4. Letter by Aaron Burr to Alexander Hamilton


June 21, 1804


N. York, 21 June, 1804




Your letter of the 20th instu. has been this day recieved. Having considered it atten- tively, I regret to find in it nothing of that sincerety and delicacy which you profess to value.


Political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from the necessity of a rigid adherence to the laws of honor and the rules of decorum. I neither claim such privilege nor indulge it in others.


The common sense of mankind affixes to the epithet adopted by Dr. Cooper the idea of dishonor. It has been publicly applied to me under the sanction of your name. The question is not whether he has understood the meaning of the word or has used it according to syntax and with grammatical accuracy, but whether you have authorized this applicaiton either directly or by uttering expression or opinion derogatory to my honor. The time “when” is in your own knowledge but no way material to me, as the calumny has now just been disclosed so as to become the subject of my notice and as the effect is present and palpable.


Your letter has purnished me with new reasons for requiring a definite reply.


I have the honor to be, Sir,


Your obt. St.


A. Burr