Jefferson and his time by Malone Dumas 1892-1986

Jefferson and his time by Malone Dumas 1892-1986

Author:Malone, Dumas, 1892-1986
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826, Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826, Presidents
Publisher: Boston : Little, Brown
Published: 1948-03-15T05:00:00+00:00


Eaton was no match for Luther Martin in disputation, if indeed anybody was. In his lengthy reply the legal warrior claimed that he had purposed to publish these affidavits on his own account, but preferred that the public should learn of the "kind intentions" of the administration from a person (Eaton) who appeared to have recently become one of its favorites. 6 He referred to the government as "enraged" by his interposition between it and its intended victim, his friend Burr, and spoke of the sycophancy of informers. He interpreted the summoning of witnesses against him as an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate him from returning to Richmond for the trial in August. Though he regarded the depositions as "miserable," he sought to explain them out of respect for his fellow citizens. He admitted that he wholly disapproved of the purchase of Louisiana, which could not be settled in fifty or a hundred years, and, while denying that he had predicted the dismemberment of the Union in twelve months, he stated that he regarded this as inevitable. (Actually, many other Federalists, especially in New England, thought the same.) He had made no secret of these sentiments and opinions, he said; and, after the conduct of Burr began to be discussed, he had amused himself by observing in jocular fashion that the Colonel would be the beneficiary of the purchase and become the emperor of Louisiana. He denied, however, that he had any correspondence with Burr from the time that gentleman first went west until he was "wantonly and unconstitutionally deprived of his liberty" by the military authority. Also, he categorically denied that he knew anything of Burr's plans.

In the final paragraph of a paper that was calculated to throw the onus on his detractors and that mingled innuendo with humor, the adventurer's loquacious friend made particular reference to Jefferson. "From the information the public have now obtained, thro' General Eaton and myself," he said, "it must be pretty evident that my friend the President would hang me if he could . . . but if he found that not in his power, he would deprive me of my liberty. Now to the public I solemnly declare that if the President was entirely and absolutely at my mercy, I would neither hang, nor imprison him, nor would I hurt one precious hair of his head; I would do nothing worse with him, than to send him to Monticello, there to employ himself, in peace and tranquility, in his favorite pursuits of economizing and philosophiz-ing." 7

further by Philo Investigator on Sept. 26, he published the affidavits Oct. 7. Dated in July and August, they were from John Campbell White, Edward Hall, and Philip Graybell.

6 Ibid., Oct. 10, 1807.

7 Punctuation slightly modified.



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