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Enclosure: James Mather’s List of Batture-Related Papers Sent to Thomas Jefferson, 29 November 1810

Enclosure

List of Batture-Related Papers Sent to Thomas Jefferson

A List of the Documents forwarded by mail the 30th November to Mr Thos Jefferson, Ex President of the United States.


 1.   Livingston’s address to the People of the U.S.
 2.   Report of the case Jno Gravier vus The Mayor Aldermen & Inhabitants of the City of New Orleans
 3. The Correspondence.
 4. Case laid before Counsel, (Mr Derbigny) And Opinion of do on the claim of the U.S. to the Batture
 5. Livingston’s examination of the title of the U.S. to the Land, Called Batture.
 6. P. S. Duponceau’s opinion on the Case of the Alluvion land or Batture, near New Orleans.
 7. Livingston’s 13 queries, and J. Ingersoll & W Rawles opinion thereon.
 8. Edward Tilghman, & W. Lewis on the Same.
 9. Refutation of Mr Duponceau’s opinion by Mr Derbigny
 10. Translation of the Edict for the establishment of a west India Company 28th May 1664
 11. Translation of Extracts from a Collection of Royal Decrees & Ordinances by Pierre Neron & E. Girard.
 12. Do of an Edict for the Confirmation of Islands & Isles, accretions, atterissements, lays, and relays of the Sea.
 13. Do of an extract of Guyot’s Repertory of Jurisprudence, at the word Isle
 14. Deeds of Sale of Lots in the Suburb St Mary by Bertrand Gravier, & his Wife, with the Clause or designation fronting the river, or fronting the Levee of the River.
The deeds are in favor of J B. Poeyfarré, C. F. Gérod, Maria St Jean free Negrowoman, Louis Le Gendre, J. Bst Rolland, Manuël Toledano, Joseph Ravassa, Jean Vessié, Simon Laurent, Raphaël Ramos; In all ten Copies duly Authenticated.

No more have been procured in order to Save an additional expence.

 New Orleans 29th November 1810.

Jas Mather Mayor

P.S. add to the above, Orleans term Reports by F. X. Martin. 1810 vol: 1. part 1.

