[Some say] that Burr’s ambition will be checked by his good sense, by the manifest impossibility of succeeding in any scheme of usurpation, & that if attempted, there is nothing to fear from the attempt...The proposition is against the experience of all times. Ambition without principle never was long under the guidance of good sense. Besides that, really the force of Mr Burr's understanding is much overrated. He is far more cunning than wise, far more dexterous than able...He thinks every thing possible to adventure and perseverance. And tho’ I believe he will fail, I think it almost certain he will attempt usurpation. An[d] the attempt will involve great mischief.
If the Federalists substitute Burr, they adopt him and become answerable for him. Whatever may be the theory of the case, abroad and at home (for so from the beginning will be taught) Mr Burr will become in fact the man of our party. And if he acts ill, we must share in the blame and disgrace. By adopting him we do all we can to reconcile the minds of the Federalists to him, and prepare them for the effectual operation of his arts. He will doubtless gain many of them, & the Federalists will become a disorganized and contemptible party. Can there be any serious question between the policy of leaving the Antifederalists to be answerable for the elevation of an exceptionable man, & that of adopting ourselves & becoming answerable for a man who on all hands is acknowledged to be a complete Cataline in his practice & principles? ’Tis enough to state the question to indicate the answer, if reason not passion presides in the decision.