Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The owner of the house-boat
 One of Washington's aides
 How Tom became a bearer of...
 How Tom rode Truxton
 How the general helped
 The "little counsellor's" main...
 Why "Old Ben" exploded
 Tom goes down the river
 A race for the colonel
 A cruise on the Cumberland
 The general does some thinking
 The captain of Batteau 4
 The warning in the night
 The captain strikes a snag
 How he slipped the secretary at...
 The web of the spider
 The general's fire-hunt and what...
 Tom has a sudden awakening
 The fly and the spider
 How Tom Edwards faced a double...
 Why Tom took to the woods
 A fallen idol
 What the President said
 Witnesses for the government
 A son of the republic
 Back Cover

Group Title: Sons of the Republic ; 1
Title: A son of the revolution
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087068/00001
 Material Information
Title: A son of the revolution being the story of young Tom Edwards, adventurer, and how he labored for liberty and fought it out with his conscience in the days of Burr's conspiracy
Series Title: Sons of the Republic
Physical Description: 301, 2 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brooks, Elbridge Streeter, 1846-1902
W.A. Wilde Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: W.A. Wilde & Company
Place of Publication: Boston ;
Publication Date: c1898
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Burr Conspiracy, 1805-1807 -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Treason -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Loyalty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Messengers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Heroes -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Soldiers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Trials -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cousins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- United States -- 1801-1809   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- Illinois -- Chicago
Statement of Responsibility: by Elbridge S. Brooks ; illustrated by Frank T. Merrill.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements precede text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087068
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002395496
notis - AMA0404
oclc - 12399557
lccn - 12030975

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Page 1
        Page 1a
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Table of Contents
        Page 9
        Page 10
    List of Illustrations
        Page 11
        Page 12
    The owner of the house-boat
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    One of Washington's aides
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    How Tom became a bearer of despatches
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    How Tom rode Truxton
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    How the general helped
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    The "little counsellor's" main reliance
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    Why "Old Ben" exploded
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    Tom goes down the river
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 96a
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
    A race for the colonel
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    A cruise on the Cumberland
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    The general does some thinking
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
    The captain of Batteau 4
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
    The warning in the night
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 154a
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
    The captain strikes a snag
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
    How he slipped the secretary at Fort Massac
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
    The web of the spider
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
    The general's fire-hunt and what came of it
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 204a
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
    Tom has a sudden awakening
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
    The fly and the spider
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
    How Tom Edwards faced a double duty
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
    Why Tom took to the woods
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
    A fallen idol
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
    What the President said
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 276a
        Page 277
    Witnesses for the government
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
    A son of the republic
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 303
        Page 304
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
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The Baldwin Library



ACY. 301 pages. With six Illustrations by FRANK T.
MERRILL 8vo. Cloth. S1.50.


MIDDLE WEST. 8vo. Cloth. $1.5o.

lw C-



p ~-L1

--~ r


Being the Story of Young Tom Edwards
adventurer, and how he labored for Liberty
and fought it out with his Conscience

In tle Days of urr's Qonopiracp





All rig4t rservwd.



THE making of the West was one of the first fruits
of the American Revolution. Step by step the new
republic, like a young giant showing his strength,
shouldered its way along the Ohio, down the Missis-
sippi, striving for everything and securing all.
But that development, though a persistent progress,
was beset by temptation and endangered by pitfalls.
One such was that singular, dramatic, futile endeavor
known as the conspiracy of Aaron Burr.
It was made futile by the patriotism and integrity of
the. people of the Middle West-the very element
upon which Aaron Burr depended for countenance
and support.
The story has been told repeatedly as a part of the
life of that most remarkable of adventurers, Aaron
Burr. It has never been told in its bearing upon that
energetic, ambitious, adventurous young life of the
West whom it aroused first to dreams of glory and
then to protests of patriotism, and in whom, by its
very failure, it awakened that passionate love of the


Union which has ever been a feature of the fertile
valleys through which the mighty rivers flow on to
the Gulf.
It is to picture the yearnings and awakening of this
young and vigorous life, as typified in the boy whose
adventures it here relates, that this story has been writ-
ten, in order that the boys and girls of to-day may see
how, out of doubt and desire, came the sturdy self-
respect and glowing patriotism that placed the republic
above all other considerations and its security beyond
all personal ambitions.
"A Son of the Revolution" is the first of a series of
stories for young people to be called Sons of the Repub-
lic, in which the writer endeavors to portray this grow-
ing love of the Union. It is to be hoped that, between
the lines, may be read that grander lesson that freemen
and Americans may ever read with profit -the glory
of the whole country, North, South, East, and West.
For this study of Burr and his times many books
have been consulted and much personal observation of
the sections described has been made.
Thanks are especially due to Mr. Reuben G. Thwaites,
of the Wisconsin Historical Society, for his excellent
description of the Ohio from Pittsburgh to St. Louis;
to Mr. George W. Humphrey of Dedham, Massachu-
setts, for his rare collection of Americana; and to the


public library of Somerville, Massachusetts, for access
to its large store of historical material.
The writer trusts that his young readers will like his
boy Tom, and that the relation between the men of the
Revolution and the makers of the West may be found
of interest and profit.
BOSTON, Febuary, 189.



























S 117









IT 200










STom looked up, knife in hand, and met the smiling gaze of
the stranger" Frontisiece 14

"The general, leaning against the great fireplace, opened and
read the letter" 49

"'Ah, Cousin Tom, is it you?'" 97

"While Tom fairly shivered with apprehension, Burr read
over the proclamation" 54

" Who are you, sir? You're not one of the party. Give an
account of yourself '" 205

"He offered his hand the very hand, Tom remembered
afterwards, that had penned the Declaration of Inde-
pendence" 277






UPON the low bank of that long, pleasant southern
reach of the Ohio River where it swings down
from Marietta to Parkersburg and beyond, where the
scattered clumps of maple and willow shiver in the river
breeze as they overtop the broad leaves of the scrub
sycamore of the rich bottom lands, and where the pebbly
river beach looks particularly inviting on a hot day to
any boy who loves a swim, one such boy after one
such swim, many years ago, had sought the inviting
shade of a sycamore, taller than the rest, and with
keen-pointed jack-knife was laboriously but skilfully
carving his name upon the broad, smooth bark of the
big sycamore.
He whistled softly as he carved; not for want of
thought, however, for the truth is, Tom Edwards was
thinking deeply. And as he whistled his thoughts


shaped themselves, not into words, but into the rude
outline of a big pirogue, from the prow of which a
clinched hand was tearing down a flag emblazoned with
the Saracen's head-the banner of the Barbary pirates
of the far-off Mediterranean coast.
There, you have guessed it. Tom Edwards longed
to be an adventurer; he burned to do deeds of daring,
and that very morning he had studied in a Marietta
shop window a flaming print of the terrific hand-to-hand
struggle between Decatur and the swarming infidel,
until in his day-dream he saw himself a second Decatur,
and his vivid imagination found vent in thus carving his
boyish dream of heroism beneath his own sober New
England name.
Lost in his work and his own eloquent fancies of just
what would happen after he had thus cut down the
Barbary standard, Tom was oblivious of all else. He
did not hear the approaching footsteps crunching the
pebbly pavement of the river beach, nor even the voice
that hailed him in inquiry. The broad shade of the
sycamore leaves gave no warning of the slighter shadow
moving his way, and Tom woke from his revery with a
start only when a pleasant voice fell upon his ear.
"T. Edwards! eh? That looks familiar. I've seen
it on too many notes of warning. Does the T. stand
for Timothy, my boy ?"
Tom looked up, knife in hand, and met the smiling
gaze of the stranger.


"Don't live around here," thought Tom. "He's too
dressed up for our folks."
Then he said aloud, replying to the stranger's inquiry:
"No, sir, it stands for Tom -Thomas. That's my
name-T. Edwards."
"A good name, too," was the stranger's comment
"T. Edwards. That was the name of a wise old uncle
of mine, from whom I ran away to go off soldiering,
when I was a boy."
Tom was on his feet in a moment.
Oh, did you, sir ?" he cried. "Wouldn't I like to,
though! Where was it to the Barbary coast ?"
"The Barbary! laughed the stranger. Why, bless
the boy, how old do you think I am? Why, that was
long before the Barbary pirates went a-barberrying,"
and he laughed again at his New England joke, which
the Ohio boy could scarcely see through. "I ran away
to Bunker Hill -and got there just too late."
Bunker Hill! Why, this was a soldier of the Revo-
lution. Involuntarily Tom doffed his cap in military
salute; for his father, too, had been a soldier of the
Revolution, and fatherless Tom Edwards revered the
memory of the man who had diei when he was a baby,
and the story of whose deeds and dangers the mother
had often told her son.
The salute amused the newcomer immensely. He
returned it courteously, and laughed a low, yet clear
and hearty, laugh.


Tom looked at him closely. He was a slight, short,
trim-looking gentleman; his hair, lightly touched with
gray, was drawn back from a broad, smooth forehead,
into a straight queue; his features were strong, clean-
cut, and regular; his face was friendly, his black eyes
full of fun. Tom Edwards thought him one of the
finest-looking men he had ever seen, even though he
was scarcely heavier or larger than himself. He wore
the conical hat, cape-coat, knee breeches, and top-boots
of the day; and was indeed so noticeably well-dressed,
that Tom once again found himself wondering where
this good-looking stranger could have dropped from on
that solitary, shaded river beach.
"Oh ho i So you honor the buff and blue, do you?"
the stranger said to saluting Tom.
My father was at Trenton, sir," the boy answered
proudly, "and at Germantown and Monmouth, too. He
was one of the Life Guards. Did you ever see the Life
Guards, sir ?"
Did I ever see them ?" the stranger cried. "Why,
my son, I've ordered them around. I was one of his
Excellency's aides."
One of Washington's aides I Tom was tingling with
excitement. Here was an adventurer, indeed. He
would have overwhelmed the stranger in a torrent of
questions had not that gentleman raised both hands
in protest.
"There, there I That'll do, Tom," he exclaimed.


"Why, you're worse than the Federalist and the Even-
ing Post put together. You ought to run a newspaper.
I'm not here to answer questions. I'm here to ask
them, my boy. That is why I hailed you from the
beach-when you didn't hear me, you were so busy
carving your bold Barbary bey. I've lost an ark, Tom.
Have you seen one tied up to the bank?"
No, Tom had not seen one tied up thereabouts, he
said. There were plenty up to town--at Marietta,
he meant; and he had seen all sorts of craft going up
stream and down. Where was his ark, he inquired,
"Up at the town?"
"Yes," the stranger replied, "somewhere there along
the bank. I left it to walk back to see the mounds.
What do you think they are, Tom ?"
"Injun graves," was the only reply Tom had ready,
as his explanation of those wonderful remains of a van-
ished people that dot the country about Marietta.
But the gentleman shook his head. "Guess again,
Tom," he said. "No Injun that you or I know ever
made those mounds. They astonish and puzzle me.
They were laid out and built up by people with brains,
my boy. Well, I lost my escort and came across lots
this way, hoping to reach the river. I've reached it-
and you, my Barbary-bey young friend. But where is
the ark? Can you show me the nearest way back to
Tom could. Better still, he knew just where Bill


Harper had ambushed his dugout under a clump of
scrub sycamores, just above them. Would the gentle-
man like to have Tom paddle him up stream to the town ?
The gentleman would, decidedly, he said, and Tom
was soon working his way up stream in Bill Harper's
dugout, while the stranger faced him, courteous and
"A good pair of arms, Tom Edwards," he remarked,
as he watched the boy's clear, even, and well-timed
sweep of the paddle. "How are you going to use
them, and when?"
Oh, on Uncle Ira's farm, I suppose," Tom replied, a
little discontentedly; and then, drawn out by the stran-
ger's clever questioning, he told how his father and
mother had come from Massachusetts out here to Mari-
etta on the "Mayflower galley" among the first settlers
in the Ohio country; how they had gone to housekeep-
ing in a log house on the Capitolium; how the year
after he, Tom, was born his father was killed in the
Wabash country in St. Clair's defeat; how he and his
mother had then gone to live on his Uncle Ira's new
farm outside the stockade; how, ten years later, his
mother had died and he had gone on living at Uncle Ira's
and working on the farm; and how now he was tired
of it all; for, said Tom, "I won't get anything if I do
work well; there's no chance to get on; Uncle Ira and
I don't pull together, and you see, sir, I want to get on
in the world; and I mean to."


