xt7crj48pv8r https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7crj48pv8r/data/mets.xml Safford, William H. (William Harrison), 1821-1903. 1850  books b92-66-27081327 English Ely, Allen & Looker, : Chillicothe, O. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Blennerhassett, Harman, 1765-1831. Burr Conspiracy, 1805-1807. Life of Harman Blennerhassett  : comprising an authentic narrative of the Burr expedition : and containing many additional facts not heretofore published / by William H. Safford. text Life of Harman Blennerhassett  : comprising an authentic narrative of the Burr expedition : and containing many additional facts not heretofore published / by William H. Safford. 1850 2002 true xt7crj48pv8r section xt7crj48pv8r 





          L I F E





          1urr Txptbition:

              AND CONTAINING





    Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1850, by

                  WILLIAM H. SAFFORD,

in the Clerk's Ofce of the District Court for the District of Ohio.



  WHILE collecting materials for the present biogra-
phy, I have met with unexpected difficulties in pro-
curing authentic information from the contemporaries
of Blennerhassett. This is to be accounted for in the
plain simplicity of most of his neighbours, who took
but little interest in his scientific pursuits-of which
they could neither understand the philosophy, nor com-
prehend the meaning.   The consequence was, they
associated but little with the man, and their acquaint-
ance was derived more from what they saw, than from
what they heard.
  It gives me pleasure to acknowledge the courtesy of
Dr. S. P. HIILDRETH, of Marietta, in permitting me
the use of the various historical incidents which his
assiduity and love of the curious have rescued from
oblivion. From the Blennerhassett Papers, published
by WILLIAM WALLACE, Esq., I have made liberal quo-
tations. To Maj. HORACE NYE, of Putnam, and Col.
                        1              5


JOSEPH BARKER, of Newport, I am alike indebted for
much valuable matter-rendered more interesting from
the fact that they were eye-witnesses of some of the
scenes I have attempted to describe.  Others have
furnished me with materials; but the multiplicity of
their names must excuse their non-appearance.
  I have been careful to introduce nothing, as fact,
but what has been fully corroborated by living wit-
nesses.  Nor have. I attempted to screen from  the
public eye the infirmities or faults of the subjects of
these pages; while, at the same time, I can truly say,
their virtues have not been exaggerated.
  The work is now submitted to a charitable public,
with a knowledge of its many imperfections. More
skilful hands might have avoided many faults with
which I am justly chargeable, and rendered it far more
palatable to the reading critic.
                                    THE AUTHOR.





                       CHAPTER I.

EARLY life of Blennerhassett-Lineage-Education-The Irish
  bar-Blennerhassett commences the study of law-Called to
  the bar-Certificate-Makes a visit upon the Continent-
  France-Witnesses the adoption of her new Constitution-
  Returns to Ireland-Spirit of discontent in Ireland-Oppressed
  by England-Effect of the American Revolution on Ireland-
  On the whole of Europe-Repeal of the statute of sixth George
  First-Blennerhassett prefers the quiet pursuits of literature
  to the political arena-Is dissatisfied with Ireland, and deter-
  mines to leave-Disposes of his lands-Proceeds to England-
  Addresses Meiss Agnew-Marries-Reflections..................... 19

                      CHAPTER II.

Blennerhassett supplies himself with a library and philosophical
  apparatus-Ships for New York-Western country described
  -Blennerhassett sets out for the West-Pittsburgh-Mode
  of travelling-Marietta-Is desirous of building-Backus's
  Island-Blennerhassett concludes a purchase-Commences
  improvements-Island with its improvements-Reflections.... 30



                     CHAPTER III.
lileimnerhassett tdescribed-Studies-Amusements-Anecdotes of
-Appointed justice of the peace-Mrs. Blennerhassett de-
  scribed ........................................................  40

                      CHAPTER IV.

Early settlers of Western Virginia-Occupations-Amusements
  -Patriotism-First settlers of Ohio-Industry-Economy
  -Morality-Conclusion .................................................. 49

                      CHAPTER V.

