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To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne (Abstract), 30 March 1805

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

30 March 1805, New Orleans. “Mr Chambers the United States Factor for the Chactaw Indians1 is now in this City. His Business here is to procure some necessary supplies for the Factory, and to engage a Vessel to transport thither a quantity of Peltry which he had collected; Colonel Freeman also is solicitous to send to Fort Stoddart some Military Stores which the Garrison greatly needed—and the Contractor w<as> desirous to forward to the same place a supply of provisions, but each of these Gentlemen are unwilling to subject the Articles under their care to inspection and the payment of duties at the Town of Mobile; to remedy which I addressed a Letter to the Marquis, of which No 1. is a copy,2 and received an answer of which No 2. is a translation.3

“The Supplies to Forts Stoddart and St. Stephens will now be forwarded, and I trust the Marquis’s interference will have the desired effect. I find no difficulty in transacting Business with the Marquis; he possesses a great share of Spanish Pride and a warm, irritable temper which sometimes betrays him into imprudencies; but his disposition is generous and accomodating and his general Deportment that of a Gentleman: of Governor Folch I cannot speak as favorably, he has more temper than discretion—more genius than Judgment, and his general conduct is far from being conciliatory.

“At the moment of closing this Letter, I was visited by a Son of Governor Folch’s immediately from Pensacola. He mentioned to me that the garrison at that place was in want of Provision, and daily expected an attack from the British; I did not however learn the reasons which induced them to fear an attack.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 6); letterbook copy (ibid.); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of enclosures (LU: LOUISiana Digital Library, Official Letter Book W. C. C. Claiborne). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner as received 22 May, with his note: “Navigation of the Mobille.” RC and enclosures printed in Bradley, Interim Appointment, 209, 211–12, 212–13. For enclosures, see nn. 2–3.

1Joseph Chambers was named agent to the Choctaws in 1802. He was also postmaster at Fort St. Stephens and register of the land office in Mississippi for lands east of Pearl River (Carter, Territorial Papers, Mississippi, 5:176 n. 85, 342; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1828). description ends , 1:472, 474).

2The enclosure is a copy of Claiborne to Casa Calvo, 28 Mar. 1805 (1 p.), asking the latter to “take such measures” as would allow the Castor, Capt. Cooper, carrying military stores to Fort Stoddert and other goods to Fort St. Stephens, “free and unmolested passage” through the Mobile River.

3The enclosure is a translation of Casa Calvo to Claiborne, 29 Mar. 1805 (1 p.; cover marked “N. 2.”), stating that he had asked Juan Vicente Folch to allow free passage to the Castor, that a report of the incident would be sent to Madrid to obtain the king’s approbation, and that should the king not approve, the present free passage could be regarded only as a suspension of payment of any duties due.

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