Short URL for this page:
François Louis Hector, Baron de Carondelet, a colonel of the royal armies of Spain, succeeded Mirò, on the 30th of December, 1791, as governor and intendant of the provinces of Louisiana and West Florida. When he received this appointment, he was governor of San Salvador in the province of Guatimala. He was a native of Flanders, and had, by his acknowledged ability and unremitting exertions and zeal, risen to rank and importance in the service of Spain.
According to Spanish usage, the Baron, shortly after entering upon the duties of his office, published his "Bando de Buen Gobierno," on the 22d of January, 1792. "Among the new regulations which it introduced," says Judge Martin in his History of Louisiana, "it provided for the division of the city of New Orleans into four wards, in each of which an Alcalde de Barrio, or commissary of police, was to be appointed. In order to procure to government a knowledge of all the inhabitants, and every stranger among them or in the city, it was made the duty of all persons renting houses or apartments, to give the names of their new tenants to the Alcalde of the district, on the first day of their occupation, or, at farthest, on the succeeding one. The Alcaldes de Barrio were directed to take charge of fire engines and their implements, and to command the fire p313 and axemen companies, in case of conflagration. They were also empowered to preserve the peace, and to take cognizance of small debts.
"In one of his first communications to the Cabildo, the Baron recommended to them to make provision for lighting the city and employing watchmen. The revenue of the corporation did not amount, at this period, to seven thousand dollars. To meet the charges for the purchase of lamps and oil, and the wages of watchmen, a tax of one dollar and twelve and a half cents was to be laid on every chimney.
"In a letter to the minister, the Baron, this year, mentioned that the population of New Orleans was under six thousand.
"Having received instructions from the King to attend to the humane treatment of slaves in the province, he issued his proclamation, establishing the following regulations:
"1o— That each slave should receive, monthly, for his food, one barrel of corn, at least.
"2o— That every Sunday should be exclusively his own, without his being compelled to work for his master, except in urgent cases, when he must be paid for or indemnified.
"3o— That, on other days, they should not begin to work before daybreak, nor continue their labors after dark; one half hour to be allowed for breakfast, and two hours for dinner.
"4o— Two brown shirts, a woollen coat and pantaloons, and a pair of linen pantaloons and two handkerchiefs, to be allowed, yearly, to each male slave, and suitable dresses to every female.
"5o— None to be punished with more than thirty lashes, within twenty-four hours.
"6o— Delinquents to be fined in the sum of one hundred p314 dollars, and, in grave cases, the slave to be sold away to another."
On the 27th of April, Carondelet wrote to his government: "When I arrived at New Orleans, I found it divided into two factions — the one headed by Governor Mirò and backed by the Bishop, the assessor of the Intendancy, Don Manuel Serrano, &c.; and the other, composed of the Contador, or royal comptroller Don Jose Orue, the vicar Felix Portillo, who is a capuchin, Don Jose Ortega, &c. The most influential among the French had sided with one or the other party, according to the promptings of their own private interest, so that this capital was full of discord and animosities. Having shown myself indifferent to both parties, and quite resolved to punish those who should prove intractable, I succeeded in effecting a reconciliation, at least ostensibly, with the exception of the comptroller and the assessor, who could not be brought to be on friendly terms with each other." He therefore recommended that both be sent out of the colony with their advisers. A summary manner of reëstablishing harmony! He further said that the comptroller accused Mirò of having embezzled the funds of the King, but that this accusation had so far remained without proof.
On the 23rd of July, he also informed his government of the reasons which had induced him to prohibit the introduction of negroes from Jamaica and the French Islands, leaving to the traders in that kind of commodity the faculty of providing themselves with it on the coasts of Africa. The Governor had adopted this measure at the solicitation of the members of the Cabildo, who were afraid of the importation of slaves infected with a spirit of insurrection.
Louisiana had always carried on a brisk trade with that portion of the island of St. Domingo which belonged p315 to the French, and she therefore suffered considerably in consequence of the revolution operated by the black in that hitherto prosperous colony. In the month of August, she found herself threatened almost with famine, and she was relieved only by the arrival of one thousand barrels of flour, for which the Baron de Carondelet had sent in haste to Philadelphia.
On the 15th of September, he communicated to the court of Madrid the details of an important capture which he had made some months previous, in the person of William Augustus Bowles. This individual was a native of Maryland, and the manner in which he began life shadowed forth what he would be in riper years. Thus, instead of assisting his countrymen, who were struggling for their independence, he, at the age of fourteen, entered the British army as a foot soldier. His first steps in the military career seem to have been marked with signal success; for, a year after, in 1777, notwithstanding his extreme youth, we find him in Jamaica with the grade of ensign, and, as such, having the honor of bearing the proud banner of England. This was luck indeed for an American boy of fifteen! Shortly after, he went with his regiment to Pensacola, and there the scene changes. William Bowles became guilty of such an act of insubordination, that he was deprived of his rank. In a fit of disgust, it is said that the young man stript himself of his English uniform, contemptuously flung it into the sea, and fled to the Indians, among whom he lived several years, and whose language he acquired to perfection. He married the daughter of a chief of the Creek nation, was naturalized among them, and became himself a chief, a great warrior, and therefore an influential man. In 1781, when Galvez besieged Pensacola, Bowles1 the deserter secured his pardon, and p316 regained the good graces and favor of the English, by leading a party of Creeks to the assistance of General Campbell. But Bowles got tired at last of his Indian wife, of his Indian popularity, and of his Indian life, which, probably, did not afford him sufficiently ample scope for the versatility of his genius. Now he bids a long and glad farewell to the hospitable went which had sheltered him, and he is next seen in New York. What is he doing there? Why — forsooth, he has joined a company of actors, and is amusing himself with eliciting the applause of enraptured audiences, or perhaps is swearing oaths of deadly hatred at those spectators, whose evidences of disapprobation remind him of the hisses of those snakes which he left far away in the shady woods of Alabama. He followed the company of players to New Providence, where he continued to exercise the same profession, and, occasionally, tried his hand at painting portraits. Whether as a comedian, a painter, an American Tory, an ex‑British officer, an Indian chief, or something else, it is certain that he won the confidence of Lord Dunmore, Governor of the Bahamas, who appointed him an English agent, to establish on the Chattahouchie a commercial house, with the view of entering into competition with the celebrated one of Panton in Pensacola, which was under the patronage of the Spanish authorities. True to his mission, Bowles soon began to deal and intrigue among the Indians with his characteristic daring and address. He counteracted the influence of Panton, he undermined the power of McGillivray,a and gave great annoyance to the Georgians, who resorted, however, with their customary decision, to a summary mode of redress, and sent him word, on a certain day when they had lost patience, that, if he did not depart within twenty-four hours, they would cut off his ears. Not wishing to incur this penalty, p317 he hastily returned to New Providence, from which he was deputed to England by Lord Dunmore with a delegation of Creeks, Seminoles, and Cherokees, to enlist in their favor the protection of the British government, and secure its assistance in repelling American aggression. He and his Indian companions were well received at court, and their friendship was gained by valuable presents. Bowles did not disappoint his English allies, and on his return to America, says Pickett in his History of Alabama, "began a piratical war upon the coasting vessels of Panton, having taught his warriors to navigate the gulf. He captured some of the vessels, laden with arms and ammunition, ran them up in bayous, where he and an abandoned set of white men from the prisons of London, together with hosts of savages, engaged in protracted debaucheries, and, day and night, made the woods echo with horrid oaths and panther screams." And yet this man is represented as having possessed the most winning address, and a gentleness of mien which did not exclude, when the occasion required it, the imposing and stern aspect of command. His was the sweetest of smiles, femininely beautiful, and apparently indicative of the bubbling well of human kindness within, "with the dark eye-brow that shaded at times the glance of fire." He was one of those impassioned beings, of those "demons in act, but gods at least in face," whom the Rembrandt of poetry — Byron — delighted to paint.
With Panton's merchandise, which he lavishly distributed among the Indians, Bowles regained his former popularity and influence among the Creeks, and became so bold as to accuse McGillivray of treachery to his own tribe, and attempt to overthrow that chieftain and usurp his place. But McGillivray was fully his match, and went to New Orleans to arrange with Carondelet the capture of his restless enemy. The Court of Madrid p318 had instructed the Governors of Louisiana and of Pensacola, either to bribe Bowles into an alliance with Spain, or to seize him and his accomplices or supporters. "Considering," said Carondelet, in a despatch of the 15th of September, "how important it was to the interests of his Majesty, to the security of these provinces, and the prosperity of the kingdom, to stifle, even in the very womb of conception, the dangerous intentions of this adventurer, to keep up the friendship of the Talapouches or Creeks, and to remove from their minds the erroneous impressions which he might have made on them, I took the most efficacious means to have him arrested in compliance with the orders of the King, and on the 12th of March, he was brought to me in this city, from which I sent him to Havana, where he embarked, on the 22d, in the frigate the Mississippi; which took to Spain my predecessor, the Brigadier-general, Don Estevan Mirò. I also caused to be transported to Havana Wm. Cunningham and Henry Smith, who were his accomplices in robbing the stores of William Panton at the Apalaches.
[. . .]
"I have pursued my plan with perseverance, and I have succeeded in quieting almost all the Indians. I have, to all appearances, taken the most adequate measures to capture all the companions and accomplices of Bowles, and I will not desist from the prosecution of this object, until it be accomplished, since on its success depends, not only the tranquillity of these provinces, but also the security of the Mexican empire, for which they are a natural rampart, and barrier of protection.2 I cannot close this letter, without observing to your excellency that, by all means, the presence of Bowles in this latitude must be guarded against, and that he must be carefully detained p319 in Europe." This sufficiently shows, without comments, the fears which the daring and talents of this adventurer had excited in the Spanish Government, and the importance to which he had risen as a prisoner of state.
Bowles was carried to Madrid, where he was imprisoned, and treated with alternate kindness and severity, but he was neither seduced nor intimidated. The government repeatedly offered him his liberty, with pecuniary and military rewards, if he chose to abandon the English service and enlist in that of Spain, by using his influence with the Creeks, to assist the Spaniards in Louisiana and the Floridas. Bowles was proof against all temptation, and has the merit of having remained true to his plighted faith. Seeing that nothing could be gained from his stubborn resistance, the ministry caused him to be transported to the island of Manilla in the Pacific Ocean, where he remained until February, 1797. In this year, for reasons unknown, perhaps with a view that he should be more securely guarded, as war had then broken out between Spain and England, he was ordered back to the Peninsula. "But," says Pickett in his History of Alabama, "he contrived on his way to escape, at Ascension Island, and reached Sierra Leone, where the English Governor gave him a passage to London. Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Portland provided for his necessities in a munificent manner." Then, if we follow this personage in his romantic career, we see him leading a corsair's life, and privateering in the Gulf of Mexico, in a light English schooner, against the commerce of Spain, and particularly against the fat boxes of merchandise of Panton, the wealthy Pensacola merchant. Much to the relief of his victims, he was wrecked on the coast of Florida; but nothing daunted, if he had to discontinue his operations on the blue waves of the sea, it was to renew them in the wilderness of the continent. He soon p320 joined again the Creeks, by whom he was heartily welcomed back, as if he had been a chief of their own tribe and race, and with them, he began hostilities against the Americans and the Spaniards, towards whom he entertained an equal animosity. He marched upon the town of St. Marks, captured the fort, and again plundered stores which belonged to Panton, of whom he seemed destined to be the scourge. He conducted his foraging expeditions with such skill, activity and energy, that he became far and wide an object of terror, and the name of Bowles remained a household word, but too familiar to the frightened imagination of almost every woman and child in the settlements of the hardy pioneers of Alabama and Florida. He had at last made himself so troublesome, that the Americans and the Spaniards, who distrusted each other, and whose interests were opposed in so many things, easily agreed on one point — which was — the necessity of their combining to get rid of their implacable foe, and they secretly offered a large reward for his capture. This temptation was so powerful, that it could not be resisted; and Bowles' own warriors seized and pinioned him, at a grand festival to which he had unsuspiciously resorted. During the night which followed this act of treachery, gnawing apart the ropes with which he was bound, he escaped in the most miraculous manner, to the great astonishment of the Indians. But, being retaken by his pursuers, he was conveyed to Mobile, and thence to Havana, where he subsequently died in one of the dungeons of the Moro Castle. Such was the romantic and eventful life of this remarkable adventurer, who, for several years, had maintained himself in a position to exercise some considerable influence on the destinies of Louisiana.
