Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas T. Davis, 16 December 1802

From Thomas T. Davis

Washington Decr. 16th 1802


Altho the Indiana Territory is entitled to the second grade of the ordinance—it depends on the voice of a majority of the freeholders—But no mode is pointed out by which this is to be ascertained—last session petitions came to me to reduce that Territory to its first grade. From the inclosd paper you find the people trying to come to the second grade—You will see Governor Harrisons letter to his friend on the subject with strictures by some person. Having no other Legislators but their Governor & Judges they may perhaps be entitled to Congressional aid.

I am Sir respectfuly your obt Set.

Tho T. Davis

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Dec. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

Since 1801, calls had been circulating within the indiana territory to advance to the second grade of government and elect a territorial legislature. William Henry Harrison opposed the measure, however, warning of the additional expenses such a move would precipitate. An 1801 petition calling for the privilege of sending a delegate from the territory to Congress, but continuing under the first grade of government, was likewise unsuccessful. Harrison did not authorize Indiana’s advancement to the second stage of government until December 1804, with the first territorial legislature convening in July 1805 (Gazette of the United States, 6 Mch. 1802; Letters of Decius [Louisville, Ky., 1805], 7–8; Smith, St. Clair Papers description begins William Henry Smith, ed., The St. Clair Papers, The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair, Cincinnati, 1882, 2 vols. description ends , 2:533–4; Andrew R. L. Cayton, Frontier Indiana [Bloomington, 1996], 238–40).

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