James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John G. Jackson, 24 July 1812

From John G. Jackson

Clarksburg July 24th 1812

Dear Sir

I received by the last Mail a commission from the Executive of Virginia appointing me in conjunction with Genls. Porterfield1 & Trigg2 Commissioners on the part of the State of Virginia to superintend &c the line between the Virginia Military reservation, & the lands ceded to the U States by the State of Virginia.3 Altho’ I feel anxious to undertake the duty of that office, so important to a meritorious class of our Citizens, yet unless the time of the meeting of the Commissioners is delayed for three weeks after the 5th. October it will be impossible for me to do so, without the neglect of very important business in our Courts confided to me solely; which no civil employment would justify me in failing to attend to. As I perceive the act of Congress authorises you to postpone the commencement of surveying the line, & no public disadvantage can result from three weeks delay, I am induced to solicit that accommodation, preparatory to my acceptance of the appointment: And will esteem it a favor to receive an early answer. Your Mo Obt

J G Jackson

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Robert Porterfield (1752–1843), a militia general in the War of 1812, was a Revolutionary War veteran and an active political leader in Augusta County, Virginia (Stuart Lee Butler, A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812 [Athens, Ga., 1988], 307).

2Abram Trigg (b. 1750) had served in the Revolutionary War and was a delegate to the Virginia constitutional ratifying convention in 1788. He was a member of the Fifth through Tenth Congresses (PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 15:125 n. 2).

3Virginia governor James Barbour had requested that Jackson serve on a commission to survey the northwestern boundary between the Virginia Military District and Ohio, which had been in dispute at least since 1802, when Gallatin had first urged Congress to conduct a survey. Jackson’s request for a postponement was granted, but he nevertheless turned down the commission (William Thomas Hutchinson, The Bounty Lands of the American Revolution in Ohio [New York, 1979], 211–12; Jackson to JM, 21 Oct. 1812).

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