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such information as shall be voluntarily offered. Aided by no process or facilities from the federal courts, but frowned on by their new-born zeal for the liberty of those whom we would not permit to overthrow the liberties of their country, we can expect no revealments from the accomplices of the chief offender. Of treasonable intentions, the judges have been obliged to confess there is probable appearance. What loop-hole they will find in the case, when it comes to trial, we cannot foresee. Eaton, Stoddart, Wilkinson, and two others whom I must not name, will satisfy the world, if not the judges, of Burr's guilt. And I do suppose the following avert acts will be proved. 1. The enlistment of men, in a regular way. 2. The regular mounting of guard round Blannerhassett's island, when they expected Governor Tiflin's men to be on them modo guerrino arraiati. 3. The rendezvous of Burr with his men at the mouth of Cuinberland. 4. His letter to the acting Governor of Mississippi, holding up the prospect of civil war. 5. His capitulation, regularly signed with the aids of the Governor, as between two independent and hostile commanders.
But a moment's calculation will show that this evidence cannot be collected under four months, probably five, from the moment of deciding when and where the trial shall be. I desired Mr. Rodney expressly to inform the Chief Justice of this, inofficially. But Mr. Marshall says, . More than five weeks have elapsed since the opinion of the Supreme Court has declared the necessity of proving the overt acts, if they exist. Why are they not proved.' In what terms of decency can we speak of this ? As if an express could go to Natchez, or the mouth of Cumberland, and return in five weeks, to do which has never taken less than twelve. Again, • If, in November or December last, a body of troops had been assembled on the Obio, it is impossible to suppose the affidavits, establishing the fact, could not have been obtained by the last of March. But I ask the Judge, where they should have been lodged ? At Frankfort ? at Cincinnati ? at Nashville ? St. Louis? Natchez? New Orleans? These were the probable places of apprehension and examination. It was not known at Washington till the 26th of March, that Burr would escape from the western tribunals, be retaken and brought to an eastern one: and in five days after (neither five months nor five weeks, as the Judge calculated) he says, it is impossible to suppose the affidavits could not have been obtained. Where? At Richmond he certainly meant, or meant only to throw dust in the eyes of his audience. But all the principles of law are to be perverted which would bear on the favorite oftenders, who endeavor to overturn this odious republic. "I understand,' says the Judge, probable cause of guilt to be a case VOL. IV.
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made out by proof, furnishing good reason to believe,' &c. Speaking as a lawyer, he must mean legal proof, i. e. proof on oath, at least. But this is confounding probability and proof. We had always before understood that where there was reasonable ground to believe guilt, the offender must be put on his trial. That guilty intentions were probable, the Judge believed. And as to the overt acts, were not the bundle of letters of information in Mr. Rodney's hands, the letters and facts published in the local newspapers, Burr's flight, and the universal belief or rumor of his guilt, probable ground for presuming the facts of enlistment, military guard, rendezvous, threat of civil war, or capitulation, so as to put him on trial? Is there a candid man in the United States who does not believe some one, if not all, of these overt acts to have taken place?
If there ever had been an instance in this or the preceding administrations, of federal judges so applying principles of law as to condemn a federal or acquit a republican offender, I should have judged them in the present case with more charity. All this, however, will work well. The nation will judge both the offender and judges for themselves. If a member of the executive or legislature does wrong, the day is never far distant when the people will remove him. They will see then, and amend the error in our constitution, which makes any branch independent of the nation. They will see that one of the great co-ordinate branches of the government, setting itself in opposition to the other two, and to the common sense of the nation, proclaims impunity to that class of offenders which endeavors to overturn the constitution, and are themselves protected in it by the constitution itself : for impeachment is a farce which will not be tried again. If their protection of Burr produces this amendment, it will do more good than his condemnation would have done. Against Burr, personally, I never had one hostile sentiment. I never, indeed, thought him an honest, frank-dealing man, but considered him as a crooked gun, or other perverted machine, whose aim or shot you could never be sure of. Still, while he possessed the confidence of the nation, I thought it my duty to respect in him their confidence, and to treat him as if he deserved it: and if his punishment can be commuted now for an useful amendment of the constitution, I shall rejoice in it. My sheet being full, I perceive it is high time to offer you my friendly salutations, and assure you of my constant and affectionate esteem and respect.
TO GEORGE HAY.
