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Chapter 6

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Spanish-American Frontier, 1783‑1795

by
Arthur Preston Whitaker

as reprinted by
Peter Smith,
Gloucester, MA, 1962

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.

p90 Chapter VII
Intrigue and Immigration

If you want to follow along on the author's maps, they're here. (They'll open in another window, so you won't lose your place.)

The intrigue between the American frontiersmen and the Spanish government has usually been regarded as something essentially Spanish. Its very name, "The Spanish Intrigue," indicates the interpretation put upon it by American writers.1 This may be due to the conviction that intrigue is something essentially un-American; that the countrymen of the Borgias could reach a given objective only by a détour, while the American frontiersmen always moved, as did the bullet from his trusty rifle, straight to the target. Whatever the reason for its currency, the phrase is rather misleading, for it gives the impression that the intrigue was primarily the work of Spain. As a matter of fact, the frontiersmen made the first overtures, deceived the Spanish government as well as their own, and were the sole gainers by the intrigue. A much more appropriate designation would be "the frontier intrigue with Spain."

Congress alienates the frontiersmen

The American frontiersmen took the initiative in this correspondence. Two of their propositions, those of d'Argès and White, made to Aranda and Gardoqui respectively, we have already discussed, and we have seen how, although they were only partially accepted by Spain, they contained ideas that made a seductive appeal to the embarrassed Floridablanca. Before taking up the third proposition, that of James Wilkinson, and observing how it was received at court, we must inquire into the circumstances that disposed these secular p91backwoodsmen to conspire with the government of Torquemada.

One of the most powerful forces in American political life in the 1780's, whether in the West, the West or the South, was particularism. Traditions of British local government and the practice of colonial times had given it factual currency. Montesquieu's theory of the geographical influence in politics had given it the dignity of an idea, and the Revolution had consecrated it. The people of the Atlantic coast had nothing to learn from the Mississippi Valley in this respect. What the frontiersmen did was merely to take a widespread idea and reinterpret it in conformity with their peculiar necessities.

By the very mode of its settlement the West of our period was dedicated to particularism. Its communities were established by the individual initiative of land speculator and pioneer in flat defiance of the colonial governments of North Carolina and Virginia — as in the case of the Holston settlements of western North Carolina and Richard Henderson's colony of Transylvania in Kentucky — or with at most the passive acquiescence of the revolutionary state governments, as in the case of Cumberland.2 By their own efforts these settlements maintained themselves, receiving from the foster-parent state little more than the skeleton of government, which they themselves had to invest with living substance. The frontiersmen felt that the Atlantic States were much more interested in Western lands than in Western people, and that even with the best will in the world legislatures sitting at Williamsburg, Virginia, and Hillsborough, North Carolina, were incapacitated by remoteness and the intervening mountains from giving good government to the Mississippi Valley settlements. p92Current ideas with regard to natural frontiers and the economic basis of political systems pointed to the erection of these Western communities into separate states with equal membership in the Federal Union, if indeed they remained a part of it at all.3

The example of the American Revolution, so vividly recent, exerted a powerful influence over the frontiersmen, who now thought of themselves as playing the part of oppressed colonists, with the Atlantic governments in the rôle of tyrant formerly filled by George III.4 Declaiming in the manner of Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams against taxation and misgovernment, the frontiersmen followed the process through its various stages of conventions, petitions, and remonstrances to the culminating step, a declaration of independence. At first, however, they sought only what the Atlantic colonists had at first tried to secure from England: recognition as autonomous members of a federative empire. This was the situation from 1783 to 1786, when the indignation of the frontier was directed against the individual states alone and the frontiersmen professed devotion to Congress.

