Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 21 December 1802

From James Madison

[Enclosure]

The Secretary of State, to whom the Resolution of the House of Representatives of the United States of the 17th inst, was referred by the President, has the honor to inclose to him, the letters and communications annexed from the Governor of the Mississippi Territory, the Governor of Kentucky and from Wm E. Hulings formerly appointed Vice Consul of the United States at New Orleans. In addition to this information on the subject of the Resolution, it is stated from other sources that on the 29th of October American vessels from Sea remained under the prohibition to land their cargoes; and that the American produce carried down the Mississippi could be landed only on paying a duty of 6 per Cent with an intimation that this was a temporary permission. Whether in these violations of Treaty the Officer of Spain at New Orleans has proceeded with or without orders from his Government cannot as yet be decided by direct and positive testimony; but it ought not to be omitted in the statement here made, that other circumstances concur with the good faith and friendship otherwise observed by His Catholic Majesty, in favouring a belief that no such orders have been given.

James Madison
Department of State,
21st. Decr. 1802

RC (DNA: RG 233, PM, 7th Cong., 2d sess.); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Madison. Tr (DLC); in Meriwether Lewis’s hand, unsigned. FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL); at head of text: “The President of the U. States.” Enclosures: (1) William E. Hulings to Madison, 18 Oct., from New Orleans, sending an extract of “a decree this day published” by the intendant prohibiting Americans from depositing goods; the “difficulties and risks of property that will fall on the citizens of the United States, if deprived of their deposit, are incalculable,” Hulings notes; “their boats being so frail, and so subject to be sunk by storms that they cannot be converted into floating stores, to wait the arrival of sea vessels to carry away their cargoes”; the port has also been closed to all foreign commerce, so that only trade by Spanish subjects using Spanish vessels is allowed (Tr in DNA: RG 233, PM; in Jacob Wagner’s hand); enclosing an extract in English of Juan Ventura Morales’s proclamation, 16 Oct. (Tr in same; in Wagner’s hand, with his attestation that he translated the decree from Spanish). (2) William C. C. Claiborne to Madison, 29 Oct., from Natchez, enclosing a letter from Hulings and a translated extract from Morales’s order; sending also a copy of a letter Claiborne wrote to “the Governor General of the Province of Louisiana” asking for clarification about whether a substitute place of deposit has been designated in accordance with the provisions of the treaty; Claiborne noting also that the intendant’s action “has excited considerable agitation” in and around Natchez, having “inflicted a severe wound on the Agricultural and Commercial Interest of this Territory,” and the event “will prove no less injurious to all the Western Country”; considering this matter to be of great importance, Claiborne is sending his letter by express to Nashville, where it can go into the mail (Tr in same); enclosing Hulings to Claiborne, 18 Oct., announcing the closure of New Orleans to foreign commerce and the termination of the right of deposit, without any mention in the public notices about a substitute site for the deposit (Tr in same; lacks a postscript that Hulings appended to the letter reporting that Morales had refused to allow U.S. government stores to pass through Spanish territory to Fort Stoddert without payment of duty; see Dunbar Rowland, ed., Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801–1816, 6 vols. [Jackson, Miss., 1917], 1:207, and Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 4:68n); also enclosing a copy of Claiborne to Manuel de Salcedo, 28 Oct., saying that he has examined the treaty between Spain and the United States and finds Article 22 to be unambiguous with regard to the establishment of a substitute location for the deposit; Claiborne asks for “an early answer” due to the importance of the subject (Tr in DNA: RG 233, PM; in Wagner’s hand). (3) James Garrard to TJ, 30 Nov. Enclosures collectively endorsed by a clerk.

Claiborne mentioned the six percent duty in a letter to Madison of 6 Nov. (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols. Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols. Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 4:99).

Index Entries