Aaron Burr's farewell: Words, then tears, flowed Monday, December 6, 2010; 8:00 PM In his excellent Dec. 4 article on the emotional farewell speeches of departing senators, which are largely ignored by their colleagues ["Senators' farewell speeches often reach the ears of only a stenographer"], Philip Rucker might have recalled the powerful farewell address delivered in the Senate Chamber by Vice President Aaron Burr on March 2, 1805. Burr was then under indictment for murder in New York and New Jersey after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel eight months before. He spoke to the senators for 20 minutes about their shared service and the Senate's importance to the infant republic. Burr moved the senators as few speakers have in our history.A senator from New York recorded the moment: "When Mr. Burr had concluded he descended from the chair, and in a dignified manner walked to the door, which resounded as he with some force shut it after him. On this the firmness and resolution of many of the Senators gave way, and they burst in to tears. There was a solemn and silent weeping for perhaps five minutes." Today, as Mr. Rucker explained, such moments are shared only with the C-SPAN audience, not among senators.David O. Stewart, Garrett ParkPeter, David O. Stewart, Esq., of Ropes & Gray's DC law office, is a newer member of ABA, and an author of several books. It looks The Post chose his letter over mine, unless they carry mine, also, soon. Stuart
I mentioned this to you at the ABA meeting, but have been quite remiss in getting the info to you. I think my published play about Alexander Hamilton & his connections to Aaron Burr should be linked on the website under that section of "Additional Links of Interest." Done!
The Brightest Light by Diana Howie is a play that follows the seemingly-parallel lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr until their duel. Audience members were intrigued: "Puts politics today in a whole new perspective." "Powerful!" "This should be playing all the time in Washington, if people there can stand the truth."
The director of New Play Development at the Alley Theatre wrote that "The Brightest Light is an absorbing play that transcends being an American history lesson spanning the pre-Revolutionary War Era through Hamilton's death with the Republic's birth pangs chronicled in between. This is not a black and white portrayal: heroes and founding fathers become elusive terms that must be re-examined under new historical filters -- most especially in relation to Hamilton, Burr, Washington and others of that era."
The Brightest Light is published by Playscripts, Inc., and can be perused at
11/26 Ron Chernow is really getting tiresome with his distorted version of history.
And Huffington Post is only too happy to be an accomplice.
I know it sounds really corny, but this Thanksgiving, I'm grateful that George Washington was our first President -- and that Barack Obama, who like Washington can be austere and seemingly distant from common folks, but yet is smart and chameleon-like in his ability to forge compromises, can still get a great deal right in his presidency. Reading Ron Chernow's excellent Washington: A Life, I realized how different our world would have been had someone like Tom DeLay or Aaron Burr been America's first president. We might have ended up with someone who never wanted to leave the position, as Washington did in 1797. Or among the early founding fathers, if John Adams had come first, or Jefferson, the consolidation of a single political faction's control over the machinery of government at such a fragile stage might have meant civil war far earlier than the one America eventually got. Chernow brings the austere Washington to life in what must be the seminal work on the first President - .......
Dear ABA members and friends, 11/17/10
Please refer to my ABA group email messages of late October, Nov. 10 & 13, 2010, detailing how to book your sleeping room in our room-block at the Radisson Hotel at Opryland, Nashville (1-800-333-3333), at our group rate of $109 per night for our next year's Annual Meeting.
Let me continue to seek feedback from you on which places and tours you wish us to have during our week. Since I have been able to schedule the 2011 Meeting nearly one year ahead of time, we have time to carefully implement your wishes. Do not be shy about telling me which places ("venues") you vote for, and whether or not you are willing to pay the associated fees. I will take note of your desires, and we can also switch certain events for certain days.
Monday, Oct. 24: Check-in begins at our hotel: Radisson at Opryland. We will meet and greet in the hotel's full-service restaurant and bar.
