Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and of Navarre, to all who shall see these presents, greeting: We make it known that the Superior Council of the Province of Louisiana, having taken into consideration the humble representations made, this day, to that Court, by the planters, merchants, mechanics and others; and whereas the relief of a people, to whom the Council is as a father, the support of the laws, of which it is the depository and interpreter, and the improvement of agriculture and commerce, of which it is the patron, are the motives of the representations of said planters, merchants and others; said Council has proceeded to adjudicate, as follows, on these important matters:
What momentous objects are these for the Council! Can it, after having duly weighed them, give attention to any other subject, except so far as it may contribute to favor these? Let it, for a few moments, suspend its arduous labors, to attend to those subjects, which are now represented as most worthy of its attention and ministry; and thou, dear country, whose prosperity is the object of our most ardent wishes: thou, that art to us what Sparta, Athens, p368and Rome were to their zealous citizens, suffer us to pay a legitimate debt by consecrating to thee this weak tribute of our love. It will be dictated by our hearts, whose inspirations an obedient hand is ready to record.
Seven millions of royal paper constituted all the currency of this colony and the fortune of its citizens; the total withdrawing of this capital, the payment of which his Majesty suspended by an edict of October, 1759, has reduced the province of Louisiana to the most deplorable situation. We shall not undertake to enter into a detail of the calamities, of the ruined fortunes, of the downfall of families, which were the fatal consequences of that catastrophe. The Council, every time it assembles to take cognizance of the affairs of the unhappy victims of that event, has before its eyes a more striking picture of our misfortunes than it is possible for us to paint. Recovered from the depression into which they have been plunged, the citizens of Louisiana had begun at last to breathe; they had considered the conclusion of the war as the end of their misfortunes, and entertained hopes that the return of peace would be the moment destined for their relief. Agriculture (said the planter), that surest and most positive wealth for a nation, that prolific source from which flow all the blessings which we enjoy, will now be revived, and will repair, a hundred fold, during the peace the losses which we underwent during the war; commerce, without which the fruits of the earth have neither worth nor value, will be vivified and protected, said the merchant. Sweet illusions and flattering projects, what is now become of you? The planter, the merchant, all ranks and classes in the colony, undergo, in the most profound peace, misfortunes and calamities which they never felt during a long and bloody war.
The first stroke by which the colony was afflicted, was the information it received of the cession made of it by his Majesty to Spain. Nobody, doubtless, will be surprised at the profound grief which this news excited in all hearts. The French love their monarch above all things, and a happy prejudice makes all men naturally incline to the government under which they are born. Let us cast a veil over this event; the pen drops from the hand of a Frenchman when he attempts to analyse it. What at present seriously occupies, and should engross the whole attention of the court, is the contemplation of those facts which are the forerunners of that slavery with which a new administration threatens the colonists of Louisiana. At one time we behold an exclusive company, which, p369to the prejudice of the nation, is empowered to carry on all the commerce of the remaining possessions of the French in North America; we next see the appearance of an edict, which confines within the narrowest bounds the liberty necessary to commerce, and forbids the French to have any connection with their own nation; it is replete with prohibitions and restraints; the merchants of Louisiana every where meet with obstacles to be surmounted, difficulties to be overcome, and (if it be allowable to make use of such an expression) enemies of their country to be overthrown. In Europe, a period of six months will sometimes elapse before persons that fit out vessels know whether they shall obtain passports; we have no better success at St. Domingo, when expeditions to this river (Mississippi) are in question. The Prince of Monbazon, Commander General of the island, begins to refuse them. In Louisiana, in the very centre of the colony, where a person of the meanest understanding sees, at the very first glance, how much it stands in need of encouragement and patronage, we do not meet with more favor.
