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Sp. Dom., Ch. 4

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of Louisiana

Charles Gayarré

in the edition published by
William J. Widdleton,
New York, 1867

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Sp. Dom., Ch. 6
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p257  Chapter V
Mirò's Administration
1789 to 1791

We have seen the part which Wilkinson and others were acting in Kentucky, in favor of Spain. But in the western settlements of North Carolina a strong party had also sprung up, which was operating with equal force, in the same direction and under the same influence.

In 1786, the western portion of North Carolina, which was called the Washington district, had declared itself independent, had constituted itself into the State of Frankland, which organized its government, and elected Colonel John Sevier as its first Governor. But Congress interfered in favor of North Carolina, the authority of which was maintained, and the new State of Frankland terminated its brief career in 1787. This first attempt in the West to throw off openly the allegiance due to the parent State had roused intense excitement for and against it, and the secessionists, still persevering in their former designs, were watching for the opportunity to renew them. Thus, on the 12th of September, 1788, ex-governor John Sevier had written to Gardoqui,​1 to inform him that the inhabitants of Frankland were unanimous in their vehement desire to form an alliance and treaty of commerce with Spain, and put themselves under her protection. Wherefore, he begged for ammunition, money, and whatever other assistance Mirò could  p258 grant, to aid the execution of the contemplated separation from North Carolina, pledging the faith of the State of Frankland for the payment of whatever sums Spain might advance, and whatever expenses she might incur, in an enterprise which would secure to her such durable and important results. "Before concluding this communication," said Sevier, "it is necessary that I should mention that there cannot be a moment more opportune than the present, to carry our plan into execution. North Carolina has refused to accept the new constitution proposed for the confederacy, and therefore a considerable time will elapse before she becomes a member of the Union, if that event ever happen."

The settlers on the Cumberland river, who were also under the jurisdiction of North Carolina, were deeply interested in the navigation of the Mississippi, and therefore were equally influenced by the motives which were operating so powerfully on the people of Kentucky and other portions of the West. The name of Mirò given to a district which they had lately formed, shows which way their partiality was leaning at that time.

Doctor James White was one of the most active agents employed by Gardoqui to operate on the Western people, and this individual had come to Louisiana to enter into an understanding with Mirò on the execution of the mission with which he had been intrusted. In a communication which he addressed to Mirò, on the 18th of April, 1789, he said, "With regard to Frankland, Don Diego Gardoqui gave me letters for the chief men of that district, with instructions to assure them that, if they wished to put themselves under the protection of Spain and favor her interests, they should be protected in their civil and political government, in the form and manner most agreeable to them, on the following conditions:

 p259  "1o — It should be absolutely necessary, not only in order to hold any office, but also any land in Frankland, that an oath of allegiance be taken to his Majesty, the object and purport of which should be to defend his government and faithful vassals on all occasions, and against all his enemies, whoever they might be. 2o — That the inhabitants of that district should renounce all submission or allegiance whatever to any other Sovereign or power. They have eagerly accepted these conditions, and the Spanish minister has referred me to your favor, patronage and assistance to facilitate my operations. With regard to Cumberland, what I have said of Frankland applies to it with equal force and truth."

On the 22d of the same month, White again wrote to Mirò, saying: "M. Gardoqui has informed me that,​2 considering I was in the service of Spain, my expenses would be paid out of the royal treasury." He concludes with asking about four hundred dollars,​3 to facilitate his dealing decently and commodiously with those he was to influence. This sum was immediately granted.

Mirò, in answer​4 to White's application, delivered to him a paper beginning with this preamble: "Considering the representation of James White in favor of the districts of Frankland and Mirò, formerly Cumberland, in whose welfare he had manifested much interest, I authorize him to make known what his Catholic Majesty, moved by no other motive than that of generosity, is disposed to do for the inhabitants of the said districts." This document contained an enumeration of the favors and advantages to be granted to such as would emigrate to  p260 Louisiana, and of the conditions annexed to them. It further conceded to the people of Frankland and Cumberland the privilege to carry their produce down the Mississippi to the market of New Orleans, provided they should pay a per centage of 15 per cent, which Mirò reserved himself the right of reducing as he might please, on behalf of such men of influence among them as might solicit that favor and be made known to him by White.

"But," said he, "with regard to the proposition of that gentleman (James White) in relation to the wish expressed by the inhabitants of Cumberland and Frankland to connect themselves with Spain after their separation from the United States, I can neither assist, nor foment such a scheme, on account of the good harmony which exists between his Catholic Majesty and the United States. Nevertheless, it is for the inhabitants of the aforesaid districts to seek after what suits them best, and, should they succeed in securing for themselves a complete independence from the United States, then his Majesty would grant them, out of his royal beneficence, all the favor, help, and advantages which might be adapted to their condition, and compatible with the interests of the Spanish monarchy." This passage is another proof of the aversion which Mirò felt, either from jealousy, or from prudence, and perhaps from both, to permit Gardoqui and his agents to take any share in the intrigues which, with Wilkinson, he was carrying on, to detach the Great West from the rest of the Union.

On the 23d, he wrote to the General:

"My esteemed friend — I thought of writing to you at full length through Major Dunn, but his return having taken place sooner than I expected, I could not write as I wished, for want of time; because, although working from seven in the morning until dinner time, and from five o'clock in afternoon until eleven o'clock at night, I cannot discharge  p261 all the official duties which have accumulated on my hands, &c."​5 In this letter, he earnestly recommends Wilkinson to favor emigration, particularly of families having good morals and some property. "Notwithstanding the press of time," says he, "I must communicate to you a new circumstance in our affairs, but it is necessary that your lips be for ever sealed as to the names of the individuals I shall make known to you, in order that the confidence I thus repose in you shall never turn out to be prejudicial to them, and at the same time I assure you, most positively, that I have not unfolded to anybody our relations, nor have I ever mentioned you, although I was compelled to speak of the state of things in Kentucky.

"Don Diego Gardoqui drew to the interests of Spain James White, a member of Congress, who has possessions in the district of Mirò, formerly Cumberland, and sent him to the State of Frankland, in order to incite its inhabitants to separate themselves from the United States and to form an alliance with us. Having returned to New York, he informed Gardoqui that the affair was progressing favorably, that the principal inhabitants were ripe for a separation, and that, after having effected it, they would swear allegiance to Spain, obligating themselves to form no alliance or connection whatever with any other power, and to take up arms for the defence of the province of Louisiana from whatever quarter be the attack, and only reserving the privilege of governing themselves."

Mirò then informed Wilkinson that he had authorized White to proceed immediately to the districts of Mirò and Frankland, in order to communicate to the inhabitants the document which I have already quoted.

 p262  "I have just received," continued he, "two letters, one from Brigadier General Daniel Smith, dated on the 4th of March, and the other from Colonel James Robertson, with date of the 11th of January, both written from the district of Mirò. The first letter was carried by a militia officer, named Fagot, a confidential agent of General Smith, and informed me that the inhabitants of Cumberland, or Mirò, would, in September, send delegates to North Carolina, in order to solicit from the legislature of that State an act of separation, and that, as soon as this should be obtained, other delegates would be sent from Cumberland to New Orleans with the object of placing that territory under the domination of his Majesty.​6

"I have replied to both in general terms, referring them to my answer to White, who carries my letters to these gentlemen.

"You see, by the tone of this confidential communication, that I still continue to hold you as the principal actor in our favor, and therefore I hope that, gathering all the information which you may deem necessary, you will give me your opinion on this affair, in order that I may shape my course accordingly. I wish also to hear what you have to say as to the importance of those districts, which I do not think of much consequence, although I could not help acting as I have, the said White having been sent to me by Don Diego Gardoqui. It is proper that you be made acquainted with all this affair, in case it should be deemed useful to induce those aforementioned districts to act in concert with Kentucky, when that province shall have achieved her separation from the United States.

 p263  "I am waiting with the greatest anxiety for your letters, in order to know what has occurred since your last, and God grant that I may, in a short time, embrace you as the delegate from that State. Command your most affectionate friend, &c."

The next day, Mirò wrote to Daniel Smith in vague terms, referring him for particulars to White. "The giving of my name to your district," said he, "has caused me much satisfaction, and I feel myself highly honored by that compliment. It increases my desire to contribute to the development of the resources of that province and the prosperity of its inhabitants, &c., &c."

"I am extremely flattered at your proposition to enter into a correspondence with me, and I hope that it will afford me to opportunity of being agreeable to you."

On the 30th of April, Governor Mirò sent to Antonio Valdès, one of the Spanish ministers, a detailed account of all that I have related, and spoke rather slightingly of the pretended services rendered by White under the direction of Gardoqui.

"The inhabitants of Frankland," said he, "had already thrown off the mask before White's arrival among them, and would most certainly, as is proved by John Sevier's letters, have had recourse to me, without the interference of the doctor. In that same State of Frankland, opinions are divided in such a way, that part of the inhabitants (I do not know whether it is the majority) wish to remain subjected to Congress and to North Carolina. Therefore I consider that, to meddle with them, cannot be of much advantage to us. Nevertheless, we must not reject their advances.

"The answer which I have given to White, and which he is to show to the principal men of Mirò and Frankland, is so framed, that, should it miscarry, it will afford no cause of complaint to the United States; but verbally, I have energetically recommended to him to use the  p264 most strenuous efforts to procure the desired separation."

Mirò concludes with asking for the approbation of his Majesty in relation to all that he had done, and urgently solicits instructions as to his course of action, on the emergency of the arrival of delegates from the discontented districts.

