Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Francis Peyton, 19 March 1801

From Francis Peyton

Alexandria 19th. March 1801.

Dear Sir,

When last at Alexandria you were pleased to express a wish that I would point out to you a character who in my opinion would be best calculated to fill the office of judge of the Orphans court, After reflecting on the subject I am induced to believe Colo. George Gilpin would be equal to the duties of that office, and would generally unite the confidence of the County. He is considered as possessing tolerable good abilities and great integrity, has resided in this place thirty years, upwards of twenty of which he has served in the commission of the Peace.

I would observe however that as this Office is not known under the laws of our state, but was created by the adoption of a law of Maryland I feel myself at a loss with respect to the qualifications requisite in a judge, and in my Selection of Colo. Gilpin have been influenced by an opinion that a legal education is not indispense necessary,

I am with great respect Yr. Obt. Servt.

Francis Peyton

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 20 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.


TJ appointed Alexandria merchant and justice of the peace George Gilpin a judge of the Orphan’s Court of Alexandria County on 14 May in place of John Herbert, a “midnight appointment” of John Adams (Washington, Diaries, 4:141n; Appendix I, List 4; 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, 3 vols. description ends , 1:388, 402, 404).

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