CHAPTER IX
THE GENTLEMAN FROM NEW YORK

1. STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL

IN the meantime the prospects were fair and the skies unclouded. Burr wound up his duties as Attorney General and put his personal affairs in order. Theodosia admonished him anxiously that "it is . . . of serious consequence to you, to establish your health before you commence politician; when once you get engaged, your industry will exceed your strength; your pride cause you to forget yourself."1

Congress then met in Philadelphia, and Burr established himself in that city of Quakers, politicians and financiers sometime in October, 1791. He found lodgings in a house "inhabited by two widows. The mother about seventy, and the daughter about fifty. . . . The old lady is deaf, and upon my [ Burr's] first coming to take possession of my lodgings, she with great civility requested that I would never attempt to speak to her, for fear of injuring my lungs without being able to make her hear. I shall faithfully obey this injunction."2

The Second Congress of the United States opened on October 24, 1791. The First Congress had been the scene of much tumultuous debate, of the forging of a new nation. Hamilton had pushed his schemes for assumption of State debts, for payment of all governmental securities at par, for a National Bank, through Houses that were divided almost equally into enthusiastic supporters and bitter opponents. The great measures of government had been passed. President Washington heaved a sigh of relief and Hamilton permitted himself to relax. The Second Congress was a period of comparative quiet, of marking time. Within its halls parties had not yet fully crystallized. The loose appellations of Federalist and anti-Federalist still held their original meaning, based as they were on the Constitutional fight of 1787. Actually Congress voted on the basis of approval or disapproval of Hamilton's operations. Within a few years, however, as the depression that commenced in 1792 deepened, the issues were more baldly stated, and party lines became fixed and unalterable.

Already the fight between Jefferson and Hamilton in the Cabi-

-102-

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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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