Report of a Case, Decided on Saturday, the 16th of November, 1793, in the General Court of Virginia; Wherein Peter Kamper, Was Plaintiff, against Mary Hawkins, Defendant; On a Question Adjourned from the District Court of Dumfries, for Novelty and Difficulty, Touching the Constitutionality of an Act of Assembly; Together with Arguments and Opinions of the Respective Judges at Large, and the Order of Court Thereon
by William Tatham
|Report of Kamper v. Hawkins|
at the College of William & Mary.
|Author||William Tatham (attributed)|
|Published||Philadelphia, PA: Printed for A. M'Kenzie, & Co. ... by W.W. Woodward ...|
|Desc.||8vo (20 cm.)|
William Tatham (1752 – 1819) was an engineer who served under General Thomas Nelson and was at Yorktown during the American Revolution.  After the war, he became a lawyer in North Carolina, but went back to England in 1796 to only return for better prospects in 1805.  He had extensive contact with Thomas Jefferson during and after the war.
Tatham recorded the case of Kamper v. Hawkins, 3 Va. (1 Va. Cas.) 20 (1793), publishing a pamphlet with a Philadelphia printer in 1794. Peter Kamper filed an injunction in the District Court of Dumfries under Section XI of "An act reducing into one, the several acts concerning the establishment, jurisdiction, and powers of District Courts." (Passed December 12, 1792.) It read:
Each of the said district courts in term time, or any judge thereof in vacation, shall, and may have and exercise the same power of granting injunctions to stay proceedings on any judgment obtained in any of the said district courts, as is now had and exercised by the judge of the high court of chancery in similar cases, and the said district courts may proceed to the dissolution or final hearing of all suits commencing by injunction, under the same rules and regulations as are now prescribed by law for conducting similar suits in the high court of chancery."
The General Court of Virginia overruled Kamper's motion, because Section XI was deemed to be unconstitutional. The idea was reinforced that "if an act of the legislature is repugnant to the constitution, the courts have the power, and it is their duty to so declare it."
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
A copy of Kamper v. Hawkins in the Jefferson Exhibit Collection at the Library of Congress has a label with "Chancellor Wythe" on the cover, and has an presentation inscription from "Wm. Tatham" to "Mr. Wythe." This is likely the same copy listed on Jefferson's inventory of books he inherited upon Wythe's death, listed on page seven as "Report of the case of Kampier [sic] & Hawkins in the G.C. of Virga. 8vo."
- Jefferson Inventory
- Known Surviving Wythe Volumes
- William Tatham to William Armistead Burwell, 13 June 1805
- Wythe's Library
- Nancy Verell, "William Tatham," Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia (2013), accessed February 19, 2015
- See The Thomas Jefferson Papers (Library of Congress).
- Report of a Case, Decided on Saturday, the 16th of November, 1793, in the General Court of Virginia; Wherein Peter Kamper, Was Plaintiff, against Mary Hawkins, Defendant; On a Question Adjourned from the District Court of Dumfries, for Novelty and Difficulty, Touching the Constitutionality of an Act of Assembly; Together with Arguments and Opinions of the Respective Judges at Large, and the Order of Court Thereon. Published with Their Permission. By a Gentleman of the Bar. (Philadelphia, PA: A. M'Kenzie, 1794). Published anonymously, but attributed to Tatham as 'The Case of Kamfer against Hawkins' in The Annual Biography and Obituary, for the Year 1820, vol. 4 (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820), 167.
- Kamper v. Hawkins, 3 Va. (1 Va. Cas.) 20 (1793)