George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 19 July 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

[Philadelphia] July 19. 93.

Th: Jefferson with his respects to the President has the honor to inform him that Judges Jay & Wilson called on him just now and asked whether the letter of yesterday pressed for an answer.1 they were told the cases would await their time, & were asked when they thought an answer might be expected: they said they supposed in a day or two.2

AL, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1Jefferson, in a letter addressed to “The Chief Justice, & Judges of the Supreme court” of 18 July, wrote: “The war which has taken place among the powers of Europe produces frequent transactions within our ports and limits, on which questions arise of considerable difficulty, and of greater importance to the peace of the US. … The President would therefore be much relieved if he found himself free to refer questions of this description to the opinions of the Judges of the supreme court of the US. whose knolege of the subject would secure us against errors dangerous to the peace of the US. and their authority ensure the respect of all parties” (Jefferson Papers description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends , 26:520–21). On the decision to seek the advice of the Supreme Court and to ask the justices to convene in Philadelphia on 18 July, see Cabinet Opinion, 12 July, and note 4. For the questions to be decided, see those enclosed in Jefferson to GW, 18 July 1793.

2For the reply, see the Supreme Court Justices to GW, 20 July 1793.

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