Aaron Burr to MVB, 25 March 1834

A[aron] Burr to [MVB], 25 March 1834

New York

You will not probably have forgotten, that some 18 or 20 Years ago, an application was made to the Legislature of this State, by some friends of the underwritten for compensation for his services during the Revolutionary War, in which he was for more than 5 Years engaged in various laborious and hazardous duty and performed services of more importance than fell to the lot of any man, in the army of equal rank,

The decided and zealous part, which you took in favor of that application, and your eloquence and impressive speach are recollected with pleasure and admiration, by all who heard it.

This same application in substance is now before the Secretary of the Treasury under the act of Congress of May 1828, the application was presented to the late Secretary, Mr Mc Lane, by whom, after much examination it was offered over for further proof and of course without any final decision.

The further proof required by Mr Mc Lane, was promptly given, in the most full and satisfactory manner, But in the mean time that Gentleman has left the Department, and the duty and authority involved upon the present Secy of the Treasury. The papers were nearly 3 months ago submitted to Mr Taney. By whom they were I beleive thoroughly examined, and his doubts upon the merits, or rather certain forms, where it was supposed entirely removed, yet at the last conference held with him by my agent, he expressed a further doubt, to wit, whether, this was not a res judicata, this doubt was satisfied by reference to Mr Mc Lane, who promptly declared that he had made no final decision, but had left it open for further proof, and then to be decided by his successors in Office. This was communicated by Mr. T. together with the further proof required by Mr Mc Lane, which is of a nature to admit of no doubt, Since this period, Mr. T. has not found time to resume the consideration of the subject.

In the mean time I have no prospects of growing richer or Younger.

The object of this intrusion on your time (though you must be the most leisure-man in or about Congress) is to ask, that in case you should not have changed your Opinion in regard to the merits of my claim, you would in such manner as you may think best, communicate the same to the present, Secy and hint to him the necessity of dispatch.

Vale et Salve


P.S. It may be proper to inform you that there are but five Officers in Malcolm’s Regiment surviving of whom only Three pretend to claim by reason of any analogy to the case of A. B. Two of whom are past Eighty Years of age. This cannot therefore form any dangerous precedent, All the others of the Sixteen additional regiments have been provided for by their respective states within which they were raised, or by special act of Congress.

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Editorial Note:

Enclosed in MVB to Roger Brooke Taney, c31 March 1834.

Printed in Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr. Edited by Mary-Jo Kline and Joanne Wood Ryan. Vol 2. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983. 1221-3.