Thomas Jefferson Papers
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William C. C. Claiborne to Thomas Jefferson, 1 May 1809

From William C. C. Claiborne

New-Orleans May 1st 1809

Dr Sir,

Permit me the honor to introduce to your acquaintance, Mr Poidrass, the Delegate from Orleans to the Congress of the United States.

Mr Poidrass possesses a great share of the esteem and confidence of his fellow Citizens, and has uniformly used his influence in support of the measures of the General Government.

As relates to this Territory, there is no one more interested in its welfare than Mr Poidrass, nor is there an Individual who enjoys a fairer private character, or whose public Conduct could be directed by purer motives of honest patriotism

I have the honor to be Sir, With great Respect Your faithful friend

William C. C. Claiborne

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as received 14 Sept. 1809 and so recorded in SJL.

William Charles Coles Claiborne (1775–1817), territorial governor, was born in Sussex County and briefly attended the College of William and Mary. In 1791, while in Philadelphia as an assistant congressional clerk, he first met TJ, who offered to lend him books. Claiborne moved to Tennessee in 1794, began the practice of law, and served in the United States House of Representatives, 1797–1801. He helped to secure the state’s electoral votes for TJ in the election of 1800, and in 1801 TJ appointed him governor of Mississippi Territory. In 1803 TJ sent Claiborne and General James Wilkinson as commissioners to New Orleans to ease the transfer from French to American authority, and he appointed Claiborne governor of Orleans Territory the same year. Claiborne was elected the first governor of the new state of Louisiana, serving from 1812–16, and he won a term in the United States Senate in 1817 but died before taking his seat (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Joseph T. Hatfield, William Claiborne: Jeffersonian Centurion in the American Southwest [1976]; TJ to Claiborne, 13 July 1801 [DLC]).

Julien Lalande Poydras (poidrass), a French-born resident of Pointe Coupee, was one of the wealthiest planters in Orleans Territory. He served as president of the territory’s legislative council from 1804 until his election as territorial delegate to the United States House of Representatives in 1809 (Jared William Bradley, Interim Appointment: W. C. C. Claiborne Letter Book, 1804–1805 [2002], 69; George Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions [1975], 71).

Index Entries

  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; identified search
  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • New Orleans; commissioner search
  • Poydras, Julien Lalande; Orleans territorial delegate search
  • Wilkinson, James; as New Orleans commissioner search