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To MRS. BURR.
Worse and worse. During the whole day we have not been five hours at business. Our witnesses are so aged, and many so remote, that they will not be in till Monday, so that, at this rate, we shall eke out the whole of next week. I have at no time been so completely out of patience; just now particularly, being a little churlish with my headache, which, though not very severe, unfits me for any thing but writing to you.
I wrote you and the whole flock last evening, and added a line to you this morning, and sent off the packet by a Mr. Brown, who goes by water, and promised to deliver it him-self. He has business at old Mr. Rutherford's. If he is punctual, don't forget him in thinking of the letters. Do say something that will make me a little more content with this vexatious delay and imprisonment. I am prompted to write a hundred things which I dare not, for fear I shall not find a safe conveyance: that was particularly the case last evening and this morning. It is perhaps fortunate, or I should spend too much time with you in this way. I believe I do as it is. Adieu, a little while. I am just going to prepare some hot punch.
I have been till this minute making and sipping punch, and with great success. It has thrown me into a perspiration, which obliges me to go to bed. I am very illy reconciled to leave you and bid you good-night, but so says my hard lot.
Saturday morning, 8 o'clock.
I lay awake till after three o'clock this morning; then got up and took a large dose of medicine. It was composed posed of laudanum, nitre, and other savoury drugs, which procured me sleep till now: have no headache; must eat breakfast, and away to court as fast as possible.
Every thing almost stands still. I begin to despair of getting away. I am sure the whole of next week will not finish our business at the present rate. To make it more tedious and disagreeable, some of us are less good-humoured than at first. Not a line from you since that I have mentioned. I can find no opportunity for this. I am too vexed to utter one sentiment.
Sunday, 22d May.
No opportunity for this scrawl yet. I begin to be tired of seeing it, and wish it gone for this reason; and also, because I try to persuade myself you would be glad to receive it.
To-day we have fine scope to reflect how much better we might have employed it, had we been active in our business last week. I find the whole might have been finished by yesterday (if the witnesses on both sides had been ready) as well as a month hence.
My room is a kind of rendezvous for our side: have seldom, therefore, time either to think or write, unless at night or early in the morning. Judge Yates concludes to give us a few days of his company, and to accept of a room with us. The coming of Le Jeune uncertain; not probably till fall. You will receive a pail of butter, perhaps, with this. I have been contracting for the year.
Have you done running up and down stairs? How do you live, sleep, and amuse yourself? I wish, if you have leisure (or, if you have not, make it), you would read the AbbĂ Mably's little book on the Constitution of the United States. St. John has it in French, which is much better than a translation. This, you see, will save me the trouble of reading it; and I shall receive it with much more emphasis par la bouche d'amour. Adieu. I seal this instantly, lest I be tempted to write more. Again adieu.
- Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 1., by Matthew L. Davis, 1836