James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 3 August 1805 (Abstract)

From William C. C. Claiborne, 3 August 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne. 3 August 1805, New Orleans. “On the 30th. ultimo, Mr. Gurley the Register of the Land Office, left this City, on a Visit to the several Counties of the Territory, with a view, of making such explanations of the late Act of Congress ‘for ascertaing and adjusting the Titles, and Claims to Land within the Territory of Orleans,[’] as may tend to check any disquietude which has arisen, and to insure the speedy execution of the Law. A letter from Mr. Gurley to me, announcing the Objects of his Journey, and a Copy of my answer are herewith enclosed for your perusal.”1

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 7); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of second enclosure (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 15). RC 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed and addressed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner as received on 10 Sept. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The first enclosure is John Ward Gurley to Claiborne, 25 July 1805 (5 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:476–78), announcing his intention to tour “the western and northern part of this Territory” to explain the law regulating land titles in Orleans Territory and to forestall efforts already being made to incite alarm among the populace. He added that he would not make the trip if Claiborne thought “any public inconvenience” would result from Gurley’s absence from New Orleans. For the 2 Mar. 1805 “act for ascertaining and adjusting the titles and claims to land, within the territory of Orleans, and the district of Louisiana,” see U.S. Statutes at Large, 2:324–29. The second enclosure (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 3:140–41) is a copy of Claiborne’s 28 July reply stating that he believed the proposed tour for the reasons given would be “highly useful” and adding that Gurley could “best determine” how far his duties as register would allow his absence from the city “for so short a time.”

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