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concerned in the preparation of hell fires unspeakable; the realization of death in all its most morbid aspects. A passionate pessimism, sprung from an immeasurable zeal for holiness, a frantic grasping for salvation, which rose like a malediction from the New England valleys and clouded the very face of God. But a pathetic pessimism, too, crying in the wilderness-for beauty and joy cannot be completely destroyed from the earth; and in the face of dire, fulminating divines—in the presence of Hell's interminable miseries, as preached by Mr. Edwards and his colleagues-the youth of New England still found courage for happiness, and gaiety, and a heroic frivolity.
They danced-High Betty Martin and Pettycoatee; they played at cards with Merry Andrew and King Harry packs; they dressed in oriental ponabaguzzies, bumrums and muggamamoochees; they wore Albemarle, feather-top and brigadier wigs; they even went straw riding. But probably not in Esther Edwards's household. .
Such were the parentage and girlhood of the lady who was to be the mother of Aaron Burr.
"Pray what do you think every body marrye in or about winter for, tis quite merry isn't it?" she wrote in her journal for Miss Prince of Boston, soon after her own marriage. "I really believe tis for fear of laying cold, for the want of a bedfellow. Well, my advice to such is ye same with ye Apostles, Let Them Marry and you know the reason given by him as well as I do. Tis better to marry than to
always said I would never be marryed in ye Fall nor Winter, and I did as I said, and am glad on 't."
She was married in June, on June 29, 1752. The Reverend Aaron Burr, her husband, was a son of Daniel Burr, a well-to-do landholder of Upper Meadow, Fairfield, Connecticut. The Fairfield Burrs had been long in the Colony, closely and honorably connected with its history; Daniel Burr's father, Jehu the younger, had been one of the Proprietors under the Fairfield Patent of 1685, a Deputy to the General Court, a lieutenant in the Fairfield train-band, a member of the Standing Council and a noted educator. His father, Jehu the elder, had come from England with Winthrop's fleet in 1630, and settled in Fairfield after a sojourn at Roxbury, in Massachusetts, and at Springfield, in the founding of which he had assisted William Pynchon.
Other members of the family had equally distinguished themselves. The younger Jehu's brothersJohn, a Senator and Magistrate, and a major of militia; Nathaniel, a Freeman of Fairfield; Daniel, a Commissary of the County-another son of his, Peter, a graduate of Harvard in 1690, a member of the Council, Speaker of the House, Auditor of the Colony and Chief Judge of the Superior Court; and in a different branch, Samuel, who became master of the grammar school at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and one of the most celebrated teachers of his time. In their matrimonial alliances, also, the Burrs of Fairfield were prominently associated with many of the leading families of New England, frequent marriages occurring between representatives of the Burrs, and
the Jenningses, Golds, Sillimans, Fitches, Wakemans, Truesdales and Wynkoops.
The Reverend Aaron, possessed in his youth of a keen taste for learning which he was to hand on to his own son, had graduated from Yale in his nineteenth year, the winner of three scholarships for proficiency in Latin and Greek which afforded him maintenance at the College for two years as a graduate student. A religious revival which took place during that period turned him, however, to the study of theology, and in 1736 he was licensed as a candidate for orders, taking up his first charge at Greenfield, Massachusetts. From Greenfield he went to Hanover, in New Jersey, whence the increasing fame of his sermons caused him to be called to the Presbyterian Church at Newark. There he remained for some twenty years, an inspiring teacher of the classics, the author of a standard Latin grammar, and an eloquent, compelling preacher to whom were credited the most convincing "awakenings."
His sermons were frequently published and achieved a wide sale, not only because of their religious content, but also because, in the words of a contemporary prospectus, "he considers the corruption and the degeneracy of the reformed nations, and from the tenor of the sacred predictions argues the probability of an ascendancy of the popish over the Protestant powers. . . . On the political and religious state of our affairs in Europe and America he makes reasonable, though alarming, reflections. And concludes with an animated address to the ministers assembled, particularly inculcating their united attempts toward a general reformation, as the only
effectual method to avert the impending judgments of Heaven." At other times he discoursed upon "the growing and dangerous power of France under the House of Bourbon . . the present treacherous Designs against the British Colonies in America the Danger of Divine Judgments from the prevailing immorality of the Age, the Necessity of a general Reformation of Manners, with a Dependence upon the Aid and Protection of Heaven."
The Reverend Aaron Burr was, in fact, a best seller..
He was a good many years older than his wife; restless and energetic, elegant and erudite, and of noticeably small stature. She evidently adored him. "Do you think I would change my good Mr. Burr," she asked Miss Prince, in 1755, "for any person, or thing, or all things on the Erth? No sure! Not for a Million such worlds as this yt had no Mr. B-r in it." Esther herself was beautiful and talented, quick witted and vivacious, strongly inclined to literature, a composer of many manuscripts, and deeply religious. At Newark, when she first came, they thought her "a person of great beauty," though 'rather too young" for the middle-aged pastor. Perhaps he thought so too, and that her mind needed stimulating, for soon after their marriage he had her studying Latin-a significant example of the Burr mania for education which was to flourish so conspicuously in the nature of the son.
And perhaps she was a little prone to gossip, and too vitally concerned in worldly matters. "I have