Excerpt from Letter of Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush …
When the election between Burr and myself was kept in suspense by
the Federalists, and they were meditating to place the President of
the Senate at the head of the government, I called on Mr. Adams, with
a view to have this desperate measure prevented by his negative. He
grew warm in an instant, and said, with a vehemence he had not used
toward me before,
'Sir, the event of the election is in your own power. You have only
to say you will do justice to the public creditors, maintain the navy,
and not disturb those holding offices, and the government will instantly
be put into your hands. We know it is the wish of the people it should
''Mr. Adams,' said I, 'I know not what part of my conduct, in either
public or private life, can have authorized a doubt of my fidelity
to the public engagements. I say, however, I will not come into the
government by capitulation - I will not enter on it but in perfect
freedom to follow the dictates of my own judgment.'
I had before given the same answer to the same intimation from Gouverneur
'Then,' said he, 'things must take their course.'
I turned the conversation to something else, and soon took my leave.
It was the first time in our lives we had ever parted with any thing