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The Hamilton - Burr Duel Reported in a Contemporary Boston Newspaper (SOLD)
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[HAMILTON-BURR DUEL]. Newspaper. Columbian Centinel & Massachusetts Federalist (Boston), July 25, 1804, featuring extensive coverage of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr of two weeks earlier. Under “Of The Late Duel,” there is a full column report on page 1. Then on page 2, two full columns. 2 pp. (lacking p3-4), 12½ x 20 in.

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Excerpts

The statement containing the facts that led to the interview between General Hamilton and Col. Burr, published in the Evening Post on Monday last, studiously avoided mentioning any particulars of what past at the place of meeting. This was dictated by suitable considerations at the time, and with the intention, whatever it might be deemed proper to lay before the public, should be made the subject of a future communication. The following is therefore now submitted.” (p1/c4)

Mr. P. [Hamilton’s second William Pendleton] expressed a confident opinion that General Hamilton did not fire first—and that he did not fire at all at Col. Burr. Mr. V. N. [Burr’s second William P. Van Ness] seemed equally confident in opinion that General H. did fire first—and of course that it must have been at his antagonist.” (p1/c4)

Col. Burr arrived first on the ground, as had been previously agreed; when General Hamilton arrived the parties exchanged salutations, and the seconds proceeded to make their arrangements. They measured the distance, ten full paces, and cast lots for the choice of position, both of which fell to the second of General Hamilton. They then proceeded to load the pistols in each others presence, after which the parties took their stations.... The parties being placed at their stations—the second who gives the word shall ask them whether they are ready; being answered in the affirmative, he shall say ‘present,’ after which the parties shall present and fire when they please.... both parties presented and fired in succession, the intervening time is not expressed, as the seconds do not precisely agree on that point. The fire of Col. Burr took effect, and General Hamilton almost instantly fell. Col. Burr then advanced toward General Hamilton, with a manner and gesture that appeared to General Hamilton’s friend to be expressive of regret, but without speaking, turned about and withdrew, being urged from the field by his friend....” (p2/c1)

The grief of the citizens of New-York, on the annunciation of the event of the duel, was universal;—and those holding political opinions opposed to Gen. H. appeared the most zealous to pay every mark of homage to his fame; and respect for his character.” (p2/c2)

[From James Cheetham, editor of The American Citizen and opponent of Hamilton:]

To a few of those whom I think and act in whatever relates to the administration of the State and General Governments, it may seem extraordinary that I, who while the General lived to give comfort to his family and splendor to his nation, was opposed to him on some political points, should, when laid in the cold and silent tomb, become a guardian of his fame, a vindicator of his wrongs.... His private virtues, his public services, his great abilities, unvoluntarily excite in me the warmest esteem for his memory.