James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Willie Blount, 1 March 1812

From Willie Blount

Knoxville March 1st. 1812


I have the honor to inclose to you a copy of the report of a Committee of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, adopted at their late Session,1 and subsequently communicated by the Governor of that State to the Executive of the State of Tennessee, by which he is advised that “North Carolina claims the right to perfect titles on all claims to lands, in the State of Tennessee, arising out of the laws of this State (North Carolina), and not yet satisfied,” as so much information on a course of proceeding by that State, touching the lands in this, generally, which if persisted in may in its consequences affect the provisions of the Act of compact between the United States and the State of Tennessee2 in relation to claims for lands provided for by that compact to be settled—And which may also tend to affect titles to lands in this State situate North and East of the congressional reservation line, which have been perfected under acts passed by Tennessee, in conformity to the provisions and authorities contained in said compact—and also may disturb titles to certain other lands appropriated for special purposes, under said act of compact—which information is respectfully communicated with the hope that some harmonious course of proceeding may grow out of regulations to be hereafter prescribed as a correct rule to be observed in relation to the perfecting titles on said claims. I have the honor to be very respectfully, your Obt. Servant

Willie Blount

RC and enclosure (DLC). For enclosure, see n. 1.

1Blount enclosed a one-page copy of a report approved by the North Carolina Senate and House of Commons on 20 and 21 Dec. 1811, respectively. Noting that the governor of Tennessee had requested from his North Carolina counterpart “the title papers for lands granted in that State,” the North Carolina Senate committee appointed to consider the request reported that, though disposed to assist their sister state, “yet they can but be mindful of the interests of the Citizens of this State, and that a grant of the papers required, would be an abandonment of that interest, more particularly as the State of North Carolina claims the right to perfect titles on all claims to land in the State of Tennessee, arising out of the laws of this State, and not yet satisfied; and therefore recommend, that the records and papers, be not delivered on any terms, to the State of Tennessee.” The report was signed by James Wellborn, chairman of the committee, Joseph Riddick for the Senate, John Steele for the House of Commons, and the clerks of both houses.

2Blount was referring to the 1806 U.S. statute “to authorize the state of Tennessee to issue grants and perfect titles to certain lands therein described, and to settle the claims to the vacant and unappropriated lands within the same” (see James Knox and others to JM, 24 Feb. 1812, and n. 3).

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