Arnold Rogow
Arnold Rogow
A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
ISBN: 0809047535
A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
For almost two centuries, historians have had difficulty explaining the extraordinary duel that in July 1804 killed Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, and ended Vice President Aaron Burr's political career. It was well known that Hamilton disliked Burr—perhaps out of a protective fear for his own power and influence, or perhaps, according to another theory, because of jealousy over the attentions of one or more women. When Burr finally threw down his challenge, it followed more than a dozen years of difficult relations and political strife, culminating a few months earlier in Burr's defeat in the race for the governorship of New York, a defeat he attributed to Hamilton's machinations. But why a duel?

In A Fatal Friendship, the distinguished political scientist and writer Arnold Rogow demonstrates for the first time that the roots of the fatal encounter lay not in Burr's (admittedly flawed) political or private conduct but, rather, in Hamilton's conflicted history and character. With his detailed archival research, his close (and unprecedented) examination of the friendship between the two heroic figures, and his bold, imaginative writing, Rogow's brilliant new book will change forever our understanding of honor, politics, and friendship in the early American Republic.
—from the publisher's website

TRANSCRIPT
A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
Program Air Date: September 13, 1998

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Arnold A. Rogow, what is "A Fatal Friendship" about?
Mr. ARNOLD ROGOW, AUTHOR, "A FATAL FRIENDSHIP: ALEXANDER HAMILTON AND AARON BURR ": Well, it's a--it's focused on the duel in 1804 between Hamilton and Burr in which Hamilton was killed. But, more broadly, it's a--it's a biographical study of the two men and how it came to be that their friendship developed the way it did.
LAMB: Who was Alexander Hamilton? And then, after that, who was Aaron Burr?
Mr. ROGOW: He was the--well, first secretary of the Treasury under Washington. He was a p--the most prominent Federalist politician of his time. Burr w--at the time of the duel, was vice president of the United States under Thomas Jefferson. He had been a N--a New York state senator, had been in the New York Legislature. And the two of them were the most prominent lawyers in New York state and two of the most prominent in the country, in fact.
LAMB: What was dueling back in those days?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, dueling proceeded with--with a--a--a provocation usually involving honor, and the injured person could issue a--an invitation to the person who had--who had dishonored him or insulted him. And if the invitation was accepted, it--the--the--the duel itself was often called an interview, more polite language than we use today for certain--certain c--things. And if the e--and it was accepted, then the seconds arranged the details--the time, the place, pistols and so forth.
LAMB: How much of it went on back in those days?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, there was quite a bit. It was illegal in--in s--in some--several states, but w--it was widespread. El--Jackson was a noted duelist--President, you know, Andrew Jackson. And he, in fact, killed at least one man in a duel, but it did not interfere with him becoming president.
LAMB: When did dueling, by the way, end?
Mr. ROGOW: In this country, it went on into the 19th century. I don't know the exact time that the last duel was fought. I suspect later than--than we might think in the South.
LAMB: So you have Aaron Burr Jr...
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah.
LAMB: ...and Alexander Hamilton.
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: The duel was on what day?
Mr. ROGOW: On July 11th, 1804.
LAMB: Where?
Mr. ROGOW: At Weehawken, New Jersey, across the river, roughly across from 42nd Street today, on the New Jersey shore.
LAMB: Is it marked today by anything?
Mr. ROGOW: There is a--there have been several little plaques there that w--that don't last long as a rule, having been moved or stolen or whatever. And whether there's one there now I don't really know, but in the past there have been there, yeah.
LAMB: O--one of the interesting facts you had in your book is that--What is it?--they had--Chase Manhattan Bank owns the--the--one of the guns.
Mr. ROGOW: Owns both guns. Both guns.
LAMB: Both guns.
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: Where do they keep them?
Mr. ROGOW: In a vault, locked up.
LAMB: Don't display them.
Mr. ROGOW: No.
LAMB: Why not?
Mr. ROGOW: I guess because they--they--they would--you know, they don't want to--they w--they would like to have the pistols, but I guess they don't want to make too much of the fact that, you know, Hamilton was killed by Aaron Burr, and Burr being one of the founders of the Manhattan Company, which t--later became the Chase Manhattan Bank. They don't want to...
LAMB: Have you seen those pistols?
Mr. ROGOW: No. I have not, no. I've seen--I've r--seen articles--read articles about them and seen pictures of them.
LAMB: Why was the duel conducted, or whatever the term would be, at Weehawken, New Jersey?
Mr. ROGOW: Because it--it was illegal in New York, and--and the--the chances of getting away with it were much better in New Jersey. And, in fact, Burr--Burr was subsequently indicted for murder in both states, but in New Jersey, it was not--not pursued.
LAMB: So what time of day was it?
Mr. ROGOW: Early morning, between 7:00, perhaps 7:30.
LAMB: What kind of pistols did they have?
Mr. ROGOW: They had dueling pistols that had been modified, and that's one of the--the mysteries of this--of this. Weights had been added to the four ends to make them easier to balance and to--more t--and to aim, in a way, and the caliber was--was much greater than dueling pistols were supposed to be. It was over .50 caliber, which gives it--to give you an idea what that is, it's--the--the heavy machine gun of World War II was a .50-caliber machine gun. This was .55-caliber, roughly. So those pistols were designed less for dueling than for killing, in my view.
LAMB: So how does it happen? How did it work?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, the duel--the actual details are still contra--contradictory and--and controversial. Hamilton had res--had written before the duel that he'd d--he would reserve his fire and give Burr a chance to reconsider, as he put it. And when he was m--mor--mortally wounded and they were taking him back to New York in the boat, he said, `Be careful of that pistol that it--it--it will fire,' but it had been fired. Now his brother-in-law and hi--and his second went over--went to the dueling ground and they said that they found a piece of--a branch of a tree wh--at four feet--14 feet high, about four feet to the right of where Burr was standing that was broken off by the--by th--Hamilton's bullet. But the second--Hamilton's second claimed that Hamilton had fired involuntarily after being hit by Burr. In other words, the muscle finger hadn't--hat--had pulled the trigger. And it was discovered further that the--the gun had a hair trigger, meaning that all it took was a slight touch for the gun to go off.
LAMB: The Hamilton trigger had a hair trigger.
Mr. ROGOW: Hamilton had a hair trigger. Now one of the questions, of course, is: Did he touch the trigger too soon? Is that why the gun went off? Could he have--wou--wounded as he was and died the next day, could he have had enough strength in his hand to exert, roughly, a--a--you know, a--a--a pull on the--on the--on the trigger and so forth to set it off high above Burr? Or was he aiming at Burr and just touched it too soon and, as one of the dueling authorities said, booby-trapped himself?
LAMB: How far did they stand apart?
Mr. ROGOW: Probably about 10--10, 12 feet, something like that.