Domestic situation of Blennerhassett in 1805-Burr's first visit
  to the island-Object of Burr's tour-Finds Blennerhassett
  absent from home-Proceeds down the Ohio-Visits Wilkin-
  son-Conference-Blennerhassett visits New York-Thomas
  Addis Emmett-Burr's first communication to Blennerhassett
  -Effect of, upon Blennerhassett-Blennerhassett's answer-
  Burr's reply-Burr's second visit to the island-Wirt's descrip-
  tion of the island as it was at that time-Burr commences
  recruiting men for the expedition-Arguments made use of to
  induce individuals to join-Effect of his arguments ....... ...... 68

                      CHAPTER VI.

Preparations for the expedition commenced-Burr's visit to Chil-
  licothe-Cincinnati-Kentucky-Alston arrives at the island-
  Alston with his wife and Blennerhassett visits Lexington, Ky.
  -Blennerhassett is introduced to Charles Fenton Mercer-
  Suspicious aspect of the expedition-Situation of affairs in the
  United States-Aprchensions of the people-Rumours-Gra-


  ham appointed a secret agent of the government-Instructions
  -Instructions to Gen. Wilkinson-Wilk;inson demands forces of
  the Governor of Mississippi Territory-Is refused-Despatches
  Burling to Mexico-Holds a conference with Governor Clai-
  borne at New Orleans-Merchants of New Orleans convoked
  -Preparations at New Orleans-Blennerhassett sets out from
  Kentucky for home-Meets with Mr. Mercer-Conversatiou-
  Burr's designs explained-Blennerhassett is joined by Burr at
  the island-Burr leaves the supervision of the boats to Blen-
  nerhassett and returns to Kentucky-Is arrested-Graham ar-
  rives at Marietta-Interview with Blennerhassett-Visits the
  Governor of Ohio at Chillicothe-Act of the Ohio Legislature
  Militia of the State called out-Anecdotes-Mercer's visit to
  the island-Arrival of Comfort Tyler and his men-Find Blen-
  nerhassett disheartened as to the feasibility of the enterprise. 74

                      CHAPTER VII.

Burr despatches Swartwout to Wilkinson-Letter-Wilkinson
  communicates its substance to the President-Proclamation of
  the President-Virginia militia called out under command of
  Col. Hugh Phelps-Blennerhassett escapes with Tyler and his
  forces down the Ohio-Phelps proceeds to the island-Finds it
  deserted-Ineffectual attempt to arrest Blennerhassett at Point
  Pleasant-Effect of the President's Proclamation trusted to for
  some time in the State of Tennessee-But similar instructions
  sent to that State also-Graham leaves Frankfort for Nashville
  -The movements of Burr-Kentucky militia ordered out-
  Burr's flotilla-Burr leaves the Cumberland-Lands at Fort
  Massao-Is visited by the commander, Captain Bissel-Sup-
  plies Burr with a messenger to convey a letter- to the Lead
  Mines in Missouri-His wife presents Burr with provisions-
  Burr and his party proceed to Chickasaw Bluffs-Has an in-
  terview with the commander, Lieutenant Jacob Jackson-Fails
  in his designs-Communication of the President to Wilkinson
  -Burr supplies himself with lead, tomahawks, c., and pro-
  ceeds to Palmyra, and thence to Bayou Pierre .................... 95




10                       CONTENTS.

                     CHAPTER VIII.
Morgan Neville, and William Robinson, Junior-Embark from
  Pittsburgh in a flat-boat-Espied by the Wood county militia
  and arrested-Escorted to the island to await the return of
  Col. Phelps-Difficulties with the militia-Trial of the young
  men-Conduct of the militia on the island-'Mrs. Blennerhas-
  sett's return from Marietta-Her fortitude on the occasion-
  Embarrassed situation-Accepts the offer of the young men to
  convey her to her husband-Col. Phelps's return to the island
  -Young men embarrassed at the announcement of his arrival
  -Character and description of Col. Phelps-Rebukes the mi-
  litia for their riotous conduct-His politeness to the young
  men-Proffers his services in accelerating Mrs. Blennerhas-
  sett's arrangement to go to her husband-Apologizes for the
  misbehaviour of his men-Mirs. Blennerhassett prepares to
  depart-Leaves the island in company with the young men-
  Passes the mouth of the Cumberland-Disappointed in not
  finding her husband-Arrives at Bayou Pierre, and is restored
  to Blennerhassett-Painful situation of Burr and Blennerhas-
  sett-Burr sinks the arms, for the expedition, in the Missis-
  sippi.                                                 110

                      CHAPTER IX.

