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HISTORY OF FORMER
During the entire summer of 1806 the West teemed with reports of Burr's designs upon the South; but, notwithstanding many men were in his service as soldiers and assistants, and that boats lay at Marietta loaded with provisions and military stores, none knew aught of the destination of the expedition— not even the men embarked in it! Gen. Wilkinson alone appeared to be in the secret. With him Burr was in constant correspondence, in cypher; but Wilkinson, in his labored defence against the charges of complicity with Burr, denied any knowledge of his real designs until at a late period, when he immediately divulged them, and aided Government, by his duplicity and his fears, to arrest the adventurer.
to the resources and population of the country as well as of the feeling of the people toward the Union and toward Spain, then still in possession of the country lying west of the Mississippi. During the fall of 1805 he returned to Washington, and was well received, being dined by Mr. Jefferson. He spent the winter in Washington and Philadelphia; but, what he was doing is not fully known further than what was afterwards betrayed by Gen. Eaton, then recently returned from the Mediterranean. To him he divulged the fact of his contemplated expedition against Mexico, and thus secured a promise of his co-operation. He also developed a project for revolution izing the Western country, establishing a monarchy, organizing a force of ten or twelve thousand volunteers, and, finally, securing the co-operation of the marine corps at Washington and gaining over Truxton, Preble, Decatur and others; he then intended to turn Congress out of doors, assassinate the President, seize on the Treasury and Navy, and declare himself the Protector of an energetic government. It is to be doubted, however, if these really were well concerted plans of Burr. He doubtless adverted to them as what might and ought to be. They prove, at most, that the fertile brain of the conspirator was meditating some grand enterprise, worthy even of his master skill. Eaton, it is said, was satisfied that his friend was a dangerous nature; and, though he failed to congerous man. He accordingly waited upon the President, and made a partial revelation of the facts, suggesting the propriety of appointing Burr to some foreign mission to keep him out of mischief."
In 1806 Burr again went West, making his head-quarters at Blannerhassett's Island, in the Ohio River, a few miles below Marietta. The owner of the island, a reckless and rather shiftless Irishman, had become a partner in the "enterprise" to the extent of embarking his entire fortune-in what? He confesses he did not know, only that, by floating down the Mississippi, he was to float into prosperity, and Lady Blannerhassett was to become more than a lady. It was proven, on their trial in Richmond, that the too-credulous Irishman never knew that he had committed or was to commit treason against the Government of the United States.
In the fall of 1806 the "Monarch of an undefined realm" was arrested in Kentucky, by order of government; and, through the vigilance of that remarkable man, Col. Joe Daviess, was brought to trial. Henry Clay acted for the defence, upon the solemn assurance of Burr that he meditated no enterprise or act contrary to the laws and the peace of the land. By hastening the trial ere important witnesses could be produced, Burr was acquitted. Joe Daviess opposed the tide of public sentiment in prosecuting Burr, but his sagacity was not to be deceived-he read in the adventurer's very eyes his subtle and dan
vict, and injured his own personal popularity greatly by the determined character of the prosecution-persecution it was called by Clay-he had the satisfaction of seeing all his prophecies, regarding the man, fully verified.
After acquittal, Burr hastened from Frankfort to the Ohio river, and passed down stream with his flats and companionsin-adventure—among whom were Blannerhassett and his wife. But a few days after his departure Jefferson's proclamation, denouncing the expedition, was received at Frankfort-much to Clay's mortification and Daviess' regret. The boats still at Marietta were seized, and Blannerhassett's island was occupied by United States militia; but Burr had escaped down the Mississippi.
In January, 1807, the flotilla of Burr arrived at Bayou Pierre, on the Lower Missis
Chief Justice Marshall, "the Washington of the bench," presided over the court. The legal talent engaged embraced such names as those of Wirt, for the prosecution, and Luther Martin and Edmund Randolph, for the defence. Fourteen days were spent in getting a jury. Nine days were exhausted in arguments on the inadmissibility of indirect evidence, in which Burr's astonishing tact was too much for his opponents. The trial for treason ended August 29th. The Chief Justice charged the jury September 1st, and, in a few moments, the verdict came in, in irregular and equivocal shape, not guilty.