McGillivray did not survive long the first capture of his rival, Bowles, which, as already stated, was effected p321 in the beginning of the year 1792, and of which he had been one of the main instruments. On his return from New Orleans, late in the summer of that very year, he was taken ill, at Mobile, of a fever, which revived old constitutional diseases, and brought on a crisis, of which he died a short time after. William Panton, the far-famed Pensacola merchant, of whom he was the friend, and to some extent the partner, and whose commercial dealings with the Indians he had so long and faithfully promoted, wrote to Lachland McGillivray, the father of the chieftain, who was still living at Dunmaglas in Scotland, an interesting letter on the death of his son.3
"Your son, Sir," said Panton, "was a man that I esteemed greatly. I was perfectly convinced that our regard for each other was mutual. It so happened, that we had an interest in serving each other, which first brought us together, and the longer we were acquainted, the stronger was our friendship.
"I found him deserted by the British, without pay, without money, without friends, and without property, saving a few negroes, and he and his nation threatened with destruction by the Georgians, unless they agreed to cede them the better part of their country. I had the good fortune to point out a mode by which he could save them all, and it succeeded beyond expectation, &c.
[. . .]
"He died on the 17th of February, 1793, of complicated disorders — of inflamed lungs and the gout on the stomach. He was taken ill on the path coming from his cow-pen, on Little river, where one of his wives, Joseph Curnell's daughter, resided, and died eight days after his arrival here (Pensacola). No pains, no attention, no cost was spared to save the life of my friend, p322 but fate would have it otherwise, and he breathed his last in my arms, &c.
[. . .]
"He died possessed of sixty negroes, three hundred head of cattle, with a large stock of horses, &c.
[. . .]
"I advised, I supported, I pushed him on, to be the great man. Spaniards and Americans felt his weight, and this enabled him to haul me after him, so as to establish this house with more solid privileges than, without him, I should have obtained. This being the case, if he had lived, I meant, besides what he was owing me, to have added considerably to his stock of negroes. What I intended to do for the father, I will do for his children. This ought not to operate against your making that ample provision for your grandson and his two sisters, which you have it in your power to make. They have lately lost their mother, so that they have no friends, poor things, but you and me. My heart bleeds for them, and what I can, I will do. The boy, Alleck, is old enough to be sent to Scotland, to school, which I intend to do, next year, and then you will see him."
Such was the end of the man, whom the Spaniards had considered as one of their most valuable allies, to protect Louisiana against the approach of the Americans. McGillivray was one of those interesting characters who have now become so scarce, and who, in the early days of the history of America, presented in their persons the curious spectacle of the combined qualities and defects of the wild Indian and the educated white man of the Caucasian race — what is called a half-breed — a compound of night and day — a moral, intellectual and physical twilight — the blending of colors and races — the offspring of the embraces of civilization and barbarism — the embodiment of the spirit of the wilderness still p323 retaining its nature and propensities, although somewhat tamed and refined by the tuition of morality, the revelations of religion, and the soothing influence of the arts and sciences. He, himself, seemed to delight in showing, by his usual dress, the opposite elements which composed his organization; for that dress was a striking mixture of the Indian and European garb. When he travelled among the whites, it was always with befitting dignity, and with two servants, one of whom was a half-breed, and the other a negro. When moving on the territory of his nation, he was followed, like a chief, by an Indian escort. In imitation of more powerful rulers, he had several places of residence, if not palaces, where he entertained his visitors with the most liberal hospitality. His two favorite seats were at Hickory Ground, and at little Tallase. The historian Pickett, who, being a native of Alabama, has had a better opportunity than any one else, to procure the fullest information concerning this distinguished chieftain of the land where he dwells, thus describes his person:
"General McGillivray was •six feet high, spare made, and remarkably erect in person and carriage. His eyes were large, dark and piercing. His forehead was so peculiarly shaped, that the old Indian countrymen often spoke of it. It commenced expanding at his eyes, and widened considerably at the top of his head. It was a bold and lofty forehead. His fingers were long and tapering, and he wielded a pen with the greatest rapidity. His face was handsome, and indicative of quick thought and much sagacity. Unless interested in conversation, he was disposed to be taciturn, but even then was polite and respectful." Pickett calls him the Talleyrand of Alabama. If, as a barbarian, he delighted in the plurality of wives, and thereby was pointedly opposed in taste to his exquisitely civilized prototype, who never p324 could bear to live with the only one he had taken to his bosom, he certainly had, if small and great things can be assimilated, some diplomatic resemblance with the celebrated statesman of France. For he succeeded in persuading the Americans, the British and the Spaniards, that he was serving them all, whilst he was serving himself only, and, which is better, perhaps his own people. The individual who, Proteus-like, could in turn — nay more, who could at the same time, be a British Colonel, a Spanish and American General, a polished gentleman, a Greek and Latin scholar, and a wild Indian Chief with the frightful tomahawk at his belt and the war paint on his body, a shrewd politician, a keen-sighted merchant, a skilful speculator, the emperor of the Creeks and Seminoles, the able negotiator of treaties with Washington in person and other great men, the writer of papers which would challenge the admiration of the most fastidious — he, who could be a mason among the Christians, and a pagan prophet in the woods; he, who could have presents, titles, decorations showered at the same time upon him from England, Spain and the United States, and who could so long arrest their encroachments against himself and his nation, by playing them, like puppets, against each other, must be allowed to tower far above the common herd of men. He was interred with masonic honors in the splendid garden of William Panton, in the town of Pensacola.4 He was much regretted by the Spaniards, but his death literally spread desolation among his people, and one of them, on pronouncing a funeral oration to his memory, might, with truth, had he known anything of Hebrew history and of Latin language, have applied to him what was said of one of the Machabei: Fleverunt eum omnis populus p325 Israel planctu magno, et lugebant dies multos, et dixerunt: quo modo cecidit vir potens, qui salvum faciebat populum Israel!b
If the intelligence of the capture of Bowles had been grateful to the ministers of Madrid, they were not as well pleased with the information which they received from Carondelet, in a despatch of the 20th of December, in which they were made to understand that the materials for the military defence of Louisiana were in the most wretched state, and that it was impossible to do what was absolutely necessary to put them in a proper condition, without an expenditure of at least $250,000. The revenue received through the custom-house at New Orleans, amounted, this year (1792), to $89,499.
On the 1st of January, 1793, the King issued an ordinance approving the prohibitory measure which Carondelet, on the recommendation of the Cabildo, had adopted concerning the importation of slaves into Louisiana from Jamaica and the French West India Islands; and, at the same time, wishing to encourage the slave trade from Africa, his Catholic Majesty granted great privileges to such of his subjects as would engage in it with Spanish vessels.
On the 9th of June, the King issued another ordinance, continuing, increasing and extending the commercial franchises which had been conceded by the royal schedule of 1782.5 This wise policy was extremely favorable to the commerce of New Orleans, which, besides, had hitherto been fostered by the enlightened liberality of the Spanish Governors, who had always connived at the violation of those stringent and ill-devised regulations of Spain, which, in her colonies, absolutely confined all trade to her natural born p326 subjects, or to such as were naturalized and residing in her dominions. Particularly since the conflagration which had destroyed New Orleans in 1788, Mirò had openly disregarded the positive instructions of the minister of finances, had thrown open the port of New Orleans to a brisk trade with Philadelphia, and had extended the same patronage to foreign merchants residing in the province, although not naturalized, and the same policy was still very properly pursued by the Baron de Carondelet. It must be said that the King, on being informed of the necessities of Louisiana, approved of the disregard of his own laws by his own representatives. "After this," says Judge Martin in his History of Louisiana, "the officers of the custom-house contented themselves with the simple declaration of an individual, generally the consignee, that he was owner of the vessel. No oath was administered; the production of no document was required; the declaration was even accepted from an individual who did not reside in the province, on his asserting that he meant to do so, or on his producing a license to import goods. No one was thereby deceived, but the custom-house officers were furnished with a pretext for registering as a Spanish bottom, and thus preserve an appearance of compliance with the law. So little attention was paid to this, that, at times, the Governor and Intendant certified that a vessel was American property, while she appeared on the custom-house books as a Spanish vessel." A strange anomaly, indeed, coupled with a still more curious one — that of the King of Spain's preference to approve the violation of his superannuated, moth-eaten and obnoxious laws, than consent to their repeal or modification.
The hope of quiet and prosperous times was thus smiling on the inhabitants of Louisiana, when they were violently agitated by the news that Louis XVI had p327 perished on the scaffold on the 21st of January, 1793, and that the King of Spain had declared war against the new French Republic. Although the fate of the august victim was deplored, yet the feelings of the majority of the population of Louisiana were in favor of the new order of things which was expected to be established in France, in the hope that a free government, resting on a solid basis, would succeed the bloody anarchy which they considered as having only a temporary and transitory existence. They were not also without secret hopes of being re-annexed to France, by a more vigorous and enlightened government than the one which had given them away to Spain; and even one hundred and fifty of them were bold enough to sign a petition openly addressed to the French Government, and praying for their being replaced under the protection of France. The sympathies of the colonists were not concealed; at the theatre, the celebrated French hymn, "La Marseillaise," was frantically asked from the orchestra, and in some of the tippling-shops of New Orleans, which were resorted to by such spirits as rejoice in the atmosphere of these places, the jacobinical song of "Ça ira, — ça ira, les Aristocrates à la lanterne," was vociferated with a degree of boldness which showed they thought that help was at hand, and that punishment would hesitate to visit them. The Baron's critical situation may easily be imagined. "He prepared and promoted," says Judge Martin in his History of Louisiana, "the subscription of a paper, in which the colonists gave assurance of their loyalty to, and affection for, the Catholic King, and bound themselves to support his government in Louisiana. He put a stop to the practice which had of late been introduced, of entertaining the audience at the theatre with the exhibition of certain martial dances to revolutionary airs. He caused six p328 individuals who had manifested their approbation of the new French principles, and evinced a desire of seeing them acted upon in Louisiana, to be arrested and confined in the fort. At the intercession of several respectable inhabitants of New Orleans, he promised to liberate them; but, believing afterwards that he had discovered new causes of alarm, which rendered a decisive step necessary, he shipped them for Havana, where they were detained during a twelvemonth."
These circumstances required that Louisiana be put on such a footing as to meet all emergencies, and, on the 30th of September, Carondelet informed his government that the fortifications and all the other necessary materials for the protection of the colony had been allowed to go to ruin; that the amount of the annual expenditure fixed for Louisiana by O'Reilly, in 1769, at the rate of $115,000, had not been sufficient to answer all the exigencies; and that, although, since 1784, the budget of the province had been carried up to $537,869, and had been so kept up to the present day, still, for some cause or other, unknown to him, the fortifications and artillery had been so neglected, that they were unfit for any practical use; and that, to comply with the royal order of October, 1791, requiring Louisiana to be put in an ordinary state of defence, would demand an annual appropriation of $100,279, over and above the regular budget, in order to cover the expenses to be occasioned by an increase of troops, as four additional battalions would be absolutely necessary.
In these difficult conjunctures, it was of the utmost importance to secure the friendship of the Indians, and therefore all the efforts of Carondelet were bent towards strengthening old alliances with them, and making new ones. These efforts were crowned with success, and, on the 28th of October, he had the satisfaction, through his p329 agent and representative, Colonel Gayoso de Lemos, Governor of Natchez, to make a reciprocally defensive and offensive treaty, between Spain on one side, and the Chickasaws, the Creeks, the Talapouches, the Cherokees, and the Alibamons on the other. The treaty of 1784 was ratified in all its points, and these different Indian nations, forming a confederacy for their mutual assistance, bound themselves never to act in any thing which might have a bearing on the interest, security or welfare of the parties to the treaty, without first obtaining the consent of them all, and the approbation of the Governor of Louisiana. In return for the protection which Spain promised to extend over all these nations, they obligated themselves to contribute, to the utmost of their power, to maintain his Catholic Majesty in possession of the provinces of Louisiana and of the two Floridas. Spain, being the patron of all these nations, was to negotiate with the United States, in order to have the limits of the territories of every one of said nations, respectively fixed between them and the United States, so as to avoid any further cause for quarrel and dissension. The other articles of the treaty were concerning the distribution of presents to the several tribes, and other objects of minor importance.