The government, about twelve months ago, forbade the importation of Negroes, on the pretext that the competition would have proved injurious to a merchant of the English colonies, who was to furnish them. How terrible and how destructive a course of action is this! It is depriving the colony of the materials best calculated to develop its resources; it is cutting up by the roots a branch of commerce, which is of more consequence to Louisiana than all the rest put together. To promote systems of this sort is tantamount to the desire to convert into a vast forest, establishments which have cost infinite pains and trouble. The vigilance of the court will easily discover the cause of these contrarieties; the efforts of its zeal will destroy it; and its affection for the colony will save it from destruction. Constraint keeps the affairs of the province in a state of languor and weakness; liberty, on the contrary, animates all things; no one is at present ignorant that the granting of exclusive privileges may be justly considered as a sort of vampire, which imperceptibly sucks and consumes the people, drains the currency, and crushes agriculture and commerce; it is an oppressive method, which, for the happiness of mankind, has been long since banished from the French colonies.
To what fatality is it owing that Louisiana alone sees sparks of this devouring fire again struck out? These are no panic terrors; and of this the court will be convinced, after perusing the decree, p370with an extract of which we have here the honor of presenting them. We shall not scruple to affirm, that the carrying of the plan which it contains into execution would ruin the colony, by giving agriculture and commerce the most dangerous wounds. The inhabitants of Louisiana already despair of the preservationº of their country, if the privileges and exemptions which it has hitherto enjoyed are not continued; if the execution of the fatal decree which has alarmed all hearts and filled them with consternation is not prevented: if an ordinance, published in the name of his Catholic Majesty, on the 6th of September, 1766, of which a copy is here subjoined, is not annulled as illegal in all its points, and as contrary to the increase of agriculture and commerce; if finally, the mild laws under which the inhabitants have lived till now, were suffered to be violated. We should never forget the sublime discourse, which an illustrious magistrate addresses to the legislators of the earth: "Are you," says he, "desirous of abrogating any law, touch it but with a trembling hand. Approach it with so much solemnity, use so many precautions, that the people may naturally conclude that the laws are sacred, since so many formalities are required for their abrogation."
How mortifying is it for Frenchmenº to suffer all the rigors to which their commerce is subjected, whilst a foreign nation, their ambitious rival, openly carries on the trade of the colony, to the prejudice of the nation to which it belongs, which contributed to its establishment, and which is at the expense of it. We do not fear that it will be objected, that the French alone are not able to supply the continent with all the commodities which it wants. A loan of seven millions, which the inhabitants Louisiana made to the king, from the year 1758 to 1763, will be an eternal monument of the extent of the French commerce, and of the attachment of the colonists to their sovereign's service.
It is just at the time when a new mine has been discovered; when the culture of cotton, improved by experience, promises the planter the recompense of his toils, and furnishes persons engaged in fitting out vessels, with cargoes to load them; when the manufacture of Indigo may vie with that of St. Domingo; when the fur trade has been carried to the highest degree of perfection which it has yet attained; it is in these happy circumstances that certain enemies to their country, and broachers of a false system, have imposed upon persons in office, to induce them to sacrifice the inhabitants of New Orleans. Let the court no longer defer the relief of p371a people which is dear to it; let it make known to those invested with royal authority the exhausted state to which this province would be reduced, it if were not soon to be freed from the prohibitions which would plunge it into irremediable ruin. What would be thought of a physician, who, being possessed of a panacea, or universal remedy, should wait for a plague in order to reveal it? It is by the trade to the Leeward Islands that the inhabitants of Louisiana find means, every year, to dispose of four score or a hundred cargoes of lumber. Should this branch of trade be taken away, the colony would be deprived of an annual income of five hundred thousand livres at least — a sum which the work of the negroes and the application of the master produces alone, without any other disbursement. According to the observation of a celebrated author, it would be better to lose a hundred thousand men in a great kingdom by an error in politics, than to be guilty of one which should stop the progress of agriculture and commerce. It is well known that those who present plans to obtain exclusive privileges, are never without plausible reasons to make them appear economic and advantageous, as well to the king as to the public; but the experience of all ages and all countries evidently demonstrates, that those who seek exclusions have their private interest solely in view; that they have less zeal than others for the prosperity of the state, and have less of the spirit of patriotism.
