Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to the Senate and the House of Representatives, 22 November 1802

To the Senate and the House of Representatives

[on or after 22 Nov. 1802]

Gentlemen of the Senate &
H. of Representatives

I communicate for information a copy of1 the speech of Arthur St. Clair, governor of the territory N.W. of the Ohio, delivered to the Convention assembled under the act of Congress for enabling that territory to form a constitution & for it’s admission into the union, which copy2 has been transmitted to me through authentic channels.   This outrage on the justice and wisdom of the National legislature, as well as on the respect due to it from every citizen, exhibited by an Executive officer at the head of an important member of the union, called for exemplary notice. it was due to these considerations, and equally so to the maintenance of harmony and good understanding between coordinate branches of the government to give prompt and decisive evidence that the Executive countenances none of it’s officers in acts or principles of insubordination to the legislative authority. he was immediately removed from office.

Whether the seditious and disorganising suggestions of the speech furnish fit matter of cognisance to3 the Constitutional tribunals, is for them to consider.

Dft (DLC: TJ Papers, 127:22014); undated; entirely in TJ’s hand.

speech of arthur st. clair: see Thomas Worthington to TJ, 8 Nov. 1802 and Albert Gallatin to TJ, 20 Nov. 1802.

he was immediately removed: on 22 Nov., James Madison wrote St. Clair and informed him: “The President observing in an address lately delivered by you to the convention held at Chilicothe, an intemperance and indecorum of language towards the Legislature of the United States, and a disorganizing spirit and tendency of very evil example, and grossly violating the rules of conduct enjoined by your public station, determines that your commission of Governor of the North Western Territory shall cease on the receipt of this notification.” Madison enclosed St. Clair’s dismissal in a letter to Charles Willing Byrd, the secretary of the territory, informing him that no successor had been appointed and that Byrd should assume the functions of the governor’s office (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 4:131–2).

No evidence has been found to indicate that TJ ever sent this message to the Senate or the House of Representatives.

1Preceding three words interlined.

2Word interlined in place of “speech.”

3TJ first wrote “fit matter for the cognisance of” before altering the text to read as above.

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