represented his district in the Congress of the United States for two terms, 1803-09, when he addressed a letter to his constitutents declining a re-election.
This letter was much praised by John Randolph
, who tried hard to persuade him to offer for a re-election.
The friendship between Mr. Garnett
and Mr. Randolph
lasted through life.
In a speech in the United States Senate in 1828 Mr. Randolph
refers to Mr. Garnett
's services in Congress, and soon afterwards writes: ‘Our friendship commenced soon after he took his seat in Congress and has continued uninterrupted by a single moment of coolness or alienation during three and twenty years, and very trying times, political and otherwise.
I take pride in naming this gentleman among my steady, uniform and unwavering friends.
In Congress he never said an unwise thing, or gave a bad vote.’
's ‘Reminiscences of John Randolph
An interesting correspondence between Mr. Randolph
and Mr. Garnett
of some 340 letters has been preserved, extending from 1806 to 1832, the year before Mr. Randolph
The originals of these letters are at Elmwood
, and a copy is in my possession.
In August, 1807, Mr. Garnett
served as a member of the grand jury that indicted Aaron Burr
, of which jury Mr. Randolph
was the foreman.
Mr. William Wirt Henry
, in his address before the Virginia State Bar Association
, August 3, 1897, on ‘The Trial of Aaron Burr
,’ calls this ‘the most distinguished grand jury that was ever impaneled.’
(See Virginia Law Register, Vol.
III, pages 477– 492.)
served again in the Virginia Legislature during the session of 1824-25, and was a member of the Convention
of 1829– 30, called to amend the State Constitution
He opposed many of the changes in the Constitution
made by that Convention, and was thus frequently found on the opposite side to his brother-in-law, Hon. Charles Fenton Mercer
, who acted as chairman of the Committee
on Resolutions, Mr. Madison
, the appointed chairman, from his age and infirmities being unable to take a very active part in the work of the Convention
, a gentleman of ‘the old school,’ thought that greater weight should be given to land holders in the administration of government, and was opposed to the scheme adopted for the enlargement of the basis of suffrage.
His membership of this Convention was his last service in any public capacity.
Permit me to to quote a few lines from Hugh Blair Grigsby
's address on this Convention—the best account of it that we have—delivered