viii

PREFACE

t o explain it through the character of B u r r h imself, a p rocedure which is fundamentally erroneous. Burr's c haracter was apparently never more seriously involved, a nd n ever reflected more disastrously upon the conspiracy, than i n the correspondence of M e r r y and Y r u j o       the ministers respectively of Great B r i t a i n a nd S p a i n     t o whom he ostensibly disclosed his designs. I f the r evelations of the ministers could be accepted at their f ace v alue, treason was i n B u r r ' s m i n d , a nd the separation o f the West f r o m the U n i o n w as his plot, open a nd a vowed. However, v i e w i n g the correspondence which as a whole, in conjunction w i t h other facts

c annot here be discussed, it appears certain that B u r r ' s i ntrigue w i t h M e r r y and Y r u j o was but a consummate p iece of imposture. I n order to secure funds for the c arrying o ut of his expedition against M e x i c o , B u r r r esorted to the expedient of p l a y i n g on the hatred of the E uropean p owers for the A m e r i c a n Republic. s undering o f the States? Could t hey be brought to contribute moneys to aid i n the B u r r t hought so, and to s ecure the sum he conceived to be necessary for his p urposes he never scrupled at discoursing of treasons, a lthough at the moment every step he was t a k i n g l ooked t oward an invasion of the Spanish territories. N o w eight can be placed upon M e r r y ' s and Y r u j o ' s l etters as concerns the nature of the conspiracy, except i ndeed i n a negative sense; and I say this w i t h all deference t o M r . H e n r y A d a m s and those who have l aid so m uch stress on t hese m anuscripts, m a i n t a i n i n g that they