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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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2471. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Demanding Terms.—[continued].
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2471. ELECTIONS (Presidential, 1800), Demanding Terms.—[continued].

Aaron Burr, in a suit
between him and Cheetham, has had a deposition
of Mr. Bayard taken which seems to have
no relation to the suit nor to any other object
but to calumniate me. Bayard pretends to
have addressed to me during the pending of
the Presidential election in Feb. 1801. through
General Samuel Smith, certain conditions on
which my election might be obtained, and that
General Smith after conversing with me gave
answers from me. This is absolutely false.
No proposition of any kind was ever made to
me on that occasion by General Smith, nor
any answer authorized by me. And this fact
General Smith affirms at this moment. * * * But the following transactions took place
about the same time, that is to say, while the
Presidential election was in suspense in Congress,
which, though I did not enter at the
time [in the Anas], made such an impression
on my mind that they are now as fresh as to
their principal circumstances as if they had
happened yesterday. Coming out of the Senate
chamber one day I found Gouverneur Morris
on the steps. He stopped me and began a conversation
on the strange and portentous state
of things then existing, and went on to observe
that the reasons why the minority of
States were so opposed to my being elected
were that they apprehended that, 1. I should
turn all federalists out of office. 2. Put down
the Navy. 3. Wipe off the public debt and 4. [158] * * *. That I need only to declare, or authorize
my friends to declare, that I would not
take these steps, and instantly the event of
the election would be fixed. I told him that I
should leave the world to judge of the course
I meant to pursue by that which I had pursued
hitherto; believing it to be my duty to be passive
and silent during the present scene; that
I should certainly make no terms, should never
go into the office of President by capitulation,
nor with my hands tied by any conditions
which should hinder me from pursuing the
measures which I should deem for the public
good. It was understood that Gouverneur
Morris had entirely the direction of the vote
of Lewis Morris of Vermont, who by coming
over to Matthew Lyon would have added another
vote and decided the election. About
the same time, I called on Mr. Adams. We
conversed on the state of things. I observed
to him, that a very dangerous experiment was
then in contemplation, to defeat the Presidential
election by an act of Congress declaring
the right of the Senate to name a President of
the Senate, to devolve on him the government
during any interregnum; that such a measure
would probably produce resistance by force,
and incalculable consequences, which it would
be in his power to prevent by negativing such
an act. He seemed to think such an act justifiable,
and observed it was in my power to
fix the election by a word in an instant, by
declaring I would not turn out the federal
officers, nor put down the Navy, nor spunge the
national debt. Finding his mind made up as
to the usurpation of the government by the
President of the Senate, I urged it no further,
observed the world must judge as to myself of
the future by the past, and turned the conversation
to something else. About the same
time, Dwight Foster of Massachusetts called on
me in my room one night, and went into a very
long conversation on the state of affairs, the
drift of which was to let me understand that
the fears above-mentioned were the only obstacle
to my election, to all of which I avoided
giving any answer the one way or the other.
From this moment he became most bitterly and
personally opposed to me, and so has ever continued.
I do not recollect that I ever had any
particular conversation with General Samuel
Smith on this subject. Very possibly I had,
however, as the general subject and all its
parts were the constant themes of conversation
in the private tête à têtes with our friends.


Page 283
But certain I am, that neither he, nor any other
republican, ever uttered the most distant hint
to me about submitting to any conditions, or
giving any assurance to anybody; and still
more certainly, was neither he nor any other
person ever authorized by me to say what I
would or would not do.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 209. Ford ed., i, 312.
(April. 1806)


MS. cut out.—Ford edition note.