4.12.2015

Letter to Andrew Jackson from Alexander James Dallas

Department of War
12th. April 1815.

Sir,
    As soon as the first credible account of the peace was received at Washington, a letter stating the fact was addressed to you from this Department, dated the 14th of February; and as soon as the Treaty of peace was ratified by the President and Senate, the event was communicated to you in another letter; dated the 16th of February, with instructions for the disposal of the force under your command. It is regretted that any accident should prevent the delivery of either of these letters in due course, but I presume that  both of them have long ago reached your hands; and that the instructions have been carried into effect.
    I assure you, Sir, that it is a very painful task to disturb, for a moment the enjoyment of the honorable gratification which you must derive, as well from the consciousness of the great service that you have rendered to your country, as from the expressions of approbation and applause, which the nation has bestwoed upon those services. But representations have been recently made to the President, respecting certain acts of military opposition ot the civil magistrae, that require immediate attention, not only in vindication of the just authority of the laws, but to rescue your own conduct form all unmerited reproach.
    There have been transmitted to the President copies of the letter of Mr. Reed, your aid-de-camp to the Editor of the Louisianna Courrier, dated 21st of February; of your general orders, dated the 28 of February, commanding certain French subjects to retire form New Orleans; of a publication in the Louisianna Courrier of the 3d. Of March, under the signature of “ a citizen of Louisianna of French Origin” animadverting upon the General order; of a second General Order of the 5th. Of march, inforcing the Order of the 28th. Of February ; of your letter of the 6th. Of February, announcing the unofficial intelligence of the peace; and of a third General Order of the 8th of March, suspending the execution of the order of the 28th. Of February, expcept as far as it relates to the Chevalier de Tousard.
    These documetns have been accompanied with a statement, that on the 5th. Of march, the writer of the publication of the 3d. Of March, Mr. Louallier, a member of the Legislature of the State of Louisiana, was arrested by your order, on account of the publication, and lodged in the barracks, that on the same day Mr. Hall, the Judge of the District, issued a writ of Habeas corpus in the case of Mr. Louallier; but before the writ was served the Judge himself was arrested, by your order, for issuing it, and conducted under a strong guard to the barracks; that on the 8th. Of March Mr. Dick, the Attorney of the United States , having obtained from Mr. Lewis, a State Judge, a write of Habeas Corpus in the case of Judge Hall, which was served upon you, he was arrested by your order, and lodged in the barracks; that Judge Hall was released on the 12th. Of March, but escorted to a place out of the city of New Orleans, with orders not to return, until information of peace was officially announced; and that Mr. Dick was released on the same day, and permitted to remain in town, but with orders to report himself, from day to day, until discharged.
    From these repesentations it would appear, that the Judicial power of the United States has been resisted, the liberty of the press has been suspeded, and the consul and subjects of a friendly Government have been exposed to great inconvenience, by an exercise of Military force and command. The President views the subject, in its present aspect, with surprize and solicitude: but in the absence of all information from yourself, relative to your conduct and the motives for your conduct, he abstains from any decision, or even the expression of an Opinion, upon the case, in hopes that such explanations may be afforded, as will reconcile his sense of public duty with a continuance of the confidence, which he reposes in your Judgment, discretion, and patriotism. He instructs me, therefore, to request, that you will with all possible dispatch, transmit to this Department a full report of the transactions, which have been stated. And, in the meantime, it is presumed, that every extraordinary exertion of militray authority has ceased, in consequence of the cessation of all danger, open or covert, upon the restoration of peace.
    The President instructs me to take this opportunity of requesting, that a conciliatory deportment may be observed towards the state authorities, and the citizens of New Orleans. He is persuaded, that Louisianna justly estimates the value of the talents and valour, which have been displayed for her defense and safety; and that there will be no dispostion in any part of the nation , to review, with severity, the efforts of a commander, acting in a crisis of unparalleled difficulty, upon the impulse of the purest patriotism. I have the honor to be, very respectuflly sir your most Obedt. Servant.

A.J. Dallas

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