Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 5 June 1807

Washington June 5. 07.

Dear Sir

Your favor of the 31st. has been recieved, and I think it will be fortunate if any circumstance should produce a discharge of the present scanty grand jury, and a future summons of a fuller: tho’ the same views of protecting the offender may again reduce the number to 16. in order to lessen the chance of getting 12. to concur.   It is understood that wherever Burr met with subjects who did not chuse to embark in his projects unless approved by their government, he asserted that he had that approbation. most of them took his word for it; but it is said that with those who would not, the following stratagem was practised. a forged letter, purporting to be from Genl. Dearborne, was made to express his approbation and to say that I was absent at Monticello, but that there was no doubt that on my return my approbation of his enterprizes would be given. this letter was spread open on his table so as to invite the eye of whoever entered his room, and he contrived occasions of sending up into his room those whom he wished to become witnesses of his acting under sanction. by this means he avoided committing himself to any liability to prosecution for forgery, & gave another proof of being a great man in little things, while he is really small in great ones. I must add General Dearborne’s declaration that he never wrote a letter to Burr in his life, except that when here, once in a winter, he usually wrote him a billet of invitation to dine. the only object of sending you the inclosed letters is to possess you of the fact, that you may know how to pursue it if any of your witnesses should know any thing of it.—my intention in writing to you several times has been to convey facts or observations occurring in the absence of the Attorney General, and not to make, to the dreaful drudgery you are going through, the unnecessary addition of writing me letters in answer, which I beg you to relieve yourself from, except when some necessity calls for it. I salute you with friendship & respect.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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