Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from a “Citizen,” 18 November 1801

From a “Citizen”

Rhode Island Novr 18th 1801

The evil of which I have to complain will certainly interesting the feelings of our beloved President so far as to devise some immediate remedy.

The Supreme Court of Massachusetts have at length decreed that a Certificate of discharge under the insolvent or bankrupt Laws of the other States shall not be a bar in their Courts to demands originating before said insolvency or bankruptcy.—

The confusion that must follow such a decree I need not describe; not only the unfortunate who have obtained such Certificates in the several States are begining to be watched within the bounds of that State by “wolves in sheeps clothing”; but the heirs of the unfortunate who perhaps have shar’d some patrimonial estate which the Parent may have received in consequence of having obtained a Certificate of discharge and the property of all such Families must share the same fate.

That every blessing may attend your person & administration is the sincere prayer of a


Two cases decided at Taunton October Term 1801—

Winsor vs Pease—Hodges vs Hodges—

RC (DLC); closing quotation mark supplied; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 11 Nov. received from “Anon.” on 30 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

On 18 Nov., the Providence Journal reported that the Supreme Judicial Court of massachusetts had recently decided, “in conformity to their former decisions on similar questions,” that a discharge under the insolvency act of Rhode Island did not prevent an action in Massachusetts in favor of a creditor “who resided there at the time the discharge was obtained.”

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