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Louisiana Anthology

John Smith Kendall.
"History of New Orleans."

History of New Orleans
by
John Smith Kendall

FOREWORD

The author desires to express his appreciation of the assistance which he has received in the preparation of this volume from Mr. William Beer, librarian of the Howard Memorial Library; Mr. Gaspar Cusachs, president of the Louisiana Historical Society; Dr. William Dinwiddie, head of the research department of the Association of Commerce of New Orleans; Mr. T. P. Thompson, president of the Louisiana State Museum; Mr. Robert Glenk, curator of the Louisiana State Museum; Mr. Henry P. Dart, editor of the Louisiana Historical Quarterly; Mr. W. O. Hart, treasurer of the Louisiana Historical Society; Mrs. M. Pohlman, keeper of the archives of the City of New Orleans; Miss Carrie Freret, librarian of the Louisiana Historical Society; Dr. Charles Woodward Hutson, Gen. W. J. Behan, Col. J. D. Hill, Miss Marie Louise Points, editor of the "Morning Star"; Mr. Tiley McChesney, secretary of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans; Mr. George Earl, of the Sewerage, Water and Drainage Board; Mr. George Ferrier, clerk of the Commission Council of the City of New Orleans; Prof. Melvin J. White, head of the department of history in the Tulane University of Louisiana; Prof. W. J. Waguespack, professor of equity in Loyola University; Mr. Norman Walker, of the editorial staff of the New Orleans "Times-Picayune"; Dr. G. Farrar Patton, Dr. I. M. Cline, Mr. Bernard Shields, secretary of the Board of Liquidation of the City of New Orleans; Messrs. Ellsworth Woodward, Louis Winterhalder, and the late Mr. J. J. McLoughlin. I am also under obligations to others to whom reference is made in the course of this work, in the notes appended at appropriate points, and also to many persons who in one way or the other have been of assistance, but of whom space does not permit more than this general acknowledgment. Finally, I desire to express my appreciation of the courtesy of Prof. Pierce Butler, dean, and Prof. J. E. Winston, of the department of history, in H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College; Mr. Henry G. Hester, secretary of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange, and Mr. Ernest L. Jahncke, who in conjunction with Messrs. Beer, Hart, Cusachs, Dart and Hutson consented to act as an advisory boat during the preparation of the work.

The only merit which the present volumes can claim is that they open up a field which has been hitherto neglected by historians, and may serve some future writer as the foundation upon which to erect a more comprehensive philosophical piece of literature. The fact that this was an excursion into unexplored territory, together with the peculiar difficulties attending a task executed in haste, made indispensable the assistance which was generously furnished me on all sides. Without the co�peration of those to whom I have referred above an undertaking of this character could not possibly have been brought to a conclusion as promptly as was necessary.

Tulane University,

August, 1922.

Chapters

  1. The French Domination
  2. The Spanish Domination
  3. The Transfer to the United States
  4. Establishment of the Municipal Government
  5. The First Two Mayors
  6. The Battle of New Orleans
  7. Macarty and Roffignac
  8. Prieur
  9. The Genois, Freret and Montegut Administrations
  10. Mayor Crossman
  11. The Lewis and Waterman Administrations
  12. Advance and Retrogression - Commercial and Political
  13. The Know-Nothing Riot of 1858
  14. New Orleans Under the Confederacy
  15. The Passage of the Forts
  16. The Surrender of the City
  17. Butler in New Orleans
  18. The Military Mayors
  19. The Riot of 1866
  20. Heath's Administration
  21. Conway and Flanders
  22. Wiltz
  23. The Fourteenth of September
  24. The Leeds and the Pillsbury Administrations
  25. 1877
  26. Mayor Patton
  27. The First Shakespeare Administration
  28. Behan and Guillotte
  29. The World's Cotton Centennial Exposition
  30. The Y. M. D. A.
  31. The Lottery
  32. The Fitzpatrick Administration
  33. The Citizens' League Mayor
  34. Paul Capdevielle, Mayor
  35. Sixteen Years of Martin Behrman
  36. Drainage, Water, Sewerage
  37. The City Debt
  38. The Work of the Dock Board
  39. Commerce and Business
  40. The City's Charities
  41. Artistic and Literary Progress
  42. Streets, Parks, Squares
  43. Hotel Life in New Orleans
  44. The Churches
  45. The Carnival, Opera and the Drama
  46. The Annexed Towns
  47. Medical Progress, 1900-1922



