ADAMS, John (1735-1826), President. Autograph letter signed ("John Adams President of the Senate of the United States") as Vice-President and Presiding Officer of the Senate, Philadelphia, 14 December 1792. 1 page, 4to, slighly browned along folds, minute marginal repairs, otherwise fine. Enclosed in a half green morocco clamshell protective box with engraved portrait.
ADAMS CERTIFIES RECEIPT OF CONNECTICUT'S ELECTORAL VOTES FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENT (WASHINGTON AND ADAMS)
An official acknowledgement that Adams--himself a candidate for Vice- President--has received a tally of Connecticut's votes in the second Presidential elections held under the Constitution, a vote which resulted in the re-election of Washington and Adams. Washington's popularity had dimished little since 1789; Adams, on the other hand, had alienated many of the Jeffersonians and there was a concerted behind-the-scenes campaign to replace him with George Clinton of New York. Even Adams' good friend Benjamin Rush "had so fallen under the influence of Jefferson and his adherents that he joined the movement to replace Adams..." (P. Smith, John Adams, 2:830) Unaware that electoral votes from Connecticut were unanimous in supporting his re-election, Adams writes: "Received from the hand of Enoch Parsons Esqr a Packet certified by the Electors of Connecticut to contain a List of their Votes for President and Vice President of the United States."
In early November, 1792, electors were chosen from the fifteen states; some appointed by their state legislatures, others elected by popular vote. On 5 December the electors cast their ballots which were formally transmitted to Congress. In February of the following year the electoral vote was tabulated by Congress, and Washington and Adams were officially declared re-elected. President Washington received 132 of the 264 electoral votes possible (each elector cast two votes). Adams received 77 votes from 10 of the 15 states, including all Connecticut's ballots. No more than fifteen receipts like the present would have been written by Adams (one per state). The only other example offered for sale in recent years is his receipt for North Carolina's tally of the same date, from the Philip Neufeld Collection (sold, Christie's, 25 April 1995, lot 1, $13,000).