Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

proclamation when, by his own admission, he deemed it expedient to act, he deputed a secret agent to spy and to pry, "going on to hold conferences with governors, and all officers civil and military," &c.; was certainly a degradation of his office, as dishonourable to himself as to the allegiance of the good citizens who were thus to be espyonated; and who only wanted the public declaration of the government to that effect, to have chased the conspirators out of the country.

That to have given the agent the instructions which he says he did, "to investigate the plots, going on to enter into confeiences (for which he had sufficient credentials) with the governors, and all other officers, civil and military, and, with their aid, to do on the spot whatever should be necessary to discover the designs of the conspirators—arrest them—bring their persons to punishment—and to call out the force of the country to suppress their proceedings"—was to have exceeded all constitutional authority as president, if to be executed by the power of the United States; but if by state authority, then 'a compromission of his duty as president. It was palpably a cunning contrivance of Mr. Jefferson's, in the first place, to conceal himself from public view until his spy had ascertained, "going on, conversing," &c. whether the majority of the people were ripe for revolution, or not: if they were, the agent was to have sneaked back to the president with the report: and so the matter would have rested until the meeting bf congress, and then they might have determined on the course to be puisued: but if the great body of the people were opposed to Burr and his schemes, including governors, officers, &c. whythen, the agent, shewing his credentials, was to get the state authority, not even to execute the laws of the United States, but to have a law, or laws, passed; and, in virtue of such, "to do on the spot" what was necessary. And this is thought to be demonstrated by the instructions and the conduct of the presidential agent, consummated in Ohio and Kentucky W the passage of laws already mentioned. While this may also explain why the attorney who had attempted to execute the act of congress, by prosecuting burr under it, was by the president dismissed from office.

That two days after the president had received the letter of General Wilkinson, of October 21st, in which he is assured that Wilkinson has betrayed Burr, and will support him, he issued his proclamation, in defiance of conspirators—doubting not from the combined intelligence which he had received, as s well from his agent as from his general, that all real danger was over.

If any man who understands the motives of Mr. Jefferson's conduct on these points, can give them in explanation of his course, a more rational or consistent exposition, it will be most cheerfully adopted instead of the foregoing.

In the solution of the question what were Burr's objects, his letter to Wilkinson, of the 29th of July, is too precious a testimony to be omitted, as it proves the accuracy of the intelligence received and transmitted by the United States' attor* ney in Kentucky. It follows:

"I, Aaron Burr, have obtained funds, and have actually commenced the enterprise. Detachments from different points, and under different pretences, will rendezvous on the Ohio, 1st November. Every thing internal and external favours views:

protection of England is secured: T is going to Jamaica,

to arrange with the admiral on that station; it will meet on the

Mississippi England Navy of the United States are

.ready to join, and final orders are given to my friends and followers: it will be an host of choice spirits. Wilkinson shall be second to Burr only: Wilkinson shall dictate the rank and promotion of his officers. Burr will proceed westward 1st August, never to return; with him go his daughter; the husband will follow in October, with a corps of worthies.

"Send forthwith an intelligent and confidential friend, with whom Burr may confer; he shall return immediately, with further interesting details: this is essential to concert and harmony of movement: send a list of all persons known to Wilkinson, west of the mountains, who may be useful, with a note delineating their characters. By your messenger send me four or five of the commissions of your officers, which you can borrow underany pretence you please; they shall be returned faithfully. Already are orders to the contractor given to forward six months' provisions to points Wilkinson may name; this shall not be used until the last moment, and then under proper injunctions: the project is brought to the point so long desired. Burr guarantees the result with his life and honour, with the lives, the honour and fortunes of hundreds, the best blood of our country. Burr's plan of operations is, to move down rapidly from the Falls on the 15th November, with the first 500 or 1000 men, in light boats now constructing for that purpose, to be at Natchez between the 5th and 15th of December; there to meet Wilkinson; there to determine whether it will be expedient in the first instance to seize on or pass by Baton Rouge: on receipt of this, send an answer; draw on Burr for all expenses, &c. The people of the country to which we are going are prepared to receive us: their agents now with Burr say, that if we will protect their religion, and will not subject them to a foreign power, that in three weeks all will be settled. The gods invite to glory and fortune: it remains to be seen whether we deserve the boon: the bearer of this goes express to you; he will hand a formal letter of introduction to you from Burr; he is a man of inviolable honour and perfect discretion; formed to execute rather than to project; capable of relating facts with fidelity, and incapable of relating them otherwise: he is thoroughly informed of the plans and intentions of , and will disclose to you as far as you inquire, and no further: he has imbibed a reverence for your character, and may be embarrassed in your presence: put him at ease, and he will satisfy you.

