Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Caesar A. Rodney, 20 January 1811

To Caesar A. Rodney

Monticello Jan. 20. 11.

Dear Sir

While oppressed with the whole mass of the case of the Batture I passed over some topics too slightly, & some altogether, which have since occurred to myself, or been suggested by others. I have therefore made these the subjects of some amendments to my former memoir on that case; and desiring that my former colleagues in office may be apprized of the whole of what I deem our justification on that measure, I inclose you these amendments separately stated: and will pray you, after communicating them to the President, & Secretaries of state & the treasury to return them to me. you will see in what manner the Dundee case with which you were so good as to furnish me, bears on ours, according to my ideas. any further suggestions which may occur to you from either reading or reflection will be thankfully recieved from time to time as they occur, as will also any suggestions with which the other gentlemen will furnish me.1 my wish is to take no ground which they would disapprove. the plan of defence suggested to my counsel for their consideration is to plead 1. the General issue, which authorises us to go into the whole merits of the case for the justification of the administration & assertion of the interests of the public in general & the city of N.O. in particular. 2. a special plea that what I did was as Presidt of the US. without malice, as a justification (our laws allow double pleading) 3. to reserve objections to the locality of the action for a motion in arrest of judgment. this avails us of all the matter of the defence except his citizenship, which we cannot rest upon without smothering the merits of the case.— I returned your volume of Reports by mr Warden. accept renewed assurances of my affectionate respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (facsimile in auction catalog of Superior Galleries, Beverly Hills, Calif., 7 Nov. 1992, 182 [lot 460]); at foot of text: “Caesar A. Rodney esq.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: enclosure to TJ to Littleton W. Tazewell, 22 Nov. 1810.

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Amendments and Notes to Statement on the Batture Case (Thomas Jefferson) search
  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; pleadings in search
  • Brown, Josiah; Reports of Cases upon Appeals and Writs of Error (ed. Tomlins) search
  • Gallatin, Albert; and batture controversy search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Amendments and Notes to Statement on the Batture Case search
  • Madison, James; and batture controversy search
  • Reports of Cases upon Appeals and Writs of Error (Brown; ed. Tomlins) search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; and batture controversy search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; letters to search
  • Smart, Thomas search
  • Smith, Robert; and batture controversy search
  • Thomas Smart v. The Magistrates and Town Council of the Burgh of Dundee (Brown’s Reports) search
  • Tomlins, Thomas E.; editor of Brown’s Reports search
  • Warden, David Bailie; mentioned search