James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Timothy Green, 20 December 1813

From Timothy Green

Fredericksburg, December 20, 1813.


Parental solicitude will plead my excuse for addressing this immediately to you. The circumstances attending the arrest and imprisonment of my Son, I am not acquainted with; nor was any thing known relative to them till the last evening.1 The signatures attached to the petition, I have presumed would answer the same purpose as hundreds, which might be obtained.2 My desire is to procure an arrest of judgement, until circumstances are reported to the Secretary of War; and then such a remission thereof as the case may authorise.

For obvious reasons, your early attention is earnestly solicited.

Timo Green3

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 94, Letters Received, filed under “Green”). For enclosure, see n. 2.

1Francis Green, a private in the Seventh Regiment of Infantry, was tried by court-martial at New Orleans in September and October 1813 for “mutinous conduct.” He was found guilty and sentenced to three months hard labor with ball and chain, but the latter part of the sentence was remitted. He remained in service at New Orleans and was discharged in 1815 (DNA: RG 94, Registers of Enlistments, 1798–1815, 10:59).

2The enclosed petition (1 p.), dated 20 Dec. 1813, and signed by John Minor, John Mercer, William S. Stone, John W. Green, Hugh Mercer, and Benson S. Master, stated that Francis Green was “in confinement under a charge of having stricken his officer,” that his previous conduct had been “uniform and exemplary,” and that his crime was probably the result of youthful rashness rather than bad character. The petitioners asked JM to “pardon or mitigate” Green’s sentence in order to “save the feelings of a most amiable family.”

3Timothy Green published the Fredericksburg Virginia Herald from 1787 to 1815, and again from 1817 to 1819 (Brigham, American Newspapers, description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820 (2 vols.; Worcester, Mass., 1947). description ends 2:1116).

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