Tuesday, Oct. 25: One logical and helpful bus tour to do on this day, either in the morning (boarding the bus at hour hotel at 9 a.m.) or afternoon (boarding at 1:30), would be the Gray Line narrated bus tour called Discover Nashville. This is a 3 1/2 hour bus tour costing $42 per person, group rate, and we must have a minimum of 20 persons. We also could arrange to have the bus pick us up at 10 am, instead of 9:30 a.m. Helena & I took this bus tour earlier this month, and it is excellent. The driver takes us all over downtown Nashville (about a 20 minute drive from our hotel), and explains dozens of highlights, including the huge Parthenon art museum; Centennial Park (an incredibly beautiful series of placques explaining the cultural and anthropological history of N-ville); the country music recording industry buildings; and there are stops at three famous buildings, where we get to go inside: (1) the new, and state of the art Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum (4 floors of wonderful, historic exhibits, where we get to brouse for about 80 minutes); (2) the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry radio live show, where we go inside for about 30 minutes); and (3) Tootsie's Orchard Loung, or another of the famous "honky tonk" small restaurants featuring live music, where we stay for 20 minutes. Since visiting downtown N-ville on our own, such as by car-pool, would be a bit hectic, and would involve driving all over the place, this guided bus tour is a good way to see this attractive downtown from the comfort of a large bus. Let me know your interest.
Wed., Oct 26: On Wednesdays, the Gray Line gives a 6 to 7 hour bus tour called The Civil War: The Battle of Franklin, Tn. This battle was the five bloodiest hours of the Civil War. You will hear the stories, see the bullet and cannon ball holes, and the blood-stained floors that bare witness to the savage nature of this conflict. Your tour includes admission to the Carter House and Lotz House, both ground zero for this horrible battle. You also will enjoy one of the finest Victorian period furniture collections in the world. Next, the bus takes you to the Carnton Plantation, ordered to be a Confederate Field Hospital after the battle, and now home to the largest private Confederate Cemetery in the U.S. The group rate is approximately $45-$55. Helena & did not get to take this tour.
Also on Wednesdays, the Gray Line gives a bus tour called Taste of Franklin, with bus boarding at 10 a.m., and lasting about six hours. Considered one of the top five small towns in the U.S., Franklin's beautiful town square is full of Southern hospitality and charm. You will spend time exploring the eclectic mix of antinque shops, art galleries, eateries, book stores and the Henpeck Market. You also visit the Arrington Vineyards, and learn about the wine making process. The bus trip out there goes through beautiful country side, as does the Battle of Franklin tour. This Taste tour costs about $35. Or, on Wednesday, we could car-pool to CHEEKWOOD Botanical Garden & Museum of Art, the 55-acre estate built by the Maxwell House Coffee fortune. It's in N-ville, and is a Fodor's Destination of Choice. www.cheekwood.org It features the artwork of Dale Chiuly. Admission fee: $8 (seniors, 65+), or $10. Has a very good restaurant, and Faberge eggs.
Thursday, Oct. 27th: This is the day on which we will tour the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, Aaron's close friend, either in the morning or afternnoon. Their Director of Education, James Yasko, has agreed to be our presenter there. He is the leading authoritity there on Aaron Burr's visits to Jackson at the Hemitage, as Burr's boats were being built and readied. The Hermitage is about a 15-20 minute drive from our hotel. If we wanted to also see BelleMeade Plantation. in west N-ville, (www.bellemeadeplantation.com), we could take the Gray Line bus tour of these two venues on Thursday. The Gray Line fee, including both entrance fees is between $46 and $56. The Hermitage has a restaurant.
Friday, Oct. 28th: We have the opportunity to drive 45 miles north of our hotel, to Peach Blossom, the country home of a new friend of ABA: Simon Mayfield Dickerson, who goes by the nickname of "Dick." Helena and I met him there, a few weeks ago. He lives on the Tennessee side of the Tn./Kentucky border. His ancestor, Charles Dickinson (the family uses both spellings) (Charles was called the best shot in Tenn.), lost a duel, in 1806 to Andrew Jackson, and died, on land owned by Burr family members (which Dick showed us). At Peach Blossom, we met a historian named Gloria Gambill (aka Gamble) Warden, who is a Burr descendant, who wants to join ABA and will join us for at least Friday, Oct. 28's event. Dick plans to have the nearby Ky. town of Adairsville hold an Aaron Burr Day, complete with a parade, on Oct. 28, 2011. Dick is Al Gore's first cousin, and is a Vanderbilt U. grad. Dick showed Helena, Gloria and me, dozens of gravestones and cemetery markers for Burr families, who lived and live all over his area. Aaron spent a lot of time in Kentucky, including Adairsville (as did the Jesse James, later). Dick has written in his newspaper column about our visit next year, and lots of Burrs probably will greet us. I learned of all this through Joyce Cole and her sister, Faye Stubblefield, of Cross Plains, Tn. Both those women attended our 2009 Annual Meeting, along with their relatives from California and Tn.
