Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Goodrich, Elizur to Stephen Twining re: election tied between Jefferson and Burr

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05754.02 Author/Creator: Goodrich, Elizur Place Written: Washington Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1801/01/01 Pagination: 3 p.+docket 24.6 x 20.1 cm

Summary of Content: Date obscured but docketed 1801. Writes with his wishes for a Happy New Year and "entrance upon the nineteenth Century." Adds that "[t]he votes are even between Jefferson and Burr. [.... ] Never were men more seriously alarmed than our republican friends - they do not hesitate to say that Mr. Burr is not fit for the office." Goodrich also asks for the opinion of local leaders. With postscript that Dexter has been named Sec of Treasury. Samuel Dexter replaced James McHenry as Secretary of War in June 1800. Upon the resignation of Oliver Wolcott as Secretary of the Treasury, Adams appointed Dexter as ad interim Secretary of the Treasury to serve until Jefferson's inauguration. He served until 13 May 1801.

Background Information: A lawyer, educator, and mayor of New Haven, Connecticut for nineteen years, Elizur Goodrich (1761-1849) was a Federalist member of Congress during the critical presidential election of 1800. In the following ...letter, Goodrich reports on the House of Representatives' protracted efforts to select a president. Jefferson ultimately received the required majority in the House, but not until the 36th ballot, after Virginia and Pennsylvania had mobilized their state militias and made it clear, in Jefferson's words, "that a legislative usurpation would be resisted by arms."
In his last hours in office in 1801, President John Adams appointed Goodrich Collector of the Port of New Haven. The Jeffersonians denounced such "midnight" appointments as a violation of the peoples' will, and promptly removed Goodrich from office.
See More

Full Transcript: The votes are even between Jefferson & Burr. It will not be a matter of course that Mr. Jefferson be designated, as the probable Man in the minds of the Electors. ...I apprehend that his majority of States, if he obtains one, will not be very great. Never were men more seriously alarmed than our republican friends. They do not hesitate to say that Mr. Burr is not fit for the office, that it never was their intention to have & they never was their intention to have and they never will have him present. It is a question of immense importance and ought not to be decided in heat in a passion--or without great deliberation--and as one of them, who are to act on the subject--determining to act my own best Judgment--to be able to form that opinion correctly. I wish to know what are the impressions of men in general--what say the Democrats--and what are the individual opinions of our respectable federal men. You...will have a good opportunity to learn and I wish you to take a little pain to ascertain the sentiments of some of the Judges, the Bar &c--what say the clergy....See More

People: Burr
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentVice PresidentElectionGovernment and CivicsPoliticsHolidays and CelebrationsRepublican Party

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources