Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Rush, 4 January 1792

From Benjamin Rush

Walnut Street January 4th: 92.

Dear Sir

Soon after the accession of Mr: Mifflin to the Government of Pennsylvania, he gratified his resentment against me for opposing his election, by removing my brother from a Seat on the bench of the supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The public clamor against this cruel and arbitrary measure, and the numerous testimonies which rose up in favor of my brother’s integrity and Abilities in the execution of his office, induced Mr: Mifflin to appoint him a district Judge for four of the frontier Counties of the State. To this Appointment he submitted, for his Age and habits had lessned his disposition to return to the active Strife of the bar. In his present Situation he is banished from the friends of his youth1 and from the Society of his only brother. Nor is this all. His Children (five in number) are all Girls, who by his residence in the Woods must want the benefits of education. To restore him from a Species of exile2 and to place him in a Situation Above all Obligation to a man who has treated him so unkindly, I have taken the liberty of requesting Mr. Randolph to mention his name to the President of the United States as a successor to Mr. Lewis who has just resigned the Office of District Judge of Pennsylvania. May I be permitted to request the favor of you to second Mr. Randolph’s influence with the President upon this Occasion? Mr. McKean and Mr. Wilson will satisfy you that his talents and knowledge are equal to that Station, and all who have ever known him will vouch for the purity, and integrity of his conduct and character both as a man, and a Judge.—Your friendship in this business will confer a peculiar Obligation upon Dear Sir your sincere friend & Obedient Servt.,

Benjn. Rush

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Jan. 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

Rush failed in his effort to obtain a federal judicial appointment for his brother Jacob. On 12 Jan. 1792 Washington nominated Richard Peters, the speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate, to succeed William Lewis as federal district judge of Pennsylvania, who had just resigned (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 86, 88, 97; William Primrose, “Biography of William Lewis,” PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877- description ends , xx [1896], 30–40; Louis Richards, “Hon. Jacob Rush, of the Pennsylvania Judiciary,” same, xxxix [1915], 53–68). Tobias Lear transmitted Lewis’ letter of resignation and commission to TJ on 4 Jan. 1792 (PrC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; FC in DNA: RG 59, SDC).

1Rush originally wrote “his early friends,” then altered it to read as above.

2Preceding five words substituted for “to his friends,” deleted.

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