Jun 21, 2018 - Sale 2483

Sale 2483 - Lot 37

Price Realized: $ 3,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
MARSHALL, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed, "JMarshall," to Henry "Light-Horse Henry" Lee ("Dear Sir"), discussing the disposition of the property of Mr. Brown who recently committed suicide, stating that the sale of Mr. Brown's slaves should discharge his debt, advising him concerning a sale to Mr [Daniel?] Hylton and the ownership of land on which Mr. [Alexander?] Campbell lived, and mentioning the involvement of Mr [John?] Wickham in the case. 3 pages, small 4to, written on two sheets; moderate scattered foxing, remnants of prior mounting along upper edge of terminal page, seal tears with loss of few words of text, folds. Richmond, 18 July 1796

Additional Details

". . . At the time you purchased the lott on which Mr. Campbell then resided it was made known to you that he had no title to the adjoining ground. The terms of your sale to Mr Hylton I am unacquainted with. I believe that there are negroes subject to the balance of Browns debt which will be sufficient to discharge it.
"The sale of the property is for a time delayed. Our unfortunate friend is no more. A dose of laudanum taken for the purpose has rid him of the world & of its cares. . . .
". . . . Mr Campbell was [e]mployed by Mr Pendleton & relied on by him. It is probable that he will not try the cause without counsel from Virginia & that he will be willing to consider it as now too late to engage another. I have endeavored to carry Mr Wickham but he will not go unless first applied to. I have written to Mr Pendleton on the subject . . . .
"I expect to be in Alexandria on Monday evening & propose visiting Mount Vernon on Tuesday. By Wednesday I hope we may have an answer from Pen[dle]ton. A journey to Philadelphia w[ith]out arguing the cause is to me a ser[ious] calamity."
In Ware v. Hylton, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on March 7, 1796, that the debts of Virginians to English creditors acquired during the Revolutionary War were governed by the Treaty of Paris, not Virginia law (the state law nullified such debts)--thus making the debts subject to collection. Marshall argued on behalf of Patrick Henry, Alexander Campbell, and other American debtors, while John Wickham argued on behalf of the English. Wickham (1763-1839) was an American Loyalist attorney who was a close associate of Marshall's; although most known for having defended Aaron Burr in 1807 against charges of treason, most of the success enjoyed by Wickham's law practice involved the reclamation of debts from American businesses on behalf of British clients.