On Saturday, Oct. 29th, from 11 am to 4 pm, we will have our traditional Luncheon and business meeting, at a private room in our hotel.
My plan is that each evening, we will stay close to our hotel, like we did at Princeton this past August, having dinner at our hotel, or within walking distance, or at the nearby fabulous Opryland Hotel. This way, we will be able to rest up. One thing I noticed from this past Aug's meeting is that our attendees enjoy dining at a quiet place, so we can talk among ourselves.
Helena & I attended the Grand Ole Opry a few weeks ago. Even though the performers were excellent, I do not believe our group is interested in that type of show. We also took the lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat. The food and violin player/comedian/singer, Tim Watson, was fantastic, but... he told me he will NOT be performing on this showboat next year. His replacement may not be of interest to us.
I await your votes and comments!.
Dear ABA members and friends, Nov. 13, 2010
Please refer to my group email messages of late October and Nov. 10, 2010 (in the latter, last sentence, correct the typo to be "fabulous." Please print-out and save each of my meeting planning emails, so you may refresh your memory of the details and tips I give you, as next year's Annual Meeting approaches.
Now that I have signed a contract with the Radisson Hotel at Opryland, (tel. 615-889-0800), for the above-listed dates, we have time for you to continue letting me know your preferences for venues fur us to visit, and on which dates during our week in Nashville next year. In a separate email, I will give you my thoughts, now that Helena & I, last week, actually took some of the bus tours and visited certain locations.
In the meantime, let me tell you more details about the Radisson Opryland ("our hotel"):
- free, outdoor, parking, all around the hotel;
- extremely safe area;
- huge, indoor swimming pool; with whirlpool (hot tub); and kiddy pool; small fitness (exercise) room;
- in-house restaurant, with bar, serving all three meals; breakfast is not free, but prices are reasonable;
- there are at least four other restaurants within a one to 4-minute walk;
- across the street is the long driveway leading to the mind-boggling Opryland Hotel (the largest indoor hotel complex east of Las Vegas), which reopens Nov. 15, 2010, after the $250 million flood damage sustained on May 1 and 2, 2010. Our hotel currently has a free shuttle taking its guests, free, to the Opryland Hotel, since both facilities are owned by Gaylord Corp.
- Another large group, the U.S.S. Constellation Association (presumably World War II veterans?), is meeting at our hotel during our week, as they do each year. They probably are a mature, well-behaved group.
- Since I am copying many people with today's message, not copies in my 11/10 email, the sleeping room price is $109 per night, plus taxes. Please book right away, at 1-800-333-3333, under ABA's room block, and I strongly recommend you ask for an "Interior Room" (overlooks the Atrium), not an outside room, which runs the risk of having noise from idling tour buses and the busy roads outside. There are 3 floors, and you may want to ask for a higher floor. The swimming pool closes at 9 pm, so there should be no noise from the pool after that.
- Ask for a mini-frig., tho there may be a daily charge.
-The business center, as of last week, did not charge guests for use of their computers.
- The physical look of the hotel is similar to the Holiday Inn we stayed at in Kingston, NY, in 2009, except our Radisson Opryland starting in Jan., 2011, will undergo a complete renovation, ending in April, 2011.
- I expect many attendees to drive to our meeting, based on what you have told me. For those flying-in to N-ville International Airport (a great, easily-accessible airport), I have arranged with our hotel to have a discounted (to $34, round-trip, per person) fee for the shuttle bus to, and from, our hotel (unfortunately, the hotel does not have free pick-up from, or to, the airport, even tho it is only a 15-minute trip). A taxi, reportedly, charges $25 one way (I do not know if luggage is extra on the taxi, but there is no extra charge for luggage on the discounted shuttle bus).
Our hotel is easy to reach by auto from the main roadways around N-ville. The address is 2401 Music Valley, N-ville 37214.
More soon (maybe tonight) on the many top venue choices.