In 1786 the situation assumed a new and dangerous aspect. The frontiersmen's illusion of a beneficent Congress was shattered and many of them began to question the advisability of a continued union with the Atlantic States on any terms whatever. This change of sentiment was due in part to the resolution of Congress authorizing the conclusion of a treaty with Spain that would close the Mississippi to American shipping for a generation. The "secret" resolution of Congress was adopted in August, 1786, and by the following December it was common property in Kentucky. The indignation of the people there was white-hot, and they protested p93that they had been sacrificed for the benefit of Eastern fishermen and farmers.5

Other grievances increased their ire against Congress. The state of Franklin had applied for admission to the Union and had been rebuffed. Might other frontier communities expect more friendly treatment? The Indian policy of Congress was still more offensive to them. Unable to protect the Kentuckians against the Northern tribes, Congress seemed actually to favor the Southern Indians over their white neighbors in western North Carolina. Its commissioners negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee Indians in December, 1785,a that aroused keen resentment in North Carolina and Virginia, not merely among the frontiersmen but on the Atlantic coast as well, for it restored to the Indians, under a perpetual guarantee, lands granted and settled under the authority of the state of North Carolina. One of the leaders of that state of Franklin, Alexander Outlaw, declared that the commissioners of Congress who negotiated this treaty were forcing the frontier people to give up their "just Right," and Patrick Henry roundly affirmed that Congress's whole treatment of the Southwest revealed the determination of the jealous Northern majority in that body to prevent the development of the South and Southwest.6

"The men of the western waters"

The result was that by the end of 1786 there were many people in the West who were threatening not merely separation from the parent states on the Atlantic, but secession from the United States. It was no longer autonomy but outright independence that the more radical frontiersmen were planning, and this new phase of particularism was all the more dangerous because p94its goal was a new Union, a Mississippi Valley republic. The very phrase with which they described themselves, "the men of the Western waters," suggested unity by indicating the bond of union: all of these settlements were situated on the waters of the Ohio on or near the Cumberland plateau. Indian affairs and the navigation of the Mississippi were matters of common interest in these settlements, and when they were not managed to the satisfaction of the people there, inflammatory addresses were circulated and committees of correspondence formed in Kentucky, Cumberland, Franklin, and even western Pennsylvania.7 So far the frontiersmen had closely and consciously imitated the patriots of '76, but there was still one step that they had not taken: they had not yet sought foreign aid against the oppressor. There was curiously enough much talk of British intervention,8 but it came to nothing. The current of the rivers that passed their doors pointed to Spain as the nation that should play the part of France in this second American Revolution. Floridablanca, however, was no Vergennes, and Wilkinson no Washington.

It was commerce, as we have said, that formed the substantial basis of the Spanish intrigue, commerce by the Mississippi and Alabama Rivers, commerce already established and commerce only dreamed of. Some question has been raised as to the genuineness of the frontiersmen's interest in the navigation of the Mississippi. It was said at the time, and has been repeated since, that the opposition to Jay's proposals of 1786 came not from bona-fide inhabitants of the West, but from land speculators and anti-Federalists; that the volume of commerce on the river was too small to justify the outcry raised against Jay's proposals.9 p95It is true that land speculators were extremely active in exciting this opposition,10 but it is difficult to draw the line between speculators and frontiersmen, since most of the leading frontiersmen were engaged in land speculation. It is also true that the volume of American commerce on the Mississippi was very small. In the three years 1782‑84 the port records of New Orleans show that arrivals at the port from the American settlements were only ten flatboats, and that their total cargo consisted of 2640 barrels of flour. In the three years 1785‑87, owing to the closing of the river by royal proclamation, there was not a single American arrival at New Orleans. In 1788 the only arrivals were James Wilkinson's five flatboats, whose cargo consisted largely of tobacco. In 1789 there were no arrivals. In 1790, after the reopening of the river by Spain, eighteen flatboats arrived with miscellaneous cargoes, principally tobacco, beef and flour.11

The volume of this commerce is certainly not imposing and it was one-sided, for goods were almost never sent up the river to the American settlements. The first impression gathered from these statistics must, however, be corrected by two considerations. In the first place, they are incomplete, since a great deal of smuggling went on and since a large part of the exports from the American settlements stopped at Natchez and so was not recorded in the New Orleans office. In the second place, not even the most complete and reliable statistics would give us an accurate index of the importance of the Mississippi River to the Western settlements of the United States. The leaders of the frontiersmen were for the most part men who lived in the future, who were engaged in real estate developments, and whose success in their enterprises depended upon p96the possibility of assuring prospective purchasers of land a ready outlet for their products. The Mississippi offered the only possible means of exporting bulky products of the soil, for freight rates over the mountains were prohibitive. Even in the case of manufactured goods, freight charges from Philadelphia to Knoxville amounted to about forty per cent of the cost in Philadelphia.12 Ever since the line of settlement passed beyond the tidewater region, the American frontiersman has been profoundly interested in all questions relating to transportation, and it would have been surprising indeed if frontiersmen who could become so excited over the building of a turnpike or the digging of a canal had taken no interest in the opening of the Mississippi, that most gigantic and comprehensive of all their transportation problems.