The execution of the decree relative to the commerce of Louisiana would reduce the inhabitants to the sad alternative of either losing their harvest for want of vessels to export them, or of exchanging their commodities in a fraudulent manner with a foreign nation, exposing themselves to undergo the rigor of the law, which ordains that those who carry on a contraband trade shall lose both their lives and liberties. What a life is this! what a struggle! It is but too true, as has been already observed, that the report of the new ordinance alone has caused a considerable diminution, not only in the articles of luxury, but likewise in landed estates. A house which was heretofore worth twenty thousand livres would hardly sell for five thousand. Some will, perhaps, assert that the scarcity of money contributes also to this diminution. But how much greater will be the scarcity of specie when the colony shall either be delivered up to an exclusive company, or to the ambition of five or six individuals who form but one body? It will then resemble a member grown to a monstrous bulk, at the expense of the substance of the rest which would become withered and palsied. The body p372would thereby find itself threatened with a total destruction. It was only by openly favoring the introduction of negroes, that this colony was raised to the flourishing state which it appeared to have attained in 1759.
Perhaps it will be said, to dispel these alarms, that the gold and silver which has been made to abound in the place by a new administration, may indemnify for the losses of agriculture and commerce. But, judging of the future by the experience of the past and of the present, that resource will be found to be very weak, as nobody can pretend not to know that, among the various treasures which the earth contains in its bosom, gold and silver are neither the chief riches nor the most desirable. These metals have reduced their natural possessors to a deplorable state, and the masters of those slaves have not thereby become more powerful. They appear, from that moment, to have lost all spirit of industry, all disposition to work, like a laborer who should find a treasure in the midst of his field, and thereupon forsake his plough forever. Besides, how many acts of severity have been committed against peaceable citizens by a stranger, who, though invested with a respectable character, has observed none of the formalities, nor performed any of the duties prescribed by the act of cession, which provides for their peace and tranquillity. We shall mention an old ship captain, who was confined by his orders, and whose vessel was detained in port during eight or ten months, for not having been able to read in the decrees of Providence, that the vessel in which he had despatched certain packets intrusted to his care, would be cast away. A similar tyranny was exercised by the person invested with this illegal and unjust authority, against two captains belonging to Martinico, who had been guilty of no other crime than that of not having guessed that the Council of Louisiana had issued an edict forbidding the introduction of the creolized negroes of the Leeward Islands. What ill usage had an old citizen suffered, on account of a packet which has been put in the hands of the captain of one of his ships, who, having met with contrary winds, was unable to deliver it at Havana!
How shall we describe the barbarity with which the Acadians were treated? These people, the sport of fortune, had determined, under the impulse of a patriotic spirit, to forsake all that they might possess on the English territories, in order to go and live under the happy laws of their ancient master. They arrived in this colony at a great expense, and scarce had they cleared out a p373place sufficient for a poor thatched hut to stand upon, when, in consequence of some representations which they happened to make to Mr. Ulloa, he threatened to drive them out of the colony, and have them sold as slaves, in order to pay for the rations which the king had given them; at the same time directing the Germans to refuse them a retreat. It remains to be determined whether this conduct does not border upon barbarism; but we think we can presume to conclude, without exaggeration, that it is diametrically contrary to the political system which favors the encouragement of population in all its branches and by every means. Those who complain (and who is there so far broke to the yoke as to bear, without murmuring, inhumanities so horrid?) — yes — we dare declare it, those who complain are threatened with imprisonment, banished to the Balize, and sent to the mines. Now, though Mr. Ulloa may have been invested with some authority, his prince never commanded him to exert it in a tyrannical manner, nor to exercise it before having made known his titles and powers. Such oppressions are not dictated by the hearts of kings; they agree but ill with that humanity which constitutes their character, and directs their actions.
