From Caesar A. Rodney
Wilmington October 17th. 1809
My Dear Sir,
Mr. Poydras1 declined the printing of Mr. Lisley’s able & argumentative work,2 which had been translated at the Secretary of States office, & which only required to be corrected previously to publication. The enclosed pamphlet was transmitted to me, by Mr. Poydras (& which I had not seen before) as the work he desired to have correctly translated & printed.3 Not being conversant with the French language myself, I have had recourse to a young gentleman well acquainted with it for his aid, & I find the work so declamatory & in some respects so personal, that I do not consider it sufficiently temperate & dignified, for a publication which the goverment or any officer of it, has sanctioned. The “Suaviter in modo,” is never inconsistent with the “Fortiter in re.” However desirous of seeing the sound & luminous arguments of Mr. Lisly, an accomplished Civilian, published in answer to the numerous pamphlets on the other side, I must confess I do not think the work enclosed will be likely to produce any benificial effects. Let Mr. Livingston appeal to the passions or excite the feelings if he pleases; The United States ought not to follow the example. It is the honest & sincere wish of the Goverment, that right & justice may be done in the case agreeably to the facts & the law. A temperate discussion is the surest method of obtaining this result. Should your ideas correspond with mine I shall inform Mr. Poydras that I do not consider the pamphlet calculated to attain the object he wishes.
I presume Mr. Jackson has begun to unfold his veiws & wishes. I hope his mission may terminate favorably. But I do not anticipate such a result. Let the issue be what it may, the administration will be placed on higher ground. In this State I am well convinced a radical change of sentiment is taking place among the people. Even the Federal leaders have experienced an alteration in their opinions, & appear disposed at such a crisis, to support the Goverment. I trust their future conduct will evince their sincerity. The Spanish Ambassador will not I apprehend, create much difficulty.
Remember me particularly to Mrs. Madison & Mrs. Cutts & beleive me Dear Sir, Yours Very Sincerely
C. A. Rodney
1. Julien Poydras de Lalande was the Orleans Territory delegate in the House of Representatives, 1809–11.
2. On 2 Jan. 1809 Orleans territorial governor William C. C. Claiborne had forwarded to JM Louis Moreau de Lislet’s “Mémoire au soutien des droits des Etats-unis à la Batture du Faubourg Ste. Marie” (136 pp.; dated at New Orleans, 31 Dec. 1808 [DNA: RG 59, Records Relating to the Livingston Claim to the Batture in New Orleans]). The manuscript was never published, and the translation made in the Department of State has not been found. In May 1810 Jefferson requested JM to send him Moreau’s “Mémoire” for use in preparing his defense against Edward Livingston’s suit over the batture. Neither the original manuscript nor the translation could be located in Washington, however, and it was not until October 1810 that Rodney was finally able to provide Jefferson with “the original papers of Mr. Lisle on the subject of the batture.” Jefferson then used the manuscript extensively in revising his own memorial on the batture for publication in 1812 (Jefferson to JM, 30 May 1810; JM to Jefferson, 4 June 1810; John Graham to Jefferson, 11 June 1810, and Rodney to Jefferson, 18 Oct. 1810 [DLC: Jefferson Papers]; see also Jefferson’s “The Batture at New Orleans. The Proceedings of the Government of the United States in Maintaining the Public Right to the Beach of the Mississippi, Adjacent to New Orleans, against the Intrusion of Edward Livingston,” Lipscomb and Bergh, Writings of Jefferson description begins Andrew A. Lipscomb and Albert Ellery Bergh, eds., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (20 vols.; Washington, 1903-4). description ends , 18:56 n. 2).
3. In his reply to Rodney on 22 Oct. JM acknowledged receipt of “the pamphlet of T. on the Batture.” Rodney possibly enclosed one of two pamphlets written by J. B. S. Thierry. The contents of both Thierry’s Examen des droits des Etats-Unis et prétensions de Mr. Eduoard Livingston sur la Batture (New Orleans, 1808; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 (22 vols. to date; New York, 1958-). description ends 16306) and his Réponse à Mr. Du Ponceau (New Orleans, 1809; Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 (22 vols. to date; New York, 1958-). description ends 18748) conform to Rodney’s description that the work he sent to JM was “so declamatory & in some respects so personal” as to be not “sufficiently temperate & dignified” to receive the sanction of the administration. Both works, however, had already been translated into English in New Orleans (Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 (22 vols. to date; New York, 1958-). description ends 16307 and 18749), though Rodney may not have been aware of this fact.