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to such a degree as to leave him the representative of a minority." 56 When the split in the Federalist party came in 1800, Hamilton explained: "Great was my astonishment and equally great my regret, when, afterwards, I learned from persons of unquestionable veracity that Mr. Adams had complained of unfair treatment in not having been permitted to take an equal chance with General Washington, by leaving the votes to an uninfluenced current." 57 There is little doubt that Adams did consider himself as Washington's intellectual equal or superior, and by study, training, and experience better fitted for the duties of President, and it is equally probable that Washington agreed with him; but there is no reason to believe that Adams expected the presidency, and the effort to prevent his election or tie with the General was more thorough than was at all necessary, though it is recognized that the conditions under which the election were held rendered it difficult, if not impossible, to stop the defection at any particular point.
THE PRESIDENTIAL electors assembled in accordance with the ordinance of the Continental Congress on February 4, 1789, at the place in each state specified in the act of the respective legislatures on the subject. As North Carolina and Rhode Island were not yet in the new Union, and, as explained above, New York had lost its vote, there were only 73 electors. Of these, two in Maryland and two in Virginia failed to appear, so that the total vote was 69. Washington received every vote; Adams had 34, one less than a majority of those who voted. New Hampshire gave him five, Massachusetts ten, Connecticut five, New Jersey one, Pennsylvania eight, and Virginia five, New Hampshire and Massachusetts alone being unanimous. John Jay had three votes in Delaware and five in New Jersey, undoubtedly in accordance with a previous understanding. Hancock had two in Pennsylvania. All the six attending electors of Maryland gave their second vote to Robert Hanson Harrison of that state. The other five votes in Virginia went three to Clinton, one to Hancock, and one to Jay; while all the South Carolina and Georgia votes went to various local men, except one to Hancock and one to Lincoln. In Georgia one of the electors received two votes. The three votes for Clinton are all that can be called really Antifederalist, one of them being undoubtedly Henry's vote. At least sixteen, and probably twenty-seven, scattered votes would without the Hamiltonian manipulation have been given to Adams.
Some newspaper accounts survive of the meetings of the electors.
A letter from Reading, Pennsylvania, of February 5, said: "Yesterday the Electors for Pennsylvania met at this place. proceeded to the Court-house, they balloted. The business of the day being over they returned to Witman's, the Federal Inn, of the borough; and dined with a number of gentlemen who were of their suite. A few other gentlemen of the place supped with the electors, and concluded the evening with great hilarity, circulating the glass in honor of the Constitution, General Washington and Doctor Adams. I believe there can be no doubt that the former will be the President and the latter Vice President, which God in his infinite mercy grant." 58 A Boston account dated February 4 declared that the electors met and balloted unanimously for Washington and Adams, "without a single debate on the subject." 59 This meeting was at 10 o'clock in the Senate Chamber of the State House at Boston. The account from Annapolis closed with "We shall be excused for closing this account with a wish that the people of America may have many other such opportunities of reassuring this great man of their love and attachment." 60 From Augusta, Georgia, came the statement that after the balloting the electors "politely acknowledged" that the vote had been unanimous for Washington.61
The early papers of the United States Senate, now in the National Archives, contain the votes as forwarded to New York and opened by the president pro tem on April 6, 1789, before the joint session of Congress. In some cases the papers are in duplicate. They were probably all forwarded to Charles Thomson, secretary of the then expired Continental Congress; but only in seven cases are there letters addressed to him, and in only two is he requested to acknowledge receipt of the packet entrusted to him. There is little system in the contents of the packets. The letter from the Georgia council, dated February 8, undoubtedly intended for Thomson but not so addressed, after stating that Captain William Thomson was commissioned and would have the honor to deliver a list of the votes of the electors of that state, adds: "I can assure you, Sir, that the people of this State, are favorably impressed, and annimated with hopes of tranquility, advantage, and glory, resulting from the establishment of the foederal. Government." Most of the papers, however, are entirely business ones. Sometimes the letters to Thomson are signed by one or more of the electors, sometimes by a regular state official. Some of the packets include the acts or resolves for the appointment of the electors; the Pennsylvania one contains also the original returns from the counties of the state on the election of the electors themselves. There are certificates of various kinds, some on the electors, others on the
authority of the officials who in turn certify to the authority of the electors or their vote; sometimes the state seal is in evidence, sometimes not.
