To the Editor of the Baltimore Gazette
I observe in your paper of last evening, as extracted from Poulson's Philadelphia American, a letter of mine to the Governor of Georgia, of June 4th, 1830, and the Governor's answer of the 19th of that month. I wish it to be understood that the publication of these letters has not proceeded either directly of indirectly from me; although I have certainly no cause to regret it on my own account. My letter to the Governor is in accordance with the professional courtesy, which prevails in Virginia and Maryland, of giving notice, even to a private gentleman, of a contemplated suit, before proceeding against him. It is always intended as a mark of respect, and, in this quarter of the Union, is always so received by the gentleman addressed. I thought it still more imperiously due to the Governor of the State of Georgia. The other motives of my letter are apparent upon its face, and are cheerfully submitted to the construction of the Public.
There is only one passage of my own letter which to the general reader, can require a word of explanation.- My suggestion to the Governor is not that 'myself, the Indians and the Governor, shall make up a case to be submitted to the Supreme Court:' It is simply, that 'the decision may be expedited, by making a case by consent, if that course should suit the views of the state of Georgia.' The State of Maryland had done this, on the occasion of her law to tax the Branch Bank of the United States established at Baltimore: McCulloh vs. the State of Maryland 4 Wheaton, 316; and again, on the occasion of another State law, requiring the importers and vendors of foreign goods to take out a license from the State- Brown vs. the State of Maryland 12 Wheaton, 419. This last case is made up in the form of pleadings, not requiring a statement of facts. But in both cases, the Attorney General of the State, it is understood, co-operated in the measure, and under the instruction of the State authorities, gave facility and despatch to the reference of the questions to the decision of the Supreme Court.- In both these cases, the question involved was the constitutionality of a State law; and, in both, the State of Maryland united in the reference of this question to the Supreme Court, and acquiesced in the decision. It was with these cases in view, that I made the suggestion in question, to the Governor of Georgia.
I did not answer the Governor's letter, because it must be seen that it neither required nor admitted an answer in the spirit of courtesy in which I had addressed him, and from which I thought and still think it improper to depart.- His letter surprised me, because I supposed the object and language of my own too plain to be misunderstood, and too respectful to have awakened feelings of displeasure.- The Governor having viewed it in a different light, I am not at all dissatisfied with the publication of the letters, which I presume is intended as an appeal to the people of the United States. To such an appeal I can have no objection, though my respect for the State of Georgia and my desire to avoid all needless irritation, would not have permitted me to make it.
Baltimore, Sept. 9, 1930.