"You will, you will, Tom, my word for it, you will,"
his companion said, nodding his shapely head emphati-
cally. "But you don't need to go sailing across the
seas to do it, just to make mince meat for the Barbary
bey. There's chance enough here in America for such
a spry, strong, wide-awake young fellow. I wish I had
ten thousand like you; I'd lead you to glory. Been to
school much ?"
"A little, but not much," Tom replied. "Too much
to do on the farm for that. I'd like to," he added. "I'd
like to know a lot; but I'd much rather go off to New
York or Boston and see the world."
"See it here, my son, see it here," said the stranger,
who was now fast becoming to Tom no stranger at all.
" Think of what life may mean for you in this great and
glorious West. You're one of the boys who are going
to build it up and find fame and fortune here. I wish
I were twenty years younger and had your chance and
your blood. I'd make an empire of it all. Look out
for the main chance, Tom, and strike out for yourself
when the right time comes. It is coming, mark my
word, and you can be in it. Why, I was through col-
lege at your age about sixteen, are'nt you ?"
"Yes, sir, just that," Tom replied.
"Well, I was out of college and thinking of a career
at your age," his new friend went on. "And I had
one, though I might have been just a lawyer or a school-
master if it had not been for Bunker Hill and Quebec."


"What about Quebec? Were you there, sir ?" Tom
asked eagerly. "Were you with Montgomery?"
"With him? Certainly," the stranger replied. "He
weighed pretty heavy, too, let me tell you. I carried
him from the field after he was wounded. Pretty good
lug for a small chap, wasn't it? A fine, brave man was
General Montgomery. I was one of his aides, you
"An aide to Montgomery? an aide to Washington?
Why, who are you, sir ?" The question, unuttered, was
already on Tom's admiring lips, when his companion
cried out, "Ah, there she is. I see her now. I know
the cut of her jib. Though all the jib you can find
about that craft is Andy's big sweep. I'm afraid the
ark wouldn't stand much of a show in Newark Bay and
around Staten Island sound. That's where I used to do
a good deal of boating when I was your age. Just put
me over to the ark, Tom. That's it. Ark ahoy! Andy
throw us a line. Now give me a hand. No, don't go,
Tom. Come aboard. I want to settle with you."
"There's nothing to settle, sir," replied Tom, loath to
go. "Glad to have the chance to do something for one
of the Revolutioners."
Good for you; well, come aboard, and look around.
I'll join you presently."
And Tom, glad of the opportunity, sprang aboard the
ark, and, inquisitive as any sixteen-year-old boy, began
to explore and investigate.


Tom was familiar enough with the craft on which he
stood. All his life he had seen such as this, and others
of various patterns, on the wide river that swept past
his home-broadhorns and barges, ferry flats and
pirogues, dugouts and skiffs and floating shops, for
such was the life of the broad Ohio before the days of
steam. This particular ark, or "broadhorn," as it was
usually called, was some sixty feet long by fourteen
wide. It was indeed a floating house; for it had dining-
room, bed-chambers, and a kitchen with an ample fire-
place. It was well and neatly built and sufficiently
though not showily furnished. There were doors and
stairways, glass windows and, from stem to stern, a flat
roof which served for a walk or rather a promenade
deck. It was, therefore, a roomy, substantial, comfort-
ably furnished river craft, such as might serve as the
floating home of a gentleman of that day, at least for a
few weeks.
Tom pursued his investigations thoroughly. Then,
as he climbed the stairs that led to the promenade deck,
he came face to face with a martial-looking French
gentleman who, Tom imagined, might easily be a mar-
quis in disguise, or perhaps one of those refugees from
Bonapartist usurpation across the sea, on his way to
the French Grant, ninety miles and more down the
winding river.
Tom looked at him inquiringly.
Whose broadhorn is it, sir-yours?" he asked.


The Frenchman looked puzzled, but replied in excel-
lent English.
"Pardon broadhorn? And what is that, my friend?"
he queried.
"Why, this boat-ark-broadhorn, we call it," Tom
explained. "Who owns it? Do you, sir?"
"Ah, so! This boat of the house, you mean," said
the Frenchman, with a nod. "Is it mine? no, no, gar-
fon. It is not of me to possess it. It is the boat of his
"His Excellency? What Excellency?" Tom de-
manded. To him, for whom titles told but little, the
only Excellency was General Washington, and he was
long since dead, he knew.
"Why, know you not-his Excellency the Vice-
President of these United States. Voila! he comes up
the stairs -Monsieur the Colonel Burr!"
"No? Not Aaron Burr?"
Tom turned and found himself looking full into the
face of his friend of the river-bank, his companion in
Bill Harper's dugout.
"Are you Vice-President Burr ?" he said.



THE gentleman replied with a courtly bow and the
answering smile of amused recognition.
"At your service, Tom," he said. "Did I not intro-
duce myself ? Pardon me, I should have done so; I,
too, was an Edwards, you see. It was my mother's
name, and I fear a stricter one in New England than
you or I can live up to, my enterprising slasher of
Barbary beys. And you may be a relation. Who
knows ?"
Tom was looking with yet deeper interest not un-
mixed with awe upon this small, great man whose fame
had come even to the ears of the humble worker on
Uncle Ira's farm--Colonel Aaron Burr, late Vice-Presi-
dent of the United States, a veteran of the Revolution,
the slayer of Alexander Hamilton, a hero to many, but
just at this time hated by more.
It must be confessed that Tom did not think so much,
just then, of Burr the duellist as of Burr the colonel,
the Revolutionary soldier, the fighter, the adventurer,
the boy who had used his opportunity. The Vice-Presi-


dent of the United States was too exalted a person for
young Tom Edwards to have much in common with,
but the soldier who had fought at Quebec, the boy
who had been an aide to Washington, that was more
to this son of a Revolutionary sire than all the other
titles and honors-and dishonors I
Ah, sir, now I see," said the boy. You brought off
General Montgomery from the field because you were
on his staff and had to be close to him, didn't you ?"
"Why, no; I was beside him just when he fell," was
the reply. "Br-r-r! what weather that was: snow,
darkness, ice, all about us; a biting northeaster sweep-
ing down on us; below, the river; above, the block-
house bristling with cannon. Cold ? Well, it was; but
it was warm enough before we got through. Boom I
went the twelve-pounder. Whizz and scatter came the
grape-shot. Down fell the general, down fell two of
his aides; there was no one left beside him but the guide
and me; the men behind wavered, and stopped. Some
one, like a fool, ordered a retreat. They turned and
stumbled down the hill. Of course I couldn't leave
Montgomery's body on the field, and as there was no
army left to lead, I just picked up my general and hurried
down the hill. The snow was knee-deep; the British
were almost on my heels; the general was a big man
and heavy; I was a little fellow and light. But I got
him down all right."
Tom thrilled at the tale. Here was a hero, indeed.


If only he could have one such chance to show his pluck
and valor I
It was the act of the brave man, my colonel," said
the French gentleman.
"Brave? Oh, I don't know," Colonel Burr replied.
"Why, hang it, man, it was the only thing to do. You
would have done the same; so would my friend Tom -
ah! permit me! Lieutenant De Pestre, let me present
my young friend Tom Edwards, of these parts, but a
bright boy and an ambitious one. He is longing for
adventures, it seems. Could we help him to some, do
you think?"
"It is a thing most possible, my colonel," the French-
man replied, with gentlemanly bow to the farm-boy.
" You could find use, perhaps, for such as he. Is it not
so ?"
"We might, we might, surely," Colonel Burr admitted,
musingly. "I liked adventure, too, when I was his
"And you were not much older than I, so you said,"
Tom reminded him, "when you became an aide to his
Excellency, General Washington."
"Well, not much older, Tom, in looks," the colonel
replied. I was really about twenty when I travelled
off to Boston seeking glory. But I didn't look it. I
never had your build or physique, Tom. I remember,"
and here the colonel laughed at the recollection, "once,
when I was at headquarters at West Point, just before


I was placed in command of the neutral ground, that
my orderly brought one of those big Hudson River
farmers to me. He wished to see Colonel Burr, he
said. 'Well, sir,' said I, 'your errand.' 'But I must see
Colonel Burr,' said the farmer, who evidently took me
for a whipper-snapper of a boy; I have something to
say to him.' Go on, sir,' said I, 'say it. My name
is Burr.' The farmer looked doubtful. 'Yes, sir,
young Mr. Burr. But I must see Colonel Burr. You
are his son, I suppose.' So much for not looking your
years, Tom," and the colonel joined in the laugh his
story raised.
But Tom returned to the point of interest.
"Won't you tell me about your being one of Wash-
ington's aides, sir ?" he said.
Colonel Burr leaned against the deck rail.
"Not much to tell, Tom," he replied. "There are
plenty other veterans of the buff and blue who have
more to tell than I."
"Yes, sir, perhaps so," persisted Tom.. "But they
did not serve as aides to his Excellency. How did you
get on his staff, sir ?"
Oh, well," admitted the colonel, his Excellency had
heard somehow about my goings on at Quebec, and so
he invited me to join his military family as we called
the staff at headquarters in New York. That very
house belongs to me now, Tom Richmond Hill, we
call it. How's that?"


"Splendid I" exclaimed Tom. "Think of living in
the house where you served as aide to Washington 1
Don't you love it, sir ?"
"Very much, Tom," Burr replied. "Only, you see,
just now, the folks around Richmond Hill don't love
me as much as I love that agreeable spot. So I'm
travelling for my health, let us say."
The Revolutionary reminiscences had quite driven
from Tom's mind the thought of that deadly duel with
Hamilton. If he had recalled it, boy-like, he would
not have placed it to Burr's discredit. There is an air
of false gentility about a duel that lifts it, for young
minds, above the level of its equal crime, murder. Be-
sides, Tom had never seen Hamilton. Here, before
him, was a live hero.
"Well," said the colonel, returning to his story,
"that's how I came to join his Excellency's staff as
aide. But I didn't like it. In fact, I soon enough grew
sick of the humdrum duties at headquarters. I had
volunteered to fight, you see; and, while I was one of
Washington's aides, I was really nothing more than his
clerk. There was no war work about that, so I got out
of it as soon as I could, and became aide-de-camp to my
good old general, Israel Putnam."
"Oh, sir.! the wolf man?" cried Tom, who knew all
the New England heroes and their stories.
"Ah, you know his story, do you ?" the colonel said,
with a nod. "Yes, that's the one--the boy who faced


the wolf in the Connecticut den only really, Tom, he
wasn't a boy then; he was nearly thirty, you know -a
married man and a farmer. He was nearly sixty when
I was his aide, and he soon gave me enough to do,
besides clerking and letter-writing. I was in the thick
of the fight at Long Island, and I stuck by my good
old general until I was made lieutenant-colonel and
placed in command of Malcolm's regiment. Quite a
boy to be a colonel, Tom. I was the youngest one in
the whole service. See what a chance there is for a
boy to rise when opportunity really comes. And you're
an Edwards, Tom. You ought to do as well as I did."
I might if I had the chance, sir. I could try at any
rate," replied Tom, confidently. "But I should think
you would like to have staid on Washington's staff.
Just think of it! To be near to that great and good
The colonel puckered his fine lips critically.
"Ye-es-" he said slowly, "a good man, certainly,
was his Excellency the General; but great? well- I
don't think so, my boy. What you want to worship is
a hero, not a machine. Washington was weak as a gen-
eral, weak as a man. He knew nothing of scientific
fighting. He could give no military instruction of any
real value to a young soldier, like myself, who longed
for excitement and action. No one could stand well
with his Excellency who would not play the worshipper
and say that everything he did was just right. He


loved praise; he hated blame. And I was quite too
independent a young fellow to be a worshipper of a
general who did not fight"
Tom stood aghast. Washington not a soldier! The
flush of anger sprang to his face.
"Why, sir!" he cried hotly. "Surely Washington
did fight. Who else won the Revolution ? Who did the
fighting, if he did not?"
"We did the fighting, Tom--the Continentals, but
not their commander," the colonel replied.
"Yes, but he planned it all," said Tom. "It's easier
to fight than it is to think, I know. I reckon I've fought
before I thought, lots of times. And Washington did
the thinking."
He's a plucky young champion, is our friend Tom-
eh, De Pestre ?" said the colonel. "I like it, even if he is
all wrong. No, no, Tom. General Washington was a
thrifty planter, a sober country gentleman, a good Indian
fighter, perhaps, but quite at fault in the presence of a
civilized enemy. I soon found that out when I served
as one of his aides; so he and I never did get on very
well together."
Tom was still unconvinced. Even the magnetic pres-
ence of this valiant colonel and great statesman could
not dispel the halo with which he had always surrounded
the name and deeds of Washington. He was inclined
to be critical.
But Burr was bent on pleasing this boy in whom he


had taken an interest, both because of his name and his
evident high spirit. It was nothing out of the common
for him to talk thus, even with a boy. He loved to
talk, at all times, and he liked especially to talk with
and win over to his side boys and young men; for they
meant possible followers and supporters. So, when
Aaron Burr took a fancy to any young person, that
young person could not long resist the fascination of
this brilliant and dangerous man. His friendliness, his
courtesy, his seeming frankness, his voice and his smile
usually gained for him the victory and secured an ardent
and enthusiastic admirer.
Tom Edwards was in the toils.
And the colonel really laid himself out to interest
and attract this Ohio boy, to whom he had taken a
"Well, Tom," he said, "you and I may not agree now
about his Excellency. But we shall, some day. Any-
how, I welcomed a change of generals; and, after I was
with Putnam, I had plenty of adventures. I had more,
though, when I was in command in the Neutral Ground
and fought through the Jerseys. Ah, those were stir-
ring times, my son."
"They must have been," cried enthusiastic Tom.
"How I wish my father could have lived to tell me all
about his service as a Life Guardsman!"
"The Life Guards were a valiant corps," said Burr.
"I knew them best at West Point, at Monmouth, and at


