Friday, December 30, 2016

Sign of the Lantern Books: I re-light the Lantern but it goes out...

~ Inspired by the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston ~
Joseph H. Bryan-Royster, Ph.D., Msc.D.
 Archetypal Research and Synthesis Metaphysician

In 1999, my independent mail order drop-ship book business became associated with the online bookselling giant, It's name was changed to "The Lanternlight Traveller Book Corner" and logo was The Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. Business grew and thrived through much of 2003, and included a section on Y2K Preparedness, along with over 500 selected Metaphysical book titles. I closed this store in October of that year but continued to offer the books at other locations around the World Wide Web, until I put them into an aStore in 2010 connected with the Joseph H. Bryan-Royster, Ph.D, Archetypal Research & Synthesis Metaphysician Web site hosted by Google.

On December 23rd, 2016 I decided to re-open "Sign of the Lantern Books," under original name given on November 15th, 1993 that I used when it was a mail order drop-ship book selling business and re-activate my Associates account. Then I was notified of changes in protocol that rendered my site ineligible for participation in the program! I AM returning to drop-ship bookselling and fulfilling my own orders, since made the decision to deny my Associates application. I have determined that this company thinks it is "too big to fail," as their market share is now #44 on the Fortune 500 list of global corporations (Walmart is #1). I no longer will be purchasing products of any kind from and I ask that others join me in bringing this corporation back into a balanced perspective through boycott of their merchandise. Please help me in this effort to transform a multi-national corporation through collective withdrawal of monetary energy, until it is more responsive too those of us who have been supporting company's growth... ~ JDHWB-R

Proprietor's Book Selections (1st seven titles, of over 500) have been removed from this page.

Monday, December 26, 2016


An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy

By Manly P. Hall

Twenty-five Centuries of Wisdom

Discover the Secrets within the Symbolic Figures, Allegories, Oral Traditions and Rituals of Humankind.

Manly P. Hall’s  exhaustive research concentrates the teachings of nearly six hundred distinguished authorities on religion and philosophy, bringing to you an interpretation of the themes underlying the ancient mythology, philosophy, religion, rituals, and arcane mysteries of all ages. In its original format designed by J. Henry Nash, this unique volume can be treasured and passed on as an heirloom with the assurance that its in-depth studies of some forty ancient and modern systems of spiritual development can contribute to each to each individual’s quest for self-knowledge and philosophical awareness.

First published in 1928, this volume includes fifty-four stunning full-page color plates by noted artist J. Augustus Knapp, and two hundred black and white illustrations from rare occult works and manuscripts. To this day it remains unrivaled in its scope, synthesis and graphic beauty; a must for any serious student of mystical philosophy.

 “A masterful summation of the esoteric teachings of the ages.” - Huston Smith, Ph.D., Author, The Worlds Religions

“Into this volume has been compressed the quintessence of a colossal learning. It is a living human document, pulsating with the mental and spiritual vibrations of a profound thinker who takes knowledge for his province and reduces whole libraries to a single tome.” - George Barron, Curator of the De Young Museum of San Francisco

“Simply put, this is the most beautiful and complete occult book ever published. It represents a lifetime of research into the mythology, symbolism, and magical practices of countless cultures. From the secrets of Isis to the teachings of mystic Christianity, nearly every occult dogma imaginable is represented here…this is the definitive guide to secret societies, famous figures, and more—a must for every personal library.”- Llewellyn New Times

“Manly Hall’s great work is a classic in the world’s literature. It will guide historians, philosophers, and lay seekers of esoteric wisdom for centuries.” - Edgar Mitchell, Sc.D., Apollo 14 Astronaut

Table of Contents to

The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies Which Have Influenced Modern Masonic Symbolism—

Ancient  systems of education—Celsus concerning the Christians—Druidic Mysteries—Rites of Mithras—Gnostic Mysteries—Simon Magus and Basilides—Abraxas—The Mysteries of Serapis—Labyrinth Symbolism—Gothic Mysteries—Eleusinian Mysteries—Orphic Mysteries—Bacchic Mysteries—Dionysiac Mysteries

Atlantis and the Gods of Antiquity—

Plato’s Atlantis in the light of modern science—The Myth of the Dying God—The Rite of Tammuz and Ishtar—The Mysteries of Atys and Adonis—The Rites of Sabazius—The Cabiric Mysteries of Samothrace

The Life and Writings of Thoth Hermes Trismegistus—

Suppositions of the identity of Hermes—The mutilated Hermetic Fragments—The Book of Thoth—Poimandres, the Vision of Hermes—The Mystery of the Universal Mind—The Seven Governors of the World

The Initiation of the Pyramid—

Opening of the Great Pyramid by Caliph al Mamoun—The passageways and chambers—The riddle of the Sphinx—The Pyramid Mysteries—The secret of the Pyramid coffer—The dwelling place of the Hidden God

Isis, the Virgin of the World—

The birthdays of the gods—The murder of Osiris—The Hermetic Isis—The symbols peculiar to Isis—The Troubadours—The mummification of the Dead

The Sun, A Universal Deity—

The Solar Trinity—Christianity and the Sun—The birthday of the Sun—The three Suns—The celestial inhabitants of the Sun—The midnight Sun

