The Essex Junto was a group of lawyers and merchants from Essex County, Massachusetts. These Federalists supported Alexander Hamilton and the Massachusetts radicals. When Hamilton was offered a place in the plot to secede New England from the Union, he denied the offer. Consequently, the Essex Junto tried to vie support from Aaron Burr, who also rejected the offer from the Junto. The first attempt to break off New England from the Union failed since it was unable to gain support from the major power brokers in the state of New York.
After Hamilton's death, they became even more extreme. During the War of 1812, they were called "Blue Lights" because of the common belief and reports from the United States Navy that they would shine blue lights to alert the British blockading ships of escaping American ships, or to alert British ships to come ashore and carry out illegal trade. They supported the Hartford Convention's disaffection with the War of 1812 and proposed secession of New England. Some members of the Essex Junto were Timothy Pickering, George Cabot, Fisher Ames, Francis Dana, Nathan Dane, Benjamin Goodhue, Stephen Higginson, Jonathon Jackson, John Lowell, Israel Thorndike, Nathaniel Tracy, and Theophilus Parsons.
The exposure of this conspiracy [Edwardean Conspiracy] did not deter the plotters, who soon followed it with another, the Essex Junto of 1804-1808...The conspiracy had been fueled by the efforts of a leading British Intelligence operative, Sir John Robison, who worked closely with the Aaron Burr network. After President Thomas Jefferson was informed of the details of the Essex Junto, the malefactors reluctantly abandoned their dream of an early breakup of the Union, and then dedicated themselves to a longer-range strategy, which culminated in the Civil War.