It was these sad events, the loss of his daughter and her boy, that severed Aaron Burr from the human race. Hope died within him. Ambition died. He yielded to his doom, and walked among men, not melancholy, but indifferent, reckless, and alone. With his daughter and his grandson to live and strive for, he might have done something in his later years to redeem his name and atone for his errors. Bereft of these, he had not in his moral nature that which enables men who have gone astray to repent and begin a better life.
Theodosia’s death broke her husband’s heart. Few letters are so affecting as the one which he wrote to Burr when, at length, the certainty of her loss could no longer be resisted.
“My boy—my wife—gone both! This, then, is the end of all the hopes we had formed. You may well observe that you feel severed from the human race. She was the last tie that bound us to the species. What have we left? ... Yet, after all, he is a poor actor who cannot sustain his little hour upon the stage, be his part what it may. But the man who has been deemed worthy of the heart of Theodosia Burr, and who has felt what it was to be blessed with such a woman’s, will never forget his elevation.”
He survived his wife four years. Among the papers of Theodosia was found, after her death, a letter which she had written a few years before she died, at a time when she supposed her end was near. Upon the envelope was written,—“My husband. To be delivered after my death. I wish this to be read immediately, and before my burial.” Her husband never saw it, for he never had the courage to look into the trunk that contained her treasures. But after his death the trunk was sent to Burr, who found and preserved this affecting composition. We cannot conclude our narrative more fitly than by transcribing the thoughts that burdened the heart of Theodosia in view of her departure from the world. First, she gave directions respecting the disposal of her jewelry and trinkets, giving to each of her friends some token of her love. Then she besought her husband to provide at once for the support of “Peggy,” an aged servant of her father, formerly housekeeper at Richmond Hill, to whom, in her father’s absence, she had contrived to pay a small pension. She then proceeded in these affecting terms:—
“To you, my beloved, I leave our child; the child of my bosom, who was once a part of myself, and from whom I shall shortly be separated by the cold grave. You love him now; henceforth love him for me also. And oh, my husband, attend to this last prayer of a doting mother. Never, never listen to what any other person tells you of him. Be yourself his judge on all occasions. He has faults; see them, and correct them yourself. Desist not an instant from your endeavors to secure his confidence. It is a work which requires as much uniformity of conduct as warmth of affection