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Aaron Burr Manages his New York City Law Office From Albany
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In July 1791, Burr was serving as New York State commissioner of Revolutionary claims and as freshman U.S. Senator, while also practicing law. Here, the future presidential candidate instructs the clerk keeping his New York office on everything from entering pleas, to sending case paperwork, to ordering vials of an eye moisturizer and books analyzing the French Revolution, to correspondence.

AARON BURR. Autograph Letter Signed, to William Ireson. Albany, N.Y., July 20, 1791. 3 pp., folio, with integral address leaf to Ireson “at A Burr’s.”

Inventory #21480.04       Price: $1,900

Complete Transcript

Albany 20th July 1791

I have just received your letter of the 17th. In the parts in which Mr Cozine has sent you Declarations, I am Counsel and think JB Prevost is atty. if so give him the narr’s [narratives?], if not, you must either get Cozines leave to delay the pleas till my Return or if he declines that Indulgence, plead the Gen’l offence and pleas administravit—but I shall wish to alter the Pleas on my return—Ask Mr Prevost to draw and deliver these please. I do not wish you to be interrupted.

Mary Clark assignee of John Ten Broeck vs James Lightbody


James Hamburg/ vs / the same } } Desire McKesson or if he should have left town Van Heck, to make xxx for Mr Lush, certified copies of the Indt rolls and Executions in these two suits. If Lush does not pay McKesson for them I will...& send them forward without delay.


You will find among the Gravesend papers, copies of several patents for Gravesend and of one or two for New Utrecht, send them to me.


Tell Brooks to get find me two Phials of Mr. Lamb’s Eye Water, one small, the other larger.


Beg Brooks also to enquire for a Piece of Linnen which was sent by Judge Yates to Doctor Brown to be bleached, if it is done and he can find it, let him sent it to the Judge by Hoof. If he cannot find it and an opportunity offers him [,] desire him to write to Doctor Browne on the subject.

<2> Daniel Vardon Junr No 39 Gr Dock Street advertises Letters and Observations to Burke. If they are neither by Payne [Paine?], Priestly, Towers or Loft, buy and send them to me. Buy also of Saml Campbell No. 44 Hannover Sq and send me Mackintosh’s defense of the French Revolution against the accusations of Mr. Burke.


I am surprised that I have no Letter from Mrs Burr by the last two posts—

It gives me the greatest pleasure to find that the business of the office begins at length to be reduced to order—Do either of the young Lads attend?

W[ith] friendship

Aaron Burr

Gardiniers Leases if not forwarded before the receipt of this may be sent by Post. I believe a Water Conveyance will be best for the Books---unless you find a direct & safe private oppy [opportunity] by land—


You will find among the memorandums or more probably among the Papers of RG Livingston Junr a docket or note of all judgments and mortgages against Charles H Toll and Simon Toll—send it to me—if you cannot find it get of McKesson a docket of all Judts. —and send me memo: of the Executions which have been issued in my two suits agt. the Tolls.—


Forward the enclosed to Mrs Burr—if no prospect of a speedy oppy by water or private conveyance, send it by post enclosed to A.J. Fred. Prevost at EastChester

<3> Recollect that the mail which leaves New York on Sunday Eveg (24th) at 4 o’clock P.M. is the last by which you can forward Certificates or Papers to be used in the Court of Chany [Chancery] as that Court will sit only next week.

<4> [Autograph address leaf, postmarked “Albany” and “Paid,” with “paid 4” notation.]

Mr. William Ireson at A Burr’s. No 4 Broadway/ New York

Aaron Burr, Jr. (1756-1836) was the third Vice President, serving during Jefferson’s first term, through March 4, 1805. His first public service was as a Continental Army officer, where he distinguished himself at the Battles of Quebec, New York, and Monmouth. While Vice President, on July 11, 1804, Burr fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel. With his political fortunes in decline, Burr is reputed to have formed a conspiracy to establish a private army and set up an empire from portions of Mexico (then belonging to Spain) and/or Louisiana (a U.S. territory). Co-conspirators included Jonathan Dayton (former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives) and Harman Blennerhassett (an English-born country gentleman from the Ohio River valley). When Burr attempted to recruit Louisiana Governor James Wilkinson to the plot, Wilkinson reported the matter to President Jefferson, who ordered his former vice president arrested. Burr surrendered in Louisiana (January 10, 1807), then attempted to flee to Spanish-held Florida and was arrested in Alabama. Burr was brought to trial on August 3, 1807, with Chief Justice John Marshall presiding. Because the law required two witnesses for treason (and because Marshall was happy to stick it to Jefferson), Burr was acquitted on September 1. He was subsequently tried on a misdemeanor, and acquitted on a technicality. Following the trial he lived in Europe in self-imposed exile for four years, then returned to New York to practice law.

John McKesson (1734-1798), who was mentioned in the letter, graduated from Princeton and practiced law in Manhattan. He “was one of the most active Americans in the State of New York during the Revolutionary War… He was appointed Secretary of the Provincial Convention which met in New York the 20th of April, 1775, for the purpose of choosing delegates to represent the colony in the Continental Congress.” Thereafter, he was secretary at the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Provincial Congresses, May 1775 to May 1777, and the first Clerk of the Assembly of New York, September 1777 through 1794. Additionally, he was secretary at the State Convention on the ratification of the Federal Constitution. (Clinton, 196; Chester, 629-39)


Fine. Professionally conservation treated. Seal loss filled in, not affecting text.

Deaccession, the Henry Ford Museum. 69.144.1105. in small neat red pencil.

*This item is also being offered in part II of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

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