On the 18th of January, 1794, Carondelet wrote to the ministry a despatch, in which he informed them that he was erecting, without the assistance of one solitary engineer, considerable fortifications, or repairing old ones, at several points of the colony, and particularly around New Orleans. He observed that they would not only protect the city against the attack of an enemy, but also keep in check its inhabitants themselves, who had lately shown a disposition to embrace the new-fangled doctrines of France, and had manifested the desire of returning under her domination. "I am every day on horseback p330 before dawn," said he, "in order to visit the works, to urge the laborers, and to attend to all my other innumerable duties." He added that, if New Orleans had not been awed by the forts which he had caused to be constructed, its population would have rebelled, and a revolution have taken place. "By the exertion of the utmost vigilance, and at the cost of sleepless nights," said he, "by frightening some, by punishing others, by driving several out of the colony, and particularly those Frenchmen who had lately come among us, and who had already contaminated the greater part of the province with their notions and maxims of equality, by intercepting the letters and papers of a suspicious character, and by dissembling with all, I have obtained more than I had hoped, considering that the whole colony is now in a state of internal tranquillity." He further remarks that, with regard to his secret and confidential despatches, he has nobody about him that he could venture to trust with the copying of them; that the obligation imposed upon him by the order of the King, to transcribe for, and to submit to, the Captain-general of the island of Cuba, of which Louisiana is a dependency, all the documents he has to forward to the Secretary of State at Madrid, multiplies his labors to an enormous extent, and that the most robust man could not resist the wear and tear of such a life; that the secretary of the government of the colony, Don Armesto, is an indefatigable man, but that it is physically impossible that he should do all that is to be done, and that the King's service would be materially benefited, if the Captain-general resided in Louisiana.
The Baron de Carondelet further expressed some feelings of proud satisfaction at the late treaty which he had concluded with the Talapouches, the Chickasaws, and other nations, and in virtue of which he could, at any p331 time, as he declared, oppose if necessary, twenty thousand Indians to the Americans, for the trifling annual expenditure of ten thousand dollars. But, by another of his despatches, dated on the 24th of February, it appears that the pensions and presents given to the Indians amounted to the yearly and pretty round sum of $55,000.
In this long and very able despatch, the Baron reviews the situation of the colony, and proposes to abandon the fort of Natchez, which is commanded by neighboring heights and can really be of no avail in a case of emergency, for the one at the Walnut Hills, which is situated •one hundred and twenty miles higher on the river, and which he describes as being in an infinitely stronger position, and as being the key of the province. He says that, on any sudden invasion by the French, should they come down the river, he could oppose to them fifteen hundred men from the Natchez district and from the upper parts of the colony; he represents, that his salary, which is nominally $6,000, but which in reality is reduced to $4,757, on account of certain deductions to be made from it, is not adequate to the exigencies of his rank and to his official expenses; he calls the attention of the government to various improvements to be made and abuses to be reformed, to the propriety of increasing the salary of some officers and diminishing that of others, of creating some offices and of suppressing several; he proposes the digging a canal from the ditches that run along the ramparts with which the town is encircled to Bayou St. John, •about a mile back toward the swamps; he represents that this work would not cost more than $30,000, and would be of immense utility, as it would give through Bayou St. John and the lakes, an opening to the commerce of New Orleans with Mobile and Pensacola, and would drain the putrid waters stagnating p332 around it and producing those epidemics which are so fatal to its prosperity. "Should this drainage not be executed," said he, "it will be necessary to abandon the town in less than three or four years; for the inundations of the Mississippi, which, on the breaking of any one of its levees or dykes in this neighborhood, cover almost all the streets of New Orleans, gradually raise by their deposits the adjacent lands, and thus make of the town a sort of sink, which will have no outlet for its waters." It appears from very curious documents accompanying this despatch, and giving the most detailed accounts of the annual expenses of the colony, including the Mobile and Pensacola districts, that they had, by degrees, ascended to $776,304 in 1793, on which the Baron proposed a reduction of $239,023. The receipts of the custom-house, which constituted the most important part of the revenue, had not produced, this year, more than $76,815. The military expenses alone amounted to $438,436; as to the pay of the clergy, it was only $12,866. Besides the regular expenses of the government, the supplying of Pensacola and Mobile with goods for the trade with the Indians required an annual disbursement of $80,000 — that is, $40,000 for each one of these towns.
On the 17th of May, 1794, the Baron de Carondelet wrote to his government to beg the King to step in between the inhabitants of Natchez and their creditors, so as to allow to the former some delays to pay their debts, and thus prevent them from being ruined by litigation.
"Since my taking possession of this government," said he, "my continual and all engrossing occupations in maintaining public tranquillity, and in putting in a regular state of defence this province, which is open on all sides, and which, from the date of the administration of my immediate predecessor to the present day, has not ceased to p333 be threatened by the ambitious designs of the Americans, have consumed and absorbed all my time for almost two years; and the war lately declared against France has, finally, much increased my anxieties and trouble in a colony, which is mostly occupied by French people, and which has been repeatedly exposed to invasions, both by sea and from the upper part of the Mississippi. These causes have prevented my submitting sooner to your consideration a subject, which is so very delicate a nature." Carondelet then informs the minister, that the Natchez district was originally peopled by English and American emigrants, who settled it since the treaty of peace concluded in 1783; that they engaged in the cultivation of tobacco, under the flattering prospect of selling annually to the royal treasury two hundred thousand pounds of this their only produce; that they had contracted large debts for the acquisition of negroes and of other things required by their agricultural pursuits; that, in 1789, on account of unfavorable circumstances, they had not been able to meet their obligations, and had obtained delays from their creditors on certain conditions; but that most of them had not been able to comply with those conditions, on account of the insufficiency of the crops, of the difficulty of selling them, and of several other untoward events, among which was the promulgation of the royal schedule of 1790, declaring that the government had reduced to forty thousand pounds the quantity of tobacco which it would purchase for the future. Carondelet further stated that, if the law was permitted to have its course, these people, rather than allow themselves to be utterly ruined, would take refuge with their negroes on the territory of the Indians and Americans; that they had recently undertaken, with many difficulties to be overcome, the cultivation of cotton and indigo; that it was necessary to consider that p334 they formed a protection against the expected French and American invasions; that they had lately acted like zealous and faithful subjects, when three hundred of them, at the close of the last year, came down to New Orleans to offer their services, on this province being threatened with an invasion through the Balize; that this example had repressed the machinations of the numerous lovers of changes and innovations who are to be found in the colony, had invigorated the timid and wavering, and confirmed the loyal, the honest, and the courageous, in their good sentiments; wherefore he recommended that the king be advised to interpose his authority between the debtors and their creditors, and to grant to the former a delay for payment, until the gathering in of the crop of 1800, provided partial and annual payments be made in the mean time.
Taking into consideration the complaints of Carondelet as to the multiplicity of his duties, the government, separating the two offices of intendant and governor, which it had united under the administration of Mirò and since the departure of Navarro, appointed as intendant Don Francisco de Rendon, who had been employed as Secretary of legation for Spain in the United States. He was installed into office on the 26th of August, 1794.
In consequence of Louisiana having been detached from the bishopric of Havana and erected into a distinct see, this year was also marked by the arrival of another high dignitary, the new bishop, Don Luis de Peñalvert y Cardenas, who established his residence in New Orleans, and two canons were added to the clergy of the province.
It may not have been forgotten, that O'Reilly had declared it to be contrary to the mild and beneficent laws of Spain, that the Indians be held in a state of bondage, and that the inhabitants of Louisiana would p335 have to prepare for the emancipation of those of that race whom they had so far considered as their lawful property, but that the execution of this measure should be suspended, until the King should finally decide upon it in his royal wisdom. No steps had ever since been taken in this matter; the King had been silent; and the Indian slaves had remained contented with their situation, when suddenly, in 1793 and 1794, they, almost in a body, startled Governor Carondelet by applying for their freedom. In a despatch of the 17th of May, he commented at length on the danger of acquiescing in their demands, represented the ruinous effects it would have for their owners, and recommended, if not a direct refusal, at least measures of compromise, which would postpone the evils of emancipation, if not retard them so as to render them nugatory. "There are many reasons to suspect," said he, "that the movement observable among the Indians who have lately made a rush to claim their freedom according to the tenor of our laws, is attributable to the suggestions of certain secret agents, who do not lose any opportunity of exciting in these provinces the dissensions which have produced the ruin of the French colonies."
On the 10th December, Carondelet informed the Court of Madrid that, on the 8th of that month, a conflagration, but too well favored by a strong north wind, and originating in Royal street, through the imprudence of some children playing in the court-yard of one François Mayronne, which was adjacent to a hay store, had consumed in three hours two hundred and twelve of the most valuable dwellings and magazines, the property of private individuals, as well as edifices of the greatest value belonging to the government. The losses of the merchants were immense; for only two stores were spared by the devouring element. The p336 materials owned by the Crown, and destroyed by this conflagration, were also considerable. "It seems," said Carondelet, "that the sufferings inflicted on the colony by three hurricanes in fourteen months were not enough." He further stated that, although the conflagration of 1788 had consumed a larger number of buildings, still the pecuniary losses on this occasion were much heavier. To form any idea of what they were, it must be remembered that Governor Mirò estimated those incurred in 1788, at $2,595,561. The province was again threatened with famine, for almost all the provisions had been destroyed, and not more than one thousand barrels of flour remained for the consumption of the inhabitants and of the troops. Fortunately, the fire did not reach the cathedral, which was the gift of Don Andres Almonaster to the city, and which had just been completed. In order the better to avoid for the future the recurrence of such calamities, Carondelet recommended that premiums be granted by his Catholic Majesty to such of his subjects in New Orleans as should rebuild with terraced roofs, or with roofs made of tiles instead of shingles as formerly.
It may not be uninteresting to remark here, before closing the recital of those events which happened in 1794, and which are connected with the history of Louisiana, that the first regular newspaper published in the colony made its appearance this year, under the name of "Le Moniteur de la Louisiane," or "The Monitor of Louisiana."
The internal condition of Louisiana was certainly sufficient to give occupation to the Baron de Carondelet, but the dangers which threatened her from abroad were of such magnitude, as to fill him with the keenest anxieties, and deeply to impress him with the heavy responsibility which circumstances had prepared for him.
p337 In the beginning of the year 1794, a society of French Jacobins, established in Philadelphia,6 had caused to be printed, and circulated in Louisiana the following address:
The distribution of this inflammatory address in Louisiana, through secret agents, caused great alarms to the Baron de Carondelet. These alarms were increased by his knowledge of the efforts made by Genet, the French p341 Minister near the government of the United States, to set up against Louisiana an expedition composed of Frenchmen and Americans, of which he himself was to be the commander-in‑chief.c Genet had speculated on the prejudices of the Western people, and had sent, particularly to Kentucky and Tennessee, active, enthusiastic, and intelligent agents, who, circulating among the hardy population and the remotest pioneers of the West, discoursed glibly on the innumerable advantages which would accrue to these people, if they separated from the rest of the United States, if they helped to enfranchise Louisiana by an invasion, and if they formed with her an alliance under the protection of France. For enterprises of this kind, fiery and adventurous spirits are always at hand, in all countries and in all ages; and the French emissaries in the West and South seduced a considerable number of men, who immediately prepared for the execution of the undertaking in which they had enlisted. Armed bands had been gathered on the southern frontier of Georgia, and even a large body of Creek warriors was in readiness to join the invaders. It was feared at the same time, that an attack would be made from the Ohio settlements, and that the spring flood of the Mississippi would bring down the enemy, borne swiftly onward by the rising waters of that river. An individual, of the name of Clark, was the main actor in all these military preparations in the South, and Auguste de la Chaise, a native of Louisiana, and a grandson of the King's former ordaining commissary (commissaire ordonnateur) who had come to the colony in 1723, had been sent by Genet to Kentucky to recruit forces, and was to be the leader of those invaders who were to descend the Ohio and Mississippi.
The Baron, when such dangers threatened him, did not sleep at his post. He completed the fortifications of p342 New Orleans, strengthened others already existing throughout the province, and mustering all his forces, organized them to meet the expected conflict. According to a report made by him to his government, he could rely, as fit for military service in the colony, on about six thousand militia-men, and he affirmed that, within three weeks, three thousand of them could be concentrated at any one point in the province. Not trusting entirely to these means of defence, he had recourse to the politic arts of the diplomatist, and in order to appease the hostility of the Western people, he removed some of the restrictions which cramped their trade, granted again important privileges to some enterprising and influential men among them, and prepared himself to renew Mirò's former scheme of winning over that restless and energetic population to the dominion of Spain. The firm and loyal interference of Washington prevented the attack which was threatened from the Ohio districts, checked the intrigues of Genet, and relieved the apprehensions of the Spanish authorities in Louisiana. The Governor of Georgia also issued his proclamation against the unlawful enterprise meditated under Clark, with the assistance of the Creeks, against East Florida. De la Chaise, who, of all the agents employed by Genet, was the one most feared by Carondelet, on account of his rash intrepidity, his indefatigable activity, his zeal for France, and his exquisite address, and because, being a native of Louisiana and belonging to one of its most powerful families, he exercised considerable influence in the colony, seeing that he had to abandon all the hopes he had conceived to wrest Louisiana from the domination of Spain, retired from Kentucky, and took service in the French army, after having laid before the democratic society of Lexington the following communication:7
"Unforeseen events, the effects of causes which it is unnecessary here to develop, have stopped the march of two thousand brave Kentuckians, who, strong in their courage, in the justice of their rights, in the purity of their cause, and in the general assent of their fellow-citizens, and convinced of the brotherly dispositions of the Louisianians, waited only for their orders to go and take away, by the irresistible power of their arms, from those despotic usurpers the Spaniards, the possession of the Mississippi, secure for their country the navigation of it, break the chains of the Americans and of their French brethren in the province of Louisiana, hoist up the flag of liberty in the name of the French republic, and lay the foundation of the prosperity and happiness of two nations destined by nature to be but one, and so situated as to be the most happy in the universe.
