Aaron Burr in Exile

A Pariah in Paris, 1810–1811


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About the Book

Aaron Burr—Revolutionary War hero, third vice president of the United States and a controversial figure of the early republic—was tried and acquitted of treason charges in 1807, and thereafter departed for self-imposed exile in Europe, his political career in ruins. Adrift in Paris for 15 months, he led a marginal existence on the run from creditors and the courts, getting by on handouts. While other Americans in Paris enjoyed official status that insulated them from life in the capital, Burr dreamed up fruitless schemes and pawned his possessions, yet remained in high spirits, enjoying Parisian theater and cafés. He shopped, flirted, paid for sex and associated with friends old and new while gathering the resolve to return to America.
Burr’s Paris journal is a rare item, with only 250 unexpurgated copies printed in 1903. In it he relates his fascinating stories and describes Parisian life at the height of Napoleon’s power. Drawing on Burr’s journal and other sources, this book provides a self-portrait of the down-and-out Founding Father abroad.

About the Author(s)

Jane Merrill has published in 50 national magazines and has written books on fashion, lifestyle, and eighteenth century culture. She lives on the St. George Peninsula in Maine.

John Endicott has practiced law in New York and Connecticut. He lives in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Jane Merrill and John Endicott
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 40 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9491-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2130-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
Preface by Jane Merrill  1
One. Journal Keeping  5
Two. Persona Non Grata  11
Three. New Year’s Eve, Paris, 1810  17
Four. Acquaintances  22
Five. Money Matters  43
Six. Lifestyle  57
Seven. Exploring the Capital  76
Eight. Cultural Diversions  103
Nine. Dining In and Out  124
Ten. Perambulation  141
Eleven. Female Companions  152
Twelve. Sex and Sanguinity  162
Thirteen. Julie  178
Fourteen. Saga of a Passport  182
Epilogue  187
Appendix A—Reading Burr  191
Appendix B—Aaron Burr and His Protégé John Vanderlyn in Paris, 1810–1811 (by Katherine Woltz)  194
Chapter Notes  219
Bibliography  227
Index  231

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A knowing and deft depiction bringing Burr and Napoleonic Paris to life.”—John D. Leshy, Harry D. Sunderland Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
  • “There’s enough material in this interesting book to stage another duel on the Broadway stage with ‘Hamilton’.”—Gay Talese, Journalist