Valley Forge. Your father fought at Monmouth, Tom,
you say?"
"Yes, sir."
"I commanded a brigade at Monmouth-a foolish
fight that was," said Colonel Burr, reflectively. "I
might have carried that bridge over by the Court House
with a splendid charge. My men were all ready for it,
they were already on the double-quick. And that would
have won the day. But Washington stopped me. He
kept me in a swamp all day, and all I got out of that
fight was an ague. It made me sick and I had to give
up the service next year in 1779. No, no; I tell you
there was no chance for a fellow with any spunk in him
while Washington led the armies. If, now, such a man
as this General Bonaparte in France had been our
leader and I had been as near to him as I was to Wash-
ington-why-I should have been a marshal at the
least -eh, De Pestre? I was simply born on the wrong
continent eh, De Pestre?"
"France would have done to you the honor, my
colonel," the Frenchman replied, "whether the Corsican
or Capet had been in the power. I have not love for
the Corsican corporal, and yet, for him I say it, he does
know how to repay the brave. But, as to the birth of
you being on the wrong continent-my faith!"-and
here the Frenchman shrugged his shoulders after the
manner of his countrymen-"of that shall you say the
best, my colonel. Because the East censures you, it is


not to say that the West will do so too. It is a bound-
less Empire, your West. Shall it be the prey of Spain,
or the prize of some leader that is of the bravest-
shall we say of yourself, my colonel?"
"It is worth the risking, De Pestre, to try for such
an Empire," mused Burr. Then he roused himself.
"Come? what say you, Tom? Would you like to see
this West the lieutenant talks of? Would you like to
be an aide to Colonel- shall we say General Burr-eh,
De Pestre?"
"It is for you to say; it, shall be general or his Excel-
lency, or-anything, if you but lead, my colonel," the
Frenchman replied with a significant and eloquent wave
of the hands. "To wrest dominion from Spain; to
seize the gold of Mexico! Ah! that means adventure
in the plenty, as you say. It means glory too--and
the reward, for such as our young friend here."
Adventure- glory- aide to Colonel, perhaps to
General, Burr? Mexico--gold and power? Tom
flushed red with desire. Oh, if he could only say yes.
But there was Uncle Ira-and the farm. Uncle Ira
would never consent. What was his duty?
"Oh, sir, I would love to go," the boy replied.
"Would it not be great? But- Uncle Ira would
never consent. And I would not like to go without
telling him-that looks cowardly."
Burr nodded in seeming approval. Uncle Ira, eh I"
he said. "So Uncle Ira is the lion in the path, is he?


Well, lions can be faced down, you know. I will see
this uncle Ira of yours, if I may. I have taken a fancy
to you, Tom Edwards, for a brave-hearted, gallant,
wide-awake lad, and when I fancy anything, I generally
have my way. How is it with you? Have you the
fancy to try -adventure -danger- an aide's pay,
forty dollars a month and found--glory- reward.-
how does that strike you, Tom?"
How could it strike such a boy but as a dream, too
good to be true ? The colonel held out his hand; Tom
grasped it cordially.
"Is it a go, Tom ? asked the colonel.
"If Uncle Ira says so," replied the boy. "And-if
you ask him, sir, I believe he wilL"



UNCLE IRA did say yes. But he said it grudgingly.
For all his "hectoring" and fault-finding he had
to admit that Tom was a "handy" boy on the farm,
and he "would be put to it" to find as good a one to
take his place.
But he did say yes. For even his crusty nature
thawed beneath the warmth and sunniness of the
colonel's most engaging manner, while the honor of
being visited by so great a man as Vice-President Burr
made him, so his neighbors declared, "so pesky sot up,
there'd be no livin' with him."
"The boy's good enough, colonel," he admitted, as
he gave his consent, "but his heart hain't in his work.
Still, he's got sense enough to be a deck-hand on a
broadhorn, I reckon," nothing had been said to
him, you see, of aide or adventures, "though it's a
kind of shiftless trade to take up."
Then Burr went down the river and fascinated the
Blennerhassetts. And, while his ark lay for a day or
so at the Blennerhassett dock, Tom said good by to


the farm, and got Bill Harper to put him ashore at that
famous and too hospitable island-home into which, in an
evil hour, Aaron Burr found entrance with his schemes
and his temptations.
Tom was familiar with the island and the ugly ram-
bling mansion which the Irish Prince," as the Marietta
boys called the tall, near-sighted book-worm of a Blen-
nerhassett, had built in the midst of its gardens and
groves. In common with his playfellows he believed
all the boyish tales of wealth and magnificence which
hung over the mysterious Irishman, his beautiful, hard-
riding wife, and their island home. But these were
all hearsay; Tom actually knew no more about the
inside of the Blennerhassett mansion than he did of
the inside of his commander, the colonel, and what he
desired of the Blennerhassetts.
For Tom, you see, had no idea of either scheme or
temptation. The object of his cruise in Colonel Burr's
ark was not at all clear to him. All this talk about
adventure and glory and gold was very misty; but with
a boy's heedlessness as to the things of to-morrow, he
prepared to enjoy the things of to-day. The rest was
It is a question whether, at that time, it was really
more than a day-dream with Aaron Burr. For that
was in 1805. In 18o6 the affair took quite another
They floated away from Blennerhassett's Island and


down the broad Ohio, making, some days, in its strong
and turbid current as much as eight miles an hour.
This was rapid travelling. The colonel's ark was, in-
deed, in its way, a record-breaker.
They landed at various points, now on the Ohio, now
on the Kentucky side. Burr was welcomed enthusias-
tically, in spite of his fatal duel with Hamilton, and
Tom felt himself like one who travels in the retinue of
a prince. All this, with Aaron Burr, helped to resolve
his day-dream into a real scheme of new power and
glory; with Tom Edwards it served as an exciting
experience, in which he felt his own importance and
possibilities as a follower of "my chief, the colonel."
But one day, as the ark rounded the picturesque
bend in the river known as Point Pleasant, where, a
generation later, America's real and greatest military
commander was born, the colonel accosted the boy.
"See here, Tom, are you a good horseman ?" he said.
Tom gave a twitch to his bass-line and, looking up
from his fishing, doffed his cap to the colonel-this
military salute business was an amusing fiction, as be-
tween colonel and aide, which pleased Burr immensely
and satisfied Tom's hero-worship.
"I rode Uncle Ira's sorrel colt from the farm to Fort
Henry once, to head off Colonel Morgan's flatboat, sir,
before it left Wheeling, and I did it, with time to spare."
"Fifty miles or more, eh ?" queried the colonel.
"Oh, yes, sir, all of that. A good seventy I should


say," Tom replied. "The colt and I made it before
sundown, and the road's nothing to brag of, either."
"Then you're my man, Tom Edwards," the colonel
declared. "You're not afraid of things, eh ?"
Afraid! Tom Edwards afraid?
"Only of doing wrong, sir," the boy replied, boast-
"Good for you, Cousin Tom"- this was the high-
water mark of the colonel's friendship and always capt-
ured Tom absolutely. "If I get you a good horse, can
you ride two or three hundred miles across country,
without lagging?"
"Try me, colonel, and see," was the boy's only reply.
"I'm going to," Burr announced. "You shall be a
bearer of despatches, Tom my courier to General
General Jackson ? General Andrew Jackson ? Even
to the ears of this Ohio boy had come stories of this
fiery Tennessee senator, judge, planter, and merchant,
the major-general of Tennessee's warlike militia, the
man who was to win, in Tom Edwards's day, the titles of
hero, "Old Hickory," "Victor of New Orleans," Presi-
dent of the United States. But all that is "quite
another story." In 1805, however, Andrew Jackson
was already one of the "big guns" of the new West,
and, as such, his name and fame had come to the
knowledge of Tom Edwards, worshipper of "big guns."
"Oh, let me, sir," he exclaimed in enthusiastic approval


of the colonel's plan. "I'll find him. I won't waste
any time, either."
"I believe I can trust you, Tom," Burr replied with
a nod. "If you'll keep your head, won't get lost, and
believe that your tongue is a good thing to use at times,
and, at times, a thing to hold, you'll win through all
right. We'll talk it over at Cincinnati."
They reached that growing border town next day.
Set in its amphitheatre of hills, it looked out upon the
broad river which was to bring it growth and wealth,
and with its twelve hundred inhabitants was already a
place of some importance. But Tom spent but little
time in sight-seeing. He was full of business, and
within twenty-four hours after the ark "tied up" he
was in the saddle, well mounted on a fleet bay mare, a
brace of pistols in his holster, money in his purse, and,
in his inner pocket, the letter from Aaron Burr to Gen-
eral Jackson. He was to ride across country, south-
ward to Nashville in Tennessee, a bearer of despatches,
and mightily proud of his trust.
Take care of yourself, Tom," said Colonel Burr as
he saw the boy off, and nodded in approval of the
horsenianly style in which he sat in his saddle. "Keep
your eye peeled, as we say at home; be cautious; be
wary; ride fast and ride straight on; deliver the letter
to no one but the general, and wait until I join you."
Tom's adventures had taken a new start
What a ride it was for a strong, healthy, reliable, dar-


ing boy-a boy with a mission! It was early summer
- the most glorious time of the year in that glorious
climate of our verdant and beautiful midland. His
route lay across that land of the Lord the fertile
blue-grass region -to Frankfort and the old fort sta-
tion at Harrodsburg, the centre of the dark and bloody
ground of Indian days; then southwest and south over
rolling land and spurs of forest-crowned hills, across
clear-running streams by ford and ferry, and so on
through the Cumberland country to Nashville on its
cedar bluff, above the tranquil river.
How Tom enjoyed it all! A stout heart makes light
of danger. There were perils in plenty--perils of
road, perils of beasts, perils of men. But Tom won
through them all. Twice he lost his way and found it
again, and after four days' rough riding, galloped into
Nashville only to find that Judge Jackson or "the
gin'ral," as men called him even then, lived not in the
town but at his place called the "Hermitage," a dozen
miles or so from Nashville.
But when Tom would have gone on to the Hermit-
age at once, there came a hitch. The bay mare had
"gone lame."
But what was a dozen miles to a strong-limbed boy ?
Tom determined to foot it," and leaving his horse in
good care he started off, bound to make a record as a
Two miles out of the town a big Conestoga wagon,


loaded light, overtook him, and the wagoners in their
rough, but hospitable, way offered him a lift." Noth-
ing loath, Tom accepted. His hosts were as rough as
the country through which they rode; but Tom could
"get on with almost every one, and could give and
take jokes with the roughest. So, full of the spirit of
his adventure, he entered into their boisterous conver-
sation and the rough horse-play with which now and
then they would enliven the journey; for they were
on a long trip from Knoxville, in East Tennessee, to
distant Fayetteville, across the Alabama line.
In this rough and boisterous companionship Tom had
rattled on, perhaps, eight or nine miles of the twelve
that lay between Nashville and the Hermitage, when
he saw coming out of a cross road to the left a rattling
old buggy drawn by a spirited horse. They were just
in advance of it, and it would soon dash past.
"Wagoner's law; eh, Dick?" cried Jack Jeffries,
most reckless of Tom's brace of companions. Here's
fun. Let's show the young un how we uns make folks
pay road tax."
Dick "sized up" the approaching stranger.
"Looks easy, Jack. Go ahead," he said. "Now
Tommy, my boy, jes' see how we uns make that hoosier
walk chalk."
They turned their heavy team "cat-a-corners" across
the forest-fringed highway. Jack sprang to the ground,
his big wagon whip in hand.


"Howdy, stranger," he said.
"Howdy, boys," came the reply, as the man in the
buggy reined up. "Can't I get past? Anything the
matter ?"
Nothin' the matter with we uns," said Jack. "Only
pinin' for a leetle amoosment. We'll have to trouble
you to light down, stranger."
"The road's free. What do you mean ?"
"Ya-a-s, road's free, but you uns ain't. We uns git
the right of the road here, you see," drawled Jack.
" Jes' you light down and give us a dance, or he
twirled his heavy whip significantly we uns '11 have
to help you a bit."
The stranger slowly descended. A flush of anger
tinged his sunburned face. Tom looked at him with
interest mingled with concern. He really could not see
the fun as yet.
The victim was tall and spare. His hair, tied in
an eel-skin queue, was harsh and bristly, as he pushed
back his hat and looked, in a puzzled way, at the burly
wagoner who barred his path. Then he said:
"Well, boys, I don't see but you've got the laugh on
me. I'll do my best, but I can't dance in these-"
here he thrust out his foot encased in its heavy boot.
"I'll tell you; let me get my slippers out of the trunk.
I can't dance without slippers."
Let the cunnle git his slippers, Jack," called Dick
from the wagon seat


"Well, hurry up," said Jack. "We uns can't wait
here all day, and we're bound to see that dance. Trot
out the slippers, old slow shanks."
"Slow shanks stepped behind his carriage, opened
his trunk, and drew out not his slippers, but a brace
of big pistols. Then he strode toward the astonished
wagoners, and "covered them with his pistols one
in each hand.
The tables were turned with a vengeance. Tom felt
highly uncomfortable. What sort of a scrape was this
for a trusted bearer of despatches to get into?
The victim came on like an avenger. The spare
figure became, in Tom's eyes, a furious giant. The
brace of pistols and that awful glare which he fixed on
Tom's burly friends cowed them into silence.
"Now, you infernal villains, you shall darice for
me," he shouted, in a voice that was itself compelling.
"Come! light down quick, all of you. Yes, you,
too, young man. Now then dance, I tell you -dance
They danced, shamefaced and defeated; but, com-
pelled to obey before those levelled pistols and that
determined face, the two wagoners and their young
friend hopped and capered in the middle of that forest
road, as ridiculous and uncomfortable a trio as ever
tried a practical joke and came out losers.
And as they danced, their would-be "victim" kept
up a flow of vigorous and picturesque talk that gave


them a lesson in mastership they could never forget.
It was at once pointed and emphatic.
Then sending their lumbering wagon, with a word to
the leaders, driverless down the road, the victorious
victim climbed into his buggy, leaving the defeated
conspirators quite "done up with their exercise, pant-
ing, "played out," too tired almost to move.

Two hours later, Tom Edwards turned from the
roadway into the Hermitage plantation, a sadder and a
wiser boy, conscious that it was best, always, to know
just where you stand before you try to force your will
upon such an unknown quantity as a travelling stranger
with a brace of pistols in his trunk.
Far back from the road stood a house of logs," a
story and a half double blockhouse surrounded by
cabins for negro servants and plantation hands, stables,
outbuildings, farm sheds, and cotton shelters.
A stalwart negro came forward to meet the boy.
Is General Jackson at home ?" asked Tom.
"Yes, massa; he somewhere about de place," was
the reply. "You sit on de po'ch, sah, and I find de
"Yes, find him quick, will you, Pomp," said Tom.
"I have important letters for him and must see him at
"All right, sah; my name's Alf, sah-not Pomp;
git him here thereck'ly, sah," said the negro. Hi,


there, Sam. Find the gin'ral. I tink he's in the gin
house. Quick now. Tell him gem'man with letters."
Sam scurried off. Tom sank into a big chair before
the Hermitage door, still tired from his exercise and his
He waited but a few moments. There was a barking
of dogs around the corner of the blockhouse, a quick,
active step, the announcing shadow of an approaching
form. Then Tom heard a voice.
Howdy, sir! Letters, the boy said. I bid you wel-
come to the Hermitage. From whom do you come ?"
That voice! There was no mistaking it. Tom
looked up quickly. As quickly, a cold shiver ran up
and down his youthful spine.
"Malediction on those meddling wagoners!" he
groaned in spirit. "What shall I do?"
General Jackson was none other than the dancing



TOM pulled himself together and rose hastily to his
feet. But he met the gaze of the general, un-
"A letter from Colonel Burr, sir," he said.
"Burr ? Burr ?" said the general, taking the proffered
letter. "What Colonel Aaron Burr Vice-President
Burr, do you mean? Why, where is he ?"
"Floating down the Ohio, this side of Cincinnati,
somewhere, sir," Tom replied.
The general broke the seal. Then he paused, and,
with the unopened letter in his hand, looked closely at
Tom through his shaggy eyebrows.
"Um I And how came you by this letter, sir ?" he
"Why, the colonel sent me with it to you, general,"
Tom made answer. "He told me to give it to you
myself, and to no one else. I've ridden with it across
country from Cincinnati. It is important, the colonel


"You rode with this from Cincinnati ?" said the gen-
eral. "Where's your horse ?"
"He went lame at Nashville, sir," Tom explained;
"so I left him there."
And you've walked here from Nashville ?" cried the
general. "Well, well I couldn't they scare up a mount
for you and send you on like a Christian ? Or didn't you
ask? Why, you must be tired. Hi, there! You all-
Peter, Sam, Alf, where are you, boys? Here, take this
young gentleman into the house; what are you uns
thinking of to keep him waiting on the po'ch? Pull
off his boots, Sam. Brush him off, Pete. Find the
missus, Alf. Get him something to eat. Great honey-
comb! is this any way to welcome a young man who
has walked all the way from Nashville? Step inside,
sir; step inside; we'll soon have you rested, I reckon."
And thrusting Burr's letter, still unread, into his
pocket, General Andrew Jackson ushered his young
guest into the house with a welcome quite characteristic
of this warm-hearted, hospitable gentleman, on whom
courtesy sat like a well-fitting garment. Tom, still feel-
ing uneasy under the burden of his latest misdeed,
found, however, no chance to get in a word of explana-
tion, and, surrounded by a dusky body-guard, followed
his host into the Hermitage.
The interior of the blockhouse was a single room,
wide and ample. At one end yawned a vast fireplace
piled with great pine logs; above, the unceiled rafters


stretched, dark with smoke; in the centre of the floor a
big trap-door opened into the storageway below; a rude
stairway led to the "loft" or upper rooms; simple but
comfortable home furniture sparsely supplied the big,
bare room -and yet it was all homelike.
Tom, still troubled in mind as to whether the general
had recognized him, or whether, if he had, the welcome
would have been so hearty, was met, midway, by a short,
stout, kindly faced, motherly woman who, with two pick-
aninnies tagging at her heels, came forward to greet the
general's guest.
"A messenger from Colonel Burr, my dear," cried the
general. "He's walked all the way from Nashville.
Can't we find anything to make him comfortable ?"
"Walked? Why, dear heart! Haven't they any
horses in Nashville to give the young man a mount ?"
queried the motherly but childless Mrs. Jackson, beloved
by all the neighborhood as "Aunt Rachel."
"Sit down, sir," she went on. "Sam, give the gentle-
man a chair. We'll have something for you in a twin-
kling;" and she bustled off into the kitchen, twenty feet
away, the two pickaninnies still trotting at her heels.
All this open and ready hospitality struck young Tom
Edwards to the heart. He felt as if he were a guest at
the Hermitage under false pretences. The relic of a
New England conscience, inherited from his Puritan
ancestors, would not let him rest easy with the memory of
his misdeed toward the general weighing upon his mind.


"Don't put yourself out for me-" he began; but
the general cut him short.
"Put us out!" he cried. "You don't know us, young
man. No one, be he president or pedler, shall lack
a welcome at the Hermitage. Sit down, sit down, and
while you're at work on Mrs. Jackson's goodies, I'll read
the colonel's letter, if you'll excuse me."
But Tom was bound to have it out, and face the
music like a man.
"General," he said, looking full in the smiling face
of his host, let me explain. I didn't walk all the way
from Nashville. I've seen you before to-day. I came
most of the way in a wagon, and you -you made me
dance, sir."
The shaggy brows dropped again, covering the
searching eyes. A merry twinkle gleamed behind the
"Well, son, you danced right smart," the general
said. "Exercise is good; but too much makes even
a young fellow like you tired. Great buckeye I boy, I
knew you. But- I was a youngster myself once."
"But I didn't know what they were up to, general;
I really didn't," Tom protested. "They sprung it on
"And on me too, sir. But I fixed 'em, didn't I?
Always be ready for emergencies, son. I always carry
my dancing slippers along with me." And laughing
loudly and cheerily while the attendant darkies rolled the



whites of their eyes in silent appreciation, the general
forced the boy into a chair beside the table, and leaning
against the great fireplace'opened and read the letter
which the messenger had brought him from Colonel Burr.
Tom felt relieved. That trouble was off his mind,
and the general took it as a joke. Mrs. Jackson bustled
about superintending refreshment, and soon the hun-
gry boy was doing valiant trencher-work on the jowl
and greens flanked with a smoking hoe-cake, which his
hostess placed before him, while the general, astride of
a chair, watched him in silence, the open letter in his
"And so you've galloped across country to bring
me this," the general said, at last. It's dated three
days back. A right smart ride, Tom." Evidently the
colonel had mentioned in his letter the name of his
young courier. "I reckon you like horses, if you can
ride like that. Where did you learn ?"
"I was brought up on a farm, sir," Tom replied.
"I rode Uncle Ira's colt from Marietta to Fort Henry."
You see that was Tom's especial feat in horsemanship
up to that date, and we must excuse him if he was
inclined to fall back on his record.
"Well, well; I'll have to show you my horses, son,"
said the general. "I've got some right good ones, if
I do say it. Eh, Mrs. Jackson ?"
"Oh, we do a heap of riding here, Tom," was Mrs.
Jackson's smiling comment.


"Yes; and there's one of the best of us at it, sir,"
cried the general, emphatically, pointing at his stout,
good-natured wife. "She's a trifle weighty now. Eh,
Mrs. Jackson ? But I tell you, Tom, she's the best horse-
woman, the best singer, the best story-teller, and the
best wife in all this western country," and with a
courtly bow to his wife the loving husband smiled
approval on his better half. "We'll show you what it
is to ride a horse a real horse, Tom," he added.
"But the letter, sir," said Tom, remembering his
duty. "Am I to take any answer with which to await
the colonel at Nashville?"
"At where? Do what?" the general exploded.
"Await the colonel at Nashville? What's wrong in
the Hermitage? Do you think we'll let you go? No,
sir; you'll await Colonel Burr here, sir, here at the
Hermitage. Do you think we don't know our man-
ners, down in Tennessee ? You are my guest, Tom. I
hold you hostage till the colonel comes. His letter I
will answer in person."
So Tom Edwards became a special guest at the
Hermitage, welcomed with all that hearty good-will and
boundless though simple hospitality for which Andrew
Jackson and his wife Rachel were noted through all
their pleasant home life at their dearly loved Hermitage.
The general showed Tom all his big estate, -the
broad acres, the growing crops, the quarters, and the
farm buildings, his stables, his horses, his mules, and his


stock, his dogs, his famous fighting-cocks, -all the
things of which he was proud as a successful planter,
and fond as a lover of outdoor sport. He even took
Tom into his private cock-pit and set his pet game-
cocks, Dominica and Bernadotte, to fight a mild main,
just to show their spirit to this boy from the Ohio. For
General Andrew Jackson delighted in the rough sport
of the border as much as any wagoner; and cock-fight-
ing, brutal though it seems to us to-day, was dear, in those
less-refined times, to many a stately gentleman's heart.
As to Mrs. Jackson--jolly, kind-hearted, pleasant-
faced Aunt Rachel--she took at once to this cheery,
companionable boy, and to him, as a lad of judgment
who knew a good farm when he saw it, she showed, with
as much pride as did the general his stock, her truck
garden, her dairy, her store of pots and pans, her pet and
especial cows, and the clear spring of water just behind
the Hermitage, that famous spring which you may see
to-day, and which her loving husband, the general, had
enclosed with his own hands for Mrs. Jackson's dairy
use;-the general always called her "Mrs. Jackson."
So the time passed pleasantly waiting for the colonel,
and one day the general, riding over from his "store"
at Hunter's Hill, said, Come, Tom, let's go look at the
horses. To-morrow I want you to try the white mare
and ride over to Clover Bottom with me. I've entered
Truxton for a trial of speed against two or three good


Tom had already seen and admired Truxton, -the big
bay stallion brought from Virginia by General Jackson,
the sire of much of the finest racing stock that Tennes-
see has produced. He was a victor, and proudly bore
the name of a victor, -Commodore Truxton, the hero
of the Constitution frigate, the winner of two glorious
sea-fights against two great French men-of-war in the
brief and short-lived "unpleasantness" between the
United States and France.
So, next morning, Tom, astride the white mare, joy-
fully rode away with the general to see the race on the
famous course at Clover Bottom, five miles from the
Other notable horses were there Captain Ervin's
"Plow Boy," Major Verrell's "Thunder," Captain Pry-
or's Flora; "' but grandest of all in Tom's eyes and
in those of the general's, too -was Truxton, the bay
stallion, Truxton, whom all hoped but none really
expected they might beat.
The entries were made, the horses and the jockeys
weighed, and then, when all seemed ready, came the
direful tidings,- big Truxton had gone lame, and Jane's
Jack, the general's best jockey, upon whose riding Trux-
ton's success depended, was missing. For Jane's Jack dis-
puting with a rival jockey had been laid hors de combat
in a "gouge," and could neither see nor stand nor ride.
The general stormed, the general raved,- but that
would not get him a rider for his horse.


