James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 3 August 1805 (Abstract)

From William C. C. Claiborne, 3 August 1805 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne. 3 August 1805, New Orleans. “On the 6th of June last, I had the Honor to inclose you a Correspondence betwe[e]n Colonel Freeman and myself,1 relative to a public building in his possession, which I desired the use of, for the accommadation of the Federal Court, but which the Colonel refused to evacuate, without orders from the Secretary of War.2 I am daily in expectation, of hearing from you on that subject, and I flatter myself, that the Colonel will be directed to retire from a building, which for some weeks, he has retained in defiance to my Authority, and to the injury of the public Interest; but whither it should be appropriated to the sessions of the District Court, or to the purpose for which it was originally intended a public School-Room, the President will be pleased to decide.

“The Mayor of the City, solicits that the building in question, may not be deverted from the laudable object for which it was designed, and that until provision be made for a public School, he begs it may be used as a Library Hall, for the public Library about to be established in this City. A Copy of the Mayors Letter to me on this Occasion, and of my answer, are herewith enclosed,3 which I pray you to lay before the President of the United States.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 7); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of second enclosure (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 15). RC 2 pp.; in a clerk’s hand, signed and addressed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner, with his note: “School house occupied by Colo. Freeman.” For enclosures, see n. 3.

1PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (10 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 9:437–38 and n. 1.

2On 14 June 1805 Henry Dearborn wrote Lt. Col. Constant Freeman that if the building in question was “attached to the civil department, the governor had authority over it” (Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, description begins Clarence Carter et al., eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States (28 vols.; Washington, 1934–75). description ends 9:488 n. 36).

3The first enclosure (3 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed ibid., 487–88) is a copy of John Watkins to Claiborne, 2 Aug. 1805, stating that the building had been built as a free public school maintained at the Spanish king’s expense, asking why the building “consacrated under the arbitrary goverment of Spain to the education of youth, be now under the peaceful govermt. of the United States converted into the head quarters of a Military chief?,” and suggesting that it be used to house a public library. The second enclosure (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner; 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 3:147–48) is a copy of Claiborne to Watkins, 3 Aug. 1805, stating that he was aware the building had formerly been a school house, that Freeman had refused to move without orders from Dearborn, that the case had been referred to the president, and that Claiborne would refer Watkins’s letter to him also.

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