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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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985. BURR (Aaron), Threatens Jefferson.—
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985. BURR (Aaron), Threatens Jefferson.—

About a month ago [March 1806] Colonel Burr called on me, and entered into a
conversation, in which he mentioned that a
little before my coming into office, I had written
to him a later intimating that I had destined
him for high employ, had he not been placed by
the people in a different one; that he had signified
his willingness to resign as Vice-President,
to give aid to the Administration in any other
place, that he had never asked an office, however;
he asked aid of nobody, but could walk
on his own legs and take care of himself; that


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I had always used him with politeness, but nothing
more; that he aided in bringing on the
present order of things; that he had supported
the Administration; and that he could do me
much harm; he wished, however, to be on different
ground; he was now disengaged from
all particular business—willing to engage in
something—should be in town some days, if I
should have anything to propose to him. I observed
to him, that I had always been sensible
that he possessed talents which might be employed
greatly to the advantage of the public,
and that as to myself, I had a confidence that if
he were employed, he would use his talents for
the public good; but that he must be sensible
the public had withdrawn their confidence from
him, and that in a government like ours it was
necessary to embrace in its administration as
great a mass of public confidence as possible,
by employing those who had a character with
the public, of their own, and not merely a secondary
one through the Executive. He observed,
that if we believed a few newspapers,
it might be supposed he had lost the public
confidence, but that I knew how easy it was
to engage newspapers in anything. I observed,
that I did not refer to that kind of evidence of
his having lost the public confidence, but to
the late Presidential election, when, though in
possession of the office of Vice-President, there
was not a single voice heard for his retaining
it. That as to any harm he could do me, I
knew no cause why he should desire it, but,
at the same time, I feared no injury which any
man could do me; that I never had done a
single act, or been concerned in any transaction,
which I feared to have fully laid open, or
which could do me any hurt, if truly stated;
that I had never done a single thing with a view
to my personal interest, or that of any friend, or
with any other view than that of the greatest
public good; that, therefore, no threat or fear
on that head would ever be a motive of action
with me. I did not commit these things to
writing at the time, but I do it now, because in
a suit between him and Cheetham, he has had
a deposition of Mr. Bayard taken, which seems
to have no relation to the suit, nor to any other
object than to calumniate me. Bayard pretends
to have addressed to me, during the pending of
the Presidential election in February, 1801,
through General Samuel Smith, certain conditions
on which my election might be obtained,
and that General Smith, after conversing with
me, gave answers from me. This is absolutely
false. No proposition of any kind was ever
made to me on that occasion by General Smith,
nor any answer authorized by me. And this
fact General Smith affirms at this moment.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 208. Ford ed., i, 311.
(April. 1806)