Thomas Jefferson Papers
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William C. C. Claiborne to Thomas Jefferson, 19 June 1809

From William C. C. Claiborne

New-Orleans June 19h 1809.

Dear Sir,

Believing that the discussion which the question as to the right of property in the Batture in front of the Suburb St Mary, has given rise to, will not be uninteresting to you, I have the pleasure to enclose Mr Thierry’s Answer to Mr Duponceau’s last Pamphlet.

With the best wishes for your Health & happiness—

I am Dr Sir, Your faithful friend

William C. C. Claiborne

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 July 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Jean Baptiste Simon Thierry, Reply to Mr. Duponceau (New Orleans, 1809; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3491).

After his arrival in New Orleans in 1804, Edward Livingston acquired and began working to perfect a claim to the batture in front of the suburb st mary. This riverfront property had traditionally been used by the public, and Livingston’s claim was met with consternation and the possibility of violent resistance. TJ became convinced that the batture belonged to the United States and ordered Livingston’s eviction in November 1807. An extraordinarily complicated series of lawsuits and appeals to various government authorities followed, including an unsuccessful lawsuit filed in 1810 by Livingston against TJ in the federal circuit court for the district of Virginia and the publication by both men of pamphlets supporting their positions. Livingston eventually did obtain undisputed possession of a share of this extremely valuable property, but he was still litigating related issues in the 1830s (Malone, Jefferson description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his Time, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends , 6:55–73; William B. Hatcher, Edward Livingston: Jeffersonian Republican and Jacksonian Democrat [1940], 139–89; George Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions [1975], 74–101, 208–18; John Wickham to TJ, 16 May 1810, and note).

Index Entries

  • Batture Sainte Marie; TJ receives books on search
  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; letters from search
  • Du Ponceau, Peter Stephen; and batture controversy search
  • Livingston, Edward; proclaims right to batture search
  • Reply to Mr. Duponceau (Thierry) search
  • Thierry, Jean Baptiste Simon; Reply to Mr. Duponceau search