Chief Justice Marshall arranges payment of a debt with his with his next quarterly salary

    John Marshall Autograph Document Signed as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. One page, 7.75" x 3.5", n.p., September 28, 1813. Perhaps the most important and influential Chief Justice this nation has known, John Marshall's court opinions were the foundation of American constitutional law. After serving as a member of Congress and as Secretary of State, Marshall was confirmed as US Chief Justice in 1801.

    Here, he discusses banking matters with "The cashier of the Bank of Columbia." In full: "Sir, When my quarter salary which will accrue on the first of October next shall be received you will please to pay James Brown esquire or order one thousand dollars. J. Marshall." Docketed on verso "James Brown pay Wm. Whannery. N. Dandridge, cash[ier]."

    Given the common nature of the name, it is unclear who this James Brown was, and why the Chief Justice intended to pay him such a large sum of money. At the time Marshall penned this document, there was a Senator James Brown from Louisiana in Congress who later served as US Minister to France.

    Marshall served as Chief Justice of the United States for more than three decades, during all or part of the administrations of six presidents, and his influence on American justice and the federal government is immeasurable. Pay order is lightly toned with faint bleedthrough from docket on verso. The document has been reinforced on the verso with Japanese tissue, adding paper at corners.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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