John Marshall

John Marshall (1755-1835) served as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835.

Portrait

J. Marshall

Albert Rosenthal, J. Marshall, n.d., print: etching, United States Supreme Court: Portraits and Autographs, D'Angelo Law Library Rare Book Room, University of Chicago Library.

Signed by the artist, Albert Rosenthal.

For more information about the etched portrait of John Marshall, see:

Signature

John Marshall Signature Detail

Detail from John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, United States Supreme Court: Portraits and Autographs, D'Angelo Law Library Rare Book Room, University of Chicago Library.

The Document

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, Page 1

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, United States Supreme Court: Portraits and Autographs, D'Angelo Law Library Rare Book Room, University of Chicago Library.

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, Page 2

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, United States Supreme Court: Portraits and Autographs, D'Angelo Law Library Rare Book Room, University of Chicago Library.

Transcription of the Letter:

Richmond March 26th 89

Sir

I had the honor to receive a letter from you enclosing a protested bill of exchange drawn by the executors of William Armstead esquire. I shall observe your orders, sir, with respect to the collection of the money, & shall only institute a suit when I find other measures fail. I presume Mr. Armstead’s executors had notice of the protest. If they had, you will please to furnish me with some proof of the fact or inform me how I shall obtain it. Should a suit be necessary this fact will be very material.

Your caveat against Cresap’s heirs is no longer depending. It was dismissed last spring under the law which directs a dismission if the summons be not served. I wrote to you on this subject before that session of the court and supposed it to be your wish that it should no longer be continued.

I remain Sir

With perfect respect & attachment

Your obedt servt

John Marshall

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, Back

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, United States Supreme Court: Portraits and Autographs, D'Angelo Law Library Rare Book Room, University of Chicago Library.

Transcription:

George Washington esquire

Mount Vernon

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, Back Detail

John Marshall to George Washington, 26 March 1789, United States Supreme Court: Portraits and Autographs, D'Angelo Law Library Rare Book Room, University of Chicago Library.

Transcription:

From

John Marshall Esq.

March 26, 1789

About This Document

The Practice of Law and the Ratification of the Constitution

At the time that John Marshall wrote this letter to George Washington, Marshall was in private law practice in Richmond, and involved in public life in Virginia. In the year before this letter was sent, Marshall served as the Recorder of the Hustings Court in Richmond, and also served as a delegate to the Virginia convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

For more about the practice of law in the early United States, see:

For more about the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, see:

The Impending Inauguration of the First President of the United States

At the time that he received this letter from Marshall, George Washington was likely preparing for his inauguration as the first President of the United States, which took place on April 30, 1789, one month after this letter was sent. As the letter indicates, however, he was also busy trying to resolve legal disputes regarding a debt that he was owed and land that he held a claim to in the Ohio River Valley.

For more about George Washington's inauguration and the early years of his presidency, see:

For more about the legal disputes discussed in this letter, see:


About John Marshall

John Marshall served as the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by President John Adams to the seat vacated by Oliver Ellsworth in 1801. Chief Justice Marshall is known for authoring many important opinions that transformed the role of the Court, including the opinion in Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137 (1803). As Chief Justice, he also presided over the treason trial of Aaron Burr. Before his service as Chief Justice, Marshall served as the Minister to France, a U.S. Representative from Virginia, and the U.S. Secretary of State.

For more about the Marshall Court, see:

For more about the treason trial of Aaron Burr, see:

For more about John Marshall's life and career, see: