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HISTORY OF

FORMER CONSPIRACIES.

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to the resources and population of the country During the entire summer of 1806 the West as well as of the feeling of the people toward teemed with reports of Burr's designs upon the Union and toward Spain, then still in pos- the South; but, notwithstanding many men session of the country lying west of the Mis- were in his service as soldiers and assistants, sissippi. During the fall of 1805 he returned and that boats lay at Marietta loaded with to Washington, and was well received, being provisions and military stores, none knew dined by Mr. Jefferson. He spent the winter aught of the destination of the expeditionin Washington and Philadelphia; but, what not even the men embarked in it! Gen. Wilhe was doing is not fully known further than kinson alone appeared to be in the secret. what was afterwards betrayed by Gen. Eaton, With him Burr was in constant correspondthen recently returned from the Mediterra- ence, in cypher ; but Wilkinson, in his labornean. To him he divulged the fact of his ed defence against the charges of complicity contemplated expedition against Mexico, and with Burr, denied any knowledge of his real thus secured a promise of his co-operation. designs until at a late period, when he immeHe also developed a project for revolution diately divulged them, and aided Governizing the Western country, establishing a moment, by his duplicity and his fears, to arrest narchy, organizing a force of ten or twelve the adventurer. thousand volunteers, and, finally, securing the In the fall of 1806 the “Monarch of an unco-operation of the marine corps at Washing- defined realm” was arrested in Kentucky, by ton and gaining over Truxton, Preble, Deca- order of government; and, through the vigitur and others; he then intended to turn lance of that remarkable man, Col. Joe DaCongress o't om doors, assassinate the Presi- viess, was brought to trial. Henry Clay acted dent, seize on the Treasury and Navy, and for the defence, upon the solemn assurance of declare himself the Protector of an energetic Burr that he meditated no enterprise or act government. It is to be doubted, however, contrary to the laws and the peace of the if these really were well concerted plans of land. By hastening the trial ere important Burr. He doubtless adverted to them as witnesses could be produced, Burr was acquitwhat might and ought to be. They prove, ted. Joe Daviess opposed the tide of public at most, that the fertile brain of the conspi- sentiment in prosecuting Burr, but his sagąrator was meditating some grand enterprise, city was not to be deceived-he read in the worthy even of his master skill. Eaton, it is adventurer's very eyes his subtle and dansaid, was satisfied that his friend was a dan- gerous nature; and, though he failed to congerous man, He accordingly waited upon vict, and injured his own personal populathe President, and made a partial revelation rity greatly by the determined character of of the facts, suggesting the propriety of ap- the prosecution-persecution it was called by pointing Burr to some foreign mission to Clay—he had the satisfaction of seeing all "keep him out of mischief.”

his prophecies, regarding the man, fully veIn 1806 Burr again went West, making his rified. head-quarters at Blannerhassett's Island, in After acquittal, Burr hastened from Frankthe Ohio River, a few miles below Marietta. fort to the Ohio river, and passed down The owner of the island, a reckless and ra- stream with his flats and companionsther shiftless Irishman, had become a partner in-adventure-among whom were Blannerin the enterprise" to the extent of embark- hassett and his wife. But a few days after ing his entire fortune-in what? He con- his departure Jefferson's proclamation, defesses he did not know, only that, by floating nouncing the expedition, was received at down the Mississippi, he was to float into Frankfort-much to Clay's mortification and prosperity, and Lady Blannerhassett was to Daviess' regret. The boats still at Marietta become more than a lady. It was proven, on were seized, and Blannerhassett's island was their trial in Richmond, that the too-credu- occupied by United States militia; but Burr lous Irishman never knew that he had com- had escaped down the Mississippi. mitted or was to commit treason against the In January, 1807, the flotilla of Burr arGovernment of the United States.

rived at Bayou Pierre, on the Lower Missis.

