
regarding the intelligence I could derive from him on my 
own account, and my admiration of that honorable inde- 
pendence he will yet make the Government feel more of, 
on his part, when they wish or desire, from the experience 
they have already had of his temper. It seems much of 
the artifice of intrigue, on the part of Government or 
their runners, has been put in requisition to endeavor 
to mold the General's disposition in the temper of the 
present prosecutions. He has next encountered attempts 
upon his honor indirectly, to induce him in some degree 



Digitized by 



Google 



DISAPPOINTMENT. 383 

to countenance the testimonies of Taylor and Albright to 
the facts of his having arrested me, with my rescue and 
escape from him, mentioned 12th instant; outrages upon 
his character and feelings, which he has repelled with 
that disgust and contempt suggested by his honor, but 
not without thereby incurring, what, until then, the con- 
servators of Jeffersonian fame never thought of, insinua- 
tions of his concern, and threats to involve him in the 
pains and penalties of the conspiracy. Either before or 
after this analysis of the stuff, which would not take the 
dye, proposed, it was politely signified to him, that al- 
though he had been recognized as a witness, on the part 
of the United States, the prosecutors, in kind considera- 
tion of the inconvenience another journey might put him 
to, would dispense with his further attendance. He said, 
however, he would return were he obliged to travel on 

his hands and knees. He also tells me, Doctor W is 

alarmed at my presence here to confront him, when he 
shall dare to offer such testimony again as he has ven- 
tured before the grand jury, and is terrified, for he is no 
doctor, at the thoughts of being examined publicly by 
those who are of that profession, to prove he is not one. 
See my notes of 12th instant, and it will appear how 
properly I wanted to fill the place of Surgeon-General ii» 
the expedition ; but General Tupper says, he knows a 
person to whom W. said I was jesting with him when I 
spoke of his going with me as Surgeon-General. I have 
not been gratified with the visit I expected to-day with 
so much interest from Mr. Randolph, but have had a 
long one from Alston, which was taken up chiefly with 
the subject of an arrangement of the demands of Sanders 



Digitized by 



Google 



334 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

and Miller; the agency of Nicholas has been so far 
effective as to induce Alston to offer to take a journey 
forthwith to South Carolina to try to raise the money, 
leaving Mrs. A. here until his return. He can not offer 
hopes of the success of this attempt, and no final adjust- 
ment, I believe, will be effected, but by the opinion and 
advice of Mr. Randolph. Mr. Craughton called this 
evening, after a severe walk of three miles, and remained 
about two hours. 

Monday, August 17, 1807. 

This is a black Monday indeed with me, whether the 
cloudiness of my mind or of the sky makes it appear 
such. I feel well to-day, and took breakfast with some 
appetite, during which Col. de Pestre entered, and kept 
up an interesting conversation with me until noon, which, 
from the complete coincidence of our opinions on certain 
characters, and the reflections arising from the notes we 
had to compare on our past interest, and connection with 
them, could not much tend to fortify me for encountering 
the new mortifications occasioned me by a letter I have 
just received from my estimable friend, Jos. S. Lewis, in 
his private capacity, informing me that the house of 
which he is the head, had, in consequence of attachments 
served on my funds, my last pecuniary resource of my 
poor family in their hands, been obliged to dishonor all 
the bills I had drawn, that were presented for acceptance 
since the 20th of last January, the day such attachments 
were served, at suit of the Kentucky Insurance Company 
and Lewis Sanders, of Lexington. What discredits and 
embarrassments the return of bills I have drawn at 



Digitized by 



Google 



DISTRESS. 335 

Natchez, to amount of $700 or $800, will occasion my 
afflicted wife, I fear to estimate. Every day's trial seems 
to inflict a new wound upon my heart, or some part of it 
that has not bled for my wife and children ; my own suf- 
ferings have long since destroyed the tone, and established 
the apathy, of every nerve that vibrated to the first im- 
pulses of the perfidy and injustice that, by their continued 
action, since the beginning of last October to the present 
hour, have relieved my mind from all care for the dura- 
tion or issue of my confinement. I have just dispatched 
a letter to Alston, requesting to see him, and another to 
Prichard, desiring him to retain, or, if disposed of, to try 
and take up a small bill I drew on Philadelphia a few 
days since for $100. Joe Lewis tells me he will honor 
Harding's bills, drawn on himself for $500, in considera- 
tion of my wife's situation. ! my wife, we thought we 
were serving a P . . . . , and have been the dupes of an 
advocate. De Pestre has justly taken up the ideas sug- 
gested in my notes of last Friday. This generous foreigner 
has narrowed his means of maintaining a large family, 
besides some orphans, to the amount of $5,000, for which 
he has not been even thanked. I hear Alston's carriage, 
and must now close, but for what purpose ? to hear a re- 
petition of the same professions of concern already made 
me, to which is added, however, an offer to go to Caro- 
lina, in two or three days, to try to raise some money, the 
success of which, however, I must understand, is very 
problematical. What could I reply to the professions of one 
of the richest men in the Union, offering to assume these 
demands, ready to sell or mortgage, but yet unable to get 
the money I never used a cent of, but for which the cries 



Digitized by 



Google 



886 THE BLENNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

of rapacious creditors rend the walls of my prison — ah ! 
that would be indifferent to me, did I not fear they are 
loud enough to reach and swell that heart that will echo 
them back to mine. For what purpose could I desire to 
see him again on this business, but to make the last sacri- 
fice I had to offer ; alas ! I once thought it impossible ; I 
blush to name it, to humble the pride of integrity before 
that of wealth — to solicit his charity. I have thus sought 
relief through the storm by every effort of skill or dili- 
gence I could make, until, wearied and exhausted, I have 
set down in the humility of my heart, to drift perhaps to 
that shore where the mercy of Heaven will recompense 
me, in the participation of the rewards prepared for the 
fortitude and virtues of a wife I have been so long 
blessed with. It is a relief to my heart to fill a whole 
page with a single sentence. The flood of my sorrows is 
too copious to suffer the artificial breaks and pauses of 
critical rules. My wife will feel this, if no one else can. 
I wrote a very long letter to Joe Lewis, which I immedi- 
ately began when Alston left me, to acquaint him that 
bills with my indorsements, on account of which one of 
the attachments had been served on his house, as my 
garnishee had long since been paid by Alston's agent, 
Mr. Sam. Allen, of Philadelphia ; that I had, in addition 
to the arrangement I made with Sanders at Lexington, 
Kentucky, a prospect of making further arrangements 
here, through Alston, with Rob. Nicholas, the agent, and 
Mr. Edmond Randolph, the lawyer of Mr. Sanders, by 
which I should, I expected in a few days, have the attach- 
ment at suit of Sanders taken off, and in the mean time, 
until I could see Mr. Randolph, which I could not do 



Digitized by 



Google 



WHO WROTK IT? 887 

to-day before the mail closed, I hoped Mr. L. would be- 
lieve his house would not be proceeded against as my 
garnishee, and whatever obstruction to their currency 
the little resources I yet possessed through his house in 
Philadelphia were incumbered with, would be removed. 
I have, to-night, also written to Mr. Randolph, to request 
him to call upon me to-morrow, before court opens. 
Speaking to-day, while Alston was here, before Col. 
McKee, of what was doing in court, whither I wrote to 
Alston to come to me, A. said, they left Hay stating 
the case, on the part of the prosecution, damned the 
speaker, and declared he would whip a son of his, were 
he only twelve years old, that could not make a better. 
This led me to praise a pamphlet, entitled "Agrestis," 
which Alston yesterday brought me, being two letters on 
Wilkinson's proceedings at New Orleans, which for its 
arrangement and strength, as well as for some imagery 
of the language, I observed, would not be unworthy of a 
Curran, at the same time inquiring who was the author. 
A. said that was not known. I then repeated the ques- 
tion to Col. McKee, who said it was a friend of ours ; at 
least Mr. A. was suspected. I mention this trifling occur- 
rence for the sake of observing that Alston was now 
silent, thereby appropriating to himself the merit of the 
book, which his wife, I have no doubt, might produce ; 
for by the fitle-page of the second edition printed here, it 
appears the former, or first edition, was published in 
South Carolina, or else it has proceeded from some other 
genius of much mind and erudition; but to suppose 
Alston the author would be preposterous ; obscurity may 

consistently veil the parentage of Hercules, but it would 
22 



Digitized by 



Google 



3S8 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

be ridiculous to suppose him the offspring of a dwarf* 
Take this trait and test it by the fact. There is a pro- 
vincial phrase or two in the pamphlet which I will keep, 
that proves it first saw the light at New Orleans. 

Tuesday, August 18, 1807. 

, It may easily be conceived how difficult it must be for 
one in the state of mind in which I closed my notes of 
the heavy hours of yesterday, to fall into that oblivious 
repose, through sleep, which easily ensues upon the ces- 
sation of ordinary labor of body or mind, and enables us, 
by recreation, to perform the task of misfortune allotted 
for the morrow. Accordingly, I dtd not find my bed 
what it always proves to the peasant or the mariner, the 
grave of care. The tumult of my mind had so inflamed 
my body, that irritation on the surface could not be 
allayed, while trouble reveled within. I was restless, for 
I was sick at heart, and slept not soundly until toward 
morning. Yet I rose betimes, and had an early visit 
from Mr. Randolph, who called upon me, in pursuance 
of my request to him by letter of last night. I stated to 
.him my embarrassment, by Mr. Sanders attaching the 
only remaining funds that were tangible, and insufficient 
for the support of my family ; observing, that if Mr. S. 
did not withdraw the attachment, which I hoped Mr. 
Randolph would forthwith, as S.'s lawyer, persuade his 
agent, Mr. Nicholas, to do, I should consider my arrange- 
ments at Lexington with Mr. S., to secure and settle his 
demands through Mr. Alston, as abrogated. This seemed 
to engage his reflections ; but I was sorry soon to find he 
had the indelicacy, not only to inquire what was the 



Digitized by 



Google 



CANDOR ! 339 

amount of my funds in the hands of Messrs. Jos. S. Lewis 
and Co., but even to tell me that if a sum of $1,003, or 
even $500, could be got immediately for Nicholas and 
Sanders, who, he knew, wanted money, such an expe- 
dient, he rather believed, would tend to give effect to 
some arrangement into which Mr. Alston might be in- 
duced to enter ; adding, as he was taking leave, " that I 
knew how much a little ready cash helped these sort of 
things forward." I had before observed to Mr. R. that 
he must know now, from the nature of my financial em- 
barrassments, detailed to him in these transactions, how 
little I could presume on counsel I could not remunerate, 
Before he left me, he said, Burr has an excellent jury, on 
the whole, with the exception of Parker alone, who, he 
acknowledged, is a worthy, honorable man, but a violent 
Jeftersonian partisan. I expressed my surprise at Burr's 
accepting him, after he had avowed in court as strong 
prejudices as some who had been rejected. This indis- 
cretion on Burr's part he censured. He then told me 
Hay was very weak yesterday in stating the case, and he 
had no doubt of an acquittal ; but to save time and labor, 
he very" much wished the Chief Justice should concur in 
opinion with the counsel on the defense, who yesterday 
contended, in a lengthy argument with their opponents, 
that no evidence of intentions should be gone into until 
overt acts had been first proven. How the court have 
decided I shall know in the morning. I now soon dis- 
patched a note to Alston, and fortunately continued 
reading Agrestis until I heard his carriage-wheels, which 
seemed to rattle in my ears ; " read on " until after he had 
entered the room ; i. e., a thought struck me that possi- 



Digitized by 



Google 



840 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

bly he might have had something to do in the compo- 
sition, and I might do more with him, through his van- 
ity of authorship, than I had yet been able to effect 
through any other channel. Admirable ! cried I, before 
I answered his salute ; he smiled — " what ! " said he, 
" Agrestis, are you pleased with that little thing? Well, 
I did not care to notice it yesterday ; but I will now tell 
you in confidence, 't was I wrote it." I then pointed out 
to him an image or two, particularly one in the first let- 
ter, of Justice, surrounded by the laws, in the sanctuary 
of her temple, poising in their presence the balance with 
her own hand, which, I said, would be a fine subject for 
the relief, alto relievo ; while the stations of her executive 
officers, assigned them without the sanctuary, might beau- 
tifully form the intaglio, or back-ground, of a good piece 
of sculpture. Here I threw down the book, which he as 
readily took up, to descant on other merits it possessed, 
or point out errors of the press; all of which engaged 
my most profound attention. The organ now wound 
up ; I lost no time to try upon it the tune ray heart first 
called for ; how do you think it went ? To admiration ! 
the instrument was now so much improved ; the piece, so 
often tried on it before, was now not only performed in 
half the time it used to be, but was worth double the 
money it would bring yesterday. In plain English, in- 
stead of paying one-half the money next January twelve 
months, and the other half the January following, ac- 
cording to his utmost powers, to-day he was tuned up to 
the incredible power of paying the whole, not indeed to- 
day, but next April twelve months. Who knows yet but 
a judicious combination of discords to be selected from 



Digitized by 



Google 



ASPIRATION. 841 

the letter to Pinkney, with some more of the melody of 
Agrestis, might produce a harmony which, if it can not 
move the oaks, may still solicit the responsive cadence of 
the dollars? He left me with animated assurances of 
seeing Nicholas to-day, and myself again upon the busi- 
ness, not, however, without some pretty simpers about 
Mr. Randolph's hint of the $500, which he regarded as 
soliciting a douceur for Nicholas; but even that, he 
hinted, in the suavity of his self-complacency, would not 
be impossible, when I assured him it should go in part 
of the demand. I have had two or three reasons to-day 
of lightening my heart of the load that oppressed it yes- 
terday. After Mr. Randolph left me, I walked about, 
invoking the saving providence of Heaven over my wife 
and children; secondly, better prospects opened to me, 
from my interview with Alston ; and, thirdly, the sincere 
pleasure I felt in writing to another Eugenius, as dear to 
me as the first was to Yorick, to communicate to Hard- 
ing a transcript of my notes of yesterday, and a short 
letter of to-day, to enable him to observe the better under 
what part of the tottering fabric of my affairs he may set 
the firm prop of his care and friendship for my family — 
a service in which, I feel, he will not dally. The regards 
of my wife may one day give him a perusal of these 
notes, as a supplement to his comments on " Agrestis," 
which I have also sent him. I feel no tedium loci, and 
have no want but that of letters. Cock-crow announces 
the morn. Grant, God ! it brings health to my family ! 

"Wednesday, August 19, 1807. 
Saw Dud. Woodbridge, before breakfast, who told me 



Digitized by 



Google 



842 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPERS. 

Eaton, Truxton, Taylor, and Albright were yesterday 
examined on the trial. This intelligence has fretted me, 
becauae I find Burr disregards the caution I gave him, to 
have me present during the examination of the witnesses 
I knew, as they should be produced against him. I have 
heard he alters the notes of his counsel, increased yester- 
day by the addition of Mr. Lee, and for the most part 
marks out the course they pursue on his defense. I hope 
his negligence of the suggestions I have made to him 
will not furnish more cause of repentance than he is 
already burdened with. Hay, having again called for my 
arraignment, ajid Mr. Botts having, I am told, said he 
would try to be ready by Saturday, I must again revert 
to my labors on my brief, which I shall resume this even- 
ing. The Chief Justice has, I think properly, allowed 
the prosecutors to follow their own course in adducing 
their evidence, provided they offer none of any other 
treason than what is laid in the indict. It will appear, 
from a correct report of the trial, how far Hay contends 
that the doctrine of constructive treason is law in this 
country. How candid he is ; and what a virulent dispos- 
ition McRae manifests to insinuate bias in the court to- 
ward the accused. Mr. John Banks brought me, this 
morning, a paper containing Bollman's long letter to 
Duane, respecting B.'s communication to the President, 
which, if not quite a justification of the writer, settles 
however, forever, the honor and good faith of Jefferson. 
I have not seen Alston, according to my expectation and 
his promise ; — the general interest and curiosity engaged 
at the capitol must suspend all other concerns. This 
evening General Tupper tells me that Hay boasts of hav- 



Digitized by 



Google 



TEDIUM. 848 

ing a number of witnesses to establish the credit of Al- 
bright. Eternal Justice, then, support my innocence of 
the facts he has ventured to swear against me, until I shall 
appear before thy tribunal, where the vicious shall only 
testify to their own crimes. General Tupper has also a 
suspicion that Meiggs may venture to injure his credit as 
a witness ; but the slightest attempt of that sort shall ex- 
hibit Meiggs branded in the next papers as a liar and a 
coward. Eaton's manner and delivery in giving his evi- 
dence is highly extolled in the two Democratic papers, 
the Argus and Inquirer; but I am better informed he 
strutted more in buskin than usual on that occasion, and 
the effect was as diverting to the whole court as it prob- 
ably was beneficial to the defense. Still, Douglas, who is 
pretty regular in his evening visits to me, or to my grog 
and cigars, tells me Burr is as cheerful as ever, though he 
can not feel insensible to the advantage the prosecutors 
have taken, in framing the indictment in a manner to 
correspond in its form with the substance of the opinion 
given by Chief Justice Marshall, in the cases of Bollman 
and Swartwout, and the industry they practice to train 
and back their witnesses to support it. But as a jockey 
might restore his fame in the course, after he had injured 
it on the tight-rope, so perhaps the little " Emperor,"' at 
Cole's Creek, may be forgotten in the Attorney at Rich- 
mond. I have been weak all day, and again put off brief- 
ing until to-morrow. 11 P. M. 

Thursday, August 20, 1807. 

I had Mr. Douglas called to me, to request him to treat 
me to a walk in the yard this morning before breakfast. 



Digitized by 



Google 



844 THE BLBNNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

My visitors, in the course of the day, generally complain 
of the closeness of my apartment, and some tell me they 
choose to reside in certain quarters of the town for the 
sake of high elevation and more air ; others, that they 
prefer country quarters near town, for similar reasons, and 
wishing me soon to partake of like advantages. My 
walk for half an hour in the yard this morning, being the 
second time I have been from under the roof of this 
building, save the day I was taken to court, 10th instant, 
was very agreeable, notwithstanding its narrow limits, 
both of time and space, and the high walls and buildings, 
in defiance of all which my lungs seemed to me to quaff 
their aerial draughts with a spring and vigor I have sel- 
dom felt before. I have procured materials from the 
druggist for making some oxygenized muriatic acid gas y 
with which I will, perhaps to-morrow, destroy the noisome 
miasma that infests the air of these rooms. Continued 
my labors on my brief, of which J completed the seven- 
teenth folio by dinner time, when, who will believe it ! I 

was visited in the most friendly manner by David W e. 

It is inconceivable how he will profit by the hints he has 
had from General Tupper, or if called upon again, which 
he seems to dread, how he will travel out of his deposi- 
tion before the grand jury. I received him with the 
courtesy of a prisoner, now in his own quarters. He sat 
a little, and then took leave, confused. I was not after- 
ward left fifteen minutes alone, before every muscle of 
my face was relaxed from the rigor in which W. had 
bound them, to wanton in the liveliest welcome of Little 
Gates, who hurried to take my hand with an ardor and 
frankness that testified the sincere interest he felt in see- 



Digitized by 



Google 



DILEMMA. 845 

ing me well. He bad been in town since Sunday, but bis 
duties of attending to the cbance of his being called as a 
witness in court, and the irresistible interest excited there 
since his arrival, prevented his calling on me sooner. He 
staid better than an hour, during which his conversation 
was full of interest and entertainment, from certain com- 
munications he made me, of men and things, of which 
I shall make use in my brief, as well as from two or three 
anecdotes and stories he told me of some military char- 
acters, and their achievements at Marietta, on the night 
the boats were seized there, of all which he acquitted 
himself with great humor and spirit. I shall expect the 
fulfillment of his promise to visit me often, with as much 
interest as I felt this evening. Visited by a sensible, gen- 
teel man, with a hard Dutch name, which I forget, hav- 
ing lost his ticket. He reminded me of having 6een me, 
seven years ago, in this town, and invited me to his house, 
when I recover my liberty. My last visitor was Stokely, 
who declared, had he been in Wood county at the time 
of the troubles, by which my family and property so 
much suffered, he would have exerted whatever influence 
he had to prevent them, nc said he was very sorry to 
observe the counsel on both sides agreeing in one thing 
at least, that is, to keep me so constantly as they do in 
the front of the fight. He could not understand the 
policy of A. Burr's counsel, contending that their client 
is not answerable for any acts of mine, and affected to 
lament deeply his fears, that, in addition to all I had al- 
ready suffered, I should end at last by falling a victim be- 
tween the cunning of Burr, on the one side, and the fury 
and prejudice of the prosecutors on the other. I thanked 



Digitized by 



Google 



846 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

him, and said, I had thoughts of summoning him as u 
witness for certain purposes that might he connected with 
my defense, hoping, if I should do so, he would excuse 
the trouble of the journey ; to which he assented, with 
expressing great desire to see me again settled in the 
" White House on the Island." But how much sooner 
should I suspect treachery in this man twelve months 
past, than in others who have since been seeking my ruin. 
Old Neale will not come to see me, partly from scruples 
as to thf obligations of duty, being summoned on part of 
prosecution, and the aversion he would feel to see me in 
this place. Hay having yesterday stated he would rest 
the evidence, as to the overt acts, Wickham has to-day 
spoken very ably for four hours, chiefly to contend, that, 
the acts not having been proved, no evidence should be 
offered of the intentions, or that if the acts have been 
proved, Burr, as an accessary at a distance from the scene 
of action, can not be proceeded against, until I, as a prin- 
cipal, shall be convicted. If I .have been correctly in- 
formed, the ground has been judiciously taken, and will 
no doubt be ably maintained by Mr. Wickham, and the 
host that will follow him. I can not expect, at such a 
crisis, Alston will give a thought to any thing out of 
court. I should have added, when speaking of Stokely, 
that I learned from him that James Wilson has lost his 
wife, and left Wood county for another residence. How 
has he left my business ? and what has he done with the 
valuable papers I intrusted to his charge? My children, 
will your unhappy father yet have days and health suffi- 
cient to gather together the little fragments of your prop- 
erty, so widely scattered over the face of the earth ? If 



Digitized by 



Google 



HONOR. 847 

he but live to finish that task, he will then be ready to 
take the last journey for his wages. My wife will, if I 
can not, seek the obligations of Dud. Woodbridge, sen., 
and others, from J. Wilson, before she spares a sigh to 
time. 

Friday, August 21, 1807. 

D. "Woodbridge called and sat with me this morning 
longer than he has done altogether since I have been 
here. He has got over the care of his examination, 
which worried him yesterday in court nearly two hours, 
and was, I understand, rather a disservice to the interests 
of the prosecution than otherwise. No witnesses are yet 
discharged, and all are as uncertain how long they will 
be detained as ever, unless there be grounds for an opin- 
ion Mr. Botts has given to Duane, that the trial will be 
over by "Wednesday or Thursday. Mr. B. must think 
Hay, who, I hear, has demanded time to examine authori- 
ties cited on the other side in support of Wickham's 
motion, will not succeed in opposing it. It appears my 
name is as often made use of in court, during my absence, 
as it will be again on my own trial, when some curious 
contrarieties of facts and testimonies may come out, if I 
ever shall be tried. D. Woodbridge, from looking over 
that part of my brief narrating the conduct of the Hender- 
sons, in betraying my confidence to Graham, etc., was led 
to acquaint me with a fact I was not a little mortified to 
learn, viz., that Botts is married to a sister of Mrs. Sandy 
Henderson. Must I, then, withhold to defend myself 
against the most serious witnesses against me, though my 
generous benefactor and enlightened patron, engaged to 
protect my life and character against the deadly assaults 



Digitized by 



Google 



348 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

of his own relatives, with no other recompense than the 
pride of interposing the barrier of his talents between a 
distressed family and its menaced ruin, be averse to 
listen to a statement he would still less choose to advocate 
of his connections ? Had I been apprised of this difficulty 
in my first interview with Mr. B., I know not how he 
could have relieved me from it. I must see him on the 
subject before I send him a brief. Strange, that every 
embarrassment I labor under, great or small, is derived 
from the same source. Dudley tells me my wife's favor- 
ite horse, Robin, was stolen, with other things, by one 

Welch, who has not since been heard of; that J s, the 

honest, returned him the $40, and that M , the zeal- 
ous, kept the other $20. Falsehood ! thy name is Man — 
not Woman. Willey visited me to-day, and was truly 
glad to see me again. I made him give me a detail of all 
his adventures from leaving the boats. He had traveled, 
in his story, as far as Fort St. Stephen's, on the Tombig- 
bee river, where he was arrested, after having lost one of 
his horses, and lived with the mulatto boy Harry for six 
days on damaged corn. Having missed his way, he had 

not seen Col. Burr from the time he left Judge B 's 

till he found him at Washington City. 

Saturday, August 22, 1807. 

While at breakfast, little Luckett stepped in. He pro- 
duced to mc, I hope, the last bill, with my indorsement, 
drawn by Burr ; I had no note or recollection of it. It 
was drawn on the same baseless authority as the rest, for 
$2,500, and had, of course, suffered a like fate; yet 
Luckett had not attempted any proceedings against me, 



Digitized by 



Google 



PREPARING. 849 

though he showed me an account stating a balance 
against Burr of upward of $8,000, by which, and losses 
he has sustained, he says, he has been quite ruined. He 
intreated my best interests with Alston, and never expects 
any thing from me. I hope soon to be able to state the 
details of a final arrangement with Burr and Alston, to 
extricate me from all these embarrassments. Having 
learned from Luckett, I was to be taken to court to-day, 
at noon, to be arraigned, I was in the act of dressing 
when two Deputy Marshals called upon me, half an hour 
earlier than was necessary, excusing themselves by say- 
ing my watch was so much too slow, though it was 
exactly with the town clock. The distance from hence 
to the capitol being nearly a mile, and as I have not been 
well, I had sent my servant to town to procure me a 
horse, but as he had not yet returned, I asked these gen- 
tlemen if they had brought a carriage, as had been done 
the last day I was taken to court, telling them my reasons 
for not wishing to walk. They answered, " the law did 
not make any such provisions, and the walk would serve 
me." So I soon attended them, though not in the style 
that was provided the 10th instant. My two attendants 
on foot, to-day, were unarmed, both going and returning. 
I had time enough before court opened to prepare for my 
counsel a list of thirty-nine witnesses I should have time 
allowed me to get here before I could be ready to go to 
trial. Of these, I informed Mr. Botts, twelve I deemed 
material to disprove all evidence that did, or might yet 
attempt to, prove my having committed any overt act ; 
the rest to prove I had in nothing manifested a traitorous 
design, and of the number I wanted subpoenas duces tecum, 



Digitized by 



Google 



850 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

for five or six, to procure the production of various docu- 
ments that might be necessary to my defense. My other 
witnesses are summoned on either side, in the present 
trial ; so that the original list I took with me to court to- 
day contains no less than fifty-five. Mr. B. then stated, 
that as a long list of witnesses I had furnished him lived 
as distant from hence as Natchez, it seemed best to post- 
pone my arraignment until the opinion of the court 
should be known on the several points made on the part 
of A. Burr, which would equally affect my case and his, 
when, if necessary, I should be prepared to state at what 
time I could expect the forthcoming of my witnesses, so 
that I might be arraigned by Wednesday. To this, Hay 
agreed ; the court, which sat to-day only on my account, 
was adjourned, and I returned to this prison as I left it, 
that is, unarraigned. I hear Bollman is with Burr' con- 
stantly, and no doubt busy. If it does not appear that 
Burr can boast as Chas. Fox did, amicitice sempiternce, yet 
may he say inimicitice placabilis. Alston's prose, and Boll- 
man's talents for intrigue, are recommendations or ano- 
dynes to a mind that finds no difficulty in obliterating the 
impressions of sensations heretofore received from either 
by the letter to Pinkney, which is before the public, or 
the process-verbal of the interview with Jefferson, which 
is not yet given to the world in detail. Enough has 
already appeared in these notes to warrant my suspicions 
as to Alston ; and, in addition to the hint given, to-day 
and 19th instant, of my opinion on Bollman's manoeuvre 
with Jefferson, I am the more confirmed in a disposition 
to mistrust both the motive and the matter of the inter- 
view, as well as his letter to Duane, because, as yet, he 



Digitized by 



Google 



FRESH AIR. 851 

has not had the curiosity to see me ; neither a community 
of interest nor suffering has affected him. He has had no 
other motive probably to suggest to him a wish for my 
acquaintance, for he has possibly never heard from 
authority that I had been offered to choose him or Shaw 
for my private secretary, when I should name a diplomatic 
appointment for myself. This would have been a useless 
and dangerous humiliation of Mr. B.'s pride, which, no 
doubt, his master has long since found more accommo- 
dating to his views than mine. My visitors, this evening, 
were General Tupper, D. Woodbridge, Belknap, Wood 
and Doctor Bennett. The last, who has been brought 
here to support P. Taylor's evidence, of my having writ- 
ten to him a treasonable letter, by Taylor, is friendly, and 
can swear that I wrote nothing to him of a traitorous 
nature, though Taylor told him the letter was of that 
sort when he gave it to him. The doctor says, he sup- 
posed I wanted the arms I wrote to him to endeavor to 
borrow for me, ten or twenty guns, to defend my family 
and property against illegal outrage he knew I appre- 
hended at that time from the Wood county volunteers, 
in the same sense in which, in my brief, I have stated this 
part of my case to counsel. General Tupper read over a 
most humorous lampoon on most of the military charac- 
ters engaged in the heroic feats of arms they performed 
on the night of the 10th of December last at Marietta, 
of which, I hope, I shall obtain a copy to relieve the 
ennui of these notes. I find it very agreeable this even- 
ing to get upon a chair, by which I am enabled to raise 
my mouth to the lower tier of openings in the grating 
of the windows and breathe another air for half an hour. 



Digitized by 



Google 



852 the blennerhassett papers. 

Sunday, August 23, 1807. 

If Alston could not make the same excuse for not call- 
ing on me yesterday that he might have offered some days 
back, still less could he do so to-day, when I suspect he 
has been sent to me. Luckett, this morning, told me it 
was Col. Burr's wish that I should write to Alston, to do 
the best he could for him, about the dishonored bill L. 
holds with my indorsement. Suspecting the correctness 
of this statement, I replied, " that Col. Burr was a ready 
penman, and in the habit of writing to me on matters of 
Jbusiness ; that L., therefore, must endeavor to get him to 
specify, under his hand, how it was necessary Mr. Alston 
should learn his wishes from me while they saw each 
other every day; my own wishes for the relief of L. I 
had no objection to signify to Mr. Alston in my own way." 
Luckett posted off, and has procured by his importunities, 
not a letter from Burr, who never puts pen to paper 
but under the influence of necessity, though he is, per- 
haps, the most constant writer in America, but a visit 
from Alston. When he came in, I inquired, "what 
were Col. Burr's expectations of the fate of the motions 
now before the court ? " He said, " they, or some of them, 
would prevail, and the trial would be over by Wednesday 
or Thursday ; that he and Mrs. Alston would very soon 
leave town, and that Col. Burr, on his discharge, would 
immediately occupy himself with the business of form- 
ing a land company, and settling the Washita lands." 
Perceiving he had an interest in thus abruptly informing 
me of this project, I encouraged him to dwell upon it, 
when I found that, though he had been conversing with 



Digitized by 



Google 



suspicion. 353 

Burr on the subject, he wished me to inform him whether 
Burr had ever seen the lands. I told him I was not cer- 
tain, but believed not, adding, that Tyler and Smith, 
who had once been very intent on settling there, had long 
ago abandoned the scheme, believing, from information 
they had procured, and could rely upon, Lynch's title was 
bad, and they were accordingly busily preparing to settle 
in the Attakapas country, very distant from the Washita 
lands, which were condemned by very good judges I 
named to him, who had visited them. Alston seemed 
4 surprised at this intelligence, and said the commissioners 
had confirmed Lynch's title. I told him I doubted that, 
but it was immaterial, as Lynch had long ago been a 
bankrupt, so that I had not much thought of accepting 
or purchasing 10,000 acres of those lands which Col. 
Burr had offered me. I should not be surprised to learn 
very soon that Burr has been promising to replenish 
Alston's coffers, which he will empty of $50,000 at least, 
from his Eldorado on the Washita, I well know B.'s 
address, in preventing or evading the simple questions he 
does not like to answer. I have seen Alston often yield 
to it, and wonder not that he shall seek from me that in- 
formation of which he found Burr so tenacious. This, 
then, may turn out another instance, in addition to many 
others I have furnished, in which B. may see cause to 
deprecate my knowledge of him, and curse that candor 
of integrity that has so often traversed his purposes. 
Bollman'a cautious skill, perhaps, will never betray him 
into similar indiscretions ; but Major Smith will be here 
to-morrow, and then bursts the bubble. After I had next 
given Alston some account, by his desire, of the country 



Digitized by 



Google 



854 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

about Natchez, in which I also took liberty to correct 
many errors in Col. Burr's view of that subject, I con- 
trived to let him broach the business he came on. He 
asked me if I had seen Nicholas to-day. I said no ; but 
Luckett had been here with another of my indorsements, 
and an account he showed me, with a balance struck 
against Col. Burr, of something better than $8,000 ; thus, 
said I, almost every week I discover some new demand 
upon me on account of this business ; and I have now 
ascertained that, besides other losses, my name has me 
responsible for $21,000. Well ! says he, it will cost me at 
least $50,000. I mentioned the bill and balance together, 
to try if he would offer any objections to responsibilities 
I had entered into exceeding the amount of his guarantee 
to me, but finding he did not, I then told him the amount 
of the bill was only $2,500. With the account between 
Col. Burr and Luckett I had no concern, and recom- 
mended the latter to such present relief as he could afford 
him. He seemed pleased ; said Nicholas would probably 
accept his terms ; should remove the incumbrances on my 
property in Philadelphia, and invited me to Carolina, and 
promised soon to see me again. Then, returning to the 
subject of the trial, he told me a piece of news, which 
well deserves a place here — as so much secret history, 
characteristic of the feelings and energies of the Chief 
Justice. It seems, after the Judge had determined to 
give the prosecutors time, from Friday until Monday, to 
prepare to answer the arguments of the opposite counsel 
on four points, any one of which being supported by the 
court, the trial ends. A friend of General Marshall asked 
him if, in suspending a criminal prosecution by granting 



Digitized by 



Google 



VATICINATION. 355 

this indulgence, he had not made a rule that had no pre- 
cedent. To this he answered, "he knew it;" but if he 
should decide against the prosecutors on any of these 
points, he would be reproached with not being disposed to 
give them an opportunity to answer them ; and that he 
will probably not overrule them at all is more probable 
from an expression of his, while playing at chess with 
Wickham, since the latter made the points. " Do n't you 
think," said he, " you will be able to check-mate these 
fellows, and relieve us from being kept here three weeks 
more ? " In the evening Gates called, and soon left me, 
to give way to Wickham and Botts. This visit provided 
for a wish I yesterday expressed, in court, to Mr. B., to 
see him in the course of this day, my object being to state 
to him candidly the objections I had lately discovered to 
his appearing as an advocate for me in my defense, which 
might expose the breach of honor and confidence I com- 
plained of, on the part of his connections. But as he 
brought Mr. Wickham with him, and it seemed their 
joint opinion that the decision on the points now before 
the court would probably this week put an end to Burr's 
trial, and occasion the relinquishment of mine, or, if that 
did not happen, they had determined upon a plea in 
abatement, for a misnomer to the indictment in my case, 
which they thought must prevail, and then the prose- 
cutors would probably despair of success in getting 
another grand jury to find another bill against me ; or, 
if they should make such an experiment, I should most 
probably, in the mean time, be admitted to bail. From 
this view of their opinions, I said I hoped it would not be 
necessary to trouble them with my brief, and I could not 



Digitized by 



Google 



356 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

venture the appeal to Mr. Botts's feelings, which I pro- 
posed to make in this interview. My accomplished 
friends now terminated their visit with their accustomed 
kindness, and left me in a sublime reverie on their virtues 
and talents, which was soon broken in upon, by the ap- 
pearance of Mr. Douglas with a stranger; I should rather 
have said, by two apparitions, for it was now near night- 
fall, and Douglas no sooner appeared than he turned on 
his heel, saying, "Colonel Duane, sir," and ran down 
stairs. The surprise of this interruption the stranger, 
whom I had never before seen, did not suffer to endure 
long enough to allow me to invoke the angels and min- 
isters of grace for my protection. I was already within 
the grasp of this Gabriel of the Government. He seized 
my hand, and bade me dismiss my surprise, however 
natural it might be on his appearance before me. I 
handed him a chair, and said, " I had lived long enough 
in this country to be surprised at nothing it could produce 
or exhibit, but yet desired to learn from what cause I had 
the favor of this visit."^ " Having heard Mr. Douglas ob- 
serve," said he, " you would be pleased to see me." " Sir, 
Mr. D. has made a mistake ; he must have meant some- 
body else." " No matter," continued he ; " having seen 
and known your present situation, I could not as a man, 
and an Irishman " — here he digressed, to show how he 
both was, and was not, an Irishman — " I would not leave 
this town without warning you of the sacrifice now pre- 
paring to appease the Government by your friends, of 
which you are destined to be the victim. You can not 
desire any other key to my meaning than the course the 
defense has this week taken ; but if you think the Gov- 



Digitized by 



Google 



COL. DUANE. 357 

eminent will not cease to pursue that justice they possess 
the means of insuring, and suspect, as you ought, the 
designs of those you have too long thought your friends, 
it might yet appear no better, on my part, than a nominal 
service to give you these cautions. I have therefore 
sought you, not to tender you words, but deeds ; the only 
return, on your part, will be that care of yourself which 
will find a shield in my honor " — here he very awkwardly 
struck his breast, and grinned a ghastly smile — "and 
that confidence I can command in the Government, whose 
good faith is not misplaced in the zeal I have testified to 
serve it." To this harangue, delivered somewhat less, 
perhaps, with the action and manner of Satan personat- 
ing Duane than that of a felon, he added violent prot- 
estations of his wishes to serve me, saying that for that 
purpose he would put off his journey back to Phila- 
delphia, which otherwise was irrevocably fixed for Wed- 
nesday, and would now, or at any time hereafter, go to 
Washington for me, where nothing he should ask would 
be refused him. In thanking him for the frankness and 
zeal with which he cautioned me against my friends, 
and a negligence of my safety, I assured him I was not 
afraid to meet the prosecution, as I expected I should, 
before my arrival here, without counsel or friends ; but 
from present appearances I was more curious than in- 
terested to learn what were those means he said Govern- 
ment possessed of insuring justice? Finding by his 
answer he was now disposed to allure me into a con- 
fession of having written certain papers in the hands 
of the prosecutors, I told him, " the warmth of his offers 



Digitized by 



Google 



358 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

to serve me could not make me forget either his situation 
or my own, with relation to the Government; that I 
cared not what writings should be charged upon me, 
I should admit none until fairly proved, which, if any 
such should ever appear, I would justify, if necessary, 
on the scaffold. He now summed up the objects of his 
mission, whatever produced it, with abuse of Burr, 
Tyler and Smith, acknowledging that he had been 
served gratis by the first, in the most handsome man- 
ner; that the others were more concerned against the 
Government than I was ; but swearing that he believed, 
if I did not follow his advice, they would make a scape- 
goat sacrifice of me for their deliverance. Can I make 
no use, then, of this adventure ? yes, I will put this in- 
terest in requisition, if I can't find readier means to 
abbreviate the imprisonment of Vaun. I have again laid 
by my brief, which I shall not probably soon resume 
until all my expectations of Burr's success and my own 
are reversed. In the mean time, I will attend to the 
adjustment of m^ private affairs. Ellis called in to-day, 
and seemed pleased with having it in his power to offer to 
spare some money to me, if I wanted it. I was very glad, 
I said, to find Col. Burr was in cash. "Not at all," said 
he ; "I was with the Marshal, and pretended a subpoena 
had been served on me at Natchez, and got 140 odd dol- 
lars. This was all Col. Burr could yet do for me." This 
is caution, with a vengeance. The Marshal's runners 
have these two nights past been in busy search of General 
Dayton. If he is taken this way, how will he appear 
to the multitude? 



Digitized by 



Google 



ALSTON. 859 

Monday, August 24, 1807. 

Between 8 or 9, A. M., arrived Major Smith in this 
place. He has got the room under me to sleep in, and 
no reasons of state or measures of public safety appear 
at present, though they were obvious three weeks ago, to 
prevent our living together until bed-time, that is, 8, P. M. 
He has not heard from Burr, though Mr. Martin has 
visited and offered him to be his counsel, gratis. I was 
visited by De Pestre, whom I was obliged to send away 
to attend to Nicholas, who will probably do something 
definite as to Sanders with Alston to-day or early to- 
morrow. For, strange to say, the latter, De Pestre 
assured me, was going home to-day, but Nicholas says he 
will put it off until to-morrow. I apprehend I shall be 
obliged to accept of that friendly invitation he gave me 
yesterday. Smith heard that Burr has made financial 
arrangements in Philadelphia to settle every thing after 
his acquittal. Midnight. 

Tuesday, August 25, 1807. 

The unexpected arrival of Alston on the stairs before 
8 o'clock this morning, while I was walking with Major 
Smith in the passage, operated as a panic, and soon 
inspired a conviction of the apprehensions I entertained 
yesterday, after having seen De Pestre, that he would be 
off with French leave. I composed myself, however, to 
receive him with an air of confidence I have generally of 
late dissembled toward him, affecting at the same time a 
little surprise at so early a visit. This he parried, with a 
whiff of his cigar, which gave him time to think to say, 



Digitized by 



Google 



360 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

" the court was to sit as early as nine, and he meant to 
lose nothing of all that was expected from Wirt, who 
would have the advantage of a good foil afforded him 
yesterday by the wretched exhibition of McRae, which 
soon became so flat, that it nearly cleared the Louse." 
" He affected," said he, " to prance at starting, but could 
only crawl all day over the ground ; even Hay confessing 
he did not understand the question, and Botts, who would 
next have spoken, declaring that he had heard nothing 
that required a reply from him. Alston now called me 
into my apartment to dispatch the object of his early 
visit, which seemed to be, to leave town without incurring 
any complaints of mine for not concluding, before his 
departure, the so long-expected arrangement with Nich- 
olas. He therefore objected to the difficulties that he 
said Nicholas and Randolph pretended to feel in remov- 
ing the attachment from my funds in Philadelphia, with- 
out particular orders from Sanders. I said I should 
expect or coerce Sanders to do that, in virtue of the set- 
tlements I had made with him in Lexington, whether Mr. 
Alston furthered that settlement or not. He then said 
Nicholas yesterday promised to have the necessary papers 
ready last evening, but he would have me completely 
exonerated from the demand before he did anything; to 
which I, of course, assented. But, I asked, what had 
occasioned the determination I heard he had formed of 
leaving town yesterday or to-day? u O! the "certainty 
of the trials ending this week had made him desirous of 
leaving this place, of which he was heartily tired, as soon 
as possible, and his anxiety to try to raise even a part of 
the money for my relief would the more hurry him away/' 



Digitized by 



Google 



RUMORS. 361 

He forgot, I suppose, he yesterday told Nicholas he had 
just received letters that suddenly called him home. A 
propensity to rely more on his wits than his memory, is a 
prominent trait in this character. It would, then, have 
answered no purpose to have inquired into the fact of the 
letters being concerned, rather than my sufferings, with 
the period of his journey. He could easily say, " 't was 
true, he had letters ; " for he is very circumspect to avoid 
changes upon his words, which I took an occasion 
again to-day to put to the test by observing to him, that 
I supposed my losses by Miller's sale of my effects, which 
had been sacrificed in Wood county, would not be much 
short of $15,000, which sum would not replace two-thirds 
of my library, my furniture, instruments, house-linen, etc., 
with all my farming-stock and implements of husbandry, 
for all which I had no other hope of indemnity but what 
I could derive from the honor and resources of Col. Burr 
and himself; to all of which he was silent. But he might, 
and did, add, nothing more engaged his concern so much 
as his wishes to relieve my embarrassments. He then 
told me Col. Burr wished me to be upon my guard 
against spies, as he apprehended some had been lately 
visiting me under the mask of friendship. On asking 
him whether he alluded to any particular persons, I found 
he had heard of Duane's visit to me on Sunday evening, 
which was next day in every body's mouth, and may pos- 
sibly have had some share in engendering a report which 
as yet has been only whispered, though it may have stolen 
into some of A. Burr's private audiences. This report 
states that I now see Burr in a different light from that in 



Digitized by 



Google 



362 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

which I first regarded him, and that my fellow-prisoner, 
Major Smith, is come on determined to denounce Burr, 
and turn an approver. Alston did not hint this rumor to 
me, but I thought it would be serviceable to the interests 
of my pecuniary expectations from him to send him 
back to Burr, satisfied of my vigilance and perseverance 
in those duties of honor and good faith which, if they 
doubted in me, I should never forget I owe to myself. 
" Ha ! " said I, " you 've heard of Duane's visit to me, 
then ; would you wish to see my notes of what passed 
between us?" " Yes," said he, eagerly, " very much in- 
deed." I then read to him the minutes I had taken on 
Sunday evening, with which he seemed highly pleased, 
and said they ought to be published. To this I told him 
I could not accede, though it might seem to him the more 
necessary from some observations made to me by Duane, 
more than I thought necessary to enter in my notes, of 
which I recollected one, that concerned Alston himself, 
who now seemed all anxiety for the disclosure he ex- 
pected. But I affected to attach little importance to the 
thing, and said, after no small enjoyment of his solicitude 
about it, " 't was only that Government had got posses- 
sion of one of his letters to me." " One of my letters ! " 
said he; " I never wrote to you but two upon business of 
a private nature, and any other letter they can have of 
mine must be a forgery." " To be sure," said I ; "or at 
all events, from the favorable course things are now likely 
to take, such a letter could do no harm." " But what did 
the rascal," continued he, " state to be the purport of the 
letter?" "Nothing more," said I, "than proving that 



Digitized by 



Google 



COLLOQUY. 863 

you and myself were equally involved in all Col. Burr's 
projects." He then abused Duane, repeated his wish my 
notes were published, and took leave, 

I find I have omitted to observe, owing to the hurry 
and fatigue I suffered the day I arrived in this prison, 
that Alston, on his first visit to me that evening, acknowl- 
edged the receipt of the letter I had written him from 
Natchez, containing a reprobation of his public letter to 
Gov. Pinkney, when he said, "he felt now no uneasiness 
at certain reflections I had therein made use of, which he 
knew proceeded from a warmth of temper natural to me 
upon a misconception of his motives, which he had ex- 
plained to the satisfaction (is it possible ?) of Col. Burr." 
To which I answered, that the letter itself would say it 
was not designed to excite any unpleasant sensations, 
though it was written under impressions that could not 
be obliterated, and that his not answering my letter, 
which was so incumbent on him, from the nature of that 
part of it relating to money matters, so irritated and con- 
vinced me that he disregarded my expectations from him, 
arising from his guarantee for my losses by my concern 
with Col. Burr and himself, that I was further led to 
declare, at Lexington, that he was as fully concerned 
with Col. B. as myself, stating at the same time to him a 
further motive for such a declaration, which will be found 
in my notes of the 6th instant. All this he accepted very 
kindly, assuring me he had written two letters to me. 
"What! two!" yes; he not only then, that is, on the 
fourth instant, said two, but said so again to-day. Now 
those who are blest with his correspondence, will find he 
is not in the habit of bestowing two answers on one letter, 



Digitized by 



Google 



364 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPERS. 

especially when that one has chiefly for its object to bring 
a demand upon him into action, much less to grant a sin- 
gle reply to a letter which, through respect to his wife, 
he might at least acknowledge. I allude to our friend 
Harding's letter to him that he confessed he had received, 
but told me on his first visit it merely inclosed some papers 
to him, and required no answer. So the generous labors 
of the head and heart of one of the best men living did 
not deserve even the thanks of this coxcomb. But it 
appears from all this, that if his .second letter was in 
answer to the only one I ever wrote him, his first was 
occupied with some other subject ; and the palpable inter- 
est with which he listened to the late news Duane left 
with me for him, joined with the motives that induced 
him to write the death-warrant of his character to Pink- 
ney, and some late rumors of designs in Government, to 
institute a prosecution against him also, all leave little 
room to doubt that the prosecutors have got hold of 
something he would not like to see. But if this alarm 
will give me hold upon him, to keep him long enough 
here to carry some of his sincere wishes into execution, 
I shall owe Duane more obligations for his visit than he 
is aware of. I received a note from Prichard, covering 
the bill I had drawn on Philadelphia in his favor, which 
was returned for reasons already given in my notes of 
last Monday. Behold me, then, without a dollar, except 
the few that remain of thirty Prichard sent me a fort- 
night since. On this very bill I have had my coat re- 
paired, my umbrella newly covered, my hat dressed, and 
my boots new-tapped. But this economy will not pay 
my tavern bill, nor those of my grocer and washer- 



Digitized by 



Google 



APPREHENSION. 365 

woman. Nor will it restore to me the only funds on 
which I depended for my only care, the maintenance of 
my family. My own wants will never solicit the mantle 
of charity to shelter them from the pinching blast of ad- 
versity, until death shall lay the storm. Until then the 
cry, even to the heart of Mr. Alston, pray spare a trifle 
from your stock, to clothe my naked family, with that 
credit of which you Ve stripped it. In this spirit I wrote 
him what follows : " I have just received the inclosed, by 
which you may convince Mr. Nicholas of the unjust and 
absurd obstruction of my credit in Philadelphia, by the 
continuance of Mr. Sanders's attachment. Having no 
other source of pecuniary supply to which I can resort 
for subsistence of my family, until I can collect the wreck 
of their property, I await the accommodation of such 
credit or remittances as your dispositions may devise for 
the relief of my exigences. Yours, H. B." The servant 
returned with a verbal answer, in these four words — "He 
will see him," importing that Alston would see Nicholas, 
as if seeing N. will indemnify me for all I have suffered, 
or support my family. Alston told me Belknap has con- 
fessed he received from Smith $700 for me, which he 
denied the night he arrived on the " Island " from Ken- 
tucky, the night I left it. 