LAMB: And on what signal did they fire at one another?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, the u--the usual command was, `Fire,' you know, or, `Present' (pronounced prez-ent)--or, `Present (pronounced pree-zent).'
LAMB: And how long--who challenged--I mean, was it Hamilton to Burr; Burr to Hamilton?
Mr. ROGOW: Oh, Burr challenged Hamilton.
LAMB: How long before the actual duel?
Mr. ROGOW: He challenged Hamilton, I guess, in--it was--it was roughly in--in June, but in connection with remarks Hamilton made about him at a dinner in Albany in February in the course of a political meeting, remarks that were leaked to the Albany paper. And someone who was present, a Dr. Charles Cooper, said that Hamilton had said Burr was a dangerous man, and then he said he had j--he had gone, in effect, further than that and said something that was so despicable that he didn't repeat what it was in the--in the letter he was writing about this.
LAMB: Did you ever find out what...
Mr. ROGOW: No.
LAMB: ...what was despicable?
Mr. ROGOW: Nobody ever said what Hamilton s--said or reported what Hamilton said. There's--there's speculation that--and Gore Vidal was--wi--with his novel, "Burr," speculated and--to a fictional statement. But it--it wasn't real. I mean, it was debated up. It wasn't based on any fact--that Hamilton had said that Burr had an incestuous relationship with his daughter dia--Theo.
LAMB: Burr had a re--incestuous relationship with his daughter.
Mr. ROGOW: That was--that was Gore Vidal's speculation about it. And it is interesting, as I've--as I've discovered and others have discovered, that in 1797, long before the duel, he in writing a friend of his had--had--had Latin Roman names for people he wanted to talk about in his mail. And mail was intercepted widely in those days, so privacy was not assured.
LAMB: Hamilton's mail.
Mr. ROGOW: Hamilton and--well, Washington's, Jefferson's, Burr's, everybody's mail was opened. And his name for Burr was Savious. Now who was Savious? I spent a lot of time and effort and finally discovered that Savious was a Roman of the first century who had seduced his son and was--as a result, ca--was gonna be sentenced to death and committed suicide.
LAMB: Go back now. Alexander Hamilton was secretary of the Treasury.
Mr. ROGOW: Not at the time, but he had been, yes.
LAMB: Had been.
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: How old was he?
Mr. ROGOW: When he--when he died? Depending on what--what dir--date is accepted, I--I would say he was about 48--48 or 49.
LAMB: Aaron Burr Jr. was vice president of the United States.
Mr. ROGOW: At the time of the duel.
LAMB: How many people knew that this duel was gonna happen?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, several people knew, including, I think, Hamilton's father-in-law and friends of Hamilton's.
LAMB: But it wasn't a public thing.
Mr. ROGOW: No, no. But one of the mysteries of the--of the--of the--of this whole thing is why no one tried to prevent it. And to my knowledge, no one tried.
LAMB: Now the shot was fired.
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: What happened then?
Mr. ROGOW: Hamilton was hit in the lower right side and fell and was carried to the boat waiting in the river and taken to Ne--to New--New York.
LAMB: On the Hudson River there.
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah. And taken to the home of--of a friend. And, well, he was in considerable agony, and nothing, of course, was gonna save him, and he died the next day, about 36 hours later.
LAMB: And then what happened in--in this country? How much publicity did it get?
Mr. ROGOW: And then there was such an uproar that Burr, I don't think, was anticipating what--what was gonna happen--such an uproar that this was murder, cold-blooded m--malice was involved. Some newspapers went so far as say it had been plotted l--long ahead of any remarks Hamilton made in Albany, that Burr has--and his henchmen were out to kill Hamilton and destroy him, and that the whole thing was--was--in other words, it was more like--more a murder than anything else. And so he was indicted in New York and New Jersey, and he took a boat across that, toward New Jersey, Perth Amboy, and--and went into Pennsylvania. He thought he was going to be delivered by the g--by the governor of New Jersey back to New York for trial, and he was considerably--one of the few times in his life he was just a bit anxious was that--on that occasion.
LAMB: How old was he, by the way?
Mr. ROGOW: He was abou--he was one year younger than Hamilton.
LAMB: And he went to Pennsylvania. And did he go beyond that?
Mr. ROGOW: He did. He went--made his way south and found to his surprise he had more friends than he thought in the South. The South generally does not have the high regard for Hamilton that people in the North do. And so he--he was a--more of a hero there, and still is, a--as a matter of fact. He figures in--in Eudora Welty--one of Eudora Welty's stories--short stories, and so forth. And the--the general view, of course, is that Jefferson, later on in--in the so-called tr--treason indictment, was--was fr--framing him. And that's a view that some Southerners still have today.
LAMB: How much of that--I know you discuss this in your book--how much credence do you give to the fact that Alexander Hamilton committed suicide?
Mr. ROGOW: I think that it is--it is very possible. He was, I think, very depressed. He'd lost his son in a duel less than three years before, possibly with the same pistol. Circumstances were very similar i--in terms of what was reported about the duel and whether Ham--whether his son fired or not; it was said by his second, he did not fire and so forth. His son was his oldest and--and probably most beloved child of the eight he had. And as a re--one re--consequence of that was, his daughter lost her mind and would remain insane the rest of her life.
LAMB: Her name?
Mr. ROGOW: Her name was Angelica, like--like his sister-in-law.
LAMB: Now did she become insane, do you think, as a result of the brother dying or the father dying?
Mr. ROGOW: The brother. She was--she--I mean, she--she--he died before his--her father did. She was never the same again. And she talked about him all through her life as if he were still alive and--her brother. They were very close.
LAMB: Now when did you get interested in all this?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, it goes back to when I was in college. You know, I was fascinated by this duel and I could not understand why these--why these two prominent Americans, one the vice president of the United States, would--would fight a duel in which one would be killed and which would terminate the life of one and the political career of the other. And I sort of, in the back of my mind, over many years would--just thought, `Well, I mean, I should have a look at this.' And I did and I...
LAMB: Where'd you go to college?
Mr. ROGOW: I went to the University of Wisconsin and got a PhD at Princeton.
LAMB: And do you remember the moment you got interested in this? I mean, was it in a class or...
Mr. ROGOW: I think it was in a class, yeah. But I can't remember the exact moment, no.
LAMB: And--and when was the first time you really looked into it?
Mr. ROGOW: I started about--well, it was roughly four years ago. And I--I'd been collecting odds and ends, you know, notes over the years, newspaper clippings and odds and ends of this sort. And I decided to really get down to work, and I contacted a publisher and--about a contract and so on and proceeded.
LAMB: What were you doing for a living then?
Mr. ROGOW: I was retired from teaching in 1985, subsequently went into the rare book business and in that for 10 years with a partner. And we both decided to give that up because he wanted to retire completely from everything. So I was, i--in a way, casting about for something to do.
