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into a respect for the former. It gives dignity to the humbler virtues and domestic charities in the eyes both of public and private men, both of those who aspire to become great, and of those who are content to remain little; and thus secures the vital interests of society." If our public men, we repeat, cherishing this philosophic truth, could be tempted to the retrospect of the illuminated record of our early history, and be made to believe that it affords an attainable standard of public virtue, and genuine though exalted patriotism: if our children could be taught that on these pages they will find models of heroic virtue, private and public, as worthy of imitation as any on the scroll of ancient story, might we not yet hope for the dawning of a brighter day on our beloved country, when charlatans and "frontier Catilines" shall be driven from the abused confidence of the people to the appropriate abodes of political piracy and crime.
But even the personal history of those who either stained our annals by public delinquency like Arnold, or who, with claims on gratitude for eminent public services like Burr, bore the merited stigma of private immorality, should be written, and written honestly and fairly, if with no other object than to make the contrast of patriotism and virtue more distinct. We have a right to expect just as much from the biographer of crime as from the biographer of virtue, especially if, as in the case of Mr. Davis, he makes pretensions to impartiality, and promises to do strict justice, even in condemnation of his friend. We shall have occasion, presently, to show in this instance how illusory the pretension is, and what gross injustice the feeble condemnation of admitted vices and follies does. But first, a word or two more of general remark.
Whenever an American Plutarch shall arise, before whose vision no clouds of popular delusion shall float, and who can discover and will dare tell the truth, we may hope to see the parallel drawn between two of our public men, who, with fates widely different, had many points of resemblance and contrast. We mean, with deference to popular prejudice be it spoken, a parallel between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, the one the luckiest, as the other was confessedly the most unfortunate, of our American public men. We believe the time is passing and will pass full soon, when admiration of Mr. Jefferson's services and virtues will be predominant in the public mind. Truth and historical justice have had a hard struggle with prejudice and popular delusion, and perhaps would have been worsted in the contest, but for the aid which Mr. Jefferson himself gave. them in his historical testament. Like Bolingbroke's bequest to Mallet, he left a charged weapon in the hand of his executors, to be fired off after his death. Luckily
for the cause of truth, it exploded so near his grave that it only mutilated the monument which enthusiasm was generously raising to his memory, and Mr. Jefferson, to the eye of candour and just perception of right and wrong, stands revealed in colours with which, whilst living, his worst enemy would not have ventured to paint him. Until the year 1804, when, by the commission of an act of blood which shocked public sentiment, Colonel Burr was driven into seclusion and obscurity, he and Mr. Jefferson may be regarded as political rivals, whose chances of success were nearly balanced. In talent and intellectual pretensions there was no very palpable disparity between them, though the career of each, even in civil life, had been widely different, the one having great eminence as a public writer, (if we may use the phrase,) but never being able to command success or to take an active part in deliberative discussion, whilst the other was eminent alike at the bar and in the senate, as a prompt, vigorous, and powerful debater. On this point, besides the testimony of Mr. Davis himself, (which, by the by, we are glad sometimes to be able to refer to,) we have the strong expression of that veteran republican, John Taylor, of Caroline, who, in the debate in the senate of the United States in 1793, on Mr. Gallatin's eligibility, addressed a note to Burr, saying, "We shall leave you to reply to King (Rufus): first, because you desired it; second, all depends on it; no one else can do it, and the audience will expect it." While Burr, therefore, has left no such record of his intellectual power as the "Declaration of Independence," or the diplomatic correspondence with Hammond and Genet, there is abundant traditionary evidence of his being gifted, in no ordinary degree, with that rival talent which seeks all its honour in contemporary praise. So far as mere revolutionary services enter into the estimate, we speak more especially of military services, the disparity was still less strongly marked. From the period when, with all the ardour of enthusiasm, Burr joined the band of adventurers which marched to Quebec under Arnold, to the close of the campaign of 1779, he was in active service, and throughout enjoyed high distinction for what chiefly adorns the military character, undaunted and unhesitating courage, and a calmness of deliberation and accuracy of judgment, which no emergency, however untoward, could discompose. At Quebec, Long Island, New York, White Plains, Monmouth, and New Haven, he was in the foremost rank of danger, and retired from service only when compelled to do so by declining health and the effects of uninterrupted fatigue and exposure on a frame constitutionally feeble. Mr. Jefferson's military career, we believe, is limited to his unsuccessful defence, when governor of Virginia, of the
James River settlements against Arnold in 1781, and to his escape from Tarleton at Carter's mountain.
When, on the termination of the war and the formation of the constitution, the public men of this country arrayed themselves under the banner of antagonist parties, Burr and Jefferson were found in the same ranks-the ranks, too, which were destined to be politically triumphant. And here we are struck with a sympathetic action, strongly illustrative of that unison of spirit which, throughout, seems to have guided these two distinguished men. The military men of the revolution, who in all their trials had found none harder to bear than the want of a government compact and strong enough to sustain itself, when the constitutional parties were formed, generally espoused what are now known as the federal principles. Hamilton, Knox, Lee, Lincoln, Wayne, Morgan, St. Clair, Davie, and Howard, were all federalists in principle as in practice. They approved of the constitution, and they cordially sustained the first administration of the government. There was another class of men-men of the pen as well as of the sword-who, though not exactly harmonizing among themselves in doctrine with respect to the constitution, gave to Washington's administration a ready and resolute support. We refer to the leading statesmen of Virginia and the south-the Lees, Henry, Marshall, Harrison, Rutledge, the Pinckneys. Mr. Madison is the only eminent exception, and, but for the predominating influence of Mr. Jefferson, it is fair to presume that he would not have estranged himself from his true companions, but, following out the abstract opinions he had taught in the pages of "The Federalist," and the honest dictates of his heart, would have been found with Hamilton and Jay, by the side of Washington. With neither of these two bands, of statesmen
1 Our navy was also poisoned with federalism. Barry, Decatur, (father and son) Talbot, Truxton, Dale, and Preble, were active adherents of that party; and Mr. Jefferson, in a letter to Robert R. Livingston, in 1799, thus condemns the infant navy for its political heresies:-"The post, which circumstances constrain us to propose to you, is the secretaryship of the navy. Republicanism is so rare in those parts which possess nautical skill, that I cannot find it allied there to the other qualifications." We can fancy the spectres of the Vengeance and Insurgent flitting before his vision when he wrote this unjust denunciation of as true republicans as ever shed their blood for their country.
