James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Leiper, 5 May 1809

From Thomas Leiper

Philada. May 5th. 1809

Dear Sir

General Michael Bright certainly acted against Law when he obeyed the orders of Governor Snyder but at the same time the General did believe he had no discretionary powers but to act as he was ordered.1 The Grand Jury to my knowledge sixteen out of the nin[e]teen found the Bill and the sixteen were astonished at the three when they pronunced the Bill not true. Their are none who justify the Governor but those in office or expect to be but this can be accounted for as he has the power of turning out at pleasure. But Altho’ nine tenth of the thinking men are of the opinion the sentence against General Bright and those under his command is perfectly correct yet notwithstanding nothing would give us all more pleasure and satisfaction than to see your Pardon extended to those men. I am with the highest esteem & respect Dear Sir Your most Obedient Servant

Thomas Leiper2

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1For the background on Bright’s indictment, see Madison’s First Public Crisis, 6 Apr.–6 May 1809.

2Leiper was a leading Philadelphia tobacco merchant. A Republican presidential elector in 1808, he corresponded with JM about methods of curing tobacco and repeatedly offered to purchase Montpelier crops (Leiper to JM, ca. 18 May 1791, PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–, Charlottesville, Va., 1977—). description ends , 14:26; Leiper to JM, 15 Dec. 1805 [DLC]).

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