Burr didn't think much of Hamilton when he met him. He just graduated, in only 2 years mind you, and now he was joining the fight for freedom in the revolution, like every other man who wanted to plant their names in the garden of history. For him though it was a matter of preserving his legacy, not shaping it, so he had to be more careful.
Careful though, didn't seem like a word in the vocabulary of Alexander Hamilton. He only just met him, yet he could feel the life surrounding him. It was almost humorous, he seemed to be 17, maybe 19, with wild and curly brown hair, distant and serious eyes that seemed to hide a whole other world, and a very small physique, yet he had the energy of a hyperactive 12 year-old.
'Pardon me, are you Aaron burr, sir?'
He asked in an innocent manner. Burr decided to humor him.
'That depends, who's asking?'
His eyes lit up, and he started rambling about his arguments with the bursar, and how he wanted gradate Kings College in two years to join the revelation. He reasoned There's no way he'll catch up, besides, an impulsive person like him would never make it out of the revolution alive.
'Talk less, smile more.'
He looked as if it was he had been slapped
'That's the only way to get ahead, don't let them know what you think, and you'll please everyone.' He explained. 'If you run your mouth off, you won't be talking at all Mr. Hamilton, for you won't be alive'
He muttered something that sounded like 'If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.' And walked into a building filled with people slurring, and chanting things like 'To the revolution!' And what-not, this wasn't my crowd, though could tell that Hamilton, from the look in his eye and that Cheshire grin, was in his element.
Sure enough, he walked out of that place with 3 more people I recognized as John Laurens, Marquis De Lafayette, and Hercules Mulligan. All being free spirits who'll probably get shot for not knowing when to keep quiet. He'll fit right in.
After that, meetings with Hamilton have been, thankfully, scarce. Other than the occasional run-in in the streets, Burr seems to have lost track of the peculiar man.
There have been a few instances where Burr couldn't help but notice him. Like when the loyalist, Samuel Seabury, proclaimed that the Congress in Philadelphia deserved to be condemned for conduct. Hamilton, unlike any other person would, wrote an entire pamphlet that refutes Samuel's claim.
Burr didn't understand why Hamilton took it so personal. 'If you stand for nothing, you fall for everything!' It was the height of folly… right? Of course it is. It's easy for Hamilton to say that, he has something to prove, and nothing to lose. Tread lightly. He told himself. He can't afford to think like this. All you need to do is wait for the moment, that's what you do, it's what separates you from them.
His next meeting with Hamilton, if possible, was even worse than the first.
The plan was simple, join the revolution, become Washington's confidant, learn from the best. Sure Washington wasn't very fond of Burr, the feeling was mutual, but these things matter in politics. His plan was fool proof, except he didn't count on one variable. Hamilton.
The man was taunting him, Burr knew it. Why though? What did Burr do? Was Hamilton just some malicious being with a desire to spite everyone he didn't like?
You're letting him get to you
That's right. It was just so easy to blame Hamilton, but he knew that he wasn't the one at fault. Washington was interested in Hamilton way before Burr was in the picture, he seemed to have adopted the role of father figure, much to Hamilton's irritation. It was actually rather amusing for Hamilton to deny this, oblivious to the general's affection.
You won this time Hamilton, but it was just luck.
Let the games begin.
He had a wife now. Elizabeth Schuyler-sorry, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. Daughter of one of the wealthiest generals in the nation, Philip Schuyler. It was a miracle he managed to when the heart of someone this high up the social class when he himself was a penniless orphan. Not only that, but he refused any money from his father-in-law. This man was getting more interesting by the second.
Burr couldn't deny his envy toward Hamilton. He had a family, who expected him to come home at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Burr was getting tangled up with Theodosia, a woman, already married, to a British officer no less!
It didn't matter, all Burr had to do was wait. Hamilton was getting lucky, but eventually, his luck will run out and Burr would be back on top.
It irked him. He irked him. Burr was now happily married to Theodosia, she was even pregnant with their son! Burr had to be even more careful now that he had someone expecting him.
Hamilton though, was getting even more reckless. Every day he would plead-beg the general for a command. Yet, it was all in vain for the general seemed set on keeping him far away from the chaos, and closer to the desk. After all, Hamilton was the best writer they had! They couldn't afford to lose him, even Burr knew that. Besides, Hamilton was expecting a son. The general knew the only way to ensure his wife wouldn't be a single mother was by keeping him in check.
Others didn't need that treatment, but they all knew how little self-control Hamilton had. This house-arrest, was necessary
Burr almost felt sorry for Hamilton until he did the unthinkable. That little arrogant immigrant had the nerve to threaten the general. If rumors are true, Hamilton told Washington he would quit, unless he was given a command. How desperate to die was this man?
The revolution's coming to an end anyway. Might as well give him this.