Wednesday, August 26, 1807. 

The bird, I believe, has not flown to-day, but may take 
wing, I know not what moment. I have neither seen 
nor heard from him since his verbal answer to my letter 
of yesterday. The little animal has clapped its wings in 
screaming essays toward the " Oaks ;" but yet may it re- 



Digitized by 



Google 



866 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

main a little longer on that egg it has not yet hatched, 
for the cuckoo that laid it. Wirt raised his reputation 
yesterday, as high as McRae sunk his the day before. 
The former, I learn, paid me some compliments. We 
have many visitors, as usual, of whom I shall only notice 
Kerr, who sat one hour here this evening. Was cautioned 
by Dud. Woodbridge to beware of Bennet. But I have 
him secured by Tupper, who tells me he, Tupper, will 
support the declarations made by Bennet to him and me, 
on Bennet's first visit here to me. Major Smith is suffer- 
ing something of a seasoning. 

Thursday, August 27, 1807. 

Rose at a quarter past 5 this morning, to walk in the 
yard, as I had agreed with Major Smith last night ; but 
he rested badly, and had a profuse perspiration when I 
called upon him, which determined him, with my advice, 
to stay in bed. So I walked for an hour alone, under a 
disagreeable fog, with a view to try whether breathing so 
long another, if not a better, air than that of my room 
might not enable me to escape to-day a periodical head- 
ache, with some fever, we both complain of about 2 
o'clock every day since Sunday, and of which we are not 
free some nights, before we go to bed. Young Swartwout 
called upon us with Alston. The latter called me out to 
tell me things will be completed to-day with Nicholas, 
from whom he will get the original bills on which the 
attachment was served on the house of J. S. Lewis & Co., 
as my garnishees, by which, I suppose, I can again open 
the channel of my credit which the attachment has so 
long shut up in Philadelphia. He assures me Luckett's 



Digitized by 



Google 



MR. DUNCAN. 867 

account is not admitted to be correct by Burr, and that I 
shall not be liable for the bill of $2,500 with my indorse- 
ment in Luckett's hands. He has also offered me a draft 
at sight on Charleston, for the bill returned me by Prich- 
ard. He concluded his money business with me this 
morning, by telling me Col. Burr will be soon in cash, 
having concluded some financial arrangements with a 
Mr. Pollock, who is very rich. I must not forget, how- 
ever, he also told me his settling both Sanders's and Mil- 
ler's claims, if the latter will come into the^arrangement, 
will, with the incidental charges, require payments by 
him to the amount of $16,000 ; so that after settling San- 
ders's claim, if Miller won't settle in the same way, he has 
proposed to take up his present letter of guarantee and 
give me another to indemnify me for what Miller may be 
entitled to recover of me, to which I have assented. Mr. 
Alston has found Wirt, though not without merit, so far 
as he was figurative, monotonous, with bad or no action, 
and better recommended by the foil McRae afforded him 
than any interest his late essay could inspire. He seems 
to-day to partake of apprehensions entertained by Col. 
Burr's friends, that the Chief Justice may yield to want 
of energy, in ruling all the points now before him, as the 
able efforts of the counsel for the defense can not fail to 
prove the law requires. Surely, if the law has not been 
mistaken on the side of the accused, the calumny which 
has been propagated through the crowd, of Burr's emis- 
saries having made an attempt to take off Mr. Duncan 
by laudanum, would tend to strengthen rather the en- 
ergies of such a head and heart as the Chief Justice is 
probably blessed with. This Duncan has been brought 



Digitized by 



Google 



868 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

here, I am told, to prove a negative ; namely, that Wil- 
kinson is not a Spanish officer or pensioner. Duane has 
kept his promise to abandon the field yesterday. I find 
to-day he is an expert angler, and adapts his flies and 
tackling not only to the waters and seasons of his choice, 
but to that kind of fish that are the objects of his sport; 
at least, the first cast of his line has caught that wary fish, 
the natural history of which has engaged so much of 
these notes. I have been accordingly informed, a formal 
demand has been made upon Hay to declare whether the 
Government or himself possess a certain letter, of which 
a sketch has been given here the 25th instant. The scene 
that this interview probably presented will, I know not 
how long, be reserved for recital in the secret mysteries 
of the prosecution. Alston, on his part, gave me too 
sublime a rehearsal of the dignity and force with which 
he launched the bolts of his defiance on all the Titans of 
Virginia, for me to presume to imitate it in these memo- 
randa, without incurring the suspicion at least of being 
disposed to burlesque it. The Titan Hay, however, he 
assured me, he overwhelmed with mountains of con- 
sternation and dismay ; in short, the fact was denied, and 
what was very extraordinary, as the like never happened 
before, imprecations of mendacity, on the fame of Col. 
Duane, were endured with patience by Jefferson's attor- 
ney. The existence, however, of the letter, be it remem- 
bered, is as yet no more disproved than A.'s title to 
Agrestis is established. When Alston observed to me, 
to-day, he would give me a new guarantee against the 
amount of Miller's recovery, I said, that would be neces- 
sary for two purposes ; first, for the purpose of transferring 



Digitized by 



Google 



tupper's song. 869 

it, as I had the former one, to Sanders, or raising money 
on it, as I had nothing else left to pledge ; secondly, for 
the benefit of my family, in the event of my death, which 
I thought very probably might soon happen. I could see 
well enough to discern a pointed attention on his part to 
the last reason. He had on a former occasion observed, 
when I assured him I should publicly expose the perfidy 
and dishonor of Graham and the Hendersons, at all 
hazards, be the issue of these trials what it might, " that 
my short sight would lay me under very unfair disadvan- 
tages ; " to which I answered, " I should know how to 
accommodate the distance to the extent of my sight ; " 
and, to-day, he hoped with earnestness that I would not 
think on any gloomy subject to cloud the prospect of 
many happy years I shall yet enjoy. This was not his 
language, but his precise meaning ; how far it was sin- 
cere may be imagined from his talking in this way, after 
he returned me what another man might have kept, my 
letter given here the 25th instant, without lisping a sylla- 
ble on the exposure I made to him in that letter of my 
second humiliation before his wealth, to solicit an atom 
from the heap to assuage the distress he is bound to 
relieve. Be it remembered, he has never questioned de- 
mands I made upon him, independent of his first guaran- 
tee for disbursements I have made for Col. Burr, to be- 
tween four and five thousand dollars, in a letter of which 
he acknowledged the receipt on the 4th instant, any more 
than statements of other losses, an indemnity for which, 
when ascertained, will be sought in the honor and re- 
sources of Col. Burr and himself. Tupper has promised 

me a copy of his song of the " Battle of the Boats," and 

' 24 



Digitized by 



Google 



870 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

tells me the Hendersons now afiect that they are obliged 
to testify against me. When we recollect their menaces 
in Wood county to denounce me, after they had prosti- 
tuted their honor to a spy, we must rather believe they 
regret to testify against that letter Sandy wrote his 
father, soliciting his consent to his son's espousing the 
principles and conduct, I confidentially recommended to 
them, which letter will show what treason I recommend- 
ed or was engaged in. Robison and others tell us, this 
evening, Hay had the insolence to insinuate to-day, to 
the Chief Justice, an impeachment, if he did not over- 
rule all the points now before the Court. Does the Chief 
Justice want energy at such a crisis to declare the law ? 
surely this in&ult should give it to him. Prichard assures 
me Burr, on his acquittal, will not soon leave this town. 
Civil demands upon him will gather round him from all 
quarters, to a far greater amount than he can find bail 
for, if Pollock, or some other preserving angel, does not 
shield him from this new host. Then, indeed, will he 
fall more inglorious than from a gibbet. I am very 
unwell this evening, suffering under a return of the like 
oppressive weather I endured during the first fortnight 
of my imprisonment. 

Saturday, August 29, 1807. 

I awoke yesterday morning with a continuance of the 
indisposition under which I had labored on Thursday 
evening. I was affected with much fever and racking 
headache, to a degree of severity that compelled me to 
return to bed before breakfast, after taking three or four 
grains of calomel. Dud. Woodbridge called mc aside 



Digitized by 



Google 



APOLOGY. 371 

this morning to complain that the " Enquirer " has mis- 
represented the evidence he gave last Wednesday. He 
said he had been to the printer on the subject. I could 
not understand distinctly, however, what particular fact 
had been misstated. He observed to me that he was at a 
loss to conceive the object of the counsel on both sides, 
examining him upon matters altogether irrelevant to the 
questions before the Court ; such as, his opinion of my 
talents and studies, his knowledge of the amount of my 
property, and particularly the value of my place on the 
Ohio. But he supposed the drift of Col. Burr was to 
show that I could in no sense be regarded as a military 
character. He apologized for his having .said that "I 
had more other sense than common sense," an expression 
which he said escaped him in the hurry and warmth of 
his examination. I accepted this explanation, but wished 
him to inform me what motive the counsel could have to 
exhibit me to the jury as a character less skilled in the 
ordinary affairs of life than common men? He now 
stated to me, that Burr's special confidants, who formerly 
sought his company here, of late, seemed rather inclined 
to avoid him, for which he was at a loss to account ; but 
that, while he boarded in the same house with Bollman, 
this gentleman had devoted much pains to learn from 
him all he could of «my character, by which, having ex- 
tracted from him an opinion that I was eccentric, Boll- 
man, who was informed of the testimony he had given 
before the grand jury, regretted very much that D. Wood- 
bridge had not informed that body of the circumstance. 
All this is mysterious to me, and will remain so until I 
can explore the matter by opportunities I shall not fail to 



Digitized by 



Google 



872 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

seek. I have had a large draft upon my little funds, of 
$2.55 for a large packet from Philadelphia, covering the 
following inclosures ; namely, two letters from Elliott and 
another from his wife, with the seal cut open, and several 
others of importance. Burr yesterday informed me, by 
note, he had an unsettled account with Luckett, who holds 
one of his drafts for $25, with my indorsement, which it 
would gratify him much if I could discharge : but Alston, 
two or three days ago, assured me Luckett's account was 
not allowed, and I should not be called upon to pay this 
draft. Will these adventurers never meet but in du- 
plicity ? Mr. Alston has not appeared to me since Thurs- 
day; he is probably engrossed to-day by Martin's con- 
cluding speech, in reply upon the points now before the 
Court. Wood, this morning, gave me some information, 
which, if true, proves Burr as bad a general out of the 
field as I have no doubt he would prove in it. Speaking 
of several characters that Burr had subpoenaed from Ken- 
tucky, I inquired, what benefit he expected to derive from 
John Brown, who I heard had arrived ? " He can expect 
none from him," said Wood ; " he will find Brown more 
Wilkinson's friend than his." " Brown is as truly pen- 
sioned as Sebastian was by the Spanish Government;" 
and Col. Burr must have strangely overrated his own 
powers, if he ever thought that these men would have 
joined him in any thing but words against Spain, while 
he might with the greatest ease, when he was in Ken- 
tucky, have enlisted Daveiss and the whole Marshall 
party in his interest. "Daveiss and Dr. Marshall," he 
added, " would gladly have embarked in all or any of his 
speculations; they had no Spanish ties to break, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



6KBASTIAK. 878 

Daviess instituted the first proceedings against him, partly 
from a sense of neglect on the part of Burr, and through 
enmity to the President, who he fully believed was con- 
cerned with Burr, or connived at his operations. Be 
these things as they may, true or false, as Wood is more 
or less deserving of credit — it should be remembered that 
Wood once possessed the confidence of the Marshall fac- 
tion, by which he had an opportunity of knowing their 
dispositions — that however unprincipled he may have 
proved in other instances, he still adheres to the denunci- 
ations he published in the " Western World/' which have 
already ruined Sebastian, and may yet lead to the con- 
viction of other culprits, and that as he has now aban- 
doned all concern with politics and newspapers, save so 
&r as he can be serviceable to Burr, he can have no cal- 
culable interest in depreciating the views or talents of any 
of the persons he has reflected upon. But the present 
trial can not fail to furnish ample testimony, if not to the 
guilt, at least to the defect of every talent, under the as- 
sumption of which this giddy adventurer has seduced so 
many followers of riper experience and better judgment 
than myself. Tou were right, therefore, honest Hay, in 
observing the other day to Woodbridge, while expressing 
your concern for my situation. " that I must now think 
Burr had duped me ; " but you were wrong in supposing 

I am indebted to you for the discovery ; I am possessed 
of it these nine months. I am still without relief of my 
anxiety for my poor family. I pray the mercy of Heaven 
to prepare me for the first news I shall hear from them. 

II o'clock, P. M. 



Digitized by 



Google 



874 the blennerhassett papers. 

Sunday, August 30, 1807. 

I have heard this morning from Ellis, that General 
Jackson is hourly expected in town, and Ashley's arrival 
also looked for, this evening or to-morrow. If by either 
of these chances I shall be blessed with no disastrous 
news of my family, or even with a revival of those hopes 
that I have too long brooded upon, of once more behold- 
ing the picture of my beloved wife, how great a load of 
care my hours of sorrow will throw off. I trust Almighty 
God will first ordain I shall bow with devout gratitude 
before I bound in levity or transports, to which I have 
so long been a stranger; or, if I idly dream, to wake 
perhaps to realities of sad reverse, then let me first 
invoke the Divine mercy, to retain me faithful to all my 
duties, in every task allotted to my destiny. I had a very 
interesting conversation this morning with John Banks 
and Mercer, and both eagerly charged themselves with 
the care of sending me good soup ; and as my late sick- 
ness induced me at their desire to complain of the quality 
of necessaries sent from the tavern, in pursuance of 
which, soon after, Mercer left me a present of refresh- 
ments of fruit and good butter, and fine calves-feet jelly, 
was sent in ice by Mrs. Gamble. The conversation, of 
course, had no other object so natural to engage our in- 
terest as a comparison of the foundation of different con- 
jectures respecting the decision the Chief Justice will 
deliver to-morrow on those points which have so long 
balanced this town between law and faction, and will so 
much longer poise the trembling passions of the distant 
multitude on the same pivot. Each of us was not with- 



Digitized by 



Google 



BANKS. 375 

out an inuendo, or an anecdote, of no small interest to 
Major Smith, who, I was happy to see, continued of the 
party. My hints were thrown out only in general terms, 
alluding to the inferences I had endeavored to draw from 
the intelligence Wood yesterday gave me. Mercer, who, 
it is said, is much enamored of a very accomplished 
young lady, a relation of the Chief Justice, ably exerted 
his happy address for some time, not indeed to confirm 
the sense Banks and myself professed we so fully enter- 
tained of "General Marshall's high talents, deep erudition 
and amiable virtues, but to discharge our apprehensions 
of some doubts we said we lamented they had imbibed, 
that the Chief Justice would possess all the energy that 
would be necessary to reconcile the opinion he had deliv- 
ered on the part of the Supreme Court in the case of 
Bollman and Swartwout, with such another as would be 
required of him to establish the most material of all the 
points now before him. Mercer insinuated he had oppor- 
tunities from whence he could deduce a different antici- 
pation. But neither Banks nor myself could hereby 
perceive his conjectures to be better warranted than our 
own. Banks was now led, after indulging himself with 
some general reflections on the difficulty and delicacy of 
the Chief Justice's present dilemma, in which we all 
concurred, to tell us an anecdote, with which I was sur- 
prised to find Mercer unacquainted, from whence Banks 
indeed did not infer that the Chief Justice will, on the 
present occasion, shrink from his duty, as an able judge 
or a virtuous patriot, to avert the revenge of an unprinci- 
pled government, or avoid other trials menaced, and 
preparing for himself by its wretched partisans, but he 



Digitized by 



Google 



876 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

lamented, and certainly our choicest sympathies harmo- 
nized with his feelings, that the facts he had mentioned, 
of which he vouched the verity, referring Mercer to the 
office and file of the Argus, had already proved that the 
Chief Justice had explained or accommodated his en- 
ergies on the bench in conformity to the views of his 
enemies, by ordering or permitting in his private character 
something to be inserted in the Argus, in the form of an 
apology to, or exculpation of, Wilkinson, purporting to 
contravene, but altogether inconsistent with, the tenor or 
expressions of declarations of opinions he, as a judge, 
had delived on the bench. This will, no doubt, engage 
Mercer's interest and anxiety so much that I will, to-day, 
add not a word to what I have already said, on a discov- 
ery that has not a little depressed me. Yet I am certain, 
whatever dust or insects may have sought the Judge's 
robes while off his back, none will venture to appear 
upon the ermine that bedecks his person. Mercer and 
Banks gave me not less than two hours of their company, 
which, whether considered with regard to the elegance 
and interest of Mercer's conversation, or the friendly 
concern testified by Banks for the issue of the trial, con- 
stituted one of the most agreeable visits I have received 
since my imprisonment. Mercer promised to bring me the 
earliest tidings of the decision to-morrow. Alston is too. 
much occupied to call upon me, when such an effort is 
not indispensable. 

The influenza has arrived here, and found its way into 
half the families of the town. I am severely affected 
with it ; this is the third illness I have had here, which 
has compelled me to resort to medicine. As we were 



Digitized by 



Google 



LUTHER MARTIN. 377 

chatting over some of Mrs. Gambled fruit after dinner, 
in came the whole rear-guard of Burr's forensic army — I 
mean the celebrated Luther Martin, who yesterday con- 
cluded his fourteen hours' speech. His visit was to Major 
Smith ; but he took me by the hand, saying, there was 
no need of an introduction. I was too much interested 
by the little I had seen, and the great things I had heard, 
of this man's powers and passions not to improve the 
present opportunity to survey him in every light the 
length of his visit would permit. I accordingly recom- 
mended our brandy as considered superior, placing a pint 
tumbler before him. No ceremonies retarded the liba- 
tion; no inquiries solicited him on any subject, until 
apprehensions of his withdrawing suggested some topic 
to quiet him on his seat. Were I now to mention only 
the subjects of law, politics, news, etc., on which he de- 
scanted, I should not be believed when I had said his 
visit did not exceed thirty-five minutes. I imagine a man 
capable, in that space of time, to deliver some account of 
an entire week's proceedings in the trial, with extracts 
from memory of several speeches on both sides, including 
long ones from his own, to recite half columns, verbatim, 
of a series of papers of which he said he is the author, 
under the signature of " Investigator," to caricature Jef- 
ferson, give the history of his acquaintance with Burr, 
expatiate on his virtues and sufferings, maintain his credit, 
embellish his fame, and intersperse the whole with sen- 
tentious reprobations and praises of other characters. 
Some estimate, with these preparations, may be formed 
of this man's powers, which are yet shackled by great 
embarrassment of delivery. In this his manner is rude, 



Digitized by 



Google 



378 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

and his language ungrammatical, which is cruelly aggra- 
vated upon his hearers by the verbosity and repetitions 
of his style. With the warmest passions that hurry him 
like a torrent over those characters or topics of his con- 
versation that lie most in the way of their course, he has 
by practice acquired the faculty of curbing hi* feeling*, 
while he never suffers to charge the enemy until broken 
by the superior numbers of his arguments and authorities, 
by which he always outflanks him ; then he lets loose the 
reserve upon the center with redoubled impetuosity. Yet 
fancy has been as much denied to his mind as grace to 
his person or habits. These are gross, and incapable of 
restraint, even on the most solemn public occasions. 
Hence his invectives are rather coarse than pointed; 
his eulogiums more fulsome than pathetic. In short, my 
amiable young friend Mercer, in his accustomed classical 
neatness, gives me every trait of his portrait, when in one 
word he calls him the "Thersites of the law." Yet, 
though Mr. M. did not intend to sit here to so bad an 
artist, he has literally promised me his portrait by a bet- 
ter hand, and I believe he is not without many moral 
good qualities, not very inconsistent with the sketch I 
have attempted of his character. I have no doubt he is 
unrivaled for zeal in the service of his friends, while he 
retains them from the concern with which he spoke of 
Burr's financial difficulties, declaring his friend could find 
security in Baltimore for $100,000, which I doubt, though 
I do not at all question Martin, as he said so, would be 
his bail for $10,000. I regret to find Smith neglected, not 
only by Burr, but Burr's satellites. I asked Martin if the 
prosecutors won't succeed, as I predicted by letter to B^ 



Digitized by 



Google 



INDISPOSITION. 379 

before I got here to put him upon a defense on the trea- 
son bill, that wilh nearly amount to a confession of the 
misdemeanor ? I think this has actually happened. Mar- 
tin thought that because Burr alleges he expected war 
between Spain and the United States, his expedition was 
lawful. But may not a jury think Burr did not expect 
the war, and find their verdict then on the confession ? 

Monday, August 31, 1807. 

I suffered total privation of sleep last night, by the un- 
remitting severity of my cough. This is the most 
oppressive day I have yet endured in this place, and my 
lassitude was so great, that after seeing Strickland, who, 
I am glad to hear, sets out for Natchez about Saturday, I 
read for two hours, but was obliged to go to bed, where 
T slept until awaked by Mercer, with a report of the 
Chief Justice's opinion, stating, in substance, that all the 
points of so much expectation had been established in 
favor of the accused, and my indictment virtually got rid 
of, by the Judge's opinion, that the evidence adduced to 
prove the overt acts did not prove such an assemblage as 
the law required to constitute a traitorous one. Mercer 
took much pains to state every detail his memory could 
suggest; but I was little revived with' the news. I have 
yet too many other trials to pass. The Court adjourned 
to six o'clock this evening, when the prosecutors are to 
be prepared to state the course they will now pursue. 
The result I shall learn • to-morrow morning, and be 
thereby probably enabled to look to the period of my 
imprisonment. When I shall have access to Burr and 
Alston, it will be my fault if I do not see them when I 



Digitized by 



Google 



380 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ought. My chest is very sore ; I will take some medicine, 
and endeavor to sleep, after first offering up my cares and 
prayers to Heaven for my wife and boys. 

Tuesday, September 1, 1807- 

This morning I find my influenza much abated by the 
good effects of the medicine I took last night. Visited, 
as usual, by a variety of persons, before and after the ad- 
journment of the Court, by whom we learn, Hay observed, 
with an affectation of terseness, that he had examined 
the opinion of the Court, and had no further arguments 
or evidence to offer, by which I should understand he 
meant to envelop in uncertainty the course the prose- 
cutors will now pursue, of which no conjecture can be 
formed before to-morrow. A diversity of opinions, how- 
ever, seems already to dissect the speculations of the 
prosecutors ; some supposing all the indictments will be 
abandoned by nolle-prosequis ; others, that Burr will be 
proceeded against immediately on the misdemeanor ; and 
some more, that a motion will be made to have him sent 
to the District of Kentucky, where things may work 
more favorably to convict him of overt acts, suggested to 
have been committed by him at the mouth of Cumber- 
land river ; while, on the other hand, it is said, Burr will 
to-morrow move for nothing less than to be discharged 
from the indictment for the misdemeanor. But this 
seems to me too bold a dash on the part of the accused. 
I should rather presume, on the contrary, that the Judge 
would allow the prosecutors all the latitude of discretion 
they may desire in adducing evidence to prove that de- 
gree or probability of guilt that may induce the Court to 



Digitized by 



Google 



ARGUMENTATION. 381 

transmit the accused to another district, from which they 
had precluded themselves by the form in which they had 
framed the indictment for treason. Yet I can not believe 
the Chief Justice will ever say, a man once put in jeop- 
ardy of life in one district for treason, charged to have 
been therein committed and acquitted thereof, may after- 
ward be put to answer charges of other overt acts of the 
same treason in another district. Though a man may be 
responsible to the law, in -twelve districts severally, for a 
distinct treason committed in each, provided the animus 
or design quo (with which) he sought his object by the overt 
acts in each be proven to have operated the overt acts, as 
their immediate preceding motive, within the district 
where they are laid in the indictment to have been com- 
mitted. Thus, a man may successively meditate, and 
mentally organize or arrange, eleven separate treasons, in 
as many States, the execution of all which he may aban- 
don ; but finally, in a twelfth, he may attempt to reduce 
his project into action. But evidence of. overt acts in the 
last State can not borrow evidence of the design from any 
of the former to complete his crime. The jury, I hope, 
have to-day evinced more of caprice than party spirit, by 
affecting to bring in something like a special verdict of 
acquittal. It will, however, be entered generally on the 
record. Burr has written to me to solicit Alston to as- 
sume the amount of the bill Luckett holds, and felicitates 
me on the events of yesterday. I have gratified Luckett 
with a letter to that effect to Alston, whom I have not 
seen since Thursday. 



Digitized by 



Google 



{882 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Wednesday, September 2, 1807. 

My cough still causing me some loss of rest, I had not 
risen this morning before seven, when I was visited by 
Wickham and Botts. They staid about fifteen minutes, 
and called to acquaint me they meant to-morrow to offer 
the special plea to my indictment, on which account they 
had come to invite me to visit the folks at the capitol. 
They told me Burr was not solicitous about his discharge, 
which they thought would not take place for three or 
four days. They apprehended an attempt would be made 
to have us all transmitted to the Kentucky or other dis- 
tricts, which they did not appear to think would prevail. 
After breakfast, being very languid, we did nothing but 
read until a little after noon, when a Deputy Marshal un- 
expectedly roused us into action, by a summons to attend 
the Court. We dressed in five minutes, and accompanied 
the officer in a distressing warm walk. We did not re- 
turn till the Court adjourned, about half-past four. On 
our arrival, the Court seemed disengaged, as if it had 
been waiting for us. During this pause I could only col- 
lect from Botts, that some motion was before the Court, 
which he had not time to explain, before Hay rose to ob- 
serve, that as Major Smith and myself were present, and 
as we were similarly circumstanced with A. Burr, the 
same course should be pursued with us all. This called 
up T>o:is, who was followed by Wickham, both in very 
alle arguments, contending that our cases were totally 
separate and distinct from Burr's; the latter not being 
now, on account of his acquittal of the treason, legally 
present before the Court ; the only proper means to bring 



Digitized by 



Google 



burr's guard. 88S 

him there, to answer to the indictment for the misde- 
meanor, being, by summons 6r venire facias, according to 
the laws and practice of Virginia, where process of capias 
is not allowed for any offense less than capital. Burr 
said he was ready to enter an appearance to the indict- 
ment for the misdemeanor, insisting, until he did so, he 
was not legally in court on that charge ; from whence I 
Inferred, that the motion made before my arrival was 
probably for his discharge under the proclamation that 
should have ensued, on recording the verdict yesterday 
of his acquittal. Wickham and Botts supported their 
arguments with not only English and Federal authorities, 
but with the doctrines of Hay himself, delivered by him 
in his evidence on Chase's trial, which they dressed up in 
such comments and strictures as exhibited Hay the most 
bewildered spectacle of confusion and mortification I 
ever saw exposed to a public assembly. The Chief Justice 
said he should proceed to assign counsel to Major Smith 
— for which purpose the latter got me to write a letter 
for him yesterday — if the counsel of the United States 
meant to proceed against him on his treason bill, to which 
Hay answered, " it would be unnecessary, he believed." 
The Judge then observed, that the arguments would 
require his postponing his opinion until to-morrow morn- 
ing. After the Court was adjourned, Burr and ourselves 
were detained about ten minutes by the absence of the 
Marshal and his deputies, who had stepped aside some- 
where out of my sight, I believe, upon some consultation 
respecting the expense of Burr's guard until to-morrow; 
for I soon heard Burr tell Botts he would pay the ex- 
pense himself. The guard over him, at his present 



Digitized by 



Google 



384 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

quarters, has hitherto cost the United States seven dollars 
a day, which, it is now understood, he must pay himself 
until discharged, since his life has been redeemed from 
the mortgage the Government had on it. Burr, during 
this detention, said he hoped he should be able to come 
to see us to-morrow or next day ; but I fancy we shall 
have the liberty of the town as soon as his highness ; and 
so after all, it is one hundred to one, I shall never be ever 
arraigned for treason. On entering the dome of the 
capitol I was indemnified for the severity of my walk, 
not merely by the pleasure of the transition from the 
heat abroad to the shade and lower temperature of that 
part of the building, but by the enjoyment of beholding 
a face I had not yet seen in town. I passed close by 
Phelps, whose visage exhibited so high-colored a picture 
of the disappointment of his malice, that I involuntarily 
smiled upon him with such satisfaction as almost tempted 
me to wish him joy. My hurry, however, did not permit 
me to speak. I must reserve my words for something 
more human. Tupper expects letters this evening. I 
have charged Billy to see him, and be with me as early 
as he can. If I but wake to good tidings from Natchez, 
how shall I sacrifice to the God of fathers, for his pre- 
servation of my Harman, whom I have again dreamed I 
have lost. 

Thursday, September 3, 1807. 

I opened my eyes first this morning in quest only of 
that object, in exclusion of all others, that occupied my 
heart last night. But instead of letters through General 
Tupper, Billy brought me early a note from him, to an- 



Digitized by 



Google 



INCERTITUDE. 385 

nounce that there were three letters from my wife, Dot 
here, arrived for me, but at Marietta. To Almighty God 
be first offered my grateful and humble thanksgiving. I 
am hereby enabled to conjecture, with much probability, 
my beloved wife, at least, was well about the middle of 
July. But I dare not so far presume upon the favor of 
Providence as to conclude my boys, particularly Harmon, 
were in health at that period, much less, how long they 
and their mother have since continued well. This note 
has given me, however, a vivacity to-day, in spite of the 
oppressiveness of the weather, I have not before experi- 
enced in this prison, where, it is true, my friends have 
sometimes made me bear a part in the humor or interest 
of the story ; but I have ever felt on such occasions in the 
state Nicholas described, when he gives us the account 
of that part of his life during which he was conscious 
of being under the influence of two minds at the same 
instant. Or, at least, my heart would pity the momentary 
fluttering of my spirits, which, on such occasions, could 
never soar above its trouble. That truly worthy Irish- 
man, Mr. Hendren, has come again to town, apparently 
on purpose to see me. (See notes of 8th ult.) If I shall 
be detained here, as is probable, for some time,' after I- 
shall be bailed or discharged, I have engaged to visit him 
at Shirley, twenty miles from here. Not having seen any 
one since the rising of the court this evening, we are 
without any knowledge of the proceedings there to-day. 
Luckett called, this morning, to tell me Alston required 
me to write to him again, to desire he would settle or 
assume the amount of the bill Luckett holds, with my 

indorsement, saying my last letter to him on Monday to 
25 



Digitized by 



Google 



386 THE BLENNBRHA66ETT PAPERS. 

do so, did not express my desire with sufficient certainty. 
This is admirable! Major -Smith has seen that letter, and 
only wanted to hear this statement by Luckett, which, if 
true, settles Mr. Alston's intentions and mine. The first 
to put off, the last to hasten ; if he leaves this town, with- 
out his having reasons I shall approve of for not making 
the settlements he has undertaken, my purpose is fixed to 
follow him to the " Oaks " with a friend, very soon after 
my discharge, when it shall not exceed forty-eight hours 
to conclude all my business with him. I have written to 
William Thompson a long letter, accepting his tender of 
a correspondence, and returning him my sincere disposi- 
tion to improve our acquaintance into a friendship. Re- 
curring with Mr. Smith to some incidents that happened 
soon after our arrival at Natchez, and speaking of Cowles 
Meade, I was much surprised to learn what I had never 
heard before, that Meade had seriously taken up an idea 
of Col. Burr's being then deranged, alleging that he 
could not be mistaken, as he, Meade, had very long 
known him. Be this as it may, Burr, yesterday, looked 
fifty per cent, better than I have ever seen him, and dis- 
played a command of tone and firmness of manner he 
did not appear to me to possess before the verdict of 
Tuesday. 11, P. M. 

Friday, September 4, 1807. 

Visited this morning by Ellis and Doctor Monholland, 
who inform us yesterday was spent in Court in a desultory 
disputation on Hay's attempt, moved or suggested to 
have Burr transmitted to the Kentucky District; on 
which the Chief Justice has yet made no rule, as they 



Digitized by 



Google 



MISDEMEANOR. 887 

understand he conceives the indictment for the misde- 
meanor must be first got rid of here. They also tell us 
Burr went out about 1 o'clock to procure bail, which 
they supposed he did not effect, as his guard were in 
statu quo this morning. I have written a thankful letter 
to two : I have received one from Jas. O. Hennessy, a 
Kerry schoolmaster, who appears to be settled as a private 
tutor in the family of Hudson Martin, Esq., near York 
Post-office, Albemarle county, and is very solicitous to 
serve me. Read the best part of this morning, as is 
generally my practice when not otherwise employed, and 
which will show I have not been idle, wherever it might 
appear by this diary the minutes of any particular day 
are few or uninteresting. Hay has made a special return 
instanter, to a subpcena, duces-tecum, ordering him to pro- 
duce a letter from Jefferson to Wilkinson, which Hay 
did not wish made public, as parts of it were confidential. 
But his return was not accepted, and he has been co- 
erced to produce the letter. The whole day has been 
spent in altercation on this subject, and the question 
whether evidence should be gone into to determine upon 
the transmissal of us all to another district, before our 
indictments for the misdemeanor are here disposed of. 
In Burr's case, the Chief Justice has determined his dis- 
charge from his treason bill, and ordered his trial for 
the misdemeanor to proceed directly. 11, P. M. 

Saturday, September 6, 1807. 

Burr is to-day to give bail to the misdemeanor, the 
Chief Justice having yesterday determined a capias is the 
proper process, and not a summons, on grounds I am 



Digitized by 



Google 



888 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ignorant of. The sum was settled at $5,000, Burr having 
prayed it might be reduced below what it had been for- 
mcrlyfixed at since his acquittal ; and his being in cus- 
tody on civil process, altered his situation, and now made 
it more difficult for him to find bail than before. Strange ! 
I should never before have heard of this arrest on civil pro- 
cess having been made upon him, and still being unre- 
moved. I observed to Alston, who has just left me, that 
I found by to-day's papers, Col. Burr and the Judge had 
both referred to this circumstance as influential in settling 
the quantum of the bail. He did not like it, and asked, 
peevishly, " What is it the papers will not talk about ? " 
This man, with his most active associates, Bollman and 
Sam. Swartwout, to whom probably young Dayton may 
now be added, has, I believe, been more active with every 
thing than his purse to serve the interests of Burr ; his 
industry enabled him, rather , than his judgment or 
knowledge of the subject, to anticipate the opinion of the 
Chief Justice on the late arguments of an entire week, 
long before anybody else scarcely would venture an opin- 
ion, or conjecture about it. And if the Coryphai of the 
prosecution were solicitous to collect, from every opportu- 
nity they could derive from the Judge's conduct, materials 
to fabricate an impeachment against him, the Triumviri 
above mentioned were not less busy in their preparations, 
by rumors or publications, to arraign him for timidity be- 
fore the tribunal of public opinion, in case his judgments 
had been adverse to their wiahes. Notwithstanding the 
dignity and independence of the Judge's mind, I suspect 
from some hints dropped to me by Mercer, Mr. Marshall 
early perceived his course lay between Scyllaand Charyb- 



Digitized by 



Google 



DOUBTS. 889 

dis, though he equally disregarded the dangers that men- 
aced him on either side. Again, Alston has detected, by 
his spies, some curious governmental manoeuvres, that 
have been going on in Kentucky, nothing less than prep- 
arations by Bibb, the District Attorney there, for our 
prosecution in that State to be instituted, if not already 
commenced, the moment we are discharged here, provided 
only the necessary witnesses can be trained and suborned, 
and a grand jury packed for the purpose. Alston assures 
me the grand jury was actually to have been embodied 
yesterday, if the scheme had succeeded, of which he ex- 
pected to be advised by Monday. Hence we learn to ac- 
count for Hay's delays, to dismiss the other treason bills 
here, which he may yet possibly proceed upon, though 
he has declared he would enter nolle prosequis if he finds 
his speculations in Kentucky likely to miscarry. Why 
else has Major Smith been served, to-day with copies of 
his indictments? Alston tells me, Duncan was yesterday 
evening examined upon interrogatories by consent, by 
Burr and Botts, preparatory to his, Duncan, leaving town 
to-day. The object was to obtain matter to discredit 
Wilkinson. It is pretended Duncan has proved Wilkin- 
son guilty of forgery, in erasing and altering the cipher 
letter. But I do not place implicit reliance on the full 
extent of this statement. Burr's guard, it is added, will 
be dismissed to-day. But the business of bailing may 
undergo some procrastination, I suppose, if any part of it 
depends upon expectations from Alston, who has not 
to-day said a word to me upon money matters, from 
which I do by no means imagine he has yet concluded 
any thing with Nicholas or Luckett. I was not sorry he 



Digitized by 



Google 



890 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

did not call me out. I shall not forget to construe his 
silence upon my last note to him, to settle with Luckett 
for the bill as an acceptance of one demand, at least, 
beyond the limits of his letter of guarantee. Though had 
he spoken to me in private, I was prepared to express to 
him my surprise at the freedom he used in speaking of 
what passed during my visit from Duane, after I had 
apprised him I did not wish it published ; also, to warn 
him of my being acquainted with the officious inquiries 
his friend Bollman had been making about me, and to ac- 
quaint him, that though his agent in Philadelphia would 
probably exonerate me from one of the attachments, yet 
he had not paid the bill, in the manner stated to me on a 
former occasion. (See notes of 27th and 29th ult.) 

Since writing the above, before dinner, I find this even- 
ing I have been much mistaken in my conjectures of the 
morning respecting the hero of these notes. Luckett has 
just stepped off with Alston's letter of guarantee to me, 
on which I have seen a special receipt from Nicholas to 
him, for a bond and mortgage. Luckett brought it to me 
to request I would also endorse on it an order to settle his 
demand for the bill, which I did very readily. The news 
by this arrival is, that Burr, besides his bail already men- 
tioned, procured security to-day, also, for $30,000, in civil 
suits, which have been here commenced against him ; that 
he enjoyed a long walk this evening with Mrs. Alston, 
in which he exhibited himself through the greater part of 
the town, and will probably honor me with a visit to-mor- 
row. It is again threatened that Alston will be off to- 
morrow, but not without seeing me ; I fancy he will, in 
case he comes pour prendre congS y take away with him, 



Digitized by 



Google 



SPECULATION. 891 

from my valediction, more matter of reflection for him to 
ponder on, at the Oaks, than has yet troubled him on my 
account. Half past 10, P. M. 

Sunday, September 6, 1807. 

As I learned yesterday, which I Ve omitted to mention, 
that Burr's trial for the misdemeanor had been ordered 
by the Court to commence to-morrow, the uncertainty of 
its duration has caused me no small uneasiness, lest it 
might prolong my imprisonment until the period of its 
termination. This apprehension has led me this morn- 
ing to suggest, by note to my counsel, the expedient of 
my pleading* in abatement to both my indictments, to- 
morrow morning on the opening of the court, at once 
before the trial begins. I have had a short line in answer 
from Botts, saying, he will this evening confer with Ean- 
dolph and Wickham, and endeavor to have me brought 
into court, pursuant to my desire. My speculation, on 
the success of this manoeuvre, opens to me a prospect of 
no small interest and amusement, as it may affect the 
recovery of my liberty, at least for a time, and promises 
to occasion no little embarrassment to the prosecutors, 
whb can not, I believe, support a demurrer to the plea, 
which when established will, of course, destroy both of 
the present indictments against me, and thereby reduce 
Hay to the dilemma of seeing me fully discharged by the 
Court, or oblige him to apply for a recommitment, in 
order to have me transmitted to another district. But to 
open and examine the evidence from which alone he 
could exhibit even the semblance of probable cause to 
induce the Court to grant such a motion, would occasion 



Digitized by 



Google 



892 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

such an interference and obstruction of Burr's trial now 
pending, that he must be inevitably distanced, unless he 
can prevent my pleading until the present trial is at an 
end, which I also expect he will fail in, because I conceive 
it a matter of right that I should plead when I am ready 
to do so. Besides, the Court will have sufficient leisure; 
for I understand from Mercer and Kerr, that Burr's trial 
will not, in fact, commence before Tuesday, or perhaps 
Wednesday. These gentlemen, in giving me this intelli- 
gence this morning, acquaint me with some curious cir- 
cumstances, which havcf occasioned the expected suspen- 
sion. It seems, after Hay's special return to the subpoena 
duces-teeum on Friday, stating that he deemed certain 
parts of Wilkinson's letter, of 12th of November, to Jef- 
ferson, confidential, which he therefore could not part 
with, etc., was held insufficient, after an animated discus- 
sion by the Court, which threatened to enforce Mr. Hay's 
compliance with its orders. He then begged time to learn 
Wilkinson's pleasure, as to his producing the letter. 
Yesterday, however, he took new ground, and prayed to 
amend his return, which now set forth, " that on a fur- 
ther perusal and examination of the said letter, he dis- 
covered it contained some secrets of state, whereupon he 
prayed time to obtain Jefferson's consent or dissent to his 
producing it." Four days, I am told, is the extent of the 
time allowed for his receiving an answer from Monti cello. 
Bfit it is a little curious, that in order to learn his master's 
pleasure he should send the letter to him, which I am 
assured he has actually done, so that we may, by possi- 
bility, be gratified with the scene that may ensue on Jef- 
ferson's heroism, opposing his shield to the onset of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



ANECDOTE. 898 

Chief Justice upon his attorney. But the bewildered 
Hay has, in the mean time, " let the cat out of the bag ;" 
for the great secret of state is now all over the town. It 
happened thus. "While the guardian of state secrecy and 
private confidence was yesterday descanting before the 
Court on the sacred obligations of these duties, the deities 
or demons of theft and discord, combining with the evil 
genii of Jefferson and Hay, directed the keen scent and 
piercing eye of a vulture to that prey most natural to his 
appetite. John Graham, whose name may find a place 
perhaps in the history of the present administration, from 
his exploits as a spy and informer in their service, politely 
stepped up to the table where the letter lay, and while 
Hay was earnestly defending the inviolable secrecy of its 
contents, this " Bird of Paradise " was pecking at the for- 
bidden fruit. The example was followed by other fowl, 
I know not how far, of the same feather. But some 
magpies, I find, were so delighted with the fruit, of which 
they had eaten-in the same manner, that they flew through 
the streets in the evening, intoxicated with its flavor, and 
chattering the words, "Militia traitors!" These fine 
birds could not speak in detail of all the sweets on which 
they had regaled themselves ; yet can they rival that cel- 
ebrated parrot that detected a Prince of Orange incog., 
and squall, when a little man passes by them, "Great 
General." The oracles of intrigue, however, at the capi- 
tol, have been resorted to on this occasion, who have 
answered, " that a great General expressed his opinion, 
as a secret of state, that the Mississippi and Orleans mil- 
itias should not be trusted." I am a little pleased with 
this anecdote, and have some thoughts of giving it to the 



Digitized by 



Google 



394 THB BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

public. I find Tupper and many other witnesses are 
about to return home, some being discharged as they 
arrived; i. e., unexamined, some having, by consent of 
parties, left their affidavits. I am inclined to infer, from 
these appearances, that poor Hay rather feels craw-sick, 
than that he is not yet fully gorged with the banquet of 
professional fame, at which he has made so long a sitting. 
As for McRae, he is utterly chop-fallen ; an object of dis- 
gust to his friends, and pity to his enemies. Luther Mar- 
tin sat some time with us this morning. He said he 
came to see his client Major Smith ; but his vanity as an 
author and a father led him to bring me his strictures on 
the barbarous and sanguinary toasts that were drank on 
the Fourth of July, against Burr and himself, at Elktowij, 
in Maryland, and also to read two letters from two of his 
daughters. His retort on the toasters is a good philippic 
on their bloody ignorance of the law, but a mass of verbi- 
age, engrossing more than one page of a paper, the points 
and arguments of which might all be neatly expressed in 
half a column. He improves in interest, as I get a nearer 
view of his sensibilities, through which he shines far 
brighter as a father or a friend than he will ever appear 
through his oratory or his writings as an advocate or an 

author. 

Monday, September 7, 1807. 

This day, at 11 o'clock, A. M., ended my captivity, 
which has lasted fifty-three days. I was taken down to 
Court about ten o'clock, when Mr. Botts called upon Hay 
to know what he meant to do with my treason -bill, which 
Hay agreed to have discharged, but required my deten- 
tion in custody on the indictment for the misdemeanor, 



Digitized by 



Google 



OUT OF PRISON. 395 

which produced a conversation on the subject of bail, 
during which D. Woodbridge offered me his services. 
After an examination on the amount of his property, he 
was accepted as my security in $5,000, myself being bound 
in the same sum, on condition that I attend the court on 
Wednesday, and not depart the same from day to day, 
without license, until discharged. John Banks had also 
come up to court to assist me in the way of bail. He 
afterward accompanied me in quest of a lodging, which 
I have found at a Mr. Walton's, who seems a good sort 
of man, and will, upon my solicitation, if necessary, come 
forward to-morrow to bail Major Smith, though L. Mar- 
tin will take that friendship on himself. We then re- 
paired to the Post-office, where I was made happy by a 
letter from my beloved wife, of the 8d ult, whom the 
favor of Almighty God permitted the "blessing of her 
health, and that of our boys. I then visited Aaron Burr, 
now settled in the house occupied lately by Alston, who 
has at last gone off this morning in the way he has so 
long threatened, that is, without taking leave. In the 
evening, I returned to the Penitentiary to visit Major 
Smith, and, after acquainting him with my having pro- 
vided more agreeable quarters for him, I came away with 
L. Martin, and took up my abode at my lodgings, under 
a severe headache, the forerunner of another day's sick- 
ness, which I shall probably undergo to-morrow. But it 
is just the happiness conferred by a letter from Natchez 
should be tempered with an alloy. 

Wednesday, September 9, 1807, 
As I apprehended on Monday night, I spent yesterday 



Digitized by 



Google 



396 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

in bed, under much fever and sickness. In the morning, 
I fortunately begged Mr. Walton to take my cloak, as he 
was an invalid, and it was very rainy, and step up to 
court, in case of his assistance being wanted to bail Major 
Smith. Mr. W. had on Monday agreed, after much 
solicitation on my part, to come forward as the Major's 
bail, if necessary. But as I had some slight fears of 
Martin's forgetting engagements he had made while in 
his cups, thought it most prudent to have Walton on the 
spot, and the event justified my prudence; for though 
Martin had not forgotten his promise, he was incapable 
of executing it, through the effects of yesterday morn- 
ing's potations. I was informed by Major Smith, that 
had not Mr. Walton arrived when he did, the Court 
would very soon have remanded him for want of bail, 
Martin having in vain endeavored to express his purpose, 
in which Burr interrupted him, not liking the statement 
he was trying to make to the Court, though Martin 
would gladly have entered bail to any amount, for he is, 
I am now convinced, one of the best-hearted men alive. 
I slept badly last night, and am very weak to-day, though 
I have attended my place in court, where rthe trial of 
Burr proceeded on the misdemeanor, Hay having pre- 
sented from Jefferson a mutilated copy of Wilkinson's 
letter, out of which Jefferson has reserved all the parts 
alleged to be confidential, in disregard of the opinion of 
the Court rejecting the special return to the subpoena 
aleady offered to that effect by Hay. How far the Court- 
will accept from Jefferson, what it has refused from Hay, 
will not appear until the fate of six points, made by Botta 
to-day, to arrest all further evidence in this case similar 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONSULTATION. 897 

to what was done in the treason case, shall be determined. 
The arguments on this motion will not probably be 
closed before the end of the week. I had, this evening, 
a pretty long tSte a tSte with Burr, during which General 
Dayton was sequestered in another room. This old sly- 
boots, or Burr, who is often closeted with him, did not 
mention a hint of my seeing him, though Burr had the 
candor to tell me, when I was taking leave, he would 
return to General Dayton in the next room ; so that 
both were equally conscious I should despise the intro- 
duction. Our conversation turned altogether on the 
subject of my involvment in pecuniary claims upon him, 
in which I represented distinctly, and with firmness, that 
I should expect indemnity from him for every loss I 
might incur by his paper or my disbursements for him, 
specifying to him, at the same time, many instances in 
which my property on the Ohio had already been sacri- 
ficed on those accounts, and adding, that I particularly 
held Alston answerable to me for any bills, with the 
charges upon them, which I might have indorsed beyond 
the amount of Alston's guarantee to me by letter, unless 
Burr would settle such claims. He assured me he would 
adjust all such demands, whenever he can be freed from 
the present prosecutions, and can have reasonable time to 
collect his resources ; until when, he expressed a desire 
that I should employ Jacob Burnet, now here, to procure 
as much procrastination of execution on Miller's attach- 
ment as he can, Alston having got Nicholas and Luckett 
to accept of his paper for their demands to the amount 
of 812,500, with charges. I will have one more consulta- 
tion with Burr before I make my first demand upon 



Digitized by 



Google 



898 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Alston for the balance of his guarantee by letter, which 
will be $2,500, at least. When that is disposed of, I shall 
meditate upon other demands, on his verbal guarantee to 
me. 10 o'clock, P. M. 

Thursday, September 10, 1807. 

I have, this morning, conferred with J. Burnet, who 
tells me Miller may be delayed in effecting sales against 
me in Ohio for twelve months to come. I have also en- 
gaged him to act as my attorney in Ohio Federal Court, 
against old Woodbridge. The Court heard Botts and 
Martin argue further on Botts's motion, and adjourned 
early, on account of the absence and indisposition of 
some of the otter counsel. I then enjoyed a further 
repast, prepared for me by my beloved wife, which had 
been withheld, I know not how long, from me. It was 
the letters she had addressed to me at Marietta, with 
others inclosed in them, to the amount of nine dollars 
postage. These being without dates, I knew they must 
be old. The profiles they inclosed of my dear boys were 
morsels of such exquisite and uncloying flavor, that they 
have developed within mc sensations of delight I did not 
know I possessed. How many parts of all the lines and 
curves of these dear heads I shall scan and reflect upon, 
in many a precious reverie, it is given to few besides 
myself to care or comprehend. But did I truly know 
my patience had obtained for me any particular bless- 
ing, among the many I derive alone from a beneficent 
Providence, then how much better should I know tl^ 
pre-eminent value of that blessing, and study the holy 
tenure by which I could preserve it. I will never dare to 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN DEBT. 

ask, but will receive from Divine dispensation, in this 
sense, its permission of the health and comfort of my 
little family, which I yet know not, but beseech Almighty 
God to teach me how I may deserve it. I went this 
evening to the Harmonic Society, at which I could not 
assist for want of my spectacles. The vice-president 
requested I would consider myself an honorary member 
while in town. The flutes are good, with four moder- 
ately good violins, two tenors, two bass players, one 
telerably good and three excellent singers, who performed 
some charming trios of Doctor Calcott's, new to me, and 
composed for some affecting extracts from Ossian. The 
instrumental music was all old, and known to me. I 
passed a pleasant evening, and came away at 12. Next 
Thursday I shall take a part. 