The Zodiac and Its Signs—

Primitive astronomical instruments—The equinoxes and solstices—The astrological ages of the world—The circular zodiac of Tentyra—An interpretation of zodiacal signs—The horoscope of the world

The Bembine Table of Isis—

Plato’s initiation in the Great Pyramid—The history of the Bembine Table—Platonic theory of ideas—The interplay of the three philosophical zodiacs—The Chaldean philosophy of triads—The Orphic Egg

Wonders of Antiquity—

The ever-burning lamps—The oracle of Delphi—The Dodonean oracle—The oracle of Trophonius—The initiated architects—The Seven Wonder of the world

The Life and Philosophy of Pythagoras—

Pythagoras and the School of Crotona—Pythagoric fundamentals—Thy symmetrical solids—The symbolic aphorism of Pythagoras—Pythagorean astronomy—Kepler’s theory of the Universe

Pythagorean Mathematics—

The theory of numbers—The numerical values of letters—Method of securing the numerical power of words—An introduction to the Pythagorean theory of numbers—The sieve of Eratosthenes—The meanings of the ten numbers

The Human Body in Symbolism—

The philosophical manikin—The three universal centers—The temples of initiation—The hand in symbolism—The greater and lesser man—The Anthropos, or Oversoul

The Hiramic Legend—

The building of Solomon’s Temple—The murder of CHirman Abiff—The martyrdom of Jacques de Molay—The spirit fire and the pineal gland—The wanderings of the astronomical CHiram—Cleopatra’s Needle and Masons’ marks

The Pythagorean Theory of Music and Color—

Pythagoras and the diatonic scale—Therapeutic music—The music of the sphere—The use of color in symbolism—The colors of the spectrum and the musical scale—Zodiacal and planetary colors

Fishes, Insects, Animals, Reptiles, and Birds—

Jonah and the whale—The fish, the symbol of Christ—The Egyptian scarab—Jupiter’s fly—The serpent of wisdom—The sacred crocodile—The dove, the yonic emblem—The self-renewing phoenix—The Great Seal of the USA—Bast, the cat goddess of the Ptolemies—Apis, the sacred bull—The monoceros, or unicorn

Flowers, Plants, Fruits, and Trees—

The flower, a phallic symbol—The lotus blossom—The Scandinavian World Tree, Yggdrasil—The sprig of acacia—The juice of the grape—The magical powers of the mandrake

Stones, Metals, and Gems—

Prehistoric monuments—The tablets of the Law—The Holy Grail—The ages of the world—Talismanic jewels—Zodiacal and planetary stones and gems

Ceremonial Magic and Sorcery—

The black magic of Egypt—Doctor Johannes Faustus—The Mephistopheles of the Grimores—The invocation of spirits—Pacts with demons—The symbolism of the pentagram

The Elements and Their Inhabitant—

The Paracelsian theory of submundanes—The orders of elemental beings—The Gnomes, Undines, Salamanders, and Sylphs—Demonology—The incubus and succubus--Vampirism

Hermetic Pharmacology, Chemistry, and Therapeutics—

The healing methods of Paracelsus—Palingenesis—Hermetic theories concerning the cause of disease—Medicinal properties of herbs—The use of drugs in the Mysteries—The sect of the Assassins

The Qabbalah, The Secret Doctrine of Israel—

The written and unwritten laws—The origin of the Qabbalistic writings—Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai—The great Qabbalistic books—The divisions of the Qabbalistic system—The Sepher Yetzirah

Fundamentals of Qabbalistic Cosmogony—

AIN SOPH and the Cosmic Egg—The Qabbalistic system of worlds—Qabbalistic interpretation of Ezekial’s vision—The great image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream—The Grand Man in the universe—The fifty gates of life

The Tree of the Sephiroth—

The thirty-two paths of wisdom—The Greater and the Lesser Face—Kircher’s Sephirothic Tree—The mystery of Daath—The three pillars supporting the Sephirothic Tree—The four letters of the Sacred Name

Qabbalistic Keys to the Creation of Man—

Gematria, Notarikon, and Temurah—The Elohim—The four Adams—Arabian traditions concerning Adam—Adam as the archetype of mankind—The early Christian Church on the subject of marriage

An Analysis of the Tarot Cards—

The origin of playing cards—The rota mundi of the Rosicrucians—The problem of Tarot symbolism—The un-numbered card—The symbolism of the twenty-one major trumps—The suit cards

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness—

Moses, the Egyptian initiate—The building of the Tabernacle—The furnishings of the Tabernacle—The Ark of the Covenant—The Robes of Glory—The Urim and Thummim

The Fraternity of the Rose Cross—

The life of Father C.R.C.—Johan Valentine Andreae—The alchemical teachings of the Rosicrucians—Significance of the Rose Cross—The Rosicrucian Temple—The adepts of the Rose Cross

Rosicrucian Doctrines and Tenets—

The Confessio Fraternitatis—The Anatomy of Melancholy—John Heydon on Rosicrucianism—The three mountains of the wise—The philosophical egg—The objects of the Rosicrucian Order

