These headings of the author's are used here as local links to text on this webpage.
Execution of the Treaty of Cession to the English — Smuggling Trade Carried on by the English — Meaning of the Phrase, "I am going to Little Manchac" — Death of D'Abbadie — Aubry, his successor — Arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana — Causes of their expulsion from Acadia or Nova Scotia — Their settlement in Louisiana — The Mississippi, a common thoroughfare for the English and French — Inconvenience thereof — Construction of English Forts at Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Natchez — Introduction of Negroes by the English — Curious Despatch from Aubry on the difficulties encountered by him — Origin of the name of Baton Rouge — Representations to the King made by the Louisianians on the treaty of Cession — They send Jean Milhet as their delegate to France — Interview of Jean Milhet and Bienville with the Duke of Choiseul — Death of Bienville — Ulloa appointed Governor of Louisiana by the King of Spain — His letter to the Superior Council — His arrival and reception — Gayarre appointed Contador, or Comptroller, by the King; Loyola, Commissary of War and Intendant; Navarro, Treasurer — Disagreement between Ulloa and the Superior Council — He refuses to show his powers — His reasons for it — He visits the different posts and settlements of the Province — He orders a Census to be made — Its Result — Biographical sketch of Charles III, Ulloa, Loyola, Gayarre, and Navarro.
With regard to that part of the Treaty of Cession which concerned the English, the French were executing its provisions with just as much celerity as was permitted by the obstacles resulting from the hostility of the Indians to these new European lords and masters. Nyon de Villiers, who had the command of the Illinois District, abandoned it on the 15th of June, 1764, and arrived at New Orleans on the 2d of July, with six officers, sixty-three soldiers, and eighty of the inhabitants, including women and children. The English were indeed eager to avail themselves of all the advantages and acquisitions p115 they had lately secured, and their ships, much to the mortification of the French, were seen proudly parading up and down on the bed of the old father of rivers. They used to stop, after having passed New Orleans, at the spot where is now situated the city of Lafayette, and they sold contraband goods to the inhabitants of the town and of the neighboring country. The wants of the colony were so pressing at the time, that D'Abbadie overlooked this illegal traffic, which was as advantageous to the colonists as to the English. As it was under the pretext of proceeding to their possessions of Manchaca and Baton Rouge, that the English continued to make a stay at the place be designated, it became customary for one to say, when repairing to it for the purpose of smuggling: "I am going to Little Manchac." This phrase became proverbial, and the spot on which is now the city of Lafayette, long retained the name of "Little Manchac."
During the course of that year, the population of that part of Louisiana remaining to France was increased by a considerable emigration from the Alibamons and Illinois Districts, which had been ceded to the English, and from the province of Acadia, or Nova Scotia.
The discovery of this province, in 1497, has been attributed to the Cabots, but no settlement was formed in it before 1604, when it was colonized by De Monts and a party of Frenchmen, who, it is said, called it Acadia, from the Indian name of one of its rivers. They were not allowed, however, peaceful possession of the far distant and wild home which they had selected in the rugged country where frowned an almost perpetual winter. The English claimed it as their own domain, in virtue p116 of the discovery of Sebastian Cabot, and sent a force which succeeded in driving away those whom they looked upon as intruders. In 1621, a grant of the whole of this peninsula, under the name of Nova Scotia, was made to Sir William Alexander. But the French regained a footing in it a second time, and retained it until the strong and ever victorious arm of Cromwell, extending across the Atlantic, reduced them to subjection in 1654. This subjection was not of long duration, and, in 1667, Nova Scotia, or Acadia, was resigned back into the hands of the French by the treaty of Breda. Next came the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, which expressly conceded Nova Scotia, or Acadia, in its full extent, to England. Then the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, in 1748, re‑established all things as they were before the war. But hence arose the perplexing questions — What was the state of things before the war? What was the extent of the territory forming the province of Nova Scotia, or Acadia? What were the limits between that province and Canada? From this source sprung claims which brought on, at first, partial collisions between the French and the English colonies on the North American continent, and those collisions were speedily followed by a war between France and England.
By the treaty of Utrecht it had been stipulated that the French colonists of Acadia should retain their possessions. So far, they had refused to take the oath of allegiance as British subjects, except with the condition that it would not obligate them to bear arms against the French, even in defence of the province. The English government had not consented to this modification of the oath of allegiance, but had employed no means of coercion against a poor and scattered population, from which it anticipated no hostility beyond that which p117 consisted merely in the secret feelings of the heart. When, however, war broke out between the French and the English, the Acadians, who were on the disputed territory, openly sided with the French, and those who were within the unquestionable and avowed limits of Acadia, such as it was admitted by the French themselves to have been ceded by the treaty of 1713, assumed the character and the name of neutrals.
"They dwelt principally," says Williamson in his History of Maine, "about Annapolis, Chignecto, Bay Verte, the Basin of Minas, Cobaquid Bay, and in that vicinity — and altogether, made a population of 18,000 souls. They were an industrious, frugal people, strongly attached to the French interest and the Catholic religion. So desirous were they of throwing off the yoke, that they had secretly courted the visit of the French troops, and furnished them and the Indians with intelligence, quarters, provisions, and every assistance, and a part of them had actually taken arms in violation of their oath of neutrality. Nay, all of them, as heretofore, utterly refused to take the oath of unqualified allegiance to the British crown, though such as had not appeared openly in arms, were assured, if they would take it, that they should still be allowed the unmolested enjoyment of their lands and houses.
"Perceiving the indissoluble attachment of the Acadians, 'French neutrals,' to their parent nation, Lieutenant-Governor Lawrence, and the Provincial Council, with the advice of Admirals Boscawen and Mostyn, finally determined that the whole of them should be removed and dispersed among the British colonies, where they, being unable to unite in any offensive measures, would become naturalized to the government and the country. Without knowing their destiny, they were p118 summoned to meet in their chapels, September 5th, 1755, to hear their doom. At Grand Pré (Minas and Horton), assembled 1923 persons, aged and young, whom General Winslow met, and after animadverting upon their disloyal conduct, said to them: 'I now declare to you his Majesty's orders. Know then, that your lands, tenements, cattle and live stock of all kinds, are forfeited to the Crown, with all other effects of yours, excepting your money and household goods, which you will be allowed to carry with you: and that yourselves and families are to be removed from this province to places suiting his Majesty's pleasure; and in the meantime, to remain in custody, under the inspection and control of the troops I have the honor to command. In a word, I now declare you all the King's prisoners.' Shocked and petrified at this thrilling decree, some of them burst into tears, and some fled to the woods, whose houses were committed to the flames, and country laid waste, to prevent their subsistence. Indeed, every possible measure was adopted to force them back into captivity.
"When the transports arrived at Annapolis, to convey away the ill-fated people from that place and vicinity, the soldiers found the houses entirely deserted by the inhabitants, who had fled to the woods, carrying with them their aged parents, their wives and children. But hunger, infirmity and distress soon compelled the return of numbers, who surrendered themselves prisoners at discretion. The more athletic penetrated into the depths of the wilderness, and encamped with the savages; and a few wandered through the woods to Chignecto, and thence escaped to Canada.
