PREFACE l ay b are the heart of the conspiracy.
ix T h e heart of the
c onspiracy, however, was far removed f r o m any communication o f B u r r ' s . T h e conspiracy was an affection o f s o c i e t y B u r r was but a member of that society, an a gent. I t follows that i f the nature of the conspiracy i s t o be disclosed, it can only be through an examination i nto t he s tate o f that society whose social, p olitical, a nd t raditional a ffiliations g ave r ise to it. T h i s is basic. T hat the ideas of B u r r , w hatever they may h ave b een, n ecessarily betray the s ecret o f the movement, cannot be successfully maintained. B u t that the prevailing i mpression o f B u r r ' s character lent weight to the i mputation o f treason cannot be doubted; nor more can it be doubted that the isolation of the West, together w i t h t he ignorance of the E a s t concerning the pioneers w ho built their l o g cabins i n the wilderness beyond the A l l e g h a n y M ountains, t ended to distort extraordinarily t he affair i n the public m i n d . W h a t w ere t he ideas, W a s there t hen, p revailing i n the Western country?
a c ontingent that plotted disunion ? W a s there a party t hat clamored loudly for war against whatever power i nsulted t he Republic? a bundance. O f the first there is no trace w o r t h c onsidering; of the latter there is evidence i n T h e spirit of the Westerners is proclaimed i n n o uncertain voice, and i f its tone could h ave b een m istaken i n 1806, there was no doubting its meaning i n 1 812, when, i n spite of the opposition of N e w E n g l a n d , t he Second War with Great Britain w as forced. A n d y et this was done by the very men upon w h o m