Southwestern Historical Quarterly
If such faults had been eliminated before the book was re-
leased, the overall impression given the reader would have been
Arlington State College R. L. WILLIAMSON
The Aaron Burr Conspiracy and A New Light on Aaron Burr.
By Walter Flavius McCaleb. New York (Argosy-Antiquarian
Ltd.)\, 966. Pp. xxi+318+166. Illustrations, bibliography,
In'a volume with the dual title of The Aaron Burr Conspiracy
and A New Light on Aaron Burr, Walter F. McCaleb has brought
together the labor of a lifetime. The Aaron Burr Conspiracy first
appeared in 1903. In 1936 it was issued again in a revised and
expanded version. Now it is presented to the public for the third
time when its companion study A New Light on Aaron Burr,
which was first published in 1963. The present combined edition
is limited to 750 copies.
There is much in the Burr story to engage the attention of the
student of Texas and Southwestern history. The author fits Burr's
schemes into the story of American westward expansion, seen in
terms of the "national destiny" and the "Law of Survival." Since
Burr has been vindicated by history, McCaleb argues, he deserves
to be rehabilitated by the historian. Thus when Burr heard of
Texas independence in 1836, he is reported to have observed that
his treason of i806 had become patriotism.
The author emphasizes tirelessly that the real villain was
General James Wilkinson. After scheming with Burr, Wilkinson
manipulated the crisis of 1806 over the Texas-Louisiana boundary
in such a way as to ruin Burr's chances for leading a triumphal
march against the Spanish dominions in the Southwest. Wilkin-
son's design involved disobedience to President Jefferson's order
for decisive action against the Spanish forces at the disputed
Texas frontier. The Neutral Ground Convention was made by
Wilkinson without authorization and for his own purposes. Yet
Jefferson upheld Wilkinson and pushed for the conviction of
Burr, whom Wilkinson had abandoned for treason.
Thus the studies combined in this new volume provide a
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed April 26, 2015.