On Doing The Right Thing

Upon his return to the U.S. from his European exile in 1812, AB found many shoulders he’d once rubbed against with industry had turned frightfully cold.

One such man, an old college classmate, had been someone who’d called himself a friend of AB for what seemed a lifetime. AB dashed off a note announcing his return, requesting a meeting. The self professed “friend” replied in a manner that revealed his awareness of the social-implications of association with AB at the time. With clear dejection, AB made this diary entry on the episode:

“When a man takes time to consider whether he will do a good or civil action, be assured he will never do it. The baser feelings, the calculations of interest and timidity, always prevail…”

The reply from his friend made the attempt at feigning the illusion of continued friendship and consideration of the request, but AB was right, the “Friend” never followed-up.

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Published in: on December 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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As a Father

From Letters to Theodosia, his only surviving child by Theodosia Prevost-Burr

“My property, our home with all of its baubles, mean nothing to me, and whatever honors I have won in this world are empty. You are my only true treasure, and in you is the distillation of all that is pure and noble in your ancestry. Live your life to the full, and beware of giving your heart prematurely, for I will not consent to the gift of your hand to any man who is not worthy of you.”

“You know that you and your concerns are the highest, the dearest interest I have in this world, one in comparison with which all others are insignificant.”

“My letters to others are always ready; but toward you, a desire to say something at the last moment; a reluctance resembling that of parting – but all this you know and feel.”

“What book shall I buy for her? said I to myself. She reads so much and so rapidly that it is not easy to find proper and amusing French books for her; and yet I am so flattered with her progress in that language, that I am resolved that she shall, at all events, be gratified. Indeed, I owe it to her.”

“I really think, my dear Theo., that you will be very soon beyond all verbal criticism, and that my whole attention will be presently directed to the improvement of your style. Your letter of the 9th is remarkably correct in point of spelling.”

“I continue the practice of scoring words for our mutual improvement. The use, as applicable to you, was indicated in a former letter.

I am sure you will be charmed with the Greek language above all others. Adieu.”

“Your little letter from Alexandria assured me of your safety, and for a moment consoled me for your absence. The only solid consolation is the belief that you will be happy, and the certainty that we shall often meet.”

On Transparency in Government

In 1799, NY Senator Burr debated the virtue of an amendment designed to prohibit naturalized citizens from obtaining elected office.

“America stood with open arms and presented an assylum [sic] to the oppressed of every nation; we invited them with the promise of enjoying equal rights with ourselves, and presented them with the flattering prospect of presiding in our councils and arriving at honour and trust; shall we deprive these persons of an important right derived from so sacred a source as our constitution[?]”

As a Chivalrous Man

“…when a lady does me the honor to name me the father of her child, I trust I shall always be too gallant to show myself ungrateful for the favor!”

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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On His Critics

After his acquittal for treason, he lived a life of an outcast, constantly tarnished in the press and dragged through the mud. He rarely, if ever, made public statements defending himself or his actions. (He mistakenly thought his “friends” would do that for him…)

“What a lot of rascals they must be, to make war on one whom they do not know; or one who never did harm or wished harm to a human being! Yet they, perhaps, are not to be blamed, for they are influenced by what they hear.”

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 5:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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As a Realist

Aaron Burr’s wit and wisdom live through the ages. He called it like he saw it and was a great friend of irony.

“Every man likes his own opinion best.”

“I learned in the Revolution, in the society of gentlemen, and I have since observed for myself, that a man who is guilty of intentional bad manners, is capable of crime.”

Published in: on February 27, 2009 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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