James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Gibson, 17 January 1805 (Abstract)

§ From John Gibson1

17 January 1805, Vincennes. “The appointment of Secretary of the Indiana Territory which I now hold, will Expire at the End of the present Session of the Senate, permit me Sir, again to sollicit your interest and that of your friends in my reappointment to that office.2 I make no doubt, Governor Harrison has already represented to the president of the United States the part I took in effecting the late purchase of Territory from the Delawares, without detracting from the merit of Governor Harrison, I may safely add it was principally effected by my interest with that Nation. I have not the least doubt, that at a period not very distant, the whole of the Country which they own, may be obtained from them by purchase or in Exchange for other Lands in Louisiana.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Gibson”). 1 p.; docketed by Wagner. Printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Indiana, 7:258.

1Revolutionary War veteran and Indian trader John Gibson (1740–1822), who was the translator of Mingo warrior Logan’s famous speech, had spent many years negotiating with the frontier tribes and was said to have had an Indian wife. He served as Indiana territorial secretary from 1800 until the formation of the state government in 1816, twice acting as governor during the absence of William Henry Harrison (Charles William Hanko, The Life of John Gibson: Soldier, Patriot, Statesman [Daytona Beach, Fla., 1955], 39–40).

2Although Albert Gallatin wrote that Gibson was “totally incompetent & ought not to have been appointed,” he added that “considering the age & circumstances of Gibson it would be cruel to remove him” (Carter, Territorial Papers, Indiana, 7:165). Jefferson had already renamed Gibson to his post two months before Gibson wrote to JM (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1828). description ends , 1:471–72, 473).

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