Fifteen Rosicrucian and Qabbalistic Diagrams—

Schamayim, the Ocean of Spirit—The Seven Days of Creation—The symbolic tomb of Christian Rosencreutz—The regions of the elements—The New Jerusalem—The grand secret of Nature

Alchemy and Its Exponents—

The multiplication of metals—The medal of Emperor Leopold I—Paracelsus of Hohenheim—Raymond Lully—Nicholas Flammel—Count Bernard of Treviso

The Theory and Practice of Alchemy—

The origin of alchemical philosophy—Alexander the Great and the talking trees—Nature and art—Alchemical symbolism—The Song of Solomon—The Philosopher’s Gold—The alchemical prayer—The Emerald Tablet of Hermes—A letter from the Brothers of R.C.—The magical Mountain of the Moon—An alchemical formula—The dew of the sages

The Chemical Marriage—

Christian Rosencreutz is invited to the Chemical Wedding—The Virgo Lucifera—The philosophical Inquisition—The Tower of Olympus—The homunculi—The Knights of the Golden Stone

Bacon, Shakespeare, and the Rosicrucians—

The Rosicrucian mask—Life of William Shakspere—Sir Francis Bacon—The acrostic signatures—The significant number thirty-three—The philosophic death

The Cryptogram as a Factor in Symbolic Philosophy—

Secret alphabets—The biliteral cipher—Pictorial ciphers—Acroamatic ciphers—Numerical and musical ciphers—Code ciphers

Freemasonic Symbolism—

The pillars raised by the sons of Seth—Enoch and the Royal Arches—The Dionysiac Architects—The Roman Collegia—Solomon, the personification of Universal Wisdom—Freemasonry’s priceless heritage

Mystic Christianity—

St. Iranaeus on the life of Christ—The original name of Jesus—The Christened man—The Essenes—The Arthurian cycle—Merlin the Mage

The Cross and the Crucifixion—

The Aurea Legenda—The lost libraries of Alexandria—The cross in pagan symbolism—The crucifixion, a cosmic allegory—The crucifixion of Quetzalcoatl—The nails of the Passion

The Mystery of the Apocalypse—

The sacred city of Ephesus—The authorship of the Apocalypse—The Alpha and Omega—The Lamb of God—The Four Horsemen—The number of the beast

The Faith of Islam—

The life of Mohammed—The revelation of the Koran—The valedictory pilgrimage—The tomb of the Prophet—The Caaba at Mecca—The secret doctrine of Islam

American Indian Symbolism—

The ceremony of the peace pipe—The historical Hiawatha—The Popul Vuh—American Indian sorcery—The Mysteries of Xibalba—The Midewiwin

The Mysteries and Their Emissaries—

The Golden Chain of Homer—Hypatia, the Alexandrian Neo-Platonist—The “divine” Cagliostro—The Comte de St.-Germain—The designing of the American flag—The Declaration of Independence

From the Foreword to

... Associations of men and women bound together by oaths and obligations into esoteric fraternities have descended from the earliest times and bear witness to a natural inclination to perpetuate doctrines which lead to the good of mankind.

With the growth of social consciousness, these secret societies became the custodians of the highest cultural concepts. Their initiation rites were symbolic pageantries suitable to inspire veneration for the Divine Mysteries, and admiration for the powers of nature and God. Most of they mythologies of classical nations were originally rituals of secret societies, and it is a mistake to assume that earlier cultures accepted as literal the elaborate theology and legendry found in their traditions.

Historically the secret societies were closely identified with state religions. Basic knowledge was believed to have been bestowed by the gods in a remote age. The esoteric philosophies have always been taught by means of secret organizations, to which candidates were admitted only after appropriate preparation and initiatory rites. These spiritual brotherhoods of scholars, sages, and mystics have flourished among all peoples, ancient and modern, and in all parts of the world.

In the program of the Mysteries each individual must grow into the comprehension of truth. Before he could be entrusted with the divine powers of mind and will, he must accept knowledge as a responsibility to his Creator and his world, rather than as an opportunity for the advancement of personal ambitions. The masters of the Mysteries taught secret practices and disciplines by which the properly qualified disciples could develop the potent abilities latent within the soul, and so, come into conscious communication with spiritual realities.

Initiates of the philosophical societies came to be regarded as possessing extraordinary faculties and powers. They enjoyed the special favor of the divinities, performed miracles, and were worthy of the title "Twice-Born", for they had come to second birth from the womb of the Mysteries. These adept-philosophers were the truly evolved human beings. Most of the arts and sciences which enriched the modern world were discovered, developed, and in many instances perfected by these initiate philosophers and priests ...

... This volume reveals that the lore and legendry of the world, the scriptures and sacred books, and the great philosophical systems all tell the same story. Human ambition may produce the tyrant; divine aspiration will produce the adept. This then, seems to me to be the significant message of Manly P. Hall's encyclopedic tome. - Henry L. Drake, The Philosophical Research Society.

Reader's Edition:

Sunday, December 25, 2016



Archetypal Hermit's manifestation during the Advent Season, revealing the Light of the World (Love) in Temporal Form via remembrance of the Birth of Yeshua bin Joseph in Bethlehem of Judea, through the eyes of St. Nicholas, who was an early follower of his teachings in Roman times. A Lantern shines in his Right Hand, illuminating the Way of compassion, and a Staff is raised in his Left Hand, holding authority of the Spirit in Truth. Three Keys, hanging around his neck are Symbols of Heart as aligned with Source and radiating Light. Where Light shines, Darkness will Vanish ahead of its Path. The I AM in You is the same I AM in Me. Namaste'

I AM Lamplighter, One of Many, walking in the Light as...
 Joseph David Henry Ware Bryan-Royster

 ~ As Above, So Below ~

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Christmas Song by Jethro Tull (1972 Original)

I Believe in Father Christmas by Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
(Timeless Version)

Joseph David Henry Ware Bryan-Royster
Publisher, Lantern of the Hermit

Blog Established on March 19th, 2013

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sign of the Lantern Books: Established on November 15th, 1993

~ Inspired by the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston ~
Joseph H. Bryan-Royster, Ph.D., Msc.D.
 Archetypal Research and Synthesis Metaphysician

Originally established as "Sign of the Lantern Books" on November 15, 1993, this proprietary enterprise operated exclusively in mail order book sales fulfilling its orders independently. Once a presence on the World Wide Web was created in September of 1998, this enterprise was re-named "The Lanternlight Traveller Book Corner," as it had become associated with in March of, 1999. After closing in October of 2003, book titles continued to be offered by the Metaphysician proprietor in Association with at various locations on the Internet under the name "Sign of the Lantern," and then as an aStore known as "Lamplighter Books," starting in March of 2010.

As of December 23, 2016, this Amazon Associates store is re-organized as "Sign of the Lantern Books" under its original given name.

Applied Metaphysics, Esoteric Knowledge, New Thought Teachings
Joseph H. Bryan-Royster, Ph.D., Msc.D., Proprietor

~ As Above, So Below, As Is, So Be It... and So It Is! ~

Source Web Site:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


 Photograph of Stone Circle at Sirius Community, 2015

  (Stones listed in chronological sequence of placement in circle)

North Stone
"Spiritual Power"
Aligned to the North
Set at 0 degrees
Placed 2007

East Stone
Aligned to the East
Set at 90 degrees
Placed 2008

South Stone
Aligned to the South
Set at 180 degrees
Placed 2008

West Stone
Aligned to the West
Set at 270 degrees
Placed 2008

Mt. Monadnock Stone
Aligned to Mt. Monadnock
Set at 28 degrees

Placed 2009

Sirius Stone

Aligned to Sirius Rising
Set at 116 degrees
Placed 2009

Community Stone
Aligned to New York City
Set at 216 degrees

Placed in 2009

Stonehenge Stone
"Abundance and Expansion"
Aligned to Britain
Set at 60 degrees
Placed 2010

Indigenous Peoples Stone

"Honoring all indigenous peoples"
Aligned to Hopi Land
Set at 240 degrees
Placed 2010

Creation Stone
"Creativity and Manifestation"
Aligned to the Amazon River
Set to 154 degrees
Placed 2011

West Entrance Stone
Aligned to Sirius Community Center
Set at 299 degrees
Placed 2011

East Entrance Stone
Aligned to Sirius Community Center
Set to 307 degrees
Placed 2011

Healing Stone
"Healing for Earth and All Beings"
Aligned to Hiroshima
Set to 337 degrees
Placed 2011

Center Stone

"Centering in Oneness"
Aligned to the Center Point
Placed 2012

In Tribute and Memory: Ivan McBeth 

Painting of Stone Circle at Sirius Community, 2016
by Joseph David Henry Ware Bryan-Royster


Phoenix  Lantern: Initiation - September 27, 2011 (Comet Elenin)
Emergent  Lanterns: Commencement - December 21, 2012 (Galactic Alignment)

Initiation & Commencement Locus:

Underhill Secret Garden
16 Wheeler St.,
Gloucester, Massachusetts USA

Activation Loci:

As Above...

Emergent Lanterns: Attic Portal - April 15, 2014 (1st Blood Moon)

So Below...

Emergent Lanterns: Cellar Portal - October 8, 2014 (2nd Blood Moon)

As Is...

Threshold Lantern: Watch Position - April 4, 2015 (3rd Blood Moon)

Bryan-Royster House
286 Carroll Street
New Bedford, Massachusetts USA

So Be It...

Threshold Lantern: Forward Position - September 23, 2015 (Autumnal Equinox)
Stone Circle Sanctuary

And So It Is...

Threshold Lantern: Threshold Position - September 27, 2015 (4th Blood Moon)
Alchemical Fire Circle

Threshold Lantern: Return to Forward Position - December 21, 2015 (Winter Solstice)
Stone Circle Sanctuary

Threshold Lantern: Launch Position is Forward Position - March 20, 2016 (Vernal Equinox)
Stone Circle Sanctuary

Sirius Community
72 Baker Rd.,
Shutesbury, Massachusetts USA

Threshold Lantern is Dark: Implements in Repose - June 20, 2016 (Summer Solstice)

Threshold Lantern is Illuminated - September 23, 2016 (Autumnal Equinox)
Stone Circle Sanctuary

Threshold Lantern: Marking of the Stones - December 20, 2016 (Winter Solstice)
The Connecting Space

Sirius Community
72 Baker Rd.,
Shutesbury, Massachusetts USA

On October 13th, 1985 the Catalyst Lantern, dismembered and sealed in a black wooden box, was taken by me to the site of Great Point Lighthouse (1818-1984) and buried in the rubble. The Phoenix Lantern was initially lighted on February 10th, 1987 after the birth of my daughter, Mary Jesse Bryan. Lantern Walk sequence began with this implement.