On the 20th of May, Mirò addressed to his government a long despatch, in which he commented on the impolicy of the conditions and extent of the concession of land made by Gardoqui to Colonel Morgan, a little below the mouth of the Ohio. One of the conditions was, that the emigrants to that region should have the right of self-government. Mirò called the attention of the cabinet of Madrid to the danger of thus having an imperium in imperio, a government within a government, and pointed out the results which would inevitably flow from such a state of things. "Experience has demonstrated," said he, "that, in this province, large concessions of land to an individual have never produced the desired effect of procuring population," &c. &c. He then goes on complaining of the ambiguity with which Gardoqui had written to him on the circumstances attending the plan of colonization entertained by Colonel Morgan, who had come to New Orleans to carry it into execution, with the expected approbation and concurrence of the Governor of Louisiana.

Three days after (on the 23d of May), Mirò wrote to Morgan, that great had been his surprise, on reading the papers submitted to him; that the extent of territory conceded was much larger, and that the favors and privileges attached to the grant were much more exorbitant, than he had been informed. He declared them completely inadmissible, and enumerated the conditions on which he, Mirò would allow Morgan to establish his contemplated colony. "You see," said he, "how different  p265 they are from those you have proposed, and, truly, it is to me a matter of deep regret, because, having been made acquainted with the fine qualities for which you are distinguished, I was awaiting your arrival with impatience, and with the hope of being able to approve your plan. I am therefore much disappointed at being obliged to resist its execution, because it would be extremely prejudicial to the welfare and interest of the kingdom to permit the establishment of a republic within its domains; for as such I consider the government which you have conceived, although retaining some shadow of submission to his Majesty.

"I also infinitely regret, that you have gone so far as to cause to be circulated through the whole population of the Ohio and Kentucky districts the report that so extensive a territory had been granted to you, and that, under the impression that such a grant was final and valid, you have drawn the plan of a city, and given it a name (which is the exercise of a power appertaining to the sovereign alone), and, what is worse, that you have called it our city, in your letter to certain gentlemen at Fort Pitt, whilst Don Diego Gardoqui authorized to do no more than survey the lands. How wide a difference is there between what you did and what you had a right to do!" Assuming, however, a gentler tone, Mirò told Morgan that he attributed the imprudence of his acts to an excess of zeal to serve the King; that he authorized him, should he be disposed to continue his services to his Majesty, to induce as many families as possible to come and settle in Louisiana, and particularly in the Natchez district, but only under the conditions that he had made known to him; and that, should he, Morgan, be successful in that operation, the king would reward him in a befitting manner. Mirò further promised him a concession of one thousand acres of land for  p266 himself, and the same quantity for every one of his sons. Morgan was also informed that a fort would be constructed by the Spaniards at the place which he had chosen for the town of New Madrid, that a detachment of soldiers would soon be sent there, and that its commander would be instructed to receive favorably all the emigrants that should present themselves.

The next day, Morgan sent to Mirò a reply, in which he apologized for the course he had pursued. He said that, if he had erred, it was with the best intentions and from sheer ignorance, and he thanked the Governor for attributing what he had done to its true motive — an excessive zeal to serve his Majesty. "As I have always kept up the character of a man of honor," said he, "I am sure you will remain convinced that I shall never act, knowingly, in violation of the laws and will of his Majesty.

"Among the inducements which I have to leave my native country, must be ranked the desire of increasing my fortune, and establishing my family in peace, under a safe and secure government. If you have occasionally read the acts of Congress, you may have seen that my father-in‑law Baynton, myself and my partners were unjustly dispossessed by the State of Virginia of the largest territorial estate within its limits, and that it was not in the power of Congress to protect us, although that honorable body manifested the best disposition to do so. These circumstances, and the wish to recommend myself to the kind notice of the King, prompted me to my last undertaking, and I am now disposed to accept the conditions which you do me the honor of proposing, under the hope of acquiring one day the favor of his Majesty."

On the 12th of June, Mirò informed his government of all his transactions, and observed that, had he acquiesced  p267 in Morgan's plan of colonization, an independent republic would soon have formed in Louisiana by the new settlers, and the provinces of New Spain endangered.

"On such conditions," said he, "I would myself undertake to depopulate the greater part of the United States, and draw all their citizens to Louisiana, including the whole Congress itself. Already has Thomas Hutchins, their surveyor-general and principal geographer, written to Daniel Clark, a merchant and resident of this town, begging to be informed whether Morgan's propositions were accepted by me, because, disregarding the office and the salary he now enjoys, he would become the subject of his Catholic Majesty, being under the impression, as he declares, that New Jersey, with the districts of Fort Pitt and of Kentucky, would be deprived by emigration of their best inhabitants.

"The circumstance of their governing themselves, whilst the King should pay their magistrates, would attract here a prodigious multitude of people, but they would never imbibe any affection for our government, or for Spanish customs, and, on the slightest dispute in relation to the jurisdiction exercised over them by the Governor of Louisiana, they would declare themselves independent, and, what is worse, having the free use of their respective religions, they never would become catholics.

[. . .]

"As it is probable that, towards the end of the year, there shall arrive a considerable number of emigrants at the projected establishment of New Madrid, and, as it might be prejudicial to allow them to settle there by themselves, without any control, and in order to do away with the idea which they may have of governing themselves, I have resolved to construct a fort at that place, so that a multitude of new-comers be not abandoned  p268 to their own caprice and their own resources, without protection and without the administration of justice."

In conformity with the intention manifested in this letter, Governor Mirò, in the month of July, sent Pierre Foucher, a lieutenant of the regiment of Louisiana, with two sergeants, two corporals and thirty soldiers, to build a fort at New Madrid, and to take the civil and military command of that district. His instructions were to govern those new colonists in such a way as to make them feel that they had found among the Spaniards the state of ease and comfort of which they were in quest.

Mirò's diplomacy and administration of Louisiana had been thought worthy of a reward, and in the month of May, he had been informed that he had been promoted to the grade of brigadier-general. He had immediately returned his thanks for that favor, and, in that despatch, commenting on the military resources of the colony, he had observed that the regiment of Louisiana, which ought to have been two thousand strong according to the royal ordinance, did not muster more than 1,258 men.

In the month of July, he communicated to his government certain propositions made by Colonel Morgan for the cultivation of flax and hemp, and he recommended that the whole quantity which Morgan should be able to raise be purchased on account of the royal treasury. He also sent at the same time a memorial from William Butler, in which this gentleman proposed to conduct to Louisiana forty-six families of emigrants, well provided for, on condition that he be permitted to import one hundred thousand dollars' worth of merchandise.

In the beginning of this year, 1789, Louisiana had learned that she had passed under the sceptre of another monarch. The benevolent and wise Charles III had  p269 died on the 14th of December, 1788, and had been succeeded by his son Charles IV. On the 7th of May, the usual funeral rites were performed in New Orleans in honor of departed royalty, with as much pomp and solemnity as the finances of the colony could afford. On the 8th, the conventional grief of the preceding day were forgotten, and the whole city wore an aspect of joy equally as sincere. The new Sovereign was proclaimed in due form, amidst repeated discharges of artillery and musketry; the ships in the harbor paraded their gayest colors; a great review of the troops took place, with the ordinary enlivening music of military instruments; the authorities dined in state, and toasted the new King's health; the people, to whom theatrical exhibitions were given at the cost of the government, shouted to the top of their lungs, and the whole city was illuminated at night. Never was rejoicing more ill-timed, since the man who had ascended the throne, and to whose care were to be committed the destinies of one of the most extensive and glorious kingdoms of the world, was perhaps one of the weakest in intellect among his fellow beings.

It appears that, soon after the death of Charles III, who was far from being a bigoted king, an attempt was made to introduce the much dreaded tribunal of the Inquisition into the colony.​a The reverend Capuchin, Antonio de Sedella, who had lately arrived in the province, wrote to the Governor to inform him that he, the holy father, had been appointed Commissary of the Inquisition; that in a letter of the 5th of December last, from the proper authority, this intelligence had been communicated to him, and that he had been requested to discharge his functions with the most exact fidelity and zeal, and in conformity with the royal will. Wherefore, after having made his investigations with the  p270 utmost secrecy and precaution,​7 he notified Mirò that, in order to carry, as he was commanded, his instructions into perfect execution in all their parts, he might soon, at some late hour of the night, deem it necessary to require some guards to assist him in his operations.

Not many hours had elapsed since the reception of this communication by the Governor, when night came, and the representative of the Holy Inquisition was quietly reposing in bed, when he was roused from his sleep by a heavy knocking. He started up, and, opening his door, saw standing before him an officer and a file of grenadiers. Thinking that they had come to obey his commands, in consequence of his letter to the Governor, he said: "My friends, I thank you and his Excellency for the readiness of this compliance with my request. But I have now no use for your services, and you shall be warned in time when you are wanted. Retire then, with the blessing of God." Great was the stupefaction of the Friar when he was told that he was under arrest. "What!" exclaimed he, "will you dare lay your hands on a Commissary of the Holy Inquisition?" — "I dare obey orders," replied the undaunted officer, and the Reverend Father Antonio de Sedella was instantly carried on board of a vessel, which sailed the next day for Cadiz.

Rendering an account of this incident to one of the members of the Cabinet of Madrid, Governor Mirò said in a despatch of the 3d of June:​8 "When I read the communication of that Capuchin, I shuddered. His Majesty has ordered me to foster the increase of population in this province, and to admit in it all those that would emigrate from the banks of those rivers which empty themselves into the Ohio. This course was  p271 recommended by me, for the powerful reasons which I have given in confidential despatches to the most excellent Don Antonio Valdès, and which your Excellency must have seen among the papers laid before the Supreme Council of State. This emigration was to be encouraged under the pledge, that the new colonists should not be molested in matters of religion, provided there should be no other public mode of worship than the Catholic. The mere name of the Inquisition uttered in New Orleans would be sufficient, not only to check immigration, which is successfully progressing, but would also be capable of driving away those who have recently come, and I even fear that, in spite of my having sent out of the country Father Sedella, the most fatal consequences may ensue from the mere suspicion of the cause of his dismissal." Considering the dread in which the holy tribunal of the Inquisition had always been held in Spain, the energy with which Mirò acted on this occasion cannot be too much admired.

