University Archives


Aaron Burr ALS on Electricity, Ireland and Politics

BURR, AARON.  Autograph Letter Signed, to Martha Bradstreet, 2 pp., 7.75" x 11.5" unfolded, Albany, New York, March 22, 1824. Integral address leaf postmarked "NEW-YORK / MAR 22", stamped "PAID", with docketing and remnants of red wax seal.  Toning and foxing, small loss at expected folds not affecting text, else very good.


"I am working, laboring, contriving, hoping, expecting, believing that I shall embark in the steam-boat on Saturday evening to go on towards you, till ice should stop us, but trembling, doubting, fearing that I shall not be able to surmount the great impediment mentioned in a former letter.  If I should not be able to go, which God forbid - you will have a line from me on Tuesday evening."

"Mr. Johnson & I went on charmingly with our Electricity - The Things was so clear & the prospects so immense that we had already bought one of those abandoned chateaux & Principalities in Ireland of which Miss Owenson (Lady Morgan) speaks ..."

"... heard that the A.G. had reported against you - this has vexed & surprised me ... it is a gross error & I hope some one in the House of R. will demonstrate it ..."

Aaron Burr Jr. (1756-1836) was the third Vice President of the United States, serving during Jefferson’s first term, through March 4, 1805. He graduated from Princeton University in 1772, at age 16. His first public service was as a Continental Army officer, where he distinguished himself at the Battles of Quebec, New York, and Monmouth. He served as Attorney General of New York from 1789 to 1791, and represented New York in the U.S. Senate from 1791 to 1797. While Vice President, on July 11, 1804, Burr fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel. With his political fortunes in decline, Burr is reputed to have formed a conspiracy to establish a private army and set up an empire from portions of Mexico (then belonging to Spain) and/or Louisiana (a U.S. territory). Burr was brought to trial on August 3, 1807, with Chief Justice John Marshall presiding, and acquitted on September 1. Following the trial, he lived in Europe in self-imposed exile for four years, then returned to New York to practice law.

Martha Bradstreet (1780-1871) was the step-granddaughter of Major General John Bradstreet (1714-1774). She pursued legal claims to land inherited from him and other relatives in New York State.  

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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