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Printed by DENNISTON & CHEETHAM,
No. 142, PEARL-STREET.
my preface to the “ NARRATIVE," I invited in. vestigation of the facts set forth in it, and of the general conduct of Mr. BURR. This invitation was given in vain. Not a word stated in the Narrative has
been controverted. Indeed the facts it contains are of that stubborn kind that bids defiance to controversy, and beats down all opposition. It will hardly be said that their verity has not been questioned on account of the absence of Mr. BURR ; since, had they been unfounded, his agents, his zealous and thorough-going friends, must have known it, and it will scarcely be believed that they would stand by and see the little body round which they are whirled, fo feriously attacked, without interposing a shield for his, protection. I will not do the « little band” so much injustice as even to imagine them capable of such daftardly conduct.
On the other hand, I am not disposed to interpret their Silence into a confession of the guilt of their principal ; though it must be confessed appearances make against them. This silence is sometimes properly, but frequently surreptitiously observed. A transcendently exalted character, publicly accused of a little, mean, disreputable act, of which he could scarcely be guilty, and which few men, would accredit, would hardly descend from his god-like eminence to notice the calumniator. So that this mum conduct will not be adduced as a proposition universally true. This is so generally known that many men avail themselves of the convenience, who ought to be adjudged, if not infamous, unworthy of the confidence of the public,
and as having deservedly forfeited their good opinioni. In this case it is a villain covering himself with the mantle of illustrious virtue.
Another strongly presumptive incident is, that, in the present controversy, of which the Vice-President is the subject, the “little band” ate' unequivocally the aggresfors. They were the first to declare war ; i hey provoked resistance. They called for examination, and no sooner was it commenced than they fhrank from it! Under these circumstances would it be fair to say that since they are filent they are innocent ? One might as truly affirm that the most attrocious offender was immaculate, because when put to trial, he refused to plead !
Again. Is it not peculiarly incumbent on the « little band” and their primum mobile, the Vice-President, to évince to the public that the serious charges exhibited against him are devoid of foundation ? Upon this hang the popularity and the Vice-Presidency of Mr. Burr ! Will they remain mute when so much is at stake ? Are they not concerned for the honour of their Chieftain and of themselves? Do they not know that the Marshals, the Bank Solicitors, and the Mercuries, will be whelmed in his falt? And at this thought, do not their “ souls shrink back, and startle at destruction ?" All these considerations are surely enough to make them aroufe themselves and shake the enemy from them." Catiline treated with dirdain the denunciations of Cicero, until every avenue of retreat was cut off. I hope America is not destined to Furnish an example of this treefonable pertinacity!
But were I to adventure an opinion I'would affirm that, were the Vice-President now in this city, he would himself be mute ! Mr. Burr must be conscious that the offences with which he stands accused before the public are well founded. Prudence, therefore, whose imperious mandates urged him to prescribe silence to the “ little band" would close his lips. No man knows how to manage disagreeable truths better than Mr. Burr !
But this introduction is designed to anticipate and to combat very different topics from those already noticed. The character faithfully drawn of Mr. Burr in the following pages, is so complex fo ftript of precise and indelible marks ; so mutable, capricious, versatile, unsteady and unfixt, one to which no determinate name can be given, and on which no reliance can be placed, that serious questions may arise froin it. It appears that, from his Debut on political life, he has been every thing and nothing ; that he has been ascending the ladder of fame and power by means on which no honeji man can rereflect with satisfaction ; and it may be added that all this must have been known to those who raised him to his prefent eminence in the government, and being conscious that he was no less deflitute of a determinate principle than of political consistency, it were criminal to exalt him to an height from which he might hurl destruction upon the people. This, it must be admitted, has some weight ; it has at least a plausible appearance.
I candidly confess I am one of those who were unacquainted with the true character of Mr. Burr, until his fingular conduct since the Election of Mr. Jefferion, induced me to examine the more early parts of it. I may go