James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 17 August 1805 (Abstract)

From William C. C. Claiborne, 17 August 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne. 17 August 1805, New Orleans. “By the enclosed, you will perceive that the Correspondence between the Marquis of Casa Calvo and myself concerning Morales has not yet Closed.1 If Morales should not abandon his project relative to the Sales of Florida Lands, I shall not cease to urge his immediate departure from the Territory.

“The Climate here is now excessively warm, and I fear the City will soon become Sickly; With a v[i]ew to my Health and to assist personally in Organizing the Militia I have contemplated a Journey to several of the interior Counties, but the pending correspondence with the Marquis, has hitherto delayed my departure.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 7); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of enclosures (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 15). RC 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner as received 24 Sept. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Of the enclosures (8 pp.; in Spanish and English; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 3:172–75), the first is a copy of Casa Calvo to Claiborne, 17 Aug. 1805, stating that he had sent Claiborne’s 14 Aug. resolution to Morales (see Claiborne to JM, 16 Aug. 1805, n. 1), and Morales had replied that if Claiborne did not allow him to collect the money for lands already surveyed and sold, he would be unable to adopt the measures Casa Calvo had suggested without causing the king’s interest to suffer; he added that the business to be conducted at New Orleans required his presence and depended on events that he had not the power to accelerate, and even after those events occurred, he would require more time to conclude the business. Morales further added that Claiborne’s conditions were injurious to his (Morales’s) character and contrary to all rights, that he hoped Casa Calvo would insist that the king’s interests not be harmed by hindering Morales in the performance of his duties, and that Morales’s authority as respected those duties would not be shackled. Casa Calvo explained to Claiborne that he had suggested that Morales efficaciously conclude such matters as could not be done elsewhere and reserve everything else to be accomplished in Spanish territory, and that he (Casa Calvo) would explain to Claiborne that he could not disallow the collection of payments for such lands as had been already sold, since the funds were royal property; he added that he did not doubt Claiborne would allow this. As for the other functions which Morales proposed to exercise, Casa Calvo hoped Claiborne would adopt measures that would prevent both countries’ interests from suffering and would maintain the existing harmony between them. The second enclosure is a copy of Claiborne to Casa Calvo, 17 Aug. 1805, stating that the conditions in his 14 Aug. letter were the only ones on which he would allow Morales’s continued residence; that he cared nothing for Morales’s opinion of them; that if they were not acceded to, he would demand Morales’s immediate departure, adding that he did not know what faculties were conferred on Morales by the king, but he did know that the king could not authorize Morales to perform any official acts or open a land office within U.S. territory. He further added that if Morales desired his authority to remain unshackled, he could withdraw to Spanish territory. Claiborne expressed his unwillingness to injure the king’s interests but stated that he could not allow a foreign officer to open a land office or issue titles, and if Morales persisted, Claiborne would require his immediate departure, would cheerfully prepare the customary passports, and afford Casa Calvo such assistance as he needed to bring about “the speedy and comfertable conveyance of [Morales] to some Post within the dominions of His Catholic Majesty.”

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