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 sup- Chief Justice Marshall, “the Washington of posed accomplices. The narrative of his ar- the bench," presided over the court. The legal . rest is as follows:-“About the 1st of Feb., talent engaged embraced such names as those late at night, a man in the garb of a boat- of Wirt, for the prosecution, and Luther Marman, with a single companion, arrived at the tin and Edmund Randolph, for the defence. door of a small log-cabin in the backwoods Fourteen days were spent in getting a jury. of Alabama. Col. Nicholas Perkins, who was Nine days were exhausted in arguments on present, observed by the light of the fire the inadmissibility of indirect evidence, in that the stranger, though coarsely dressed, which Burr's astonishing tact was too much possessed a countenance of unusual intelli- for his opponents. The trial for treason ended gence, and an eye of sparkling brilliancy. August 29th. The Chief Justice charged the The tidy boot, which his vanity could not jury September 1st, and, in a few moments, surrender with his other articles of finer cloth- the verdict came in, in irregular and equivocal ing, attracted Perkins' attention, and led him shape, not guilty. truly to conclude that the mysterious stranger The trial for misdemeanor then proceeded, was none other than the famous Colonel Burr. and ended, in October, sby, acquittal, on the That night Perkins started for Fort Stoddart, ground that the offense was committed in on the Tombigbee, and communicated his Ohio—therefore, that Virginia had no jurissuspicions to the late General Edmund P. diction. Gaines, then the lieutenant in command. The Thus released, Burr fled-none knew next day Gaines, with a file of soldiers, started whither, except his few friends. Liable to in pursuit of Burr and arrested him on his be carried to Ohio for further trial—to be journey. Burr attempted to intimidate his tried in New York and New Jersey for murcaptor; but the young officer was resolute, der-he could only escape by secretly leaving and told him he must aocompany him to his the country. All the winter of 1807-8 he was quarters, where he would be treated with all kept secure from discovery, and, in June, the respect due the ex-Vice-President of the 1808, passed over to England as G. H. EdUnited States. In about three weeks Burr wards. 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

THE HARTFORD CONVENTION CONfearing his familiarity with the men-indeed,

SPIRACY, 1814 fearing the same influences upon himself-he obtained from them the most solemn pledges The Embargo act of 1809 gave intense disthat they would hold no interviews with the satisfaction in Massachusetts. At that time prisoner, nor suffer him to escape alive. that State had a heavy interest at sea, and the

“In their journey through Alabama they embargo affected her commerce disastrously. always slept in the woods, and, after a hastily Many leading loyal men of the State pronouncprepared breakfast. it was their custom to re-ed the act to be unconstitutional. A large mount and march on in gloomy silence. meeting in Boston declared the act arbitrary Burr was a splendid rider, and in his rough and unconstitutional, and that all who assistgarh he bestrode his horse as elegantly, ed in carrying out the law should be regarded and his large dark eyes flashed as brightly, as enemies of the State and as hostile to the as if he were at the head of his New York liberties of the people. To aggravate the Regiment."

evil feeling there appeared, in the New Eng. After a number of interesting adventures land States, one John Henry, whose mission, Perkins and his prisoner reached Richmond, it eventually became apparent, was to foment

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the excitement into open rupture against the I was not less hostile to the general government. Federal Government. Madison, in his special Her Legislature refused to Captain Lawrence, message to Congress, said of him :-"He has afterwards of the ill-fated Chesapeake, a vote been employed as a secret agent of the British of thanks for his capture of the Peacock, begovernment in the New England States in lieving, in the language of the resolution, intrigues with the disaffected, for the purpose “ that in a war like the present, waged withof bringing about resistance to the laws, and out justifiable cause, and prosecuted in a maneventually, in concert with a British force, of ner indicating that conquest and ambition destroying the Union and forming the eastern were its real motives, it was not becoming a part thereof into a political connection with moral and religious people to express any apGreat Britain." He was in correspondence probation of military and naval exploits not with parties in Canada, and was known to directly connected with the defence of our maintain intimate relations with some of the seacoast and soil.' At the same time the peoleading malcontents in Boston and other New ple of the New England States began to cry England cities. He intrigued and plotted out for a separate peace. The Vermont mibeyond the power of Government to arrest litia were withdrawn from the field, and on a “a subject of the British crown.”

proposition being made in Congress to proseThe declaration of war against Great Brit- cute the Governor for this act, Harrison Gray ain, June 18th, 1812, brought the excitement Otis laid on the table of the Massachusetts to its climax. A “Peace Party" was formed Senate a resolution, expressive of the duty of in New England, pledged to offer all possible his State to aid with her whole power the opposition to the war. Taxes to support Governor of Vermont in support of her conState levies of militia were not readily assess- stitutional rights, by whomsoever infringed." ed nor easily collected. The New England The spirit of opposition went so far in ConStates were so backward in sending their necticut that the enemy's vessels, which lay quotas and supplies to the field that, for much off the harbor of New London to intercept of the time, the army on the Northern fron- Decatur's frigates, were advised by blue lights tier was in a powerless condition. The United on the hills, of the movements of the AmeriStates treasury was in a distressed condition. can ships. This incident gave rise to the exThe banks throughout the country, except pression—“Blue-light Federalists," which bethose of New England, had suspended specie came a term of opprobrium for the opponents payment. Everything betokened a weak of the war. government, and a want of confidence and The State Legislatures of Massachusetts, harmony among the States.

