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president. He submits it to the discretion of the attorney. Of course, it is to be understboc that he has no objections to the production of the whole, if the attorney has not. Had the president, when he transmitted it, subjected it to certain restrictions, and stated that in his judgment the public interest required certain parts of it to be kept secret, and had accordingly male a reservation or çm; all proper respect would have been paid to it: but he has made no such reservation.
As to the use to be made of the letter, it is impossible that either the court or ile attorney can know in what manner it is intended to be use The declarations therefore made upon that subject can haráno weight. Neither can any argument on its materiality or nmateriality drawn from the supposed contenis of the parts in question. The only ground laid for the coprt to act uson, is the affidavit of the accused; and from that the court is aduced to order that the paper be produced, or the cause be continued.
In regard to the secrecy of these parts which it is stated are improrcr to give out to the world, the court will take any order that may be necessary. I do not think that the accused ought to be prohibited from seeing the letter: but, if it should be thought proper, I will order that no copy of it be taken for publi: exhibition; and that no use shall be made of it but what is necessarily attached to the case. After the accused has seen it, it will yet be a question whether it shall go to the jury or not. That question cannot be decided now, because the court cannot say, whether those particular passages are of the nature which are specified. All that the court can do, is to order, that no copy shall be taken; and if it is necessary to debate it in public, those who take notes may be directed not to insert any part of the arguments on that subject. I believe myself, that a great deal of the suspicion which has been excited will be diminished by the exhibition of this paper.
Mr. Hay stated that he would consult general Wilkinson and if he consented, he would produce the letter under the restrictions ordered by the court; preferring that to a continuance of the cause.
The court ordered a jury to be summoned, and that a copy of the panel should be furnished to defendant.
On WEDNESDAY, September 9. A jury was empanneled and sworn and the trial proceeded. The indictment consisted of seven counts. The first was as follows, viz.
Circuit Court of the United States f America, for the ith
Circuit and Direit Wi Virginia. District of Virginia, to wit:
The grand inquest of the United S:12s of America, in 3rd for the body of the district of V:15!!!!, now on their oath, di, present, that Aaron Burr, late ot
ty of New York, ...) district of New York, attorney at ly did, on the tenth da! December, in the year of our Lorline thousand eight to dred and six, within the jurisdiction in the United 3. to wit: at a certain island in the river On called Blanı eris.. set's island, in the county of Wood, withi ue district of Vi.. ginia aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction this court, wie force and arms, begin a certain military expedition, to le ciried on from thence against the dominions of d oreign pris, to wit: the dominions of the king of Spain: th said to States then and there being at peace with th wild.ng of pail. against the form of the statute, in such case, muc and provided, to the evil example of all others, in likt cast offending, and against the peace of the said United Status and their dig nity.
The second count charged him with setting intet a military enterprise to be carried on against the territory of a fo eig! prince, viz: the king of Spain, with whom the United Suues were at peace.
The third, is the same as the last, except that the pic inre of Mexico, is stated as the territory of the kir of the against which the expedition is intended.
The fourth count, charges the defendant with pri ding om means of a military expedition against the dominions of in king of Spain.
The fifth is the same as the fourth, except that Mexico in particularly mentioned, as the province against which the expedition is intended.
The sixth is the same as the fourth, except that the foreign territory is said to be unknown.
The seventh, charges him with setting on foot a military enterprize against the dominions of a foreign state, to the jurors unknown.
All the counts laid the offence to be committed at Blanner. hasset's island, in the county of Wood, in the district of Virginia. The indictment was founded on the 5th section of the act of congress of 5th June, 1794.
In the course of the trial, the counsel of the prosecution offered in evidence declarations of Blannerhasset tending to implicate colonel Burr; and endeavoured to support it by alleging, 1st, A conspiracy between these two and others; and that the declarations of one conspirator were evidence against the others; or 2. That they were accomplices. They also offered in evidence acts of the nature laid in the indictment, committed by the defendant in Ohio and Kentucky; all of which was objected to. After argument, the chief justice rejected the testimony and concluded a very able opinion with the following positions, viz.
It is then the opinion of the court, that the declarations of third persons not forming a part of the transaction and not made in the presence of the accused cannot be received in evidence in this case.
That the acts of accomplices, except so far as they prove the character or object of the expedition, cannot be given in evidence.
That the acts of the accused, in a different district, which constitute in themselves substantive causes for a prosecution, cannot be given in evidence, unless they go directly to prove the charges laid in the indictment.
That any legal testimony which shows the expedition to be military, or to have been designed against the dominions of Spain may be received.
The attorney of the district finding in the progress of the cause, that this decision excluded almost the whole of his testimony, on the 15th of September, moved the court to discharge the jury. This was objected to by the defendant, who insisted upon a verdict. The court being of opinion that the jury could not in this stage of the case be discharged without mutual consent, and that they must give a verdict, they accordingly retired; and not long after returned with a verdict of " NOT GUILTY.”
In the end, Colonel Burr was ordered to be committed to Ohio to answer there on charge for setting on foot and providing the means for a military expedition against the territories of a foreign prince with whom the United States were at peace. He gave bail for his appearance there to answer the charge accordingly.