«29th July:"'

This was produced and acknowledged by Wilkinson: and after reading it, who can doubt of the previous arrangement between the two? or of the object of the conspiracy? There is no attempt at seduction here. The address is open, plain, and direct, to a known prostitute. That she also wantoned with others, need not be doubted.

Extracts from General Eaton's deposition.

Some time in the winter of 1805-6, at the city of Washington, Colonel Burr held various conversations with me, on the vol. m * F**

r

subject of a contemplated military enterprise to the westward; when at length apparently resigning myself to his influence, "Colonel Burr now laid open his project of revolutionizing the territory west of the Allegheny; establishing an independent empire there, New Orleans to be the capital, and himself the chief; and thence organizing a military force on the waters of the Mississippi, carry conquest to Mexico."

"From the tenor of much conversation on the subject of Wilkinson's co-operation, I was prevailed on to believe that the plan of revolution meditated by Colonel Burr, and communicated to me, had been concerted with General Wilkinson, and would have his co-operation."

Soon after this, I said to the president, "If Colonel Burr was not disposed of, we should within eighteen months, have an insurrection, if not a revolution, on the waters of the Mississippi." The president replied his confidence in the people: and making no inquiry of me as to particulars, I concluded that he did not want to hear more, and was silent.

I returned to Massachusetts, where I resided. In the October following, saw a letter from Mr. Bellnap, who lived near Marietta in Ohio, to Mr. Danielson, stating that boats were building, &c. connected with Colonel Burr:—soon after which "I made a communication to the president of the United States, through the hands of the post-master general, stating the views of Colonel Burr."

• That General Jonathan Dayton was one of the fraternity, there is the evidence of his own letters to prove. They follow:

"Copy of a letter from Gen. Dayton to Gen. Wilkinson, written in cypher, except those parts printed in italics. This cypher was designed by Gen. Dayton, and founded on the hieroglyphics known . to Gen. Wilkinson and Col. Burr.

July 24ih, 1806. X A '• . ) O ~ / ~ ~ " V ^ - O- IV"

[] It is now well ascertained that you are to be displaced in next

session. Jefferson will affect to yield reluctantly to the public

sentiment, but yield he will; prepare yourself therefore for it:

you know the rest.

You are not a man to despair, or even despond, especially when such prospects offer in another quarter. Are you ready? Are your numerous associates ready? Wealth and Glory, Louisiana and Mexico. I shall have time to receive a letter from

you before I set out for Ohio 0 HIO. Address one to me here,

and another to me in Cincinnati. Receive and treat my nephew affectionately, as you would receive your friend. (. . j * DAYTON.

July \%th, 1806. My Dear Friend: As you are said to have removed your head quarters down the river, and there is a report that the Spaniards intercept our mails which pass necessarily through the territory occupied by them, in order to reach you, I think proper to address you in cypher, that the contents may be concealed from the Dons, if they make so free as to open the letter. Take the following for the catch word or check word (and you may very readily decypher the figures.) Viz: in your own hieroglyphic C.]; but in your own alphabet thus— [Hieroglyphics.]

V^-o-/a

Every thing, and even Heaven itself, appears to have conspired to prepare the train for a grand explosion;—are you also ready? For I know you flinch not when a great object is in view. Your present is more favourable than your late position, and as you can retain it without suspicion or alarm, you ought by no means to retire from it until your friends join you in December, somewhere on the river Mississippi. Under the auspices of Burr and Wilkinson I shall be happy to engage, and when the time arrives you will find me near you.

Write, and inform me by first mail what may be expected from you and your associates. In an enterprise of such moment, considerations even stronger than those of affection impel me to desire your cordial co-operation and active support.

DAYTON, Wealth and honour. } Adieu. y Burr and Wilkinson.

Courage and union. )

« AnteriorContinuar »