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Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch, 15 July 1799

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

Philadelphia 15th: July 1799

Dear William

I have scarcely heard of you since my return excepting once through Mr: Johnson, and as I had nothing interesting to communicate, I have deferred it till now, when an occasion seems to authorise it.

On the removal of the Seat of Government to the City, the Office of Clerk of the Sup: Court of U. S. will most probably become vacant, as the present incumbent, Mr: Sam: Bayard, has since his return from England taken up his abode, chiefly at New York, with a design, as I hear & believe, of continuing there altogether. He will of course resign the Office of Clerk and as some one must be appointed in his stead, who resides either on the spot or near it, I should be very glad to assist you in making interest for the appointment, should you think it worth an application. The convenience of your situation, suggested the idea to me, and I mention it thus early, because I think that interest is making for the office by a person here, who though a friend of mine & a brother chip, has not in my opinion, pretentions equal to yours.1 The appointment rests with the Judges, & I am persuaded an application from you would meet success— Judges Cushing, Ellsworth & Chase, would be those to whom I would take the liberty of addressing myself in your behalf, if you will give me leave— The Supreme Court will sit here next month, Yellow fever a part. The duties of the Clerkship are by no means arduous & they are entirely professional— The Records must be at the seat of Government, and though the emoluments are inconsiderable, it serves as an introduction to other business— At all events there can be no harm in applying for it, & that seasonably. I wish it were in my power to hold up a more seducing prospect for your hopes, but I am a perfect nulity in point of influence respecting appointments—indeed I rejoyce, generally speaking, that I am. Write me your own notions of this matter and presenting me kindly to your wife & family, / Believe me sincerely

T. B. Adams.

PS. I leave the City tomorrow morning to pass some weeks in the Country— The town air begins to be unhealthy, though we have yet had no epidemic disorder. Tell Mrs: Johnson I have sent her shoes to Baltimore to Mr: Hellen.

If Mr: G—— is with you, let him read the opposite page.2

RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers); internal address: “W. Cranch Esqr:”; endorsed: “T. B. Adams July 15 / 1799. / Ansd. 25th.— / recd. 24—”

1Samuel Bayard had served as clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1791, retaining the title from 1794 to 1798 while he served as U.S. agent in London overseeing claims at British admiralty courts. Although TBA proposed Cranch for Bayard’s position, Bayard retained the post until 15 Aug. 1800 when he was succeeded by Elias Boudinot Caldwell (Doc. Hist. Supreme Court description begins The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, ed. Maeva Marcus, James R. Perry, and others, New York, 1985–2007; 8 vols. description ends , 1:162–163).

2TBA wrote again to Cranch on 30 July 1799 further commenting on Cranch’s potential appointment as clerk to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the possible appointment of James Greenleaf as a commissioner for Washington, D.C. TBA also commented on the assassination of French diplomats at Rastatt (OCHP:William Cranch Papers).

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