"In Cumberland, the summons were generally disobeyed, and hence it was found necessary to resort to the p119 most severe measures. Here, 253 of their houses were set on fire at one time, in which a great quantity of wheat, flax and other valuable articles were consumed: the country presenting, for several days and several miles, a most direful scene of conflagration. As the different Acadian settlements were too widely extended to admit of an actual subjugation at once, only 7,000 were collected at this time and dispersed among the several British colonies. On the 10th of September, 1755, one hundred and sixty-one young men, taken from among the prisoners belonging to the district of Minas, were driven by a military guard on board of five transports stationed in the River Gaspereaux. The road from the chapel to the shore, •one mile in length, was lined with women and children, all of whom, bathed in tears, knelt and uttered, amid deep heart-broken sighs — farewell! as the dejected prisoners advanced with slow and reluctant steps, weeping, praying and singing hymns as they passed. These were followed by their seniors, who passed through the same heart-rending scene of sorrow and distress; and when other vessels arrived, they carried away also their wives and children. About 1,300 arrived in Massachusetts and Maine, and became a public charge, principally in consequence of an irreconcilable antipathy to their situation. Also, 415 were sent to Pennsylvania, and some were transported as far south as Georgia. Such was the wretched fate of the French neutrals."b
A few pages farther, the same author goes on saying: "An act passed the next day (to wit, the 24th of December, 1755) for the distribution of the French neutrals through the province (Massachusetts), and the support or relief of them in the different towns, as beneficiary paupers. A number were assigned to Maine. The p120 overseers of the poor were required to make suitable provision for them at the charge of the province, unless they were remunerated by the Crown, or by the Government of Nova Scotia. Bigoted to the Romish religion, necessitous, disaffected and unhappy, they entertained a settled, unconquerable dislike of the English, their habits and sentiments — and being exiles from their native land, which they loved and longed to see, they were neither enterprising nor industrious, but an intolerable burden to the government. According to a committee's report Jan. 25, 1760, there were, even at that time, 1,017 of this miserable people within the province."
Thus the Messenians, after their noble and protracted struggle for independence against the Spartans, being subjugated, were remorselessly driven away by their implacable foes from their blood-stained hearths and the honored graves of their ancestors, to wander through Greece in search of pity and assistance, and of a new home for the houseless exile in the land of the stranger. Thus at a later period, and by a more awful decree, Jerusalem was torn from her foundations, and the Jews sown broad-cast over the face of the earth, to be the beasts of burden, the dogs, the footstools of every nation, or rather to be the swine of the human species, herding through so many centuries in the troughs and sewers of society, and battening upon its dregs and offals.
The miserable outcasts who, by an English decree, had been made the Messenians and the Jews of America, could never be reconciled to their fate, and, in the words of Williamson, retained an unconquerable dislike of the English. The race which, in Acadia, had deprived them of everything, of all that is dear to the human p121 heart, was the very same race they met in Massachusetts, in Pennsylvania, in Virginia, in all the English colonies to which they were transported. It was the race of their oppressors, and the bread which pity or charity presented to them was English bread offered by an English hand! How could they not be broken-hearted, when the very words of encouragement and consolation in which they were addressed were in a language hateful to their ears! How could they be industrious, when their industry would have brought them into more immediate contact with those they cursed as the authors of their misery! How enterprising in a land from which they longed to flee! How could they forget their wrongs and labor on English ground! How could they plough the soil that England owned, unless it were with the hope of sowing the Dragon's teeth, destined to spring up in hostile array, and to shed the blood that vengeance claimed! During ten years the Acadians thought of nothing else than finding the means of seeking some genial clime, where they could be gathered under the flag of France, and kept their eyes steadily fixed on the French West India Islands, and particularly on Louisiana. Luckily for them, they proved, as they wished, and as the historian of Maine says, an intolerable burden to the English colonies, and, after ten years of sufferings and vain longings, many of them were permitted, encouraged and assisted to execute their deeply cherished design of moving to the French colonies.
Thus, between the 1st of January and the 13th of May, 1765, about six hundred and fifty Acadians had arrived at New Orleans, and from that town had been sent to form settlements in Attakapas and Opelousas, under the command of Andry. In one of his despatches p122 to his government, the Commissary Foucault observed that these settlements would, in a few years, rise to considerable importance, should Bayou Plaquemine be cleared, and should thereby a free communication be opened from the River Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. The arrival of these emigrants threw the provincial authorities into a great state of perplexity, by forcing them into expenses which they could not well meet, on account of the deplorable condition of the colonial treasury, and which were incurred to increase the population of a province no longer belonging to France. They felt no less anxiety about their responsibility in making disbursements and in contracting obligations which their government might not approve. But the claims of the unfortunate exiles who had come to seek an asylum in Louisiana and under the French flag were too strong to be resisted, and they obtained all the assistance which the public purse, aided by private charity, could afford.
This, however, was the least of all the difficulties which Aubry and Foucault had to encounter in their administration of the colony. By making the Mississippi a common thoroughfare for the English and the French, a wide door had been opened to jealousies, apprehensions, misunderstandings, and conflicts of every kind. The French saw with distrust the frequent transportation of English troops, through the very heart of the poor remnant of their once so extensive and magnificent possessions. They heard with uneasiness the morning and evening guns which the English fired, as they went up and down the river. This gun-firing greatly alarmed and excited the Indians, who took it as a sign of hostility or triumph. They could hardly be persuaded that it was no more than a military usage, they had imbibed p123 the impression that the French admitted their inferiority, or showed cowardice, in not resenting this provocation offered to them. But the acts of English sovereignty were not confined to empty demonstrations and the parade of naval strength. A frigate was sent to the mouth of the Manchac, where she was to remain until a fort should be constructed. It was also known that another frigate was to ascend to Natchez, where the erection of a fort was contemplated.
On the 16th of May, Aubry wrote to his government: "It is for us a new and even an alarming spectacle, to see constantly passing before New Orleans ships of war and foreign troops. Although we are in full peace, and although it seems that we have nothing to fear, yet I feel inwardly, and as it were in spite of myself, alarms on this subject, considering that I have and ships, nor troops, nor ammunition, to oppose hostile designs, should any such be formed. It seemed to me indecorous not to have any battery on the river; consequently, I had twenty pieces of artillery put on their carriages in front of the barracks. In this way, we shall return more decently the salutes; and, besides, it commands rapid.
"The English had flattered themselves to open, with ease, the communication which had long been stopped between Lake Maurepas and the Mississippi, through the River Iberville (now Manchac), which is •thirty-five leagues from this town, and where begins the island of New Orleans. But this enterprise is more difficult than they had thought, and Du Parc, an inhabitant of this colony, who had undertaken this task, with the consent of Mr. D'Abbadie, is likely to fail in its execution.
"The government of this colony is more embarrassing p124 than it ever was. It is exceedingly difficult to conciliate, at the same time, the English, the French, and the Indians, who are here pell-mell.
"The correspondence which I am obliged to have with the English, who write to me from all parts, and particularly with the Governor of Mobile, gives me serious occupation. This governor is an extraordinary man. As he knows that I speak English, he occasionally writes to me in verse. He speaks to me of Francis I and Charles V. He compares Pontiak, an Indian chief, to Mithridates; he says that he goes to bed with Montesquieu. When there occur some petty difficulties between the inhabitants of New Orleans and Mobile, he quotes to me from the Great Charter (Magna Charta) and the laws of Great Britain. It is said that the English ministry sent him to Mobile to get rid of him, because he was one of the hottest in the opposition. He pays me handsome compliments, which I duly return to him, and upon the whole, he is a man of parts, but a dangerous neighbor, against whom it is well to be on one's guard.
"The ordinary communication from Mobile to New Orleans is through the Lakes and Bayou St. John. So far, we have always permitted the English to pass in that direction. I have lately, however, refused this privilege to Mr. Farmer, who is going to the Illinois with three hundred men. He has the river; let him use it." And so did the English, in no sparing manner, and much to their commercial advantage. At the fort they had constructed at Manchac, and which they called Fort Bute, in compliment to Lord Bute, the celebrated favorite of their King, as well as at their settlements of Baton Rouge and Natchez, they were carrying on a large contraband trade with the inhabitants of French Louisiana, who used to repair to these places for all their supplies. p125 Besides, the English ships, in going up and down the river, were actively engaged in smuggling, and, especially, discharged at every point a peculiar kind of commodities in the shape of negroes. This became the source of the fortune of more than one planter. As the colony was on the eve of being transferred by France, and was no longer a mart for her trade, the government winked at these illicit transactions.
