« AnteriorContinuar »
enlisted himself under the banners of the Infidel Palmer, who delivers lectures on Deism at NewYork, and is securing for himself and followers considerable grants of land in hell.
My translation introduced me to the acquaintance of some distinguished characters in NewYork, and among others that caressed me was the celebrated Colonel Burr, who was in the late election chosen for the office of Vice-President of the United States. The letters interspersed through this narrative will shew my intimacy with Mr. Burr, whom I have seen in his social hour; and of whose political character I am perhaps enabled to give the prominent features. The slave of no party, and unbiassed by personal affections, my portrait shall be free as it is
To a genius of singular perspicacity, Mr. Burr joins the most bland and conciliating manners. With a versatility of powers, of which, perhaps, America furnishes no other example, he is capable of yielding an undivided attention to a single object of pursuit. Hence we find him at the close of the Revolutionary War, in which he took a very honorable part, and in the fatigues of which he bore no common share, practising the law with unrivalled brilliancy and success. Indced his distinguished abilities attracted so decided a leaning of the Judges in his favor, a deference for his opinions so strongly marked, as to excite in no small degree the jealousy of the bar
So strong was the impression made by the
general respect for his opinions, that exclamations of despair were frequently heard to escape the lips of the Counsel whose fortune it was to be opposed by the eloquence of Mr. Burr. I am aware that this language wears the colour of panegyric; but the recollections which the facts must excite in the breasts of his candid rivals, will corroborate its accuracy.
For a short period Mr. Burr acted as AttorneyGeneral to the State ; but his professional reputation, already at the acmé of splendour, could derive no new lustre from the office. It however should be remembered, that in State prosecutions, a disposition to aggravate the enormities of the accused was never attributed to him.
At length Mr. Burr was removed by the Legislature of the State to the Senate of the United States. The deliberations of that body being conducted in secret, the public possessed but slender means of knowing and appreciating the merits of individual members. But it is certain, from the lead he took in some of its most important transactions, and from the deference shewn his opinions by his senatorial colleagues, that the character for ability which he had previously acquired, must have been there well sustained. It was, indeed, universally acknowledged, that no other State was so respectably represented as the State of New-York, in the combined talents of Mr. Burr and Mr. King
His time of service expiring, Mr. Burr again returned to the exercise of his profession with a facility which would induce a belief that his legal pursuits had never been interrupted.
Such are the outlines of the character of the man who, cultivating literature himself, loved to encourage it in others; and who, with a condescension little known to patrons, sought out my obscure lodgings in a populous city, and invited me to his house.
I found Mr. Burr at breakfast, reading my translation over his coffee. He received me with that urbanity which, while it precludes familiarity, banishes restraint ; and discovered by his conversation, that he was not less skilled in elegant literature, than the science of graciousness and attraction.
Mr. Burr introduced me to his daughter, whom he has educated with uncommon care; for she is elegant without ostentation, and learned without pedantry. At the time that she dances with more grace than any young lady of NewYork, Miss Theodosia Burr speaks French and Italian with facility, is perfectly conversant with the writers of the Augustan age, and not unacquainted with the language of the Father of Poetry. Martel, a Frenchman, has dedicated a volume of his productions to Miss Burr, with the horatian epithet of " dule decus.” Fortune had now opened to me les entreés of
the house of Mr. Burr, to whose table and library I had the most unrestrained access. But Mr. Burr did not stop here : he proposed to me the study of the law, which I imprudently declined, and thus neglected to take that flood in the tide of my affairs which led immediately to fortune. A student of the law could not have formed himself on a better model than Mr. Burr ; for at the same time that he was perhaps the most skilled of any man in the practice, he was also the most eloquent :
T8 και απο γλωσσης μελλος γλυκιων ρεεν αυδη. The favorable reception given to the campaign in Italy, of which the whole impression was soon diffused through the different States of the Union, animated Caritat with courage for another publication ; and few men knew better how to gratify present curiosity, by directing his attention to temporary subjects.
In the preceding winter an occurrence had happened of which the public had not abated their eagerness to know the particulars. A German by the name of Ferdinand Lowenstoff had become enamoured of a young girl named Elizabeth Falkenbam, a native of New-York. Ferdinand was forty, but Elizabeth had scarcely seen sixteen summers. Ferdinand, notwithstanding the disparity of their years, found means to win the affections of Elizabeth, who consented to marry him ; but it was judged expedient to defer their marriage till the return of Elizabeth's brother-inlaw, from Germany, who had left his child under her care.
In the mean time love prevailed over prudence, and the lover unloosed the virgin zone of his yielding fair. At length the brother returned from Germany, but would not consent to the marriage, and to release himself from the importunities of Ferdinand, confined his sister-inlaw to her chamber. The indignation of the lover was inflamed, and to banish from his mind an object whom he could not obtain, he married a French lady from Guadaloupe, remarkable for the beauty of her person, and the vivacity of her conversation. But the charms of a newer object, however lovely and eloquent, could not obliterate the impression which Elizabeth had made: he pined for her in secret, and became a victim to melancholy.
In this harassed state of mind Ferdinand continued some months, when a letter was privately delivered him, in the superscription of which he recognized the hand-writing of Elizabeth. It
was short, but emphatical : I am pregnant, and / resolved on death !-Ferdinand, far from discou
raging, fortified Elizabeth in her resolution, by professing an earnest desire himself to share her fate, and seek an oblivion also of his own woes in a a voluntary death. The reply to the letter in which Ferdinand desires to die with this unhappy girl, is an injunction to break without delay his unicn with visible nature; to rush before his