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Circular containing questions concerning the Burr Conspiracy, 2 May 1807



Circular containing questions concerning the Burr Conspiracy, 2 May 1807


Circular from Attorney General Caesar Rodney to Jonathan Clark in Louisville includes an attached list of questions to ask people in the region who might have information about Aaron Burr or the "late conspiracy against the Constitution and law of the United States."



Bodley Family Papers, 1773-1939, Filson Historical Society



Burr, Aaron




A B668e f238


IT is of importance that every material fact relative to the late conspiracy against
the constitution and laws of the United States should be accurately ascertained.
This is essentially necessary for the purpose of public justice. I take the liberty
therefore of enclosing you, by the directions of the President, a copy of the interrogatories calculated for the examinations of those persons within your knowledge, who can testify to any material fact on the subject of that conspiracy. You will please to take their depositions before any Judge or Justice of the Peace of your county, and transmit them to the office of the Secretary of State as soon as you can with convenience.

IT is unnecessary to add any incentive to the discharge of a patriotic task. You
must be sensible that our country calls for a complete investigation of those projects which have threatened its peace and safety. At such time it becomes not only the duty,
but the interest of every good citizen to step forward, and communicate to the govern-
ment any information he may possess which may contribute to the general welfare.
Yours, Respectfully
A Rodney

1. DO you know Aaron Burr, late of state of New York, and how long have you
known him? Have you been well or intimately acquainted wit him, and when did you ac-
quaintance commence?

2. Have you at any and at what time, had any conversation with the said Aaron Burr, or
any of his associates, or any person or persons who acknowledged themselves such on the
subject of any and what expedition or enterprize, which they had prepared or were about to
prepare, or set foot on within territory or jurisdiction of the United States, or without
the limits of the same? If yea; relate all the said conversation fully, particularly, and at

3. Was it a military expedition or enterprize? And if it were; what were the osten-
sible object of the same? What number of men associated and combined for the purpose
of accomplishing those objects ? What were the names of all or any of them? In what
manner were they associated and combined? Were any and what number of men, and
what were the names of all or any of them, enlisted in the service of the said Aaron Burr,
and his associates, and by whom were they enlisted? Did they or any of them, receive any
bounty money, cloathing, arms, ammunition provisions, equipments or pay ? At what
place or places were they enlisted, and when and were they to rendezvous ? In what
manner were they to reach the place of rendezvous ? Were they to move forward under
various pretexts and different pretences in small bodies, or trifling numbers ? Were they
to assume the characters of common travellers on the road, or were they to march like sol-
diers, on their way to the destined point, place or places of rendezvous ?

4. According to the best of your knowledge, information and belief, what were the real
objects of the said Aaron Burr and his associates ? Was the said military expedition in-
tended against the dominions or provinces of any foreign prince or state, with whom the
United States are at peace ? And as the means of accomplishing such unlawful objects, did
they intend to revolutionize the territories of Louisiana, Mississippi or New Orleans, to put
down the existing governments in all or either of them, to seize the shipping and plunder
the banks at New Orleans, to seize on any arms, ammunition or warlike stores and provi-
sions wherever they were to be found in the said territories or either of them, for the pur-
pose of equipping themselves for the conquest of the Floridas or of Mexico ? Were they to
assemble on any, and what day, and at what place, to the amount of five hundred men or
more, and was the said Aaron Burr rapidly to descend the Mississippi, with the first five
hundred so assembled, as far as the town of Natches; to usurp the powers of the govern-
ment of the Mississippi territory, and to proceed from thence to seize on Baton Rouge, and
afterwards to revolutionize the territory or city of Orleans, and proceed to the conquest
of Mexico ?

5. Or was not their object to separate the western states and territories of the United
States, from the Atlantic states, to establish by force of arms an independent government, of
which the said Aaron Burr was to be the Monarch or Emperor, and the capital of which was
to be fixed at New Orleans ? Or did they extend their views so far, as ultimately to contem-
plate a complete and total revolution by force, throughout the United States, so as to reduce
them to subjection, under the government of the said Aaron Burr, and his associates ?
Have you heard at any, and at what time, the said Aaron Burr say, that with five hundred men
he either could or would send the President of the United States to Monticello, or assassin-
nate him, intimidate Congress to pass the government of the United States into his own
hands, and effect by force the destruction of the federal constitution, and a complete revolu-
tion in the country? Or what have you heard him say on this particular subject? Relate
fully and at large as it you were thereunto specially interrogated.