The romantic tradesman

James Wilkinson, merchant, took it on himself to lead his fellow-frontiersmen out of the wilderness. A brevet brigadier general during the Revolution, he often led the Kentucky militia against the Indians after its close. Employed in the commissary department during the Revolution, he soon became one of Kentucky's most active merchants. Connected, though not implicated, with Benedict Arnold, he used the same cyphers, "aprons" and other devices in his correspondence with the Spaniards that Arnold had employed in his correspondence with the British. Wilkinson was a romantic tradesman. "My passion is military fame," he once confessed,13 and it was his ambition to make himself the "Washington of the West"; but he also had another passion, and one not so frankly confessed: to make himself the Willing of the West, the merchant p97prince of the Ohio Valley. So heavy were his shipments to New Orleans after his first visit there that Governor Miró felt obliged to write him a letter of protest, even at the risk of offending his only agent in Kentucky.14

When Wilkinson first came to Kentucky in 1784, it was merely as the agent of a mercantile company in Philadelphia; but with the Irishman's usual flair for politics, he succeeded in taking a prominent part in the numerous Kentucky conventions of the next few years.15 When the events of the troubled year 1786 alienated the frontiersmen from Congress, he quickly sensed the trend of frontier sentiment and got in touch with the Spanish officials of Louisiana. His opportunity came with the action of his rival for military fame, George Rogers Clark, in confiscating at Vincennes the property of some French traders who were subjects of Spain. Wilkinson and his friend, Colonel Richard Anderson, speaking as the mouthpiece of the law-abiding citizens of Kentucky, wrote the Spanish commandant at St. Louis reprobating the violence of Clark and his accomplices. These two letters, Wilkinson's written in French, were delivered by their messenger, who was doubtless the bearer of more interesting verbal assurances from these Kentuckians. Their overtures were well received, and it was no doubt to this episode that Wilkinson owed his success, where so many others had failed, in getting safely past the Spanish posts on his way to New Orleans.16

Wilkinson's memorial and the Spanish court

Here he remained for three months in constant intercourse of the most friendly nature with Governor Miró, Intendant Navarro and the governor's secretary and interpreter, Armesto. On September 5, 1787, just as p98Floridablanca was issuing the orders relating to d'Argès's mission, Wilkinson presented to Miró and Navarro a memorial17 which was doubtless the joint product of their three minds. In this memorial he pointed out that the population of the American West was increasing with great rapidity, and that discontent was keeping pace with growing numbers; discontent with Spain for closing the Mississippi and with Congress for acquiescing in its closure. The consequences to Spain might be disastrous, for the Westerners were determined to open the river to their commerce and the weak defences of Louisiana could not withstand an invasion. There were, however, two means, and only two, by which a catastrophe might be averted and the situation turned to Spain's advantage. The government should either build up a Spanish party in Kentucky by a judicious manipulation of commercial regulations on the Mississippi, and then foment a revolution that would result in secession from the Union and the formation of a close connection with Spain; or it should adopt an immigration policy with such liberal concessions in the way of land grants, religious toleration and political privileges as would depopulate Kentucky and fill the waste spaces of Louisiana. In either case Wilkinson was to occupy a privileged position as the sole agent of Spain. He preferred the first of these measures and asked that he be given a monopolistic control of exportations from Kentucky down the Mississippi, justifying this extraordinary demand on the ground that such power was necessary to enable him to build up a Spanish party in Kentucky. Two weeks after submitting this memorial he was on his way home. We shall see in the next chapter how he fared on his return to Kentucky.

p99 Miró and Navarro welcomed the proposals eagerly and in a joint despatch forwarded the memorial to the court with a fervid recommendation.18 Their enthusiasm is easily understood. Wilkinson had by all accounts a pleasing presence and a plausible manner, and the Spanish officials were keenly alive to the American menace, against which Navarro had for seven years been urging his government to prepare. The device that he had recommended — the economic strangulation of the American West by the closing of the Mississippi — had proved a failure. The means of defence in Louisiana were scanty, and its governors had no information service to warn them of an impending invasion. Their first warning would be the appearance of the invaders. To these considerations we must add the common desire to merit promotion and win fame by rendering a signal service to the crown.

