James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Hugh Nelson, 28 January 1812

From Hugh Nelson

Jany. 28. 1812:


Understanding that there is a vacancy on the Bench in the Mississippi Territory by the resignation of Judge Fitts,1 I have presumed to name to the Government my friend Mr. Joseph Jones Monroe,2 a Gentleman of the Bar, who has resided for some time at Charlottesville engaged in the practice of the Law. This Gentleman has stood at the Bar for some years, sustaining a character respectable for his talents and legal learning, and honorable and proper in all his professional pursuits. He formerly filled the office of Attorney for the District, in the District Court of Northumberland, and was, as I have understood, in high estimation with all our State Judges. I beg leave to add as a Tribute to his Merit, that I have no doubt if the appointment shou’d be made, he will fill the station with honour and credit to himself and his Country. This address is made without his knowlege.

He is about removing to the Western Country, and this I shoud hope might supe[r]sede any objections which might arise from his local residence at presen⟨t⟩. With sentiments of great respect and sincere friendship I remain yr. hbl st.

Hugh Nelson3

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1On 11 Feb. 1812 JM nominated Josiah Simpson of New Jersey to the Mississippi territorial judgeship vacated by the resignation of Oliver Fitts (Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 2:211; Fitts to JM, 18 Aug. 1811 [PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (4 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 3:422 and n. 1]).

2Joseph Jones Monroe was the improvident younger brother of the secretary of state. Relations between Joseph Jones Monroe and other members of the Monroe family, especially James Monroe’s daughter, Mrs. George Hay, were extremely tense in 1812. Joseph Jones Monroe, however, continued to reside in Albemarle County, Virginia, until his older brother became president in 1817 (Ammon, James Monroe, pp. 3, 85, 115, 291–92, 352, 405).

3Hugh Nelson of Virginia (1768–1836) had just commenced his first term in the House of Representatives, where he continued to serve until 1823, when President James Monroe appointed him U.S. minister to Spain.

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