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Chapter 6

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
New Orleans:
The Place and the People

by
Grace King

published by The Macmillan Company
New York, 1926

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 8
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

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p107 Chapter VII
The Spanish Domination

On the morning of July 24th, 1769, a private messenger came post haste from the Balise, announcing the arrival there of a great armament under the command of Count O'Reilly, lieutenant-general of the armies of Spain. The midnight following, a Spanish officer, Don Francisco Bouligny, landed, bringing from Count O'Reilly the official announcement that he was coming up the river to take possession of the colony for Spain.

There was no further doubt about the matter now. Nothing was to be expected from France. She had abandoned the colony without advice or warning, to the punishment of Spain. The will of the people, conventions, speeches, memorials, manifestoes, plans, conspiracies, theories of government, . . . it all lifted like a mountain mist from the minds of the revolutionists, and left them staring at the bare reality, — a defenceless city of three thousand inhabitants, called to account by Spain, — Spain, the pitiless avenger of her majesty!

Lafrénière, with his partisans, hastened to Aubry. After a hurried consultation, it was decided that a deputation of them should go to O'Reilly and personally make the best explanation possible of the expulsion of Ulloa. As there had been no blood shed, it seemed to p108Aubry that a prompt apology and subjection would be accepted as a settlement of the matter. Lafrénière, Milhet, and Marquis accompanied the Spanish officer down the river, and by him were presented to O'Reilly who received them courteously. Lafrénière, as spokesman, boldly charged Ulloa with the blame of what had occurred, for not having presented his credentials, and not taking official possession of the colony before exercising authority in it. He stated that he now appeared as a representative from the Louisianans, bearing their professions of respect for the king of Spain, and their submission to him.

O'Reilly responded kindly, and in general terms. The word "sedition" passing his lips, Marquis interrupted him: "That word," he said, "is not applicable to the colonists." O'Reilly kept the Creoles to dinner with him, and sent them away full of hope as to the past.

Aubry, at midday, assembled the panic-stricken citizens in the Place d'Armes, and tranquilized their fears by an address, counseling prompt submission to the new authority. He also sent messages throughout the parishes, warning the colonists there against excitement or action. The report made by the deputation of their interview with O'Reilly, was calming, and the city, after forty-eight hours of extreme agitation, sank the following night into the much-needed repose of sleep.

The dawn of the 18th of August revealed the Spanish fleet at anchor, in front of the city, the frigate bearing O'Reilly surrounded by twenty-three other vessels. At noon the drums beat the general alarm, and the troops royal and the militia marched from their barracks to the Place d'Armes, and formed facing the river.

p109 Count O'Reilly, in all the pomp of representative majesty, heralded by music, preceded by silver maces, and followed by a glittering staff, descended the gangway from his ship to the levee, and, advancing to Aubry, presented his credentials from the king of Spain and his orders to receive the colony. Three thousand Spanish soldiers filed after him from the other vessels to the levee, and formed on the three sides of the Place. The credentials and powers were read aloud to the citizens assembled, an anxious, nervous crowd. Aubry, after a proclamation releasing the colonists from their allegiance to France, presented the keys of the city to O'Reilly. The French flag was lowered, the Spanish raised; the Spanish vessels saluted with their guns, the soldiers fired off their muskets and shouted "Viva el Rey!" The French guards were relieved by Spanish guards. The Spanish and French officers then in procession crossed the open space to the Cathedral, where a Te Deum was celebrated.

The ceremonies terminated with a grand parade of the Spanish troops, whose stern bearing, rigid discipline, and glittering equipments awed the crowds on the banquettes of the streets through which they passed.

