May 05, 2016 - Sale 2413

Sale 2413 - Lot 154

Price Realized: $ 21,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
QUELLING UNREST ON THE EVE OF THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE MADISON, JAMES. Letter Signed, as Secretary of State, to Governor of TN Archibald Roane, requesting that he restrain any attempts within his state to bring arms against Spanish Louisiana. 1 page, 4to; vertical fold through final "M" of signature (without loss), evenly toned, faint offsetting, remnants of prior mounting along upper edge verso. [Washington], 18 February 1803

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"It has been represented to the Government of the United States by the Minister of His Catholic Majesty, that from reports which are entitled to attention he has reason to fear, that certain persons in the Western parts of Pennsylvania are employed in exciting the people to arm themselves, with the expectation of being joined by others from the western portion of the Union, and to proceed with hostile intentions against the Province of Louisiana. As such a procedure would be not only incompatible with the authority and dignity of the Government but dangerous to our peace with foreign nations, the President entertains the fullest confidence that your Excellency will take the most early and efficient measures to restrain such an attempt should it be within the state of Tennessee."
In 1800, the area of present-day Louisiana was transferred from Spain to France, but the King of Spain ("His Catholic Majesty") remained in charge until French officials were in place. The idea that the French Empire would soon be controlling the important port of New Orleans was not greeted by Americans with universal approval, especially by those merchants in Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere who would no longer be able to store goods at the port. As President Jefferson pursued the negotiations that would soon result in the Louisiana Purchase, he simultaneously prepared for the possibility of a military engagement in the Mississippi valley and approved local State militias to restrain any violence that might erupt from the merchants.
Letters similar to the present one were sent at the same time by Madison to the governors of Pennsylvania and Kentucky.