In the same despatch, Mirò informed his government of the laying of the first brick for the foundation of the cathedral which the munificence of Don Andres Almonaster intended to erect for the town, at the estimated cost of $50,000. This building, when completed, became the tomb of its founder on his death, which happened not long after. Although this monument and venerable relic of the past was pulled down, in 1850, in the mere wantonness of vandalism, to make room for the upstart production of bad taste, yet the stone which covered the mortal remains of the pious founder of the destroyed temple has at least been respected, and still retains his coat of arms and proud motto:

A pesar de todos

Venceremos á los Godos.

 p272  In spite of all
We will conquer the Goths.

In this year, 1789, a powerful company, composed of Alex. Moultrie, Isaac Huger, Major William Snipes, Colonel Washington and other distinguished gentlemen, had formed itself at Charleston, South Carolina, and had purchased from the State of Georgia an immense territory, including, it is said, at least 52,900 square miles, and extending from the Yazoo to the neighborhood of Natchez on the banks of the Mississippi. This territory was partly claimed by the Choctaws, the Chickasaws and Spain. On the 1st of October, the gentlemen whom I have named wrote to Captain Cape, one of their agents and associates, not to lose one minute, and, in concert with Colonel Holder, to take possession of the land in virtue of their contract with Georgia.

"The main thing which remains to be done," said they, "to complete the transaction, is to form a settlement." On the same day, they also wrote to Colonel Holder in Kentucky: "We can inform you with much satisfaction, that there is not the slightest obstacle in the way of the affair in which you are a partner, and that everything is already settled with our sister State of Georgia and with all parties concerned here.​9 But we are all convinced that there remains yet a very essential thing to be done without delay, and which would have the most important results in the future, if executed promptly — that is, to take possession of, and settle the land at once. Therefore we most earnestly entreat you, our good friend, not to postpone this operation for an instant, and to come down as soon as possible with your complement of emigrants, and form the establishment as agreed upon. Our title and right are already secured, but should you promptly effect  p273 a settlement, we could show the world that our plan has been put in execution, by which means we could carry on several operations which would marvellously increase your profits in this speculation, as well as greatly benefit all our associates, who must remain in a state of inaction as long as we do not form a settlement.

[. . .]

"I do not doubt but that you will lose no time in writing to our friends of the Choctaw nation, in order to inform them of your having to be their neighbor and ally, as well as the friend of all the Indians, whose attachment to us shall, we dare say, be cultivated and fostered by all possible means, as being essential to our interests and pacific views.

"With regard to our friends the Spaniards, we hope that you will, without delay, communicate to them your departure, and our firm intention to cultivate and even to court their friendship as much as possible, giving them with sincerity all the information they may desire on any subject, because it is neither our interest nor our wish to deceive them, as we consider their interests and ours as intimately connected and inseparable. We desire being useful to them, and we hope that, in return, they will be to us what we shall be to them. When nations are mutually and reciprocally bound together by the same interests, their alliance is maintained by the strongest ties, and their motives and views can never disagree. We confidently flatter ourselves that we shall form a highly advantageous rampart for Spain, and that we shall ourselves feel that it is our interest that such should be the case.

[. . .]

"At all events, take possession, exhibit this letter and even our contract to the Spaniards, and conceal nothing from them."

 p274  On the 4th of January, 1790, Wilkinson, to whom all this affair had been communicated, with a view, no doubt, to secure his assistance, wrote to Messrs. Moultrie, Huger, Snipes, and Washington, with his usual characteristic keenness, and begged leave, after a long preamble on his disinterestedness and the honesty of his intentions, to make, as he observed, a few trifling observations on the measures they had adopted, and to suggest the preliminary dispositions which would be indispensably necessary to secure the complete accomplishment of their plans. Alluding to the letters which I have quoted, and which were exhibited to him by Captain Cape, he said that they appeared to be of so extraordinary a nature, that he remarked to that gentleman that he would not hesitate to pronounce them forgeries, if the proofs of their authenticity were not so strong.​10 He further informed Messrs. Huger, Washington, Snipes, and Moultrie, that, on his last trip to New Orleans, he had had a frank and free intercourse with Governor Mirò; that he had discussed with that Spanish functionary the whole affair, and had finally ascertained what was the sole basis on which a settlement might be formed in that latitude, &c."11

[. . .]

"It is a stupendous enterprise," wrote Wilkinson, "well worthy of the attention it has attracted, and if it be successfully executed, it will procure immense wealth for the interested parties. But there are difficulties to conquer, which are proportioned to the importance and magnitude of the object. The foundations on which this enterprise must necessarily rest, are active funds, and the agencies of several gentlemen of the best education and  p275 manners, as well as gifted with political sagacity and with those talents which secure popularity. It is impossible that, under present circumstances, you should effect your establishment before next autumn. In the meantime, a gentleman of distinction, and clothed with full powers, ought to be sent to New Orleans to negotiate for the company, and to secure to them the good will and services of Governor Mirò, without which you may abandon your project as being totally impracticable. Should you gain the friendship of that officer, his influence would facilitate your negotiations with the Choctaws, to occupy and possess peaceably the desired ground, &c.

[. . .]

"Whatever be the reception you may give to this letter, I know that my duty is to undeceive you with regard to the presumed concession which Mr. Woods pretends to have from the Choctaws. Believe me, gentlemen, when I tell you that his title is not worth a pinch of snuff. I hate all deceit, and hence the information which I impart to you. Nevertheless, permit me to observe, that you must take care to give no cause of jealous complaints to those individuals who have possessed themselves of your confidence in this affair. An offended friend becomes the worst of enemies, and an active enemy, however obscure he may be, can obstruct the best conceived designs.

"After these observations, gentlemen, it only remains for me to say that I desire to co‑operate with you as your agent," &c., &c.

Whilst Wilkinson was thus eager to embark in this new scheme, his agents in Kentucky for his other designs were pressing him for money. On the 5th of January, Sebastian was addressing him in the following strain:

"As my attention to this affair takes up the greater portion  p276 of my time, and prevents me from following any other pursuit, I certainly hope to obtain from the Spanish government at least some indemnification, if not a generous reward for my services. On principle, I am as much attached to the interests of Louisiana as any one of the subjects of his Catholic Majesty. But you know that my circumstances do not permit me to engage in his service and to abandon every other occupation, without the prospect of remuneration." This letter was immediately communicated by Wilkinson to Mirò, to whom he submitted also all the documents he had procured concerning the enterprise of Moultrie and his associates. In connexion with this subject, he wrote from Lexington to the Spanish Governor, on the 20th of January: "The documents No. 1, 2, 3, will inform you of the purchase which a company, composed of distinguished men, has made from the State of Georgia, of a vast territory contiguous to the Mississippi. Mr. Cape, to whom I have loaned three thousand dollars, is consequently in my dependence. Holder, on account of his being under my protection, cannot do any harm, and both are insignificant creatures. Turning this affair over in my mind, I became apprehensive lest it should become prejudicial to our other plans, and, after mature reflection, I determined to address Messrs. Moultrie, Huger, and Snipes, who are gentlemen of rank and fortune (as you will see per Doc. No. 4), with a view to obtain the agency of that affair, and to induce the Company to sue for your protection. If I succeed, I am persuaded that I shall experience no difficulty in adding their establishment to the domains of his Majesty, and this they will soon discover to be their interest. I hope that the step I have taken will meet your approbation. It would have been necessary to do a little more, but I had no time to consult you and ascertain your opinion. This  p277 is the reason for which I have undertaken to place in your hands the whole control of this affair. You will have the opportunity to modify the plan of the Company as your judgment and prudence will suggest, and the interest of the King may require. I will keep you well informed of every movement which I shall observe, and it will be completely in your power to break up the projected settlement, by inciting the Choctaws to incommode the colonists, who will thus be forced to move off and to establish themselves under your government."

Six days after, Wilkinson wrote to Mirò in a less flattering tone. It seems that clouds had arisen and obscured the sun of their hopes.

"The general permission," said he, in a despatch of the 26th, "to export the products of this country through the Mississippi river, on paying a duty of 15 per cent, has worked the consequences which I feared, because, every motive of discontent having thus been removed, the political agitation has subsided, and to‑day there is not one word said about separation. Nor are the effects produced by this pernicious system less fatal in relation to our plan of fostering emigration to Louisiana. Every year, the inhabitants and landholders of these parts had ever present to their minds the terrible prospect of seeing their produce perish in their hands for want of a market, but now they no longer have any such apprehensions on account of the ready outlet they find at New Orleans for the fruits of their labor — which circumstance has diffused universal satisfaction in this district, &c.

[. . .]

"The pruriency of emigration has been soothed and allayed by the spirit of trade which engrosses general attention, and there are many, at this very moment, who are preparing cargoes for New Orleans, and who, under  p278 the pretext of settling in Louisiana, will procure to elude the payment of the aforesaid duty. I will not dismiss this subject without assuring you, that I make incessant efforts to accomplish the views of his Majesty, and, although I have to conquer immense difficulties, yet I flatter myself that, if you confine the privilege of the present free commerce to those who will readily and really emigrate, I shall be able to effect a strong settlement at the Walnut Hills, &c., &c.

[. . .]