Their joint despatch was dated September 25, 1787, and Miró expected to have the court's answer by April, 1788. He actually received it in March, 1789. The delay was due not to Spanish slothfulness, but to the weightiness of the matter and to the fact that when Wilkinson's memorial reached Madrid (January, 1788),19 the fate of d'Argès's mission and the related negotiation of Gardoqui was still unknown to Floridablanca. It was not until April 19, 1788, that Gardoqui wrote his final report on this subject, informing the secretary of state that neither d'Argès's mission nor threats nor persuasion could secure a treaty from the moribund Congress of the Confederation and that the negotiation must be suspended until the adoption of the new federal constitution and the establishment of the new government, both of which were still problematical.

p100 Even after the arrival of Gardoqui's despatch, there was still reason for delay. Untimely death had recently deprived Floridablanca of two advisers on whose counsel he was accustomed to rely in questions relating to the Mississippi Valley, José and Bernardo de Gálvez. There remained only one other person who possessed both the requisite knowledge of the affairs of Louisiana and the confidence of the court. That person was Martin Navarro. Relieved of the intendancy at his own request, he left Louisiana in May, 1788 for Spain. On his arrival the papers relating to Wilkinson's memorial were submitted to him for his advice and he was consulted on other matters relating to Louisiana.

By this time (October, 1788) a mass of information had accumulated in Floridablanca's office that related in one way or another to Wilkinson's proposals, and it gained added value from the fact that it proceeded from many independent sources, from Havana, New York and St. Augustine as well as from New Orleans. Three important facts were brought out in high relief by this information: first, that Floridablanca's American policy of 1787 must be modified, since Congress was impotent either to make a treaty or to restrain its frontiersmen from attacking Spain in America; second, that there was a general disposition in the southern and western parts of the United States to drive the Spaniards out of Louisiana and the Floridas; and third, that many Americans, Germans, Irishmen and Frenchmen were desirous of settling in those provinces as Spanish subjects.20 In the light of this information, Navarro submitted his recommendations on Wilkinson's memorial. Calling attention to the failure of the system that he himself had recommended in 1781 and that had been adopted in 1784 — namely, the p101strangulation of the American West by the closing of the Mississippi to American commerce — he pointed out the urgent necessity of a new system and recommended the adoption with modifications of both of Wilkinson's proposals.21

On November 20 the Junta de Estado, or Council of Ministers, met and decided as follows: Wilkinson was substituted for d'Argès as Spain's agent in Kentucky, but neither of his alternative plans was adopted outright. His proposal that Spain foment a revolution in the American West was flatly rejected. The Junta declared that until the frontiersmen established their independence Spain could form no connection with them. Nor did the Junta temper this refusal in any way. The correspondence with Wilkinson was to be continued, but neither Miró nor any other Spanish official was authorized to spend a single peso in encouraging a frontier revolution or to make any promises to the revolutionists or any engagements with them. The Floridablanca of 1788 was on this point in perfect agreement with the Floridablanca of 1778. However much Spain might wish to profit by revolution, the Spanish monarchy could not afford to be implicated in fomenting it, least of all in a country so close to its own dominions. Nor was Wilkinson's proposal with regard to immigration and commerce on the Mississippi adopted in the form in which he had made it. Instead of granting him the monopoly right to issue permits for the use of the river — a measure which he declared essential both in order to build up a Spanish party in Kentucky and also to stimulate emigration to Louisiana — the Junta decided to permit all the American frontiersmen without exception to use the Mississippi as far south as New Orleans subject to a fifteen per cent p102duty, which might be reduced to six per cent in individual cases at Miró's discretion. Instead of making Wilkinson its sole immigration agent in Kentucky, the ministry established general rules for the admission of immigrants and welcomed all comers. Land grants, equal commercial privileges with other Spanish subjects, and religious toleration were promised all immigrants who took the oath of loyalty and became bona-fide settlers. The decision of the Junta took the form of a royal order to Miró dated December 1, 1788, and received by him in March of the following year.22

