THE MAN HUNT STARTS
THE "Conspiracy" was now developing on three different stages, flung far over the uttermost stretches of the United States. New Orleans -- and Wilkinson; Washington -- and Jefferson; Kentucky -- and Burr.
Of what was happening in New Orleans and Washington, Burr was blissfully ignorant. Just at the moment, he was having troubles of his own in Kentucky. Blennerhassett's loose talk, his silly series of articles on the philosophy of Western disunion, the rumors started by Stephen Minor, and, above all, the publications of the Western World, were beginning to have their cumulative effect.
Joseph Hamilton Daveiss was the United States District Attorney for Kentucky, and one of the few Federalists in that area. He himself had adopted his middle name as a token of his idolatry for the great Federalist leader. Burr had slain his idol. Associated with him was Humphrey Marshall, former Federalist Senator, related to him by marriage. Neither had any use for Republicanism in any form, nor for Burr. These gentlemen, oases in a political desert, were positive from the very first that Aaron Burr, the murderer of Hamilton, meant no good by his projects and journeys. Furthermore, a show of activity on their part might sooner or later be converted into political coin of the realm, and, in any event, it was an excellent opportunity for embarrassing the administration of Mr. Jefferson, for whom they had nothing but the heartiest contempt.
As early as January 10, 1806, following Burr's first tour, Daveiss had written Jefferson to warn him of an intrigue looking to the separation of the West. "This plot," he insisted, "is laid wider than you imagine. Mention the subject to no man from the Western country, however high in office he may be."1
Not hearing from the President, Daveiss wrote again, on February 10th, this time accusing Burr directly, and repeating his admonition to "show this letter to nobody. Mr. Burr's connections are more extensive than any man supposes." Enclosed was a list of suspects.2