NEVER TO RETURN
ON March 24, 1806, Burr was convinced that the earlier war temper of the Administration had passed away. He wrote Andrew Jackson that "you have doubtless before this time been convinced that we are to have no war if it can be avoided with honor, or even without." But Miranda's expedition had aroused his hopes again, and if it caused an embroilment of the United States "a military force on our part would be requisite, and that force might come from your side of the mountains." Wherefore, he advised Jackson to recruit both men and officers, because "I have often said a brigade could be raised in West Tennessee which would drive double the number of Frenchmen off the earth."1
Soon even this faint hope died. Miranda was ingloriously defeated, and Jefferson and Madison managed to evade responsibility, though not without some uncomfortable squirmings. Burr was reduced to his impotent manipulations of Merry and Yrujo. But with the coming of summer the situation suddenly changed. Spanish troops were reported on American soil. At least, that was the American contention. Spain claimed the territory involved belonged to Texas. Jefferson insisted that the Sabine River was the boundary-line between Louisiana and Texas -- as indeed it is today -- and that any attempt by the Spaniards to garrison themselves on the Louisiana side would be met with force. The Spaniards argued -- and remained where they were -- east of the Sabine.
A new flame of warlike anger swept the nation. General Jackson drilled his State militia and thought of Burr. General John Adair in the neighboring State did likewise. Smith and Brown roused themselves. Here at last was the chance for which they had been waiting so long. Jefferson felt the public pulse and acted for once with decision. He sent peremptory orders to Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the American forces on the frontier, to drive the Spaniards beyond the Sabine at any cost. Wilkinson, initiator of the scheme of aggrandizement -- Burr's confederate!