Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Oliver Wolcott, Junior, 25 December 1800

From Oliver Wolcott, Junior

Washington Decr. 25. 1800

Dr. sir

(Private)

I have recd. your favours of the 16th. & 17th.1 —that of the 16th I communicated to Mr. Marshall & Mr. Sedgwick; the first has yet expressed no ⟨op⟩inion; the last mentioned Gentleman has been inclined to support Mr. Burr & this I find appears to be a prevailing & increasing sentiment of the Federalists—with what degree of seriousness the intention is formed & whether it can succeed are ⟨po⟩ints upon which no opinion can be given—it will be well to bring the attention of our ⟨e⟩astern friends to the subject, that their ⟨i⟩deas may be seasonably communicated to the Gentlemen in Congress.

An attempt will be made to enact the new Judiciary Bill2 —it is probable that it will succeed—but what appointments shall we have?

You will be afflicted on reading the Treaty with France,3 Mr. Ellsworths health ⟨is⟩ I fear destroyed4 —he has resigned his office & the President has sported a nomination of Mr. Jay,5 who will n⟨ot⟩ accept the appointment—it is probable that the Treaty, will undergo some modification by the Senate,

yrs with great reg⟨ar⟩d

Oliv Wolcott

Alexander Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.

1Letter of December 17, 1800, not found.

2Wolcott is referring to what eventually became “An Act to provide for the more convenient organization of the Courts of the United States” (2 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, II (Boston, 1850). description ends 89–100 [February 13, 1801]), which increased the number of Federal Circuits from three to six and created twenty-three new Federal judgeships.

At Wolcott’s suggestion (Wolcott to John Adams, November 18, 1799 [LS, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston]) Adams, on December 3, 1799, proposed to Congress that the judiciary system be reorganized “to give due effect to the civil administration of Government, and to insure a just execution of the laws” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and all the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , X, 188–89). On April 30, 1800, the Senate passed a bill entitled “An Act to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States,” but the House did not act on the measure (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and all the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , X, 96–97, 170, 196–97, 643–47, 649–50, 665–66). On November 22, 1800, Adams again called for changes in the judicial system, and on November 28, the House referred his proposal to a committee, which on December 19 presented a bill for the “convenient organization of the Courts of the United States.” On January 20, 1801, the bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate, which passed it without amendments on February 7, 1801 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and all the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , X, 723, 734, 735, 736, 742, 794–95, 837, 877, 891, 909, 911, 915).

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