LAMB: And where did you do the rare book business?
Mr. ROGOW: New York.
LAMB: The city?
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, in the city, out of my apartment.
LAMB: Did you ever find in rare books anything to do with Alexander Hamilton or Aaron Burr?
Mr. ROGOW: No. Mostly we had fiction and--and, you know, first editions of this sort of thing. I--so we had some social science, but nothing--I don't remember anything about Hamilton or Burr, no.
LAMB: Has a book ever been written about the duel?
Mr. ROGOW: Not about the duel as such. There've been bio--many biographies, of course, of Hamilton and some of Burr and been articles about the duel, but no, not to my knowledge, no--any book deals with the--with the duel in such detail.
LAMB: What was i--along your way in the research, what were the most valuable things that you found, and where did you find them?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, I was surprised about a number of things. One is, I think, the b--the big surprise for me was that Burr's life has almost no correspondence to his reputation. You know, he's--he's regarded as one of the great villains of American history, along with Benedict Arnold, and Burr was--was quite an impressive man. I mean, a--he was a--a--a--a very open person, kind, he wrote letters to his slaves and servants, solicitous about their welfare. He was invariably polite to everyone. He never made--never m--was known to make any statement about Hamilton or was critical of him till afterward.
LAMB: You didn't find that anywhere? No?
Mr. ROGOW: Nothing. And he was--and I don--never cri--I--I don't think I found a single statement of his that was ne--critical of Jefferson or Adams or anybody. He was--he has--he was a sort of an easy-going person, basically. I would say that he was sort of the Clinton type. I--I kept thinking of Clinton here, now and again, in connection with this. A friend of Hamilton's said he was a mere matter-of-fact man. He th--he enjoyed life. He didn't--he was not an ideologue. He did not have any great ideology or conviction about anything. He believed in kind of live and let live. And he thought Hamilton, ri--right until almost the end, was a friend of his. Hamilton would come to dinner. Hamilton's daughter and Burr's daughter probably were--were friends. I was extremely--I mean, I was--I'm a--still mystified as to how--how it is that he got the reputation he has.
LAMB: By the way, did he go back to continue as vice president?
Mr. ROGOW: After--after a pause in the South, yes, he came back to preside over the final--his final days as--as vice--presiding officer of the Senate.
LAMB: Who was the president that he served as vice president to?
Mr. ROGOW: Jefferson.
LAMB: What was their relationship?
Mr. ROGOW: Not good. Jefferson used Burr to--to become elected--to get himself elected in 1800. But he discarded Burr after w--after he no longer needed him--that's my view, anyhow--and--and refused to give him any patronage. And it was so--thereby weakening his position in New York in terms of politics and so forth.
LAMB: What party would Aaron Burr be in today?
Mr. ROGOW: Democrat.
LAMB: What party would Alexander Hamilton be in?
Mr. ROGOW: Republican.
LAMB: But as you point out in the book, Alexander Hamilton was very big on centralized government.
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah. But he was--he was even bigger on--on the role of business and--and, you know, the--the--the industrial relation of America and measures to promote industry and manufacturing. And he would have not--not have hesitated here to--to--you know, to--to do what, I think, a lot of cons--Republicans today still believe is worth doing, which is promoting business and s--and commerce and trade and--and so on, and...
LAMB: Where did you find the most useful archival information?
Mr. ROGOW: In the--first of all, I have--I have to say that the--the work of Harold Siret--the late Harold Siret and his colleagues published 27 volumes of Hamilton's papers. And--and that's just about everything that's still available. And the--and two volumes of Burr's papers. These--these sources were very important. The rest I found in th--in the New York Historical Society, the New York State Library in Albany, New York Public Library and places of this sort.
LAMB: And who published your book?
Mr. ROGOW: Hill and Wang, which is a subsidiary of Farrer Straus Giroux.
LAMB: And how did you convince them that this was a book somebody would buy?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, I submitted a--a--a synopsis to the ch--the editor at Hill and Wang, pu--you know, the editor and publisher, Arthur Wang. And he liked it and so he bought the book.
LAMB: And where--where do you live today?
Mr. ROGOW: Live in Man--Manhattan, the Upper East Side.
LAMB: And where do you--where did you teach before you retired?
Mr. ROGOW: When I retired, I was teaching at the City University of New York. Before that, I taught at Stanford and the University of Iowa.
LAMB: Where were you born?
Mr. ROGOW: Pennsy--Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
LAMB: And what did you teach?
Mr. ROGOW: Political science.
LAMB: Did you ever teach this subject, this--this duel, in the class?
Mr. ROGOW: No. I didn't teach much history. I--I--I taught mostly American government and politics, constitutional law and that sort of thing.
LAMB: W--the women in both of their lives, it seems like that is a thread through the book. Who was Alexander Hamilton married to?
Mr. ROGOW: He was married to a--the oldest daughter of Philip Schuyler. I mean, he cust--Elizabeth--he customarily called Betsy. She was a rather, I think, plain woman. There's one portrait of her, which is in the book. Her eyes, I think, are her striking feature. And in marrying her, he was marrying into one of the most important and wealthiest families in New York. He himself was illegitimate, from the--from the island of Nevis, and arrived in America penniless. So his story is--is a great--you know--you know, very much in the--the tradition of Horatio Alger, working himself up into positions of wealth, prominence, and so on, from--starting from nowhere.
LAMB: Where did they meet?
Mr. ROGOW: He and his wife? They met in Morristown early on in the Revolutionary War, when--when Hamilton was serving on Washington's staff as a kind of aide-de-camp.
LAMB: How many children did they have?
Mr. ROGOW: Eight.
LAMB: Did they all live?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, one was killed in a duel. The other...
LAMB: I mean, but at birth--I mean, did al...
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, when he died--Hamilton died, there were seven surviving children.
LAMB: Are there any descendents left?
Mr. ROGOW: There are. Yes, there are Hamiltons and--and descendents. I don't have any contact with them. This sort of book would not be popular with them because it's--it takes a rather more critical view of Hamilton than his--his descendents, I think, would like. A--and so I'm not--I don--I don't know any of them personally, no.
LAMB: How do you know that he was illegitimate?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, it's--it's clear that--that--from the records that existed in--in Nevis, that his--his mother was unmarried at the time. She had separated from her husband--first husband, with whom she had a son, and was, ic--was, in fact--in the divorce suit, she was accused of whoring, you know, adultery with nu--numerous individuals. And the two s--the two sons that she had, Hamilton and his brother, were--were referred to as illegitimate, as bastards.
LAMB: When did he come to the United States?
Mr. ROGOW: He came to the United States about 17--I guess he was about 14 years old, so roughly about 1776--8, so--something like that.
LAMB: Here's a portrait of him in the book. How tall was he?