Chapter I
The French Domination

Occupying the vast middle section of the United States, the Mississippi Valley has grown, within the space of little more than a century, from a condition of virgin wildness into one of the most highly civilized and prosperous regions of the whole world. At the southern extremity of this marvellously fertile and rapidly developing area stands the city of New Orleans, the port through which it communicates with the sea, and with the countries beyond the sea. This city, marked out by geography and the logic of events as the chief Southern metropolis, has a history covering more than 200 eventful years. During much of this long period the annals of New Orleans and of the Mississippi Valley are one and the same thing. During another crowded epoch, that history, and the story of the State of Louisiana, are similarly convertible terms. But prior to the Civil war the evolution of New Orleans was taking a direction independent of that of the State; municipal problems of great importance had arisen on one hand, while on the other the broadening of the state-life had shifted certain phases of community activity into a wider arena. But on the narrower stage, a drama of extraordinary picturesqueness, and, as we now know, of national significance, was being played. Through the amazing development of the golden '30s and '40s; through the tumultuous years of war and reconstruction; through the difficult period of rebuilding which filled the '80s and '90s - down to the wonderful commercial revival of the last quarter-century - through all these epochs of varied and vivid interest, New Orleans has been molding a history of her own.

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First Map of Louisiana, 1683

From the Collections in the Louisiana State Museum

It is curious, therefore, to observe that this eventful story has not hitherto been chronicled. In the pages of Martin and Gayarr�, to cite the two most illustrious representatives of the older generation of Louisiana historians; and in those of Fortier and Phelps, to mention two of a more recent epoch - the strange and moving annals of New Orleans are ignored except for casual references. Other writers who have professed to tell the story of the city, have contented themselves with a few episodes, selected for their picturesque value; but an attempt to set forth, in detail and with the impartial attention to every possible phase, of the varied life of the metropolis of the South, is made for the first time in the present work.

In a sense, the history of New Orleans begins with the exploration of the lower reaches of the Mississippi River by the French. The vast expanses of the upper valley of the great river early attracted the attention of the coureurs de bois and of the missionary priests from Canada, the former fascinated by the wild, free life of the wilderness among the Indians; the latter, attracted by the possibility of winning souls to God. It was not till the middle of the seventeenth century that reports of the mighty size of the great stream began to be circulated through the Canadian settlements. Stories told by Lecl�re, Nicollet and Grosselli�res hinted at its magnitude; and there is the tale of the priest, Menard, who, lost in the marshes of Wisconsin, wandered far to the South, perhaps even into Louisiana, and was possibly the first Frenchman to set eyes upon the Mississippi rolling its enormous yellow flood to the Gulf. But it remained for Joliet and Father Marquette first actually to descend the river. In their wake, nine years later, came LaSalle, to take formal possession of the region which we now call Louisiana, and to dream of founding a great city "upon the first high ground above its mouth" - the first time that the idea of a metropolis at that point seems even vaguely to have been formulated.

For seventeen years France made no effort to follow up LaSalle's discoveries, and even then was stirred to action only by rumors that England intended to plant a colony in the region which he had explored. At last the minister, Pontchartrain, dispatched to the new world a young officer, named Iberville, a Canadian by birth, who had distinguished himself in the naval war with Great Britain, and whose courage and discretion were well known. Iberville's instructions were to relocate the almost-forgotten mouth of the Mississippi, and to establish a colony at some strategic point where it would serve to demonstrate to the world the fact of French occupancy. Iberville sailed from Brest with a tiny fleet in October, 1698, accompanied by his brother, Bienville, destined to play a large and honorable part in the subsequent history of French colonial enterprise in America. They anchored in Biloxi Bay some three months later. Learning from the natives that the mouth of the Mississippi lay a short distance further west, Iberville set out with Bienville and some fifty men, in two barges and a few canoes, and following the coast line, after many adventures, succeeding in entering the river on March 1, 1699. He ascended the stream as far as the "territory of the Houmas," some distance above the site of the present city of Baton Rouge, and then returned to his ships by a circuitous route leading through the bayous and the lakes, into what we call today the Mississippi Sound.

