Slike strani

Ch. III.]



among the latter.

The attack was with as little ceremony as he had been made by about twelve hundred men; taken up, obtained only the liberation while the place was supposed to be de- of his wife and children by Yussuf; fended by three or four thousand. One and both he, and especially Mr. Eaton, or two attempts were made by the Tri- considered themselves unhandsomely politans to regain possession, but they used and much injured by the treaty.* were easily repulsed, and, on one occa- While, however, as Mr. Cooper says, sion, with some loss. The deposed pa- "many condemned it as unwise, all resha remained in possession of the town, joiced that it was the means of restoring and his authority was partially recog- so many brave men to their country nized in the province.”

It is no more than liberal, moreover, to Commodore Barron declined assist believe, that the situation of these uning Eaton with further supplies and re- fortunate officers and men had a deep inforcements, alleging that, as Hamet influence in inducing the government was in possession of the second province to forego abstract considerations, with of the regency, “if he had the influence a view to their relief.”+ that he pretended to, he ought to be There being a prospect of speedy able to effect his object by means of war with Tunis, which regency

did not the ordinary co-operation of the squad as yet understand the force and energy ron.” Next month, Barron, who was in of the Americans, Commodore Rodgers, very ill health, gave up the command on the 1st of August, anchored to Commodore Rodgers; and negotia- in Tunis Bay, prepared to entions for peace were commenced in ear- force, if necessary, the rights of his nest, Mr. Lear having arrived off Tri-country. Literally, under the muzzles of poli, for that purpose, in the Essex. his guns, Rodgers carried on a spirited After the usual intrigues, delays, and negotiation, and his highness, the bey, prevarications, a treaty was signed on soon found that the state of things was the 3d of June. By it, no tribute was marvellously changed within a few to be paid in future, but $60,000 were years. His bravado now was ridicugiven by America, for the ransom of lous and contemptible; and affairs were the prisoners remaining, after exchang- promptly settled to the satisfaction of ing the Tripolitans in her power, man one of the parties at least.

having expressed a wish to send an amIn several weighty respects it is not bassador to the United States, Decatur, easy to approve of the terms of this peace with Tripoli, and under all the

* Hamet afterwards came to the United States with circumstances, it seems almost certain a few of his followers, and applied to Congress for

pecuniary relief. Some $2,400 were voted for this that better terms might have been ob

purpose, which only partially satisfied the exiled pasha. tained. How far Mr. Lear was com- The legislature of Massachusetts granted to General pelled by his instructions we are unable

Eaton ten thousand acres of land, as an expression of to state; but the treaty was approved vices in behalf of his country's interests.

their high estimate of his heroism and patriotic serand ratified. Hamet, who was cast off + Cooper's “Naral History," vol. i., pp. 261-66.


The bey

for man.



in September, sailed with an officer on caucus fixed upon as the candidate such a mission, who was in due time of the party. Breckenridge, Lincoln, landed in Washington. We may men- Langdon, Granger, and M'Clay, were tion here, that though the Tunisian the others voted for, but by minorities ambassador ventured to ask for the varying from twenty in number to but formerly-paid tribute, it was explicitly one, and therefore indicating personal refused; and the bey, wiser by expe- partialities rather than political conrience, deemed it inexpedient to take fidence. any hostile steps in consequence. A Burr, finding himself totally rejected small squadron was kept up in the by the republicans, as far as the viceMediterranean, in order to warn the presidency was concerned, and being in Barbary powers against the venturing such a condition that he could not well to renew their attacks upon American afford to be out of public office altocommerce.

gether, determined to become a candiTurning our attention to home affairs, date for governor of New York, the we find, according to the biographer of post which Clinton was about to vacate; Mr. Jefferson, that the administration on the other hand, the dominant party at this date was at “the meridian of its in the state had set up first Chancellor popularity, and an unexampled quiet | Lansing, who declined the contest al

reigned over the land." The most as soon as he had accepted it;

federal party seemed to have and then in his place Morgan Lewis, become virtually extinct, and the re- a man of very respectable qualificapublicans carried every thing before tions, who was supported by the great them. This peaceful state of things, families, and willing to be their reprehowever, was delusive to a large ex- sentative. tent, and “even then causes were at The proceedings during this election work which greatly agitated the last were of a more than usually acrimoyears of his administration, both in its nious character. Lewis was supported domestic and foreign relations.” by the great mass of the democratic

