James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Wirt, 11 January 1813

From William Wirt

Jany. 11. 8113 [1813]

I understand that we have lost Judge Tyler1 and that his place is to be immediately filled, will you give me leave to bring to your recollection for the appointment St Geo Tucker, late judge of our court of appeals. I do this without the privity of Judge Tucker much less without his authority; but I am under the impression that he will probably accept & I know of no one who would do more justice or honor to the appointment. I need not speak to you who know him so well, of Mr. Tuckers intellectual vigor, of his extensive legal science, or his most extraordinary habits of application to business.2 It may be proper tho’ to observe to you that Mr Ts resignation of his office in the court of appeals arose from causes very different & remote from either aversion or incapacity for business—his faculties are still in their zenith & he may long be highly useful to his country. It may be proper also to state to you that Mr. T is & has ever been a warm & undeviating friend & supporter of the administration: & is one of the few remaining soldiers of the Revolution. I am dear Sir yo. ob Sert.

Wm. Wirt

Letterbook copy (MdHi: Wirt Letterbook).

1In January 1811 JM had nominated John Tyler as federal district judge for Virginia, a position made vacant by the death of Judge Cyrus Griffin (PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (5 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 3:86 n. 1). After Tyler died on 9 Jan. 1813, JM nominated St. George Tucker for the position on 18 Jan. 1813 (Daily National Intelligencer, 21 Jan. 1813; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:316, 317).

2St. George Tucker (1752–1827), a native of Bermuda, had replaced Edmund Pendleton on the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, serving from 1803 until 1811. He rendered important and dissenting opinions in this capacity. In Turpin v. Lockett, his opinion sustained the constitutionality of the act of 1802 by which the glebes of the Episcopal Church were to be applied to the relief of the poor in each parish. Tucker had published poetry and was known for his juridical writings, which included essays on slavery, trade, and the Louisiana Purchase. In 1803 he also annotated a five-volume edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries (“The Judges Tucker of the Court of Appeals of Virginia,” Virginia Law Register 1 [1896]: 792–94).

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