Thomas Jefferson Papers

Caesar A. Rodney to Thomas Jefferson, 4 March 1811

From Caesar A. Rodney

WashingtonMarch 4th 1811.

Honored & Dear Sir,

Your letter enclosing the additional observations on the subject of the Batture directed to me at this place was received on my arrival here on the first of february. Since that time I have read them with much pleasure & satisfaction, & highly approve of them. The President Mr Gallatin & Mr Smith have all had the perusal of them & I believe concur with me in opinion. The Dundee case is so interwoven with facts & circumstances that it is difficult to separate the law which is blended in the same mass. I think you have made the most of it.

The course you contemplate pursuing on the trial, is correct & judicious The general issue will open wide the door of discussion & will enable you to enter fully into an investigation of the merits of the whole case provided you can bring in a legal shape all the necessary1 facts before the Court. It will not be a matter of difficulty afterwards to support the plea of justification

Your objections to the jurisdiction of the court, as they relate to the subject matter of the suit, or the person of the Plaintiff, are wisely reserved for a motion in arrest of judgment, should that become necessary. I should not be surprised however, if the court, before the cause progresses very2 far should declare they had no jurisdiction of the case. With us this is not unusual, tho’ there be no plea to the jurisdiction; as the want of it, may be taken advantage of at any moment, when it may be presented to the mind of the court.

The personal affair between Mess Eppes & Randolph which has agitated the public mind for some days past I am just told is happily arranged by mutual friends. With great respect I remain Dr Sir

Yours Truly & affectionately.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as a letter from Rodney received 13 Mar. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

John Randolph of Roanoke called John Wayles Eppes a liar during a 27 Feb. 1811 debate on reimposition of non-intercourse with Great Britain in the United States House of Representatives. Eppes challenged Randolph to a duel, but intermediaries arranged a reconciliation on 2 Mar. 1811 (Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States . . . Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. (all editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. Citations given below are to the edition mounted on the American Memory website of the Library of Congress and give the date of the debate as well as page numbers) description ends , 11th Cong., 3d sess., 1086 [27 Feb. 1811]; William Cabell Bruce, John Randolph of Roanoke, 1773–1833 [1922], 365–7; Henry Adams, History of the United States of America During the Administrations of James Madison [1890–91; repr. 1986], 243–5).

1Word interlined.

2Word added in margin.

Index Entries

  • Amendments and Notes to Statement on the Batture Case (Thomas Jefferson) search
  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; pleadings in search
  • dueling search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); challenges J. Randolph to duel search
  • Gallatin, Albert; and batture controversy search
  • Great Britain; Non-Intercourse Act reimposed on search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; honor disputes in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Amendments and Notes to Statement on the Batture Case search
  • Madison, James; and batture controversy search
  • Non-Intercourse Act; reimposed on Great Britain search
  • Randolph, John (of Roanoke); duel proposed by J. W. Eppes search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; and batture controversy search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; letters from search
  • Smith, Robert; and batture controversy search
  • State Department, U.S.; forwards letters search