"On my arrival here, I discovered a great change in those who had been so far our warmest friends. Many, who loudly repudiated all connection with the Union, now remain silent. I attribute this, either to the hope of promotion, or to the fear of punishment. According to my prognostic, Washington has begun to operate on the chief heads of this district. Innis has been appointed a federal judge with an annual salary of one thousand dollars; George Nicholas, district attorney; Samuel McDowell, son of the president of the Convention, and Marshall, have been appointed to offices somewhat resembling that of Alguazil Mayor; and Payton Short, the brother of our chargé d'affaires at Versailles, is made a custom-house officer. But he has resigned, and probably will visit you in the spring. I do not place much reliance on George Nicholas and Samuel McDowell. But I know that Harry Innis is friendly to Spain and hostile to Congress, and I am authorized to say that he would much prefer receiving a pension from New Orleans than from New York. Should the King approve our design on this point, it will have to be broached with much delicacy, caution and judgment, &c.

[. . .]

"And I fear that we can rely on a few only of my countrymen, if we cannot make use of liberal donations, &c.

 p279  [. . .]

"I know that Colonel Morgan happens now to be in New Jersey, where I believe that he is awaiting the results of the promises of Don Diego Gardoqui. Doing justice to the Colonel,​12 I must inform you that he is for ever the friend of Spain, and the advocate of our plans. But I fear that, owing to peculiar embarrassments of his own, he will not be able to effect his settlement at L'Anse à la Graisse (New Madrid) as promptly as hoped. He is as badly treated as I am by the dependents of General Washington and by the friends of Congress. I see that all those who are put in office are the enemies of Spain, and that all the friends of Congress are hostile to me, because I openly praise the former, and publicly blame the latter. All those who go down the Mississippi as traders are my enemies, because they envy my position, and the favor and protection which you grant me. But you may rest assured that the constant persecution of Congress cannot produce the slightest impression on my attachment and zeal for the interests of Spain, which I shall always be ready to defend with my tongue, my pen, and my word."​13

Relatively to the Convention which, he said, was to meet in Kentucky in June next, and the members of which were to be elected in May, he expressed himself as follows:

"I will pay strict attention to its proceedings, and I will present myself to that assembly, with the intention of doing all that may be in my power, to promote the interest of our cause, in which I shall be warmly assisted by our good friend Sebastian, who is now my principal aid, because, although Harry Innis is also our  p280 friend, yet the office which he holds renders it improper for him to work openly. At present, all our politicians seem to have fallen asleep. Buoyed up by the privilege of trade which has been granted to them on the Mississippi, the people think of nothing else than cultivating their lands and increasing their plantations. In such circumstances it is impossible that I should, with any chance of success, press upon them the important question which I had proposed to myself on my arrival here.

"I am justified in saying that Congress strongly suspects my connection with you, and that it spies my movements in this section of the country. Consequently, an avowed intention on my part to induce these people here to separate from the Union, before the majority of them show a disposition to support me, would endanger my personal security, and would deprive me of the opportunity of serving you in these parts. My situation is mortally painful, because, whilst I abhor all duplicity, I am obliged to dissemble. This makes me extremely desirous of resorting to some contrivance that will put me in a position, in which I flatter myself to be able to profess myself publicly the vassal of his Catholic Majesty, and therefore to claim his protection, in whatever public or private measures I may devise to promote the interest of the Crown."

The change to which Wilkinson alludes in this communication is to be attributed to the confidence inspired to all by the wise and firm administration of Washington, who had been installed into office on the 4th of March, 1789, as first President of the United States, under that new Constitution which had just been framed by the people thereof, "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the  p281 blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity," and which was beginning to accomplish these objects.

It appears that the emigrants whom Colonel Morgan had attracted to L'Anse à la Graisse, or New Madrid, had not long remained satisfied with their leader, for they had sent John Ward to New Orleans as their delegate, to present to Mirò​14 a memorial signed by them, and in which they complained of the state of complete anarchy in which they lived, and of the exactions of Colonel Morgan. "We also beg you," they said, "to permit us to remark, that the method adopted for settling this district is very prejudicial to the interests of the King, and also to those of the inhabitants of New Madrid, his subjects. Therefore, we conclude with assuring you, that if we cannot obtain satisfaction with regard to what we represent to you through Mr. Ward, our agent, we shall be obliged, relying on our right and the just support of our friends, to abandon a country and a climate with which we are highly pleased."

On the 27th of February, Alex. Moultrie replied to Wilkinson's letter of the 4th of January, accepting with many compliments the offer of his services, and entreating him to use his best efforts in order to accelerate and perfect the great enterprise of the South Carolina Company, but informing him that the agency of the company could no longer be disposed of, as it had been some time ago granted to Dr. O'Fallon, who was the bearer of Moultrie's letter to Wilkinson. But it is evident from a communication addressed by Mirò to Wilkinson, on the 30th of April, that this gentleman could not do much for the South Carolina speculators who had applied to him.

"I return to you many thanks," said Mirò, "for the letter you have written to Messrs. Moultrie, Snipes, Huger, and  p282 Washington, although you have rendered them a greater service than to me, by the wholesome advice which you have administered to them. It would be exceedingly painful to me to march with my arms in my hands against citizens of the United States, with which my court frequently recommends me to keep on the best terms of harmony and friendship. But, in order to avoid, once for all, every cause of trouble and misunderstanding on this subject, I beg you to communicate to those gentlemen my following declarations:

"1o— Spain is in possession of all that she conquered from Great Britain in the last war, and consequently, of the territory which these gentlemen have obtained from the State of Georgia, and therefore, so long as the question of limits shall not be settled, every attempt to seize on any portion of the land to which we have a previous right of possession, will be an act of hostility which we must resist.

"2o— The concession of land from the Choctaws and Chickasaws founded on the treaty of Hopewell and Seneca, in 1786, is a chimera."

Mirò then goes on saying, that the chiefs themselves who had signed that treaty had signified to the American Commissioners that they had no such powers, and had furthermore declared, that it was only after having been made drunk, that they had put their seals to it. He also informs Wilkinson that the Choctaws had proclaimed, that they would not permit the Americans even to walk over their lands, because they were afraid of their being gradually usurped by the well-known rapacity of those intruders. The tone of this letter is very different from the affectionate style in which Mirò usually addressed Wilkinson, and indicates that he resented Wilkinson's letter of the 26th of January, in which he was informed of the change which had occurred in the feelings of the people  p283 of Kentucky, and of the almost undoubted destruction of all his hopes and plans.

In a second despatch to Wilkinson, dated on the same day (30th of April), Mirò comments on the reasons given by that gentleman, to account for the revulsion of sentiments which was described to have taken place among the Western people. "Your countrymen," said he, "will soon find out that the advantages they expect from the navigation of the Mississippi, on their paying an import duty of 15 per cent when entering Louisiana, and an export duty of 6 per cent when leaving it, amount to nothing. So far, tobacco has been the only produce of any importance which they have brought to New Orleans, and which the king has reserved to himself the privilege of buying. Should he not choose to do so, on the ground that the article wanted is not furnished in sufficient quantity, it would remain a dead weight in the hands of the owner. Several individuals, who are now here, have discovered this to be the case. With regard to your supposition that they will elude paying the duty of 15 per cent under the pretext of coming to settle in Louisiana, it is without any sort of foundation whatever, and you may rest assured that I shall take care that the law be executed on that point." He then enumerated in detail the preventive measures which he had imagined, more effectually to defeat the anticipated fraud.

"I therefore confidently hope," continued he, "that, with your characteristic perseverance, making use of the information which I give you, and which will be confirmed by your countrymen on their return, you will be able to revive our political designs, by sowing broad-cast, and causing to germinate among your people, such ideas as will seem to you best calculated to establish the conviction, that the welfare of the inhabitants of Kentucky  p284 depends, either on their forming a close and strong connection with Spain, or on their seeking to better their fortune by becoming citizens of Louisiana."

With regard to that passage in Wilkinson's letter in which he said that had become an object of suspicion to his government, and that his situation was mortally painful, because, whilst abhorring duplicity, he was obliged to dissemble, wherefore he was seeking for the occasion of professing himself publicly the vassal of his Catholic Majesty, in order to claim his protection in whatever public or private measures he might devise to promote the interests of the crown, Mirò replied:​15 "I much regret that General Washington and Congress suspect your connection with me, but it does not appear to me opportune that you declare yourself a Spaniard, for the reasons which you state. I am of opinion that this idea of yours is not convenient, and that, on the contrary, it might have prejudicial results. Therefore, continue to dissemble and to work as you promise, and as I have above indicated." In this letter, all the caressing epithets and other expressions so plentifully used, on other occasions, are dropped, and the words, my dearest friend, or any other approaching their meaning, are studiously excluded, and Mirò's despatch terminates merely with the commonplace salutation so familiar in Spanish phraseology: "Dios guarde a Vs. muchos años." "God preserve you many years."

In travelling over these historical grounds, here have we come to a point from which a rich scene of practical morality is displayed before us. "You may rest assured," had written Wilkinson, "that the constant persecution  p285 of Congress cannot produce the slightest impression on my attachment and zeal for the interests of Spain, which I shall always be ready to defend with my tongue, my pen, and my sword." So far, so good, and "Thank you, dearest friend," had replied Spanish interest. "But I am anxious to become a Spaniard on the first opportunity that shall present itself," said Wilkinson, proceeding a step further. — "You! a Spaniard, Sir! Oh, no! that cannot be. Continue to dissemble, and to work under ground, as you are bound to do. Retain your American tongue, your American pen, and your American sword. You can serve us better in that guise." Thus spoke Spanish pride and Spanish honor. Is there on record a more striking specimen of withering contempt?

On the 22d of May, Mirò wrote to the minister, Don Antonio Valdès, to render him an account of his last transactions and correspondence with Wilkinson.

"Although," said he, "I thought with Wilkinson that the commercial concessions made to the Western people might deter them from effecting their separation from the United States, because I supposed they would prefer losing the defalcation produced in the value of their crop by the payment of the duty of fifteen per cent, to running all the risks of a revolution, yet I never imagined that the effects would be so sudden, and that the large number of influential men, whom Wilkinson, in his previous letters, had mentioned as having been gained over to our party, would have entirely vanished, as he now announces it, since he affirms having no other aid at present than Sebastian.

"I consider that I am exposed to err in expressing an opinion on the acts of a man, who works at six hundred leagues from this place, and who has undoubtedly rendered, and is still rendering services to his Majesty, as I have explained it in my other despatches. But the  p286 great falling off which I observe in his last letter induces me to believe that, full of good will and zeal, and persuaded, from the experience of past years, that he could bring round to his own opinions the chief men of Kentucky, he declared in anticipation that he had won over many of them, when he had never approached them on the main question, and that, encountering, at this time, instead of facilities, invincible obstacles, and, above all, personal risks should he declare himself, he has availed himself of the motive which he puts forth, to cover his precipitation, &c. &c.

[. . .]

"Nevertheless, I am of opinion that said brigadier-general ought to be retained in the service of his Majesty, with an annual pension of two thousand dollars, which I have already proposed in my confidential despatch No. 46, because the inhabitants of Kentucky, and of the other establishments on the Ohio, will not be able to undertake anything against this province, without his communicating it to us, and without his making at the same time all possible efforts to dissuade them from any bad designs against us, as he has already done repeatedly."

Mirò concludes his letter with recommending that a pension be granted to Sebastian, "because I think it proper," said he, "to treat with this individual, who will be able to enlighten me on the conduct of Wilkinson, and on what we have to expect from the plans of the said brigadier-general."16

Thus every thing was done according to the most approved rules laid down in the code of corruption: "set a thief to catch a thief, and a spy after another  p287 spy." Thus Wilkinson was employed to watch the Kentuckians, and Sebastian to betray his confederate Wilkinson. Not a link wanting in the chain of infamy.

In a second despatch of the 22d of May, Mirò communicates to the same minister all the information he had received on the plan of colonization formed by the South Carolina Company, and all he had done in relation to that matter.

"You will observe," said he, "that Messrs. Alex. Moultrie, William Clay, Snipes, and Huger, members of that Company, recommend to Colonel Holder to cultivate the alliance of the Indian nations, and to communicate to us all the operations of said Company, together with their intention to court our friendship, because they consider their interests and ours as inseparably connected, and conclude with charging their agent to take possession at all events.

"From the whole texture of their letter to Holder it is to be inferred, that they believe themselves authorized to form an Independent State, because there is not in it one word which indicates the least subordination to the United States. On the contrary, they flatter themselves that they will serve as a barrier or rampart for the protection of Louisiana, which circumstance could not happen, unless they formed a sovereign State."

Mirò praised Wilkinson for the part he had acted on that occasion, and for having so much discouraged the South Carolina Company, that their operations were suspended for the moment. "I mention this fact the more readily on his behalf," said he, "that I spoke less favorably of him in my preceding communication." Mirò closed his despatch with asking for instructions on the subject, and said that, in the mean time, should the South Carolina Company attempt to take possession of the territory which they pretended to have purchased  p288 from Georgia, he would oppose that usurpation with such forces as he could command, and with the assistance of the Indians, and that his first step would be to occupy a strong military position at "Walnut Hills," at the mouth of the Yazoo.

On the 24th of May, James O'Fallon, who styled himself the "General Agent in the Western settlement for the company of South Carolina relatively to the Yazoo territory," wrote from Lexington to Governor Mirò a letter, which, notwithstanding its length, I shall quote almost in full, on account of the curious developments which it contains.

"The detention," said he, "which I shall probably experience in Kentucky, where I have just arrived on my way to New Orleans; the importance of the mission for which I am sent to you, not only with regard to the Spanish Empire in general, but also particularly with regard to Louisiana and West Florida, as well as in relation to the interests in the Yazoo territory of the South Carolina Company, whose general agent I have the honor to be, in virtue of a unanimous nomination, under the seal and formal diploma of the chief director and of the other proprietors of an extensive territorial concession in the vicinity of your government, finally granted to them by the State of Georgia; the weighty political bearing of my negotiation with you, and the propriety of your being made acquainted with the general design of our plan, before my arrival and my presenting to you my full credentials, with other authentic documents, which clothe me with the most extensive and confidential powers, and which I shall communicate to you with my characteristic frankness; the obligations resulting from the public situation in which I am, as well as my natural disposition to contribute to the glory and prosperity of the Crown which you serve (which disposition is quite  p289 notorious at the Spanish Court, through the information afforded by its minister at New York and the Governor of St. Augustine, who, from abundant experience, can testify to it):— All these motives now prompt me to address you, in order to give in advance the following intelligence, which you will examine in your moments of leisure.

"The affair which I have the honor to lay before you is pregnant with events of the greatest importance, which must promptly and inevitably be brought forth, if opportunely favored by the court of Spain and yourself, and which are such, that, even in the eye of the most indifferent, they must assume proportions of the most considerable magnitude. This great project was conceived by myself, a long time ago. Through my persuasion and influence the members of the General Company, who, in particular, are all dissatisfied with the present Federal Government, have, immediately and spontaneously, fallen in with my plan, for the execution of which, considering that it was my conception, they have appointed me their delegate as one of the twenty proprietors of the concession, with plenary powers to complete it, as you will see after my arrival. At the same time that this important affair was in agitation, and progressing among the most influential members of the Legislature of Georgia, the Company was honoring me with their entire confidence; and, without their having suspected in the beginning what I was aiming at, I insensibly prevailed upon them to acquiesce in my political views (after the obtaining of the concession), and led them to consent to be the slaves of Spain,​17 under the appearance of a free and independent State, forming a rampart for the adjoining Spanish territories, and establishing with them an eternal, reciprocal alliance,  p290 offensive and defensive. This, for a beginning, when once secured with the greatest secrecy, will serve, I am fully persuaded, as an example to be followed by the settlements on the western side of the mountains, which will separate from the Atlantic portion of the confederacy, because, on account of the advantages which they will expect from the privilege of trading with our colony, under the protection of Spain, they will unite with it in the same manner and as closely as are the Atlantic States with France, receiving from it every assistance in war, and relying on its power in the moment of danger. In order to induce the Company to pursue this course, I refused to take any share in the enterprise under any other conditions; and, in order to confirm their hostility to Congress, which then was acting despotically, as well as to the President and his ministers, who were opposing their pretensions, I used indirect means, which decided them to form the resolution of separating themselves from the Union, and of removing with their families, dependents, and effects, to their conceded territory, with the determination, if Spain favored them, not to subject themselves, nor the numerous colony which they will soon form, to the administration of Congress or of Washington. The individuals interested in that concession are gentlemen of the greatest influence, power, and talent, among the most gifted in the confederacy; and they are sure of having, within eighteen months after the date of the first settlement, ten thousand men established on their territory and capable of bearing arms. All that they desire from the Spanish Crown for their projected establishment, is a secret co‑operation, which, in reality, will soon ripen into a sincere friendship. I assure you that Spain will obtain everything from them in return, except the sacrifice of their liberty of conscience and of their civil government. I  p291 affirm all this, because I am authorized to do so by the plenary powers which they have given me, both in writing and verbally, as will appear by my secret instructions, which I shall communicate to you with the utmost sincerity on my arrival. For I intend, in my proceedings, to keep aloof from all dissimulation whatever.

"Whilst the Company was making the most strenuous efforts to obtain their concession, in which two years were secretly employed, I was corresponding with Don Diego Gardoqui in New York, and with the Governor of East Florida, through my intimate friend, Captain Charles Howard, the Secretary of that province. At the same time, at the request of the same minister, I was confidentially engaged in obtaining for the court of Spain information of the highest importance, in relation to Great Britain and the United States, and was also working to procure the emigration of ten thousand Irish, American, and German families to the deserts of East Florida. In order to bring these affairs to an end, I was preparing to follow that minister to Madrid, when, in spite of Congress and the President, the Legislature of Georgia, as it were unanimously, conceded to the South Carolina Company, the Virginia Company, and the Tennessee Company, the territories which they had respectively sued for in the vicinity of your government: in consequence of which, these Companies found themselves incorporated and organized by an act of that Legislature, and, by virtue of said incorporation and organization, were empowered, under the sanction of the new federal constitution and authorities, and against the will and wishes of the President and of some of his ministers, to treat and negotiate in relation to the contemplated colonization.

"In this conjuncture, I fully informed the minister Gardoqui, and the Governor of St. Augustine, of the circumstances  p292 that had occurred, and of the intention of a few members of the Company to have recourse to Great Britain for their own private views and benefit. It was in my power to cause that disposition to evaporate, and, the better to obtain this result, I abandoned the project of introducing families into West Florida. I then succeeded in persuading them as I wished, and, with the view of conciliating the interests of the company with those of Spain, I consented to be appointed their general agent to negotiate with you, as I have already expressed it above, and thereby be enabled to treat for the establishment of the new colony, combining their interests with those of Louisiana, on principles of reciprocal advantage and defence.

"These premises being taken for granted, it remains for me to inform you that, some time in June next, I intend to depart for New Orleans in order to have frank, sincere and unreserved conferences with you on these matters. I will do nothing without your approbation and consent, because I aim at nothing else than serving the interests of Spain, to which I am hereditarily attached, abandoning all other pursuit, more lucrative for my family, in order merely to follow the bent of my inclination. I need not say to you how much the Company and myself rely on your honor, secrecy, and good will, on which depends our security, as you may infer from what I have so ingenuously related. The Company waits only for your determination, in order to carry its plan into execution in a short time, &c., &c.

