Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Philip Schuyler, 9 May 1792

From Philip Schuyler

Albany May 9th 1792

Dear Sir

Mrs. Rensselaer’s1 health is so much impaired that It is thought advisable that she should go to N York for better medical assistance, and to try the Effects of a change of Air, I shall accompany her and we shall leave this on friday the 11th Instant at farthest. Cannot you my Eliza and Cornelia2 make arrangements to meet us at N York towards the close of next week. Pray drop a line to be left at Mrs. Daugbineys3 until called for best under cover to her.

If all the votes taken for Mr. Jay are to be returned and fairly canvassed, I have reason to believe he would prevail, but I apprehend much foul play in the returning officers at least.4

Adieu we all Join in love to you and all with you.

I am Dr Sir Yours affectionately   &c &c

P Schuyler

Honb Alexr Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Union College, Schenectady, New York.

1Margaret (or Margarita) Van Rensselaer was the daughter of Philip Schuyler, the wife of Stephen Van Rensselaer, and the sister of Elizabeth Hamilton.

2Cornelia Schuyler was the daughter of Philip Schuyler and sister of Elizabeth Hamilton.

3Mrs. Mary Daubigny was the proprietor of a boardinghouse at 15 Wall Street, New York City.

4Schuyler is referring to the recent New York gubernatorial election in which John Jay was defeated by the incumbent, George Clinton. Soon after Schuyler’s letter was written, accusations concerning the manner in which the April 13, 1792, election had been conducted appeared in the New York press. The “returning officers” in New York State were the members of the joint committee appointed by the legislature to canvass the votes and report the results of the election. A majority of the canvassers who sat from May 29, 1792, until June 11 reported that Clinton had been elected by a majority of fewer than one hundred and fifty votes. A minority of the canvassers reported that Jay would probably have won the election if the ballots of Otsego, Clinton, and Tioga counties had not been disallowed on technicalities. Jay’s supporters stated that he had a majority of five hundred in Otsego County alone. Although the ballots from the three counties which had been rejected by the majority of canvassers were burned shortly after the canvassers gave their reports, criticism of the legal grounds on which the majority report of the canvassers was based continued until the legislature concluded its investigation in January, 1793.

The technicalities on which the majority of the canvassers disallowed the votes of the three counties were all related to the fact that the law stated that the ballots in each county had to be delivered to the sheriff and transmitted by him to the secretary of state. In Otsego County it was charged that the ballots had been delivered to and transmitted by a man whose term as sheriff had expired. In Tioga County the charge was that the sheriff turned over the ballots to a special deputy who became ill and entrusted their transmittal to a clerk. In the case of Clinton County it was charged that the sheriff entrusted the transmittal of the box of ballots to a man who was not the sheriff’s deputy.

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