James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Francis Mercer, 5 January 1801

From John Francis Mercer

Baltimore Jany. 5. 1800 [1801]

My dear Sir

I am at length able to say I have 350 dollars that I can pay you. I am at this moment under Execution to amt. of 2000$ & I have seldom been engaged for a less sum during the last 8 or 10 years, & never before coud I flatter myself that those difficulties woud find a certain period, this year certainly will close them, & free me from every species of embarrassment. Write me whether I shall enclose you the Bank Notes, or you may draw on Mr. Andrew Skinner Ennalls1 of Baltimore at 15 days sight for that sum & it will be paid, he will accept it & give me notice to send him the Money from West River.

We have involv’d ourselves in great embarrassment by voting uniformly for Burr. The de[s]perate views of party will leave no effort unattempted to dissapoint the Wishes of the republicans by rejecting Mr. Jefferson—& I fear they will suceed they are extremely sanguine here, it depends on Maryland, & altho’ Dent2 has intimated his wish for Jefferson, yet it is said he will obey instructions & such are now on the Carpet in his district—last night I was told that New Jursey & New York woud be for Burr. Indeed I have but little hopes, but from the prudence & decision of Burr himself—from him we shall hear decisively to Night. I expect he will be electted by the States but he must & ought to reseign. You have seen his letter to Genl. Smith.3 The Fœderals say they understand him, & it is all right, but ⟨sanity?⟩ to me it is unequivocal. It all amounts to this that we are too honest. With every wish for yr. happiness I am yr. freind & Serv.

John F. Mercer

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Andrew Skinner Ennalls, a Baltimore merchant, was a member of a prominent Dorchester County, Maryland, family (Elias Jones, Revised History of Dorchester County, Maryland [Baltimore, 1925], p. 276; Papenfuse et al., Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, pp. 306–12).

2George Dent (1756–1813), a Revolutionary War veteran and Maryland legislator (1782–92), served in the House of Representatives from 1793 to 1801 where he voted generally with the Federalists. On the House vote for president, however, Dent supported Jefferson (Fischer, Revolution of American Conservatism, p. 359).

3In his letter to Samuel Smith of Maryland of 16 Dec. 1800, Burr wrote, “It is highly improbable that I shall have an equal number of Votes with Mr. Jefferson; but if such should be the result every Man who knows me ought to know that I should utterly disclaim all competition—Be assured that the federal party can entertain no wish for such an exchange. As to my friends—they would dishonor my Views and insult my feelings by harbouring a suspicion that I could submit to be instrumental in Counteracting the Wishes & expectations of the U.S.” Smith, after consulting Burr, had the letter published in the Baltimore American and Daily Advertiser of 27 Dec. 1800, from which it was reprinted throughout the U.S. (Kline, Papers of Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr (2 vols.; Princeton, N.J., 1983). description ends , 1:471, 490–91 and n. 1).

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