O'Reilly installed himself in one of the handsomest houses of the place, and maintained his viceregal assumptions. Seated on an elevated canopied chair of state, he gave audiences, held receptions, and received what he regarded as the submission of the people. The old half tender patriarchal pomposity of De Vaudreuil was rude and savage in comparison. Acting upon the hint of Aubry to pay their respects promptly, the colonists flocked in numbers to the receptions, accompanied by their wives and daughters, who, with the responsibility p110and secret apprehensions upon them for their husbands and brothers, lavished, with the feminine prodigality of such emergencies, personal charms, taste in dress, witchery of manners — everything to throw the seductive glamour of a social afternoon over the grimness of a military ceremony.

Count O'Reilly maintained a graciousness of demeanour that surpassed even the most sanguine expectations. He had, however, on the day of his arrival, privately written to Aubry, demanding entire information, with all pertaining documents, respecting the expulsion of Ulloa; and the French captain, cringing with instinctive soldierly subjection, under the whip-hand of military authority, was furnishing all, and more than the Spanish general required, to justify the predetermination with which he sailed from Havana. The "chiefs of the criminal enterprise," as Aubry designated it, were the richest and most distinguished men of the city, — Lafrénière, Attorney-General Masan Chevalier of St. Louis, Marquis, retired commandant of Swiss troops, Noyan, retired captain of cavalry, Bienville, brother of Noyan and son-in‑law of Lafrénière, ensign of marine, Villeré, brother-in‑law of Lafrénière, captain of the militia of the Côte des Allemands. The lawyer Doucet was named as the author of the manifesto. Aubry made some attempt to exculpate Foucaut.

On the 21st of August a grand levee was held in the viceregal hotel. All the above-named gentlemen presenting themselves by invitation, were received with more than usual courtesy by O'Reilly, who suavely invited them to follow him into an adjoining room. It was filled with Spanish bayonets. Throwing off his mask, O'Reilly then denounced his Creole guests as p111rebels and conspirators against the king of Spain, and ordered the guards to march them to the various places of imprisonment he had selected for them. Caresse, joint author with Lafrénière of the address to the council, the two Milhets, Petit, who had participated in word and deed with the revolutionists, Poupet, the treasurer of the conspiracy, Hardy de Boisblanc, one of the council who commanded the departure of Ulloa, and Braud, the royal printer,a who had printed the various documents, were also arrested and lodged in prison.


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Old gateway on Rue du Maine.

Villeré, at the time of O'Reilly's arrival, was on his p112plantation at the Côte des Allemands. His first impulse was to throw himself under the protection of the British flag, at Manchac, but a letter from Aubry quieted his apprehensions and advised him, on the contrary, to come to New Orleans. As flight seemed a confession of guilt, this course was more acceptable to Villeré, and he set out at once for the city. At the Tchoupitoulas gate he was arrested by the Spanish guard and carried aboard the Spanish frigate lying in the river. Madame Villeré, a daughter of the Chevalier d'Arensbourg, hearing of her husband's arrest, hastened with all speed after him, and taking a skiff, had herself rowed out to the frigate. He was ordered away by the sentinels. Villeré, confined below, hearing the supplicating voice of his wife, and fearing some insult, attempt to rush past his guard and get on deck. He fell, transfixed with a bayonet. It is a tradition that to convince the wife of her husband's death, his garment, wet with blood, was thrown into her skiff, while a sailor cut the rope that held it to the frigate.b

O'Reilly's assessors conducted the trial in a room of the barracks. Foucaut's plea that as a royal officer of France he was accountable only to her laws, was allowed. The charge against Braud, the royal printer, was also similarly remitted.

The other prisoners attempted no defence. They denied the jurisdiction of the tribunal before which they were arraigned, and protested that the offences with which they were charged were committed while the flag of France was waving over them. The trial being conducted to a close, satisfactory to the judgment at least of O'Reilly, he, on the 24th day of October, p113rendered the sentence in the presence of three of his lieutenants, officiating as witnesses. Lafrénière, Milhet, and Marquis (his guests at the Balise), Noyan de Bienville, and Caresse were condemned to be conducted to the place of execution on asses with ropes around their necks, to be hanged, and their bodies to remain hanging until otherwise ordered; Petit was to be imprisoned for life; Masan and Doucet for twelve years; Hardy de Boisblanc, Poupet, and Jean Milhet, for six. The property of all was confiscated to the crown. Villeré, being dead, was represented at the trial by an "avocat à sa mémoire" — and his memory, all that was left to Spanish jurisdiction, was, in conformity to his sentence, condemned to perpetual infamy.

The whole city, men and women of every rank and class, threw themselves before O'Reilly, in an appeal for at least a suspension of the sentence until royal clemency could be invoked. He was inexorable. On the representation of the Spanish assessors that there was no executioner but a negro who was disqualified from officiating upon whites; the sentence was modified to shooting, with the stipulation, however, that it was to retain the infamy of hanging. For a similar reason, perhaps, the clause about the asses was ignored. The sentence was carried into effect the next day, 25th October, 1769, in the barracks yard. The only eye-witnesses were the Spanish soldiers, officers, interpreters, and the sheriff, whose official account furnishes the only description we have of it. He testifies that at three o'clock of the afternoon the prisoners were taken from their place of confinement in the quarters of the regiment of Lisbon, and, tied by the arms, were conducted under a good and sure guard of officers and grenadiers to the place of p114execution, where a large body of troops stood formed in a hollow square; the sentence was read to them in French and English; they were then put in position, and fired upon. It was said that Noyan de Bienville, young, handsome, and but recently married to a daughter of Lafrénière, awoke enough compassion in O'Reilly, to be offered his life, on condition that he would abandon his companions; he refused. Lafrénière, firm and heroic to the end, exhorted his son-in‑law to send the scarf he wore to his young wife, that she might preserve it and give it to his son when he became a man. All protested against being tied to the stakes. Lafrénière gave the command to fire.

From daylight, guards had been doubled at every gate and station in the city. The troops were kept in the public places and along the levee under arms and prepared for action. Those of the citizens who could, fled in horror and aguish to the country. The rest remained inside closed doors and windows. All signs and sounds of life were suppressed. The explosion of musketry that announced the end reverberated as through a death chamber. It was the blackest day the city had ever known. It is still a day that lies under a pall in memory. No historian with French blood can review it unmoved. Martin breaks through his studied calm and impartiality, after his account of it, with: "Posterity, the judge of men in power, will doom this act to public execration. No necessity demanded it, no policy justified it," and De Vergennes, the cool-headed sage of Louis XVI, cannot in writing of it forbear the cry to his sovereign: "Ah, Sire! perhaps the names of these five unfortunate Frenchmen who were executed never came to the ears of your majesty; deign to throw a few p115flowers on their tomb; deign to say, 'Lafrénière, Noyan, Caresse, Villeré, Marquis, and Milhet, were massacred by the orders of barbarous O'Reilly for having regretted leaving my service and for having wished to sustain my laws.' "

O'Reilly wrote truly to the Spanish minister, the Marquis de Grimaldi, that the remembrance of the sentence would never be effaced. He extolled the necessity, justice, and clemency of it, and declared that it amply atoned for the insult offered by the province to the dignity and authority of the king of Spain.

The capital now lay crushed and stunned in his hands. When consciousness returned, the Spanish yoke had been securely fastened upon it, and Spanish reconstruction was an accomplished fact. Instead of a superior council, there was a cabildo, with regidores, alcaldes, alguazils, alferez, and all the framework of justice and laws prescribed by The Recopilacion de los Indios; including the Spanish oath of office, swearing: "before God and the Holy Cross and the Evangel, to sustain and defend the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady the Virgin Mary."

The Spanish language was made the official organ, not only for earthly, but for spiritual intercourse; and the Ursuline sisters, it is on record, shed bitter tears at having to make their devotions in a foreign tongue and from foreign prayer books. Spanish postulants were sent to them from Cuba, and French ones were not allowed to join the community, without previous permission from Madrid. Spanish priests were imported to serve in the churches; the Santa Hermandad was established and Spanish names filled all of O'Reilly's appointments.