"Citizens: The greater the attempts you have made towards the success of that expedition, the more sensible you must be of the impediments which delay its execution, and the more energetic should your efforts be towards procuring new means of success. There is one from which I expect the greatest advantages and which may be decisive — that is, an address to the national Convention, or to the Executive Council of France. In the name of my countrymen of Louisiana, in the name of your own interest, I dare once more ask you this new proof of patriotism.
"Being deprived of my dearest hopes, and of the pleasure, after an absence of fourteen years and a proscription of three, of returning to the bosom of my family, my friends, and my countrymen, I have only one course to follow — that of going to France and expressing to the representatives of the French people the cry, the general wish of the Louisianians to become part of the p344 French republic — informing them, at the same time, of the most ardent desire which the Kentuckians have had, and will continue to have for ever, to take the most active part in any undertaking tending to open to them the free navigation of the Mississippi.
"The French republicans, in their sublime constitutional act, have proffered their protection to all those nations who may have the courage to shake off the yoke of tyranny. The Louisianians have the most sacred right to it. They are French, but have been sacrificed to despotism by arbitrary power. The honor, the glory, the duty of the National Convention is to grant them their powerful support.
"Every petition or plan relative to that important object would meet with the highest consideration. An address from the Democratic Society of Lexington would give it a greater weight.
"Accept, Citizens, the farewell, not the last, of a brother who is determined to sacrifice everything in his power for the liberty of his country, and the prosperity of the generous inhabitants of Kentucky. Salut en la patrie.
"Auguste La Chaise."
This gentleman perished in an ambuscade in St. Domingo, in the year 1803, a short time after he had been raised to the grade of General. Had not death stopped him in his career, when he was still in the meridian of life, it is to be presumed from what he had already accomplished, that he would have risen to higher honors, and might have left behind him a memory of which his native country, Louisiana, would have been proud.
As soon as the danger of an invasion had passed away, the Baron de Carondelet began to throw impediments in the way of the western trade, which he had temporarily p345 favored, and again imposed restrictions calculated to facilitate the operations of those agents whom he had sent to Kentucky to tempt the people into a separation from the United States and an alliance with Spain, by which the much desired outlet of the Mississippi would be secured to them. The times were highly auspicious for the intrigues of Spain. Not only were the inhabitants of Kentucky and Tennessee weary of struggling against such obstacles to their commerce, and irritated against the Federal Government that could not remove them, but Western Pennsylvania also had been thrown into a ferment by the "excise on distilled spirits," giving rise to what is commonly called, in American history, "the Whisky Insurrection," which had taken such proportions as to require the presence of an army of twelve thousand troops from the Eastern States to quell it. Almost all the tribes of the North-western Indians, at the instigation of the English, were waging open war against the United States; and the General Government was embarrassed by tedious and vexatious negotiations with Great Britain, Spain, and even their old ally France — which negotiations assumed at times an angry tone, leading to the belief that hostilities might perhaps ensue. England in the North-west, and Spain in the South, seemed to unite in pressing with all their weight on both flanks of the West, to break it loose from the Federal Government, and force it into a permanent separation. Lord Dorchester had sent from Canada, and the Baron de Carondelet, from Louisiana, numerous emissaries who were emulously at work to heat and exasperate the different parties then existing in Kentucky, and to produce a state of feeling which might be favorable to their views.
Carondelet's chief emissary was Thomas Power, an Englishman by birth, but naturalized a Spanish subject, p346 and very zealous in the service of his adopted country. This man was intelligent, cautious, and had a natural disposition to intrigue. He was thought by the Baron de Carondelet to be a fit subject to be employed on the hazardous mission of sowing the seeds of sedition in the West, and was sent thither under the pretence of collecting materials for a natural history of that section of the country, but really to revive with Wilkinson, Innis, Sebastian, and others, the plots which had been carried on under Mirò's administration.
Whilst their fruitless intrigues were afoot and were engrossing the attention of the Baron de Carondelet, the year 1794 was marked by an event which was to convert the fields of Louisiana into as fertile mines of wealth as ever lay hid in the bowels of the earth. So far, the results of the agricultural labors of the colonists had been insignificant. To the cultivation of indigo they had, hitherto, mostly addicted themselves, and for several consecutive years it had been sadly unsuccessful. Hurricanes had repeatedly swept over the land, and other strange vicissitudes in the seasons had destroyed the crops. As it were to complete the ruin of the unfortunate planters, an insect had lately made its appearance, and invariably attacked the indigo plant. Every year it devoured the leaves with incredible rapidity, and left nothing but the naked stems standing, to mock the eye of the farmer and to remind him of the extent of his losses. Particularly in the years 1793 and 1794, these ravages had been so general, that the whole province had been thrown into a state of consternation and despair. What was to be done? Rice and corn were produced for the wants of the country only, and were not exported with much advantage. As to cotton, it hardly repaid the labor of cultivation, on account of the inexperience of the planters and of the difficulty which p347 was then felt in separating the seed from the wool. The manufacture of sugar had been abandoned since 1766, as being unsuited to the climate, and only a few individuals continued to plant canes in the neighborhood of New Orleans, to be sold in the market of that town. It is true that two Spaniards, Mendez and Solis, had lately given more extension to the planting of that reed, but they had never succeeded in manufacturing sugar. One of them boiled its juice into syrup, and the other distilled it into a spirituous liquor, of a very indifferent quality, called taffia.
When the whole agricultural interest of Louisiana was thus prostrated, and looking round for the discovery of some means to escape from annihilation, when the eager and anxious inquiry of every planter was: "What shall I do to pay my debts and support my family?" — the energy of one of the most spirited and respected citizens of Louisiana suddenly saved her from utter ruin, and raised her to that state of prosperity which has increased with every successive year.
That individual was Etienne de Boré, who was born in the Illinois district of Louisiana in 1740, and who had gone back to France with his parents when he was only four years old. He was of a distinguished Norman family, being lineally descended of Robert de Boré, who was, in 1652, one of the king's counsellors, director general of the post-office department, and one of the stewards of the king's household,8 &c. Etienne de Boré, when his age permitted it, entered into that privileged body of the king's household troops, called the "mousquetaires," or guardsmen. None could be a "mousquetaire" unless he was noble by birth; every "mousquetaire" had the grade of captain, and the Captain of a company of p348 "mousquetaires" had the rank of Lieutenant General. Etienne de Boré had left the mousquetaires in 1772, to assume the command of a company of cavalry. But the circumstance of his having, the year before, married in Paris the daughter of Destréhan, the ex‑treasurer of Louisiana when it was a French colony, operated a change in his career, by inducing him to return to Louisiana, where his wife had some property. Etienne de Boré had settled on a plantation which was situated on the left bank of the Mississippi, •six miles above New Orleans. There he had, like the majority of the planters, given his attention to the cultivation of indigo, and he had also seen his hopes blasted, and himself and family threatened with entire ruin.
In these critical conjunctures, he determined to renew the attempts which had been repeatedly made to manufacture sugar. He immediately prepared to go into all the expenses and incur all the obligations consequent on so costly an undertaking. His wife warned him that her father had, in former years, vainly made a similar attempt; she represented that he was hazarding on the cast of a die all that remained of their means of existence; that, if he failed, as was so probable, he would reduce his family to hopeless poverty; that he was of an age, being over fifty years old, when fate was not to be tempted by doubtful experiments, as he could not reasonably entertain the hope of a sufficiently long life to rebuild his fortune, if once completely shattered; and that he would not only expose himself to ruin, but also to a risk much more to be dreaded — that of falling within the grasp of creditors. Friends and relations joined their remonstrances to hers, but could not shake the strong resolve of his energetic mind. He had fully matured his plan, and was determined to sink or swim with it. There are circumstances in a man's life when he must know p349 how to play, coolly and sagaciously, a desperate game. Boré felt it, and braced up his strength to fling himself on "the tide which, if taken at the flood, was to lead him to fortune, or if not, was to wreck him among the shoals of life."
Purchasing a quantity of canes from Mendez and Solis, he began to plant in 1794, and to make all the other necessary preparations, and, in 1795, he made a crop of sugar which sold for twelve thousand dollars — a large sum at that time. Boré's attempt had not been without exciting the keenest interest; many had frequently visited him during the year, to witness his preparations; gloomy predictions had been set afloat, and, on the day when the grinding of the cane was to begin, a large number of the most respectable inhabitants had gathered in and about the sugar-house, to be present at the failure or success of the experiment. Would the syrup granulate? Would it be converted into sugar? The crowd waited with eager impatience for the moment when the man who watches the coction of the juice of the cane, determines whether it is ready to granulate. When that moment arrived, the stillness of death came among them, each one holding his breath, and feeling that it was a matter of ruin or prosperity for them all. Suddenly the sugar-maker cried out with exultation: "It granulates!" and the crowd repeated: "It granulates!" Inside and outside of the building one could have heard the wonderful tidings, flying from mouth to mouth, and dying in the distance, as if a hundred glad echoes were telling it to one another. Each one of the bystanders pressed on, to ascertain the fact on the evidence of his own senses, and, when it could no longer be doubted, there came a shout of joy, and all flocked around Etienne Boré, overwhelming him with congratulations, and almost hugging the man whom they called their saviour — the saviour of p350 Louisiana. Fifty-seven years have elapsed, and an event, which produced so much excitement at the time, is very nearly obliterated from the memory of the present generation; but it may be permitted to the filial piety of a grandson to record in these pages, with an honest pride, the indebtedness of his native country to a cherished ancestor.
The population of Louisiana had been steadily increasing, notwithstanding the obstacles and even calamities which had retarded its progress, and, in the beginning of 1795, the Cabildo made a representation to the King on their inadequacy to fulfil their duties, and prayed for the creation of six additional offices of "regidor," which petition was subsequently granted.
If the fears of an immediate attack had disappeared, the excitement produced in Louisiana by the French revolution, the intrigues of Genet, and the rumors of an invasion by De la Chaise, who was thought to be coming, as he had promised, "to give freedom to the land of his birth," had not entirely subsided. In such circumstances, says Judge Martin in his History of Louisiana, the Baron thought that the strictest vigilance was required in New Orleans, and availed himself of some nocturnal depredations, to issue a proclamation enforcing a severe police and directing the shutting of the gates at an early hour.
In this proclamation he complained of "the success with which the evil-minded, turbulent and enthusiastic individuals, who certainly had nothing to lose, had spread false rumors, calculated to give rise to the most complete distrust between the Government and the people, whereby the province was threatened with all the disasters to which the French colonies had fallen a prey."
After this, the proclamation announces that9
"to p351 restore order and public tranquillity, Syndics, chosen among the most notable planters, are to be appointed, residing within •about nine miles of each other, to be subordinate to the commandant, to whom they are to give weekly accounts of every important occurrence.
"It is made the duty of every one having the knowledge, even by hearsay, of any offence, or seditious expressions tending to excite alarm or disturb public tranquillity, to give immediate notice to the Syndic, commandant or governor.
"Every assemblage of more than eight persons, to consult on public matters, is absolutely forbidden.
"Every individual is bound to denounce to the commandant any Syndic found guilty of making use of any seditious expressions.
"Every traveller, possessed of the knowledge of an important event, is first to give notice of it to the Syndic, who is to take a note of it, register the name of said traveller, and afterwards, according to the circumstances, permit or forbid the communication of the event, giving information of it to the commandant.
"Syndics10 are to order patrols from time to time.
"At the same time," says Monette in his History of the Valley of the Mississippi, "Baron de Carondelet was laudably exerting himself to enlarge, beautify and fortify the city. Early in May, 1794, he had given public notice of his intention to open a canal in the rear of the city, for the double purpose of draining the marshes and ponds in that vicinity, and establishing a navigable communication with the sea. This canal, communicating p352 with the Bayou St. John, would effectually accomplish the latter object, to the great commercial advantages of New Orleans, while it would also remove one great source of annoyance and disease proceeding from the generation of innumerable swarms of mosquitoes and march miasma from the stagnant pools.
