DescriptionChief Justice John Marshall Autograph Letter Signed "J. Marshall." One page with integral address leaf, 7.5" x 9.5", Richmond, January 8, 1804. Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, writes to Associate Justice William Paterson regarding the state of the latter's health, in part as written:
"Yesterday on my return from North Carolina I received your letter . . . & lament very sincerely the cause which will deprive us of your aid & your society at the ensuing term of the supreme court. I must however entreat that you will permit your anxiety respecting your duties to expose you to the hazards which must result from your removal from home before your health shall be perfectly confirmed. I will immediately write to Mr. [Alfred] Moore & hope he will make a point of attending. He has sustained a very severe attack in the course of the summer, but I understand that he was perfectly recovered."
While on circuit duty in New Jersey in late 1803, Paterson survived a carriage accident with severe injuries. He returned home to recuperate, but died several years later due to his injuries. Weakening of the folds has resulted in separation at the upper and lower edges with some minor loss of paper, but not affecting the text. Chipped edges. Slight smudging of the ink.
Marshall (1755-1835) served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, was a commissioner to France, the U.S. House of Representatives for Virginia, and as secretary of state under John Adams before being appointed to the Supreme Court by President John Adams. The longest serving chief justice in the history of the court, he was instrumental in making the Supreme Court an equal branch of the U.S. government.
William Paterson (1745-1806) served in the Provincial Congress (1775-1776),
Constitutional Convention (1776), and Council of Safety (1777). He was a
delegate to the Constitutional Convention and co-authored the Paterson Plan
which asserted the rights of the small states. He signed the U.S. Constitution
and supported its ratification. He was senator (1789-1790) and governor
(1790-1793) of New Jersey, and was an associate justice of the Supreme Court
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