[. . .]

"The plan of the Company, with your co‑operation, will contribute not a little to procure the utmost credit for your administration, immortalizing your name as that of one of the most useful vassals of the crown of Spain, and the political father of Louisiana. Events will soon  p293 happen, in which I must inevitably act with you in conformity to all your desires."

On the 20th of June, Wilkinson wrote from Frankfort, Kentucky, to Governor Mirò:

"Sir, since my last letter of the 20th of May, I have had several favorable occasions to converse with Dr. O'Fallon, general agent of the South Carolina Company in Yazoo, and I have the satisfaction to be able to assure you that his plan, his principles and his designs agree perfectly with ours. At the beginning, he operated with much precaution, concealing his true intentions, until having sounded me, and I not fearing to unbosom myself to him, he opened to me his breast, and I found his sentiments to be so uniformly like mine, that he won much on my confidence. I believe, however, that it is my duty to inform you, that he appears to be a man of a light character, although he is not lacking in education and intelligence, because, at his time of life, being forty-five years old, and with many gray hairs, he allows his flightiness and puerile vanity to peep out. But, if the sentiments which he invariably expresses are to be believed (and I am inclined to put faith in them), he is a great friend to Spain.

"He writes to you, by this occasion, in terms which, I flatter myself, will be agreeable to you. I have induced him to do so, because I thought it proper that you should have a pledge for his not retracting the sentiments which he has manifested to me and by which he had gained my confidence."

On the 10th of August, Mirò sent to his government copies of all the preceding correspondence, and a detailed account of what he had done in relation to the important matters which had been submitted to his consideration.

"O'Fallon's propositions," said Mirò, "which he alleges to be founded on credentials which  p294 he will exhibit on his arrival, require the most serious reflections, because it is necessary to weigh the advantages resulting from their being accepted, with the danger of permitting such a settlement in such close contiguity with the possessions of his Majesty, or to speak more to the point, of taking, as it were, a foreign State to board with us. I will therefore presume to offer to you a few observations, which my very limited intelligence suggests to me, in order that they may serve as materials which may be of some use to you in proposing to his Majesty what you may deem best. With regard to myself, I consider as too hazardous my venturing to express a precise and positive opinion on so delicate a subject."

After this exceedingly modest exordium, Mirò proceeds to handle with some assurance what he had apparently approached with such timidity. He said that, according to a plan transmitted to him by General Wilkinson, the inferior limit of the territory conceded to the South Carolina Company was at a water-course called Cole's Creek, eighteen miles above Natchez; extending to the 33d degree of latitude, thirty miles above the mouth of the Yazoo.

"The whole of which territory," said Mirò, "belongs to his Majesty, from the bank of the Mississippi to landward, for 120 miles, east and west, more or less, where begin the possessions of the Indians. These lands are very rich, particularly those belonging to his Majesty. The United States have not consented so far to have their limits determined in that region, and maintain the right which, in their opinion, they derive from their treaty of peace with Great Britain, unduly granting them a portion of the banks of the river Mississippi, down to the 31st degree, which is to be found at thirty-six miles below the fort of Natchez. They labor with incessant ardor to gain the Indian  p295 nations, because, no doubt, they look upon them as a barrier which now prevents them from taking possession of the territory which they claim; whilst these tribes would help them to it, if friendly. Should the plan of colonization of the South Carolina Company be permitted to be carried into execution, all the hopes of the United States would vanish, or at least they would find it no trifling enterprise to send an army in order to gain their point, and the territory still retained by his Majesty would extend to eighteen miles above Natchez, which is the most populous portion of the whole district.

"But should the proposition made by South Carolina Company be rejected, Louisiana would be in continual danger of being attacked, without the co‑operation of Congress, by the sole forces of the Company, which will easily find in the settlements on the Ohio such individuals as it is easy to incite unto war by tendering them the hope of plunder. In that case, the expenses which his Majesty would have to incur in the defence of his possessions would be a matter of serious consideration.

"Among the other advantages likely to result from the formation of that new and independent State, which would soon have a large population, may be ranked the extension of commerce it would procure for New Orleans, if declared a free port, to which all nations would then resort. A slight duty on exports and imports would, in a few years, secure to his Majesty a large revenue.

"With regard to the territory granted to the Virginia Company in the Yazoo district, it extends from the 33d degree, which is the upper limit of the other Company, to 34°40′ north, comprehending, on account of the sinuosities of the Mississippi, 120 miles along its banks by 120 in depth. I do not think that we have a positive right to those lands, which are the  p296 hunting grounds of the Chickasaws, who could, with justice, oppose the settlement contemplated by the Virginia Company. As the leaders in this Company act from the same motives which influence the first, to wit, the South Carolina Company, what I have said as applicable to the former, is equally so to the latter, inasmuch as they would both pursue the same course. This would also prove true in relation to the Tennessee Company, whose concession runs from the mouth of the Tennessee river to about 120 miles back, and belongs to the territory bought from the Chickasaws and the Cherokees. The course pursued by these three companies would reopen a favorable field in Kentucky and the other Ohio settlements for the operations of Wilkinson, who, so far, has been working without much success. These are the advantages to be expected.

"But I think that it would be preferable for Spain to people that territory on her own account, rather than yield it to the South Carolina Company. Its soil is richer than that of any other portion of this province, and I know that there are many in America who have their eyes fixed on it, particularly on the part called Walnut Hills. Hence it results, that it would be of the utmost importance to people that district with subjects of his Majesty, because, if once thickly inhabited, its population would contribute to the defence of Louisiana against any of the machinations of the settlements on the Ohio, or of the Virginia Company on the Yazoo, whose colony would be contiguous, should their plan be carried into execution. It is true that emigration to this province is slower than we ought to have expected, from the numerous offers to bring families here. Colonel Morgan has contented himself with making a publication to excite emigration, but he has remained inactive in his residence of New Jersey, without in the least  p297 prosecuting his plan of an establishment below the mouth of the Ohio, whither he had promised to move immediately, nor has he written one word. General Wilkinson says that Morgan has been checked in his enterprise by the commercial privilege granted to Kentucky.

"Should the proposition of the South Carolina Company be refused, the government ought to look for means to foster emigration. This leads me to renew the propositions which I have made, to declare New Orleans a free port for all the European nations, and even for the United States of America, and to clothe me with the power, either to restrain, or stop altogether, as I may deem it opportune, the commerce of Kentucky and the other settlements on the Ohio. You will then see Louisiana densely peopled in a few years, his Majesty defraying all the expenses of the colony out of the duties which will be collected in his name, and out of the profits made on his tobacco purchases, which he will be able to effect at still lower prices, although tobacco now sells here for less than in any other of his dominions.

"I believe that I am not in error when I affirm, that to confine Louisiana to trade with our nation, would be to ruin her. At this very moment, France has the real monopoly of the commerce of this colony, although theoretically and legally it ought to be exclusively in the hands of the subjects of his Majesty. The colonists, to whom goods and merchandise are consigned, have no interest in them, and merely lend their names to the true importers. Therefore, if the Spaniards have no share in this trade, the whole profits of which are enjoyed by the French, would it not be more advantageous to have it divided between the English, the Dutch, &c., through whose competition the inhabitants of Louisiana would have their wants supplied at a much  p298 cheaper rate, and would sell their produce higher. These commercial franchises would, as I have said before, greatly increase the population, and thereby secure to his Majesty the possession of Louisiana, which is the key of the kingdom of New Spain.​18

"This policy I recommend, in case the proposition of the South Carolina Company be rejected, but should it be accepted, I think the same policy equally advantageous; because, should a colony be established by that Company in the territory it has obtained from Georgia, it is to be feared that the conformity of language, manners, and religion, the free and public exercise of which would be permitted, would draw thither a considerable number of the families now established in the Natchez district, thereby increasing the forces and power of the new State. So great an evil would require an extraordinary remedy, and the only efficacious and applicable one would be the grant of a free trade to Louisiana. The magnitude of the peril to be obviated would have to conquer the reluctance felt to make this concession."

Another danger had also struck Mirò, and impressed him with serious misgivings. Where was the proof that the Company was sincere in its intentions, and would adhere to its propositions? Would it not devise some means of eluding them? Had it not perhaps, in anticipation, prepared to do so, and would it not be ready for the excuse in due time? Were it to take possession of the extensive domain which it claimed as its own, and were it to establish there a large population, how could it be dispossessed if the occasion required it? But should these apprehensions not be well founded, and not be confirmed by the subsequent actions of the South Carolina  p299 colonists, would there not be a serious cause for fearing that, from the impulse of a natural affection, they would be disposed to support the United States in their still pending territorial pretensions to the 31st degree of latitude, and to the navigation of the Mississippi?

"Besides," continued Mirò, "it is self-evident that it would be extremely perilous to have, so close to us, so powerful a neighbor, who might, without our being able to prevent him, prepare for the conquest of this province, by insensibly providing himself with artillery, and all the other implements he might require to execute his design. The Crown could not resist an enterprise of the kind, without going to an expense which it is not able to incur. Therefore, should it be determined not to adopt the remedy which I have proposed (the grant of free trade), it is now less difficult to prevent the fatal results which it may have, and we had better prepare ourselves to act accordingly."

Mirò then suggested, that it might be proper to pursue a middle course between rejecting and admitting the propositions of the Company. It consisted in permitting them to colonize the aforesaid territory, on condition that they should declare themselves the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, and submit to the same regulations imposed on all emigrants. In Mirò's mind, however, sprang up another dark misgiving. "These people," he said, "are imbued with the conviction that those lands belong to them by purchase, and, in order to obtain them, they may momentarily accept of all sorts of conditions. But would they not violate them, contain they should find themselves powerful enough to do it with impunity?

