The day he addressed the Virginia convention meeting to ratify the U.S. Constitution on the subject of the President's power to make treaties, Patrick Henry gives his legal opinion on a will

    Patrick Henry Autograph Letter Signed "P. Henry," three pages, 5.75" x 7", front and verso. [Richmond, Va.], June 19, 1788. In part, "Upon reading the Will of Israel Christian decd & the Notes or State accompanying it respecting Mrs. Christian's Claim to her annuity I am of opinion that she the Widow may qualify & act as Executriss of her late Husband if she chuses to do so, unless she has renounced...But the great Difficulty is how the annuity of 100£ is to be raised if the Money due from WC's Estate is insufficient as well as the remaining Estate of I.S. for that purpose because I consider the power of selling Land given by I.C. to W.C. as extinct by the Death of W.C. I believe the powers of the Chancery Courts over this Subject are not so far settled in this Country, either by any Law or by Precedents as to fix the Matter in Certainty. I incline to think that the Legislature alone are competent to the Appointment of a Trustee with the power of selling the Lands for the purpose of raising the annuity...The County Court may on motion direct 2 or 3 Gentn to make this settlement and altho' no regular ansr may appear yet by taking what in fact appears to be the Truth of the case, old Mrs. C's application to the Legislature or the Chancery will be justify'd from the apparent deficiency of Assets to satisfy her claim..."

    Patrick Henry's term as Governor of Virginia had ended in 1786 and he returned to his law practice full-time. He was elected a member of the convention held in Richmond, June 2-27, 1788, to ratify the U.S. Constitution approved on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia. The day Patrick Henry wrote this letter giving his legal opinion on a will, the members of the convention were discussing Article II of the proposed Constitution and the powers of the President. After the second clause of the second section was read to the delegates ("He shall have P

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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