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It is a supreme irony that the northbound voyage of the Patriot would have taken her through a region known as “the Graveyard of the Atlantic” and past “Hamilton’s Light,” a much-needed lighthouse built at Cape Hatteras under the authorization of the man Aaron Burr had killed back in 1804, when his future seemed so promising.

James E. Person Jr. is the author of “Russell Kirk: A Critical Biography of a Conservative Mind” (Madison Books, 1999).