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to aaron burr - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 9 (1799-1803) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 9.
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to aaron burr
Washington Nov. 18, 1801.
—Your favor of the 10th has been received, as have been those also of Sep. 4, & 23. in due time. These letters all relating to office, fall within the general rule which even the very first week of my being engaged in the administration obliged me to establish, to wit, that of not answering letters on office specifically, but leaving the answer to be found in what is done or not done on them. You will readily conceive into what scrapes one would get by saying no, either with or without reason, by using a softer language which might excite false hope or by saying yes prematurely. And to take away all offence from this silent answer, it is necessary to adhere to it in every case rigidly, as well with bosom friends as strangers. Captain Sterritt is arrived here from the Mediterranean. Congress will have a question as to all the Barbary powers of some difficulty. We have had under consideration Mr. Pusy’s plans of fortification. They are scientifically done & expounded. He seems to prove that no works at either the Narrows or Governor’s Island can stop a vessel. But to stop them at the Hook by a fort of 8,000 men and protecting army of 29,000 is beyond our present ideas of the scale of defence which we can adopt for all our sea port towns. His estimate of 4,000,000 D. which experience teaches us to double always, in a case where the law allows but (I believe) half a million, ties our hands at once. We refer the case back to Govr. Clinton to select half a dozen persons of judgment, of Americans ideas, and to present such a plan, within our limits, as these shall agree on. In the meantime the general subject will be laid before Congress. Accept assurances of my high respect & consideration.