I AM (Lamplighter, one of many aspects of Source)
Keep Walking in the Light as One Life…
Joseph David Henry Ware Bryan-Royster

Marking of the Stones: Video Documentation in Three Parts
Exordium ~ Illumination ~ Terminus

Monday, December 19, 2016

Electoral College Met Today in All 50 States to Cast Their Votes

Tally of Electoral Votes for the 1800 Presidential Election,
February 11, 1801

When the Electoral College results were tallied today in all fifty state capitals, Donald J. Trump remained the clear winner and he will be Inaugurated as 45th President of the United States on January 20th, 2017, even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote on November 8th. Meanwhile, let us look back at the first Presidential Election than involved a transfer of political power to the opposition party from that of the incumbent: The Election of 1800. Federalist John Adams, second President of the United States, was challenged by Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson, who eventually won that contest after it went to the U.S. House of Representatives where members ended up casting 36 ballots... ~ JDHWB-R

Records of the United States Senate

By the election of 1800, the nation's first two parties were beginning to take shape. The Presidential race was hotly contested between the Federalist President, John Adams, and the Democratic-Republican candidate, Thomas Jefferson. Because the Constitution did not distinguish between President and Vice-President in the votes cast by each state's electors in the Electoral College, both Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr received 73 votes.

According to the Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, if two candidates each received a majority of the electoral votes but are tied, the House of Representatives would determine which one would be President. Therefore, the decision rested with the lame duck, Federalist-controlled House of Representatives. Thirty-five ballots were cast over five days but neither candidate received a majority. Many Federalists saw Jefferson as their principal foe, whose election was to be avoided at all costs. But Alexander Hamilton, a well-respected Federalist party leader, hated Burr and advised Federalists in Congress that Jefferson was the safer choice. Finally, on February 17, 1801, on the thirty-sixth ballot, the House elected Thomas Jefferson to be President.

The tie vote between Jefferson and Burr in the 1801 Electoral College pointed out problems with the electoral system. The framers of the Constitution had not anticipated such a tie nor had they considered the possibility of the election of a President or Vice President from opposing factions - which had been the case in the 1796 election. In 1804, the passage of the 12th Amendment corrected these problems by providing for separate Electoral College votes for President and Vice President.

For more information about the Electoral College, please visit the Federal Register's U.S. Electoral College webpage.

Partisan Politics Become Deadly: The Burr - Hamilton Duel of 1804

The Burr–Hamilton duel is one of the most famous personal conflicts in American history. It was a draw duel which arose from long-standing personal bitterness that developed between the two men over the course of several years. Tensions reached a boiling point with Hamilton's journalistic defamation of Burr's character during the 1804 New York gubernatorial race in which Burr was a candidate. The duel was fought at a time when the practice was being outlawed in the northern United States, and it had immense political ramifications. Burr survived the duel and was indicted for murder in both New York and New Jersey, though these charges were later either dismissed or resulted in acquittal. The harsh criticism and animosity directed toward him following the duel brought an end to his political career. The Federalist Party, already weakened by the defeat of John Adams in the presidential election of 1800, was further weakened by Hamilton's death.

The duel was the final skirmish of a long conflict between Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. The conflict began in 1791 when Burr won a United States Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's father-in-law, who would have supported Federalist policies. (Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury at the time.) The Electoral College then deadlocked in the election of 1800, during which Hamilton's maneuvering in the House of Representatives caused Thomas Jefferson to be named president and Burr vice-president.

Hamilton’s animosity toward Burr was severe and well-documented in personal letters to his friend and compatriot James McHenry. The following quotation from one of these letters on January 4, 1801 exemplifies his bitterness:

"Nothing has given me so much chagrin as the Intelligence that the Federal party were thinking seriously of supporting Mr. Burr for president. I should consider the execution of the plan as devoting the country and signing their own death warrant. Mr. Burr will probably make stipulations, but he will laugh in his sleeve while he makes them and will break them the first moment it may serve his purpose."

In a more extensive letter written shortly afterward, Hamilton details the many charges that he has against Burr, calling him a "profligate, a voluptuary in the extreme”, accusing him of corruptly serving the interests of the Holland Land Company while a member of the legislature, criticizing his military commission and accusing him of resigning under false pretenses, and many more serious accusations.

It became clear that Jefferson would drop Burr from his ticket in the 1804 election, so the Vice President ran for the governorship of New York instead. Hamilton campaigned vigorously against Burr, who was running as an independent, causing him to lose to Morgan Lewis, a Democratic-Republican endorsed by Hamilton.

Both men had been involved in duels in the past. Hamilton had been a principal in 10 shotless duels prior to his fatal encounter with Burr, including duels with William Gordon (1779), Aedanus Burke (1790), John Francis Mercer (1792–1793), James Nicholson (1795), James Monroe (1797), and Ebenezer Purdy/George Clinton (1804). He also served as a second to John Laurens in a 1779 duel with General Charles Lee, and to legal client John Auldjo in a 1787 duel with William Pierce. Hamilton also claimed that he had one previous honor dispute with Burr; Burr stated that there were two.

