James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 12 July 1805 (Abstract)

From William C. C. Claiborne, 12 July 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne. 12 July 1805, New Orleans. “I enclose for your perusal a Copy of a Letter, which I this day received from the Reverend Mr. Walsh, together with my answer thereto.1 You will perceive that the Schism in the Church is not likely to be adjusted;2 I consider it a contest of an extreme delicate nature, and one in which I shall very reluctantly take a part, but I suspect that the Marquis of Casa Calvo is the Foreign Agent alluded to by Mr. Walsh, and if I should be furnished with evidence of his Interference, I shall hasten to inform him that his conduct is viewed as indelicate, and improper. The Monk who heads the opposition to Mr. Walsh is a Spaniard, and devoted to the Spanish Government, & there can be little doubt, but the Monks from the Havanna will come hence with the like foreign attachments; but I cannot see how their residence among us can be prevented.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 7); letterbook copy (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 15). RC 1 p.; docketed by Wagner as received 20 Aug. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures are copies of Patrick Walsh to Claiborne, 11 July 1805 (3 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 3:121–22), blaming the problems in the local church on “a refractory Monk,” “the fanaticism of a Misguided Populace,” and the interference of a private person, and stating that “two individuals (whom I can name) instigated by a certain foreign agent (whom I also can name) have gone to the Havannah with the express intent of procuring a reinforcement of Monks, to Support Father Antonio De Sedella in his rebellious conduct,” that these monks were expected daily, and that in giving Claiborne this information he had acquitted himself of his duty; and Claiborne to Walsh, 12 July 1805 (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed ibid., 122–23), deploring the upheaval in the church, reminding Walsh that under American law, government officials avoided interfering in religious disputes, and asking him to name the interfering private individual, the two who had gone to Havana, and the foreign agent.

2For the dissension in the New Orleans Catholic community, see Claiborne to JM, 18, 24, 26 (second letter), 31 Mar., 1 Apr., and 16 June 1805, PJM-SS, 9:147–48 and n. 3, 169–70, 183, 195 and n. 1, 199, 200 n. 1, 473.

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