Thomas Jefferson Papers

Resolutions of the Orleans Territorial Legislature, [19 January 1810]

Resolutions of the Orleans Territorial Legislature

[19 Jan. 1810]

Resolutions. Résolutions.
  Resolved by the Legislative Council and by the house of Representatives of the Territory of Orleans, that the long, important and faithfull public1 services of Thomas Jefferson, late President of the United States, entitle him to the thanks of a gratefull nation.2  Résolu par le Conseil Legislatif en la Chambre des Représentans du Territoire d’Orléans que les fidèles et importans services rendus pendant longtemps par Thomas Jefferson ex President des Etats Unis, lui méritent les remercimens d’un peuple reconnaissant.
 Resolved that the good inhabitants of this Territory never felt in a more sensible manner the effects of the paternal protection of Thomas Jefferson, late President of the United States than when by virtue of the powers vested in him by law, he restored to the public use a valuable public common and caused to be removed certain intruders from the batture in front of the suburb St Mary of New Orleans, a batture or rather a shoal of the Mississipi which during the annual rise of the river forms a part of the bed thereof, and at all other times has been used, time immemorial as a public common, as well for the use of the inhabitants of New Orleans, as for all persons descending the Mississipi to New Orleans.  Résolu que les habitans de ce territoire n’ont jamais éprouvé les effêts de la protection paternelle de Thomas Jefferson, ex Président des Etats Unis, d’une maniere plus efficace, que l’orsqu’en vertu des pouvoirs dont il était investé par la loi, il a rendu à l’usage public une commune qui lui est indispensable, et a fait retirer les individus qui avaient envahi la bature en face du faubourg Ste Marie de la Nouvelle Orleans, bature, ou plutôt banc de sable du Mississipi, qui, pendant les crues annuelles du fleuve, forme partie de son lit, et qui, tout le reste de l’anneé, sert de commune depuis un temps immémorial, tant pour l’utilité des habitans de la Nelle Orléans, que pour l’usage de ceux qui descendent le fleuve jusqu’en cette ville.
 Resolved that Governor Claiborne be furnished with a copy of these resolutions and that he be requested to transmit the same to Thomas Jefferson late President of the United States accompanied with the best wishes of the Legislative Council & house of Representatives of the Territory of Orleans for a continuance of his life his health and happiness.  Résolu qu’il sera remis au Gouverneur Claiborne une copie des résolutions précédentes, avec priere de les transmettre à Thomas Jefferson ex Président des Etats Unis accompagnées des voeux du Conseil Législatif et de la chambre des Représentans du Territoire, pour la continuation de sa vie, de sa santé et de son bonheur.

Thos Urquhart Speaker
of the House of Representatives

J. D. Degoutin Bellechasse
President of The Legislative Council

MS (DNA: RG 59, LCBNO); in the hand of Legislative Council secretary Pierre Auguste Charles Bourguignon Derbigny, signed by Urquhart and Bellechasse; undated; endorsed by TJ: “Resolutions of legislat. of Orleans.” Tr (DLC); in the hand of House of Representatives clerk Eligius Fromentin and attested and signed by him, with second attestation in Derbigny’s hand and signed by him; dated “Friday January the 19th 1810”; lacking French translation and signatures of Urquhart and Bellechasse. Enclosed in William C. C. Claiborne to TJ, 1 Feb. 1810, and James Mather to TJ, 15 Dec. 1810.

Thomas Urquhart (1773–1841), speaker of the House of Representatives of Orleans Territory, 1807–10, was a Creole merchant educated in England and fluent in French, Spanish, and English. He was appointed a port warden of New Orleans in 1805 and a lieutenant in the territorial militia the following year. By 1810 Urquhart was president of the Bank of Louisiana and the New Orleans Insurance Company. A staunch supporter of Gov. William C. C. Claiborne, he was appointed to the territorial Legislative Council in April 1810 and helped draft Louisiana’s application for statehood in 1811 (DLB; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 9: 255–6, 368, 602, 634, 869–70; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:145, 146 [17, 18 Apr. 1810]; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 19 Apr. 1841).

Joseph Deville Degoutin Bellechasse (1761–after 1837) was a native of New Orleans who rose to captain in the Spanish army, retired, and was colonel in command of the provincial militia when the United States took possession of New Orleans in 1803. In 1806 TJ appointed him to the territorial Legislative Council and he later served as its president. Bellechasse sat in Louisiana’s first constitutional convention, 1811–12, but in 1814 he was accused of helping the British plot the capture of New Orleans. He relocated to his sugar plantation in Cuba soon thereafter. The town of Belle Chasse, now a part of metropolitan New Orleans, was named for him (DLB; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 9:255, 285, 525, 599, 601, 768, 987; TJ’s Commission of Bellechasse and others as Members of the Legislative Council of Orleans Territory, 17 Jan. 1806 [River Road Historical Society, Destrehan, La.]; Elizabeth Urban Alexander, Notorious Woman: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines [2001], 23–5, 214).

The intruders were Edward Livingston and the workers he employed to dig a canal at the Batture Sainte Marie in New Orleans.

1Word omitted in Tr.

2Tr: “people.”

Index Entries

  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; resolutions of Orleans territorial legislature concerning search
  • Bellechasse, Joseph Deville Degoutin; and batture controversy search
  • Bellechasse, Joseph Deville Degoutin; identified search
  • Claiborne, William Charles Coles; transmits messages to and from Orleans territorial legislature search
  • Derbigny, Pierre (Peter) Augustin Bourguignon; and batture controversy search
  • French language; documents in, by; Orleans Territorial Legislature search
  • Fromentin, Elgius search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as president search
  • Orleans Territory; legislature of search
  • Urquhart, Thomas; identified search
  • Urquhart, Thomas; signs resolutions on batture controversy search