Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Marshall, 13 July 1812

To William Marshall

Monticello July 13. 12


The suit of Livingston against myself in the court of which you are the clerk was I believe dismissed at the plaintiff’s costs. I have to request the favor of you to send me a bill of the costs which I am entitled to recover of him, and information who was his security for them, as there is little opportunity of demanding them from him.

Accept the assurance of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); at foot of text: “The Clerk of the Circuit court of the US. at Richmond”; mistakenly endorsed by TJ as a letter to Alexander Lithgow, the deputy clerk. Recorded in SJL as a letter to the “Clerk of circuit ct of US. (Lithgow).”

William Marshall (1767–1816), attorney and federal court clerk, was a native of Fauquier County and the younger brother of John Marshall, fourth chief justice of the United States. He moved to Richmond and served as the clerk of the United States Circuit Court for the fifth circuit from its establishment in 1790 until his death in that city. He also opened a law practice, served as commonwealth’s deputy attorney by 1792 and subsequently as commonwealth’s attorney, and sat on the vestry of Monumental Church. At the time of his death Marshall owned a house and numerous lots in Richmond, a plantation in Frederick County, land in Kanawha County (now West Virginia), and tracts in Kentucky. His personal estate included at least twenty-four slaves and was valued in excess of $14,500 (Frances Norton Mason, My dearest Polly: Letters of Chief Justice John Marshall to His Wife … 1779–1831 [1961], 26, 350; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 15:647, 29:196–7; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 5:622–3; Richmond Enquirer, 19 Apr. 1805, 20 Feb. 1810; TJ to Marshall, 7 Feb. 1816; Richmond Enquirer, 29 May 1816; Richmond City Hustings Court Will Book, 2:58–9, 118–20, 130–8, 154–7).

In his 27 July 1812 reply from the federal court office in Richmond on behalf of Marshall, deputy clerk Alexander Lithgow enclosed the requested information, stating that “Yours was recd and accordingly you have a copy of the order you wishd with the costs, and the Security for the payment of them thereon” (RC in MoSHi: TJC-BC, in Lithgow’s hand and signed by him as a letter “for Will Marshall clk”; endorsed by TJ as a letter from Lithgow received 31 July and so recorded in SJL). The “order” enclosed therein, which listed the costs as $22.44 and their security as John Wickham, is the DLC Tr of the 5 Dec. 1811 decision of the United States Circuit Court printed at 4 Dec. 1811 as the last in a group of documents on the dismissal of Livingston v. Jefferson.

Index Entries

  • Lithgow, Alexander search
  • Livingston v. Jefferson; U.S. Circuit Court dismisses search
  • Marshall, William; circuit court clerk search
  • Marshall, William; identified search
  • Marshall, William; letters from accounted for search
  • Marshall, William; letters to search