Thursday Evening, Feb’y 9h, 1801.
In conformity with my promise I avail myself of the first opportunity which has occur’d since my arrival here to give you those impressions which my mind has received from an assiduous attention bestowed to-day to the debates in Congress, and also from communications with the most influential characters who think with us on the important Election. I enclose to you a copy of resolutions, and upon every question growing out of them it appeared that the Feds had a majority of six votes—they have passed all the resolutions without amendment except the last, and to that they have made an amendment, which is that all elections shall be considered as incidental to the main power of voting by States, that each State shall have a vote: this was opposed by Mssrs Gallitin, Randolph, Nicholas and Macon. As in part it was made a question between the larger and smaller states, and as few of our foremost Republicans upon this principle voted with the Feds, it cannot be considered as a vote entirely upon principle as bearing wholly upon the presidential election, but still it gave rise to very uneasy sensations not only with myself but those with whom I associate. In a word, the opinion as far as it can be formed by the most intelligent is—that they will unquestionably pursue precisely the same system of policy that the Senate of Pensy did, and that, in a caucus, which they held last night, it was resolved to put everything to the hazard.
Be assured that the Election depends on one of three persons—Bayard from Del. and Craik and Baer from Maryland. The former there are reasonable hopes from; (Mr. Randolph says there are not the smallest from either); the 2d full as good. Mr. Fitzhugh is decidedly in favour of Mr. J. (Mr. C’s Lady it is said will renounce her husband if he does not vote for Mr. J., this is the expression of her opinion, a fact) and you can judge, combining torn circumstances with the interests Maryland has, how far they ought to be relied on. Baer, it is said by Mr. Christie, has declared he shall vote for Mr. J. This has to-day been denied. Mr. Nicholson is very sick. Upon the whole it is believed things do not bear as favourable an aspect as they did three days ago.
I delivered with my own hands your Letter to Mr. Irvin, you shall hear from me to-morrow.