On the way up the river Iberville camped for a short time on or near the spot where subsequently the city of New Orleans had its beginnings. Here he found a village belonging to the Bayougoula Indians - a collection of some eight or ten straw-roofed huts, surrounded by a circular fortification of cane and saplings, about six feet high. His guide, an Indian whom Iberville had attached to the expedition at one of his preceding halting-places, showed him a road through the forest only a short distance from this settlement, by which it was possible to go quickly and easily from the Mississippi to the gulf coast and to Biloxi Bay. This road was used by the Indians as a portage; that is, they hauled their canoes by this route a distance of about a mile from the river to two small bayoux (now called St. John and Sauvage), which led directly into Lake Pontchartrain, and were thence able to make their way eastward to the Mississippi Sound. It was "a very good road," says Iberville in his account of the journey, "where we found considerable evidences of people coming and going. It appeared that the distance from one place to the other was very short."

Iberville seems to have attached little importance to this information at the time, and scarcely more when, about a year later, he had occasion to return to the neighborhood; but Bienville noted the peculiar advantages of the location, and, this impression confirmed during years of constant passage back and forth between the Mississippi and Biloxi or Mobile, decided him, when his opportunity finally came, in 1718, to establish there "on the most beautiful crescent of the river" a city which he foresaw would be the commercial capital of the Mississippi Valley.

Iberville planted his colony on the east shore of Biloxi Bay, on or not far away from the spot where stands today the pleasant little town of Ocean Springs. From the first the settlement was handicapped by untoward circumstance. At no time did the population exceed a few hundred, yet it was constantly torn by contentions. One faction was eager for easy riches to be acquired - so it was hoped - from the discovery of gold and silver mines, from the exploitation of the pearl fisheries, from commerce with South America, and other equally chimerical enterprises. These plans, absurd as we now know them to have been, committed their proponents to a seacoast town. The other faction, of which Bienville was the representative, advocated the importation of French farmers, the encouragement of agriculture, and the removal of the colony from the inhospitable sands of the Mississippi coast to the opulent alluvial lands on the banks of the Mississippi. The latter, wiser design did not interest Crozat, a rich Parisian merchant and court favorite, who, under a grant from the French king, controlled the destinies of Louisiana from 1702 to 1707; but when he surrendered his unprofitable concession into the hands of the Scotch speculator, John Law, it received prompt official approbation, and Bienville was enabled to carry out the design which he had cherished so long.

New Orleans was, however, not the first French settlement on the Mississippi. In 1700 Iberville had built a fort on the river bank "eighteen leagues from the mouth," as a protection against the anticipated incursions of the English. This fort, which consisted of little more than a rural stockade and a small log blockhouse, was abandoned in 1707. Bienville was for a time commandant at this post. Later, about 1716, under orders from Crozat, Bienville had established a post on the site of the present-day City of Natchez, which he named Fort Rosalie. But neither settlement was as advantageously settled as that which he was now commissioned to establish.

Bienville, Founder of New Orleans, 1718

From the portrait in the Louisiana Museum

There is much uncertainty as to the date at which New Orleans came into existence. We know that as soon as Law's Mississippi Company got control of Louisiana, Bienville was made commander of the forces. His commission was received February 9, 1718. In the following June he was able to write: "We are working at New Orleans with as much zeal as the shortage of workingmen will permit. I have myself conveyed over the spot to select the place where it will be best to locate the settlement. I remained ten days to hasten the works." Somewhere, then, between these two dates he had laid the foundation of the city by sending, or leading, a detachment of "twenty-five carpenters and as many convicts" from Biloxi to the new site, making a clearing and erecting a few scattered huts. We seek in vain for more precise information. Both Martin and Gayarr� are vague as to the point. The says that "the first act of his (Bienville's) administration was to seek a favorable settlement upon the Mississippi upon which to put his principal establishment. Martin merely says: "Bienville visited the banks of the Mississippi to seek a spot for the principal settlement of the Province. He chose the site upon which the City of New Orleans now stands, and left there fifty men to clear the ground and erect barracks. Some light is thrown upon the problem by De La Harpe, the diarist, whose "Journal Historique," penned at a time very near the event, says under the date of February, 1718: "At this time M. de Bienville sought a fitting place on the banks of the Mississippi upon which to establish his capital. He chose one since named New Orleans, situated thirty leagues from the sea, on the river, on account of its communicating with it by Lake Pontchartrain and the Bayou St. Jean. He left there fifty persons, carpenters and convicts, to clear the land and build a few shelters. On the other hand, Penicaut, also a contemporary, puts the date of the founding of the city at 1717. A recent writer, after carefully testing the data, is of the opinion that the initial steps to establish New Orleans were taken between April 15 and May 15, 1718; and this date is probably as near the truth as it is possible now to get. The settlement received its name about the same time, probably from Bienville, in honor of the then regent of France, that Duc d'Orleans, of whom his mother said that the fairies had given him every gift except that of making use of them.

