James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 25 September 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

25 September 1804, New Orleans. “I enclose you a communication, which I have this Day received from the Commandant of the District of Nachitoches.1 I fear some of the Indian Tribes West of the Missisippi are disposed to be troublesome, and if as is stated, they are encouraged by the Spaniards to war against the U. States, there is no doubt, but the Lives and property of the Citizens on our extreme Frontier, will be somewhat insecure. I shall (on this occasion) give to Captain Turner such Instructions as prudence shall dictate, and will advise you further hereafter; at present my mind is wholly occupied with my domestic misfortunes. Mrs. Claiborne, and my only child are both so ill, as to leave little ground to hope for their ultimate recovery.

“I wish you health and happiness.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 5); letterbook copy (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 13). RC 2 pp.; docketed by Wagner, with his notation: “Indians on the Sabine instigated to war.” For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Claiborne enclosed Edward D. Turner’s letter to him of 10 Sept. 1804 covering a copy of the 9 Sept. 1804 deposition of Billy Graham (3 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:292–93). Graham, a member of the Casada Nation, whose village was situated on the Sabine River in the district of Opelousas, reported that the chief of “the Nation of Indians called Aish” had threatened the Casadas with death unless they joined a war against the United States, that a grand council of Indians was to take place on the “far fork” of the Sabine River in about twenty days, and that “the Spaniards are the instigators of the Council about to take place.” Turner said he had arranged for Graham to attend the council and report the results.

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