Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Chapman Johnson to Thomas Jefferson, 30 August 1817

From Chapman Johnson

Staunton, 30th August 1817.

Dear Sir,

Yesterday morning I received your letter from “Poplar forest,”—enclosing Mr Divers’s answer to your bill against The Rivanna company—together with your notes thereon

I have filed the answer; and in pursuance of your request, will send you office copies of the answers, as soon as they are filed—None others have yet been filed—I will endeavour, too, to effectuate your wish, of preventing all unnecessary delays, in bringing the cause to a final hearing—

Since I communicated with you, on this subject, I have been apprised of a decision made by the judge of the Chancery court, here, which makes it necessary, that in suits against corporations, the answer should be a corporate act, filed under the common seal. In a cause depending against the trustees of an Academy in Lexington,—a corporate body—the court upon hearing the cause, refused to make a decree, upon the seperate answers of the individuals, although, in that case, there was an attempt to charge them personally—and although by every answer it appeared that the plaintiff was entitled to a decree against the corporate funds;—and this was done by the court, though no objection to the answers was taken by the counsel—The cause stands over for the answer of the corporation—

In your case, therefore, an answer from the corporation will be required, I presume; and the individuals’ answers will not be acted on—

Mr Minor, who is now in this neighbourhood at the Springs, is apprised of this decision of the court, and is procuring, I believe, an answer for the corporation, to be drawn by Mr Sheffey—

Very respectfully Yr very Obt Svt

C Johnson

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Sept. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Martha Jefferson Randolph, 29 Nov. 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire Monticello”; address partially canceled and redirected in an unidentified hand to Lynchburg; stamp canceled; franked; postmarked Staunton, 1 Sept., and Charlottesville, 5 Sept.

Index Entries

  • Divers, George; testimony inJefferson v. Rivanna Company search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Bill of Complaint inJefferson v. Rivanna Company search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on George Divers’s Answer to Interrogatories inJefferson v. Rivanna Company search
  • Jefferson v. Rivanna Company; TJ’s bill of complaint in search
  • Jefferson v. Rivanna Company; TJ’s counsel in search
  • Johnson, Chapman; andJefferson v. Rivanna Company search
  • Johnson, Chapman; letters from search
  • Lexington, Va.; academy in search
  • Minor, Peter; and Rivanna Company search
  • Rivanna Company; directors of search
  • Sheffey, Daniel; andJefferson v. Rivanna Company search
  • Staunton, Va.; chancery court at search
  • Superior Court of Chancery for the Staunton District search