James Madison Papers

From James Madison to William C. C. Claiborne, 28 August 1805

To William C. C. Claiborne

Department of State August. 28th. 1805.


In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 26 ult.1 I have to state it as my opinion (the office of Attorney General being vacant)2 that the powers of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Orleans do not cease until the first Monday in November next; but, as under a contrary impression you intended to prorogue them on the third of July last, the true exposition of the Act of the last session of Congress3 as far as relates to the subject is unimportant, unless some exigency, not to be calculated upon, should render it indispensible to convene the Council. I am &c.

James Madison

Letterbook copy (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 15).

1See Claiborne to JM, 26 June 1805, PJM-SS 9:495.

2For the vacancy in the post of attorney general, see ibid., 107, 108 n. 11.

3For section 8 of the 2 Mar. 1805 “Act further providing for the government of the territory of Orleans,” stating that certain provisions of the prior act that divided the Louisiana Purchase into two territories should expire on the first Monday of November 1805, see U.S. Statutes at Large, 2:323.

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