After waiting almost to the 12th. hour to get all the information I could respecting characters at N. Orleans, I have, on consultation with mr Madison … [and] the heads of departments separately & provisionally …
[a list of executive, legislative and judicial appointments for the new government in New Orleans]
In this composition, the several interests American & French, city & country, mercantile & agricultural, have been consulted as much as possible. Claiborne as you know was not the person originally intended. but that person cannot now be appointed: and Claiborne’s conduct has on the whole been so prudent & conciliatory that no secondary character could have a better right. I was able too by a frank private explanation to let him consider his appointment perhaps as ad interim only.
To Henry Dearborn, September 6, 1804
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Consensus-seeking leaders build effective teams.
Almost nine months after France transferred ownership of Louisiana to the United States, the President was ready to establish its territorial government. This excerpt to his Secretary of War outlined his steps in the presenting these nominees. He:
1. Was not in a hurry but took all the time he needed to make the best choices.
2. Sought the advice of his Cabinet officers.
3. Conferred with his Secretary of State, James Madison, on the final choices. (Louisiana would fall under Madison’s supervision.)
4. Considered all the competing stakeholder interests: American and French, urban and rural, commercial and agricultural.
5. Acknowledged Claiborne was not his first choice for the top job of governor, but he had no better alternative.
6. Since he had reservations about Claiborne, he let Claiborne know his appointment was temporary and provisional.