James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Wilson, 18 March 1812 (Abstract)

§ From Thomas Wilson1

18 March 1812. Wishes to make a proposal “of considerable magnitude and importance but feels unwilling to hazard the chagrin of an unsuccessful overture unless it could be confidential.” Requests to be informed whether the proposal “would be held strictly confidential and returned to the undersigned in case it should be deemed in no wise to contain or imply anything improper but inexpedient to approve or accede to it.” Describes himself as “a private citizen” who is unknown to JM. Is confident that JM “is better qualified than any other person to decide upon the abstract merit of the proposition contemplated after which the undersigned may procure or not the vouchers of his own character as occasion may require.”

RC (DLC). 1 p. Docketed by JM. Addressed by Wilson from Rhodes Hotel.

1Thomas Wilson (1772–1824) was a shipbuilder, contractor, and local official from Erie, Pennsylvania. He was to serve as a Republican representative in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses, 1813–17. It is not clear why he wished to meet with JM, but in March and April of 1812 he was corresponding with the War Department about the manufacture of cannonballs at Pittsburgh as well as endeavoring to obtain the settlement of some past claims on the government which he had laid before the House of Representatives (see Wilson to Eustis, 10 Mar. and 8 and 27 Apr. 1812 [DNA: RG 107, LRRS, W-54:6, W-88:6, W-115:6]; Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 12th Cong., 1st sess., 1048–49).

Index Entries