Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joseph Briggs, 17 August 1804

New-Orleans 17 August 1804


I have the honor to enclose to you, by order of His Excellency Governor Claiborne, a list of persons recommended for the Legislative Council of the Orleans Territory. He finds it difficult to State with certainty more of these Gentlemen than the country which gave them birth, and education, and their Situation in Society:—Their political bias is believed to be in favor of republicanism and their affections attached to the United States.

The Governor’s illness was for a short time alarming; its Severity has much abated and left him extremely debilitated; but I am happy to inform you Sir, that he is pronounced to be in a State of Convalescence.

I am Sorry to add that Mrs. Claiborne has also been so much reduced by sickness that her life was at times despaired of, but the critical moment is passed and She is declared by her Physicians to be out of danger ’tho’ she yet appears but a few Steps from the brink of the grave.

The Governor is impressed with an opinion that unless you permit him to retire for a short period from the fatigues of business and to enjoy a change of air that the time will be long indeed before his health will be perfectly reestablished.

I am Sir with the highest respect Your most obdt. Servt.

Jos: Briggs

DNA: RG 59—LAR—Letters of Application and Recommendation.


Persons recommended by Governor Claiborne for members of the Legislative Council of the Orleans Territory.

In the City of New-Orleans

Benjamin Morgan, Colonel Bellechasse and Doctor John Watkins.—For particulars respecting these gentlemen I refer you to my letter of the 29th. May last.

Doctor Robert Dow, a native of Scotland; many years established in this country a practicing physician highly respected—Speaks French well.

William Kenner, an American merchant possessing considerable property in the city, a man of good understanding.—Speaks French.

William Donaldson by birth an Englishman Several years a merchant, of respectability and property—Speaks French fluently

James Pitot, a wealthy French merchant long established in the City said to possess general information, and popular among his countrymen. He has received from me the appointment of Mayor on the recommendation of the Municipality—Speaks English pretty well

Le Breton D’Orgenoi, a French Creole of respectability; planter,—Speaks English.

Peter Petit a long established and respectable merchant—Speaks the three languages.

On the coast between Manshac and the City

James Mather a native of England who has resided in this country a number of years on a valuable plantation; a sensible well informed man highly respectable—Speaks French.


Doctor John Sibley a native American in the practice of medicine, of handsome talents and information. much esteemed; a man of firmness and in good circumstances.


William Wykoff, and Theophilus Collins, both Americans of wealth, sense and respectability, long resident in the country, and it is presumed conversant with its language.

Point Coupé

Julian Poydrass;—for the character of this gentleman, I again refer you to my letter of the 29th May.

Samuel Young, an American, a rich planter Speaks French; but not a favorite, at least in New-Orleans.

Opposite Baton Rouge

William Wykoff Junior an American, a long time a merchant in the City, and now retired to a valuable plantation is much esteemed and Commandant of the district.—Speaks French well.


Messrs Loviell, Dubuche and Foutenet french planters of long and good Standing in the country, said to be opulent but do not understand English

Also Mr. Durall who Speaks English, a man of high respectability.

Omitted among the New-Orleans delegates

Francis Duplessis, a French merchant of long and high Standing Speaks english

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