My objection to the Resolve, or my reason why it should be repealed, (if it is one) is, that a delegation by the Legislature to the Electors appointed by the Citizens in their individual capacity for the Election of President and Vice President, to fill up vacancies in their own number, by death or resignation, is a dangerous power, and tends to the establishing a dangerous Precedent; but should my fellow citizens of the Senate and House, think differently from me, while I shall feel quite contented with your decision, I shall be happy, that I have candidly acknowledged an error in signing that Resolve, and yet done, with firmness, what has appeared to me as the true interest of the State of which I am a Member, and of a Nation of which I am a Citizen.
January 27, 1797.
[Independent Chronicle, January 30, 1797; a text is in the Massachusetts Archives].
Friends and fellow-citizens,
Since your last adjournment, the President of the United States has officially announced to the Legislature of the Union his determination to retire from the cares of public life.—When a citizen so distinguished by his country withdraws himself from the Councils of the Nation, and retires to peaceful repose, it must afford very pleasurable feelings in his own mind, to be conscious of the good will of the people towards him—how much more consoling must his feelings be, in reflecting that he has served them many years with purity of intention and disinterested zeal. We sincerely wish him tranquility in his retirement and strong consolation in the latter stage of life.
In pursuance of the provision in the Constitution, the people have recently exercised their own sovereign power in the election of another President. Elections to offices, even in the smallest Corporations, are and ought to be deemed highly important; of how much more importance is it, that elections to the highest offices in our extensive Republic, should be conducted in a manner and with a spirit becoming a free, virtuous and enlightened people, who justly estimate the value of their sacred rights. In the late elections, the people have turned their attention to several citizens, who have rendered eminent services to our federal Commonwealth in exalted stations. Upon which ever of the Candidates the lot may have fallen, the people have reason to expect, that his administration will be strictly conformable to the letter and true intent of the Constitution, that it may long continue to be the guarantee of our freely elective Republican Government.—On fair and uncontrouled elections, depend, under God, the whole superstructure of our government—should corruption ever insert itself in our elections, there would be great danger of corruption in our governments.—Although