"From the communications made
unto you at this time, you will observe the beneficent intention of Congress
to extend immediately to the people of the territory, the immunities and
blessings of their civil government, and the provisions for your being
admitted into the Union, in equal sovereignty and independence with the
original states, so soon as your population may enable you to form and
carry into effect a system for the permanent government of a country so
extensive, and of so much national importance, as hereafter (and at no
distant period) must probably be the Mississippi Territory.
For you immediate and temporary government,
the honorable Congress has been pleased to apply their Ordinance of 1787
- which experience in their Northwest territory has determined is best
applied for your happiness and the interest of your nation - so accommodating
the same, however, (in
special indulgence to the people of the territory,)
that property in slaves will be continued to the present owners, with permission
of future importation from any country not out of the dominion of the United
By this order it is provided that the
governor and judges shall adopt laws for your government; and such
an important duty, it is presumed, will no longer be delayed, than the
arrival of another judge. A concise and clear code of laws, intelligible
to the most common capacity, void of partiality to sect or class, and breathing
that genuine spirit of divine clemency which is so honorable in legislation,
it may reasonably be presumed will be the result of their labors.
Such a code would demand and insure the fullest respect of all ranks of
men, and the uniform administration thereof produce you more than a common
share of felicity.
Should, however, at any time, from a
misconception of your interest, or any other case, laws be adopted not
suited to your circumstances, I trust you will find a remedy within the
territory; but in any event, you may repose in perfect security upon
the sovereignty of the United States. For there (and it is an affectionate
proof of wise and watchful care) is reserved the power of disapproving
of the laws which may have been adopted by your government, and upon this
provision I most cordially felicitate you , as it contributes to your territorial
legislation the aid of national wisdom.
To cause due execution of the laws which
shall be adopted, will specially be the province of the governor;
and I wish it to be therefore remembered, that the exercise of that clemency,
which in the legislator might beam most effulgent honor on his character,
con not be admitted in the executive department but at extreme hazard to
the territory. For every remission, a pardon for a violation of the
laws is not only a tacit reflection upon the Legislature, but by encouraging
a hope of impunity, produces and multiples crimes extremely dangerous to
individuals and governments. Firmness and uniformity of character,
ten, should strongly mark the executive; and all persons commissioned
to office by the governor, must make it a point of honor, by the most faithful
administration of law and justice, (according to their respective duties,)
to second his best endeavors for the public weal. All appointments
in the territory, not specially provided for by the ordinance of the honorable
Congress, are with the governor, and merit only can entitle a man to
Strong and evident marks of attachment
to the United States and good government; a disposition to preserve
the peace and order of society, and harmonize contending sentiments, (if
any such have unfortunately existed,) will be held by government in very
honorable estimation, and duly noticed by the executive. For this
and the unremitted efforts of the governor, to promote your and the national
interest and dignity, I am most fully authorized to pledge myself.
The important duties of that office having been committed to me, I feel
the full force and obligation of my trust; and believing that upon
the faithful discharge thereof, must depend very much your future welfare,
I am not without the most anxious and tender solicitude. Relying,
however, on your established reputation for good sense and cultivated minds,
that a due estimation of so amply enjoyment of the elegance's and refined
pleasures of social life, and which can only be continued under a government
duly appreciating individual as well as national rights, will powerfully
aid the most zealous exertions on my part, I enter on my duties with cheerfulness.
Fervently supplicating the august Author of our being so to enable me at
all times to administer my various functions, as well as best merit the
continuance of confidence from the sovereignty of the United States, and
be most conducive to your happiness.
Imperious circumstances will demand
that I shall lose no time to array, in a well appointed and well ordered
militia, the effective force of the territory; and I postpone the
same only for due information of characters suitable to commission, and
your probable strength I hope speedily to obtain from an acquaintance with
you, which will be much my pleasure to cultivate, and of those best informed
of the military regulations heretofore in observance. I have to request
such communications as to enable me to determine, with as much accuracy
as possible, the number of men enrolled in the militia heretofore, with
the state of their arms and accouterments.
I shall, as soon as possible, divide
the territory into districts, and make the appointment of magistrates and
other officers necessary to the execution of process, civil and criminal,
and the preservation of quiet and good order, so essential to the very
being of society.
I am aware, however, that in the meantime,
attempts of nefarious men might, for a moment, disturb your repose.
Indeed, the anxieties of some amongst you thereupon have been suggested
to me; but fear not; our ability is proportioned to the occasion,
and the arm of the United States is mighty.
As good citizens, void of jealousy of
each other, and emulous of public good, you will keep your eye on men of
no country, whose pursuits here, (under the most favorable construction
thereof,) are quite problematical, and whose smallest interference with
your police must be considered as vile usurpation; any kind of disrespect
upon their part to the general or territorial government, will naturally
lead you to suspect them as foes to our peace and quite, and the most prompt
and energetic measure should follow the first notice of their characters."