Friday, September 11, 1807. 

Saw Burnet again this morning, and showed him Al- 
ston's letter of guarantee, which I assigned to Sanders, 
and is now returned to me, by his agent Nicholas, with 
the tatter's receipt indorsed upon it for Alston's paper, 
which he has taken in satisfaction of his principal's 
demand. I have written to Lewis, to state this settle- 
ment, and hope it will restore my credit with his house, 
from whtence I have requested a remittance of $200, as 
I am in debt and without funds. Court, to-day, was 
occupied with further arguments on Botts's points. I 
heard Wirt for the first time. He is a handsome speaker, 
but faulty in his figures, rather through defect of study 
♦ban genius. Edmond Randolph followed on the other 
tide; he has suffered a depression, in manner and 



Digitized by 



Google 



400 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

matter, of fully one-half, since I saw him display here 
in 1800. 

Saturday, September 12, 1807. 

Randolph finished his argument this morning, and was 
as labored, inanimate and uninteresting as on yesterday. 
He advanced nothing new, except an objection to the in- 
dictments not setting forth with sufficient certainty that 
the expedition was carried on from the United States, 
pursuant to the manner in which the offense is described 
in the statute ; as he insisted, in the present indictment, 
the words " from thence " referred to the Island, and not 
to the United States. The point seemed to me a good 
one, and the Chief Justice took a note of it. Martin 
followed for two hours, and was, besides being clear in 
his positions, though, as usual, totally regardless of ar- 
rangement, less cumbrous than in common with his 
verbiage. But Wickham, who closed on that side, ex- 
hibited a masterpiece of strong, condensed argumenta- 
tion, followed with a severe, but measured philippic on 
the motives, ignorance and misconduct of the prose- 
cutors. This occasioned such agitation to Hay, who was 
alone hardy enough, of the three on that side, to with- 
stand the impression, that he declared his feelings ought 
not to be trusted with the duty imposed on him, to offer 
remarks on expressions so unprovoked and unmerited, 
which Mr. Wickham would retract. He therefore re- 
quested to be heard on Monday ; the Court then immedi- 
ately adjourned. But I trust the Judge will not allow 
Hay to prove what he can alone do ; namely, Tutius est 
igitur fictis contendere verbis quam pugnare manu. I have 



Digitized by 



Google 



NO CAPITAL. 401 

this evening progressed with letters to A. Martin, so long 
delayed. (See notes of the 29th ult.) Should I ever suc- 
ceed to the large estates which Martin supposes now awaits 
me, who would imagine, that did not know my indiffer- 
ence to wealth, I should be so careless of it 

Sunday, September 13, 1807. 

I was this morning informed by Mr. Walton, a gentle- 
man had arrived in town last night from the country, 
who had come a considerable distance to see me, and 
would call at 9 o'clock. I therefore staid within to 
receive him — certain it must be either Mr. Hendren or 
O'Hennessy — and was called upon to the minute, when a 
stranger appeared somewhat agitated. I inquired whether 
it was Mr. O'Hennessy I had the pleasure to receive, and 
being answered in the affirmative, I invited him up stairs. 
This man, I soon found, who had seen me only once or 
twice in Kerry, when I was one of the counsel attending 
John Crosbie's election, I believe, in 1793, who had never 
spoken a word to me in his life until this day, has suf- 
fered many a sleepless night through his anxiety for me 
under the present prosecutions, and the first moment he 
learned he could have a chance of seeing me, he set out 
and rode 105 miles for the purpose. This is not all ; he 
intreats me to suffer him to follow me to any indefinite 
distance, declaring he regards it as the first object of his 
heart to settle near me. He has no capital; but, as a 
schoolmaster and a skillful dealer in horses, can command 
the means of a comfortable livelihood any where in 
America. At Natchez he can soon get rich. He will, * 

therefore, accompany me with a Mr. O'Connor, a mathe- 
26 



Digitized by 



Google 



402 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

matician, who will follow his fortune, so that I have 
secured a good tuition for my boys in the dead languages, 
English, and the elementary branches of the sciences, 
until a prospect of bettter means for their advancement 
may be more clearly opened in Europe — the only con- 
tingency that can draw me from the Mississippi. O'Hen- 
nessy has besought me to command a fine horse, and 
what money he can raise. The latter I have thankfully 
declined. I visited Burr this morning ; he is as gay as 
usual, and as busy in speculations on reorganizing his 
projects for action as if he had never suffered the least 
interruption. He observed to Major Smith and me, that 
in six months our schemes could be all remounted ; that 
we could now new-model them in a better mould than 
formerly, having a clearer view of the ground, and a 
more perfect knowledge of our men. "We were silent, 
feeling the full force of his last remark on men ; which, 
however, we did not fail, I believe, duly to apply both to 
him and ourselves. It should yet be granted, that if 
Bnrr possessed sensibilities of the right sort, with one- 
hundredth part of the energies for which, with many, he 
has obtained Buch ill-grounded credit, his first and last 
determination, with the morning and the night, should 
be the destruction of those enemies who have so long 
and so cruelly wreaked their malicious vengeance upon 
him. But time will prove him as incapable in all his 
future efforts as he has been in the past. Honest Hen- 
nessy dined and spent the evening with me. 

Monday, September 14, 1807. 
Major Smith, soon after breakfast, brought me a letter 



Digitized by 



Google 



HAT UNHORSED. 408 

from the office, from my wife, dated the 11th ult. This 
letter, too, has announced to me, through the favor of a 
preserving Providence, the good health of my wife and 
boys, up to that date. I dare not, then, indulge a wish 
to. lament the grief occasioned her by my arrest in Lex- 
ington, and the anguish that has festered in her breast 
from her reflections on the severity of my confinement in 
the Dog-days. To-day, the Chief Justice has delivered 
an able, full, and luminous opinion as ever did honor to 
a judge, which has put an end to the present prosecution. 
But I have no doubt the prosecuting counsel will show 
their ignorance and malevolence by carping at it as they 
did at the other in the treason case. The jury must to- 
morrow deliver a verdict of acquittal — Hay, in the mean 
time, having prayed the Court to adjourn, to give time to 
study the opinion, and thereby shape his future course. 
But in this he could not avoid showing his petulance, by 
pretending the prosecutors should exclusively be accom- 
modated with the opinion, which he would not say, when 
he would return to the other side. An application, how- 
ever, from Botts, to have it left with the clerk for the 
benefit of both parties, corrected this insolence, under 
which Mr. Hay sunk as usual. O'Hennessy could not 
leave town to-day until he heard the opinion, and saw 
Burr, to whom I introduced him in court. He was 
highly delighted with both, and again visited me after 
dinner, and will return to Amherst county to-morrow — I 
mean as far toward it, of his 105 miles, as he can. I 
have this evening progressed further in my letter to A. 
Martin. 



Digitized by 



Google 



404 the blennerhassett papers. 

Tuesday, September 15, 1807. 

Saw Burnet, this morning, who tells me he has given 
such information to D. Woodbridge as will probably in- 
duce him to become bail to the attachment against me at 
suit of Miller, by which I hope to procure time enough 
for Burr or Alston to settle that demand, and exonerate 
my property at Marietta from it. The prosecutors, still 
true to evil purposes and malicious designs, attempted to- 
day to get rid of the prosecution against Burr by a nolle 
prosequi. This produced an argument, in which they 
were overthrown, having nothing to rely upon on their 
side but a dictum in Foster's Treatise on Homicide. The 
jury were ordered out, and after an insidious attempt, but 
which failed, with one of them to bring in a special ver- 
dict, they returned into court, in half an hour, with a 
general verdict of acquittal. Hay then said he would to- 
morrow enter nolle prosequis on Smith's and my indict- 
ments, and proceed with his motion to the Judge to com- 
mit and transmit us all to some other district. All are 
busy in preparing for this new contest, in which I shall 
probably personally take a part, from want of instruc- 
tions in my counsel, absence of witnesses, and other rea- 
sons which will appear hereafter. 

Wednesday, September 16, 1807. 

On opening the court this morning, nay, after some 
desultory conversation on both sides of the bar, exhibited 
a general charge against us in writing, of having levied 
war against the United States, at Cumberland Island, in 
Kentucky, at Bayou Pierre, on the Mississippi, or at 



Digitized by 



Google 



BURR AGAIN. 405 

some intermediate place. We were all three, that is, 
Burr, Smith and myself, proposed to be subjected together 
to the inquiry, leaving it to the Judge to separate and 
apply to each such evidence of overt acts as the testimony 
might disclose. The Judge acquiesced in this proposition 
of Hay's, and one James McDowel was called, who 
proved nothing more at Cumberland than that Burr 
formed there a circle, and said, " he would not tell his 
secrets at that place." There are, however, a dozen 
other witnesses on the ground here who were at Cum- 
berland at that time, and will swear that nothing of the 
sort took place there. Hay then attempted to examine 
as to facts in the Mississippi Territory, which called up, 
after some conversation, an argument on four points 
made by Botts ; namely, want of power in the Judge to 
transmit, under the judicial act ; right of Burr to a bar 
by two acquittals here; his discharge by a grand jury 
already in Mississippi Territory ; and all his acts taken 
together constituting but one offense, for which he has 
already been tried and acquitted, within a district which 
the prosecutors have selected out of the whole for the 
purpose. Botts was very able and perspicuous in opening 
the argument, which Burr very neatly summed up and 
condensed, before the Court adjourned, about half-past 3. 
I had no opportunity that presented the least necessity 
for my rising, and think that will probably be the case 
until the motion for our recommitment is disposed of and 
defeated altogether. I was glad to find that Burr had at 
last thought of asking us to dine with him, as I was 
rather curious again to see him shine in a partie quarrie, 
consisting of new characters. We, therefore, walked 



Digitized by 



Google 



406 THE BLBNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

with him from court, Luther Martin, who lives with 
him, accompanying us. We found but one other face 
that was strange to us, and a foreigner, who, I hoped, 
might turn out to be Bollman. Martin, by the way, 
told me, " he thanked his God he should not now labor 
under the lock-jaw, which had hitherto restrained him 
before Democratic juries. He should now be no longer 
tongue-tied." Our foreigner was very taciturn and re- 
served, and turned out to be a cousin of Judge Prevost's, 
and of the same name. The dinner was neat, and fol- 
lowed by three or four kinds of wine— splendid poverty ! 
During the chit-chat after the cloth was removed, a letter 
was handed to Burr, next to whom I sat. I immediately 
smelt musk. Burr broke the seal, put the cover to his 
nose, and then handed it to me, saying, " This amounts 
to a disclosure." I smelt the paper, and said, "indeed I 
think so." His whole physiognomy now assumed an 
alteration and vivacity that, to a stranger who had never 
seen him before, would have sunk full fifteen years of his 
age. " This," said he, " reminds me of a detection once 
very neatly practiced upon me in New York. One day a 
lady stepped into my library while I was reading, came 
softly behind my chair, and giving me a slap on the 
cheek, said, i Come, tell me directly what little French 
girl, pray, have you had here ? * The abruptness of the 
question and surprise left me little reason to doubt the 
discovery had been completely made ; so I thought it best 
to confess the whole fact, upon which the inquisitress 
burst out into a loud laugh on the success of her artifice, 
which she was led to play off upon me, from the mere 
circumstance of having smelt musk in the room." We 



Digitized by 



Google 



ARGUMENTS HEARD. 407 

all applauded this anecdote as it deserved; but I have 
given it a place here only to convey an idea of that tem- 
perament and address which enabled this character on 
certain occasions, like the snake, to cast his slough, and, 
through age and debauchery, seem to uphold his ascend- 
ancy over the sex. After some time, Martin and Prevost 
withdrew, and we passed to the topics of our late adven- 
tures on the Mississippi, on which Burr said little, but 
declared he did not know of any reason to blame Jack- 
son, of Tennessee, for any thing he had done or omitted. 
He has not heard of J.'s letter to Claiborne, which Wat- 
kins talked so much about in the executive council at 
Orleans, on the question respecting the legislative memo- 
rial to Government. Such a general may well continue 
to sacrifice to Venus, rather than to Mars; but he de- 
clares he will not lose a day after the favorable issue of 
the present contest at the capitol, of which he has no 
doubt to devote his entire attention to settling up his 
projects, which have only been suspended on a better 
model ; in which work, he says, he has even here already 
made some progress. Martin presented Smith and my- 
self each with his portrait, tolerably engraved, as he had 
long since promised. I intend to have it neatly framed 
by Prichard. 

Thursday, September 17, 1807. 

This morning, the Court heard a continuation of the 
•arguments on both sides, which lasted until 5 o'clock this 
evening, when Randolph begged the Judge to indulge 
him with about an hour's hearing to-morrow morning, 
promising that he would show, under the Constitution 



Digitized by 



Google 



408 THE BLENNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

and the spirit and genius of the laws of their country, 
that the Court could not comply with Hay's present 
motion, to have us again committed and transmitted to 
another district. Of the success of such an attempt I can 
see no prospect, even if the Judge should be of opinion, 
contrary to what has been so ably contended by Burr's 
counsel, that the Court has a power to commit under the 
judicial act; as a total failure of evidence to prove any 
overt act upon us must undermine the motion. I spent 
the evening at the Harmonic Society, where I took a part 
in a symphony and a quartette by Pleyel, but with less 
effect than if I had been provided with my own specta- 
cles. I had the pleasure of meeting there Neville, Spence 
and other visitors ; besides hearing several good glees, in 
some of which a Miss Coniers took the upper part. She 
is a very pretty girl, and is said by Neville to be accom- 
plished. The society broke up, however, early — the music 
not producing the best effect, from the state of the 
weather, and the room being too much crowded. I found 
an old letter in the Post-office, announcing protest of the 
bill held some time since by Luckett, with my indorse- 
ment for $2,500, so that every thing that little shop- 
keeper had told me of no proceedings having ever been 
taken against me, as an indorser, was utterly false. I 
was called upon this evening by David Meade, who 
seriously assured me that vicious partisan, Scot, the Mar- 
shal, had been trying to make a bargain with him to 
undertake the office of a Deputy, for the purpose of re-, 
conducting us to Kentucky, anticipating the success of 
the present motion, though Hay has certainly said out cf 
court, this evening, he does not expect he shall succee 1. 



Digitized by 



Google 



DOUBTFUL POSITION. 409 

Such are the tricks of these jugglers, in and out of 
court. Midnight. 

Friday, September 18, 1807. 

Randolph kept his promise this morning, so far as 
making out his hour, but did little more service, having 
offered nothing new, except one argument to show that 
where a man had been charged for the same murder in 
different States, the law arising upon his acquittal in the 
first was different from what it would be on an acquittal 
of an overt act of the same treason in the first district, 
where the offender was tried. Then the Judge delivered 
his opinion, condensing the four points made by Botts 
within the observations he made on two of them; 
namely, power of the Court under the Constitution and 
the laws of the United States, to arrest and transmit to a 
Territory j which he decided in the negative; and the 
effect of Burr's acquittal, which, he hoped, it would not 
be necessary for him to decide upon, as he should prefer 
a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. 
It followed, as he laid it down from this adjudication, that 
the prosecutors might adduce any evidence in their power 
to prove any overt acts against us, Burr included, com- 
mitted any where in the United States, to authorize him 
to transmit us to any district thereof. But, does it not 
thence follow, that a persecuting and vindictive Govern- 
ment may order its attorney to harrass an obnoxious, but 
innocent, victim of its wrath, by playing off the farce of 
a prosecution against him, in a district of its own selec- 
tion, without effect, and afterward ruin him, by dragging 
him through every other district in the Union ? What 



Digitized by 



Google 



410 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

better answer can be given to this supposition than say- 
ing such a case is rendered improbable, by supposing no 
government will be wicked enough to contrive such a 
villainy ? But this is begging the question. I have here 
put a case, which has not been supposed at the bar ; but, 
with very little alteration, it is our own case. How long 
is it since the prosecutors began to digest all the infor- 
mation it collected by the most illicit means, from the 
most foul sources, not of our acts, but of our designs, 
before we committed any acts? Did they not order 
prosecutions fifteen hundred miles from the present ? Did 
they not make two selections of their ground, besides an 
attempt at a third, by Graham, their agent, or at his in- 
stance as a spy and informer, in the State of Ohio, which 
was only avoided by my flight, and after having failed in 
all of proof, do they not now seek to drag us back again 
to the same district where they have already miscarried 
and failed in every thing, but the success of the plunder 
and outrage committed on my family and property, by 
informers and personal enemies — the dregs of all the 
human society — in my absence, when I had incurred no 
forfeiture? 

The Judge having further declared the prosecutors 
might now proceed with their evidence, they called up 
James McDowel, who swore to some unimportant state- 
ments, which, if necessary, we can disprove by a dozen 
witnesses. But they attempted repeatedly to go into 
evidence, not only of alleged facts, but even of declara- 
tions of third persons, to prove overt acts and designs 
within the United States ; and the Judge, for reasons I 
can not imagine, seemed disposed to countenance the pro- 



Digitized by 



Google 



PARTIALITY. 411 

ceeding, which is certainly in direct hostility with his 
own opinion this day delivered; unless as a committing 
magistrate, he thinks he ought to indulge a greater lati- 
tude of investigation than he would permit on a trial. 
But to-morrow's proceedings will further elucidate these 
matters. 10 o'clock, P. M. 

Saturday, September 19, 1807* 

Strickland called upon me before the sitting of the 
Court this morning, to say he should in two hours set off 
for Natchez. I wrote a short letter to Harding, to give 
him some account of my situation, and tell him I hoped 
the present demands of the Government on our persons 
would be satisfied on Monday ; after which, I hoped to 
be at Marietta in fifteen or sixteen days, whence I should 
proceed to Natchez as speedily as my affairs would per- 
mit. But I since regret to find, from the complexion 
of affairs in court to-day, that our detention may yet ex- 
tend even to a month, unless our counsel shall succeed, in 
eftbrts they will not cease to make, to confine the prose- 
cutors within the limits of the established rules of evi- 
dence, and the adjudications already pronounced by 'the 
Court ; for this whole day was spent in arguments and 
altercations in violation of both. This was chiefly occa- 
sioned by the prosecutors persisting in the conduct they 
pursued yesterday, which produced a corresponding op- 
position, which I lamented to see the Judge not only 
permit, but in some degree participate in ; for instance, 
Dunbaugh was allowed to-day to testify to facts at and 
below Bayou Pierre, while two or three witnesses yes- 
terday were always stopped, with the concurrence of 



Digitized by 



Google 



412 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPERS. 

the Court, as often as they attempted to speak of any 
thing without the lines of the United States. How this 
is reconcilable with the opinion of the Court, I have yet 
to learn. Altercations on points already settled, or on a 
series of topics, where the contest is a logomachy, have 
always a narcotic influence on me. Nor could any sense 
of the interest I had in the consequences, or any stimulus 
the ingenuity of Wickham or Botts could apply to all 
the intensity of my admiration of their talents, prevent 
my paHsing the day in a sort of doze ? Burr, I observed, 
seemed so irritated with the Judge's apparent incon- 
sistency with himself, that he would not trust himself 
to rise to sum up and condense the forces displayed by 
his counsel, into compact columns, after the engagement, 
toward the close of the day, as is generally his practice. 
He has no fear of the final result, but feels what a 
mortifying check he has received. 

Sunday, September 20, 1807. 

I proposed this morning to devote the entire day to 
writing, my attendance in court through the week totally 
preventing almost the whole of the labor demanded of 
my pen. But a solicitude to confer separately with Burr 
and Mercer, on the course indulged to the prosecutors by 
the Court the last two days, forced mo to go in quest of 
those so oppositely interesting characters : and the debts 
yet unpaid, that laid so heavy a burden on my reflections, 
which I wanted to discharge to Mrs. Gamble, Mrs. Chev- 
alier and Col. de Pestre, who had long been confined with 
the influenza, hurried me out of doors immediately after 
breakfast. I found Burr, just after a consultation with 



Digitized by 



Google 



RICHMOND LAMBS. 4lft 

his counsel, secretly writhing under much irritation at 
the conduct of the Judge, hut affecting an air of contempt 
for his alleged inconsistency, as he asserted His Honor did 
not for two days understand either the questions or him- 
self; had wavered in his opinions before yesterday's ad- 
journment, and should in future be put right by strong 
language, I am afraid to say abuse, though I think I 
could swear he used that word, on the part of the de- 
fense. I observed, that though I believed the Judge's 
the purest of all human hearts, I could not, in my best 
judgment, reconcile the latitude he permitted the' prose- 
cutors, either with the letter or spirit of his last opinion 
delivered on Friday. Burr replied nothing to my offer 
of tribute to the Judge's heart, but said his — Burr's — 
opinion should draw him back from his deviations from 
it, tod he would hang him, not so facetiously, indeed, as 
Eaton swore he would hang Miranda, but upon every 
comma of his opinion. He then inquired where Mercer 
was, and expressed a strong desire to know his thoughts 
on the Judge's late conduct. I answered, " that I had 
come out chiefly to gratify the same desire, and should 
go directly to seek Mercer." I left Smith with him, and 
took leave. I bent my way to Mr. Chevalier's, to see De 
Pestre, whom I found at home. Mrs. Chevalier received 
me very kindly, and prevailed on her husband, who was 
confined to his room, to come down stairs to see me, and 
beg of me to partake of a family dinner with them, 
which I accepted. After an hour's conversation, I then 
made a visit to Mrs. Gamble, who seems a most amiable 
old lady, and so fraught with the generous humanity 
characteristic of her sex, as to suffer not the connections 



Digitized by 



Google 



414 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

of her daughters, Mrs. Cabell, the Governor's wife, and 
Mrs. Wirt, to prevent her expressing not merely a con- 
cern for the general hardships we have suffered, but even 
to censure the last two days' proceedings in court. I was 
not fortunate enough to find Mercer before I returned to 
Chevalier's to dinner, where I spent a pleasant evening, 
save so far as Mr. Chevalier was not of our company, 
being confined to his bed. Mrs. C. is as lively and agree- 
able as it is possible for any woman to be with limited 
endowments and without beauty. I had an hour's inter- 
esting conversation by means of a walk before tea with 
De Pestre in the garden, which, however, touched on no 
new matters, except his informing me that Mrs. Alston 
had expressed to him a wish that he would engage in 
nothing before next spring that might prevent her father 
from having an opportunity of forming another connec- 
tion with him, conveying an intimation which he avoided 
as delicately as he could. "We again harmonized in repro- 
bation of Alston, in every point of view, when I hinted to 
the Colonel some expectations and reasons I entertained 
for urging Burr or Alston to give me an obligation, if 
they can't raise money, for the amount of my losses by 
them, yet unsatisfied, which he approved of. He will 
spend some time with me to-morrow evening, when we 
will prosecute our thoughts. 

I visited Mr. C. in his bedroom, after tea, for awhile, 
and on my return home, I learned from Smith, a confirma- 
tion of what De Pestre had already mentioned to me, that 
Burr sets off immediately for England, after his libera- 
tion from the present motion before the Court, to collect 
money for reorganizing his projects, which I now have 



Digitized by 



Google 



suspicions. 415 

ascertained to be as baseless as the interests of the parties 
or persons to whom he discloses them are opposed or 
variant. For he assures his creditors here — at least he 
has done so to Smith — that when he raises money in 
England, he will not be strict in questioning demands 
upon him in this country, which he will fully discharge. 
In London, no doubt, he will pledge himself to appropri- 
ate every guinea they will advance him to the promotion 
of such operations on this continent as will best serve the 
interests of Britain; and if he had not already exposed 
his duplicity and incapacity in his favorite art of intrigue 
to Yrujo, he would again as readily promise to advance, 
with Spanish dollars and Spanish arms, the fortunes of 
the Spanish minister and his master. But is it not a 
little strange that he should have never dropped even a 
hint to me of his projected trip to England. I have had 
more of his confidence than either Smith or De Pestre ; 
for he has insinuated to me that the former was not dis- 
posed to fight on the Mississippi, when I thought he had 
the disposition not to do so himself; and he has, during 
our embarrassments on that river, through "Wilkinson, 
spoken, in the presence of Major Smith, myself, and 
others, of the probability of De Pestre's being hanged, 
through failure of an enterprise he had sent him on, as 
an event which he treated with the utmost indifference. 
Surely I may repeat, that whatever feeling this man pos- 
sesses, is confined within the sensuality of his tempera- 
ment ; if indeed his conduct, in the eyes of all who really 
know him, does not warrant the suspicion of Cowles 
Meade, and fully prove, while the whole bar as little 
knew him as Col. Swartwout, whose attachment is still 



Digitized by 



Google 



416 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

unshaken, that there is at best but method in his mad- 
ness. 

Monday, September 21, 1807. 

Dunbaugh was reproduced to-day, with no other effect 
than to contradict himself, by saying Burr communicated 
to him in secret his having been betrayed by "Wilkinson, 
though he swore, on Saturday, Burr imparted to him no 
secrets. The Judge has noted enough in this witness to 
destroy all credit in his testimony. The day passed in 
the examination of other witnesses called by prosecutors, 
whose evidence was altogether favorable to us, though I 
was mortified to see the Judge, considering himself as an 
examining magistrate, open so wide the door to the wan- 
ton discretion of the prosecutors, as to allow them to offer 
testimony of any sort, which they alleged to be explan- 
atory of the so-called overt acts on Cumberland Island, at 
which place, it is confessed, the assemblage, at most, was 
doubtful or equivocal in its character. I can not com- 
prehend the distinction taken by the Court between ad- 
missible and operative evidence ; nor do any of the bar 
here, I believe, perceive how evidence that can not oper- 
ate upon the subject be admissible. It seems to me, that 
perhaps the Judge has at last thought it necessary to sac- 
rifice a little to public prejudice, when the concession can 
not cause any serious consequences in the issue of this 
strange contest. This evening De Pestre spent an hour 
with me, which was passed in a more dilated view of his 
past concerns with Burr. He gave me a description of 
the manners and character of Yrujo, who is reconfirmed 
in his embassy to this country, in spite of all the efforts 
of this Government for his removal. This minister is, 



Digitized by 



Google 



burr's management. 417 

according to De Pestre's portrait of him, a shrewd politi- 
cian, who pierced the cobweb tissues of Burr's intrigues 
with him at a single glance. Though he assured De 
Pestre, who was charged in Kentucky, last October, with 
a special mission to him, that had Burr opened his designs 
with frankness, and really projected a severance of the 
Union, and nothing hostile to the Spanish provinces, he, 
Burr, might have had an easy resort to the Spanish treas- 
ury and its arsenals, while his confidence would have been 
safely lodged in the honor of a Spanish nobleman. But 
Yrujo laughed at the awkwardness with which Burr en- 
deavored to mask his designs on Mexico, and expressed 
his concern for De Pestre's having lost his time in such a 
service. But Burr, if he had capacity or money for re- 
animating his projects, has lost a season never to be 
recalled. He might, last winter, have had the whole 
equipage of two French ships of war, who offered to 
bring their small arms with them into his services. If 
he had not talents, or spirits to use them, he is where 
he should be. 

Tuesday, September 22, 1807. 

A variety of witnesses, examined to-day by the prosecu- 
tors, seem to me to advance their cause but little, though 
their newspapers pretend they throw great light on the 
mysterious proceedings of Burr. But his mysteriousness 
is surely an impenetrable shield to cover his treasonable 
designs, if he had any. I have seen a complete file of all 
the depositions made before the grand jury in Burr's pos- 
session. It must be confessed that few other men in his 

circumstances could have procured these documents out 

27 



Digitized by 



Google 



418 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

of the custody of offices filled by his inveterate enemies. 
I have long been at a loss to imagine the means he used, 
of which I am not yet fully informed. But I have learned 
accidentally that Skelton Jones has become friendly to 
him. This Jones, a noted duelist, the brother of the late 
Reviewer, and he who formerly conducted the Examiner, 
an influential Democrat, I am told, received a letter some 
time since from Burr, covering a bank-note, without 
specifying for what purpose the money was sent. % Jones 
returned it, with civil remonstrance, which gave Burr an 
opportunity of requesting an interview, which, if it did 
not succeed in removing the easy scruples of this honor- 
able patriot, has, however, since that event, completely 
attached Mr. J.'s interest, as I have learned from a Mr. 
Braxton, a young lawyer here of some talents. Burr has 
again asserted to-day, in court, that he expects, by the 
mail, documents to enable him to show that Eaton must 
be an incompetent witness in any court. This, if estab- 
lished, will give the coup de grace to the fame of the Der- 
nean hero, who, I am assured by Robison, has sworn the 
peace against a Mr. Smith, of Petersburgh, who threat- 
ened to kick this General out of the room ; and yet he 
appears every day in court, affecting by his looks an air of 
defiance. Wilkinson also exhibits his boasted arrogance, 
sometimes in the same place. But his examination can 
not come on for some days. When it takes place, it must 
be of the highest interest in the eyes of those who, know- 
ing his character and the insidiously artful deposition he 
has made before the grand jury, will contemplate a spec- 
tacle of depravity seldom equaled ; while such a sum- 
mons to the address, I will not yet add the firmness of 



Digitized by 



Google 



SANDY HENDERSON. 419 

Burr, will leave no nerve untouched. But I may venture 
to predict that Burr will sink under it. For, apart from 
the merits or demerits of either, there are reasons why it 
should be so in this country, if not in any other upon 
earth, which I will unfold at large hereafter. I find by D. 
Woodbridge, many people have died at Marietta, within 
two months past, of a malignant disease prevailing there. 
Did God's mercy place us elsewhere ? Midnight 

Wednesday, September 23, 1807. 

It chiefly engaged my attention in court to-day to hear 
Burr contend, that conversations by me with others, 
respecting him while he was absent, and prior to the 
period of any alleged acts, should not affect him. This 
attempt was made to obviate the effect he apprehended 
from the testimony of the Hendersons ; but the Judge was 
pleased to overrule it. Woodbridge has expressed some 
wish to be discharged, and return with Belknap to Mari- 
etta, but assures me he will still wait until the whole 
affair is finished, or while he can be of any service to me. 
I have begged he may not, observing, his being my bail 
need not detain him ; and have told him, at the same 
time, to take no trouble on my account, etc. He seems 
satisfied, as I have informed him of the fact of General 
Dayton having gone to Ohio, though not discharged from 
his recognizance. 

Thursday, September 24, 1807. 

This morning I was treated to the narrative of Sandy 
Henderson, which is considered to bear more particularly 
on me than any other testimony. I had projected a long 



Digitized by 



Google 



420 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

cross-examination of him, which I should have pursued 
with good effect, but our counsel feared it might operate 
quite contrary to my expectations from the uniform ex- 
perience they have, that within these virtuous States, 
when once witnesses determine to swear for a purpose, 
all attempts to involve them in inconsistency only tend 
to render them more desperate. I therefore agreed to 
postpone my cross-examination until the next day, that I 
might, in the meait time, confer with Mr. Wickham on 
the subject, as he feared, I suppose, that something might 
break out injurious to Burr, through my pressing Hender- 
son ; and Mr. Botts, from his connection with that family, 
wished to be excused from taking any part in this exam- 
ination. I had here another check, from the obligations 
Mr. Botts has already imposed upon me. But I assured 
him I had discovered his connection too late to prevent 
his having been concerned for me. It was yesterday I 
should have mentioned as having seen Henderson first 
called, and in consequence of the difficulties affecting 
Wickham on account of Burr, and myself on account of 
Botts, I last night drew up a series of interrogatories, 
which I wished Henderson to answer upon affidavit by 
consent, with which I called upon Wickham in the even- 
ing. He also conferred with Burr upon them; all ap- 
proved of the questions, but still feared the effect of them, 
from the apprehended hostility of the witness; so that 
we concluded on one only of them, which we put to him 
this morning in court; namely, " whether, at the time of 
my alleged communications to him, he did not, and doth 
not yet, entertain a strong prejudice against Col. Burr?" 
which he answered in the affirmative. I met this even- 



Digitized by 



Google 



MORE EVIDENCE. 421 

ing with an introduction, at the Harmonic Society, to a 
very handsome woman, a Mrs. Meyio, who has been too 
many years a widow, though I hear she is soon to be 
married- I mention her as being the niece of the amia- 
ble and highly esteemed Mrs. Carrington, whom I have 
not yet visited to thank her for her generous offer, more 
than once made through Mercer, to send me refresh- 
ments to the Penitentiary. I took a part in a quartette 
of Haydn's, and in a glee, and returned home after mid- 
night. 

Friday, September 25, 1807. 

Yesterday, John Henderson gave his testimony to the 
same effect Sandy had done, and underwent little or no 
examination. John Graham also delivered his to the 
same purport with that he gave against me, before Toul- 
min and Rodney. But, in cross-examining him, I asked 
him to say " who was to pay the $1,000 for forfeiting his 
recognizance to appear to prosecute me in the Mississippi 
Territory:" he applied to the Court to be excused answer- 
ing this question ; denied he had applied to Col. Scott to 
invite A. Burr to his house to dinner to have him kid- 
napped, and said, he has got his present office of chief 
clerk in the Secretary of State's office, lately. To-day, 
after consultation with our counsel, I agree to waive ob- 
jections I had offered against reading the "Querist" in 
print, or Henderson's evidence of my having shown him 
only a manuscript of a composition by me with such 
signature. The reading of the fourth number by the 
prosecutors, with examination of Dana and Gilmore, 
finished the day. 



Digitized by 



Google 



422 thb blenwebhassett papers. 

Saturday, September 26, 1807. 

To-day, the long-expected examination of "Wilkinson 
came on, after that of Eaton, upon matter and conversa- 
tions between him and Burr, which had been excluded as 
improper evidence on the trial-in-chief, but was now 
thought admissible before the Judge as an examining 
magistrate. I have taken, I believe, faithful notes of 
every thing that fell from both of these persons, by which 
it will appear that Eaton's testimony is indefinite as to 
any bearing that it should have upon Burr's designs, 
without seeking for those inconsistencies with his former 
story before the grand jury, and on the trial-in-chief, 
which Martin, under the signature of u Investigator," is 
endeavoring to establish in the Virginia Gazette here. 
The General exhibited the manner of a serjeant under a 
court-martial, rather than the demeanor of an accusing 
officer confronted with his culprit. His perplexity and 
derangement, even upon his direct examination, has 
placed beyond all doubt "his honor as a soldier, and his 
fidelity as a citizen." It will appear from the gauntlet 
he has begun to run, which he will not finish before 
Monday evening, that he has confessed he altered a du- 
plicate of the original cipher letter for the express purpose 
of erasing from it an acknowledgment by Burr, of 
Burr's having received a letter from him, Wilkinson, of 
the 27th of February ; that this was done for the avowed 
purpose of concealing from the Legislature of Orleans a 
part of that letter, from which that body might infer that 
he was privy to, or concerned in, the projects of Burr; 
that he substituted other words in the room of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



ADJOURNMENT. 423 

erasure as a translation of the erased ciphers afterward, 
but at what time he could not recollect ; that the transla- 
tion of the document sent to Government was from this 
mutilated original ; and that he had sworn, by an affidavit 
he produced himself in court, that such translation faith- 
fully rendered the substance of the original. On the 
other hand, Burr, who was very unwell, preserved a com- 
posure, inspired by Wilkinson's self-condemnation, and 
supported by his indisposition, contrary to the expecta- 
tions I had formed a few days past. The cross-examina- 
tion progressed but a little way, and was adjourned until 
Monday. Yesterday evening, Woodbridge called upon 
me in the most abrupt manner, to repeat to me what he 
had before observed on Wednesday evening, that he was 
very desirous to return home, and hoped I would that 
evening look out for other bail. But he hardly allowed 
me time to answer, " that I would, and whether I suc- 
ceeded or not, I wished him not to stay a moment on my 
account," before he had the unfeeling ingratitude to add, 
" that if I did not, he should give me up in the morning." 
I was accordingly prepared on the opening of the court 
this morning, to state to the Judge, " that Mr. Wood- 
bridge was about to be discharged ; but previous to his 
leaving town he wished also to be discharged from the 
recognizance he had entered into on my account, for 
reasons I did not inquire into; that it thence became 
necessary I should find other securities, or be recommitted, 
of which I should prefer the latter, rather than solicit 
bail in a place where I was almost an utter stranger. 
But I believe two citizens of this place were voluntarily 
attending, for the purpose of entering with me into 



Digitized by 



Google 



424 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

another recognizance. John Banks and a Mr. A 

then were called forward, and thus ended, I wish I could 
say my last concern, with the Woodbridge family. Of 
Dudley, it must not be concealed, that although he is 
reputed to have given a fair, candid, and to us advan- 
tageous testimony, he has not yet told the whole truth — 
having suppressed my communication to him of our 
designs being unequivocally against Mexico, which I 
suppose he kept back, because he embraced and em- 
barked* in the plan on the first mention of it to him, 
though he afterward receded from it, upon his own re- 
flections or the counsels of others.* 

Sunday, December 27, 1807. 
While at breakfast, this morning, I received a verbal 
message from Burr, importing that he wanted to see me. 
On my arrival soon after at his house, I found him in 
bed. He informed me he wanted to see me, to know 
what I would advise him to do in his complaint, observ- 
ing, he had no confidence in the physicians here. I sug- 
gested to him my being of the same opinion, unless I 
accepted McClung, whom I believed to be a man of some 
genius, and probably possessing considerable skill in his 
profession. Burr said he was a creature of rule; and 
calling again for my opinion, I said I would have some 
pills made up for him, which he could take for two or 
three nights. I left him to go to the druggists, where I 
had the medicine carefully prepared, which I sent him 



*The integrity and respectability of Mr. Woodbridge is undoubted by all who knew him. 
From a personal acquaintance for some years previous to his death, I am enabled to add, that 
such was the purity of his character, through a long and useful career, as to stamp with un- 
truthfulness any reflection upon his honor as a man or his veracity as a witness. 



Digitized by 



Google 



INTERVIEW SOLICITED. 425 

about two o'clock, accompanied with a note conveying 
directions for his diet, and the use of the medicine. I 
called there again in the evening to see him ; but while I 
was engaged in the parlor with several persons, where 
Martin was reading to us a heavy manuscript of his next 
Investigator, I found on going into Burr's bedroom, soon 
after Martin had done, that he had just taken, instead of 
my medicine, a dose of laudanum. He said he felt so 
weak, and was in such want of rest, he thought it best to 
take an opiate. I told him he must then omit my pills 
for this night, wished him good rest, and took leave. 
On my return to the parlor, Baker told me a Mr. Smith, 
who knew my family in Ireland, and might probably 
recognize me, solicited him to bring us together. "He 
should accordingly bring Mr. Smith, with my leave, to 
my lodgings." I assented, and thanked him. He also 
acquainted me that Mrs. Broughenbrough, commonly 
called Brokenberry here, who is regarded as the nearest 
approximation in this town to a savante and bel-esprit, has 
expressed no small solicitude, and has insisted that Hay 
will enable her to read the "Querist/' which is much 
praised here. Martin boasts of the fourth number, not a 
little, as a piece • of argumentation which the prosecutors 
had better conceal from the public, while they wish to 
keep them uninformed on the merits of the question re- 
specting a severance of the Union. Martin has also 
assured me Judge Tucker, though a violent Democrat, 
seriously contended at a party, with Judge Marshall, in 
this town since May last, that any State in the Union is 
at any time competent to recede from the same, though 
Marshall strongly opposed this doctrine. I find Kobin- 



Digitized by 



Google 



426 THB BLBNNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

eon, the only correct stenographer, who takes exact notes 
of all the proceedings at the capitol, and is besides a 
scholar, who understands five or six languages, will give 
the " Querist " a longer life by incorporating it in his book 
than it was likely to enjoy in the barren soil of the " Ohio 
Gazette/' where it appeared to bloom but as an humble 
flower, and trampled under the feet of the sovereign peo- 
ple. Baker is a young lawyer, whom Burr employs, 
more for the benefit of his influence out of doors than 
from the aid of talents or services in court, where he is 
only of use through his humor and the freedom with 
which he lavishes his abuse. £ believe he possesses as 
good a heart as is permitted to a Democrat, and his 
spirits and popularity are perhaps, in effect, as valuable 
to Burr as the talents of Wickham or Botts. 

Monday, September 25, 1807. 

I had, this morning, a long double letter from my 
adored wife. Its red seal was as welcome to my eyes 
as the evening star to the mariner after the agitation of 
a storm. For I had, last week, suffered no small anxiety 
from the want of a letter. But the seal, notwithstanding 
its color, and every curve and turn of the letters in the 
superscription, had long passed under jealous inspection, 
to undergo every scrutiny from which I could augur the 
import of the intelligence within, before I would venture 
to break it open. But I was assured by the seal there 
was no mortality, at least on the 25th ult., as by the post- 
mark. I trust, then, the heartfelt offerings of thanksgiv- 
ing I tried to breathe forth to Heaven were borne to 
Almighty God, before I consulted the contents of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



DREAMS. 427 

letter. There I soon saw how industriously my beloved 
continued to practice the only fraud her pure soul is capa- 
ble of conceiving — that of endeavoring to hide from me 
all she feels for me, and has suffered for our dear boys. 
Her complaint in her chest is mentioned in away to alarm 
me, through the vail of disguise she has attempted to 
throw over it. But the weekly reports she will not fail 
to see of the criminal proceedings here, will, I trust, 
lighten much of the anxiety she labors under, which, I 
know, so much aggravates the affection in her breast. I 
next find my boys have, both of them, had fevers ; and 
my dear Harman, who has suffered most, was perhaps at 
the height of his disease, about the period when I last 
dreamed I had lost him, and has perhaps been spared to 
us, through the merits of his incomparable mother, which 
have not been beheld with the less favor of Providence, 
while I was offering up my prayers, in the Penitentiary, 
for his preservation. I have, I find, in concluding my 
notes of the 2d inst., observed, I again dreamt I had lost 
my Harman. Did my first dream of his irrecoverable 
injury from a dog typify the disease of which he was to 
suffer ? and did my second dream, which was visited upon 
me in the Penitentiary, a night or two before I noted it on 
the 2d inst., come upon me as another vision to announce, 
perhaps, a relapse he has undergone, since his mother's 
letter of the 25th ult. was written. These things are 
only known to the Eternal and All-wise Dispenser of 
our mortality. But while reason shall continue my only 
guide to faith, I will yet wonder in mysterious awe of 
such dreams as these, which my understanding can not 
scan, while they appall my heart. If I shall be blessed 



Digitized by 



Google 



428 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

with the sight of another red seal next Monday, I shall 
put off a heavy burden of anxiety which now oppresses 
me. The Court does not sit to-day, on account of Burr's 
illness. I find he is much worse than yesterday. He says 
he will take my medicine to-night, and has rejected bleed- 
ing, proposed to him by McClung, in which I fully agreed 
with him that he should not part with his blood, even at 
a Joe a drop. I called upon De Pestre, this morning, at 
Mr. Chevalier's, where Mr. C. kindly pressed me to dine 
en famille, which I declined, through a desire to write at 
home and attend a private quartette-party at the Har- 
monic Society's room this evening. The invitation of 
Chevalier was given in the most friendly manner, with a 
reprobation of the restriction imposed on the hospitable 
dispositions of the families of this town by the effects of 
a system of espionage, which is kept up by Government 
and its agents to a degree that has generally prevented 
those attentions we should otherwise receive. This must 
be the case, as I have not received a visit from any family- 
man, much less an invitation, since my release from im- 
prisonment, though Mr. Pickett, who lives in the first 
style here, informed my landlord, Walton, the other day, 
he means to invite me to his house. So that etiquette 
seems also to be totally disregarded ; and, no doubt, here, 
as in other countries, a want of better breeding is received 
by strangers as a proof of inhospitality not merited. 

Tuesday, September 29, 1807. 

Uurr took my medicine last night as he promised, 
rested well, and is much better this morning. But he 
has prudently declined attending court, though he is evi- 



Digitized by 



Google 



CORRUPTION. 429 

dently mortified, he is not able to witness the progress of 
his recrimination of Wilkinson, conducted by his counsel, 
in which he is so desirous to take a part, especially as 
Botts has retired to Fredericksburg, to attend to other 
professional calls upon him. I perused this morning, at 
Burr's, some interesting documents, forwarded to him 
from New Orleans by Ed. Livingston and Alexander, all 
tending to overtake Wilkinson with a portion of that re- 
tributive justice he has so fairly earned. Of these papers, 
I trust the Chief Justice, in the spirit of that latitude he 
has so liberally permitted to the prosecutors, will, as an 
examining magistrate, allow the affidavits of Derbigeny 
and Mercier to be read, as both go to prove the Bri- 
gadier's corruption in having received from Carondelet, 
in 1796, a douceur of $9,000 at Cincinnati, which, added 
to every thing else that will appear against him, should 
surely settle his integrity and credit, if not his admissi- 
bility as a witness.* On opening of the court, Graham 



•John Mercier, jun., of the city of New Orleans, being duly sworn, 
maketh oath, that he was one of the clerks in the office of the Governor 
in the time of the Spanish dominion, during a period of nine years, from 
the year 1792 to the year 1801. That while this deponent was employed 
in the said office, to-wit, in the years 1795 and 1796, a secret correspond- 
ence was carried on in cipher between the said Governor, then the Baron 
de Carondelet, and some person of note, who then was in the western part 
of the United States, and, as this deponent believes, on the waters of the 
Ohio. That this deponent had no certain knowledge of the name of the 
said person, but that it was a matter of notoriety, among those who were 
employed in the said office, that the said person was General Wilkinson. 
That this deponent was intrusted with the care or charge of deciphering 
mo me of the letters which were received from the said person, and of copy- 
ing Home of the answers which were made to them by the Governor. That 
the cipher was understood by means of a small English dictionary ; and 
that so far as this deponent now recollects, the number of the page and 
the line where the word was in the dictionary was made use of, instead 



Digitized by 



Google 



480 THE BLENNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

voluntarily came forward to explain a part of his testi- 
mony, and, I know not why, was pleased to declare I had 
told him at Marietta, " that both Burr and myself per- 
ceived the people were not ripe for a severance of the 
Union; that we should not hurry it, as it would take 
place from natural causes of itself, and we had no per- 

of the word itself. That this deponent very well recollects that the project 
treated of in the said correspondence was the dismembering of the West- 
ern States and Territories from the Union, but that he is not able to recol- 
lect the particulars. And this deponent further swears, that some time 
toward the end of the year 1795, Mr. Thomas Power, who was employed 
as the confidential agent of the Spanish Government for this secret nego- 
tiation, was intrusted with a sum of nine thousand dollars, or thereabouts, 
destined tor the said person, which sum was delivered to the said Power, 
in the office of the Governor, in the presence of this deponent. That the 
said Power set off with it, and, as this deponent believes, with the dis- 
patches which were prepared on that occasion for the said person. 

J. Mercier. 
Sworn before me at New Orleans, the 81st August, 1807. 

Bona m r, Justice of the Peace. 

John McDonaugh, jun., being duly sworn, doth depose, that some time 
in the month of March, in the year 1804, General Wilkinson consulted with 
this deponent, as a commission merchant, on the probability of sugar or 
cotton shipped from this country to the Atlantic ports turning to advan- 
tage. The advice of this deponent was, to ship sugars in preference ; upon 
which the General requested this deponent to purchase for him sugars to 
the amount of nine or ten thousand dollars, payable in cash. This depo- 
nent, accordingly, purchased for the General, through Messrs. Dusan and 
Dubourg, brokers, one hundred and seven hogsheads of sugar, and char- 
tered the ship Louisiana, in which the General took his passage, to transport 
it to New York, the said sugar being shipped on the sole risk and account 
of the General. That the amount of the said sugar, as invoiced, was eight 
thousand and forty-five dollars and thirty-five cents ; and this deponent 
gave the General a bill of exchange on New York for one thousand dollars, 
the sugars not amounting to the sums which the General risked to be in- 
vested in them. That the amount of the said two sums, being $9,045 85, 
was paid to this deponent by the General, in Mexican dollars, and that 
some of the bags containing the said money were Mexican bags, such as 
come from Vera Crux ; and this deponent recollects that the said purchase 
excited at the time much speculation among the American inhabitants of 



Digitized by 



Google 



COMPARISONS. 431 

sonal interest in the event/' Then came on the little 
Brigadier, whose demeanor, to-day, was no doubt as op- 
posite to that arrogance in which he strutted at Orleans, 
during the reign of his brief authority, as was the car- 
riage of Dionysius at Corinth, compared with his royal 
port before at Syracuse. But I should not have degraded 

New Orleans, as to the resources of the General which enabled him to pay 
so large a sum of money in cash ; and the Governor himself, some time 
after the departure of the General, spoke to this deponent upon the subject, 
appearing to be desirous of ascertaining the amount of the sugars which 
had been purchased, and the means by which the General had been enabled 
to pay for them. John McDonaugh, jun. 

Sworn before me, this 4th September, 1807, at the city of New Orleans. 

John Ltnb, Justice qf the Peace. 

