James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Benjamin Drake, 8 December 1821

To Benjamin Drake

Decr. 8. 1821


I recd. a few days ago your letter of Novr. 6. on the subject of materials for a “Biographical sketch of the Celebrated Tecumseh.”

I cannot better answer it, than by referring you to the Dept. of War, the files of which contain the official correspondence and communications from the military Commanders & Indian Agents most likely to furnish interesting particulars relating to that Chief as well as to his brother the prophet. It is probable that some of the Officers, particularly Genl. Harrison,1 may be consulted with advantage, on points not included in their official letters & transactions.

I wish you may be successful in collecting adequate materials for your proposed work: I wish it the more, as your attention will of course be drawn to general views of the Indian Character in tracing the particular features of that of the distinguished individual in question.

Draft (DLC). RC offered for sale in Stan. V. Henkels Catalogue No. 694 (6–7 Dec. 1892), item 80.

1William Henry Harrison (1773–1841) served in the U.S. Army, 1791–98, as secretary of the Northwest Territory, 1798–1800, and as governor of the Indiana Territory, 1800–1813. During the War of 1812 Harrison was commissioned a brigadier general and given command of the army of the Northwest. He was promoted to major general in March 1813. In October of that year Harrison’s troops secured a victory at the Battle of the Thames in which the great Indian leader Tecumseh was killed. Harrison later served as an Ohio representative to Congress, 1816–19, as a U.S. senator, 1825–28, as U.S. minister to Colombia, 1828–29, and as ninth president of the United States, a term that lasted about a month before his death from pneumonia.

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