The trial for misdemeanor then proceeded, and ended, in October, by acquittal, on the ground that the offense was committed in Ohio-therefore, that Virginia had no jurisdiction.
sippi. He was there seized by the Gover-where he was soon after tried for treason and nor of Mississippi, but managed shortly after misdemeanor, the trial commencing May 22d, to effect his escape. A reward of two thou- 1807. This trial was one of the most remarkasand dollars was offered for his apprehen-ble which ever transpired on this continent. sion, and many arrests were made of his supposed accomplices. The narrative of his arrest is as follows:-"About the 1st of Feb., late at night, a man in the garb of a boatman, with a single companion, arrived at the door of a small log-cabin in the backwoods of Alabama. Col. Nicholas Perkins, who was present, observed by the light of the fire that the stranger, though coarsely dressed, possessed a countenance of unusual intelligence, and an eye of sparkling brilliancy. The tidy boot, which his vanity could not surrender with his other articles of finer clothing, attracted Perkins' attention, and led him truly to conclude that the mysterious stranger was none other than the famous Colonel Burr. That night Perkins started for Fort Stoddart, on the Tombigbee, and communicated his suspicions to the late General Edmund P. Gaines, then the lieutenant in command. The next day Gaines, with a file of soldiers, started in pursuit of Burr and arrested him on his journey. Burr attempted to intimidate his captor; but the young officer was resolute, and told him he must accompany him to his quarters, where he would be treated with all the respect due the ex-Vice-President of the United States. In about three weeks Burr was sent to Richmond, Va., under a special guard selected by Colonel Perkins, upon whom he could depend in any emergency. Perkins knew the fascinations of Burr, and fearing his familiarity with the men—indeed, fearing the same influences upon himself-he obtained from them the most solemn pledges that they would hold no interviews with the prisoner, nor suffer him to escape alive.
Thus released, Burr fled-none knew whither, except his few friends. Liable to be carried to Ohio for further trial—to be tried in New York and New Jersey for murder he could only escape by secretly leaving the country. All the winter of 1807-8 he was kept secure from discovery, and, in June, 1808, passed over to England as G. H. Edwards.
THE HARTFORD CONVENTION CON-
The Embargo act of 1809 gave intense dissatisfaction in Massachusetts. At that time that State had a heavy interest at sea, and the embargo affected her commerce disastrously. Many leading loyal men of the State pronounc
"In their journey through Alabama they always slept in the woods, and, after a hastily prepared breakfast. it was their custom to re-ed the act to be unconstitutional. A large mount and march on in gloomy silence. Burr was a splendid rider, and in his rough garb he bestrode his horse as elegantly, and his large dark eyes flashed as brightly, as if he were at the head of his New York Regiment."
After a number of interesting adventures Perkins and his prisoner reached Richmond,
meeting in Boston declared the act arbitrary and unconstitutional, and that all who assist ed in carrying out the law should be regarded as enemies of the State and as hostile to the liberties of the people. To aggravate the evil feeling there appeared, in the New England States, one John Henry, whose mission, it eventually became apparent, was to foment
the excitement into open rupture against the Federal Government. Madison, in his special message to Congress, said of him:-"He has been employed as a secret agent of the British government in the New England States in intrigues with the disaffected, for the purpose of bringing about resistance to the laws, and eventually, in concert with a British force, of destroying the Union and forming the eastern part thereof into a political connection with Great Britain." He was in correspondence with parties in Canada, and was known to maintain intimate relations with some of the leading malcontents in Boston and other New England cities. He intrigued and plotted beyond the power of Government to arrest "a subject of the British crown."
was not less hostile to the general government. Her Legislature refused to Captain Lawrence, afterwards of the ill-fated Chesapeake, a vote of thanks for his capture of the Peacock, believing, in the language of the resolution, that in a war like the present, waged without justifiable cause, and prosecuted in a manner indicating that conquest and ambition were its real motives, it was not becoming a moral and religious people to express any approbation of military and naval exploits not directly connected with the defence of our seacoast and soil.' At the same time the people of the New England States began to cry out for ‘a separate peace.' The Vermont militia were withdrawn from the field, and on a proposition being made in Congress to prosecute the Governor for this act, Harrison Gray Otis laid on the table of the Massachusetts Senate a resolution, expressive of the duty of his State to aid with her whole power the Governor of Vermont in support of her con
The declaration of war against Great Britain, June 18th, 1812, brought the excitement to its climax. A "Peace Party" was formed in New England, pledged to offer all possible opposition to the war. Taxes to support State levies of militia were not readily assess-stitutional rights, by whomsoever infringed.” ed nor easily collected. The New England States were so backward in sending their quotas and supplies to the field that, for much of the time, the army on the Northern frontier was in a powerless condition. The United States treasury was in a distressed condition. The banks throughout the country, except those of New England, had suspended specie payment. Everything betokened a weak government, and a want of confidence and harmony among the States.