The next step was to remove the company's headquarters from the barren Mississippi coast to the new site. This project was stoutly opposed. Even Bienville's chief engineer, LeBlond de la Tour, who is sometimes erroneously credited with having laid out the city, was among those who disapproved and voted against it. Bienville presented the matter in the colonial council in December, 1718, and again, with greater urgency, in 1720. On both occasions he was outvoted. New Orleans, for the moment, continued a mere trading post of the company. Its progress was very slow. The "carpenters and convicts" left by Bienville, under De Pailhoux, seem to have done little or nothing. By 1719 only four houses had been erected in addition to the company's warehouses. In fact, the settlement was at this period so insignificant that Diron d'Artaguette could say with some reason, in one of his memorials to the minister in Paris, that the real date of the foundation of the city was 1722. It was not till June of that year that Bienville obtained official sanction for the removal of the capital to the new site. The transfer of the troops and Government property began at once, and was completed by the following August.

Map of New Orleans, 1728

At this time New Orleans could boast of 100 houses and 500 inhabitants. The plan of the town, however, as projected by Bienville's engineer, De Pauger, contemplated a far greater population. De Pauger laid it out on lines reminiscent of La Rochelle, in France. It was approximately a parallelogram, 4,000 feet long on the river, by 1,800 feet in depth, divided into regular squares 300 feet on each side. The streets were not named till 1724. At that time the settled area did not extend beyond Arsenal (Ursulines) Street in one direction, or Bienville in the other, nor back further than Dauphine. The dwellings were rude cabins of split cypress boards, roofed with cypress bark. They were separated from one another by willow copses and weed-grown ponds swarming with reptiles. Midway of the river front two squares, one behind the other, had been set apart for military and ecclesiastical uses. The front one was the Place d'Armes; the rear one was entirely occupied by a church. In 1726 a monastery we erected on the left of the church, for the Capuchin priests who arrived two years earlier, to take charge of the spiritual concerns of the province. A company of Ursuline nuns reached New Orleans in 1727 from France, and were temporarily domiciled in a house on the corner of Bienville and Chartres streets, while a more commodious residence was being completed for them in the square bounded by the river front, Chartres, Arsenal (now Ursulines), and the then-unnamed street below, afterwards called Hospital Street. At the same time the Jesuits arrived in the city, and for their use Bienville set aside a large tract of land bounded by what now Common, Tchoupitoulas, Annunciation, and Terpsichore streets; and in 1728 and 1745, by donation and by purchase, this splendid plantation was extended to Felicity Street. The Jesuits brought this region under cultivation; introduced the culture of the myrtle, the wax of which was then a staple article of commerce; the orange, the fig, and probably also sugar-cane and indigo. A house and a chapel were built for the use of the priests, and slaves were assigned for service in their fields. The space between Common Street and the upper boundary of the "Vieux Carr�" was reserved by the Government as a "terre commune," - for a public road and for fortifications, should these be necessary.

The early years of the city were troubled by storms and other similar disasters. In fact, Bienville's project of removing the capital from Biloxi to the Mississippi was fought for some time on this ground. In 1719, for example, the river rose to an unprecedented height, and the site was completely inundated. It appears that the inundation was only a few inches in depth, but it offered a plausible argument against the new city. In 1722 a hurricane destroyed thirty houses, the church and the hospital, and did great damage to the crops. Other adverse conditions resulted from the colony's dependence upon the Mississippi Company, which was mainly a speculative enterprise, and only incidentally concerned with the development of the city. Its operations, as a matter of fact, had caused a respectable influx of settlers; and the development of a paper currency, after the model which Law had introduced in the home country, was attended by a spurious and temporary prosperity. But in 1725 the embarrassments of the company brought trouble not to France only but to the far-away colony on the Mississippi; and a drastic scaling process, four times repeated under the authority of a royal decree, was necessary to cure a desperate situation. Rid in this gross manner of their mutual obligations, the shorn colonists faced in 1726 an area of sounder, if less flamboyant, prosperity.

