The Conspiracy And Trial Of Aaron Burr

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To the end he protested that his strange schemes were never intended to be detrimental to the United States. In 1833, at the age of seventy-seven, he married a woman to whom his name had been linked by gossip forty years before. As Mme. Jumel, the wife of a successful French wine merchant for twenty-eight years, Eliza Bowen had attained a certain respectability. Now she was reputed to be one of the wealthiest widows in New York. They had been married barely a year before Mme. Jumel sued him for divorce on the charge of adultery. Burr had laid his hands on large sums of her money to invest in the Texas land schemes of a beautiful young woman named Jane McManus. The decree was granted, on the testimony of a housemaid, the day Burr died. The end had come, after a series of strokes, at a hotel on the Staten Island shore to which friends had carried him on a stretcher—partly becaues he loved the sea breezes and partly to escape the persecution of clergymen who wanted to take the credit for the deathbed conversion of the wickedest man alive.

In a batch of Burr papers that turned up recently in the possession of the New-York Historical Society appear the court records of a proceeding for perjury brought against the housemaid who testified to his adultery. With Aaron Burr, in small things as in great, one can never be quite sure.

Three Mysterious Portraits