From Jonathan R. Wilmer1
Balte. June 18th. 1800
Altho’ I am not honored with your personal acquaintance, I have suggested to myself the liberty of asking your opinion relative to the political sentiments of the Legislature of New York. The information we have received has been so tinged with party spirit, that we can draw no accurate conclusions. If They should be Federal,2 and can be calculated on with certainty; it will supercede the accepting of a step, which we have it under contemplation to adopt in Maryland. Our present mode of Election is by District. That circumstance from local causes will probably give Mr. Jefferson their votes. The great Body of the State are Federal. The Executive have some thoughts of calling the General Assembly, to afford them an opportunity of altering the system of Choice.3
As a member of the Executive, I wish to obtain every information on the subject before we resort to a measure, that bears the aspect of political instability. Mr. Carroll told me some time past that he would write to you for your sentiments on the general state of our Country.4 His residence being in the Country prevents our social converse. Can you speak with any certainty as to Jersey & Vermont. We calculate on them voting unanimously for Pinckney & Adams. I am
with much respect for your character. Yr. most obed. Sert.
Jonathan R. Wilmer
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Wilmer, a Maryland lawyer and merchant, was a member of the Governor’s Council from 1797 to 1801.
3. The constitution of Maryland provided for a five-member executive council to be elected every year by a joint ballot of the state Senate and House of Delegates. The governor of the state served as presiding officer of the council, and he could call a special session of the legislature only with the council’s consent. See Articles XXVI, XXIX, XXXIV, in F. N. Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws (Washington, D.C., 1909), III, 1695, 1696, 1697.
In 1800 the governor of Maryland was Benjamin Ogle and the members of the council, in addition to Wilmer, were Thomas Buchanan, Arthur Schaaff, James Thomas, and John Donaldson.
For information on this proposed change in Maryland’s election law, see H to Sedgwick, May 4, 1800.