Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 127

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(1768-1840) Federalist Representative (1797-1801) and Senator (1810-11) from Rhode Island. Very fine content manuscript in an unknown hand., 4pp. [n.p. n.d.] apparently being Champlin's first-hand observations of the tumult in Washington over the election of Thomas Jefferson versus Aaron Burr, both of whom were tied in electoral votes for President. The account reads, in large part: "...There were 25 men who came from Virginia under Durke or some such name -- was infamous in the army. Lodged at Hotel of Jefferson on the floor to defend Jefferson as body guard -- were armed...They were called J's Virginia boys.-- Anonymous letters were written. Craig of Maryland had one - son of Dr. C. M. equally divided. So that without Tenn [?] B[urr] would have had M[aryland?]. If Craig gained J[efferson] would. Thinks that if B's fr[iends] had persevered, J's would have come over. That is they could not permit the election to be lost. No personal fear. Large mobs were moving in the evening. Knocked at the door and shouted, but broke no windows. W. Barry Grove & Hull of N.C. were armed for defense. Burr took no part -- Jefferson did not openly take any part... The session met at 9 o'clock in the morning - the votes were originally counted - Jefferson presiding. -- He began & took up the bundle broke seals, & threw it on table to be counted... The sessions began in the morning at 9 - the voting began - this house was called at every 1/2 hour. Ordered blankets - voted all that night -- at 9 next morning adjourned for 2 or three hours - or next day? Twas not an incessant Jefferson but there were usual adjournments motions by States and no debate... tellers counted Byard & Champlin... Otis was decided and active to the last. Bayard finally thought that there must be a P[resident] elected, or that the Union was hazarded.-- small states interested. Never heard of passing any law nor any proposition of making a law to transfer the power - no such proposition was made - no other object that to elect a P. -- no propositions from Burr nor any promises to feds. -- Burr wrote to Smith in answer B. said, that he should think his views dishonored if Mr. J. was not supported. But is thought [illeg.] letter told B. that 10 V. would be for J. first vote. The only man suspected of being B's agent there was Burd a M. C. N.Y. who said B. would serve if chosen -- but B. made no personal application to any federal[ist]. -- Lee of V. was decidedly for B. & ag[ains]t. Jeff. Marshall was [in] fav[or] of [illeg.] -- M. favored Burr - The fed party frequently met at Miller's [?] Hotel - It was finally agreed that B's friends having had an opp[ortunit]y to help him - hand having done nothing -- and as B. had done nothing but written that letter to Smith -- and then Byard that it was inexpedient to go further & having to reliance on him, it was best to bring the matter to a close -- Did not say this in Caucus -- Burr had personal friends -- but they were helpless Say Smith & Livingston -- Burr's friends (not federalists) could have carried it - but they stumbled -- Burr behaved poorly. He calculated to get in by feds & hold his power with the other party. There was then a deep [illeg.] of J. then as were since." Docketed (upside down on the fourth page): "C. G. Champlain's narrative." A very informative account of the one of the only instances that the presidential election was thrown into the House of Representatives. Moderately toned at top margin, usual folds, else very good condition.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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