MS (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Mather; endorsed by TJ: “Livingston Edward, v. Th Jefferson. Papers in the suit recd with mr Mather’s lre of Nov. 30. 10.” Enclosures: (1) Livingston, Address, consisting of a number of separately paginated sections and accounting for the first and third through eighth items as numbered above by Mather.(2) Superior Court decree in Jean Gravier v. the mayor, aldermen, and inhabitants of the City of New Orleans, 23 May 1807 (Robert Smith to TJ, 4 June 1810, item 11 on enclosed list). (3) Pierre A. C. B. Derbigny, Réfutation du Mémoire en forme de consultation, Rédigé par Mr. Duponceau, Jurisconsulte a Philadelphie, au sujet des pretentions des Etats-Unis sur la Batture du Faubourg Ste.-Marie de la Nouvelle-Orleans (New Orleans, 1808; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3492).(4) French royal edict establishing the West India Company, 28 May 1664, dissolving the Canada Company and creating a new entity to take control of French islands in America, as well as “Cayenne and all the main land of America, from the river of Amazons to that of Oranoco, Canada, Acadia, the Islands of New found land, and other islands and mainlands from north of the said Country of Canada, as far as Virginia and Florida, together with all the coast of Africa, from Cape Verd as far as the cape of good hope,” consisting of forty-three articles detailing the company’s rights, duties, and organizational structure; with article twenty-one stating that all countries, islands, and lands, together with strongholds and forts thereon constructed are granted and conceded to the company in perpetuity, with no rights reserved except allegiance and liege homage; article twenty-five stating that the company shall enjoy all mines, capes, gulfs, ports, streams, rivers, isles, and islets within the extent of the lands granted; article thirty-four stating that judges established in said lands shall be bound to try and decide all causes according to French law, that officers and inhabitants are to follow and conform to the custom of Paris, and that, to avoid diversity, no other custom shall be introduced; and article thirty-six stating that the company can draw up and ordain statutes and regulations as it shall think proper for the management and direction of its affairs, both in Europe and in the colonies (Tr in DNA: RG 59, LCBNO; translated by H. P. Nugent “from a French printed book,” attested by Mather, New Orleans, 28 Nov. 1810).(5) Extracts from Pierre Néron and Etienne Girard, Recueil d’edits et d’ordonnances royaux: sur le fait de la justice … contenant les ordonnances des rois Philippes VI. … Louis XV., 2 vols. (Paris, 1720), consisting of a portion of the preface to the first volume stating that ordinances emanating from the sovereign are the most certain part of French jurisprudence, prevail over all other laws, constitute the general law of the kingdom of France, and supersede both Roman law and French customary law;Louis XIV’s royal ordinance of April 1683 (2:183), which asserted that the sovereign has ownership rights to streams and navigable rivers, including (but not limited to) all that is in their beds, islands, accretions and atterissements, tolls, ferries, bridges, ferryboats, boats, fisheries, and mills; that no one can claim such rights without an express title and legal possession; that as early as 1539 French sovereigns appointed commissioners to take information concerning rivers to prove titles; that a 1664 declaration established procedures for use against wrongful holders of islands, accretions, tolls, mills, and the like; and that in consequence of remonstrances the crown has relaxed its claim in favor of those who can document their peaceful possession thereof prior to 1 Apr. 1566, in exchange for a quitrent of a twentieth of their annual income, but that unlawful possessors will have their property and chattels reannexed to the royal demesne;and Louis XIV’s edict for the confirmation of islands and isles, accretions, atterissements, and lais and relais of the sea, February 1710 (2:444), which orders that all wrongful holders, proprietors, or possessors of islands or isles, accretions, atterissements, lais and relais of the sea, duties on fish, entry and going out of vessels, rights of park and fishery, nets and wares for fish, rights to seaweed, shipwrecks, anchorage, bridging, strays, passage, gravel, fires, buoys, exemptions from watch and ward, and other rights on the strands or shores of the sea, possessed by private authority and enjoyed by usurpation and without title, can be maintained and preserved in perpetuity, along with future accretions, provided that those in possession pay two years’ income of chattels and rights, or a tenth of their total value, at the option of the Crown; that holders will also be responsible for an annual seigniorial rent of five sols per acre on islands, isles, accretions, atterissements, and lais and relais of the sea, and a like rent of five sols by way of quitrent payable by those who enjoy other chattels and rights as aforesaid, over and above manorial rents and other rents and duties for which they may be liable (Tr in DNA: RG 59, LCBNO; translated by Nugent “from a French printed book,” attested by Mather, New Orleans, 28 Nov. 1810; accounting for eleventh and twelfth items as numbered above by Mather). (6) Extract from Joseph Nicolas Guyot’sRépertoire universel et raisonné de jurisprudence civile, criminelle, canonique et béneficiale 64 vols. (Paris, 1775–83), at the word “island,” which rejects the position in Roman law that alluvions and increments accrue to riparian proprietors, either by changes to riverbeds or with respect to the formation of islands and islets, arguing instead that navigable rivers, their beds, banks, and all the ground that may be formed belong to the king, as provided for in the 41st article of title 27 of the 1669 ordinance on watercourses and forests; that rivers which are not navigable belong to the lord high-justiciaries in whose territory they flow; that islands, islets, and “atterissements (grounds made by the river)” belong to them in like manner; and thus that riparian proprietors can lay no claim to them (Tr in DNA: RG 59, LCBNO; at head of text: “We have not been able to procure in any of the libraries of New-Orleans, the Ordinance on Water-courses & forests cited by mr Derbigny. All we can do is to translate what is said of it by Guiot, author of the Repertory of Jurisprudence, at the word Island, as that work is cited as authority in the french courts, and has often been relied on by Mr Livingston or his Counsel”; translated by Nugent “from a French printed book,” attested by Mather, New Orleans, 28 Nov. 1810). (7) Deeds of land by Bertrand Gravier: to Juan Poeyfarré, 27 Feb. 1789, a lot outside New Orleans, 415 feet of which face the Mississippi River, for 400 pesos; to Claude François Girod, 22 Mar. 1794, a lot outside town, 51½ feet of which face the river, for 350 pesos; to Maria St. Jean, 1 July 1789, a lot outside town, 240 feet of which face the river, for 1,950 pesos; to Louis Le Gendre, 26 Mar. 1789, a lot outside town, 60 feet of which face the levee, for 600 pesos; to Juan Rolland, 7 Sept. 1788, a lot outside town, 90 feet of which face the levee, for 1,400 pesos; to Manuel Toledano, 16 May 1789, a lot outside town, 60 feet of which face the levee, for 600 pesos; to Joseph Ravassa, 17 Sept. 1789, a lot outside town, 60 feet of which face the levee, for 800 pesos; to Jean Vessié, 10 Jan. 1789, a lot outside town, 240 feet of which face the levee, for 1,950 pesos (nullified 3 Dec. 1793 by a newer deed); to Simon Laurent, 13 Oct. 1788, a half-lot outside town, 30 feet of which face the levee, for 400 pesos; and to Raphaël Ramos, 23 Apr. 1788, a lot outside town, 70 feet of which face the levee, for 1,000 pesos (Trs in DNA: RG 59, LCBNO; in Spanish; certified by Pierre Pedesclaux, the first eight on 28 Nov. 1810 and the last two on 26 Nov. 1810).