Mr. ROGOW: He was about 5'7"--5'6" or 5'7", something like that. And Burr was about--almost the same height, the same build and they were slight--small men, s--and very handsome. And physically they had a strong resemblance to each other in the way they were built and so forth.
LAMB: This is a portrait of Aaron Burr, and--do you know who did this, by the way? Did--did you have a hard time finding portraits of him?
Mr. ROGOW: No. There are portraits of--of--of Burr in the historical societies and also of Hamilton. The only--that's the only portrait of--of his wife that is known to exist at the Museum of the City of New York.
LAMB: And you've got this in a--'cause you only got a couple here in the--in the book. This would be his wife. Let's see, where--where is she?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, she's on the other page, I think.
LAMB: OK.
Mr. ROGOW: That's--that's Burr's daughter and...
LAMB: That's the daughter...
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah.
LAMB: ...and--no, I don't see it here. Anyway, we'll find it and drop it in.
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah.
LAMB: Could Alexander Hamilton have been president because he was born outside the United States back then?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, that would have depended on the--on the Supreme Court interpretation. And he was born outside the United States, but at that time, it wasn't the United States. So probably that would--he could have been president. But he--when he died, he was in such disrepute, you know, and for various reasons that he--hi--his day was over politically in terms--in terms of any higher office, I think.
LAMB: One of the things you point out early in the book is that Alexander Hamilton quit as an aide-de-camp to George Washington. And you report a lot of negative things that he had to say about George Washington. Was that hard to find?
Mr. ROGOW: Yes, it is. It--it was mostly within reports of what he told people; there's almost nothing in writing on the subject. But it's pretty clear, I think, that he had no res--no great respect for Washington, certainly none--none intellectually. And I think he s--he s--he--he--he said Washington was very useful to him, which he was. But he didn't--I don't think he basically liked Washington, though.
LAMB: What age was he when he worked for Washington?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, he would have been about, mm, 20 maybe, something like that.
LAMB: And he was able just to quit when he was tired of being the aide-de-camp?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, he had a--he had an altercation with Washington. He kept Washington waiting a few minutes, he said, at various times; a couple of minutes, then it was 10 minutes. So no one knows exactly, but Washington rebuked him and Hamilton said, in effect, `Well, sir, if you feel that way, I'm resigning as--from your staff.'
LAMB: And what did he do after that? What'd he go on to do?
Mr. ROGOW: He went back to--up to--up to Albany, where--to be with his wife and--and her family. And they went back to the law and then--but--but continued to--to want to be in the Army in some capacity. And what he wanted to do throughout the war--the Revolutionary War--was--was--was have a command of some sort. He didn't want to be a staff officer; he wanted to be a line officer, see combat. And he kept pestering Washington for a commission and finally got one just in time for Yorktown, the last battle of the r--of the Revolution. He led a--an infantry outfit i--in that battle. It wasn't a great battle, it wasn't a major one. The French carried the burden of the--of the--of the victory, for the most part. So he saw some combat, to be sure.
LAMB: And what was Burr doing at this time?
Mr. ROGOW: Burr had--by that time, was out of the Army. He had--he had served much--much more active service than Hamilton. He had commanded a--a regiment. He had served with General Montgomery in--in the Battle of Quebec, which Montgomery was killed and Burr standing right next to him and so forth. He'd been on a nu--in a number of campaigns. And--but he became very ill, and there's nothing really known about what the illness was, th--but he was--he--he described himself as a semi-invalid for 18 months. And I don't know, that was the only--I was unable to find out exactly what--what the problems were.
LAMB: Could you find where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton first met? Mr ROGOW: My suspicion--and this is all I have to go on--is that they--they met in Elizabethtown, it was called then; now Elizabeth, New Jersey. They were--b--and Burr was there after graduating from Princeton. It was then the College of New Jersey, but now Princeton. He was out there on and off visiting relatives who lived there. And Hamilton went to a kind of a prep school there to prepare himself for Princeton, but did not get in. He was not admitted to Princeton and ended up in--i--in the--what was then called King's College in New York, now Columbia University. But my--I have a suspicion the town was small enough and they were both interested in girls, lifelong b--habit of both of them, and they may well have met there. There's no record of that. No one--neither one ever said they had.
LAMB: Where is Alexander Hamilton today buried, and is his family with him?
Mr. ROGOW: Trinity Church Yard.
LAMB: Where?
Mr. ROGOW: Trinity Church Yard in Manhattan.
LAMB: Down in lower Manhattan...
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...near Wall Street?
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: And where is Aaron Burr Jr. buried?
Mr. ROGOW: In P--in Princeton, New Jersey, not far from the graves of his father and grandfather, who were both presidents of Princeton--both ministers, by the way.
LAMB: 'Cause I remember his father died fairly early in his life?
Mr. ROGOW: He did. So did his mother.
LAMB: And what impa--wha--how old were they?
Mr. ROGOW: Burr was about two.
LAMB: So he never knew his father?
Mr. ROGOW: Not really. And he can't have known his mother very--very--very well because she was--she was--she died shortly after the father. In--in less than a year, he lost his father and mother and grandparents.
LAMB: And what kind of a young life did he have and who--who raised him?
Mr. ROGOW: His uncle, his--his mother's brother. And he lived with him. And according to some of the anecdotes, he was some--somewhat of a rebellious youngster, getting into scrapes and sometimes getting--he said he'd be beaten like a sack by his--by his uncle. But he--he--he firs--went to Princeton early and graduated in about the middle of his class.
LAMB: And when did he meet his wife?
Mr. ROGOW: He met her during the--in the course of the Revolutionary War. She was then married to a British officer who was in the West Indies, and they had five children. And she and Burr became very close, how--you know, romantically. And when he...
LAMB: Before--before she--before her husband was--died?
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, but he died not long after that, I think, of--of some--of a fever or something of the sort. So then she was free to marry Burr. And she did. And she was 10 years older, by the way, than he.
LAMB: How many children did they have together?
Mr. ROGOW: They had one surviving child. They--they have had two others that died early.
LAMB: And the name of his wife was...
Mr. ROGOW: Theodosia.
LAMB: And the name of his daughter that he was accused of having incest with...
Mr. ROGOW: Theodosia as well. The--oh, Theodosia was her name as well, but in the book, I refer to her as Theo so it's clear that I'm talking about her and not her mother.
LAMB: And what evidence is there that you found that they did have a relationship--physical relationship?
Mr. ROGOW: None. I didn't find any evidence.
LAMB: And do you have any sense from what you read that they were...
