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To James Madison from Caesar A. Rodney, 5 December 1811

From Caesar A. Rodney

December 5th. 1811.

I do hereby resign the office of Attorney General of the United States.1

C. A. Rodney

RC (DNA: RG 59, Resignations and Declinations, filed under “Rodney”); FC (DeHi: Brown Collection). RC docketed by Monroe. FC includes a postscript in Rodney’s hand: “N. B. On the day this is dated I delivered my resignation into the Presidents own hands.” On the FC the original date of 25 Nov. 1811 has been deleted and the date of 5 Dec. interlined in Rodney’s hand.

1Rodney apparently made his decision to resign shortly after learning that JM had nominated Gabriel Duvall to the vacancy on the Supreme Court on 15 Nov. 1811. “The elevation of a subordinate officer of the Treasury department to a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court,” he wrote in an angry, early draft of his resignation, “is an act of such decided character that neither the object nor the motive can be mistaken.” Assuming that JM’s decision was intended as a slight on his “political & professional reputation, & a pointed insult to [his] native state,” Rodney declared that justice to himself required that he return the commission he had received as a “high honor” from President Jefferson, adding that he considered it “a much higher honor now to lay it down” (DeHi: Brown Collection). Rodney expressed similar sentiments in a somewhat more restrained letter to Gallatin, whom he originally requested to deliver his letter of resignation to JM (Rodney to Gallatin, 25 Nov. 1811 [ibid.]).

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