Peter Derbigeny, of New Orleans, Counselor-at-Law, being sworn on 
the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth, that some time in the year 
1796, this deponent being then a resident at New Madrid, on the Missis* 
sippi, Mr. Thomas Power, then employed by the Spanish Government on a 
private agency, went up the Ohio as far as Cincinnati, as this deponent 
was told, and returned some time afterward to New Madrid, in quest of a 
sum of money, which was delivered to him by Dr. Thomas Portall, the then 
commandant of that post. That this deponent was informed by a Spanish 
officer, on whose veracity he had every reason to depend, that the said 
money was destined for General Wilkinson, who was in secret correspond- 
ence with the Spanish Government. That Mr. Thomas Power, in order to 
conceal the said money, which was, as far as this deponent can recollect, 
a sum of nine thousand dollars, or thereabouts, bought from this deponent 
some barrels of sugar and coffee, in the center of which the said money 
was packed up in small bags which were made for that purpose in this 
deponent's family. That after these preparations were gone through, Mr. 
T. Power set off on his way back to Cincinnati ; and that, on said Power's 
return from thence, this deponent was told that the said money had arrived 
safe, and had been delivered to General Wilkinson. And this deponent 
further saith, that shortly after the surrender of Louisiana to the United 
States, a rumor having circulated that General Wilkinson had shipped in 
the vessel in which he returned to the Atlantic States a large quantity of 
sugar, the price of which he had paid him in dollars lately coined, con- 
tained in bags not yet unsewed, and such as they are when sent from the 
Spanish mint, this deponent grew suspicious that it was again money paid 
by the Spanish treasury to General Wilkinson, and felt it his duty toward 



Digitized by 



Google 



432 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the fortunes of that tyrant by a comparison with this 
urchin. I continue to take notes of his testimony to his 
own turpitude, which I shall not transcribe here, as they 
may be seen among my papers, by my friends. But it is 
here I should observe, that the address of Wickham, in 
conducting the cross-examination to-day, was masterly 
and ingenious, not only in regard to the witness, but to 
the Administration which so embarrassed Hay, as well as 
the General, that it would be impossible to say which of 
them most heartily welcomed a sudden adjournment, in 



the Government, to whom he had of late sworn allegiance, to inform the 
Governor of this province of the facts to him known concerning the money 
sent up to General Wilkinson in 1796 ; that Governor Claiborne then re- 
quested this deponent to write to the President of the United States on the 
subject; that this deponent wrote accordingly to the President of the 
United States, and delivered his letter into the hands of Gov. Claiborne, 
after having shown him the contents, which he approved of; and that, as 
the said letter was not signed, this deponent, by the advice of Gov. Clai- 
borne, mentioned therein to the President that he might know the name 
of the writer from Gov. Claiborne himself, if he should wish it. 

And this deponent further swears, that in the winter of 1804 to 1806, 
this deponent being then at Washington City, in the capacity of a deputy 
from the inhabitants of Louisiana to Congress, jointly with Messrs. Dos- 
trehan and Sawis, he was introduced to Col. Burr, then Vice-President of 
the United States, by General Wilkinson, who strongly recommended to 
this deponent, and, as he believes, to his colleagues, to cultivate the ac- 
quaintance of Col. Burr, whom he used to call " the first gentleman in 
America;" telling them that he was a man of the most eminent talents, 
both as a politician and as a military character ; and this deponent further 
swears, that General Wilkinson told him, several times, that Col. Burr, so 
soon as his Vice-Presidency would be at an end, would go to Louisiana, 
where he had certain projects ; adding, that he was such a man as to suc- 
ceed in any thing he would undertake, and inviting this deponent to give 
him all the information in his power respecting that country ; which mys- 
terious hints appeared to this deponent very extraordinary, though he 
could not then understand them. P. Derbigkny. 

Sworn before me, at New Orleans, the 27th of August, 1807. 

Bon a my, Justice of the Peace. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS. 483 

which Hay hastily sought the only retreat that was left 
to his confusion. The Judge had hardly risen from the 
bench, when a general buzz about Wilkinson's embarrass- 
ment ran through the crowd, and in five minutes every 
Democrat in the capitol was expressing his surprise at 
the effect with which we had so suddenly changed our 
characters and turned accusers. I sat this evening an 
hour with Burr. Bollman and Major Smith were the 
only other persons of the party. Here was an oppor- 
tunity to confirm my conviction, that neither Burr nor 
Bollman desired I should have any acquaintance with 
the latter, for neither solicited nor proposed an introduc- 
tion. Both, no doubt, have discovered, long since, I am 
not of a temper to further their intrigues, but they are 
short-sighted in not perceiving how effectually I can and 
will assuredly frustrate them. Well ! we chatted, never- 
theless, on the exclusive topics of our present concerns 
with the Government, among which, it was observed by 
Burr, " that he should not be surprised if the next * In- 
quirer ' attributed his absence from court, at this time, to 
fear of confronting Wilkinson." I remarked, " that such 
misrepresentation could have no effect, as the " Virginia 
Gazette" would contradict it. Burr said, "this last 
paper had no circulation ; " and if $300 could be raised 
immediately, the press of the "Impartial Observer," 
which has been obliged to stop for want of funds, could 
be again set to work. The editor was bold and ingeni- 
ous, passed for " a good Democrat, would represent things 
right, and print every thing that was required of him." 
He then asked me, " if I could not raise even $120, with 

which a beginning could be made ? could not I get twenty 

28 



Digitized by 



Google 



484 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPERS. 

subscribers, even to advance $10 each? How sorry he 
was Tupper and Mercer were gone away. They would 
readily contribute. Would not I look about," etc. I 
said, " I knew not a man that would advance a dollar/' 
He seemed surprised that I did not eagerly offer my 
services as a runner to beg for him, and said, " I might 
look out if I pleased ; that is," he added, " if I felt any 
interest in the thing." Now, I'm at a loss to divine the 
drift of this set upon me. Was it to remind me to 
smother any rising thoughts within me, to renew my 
hints to him, of other calls for mqney ? Was it to ex- 
hibit me to Bollman in a character he would not appear 
to impose upon him ? I own I am at a loss for a solu- 
tion. But certainly, however solicitous he may be to 
revive the impartial observer, he was not indifferent to 
making use of this occasion for some other purpose. 
Smith, however, said, " he would look about him ; " and I 
abruptly took leave. Bollman kept silent during the 
most of the visit. He is engaging in his appearance, but 
I have yet had no opportunity to catch any lines of his 
character, which I hope will not hereafter escape me. 
Swartwout is dispatched to Washington on some secret 
mission, which is as mal-apropos, during Wilkinson's ex- 
amination, as Burr's disappearance from court. Swart- 
wout, it is said, will be back on Thursday. Eaton has 
come forward to-day in court, to say the toast * was first 

* General Eaton's evidence on the trial went to prove that Burr medi- 
tated a dissolution of the Union. Eaton, in order to rid himself of Burr's 
importunities, proposed the following toast at a dinner given to him 
(Eaton) at Philadelphia or Georgetown ; he could not distinctly recollect 
which : " The United States — palsy to the brain that should plot to dismem- 
ber, and leprosy to the hand that will not draw to defend, our Union." 



Digitized by 



Google 



FORTUNATE ESCAPE. 485 

given at a public dinner given to him at Georgetown, 
which, being in or before December, 1805, contradicts 
what he before swore to on that subject. 

Wednesday, September 30, 1807. 

The court having been only opened to-day for the pur- 
pose of adjourning until to-morrow, to accommodate the 
bar, who are obliged to attend the Court of Chancery, I 
spent an hour with Burr in miscellaneous conversation, 
during which Bob. Bobison and Smith were present. 
The arrival in town of Poindexter and Williams, from 
Natchez, being mentioned, and conjectures offered as to 
what Poindexter could say as a witness for the Govern- 
ment, Bobison observed, " he was inclined to think Col. 
Burr was fortunate in having made his escape when he 
did from that country, as, had he delayed it for another 
day, he would probably have been seized, and have fallen 
into the hands of Wilkinson." Bobison seemed unin- 
formed altogether of the nature of Meade's stipulations 
with Burr, last January or February, in what was called 
the armistice at Natchez. Burr now entered into a train 
of statements to show Bobison how Meade had violated 
his engagements on that occasion. If he had made out 
such a story as he now told in the presence of Smith and 
myself, where we were not by, it might perhaps pass like 
other representations which have, I know not in how 
many instances, been received upon the credit of his 
word. But that he should tell any one, in our hearing, 
that Meade pledged his honor to him that our people 
should all keep their arms, when we know the solicitude 



Digitized by 



Google 



436 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

with which he afterward had them all hid, and sunk in 
the river, — and say, he was not taken a prisoner, under 
guard, to Washington in the Mississippi Territory, from 
the interview he had, as it was called, with Meade, at 
Cole's Creek, in pursuance of his forbearing to prefer 
resistance, which he might have made to a surrender of 
his person, — it would indeed surpass all credibility, if he 
had not with the same temerity assured Wiekham, the 
other day in court, " that the Mississippi militia, while 
ordered out against him, could hardly be kept by him 
from deserting to him by whole companies. What they 
might have been disposed to do, had he shown himself 
worthy of their support, is too far removed from what 
they did to need any attestation from us, or our Mends, 
in that country. But young men, whom I can redeem 
from future connections with every incapacity but the 
talents for intrigue, must not be entangled in those snares, 
so imprudently or so rashly laid for their credulity. In- 
deed, I am again disposed to call to my aid Cowles 
Meade's impression last winter, that Burr was at times 
deranged, as the only means of accounting for his occa- 
sional rashness in his assertions. Certain I am, he ex- 
hibited at that season every derangement but that of 
avoidable hazard; and as his memory is confessedly 
strong, he can riot now surely rely upon his facts, without 
a similar, if not a worse, apology. I saw to-day a curious 
parallel of Burr's character and my own, drawn by Wirt, 
in his speech, reported in the " Enquirer/' on Wickham's 
motion to arrest the evidence in the treason case. I'll 
transcribe it hereafter. 



Digitized by 



Google 



poindexter. 487 

Thursday, October 1, 1807. 

Wilkinson's cross-examination was continued this 
morning by Wickham, with great ability, and suspend- 
ed until to-morrow, to give him time he desired for re- 
flection, and further recurrence to his papers, and also to 
enable Burr to finish it to-morrow, as the latter is not 
well enough to attend to-day. Then came forward the 
ingenious Poindexter, who delivered a very petulant and 
dogmatical testimony, in the course of which he had the 
effrontery to state the whole affair of the alleged recog- 
nizance of Burr taken by old Rodney, in a manner to in- 
duce, if he could, a belief that Rodney was perfectly cor- 
rect; that Burr had forfeited an original recognizance, 
and that Rodney was one of the best men living ; while 
no honest man in the Territory believed a word of the 
stories that were told there of another recognizance or 
memorandum for one having been suppressed ; he even 
went so far as to say, he heard, and believed, that Hard- 
ing had begun to write an original, but got tired before 
he finished it, and it was thrown under the table. O! 
Harding, my estimable friend, may you soon be able to 
scourge this paltry pettifogger, who further declared, on 
his oath, that the matter was now before the Supreme 
Court of the Territory, where the securities would get 
off, not upon the merits of the case, but because the 
Judge who bound them had not cognizance of the offense. 

Friday, October 2, 1807. 

Burr attended to-day in court, and concluded the cross- 
examination of Wilkinson ; after which, Poindexter was 



Digitized by 



Google 



488 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

again called for, and was, if possible, a greater curiosity 
as a witness than he had been yesterday. His parade of 
his opinion of the jurisdiction of the courts in the Mis- 
sissippi Territory, his strictures on the presentments by 
Burr's grand jury there, his justification of his conduct 
as honorary aid-de-camp and Attorney General, and his 
insolence to Burr and his counsel, all exhibited him in a 
light which introduced a character into the piece now 
performing at the capitol, as novel as it was unexpected. 
Then succeeded a witness of a very opposite cast, a Mr. 
Trisley, one of the late grand jury here, who has riveted 
on Wilkinson's character and credit those fetters Jeffer- 
son and himself were so long forging together for the 
fame and liberty of others. After a close struggle be- 
tween opposite counsel, Wickham succeeded by his usual 
address in wresting from the prosecutors a very curious 
letter by Jefferson to Wilkinson, of the 3d of last Janu- 
ary, which I must, if possible, get a copy of. Martin 
was both yesterday and to-day more in his cups than 
usual, and though he spared neither his prudence nor his 
feelings, he was happy in all his hits. 11 o'clock, P. M. 

Saturday, October 8, 1807. 

Wilkinson, though it was thought by many yesterday 
that his cross-examination was concluded, was, this morn- 
ing, again further interrogated as to the import of his 
instructions to Lieutenant Pike, and the nature of his 
confidential intercourse with Kibby. But nothing could 
be got out of him as to the former ; and, as to any deal- 
ing with Kibby, of the sort alluded to in Kibby's pub- 
lished affidavit, he would no more confess it than that he 



Digitized by 



Google 



CHALLENGE. 48ft 

is said, by the records of scandal, to have had in his youth 
with General G * * * . He produced two copies of 
alleged instructions to Pike. These papers, being of his 
own manufacture, left his adversaries, of course, to con- 
tent themselves with whatever effect the suspicions aris- 
ing from their questions might produce in the minds of 
the auditors, if not of the Judge. But the publication in 
the " Argus," to-day, of no less than six documents, of- 
fered by Wilkinson in the course of his examination, and 
rejected by the Judge as improper to be given in evidence, 
will operate a preponderating counterpoise in his favor. 
Before he withdrew, he appealed to the Court on the 
attempts that had been made, during his examination, 
upon his honor and veracity; observing, "that it now 
would be easy for him to show his whole conduct in its 
true light, freed from all manner of doubt or suspicion 
of his motives, if Burr would produce the letter of the 
13th of May, alluded to in the ciphered letter, which 
would enable him to expose other letters from Burr 
which occasioned that letter." He then declared that 
Burr's assertion, " that the letter of the 13th of May had 
been put out of Burr's power into the hands of a third 
person, with Wilkinson's knowledge," was unfounded, 
and destitute of all manner of truth ; that Burr knew 
the very reverse was the fact ; and with warmth and as- 
perity of language, he again challenged him to produce it. 
Burr, with an air of dignity and composure which, I think, 
he borrowed from an opinion that he is not bound to give 
Wilkinson a meeting ojit of court, demanded whether thia 
sort of language and such topics were giving testimony; 



Digitized by 



Google 



440 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

and then observed, " that the General was there to tell 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, upon his 
oath, and should reserve other matters for another place." 
Wilkinson now withdrew ; but who can not perceive that, 
in this scene, the craft of the advocate shrunk from the 
charge of his enemy. I examined, soon after this, Gates 
and Jones — the latter of whom fully proved the terms of 
a parole agreement to go down the river with me last 
winter — in a manner to defeat every effect the testimony 
of the Hendersons could possibly produce to my preju- 
dice. I find Burr has a heavy bill against the United 
States, on account of advances he says he has made to 
agents employed for summoning his witnesses. How 
many have undertaken this service for him I know not; 
some I do know who advanced their own money, in ex- 
pectation of being refunded by Burr or the United States. 
But how far Burr will be indemnified for his advances in 
this business may be guessed from the transaction already 
narrated of the manceuvre, by which he put Ellis, one of 
his creditors, in cash. (See conclusion to notes of 23d of 
August.) But Ellis, who was to-day examined, parried 
some lounges made at him, during his examination on 
this subject, by saying, "it was a verbal summons he got 
at Natchez — the proper one was served upon him here." 
I will now set down here Wirt's parallel of Burr's char- 
acter and my own. After having stated that Burr was 
manoeuvring to effect his escape from the prosecutions, by 
having me sacrificed in his stead, he asks, " By what sort 
of legerdemain is it, that Burr wants to shuffle himself 
down to the bottom of the pack, and turn me up, princi- 



Digitized by 



Google 



ABOUT TO TRAVEL. 441 

pal traitor ? "* He then proceeds as follows : " Who, then, 
is Aaron Burr — and what the part which he has home in 
this transaction ? " 

Sunday, October 4, 1807. 
I called on Burr this morning, when he, at last, men- 
tioned to me, during a short tSte a t$te, that he was 
preparing to go to England ; that the time was now aus- 
picious for him ; and he wished to know whether I could 
give him letters. I answered, " that I supposed when he 
said England, he meant London, as his business would 
probably be with people in office ; that I knew none of 

* Will any man Bay that Blennerhassett was the principal, and Burr 
bnt an accessory ? Who will believe that Burr, the author and projector 
of the plot, who raised the forces, who enlisted the men, and who procured 
the funds for carrying it into execution, was made a cat's-paw of? Will 
any man believe that Burr, who is a soldier, bold, ardent, restless, and 
aspiring, the great actor whose brain conceived, and whose hand brought, 
the plot into operation, that he should sink down into an accessory, and 
that Blennerhassett should be elevated into a principal ? He would startle 
at once at the thought. Aaron Burr, the contriver of the whole conspiracy, 
to every body concerned in it, was as the sun to the planets which sur- 
round him. Did he not bind them in their respective orbits, and give 
them their light, their heat, and their motion? Yet he is to be con- 
sidered an accessory, and Blennerhassett is to be the principal, who, 
thus deluded from his interest and his happiness, thus seduced from 
the paths of innocence and peace, thus confounded in the toils that were 
deliberately spread for him, and overwhelmed by the mastering spirit 
and genius of another — this man, thus ruined and undone, and made to 
play a subordinate part in this grand drama of guilt and treason, this man 
is to be called the principal offender; while he, by whom he was thus 
plunged in misery, is comparatively innocent, a mere accessory I Is this 
reason ? Is it law ? Is it humanity ? Sir, neither the human heart nor 
the human understanding will bear a perversion so monstrous and absurd ! 
so shocking to the soul ! so revolting to reason ! Let Aaron Burr, then, 
not shrink from the high destination which he has courted ; and having 
already ruined Blennerhassett in fortune, character, and happiness for- 
ever, let him not attempt to finish the tragedy by thrusting that ill-fated 
man between himself and punishment. — Extract from W. Wirft Speech. 



Digiti 



zed by G00gk * 



442 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

the present ministry, nor did I believe I had a single 
acquaintance in London," He replied, "he meant to 
visit every part of the country, and wonld be glad to get 
letters to any one." I said, that I would think of it ; that 
I might discover whether I had any friends there, whom 
it would be an object worth his attention to know, and 
took leave. Thus it is, this strange man continues to 
expose his inconsistency with himself, rather than lay 
aside the mysterious mask, with which he has ever 
sought, and still continues, to disguise his very hints — a 
practice, I believe, he has not departed from in any 
instance, from Wilkinson down to myself. We can only 
conjecture, therefore, his designs. For my part, I am 
disposed to suspect he has no serious purpose of reviving 
any of his speculations in America, or even of returning 
from Europe, if he can get there. His anxiety to elude 
his creditors is, I believe, occupation enough for his 
energies, which are little, except in his reveries. Out of 
them he tells different stories to different persons, enjoin- 
ing confidence from all, but committing himself in noth- 
ing to any one. I have suspected for some time, however, 
he really does dream of appearing in London, with some- 
thing, according to his ideas, in the nature of a suite. 
Some weeks past, he consulted De Pestre, to learn from 
him how much money would be wanted to enable him to 
go and return. He said, he supposed that $10,000 might 
answer. De Pestre told him, that would depend on the 
nature of his business, and the time it would require to 
transact it. But he has mora lately been engaged in en- 
deavoring to attach to him some young men who may 
accompany him. I yet only know, positively, two. Sam. 



Digitized by 



Google 



FRIENDLY INTERPOSITION. 44$ 

Swartwout was enraptured with the prospect, and still 
may feast his imagination upon it ; though I could not 
resist the propensity I felt to convey to this fine young 
man, without his suspecting from whence it came, a curb, 
which may restrain his "generous ardor and innocent 
credulity. His relation, Major Smith, has endeavored to 
apply it. Bob. Robison was the other, and, to save him, 
my breast heaved with indignation against his tempter, 
while my heart labored for the danger of my young 
friend, when I found that his property was Mr. Burr's 
object; for Burr, it seems, in the first place, certified 
himself by inquiries of Major Smith, that Robison's 
father was wealthy, and Robert an only ehild, before he 
proposed the voyage to him, which I find he had the 
insolence to introduce by telling him, Smith, Robison 
' would be much pleased to accompany him, as Mr. Blen- 
nerhassett had assured him, than which nothing is more 
false. But Burr is as careless of his facts as of his 
religion, where neither is exposed to scrutiny ; and any 
liberty with them may advance his purpose for the mo- 
ment. I had seasonably prepared this young man, who 
will to-morrow make his escape to Pittsburgh, from the 
fascinations of this serpent. I was much entertained for 
two or three hours by the performance on the piano by a 
young Frenchman, who is a fine performer, and made me 
acquainted with some new music of Haydn and others, 
which he executed with masterly skill and expression. 

Monday, October 5, 1807. 

This day was chiefly consumed with hearing testimony 
adduced to prove Eaton's incompetency or discredit; 



Digitized by 



Google 



444 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. • 

which failed, according to the legal rules of evidence, 
though Eaton himself has already fully anticipated the 
object of his adversaries. I am very unhappy in failing 
to hear from Natchez, to relieve my anxiety for Harman. 
But why should I presume to pray for the removal of my 
trouble for him and his mother, when I know how un- 
worthy I have been of the many blessings I have already 
enjoyed in them. I have ever thought too highly of 
Dominick, in prejudice to his brother ; my late cares for 
the latter have equalized the account. 

Tuesday, October 6, 1807. 

Burr and Martin made a considerable blunder to-day, 
by producing a Major Brough, to the discredit of Wil- 
kinson, as they thought. The Major, it is true, told some 
curious stories to the Court and to the General, as unex- 
pected by the Judge, probably, as they were unpalatable 
to the Brigadier ; but the effect only tended to show both 
equally rivals in treachery to the State, if not to them- 
selves. Burr would gladly have pretermitted 'the exhi- 
bition of this scene, but it was too late ; the curtain had 
risen, and " Peacham " and " Locket " stood confessed in 
every line of their characters, except a compromise of 
their differences. But as, in such cases, "honest men 
come by their own," the public feelings on the Mississippi 
will necessarily be relieved, by the disclosures of this wit- 
ness, from the insult and mortification of again seeing 
Wilkinson command in that country. It is in vain that 
Wilkinson has promised to destroy the credit of this wit- 
ness. The Major has brandished his sword with such 
effect and address, on this occasion, that he has not only 



Digitized by 



Google 



GIFT. 445 

cut down the General, but even disarmed his auxiliaries — 
Jefferson, Dearborn and Rodney — who have so long 
fought by his side throughout this criminal warfare. In 
short, unless this testimony, which, from its effect upon 
Jefferson, etc., I regard as the most interesting that has 
occurred, can be totally obliterated from the reports of 
the present motley proceedings at the capitol, and the 
Major be absolutely foxed, the execration of the admin- 
istration will soon be sown on the Mississippi, to produce 
a crop similar to that which sprung from the teeth of the 
hydra. I regret the whole narrative will not probably 
appear in fall before Robertson's report of the whole 
proceedings. This evening, my friend Hendren, who has 
again come up to town chiefly to see me, has called to 
express his satisfaction at the near prospect of my restora- 
tion to my family, and to solicit my acceptance of a 
horse he has a long time destined for me, together with 
whatever money I may have occasion for. He has duly 
tempered the frankness of these propositions with senti- 
ments of corresponding delicacy. I, alas ! have made no 
better return to this generosity than words that lightened 
not the burden that he had laid upon my heart, which, I 
hope, God will give it strength to carry to my grave. 
How long have I sought, through life, friends without my 
family; and where have I found any, until the hand of 
Divine mercy pointed their regards to that piety that has 
supported the patience of my distress. I have declined 
Hendren's favors, and quieted his solicitude to serve 
me, by requesting him to look out for a few negroes 
I want to purchase. He will see me again next Monday. 



Digitized by 



Google 



416 the blennerhassett papers. 

Wednesday, October 7, 1807. 

Wilkinson was not ready to-day to undertake his attack 
upon the credit of Major Brough, but he will attempt it 
to-morrow. Nothing was done, of any consequence, in 
court to-day. Soon after it adjourned, I took a letter for 
my wife to the " Eagle," to go by Col. McKee, who leaves 
for Natchez to-morrow. I had there the happiness to see 
Doctor Commins, just arrived. He made me happy, by 
assuring me my boys were running about on the 25th of 
August, when he last saw them, and has brought me a 
packet, which I shall receive in the morning. I find I 
have omitted to note a very curious discovery made in 
court last Saturday. Nothing less than letters of McKee's, 
some of them dated in January and February last, pro- 
duced by Wilkinson, proving the Col. to have been with 
us on the Mississippi, far more as a spy than a friend. 
The capillaries of the Colonel's physiognomy, during the 
reading of the said letters, were swollen to bursting. The 
man, I believe, would have hissed upon immersion in 
cold water. He was struck dumb, and, upon his release, 
went off in a tangent. Burr can't endure a hint of this 
incident; and yet he has since been more than once 
closeted with the Colonel. Can he find no better friends, 
or is he really deranged ? 

Thursday, October 8, 1807. 

Wilkinson has not kept his promise of to-day, dis- 
crediting the testimony of Major Brough. An unim- 
portant witness or two were examined by way of killing 
time, which now seems to be the favorite object of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



EXCITEMENT. 447 

prosecutors. Afterward, Hay at last announced that the 
evidence was closed on the part of the prosecution, but 
reserved his right to examine, without restriction, all of 
those witnesses that may arrive, according to his fancy, 
which was conceded to him. He then entered upon his 
speech, to comment on the evidence, which appeared to 
me the best effort I have yet heard from him ; it was per- 
spicuous and somewhat ingenious. I have therefore 
taken pretty close notes of all such parts of it as appeared 
to me to be worthy of notice, or particularly applicable to 
myself. He spoke, however, to empty benches until the 
rising of the Court, which was, for his accommodation, 
protracted half an hour longer than usual. A few 
minutes before he stopped, I was much diverted by a 
display of his irritability, which was excited by McRae's 
interrupting him with a whisper to stop at 4 o'clock. 
Upon this, the attorney fired with indignation, and in 
his wrath very plainly exhibited his contempt for his co- 
adjutor, by telling him he would not be interrupted by 
him ; and then endeavoring fruitlessly to compose his ire, 
he lamented the condition of counsel, that could neither 
agree with those on their own side, or those who were 
opposed to them. I sent to Doctor Commins, this morn- 
ing, for the packet he brought me from Natchez, but not 
having received it, I called upon him this evening, 
when he delivered it to me in a wretched state, it hav- 
ing been taken from him in the Creek Nation of In- 
dians, by Col. Hawkins, the agent of that tribe, who, 
after examining my letter-bag, and every original letter 
my wife had sent me, except perhaps two sealed letters 
from herself, and, after taking such extracts and copies 



Digitized by 



Google 



448 THE BLBNNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

of the whole aa he chose, then returned to Doctor Com- 
mins as many as he thought proper. This outrage I 
shall have formally stated in an affidavit by the Doctor, 
in order to procure an attachment against the Colonel. I 
spent a very pleasant evening at the Musical Society, 
where I met Mrs. Chevalier and Mrs. Wickham. They 
seemed pleased with some performances, in which I took 
a part, particularly a quartette of Pleyel's. Mrs. Chev- 
alier gave me some hospitable reproaches for the scarcity 
of my visits. I believe her husband a most generous and 
benevolent man, which his countenance fully bespeaks. 

Friday, October 9, 1807. 

It is a little singular that my birthday should yesterday 
have passed by without my having noticed it ; but this 
has been the case for several of the last years of my life, 
and I suppose the reason is, that my mind is hardly occu- 
pied once a year in thinking of myself. I may have 
taken my height and weight, perhaps full twenty times in 
the course of my life ; but I am certain I never remem- 
bered, much less noted, the amount of either, so that I 
could recollect it one hour after trial. Yesterday, then, I 
completed my forty-second or forty- third year; for my 
father and mother could never agree whether I was born 
in 1764 or 1765, though they coincided as to the day, fix- 
ing it on the 8th of October. But at such a distance from 
my suffering family, I can not estimate how much hap- 
piness or misery they have been preparing for my future 
years. Hay finished his speech to-day. He was followed 
by Eandolph, in a style that will read much better than 
it was delivered. He relied chiefly on the effect of Burr's 



Digitized by 



Google 



RAISING MONEY. 449 

acquittal, and arguments drawn from the Constitution. 
As to me, he seemed to forget my case altogether, save 
so far as his concern for Burr obliged him to mention my 
name and writings. This, I suspect, wiH also be the case 
with Wickham- Nous verrons. 

Saturday, October 10, 1807. 

The Court does not sit to-day, at the request of the 
prosecutors; yet they are eternally complaining of the 
tedious length of the trial, and their own confinement 
and sufferings by it. The accused have no sufferings, it 
. seems, worthy of their notice. I have to-day spent much 
time in painful reflections on the state of my affairs with 
Burr. It appears by a statement of my private account 
with him, so far as I can now collect all my charges 
against him here, for he has but two credits, he is in- 
debted to me in a balance of $2,864.96, independent of 
my account against him, for what I have already paid 
and lost, by my indorsement of the bill held by Miller for 
$4,000. It will be useless, or worse, for me to attempt to 
appear at Marietta without a sum of money, if not suffi- 
cient to discharge Miller's claim, at least necessary to 
enable me to get my negroes away from Ohio, if that is 
now possible, and to redeem some few valuable articles 
of my property that have been sacrificed at sheriff's 
sales. I have therefore imagined a method of forcing 
Burr's exertions to raise money for me, which is the most 
likely to succeed. It is founded on the principle of 
effecting through his vanity and interest what it is now 
evident I should in vain, seek through his justice or 

generosity. T will hint to him my ability to introduce 
29 



Digitized by 



Google 



450 THE BLENVBRHA8SSTT PAPERS. 

him into the first circles in England, by introductory 
letters; at the same time, showing him my expectations 
of becoming soon possessed of a large fortune in Europe, 
from which, I doubt not, I shall be enabled to engage his 
best endeavors, if not his warmest interest. This plan 
I shall put in execution to-morrow, of which I will note 
the effect upon him. Leaving it to ripen in his medita- 
tions for a week, I shall then open my present distresses to 
him in detail, and present him with his account. It is 
a little painful, I own, to feel oneself obliged to bring 
even a bad man into the path of his duty by artifice. 
But the details of the manoeuvre, when examined, will, I 
trust, do me no discredit with my friends. 

Sunday, October 11, 1807. 

It being very warm and dusty this morning, I sent to 
John Banks for a horse to visit his family and Chevalier's, 
they living two miles apart, and take the benefit of a 
short ride. But I previously called upon Burr, whom I 
found alone and in good spirits. He attributed the re- 
moval of his indisposition exclusively to the effect of my 
pills, and his inflamed eye was nearly cured. Daniel 
Clark and Mr. Powers had arrived from Orleans to sup- 
port the depositions of Derbigeny and the younger Mer- 
cier, to the confirmation of Wilkinson's character and 
ruin. Availing myself of such a state of things, I en- 
tered into desultory conversation affecting all freedom of 
thought from any particular object. The affair of the 
Leopard and Chesapeake being mentioned, Burr observed, 
that though the difference between the United States and 
Great Britain on that account might be expected to be 



Digitized by 



Google 



"friends at court." 451 

soon settled, there were many other causes of dispute 
which would not soon be removed ; that this was a most 
auspicious moment for his purposes to visit England, and 
he had no doubt he could, in serving himself and his 
friends there, show them, the ministry, their best interests 
in a manner that would convince their judgment. This 
was the best opportunity I could have desired for my pur- 
pose. I now told him, as he happened to be alone, I had 
been reflecting on the application he had lately made to 
me for letters to England, to assist the better means he 
no doubt possessed of establishing his intercourse with 
the best society in that country. I regretted that, through 
the fluctuations of parties there, I had no acquaintance 
with any member of the Administration. But I had 
thought of three noblemen, with whom I had been at 
school at Westminster, and there intimate with them all, 
though I had never since met with any of them, except 
Lord Sackville, who had visited me in Ireland. To Lord 
8., therefore, I could write, and also to Lords Elgin and 
Courtenay. The latter I was very intimate with at 
school; and the former, I presumed, from the circum- 
stance of his having been not long since ambassador at 
the courts of Petersburgh and Constantinople, must be 
much respected by the present ministers, if not in office 
with them. To all these personages, I said, I thought I 
could properly address a mere letter of introduction, 
which if it would not of itself produce the end proposed, 
would not fail to do so when supported by the appear- 
ance he would make in London, the address with which 
he would be as impressive there as here, and the distin- 
guished rank he lately occupied in the American Govern- 



Digitized by 



Google 



452 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ment. The effect of this communication was rapture. 
The whole man was changed. "With all his studied re- 
serve, he could not restrain his transports, which agitated 
his countenance and his movements far more than the 
news of a capital prize in the lottery could have done. I 
now, after pausing a little, to give his reflections time to 
recover his usual composure, asked if he remembered a 
hint I had sometime since given him, that I entertained 
some expectations of hereafter becoming easy in my cir- 
cumstances, and perhaps wealthy. "Yes," he hastily 
replied, " very well." I then alluded to a communication 
by letter from a friend in Ireland, which I would now 
acquaint him with, and from which I might expect, if my 
prospects should be realized, possibly to meet him in 
those circles in Europe, into which I proposed to intro- 
duce him; now drawing from my pocket A. Martin's 
letter of 16th of last May, which luckily contained no 
other matter than that I wished him to see, and some 
political news. I presented it to him. He read it delib- 
erately, over and over, and I now beheld myself estab- 
lished in an influence upon his feelings, and a considera- 
tion from his notice, to which I am persuaded I had 
never before possessed the least title. Hey-day ! behold 
the wretched and beggared Blennerhassett about to rise 
out of the misery in which I have plunged him, and his 
unhappy family, into wealth and consequence. The heir, 
too, of a nobleman ! nis new wealth and his dignified 
connections must Bupply me with better materials for my 
projected speculations than all others I have hitherto col- 
lected. His connections and his purse shall lay the foun- 
dation under which I will again bury his credulity and 



Digitized by 



Google 



" ONE THOUSAND." 458 

rear upon it my aggrandizement. I am persuaded all 
this, and probably much more to the same purpose, en- 
tered and pervaded the mind of this arch-financier, with 
the velocity of light, in an instant. Be it so. Let him 
outwit himself. He shall have my letters to the British 
nobleman, and may make his own use of them, if he 
will first exonerate me from Miller's demand, and pay 
or secure the balance he owes me before we part. Other- 
wise, we break upon a writ, and for every thing else, I 
fear not his address in future. 

Chevalier, as usual, pressed me to dinner. I have such 
full confidence in his goodness that I believe I shall ven- 
ture to request him to indorse or negotiate a bill on Phil- 
adelphia for me. 

Monday, October 12, 1807. 

I am miserable this morning, by being denied a letter 
from Natchez. The season advances, and witnesses con- 
tinue to arrive so constantly, that I am filled with appre- 
hensions of being unable to descend the Ohio before the 
breaking up of that river. Martin commenced his speech 
on the evidence this morning, and only reached the first 
full stop at the hour of adjournment He will probably 
hold out full two days more. 

Tuesday, October 13, 1807. 

Martin kept on his feet again to-day until the adjourn- 
ment. He has only come to the second period. I had 
this morning an extremely friendly note from Chevalier, 
telling me he never lends his name to any body, but has 
one thousand dollars at my command, which I have ac- 



Digitized by 



Google 



464 THE BLENOTRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

cepted, to send to the sale by Commins. I have spent a 
pleasant evening at Banks', where I often take Smith 
with me, as he knows no one here. Banks has given me 

some lines he made on the late Miss , which I will 

here transcribe, as they deserve preservation : 

SWEET SHADE. 

Within our hearts, thy mem'ry is embalmed 
Beyond the usual gifts that grace thy sex ; 
. Thy various virtues and acquirements shone : 
The dignity of worth (like thine) it would 
Degrade to Mason each peculiar claim 
That marked thy value here ; for all who knew 
Thee felt its force, and every tongue seemed 
Emulous to praise. The young, enraptured, 
Hung upon thy name j with equal rev'renoe 
And grateful love hailed the bright exemplar 
That adorned the sex. Pleased with the theme, 
The aged matron, too, for this laid by 
The frigid caution of maturer years ; 
With joy exulting, joined the general praise, 
And wished, a pious wish, her offspring might 
Through life's alluring scenes tread the chaste paths 
That marked Eliza' b steps. 
One kindred trait, that marked thy latest hour, 
Unknown to all but to thy weeping friends, 
Who clung around the sable couch of Death, 
'T were impious not to note. The God who emote 
Still bleBsed thee to the last. Its power* thy mind 
Retained ; while, conscious of th' approaching call, 
Thy steadfast soul still stood serene and firm. 
No tumult there, no dread, no terror could 
Disturb the heart which purity inspired. 
'T was Resignation^ calm I Thy closing eyes, 
'T is true, a transient tremor felt, and o'er 
The fevered cheek a drop let fall. 01 't was 



Digitized by 



Google 



MARTIN AND 1MLAS. 45i 

A sacred gem, incalculably rich I 
A legacy divine ; for others' woe* 
It fell. 'T was filial sympathy, which, like 
A shook electric, struck the palsied nerve, 
Impervious but to this. Dim though thy sight, 
Yet still thou sawest a parent's 
Agonising pangs ; a precious pearl 
Thou gav'st; and with the boon expir'd. 
Sweet Shade ! this tribute is not half thy due. 
Alas ! too soon we pay the solemn meed ; 
Tet bear it on thy wing ; 't will pleasing prove 
A passport to the skies ; and when, blest Shade, 
Thy sisbeMpirits, who thy flight await 
At Heav'n's portal, shall peruse the scroll, 
In strains celestial, not unknown to thee, 
They '11 chant the theme divine, until it reach 
The Throne of Grace. There, in regal state, 
The King of Kings, in all the majesty 
Of Heaven arrayed, with sweet solacing smile, 
Shall hail thy welcome to the realms above, 
While myriads of the just around him sing : 
"This the reward of virtuous acts below, 
Eternal life and bliss for evermore 1 " 

Wednesday, October 14, 1807. 

Martin at last concluded at 4 o'clock, with the adjourn- 
ment this evening. Want of arrangement, verbosity, and 
eternal repetitions, have more than sated the malice of 
his enemies. 

Thursday, October 15, 1807. 

McRae consumed this whole day with somewhat less 
discredit to himself than might have been expected. It 
appears that he is now the only one of the three prose- 
cuting counsel that labors to bolster up the credit and 



Digitized by 



Google 



456 THE BLENNERHAS8BTT PAPERS. 

consistency of Wilkinson. Hay has declared, out of 
court, "he has ^washed his hands of him." I had a 
friendly letter from Devereux, announcing his being 
about to return to Ireland, where he expects to recover 
his estate, and assuring me, with much concern for my 
present sufferings, his actions shall prove his friendship, 
whenever his means can give it that operation he now so 
generously laments he can not direct to my succor. He 
assures me, however, Pierce Butler, Esq., of Philadelphia, 
has directed him, without solicitation, to invite me to call 
upon him for any pecuniary aid I may need. 

Friday, October 16, 1807. 

Wickham followed Martin, instead of McRae, yester- 
day, and was, I think, far below his former efforts. He 
occupied the day nearly. It was to-day McRae exhib- 
ited, as I have just mentioned, not having had time to 
write down* yesterday's notes till this evening. 

Saturday, October 17, 1807. 

Wirt spoke very much to engage the fancy of his hear- 
ers, to-day, without affecting their understanding; for he 
can not reason upon the facts before him, and can no more 
conduct a law argument than I could raise a mountain. 
As Junius says of the king, " The feather that adorns 
him supports his flight." " Strip him of his plumage 
and you fix him to the earth." He attempted to be sar- 
castic on all his opponents. Randolph he charged with 
a decay of professional and oratorical powers, which keep 
pace with the march of his years. Martin he upbraided 
with ill earned and unmerited fame, which bad disap- 



Digitized by 



Google 



VISITING. 457 

pointed the expectations of the Virginia bar, before which 
he had shone through so many moons, but had never yet 
appeared in any of the phases of the law. I mention this, 
as a specimen of his efforts in the figurative style, to show 
how unhappy he is in his researches into those minds of 
taste and study which the fancy of an orator never ex- 
plores in vain. Wickham he boldly accused of unadorned 
plagiarism, in appropriating to himself the arguments of 
Dallas and Lewis in the case of Fries, and even express- 
ing their ideas with inferior eloquence. I took some notes 
of this orator's performance, which Wickham was very 
glad to get, as he was absent during the delivery of what 
was so pointedly applied to himself. " that mine enemy 
would write a book ! " Wilkinson is writing one, which, 
some say, is to ruin not only Burr, but Jefferson too. 

Sunday, October 18, 1807. 

I staid at home until evening, owing to the high wind 
and dust that annoyed every one who ventured abroad. 
But I drank tea, and spent the evening until 10 o'clock, 
at Mrs. Chevalier's. I there met Mrs. David Randolph, 
who is a middle-aged lady, and very accomplished; of 
charming manners, and possessing a masculine mind. 
From this lady, the near relation of the President, and 
whose brother is married to % his daughter, I heard more 
pungent strictures upon Jefferson's head and heart, be- 
cause they were better founded than any I had ever heard 
before, and she certainly uttered more treason than my 
wife ever dreamed of; for she ridiculed the experiment 
of a Republic in this country, which the vices and incon- 
stancy of parties and the people had too long shown to 



Digitized by 



Google 



458 THE BLBNNBRHASSETT PAPERS. 

be nothing more than annual series of essays to complete 
a work ill begun, and which appeared to be nearly worn 
out before it was half finished. But "she always waa 
disgusted with the fairest ideas of a modern Republic, 
however she might respect those of antiquity/' And as 
for the treason, " she cordially hoped, whenever Burr, or 
any one else, again attempted to do any thing, the Atlan- 
tic States would be comprised in the. plan." She talked 
much of Thomas Moore, with whom she was highly 
pleased here, and recited some favorite extracts from 
him ; but she is very much mortified by the indiscrimi- 
nate censure of Virginia, with which he has requited the 
hospitality and consideration with which he was uni- 
versally treated in this State — his only two exceptions 
from his strictures being Wickham and the Chief Justice ; 
but in the former he could discover no accomplishment, 
beyond professional skill and a slight knowledge of 
French, with a talent for repartee, and an imagination 
denied all favors which it would in vain solicit from 
nature and the sciences. Of the Chief Justice, I can not 
speak, out of the precincts of the law, or his politics, 
which I already begin to fear will exhibit his heart, as 
unlike those of Hardwick or Cambden, as his mind may 
resemble theirs." I also obtained from this interesting 
lady some sketches of the characters of General Dayton 
and Bollman, with both of whom her acute penetration 
seems to have had sufficient opportunities of informing 
her judgment. The sentence of my moral craniology oil 
these heads thus presented to me was this, that the one 
is that of an unprincipled speculator and crafty politician, 
who never appeals to his reason but to deceive, and never 



Digitized by 



Google 



A CHALLENGE. 4&9 

departs from it but to be sensual. The other is that of 
an individual possessing similar talents, more highly re- 
fined by nature, but less consolidated by experience, with 
syren faculties of speech and manner, never exerted to 
captivate, but to destroy their victim, and a temperament 
of antipathy, rather than of inclination to the sex. I, 
this morning, closed long letters to A. Martin, for Ireland, 
after, I believe, full two months' neglect. I have so long 
been dosed with the incessant vexations of my prosecu- 
tion, that I sometimes imagine my apathy is better lent 
me to befit me for the future frowns of unsteady fortune, 
than to prepare me for the insidious smiles. I am already 
her puppet. 

Monday, October 19, 1807. 

Wirt concluded with perhaps a better two hours' dis- 
play of his powers than he has yet exhibited. Lieutenant 
Jackson, at last, made his appearance, but fell very short 
of what the prosecutors expected of him, from the pur- 
port, of his affidavits, which they have published in the 
" Argus," and of his own infamy : though he made out 
enough of treachery and perjury, probably, to swell the 
current of suspicion against Burr's treasonable designs. 
Swartwout* has sent "Wilkinson a challenge, but with- 
out effect. 

* Swartwout sent a challenge to General Wilkinson by Israel Smith, 
which he (W.) refused to read, saying that " he held no correspondence 
with traitors or conspirators." This raised Swartwout's ire, and induced 
him to publish the following in the " Virginia Gasette : " 
To His Excellency Brigadier-General James Wilkinson. 

Sir : — When once the chain of infamy grapples to a knave, every new 
link creates a fresh sensation of detestation and horror. As it gradually 



Digitized by 



Google 



460 THE BLENffERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Tuesday, October 20, 1807. 

I have said nothing of my relief, yesterday, by a letter 
from my beloved, bearing the intelligence of her recovery 
from a fever. Who would think I was glad to receive 
this letter ! I had been miserable for three weeks in ap- 
prehension for Harman. This new calamity has affected 
me with a kind of lethargy, from which I awake often in 
surprise, to wonder that we are all four alive, as if life, 
upon any terms, was unnatural in our present prospects. 
0, Melancholy ! how long wilt thou brood upon me. I 
have begun a letter to my wife. Sustain her strength, O 
God, who approvest her virtue, and can best assuage her 
sufferings. Mr. Marshall, at length, has delivered an 



or precipitately unfolds itself we behold in each succeeding connection, 
and arising from the same corrupt and contaminated source, the same base 
and degenerate conduct. I could not have supposed that you would have 
completed the catalogue of your crimes by adding to the guilt of treachery, 
forgery and perjury, the accomplishment of cowardice. But every succeed- 
ing day presents you in a new light to the public, and plunges you still 
deeper in crime and ignominy. Having failed in two different attempts to 
procure an interview with you, such as no gentleman of honor could refuse, 
I have only to pronounce and publish you to the world as a coward and 
paltroon. One word more before I take my leave. This is a critical moment 
in the life of your Excellency. Your reputation is gone for ever, and your 
life totters on the verge of dissolution. As you can not pretend to the es- 
teem of any man living, you should have sought a momentary reputation 
in the applause of even your enemies. You should have been brave, and died 
like a man. Tour enemies would then have forgotten the wrongs you had 
done them. Your country would have been appeased, and even Judas for- 
given. You should have considered that there is some small merit in even 
a villain's bravery ; it was all you were supposed to possess this side of 
the grave. You should have made much of it; it might have served to 
wipe away some portion of the stain which your treachery and turpitude 
have fixed upon your character. S. Swabtwout, 

Richmond, 21st October, 1807. 



Digitized by 



Google 



LONGINGS. 461 

elaborate opinion, purporting that he can not commit any 
of us for treason ; not because we had none in our hearts, 
but because we did none with our hands. But the last 
article has determined him to commit me for trial, to 
Ohio, for a misdemeanor. Burr is, of course, ordered on 
this new dance. I shall, however, I fancy, leave the little 
emperor to exhibit in it alone; for it is now time I 
should withdraw behind the scenes, even though I should 
employ Duane to shift them. I shall therefore set out to 
Philadelphia, first for this object, and next to close my 
pecuniary affairs with Burr there, which I could not do 
here. I have given bail for my appearance at Chil- 
licothe, the 4th of January; bondsmen, Smith and 
Commins. 

Wednesday, October 21, 1807. 

Burr is in a sort of keeping at his own house, en- 
deavoring to get all his bail renewed in the civil suits 
here depending against him. Martin has become his 
security, I believe, to the amount of $15,000. How much 
of this he may eventually sink in the purchase of the 
old staple of experience, he will ascertain in about six 
months. 

Thursday, October 22, 1807. 

Wrote to my wife a letter to go by Ashley, which I 
will not close until the moment before I leave this town. 
It will reach her, and, I trust, tend to support her until I 
can escape, and then into Florida with her, if necessary, 
which I am determined to attempt, rather than play a 
part in a second trial, which would separate me from my 
family, probably, for not less than a year from hence. 



Digitized by 



Google 



462 THE BLENNBBHAS8BTT PAPERS. 

Was I criminal in seeking some little refuge from my 
trouble this evening at the Musical Society ? I met there 
Mesdames Wickham, Chevalier and the Misses M. I 
only took a part in one quartette* By particular desire of 
those ladies. Midnight. 

Friday, Oci*)ber 23, 1807. 

Breakfasted at Mrs. Chevalier's, where I met a pleasant 
party. At ten o'clock I rode out to visit Banks, and pre- 
scribe for an indisposition with which he is affected. 
Smith, being finally discharged by the Chief Justice, left 
me yesterday for New York. I am endeavoring to ob- 
tain a lot of negroes, in partnership with Dr. Commins,. 
though I fear we shall not succeed. This evening visited 
Wickham, to fee him with a few — words. He thinks, in 
case Government should be disposed to desire my convic- 
tioil at Chillicothe, Woodbridge's evidence will enable 
them easily to affect it. Revisited and spent the evening' 
with Banks. He has offered to lend me one hundred 
dollars, which I shall probably accept, to enable me to 
return Chevalier's money. I take a horse* and gig from 
Banks, as there is no conveyance from hence, in any pub- 
lic or private carriage, for ten days to come. Burr, Mar- 
tin, Commins, and myself, with two servants, will proba- 
bly form a cavalcade to move to-morrow or next day. I 
must raise money in Philadelphia, on chances, and even 
strain a point with Commins, there to aid me whatever 
success I may have with Burr. 

Saturday, October 24, 1807. 
I have been all day too ambulatory to spend a moment 



Digitized by 



Google 



METAL. 468 

with these notes, before now, 11, P. M. I am just re- 
turned from a two-mile walk in th« dark, to take leave 
of the family of my friend, John Banks, who has kindly 
pressed me to borrow the largest sum, I believe, he could 
spare. And before I lie down to take two hours' rest, 
before I am called up to set off in the stage for the Fede- 
ral city, I must note my having closed a letter I began 
several days ago to my wife, to go by Ashley, who will 
commence his journey to-morrow or the next day. My 
excellent Mend Jos. Lewis, I find by letter from him this 
evening, has removed my fears for my credit and honor* 
,by remitting to Mr. Chevalier $1,000, to replace that sum 
lately lent me by Mr. C. The house it seems, in Phila- 
delphia, must still suspend my credit, on account of the 
removal of Sander's attachment. But J. L. will lend his 
generous friendship to succor that honor of a friend in 
distress, who is not, I trust, unworthy of the sympathies 
of his liberal heart. His counsel will soon direct my dis- 
tracted cares to peace. 

• 
Washington City, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 1807. 