"To accomplish this important undertaking for the advantages of the city, he proposed to accept the voluntary contribution of such slave labor as the planters and others in the vicinity might be willing to give. The month of June had been announced as the time for beginning the work, at which time sixty negro slaves were sent by the patriotic inhabitants, and the canal was commenced. The work progressed rapidly; but the depth of the canal was only •six feet. The convicts and a few slaves continued to labor upon the work during the remainder of the year, until the canal was opened to the intersection of the Bayou St. John, through which a navigable route lay to Lake Pontchartrain. The following year, the plan of making the canal navigable up to the city was concurred in, and the Governor made a second call upon the patriotism and public spirit of the people for additional labor. To this call a generous response was given, and one hundred and fifty negroes were sent to expedite the work. The excavation was now made to the width of •fifteen feet, with a depth sufficient to admit small vessels to the vicinity of the ramparts on the rear of the city. In November, the Governor made one more call for aid from the planters within •fifteen miles of the city, assuring them that, with eight days' work from the same number of hands, he would be able to render the canal navigable for small vessels up to the 'basin,' which had been excavated near the ramparts of the city. The labor was cheerfully contributed, and the canal was in successful p353 operation during the following winter, 1796. Early in the spring, a number of schooners came up and moored in the basin. Thus, in the autumn of 1795, was there a navigable canal route from the city, by way of the Lakes, to the sea. In honor of the projector and patron, the Cabildo, by a decree, designated it as 'Canal Carondelet,' a name which it retains to this day."d It will be recollected that this same work had been projected and begun, in 1727, by Governor Perier, but soon relinquished.
The revolution in France had been favorable to the increase of the population of Louisiana, which had been recruited by the arrival of some French royalists, who had fled from the anger of their former vassals. Such emigrants were acceptable to the crown of Spain, and among the most conspicuous were the Marquis de Maison Rouge, the Baron de Bastrop, and Jacques Céran de Lassus de St. Vrain, an officer of the late royal navy of France, who had emigrated like so many others of the nobility. They proposed11 plans for the removal of a number of their countrymen to Louisiana from the United States, where they had sought an asylum. Their propositions were accepted — •twelve square leagues were granted to Bastrop, on the banks of the Ouachita, •thirty thousand superficial acres were appropriated to Maison Rouge's establishment, and De Lassus de St. Vrain obtained a concession of •ten thousand square arpens. These grants were made on certain conditions, which were never complied with, and a full title never vested in the grantees, who, by their birth, habits and tastes, were not qualified to carry such plans into execution and to become pioneers in the wilderness.
"The encouragement thus given by the colonial government," p354 says Judge Martin, "was not confined to a grant of land. It covenanted to pay two hundred dollars to every family, composed of at least two white persons, fit for the labors of agriculture, or the mechanical arts necessary in a settlement of this kind, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, &c. Four hundred dollars were allowed to families having four laborers, and proportionately to those having only an artisan or laborer. They were to be assisted with guides and provisions from New Madrid to the Ouachita district. Their baggage and implements of agriculture were to be transported from New Madrid at the King's expense. Each family, consisting of at least two white persons fit for the pursuits of agriculture, was entitled to •four hundred acres of land, with a proportionate increase to more numerous families. Settlers were permitted to bring European servants, to be bound to them for six or more years, and who, at the expiration of their time of service, were to receive grants of land in the same proportion."
A few months later, the King gave his approbation to this agreement between the Spanish authorities and the French royalists. These were laudable efforts on the part of the Spanish government, but they proved completely abortive.
Thus was that government pursuing, with all the means in its power, the wise policy of increasing the white population, when the colony was discovered to be threatened with a very serious danger. The news of the success of the St. Domingo revolution, and of the rebellion of those who might be called the white slaves of France against their masters, had not been without penetrating into the very cabins of the blacks of Louisiana, who thought that they were authorized to do the same thing from themselves; and, accordingly, a conspiracy was formed on the plantation of Julien Poydras, p355 one of the wealthiest planters, who was travelling in the United States. The estate of Poydras was situated in Pointe Coupée, an isolated parish, distant •one hundred and fifty miles from New Orleans, and where the number of the negroes was considerable — from which circumstances they had derived much encouragement. The conspiracy had extended itself throughout the whole parish, and the 15th of April had been the day selected for the massacre. All the whites were to be indiscriminately butchered, with the exception of the adult females, who were to be spared to gratify the lust of the conspirators. A disagreement as to the hour at which the rising should take place gave rise to a quarrel among the leaders, and one of them, through his wife, sent information to the commandant of the parish of all the details of the plot. The ringleaders, among whom were three whites, were immediately arrested and put in prison. The blacks rose and flew to the rescue of their chiefs; a conflict ensued, in which twenty-five of them were killed. The trial of the rebellious slaves was rapidly got through; twenty-three were hung all along the banks of the river down to New Orleans, and their corpses remained for some days dangling from their gibbets, as a warning to the rest of their population; thirty-one were severely flogged; and the three whites, who certainly were the guiltiest, and who ought to have been punished with more rigor than the miserable and ignorant beings12 they had deluded, were only sentenced to leave the colony. This event produced great alarm among the inhabitants, who did not know how far the ramifications of the conspiracy had extended, and the apprehensions continued to be such, that, on the 29th of February of the following year, the Cabildo petitioned p356 the King, to obtain from him that the importation of slaves into Louisiana be completely prohibited, and in the mean time, the Baron, in compliance with their wishes, issued a provisional proclamation to that effect.
Such was the state of affairs in Louisiana, when the negotiations which had been so long pending between the United States and Spain were brought to a close, by a treaty signed at Madrid, on the 20th of October, 1795.
The principal stipulations of the treaty, which related to Louisiana, were, says Monette in his History of the Valley of the Mississippi, as follows:
"The second article stipulates that the future boundary between the United States and the Floridas shall be the thirty-first parallel of north latitude, from the Mississippi eastward to the Chattahoochy River; thence along a line running due east, from the mouth of Flint River to the head of St. Mary's River, and thence down the middle of that river to the Atlantic Ocean, and that, within six months after the ratification of the treaty, the troops and garrisons of each power shall be withdrawn to its own side of this boundary, and the people shall be at liberty to retire with all their effects, if they desire so to do.
"The third article stipulates that each party, respectively, shall appoint one commissioner and one surveyor, with a suitable military guard of equal numbers, well provided with instruments and assistants, who shall meet at Natchez, within six months after the mutual ratification of the treaty, and proceed thence to run and mark the said Southern boundary of the United States.
"The fourth article stipulates that the middle of the Mississippi River shall be the Western boundary of the United States from its source to the intersection of the said line of demarcation. The King of Spain also stipulates p357 that the whole width of said river, from its source to the sea, shall be free to the people of the United States.
"The fifth article stipulates, that each party shall require and enforce peace and neutrality among the Indian tribes inhabiting their respective territories.
"The King of Spain stipulates and agrees to permit the people of the United States, for the term of three years, to use the port of New Orleans as a place of deposit for their produce and merchandise, and to export the same free from all duty or charge, except a reasonable consideration to be paid for storage and other incidental expenses; that the term of three years may, by subsequent negotiation, be extended; or, instead of that town, some other point in the island of New Orleans shall be designated as a place of deposit for the American trade. Other commercial advantages were likewise held out as within the reach of negotiation. The treaty was duly ratified by the Senate in March following, and the Federal Executive proceeded to make the necessary arrangements for the fulfilment of all its stipulations on the part of the United States."
By this treaty the Southern boundary of the United States, as settled by their treaty of peace with Great Britain, was recognised, and also the principle so tenaciously advocated — that free ships make free goods.
"But," continues Monette, "although Spain suspended her restrictions upon the river trade after this treaty had been ratified, it was quite apparent that the King never intended to surrender the territory east of the Mississippi, and north of latitude 31, provided any contingency should enable him to hold possession. He had been compelled, by the pressure of political embarrassment, both in Europe and in America, to yield a reluctant assent to the treaty, as the only means by which he p358 could preserve the province of Louisiana from invasion, and conciliate the hostile feelings of the Western people of the United States. The provincial authorities in Louisiana seemed to view the late treaty on the part of Spain as a mere measure of policy and court finesse, to propitiate the neutrality of the Federal Government and satisfy the American people, until her European embarrassments should have been surmounted. Spain, incited by France, had been upon the verge of a war with Great Britain; and already the British authorities in Canada had planned an invasion of Upper Louisiana, by way of the Lakes and the Illinois River, whenever hostilities should be formally proclaimed. To prevent this invasion was one object to be gained by the treaty of Madrid, which would put the neutral territory of a friendly power in the way of invasion."
Whilst the negotiations had been carried on between Spain and the United States, the Baron de Carondelet had not been inactive, and had been striving to secure success to his favorite plan of separating the West from the rest of the Union. His chief agent, Power, had informed him that the same influential individuals in Kentucky, who had been in secret correspondence with Governor Mirò, such as Wilkinson, Innis, Murray, Nicholas, &c., were disposed to renew their former relations with the Spanish Government, and that some of them would be ready to meet at the mouth of the Ohio any officer of rank that should be sent to them. In consequence of this communication, Carondelet chose for this delicate mission the Governor of Natchez, Gayoso de Lemos, who proceeded to New Madrid, whence he despatched Power to make the preliminary arrangements for the interview with Sebastian, Innis, and their other associates. Power met Sebastian at Red Banks. This individual told the Spanish emissary, that Innis had been p359 prevented by some family concerns from leaving home; that, as the courts of Kentucky were then in session, the absence of Nicholas — a lawyer in great practice — would excite suspicion, and that Murray,13 having lately become an habitual drunkard, was unfit for any kind of business and could not be trusted. This was a great disappointment for Power; but Sebastian went down with him to meet Gayoso, who, in the mean time, had employed the men of his escort in erecting a small stockade fort, on the right bank of the river, opposite the mouth of the Ohio, in order to cause it to be believed that the construction of this fortification had been the object of his journey. Sebastian declared to Gayoso that he was authorized to treat in the name of Innis and Nicholas, but seems to have said nothing about Wilkinson. Gayoso proposed to him that they should together visit the Baron de Carondelet; this was assented to, and Power, Sebastian, and Gayoso departed for New Orleans, where they arrived early in January, 1796, and, in the beginning of the spring, Sebastian and Power sailed together for Philadelphia, no doubt on a mission from the Spanish Governor.
Power soon returned to Kentucky, and submitted to those whom he expected to seduce the following document:
His Excellency, the Baron de Carondelet, &c., Commander-in‑chief and Governor of his Catholic Majesty's provinces of West Florida and Louisiana, having communications of importance, embracing the interests of said provinces, and at the same time deeply affecting those of Kentucky and of the Western country in general, to make to its inhabitants, through the medium of the influential characters in this country, and judging it, in p360 the present uncertain and critical attitude of politics, highly imprudent and dangerous to lay them on paper, has expressly commissioned and authorized me to submit the following proposals to the consideration of Messrs. Sebastian, Nicholas, Innis and Murray, and also of such other gentlemen as may be pointed out by them, and to receive from them their sentiments and determination on the subject.
"1o— The above mentioned gentlemen are to exert all their influence in impressing on the minds of the inhabitants of the Western country, a conviction of the necessity of their withdrawing and separating themselves from the Federal Union, and forming an independent government wholly unconnected with that of the Atlantic States. To prepare and dispose the people for such an event, it will be necessary that the most popular and eloquent writers in this State should, in well-timed publications, expose, in the most striking point of view, the inconveniences and disadvantages that a longer connection with and dependence on, the Atlantic States, must inevitably draw upon them, and the great and innumerable difficulties in which they will probably be entangled, if they do not speedily recede from the Union; the benefits they will certainly reap from a secession ought to be pointed out in the most forcible and powerful manner; and the danger of permitting the federal troops to take possession of the posts on the Mississippi, and thus forming a cordon of fortified places round them, must be particularly expatiated upon. In consideration of gentlemen devoting their time and talents to this object, his Excellency, the Baron de Carondelet, will appropriate the sum of one hundred thousand dollars to their use, which shall be paid in drafts on the royal treasury at New Orleans, or, if more convenient, shall be conveyed at the expense of his Catholic Majesty into this country, and held at their p361 disposal. Moreover, should such persons as shall be instrumental in promoting the views of his Catholic Majesty hold any public employment, and in consequence of taking an active part in endeavoring to effect a secession shall lose their employments, a compensation, equal at least to the emoluments of their respective offices, shall be made to them by his Catholic Majesty, let their efforts be crowned with success, or terminate in disappointment.
"2o— Immediately after the declaration of independence, Fort Massace shall be taken possession of by the troops of the new government, which shall be furnished by his Catholic Majesty, without loss of time, with twenty field pieces, with their carriages and every necessary appendage, including powder, balls, &c., together with a number of small-arms and ammunition, sufficient to equip the troops that it shall be necessary to raise. The whole to be transported at his expense to the already mentioned Fort Massac. His Catholic Majesty will further supply the sum of one hundred thousand dollars for the raising and maintaining of said troops, which sum shall also be conveyed to, and delivered at, Fort Massac.
