Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Gouverneur Morris, 9 January 1801

To Gouverneur Morris1

New York Janry. 9. 1801

I have lately, My Dear Sir, written to you two letters.2 As they contained some delicate topics, I shall be glad to know that they got to hand.

It has occurred to me that perhaps the Fœderalists may be disposed to play the game of preventing an election & leaving the Executive power in the hands of a future President of the Senate.3 This, if it could succeed, would be for obvious reasons a most dangerous and unbecoming policy. But it is well it should be understood that it cannot succeed. The Antifœderalists as a body prefer Jefferson, but among them are many who will be better suited by the dashing projecting spirit of Burr and who after doing what they will suppose to be saving appearances, they will go over to Mr. Burr. Edward Livingston has declared among his friends that his first ballot will be for Jefferson his second for Burr.4

The present is a crisis which demands the exertions of men who have an interest in public Order.

Adieu Yrs


G Morris Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1For background to this letter, see H to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., December 16, 1800, note 1.

2H to Morris, December 24, 26, 1800.

4Livingston, a New York Republican, cast his vote for Jefferson on each of the thirty-six ballots in the House of Representatives (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and all the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , X, 1030–32). In 1802, during the New York State elections, James Cheetham charged that Livingston had been one of Burr’s agents during the election of 1800 (Cheetham, Burr description begins [James Cheetham] A View of the Political Conduct of Aaron Burr, Esq. Vice-President of the United States (New York: Printed by Denniston & Cheetham, No. 142 Pearl-Street, 1802). description ends , 64). In response to this charge, Livingston, then mayor of New York City, wrote a letter to Burr on July 27, 1802, which was printed in the [New York] Morning Chronicle on April 28, 1803, and in the NewYork Evening Post on the same day. This letter reads: “In consequence of certain insinuations lately circulated, I think it proper to declare that you did not, in any verbal or written communication to me, during the late presidential election, express any sentiment inconsistent with those contained in your letter to General [Samuel] Smith which was published, or evincing any desire that the vote of the state should be transferred from Mr. Jefferson to yourself.”

For Burr’s letter to Smith, see Morris to H, December 19, 1800, note 15.

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