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title:“George Mason to Zachariah Johnston”
authors:George Mason
date written:1789-10-29

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retrieved:May 28, 2022, 4:57 p.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to Zachariah Johnston." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 3. Ed. A Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 1179-80. Print.
Recipient's Copy, Owned by M. W. Paxton, Lexington, Va, 1969

George Mason to Zachariah Johnston (October 29, 1789)

Gunston-Hall Octor. 29th. 1789.
There is a Petition to the present Session of Assembly from this County, for the Removal of the Court House, from the Town of Alexandria to the Center of the County; which I beg leave to recommend to your Attention; and if you think it reasonable, shall be greatly obliged to you for your Support of it, as well as your Interest with your Friends, in it's Recommendation. It is signed by five hundred and fifty odd People (a Majority of the County) and wou'd have been signed by a much greater Number, if any Diligence had been used by those, who undertook to circulate it; being a Measure which the People have very much at Heart; for they have been so much oppressed by the Partiality of the Town of Alexandria, that I am convinced nothing but the Removal of the Court House can restore the County to Peace & Quiet; and it can be no hardship to the Inhabitants of the Town; as their Corporation Court has a complete & unlimitted Jurisdiction of all Suits between their own Citizens; which in Fact, makes the People of Alexandria almost as little interested in the Situation of the County Court House, as the Inhabitants of one of the adjacent Countys, further than the Expences extracted from the People of this County, during their Attendance at Court, by the Town Taverns & tipling-houses. Candor requires my Acknowledgement that the Petition was drawn by me. I have lived near forty Years in the County, and ought to be acquainted with it's Situation, & real Interest; and I can declare, upon the Word of an honest man, that I have not, to the best of my Knowledge, misrepresented, or exagerated any of the Facts, or Allegations it contains.
The Appointment of Mr. Blair as an associate Judge in the Supreme Federal Court, & of Mr. Pendleton as a Judge in the federal District Court, and of Course (I presume) the Removal of two of the Judges of our General Court into the Court of Appeals, will occasion the Appointment of two new Judges in our General Court. In the Session of 1787, I nominated Mr. Lee Massey, as a proper Person to fill one of the Vacancys, at that time in the General Court, but upon perceiving that there was then little Hope of his being elected, I withdrew him. Perhaps on the present Occasion he may have a better Chance: this Gentleman was bred to the Law, & in my Judgement, there are few abler men, in Point of legal Knowledge, in the State; he is a Man of a firm Mind, & independent principles, & unstained Integrity such as I am confident wou'd do Honour to the Bench. I well know the Importance of the Office of a Judge to the good People of this Commonwealth, &can, with a safe Conscience, recommend Mr. Lee Massey as a Person qualified to discharge this arduous & important Trust. I have been intimately acquainted with him; from a very early time of Life, have had the means of knowing him thoroughly, and wou'd risque my Life upon his Integrity & Abilities. I flatter myself, Sir, you have known me long enough to think me incapable of recommending an unworthy Character; and if you have not previously made up [your] mind in favour of another, I shall esteem your [support] in Favour of Mr. Lee Massey, as a singular Obliga [tion.] Dr. Sir, Your most obdt. Sert.

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