A late writer says:-"During the year 1814 the situation of the New England States was. in the highest degree critical and dangerous. The services of the militia for two years had been extremely severe, and the United States had been compelled to withhold all supplies for their sustenance, and throw upon the States the burden of supporting the troops which defended their coast from invasion and their towns from pillage. Congress gave the command of this militia to the officers of the regular army. To this the Governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut refused to submit, and the authorities of the latter State passed a law for raising a provisional army of 2,000 men for 'special State defence,' of which one of her own citizens was made the commander. The course of Massachusetts in other respects
The spirit of opposition went so far in Connecticut that the enemy's vessels, which lay off the harbor of New London to intercept Decatur's frigates, were advised by blue lights on the hills, of the movements of the American ships. This incident gave rise to the expression—“Blue-light Federalists," which became a term of opprobrium for the opponents of the war.
The State Legislatures of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, &c., passed laws forbidding the use of their jails by the United States for the confinement of prisoners, committed by any other than judicial authority, and directing the jailors at the end of thirty days to discharge all British officers, prisoners of war, committed to them. The President, however, applied to other States of the Confederacy for the use of their prisons, and thus the difficulty was in a measure obviated.
This opposition of course met with the sharpest recrimination from the Central and Southern States of the Union, which, generally, supported the war policy of the Government. Anathema and invective were freely bestowed upon the "Yankees," and, as a natural result, the friendly feeling of the New Englanders did not wax warmer toward their confederates. Action, long threatened, final
work of peaceable times and deliberate consent. Some new form of confederacy should be substituted among those states which shall intend to
maintain a federal relation to each other. Events
may prove that the causes of our calamities are deep and permament. They may be found to proceed not merely from the blindness or prejudice, pride of opinion, violence of party spirit, or the con
ly came. The Massachusetts Legislature, by | bad administrations, it should be, if possible, the report of a joint committee on the question of calling a Convention of the States, urged a conference as expedient to lay the foundation of a radical reform in the national compact, and devise'some mode of defence suitable to those States, the affinity of whose interests are closest, and whose habits of intercourse are most frequent." This report was adopted by a vote of three to one, though it was protested against by a powerful minority, who declared it a step toward a dissolution of the Union, and therefore treason.
fusion of the times; but they may be traced to implacable combinations of individuals or of states to monopolise power and office, and to trample without remorse upon the rights and interests of commercial sections of the Union. Whenever it shall appear
that the causes are radical and permanent, a separation by equitable arrangement will be preferable to
an alliance by constraint among nominal friends, but real enemies, inflamed by mutual hatred and jealousy, and inviting, by intestine divisions, contempt and aggression from abroad,--but a severance of the Union by one or more states against the will of the rest, and especially in time of war, can be justified only by absolute necessity."
On the 18th of October twelve delegates were elected to confer with delegates from the other New England States. Seven delegates were also appointed by Connecticut and four by Rhode Island. New Hampshire was represented by two and Vermont by one. The Convention met at Hartford, Connecticut, on the 15th of December, 1814. After a session of twenty days a report was adopted, which, with but slight stretch of imagination, we may suppose to have originated from a kind of en rapport association with the Southernment. Carolina Convention of 1861. We may quote from the Report:
"To prescribe patience and firmness to those who are already exhausted by distress is sometimes to drive them to despair, and the progress towards rėform by the regular road is irksome to those whose imaginations discern and whose feelings prompt to a shorter course. But when abuses, reduced to a system, and accumulated through a course of years have pervaded every department of government, and spread corruption through every region of the state; | when these are clothed with the forms of law, and enforced by an Executive whose will is their source, no summary means of relief can be applied without recourse to direct and open resistance. It is a truth
not to be concealed that a time for a change is at hand. *** A reformation of public opinion, resulting from dear bought experience in the Southern Atlantic states at least, is not to be despaired of. They will have seen that the great and essential interests of the people are common to the South and to the East. They will realize the fatal errors of a system which seeks revenge for commercial injuries in the sacrifice of commerce, and aggravates by needless wars the injuries it professes to redress. Indications of this desirable revolution of opinion among our brethren in those states are already manifested. Finally, if the Union be destined to dissolution by reason of the multiplied abuses of
The Report then proceeds to consider the several subjects of complaint, the principal of which is the national authority over the militia, claimed by gov
vices and measures for raising men, this Convention Continuing, it says: "In this whole series of de
discerns a total disregard for the Constitution, and a
disposition to violate its provisions, demanding from
the individual States a firm and decided opposition.
