Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Zebulon Hollingsworth, 25 June 1793

To Zebulon Hollingsworth

Philadelphia June 25. 1793.


The Secretary at war has delivered me your letter of the 20th. inst. to him, which concerning the civil (not military) proceedings against Hooper it becomes my duty to answer. It is the President’s desire that in the arrest and other proceedings all the respect may be shewn to the French nation which may not be inconsistent with the security of the criminal, and the substantial prosecution of him. But the prosecution is to be effectually taken care of, and the party brought to the punishment which the laws of his country may have prescribed. The issue will shew whether these have left unprovided for so great a case as that of an individual undertaking to dispose of the lives and fortunes of his fellow citizens, by committing them to war. It is unnecessary for me to observe to you, Sir, that in this country the person and dwelling of a public minister, are alone exempted from arrest, and that the pretence is without foundation which would extend that exemption to a foreign officer or foreign vessel. I have the honor to be with great respect Sir Your most obedt. humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Zebulon Hollingsworth. Baltimore.” Tr (DLC); 19th-century copy.

Zebulon Hollingsworth (1762–1824) was the United States district attorney for Maryland. In 1806 he became associate judge of Maryland’s sixth district court, which embraced Baltimore and Harford counties (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 125, 126; Joseph A. Stewart, Descendants of Valentine Hollingsworth, Sr. [Louisville, 1925], 27–8; Edward C. Papenfuse and others, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635–1789, 2 vols. [Baltimore, 1979–85], i, 448; Carl N. Everstine, The General Assembly of Maryland 1776–1850 [Charlottesville, 1982], 275–6, 366–7).

Hollingsworth’s letter of the 20th. to Henry Knox has not been found. For the case of Captain John Hooper, see William Vans Murray to TJ, 9 May 1793.

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