Were we to enter into a detail of all the mortifications which the French of New Orleans have undergone, we should hardly make an end of the recital. It were to be wished, for the honor of the nation, that as many of them as have transpired might be obliterated by the precious effects of the protection of the superior council, which is now applied for; and it is foretold that the inhabitants of Louisiana will, in order that their tribulations be complete, be reduced, in process of time, to live barely on tortillas, although the most frugal sort of food would not be a matter of complaint on their part. In the meantime, the preservationº of their lives, their obligations to their creditors, their sense of honor, which flows from the sacred source of patriotism and duty, finally, the circumstance of the attack made on their property and means of subsistence by that very decree, induce them to offer their possessions and their blood, to preserve for ever the dear and inviolable title of French citizen. All that has hitherto been said leads them naturally to demands or requests, to which the zeal of the court for the public good, and its steadiness in supporting the laws of which his most Christian majesty has made them the depositaries, assure them that it will give the most favorable reception. But before they proceed to state their requests, they must acknowledge the kindness with which they were treated by Mr. Aubry. The p374wishes of the public have always corresponded with the choice of the prince in assigning him the chief command over the province of Louisiana; his virtues have caused the titles of honest man and equitable governor to be adjudged him; he never made use of his power but to do good, and all unjust deeds have to him ever appeared impossible. They are not afraid of being reproached that gratitude has made them exaggerate in any particular. To neglect bestowing deserved praises is to keep back a lawful debt, and they conclude, finally, by intreating the court:
1. To obtain that the privileges and exemptions which the colony has enjoyed, since the cession made by the company to his most Christian majesty, be maintained, without any innovations being suffered to interrupt their course and disturb the security of the citizens.
2. That passports and permissions be granted from the governors and commissioners of his most Christian majesty, to such captains of vessels as shall set sail from this colony to any ports of France or America whatever.
3. That any ship sailing from any port of France or America whatever, shall have free entrance into the river, whether it sail directly for the colony, or only put in accidentally, according to the custom which has hitherto prevailed.
4. That freedom of trade with all the nations under the government of his most Christian majesty be granted to all the citizens, in conformity to the king's orders to the late Mr. D'Abbadie, registered in the archives of this city, and likewise in conformity to the letter of his Grace the Duke of Choiseul, addressed to the same Mr. D'Abbadie, and dated the 9th of February, 1766.
5. That Mr. Ulloa be declared to have, in many points, infringed and usurped the authority hitherto possessed by the government and council of the colony, because all the laws, ordinances and customs direct, that said authority shall not be exercised by any officer until he shall have complied with all the formalities prescribed; and this condition Mr. Ulloa has not observed. He should, therefore, be declared to have infringed and usurped the authority of the government:— 1. For having caused the Spanish flag to be set up in several parts of the colony, without having previously cause to be registered in the archives of the superior council, the titles and powers which he may have had, and of which the assembled citizens might have been informed. 2. For having of his own accord, by his own private authority, insisted upon captains being p375detained with their ships in the port without any cause, and for having ordered subjects of France to be confined on board of a Spanish frigate. 3. For having caused councils, in which decrees were issued concerning the inhabitants of Louisiana, to be held in the house of Mr. Destréhan. They request that, on account of these grievances, and many others publicly known, and likewise for the tranquillity of all the citizens who apply for the protection of the council, they be freed, for the future, from the fear of a tyrannical authority, and exempted from observing the conditions enjoined in the said decree, by means of the dismission of Mr. Ulloa, who should be ordered to embark on board of the first vessel which shall set sail, in order to depart, whenever he thinks proper, out of the dependencies of this province.
6. That orders be given to all the Spanish officers who are in this city, or scattered throughout the posts appertaining to the colony, to quit them, in order to depart likewise, whenever they shall think proper, out of the dependencies of the province; and, finally, that the court be pleased to order that its decree, when rendered, be read, published, and set up in all the usual places of the town, and collated copies sent to all the posts of the said colony.
