James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 31 December 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

31 December 1804, New Orleans. “I enclose you a Resolution which has been proposed in the Legislative Council.1 The Guard alluded to, says the Marquis of Casa Calvo, consists of a Corporal and three men, and is a part of a guard assigned to accompany him on the Line of Demarcation, and that he is appointed a Commissioner of Limits &c.

“The Marquis has been requested by me to discontinue his guard, and informed that his person and property were perfectly secured by the Municipal Laws; but nevertheless if he wished it, he should be furnished with a temporary Guard from the American Troops. My correspondence with the Marquis on this Subject commenced on the eighth of this Month, and to my last letter an answer is not yet returned.

“The Resolution of the Council I consider as premature and improper. I do not think the Marquis is entitled to his Guard; but really it is not an object of serious concern. I know not what negociations may be pending, and I am unwilling to excite irritation on the part of the Spanish Agents. I will do nothing rashly. The Spanish Authorities might (if they pleased) Subject the Americans to great inconvenience in West-Florida.”

Adds in postscript: “A Copy of the Correspondence shall be transmitted you by the next Mail. In a Letter of the 25th. July last,2 I mentioned to you, the existence of the Marquis’ Guard, & from your silence, I supposed you considered it, as unimportant.”

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 5); letterbook copy (LU: Claiborne Letterbook). RC 2 pp.; docketed by Wagner as received 21 Feb.

1The enclosure is an extra from the Orleans Gazette, 31 Dec. 1804, containing the 29 Dec. 1804 resolution introduced by George Pollock (1 p.; printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:360–61) that the appearance of armed Spanish troops on the streets of New Orleans, “to the great annoyance of the good citizens thereof,” and the mounting of a Spanish guard at Casa Calvo’s house were “not only dangerous to the peace and quiet of this city, but derogatory to the dignity of the government of the United States, and an infringement of its sovereignty.”

2PJM-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 , 7:520–21.

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