Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William C. C. Claiborne, 11 August 1807

Natchez August 11h., 1807

Dear Sir,

I arrived at this place two Days since, & had intended to pass in this vicinity a Week or 10 Days;—But finding from the Northern papers the hostile aspect of our Affairs with Great Britain, and supposing it possible, that my presence in New-Orleans may be necessary, I shall, without delay, repair to my post. The late Act of British Aggression has excited in this Territory the same feeling which seems (by the papers) to pervade the Atlantic States, and I trust that a like sense of patriotism will be felt and expressed by the good Citizens of Orleans.

My old friend Govr. Williams is much abused; but I am happy to find, that he nevertheless pursues the course which his Judgment approves;—the late removal of Mr. Secretary Meade, is, I believe, pleasing to many of the Citizens; but to the greater number, (I learn) it is a subject of regret. Mr. Meade possesses popular manners, & is thought here to have been honest & zealous in the discharge of his duties; he is also stated to be a young Man of Genius;—But I fear he is wanting in Judgment & prudence. I am not yet advised of the appointment of a Secretary for the Territory of Orleans;—I have no particular anxiety as to the person who may be selected; But I sincerely hope he may be firmly attached to the present General Administration, & that his politicks may be too stable to be shaken by the Intrigues & attentions of a party in New-Orleans, who lay hold of every respectable stranger, & I am sorry to add, have gained over some honest Men.—Since my arrival in Natchez, I have understood that Major Richard Claiborne my private Secretary, has thro’ some of his friends, solicited the appointment of Secretary;—I certainly am not unfriendly to Major Claiborne, nor am I disposed to detract right from his Merits;—I believe him to be an honest Man, & a good accountant & Clerk;—But in truth Sir, he is totally unqualified for the office of Secretary; his Talents are very limited.—

I apprised you some time ago of the resignation of Mr. James Mather Senior, as a Member of the Legislative Council, & of the nomination of Messrs. Guerin & Livandair to supply the vacancy;—But lest that communication may have miscarried, I now have the honor to enclose you an Extract from the Journal of the House of Representatives, which will furnish you with the names of the Gentlemen recommended;—Messrs. Guerin & Levandair are both wealthy Farmers; living near the City of New-Orleans, & very honest Men, but of limited information.—Mr. Guerin is a frenchman by birth; Mr. Levandair a native of Louisiana; perhaps of the two Mr. Guerin is the best informed—But I should like him better as a Legislater, if he had been born & brought up in the Interest of the Territory’s—There are certainly many amiable Men in the U. States, who are foreigners by Birth;—But of late, I have had so much cause to regret the appointment of foreigners to Offices in the Territory of Orleans, that I cannot avoid expressing a wish, that on the present occasion, your choice may fall on Mr. Livandair.

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

William C. C. Claiborne

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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