James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 14 October 1805 (Abstract)

From William C. C. Claiborne, 14 October 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne. 14 October 1805, New Orleans. “The Marquis of Casa Calvo has communicated to me his intention of passing by way of the Bayou Laforche and the River Tache to the Sea, and from thence to the Mouth of the Sabine, which River he proposes to ascend as far as the Old Post of Adais. In making this excursion, the Marquis states that he has two objects in view; the one, to enjoy the amusement of Hunting; the other, to acquire some geo graph i cal Knowledge of the Country, and in particular to ascertain the Latitude of the Post of Adais, and to make an examination for some Stone Posts which are said to have been deposited some where initsvicinity, and immediatly on the line which was formerly established betwe[e]n the French and Spanish possessions west of the Mississippi. I expressed to the Marquis a wish, that on his Arrival at the Post of Adais, he should be joined by an American Officer from the Garrison of Nachitoches, who should witness his proceedings, and make report to me thereof; To which proposition, the Marquis having assented Captain Turner (who speaks the French Language) has been selected to accompany him. A Copy of my Instructions to Captain Turner is herewith enclosed for your perusal.”1

Adds in a postscript: “I shall take measurs to ascertain the General deportment of the Marquis on his excursion.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 7); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of enclosure (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 15). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed and addressed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner, with his note: “To be answd.” For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 3:196–98) is a copy of Claiborne to Capt. Edward D. Turner, 14 Oct. 1805, ordering Turner to join Casa Calvo when the latter arrived at Adaïs and (1) to note the latitude and longitude of Adaïs, ascertain when the garrison was established and when evacuated, and if the French had at any time objected to Spanish retention of the post; (2) to ascertain, if the stone posts were found, by whom and when they were deposited and “with what object!”; (3) to ask, should Turner learn that the line of demarcation had been partly determined, how far it had been extended, why it was not completed, the name or names of the commissioners employed on it, and under whose instructions they acted; (4) to inquire about any settlements made on the Red River or elsewhere before the settlements now possessed by the United States, and to obtain on oath and in writing the statements of anyone who might have any personal knowledge of them; and (5) to communicate any other information that he might acquire that could be useful to the United States. Claiborne added that the mission would probably last only eight or ten days, that Turner’s expenses would be reimbursed, that Col. Constant Freeman would send orders to the commanding officer at Natchitoches, and if ill health or other good cause prevented Turner from fulfilling the mission, the order would be given to such other person the commanding officer might select.

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