This motion was supported by affidavits of the following facts:
that notice of this motion had been given to Mr. Madison;
that Mr. Adams, the late president of the United States, nominated the applicants to the senate for their advice and consent to be appointed justices of the peace of the district of Columbia;
that the senate advised and consented to the appointments;
that commissions in due form were signed by the said president appointing them justices, &c. and that the seal of the United States was in due form affixed to the said commissions by the secretary of state;
that the applicants have requested Mr. Madison to deliver them their said commissions, who has not complied with that request;
and that their said commissions are withheld from them;
that the applicants have made application to Mr. Madison as secretary of state of the United States at his office, for information whether the commissions were signed and sealed as aforesaid;
that explicit and satisfactory information has not been given in answer to that inquiry, either by the secretary of state, or any officer in the department of state;
that application has been made to the secretary of the senate for a certificate of the nomination of the applicants, and of the advice and consent of the senate, who has declined giving such a certificate;
whereupon a rule was made to show cause on the fourth day of this term.
This rule having been duly served, Mr. Jacob Wagner and Mr. Daniel Brent, who had been summoned to attend the court, and were required to give evidence, objected to be sworn, alleging that they were clerks in the department of state, and not bound to disclose any facts relating to the business or transactions of the office.
The court ordered...