MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY
AT the age of 51, Aaron Burr stood on the threshold, his past life in ruins, with eyes turned to Europe, eternally optimistic. Yet his flight from the shores of the country that had spurned him required stealth and finesse. Too many were eager to know his whereabouts, and chain him, if they could, to the very soil he wished to leave. He made his way by devious means to New York, and engaged passage on the British packet, Clarissa Ann, under the pseudonym of H. E. Edwards. For a month preceding the date of departure he lay concealed in the houses of his friends, not daring to show his face. To cast off suspicion, he wrote Theo, "Make ----- publish, about the time you get these, that Gamp. passed through that place on the ----- day of June, on his way to Canada, accompanied by one Frenchman and two Americans or Englishmen."1 Which announcement duly appeared in the public prints. Camp, Gampy, Gampillo, Gampasso, were pet names current in the family, and were used indiscriminately for Aaron Burr himself and his little grandson, Aaron Burr Alston.
On June 7, 1808, muffled against inquiring looks, H. E. Edwards boarded the packet, anchor was weighed, sails bellied to catch the vagrant breeze, and Burr had set sail for the unknown. But first there had been a tragic leave-taking from one Mary Ann Edwards, likewise muffled, and otherwise known to fame as Theodosia Burr Alston, with tears and desperate affection on the one side, and smiling, albeit Spartan fortitude on the other.
Halifax was the packet's first port of call, and Burr held to the seclusion of his cabin most of the way, shunning the usual seagoing intimacy with the other twenty-six passengers on board. At that Nova Scotian port he was welcomed by Sir George Prevost, a relative on his deceased wife's side, who furnished him with letters of introduction to family and friends in England, as well as a passport certifying that "G. H. Edwards was bearer of dispatches to the Right Honorable Lord Castlereagh, at whose office he was immediately to present himself on his arrival at London."2
The passage was comparatively swift; by July 13th, he had