Election of 1800

Burr and Hamilton first came into public opposition during the United States presidential election of 1800. Burr ran for Vice President on the Democratic-Republican ticket, along with presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson, against President John Adams (the Federalist incumbent) and his vice presidential running mate Charles C. Pinckney. Electoral College rules at the time gave each elector two votes for president; the candidate who received the second most votes became vice president. The Democratic-Republican Party, therefore, planned to have 72 of their 73 electors vote for both Jefferson and Burr, with the remaining elector voting only for Jefferson. However, the electors failed to execute this plan, so Burr and Jefferson tied with 73 votes each. The Constitution stipulates that, if no candidate wins a majority, the election is moved to the United States House of Representatives—which was controlled by the Federalists, at this point, many of whom were loathe to vote for Jefferson. Hamilton, however, regarded Burr as far more dangerous than Jefferson and used all his influence to ensure Jefferson's election. On the 36th ballot, the House of Representatives gave Jefferson the presidency, with Burr becoming vice president.
Charles Cooper's letter

On April 24, 1804, a letter was published in the Albany Register in the context of opposing Burr's candidacy. It was originally sent from Dr. Charles D. Cooper to Hamilton's father-in-law, former U.S. Sen. Philip Schuyler,[9] and made reference to a previous statement by Cooper: "General Hamilton and Judge Kent have declared in substance that they looked upon Mr. Burr to be a dangerous man, and one who ought not be trusted with the reins of government." Cooper went on to emphasize that he could describe in detail "a still more despicable opinion which General Hamilton has expressed of Mr. Burr" at a political dinner.

Burr responded in a letter delivered by William P. Van Ness, pointing particularly to the "more despicable" phrase, and demanded "a prompt and unqualified acknowledgment or denial of the use of any expression which would warrant the assertion of Dr. Cooper." Hamilton's verbose reply on June 20, 1804 indicated that he could not be held responsible for Cooper's interpretation of his words (yet did not fault that interpretation), concluding that Hamilton would "abide the consequences" should Burr remain unsatisfied. A recurring theme in their correspondence is that Burr seeks avowal or disavowal of anything that could justify Cooper's characterization, while Hamilton protests that there are no specifics.

Burr's reply on June 21, 1804, also delivered by Van Ness, stated that "political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from the necessity of a rigid adherence to the laws of honor and the rules of decorum". Hamilton replied that he had "no other answer to give than that which has already been given". This letter was delivered to Nathaniel Pendleton on June 22 but did not reach Burr until June 25. The delay was due to negotiation between Pendleton and Van Ness in which Pendleton submitted the following paper:
General Hamilton says he cannot imagine what Dr. Cooper may have alluded, unless it were to a conversation at Mr. Taylor's, in Albany, last winter (at which he and General Hamilton were present). General Hamilton cannot recollect distinctly the particulars of that conversation, so as to undertake to repeat them, without running the risk of varying or omitting what might be deemed important circumstances. The expressions are entirely forgotten, and the specific ideas imperfectly remembered; but to the best of his recollection it consisted of comments on the political principles and views of Colonel Burr, and the results that might be expected from them in the event of his election as Governor, without reference to any particular instance of past conduct or private character.

Eventually, Burr issued a formal challenge, and Hamilton accepted. Many historians have considered the causes of the duel to be flimsy and have thus either characterized Hamilton as "suicidal", Burr as "malicious and murderous," or both. Thomas Fleming offers the theory that Burr may have been attempting to recover his honor by challenging Hamilton, whom he considered to be the only gentleman among his detractors, in response to the slanderous attacks against his character published during the 1804 gubernatorial campaign.

The Duel

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, Burr and Hamilton departed from Manhattan by separate boats and rowed across the Hudson River to a spot known as the Heights of Weehawken in New Jersey, a popular dueling ground below the towering cliffs of the Palisades.[18] Dueling had been prohibited in both New York and New Jersey; Hamilton and Burr agreed to take the duel to Weehawken, however, because New Jersey was not as aggressive in prosecuting it as New York was. The same site was used for 18 known duels between 1700 and 1845. In an attempt to shield the participants from prosecution, procedures were implemented to give all witnesses plausible deniability. For example, the pistols were transported to the island in a portmanteau, enabling the rowers to say under oath that they had not seen any pistols. (They also stood with their backs to the duelists.)

Burr, William P. Van Ness (his second), Matthew L. Davis, and another (often identified as John Swarthout) plus their rowers reached the site at 6:30, whereupon Swarthout and Van Ness started to clear the underbrush from the dueling ground. Hamilton, Judge Nathaniel Pendleton (his second), and Dr. David Hosack arrived a few minutes before seven. Lots were cast for the choice of position and which second should start the duel; both were won by Hamilton's second, who chose the upper edge of the ledge (which faced the city) for Hamilton.[21] However, according to historian and author Joseph Ellis, Hamilton had been challenged and therefore had choice of both weapon and position. Under this account, it was Hamilton himself who chose the upstream or north side position.