Where could he find a substitute for Jane's Jack? he
demanded. No other jockey on the course would he
permit to back the champion; he knew of none that
he could trust short of Jim Evans at Nashville; his
own stablemen were not to be thought of; he, himself,
was too big and bony. "Who can ride Truxton for
me?" he fumed.
"I can, general. Try me," said a voice at his side,
high-pitched in excitement.
The general turned.
"What? You, Tom ?" he cried.
For it was Tom. The boy felt that his host's honor
was at stake; he was wrought up to the frenzy of desire,
rather than cast down with the despair of disappoint-
ment. Unmindful of the consequences he offered him-
self the general's forlorn hope.
"Yes, sir; let me ride Truxton," he repeated. "I
don't weigh so much over the requirement, and I can
ride, you know. I rode Uncle Ira's colt from Marietta
to Fort Henry."
The general clapped the boy heartily on the shoulder.
"Good for you, Tom," he cried. "Can you do it ?"
"I can try, sir," replied confident Tom.
"Then, by all the horses of Hercules, you shall, Tom
Edwards," the general declared. "I believe you can
do it."
His shaggy eyebrows came down again in swift and
critical survey of the excited lad.


"I'll risk it, Tom," he said. "You'll save.my
entry, anyhow. We can't do more than try, and if
you lose-"
I won't lose, general. Just you let me try."
And the general said, Up you go. Gentlemen, my
jockey is ready."
Tom stripped off all superfluous clothing. He braced
himself to the effort, and in an instant was astride big
Truxton's back.
"Keep cool, Tom. Hold your reins well in hand.
Then give the bay his head and go in to win."
It was the general's last counsel.
The word came. The signal was fired. The racers
were off.
Once really in the saddle Tom realized the hazard of
his offer. Truxton was quite a different horse from
Uncle Ira's colt; he was a far different beast from
the bay mare from Cincinnati. For Truxton was a
blooded racer, and Tom, unused to such a seat, sud-
denly awoke to the size of the contract he had under-
taken. But Tom Edwards had pluck, he had "sand,"
he would ride that race if it killed him.
The hoofs pounded and cut the yielding track. Now
one, now another racer was in the lead. Truxton
dashed to the fore; Plow Boy was neck and neck with
him; Flora thundered at his heels.
Tom let them pass him, reserving Truxton for the
final dash. Even Thunder led him. Truxton resented


the. interference and seemed almost ready to break or
go ugly. But his rider patted the outstretched neck
and called a caution into the levelled ears.
They reached the half mark. The hoarse shouts of
the watching crowd, the shrill yells of the jockeys, the
quick, fierce breathing of the panting racers, rang and
rumbled in Tom's ears. The half mark was passed.
Then Tom let the stallion have his head. The last
quarter was reached. It was the final spurt for the
home stretch now.
The four leaders were bunched together. Tom,
clinging desperately to his seat, touched the big bay
with whip and spur, and let out a yell, half fervor and
half fear. Truxton gave a snort of fury and with a
great leap sprang for the lead. Thunder was left be-
hind; Flora was passed; Plow Boy and Truxton once
more were neck and neck; the goal was in sight.
All were wild with excitement now, jockeys, watchers,
and horses alike. Tom gathered his failing strength
for one last effort; with a final shout he urged the big
bay on. The splendid creature responded nobly. The
outstretched necks were side by side; now the bay
gained; Plow Boy was passed, and as Tom reeled in
his saddle and, limp from overexertion, still clung
desperately to his seat, a mighty cheer went up. The
race was over. For Truxton had won by a length,
and the general's record was still held unbroken.
But Tom Edwards heard neither cheer, nor yell, nor


the general's cry of victory as he caught the falling boy
in his arms. Overtaxed nature had broken under the
strain. Tom had fainted.
But the race was won, and General Jackson was his
friend for life.



T OM, you may be sure, was made much of at the
Hermitage. The general could not talk enough
of the boy's pluck and determination; the best the
house afforded was none too good for Tom, so Mrs. Jack-
son declared. In fact, the dear lady wished to make
an invalid of the boy, because of his fainting spell.
But to this the general objected.
"Come, come, Mrs. Jackson; don't make a molly-
coddle of the boy," he said. Exercise and effort, action
and grit like his are what will make a man of him.
These United States can't expect to whip the world if
we're going to make babies of our boys. Where would
I have been if my mother had mollycoddled me?
Tarleton's quarters would have given me the headache,
and I should have blacked the British officer's boots
instead of flinging 'em at him."
"Oh, when did you do that, general ?" demanded
Tom, who had never heard the story.
"When I was a heap littler than you, Tom," the
general replied. "You see the Britishers came a-thun-


during on us, down in the Waxhaw district, and one of
the dragoon officers had the impudence to order me
to clean his muddy boots, just after he'd turned us out
of house and home. I told him--well, I told him I'd
- see him furder."
"Wasn't he mad ?" asked Tom.
"Mad? Say! look at this, Tom-and this." The
general thrust out a bony hand, and on the back of it
showed the wondering boy a long, red scar; then he
flung back his mop of hair and showed across his head
a companion scar.
"That's what I got for my impudence, Tom," he
said. "With his sword -thwack! thwack! Mad? I
should say he was. But I was madder, and I've been
mad ever since. The Britishers wrecked our house;
they killed my mother and my brother in their prison-
pens, and made me, at fifteen, an orphan of the Revo-
lution. Tom," he added slowly and solemnly, "there's
only one thing I hate worse than the British- debt!
there's only one thing I despise more than the Spaniards
-lying! And I never forget nor forgive tyranny."
Even Tom was impressed by the general's earnest-
ness. He recalled it years after, when General An-
drew Jackson "thwacked the British at New Orleans
and snapped his fingers at the Spanish Dons of Florida.
The general's scars were avenged in time; but the
scars themselves, he carried to his grave.
But it was his bitter fight against debt, and his stern


rebuke of lying, in the days when the Hermitage was
a rough blockhouse, and the general was simply farmer
and storekeeper, that laid the beginning of the reputa-
tion for courage and honesty- a reputation that made
" Old Hickory" the people's hero quite as much as the
victory of New Orleans and the triumph over nullifi-
cation and disunion. And it was in such days of
struggle that Tom Edwards first met General Andrew
He soon found that the general was a very busy
man. What with his farms, his stores, his stock, his
flatboats, and his express business, Jackson's hands
were full; so, when the time came to expect his visitor,
he mounted Tom on one of the best horses in his stable
to ride to Nashville for news of Colonel Burr.
Tom rode gaily off to town, and so well had the
general timed his trip that when the boy reached Nash-
ville he learned that Colonel Burr had left the ark at
Louisville and was riding across country to Nashville,
where he was expected the next day.
So Tom galloped back to the Hermitage with the
news, and bright and early next morning, the general,
on a splendid saddle-horse, with his body servant, Black
Sam, leading the white mare that Tom usually rode,
started from the Hermitage to welcome the colonel
and bring him back as his guest. But Tom was left
behind. The general could permit no deputy to meet,
for him, the great man of the hour.


Nashville was jubilant and noisy in welcome of the
late vice-president of the United States. But the general
captured him as a guest; and, that very night, Jackson
returned with Burr, and Tom once again met his chief.
Evidently the general had been sounding the praises
of the youthful bearer of despatches.
"So, Tom," the colonel cried, as he returned the lad's
salute, and laid his hand in greeting on his courier's
shoulder, "you've been playing the man, have you? Of
course, I knew you would. I made no mistake when
I picked out my bearer of despatches."
And the praise of his commander was Tom's best
Burr's visit at the Hermitage was a memorable one.
He had known Jackson when the fiery Tennesseean was
a senator at Washington; but he had not made this long
roundabout trip simply for the pleasure of a visit to the
Hermitage. He had other plans turning and twisting
in his busy brain, and in these, Jackson, the man of sim-
plicity, energy, and action had a prominent place. The
man of deep-laid schemes had come to the Hermitage
for a purpose.
His visit lasted only four days; but those four days
were spent in much talking and planning by these two
men, who were of the same political party in the days
when politics meant plotting, and party meant loyalty to
leaders and destruction to opponents.
There could be no secret plotting, however. That


was never a part of Jackson's character. Burr knew
this and played his part well. He was as pronounced
and outspoken as his host; and in that land of summer
- where life is mostly out of doors for ten months in
the year, and a house is little more than an umbrella-
" a luxury rather than a necessity the broad piazza
of the Hermitage was alike reception room and con-
versation parlor. So Tom was a frequent and interested
"The East does not appreciate you sufficiently,
colonel," the general said in the course of one of these
piazza talks. "Come to the West, sir; come west.
Our people know the value of a man a real man,
colonel-one willing to defend his principles and his
honor before a levelled pistol, if need be. Come with
us. Get into politics, Colonel Burr. Hang out your
shingle in Nashville; build up your law practice: you
can soon do it quickly. Then we'll have you in the
Senate in no time, sir. You'll be a leader, sir, and a
power in the land again."
"But how about yourself, general," Burr remarked.
"Is not your desire towards the Senate again ?"
"No, sir; most emphatically no, sir," the general
replied. I never was cut out for such a life. There's
too much red morocco chair and twirling your thumbs
for me in that business. I've got to be doing, colonel. I
tried it once, and once is enough. I've had all I want
of politics. I'm out of them. I'm just a planter and a


merchant now. I'm looking for money. I've got to,
colonel. My days in Washington are done with."
Aaron Burr smiled. He read that open, ardent,
impulsive nature all too well to believe that the life of
a country storekeeper and a simple planter would long
content the ex-senator and former Judge Jackson, or that
he could rest from the strifes of politics and the struggle
for leadership. To such a student of human nature as
Aaron Burr, Andrew Jackson was as an open book.
"But money may be made otherwise than in crops
and groceries, general," he said.
But not by me, sir, in politics nor the lobby," replied
Jackson, hotly. No, sir, I will never traffic in my coun-
try's honor nor bargain for the noblest right of man -
American citizenship, sir."
"Perish the thought, my friend," the colonel ex-
claimed with all apparent fervor. "Such an idea is as
hateful to me as to you. I referred to a nobler plan -
the conquered provinces of Spain."
"Of Spain!" cried the general. "Show me a way
to humble those pestilent Dons and I'm with you,
colonel, heart and soul."
"Then here is your course plainly laid out for you,
general," said Burr. "Conquer Mexico, and the wealth
of Spain is at your feet."
The conquest of Mexico! Tom was all attention.
Every vein tingled with excitement. Glory, gold, and
power were to be had for the winning. Oh, if the gen-


