Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas T. Davis, 16 December 1802

To Thomas T. Davis

Dec. 16. 1802.

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Davis & his thanks for the information respecting Indiana. he had wished to see the law on the subject of it’s going into the 2d. grade of government, not knowing but it might have been rested on the President to do some act promotive of it, which he should willingly have done, as being a friend to the advancement of the territories to a freer state of self-government. he finds however that the law has confided to the personal discretion of the Governor to take the sense of his freeholders, without prescribing to him time or manner, and consequently that there is no ground1 for the President to [direct] him in the exercise of his discretion, all the responsibility resting on himself.

PrC (DLC); blurred.

The law creating the Indiana Territory was passed by Congress on 7 May 1800. Its provisions were based on the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (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 , 2:58–9).

1Word interlined in place of “reason.”

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