Thomas Jefferson Papers

Circular to the Justices of the Supreme Court, 12 July 1793

Circular to the Justices of the Supreme Court

Philadelphia, July 12th. 1793.


The President of the United States, being desirous of asking the advice of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, on certain matters of great public concern, requests your attendance at this place on Thursday the 18th. instant. It is on his particular charge that I have the honor of informing you of this. I have that of being with sentiments of great respect and esteem, Sir, Your most obedient and most humble servant

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); in the hand of George Taylor, Jr., signed by TJ; at foot of text: “Chief Justice Jay.” RC (NN: Ford Collection); in Taylor’s hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text: “Judge Iredell”; endorsed by Iredell in part: “Ansd.” PrC of another RC (DLC); in Taylor’s hand, signed by TJ; at foot of text: “Judge Paterson.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL); at head of text: “Chief Justice Jay”; at foot of text: “The same to Judge Paterson.”

For the issues on which the Advice of the Judges was sought, see Questions for the Supreme Court, [18 July 1793], Document iv in Editorial Note and group of documents on the referral of neutrality questions to the Supreme Court, at 18 July 1793. TJ submitted the texts for Jay and Paterson to Washington on 13 July 1793, and the President returned them two days later (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 196, 198). Although the endorsement of Justice James Iredell indicates that he answered this letter, no written response has been found and none is recorded in SJL.

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