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Two-Thirds Required to Inflict the Death Penalty

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Source Name Image(s)
CollectionLibrary of Congress: Alexander Hamilton Papers view image
Document Information
Date April 23, 1799
Author Name Alexander Hamilton (primary) Location: Philadelphia
Recipient Name Washington Morton (primary)
Summary Hamilton affirms that when death is inflicted as punishment by a General Court Martial, two-thirds of the members should concur and that should be clearly shown in the proceedings.
Document Format Autograph Draft Letter
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Washington Morton; Alexander Hamilton; Secretary of War [McHenry]; ;
Related Places Philadelphia;
Keywords proceedings of the General Court Martial; two-thirds of the members of the Court; conviction of Sergeant Hunt; Articles of War; death; certificate; signature; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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To W Morton Esqr
April 23 1799
132 pg 138
Philadelphia April 23. [1799]
On reviewing the proceedings of the General Court Martial received from you, I find that it does not appear by them whether two thirds of the members of the Court concurred in the Conviction of Sergeant Hunt. The article of War ^(8th of Chapter Administration of Justice)^ require that two thirds shall agree on cases where death is inflicted, and I am of opinion that this agreement ought to appear on the face of the proceedings. I presume there was a competent number to condemn. If so, I request you to insert a clause expressing it. This will properly be incorporated in the body of the sentence reading thus "The Court, two thirds (or more than two thirds if the fact be so) of the members of the Court, ^thereof^ having concurred thereon, find &c"
As this was not originally inserted, there must be a certificate at foot signed by the President and yourself declaring that the words &c (reciting them) were inserted after the full signature and that the fact is as thereby stated.
When this is done, return the proceedings open under cover to the Secretary of War.
Washington Morton