Washington, June 2, 1807. DEAR SIR, While Burr's case is depending before the court, I will trouble you from time to time with what occurs to me. I observe that the case of Marbury v. Madison has been cited, and I think it material to stop at the threshold the citing that case as authority, and to have it denied to be law. 1. Because the judges, in the outset, disclaimed all cognizance of the case ; although they then went on to say what would have been their opinion, had they had cognizance of it. This then was confessedly an extra-judicial opinion, and, as such, of no authority. 2. Because, had it been judicially pronounced, it would have been against law ; for to a commission, a deed, a bond, delivery is essential to give validity. Until, therefore, the commission is delivered out of the hands of the executive and his agents, it is not his deed. He may withhold or cancel it at pleasure, as he might his private deed in the same situation. The constitution intended that the three great branches of the government should be co-ordinate, and independent of each other. As to acts, therefore, which are to be done by either, it has given no control to another branch. A judge, I presume, cannot sit on a bench without a commission, or a record of a commission: and the constitution having given to the judiciary branch no means of compelling the executive either to deliver a commission, or to make a record of it, shows it did not intend to give the judiciary that control over the executive, but that it should remain in the power of the latter to do it or not. Where different branches have to act in their respective lines, finally and without appeal, under any law, they may give to it different and opposite constructions. Thus in the case of William Smith, the House of Representatives determined he was a citizen, and in the case of William Duane (precisely the same in every material circumstance) the judges determined he was no citizen. In the cases of Callender and others, the judges determined the sedition act was valid under the constitution, and exercised their regular powers of sentencing them to fine and imprisonment. But the executive determined that the sedition act was a nullity under the constitution, and exercised his regular power of prohibiting the execution of the sentence, or rather of executing the real law, which protected the acts of the defendants. From these different constructions of the same act by different branches, less mischief arises, than from giving to any one of them a control over the others. The executive and Senate act on the construction, that until delivery from the executive department, a commission is in their possession, and within their rightful power; and in cases of commissions not revocable at will, where, after the Senate's approbation and the President's signing and sealing, new information of the unfitness of the person has come to hand before the delivery of the commission, new nominations have been made and approved, and new commissions have issued.
On this construction I have hitherto acted ; on this I shall ever act, and maintain it with the powers of the government, against any control which may be attempted by the judges in subversion of the independence of the executive and Senate within their peculiar department. I presume, therefore, that in a case where our decision is by the constitution the supreme one, and that which can be carried into effect, it is the constitutionally authoritative one, and that that by the judges was coram non judice, and unauthoritative, because it cannot be carried into effect. I have long wished for a proper occasion to have the gratuitous opinion in Marbury v. Madison brought before the public, and denounced as not law : and I think the present a fortunate one, because it occupies such a place in the public attention. I should be glad, therefore, if, in noticing that case, you could take occasion to express the determination of the executive, that the doctrines of that case were given extra-judicially and against law, and that their reverse will be the rule of action with the executive. If this opinion should not be your own, I would wish it to be expressed merely as that of the executive. If it is your own also, you would of course give to the arguments such a developement, as a case, incidental only, might render proper. I salute you with friendship and respect.
THOMAS JEFFERSON TO ALBERT GALLATIN.
I gave you, some time ago, a project of a more equal tariff on wines, than that which now exists. But in that I yielded considerably to the faulty classification of them in our law. I have now formed one with attention, and according to the best information I possess, classing them more rigorously. I am persuaded, that were the duty on cheap wines put on the same ratio with the dear, it would wonderfully enlarge the field of those who use wine, to the
Champagne, Burgundy, Claret, * Hermitage, 2 75 41 1-4 55
I will here The introduction of a very cheap wine
Tbis would be a great gain
Affectionate salutations. (St. George) into my neighborhood, within two years past, has quadrupled in that time the number of those who keep wine, and to the treasury, and to the sobriety of our country. will ere long increase them tenfold. add my tariff, wherein you will be able to choose any rate of duty you please; and to decide whether it will not, on a fit occasion, expulsion of whiskey. be proper for legislative attention.
Lon ton particular Madeira, . . . 2 20 33
Condrieu, Moselle, . . . . 1 25 18 3 4
* The term Claret should be abolished, because unknown in the country where it is made, and becaunse indefinite here. The four
† Blanquifoni, Calon, Leoville, Cantenac, &c. are wines of Me loc. Bursac, Sauterne, Beaumo, Preigoac, St. Bris, Carbonien, Lan-
June 3, 1807.