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OF THE TRIALS OF
(LATE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,)
A MISDE MEANOR,
In preparing the means of a Military Expedition against Mexico, a territory of
IN THE .
CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES,
Held at the city of Richmond, in the district of Virginia, in the Summer
To which 18 AppEp,
To co M M IT
TO BE SENT FOR TRIAL To THE STATE OF KENTUCKY,
District of Virginia, ss. E it remembered that on the 9th day of June, in the thirty-second year of the independence of the United States of America, DAv1D Rob ERTson of the said district hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:
“Reports of the trials of colonel Aaron Burr, (late Vice President “ of the United States,) for Treason, and for a Misdemeanor, in “preparing the means of a military expedition against Mexico, “a territory of the king of Spain, with whom the United States “were at peace, in the Circuit Court of the United States, held “ at the city of Richmond, in the district of Virginia, in the sum“mer term of the year 1807. To which is added, An Appendix, “ containing the arguments and evidence in support and defence “ of the motion afterwards made by the counsel for the United “ States, to commit A. Burr, H. Blannerhassett and I. Smith, to “ be sent for trial to the state of Kentucky, for Treason or Mis“ demeanor, alleged to be committed there. In Two Volumes. “Taken in short hand by David Robertson, counsellor at law.”
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, inti. tuled “An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the “ copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of « such copies, during the times therein mentioned;” and also, to an actintituled “An act supplementary to an act, intitled an Act for the « encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts “ and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the “ times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the “arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other “prints.”
Clerk of the District of Virginia.
This publication contains a full and correct statement of all the testimony and documents adduced on the two trials of Col. BURR, for treason and misdemeanor, and on the motion made by the counsel for the United States, to commit the accused, for the purpose of sending them to Kentucky, to be tried for similar offences committed there; also the arguments of the counsel and the opinions of the judges on all the points discussed. The proceedings previous to the trials, before and while the grand jury were in deliberation, are also detailed, but the first part of them not so fully as the rest of the report; because it was the middle of June, before the reporter was prevailed on to undertake the publication. He has however consulted the best sources of information, in order to enable him to present to the public a correct statement of those preliminary proceedings which occurred from the commencement of the term till he began the report. He was present in court, during a considerable part of that interval, and has therefore been aided by his recollection. The report of the trials might be perfect, and would be long, twen if all those proceedings were omitted. But they are in*rted, because it was deemed more satisfactory to the public to give a connected historical detail of all the proceedins against colonel Burr from his first arrest, till the decision of the final motion against himself, I., Smith and H. Blannerhusett, than to limit the publication to a statement, however full of the trials only. For such a detail would most probably onable the reader to judge most correctly of the views of the Accused, and of the nature and tendency of the great scheme or plot which has thrown the country into such a state of agilation and alarm, and of the measures adopted to counteract and defeat it. For the same purpose, and to elucidate the sub|othere are prefixed a concise account of his first examination kfore the Chief Justice, the opinion pronounced thereon, and the opinion of the supreme court of the United States, in the tase of Bollman and Swartwout. The arguments of the counsel on all points of importance are detailed verbatim as uttered: and those of a subordinate nature are considerably condensed, as the report would other
- PREFACE. wise have been too voluminous and expensive. As much of the authorities referred to are inserted, as will enable any reader to comprehend their application. The opinions of the court, on most of the points, are published as written and delivered by the Chief Justice, and in the few other cases as uttered.
In whatever view these trials are to be regarded, they must be deemed very interesting. But when we consider the celebrity of the party accused, the stations and characters of some of those implicated with him, the magnitude and extent of their supposed designs, the danger to the union of the states apprehended therefrom, the learned and profound doctrines which were so ably and elaborately discussed by such eminent counsel, and the great talents of the court, this report cannot but be highly important and valuable. Perhaps no trial for treason has taken place in any country, in which more ability, learning, ingenuity and eloquence have been displayed. All the important decisions on treason, in England and this country, were acutely and thoroughly examined, and considered; and their application to the questions before the court discussed with great ingenuity and skill: nor was less industry or judgment shown in arguing the application and effect of the constitution of the United States, and of the common law, if it existed at all as a law of the union. On the motion to commit, the effect of the plea of “autrefois acquit” or the doctrine of a former acquittal, was also ably investigated.
It is believed that this report will be amusing and interesting to all persons capable of reading and understanding; and that to the lawyer, politician and man of general information, it will be particularly gratifying and useful, as it will comprehend a valuable treatise on criminal law, and especially high treason. The reporter has used his best exertions to make the accuracy of the publication correspond with the importance of the work. How far he has succeeded, he now submits to the judgment and candour of the court, the counsel engagéd in the cause, and the public.
Motion of Col. Burr's counsel to exclude the affidavit of Jacob Dun-