James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 21 December 1802 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

21 December 1802,Near Natchez.” The legislature met at Washington [Mississippi Territory] on 5 Dec. Encloses a copy of the address he delivered on 8 Dec. to an assembly of both houses “together with the answers returned.”1 David Ker received his commission “by the last mail” and has undertaken his official duties.2 Ker’s appointment has satisfied “a great portion” of the citizenry, and he is “a valuable acquisition to our Territorial Bench.” “The Port of New Orleans still remains shut against the American deposit.” Transfer of American produce to vessels “laying in the stream” is allowed, but “the landing of the produce is unconditionally forbidden.” Enforcement of this point is so rigid that “where a Cotton boat was upset by wind Opposite to the Port of Orleans, there was some difficulty in obtaining permission to place the Cotton taken from the river on the levée.” Notwithstanding Salcedo’s statements in his letters,3 Claiborne remains convinced that the intendant’s order was directed by the Spanish court. “This is the opinion of some of the best informed Citizens of the United States residing at Orleans.” The general belief is that the French will take possession of Louisiana during the winter or in early spring.

Index Entries