All first-hand accounts of the duel agree that two shots were fired; however, Hamilton and Burr's seconds disagreed on the intervening time between the shots. It was common for both principals in a duel to fire a shot at the ground to exemplify courage, and then the duel could come to an end. Hamilton apparently fired first and into the air, though it is not clear whether this was intentional, much less whether Burr perceived him to be "throwing away his shot" (as it did not follow the standard protocol). Burr returned fire and hit Hamilton in the lower abdomen above the right hip. The large-caliber lead ball ricocheted off Hamilton's third or second false rib, fracturing it, and caused considerable damage to his internal organs, particularly his liver and diaphragm, before becoming lodged in his first or second lumbar vertebra. According to Pendleton's account, Hamilton collapsed immediately, dropping the pistol involuntarily, and Burr moved toward Hamilton in a speechless manner (which Pendleton deemed to be indicative of regret) before being hustled away behind an umbrella by Van Ness because Hosack and the rowers were already approaching.

It is entirely uncertain which principal fired first, as both seconds' backs were to the duel in accordance with the pre-arranged regulations of the duel and so that the men could later testify that they "saw no fire". After much research to determine the actual events of the duel, historian Joseph Ellis gives his best guess:

Hamilton did fire his weapon intentionally, and he fired first. But he aimed to miss Burr, sending his ball into the tree above and behind Burr's location. In so doing, he did not withhold his shot, but he did waste it, thereby honoring his pre-duel pledge. Meanwhile, Burr, who did not know about the pledge, did know that a projectile from Hamilton's gun had whizzed past him and crashed into the tree to his rear. According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was perfectly justified in taking deadly aim at Hamilton and firing to kill.

But did he? What is possible, but beyond the reach of the available evidence, is that Burr really missed his target, too, that his own fatal shot, in fact, was accidental.

Dr. David Hosack's account

Dr. Hosack, the doctor , wrote his account on August 17, about one month after the duel had taken place. Hosack testified that he had only seen Hamilton and the two seconds disappear "into the wood", heard two shots, and rushed to find a wounded Hamilton when his name was called. Hosack also testified that he had not seen Burr, who had been hidden behind an umbrella by Van Ness, his second. In a letter to William Coleman, Dr. Hosack gives a very clear picture of the events:

When called to him upon his receiving the fatal wound, I found him half sitting on the ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton. His countenance of death I shall never forget. He had at that instant just strength to say, 'This is a mortal wound, doctor;' when he sunk away, and became to all appearance lifeless. I immediately stripped up his clothes, and soon, alas I ascertained that the direction of the ball must have been through some vital part. His pulses were not to be felt, his respiration was entirely suspended, and, upon laying my hand on his heart and perceiving no motion there, I considered him as irrecoverably gone. I, however, observed to Mr. Pendleton, that the only chance for his reviving was immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted him up, and carried him out of the wood to the margin of the bank, where the bargemen aided us in conveying him into the boat, which immediately put off. During all this time I could not discover the least symptom of returning life. I now rubbed his face, lips, and temples with spirits of hartshorn, applied it to his neck and breast, and to the wrists and palms of his hands, and endeavoured to pour some into his mouth.

Dr. Hosack goes on to say that in a few minutes Hamilton had revived, either from the hartshorn or fresh air. Hosack finishes his letter:

Soon after recovering his sight, he happened to cast his eye upon the case of pistols, and observing the one that he had had in his hand lying on the outside, he said, "Take care of that pistol; it is undischarged, and still cocked; it may go off and do harm. Pendleton knows" (attempting to turn his head towards him) 'that I did not intend to fire at him.' 'Yes,' said Mr. Pendleton, understanding his wish, 'I have already made Dr. Hosack acquainted with your determination as to that' He then closed his eyes and remained calm, without any disposition to speak; nor did he say much afterward, except in reply to my questions. He asked me once or twice how I found his pulse; and he informed me that his lower extremities had lost all feeling, manifesting to me that he entertained no hopes that he should long survive.

Statement to the press

Pendleton and Van Ness issued a press statement about the events of the duel. The statement printed out the agreed upon dueling rules and events that transpired, that being given the order to present, both participants were free to open fire. After first fire had been given, the opposite's second would count to three and the opponent would fire, or sacrifice his shot.[27] Pendleton and Van Ness disagree as to who fired the first shot, but concur that both men had fired "within a few seconds of each other" (as they must have: neither Pendleton nor Van Ness mention counting down).

In Pendleton's amended version of the statement, he and a friend went to the site of the duel the day after Hamilton's death to discover where Hamilton's shot went. The statement reads:

"They [Mr. Pendleton and an accomplice] ascertained that the ball passed through the limb of a cedar tree, at an elevation of about twelve feet and a half, perpendicularly from the ground, between thirteen and fourteen feet from the mark on which General Hamilton stood, and about four feet wide of the direct line between him and Col. Burr, on the right side; he having fallen on the left."

Hamilton's intentions

Hamilton wrote a letter the night before the duel entitled Statement on Impending Duel with Aaron Burr in which he stated that he was "strongly opposed to the practice of dueling" for both religious and practical reasons. "I have resolved," it continued, "if our interview is conducted in the usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of reserving my second fire."