Luther Martin has just made his final immersion into 
the daily bath of his faculties, after a series of appari- 
tions, in all the phases of his accustomed orbit. Whether 
in a stage-coach, or a tavern, he is indefatigable, under 
the united stimulus of egotism and benevolence, to harrass 
the gratitude or tax the patience of his friends. At 3 
o'clock, A. M., on Saturday morning, at Richmond, he 
joined us in the coach, and neither the privation of sleep, 
nor the fatigue of the journey, have in the least checked 
his loquacity, or lessened his good humor. He read to 



Digitized by 



Google 



464 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

me an able pamphlet, on the subject of Jefferson's rejec- 
tion of the new British Treaty, while we were jolting and 
jarring over as bad a road as any country can lament, 
with more dispatch than I could peruse it in my chair. 
His strong memory made him interesting all the way, in 
his anecdotes and stories ; and he is not unhappy in his 
powers of ridicule, which is well pointed, until it soon 
becomes blunted by the suggestions of his benevolence 
and the abrasions of his verbosity, which, like the revo- 
lutions of a grindstone, soon wear away the subject ap- 
plied to it, without undergoing in itself any sensible dim- 
inution. We spent last night at Alexandria, where we 
recruited our strength by a good night's rest, and reached 
this city to-day, by a packet-boat, about 1, P. M. Here, 

at Hotel, Martin has kept up an incessant fire 

against Democrats and the Administration, for he has 
had no want of that ammunition with which he always 
primes and loads for such duty. In our own room, occu- 
pied by Commins, Martin and myself, he is not content 
to confine his feats for the gratification of ourselves and 
a few occasional visitors. He has several times carried 
his arms into the enemies' country — I mean the public 
room occupied chiefly by members of Congress, with 
many of whom he has no acquaintance, while all admire 
and acknowledge him privileged. I had the satisfaction 
of reading the President's message in half an hour after 
it was communicated to-day to Congress. The news is 
here, that Jefferson will yet support Wilkinson, though 
he may not find a more respectable Democrat than McRae 
to back him. Yet he says nothing in the message of the 
General's honor as a soldier, or his fidelity as a citizen. 



Digitized by 



Google 



PAMPHLETEERING. 465 

He now speaks only of his energy, which, in conjunction 
with the exertions of the army and the patriotism of the 
militia, dissipated the plots that were formed on the Mis- 
sissippi. The same paragraph of the message opens by 
implicating a contingency that may induce the Govern- 
ment party in Congress to impeach Mr. Marshall, by sig- 
nifying a doubt, whether we have not still the use of our 
necks through the misconduct of the Judge. Should the 
latter suffer, *t were penance for that timidity of conduct, 
which was probably as instrumental in keeping him from 
imbruing his hands in our blood as it was operative in 
inducing him to continue my vexations, to pacify the 
menaces and clamorous yells of the cerberus of Democ- 
racy with a sop which he would moisten, at least, with 
the tears of my family. Should this be well founded, 
what pity would sacrifice to his sufferings ; and if it is 
undoubtedly true, that in a private conversation he had 
with Martin, soon after the latter first arrived in Rich- 
mond, he observed to him, " that it would be difficult or 
dangerous for a jury to venture to acquit Burr, however 
innocent they might think him," who hence will believe 
that the greatest talents lodged in such nerves are not, 
when exercised in the judgment-seat, rather a public 
curse executed on a nation, than a natural blessing con- 
ferred upon the individual. Besides, the seasonable ap- 
pearance, at this crisis, of a pamphlet by J. Daveiss, the 
Judge's brother-in-law, and late District Federal Attorney 
for Kentucky, removed from his office, for his premature 
and unsuccessful prosecution of Burr ; the indiscriminate 
censure, in this pamphlet, of Jefferson, Wilkinson and 

Burr; the probable information the Judge must have had 
30 



Digitized by 



Google 



466 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

of this intended publication, when he opened to the pros- 
ecutors as wide a field of investigation as they desired on 
their motion for our recommitment; and, in short, the 
well-known spirit of clanship and co-operation with 
which the Marshalls and all their connections are so uni- 
formly animated — ail these motives will clearly explain 
how readily the Judge must be disposed to favor alike 
the ruin of Burr, "Wilkinson and Jefferson, in every thing 
short of murder. Ah ! generous and accomplished Mer- 
cer, how will your virtues hereafter receive my devotions, 
if you should think them polluted with these blasphemies 
against the admired relative of your adored? But as my 
reflections are penned for no eye but that of my wife and 
two or three confidential friends, it will not be suspected 
by those who know my heart, that whatever share of 
further sufferings may result to me from the conduct of 
the Judge, can in the least generate my suspicions of his 
integrity, or warp my judgment of his behavior. Com- 
mins leaves this early to-morrow morning, for Balti- 
more, where I expect to join him the day after to-mor- 
morrow. I entertain strong hopes of being able to 
obtain some negroes in partnership with him. Burr did 
not come along with us from Richmond, but will, we all 
believe, be through here in a day or two. I am enabled 
to say, from separate information I have obtained from 
Martin and Gommins, he has made use of all the confi- 
dence he could inspire them with, to the utmost extent at 
Richmond, where he has induced them to become his 
securities, in all the civil suits instituted there against him, 
to amount of $36,000. I have no doubt he has set every 
engine of his ingenuity at work to effect this object. The 



Digitized by 



Google 



PECULATING. 467 

credulity and good nature of Martin, who worships even 
his vices, and is as assiduous in enlarging upon his looks 
and sayings as ever Boswell delighted in such drudgery 
for Johnson ; and the vanity of Commins, to purchase the 
interest of a man whose resources appear to his under- 
standing inexhaustible; both needed but little the col- 
lateral security of Pollock, which, however, Burr has noc 
only exhibited to them, but he has besides laid before 
them my expectations of succeeding to a large fortune 
in Europe; thereby meaning to persuade them also, no 
doubt, that he will then control my finances ; although 
he had promised me he would not communicate my pros- 
pects of the probability of that event to any one. Such 
is his honor; such his unerring purpose to take every 
chance of converting even the hopes of his acquaintances 
to his own interest. On the whole, I should be well 
pleased with this last liberty he has taken with me, if it 
should hereafter make a part of that basis on which I 
shall endeavor to ground his effects to arrange my present 
pecuniary demands upon him. It is quite unaccountable 
how he has disposed of all the cash he raised in Kentucky 
last year. Jourdan has convinced me that he, Burr, actu- 
ally received through his hands, at Lexington, not less 
than $40,000, of which he never advanced more than 
$15,000 to all his agents and associates, to say nothing of 
all the property he procured upon 'his drafts. He 
could since have spent but little money, having received 
much from the United States, and having been in custody 
until very lately. I shall, to-morrow, endeavor to investi- 
gate the further views of Government upon me. 



Digitized by 



Google 



468 the blennerhassett papers. 

"Wednesday, October 28, 1807. 

I have, this morning, written by Martin to Rodney, 
the United States Attorney-General, to request him to 
inform me, officially, whether Government is now dis- 
posed to prosecute me any further, in conformity with 
the late adjudication of the Chief Justice, or will finally 
discharge me, as has been done, I hear, in the case of 
Tyler ; or will dispense with my personal appearance at 
Chillicothe until the September session of the Court 
there, as Government can not probably be prepared to 
prosecute at the next January term; and, in the mean 
time, the occasions of my family, and the serious de- 
mands of my private affairs, require my presence at 
Natchez. I am very anxious to receive an answer before 
dinner, in which I much fear I shall not be gratified, 
through my friend M.'s more indispensable devotion to 
his libations. I shall, however, note the result, I hope, 
to-night. 

But I have been disappointed; for, though I spent a 
dollar in coach-hire to go with Martin, this evening, in 
quest of Rodney, we could not see him, as he was not 
returned from the President's, where he dined. Martin, 
I find, is very incontinent of every thing, which ordinary 
discretion should not disclose, where there is no injunc- 
tion, in terms of secrecy. He assured me, to-day, he is 
prepared to sacrifice $10,000 for Burr, if the collateral 
security of Pollock should fail ; that it will be nothing 
more than diminishing a provision of so friuch he had 
made by will for his three daughters, which he had orig- 
inally destined for a Miss Thompson, now Mrs. Living- 



Digitized by 



Google 



WASHINGTON CITY. 469 

ston, to whom he gave an allowance of $600 a year, for 
Bix or seven years. But her husband is now richer than 
himself; "however, let the worst happen," he added, 
" he had signed blank bonds, which he left to be filled 
up by the attorneys employed against Burr ; " and such 
bonds, he says, are void by late decisions of the English 
Courts, adopted by the Courts here. This would seem 
inconsistent with the warm spirit of integrity which 
seems to breathe in all his thoughts and actions. And 
he declared accordingly, he would not take advantage 
of the circumstance. I also find his idolatrous admira- 
tion of Mrs. Alston is almost as excessive as my own, 
but far more beneficial to his interest, and injurious to his 
judgment, as it is the medium of his blind attachment to 
her father, whose secrets and views past, present, or to 
come, he is, and wishes, to remain ignorant of. Nor 
can he see a speck in the character or conduct of Al- 
ston, for the best of all reasons with him ; namely, that 
Alston has such a wife. 

This city has certainly no resemblance to any other 
upon earth. Its extent, as originally laid out, has been 
known for some years past, upon paper; but a few of 
its singular features, as they now smile or frown upon 
the Potomac, are remarkable. As to streets, literally 
speaking, there is not one yet in existence, unless the 
few wide paths and half-made roads that intersect each 
other can be called streets. On a hill, at the head of 
one of these, about a mile from the river, stand the two 
wings, without the body, of what is to constitute, but is 
already called, the Capitol. They are cumbrous, ill-pro- 
portioned, piles of building to my eye ; with too small a 



Digitized by 



Google 



470 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

space for the central building, if ever reared. About 
another mile's distance, io the westward, stands the Presi- 
dent's house, with a low dead-wall in front, and an 
ordinary post-and-rail fence in the rear of it. On either 
si de of it, stands what are called its wings, which any 
person would require to be told were such before he could 
believe it ; for they are of brick, and at too great a dis- 
tance to appear to belong to the large White House be- 
tween them any more than to the Capitol. They are each 
a row of ordinary brick houses ; in those to the West is 
kept the Post-office ; in those to the East, the Secretary 
of State's office is, etc. ; and both, it is said, are to be con- 
nected with the center by a garden. But the last feature 
of architecture has not yet made its appearance. From 
the Capitol you behold, in four or five different directions, 
at the distance of from one to Four miles apart, rows of 
houses, each of five or six together, so that the whole 
appears like a jumble of fragments of villages, except 
that part, being one and a half mile north-east of the 
Capitol, where the Navy-yard is said to stand, which is 
more built up than any other quarter of the city. # But 
after all, every foreigner, after his arrival here, will in- 
quire for fifty years to come, as is now very common, 
" where is the city of Washington ? " Martin visited Rob. 
Smith this evening, where he heard Wilkinson extolled, 
and Burr as heavily denounced, as if he had not yet been 
tried. Mr. and Mrs. Smith declared Government had 
abundant proofs against Burr, which they could not pro- 
duce from confidential restrictions. Martin, before he 
left them, convinced himself they would gladly dispense 
with his visit. 



Digitized by 



Google 



no wab! 471 

Thursday, October 29, 1807. 

I went this morning with Martin, in a carriage, to visit 
Eodney, before breakfast. R. is a trifling negative char- 
acter, from whose manner I could at once perceive he had 
yesterday spoken with Jefferson of my arrival here. He 
abruptly told us, " Government meant certainly to pro- 
ceed against us ; " on which he was received with a volley 
of abuse by Martin, who thanked his God for the news, 
as Government would thereby hasten the consummation 
of their own infamy. Rodney seemed surprised to learn 
from us that not a single witness had as yet been bound 
or summoned to appear in Ohio. I told him, as my call 
upon him was in his official character, I would leave him 
the letter I had yesterday written to him, which he prom- 
ised he would, and did, answer this evening, by three or 
four lines, saying, " he could only observe, at present, that 
I would be bound to attend, pursuant to the recognizance 
I entered into at Richmond. So he is also trained to 
teaze, if he can not injure, the infidels who worship not 
the divinity of Jefferson. Martin has solemnly pledged 
himself to meet Government, at the sitting of the Court 
in January, in Ohio ; to see things are conducted regu- 
larly, so far as may concern Burr and me, whether we 
personally appear there or not. He has found out from 
Robert Smith, that Jefferson has no thoughts of war 
with Britain, of which he has so much affected the con- 
trary ; for he will never act as he speaks or writes ; he 
will always counteract his political professions by his 
back-stairs committees, until Jack Randolph shall finally 
sever him from them. Burr, I hear, is arrived at George- 



Digitized by 



Google 



472 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

town, three miles from hence, up the river. If so, he 
will probably be of our party to-morrow, to Baltimore. 
We set oft* at five in the morning, in the stage. Several 
northern members of Congress, whose names I know not, 
have had the curiosity or politeness to visit us. From 
one of them I was truly concerned to learn the death of 
Mr. Hunt, which happened last July, as he himself pre- 
dicted, on his new purchase at French Grant, on the 
Ohio. This place has been extremely tiresome to me. 
The taverns are very dear, and badly kept; so that I shall 
leave it with pleasure. I wrote to-day to my landlord, 
"Walton, John Banks, and my wife, lo gratify, as far as I 
could, all their cares and solicitude for my future desti- 
nies. To all I acknowledged that tribute I so justly owe 
to Martin, who, with better breeding, and a redemption 
from his habits of inebriety, would be a perfect character. 
His heart is truly overflowing with the purest milk of 
benevolence. His potations may sometimes, perhaps, co- 
agulate, but they will never acidify the fluid with which 
it is so well replenished. May it never be wasted on the 
unworthy. 

Washington, October 80, 1807. 

Rose before five this morning ; but, as the coach then 
drove up with a cargo of eleven passengers, I have been 
detained here another day. I have borne the ennui, with 
which I have spent it, with such patience that I would 
not walk fifty yards from the tavern to visit the Hall of 
Congress, or observe how they ballot there for their 
officers or their committees; though I certainly should 
have gone so far to hear a debate, had there been any. 



Digitized by 



Google 



GENEROUS BARBER. 473 

The election of officers reminds me of a curious Repub- 
lican caper at Richmond, last winter, which, as it was of 
a negative nature, can not be recorded in that State, but 
should be known every-where else, to convict it of im- 
moral conduct, if not of impiety. It was nothing more 
than a " remembering to forget," on the part of the Legis- 
lature, I mean the house of delegates, during the whole 
session, the immemorial custom to appoint a chaplain. 
Burr, I hear again, is somewhere in this city. But I no 
more depend upon his appearance than on that of a new 
comet. We start to-morrow again. 

Baltimore, November 1, 1807. 

Before I mention my having arrived here, at last, I shall 
note the generosity of my barber at Washington, who re- 
luctantly received three-quarters of a dollar from me, be- 
cause I observed to him, " I should give him more than 
his charge, if I was not rather poor at present." And he 
evinced his sincerity by assuring me he had $100 at my 
service, which he requested me to accept. How is this to 
be accounted for ? Devereux, Hendren, O'Hennessy, and 
Butler will all exclaim, " He was an Irishman ! " So he 
is : his name is Dixon, and it shall ever remain recorded 
in the duties of my gratitude. Yesterday, Martin and 
myself were wedged in among ten other passengers in the 
coach. A Mr. Blount, brother of the late Governor of 
Tennessee, was of the number. He is an infuriated Demo- 
crat, was at the battle of Germantown, and ordered the 
aim of the riflemen who shot General Agnew in that 
affair. I saw Tyler on alighting from the coach, who 
showed me his discharge, in the handwriting of Rodney, 



Digitized by 



Google 



474 THE BLBNNERHASSKTT PAPERS. 

whom he declares he has not seen, having received it 
from Captain Pike, who escorted him to Washington 
City. Tyler denies his having made any deposition 
against me any where, and professes his friendship and 
attachment to Burr, whom he is very anxious to see 
before he sets out for New York with Sam. Swartwout. 
To-day I left my cards at Pringle's and the Gilmore's. 
Of these families, I only saw Mrs. Vm. Gilmore, who 
seemed glad to see me. I have a little curiosity to collect 
in my fallen fortune as many exceptions as I can .establish 
to the general condemnation of mankind pronounced 
upon them by the adversity of individuals. I break- 
fasted with Martin, and shall dine with him to-morrow, 
as well as all the Burrites in town. Burr, I hear, was, 
last night, at Georgetown. His appearance here is as 
much a matter of curiosity with his enemies as of inter- 
est with his friends. But the elements of his orbit, I 
repeat, are as unsettled as those of a new comet. Mar- 
tin thinks he might have been detained to raise money 
enough to pay his tavern-bills, etc., while Commins says 
Burr assured him he should suffer no detention on that 
account. So it uniformly turns out, that no two persons 
of his acquaintance will ever understand him alike ; and 
yet all who still adhere to him profess a unity of con- 
fidence in him. Commins has brought on a fever by 
his debaucheries. I shall stay here at least till Wed- 
nesday. 11, P. M. 

Baltimore, November 2, 1807. 

I spent the principal part of the morning with Martin, 
reading the papers and conversing with various visitors 



Digitized by 



Google 



booties' march. 475 

he received. The news we deemed worthy of most notice 
before dinner, was that of two arrivals in town, namely, 
"Wilkinson's baggage, preparatory to his taking up his 
quarters at Fort McHenry, near this city, and Burr's 
appearance at the French Hotel in Gay street. So the 
Brigadier, as I expected, will probably never revisit the 
Mississippi in his present command, nor probably long 
retain it here, notwithstanding all the control he may pos- 
sess over the heart of Jefferson, and though he boasted, 
not long, since, at Richmond, that he would be at Natchez 
in thirty days. Burr will probably show himself as little 
as possible to the public. He has, therefore, sneaked into 
obscure quarters, though Steward, who now manages this 
house since Evans's death, declared he would accommo- 
date Col. Burr and his friends with as much attention in 
their adversity as he could have done in the days of their 
better fortune. The expression of this sentiment was 
drawn from him on the occasion of some liberal Demo- 
crats threatening to leave the house, if we were received 
into it. I dined with Martin, who had a select party, 
though he left out two Burrites, Tyler and Luckett. 
Burr called upon Martin, for a few moments, before din- 
ner. He returned in the evening, and had a long confer- 
ence with Tyler in an adjoining room ; during which the 
attention of our party in the dining-room was called forth 
to receive, at the windows, some public honors offered 
to us from the street. A desperate Democratic printer, 
commanding a company of one of the city regiments, 
whose name is Frely, drew up his men under the win- 
dows, and there halted, while his fife and drum played 
the " Rogues' March" for us ; then gave three cheers, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



476 THE BLENNEKHASSETT PAPERS. 

marched off. This salutation has prepared fresh fuel to 
keep up the blaze of Martin's wrath against all his oppo- 
nents. Burr, on his return with Tyler to us, said, " these 
excesses of indecency always recoil on those who enter 
into them;" and he soon after withdrew, not evidently 
indifferent to such manifestations of public regards, 
which, however,- 1 am sure, Martin will make his own 
use of with good effect against Wright, the Governor of 
Maryland, whom Martin first brought into notice, which 
the Governor no longer remembers. I left soon after, that 
is, about 8, P. M., but did not go to bed till 11. At 10, 
I had a long conversation with Tyler, who, I find, has 
long since taken up all my impressions of Burr, and will 
spare no labor to infuse his opinions into the prejudices 
of Colonel Swartwout, whom, he has no doubt, he will 
induce to adopt his sentiments. 

Tuesday, November 8, 1807. 

Having accidentally met Hayden, the dentist, this 
morning, who mentioned to me the late arrival, at the 
Academy, of a grand electrical machine, I could not sup- 
press my wishes to see it. Hayden obligingly offered to 
walk there with me, which I accepted. He introduced 
me to the Principal of the Seminary, who received me 
very politely, and presented me to a Mr. Paguet, who 
took upon him the exhibition of the powers of the ma- 
chine. This was a superb plate of forty-six French inches 
diameter, with a conductor, forming three sides of a par- 
allelogram, one of them in front of, and parallel to, the 
plate ; the two others, perpendicular to it. The machine, 
with two turns of the plate, gave sparks twelve inches 



Digitized by 



Google 



JUDGE LYNCH. 477 

long, and charged a battery, about fifteen feet of coated 
glass, in ten turns, which killed a duck. On my return 
from the seminary, I repaired to L. Martin's, where one 
of his students informed me he expected a mob would 
this evening attack the house, and offer violence to Mr. 
Martin, Col. Burr and myself, of which notice had been 
given by hand-bills, which had been circulated through 
the town. Martin was not at home. I eagerly sought a 
view of one of the bills, which is in these words : 

" Awpul ! ! ! 

" The public are hereby notified that four * choice spir- 
its ' are this afternoon, at 3 o'clock, to be marshaled for 
execution by the hangman, on Gallows Hill, in conse- 
quence of the sentence pronounced against them by the 
unanimous voice of every honest man in the community. 
The respective crimes for which they suffer are thus 
stated on the record : first, Chief Justice M. for a repeti- 
tion of his X. T. Z. tricks, which are said to be much 
aggravated by his felonins capers in open Court, on the 
plea of irrelevancy ; secondly, His Quid Majesty, charged 
with the trifling fault of wishing to divide the Union, 

and farm Baron Bastrop's grant ; thirdly, B , the 

chemist, convicted of conspiring to destroy the tone of 
the public Fiddle ; fourthly, and lastly, but not least, 
Latoyer Brandy-Bottle, for a false, scandalous, malicious 
Prophecy, that, before six months, ' Aaron Burr would 
divide the Union.' N. B. The execution of accomplices 
is postponed to a future day." 

My .first inquiries of the few acquaintances I met in the 
streets, who now know me, were directed by a desire to 



Digitized by 



Google 



478 THE BLBNNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

acquire some estimate of what we might expect in the 
evening; but I obtained little satisfaction. I then thought 
Burr might be best informed, as his vigilance I had be- 
fore proved to be lively at all times, was most sharp on 
the approach of danger. I know not whether Tyler had 
smelt out what was brewing before I had heard any thing 
about it, but found, on my return from the seminary, be- 
fore I had heard the news, he had fled rather precipi- 
tately ; for he had declared to me, not two hours before I 
last went to seek him, that he should not go away until 
to-morrow. I therefore bent my course straight to Burr, 
at his shabby quarters, in Gay Street, where I waited full 
fifteen minutes before I could see him. I afterward found 
he was packing up his things to escape in the mail, which 
was to leave in ten minutes. He labored hard within, I 
could plainly see, to exhibit that composure of manner, to 
which he has devoted so much of his life, to form .his 
exterior by. He would not wait to write the superscrip- 
tion of a letter, which he requested me to direct for him 
to David M. Randolph. I bid him adieu, with an assur- 
ance that I would follow him to-morrow, and he said I 

should find him at G , in Philadelphia. On my return 

to Evans's, I found Martin, Luckett and Commins in my 
bed-room. Martin defied the menaces of the mob, but 
he assured me he had just left the mayor, who had prom- 
ised him to make all necessary arrangements to secure 
the peace of the city, and protect every one from per- 
sonal injury. 

Luckett having come by a different way from that I 
took, though I was walking the streets in every direction 
all the morning, told me Burr and Swartwout had been 



Digitized by 



Google 



KIND TREATMENT. 479 

escorted by a guard sent them by the mayor, from their 
lodgings to the stage-office, from whence he had seen 
them start, under the good wishes of many spectators. 
Commins denounced the Government and its rabble, and 
said, it was impossible any thing should be attempted 
against us ; but I thought otherwise. I deliberated a lit- 
tle on the various reports I had heard, however different 
in particulars, yet all agreeing that Martin and myself 
should at least receive an addition to our wardrobe, of a 
suit of tar and feathers. I thought it would not be im- 
proper to leave town, or at least change my lodgings 
forthwith. But I soon reflected, how naturally Burr 
might expect to receive unwelcome obloquy for his flight, 
and I at once determined to keep my ground. At din- 
ner, therefore, I took my seat, amidst a very large com- 
pany, at the long table, and remained there conversing a 
long time with a Frenchman, who sat next me, at least 
half an hour after 3 o'clock, the time designated in the 
hand-bills for the spectacle that was to take place in the 
evening. I should have sat, I know not how much 
longer, had not Steward, who manages the house, brought 
a man up to me, who inquired my name. On giving it 
to him, he said he belonged to the police of the city, and 
had been sent, with several others of that body, to watch, 
and give notice of any attempt upon the public peace, or 
on the persons of individuals. "That the mayor had 
particularly mentioned me to him by name," which I be- 
lieved, as he said Mr. Thoroughgood Smith observed to 
him, " he had formerly known me and my lady here." I 
took this man out; his name is Goldsmith. I then 
ordered liquor for him and his companions in another 



Digitized by 



Google 



480 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

room, where I thanked them for the service they, in the 
way of their duty, were come to render me. They 
informed me, two troops of horse were ordered out, 
and I had nothing to fear. The time passed away in 
conversation with these men, about twelve in number, 
until near 5 o'clock, when I sent Goldsmith to request 
Martin to come to me, as I wished to share his fate, hav- 
ing understood from them that I ought not to go out 
of the house, which I interpreted into something like 
a wish on the part of the mayor. Soon after I returned 
to my room to write, Goldsmith came to me with intel- 
ligence that Martin could not be seen at his house ; that 
his students and some friends were armed, and well 
prepared to repel an expected assault on the house ; " but 
that the people were in motion in great force, had every 
thing prepared for tarring and feathering," and would, 
he believed, if disappointed or opposed, tear Martin and 
myself to pieces. He then begged of me not to leave the 
room I was in, adding, "that his companions would 
drown him, if they could, in a basin of water, for his 
attention to me, though he was as good a Republican as 
any of them." I now suspected this man might possibly 
direct the drunken desperadoes of an enraged multitude 
to my apartment. I therefore determined to change it 
for another the moment he left me. In a few minutes, 
Steward came up stairs, and told me to go into the gar- 
ret, which I soon did, under an apprehension that I was 
betrayed or sought after. In the garret, I observed two 
trap-doors opening through the roof of the house, on 
which I resolved to take my station, from whence I 
might contemplate at my leisure, if I could not distinctly 



Digitized by 



Google 



THE MOB. 481 

see the scenes that might shortly pass in the streets 
below. Both the trap-doors were open. I shut down 
one of them, and intended to cut off my return into the 
nouse by shutting the other, should it become necessary. 
But an uproar soon rose to my ears from below, and 
from one of the garret windows I saw the mob pass by 
the house, to the amount of about fifteen hundred, as 
well as I could estimate, in full huzza, with fife and drum 
playing the " Rogue's march." I have since learned, they 
drew along with them, in two carts, the representatives, 
habited for execution, of the Chief Justice, Burr, Martin 
and myself. They passed on to Martin's house, in 
Charles-street, where they broke some of his windows, 
and performed some other feats, of which I have not yet 
learned the particulars. In the mean time, two troops of 
cavalry patrolled the streets, not to disperse the mob, but 
to follow and behold their conduct. They, the mob, 
made as much noise as if they were about to destroy the 
city, and returned about 7 o'clock to the point from 
whence they came, headed, I hear, by one Patterson, who 
lives there ; while the cavalry have, I suppose, been long 
since dismissed, in full confidence in the honor of the 
mobility. I have been down stairs to supper at the long 
table. It is now near 10 o'clock, and I have not these 
two hours heard any more of either of them. How far 
the respectable part of the city will think it worth their 
while to show they had no participation in this frolic, 
which, I am informed, was chiefly made up at the " point," 
we shall hereafter learn. I believe it altogether orig- 
inated with the Democratic printers here, who are but 

little controlled by one spiritless Federal paper, which is 
31 



Digitized by 



Google 



482 THE BLENNERUASSETT PAPERS. 

all there is at present on that side; while there are three 
or more Federal prints supported in Philadelphia, where 
I have no expectation of receiving similar public honors 
to those conferred upon me here. Wrote to Natchez, to 
counteract, by anticipation, the alarms my friends there 
might take up for my safety, from the rapid circulation 
of rumors, etc. 

Wednesday, November 4, 1807. 

Went early this morning to Martin's, where I saw Mr. 
Ray, a warm friend to him, who had taken, last night, 
the direction of the gentlemen who had volunteered to 
defend the house. Martin and his property, I found, were 
untouched last night, the mob having contented them- 
selves with menaces and abuse, offering a defiance to the 
party within and the cavalry without, from whence I 
conclude that the mayor was intimidated by them and a 
large majority of the two troops of horse, well disposed 
to their views or their leaders ; namely, one Biayo, and 
others from the " point." Martin did not appear to his 
friends until this morning. I took leave of him on my 
way to the packet, by which I set out for Philadelphia, 
where I arrived, with no occurrence during the journey, 
on Thursday, 5th of November, at 3 o'clock, P. M. Put 
up at the Mausion House, late Bingham's, kept by an 
Englishman, in the best style I ever saw in America. 
Dined, dressed, and visited Burr and my worthy friends, 
Mr. and Mrs. Jos. Lewis. Burr pretended he should 
have waited, if he had not believed every thing at Balti- 
more would have ended with the hand-bills. He was 
very glad to hear of Martin's having so well escaped, and 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN PHILADELPHIA. 483 

said he would give Bollman, who boarded where I did, a 
letter of introduction to me. I observed to him, that 
probably Dr. Bollman did not wish my acquaintance, as 
he had never called upon me in Richmond. Burr tried 
to excuse this, but failed. He is trying to live here 
incog., but every one knows he is in town. I supped 
with Mr, and Mrs. Lewis, en famille, where my friendly 
reception, kind inquiries, and the interesting conversa- 
tion of my amiable friends, agreeably detained me until 

midnight, when I took leave, with a promise to dine 

« 

with them to-morrow. 

Friday, November 6, 1807. 

Spent the morning chiefly in examining the newspapers 

and visits to the Lewises, Conrad, C h and TurnbulPs 

families, as my friend Joe Lewis's dinner-hour is 2 o'clock. 
Before I went there, I had a call from R. Lewis, to bring 
me a letter from Walton, of no importance, and engage 
me to dinner with him to-morrow. Passed the evening 
sociably, t$te-a-t£te, with Joe L. ; during which I was 
chiefly occupied in conversation with him on the subject 
of Burr's trials and adventures, and also that of my pres- 
ent financial derangements. About 7, P. M., we were 
called into the street by an alarm of fire, which turned 
out to be groundless ; and I saw him back to his house, 
where I then left him, to return to my lodgings, as I had 
a severe headache. Before I went to bed, I observed that 
the " American," a Democratic paper of Baltimore, con- 
tained an invidious paragraph approving of the insults 
offered to us there last Tuesday evening, Bollman has left 
his card with me, with a letter of introduction from Burr. 



Digitized by 



Google 



481 the blenxerhassett papers. 

Saturday, November 7, 1807. 

At breakfast, this morning, Bollman presented himself 
to me upon his credentials, and I received him into my ac- 
quaintance with all the ease of courtly etiquette I am mas- 
ter of. I invited him to take a seat by me, and entered 
into conversation with him on general topics, which was 
sustained for half an hour, and succeeded by his obliging 
me with his view of the Mississippi country, and particu- 
larly the environs of New Orleans, for which he enter- 
tained a decided preference to any other quarter, and pro- 
jects, probably without the command of a dollar, nothing 
less than the purchase of an estate, at $60,000, within five 
miles of that city. Daniel Clark has assured him it is a 
great bargain, as it will yield a revenue of $15,000 a year 
by adding a few slaves to those already on it ; and Boll- 
man only wants a friend or two to join with $10,000 each, 
and he can effect the rest. I have little doubt Bollman 
has conceived I may be of use to him in this affair ; but 
I am certain he can not serve me in it. Mrs. David Ran- 
dolph had no small trial of her skill in detecting this 
man's character, if her judgment has not erred in the 
attempt ; for his countenance, manner and address possess 
every qualification to engage the warmest interest in his 
favor as a scholar, a gentleman, or perhaps a gallant. Yet 
he has formerly failed in this town as a merchant, rather 
through his excesses in speculation and intrigue than from 
any natural inaptitude to that sort of life. And his late 
wife's family discovered enough in him to determine them 
to oppose his connection with the N". family as far as was 
possible. But I will, at present let him rest. I dined 



Digitized by 



Google 



HEALTH RESTORED. 485 

and spent the early part of the evening with Jt. Lewis, in 
the same way I did yesterday with his brother, that is, 
in the enjoyment of good wines and friendly conversation. 
I must, however, partake of no more of these early din- 
ners, as the long sittings that succeed them leave no time, 
these short days, to transact whatever business may yet 
detain me here. Duane has announced the arrival of 
Admiral Blennerhassett, at the Mansion House, and re- 
published, from the " Baltimore Whig," its invitation to 
invest us with a suit of " Yankee ermine/' as well as the 
process-verbal of the mobility of that city. But I shall 
visit this apostle of Democracy on Monday. 

Sunday, Novembbb 8, 1807. 

Visited, this morning, by Tom. Butler, who made me 
very happy, by learning from him my beloved wife had 
quite recovered from her fever, and she and the boys were 
well after the middle of last September, when he saw them. 
While I was attending the service at the Roman Catholic 
chapel in Fourth Street, I had the honor of morning vis- 
its from sundry great personages, who left their cards for 
me ; namely, Burr, Bollman and George Pollock, reputed 
to be very rich, whose education, I have heard, Burr has 
had some concern with, and at whose house here he has 
taken up his quarters. After my return from Mass, I was 
visited by a Mr. Reckless, of New Jersey, who seems a 
warm partisan of Burr, and is engaged in endeavoring to 
do away an indictment, pending in that State against 
Burr, for the killing of General Hamilton. Upon the re- 
moval of this impediment, I find Burr means to try the 
effect of requisitions upon a considerable party he consid- 



Digitized by 



Google 



486 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ers attached, to him in that quarter. Mr. R. treated me with 
much consideration, and said, " while I was abroad, some 
members of the Jersey Legislature had come with him to 
wait upon me." I find, indeed, the greater part of the 
numerous strangers who frequent the Mansion House re- 
gard me with no common attention. I form acquaintances 
among them without previous introductions ; but this is 
more to be attributed to the sinking of Democracy here 
into the coalition of the Federals and Quids, which has 
nearly annihilated the faction of Duane, than to any 
claim I could have upon public favor from the merit of 
my acts or the singularity of my fortune. I have, among 
others, met here with a Mr. B., from Charleston, South 
Carolina, who has traveled much, and has embellished 
good talents with much accomplishments. 

Monday, November 9, 1807. 

Conversed for half an hour, after breakfast, with Boll- 
man, chiefly upon medical and physiological subjects, in 
which I was much pleased with some novelty of fancy 
recommended by that suavity of manner and easy address 
which endanger the judgment of those who listen to him. 
I had invitations from Pollock and Joe Lewis for din- 
ner to-morrow. Dined with Turnbull, spent part of the 
evening with Tom. Butler, and supped with Joe Lewis en 
familUj where I sat until midnight. 

Tuesday, November 10, 1807. 

Soon after breakfast, visited Burr and Pollock. Burr 
has again opened an audience-chamber, which is much 
occupied. Although I found two or three friends with 



Digitized by 



Google 



SUDDEN FLIGHT. 487 

him at breakfast, he was called out the moment he had 
finished, and was absent about an hour and three-quar- 
ters, during which interval Mr. Pollock gave me his 
company. I find him a very well-bred man, who has had 
advantages in Europe. He spoke less of 'Mrs. Alston than 
I expected, and has never seen her husband, whose vari- 
ous talents, however, he does not the less correctly esti- 
mate. "With respect to Burr, whatever may have been 
the ground of his present intimacy with Mr. P., I can ven- 
ture to affirm, it has already been abused on the part of 
the former, although the latter, as yet, is evidently un- 
aware of it. Pollock withdrew, and I entered upon the 
objects of my visit. After informing Burr that Martin was 
resolved to appear for us at Chillicothe, he seemed all sur- 
prise ; and nothing could be more natural than the colli- 
sion of such generosity with his own ingratitude ; for he 
fled from Baltimore, without waiting even to thank his 
friend for the long and various services he had rendered 
him. Further, he had not written to him from hence. 
On recovering from this new charge of Martin's benevo- 
lence upon his feelings, he exclaimed, " What a man ! " 
but told me I must write to him not to think of the jour- 
ney till he should hear from him ; that I should direct 
him, in the mean time, to write to Burnet and Michael 
Baldwin, the late Marshal of Ohio, to retain both (no 
doubt, with Martin's advance of their fees), and that he 
still had no thoughts of going to Ohio, though he had 
given notice to Scott, the Virginia Marshal, to be prepared 
with a guard of gentlemen, by the tenth of December, at 
Richmond, to conduct him from thence to Chillicothe. 
He added, " that Martin's too great zeal and indiscretion 



Digitized by 



Google 



488 THE BLENNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

would do us great mischief in Ohio, and the skill of Bur- 
net, with the influence of Baldwin, who was popular with 
the blackguards, and exasperated against the Administra- 
tion since the loss of his office, were the best means to 
frustrate the efforts of Government to have bills found 
against us, which they would exert themselves to effect, 
to divert his, Martin's, attention from other objects." He 
now again assured me he would be glad I could extri- 
cate myself from the Government upon any terms agree- 
able to my own feelings, and fully approved of my effect- 
ing that object through Duane, in any way my judgment 
might suggest. This business being thus dispatched, I 
next solicited him on the subject of his finances, on which 
indeed he had partly anticipated me, by inquiring, " what 
were my prospects through my friends, the Lewises?" 
I informed him I had no expectations from that quarter, 
and should absolutely starve, while I was possessed of 
such splendid hopes in Europe, if I was not relieved in 
the mean time. He regretted much the absence from 
town of two persons with whom he expected to do some- 
thing; but he had, he said, negotiations on foot, the suc- 
cess of which he could not answer for, but should know 
in two or three days. I now represented to him the 
probable necessity I could not resist, of urging Alston, 
but hoped such a measure would not be displeasing to 
him or to Mrs. Alston. Upon this suggestion, he was 
less reserved than he had been with me at Richmond, 
before he was acquainted with my pecuniary views and 
my means of advancing him in Europe, and freely de- 
clared neither Mrs. Alston nor himself would be dis- 
pleased with any steps I might take against Alston, who 



Digitized by 



Google 



STILL CRAVING. 489 

had treated him in a manner I could well enough judge of, 
to save him the mortification of expressing his opinion of 
it. He even assured me he had demanded from Alston 
an explanation of his conduct in addressing the letter to 
Pinckney, immediately on his arrival in custody at Rich- 
mond, observing, " that no humiliation of his condition 
could make him forget what he owed to his own dig- 
nity;" that Alston had shown much contrition, and 
made every possible concession, including an offer of 
a public reconciliation in print ; but Burr said he thought 
it would be prudent to spare him this extreme of humili- 
ation, I suppose, for his daughter's sake. By the by, it 
is remarkable that many persons of penetration and in- 
telligence, who have indulged an eager interest in investi- 
gating every thing during the last year relating to Burr, 
within the reach of their inquiries, should have preter- 
mitted that irredeemable passage of Alston's letter, im- 
puting to Burr a design to bereave his infant grandson 
of his patrimony. Before Burr returned from the audi- 
ence chamber, I found Mr. Pollock had made a like omis- 
sion; and, upon my acquainting him with the circum- 
stance, he expressed his feelings suitably of the con- 
founded folly and turpitude of the writer, who had long 
before repeated to me assurances he had given his father- 
in-law, that his property was worth one hundred thou- 
sand guineas, and he would, if necessary, embark the 
whole of it in the furtherance of Col. Burr's plans. I 
did not leave Burr until he had again reminded me of his 
hopes of my forwarding his views in England ; to which 
I answered, " I could only lend my endeavors to serve 
him by the letters I had already offered him." He said, 



Digitized by 



Google 



490 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. , 

it was to those only he alluded; so the baits I havo 
thrown out to him do not yet glitter in vain, which further 
appeared, by his observing to the party present, when 
first I called upon him, "that he supposed I had not yet 
taken the trouble to find out whether a certain man was 
dead or alive, upon whose death I should be entitled to a 
fortune worth, at least, one hundred thousand guineas," 
adding, " I had a strange fond of indifference to objects 
few other men could resist." This was truly well thrown 
out for Pollock, etc. But I was not a little amused to 
observe he had been calculating how many years' pur- 
chase my expected estates of £6,000 a year would sell 
for ; so that while this bait glitters he will not lightly 
break from me. Dined and spent the evening with a set 
party at Joe Lewis's. I have found it due to so worthy 
a friend, to offer him a perusal of these notes, as I hope 
they will more fully develop to him my character and 
necessities than he could otherwise become acquainted 
with either; and I took to his aid and counsel, rather 
than to any other present means, to lighten the actual 
burdens that bear so heavily upon my family. He has 
perused the first volume with so much interest and satis- 
faction that he has given it a second reading. This alone 
would be an ample compensation for the little labor I 
have spent upon it. I feel I have penned many reflec- 
tions, and passed many characters with my own, in review, 
in a light which should be admitted to few eyes besides 
those of my wife. But I fully rely upon the safe keeping 
of the confidence I have ventured with my friend, who 
will therefore be enabled to take a better view of my suf- 
ferings and necessities. I have lost some time in visiting 



Digitized by LiOOQ IC 



OCCUPATIONS. 491 

Duane, which 1 shall not effect before Thursday. There 
are two excellent papers here lately set up against him ; 
namely, the " Spirit of the Press " and the " Tickler," 
which would he perfect, if they were not too local. 

Wednesday, November 11, 1807. 

Soon after breakfast, I was called, by note, to Lewis's 
counting-house, to meet Bartlett, the partner of Tom 
Hart, of Lexington, who kept me waiting there for him 
the best part of the morning ; but, at last, arrived, and 
paid me $832, being so much saved out of my losses by 
Hart, in 1805. Dined with a formal party at my friend 
R. Lewis's, where I sat with a pleasant set, after dinner, 
until 11 o'clock, and received an invitation to dinner from 
Mr. Tightman, an amiable and convivial young merchant 
of this city, and son of the Judge of that name. Reeve 
let freely loose the flow of soul and of wine. He is an 
excellent mimic, and a truly comic character, and might, 
if he had not a far better calling, excel upon the stage. 

Thursday, November 12, 1807. 

Occupied this morning, chiefly, by reading the papers, 
particularly a London Courier, containing an excellent 
speech of Sheridan's, or rather only a skeleton of it, on 
Irish affairs. This paper Mr. Bee was kind enough to 
procure for me, without solicitation on my part. Until 
dinner time, I passed the remainder of the morning in 
walking and buying a few articles for my wife. Burr 
has taken an excursion of about twenty miles up the 
Delaware, to return, I expect, on Saturday, when I pro- 
pose, in the event of his being still out of cash, to make 



Digitized by 



Google 



492 THE BLEXNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

my last demand upon him so long projected ; namely, a 
requisition to him to procure security, to which my family 
can resort, in this country, for my claims upon him, to 
the amount of about $9,000, made up by my account 
already presented to him, and the debt and charges aris- 
ing from Miller's demand. The mercantile folks are 
much alarmed with the news of to-day, threatening a 
speedy war with Britain. And I have heard it said, that 
shares in some of the Insurance Stocks have fallen to-day 
ten per cent. But I observe the successful energies of 
my native country against Copenhagen have a petrifying 
effect upon the Democrats, while nineteen-twentieths of 
the merchants, who are Federalists, awfully contemplate 
the approaching crisis with England. This evening, I 
received a novel remedy for a sharp toothache, with 
which I was affected. It was grounded on a principle, 
that great mental engagement and exertion would operate 
a diversion of inordinate action expended upon a small 
diseased portion of the body. I attempted to put this 
fancy to the test, by effecting my too long-neglected in- 
terview with Duane. After tea^ I set out upon this 
adventure, and arrived at his dwelling in much pain, 
about 8, P. M. I think it deserves notice that I should 
mention, because my feelings were singularly affected by 
the preparation I found I had to undergo, to obtain not 
only an audience of this high priest of Jacobinism, but 
even admission within the walls that contained his Holi- 
ness. I had pulled the bell three times, without produc- 
ing the common effect of bringing any one to the door 
from within, and was in the act of applying my hand to 
a fourth experiment, when a man answered from with- 



Digitized by 



Google 



nusii welcome! 493 

out, an Irishman. He inquired my name, in a full Cork 
accent, but very low voice, and on hearing it, said Mr. 
Duane was not at home, but if I would leave my name 
and business he would mention it to him. I # said, I 
should suppose my name was now become familiar 
enough with every one in the employment of Mr. Duane 
to render my leaving it in writing unnecessary. The 
printer's devil replied, " to be sure, every one knew Mr. 
Hassett, and Mr. Duane would be glad to see him." 
While this conversation was passing, Duane, who had 
been listening in the alley adjoining the house, came for- 
ward without his hat ; for he had passed from the rear 
of the house into the alley, to spy secretly the chances of 
safety, as he could ascertain them by observing what he 
could see or hear, between his scout and me. The Colonel 
has been further seasoned to the service of his party, of 
which he now begins to feel a little tired, by two drub- 
bings, since his return from Richmond ; and as he rises 
in military rank, and suffers in service, he grows more 
wary in caution, and has learned from experience the 
folly of exposing his person by night, without full assur- 
ance of the peaceful intentions of his visitor. All scru- 
ples of this sort being removed upon the present occasion, 
I apologized for the unusual hour I had fallen upon for 
my visit, which had seemingly broken in upon the Col- 
onel while he was engaged with business or company, as 
lie had been denied to me, though I was fortunate enough 
to find him at home. To this I received some blundering 
answer; the scout withdrew, and I was invited into the 
house, where I was introduced to Mrs. Duane. 

In a few minutes I signified a desire to speak with the 



Digitized by 



Google 



494 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Colonel in private. Upon this suggestion he took up a 
candle, and I followed him up stairs. I opened the inter- 
view by informing him that I could not leave town with- 
out calling to thank him for the visit and friendly offers 
I had received from him during my imprisonment in 
Richmond ; that I felt disposed to regard his motives to 
that visit aa distinct from considerations of party or poli- 
tics, the mere dictates of national feelings, and the natu- 
ral impulse of an Irishman to serve a suffering country- 
man in distress ; that, besides this motive to my visit, I 
felt much curiosity, and some personal interest, to learn 
how far he approved of the determination of Government 
to pursue me with further and indefinite prosecutions, 
which could add nothing in their result to the public 
interest or the credit of the Administration, however they 
might diminish or ruin my fortune; that, although it 
might be deemed politic to keep Col. Burr busy by such 
vexations, Government could apprehend nothing from 
me, and at all events I was sure he could not approve of 
the vindictive spirit that had even refused to dispense 
with my personal appearance at Chillicothe, next Janu- 
ary, when Government can not be prepared to go to trial, 
much less shall I; then, reminding him of the offers he 
had made me at Richmond, I said, my situation at present 
was very different, as it regarded my connection with 
Col. Burr, from what it was at that time ; for I now re- 
garded myself as cleared from all charges that the Gov- 
ernment had failed to establish against mc, and no longer 
felt it incumbent upon me to undergo endless prosecu 
tions to vindicate whatever concern I had in Col. Burr's 
speculations, especially as he probably will never renew 



Digitized by 



Google 



WITH DUANB. 495 

them ; and if he could, I should have no further concern 
in them. 

I had no need to sound any deeper in the shallow wa- 
ters of my research, which by no means possess that 
depth that is commonly supposed. Burr had advised me 
that this man loved wonderfully to hear himself talk, 
and that the best way was to let him run on until he 
was out of breath, and afterward take him back to those 
points on which he had stumbled, and on which I wished 
to fasten his attention. The hint was serviceable, and I 
made more use of it than I might have done if I had de- 
pended upon the reserve Duane affected on his visit to me 
in the Penitentiary, which I now see arose from a dis- 
covery he soon made on that occasion, that he durst not 
broach the unhallowed purpose for which he then visited 
me, which was a bargain to induce me to betray my en- 
gagements or connections; while, on the present occa- 
sion, he considered me rather as a politician assailing his 
interest underhand, than a suitor soliciting his good 
offices. I concluded my observations with stating that I 
understood Colonel Burr meant again to surrender him- 
self into the custody of the Marshal of Virginia, with 
intent to be conveyed from Bichmond, about the tenth of 
next month, to Chillicothe, at the public expense, and if I 
should not soon discover that Government would decline 
further proceedings against me, I should immediately 
prepare to commence the expenditure of so much of the 
public money as the law would allow me toward the 
charges of my defense, which had not hitherto cost the 
United States a dollar. But I wished him to be assured 
it was not my purpose to ask any favors from Govern- 



Digitized by 



Google 



496 THE BLENXERHASSETT PAPERS. 

ment at any time, or through any quarters whatever, my 
chief object in making him this present visit being to 
learn, as far as I could through him, whether the Admin- 
istration still preserved a spirit of hostility to me person- 
ally? He now launched out into abuse of Burr and 
Marshall, and said, the Government were committed with 
the sentiments of the majority of the people, who would 
never be satisfied without our conviction on such full evi- 
dence as had come out, particularly that of Wilkinson, 
Dunbaugh and the Hendersons ; that it would look like 
persecution of Burr, to grant me any forbearance, and 
that the Chief Justice must atone for his conduct to the 
country. Luther Martin, he declared, had lately done 
Burr more harm than his enemies could have wished in 
the public sentiment, by his silly and intemperate publi- 
cations. "Wilkinson, he acknowledged, was as much con- 
cerned in Burr's schemes as Burr himself; but his excul- 
pation was not only due to him, from his seasonable 
discovery and overthrow of the plot, but his country 
should canonize him for it, and the Government could 
never sufficiently requite him. He declared he, Duane, 
had a regular correspondence with Hay, who, he would 
not believe, had ever censured or neglected to vindicate 
the General. I expressed my surprise at his entertaining 
such sentiments seriously, however he might advance 
them in his paper ; but he was frank enough to protest 
to me that he considered Gallatin* now the most danger- 
ous man in the country ; Randolph was mad; Burr might 
still play the part of Coriolanus or Alcibiades ; but Jeffer- 



* Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury. 



