Francis W. Gilmer to Dabney Carr
|dear Judge.||Richmond 3d Jany 1821|
The return of our well beloved friend Lee (who is the same excellent man he ever was) affords me too good an opportinity to be missed, of writing to you. Indeed as he is an officer of the court, I should fear an attachment, if I were not to send in, not my adhesion—but my warmest affections.
You are so little accustomed to the trea luxury of being reversed (well known to our worthy Chancellor of this district) that Hill & Bull I suppose was a coup de foudre to you. I have not yet reported the case, and some cases of my own in the Federal court prevented my hearing the whole of the argument. The principles however on which the court of Appeals goes, are so clear, & well known to you, that you must differ on the facts. The court says without deciding on Hites competence as a witness, there is aliunde abundant proof, and Bull having agreed to wait with Hite the principal, an entire year without the assent of the surety which varied the contract, & suspended a resort to a bill quia timet, brings the case within the principle of Croughton v. Duvall .3. Call: and so the appellant is absolutely discharged from all liability.
Rees .v. Berrington must have been well known to you, & no doubt cited in argument. So you could only differ as to the facts. I have not however read the record—
Roane was for a panegyric upon your accurate & luminous opinions, but upon consideration it was held unusual—& so the matter stands, and you must abide the fortune of war & comfort yourself in thinking, what is the fact, that you stand proof much better than any of your bretheren—or than any man but Roane in our whole judicial system could.
Hay I hear when he [. . .] read the peroration of the Vindication threw down the book like Dennis, mad as a march hare, and swore it was not worth answering—which diverted me when Roane said ab initio, and I had in my pocket a letter from Mr Jefferson, holding that it “admitted of no reply.”
Randolph says he shewed it to Rufus King, Otis & Co—who say much the same. Whether poor H. answers with his pen or his groans, I shall keep the peace & content myself with laughing at him—at most, I will do no more, than treat him to a xmas cracker.
here comes Lee+—so god bless you.
The vindication was Gilmer’s publication, A Vindication of the laws, limiting the rate of interest on loans; from the objections of Jeremy Bentham, and the Edinburgh Reviewers (Richmond, 1820). Gilmer sent a copy of the treatise to Jefferson, who’s 26 Dec. 1820 note of appreciation Gilmer carried in his pocket.