James Madison Papers

To James Madison from an Unidentified Correspondent, 21 April 1812 (Abstract)

§ From an Unidentified Correspondent

21 April 1812, New York. Having just learned that the government intends to appoint an additional judge for the district of New York, recommends John Ferguson of this city.1 “He is a man of honor and probity, and sincerely attached to the present Administration of the General Government.” Believes that Governor Tompkins and Mr. Sanford would confirm this. “The appointment of Mr Ferguson would give great satisfaction to the real friends of the President among us.” Having no acquaintance with JM, has withheld his name on the grounds that it might be held “indecorous in a stranger to give it, and that it would neither add to, nor diminish from the intrinsic merits of this recommendation.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Ferguson”). 1 p. Signed, “a friend of your Administration—Anonymous.”

1John Ferguson, in addition to serving as an assistant justice in a New York court, was grand sachem of the Tammany Society. On this occasion JM was to disregard the pleas of Ferguson’s supporters that he be appointed to the federal judiciary, but the president did nominate him to be naval officer for the port of New York in January 1814. In the spring of 1815, after the Clintonians had lost control of the Council of Appointment, Ferguson was elected mayor of New York in place of DeWitt Clinton (John Bingham to JM, 5 May 1812; 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 , 2:464; Jerome Mushkat, Tammany: The Evolution of a Political Machine, 1789–1865 [Syracuse, N.Y., 1971], pp. 51, 54).

Index Entries