Connecticut, Vermont, &c., passed laws forA late writer says:—“During the year 1814 bidding the use of their jails by the United the situation of the New England States was. States for the confinement of prisoners, comin the highest degree critical and dangerous. mitted by any other than judicial authority, The services of the militia for two years had and directing the jailors at the end of thirty been extremely severe, and the United States days to discharge all British officers, prisoners had been compelled to withhold all supplies of war, committed to them. The President, for their sustenance, and throw upon the however, applied to other States of the ConStates the burden of supporting the troops federacy for the use of their prisons, and thus which defended their coast from invasion and the difficulty was in a measure obviated. their towns from pillage. Congress gave the This opposition of course met with the command of this pilitia to the officers of the sharpest recrimination from the Central and regular army. To this the Governors of Mas- Southern States of the Union, which, genersachusetts and Connecticut refused to submit, ally, supported the war policy of the Governand the authorities of the latter State passed ment. Anathema and invective were freely a law for raising a provisional army of 2,000 bestowed upon the “Yankees," and, as a nanuen for special State defence,' of which one tural result, the friendly feeling of the New of her own citizens was made the commander. Englanders did not wax warmer toward their The course of Mussachusetts in other respects confederates. Action, long threatened, final

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ly came. The Massachusetts Legislature, by bad administrations, it should be, if possible, the report of a joint committee on the question work of peaceable times and deliberate consent. of calling a Convention of the States, urged a Some new form of confederacy should be subconference as "expedient to lay the founda- stituted among those states which shall intend to tion of a radical reform in the national com

maintain a federal relation to each other. Events pact, and devise some mode of defence suit- may prove that the causes of our calamities are able to those States, the affinity of whose in- deep and permament. They may be found to pro

ceed not merely from the blindness or prejudioe, terests are closest, and whose habits of inter- pride of opinion, violence of party spirit, or the concourse are most frequent.” This report was fusion of the times; but they may be traced to imadopted by a vote of three to one, though it placable combinations of individuals or of states to was protested against by a powerful mino- monopolise power and office, and to trample without rity, who declared it a step toward a dissolu- remorse upon the rights and interests of commercial tion of the Union, and therefore treason.

sections of the Union. Whenever it shall appear On the 18th of October twelve delegates that the causes are radical and permanent, a separawere elected to confer with delegates from tion by equitable arrangement will be preferable to the other New England States. Seven dele

an alliance by constraint among nominal friends, but gates were also appointed by Connecticut and real enemies, inflamed by mutual hatred and jeafour by Rhode Island. New Hampshire was and aggression from abroad, -—but a severance of the

lousy, and inviting, by intestine divisions, contempt represented by two and Vermont by one. Union by one or more states against the will of the The Convention met at Hartford, Connecti- rest, and especially in time of war, can be justified cut, on the 15th of December, 1814. After a only by absolute necessity." session of twenty days a report was adopted, The Report then proceeds to consider the several which, with but slight stretch of imagination, subjects of complaint, the principal of which is the we may suppose to have originated from a national authority over the militia, claimed by gov. kind of en rapport association with the South ernment. Carolina Convention of 1861. We may quote

Continuing, it says: “In this whole series of de from the Report :

vices and measures for raising men, this Convention

discerns a total disregard for the Constitution, and a “ To prescribe patience and firmness to those who disposition to violate its provisions, demanding from are already exhausted by distress is sometimes to

the individual States a firm and decided opposition. drive them to despair, and the progress towards rė

An iron despotism can impose no harder service form by the regular road is irksome to those whose

upon the citizen than to force him from his home imaginations discern and whose feelings prompt to

and his occupation to wage offensive war undertaken shorter course. But when abuses, reduced to a sys- to gratify the pride or passions of his master. * tem, and accumulated through a course of years have in cases of deliberate, dangerous, and palpable infracpervaded every department of government, and tions of the Constitution, affecting the sovereignty of a spread corruption through every region of the state ; | State and the liberties of the people, it is not only the when these are clothed with the forms of law, and right, but the duty of such State to interpose its authority enforced by an Executive whose will is their source, for the protection in the manner best calculated to secure no summary means of relief can be applied without

that end. When emergencies occur which are either berecourse to direct and open resistance. It is a truth yond the reach of the judicial tribunals, or too pressing not to be concealed that a time for a change is at to admit of the delay incident to their forms, Statcs which hand. *** A reformation of public opinion, re

