Duvall, Gabriel


Uncommon 1814 ALS while Associate Justice on on the Marshall Court 1812-35, written during British raids on the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812


Autograph ID: 7210
Condition: Good, light toned vertical center fold, right edge a tad crimped, some, light staining/toning at top & bottom edges
Description: “(1752-1844) Maryland US Rep 1794-96, state Supreme Court justice 1796-1802, 1st US Comptroller of Treasury 1802-11, Associate Justice 1812-35. In 23 years on the Supreme Court, Duvall penned an opinion in only 18 cases: 15 majority opinions, 2 concurrences, and 1 dissent. For all of his tenure, John Marshall presided as Chief Justice; in only 3 cases did the two men hold different opinions. Justice Duvall lived, worked and served the citizens of Prince George’s County throughout his life. Upon his retirement, Justice Duvall returned to his home in Glenn Dale, in Prince George’s County, where he died in 1844 at age 92. The Duvall Wing of the Courthouse in Upper Marlboro is named for Justice Gabriel Duvall, the first Prince Georgian to serve as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

10 x 8 ALS, Farm, Prince George’s County (Maryland), August 10 1814, to W. Jones, likely Navy Secretary William Jones, letter of introduction for Dr. Thompson of St. Mary’s County, Maryland “…who will deliver this – his recommendations which will be submitted to your person will explain the subject of his coming to the City.” It is possible Dr. Thompson had information regarding British naval activity on the Chesapeake Bay for American military officials.

St. Mary’s County, Maryland and the entire Chesapeake Region was a major theater of war during the War of 1812 and the population lived in terror. The British Fleet sailed up the Chesapeake Bay, raiding and invading virtually unchallenged along the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers. In the summer of 1814, the British occupied Blackistone Island. On June 1, they raided St. Jerome’s Creek and fought a naval skirmish off Cedar Point. On July 30, British forces looted Chaptico and raided Breton Bay on August 2 and St. Mary’s River August 11-12.

WILLIAM JONES (1760-1831) Navy Secretary & Acting Treasury Secretary 1813-14. He was elected as a Republican to Congress 1800, served 1801-03, and was offered the office of Secretary of the Navy in 1801, but declined and remained in Congress. With the War of 1812 raging, Jones became Secretary of the Navy in January 1813. His policies contributed greatly to successes on the Great Lakes and to a strategy of coastal defense and commerce raiding on the high seas. In late 1814 he made recommendations on reorganization of the Navy Department which led to the establishment of the Board of Commissioners system which operated 1815-42. In 1816 Jones was appointed President of the Second Bank of the United States, serving 1817-19.

Type: Letter

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