James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Dawson, 12 February 1801

From John Dawson

City of Washington February 12. 1801.

Dear Sir!

I am much hurt that I cannot communicate to you, and to my other friends in Orange and Madison the pleasing information which I anticipated in my last—the enclosd paper will shew to you our proceedings1—on today we met at twelve and gave one vote, the result of which was the same as before—we then suspended voting untill tomorrow at eleven, and all other business is prohibited by a rule.2

What the feds, especially those of Maryland, mean, I cannot tell—a day or two will bring their plan to view—some whisper that they mean to propose a legislative provision; others that the Senate on their meeting on the 4 of March will appoint a president pro tern: who will act as the president of the U. S. I still think they will give way. We are resolv’d never to yield, and sooner hazard every thing that [sic] to prevent the voice and wishes of people being carried into effect.

I have not closed my eyes for 36 hours—this, and the interesting moment will prevent my making the general communication which I intended on today, untill the result is assertaind—this I will thank you to make known.

Do let me hear from you on our present situation. Yrs, with much esteem

J Dawson

We voted 28 times.


1Dawson probably enclosed the report published in the Washington National Intelligencer, 11 Feb. 1801, of the result of the first four ballots taken in the House election for president. Each ballot resulted in eight states for Jefferson, six for Burr, and two divided.

2The House adopted a resolution on 9 Feb. part of which provided that “the House shall continue to ballot for a President, without interruption by other business, until it shall appear that a President is duly chosen” (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 6th Cong., 2d sess., 1010).

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