eral would take him along too! The colonel pressed
his point.
"It must come to a war," he said. "The United
States can no longer bear or submit to the irritating
policy of Spain. War must come. Mexico must be
American. Will you not take a hand, my friend, in
breaking the Spanish hold and winning an empire for
the republic ?"
The bait was seized with eagerness. Fight the
Spaniards ? Drive them off ? Secure the vast Pacific
border and the rich Mexican country for the republic?
Why, that was one of the general's dreams! It aroused
all the soldier that lived in that stanch and tenacious
"Show me the way to bring this about, colonel," he
cried, "and count on me to follow or to lead. I'm in to
win in such a race. That would be better than our
work at Clover Bottom, wouldn't it, Tom ?"
The boy had sat silently by, listening to all this excit-
ing talk. The dream of glory, the thirst for adventure,
set his heart to beating and his blood to surging.
"Grand," he said in reply to the general's query.
"Can't I go with you, too ?"
"All in good time, my boy," Burr said quietly.
"Such mettle as yours must be cautiously guided, or
you'll work us old codgers out of all the glory; eh,
general ?"
"He'll take his share, I warrant," said the general,


laying his hand affectionately on the boy's shoulder.
"He's got the stuff that makes soldiers, colonel. Let's
give him a show."
The colonel smiled, and then skilfully led the talk to
other things to the weakness of the government at
Washington, the timidity and blundering of rival poli-
ticians, the crops, the farms of Tennessee, and the
mighty possibilities of the boundless West. But gradu-
ally, imperceptibly, he returned to his schemes again.
"When timid governments hesitate, general," he
said, "men of action must guard the country's welfare.
This glorious West of yours, in which you advise me to
begin a new career, is in danger. Spain's hold is weak-
ening. Her provinces are ready to rise in revolt.
Shall we help or hinder them? Shall we lose our
noblest opportunity to extend America's sovereignty, or
shall we send the boastful Dons to their home across
the Atlantic ?"
"What answer can there be but one, sir," exclaimed
Jackson. "If we do not drive the Spanish, they will
drive us, or, worse, give their power into England's
hands. Florida must be ours. Texas must be ours.
They shall be ours. Put me at the head of a thousand
men, and I'll drive the Dons into the Gulf. Will the
government give me the chance? "
"If not, take it," said Burr. "Nothing is a better
cure for timidity than success. And you would be suc-
cessful. See, my friend I The whole western border is


ready for action. Ten thousand earnest young fellows
from the Ohio to Orleans earnest and brave like our
young friend Tom, here are ready to spring to arms
if but the leader is found. Lead them, general. One
move by you will send General Wilkinson and his regu-
lars across the border. Our timid government will
suddenly find its backbone. The Mississippi country
will be alive with marching Americans. The flag of
Spain will disappear from the Gulf, and this whole
western country will profit and grow fat on the plunder
and the wealth of the conquered colonies of Spain."
The general responded enthusiastically to Burr's
plan. But he saw in it glory and honor and greatness
for the union of states to which he was passionately
loyal, rather than the selfish ambitions that swayed the
heart of Aaron Burr. So, into the plan of the plotter
he entered heartily.
"Sound the people as you go down the Mississippi,
colonel," he said. "Unite them for this great crusade,
and their clamor will force the government to act."
"And can I say that General Jackson will help?"
queried Burr.
"To his last dollar," the general replied. "I will stir
matters at once. I will make all things ready in our
state, and when you can gain the government's ap-
proval and war is declared with Spain, or Wilkinson is
sent across the border without waiting for a declara-
tion of war, I will be in the field with fifteen hundred


fighting Tennesseeans, following the flag with the cry,
'America for the Americans!'"
Do you wonder that all this war talk stirred Tom's
young blood as he sat on the piazza of the Hermitage,
an eager listener beside these two famous men ? He
said nothing, for Tom had early learned the old adage
of our grandmothers, that children should be seen and
not heard. When appealed to he was ready with his
reply of boyish enthusiasm; but otherwise, like a well-
instructed lad, he held his peace.
The colonel was doing his work well. Jackson, the
foremost man in all the middle West, was enlisted in his
plan -so far as the cautious colonel had outlined it.
Of the grander and more daring scheme of a western
empire in which the East should have no part, he was
silent as yet. He knew his man. That must be an-
other chapter.
So, after four days of public glorification and pri-
vate conference at the Hermitage, the colonel was
rowed down the Cumberland in the general's own well-
appointed boat: his dream of conquest and his pro-
gram of glory were gradually taking shape in his
active brain. General Jackson's enthusiasm had helped
mightily, and Burr knew well how to turn every advan-
tage to yet greater ones.
And, with the colonel, went the colonel's bearer of
despatches, full of happy memories of the Hermitage.
"Good by, Tom," cried the general heartily, as the


voyagers parted from the master of the Hermitage.
" You're a boy after my own heart. Be as plucky and
as brave in all things as you were in the saddle, and
my word for it, the republic will be as proud of you as
I was that day at Clover Bottom. Your father's son
is a son of the Revolution. Be, too, a son of the re-
public. There's no better rank or title than that in all
the world. Tom Edwards, son of the republic, God
speed and good luck."
And as Tom felt the rush of the boat, and waved his
farewell to the waving general, he was for a moment
undecided as to one point which was the greater,
Aaron Burr or Andrew Jackson. For he worshipped
them both.
But no man no young man, at least could long
withstand the presence of Colonel Aaron Burr, or yield
precedence to any one while he was by.



O NCE again Tom was on the ark, bound down the
Ohio. While Burr had gone overland to Nash-
ville, the ark had floated down stream to the mouth of
the Cumberland, and had then been poled against the
current of that winding stream to Eddyville. Here Tom
and his colonel had come aboard, the boy eager for
new adventures. Already his association with men was
broadening, while at the same time restraining him,
and his manners, patterned upon the model of two
such paladins of courtesy as Aaron Burr and Andrew
Jackson, were acquiring ease, refinement, and grace.
It is a great thing for a boy to profit by inspection as
well as experience; and Tom, as you know, was one
who kept his eyes open, and made a mental note of
all points worth remembering.
Burr saw this. He had a keen eye for character
and the virtues or weaknesses of his associates. And
sometimes he played upon these as upon, the keys of
a piano. Whether Tom Edwards was to be played
upon or not, was yet to be demonstrated.


Out of the mouth of the Cumberland into the broader
Ohio they floated, and, sixteen miles further down the
stream, they sighted, upon the Illinois side of the river,
the stars and stripes floating above the little military
post of Fort Massac.
As they drew nearer a boat pulled towards them
from the fort, making straight for the house-boat.
In the stern sat a lieutenant of the regulars, in
fatigue dress, shading his eyes with his hand.
"Hello the boat!" he cried. "Is that Colonel Burr's
broadhorn ?"
Tom, who had noted his coming, sent back the
"Yes, sir," he shouted.
"Is Colonel Burr aboard ?"
"At your service, sir," replied the colonel, uncovering
in salute.
The boat pulled alongside and the lieutenant clam-
bered on board.
"General Wilkinson's compliments, sir," he said,
uncovering in turn. "He awaits your Excellency at
Fort Massac and begs you to visit him."
"General Wilkinson !" cried the colonel; "the very
man I most desire to see. I did not think to find him
this side of Natchez. We will tie up at your dock
immediately, lieutenant, if you will grant us permission.
How long has the general been at the fort ?"
Only a few days, sir," was the answer. He learned


that your Excellency was near at hand and wished to
greet you. He is now on his way to the post at
St. Louis."
So, once again, the ark came to a standstill, tied up
at the dock at Fort Massac, the military post of the
southern Illinois country.
Here is a chance to see another of your Revolution-
ary heroes, Tom," Colonel Burr had said, as the ark
was poled shoreward. "Wilkinson fought under Wash-
ington at Trenton and with Gates at Saratoga."
"Did Gates fight at Saratoga, sir ?" asked Tom slyly;
for Tom, you see, was something of a partisan.
"Who bade you criticise, Mr. Impertinence?" said
Burr with a smile, tweaking the ear of his young aide,"
quite in the Napoleonic style. "I knew Wilkinson in
the army and he's altogether the soldier, I assure you."
General Wilkinson- the general-in-chief of the army
of the United States I "Well, well," thought Tom, "I
am in luck. If I keep on I shall see all the great men
in time."
Surrounded by his staff, all in dress uniform, and
attended by a file of soldiers, General Wilkinson greeted
Colonel Burr, while the guns of the fort boomed out the
Vice-President's salute. It was a little departure from
etiquette, but then even an ex-Vice-President of the
United States was not welcomed at far military posts
every day. It was quite the military reception. Tom
thought it grand.


The two soldiers of the Revolution met like old com-
rades and courteous gentlemen -the one small, slight,
refined, elegant, the other big, burly, demonstrative,
impressive in his gold lace, epaulettes, and great
chapeau. Tom was mightily interested.
For two days the ark lay at the military dock while
the major-general and his guest talked long and ear-
nestly, sitting at table or screened from observation in
the commandant's quarters as became military men and
army discipline.
Then Colonel Burr came to Tom with surprising
"Tom," he said, "here is a change of plan. The
general tells me he can put me down to New Orleans
at a much swifter rate than by our slow-going ark."
"We've got a pretty good one, sir," Tom declared, as
the colonel paused. "Eight miles an hour is better
than most of them make."
"I know it," Burr replied; "but a sail-boat and ten
oars are better. The general offers to send me down
the river in his barge. You saw it--a fine one, with
sails and colors. He gives me a sergeant and ten men
as escort. I think I shall change boats; so we will
have to part."
Tom's high hopes fell, and all his dream of glory
But not for long, I hope, my boy," the colonel said,
noticing Tom's look of dismay. "If my plans work


well, I shall soon have need of you. Mr. Shaw goes
with me. Lieutenant De Pestre will either sell the ark
here, or work her back to some point up the river where
he can find a purchaser."
"And I shall have to go back with him?" queried Tom.
No, Tom," said the colonel slowly, feeling his way..
"I have another duty for you. I want you to go across
to St. Louis."
"Come! that's better than going back to Uncle Ira's
farm," thought Tom, his spirits rising.
"' And what am I to do at St. Louis, sir ?" he asked.
"Watch Wilkinson," the colonel replied.
"Watch General Wilkinson?" Tom could hardly
believe his ears.
"Yes," replied the colonel, in the same low, even
voice. I don't trust him."
"But, colonel," said the bewildered Tom. "How
can I watch General Wilkinson? I'm only a boy."
"That's just my reason for detailing you for such
service, Tom," was Burr's answer. "No one will ques-
tion your motives. Get service; get a post; do any-
thing to bring you near him. Talk with him about me.
Keep your eyes open- and report."
But that why, that will make me a spy, sir," said
Tom, not warming at all to his new duty. "Wouldn't
it make me a spy, colonel? I hate spies."
"And so do I, Tom," answered Burr. "We won't
call it spy's work. And yet, my boy, spies are a mili-


tary necessity, and are often heroes. You are a son of
the Revolution, as General Jackson says-remember
Nathan Hale."
But Tom could only remember Andre.
"Nathan Hale?" he queried.
Yes, the earliest of our real patriots," Burr responded.
"The first martyr of the secret service of America. As
high-toned as you, Tom Edwards, as earnest in behalf
of liberty, noble, pure, and brave: that was Nathan Hale
of Connecticut. I knew him. But, at Washington's
desire, he penetrated the British lines at New York,
sketched all the fortifications, possessed himself of all
the secrets of the enemy's camp, and would have slipped
off safely to our lines, had not a meddling tory pene-
trated his disguise and given him up to death."
"It was brave in him, though," cried Tom.
"Brave, Tom !" exclaimed Burr, "it was the height
of courage. Not all of us, my son, who would be sol-
diers are called to die a soldier's death. He serves as
high as the highest and is brave as the bravest who
dares to risk dishonor for honor and ignominy for
glory. The day will come when Nathan Hale will
stand as high as any hero of the Revolution, and men
will erect statues to his memory as to the glorious
ones of earth. Will not Tom Edwards dare as much
where glory may be won by service, and duty done lead
on to great reward ?"
Had Tom Edwards been captivated less by sound


than by sense, he might have asked just where the glory
and reward lay in spying on General Wilkinson. But
the brave words of his trusted colonel set him all aglow.
He could hesitate no longer.
"And shall I be like Nathan Hale, colonel, if I
watch General Wilkinson and report to you?"
"Like him, indeed, Tom," .the colonel promptly
responded. "Braver still; for where Nathan Hale
spoiled an open enemy, Tom Edwards may be unmask-
ing a secret foe. I may be wrong, you know. I hope
I am. Wilkinson may be all right. But he is too pro-
lific of fine promises, and has not the open earnestness
of General Jackson. But Wilkinson is my main reli-
ance just now in the plans I have in mind, and all
depends on his sincerity. I must know absolutely that
he is to be relied upon."
And the scheming "little counsellor," as Wilkinson
called him, turned again to this boy toward whom he
appeared to be so frank and honest, and demanded,
"Well, what say you, Tom?"
I'll do it, colonel, for you," the boy replied.
"For me and for glory, Tom," Burr exclaimed
enthusiastically. "You seek adventure. Here it lies
before you. On you my hopes must rest. For if
Wilkinson fails me, my plans-our plans, Tom-will
all go awry. He will never suspect a boy. Follow
him to St. Louis. Note every word and look. Be
vigilant. Be silent. Keep your thoughts to yourself