The foregoing representations being signed by five hundred and thirty-six persons — planters, merchants, tradesmen, and men of note; considering likewise the copy of the decree, published by orders of his Catholic Majesty, neither signed nor dated, and another copy of an ordinance published in this city by order of Mr. Ulloa, of the 6th of September, 1766; the interlocutory decree issued yesterday, upon the requisition of the king's attorney-general, ordering and directing that, before the decision of the court, the said representations be put into the hands of Messrs. Huchet de Kernionº and Piot de Launay, titular councilors, to be by them examined, and afterwards communicated to the king's council, in order that what the law directs may be enacted concerning them — all these particulars being taken into consideration, the king's attorney stood up and said:
"Gentlemen — The first and most interesting point to be examined is the step taken by all the planters and merchants in concert, who, being threatened with slavery, and laboring under grievances which have been enumerated, address your tribunal, and require justice for violations of the solemn act of cession of this colony.
"Is yours a competent tribunal? are the complaints just?
"I shall now proceed to demonstrate the extent of the royal authority p376vested in the superior council. The parliaments and superior councils are the depositaries of the laws, under the protection of which the people live happy; they are created and organized to be, from the very nature of their official tenure, the sworn patrons of virtuous citizens, and they are established for the purpose of executing the ordinances, edicts and declarations of kings, after they are registered. Such has been the will and pleasure of Louis, the well-beloved, our liege lord and king, in whose name all your decrees, to the present day, have been issued and carried into execution. The act of cession, the only title of which his Catholic Majesty's commissary can avail himself, to make his demands auctoritate et proprietate, was addressed to the late Mr. D'Abbadie, with orders to cause it to be registered in the superior council of the colony, to the end that the different classes of the said colony may be informed of its contents, and may be enabled to have recourse to it upon occasion; that instrument being calculated for no other purpose.
"Mr. Ulloa's letter, dated from Havana, July 10, 1765, which expresses his dispositions to do the inhabitants all the service they can desire, was addressed to you, gentlemen, with a request to make it known to the said inhabitants that, in thus acting, he would only discharge his duty and gratify his inclinations. The said letter was, by your decree, after full deliberation, published, set up and registered, as a pledge of happiness and tranquillity to the inhabitants. Another letter of the month of October last, written to Mr. Aubry, proves that justice still continues to be administered in the colony in the name of Louis the well-beloved. It results from the solemn act of cession and its accessories, that the planters, merchants and other inhabitants have the most solid basis to stand upon, when they present you with their most humble remonstrances; and that you, gentlemen, are fully authorized to pronounce thereupon. Let us now proceed to a scrupulous examination of the act of cession, and of the letter written by Ulloa to the Superior Council. I think it likewise incumbent on me to cite, word for word, an extract of the King's letter, which was published, set up and registered.
"This very solemn act of cession, which gives the title of property to his Catholic Majesty, secures for the inhabitants of the colony the preservation of ancient and known privileges; and the royal word of our Sovereign Lord, the King, promises and gives us ground to hope for others, which the calamities of war have prevented p377him from making his subjects enjoy. The ancient privileges having been suppressed by the authority of his Catholic Majesty's commissioner, property becomes precarious. The act of cession, which was the mere result of good will and friendship, was made with reserves which confirmº the liberty and privileges of the inhabitants, and promises them a life of tranquillity, under the protection and shelter of their canon and civil laws. As property accruing from a cession by free gift cannot be claimed and obtained, except on the condition of complying, during the whole possession of said property, with the reserves contained in said act of cession, our sovereign lord, the king, hopes, and promises himself that, in consequence of the friendship and affection shown to him by his Catholic Majesty, he (said C. M.), will be pleased to give such orders to his governor, and to all other officers employed in his service in said colony, as may be conducive to the advantage and tranquillity of the inhabitants, and that they shall be ruled, and their fortunes and estates managed according to the laws, forms, and customs of said colony. Can Mr. Ulloa's titles give authority to ordinances and orders which violate the respect due to the solemn act of cession? The ancient privileges, the tranquillity of the subjects of France, the laws, forms, and customs of the colony are rendered sacred by a royal promise, by a registering ordered by the superior council, and by a publication solemnly decreed and universally known. The sole aim of the letter of our sovereign lord, the king, was to grant to the different classes of the colony a recourse to the act of cession. Therefore, nothing can be better grounded or more legal than the right of remonstrating, which the inhabitants and citizens of the colony have acquired by royal authority.