In each case, however, there is a statement of the vote signed by the electors; this is on parchment for New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and from New Hampshire there is nothing whatever except this signed list. The certificate of the South Carolina electors, one of the more elaborate ones, states: "We the Subscribers being duly appointed in the manner directed by the Legislature . . . Electors . . . did meet at twelve oClock on this fourth Day of February, at the Exchange of the City of Charleston . . . and being duly sworn before his Excellency the Governor, agreeably to an act . . . and having also taken the Oath of Allegiance and Abjuration . . . did vote by ballot for two Persons accordingly and on opening the said ballots, we found that . . . All which we do Certify and in Testimony thereof. It is signed, with individual seals, by the seven electors, Christopher Gadsden, Henry Laurens, Edward Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Thomas Heyward, Jr., John Faucheraud Grimké, and Arthur Simpkins, showing that in this state, as in Connecticut, the legislators saw fit to honor important men with the duty. Although all the voting was done on the proper day, the certificate of the Maryland electors is dated the next day. There was evidently considerable delay in forwarding the packets in some cases. The letter to Thomson from the Delaware electors is dated February 28, as is the letter of the secretary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Council, and one of the certificates from Delaware is signed and sealed as of March 6.
As stated above, the Georgia packet was taken to Thompson by messenger, as was also the Virginia one. The archives of the latter state contain a receipt dated February 5 by John Beckley, who was clerk of the House of Deputies, for three several packets addressed to the secretary of the United States in Congress Assembled, "covering each a fair transcript of the foregoing votes," which "I promose safely to convey as addressed, in such manner as that one at least of the said packets shall be duly delivered on or before the third day of March next." 62 Beckley became clerk of the House of Representatives. The manner of the conveyance of the other packets is not shown.
The Organization of Congress
A DEATH AND A BIRTH
THE PRELUDE being over, the curtain rises on the main play. New York City rang down the curtain on the Confederation by a salute of thirteen guns on March 3, 1789, and rang up the curtain on the new government the next morning by a salute of eleven guns, much bell ringing, and flag waving. In Philadelphia a volunteer corps of artillery met on March 4, drank toasts, and discharged thirteen cannon shots. In Boston there were bells and guns. Providence fired several salutes of eleven guns; and at Georgetown there was a ball. The papers gave space to many dramatic and poetic utterances, of which the following is typical:
The day-the long wished for day is arrived-and we hail it welcomewelcome, as the harbinger of times propitious to the PROSPERITY and HAPPINESS of our county:-Welcome, as the era which shall perpetuate the triumph of REASON and PATRIOTISM, over local prejudices, and selfish prepossessions— over the views of ambition, and the arts of designing men—and which shall give our country, in the eyes of the Old World, that respectability, dignity and importance, which her extent of territory-her immense resources, and the genius of her citizens, entitle her to:-Welcome, as again witnessing to the unanimous call of MILLIONS to the illustrious WASHINGTON, again to take under his direction, the welfare of that country, his valour so lately saved-and which has been since threatened with destruction.
That this day may be the commencement of a period, wherein those blessings which were expected from our independence those advantages which have been anticipated from the Constitution, may be realized:-That from it we may date our national prosperity and solid union:-That each revolving year, as it rolls down the current of time, may present in it renewed felicity to our country: And that it may be celebrated as the happy birth-day of a happy nation, until the exit of time shall be performed on the Theatre of this World is a consummation devoutly to be wished.'
An EMPIRE'S born, let cannon loud.
Bid echo rend the sky,
Let every heart adore,
High Heaven-our GREAT ALLY.1