James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne (Abstract), 10 February 1805

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

10 February 1805, New Orleans. “Colonel De Lassus formerly Lieutenant Governor of Upper Louisiana (with thirty Spanish Soldiers) is now in this City on his way to Pensacola; his Arrival was Announced to me by a Letter from the Marquis of Casa Calvo, of which the enclosure No 1 is a translation, and to which I returned the Answer No 2.1 The delay attending the evacuation of the Ceded Territory has often been noticed by me, and the Marquis has been told that the continuance of Spanish Officers in this District, so long beyond the right and occasion for it was not seen with approbation. But it seems the evacuation is not yet completed and that Several Spanish Officers continue in this City; Some I learn have been permitted to retire on half pay, and others I believe feel a strong desire to resign their Commissions and Settle permanently in Louisiana, and of this number, I am inclined to think the late Intendant Mr. Morales is one; But of this however I have no certain information.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 6); letterbook copy (ibid.); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of second enclosure (LU: LOUISiana Digital Library, Official Letter Book W. C. C. Claiborne). RC 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Enclosure “No 1” is a translation (1 p.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:392) of Casa Calvo to Claiborne, 6 Feb. 1805, informing Claiborne of the arrival at New Orleans of Col. Charles Dehault Delassus, former lieutenant governor of Upper Louisiana, with thirty army privates who were on their way to Pensacola for discharge. Enclosure “No 2” is a copy (1 p.; docketed by Wagner; printed ibid.) of Claiborne to Casa Calvo, 7 Feb. 1805, stating “that a temporary continuance of these Troops in this City, until they can conveniently proceed to their place of destination, will afford me no uneasiness, since I am persuaded that their officers will take special care to prevent the Commission of any disorder, and will on all occasions manifest a respect for the Laws of this Territory.” Charles Dehault Delassus (1767–1842) was a French native who served in the Spanish army and was transferred to Louisiana where he became civil and military commandant at New Madrid in 1796. In 1799 he was named lieutenant governor at St. Louis where he officiated at the transfer of the territory to Amos Stoddard on 10 Mar. 1804, although he and his troops did not leave there until November 1804. In 1808 he became commander of the Spanish forces at Baton Rouge which he lost in an 1810 revolt. After being court-martialed and condemned to death by the Spanish in 1814, he moved to American territory and lived in Missouri and Louisiana until his death in New Orleans (John Francis McDermott, ed., “Diary of Charles Dehault Delassus from New Orleans to St. Louis, 1836,” La. Historical Quarterly 30 [1947]: 359, 362, 363, 364–68).

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