Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 12 October 1800

From James McHenry

Baltimore 12 Octbr. 1800

My dear Hamilton

Mr Wolcott informed me by a letter recd yesterday evening that he was to leave the seat of Government (on a visit to his family) to day. He goes by way of Lancaster & I expect will pass through to New York in which case I pray you to give him the inclosed letter.1 If any accident should prevent his seeing you, be pleased to send it to him. It will shew you what I think of things here and my expectations relative to the number of votes this state may furnish to Mr Adams & Gen Pinckney.

Will Rhode Island vote for Pinckney? Will Massachusetts give him all her votes? Will Connecticut give him the whole number and to Adams not more than six or nine? If these questions can be answered affirmatively Genl Pinckney will be our next President.2

Yours affcley

Alexr Hamilton Es

ADf, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.

1On October 12, 1800, McHenry wrote to Oliver Wolcott, Jr.: “It is now reduced to almost a certainty, that the late election in this State [Maryland] has given a majority of Democratic and Jacobinic members to our next house of Delegates, consequently all expectations of an election of electors of President &c. by our Legislature may be considered as completely extinct.

“What appears to be the present State of the public mind in Maryland, as it respects the approaching election of electors of President &c., by the people; or the prospect of votes for Mr. Adams & Gen. Pinckney?

“As far as my observation extends there is every symptom of languor and inactivity, with some exceptions, among the well informed federalists, which every new recurrence to the conduct and character of the Chief, seems rather to increase than diminish. Mr. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, did not go down to Annapolis from his Country residence, to aid in the election of members for our Legislature. I also know many other who did not vote on the occasion.

“My friend, what terrible mischiefs to a Country may one man occasion, who has the folly to think that he can change its systems and opinions, as easy as his Secretaries; or create, by a mere political movement and ambiguous behaviour, a new party to maintain him in power. But it is the same species of madness or folly which he has displayed as President, that induced him to imagine, when Embassador at London, and to mention it in one of his official letters, that he could shake the British ministry from their seats, simply by making a visit to the heads of opposition. And to all this, an actual extension of Jacobinic principles, the effects of which are becoming every day more visible, with an administration unwilling or unable to fetter the tyrant or destroy this noon-day pestilence.

“For some time after my return to the State I thought it probable, we should obtain seven or at least six votes for Mr Adams and General Pinckney. Now the probability goes scarcely to five and may terminate in four only. Do not therefore I entreat you put any reliance upon a different result, or calculation that may promise more. If you do, my opinion is, you will be disappointed.

“Such, my dear Sir, is the sad situation into which a federal State has been brought. Will Providence yet condescend to save us” (ALS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.)

For Adams’s letter, see Adams to Thomas Mifflin, November 13, 1783 (LC, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).

2For information concerning the presidential campaign of 1800, see the introductory note to H to Theodore Sedgwick, May 4, 1800.

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