Thomas Jefferson Papers

John E. Hall to Thomas Jefferson, 26 June 1812

From John E. Hall

Baltimore 26th June 1812


In a parcel of books which I have just received from my friend Judge Cooper, I find a copy of his Lecture on Chemistry, which I presume was intended to be forwarded to you by me. I shall therefore transmit it by the same post with this letter.

Permit me to avail myself of the opportunity of Sending you a copy of the Law Journal just published here. I understand it was your wish that the case of Livingston v. Jefferson, reported in this number, should have been argued upon its merits, without regard to the question of jurisdiction: & that you had prepared an elaborate investigation of the subject. If there be no objection to the publication of this paper, it will give me great pleasure to insert it in a future number of the Law Journal—as it is of consequence to preserve every thing that tends to illustrate a case, which is certainly among the most important that our juridical annals exhibit.

I am, your obedient Servant

J. E. Hall

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 2 July 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) The Introductory Lecture, of Thomas Cooper, Esq. Professor of Chemistry at Carlisle College, Pennsylvania (Carlisle, 1812; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 853). (2) Hall’s American Law Journal, vol. 4, no. 1 (undated issue forming part of 1813 volume).

John Elihu Hall (1783–1829), legal author and editor, attended the University of Pennsylvania and then the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) before returning to his native Philadelphia in 1804 to read law under Joseph Hopkinson. Admitted to the bar the following year, he moved to Baltimore and opened a law practice. Hall soon established the American Law Journal and Miscellaneous Repertory (1808–17; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 2098; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library [1829] description ends , 10 [no. 600]), which printed reports of significant cases, recent state statutes, translations of foreign jurisprudence, and biographical essays. He also wrote notable legal treatises on the admiralty court, maritime loans, and Maryland law, as well as literary and biographical works. Hall opposed war in 1812 and was among those badly injured that July when he sought to defend Federalist publisher Alexander C. Hanson from a Baltimore mob. In 1813 Hall was admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court, and the following year he became a member of the American Philosophical Society. He returned to Philadelphia and there edited the Port Folio magazine from 1816 until its demise in 1827. Hall continued to publish other works as well, including a short-lived Journal of Jurisprudence in 1821. TJ subscribed to all three of Hall’s journals (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Baltimore North American and Mercantile Daily Advertiser, 18 May 1808; Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 29 Aug. 1812; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 21 Jan. 1814 [MS in PPAmP]; Peter Stein, “The Attraction of the Civil Law in Post-Revolutionary America,” Virginia Law Review 52 [1966]: 413–5; TJ to Harrison Hall, 6 Aug. 1817, 3 Jan. 1826; TJ to John E. Hall, 8 Aug. 1821; Philadelphia National Gazette and Literary Register, 13 June 1829).

The enclosed issue of Hall’s journal published opinions by John Tyler and John Marshall (printed above at 4 Dec. 1811) dismissing livingston v. jefferson on jurisdictional grounds. In a subsequent number Hall wrote of the Batture Sainte Marie controversy that “when we come to publish Mr Jefferson’s defence—which, in justice, we are bound to do, and by his politeness have been permitted to do,—we shall endeavour to show that the ground—like the alluvion which is the subject of dispute,—is easily washed away.” His 1814 reissue of Jefferson’s Proceedings description begins Thomas Jefferson, The Proceedings of the Government of the United States, in maintaining The Public Right to the Beach of the Missisipi, Adjacent to New-Orleans, against the Intrusion of Edward Livingston. prepared for the use of counsel, by Thomas Jefferson, New York, 1812; Sowerby, nos. 3501, 3508; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 10 (no. 604) description ends (a work discussed above at 31 July 1810) incorporated “corrections and additional Notes, by the Author” (American Law Journal 4 [1813]: 78–87, 517–62; 5 [1814]: ix–xiv, 1–91).

Index Entries

  • American Law Journal (J. E. Hall) search
  • books; on chemistry search
  • books; on law search
  • chemistry; books on search
  • Hall, John Elihu; American Law Journal search
  • Hall, John Elihu; identified search
  • Hall, John Elihu; letters from search
  • Hall, John Elihu; sends books for T. Cooper search
  • law; books on search
  • Livingston v. Jefferson; J. Marshall’s opinion in search
  • Livingston v. Jefferson; J. Tyler’s opinion in search
  • Livingston v. Jefferson; opinions published search
  • Marshall, John; opinion in Livingston v. Jefferson search
  • Tyler, John (1747–1813); opinion in Livingston v. Jefferson search