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To Thomas Jefferson from James Miller and Others, 1 February 1803

From James Miller and Others

State of Ohio
Febuary. 1st 1803

Honoured Sir

we are in Duty Bound To give you all The honour That a humain person can bee Worthy of For your by past prisedeings in the Behalf of the poore deear Sir we Still hope to find you Zealous in our Cause. Theirfore we Send Forth our petitian hopeing you will put it in to the hands of some worthy Friend that will speak For us you will find that those speculateors has sent on a petitian presenting that it will Benifit the poore But you may Believe us that not one twentieth person on the land ivver saw their petitian for it was Wrote in Cincinnata Betwene Chrismass and new year: and was Carryed a Bout By Gorge Turner and handed To Every person in the taverns and we will leave it to your honour to Judge what Capasity Men must bee in to Sighn a petitian or to Judge of it Deeare Sir we hope you will Speake to the honourable house and Mentian to them to give us an Eaquel Chance that is to Cease these petitians and Let us have have too others to Sirculate amongst us and let the moste in number take it Deear Sir you may believe us their is a grait Deale of advantage is taken in this State and we will mention one in particular that of Wm Ward Concerning Ic zeans to lay his warrents on Reserve Sectians Deear Sir all we want is to bee Fair and honest and bee permited to get land as Far as our moneys will get so that we May Bee yousfull both to our Famileys and the State we live in and not bee Impossed on by those Land Jobbers Deear Sir we Remain your Friends and Cityzens

Jas Miller

NB Deear Sir I understand that Robert [Rannax?] is about to Make application for the land in the Forks of Mad River but how Could he Clame it as his Bargin when I have the Surveyors Certificate Certyfying that it was No. 16 thease from me.

Jas Miller

RC (ViW: Tucker-Coleman Collection); smudged; in James Miller’s hand and signed by him and six others; addressed: “To Mr Thomis Jefferson President of the United States Washenton city”; franked; postmarked Cincinnati, 15 Feb.; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Mch. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Petition of James Miller and 64 others to the Senate and the House of Representatives, dated state of Ohio, 20 Jan. 1803, thanking Congress for relieving them from excise and stamp taxes and for procuring peace to the states, and presenting their cause again; the petitioners are much aggrieved by the preemption rights granted to some persons “Because They have Imposeed on us Setlars From ¼ to 1 doll per achree which Makes us think hard that we have underwent So much hardships to Settle a Cuntery and to bee imposeed on by those Speculateors”; these speculators have sent their own petition “praying For longer time presenting that they Could not Enter their lands on the account it was not Surveyed”; the petitioners claim that William Ward and others have entered lands in the eleventh range “by the new lines” and that Judge George Turner has sold land on the “Extreeme part of his Township”; the petitioners question whether Ward and Turner are acting under the authority of John Cleves Symmes; they ask Congress to stop this land speculating “and to keepe those land Jobbers From imposeing on poore people,” that the land may hereafter “Bee Sold in Small quantitees So that the poore Man May get land as well as the Rich,” and that preemption rights may cease; “we Think we have an Eaquel Rite To The publick lands Because we have To bee an Eaquel part in Defending The Cuntery Boath by our lives and property Theirefore if we have little money let us have little land if we have Much Money let us have Much land” (same; entirely in Miller’s hand).

our cause: see Miller to TJ, 30 Dec. 1802.

George turner was appointed a judge of the Northwest Territory in 1789 and elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1790. He resigned his judgeship in 1797 following allegations of misconduct in office, and was forced to quit the society in 1800 after he was found to have diverted one of its funds to his own use (Mark Grossman, Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed, 2d ed., 2 vols. [Millerton, N.Y., 2008], 2:446–8; Vol. 24:604n; Vol. 30:39–40n).

ic zeans: that is, Indian interpreter Isaac Zane. In April 1802, Congress authorized the conveyance of three sections of land, of one square mile each, in the Northwest Territory to Zane (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 , 6:46; Vol. 36:515, 520n).

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