Don't worry, I am planning on going "light" on the country music exposure, and strong on history and culture, and Aaron's connection w/N-ville and Gen. Andrew Jackson (later, President).
Stuart: Fabulous it sounds. Have booked a room. Spoke with a chap who is reading what apparently is a recent bio. of Andrew Jackson. Like a not so recent bio. there is hardly, if any, mention of Aaron Burr. Recall that Burr behind the scenes was a factor in getting Jackson elected President and, of course, a star witness on behalf of Burr at the Trial for Treason. Here's one for you. Met the other evening in NYC members of the End of the Earth Society dressed in uniforms more colorful than Marine dress. No idea what they represent? Henry H Anderson Jr
10/25/10 Antonio, Diane, Mary and Pete attended the movie preview for Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton, they helped shoot in 2008.
Watch for it on PBS next Spring;
Mary outside Lincoln Center before the cocktail reception and movie preview there.
Entrance sign at the Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center.
Frank Pierce and his other friend from the Society of the Cincinnati with Doug Hamilton, who is eligible for SOC membership too.
They appeared in the film, with a few speaking parts for Antonio, and two scenes showing Pete.
The discussion on the duel did allow Antonio to point out the unfair hair triggers,
but when the action was shot, they showed Antonio and Doug aiming the pistols at each other
during "Present" instead of holding them pointing straight up, as Merrill Lindsay says it occurred.
Director Michael Pack and Richard Brookhiser during the question and answer session after the 2 hr movie.
The ABA was pleased to participate, and thanks Michael Pack and Manifold Productions for our inclusion.
10/12/10 Following is the link to the video that we attempted to watch on Monday night and were diverted from our plans due to unforeseen circumstances.
This video is 90 minutes in length and was produced in 1977 by the Judicial Conference of the United States. You will note that this video plus three others in the same series are in the government archives. The show is hosted by E G Marshall and is very well done. The video covers the Aaron Burr's treason trial and points out the numerous ways the sitting US president (Thomas Jefferson) stepped outside numerous constitutional protections that we hold dear today. Perhaps the first being publically declaring Aaron Burr as being "guilty beyond doubt" before the trial ever began. Chief Justice John Marshall distinguished himself in the 4 cases that are presented in this 4 part series and is highly honored in judicial circles as being perhaps the greatest of our supreme court justices. Due largely to the efforts of John Marshall, Aaron Burr was afforded a fair trial and was in fact found to be not guilty of treason. I hope you each take the time to watch this video and that you find it as enlightening as I did. Joyce
Hi Peter, Just to let you know Jane and I do plan to get to the last couple of days of the Aaron Burr conference in August, having made reservation for Friday night, the 27th, at the Westin this morning. Still perusing your books, they're safe here and don't leave the house. Thanks very much for the loan. Best, John Endicott 7/26/10 PS Here's a link to an article on the 1800 article you may not have seen http://jvbline.org/Burr.pdf
Also, some Burr books and documents can be found at www.archive.org
Excellent 1800 Election Analysis Article John!
Thanks for sending it.
206 year duel anniversary article
with new, funny ESPN video featuring Weehawken footage
Did you know that Sen. Robert C. Byrd loved a certain farewell speech by Aaron Burr, Jefferson's Vice President? Burr was also the president of the Senate, a far more important post as far as Byrd was concerned. Not only did he speak the speech from time to time on the floor of the Senate, but for Byrd-watchers above in the press gallery, he reenacted it. Suddenly we the listeners were transported back to 1805 to hear the prophecy that if the Constitution were ever destined to perish, its expiring agonies would be witnessed on this floor. It is here--it is here. Byrd got down on his hands and knees to make this point.
Byrd had a fabulous sense of the past, of the ghosts and shadows walking the halls in the Capitol, including Daniel Webster and John F. Kennedy. When Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's brain cancer was announced in May 2008, it was a rare thing to see a senator weep for another openly on the floor as he did, speaking of his love and friendship for the man once his rival for majority leader--so long ago.
6/12/10 San Diego Band Teacher Breathes New Life Into American History
He has a role for a mistress for Burr but not Hamilton,
when it was the married Hamilton who cheated on his wife Elizabeth with 23 year old Marie Reynolds.
