Isaac Joslin Cox
To the average American citizen of a century ago Texas was practically unknown, while Louisiana meant little more than a vague geographical expression to designate a shadowy region rendered marvelous by three centuries of Latin-American exploration and occupancy. He knew only that within the unknown limits of the Southwest conquistador and -de‑bois, Franciscan and Jesuit had played uncertain parts in an ineffectual struggle to stem the westward course of the Anglo-Saxon. In this struggle Spaniard and Frenchman had fought each other for the sake of colonial empires that they barely grasped before they were obliged to combine against the Anglo-American invader, who threatened to dispossess both of their uncertain tenure. Under these circumstances, when Louisiana was ceded to the United States the question of metes and bounds for the new acquisition was a puzzling one upon which past events could throw but little light, and that greatly distorted.
Louisiana, under French domination, had been an intrusive colony effectually separating two portions of the Spanish empire in North America, and because of its important strategic position it p2was destined to contribute materially to the ultimate overthrow of this empire. The fact that the final blow was delayed until a new nation could administer it was due not to any lack of strength in the situation of the colony, but to the peculiar social and political ties that under Le Grand Monarque and his immediate successor bound France to Spain. For this reason certain phases of Louisiana's territorial history under the Bourbon kings of France and Spain are of importance, even if resulting in no definite limits for the province, since they indicate in a general way what the ultimate determination of those limits must be.
From their position at the mouth of the Mississippi the intrusive French faced a double competition in their attempt to control the surrounding Indians. Within less than a century the anvil of Spanish conservatism, ineffectual but dogged, and the hammer of English expansion crushed French control of the Mississippi, and that great river became the unavailing barrier between the Power of the Past and the Power of the Future. When the latter changed its national designation, but not its stock characteristics, European diplomacy offered the new nation an opportunity to make the vast interior of the continent a political as well as a geographical unit. Then the thin line of fortifications and settlements that imperfectly marked the western limit of France's colonial empire again sprang into international importance. For this reason a comprehensive view of the early history of the Louisiana-Texas frontier is necessary to a proper appreciation of the events following 1803.
By the middle of the sixteenth century Cabeza de Vaca had performed his wonderful journey across the continent; while De Soto and Moscoso in the east and Coronado in the west, unconsciously carrying their explorations nearly to the same point, had penetrated far into the interior and formed the basis for future claims to the region away from the coast.1 By the end of the century Spanish power was strongly established in New Mexico, but to the east it was still far south of the Rio Grande Valley. Spanish writers believed, however, even at this period, that by means of inter-tribal communication Spanish influence penetrated from New p3Mexico, Florida, and Coahuila to the Mississippi region.2 This necessarily slight influence, if it existed, may have been somewhat strengthened by the explorations of Espejo, Sosa, Oñate, and Martin and Castillo, who before the middle of the seventeenth century crossed the Rio Grande and penetrated as far as the Pecos or possibly to the Tejas Indians.3
This gradual extension of communication from the westward toward the east might have been met by a counter-current had the Spanish government acted favorably upon a report made in 1630 by Friar Alonso Benavides, the custodian of the missions of New Mexico. In the course of his missionary journeys in the vicinity of Santa Fé, the worthy father heard of the Indians of Quivira and of the Aijaos, located some one hundred and fifty leagues to the eastward. He proposed4 the conversion of these Indians and the opening of communication with them, and ultimately with New Mexico, from the Gulf coast in the vicinity of Espíritu Santo Bay. Although his proposal naïvely disregards certain important geographical factors revealed by later exploration, had it been acted upon it might have led to an effective occupation of the Gulf coast at some point west of Florida. For nearly half a century, however, the report remained undisturbed in the Spanish archives, until the proposals of La Salle and of Peñalosa suggested the danger of French encroachment from this same direction.
Later Spanish writers were wont to exaggerate the Spanish influence during the period before the French came into the Mississippi Valley. They even claimed that the province of Texas then extended from the San Antonio to the Mississippi, notwithstanding the fact that within this space there had been no Spanish settlement, and at most only an occasional visit by some explorer or p4enthusiastic missionary. The only evidences of Spanish proximity, to say nothing of possession, according to the testimony of later French and Spanish writers, was the presence among the Indians of certain articles of Spanish commerce, obtained through inter-tribal communication, and a knowledge of a few simple church rites, doubtless conveyed in the same way or by very infrequent visits from representative friars laboring among distant tribes. For all practical purposes the Mississippi Valley, in the days of Benavides, was still an open field for European colonization. The only result of another half century of exploration and missionary effort beyond the Pecos, seconded by an appeal over the head of an indifferent viceroy to the Council of the Indies, was a royal order, issued in 1685 to Friar Alonzo Posadas, to make an exhaustive report upon explorations east of the Rio Grande.5 In this very year, however, the Spanish policy of documents was threatened by a French policy of deeds, for La Salle's abortive colony on the coast of Texas opened a new phase of the Louisiana question.
Although La Salle's landing upon the coast of Texas, in 1685, was wholly unintentional, he at the time was engaged in a project which was the result of a policy definitely pursued by the French government since the rediscovery of the Mississippi by Hennepin. An important motive in this policy was the desire to open up a way to Mexico for the purpose of carrying on an illicit trade in time of peace, or of seizing the rich silver mines of the outlying provinces in time of war. This desire was hinted at in the patent issued to La Salle in 1678,6 was the burden of the proposals of the adventurer Peñalosa in 1682 and 1684,7 and was even an important motive of the projects of La Salle.8 In pursuit of this motive La Salle proposed to utilize the mouth of the Mississippi, discovered by him in 1682, as a base of operations against New Biscay; while Peñalosa wished to direct an expedition against the p5same province from the mouth of the Rio Grande9 or of the Pánuco. Additional important motives were the desire for a commercial colony at the mouth of the Mississippi and the conversion of the natives,10 but the attraction of the Mexican mines long remained to fire the imaginations of French explorers.11
The attempts of Peñalosa and the grant to La Salle roused the Spanish Council of the Indies to make an inquiry concerning the possibility of an invasion from the Gulf of Mexico.12 When the certainty of La Salle's attempt became apparent, the viceroy of New Spain authorized no less than six expeditions by land and sea, between 1686 and 1689, to find and break up his infant colony,13 but these discovered only the wreck of one of La Salle's ships to reward their search. Finally in April, 1689, another land expedition, under Alonso de León, known in Texas history as the first entrada, succeeded in reaching the site of La Salle's feeble settlement some two months after the destruction of its surviving members by the Indians.14 The expedition of the following year burned this fort and removed all other vestiges of the temporary sojourn of the French upon the Lavaca River.
That La Salle's attempt upon the coast of Texas was wholly unintentional is shown by the fact that he continued long after his arrival to regard the Bay of St. Louis as one of the mouths of the Mississippi; and that when he learned his mistake he made three desperate but unavailing attempts to find "the fatal river."15 The strategic point both for commerce and for warfare, according to his various memoirs, was the mouth of the Mississippi, and Matagorda Bay (his Bay of St. Louis) was too far away to give him the desired control of this point. His various expeditions into the interior of Texas, extending as far as the country of the p6Cenis Indians, revealed to him many traces of communication between the natives and the neighboring Spaniards of New Mexico, and also evidences of hostility on the part of the Indians toward these same Spaniards, due, as later writers explained, to the recent rising of the New Mexican Indians.16 La Salle, however, was unable to take advantage of this hostility to further the ends of France; and his explorations were equally futile, since they depended for a base of operations upon a settlement that was unable even to maintain itself while its leader sought to transfer it to the Mississippi. Had the colony, despite the mistake in its location, succeeded in establishing itself upon the coast of Texas, it would still have been more difficult to maintain it there than at the mouth of the Mississippi, owing to its separation from Canada by an additional hundred leagues of fairly dangerous seacoast. It must inevitably have remained a thing apart, constantly menaced by savage and Spanish foes. In view of this fact and of its early extinction it affords, therefore, only a slender basis for French and American claims to Texas.
The entradas of 1689 and 1690 established Spanish missions in northeast Texas among the Indians of that name, while that of 1691‑92 penetrated, under Don Domingo Terán, to the River of the Cadodachos (Red River), of which it made a perfunctory examination.17 This last expedition, however, was a failure so far as its main purpose, — the permanent establishment of the Spanish in Texas, — was concerned; and in 1693 the missions among the Texas Indians were abandoned, so that the entire province reverted to the undisturbed possession of its savage inhabitants.
For a time the exigencies of European war prevented Louis XIV from continuing the exploration and settlement of the Mississippi Valley. When, in 1697, the return of peace permitted him to turn his attention again to these projects, there was an additional motive for haste in the prospect that the English would soon become the bitter rivals of the French for the possession of the p7Mississippi Valley.18 The prospect of this vigorous opposition in the east determined that the location of the new French settlement should be to the eastward of the Mississippi. The Sieur d'Iberville, the leader of the new expedition, proposed Pensacola Bay as the most likely place for his colony, although he decided also to explore the Bay of St. Louis to learn its feasibility for a settlement.19 When, however, early in 1699 he reached the vicinity of Pensacola, he found that the Spaniards had preceded him some four months and had already erected a small fort there.20 As Iberville was under strict orders not to molest the Spaniards, he continued his explorations farther to the westward, sent his brother Bienville to explore the Mississippi as far as the Natchez, and left a garrison of eighty men in a fort at Old Biloxi, not far from Mobile Bay.
On his return to France Iberville submitted to the Minister of the Marine a plan of exploration in which he proposed to send his brother Bienville up the Mississippi and the Red rivers as far as the country of the Cadodachos. From these villages expeditions should explore each of the forks of the Red River, to determine how far each was navigable. Upon their return the expedition should proceed overland to the country of the Cenis (Texas) and thence to the habitation erected by La Salle. Meanwhile, he himself should explore the coast as far as the Pánuco and then return to the above rendezvous on St. Louis Bay. If necessary, Iberville would then pass to the country of the Cadodachos and return by river to Biloxi.21
Had the leader been able to carry out this far-reaching plan of exploration, it is probable that the French would have made good their claim westward as far as St. Louis Bay, or even to the Rio Grande. But when in the spring of 1700 Bienville and Saint Denis ascended the Red to the Natchitochesº, they found it impossible to penetrate higher up by water. Consequently they were forced to descend by the same route without farther exploration.22
p8 Aside from an uncertain trading expedition by Saint Denis in 1705,23 which may have extended as far west as the Rio Grande, the French for a time made no attempt to operate beyond the Valley of the Red River. But from this stream they evidently carried on an extensive trade with the Cenis and the Natchitoches Indians. By the year 1700, then, the French sphere of influence, if we may use the term, extended up the Red River as far as modern Natchitoches, while that of the Spaniards barely reached the Rio Grande at the Presidio of San Juan Bautista.
The grant by Louis XIV to Antoine Crozat, in 1712, marks a rude attempt to give Louisiana some sort of delimitation. By its terms the colony extended from the country of the Illinois (with trading privileges on the Missouri) to the Gulf, and from the Carolinas to New Mexico.24 While this document should be given no more weight than is accorded to the "sea to sea" charters of the early English colonies, and while it was founded upon no more accurate geographical knowledge than they, yet as the first attempt to define Louisiana it has had considerable importance in succeeding diplomatic history. Apparently it was as definite as the French government wished to make it.25 The grant was also of especial importance in that it ushered in a new era for the French colony — an era in which commercialism prevailed to the detriment of political and territorial interest.
In pursuance of this policy the new governor of Louisiana, M. de la Mothe de Cadillac, in 1713, sent a vessel to Vera Cruz to open up a commerce, with that port, but in this he was unsuccessful.26 The next year, however, Cadillac made a second attempt that was destined to have important effects upon the territorial claims to the west. In this he engaged M. Louis de Saint Denis, a French captain of Canadian extraction who had long been employed p9in the service of the colony, to open up an overland trade with Mexico.
To accomplish this task Saint Denis passed in September, 1713, up the Red River as far as the Natchitoches and there built two houses, one for his goods and one for the guard to watch them. For several months Saint Denis carried on a vigorous trade in live stock with the Cenis and other Indian tribes. We learn from a letter addressed in 1711 to the governor of Louisiana, that he had expected to find among these Indians a certain Spanish friar, Father Hidalgo, whom he was to assist in establishing a mission — a project that seemed to promise the opportunity to open up the desired trade. In this, however, he was disappointed, and after a return to Natchez for more goods, he pushed on through Texas with a few French and Indian companions, and early in 1715 reached the Rio Grande at the Presidio of San Juan Bautista.
From this point, after a few weeks' delay, he was taken to the City of Mexico, where his coming, though expected, caused great official activity. His presence in the country and his plans for internal trade revealed to the astonished Mexican officials the ease with which the French traders could enter their outlying provinces and endanger their hold upon the country beyond the Rio Grande, if not on the hither side of the river. Under the circumstances the aroused officials speedily planned the reoccupation of Texas. For personal reasons, and doubtless to help on the general scheme for the introduction of trade, Saint Denis readily agreed to enter the Spanish service and to guide the proposed expedition to the country of the Texas Indians, where his influence would assure the Spaniards a welcome reception.27 While accepting Spanish service and urging upon his new employers the advantages of the Mississippi as the eastward boundary of their possessions, he told them that the French claimed to Rio Grande, as a result of La Salle's luckless voyage. At the same time, although the above action rendered his recommendation useless, he wrote the governor of Louisiana, on September 7, apprising him of the proposed expedition to Texas and advising that the king of France should p10demand the Rio Grande as the western boundary of Louisiana. The governor should also make an establishment on the Madelaine (Guadalupe) for the purpose of controlling the mines in the interior of Mexico.28
The result of the entrada of 1716, under the double leadership of Captain Domingo Ramón and Saint Denis was the reoccupation of the eastern frontier of Texas by the Spaniards. By means of mission station and presidial guard, aided by native converts, they hoped to impede future French encroachments. During 1716 and 1717 six missions were established in the country to the eastward of the Trinity River, the last of which, among the Adaes Indians, was only eight leagues from Natchitoches, a fort erected by the French in 1716.29 The first step in the Spanish reoccupation of Texas was thus accomplished. Frontier outposts — religious in character it is true, but effective if well supported — were placed so as to cut off French aggression by the land route through the Texas Indians, and orders were given to prevent these missions themselves from forming the channel of French contraband trade.30
These remote missions, far from the base of supplies, and garrisoned by few soldiers, were insufficient to hold the province completely, even if the missionaries were equally zealous in national and religious propaganda. Consequently the recommendation was made to advance missions to the San Antonio River, as a sort of half-way point, and to occupy the bay of Espíritu Santo (Matagorda) in order to open a communication by sea from Vera Cruz. This would prevent its use for the purpose of carrying on contraband trade, and forestall the French claim to the Rio Grande.31
In accordance with the first of these suggestions the mission of San Antonio de Valero was founded near the site of modern San Antonio, in 1718, to keep open communication between the Rio Grande and the eastern missions. The suggestion with regard to the bay of Espíritu Santo was not followed out till 1722. p11With these measures Spain may be said to have acquired a more certain hold upon Texas, and to have extended her frontier to the Adaes mission, a few leagues west of the Red River.
The years following 1716 served to limit more definitely the Spanish and French frontiers. In 1717 Antoine Crozat gave up his commercial privileges in Louisiana and was succeeded by the Western Company. The change was beneficial in introducing more settlers among the French. Among those who obtained concessions was Bernard de la Harpe, whose land was located among the Cadodachos, on the Red River beyond the post of Natchitoches, where in 1717 the Spanish friars had made an unsuccessful attempt to found a mission.32 In the latter part of 1718 La Harpe started out to take possession of his grant. Having established a post about a hundred leagues above Natchitoches in the country of the Nassonites, and mindful of the ever present commercial motive of his immediate employers — the Western Company — he attempted to open up a clandestine trade with Father Margil, a Franciscan friar connected with the Texas missions, by promising him a liberal commission on all sales made through his instrumentality.33
Instead of indignantly rejecting this underhand method of advancing the spiritual interests of his missions, the priest promised to aid him by such secret means as were possible for one of his profession.34 Meanwhile La Harpe reported his arrival to Don Martin de Alarcón, the commander of the Spanish troops in Texas, and thus provoked with that officer a warm correspondence which led each to a declaration on national limits.35 Alarcón in his letter of May 20, 1719, expressed his surprise at the presence of Frenchmen in the country of the Nassonites, which they must know belonged to the Spanish king as an appurtenance of New Mexico. He advised him to retire from his position, before he should force him to do so. In reply La Harpe not only claimed that the Nassonite post belonged to the French, because situated upon one of the tributaries of the Mississippi, but also asserted that the whole of the province of Texas formed part of Louisiana, by virtue of the p12settlement made by La Salle in 1685, and subsequent acts of possession, which, however, he did not specify. He closed his letter with a challenge for Alarcón to come and dispossess him, but the latter did not see fit to make the attempt.
