James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne (Abstract), 4 March 1805

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

4 March 1805, New Orleans. “Messrs P Madan and Joseph McNeill two respectable Merchants of this City were requested by Captain Davis and myself to examine the old Custom House and to give their opinion as to the Rent per month which should be paid to the United States for the use thereof.

“I now enclose you a Copy of the Award, and of an agreement which I have entered into with Captain Davis.1 The Rent from the first of August to the first of February has been paid to me; Captain Davis had a Claim against the United States for public Services rendered by my order for one hundred dollars and the balance due from him to the United States to Wit three hundred and fifty Dollars has been paid to me, and for which I am accountable, as also for all the Monies which I may receive on account of my late arrangement with Captain Davis. I trust the disposition I have made of this Public Building will be approved. I thought it better to Rent it by the month than that it should remain unoccupied.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 6); letterbook copy (ibid.); letterbook copy (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. Minor differences between the copies have not been noted. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The enclosures (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner as received in Claiborne’s 4 Mar. dispatch) are copies of the 22 Feb. 1805 statement of Patrick Madan and Joseph McNeill that the value of the old customhouse from the time of Samuel B. Davis’s possession on 1 Aug. 1804 to 1 Feb. 1805 was seventy-five dollars per month, owing to the poor condition of the building, and that because of the improvements Davis made, the value after 1 Feb. rose to ninety dollars per month; and the 22 Feb. 1805 agreement between Claiborne and Davis, witnessed by Claiborne’s clerk Thomas P. Kennedy, for Davis’s rental of the house on condition that he would vacate it when called on to do so by Claiborne or another U.S. agent in charge of public property in the city, and that he would pay ninety dollars’ rent per month.

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