Mr. ROGOW: I think they were extremely close, closer than most fathers and daughters. I think there was a certain amount of--of physical, should we say, contact, you know, perhaps affection. Burr was a very physical person. He was also a widower 'cause his wife had be--died early. And I think it's probably--Hamilton may have observed, possibly, or somebody observed some playfulness, let's say, between them that--that looked suspicious, especially what might have looked suspicious to Hamilton who, I think, was carrying on an affair with his sister-in-law, his wife's sister, Angelica.
LAMB: Go back over that one again.
Mr. ROGOW: Well, Hamilton was guilty of incest i--if that's the case, you see, I mean, having an--an affair with his--with his sister-in-law.
LAMB: And what evidence is there that--you're saying that his wife, Angelica's sister, whose name was...
Mr. ROGOW: Angelica.
LAMB: I'm sorry. This--his wife's name...
Mr. ROGOW: Betsy.
LAMB: ...Betsy's w--sister was Angelica...
Mr. ROGOW: Correct.
LAMB: And--and what evidence did you find that Alexander Hamilton was having an affair with her?
Mr. ROGOW: It was widely believed by his friends. It--the correspondence is very suggestive of that, especially her correspond--her letters. She calls him all sorts of lo--love--love language, you know, uses love--love terms of all sorts, `Little rogue,' you know, and, `my dearest one.' And when she's--when she's in America by herself, by the way, her husband in London, I think they saw a great deal of each other, which would have been about 1789. And when she leaves for the--to go back to--to London, she says, `I can hardly stand it. I--I mean, I'm--I--I'm not sure I wo--won't come back right away.'
LAMB: You point out at one point, even when she was in this country that Alexander Hamilton was gone for--What?--30, 40 days or something like that, and--and his wife didn't even know where she was and--and is...
Mr. ROGOW: Yes, at various times it's not clear where he was. He was presumably--you like--you--you could say he was doing cases somewhere in upper--upper--upper New York state--you know, handling some cases with the law. But she was away, too, on her lodgings in New York--in New--in New York City, so there's a period when they might have been together somewhere.
LAMB: In 1804, when the duel occurred, how many people were there in the United States?
Mr. ROGOW: There were roughly about, I would say, four million, five million, something like that.
LAMB: And how many people lived in New York City?
Mr. ROGOW: About maybe half a million, something like that. I've forgotten the exact numbers. I had them all originally, but I--I--I--something like that, I think.
LAMB: I mean, how...
Mr. ROGOW: And I've been c--I'm pretty certain.
LAMB: ...and--and h--where was the capital in 1804?
Mr. ROGOW: The capital was in f--was--first, you know, started in--in New York, then went to Philadelphia, then went to Washington.
LAMB: But in 1804, it was in Washington?
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: What was Alexander Hamilton doing--if Aaron Burr was the vice president and Alexander Hamilton had been the secretary of the Treasur--Treasury--by the way, under what president?
Mr. ROGOW: Washington.
LAMB: For how long?
Mr. ROGOW: For about four years.
LAMB: And he resigned.
Mr. ROGOW: Yes, he did.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, he s--he s--found it tiring. He--he was under attack for--charged with corruption, with using inside information to benefit himself and his family, trading privately in Treasury securities and so on. There'd been a scandalous affair, got into the public press.
LAMB: This Maria Reynolds.
Mr. ROGOW: Maria Reynolds, right. Right.
LAMB: Want to tell us about that?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, she said that--that he had colluded with her husband--he said that, rather, he had--he had had an affair with her.
LAMB: Who is she, by the way?
Mr. ROGOW: She was a Philadelphia woman, who some say was a--was a former prostitute, but turns out to have been in--in--born into a good family, and may have been a very respectable one, and that she was married to a man who was in jail named James Reynolds, along with some others, for s--speculation in Treasury securities and embezzlement. And h--he claimed--and her husband claimed that Hamilton had cooperated with him in this and was a--a co-embezzler, in effect, and--and had been ma--making money on his--on his own as secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton wrote a long pamphlet saying that, `None--none of this is true. What I am guilty of is an affair with his wife, Maria.'
LAMB: What impact did that have on him in the public?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, his friends were horrified that, first of all--no--not so much that it happened, but that he wrote a pamphlet about it, confessing it and so forth. And they thought that, you know, he--that he--th--this is one of the reasons why that he began--he bec--he came under the perception about that time that maybe he was unstable. And this perception grew as--in the--in the years that followed because he did a number of very rash things. He wrote a longer pamphlet about John--why John Adams was not suited to be president for a second time and was running for second term--from the same party; they were both Federalists. So one thing after the other--he made people think this man is not really stable, and possibly worse than unstable.
LAMB: You said--in the early part of the book, you said, `Most Americans think that Thomas Jefferson was a saint and that Alexander Hamilton was a martyr and that Aaron Burr was a villain.
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: And did you fight with those labels?
Mr. ROGOW: Yes.
LAMB: And--and--and w--if you were to put a label on Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, what would your label be after what your research shows?
Mr. ROGOW: Jefferson, I think, was--was a hypocrite, and I think he was a very conservative man, basically. He said some of the right things, but his actions were otherwise. He was a reactionary even in his own time. He was a racist f--I mean, even at a time when--when racism was--was a general thing, he--what he wrote about b--about blacks was a--was--was painful to read. I mean, it really is much worse than anything I read by anyone else, whereas Hamilton and--and Burr both believed in the emancipation of--of slaves and so on. He did not--Jefferson did not believe in women's education.

It was not until this century, by the way, the University of Virginia generally opened its doors to women. The university was very proud to have founded--you know, women should be taught, you know, domestic skills. They shouldn't dance after marriage, they should stay out of politics. Burr raised his daughter to be skilled in all kinds of ways, not domestically. She didn't know how--how to sew or knit and embroider, but she knew s--he had her reading all kinds of books, Givens, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," learning languages, becoming aw--aware of the world's knowledge. He wanted her to be, you know, an in--intellectual woman. He was really the first feminist in this country.
LAMB: Aaron Burr?
Mr. ROGOW: 'Cause see, no one's ever mentioned this for some reason. I mean, he was a great admirer of--of Mary Wollstonecraft's book, "The Vindication of the Rights of Women." He stayed up all night reading it when he got a copy. He wrote enthusiastically to his wife. And none of this seems to have registered with anyone. I mean, I--I'm very pr--what puzzles me even today is, even modern historians sort of go out of their way, you know, to put him down. Joseph Ellis in his book on Jefferson--a very good book--says, well, you know, whenever Burr was around, it was an air--an air of conspiracy or a smell of conspiracy or something like that. And the--Fawn Brody, who was--the late Fawn Brody, who was a professor of history at UCLA, and a woman I admired a great deal as a historian and wrote some good books and so on, is almost hysterical when she writes about Burr. I don't know whether you--you have it there handy, but she quotes him of--of--of plotting to assassinate Jefferson, a pure case of paranoia, of a--of a psycho--psychopathic liar. I mean, she goes on and on for almost a page.
