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Smith, Melancton (1744-1798) to Samuel Holten

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02471.37 Author/Creator: Smith, Melancton (1744-1798) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 30 November 1796 Pagination: 1 p. : address ; 32.4 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Smith is attempting to reestablish his acquaintance with Holten to get information on the presidential race in Massachusetts. Smith is worried that electors in New England, under the influence of Alexander Hamilton, will give their votes to Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina, the supposed vice presidential candidate. Says that if southern electors vote for Pinckney, a favorite son, that both Jefferson and Adams could lose the presidency. To prevent this he hopes the Massachusetts electors will vote for another candidate and mentions Aaron Burr. Asks the correspondence to remain confidential. Smith and Holten were both former Continental Congressmen and anti-federalists during the Constitution debates.

Full Transcript: New York Novr. 30th 1796
Dear Sir.
Dr. S. Holten
Presuming upon our former acquaintance I take the liberty of addressing you on the subject of the election of President and ...vice President- The Candidates for the first office, it is well known are Mr John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. I do not know to which you will give the preference- But I think that the chance is that the choice will fall upon a person whom neither the friends of Mr. Adams or Mr. Jefferson would wish to elect; provided the electors to the Northward generally vote Mr. Pinckney, who is considered as the candidate for vice President- I am well informed that to the Southward, where Mr. Jefferson will be almost unanimously voted, they will vote Mr. Pinckney- In this case, if the Eastward electors vote for him, he will have the greatest number of votes and of consequence will be President- To prevent this would it not be prudent for your electors, to give their suffrages to some other candidate - Aaron Burr will be voted for - I pray you to excuse the Liberty I have taken, and to let this communication be considered as confidential and to believe that it originates from the same regard to our common country which I am persuaded governs you
I am with esteem
To Doctor Holten Your Friend & Servant
Melancton Smith

[address leaf]
Samuel Holten Esqr
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Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: American StatesmenPresidentElectionGovernment and CivicsPoliticsVice President

Sub Era: The Early Republic

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