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for a participation in the purchase of Baron | was kiln-dried or parched corn, ground Bastrop's land on the Washita, as he had into meal, which is another evidence that addressed a letter to him on that subject the men engaged in the expedition were before leaving home in December, wishing to march a long distance by land, and to become a partner in any purchase he carry their parched meal on their backs; might make of western lands; also offer- of which a pint, mixed with a little water, ing to aid in the Mexican enterprise, as was is a day's ration, as practiced by the Westafterward ascertained in the trial at Rich-ern Indians. Several hundred barrels of mond. The next August we find Aaron this article were prepared, some of which Burr at Pittsburgh, in company with his was raised on the island, and parched in a accomplished daughter, Mrs. Theodosia kiln built for that purpose. Alston, on his way down the Ohio river. The boats were to be ready by the 9th He again visited the island, with his of December, rather a late period on acdaughter, where she spent several days: | count of ice, which usually forms in this he in the mean time taking up his abode at month ; but they were tardy in making the Marietta, where several of the inhabitants contract. Col. Burr remained in the vicinreceived him with marked attention, ity three or four weeks, making a journey while others looked upon him with con- to Chillicothe. His son-in-law (Alston) tempt and abhorrence, as the murderer of came out and joined his wife at the island, Col. Hamilton, especially the old officers, and with her and Mr. Blennerhassett, who friends and associates of that excellent accompanied them, proceeded on to Lexman. It was in September, at the period ington, Kentucky, early in October. Many of the annual militia muster; the regiment young men in the vicinity of Marietta, was assembled on the commons, and Col. Belprie, and various other points on the Burr was invited by the commander to river, were engaged to join in the expediexercise the men, which he did, putting tion, of which Col. Burr was the leader. them through several evolutions. In the They were told that no injury was intended evening there was a splendid ball, at which to the United States; that the President he attended, which was long after known as was aware of the expedition and approved the " Burr ball." Early in this month the of it, which was to make a settlement on contract was made for boats to be built on the tract of land purchased by the leaders the Muskingum river, six miles above the in the Baron Bastrop grant; and in the mouth, for the purpose, as was said, of event of war breaking out between this conveying the provisions and adventurers country and Spain, which had for some to the settlement in the new purchase. time been expected, they were to join with
There were fifteen large batteaux, ten the troops under General Wilkinson, and of them forty feet long, ten feet wide, and march into the Mexican provinces, whose two and a half feet deep ; five others were inhabitants had long been ready for revolt. fifty feet long, pointed at each end, to and prepared to unite with them. This push or row up stream as well as down. was no doubt the truth, as believed by One of these was considerably larger, and Mr. Blennerhassett and those engaged fitted up with convenient rooms, a fire- | under him, whatever may have been the place and glass windows, intended for the ulterior views of Burr, Not one of all use of Mr. Blennerhassett and family, as the number enlisted on the Ohio would he proposed taking them with him to the have hearkened for a moment to a separanew settlement; which is an evidence he tion of the Western from the Eastern did not then think of any hostile act against | States; and when the act of the Ohio the United States. To these was added a Legislature was passed to suppress all “ keel-boat,” sixty-six feet long, for the armed assemblages, and take possession of transport of provisions. A contract for boats with arms and provisions, followed bacon, pork, flour, whisky, &c., was made by the proclamation of the President, they to the amount of $2000, and a bill drawn almost to a man refused to proceed further on Mr. Ogden, of New York, for the pay- | in the enterprise, ment. The boats cost about the same The batteaux were calculated to carry sum, for which Mr. Blennerhassett was about 500 men, and probably a large porresponsible. One main article of the stores | tion of that number had been engaged, expecting to receive one hundred acres of | ing her husband immediately to return, land for each private, and more for offi- where he had gone on a visit with Mr. cers. As to their being required to furnish Alston. The history of this journey, as themselves with a good rifle and blanket, related by Peter, in his evidence on the it was of itself no evidence of hostility ; | trial, is an amusing sketch of simplicity as it is customary in making all new settle and truth. He was the gardener on the ments, for the men to be armed, as was island for several years, and was a singlethe case with the forty-eight pioneers of hearted, honest Englishman; who, after the Ohio Company settlers in 1788. his employer's ruin, purchased a farm at
