Thomas Jefferson Papers
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William C. C. Claiborne to Thomas Jefferson, 14 August 1813

From William C. C. Claiborne

New Orleans August 14th 1813.

Dear Sir,

In the suit brought by Edward Livingston Against Le Breton D’orgenoy late marshal of the District of Orleans, The Honorable mr Hall, Judge of the District of Louisiana, has decided, the dispossessing of mr Livingston of the Batture, by order of the late President to be illegal, & he directs the Plaintiff to be reinstated in his possession.—The Public Sentiment on this occasion is evidently wounded, & the Public feeling greatly excited.—The enclosures, A, & B. are Copies of two Arretis of the City Council, and the paper marked C, of a Short address, which I made to the council.—Considering the Batture as a Part of the Bed of the mississippi and included within the Port of New Orleans, I Shall have recourse to our State Courts, to enjoin mr Livingston against exercising any act of ownership over the Same, or in any manner obstructing the navigation of the mississippi, which is declared to be a great high way, the free use of which, as well to the Inhabitants of this State, as of the other States, is one of the conditions on which Louisiana was admitted into the Union. How far I Shall be enabled to Succeed, is impossible to Say;—mr Livingston has found means, either to neutralise, or to make active partizans of most of the Lawyers in this State;—The people however are fortunate, in receiving the Support of the Attorney General, (mr F. X. martin), & of messrs moreau Lislet & Fielding Turner, three distinguished Lawyers, & I entertain Strong Hopes, that we may yet be enabled, to maintain the Rights of the Public.—

The Creek nation of Indians have commenced Hostilities, & the Frontiers of the mississippi Territory are much exposed; We Shall Soon however have in that quarter, a respectable force, & I trust our Troops Will be ordered to march immediately into the Nation, as the Surest means of Punishing & puting down these faithless people.—In a letter I received from my Brother, General Claiborne of the mississippi Territory dated Fort Stoddert 3d of August 1813, he says—“I arrived at this Post on the 30th ultimo, & found the country in great confusion and alarm. The Creeks are making every preparation to attack us, and on my part, I have and Shall make every arrangement for the protection of our frontier. General Flournoy promised, in case of a rupture, to reinforce me, with the 7th Regiment; Should he do this, & will authorise me, I Shall march into the Nation, & Shall enter it with Sanguine hopes of Success.—The Indians are unquestionably Supplied with arms & amunition by the Governor of Pensacola.—a party on their return from that place with ammunition &c, were attacked by a party of militia under Colonel Callier, & must have been defeated, but for the improper1 conduct of Some of the militia officers. Colonel Callier behaved bravely; he is missing, & is Supposed to have been Killed on the retreat.”—

Louisiana has hitherto been fortunately exempt from the immediate Horrors of the war;—But I am not without apprehensions, that in the course of the insuing winter, we Shall be Called upon to repel an invasion; & to meet an event of the Kind, I Shall make all the preparations which my powers, and the Resources of the State (feeble at best) will admit.

I have the honor to be Sir, with the greatest respect Your faithful friend

William C. C. Claiborne

RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, with closing and signature by Claiborne; at foot of text in Claiborne’s hand: “mr Thos Jefferson Monticello”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Sept. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

arretis: “decrees.” The 8 Apr. 1812 act admitting Louisiana into the union stipulated that “the river Mississippi, and the navigable rivers and waters leading into the same, and into the gulf of Mexico, shall be common highways, and for ever free” (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 2:703). Colonel James Caller (callier) actually survived the 27 July 1813 encounter with a party of Creek Indians, passing away more than six years later (New York Columbian, 15 Sept. 1813; Saint Stephens, Ala., Halcyon, and Tombeckbe Public Advertiser, 1 Dec. 1819).

1Word interlined by Claiborne.

Index Entries

  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; and New Orleans city council search
  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; W. C. C. Claiborne on search
  • Caller, James search
  • Claiborne, Ferdinand Leigh search
  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; and batture controversy search
  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; letters from search
  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; on threat of Indian incursions search
  • Creek Indians; and War of1812 search
  • D’orgenoy, Francis Joseph Le Breton; and batture controversy search
  • Flournoy, Thomas; War of1812service of search
  • Hall, Dominick A.; and batture controversy search
  • Indians; and War of1812 search
  • Indians; Creek search
  • Livingston v. D’orgenoy search
  • Louisiana (state); conditions for statehood search
  • Martin, François Xavier; and batture controversy search
  • Moreau Lislet, Louis; on batture controversy search
  • New Orleans; city council of search
  • New Orleans; port of search
  • Turner, Fielding search
  • War of1812; and Indians search
  • West Florida; supplies arms and ammunition to Indians search