James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Dominick A. Hall, 18 September 1804 (Abstract)

§ From Dominick A. Hall1

18 September 1804, Columbia, South Carolina. “Some time since I had the honor to receive a letter from the President of the United States,2 desiring to be informed as soon as possible, whether I would accept the office of District Judge of the territory of Orleans. I immediately sent an answer that should he be pleased to make the appointment I would accept it.3 As I have not received a commission or any communication from Washington since the date of my answer, I fear that some accident has prevented its arrival. I find by referring to the Law that the first district Court is directed to be holde at Orleans on the third Monday in next Month. I beg, Sir, that you will pardon the Liberty I take of requesting you to communicate to the President my intention to accept the office, and that I shall be ready to proceed to Orleans the moment I receive the Commission.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Hall”). 2 pp.; docketed by Wagner as received 1 Oct. 1804 and by Jefferson.

1Dominick Augustin Hall (ca. 1765–1820) was a South Carolina lawyer and former judge on the fifth U.S. circuit who was appointed judge of the district court established for the Orleans Territory in 1804, in which capacity he served, with a short hiatus in 1813, until his death. In early 1815, before official notice of the Treaty of Ghent reached New Orleans, Hall clashed with Andrew Jackson over what Hall considered the latter’s abuse of martial law; during the controversy Jackson had Hall briefly imprisoned. Following receipt of the notice, Hall tried and convicted Jackson for contempt, imposing a $1,000 fine (Sam B. Smith et al., eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson [6 vols. to date; Knoxville, Tenn., 1980–], 3:309, 341–43, 344–46).

2Jefferson to Hall, 20 July 1804, DLC: Jefferson Papers.

3Hall to Jefferson, 9 Aug. 1804, DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Hall.”

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