James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne (Abstract), 31 March 1805

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

31 March 1805, New Orleans. “I enclose you Mr. Walsh’s Pastoral Letter.1 The City Council having heard that this production was in the Press, requested and obtained from the Printer the Manuscript Copy: After a perusal, the Council being apprehensive that its publicity would divide and inflame the Public mind, instructed the Mayor to use his best endeavours to have it suppressed. Efforts to that effect were made, but the printer (Mr. Bradford) urged the freedom of the Press, and determined upon his own responsibility to publish the Letter.”

RC and enclosure (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 as received in May. Minor differences between the copies have not been noted. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosure (docketed by Wagner) is a broadside, in French, of Fr. Patrick Walsh’s 27 Mar. 1805 pastoral letter, denying the validity of Antonio de Sedella’s position, stating that functions performed by priests named by laypersons were invalid, ordering the cathedral closed, and designating the chapel in the Ursuline convent as the New Orleans parish church (Baudier, The Catholic Church in Louisiana, 257). The letter was apparently also printed in the Orleans Gazette (Bradley, Interim Appointment, 214 n. 2).

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