Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John Adams, 25 June 1792

To John Adams

Philadelphia June 25

My Dear Sir

You will find enclosed your account, which I take the liberty to send, lest by not adverting to the state of it, some inconvenience might insue.

You are I presume aware, that Mr. Clinton is to be your Competitor at the next election.1 I trust he could not have succeeded in any event, but the issue of his late election will not help his cause.2 Alas! Alas!

If you have seen some of the last numbers of the National Gazette, you will have perceived that the plot thickens & that something very like a serious design to subvert the Government discloses itself.3 With sincere respect & attachment I remain Dr Sir Yr. Obed ser

A Hamilton

The Vice President4

ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

1George Clinton was a candidate for Vice President. The electoral college, meeting on December 5, 1792, cast one hundred and thirty-two votes for George Washington, seventy-seven for Adams, and fifty for Clinton.

2H is referring to the outcome of the New York gubernatorial election in which John Jay opposed the incumbent, George Clinton. See Philip Schuyler to H, May 9, 1792, note 4.

Even some of Clinton’s supporters did not approve the decision of the majority of canvassers. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston wrote to Edward Livingston on June 19, 1792: “I find the determination of the canvassers occasions much uneasiness. I confess I could have wished that all the votes had been counted whatever might have been the event” (George Dangerfield, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York, 1746–1813 [New York, 1960], 263). On June 21, 1792, Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison: “It does not seem possible to defend Clinton as a just or disinterested man if he does not decline the Office, of which there is no symptom; and I really apprehend that the cause of republicanism will suffer and its votaries be thrown into schism by embarking it in support of this man, and for what? to draw over the antifederalists who are not numerous enough to be worth drawing over” (Ford, Writings of Jefferson description begins Paul Leicester Ford, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (New York, 1892–1899). description ends , VI, 89–90).

3H is referring to the several anti-Administration letters printed in the [Philadelphia] National Gazette. These letters, which attacked the new excise tax, compared that tax to the taxes imposed under British rule. For example, one letter reads in part as follows: “The Spirited conduct of some good old whigs of 1775, in destroying the notification of the exciseman in Germantown, as a disgraceful badge of slavery, may convince our rulers that a free people will not be amused by financial palliatives.… The government of the United States in all things wishing to imitate the corrupt principles of the court of Great-Britain, has commenced the disgraceful career by an excise law, and during the last session of Congress attempted a stamp duty on cards, with a sanctified pretence to discourage gambling!” ([Philadelphia] National Gazette, June 18, 1792.)

4Adams endorsed this letter: “Ansd. 4 Aug. 1792.” Letter not found.

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