"Let us proceed to an examination of the letter of Mr. Ulloa, written to the superior council of New Orleans, dated the 10th of July, 1765. I shall here cite, word for word, the article relative to the superior council and the inhabitants:
I flatter myself, beforehand, that it will afford me favorable opportunities to render you all the services that you and the inhabitants of your town may desire — of which I beg you to give them the assurance from me, and let them know that, in acting thus, I only discharge my duty and gratify my inclinations.
"Mr. Ulloa proved thereby the orders which he had received from his Catholic majesty, conformably to the solemn act of cession, and manifested a sentiment which is indispensable in any governor who is desirous of rendering good services to his king in the colonies.
p378 "Without population there can be no commerce; and without commerce no population. In proportion to the extent of both is the solidity of thrones; both are fed by liberty and competition, which are the nursing mothers of the State, of which the spirit of monopoly is the tyrant and step-mother. Without liberty there are but few virtues. Despotism breeds pusillanimity and deepens the abyss of vices. Man is considered as sinning before God, only because he retains his free will. Where is the liberty of our planters, our merchants, and of all our other inhabitants? Protection and benevolence have given way to despotism: a single authority would absorb and annihilate everything. All ranks, without distinction, can no longer without running the risk of being taxed with guilt, do any thing else but tremble, bow their necks to the yoke, and lick the dust. The superior council, the bulwark of the tranquillity of virtuous citizens, has supported itself only by the combined force of the probity and disinterestedness of its members, and of the confidence of the people in that tribunal. Without taking possession of the colony, without registering, as was necessary, in the superior council, his titles and patents, according to the laws, forms, and customs of the colony, and without presentation of the act of cession, Mr. Ulloa has caused a president, three councilors, and a secretary, nominated for the purpose, to take cognizance of facts which belonged to the jurisdiction of the superior council, and in which French citizens were concerned. Often did discontents and disgusts seem to force you to resign your places, but you have always considered it as a duty of your station of councillors to the most Christian king, to alleviate and calm the murmurs of the oppressed citizens. The love of your country, and the sense of the justice due to every citizen who applies for it, have nourished your zeal; it has always been rendered with the same exactness, although you never thought proper to make representations on the infractions of the act of cession. You have always feared to give encouragement to a mass of discontented people, threatened with the most dreadful calamities; you have preferred public tranquillity. But now the whole body of the planters, merchants and other inhabitants of Louisiana apply to you for justice.
"Let us now proceed to an accurate and scrupulous examination of the grievances, complaints, and imputations contained in the representations of the planters, merchant and other inhabitants. What sad and dismal pictures do the said representations bring before your eyes! The scourges of the last war, a suspension to p379this day of the payment of seven millions of the king's paper money, issued to supply the calls of the service, and received with confidence by the inhabitants of the colony, had obstructed the ease and facility of the circulation; but the activity and industry of the planter, and of the French merchant, had almost got the better of all difficulties. The most remote corners of the possessions of the savages had been discovered, the fur trade had been carried to its highest perfection, and the new culture of cotton, joined to that of indigo and tobacco, secured cargoes to those who were engaged in fitting out ships. The commissioner of his Catholic Majesty had promised ten years of free trade, that period being sufficient for every subject of France, attached to his sovereign lord and king. But the tobacco of this colony being prohibited in Spain, where those of Havana are the only ones allowed, the timber (a considerable branch of the income of the inhabitants), being useless to Spain, which is furnished in this article by its possessions, and the indigo being inferior to that of Guatimala, which supplies more than is requisite to the manufactories of Spain, the returns of the commodities of the inhabitants of this colony to the Peninsula became a ruinous trade, and the said inhabitants were reduced to the most dreadful destitution. His Catholic Majesty's commissioner had publicly declared his conviction of the impossibility of this country's trading with Spain: all patronage, favor, encouragement, were formally promised to the inhabitants; the title of protector was decreed to Mr. Ulloa; the hope and activity necessary to the success of the planter were nourished by the faith and confidence reposed in these assurances of the Spanish governor.
