9. Letter/notes by Aaron Burr to William P. Van Ness
June 26, 1804
The last proposition of Genl. H. is a worse libel that even the letter of Dr. C, & throughout manifests a disposition to evade, etc.
A “letter properly adapted” – who is to judge of this? Mr. B. will judge for himself & things his two letters very properly adapted & having expressed himself difinitely on that point, he is surprised to find it again brought in question.
“Any particular instance of dishonorable conduct.” This seems intended to leave ample room for the inference that there have been general opinions and general charges.
“In relation to any other language, etc.” which “Col. B. shall specify” – Col. B is ingnorant of the particular conversations & ex- pressions which Genl. H. may have had or used & he will only inquire from Genl. H. himself. That he has said things derogatory to Mr. B.’s honor is to be presumed from the letter of Dr. C. until it shall be contradicted to Genl. H.
If Mr. B. should specify and Genl. H. should deny as to one particular conversation, Dr. C. and the world may say “true, but the day anterior of the day subsequent such things were said by Genl. H.” and this would indeed be a fair in- ference from such partial negation.
These things must be perfectly obvious to the perspicatious mind of Genl. H. Propositions therefore fraught with such ambiguity and liable to such injurious construction must be considere as insidious and insulting and they call imperiously for the last appeal.
I was writing the predecing by way of notes for you when your boy arrived. They are sent to your unfinished. It seems that our sentiments are pretty much in harmony. Interweave into yours what you think proper of the preceding.
I will be at your house before noon & will dine with you.
W.P. Van Ness, Esqr.