James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Rodney (Abstract), 20 April 1805

§ From Thomas Rodney

20 April 1805, Washington, Mississippi Territory. “Since it has been known here that Mr. R. W.1 is appointed governor of this Territory we have been Told that Mr. West the present Secretary talks of resigning. If this Should happen I beg leave to mention Mr. John Fisher of Dover in the State of Delaware as a fit person to succeed him.2 Mr. Fisher is of 24 or 25 years Standing at the Barr, and has been Successful in practicing the Law, and acted as Secretary of that State under the late Administration of Governor Hall. He has uniformly been in Politics with the present Ruling party of the U.S. and is a Moral man. Upon mentioning him to Mr. Williams it met with his approbation and he Said he would write himself in Mr. Fishers favor to the President. I have mentioned this in a Letter to Mr. F. That he may be in Some degree prepaired to answer in case Such an appointment should take place.”3

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Fisher”). 1 p.; docketed by Jefferson.

1See JM to Robert Williams, 15 Mar. 1805.

2Republican lawyer John Fisher (1771–1823) had been married to Thomas Rodney’s daughter Lavinia, who died at age twenty-six in 1802; in 1803 he married Elizabeth Wilson. Fisher served as clerk of the state senate in 1799 and of the state house of representatives in 1807. He also served as Delaware secretary of state twice; in 1802 under Gov. David Hall and again in 1811 under Gov. Joseph Haslet. In 1812 JM named Fisher United States district judge for Delaware (Henry C. Conrad, “John Fisher,” Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware 27 [1900]: 3, 4, 10, 16, 17).

3On 20 Jan. 1806 Jefferson nominated Cowles Mead of Georgia as secretary of the Mississippi Territory (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 2:16).

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