Hamilton regained consciousness after being shot, and told Dr. Hosack that his gun was still loaded and that "Pendleton knows I did not mean to fire at him." This is evidence for the theory that Hamilton intended not to fire, honoring his pre-duel pledge, and only fired accidentally upon being hit. Such an intention would have violated the protocol of the code duello. When Burr later learned of this, he responded: "Contemptible, if true."Hamilton could have thrown his shot away by firing into the ground, thus possibly signaling Burr of his purpose.

Modern historians have debated to what extent Hamilton's statements and letter represent his true beliefs, and how much of this was a deliberate attempt to permanently ruin Burr if Hamilton were to be killed. An example of this may be seen in what a historian has considered to be deliberate attempts to provoke Burr on the dueling ground, specifically Ogden's perspective that

Hamilton performed a series of deliberately provocative actions to ensure a lethal outcome. As they were taking their places, he asked that the proceedings stop, adjusted his spectacles, and slowly, repeatedly, sighted along his pistol to test his aim.

It has also been claimed that Hamilton also made a conspicuous choice of dueling pistols, choosing the same pair which had shot a button off Aaron Burr's coat some five years earlier during a duel with Hamilton's brother-in-law John Barker Church (Chernow describes this assertion as a 'legend', pointing out Burr's own statement that the pistols used in the duel with Church were his own and not Church's). These details have caused many historians in recent years to re-examine the circumstances of the engagement and Hamilton's true intentions on the morning of July 11. Subsequent examination of the pistols used by Hamilton has revealed that they were fitted with a "hair trigger." This would have brought considerable advantage in aiming accurately. Hamilton may have been unfamiliar with their use, and a mistake in arming them may have caused the gun to fire prematurely. This may have been the cause of Hamilton's errant first shot. If so, such a scenario would contradict the account that Hamilton fired into the air intentionally.

Burr's intentions

There is little doubt that Burr had every intention of seeking full satisfaction from Hamilton by blood.[36] The afternoon after the duel, Burr was quoted as saying that had his vision not been impaired by the morning mist, he would have shot Hamilton in the heart. According to the account of noted English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who met with Burr in England in 1808 (four years after the fact), Burr claimed to have been certain of his ability to kill Hamilton, and Bentham concluded that Burr was "little better than a murderer."

Towards the end of his life, Burr remarked: "Had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, I should have known the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me."

There is, however, much evidence in Burr's defense. Had Hamilton apologized for his "more despicable opinion of Mr. Burr",[40] all would have been forgotten. However neither principal could avoid the confrontation honorably, and thus each was forced into the duel: Burr to regain his honor and Hamilton to sustain his.

Furthermore, Burr was unsure of Hamilton's intentions (as historians still are today). Seeing Hamilton fire into the brush above his head, Burr could not be sure if Hamilton had thrown away his shot or simply missed his target. According to the principles of the code duello, Burr was entirely justified in taking aim at Hamilton, under the hypothesis that Hamilton had shot first. Continuing this line of reasoning, it is not clear that Burr did more than react to hearing Hamilton fire before he had any time to realize where the shot had gone.

Burr certainly knew of Hamilton's publicly opposing his ascension to the vice-presidency in 1800. Hamilton made confidential statements against him, such as those enumerated in Hamilton's private letter to Supreme Court Justice Rutledge. In the attachment to that letter, Hamilton had argued against Burr's character on repetitive scores, for example "suspected on strong grounds of having corruptly served the views of the Holland Company ... his very friends do not insist on his integrity ... he will court and employ able and daring scoundrels ... his conduct indicates [he seeks] Supreme power in his own person ... will in all likelihood attempt a usurpation."

The mortally wounded Hamilton died the following day with his wife by his side and was buried in the Trinity Churchyard Cemetery in Manhattan (Hamilton was an Episcopalian at his death). Gouverneur Morris, a political ally of Hamilton's, gave the eulogy at his funeral and established a private fund to support his widow and children.

Burr was charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, but neither charge reached trial. In Bergen County, New Jersey, a grand jury indicted Burr for murder in November 1804, but the New Jersey Supreme Court quashed the indictment on a motion from Colonel Ogden. Burr fled to Saint Simons Island, Georgia. He stayed at the plantation of Pierce Butler at Hampton Point, but soon returned to Washington, D.C. to complete his term of service as Vice President. He presided over the Samuel Chase impeachment trial "with the dignity and impartiality of an angel, but with the rigor of a devil" according to a Washington newspaper. Burr's heartfelt farewell speech in March 1805 moved some of his harshest critics in the Senate to tears.

With his political career apparently over, Burr went west, where he became involved in "filibuster" plans, which some later claimed were intended to establish a new independent empire carved out of the Louisiana territory. General James Wilkinson, who had worked with Burr, later had a change of heart and betrayed their plans to President Jefferson. Another man Burr allegedly tried to recruit, William Eaton, accused Burr in letters to Jefferson, resulting in Burr's arrest and trial for treason. Although he was acquitted of all charges, Burr's reputation was further damaged and he spent the following years in Europe. He finally returned to New York City in 1812, where he resumed his law practice and spent the remainder of his life in relative obscurity.