In preparing for the presidential con party, Burr by a section of that party, test, now near at hand, the members of consisting chiefly of the younger and

, Congress met in caucus, and agreed, as more ardent, or less scrupulous mema matter of course, upon Thomas Jeffer-bers of it. Many of the federalists also son for re-election. Aaron Burr, dis- sided with Burr, just as on former ocliked and distrusted by those whom he casions. Thus both parties were split; had served so efficiently, had lost the for Hamilton, and those who looked up confidence of the republican party, to him as their political leader, opposed and they dropped him without scruple. them with the utmost ardor. HamilGeorge Clinton, governor of New York, ton, indeed, could do no otherwise, an undoubted republican, and one who knowing Burr so well as he did, and so had always gone with Jefferson, was heartily distrusting him, (see vol. ii., p. the man whom the majority of this 514.) The most atrocious libels were





daily circulated by the press;

and every tion of being held responsible for the means resorted to that animosity and inferences which persons might feel disparty spirit could devise, to destroy posed to draw from his language and the credit of the candidates by those conduct, and expressed himself ready opposed to them. Burr failed in this to avow or disavow promptly any preattempt to provide a haven for himself, cise or definite opinion which it might when he should be driven from the be charged that he had uttered of any chair of the Senate; and knowing well gentleman. It was not such an answer, by whose instrumentality mainly it we think, as Hamilton ought to have had been accomplished, he resolved to sent to such a person as Aaron Burr, soothe his furious disappointment, by for he must have known at the very shedding the life-blood of the man outset, that Burr was only seeking an whom he feared and hated beyond the occasion of quarrel with him, which power of any language adequately to might be pushed to a deadly encounter. express.

It would have been far better to have When such a man as Aaron Burr said openly, what was true and well was, wanted a pretext for a certain known, that he did look upon Burr as course, it was not difficult to find one. a dangerous, unscrupulous man, unfitted Accordingly, he made choice of a libel- to be trusted with the affairs of state, lous publication, such as the press had and unworthy the confidence of the teemed with during the fierce political people, and then to have left the result contest, and in June, engaged the ser- to any legal process which Burr might vices of his intimate friend, Judge Van see fit to invoke. · But Hamilton did

Ness, to aid him in carrying not do this, and his murderous oppo

out his fell design. It appears nent quickly saw his advantage in the that Dr. Charles D. Cooper wrote a matter. He immediately dispatched a letter to a public journal some time curt, unceremonious note, insisting upon previously, in which he stated, that “a definite reply” to his demand. Van Hamilton had characterized Burr as “a Ness pressed the subject upon Hamil- . dangerous man," and one “not to be ton, who declined replying to this note,

“ trusted with the reins of government,” and left Burr to pursue the course he adding moreover, that he could“ detail judged proper. This was just what a still more despicable opinion which he wished. He now had an opporGeneral Hamilton has expressed of tunity to gratify his ardent longing for Mr. Burr.” On the 17th of June, Burr revenge. sent a letter to Hamilton demanding On the 25th of June, the challenge

a prompt and unqualified acknowledg- was ready, and Van Ness called upon ment or denial of the use of any ex

Hamilton to deliver it. Sincerely pressions which would warrant the as- anxious to avoid this result, Hamilton sertions of Mr. Cooper.” Three days attempted further negotiation through afterwards, Hamilton wrote a lengthy Judge Pendleton, his friend for the ocreply, in which he discussed the ques- sion; but it was all in vain. Burr had




determined to kill him, if possible, and On Wednesday, the 11th of July. so he urged on matters in the most the parties met at seven o'clock in the

offensive and insulting manner. morning, at Weehawken, on the Jersey

Some delay occurred, because shore, opposite New York. The prelimHamilton wished to discharge certain inaries being arranged, Burr and Ham duties to his clients, and also to arrange ilton were placed at ten paces distant, his affairs in view of what he seemed | the one perfectly accomplished in the to have a prevision must be the fatal use of the duellist's pistol, the other termination of the encounter. He pre- hardly at all so, and already de.

