James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Nicholas Boilvin, 28 May 1809 (Abstract)

§ From Nicholas Boilvin

28 May 1809, Prairie du Chien. Boilvin, the Indian agent at Prairie du Chien, complains that the Michilimackinac Trading Company, which is operated by British subjects, is sowing dissension among the Indian tribes.1 He makes several recommendations, including troop reinforcements to awe the Indians and intimidate the British traders. If Boilvin’s suggestions are not implemented, he believes the stationing of a U.S. agent among the tribes is a useless gesture. He warns that ignoring his recommendations will lead to increased prestige for the British traders, “Et dela Dieu Sai quel en cera Les Suites.”

RC (DNA: RG 107, Letters Received, Registered Series); Tr (WHi: Villa Louis Museum, Prairie du Chien). 3 pp. Written in French. Lengthy abstract in English on verso of third page of RC. RC docketed as received 9 Oct. 1809. Tr written in the same hand, dated 28 July 1809, St. Louis. For Boilvin’s background, see Carter, Territorial Papers, Illinois, 16:69 n.

1The acting governor of the Illinois Territory, Nathaniel Pope, wrote the secretary of war on 11 May 1809 reporting that British traders were supplying arms and ammunition to the Indians around Prairie du Chien. Pope complained that Boilvin, who must have known of these activities, had not reported them to his superior, the governor of the Louisiana Territory (ibid., 16:37).

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