To regard this order as solely or even primarily a document in the history of the "Spanish intrigue" would be utterly to misunderstand the policy of the Spanish government. The order had three objects. The first was to mollify the American West; the second, to encourage a revolution in that region by indirect means that would not implicate the Spanish government; the third, to secure immigrants for Louisiana and West Florida. The first object was apparently considered by the Junta of greater immediate consequence than the second, for in deciding upon the concessions to be granted the Americans on the Mississippi it adopted not the system which Wilkinson had declared necessary to precipitate a revolution, but a system which would appease the wrath of the American frontiersmen. Most important of all was the third object, immigration, for while the Mississippi was opened under restrictions to the Americans, their privileges were far inferior to those of Americans who would emigrate to Spanish territory and become Spanish subjects.

The immigration policy that Floridablanca, with the approval of the Junta, adopted in this crisis represents a heroic effort on the part of Spain to adapt its ancient p103colonial policy to the needs of its frontier provinces, Louisiana and West Florida. The cédula of 1782 had liberalized the commercial system of these colonies, and the royal order of December 1, 1788, similarly liberalized their immigration system. Formerly none but Spaniards and Catholics had been permitted to settle in the colonies of Spain.23 Now two of them were thrown open to aliens and heretics, who were not only permitted but encouraged to settle there, to become Spanish subjects, to accept free lands, to enjoy all the privileges of subjects of His Catholic Majesty. The importance of the grant of religious toleration can hardly be overestimated. The king of Spain was still the Catholic king, Catholic above all others. Toleration was utterly at variance with the whole of Spanish policy, and its grant in the case of Louisiana and West Florida shows the importance that the Spanish government attached to the development of those provinces. It was an experiment forced upon Spain by the requirements of its frontier conflict with the United States, a device adopted to aid Spain in that most vital phase of the frontier conflict, the competition for immigrants.24

Settling the Goths at the gates of Rome

A foolhardy experiment, one is inclined to say, this attempt to make silk purses out of sows' ears, Spanish subjects out of American frontiersmen; to turn the Clarks, Seviers and Robertsons of the American West into faithful vassals of the Catholic king. When Thomas Jefferson heard of this policy of "settling the Goths at the gate of Rome," he wrote in high glee: "I wish a hundred thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invitation. It will be the means of delivering to us peaceably what may otherwise cost us a war."25 In p104light of Spain's subsequent experience in the West Florida and Mexico's in Texas, the policy seems to have been suicidal; and indeed the inimitable Wilkinson in his "Memoirs" claimed the gratitude of his countrymen on the ground that this immigration policy, adopted by Spain on his recommendation, had facilitated the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States.26

And yet there was reason in this madness, reason that appears if we remember the form in which this question of policy was presented to the Spanish government. The form was this: "Would the American frontiersmen be less dangerous to Spain in Louisiana or in Kentucky? The geographical unity of the Mississippi Valley required the problem to be stated in these terms. It was not an abstract question of the merits of toleration or the docility of the Americans, but a very concrete problem of protecting the Spanish dominions against the thousands of turbulent Americans in the Ohio Valley. Spain had first tried through diplomacy (1782‑83) to check the growth of the American settlements in the Ohio Valley. This had failed. She had then tried to effect the same purpose by closing the Mississippi to American commerce (1784‑87). This too had failed. She had simultaneously given diplomacy another trial in Gardoqui's mission, and his tedious negotiation (1785‑88) had likewise failed. The day of the Mississippi Valley had arrived. Its development by the hand of the white man was progressing rapidly. This development was taking place not in the Spanish dominions, whose population increased slowly, but in the territory of the United States, where a much more liberal system than the Spanish prevailed.

