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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Explore Indiana History by Topic > Indiana Documents Leading to Statehood > Proclamation: For an election on entering second territorial stage Proclamation: For an election on entering second territorial stage

In August, 1804, Governor Harrison issued a proclamation calling for an election to determine the will of the freeholders in Indiana Territory regarding the organization of a general assembly. He had opposed demands for an advance to the second territorial stage in 1801 but gave the movement his support in 1804. The three counties of Indiana Territory located in the future state of Indiana were Knox, Dearborn, and Clark. They cast 51 votes opposing the advance and 198 favoring it. (15)

August 4, 1804

Vincennes Indiana Gazette, August 21, 1804

Whereas, By a Law of the United States entitled "An act to divide the Territory of the United States North West of the Ohio, into two separate Governments," it is enacted and declared "that so much of the ordinance for government of the Territory of the United States North West of the Ohio river as relates to the organization of a general assembly therein, and prescribes the powers thereof, shall be in force and operate in the Indiana Territory, whenever satisfactory evidence shall be given to the governor thereof that such is the wish of the majority of the freeholders, notwithstanding there may not be five thousand free male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upward";

And whereas, Petitions have been presented to me from a number of the good citizens of the Territory praying that a General Assembly may be organized, conformably to the above recited act, but as no evidence has been adduced to shew that the persons who have signed the said petitions are really a majority of the freeholders:

Now therefore, for the purpose of ascertaining more correctly the public sentiment on the subject, I have thought proper to issue this my proclamation hereby making known to all whom it may concern that an election will be held at the court house of each county respectively on Tuesday the eleventh day of September next, for the purpose of giving to all the citizens of the Territory who are qualified by law to vote on the question of going into the second or representative grade of government, an opportunity of declaring their wishes on the subject. And it is hereby made the duty of the several sheriffs to give due notice of the same, and on the said eleventh of September to open polls at the several court houses of their respective counties for the purpose aforesaid; and the said election shall be conducted in the same manner and governed by the same principles as are laid down in a law regulating the elections of representatives for the General Assembly of the North Western Territory passed at Cincinnati, the 6th of December, 1799.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Territory to be affixed at Vincennes, the fourth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and four, and of the Independence of the United States the twenty-ninth.

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON

By the Governor:

JOHN GIBSON, Secretary.

(15) Vincennes Indiana Gazette, August 21, 1804, in Logan Esarey (ed.), Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison (2 vols., Indiana Historical Collections, VII, IX, Indianapolis, 1922), I, 106-07; Dorothy B. Goebel, William Henry Harrison: A Political Biography (Indiana Historical Collections, XIV, Indianapolis, 1926), 78-79; Barnhart and Carmony, Indiana, I, 107-09; Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, I, 228, 240-41.