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Reply of the President Elect to Notification of Election

February 10, 1825

Notification of Election.

Mr. Webster, from the committee appointed for that purpose yesterday, reported that the committee had waited on John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, and had notified him that in the recent election of a President of the United States, no person having received a majority of the votes of all the electors appointed, and the choice having consequently devolved upon the House of Representatives, that House, proceeding in the manner prescribed by the Constitution, did yesterday choose him to be President of the United States for four years, commencing on the 4th day of March next, and that the committee had received a written answer, which he presented to the House. Mr. Webster also reported that in further performance of its duty the committee had given the information of this election to the President.

FEBRUARY 10, 1825.

Reply of the President Elect. February 10, 1825.

GENTLEMEN: In receiving this testimonial from the Representatives of the people and States of this Union I am deeply sensible to the circumstances under which it has been given. All my predecessors in the high station to which the favor of the House now calls me have been honored with majorities of the electoral voices in their primary colleges. It has been my fortune to be placed by the divisions of sentiment prevailing among our countrymen on this occasion in competition, friendly and honorable, with three of my fellow-citizens, all justly enjoying in eminent degrees the public favor, and of whose worth, talents, and services no one entertains a higher and more respectful sense than myself. The names of two of them were, in the fulfillment of the provisions of the Constitution, presented to the selection of the House in concurrence with my own--names closely associated with the glory of the nation, and one of them further recommended by a larger minority, of the primary electoral suffrages than mine.

In this state of things, could my refusal to accept the trust thus delegated to me give an immediate opportunity to the people to form and to express with a nearer approach to unanimity the object of their preference, I should not hesitate to decline the acceptance of this eminent charge and to submit the decision of this momentous question again to their determination. But the Constitution itself has not so disposed of the contingency which would arise in the event of my refusal. I shall therefore repair to the post assigned me by the call of my country, signified through her constitutional organs, oppressed with the magnitude of the task before me, but cheered with the hope of that generous support from my fellow-citizens which, in the vicissitudes of a life devoted to their service, has never failed to sustain me, confident in the trust that the wisdom of the legislative councils will guide and direct me in the path of my official duty, and relying above all upon the superintending providence of that Being in whose hands our breath is and whose are all our ways.

Gentlemen, I pray you to make acceptable to the House the assurance of my profound gratitude for their confidence, and to accept yourselves my thanks for the friendly terms in which you have communicated to me their decision.


John Quincy Adams, Reply of the President Elect to Notification of Election Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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