November 23, 1796.
[Independent Chronicle, November 28, 1796.]
Gentlemen of the senate,
Having had before me a Resolve of the 22d inst. providing for filling up any vacancies in the Electors of President and Vice President of the United States, which may be occasioned by death or resignation before the time of their meeting for the purpose of giving their suffrages, have prematurely approved the same; since which, having more fully considered the subject, I find a strong objection operating upon my mind, and I have erased my name: That the Electors chosen by the People and their Representatives for the great and important purpose of electing a President and Vice-President of the United States, should have the power of filling up vacancies in their own body, under any circumstances whatever, appears to be dangerous to the Liberties of the People, and ought not to form a precedent in a free government. If upon further deliberation you should be of my opinion, I shall be happy to concur with you, in a mode more consonant to the spirit of our government.
To the legislature of Massachusetts.
November 24, 1796.
[Independent Chronicle, November 28, 1796 , a text is in the Massachusetts Archives, and a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Gentlemen of the Senate,
and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives.
By a Message, which I yesterday laid before the Senate, I gave a full, free and candid account of my proceedings respecting a Resolve of the two Houses, for filling up vacancies which may possibly happen in the Electors of President and Vice-President of the United States.
My mode of conduct on this occasion, I know is, and I flatter myself, will be considered, to be as well the result of an ardent wish to preserve free, important and secure the Elections of those very important Officers, as a desire to dispatch the business at this juncture before the Legislature.—I wish to promote the true interest of my country—I have no other object in view; and therefore, it can be of no consequence to me, in what mode this question is discussed nor in what form your opinions shall be expressed. I am not, at present, for supporting the idea that after the Resolve had been signed by me, and delivered to the Secretary, that it was not a formal act of government. Be that as it may—the question is now properly before the General Court, and if the Resolve, to which I have made an objection, was, under all considerations an Act of the Government upon my signing the same, the only question now is whether it ought to be repealed, and another provision made for the same object?