Those who settled in the Ohio Valley — that is, in p105the territory of the United States — were not only lost to Spain, but might also easily become the enemies of Spain. The Spanish government must both increase the population of its own frontier provinces and diminish the population of the American border settlements. The quickest way to effect this double purpose was to attract settlers from the American frontier into Louisiana.

In any case, even had Louisiana not been in need of immigrants, its safety required the reduction of the neighboring American settlements. Unstable equilibrium characterized their social and political life. Resentment against Spain might cause an invasion of Louisiana. Disaffection towards the United States might result in secession from the Union. Moreover, many of these frontiersmen regarded their present settlements as temporary and wished to move further down the Mississippi nearer its mouth. Why not make it possible for them to do so under Spanish rule? Individually they did not seem formidable to Spain. It was their situation that made them dangerous. The lack of an established government made them unruly and the lack of a market made them discontented. Their chief military advantage over Spain lay in their remoteness, which made it possible for them to discuss in the profoundest secrecy their preparations for an invasion. All this would be changed if they were settled in Louisiana or in the district of Natchez. There they would from the outset be accustomed to a firm governing hand, and would have a ready outlet for their products; and there, if they could not be trusted, they could at least be watched.

There are two other considerations that must be kept in mind if we wish to understand Floridablanca's p106adoption of this immigration policy. In the first place, all his informants assured him that the people of the Western settlements were for various reasons indifferent or hostile to the United States, that they were for the most part either of foreign extraction — French, German, Irish — or were refugees from the Atlantic States — Loyalists, debtors, criminals. Such people could the more readily be made docile Spanish subjects, as they were not bound by ties of sentiment to any other country, and the strong government of Spain would restrain their wayward tendencies. In the second place, a somewhat similar experiment had already been made in Natchez district and the results had been very favorable. The district, conquered by Bernardo de Gálvez in the recent war against England, was inhabited almost entirely by people of English and American origin, most of whom were Protestants. For seven years now since the close of the war they had lived quietly under Spanish rule, manifesting scant sympathy for the Georgia commissioners at the time of the Bourbon County episode, and little disposition to rebel. The contentment of this growing district gave Floridablanca some reason for thinking that Spain might govern large numbers of Americans with success.27

We shall return later to the operation of this immigration policy. For the moment we need only note that its success depended on the government's ability to provide a market for the immigrants' products on its giving them a decided preference over the inhabitants of the American settlements in the use of the Mississippi, and on its ability to secure them immunity from the Indian attacks that vexed the American settlements. Without these incentives to emigrate, the American frontiersman might as well remain with his freer fellows on p107the Cumberland, the Kentucky and the Holston. As for the other subjects of the royal order of December 1, 1788, the frontiersmen would certainly be highly pleased with even the partial opening of the Mississippi to their commerce, but Spain must be careful to give no new offence; and we shall see in the next chapter whether they were inclined to rebel for Spain's benefit without the aid of Spain.


The Author's Notes:

p231 1 The Spanish archives are indispensable for the study of the frontier intrigue with Spain, and no comprehensive account, based on those sources, has ever been written. An excellent beginning has been made by W. R. Shepherd (AHR, IX, 490) and I. J. Cox (ib.XIX, 794), but much remains to be done. My own articles, based on research in Spain, are in MVHR, Sept., 1925, and Dec., 1926. See also A. Henderson, in Tenn. Hist. Mag. III, 229, and The Conquest of the Old Southwest; T. Bodley, Introduction to Reprints of Littell's Political Transactions, etc. (Filson Club Publications: p232No. 31); and M. Serrano y Sanz, El Brigadier Jaime Wilkinson, etc. Mr. Bodley made no use of Spanish sources. Older works dealing with the subject are Gayarré, 193‑301; Roosevelt (cf. index); T. M. Green, The Spanish Conspiracy; and H. Marshall, The History of Kentucky. So far as Wilkinson is concerned, Prof. Shepherd first called attention to the frontier initiative in the intrigue: loc. cit., 491.

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2 A. V. Goodpasture, op. cit., 110‑12; A. Henderson, "Richard Henderson and the Occupation of Kentucky," in MVHR, Dec., 1914; C. R. N. Ca., IX, 982.

