The lawyer and prominent American politician signed this handwritten 1821 letter to Martha Bradstreet, a friend and legal client, confessing that he must ask a legal question in writing

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AARON BURR The lawyer and prominent American politician signed this handwritten 1821 letter to Martha Bradstreet, a friend and legal client, confessing that he must ask a legal question in writing Autograph Letter Signed: "A Burr", 1 page, 8x10. May 9. To Martha Bradstreet. Docketed on integral leaf on verso (unknown hand). In full: "Your good friend, Mr. Bain, has called three days successively to learn through me whether you were disposed to settle & on what terms. To these enquiries I had promised to procure answers; but so often as I see you, all those ideas which presence inspires & those themes which happen to be the immediate topic utterly expel from my memory Mr. Bain & his interrogations. I now charge it on your recollection to introduce the subject, if such shall be your pleasure. I feel some solicitude to know the progress of your preparations for the proposed expedition. Has Mr. Johnson escaped with impunity after all his indiscretions? Yr devoted friend I am." Martha Bradstreet was the step grand-daughter of British General John Bradstreet. In the 1820s she retained Aaron Burr, recently returned from self-imposed exile in Europe, to try to recover properties in upstate New York granted General Bradstreet by the British Crown for his service in the French and Indian War, but confiscated during the American Revolution. Aaron Burr (1756-1836 , born in Newark, New Jersey), who had been admitted to the bar in 1782 following service in the American Revolution, moved to New York City in 1783. He served in the New York State Assembly from 1784-1785 (again from 1798-1799) and as New York Attorney General (1789-1790). In 1790, Burr was elected U.S. Senator from New York, defeating incumbent Senator Philip Schuyler, the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton. This resulted in the beginning of a feud between the two American leaders that persisted for many years. In 1799, he chartered the Manhattan Company, which formed to bring water into the city. Its charter was broad enough to permit excess funds to be invested in banking. It failed as a water company but, as a bank, soon rivaled the Bank of New York in both financial and political importance. The Bank of The Manhattan Company, later Chase Manhattan, is today J.P. Morgan Chase. In the November 4, 1800 presidential election, Burr and Thomas Jefferson each had 73 electoral votes. On the 36th ballot, the House of Representatives elected Jefferson President and Burr Vice President. On July 11, 1804, Burr challenged and mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel fought at Weehawken, N.J. Indicted for murder in New York and New Jersey, Burr was never tried in either state and completed his term as Jefferson's Vice President (1801-1805). While his political career in the new nation's capital ended with this taboo practice, he engaged in a planned exploration, the motivations of which may never be truly known. Accused of attempting to instigate a war between Spain and Mexico, Burr was tried for treason by the Supreme Court and found innocent, with no evidence to directly implicate him. This trial is one of the earliest and best known examples of the separation of powers due to then-President Thomas Jefferson's strong opinion that Burr was guilty and his subsequent pressuring of the Supreme Court to find Burr guilty. Slightly toned. Lightly creased and soiled. Folds. Pencil note (unknown hand) at upper left. Slight circular show-through from wax remnant on verso at blank upper right. Nailhead-size stain at blank upper margin.

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