Notwithstanding the enduring sobriquet of "Bloody," p116affixed to his name, there are some items in the civil memory to O'Reilly's credit. By taxes on hotels, taverns, coffee-houses, etc., and on spirituous liquors, he assigned a regular revenue to the city. The butchers, and this is never omitted in local chronicles, voluntarily engaged to pay the city three hundred and seventy dollars annually, solemnly pledging themselves not, therefore, to increase the price of beef, except in cases of absolute necessity. A levee fund was obtained by a tax upon shipping; and O'Reilly donated to the city, in the name of his royal master, all the vacant lots on each side of the Place d'Armes, between the levee and Chartres street, the land that was afterwards rented in perpetuity to Don Andres Almonaster.

The Creoles met with a stern and cutting coldness any attempt at social intercourse on his part. He gained access only to those houses whose doors were forced open by official obligation or private interest. It was to such a house that his carriage, escorted by dragoons, was seen driving frequently up the coast. One day, when his manner or temper had provoked his hostess into a repartee too sharp for his courtesy, he lost self-command so far as to say: "Madame, do you forget who I am?" "No, sir," answered the lay, with a low bow, "but I have associated with others higher than you, who, never forgetting what was due to others, had no occasion to remind others what was due to them." The count instantly and curtly took his leave, but returned the next day with a good-humoured smile and an apology.

It was not the only rebuff received by Don Alexander in good part. Among the slaves left by Noyan de Bienville, was one who had a local celebrity as cook. p117O'Reilly sent for him. "You belong now," said he, "to the king of Spain, and until you are sold I shall take you into my service." "Do not dare it," answered the slave; "you killed my master. I would poison you." O'Reilly dismissed him unpunished. It was with a heartfelt sigh of relief that the colony saw O'Reilly take his departure, just a year and three months after he came to it.


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A Creole darky.

Don Luis de Unzaga y Aurenzago, colonel of infantry in the Spanish army, took command. Under his mild and easy administration, the city recovered from the despair into which O'Reilly's severity had plunged it. Indeed, O'Reilly's severity had produced among his own officers a reaction of compassion towards the unfortunate p118Louisianans, with whom they soon entered into friendly relations. They were not O'Reillys and O'Reilly was not a Spaniard; and so it was not difficult to direct public animosity towards the Irishman, and when he sailed away he carried it with him.

Creole names soon began to appear again in the official lists. St. Denis, and De la Chaise, a brother-in‑law of Villeré, accepted the appointment as alcaldes under the cabildo. Social intercourse completed in its best manner the work of conciliation. Unzaga married a Creole, a Maxent, relative of Lafrénière. His officers followed his example: Gayarré, the son of the royal comptroller, married a Grandpré; the intendant Odoardo, her sister; Bouligny, a d'Auberville; Colonel de Piernas, a De Porneuf. National and political differences became not only obliterated, but amalgamated (as we have more than once seen since) in a common Creolism; and by the time a few years had passed, all could co‑operate with a healthy unanimity in the war between the Spanish and the French Capuchins.