During the remainder of the year La Harpe occupied himself in explorations to the west and northwest of his position, with the design of opening up a route to New Mexico, but reached no farther than a branch of the Arkansas in latitude 37° 45′, where he erected a cross upon which were carved the royal arms.36
This year, 1719, is celebrated in the history of the Louisiana frontier because of the precipitate retreat of the Spanish missionaries and presidial troops from eastern Texas to the San Antonio River. War had broken out in Europe between France and Spain, and news of this event first reached the French colonial authorities. To Blondel, the French commandant at Natchitoches, the occasion seemed to afford a chance to extend the opportune protection of his garrison over the neighboring Spanish missions grouped about Adaes. Such a move might be necessary in view of the fact that most of the surrounding Indians were of French predilection. Unfortunately the missionaries and the small presidial guard did not understand his motive for advancing, and by a precipitate retreat to the San Antonio they threatened to destroy the future of French contraband trade on the Texas border. Rather than lose so important a trading center as Adaes — a post established with great expenditure of French and Spanish effort — La Harpe, when his attention was called to the matter, forced Blondel to write a most humble letter supplicating the friars to return and re‑establish their missions.37
In obedience to orders from France, Bienville, in August, 1720, despatched a certain M. Beranger to reconnoitre St. Bernard's Bay to determine its feasibility for a settlement. Three months later Beranger returned, leaving a guard of five men, four of whom afterwards perished. As a result of his report, Bienville made La Harpe the commander of a formal expedition to plant a colony near the scene of La Salle's disastrous settlement. He bore with him the survivor of Beranger's guards and was expressly ordered p13to use force to dispossess the Spaniards should he find them in the vicinity. As these orders were in conformity with royal instructions of November 16, 1718, they may be regarded as the definite assumption, by the French government, of a claim based upon La Salle's unfortunate mistake. La Harpe immediately discovered that the neighboring Indians were utterly opposed to his settlement, and in view of his slender resources retreated to Mobile. This ended the last formal attempt of the French to take possession of the Texas coasts.38
Following the events of 1719, the speedy restoration of peace produced the counter movement of the Spaniards which resulted in a permanent occupation of eastern Texas by their presidials and missionaries. A patriotic resident of the province of Coahuila, the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo, was the leader of this fifth and last of the entradas which marked the establishment to Spaniards in Texas. Some years before, the Marqués had besought the privilege of subduing and settling the province of Texas at his expense, but his plan had not then been judged expedient. Now the Mexican authorities, spurred on by Espinosa, president of the east Texas missions, gladly accepted the renewal of Aguayo's offer, which insured the peaceful reoccupation of the positions abandoned in 1719.39
Aguayo's imposing force of more than 500 men would have been sufficient to deter French opposition, had the latter cherished any such thing. Far from this, however, Saint Denis met the Spaniards at the Neches, reported the retirement of the French to Natchitoches, and, by means of his influence among the Indians, smoothed the way for the re‑establishment of the Spaniards at Adaes. The Spanish diario of the journey, however, is filled with suspicious references to the supposed desire of the French to penetrate to New Mexico or to the interior of Texas — a desire that would be precluded by Spanish possession of the frontier beyond the Sabine.
The double-dealing Saint Denis passed to Mobile to report to p14Bienville the arrival of the Spaniards. Despite Bienville's protest, the latter proceeded to reoccupy the various missions and posts formerly belonging to them, although the French commandant at Natchitoches wished them to await the return of Saint Denis. Some little exchange of courtesies for the purpose of spying out each other's strength resulted in the decision of each, in accordance with definite instructions from the home governments, to commit no overt act of hostility, but to restore the status quo of 1719. Thus the French did not hinder Aguayo in rebuilding the presidio of Adae within seven leagues of Natchitoches, and at the same time they remained equally undisturbed within their post. It is true that Bienville, then acting as governor of Louisiana, opposed this movement, but Saint Denis on the frontier and the Western Company at home were equally concerned to re‑establish the Spaniards in their vicinity, so the protests of the governor counted for naught.
The reoccupation of Adaes in 1721, and the resulting establishment during the following year of a post on Espíritu Santo Bay, emphasized the permanency which the authorities of New Spain wished to impart to the organization of Texas. The attempt to preserve as an aboriginal wilderness the country between themselves and the nearest European colonists had failed; so, then, there was no recourse but to carve out a buffer province from the territory of the Indians. The danger that threatened from La Salle became a serious menace in the person of Saint Denis with his double-dealing policy, and, therefore, within less than a decade the outposts of Spanish civilization must advance from the Rio Grande to Adaes, in order to confront on the remotest confines of the viceroyalty the invasion that seemed to endanger the mines far within the interior. Neither France nor Spain effectively occupied the country to which each laid claim; but the reoccupation of Adaes by the Spaniards and the unmolested continuance of the French at Natchitoches — both as the result of direct orders from the home governments — constituted a sort of informal acknowledgment that these posts were for the future to mark the respective limits of Texas and of Louisiana.
Meanwhile, far within the interior, the French and Spaniards were marking out lines of colonial expansion which though p15ineffectual to control this portion of the continent, served to define more clearly their tentative frontier limits nearer the coast. At the mouth of the Arkansas, at a point where Tonty had in 1686 established a small post, the Western Company maintained a storehouse which served as a way station for voyageurs passing up and down the river.40 During the winter and spring of 1722, La Harpe pushed his explorations, by water and by land, some hundred leagues up the river, till the mutinous temper of his party warned him to avoid the fate of La Salle.41 In 1719, M. Du Tissenet passed from the country of the Illinois up the Missouri and Osage, to visit the Indians bearing the latter name and the Pawnees and the Padoucas (Comanches). Among these, on September 27, he took possession of the country and erected a column with the royal arms.42 Somewhat later De Bourgemont established Fort Orleans on the Missouri, near the mouth of the Grand River, to serve as a center for the Indian fur trade and as an entrepot for trade with New Mexico, or as defense to Illinois against possible Spanish hostilities. From this point, in 1724, he made an important journey to the country of the Padoucas and neighboring nations.43
The Spaniards in New Mexico were not unmindful of the fact that their province was the ultimate goal of these explorations. Influenced by their vigorous representations, the viceroy ordered Don Antonio Valverde Cossio, then governor of that province, to send an expedition to the Pawnees, where he had heard that there were French establishments, and also to examination the "Quartelejo" with a view to locate a military post there. This latter place was probably somewhere in northwestern Kansas, and had been visited by Valverde on an expedition of the preceding year against some predatory savages. It was while on this expedition that the governor had heard of the nearby presence of the French.44
p16 The ill-fated expedition of fifty New Mexican troops with Indian auxiliaries left Santa Fé June 14, 1720, under the command of Lieutenant-Governor Don Pedro de Villazur. The task before the latter was to make a reconnaissance of the country and to attempt by diplomatic means to win the Pawnees from the French. On August 15th the expedition arrived near the Platte, in the vicinity of their villages, and early the following morning all of the Spaniards except six or seven were massacred by a party of Pawnees, probably under French direction. Among the slain was Captain Juan de Archibeque, doubtless one of the survivors of La Salle's expedition. After a comparatively successful career in New Mexico he was to expiate his share in the murder of La Salle by falling at the hands of savages instigated by his former fellow-countrymen.
The destruction of this force so seriously crippled Spanish strength in New Mexico, that the attempt to fortify so distant a post as the "Quartelejo" was abandoned, as were all similar expeditions. On the other hand, the defeat of Villazur proved for the French the first step in opening the trail to Santa Fé. In 1739 came the visit to New Mexico of a group of French Canadian merchants under the Mallet Brothers,45 who entered from the direction of the Platte and returned by way of the Arkansas. As a result of their report Bienville proposed to open up commerce with New Mexico by way of the Arkansas and its tributaries, and, in 1741, commissioned Fabry de la Bruyère, in company with four of the previous party, to undertake the task. In this, however, they were unsuccessful. If we may judge from other sources, there was a continuous infiltration of French adventurers during the succeeding years of the century.46
The imposing entrada of Aguayo determined that the occupation of Texas by the Spaniards should include the site of La Salle's unfortunate settlement and likewise Adaes, the farthermost point p17occupied by the Ramón-Saint Denis expedition. To this situation, which involved not merely overthrowing the former French pretensions to the country as far as the Rio Grande and New Mexico, but even presenting a Spanish outpost under the very eyes of the garrison at Natchitoches, the French court tacitly consented by issuing orders to maintain the status quo. This in a measure may be regarded as a negative acceptance of the territorial claims of each, so far as supported by actual settlement.47 The Spanish officers from the force of Aguayo who had visited the French garrison at Natchitoches had been received with greatest courtesy.48 Although then without definite instructions, the French local commander had promised to observe the peace, while the Spaniards claimed that the reoccupation of Adaes would not involve a breach of national faith. Thus the frontier situation rested for a decade and a half.
The predominant motive for acquiescence in this Spanish occupation was a commercial one. This motive was frankly avowed in a memoir upon Louisiana prepared by La Harpe, probably about 1723.49 The greatest value of the provinces, in his estimation, was the opportunity they offered for clandestine trade with the neighboring Spanish provinces of "Lastekas," New Mexico, and Nuevo Leon. It is worthy of note that this frontier officer, who four years previously had made so vigorous a defense of the uncertain claim of his nation to the Rio Grande and to New Mexico, now recognized the province of Spanish Texas as reaching to the vicinity of the Red River, near the point established by himself.
Unfortunately, we have no Spanish documents that afford with equal clearness contemporary reasons for the acquiescence in French occupation of Louisiana. From writers of a later period50 we may summarize the following statements. After the War of the Spanish Succession Spain abandoned its previous hostile attitude toward France. This was especially apparent in the policy of Philip V, who adopted a course little in keeping with national honor. It was this p18spirit which was responsible for French pretensions, such as those displayed in the grant to Crozat, and for encroachments in which France was always the aggressor. But even during this period there was a limit to Spanish tolerance, and it is claimed that the Grand Monarch himself assured the Spanish king that if France continued to hold any points on the Gulf of Mexico, it would not be as possessor of the soil, but for the purpose of aiding the Spaniards to retard the advance of the English.51 The presence of the French in Louisiana, then, was simply due to Spanish toleration, consequent upon the peculiar dynastic conditions of France and Spain, although there was some recognition of the influence of Spain's decadent position upon this result.
This spirit of toleration likewise characterized Spanish policy after 1721. The fact of French occupation was recognized, but not the right. This recognition, however, extended only to existing settlements, and prohibited any extension beyond a certain definite area. It was this permissive occupation, however, which affected the Spanish colonial dominions so unfavorably that Spain later gladly accepted the gift of Louisiana when the exigencies of the Family Pact rendered it advisable for France to offer it.52 Such, according to Spanish interpretation, was the official position of the French and Spanish governments before the transfer of Louisiana to the latter. It was a policy of negation rather than of express official sanction, although every governor of Texas had explicit orders to prevent further French encroachment.
With the question neglected by the home governments, all succeeding attempts at more accurate delimitation of the uncertain Louisiana-Texas frontier were the result of local initiative, and, as such, interesting from the standpoint of personal opinion rather than important in a national view. They are of some value, however, as indicating a trend towards greater definiteness in designating national areas.
In 1727 Don Pedro de Rivera made an inspection of the presidios and missions of Texas. As a result of his visit, and despite the protests of the friars, the presidial garrisons were considerably reduced. This move indicated lessened fear of French invasion, p19but led those friars belonging to Convent of San Francisco at Querétaro to withdraw to the San Antonio River.53
Some years later occurred the event which emphasized the tentative frontier line for the remaining years of French occupancy. In 1735 the French moved their fort at Natchitoches about a gun-shot farther to the westward and away from the river, in order to escape occasional floods. As the French exercised jurisdiction over some ranches reaching to the Arroyo Hondo, a small stream flowing into the Red River, and to an elevation known as Gran Montaña, Saint Denis, who the fort, unquestioningly obeyed when Bienville instructed him to make this move. Don José Gonzales, then guarding the Spanish frontier in the absence of Governor Sandoval, promptly entered his protest and informed his superior of the occurrence.54 The governor ordered his subordinate to give notice three times of the formal protest against this infringement upon Spanish territory, and if this action should be in vain, to compel the French to return to their former position. The action of Gonzales, however, simply resulted in a desultory correspondence continued until August, 1736.
Between hostile Apaches who drew him away from the frontier to Western Texas, and smuggling French whose encroachments demanded his presence at the border post of Adaes, Sandoval was in a hard place. Moreover, he had nothing beyond vague tradition of the early entradas to guide him in a diplomatic dispute, while his opponent was the crafty Saint Denis. He believed that his country could rightfully claim prior occupation of all the territory as far as the Red River, but his mere belief furnished an uncertain basis upon which to meet the arguments of the double-dealing Frenchman who had personally conducted the Spaniards into Texas. Sandoval had no positive orders to meet the particular situation. In a general way he was to harass and annoy the French as much as possible, and to drive them out of the limits of Texas; but he did not know what those limits were. When Saint Denis, from his personal experience, assured him that neither nation could rightfully claim all of the land intervening between Natchitoches and Adaes, and that even Aguayo had not objected to the presence p20of French ranches within that area, he hesitated to assume the responsibility for beginning hostilities, and referred the whole matter to the viceroy.
One result of this correspondence was a proclamation by Sandoval flatly prohibiting any commerce with the French, thus shutting Natchitoches off from what seems to have been its granary. A more important result was the subsequent observance by both sets of local officers of the Arroyo Hondo, mentioned above, as the limit of their respective colonial jurisdictions.55 As the French and Spanish touched each other nowhere else in the west, a more extended delimitation was regarded as unnecessary. Sandoval, however, fared badly because of his share in the controversy. His successor brought suit against him on the charge of betraying the royal interests, and the resulting protracted litigation almost ruined the innocent and powerless governor.56
In 1738 there was published in Paris a history of Louisiana by Du Pratz.57 This French officer, who had resided in the province from 1718 to 1734 naturally favored the pretensions of his government and repeated the earlier statement that Louisiana extended to New Mexico. Upon his map he represented the Rio Grande as the western boundary of Louisiana, as far as 29° 25′ north latitude. Thence the boundary left the river and ran parallel with the Pecos •about forty miles distant. There following a mountain chain, it finally ended in latitude 42° north. His claim, however, may be matched by that of Mota-Padilla,58 who, in 1742, spoke of the province of Texas as extending to the Red River; or by the Franciscan Espinosa59 who stated that the province reached to the Missouri; or by the auditor Altamira60 and the cosmographer of New Spain, Villa-Señor y Sanchez,61 who claimed Adaes as its outpost. In general it is possible to disregard p21the testimony both of contemporary historians and of geographers, for they commonly follow national interpretation, and their statements balance each other. If, occasionally, one seems to favor the opposing nation, his apparent generosity is matched by like conduct from the other side, as is shown by the maps of the Spaniard Lopez, and the Frenchman Vaugondy.62
While Prudencio de Orobio y Basterra held the office of governor ad interim (from 1737 to 1740), he recommended the establishment of a new presidio upon the Trinity River, in order to break up the commerce of the Indians in that vicinity with the French.63 This representation, however, seems to have attracted little or no attention from the viceroy, and the inattention may have encouraged later governors to permit this illegal traffic. There are, however, some indications that in 1744 Governor Vaudreuil of Louisiana attempted to break up the trade of his subjects with the Spaniards.64
This trade with the French, openly countenanced and even participated in by succeeding Texas governors, became especially pronounced during the rule of Lieut.‑Col. Don Jacinto de Barrios y Jauregui. Unfortunately, as one of the historians of the period writes, "it is hard to relate the events that occurred in his term in such a way as not to fall into the error of teling them too early or too late";65 yet certain of these events were important, for they led directly to the only attempt by a Spanish official to define the boundary between the French and Spanish colonies west of the Mississippi.
Barrios took possession of his government late in 1751. Morfí and those who follow him report that afterward he permitted the settlement, upon the Trinity, of a Frenchman named Blancpain (or Lampen), with two compatriots and two negro slaves. These new settlers, so the report goes, assumed the character of Spanish subjects for the purpose of carrying on trade with the Indians; and because of their influence over the latter, rendered the province an important service. According to the authorities already p22mentioned, they supplemented this service by acting as the direct agents of the Spanish governor, who shared the profits of their trade. Even if this latter statement were true, and there certainly is reason to doubt it, their reported complicity with the governor availed them but little. After remaining upon the Trinity two months and ten days, Blancpain and his companions were arrested in October, 1754, and sent to Mexico City, where they were examined on the 19th of the following February. Their succeeding fate is uncertain. One writer reports that he met Blancpain in Spain, whither he was transported, and another that he died in prison in Mexico City.66
Barrios's term of office was to close in 1756. As the time drew near he may have feared some unpleasant complications from the above affair in his inevitable residencia, or official inquiry into his administration. Accordingly, he represented to the viceroy the danger that menaced the province from French clandestine trade on the Trinity. Moved by the actual instance as well as by his vigorous representations, a junta of war held in 1755 decided to erect a new presidio upon that river and to settle some fifty Tlascalan families in its vicinity. Barrios then effected an arrangement with his destined successor, Lieutenant Don Angel de Martos y Navarrete, by which Barrios remained in Texas a year longer to assist in the erection of this new post, known as San Agustin de Ahumada.67
Notwithstanding his vigorous action in the case of Blancpain, Barrios found that he had not frightened away all French intruders. Below Adaes, on the little river Flores, a certain M. Massé established himself with his slaves; while a short distance away lived a M. Cortablan, likewise "without any other authority than p23his own effrontery."68 The establishment of the new presidio on the Trinity promised to relieve the situation very little; and even the viceroy, Amarillas, anxious as he was to keep out the French, recommended forbearance towards these intruders, in order to avoid hostilities. If we may credit later testimony there were also at this time extensive French trading settlements along the course of the Red River at the ancient Caddo village and Bayou Pierre; at Dout and among the Nandaco Indians in the valley of the Sabine; and even some distance west of that river.69
One result of this unauthorized intrusion appeared during the unfortunate campaign of 1758 against the Apaches.70 It was found that these savages were supplied with firearms, evidently from French traders, and what was worse, that they were flying a French flag. Its presence did not necessarily imply that Frenchmen formed part of the allied host, but flag and firearms were the signs of unscrupulous measures employed in stirring up the border Indians against the Spaniards. In this campaign the dismayed Spaniards ingloriously retreated, leaving a large portion of their camp equipage and all of their artillery in possession of the exultant savages. Four years later the Spanish missionaries complained of this illegal French trade, which not only prevented their own attempts at converting the Indians, but also threatened the introduction of French and even of English commerce far within the province.
