James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Pinkney, 25 January 1814

From William Pinkney

Baltimore. January 25h. 1814


A Bill appears to have been introduced into the House of Representatives, the object of which is to make it the Duty of the Attorney General to be permanently at Washington.1 I find no fault with this Bill; but, as I am quite sure that my professional pursuits in Baltimore and Annapolis will render it impossible for me to comply with it, I beg Leave to tender to you the Resignation of my Office.

I need not assure you, Sir, that I surrender up this appointment, as I accepted it, with a deep Sense of Gratitude for the proof of Confidence which it implied, and that, although the official Ties which bound me to you are now at an End, those of affection and Respect will endure forever. I have the Honour to be with sincere attachment Sir, Your faithful and obedient Servant

Wm. Pinkney

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1On 5 Jan. 1814 John W. Taylor of New York proposed a resolution instructing the House judiciary committee to “inquire into the expediency of making it the duty of the Attorney General of the United States to keep his office at the seat of Government during the ssesion [sic] of Congress.” The House passed a bill to this effect on 15 Apr. 1814. It was read in the Senate the following day but did not become law (Annals of Congress, description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends 13th Cong., 2d sess., 765–66, 849–53, 2022–24; U.S. Statutes at Large, description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends 3:vi-vii).

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