"3o— The northern boundary of his Catholic Majesty's provinces of East and West Florida shall be designated by a line commencing on the Mississippi. At the mouth of the river Yazoo, extending due east to the river Confederation or Tombigbee; provided, however, that all his Catholic Majesty's forts, posts or settlements on the Confederation or Tombigbee, are included on the south of such a line; but should any of his Majesty's forts, posts or settlements fall to the north of said line, then the northern boundary of his Majesty's provinces of East and West Florida shall be designated by a line beginning at the same point on the Mississippi, and drawn in such a direction as to meet the river Confederation or p362 Tombigbee, •six miles to the north of the most northern Spanish fort, post or settlement on the said river. All the lands to the north of that line shall be considered as constituting a part of the territory of the new government, saving that small tract of land at the Chickasaw Bluffs, on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, ceded to his Majesty by the Chickasaw nation in a formal treaty concluded on the spot in the year 1795, between his Excellency Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, Governor of Natchez, and Augliakabee, and some other Chickasaw chiefs; which tract of land his Majesty reserves for himself. The eastern boundary of the Floridas shall be hereafter regulated.
"4o— His Catholic Majesty will, in case the Indian nations south of the Ohio should declare war or commence hostilities against the new government, not only join and assist it in repelling its enemies, but also if said government shall, at any future period, deem it necessary to reduce said Indian nations, extend its dominion over them, and compel them to submit themselves to its constitution and laws, his Majesty will heartily concur and coöperate with the new Government in the most effectual manner in attaining this desirable end.
"5o— His Catholic Majesty will not, either directly or indirectly, interfere in the framing of the constitution or laws which the new government shall think fit to adopt, nor will he, at any time, by any means whatever, attempt to lessen the independence of the said government, or endeavor to acquire an undue influence in it, but will, in the manner that shall hereafter be stipulated by treaty, defend and support it in preserving its independence.
"6o— The preceding proposals are the outlines of a provisional treaty, which his Excellency the Baron de Carondelet is desirous of entering into with the inhabitants p363 of the Western country, the moment they shall be in a situation to treat for themselves. Should they not meet entirely with your approbation, and should you wish to make any alterations in, or additions, to them, I shall, on my return, if you think proper to communicate them to me, lay them before his Excellency, who is animated with a sincere and ardent desire to foster this promising and rising infant country, and at the same time promote and fortify the interests of his beneficent royal master, in securing, by a generous and disinterested conduct, the gratitude and affections of a just, sensible and enlightened people.
"The important and unexpected events that have taken place in Europe since the ratification of the treaty concluded on the 27th of October, 1795, between his Catholic Majesty and the United States of America, having convulsed the general system of politics in that quarter of the globe, and, wherever its influence is extended, causing a collision of interests between nations formerly living in the most perfect union and harmony, and directing the political views of some states towards objects the most remote from their former pursuits, but none being so completely unhinged and disjointed as the cabinet of Spain, it may be confidently asserted, without incurring the reproach of presumption, that his Catholic Majesty will not carry the above mentioned treaty into execution; nevertheless, the thorough knowledge I have of the disposition of the Spanish government justifies me in saying that, so far from its being his Majesty's wish to exclude the inhabitants of this Western country from the free navigation of the Mississippi, or withhold from them any of the benefits stipulated for them by the treaty, it is positively his intention, as soon as they shall put it in his power to treat with them, by declaring themselves independent of the Federal Government and p364 establishing one of their own, to grant them privileges far more extensive, give them a decided preference over the Atlantic States in his commercial connections with them, and place them in a situation infinitely more advantageous, in every point of view, than that in which they would find themselves, were the treaty to be carried into effect."
To back these tempting offers and to smoothe difficulties, money had been sent up the Mississippi and the Ohio, and Power, who had several interviews with Wilkinson, delivered to him ten thousand dollars, which had been carried up, concealed in barrels of sugar and bags of coffee. Wilkinson had just been appointed Major-general of the United States in the place of Wayne, who had died recently, and Power was directed to avail himself of his intercourse with Wilkinson, to ascertain the force, discipline, and temper of the army under that general, and to report thereon to Carondelet. The Spanish Governor, through his agent, made also a strong appeal to Wilkinson's ambition. "The Western people," said he, "are dissatisfied with the excise on whiskey;14 Spain and France are irritated at the late treaty, which has bound so closely together the United States and England; the army is devoted to their talented and brilliant commander; it requires but firmness and resolution on your part to render the Western people free and happy. Can a man of your superior genius prefer a subordinate and contracted position as the commander of the small and insignificant army of the United States, to the glory of being the founder of an empire — the liberator of so many millions of his countrymen — the Washington of the West? Is not this splendid achievement to be easily accomplished? Have you not the confidence p365 of your fellow citizens, and principally of the Kentucky volunteers? Would not the people, at the slightest movement on your part, hail you as the chief of the new republic? Would not your reputation alone raise you an army which France and Spain would enable you to pay? The eyes of the world are fixed upon you; be bold and prompt; do not hesitate to grasp the golden opportunity of acquiring wealth, honors, and immortal fame. But should Spain be forced to execute the treaty of 1795, and surrender all the posts claimed by the United States, then the bright vision of independence for the Western people, and of the most exalted position and imperishable renown for yourself, must for ever vanish."
But all these allurements failed to produce their expected effects. Time, Washington's administration, and a concourse of favorable circumstances, had consolidated the Union; and Wilkinson and his associates, whatever might have been their secret aspirations, were too sagacious not to see what almost insuperable obstacles existed between the conception and execution of such dangerous schemes. Therefore, on his return to New Orleans, Power made to his Spanish employer an unfavorable report on what he had observed. He remarked, in the words used by Judge Martin in his History of Louisiana, that whatever might have been, at any previous time, the disposition of the people of Kentucky, they were now perfectly satisfied with the General Government, and that their leading men, with a few exceptions, manifested an utter aversion to the hazardous experiments heretofore thought of — especially as their own Government had now obtained for them, by the late treaty, the principal object which they expected to attain by a separation from the Union.
In the meantime, Spain had concluded a treaty of p366 peace with France, and, on the 7th of October, 1796, had declared war against Great Britain, mentioning as one of her grievances, the late treaty which that power had made with the United States, and which was alleged to be a great infringement on the rights of the Spanish Crown. The attention of the Governor of Louisiana was called to the gathering of a considerable number of troops on the southern frontier of Canada — which circumstance had given rise to the report that an invasion of Louisiana was contemplated. The Minister of the Catholic King near the United States communicated to the President his fears on the subject, and requested that in conformity with the late treaty and the law of nations, the United States, as neutrals, should take the necessary measures to oppose effectually the intended violation of their territory.
The Baron had determined not to deliver up to the United States the posts ceded by the treaty of 1795, until the failure of his last attempt to detach the Western country from the Union should be fully ascertained, for in case of success, of course the treaty would have been annulled by the disruption of the American confederacy. Therefore, when the Spanish authorities heard of the approach of Andrew Ellicott, who had been appointed, under the treaty, commissioner for the United States, they had recourse to every artifice to postpone the execution of its stipulations. Ellicott arrived at Natchez on the 24th of February, 1797, and proposed to Gayoso, who was the other commissioner on the part of Spain, that they should proceed immediately to the discharge of their respective duties. But Gayoso replied that the fort was not ready to be surrendered; that certain preliminaries could be settled at New Orleans only, where the American commissioner refused to go; that the stipulations of the treaty were not sufficiently explicit, and p367 that doubts had risen in the Baron de Carondelet's mind as to their interpretation; that it was questionable whether all the forts and edifices were to be delivered up in their integrity to the United States, or razed and abandoned, in conformity with formal treaties which Spain had made with the Chickasaws, who had ceded to her the land at the Chickasaw Bluffs, Walnut Hills, and Tombigbee, on certain conditions that would be violated, if the treaty of 1795 were interpreted in the manner favored by the American government; and that the ultimate orders of his Catholic Majesty, or of his minister plenipotentiary near the United States, should be waited for in a matter of so much importance. Not satisfied with putting forth these pretexts for procrastination, Gayoso proceeded to strengthen the fortifications at Natchez, Walnut Hills, and the other posts above, under the apparent apprehension of Indian hostilities and of an invasion from Canada; and the meeting of the commissioners for establishing the line of demarcation, as provided for by the treaty, was indefinitely postponed. It was alleged that,15 as the treaty of 1795 contained no guaranty of property to those who desired to retire beyond the American jurisdiction, it would be necessary to settle that point by a new treaty. At another time it was seriously urged, that a scrupulous observance of the treaty of Madrid could not be demanded, because the United States had not acted in good faith towards Spain in conceding to Great Britain, by the treaty of London, November 19, 1794, the free navigation of the Mississippi, although this concession had been made nearly a year previous. These objections were not presented in a body, but were sprung up one after the other, and evidently to gain time. The course p368 pursued by the Spanish authorities gave rise to an excited correspondence between them and the American officers; and the people of the district, who, being of Anglo-Saxon descent, and emigrants from the United States, had all their sympathies enlisted in favor of their countrymen, became highly incensed. On their showing some signs of resistance, two of them were arrested on the 9th of June, 1797, and confined within the Spanish fort. As this evinced on the part of Gayoso a determination to enforce vigorously the authority of Spain, in a country which he ought already to have abandoned, the people flew to arms and drove the Governor to seek an asylum in the fort. Public meetings were held, violent speeches delivered, extreme measures contemplated, and Lieutenant Pope, who commanded the military escort of the commissioner, Andrew Ellicott, declared that he would for the future repel by force any attempt made to imprison those who claimed the privilege of citizens of the United States. He also notified the people of his intentions, and assured them of his protection and support against any arbitrary military force which might be brought to operate against them, or in any way to infringe their rights as American citizens.
"At this time," says Monette, who relates these events with great accuracy, and whose narration I can no better than partly to borrow, "it was supposed that Gayoso might order reinforcements from other posts on the river, to aid in maintaining his authority. Lieutenant Pope had resolved to permit no such reinforcement, and called on the people to sustain him in repelling an attempt to reinforce the garrison in Fort Panmure.
"On the 14th of June, Governor Gayoso issued his proclamation, exhorting the people to a quiet and peaceable submission to the authority of his Catholic Majesty until the difficulties between the two governments p369 could be properly arranged. At the same time, he promised the utmost lenity, and a pardon to all who repented of their misdeeds, and, as an evidence of repentance, abstained from all acts calculated to disturb the public peace.
"The people, already highly irritated by delays and disappointed hopes, took great exceptions to the word 'repentance,' as highly offensive to free citizens of the United States. Things now assumed a serious aspect, and the opposition to Spanish authority had taken a regular form of rebellion. A number of respectable militia-companies were organized, and ready to take the field at the first notice, and open hostilities seemed inevitable. Both parties were in a continual state of preparation to repel force by force. Gayoso made great efforts to reinforce his garrison, but without success, while the militia were drilling throughout the settlements. Confined to the walls of his fortress, and too weak for offensive operations, he interceded with the American commissioner to use his influence in calming the popular excitement. But Colonel Ellicott felt little sympathy for the unpleasant position which he had brought upon himself.
In the meantime a public meeting had been announced to be held at Benjamin Bealk's, on the Nashville road, •eight miles from Natchez. This meeting was assembled on the 20th of June, and was attended by many of the inhabitants. The subject of the existing difficulties was discussed, and the meeting dispersed after appointing a "Committee of Public Safety" consisting of seven prominent men, to represent the people thereafter in any negotiation with the Spanish authorities. No measures adopted by the Spanish Governor should have the force of law until the concurrence of this Committee should render it obligatory.
p370 "Up to this time, the Spanish commandant, as well as the American, kept an active patrol continually on duty; and during the greater portion of the time since the month of May, a heavy piece of ordnance in the Spanish fort had been brought to bear upon the American commander's tent, which was in full view.
"On the 18th of June, while all was excitement and apprehension, the Governor, confined within the narrow limits of the fort, desired an interview with the American Commissioner at the house of Captain Minor. To meet this appointment, Gayoso, in great trepidation, having left the fort by a circuitous route, made his way through thickets and cane brakes to the rear or north side of Minor's plantation, and thence through a corn field to the back of the house, and entered the parlor undiscovered. Such were the visible marks of anxiety in his person, that Colonel Ellicott says his feelings never were more excited than when he beheld the Governor. The humiliating state to which he was reduced by a people whose affections he had courted, and whose gratitude he expected, had made a strong and visible impression upon his mind and countenance. His having been educated with high ideas of command and prerogative served only to render his present situation more poignant and distressing.