LAMB: So you--you got the label on--on Thomas Jefferson as being a hypocrite.
Mr. ROGOW: I think so.
LAMB: And then on Aaron Burr on--among other things, being a feminist. What else would you call him? What--what--what kind of--instead of being a villain, he was a...
Mr. ROGOW: I would say he was--he was a very likable, admirable man in many ways. He had very few--if you allow for the womanizing, ta--don't consider that to be sinful, he was a man of his time, you know. He wa--he was, as I said, an ideologue. He--he believed in tolerance. He was a stoic. He took a lot of adversities in life, never complained, rarely--rarely explained anything, he just took life as it was; a matter of fact man, as--as Sedgwick called him.
LAMB: Now you said that--that historians and Americans think of Alexander Hamilton as a martyr. What would you call him?
Mr. ROGOW: I would call him a--a--a kind of a borderline type, in psychological terms, meaning that he was unstable. He was driven by ambition. He was--he could be ruthless. He was certainly capable of dishonesty on a--on a--a massive--a massive level. And if anybody was dangerous in terms of what I think of American ideals, it was Hamilton, not Burr.
LAMB: Why?
Mr. ROGOW: 'Cause it was Hamilton who really said, `I have no use for democracy'; made it very clear, he had no use for ordinary people. He thought children--children of a very tender age should work in factories and so forth. He horrified some of his own friends with some of his views. He was--he was good about slavery. He did believe in--in the emancipation of slaves and believed that--that--that blacks should be serving in the--in the Army, which the service was totally opposed to, of course. So he had some virtues, to be sure, but--but a martyr, no. S--far from, I think, a hero--no.
LAMB: His wife lived for how long?
Mr. ROGOW: His wife lived to be 97. She died in 1854. She was a widow twice as long as she was a wi--his wife.
LAMB: What did she do the rest of her life?
Mr. ROGOW: She was in--in ge--involved herself in--in orphanages in New York and worthy causes and so on. And--but mostly she devoted herself to--to cultivating the reputation of her husband, promoting the biography of him and so forth. It was rather boring and one might even say very favorable to everything and she de--she destroyed every li--pamphlet she could find about the Reynolds affair di--by her husband. And any enemy of his was her e--lifelong enemy.
LAMB: Based on your researchers you've gone through this period in our own history, how di--if all--if these three men lived today--I mean, we know so much about 'em in your book about their own trysts and their womanizing and all that stuff. Did they know that in America back then?
Mr. ROGOW: They had that reputation, yeah.
LAMB: Did they make a big thing out of it the press?
Mr. ROGOW: No.
LAMB: And if they lived today, what kind of a li--how--how difficult would it be for them to be in American politics today?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, I think that--that--that--that--that they--Burr, of course, would find what's--what's happening today very familiar. That he got--he got some of this treatment in--himself in his own lifetime. He was attacked for all kinds of things and--and--and then--including coli--corruption and--and, of course, his womanizing and his--his behavior in politics. Later on, of course, were the treason trial. He was a--be--believed by many Americans--I guess still is--still believed as--as having contemplated treason against the United States.
LAMB: And what was that about?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, he was acquitted of the charge that he was--wanted to lead a--an army South and liberate or separate the Western United States--west of the Mississippi and south into Mexico and separate these--these areas and set himself up as a kind of leader, king or something of the sort.
LAMB: This was after he was vice president.
Mr. ROGOW: This was--yeah, this was 1807. And Jefferson led the charge. The--the key piece of evidence was a letter, now s--now believed to have been a forgery, not written by Burr at all, but which Jefferson thought was a--or said was written by Burr. So he was--he was in seven court proceedings, including one--one presided over by Chief Justice John Marshall, and in all of them, he was acquitted.
LAMB: And the treason trial was in 1807.
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: How long did he live?
Mr. ROGOW: Another 30 years, roughly. He went--he went in t--in 1870--in 1808, he went to--abroad. And when he was abroad, you know, he did try to--or get funds for this expedition of his, to the South. There are people who think that he really was--was committing treason. I--my view is, he wanted to bring an army into Mexico and in the Spanish area of what's called Spanish Florida in those days and--and--and ex--expel the Spaniards from--from those areas and perhaps, you know, set himself up as a--as a political leader, much the way Sam Houston did later on in Texas. I don't think he contemplated treason.
LAMB: What did he do late in his life and where did he live?
Mr. ROGOW: He was in eng--he was in Europe four years. His--his daughter, who lived in South Carolina, had a...
LAMB: Theo.
Mr. ROGOW: ...Theo had one son. And the few months before his return, the son died at the age of 10, her son, his only grandchild. And...
LAMB: A few months before he returned from Europe.
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, he was on--almost on his way back when the son died. And her daugh--and when he got--his--his daughter Theo was coming north to see him, hadn't seen him since he left for Europe, and her ship disappeared off Cape Hatteras. She was never seen again.
LAMB: What about her husband?
Mr. ROGOW: He died a few years later. He was heartbroken and never recovered from the duel--the death of both his daught--his wife and his son. But Burr went on. Burr was a--was rather stoic. He went on for 30 more years.
LAMB: Where'd he live?
Mr. ROGOW: New York.
LAMB: And there are a couple of houses, one's G--Grange and the other one's Richmond Hill.
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hmm. Richmond Hill doesn't--doesn't--is--is--no longer exists.
LAMB: What was it?
Mr. ROGOW: It was a big house--an estate with--with several hundred acres of land, not far from the Hudson River. Roughly north was the Hudson tu--you know, Tunnel today.
LAMB: The Ho--the Holland Tunnel.
Mr. ROGOW: I mean--sorry, Ho--Holland Tunnel. Yeah.
LAMB: On the Hudson River.
Mr. ROGOW: On the Hudson River, yeah. But ….close to it.
LAMB: And what was controvers...
Mr. ROGOW: Pardon?
LAMB: What was controversy about Richmond Hill?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, it was--he borrowed money to buy it. He--he--he borrowed money to furnish it.
LAMB: Aaron Burr.
Mr. ROGOW: Aaron Burr. And he was continually taking out mortgages and so forth, trying to scrape--keep the thing together. And finally, of course, he lost it. But there was no--no real scandal about it that I know of.
LAMB: And what about Grange?
Mr. ROGOW: The Grange is--still exists. It is now in Harlem. It's, you know, about 143rd--44th Street and Convent Avenue. It's just a relic, you know. It's surrounded by buildings--apartment houses and so forth and it's...
LAMB: Is it open for tourists?
Mr. ROGOW: It's open sometimes, yeah. Some--not--not every day, but sometimes.
LAMB: And Alexander Hamilton--Hamilton lived there for how long?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, he never actually lived there. He would--he would come there for the weekends when--you know, holidays and so forth, but not long, only a few years. He didn't have the house very long.
