On Being a Citizen

AB’s treason trial was a drawn-out affair, with many starts, stops and long periods of delay in the proceedings. Tempers flared frequently on the prosecution’s side, in that they were consistently out-lawyered by AB and his world class representation. At one point, U.S. Attorney George Hay made a heated objection to a very mundane request from AB to have justice Marshall instruct jurors about the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence. Hay inferred that the instruction amounted to special treatment, and that AB was on “the same footing with every other man charged with a crime.” To which, AB replied:

“Would to God that I did stand on the same ground with every other man! This is the first time that I have been permitted to enjoy the rights of a citizen.”

Published in: on November 5, 2009 at 3:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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On Slander

As AB settled in to a much-less-than public life, he withdrew even further from critics and the judgements of history. He never went on record anywhere defending himself from even the most damning of assertions, other than in open court. It seemed that whatever anyone wanted to dream up about him would find it’s way into the media of the day and remain there in the public mind, unanswered and unchallenged. At a point, even his “friends” stopped stepping in for him. Later in his life, when he was contemplating writing a “real” history of the revolution, he seems to have regretted his “no comment” position. Of slander, he had this to say:

“Slander has slain more than the sword.”

He would know…

Published in: on October 19, 2009 at 2:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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On Finding Salvation

September 14, 1836. In his final hours, AB was being attended to by the Reverend Dr. P.J. Van Pelt. When asked if he expected to find salvation upon expiration, AB, fully in possession of his faculties, and in classic AB style, replied:

“On that subject I am coy.”