Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Edmund Randolph’s Opinion on George Turner, [ca. 17 April 1793]

Edmund Randolph’s Opinion on George Turner

[ca. 17 Apr. 1793]

To instruct Governor St. Clair

1. To transmit to Judge Turner any authentic intelligence, which he may have received, concerning the complaints of the people against his absence:

2. Or, if no such intelligence be possessed, to represent to Judge Turner, without undertaking to order in any manner, the inconvenience in a judicial view,1 which the Territory sustains by his absence: and

3. To summon Judge Turner to attend at the seat of government, as a member of the legislature.

RC (DLC: TJ Papers, 80: 13910); undated and unsigned; endorsed by TJ.

If this opinion embodying the Attorney General’s counsel on how best to handle Judge Turner’s absence from the Northwest Territory was a response to the preceding letter and its enclosure, Randolph must have submitted it to TJ soon thereafter. However, there is no evidence that TJ issued the recommended instructions to Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, or to Turner. Randolph himself wrote a letter to Turner on 11 May 1793 about his continued absence, which elicited a reply from the judge justifying his delay on the grounds of ill health and promising to return to the Northwest Territory forthwith (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 136, 137). Nevertheless, Turner appears to have remained in Philadelphia until late August or early September 1793 before returning to the Northwest Territory to resume his judicial duties (TJ to St. Clair, 13 Sep. 1793).

1Preceding four words interlined.

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