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Burr, Aaron (1756-1836) to Jonathan Rhea

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01544 Author/Creator: Burr, Aaron (1756-1836) Place Written: Richmond, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 25 July 1807 Pagination: 2 p. : address ; 23 x 20 cm

Summary of Content: States that he is writing reluctantly to ask his attention to a matter concerning the plans for defense at his treason trial. States that George Morgan and his sons John and Thomas of Princeton, New Jersey have sworn before the grand jury about conversations that did not take place. Discusses plans to discredit their character and mentions three men in Princeton who might be willing to do this; Daniel Agnew, John Hamilton, and William Hight. Implores Rhea to procure men of a higher character to testify on the bad credit of the Morgans. Conveys that if Rhea is reluctant to do this, he may throw this letter in the fire. In the postscript, he asks what has become of his indictment in New Jersey. Addressed to Colonel Rhea at Trenton, New Jersey.

Background Information: Rhea served in the Revolutionary War and was clerk of the Supreme Court of New Jersey 1793-November 1807 and Quartermaster General for the state 1807-1813.

Full Transcript: Richmond 25 July, 1807

Dear Sir
It is with the utmost reluctance that I take the liberty of troubling you on my personal concerns; but there being no one in your part ...of the State sufficiently well informed & with whom I could use the freedom, I venture to ask your attention to the Matter following -
George Morgan late of Princeton: his sons John & Thomas, the latter a lad of 18 or 19 have been swearing before the grand-jury & will doubtless swear again before the Pettit Jury to conversation with me of an extraordinary nature; such as never took place & by no probability could have taken place - I am told that the characters of George & John, whilst Inhabitants of your State, were rather light & to say the least, equivocal in point of credit - It is interesting to me to establish this fact - a gentleman at Princeton to whom I wrote on the subject, recommended to me to summon as witnesses from that place Daniel Agnew, John Hamilton and Wm… Hight all of whom would testify to the bad character & credit of George & John; but [inserted: that] [struck: that] they would come with reluctance & would not without further compensation that the pay [struck: of] allowed by Law -
It is to be wished that some men of [2] of higher grade could be had to the same purpose; but better any reputable man than none - what I would propose is that you should procure the enclosed Subpoena to be Served on such persons as you may know or suppose, to be willing to depose to these things - If A. Recklep should know their general characters, he would have no hesitation to declare boldly his belief & knowledge - I submit it wholly to your discretion - If you should be averse to meddle with it, you have only to throw the papers into the fire -
The return of the subpoena on day of appearance may be allowed so as to leave the witness a reasonable time - the Expense will be repaid by the return of some of the gentlemen who will see him from NYork -
with great respect
Yrs ABurr
What has become of my Indictment in your State?
Mr Recklep wrote me that it was disposed of; but I should be gratified to learn how & whether finally ~

[address leaf]

Col. Jonn. Rhea


See More

People: Burr, Aaron, 1756-1836
Rhea, Jonathan, 1754-1815

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: LawTreasonGovernment and CivicsCorruption and ScandalVice President

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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