Proclamation of Cowles Mead acting as Governor of the Missis-
  sippi Territory-Burr's reply-The boats are visited by
  George Poindexter, Attorney-General for the Territory-Ob-
  ject of the visit-A letter from the acting Governor-Burr's
  avowals-Poindexter requests his peaceable surrender-Burr
  declares his willingness-An interview with the acting Go-
  vernor the next day is agreed upon-Terms of the agreement
  -Burr accordingly surrenders himself-Terms of his final sur-
  render-He is conveyed to the town of Washington-Examina-
  tion before Judge Rodney-Poindexter called on for his
  opinion-It is given-Judge Rodney dissents-A grand jury
  is required to be summoned to an adjourned session of the


 Supreme Court of the Mississippi Territory-Grand jury as-
 sembled-Motion to discharge-Overruled-Presentments by
 the grand jury-Acquitting Burr-Present the calling out of
 the militia of the Territory as a grievance-Also late military
 arrests-Astonishment of the Attorney-General-Leaves the
 court room-Judge Rodney displeased-Burr asks to be dis-
 charged from his recognisance-Is refused-Disguises him-
 self and escapes-Reward offered-Suspicious circumstance
 -Burr's men are placed under guard-Arrests at Fort Adams
 and New Orleans-Conduct of Wilkinson-Treatment of Gen.
 Adair-Attempt to suspend the writ of " Habeas Corpus"-
 Wilkinson's contempt of the writs of Habeas Corpus-Judge
 Workman's recommendation to the Governor-Workman be-
 comes dissatisfied with the Governor-Resigns his office-
 Return of Burling from Mexico-Object of his visit-Recep-
 tion of Burling by the Viceroy of Mexico-Leaves Mexico in
 haste-Lieutenant Swan returns from Jamaica with letter
 from Admiral Drake-Conveyance of prisoners to Washingto9S
 and Baltimore-Their discharge ....................................... 119

                      CHAPTER X.
Burr's arrival in the village of Wakefield, Alabama-Inquires
  for Colonel Hinson's-His conduct excites suspicion-He is
  pursued by Nicholas Perkins and Brightwell, the Sheriff-Is
  found at Hinson's-His agreeableness-Suspicions of the
  Sheriff-Mrs. Hinson's inquisitiveness-His departure from
  Hinson's-Delinquency of Brightwell-Perkins sets out for
  Fort Stoddard to procure assistance of Lieutenant Edmund
  P. Gaines-They start in pursuit-Burr is arrested-His im-
  prisonment at the Fort-Kindness to George S. Gaines-
  Amusements at the Fort-Burr's travelling companion, Major
  Ashley, arrested, and escapes-Difficulties in procuring a,
  guard to convey Burr to Richmond-Burr leaves the Fort
  under guard-Sympathy of the ladies-Guard-Perkins fears
  the influence of Burr-Particulars of the journey-Burr at-
  tempts to escape at Chester-Is unsuccessful-Arrives at
  Richmond, Virginia ....................................................  135





                      CHAPTER XI.
Blennerhassett sets out from  Natchez to visit his island-
  Tarries at Lexington, Kentucky-Arrested by the authorities
  -Mrs. Blennerhassett's letter-Defended by the Hon. Henry
  Clay-Is unsuccessful in procuring his discharge-Is con-
  ducted to Richmond-Postponement of the trials of Burr and
  his accused confederates-Trial of Burr commenced-Court
  and bar-Verdict of acquittal by the jury-Burr's arraign-
  ment on an indictment for a misdemeanor-Acquittal-Ex-
  tracts from Blennerhassett's journal kept during the trial-
  Extracts from the private memoranda-Chief Justice Marshall
  -Luther Martin-William Wirt-Aaron Burr ..................... 163

