To Governor William C. C. Claiborne Washington, February 3, 1807DEAR SIR,
-- I pray you to read the enclosed letter, to seal and deliver it. It explains itself so fully, that I need say nothing. I am sincerely concerned for Mr. Reibelt, who is a man of excellent understanding and extensive science. If you had any academical berth, he would be much better fitted for thatthan for the bustling business of life. I enclose to General Wilkinson my message of January 22d. I presume, however, you will have seen it in the papers. It gives the history of Burr's conspiracy, all but the last chapter, which will, I hope, be that of his capture before this time, at Natchez. Your situations have been difficult, and we judge of the merit of our agents there by the magnitude of the danger as it appeared to them, not as it was known to us. On great occasions every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the strict line of law, when the public preservation requires it; his motives will be a justification as far as there is any discretion in his ultra-legal proceedings, and no indulgence of private feelings. On the whole, this squall, by showing with what ease our government suppresses movements which in other countries requires armies, has greatly increased its strength by increasing the public confidence in it. It has been a wholesome lesson too to our citizens, of the necessary obedience to their government. The Feds, and the little band of Quids, in opposition, will try to make something of the infringement of liberty by the military arrest and deportation of citizens, but if it does not go beyond such offenders as Swartwout, Bollman, Burr, Blennerhasset, Tyler, &c., they will be supported by the public approbation.
Accept my friendly salutations, and
assurances of esteem and respect.