From James Mather
New Orleans November 30th 1810
I have the honor to transmit herewith to you sundry documents in the Case of the Batture, agreeably to a List enclosed. I have in vain endeavoured to procure several Copies of the printed Collection published by Mr Livingston, and must express my regret for sending only one. I have applied to the Editor of the Telegraphe in order to be furnished with the No 638 of Said paper, Containing Dujarreau’s Letter to the Mayor & Aldermen of our City. He offered to let me have Communication of it by entrusting me with his files, observing at the same time his being unable to part with that Copy, the only one left to him. I shall Consequently Cause an extract of that number to be taken into writing, and forward the same to you duly Certified, with a few other papers, namely; The Cabildo’s decree requesting the Bon de Carondelet to dispossess the Intruders on the Batture; an account of the expences incurred by the Corporation in repairing the Levee in front of the suburb st Mary; a printed document, under the title of Piéces probantes And Thierry’s examination of the title of the U.S. 1808.
The Suit which was instituted here by Edwd Livingston against P. F. Le Breton d’orgenoi, is too Closely Connected with the whole Case of the Batture, that I should omit to furnish you by this Conveyance,1 with a Copy of the Orleans Term Reports, by F. X. Martin, printed at John Dacqueny’s 1810 Vol. 1st part 1st—You will see page 87, and following the Case of Livingston vus Le Breton Dorgenoi.—Since the decision of the District Court, which Stayed the proceedings Edwd Liv. made free to take of his own authority possession of the Batture, and of the hut, he had formerly built thereon. In this act, he succeeded to persuade over a few Justices of peace, and a Notary public, in whose presence the taking possession was admitted by L. his friends and associates to be legal; and he issued his proclamation accordingly, which doubtless you have seen in the Newspapers, with Thierry’s Philippique Subsequent thereto.2 The District Attorney [on the Same day]3 Thierry’s paper went out [of the Press],4 had instructed the Marshall to retain the possession in the United States as before, and to remove the intruders on the Batture; which was done to Ls great mortification, but with the Most uniform approbation of the Citizens throughout the Town & Suburbs.
I fear not, Sir, that this long Statement be tedious, because you have too Much at heart the Wellfare of this Territory, and have acquired to high a Claim to the gratitude of our City in particular, that you would not accept with indulgence, and encourage the efforts I have made to Second so far as lies in my power, your generous & patriotic views.
Jas Mather Mayor
P.S. Mr Livingston has Instituted an Other suit against the present Marshal, for having dispossessed him this last time.
RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, with signature and postscript by Mather; at foot of text in clerk’s hand: “Thos Jefferson, Esqre ExPresident of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Jan. 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Dupl (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Mather; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. 1811; with TJ’s additional notation concerning the dates of receipt of two Mather letters: “ Nov. 30 [received] Jan. 10. Dec. 15 [received] Jan. 25.” Enclosures: (1) Godefroi Du Jareau to mayor and alderman of New Orleans, 24 Aug. 1808 (Tr in DNA: RG 59, LCBNO; in English; at head of text: “Extract of the No 638 5th Vol. of the Telegraphe published by C. Beleurgey at New Orleans, on thursday the 22d September 1808”; attested under oath by Denis Prieur before Mather, 7 Dec. 1810; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. 1811, with his notation: “with Jas Mather’s 2d of Nov. 30”; letter summarized in note to Du Jareau to TJ, 25 June 1810). (2) “A brief statement of the expences incurred by the City Corporation in making and repairing the Levee now existing in the whole front of the Suburb St Mary, since the year 1805. till the latter end of 1810.,” New Orleans, 6 Dec. 1810, indicating that in 1805 and 1806 the city paid $5,099.45½ for carts and negro journeymen employed in filling and pitching the levee with sand, and $2,434.90 for facings and palings from the levee’s lower end to Baptiste Rolland’s willow trees, nails included; that from 1808 through 1810 the city paid $2,982.31¼ for carts and negro journeymen employed in filling and pitching from Rolland’s to the upper end of the suburb, and $1,905.43¾ for facings and palings from Rolland’s to the basin dug by Edward Livingston; and that the total expense for levee maintenance, 1805–10, was $12,422.10½ (MS in DNA: RG 59, LCBNO; in a clerk’s hand, with Mather’s signed certification that “twelve thousand four hundred twenty two dollars, & ten Cents, has actually been expended by the City Corporation for the making and Keeping in repair of the Levee now existing in front of the Suburb St Mary, during the period stated in the foregoing Statement”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. 1811, with his notation: “with James Mather’s 2d of Nov. 30. 10. Levee. expences of repairs”). Other enclosure printed below.
For a more detailed description of Edward Livingston’s lawsuit against former federal marshal Francis Joseph Le Breton D’orgenoy and the printed case report TJ received by this conveyance, see Thomas B. Robertson to TJ, 7 Dec. 1810. In his proclamation Livingston declared that the late marshal, present marshal, and United States attorney had all admitted under oath that they had no instructions from the government relative to the batture. Livingston also claimed that the mayor and corporation of New Orleans understood that they held no title thereto, and that he had accordingly and peacefully taken possession of the property. He concluded by granting vessels permission to load and unload goods on the batture free of charge, but added that he would sue anyone “who from henceforward shall dig the earth or commit any other trespass thereon” (proclamation dated 17 Nov., newspaper clippings in English and French attached to first enclosure above, with English version from Louisiana Gazette and New-Orleans Daily Advertiser, 17 Nov. 1810, and source of French version unidentifed). Livingston sued the present marshal, John Michael Fortier, when this proclamation was ignored and he was again removed from the batture (George Dargo, Jefferson’s Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions , 95, 99; Thomas B. Robertson to TJ, 7 Dec. 1810, and note; William C. C. Claiborne to TJ, 24 Dec. 1810).
1. Preceding three words omitted in Dupl.
2. Dupl substitutes “to its date” for this word.
3. Bracketed words, omitted in RC, supplied from Dupl.
4. Bracketed words, omitted in RC, supplied from Dupl.
- Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; TJ receives documents search
- Beleurgey, Claudius; editor of Telegraphe search
- Carondelet, Francisco Luis Hector, baron; and batture search
- Dacqueny, John search
- Du Jareau, Godefroi; and J. Mather search
- D’orgenoy, Francis Joseph Le Breton; marshal at New Orleans search
- Examen des Droits des Etats-Unis et des pretensions de Mr. Edouard Livingston sur la Batture en Face du Faubourg Ste. Marie (Thierry) search
- Fortier, John Michael; and batture controversy search
- Livingston, Edward; proclaims right to batture search
- Livingston v. D’orgenoy search
- Louisiana Gazette and New-Orleans Daily Advertiser search
- Martin, François Xavier; term reports of search
- Mather, James; and batture controversy search
- Mather, James; and G. Du Jareau search
- Mather, James; letters from search
- New Orleans; Telegraphe et le General Advertiser search
- newspapers; Louisiana Gazette and New-Orleans Daily Advertiser search
- newspapers; New Orleans Telegraphe et le General Advertiser search
- Pieces Probantes search
- Prieur, Denis search
- Rolland, Juan Baptiste; and batture controversy search
- Telegraphe et le General Advertiser (New Orleans newspaper) search
- Thierry, Jean Baptiste Simon; Examen des Droits des Etats-Unis et des pretensions de Mr. Edouard Livingston sur la Batture en Face du Faubourg Ste. Marie search