"I will now," continued Mirò, "communicate to you  p300 the measures which I have resorted to, in order to prevent any one of the three Companies from carrying its scheme into execution." He then goes on explaining, how he had excited the hostility and secured the opposition of all the Indian tribes to the Americans. "I have recommended them," says he, "to remain quiet, and told them, if these people presented themselves with a view to settle on their lands, then to make no concessions and to warn them off; but to attack them in case they refused to withdraw; and I have promised that I would supply them with powder and ball, to defend their legitimate rights."

With regard to O'Fallon, Mirò informed his government that he would so demean himself, as to permit that individual to retain some hopes of success in his mission, and added that he would endeavor to induce O'Fallon to accompany him to Havana, whither he intended to go in October, to confer with the Captain-General on the interesting matters which he had to manage.

In those important conjunctures, McGillivray, the famous chief of the Talapouches,​c found himself much courted by the Spaniards and the Americans. He had been invited by Washington to cease his hostilities, and to repair to New York, to confer on the articles of a definitive treaty of peace. The wily chief availed himself of this circumstance with considerable skill, to raise himself in the estimation of Mirò, and to put his services at a higher price. He wrote to that Governor that, although he should conclude a treaty of peace with the Federal Government, yet he would ever remain faithful to his old friends the Spaniards, and he asked from the Court of Madrid many favors, with an annual stipend of fifteen thousand dollars to carry on hostilities against the projected establishment of the South Carolina Company, if not against the United States. But he obtained  p301 only a pension of two thousand dollars, with a regular salary for his interpreters, and the promise of ammunition, arms, and other military supplies in case of need.​19 The whole correspondence of this half-breed Indian warrior and diplomatist evinces a remarkable degree of shrewdness, information, and talent.

Thus it is seen that Louisiana had been, for several years, the focus of very important intrigues, the object of which was no less than to destroy the great American confederacy which had just been formed, and which was soon destined to operate so powerfully on the rest of the civilized world. But the mass of the population of the colony had been ignorant of, and was indifferent to, the plots, schemes, and diplomacy of their rulers. A cause of agitation and an object of more immediate consequence to them, was a royal schedule, issued on the 31st of May, 1789, in relation to the education and occupation to be given to slaves, and the manner they were to be treated, in all the dominions of his Catholic Majesty. Some of the regulations it contained proved exceedingly unpalatable in Louisiana, and the Cabildo or Council remonstrated on them, on the 23d of July, 1790, in a document which they addressed to the King. His Majesty, it seems, had ordered that chaplains should, on every plantation, attend to the religious education of the negroes. The colonists observed, that this could not be complied with for several reasons; and they might have rested satisfied with the first, which was — that there were not priests enough, even to fill the curacy of every parish; the next was — that there were few planters that were not considerably in debt on account of recent inundations and conflagrations, and of the scarcity and exorbitant price of every necessity of life, wherefore the  p302 great majority had not the means of paying the salary which it would be requisite to give to so respectable a class of men; and besides, that a good many of the plantations were distant from each other — which circumstance would prevent the same chaplain from officiating on them; that the greater number of the planters were very poor, and their houses too uncomfortable to afford proper accommodation for the ministers of the Gospel.

With regard to the article of the schedule which required the sexes to be kept separate, they said that it was impossible to conform to it without the greatest inconveniences, because the works to be executed on a plantation frequently required that all the hands be kept together, in order to use them to the best advantage according to circumstances; that to divide the hands would increase the costs and trouble of supervision; that most of the planters had only a few negroes, with whom they and their sons worked in the field, and that they could not afford to separate the males from the females, because they would have no distinct occupation to give to them separately; that the slaves labor under the inspection of their masters, and of the sons, or overseers of their masters; that the work is proportioned to the sex, the strength, the age, and the health of each of them, and that no abuses have resulted from both sexes working together; that even admitting that the vigilance of their superiors should be at fault, the slaves would be prevented from indulging in certain excesses by the fatigues of the body, which are their best corrective, although their labors are moderate, and ample time is allowed them for their own benefit and purposes, according to the intentions of his Majesty.

In relation to the amusements which the slaves were permitted to enjoy on every holiday, after having discharged their religious duties, without their being permitted  p303 to go from one plantation to another. The Cabildo remarked that this could be applicable to the large estates only. "But," said they, "where there are only three or four slaves, how could they divert themselves, if the sexes were separated? Would they not grow desperate when hearing the distant sounds of dancing and music, without being able to join in the festival?" &c. &c.

As to the prohibition in relation to the working of negroes on holidays, the Cabildo observed that it was, occasionally, impossible to do otherwise, because it became necessary, at time, not to keep the Sabbath, in order not to lose the fruits of the labors of the whole year; but that the negroes were either compensated for it in money, or were allowed other days of rest in the place of those which had been taken away from them.

As to the article in the royal schedule which enjoined the marriage of the slaves, the Cabildo declared that it was the most critical and difficult of all the obligations imposed by the King upon the planters, because the master would frequently not have the means of buying the female that his slave might choose, or the master of the female might also not be in a situation to purchase the male; and, besides, because such forced sales and purchases would give rise to frauds, heart-burnings, and many other inconveniences which are self-evident and need no description.

"On the other hand," they said, "negroes have an almost insuperable aversion to marriage, and the efforts which have been made to establish and encourage that institution among them have always proved fruitless. The habits, contrary to it, among those living machines, are so powerful, that all attempts to persuade them to receive from the church that sacrament have been foiled so far. To force it upon them would produce general discontent, and perhaps the worst  p304 consequences.​20 The masters would infallibly lose some of their slaves, who would run away, if any compulsion was used to make them contract real marriages, on account of their conviction that it would be subjecting them to the evils of a double servitude, and that marriage is a source of disgusts and miseries produced by the continual discords which it breeds among those of their class, and from which celibacy is free, in which opinion they are confirmed by a long experience.

"Although the article 10," continued the Cabildo, "relative to the prevention of excessive punishments by the masters and overseers, is dictated by the spirit of prudence and those feelings of humanity which are natural to the soul of your Majesty, still it offers, sire, to the indocile and unquiet character of the negroes a vast field for machinations against their masters, by inducing them to institute against said masters continual lawsuits founded on complaints suggested to them by their dissatisfied and rebellious humor, and on pretexts which they will invent according to their own fancy and to suit their own purposes. Notwithstanding that the enlightened uprightness of the tribunals is a guaranty in favor of the masters, that they shall not be punished without well authenticated causes, still when the complaints against them shall have been proved to be malicious, no chastisement inflicted on the negroes can be a sufficient indemnification for the loss of time and other damages which they shall suffer, whilst their slaves,  p305 under the pretext of suing for justice, will abandon their labors, and will compel their masters to suspend the cultivation of their estates, in order to account for their conduct, or that of their overseers. To this must be added the disgrace of their being confronted with their own slaves. It would be enough to discourage a large number of the planters, and cause them to renounce the pursuits of agriculture in order to avoid seeing themselves so frequently and so causelessly exposed to vexations and contumelies."

This is a mere condensed abstract from the long publication addressed by the Cabildo or Ayuntamiento of Louisiana to the King, and which is an interesting document, well worthy of an entire perusal, as embodying the views and feelings of the community on the peculiar organism of an institution, which has so entwined itself round the very vitals of the Southern States, that, be it continued, modified, or extinguished, it must, in its ultimate results, exercise for centuries, if not for ever, socially and politically, for good or for evil, the most direct, powerful, and incessant influence on their condition, their prosperity, and their very existence.

It seems that Mirò, during his long residence in Louisiana, had not become sufficiently enamored with it to forget good old Spain, and that he had applied several times to be permitted to return to the land of his ancestors and of his birth. On the 12th of October, he wrote again to the Count de Campo Alanga, the minister of the department of the Indies, to be employed at home in that department, and he founded his pretensions on his knowledge of the French and English languages, and his long and familiar acquaintance with the affairs of America, on which he had obtained, as he alleged, the most minute and varied information during his protracted residence on that continent. "I have now had the  p306 honor," said he, "of serving the King, always with distinguished zeal, for thirty years and three months, of which, twenty-one years and eight months in America, until the state of my health requires my return to Europe."

This year, the people of Louisiana again suffered extensively from the inundations of the Mississippi. They were also greatly disquieted by the apprehensions of a war with Great Britain, on account of the high grounds taken by that power towards Spain in regard to the settlement at Nootka Sound. An invasion of Louisiana by the British from Canada was a cause of serious fears in the colony, and became a subject of consideration even for the General Government of the United States. Washington had to turn his attention to the course he would pursue, should a passage be asked by Great Britain for her troops through the territory of the United States, or should that passage be effected without permission. These circumstances were considered by the United States as the most favorable they could have, to press their claim to the navigation of the Mississippi; and Carmichael, their chargé-d'affaires at Madrid, was instructed, not only to urge this demand with the most tenacious earnestness, but also to aim at putting the use of that river beyond the reach of molestation or dispute for the future, by obtaining for the United States the island of New Orleans and the Floridas. The United States were not then ready to give millions for such an acquisition, "but," said they to Spain, "the friendship of the United States gained by this liberal transaction, and the security which that friendship would procure for the dominions of Spain on the West of the Mississippi, would be a fair and sufficient equivalent for the desired cession. Not only would the United States have no object in crossing that stream, but their real interest  p307 would also require that Spain should retain the immense possessions she claimed to the West of it.​21 Besides, the navigation of the Mississippi is of such absolute necessity to the United States, that they must, sooner or later, acquire it, either through separate action and by the exertion of their own individual power, or in conjunction with Great Britain. This is the decree of Providence, written on the very map of the Continent of America, and therefore it cannot be resisted by human agency, however obstinate and powerful it may be in its opposition. Was it not the part of wisdom to anticipate an irresistible event, and make the most of it, by gently and peacefully facilitating its accomplishment, which otherwise would inevitably be brought about by violence?" — Such was the language of the United States, but it failed to obtain from Spain the boon which they craved. She, probably, had some misgivings as to the duration of their promised friendship, if they once extended their empire to the left bank of the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico. Some sudden and unexpected cause of quarrel might easily occur from the very proximity of the two flags, which the width only of the river would separate; and should thus the two nations bend their necks to drink from the same stream, one of them might complain that the already turbid waters of the Mississippi were made still more so by the other, and might turn into reality the fable of the wolf and the lamb. As to the assertion that the United States would never have any interest nor feel any temptation to cross the river, it is probable that Old Spain shook her experienced head at the boldness of the declaration and at the credulity which it implied on her part. She well knew, on the contrary,  p308 that, if the young giant of the wilderness once planted his foot on the left bank of the mighty river, he would ere long leap across it, as if it were a puny rivulet, and that, in the exulting consciousness of his growing and unconquerable strength, and, with the rough club borrowed from his native forests, beating down the flag and crushing the polished panoply of chivalrous and time-honored Spain, he would soon stride across Texas towards the fat provinces of Mexico and the halls of the Aztec emperors. She could well read the book of destiny, but she thought that she had no immediate interest in hastening the events which were registered in that immortal record of the decrees of Providence.