Digitized by 



Google 



SEMPER PARATUS! 497 

son and Madison were the only men on whom the coun- 
try could depend, though he had no doubt Monroe would 
have been President, had it not been for the interference 
of Randolph, which had ruined his prospects. As for him- 
self, he had been proposed as senator, during his attend- 
ance at Richmond, without his knowledge, which was the 
reason he had lost his election. Mr. Erskine's dispatches, 
which had been used as a trap to ensnare him, only con- 
tained some newspapers, and he had defeated the scheme 
by forwarding thfcm after the mail. It appears plainly 
from this sketch, that we have authority for knowing the 
present party in power are divided among themselves; 
that the Chief of the nation is still afraid of Burr, which 
is further proved by his own indiscretion ; for Jefferson 
has lately said, that whenever Burr could get to the 
Netherlands, he could command $400,000. Yet Duane 
continues his daily attacks upon Burrism, and complains 
a good deal of Burr being in town, though his bothered 
runners can not find out where he lives. Before I left 
him, he affected to disapprove of the late rising in Balti- 
more, no doubt, because he can't excite the good people 
of this town to another here. He seemed surprised to 
learn I had the hardihood to dine and sup in public, on 
the day my effigy was executed ; and when I told him I 
was always provided with a brace of pistols, he twirled 
on his seat. Having given him this impression for the 
benefit of himself and his friends, I left him, in perfect 
freedom from my toothache. I returned to the Mansion 
House, where I passed the remainder of the evening in 

miscellaneous conversation with several agreeable men. 
32 



Digitized by 



Google 



498 the blennbrhassett papers. 

Friday, November 13, 1807. 

I have nothing material to note to-day, except my din- 
ing and spending the evening with Mr. Edward T , 

whose hospitality but too successfully seduces the pru- 
dence of his guests. 

Saturday, November 14, 1807. 

Took a family dinner, to-day, with Jos. Lewis, who had 
yesterday appointed to take me, this evening, to see a fine 
grazing farm, about six miles from town, belonging to a 
man of the name of Sickle, at the confluence of the Dela- 
ware and Schuylkill. We set out in Lewis's carriage, in 
company with a Mr. Hamilton, a very amiable English- 
man, who formerly belonged to the Navy, is curious in 
paintings, of which he has a handsome collection that I 
have not yet seen, and kfeeps a small and well-regulated 
academy with much credit. We reached the place early 
enough to see it and the fine cattle belonging to it, to- 
gether with a remarkably beautiful heifer, at a neighbor- 
ing plantation of Sickle's, on our way homeward. This 
heifer, about three years old, besides her fine make, would 
weigh, it is said, fifteen hundred pounds. The farm was 
remarkable for its banks, faced with stone, and luxuriant 
pastures, of which, however, a great deal is wasted for 
want of better care, notwithstanding the crops of hay 
taken off every spring and summer. 

Sunday, November 15, 1807. 

I am much mortified by my detention here, through the 
probably delusive hopes Burr has held out to me of the 



Digitized by 



Google 



BAD TASTE. 499 

probable sucoess of bis efforts to raise money. I bave 
almost let slip tbe season for descending tbe Ohio, for 
there is much appearance of an early winter ; and thus 
will another item be probably added to the long account 
of my sufferings by this man. 

Wrote to my wife ; read and dined at home with a com- 
pany of about thirty, among whom were counted individ- 
uals of thirteen different nations, and General Moreau, 
who sets out, to-morrow, for New Orleans, with a single 
companion, in the stage, by the way of Pittsburgh. The 
General spoke to nobody; but his companion, Bollman, 
assures me he is a man of little speech and no ideas, 
except on military affairs ; so that I had no loss in dining 
with a conversable party at a distant part of the table. 
Wr6te this evening to Luther Martin and Doctor Com- 
mins, to put the former off his design of going to Chilli- 
cothe for Burr and myself, and to remind the latter of my 
intention to travel with him, and have a concern in his 
negro purchases. 

Monday, November 16, 1807. 

Bollman, to-day, handed me a printed estimate of the 
value and yearly profits of sugar estates in the Orleans 
territory, furnished him by Daniel Clark, now here, who 
will decline visiting me, I apprehend, until I shall have 
extinguished the last spark of Burrism within me, with 
which, T suspect, he has been sufficiently singed to dread 
the fire. Spent the best part of the morning shopping, 
after some conversation with Bollman, who further rec- 
ommends himself by a disclosure of his family affairs and 
narrow circumstances, unsought altogether on my part 



Digitized by 



Google 



500 THE BLENNERHAS6ETT PAPERS. 

The result of 'Clark's statement is a yearly return, in 
Acadia county, of twenty-eight per cent, on the capital 
invested, and twenty-two in the vicinity of Orleans, which 
is represented superior to any thing farming can produce 
any where else, because no more, in fact, than one-third 
of the capital is advanced for the first installment, the 
produce of the estate clearing itself in four years. But, 
though examples are given of what has been done by two 
or three planters for as many successive years in the vicin- 
ity of Orleans, the counties of Acadia and La Fourche, as 
yet, do not furnish experience of what might be expected 
in those situations, and the best management and no acci- 
dents are presumed. 

Supped this evening with Joe Lewis, and on my return 
home was blest with a letter from my beloved wife, which 
I found on my bedroom table, and probably was for- 
warded, under cover from Baltimore, to Burr, as it had 
no postmark, and did not reach me through Lewis. This 
letter is of 28th of September, at which time all was well 
at Natchez. 

Tuesday, November 17, 1807. 

Had a note from Burr, this morning, to dine with 
him to-morrow at 4 o'clock, which invitation I have 
accepted, in anticipation of mixing, probably for the last 
time, with a few of his choice spirits. Spent the evening 
and supped, en famille, agreeably with Joe Lewis. There 
is a great fall of snow since yesterday. R. Lewis has 
solicited to see my notes, which I could not refuse. He 
pledged his discretion, in which I fully confide. 



Digitized by 



Google 



DAVIESS 8 PAMPHLET. 



501 



Wednesday, Novembeb 18, 1807. 

So much of these short mornings is consumed with 
visits, the papers, and the unavoidable waste of time 
that can not be denied to acquaintances only, that little 
business can be dispatched by me before dinner, when 
that call must be answered at 2, or even 3, o'clock. 
To-day, however, I did a little shopping before I came 
home to dress for Burr's party, which I joined at half- 
past four, consisting only of Mr. Biddel, one of his most 
attached friends, and brother to the notary public here, 
DaVi Randolph, Tom. Butler, Doctor Commins, Mr. Pol- 
lock, Burr and myself. The party was as insipid as pos- 
sible. Burr is evidently dejected; and though he often 
affected to urge and enliven the conversation, it lan- 
guished through the stupidity of Randolph, the uncon- 
cern of Pollock, the vacant reserve of Commins, the in- 
capacity of Butler, the nothingness of Biddel, and the 
aversion of myself to keep it up, until 8 o'clock, when 
it expired ; and I took leave soon after the entrance of a 
General Kichol, who seemed another of Burr's gaping 
admirers, and much resembles, in manner, breeding and 
intellect, General Rupel, of Kentucky. Thus ended the 
last invitation I shall ever probably receive from this 
American Chesterfield, who is fast approaching the limits 
of that career he has so long run, through the absurd 
confidence of so many dupes and swindlers. I had yes- 
terday put into my hands, for the first time, by David 
Randolph, Joe Daviess's pamphlet. It is a hasty, pas- 
sionate performance, seldom alluding particularly to me 
by name, but bearing hard upon Jefferson's hypocrisy 



Digitized by 



Google 



502 THE BLENN£RHA6SBTT PAPERS. 

and neglect of the author, and the early information he 
gave him of Burr's designs and first movements. The 
book will, with all its defects, mortify Jefferson, by prov- 
ing to the world that he would at no time open his eyes 
or ears to "Wilkinson's intrigues with the Spanish Govern- 
ment, and, therefore, to use an expression of the author, 
" the President is as much espanishized as the Brigadier." 
It has also great merit in its comments, and the parody it 
contains on Jefferson's communication of last January to 
Congress, on Burr's operations last winter on the Ohio and 
Mississippi, which has very much diverted me. This per- 
formance, together with Judge Marshall's last volume of 
the Life of "Washington, exposing the origin and views of 
the present Democratic party in power, have, by this time, 
I have no doubt, inspired Jefferson with a more deadly 
hatred of the Marshall faction than he has ever con- 
ceived of all the Burrites he ever heard of. I was present- 
ed, to-day, by a Mr. Nolta, a young Italian, who has often 
met Wilkinson at parties in New Orleans, with a caricature 
of that General & la Falstaff. It is a good resemblance, 
and pleased me, though it is not thought as well done aa 
another he has made of Edw. Livingston, as a companion 
to the first, under the title of Lawyer Greyhound. I have 
paid my second week's bill here, amounting, in the whole, 
to about thirty dollars ; and for this, though I do not dine 
at home half my time, I can not have a fire in my room. 

Thursday, November 19, 1807. 

Visited, this morning, the infant Academy of the Arts, 
lately established here, with Joseph Lewis, who is a sub- 
scriber to the Institution, and showed me the way from 



Digitized by 



Google 



PAINTINGS. 503 

his counting-house, where I pass half an hour every 
morning. The present collection, in a well contrived 
building, at the upper end of Chestnut Street, is slender 
in paintings ; all of which, however, I did not stay long 
enough to examine. Two fine large ones, by West, of 
scenes from Lear and Hamlet, are lent for exhibition 
by their owner Mr. Fulton ; and there are few other orig- 
inals, of much value, for painters will, for at least a 
century yet, find too much encouragement in Europe to 
permit the establishment of an American school. But 
the many fine casts taken, by permission, of Bonaparte, 
and now exhibited here, offer a feast to better connoisseurs 
than myself, of high relish. During the little time I 
spent there, however, I was highly pleased, among a 
great number my notice was directed to by Lewis, to 
contemplate, particularly, a large and a small Venus de 
Medicis, of which I did not like the line of straight con- 
tinuation between the nose and the forehead, so justly 
condemned by Lavater. I speak of the larger of the two, 
which otherwise is exquisite. The other one is a copy in 
marble of Venus coming out of the bath ; has a better 
face, and is extremely beautiful. The group of Laacoon 
and the Apollo of BelVidere are perfect to my admiration, 
which would not be exhausted upon them for hours ; and 
the Farnesian Hercules is as well copied in our Lavater 
as ever an engraving represented a piece of sculpture 
But Lewis's ^,rly dinner hour was at hand, and my appe- 
tite for these morceaux was obliged to give way to his for 
his beefsteaks ; so I made only a first offering, on this 
occasion, of my admiration to the artists of antiquity, 
with a devout hope of discharging the full debt of my 



Digitized by 



Google 



504 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

homage hereafter to them, when I shall speak more of 
this Institution. 

Dined with Lewis very agreeably, as usual, and, in the 
evening, young Mr. Coates, son of Samuel Coates, whom 
we knew here in '96, stepped in and invited me to dinner 
for next Monday, at his country place on the Schuylkill, 
to join a small party. 

Friday, November 20, 1807. 

Having determined, last Wednesday, I would not see 
two days more pass away without leaving my ultimatum 
with Burr, I set out this morning for his quarters, re- 
solved to burst the cobweb duplicity of all his evasions 
with me upon money matters. It will be seen every- 
where in these N notes, how long and how insidiously he 
has trifled with my claims upon him, from the time when 
he assured Barton I was a bankrupt, and denied to him 
my possessing any legal claims upon Alston or himself; 
while, at the distance of fifteen hundred miles, he was 
writing most affectionately to me until the last interview 
I have this day had with him, in which he treated me 
not as a faithful associate, ruined by my past connection 
with him, but rather as an importiftiate creditor invading 
his leisure or his purse with a questionable account. The 
time therefore has fully arrived, at which I should deter- 
mine whether I should attempt to secure upward of 
$7,000 for my family, or sacrifice it to an absurd and am- 
phibious character of an associate and confidant in his 
views to future projects, without principle or object, and 
destitute of all means to promote them. Under these 
reflections, patience now became exhausted, and to pro- 



Digitized by 



Google 



OLD SCORES. 505 

crastinate any longer now appeared treason to my family. 
I therefore set seriously about the task I had allotted 
myself for this morning. I found him alone, and had 
not been ten minutes with him, after he had discharged 
a shop-boy, with whom he had been trifling, I know 
not how long, about some article of dress, before he asked 
me if I had heard of Mr. Luckett's treatment of him? 
On my answering in the negative, he informed me that 
Luckett had sent a marshal to him yesterday, and obliged 
him to give bail to the amount of about $16,000, Luck- 
ett's claim, I suppose, being about half that sum. This 
intelligence mortified me, as it convinced me I had lost 
time. I expressed my concern for this new embarrass- 
ment he had experienced, as it might narrow his means 
to satisfy other claims which he did not conaider ques- 
tionable, like Luckett's. He asked me upon this, what 
claims I alluded to ? I said it was with great regret I 
should mention my own; namely, the amount of the 
account I had furnished him with in Richmond, and my 
claim for his protested draft held by Miller, with my in- 
dorsement for $4,000, on account of which my property 
on the Ohio had been sacrificed to four times the amount. 
Now, had you seen how " that eye of his did from its 
lustre fly," you would have beheld a little man indeed. 
He was dumb and motionless ; but he soon recovered his 
accustomed affectation, and asked, what was the amount 
of my account, declaring he had never looked into it 
since I had handed him it. I said it was a small one, ob- 
viously meaning by comparison with most others he had 
settled or secured. "A pretty small one," he replied, 



Digitized by 



Google 



506 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

" of only about $3,000 ; " and said, lie had not yet ex- 
amined it. This sneer, at the amount of my account, 
and the questioning of its fairness, by referring it to ex- 
amination, which he falsely said he had not given it ; for 
he looked it over the evening I presented it at Richmond, 
asked a question or two on some of the items, which I 
answered, informing him I had vouchers for most of 
them, which he said he did not want to see, and was 
satisfied it was correct ; such a diminution of that suav- 
ity of address, with which he had already too often 
diverted me from my purpose, now exhibited him a heart- 
less swindler in the last swoon of his disorder, and de- 
termined me to hasten my departure. I suppose I testified 
my feelings sufficiently by my looks and manner, with- 
out removing his doubts of the impression this treatment 
made upon me, by now telling him, as I did, that my 
time and expectations were exhausted, and I should stay 
in Philadelphia no longer; that I perceived he could 
give me no hopes of money, which I did not expect, but 
that, though I was contented to starve myself, I must 
secure something for my family, since I knew he had 
found means in that way to accommodate every other 
creditor, which was all that detained me in town. He 
now pretended he had nobody he could call upon. I 
observed, I thought it very possible he might never 
return from Europe, in- which case my family must have 
a security to resort to in this country. To this remark 
he had the kindness to reply, "that when I said my 
family, I meant myself, and that I knew all his friends." 
"You do," said he, "Mr. Blennahassett " — so he has 



Digitized by 



Google 



A CRISIS. 507 

frequently pronounced my name before, when he has got 
beyond self-management. " Sir," said I, " I must insist 
upon it, I do not know all your friends." Upon this 
contradiction, he begged my pardon, and said he really 
thought he had informed me of all who were his friends 
in that city. 



Digitized by 



Google 



508 THE BLENNKBHASSETT PAPERS. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Washington City, Oct. 29th, 1807. 

My deab Wife : — To-morrow I set out from here for 
Baltimore, in company with Luther Martin, who has 
pledged himself to attend, on the part of Col. Burr and 
myself, at the Circuit Court of the United States, to sit at 
Chillicothe, on the 4th of January next, whether we shall 
personally appear or not, to see that all matters respect- 
ing us are properly conducted. It is probable I shall not 
regard a non-compliance on the part of Government with, 
not a request, but a desire, I have expressed through Rod- 
ney, the United States Attorney General, that they would 
dispense with my personal appearance until the ensuing 
term in September, through my wishes, in the mean 
time, to revisit my family and attend to my private af- 
fairs ; for the proceedings that should necessarily precede 
a forfeiture of the recognizance I have entered into can 
not be gone through before January, 1809. The courts 
of the United States sitting in Ohio only twice a year, 
namely, in the months of January and September, Hard- 
ing can explain to you how two writs of scire facias must 
be returned, in case of my absence from the district, 
before my recognizance becomes forfeited. So that my 
present plan is to push for Natchez, about the middle of 
November, in company with Doctor Commins, by way of 



Digitized by 



Google 



MARITAL SOLICITUDE. 509 

the Ohio. Government, while they smart tinder the mor- 
tification arising from the issue of the proceedings at 
Richmond, seem determined to pursue Burr and myself 
until we cry mercy ; but the world shall first cry shame ! 
This evening I shall receive Rodney's answer to my let- 
ter, probably negativing my demand, but that will not 
affect my movements. My affairs will detain me about 
ten daye^ in Philadelphia, after a stay of two in Baltimore. 
I have strong expectations of putting my claims upon 
Burr and Alston on a desirable footing. 

As to news, you may inform those most interested, par- 
ticularly our esteemed friend Mr. Hunt, there will be no 
war with Britain, much less with Spain. This conclusion 
is not drawn merely from the President's message to Con- 
gress, but from better authority. Electioneering, secretly, 
is very active here on the part of Madison, Clinton and 
Monroe, for the exclusion of Jefferson from the next Pres- 
idency, while the efforts of others to obtain the Vice 
Presidency, establish a schism in the present party in pow- 
er which exhibits a warning type of the future destinies of 
this country. Tyler left this for Baltimore, this morning. 
I shall see him there and learn the manner in which he 
has obtained his discharge, which has been given him 
only verbally, by Rodney. Duane, I expect, will soon 
take a decided part against Jefferson, because he has not 
been less awkward in tampering with letters that have 
passed through his hands. 

. I hope you will keep up a rational confidence in my 
resources to preserve my health and spirits ; and I beseech 
you to seek continually the utmost variety and change of 
scene, which I so well know the happy effects of upon 



Digitized by 



Google 



510 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

you, as the only means of restoring you to my eyes in the 
state I beseech God to grant I may find you. 

Luther Martin is certainly one of the most benevolent 
men alive. His heart is overflowing with the milk of 
philanthropy, which his potations may sometimes coagu- 
late, but will never acidify. 

Kiss my boys for me. Your sickness has diverted my 
reflections from them of late ; but our preserving Provi- 
dence will restore us in its own time according to our 
merits. H. B. 



Baltimore, Tuesday, Nov. Sd> 1807. 

Col. Burr set off to-day at 1 o'clock, P. M., in the mail, 
for Philadelphia, with S. Swartwout, as he had no par- 
ticular desire to behold a representation of his execution. 
I was a little more curious ; and, notwithstanding hand- 
bills were this morning scattered through the town, pur- 
porting that the execution of Judge Marshall, A. Burr, 
Luther Martin and myself would take place at Gallows 
Hill, at 3 o'clock this evening, I both dined and supped at 
the public table, with very large companies, here at 
Evans's, and am, after all, hearty and in good spirits. 
The mob was made up from the Point, but pledged their 
honor, which they did not violate, that they would hurt 
no person. They were followed by two troops of horse 
through the streets, to see they did their business orderly. 
All have dispersed at least three hours ago, it being now 
11, P. M. 

I start to-morrow for Philadelphia, where I am sure 
I shall not receive *uch public* honors. I tire you with 



Digitized by 



Google 



IN BALTIMORE. 511 

too many letters ; but it is to prevent your paying any at- 
tention to the newspapers. I expect Doctor Commins and 
myself will travel together to Natchez. I pray God this 
may find you and the boys well. This is the only care 
that occupies 

Tour husband, Harman Blennerhassett. 



Baltimore, Nov. 14*A, 1807. 

Dear Sir : — Your favor of the 8th inst. I have received, 
and thank you for the friendly and affectionate sentiments 
you have expressed for me. Should you return by this 
place, you will certainly see me. I shall, I flatter myself, 
occasionally hear from you, should you leave Philadelphia 
by a different route. I have written to Baldwin and Bur- 
net, and have inclosed for Judge Todd an open letter, 
under cover, to Col. Burr. I certainly should wish to 
avoid a journey to Chillicothe at so severe a season of the 
year, if thought unnecessary. Whether witnesses will at- 
tend against Col. Burr or yourself, is uncertain. Whether 
bills will be found, is more uncertain ; and it is impossible 
that trials should take place at next term, even should 
bills be found. Under these circumstances, the presence 
of neither of us ought to be necessary. We are once more 
at peace ; I mean in the city of Baltimore. The conduct 
of the mob is most unmercifully condemned and dis- 
cussed ; and the leaders are, in truth, though they keep 
up the best appearances they can, heartily ashamed of 
themselves. Dr. Commins leaves me to-day, by the 
water-stage. I direct this to his care, lest you should 
have left Philadelphia. Though I shall ever feel pleased 



Digitized by 



Google 



512 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

in having been introduced to your acquaintance, yet I 
must regret, on your account, the circumstances under 
which that acquaintance hath been formed. You will 
introduce me, though not personally, yet with my beat 
regards, to your lady and your little ones ; to hear of 
their and your happiness will increase mine. 

I am, my dear Sir, with great sincerity, your friend 
and obedient servant, 

Luther Martin. 
H. Blennerhassbtt, Esq. 



To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Philadelphia, Nov. 17th, 1807. 

My dear Wife: — As I expected when I wrote last 
from Baltimore, this day fortnight, I have found my 
reception in this city easy and undisturbed. I have 
been here a week last Wednesday, having arrived the 
5th inst. I hope you received that letter to prepare 
you for a just reception of the accounts that must 
reach you by the papers of a rising at Baltimore, of 
which my effigy only was one of the objects. 

I am much teased by various causes of detention here 
which I can not control. The arrangement of my pecu- 
niary claims on Col. Burr, and the acquisition of slaves, 
neither of them yet effected, are the principal. It is un- 
certain still how soon I can even hope to leave this town. 
Many motives incite me to go round by sea, in a fine ves- 
sel, with Bollman and other agreeable passengers, to sail 
about the middle of next week ; for there are reasons why 



Digitized by 



Google 



DIFFICULT TRAVEL. 518 

I should not even appear at Marietta, though so many de- 
mands call thither. But I yet think that will be my 
course. I receive the most friendly attentions from my 
friends, the Lewises, and others. 

To-morrow I dine with Mr. Pollock, a gentleman of 
fortune and great respectability, where Col. Burr has 
taken up his quarters. I wonder you have not yet drawn 
upon J. 8. Lewis, for any sum not exceeding $500, 
through Harding. I am at a loss to conceive what you 
have resorted to, particularly as you call upon me, in your 
most welcome letter of 28th September, to direct the dis- 
position of about $1,200 you expected to receive on your 
negro speculation. My only wish is that you should 
apply the money to your own occasions, calling to the aid 
of your judgment the advice of that excellent friend 
whom you will one day further discover I have justly 
appreciated. Butler, who is now here, made me very 
unhappy, by telling me he left him very sick, and I sin- 
cerely sighed to be at his bedside. 

A large fund of stoicism will be necessary to support 
the want of letters from you till we meet ; for I suppose 
you have, according to directions long since given you, 
ceased to write ; and it would be impossible to instruct 
you how to direct to me, my change of place will be so 
variable. 

We have to-day a heavy fall of snow here, and I fear 
I shall not be able to take water on the Ohio before it 
breaks up. This, with other considerations, lends much 
to determine me upon the voyage by sea to New Orleans. 
But I can not make up my mind until I again see D. 
Commins, whom I hourly expect here from Baltimore, 
33 



Digitized by 



Google 



514 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

with whom I must endeavor to procure some negroes, or 
by some other means, as I can not think of returning 
without some new ones, or at least our old ones from 
Ohio. 

I live here at the Mansion House Hotel, late Bing- 
ham's, in Third Street, kept by an Englishman in the 
best style I have yet seen in America. My expenses are 
heavier than I wish, on every account, but I have become 
so public a character, any thing tending to shabbiness or 
obscurity would bring discredit upon you/ to avoid which 
I know you would prefer a larger share of future sacri- 
fices. The company are genteel and numerous, princi- 
pally foreigners, and not a Democrat in thirty, the general 
number at the house. 

My silence on your recovery and the health of the boys 
arises from inability to express my joy and thanksgiving 
to God. But I beseech you to seek the utmost chauge of 
company and occupation. Nothing can better insure my 
hopes of finding you re-established in your constitution ; 
and every day's experience convinces me of the wisdom 
and facility of not only mitigating the ills of life, by 
resolving to contemn their mischief, but even of our 
capability to be happy in spite of them. Without disap- 
pointing contrary conclusions you would draw from our 
separation, I could give you many examples, during my 
reverses, since I left you; but you will 'hereafter find 
them with more satisfaction in my notes. I shall only 
add, that you should never forget that a steady pursuit 
of gaiety will prove the best prescription for the longest 
enjoyment of the summer season, and prepare the largest 
and most serene autumn of life. We have prospects 



Digitized by 



Google 



LQVB OF STYLE. 515 

already opened to you that beckon us to wealth and 
repose; if they should prove delusive, our piety aud 
moderation will insure tranquillity. 

I am much at a loss to know how to buy any thing 
here for you. I shall, however, procure some things. J 
have rigged myself out iu consideration of the extrava- 
gant prices of things at Natchez ; and have not forgotten 
the boys' shoes, though God knows when they will get 
them, and I can badly guess the sizes. I could tell you a 
good deal of what might pass for news with you, but it 
is not worth while, and could not find room here. I 
must not refuse, however, to mention that I have heard 
here young Michael de Courcy is married to a rich lady 
in England, and has a child or two. The Admiral's 
daughter is married to a Captain Dashwood, of the Navy. 
1 learned no other particulars of the family. Wilkinson, 
I hear, has taken passage from Baltimore for New Or- 
leans, contrary to every expectation I could form, which 
I mention as a circumstance, if true, not quite indifferent 
to my future tranquillity on the Mississippi. 

You forgot to put Kitty Percy's, and your own, hair 
into your letter, with the boys' drawings. The disap- 
pointment, I hope, has not arisen from my knowing how 
to prize both. How happy I should feel, hereafter, in the 
pleasure Miss P. might enjoy, and confer upon us, by 
making a trip with us to Europe. Burr has given notice 
to the Marshal of Virginia, to be prepared with a guard 
of gentlemen at Richmond, to conduct him from thence, 
on the 16th of next month, to Chillicothe ; but some in- 
tervention or other, I apprehend, will prevent that jour- 
ney. ITarding will smile at this ; but let him mourn 



Digitized by 



Google 



516 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

over the misery of talents without strength of nerve or 
energy of character, which have only shone to consume 
the fame of the Chief Justice, who has disappointed 
every lawyer and friend he possessed, and may possibly 
fall a sacrifice to the mob government of the day, for 
attempting to stroke, while he should have muzzled, the 

tiger of Democracy. Remind H g continually of my 

attachment; and assure the Scotts, Major Trask, and all 
other friends, of my warm regards. War direct with 
Britain is even yet the dread of the Democrats; but 
should it happen in six months afterward, down fall Jef- 
ferson and company. 

From your husband, Harman Blennerhassett. 



To Aaron Burr, Esq. 

Mansion House, Phila., Nov. 28th, 1807. 
Sir: — I have reflected, with much concern, on an ob- 
servation which fell from you yesterday; namely, that 
my account was not a small one, and that you had not yet 
examined it. You may recollect, when I presented it to 
you at Richmond, I told you I had vouchers for most of 
the items it contained ; to which I will now add, that I 
can substantiate the whole, whenever it may become nec- 
essary - T and, on receiving it from me, you said you were 
satisfied it was correct, and wanted to see no vouchers. 
If I have misunderstood you, on either of these occasions, 
I shall expect to hear from you in the course of this even- 
ing, with a statement of your objections, if any, to my 
charges. 



Digitized by 



Google 



TO HI8 WIFE. 517 

The exact amount of my demand, on account of my 
indorsement of the bills upon which I have been sued by 
Miller, I can not immediately ascertain. I believe the 
damages are £10, chargeable with interest, as well as the 
principal, from the time the bill was returned. 

In the close of the late interesting intercourse that has 
so long subsisted between us, you must perceive, sir, I 
feel myself released from the performance of an offer I 
made you of introductory letters to the Lords Elgin, 
Courtenay and Sackville. I feel that I could not solicit 
their attentions to you as my friend ; and I should wish 
to decline doing so on any other grounds. 

I am, sir, with all respect and consideration, your 
obedient servant, Harman Blennerhassett. 



To Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Philadelphia, Nov. 80th, 1807. 
My dear Wife : — I have just closed a trunk which, 
with a box, a bundle of coach-harness and a demijohn of 
lamp oil, will leave to-day by the brig Mary, directed to 
you to the care of Lenlow, Turner & Co. In the bottom 
of the trunk you will find two small volumes of my 
notes, intended for no eye at Natchez but Harding's and 
your own. Tou will, therefore, when not in your hands, 
always keep them under lock and key. The ducks are to 
be put upon water, and the pointed end of the magnet 
brought near their beaks to make them approach you ; 
the blunt end will make them recede. Keep the mag- 
net from wet, and do n't let it fall. 



Digitized by 



Google 



518 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

I hope you will soon safely receive the things I sent 
before me, which I will follow as soon as I can ; but I find 
it impossible to avoid going to Marietta, without irrep- 
arable prejudice to our affairs, and I think it better to 
be a month longer away before we meet, than to have to 
leave you again in August, which might probably happen 
if I did not appear in Ohio, where I may prevent the 
finding of other bills against me, or otherwise get rid of 
the criminal proceedings against me altogether. I there- 
fore set out at 4 o'clock to-morrow morning, in the Pitts- 
burgh coach, and shall not delay to write to you from 
thence or from Marietta. 

As you will observe by my notes, I apprehend I have 
broken with Aaron Burr on a writ, and shall succeed that 
way, since all others have failed to secure a demand upon 
him of $8,000, as you shall better understand hereafter. 

You may depend upon my exertions to get upon the 
water as speedily as the season and my circumstances will 
permit. I shall give charge of the key of the trunk to 
the Captain of the Mary, or Doctor Bollman, who goes 
passenger in her. I have told him he is recommended to 
your polite attention, if he should visit Natchez, as he 
proposes to do ; but beware of the most insidious influ- 
ence of his manners and address, as they are irresistible 
by ordinary minds. 

It is already reported in the best circles here, that I 
have become a friend to Jefferson. This is amusing, and 
may be very serviceable. 

I have not time to add more, as the mail is near clos- 
ing. Tom. Buller is to travel with me as far as Carlisle. 
From vour husband, Har. Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



BURNET AND BALDWIN. 519 

Marietta, Dec. Yith, 7, P. M., 1807. 
Dear Wife : — I have been here since Tuesday morning, 
and find appearances of every sort infinitely more flatter- 
ing than I had expected. Col. Cushing has been up to 
see me, and will not leave me before noon to-morrow. I 

have an opportunity, by the favor of Wilkins, on his 

way to Natchez, of speedily informing you I shall endeavor 
to fly from the declining storm of Jacobin malice in eight 
or ten days, if the waters will favor my escape. But if they 
do not, you may be assured I have nothing to fear at Chil- 
licothe, where I can overawe the miserable speculations 
of the marshal, based upon the profits he expects to make 
of the trials there. I have seen all the negroes, except 
Ransom and Clara ; I think they are well disposed to ac- 
company me, and I shall get them off", with more or less 
difficulty. I even propose purchasing Daniel, and a fam- 
ily of six heads, for $1,400. I look daily for the arrival 
of Commins, whom I have joined in fitting out a boat at 
Pittsburgh. My coming on here without Commins, was 
to dispatch as much of my business in this quarter as I 
could, while his detained him some time above. I have 
only time to add, I have retained Burnet and Baldwin ; 
the former will be a host of law with the decent part of 
the citizens of Ohio ; the latter, a giant of influence with 
the rabble, whom he justly styled his " bloodhounds," and 
has in good training to bait Wilkinson, whenever he gives 
them the scent. God bless you and our dear boys. I hope 
I shall soon embrace you all in health, if Mr. Wilkins was 
not mistaken when he informed me he heard by letter 
from Mr. Elliot, dated in October, you were then well. 
Tour husband, Har. Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



520 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

To Mrs. M. Blennerhassett. 

Nine Miles above Natchez, 
Sunday, Feb. 8th, 6, P. M. 

To secure the success of the two objects of my present 
journey; namely, the conveyance to you of what pro- 
perty I could bring away from the Ohio, and the enjoy- 
ment of a few months' repose with you, I have deter- 
mined not to yield to the hopes or fears with which I 
have approached you, by leaving my boats until Harding, 
to whom I have written, may advise me to venture my 
appearance on shore. 

Uncertain whether Dr. Shaw or my other enemies are 
yet apprised of my having failed to make my personal 
appearance at Chillicothe, on the 4th of last month, and 
ignorant how far they may speculate upon whatever news 
they may have received from that quarter since that 
period, I am resolved to continue afloat, that I may, at a 
moment's warning, start with my light keel-boat, and be, 
in about four hours, beyond the line, about sixty miles 
below Natchez, whither you can follow with your family 
and effects by my flat-boat, under the care of my friend 
Mr. Weaver, who has traveled with me. 

If this arrangement takes place, I shall want one of 
your black men, in lieu of whom I shall leave a boy; 
and you will also forward to me, or bring with you, 
such letters from Grand Pr6, as can be obtained from 
Minor, Vidal and Mr. Dunbar. 

You may now privately make your way to my boat, 
under the guidance of Mr. Weaver or Honest Moses;* 

* A family aerYant. 



Digitized by 



Google 



DIARY ENDED. 521 

one of whom will deliver you this letter. You must 
not mention my arrival to the boys or servants until I 
see them, or shall have left the shore. 

Heaven grant that I may happily embrace you in 
health and spirits. 

From your husband, Har. Blennbbhassbtt. 

P. S. — I refer you to Moses for all intelligence you 
may desire upon small matters. 



Thus, after the close of this memorable trial, which 
had occupied the public attention for several months, 
Blennerhassett returned to Natchez. The continued 
anxiety attendant- on a tedious investigation of the charge 
of treason, in which character and life were involved ; 
the accumulation of debts ; the neglect of domestic inter- 
ests, and the rapid decline of his resources, were discour- 
agements, indeed, under which stouter hearts might well 
have sunk without the charge of effeminacy. 

The creditors, who had advanced funds upon his obli- 
gations, tfnding his pecuniary affairs becoming daily more 
embarrassed, were insolent and exacting. Liquidation 
was demanded ; and, when they saw that he neither had 
the funds to meet them, nor the ability to procure further 
credit, they pursued him with the precepts of the law, 
with a rapacity equaled only by their uncharitable invec- 
tives. A portion of his library and philosophical appa- 
ratus, which had been his amusement in prosperity, and 
the solace of his darker hours ; the remaining furniture 
possessing value to him, wholly unappreciated by others, 
were attached and sold at a criminal sacrifice. 



Digitized by 



Google 



522 THE BLENNSRHASSETT PAPERS. 

His beautiful mansion, together with its surrounding 
shrubbery, had been regarded and used as public prop- 
erty. Its fair gardens had been destroyed, not less by the 
hands of the ruthless freebooter than the negligence of 
his tenants and the floods of the Ohio. Not satisfied 
with that which might be removed without injury to the 
freehold, the window-casings were torn out, to procure 
the leaden weights by which the sashes were raised. 
Even the beautiful stone roller, used for leveling his 
grounds, was crushed to pieces, to obtain the iron axles 
on which it ran. The island itself was extended, by a 
writ of elegit, at the suit of Robert Miller, of Kentucky, 
who commenced the culture of hemp, and the manufac- 
turing of cordage. 

Such is but the every-day lesson of human experience ! 
Such is the sympathy of unfeeling man with the misfor- 
tune and distress of his fellow man ! To-day he kneels 
at the shrine of friendship, as the bestial Caliban at the 
feet of Stephano, and calls the object of its worship, 
"god;" to-morrow shrinks cowardly from it, and returns 
his gratitude in foul misdeeds and wanton injuries. 

Cotton, at that time, commanded an exorbitant price. 
Investments in lands adapted to its culture, and slaves to 
work it, afforded rich returns for the amount of capital 
employed. Many were turning their attention to it. 
Blennerhassett conceived it a favorable mode of retriev- 
ing his shattered fortune. He therefore concluded a pur- 
chase of a thousand acres of land, in Claiborne county, 
at St. Catherine's, near Gibsonport, Mississippi, and 
placed upon it a small number of slaves. Ilere, again, 
after the varied incidents of two long years, in which he 



Digitized by 



Google 



at home again! 523 

had been buffeted about, by the whirlwind of uncourted 
excitement, he found a home. 

Those accustomed to battle with the vicissitudes of for- 
tune but struggle the greater when encountered by oppos- 
ing difficulties. On the contrary, those cradled in the lap 
of ease, are but poorly prepared to meet adversity, unless 
endowed with unusual perseverance. This latter quality 
it was not Blennerhassett's fortune to possess. Accus- 
tomed not only to the comforts but the elegancies of life, 
he was a stranger to want. His sleep had never been 
disturbed by visions of distress ; nor his energies excited 
through cupidity or avarice. It may well be imagined, 
therefore, that he was but slightly qualified to sustain 
himself, under his present embarrassments. For him, 
life had but few attractions, save those that were found 
in the pursuits of science ; and to deprive him of these, 
was to deprive him of the happiness of existence. 

With a full appreciation of her husband's feelings, Mrs. 
Bleunerhassett undertook to aid him in the management 
of his farm. At the early dawn, she mounted her horse, 
to convey to the overseer the instructions committed to 
her charge. In this, however, she never neglected the 
affairs of her household, or those affectionate attentions 
to her family, which render the felicities of home bright 
to the recollection of husband and child, when the mem- 
ory of all else has perished. 



Devereux to BlennerhassetL 

London, Sept. 7*A, 1808. 
My dear and respected Sir : — This makes my second 
letter to you since my arrival in this country. In my for- 



Digitized by 



Google 



524 THE BLENNERHA88ETT PAPERS. 

mer, I acknowledged with gratitude and thanks the re- 
ceipt of your dear and most welcome letter from Rich- 
mond. What trials, what misfortunes, have you not un- 
dergone, and your dear and worthy Mrs. Blennerhassett 
too! But, my friend, though great your misfortunes, 
what are they when compared to those which the gener- 
ous and ill-fated Barry family have lately undergone ? I 
am really so overwhelmed with grief at the sad tidings I 
have had within these few days of that family, that I can 
scarcely arrange my thoughts so as to be understood. 
Only think of it, that poor Mrs. Barry, after the demise 
of her beloved husband in New York, hastened with her 
only remaining daughter to Madeira, in hopes of preserv- 
ing her existence by a change of climate; but, alas! it 
was too late : she died soon after her arrival there ; and 
her poor mother, broken-hearted, is now left the last of 
her family. This melancholy and deplorable event has 
awakened all my woes. My dear friend, what is this life, 
after all ? 

From the trying afflictions you and your worthy Mrs. 
Blennerhassett have so lately experienced, I should not 
thus obtrude my griefs upon you. But they are griefs pro- 
duced by the sufferings of one of the best of families, and 
who, with yours, most attract my regards of any in this 
world. Enough of this painful subject — too painful to 
dwell upon. 

As I mentioned to you in my last letter, I perfectly 
agree with you in the sentiments you expressed to me 
from Richmond, and which I have long felt, I assure you. 
Yes, my friend, from what is past, and from what is gone, 
never to be recalled again, I could most willingly estrange 



Digitized by 



Google 



" WHAT IS LIFE?" 526 

myself from this world to share a little content with you 
in any corner or in any obscurity. 

I have already mentioned to you that I failed in my 
application to this government. They will not even per- 
mit me to visit my native country. I, knowing the cause, 
am not surprised at it; for you must know they inter- 
cepted one of O'Connor's letters to me, about three years 
ago, in which he offered me a flattering rank to enter the 
French service with him. This offer, though made to aid 
misfortune more than rebellion, has operated very seri- 
ously against me ; and, was it not for the precaution I took 
previous to my leaving the United States, I might now be 
immured in the Tower. But, my dear friend, the disap- 
pointment does not now affect me; for, truly, I never 
cared so little as to independence in money matters as 
I do at this moment. 

Without adverting to the cause of my inquiry, I asked 
two or three gentlemen from about Cork as to the per- 
sons you have named, but could gain no satisfactory in- 
telligence. Had I been permitted to have gone to Ire- 
land, I should have gone every length in tracing that 
subject. As I feel extremely anxious to hear from you, 
and of your estimable lady and children, I entreat you to 
write me as speedily as possible of your future plans, and 
where we are yet to meet. 

As I can not express to you, my dearest friend, what I 
feel, I shall end this scrawl with best wishes and regards 
to you, dear Mrs. Blennerhassett, and my young friend 
Dominick. 

Your most truly attached and distressed friend, 

J. Dbvereux. 



Digitized by 



Google 



526 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

P. S. — I do 'nt mean to return to the United States 
immediately. There is no prospect I should think of 
the embargo's being very soon raised, unless for a more 
active scene of operation; and, of course, if so, there 
could be nothing to engage my attention particularly 
there; and by remaining here, I am more to myself 
from the sight of the world. Hoping that you will not 
omit writing to me by the first opportunity, I am, again, 
Yours, most sincerely, J. D. 

A remittance of £300 from Ireland, being a balance 
from Lord Ventry, on the sales of his estates, enabled 
Blennerhassett to start afresh in his new field of enter- 
prise. The business correspondence between himself and 
his consignee, Joseph 8. Lewis, of Philadelphia, is vo- 
luminous, and of but little interest to the general reader, 
further than showing his efforts were not altogether in- 
effectual. A few of these only, together with one or two 
letters from his old friends, are here inserted : 



Joseph S. Lewis to Blennerhassett. 

Philadelphia, July, 1809. 

My dear Sir: — On Saturday, I received from Mr. 
Harding your esteemed letter of the 9th of June, ac- 
quainting me with your having consigned your son 
Dominick to me. I accept this trust with pleasure, ac- 
companied, at the same time, with great anxiety; and 
you may assure yourself my care of him shall only be 
second to that of my own children. 

Mr. Harding will inform you that the Board of Health 



Digitized by 



Google 



ADOPTION. 527 

will not permit him to come into the city before the 4th 
of August, although every one on board the ship was in 
good health, and that, therefore, they have stopped at 
Darby, about seven miles from town, where I have been 
twice to see them, and, yesterday, took Mrs. Lewis with 
me, who feels all a mother's anxious care, and enters into 
Mrs. Blennerhassett's feelings on parting with so beloved 
an object as a son. I have the pleasure to say that I 
have procured a situation for Dominick, such as I think 
you would every way approve, if you were here yourself 
— one equally removed from the bigotry of a monastic 
education, and the more uncourtly forms of our society. 
The Academy to which I refer was established, about four 
years ago, by a number of our most respectable gentle- 
men, for the education of their own children, and is 
conducted by two French gentlemen of the name of 
Carrf. 

The situation of the school is high, healthy and pleas- 
ant, about four miles north of Philadelphia, a distance 
which will afford me an opportunity of seeing Dominick 
often, and of bringing him home occasionally to spend a 
holiday. Mr. Harding being obliged to leave this morn- 
ing for New York, Dominick has been placed under the 
charge of a respectable old lady, where I shall see him 
every day or two until his quarantine is out ; after which 
I shall bring him home, and, as soon as every thing is 
prepared, place him with Messrs. Carr£, who are men of 
amiable and respectable character, sufficiently rigid to 
keep their boys within a correct line. Present my best 
regards to Mrs. Blennerhassett, and also those of Mrs. 
L. ; tell her to dissipate all anxiety about her son, that 



Digitized by 



Google 



528 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Mrs. L. will take upon herself a mother's care, and that 
my affection for his parents will insure my attention to 
his comforts, to his wants, and to his well-doing. * * * 
Tours, with great esteem, J. S. Lewis. 

H. BLENNERHASSETT, ESQ. 



From Thomas Addis EmmetU 

New York, Sept. lbth, 1809. 

My dear Blennerhassett: — It was not without con- 
siderable emotion and pleasure that I received yours a 
few days since by Mr. Harding, and heard from him the 
first news I had been able, authentically, to collect of 
your present situation. Of what is past, it is not fit I 
should say any thing in a communication of this kind ; 
• of the future, you will believe me perfectly sincere, when 
I assure you that your prosperity and happiness will 
always interest me very strongly. In return for the 
pleasing intelligence I have had of you, accept similar 
accounts of me and my family. My success has been 
greater than I could have calculated upon. My health 
has been extremely good, and Mrs. Emmett and the 
children enjoy the prosperity which has succeeded to our 
trials ; such, I trust, will also be the event of your present 
situation. Mr. Harding mentioned to me that he had 
brought along with him your oldest son, Dominick, and 
placed him at an Academy at Germantown, Pennsylvania. 

As Mrs. Blennerhassett has brought her mind to part 
with him, a thought struck me, which I now lay before 
you. I have three sons at school at Flatbush, Long 



Digitized by 



Google 



FROM FRIENDS. 529 

Island, five miles from this city, under the care of a Mr. 
Thompson, who is very competent, a graduate of Trinity 
College, Dublin, and of very unexceptionable character ; 
his wife is a Mary Anne Connell, cousin to Maurice Con- 
nell, of Iveragh; came over here a widow, of the name 
of Yielding, with strong letters from Kerry friends to 
Mrs. Emmett, and was married in my house to Mr. 
Thompson. I have mentioned your son to them both, 
and can answer that he would be treated with more than 
common affection and care ; and, being at the same school 
with my own, I should have opportunities of showing 
him, perhaps, some attention, which, situated where he 
is, would be out of my power. I am not fond of sup- 
planting a person like his present master, who, I presume, 
would discharge his duty, but I submit the proposition to 
your consideration. 

Adieu, my dear Blennerhassett. Do you and Mrs. B.' 
receive the best wishes of me and my family for every 
thing that concerns you, and believe me sincerely 
Yours. Thos. Addis Emmett. 



From Joseph S. Lewis. 

Philadelphia, Sept 22d 9 1810. 
My dear Friend : — About ten days ago I received your 
esteemed letter of 8th August, and I enter with much 
warmth into your situation and the means proposed for 
improving it. I have been engaged, in my mind, since 
its receipt, to contrive some way of meeting your desire 
of obtaining the sum you want to borrow, but I do not 
find any one here who is willing to lend money on such 
84 



Digitized by 



Google 



530 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

distant security ; and even the 'offer of more than usual 
interest would serve to introduce in the mind of strangers 
a doubt of the goodness of the security ; and there are 
none of our money-lenders who would be willing to take 
the chance of being compelled to go to Ohio or the Mis- 
sissippi Territory, to look after his payment. I propose, 
then, that after the sale of your cotton, which we hourly 
expect from New Orleans, you should draw, in addition 
to what our advance may then be, as much as will make 
$5,000, which you shall have at six per cent, interest per 
annum. You are to consign to us all your cotton for 
sale, on which we shall charge the usual commission 
of five per cent. * * * * * 

Very respectfully your friend, J. S. Lewis. 



From the Same. 

Philadelphia, Dec. 17th, 1810. 

My dear Friend: — Your favor of 14th November I 
received yesterday, and am much pleased to learn the 
happy effect of my last letter upon your uneasiness about 
Domini ck, whom I have not seen for a few weeks, but 
I hear from him frequently ; and, a few days ago, I saw 
Mr. Carr£, who said he was well, and spoke favorably 
of an increased attention to his studies. There is no 
doubt you can obtain excellent lodgings in the neigh- 
borhood of the city, at a moderate rate, say five or six 
dollars a week each, for Mrs. Blennerhassett and yourself, 
including board. I suppose your passages would cost 
$100 each ; about half that for your son, and the same 



Digitized by 



Google 



COTTON TRADE. 581 

rate for your servants. I should think $1,100 or f 1,200 
would be an ample allowance for your expenses for a trip 
of five or six months, bating the temptations such a large 
shop as our city would afford you to lay out money for 
luxuries, etc., which, of course, your own prudence would, 
in some measure, guard you against. On the score of 
health the jaunt would be desirable, and I shall be glad 
you make use of any excuse to give Mrs. Lewis and 
myself the pleasure of seeing you and Mrs. Blenner- 
hassett. 

Very respectfully your friend, J. S. Lewis. 



From the Same. 

January 6, 1811. 

I can not conceive any reason why the New York mar- 
ket should offer a better price for cotton than ours. It is 
not quite so steady, and the people are more speculative. 
If your cotton goes there to our correspondent, we must 
pay his commission, and we should not be quite so well 
natisfied of the solidity of the persons to whom sale 
would generally be made as here. • 

Your cotton has arrived, but I can not at present effect 
a Bale on such terms as I like. The gloomy prospect of 
our affairs with England is such, that we do not consider 
a speculation in cotton as safe, and its value here will also 
be much affected by the proceedings of Congress regard- 
ing the Bank of the United States. If the charter should 
not be renewed, and there Beems much doubt of it, prices 
of every article will fall very materially. In addition to 
this, the situation of exchange is such, that bills can not 



Digitized by 



Google 



582 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

be drawn on London without the utmost difficulty, and 
then at a loss of seven or eight per cent. 

The proceeds of your cotton now on hand, and for 
which at present there is no sale, we estimate at $2,000. 
Tours very respectfully, J. S. Lewis. 

In viewing the complacency with which Blennerhas- 
sett had heretofore regarded Burr's actions toward him- 
self, we are at a loss whether to attribute his silence to 
the mildness of his temper, or a lack of courage to vin- 
dicate his honor from the aspersions of his enemies. 
But, for his unfortunate alliance with Burr, he might still 
have reposed in the shady groves of the isle. But for 
Burr, he might have continued to enjoy those peaceful 
pursuits for which he had abandoned Castle Conway, to 
secure a home in the secluded forests of America; but 
for him, he might yet have enjoyed a competency beyond 
his wants, and luxuriated in the fields of literature, with- 
out the fear of pecuniary distress. 

It was not, however, until driven to it by necessity, that 
Blennerhassett attempted to show how much he had 
really been injured by the man whom he had regarded 
and cherished as his friend ; but who had now deserted 
him in the hour of misfortune. Almost bankrupt in 
purse, with a large family dependent upon him for sup- 
port, to whom could he look for indemnity for the losses 
sustained in "the enterprise of Burr? He had contributed 
largely, if not entirely, to the procuring of boats, imple- 
ments and provisions for the expedition, and, as yet, had 
received nothing in return. Both Burr and Alston had 
turned a deaf ear to his petitions for relief; indeed, Burr, 



Digitized by 



Google 



LETTER TO ALSTON. 588 

had it been his desire, could afford but poor satisfaction 
from the meager remains of a once large fortune. Blen- 
nerhassett, accordingly, addressed the following letter to 
Governor Alston : 

Blennerhassett to Gov. Alston. 