Meanwhile the report that the Spaniards were about to establish a new presidio on the Trinity stirred up the French governor of Louisiana to revive well nigh forgotten claims to the whole of Texas. In 1756 a certain M. Livendais braved Spanish exclusiveness by presenting himself on board of a vessel in the harbor of Vera Cruz.71 His mission was to purchase certain provisions and munitions of war — in which he was only partially successful — and to protest against the erection of the new fortification. Livendais had desired to present his communication in person to the viceroy, but was denied the privilege, so he contented himself with p24sending from Vera Cruz the French governor's protest, which was based upon alleged "fantastic claims" to the whole province of Texas.
To this communication the viceroy attempted no direct answer, but the possibilities suggested by continued French incursions backed by extensive territorial claims led him or his subordinate, Lieutenant Don Angel de Martos y Navarrete, who about this time succeeded Barrios in Texas, to make the most definite suggestion yet offered upon the subject of a boundary between the Spanish and French colonial possessions. This proposal, apparently the work of Governor Martos, may have been prepared by him some time between 1757 and 1759, and sent to the viceroy, Amarillas. Before the death of the latter, early in 1760, he incorporated the proposal of his subordinate in a communication which was forwarded to Spain for royal consideration. The exigencies of the closing years of the Seven Years' War prevented any definite action by the Council of the Indies. When peace was finally restored, New Orleans and all of French Louisiana west of the Mississippi was ceded to Spain, so there was no necessity for prompt action in the matter. When the subject of Louisiana limits again acquired an international importance, the memoir was discovered in the archives of the Convent of San Francisco, in the City of Mexico, by Friar Melchor de Talamantes, while searching for material upon the subject of the limits of Louisiana and Texas. Although the document was anonymous and undated, it was identified by an associate, possibly Friar José Pichardo, as the work of Governor Martos, at the time above mentioned.72
p25 The Representation73 begins by reviewing the mission of M. Livendais to Vera Cruz and the cases of Blancpain and the other intruding Frenchmen, and utters a warning against permitting similar encroachments beyond the River of the Adaes or Mexicano.74 The author mentions the "strict union of the two crowns" and the desire of the Spanish sovereign to preserve peace throughout his dominions, although unforeseen accidents might prevent this. The possibility that France might emerge successfully from its present conflict with England75 suggested the danger that when freed from menace in the north and east, France might not content itself with Louisiana alone, but might look with longing upon a province (Texas) whose natural wealth more than equalled the French Canadian possessions. The possibility led the author to suggest a plan for definitely fixing the limits while the relations between the two governments were still those of close friendship.
The writer believed that on the Mexican frontier the Mississippi, at least as far as the Red River, would constitute the best boundary between the colonial possessions of the two nations. From the mouth of the Red, that river, as far as its main fork in the country of the Caddoes,76 should continue the boundary, separating the French Indians from the Spanish Apaches, and also leaving under p26Spanish influence the Chitimachas, Opelousas, and Attakapas. From the forks of the Red River, following the most northern branch, the line should run in a northerly direction to the Arkansas, and thence to the Missouri. Although the French had penetrated about a thousand leagues up this river, they afterward had abandoned their settlement and ceased further exploration. The various divisions of the proposed line could be run so as to separate the Indians that were natural enemies, thus emphasizing its definiteness.
Possibly the French would be loath to abandon their long established post at Natchitoches, and the various scattered ranches extending equally far to the westward. In that event it would be advisable to move the first portion of the proposed line over to the Adaes River (Sabine) and to extend it in a northerly direction to the Red. This would be preferable to leaving the question open any longer, especially if the Spaniards strengthened themselves by new establishments on the Texas coast.
The proposed line, following the Sabine, Red, Arkansas, and Missouri rivers, was definitely to mark out the sphere of influence of each nation among the Indians, and likewise its area for exploration and development. The great mineral wealth of the interior of New Spain, separated by vast distances from the French frontier, would no longer present the temptation to encroachment which had previously threatened the peace of the two nations. Freed from this danger, and with adequate instructions, the colonial government would be able to enforce all laws of the home government and to insist upon the most inviolable observance of its treaty privileges and obligations. These were the reasons that led the writer to recommend the abandonment of the untenable policy of regarding the French as intruders upon the Gulf coast and the acknowledgment of their right to a certain well-defined area in order to preserve intact the vast regions still claimed by the Spanish crown.
With the customary disregard that characterized the Spanish home government during this period, the document was unheeded for more than four decades. Its main features were then revived to meet the menace of a more dreaded encroachment, but unfortunately for Spain, too late to achieve the desired result.
Although suggestions from the viceregal court concerning a boundary with the French remained unheeded, the same indifference did not display itself when an opportunity arose to obtain the whole of Louisiana. The exigencies of the Family Compact made it desirable to reward Spain for her unfortunate share in the Seven Years' War. Although the government of Louis XV may also have desired to get rid of an unprofitable colony, yet the Spanish government apparently considered no alternative but to accept the proffered possession. In fact the manner in which the colonial officials of Louisiana, from a Spanish point of view, had disregarded their obligations of good neighborhood, rendered no other course possible.77
From November 3, 1762, the date of the secret transfer of Louisiana to Spain, until May 2, 1803, when Napoleon and the American commissioners signed the formal deed of cession to the United States, the final disposition of Louisiana was a matter of doubt; while the various questions arising from its possession remained to perplex American diplomacy and policies until 1853. Thus it may be truly said that the forty years preceding 1803 were, so far as Louisiana was concerned, years of preliminary preparation for the great transfer which exerted so important an influence on American political events during the next half century.
The tender of Louisiana to the Spanish sovereign was made on November 3, 1762, and his acceptance was received ten days later.78 But it was not until 1769 that Don Alexander O'Reilly took possession of the colony, after suppressing in New Orleans an incipient rebellion of Spain's new subjects. The acceptance of the province did not in any way mark its full reception into the number of Spanish colonies. By the terms of the cession Louisiana was to enjoy certain trading privileges that were denied to the other dependencies of Spain. Rather than break down the system of commercial monopoly that had characterized Spain's colonial policy up to this p28point, Louisiana was to be administered as a possession quite distinct from its neighboring provinces. The barrier that separated Louisiana from Texas — largely an uncertain paper one — must be emphasized, in order that the former colony might not prove a breach in Spain's wall of commercial exclusion.
A change that marked a step in advance along the Louisiana border occurred almost contemporaneously with the official transfer. During the early months of 1764 some 650 Acadians arrived at New Orleans.79 A portion of these were settled on the banks of the Mississippi, but the greater number at Attakapas and Opelousas. As Natchitoches was previously the only former French settlement west of the Red River, this migration emphasizes a movement of French speaking people towards the Sabine. The event, however, occurred after the official transfer of the province to Spain, and although that power had not yet taken possession, the movement can not be regarded as strengthening the claims of France to the region between the Mississippi and the Sabine.80
The transfer of the colony did not promise an immediate conversion of illegal French traders into law-abiding Spanish subjects. The presidio upon the Trinity, designed to break up this trade, became the scene of a quarrel between Governor Martos and Captain Rafael Martin Pacheco, during which the Captain was arrested and the presidio burned. Later the governor was removed from office.81 This quarrel may have arisen on account of contraband trade. The frontier missionaries of the period emphasize the lamentable effect of such irresponsible trading upon their .82 These complaints continued even after the Spaniard, O'Reilly, assumed command at New Orleans. The Indians were supplied with firearms and munitions by which they became more dreaded on the frontier. The Spaniards blamed the French and the latter the English; but it was a matter of common knowledge along the frontier that many French fortunes owed their origin to this trade. This, of course, could not be prevented while Louisiana belonged to France, and after the transfer only the lawless persisted in the traffic. One unfortunate result was the opportunity p29for expansion which this illegal practice opened to the English after they became established at Natchez. With the Missouri affording a highway into the interior they could not be wholly excluded, and O'Reilly in self-defense was forced to use Natchitoches as a center from which to supply munitions to certain of the tribes.83
An attempted retrograde movement on the part of the Spanish home government followed the visita of the Marqués de Rubí in 1767, and threatened still further to complicate the border situation. Some five years after the report of Rubí the Spanish king issued, September 10, 1772, an order known as the "New Regulation of Presidios,"84 which practically embodied Rubí's proposals. In effect his "New Regulation" marked an attempt at temporary relinquishment of Spain's uncertain hold on a large part of the territory between the Rio Grande and the Mississippi, in favor of a greater concentration near the valley of the former. With Spain in control of both Texas and Louisiana, the latter colony became the rampart against English aggression, thus removing the necessity for missionary and presidial outposts in eastern Texas. At the same time the peril from the Apaches and other hostile Indians far within the interior provinces measurably increased. Consequently prudence demanded the abandonment of useless stations on the Texas-Louisiana frontier with a concentration of forces upon the San Antonio and Rio Grande rivers, whence an exterminating war might be waged against hostile natives.
To carry into effect this proposed defense of the more populated portions of the viceroyalty, a line of fifteen frontier forts, forty leagues apart, was to extend from Bahía del Espíritu Santo, near the mouth of the San Antonio River, to the head of the Gulf of California. Beyond this cordon of forts two outposts, San Antonio de Béxar, in Texas, and Santa Fé, in New Mexico, were to represent the extreme garrisons of New Spain. The forces at Béxar and at Bahía were to be increased by the abandonment of Adaes and Orcoquisac, while the military efficiency of all the presidios was to be increased by the appointment of a new general officer, the inspector comandante of the interior provinces. To this office p30the viceroy appointed Don Hugo Oconor, who had recently served as governor ad interim of Texas.
At first thought it would seem that the issue of this royal decree marks the definite abandonment by the Spanish government of all the province of Texas beyond the San Antonio River. It so chances that this presidial line roughly corresponds to what the French had formerly claimed as the western boundary of Louisiana, but apparently long since abandoned. But this proposed relinquishment of the greater part of Texas was to the Indians and not to the French. Louisiana, west of the Mississippi, was now a Spanish province, so there was no necessity for a garrison in east Texas to prevent the extension of its western frontier. The proposed relinquishment of the greater part of Texas was only the result of a temporary policy, which in turn would be reversed when New Spain again felt the necessity for expansion. Meanwhile the acquisition of Louisiana denoted the fact that the Spanish frontier now extended to the Mississippi, where possible encroachment must be restrained by her newly acquired citizens. As a matter of fact, east Texas was never wholly abandoned, and those settlers who removed to San Antonio shortly afterward returned, despite the express royal order to the contrary.
A prominent figure upon the Texas-Louisiana frontier in the years following 1770 was Athanase de Mezières, a Frenchman in Spanish service as commandant of the post at Natchitoches. He was well-known and influential among the various Indian tribes of the border, particularly along the Red River, and had specially visited most of them. Mezières was perfectly willing to turn his influence over the Indians to Spanish account. His plan,85 indorsed by Ripperdá, differed from that of Rubí in that while he favored abandoning the useless missions and presidios in eastern Texas, it was for the purpose of erecting a new presidio among the northern Indians of Texas rather than removing the soldiers and settlers to the San Antonio. The command of this presidio should be given to Luis de Saint Denis, son of the famous trader and frontier commander of the preceding generation. For the successful prosecution of warfare against the hostile Indians, especially p31the Apaches, some three hundred French chasseurs should be recruited in Louisiana.
The purpose of Mezières, as stated by him in these various recommendations, was to present a serious obstacle to the threatened advance of the English, although his trading interests among the northern Indians may have furnished an equally strong motive. His letters and journals of the years 1778 and 1779,86 however, as well as his earlier letters, are full of the danger threatening from the English, owing to their secure position upon the east bank of the Mississippi, the easy ingress afforded by the Missouri and the hostile Osages, and the unscrupulousness with which they introduced firearms among the Texas Indians, in order to incite them against the Spaniards. They likewise appeared to be tampering with the Pawnees, through whom they were attempting to influence the Taovayases. It is interesting to note that he mentions the internecine struggle then dividing the English, but he states that the colonies, if successful, will prove no better neighbors than England herself. His proposals embody the plan of protecting the country west of the Mississippi by a line of presidios from that river to New Mexico, garrisoned by the combined forces of the French and Spaniards in Louisiana and Texas. The two essentials to its complete success are perfect reciprocity in trade between the two colonies, by way of the Trinity River and Opelousas, and the good will of the Indians. His plans seem to promise measurable success, but the jealousy and sloth of the viceregal and home governments rendered them nugatory.
Meanwhile in March, 1773, the viceroy ordered Oconor to carry out the policy of abandoning the presidios and missions of eastern Texas. The settlers from Adaes were first transferred to San Antonio, but upon petition to the viceroy, Governor Ripperdá permitted them, in 1774, to erect a temporary establishment, known as Bucareli, upon the banks of the Trinity.87 A secondary reason p32that had influenced the authorities in abandoning the eastern part of the province had been the desire to break up the illicit trade with the English, French, and Indians, carried on principally by the leading resident of Adaes, Antonio Gil Ybarbo, and a French merchant, Nicolasº de la Mathe, of Point , Louisiana. It was supposed by some of the officials that the reason Ybarbo and his fellow settlers wished to return to the Trinity was to resume this trade. Nevertheless, the removal from eastern Texas had caused so much suffering that the petition of those involved was granted; and with many instructions designed to check contraband trade, Bucareli was duly established.
The petition of the settlers to return to eastern Texas had appealed to the Governor, who desired to guard that section against English intrusion and to keep the Indians attached to the Spaniards. The situation upon the Trinity was, however, very unfavorable, as alternate experiences of flood and drought, added to attacks by the Comanches, soon taught its inhabitants. Under the leadership of Gil Ybarbo they made another removal in 1779, to Nacogdoches, which henceforth received a sort of official endorsement and became the center of Spanish influence in eastern Texas. This community, together with the establishment on the San Antonio River, constituted the only formal settlements in the province.
While the new settlement had been located upon the Trinity charges were freely made against its inhabitants for engaging in clandestine trade, not merely with the French, but also with the English, although they had been especially ordered to break up this intercourse. Ybarbo, their commandant, the French merchant Nicholasº de la Mathe, and even Governor Ripperdá, were charged with participating in this traffic, and thus indirectly terrorizing the settlements upon the San Antonio River and farther within Mexico through Indian raids stirred up by foreign traders introduced along the Trinity.88 Trade with the Louisiana French or with the English was alike illegal, but this practice characterized the new settlers at Nacogdoches, and resulted in a moderate degree of prosperity. In 1779 the community was officially recognized, p33and nine years later had a population of between two hundred and two hundred and fifty French and Spaniards, housed in some eighty or ninety wooden buildings. In 1801 two travelers report the fighting strength of its population at four hundred and speak of an extensive commerce with Louisiana.89 From other sources we know that by this time the original French and Spanish elements had been joined by an American contingent that speedily monopolized the fur trade.90 The jurisdiction of Nacogdoches, about 1785, was extended to the little settlement of Bayou Pierre, on the Red River, thus including what had been a former French establishment,91 and in a measure counteracting the spread of that people in Attakapas and Opelousas. Contraband trade seems still to have been the main interest of the population, including officials.92
Beyond the attempted abandonment of the settlements of eastern Texas, none of the measures proposed by the local authorities for the development of Texas were considered by the viceregal officials or by the home government. In addition to the above unfruitful suggestion of Mezières, it was proposed to open free trade between Louisiana and Texas, establish one or more ports upon the Gulf coast of the latter, and adopt the Sabine as the boundary between the two provinces. Governor Ripperdá of Texas, Caballeroa De Croix, the chief executive officer of the newly-created eastern Internal Provinces, and Mezières, the local commandant at Natchitoches, all93 united in recommending this policy either wholly or in part, but in vain. The jealousy of a possible rival port led the Sala de Consulado of Vera Cruz, some eight years after the proposal, to suggest a solution of the question that would "unite the interests of the State with the well-being of the two provinces, and without prejudice to that of New Spain." Such a course simply meant no action upon the proposal. At this same time (1785‑86) an expedition under Castro and Evía explored the coast of p34New Santander and Texas and recommended the mouth of the Rio Grande as the proper place for a port. Their recommendation seemed to favor a location which would turn Texas trade towards Mexico rather than towards Louisiana. In 1788 or 1789 the viceroy, after a representation from a certain De Blanc, commander at Natchitoches, reinforced by a letter from Governor Miró of Louisiana, reported the whole affair to Spain; and on March 1st, 1790, orders were received to suspend all action. Thus an opportunity was lost to develop the internal resources of the colony and to fix the limits definitely at the Sabine.
Aside from this ineffectual attempt to fix the limits of Texas, the boundary notices of this period among Spanish records are few and very vague. Friar Augustin de Morfí visited the province in 1778, and one portion94 of his Memorias mentions the eastern limit of the province as "the Adaes" and in another95 as the "Rio vermejo ó de Natchitoches." He likewise mentions its colonial neighbors on the east as "Louisiana" and "English colonies." Six years before Governor Ripperdá had spoken of the Mississippi as the western limit of Louisiana;96 but his co‑laborers, the cabildo of San Fernando (San Antonio) stated it more correctly as "the Adaes."97 Bonilla likewise places the limit at this point.98 Mezières99 probably gave Morfí his idea that both Louisiana and the English colonies bordered Texas on the east. While these notices tend to emphasize the previous tacit observance of the line between Adaes and Natchitoches, they are too vague for a more satisfactory generalization. There is nothing from the Louisiana side to supply this deficiency. The possession by Spain of both provinces did not, so far as reciprocal commerce was concerned, render the subject unimportant, but the practice of the Spanish government in other respects conveys the opposite idea.
