[New York. 1804]. pp. on two folio sheets, each 15 1/2 x 13 inches. A bit of light foxing, moderate edgewear. One sheet with shadow from (now removed) tape. Very good. Item #WRCAM55394
A very detailed and highly informative record of returns in the April, 1804 New York gubernatorial election, which pitted then- Vice President Aaron Burr against Morgan Lewis, and which served as an accelerant for the developing feud between Burr and Alexander Hamilton that culminated in Hamilton's murder by Burr in a duel just three months later. When it became evident that Thomas Jefferson would not retain Burr on the 1804 presidential ticket, Burr decided to return to New York and run for governor. At the time, political parties in New York State were splintering, and some New York Federalists decided to support the Democratic- Republican Burr. Alexander Hamilton, a leader of the "High Federalists" in New York strongly opposed Burr, part of a long- standing political opposition that joined the personal enmity the two had felt toward each other for years. Hamilton was joined in opposition to Burr by the incumbent Governor George Clinton, a prominent Democratic- Republican who supported former state Attorney General Morgan Lewis for the New York governor's seat. Hamilton and Clinton engaged in a campaign in print and in drawing rooms against Burr's election that effectively scuttled Burr's chances and helped result in a landslide defeat. Some anti-Burr remarks made by Hamilton had been printed in local newspapers during the campaign, leading Burr to demand an apology and - failing to receive that - satisfaction on the dueling grounds. The returns given here list the number of votes garnered by each candidate for governor and lieutenant governor in the nine wards of New York City and the counties of Westchester, Richmond, Suffolk, Queens, Kings, Dutchess, and Rockland. Putnam and Nassau counties, which lie within the geographic region of these returns, were not created until 1812 and 1899 respectively. Though covering only this specific geographic region of New York State, these four pages of returns appear to be complete as they were prepared. Returns for each county are given in full, there are no partial or incomplete records, and the lower third of the fourth page is blank, with plenty of room to note records from another county if they were meant to be recorded here. The style and characteristics of the writing (there are cross-outs, corrections, and marginal notes written in between columns) lead us to believe that this was not copied from a later or printed source, but created from contemporary results taken shortly after the voting. We can find no printed source that gives as detailed a record of votes in the 1804 New York gubernatorial election as are found in the present manuscript. Burr's running mate was Oliver Phelps, a Revolutionary war veteran, politician, and land speculator, and Lewis's was John Broome, a prominent merchant and New York City political figure. The results for each candidate are recorded for each of the nine wards of Manhattan, and for a number of localities in each county, from twenty-one towns and villages in Westchester County to four communities in each of Richmond and Rockland counties. The results show that Burr was strongest in New York City, edging Morgan Lewis by 100 votes in Manhattan, but losing in nearly every other county, from a narrow deficit of three votes in Richmond County to a trouncing loss of 502 to 60 votes in Rockland County. Burr did win Dutchess County by a narrow margin of 52 votes (1461 to 1409), but he lost on Long Island's Suffolk County by a huge margin, garnering only 286 votes to Lewis's 1303. In the end, Morgan Lewis bested Aaron Burr in the region by 6,875 votes to 4,873, a percentage that mirrored the statewide margin of 58% for Lewis versus 41% for Burr. The returns also record the number of gubernatorial votes garnered by others in the same 1804 election (presumably write-in votes), including James Kent (who succeeded Morgan Lewis as Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in 1804), Egbert Benson, John Lansing, Republican operative and newspaper editor, James Cheetham, and even the important political theorist, Tunis Wortman. A second column in the returns gives the vote tallies for two other New York State positions: State Senator for the "Middle District" (the race won by Samuel Brewster over Stephen Hogeboom and Peter Van Ness) and for the "Southern District," with William Denning triumphing over five other candidates. An important historical record of a highly- significant New York governor's election, the loss of which incensed Aaron Burr and led to his duel with Alexander Hamilton.