Hamilton did not disappoint in battle, he looked as if he was show-boating, though that shouldn't have surprised Burr. Miraculously, Hamilton survived, and they won the revolution. Relief flooded through him.
No more canons. No more constant fear of death. Hopefully, no more Hamilton.
It was just his luck. Of course Burr would pursue a career, and of course Hamilton would work next door.
Burr thought he would have more time now that Hamilton had to finish his studies. But he was just too fast, finishing a two-year course in only six months. Didn't he have children to look after! Was his wife really ok with Hamilton's endless ambition?
In their collaborations he was always trying to take the lead. Make it about him, being needlessly competitive. What did he have to prove anymore?
If that wasn't enough, he was too impatient to wait until morning to tell me his ludicrous plan to write an anonymous series of essays defending the new United States constitution. It was a waste of time, no one would read it, and besides, the constitution's a mess.
If you stand for nothing you'll fall for everything
He was wrong. He had to be….
Burr didn't think he'd do it, but he did. Sure enough, a series of essays were published, authored by John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, entitled the federalist papers. But no! That wasn't enough for Hamilton, he had to write 51 of them, have them approved, and become the secretary of the treasury department.
Maybe it was time he started acting instead of waiting. Hamilton seems to thrive at it, so it can't be that hard.
It worked. It actually worked! It was actually invigorating, he could can see why Hamilton likes it so much.
Running for senator, and taking Philip Schuyler's seat had been the highlight of his career. It was rather easy, I kept my opinions to myself, and pleased everyone, charmed the ladies and made sure they told their husbands who to vote for.
It was almost perfect until Hamilton stormed in my door demanding an explanation.
'I was simply seizing the opportunity Hamilton, and, if I may be so bold, why are you against me being a senator? I don't recall being told not to do so by you.'
'You changed parties to run against my father in law! Are you trying to make a fool of me Burr?'
'I had no ulterior motive Hamilton, I changed parties because of all the opportunities, you must see that.'
Unfortunately, his pride prevented Hamilton from seeing reason, and that was the end of their mutual respect, and the start of their demise.
The cabinet meetings where…not what Burr expected.
Jefferson, with his flamboyant purple coat, and Hamilton, who seemed more agitated than usual, were at each other's throats, taking every chance to insult the other. Washington, who treated this like an annual part of the meeting, tried to calm them down to no avail. Meanwhile, the senators were arguing about where to put the capital, and Burr was left in the corner thinking, 'Is this how the country is being run?'
While Hamilton and Jefferson finished their speeches on…
Can you blame him for not knowing? They seemed to talk about a new topic every minute.
Well anyway, when they were done with that, Washington took Hamilton's side. Surprisingly, Jefferson didn't look surprised, as if it were a normal occurrence. Maybe Washington still hasn't given up his fatherly role towards Hamilton, Burr would've though he might've given up by now.
But if Washington really was on Hamilton's beck and call, that would be trouble for Burr. Perhaps he had to find a new angle…
A way to avoid Washington, a way to preserve his family's legacy, a way to get rid of the menace that is Alexander Hamilton.
After all, the world wasn't wide enough for the both of them, and he wasn't planning on leaving.
Burr couldn't believe he was doing this. It was so unlike him, but he thought he had a chance, he was running for president.
He used the same techniques he used for getting the senator seats, and now that John Adams was out of the picture, it was just him and Jefferson. He could hear whispers in the street, apparently, he was a 'less extreme Jefferson'. He didn't know if that was good or bad, but it got him this far. He wasn't backing down anymore, and in a way, Hamilton was the one to thank for that.
If I win, I'll be sure to thank him.
Hamilton was….he was without a doubt the most sadistic, power-hungry, hypocritical, and proud person Burr has ever had the displeasure of meeting.
How dare he tell me to stand for something, when he's just going to push me down later. It was infuriating!
It all came down to a tie, him and Jefferson. No one could decide. So Hamilton had to come in, and convince people to vote for Jefferson because he was, 'The less dangerous out of the both of them.'
Didn't he hate Jefferson?! And what did he mean by 'less dangerous' Burr was the most peaceful person he knew.
So he challenged him to a duel.
They were at Weehawken, New Jersey. The son seemed to pleading for them to stop as it was red against the glassy sky. Hamilton arrived with his Nathanial Pendelton, and a doctor. He drew first position, but none of that mattered. It was the fact that he was wearing his glasses, the ones he so rarely wore! He had to have wanted to take deadly aim, for why else would he where them?
I had to shoot. It was the only way.
The last time I saw him was when we were rowing back across the Hudson. I heard him whisper 'That was some shot Aaron.'
I was stunned in hearing my first name and hesitated in replying, 'Thank you… Alexander. He smiled, and I knew I made a mistake, for had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, I would have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.