James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 30 August 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

30 August 1804, New Orleans. “I have the honor to enclose to you, a correspondence relative to the insurrection at Baton Rouge; consisting of a letter from the Marquis of Casa Calvo to myself, with my answer thereto, and letters of advice to the Secretary of the Mississippi Territory, and the Commandant at Point Coupé.1

“I am happy to inform you from late intelligence that this unpleasant affair is fast approaching to a close.”

RC and enclosures, two copies (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 4); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of enclosures (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 13). First RC 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner as received 8 Oct. Second RC marked “(Duplicate)”; docketed by Wagner as received 21 Feb. 1805, with his notation: “Kempers’ insurrection.” For enclosures (7 pp.; docketed by Wagner), see n. 1.

1Claiborne enclosed a translation of Casa Calvo’s 11 Aug. 1804 letter (printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 2:308–9), which complained of the criminal actions of Nathan, Samuel, and Reuben Kemper and their followers in the Feliciana District of West Florida. Casa Calvo charged the Kempers with murder, assault, and kidnapping of Spanish officials and reported that they had “raised up a standard bearing seven stripes, white & blue, & two stars at the upper end, with the design of … falling … on the fort of Baton-Rouge.” Noting that “the whole district is in a state of insurrection,” he called on Claiborne to imprison Reuben Kemper and instruct the governor pro tem of the Mississippi Territory and the commandant at Point Coupée to give no refuge to the rebels. Claiborne’s reply of 27 Aug. 1804 (printed ibid., 2:309–10) assured Casa Calvo that “the insurgents in West Florida have never received any encouragement or countenance in any shape from the American Government or its officers” and promised to alert American officials and to promptly investigate Reuben Kemper’s conduct. Claiborne also enclosed an extract of his letter to Cato West (printed ibid., 2:311–12) and a copy of his letter to Julien Poydras (printed ibid., 2:313), both dated 29 Aug. 1804, informing them of the insurrection and encouraging them to use their authority to prevent aid to the insurgents.

Index Entries