MARSHALL, John (1766-1831), Chief Justice. Autograph letter signed ("J. Marshall"), as Chief Justice, to Dr. Basil Duke, Richmond, 24 July 1819. 3 pages, 4to, seal hole (repairs catching a portion of the signature), integral address leaf (tape remnants on address leaf).
FAMILY FINANCE AND FAMILY NEGLIGENCE
In the same year that he handed down one of his landmark Supreme Court decisions (McCullough v. Maryland), Chief Justice Marshall deals with some financial and legal hassles within his family. He thanks his brother-in-law Duke for "giving me a statement of my sister Taylor's affairs...Your letter has surprised & grieved me." In 1799 Jane Marshall married George Keith Taylor, who died in 1815, evidently leaving his widow in precarious financial shape, made worse with the onset of the depression of 1819 and--it seems--the incompetence or negligence of the Marshall family relation (possibly his nephew Martin, see below) who was handling her affairs. "That my sister should have sustained such heavy losses is truly afflicting, & that these losses should be occasioned by the negligence of such near connections adds to the affliction..." He asks Duke--the husband of Marshall's sister Charlotte--to recoup and pay money to Jane Marshall Taylor, "who greatly needs it." [With:] MARSHALL. A.L.S. ("J. Marshall") to Martin Marshall, his nephew, Richmond, 24 May 1817. 3pp., 8vo, lower half of paper severely browned, integral address leaf (paper loss), tape on creases obscuring a few words.
"THE WHOLE FAMILY IS PLUNGED INTO DISTRESS" A grieving Marshall reacts to the news of the death of his brother James's wife and the illness of his sister Charlotte. "Our wide spreading family encounters new distresses. My brother James has lost his wife & the whole family is plunged in deep distress." He congratulates Martin that his decision to study law in Kentucky is "a wise one" and he suggests he contact "my brother Alexander...He will tell you whether you are in danger of losing your property by the non-payment of taxes & what it will be necessary to do to save it." Together 2 items. (2)