                     CHAPTER XII.
Origin of the Burr expedition-Miranda's visit in 1797-8-
  His object-Propositions favourably received-Visits England
  -Receives encouragement from the British ministry-Mode
  of arranging forces for the subjugation of the South Ame-
  rican colonies-His plans are defeated by the elder Adams-
  Burr conceives the plan of the subjugation of Mexico-Aus-
  picious circumstances-Encouragement received from distin-
  guished characters-Wilkinson's aid proffered-His counsel
  -Daniel Clark-General Jackson-Effect of the adjustment
  of the Spanish difficulties upon those who at first favoured
  the expedition-Burr's indomitable perseverance-Treacher-
  ous conduct of Wilkinson-Effect of Burr's acquittal upon the
  public mind-Character of Burr-Belief that Jefferson tacitly
  assented to the expedition-Circumstances which induce that
  belief........................................................................... 174

                     CHAPTER X1II.

Blennerhassett returns to Natchez after the trial-His pecu-
  niary embarrassments-Sacrifice and abuse of his property-
  His complacency-Demands indemnity for his losses from



  Gov. Alston-Purchases a farm in Mississippi, and commences
  the culture of cotton-Mrs. Blennerhassett's assistance Flat-
  tering prospects-Effects of the embargo-Receives the intel-
  ligence of the burning of his mansion ................................ 187

                     CHAPTER XIV.

Blennerhassett's prospects declining-Is offered a judgeship by
  the Governor of Canada-Sells his estates-Removes to Mlon-
  treal-Mrs. Blennerhassett's poetry, "IThe Deserted Isle"-
  Blennerhassett again disappointed-Determines to prosecute
  a claim subsisting in Ireland-Sails for Ireland-Reflections
  -Applies to Lord Anglesey for office Letter of Mr. Gossett-
  Is again disappointed-Removes to the island of Guernsey
  -Death ......................................................  195

                      CHAPTER XV.

Remarks on the life of Blennerhassett-Mrs. Blennerhassett's
  destitute situation-Resolves to visit the United States to
  procure indemnity for spoiliations-The reasonableness of
  such a demand-Visits New York-Presents her petition to
  Congress-Petition-Robert Emmett's aid-Letter to Mr.
  Clay-Mr. Clay presents the petition-Report of the Hon.
  William Woodbridge Death of Mrs. Blennerhassett-Is buried
  by Irish females............................................................ 203





I. MIs. TziDosL BuRR ALSTON....................................... 211






  NEARLY fifty years since, the inhabitants of the
valley of the Ohio were gratified by the intelligence
that an individual of rank and fortune had renounced
allegiance to his father-land, to take up his abode
among them. In those primitive days, every addition
to the little band of early pioneers was deemed of some
importance; but the accession of one whose manners
and customs differed so widely from their own-who
could build and adorn a palace in the western wilds-
was considered an event of wonderful magnitude.
  With satisfaction they beheld the first germs of
civilization springing from beneath the plastic hand of
taste, and bursting into full maturity through the
genial influence of wealth. This western Eden, while
it captivated their eyes with its beauty, amazed their
minds with the resources of its possessor. They wit-
nessed the accomplishment of his ends in the subjuga-
tion of nature to his will; saw "the desert bloom and


blossom as the rose ;" stood as anxious spectators when
the whirlwind of popular prejudice and passion pros-
trated the hopes and blasted the happiness of his
household; and wept for the desolation which Buc-
  Since the celebrated expedition of Aaron Burr, the
earlier fortunes of Blennerhassett have been the sub-
ject of singular curiosity. Many have been the sur-
mises as to the causes which led the descendant of
European nobility, to renounce the hereditary honours
consequent upon family, for the secluded life of an
unpretending republican.  Some attribute it to an
early alliance with a lady whose fortune and rank were
unequal to those of his own; others to a want of success
as a member of the Irish bar; while the uncharitable
are anxious to throw around the subject conjectures of
the darkest character.
  The mystery which surrounds him and his "island
home" has served, for more than forty years, to enter-
tain the passing traveller, as, upon the bosom of the
Ohio, the latter glides by the spot where once stood
the American Alhambra. The marvellous stories of
Spain-of Moslem enchantment and Moorish gold-
are scarce less credible than the tales at such times
repeated to the attentive ear of the listener.
  Memory reverts with fond delight to the earlier days
of our youthful pastimes, when, strolling through the



