Massachusetts 1788 U.S. House of Representatives, District 5

U.S. House of Representatives (Federal)
U.S. Congressman
Massachusetts 1788 U.S. House of Representatives, District 5
First Ballot
U.S. House of Representatives/U.S. Congressman
George Partridge, James Warren, Nathaniel Cushing, Joshua Thomas, Thomas Davis, William Cushing, John Gray, William Hall Jackson, Samuel Savage
Candidates: George Partridge[1]James WarrenNathaniel CushingJoshua ThomasThomas DavisWilliam CushingJohn GrayWilliam Hall JacksonSamuel Savage
Final Result: [2][3][4]5012813432111
District of Five5012813432111
Barnstable County149-------1
Town of Barnstable25-------1
Town of Chatham[5]---------
Town of Eastham[6]---------
Town of Falmouth41--------
Town of Harwich[7]---------
Town of Provincetown[8]---------
Town of Sandwich50--------
Town of Truro[9]---------
Town of Wellfleet[10]---------
Town of Yarmouth33--------
Plymouth County352281343211-
Town of Abington44--------
Town of Bridgewater46--------
Town of Duxbury13--------
Town of Halifax17--------
Town of Hanover27----1---
Town of Kingston27--------
Town of Marshfield--12------
Town of Middleborough37--1-----
Town of Pembroke20--------
Town of Plymouth5025--2--1-
Town of Plympton20313111--
Town of Rochester24--------
Town of Scituate20--------
Town of Wareham7--------


[2]"The elections in the country have, in general, been very thinly attended - owing in some measure to the late fall of snow, making the passing bad." The Massachusetts Centinel (Boston, MA). December 20, 1788.
[3]Massachusetts law required a majority to elect for the U.S. House of Representatives. The whole number of votes cast was 554, therefore a candidate needed 278 votes in order to be elected.
[4]"The only problem was whether Partridge could retain his post of sheriff of Plymouth County and accept a seat in Congress, as he had done in 1779-1782 and 1783-1785. He received a certificate from Governor Hancock on 10 January notifying him of his election. Partridge wrote three letters to the Governor. In the first, which he apparently did not send, he refused the appointment. He accepted in the two following letters but explained that he would not take the seat if he had to give up his post as sheriff (12, 20 January, 23 February). The issue of whether or not a state officeholder could retain a state post and still serve in Congress had been and would be raised in other states. On 12 February Governor Hancock asked his Council for advice about Partridge and about George Leonard, judge of probate in Bristol County, who had been elected to Congress from the Bristol-Dukes-Nantucket District. The Council replied in writing the same day that it was 'inexpedient' for a man to hold the office of judge of probate and a seat in Congress, but that it did not find anything in the state constitution which prevented a sheriff from also being a member of Congress. The Council advised, however, that it would be inexpedient to introduce the practice of sheriffs being absent for long periods although Partridge 'may at present be indulged' and take a seat in Congress 'consistently with the safety of that county' (Council Proceedings, Thursday 12 February, M-Ar). The next day Governor Hancock sent the Council's written reply to the legislature and asked for its advice (13 February, Miscellaneous Legislative Documents, House Files, M-Ar). The two houses appointed a joint committee which wrote a report that was approved and sent to the Governor on Monday, 16 February. The legislature declared that if George Leonard continued to hold the office of judge of probate and also took a seat on Congress, any future legislature would address the Governor authorizing him and the Council to appoint another person judge of probate in Bristol County. But the legislature refused to give advice about George Partridge. It pointed out that sheriffs served during the pleasure of the governor, and (with the advice of his Council) were removable by him at any time. Sheriffs were not removable in any other way except through impeachment by the House and a trial before and conviction by the Senate. Therefore the House and Senate declared that intervention by the legislature was 'neither necessary or proper; and from the conduct and advice of your Council, they see no reason to doubt the wisdom of that constitutional provision' (House and Senate Proceedings, 13, 14, 16 February)." The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections: 1788-1790, Vol. I. p 575-76.
[5]There were no votes recorded in Chatham.
[6]There were no votes recorded in Eastham.
[7]There were no votes recorded in Harwich.
[8]There were no votes recorded in Provincetown.
[9]There were no votes recorded in Truro.
[10]There were no votes recorded in Wellfleet.


Original Election Returns. Massachusetts State Archives, Boston.
The Massachusetts Centinel (Boston, MA). December 20, 1788.
The Massachusetts Centinel (Boston, MA). December 24, 1788.
The Hampshire Chronicle (Springfield, MA). December 31, 1788.
The Hampshire Chronicle (Springfield, MA). January 14, 1789.
The Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia, PA). January 20, 1789.
Jensen, Merrill and Robert A. Becker, ed. The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections: 1788-1790. Vol. I. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976. 575-578.

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