Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Matthew Lyon, 30 December 1807

Washington Decmr. 30th. 1807


I have lately seen an account of the Death of Thos T Davis in a newspaper—previous to that Gentlemans appointment to the office of Judge in the Indiana Territory I wrote you from Kentucky recomending Judge Witherill of Vermont for that Office and I understood that recomendation was seconded by the Vermont deligation—

General Bradley Judges Smith, Olin, & my self have since taken the liberty to mention his name to you as a Candidate for a Judge of some of the Territories—We understood that an Objection lay against the Judge on account of his not haveing had an early & regular law Education. That objection has been from that time wearing out, as the Law has been his Study & the Exercise of Judiciary duties has been his business ever since—The office of cheif judge of the Court of Common pleas in one of the most populous Counties in the United States a Court where it is not uncommon to have 1000 writs returnable to A session, certainly stands as high on the Score of Judiciary rank as that of a Territorial Judge.

With the Knoledge I have of the Territorial Judges, I can not think they are injured when it said, not one of those in the Northern Territories stand before Judge Witherill in the knoledge of the Law.

In every other point of qualification he that is his Equal stands on high Ground—I have not spoken to him since the Death of Judge Davis came to my knoledge, however from the acquaintance I have with his circumstances & his Views, I presume he wishes the appointment, your haveing become personally acquainted with him leads me to hope that every objection is removed

I am with great respect your Obedient Hb Servt

M Lyon

DNA: RG 59—LAR—Letters of Application and Recommendation.

Index Entries