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3 E.g., S. R. N. Ca., XXII, 651‑52.

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4 Wilkinson made this point in his "Essay" or memorial of 1787. See note 18, below.

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5 Calendar of Virginia State Papers, IV, 242; Green, op. cit., 76‑77, 109‑10, 385‑86.

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6 W. W. Henry, Patrick Henry, III, 374‑77; S. R. N. Ca., XVIII, 483, 756‑59, 775‑77; XXII, 1005; XX, 761‑62; A. S. P., I. A., I, 17; Papers of the Continental Congress (MSS., LC), 78, vol. XXI, fol. 481, Sevier to the President of Congress, Nov. 2, 1787.

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7 Calendar of Virginia State Papers, IV, 242‑43; Draper MSS. (Hist. Soc. Wisconsin), 5 XX 18 and 6 XX 105; Green, op. cit., 109‑10.

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8 S. R. N. Ca., XXII, 676‑78, Green, op. cit., 110‑12.

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9 Letters of R. H. Lee (ed. Ballagh), II, 424; Washington, Writings, XI, 78.

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10 W. W. Henry, Patrick Henry, III, 292‑97; Green, op. cit., 109‑10; Papers of the Continental Congress (MSS., LC), 78, vol. XXI, fol. 477, and 150, vol. III, fol. 17; Gazette of the State of Georgia (newspaper), April 3, 1788, letter from John Sullivan to Gov. Pinckney. Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, one of the leaders of the Mississippi party in Congress, seems to have been interested in Western lands.

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11 Compiled from "Entries and Sailings at the Port of New Orleans" (transcript, Harvard College Library, obtained by Prof. E. Channing from AI); W. W. Carson, "Transportation and Traffic on the Ohio," MVHR, VII, 33.

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12 A. S. P., I. A., I, 252.

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13 AI, PC, l. 2374, Wilkinson to (Carondelet), Dec. 15, 1792.

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14 Ib., Miró to Wilkinson, Sept. 20, 1790. In his residencia, Miró was accused of making 2000 pesos a year through his transactions p233with Wilkinson. The charge was not substantiated: AHN, Consejos, Consejo de Indias.

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15 Bodley, x, note 11.

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16 AI, PC, l. 199. Wilkinson's letter is dated Dec. 20, 1786; Anderson's, Jan. 1, 1786 (sic: 1787). I am preparing an article on this subject for early publication in HAHR.

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17 AI, PC, l. 2373, contains the original of this memorial, in Wilkinson's handwriting and signed by him. Another copy of the original, which I have not seen, is reported to exist in the archives of the Louisiana Historical Society: See Publications of that Society, IX, 45‑54. See also W. R. Shepherd in AHR, IX, 748 et seq.

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18 AHN, E, l. 3888 bis, Miró and Navarro to (the Ministro de Indias), Sept 25, 1787, No. 13 res., enclosing an English copy and a Spanish translation of Wilkinson's memorial.

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19 Ib., extracto beginning "Resvda Nueva Orleans 25 de Sepre de 1787 . . .," dated at end: "a 23 de En[e]ro de [17]88."

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20 These numerous documents form an expediente, which is in AHN, E, l. 3888 bis.

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21 Ib., Navarro to Valdés, Nov. 11, 1788.

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22 AHN, E, AJE, Nov. 20, 1788; ib., l. 3888 bis, (Valdés) to the Governor of Louisiana, Dec. 1, 1788; AHR, IX, 749‑50.

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23 AI, PC, l. 4, Sonora to the Governor of Louisiana, Jan. 12, 1786, copy.

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24 For another view, see W. R. Shepherd in AHR, IX, 492, possibly misled by Wilkinson, Memoirs of my Own Times, II, 111‑13.

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25 Jefferson, Writings, V, 316. The phrase alluding to the Goths occurs in a personal letter from Prof. S. E. Morison.

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26 Wilkinson, Memoirs, II.117.

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27 The best statements of the considerations that guided the Spanish authorities are contained in the letters of Miró and Navarro, referred to in notes 18 and 21, above.


Thayer's Note:

a The Hopewell treaty; the name doesn't appear in this chapter, but so Whitaker will refer to it elsewhere in the book.


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