1837: Rice Garland to Loubry Pellerin

Rice Garland
Rice Garland

This letter was written by U.S. Congressman Rice Garland (1799-1863). Garland studied law and became an attorney, first in Leaksville, North Carolina, and then in Opelousas, Louisiana. In 1834 he was elected to the US House of Representatives as an Anti-Jacksonian to fill the vacancy caused by Henry A. Bullard’s resignation. He was reelected twice as a Whig and served from April, 1834 to July 21, 1840, when he resigned.

In April, 1840, Garland spoke against the Van Buren administration’s proposal to create a standing Army, and was attacked on the House floor by Congressman Jesse A. Bynum of North Carolina.

Garland left Congress to accept appointment to the Louisiana Supreme Court, where he served until 1846, when he was accused of financial misconduct, twice attempted suicide by drowning himself in the Mississippi River, resigned from the bench, and moved to Matamoros, Mexico. He later moved to Brownsville, Texas, where he practiced law until his death. Garland served as Cameron County Judge from 1853 to 1854 and won election to a full term in 1854, but declined to serve.

Garland wrote the letter to Barthelmy Laubry Pellerin (1762-1845), the son of Jean Louis Gerard Pellerin (1729-1804) and Marie Marthe Hubert de Bellaire (1739-1815). The subject of the letter pertains to land title claims in land purchased from the French and Spanish governments.

Image 14

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Mons. Loubry Pellerin, St. Martinsville, La.

Opelousas, [Louisiana]
December 22nd 1837

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 19th inst. I have received this evening. I am obliged to be somewhat short in reply as I am preparing to leave the day after tomorrow for Washington City.

Rice Garland's smashed grave marker
Rice Garland’s smashed grave marker

After the bill of the 6th of February 1835 re-opening the Land Offices in Louisiana for the reception and proof of claims to land was passed into a law, all the claims then pending before Congress in relation to land titles derived from the French and Spanish Governments were sent back for examination by the Registers and Receivers. Your claim was with many others returned and is now in the Land Office here awaiting the examination and report of the officers of the government. Their report has not yet been made and it is impossible for me to say when it will be. I had hoped it would have been long since completed. As soon as a report is made, I shall use every effort in my power to have it acted on by Congress as early as practicable.

As I am on the point of leaving here, I cannot render you any service in the business. You will no doubt be able to find an agent who will represent your interests as efficiently as I can.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, — R. Garland


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