Disclaimer for Alexander Hamilton Prepared by
William P. Van Ness1
[New York, June 25, 1804]
Being apprised that expressions are ascribed to me impeaching the honor and affecting the private reputation of Col. Burr, and perceiving that reports to this effect have been widely disseminated, I feel it due to my own honor, as also to that of a gentleman thus traduced under the sanction of my name, to remove such injurious impressions.
I therefore frankly and explicitly disclaim and disavow, the use of any expressions tending to impeach the honor of Col. Burr. My own sincerity and candor require this declaration; and, while I regret that my expressions have been misrepresented or misconstrued, I can only account for the inferences which have been drawn, from them, by supposing that language I may have employed in the warmth of political discourse has been represented in a latitude entirely foreign from my sentiments or my wishes.
D, in the handwriting of William P. Van Ness, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, New York; Df, in the handwriting of William P. Van Ness, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, New York.
1. The draft, which is written in the third person, is incorrectly printed in Syrett and Cooke, Interview in Weehawken description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jean G. Cooke, eds., Interview in Weehawken. The Burr-Hamilton Duel as Told in the Original Documents (Middletown, Conn., 1960). description ends , 86, as a separate document written by Burr.
The last paragraph of the draft, which was omitted from the final document printed above, reads: “If G H has on any occasions uttered such expressions he feels a propriety in fully & explicitly with drawing them as the ebulitions of party feelings which may have escaped him in the heat of political discourse but which he is conscious are unmerited & regrets having employed.”