George Washington Papers

Memorandum of Thomas Jefferson, 7 June 1790

Memorandum of Thomas Jefferson

[c.7 June 1790]

North Carolina.

District judge.

Colo. Davie is recommended by Steele.
Hawkins sais he is their first law character.
Brown sais the same.

Samuel Spencer.
Steele sais he is a good man, one of the present judges, not remarkeable for his abilities, but deserves well of his country.
Bloodworth sais Spencer desires the appointment. but sais nothing of him.

John Stokes.
Steele names him at his own request. he is a Virginian, was a Captn in the late war, lost his right hand in Beaufort’s defeat. practises law in S. Carolina with reputation & success; has been frequently of the legislature, was a member of the Convention, a federalist, is now a Colo. of militia cavalry, & additional judge of the Supreme court.
Hawkins has understood he is a worthy man.
Ashe names him.

District attorney.

Hamilton. named by Bloodworth.
Hawkins sais he is now under indictment for extortionate fees & will be silenced.

Hay. named by Bloodworth.
Hawkins sais he is an Irishman who came over about the close of the war to see after some confiscated property. he has married in the country.

Arnet. named by Bloodworth. Hawkins sais he is a N. Jersey man of good character.

Sitgreaves. Hawkins sais he lives in Newbern where the courts are held. he is a gentlemanly man, & as good a lawyer as any there. Ashe sais that Sitgreaves is not so brilliant in abilities, but of great rectitude of mind.
Bloodworth sais that Sitgreaves is gentleman of character & represented the state in Congress in 1785.

South-Western government.


Blount. agreed to be the properest man by Williamson, Hawkins, Bloodworth & Ashe.


Howel Tatham.
Williamson sais he was formerly a Continental officer, is now a lawyer, a man of honor & respectable abilities.
Bloodworth names him, but sais nothing of him.
Brown thinks him illy informed, & more a man of dress than of business.

Robert Hayes.
Bloodworth only mentions his name.
Ashe says he has been a representative several times, & an offic⟨er⟩

Smith. Brown considers him as the ablest & best character there. Hawkins considers him as a very good & able man. he was a leading character in the opposition to Sevier, and so would not be a very agreeable appointment to Sevier.


David Campbell.
Brown thinks him not a well informed lawyer, but honest. he is now judge.
Bloodworth & Ashe name him only.
Williamson sais he is of fair character & respectable abilitie⟨s⟩

Howel Tatham. see what is said of him above for Secretary.
Ashe proposes him as a Judge, and sais he is of great application, fair, unblemished character.

John McNairy. Ashe only names him.


Edward Jones. Ashe proposes him. he has heard that he is a young gentleman of merit & enlightened understanding. Bloodworth sais he is of good character, has been twi⟨ce⟩ returned for the town of Wilmington.


Jefferson compiled this list of candidates for judicial offices in North Carolina and the Territory South of the River Ohio, probably at GW’s request, from the letters of recommendation submitted by four North Carolina members of the house, John B. Ashe, Timothy Bloodworth, John Steele, and Hugh Williamson (the fifth North Carolina representative, John Sevier, did not take his seat until 16 June) and from the recommendations of Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. senator from North Carolina, and John Brown, the representative from Kentucky in the Virginia delegation in the House and a former law student of Jefferson (see Hugh Williamson to GW, 28 May, John Steele to GW, 4 June, John B. Ashe to GW, 5 June, and Timothy Bloodworth to GW, 5 June). No letter of recommendation from Hawkins or Brown has been found; Jefferson may have received their recommendations in conversation. Jefferson probably drew up the list on 6 June; it was docketed “From the Secretary of State, June 7th 1790.” All of the appointees nominated by GW are mentioned in this memorandum (see GW to the U.S. Senate, 7 June 1790).

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