embowered coppices of the isle, seated beneath the
vine-clad cotton-tree, or gathering pebbles on the
beach, the stern realities of life were forgotten; and,
in the wild exuberance of our youthful fancy, we
breathed to the image of our heart's first love the lan-
guage of impassioned adoration. Around the name of
Blennerhassett, and every thing connected with it, was
waved the enchanting wand of romance; and tales of
beauty, of splendour, and of crime, while they fascinated
us with their witchery, startled us with his deep and
dark designs.
  Who Blennerhasset truly was, and what his origin
and destiny, it is our object to disclose. We hope to
strip the subject of that mysteriousness which igno-
rance, wilful prejudice, or a love of the marvellous
has thrown around it, and reveal to the inquiring
reader the acts and character of the man.


This page in the original text is blank.



                  CHAPTER I.

Early life of Blennerhassett-Lineage-Education-The Irish bar-
  Blennerhassett commences the study of law-Called to the bar-
  Certificate-Makes a visit upon the Continent-France-Wit-
  nesses the adoption of her new Constitution-Returns to Ireland
  -Spirit of discontent in Ireland-Oppressed by England-Effect
  of the American Revolution on Ireland-On the whole of Europe
  -Repeal of the statute of sixth George First-Blennerhassett
  prefers the quiet pursuits of literature to the political arena-Is
  dissatisfied with Ireland, and determines to leave Disposes of his
  lands-Proceeds to England-Addresses Miss Agnew-Marries-

  OF the early life of Blennerhassett we know,
and therefore shall say, but little. That he was
the son of an Irish gentleman, and was born in
Hampshire, England, while the family were on
a temporary visit to some friend or relative, in
the year 1767, we are authentically informed.
He might have boasted a lineage, which, although
not noble, was, nevertheless, among the most



illustrious of the Irish   gentry.    Whether the
boy ever exhibited any thing above the capacity
of boys of his age,-or whether, on the contrary,
he was considered a silent, dull, and uninterest-
ing youth,-we know not; but that he enjoyed
most excellent literary advantages, is clearly
established by the fact that, at early age, he was
placed by his father in the celebrated school of
Westminster; that, after he had struggled, in
honourable emulation, with the many worthies
who have since so brilliantly adorned both the
English and Irish nations, he was entered at
Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated,
with honlour to himself and credit to his pro-
  At that time the Irish bar-a body formi-
dable to the then existing government, by their

 Dr. S. P. ildreth, in a Sketch of the Life of Blennerhassett,
published in the "I American Review," in 1848, states that Blenner-
hassett was of " noble descent." William Wallace, Esq., on the con-
trary, who had access to a portion of his papers, and who also
published a sketch of the same individual, in the same periodical, in
the year 1845, describes his parentage as among the most distin-
guished of the gentry of Ireland, who could trace their lineage as far
back as the English King John. " The family consisted of branches
located in the counties of Cork and Kerry. Many of the ancient
heads were the chiefs of Balaceady Castle, and held numerous im-
portant offices. The subject of this sketch belonged to the Bala-
ecady branch." I have chosen to adopt Mr. Wallace as, perhaps, the
best informed author on this point, he having had access to some of
Blennerhassett's papers, through the courtesy of a fon of the latter.



character and capacity-comprised many sons
of the resident noblemen and commoners of
Ireland. The legal science was not then a mere
trade, but a profession, requiring both learning
and time to master its abstruse truths. Elo-
quence was looked upon as a qualification for
the higher duties of the senate, and almost
every peer and commoner had a relative en-
rolled among the number.
  That Blennerhassett should remain an excep-
tion to the general custom, was hardly to be
expected; and, accordingly, we find him snugly
ensconced in the King's Inns as an entered ap-
prentice in the study of the law. How success-
fully he waded through the musty tomes of
black letter, which crowd that ancient library,
is evidenced by the significant appendage of
LL.D., which occasionally accompanied his
  At Michaelmas term, in 1790, he was called
to the bar, as is shown by the following certifi-
cate :