"The Committee of Public Safety, agreeably to their instructions, presented themselves before Gayoso in their official capacity, for his recognition and approbation. He did not hesitate to recognize them as representatives of the people, and cheerfully acceded to their demand, that none of the people should be injured or prosecuted for the part they had taken in the late movements against the Spanish authority; also, that they should be exempt from serving in the Spanish militia; unless in case of riots or Indian hostilities. The proceedings p371 of the public meeting, the recognition of the Committee by the Governor, and his acquiescence in their demands, had all tended greatly to quiet public apprehensions and to allay the popular excitement.
"Yet there were persons in the Committee whose fidelity to the United States was suspected by Colonel Ellicott; and one of them was particularly objectionable to him and Lieutenant Pope. In order to insure harmony, he prevailed upon the Governor to dissolve the Committee, and to authorize the election of another, by proclamation — which should be permanent. A new Committee, consisting of nine members, was accordingly elected about the first of July, "permanent in its character," and created by virtue of the Spanish authority. The organization of this Committee was highly gratifying to Colonel Ellicott, who declared that this Committee was the finishing stroke to the Spanish authority and jurisdiction." And so it was; the concessions made by Gayoso were ratified by Carondelet, and a sort of truce ensued between the two adverse parties.
Leaving, for the present, matters as they stand under this compromise, I shall proceed to notice some facts which had occurred in the meanwhile, and which are to be briefly chronicled.
It appears by a despatch of the Intendant Rendon, dated on the 28th of April, 1795, that the expenses of the province had amounted in 1794 to $864,126, and that the custom-house revenue had not given more than $57,506.
On the 15th of June, he describes16 the sad condition p372 to which the colony had been reduced by the want of capital, by the disasters produced by conflagration and the repeated occurrence of hurricanes, by the exhaustion of the royal treasury in Louisiana, drained by the incessant demands of funds which the Spanish authorities had to meet in order to counteract the schemes of the insatiable ambition of their enemies to possess themselves of the territories of Spain, with a view of opening to themselves a passage to the Mexican provinces; by the fortifications which they had been obliged to erect, increase, or strengthen throughout the colony to repel such designs; by the creation of a small fleet of galleys which protected the navigation of the river; by the immense disbursements to which they were subjected by the avidity of their Indian allies, and other innumerable and extraordinary contingencies which daily occurred, which had reduced them to the most deplorable indigence, deprived them of the means of attending to numerous objects urgently requiring their immediate consideration, and prevented them from maintaining, in all their integrity, the authority of the Government and the honor of the arms of the King. "All that remains for me to do," said he, "is to repeat my most earnest entreaties that the necessary funds be sent to me as promptly as possible."
On the 30th of November, he informed his Government that a French privateer, called "La Parisienne," with six guns and a crew of forty-five men, commanded p373 by Captain Alexander Bolchoz, had taken possession of the post of the Balize, at the mouth of the Mississippi, on the 13th of October preceding. The French occupied the post until the 21st, when, on hearing of the approach of Spanish forces from New Orleans, they retired after having destroyed everything they could. The French vessel had presented herself under the Spanish flag, and the chief pilot, named Juan Ronquillo, with sixteen men out of the twenty who were stationed at the Balize, having gone out to meet her, were made prisoners, and twenty of the French, well armed, availed themselves of the Spanish boat to go ashore, and easily overpowered the four men who had remained to guard the post.
In the same despatch, Rendon said that the cultivation of tobacco had been abandoned in all the districts of the province with the exception of Natchitoches,º ever since his Majesty had reduced to one hundred and twenty thousand pounds the quantity which he would buy annually.
In another communication of the 30th of January, 1796, he stated the revenue of the custom-house in 1795 to have been $114,932 — a little more than double of what it had been the year previous — which is, no doubt, to be attributed to the removal of the apprehensions of a revolution and the cessation of the state of uncertainty existing in 1793 and 1794.
In April, 1796, Don Francisco Rendon departed from New Orleans for the province of Zacatecas, of which he had been appointed Intendant, and his successor in Louisiana was Don Juan Ventura Morales, who, on the 17th of July of the same year, informed his government of some changes which had been effected in the comptroller's department (contaduria), and by which, on the resignation of Don Francisco Arroyo, Don Carlos Anastasio Gayarré, the grandson of the Contador Don Estevan p374 Gayarré, who had come with Ulloa in 1766, had taken Arroyo's place, and Don Manuel Hoa had succeeded Gayarré. For these changes he begged the royal approbation.
Until the year 1796, the city of New Orleans had never been lighted at night except by the moon, and had been guarded by occasional patrols only, when circumstances required it. But, on the 30th of March of that year, the Baron wrote to his government that, considering the frequent and almost inevitable robberies which were perpetrated in a city of six thousand souls, by a multitude of vagabonds of every nation, he had, as proposed before, imposed a tax of nine reales a year on every chimney, to provide for the expenses of the police; that he had formed a body of thirteen serenos,17 or watchmen, and had established eighty lamps; that the keeping up of these thirteen watchmen and eighty lamps would cost $3,898 annually; and that to meet these expenses, he had to call for a proportionate contribution, which he had apportioned among all the inhabitants of New Orleans. To make this tax lighter, he proposed that •eighteen hundred feet in depth of that part of the commons fronting the rear of the city and nearest to the fortifications, which were unproductive of any revenue to said city, be divided into lots of •sixty feet by one hundred and fifty in depth, and conceded to such of the inhabitants as should offer to cultivate them into gardens, on condition of their paying annually a certain sum to defray the expense of lighting up the streets — which sum would be so much to be deducted from what the city had now to pay.
p375 These were decided improvements calculated to meliorate the condition of New Orleans, which, unfortunately, was visited, it is said for the first time, with the yellow fever in the fall of the year 1796. That autumn proved, besides, very sickly in every other way.
The Intendant Ventura Morales, in a despatch of the 31st of October, speaks of it in the following terms: "An epidemic which broke out in the latter part of August, and which is prevalent to this day, has terrified and still keeps in a state of consternation the whole population of this town. Some of the medical faculty call it a malignant fever; some say that it is the disease so well known in America under the name of 'black vomit,' and, finally, others affirm that it is the yellow fever which proved so fatal in Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1794. Although the number of deaths has not been excessive, considering that, according to the parish registry, it has not yet reached two hundred among the whites since the breaking out of the epidemic, and considering that many died from other diseases, still it must be admitted that the loss of lives is very great, because, although those who died out of the precincts of the town, and the protestants who perished (and they were numerous), have not been registered, nevertheless the number of deaths exceeds, by two thirds, those which occurred in the same lapse of time, in ordinary years.
A peculiarity to be remarked in the disease is, that it attacks foreigners in preference to the natives, and what is singular, it seems to select the Flemish, the English, and the Americans, who rarely recover, and who generally die the second or third day after the invasion of the disease. Such is not the case with the Spaniards and the colored people, with whom the recipe of Dr. Masderall has produced marvellous effects."
As to the sanitary condition of the morals and religion p376 of the inhabitants Bishop Peñalvert had said in a despatch of the 1st of November, 1795:
"Since my arrival in this town, on the 17th of July, I have been studying with the keenest attention the character of its inhabitants, in order to regulate my ecclesiastical government in accordance with the information which I may obtain on this important subject.
"On the 2d of August, I began the discharge of my pastoral functions. I took possession without any difficulty of all the buildings appertaining to the church, and examined all the books, accounts, and other matters thereto relating. But as to re-establishing the purity of religion, and reforming the manners of the people, which are the chief objects El Tridentino18 has in view, I have encountered many obstacles.
"The inhabitants do not listen to, or if they do, they disregard, all exhortations to maintain in its orthodoxy the Catholic faith, and to preserve the innocence of life. But, without ceasing to pray the Father of all mercies to send his light into the darkness which surrounds these people, I am putting into operation human means to remedy these evils, and I will submit to your Excellency those which I deem conducive to the interests of religion and of the state.
"Because his Majesty tolerates here the Protestants, for sound reasons of state, the bad Christians, who are in large numbers in this colony, think that they are authorized to live without any religion at all. Many adults die without having received the sacrament of communion. Out of the eleven thousand souls composing this parish, hardly three to four hundred comply with the precept of partaking at least once a year of the Lord's supper. Of the regiment of Louisiana, there are not above thirty, p377 including officers and soldiers, who have discharged this sacred duty for the last three years. No more than about the fourth part of the population of the town ever attends mass, and on Sundays only, and on those great holydays which require it imperiously. To do on the other holydays they consider as a superfluous act of devotion to which they are not bound. Most of the married and unmarried men live in a state of concubinage, and there are fathers who procure courtezans for the use of their sons, whom they thus intentionally prevent from getting lawful wives.19 The marriage contract is one which, from a universal custom, admitting only of a few accidental exceptions, is never entered into among the slaves. Fasting on Fridays, in Lent, and during vigilias y temporas, is a thing unknown; and there are other mal-practices which denote the little of religion existing here among the inhabitants, and which demonstrate that there remains in their bosoms but a slight spark of the faith instilled into them at the baptismal font.
"I presume that a large portion of these people are vassals of the king, because they live on his domain, and accept his favors. But I must speak the truth. His Majesty possesses their bodies and not their souls. Rebellion is in their hearts, and their minds are imbued with the maxims of democracy; and had they not for their chief so active and energetic a man as the present governor, there would long since have been an eruption of the pent‑up volcano; and should another less sagacious chief ever forget the fermenting elements which are at work under ground, there can be no doubt but that there would be an explosion.
"Their houses are full of books written against religion and the state. They are permitted to read them p378 with impunity, and, at the dinner table, they make use of the most shameful, lascivious, and sacrilegious songs.
"This melancholy sketch of the religious and moral customs and condition of the flock which has fallen to my lot, will make you understand the cause of whatever act of scandal may suddenly break out, which, however, I shall strive to prevent; and the better so to do, I have used and am still using some means, which I intend as remedies, and which I am going to communicate to your Excellency.
"The Spanish school, which has been established here at the expense of the crown, is kept as it ought to be; but as there are others which are French, and of which one alone is opened by authority and with the regular license, and as I was ignorant of the faith professed by the teachers and of their morality, I have prescribed for them such regulations as are in conformity with the provisions of our legislation.
"Excellent results are obtained from the Convent of the Ursulines, in which a good many girls are educated; but their inclinations are so decidedly French, that they have even refused to admit among them Spanish women who wished to become Nuns, so long as these applicants should remain ignorant of the French idiom, and they have shed many tears on account of their being obliged to read in Spanish books their spiritual exercises, and to comply with the other duties of their community in the manner prescribed to them.
"This is the nursery of those future matrons who will inculcate on their children the principles which they here imbibe. The education which they receive in this institution is the cause of their being less vicious than the other sex. As to what the boys are taught in the Spanish school, it is soon forgotten. Should their education be continued in a college, they would be confirmed in their p379 religious principles, in the good habits given to them, and in their loyalty as faithful vassals to the crown. But they leave the school when still very young, and retire to the houses of their parents mostly situated in the country, where they hear neither the name of God nor of King, but daily witness the corrupt morals of their parents."
The Bishop goes on enumerating the means and expedients through which he hopes to remedy all the evils which he thus energetically describes. So much for the representation made of Louisiana by the Bishop Don Luis de Peñalvert y Cardenas, in the year of our Lord 1795.
There is another delineation of Louisiana from the pen of the French general Victor Collot, who visited that province in 1796,f and who gives most minute description of its military resources and of its fortifications at the time. The character of the work which he published may be said to be almost entirely strategic. It is evident that this superior officer had received from his government a mission which he had fully the ability to execute. He points out the two rivers of the Arkansas and of the Grands Osages as being the keys of Mexico; "for," says he, "although these two rivers are separated from each other at their mouths by a distance of •more than six hundred miles; although the first empties itself into the Mississippi, and the second into the Missouri, yet, as the river des Grands Osages runs south-east, and the river of the Arkansas north-east, they come so near one another at their sources, that they are separated only by a narrow valley, at the extremity of which is Santa Fé.
"From the point where ceases the navigation of the river of the Arkansas to Santa Fé, there are •sixty miles, and from the point where ceases the navigation of the p380 river des Grands Osages, there are •from one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and twenty miles.
"Thus, supposing two bodies of troops, one of which would muster in the State of Indiana,g at the mouth of the river of the Illinois, and opposite that of the Missouri, and the other in the State of Tennessee, at the "Ecores à Margot," a little above the river of the Arkansas, the first ascending the Missouri and the river of the Grands Osages, the second that of the Arkansas, they might both arrive within an interval of very few days, at the same given point (Santa Fé), as they would have about the same facilities of navigation and the same distance to run over. The difficulties to be overcome by the column on the right, in ascending the Missouri for •ninety miles, and in moving on land •sixty miles more than the column on the left, would be more than compensated by the facility which it would find in going up the river of the Grands Osages, which is much less rapid than that of the Arkansas; and, considering that from the head of these two rivers, the ground, from its nature, presents neither mountains nor rivers which might be serious obstacles, one may easily appreciate how important it is for Spain that these two passages be closed."
