Charles Adams to John Adams
New York Feb 13th 1795
My Dear Sir
I received your favor of the eleventh yesterday. Mrs Smith has quite recovered from her illness and is doing very well
Our electioneering campaign was opened in due form last monday that is to say that The Freeholders of this City were called together to hear who were the men whom Ricd Harrison Robt Troup and Josiah Ogden Hoffman would chuse to have made Govr and Lt Govr of the State.1 The next evening there was another meeting where The Livingstons proposed their officers. The result is that on one side Mr Jay and Mr Van Rensalaer are started and on the other Messrs Yates and Floyd;2 nothing now remains to be done but for each party to endeavour to out lie out villify and out detract the other To crop laurels e’en from the brows of friends to adorn the heads of their respective candidates Mr Yates though Chief Justice of this State is a man of no respectability of character He will sit tipling from morning to night in the dirtiest bar room of a tavern playing backgammon or checkers with the lowest of its inhabitants yet he is a great favorite with many people and will have more votes perhaps than Clinton had at the last election. Mr Floyd I need say nothing of you know him much better than I do. But where is Mr Bur[r?] I am inclined to believe he has some deep […] scheme to outwit them all or that he does not intend to stand his election. The Livingstons hate Burr and he hates them so that there will be no cordiallity between those Champions.
We shall send you as Representative from Washington and Saratoga District one Genl Williams who a few years since was turned out of our State Senate for perjury and peculation but who has been since constantly returned as a Senator and is now elected by a very large majority.3 what a glorious specimen of the virtue of the State of New York!!!
The contemplation upon such elections affords nothing but melancholy reflections. I do not suppose the people will grow more virtuous or have less knaves to deceive them hereafter than they have at present.
With real affection I am your son
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “C. Adams. Feb. 13. / 1795.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Richard Harison, Josiah Ogden Hoffman, and Robert Troup were likely members of the Federalist caucus that chose John Jay and Stephen Van Rensselaer as candidates in the New York gubernatorial election of 1795 (Young, Democratic Republicans, description begins Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967. description ends p. 433–434).
For Robert Troup, see vol. 9:276. Richard Harison (1747–1829), King’s College 1764, was a lawyer appointed U.S. district attorney in New York in 1789. Josiah Ogden Hoffman (1766–1837), also a lawyer, served in the state legislature from 1791 to 1795 before becoming the state attorney general in Nov. 1795 (Colonial Collegians description begins Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War of Independence, CD-ROM, ed. Conrad Edick Wright, Robert J. Dunkle, and others, Boston, 2005. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ; Doc. Hist. Supreme Court description begins The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, ed. Maeva Marcus, James R. Perry, and others, New York, 1985–2007; 8 vols. description ends , 5:557, 8:193, 194).
2. Stephen Van Rensselaer (1764–1839), Harvard 1782, was one of New York’s landed elite. A staunch Federalist, he had served in the state assembly in 1789 and 1790 and then the state senate from 1791 to 1795. His opponent, William Floyd (1734–1821), had a long record of political service. A signer of the Declaration of Independence and member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1776 and again from 1779 until 1783, Floyd had also been a member of the New York senate in 1777, 1778, and from 1784 to 1788. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1789 and 1791. Floyd lost his bid for lieutenant governor in 1795. Van Rensselaer would hold the office until 1801 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).
3. The English-born John Williams settled in New York in 1773 and fought with the Americans during the Revolutionary War, rising to the rank of brigadier general. Elected to New York’s first state senate in 1777, he was expelled for embezzling from the militia. He was nonetheless reelected in 1784 and continued to serve in the state senate until 1795 (Young, Democratic Republicans, description begins Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967. description ends p. 50, 422).