James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 21 April 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

21 April 1804, New Orleans. “I have nothing interesting to communicate, nor would I write you by this mail, were it not to inform you, that the most perfect good order prevails in this city. I find, the most trifling occurrences here, attract attention to the Northward, and that a disposition exists among some people to give to certain events a consequence they do not merit: To prevent therefore misrepresentations, I have thought it proper to write you by every mail.

“M. Laussat (it is said) will leave this port in the course of the day, on his passage to Guadaloup, but the period of his departure and place of destination are not certainly known.1

“My letter to the Secretary of War, which goes by this mail, will acquaint you with the State of things on the Mobille.2

“General Wilkinson will sail tomorrow or next day for New-York on board the Ship Louisiana.”

RC (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 4); letterbook copy (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 13). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner as received 22 May.

1Laussat left New Orleans at sunrise on 21 Apr., sailing under the name of Pierre Lanthois in the American ship Natchez to Martinique, where he had been appointed prefect (Laussat, Memoirs of My Life, 74, 105–6, 130 n. 37).

2In his 20 Apr. 1804 letter to Dearborn, Claiborne reported that he had advised Joseph Chambers, U.S. factor for the Choctaw, to ship peltry to Philadelphia through New Orleans. The Spanish officials at Mobile demanded payment of a duty, which Chambers paid under protest. Provisions sent to Fort Stoddert were also subject to a duty at Mobile, as were all exports passing down that river. Claiborne added that the Spanish were fortifying Mobile and Pensacola and listed the number of troops at both places (Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 2:108).

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