James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Philip Pendleton, 1 March 1790

From Philip Pendleton

Berkeley March 1st. 1790.

Dear Sir,

I am informed that a vacancy has happened in the Supreme Court for the Western Territory, which perhaps may not be yet fill’d. I am strongly press’d by my Freinds in the Western Country to solicit the appointment which I confess wou’d be highly agreeable to me. The vacancy I mean is in consequence of the death of General Parsons.1 If my pretensions shou’d meet your Approbation—your kind offices with the President will greatly oblige me and in that case you will be so good as to deliver the inclosed Lre. to the President.

The great number of the Citizens of this State who have become adventurers in that Country will certainly warrant an Appointment of one of the Judges at least from Virginia. I am Dr. Sir with great esteem Yr. Obt. Servt.

Phil. Pendleton2

I have written to my freind Mr. White—upon the subject and I have no doubt of his freindly Assistance.

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1On 30 Mar., Washington named Rufus Putnam to succeed Samuel Holden Parsons as a judge of the western territory, and the appointment was confirmed the next day (DHFC description begins Linda Grant De Pauw et al., eds., Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America (3 vols. to date; Baltimore, 1972—). description ends , II, 66).

2Philip Pendleton (1752–1801) in 1772 married Agnes Patterson, by whom he had eight children. He served as a Berkeley County delegate in the General Assembly for five terms during the 1770s and 1780s (J. E. Norris, ed., History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley … [Chicago, 1890; Berryville, Va., 1972 reprint], p. 588; Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 416).

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