James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas T. Davis, 21 December 1805 (Abstract)

From Thomas T. Davis, 21 December 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Thomas T. Davis. 21 December 1805, Jeffersonville, Indiana Territory. “In the news Papers in this Quarter I see a number of Accusations published against Govenor Harrison; which are said to be laid before the President by you.1 To One of those Charges I find myself named as a Witness: If such facts exist I declare my total Ignorance of them. Though I do not pretend to defend all the charges: Some may be True: But if they are, they are unknown to me;

“And if the charges alluded to are laid before the President, I wish this Letter to be laid before him also.”

RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). 1 p.; postmarked 24 Dec. at Jeffersonville; docketed by Jefferson.

1The accusations against Harrison may have concerned land speculation. The governor, while acting as superintendent of sales of public lands, was a member of a company that purchased public lands and offered to pay individuals not to bid on certain parcels. treasury Secretary Gallatin concluded in 1808 that Harrison was not involved in the offers, but he also stated that, although there was nothing improper in Harrison as an individual bidding on public lands, his being a member of a company for that purpose was improper because the main object of such companies was to prevent competition and lower the prices paid for the land, thus diminishing the funds the government acquired from the sales. Gallatin suggested that the administration express dissatisfaction “at such conduct” and prevent a recurrence by sending “a circular to … Superintendents in other districts” (Carter, Territorial Papers, Indiana, description begins Clarence Carter et al., eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States (28 vols.; Washington, 1934–75). description ends 7:328, 548, 562–63). For Gallatin’s 30 Apr. 1808 circular to that effect, see ibid., 563–64.

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