James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Hawkins, 25 December 1811 (Abstract)

§ From William Hawkins1

25 December 1811, Raleigh. Transmits the enclosed resolutions at the request of the General Assembly of North Carolina.2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 45, Misc. Letters Received). Both the RC and the enclosure are printed copies, one page each, with Hawkins’s signature and JM’s name as addressee added to the RC and the signatures of the clerks of both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly added to the enclosure. For enclosure, see n. 2.

1William Hawkins (1777–1819) was the nephew of JM’s friend and Creek Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins. He attended the College of New Jersey at Princeton and took up the practice of law before entering public service in 1801. He was elected to the state legislature in 1805 and to the governorship in 1810, thereafter serving two terms as chief executive during the War of 1812 (William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography [6 vols.; Chapel Hill, 1979–96], 3:75).

2Hawkins enclosed two resolutions approved by the General Assembly on 23 Dec. 1811 in response to the “warlike attitude assumed by Congress.” The preamble called attention to the “very defenceless situation” of the seaport towns of North Carolina and their importance “to the agricultural interests of her citizens.” The first resolution therefore instructed the members of the North Carolina congressional delegation “to use their exertions to obtain from Congress an appropriation of money commensurate with our right, and which may be in the power of Congress to grant, for the purpose of fortifying the ports and harbours within this State.” The second requested the governor to forward a copy of the resolutions to the president and to members of the state congressional delegation.

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