From John Thomson Mason
George Town 14th March 1802
I last night reached home from Montgomery Court with the Gout in my foot so bad as to confine me to my room. The Judiciary Bill having finally passed, I now feel anxious to see something doing with the Territorial Bill, but I cannot discover from the papers that Congress are even thinking of it. Mr Peyton is with me and feels equally anxious on that subject. If Constitutionally practicable we are both of us converts to the plan of restricting the limits of the Seat of Goverment and confining it to the City of Washington. We have agreed this week to endeavour among the members to bring the question on in some shape or other, but if agreeable to you, we are very desirous to see you first, and converse with you on the subject. I cannot probably get out before Tuesday morning, on that day, at any time you will appoint, or on any other subsequent day that may be more agreable to you, we will do ourselves the honor of waiting upon you, if it is agreeable to you to receive a visit on that subject
with high respect & esteem I have the Honor to be your obedt Servt
J. T. Mason
RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 14 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.
JUDICIARY BILL HAVING FINALLY PASSED: on 8 Mch., TJ signed the legislation that repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:132). So many objections were raised against the TERRITORIAL BILL, designed to establish a system of local authority in the District of Columbia, that on 29 Mch. the House of Representatives passed a resolution to postpone consideration of the legislation until the next session of Congress (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:166; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 11:1095–6). For TJ’s draft of the bill and its history, see Bill to Establish a Government for the Territory of Columbia, [before 7 Dec. 1801]. Congress, however, continued to receive memorials calling for the establishment of a “system of government or police” in the CITY OF WASHINGTON, which would be “responsible to the inhabitants thereof, by free and frequent elections.” During the final days of the session, several laws were passed for the governance of the District of Columbia, including an act to incorporate the city of Washington (petitions from inhabitants of the City of Washington, in the District of Columbia, to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 26, 29, 30 Mch., 1 Apr. in DNA: RG 233, PMRSL, 7th Cong., 1st sess.; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:160, 164, 166, 171; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:175–8, 193–7).
TUESDAY MORNING: that is, 16 Mch. According to SJL, TJ wrote Mason on that day, but the letter has not been found.