"I don’t think he was the most infamous politician ever to be born in New Jersey," said historian John Cunningham. "He got that reputation because he was unlucky enough to put a bullet in Hamilton. But Hamilton had treated him savagely in the newspapers."
Though the duel was a fair contest, Burr avoided Jersey for a while post-Hamilton, nursing the hope that a judge in his case would rid himself of the notion that unless the vice president was convicted of murdering the former treasury secretary, in Burr’s words, "famine and pestilence would desolate the land."
Burr believed the judge might acquiesce.
"It has been intimated to me, through different channels, that the (Grand Jury in Bergen) is ready to grant a pardon in case I should be found guilty," Burr wrote. "If so, why put me to the vexation and trouble and the state to the expense of a trial? Why not at once order a discontinuation of the prosecution?"
Bergen County did back off ultimately, yet as he gained distance on the 1804 duel, Burr ran headlong into another scandal: his alleged efforts to annex western territory and lead a newly formed country against the United States. A jury found him not guilty of that conspiracy. But the image of the unremorseful, power-hungry bad boy stuck, and if the Empire State politico never built a machine this side of the Hudson as Frank Hague did or bilked the taxpayers like Harold Hoffman, Burr remains in history an infuriating creature of Jersey.