6. Were all or any of the aforesaid objects embraced by the plan of the said
Aaron Burr, and his associates, or was their object merely to settle on lands situate on the
Washita, said to have been purchased by the said Aaron Burr of a certain Baron Bastrop, or
a certain Mr. Lynch? If yea: when and in what manner did the said Aaron Burr pur-
chased the said lands, what sum of money or other consideration did he give or pay for the
same? What title had the said Baron Bastrop or the said Lynch to the said lands, and how
many acres does the said purchase contain? What description of people and what imple-
ments of husbandry are proper for the first settlement and culture of such lands ? If the set-
tlement of these lands was really the object of the said Aaron Burr and his associates, what
was the necessity or occasion of the mystery which enveloped their expedition and the
studies secrecy in which their enterprize was concealed ?

7. Do you know whether the said Aaron Burr was insolvent or not, or from whom he
procured the funds for the expedition or enterprize ? Whether he was aided and assisted
by any and what foreign prince, potentate or power ?

8. According to the best of your knowledge, information and belief, relate what num-
ber of the associates of the said Aaron Burr have been collected together, at what time, and
at any and what place or places, describing particularly the state and count, or the territory
and county in which they were assembled ? In what manner did they assemble ; were
they in arms or military array ; or had they arms, ammunition and warlike stores close at
hand, and in what quantity ? Did they act and move as a military body ; were they under
the command of the said Aaron Burr, as their chief, and inferior officers of his appointment ?
Were they at any and what time and place with guards fixed and centinels, in a posture of
war or rebellion against the United States or any of its territories, or of any individual
state, particularly at Blennerhasset’s island in the state of Virginia, or near the mouth of
Cumberland reiver in Kentucky, or at Bayou Pierre in the Mississippi territory ? What
number of men or boats were assembled at either said places ?

9. Do you know of any vessels or boats, and how many, and of what description, built
for co. Burr and his associates on the rivers Mississippi and Ohio, or any of the waters
which empty the said rivers ? If yea ; by whom and when were they built, at what
particular place or places, and what were their dimensions, form and construction ? Were
they calculated for coasting and sea voyages, or only for the navigation of the Mississippi
and its tributary streams ? What number of men were they calculated to carry, and in what manner
were they navigated ; was it with oars or sails or both ?

10. Do you know what quantity and kid of arms, ammunition, warlike stored, or pro-
visions were put on board any and which of the said vessels or boats, and at what particular
place, by or for the use of the said Aaron Burr and his associates, and who furnished the said
arms, ammunition, warlike stores or provisions ? What number of men, and of what de-
scription were they ; young and old ; farmers or mechanics ; or what trade, profession or cal-
ling, who embarked on board any and which of the said boats, and at what particular place
did they embark ? In what character or capacity did they go under the said Aaron Burr and
his associates ?
11. Did the said Aaron Burr or any of his associates endeavor or attempt to persuade
you to join their expedition, and what were the promises he or they made in the tempta-
tions they offered ?

12. Have you at any and what time had any written correspondence or communication
with the said A. Burr or any of his associates in any manner relating to the said expedition ;
or have you received any letters from him or them or any of them? Is the original letter or com-
munication in your possession? If yea ; annex the same or a copy thereof to your deposition,
and if the said letters or communication be lost or destroyed, state particularly the contents
therepf. Or have you seen or read any letter or communication from the said Aaron Burr
or any of his associates ? If yea ; in whose possession was it, to whom was it addressed,
and what was the purport of ?

Lastly. Do you know of any other matter or thing which will tend to unfold the real
objects of Aaron Burr and his associates, and to expose their unlawful acts and conduct? If
yea; relate the same as fully as if you were thereunto particularly interrogated.


Rodney, Caesar, “Circular containing questions concerning the Burr Conspiracy, 2 May 1807,” The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects, accessed June 16, 2024,