La Cache, Port Gibson, Miss. Ter., 
March 2d, 1811. 
Sir : — As a letter from me, after so long a suspension 
of our correspondence, will probably be as little welcome' 
as expected, I anticipate, on inditing it, only such atten- 
tion on your part to its object as your reflections may 
deem consonant to your interest. I proceed accordingly, 
without fiirflier preamble, to apprise you, that having 
long since despaired of all indemnity from Mr. Burr for 
my losses, by the confederacy in which I was associated 
with you and him, I count upon a partial reimbursement 
from you upon grounds and motives which it is the ob- 
ject of this letter to develop and recall to your recollec- 
tion. Having mentioned Mr. Burr, I wish you, sir, to 
observe, that I shall never more consider a reference to 
his honor, good faith, or resources in any other light than 
as a scandal to any man offering it who is not already 
sunk as low as himself. You will therefore feel, I hope, 
as little disposed to speak, at this day, of his intentions 
as of his means to indemnify his friends. It is on you, 
sir, that as regards myself, devolves this duty. The 
heroic offer you made to co-operate with your person and 
fortune in our common enterprise, gave you, in my esti- 
mation, a color of claim to that succession in empire you 
boasted you would win by better titles — your deeds of 



Digitized by 



Google 



584 THE BLBNNBBHASSBTT PAPERS. 

merit in council or the field. For examples of these 
exploits, I anxiously invoked the season of their achieve- 
ment; but I confess, sir, I attached a more interesting 
value to the tender you so nobly pledged of your whole 
property to forward and support our expedition, together 
with your special assurances to me of reimbursement for 
all contingent losses of a pecuniary nature I might indi- 
vidually suffer. These considerations, sir, as they in- 
volved me on your responsibility, naturally refer me to 
you for the acquittal of it, and possessing such ample 
powers to discharge it, I flatter myself I shall be able to 
induce you to the full exercise of them. To this end I 
now apprise you, that the period has arrived in which I 
feel myself warranted to tell you, that in virtue of your 
oral and written assurances to guarantee me against all 
injuries to my property by reason of my participation 
in the confederacy of 1806, I finally determined to em- 
bark with you, and have thereby sustained damage to the 
amount of $50,000, of which sum I now demand (15,000, 
payable at New Orleans or Philadelphia, in August next. 
The respective sums you have paid already in part dis- 
charge of your written obligation, I believe, (12,500, 
together with the (15,000 now required, will leave a 
balance of (22,500, which you may, if you please, adjust 
by your obligation, on receipt of which, if required, I 
will dismiss my demand against Mr. Burr by suit in 
Philadelphia. 

Here, sir, you perceive is a demand instituted on the 
guarantee of the good faith of a gentleman, who can 
never plead specially thereto but out of a court of honor. 
Within that jurisdiction, he must acquiesce or rely on the 



Digitized by 



Google 



REMEMBRANCERS. 535 

general issue. Your adjusting this affair in the manner 
proposed, I would, at a certain period of our acquaint- 
ance, have suffered no man to question ; but the cruel, 
cold-blooded indifference with which you have so many 
years beheld a distressed family, in vain endeavoring to 
collect some fragment of the property embarked and 
wrecked in the voyage you had insured, without acquit- 
ting the debt of your guarantee — such a demeanor, sir, 
naturally obliges me, as a further and final result of all 
my labors and deliberations that relate to you to submit 
to your reflections, other motives of action besides those 
already offered. These are certainly of a character and 
complexion I regret it should be my lot to exhibit to the 
public. To you, however, it belongs to say whether they 
shall remain shrouded within the sanctuary of your 
own breast, or stalk forth the heralds of the private trea- 
son and public perjury they will proclaim infallibly to the 
honest Democratic electors of South Carolina, who would 
thence remove you from the chair of their assembly with 
a different kind of zeal from that through which they 
placed you in it. Yes, sir, I submit it to your discretion, 
to keep concealed from your friends and from your coun- 
try that led you to take part in our confederacy, which 
you pledged yourself to me to back with all your prop- 
erty, worth, as you stated, 200,000 guineas, to join and 
support us at New Orleans, at the head of 2,000 to 
3,000 men, to leave with me, besides your oral and writ- 
ten guarantee of indemnity for all my losses, a private 
cipher, the inscrutable vehicle of our correspondence ; 
afterward, to commit the shabby treason of deserting from 
your parent by affinity, and your sovereign in expectancy; 



Digitized by 



Google 



586 THE BLBNXBKHA88BTT PAPERS. 

and then, finally, in your letters to your Governor, to 
vilify your father-in-law, and perpetrate an open perjury 
by publicly denying all privity or connection with his 
views or projects. Assuredly, sir, a picture of this kind, 
on which I have occasionally worked during the last four 
years, can not, you must imagine, be viewed by your 
Democratic friends with less horror than a death's head 
in a phantasmagoria ; and yet, after all my labors, I feel 
no wish to exhibit it to vindicate my character in associ- 
ating with Mr. Burr and yourself in the judgment of the 
mobility of the low people, or to appease the impotent 
vindictiveness of Mr. Jefferson and his miserable parti- 
sans. The fact is, I have survived all the labors of body 
and mind imposed upon me by the evil genius of Jeffer- 
son and of Burr, 'except the remaining one of exposing 
both. 

But I must bequeath to my children and friends a 
memorial of that honor, loyalty and courage, to which 
you and I made our first offerings on entering into the 
association, but which you did not follow with me in 
the expedition ; such a. remembrance, containing sketches 
of Mr. Burr's cabinet and correspondence with myself 
and other associates ; the history of my interviews and 
consultations with Mr. Alston, relative to Mr. Burr's 
designs upon New Orleans and Mexico, with ample 
references to letters and other rare and original docu- 
ments, that will be lodged in Charleston or Philadelphia, 
for the inspection of the curious, — the whole, sir, is now 
ready for the press, but shall not be sent away for pub- 
lication until you shall have failed to announce your com- 
pliance with the engagements of honor herein required 



Digitized by 



Google 



LISTEN ! 587 

of you, by forwarding a credit for $15,000, payable as 
before mentioned, and accompanied with your obligation, 
or some other equivalent proposal, for adjusting the 
balance. Now, sir, to conclude, you may gather from 
what you have read, that I hold myself bound by no 
obligations of secrecy to any one who has broken faith 
with me, provided the disclosure work no injury to an 
innocent third person. That you may have full notice, I 
have no objection, in apprising you of the nature and 
design of the proposed publication ; but to give you an 
opportunity of keeping it out of view, by discharging 
the debt of honor you have contracted, whereby, in doing 
an act of justice, you will prevent the necessity of my 
selling to the public that detail of infamy and falsehood 
which you should exclusively purchase ; that your past 
experience of my principles and temper will guarantee 
the sincerity of these sentiments, and to exemplify this 
assurance, I promise you, that whether the demand I have 
made upon you be complied with or not, I will, at any 
time after publishing my book, which shall be suppressed 
or expedited by your determination, promptly attend to 
any call you may think proper to make upon me. 

I have to add, that I have no doubt of my book's 
producing $10,000, if you do not think proper to prevent 
its appearance. Should you decide in the negative, you 
may rest assured I shall not, to save the trouble of smelt- 
ing, abandon the ore I have extracted, with such expense 
of time and labor from the mines, both dark and deep, 
not, indeed, of Mexico, but of Alston, Jefferson and Burr. 
I send, besides the original, a duplicate and triplicate of 
this letter; namely, one directed to Columbia, one to 



Digitized by 



Google 



588 THE BLEXNEBHASSETT PAPERS. 

Charleston, and the third to Georgetown. This is done 
with a view, by lessening the chances of my letters' mis- 
carrying, to expedite your answer, for which I shall wait 
double the time necessary to bring it to me in the regular 
course of the mails. 

I am, sir, your most obedient servant, 

Harman Blennebhassett. 
Col. J. Alston. 

The success of his new undertaking animated Blenner- 
hassett in the hope of reclaiming his losses in a very 
short time. Such, indeed, would have been the result 
had not the war of 1812, and the embargo which fol- 
lowed, put a decided check to our commercial transac- 
tions. Produce, of every description, immediately fell in 
price, until the commodity would scarce pay the expenses 
of marketing. A bare subsistence, therefore, was all he 
could promise himself, until a termination of hostilities 
between the contending nations. 

But misfortunes seldom come singly. It was but a 
short time previous that he had heard of the fate of his 
island residence, rented by him to one of his Belprd 
friends, but who was afterward dispossessed by the Ken- 
tucky creditor. As the beauty of the grounds had been 
entirely destroyed, and the mansion itself much injured, 
through carelessness and neglect, it had lost its primitive 
attractions, and was now regarded as a mere convenience 
in farming. In the year 1811, the tenant raised an un- 
usual quantity of hemp, which was stored in one of the 
wings Of the building. On a very cold night, several of 
the slaves, who had been permitted to visit their Virginia 



Digitized by 



Google 



KINDNESS. 589 

friends, overturned the boat in which they were return- 
ing, and one of their number was drowned. Suffering 
under intense cold, they proceeded to the cellar where 
the spirituous liquors were kept, to obtain the stimulus 
for counteracting the ill effects of their accident. Pass- 
ing through the entrance of the hemp-room, to which 
the stairway led, by accident they communicated the 
flame of the candle to the hemp, and, in a few moments, 
the destroying element was beyond their control. Stupid 
with astonishment, at the awfulness of the spectacle in 
the darkness of the night, they neglected to apprise the 
inmates, who would all doubtless have perished, had not 
some one of them fortunately awakened in time to give 
the alarm. Escaping, with nothing but their night- 
clothes and a few articles of furniture, they beheld with 
awe this beautiftil mansion, which, but a few years previ- 
ous, had been the abode of peace and happiness, adorned 
with all that could embellish or beautify its appearance, 
rapidly reduced to a mass of ruins. 



From Joseph S. Lewis. 

Philadelphia, March 26tt, 1811. 

Dear Sir : — Your favor of 27th ult. has just reached 
me, and it affords me much pleasure in hearing from you. 
It would be very gratifying if it were oftener. I regret 
extremely that you should be thrown back by want of a 
sufficient capital to work your estate to the best advan- 
tage, and I should be extremely happy in offering you an 
increase of the credit sometime ago granted you ; but 



Digitized by 



Google 



540 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

even that credit is very inconvenient, in consequence of 
the uncommon situation of the times. Owing to the 
charter of the United States Bank having expired, and 
the severance of our intercourse with England, a total 
stagnation of business has occurred, and we want all our 
means to make ourselves comfortable, when our stores 
are overloaded with goods, etc. Tour cotton we have 
not been able to sell a bale of, and our advances for you, 
at this moment, are about $ 8,000. Under all these cir- 
cumstances I can not encourage you to draw any further, 
but certainly I will not dishonor those already drawn, 
and which you have advised as payable at September and 
January next, and the one to Capt. Vidal of #700, rely- 
ing that you will, as early as possible, send your cotton 
down to our friends at New Orleans, with orders to sell 
it, or send it round here as soon as they can, as we may 
meet some chance of selling it ; and you may be assured, 
that whenever I can do it, I will extend the credit. 

I hope you may succeed in making a sale of your 
Island. I have recently heard from Mr. Woodbridge, 
who was in town a few days ago, that your house on the 
Island was burned down, and it happened in consequence 
of Miller having stored it with hemp, which took fire 
from a candle taken in by a negro woman. I most 
heartily regret this circumstance, which must injure the 
value of the property ; but I should conceive Miller was 
liable in having done what his lease could not authorize, 
making a storehouse of a dwelling. As to Alston, there 
seems no chance of a recovery from him. 

Your letter for Dominick I will send to him ; he con- 
tinues in good health, and is improving in his studies. 



Digitized by 



Google 



BUSINESS. 541 

Mrs. L. and my family are all well. I hope you will be 
able to make your arrangements in such a way as will 
enable us to see personally that you and Mrs. B. are so 
too. Present my best respects, and believe me ever 
Yours, Jos. S. Lewis. 



Philadelphia, June 2\$t> 1811. 

Dear Sir: — Your favors have all been replied to." "We 
have not been able to dispose of your cotton, and the 
price is nominally thirteen cents. We see no better pros- 
pect for what is to come, and we therefore recommend 
your sending your new crop to Amory Callender, New 
Orleans, with orders to sell it at once, and remit us as 
soon as they can. Our political affairs do not promise 
us much amendment in the article of cotton, and the 
sooner, therefore, it can be turned into money the better. 
Dominick is well, and improves in his studies considera- 
bly. Your cotton here is still on hand. 

Jos. S. Lewis & Co. 

September 7th, 1811. 

We see no prospect of a rise in the cotton, and would 
willingly sell yours at twelve cents, if to be had, for 
there is no use in keeping it. Jos. S. L. 

H. Blennbrhassett, Esq. 



Philadelphia, Dec. 18th, 1811. 
Dear Sir : — Your esteemed favor of 19th ult., dated at 
Natchez, reached us yesterday, and affords us pleasure to 



Digitized by 



Google 



542 THE BLBNNEBHAflSBTT PAPERS. 

learn th&t you and your family were recovering from 
your sickness, which has been so generally fatal upon the 
Mississippi this year. On the score of confidence in you, 
we should not decline to accept your bills for any reason- 
able sum, in addition to what we are already in advance, 
but these are not times when we can do so without very 
great inconvenience. Business generally is suspended, 
and the usual facilities of procuring money are cut off. 
In fact, two years ago, the advance of $6,000 could not 
have been so inconvenient as $1,000 now. Our advance 
now is about $ 18,000, and taking into view your cotton 
here, and what we may receive of your next crop, the 
whole will not amount to $3,600, and thiB will be a long 
time first Under these circumstances, we have con- 
cluded not to accept your last bill of $600 to W. Jackson 
& Co., although the alternative is extremely painful to 
us ; but as there seems a prospect of making sale to Mr. 
Anthony, of your Island, we shall immediately write to 
him, and if it should seem likely the business can be con- 
cluded in a reasonable time, we will take care that your 
bill shall not go back. We have given as a reason for 
non-acceptance, that it is for want of advice. After 
offering your cotton upon every occasion for sale, with- 
out effect, and seeing no prospect of a favorable result by 
keeping it longer, we have concluded to ship it to Liver- 
pool, and have put it on board the ship United States, 
which being intended for your interest, we have no doubt 
you will approve. "With respect to the present crop, we 
recommend you to direct to Messrs. Amory, Callender & 
Co., to make sale of it immediately, and remit at once to 
us, or, if they can not do this, to lose no time in shipping 



Digitized by 



Google 



HOPE DAWNING. 548 

it to Liverpool, consigned to Messrs. Leigh & Shellock. 
Here, it will not sell for more than at New Orleans. Our 
brother in New York sold a large parcel last week at 10$ 
cents. We see no prospect of an improvement in cotton 
while the continent is shut. England has now two years 
supply on hand, and unless this market is opened to her 
manufactories, cotton will go down. Dominick is in 
excellent health, and very contented with his situation. 
With our best respects to your good lady, and our sincere 
regards for yourself, we remain, 

Tour friends, Jos. S. Lewis & Co. 

From the House of Jos. S. Lewis $ Co. 

December 1st, 1811. 
Agreeably to our annual custom, we wait on you with 
your account to this date, showing a balance in our favor 
of 1 12,150 T 8 V We also inclose you, on account of the 
charges on your cotton, which we have shipped by the 
United States, amounting to $909 T Vu, which is included in 
the above balance. We have no reply to our letter to 
Mr. J. C. Anthony, concerning the Island. 

December Slst, 1811. 
Your esteemed lines of 1st instant I received on Sun- 
day, and should be very sorry that our private corres- 
pondence should be suspended on account of the state of 
our mercantile affairs. It is true, the advance is particu- 
larly inconvenient just now, but I hope soon to hear of 
your crop reaching New Orleans, and if your correspond- 
ent there ship it at once to Liverpool, it may do well, as 



Digitized by 



Google 



644 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the article has risen by the last accounts, and I hope we 
shipped yours by the United States at a favorable moment. 

Jos. S. Lewis. 

February 22d, 1812. 

My dear Friend : — Tour few lines of 11th ult., accompa- 
nying a letter to the house, lies before me. No circum- 
stance for a long time has given me as much pain as the 
necessity of staying my hand from any further uncovered 
advances to you; but I am satisfied, however distressing 
it may be to you, that you have correctness of mind suffi- 
cient to estimate the true reason, and not feel offended at 
the circumstance. Dominick is well, but has not been in 
town since his Christmas holidays. I trust what the 
House have proposed will meet your object, and afford 
you relief. J. 8. Lewis. 

H. Blenherhassett, Esq. 



Philadelphia, Feb. 22d, 1812. 
Dear Sir: — Your favor of 11th January has reached 
us only yesterday, and its perusal has caused us some very 
unpleasant feelings, in the reflection of your situation, as 
you now paint it. We would willingly make any sacri- 
fice in reason to help you, but the reasons which induced 
the refusal of your bill still operate, and with our capital 
locked up with you, and more largely in other places, we 
have not the means, without great inconvenience, to ad- 
vance further. The bill of $600 has gone back, and is 
now too late to help it, or we would go that step further ; 
but we will do this : Send your cotton to our friends at 



Digitized by 



Google 



GOOD ADVICE. 545 

New Orleans, with orders to sell the same, if it will bring 
a price that you think enough, and if it will not, to ship 
it immediately to Messrs. Leigh & Shellock, of Liverpool, 
and you may, on its arrival at New Orleans, draw upon 
us for two-thirds of whatever our friends say would prob- 
ably be the net proceeds of the cotton if sold at the cur- 
rent price at that time at New Orleans. This, it appears 
to us, will relieve you, and, at the same time, make us a 
small payment on account. Tour cotton will probably net 
you 12 cents, which, on 40,000 lbs., is $4,800, two-thirds 
of which is $ 3,200, which is about the sum you have 
stated as being wanted by you to meet your debts and 
provide for family expenses. You have never mentioned 
to us what quantity of ground you hold, and the number 
of your negroes which would be a satisfaction to us to 
know, that in case of accident to you, these would be 
something for your family, as well as for us. 

We have corresponded with Mr. J. C. Anthony, and 
prepared to meet him at Washington, to complete the 
contract. We inclose you copies of his letters to us, by 
which you will see you are very wide in your idea of the 
value of the Island; we should think that money is 
worth more to you than any rise in the property will ever 
realize, and if he comes near your mark, should accept 
the offer. 

As to the removal of Dominick, on account of the cost 
of his education, that is quite out of the question, and no 
more need be said on that business. 

It will afford us the highest gratification to learn that 
the plan proposed meets your view, and will answer your 
purpose. 

35 



Digitized by 



Google 



646 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

We hope for better times, which will enable you to 
resume that feeling of independence which you so much 
enjoy ; and, in the mean time, we remain, very sincerely, 
Your friends, J. S. Lewis & Co. 

H. BLENNERHASSETT ESQ. 

We are informed, by his biographer,* that, after the 
trial at Richmond, Colonel Burr, believing that the polit- 
ical situation of Europe afforded opportunities for ac- 
complishing the object he had long contemplated, of 
emancipating the Spanish American colonies from the 
degrading tyranny of Spain, conceived the design of 
soliciting the aid of some European government in such 
an undertaking, and that with these views he sailed from 
New York for England on the 7th of June, 1808. 

During the first three months of his residence in Lon- 
don, he made various unsuccessful efforts to approach the 
English Government, but there were two obstacles in the 
way, both of which were insuperable. The Spaniards 
were then resisting the invasion of Napoleon ; and 
the enthusiasm of the British nation in favor of the 
Spanish patriots, as well as the policy of the British 
Government, were absolutely opposed to any scheme for 
separating the colonies from Spain. "But, in addition to 
this obstacle," continues his biographer, " Colonel Burr, 
from the moment of his landing in England, was an 
object of suspicion and distrust to the Government." 

He afterward visited Edinburg, where he remained for 
several months; but the suspicions of the Government 



* Matthew L. Davis's Memoir of Burr, Vol. II, p. 412 



Digitized by 



Google 



COOL TREATMENT. 547 

becoming daily more aroused, he was peremptorily or- 
dered back to London by Lord Melville. Here he was 
seized, conveyed to Stafford Place prison, and his papers 
searched. After an imprisonment of two days, he was 
set at large, with orders to quit the kingdom ; but, linger- 
ing for a few days, he received a more decided mandate 
from Lord Liverpool to leave London on the following 
day, and the kingdom in forty-eight hours. 

In April, 1809, he embarked from Harwich for Gotten- 
burgh. On leaving England, his future movements 
seemed undetermined. He was unwilling, says his biog- 
rapher, to renounce the projects which carried him to 
Europe, and all hope from England being ended, he 
looked next for aid to Napoleon, whose policy, from the 
resistance of Spain and the preponderancy of the British 
navy, was now in favor of the independence of the Span- 
ish American colonies. He finally resolved to wait in 
Sweden until he received advices from America, and then 
proceed to Paris, to communicate with the Emperor. 
From Sweden he passed through Germany to Paris, vis- 
iting Hamburgh, Hanover, Saxe-Gotha, Weimar and 
Frankfort. He arrived in Paris in February, 1810. 
Here he made a long and unsuccessful attempt to obtain 
an audience of the Emperor. He attributed his failure 
to the unfavorable representations of Talleyrand and the 
United States Minister. Several months of neglect and 
inattention', at length, discouraged him, and he resolved 
to return home. But here again an unforeseen difficulty 
presented itself. On applying for a passport to the 
United States, he was informed by the police that he 
could not have one to go out of the empire. After four 



Digitized by 



Google 



548 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

months' detention, during which time he had exhausted 
his entire means, he addressed a memorial to Napoleon, 
praying permission to return home. This also passed 
without notice. He next addressed notes to Jonathan 
Russell, American charge d'affaires at Paris, and Mr. 
MeRae, the American Consul, for a certificate of citizen- 
ship. Russell thus harshly replies : " The man who 
evades the offended laws of his country ,abandons, for the 
time, the right to their protection. This fugitive trovi 
justice, during his voluntary exile, has a claim to no 
other passport than one which shall enable him to sur- 
render himself for trial for the offenses with which he 
stands charged ; such a passport will Mr. Russell furnish 
to Mr. Burr, but no other." 

His situation seemed one of almost hopeless despair. 
In his diary of November 25th, 1810, he writes: "Noth- 
ing from America, and really I shall starve. Borrowed 
three francs to-day. Four or five little debts keep me 
constantly in alarm — altogether, about two Louis." 

" December 1st, 1810. — Came in upon me this morning, 
just as I was out of bed, for twenty-seven livres. Paid 
him, which took literally my last 6ous. When at Denous, 
thought I might as well go to Pelasgie; set off, but 
recollected I owed the woman who sits in the passage 
two sous for a cigar ; so turned about to pursue my way 
by Pont des Arts, which was within fifty paces ; remem- 
bered I had not wherewith to pay the toll, being one 
sous ; had to go all the way round by the Pont Royal, 
more than half a mile." * 



* Davis's Memoirs of Burr, Vol. II, pp. 428-4. 



Digitized by 



Google 



CORRESPONDENCE. 549 

At length, in July, 1811, a ship being about to sail, in 
ballast, he received permission to return. He arrived at 
Amsterdam in August, and, after a delay of a month, 
embarked for the United States ; but the vessel in which 
he sailed was captured by an English frigate and carried 
into Yarmouth. The Vigilant, for such was its name, 
and the effects of her passengers were taken possession 
of by the Government ; and as Burr had paid for his 
passage, and was reduced in funds, he found it necessary 
to remain for a time in England. Finally, on the 6th of 
March, 1812, he sailed in the ship Aurora, and arrived in 
New York in June, 1812, just four years after his depart- 
ure from America. 

Blennerhassett having instituted proceedings against 
him at Hew Orleans, during his absence, to recover some 
securities which had been pronounced available, and, 
learning of his arrival, addressed him a communication . 
upon the subject, when the following correspondence 
occurred : 

New York, March 8th, 1813. 

Sir : — Your letter of the 24th January has been some 
days in my hands, and I have been searching but in vain 
for something to enlighten me as to the nature of the 
action which you would propose to bring against Wilkins, 
etc. No objection, however, occurs to me against making 
the assignment you ask. When you shall inform me of 
the grounds of the proposed suit, if they shall appear to 
me to be well founded, and not calculated to produce a 
reaction on myself, it is probable I may accede to your 



Digitized by 



Google 



550 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

wishes without delay, not, however, with any reservation 
of an interest as you have proposed. 

I am, sir, your obedient, A. Burr. 



To Aaron Burr. 
La Cache, Port Gibson, April 16M, 1813. 

Sir: — Perceiving you seem disposed to assign to me 
your interest in the contract you entered into with Wil- 
kins and Morrison, in 1806, provided "I can enlighten 
you as to the nature of the action I would bring against 
them," I hasten to acquaint you that I should prefer 
suing them directly, in the character of your assignees, 
for the amount of the advance you made to them, in bills 
rendered negotiable by my indorsement, to the contingent 
recovery I might obtain against them as garnishees in a 
suit already instituted at New Orleans. 

Copies of the contract, and of the receipt of Wilkins 
and Morrison for* $15,000, in bills, shall be forwarded to 
you, and if you think proper, without delay, to transmit 
me a properly authenticated assignment of all your 
claims for the above advance, and for damages on account 
of the non-fulfillment of the contract, I will order the 
present suit commenced against you at New Orleans to 
be dismissed. As your letter of the 8th ult. appears to 
have been dictated by a spirit of accommodation, permit 
me now, sir, to test its character by suggesting that I 
have no view " to reaction " upon you in whatever opera- 
tions I may essay to obtain some indemnity for my losses. 
These, Governor Alston may have stated to you, I esti- 
mate at $50,000, of which his Excellency has already 



Digitized by 



Google 



THREATS. 551 

reimbursed, I believe, $12,500, and it is very probable 
nothing short of the publication of my book, hitherto 
postponed only by sickness, will bring me any part of 
the balance so long sought in vain from his honor and 
engagements. His well-earned election to the chief ex- 
ecutive office of his State, and your return from Europe, 
will, however, now render the publication more effective 
than it would have been prior to these events, and it will 
be expedited within three months from this date, if all 
other means of indemnity fail within that period. I 
would still agree to accept from any other source $15,000, 
^in lieu of the balance I claim of $37,500, and, of course, 
withhold the book, which is entitled, " A Review of the 
Projects and Intrigues of Aaron Burr, during the years 
1805-6-7, including therein, as parties or privies, Thos. 
Jefferson, Albert Gallatin, Dr. Eustis, Gov. Alston, Dan. 
Clark, Generals Wilkinson, Dearborn, Harrison, Jackson 

and Smith, and the late Spanish Ambassador, , 

exhibiting original documents and correspondence hith- 
erto unpublished, compiled from the notes and private 
Journal, kept during the above period ; by H. Blenner- 
hassett, LL. B ; " with this motto, which will find appli- 
cability in every page of the book : " It is only the Phi- 
losopher who knows how to mark the boundary between 
celebrity and greatness." 

You will now, sir, I hope, perceive distinctly upon 
what terms I would execute a general acquittance to 
Gov. Alston and yourself. I have long since abandoned 
every chance of reimbursement from either of you, un- 
less I should succeed in forcing the object through the 



Digitized by 



Google 



552 THE BLENNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

alarms of his Excellency, or the fears and interest of other 
characters. I have only to add, respecting those of Wil- 
kins and Morrison, who have pocketed the money with- 
out a consideration, that as an action would not lie by 
me against them., the credit having moved from you to 
them, after it had passed from me to you, it is therefore 
I have applied for the assignment desired, which would 
enable me to sue them directly, which I should prefer to 
continuing the suit now pending against yourself. Be 
pleased, sir, to inform me whether Gen. Jackson is or is 
not indebted to you in a balance of $1,726 T 6 &, as is stated 
on the face of an open account in his own hand-writing. 
While he was here with his militia, I had him summoned 
as a garnishee to the Circuit Court of Adams county, 
where having made default, if he does not personally ap- 
pear at the next October term, I understand judgment 
will go against him for $5,000, that being the sum sworn 
to in the affidavit on which the attachment was issued. 
From, sir, your obedient servant, 

H. Blennerhassett. 



From Mr. Emmett. 

New York, August 24*A, 1815. 
Dear Blennerhassett : — I hope, and am willing to 
believe, that a letter I wrote you now some four or five 
years since, and which remains unanswered, was never 
received by you. It was directed in the same way as 
this, and the uncertainty of its fate makes me wish I 
knew a more safe and sure direction. I can not, how- 



Digitized by 



Google 



T. A. EMMETT. 553 

ever, permit the inclosed,* which I have recently received 
from Ireland, to go forward without accompanying it hy 
a few words from myself. 

Mr. Berwick has written to me also, and so far as I can 
judge, considering your situation, and the almost impos- 
sibility of your pursuing your claim, I think the proposal 
contained in his letter very advantageous. It is very sel- 
dom that an opportunity occurs here of learning any par- 
ticulars respecting individuals in your part of the world ; 
but I have been led to hope that you have found it pleas- 
ant and profitable to yourself and family ; and I assure 
you few persons would more rejoice at your prosperity 
than myself. 

Mrs. Emmett presents her best compliments to you, 
and joins in sincere regards with, dear Blennerhassett, 
Yours affectionately, Thos. Addis Emmett. 



* The letter inclosed by Mr. Emmett, was from Mr. Berwick, a solicitor 
in Dublin, who was engaged to collect information respecting a property 
in Ireland, called the Bawn estate, to which Blennerhassett was entitled 
in right of his descent from the Harman family. 



Digitized by 



Google 



554 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Mobt, if not all, of the characters involved in the en- 
terprise of Burr have passed from the theater of life; 
their acts are left to the anxious scrutiny of an impartial 
posterity. The sanctity of the sepulcher should cover 
their remains with the mantle of charity. But an ac- 
count of the origin, and a relation of the circumstances 
attending the event, may not be unacceptable to the 
readers of the present day, and will prove a theme of 
historical interest to those who follow us. 

The disaffection which had existed in the West, al- 
though greatly diminished by the failure of the designs 
of the French minister, had never been entirely recon- 
ciled. The zeal of the Spanish emissaries received but a 
temporary check in the abortive attempt of Wilkinson 
and Miro. Wilkinson was yet a pensioner of Spain, and 
an officer of rank in the American army. Miro had been 
gratified in his long-cherished wish to return to the 
mother country, and the Baron de Carondelet had suc- 
ceeded to the government. 

In the year 1795, Governor Gayoso ascended the Mis- 
sissippi with a detachment of the King's troops, destined 
to erect and garrison the fort of San Fernando de las 
Barancas. Thence he proceeded to New Madrid, and 
held an interview with Don Thomas Portell relative to 



Digitized by 



Google 



PLANS. 555 

the affaire of the western country. It was resolved 
to send Thomas Power with important dispatches to 
General Wilkinson. Power had twice before been in- 
trusted with similar important missions. In 1794, he had 
penetrated Kentucky as a Spanish spy on the movements 
of Genet, and had also accompanied the* captive Span- 
iards, who had robbed and murdered Owen, the bearer 
of six thousand dollars from the Spanish Government to 
Wilkinson, it being the pension granted by the Court at 
Madrid to him and other Spanish- American emissaries in 
Kentucky. 

Power proceeded up the river in a pirogue, as far as 
Red Banks, whence he diverged across the country to 
Cincinnati, and, after numerous delays, occasioned by 
sickness, reached Lexington on the 8th of October. Here 
he found Wilkinson, to whom he delivered his dispatches 
and the verbal messages which had not been committed 
to writing. As yet, Power had been but partially admit- 
ted to the secret, but Wilkinson now disclosed the whole 
design, which embraced a separation of the Western 
from the Eastern States. 

As a means of effecting this, among other plans, it was 
proposed that the mouth of the Ohio should be formida- 
bly fortified ; that the works to be erected should be of 
sufficient strength to arrest the progress of an army for 
an entire campaign ; that in its construction Kentuckians 
only were to be employed — this, it was presumed, would 
dissipate national prejudices and patronize the citizens of 
the respective governments. The manufacture of neces- 
sary ordnance was to be carried on in the district of 
Kentucky. The establishment of a bank, with a capital 



Digitized by 



Google 



556 THE BLENNBRHA88ETT PAPERS. 

of one million of dollars, the directors of which were to 
be chosen from the most distinguished and leading men 
of the country, was expected to wield an irresistible influ- 
ence over the public councils and private sentiments of 
the Territory. Money was to be conveyed by packing it 
in barrels of coffee or sugar, unknown to the parties 
transporting it, and effectually concealing it from public 
observation. Under no circumstances was the fort of 
San Fernando to be surrendered by Spain, as such an act 
would lessen her importance and invite the rapacity of 
the American Government. As the seeds of approaching 
rupture had already been sown, it was important that 
additional fortifications should be erected, and an in- 
creased number of Spanish agents distributed through 
the disaffected districts, with a sufficiency of funds for 
any and every emergency. General Clark and his ad- 
herents, who were involved in the intrigues of the French 
and in the pay of the French Republic, were to be trans- 
ferred to the service of Spain, with promises of greater 
emoluments, and equal participation in benefits. New 
Madrid was designated as a depositary for the munitions 
of war, of which an adequate supply was to be kept 
always on hand. 

Power was directed by Wilkinson to proceed to the 
French settlement, at Gallipolis, to sound the disposition 
of the people, who, it was conjectured, were favorable to 
the measure, and were willing to proclaim their inde- 
pendence whenever, by concert of action, on the part of 
other districts, the act should be deemed available. From 
thence he was to proceed to Red Bank, where he should 
meet Sebastian, Innis, Murray and Nicholas, whom he 



Digitized by 



Google 



HOSPITALITY. 567 

was to convey to the mouth of the Ohio, where Gayoso 
was in waiting to receive them. 

Having performed this mission, Power again reached 
New Madrid, where, purchasing a pirogue for the accom- 
modation of his companions, toward the beginning of 
December, he set off for the Red Banks. 

On his arrival he found Sebastian only, as Innis had 
been detained at home through indisposition; Nicholas, 
through fear that his absence from court might occasion 
suspicion ; and Murray, in consequence of his habits of 
dissipation, rendering him incompetent for business. 
Sebastian had already engaged a passage in a flat-boat, 
and the two set out for the mouth of the Ohio. Here 
they found Gayoso encamped on the opposite bank of 
the river, where he had been amusing himself in con- 
structing a small triangular fort, more for the purpose 
of eluding suspicion than from any necessity the occasion 
demanded. Wilkinson's dispatch, in cipher, was delivered 
by Power to Gayoso ; a conference between Sebastian and 
himself was held ; and, after a detention of several days 
by rain, the whole party descended to Natchez, where 
they were hospitably entertained by Gayoso at the Gov- 
ernment House. 

Sebastian had been invested with plenary powers to 
co-operate with Gayoso in perfecting the plans of Wil- 
kinson and his Spanish associates. Power proceeded in 
advance to New Orleans, whither he was soon followed 
by the Governor and Sebastian. 

The succeeding spring, the latter, accompanied by 
Power, sailed for Philadelphia, to reconnoiter the route 
across the Alleganies. Proceeding as far as Shippens- 



Digitized by 



Google 



658 THE BLBNNBRHAS8BTT PAPERS. 

burg, they placed their baggage in a wagon, and con- 
tinued their journey to Red Stone on foot. Here they 
embarked in a flat, bound to Cincinnati, where they 
arrived about the middle of May. At this point the two 
separated, Sebastian descending to Louisville and Power 
proceeding to Greenville, then the head-quarters of Wil- 
kinson. 

Wilkinson had but recently learned of the arrival, at 
New Madrid, of a large sum of money, forwarded from 
the authorities in Louisiana, and requested Power to pro- 
ceed immediately thither, and have the same safely 
delivered in Kentucky. Power, having satisfactorily 
performed the mission, by delivering it to Philip Nolan, 
the accredited agent of the General, returned to New 
Orleans. * 

But Power was not destined long to remain inactive. 
He had proven himself an adroit and energetic agent, 
and stood high in the estimation of the Spanish Govern- 
ment. In 1797, he was again intrusted with a similar 
mission to Kentucky. Among others, he presented his 
scheme to George Nichols, an attorney at Lexington, 
who, Wilkinson had informed him, was favorable to 
Spanish interest. But no sooner had he disclosed his 
designs than Nichols rebuked him for his impertinence, 
and spurned the idea of receiving foreign gold. Power, 
finding but little encouragement in Kentucky, sought an 
interview with Wilkinson, then at Detroit. He was 
received by the General with cold civility; nay, with 
haughty abruptness. This was in public. In* private he 

• Wilkinson's Memoirs, Vol. II, Appendix No. 46. 



Digitized by 



Google 



INSTRUCTIONS. 669 

whispered, " we are both lost, without being able to de- 
rive any advantage from your journey." Rumor had 
connected him with the Spanish intrigue. Power was 
known as a Spanish spy, and Wilkinson had been often 
observed in conference with him. His complicity with 
the authorities of Louisiana had been the subject of a 
communication from Wayne to Washington; and Elli- 
cott, the commissioner, was instructed to watch him. 
Through the medium of a person in the service of the 
Governor-General, Ellicott had learned of the mission of 
Power, and of the instructions with which he was 
charged. As they disclose a plan similar, in many re* 
spects, to that of Burr, and as there is now but little 
doubt that it was, at least, suggestive, it is here inserted 
for future illustration. After stating the ostensible object 
of his visit to be the adjustment of the difficulties and 
securing the delay of the Spanish Government, in sur- 
rendering to the United States of the forts of Walnut 
Hills and Natchez, under the second article of the treaty, 
Of which fortifications Wilkinson had previously advised 
the Baron de Carondolet he was preparing to take forci- 
ble possession, the instructions proceed : 

" The second object of your commission, which no one 
must penetrate, and for which reason you must retain in 
your memory, is to sound and examine the disposition of 
the people of the Western States, whose militia, it is 
reported to me, has received orders to march on the 
first advice ; and, in case that be true, you will inform the 
commandant of New Madrid of it, by the first oppor- 
tunity you find. But, in order not to render yourself 
3U8pected, you will content yourself with putting the 



Digitized by 



Google 



560 THE BLENNERHAS8ETT PAPERS. 

date of your letter at the bottom, and will only treat of 
indifferent subjects. If hostile preparations are making, 
you will put before your signature a stroke like that 
which freemasons use, and which you see at the bottom 
of this letter ; the number of dots above will designate 
that of thousand men, and that below, the hundreds of 
which this expedition is to be composed. You will point 
out the number of pieces of artillery by a number of 
points placed in your flourish, according to your custom, 
the points on the left signifying tens, and those on the 
right units. This letter will be immediately sent me by 
the commandant of New Madrid, in consequence of the 
orders I shall give him. On your journey, you will give 
to understand adroitly, to those persons to- whom you 
will have an opportunity of speaking, that the delivery 
of the p9sts, which the Spaniards occupy on the Missis- 
sippi, to the troops of the United States, is directly op- 
posed to the interests of those on the West, who, as they 
must one day separate from the Atlantic States, would 
find themselves without any communication with Lower 
Louisiana, from whence they ought to expect to re- 
ceive powerful succor in artillery, arms, ammunition and 
money, either publicly or secretly, as soon as ever the 
Western States shall determine on a separation, which 
must insure their prosperity and their independence ; that 
for this same reason, Congress is resolved on risking 
every thing to take these posts from Spain ; and that it 
would be forging fetters for themselves to furnish it with 
militia and means which it can only find in the Western 
States. These same reasons diffused abroad, by means 
of the public papers, might make the strongest impres- 



Digitized by 



Google 



ANTICIPATIONS. 561 

sion on the people, and induce them to throw off the 
yoke of the Atlantic States ; but, at the very least, if we 
are able to dissuade them from taking part in this expe- 
dition, I doubt whether the States could give law to us, 
with such troops alone as they have now on foot. 

"Ifa hundred thousand dollars, distributed in Ken- 
tucky, could cause it to rise in insurrection, I am very 
certain that the minister, in the present circumstances, 
would sacrifice them with pleasure ; and you may, with- 
out exposing yourself too much, promise them to those 
who enjoy the confidence of the people, with another 
equal sum to arm them, in case of necessity, and twenty 
pieces of field artillery. You will arrive without danger, 
as bearer of dispatches for the General, where the army 
may be, whose force, discipline and dispositions you will 
examine with care ; and you will endeavor to discover, 
with your natural penetration, the General's disposition. 
I doubt that a person of his character would prefer, 
through vanity, the advantage of commanding the army 
of the Atlantic States to that of being the founder, the 
liberator, in fine, the Washington, of the Western States. 
His part is as brilliant as it is easy. All eyes are drawn 
toward him. He possesses the confidence of his fellow- 
citizens and of the Kentucky volunteers. At the slight- 
est movement the people will name him the General of 
the New Republic ; his reputation will raise an army for 
him, and Spain, as well as Prance, will furnish him the 
means of paying it. On taking Fort Massac, we will 
send him, instantly, arms and artillery; and Spain, limit- 
ing herself to the possession of the forts of Natchez and 
Walnut Hills, as far as Fort Confederation, will cede to 
36 



Digitized by 



Google 



562 THE BLBNNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

the Western States all the eastern bank to the Ohio, 
which will form a very extensive and powerful republic, 
connected by its situation and by its interest with Spain, 
which, in concert with it, will force the savages to become 
a party to it, and to confound themselves in time with its 
citizens. The public is disconcerted with the new taxes ; 
Spain and France are enraged at the connections of the 
United States with England ; the army is weak and de- 
voted to Wilkinson; the threats of Congress authorize 
me to succor, on the spot and openly, the Western States ; 
money will not then be wanting to me, for I shall send, 
without delay, a ship to Vera Cruz in search of it, as 
well as of ammunition. Nothing more will consequently 
be required but an instant of firmness and resolution to 
make the people of the West perfectly happy. If they 
suffer this instant to escape them, and that we should be 
forced to deliver up the posts, Kentucky and Tennessee, 
surrounded by the said posts, and without communica- 
tion with Lower Louisiana, will ever remain under the 
oppression of the Atlantic States. 

" If you represent forcibly these reasons to Wilkinson, 
Sebastian, La Casagne, etc., and if you diffuse these no- 
tions among the people, gaining by promises, which shall 
be fully realized, the best writers, as Breckenridge and 
others, you will be able to effect the most fortunate and 
most glorious commotion ; you will cover yourself with 
glory, and you may expect the most brilliant fortune ; if, 
on the contrary, you should fail in this commission, it 
will not deprive me of the opportunity of obtaining for 
you, from the minister, an appointment which will render 
you independent of hatred or jealousy." 



Digiti 



zed by G00gk 



RECEDING. 568 

When Wilkinson, therefore, found himself publicly 
approached by Power, he conceived it prudent to dissem- 
ble, to cast from himself any suspicions which this visit 
of Power might have occasioned. Hence he informed 
him that the Executive had given orders to the Governor 
of the North-West Territory to arrest him, and send him 
to Philadelphia; that there was no other resource of 
escape but by permitting himself to be conducted under 
guard to Fort Massac, and from thence to New Madrid. 
With reference to the Baron's instructions he said, that 
the project was chimerical ; that the inhabitants of the 
Western States, having obtained by treaty all they de- 
sired, would not wish to form any other political or com- 
mercial alliances ; that they had no motive for separating 
themselves from the interests of the other states of the 
Union, even if France and Spain should make them the 
most advantageous offers; that the fermentation which 
had existed four years back was then appeased ; that the 
depredations and vexations which American commerce 
suffered from the French privateers had inspired them 
with an implacable hatred for their nation ; that some 
of the Kentuckians had proposed to him to raise three 
thousand men to invade Louisiana, in case war should be 
declared between the United States and Spain ; that the 
latter had no other course to pursue, under the circum- 
stances, but comply with the recent treaty which he de- 
clared had overturned all his plans, and rendered useless 
the labors of more than ten years. As for himself he 
had destroyed his ciphers, and burned his correspondence 
with the Spanish Government ; that duty and honor did 
not permit him to continue it, and that the Governor of 



Digitized by 



Google 



564 



THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 



Louisiana ought not to be apprehensive of his abusing 
the confidence which he had placed in him. He added, 
that Spain, by delivering up to the United States the ter- 
ritory of Natchez, might, perhaps, name him governor 
of it, and that then he would not want opportunities to 
take more effectual measures to comply with his political 
projects.* 

These facts disclose the continued complicity of Wil- 
kinson with the Spanish Government, long after his ap- 
pointment as Brigadier-General of the American forces 
in the "West, and at and after the death of Wayne, upon 
which event he became Commander-in-chief. 

A descent upon Mexico, on the part of many of the 
Spanish American settlers, was a subject of secret agita- 
tion during a period of years prior to the cession of 
Louisiana to France. "The emigration from the west- 
ern part of the United States," writes Don Luis de Pefl- 
alvert y Cardenas, Bishop of Louisiana, in 1799, " and 
the toleration of our government, have introduced into 
this colony a gang of adventurers who have no religion, 
and acknowledge no God. They have made much worse 
the morals of our people, by their coming in contact with 
their trading pursuits." 

" The adventurers I speak of have scattered themselves 
over the districts of Attakapas, Opelonsas, Ouachita and 
Natchitoches, in the vicinity of the province of Texas, in 
New Spain; they employ the Indians on their farms, 
have frequent intercourse and conversation with them, 
and impress their minds with pernicious maxims, in har- 



* Wilkinson's Memoirs, Vol. II, p. 54. 



Digitized by 



Google 



PRECAUTIONS. 566 

mony with their own restless and ambitious temper, and 
with the customs of their own western countrymen, who 
are in the habit of saying to such of their boys as are 
distinguished for a robust frame, while patting them on 
the shoulder, l you will be the man to go to Mexico. 9 "* 

Since the year 1785, the United States had aimed at 
taking possession of Natchez and all the Territory which 
had been assigned to them by the treaty of 1783. Spain 
had persistently opposed the measure, and, through her 
emissaries in the western provinces of the Union, and her 
protracted negotiations, had succeeded in suspending the 
hostilities with which she was afterward threatened. 
Until the year 1797, she successfully eluded the claims 
of the American Government, when she was compelled 
to accede to its demands, in order not to expose herself 
to the loss of the whole of Louisiana. 

As the Americans had now become in possession of 
the new frontiers, it became more than ever urgent to 
secure to the Spanish Government an effectual barrier 
for the protection of Mexico. There were two ways sug- 
gested by which this object was to be accomplished ; f 
first, to establish in Louisiana a population sufficiently 
large to defend her against any aggression ; second, to 
form a union with Kentucky and the other districts of 
the "West, with the obligation, on their part, to serve as a 
rampart against the United States. 



* Gayarre's Hist. Louisiana, Vol. Ill, p. 408. 

f M. de Pontalba to the First Consul of the French Republic. — Gayarre, 
VoL III, p. 410. 



Digitized by 



Google 



566 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

In a memoir addressed to the First Consul of Prance, 
by M. de ]jontalba, who had been directed to collect in- 
formation on the resources of Louisiana, he says : " All 
this proves that the only commercial outlet for their pro- 
duce is the Mississippi ; that Louisiana can never cease to 
be the object of their ambition, as they depend on her in 
the most absolute manner ; that their position, the num- 
ber of their population, and their other means, will ena- 
ble them to invade this province whenever they may 
choose to do so ; and that, to preserve her, it is necessary 
to conciliate and control them by keeping up intelligences 
with the most influential men among them, and to grant 
them privileges until this province be sufficiently strong 
to defend herself with her own resources against the tor- 
rent which threatens her. Should its waters be let loose, 
there is no doubt but that they would sweep every thing 
on their passage ; for the Kentuckians, single-handed, or 
allied with the inhabitants of the neighboring districts, 
may, when they choose, reach New Orleans with twenty 
or thirty thousand men, transferred on large flat-boats, 
which they are in the daily habit of constructing, to carry 
their produce to market, and, protected by a few gun- 
boats, loaded with more provision than they need. The 
rapidity of the current of the Ohio, and of the other 
waters which discharge themselves into it, makes it an 
easy undertaking ; and the paucity of their wants would 
accelerate its execution. A powder-horn, a bag of balls, 
a rifle, and a sufficient provision of flour — this would be 
the extent of their military equipment. A great deal of 
skill in shooting, the habit of being in the woods and of 



Digitized by 



Google 



EXPECTATIONS. 567 

enduring fatigue — this is what makes up for every de- 
ficiency." * 

Again, he remarks, " what entitles Louisiana to pecu- 
liar attention is the fact of her being a port in the Gulf 
of Mexico, where no other power than Spain has any ; 
but what gives her still more value is, her position in 
relation to the kingdom of Mexico, whose natural barrier 
is the Mississippi. 

" It is necessary to make this barrier an impenetrable 
one. It is the surest means of destroying forever the 
bold schemes with which several individuals in the United 
States never cease filling the newspapers, by designating 
Louisiana as the high road to the conquest of Mexico, 
particularly ever since the occurring of differences with 
regard to its limits." 

Pontalba advised that peace should be observed be- 
tween France and the United States ; for otherwise the 
inhabitants of the West would precipitate themselves 
upon Louisiana, and wrest it by force from the dominion 
of France. This, he declared, had been the policy of 
Spain since 1797. " It was assisted in this policy," he 
says, " by a powerful inhabitant of Kentucky ,f who pos- 
sesses much influence with his countrymen, and enjoys 
great consideration for the services he has rendered the 
cause of liberty when occupying high grades in the army 
of the United States; who, from that time, has never 
ceased to serve Spain in all her views, and who will put 
the same zeal at the command of France, because he thinks, 



* Gayarre's History of Louisiana, Vol. Ill, p. 410. 
t General Wilkinson. 