The settlement of Baton Rouge, which had been ceded to the English, and which they had converted into a depot of contraband trade with the portion of Louisiana that was destined to become Spanish, was then composed of nothing better than a miserable fortlet, and some huts which were scattered about in its neighborhood. The future had in store higher destinies for that locality, which is now one of the most agreeable and loveliest sites in the State of Louisiana. It boasts, in 1850, of a pretty town of four thousand inhabitants, where the federal government of the United States has erected an arsenal and barracks on a large scale and of imposing aspect. There the State penitentiary works its looms, teaches convicts the usefulness and morality of honest industry, and makes guilt itself subservient to the purposes of trade and to plans of reform, if not to the prevention of crime. There the ever-wonderful order of the Jesuits has established a College, and is to locate, it is said, the head-quarters of that spiritual province or circumscription in which Louisiana is included. As a climax of good fortune, the seat of State Government was transferred to that favored spot, on the 1st of December, 1849; and to serve as the capitol of the State, a castellated building has been erected, which is intended to imitate the Anglo-Norman style of architecture, and which seems to look down with the air p126 of a feudal baron on the town, and on the mighty river rolling majestically at the foot of its snow-white towers.c
The capital of Louisiana deserves that the origin of its name of Baton Rouge, or Red Stick, be recorded.d It is well known that the cypress tree, in this southern climate, rises to a prodigious height, and that its bark is of a reddish hue. Its trunk is shorn of branches, and its head alone wears a leafy crown. In Nature's book of architecture it represents the pillar with its chapiter.º Le Page du Pratz relates that, in his time, there was yet to be seen on the present site of the capital of Louisiana a famous cypress tree, out of which a carpenter had offered to build two boats, one of sixteen tons, and the other of fourteen. "As the wood of the cypress tree is red," says Le Page du Pratz, "one of the first travellers who arrived at this locality exclaimed that this tree would make a fine stick! Hence the name of Baton Rouge (Red Stick) given to this place. With regard to the tree, its height had not as yet been measured. It towers almost beyond sight."
If this description be true, this red stick would have deserved to have been handled by one of the Titans of old Greece. The ancient Romans, who used to see omens and presages in everything, would hardly have failed to believe that this prodigy of the vegetable kingdom was the sure sign of some extraordinary destiny for the sacred spot on which it had been planted by the gods.
When the inhabitants of Louisiana had been informed of the treaty of cession to Spain, they had resolved to make representations to the French government. They hoped that the king of France, when made aware of their love and devotion, would retract his donation, and p127 that they would thus prevent what they all dreaded so much. Consequently, every parish had been invited to send delegates to New Orleans. The invitation was not fruitless, every parish responded to it, and a numerous assembly, composed of some of the most distinguished inhabitants of the colony, met at New Orleans. The principal and most active members were: Lafrénière, the Attorney-General Doucet, St. Lette, Pin, Villeré, D'Arensbourg, Jean Milhet, the wealthiest merchant of the colony, Joseph Milhet, his brother, St. Maxent, De La Chaise, Marquis, Garic, Masan, Massange, Poupet, Noyan, Boisblanc, Grand-Maison, Lalande, Lesassier, Braud the King's printer,e Kernion, Carrère, Dessales, etc.
The Attorney-General Lafrénière, after having depicted in a very energetic and eloquent speech the sad situation of the colony, presented a resolution by which the colonists, in a body, supplicated the King of France not to sever them from the mother country. The resolution was unanimously adopted, and Jean Milhet was selected to carry it to the foot of the throne.
The first care of Jean Milhet, on his arrival in Paris, was to wait on Bienville. That distinguished man was then in his 86th year, still retaining, however, almost unimpaired, the moral and intellectual faculties which had characterized him through life. The body was nothing but the wreck of a goodly ship, which, after having been long buffeted by the storms of the world, was now fast sinking into the yawning abyss. But the spiritual commander, the soul, unscorched by the fury of the contending elements, fatigued, not subdued or dismayed, could be seen proudly standing on the deck, serenely surveying the afflicting scene and the approaches of dissolution, and ready to spring up, at the last moment, p128 from where it stood, to the shore of eternal peace and safety. Deeply grieved was he to have lived long enough to see the gradual abasement of France, and the partition of Louisiana between England and Spain. What had become of Canada, his native country? What of half of Louisiana, that colony which he had founded in concert with his beloved brother Iberville? What had become of that splendid creation of his youthful days? Was France now to give up the last inch of that immense territory which he had acquired for her, at the cost of so many perils and so much endurance? Was it for the Spaniards that he called New Orleans into life? Were the Louisianians, were the numerous members of his family, whose home he had established in the cradle of his future fame, were his many friends and the old companions of his labors to be no longer his countrymen? Well may it be imagined with what readiness Bienville accepted the proposition of Milhet, to call with him on the Prime Minister, Duke of Choiseul.
Introduced into the Duke's closet, they laid before him the petition of the inhabitants of Louisiana. Milhet, their delegate, was the first to address the Minister, and urge upon him all the considerations which, he thought, ought to induce France to retain that important possession. Then Bienville, with the authority of his age and past services, and with an eloquence inspired by the deep feelings which overflowed his heart, made a pathetic appeal not only to the reason, but to the sensibility of the powerful man who held in his hands the fate of Louisiana. Eloquent indeed he was, for he spoke like a father suing for the life of his child. The Duke listened with courteous attention, but said in reply, and in few words, that he regretted his inability to change the p129 course of things. Jean Milhet, despairing of success, and with a look of profound affliction, had risen to depart, when Bienville gave way to the emotions which, so far, had been pent up in his heart. Tears gushed from his eyes, his tremulous hands seized those of the Duke, he bent his knee, and in this humble posture, with an almost sobbing voice, he prayed for a reconsideration of the decree issued against the colony. This was too much even for the minister. He appeared greatly moved; he hastily raised up the octogenarian suitor, whom he embraced with respect, and, as it were, in token of the sympathy he felt for a distress he could not relieve. But his resolution was not shaken, and he said in a soothing tone: "Gentlemen, I must put an end to this painful scene. I am deeply grieved at not being able to give you any hope. I have no hesitation in telling you that I cannot address the King on this subject, because I myself advised the cession of Louisiana. Is it not to your knowledge that the colony cannot continue its precarious existence, except at an enormous expense, of which France is now utterly incapable? Is it not better, then, that Louisiana should be given away to a friend and faithful ally, than be wrested from us by an hereditary foe? Farewell — you have my best wishes. I can do no more." Thus dismissed, the noble veteran Bienville staggered out of the minister's room, leaning on the arm of Milhet. Grief had loosened the feeble cords which bound him to life, and, a short time after, he was no more. He had departed to meet his favorite brother Iberville in a better world.
