A Dennis Pennington Letter

Dennis Pennington


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 28-30

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[In connection with the foregoing article this letter from Dennis Pennington to Colonel John Paul, of Madison, will contribute somewhat to our scant information about the man. For one thing, Mr. Ray's reference to his lack of schooling is here illustrated. There are two points of particular interest in this letter. One is the evidence that in 1815 there was a fight for the removal of the capital from Corydon to Salem, and that Madison also seems to have harbored an aspiration in this direction–-facts that have been lost to history. The other is that there was also an agitation for the removal of the Jefferson county seat of justice from Madison to some more central point. In the somewhat fragmentary historical material relating to Jefferson county there is, we believe, no reference to this movement. The letter, now in our possession, was found in Jefferson county not long since.–Editor.]

Corydon November 3rd 1815

Dear Sir.

I have thought it not criminal to Drope you a few lines by mail on publical affairs as I have had it in contemplation for some time and still neglected it from time to time and at last have made the venter. I discovered some time ago in the Western Eagle that the party Sperit in your County to a vary high Degree respecting the removeal of the sete of Justice of your County to the center of the same as though it had never been fixed by the unamous request of the citizens of the County at Its first Erection in to a County. It is astonishing to see what party sperit will Do; thay have forgotten the Dammage those must sustain that have propity in the Town of Madison. thay would be willing I suppose that Madison should sink so thay could rise on the ruens thereof. But I can Assure you I am not fond of contenenceing such things that has been so unanimously Done by the people as Madison was, if it had been Done Contrary to the wishes of the majority of the people it would be another thing. But that is not the ceaase, and as such I certainly must protest against it. I also feel myself under some obligation to Madison in as much as your last representative have been true to the Interest of this place in As much as when the subject of the removeal of the sete of Government came under consideration He was opposed to it, Except he thought thare was a posibility of geting it to his own County and when he found there were no chance he voted against its removeal, for my own parte as tuching the removeal of the seat of Government I think it noncence at this time while under A territorial government for the time is not far when we will be vested with power by General Government to call a convention to fraim a constitution of our own and that convention undoubtedly will have it in their power to say under certain restrictions where it shall be, though I must confess that I should Be opposed to it at this time, as we would certainly have to pay a parte of the national Debt, and paying the officers of Government would bare hard on us, as our taxes is very high at this time, and no money in the tresury I am told that thay are at Salem Determed to take it up on wheles as soon as the Legislature meets and bare it off. But I trust our legislature will be composed of such men as will wisely consider the subject and when thay Do remove it; it will Be for the good of the community at large and not for a few individuals. Whenever the situation will admitt of its going near the center and Do Justice to the community let it be done, but Salem never shall enjoy it if I can help it, I have no notion of humouring them in that way thay are Children and as such I will treat them I have understood that Perry is taken by force and Carried to Kentucky if this be the case it is unsufferrable and ought not to be countenenced among heathens much more By people of Christianity it ought to be represented to the Governor and he make a demand of the Governor of Kentucky thay ought to be made an example of for their conduct. Thay were afread to let him have a fair trial in this country

let us be on our gard when our convention men is Chosen that thay may be men opposed to slavery, I ad no more at present.

I am in the highest consideration your friend and Humb Servent


Colo. John Paul.

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.