The year 1791 found Mirò still the unwilling governor of Louisiana. But his intrigues in the West and South, to operate a dismemberment of the territory of the Union, seem to have been slackening, either from the expectation that he was soon to be recalled, or from distrust in his agents and doubts of the final success of his efforts.

Having been blamed for the quantity of tobacco which he had bought, the preceding year, for the account of the government, he wrote to the Cabinet of Madrid, on the 17th of January, to explain the motives by which he had been influenced, and to show that the King had obtained a considerable pecuniary gain by that operation; and, on the 20th of April, he returned to the same subject, recommending large purchases of tobacco, and expressing the opinion, that the carrying on of an extensive trade with the West would be the only means of protecting Louisiana against the resentment of the American settlements on the Ohio.

It appears by another of Mirò's despatches, that the whole revenue derived by the Government from the commerce of Louisiana, including the net produce of the  p309 seizure and sale of contraband goods, amounted, in 1790, to 529,304 silver reales, or $66,163.

On the 18th of May, the King, alarmed at the revolutionary ideas which seemed to spread with fearful rapidity, had recourse to an expedient, which provokes a smile, and which does not redound much to the credit of the inventive faculties of the royal brains, or of those of his advisers. It consisted in the prohibition of the introduction into Louisiana of boxes, clocks, and coin, stamped with the figure of a woman dressed in white and holding a banner in her hand, with this inscription: American Liberty. It was feared that there might be a tongue and a voice in these inanimate objects. So much for the year 1791. But, in 1852, where is in the world the humble cottage and the royal palace in which the influence of American Liberty is not felt, despite the proscription of this hateful inscription?

The French revolution, which had commenced in 1789, had produced one in St. Domingo in 1791, in that part of the island which belonged to France. The negroes, who, by a decree of the National Convention sitting in Paris, had been assimilated to the whites, being stimulated to go beyond the granted equality, and to claim, not only superiority over their brethren who could not boast of a black skin, but also the exclusive enjoyment of life and property to their detriment, rose upon those who had been their former masters, and butchered them without distinction of age or sex. Those who escaped from the tender mercies of the new-fledged, dark-faced freemen and citizens of France, fled to Cuba, Jamaica, the United States, and Louisiana. Among the refugees who sought an asylum in New Orleans, was a company of comedians from Cape Français, who opened a theatre short time after their arrival. From that circumstance dates the origin of regular dramatic exhibitions  p310 in New Orleans. The new comers sought to make a living in the best way they could, and more than one wealthy sugar planter, more than one pampered son of fortune, in days which had vanished like a dream, were seen opening humble schools, and became teachers of the alphabet, and of dancing, fencing, or fiddling. They were not few, those who were reduced even to lower occupations. But they generally bore their misfortunes with becoming fortitude and dignity, and some rose again to rank and wealth.

The administration of Mirò terminated with the year 1791. This officer sailed for Spain, where he continued his military career, and, from the rank of Brigadier General, rose to that of Mariscal de Campo, or Lieutenant General. "He carried with him, says Judge Martin in History of Louisiana, "the good wishes and the regrets of the colonists." Mirò was not a brilliant man, like his predecessor Galvez, but had a sound judgment, a high sense of honor, and an excellent heart. He possessed two qualities which are not always found together — suavity of temper and energy; he had received a fair college education, possessed several languages, was remarkable for his strict morality and his indefatigable industry, and joined to his other qualifications the long experience of one who had not lived in vain. He was a native of Catalonia, and had some of the distinguishing traits of the population of that province. He left Louisiana entirely reconciled to the Spanish domination, which had been gradually endeared to the inhabitants by the enlightened and wise deportment of almost every officer who had ruled over them. Another circumstance head contributed to operate a sort of fusion, and establish bonds of friendship and consanguinity between the two races. Thus, the most eminent among the Spaniards had, either from the shrewd  p311 inspirations of policy, or from the spontaneous impulse of the heart, allied themselves to the families of the natives. Governor Unzaga had married a Maxent, Governor Galvez, her sister; the commissary of war, Don Juan Antonio Gayarré, the son of the royal comptroller, had married Constance de Grandpré; the intendant Odoardo, her sister; Bouligny, who since became Colonel of the regiment of Louisiana, a D'Auberville; Colonel Piernas, a de Porneuf; Governor Mirò, a Macarty; Colonel, and afterwards, Governor Gayoso de Lemos, a Miss Watts; and so on with many others whom it is unnecessary to mention. These were remarkable examples, which had never been given by the French Governors, and but seldom by the other high dignitaries of Louisiana, before it became a Spanish colony.

The Author's Notes:

1 A copy of which letter was immediately forwarded by Gardoqui to Mirò.

Thayer's Note: The original letter doesn't seem to have survived, only a translation into Spanish made for the ministry in Spain. A back-translation of the entire letter, with comments on Gayarre's construction of it (by an author favorable to Sevier), will be found in S. C. Williams, History of the Lost State of Franklin, pp239‑241.
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2 M. Gardoqui me aseguró que siendo mi servicio conexo con el de S. M. su tesoro me satisfaria los gastos.

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3 Requirirá como quatro cientos pesos para facilitarme el tratar con aquellos gentes comoda y decentemente.

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4 Mirò's communication to White, on the 20th of April, 1789.

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5 He had then to fulfil the functions both of Governor and Intendant united in one person.

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6 Se nombrarán otros dirigidos á esta capital con el objeto de entregarse bajo el dominio de S. M.

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7 Sigilo y cautela.

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8 Al leer el oficio del dicho capuchino me estremeci. — Mirò's Despatch.

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9 All these documents are retranslated from a Spanish translation.

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10 Despues de leer las expresadas cartas fué, que si estas no tenian fuertes pruebas de autenticidad, desde luego las pronunciaba por falsas.

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11 Y en fin quedé instruido del solo plan sobre que podia formarse un establecimiento en estos parajes.

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12 Wilkinson is here in direct contradiction with himself, see p245. But he may have had reasons to change his sentiments and language.

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13 Pero puede Vs. vivir convencido que el universal maltrato del congreso no puede hacer la menor impressionº en el amor y zelo que tengo por los intereses de la España que estaré siempre pronto á defender con mi lengua, pluma y espada.

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14 Mirò's despatch of the 27th of January, 1790.

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15 Siento mucho se desconfie el general Washington y el Congreso, de la conexion de Vs. conmigo; pero no me parece oportuno que Vs. se declare Español, a fin de que nuestra corte pueda sostenerle. Soy de parecer que esta idea no puede ser conveniente, y que al contrario podria acarrear prejudiciales resultas. Disímule Vs. pues, y trabaje como promete y arriba le indico.

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16 Por que creo muy conveniente el tratar con este individual que podrá aclararme mucho la conducta del expresado brigadier y lo que se puede esperar de sus proyectos.

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17 Esclavos de la España.

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18 Llave del Reyno de Nueva España.

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19 Mirò's despatch of the 10th of August, 1790. McGillivray's letter to Mirò, May 8th, 1790.

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20 Siendo mas poderosa la costumbre contraria en esta gente maquinal que todas las persuasiones con que se intente reducirlos a desposarse por la Iglesia; de modo que el obligarlos a ello seria indubitablemente un motivo, no solo de general descontento sino acaso de pesimas consequencias. Estos amos perderian infaliblemente algunos de sus esclavos que se irian profugos, si se les quisiese sugetar a contraer verdaderos matrimonios, por la preocupacion que reina entre ellos de ser esa una doble esclavitud, y un manantial de disgustos por las discordias continuas que tienen los casados de esta clase, y de que viven exentos los que no lo son, acreditado uno y otro por larga experiencia entre los negros.

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21 Martin's History of Louisiana, vol. II, p105.

Thayer's Notes:

a A critique of Gayarré's view of this entire episode — Miró was a liar — is found in the Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 1: Fray Antonio de Sedella, an Appreciation, by C. W. Bishpam; another critique — Sedella was a blackmailer — in the Catholic Historical Review, Vol. VIII, No. 1: Pere Antoine, Supreme Officer of the Holy Inquisition of Cartagena, in Louisiana.

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b For the Creek-Scottish chieftain's career, see Part III, Chapter 4. Alexander McGillivray figures prominently in several other parts of this site as well: links to them, including the portrait of him by Trumbull, are collected in my note there.

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