05/22/10 Five Best Books on American Moguls (Fallen Founder is one)
Fallen Founder. Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel but Hamilton was cheating. Hamilton borrowed the pistols from a friend despite the fact he owned an excellent set himself. Hamilton's gun fired early and Burr took careful aim and shot him. There was no necessity for a reload. The 1976 for the bicentennial the dueling pistols were examined. They are owned by the Rockefellers. It was determined that Alex's gun had a hair trigger and apparently he didn't know how to use it. When you look at a 10-spot remember Hamilton got what he deserved.
Crime History - Hamilton, Burr were first legal Dream Team By: Scott McCabe Examiner Staff Writer April 1, 2010
On this day, April 1, in 1800, the original legal Dream Team, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, won an acquittal in the infamous Manhattan Well Mystery.Bride-to-be Gulielma Sands disappeared on the night she was to secretly wed Levi Weeks, a young carpenter. Her body was found at the bottom of a well. The public immediately suspected Weeks. One witness claimed to have seem him taking measurements of the well before Sands disappeared. As his defense attorneys, Weeks hired Hamilton, a Founding Father, and Burr, a future vice president. After five minutes of deliberation, the jury found Weeks not guilty. Five years later, Burr shot and killed Hamilton in the country's most famous duel. Weeks later became an accomplished architect in Mississippi. - Scott McCabe
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/crime/Crime-History---Hamilton_-Burr-were-first-legal-Dream-Team-89609392.html#ixzz0jxFOsivu
Jan 23, 2010Pete,
I appreciate your using the Aaron Burr signed Putnam pistols certification on the Aaron Burr Association website. My wife and I would still consider selling the item eventho we couldn't hope to find a greater piece of history. ..... Thank You.
Paul T. Thacker
61 Queen Drive
Chillicothe, Ohio - 45601-9256
Ph - 740 775-1780
I certify that from inspection of a pair of steel mounted pistols now in the possession of Mr. John P. Putnam and this day shown to me by him I believe them to be the same pistols which were carried and used by Major General Israel Putnam in the war of the Revolution in that I was then Aid-De-Camp to Gen Putnam and believe I often saw said pistols in his possession. Dated Sept 29th 1835 A Burr Witnes Thereunto Alexander S Tuttle 175 Year Old NATIONAL TREASURE This is a paper used by United States historians to reveal that General Israel Putnam carried and used the British Major John Pitcairn Pistols throughout his Revolutionary War service. This paper, being unlike the other in the Lexington, MA Historical Society, refers to the Pistols as being 'NOW' in the possession of Israel’s Grandson Mr. John P. Putnam. This infers that Mr. John P. Putnam may not have had the Pistols with him before he visited Aaron Burr. The document is about 6"x 8". In June 1835, 60 years after the Battle of Bunker Hill, Aaron Burr thought he would soon die and sent for his Memoir Writer Matthew Livingston Davis to receive all of his papers. In September, Aaron sent for Israel’s Grandson - John Pope Putnam. Matthew Davis never obtained the two pistols documents - possibly his final writings. I believe the pistols weren’t in the Putnam family from the Revolutionary War to 1835. It is possible that after the War, General Putnam presented them to his Aid-De-Camp Aaron Burr just as General Washington bequeathed his Doune Pistols to Major General Lafayette. This may have been the pair of pistols that were in Burr’s Will on July 10, 1804 to be left to his step-son Frederic. This was in the case that Alexander Hamilton would shoot him dead the next day - Wed., July 11, 1804. There were two uniquely different certifications written for the famous pair of John Murdoch unmatched Doune pistols, which from one British Major John Pitcairn fired the first shot of the Revolutionary War, “SHOT HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD” on April 19, 1775. This was 235 years ago. He fired his pistol and flourished his sword to signal the beginning of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. This is the only document like this. Rev. War 1775 + sixty yrs. = 1835 + 175 year old document = 235 yrs. in 2010 PATRIOTS DAY Let Us Celebrate - Monday, April 19, 2010 SEPTEMBER 29, 1835 - SEPTEMBER 29, 2010. 175th ANNIVERSARY of a NATIONAL TREASURE: PUTNAM PISTOLS CERTIFICATION. Owned by Paul T. and Shirley J. Thacker - firstname.lastname@example.org - 740 - 775-1780