Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Hichborn, 5 January 1801

From Benjamin Hichborn

Philadelphia Janury 5, 1801

My Dear Sir,

I coud not leave this place without intimating to you a Circumstance, which gives me some little uneasiness—Colo: Burr is in the house with me & Genl: Smith from Baltimore has been here—I am convinced that some of our Friends, as they call themselves are willing to joine the other party in Case they shoud unite in favor of Colo: Burr—I was informed as I passed thro’ Willmington1 that Mr Bayard their Representative was decidedly in favor of your Election, if so I think the question is settled—God grant it may be so!—

I am yours with esteem

B Hichborn

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 8 Jan. and so recorded in SJL.

Aaron Burr met with Samuel Smith in Philadelphia during the first weekend in January. Smith was surprised to learn that Burr no longer disclaimed “all competition” to the presidency or shunned the Federalist overtures as he had previously done in his widely publicized letter of 16 Dec. to Smith. He now informed Smith that he had decided to accept the presidency if he won the vote in the House (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:471, 483). On 5 Jan. the Philadelphia Gazette reported that Burr “was heard to insinuate that he felt as competent to the exercise of the Presidential functions as Mr. Jefferson.” The report continued: “In this case, his appearing to decline the election, resembles the modesty of Caesar, who refused the crown merely to have it the more pressed upon him!”

1Preceding five words interlined.

Index Entries