James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John P. Van Ness, 22 November 1811

From John P. Van Ness

State of New York, Novemr. 22d. 1811.


The vacancy in the Office of Controller1 affords me an opportunity of asking permission to remind you of the wish of the friends of my brother William P. Van Ness that he should hold some respectable appointment under the present Administration. You have some knowledge of that Gentleman; and for any further information in relation to his talents and merit, I beg leave to refer you to Genl. Paulding, Messrs. Porter, Cook and Tracy, of the House of Representatives, from this State. From his impressions as to your disposition towards him, I am persuaded he is not without a hope of some friendly attention of a public nature from you unless you should beleive it would interfere with the public Interest.

My brother, in addition to his professional education, has for some Years been employed in a judicial station; and is now engaged, under a law of this State, in revising & digesting it’s laws.2 With the highest consideration & respect I am, Sir, your most obedt. hble. Servant

John P. Van Ness

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1On 15 Nov. 1811 JM had nominated the comptroller of the treasury, Gabriel Duvall of Maryland, to the vacancy on the Supreme Court occasioned by the death of Samuel Chase. To replace Duvall JM nominated Richard Rush of Pennsylvania as comptroller on 21 Nov. 1811 (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:189, 191). Rush immediately acknowledged Edward Coles’s letter informing him of the appointment and promised to be in Washington by 29 or 30 Nov. to give his decision on whether he could accept it (Rush to Coles, 25 Nov. 1811 [NjP: Coles Papers]).

2Van Ness’s revision of the Laws of the State of New York was published in Albany in 1813 (Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819 (22 vols.; New York, 1958–66). description ends 29341).

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