Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Minor, 10 March 1802

To John Minor

Washington Mar. 10. 1802.

Dear Sir

Mr. Short being incidentally interested in the suit of the US. v. mr Edmund Randolph, I had written the inclosed letter to mr Wickham, which with the documents accompanying the same, sufficiently explain the nature & extent of mr Short’s interest. mr Wickham being engaged for mr Randolph, returned me the papers, and I now take the liberty of forwarding them to you with a request that you will be so good as to appear for mr Short, and take care that he be not thrown on mr Randolph for his money instead of the government of the US. you will see that both mr Pickering & mr Wolcott have explicitly acknoleged that the US. are in their opinion liable to mr Short: but […] mr Randolph to succeed in establishing [that credit] for himself against the US. it would make a serious obstacle to their allowing it to mr Short. I inclose you an order on Messrs. Gibson & Jefferson for your fee, and pray you to accept assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC: William Short Papers); blurred; at foot of text: “Colo. John Minor”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Enclosures: (1) TJ to John Wickham, 29 Jan. 1802, with enclosures. (2) Order on Gibson & Jefferson, not found.

John Minor (1761–1821), a prominent attorney of Fredericksburg, Virginia, had studied law under George Wythe, TJ’s old law mentor. Minor himself, as was not uncommon, also instructed aspiring lawyers. He was a friend of James Monroe. TJ included Minor on the list of people to whom he intended, in the spring of 1800, to send copies of the new Appendix to the Notes on Virginia Relative to the Murder of Logan’s Family. In April 1801, Minor wrote TJ a brief letter of introduction for John F. Gaullier of Fredericksburg. Minor, who earlier in his life had been known as John Minor, Jr., became a general in the War of 1812 (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 32 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , 14:228n; VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893– description ends , 10 [1902–1903], 204, 311–12, 436–7; Ammon, Monroe description begins Harry Ammon, James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity, New York, 1971 description ends , 346; Vol. 30:329; Vol. 31:553; Vol. 34:109n).

For TJ’s efforts to find a lawyer to look out for William Short’s interests in the government’s suit against EDMUND RANDOLPH, see TJ to John Wickham, 29 Jan. 1802, TJ to George Hay, 14 Feb., and Hay to TJ, 19 Feb. For Short’s claim for unpaid diplomatic salary and the suit, which was over Randolph’s accounts from his service as secretary of state, see Short to TJ, 18 Dec. 1801, and Albert Gallatin to TJ, 9 Jan. 1802.

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