Letter from Philadelphia Bar committee to John Marshall’s children on his death

John Marshall died in Philadelphia,to which he had traveled from his home in Richmond for medical treatment, on July 6, 1835. The next day, the Bar of Philadelphia met and adopted resolutions honoring Marshall. The group appointed Peter DuPonceau and Charles Smith to communicate the bar resolutions to Marshall’s children. Here is the letter they wrote:

Philadelphia, 8th July 1835


With feelings that you are too well able to appreciate, we beg leave, in the name and on behalf of the Bar of Philadelphia, to offer you this expression of their condolence for the immeasurable loss which not only yourselves and the other members of the family of the illustrious deceased, but the whole American nation & particularly those on whose behalf we have the honor to address you, have experienced by the death of your never to be forgotten parent—John Marshall.

The enclosed resolutions which we have been ordered to communicate to you, express the feelings of the Philadelphia Bar, better than we could do ourselves, and yet there is at the bottom of our hearts, that which pen cannot express, & which you will but understand, by the feelings of your own.

We beg that you will be pleased to communicate this letter & the Resolutions enclosed to the other members of your family.

We have the honor to be

With great consideration & respect
Your most obedient humble Servants

The Chairman and Secretary of the meeting of the Philadelphia Bar, held on the occasion of the death of the illustrious John Marshall,

Peter S. DuPonceau
Charles Smith

Robert E. Lee on what the Constitution left unsettled, as casus belli

In a remarkable and wide-ranging interview with Thomas M. Cook of the New York Herald, Robert E. Lee identified the failure of the Constitution to settle “the question of defining the relative powers of the States, and their relation to the General Government” as giving rise to legitimate casus belli:

On the question of State sovereignty, the General contends that there exists a legitimate casus belli. In the convention that formed the organic law of the land, the question of defining the relative powers of the States, and their relation to the General Government, was raised, but after much discussion was dropped and unsettled. It has remained so unsettled until the present time. This war is destined to set it at rest. It was unfortunate that it was not settled at the outset; but as it was not settled then, and had to be settled at some time, the war raised on this issue cannot be considered treason. If the South is forced to submission in this contest, it of course can only be looked upon as the triumph of Federal power over State rights, and the forced annihilation of the latter.