John Jay Papers
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To John Jay from Fisher Ames, 10 November 1789

From Fisher Ames

Boston November 10, 1789

Sir,

I presume the office of clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States will be sollicited by many candidates of merit and capacity for the trust. For, I think, pretenders of a different description will not delude themselves with any hopes of success. With this impression on my mind, I should not venture to recommend even common merit to your favour and patronage. John Tucker Esq, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, possesses so much worth, and is so eminently qualified for the office, that I feel myself authorised to recommend him to your notice.1 Being a gentleman in his manners as well as principles, and bred to the law, it was natural to expect from him fidelity assiduity and accuracy in the performance of his duty. And, accordingly, he has given uncommon satisfaction to the court, to the bar, and to the suitors. Mr. Cushing, your honorable associate, is well acquainted with Mr. Tucker’s character and pretensions, and will furnish any further necessary information.

Please to accept my apology for the trouble of this application, and permit me to assure you that I am, with sentiments of the highest respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient and very humble Servant

Fisher Ames

ALS, NNC (EJ: 13008). Addressed: “The honorable John Jay / Chief Justice of the United States / New York.” Endorsed: “… recd. & and. 27 Nov. 1789.” Massachusetts lawyer Fisher Ames (1758–1808), was a delegate to the U.S. Congress, 1789–97, where he became a Federalist party leader and supporter of the Jay Treaty.

1For an earlier recommendation of Tucker, the successful candidate for the post of court clerk, see Theodore Sedgwick to JJ, 23 Sept. 1789, above. In his 27 Nov. 1789 reply to Ames, JJ noted: “As it should be the result of mutual information and joint consultation between the judges, it appears to me proper that I should in the mean time remain free from engagements, express or implied, to or for any gentleman, however well recommended.” WJ description begins William Jay, ed., The Life of John Jay: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers (2 vols.; New York, 1833) description ends , 2: 201. For JJ’s earlier opposition to the appointment of court clerks by judges as provided by the 1777 New York State Constitution, see JJSP description begins Elizabeth M. Nuxoll et al., eds., The Selected Papers of John Jay (4 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2010–) description ends , 1: 404.

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