Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Sitgreaves, 6 February 1798

From Samuel Sitgreaves

Tuesday 6. Feb. 1798


I have the Honor to inform you that, if it shall be convenient and agreeable to the Senate, the Managers for the House of Representatives will, tomorrow at 12 o’Clock, exhibit Articles in Maintenance of their Impeachment against William Blount for High Crimes and Misdemeanors—

As the Managers are desirous to conform to any Ceremonial which the Senate may deem it proper to prescribe in this Case, I request you will take the Trouble to cause me to be informed of any such, which it shall be necessary for us to attend to—

I have the Honor to be, with just Consideration, Sir, Your most obed Serv.

S Sitgreaves

RC (DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 5th Cong., 2d sess.); in a clerk’s hand, with part of complimentary close and signature by Sitgreaves; at foot of text: “The Vice President of the United States”; endorsed in clerk’s hand: “Legis: 2d. Sess: 5th. Cong: Letter to Vice President from Mr. Sitgreaves relative to exhibiting Articles of Impeachment against William Blount. February 6th. 1798.”

Samuel Sitgreaves (1764–1827) received a classical education and was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia in 1783. Three years later he moved to Easton, Northampton County, Pennsylvania where he practiced law and was elected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention of 1790. As a Federalist congressman in 1795 he led the House investigation into the activities of William Blount. Appointed to the five-man commission established under the 6th Article of the Jay Treaty to settle British claims, he resigned from Congress in August 1798. When the commission came to a close in July 1799, Sitgreaves returned to Easton, resumed the practice of law, took an active role in local politics and in promoting internal improvements and economic development (Biog. Dir. Cong.; 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 , 1:296–7; PMHB description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1877- description ends , 13 [1889], 128, 254–5; 22 [1898], 364; 34 [1910], 239–40).

There is no indication that this letter was officially presented to the Senate or that the Senate considered receiving the managers for the house of representatives to exhibit the articles of impeachment on this date (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 2:434–5). As the first item of business the next day, however, Jonathan W. Condy, clerk of the House of Representatives, addressed TJ and the Senate as follows: “Mr. President: The House of Representatives have resolved that articles agreed by the House to be exhibited in the name of themselves and of all the people of the United States against William Blount, in maintenance of their impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors, be carried to the Senate by the managers, Messrs. Sitgreaves, Bayard, Harper, Gordon, Pinckney, Dana, Sewall, Hosmer, Dennis, Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of all Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from … 1639 … to … 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends and Imlay, appointed to conduct the said impeachment” (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 2:435). For the election of the impeachment managers, see note to Senate Resolution on William Blount, [4 July 1797]. After hearing this message, the Senate resolved to receive the congressmen at noon (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 2:435).

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