General Collot also gives a description of the fortifications of New Orleans. "At the superior extremity of the city, when facing the river," said he, "is a draining canal which runs from the Mississippi in the direction of Lake Pontchartrain. Its width is •twenty-four feet by eight in depth.20 This canal, by the means of a sluice, supplies with water the ditches of the city.
"Its defensive works consist in five small forts and a great battery, which are distributed in the following manner:
p381 "On the side which fronts the river, and at both extremities, are two forts which command the road and the river. Their shape is that of a regular pentagon, with a parapet •eighteen feet thick, coated with brick, with a ditch and covered way. In each of these forts are barracks for the accommodation of one hundred and fifty men, and a powder magazine. Their artillery is composed of a dozen twelve and eighteen-pounders.
"Between these two forts, and in front of the principal street of the city, is a great battery, commanding the river with its guns, and crossing its fires with the two forts.
"The first of these forts — that is, that on the right, which is most considerable — is called St. Charles, the other St. Louis.
"In the rear, and to cover the city on the land side, are three other forts. They are less considerable than the two first. There is one at each of the two salient angles of the long square forming the city, and a third between the two, a little beyond the line, so as to form an obtuse angle.21 These three forts have no covered way and are not revetted,22 but are merely strengthened with friezes and palisades. They are armed with eight guns and have accommodations for one hundred men. The one on the right is called Fort Burgundy, that on the left St. Ferdinand, and that of the middle St. Joseph.
"The five forts and the battery cross their fire with one another, and are connected by a ditch of •forty feet in width by seven in depth. With the earth taken out of the ditch, there has been formed one inside a parapet •three feet high, on which have been placed, closely serried, a line of •twelve feet pickets. Back of these pickets is a small causeway. The earth has been cast p382 so as to render the slope exceedingly easy and accessible. Three feet water are always kept up in the moats, even during the driest season of the year by means of ditches communicating with the draining canal.
"It cannot be denied that these miniature forts are well kept and trimmed up. But, particularly on account of their ridiculous distribution, and also on account of their want of capaciousness, they look more like playthings intended for babies than military defences. For there is not one which cannot be stormed, and which five hundred determined men would not carry sword in hand. Once master of one of the principal forts, either St. Louis or St. Charles, the enemy would have no need of minding the others, because, by bringing the guns to bear upon the city, it would be forced to capitulate immediately, or be burnt up in less than an hour, and have its inhabitants destroyed, as none of the forts can admit of more than one hundred and fifty men. We believe that M. de Carondelet, when he adopted this bad system of defence, thought more of securing the obedience of the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, than of providing a defence against the attack of a foreign enemy, and, in this point of view, he may be said to have completely succeeded."
General Collot describes also the fort at the Plaquemine Turn; he says that it is provided with twenty pieces of artillery of various calibre, and that it can accommodate three hundred men.
He further gives the following description of the inhabitants of the Illinois District: "On the American side, there are still to be found some Frenchmen, to wit: at Kaskaskias, at Rock's Prairie (prairie du rocher), at Piorias on Red River, at Dog's prairie (prairie du chien), near Wisconsin, at Chicago on Lake Michigan, and at the Post of Vincennes on the Wabash.
p383 Most of these people are a compound of traders, adventurers, wood runners, rowers and warriors — ignorant, superstitious and obstinate — whom no fatigues, no privations, no dangers can stop in their enterprises, which they always carry through. Of the qualities which distinguish the French, they have retained nothing except courage.
"When at home, and in the privacies of their ordinary life, their character is very much like that of the Aborigines, with whom they live. They are therefore indolent, lazy and addicted to drunkenness, cultivating the earth but little or not at all; the French which they speak has become so corrupt, that it has degenerated into a sort of jargon, and they have even forgotten the regular division of the months, and of time itself, according to the calculations of civilization. If you ask them when a particular event happened, they will answer, that it was when the waters were high, when the strawberries were ripe, or in the corn and potato season. Should it be suggested to them to change anything for the better, even in matters which are acknowledged by them as being defective, or should any improvement be recommended to them in agriculture, or in some of the branches of commerce, their only answer is: it isthe custom; so it was with our fathers. I get along with it — so, of course, will my children. They love France and speak of it with pride."
General Collot, on his way to New Orleans from the upper country, had stopped to visit Etienne Boré at his sugar plantation, •six miles above New Orleans, where he was arrested by order of the Baron de Carondelet, who had sent up fifty dragoons by land and an armed boat by the river. The General was put in the boat, and taken down to New Orleans, where he was imprisoned in Fort St. Charles; on the next day, he was called p384 upon by the Governor, who proposed to him a house in town, which he might occupy on parole, and with a Spanish soldier at his door. The General, having accepted the proposition, left the fort for his new lodgings in the Governor's carriage, which had been politely tendered to him. On the 1st of November, the General, from whom some of his maps, drawings and writings had been taken away, was conveyed on board of one of the King's galleys, and, being accompanied by a captain of the regiment of Louisiana, who was not to lose sight of his person, was transported to the Balize, where he was deposited in the house of the chief pilot, Juan Ronquillo, "situated," says he, "in the midst of a vast swamp, and from which there was no issuing except in a boat." He remained at this dismal spot, until the 22d of December, when he embarked on board of the brig Iphigenia for Philadelphia. It is evident from the General's own relation of his visit to New Orleans that he was not permitted to examine the fortifications of that place, and that he must have described them from hearsay.
The Baron de Carondelet wrote to citizen Adet, who was the representative of the French republic near the government of the United States, in order to justify the course which he had pursued towards General Collot. His reasons were:23
1o— The silence of the minister, who had neglected to notify him, the Governor, of the approach of the General.
p385 2o— A confidential communication which he, the Baron de Carondelet, had received from Philadelphia, warning him that General Collot was intrusted with a secret mission, against which the Spanish authorities were to be on their guard.
3o— The information given by one of his subaltern officers, that General Collot was reconnoitring the province.
4o— The alarm and excitement which the presence of that superior officer had caused in the colony, and which originated from the rumor mentioned in the American newspapers — that Louisiana was soon to become a French possession.
Etienne Boré was known for his extreme attachment to the French interest, which he was at no pains to conceal, and it is said that the Baron seriously thought of having him arrested and transported to Havana, but that he was deterred by the fear of producing a commotion by inflicting so harsh a treatment on so distinguished a citizen, who, by his personal character, his rank, his family connections, and the benefit he had lately conferred on his country by the introduction of a new branch of industry, commanded universal sympathies and exercised the widest influence.
In the fall of 1797, the Baron de Carondelet departed for Quito, on his having been appointed President of the Royal Audience of the province of that name. The Baron was a short-sized, plump gentleman, somewhat choleric in his disposition, but not destitute of good nature. He was firm and prudent, with a good deal of activity and capacity for business, and he has left in Louisiana a respected and popular memory.h
1 Pickett's History of Alabama, vol. II, p115.
2 Sino tambien la seguridad del imperio Mejicano de que son el antemural y natural barrera.
3 Pickett's History of Alabama, vol. II, p141.
4 Pickett's History of Alabama, vol. II, p142.
5 Martin's History of Louisiana, vol. II, p118.
6 Carondelet's despatch of the 28th of February, 1794.
8 Conseiller de roi, controleur des postes, et maître des courriers de Paris à Orléans, maître d'hotel de la maison du roi, &c.
9 Martin's History of Louisiana, vol. II, p127.
11 Martin's History of Louisiana, vol. II, p128.
12 The Intendant Rendon's despatch of the 15th of June, 1795.
13 Martin's History, vol. II, p126.
14 Martin's History of Louisiana, vol. II, p145.
15 Monette's Valley of the Mississippi, vol. II, p523.
16 Manifiesta el triste estado á que está reducida la provincia por falto de recursos. El estado, (dice) á que los hurricanesº y incendio han traido esta provincia y lo exhaustas de caudales que se hallan las Reales Cajas para subvenir á los indispensables gastos que me ocasionen las repetidas expediciones de fondos á que nos obligan las tentativas que la sedienta ambicino de nuestros enemigos forman para apoderarse de estas posesiones y abrirse paso á Nueva-España: Los (p372)diferentes puestos y fortificaciones que ha sido forzoso aumentar en oposicion á sus designios, una escuadra de galeras que defiende la navegacion del Rio, immensos dispendios que se hacen en las tribus Indias nuestras aliadas, y otras inumerables extraordinarias evocaciones que casi diaramenteº ocurren, habiendonos reducido á la mas deplorable indigencia por faltarnos ya todo medio para atender á tantos y tan urgentisimos objetos, y mantener con el honor debido la autoridad del Gobierno y de las armas del Rey. Solo me queda el recurso de reiterar á V. E. mis mas eficaces ruegos, á fin que se sirva franquearme con la mayor brevedad los fondos necesarios, &c.
17 A sereno is a night watch, so called from his announcing in a loud voice from time to time the state of the weather, and from his frequently crying out: "Sereno," fair weather.
18 The Bishop alludes to the disciplinary rules established by the Council of Trent.
19 Hay padres que proporcionan las mancebas á sus hijos para distraerles los matrimonios.
20 This is a singular error: there never was such a canal; it was merely in contemplation.
21 Un angle obtus.
22 Ne sont pas revêtus.
23 In a despatch of the 10th of December, 1796, the Intendant Morales says: No habiendo tenido por conveniente el Gobernador que el general de la Republica Francesa Jorge Victor Collot que se introdujo en esta provincia por el Ohio, accompañado de su ayudante de campo, tenga comunicacion con estos moradores ni que se instruya del Estado de defensa de la ciudad, tomé el partido de enviarle al puesto de la Baliza, a esperar ocasion para embarcarle para cualquiera puesto de los Estados Unidos.
a In addition to what Gayarré will tell us about the colorful career of this Franco-Scottish Creek Indian later in this chapter, a clear, succinct summary can be read in H. J. Ford, Washington and His Colleagues, pp83‑84, and another, equally good, to which I've added his portrait by Trumbull, is found in CLSkinner, Pioneers of the Old Southwest, pp255‑259.
b I Macc. 9.20‑21. In the Douay-Challoner translation: "And all the people of Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and they mourned for him many days. And said: How is the mighty man fallen, that saved the people of Israel!"
c The "Genet affair" is often presented as no more than the ill-advised intrigues of one man. Citizen Genet, though, was no loose cannon: he was faithfully executing his orders from the French government, that aimed at the dismemberment, or at the very least, the control of the United States. The French involvement in the American Revolution, which generations of American children have been taught to regard as motivated only in part by hatred of the British, but in part also as altruistic assistance, was no such thing: French diplomatic policy sought in a first, successful, stage to divide and weaken British power by ensuring the secession of the American colonies; and in a second stage, that failed, to destroy the weaker part thus separated. Genet's enterprises were just part of a vast array of schemes to effect the latter end. A lucid exposition will be found in French Designs on America (Chapter 6 of H. J. Ford's Washington and His Colleagues) and the further references there.
d The canal remained in operation until 1927, when it was declared no longer navigable; in the late 1930s most of it was filled in. Portions remain as part of the city's drainage system.
e Fort Massac was an important strategic post until the War of 1812, being held at various times by the French, the English, and the Americans: for a capsule history of the fort, see the editor's note to Bedford's Tour down the Cumberland . . ., Tenn. Hist. Mag. V No. 1, p53.
g The alert reader will feel something is wrong here, since in 1796 at the time of Collot's trip, Indiana was not a state, only being admitted to the Union in 1816. The general's account, however, unimaginatively titled Voyage dans l'Amérique septentrionale, though printed before his death in 1805, was not actually published until 1826; an editor seems to have massaged his text.
h A sharply different view of Carondelet — in fact, a mirth-provokingly savage assessment of him — is presented by Arthur Preston Whitaker in Chapter 11 of The Spanish-American Frontier, 1783‑1795: Hector, Baron de Carondelet. The discrepancy between our two authors is easily accounted for: Charles Gayarré was a French Southerner who lived thru the War Between the States, firmly convinced that two countries were better than one; Arthur Whitaker was a 20c Anglo-American intellectual who viewed separation from the Union — even of frontiersmen who had emigrated from it, and even in the 1790's when there barely was a United States — as treason.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
Gayarré's History of Louisiana
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY if its URL has a total of one *asterisk. If the URL has two **asterisks, the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use. If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 15 Apr 16