Although Milhet dutifully informed his fellow-citizens of the result of his mission, yet they continued to flatter themselves with the hope that the treaty of cession would not be carried into execution. This hope was founded p130 on circumstances which were interpreted by the colonists in a manner favorable to their wishes. For instance, one year had elapsed since the receipt of the letter in which the King had instructed D'Abbadie to deliver up the colony to the first Spanish officer who should present himself with the necessary powers. Such an officer had not as yet arrived, and it seemed that the King of Spain was making no preparation to take possession of the province. Thus the lowering clouds, which had darkened the horizon, were fast sinking away from the sight of the colonists, when they reappeared with a blacker shade on the reception of the news that Don Antonio de Ulloa had been appointed Governor of Louisiana, and had reached Havana. Soon after, on the 10th of July, this officer wrote to the Superior Council at New Orleans the following letter:
"Gentlemen,— Having recently been instructed by his Catholic Majesty to repair to your town and take possession of it in his name, and in conformity with the orders of his Most Christian Majesty, I avail myself of this occasion to make you acquainted with my mission, and to give you information that I shall soon have the honor to be among you, in order to proceed to the execution of my commission. I flatter myself beforehand that it will afford me favorable opportunities to render you all the services that you and the inhabitants of your town may desire; of which I beg you to give them the assurance from me, and to let them know that, in acting thus, I only discharge my duty and gratify my inclinations.
Antonio de Ulloa."
At the moment when the country was thus on the eve of changing its old livery of colonial bondage for p131 another one, the King of France thought proper to drop, from the table of royal favors, crumbs of consolation for some of the faithful servants whom he was abandoning and sent the decorations of the Cross of St. Louis to Marest de la Tour, Bonille, D'Arensbourg and Lavergne.
August, September, October, November, December, passed away, and Ulloa did not come! What detained him, when so near? Had counter orders arrived? And hope, that feeling happily so congenial to human nature, of so rapid growth and of so slow decay, began to revive in the breasts of the colonists. The year 1766 had begun its onward march, and had brought no Ulloa! Many of the colonists now adopted the conviction, that the Treaty of Cession was nothing but a sham instrument, concealing some diplomatic manoeuvering.
In the month of February, 216 Acadians arrived in Louisiana. The exiled families of that race who had first sought refuge in the colony, had set up an example which others had been eager to follow. Implements of husbandry were distributed to them at the cost of the government, and they were authorized to form settlements on both sides of the Mississippi, from the German Coast up to Baton Rouge, and even as high as Pointe Coupée. Hence the name of Acadian Coast, which a portion of the banks of the river still bears. To the refugees, during the first year of their settlement, were given the same rations which were allowed the troops of the colony.
On the 5th of March, 1766, the town of New Orleans was thrown into a great state of excitement. The long expected Ulloa had arrived at last, and had landed with two companies of infantry commanded by Piernas. He was accompanied by Loyola as Commissary of War and p132 Intendant, Gayarre as Contador, or Comptroller, and Navarro as Treasurer. Besides their respective attributions, Gayarre and Navarro were made joint commissioners with Loyola, to take possession of the colony, and to appraise all the objects belonging to the King of France, which the King of Spain might think convenient to keep for his own account. The reception of Ulloa was respectful, but cold and sullen, betokening clearly the discontent of the population. Having been requested by the Superior Council to exhibit his powers, he refused, on the ground that he intended to postpone taking possession of the country until the arrival of all the Spanish forces which he expected. He added that he had nothing to do with the Superior Council, which was nothing else than a civil tribunal, by which he could not possibly be called to any account; and that, with regard to the delivery of the province into his hands, he had to deal only with Governor Aubry, whom he recognized as the sole competent authority in that matter. Here was a bitter pill to swallow; it was the first but decided intimation to the Superior Council, that, henceforward, it was no longer to be what it had been — one of the ruling powers of the colony. The members of that body had been used to believe that they were very great personages; and, to be suddenly told by a new-comer, that he had not of them the same exalted opinion which they themselves entertained, was gall and wormwood. Nothing can be more unforgiving than the wounded pride and self-love of petty functionaries; and there is no doubt but that the cavalier and unconciliating manner in which the members of the Council thought they were treated by Ulloa, was one of the causes of subsequent events.
Ulloa, although refusing to show his powers, and to p133 take formal possession of the colony, proceeded, however, to visit its different posts and settlements. At Natchitoches,º particularly, he remained a considerable time, studying the locality, and making inquiries as to its facilities of communication with the Mexican provinces. He ordered a census to be made of the whole population of Louisiana, and the result was found to be: 1,893 men able to carry arms, 1,044 women, married or unmarried, 1,375 male children, and 1,240 of the other sex. Total, 5,562. The blacks were about as numerous. But the population was somewhat reduced by an epidemic which prevailed in that year (1766), and which, it is said, closely resembled the disease now so well known here under the name of yellow fever.
The monarch whose subjects the inhabitants of Louisiana were destined to be, was far superior, as to the qualifications of a man and of a king, to the feeble and corrupt Louis XV. Charles III, who wore the crown of Spain and of the Indies, was the son of Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese, and was born in January, 1717.1 Called to the succession of Tuscany, when the last of the Medici had died without leaving heirs to that illustrious name, Charles, before the down of adolescence had shaded his chin, appeared in Italy in 1730, at the head of the armies of his father, the Catholic King. Four years after, he invaded the kingdom of Naples, and made a triumphant entry in its noble capital, whose gates had been thrown open at the sight of the heroic bands of Spain. Proud of his son, Philip V ceded to him all his rights to the kingdom of the two Sicilies. But the imperial troops of Germany were advancing, to wrest from the youthful warrior the fair prize he had grasped so boldly. The battle and victory of Bitonto secured to p134 him the crown of which he was worthy, and the Duke of Montemar, who commanded the troops of his Catholic Majesty, received the title of Duke of Bitonto. After having firmly established his authority in the kingdom of Naples, Charles invaded Sicily, and, in less than one year, conquered the whole island. Then, in 1735, he was recognized as King of the two Sicilies by Louis XV, and his ambassador was openly received at the court of that monarch. In 1738, the treaty of peace, signed at Vienna, left him the undisputed master of an Italian kingdom. He had well fought for, and deserved, the splendid acquisition. After having used the sword with distinguished valor, he knew how to wield the sceptre with moderation, and the wisdom and magnanimity of his administration won to him the deep attachment of his subjects.
War again broke out between the great continental powers of Europe, and Italy became, as for ages it had been, the devoted battle ground for the armies of France, Spain and Germany. Very naturally, Charles joined his forces to those of his father. When the jarring elements of strife are at work, England is never far off; and the English admiral Martin presented himself before Naples with a fleet. He threatened to bombard the city, if Charles did not bind himself to remain neutral and not to assist his father. The first impulse of the young King was to refuse the unnatural request. Martin drew his watch, and gave Charles one hour to determine, whether he would yield to the humiliating demand addressed to him, or see his capital battered down. Unfortunately, Naples was in so defenceless a state, that no resistance could be made; and Charles had to obey the stern laws of necessity. But he never forgot the insult, whilst he waited for better times. As soon as the English p135 disappeared, he devoted all the means he could command, to sheltering himself against the repetition of what had so humbled his proud spirit. When from the state of the fortifications he had erected and the implements of defence he had gathered, he thought he was no longer exposed to succumb, in his own palace, to the dictation of an English officer, he marched at the head of his troops to join those of his father, of which he was appointed commander-in‑chief, jointly with the Duke of Modena. After some partial success, the combined armies of Spain and Naples were surprised in Velletri by the Prince of Lobkowitz, who commanded the Imperialists. Charles was very near being made prisoner; but the Spaniards speedily repaired the disorder into which they had been thrown, and, in their turn, charged with impetuosity the enemies who had not known how to profit by their momentary advantage. They retrieved by prodigies of valor the negligence which had been so fatal to them, and the defeated Imperialists, in their flight, during which they were hotly pursued to some distance, abandoned a considerable number of cannons and flags to those whom they had, on the first onset, driven away before them in confusion. After this campaign, Charles enjoyed, during fifteen years, the fruits of his good fortune and of his labors. He governed the Kingdom of Naples with the kindness and wisdom of a good and intelligent man, until the 10th of August, 1759, when being called to succeed on the throne of Spain his brother Ferdinand VI, he left the Kingdom of Naples to Ferdinand, his third son. Charles, finding himself at the head of a powerful nation, remembered Admiral Martin, and never failed to avail himself of every opportunity, to show the English that he had a tenacious memory. In 1761, he formed with Louis XV p136 the celebrated family compact which guarantied the rights, and gathered up in close union all the forces of the different branches of the house of Bourbon. He did not hesitate to join France in the two wars which she had to wage against England. That of 1762 was not favorable to the two allied powers; Spain lost Havana, twelve ships of the line, immense treasures, the Philippine Islands, and was completely foiled in the campaign which she attempted against Portugal, whose resistance was made effective by the assistance of the English. Charles was obliged to give up Florida in exchange for peace.
