Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Peter Freneau, 2 December 1800

From Peter Freneau

Columbia So Carolina Decr 2d. 1800.


I do myself the honor of informing you that at one oClock this day the election for Electors for President and Vice President of the United States was terminated by the Legislature now sitting in this Place. the result is as follows.

Republican Federal
John Hunter 87 William Washington 69
Paul Hamilton 87 John Ward 69
Robert Anderson 85 Thomas Roper 67
Theodore Gaillard 85 James Postell 66
Arthur Simkins 84 John Blasingame 66
Wade Hampton 82 John McPherson 66
Andrew Love 82 William Falconer 64
Joseph Blyth 82 Henry Dana Ward 63.

The Vote tomorrow I understand will be Thomas Jefferson 8. Aaron Burr 7. Geo Clinton 1. you will easily discover why the one Vote is varied.—I take the liberty of giving you this information because Mr C. Pinckney is not on the spot, he is at his plantation about five miles distant and will not be in time for the Post of this day. I know that it is his most earnest wish to give you the earliest information of the result of all our labors.

with the most Sincere respect I have the honor to be, Sir, Your Most obedient & Very Huml Servant,

Peter Freneau

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

Peter Freneau (1757–1813) was a printer, publisher, newspaper editor, and translator in South Carolina. With Seth Paine in 1795 he purchased the Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser and three years later started a weekly paper, the Carolina Gazette. He and Paine were also official printers for the state of South Carolina and, by the late 1790s, for the U.S. government. In 1800 Freneau, a New Jersey native and the brother of Philip Freneau, was a key ally of Charles Pinckney in the consolidation of a strong Republican element in South Carolina. In 1810 he sold his interest in the two newspapers, and during Madison’s presidency he received a federal appointment in South Carolina. Although he engaged in a variety of business activities beginning in the 1780s, including shipping, slave trading, and land speculation, he never achieved great financial success (Richard B. Davis and Milledge B. Seigler, “Peter Freneau, Carolina Republican,” Journal of Southern History, 13 [1947], 395–405).

Why the one vote is varied: on this day Freneau wrote to his partner, Seth Paine, in Charleston: “it is not the wish to risque any person being higher than Jefferson.” Freneau’s information proved faulty; in balloting by the electors on 3 Dec., TJ and Burr received the same number of votes (Davis and Seigler, “Freneau,” 399–400).

Index Entries