But by the effect of what undermining and imperceptible fatality have we seen a house worth twenty thousand livres sold for six thousand, and plantations, all on a sudden, lose one half or two-thirds of their intrinsic value? Fortunes waste away, and specie is more scarce than ever; confidence is lost, and discouragement becomes general; the planter's cries of distress are heard on every side; the precious name of subject of France is in an eclipse, and the fatal decree concerning the commerce of Louisiana gives to the colony the last fatal stroke, which must lead to its total annihilation. The Spanish flag is set up at the Balize, at the Illinois, and other places; no title, no letters patent were presented to the superior council; time flies apace; the delays fixed for the liberty of emigration will soon expire; force will tyrannize; we shall be reduced to live in slavery and loaded with chains, or precipitately to forsake p380establishments handed down from the grandfather to the grandson. All the planters, merchants, and other inhabitants of Louisiana call upon you to restore to them their sovereign lord, the king, Louis the well beloved; they tender to you their treasures and their blood, Frenchmen to live and Frenchmen to die."
Let us proceed to sum up the charges, grievances and imputations:
"Mr. Ulloa has caused councilors named by himself, to take cognizance of facts concerning French subjects, which appertained only to the jurisdiction of the Superior Council. The sentences of that new tribunal have been signified to, and put in execution against Mess. Cadis and Leblanc. Mr. Ulloa has countenanced the negroes dissatisfied with their masters. He has presented to the Superior Council none of his titles, powers and provisions, as Commissioner of his Catholic Majesty; he has not exhibited his copy of the act of cession, in order to have it registered; he has, without the said indispensable formalities, set up the Spanish flag at the Balize, at the Illinois, and other places; he has, without legal authority, vexed, punished, and oppressed subjects of France; he has even confined some of them in the frigate of his Catholic Majesty; has, by his authority alone, usurped, the fourth part of the common of the inhabitants of the town, has appropriated it to himself, and has caused it to be fenced in, that his horses might graze there.
"Having maturely weighed all this, I require in behalf of the King,
"That the sentences pronounced by the councilors nominated for the purpose, and put in execution against Mess. Cadis and Leblanc, subjects of France, be declared encroachments upon the authority of our Sovereign Lord, the King, and destructive of the respect due to his supreme justice, seated in his Superior Council, in as much as they violate the laws, forms, and customs of the colony, confirmed and guaranteed by the solemn act of cession.
"That Mr. Ulloa be declared to have violated our laws, forms and customs, and the orders of his Catholic Majesty, in relation to the act of cession, as it appears by his letter, dated from Havana, on the 10th of July, 1765.
"That he be declared usurper of illegal authority, by causing subjects of France to be punished, and oppressed, without having previously complied with the laws, forms, and customs, in having his powers, titles, and provisions registered by the Superior Council, with the copy of the act of cession.
p381 "That Mr. Ulloa, Commissioner of his Catholic Majesty, be enjoined to leave the colony in the frigate in which he came, without delay, to avoid accidents or new clamors, and to go and give an account of his conduct to his Catholic Majesty; and, with regard to the different posts established by the said Mr. Ulloa, that he be desired to leave in writing such orders as he shall think necessary; that he be declared responsible for all the events which he might have foreseen; and that Mess. Aubry and Foucault be requested, and even summoned, in the name of our Sovereign Lord, the King, to continue to govern and administer the colony as heretofore.
"That no ship sailing from the colony shall be dispatched without passports signed by Mr. Foucault, as intendant commissary of his most Christian Majesty.
"That the taking possession of the colony can neither be proposed nor attempted by any means, without new orders from his most Christian Majesty.
"That Mess. Loyola, Gayarre and Navarro be declared guaranties of their signature on the bonds which they have issued, if they do not produce the orders of his Catholic Majesty, empowering them to issue said bonds and papers; and that a sufficient time be granted them to settle their accounts.
