James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 12 September 1802

From William C. C. Claiborne

Mississippi Territory Town of Washington
September 12. 1802


On the 8th Instant, I had the honor to receive your Communication of the 20th of July,1 and on the next day, I published a hand Bill, addressed “to persons Claiming Lands within the Mississippi Territory,[”] and of which the enclosed is a Copy.2

In my publication, I have endeavoured to comply literally with your instructions, and I trust the Language which is used, cannot be construed “as Committing the Government on [one] hand, or damping expectations, too much on the other.”

There exist a variety of Tittles for Land in this Territory, and I fear, it will not be in my power, to detail them with accuracy, but I shall carefully collect the best information, within my reach, and will make a General Communication to you, on the subject early in November.

I find that some designing men are endeavouring to impress upon the Citizens an opinion, that the filing of their Claims will be injurious to them; I do not yet know, how far they may succeed; It is however probable, that they may excite some alarm, and prevent a General return of Claims.

Under Cover of a letter, which I addressed to you, on the 20th of January last3 was inclosed a Communication made to me, by Mr Harding, at that time, the Attorney General for this District, stating the situation of some Claims for Land: A Copy of Mr Harding’s Communication having been mislaid in my office, I will thank you to furnish me with one from your files. With great respect and Esteem I am Sir Your most obt. Servt

(Signed)   William C. C. Claiborne

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