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observed 'And yet my great
offence and the only one laid to my charge was a design to give you the Floridas.""
But Mr. Perkins had no misgivings.
And on March 5, 1807, Captain Gaines turned Colonel Burr over to Mr. Perkins-the zealous Mr. Perkins for conveyance to Washington with an escort of nine soldiers. They went by boat to a point above Lake Tensau; there Perkins harangued his men, warning them against the wiles of the prisoner, and then they were off on horseback on their long, arduous journey, riding all day through torrents of rain, and sleeping on the ground in their soaking clothes. The man in the white hat-he was still in his disguise never complained at the burden placed upon his fifty-one years. Only once did he show any emotion. They were passing through Chester, in South Carolina, and he jumped from his horse, crying to a group of bystanders that he was Aaron Burr, and claiming the protection of the civil authorities. But Mr. Perkins-the gigantic Mr. Perkins-seized him in his arms and put him back in the saddle. And for a while there were tears in the little Colonel's eyes.
At Fredericksburg, in Virginia, Mr. Perkins received orders to proceed to Richmond. On March 23, they passed by John Randolph's door, at Bizarre. "So I am told," he wrote to Mr. Nicholson, "for I did not see him. The soldiers escorting him (it seems) indulged his aversion to be publicly known and . . . he was accoutred in a shabby suit of
homespun, with an old white hat flapped over his face (the dress in which he was apprehended). His very manner of travelling, although under arrest, was characteristic of the man-enveloped in mystery -and should he be hanged for treason, I dare say he will . contrive to make posterity doubt whether he was actually executed. . And on March 26 they had arrived, and Colonel Burr told Theodosia that "it seems that here the business is to be tried and concluded. I am to be surrendered to the civil authority tomorrow [March 28] when the question of bail is to be determined. In the meantime I remain at the Eagle Tavern." The first thing that he did was to change into very elegant clothes.
And Mr. Perkins went to Washington to receive the thanks of the President, and three thousand three hundred and thirty-one dollars. . .
"Weighing the whole of this testimony, it appears to me to preponderate in favor of the opinion that the enterprise was really designed against Mexico."