The war of 1778 was followed by more satisfactory results. The French Duke of Crillon, the commander of the troops of his Catholic Majesty, took possession of Mahon, in 1781, and by the treaty of peace, Minorca and Florida were restored to Spain. Released from the struggle with so potent an enemy as England, Charles attempted to check the depredations and to punish the insolence of the pirate of Algiers. Count O'Reilly was entrusted with command of that important expedition. This officer had military talents and zeal, which were admitted even by his enemies; but he was an Irishman by birth, and Spanish pride ill brooked that the services of a foreigner should be preferred to those of so many worthy sons of the land. The death of the Marquis of La Romana, who perished in a skirmish in which he became the victim of his fiery imprudence, gave rise to unfounded suspicions and to seditious clamors. The temper and the situation of the army became such that O'Reilly had to reëmbark it with precipitation. This expedition was as fatal to Charles III as a similar one had been to Charles V. His only consolation was, to be able to say that he had not been there in person. p137 Probably, if he had headed his army, his royal presence would have prevented the dissentions and jealousies which ruined the expedition.
This brief abstract of the events which marked the military career of Charles III proves that it was not inglorious. But this prince showed himself still greater in the civil administration of his kingdom. He carried into execution with indomitable perseverance the plans of useful reforms which he had conceived on ascending the throne. His was the noble conception to revive the energies of that ancient and once so powerful nation, and to rekindle the sacred light of the arts and sciences which the Austrian dynasty of the monarchs of Spain had allowed to be extinguished. His ambition was, to be the Peter the Great of his nation. But his first operations produced a feeling of discontent, which soon ripened into violent opposition. The attachment of the Spanish people to their usages, to their prejudices, and above all, to their national costume, went, at the time, far beyond all that can be imagined and described. The Castilians of all classes were clad in black, and besides, in all seasons, were wrapped in cloaks up to their eyes; a large, broad-brimmed hat was carried in such a way as to complete the concealment of their faces. This mysterious and gloomy costume not only shocked the sight and awakened apprehensions, but also, materially assisted felons in eluding the vigilance of the police. In imitation of the Russian reformer who had commanded his subjects to shave their chins, Charles III ordered his to lay aside their cloaks and hats. Not so submissive the Spaniards were as the Muscovite serfs. They revolted at what they thought to be a trespass on their rights, and an unwarrantable interference with their taste and comfort. The Wallon guards, who were on p138 duty at the royal palace, were slaughtered by the populace; but they had made so obstinate a resistance, that they had given time to the King to fly to Aranjuez, where he collected fresh troops. This cloak-and‑hat insurrection produced a ministerial change; the Count of Aranda was appointed President of the Council of Castile, and reëstablished good order; the favorite minister of Charles, the Marquis of Squillace,º an Italian by birth, was dismissed as being odious to the populace and to the nobility, and a sort of compromise took place between the King and his people as to the hats and cloaks. To gratify their Sovereign, the people gave up their broad-brimmed hats; but in return, to please his loyal subjects, the King had to tolerate the cloaks, provided they should be somewhat curtailed in their length and width. On the faith of these transactions good harmony was restored, and the royal parent and his children were as loving as ever.
Many are the useful establishments and the public monuments which, at the present day, are to be traced up to the reign of Charles III. The high roads in Spain, the Custom House, and the Post Office building in Madrid, the works which have embellished that capital and secured the health of its inhabitants, the Cabinet of Natural History, the Botanical Garden, the Academies of Painting and Drawing, the canal of Tudela, that of Madrid, abandoned since his death, and many other improvements, either originated with, or were perfected by him. He loved an upright and enlightened administration of justice, and selected, with rare discrimination, his magistrates and public functionaries among the most virtuous and learned citizens. From those whom he once tried and found honest and capable, he never withdrew his confidence on any insidious delation or p139 unfounded and vague accusations. The Counts of Florida Blanca and of Campomanes were raised to the first offices of the Kingdom from a state of obscurity; and, although they were rivals and hostile to each other, they both enjoyed, at the same time, the esteem of their Sovereign, who did not allow himself to be prejudiced by one against the other. Charles had the good sense of employing these two men, each in the department to which he was suited, and never permitted himself to be influenced by their passions. It is by such means that this prince succeeded in rousing Spain from the lethargy in which she had been so long plunged since Philip III. Certainly, nothing but the energetic will of a despotic sovereign could have stirred into action a nation benumbed in its difficulties, concentrated within itself, and chilled into petrifaction. Obstacles of all sorts were to be conquered, and Charles did not shrink from the unpleasant task. We have of him some sayings, which describe perfectly the situation of Spain, the injustice of public opinion, and the turn of mind of that monarch. "My subjects," said he, "are like children who cry when cleansed." Whenever he heard of a love affair, a political intrigue, or a family quarrel, he used to ask: "What monk is there at the bottom of it?" He liked to speak of the dangers and fatigues he had undergone in war, and always treasured up faithfully the recollection of the least service which had been rendered him. The corps of royal Carabineers had distinguished itself in the campaignsº of Italy. At Velletri, when Charles was in danger of being made prisoner, the Carabineers saved him. Years had elapsed since that event, when, one day, the Minister of War, proposing to him retrenchments and economical reforms in his military household, summed up all his eloquence to p140 demonstrate that the corps of Carabineers had a vicious organization, and was more onerous than useful. Charles seemed not to have heard his remarks, and gave no answer. The Minister renewed his attacks, and spoke with more decision and pertinacity. The King who, all the while, was brooding over his anger, thundered out, "If any one dares again speak against my Carabineers, I will have him hung."
In 1759, when he took possession of the throne of Spain, he was surprised to see a grandee of the kingdom presenting himself to perform the functions of Great Chamberlain, which a gentleman of the name of Losada had been accustomed to discharge near his person for many years past. "Where is Losada?" cried out the King, impatiently. The answer was: "Sire, Losada is not a grandee of Spain. The etiquette of the court requires that he who has the honor of serving your Majesty as Great Chamberlain, be invested with that dignity." "Well," said the King, "I make Losada a Duke. Let him come, and give me my shirt." He had, through the benevolence of his nature, retained almost all the servants of his predecessor, and, among others, a valet of the royal chamber, who continued to wait on him for seventeen years. One day, the King heard of his death. "God bless his soul," said he, "for an honest man he was; although, since the first time I saw him at Barcelona, I never could bear him." Charles was the most methodical man of his kingdom, and could, in his actions, have challenged the regularity of a clock. From the 1st of January to the 31st of December, the precise hour for every occupation and every pleasure was set down and minutely observed. Years in advance, every Spaniard knew when the King would go to bed, when he would leave it, and the exact day when he would p141 undertake a particular journey. He was a sort of almanac in flesh and blood, indicating the rising and setting of the sun. Charles was certainly not gifted with the brilliant qualities of a hero, but possessed a sound judgment, a wise firmness of mind, an excellent understanding, and above all, those qualifications which constitute a good and useful man. The Spaniards still cherish the memory of his paternal administration and of his private virtues. He died in Madrid, on the 14th of December, 1788, at the age of seventy-two, not without having foreseen the storms which threatened Europe and given judicious advice to his successor. When King of Naples, he had created the decoration of the order of St. Janvier,º and when King of Spain, that of the Immaculate Conception or Charles III.