The triumph of Father Génovaux over the Jesuits will be recalled, and his warrior character. His triumph, however, though brilliant, was brief, for the superior council, finding him opposed to their decree against Ulloa, expelled him from the colony as a disturber of the public peace, which, in the state of the public mind at that time, any friend of the Spaniard must necessarily have been. Father Dagobert, therefore, became superior of the Capuchins. One can hardly describe Father Dagobert, without plagiarism, for in our local literature, in poetry, in prose, in song, and in history and in romance, he has been so worthily celebrated and so daintily rhymed, that his p119eulogist can invent no new phrases. He was, in practical parlance, the spiritual director, of all others, for the community committed to his charge. The very testimony of his enemies proves this. He had come into the colony when very young, and, christening, confessing, marrying, and burying year after year, he had founded in the hearts of the community that jurisdiction which only the friend and pastor can create for himself, and one in comparison with which any appointment of bishop is insignificant. He was not only beloved of all, but he loved all, in the city and its environs. It was a notable fact, and of common remark, that the spiritual and temporal affairs had never agreed so harmoniously as under Father Dagobert's care. No ceremony, public or private, was complete without him, no feast a true festivity unless his jovial face and figure appeared among the guests. And, it must always be remembered, no one knew better than he what real feasting was. And so, living along with his flock for half a century, Father Dagobert looked forward with equanimity to an old age of ease and comfort, — that ease and comfort which he would have been the last to destroy, even to disturb, in others. But there is a day of reckoning for the good as well as the bad. A short time after the Spanish possession of the city, the Capuchin convent was astounded by the appearance of its old superior, Father Génovaux, — Father Génovaux, and yet not he; so humble and patient and penitent he appeared, with eyes cast to the ground and voice barely raised above it, to beg admittance as an humble servitor of the Lord, into the house which he had once ruled as superior, from which he had been so tyrannously expelled. p120Father Dagobert gave what welcome he could to a Capuchin so far removed from his own ideals of grace, for, good-natured and tolerant as he was, there must have entered into his debonair life some irksomeness from the presence of the returned brother, who went about with such meekness and asceticism, discharging his duties with such painful exactitude, when not wrapt in prayer or in study of the Spanish language. There were also disquieting rumours in the community that Spanish Capuchins were to be sent to New Orleans. It is to be hoped that the good men prepared themselves for the worst, for it happened. In 1772 a band of Spanish Capuchins arrived, under charge of Father Cirilo, who was also charged by the new spiritual authority of Louisiana, Don Santiago de Hecheverria, bishop of Cuba, to investigate the affairs of the Church and the state of religion in the colony.

Father Dagobert, at the head of his Capuchins, dutifully went in procession to the levee landing, to receive the new comers, and escorted them to his hospitable convent. Then, as the Gayarré chronicle proceeds to relate, Father Génovaux doffed his garb of humility, and, raising his head in his old pride and dominance, spoke, in castigating severity, of the reformation in store for the convent; how that ignorance, profanity, wickedness, and senility would now be driven out, and virtue, learning, zeal, and religion reinstated. And forthwith he betook himself to the Spanish Capuchins, that his influence might make good his threats.

He must have been of great assistance to Father Cirilo in his task, at least so we think as we read the Spanish Capuchin's report to his diocesan at Havana:—

"The people of this province are, in general, religiously disposed, and seem anxious for the salvation of their souls. They observe a profound silence during divine worship, and when the Most Holy Ghost is brought out, which is on the principal holidays, both sexes prostrate themselves on the ground. With regard to the women, they are more honest than in Spain, and live more in accord with the principles of the Church. . . . But the deportment of these . . . how shall I designate them? For I certainly cannot call Capuchins those whom I consider unworthy of this holy name. In a true Capuchin . . . there is naught to be seen but austerity and poverty. But such is not the case with these men. In their dress, their shirts, breeches, stockings, and shoes, they resemble laity much more than members of their religious order. They say they have a dispensation from the Pope . . . it could never go so far as to authorize a watch in the fob, a clock striking the hour in the bedchamber, and another one, which cost two hundred and seventy dollars, in the refectory. Nor do I believe that they have permission from our sovereign lord, the Pope, to possess so many silver spoons and forks that it is doubtful whether your grace owns the like. Not only have they silver spoons of the ordinary size, but they have smaller ones to take coffee with, as if wooden ones were not good enough for Capuchins. I will not speak of the furniture of their rooms, nor of the luxury of their table. (The French Capuchins ruled teal duck as fish and ate it on fast days.) Since our arrival, and on our account, they have somewhat modified their good living, but their table is still reputed to be better than any other in the capital. Very often they do not eat at the common refectory, but invite one another to dine in their private apartments. . . .

