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Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) to Henry Knox

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.07788 Author/Creator: Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) Place Written: Boston, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 14 February 1803 Pagination: 1 p. ; 29.8 x 19.1 cm.

Summary of Content: Writes to Knox to discuss why Adams "dissented from the vote for an address to remove the two Judges." Includes the major reasons as to why he dissented, such as that the judges were only accused of "official misdemeanors," and that the Constitution does not provide for the removal of judges except by the impeachment procedure.

Full Transcript: [draft]
Boston 14 Feby: 1803 1 O'Clock P.M.
Dear Sir,
I have but the moment arrived in town; and upon reaching my house received your favour of yesterday. This must be my ...apology for not having sooner answered it.
The following is a copy of the reasons for which I dissented from the vote for an address to remove the two Judges.
"First - Because the grounds alledged [sic] in the said address for the removal are for official misdemeanors; and the subscriber conceives it to be the intention of the Constitution, that no Judicial Officer should be removed from Office, by the mode of an Address of the two houses, on the ground of Offences, for the trial of which the Constitution has expressly provided the mode of Impeachment."
"Secondly - Because he considers the Independence of the Judiciary, as materially affected, by a mode of proceeding which in its effects must make the tenure of all Judicial Offices dependent upon the verdict of a Jury, in any one County of the Commonwealth."
"Thirdly - Because the decision of the Senate in this case, affecting in the highest degree, the rights, the character and reputation of two individual citizens of this Commonwealth, ought not to have been taken, without giving them an opportunity previously to be heard in their own defence.
I am with the highest respect, Dear Sir,
Your very humble and obedt: Servt.
John Quincy Adams
Hon: Genl: Knox.
See More

People: Knox, Henry, 1750-1806
Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: US ConstitutionPresidentGovernment and CivicsPoliticsJudiciaryImpeachmentAmerican Statesmen

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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