The History of New York State
Editor, Dr. James Sullivan
Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam
|#1 Burr to Congressman Samuel
Smith, of Maryland: James Parton's "Life of Aaron Burr," p,
#2 Lodge's "Hamilton's Works," VIII, 594.
#3 Gouverneur Morris did not come conspicuously into senatorial records, but he had been numbered among the leading New York publicist since the first days of the State.
Notwithstanding a Tory environment in early life, Gouverneur had espoused the republican cause in the first chaotic days of the Revolution. In May, 1775, he entered the Provincial Congress of New York. One of his brothers, Lewis, served New York State in the continental congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. Another brother, however, became a British general and served in the English Parliament. His mother, too, adhered to the Crown, and would have liked to have counted her youngest son, Gouverneur, among the loyalists. But he never faltered. The name of Gouverneur Morris is found inmost of the convention rosters of New York State of its early formative years. He was six years younger than Jay, but was a valued colleague and an appreciable factor in the convention that gave the State its organic law, in 1777. Hamilton was six years younger than Morris, but until the death of the Great Federalist, in his duel with Burr in 1804, these three brilliant New Yorkers stood together "like a tripod, firm and invincible." #4 Comparing the three, a writer finds "Jay gentle and modest; Hamilton, impetuous and imperious; Morris, self-confident and conceited." Perhaps no other trio of New Yorkers could stand comparison with this one, for outstanding merit in public affairs. All were aristocratically minded, Morris being the least willing to give the democrats, i. e., the propertyless inhabitants, the electoral franchise. Morris looked farther than State limits; he was impressed by the possibilities of western settlement. One day, in 1800, he stood at Fort Erie, opposite a few log huts which represented all that Buffalo then was. He saw "nine vessels, the least of them one hundred tons," riding at anchor. He marvelled. That full-rigged ships should be there, hundreds of miles from the seaboard, seemed to him "like magic." When he grasped the fact that "at this point commences a navigation of more than a thousand miles," that men were hewing their way westward, in ever increasing numbers, that in time the thousand of miles of virgin land would be made productive by horny-handed men of his won race, and that here "on the billows of those inland seas," was a God-given trade route, his imagination saw fleets of ships, hundred of sails, saw, indeed, Lake Erie tapped and its waters carried across the State into the Hudson river, and the commerce of all nations passing along that waterway. "The proudest empire in Europe is but a bauble compared to what American will be, must be," he exclaimed. However, in more uneasy moments, he realized that this western settlement would be won by men of rough exterior and little academic knowledge; that, in time, this democratic element, if given the franchise, would control the country. To him, it seemed to be directly contrary to the fitness of things that "those untutored backwoods settlers" should, in governmental affairs, have equal voice with the cultured Americans of the Eastern States. So, while in the United States Senate, he recommended that such a possibility be guarded against, by a constitutional amendment; but his recommendations were not taken seriously. Few people could then imagine that settlement would spread far into the territory of the Indian, and fewer could follow Morris' imagination, which pictured "a great empire of people in the fertile valley of the Mississippi." Even fifteen years later, Robert R. Livingston was firmly convinced that "not in a century would a white man cross the Father of Waters." #5
When Gouverneur Morris returned to New York, in 1800, wafer a sojourn of some years in Europe, he must have been much impressed by the growth of population in his own State. He found a State Senate of forty-four members, instead of twenty-four. True, the senatorial franchise was still exclusive to a certain grade of freeholding voters; but into this restricted class had come a considerable number of freeholders who were not of the cultured aristocracy. They were successful, substantial farmers. This reality at home may have focused Morris' imagination onto western portents. However, the efforts of Gouverneur Morris to stem the tide were futile as those of King Canute centuries before--the flow of migration went on.
#4 Alexander's "Political History of New York State," I. 73.
#5 Ibid., I, 74.
#6 "Jefferson's Diary," February 14, 1801.
#7 Parton's "Life of Aaron Burr," p. 272.
#8 William P. Van Ness, "Examination of Charges Against Aaron Burr," p. 61
#9 "Jefferson's Diary," February 14, 1801.
#10 Parton's "Life of Aaron Burr," p. 272.
#11 William P. Van Ness, "Examination of Charges against Aaron Burr," p. 61.
#12 Alexander's "Political History of New York State," I, 104.#13
#13 "Jefferson's Works," IV., 360.
#14 Alexander's "Political History f New York State," I, 108.
#15 Smith's "History of New York--Political and Governmental," I, 219.
#16 As Aristides (William P. Van Ness) described him.
#17 A little later he acted as second to Clinton, in the Swartout duel.
#18 Smith's "History of New York--Political and Governmental," I, 219.
#19 Hammond,s, "Political History of New York," I, 177.
