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a long continued and unjust denial of their right to the navigation of the Mississippi. The friendship and pecuniary aid of a powerful nation, was tendered to their acceptance. The city of New Orleans, and the fertile province of Louisiana, with its genial climate and varied productions, were within the reach of their grasp. The whole of the broad valley of the west lay before them, with its hundred rivers and its mighty resources; and the glory of building up a new empire in this delightful region, was held up in dazzling splendor before their eyes. Still they remained true to their country and their principles. In the retrospect of these affairs, it should not be forgotten, that they succeeded the termination of the revolutionary war. Thousands of soldiers had just been disbanded, and were destitute of employment. A vast number of young gentlemen had entered the revolutionary armies, at an age usually appropriated to the choice of a profession, and the acquirement of the knowledge and habits requisite for some civil pursuit; they had spent years in the military profession, imbibed a thirst for fame, and acquired a love for the vicissitudes of war. Their occupation was now gone; they were too old to commence a course of professional study, and they had no tastes which suited them for the quiet pursuits of industry. Many of these gentlemen had emigrated to the west, and others were still unsettled. To such persons, the temptation of military service, the allurement of ambitious prospects, the wide field of enterprise opened in brilliant perspective before them, must have been in the highest degree inviting,
But they had the forbearance to resist the dangerous incitement— the patriotism to prefer the peace and honor of their country to their own fame and interest.
When we consider these transactions in connection with others which have subsequently occurred, and pass in sober review the various occasions on which a portion of our people have been goaded into momentary disaffection, by a pressure of affairs which has exasperated their feelings or blighted their interests; when we remark how often our country has been threatened with disunion, and how portentously the storm of discord has lowered, until it seemed ready to burst upon our heads, and reflect how invariably our fears have proved delusivehow beautifully and tranquilly the clouds of rebellion have passed away, and the sun of peace shone out in quiet glory, we are led to the conclusion, that there are inherent ties of reason and affection entwined in the fabric of our society, which bind it indissolubly together.
In the year 1806, the western country began to be again disturbed by the machinations of political agitators. An event has seldom occurred, so intrinsically insignificant in its result, which has created so great a sensation as the conspiracy of Burr; which, indeed, derives its consequence principally from the celebrity of the names attached to it, and the ignorance of the world as to its final object. Burr was the rival of Hamilton; Hamilton the friend of Washington— his military aid, his political adviser, his social companion-equally eminent as a soldier, an orator, a writer, a financier, and a lawyer. The man who could make Hamilton experience, or even counterfeit,
66 The stern joy that warriors feel,
In foemen worthy of their steel,” must have stood far above mediocrity. Colonel Burr was the son of a gentleman eminent for his learning and piety, for many years president of the most celebrated college in America; and was himself a man of transcendent genius, and great attainments. He was remarkable for the elegance of his manners, the seductiveness of his address, the power and sweetness of his eloquence; but more so, perhaps, for the boldness and energy of his mind. Burr had contended unsuccessfully with Jefferson for the presidential chair, which he lost by a single vote; but
while he filled the second place in point of dignity, few at that time would have assigned him an inferior station in point of talents.
The duel between Hamilton and Burr filled the nation with astonishment and grief-grief for the death of a great and useful man, and astonishment at the delusion which occasioned it. Burr, with the corpse of Hamilton at his feet, might have felt the triumph of conquest; but it was a momentary flush; the laurels of the hero, watered by the tears of his country, retained their verdure; and even those who might have rejoiced at his political fall, execrated the destroyer of his existence.
Shortly after this bloody catastrophe, the conduct of Burr began again to excite the attention of the public. He had resigned his former employments, forsaken his usual haunts, and was leading an erratic and mysterious life. He frequently traveled incognito, performed long and rapid journeys, and remained but a short time at any one place. This restlessness was attributed to uneasiness of mind, and many began to sympathise with him whom they supposed to be thus tortured with the stings of conscience. But whatever might have been the workings of his mind, he soon evinced that its fire was not quenched, nor its ambition sated. He was now seen traversing the western wilds, eagerly seeking out the distinguished men of that country, particularly those who possessed military experience, or had hearts alive to the stirring impulses of ambition.
These indications were quickly succeeded by others of a more decided character. Secret as his inten
tions were, the first movement towards their execution awakened suspicion. The assembling of men and collecting munitions of war, roused the government to action. Burr was arrested - his plans defeated, his adherents dispersed, and his reputation blasted. He became an exile and a wanderer; and after years of suffering, returned to his native land, to become an insignificant member of that bar, of which he had been among the highest ornaments — an otscure citizen of that country over whose councils he had presided; and to add another to the list of splendid men who have been great without benefit to themselves or others, and whose names will be preserved only
« To point a moral, or adorn a tale." He was entirely abandoned. Never was a man more studiously avoided, more unanimously condemned. The voice of eulogy was silent, the breath of party was hushed. Of the many who had admired and loved him, none ventured to express their love or admiration. One fatal act of folly, or of crime, had obscured all the brilliance of a splendid career; and, although acquitted of treason by a court of justice, a higher tribunal, that of public opinion, refused to reverse the sentence which consigned him to disgrace.
Such was the fate of Burr; but his plans are yet enveloped in mystery. A descent upon some part of Spanish America, and the establishment of an independent government, has been stated to have been the object; but it is alleged, that a separation of the western states from the Union, formed a part of the