In 1724 Bienville was recalled to France. The jealousies of rival officials were responsible for his resignation. His retirement lasted till 1733, when he was again restored to power. His place as Governor was taken, meantime, by Perier, a man of many admirable qualities, but stern and vindictive in character. Under Perier many improvements were made at New Orleans, including the construction of a levee, which extended eighteen miles above and eighteen miles below the city, and may be regarded as the first link in the extraordinary system of defense against flood which now crowns the banks of the Mississippi from the mouth of the Red River to the sea. We get some idea of the new Governor's activities from an old map preserved in the archives of the Department of Marine, in Paris, which shows the improvements that had been made in the city by 1728. Most of the public buildings, including the parish church, were by the latter date constructed of brick. On the right of the church stood a small guard house and the prison. On the square above the Place d'Armes was the Government house, surrounded by extensive grounds neatly cultivated. The Government employees were quartered in a series of small buildings in the square on the lower side of the Place d'Armes, overlooking Chartres Street. At the corner of Toulouse Street and the river front were the marine repair shops and forges, while on Dumaine Street from the river nearly to Chartres stretched the long, narrow buildings known as the King's warehouses. A hospital had been erected at the corner of Chartres and Arsenal (now Ursulines). In the empty square next below the convent of the Ursulines was completed in 1728. The barracks and the company's workshops were situated in the square bounded by Royal, St. Louis, Bourbon, and Conti.

Plan de la Nouvelle Orl�ans, 1728

At the upper river corner of the city, at what later became the intersection of Customhouse and Decatur, stood the residence of the Governor, and in the same square immediately behind, the Jesuits had a building which they occupied until they removed to their quarters on their plantation above the town. Along the river front, from Bienville to Arsenal streets, and on Chartres and Royal streets, rose the dwellings of the official and wealthier members of the community. Orleans Street was occupied mainly by the homes of the humbler citizens. Most of the residences were built of cypress timbers; a few of the more pretentious were of brick, or partly of brick and partly of plaster; and a few were two stories or even two-and-a-half stories in height. Among the names most conspicuously figured upon this ancient map are: Delery, Dalby, St. Martin, Dupuy, Rossard, Duval, Beaulieu-Chauvin, D'Ausseville, Perrigaut, Dreux, Mandeville, Tisseraud, Bonnaud, DeBlanc, Dasfeld, Viller�, Provench�, Gauvrit, Dellerin, D'Artaguette, Lazon, Raguet, Fleurieu, Brusl�, Lafr�ni�re, Carri�re, Caron and Pascal. These were among the leading landowners of the community. In the winter of 1727-28 the arrival of the first of those groups of reputable young girls sent by the French authorities to the care of the Ursulines, to be disposed of, under their superintendence, in marriage with the settlers, infused a new element into the population. They brought with them each a small chest of clothing, whence the name, "filles � la cassette" - casket girls - by which they, and other similar consignments in subsequent years, are known in the history of the colony.

Perier's activities were also, and less successfully, directed against the Indians. The Chickasaws and Choctaws attacked and destroyed Fort Rosalie in the winter of 1729-30. News of the disaster was brought to New Orleans by the few scanty survivors of the disaster. The community was thrown into consternation by the news. A palisade was hastily erected around the city, a moat was dug, and every house in the city, and every plantation near it, were provided with arms in anticipation of an attack by the Indians. A force of militia was recruited in the town and the environs and sent along with the regulars to the seat of war. During the course of the campaign which followed, practically every able-bodied male in the city was called on to bear arms. The only bloodshed, however, which took place in New Orleans during the war resulted from a conspiracy among the Negro slaves, who, instigated by emissaries sent in by the Choctaws, planned an insurrection and the massacre of the whites. The leaders were apprehended in the nick of time, and eight men and one woman were executed, the former on the wheel, the latter on the scaffold.

Bienville's return to power was brought about by Perier's failure to deal adequately with the situation. His campaigns against the Indians proved failures. Although one of the recalcitrant tribes was broken up, the remnants joined the survivor, and their depredations continued. In the emergency, the colonists recalled the wise and efficient rule of the former Governor, and appealed to Paris to have him sent back. "If it is desirable to save the country, which is in the greatest danger," ran their petition, "it is indispensably necessary to send back the Sieur de Bienville. At the same time the company, convinced that no profit was to be hoped for from Louisiana, tendered the concessions to the King. Thus it was that Bienville, who had been living in the greatest obscurity in Paris, returned to New Orleans in 1733 as first Royal Governor. He set to work at once to organize an expedition against the victorious tribes. This task, and the subsequent campaign, lasted two years. Although everything was done that skill and experience could suggest to insure success, the end was failure - failure as complete as that which had attended his predecessor. Aided by bad weather, the Indians proved themselves more than a match for the French. They outfought and outwitted them. "I feel with grief," wrote Bienville, in his account directed to the Minister of Marine, in Paris, "that your highness will not be satisfied with this enterprise which has cost the King so much expense; but I flatter myself at the same time that you will kindly observe that I did not neglect a single precaution necessary to render the campaign as glorious as His Majesty had reason to expect."