In 1785 Stephen Miró, the governor-general of Louisiana, informed the viceroy of New Spain that the French had left no p35documents at New Orleans relating to the limits of Louisiana.100 In March, 1788, Don Angel Angelino prepared a map of the province of Texas, evidently from data furnished by Evía's expedition, but our authority contains no description of it.101 Later Miró urged the adoption of the Sabine as the boundary and the establishment of reciprocal commerce between his province and Texas. The English, meaning the people of the newly established United States, would now be kept away from the Mississippi, so there would be no danger in establishing free trade between the two provinces. This suggestion is in keeping with the determination of the Spaniards to deprive the United States of the use of the Mississippi, or of any establishment upon its banks below the Ohio. Miró's advocacy of the Sabine as the boundary did not appear to make that suggestion any more acceptable to the Spanish home government.102 In 1799 the map of Don Juan de Langara103 was published, and upon this the Sabine was given as the boundary. This map was later criticised by a Spanish writer as purely maritime and prepared when the question of limits was of little importance, and therefore a map that could not be cited on that point.104 An American criticises it as being on too small a scale, and like all others extant, as failing to give an adequate idea of the coast between the Mississippi and the Sabine.105
Comparatively little was added to the store of geographical knowledge concerning the Louisiana-Texas frontier by travelers and explorers during this period. Important visitas of the Texas establishments occurred in 1762 and 1767.106 The inspection of Marqués de Rubí in 1767 has already been mentioned, but this, as in the case of the preceding, only incidentally touched upon geographical details. The map of the engineer la Fora, who accompanied Rubí, is interesting as showing the position of Texas with reference to its neighbors on the south and west, but it gives no accurate information regarding the eastern boundary of that province.107 p36The same may be said of the famous inspection of 1778 under Cabellero de Croix, who was accompanied by Padre Morfí.108 A record of one of the numerous journeys of Mezières among the Indians of northeastern Texas has been preserved to us;109 and while this contains some geographical data concerning the rivers of east Texas, like his letters, it is especially important for its description of the Indians. The same is true of the really remarkable journey of Pedro Vial,110 from San Antonio to Santa Fé, by way of Colorado, Brazos, Red, and Pecos rivers. The following year Vial returned by way of the Red River and Nacogdoches to San Antonio.111 In 1801, two residents of Louisiana made the journey from Vera Cruz to New Orleans,112 recording many interesting observations upon the country traversed. These various journals, however, added more to the wealth of Spanish archives than to the general knowledge of the period.
We have already noted that after 1763 the English settlements upon the eastern bank of the Mississippi threatened to interfere materially with the attempted policy of exclusion on the Texas frontier. The danger became more menacing when, in 1772, Englishmen were reported to be among the Indians near Natchitoches and later on the Trinity. An investigation from Bahía was ordered, in the course of which Captain Cazorla discovered among the natives what he thought to be English arms, but no Englishmen. The natives said that they obtained the arms through French traders, who would not permit the English to approach the Indian villages. Two years later an English vessel remained in the Neches long enough to raise a crop. In 1777 an English vessel loaded with brick was reported as wrecked in the same river. Ybarbo, who was sent from Bucareli to investigate the wreck, found it on Sabine Lake, where it had been plundered by the Attakapas. He also explored the coast as far west as the Trinity in search of another English vessel reported to be in the vicinity, but achieved nothing beyond finding an English sailor, marooned from a passing p37Jamaica vessel. He made a sketch map of the region traversed, and later, in the summer of 1777, departed upon another tour of exploration from the Trinity to the Brazos, but with what result we are not informed.113
These incidents may indicate either a simple exploration of the coast by the English or an attempt to settle, defeated by Indian hostility. At any rate, rumors of their presence at various points stirred Governor Ripperdá to unwonted activity in patrolling the coast. The greatest fear of governor and viceroy arose from the fact that these dreaded energetic pioneers were more able than the French to destroy the uncertain hold of the Spanish upon the Texas Indians, and less scrupulous in the methods they employed. The conquest of the Floridas by Governor-General Galvez, in 1779‑1781, promised for a time to remove this peril, provided the new American Republic could be restricted to the eastward of the Appalachians. When the attempt of French and Spanish diplomacy to accomplish this result was foiled, the energies of the Spanish court were bent to the task of keeping the new power from the lower Mississippi, and for a decade and a half with success. Yet during this very period there appeared upon the Louisiana-Texas frontier the pioneer representatives of the very migration that Spain so greatly dreaded. A typical class of these border representatives is well illustrated by their most prominent prototype, Philip Nolan, whose career will be treated in a later chapter.
Negotiations for the retrocession of Louisiana to France began almost as soon as those frontier movements which determined its ultimate possession by an English-speaking people. For a time it seemed that the final ownership of this vast province was a question to be determined by European diplomacy, and diplomacy certainly hastened its final solution. For this reason it is necessary to review diplomatic manoeuvres, as forces supplementing frontier expansion, in order fully to comprehend all the influences which affected the Louisiana-Texas frontier after 1803. One must, however, remember that aside from hastening certain frontier complications, p38diplomacy hardly affected the final result. Louisiana and Texas were destined to belong to the population that could best cope with the primitive conditions of the Mississippi Valley, and that population was composed of Anglo-American pioneers. It is true that, for certain purposes, individuals of this class temporarily acknowledged foreign allegiance, but ultimately they found themselves under the flag of the United States. This was the history of the successive waves of American migration to the Southwest, and was as true of the decade preceding the nineteenth century as of that approaching its middle course.
The intriguing period of Louisiana diplomacy was ushered in by a proposal usually attributed to the Comte de Vergennes looking to a retrocession of Louisiana to France. The French minister is credited with a memoir114 written sometime before the American alliance outlining the course which France should pursue in the event of American independence. Vergennes believed that if the Americans were successful in the conflict they would covet Florida, Louisiana, and Mexico — countries that were useless to them as colonials, but which as an independent people would render them masters of all the important straits of the Gulf. By entering into the conflict he believed that France could compel her hated rival England to cede the territory west of the Appalachians, together with a portion of Canada. To complete her possessions on the American continent, Spain should yield Louisiana to its former possessor. Thus the liberated colonies, hemmed in by the mountains, would remain in perpetual dependence upon the mistress of the Mississippi Valley, now restored to a position far stronger than that preceding the Seven Years' War. Whether or not Vergennes was the author of this memoir, it is in keeping with his later policy in favoring Spain at expense of the United States. This policy was dictated not so much by a desire to please Spain as to advance France in her aspirations to regain control of the Mississippi Valley. An additional motive may be found in the secret p39overtures of certain inhabitants of Louisiana to the French minister in Philadelphia, looking to their deliverance from Spanish control.115
By 1779 the prospect of being able to profit by the humiliation of Great Britain led Spain into the conflict in which France and the United States were already allied. Campaigns waged during the next two years successively brought the Natchez district, Mobile, and Pensacola under the control of the energetic young Governor-General of Louisiana, Don Bernardo de Galvez.116 These successes promised to return to Spain the territory ceded to England in 1763, with possible additions that would rivet still more strongly her control of the Mississippi. Under the circumstances the position of Spain towards the new republic became of the utmost importance.
It may be stated as a general truth that if the Spaniard distrusted the Englishman, he mingled detestation with the distrust with which he regarded the American. For more than a year Spain persistently refused to join France in a war waged in behalf of American independence; and when she finally entered the struggle, it was as the ally of France and not of the United States, and to secure more completely her colonial possessions against any ambitious projects of the latter. Just as in 1762 the Spanish government was willing to accept the unprofitable colony of Louisiana in order to get rid of troublesome French neighbors west of the Mississippi, so now she was induced to enter a conflict that was distasteful to her, for the purpose of restricting far more undesirable neighbors to the country east of the Appalachians. Washington believed that Galvez personally was a true friend of the Americans,117 but the case was far different with the home officials who immediately took measures to profit by his conquests. The Spaniards believed that free navigation of the Mississippi was a necessary corollary to settlement upon its banks, and their jealous fears led them to refuse the former, in order to render the latter unsuccessful. This was doubtless the strongest motive that had led them into a conflict where they hoped to gain the Floridas and p40the Illinois country; that dictated the policy of refusing to receive an American envoy; and that directed the mission of Rayneval to England in a futile attempt to enclose the United States between the Atlantic and the Appalachians.118 When, despite these efforts, covertly aided by Vergennes, the American commissioners cleverly succeeded in making favorable terms with England, the Spanish minister, Count d'Aranda, could but sadly utter his notable prophecy, "This federal republic is born a pigmy. A day will come when it will be a giant, even a colossus, formidable in these countries."119
The marked friendliness of France for Spain was in keeping with its general policy to obtain Louisiana and to make that province as valuable as possible. That France did not succeed in 1783 in gaining actual possession of the coveted territory was due to her financial weakness.120 This financial inability, however, did not interfere with the preparation of memoirs reciting the advantages that Louisiana would bring to France. One of these, written about 1787 and designed for De Moustier, the French minister to the United States, came into possession of the Canadian authorities.121 In one of his most important dispatches De Moustier likewise showed his own interest in the subject, and in such a way as to justify Jefferson's suspicions of his motives and of those of his government.122
The position of the West towards Louisiana, particularly with regard to the navigation of the Mississippi, early became important. Spain appealed to this sentiment through Wilkinson and other leaders of the famous conspiracy of 1788, in an endeavor to detach that section from the Union. On the other hand, the Canadian authorities later attempted to make use of this feeling to organize an attack upon Louisiana with the aid of Kentucky volunteers.123 p41This latter movement was frustrated, partly through the opposition Wilkinson, but more largely through western prejudice against England. In his letters to the Spanish governor, however, Wilkinson made use of this visit of the British emissary to threaten an invasion of Louisiana and New Mexico by a combined force of British and frontiersmen, unless the latter were well treated by the Spanish authorities in the matter of navigating the Mississippi. There is a suggestion of possible separation from the Union in this threat. The scheme of the Spanish representative, Gardoqui, in connection with a New Jersey trader, George Morgan, to establish an elaborate colony on the west bank of the Mississippi in order to restrain American migration, likewise resulted in failure.124 Yet Morgan was not the only American willing to lend himself to the schemes of Spain. George Rogers Clark, despairing of adequate recognition of his really meritorious services by the American government or by the State of Virginia, offered to further the aims of Spain in return for a land grant.125 The general temper of the West towards Spain was, however, that reported by Brissot,126 — a feeling of intense resentment, ready to express itself in actual hostilities. The Frenchman believed that if the Americans once began the march to New Orleans, that city and the whole contiguous country would fall into their hands.
The position of Great Britain towards Louisiana as well as the Floridas was clearly defined in the so‑called Nootka Sound Episode.127 This position was determined not merely by the capture of certain English vessels on the Pacific coast, but also by the agitation of the Spanish-American revolutionist Francisco de Miranda. His Grand Plan, in which Pitt for a time displayed interest, contemplated the bestowal of constitutional rights upon all Spanish America west of the Mississippi and south of the forty‑p42fifth parallel.128 Under Miranda's influence military preparations were making in England, with New Orleans an immediate objective point, but with a view to the ultimate conquest of Mexico and South America. Before the end of the year 1790, however, Pitt received a memoir demonstrating the impracticability of marching troops from New Orleans to Mexico.129 Other reports130 pointed out the greater desirability of possessing merely New Orleans and the Floridas (Pitt's "Southern Farms") and of utilizing western volunteers for this purpose. Later the trader and adventurer W. A. Bowles proposed131 to use the Cherokees and Creeks, with some Tennessee recruits, in conquering the Floridas and southern Louisiana. If then threatened by Spanish forces from Havana, he proposed to draw these off by a feint upon Mexico, which from personal knowledge he represented as accessible and ready to revolt upon the first approach of an invader.
These various memoirs seem to indicate that although the British government was somewhat influenced by Miranda's comprehensive scheme, it merely intended to take advantage of the probable hostilities to seize the Floridas and New Orleans, and possibly the greater part of Louisiana, and then make use of its position to bring Mexico into a condition of partial dependence. Probably a certain amount of the territory whose seizure was contemplated would be returned to Spain upon the latter's yielding more extensive commercial privileges in her remaining colonies. It is hardly likely that Pitt or those associated with him placed much confidence in Miranda's elaborate plan for revolutionizing all Spanish America, or that they were willing to embark in a mere quixotic scheme for bearing independence to Spain's oppressed colonists. The English leaders simply intended to utilize the practical part of Miranda's plan, especially from a commercial standpoint. But whatever their motives, the opportunity to realize them passed away when Spain accepted England's terms in the Nootka Sound Convention.
While the prospect of hostile operations was still threatening, p43Lord Dorchester, the governor-general of Canada, sent a special agent named Beckwith to ascertain the position of the American authorities towards Great Britain and to learn what inducements were necessary to enlist the United States on her side.132 His mission afforded an opportunity for public leaders of the period to express their opinions regarding Louisiana; and this fact, rather than the position of Great Britain, constitutes the most important feature of the whole controversy.
In his interviews with Beckwith, Hamilton expressed himself as opposed to British possession of New Orleans. In case of actual hostilities that point should pass under American control; but with this proviso, he apparently was inclined to favor the cause of Great Britain against Spain.133 In contrast with his opinion may be mentioned that of Scott, a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, who believed it would be to the advantage of the United States for Great Britain to possess New Orleans, and even to gain it by American aid. Then the city could be used as a point of advantage in the possible dismemberment of Spanish America.134
The opinion of Jefferson with regard to England and Spain was typical in that he attempted to square himself with both nations, although he expressed the greater hostility towards the former. Early in July he prepared a paper135 upon the subject, in which he mentioned the danger from English control of New Orleans, and favored a joint guarantee by Spain and the United States of the independence of the threatened territory. Notwithstanding this, he later wrote Monroe,136 that either "war or indissoluble confederacy" with England was necessary, and in the latter event he hoped that Great Britain would content herself with Louisiana, and allow the United States to retain New Orleans and the Floridas. This view suggests his later position regarding France at the mouth of the Mississippi.
p44 Yet Jefferson felt strongly opposed to Great Britain as a neighbor in Louisiana, even under the most favorable conditions, and this feeling appears in his instructions to Gouverneur Morris,137 then in London. He was to inform the British ministry that the United States could not regard with indifference their acquisition of neighboring territory. He instructed Carmichael138 at Madrid to represent to the Spanish government the desirability of a cession of New Orleans and the Floridas to the United States, in return for a guaranty of Spanish possessions upon the west bank of the Mississippi. This suggestion reached Carmichael too late for effective use, but it was in keeping with the later policy of Jefferson just before the Louisiana purchase.
As a question of policy the possible march of British troops across our territory from Detroit to St. Louis gave Washington and his cabinet some concern,139 but added nothing to their views respecting Louisiana. Early in the next year the British consul at Philadelphia suggested to his home government the advisability of considering the mouth of the Ohio as a point for collecting a force to be conveyed against the Spanish settlements on the lower Mississippi. This movement could hardly be undertaken without the concurrence of the United States and upon a basis reciprocal advantages, but he believed that the coöperation of the western settlers might be secured in any movement that promised to open the Mississippi.140 Fortunately for the future growth of the United States, the threatening war clouds were already dissipated and Spain remained in undisturbed possession of Louisiana.
It was the temper of the West, uncertain in its allegiance to external sovereignty, but with its whole economic development centered in the free navigation of the Mississippi, that proved such an element of danger during the first critical decade of the new national government. In August, 1790, Jefferson wrote Carmichael141 that it was impossible to answer for the further of our western citizens. At that very time the Yazoo Land Company of South Carolina, through Dr. James O'Fallon, was offering to locate p45a colony on the site of modern Vicksburg.142 The agent attempted to allay the fears of Governor Miró by representing the colony as a migration from the United States of disaffected western elements, with the design of effecting an alliance with adjoining Spanish colonies and of serving as a rampart to protect them against similar future invasions. It was rumored that George Rogers Clark was to command the battalion O'Fallon was organizing. Spanish opposition and the proclamation of Washington against occupying Indian lands served to break up this particular movement, but not the design of its leaders to expatriate themselves, if that were necessary to gain the freedom of the Mississippi.
In the midst of the crisis threatening from the Nootka Sound affair Jefferson had attempted to gain the aid of France in securing New Orleans, or at least a port near the mouth of the Mississippi.143 France, however, had plans of her own, and while Spain was threatened by England, offered to form a new alliance in lieu of the former family compact.144 The new tie was to be strengthened by the retrocession of Louisiana. Spain preferred peace with England rather than alliance with revolutionary France, especially upon such terms. The latter power, then, must employ some other method to gain the coveted Louisiana.
With the adoption of the Girondist revolutionary propaganda of 1792, France opened the second period of Louisiana intrigue with some prospect of realizing her dream of colonial dominion. Under the dominating influence of Brissot de Warville, the former American traveler who had correctly interpreted the situation in the Mississippi Valley, the attention of the French leaders was largely directed to the Spanish colonies upon this continent. To strengthen this tendency, the tireless Miranda soon spread before Lebrun, minister of foreign affairs, and his associates, the scheme of widespread Spanish-American revolution, now to be undertaken under French auspices. Wiser measures, however, soon moderated this spirit of universal revolutionary propaganda. The projected attack upon all Spanish America was regarded as too chimerical, for although the country would not forever remain p46under Spanish domination, it was not then the duty of France to liberate it. An attempt to revolutionize and take possession of Louisiana alone, offered a prospect of immediate success and a safe point of departure for future incursions into Mexico and neighboring Spanish territory.145
To influence the Brissot faction in behalf of revolutionizing Louisiana, there appeared in Paris in 1792 and early in the following year, a series of memoirs describing that province and its population, and its possible future relations both to France and the United States. Prominent among these papers was a proposal by George Rogers Clark,146 doubly resentful because of the rejection by the State of Virginia of his last application in behalf of his just claims. He represented the spirit of the West as aroused to fury against Spain because of the closure of the Mississippi, and scarcely less hostile towards the Union because of fancied indifference or actual neglect. Clark's proposal was backed by his son-in‑law, James O'Fallon, through whose instrumentality it reached Thomas Paine at Paris. The latter was then a recently naturalized French citizen, enjoying the confidence of Brissot, Lebrun, and others of their associates. With these the offer of Clark, in view of his former reputation and supposed popularity, was evidently of weight in strengthening their determination to confine their present effort to Louisiana.
