Jany 25th 1797
The Bill extending the Laws of the United States to the State of Tennessee having passed, which makes it necessary a Federal Judge be appointed to that District, whose nomination is made by you, I have no doubts you are desirous to fix on a Character best calculated to perform the Duties of that high office and most acceptable to the people of that State—Under these impressions and at the particular request of the Senators of that State who knowing my long and intimate acquaintance with the two Characters Mr Rhea and Mr Campbell my having practised with them in the profession of the Law and also my living immediately on the borders of the State that I probably could give as correct information As to them as any other Gentleman you might have an Opportunity to enquire of, I venture to address this note to you, though feel a considerable diffidence in pretending to recommend to offices out of the State I have the honor to represent.
Mr Rhea is a Man about forty or forty five years of age, has uniformly maintained an amiable and upright Character for upwards of fifteeen years that I have been acquainted with him he was a friend to the Independance of America and early engaged in procuring it by his personal Services he is of unshaken integrity, possesses a considerable share of legal abilities, indefatigable in the acquirement of knowledge, and a man of profound Literature—And I have no doubt will give general satisfaction by a correct and prompt discharge of the Duties of the Office.
Mr Campbell is of Esteemable Character but certainly does not possess either erudition or legal knowledge equal to the other—though I believe in the possession of either of these Gentleman the honor And Dignity of the Office would be better maintained than with any other Character I am acquainted with in the State. I have the honor to be with much Esteem your mo. Obedt Sert
DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.