Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from John Wayles Eppes, 24 December 1802

From John Wayles Eppes

Richmond Decr. 24. 1802.

Dear Sir,

I have attended to day the trial of a warrant against Callender & Pace under the act of assembly authorising the justices of the peace to demand “security for the good behaviour of those who are not of good fame”—Various English precedents as to the extent & meaning of the words “not of good fame” were cited and it has been decided by the Magistrates who set in the trial that the common publisher of libels came under the phrase “not of good fame.” Under this opinion of the magistrates Callender & Pace were sentenced to find surety for good behavior in a penal bond of 500 dollars the principals & 250 dollars the Securities—Callender has either refused or is unable to find surety and is committed to goal. Pace has given security—

I regret extremely that this kind of notice has been taken of the scoundrels as (even admitting that this novel doctrine that a man may be bound to his good behaviour for publishing a libel be correct) the imprisonment of Callender will retard the rapid progress he was making to complete infamy & contempt. This nefarious & infamous wretch devoid of feeling or decency appeared drunk before the Magistrates who tried him & his grim vissage was alternately distorted by Tears & the most hideous grimaces—

Adieu   accept for your health the sincere & affectionate wishes of yours &c.

Jno: W: Eppes

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 29 Dec. and so recorded in SJL.

the act of assembly: “An Act to reduce into one the several acts declaring who shall be conservators of the peace within this commonwealth” was passed by the Virginia General Assembly on 17 Oct. 1792 (Shepherd, Statutes description begins Samuel Shepherd, ed., The Statutes at Large of Virginia, from October Session 1792, to December Session 1806..., Richmond, 1835-36, 3 vols. description ends , 1:10).

Writings of William Blackstone, Michael Dalton, and Richard Burn were among the english precedents on judges and justices cited by the prosecution in the case (Richmond Virginia Argus, 29 Dec.).

surety for good behavior: Henry Pace offered William Marshall and William Richardson as his sureties. Callender refused to provide his own and was sent to jail to await trial during the regular monthly session of the Henrico County court on 3 Jan. (Durey, Callender description begins Michael Durey, “With the Hammer of Truth”: James Thomson Callender and America’s Early National Heroes, Charlottesville, 1990 description ends , 164–5; Steven H. Hochman, “On the Liberty of the Press in Virginia,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , 84 [1976], 438).

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