In the mean time a rumor had gone Waterford, in Washington county, Ohio, abroad that Col. Burr and his associates where he lived many years, much respectwere plotting treason on the Western ed for his industry and integrity. During waters, and assembling an army to take the month of September and fore part of possession of New Orleans, rob the banks, | October, there appeared a series of artiseize the artillery, and set up a separate cles, four or five in number, published in government, west of the Alleghany moun- the Marietta Gazette, over the signature tains, of which he was to be the chief. of “Querist,” in which the writer adFrom the evidence on the trial at Rich- vocated a separation of the Western from mond, and other sources, it appears that the Eastern States ; setting forth the resMr. Jefferson was acquainted with the plan sons for, and the advantages of such a of invading Mexico, in the event of a war division. These were answered in a series with Spain, and approved it, so that Burr of numbers, condemning the project, over had some ground for saying that the gov- the signature of “Regulus.” They were ernment favored the project. But when well written, spirited articles, and both no war took place, and the parties had are now understood to have been furbecome deeply involved in building boats, nished by Mr. Blennerhassett, to ascertain collecting provisions, and levying men, the public mind on this subject in the to which the baseness and treachery of West. As one of these neutralized the Wilkinson directly contributed, it was other, no direct proof can be adduced from thought a fitting time to punish the arch- | them of his designing such a measure. enemy of the President, who, by his chi- | The result, however, was unfavorable to canery, had well nigh ousted him from the his project, and roused the public mind Chair of State, and had since taken all in opposition, both to the man and the opportunities to vilify and abuse him. cause he had espoused. Some of the arti
Another evidence that the government cles by “Regulus” were much applauded was supposed to favor the enterprise, is the by the editor of the Aurora, a leading fact, that nearly all its abettors and sup- | government paper of that day, who con. porters in the West, until the Proclamationsidered the writer a very able and patriappeared, were of the party called Repub- otic man. The last of November, Mr. licans, or friends of Mr. Jefferson, who Jefferson sent out John Graham, a clerk hated and despised Burr and all in which in one of the public offices, as a spy or he was engaged, as from the character of agent to watch the motions of the conspirthe man, they thought it boded nothing ators in the vicinity of the island, and to good.
ask the aid of the Governor of Ohio in By the last of October, rumor with her suppressing the insurrection, by seizing on thousand tongues, aided by hundreds of the boats and preparations making on the newspapers, had filled the minds of the Muskingum.While at Marietta, Mr. people with strange alarms of coming Blennerhassett called on the agent once or danger, to which the mystery that over- / twice ; talked freely with him on the object shadowed the actual object of these prep- / of the expedition, and showed him a letter arations greatly added ; and many threats which he bad recently received from Col. were thrown out of personal violence to Burr, in relation to the settlement on the Mr. Blennerhassett and Colonel Burr. / Washita, in which he says that the proAlarmed at these rumors of coming dan-ject of invading Mexico was abandoned, ger, Mrs. Blennerhassett dispatched Peter as the difficulties between the United T'aylor to Kentucky, with a letter, request| States and Spain were adjusted. He also mentioned his arrest and trial before the ments, and waylaying the river, a little Federal Court, on a charge of "treasona above the town, took possession of them ble practices” and “a design to attack the all but one, which the superior manageSpanish dominions, and thereby endanger ment of the young men from Belprie enathe peace of the United States," of which bled them to bring by all the guards, in he was acquitted.
the darkness of the night, and reach the But all this would not satisfy Mr. Gra- island in safety. Had they all escaped, ham. He visited the Governor at Chilli- they would have been of little use, as the cothe, laid before him the surmises of Mr. young men engaged had generally given Jefferson ; and the Legislature, then in up the enterprise, on the news of the Pressession, on the second day of December, ident's Proclamation and the Act of the with closed doors, passed an act, author- | Ohio Legislature. . izing the Governor to call out the militia, Mr. Blennerhassett was at Marietta on his warrant to any sheriff or militia on the 6th of December, expecting to officer, with power to arrest boats on the receive the boats, but they were not quite Ohio river, or men supposed to be en- / ready for delivery. On that day he heard gaged in this expedition, who might be of the Act of Assembly, and returned to held to bail in a sum of 50,000 dollars or the island, half resolved to abandon the imprisoned, and the boats confiscated : | cause; but the arriyal that night of Tyler, $1000 were placed at the disposal of the and the remonstrances of his wife, who Governor, to carry out the law. Under had entered with great spirit into the enthis act a company of militia was called terprise, prevented him. Had he listened out, with orders to capture and detain to the dictates of his own mind, and the the boats and provisions on the Muskin- suggestions of prudence, it would have gum, with all others descending the Ohio saved him years of misfortune and final under suspicious circumstances. They ruin. In the course of the day of the 9th were placed under the command of Cap of December, he had notice that the Wood tain Timothy Buell. A six-pounder was county militia had volunteered their serplanted in battery, on the bank of the vices, and