  "CKING'S INNS.  These are to certify, that
Harman Blennerhassett, Esq., was, in Michael-
mas term, in the year of our Lord, one thousand
seven hundred and ninety, generally admitted




into the Honourable Society of the King's Inns,
and called to the degree of Barrister therein.
IN TESTIMONY whereof, I have hereunto affixed
the seal of said Society this eighteenth day of
November, in the year of our Lord one thou-
sand seven hundred and ninety-five.
             " WM. CALDBECK, Treas. [L.S.]
"Witness, John Cook, Sub-Treas."

  Blennerhassett declined entering upon the
duties of his profession until he had made a
tour upon the continent.
  France then presented, both to the philoso.
pher and politician, superior attractions over
any of her sister kingdoms. At the period of
Blennerhassett's visit she had been rocked by
the whirlwind of revolution; and the established
despotism of her military monarchs had been
crumbled into atoms. The massive structure
of the Bastile, which had stood four hundred
years, every stone of which was wet with the
tears and echoed the groans of four centuries
of oppression, had been torn from its summit to
its foundation, by the infuriated advocates of
popular freedom. On the anniversary of its
destruction, Louis Sixteenth, with thirty thou-
sand delegates from the confederated Nationqal
Guards of the kingdom, in the presence of five



hundred thousand of their countrymen, had
taken the oath of fidelity to the nation, to the
Constitution, and, all save the monarch himself,
to the king. But France was still trembling
from the convulsions of her people. Her recu-
perating energies were starting afresh, on a new
system of government, which had not yet gained
either the confidence or affection of her subjects.
Having witnessed the adoption of these new
measures, with doubts of their ultimate success,
Blennerhassett returned to his own country, in
time to escape the storm which prostrated the
hopes of the friends of the new constitution,
and destroyed the life of the unfortunate Louis.
  The same spirit of discontent which prevailed
in France had extended to Ireland. For centu-
ries had she groaned under the oppression of
successive English monarchs. Her submission
to the sceptres of Henry and of Richard had
been construed into the rivat of conquest; and
they sought to crush the native spirit of her
people, by fomenting discord and exercising
tyranny. Ireland had been blessed with a
genial soil. Nature had lavished her brightest
gifts upon her. The native character of her
population was not inferior to that of other na-
tions. But, of what avail were fertile fields,
or gigantic intellects and towering talent, when



national disorganization and political faction
perverted the gifts of Providence to selfish pur-
poses, or destroyed their usefulness, in the gene-
ral wreck of distracted governments and divided
subjects   Her manufacturing   interest and
commercial enterprise struggled long against
the monopoly of England; but the superior
power of her ruler enabled her to check their
prosperity, by the heavy hand of arbitrary
restraint. A deplorable want of union of senti-
ment and firmness of purpose, at all times pre-
vented a successful separation from her powerful
oppressor; and every attempt to claim her in-
dependence proved vain and abortive.
  Thus, for ages, has Ireland, as the captive in
his gloomy cell, awaked at times as from a
troubled dream, to behold, with longing eyes,
the dawn of the day of her emancipation; but,
finding the darkness still prevailing, gave her-
self again to slumber, that she might the more
readily forget her situation.
  England, fearful of her growing strength,
sought to subdue her spirit, by onerous exac-
tions, and denying her the privilege of a free
legislature. Not only against Ireland had she
exercised her arbitrary will, but also against
the colonies of her planting in North America.
Vain in the conceit of her imperial power, she



