Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on Supreme Court Candidates, 17 February 1804

Notes on Supreme Court Candidates

1804. Feb. 17.   Characters of the lawyers in S.C.   W.H. T.S.

John Julius Pringle
} these are the two principal of those called republicans. they are of old standing, and highest reputn. Pringle was wavering once, was even with the federalists, but got back again. but both are so moderate, that they only vote with the republicans; they never meddle otherwise. Pringle is so rich that he confines his practice to Charleston, & it is thought would not accept a commission which should call him from there. Waities is so sickly that he would not be able to ride. neither would possess the confidence of the republicans.
William Johnson. a state judge. an excellent lawyer, prompt, eloquent, of irreprocheable character, republican connections, and of good nerves in his political principles. about 35. years old. was speaker some years.
 Trisvan. a state judge. of equal respectability, or very nearly so, & indeed in every qualification as Johnson. same age. but of such total feebleness of body as to be quite unfit.
 Gilliard. was speaker of the assembly. equal in talents to Johnson, but more Jacobinical. all his connections were revolutionary tories, & their estates confiscated. they got something back again, at least his father did. this young man was educated abroad. he returned soured agt. those then in power for what his family had suffered. he found he had nothing to hope from them, and joined those who now constitute the republican party. his conduct while in the assembly was uniformly firm, almost vindictive; yet in an instance or two, from family influence or interest he has swerved a little from sound principle. upon the whole, his standing is not quite as respectable as that of Johnson.

MS (DNA: RG 59, LAR); entirely in TJ’s hand; endorsed by a clerk.

w.h. t.s.: Wade Hampton and Thomas Sumter, Sr.

Thomas Waties (waities), a former law student of John Julius Pringle, had served as an associate judge on the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas since 1789 (S.C. Biographical Directory, House of Representatives, 3:753-5).

william johnson represented Charleston in the South Carolina General Assembly from 1794 until 1799, when he was elected to the state court of common pleas (S.C. Biographical Directory, House of Representatives, 4:322-5; Vol. 34:7n).

Like his colleague Johnson, Lewis Trezevant (trisvan) had studied law under Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and was elected to the state court of common pleas in 1799 (John Belton O’Neall, Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina, 2 vols. [Charleston, S.C., 1859], 1:68-71, 73).

Theodore Gaillard (gilliard) served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he was twice elected speaker. TJ had appointed him a bankruptcy commissioner in 1802 (S.C. Biographical Directory, House of Representatives, 4:220-1; Vol. 37:512, 513n, 699, 711).

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