would that night make an attack Ohio at Marietta, and every descending on the island, arrest him with the boats boat examined. Regular sentries and and men there assembled, and perhaps guards were posted for several weeks, / burn his house. This accelerated their until the river was closed with ice, and all departure, which took place on the folnavigation ceased. Many amusing jokes | lowing night. They had learned that the were played off on the military during this river was watched at several points below, campaign, such as setting an empty tar and felt serious apprehensions for their barrel on fire and placing it on an old boat future safety ; although the resolute young or raft of logs, to float by on some dark, men on board, well armed with their rifles, rainy night. The sentries, after hailing would not have been captured by any and receiving no answer, fired several shots moderate force. The Ohio river, from the to enforce their order ; but finding the Little to the Big Kenawha, is very crooked supposed boat escaping, sent out a file of and tortuous, making the distance by men to board and take possession, who, water nearly double that by land. Col. approaching in great wrath, were still more Phelps, the commander of the Wood vexed to find it all a hoax. On the 6th county volunteers, took possession of the of December, just before the order of the island the following morning, and finding government arrived, Comfort Tyler, a gen- | the objects of his search gone, determined tleman from the State of New York, landed not to be foiled, and started immediately on at the island, with four boats, and about horseback across the country, for Point thirty men, fitted out at the towns above Pleasant, a village at the mouth of the on the Ohio. On the ninth, a party of Big Kenawha, and arrived there several young men from Belprie went up the hours before the boats. He directly musMuskingum to assist in navigating the bat- | tered a party of men to watch the river teaux and provisions of parched meal, all night, and arrest the fugitives. It being from that place to the island. But the quite cold, with some ice in the stream, militia guard received notice of their move- large fires were kindled, for the double
purpose of warning the guard, and more | rifle through the ceiling of the large hall, easily discovering the boats.
the bullet passing up through the chamber Just before daylight the men, being well near where Mrs. B. and the children were filled with whiskey to keep out the cold, sitting. The man said it was accidental; became drowsy with their long watch, and but being half drunk, and made brutal by all lay down by the fire. During their the whiskey they drank, they cared little short sleep, the four boats seeing the fires, for their actions. and aware of their object, floated quickly! On the 17th of December, with the aid by, without any noise, and were out of of the young men, and the kind assistance sight before the guard awoke. They thus of Mr. A. W. Putnam of Belprie, one of escaped this well-laid plan for their capture their neighbors, and a highly esteemed
-arriving at the mouth of the Cumberland, friend, she with her children was enabled the place of rendezvous, unmolested. to depart, taking with her a part of the
On the 13th, Mr. Morgan Neville and furniture and some of her husband's choice Mr. Robinson, with a party of fourteen books. Mr. Putnam also furnished her young men,arrived and landed at the island. / with provisions for the voyage, her own They were immediately arrested by the being destroyed by the militia, in whose militia before the return of Col. Phelps. rude hands she was forced to leave her A very amusing account of the adventure beautiful island home, which she was desis given in the “ Token,” an Annual of tined never again to visit. 1836, written by Mr. Neville, in which he They kept possession for several days describes their trial before Justices Wolf after her departure, living at free quarters, and Kincheloe, as aiders and abettors in destroying the fences, letting in the cattle, the treason of Burr and Blennerhassett. | which trampled down and ruined the beauSo far was the spirit of lawless arrest car- tiful shrubbery of the garden, barking and ried, that one or two persons in Belprie destroying the nice orchards of fruit trees, were taken at night from their beds, and just coming into bearing; and this too was hurried over on to the island for trial, with- done by men, on many of whom Mr. Blenout any authority of law. This was a few nerhassett bad bestowed numerous kinddays before the celebrated move in the nesses. It is due to the commander, Senate of the United States for the sus- | Col. Phelps, to say, that these excesses pension of the act of Habeas Corpus, so were mostly perpetrated in his absence, alarmed had they become, which was pre- and that on his return, he did all he could vented by the more considerate negative to suppress them, and treated Mrs. Blenof the House of Representatives. After nerhassett with respect and kindness. a detention of three days, these young! This spot, which, a short time before, men were discharged for want of proof. was the abode of peace and happiness, Mrs. Blennerhassett, who had been left at adorned with all that could embellish or the island, to look after the household beautify its appearance, was now a scene goods, and follow her husband at a more of ruin, resembling the ravages of a hostile convenient period, was absent at Marietta and savage foe, rather than the visitation when they landed for the purpose of pro- of the civil law. Before leaving the island, curing one of the large boats, that was fit- Mr. Blennerhassett, not expecting to return, ted up for her use, and had been arrested had rented it to Col. Cushing, one of his at Marietta; but he was unsuccessful, worthy Belprie friends, with all the stock and returned the evening after the trial of cattle, crops, &c. He did all in his