Both before and after Clark many others147 presented papers of similar tenor. Among these authors we may mention Gilbert Imlay, Revolutionary soldier, traveler, and writer; Stephen Sayre, a Princeton graduate who successively became banker and sheriff in London, and, after his failure in that city, an attaché of Franklin and of Arthur Lee; Pierre Lyonnet, a French Creole, formerly a resident of New Orleans; Beaupoils, a French officer who had formerly served in Poland; and Joel Barlow, American poet and diplomat, who, like Paine, had recently become a French citizen.
Most of these proposals have in view the immediate revolutionizing of Louisiana alone, although Sayre and Beaupoils148 include p47the more extensive plan of Miranda. All of them anticipate ready aid from the American and French settlers along the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland, as well as from the Creole population of Louisiana. As leader of these volunteers they suggest such opposite characters as Clark and Wilkinson. The memorialists point out the commercial advantages to the French West Indies of Louisiana freed from Spanish control, whatever the final disposition of its territory. One leaves this question open, another is opposed to its possession by the United States, while the French Creole would bestow it upon that power in return for certain commercial advantages for France. They prefer to work out their purpose without openly involving the United States, although they know the importance that that republic attaches to the free navigation of the Mississippi, and wish to employ that factor in drawing the western settlers into their scheme. One anonymous writer refers to this same motive to bring about a separation of the West from the East and its ultimate incorporation with Louisiana. The later proposal of Barlow and Leavenworth149 is in the nature of an offer to liberate Louisiana at their own expense, and to use it as an example for all Spanish America. They were to pay themselves and followers from the public lands and property, and, in case of a retrocession of the province to Spain, to receive back their financial outlay.
Doubtless Genet's instructions and his own later actions were greatly influenced by these proposals, most of which must have been known before he left France. Four of the memorialists were suggested as a committee to act under Genet's direction in organizing the western volunteers and in fomenting the Louisiana revolution. Later they were to extend their propaganda to all Spanish America, but to omit for the present this greater task.150 These emissaries were to pass to the Ohio ostensibly in search for suitable land for a colony, and to assemble their volunteers under the pretext of a campaign against the Indians. These precautions would serve to avoid compromising the United States, and whether that power should ultimately control Louisiana, time and its people should decide.
Genet's high-handed course toward the American government p48soon made necessary a policy of intrigue, in order to put into operation the proposed expedition against Louisiana. In keeping with his policy was an offer from Clark,151 penned in February, 1793, to take Louisiana with 1,500 men, and with additional assistance, Pensacola and Santa Fé. With the approaches to the latter Clark claimed to be perfectly familiar.152 In addition, the botanist André Michaux, already contemplating an exploration of the Missouri under Jefferson's guidance,153 was ready to turn from the uncertain field of exploration to what appeared to be the more sure conquest of Louisiana. He was immediately employed as Genet's agent to his proposed Kentucky coadjutors, among whom must now be reckoned Congressman John Brown and the merchant Charles De Pauw.154 The personal testimony of these men established the facts already surmised that the population of Louisiana was on the verge of rebellion, the Spanish defenses of the Mississippi lamentably weak, while the Ohio Valley settlers were eager to take advantage of these circumstances.
With this combination of affairs playing directly into Genet's hands and threatening to counterbalance the reserved opposition of Washington, it is important to consider the position of the latter's Secretary of State. As early as February 20, 1793, through Col. W. S. Smith, the son-in‑law of John Adams, Jefferson may have known of the earlier plans of the Brissot ministry regarding Spanish America.155 From Smith he seemed to gain the idea that the French would not object to our incorporating the Floridas. A month later this led him, with Washington's approval, to direct Carmichael at Madrid not to guarantee the Spanish colonies west of the Mississippi, in return for the Floridas, as we might receive them from France, and in that event must be free to accept.156
In July Genet partially informed Jefferson of his plan. The Secretary protested that American citizens would engage in the p49undertaking with halters about their necks, but he later claimed to infer from Genet's explanation that the rendezvous would be outside the limits of the United States. At any rate he gave Michaux, Genet's agent, what the French minister regarded as a satisfactory letter of introduction to Governor Shelby of Kentucky,157 although the letter designedly antedates the last interview of the two principals.
Notwithstanding careful planning abroad and shrewd intrigue in the United States, Genet's Louisiana expedition lacked the necessary financial element because of Washington's refusal to prepay any portion of the French debt. Few influential men of means in Kentucky favored the scheme, although many joined the democratic societies organized by Michaux, La Chaise, and other French agents.158 Clark may have been measurably justified in his claim that many were ready to follow his lead. There was certainly sentiment enough against Spain, but respect for the Washington administration was likewise increasing. The very rumor of Genet's and Clark's plans was enough to cause the Spanish governor, Carondelet, great uneasiness, and to lead him to deplore the miserable state of his defenses and the uncertain loyalty of his people.159 But the uncertainties and fears of both American and Spanish authorities were removed by the disavowal of Genet by his government, the arrival of his successor, Fauchet, and the proclamation by the latter, March 6, 1794, that all hostile preparations against Spanish dominions should cease. The invasion of Florida, Louisiana, or Mexico, from the Georgia frontier or the Ohio Valley became impossible, and another interesting project in Louisiana history remained unrealized.
That Genet's plan caused Governor Carondelet some uneasiness has already been mentioned. Late during the next year, in answer to a request for information concerning Louisiana, he addressed to Godoy a long report,160 during which he emphasized the serious dangers then threatening Spanish interests in his province.
p50 Carondelet stated that the province extended above the fiftieth degree of north latitude and that Spain should protest against the Indian commerce carried on by the English and Americans between that line and the forty-fourth parallel. For the present, however, Spain should concentrate her efforts upon the country south of the St. Peters (Minnesota) so as to keep the Americans from pressing westward to the Missouri or beyond. This policy should be adopted at once, and as a first step he had already authorized the exploration of the Missouri161 in order to determine if the report that it rose near the western ocean was true. In case it did, it would be doubly advisable to shield it from American aggression.
Carondelet stated that at the time of the province by France it was almost valueless. Both the French and English as neighbors had been more interested in petty contraband trade than in important territorial acquisitions, but the case was far different with the restless pioneer population then demanding the free navigation of the Mississippi. That privilege once granted, they could no longer be restricted to their side of the Mississippi, but would inevitably press on to seize the rich fur trade of the Missouri or the mines of the interior of Mexico. After mentioning the rapid growth of the American settlements and the danger to Spain's population from their proximity, he proposed a definite plan for the defense of his province, in accordance with which he later reported an expenditure of nearly $300,000.162 He likewise attempted, but without success, to revive among the Kentucky conspirators of 1788 the prospect of separating Kentucky from the Union.163
By the close of 1794 experience had shown that diplomatic intrigues in London or Paris, although aided by Canadian officials and by Creole or American adventurers, were powerless to revolutionize p51Louisiana without the open or tacit consent of the new American government and the earnest support of its western settlers. Hitherto the former factor had been lacking and the evident good will of the latter was ineffectual because unorganized. It was to this fact rather than to expenditures for fortifications that Governor Carondelet owed his escape from invasion by Girondist propagandists and their American sympathizers. Yet during this very period there was beginning another movement that represented the strength of the western element per se, uninfluenced by any motive of foreign or domestic policy, except the ever-present Anglo-American hunger for land, and the natural desire to lead in the search for new and easily-obtained pastures. The rank and file of this movement were seen in the American hunters, horse-traders, ranchmen, neglect men of affairs who streamed into Louisiana both before and after the administration of Carondelet. The self-appointed leader appeared in the person of James Wilkinson, the Spanish pensioner, afterwards promoted to the command of the American army. The most typical representative of this pioneer crusade, however, is his agent, the horse-trader, explorer, and filibuster — Philip Nolan.
"Philip Nolan had been engaged in trade between San Antonio and Natchez since the year 1785." So states the Texas historian, Yoakum,164 but he gives no authority for the date. In 1789, when General James Wilkinson returned from his second journey to New Orleans, Nolan accompanied him as a confidential agent.165 In a letter written several years later Nolan styles the General "the friend and protector of my youth";166 and in another, written in 1791, he writes, "I am wholly yours, until I do the business of the season, and then I shall visit San Antonio."167 The unaffected language of the writer serves to reveal him as a true product of existing border conditions in the Mississippi Valley. Underhand relations with prominent Americans and Spaniards temporarily gained him the confidence of the latter, which he utilized to advance his private fortune by means of illicit trading.
p52 On the expedition hinted at in his letter of April 6, 1791, Nolan does not seem to have met with his customary degree of success. In a later letter to Wilkinson168 he wrote that he had been "ungenerously suspected for a spy by the Mexicans, and even by your old friend Gayoso."169 The papers furnished him by Governor Miró evidently secured him from imprisonment but not from despoliation, for he was "cheated out of all his agrees." This treatment caused him to wander among the Indians for some two years, after which he returned among the Spaniards, conducting two minor ventures. In this way he partially succeeded in recouping his loss. But his experience rendered him doubly cautious, so he forbore to communicate with Wilkinson until his return to Kentucky in 1796 gave him an opportunity to do so without danger. "A letter from a trader in horses," he wrote, "to a General of the federal armies, would have confirmed suspicions that were nearly fatal to me."
By the next year Nolan's fortunes promised to mend when, early in February, he presented to Gayoso at Natchez the following letter from Wilkinson:170
"This will be delivered to you by Nolan, who you know, is a child of my own raising, true to his profession, and firm in his attachments to Spain. I consider him a powerful instrument in our hand should occasion offer. I will answer for his conduct. I am deeply interested in whatever concerns him, and I confidently recommend him to your warmest protection."
This letter coupled with some shrewd diplomatic work in the quarrel between Gayoso and Andrew Ellicott, the American boundary commissioner, then at Natchez, evidently won for Nolan the favor of the Spaniards, for he wrote Wilkinson:171
"I have got such a passport, that I apprehend neither risk nor detention: I have instruments to enable me to make a more correct map than the one you saw: Ellicott assisted me in acquiring a more perfect knowledge of astronomy and glasses; and Gayoso himself has made me a present of a portable sextant. My timepiece p53is good. I shall pay every attention, and take an assistant with me, who is a tolerable mathematician. . . . I will write to you again from Natchez by hand. Minor's brother sets out next month. I shall take ten good riflemen with me to St. Antonio. The Indian Camanches and Appaches are at war with the Spaniards, and I calculate on a little fight."
This letter of Nolan's is of double interest in view of a statement of Wilkinson's,172 in 1806, "that I have been reconnoitering and exploring the route [i.e. to Santa Fé] for more than sixteen years; that I know not only the way, but all the difficulties and how to surmount them." The close relations between the general and his protégé, and the mention by the latter of maps and sextants, strengthen the suspicion that something more than horse-trading was to characterize Nolan's new venture into Texas. Yet at a later period Ellicott wrote of Nolan:173
"I do not recollect to have ever received a hint, that the late Mr. P. Nolan was concerned in any plans or intrigues injurious to the United States. On the contrary, in all our private and confidential conversations, he appeared strongly attached to the interest and welfare of our country."
At this period Ellicott had evidence deeply incriminating Wilkinson's loyalty to the Union, so his testimony may be indicative either of the fact that Nolan, for whom he professed great friendship,174 was not cognizant of his principal's entire duplicity, or that he was especially adroit in concealing his true relation to Wilkinson. The latter supposition is the more likely. At this time the Baron de Carondelet, writing to Thomas Power, another of Wilkinson's agents, praises Nolan as "a charming young man whom I regard very highly," and proposes to use him as a means of confidential communication to the general.175 Power likewise mentions Nolan in a letter to Carondelet,176 while the claim is later made that p54instructions from Wilkinson to Power are in Nolan's handwriting.177 One is apparently justified, then, in the supposition that Nolan knew more of Wilkinson's purposes than he chose to reveal to Ellicott.
Although Wilkinson and his agents were working with the Louisiana authorities in schemes detrimental to the United States, the principal did not hesitate to use his advantage to gain knowledge that might in the future be used against the Spanish possessions. This may have been the side of Nolan's mission which he emphasized to Ellicott, and by means of which he gained the fast friendship of the latter. Nolan's motives and those of his principal, so far as Spanish territory is concerned, appear in his conversation with Samuel P. Moore, as reported by the latter in 1810.178 Nolan offered Moore a share in the privilege he had obtained from Carondelet, of trading in horses with the province of Texas. In addition to the permission from the Governor, Nolan said that he bore letters of recommendation from New Orleans priests to those in Texas. These letters had been obtained through Wilkinson's influence, and Carondelet expected Nolan to furnish him with plans and information concerning the country explored. "But," said Nolan, "I shall take care to give him no information, unless such as may be calculated to mislead him. Whatever discoveries I can make shall be carefully preserved for General Wilkinson, for the benefit of our government." Nolan also spoke of his own influence among the Indians, of the prospect of the conquest of Mexico by the United States, and of his hope of a "conspicuous command" in that movement, through the influence of his patron.
In one respect Nolan's plans did not promise the entire success that he had hoped. Difficulties between Gayoso and Ellicott threatened to become serious during May, 1797, and the prospect of war caused him to defer his departure. At this time Gayoso showed that the letters of Wilkinson had not wholly secured his agent. Gayoso did, indeed shower many attentions upon Nolan and even presented him with a sextant, but he wrote Carondelet not to permit the American to leave New Orleans. "He will take an active part against us; he is popular and enterprising; secure p55him." In this same letter he represented himself as Nolan's friend, so it is no wonder that that individual regarded him as "a vile man, and my implacable enemy."
The Baron de Carondelet had, however, in July, 1797, provided Nolan with strong credentials stating his importance to the royal service, and in addition took measures to secure him from any consequences of Gayoso's enmity. His influence could not extend beyond his term of office, and Gayoso had already been appointed to the governorship of Louisiana — an event full of significance for Nolan's future career. Matters had become more pacific around Natchez, so the latter wrote to Wilkinson; and he determined, despite the uncertain tone of the last presidential speech, to set out on the following day. Twelve persons constituted his company, and he carried some seven thousand dollars' worth of merchandise.179 Proceeding to San Antonio, he sent a request to Captain General Pedro de Nava at Chihuahua for permission to buy horses. Receiving a favorable response he conveyed some thirteen hundred back to Louisiana and beyond, arriving at the Mississippi early in 1799.180
It was while absent upon this excursion that Nolan gained a new friend, more influential even than his patron, the general. Upon recommendation of Senator Brown of Kentucky, in possible conjunction with an earlier hint from Wilkinson,181 Jefferson, then vice-president-elect, directed to Nolan a letter asking for information concerning the wild horses to be found west of the Mississippi.182 p56The information was to be presented to the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, of which body Jefferson was then serving as president. This society was the most important scientific organization in America, and the gathering of interesting and curious data was a very important branch of its work. Jefferson certainly could have appealed to no one better qualified to supply the information he sought. Wild horses, then, probably constituted one of the subjects which afford evidence of the many-sided genius of Jefferson. We may surmise, however, that in the succeeding interview the statesman acquired from the horse-trader information other than that he openly requested, but his preserved correspondence does not show it.
Jefferson's letter to Nolan fell into the hands of Daniel Clark of New Orleans, who had charge of the trader's correspondence. Clark immediately informed Jefferson183 of Nolan's whereabouts and of his expected return early in the spring, when the trader would take pleasure in complying with his request.
Meanwhile Clark directed him to Andrew Ellicott, then stopping at his house in New Orleans, who could from previous acquaintance with Nolan give the vice-president much interesting information upon the subject in question. Clark, however, warned Jefferson to keep to himself any information of the sort, for the present publication would disclose its source, with fatal consequences to a man "who will at all times have it in his Power to render important Services to the U. S., and whom Nature seems to have formed for Enterprizes of which the rest of Mankind are incapable." Nolan's papers, Clark continued, were confided to himself and a friend in Spanish service, and if anything should happen to "this extraordinary Character" they should be examined and everything relating to "that Country" forwarded to Jefferson. Clark closed his missive by calling to Jefferson's attention "Mr. William Dunbar a citizen of Natchez," who "for Science, Probity, and general information is the first Character in this part of the World."
Clark's mention of Dunbar proved the beginning of a most interesting correspondence, shortly to be turned into the channel of Louisiana exploration. In his next letter184 Clark mentioned the p57arrival of Nolan while he was visiting at Dunbar's. Nolan had unconsciously escaped a grave danger. Before Gayoso's death that official had written the governor of Texas, advising the arrest of Nolan as a person who from his knowledge of the interior of Mexico "might one day be of injury to the Spanish Monarchy." Fortunately for Nolan the governor of Texas died shortly before the letter arrived, and the officer temporarily in charge forbore to open the correspondence, pending the arrival of the regular appointee. Nolan was thus treated with the utmost deference, and never learned of his peril until informed by Clark upon his return to Louisiana.