and report to me when I join you at St. Louis. Re-
member Nathan Hale. I'll not be long away."
Then Tom promised. Burr, seeking Wilkinson, men-
tioned Tom as a young friend of General Jackson's who
sought an opening at St. Louis, and asked for him the
general's interest and protection.
These the burly general readily promised and Tom
was fully committed to his mission -"on secret ser-
vice," as Colonel Burr put it to the boy.
So the "little counsellor," still keeping his own coun-
sel as to his real plans, went down the river with due
pomp and escort, and Tom Edwards, joining himself to
General Wilkinson, went westward to St. Louis beside
the mighty Mississippi.
He found the general to be a fussy, pompous, talka-
tive old fellow, with a fine idea of General Wilkinson's
importance, strict at times in his military discipline, and
at times lax almost to carelessness.
The general, like most people, was attracted by the
bright face and cheerful ways of "General Jackson's
young friend," as he insisted upon calling Tom, and he
showed himself ready enough, in his moments of unoffi-
cial relaxation, to talk with the boy in the friendliest way
-especially when he discovered Tom's hobby to be
the men of the Revolution.
"Yes, Colonel Burr and I were together in the begin-
nings of the Revolution," he told Tom. Of course, he
left the service a colonel, while I became a brigadier;


but he could not accept things as I could. Perhaps,
too, he was not so good a soldier that is not for me to
say. We were together at Quebec."
"He was one of the youngest officers, was he not ?"
said Tom.
"Yes, but so was I," Wilkinson replied. "But Burr
did not know how to get on with Washington; now I did.
In fact, his Excellency really thought more of me than
I did of him. I remember at Trenton "
"You were there, sir ?" cried Tom.
"In the thick of the fight, Tom," the general replied.
"And when Colonel Baylor came galloping up to Wash-
ington reporting, 'Sir, the Hessians have surrendered!'
his Excellency caught me by the hands and almost
jumped for joy -I was one of St. Clair's aides, you
know. This is a glorious day for the country, lieuten-
ant,' his Excellency said to me and faith! it was, my
Did you know Arnold, sir ?" queried Tom some-
how, in view of his own detail on "secret service,"
Arnold and Andr6 were continually in his thoughts,
even more than Nathan Hale.
"Like a book, Tom, and read him like one, too,"
replied Wilkinson. If my advice had been followed,
he would have been found out long before. But he
was brave--as brave as he was reckless. I remember
at Saratoga I was on General Gates's staff, you know
- I was sent after him to call him back when, on the


day of the second battle, he broke guard from his
tent into which Gates had ordered him for insubordi-
"Why did Arnold do that?" Tom asked with interest.
"Well- the fight wasn't going to suit him," the gen-
eral acknowledged. "I wanted Gates to lead a charge,
but he wouldn't. The Hessians were getting the best
of us; Morgan was holding the field alone. Then it was
that, with a rush, Arnold dashed out of his tent -with
me after him -put himself at the head of his men, led
the charge, drove the Hessians into their camp, drove
them out of it, won the day, and then fell, wounded,
within the captured camp. I brought him back but
not as a prisoner, Tom, as a hero."
Tom drew a long breath.
"What days those were, sir," he said.
"Great days, indeed, my boy," the general replied.
"But you may live to see greater. Washington was
general-in-chief of the army: so am I. And Spain is in
need of a trouncing. Did General Jackson seem inter-
ested in Colonel Burr's plans for a dash on the Dons ?"
"He's full of it, sir," replied Tom, truthfully. "He's
ready to start as soon as the government gives the
"The government? Um! Well, we shall see. Per-
haps we may have to lead the government," the general
remarked. "It's a long way from Washington to the
Spanish border, young man."


"That seemed to be General Jackson's idea, too, sir,"
Tom responded.
"Good enough, boy. Our army is small, but it has
fine leaders," the general said. "Brave days are com-
ing. There's plenty of glory to be gained by adventu-
rous young fellows like you. Are you inclined that
"Any way that is my duty, sir," Tom replied.
"Duty? Why, duty and glory shall go hand in
hand, young man," declared General Wilkinson, loftily.
"Come to me at headquarters, Tom; I'll find something
for you when we reach St. Louis. Any friend of Gen-
eral Jackson's is doubly welcome. This thing will ripen
soon and there will be work for all. Can you ride ?"
Tom was inclined to repeat his story about Uncle
Ira's colt, but he refrained. He thought of Truxton
and the Clover Bottom race.
"Anything, sir," he replied.
Then we'll cut out your work for you. Trust to me,
I'll fix you," the general promised.
Things were clearly going Tom's way. "Secret
service" might not be so hard after all. He joyfully
accepted General Wilkinson's offer, and, thus taken in
charge, he came to headquarters in St. Louis.



IN the centre of the little, half-French, border town of
St. Louis, on the square known as the Place of Arms,
stood the government building, which was the head-
quarters of the military governor of Upper Louisiana
-General James Wilkinson. About it stretched forest
Sand prairie and common land, save where the few
houses of the town lined its three or four quiet streets,
and looked down on the mighty river which rolled its
turbid waters southward to the gulf.
Here Tom Edwards found himself installed as a sort
of civil secretary to his new friend, the military gov-
ernor. He had not much writing to do as secretary:
writing was not Tom's forte, but he was sent hither and
thither on errands connected with the general's civil
duties, which he sought to keep separate from his mili-
tary labors. Neither were very arduous, for St. Louis
in 1805, although it was the military centre of the
Mississippi Valley, was yet little more than a frontier
post, defended by the famous "Fort on the Hill," and


the base of supplies for Indian traders, river men, voya-
geurs, and border merchants.
But it was gradually becoming Americanized. Al-
ready it was a place of great possibilities, and these
possibilities were what General James Wilkinson loved
to deal with, in his lofty way, as promises of a great
future in which he, perhaps, was to be a central figure.
For General James Wilkinson had, as you know, a
mighty confidence in his own abilities.
One would scarcely have imagined that the general-,
in-chief would have made a confidant of one of his extra
secretaries. But Tom always declared that he did this
as governor and not as soldier. And the burly general,
at times, liked immensely to hear himself talk.
So, one day, after dinner -just the kind of.a dinner
that General Wilkinson loved as he sat twirling his
thumbs in his "office" in the government building, he
fell to expressing his thoughts aloud.
We really must do something for our friend, Colonel
Burr," he said. "The time may be ripe for his Spanish
plan; but great opportunities come slowly, and it is well
to make all things secure."
Then the general looked questioningly at Tom.
"Can you ride across country, Tom ?" he asked.
"I've done it, sir," replied Tom, recalling his three
days' gallop from Cincinnati to Nashville--and think-
ing, in spite of himself, of his adventure with the
teamsters and Jackson.


"Vincennes is about.a hundred and fifty miles or so,
due east, in the territory of Indiana," mused the general.
"I have a plan to put the services of Colonel Burr to
their'best use for this western country. Can you ride
with a despatch to Governor Harrison at Vincennes,
I can try, sir," was the boy's reply. Tom Edwards,
you notice, though adventurous, was cautious, and this
was his customary reply to anything that involved un-
certainty as well as effort or adventure.
The route is straight, the road fairly good, I believe,
and not extra dangerous for a strong-armed fellow like
you," the general continued. "Look up the route,
Tom. I'll give you a requisition on the quartermaster
for a good horse. Get ready to go to-morrow."
Tom withdrew at once to make his preparations; he
was glad of the opportunity for so promising a mission,
although at the same time doubtful whether this duty
might not interfere with his "secret service."
To be sure he had, as yet, learned nothing as to Gen-
eral Wilkinson's "loyalty" to Burr, though this desire
to do the "little counsellor" a service, would seem to
mean good faith on the general's part. Perhaps, though,
Tom reasoned, absence from duty at St. Louis might be
contrary to his orders; still he felt that it was not for
him to decline to obey an order from the general into
whose service he, apparently, had entered. Indeed, he
had no choice but to obey.


So he posted himself carefully as to the road to Vin-
cennes, interviewing every one, from the post trader to
the Indian guides, and from the wagoners of the Illinois
country to the wasp-waisted adjutant of the general
He felt himself sure of it, at last, and was ready and
in the saddle long before morning parade next day.
"Deliver the letter to Governor Harrison and await
his reply, sir," was General Wilkinson's order. "Re-
turn as soon after you have received the answer as may
be possible, and report to me, in person, here."
Tom uncovered in salute, as he had learned to do, in
true military style, from his army friends, and was soon
across the Mississippi, riding once again as bearer of de-
spatches,- this time to the famous old post of Vincennes,
the capital of the newly organized Indiana territory.
Across great stretches of open prairie, over long
swells and rises of rolling ground, through infrequent
clumps of forest, fording streams at licks and crossings,
with now and then an Indian guide and now and then a
leather-stockinged hunter to show the way, sleeping in
the scattered log huts of lonely but hospitable settlers,
Tom rode on his way, enjoying it all immensely. He
was just the boy, you see, to enter into and enjoy any
duty in a fresh field, especially if it contained just a
spice of danger.
The stories he heard of Indian raid and battle, of
marvellous hunting adventures and perilous escapes,


almost made him wish for some such exciting advent-
ures himself: but none came.
"Bless your heart, son," one old Hoosier trapper told
him, "this yere road is as safe now as that there Broad-
way, off in York, -just a painter or a cat-a-mountain
now and then to 'liven things up, but they don't count."
Not even these came to "'liven things." The tribes-
men were quiet and friendly, the settlers rough but
hospitable, the days of blood had given place to the
days of peace, and after three days of travel, taking
things leisurely, Tom made the portage and rode into
the old stockaded town of Vincennes, where it sat
upon its sandy plain above the winding Wabash.
"A despatch for Governor Harrison," he reported,
as he drew up at the door of the government building
in the open square of Vincennes.
But Governor Harrison, he learned, was away on a
tour of inspection and would not return for a day or
two. So Tom had nothing to do but retain his de-
spatch and wait.
The young courier from St. Louis was made quite
at home by the garrison of Fort Knox, and found
the time pass pleasantly enough. For the officers
of Fort Knox were quite proud of their newly
built post, to which had been given the name of
Washington's favorite general in the war of the Revo-
lution. They did the honors willingly, and showed
Tom all their defences and conveniences. They called


his attention especially to their pet gun. It was, they
told him, a relic of Saratoga and Yorktown, and to it
they had given the name of "Old Ben," in honor of
Governor Harrison's honored father, Benjamin Harrison
of Virginia, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
"Another Revolutionary reminder," thought Tom,
as he looked approvingly upon "Old Ben and asked
the young lieutenant, who was doing the honors of
Fort Knox, whether the governor, the son of the signer,
had also been a soldier of the Revolution, like Burr
and Jackson and Wilkinson.
"No, indeed!" the lieutenant replied; "the governor
is a young man-only about thirty, I think. He's a son
of the Revolution, you see, just the same as you and me,
young Edwards; but he's a fighter clear through. He
fought the Indians with mad Anthony Wayne on the
Maumee, and saved one part of that bloody battle by
leading the furious charge that broke the Indian centre
and helped, as much as anything, to win the day. We're
quite proud of "Old Ben's" son here, even if he isn't a
regular. The nation will hear from him some day, you
see if it doesn't. William Henry Harrison has an old
head on young shoulders."
Next day, the governor returned, and as Tom pre-
sented his despatches he had a fair opportunity to
notice this young governor, in whom the lieutenant
took so much stock, -just as, later on, the whole
American people "took stock" in the hero of Tippe-


canoe and the central figure in one of America's most
famous presidential campaigns.
Tom decided that he liked the looks of "his Excel-
lency, William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indi-
ana territory." He was a tall, straight, slight man,
of quiet but earnest demeanor, pleasant-faced and
pleasant-voiced, but with signs of strength and power
about him that appealed to our young friend Tom
Edwards, student of men.
The governor had come into Fort Knox as Tom was
rambling about among the cannons. He received and
read the letter, standing beside the gun named for his
father, and which Tom had just seen the gunners load
with an extra charge for the daily salute to the flag.
From General Wilkinson, is it ?" said the governor,
as he took the letter. "Pardon me, sir; I'll open it
here, if you please, and give it immediate attention.
I trust our friends at Fort Knox have made your wait-
ing pleasant You seem young for a courier. Still, I
must have been about your age when 'Light Horse'
Harry Lee got me my commission as ensign, and I
hurried off to join St. Clair in the Ohio country."
He had been opening General Wilkinson's letter as
he spoke; he began to read it slowly. Then Tom,
looking at the governor's face, noticed, with growing
surprise, a look of evident dissatisfaction begin to
shadow it, while a rising color tinged his bronzed,
smooth-shaven cheeks.