The conduct of the militia, in the absence power to preserve what was left, and preof their commander, was brutal and outra- | vent further waste. Col. Cushing kept geous ; taking possession of the house and possession of the island one or two years, the family stores in the cellar, without any when it was taken out of his hands by the authority, as their orders only extended creditors, and rented to a man who raised to the arrest of Mr. Blennerhassett and a large crop of hemp. The porticoes and the boats. They tore up and burnt the offices were stowed full of this combustible fences for their watch fires, and forced the article, when the black servants,during one black servants to cook for them or be im- of their Christmas gambols in 1811, acciprisoned. One of them discharged his dentally set it on fire, and the whole mansion
was consumed. The furniture and library, a Court at Natchez, on a charge of treason, portion of which only was removed with and recognized to appear in February, the family, was attached and sold at auc- Blennerhassett did appear, and was distion at a great sacrifice, to discharge some charged in chief, no proof appearing to of the bills endorsed by him for Aaron convict him of any treasonable design. Burr a few months after his departure. Burr did not choose to appear, but
With her two little sons, Herman and soon after the recognizance, he requested Dominic, the one six, and the other about John Dana, with two others, to take him eight years old, she pursued her way down in a skiff, or row-boat, to a point about the Ohio to join her husband. The young twenty miles above Bayou Piere, and land men, her companions, afforded every aid him in the night, intending to escape in their power to make her situation com- across the country by land. The better fortable, but the severity of the weather, to conceal his person from detection, bethe floating ice in the river, and the unfin- fore starting, he exchanged his nice suit of ished state of her cabin, hastily prepared broadcloth clothes and beaver hat with Mr. for her reception, made the voyage a very | Dana, for his coarse boatman's dress and painful one. Late in December, she passed old slouched white wool hat, which would the mouth of the Cumberland, where she effectually disguise him from recognition had hoped to find her husband, but the by his intimate acquaintance. He proflotilla had proceeded out of the Ohio into ceeded safely for some days, but was finally the rapid waters of the Mississippi, and arrested on the Tombigbee river, and with landed at the mouth of the Bayou Piere, / many taunts and insults taken into Richin the Mississippi territory. The Ohio was mond, where he arrived the 26th of March, frozen over soon after the boat in which she | 1807. No bill was found by the grand was embarked left it, and was not again jury until the 25th of June, when he was navigable until the last of February, the indicted on two bills, one for treason, and winter being one of great severity. Early the other for a misdemeanor. After a in January she joined the boats of Col. long and tedious trial he was acquitted, on Burr a few miles above Natchez, and was a verdict of “Not Guilty." again restored, with her two little boys, to Mr. Blennerhassett, supposing himself her husband, who received them with joy discharged from further annoyance, some and gratitude from the hands of their gal- time in June, started on a journey to visit lant conductors. The whole country be- the island, and examine into the condition ing roused from Pittsburgh to New Or- of his property, which, from various letters, leans, and the hue and cry raised on all he learned was going fast to waste and sides to arrest the traitors, Col. Burr destruction. Passing through Lexington, abandoned the expedition as hopeless, and Kentucky, where he had many friends and assembling his followers, now about one acquaintances, he was again arrested, on a hundred and thirty in number, made them charge of treason, and for some days cona spirited speech, thanked them for their fined in the jail, as an indictment had been faithful adherence amidst so much oppo- found against him, as well as Burr, at sition, and closed by saying that unforeseen | Richmond. He employed Henry Clay as circumstances had occurred which frustra- | his council, who expressed deep indignated his plans, and the expedition was at tion at the illegality of his client's arrest. an end. All were now left, at a distance of “He had been discharged already in chief, 1000 or 1500 miles from their homes, to and why should he be again arrested on shift for themselves.
the same supposed offence ?” But the Several of the young men from Belprie, government was unrelenting, and nothing six or eight in number, returned in the but the conviction of the offenders could course of the spring. Two brothers, , appease their wrath. He was taken, with Charles and John Dana, remained and much ceremony and parade of the law, to settled near the Walnut Hills, purchased Richmond, where he again met Burr, the lands and entered into the cultivation of originator of all his troubles and misforcotton. Some time in January, Col. Burr tunes. The magnanimity of the man is well and Mr. Blennerhassett were arrested, shown, in that he never recriminated, or and brought before the United States accused his destroyer with deceiving him,