*This sentiment, here italicised, is that of State supremacy in its unadulterated form-such supremacy as really renders the hold of the Constitution and the power of Congress over the States that of a mere contract, to be dissolved at will. But, nullifying and disintegrating as it was, Mr. Jefferson himself set the precedent. In his Kentucky resolutions, before referred to, he began with a resolution that the Federal Constitution is a compact between States AS States, by which is created a General Government
HISTORY OF FORMER
The Convention adjourned January 5th, 1815, and, so doubtful was it of the propriety of its acts, that the resolutions adopted were not made public until two weeks after adjournment. These resolutions were, in brief, as follows:
The first recommended the Legislatures of the States represented to protect the citizens of the several States from the operation of acts passed by Congress, subjecting them to forcible drafts, conscriptions or impressments, not authorized by the
The second recommended that the States be empowered to defend themselves, and that they have for their own use their proportion of the taxes col
The third recommended each State to defend itself. The fourth recommended amendments to the Con
stitution as follows:
Apportionment of representation and taxation the basis of white population.
Congress shall not have power to interdict foreign trade without a vote of two-thirds of both houses.
Congress shall not make war by a less vote than two-thirds of both branches, unless in defence of territory actually invaded.
No naturalized citizen to be eligible to any civil office under the United States.
No President to be elected twice, or for two terms, nor to be chosen from the same State twice in succession.
The report concluded with the recommendation that if the foregoing resolutions should be unsuccessful when submitted to the general government through the respective States, if peace should not be concluded, and the defence of the New England States be neglected, as it had been, it would be expedient for the Legislatures of the several States to appoint delegates to another Convention to meet at Boston, "with such powers and instructions as the exigency of a crisis so momentous may require."
The sessions of the Convention, like those
New States to be admitted by a vote of two-thirds of similar conventions held in the seceded
of both houses of Congress.
States at a later day, were secret. The people
Congress shall have no power to lay an embargo of Hartford, justly indignant at the presence of more than sixty days duration.
for special purposes-each State reserving for itself the residuary mass of power and right; and "that, cs in other cases of compact between parties having no
common judge, each party has an equal right to judge
for itself, as well of infractions as OF THE MODE AND MEASURE OF REDRESS." Perhaps the special pleader may be able to discover that this assumption, by Mr. Jefferson, is not that of the Hartford Convention; but, to the mass of readers, who take words in their accredited signification, the Hartford resolves will seem but Mr. Jefferson's reproduced. If any lingering doubt exists as to the extent of Mr. Jefferson's nullification sentiments, they will be dissipated by the eighth resolution, which expressly and directly declares that (the States themselves being the sole judges) where Congress assumes powers not delegated by the people, a nullification of the act is the right remedy; and that every State has a natural right, in cases not within the compact, to nullify, of their own authority, all assumptions of power by others within their limits." We are at a loss, in view of this express declaration, and that which immediately follows it in the same resolutions, to discover upon what authority Mr. Everett [See his address, July 4th, 1861] denies the nullification sentiment as Mr. Jefferson's own. The "theoretic generalities" read so much like Hartford Convention and South Carolina Convention specialities, that ordinary perceptive faculties will not discover their
of a "body of disorganisers" in their midst, expressed their loyalty to the government in various ways. The resolutions brought forth a burst of indignation from all quarters of the Union. The good sense of the mass of New England people then perceived what a dangerous thing they had nursed into life, and none were more willing to consign the twentysix members of the Convention (twenty of whom were lawyers!) to infamy, than the intelligent and influential portion of the "Yankees" themselves.
The responses of such States as took the trouble to respond to the propositions made to them, were adverse to the proposed changes in the Constitution. The doctrines set forth both in the Address and Resolutions gave dissatisfaction to those dissatisfied with the embargo and the war. No second Convention was called, for, not a town or village in New England, one year later, would have tolerated the sittings of such a body in its precincts. Well would it have been for the country-for the lately seceded States-if the loyal people of the cotton-growing commonwealths had crushed their disloyal leaders as the New Englanders crushed out the treason hatched by the Hartford Disunion Convention