Then he broke into audible comments as he read -
unintentionally, no doubt, but indignation often drives
a man into words.
"What's this ? asks a boon, eh ? -' a boon upon
which the Union itself may depend'- well! what is
it? ah! 'By your fiat'- my fiat, um! 'Convene your
Solomons and let them send Colonel Burr to Congress.'
Who? Burr? Aaron Burr -the slayer of Hamilton,
my father's friend? Never! What more! 'If you taste
this proposition, he will authorize you to purchase, if
necessary, an estate for him in your territory.'"
The governor paced, indignantly, up and down
before "Old Ben." Then he crumpled the letter in
his hand and turned upon Tom, distrust and anger in
his face.
"Young man,"'he said, "do you know the contents
of this letter?"
"No, sir," Tom truthfully replied, "except that it
has something to do with Colonel Burr."
"I'll have nothing to do with Colonel Burr, then,"
said Harrison. "A marplot and a menace! I'd rather
see Lucifer himself our representative in Congress.
What is Wilkinson thinking of? Burr! Why, that
loaded cannon is not more dangerous, boy. I'd sooner
trust' Old Ben' himself in a camp-fire than old Aaron
in Congress. Tell that to Wilkinson, sir."
And as if to emphasize his point with all possible
vigor the governor caught up the nearest thing handy


and struck it sharply on the ground. It happened to
be the linstock which the gunner had leaned against
a pile of fascines, near to the battery, but quite out of
harm's way. In the jaw of the linstock smoked a
smouldering match, which, as the governor flourished
the linstock, toppled and fell squarely across the breech
of "Old Ben."
There was a flash, a rumble, a roar. Tom, quick to
scent danger, sprang aside, and without ceremony
pulled the governor after him. He was just in time;
for the boom ended with a splitting crash, as the over-
charged cannon, weakened from years of use, split from
cascabel to rimbase. The veteran of the Revolution
had fired its last salute. "Old Ben" had exploded.
From every quarter of the fort men came hurrying
up. Rude hands were laid upon poor Tom, as if he
were the cause, perhaps, of the assassination of Gov-
ernor Harrison. But the governor himself quickly
recovered from the daze and shock.
"Let the lad go," he said. "He is not at fault.
The error is mine. Well, well! good by, 'Old Ben.'
He died in a good cause, eh, young man -a .protest
against the disgrace of America."
Fortunately no one had been injured. Tom, indeed,
with his usual luck, blossomed out into a hero. He
received the thanks of the governor for his timely and
intelligent aid, and accompanied that over-emphatic
official into the commandant's quarters, where apologies


and explanations, praise and refreshments, were quickly
Next day Tom Edwards was again in the saddle,
speeding back to St. Louis, and bearing Governor Har-
rison's reply to General Wilkinson, which, you may be
sure, was a vigorous refusal to be made the "cat's paw"
for Aaron Burr.
Poor Tom, on the road, had much food for thought.
For the first time he had heard Colonel Burr--his
patron his hero- given a name and a character
which, he was sure, must be a mistake. He could
not understand it all; so, at last, boy-like, he dismissed
it with the assurance, "Oh, well! the governor is just a
political enemy--and a hot one, too. Of course, my
Colonel Burr is all right."
"So! he refuses, does he ?" General Wilkinson ex-
claimed as he read Governor Harrison's reply. "The
short-sighted man! Can't he see which way things are
going? Well! there are more ways than one to com-
pass an end, and the day will come when this young
governor of Indiana will be glad to seek favors of
Colonel Burr-and of me. If Burr does not go to
Congress, he shall go well higher yet. This west-
ern country shall not remain the prey of eastern igno-
rance. We'll set up a republic of our own, if need be.
A republic? Yes, an empire that shall stretch from
the Mississippi to the Pacific, and pocket the gold of
Mexico, and break the power of Spain."


It was after dinner, and the general was more talka-
tive and less discreet than usual. It often happened
so after dinner!
But Tom was as much amazed at this explosion at
St. Louis as he had been startled by the bursting of
"Old Ben" at Vincennes.
A western republic! What did that mean? Surely,
here was something Colonel Burr should know. Gen-
eral Wilkinson evidently had plans far different from
those of the colonel. So Tom reasoned as he walked
away, silent and thoughtful. And well he might. For
General Wilkinson needed to read anew the Bible words
about that unruly member, the tongue.
Tom was on his guard now, and General Wilkinson
was not. The mission on "secret service" began to
grow interesting. For the general, angered at Gov-
ernor Harrison's refusal and bent on his own plans, be-
came less guarded in speech and act. So by hint and
assertion, not only among his own officers, but with visi-
tors whom he believed to be friendly, even with young
Tom Edwards himself,- he gave away intimations and
information that he might better have kept to himself.
At last came the September days, in golden glory on
land and river, and with them came Aaron Burr, fresh
from his social and secret triumphs in the Orleans
He summoned Tom at once to his side, in the quar-
ters assigned to him in the town, where he had been


received with all the honors and glory belonging to so
notable a man.
"Well, cousin Tom!" he cried heartily, as with a
ready smile and outstretched hands he greeted the boy.
"What's the report? Let me hear from you before I
go into secret session with the general."
Tom's face was aflame with the greatness of his
information. He tried to speak calmly, but the rush of
words mastered him.
"I fear, sir," he began, "you are mistaken in Gen-
eral Wilkinson. He is bent on his own glorification.
He does not think of seeking war with Spain for the
glory of our government; he seeks it for himself and,
he says, for you. He talks with his officers, with visi-
tors, even with me, colonel, of a scheme to form a new
republic here in the West- only he calls it an Empire,
sir. He aims to seize the property of the Federalists
and divide it between himself and his friends; to found
a great military empire in Louisiana with its capital at
Orleans. He says he will lead an army into Mexico;
conquer and add it to the territories you are to rule;
create a new nation along the Mississippi, separate
altogether from the American Union. I don't know
what he doesn't intend to do -and he lays it all on
you, sir. Is he not mad ?"
The boy's face was flushed with excitement; his eyes
were moist with indignation. "Is he not mad, sir?"
he repeated.


"Mad? no, sir," cried Burr, for once thrown off his
guard, as his young confidant paused in his flow of
excited advices. "Mad ? no, indeed. Why, you young
fool, that's just our plan. Is it not a grand one? Wil-
kinson is all right."



TOM was dumfounded. He could scarcely believe
his own ears; he could scarcely trust the evidence
of his own eyes. Colonel Burr arrayed against the gov-
ernment? Colonel Burr a traitor ?
Impulsive as ever, the boy faced his chief.
"Sir," he said, "my father was a soldier of the
Revolution; my mother brought me up to love the flag
and reverence the republic. If you speak the truth, --
if you are not seeking to try my loyalty and faith--if
you are not playing a joke upon me, -if you really
seek to head not an expedition against the Spaniards,
but a revolt against our own government, my deter-
mination is made. I will not be drawn into treason.
I am no longer a follower of yours."
Burr saw that he had gone too far -that he had
overstepped the mark with this ardent and impetuous
young aide, who was so good and loyal an American.
But Aaron Burr never took back his words. He might
explain and readjust his meanings craftily and cleverly;
but what he said he stood by.


"Tom," he said slowly, "you do not understand me.
Neither General Wilkinson nor myself have any de-
signs against the government of the United States.
We do object to its timid, shilly-shally methods; we
would, if we might, spur it on to action. What he
says and what I say about a western republic and a
union of the Mississippi lands is more as a threat
to compel action, than as a movement toward disunion.
It is the talk of all thinking men throughout the sec-
tion I have travelled from here to Orleans. If the
government does not lift from us the curse of Spain,
we must do it ourselves. You are very young, Tom
Edwards. You can only see the length of your nose.
Men of brains and action work their ends by other
ways than boys may read. But you are right, Tom.
If you have no confidence in me as a leader, it is best
for us to part. But let us part friends. You have
done me good service. I would not seem ungrateful.
Go home, Tom. Go back to your farm and your grub-
bing. There, in the quiet of that contracted life, you
can think over things, and see which one of us is in
error you or I. But keep faith with me, Tom. Be
quiet; say nothing. When my plans ripen, I will give
you one more. chance for action. Then, if you have
faith in me as I have in you, we may work together
once more, and I will give you position, profit, glory.
But I can have no divided loyalty. You must believe
in me fully, and serve me loyally, or not at all. Don't


answer now. I give you the winter for your decision.
Mr. Shaw goes on. from here in my barge to-morrow
morning. Get ready to return with him. I will make
your explanations to General Wilkinson. I will give
you a letter that shall make things right with your
Uncle Ira. I like you, Tom, and shall not lose sight
of you, trust me for that. But to-day we must part.
Good by, my boy. Think better of your friend and
well-wisher; for that I am, Tom Edwards, above all
Burr held out his hand in friendly farewell. So
clever at explanations was this remarkable man, that
when he had had his say, he always seemed in the
right, his opponent always in the wrong. Tom felt
this way now. He almost believed that he had done
Colonel Burr an injury, and that the outstretched hand
was proffered in forgiveness. He grasped it eagerly,
never thinking of questioning his commander's deci-
sion. He would go back to the farm and think things
over. No doubt he was all wrong.
"Good by, sir," he said, with just a bit of a choke
in his voice, and then, turning, he left the room, his
heart sore with disappointment and regret.
Early next morning one of Colonel Burr's boatmen
called Tom.
*" The barge is goin' right along," he said. "Mr.
Shaw's in a hurry. The cunnle, he ain't up yet, but
he says good by to you, and here's. the letter he prom-


ised," and he handed Tom a letter from Colonel Burr
addressed to Uncle Ira.
An hour later Tom Edwards was on the river home-
ward bound. He saw nothing of the colonel, for Burr
was a man who avoided any unpleasant duty, whenever
possible; and, perhaps, he thought by his absence to
impress all the more upon his late aide the depth of
his disapproval. He certainly succeeded; for Tom was
not at all a happy boy as he turned his back upon
what he believed had been his great opportunity, by
declining which, he had, so he imagined, incurred the
displeasure, perhaps the enmity, of Aaron Burr.
But regret cannot linger so very long with a healthy,
buoyant nature, such as that of young Tom Edwards.
"At any rate," he thought, "I was right in one way.
I may have misunderstood the colonel and General
Wilkinson, though their words seemed plain enough;
but even if I did, I have still enough respect for my
father's memory, and for what my mother taught me, to
refuse to listen in silence to anything that sounds like
traitor's talk. General Jackson called me a son of the
revolution; he said I.was a son of the republic. If I
am, I must not for a moment permit a thought of
disunion or disloyalty."
So, after many days, Tom Edwards came to the
farm again. He was by no means the boy that left
it -heedless, unformed, thoughtless. Tom had gone
through a good deal in those months of absence. He


had become almost a man in experience and decision.
But, even with all that, Tom Edwards had still much to
learn. The most manly boy is not really a man, you
Colonel Burr's letter was a strong factor in Uncle
Ira's friendly reception of young Tom. He treated the
returned wanderer more like a man and an equal; and,
although there was little sympathy between uncle and
nephew, Tom found himself on a better footing on
the farm, where the story of his adventures and his
acquaintances held farm hands and visitors spellbound,
and became as twice-told tales through all the months
that followed his return.
Autumn changed to winter, winter to spring, spring
to summer, and still no word from Colonel Burr had
come to Tom Edwards on the Ohio farm. The young
fellow began to feel that his fears were correct and
that he had been forgotten, but not forgiven, for his
indiscretion in expressing his mind to Aaron Burr.
Was it an indiscretion? Tom really begun to hesi-
tate. The outlook was not pleasant He thought he
was cut out for something more than a man of all
work on a farm. When he left Colonel Burr, he left
behind opportunity, achievement, success. Tom Ed-
wards failed to see that honorable labor is the noblest
opportunity, and that the successful farmer is the hope
and dependence of the nation.
So musing, as he was wont to do, over his lost

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