James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 13 January 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

13 January 1805, New Orleans. “The Incipient Capital of the Louisiana Bank has been Subscribed, and the following Gentlemen Elected Directors, to Wit.—Paul Lanuse, James Pitot, Julien Poydrass, Daniel Clark, Michael Fortier, John Soulie, Thomas Harman, Thomas Urquhart, William Donaldson, John F Merieult, Francis Duplessis, James Carrick, John Mc.Donogh, John B. Labatut, and Nicholas Girod. The People have of late received an opinion that a Bank would be of great public Utility, and notwithstanding they were advised of the doubts which existed as to the validity of the charter, they were determined to make the experiment.

“The Civil Government here, will very soon I trust be perfectly organized, and then (unless our differences with Spain should assume a friendly aspect1) there will be no necessity for more than one Company of regular Troops in this City; the balance may be ordered to Plaquemine, and our Frontier Posts where they may be serviceable; The enclosed Letter which I have this moment received from the Commanding Officer at Natchitoches, will shew you the great increase of the Spanish force in the Province of Taxus.”2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 6); letterbook copy (LU: Claiborne Letterbook). RC 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; misdated 13 Jan. 1804; docketed by Wagner as dated 13 Jan. 1805 and received 21 Feb. Letterbook copy dated 13 Jan. 1805. For enclosure, see n. 2.

1Letterbook copy reads “an unfriendly aspect.”

2The enclosure is Capt. Edward D. Turner to Claiborne, 27 Dec. 1804 (3 pp.; cover marked “Forwarded by F. L. Claiborne 8th Jany 1805” and “Natchez Jany 9th. Public Service”; docketed by Wagner as enclosed in Claiborne’s 31 Dec. 1804 dispatch; 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 , 3:30–31), expressing concern that Claiborne had not received his earlier letters about the Spanish decree concerning escaped slaves, stressing the reliability of his informants, who included the blacks themselves, and transmitting reports of Spanish moves to increase their troops and settlers in the area.

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