Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Gabriel Duvall, 14 December 1802

From Gabriel Duvall

Washington 14 Dec. 1802.

Dear sir,

It was my wish, immediately on my return from this place in November last, to have furnished the information which I promised to procure, as to the probable result of a choice of Electors in Maryland by a general ticket, but I found some difficulty in obtaining correct information from the Counties represented by federal members, & my peculiar situation confined me pretty much at home: hence the delay.

The inclosed list contains the most correct information which I could obtain through different channels. In Dorchester, Somerset & Worcester, on the Eastern; & in St. Mary’s & Charles Counties on the Western Shore, there has been no opportunity of trial. In these Counties a great majority of the people are so decidedly federal that there never has been a regular systematic opposition.

With equal industry I am persuaded that the Republican ticket would prevail, but I should deem it imprudent to adopt that mode of Election. In Maryland, it is unpopular; & in any rational division of the State, the Republican candidate will succeed in seven of the Eleven districts.

I am, with great respect, Your obedt. Servt.

G. Duvall

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq. President U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

choice of electors in maryland: in 1800, Republicans defended the system of choosing electors by popular vote in the separate districts to thwart the Federalist plan to transfer the power of selection to the Federalist-dominated state legislature, where they would take all ten electoral votes. In the fall of 1800, Republicans campaigned aggressively and gained control of the lower state house, derailing the Federalist plan. Republican electors won in five districts in November 1800 (Frank A. Cassell, Merchant Congressman in the Young Republic: Samuel Smith of Maryland, 1752–1839 [Madison, Wis., 1971], 91–3; Vol. 32:48–9, 100, 128–9, 208, 225–6).

TJ left an undated note describing George Dashiell, an applicant for office from somerset County, Maryland. TJ wrote: “Dashiels Colo. George of Salisbury in Somerset cty. Maryld. a Lieutt. of Militia in 1779. father of a family, seems about 58. respectable modest deportment rendd. inactive by some personal infirmity republican. known to mr Duval asks a clerkship or any little office when a vacancy occurs” (MS in DNA: RG 59, LAR; entirely in TJ’s hand; written on verso of a torn address sheet). There is no evidence that Dashiell received a federal appointment (Papenfuse, Maryland Legislature description begins Edward C. Papenfuse, Alan F. Day, David W. Jordan, and Gregory A. Stiverson, eds., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789, Baltimore, 1979-85, 2 vols. description ends , 1:252–3).

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