LAMB: Now as you went through the history of all this, did you find anybody else in history that feels the way you do about Jefferson, Burr and Hamilton?
Mr. ROGOW: You mean who's well-known?
LAMB: N--I mean, just as you're...
Mr. ROGOW: I have friends who are historians who--who--who sort of agree, I guess.
LAMB: I mean, are you fighting a trend that was going the other way?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, I think--as I think I wrote somewhere in the book, I think opinions are beginning to change about Jefferson. He's becoming--coming under some more critical view than he has been through in the past. Hamilton, I think, is--is--is also becoming perhaps more critically viewed, and--but not--not Burr. Burr's reputation continues to be as well as it ever was, I--I think, and I don't expect my book to have any real im--impact on that.
LAMB: Why not?
Mr. ROGOW: I think the--the--the mythology about Burr is still entrenched and, you know, I mean, I don't think it's--it's--I--I would hope that, of course, it would have some--some effect, but I don't--I don't--I don't think so.
LAMB: What about Gore Vidal's book? What did you think of that--on Burr?
Mr. ROGOW: I liked the book very much and I had some correspondence with--with Vidal as a result of it. I--it's a very imaginative tale and he wri--he writes extremely well. Much of it is plausible, not the bus--business about incest. I mean, there's no evidence for that. But as he wrote me, he couldn't imagine any other reason why Burr would have challenged Hamilton to a duel. He c--he just couldn't come up with anything himself, Gore Vidal, with any other explanation. But it's a good book. I--I like the book very much. And it was, of course, a s--a very popular book.
LAMB: You--I want to go back to something you said earlier. You said there was evidence all through the process that Hamilton and Burr were social friends...
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: ...or at least socially together a lot.
Mr. ROGOW: Right. Right.
LAMB: Ho--how much of that evidence is there?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, we know that they--they--that--that Hamilton would come to dinner. They were also know--they were co-counsel in many cases--not in all cases; sometimes Hamilton was on the oth--one side, Burr on the other.
LAMB: Were they both lawyers?
Mr. ROGOW: Both lawyers. And--but they often were on the same side, representing the same clients.
LAMB: Did they...
Mr. ROGOW: So they knew each other, certainly.
LAMB: Did they disagree politically? I mean, not--not the party--what--what party was Burr in?
Mr. ROGOW: Burr was in the--it wa--was--it was called the Republican Party by--by, we would say now, the Democrats, a liberal party an--anti-Federalist, more of a state's rights party under Jefferson and so forth.
LAMB: And what party would Tom Jefferson--Thomas Jefferson been in?
Mr. ROGOW: Republican.
LAMB: And what party would Alexander Hamilton have been in?
Mr. ROGOW: Today or then?
LAMB: Then.
Mr. ROGOW: Federalist Party. The Federalists elected--you know, Washington was a Federalist and Adams. But no--no president after that was a Federalist.
LAMB: Was the hatred between Alexander Hamilton and Burr--or at least Hamilton to Burr, was it based on ideology, was it based on party differences or was it based on personal difference?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, here's where I--I--I--I decided to g--break out of the usual explanations and go into the psychological area. I have to--I should mention I'm--I was a--I'm a trained psychoanalyst as well and did that for some--few years, not full time, but part time. And it struck me that Hamilton was a--had an obsession about Burr that went far beyond any rational explanation. And I think the obsession was based on two things. I think there was projection; he saw in Burr, I think, wh--what in himself he could not admit or--or face--face up to because it was too threatening, the image he was creating of himself, both in hi--for hi--in his mind and in the minds of the country and his family and so forth.

So Burr, I think, was a kind of mirror image of Hamilton, and that was one part of it. And I think--by virtue of the fact that--that he was a mirror image, I think Hamilton had an attraction to him which he experienced as threatening as well, kind of a homoerotic attraction. And when I say homoerotic, I don't mean homosexual; I mean I think when any--when they're--when two men are fond of each other or admire each other or--or are close to each other, there's a little element of homoeroticism, I think. And I think he--he found that, given his macho image of himself, threatening, and he had to sort of attack Burr on these two fronts, so to speak, because one--on one hand, he saw a lot of him--himself in Burr and the other hand found it threatening that he did see so much of himself and so much he liked in Burr.
LAMB: You say that A--Aaron Burr never took a stance on the Constitution, but Alexander Hamilton...
Mr. ROGOW: Not clear, no.
LAMB: ...but Alexander Hamilton's role in the Constitution was?
Mr. ROGOW: He--he favored a--a much stronger central government, greater powers in the executive and--and judicial branches.
LAMB: But he was there in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention.
Mr. ROGOW: He was there--not all the time, though. Not all the time.
LAMB: And you point out he left, what, on June 29th or something like that?
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, he was only there a couple of times, I think, after that. And...
LAMB: But gave a speech that you...
Mr. ROGOW: He gave a speech which--which pretty well is--is a--a statement of his principles about government and so on. He did not believe in democracy and he thought democracy was an evil creation and a threat to the country. He was really, I--I think, at heart, a monarchist. He wa--he was--he was a great admirer of the British system of government, and I think he favored a monarchistlike--a system like that developed later on, maybe. But, of course, that had no chance in Philadelphia.
LAMB: Now as secretary of the treasurer--Treasury, you say that there was some insider trading going on...
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hm.
LAMB: ...back in those days.
Mr. ROGOW: Right.
LAMB: What did it look like? How did--who did it?
Mr. ROGOW: Hamilton, I think, who was responsible for what--what's called the--the--funding the debt measures, funding the debt involved buying up bonds that were depreciated, used to finance the revolution, at less--sometimes at 10 cents on the--on the--on the dollar in face value, buying them up at 10 cents. And then when they were redeemed, they were redeemed at full value plus interest. Hamilton favored that because it would benefit the wealthy classes. He--his view was unless you have the attachment of the wealthy people--what he called the moneyed men--to the government, the government would not survive. In that sense, perhaps, he was real--he was realistic. But he had inside information, of course, about Treasury policies--borrowing mon--you know, the p--plans and so forth. And this information, I am almost certain, was passed to his family and his friends. And, of course, they were able--able to make a great deal of money. His father-in-law, at one point, had $600,000, in m--in--mod--modern terms, worth of bonds of--of government debt.
LAMB: Whe--when he died at age 48, 49, from the duel, did he have any money?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, he had owned property that--that--in upper New York state and--and, yeah, he owned oth--other--other property. And there it was again, th--there was this controversy, as every so often, is--it was said he died penniless, and if his wife--or widow--had not been given a good--his pension from the war, he would--she have had no money. But I discovered that--the r--the research that somebody else did and discovered that the--these--these people had found a fund had been established that--where you can s--buy $200 worth of--of paper and so forth, the kind of--can make a contribution to this fund and that subscribers told enough to account for maybe $700,000 or $800,000 of money which, presumably, went to his widow. And so it's--it's uncertain--I mean, there's some c--there's a--some contradiction here about what--what exactly the truth was. But my--my view is that she was not penniless at all.
