James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 19 August 1802 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

19 August 1802, Natchez. “In a former letter I stated to you the want of confidence on the part of many of the Citizens of this Territory in their Supreme Judiciary; the deficiency of legal talents in two of the Judges; and the propriety there was, in supplying the first vacancy with a character of good law information.1 It is now reported that Judge Tilton has resigned.… But there is another report which I believe more certain, ‘That this gentleman has gone to Europe on some Commercial business.’” Thinks it his duty to relay this report, since such conduct can be considered “an abandonment of office.” Tilton left Natchez in January or February “and has been attending to his private business, at Orleans until his late departure from that Port.” Recommends David Ker of the Mississippi Territory,2 “an able lawyer & an amiable man,” to replace Tilton. States that Steele’s commission as territorial secretary expired 7 May 1802, “since which he has not considered himself bound to transact any public business”; requests that an appointment “be speedily made.”

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