Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John F. Mercer, 28 October 1792

From John F. Mercer

Annapolis Oct. 28. 1792

Dear Sir

I have taken the liberty to request of you information which you alone perhaps can give me, and which I conceive there is no impropriety in asking—if there is however you will I know not answer—it is only to be ascertained of the fact whether Mr. Charles Carrol of this State, has actually and effectually resigned his Seat in the Senate of the U. States. I am always with true attachment Dr Sir Yr friend & Ser.

John F Mercer

I have forwarded to Mr. Sy. Hamilton, a ful, explicit and direct answer to his Letter addressed to me, as also to that sent to Majr. Ross on [this?] Subject.

RC (ViW); illegible word conjectured in brackets; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Nov. 1792.

Charles Carroll did not resign from the Senate until 30 Nov. 1792 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1949, Washington, D.C., 1950 description ends ). Mercer’s answer to Alexander Hamilton of 16 Oct. 1792 denied a report that he had accused the Secretary of the Treasury of purchasing public stock, on his own and the government’s account, at a price that was higher than the market rate, but admitted that he had criticized Hamiltonian financial policies for benefiting the few at the expense of the many.

The former was one of several charges Mercer was reputed to have made against Hamilton during his successful reelection to Congress from Maryland in 1792. They were initially brought to Hamilton’s attention by an address of David Ross published in the Maryland Gazette of 20 Sep. 1792. Ross had opposed Mercer’s election. This episode was part of a protracted controversy between Mercer and Hamilton that continued into 1793 (Hamilton to Mercer, and to Ross, both 26 Sep. 1792, Mercer to Hamilton, 16 Oct. 1792, Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends xii, 481–92, 572–6).

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