"That the planters, merchants and other inhabitants be empowered to elect deputies to carry their petitions and supplications to our Sovereign Lord, the King.
"That it be resolved and determined that the Superior Council shall make representations to our Sovereign Lord, the King; that its decree, when ready to be issued, be read, set up, published and registered.
"That collated copies thereof be sent to his grace the Duke of Praslin, with a letter of the Superior Council, and likewise to all the posts of the colony, to be there read, set up, published and registered."
The report, being heard, of Mess. Huchet de Kernion and Piot de Launay, councilors and commissioners appointed for this purpose, the whole being duly weighed, and the subject deliberated upon, the Attorney-General having been heard and having retired:
The Council, composed of thirteen members, of which six were named ad hoc, having each of them given his opinion in writing, pronouncing upon the said representations, has declared and declares p382the sentences rendered by the councilors nominated by Mr. Ulloa and carried into execution against Mess. Cadis and Leblanc, subjects of France, to be encroachments upon the authority of our Sovereign Lord, the King, and destructive of the respect due to his supreme justice vested in his Superior Council; had declared and declares him an usurper of illegal authority in causing subjects of France to be punished and oppressed, without having previously complied with the laws and forms, having neither produced his powers, titles and provisions, nor caused them to be registered, and that, to the prejudice of the privileges insured to them by the said act of cession: and to prevent any violence of the populace, and avoid any dangerous tumult, the Council, with its usual prudence, finds itself obliged to enjoin, as in fact it enjoins, Mr. Ulloa to quit the colony allowing him the space of only three days, either in the frigate of his Catholic Majesty in which he came, or in whatever vessel he shall think proper, and go and give an account of his conduct to his Catholic Majesty. It had likewise ordained and it ordains that, with regard to the posts established by him in the upper part of the river, he shall leave such orders as he judges expedient, making him at the same time responsible for all the events which he might have foreseen. It has requested and requests Mess. Aubry and Foucault, and even summoned them in the name of our Sovereign Lord, the King, to continue to command and govern the colony as they did heretofore. At the same time, it expressly forbids all those who fit out vessels, and all captains of ships, to despatch any vessel with any other passport than that of Mr. Foucault, who is to do the office of intendant commissary; it has also ordered and orders, that the taking possession for his Catholic Majesty can neither be proposed nor attempted by any means, without new orders from his most Christian Majesty; that, in consequence, Mr. Ulloa shall embark in the space of three days in whatever ship he shall think proper.
With regard to what relates to Mess. Loyola, Gayarre and Navarro, the Council has decreed that they may stay in the colony and discharge their respective functions, until they have received new orders from his Catholic Majesty, and shall remain sureties of their signatures for the bonds they have issued, except they produce the orders of his Catholic Majesty. It has likewise authorised and authorises the planters and merchants to choose whatever persons they think proper, to take up their petition to our Sovereign Lord, the King, and has decreed that the Superior Council shall in like p383manner make representations to our Sovereign Lord, the King; it orders that the present decree shall be printed, read, set up, published and registered in all places and posts of this colony, and that a copy of it shall be sent to his grace the Duke of Praslin, Minister of the Marine Department.
We order all our bailiffs and sergeants to perform all the acts and ceremonies requisite for carrying the present decree into execution; we, at the same time, empower them to do so. We also enjoin the substitute of the King's Attorney-General to superintend its execution, and to apprize the court of it in due time.
Given at the Council Chamber, on the 29th of October, 1768.
By the Council,
I protest against the decree of the Council, which dismisses Don Antonio de Ulloa from this colony; their most Christian and Catholic Majesties will be offended at the treatment inflicted on a person of his character, and notwithstanding the small force which I have at my disposal, I would, with all my might, oppose his departure, were I not apprehensive of endangering his life, as well as the lives of all the Spaniards in this country.
Deliberated at the Council Chamber, this 29th of October, 1768.
Collated with the original left among the minutes of the Council, by me the first secretary, whose name is hereunto affixed, at New Orleans, on the 2d of November, 1768.
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