James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Daniel Clark, 22 March 1802

From Daniel Clark

Philadelphia 22 March 1802


Since I had the pleasure of seeing you in Washington I have heard a variety of reports concerning Luisiana on the subject of which I did not think it proper to trouble you, but having been assured by Mr Duane two days since that the Province was unquestionably ceded to the U. S. and that he had received his information from a Source on which he could place the utmost reliance, and the Aurora of this morning mentioning an arrangement having taken place respecting it,1 I am induced to apply to you & request you will favor me with such particulars as may be communicated respecting it. Independent of the pleasure I shall receive in learning so important a piece of news, I think I shall have it in my power to render a Service to the Merchants trading to New Orleans if the matter is so far advanced as to suffer it to be made public—there are now from 80 to 100 sail of American shipping in New Orleans waiting for Cargoes & many are on the way to that Place—the Intendant in consequence of the old spanish systems of Colonial Trade is about to shut the Port,2 and will reduce our Commerce in that Quarter to the importation of articles necessary for the supply of our own territory on the River & exportation of its Produce—by this step we will lose an important Branch of our Trade—if however the Cession of the Province is a measure likely to take place on being advised of it from hence, he will not put the measure in execution. Should it be deemed improper in the present state of the Business to make a Communication to me with respect to it, I take the Liberty of suggesting that thro’ the Chevalier Yrujo to whom no doubt the negociation must be known, a hint might be given to the Intendant of Luisiana from which our Citizens would derive great Benefits. As you know how particularly I am interested in this great Event I hope you will excuse on that account the Liberty I have taken in requesting information from you respecting it. I remain Sir Your most obedient servant

Daniel Clark3

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