James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Daniel Clark, 24 March 1803

From Daniel Clark

Natchez 24 March 1803


I came to this place two days since to confer with the Governor of the Territory & Genl. Wilkinson on the approaching Changes in Louisiana & to communicate to them such intelligence as I had procured of the views of the French with respect to us. On my way up I met a Doctor Watkins1 formerly of Kentucky now of St. Louis at the Ilinois who returned last Year to the U. S from France where as well as in Spain he had been endeavoring to procure a grant of 3,000,000 Acres of Land on the West of the Mississippi. He is in hopes either by Money or Interest to obtain this of the French as soon as they arrive, and offers to bring over to them 1200 Families. From his Conversation & the doctrines he inculcates in the Minds of the People of the Western states by persuading them that they will find their Interest advanc’d by the neighborhood of the French while he admits the integrity of the Union may be affected by it, I look on him as a very dangerous Man, against whom Measures ought to be taken whenever he returns to Kentucky or any other part of the U. S. to put his Plans into Execution and it might perhaps be adviseable that the President should make use of his influence over the People of Kentucky to induce them to dissolve the Company whose Agent Watki⟨ns⟩ is, and who are all well known in Lexington.

The baggage of the Prefect appointed for Luisiana had arrived in Orleans before I left it. I anxiously wish to hear from you & hope you may point out some thing in which I can be useful at the present eventful Moment. I have the Honor to remain with respect & Esteem Sir Your most obedient & most humble Servant

Daniel Clark

Index Entries