Digitized by 



Google 



568 THE BLBNNBRHASSBTT PAPERS. 

with reason, that an intimate union between her and 
Louisiana is more advantageous to his country, Ken- 
tucky, than its present relation with the United States." * 

M. de Pontalba discloses the fact that he also had been 
in secret conference with Wilkinson, who had imparted 
to the French agent his knowledge of the policy and 
designs of Spain, and his own complicity with the Span* 
ish authorities. " This individual," he continues, " whose 
name I shall not mention, in order not to expose him, 
but which I shall make known when his services are 
wanted, came to New Orleans in 1787. He informed the 
Spanish Government of the state of things then existing 
in Kentucky and the adjoining districts, and of the efforts 
which the inhabitants of those provinces were making to 
obtain their independence and the free navigation of the 
Mississippi. He also declared that there was a general 
disposition among the people to place themselves under 
the protection of Spain, should Congress refuse to do 
justice to their claim. 

" It is on that refusal that this inhabitant of Kentucky 
had founded all his hopes, and, in that case, he had . 
offered to declare himself the vassal of his Catholic Ma- 
jesty. He proceeded as such to give information of all 
that the inhabitants of that region would undertake for 
or against Louisiana, in order to increase our strength. 
It was with this disposition he went back." 

In a note at the bottom of the manuscript he adds : 
** Four times, from 1786 to 1792, propositions were made 
to Kentucky and Cumberland to attack Louisiana; and 

* Gayarre's History of Louisiana, Vol. Ill, p. 414 



Digitized by 



Google 



WILKINSON. 509 

every time this same individual caused them to fail, 
through his influence over his countrymen. I make 
these facts known to show that France must not neglect to 
enlist this individual in her service" * 

A minute detail of events, which occurred subsequent 
to these transactions, and prior to the organization of the 
Burr expedition, belongs more particularly to the province 
of history. Taken in connection with the facts afterward 
developed, they point unerringly to Wilkinson, as the 
author of that famed event. From the year 1787 to 
within a brief period preceding the movements of Burr, 
he has been shown to have been closely allied to the in- 
terests of the Spanish crown. He had not only secretly 
advocated disunion, but was undoubtedly a pensioner of 
the Spanish Court. From his intimacy with the affairs 
of Louisiana, and the designs of Spain and the French 
Republic, his intelligence upon all subjects involving the 
interests of either, was seldom surpassed by those of their 
own officials. A life of restless activity, an intimacy with 
the inhabitants, both of the western country and Lou- 
isiana ; a thorough knowledge of the topography of the 
country and the routes which penetrated the Spanish 
dominions ; a lust for power and position, with an unholy 
ambition for wealth, at the sacrifice even of honor, in- 
tegrity and patriotism; a cultivated talent for intrigue 
and a dissembler in national diplomacy, with a spirit of 
adventure, which time had not subdued, and surrounded 
by restless spirits, to whom war was preferable to repose, 
he stood unrivaled as a leader of predatory incursions 
and revolutionary leagues. 

Gayarre's History of Louisiana, Vol. O, p. 414. 



Digitized by 



Google 



570 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

He was known to be the intimate friend and companion 
of Burr. They had served in the revolutionary strug- 
gles together. On the fatal occasion of the fall of Ham- 
ilton, he had been among the first to rally to the support 
of the declining popularity of his early associate. He 
had spent the winter preceding the close of Burr's Vice- 
Presidency, at Washington, and secured his agency in 
procuring the governorship of Louisiana. He had held 
secret counsels with him, introduced to his acquaintance 
many of his personal friends, and, as Burr repeatedly 
alleged, detailed to him all the information he possessed 
respecting Mexico, and pointed out the facilities which 
would probably be offered by the inhabitants in effecting 
a revolution. As has been related in a former chapter, 
on his first visit to the West, Burr visited Wilkinson, by 
whom he was most graciously received, and furnished 
with letters of introduction to many of the energetic and 
influential characters of the South and West. 

The project of a dismemberment of the Union, and the 
annexation of the trans- Allegany Territory to Louisiana, 
can not therefore be said to have originated with Burr. 
It was a subject of almost constant agitation in the coun- 
try for more than fifteen years prior to his undertaking, 
and, at one time, embraced many leading supporters in 
the West. Nor was the invasion of Mexico a startling 
proposition, now for the first time advanced, for it too 
had its advocates, and preceding the purchase of Louis- 
iana, by the United States, might have been successfully 
carried into execution. 

There was another scheme, however, which had but 
recently before been originated, and which, perhaps, aided 



Digitized by 



Google 



' MIRANDA. 571 

more than all others in giving it vitality and setting it 
on foot. 

The provinces of South America had long felt a desire 
to resist the authority of Spain. Miranda, a bold and 
energetic leader, with other of his fellow-patriots, had 
conceived the design of overthrowing the Spanish dy- 
nasty, and establishing, on its ruins, an independent 
republic. He hoped to procure, as allies, in this hercu- 
lean undertaking, both the United States and Great 
Britain. With that view, he visited this country, in 
1797-'8, and sought the acquaintance of the most distin- 
guished Americans. Knox and Hamilton, who stood 
high in influence and official station, favored his project. 
He afterward proceeded to England, and presented 
himself to the British ministry. They entered into his 
views. The proposition was that the United States 
should furnish ten thousand troops, and, in that event, 
the British Government agreed to supply the necessary 
funds and ships to carry on the expedition. From sev- 
eral communications addressed by Miranda to General 
Hamilton, it appears that the auxiliary land forces were 
to be exclusively American, and that of the navy, Eng- 
lish. The enterprise would, doubtless, have proceeded, 
had not the elder Adams, who was at that time Presi- 
dent, declined entering into the arrangement. 

At the period of the commencement of the expedition, 
various favorable circumstances rendered the undertak- 
ing apparently auspicious. The difficulties with Spain, 
before alluded to; the restlessness and disaffection of 
many of the officers and soldiers of the regular army in 
the West, who had become tired of a life of inactivity 



Digitized by 



Google 



672 THE BLENNERHA83BTT PAPERS. 

and ease, where there were no amusements to while 
away their vacant hourH, nor fields of battle from whence 
to pluck the never-fading laurels of conquest ; a lack of 
harmony, not only between the civil and military author- 
ities, but in the ranks of the military themselves ; all 
these considerations might well have flattered Burr that 
the fates were favorable to the adventurer. " Indeed, I 
fear treachery has become the order of the day/' writes 
General Jackson to Claiborne. "There is something 
rotten in the state of Denmark," The facetious McKee, 
in a communication to "Wilkinson, remarks: — "Your 
letter found me far gone in the blue devils, doubting 
whether I had better expatriate myself, and try my for- 
tunes amid the storm now gathering in Europe ; how- 
ever, nil disperandum Teucro duce auspice Teucro. I'll 
remain here till X'mas." 

An extensive correspondence with various distinguished 
characters of the country, assured Burr of their counte- 
nance and co-operation, in the event of a war with Spain. 
Wilkinson writes him, under date of October, 1805 : " I 
fear Miranda has taken the bread out of your mouth." 
"Wilkinson's regular force consisted only of about six 
hunded men, around which the followers of Burr were 
to form. These, in fact, were the only disciplined corps 
relied on. It is said the commander had pledged him- 
self to strike the blow, whenever it should be deemed 
expedient. All that was wanting, with him, was a pre- 
text for the commencement of hostilities against Spain. 
" On his suggestion, Daniel Clark twice visited the coun- 
try. He held conferences, and effected arrangements, with 
many of the principal military officers, who engaged to 



Digitized by 



Google 



ihtrigue. 578 

favor the Revolution. The Catholic Bishop, resident at 
New Orleans, was also consulted, and prepared to pro- 
mote the enterprise. He designated the priests of the 
order of Jesuits as suitable agents, and they were accord- 
ingly employed. The bishop was an intelligent and 
social man. He had been in Mexico, and spoke with 
great freedom of the disaffection of the clergy in South 
America. The religious establishments of the country 
were not to be molested. Madam Xavier Taijcon, su- 
perior of the Urauline nuns at New Orleans, was in the 
secret. Some of the sisterhood were also employed in 
Mexico. So far as any decision had been formed, the 
landing was to have been effected at Tampteo." * 

Daniel Clark engaged to advance, for the purpose of 
the expedition, $50,000; but, being disappointed, was 
unable to furnish it. Murray, the British Plenipotentiary, 
resident in the United States, was consulted on the sub- 
ject. He communicated to his Government the project 
of Burr. Col. "Williamson, the brother of Lord Balgray, 
was dispatched to England on the business; and, from 
the manner of his reception and the encouragement he 
received, it was expected that a British naval squadron 
would have been furnished for the enterprise. 

But of all the devices which his ingenuity suggested, 
there was none so startling as his intrigue with the Span- 
ish minister. Spain, although having surrendered her 
dominion in Louisiana to France, who, in turn, had ceded 
that Territory to the United States, still held possessions in 
Florida. She yet cherished her old resentments against 



* Davis's Memoirs of Burr, Vol. II, p. 382. 



Digitized by 



Google 



574 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

the American Government, and would have willingly co- 
operated to effect a severance of the Union. A protracted 
and angry correspondence between the plenipotentiaries 
of both governments had given rise to much acrimony 
of feeling ; and an open rupture, if not an immediate 
resort to arms, seemed almost inevitable. It was at this 
juncture of affairs that Burr, having become familiar 
with her former intrigues through Wilkinson, dispatched 
De Pestre, his confidential agent, to Yrujo, the Spanish 
minister, offering the services of himself and followers to 
the cause of the Spanish crown. Proposals were made 
that Spain should furnish the means and arms, while the 
forces were to be supplied by Burr. 

Yrujo, however, learning, in the mean time, that so far 
from aiding the cause of his Spanish master, it was 
merely a device to procure the means and arms to wrest 
from the possession of the crown its possession in Mexico, 
withdrew his aid before the negotiations were entirely 
completed. 

" This evening," says Blennerhassett, " De Pestre spent 
an hour with me, which was passed in a more detailed 
view of his past concerns with Burr. He gave me a de- 
scription of the manners and character of Yrujo, who 
is reconfirmed in his embassy to this country, in spite of 
all the efforts of the Government for his removal. This 
minister is, according to De Pestrc's portrait of him, a 
shrewd politician, who pierced the cobweb tissue of 
Burr's intrigue with him at a single glance. Though he 
assured De Pestre, who was charged in Kentucky, last 
October, with a special mission to him, that had Burr 
opened his designs with frankness, and really projected 



Digitized by 



Google 



MISREPRESENTATIONS. 575 

a severance of the Union, and nothing hostile to the 
Spanish provinces, he, Burr, might have had an easy 
resort to the Spanish treasury and its arsenals, while his 
confidence would have been safely lodged in the honor 
of a Spanish nobleman. But Yrujo laughed at the awk- 
wardness with which Burr endeavored to make his de- 
sign on Mexico, and expressed his concern for De Pestre's 
having lost his time in such a service." 

Burr was much mortified and annoyed at the penetra- 
tion of his intended victim, and at the time of his em- 
barrassments on the Mississippi, by Wilkinson, declared, 
in the presence of Smith and Blennerhassett, that De 
Pestre should be hung for his ineffectual negotiations. 

Twice, as we have seen, Burr visited the "West. Wher- 
ever he went he spoke disrespectfully of the Government 
of his country, with the view to facilitate the consumma- 
tion of his own designs. He represented it as destitute 
of energy to support or defend our national rights against 
foreign enemies, and of a spirit to maintain our national 
character ; that, in fact, we had no character at home or 
abroad. To those in whom he confided, he asserted, that 
all men of property and influence were dissatisfied with 
its arrangements, because they were not in a proper situ- 
ation, to which they were entitled ; that with five hun- 
dred men he could effect a revolution, by which he could 
send the President to Monticello, intimidate Congress 
and take the government of the United States into his 
own hands ; that the people of the Union had so little 
knowledge of their rights, and so slight an inclination to 
maintain them, that they would tamely acquiesce in this 
shameful usurpation. This was addressed to the inhab- 



Digitized by 



Google 



576 THE BLENNERHA8SETT PAPERS. 

itants of the East. In the West, lie sought to arouse 
their old and long-cherished prejudices. He told them 
they were in a state of colonial dependence on the Atlan- 
tic States, and annually paid millions to the Government, 
from which they derived no benefit, nor received protec- 
tion, in return. He urged that a severance of the Union 
was necessary, and must inevitably take place ; that this 
would not be effected by the operation of natural or of 
moral and political causes, but as determined by a chain 
of events ; that the destiny of the Republic was fixed, 
and that this resolution would be accomplished in less 
than two years. To the world at large, and to those with 
whom he had not tampered, the object of his enterprise 
was held forth as a settlement of the Bastrop lands. To 
some, intimations were dropped of an approaching rupture 
with Spain, against whose provinces the expedition was 
intended; and the conquest of Mexico was alluded to. 
To a few only his real design was developed ; but to all, 
he said, there was a great scheme in view ; that the en- 
terprise was a just and honorable one, known and ap- 
proved by the Government, in which the co-operation 
of the army was to be expected, in which great wealth 
was to be acquired, and that if would be fully disclosed 
at the proper time. 

Such were the preparations : — a plan well matured, and 
auguring success, in the event of a war with Spain ; for 
upon this event alone, let it be remembered, had his prin- 
cipal force consented to join the expedition. As soon, 
however, as intelligence had been received, that such sat- 
isfaction had been rendered, on the part of the Spanish 
Government, as to obviate the necessity of a resort to 



Digitized by 



Google 



LOSING GROUND. 577 

arms, many of the warmest advocates of the plan aban- 
doned their former designs, and turned their attention to 
scenes less dazzling but more productive of substantial 
enjoyment. " I had written a great deal," says McKee, 
" about recruiting in Tennessee, about cutting and slash- 
ing and packing dollars, and enjoying otium cum digni- 
tate, but * all our differences being settled with Spain 9 knocks 
all my Utopia to the devil ! " 

Burr had dreamed too long of the wealth and splendor 
of the halls of the Montezumas, to resign their captivat- 
ing pleasures for the tamer scenes of a government in 
which he was becoming daily more unpopular; and 
which, he now conceived, viewed his actions with un- 
grateful suspicions. For years had he cherished the 
hope of investing himself with the regal power of that 
ancient kingdom, and transmitting its crown to his latest 
posterity. For the realization of this, had he sacrificed 
the comforts of home; traversed the States to the ex- 
tremes of Florida ; often traveling through pathless wil- 
dernesses, sometimes without shelter, and occasionally 
without food, alluring to his standard men of every 
grade, prompted by every motive of action. 

Confident of the aid of Wilkinson, and the forces un- 
der his command, he continued his exertions, after every 
prospect of a war with Spain had ceased. Whatever 
motive may have influenced the subsequent conduct of 
that officer, there is but little doubt that he had given 
Burr the most indubitable assurance of his firm adhesion. 
In the vagueness of conjecture, charity would, indeed, 
suggest such reasons for the change, as usually actuates 
the soldier and the patriot; but, unfortunately opposed 
37 



Digitized by 



Google 



578 THE BLENNEHHASSBTT PAPERS. 

to this conclusion, is his demand of the Spanish viceroy, 
of the sum of two hundred thousand dollars, " for great 
pecuniary sacrifices, in defeating Burr's plans, and, Leon- 
idas-like, throwing himself in the pass of Therm opyte." 

Notwithstanding the suspicions with which his move- 
ments were observed by the Government, the acts of the 
Ohio legislature, and his arrest in Kentucky, Burr still 
persisted in his measures, giving confidence to his follow- 
ers by his unflinching determination. Even the procla- 
mation of the President, and of the several Governors 
within the respective States and Territories along his 
route, could not deter him. But, when he was informed 
that the measures adopted by the government for his 
arrest were through the advice and at the instance of 
"Wilkinson ; that he had not only proved treacherous by 
exposing the scheme and magnifying its object, but was 
the chosen instrument for his arrest ; that courage, which 
had before characterized his actions, completely aban- 
doned him ; then, and not till then, did he sink under 
the accumulated difficulties which beset his path. 

He was arrested, tried and acquitted, "but his country 
refused to believe him innocent. Though stout old Trux- 
ton had testified in his favor ; though Jackson had seen 
nothing wrong in Burr's project, the popular voice con- 
tinued to regard him as a traitor, whom accident alone 
had prevented from dismembering the Union. 

" The real secret of the popular belief is to be found in 
the character of Burr. In him, the elements which make 
great and good men were strangely mixed up with those 
which we may suppose the spirits of evil to pride them- 
selves. He was brave, affable, munificent, of indomitable 



Digitized by 



Google 



JEFFERSON. 579 

energy, of signal perseverance. In his own person, he 
combined two opposite natures. He was studious, but 
insinuating; dignified, yet seductive. Success did not 
intoxicate, nor reverse dismay him. Turning to the other 
aspect of his character, these great qualities sunk to 
insignificance, beside his evil ones. He was profligate in 
morals, public and private ; selfish and artful ; a master 
in dissimulation, treacherous, cold-hearted. Subtle, in- 
triguing, full of promise, he shot upwards in popularity, 
with astonishing velocity; but a skeptic in honesty, a 
scorncr of all things noble and good, he failed to secure 
the public confidence, and fell headlong from his dizzy 
eminence. Here lies the secret of his ruin. There was 
nothing in his character to which the great heart of the 
people could attach itself in love; but they shrank from 
him, in mistrust, as from a cold and glittering serpent. 
The public rarely errs in an estimate like this." 

It has been alleged of Mr. Jefferson, that he was 
privy to Burr's arrangements ; and that they were tacitly 
assented to by him. In viewing the various circum- 
stances, particularly the conduct of the President himself, 
it would at first appear that such an allegation was not 
altogether groundless. Burr had been a formidable rival 
in his master-struggle for the Presidency. It had re- 
quired thirty ballotings to decide the question between 
them, and Jefferson's final success was owing to a com- 
promise of the members of the Senate, by which the 
votes of Vermont, Delaware and Maryland were with- 
drawn from the opposition, through no particular prefer- 
ences for the latter, but to conciliate parties and bury in 
silence the exciting topic. 



Digitized by 



Google 



580 THE BLENNERHA6SETT PAPERS. 

The subject of the conquest of Mexico was daily con- 
versed upon by the officers of the various Departments, 
as is clearly established by the evidence on the trial. The 
Spanish war was a theme of universal interest ; and, had 
that event happened, what cared the President whether 
the American forces paused on the banks of the Sabine, 
or carried their arms into the heart of Mexico. Already 
had arrangements been effected between the Government 
and the Spanish officers of Louisiana and Florida, by 
which those officers were to favor the Americans, in case 
of a war, and rally under the standard of the forces of 
the Union.* And such would, doubtless, have been the 



• " John Smith, a member of the United States Senate from Ohio, who 
was arrested as an accomplice of Burr, in a conversation with his friends, 
stated that, before the movements of Burr had attracted general notice, 
Mr. Jefferson requested a confidential interview with him, Smith, at which 
he inquired if he was not personally acquainted with the Spanish officers 
of Louisiana and Florida. On being answered in the affirmative, he went 
on to state, that a war with Spain seemed to be inevitable ; and that it was 
very desirable to know the feelings of those men toward the United States, 
and whether reliance could be placed on their friendship, if a war should 
take place between the two countries. At the same time, he requested him 
to visit the country, with reference to that object, Mr. Smith stated that 
he did visit the country, as requested; and that, on his return, he re- 
ported to Mr. Jefferson that the governor, the inferior officers, and the in- 
habitants generally, were not only friendly, but were desirous of attach- 
ing themselves to the United States. This was in the summer preceding 
the ' war message ' against Spain, which was sent to the two Houses of 
Congress, in December, 1805. Although the message was confidential, it 
soon became known to the diplomatic corps at Washington ; and the French 
Ambassador was ordered, by his master, Napoleon, to inform the American 
Government that France would take a part with Spain, in any contest she 
might have with the United States. It is a matter of history, that, after 
that notice, the project against Spain, communicated in the confidential 
message, and referred to in the conversation with Mr. Smith, was aban- 
doned ; and about the same time, measures were taken to stop the move- 
ments of Burr.— Burnet* Notes, p. 294." 



Digitize 



Google 



PROBABILITIES. 681 

case, had a declaration of war been proclaimed ; but an 
intimation from the French Ambassador, that the meas- 
ure would call Napoleon to the aid of Spain, induced the 
Government to abandon its designs, and arrest the opera- 
tions of Burr. 

But, whatever may be said to the contrary, it is hardly 
to be presumed that any treasonable designs were known 
to the President; at least, no satisfactory evidence has 
ever been disclosed to implicate him with the movement. 
Had a collision with Spain actually occurred, it is prob- 
able no prosecution would ever have been instituted ; for, 
in that event, American arms proving victorious, Spanish 
domination would have been swept from the continent of 
the North, and the banners of Burr would have floated 
proudly over the halls of the Montezumas. 



Digitized by 



Google 



582 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Ten years had passed rapidly away since the occur- 
rences of the "Burr expedition/' The prospect of re- 
gaining his fortune became daily less flattering to Blen- 
nerhassett. His means were insufficient to enable him to 
procure a sufficient number of slaves to render the pro- 
duction of cotton profitable. Hence he determined to 
dispose of his Mississippi estate, and try his fortunes in 
the growing metropolis of Hew York. An advertisement 
of the sale describes his possessions as consisting of one 
thousand acres of land, two hundred of which was under 
cultivation; a dwelling-house, orchard and cotton gin, 
with many other improvements, within thirty-six miles 
of Washington, Mississippi Territory, and six from navi- 
gation ; also, twenty-two negroes, the whole estimated at 
the sum of $27,000. 

From the proceeds of his sale he was enabled to satisfy 
his clamorous creditors, and make a small investment in 
the stocks of the banks of New York, to which city he 
shortly after removed. 

During the interval, from the time of his removal from 
the Mississippi Territory until the year 1819, he has left 
us no record of his history. The Duke of Richmond, an 
old schoolmate, had been recently appointed Governor of 
Canada. He had heard of the misfortunes of his friend, 



Digitized by 



Google 



"TUB DESERTED ISLB." 588 

and addressed him a communication tendering his assist- 
ance. Blennerhassett's legal attainments qualified him 
for the duties of the bench, and, through the influence 
of the Governor, he hoped to secure a judgeship in one 
of the provincial courts. He accordingly removed to 
Montreal in 1819, and resumed the practice of the law in 
partnership with a Mr. Eossiter. Their success, however, 
did not prove flattering. Clients were few, and, as it 
appears from the correspondence which subsequently 
passed between them, were not of that class which most 
rapidly advance the fortunes of the profession. Blenner- 
hassett entertained greater expectations of the bench than 
of the bar, but no vacancy occurred in the judicial corps. 
It was while here, with prospects of poverty and blighted 
hopes thickening around them, that Mrs. Blennerhassett 
wrote the following lines descriptive of the " Isle," her 
former home. They are from the overflowing of a heart 
which had passed through much sorrow, and are an 
eloquent lament over the misfortunes and ruin of the 
family a?d fortune of Blennerhassett : 

"THE DESERTED ISLE. 11 

Like mournful echo, from the silent tomb, 

That pines away upon the midnight air, 

While the pale moon breaks out, with fitful gloom, 

Fond memory turns, with sad but welcome care, 

To scenes of desolation and despair, 

Once bright with all that beauty could bestow, 

That peace could shed, or youthful fancy know. 

To the fair isle, reverts the pleasing dream. 
Again thou risest, in thy green attire, 
Fresh, as at first, thy blooming graces seem; 



Digitized by 



Google 



584 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

Thy groyeg, thy fields, their wonted sweets respire; 
Again thou 'rt all my heart could e'er desire. 
Ot why, dear Isle, art thou not still my own? 
Thy charms could then for all my griefs atone. 

The stranger that descends Ohio's stream, 

Charm' d with the beauteous prospects that arise, 

Marks the soft isles that, 'neath the glittering beam, 

Dance with the wave and mingle with the skies, 

Sees, also, one that now in ruin lies, 

Which erst, like fairy queen, towered o'er the rest, 

In every native charm, by culture, dress'd. 

There rose the seat, where once, in pride of life, 
My eye could mark the queenly river's now, 
In summer's calmness, or in winter's strife, 
Swollen with rains, or battling with the snow. 
Never, again, my heart such joy shall know. 
Havoc, and ruin, rampant war, have pass'd 
Over that isle, with their destroying blast. 

The black'ning fire has swept throughout her halls 
The winds fly whistling o'er them, and the wave 
No more, in spring-floods, o'er the sand-beach crawis. 
But furious drowns in one o'er whelming grave, 
Thy hallowed haunts it watered as a slave. 
Drive on, destructive flood! and ne'er again 
On that devoted isle let man remain. 

Too many blissful moments there I 've known, 
Too many hopes have there met their decay; 
Too many feelings now for ever gone, 
To wish that thou couldst ere again display 
The joyful coloring of thy prime array; 
Buried with thee, let them remain a blot, 
With thee, their sweets, their bitterness forgot. 

And, oh I that I could wholly wipe away 
The memory of the ills that worked thy fall; 



Digitized by 



Google 



ADVERSITY. 585 

The memory of that all-eventful day, 

When I return' d, and found my own fair hall 

Held by the infuriate populace in thrall, 

My own fireside blockaded by a band 

That onoe found food and shelter of my hand. 

My children, oh! a mother's pangs forbear, 
Nor strike again that arrow to my soul; 
Clasping the ruffians in suppliant prayer, 
To free their mother from unjust control, 
While with false crimes and imprecations foal, 
The wretched, vilest refuse of the earth, 
Mock jurisdiction held around my hearth. 

Sweet isle! methinks I see thy bosom torn; 
Again behold the ruthless rabble throng, 
That wrought destruction taste must ever mourn. 
Alas! I see thee now, shall see thee long; 
But ne'er shall bitter feelings urge the wrong, 
That, to a mob, would give the censure, due 
To those that arm'd the plunder-greedy orew. 

Thy shores are warmed by bounteous suns in Tain, 

Columbia! — if spite and envy spring, 

To blot the beauty of mild nature's reign, 

The European stranger, who would fling, 

O'er tangled woods, refinement's polishing, 

May find, expended, every plan of taste, 

His work by ruffians render'd doubly waste. 

" Misfortune having marked him for her own," Blen- 
nerhassett's anticipated promotion was never realized. 
The capriciousness of the British ministry had removed 
from office the sympathizing friend, and he found him- 
self- cast hopelessly upon the world, at an advanced age, 
without health, without energy, and almost destitute of 
the means of a comfortable subsistence. 



Digitized by 



Google 



586 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

As a last resort, he determined to prosecute a rever- 
sionary claim still existing in Ireland, regarded by him 
with indiffereuce in his more affluent days, but which 
now, in his destitute situation, recommended itself strong- 
ly to his attention. Through the influence of friends, he 
hoped also to obtain an office under the English Govern- 
ment, by which he might the more readily gain the 
means for conducting the suit. 

Under these considerations he left the province of 
Canada and sailed for Ireland, in 1822. As the receding 
shores of the American continent were dimly shadowed 
in the distance, he cast a glance toward the fading scene. 
A recollection of the past was no pleasing retrospect. A 
quarter of a century had passed since he had hailed those 
shores, with buoyant hopes and joyful anticipations of 
future happiness. To him, it was then a land wherein 
was to be realized all that was lovely — all that was desira- 
, ble of earth — a land of freemen, with whom was the 
abode of peace. Then, he was in the noontide of man- 
hood ; blessed with health and a competency beyond his 
wants. The smile of friendship, the marked and decorous 
respect with which he was met, the welcome greeting — 
all gave evidence of lasting enjoyment. But how mys- 
terious are the dispensations of Providence toward the 
children of men ! He had lived long enough to see every 
one of those bright hopes perish ; his fortune had been 
lost ; his health most seriously impaired ; and, to fill the 
measure of unhappiness, he was branded, by public opin- 
ion, with a design of overthrowing- the liberties of that 
government which had allured him across the Atlantic. 
These were reflections gloomy in the extreme, and still 



Digitized by 



Google 



NO HOPE. 587 

the future was not less cheerless. As the green fields of 
his native isle broke upon his view, how like the Prodigal 
Son, who had spent his substance in a foreign shore, did 
he return to his fatherland. But for him, alas! there 
was no " plenty and to spare ; " no fatted calf was killed ; 
no fond embrace of anxious friends. In the long space 
of twenty-five years, how many changes had served to 
break the ties which bound him to his childhood's home ! 
As again he trod the fields of his former sports, memory 
turned, with melancholy tenderness, to those boon com- 
panions of his earlier years. Where, alas ! were they ? 
Nought now remained to identify him with the past; 
and he stood a stranger on his native land ! 

On the next day after his arrival in Ireland, he called 
upon his solicitor, Mr. Berwick, the gentleman referred 
to in the letter of Mr. Emmett, to consult with reference 
to the Bawn estate, then in the possession of Lord Ross, 
ci devanty Oxmantown.* But Dean Harman had been 
dead for more than twenty years, and Blennerhassett's 



* Lord Boss was formerly Sir Laurence Parsons, and was an able and 
eloquent advocate of Emancipation in the Irish House of Commons. He 
was not less a poet than an orator. Some effusions from his pen have 
found their way into the standard history of his country, and are much 
admired by his partisans, the United Irishmen. The following lines, from 
his pen, are selected from " Wolfe Jones's Memoirs : " 

" How long, Slavery I shall thine iron mace 
Wave o'er this isle, and crouch its abject raoe? 
Full many a dastard century we 've bent 
Beneath thy terrors, wretched and content 

11 What though with haughty arrogance and pride 
England shall o'er this long-duped country stride, 
And lay on stripe on stripe, and shame on shame, 
And brand to all eternity its name V 



Digitized by 



Google 



588 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

claim was barred by the statute of limitations. Besides, 
Lord Ross was both wealthy and influential, and was not 
disposed either to deliver up possession or suggest a 
compromise. 

Blennerhassett, on leaving Quebec, having inclosed his 
will to his wife, she responded as follows : 

From Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Flatbush, July 29th, 1822. 

Your dear and long-looked-for letter from Quebec 
reached me a fortnight ago, and would have been much 
more welcome without the melancholy memento that 
accompanied it, though such precaution, I must confess, 
is necessary where a family is concerned ; and I trust in 
God we have yet two children worthy of all we can do 
for them. Dominick * sailed three weeks ago for Savan- 
nah, where he may, from all accounts, do well. As to 
St. Domingo, that place is now out of the question, for 
many reasons you may have heard respecting its present 
situation. * ***** 

Tou will be surprised to learn where I am now ; I there- 
fore will endeavor to state every thing concerning us 
since we parted, providing you have never received the 
letter I wrote on leaving Troy, where I found it impossi- 
ble to settle with either convenience or economy ; though 



" 'T is right well done ; bear all, and more, I say ; 
Nay, ten times more ; and then for more still pray I 
What State in something would not foremost be? 
She strives for fame, thou for servility." 

* Eldest son of Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



ECONOMIZING. ' 589 

Mr. Dickenson made every exertion in his power for my 
accommodation. He then advised my coming to the 
neighborhood of New York, and mentioned this place or 
Greenwich. 

I therefore came to Mr. Emmett for further advice, and 
he thought this place would be best, and gave me a letter 
to the Professor of the Academy here, who has been 
very kind to me. I found boarding here very high, and 
therefore engaged two rooms in a farm-house, at three 
dollars a week, and have Harman* with me, who has 
not, nor is likely to get, employment ; and I find, after 
all the saving in my power, I can not maintain my two 
children, Mary and myself, under ten dollars a week, in- 
cluding every thing. * * * * 
My dear kind friends, the Emmetts, have been my great- 
est support. Could I tell you all the affectionate kind- 
ness they have lavished on us, you would scarcely credit 
even me. Mrs. Emmett was not in town when I first ar- 
rived, but came in next day to see me. We cried together 
a long time, and Mr. Emmett said we were so foolish he 
must leave us. I went out with them to the country, 
where I spent three days. I did not wish to stay so long, 
but Lewis was with me, and so delighted with the beauti- 
ful place and all the attention he received, that I wished 
to indulge him ; besides, I found Mrs. Emmett's advice 
and consolation acted powerfully in restoring me to some 
tranquillity; for never in my life have I been so com- 
pletely wretched as since I parted from you. She would 
not hear of my doing any thing in the way of gaining a 



* Second son of Blenncrhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



590 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

livelihood while any prospect remained of your prefer- 
ment, but cheered me with hopes of your success. They 
were then preparing to go on a visit to Potsdam, to their 
daughter; but Harman has seen them since, and told 
them of my present plan, which they highly approve. 

It is this : on finding what my expenses, at the lowest 
calculation, amounted to here, I wrote to my sister to let 
me know what we could get boarding for in Wilksbarre, 
thinking, should you be detained any time, I might there 
make out much longer than here. To this letter, written 
a fortnight since, I have just received an answer. Sister 
is delighted, and has engaged boarding at two dollars for 
me and one for Lewis,* per week. As for Mary, I do n't 
know what they will charge ; for, intending to persuade 
her to find a place here, I never mentioned her, and now 
find it impossible to get rid of her. She positively de- 
clares she will never leave me, nor suffer me to pay a 
dollar for her traveling expenses ; she agrees only to let 
me pay for her board, as she thinks my washing would 
cost me as much. ***** 

Mr. D. wrote to me to get Mr. Emmett to address a 
recommendation to the Secretary of War for Harman ; 
but no answer has been returned, and, from all accounts, 
there are too many applicants for West Point to expect 
success. Poor fellow! he is one of the best children, 
and the kindest of brothers. He managed Dominick as 
if he had been an old man, and now labors hard in 
teaching Lewis; so he will not forget what he already 
knows. You would be delighted to hear the Emmetts 

* Third son of Blennerhassett. 



Digitized by 



Google 



DESPONDENCY. 591 

praise him. Mrs. Emmett took me up to the top of the 
house to show me the room she had prepared for him 
when first he came, and complained of his not taking it. 
Young Swartwout overpowers him with kindness, and 
is, like many, others, endeavoring to get him some em- 
ployment. We shall set out for Wilksbarre in a few days. 
* * * * This house is only three miles 

from the bay ; and on a still night, when I could not sleep, 
but listened to the roaring of the sea, O ! it was dreadful. 
Poor Dominiek, perhaps he is yet on it. God help me ! 
I have lived too long, indeed, yet I still hope to be pre- 
served to meet you again; and could I render the re- 
mainder of your life happy, what matters all the present 
sufferings I undergo. 

Tour affectionate wife, M. Blennerhassett. 

As the biography of Blennerhassett is peculiarly en- 
hanced in interest by his associations with this most 
devoted companion, my readers will pardon a digression 
which relates more exclusively to herself. 

After the departure of her husband for Europe, Mrs. 
Blennerhassett, with two of her sons, Harman and Lewis, 
visited her sister, a Mrs. Dow, then residing at Wilks- 
barre, Pennsylvania, where she remained until December, 
1822. The separation from her husband, the limited 
state of her finances, and the absence of her eldest son, 
who was then in the South, and exposed to the diseases 
of the tropics, had contributed to produce a state of de- 
spondency from which she found it difficult to rally. To 
add to her already overburdened distress, she received 
information of the arrival in New York of her unfortu- 



Digitized by 



Google 



592 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

nate child, who had returned from Savannah, wrecked in 
health, from an attack of yellow fever, and a penniless 
wanderer in the streets of that crowded metropolis. He 
had been liberally educated, and had prepared himself for 
the practice of surgery. But through the indulgences of 
his youth, he had contracted habits of dissipation, and 
proved utterly incapable either of aiding his unfortunate 
parents or of providing for his own necessities. The sad 
history of her erring first-born son is thus feelingly 
related by a mother, with whom many an aching heart 
may mingle a sigh of sympathetic sorrow : 

From Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

New York, March 12th, 1823. 
My ever dear Husband : — Your letter of the 29th of 
August, the first I have received since you sailed from 
Quebec, brings with it sensations I can not describe. 
After the dreadful despondency I have endured, for a 
period longer than I could have ever conceived myself 
capable, so extreme has been my wretchedness, that I 
have often conceived myself sinking into a state that 
promised a speedy termination of my sorrows: yet, as 
often have I rallied again, and struggled against such 
forebodings for the sake of my darling Lewis alone. 
Another thing that has caused me more recently to hope, 
was a communication from Mr. Dow, saying that he had 
learned, by a letter from B. Stafford, that you had left 
Ireland, and was in London, prosecuting a suit against 
Lord Ross, in which it was generally thought you would 
be successful. Here was, then, the dreadful fear of your 
death removed, and though •! had no idea that fortune 



Digitized by 



Google 



BOARDING. 598 

would ever again smile upon us, at least to any great 
extent, I thought the celebrity of such a suit might be 
favorable to your prospects in Canada. 

I have only written once since my letter from Flatbush, 
not knowing afterward where to direct. I remained at 
Wilksbarre from the last of August to the 25th of De- 
cember, when I was induced to come here, partly by the 
hope of being more in the way of receiving your letters, 
the cross mails being very uncertain, and partly, if pos- 
sible, to save poor Dominick ; but I will not anticipate. 

I wrote you that he had sailed for Savannah; and, 
endeavoring to discard him from my thoughts, I went 
with Harman and Lewis to Wilksbarre. I placed the 
former with Doctor Covel, a skillful and worthy Yankee, 
who paid him great attention without, as yet, demanding 
any remuneration ; the latter had the benefit of a good 
country school, which he attended regularly. Mary re- 
sided with my sister, Mrs. Dow, where she did enough to 
pay for her board, and washed for us. I obtained board 
for the boys and myself at six dollars per week; this 
agreed with my finances, and I willingly endured the 
canting and vulgarity of the people of Wilksbarre for 
such advantages. But after getting my mind composed 
on Dominick's account, having received two letters from 
Savannah, saying he was doing well, his correspondence 
suddenly ceased. Some ten weeks elapsed, when I re- 
ceived another from New York, announcing his arrival 
there in the most deplorable condition, after having 
escaped, as he expressed it, burying his bones in the 
sands of Savannah, where he had had a long and re- 
peated attack of yellow fever. His life had been saved 
38 



Digitized by 



Google 



694 THE BLENNEBHASSBTT PAPERS. 

by a friendly physician ; but his protracted confinement 
had involved him so in debt, that, when scarcely able to 
walk, he shipped himself privately for New York, rather 
than be taken to die, as he must certainly have done, in 
jail. He had given his clothes and books to defray his 
passage to New York ; and, but for the humanity of an 
Englishman, who is the keeper of a small tavern here, 
might have lain down to rest in the streets of the city. 
I wrote to Robert Emmett to give him twenty dollars out 
of my half-year's dividend I had ordered to be paid to 
him, with which request he complied, and answered me, 
saying that his embarrassments prevented him from offer-, 
ing money, though Dominick had not communicated to 
him his necessities. Afterward, I received another com- 
munication from D., stating that he had determined no 
longer to be a burden to me ; that he had gone to the 
Navy- Yard, to enlist as a common marine, in hopes that, 
by good conduct, he might be appointed to a good posi- 
tion in the hospital; but that on being referred to the 
surgeon for examination, he was rejected, in conse- 
quence of the critical condition of his health. Mr. Em- 
mett had previously written me that D. was much 
improved, and that he yet hoped he might do well. I 
dreaded his enlisting, though the surgeon, on inquiring 
his name, advised him against it, and promised his in- 
fluence in having him appointed as an assistant; and, 
though well aware you will blame me, I could not rest 
while his fate was so doubtful ; but, in dreadful weather, 
over the roughest roads, we set out, and reached this on 
Christmas Eve. Robert Emmett was conducting me to 
their house, when Dominick espied me, and hid, rather 



Digitized by 



Google 



CONSULTATION. 695 

than excite my feelings in the street. *T was well he 
did ; for the next morning, when he came to me at Mr. 
E.'s, his appearance was shocking beyond all description. 
It gave me, however, consolation to know that my timely 
appearance prevented his enlistment; for, on that very 
day, he had resolved to do so, as the only means of 
escaping starvation. lie said he was quite restored ; but 
such restoration I never saw. When I witnessed my once 
dear child's situation, I felt, indeed, that I had lived too 
long. I dismissed the poor fellow with a trifle to aid his 
most pressing wants, not wishing him to return to the 
military station at Brooklyn, where, for some days, he 
had been assisting in the hospital, and living with the 
common soldiers. After consulting with my friends, Mr. 
and Mrs. Emmett, I wrote to Colonel Henderson, at 
Washington, who commands the corps, and in a few days 
received one of the most generous and gratifying answers 
that I could have desired. He said that to have an oppor- 
tunity of obliging where he owed obligations never to be 
forgotten, gave him real pleasure ; that he had taken my 
letter to the Secretary of War, and obtained the promise 
of an appointment, as surgeon's assistant, for my son, in 
Commodore Porter's Expedition, which was to sail in a 
short time; requested me to lose no time; and, as you 
were absent, solicited me, in the most generous manner, 
to draw on him for any sum I deemed necessary for Dom- 
inick's outfit. I showed this letter to Mr. and Mrs. 
Emmett, and, of course, not choosing to incur a pecu- 
niary obligation, and as Dominick's reformed habits jus- 
tified my doing the best I could for my child, we agreed 
that I ought to sell a share of my bank stock, which was 



Digitized by 



Google 



596 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

accordingly done ; and, after the necessary clothing, with 
money sufficient to bear his traveling expenses to Wash- 
ington, I bid him farewell, with more extatic happiness 
than I conceived myself capable of experiencing under 
my gloomy apprehensions as to yourself. Col. Henderson 
having requested me to send him directly to his house, 
where, I am told, he lives in very genteel style, on Dom- 
inick's arrival, received him as kindly as his own son, and 
wrote me immediately to assure me of Dominick's safety, 
and of the expected sailing of the expedition in a few 
days. 

I heard no more from D. for a week, when you may 
guess my astonishment on his entering my room like an 
apparition. To tell you what passed is useless, but I 
gathered from him enough to convince me that by the 
return of his old habits he had completely disgusted CoL 
Henderson, who had given him thirty dollars to bring 
him back to his most unfortunate mother. I gather from 
Donrinick, that he received a severe reprimand from the 
Colonel, who yet assured him that if he would give him 
his word that he would never again so far forget himself 
as to get intoxicated, he should still go in the expedition. 
Dominick's answer was that he could not answer for 
himself. Thus ended the business, and thus am I bur- 
dened with this unfortunate child, whose existence 1 
will prolong, while my own lasts, whether you gain an 
independence, or I am obliged to retire to a situation 
which, however humble, will yet afford me the means of 
giving him bread ; and which I now no more expect him 
to gain himself than I should do had it pleased God to 
bring him an idiot into the world. My obligations, in 



Digitized by 



Google 



FAMILY DISTRESS. 597 

that event, could not be greater to maintain him than it 
is at present; indeed, the most hopeless idiot has no 
more claims on a mother's care and solicitude than he ; 
for I firmly believe he has no longer the power to refrain 
from drink ; and did I not guard him, even to the pres- 
ervation and custody of his own clothes, he would be 
stripped at once ; yet he is to me as docile as a lamb, and 
I have placed him with a poor but excellent woman, who 
boards him for three dollars and a half a week. I can 
not trust him with money, though certainly there never 
was a more devotedly affectionate son. Harman feels 
just as I do, and were I on my death-bed I should not 
fear to resign to him the care of his unfortunate brother. 
* * * * Should you return next month, 

as your letter to Mr. Emmett mentions, I shall hope we 
may return to Canada. If your expectations are suffi- 
ciently encouraging to detain you in London on this law 
writ, and should you be successful even in gaining a fair 
compromise, I trust we shall soon be able to go to you ; 
for, let our situation be what it may, never can I think 
of ending my days in this country. Mr. Emmett is in 
Washington, but Mrs. E. showed me your letter, which 
she will retain until his return, which is expected in a 
fortnight. To tell you how I love this family would be 
impossible. It grieves me, therefore, to say that I think 
they are somewhat embarrassed, at present, in their cir- 
cumstances. They lost their fine son, Temple,* last 
autumn, who died of the yellow fever, on board of the 
Macedonian. ***** * 



* The two sons of Thomas Addis Emmett were called after his brothers 
Temple and Robert. 



Digitized by 



Google 



598 THE BLENNERHAS8KTT PAPERS. 

I have written a long letter, that you may never re- 
ceive ; but I trust, if not, you will be on the water on 
your return. My mind seems buoyed up now for hap- 
piness, and whether poverty or affluence awaits us, every 
effort of my declining years shall be used to make yours 
pass with as little uneasiness as can be expected to await 
on old age and disappointed hopes. For my part, for 
upward of eight months, I have endured too much to 
look forward without hope to the future that will restore 
you to 

Your affectionate M. Blennerhassett. 



From Col. Archibald Henderson to Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Washington, Jan. 7*A, 1823. 

My dear Madam : — I do not know when I have received 
a letter which has conveyed to my mind such strong rec- 
ollections of mingled pleasure and pain. It has irre- 
sistibly carried me back to the period when, under your 
hospitable roof, I received every attention of hospitality 
and kindness; it was my debut in life. I have often 
spoke, and far oftener thought, of the halo that was 
thrown over my monotony of existence, in that wild 
country, by my visits at the beautiful and isolated spot of 
your former residence. I must, however, cease to write 
on this subject. As long as my heart beats and feels, I 
shall never forget your kindness ; I therefore need not 
say with how much alacrity and anxiety I took your let- 
ter to the Secretary of the Navy, and how much pleasure 
it gives me to communicate to you that he has the good- 



Digitized by 



Google 



FRIENDSHIP. 599 

ness to consent that Dominick may go, as a volunteer 
surgeon's mate, in this piratical expedition, with the usual 
pay and emoluments. No appointments can be now 
made, and the Secretary of the Navy will not pledge 
himself as to any future appointment ; I therefore hope, 
my dear madam, you will be satisfied with what has been 
procured. I spoke to Mr. Dickinson on the subject last 
night ; he will enforce all future arrangements. 

Dominick had better come here as soon as possible, 
and bring his trunk to my house. As Mr. Blennerhas- 
sett is away, I hope I may take the liberty, which grati- 
tude for former kindness now induces me to take, to offer 
niy young friend any assistance he may require in com- 
ing on to Washington, and any draft for that purpose, I 
hope he will not hesitate to make on me. I trust you 
will excuse me if I feel over-anxious ; *t is my gratitude 
alone that prompts it. 

I now conclude, assuring you that I feel every solici- 
tude in serving you and yours, and I beg you to believe 
me, with gratitude and truth, 

Sincerely yours, Arch. Henderson. 



Col. Archibald Henderson to Mrs. Blennerhassett. 

Washington, Jan. 20*A, 1823. 

My dear Madam : — Dominick arrived a few days ago, 
and is awaiting the arrival of Captain Porter, who is 
daily expected here to proceed on the service that has 
been marked out for him. It is fortunate some little 
delay has taken place, as he is somewhat indisposed from 



Digitized by 



Google 



600 THE BLENNERHASSBTT PAPERS. 

the fatigue of traveling, and will not prevent his joining 
the expedition on which he is to proceed. 

I should have sooner answered your kind letter of the 
11th, but thought it better to wait until he had left me 
for Norfolk ; but as that may not be the case for several 
days, I have concluded to write lest you might feel some 
anxiety at not hearing. 

Your indisposition, I hope, may be evanescent. You 
rate entirely too high the trifling service it has been in 
my power to do you. It is indeed trifling when compared 
with that received by me from you and yours. I shall 
carry the recollection of it with me "to that bourn 
whence no traveler returns." I am much of a wanderer 
still, and I may yet hope to meet you in this world. 
Should Mr. B. still reside in Canada, I shall probably see 
you next summer, as I have it in contemplation to de- 
scend the lakes to Montreal. This world, however, is 
full of change ; it may therefore be our fate never again 
to meet here, but I sincerely wish that your decline of 
life may be less checkered than its spring and summer 
have been ; that it may be rendered happy, and that the 
scions which are growing up around the parent tree, may 
invigorate, support and comfort it, until it is cut down 
by the same hand that planted and caused it to grow. 

I will write again when Dominick leaves me, and, in 
the mean time, beg you to believe me with sincere regards 
Yours, A. Henderson. 

In a subsequent letter, dated Montreal, September 12th, 
1828, Mrs. Blennerhassett continues her narrative : 
I had no money, having for some weeks paid my way 



Digitized by 



Google 



PARENTAL RBGRET. 601 

by borrowing from Mr. Emmett ; because, having looked 
for you by the spring ships, I wished not to encumber 
the Montreal bank stock. The whole expenses of the 
family stood me in about sixteen dollars per week. I 
found I could do nothing in the States, and, upon the 
advice of Rossiter, concluded to return to Montreal. The 
Emmetts, with whom I consulted, agreed with me as to 
the propriety of the measure ; for New York was then 
becoming objectionable, on account of the extreme heat, 
and they were about removing to the country. They 
having invited me to accompany them, I accepted their 
kindness, and did so, taking Lewis with me, to remain a 
week. Before leaving, however, I told Dominick that 1 
must now think of his father, who had nothing, and of 
the other children, and that he must maintain himself. 
Having remained a week in the country, where every 
attention was paid me by the family in the most affec- 
tionate manner, I returned to the city. Having received 
the money for two shares of my bank stock, which 
Robert sold, I paid my debts, and leaving Harman with 
my necessary baggage, and money sufficient to maintain 
him until your arrival, my last severe task yet remained 
to see and bid adieu to my unfortunate, though still 
dearly loved son. Harman sought him out, and found 
him already enlisted ! brought him to me at the Steam- 
boat Hotel, dressed in a common soldier's garb, but quite 
happy and unconcerned. O God ! had I been guilty of 
the greatest crime, the punishment of that moment 
ought to have expiated it ; but the subject is too painful 
to dwell upon ; I will only add, that he went with a de- 
tachment up the Mississippi, and is now, I believe, acting 



Digitized by 



Google 



602 THE BLENNERHASSETT PAPERS. 

as surgeon's mate, and, as yet, I have received no com- 
munication from him.* 

Lewis and I had a safe, and, had I been happy, an 
agreeable journey. At Albany we received the kind 
attentions of Major Smith and family, and arrived at La 
Prairie, where we awaited our friend Rossiter, to whom 
I had previously written to have lodgings prepared for 
us. Having remained here during the night, and Ros- 
siter failing to arrive as early as