Resolution of the Mississippi Territory General Assembly
House of Representatives of the Mississippi Territory December 21st. 1801—
This assembly having understood that a copy of a malicios and Libellous Pamphlet published in Boston in the state of Massachusetts: and purporting to be “An account of the public and private life of Winthrop Sargent” was in circulation in this Territory: and in which publication many of the citizens thereof had been greatly calumniated and in particular our Delegate to Congress Narsworthy Hunter Esqr.: thought it their duty to take some public notice thereof: with this view every exertion has been made to get possession of the said Pamphlet in order that such Calumniations might be repelled and exposed: But having hitherto failed of success in such exertions: This assembly for the present deem it their duty to adopt the following Resolutions—
Therefore unanimously Resolved by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of the Mississippi Territory, that a great majority of the citizens of this Territory are much attached to the United States, and equally so to a free Government: that they will never be reconciled to oppression; or confide in the man who oppresses them hence arose their great desire for a Legislative assembly of their own: and the removal of Winthrop Sargent their late Governor—
2nd. Resolved that Narsworthy Hunter Esqr: the delegate from this Territory to Congress has uniformly displayed great Patriotism and fidelity in public employments and much integrity and Probity in private life: and therefore it is that he is Justly esteem by a great majority of his fellow Citizens—
3rd. Resolved that the supersedeing of Winthrop Sergent in the office of Governor of this Territory was essential to the welfare thereof: and that the thanks of this assembly be returned for the same to the President of the United States—
4th. Resolved: that our present Governor possesses the confidence and esteem of this Legislature and that from his Political and private character we fully expect that his administration will be Conducive to the happiness and welfare of this Country—
5th. Resolved that the speaker of this House be and he is hereby requested to transmit one Copy of these resolves to Thomas Jefferson President of the United States—
6th. Resolved that another Copy be also forwarded to Narsworthy Hunter Esqr. our delegate to Congress with a request that he will have them published in the public papers in the City of Washington—
H. Hunter Speaker of the
House of Representativs
John Ellis President
of the Council
MS (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Hunter and Ellis; attested by Edwin L. Harris as clerk of the Mississippi Territory House of Representatives; endorsed by TJ as received 24 Feb. 1802 and so recorded in SJL.
Henry Hunter was elected to the new House of Representatives of Mississippi Territory in 1800 and became its first speaker. He had been one of the territorial residents opposed to Winthrop Sargent, the first governor. Hunter, who during his career was also a county sheriff and a militia officer, sat in the legislature until 1807. Like Hunter, John Ellis first took up residence in the region when it was governed by Spanish authority. Ellis was not part of the opposition to Sargent, and in December 1800, Ellis signed a memorial to Congress supporting Sargent through an unsuccessful attempt to postpone the creation of a territorial assembly. Before that memorial reached Congress, John Adams named, and the U.S. Senate approved, Ellis as a member of the first legislative council for the territory. In a structure adopted from that of the Northwest Territory, the council formed the upper chamber of the general assembly, and the members of the first council made Ellis their president. Later he was elected to the territorial House of Representatives, serving for a time as its speaker (Dunbar Rowland, ed., Encyclopedia of Mississippi History, 2 vols. [Madison, Wis., 1907], 1:684, 909, 914; 2:76–8; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 5:109–14; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 1:51–3; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:363–4).
On a trip to Philadelphia early in 1800, Narsworthy hunter represented the faction in Mississippi Territory that opposed Sargent. On that visit, Hunter supplied information to William Claiborne, who was then a member of Congress prominent in the investigation of Sargent’s governorship. In 1801, Narsworthy Hunter was elected the first delegate to Congress from Mississippi Territory. As a delegate, he could participate in debates in the U.S. House of Representatives, but had no vote. On 8 Dec. 1801, he presented his credentials, which the House accepted on the 21st of that month. However, Hunter, a native of Virginia, died in Washington early in his term as delegate, on 11 Mch. 1802. According to SJL, he wrote a letter to TJ of 18 Feb. 1802 that has not been found (Papers, in Relation to the Official Conduct of Governour Sargent, 6–10; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:7, 21–2; Rowland, Encyclopedia of Mississippi History, 1:909; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ).