Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 7 September 1807

Monticello Sep. 7. 07.

Dear Sir

I recieved late last night your favor of the day before & now re-inclose you the Subpoena. as I do not believe that the district courts have a power of commanding the Executive government to abandon superior duties & attend on them, at whatever distance, I am unwilling by any notice of the Subpoena to set a precedent which might sanction a proceeding so preposterous. I inclose you therefore a letter, public & for the court, covering substantially all they ought to desire. if the papers which were inclosed in Wilkinson’s letter may in your judgment be communicated without injury, you will be pleased to communicate them. I return you the original letter.

I am happy in having the benefit of mr Madison’s counsel on this occasion, he happening to be now with me. we are both strongly of opinion that the prosecution against Burr for misdemeanor should proceed at Richmond. if defeated it will heap coals of fire on the head of the judge: if convicted, it will give time to see whether a prosecution for treason against him can be instituted in any & what other court. but we incline to think it may be best to send Blannerhasset & Smith (Israel) to Kentucky to be tried both for the treason & misdemeanor. the trial of Dayton for misdemeanor may as well go on at Richmond. I salute you with great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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