CHAPTER VI
PRELUDE TO LIFE

1. COURTSHIP AND LAW BOOKS

AS civilian, it became Burr's first duty to recruit his shattered health. This, however, was not to prove an easy task. It was to be over a year before he was sufficiently recovered to pick up the threads of his interrupted career. To the anguish of body there had been added another torment, no less keen because of its purely psychological character. He had fallen in love.

In 1777, while stationed at Ramapo, he had made the acquaintance of Mrs. Theodosia Prevost, who, with her younger children, her sister and her mother, resided at Paramus, but a short distance away. Her husband, Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques Marc Prevost, of the British Army, was then in the West Indies on duty with his regiment. Technically, therefore, she was an enemy, and to be treated as such.

But the American officers of the immediate vicinity did not consider her in that light. In spite of her marriage, she was herself of American birth and lineage. Her father, Theodosius Bartow, had been a lawyer in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. Her mother, Anne Stillwell, could trace her descent from Nicholas Stillwell, one of the earliest settlers and tobacco planters in the Colony of Virginia.

Theodosius Bartow died in 1746, immediately before the birth of a daughter, Theodosia. The widow, Anne Stillwell Bartow, shortly thereafter married Captain Philip de Visme of the British Army, by whom, at the date of his death in 1762, she had given little Theodosia five half-brothers and sisters.

Theodosia Bartow herself, at the tender age of seventeen, was married to Colonel Prevost, also of His Majesty's Forces. The young wife bore, in fairly rapid succession, five children to him -- three daughters, Sally, Anne Louisa and Mary Louisa; and two sons, John Bartow and Augustine James Frederick, who, though but mere lads at the time of the Revolution, followed in their father's footsteps and were serving as ensigns with the British forces.

So that, during the entire course of the war, her position continued to be one of great delicacy and apprehension. In spite of

-69-

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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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