2 02 T H E A A R O N



m enaced." H e was advised to h u r r y the preparations o f his v essels a nd to consult w i t h W i l k i n s o n as to their d isposition. T hree d ays l ater the Governor informed D earborn that the General was picketing i n the city a nd r epairing the forts, and that they w ere a nxiously a waiting the troops f r o m the frontier; they w o u l d then h ave a f orce of eight hundred, exclusive of the Orleans v olunteers. T w e n t y - f o u r hours later he sent a second l etter to W a s h i n g t o n :    

" I f G eneral W ilkinson is not greatly mistaken," he confided to M adison, " the safety o f this Territory is s eriously menaced. Y o u may, however, be assured that e very exertion w ill be made to repel the advancing foe. G eneral W ilkinson t ells me that he has heretofore received hints of a Mexican expedition, and from the characters w ho it seems are the leaders of the present plot; b ut had attached no consequence to their conversation, u nder an impression, that unless sanctioned by the g overnment, no men of reputation and talents could seriously contemplate an object of the k ind. G eneral W ilkinson w ill doubtless become extremely obnoxious to the associates ; but his fidelity to his country w ill be justly appreciated by the good and virtuous."

C laiborne also assured the Secretary of State that t he greater part of the inhabitants of the city could be d epended upon to render assistance, while many of t hose to the w est o f the M ississippi w o u l d die for their c ountry. D ecember 5th, the Governor received further proof o f the danger to which the country was exposed. It w as a communication f r o m A n d r e w Jackson :
' J o u r n a l , p . 349. ' C l a i b o r n e t o D e a r b o r n , D e c e m b e r 4, 1806; J o u r n a l , p . 350. " C l a i b o r n e to M a d i s o n , D e c e m b e r 5, 1806; J o u r n a l , p . 352.