Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Andrew Jackson, 16 June 1802

From Andrew Jackson

Nashville June 16th. 1802


I have lately been informed that Mr. Anderson at present attorney for the united States in and for the District of West Tennessee, is about to resign that office—

Mr Thomas S[tuar]t of this District, has applied to me to make known to the President of the united States, his wish to fill that office, should it be vacated by the resignation of Mr. Anderson—

Mr S[tuart] is a man of respectability, and of considerable Standing at the Barr, he has been a practiseing lawyer in the Superior courts of this State for about four years with good Success—I have no doubt, if he is appointed, but he will descharge the duties of that office with credit to himself and satisfaction to the Publick—

I am Sir, with high consideration and respect, yr, Mo, ob, Serv,

Andrew Jackson

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); cut, with missing letters supplied in brackets (for similar instances involving letters of Aaron Burr, see Vol. 33:626–8; Vol. 34:178; Vol. 35:204, 337); at foot of text: “Citizen Thomas Jefferson President of the united States”; endorsement by TJ also almost entirely cut away. Recorded in SJL as received 4 July.

Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), at the time he wrote this letter to TJ, was a judge of the Superior Court of Tennessee and major general of the state’s militia. He was also involved in land speculation and commerce. After reading law in North Carolina, Jackson had moved west in 1788 to become an attorney and prosecutor in Tennessee. He entered politics as a delegate to the constitutional convention for the new state in 1795. He sat in the House of Representatives in the second session of the Fourth Congress as Tennessee’s first representative in the federal legislature. Jackson was a United States senator for a few months in 1797 and 1798 before resigning to seek the position on the Superior Court bench (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Harold D. Moser and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 7 vols. [Knoxville, 1980– ], 1:xxxvii-xxxviii).

William Preston anderson did resign from his position. John Adams had appointed Anderson the U.S. attorney for Tennessee in 1798. When the Judiciary Act of February 1801 split the state into two districts, Anderson stayed in office as the attorney for the western district and a new appointment was made for the eastern district. In July 1802, following Anderson’s resignation, TJ named Thomas Stuart as his replacement. Stuart had practiced in county courts since 1796. The Superior Court licensed him in December 1798 (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 , 1:267, 268, 384; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:90; James W. Ely, Jr., and Theodore Brown, Jr., eds., Legal Papers of Andrew Jackson [Knoxville, 1987], 355–6, 388; 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 , Sec. of State Ser., 3:483; TJ to Gallatin, 6 July 1802).

On 4 July, the same day that he received Jackson’s letter, TJ also got letters from Anderson, writing from Nashville; from William Dickson in that city; and from Daniel Smith of Sumner County, Tennessee. Those letters, all dated 18 June, are recorded in SJL but have not been found.

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