Such was the Prince into whose hands Louisiana was to pass. He certainly paid her a great compliment, and gave her the measure of his regard, by the selection which he made of her first governor. He could hardly have sent her a more distinguished character than Don Antonio de Ulloa, who had made himself illustrious in the republic of letters, and who was one of the brightest ornaments of Spain in the eighteenth century by his scientific labors and travels, and by his long and useful services as a naval officer and an administrator.f
Antonio de Ulloa2 was born in Seville, on the 12th of January, 1716. His family was already distinguished in the maritime annals of the country, and took care to fit him for their hereditary career by making him go through the best course of studies. He entered the navy as a midshipman, in 1733, and he soon acquired a reputation which surprised the hopes of his friends and family. The first commission with which he was intrusted, p142 was to join the learned expedition concerted between the governments of Spain and France, to measure an arc of the meridian at the equator, which was an operation desired by the Academy of Sciences of Paris, in order to determine the configuration of the earth, and which was to be executed by three members of that body, Bouguer, La Condamine and Godin.g
It being thought that the province of Quito in Peru offered the equatorial station most favorable to that enterprise, which would be a long and laborious one, it had been found necessary to apply to the Spanish government, to obtain leave for foreigners to penetrate into that rich country, as the pioneers of science. Spain had always jealously guarded her provinces of America against foreign intrusion, and against the investigations of curiosity. But the friendship which then united the two courts, and a generous emulation in favor of science, prevailed on every other consideration. It was decided that two officers of the royal navy, capable of assisting the French academicians in their labors, should be sent with them for their protection, and to recommend them to the local authorities, as well as to share, in the name of their country, the honor of that important operation. The King left the choice of the two officers to the Royal Academy of Midshipmen; and the young Antonio de Ulloa, who was hardly nineteen years old, was selected with another officer, named George Juan, who had acquired celebrity as a mathematician. Both worthily executed their commission, worked together with the greatest harmony, and kept themselves free from those bickerings and quarrels which occurred among their French associates. On their return, thirteen years after their departure, and one year before the academicians of p143 Paris, they published the results of that great expedition. George Juan, having more specially reserved to himself the digesting and editing of the geometrical, physical and astronomical observations, made either in common, or by each of them separately, published in 1748, at the cost of the Spanish government, his volume of "Observations," etc. Madrid, in 4to; and a few months after, Ulloa published also at the cost of the King, the "Historical relation of a voyage made to South America, by order of the King, to measure some degrees of the meridian, and ascertain the true configuration and size of the earth, with divers astronomical and physical observations," etc. Madrid, 1748.
Both departing with the grade of lieutenant of a ship of the line, and with two vessels of war, one of which transported to Carthagena the new Viceroy of Peru, they awaited during five months, in that city, the arrival of the French sloop which at last brought Bouguer, La Condamine and Godin. This long detention enabled them to make numerous observations on the natural history, the statistics of the country, and the manners of its inhabitants, which are fully set forth in the relation of Ulloa, who showed himself possessed of an observing, logical and judicious mind. The members of the expedition, having thus been brought together, departed with a rich supply of mathematical instruments, and repaired to Quito by the way of Porto Bello, Panama and Guayaquil. From the beginning of their trigonometrical labors in June, 1736, to their completion, Ulloa never ceased contributing to them with a zeal which elicited the praises of his colleagues; he participated in all the operations of Bouguer and La Condamine, whilst George Juan and Godin were engaged, on their side, in making separate calculations and pursuing p144 a series of triangles. The geometrical measurements were completed only after the lapse of four years, during which these distinguished men, willing to be the martyrs of science, were exposed to innumerable fatigues and perils, either by their long sojourning on snow-covered mountains, amidst dangerous precipices, or by their suddenly passing from those frozen regions to the burning temperature of the plains, or finally by their running foul of the ignorance or prejudices of the inhabitants of those regions, which came very near being fatal to the expedition, in 1739. Ulloa describes, in the most interesting manner, and with touching simplicity, all the sufferings which he and his companions had to endure. What is characteristic, is the diffidenceº he shows in recording all that occurred to himself, and he almost omits to mention a very serious illness which brought him to the very verge of the grave in one of the mountainous regions of that country. He illustrates the prejudices of the natives by several humorous anecdotes, and, among others, that of an Indian who, taking these learned men for magicians, fell on his knees before them, and supplicated them to reveal to him who had stolen his ass. Towards the end of September, 1740, when they were making astronomical observations at one of the extremities of the arc of the meridian which had been measured, an order of the Viceroy of Peru obliged the two Spanish officers to proceed suddenly to Lima. War had just broken out between England and Spain, and Vice-Admiral Anson was threatening the coasts of the Spanish possessions. Ulloa and Juan were intrusted with the care of putting in a state of defence the sea-coast in the latitude of Lima and Callao. When this was executed they were permitted to return to Quito, and resume their scientific labors. But soon after they p145 had reached their destination, they were called to Guayaquil. The sacking of Payta by the English fleet had scattered terror far and wide. It is impossible to form an adequate idea of the fatigues attending their journeys forward and backward, without knowing fully the difficulty of travelling through the mountains of Peru. In every trying circumstance in which they were placed, and whatever were the obstacles they had to overcome, Ulloa and Juan discharged their duties with a zeal and fortitude which cannot be too highly appreciated.
When they had provided for the safety of Guayaquil, only one of them was permitted to depart, and it was Ulloa who, although the season was extremely unfavorable to travelling, hastened back through every fatigue and danger to Quito. On entering that city, he met an order to return in all haste to Lima, whither he went with Juan, who joined him on the way. There they took the command of two frigates, to cruise on the coasts of Chili and of the island of Juan Fernandez. Fortunately, on the arrival of reinforcements, Ulloa and George Juan were permitted to resume their scientific mission at Quito, where, of all the French academicians, they found only Godin, with whom they observed the comet of 1744. At last, impatient for a return to Europe with the fruits of their labors, they embarked at Callao, each in one of two French ships which were to go round Cape Horn on their way to Brest. These ships were separated in a stress of weather; and the one on which Ulloa was, overtook two French ships, with which she was navigating in concert when they were attacked by English privateers, much superior to them in force. After very hard fighting, the two vessels, which had on board three millions of dollars, were captured, and p146 Ulloa's ship escaped with difficulty. To avoid new dangers, it was thought necessary to proceed in a totally different direction, and the ship sailed towards North America. When she entered Louisbourg, at Cape Breton, all on board congratulated themselves on having escaped from so many dangers; but this feeling of exultation was not of long duration, and they were obliged to surrender to the English, who had just taken that town, and who had designedly kept hoisted up the French flag as a decoy. A prisoner of war, Ulloa was transported to England, where he was treated with much consideration. It is the privilege of the votary of science who had acquired celebrity, to excite universal sympathy. Kindred spirits he meets everywhere, who are linked to him by the freemasonry of learning. So it was with Ulloa, in whose favor many distinguished personages interested themselves, and, among others, the celebrated Vice-President of the Royal Society of London, Martin Folkes. Through their protection, he soon recovered his liberty and papers. Martin Folkes presented him to his colleagues, and had him elected a member of the Society.
