James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Benedict Van Pradelles, 31 October 1805 (Abstract)

From Benedict Van Pradelles, 31 October 1805 (Abstract)

§ From Benedict Van Pradelles.1 31 October 1805, New Orleans. “Permit me to do myself the honor of informing You, that I accept, With gratitude, the appointment, which it has pleased the President of the United States, to bestow on me, of commissioner under the act of March 2d. 1805, ’for ascertaining & adjusting the titles & claims to land in the Territory of Orleans & District of Louisiana’ for the Eastern district of the Territory of Orleans.

“The length of the time, elapsed between the date of my Commission & that of this letter will, I hope, Justify my accounting & Serve as my apology for it: I have been detained by the low State of the Water, on the Ohio & Mississipi rivers from the 26th of July till yesterday that of my arrival here, Where my commission came to hand.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 7); RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Van Pradelles”); FC (PPGi: Girard Papers). First RC 1 p.; docketed by Wagner. Second RC docketed by Jefferson. Wording varies between the copies, but the content is the same.

1Benedict Van Pradelles (d. 1808) was a Flemish-born ex-soldier who came to America about 1780 and explored the lands in upstate New York. From 1798 to 1801 he was in Lexington, Kentucky. He was named notary public at New Orleans in 1806 and register of the land office for the eastern territory of Orleans in April 1808 (R. W. G. Vail, “The Lure of the Land Promoter: A Bibliographical Study of Certain New York Real Estate Rarities,” University of Rochester Library Bulletin 24 [1969]: 42–44; Lexington Stewart’s Kentucky Herald, 6 Mar. 1798, 24 Feb. 1801; Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:701, 782, 810).

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