. pared his will, and wrote out his views termined in his own mind not as to this expected meeting, declaring to fire. Burr, eager for blood, dishimself as abhorring the shocking prac-charged his pistol the instant the word tice of duelling, yet, strangely insisting was given; Hamilton, mortally woundthat he must violate his sacred prin- ed, aimlessly drew the trigger of his ciples of right and duty, and meet pistol, and fell heavily on his face. Burr, in order to be murdered. Fatal Burr, uninjured, and his companion in inconsistency! Unhappy yielding to the crime, Van Ness, immediately departed; base and barbarous notions of honor and Dr. Hosack, Pendleton, and the too prevalent then and since! Hamil boatmen who had conveyed Hamilton ton's will, and the documents above re- to the field of death, bore him back ferred to, are painfully interesting and again to lie in agony untold—for his instructive; and how strange it seems, wife and seven children shared in that that with his clear, piercing intellect, mortal stroke—till the next day, in his and with his sincere desire to be a friend Bayard's house, and then to die. Christian, and live and die as a Chris. The consolations of religion were adtian should live and die, he should have ministered to him by Dr. Mason and been so blinded as to consent for a mo- Bishop Moore, and at two o'clock in ment to violate the laws of God as well the afternoon of Thursday, the 12th of as of man, by going to be shot at by July, he passed away to his final acAaron Burr! Had Washington lived, count. On Saturday, he was buried we may well believe that he would with military honors, by the Society not have found it difficult to convince of the Cincinnati, and attended to the Hamilton, that he needed not to com- grave by a vast concourse of mourners. mit an act so unworthy of him in order Gouverneur Morris delivered an imto establish his claims to the possession pressive funeral oration, from a stage of courage and truth and uprightness. erected in front of Trinity Church ; and But Washington, who, when once he | the eloquence of the pulpit, the bar, and was tried in this way, treated the chal- | the press, throughout the country, were

, lenge with the scorn and contempt it expended in fitting orations, discourses, deserved, had now gone to his rest; and eulogiums. Since the death of and Hamilton was unable to draw back Washington, no blow so severe as this from the doom impending over him. had fallen upon our country, and not




too strongly did Fisher Ames declare, bors. But he had a rapidity and clearthat “his soul stiffened with despair ness of perception, in which he may not when he thought what Hamilton would have been equalled. One who knew have been,” remembering what he was his habits of study, said of him, that when this sad calamity came upon him.* when he had a serious object to accom

Speaking of the personal appearance plish, his practice was to reflect on it of Hamilton and Burr, Dr. Sullivan, previously; and when he had gone whose interesting work we have several through this labor, he retired to sleep, times referred to, gives some valuable without regard to the hour of the reminiscences, which are worth quoting. night; and having slept six or seven He is recording his impressions of the hours, he rose, and having taken strong men some ten years before the duel. coffee, seated himself at his table, where “ Hamilton," he says, “was under mid he would remain six, seven, or eight dle size, thin in person, but remarkably hours, and the product of his rapid pen erect and dignified in his deportment. required little correction for the press. His hair was turned back from his He was among the few alike excellent, forehead, powdered, and collected in a whether in speaking or in writing. In club behind. His complexion was ex- private and friendly intercourse he is ceedingly fair, and varying from this said to have been exceedingly amiable, only by the almost feminine rosiness of and to have been affectionately behis cheeks. His might be considered, loved." as to figure and color, an uncommonly “Aaron Burr," says the same writer, handsome face. When at rest, it had was at this time (December, 1795) rather a severe and thoughtful expres- probably about Hamilton's age. He sion; but when engaged in conversation had attained to celebrity as a lawyer it easily assumed an attractive smile. at the same bar. He was about the He was capable of inspiring the most same stature as Hamilton, and a thin affectionate attachment; but he could man, but differently formed. His momake those whom he opposed fear and tions in walking were not, like Hamilhate him cordially. He was capable ton's, erect, but a little stooping, and of intense and effectual application, as far from graceful. His face was short is abundantly proved by his public la- and broad; his black eyes uncommonly

piercing; his manner gentle and se

ductive. But he had also a calmness * As for Burr, conscious that he was regarded as an assassin, he fled first to Philadelphia, and then to

and sedateness, when these suited his the south, whence he addressed letters of character purpose, and an eminent authority of istic nonchalance to his daughter; whilst a jury in

manner, when the occasion called for New Jersey indicted him for murder, and another in New York brought against him a bill, which threat

this. He was said to have presided ened him with disfranchisement

, and incapacitation with great dignity in the Senate, and from the service of the public for twenty years. For especially at the trial of Judge Chase. a severe and scathing review of the life and career of Aaron Burr, from the pen of the Rev. Dr. F. L. Hawks, Though eminent as a lawyer, he was

, see the “New York Review,” for January, 1838. said not to be a man of distinguished

« PrejšnjaNaprej »