LAMB: When--when he was killed back in 1804 and he died the day after, you said, from the--the duel, how big a funeral did they have for him in New York City?
Mr. ROGOW: Oh, very--very impressive. They had a procession of his coffin on a carriage, you know, and his--his--his general's uniform in--on the top of the coffin. He was made a major general, brevet, no command--well, you know, a brevet major--just two-star general. He was very proud of that. And military detachments, bankers, professors from Columbia University and so forth, family relatives and all for--all for--you know, wen--went ahead and sat down--sat down to the c--at the cemetery. The bells were tolling and two Fr--two French frigates in the harbor were sh--you know, shooting off their cannon in their intervals and I ….I had a little fun and put this in the book but it--it happened to be the f--the 15th anniversary of the French Revolution. July the 14th is the funeral--yeah, Bastille Day. And I wondered--I didn't write this--whether the frigates were doing this in honor of Hamilton's funeral or doing it to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the French Revolution--the beginning of the French Revolution.
LAMB: Now Alexander Hamilton, his wife Betsy and his--and her sister, Angelica, are all buried there at the Trinity Church?
Mr. ROGOW: Angelica's buried there and--and Betsy's buried there, right, right.
LAMB: And what about Aaron Burr's funeral?
Mr. ROGOW: There wasn't anyth--anything; nothing was made of it. And for 20 years, there was nothing--no--nothing on his grave to--to indicate he was even buried there.
LAMB: I--in Princeton?
Mr. ROGOW: There is now. There's an Aaron Burr Association with about 200 members that's dedicated to the--promoting the reputation--rehabilitating, I should say.
LAMB: Did you talk to anybody from the Aaron Burr Association?
Mr. ROGOW: Oh, yes. Yeah, I--actually, I joined it. I went to a meeting and I'm--I've now been invited to speak to their meeting in September. They--they have an annual meeting at some place that Burr frequented or was present for...
LAMB: What kind of people belong to the Aaron Burr Association?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, amateur historians, I would say.
LAMB: Where is it located?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, the--the--the president lives in Bethe--in Maryland, you know? He's a lawyer. But it's not located anywhere. There's no headquarters. It's a--just people who think Aaron Burr's been much maligned. And one of their--one of their causes is to get him on a postage stamp. They've been t--working for years to have the United States Postal Service put Burr on a stamp. I don't think they realize that no--almost no vice president's on a stamp who did not become president. So quite apart from anything else, you know, Burr's chances are not very good.
LAMB: And he has been a United States senator, too.
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah.
LAMB: Had Alexander Hamilton had any other job other than secretary of the Treasury?
Mr. ROGOW: No, except delegate to--to the Conti--Continental Congress, you know, and to the--delegate, of course, to the f--Constitutional Convention in 1787.
LAMB: Down in front of the Treasury Department is a statue of Alexander Hamilton as the first secretary of the Treasury. Do you--do you think he should be there?
Mr. ROGOW: Oh, yes. And he's on the $10 bill, you know? So any--any American who has a $10 bill in his wallet or pocketbook has a p--is carrying around a portrait of Alexander Hamilton.
LAMB: Go back to the...
Mr. ROGOW: So...
LAMB: ...where we started, at Weehawken--right across from 42nd Street over in Weehawken, New Jersey. You've been there.
Mr. ROGOW: Mm-hmm.
LAMB: A--and you say there's no s--nothing special there. In other words, they don't--they don't commemorate...
Mr. ROGOW: It's all--it's all growing--built up, you know? It's just a--but there is a little piece of--of, you know, kind of wooded area, but it's very small.
LAMB: How do you find it, then? Is there a sign that says, `This is where it happened'?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, there had been in the past, and so we know roughly where it was. Now whether that original plaque was accurate, I don't know.
LAMB: And how did...
Mr. ROGOW: And that--it may have been some other place along that--that shore, you know, along that--that area.
LAMB: Do you think that Chase Manhattan ought to display those pistols so we could all see them somewhere?
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, I think so. Yes, I think they should be. Yeah.
LAMB: Do you ever think of asking them that?
Mr. ROGOW: Well, I might do that. I think one--as a matter of fact, they were, I think, displayed during the bicentennial, I believe. But I don't think they're--I don't think they're on permanent display, no. And...
LAMB: Well, why don't you get the Aaron Burr Association and talk to the Chase Manhattan bank, and we'll bring our cameras to Weehawken and we can--we can re-enact this thing?
Mr. ROGOW: Boy, that'll be the day, huh? You know, Hamilton, of course, is Bank of New York, so apart from anything else, these two banks are not exactly, should we say, friendly in terms of bus--business affairs, even today. You know, they're two--they--it's competing banks, Chase Manhattan and Bank of New York, so I think the chances of--of any--of any real collaboration are not very good.
LAMB: Are you thinking of writing another book?
Mr. ROGOW: Not at the moment, no, no.
LAMB: And what, in the end, do you want people to take away from this book? What's the big message in the end?'
Mr. ROGOW: I want them to have another look at Aaron Burr. I want them to see that Burr is--has been much maligned and, I think, deserves a--to be thought of in a far better way than he is.
LAMB: And what do you want 'em to think about Alexander Hamilton?
Mr. ROGOW: I want the--want them to think that Hamilton was--was, you know, ruthless, totally ambitious, power-driven. He certainly had a--had--brilliant man, maybe a genius, I would say, you know? Burr was not a brilliant man, no. He wasn't that. Ham--Hamilton was--was important in terms of the nation's financial sec--security at the beginning, and he deserves every--every kind of credit for that. Burr contributed nothing of any lasting importance. But other--but as for me, if I had to choose a dinner companion, can you guess whom--whom I would choose?
LAMB: And wh...
Mr. ROGOW: It would be Aaron Burr.
LAMB: And what about the cover of this book, where did it come from?
Mr. ROGOW: That was chosen by the publisher. It is not the duel. The inside--inside the--the--the--the book, on the--on the front page, I think, or the title page, there's a little drawing. That is a representation of the duel, but many years later. There's no--there's no representation of the duel originally with anybody who was present.
LAMB: And whose idea was it to call it "A Fatal Friendship," and why?
Mr. ROGOW: Arthur Wang, my publisher and editor.
LAMB: And do you know why he wanted to call it that?
Mr. ROGOW: He just liked the title.
LAMB: Did you like it?
Mr. ROGOW: Yeah, I do. I think it was a well--a--a very well-chosen title.
LAMB: Our guest has been Arnold Rogow. He is the author of this book, "A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr," and the duel of 1804. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROGOW: Thank you.


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