Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Jean François Perrey, 28 December 1802

From Jean François Perrey

Poste vincennes 28 Decembre 1802

J’ai L’honneur de vous adresser cy inclus une petition faites Entre tous Les membres de la Convention du teritoire indiana qui a pour But La recommandation En faveur de M john rice jones Comme un homme propre par ses talents a remplir L’office de premier juge du teritoire Vacant par la mort de William Clark.

M. jones D’aprés notre opinion, Est la personne Capable de remplir Cet office important. depuis nombre Dannées il reside parmi nous, possede notre Langue et nos Loix aussi bien que qui Ce soit parmi nous. J’ose donc vous prier de vouloir Bien prendre notre petition En Consideration, persuadés que nous sommes que vous ne voulez que notre Bonheur.

J’ai L’honneur d’etre avec le plus profond respect de Son Excellence Le trés humble Et trés obeissant Serviteur

Membre de la Convention
de St Claire Comté

Editors’ Translation

Post Vincennes 28 Dec. 1802

I have the honor of sending the enclosed petition from all the members of the convention of the Indiana Territory. Its goal is to recommend Mr. John Rice Jones as a man whose talents qualify him to fulfill the office of principal judge of the territory, vacated by the death of William Clarke.

In our opinion, Mr. Jones is the person capable of filling this important position. He has resided among us for many years and has mastered our language and laws as well as anyone among us. I therefore dare to beg you to consider our petition, since we are convinced that you seek only our well-being.

With the deepest respect for Your Excellency, I have the honor of being your very humble and obedient servant.

Member of the Convention
from St. Clair County

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Son Excellence”; endorsed by TJ: “Jones John Rice. to be judge of Indiana. Harrison, Perrey & others” and as received 27 Jan. 1803, and so recorded in SJL.

Jean François (John Francis) Perrey (1766–1812) immigrated to the Illinois region from his native France in the early 1790s. His education included some legal training, and he became a territorial county judge of common pleas and of quarter sessions. He was engaged in the land trade and in milling. Perrey was one of a number of residents of the western part of Indiana Territory, a region that was predominantly French in origin, who feared that they would be dominated in the legislature by heavily populated eastern counties. They repeatedly appealed to Congress, beginning in 1803, asking that the western counties be separated from the territory and joined to a territorial government for Upper Louisiana. William Henry Harrison consequently depicted Perrey to TJ as someone who opposed the advancement of Indiana Territory to the legislative stage of government. Perrey was nominated to the legislative council in 1805, but Harrison favored another candidate and Perrey did not receive the appointment (Francis S. Philbrick, ed., The Laws of Indiana Territory, 1801–1809, vol. 21 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library [Springfield, Ill., 1930], lxxiv, cxxiv, ccxxix, cclvii-cclviii; 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 , 3:488; 7:140–5, 262n, 551–4; Harrison to TJ, 20 Nov. 1805).

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