Bidding adieu to his English friends, he embarked for Lisbon, whence he proceeded to Madrid, where he arrived in 1746, at the commencement of the reign of Ferdinand VI. He met with the most flattering reception, and was made Captain of a frigate and a commander in the order of St. James. To the relations of his voyage to, and observations in South America, he joined an historical summary of the Peruvian monarchs, from Manco Capac, the first of them, to the latest kings of Spain and of the Indies. Shortly after, Ulloa travelled through a considerable part of Europe by order of the King, and the information he gathered in his travels was happily p147 applied to the service of the State and to the benefit of the nation.
During the remainder of his active career, Ulloa endeavored to conciliate his taste for study with the numerous commissions with which he was intrusted in the Naval department, and later, in the department of the Interior, where his learning was taxed for the improvement of the domestic industry of the nation. The superintendence of the quicksilver mine of Guancavelica, in Peru, was his reward; but the products of that mine had been greatly curtailed by the avarice and embezzlements of those who had the privilege of working it. Ulloa had the daring to denounce the depredations of some men in power, and the consequence was that he lost his place.
When Charles the Third ascended the throne, his able ministers, who showed great discriminating zeal and patriotism in bringing out all the native talents which Spain possessed, raised Ulloa to the grade of Commodore, and gave him the command of the fleet of the Indies. When, by the treaty of peace of 1762, Louisiana was ceded to Spain, Ulloa was appointed to take possession of that province, to govern it, and to organize, on a proper footing adapted to the wants of the country, the different branches of the Spanish administration. This was a difficult task, and one requiring both the knowledge of the world and the learned wisdom of the closet. Ulloa arrived at New Orleans, as we have seen, on the 5th of March, 1766, and we shall soon have to relate the events which preceded and followed his expulsion from that province.
In the intervals of his campaigns at sea, Ulloa used to correspond with all the men who had acquired celebrity by their learning, and was elected one of the associate p148 members of the academies of Stockholm and Berlin. Since 1748, he had been one of the regular correspondents of the Academy of Sciences of Paris. In 1772, he published in Madrid, in 1 vol. in 4to, a collection of observations under this title: "Nocticiasº Americanas, entretenimientos physico historicos sobre la America Meridional, y la Septentrional Oriental." In this work, he reviews the soil, the climate, the vegetable, animal and mineral productions of those vast countries. His disquisitions on marine petrifactions, on the Indians, their manners, usages, antiquities, languages, and their probable origin, are full of interest, although some of his hypothetical remarks will hardly be sanctioned by the sobriety of logical deductions. In 1773, he presented to the Spanish ministry another valuable work, on the naval forces of Europe and Africa. In 1778, he published, at Cadix, his observations at sea of the eclipse of the sun which took place in that year. They made known a singular fact, which, for some time, engaged the attention of all the astronomers. The author assures having seen for one minute, during the eclipse of the sun, and to have caused to be seen by several other persons, a brilliant spot on the moon, which he considers to be a real hole through that planet. "According to my calculations," said the celebrated astronomer Lalande, "that hole ought to be •forty-five miles in depth, and three hundred and twenty-seven in length. But it cannot be looked upon as a volcano." In the judgment of the same Lalande, Antonio de Ulloa was one of the greatest promoters of Astronomy in Spain, and it was particularly through his exertions that the observatory of Cadix was constructed. This brief sketch is sufficient to show what high grade Ulloa had attained in the hierarchy of the princes of science.
p149 But Ulloa, although possessing in the most eminent degree the theory of navigation, did not rise above mediocrity in its practical application. He, at different times, commanded fleets without flattering results to his fame. He had reached, however, the grade of Lieutenant General of the royal navies of Spain, when he was ordered, in 1779, to cruise in the latitude of the Azore islands, to capture eight English vessels belonging to the India Company, and returning loaded with the wealth of Asia. He was next to proceed to Havana, where he was to be provided with additional forces, to attack the provinces of Florida. His orders were to break the seal of his letters of instructions only in a certain latitude; but Ulloa, absorbed in Astronomical observations, or some deep study, forgot to open his letters of instructions in time, and returned at the expiration of two months, after a useless cruise.h He was accused of having allowed the eight English ships to pass without noticing them, and of having suffered a Spanish frigate and a merchant ship from Manilla to be captured within sight of his own fleet without interfering. These were grave accusations, which caused his being arrested and brought, in 1780, before a court martial, which, it must be said, was convened at his own request. Either because the accusation was not proved, or because his superior merit and the eminent services he had rendered to his country, disposed his judges to be indulgent for a fault which had resulted from mere absence of mind — of a mind abstracted with the pursuit of science, — he was honorably acquitted, and retained his grade, titles, and decorations. But he ceased to be employed at sea; he served only as the Commander of maritime departments, and was director general ad interim of the naval armies of Spain. In this capacity, he was trusted with p150 the examination of the students at the school of marine artillery of Cadix. Ulloa became also minister of the Junta General of Commerce and of the Mint, and died in the island of Leon, on the 3d of July, 1795, at the advanced age of eighty. Townsend, the English traveller, who had visited him in Cadix, eight years before, has left of him the following portrait:
"The Spaniard whose conversation interested me most, was Don Antonio de Ulloa. I found in him a true philosopher,3 full of wit and learning, sprightly in his conversation, free and easy in his manners. He is of a small size, extremely thin, and bending under the weight of years; he was dressed like a farmer, and surrounded by his numerous children, the youngest of whom, two years old, was playing on his knees. In the room where he used to receive his visitors there could be seen, lying confusedly scattered, chairs, tables, trunks, boxes, books, papers, a bedstead, a printing press, umbrellas, articles of clothing, carpenter's tools, mathematical instruments, a barometer, a clock, weapons, paintings, mirrors, fossils, minerals, shells, a kettle, basins, broken pitchers, American antiquities, silver ingots, and a curious mummy of the Canary islands." This at once gives a key to Ulloa's character. His heart must have been as amiable as his head was profoundly learned.
It is not solely by services rendered to the state, and by his superior acquirements in the highest departments of science, that Ulloa has left a name deservedly honored in his country. Spain owes to him the creation of the first cabinet of natural history, and the first laboratory of metallurgy it possessed; the conception of the canal of Old Castile, for navigation and irrigation commenced p151 under Charles III and abandoned after the death of that monarch; the knowledge of platinai and its properties; of electricity and artificial magnetism. It is he who perfected the art of engraving and printing in Spain; who directed the Spanish geographers of the time in the composition of a correct map of the Peninsula, who made known the advantages of the wool called churla, which resembles that of Canterbury in England, and the secret of manufacturing superfine cloth by mixing this wool with the merino wool. In order to demonstrate the advantages of his discovery, he established at Segovia, with the authorization and on the account of the king, a manufactory, out of which came cloths as superfine as any of those produced in foreign countries. Finally, it was on his earnest representations that young men were sent to different parts of Europe, to be instructed in the liberal and mechanic arts, which he wished to introduce into his own country. Such was the first Spanish Governor given to Louisiana, and well might the most refined and fastidious community have been proud of him.
The companions of Ulloa and his associates in power were not unworthy of their chief, and might, at least, have challenged comparison with any of the French rulers who preceded them in the colony.
Don Juan Joseph de Loyola, the commissary of war and military intendant, was, it is said, of the family which boasted of having produced Ignatio de Loyola, the celebrated native of the province of Guipuscoa — at first the noble cavalier, the brilliant courtier, the poet, the intrepid hero; at last, the saintly enthusiast, the extraordinary compound of piety and genius run mad; in a word, the originator of the most powerful association the world ever knew — the founder of the prodigious p152 order of the Jesuits. Don Juan Joseph de Loyola, was no unfit representative of the name he bore. He had the elegance of manners, the high breeding, and the knightly bravery of his namesake; nay, to make the resemblance stronger, and as it were in proof of the kindred blood he pretended to have in his veins, he seemed to have inherited, as an heirloom, the poetical mind, the heated imagination, and the religious enthusiasm which colored his life, which gleamed like a subdued fire under the crust of his most worldly actions, and marked him as an interesting object of studies to the observer, and as a man of no ordinary stamp.
Don Estevan de Gayarre, the contador, or royal auditor and comptroller, was a younger son of a patrician house of the kingdom of Navarre in Spain. At the age of nineteen, on the 1st of November, 1741, he had sought to better his fortunes by the chances of war, and by enlisting in the army. From 1742 to 1748, under the command of his Royal Highness Don Felipe, he served with distinction in Italy. In his first campaign in Piemont, he was in the engagements of Aygabel and St. André; in the second, he shared the dangers of the retreat through the defile of Lañell;4 in the third, he was at the attack of the trenches and batteries of Nice; at the storming of the citadels of Villa Franca and Montalban, in the county of Nice, which were built amidst almost inaccessible rocks; and which could be approached only through narrow gorges and yawning abysses, commanded by a formidable artillery, and defended by a numerous army occupying the neighboring heights. Villa Franca, which is perched on a rock rising up •twelve hundred feet, and bristling with guns, was garrisoned by ten p153 thousand Piemontese, assisted by the English Admiral Mathews, with a portion of the marines and gunners of his fleet. Both these fortresses, which seemed impregnable, were carried by a simultaneous assault of the French and Spaniards; the Piemontese were cut to pieces, and the English put to flight. Twenty thousand prisoners, among whom was the Count de La Suze, the commander-in‑chief, one hundred and seven pieces of artillery, and the conquest of the county of Nice were the results of these two glorious expeditions.
Don Estevan Gayarre was also at the taking of the Post of the Barricades, a pass •eighteen feet wide, running between two mountains towering to the sky, and protected by the Stura, which the king of Sardinia had turned from its natural course into the precipice, and by three intrenchments with a covered way; at the siege of Demont, a fortress built at an immense cost on the top of an isolated rock, in the midst of the valley of Stura, and which was taken on the 17th of August, 1744, after a siege of one month; at the siege of the fortified town of Coni, and at what the Spaniards called the glorious battle of the Campo de la Madona del Holmo. This battle, in which he was dangerously wounded, is the one which occurred under the walls of Coni, when the combined armies of Spain and France were attacked, on the 30th of September, 1744, by the king of Sardinia at the head of superior forces to those of his adversaries. The Piemontese, with a loss of five thousand men, were beaten back by the French and Spaniards, who fought with the generous emulation of old rivals in feats of arms and deeds of glory. In the campaign of the year 1747, in the county of Nice, don Estavanº Gayarre attracted the notice and obtained the commendation of his superiors, by the zeal and intelligence which he displayed in several p154 perilous sallies and partial expeditions which he led through the country.
On the 1st of December, 1751, after having served ten years, he applied to the court to be permitted to retire from the army; and considering, said his certificate of discharge,5 that among the other causes of the step he had taken, was that of his having exhausted his patrimony by his just inclination to, and love of, the military career, and above all, the permanent injury done to his health by the serious wound he had received at the battle of the Madona del Holmo, in 1744, he was graciously granted what he sued for, and was strongly recommended to the royal favor. Probably in consequence of it, he obtained in January, 1752, one of the most important offices at La Coruna, under Don Francisco de Mendoza y Sotomayor, general Contador, or auditor and comptroller for the army and kingdom of Gallicia. On the 31st of May, 1765, he received a letter from the Marquis of Piedra Buena, asking him whether he would, as Contador, or royal comptroller of the province of Louisiana, accompany Ulloa to that colony. His answer to this proposition is remarkably in harmony with the reluctance which Spain felt to take possession of the territorial present tendered to her by France, and is a characteristic specimen of the light in which was considered a mission to a country, not then of very good fame, and certainly of very little importance, at the time, in European estimation. In his reply to the Marquis of Piedra Buena, Don Estavan Gayarre says that, "after having had the honor of serving the king twenty-four years, his devotion and fealty to the royal person cannot permit him to refuse to discharge any duties which his p155 majesty might think of imposing upon him." But, on signifying his acceptance to the Marquis of Piedra Buena, he dwells upon the merit which he thinks he deserves by it, and stipulated that his going to America must be understood as not interfering with his promotion in the Peninsula. On the 10th of June, 1765, he was finally appointed by the King: Contador principal del Ministerio de Guerra y Real Hacienda, in the province of Louisiana. Thus far go the public documents concerning this gentleman. There are others of a private nature, testifying to his many virtues, to the excellence of his mind, and showing that, in those qualities which adorn the soul, he could hardly be excelled. He possessed, in an eminent degree, all the noble traits of character which distinguish the healthy and hardy race of mountaineers among whom he was born, in the valley of Roncal in Navarre, amidst the impressive scenery of the Pyrennian heights. To those qualifications he owed, no doubt, the many testimonials of respect and esteem he received in the different situations in which he was placed, during the course of a long life vouchsafed to him by Providence.
Don Martin Navarro, the treasurer, represented among his colleagues the democratic element, which, in later days, was to exercise so powerful an influence over the destinies of mankind. He was the son of a poor tavern-keeper, and had risen by dint of industry, perseverance and address. Shrewd, active and honest, he deserved to be trusted; and being withal a boon companion, and skillful in the ways of the world, he had those qualifications which mollify envy, conciliate opposition, and render smooth and easy the path to success. Like water, which seeks its level, his talents and acquirements had, p156 by slow degrees, raised him to the position in society which was his due.
Such were the men, who, in 1766, had come, in the name of Charles III, king of Spain, and of the Indies, to take possession of the country ceded to him in 1762.
1 Biographie Universelle de Michaud.
2 Biographie Universelle de Michaud.
3 In the absence of the original, this is a re‑translation from a French translation.
4 This is the Spanish orthography of these names in the documents which I possess.
5 La de haver extinguido su patrimonio en justa inclination y amor de las armas, y la principal, de la minoracion de su salud por la gravedad de su herida.
b For further details on the British treatment of the Acadians, see Chapters XVI and XVII of Acadia; or a Month with the Blue Noses, by Frederic Cozzens (two webpages).
d A very different etymology of Baton Rouge, to my mind considerably more plausible despite its later source, is given by the French adventurer General Collot in his Voyage dans l'Amérique Septentrionale (printed in 1796, although published only in 1826); it is reported in an article by Heloise Cruzat in the Louisiana Historical Quarterly (Vol. I, No. 3, p310).
e For Denis Braud — the rest of this story is in Chapter 6, pp308, 313 — see also Douglas McMurtrie, "The Pioneer Printer of New Orleans", Southern Printer's Journal, Jan.‑Feb. 1929.
g The story of the celebrated Meridian Expedition is also well told, and with more details, in "Antonio de Ulloa" (Hisp. Am. Hist. Review, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp157‑170).
i Platinum is meant. Though Julius Caesar Scaliger is sometimes credited with the discovery in 1557 based on a comment in his writings, Ulloa is considered to have independently shared its discovery with Charles Wood, who published first but didn't have to negotiate the high seas to get to a printing press. Among the achievements, not mentioned by Gayarré, of this remarkable man was his discovery with his teammate Bouguer, of the meteorological phenomenon known as Ulloa's (or Bouguer's) halo.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
History of Louisiana
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 2 Apr 16