Jun 21, 2018 - Sale 2483

Sale 2483 - Lot 47

Price Realized: $ 8,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
"BURR'S FIRST OBJECT IS TO POSSESS HIMSELF OF NEW ORLEANS" PICKERING, TIMOTHY. Autograph Letter Signed, "T. Pickering," as Senator, to "Dr Cutler," relating that the Secretary of War [Henry Dearborn] would write him a letter concerning a dispute with Colonel [William?] Barton, mentioning that Mr. [Andrew?] Jackson was present at the meeting, reporting that General [James] Wilkinson wrote from New Orleans that he and Captain [John] Shaw are preparing the town's defenses against Colonel [Aaron] Burr's attack, noting that Wilkinson has shown the Secretary of the Navy [Robert Smith] conclusive evidence of Burr's intentions, reporting that Colonel [Thomas Humphrey] Cushing is proceeding to New Orleans with his troops via the Red River, and requesting that he convey this intelligence to Mr. Blanchard. 2 pages, tall 4to, written on the recto and verso of a single sheet; short closed tears at fold intersections and edges repaired with tissue verso, folds. Washington, 27 December 1806

Additional Details

"I . . . was to-day with the Secretary of War. Mr. Jackson happened to be there. He says he shall write to you, but told me I might inform you that there would be no difficulty in adjusting the matter in dispute with Colo. Barton. . . .
"Gen'l Wilkinson arrived at New Orleans the 24th ulto. and writes on the 30th that he is diligently employed in preparing defences for the two against Colo. Burr's expedition. Capt. Shaw who commands the naval force there is doing the same. The latter writes the Secretary of the Navy . . . to the like purpose, and says that General Wilkinson has laid before him such letters and information as leaves no room to doubt that Burr's first object is to possess himself of New Orleans. And it is there expected a naval force is to enter the river to cooperate with Burr. Colo. Cushing is coming down the Red River with the troops, to proceed to New Orleans. . . ."
In October of 1806, Gen. James Wilkinson revealed to Col. Thomas H. Cushing the plans of Aaron Burr to capture New Orleans and use it as a base from which to launch attacks against Mexico in order to provoke a war against Spain. Wilkinson had been in collaboration with Burr, both of whom shared the desire to destabilize the border, but Wilkinson denied any suggestion of conspiracy. Burr was apprehended and tried by court-martial, resulting in acquittal. In May of 1807, charges of treason were brought against Burr in a Virginia circuit court at which he was again acquitted; Burr's actions were not found to satisfy Justice John Marshall's strict and narrow interpretation of the Constitutional definition of treason, according to which treason is solely the waging of war against the nation.