For the orleans term reports, see the covering letter above.

Index Entries

  • Address to the People of the United States, on the measures pursued by the Executive with respect to the Batture at New-Orleans (Livingston) search
  • A Review of the Cause of the New Orleans Batture (Du Ponceau) search
  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; TJ receives documents search
  • Derbigny, Pierre (Peter) Augustin Bourguignon; Réfutation du Mémoire en forme de consultation search
  • Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen; A Review of the Cause of the New Orleans Batture search
  • France; edict of1664 search
  • France; edict of1710 search
  • France; laws of search
  • Girard, Etienne; Recueil d’edits et d’ordonnances royaux search
  • Girod, Claude François; and batture controversy search
  • Gravier, Jean (John); and batture controversy search
  • Gravier, Maria Deslonde Renard (André Renard’s widow; Bertrand Gravier’s wife) search
  • Guyot, Joseph Nicolas; Répertoire universel et raisonné de jurisprudence civile, criminelle, canonique et béneficiale search
  • Ingersoll, Jared; on batture controversy search
  • Jean Gravier v. the mayor, aldermen, and inhabitants of the City of New Orleans search
  • Laurent, Simon search
  • law; books on search
  • law; French search
  • law; Roman search
  • Le Gendre, Louis search
  • Lewis, William (of Philadelphia); and batture controversy search
  • Livingston, Edward; Address to the People of the United States, on the measures pursued by the Executive with respect to the Batture at New-Orleans search
  • Louis XIV, king of France; and edict of1710 search
  • Louis XIV, king of France; declaration of1683 search
  • Martin, François Xavier; term reports of search
  • Mather, James; and batture controversy search
  • Néron, Pierre; Recueil d’edits et d’ordonnances royaux search
  • Nugent, H. P. search
  • Paris; coutumes de (legal customs of) search
  • Pedesclaux, Pierre search
  • Poeyfarré, Juan search
  • Ramos, Raphaël search
  • Ravassa, Joseph search
  • Rawle, William search
  • Recueil d’edits et d’ordonnances royaux (Girard & Néron) search
  • Réfutation du Mémoire en forme de consultation (Derbigny) search
  • Répertoire universel et raisonné de jurisprudence civile, criminelle, canonique et béneficiale (Guyot) search
  • Rolland, Juan Baptiste; and batture controversy search
  • Roman law; and batture controversy search
  • St. Jean, Maria; and batture controversy search
  • Tilghman, Edward; and batture controversy search
  • Toledano, Manuel search
  • Vessié, Jean search
  • West India Company search