#20 At Washington, Jefferson had rewarded friend a openly as Dewitt Clinton took care of them in Albany. In telling the story, James A. Bayard, of Delaware, produced an oratorical sensation in the House of Representative. "And now, sir, let me ask the honourable gentleman," said the
Congressman, in reply to William Giles' defense of the Virginia President, "what his reflections and belief will be when he observes that every man on whose vote the event of Mr. Jefferson's election hung has since been distinguished by presidential favor. Mr. Charles Pinckney, of south Carolina, was one of the most active, efficient and successful promoters of the election of the present chief magistrate, and he has since been appointed Minster of Plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid--an appointment as high and honourable as any within the gift of the Executive. I know what was the value of the vote of Mr. Claiborne, of Tennessee; the vote of a State was in his hands. Mr. Claiborne has since been raised to the high dignity of Governor of the Mississippi Territory. I know how great, and how greatly felt, was the importance of the vote of Mr. Linn, of New Jersey. The delegation of the State consists of five members; two of the delegation were decidedly for Mr. Jefferson, two were decidedly for Mr. Burr. Mr. Linn was considered as inclining to one side, but still doubtful; both parties looked up to him for the vote of New Jersey. He gave it to Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Linn has since had the profitable office of supervisor of his district conferred upon him. Mr. Lyon, of Vermont, was, in this instance, an important man; he neutralized the vote of Vermont; his absence alone would have given the State to Mr. Burr. It was too much to give an office to Mr. Lyon; his character was low; but Mr. Lyon's son has been handsomely provided for in one of the executive offices. I shall add to the catalogue but the name of one more gentleman, Mr. Edward Livingston of New York. I knew well-full well I knew--the consequence of this gentleman. His means were not limited to his own vote; I always consider more than the vote of New York within his power. Mr. Livingston has been made the attorney for the district of New York; the road of preferment has been opened to him, and his brother has been raised to the distinguished place of minister plenipotentiary to the French Republic."--Henry Adams, "History of the Untied States," V. 294-95; Alexander, "Political History of New York State," I, 120-121.
#21 Van Ness' "Letters of Aristides," p. 42.
#22 Smith's "History of New York State--Political and Governmental," Vol. I, p. 221.
#23 In compelling Burr and his friend, John Swartout, to resign from the directorate of the Manhattan Bank (Manhattan Company) which Burr had corruptly organized under the guise of a water company which would being a much needed water supply to New York and so prevent a recurrence of yellow fever then so recently epidemic.
#24 "Letters of Aristides," (William, P. Van Ness), p. 69.
#25 Henry Adams, "History of United States," I, 331.
#26 "Writings of Jefferson," Ford's ed., VIII, 203, 209, 210.
#27 Roland Greene Usher, "Rise of the American people," 204.
#28 Alexander's "Political History of New York State," I, 131-132.
#29 Henry Cabot Lodge, "Life of Alexander Hamilton," 276-77.
#30 Ibid., 240-41.
#31 Henry Cabot Lodge, "Hamilton's Works," VIII, 570.
#32 Adams' "History of United States," II, 180.
#33 Ibid., I, 139.
#34 Morgan Lewis, XXX, 829; Aaron Burr, XXII, 139--"Civil List of New York," 1888 ed., p. 166.
#35 "Hamilton's Works" (Lodge), VIII, 626.
#36 John Lord, "American Founders," Vol. XI, of "Beacon Lights of History," p. 214.
#37 One slab of this monument has been preserved. It bears the inscription that the monument was erected (in 1806) by the St. Andrew's Society of the State of New York. It was discovered by a member of the King family, who rescued it from the miscellaneous accumulation of a junk dealer. Eventually, it was presented to the New York Historical Society. Research by Mr. Morrison in the records of the St. Andrew's Society, disclosed the information that between April 1 and Deceiver 1, 1806, the sum of $746.15 was paid for the monument; that the obelisk was of white marble; that the site was given by Captain Deas; and that it was so conspicuously placed that "every stranger who approached out port may see at once the memorial which the society has erected to the irreparable loss which America has sustained in the death of her most distinguished citizen."
The tracks of the West shore Railroad eventually obliterated the original features of the duelling place, which was only a few feet above the river bank, the Weehawken cliffs towering above it.
Before Captain Deas took action to destroy the monument, it was the rendezvous of the chivalrous and reckless. This is revealed by the following letter, which was signed by "Hoboken," and published in the "New York Columbian," on July 123, 15815:
"It is a subject of complaint to the citizens of society in the vicinity and a standing absurdity and outrage on the morals, manners, and feelings of society. . . . By the pernicious effect on a conspicuous example, the young and chivalrous are invited to combat and feel a degree of vainglory in measuring ground where that great man fell from all his glory and usefulness and furnished a bloody beacon to posterity which should at least be shrouded from the light of day.
"Nowadays the boats arrive from your island in broad daylight, the combatants take their stand on each side of the monument, and before the inhabitants can reach the spot the mischief is done, and the unfortunate survivors hurried off too soon to be arrested . . .
"Such is the sensation, I understand, excited by this modern Aceldama that is not to be expected the pillar will long retain its station; it being a baneful nuisance, not a vestige of which should be suffered to remain on earth"
#38 Alfred B. Street, "New York Council of Revision," p. 429.
#39 Alexander's "Political History of New York State," I, 150.
#40 The Clintonians thought to discredit or ridicule the Lewis Republicans by fastening this name upon them. Clinton wished to show that the Lewisites were only a third party, or in Latin, Tertium Quid. Popularly shortened, this became Quid, or Quido.
#41 He associated with his brother-in-law in the management of the Albany "Register."
The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927
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