The confessionals, in shape and construction, are more decent and better than ours in Spain . . . but none of the priests confess in the confessionals, but in the vestry, where they sit in an armchair, by the side of which the penitent kneels. On witnessing such an abuse, I could not help asking for the cause, and I was told it was owing to the heat. . . . As to their going to balls, I do not see any probability of it, as the youngest of them is fifty years old, but they frequently attend dinner parties, particularly when they perform marriage ceremonies. The report is that these Capuchins play cards. . . ."

p122 Father Génovaux was not one to forget the loyal friendship of the Ursulines for the Jesuits; and so the report proceeds! —

"With regard to the nuns, they live as they always have done, without being cloistered, and as if they were not nuns at all."

Then, after these general shots over the whole target, he aims at the bull's eye:—

"Father Dagobert forgot to notify the faithful of the coming of ember week. His attention being called to the omission, he solved the difficulty by transferring the observance of the sacred days to the following week . . . arrogating to himself more power than the Pope. . . . He made light of the Bull of the Santa Cruzada (granting indulgence to Spaniards contributing money or service towards fighting against infidels). This is how Father Dagobert lives . . . rises at six o'clock in the morning, says, or does not say, mass . . . takes his three-cornered hat, a very superfluous and unworthy appendage for a Capuchin, and goes to a somewhat suspicious house, where he plays until dinner, — that meal over, he resumes his occupation until supper-time. . . . So great (in short) is the detestable negligence of these men, that I think they are the disciples of Luther or Calvin. Not only ought Dagobert to be deprived of his charge, but he ought also to be expelled from the colony, to be punished according to his deserts, and sentenced to a proper penance for his personal faults and the enormous sins he has caused some of his flock to commit, and for which there are the gravest reasons to believe that those who have died are now in hell."

Unzaga, who was accused of partiality to the French, wrote to the captain-general of Cuba that the difficulty was all a struggle for power, and that the Spanish priests were as bad as the French. The whole controversy was submitted to the home government, which wisely temporized in the matter, signifying that concessions must be made on both sides. The hint was taken. p123Father Dagobert, although he spoke of retiring to France with his brethren, was persuaded to remain in the province as vicar-general — it must be inferred with a reformed community. Certain it is, that the innocent third party suffered, as it always does in a compromise between rival factions, for we read now of the colonists' being threatened with excommunication, temporal confiscation, imprisonment, and discipline of the Inquisition, if they did not take the sacrament at Easter.


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Old Spanish courtyard.

Across our civic panorama now dashes the brilliant figure of young Bernardo de Galvez. The son of the p124viceroy of Mexico, nephew of the secretary of state and president of the Council of the Indies, he had all the prestige of family influence behind him, and although but twenty-one years of age, he had the genius of the young for happy indiscretions. He it was who, profiting by the war between Great Britain and her colonies, not only aided the latter secretly, by allowing supplies of ammunition and food for them to pass through New Orleans, but even allowed the use of the river for American incursions into British territory. And when the longed-for opportunity came; a declaration of war between Spain and England, he it was who, burying all thought of O'Reilly in the memory of the brave, assembled the citizens of New Orleans in the public square, made them a speech, drawn sword in one hand, and royal commission in the other, and so aroused their martial ardour that he gained a little army of volunteers from them, by popular acclamation, whites, blacks, and Indians enlisting. And with them he conquered the river country as far as Natchez, swept lake Pontchartrain of English vessels, captured Mobile by a brilliant coup de main, and closed the campaign by a last triumph at Pensacola . . . driving the English everywhere before him — and fixing forever his own reputation and the military prestige of the Louisianans.

