CHAPTER XXVIII
FAILURE IN FRANCE

1. PROPOSALS TO NAPOLEON

AARON BURR reached Paris on February 16, 1810. He wrote at once for an audience with the Duc de Cadore, the Minister of Foreign Relations, which was granted, and he submitted his plans. Then he retired to his shabby lodgings and waited for a reply. The wait was to be long and tiring. In the interval he renewed his acquaintance with Comte de Volney, scholar and author, and M. Adet, former French Minister to the United States, both of whom he had entertained in the days of affluence at Richmond Hill. There was also a joyful reunion with John Vanderlyn, the painter, to further whose genius Burr had given unstintedly of his time and money. Vanderlyn was famous now, and in a position to turn the tables in the matter of financial help. But Burr was singularly delicate in this respect. He had had no hesitation in borrowing vast sums from usurers and those to whom lending was a business procedure, but he resisted as long as possible borrowing -- with little prospect of return -- from those who were personal friends. Bentham, Lüning, whose draft he had cashed with the greatest reluctance only when he had not another sou in his pocket, and now Vanderlyn.

His first flush of optimism was slowly dying. He heard nothing from Cadore, French officialdom was cool, if not openly hostile, and his scanty funds were steadily growing less. So much so that on February 24th, he was reduced to "rice soup for dinner, 8 sous. Go out at 6. Bought bread and cheese." But, the same evening, he records "two rencounters, one good; another, the third, 13 francs! That's economy for you!"1Burr knew his own failings, but could not resist them. He had no money for food, but the cries of the flesh were irresistible.

A few days later Cadore informed him that he had appointed Deputy Louis Roux to treat with him concerning the proposals he had submitted to His Majesty, the Emperor. Burr dined with Roux several times, and recorded mournfully, "have no reason to believe that my business advances, or that I shall do anything here."2 Officialdom grew more and more rude and overbearing, doors re-

-471-

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Aaron Burr: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments x
  • Illustrations xi
  • Chapter I - Ancestral Voices 1
  • Chapter II - Childhood 14
  • Chapter III - College Years 21
  • Chapter IV - Swords and Bullets 32
  • Chapter V - The War Goes On 53
  • Chapter VI - Prelude to Life 69
  • Chapter VII - Chiefly Legal 84
  • Chapter VIII - The Politician Embarked 93
  • Chapter IX - The Gentleman from New York 102
  • Chapter X - Intermediate Years 115
  • Chapter XI - Party Growth 132
  • Chapter XII - Burr Stoops to Conquer 145
  • Chapter XIII - The Second American Revolution 167
  • Chapter XIV - Jefferson or Burr 188
  • Chapter XV - Vice-President Burr 210
  • Chapter XVI - The Last Struggle for Power 236
  • Chapter XVII - Tragic Duel 246
  • Chapter XVIII - The Impeachment of Justice Chase 261
  • Chapter XIX - Backgrounds for the Conspiracy 270
  • Chapter XX - Western Journey 296
  • Chapter XXI - Never to Return 320
  • Chapter XXII - The Man Hunt Starts 344
  • Chapter XXIII - Dictatorship in New Orleans 364
  • Chapter XXIV - The Stage Is Set 387
  • Chapter XXV - Tried for Treason 396
  • Chapter XXVI - On Trial 424
  • Chapter XXVII - Man without a Country 449
  • Chapter XXVIII - Failure in France 471
  • Chapter XXIX - Declining Years 496
  • Notes 519
  • Bibliography 547
  • Index 555
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