Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man

Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man

Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man

Aaron Burr: Portrait of an Ambitious Man

Excerpt

It was a curious marriage. In May of 1752, Reverend Aaron Burr journeyed to Stockbridge, in the western part of Massachusetts, to visit his friend and fellow divine, Jonathan Edwards. There, he renewed his acquaintance with Sarah, Edwards' third daughter. In the six years since Burr had last seen her, she had matured into a most desirable young lady. And there is little doubt that she pleased the minister, for less than two weeks after returning to his Newark parsonage, Burr sent a young Fellow of the College of New Jersey to fetch the girl and her mother. The two ladies arrived on a Saturday evening, and the following Monday the Reverend Aaron Burr and Miss Sarah Edwards were wed.

The precipitous courtship of the thirty-six year old minister and his twenty-one year old bride rather astounded the gossipy countryside. Burr protested to his dear friend, Reverend Joseph Bellamy, that he was unaffected by "ye Talk," but he apparently thought that some explanation was necessary. "We cannot upon a review see one rash or imprudent step we should alter if it was to do again," wrote Reverend Burr. "We hope none of our Friends will give Themselves any Trouble abt it or ever express themselves concerned about our conduct which we are sure can bear the strictest and most critical examination."

The students at the Latin School which Burr conducted were unused to sharing their teacher and regarded the new Mrs. Burr with a highly suspicious eye. One of them wrote: "As I have yet no manner of Acquaintance with her, I cannot describe to you her Qualifications & properties; however they say she is a very valuable lady; I think her a person . . .

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