Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Hammond, 6 June 1792

From George Hammond

Wednesday 6 June 1792

Mr. Hammond presents his respectful Compliments to Mr. Jefferson. Having this morning received a letter from Richmond, which informs him of the adjournment of the circuit Court of that place, without any decision on the subject of actions brought by British Creditors, he will be much obliged to Mr. Jefferson, if he will have the goodness to acquaint him, whether this circumstance has arisen from the want of a number of Judges sufficient to constitute a quorum, or from any other cause.

RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); addressed: “Mr Jefferson Secretary of state for the United States of America”; endorsed by TJ. Tr (Lb in same).

Hammond had just received word from John Hamilton, the British consul for Norfolk, who was in Richmond for the trial of Jones v. Walker, that the United States Circuit Court there had failed during its May 1792 term to decide the noted British debt case (Hammond to Grenville, 8 June 1792, PRO: FO 4/15; Charles F. Hobson, “The Recovery of British Debts in the Federal Circuit Court of Virginia, 1790–1797,” VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893- description ends , xcii [1984], 187–8). Hammond was especially concerned by this development because, as he had recently pointed out to TJ, most of the disputed British debt in America was owed by Virginians (Notes of a Conversation with Hammond, 4 June 1792). The court’s failure to resolve this case gave rise to new requests by disgruntled British merchants for compensation from the British government (John Nutt and William Molleson to Grenville, 29 Aug. 1792, and William Cunninghame to Henry Dundas, 15 Sep. 1792, in PRO: FO 4/16).

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