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To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 16 September 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

16 September 1804, New Orleans. “Enclosed is a copy of a circular Letter I have addressed to the several civil commandants in Lower Louisiana.1

“I am not certain, but the Act of Congress2 does, on the first of October, virtually withdraw all Judicial Powers from the Authorities now existing in this Province; But in order to prevent those Scenes of anarchy and confusion which might arise in the different Districts, if a Person took upon himself to preserve the public peace until the Legislative Council shall have made provision, I thought it a wise & prudent step to advise the commandants to continue in the exercise of their present functions.

“The Malignant Fever in this City does not seem to abate. My private Secretary Mr. Briggs died on yesterday; he was an amiable young Man, & his Talents & Industry greatly recommended him to my confidence.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 5); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of first enclosure (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 13). RC 2 pp.; docketed by Wagner as received 22 Oct. Letterbook copy of RC dated 17 Sept. 1804. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Claiborne enclosed a printed copy of his 16 Sept. 1804 circular in English (1 p.; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books description begins Dunbar Rowland, ed., Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801–1816 (6 vols.; Jackson, Miss., 1917). description ends , 2:335–36) and one in French (1 p.; docketed by Wagner), ordering the commandants to “exercise the authority with which, by Law, you are now invested, until some provision upon the subject shall be made” by the new legislature.

2The 26 Mar. 1804 “Act erecting Louisiana into two territories, and providing for the temporary government thereof” became effective on 1 Oct. 1804 (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 2:283, 289).

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