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Sale 38 Lot 507

DEFENDING NEW ORLEANS WILLIAM C. C. CLAIRBOURNE(1775-1817) First American Governor of Louisiana. Fine content L.S. as Governor of the Territory of New Orleans, 3pp. 4to., New Orleans , Dec. 12, 1806 to General James Wilkinson concerning Naval preparations in anticipation of an invasion by Spain! He writes, asking Wilkinson in part to: "...Devise the means to enable Captain Shaw to obtain Sailors, and as far as my powers permit, they shall be resorted to. I learn from some of the merchants, that the term of service is the greatest obstacle, it is proposed to enlist the Sailors for six months, this length of time is objected to. Do you not think General that two months, unless sooner discharged would answer our objects? assist Captain Shaw in obtaining men I have authorized an Embargo,- an act of authority which can alone be exercised, legally, by the general Government and this act of mine I fear the Collector will not long submit to, lest by withholding clearances he may subject himself to personal actions. In the last resource we should indeed pursue any measure for the public safety but I submit to your cool reflection whether, at this time I could be justifiable in directing an impressments, and compelling men, per force, to enter the service?...Many well disposed Citizens do not appear to think the danger considerable and there are other who (perhaps with wicked intentions) endeavour to turn our preparations into ridicule, - but these things have no effect on my mind. That an extensive combination, with designs the most hostile, exists, I have no doubt and it is our sacred duty to be on the alert and be prepared to meet danger....". A simmering territorial dispute between the United States and Spain, together with the latter country's alliance with Bonaparte, brought the two nations close to war in 1806. During the summer, the governor of West Florida stopped the U.S. mail from travelling through and Spanish troops assembled on the Trinity River in Texas and marched to the Sabine in June 1806. The tensions continued into the next year further complicated by the rumored Aaron Burr conspiracy (of which Wilkinson may have been involved). A superb letter from the early period of American New Orleans worthy of further research. With integral address leaf. Light toning, partial separations at folds with a few repaired, else very good.
Estimate $ 300-400

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