dared to exact obedience from peoples separated
by the wide Atlantic, and command the same
submission with which the oppressed subjects
of Ireland had yielded. While her experimental
philosophy had taught her that to retain her
authority she must exercise tyranny, she had
not reflected that there was a point in the
system of her oppression, where submission to
the will of an unyielding despot ceased to be a
  The spirit of independence was hovering over
the bloody altar of the American Revolution,
when Ireland again awoke to a sense of her own
condition. She gazed with animated delight at
the increasing success of American arms. Every
new victory found a sympathetic influence, re-
sponding with joy, in the secret recesses of her
own bosom. The feeble colonies of America,
spread over a vast extent of territory, with but
few facilities for conducting a war; with a hos-
tile Indian enemy in their rear, and the boasted
chivalry of England at their front; undis-
mayed by difficulty or the fear of defeat, after
seven years of war, were finally victorious. The
arrogance of England bowed its proud head to
the shrine of liberty; and Lord Cornwallis, her
favourite general, led back the relics of her con-
quered army, to commemorate, in the mother



country, the importance of her power, and the
emancipation of her colonies.
  Before they had well considered the reason
of their solicitude, the same spirit of independ-
ence had animated the Irish bosom; and, in
every corner of her territory, the fire of liberty
burst forth, in a blaze that threatened equal
destruction to British usurpation and kingly
government. The nation became aroused. Eng-
lish influence and English interests secured
partisans in church and state; and opposing
factions, from their intolerance and party ani-
mosity, had already commenced the Irish revo-
  The success of the cause of liberty in the
American colonies, affected, most sensibly, the
whole of Europe.    It appeared, indeed, as
though the fiat had gone forth, that monarchies
and despotisms were for ever to cease from
among men. " Strange and unforeseen events
were crowding the annals of the world;-the
established axioms of general polity began to
lose their weight among nations;-and govern-
ments, widely wandering from the fundamental
principles of their own constitutions, appeared
carelessly travelling the road to ruin."
  Such was the state of Europe; presenting an
aspect not unlike that upon which we, of later



days, have gazed, (and to which we still look,
with feelings of solicitude and hope,) when
Blennerhassett left the unhappy shores of
France, for those, not less miserable, of his na-
tive country.
  Ireland, it is true, from the helpless situation
of England, at a time when her foreign wars
and hapless defeats had exhausted the re-
sources of that powerful nation, had successfully
demanded the repeal of the, statute of sixth
George First, entitled "An Act for the better
securing the dependency of the kingdom of Ire-
land upon the crown of Great Britain;" but
her situation was not less distracted than before.
  Although it was difficult to keep aloof from
the entangling snares of party strife, Blenner-
hassett chose rather to pursue the more flowery
paths of literature than the sterner and more
rugged way of political preferment. To a mind
which sought within itself for sources of enjoy-
ment, the bustle and hurricane which reigned
around served to distract his meditations, and
interrupt the pleasure which, in seclusion, he
had hoped to find.
  Being the possessor of an estate, with consi-
derable additional fortune inherited at the death
of his father, he determined no longer to remain
in Ireland, subjected to the inconvenience and



danger which usually attend the feuds of fac-
tion; but, in some more remote and peaceful
region, where the noise of the infuriated mob
and war's dread clamour were never heard, he
hoped to spend a life of repose.
  He accordingly disposed of his lands to his
relative, Baron Ventry, and made immediate
preparation for departing.   Having closed his
business, he started for England, where his two
married sisters-one the consort of Lord King-
sale, the other of Admiral De Courcy-at that
time resided.t
  While here he frequently met with, and
finally became affianced to, a Miss Agnew,
daughter of the Lieutenant-governor of the Isle
of Man, and grand-daughter of the celebrated
general of that name, who fell at the battle of
Germantown. She was young, intelligent, and
beautiful. Possessed of an uncommon degree
of energy, linked to a temperament of romantic
ardour, she listened, with captivated delight, to
the fairy stories he repeated, of the far-off land
in the Western World. It is not, therefore, a

 Those who have spoken of this gentleman before, in connection
with Blennerhassett, erroneously style him Lord Ventry.
t In this statement I follow the lead of Dr. Hildreth and Mr.
Wallace; but as Lord Kingsale was also Admiral De Courey, I am
of opinion there was but one " sister" implicated.



matter of surprise that she consented- to join her
destinies with his, in the rela