James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Gibson, 17 February 1813

From John Gibson

Vincennes I. T. February 17th. 1813.


I take the liberty of transmitting to your Excellency My Address to the General Assembly of this Territory, at their meeting the First week in the present Month;1 And the Answer’s of the two Houses.2 I should not have troubled your Excellency with a perusal of those papers, had it not have been that I have been informed that the tongue of slander has been let loose upon me. And in order to wipe off any impression that may have been improperly made upon your mind, or that of my Honble. Friend Mr. Jefferson, I have thus trespassed upon your leisure. Having served & acted a pretty conspicuous part in our Revolutionary struggle—and served as Secretary of the Indiana Territory for upwards of Twelve years, I should regret extremely that in the evening of my life, any part of my conduct should be viewed in such a light as that I should forfiet the esteem of my country. I have the Honor to be, With considerations of Respect, Your Excellency’s Most Obedt. & Very Huble. Servt.

Jn Gibson

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, G-49:7). RC in a clerk’s hand, signed by Gibson. Docketed as received in the War Department on 6 Mar. 1813. For surviving enclosure, see n. 2.

1Enclosure not found. Gibson, the acting governor of the Indiana Territory, had addressed the territorial general assembly on 2 Feb. 1813. He expressed pleasure at the triumphs of the American navy, chagrin over the failures of the army, and concern that the Indians had “become our most inveterate foes.” He lamented the poor execution of the militia law and the squabbles over military promotions, and recommended a reconsideration of both the revenue laws and the compensation for territorial officers (“Journal of the House of Representatives of the Indiana Territory,” Records of the States of the United States of America [DLC microfilm ed., Ind. A.1a:b, reel 1]).

2Gibson enclosed a two-page reply from James Biggs, president of the Legislative Council, dated 5 Feb. 1813. Biggs explained the council’s intention to amend the militia law to foster “individual morality” and “salutary discipline” among the troops. The enclosed copy of the Indiana Territory House of Representatives’ 5 Feb. 1813 reply to Gibson’s address has not been found, but it promised the House’s cooperation with Gibson’s efforts to reform the militia and the revenue laws (ibid.).

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