It is an episode for Calliope, not for Clio, and the muse of the lyre has not disdained it. Fortunately she had a votary in Louisiana, Julian Poydras de Lalande, a young French Protestant, who emigrated from St. Domingo to Louisiana, in time only to witness its transfer to Spain, sealed with the blood of the five patriots. He exemplified the dictum in the time of Law, that for a Frenchman to make a fortune in Louisiana, he must p125arrive there shipwrecked. He furnished himself with a pedler's stock in New Orleans and started up the coast on foot, his pack strapped to his back. This was the beginning of great commercial connections all over the Mississippi Valley. Into his pedler's pack (if the fanciful figure be permitted) Poydras put all the favour of his handsome face and pleasing address, and all the unswerving morality, indefatigable energy, unimpeachable honour, the generosity, the charity — all the virtues, in fact, which distinguished his long after-life and all the picturesque and poetical impulses that made him the lover of Clio and the bard of Galvez. Out of it came plantations, slaves, palatial houses, honours, wealth to his family, and princely charities to his state and city. There may be those who would criticize the poetry or the poem; but they are not Louisianans. And, at any rate, who would criticise either Galvez or Poydras? Do we not remember him, the latter, through our great-grandparents, in his venerable and rather melancholy old age, dressed always in his Louis XV costume, dispensing the kindly hospitality of his sumptuous plantation to all, from the duke of Orleans, stopping in 1798 to visit him, to the pedler trudging along the coast, as he had done, pack on back; or voyaging up and down the river in the flatboat that he had furnished and equipped in such wondrously luxurious comfort; or posting to Washington, to confer, by invitation, with the president about the state of Louisiana. He died as no man had yet died in Louisiana, leaving an endowment in perpetuity to charity; founding an asylum for orphan boys in the city, bequeathing forty thousand dollars to the Charity Hospital, thirty thousand dollars to establish a college for orphan boys p126in his parish of Pointe Coupee, thirty thousand apiece to the parishes of W. Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee, the annual interest of which was to be given to the young girls without fortunes, married within the year; and making the attempt, unfortunately it proved abortive, to set his slaves free.c

As for Galvez. In the poem, the God of the Mississippi sends Scesaris, the nymph, to find out the cause of the tumult which, assaulting his ears, has broken into his slumber. Scesaris reports:—

"Je l'ai vu ce Héros, qui cause tes allarmes,

Il resemblait un Dieu, revêtu de ses armes,

Son Panache superbe, alloit au gré du vent,

Et ses cheveux épars lui servoient d'ornement.

Un maintien noble et fier annonçoit son courage,

L'héroïque vertu, brilloit sur son visage,

D'une main il tenoit son Sabre éblouissant,

De l'autre il retenoit son Coursier bondissant."

Scesaris' description of the intrepid army of Louisianans, white and coloured, and their brave deeds, under such a leader, excited the God of the Mississippi, even as it does us to‑day. He interrupted her and "laisse éclater sa joie" promising in admiration of Galvez, —

"Je dirai à mes Eaux, de modérer leur cours,

Et de fertiliser le lieu de son séjour,

Par des sentiers de Fleurs qu'il parvienne à la Gloire.

Que son nom soit écrit, au Temple de mémoire."

To the great distress of the Louisianans, and particularly of New Orleans, Galvez was promoted to succeed his father as Viceroy of Mexico. He, too, had p127married a Creole, a sister of Unzaga's wife, and her surpassing loveliness of face and character is always mentioned as a factor in the reputation her husband acquired of being one of the most popular viceroys that Mexico ever had. He died at the age of thirty-eight, from a fall while hunting at his famous fortress Château which he had built for himself on the rock of Chapultepec. He was succeeded in Louisiana by Don Estevan Miro.


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Spanish dagger in bloom.

Thayer's Notes:

a See Douglas McMurtrie, "The Pioneer Printer of New Orleans", Southern Printer's Journal, Jan.‑Feb. 1929.

[decorative delimiter]

b Actually, three very different versions of Villeré's death were current: see Kendall, History of New Orleans, p23.

[decorative delimiter]

c One of Julien Poydras' charitable endowments is still active today, and he is buried in Pointe Coupee; there was once a page devoted to him at the Greater Pointe Coupee Chamber of Commerce, but with the continued shrinkage of the Web, it has been removed from that site.

Page updated: 27 Nov 09