have no common umpire must be their own judges and sulting from dear bought experience in the Southern

execute their own decisions." * Atlantic states at least, is not to be despaired of. They will have seen that the great and essential in * This sentiment, here italicised, is that of State terests of the people are common to the South and supremacy in its unadulterated form-such supre.. to the East. They will realize the fatal errors of a macy as really renders the hold of the Constitution system which seeks revenge for commercial injuries and the power of Congress over the States that of a in the sacrifice of commerce, and aggravates by mere contract, to be dissolved at will. But, nullineedless wars the injuries it professes to redress. fying and disintegrating as it was, Mr. Jefferson himIndications of this desirable revolution of opinion self set the precedent. In his Kentucky resolutions, among our brethren in those states are already before referred to, he began with a resolution that manifested. Finally, if the Union be destined to the Federal Constitution is a compact between States dissolution by reason of the multiplied abuses of as States, by which is created a General Government

HISTORY OF FORMER CONSPIRACIES.

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The Convention adjourned January 5th, | Congress shall not have power to interdict foreign 1815, and, so doubtful was it of the propriety trade without a vote of two-thirds of both houses. of its acts, that the resolutions adopted were Congress shall not make war by a less vote than not made public until two weeks after ad

two-thirds of both branches, unless in defence of terjournment. These resolutions were, in brief,

ritory actually invaded.

No naturalized citizen to be eligible to any civil as follows:

office under the United States. The first recommended the Legislatures of the

1 No President to be elected twice, or for two terms, States represented to protect the citizens of the se

nor to be chosen from the same State twice in sucveral States from the operation of acts passed by

cession. Congress, subjecting them to forcible drafts, con

The report concluded with the recommendation scriptions or impressments, not authorized by the

that if the foregoing resolutions should be unsuccess. Constitution.

ful when submitted to the general government The second recommended that the States be em

through the respective States, if peace should not be powered to defend themselves, and that they have

concluded, and the defence of the New England for their own use their proportion of the taxes col

States be neglected, as it had been, it would be ex. lected.

pedient for the Legislatures of the several States to The third recommended each State to defend itself.

appoint delegates to another Convention to meet at The fourth recommended amendments to the Con

Boston, “ with such powers and instructions as the stitation as follows:

exigency of a crisis so momentous may require." Apportionment of representation and taxation the basis of white population.

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 honses 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.

of a “ body of disorganisers” in their midst,

expressed their loyalty to the government in for special purposes-each State reserving for itself

various ways. The resolutions brought forth the residuary mass of power and right; and “ that,

a burst of indignation from all quarters of the as in other cases of compact between parties having no con mon judge, each party has an equal right to judge

Union. The good sense of the mass of New for itself, as well of infractions as OF THE MODE AND

England people then perceived what a danMEASURE OF REDRESS.” Perhaps the special pleader gerous thing they had nursed into life, and may be able to discover that this assumption, by none were more willing to consign the twentyMr. Jefferson, is not that of the Hartford Conven- six members of the Convention (twenty of tion; but, to the mass of readers, who take words in whom were lawyers.) to infamy, than the intheir accredited signification, the Hartford resolves telligent and influential portion of the “Yanwill seem but Mr. Jefferson's reproduced. If any | kees” themselves. lingering doubt exists as to the extent of Mr. Jeffer

| The responses of such States as took the son's nullification sentiments, they will be dissipated

trouble to respond to the propositions made by the eighth resolution, which expressly and di. rectly declares that

to them, were adverse to the proposed changes the States themselves being the sole judges) where Congress assumes powers not de

in the Constitution. The doctrines set forth legated by the people, "a nullification of the act is

both in the Address and Resolutions gave the right remedy: and that every State has a natu- dissatisfaction to those dissatisfied with the ral right, in cases not within the compact, to nullify, embargo and the war. No second Convention of their own authority, all assumptions of power by was called, for, not a town or village in New others within their limits." We are at a loss, in England, one year later, would have tolerated view of this express declaration, and that which im- the sittings of such a body in its precincts. mediately follows it in the same resolutions, to dis- Well would it have been for the country—for cover npon what authority Mr. Everett [See his ad- | the lately seceded States--if the loyal people dress, July 4th, 1861] denies the nullification senti.

of the cotton-growing commonwealths had ment as Mr. Jefferson's own. The “ theoretic

crushed their disloyal leaders as the New • generalities" read so much like Hartford Convention and South Carolina Convention specialities, that or.

Englanders crushed out the treason hatched dinary perceptive faculties will not discover their

by the Hartford Disunion Convention ! differences.

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