Clark added that the hostile attitude of the Spaniards now removed the necessity for secrecy on Nolan's part, and that the latter was ready to communicate to Jefferson the information he desired. Indeed Clark wrote that he had "proposed to Nolan to send him on to the U. S. that you might have an opportunity of learning from him many curious particulars respecting his Country." It will be noted that this offer of information covered a wider field than that merely concerning wild horses. Furthermore, Clark was so anxious in regard to the matter that he offered to pay all of Nolan's expenses and to compensate him for his time — rather extraordinary efforts simply to obtain some curious scientific information of certain equine species. Taken in connection with the opinion expressed by Ellicott185 that it was the general belief of the inhabitants of New Orleans that their country would shortly be annexed to the United States, the letters of Clark seem to indicate a desire on the part of the American contingent to aid this movement and to make it as extensive as possible. Wilkinson, at Fort Adams, on the 22nd of the following May added the finishing touches to the scheme by giving Nolan a letter186 of introduction to Jefferson. After such an introduction one would relish the details of the succeeding interview between the horse-trader p58of Louisiana and the future president whose administration was to be marked by the acquisition of that province.
Gayoso's letters to de Nava had suggested the advisability of arresting all foreigners in order to prevent Americans from forming intimate relations with the Indians, and especially singled out Nolan as a "dangerous man and a sacreligiousº hypocrite who had deceived the previous governor to get a passport."187 Nolan's almost miraculous escape on his preceding journey should have rendered him cautious about venturing again into Texas, especially in view of de Nava's probable orders to arrest him, should he attempt to do so. Nevertheless his interview with Jefferson seems to have determined him to penetrate again into the forbidden country, for whose officials his previous experiences may have given him a hearty contempt. In this expedition he seems to have planned deliberately to arouse the hospitality of both Spaniards and Indians, for his party numbered twenty-one — too many for a peaceful excursion, though not enough for defense against an aroused antagonist. The result, as might be readily foreseen, is expressed in a later letter from Dunbar,188 who at the same time aptly describes the adventurer's character:
"But lately we have been cut off from our usual communication with that Country by the imprudence of Mr. Nolan who persisted in hunting wild horses without a regular permission; the consequence of which has been, that a party being sent against him, he was the only man of his company who was killed by a random shot. — I am much concerned for the loss of this man. Altho his eccentricities were many and great, yet he was not destitute of romantic principles of honor united to the highest personal courage, with energy of mind not sufficiently cultivated by education, but which under the guidance of a little more prudence might have conducted him to enterprises of the first magnitude."
It was in October, 1800, after his return from Philadelphia, that Nolan set out on what was to prove his final excursion into Texas.189 p59The Spanish consul at Natchez, Vidal, entered a complaint against him, but his passport was in regular form, and after a preliminary hearing he was discharged for want of jurisdiction. Vidal sent word to the Texas authorities, and likewise to the Spanish commandant at Fort Miró, who sent a force of fifty men to intercept Nolan; but the latter was not to be deterred from his course, and the Spaniard did not attempt to use force. Making a detour to avoid unnecessary trouble at the fort, the little company, now reduced by desertions to eighteen, crossed the Red River, visited a village of Caddo Indians, and finally pressed on to the Brazos. In the course of a few months they had collected several hundred head of horses and had visited the Comanche Indians on the Red River, as well as several other important tribes near the Brazos. Finally on the 21st of March, 1801, they were attacked by a force of a hundred Spaniards, and in the ensuing fight Nolan was killed, three others wounded, and eleven of their number captured. This fight probably took place near the site of the city of Waco, Texas.
Three of those engaged in the fighting escaped, one died, and one was hanged by the Spaniards at Chihuahua, in 1807. When Pike visited this town early in that year, he met with a member of the party and from him learned of most the others. In their behalf he made an ineffectual appeal to the captain-general, Salcedo, and upon his return to the United States, published in the Natchez Herald an account of their condition.190 Of their number P. E. Bean, popularly known as Ellis P. Bean, is the only one who becomes of importance in Southwestern history.
From the correspondence already noted one is disposed to give a great deal of weight to the deposition of Mordecai Richards, one of the early deserters from Nolan's party. Richards stated that Nolan's plan was to build a fortune near the Caddo Indians, explore the country for mines, gather horses, and then return to Kentucky. Here he expected to be joined by volunteers in a scheme for the conquest of Texas.191 Probably one should substitute New Mexico for Texas, but with this change one is accepted to accept Richards' statement as affording a tangible explanation for Nolan's erratic but adventurous career.
p60 It is as the first in a long line of Southwestern filibusterers that Nolan merits this extended notice. His importance is likewise increased by the fact that with his adventurous exploits on the Texas-Louisiana frontier are linked the names of Wilkinson, Dunbar, Clark, and Jefferson — all leading actors upon the stage afforded by the Louisiana Purchase.
Nolan, the pioneer filibusterer, was typical of but one class of the frontier population pushing in from the United States. As early as 1791 Edward Murphy received a grant of land upon the Arroyo Hondo.192 Seven years later Samuel Davenport took up his residence within the Spanish jurisdiction of Nacogdoches. In November of this same year, 1798, Murphy conveyed his estate — La Nana — to a company of which he, Davenport, a Smith of New York, and William Barr of Pennsylvania were members.193 The following year Murphy acquired additional land between the Arroyo Hondo and the Sabine, and his buildings upon this property were burned by the American troops in 1806.194 These men were evidently associated for the purpose of carrying on ranching in connection with horse-trading between Texas and Louisiana; and in 1801 their privileges were extended to include trade with the friendly Indians to the north. Three years later Dr. John Sibley describes them as a company of "Indian traders who have all been citizens of the United States and some are now," whose activities were prejudicial to American interests.195 The French traveler Robin evidently refers to Murphy and his associates as the "English Company called Morphil," which monopolized the fur trade of Natchitoches, and whose goods penetrated as far as San Antonio.196
It was evidently the trade of this company that caused passing travelers to remark upon the brisk traffic between Nacogdoches and Louisiana.197 These traders evidently were secure in their monopoly because of their connection with a Spanish officer at Nacogdoches, but this very connection rendered them suspected by the Americans when Louisiana passed into the possession of the latter. By this p61time they also became objects of suspicion to the Spanish officials in Texas,198 but their close connection with the latter saved them from the fate of Nolan.
That they were not the only Americans in this region before the transfer of Louisiana is shown by the presence of others, in 1803, on the Washita, on the Red, where one pioneer reports thirty years' residence, and even west of the Sabine on Ayish Bayou. In all of these districts they seemed already to occupy the best industrial situations.199 The success of these early pioneers largely influenced Governor Carondelet to support the explorations of James Mackay along the Missouri and Platte,200 in order to forestall the Americans in this region and to drive out the British. It may also have influenced Watkins, Sebastian, Bastrop, and their associates, in 1799 or 1800, in their proposal to obtain a grant of land along one of the rivers of upper Louisiana.201
The policy that permitted the irruption of an element generally regarded with apprehension was the mistaken one of hoping that the American pioneers might be used to develop a portion of the country as a bulwark against further encroachment of their countrymen. This was the gist of a report by Pontalba to Talleyrand,202 who believed that after one generation the country could be held permanently for France. By 1794 the Texas border authorities were warned to keep a sharp lookout for copies of El Desengaño del Hombre (The Undeceiving of Man), a book condemned by the Inquisition.203 In this same year Carondelet believed that a revolution was impending in all Spanish America, unless the Americans could be kept away from the Mississippi, and was setting on foot preparations to explore the upper waters of the Missouri and a possible route to the Pacific.204 This latter measure resulted in Mackay's expedition.
The danger threatening Spanish dominion was mentioned at p62length in a report to Bishop Peñalvert of Louisiana, written in 1799.205 The character of the original inhabitants of Louisiana had greatly deteriorated through the free admission of American pioneers. These were scattered over the region bordering upon Texas, were employing the Indians upon their farms, and impressing upon their minds "maxims in harmony with their own ambitions." What was worse, they were in the habit of saying to each of their robust boys, "You will be the man to go to Mexico." They threatened not only Texas, but New Mexico from the country of the Illinois. His remedy was to prevent their settlement at any of the dangerous points. In 1802, after the innovations of these and other Louisiana settlers gave Governor Salcedo a great deal of annoyance, the official received instructions to make no more grants to Americans. But the damage was already done; the navigation of the Mississippi, naturally leading to the free trade of its western waters, had attracted a frontier population that would be satisfied New Orleans with the supposedly fabulous mineral wealth of the interior of Mexico.
Fauchet, the successor of Genet, was as keenly alive as the latter with regard to the importance of possessing Louisiana, but he preferred to have France obtain it by diplomacy. When he learned the full significance of the Jay treaty, he believed it to be unfavorable to his country and clearly against the treaty of 1778; but France had no way to force from the United States a greater respect for her interests. The true remedy he believed to be the acquisition of a continental colony (Louisiana, of course) which would give France a needed entrepot for the West India trade, a market for her manufactures, and a monopoly of the produce of the Mississippi Valley. From this secure position France would have the means of bringing pressure to bear upon the United States and thus keep her subordinate to her own policy.206
The French minister knew from Knox that the United States preferred Spain to France as a colonial neighbor, because the former was less to be feared. He likewise knew that if Spain persisted p63in her policy of closing the Mississippi, all of Louisiana must soon pass into the possession of the enraged Americans. This, he believed, would result in the formation of a new confederacy composed of the western States and Louisiana, and that, too, within fifteen years. The only remedy, in his estimation, was for France, or some other country stronger than Spain, to gain the country bordering on the Mississippi, and then at will to assist or retard the development of the western settlements.207
Fauchet believed that it would be easy to obtain Louisiana by negotiation before France made peace with Spain, and that this acquisition would cause a radical change in American policy towards the former. If his country should not obtain Louisiana at this time, and if war with Spain continued, he believed it to be in accordance with the interests of France to impede the special mission of Pinckney to Madrid in behalf of navigation of the Mississippi; otherwise, by acquiring this boon, the West would be less zealous in aiding France to conquer Louisiana. This last means was less desirable than diplomacy, but would be reasonably successful in lieu of a better way, and would receive western support, if reciprocal advantages were offered.
He was certain that the victories of France over Spain fully justified great concessions, and that these should be obtained, despite the opposition of the United States to the retrocession of Louisiana. His suggestions were forestalled in the instructions of the Directory to Barthelemy, the French representative in the Treaty of Bâle, to insist upon the retrocession of Louisiana as one of the conditions of peace. In order to make this condition more palatable that diplomat was to represent the advantage of having a strong French colony between Mexico and the United States. Godoy, however, preferred to yield Santo Domingo rather than Louisiana, and the finances of France did not permit a treaty on any other basis.208 A few months later, to prevent an undue alliance of American and British interests, the Spaniard likewise made a favorable treaty with Pinckney.
Adet, who in 1795 succeeded Fauchet, believed that it was not to the interest of France to go to war with the United States. p64Such an event would cause that power to unite with Great Britain in the conquest of Louisiana and the Floridas. The Americans would overrun New Mexico and thence extend far into Mexico itself.209 Adet believed, however, that France should acquire Louisiana, and in furtherance of his opinion sent Gen. Victor Collot, then in America, on a military reconnoissance of the Mississippi Valley. Collot made a thorough examination of such of its important topographical features as could be determined from a journey down the Ohio and the Mississippi, and his conclusions were published some three decades later.210
The French officer reported that the Spaniards had attempted to close lower Louisiana to the Americans and had opened the upper portion, in the mistaken belief that they would thus shut them off from Santa Fé. He suggested what Pike afterward demonstrated, that the way of approach to New Mexico by the Missouri and its tributaries, or by the Arkansas, was comparatively easy.211 Collot likewise believed that the Mississippi would prove of no avail as a barrier, if different nations possessed its opposite banks. One nation only must dominate the whole valley. This opinion he afterward modified, when Louisiana passed into the control of the United States.212 The French general emphasized the friendship which France now professed for Spain by suggesting to the Spanish minister a plan of defense for the entire Mississippi Valley.213
While Collot was on this tour his attention was attracted by events in the West and in Canada, which abundantly justified the preparation of his plan. In October, 1795, the Duke of Portland sent to Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe of Canada a proposal for the invasion of Louisiana in case of hostilities with Spain, and advised him to sound western opinion upon this subject, but without compromising either his government or that of the United States.214 Simcoe apparently set to work to carry out his secret instructions, for while Collot was on his way down the Ohio, he p65learned something of the Governor's preparations in Canada and told Zenón Trudeau, the Spanish commandant at St. Louis, that he thought the proposed armament was destined to attack upper Louisiana. Accordingly he gave Trudeau a plan for defending St. Louis, which he regarded as the key for the defense of the Upper Mississippi and the Missouri and the connecting link for communication between the Gulf of Mexico and the Southern Ocean.215 As he passed down the Mississippi Collot learned that in addition to the expedition against Upper Louisiana, British emissaries in the Southwest were attempting to organize the frontiersmen and Indians for a foray into lower Louisiana and New Mexico, by way of Red River. Collot took pains to inform the Spanish commanders of this threatening danger, although he was suspected by Carondelet of designs upon the Spanish government of the colony; and he later claimed that while at Natchez he told Gayoso the name of the prime mover, John D. Chisholm.216
The intrigues of this individual finally involved Senator William Blount of Tennessee. The latter, an extensive speculator in lands along the lower Mississippi, became alarmed at the prospect of France's acquiring Louisiana; and in order to preserve his interests planned the seizure of that province and the Floridas for England. His frontier levies were to be joined by an English fleet and a military force from Canada, but owing to a premature revelation of plans, the English government disclaimed any responsibility for the action of its subordinates. The most important diplomatic result following the incident was the retention by Spain until 1798 of certain posts east of the Mississippi — posts which she should have yielded to the United States upon ratification of the Treaty of 1795.217 Early in 1797 Chisholm visited England, but failed to enlist the support of British officials, while the premature disclosures of Blount's part in the affair led to his impeachment and the loss of his seat in the Senate.
p66 While the plot of Chisholm and Blount was in the process of incubation, there were not lacking shrewd observers to point out the fallacy of expecting any true coöperation between Canadian levies and American frontiersman.218 The sympathies of the latter could readily be turned into a French channel, but hardly into the current of British expansion. Shortly before the Blount incident Col. Samuel Fulton, an agent of the Directory, visited George Rogers Clark and the Creek Indians, where Chisholm met him. Upon his return to France he reported that the people of the West were ready to act for France, if only furnished with arms.219 As an indication of their desire to arouse a favorable sentiment among their former friends, the Directory sent a brigadier-general's commission to Clark.220 That their confidence was not misplaced was shown by a later letter of Clark to Fulton,221 in which he reports his refusal to head a British expedition against upper Louisiana and New Mexico, and his determination to defeat its object. The boundary commissioner, Andrew Ellicott, reported from the Natchez district a somewhat different sentiment. There a plan was early formed to overrun the Floridas and New Orleans if Spain committed any hostilities against the United States or joined France in the threatened contest.222 Although Ellicott believed that this movement would have been successful, it would not have been a movement against France as much as against Spain. Even this plan might have been checked by that of the French adventurer, Milfort, to enlist the Creeks in a campaign to drive the Americans from the Southwest and acquire Louisiana;223 or of Dupont de Nemours and other French scientists to establish a settlement on the upper Mississippi within Spanish limits.224
Following closely upon the Blount incident come the various diplomatic complications arising from the so‑called X. Y. Z. Affair. The prospect of immediate war rendered probable an alliance between Great Britain and the United States against France and her p67half-hearted ally Spain, to be followed by the immediate occupation of the Floridas and Louisiana and the possible uprising of all Spanish America. In October, 1797, the French consul Létombe reported that Hamilton and the extreme Federalists favored such a policy, and that the South Carolina representatives already traced the route for such a campaign from Pittsburg to Mexico City by way of "Rionorte et Sartila."225 The prospect of hostilities in America again brought Miranda into England for the purpose of enlisting that nation and the United States in a campaign for the independence of all Spanish America west of the Mississippi. In this campaign he expected a British fleet to land ten thousand men at Darien, a small British squadron to threaten Peru, and five thousand American frontiersmen to coöperate with them. For a time the British officials encouraged his plan, while awaiting the expected overthrow of Spanish independence by France. When that event did not materialize, largely because of the opposition of Godoy, they allowed Miranda's scheme to lapse. Rufus King, our minister to Great Britain, eagerly seconded the plan as affording a positive program in place of the mere defensive position which England assumed in Europe towards French aggression. Hamilton, as the active commander of the American forces, regarded with favor such an extensive campaign in behalf of American independence, and even consulted with Wilkinson regarding its main features, but was willing to engage in it only under the auspices of his government. The policy of President Adams in adjusting our differences with France rendered the wider campaign impossible and permitted Spain still to retain Louisiana and the Floridas.226
Upon France the effect of the Blount Conspiracy was to increase her determination to secure Louisiana. In 1796 General Perignon went to Madrid to arrange a formal alliance between Spain and n France. Although he represented the danger to both countries from an alliance between Great Britain and the United States for the purpose of dividing North America, and pointed out that the p68cession of Louisiana to France was the only possible check to this movement, he did not succeed in gaining the coveted province.227 The offer to conquer and divide Portugal or else to exchange Louisiana for the papal legations were likewise without result.228
When in July, 1797, Talleyrand assumed the position of minister of foreign affairs under the Directory, he ushered in a new and more successful era in Louisiana diplomacy. The ex‑bishop of Autun believed that the commercial and political interests of the United States and Great Britain were naturally allied, and that in opposition to them France must build up a colonial system of her own.229 The following year he was in a position to reveal some of the details necessary to inaugurate this system. By this time Godoy had been driven from power and Urquijo, a minister more complaisant to the French Directory, now managed the foreign affairs of Spain. Accordingly Talleyrand instructed Guillemardet230 at Madrid, to show to the Spanish government the evil effects following the delivery to the Americans of the posts on the Mississippi. He was then to represent vividly the danger to Spanish interests because of the ambition and cupidity of the Americans, their determination to dominate the western continent and perhaps Europe, and the possibility of their union with Great Britain in order to realize this program. The only way to curb their ambition was to shut them up "within the limits which Nature seems to have traced for them" (i.e. the Appalachians). Spain could not do this, so she must hasten to appeal for aid to a "preponderating Power," whose recompense should be "a small part of her immense dominions" (Louisiana and the Floridas). As mistress of these two provinces the French Republic would be "a wall of brass forever impenetrable to the combined efforts of England and America."
Certain mistakes of domestic and of foreign policy interfered with the immediate success of Talleyrand's plans and forced his retirement from office until after the coup d'état of the 18th Brumaire; p69but he had prepared the way for the early acquisition of the coveted province and had shown that this acquisition would be full of danger for the United States. His restoration to office in 1800 and the battle of Marengo enabled him to resume the negotiation with every prospect of success. A special courier was sent to Alquier, the French representative at Madrid, to empower the latter to offer an increase in territory and power to the prospective Duke of Parma, the son-in‑law of the Spanish king, in return for Louisiana.231 Alquier accompanied his proposal by threatening Urquijo with the fate of Godoy, and brought the influence of the Queen to bear upon the wavering King. Thus the point of retrocession was gained.
Meanwhile Napoleon determined upon a special agent to supersede Alquier and to demand the Floridas in addition to Louisiana.232 In this latter demand the agent, General Berthier, was unsuccessful and was forced to content himself with signing at San Ildefonso, October 1, 1800, a treaty for the retrocession of Louisiana alone. During the following March Napoleon's brother Lucien signed at Madrid a new treaty carrying into effect the provisions of the former one,233 but in some respects more unfavorable to the sinister designs of the First Consul. For more than a year Godoy, who again dominated the counsels to King of Spain, delayed the transfer of the ceded province to Napoleon until he had received the formal promise of the latter never to alienate it.234 Then disease and insurrection in Santo Domingo saved Louisiana from the presence of the French troops and destroyed Napoleon's dream of a new colonial empire in the Mississippi Valley.
The retrocession of Louisiana had not been accomplished without the knowledge of American authorities. Early in 1797 Pickering, the secretary of state, had warned Rufus King235 that France contemplated the acquisition of Louisiana and that he should find out as much as possible about the matter and endeavor to thwart it by such means as lay within his power. In September of the following year, during a conference with Lord Hawkesbury, the p70latter told King236 that there was no doubt that France had obtained possession of Louisiana. He also assured him that England had no desire to extend her colonial empire to include the Mississippi Valley. These early rumors of French possession were later found to be premature, and merely suggested the possibility of a combination of England and America to arrest French aggression and liberate Spanish America.237
Within a few months after the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso, King reported to the secretary of state238 rumors then current in London concerning the cession of Louisiana to France. This act implied not merely undesirable neighbors in the persons of émigrés or superannuated soldiers from France, but likewise a serious design to entice the western settlers or arouse the slaves in the South. By November King was able to send home a copy of the Treaty of Madrid,239 although each of the principals still continued to deny its existence. Later King attempted to persuade the British government to take some action at Amiens looking to the of Louisiana to Spain. Although both Hawkesbury and were opposed to the transfer to France and were ready to join the United States in defending the common right to navigate the Mississippi, they believed it inadvisable to suggest the subject in the Treaty of Amiens.240 American diplomacy, then, must depend upon its own efforts to neutralize the effect of the retrocession.
The most obvious policy for the United States to pursue was that of acquiring New Orleans and the Floridas. As soon as Mr. King's warnings had had time to produce their natural effect, Jefferson and his advisers took measures to meet the new issue raised by the transfer. To Charles Pinckney, our minister at Madrid, Madison penned a caution to watch the general interests of his country,241 while three months later he instructed Robert R. Livingston at Paris to make direct approaches to the French government for the acquisition of the Floridas, or at least West Florida.242 For p71several months, however, the correspondence of our ministers abroad was filled with unofficial confirmations of the proposed transfer, coupled with official denials of the act or evasions of the proposal to sell the Floridas to the United States; while the prospective French expedition to Santo Domingo caused all great uneasiness because of its possible diversion to Louisiana. Jefferson at home suggested a possible alliance with the British naval power; King at London proposed united action to preserve the navigation of the Mississippi. From Paris Livingston tried to arouse Spain by intimating the danger to Mexico from French vicinage and to alarm England by referring to the unsettled boundary between Louisiana and Canada, while he attempted to demonstrate to the French government the futility of their new acquisition. At Madrid Pinckney endeavored to make sure of the Floridas and New Orleans by a guaranty of Spanish possessions west of the Mississippi.243 Yet nearly the whole year, 1802, passed with the question of the disposal of Louisiana still uncertain.
An element of definiteness was imparted to the question when, on October 16, 1802, the intendant, Morales, at New Orleans suspended the right of deposit which American citizens, since 1798, had enjoyed at that port. It is usually supposed that the impulse that led to this action followed the treaty of cession, even if it did not emanate directly from Napoleon.244 This act aroused the West as none other could, and emphasized the necessity of securing control of the mouth of the Mississippi in order to avoid possible future embroilment through the action of local officials. Accordingly Jefferson appointed Monroe as special envoy to coöperate with Livingston at Paris and with Pinckney at Madrid to purchase New Orleans and the Floridas. In case of failure to secure East Florida and New Orleans, the next best thing was the possession of West Florida, including the whole of the channel of the Iberville. By artificial means this could be rendered navigable at all seasons, and with a port on Lake the settlers of the Mississippi Valley would become wholly independent of New Orleans.245
p72 Before this time the restoration of peace in Europe had led King Charles, on October 15, 1802, to sign the order for the delivery of the province to Napoleon, and nothing stood in the way of the colonial empire of the latter but the insurrection of the blacks in Santo Domingo. Despite this interruption to his plans he proceeded, through his Minister of the Marine, to give instructions to Victor, the designated captain-general of Louisiana. In these instructions he makes the significant claim that the western boundary of Louisiana was the Rio Bravo as far as the 30th parallel, and that beyond that point the boundary was wholly undecided.246
After the Santo Domingo revolt had delayed the moment of taking possession of Louisiana, the prospect of a speedy rupture with England, coupled with the necessities of his ever needy military chest, turned the dream of an American dependency stretching to the Pacific and opening a new pathway to the Orient,247 into a bargain and sale. To the surprise of the American commissioners, Napoleon suddenly proffered them the whole of Louisiana. After a few weeks of hesitation and bargaining, the Corsican's hardly acquired possession, with its uncertain limits, passed into the keeping of the young Republic of the West.
Diplomatic struggles, growing directly or indirectly out of the Louisiana Purchase, were to affect our foreign relations for the next half century, and our government was not even to enter into possession of its disputed limits without a serious diplomatic dispute between Madison and Casa Yrujo, the Spanish minister at Washington. In considering the consequences to Spain of the untoward transfer, the latter did not apprehend any worse result than clandestine trading by the Americans within the Mexican provinces. This practice could be checked, if not absolutely controlled, by Spain, as long as she possessed the power of making reprisals from the Floridas. Louisiana in the hands of Spain had been a constant bill of expense, with no military advantage to offset, for it was too extended and too weakly garrisoned to prove an effective bulwark to New Mexico and the interior provinces. On the other p73hand, aside from the control of the mouth of the Mississippi, he believed that its possession by the United States would be a distinct detriment to the latter, for in his judgment two centuries would pass before the country could be effectively populated, and in the meantime centrifugal tendencies would destroy the present form of the American government. While Spain continued to possess the Floridas and Havana, it would be comparatively easy to blockade the mouth of the Mississippi and thus check any ambitious attempts of the southern States upon Mexico. On the whole, he preferred the Americans as neighbors to Victor's troops with appetites whetted for further conquests.248
Although Casa Yrujo fully believed the cession detrimental to the United States, he lost no time in following Cevallos' instructions to protest against the act on account of Napoleon's bad faith in alienating Louisiana. The protest was expressed in two vigorous notes of September 12th and 27th, and merely elicited from Madison the verbal response that Cevallos had referred to France the American desire to acquire the Floridas, that the Spanish sovereign had consented to transfer the province to the same power, and that any questions of good or bad faith arising outside the language of the treaty must be settled between that power and Spain. This controversy was later settled by Napoleon's inducing the Spanish government to withdraw its protest against his sale of Louisiana, while he agreed to assist that government to retain the Floridas.249 Before instructions based upon this agreement reached Casa Yrujo, he had already done what he could, in a small way, to delay the transfer, by refusing to legalize certain papers in connection with that act.250 The only effect of his natural but mistaken zeal was to alarm the American authorities and to exasperate the French minister. Measures were immediately taken to gain possession of Louisiana by force, should the Spanish troops therein offer any resistance. Fortunately these precautions were unnecessary, and on December 20, 1803, the American commissioners received from the French prefect the province that for a score of p74years had been the center of the most important diplomatic intrigues of our history.
The most important single feature of the early history of this section is that of the limits of Louisiana. This is shown by the almost interminable diplomatic correspondence of the three decades following its acquisition. We have noticed the French claims to the westward, uncertainly marked by the Guadalupe, the Rio Grande, or still more indefinitely by the province of New Mexico. These claims had no more secure basis than La Salle's unfortunate settlement, and after 1730 there is no serious attempt or even claim to penetrate beyond the Arroyo Hondo in the south, or the middle course of the Missouri farther to the northward. There is acquiescence in the Spanish occupation of Texas as far as Adaes, even if this occupation is of the slightest character. The French hold on Louisiana is equally ineffective.
It is noteworthy that the French writers of the period before 1762 almost uniformly ignore the province of Texas and speak of Louisiana as extending to New Mexico. This view is revived in a book of travels published as late as 1803.251 In fact we may say that the years from 1803 to 1806 form the period when the American officials first discovered Texas as an entity to be reckoned with in diplomatic correspondence and frontier relations. Spanish diplomats and governors, in calling their attention to this fact (by no means an agreeable one at first), were merely emphasizing their own documentary history. Nor did they do this to the fullest possible extent.
The instructions of Decres to Victor, in 1802, have been employed to justify a later American claim to Texas. These instructions, however, appear to have originated with Talleyrand or Napoleon, and merely revive a claim that had lain dormant since the publication of Du Pratz's Histoire. They utterly ignore French acquiescence in the Spanish occupation of Texas. Moreover, they seem to show a revival of that earlier desire to reach the Mexican mines — a desire that haunted every adventurer and explorer from La Salle and Peñalosa to Nolan and Pike. What is more natural to suppose than that the greatest adventurer of his age, the future p75despoiler of the mother country, Spain, should desire to obtain as large a portion as possible of her most desirable colony? When this policy would place his troops near the supposed seat of fabulous mineral wealth, we may well imagine that Napoleon would not hesitate to assert the greatest possible claim. A people professing a higher standard of public morals might well hesitate to follow this claim to its uttermost limits, and even to push beyond it, yet later history reveals a contrary course.
1 Bandelier, The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca; Bourne, Narratives of the Career of Hernando de Soto; both in the Trail Maker's Series, 1904‑1905.
2 Historia LXIII, Opúsculo VI, p6, Archivo General, City of Mexico.
3 Garrison, Texas, 18, 19; Clark, in The Quarterly, V.172.
4 Benavides MSS., in the N. Y. Public Library, Lenox Branch. A summary appears in the royal cédula of December 10, 1678, Historia LXIII, VII. Friar Melchor Talamantes, who compiled the documents for the Spanish authorities during the border controversy with the United States, believed that the Aijaos were the later "Texas" Indians, that the country of Quivira bordered on the Red, Arkansas, and Missouri, and that Espíritu Santo Bay was that later known as Matagorda. His testimony is too partisan to be trustworthy (see Historia LXIII, Opúsculo VII). The best interpretation of modern scholarship is in favor of the identity of Espíritu Santo with Mobile Bay.
5 Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I.387.
6 French, Historical Collections of Louisiana, New Series, II.2.3; Cox. The Journeys of La Salle, II.24, in the Trail Maker's Series.
7 Margry, Découvertes et établissements des Français, etc., III.44‑48; 56‑60.
8 Margry, II.357; Cox, The Journeys of La Salle, I.171 et seq.
9 That this proposal is largely devoid of geographical significance is shown by the fact that he confounded the Rio Grande with the Mississippi. Margry, Découvertes, III.56‑60.
10 Margry, III.17‑28.
11 It appears in the proposal of Tonty in 1694 (Margry, IV.45) to continue the enterprise of La Salle, and in that of Louvigny in 1697 (Margry, IV.9‑18), who proposes a plan, almost identical with that of Peñalosa, to utilize the Pánuco or the Madelaine (his name for the Bravo).
12 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo VII, Par. I.
13 Cavo, Tres Siglos de Mexico, II.65‑72.
14 Carta of Damian Manzanet (Massanet). Translated by Professor Lília M. Casis, in The Quarterly, II.281 et seq.
15 Cf. Joutel, in French, Hist. Coll. La., Pt. I (1846) 85‑193; Cox, Journeys of La Salle, II.57‑132.
16 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo VI, Pars. 15, 16.
17 Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII.95. This is volume XXVII, Sección de Historia, Archivo General, Mexico. Volumes XXVII and XXVIII of this series relate almost wholly to Texas. The writer has examined copies of these volumes in the Archivo General of the City of Mexico; in the library of Mr. E. E. Ayers, of Chicago; and in the Lenox Library. His references are to the last mentioned copy.
18 Margry, IV.19‑43; 58‑59; Espinosa, Chrónica Apostólica y Seráphica, I.413.
19 Ibid., IV.54, 55.
20 Ibid., IV.429.
21 Ibid., IV.328‑329.
22 Ibid., IV.409, 432 ff.
23 Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII.159‑161. Another account relates that Saint Denis visited the Spanish presidio on the Rio Grande in 1708. See Historia XLIII, Doc. 67, Par. 14.
24 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Par. 6.
25 Two years later a French writer, basing his opinion upon La Salle's settlement, suggested as the western boundary of Louisiana, the Guadalupe, which he describes as the Madeline, a small river falling into the bay called by the Spaniards St. Bernard, and St. Louis by the French and which consequently is neither the Pánuco nor the Del Norte. There is no evidence that this proposition received any official consideration. Cf. Margry, VI.185.
26 Margry, V.494.
27 The best account of the Saint Denis Expedition is by Clark in The Quarterly, VI.1‑26. The documentary sources for this article are found in Margry V and VI, and in Memorias de Nueva España XXVII; Cf. also Le Page du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane, I.10‑24.
28 The Quarterly, VI.19, note; Margry, VI.198‑213; Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I.610, 613. It will be observed that the Mexican mines still appeal to the French adventurers.
29 Bonilla, Breve Compendio, in Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII.9; Historia XLIII, Opúsculo III, Par. II.
30 Dictamen Fiscal, November 30, 1716, in Memorias de Nueva España, XXII.226‑235.
31 Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII.226‑235; Margry, V.212, 213.
32 Historia, Opúsculo III, Par. 17.
33 French, Historical Collections of Louisiana, Part III, 70; Margry, VI.268.
34 French, III.71; Margry, VI.273‑276.
36 French, Hist. Coll. La., III.73, 74; Margry, VI.297.
37 Ibid., III.72; Garrison, Texas, 76, 77; Margry, VI.300, 305, 306.
38 , Hist. Coll. La., III.77, 95, 98; Margry, V.582; VI.347‑354; Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I.616.
39 The Diario of Aguayo's entrada is found in Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII.1‑62. For a bas-brief account, see Garrison, Texas, 77‑80. For Espinosa's representation to the viceroy, cf. Historia XLIII, Opúsculo III, Par. 25.
40 French, Hist. Coll. La., III.126; V.34.
41 Ibid., III.99, 100; V.35, 36; Margry, VI.378.
42 French, Hist. Coll. La., New Series, 151, 152; Margry, VI.313‑315.
43 Thwaite's Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I.49, note; Margry, VI.388 et seq., 398‑452; Le Page du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane, IV. 141‑241.
44 Bandelier, A. F., The Expedition of Pedro de Villazur in Papers of the Archaeological Institute of America, V.179‑206. See also French, Hist. Coll. La., III.87; Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Par. 55, where the number of survivors is mentioned as thirteen. Some of the documents quoted by Bandelier are still in the New Mexico Archives, in the Library of Congress.
45 Margry, VI.455‑464, 472‑492; Bandelier, loc. cit., 205.
46 Annals of Congress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., 1097; New Mexico Archives, 1804‑1806, passim; Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 147; Cox, "Early Exploration of Louisiana," 116‑119, in University of Cincinnati Studies, Series II, Vol. II, No. 1.
47 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Par. 65.
48 Morfí, Memorias para la Historia de Téjas, Lib. VI 69. MS., Lenox Library.
49 French, Hist. Coll. La., III.112‑115.
50 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, par. 63‑67; Documentos para la Historia de Mexico, First Series, Vol. XII, Correspondencia entre la Legacion Extraordinaria de Mexico, etc., p. vi.
51 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Par. 31. Cf. Margry, IV.543 et seq.
52 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Par. 38, 39, 57; Ibid., Document LXVII, Par. 18.
53 Bonilla, Breve Compendio in Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII.13, 15. See also Historia XLIII, Opúsculo III, Par. 29; Margry, VI.237, 238.
54 Morfí, Memorias, 222‑225.
55 Morfí, Memorias, 222‑225; Historia LXIII, Document 73, Par. 23; Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 144.
56 Bonilla, loc. cit., 18.
57 Le Page du Pratz, de la Louisiane. Cf. Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Pars. 19, 20, 72.
58 Matias de la Mota-Padilla, Conquista de la Nueva Galicia, 248. Guadalajara, 1742.
59 Chronica Apostolica, 419.
60 Altamira, Testimonio de un Parecer, in Yoakum, History of Texas, I.386, 388.
61 Don Joseph Antonio de Villa-Señor y Sanchez, Theatro Americano II.326. Mexico, 1746.
62 See summary by Prof. John R. Ficklen in Publications of the Southern Historical Association, V.351‑387.
63 Morfí, Memorias, 232.
64 The Present State . . . of Louisiana. London, 1744.
65 Bonilla, Breve Compendio, translated in The Quarterly, VIII.48.
66 Bonilla, loc. cit.; Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII; Morfí, Memorias, 316, 317; Historia, Doc. LXX, Pars. 3, 5; Ibid., XLI, Par. 383. The details of this incident, as given by the ordinary authorities, including Morfí, seem greatly distorted. Fortunately, my friend Prof. H. E. Bolton, has helped straighten the story by calling my attention to the fact that Blancpain's own statement, dated February 19, 1755, is to be found in the Béxar Archives. This document not only serves to fix the date of the incident, but also throws doubt upon the charge of Governor Barrios's complicity in the illicit trade carried on by the Frenchmen.
67 Bancroft, North Mexican States and Texas, I.643; Cf. also the authorities cited in the previous note. Later this post was more familiarly known as Orcoquisac.
68 Morfí, Memorias, 318.
69 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II.692‑694; Annals of Congress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., 1076 et seq.; Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 145; John Sibley to (Maj. Amos Stoddard?) Sibley Papers, Mo. His. Soc.
70 Bonilla, in Memorias de Nueva España, XXVII.30.
71 Historia, XLIII, Document LXX, Pars. 1, 2, 4; Morfí, Memorias, 318.
72 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXX, Par. 14. The question of the date and authorship of the document is not so simple as its ecclesiastical editor would imply. Both Bonilla (Quarterly, VIII.67) and Morfí (Memorias Bk. X, Par. 31), give 1757 as the date when Martos assumed command in Texas. Bancroft (North Mexican States and Texas, I.643) gives 1760, but without a clear reference to this authority for the date. Professor Bolton informs me that a report by Governor Martos, dated at the capital, Adaes, December 6, 1759, is in the Béxar Archives. This seems conclusive, so far as the date of the governor's presence in Texas is concerned, and strengthens the belief that he may have been the author of the representation. The document itself contains a reference (Par. 3) to a cedula of May 4, 1760, and likewise mentions the strict union between the crowns of France and of Spain. As will be pointed out these statements do not necessarily affect the question of date or of authorship.
The internal evidence of the document does not militate against the authorship of Martos. Certain expressions occur which show an intimate knowledge of local conditions in Texas. It is true that the general discussion, as well as the two references just mentioned, seem to imply a broad international outlook, hardly to be expected in a mere provincial governor. This character may have been added to the original report by way of vice-regal comment. It is perfectly permissible, then, to assume that Martos was the author of the original representation, which was incorporated in a later report of the viceroy, Amarillas, or his immediate successor. It is in this form only that the document is known to us.
The suggestion might naturally arise that this document was possibly fabricated after 1803, in order to support Spain's territorial pretensions. Neither external facts nor internal evidence lend any color whatever to this suggestion. We may reasonably conclude that the memoir was forwarded by Governor Martos from Texas previous to 1760, and that shortly after that date it was incorporated in a vice-regal report to the council of the Indies.
73 The Representation proper comprises some nineteen paragraphs of Document LXX, Historia XLIII.
74 The name Mexicano was later uniformly applied to the Sabine. Adaes was situated some distance to the east of the river, but notwithstanding this position, the name might easily be applied to the Sabine as well as that of Natchitoches to the Red. Each was the most important post in the vicinity of its nearest river. Cf. Stoddard, Sketches of Louisiana, 145.
75 This expression tends to support the view that the Representation was composed before 1760.
76 The Caddodachos or Caddodaquious. The point indicated is the deflection of the Red from the easterly course to one almost south.
77 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Par. 69; Political Science Quarterly, XIX.439‑458.
78 French, Hist. Coll. La., V.128, 143, 235‑239.
79 French, Hist. Coll. La., V.146, note.
81 Bonilla, Breve Compendio, Translation by West, Quarterly, VIII.58.
82 Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII.170.
83 Bonilla, in The Quarterly, VIII.66, 68, 69.
84 The essential features of the "Regulation" are summarized by Bolton in The Quarterly, IX.79‑81.
85 Quarterly, VIII.63‑68; IX.91.
86 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo IV; Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII.243, 278; The Quarterly, IX.91‑93.
87 Historia LI, Petition of Antonio Gil y Barbo. For the details of this whole movement, cf. Bolton, "The Spanish Abandonment and Reoccupation of East Texas," in The Quarterly, IX.67 ff. A few of the Adaes settlers apparently never quit the vicinity of their homes. These, with the neighboring French, upon the withdrawal of the Spanish garrison, took the opportunity to engage still more extensively in trade with the Texas Indians (Ibid., 88).
88 Historia LI, Correspondence of Viceroy Bucareli regarding the Trinity settlers; also The Quarterly, IX.102‑105, 119‑122.
89 Historia LXII, Document VII; Ibid., Doc. LXIX.
90 Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol. 76, No. 7; House Doc. No. 50, 19 Cong., 1 Sess.
91 Annals of Congress, 9 Cong., 2 Sess., 1097.
92 Historia C, Doc. 6; see The Quarterly, VII.208; Perrin du Lac, Voyages dans les Deux Louisianes, 375 (Paris, 1805).
93 The correspondence upon this topic is found in Historia XLIII, Doc. XLI. For complete title, cf. Bolton, in The Quarterly, VI.108. See also Historia XLIII, Opúsculo, IV Par. 6.
94 Bk. I, Par. 2.
96 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXXIII, Par. 28.
97 Representation to Ripperdá, July 7, 1770. Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII. The name "Adaes" refers to the Indians and not to the Sabine River.
98 The Quarterly, VIII.9, 11.
99 Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII.278.
100 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXXIII, Par. 16.
101 Ibid., Pars. 8, 18.
102 Historia XLIII, Doc. LXXIII, Par. 19.
103 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo I, Pars. 18, 71.
105 Claiborne Correspondence IV, D. Clark to Jefferson.
106 Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII.170, XXVII.374.
107 The Quarterly, IX.74, note 2.
108 Morfí, Viaje de Indios y Diario del Nuevo Mexico, in Documentos para la Historia de Mexico, Second Series, Vol. I.
109 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo IV.
110 Ibid., XLIII, Doc. L.
111 Ibid., LXII, Doc. VII.
112 Ibid., LXII, Doc. LXIX.
113 Historia XLIII, Opúsculo IV, Par. IV; Correspondence of Viceroys, Vol. 33, No. 703; Vol. 67, No. 1827; Carta of Ripperdá, Memorias de Nueva España, XXVIII; Bancroft, North Mexican States, I.631, Bolton in The Quarterly, IX.102, 117, 118.
114 Cf. American Historical Review, X.250‑252. The significant pages of the printed memoir are 27‑30; 100‑114. I have used the copy in the King collection of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio. In emphasizing the usefulness of Louisiana to Spain and the necessity of a union of that power with France in order to check the spread of the English or Americans, Vergennes seems to revert to many of the ideas expressed in the early memoirs of Iberville (cf. Margry, IV.30).
115 Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, I.947.
117 Sparks, Works of Washington, VIII.176.
118 For a review of the attitude of Spain and France towards the U. S., cf. Foster, Century of American Diplomacy, Chapter II; Ogg, Opening of the Mississippi, Chapter VIII; Turner, in American Historical Review, X.249‑255; McLaughlin, The Confederation and the Constitution, Chap. II.
119 Quoted in Ogg, 399.
121 Report on Canadian Archives, 1890, 108‑119.
123 Ogg, Opening of the Mississippi, 443; Green, The Spanish Conspiracy, 250‑253, 292‑317. In view of the later plans of Wilkinson, this early coupling of New Mexico with a projected Louisiana invasion is significant. Cf. Cox, "The Early Exploration of Louisiana," 91, University of Cincinnati Studies, Series II, Vol. II, No. 1.
124 Ibid., 449, note 2; Green, 294.
125 Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, I.932.
127 A monograph upon the subject by William Ray Manning is published in Report of the American Historical Association, 1904.
128 American Historical Review, VII.711, note 4.
129 Ibid., VII.716.
130 Particularly those of the British agent signing himself "R. D." American Historical Review, VII.718, 724, 725.
131 American Historical Review, VII.728‑33.
132 Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 415, 416.
133 American Historical Review, VII.709; Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 418.
134 Ibid., VII.716, note 1; Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 416.
135 Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 415.
136 American Historical Review, VII.710; Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 418.
137 Report of the American Historical Association, 1904, 420, 421.
138 Ibid., 1904, 421, 422.
139 Ibid., 1904, 418‑420.
140 Ibid., 1897, 471.
141 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, I.247.
146 Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, II.199, note.
148 Ibid., III.661, 662.
149 American Historical Review, III.508‑510.
150 Ibid., III.495‑496; 662, 663; Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, 945 ff.
152 This claim suggests the possibility that Clark may have obtained information from Nolan, who was a resident of Kentucky and occasionally conveyed his droves of Texas horses thither.
153 Thwaites, Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I, Introduction.
155 Ibid., III.655.
156 Ford, Writings of Jefferson, VI.206.
158 Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, 934; American Historical Review, III.511‑515.
159 Carondelet to Alcúdia, 1793, Report of the American Historical Association, 1896, 975.
160 The report, edited by Prof. F. J. Turner, is published in the American Historical Review, II.475, ff.
161 The expedition under James Mackay. See map accompanying Perrin du Lac's Voyage dans les Deux Louisianes. Paris, 1805. The Missouri Historical Society possesses some transcripts of the documents in the Spanish archives relating to the explorations of Mackay, but I have been unable to make use of them in preparing this article.
162 American Historical Review, III.514, note 3.
163 Green, The Spanish Conspiracy, 324.
164 History of Texas, I.111.
165 Clark, Proofs of the Corruption of General James Wilkinson, 15, App. 21.
166 Nolan to Wilkinson, June 10, 1796, in Wilkinson, Memoirs of My Own Times, II, App. II.
167 Nolan to Wilkinson, April 6, 1791. Ibid.
168 June 10, 1796. Ibid.
169 At this time serving as Spanish governor of the Natchez district.
170 Yoakum, History of Texas, I.113; Clark, Proofs, 42.
171 Nolan to Wilkinson, New Orleans, April 24, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs, II, App. II. For Ellicott's reports, cf. American State Papers, Foreign Relations, II.20‑27; 78‑87.
172 McCaleb, The Aaron Burr Conspiracy, 128. While Humboldt in Washington, during the summer of 1804, Wilkinson through Jefferson, attempted to obtain from the famous traveler information concerning the Internal Provinces and routes to Santa Fé and Mexico City. Cf. Cox, "Early Exploration of Louisiana," 91; also Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol. 85, No. 78.
173 Clark, Proofs, 69.
174 Nolan to Wilkinson, July 21, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs, II, App. II.
175 Clark, Proofs, 59.
176 Ibid., App. 74.
177 Ibid., App. 71.
178 Wilkinson, Memoirs, App. III.
179 Nolan to Wilkinson, July 21, 1797, in Wilkinson, Memoirs II, App. II.
180 Garrison, Texas, 112; The Quarterly, VII.311, 312.
181 The Quarterly, VII.314; Jefferson's motives in interesting himself in Nolan's work, while uncertain, are strongly suspicious. In the letter referred to above, Wilkinson writes: "In the Bearer of this Letter — Mr. P. Nolan, you will behold the Mexican traveler, a specimen of whose discoveries I had the honor to submit to you in the Winter 1797." Early in this same year, 1797, according to the testimony of John D. Chisholm (American Historical Review, X.602), the latter on one occasion, while visiting Senator Blount, of , found at table with him Jefferson and Wilkinson. Chisholm believed that Blount expected him to disclose to his visitors the plan for the conquest of Louisiana, the Floridas, and New Mexico, but evaded doing so. A conference between these three men, during the incubation of the so‑called Blount conspiracy, is highly significant, especially in view of Wilkinson's desire for the conquest of New Mexico — one of the objective points of the conspiracy. In view of this fact, and of the above quotation from Wilkinson's letter, we are led to believe that Jefferson's interest in Nolan extended farther than to the latter's description of the wild horses of Texas.
182 The Quarterly, VII.308.
183 The Quarterly, VII.309‑311.
184 Ibid., VII.311‑312.
185 Ellicott to Secretary of State, January 13, 1799, in Ellicott, Southern Boundary, MSS., Bureau of Rolls and Library, Department overstate.
186 The Quarterly, VII.314.
187 Garrison, Texas, 113.
188 Dunbar to Jefferson, August 22, 1901, in The Quarterly, VII.315.
189 For the details of Nolan's last expedition, cf. Yoakum, History of Texas, I.111‑116; Garrison, Texas, 111‑116. The Memoirs of Ellis P. Bean (properly P. E. Bean), one of his companions, are found in the Appendix of Yoakum, I.403‑452; Cavo, Tres Siglos de Mexico, Appendix, 660 (Jalapa, 1870).
190 Coues, Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike, I, LII.
191 Garrison, Texas, 113.
192 House Document, No. 50, 19 Cong., 1 Sess., page 67.
193 Ibid., 81.
194 Ibid., 68.
195 Jefferson Papers, Series 2, Vol. 76, No. 7. Cf. Salcedo to Governor of Texas, December 9, 1806, MSS. Béxar Archives.
196 Robin, Voyages, II.123‑125.
197 Diario of St. Maxent and Fortier, 1801, Historia LXII, Doc. LXIX.
198 Valle to Elguezabal, February 1, 1805, Béxar Archives. Cf. Sibley, supra.
199 Robin, loc. cit., 332, Annals of Congress, 9 Con., 2 Sess., 1078, 1901.
200 See map in Perrin Du Lac, Voyages dans Deux Louisianes, etc., Paris, 1805.
203 Order of de Nava, November 21, 1794, Béxar Archives.
204 Report of Carondelet, November 24, 1794, in American Historical Review, II.476, 478.
207 Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, Vol. II, 567, 568.
210 Victor Collot, A Journey in North America, etc. (Paris, 1826).
211 , Journey, II.35, 36, 230‑245.
212 Ibid., 257.
215 Collot, A Journey in North America, I.251; II.5.
216 Ibid., II.5, 12, 64, 65‑68; American Historical Review, X.600, 601; Robin, Voyages, II.1198.
217 American Historical Review, X.273‑275. Cf. also Ibid., 574 et seq., and Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, II.253‑258. The surrender of these posts was looked upon by certain French statesmen and travelers as a great blow to the ambitious colonial policy of France. Cf. Baudry des Lozières, Voyages a la Louisiane, 202; Adams, History of the United States, II.61, 62.
218 American Historical Review, X.576.
221 Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, II.1098.
222 Ellicott, Journal, 175.
225 Report of the American Historical Association, 1903, Vol. II, 1076; cf. also Adams, Life and Works of John Adams, I.252, 679‑684.
226 King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, II.649‑666; III.556‑565. Cf. also the introduction of Hale, Philip Nolan's Friends, XII, XIII, XV.
229 Henry Adams, History of the United States, I.352.
230 Ibid., 355 ff. One French traveler of the period, however, emphasizes the fact that his nation would make Louisiana something more than an unproductive barrier colony. Perrin Du Lac, Voyages dans les Deux Louisianes, 236.
231 Adams, History of the United States, I.363, 364.
232 Ibid., 366.
233 Ibid., 372.
234 Ibid., 400.
235 King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, II.147.
236 Ibid., III.572.
238 King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, III.414, 415, 447‑449.
239 Ibid., IV.15.
240 Ibid., IV.17‑19, 56, 57, 58, 86, 108, 109, 123.
241 State Papers and Correspondence Bearing upon the Purchase of the Territory of Louisiana, 5, House Document No. 431, 57 Cong., 2 Sess.
242 Ibid., 6‑8.
243 Ibid., 20‑50 passim; also manuscript volume in Bureau of Indexes and Archives, "Letters of C. Pinckney and R. Livingston, Spanish Dispatches."
244 Adams, History of the United States, I.418, 419.
245 Gallatin to Madison, February 7, 1803, in Works of Madison, II.179.
246 Adams, History of the United States, II.6. For a full discussion of the real significance of these instructions upon the territorial status of Texas, cf. article by Prof. J. R. Ficklen, in Publications of the Southern Historical Association, V.383.
247 Cf. Baudry des Lozières, Voyages a la Louisiane, 227.
248 Casa Yrujo to Cevallos, August 3, November 5, 1803, in Henry Adams, "Spanish State Papers." These papers of Mr. Adams are deposited in the Bureau of Rolls and Library, State Department.
249 Consult Adams, History of the United States, II, passim.
250 Casa Yrujo to Cevallos, September 30 and October 16, 1803, in Adams, "Spanish State Papers."
251 Berquin-Duvallon, Vue de la Colonie Espagnole du Mississippi, 5 (Paris, 1803).
a The printed text has Cabellero, a misprint for the man's title, Caballero. His name was Teodoro de Croix; his next post would be as Viceroy of Peru.
Images with borders lead to more information.
American History Notes
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
Page updated: 22 Sep 11