James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Julien Poydras de Lalande, 28 January 1812

From Julien Poydras de Lalande

In Convention

N: Orleans January 28th. 1812


The Representatives of the People of the Territory of Orleans in Convention assembled have now the honour to submit to the consideration of Congress, the Constitution or form of Government, the result of their joint deliberations, under the act, providing for the admission of this Country, into the Union of the States.1

Motives of peculiar urgency connected with the repose and security of the People of this Territory have induced them to solicit of the Executive, that the Constitution herewith transmitted may be immediately laid before Congress, so as to be acted on, without delay at their present session. The anticipated change in the Government of this Territory has had a tendency to produce a considerable relaxation in some of the most important departments thereof. Provided the adoption of the new form should be delayed to a distant period, serious injuries and inconveniencies to the People are apprehended. The Convention therefore beg leave to express to Congress, through the Executive their most earnest solicitudes for as speedy a provision against such a state of things as may comport with the other national duties of that Body.

By the unanimous order of the Convention With great respect, we have the honor to be Sir Your Excellency’s most obedient servants

J Poydras
President of the Convention

Attest: Eligius Fromentin
Secretary to the Convention

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 46, Legislative Proceedings, 12A-E2). The enclosure, which consists of twenty-one oversized pages, is a copy of the 1812 constitution for the state of Louisiana (see n. 1). Also filed with the RC are copies of a resolution adopting the U.S. Constitution in the Orleans Territory (1 p.) and an ordinance respecting the public lands of the U.S. in the Orleans Territory (2 pp.). JM forwarded all these documents with the RC to Congress on 3 Mar. 1812.

1Under the terms of the enabling act for the admission of the Orleans Territory to the Union, signed by JM on 20 Feb. 1811, a constitutional convention had assembled in New Orleans on 4 Nov. 1811, and some two weeks later the members elected Julien Poydras de Lalande as their presiding officer. On 22 Jan. 1812 the convention approved a constitution modeled on the constitutions of the U.S. and South Carolina (see Hatfield, William Claiborne, pp. 254–56).

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