James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 8 September 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

8 September 1804, New Orleans. “I have the honor to enclose you a copy of a letter which I addressed to the Marquis of Casa Calvo, upon the subject of the alarm excited at Nachitoches, in consequence of the reports from Nacogdoches, together with a translation of his answer thereto.1

“I should at an earlier period have addressed the Marquis on this subject, but was prevented by my late illness.2

“The Mail due from the northward on yesterday, has not arrived; the irregularity in the post is much complained of, but I presume, it principally arises from the difficulties of the Wilderness road between the Mississippi Territory and Tennessee: the rider is frequently delayed by indisposition, high waters or the loss of his horse, and until the road can be settled, these inconveniences cannot be guarded against.

“A fever (which greatly resembles the yellow fever) continues to prevail in this city, and proves particularly fatal to strangers. The troops are removed into the Country, and many Americans have left the city.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 5); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of enclosures (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 13). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures are copies of Claiborne to Casa Calvo, 1 Sept. 1804 (2 pp.; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books description begins Dunbar Rowland, ed., Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801–1816 (6 vols.; Jackson, Miss., 1917). description ends , 2:315–16), questioning the authenticity of a royal decree exhibited by Joaquin de Ugarte, Spanish commandant at Nacogdoches, offering “a free and friendly Asylum” in Spanish territory “to such Slave or Slaves as shall escape from the territories of any foreign power,” since such a decree would “operate so greatly to the injury of the citizens of the United States,” and a translation of Casa Calvo’s 5 Sept. reply (2 pp.; printed ibid., 2:319–20), stating that he had written to Ugarte and to the Spanish ministry to inquire into what could only be “some mistaken intelligence or some very awkward error” on the part of the commandant. Casa Calvo went on to assure Claiborne “that you have nothing to apprehend for the properties & slaves of this country.”

2Claiborne suffered an attack of what was presumed to be yellow fever in the late summer of 1804 (Hore Browse Trist to JM, 18 Aug. 1804, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 7:618; Jared William Bradley, Interim Appointment: W. C. C. Claiborne Letter Book, 1804–1805 [Baton Rouge, La., 2002], 142).

Index Entries