2 That in this respect we may not be supposed to do injustice to Mr. Madison, for whose character we have the highest respect, we will cite the authority of a writer who thought adhesion to Mr. Jefferson a cardinal virtue. In a note to an article on the Bank of the United States, in the 15th No. of the Southern Review, written soon after Mr. Madison's letter to Mr. Charles Jared Ingersoll in favour of the bank, the writer says: "When Mr. Jefferson lived, Mr. Madison went right; his
or soldiers, did Burr or Mr. Jefferson unite. While in the mind of the former, sympathy with his ancient comrades in arms was wholly inadequate to conquer untiring personal antipathies and unmitigated hate, the latter, on his return from Europe, redolent with French philosophy and French politics, submitted to adhesion just so long as official connection continued, and not a moment longer. Burr, a legitimate survivor of the Conway conspiracy, was found along with General Gates and one or two others, in willing opposition to the administration. While Mr. Jefferson (the parallel being still undisturbed), disdaining communion with the high spirited chivalry and patriotic wisdom of the south, willingly surrendered himself to the councils of factious hostility.
When, at a rather later period, the administration and opposition parties became more distinctly organised, Col. Burr and Mr. Jefferson may be said to have had nearly equal pretensions in the ranks of the party they joined. Mr. Jefferson was the leader, "primus inter pares," of the new democracy of Virginia. Burr was the leader, without a rival, of the democracy of New York. In these relations, the advantage as to mere partisanship was clearly on the side of Burr. Mr. Jefferson's principles, and his party, were far from being predominant in Virginia. They had to contend there with a formidably adverse power, the principles and popularity of the president, whose purity and patriotism no responsible public man then dared to question. A counterbalancing power less effectual than General Washington's personal and political influence and character would have been sooner overcome; but as it was, such was its weight, that so long as it was felt, the contest of antagonist principles in Virginia was a close one. Patrick Henry, than whom, so far as the principles of the constitution were involved, the federal party had no more determined opponent, was too honourably conscious of what was due to the president ever to be decoyed into opposition, or into cordial union with the party that was then acting adversely to the administration. "I love him," said this patriarch of democracy, speaking to Mr. Blair, of Marshall, in 1799, "because he feels and acts like a republican and an American; and I know but one other who equally deserves my confidence." And in a private letter to the same gentleman, written a few weeks before his death, he uses this language, which we cannot help quoting, if it be relevant only to show that the fountain of Virginia democracy then poured forth pure
original anti-republican tendencies were suppressed, and he became an able and strenuous advocate of the people's rights. Since Mr. Jefferson's death, he has chosen to coalesce with men so many grades inferior to his own talents and standing, that we look at the change with surprise and regret." We need not say we are far from endorsing this doctrine. VOL. XXI.---No. 41.
waters at its head. "The conduct of France has made it the interest of the great family of mankind to wish the downfall of her present government; because its existence is incompatible with that of all others within its reach. And while I see the danger that threatens ours, from her intrigues and her arms, I an not so much alarmed as at the apprehension of her destroying the great pillars of all government and social life. I mean virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armour-and this alone-which renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these we are conquered-fallen, indeed. In vain may France show and vaunt her diplomatic skill and brave troops; so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger. But believing, as I do, that these are in danger; that infidelity, in its broadest sense, under the name of philosophy, is fast spreading; and that, under the patronage of French manners and principles, every thing that ought to be dear to men is covertly and successfully assailed, I feel the value of those men amongst us, who hold out to the world the idea that our continent is to exhibit an originality of character; and that, instead of that imitation and inferiority which the countries of the old world have been in the habit of exacting from the new, we shall maintain that high ground upon which nature has placed us, and that Europe will alike cease to rule us, and gives us modes of thinking."
With such "deluded democrats" in his own ranks, or with so predominant an adverse influence as was Washington's in Virginia, Colonel Burr and his party had not to contend in New York. Hamilton, King, and Jay, though a powerful triumvirate, were not invincible by the machinations and intrigues which Burr and his political sappers brought to bear on them, and which only failed when directed to undermine and destroy the deep-seated popularity of the president. At the election of 1800, owing to their active efforts, the democratic ticket was successful in New York, and Jefferson and Burr, by a most unlooked for coincidence, were placed before the world as the two individuals who most equally divided the affection and confidence of the great party then commencing its dominion in our country. As is well known, each of the two had seventythree votes, and no election being made by the people it devolved on the house of representatives, which body determined the doubtful chance in favour of Mr. Jefferson. Nor should it
1 Mr. Jefferson felt this division in his own ranks most sensibly. In a letter to John Taylor, dated Monticello, Nov. 26, 1798, he says, "I should not apprehend (danger) out of the state, if all was sound within. But there is a most respectable part of our state who have been enveloped in the X. Y. Z. delusion, and who destroy our unanimity for the present moment." Vol. III. p. 403.