The miscarriage of his plans seemed to have cast a permanent gloom over Bienville's usually cheerful spirit. A deepening sense of discouragement led him finally, in 1740, to send in his resignation. "The labor, the anxiety, and the trouble of mind which I have had to bear for the eight years which it has pleased your excellency to maintain me in this government have so enfeebled my health that I should not hesitate to supplicate you to give me leave to cross over to France by the first royal vessel, if the interests of the colony and my reputation did not exact of me that I should put the finishing touches to the treaty of peace which I have commenced with the Chickasaws. It is thus that, after having re-established peace and tranquility in the colony, I desire that it may be permitted me to make a voyage to France to restore my shattered health. I supplicate your excellency therefore kindly to ask this permission for me from the King. I do not expect to be able to take advantage of it before the return of the vessel in 1742, and in case France does not take part in the war which is being lighted in Europe." There is no reference in his letters to the thousand petty jealousies, piques, and oppositions which had made impossible the success on which he had counted. On the contrary, his interest in this closing episode of his career was to see that his officers were promoted and properly paid, and to ask that a college be opened in New Orleans. The last request was denied.

Bienville left the colony never to return in 1743. His later life is a blank which imagination alone can fill. Only once more does he emerge into the light of history. That was, when the colonists, in 1764, appealed to him to intercede with the King not to transfer Louisiana to Spain. Bienville, then in his 86th year, co-operated to the best of his ability with the young colonial delegate, Jean Milhet, sent to Paris for the purpose. They appeared before the minister, De Choiseul, but the latter had no interest in the matter, and the petition of the colonists never reached the eyes of his royal master. Bienville died in 1768.

The early history of New Orleans is divided, almost with the regularity of the acts of a well-plotted play, into nearly equal periods. The first, from 1718 to 1729, was a formative epoch, a time of beginnings, of passive accretion. The second, which extends from 1729 to 1740, is the period of the Indian wars, with the incitement to an active life with which such operations were attended, and which in some sort compensated for their losses and sufferings. The next period, from 1743 to 1753, was characterized by the administration of Bienville's picturesque successor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil. De Vaudreuil was a member of an influential French family. His advent was hailed by the colonists as presaging a period of royal favor and municipal development. These rosy anticipations were doomed to disappointment. De Vaudreuil had all the defects of his time. He was interested in the showy, superficial aspects of his government. Under him there was a notable increase in the size of the garrison. The glittering uniforms of the soldiers became almost as commonplace in the streets as the homespun of the civilians. Some encouragement was extended, it is true, to the production of myrtle-wax, and sugar cane, but the corruption of the government was notorious, and the ostentatious living of the Governor and his wife had a bad effect upon the population, which imitated his unfortunate example as far as its means permitted. The business of religion and education made little progress - due, it is said, as much to the rivalries of Jesuits and Capuchins as to any dereliction on the part of the administration. Another factor in an awkward situation was the presence in the capital of an increasing number of Negro slaves.

The introduction of blacks into the colony had begun early, mainly in consequence of the practice of the Company of the Indies of sending worthless and criminal elements to New France. The planters found it impossible to depend upon such labor and were compelled to seek elsewhere the hands needed on their plantations. Thus, by 1744, there were about 300 Negroes in the city. The next census, taken about a decade later, showed no perceptible increase in the total population, but the proportion of slave to white had risen, in a population of about 3,000, to 2 to 3. As his last official act before leaving the colony, Bienville had affixed his signature to a set of laws designed to minimize the danger arising from the existence in the community of an element drawn from the wildest and most savage races of the Dark Continent. This was the celebrated "Code Noir," or "Black Code." This code, taken with only minor amendments from a somewhat similar codification drawn up in Santo Domingo, was, down to the close of the colonial epoch, the rule to which the slaves were subject. On the whole its provisions were not severe; with respect only to offenses tending to imperil the safety of the whites were its penalties stringent. But, otherwise, the slaves were protected by the laws as carefully as their masters, from cruelty and injustice.

Waited on by this servile class, the wealthier element in the white population copied as far as possible the elegant habits of the governor and his wife, just as the latter endeavored to reproduce in the little colonial capital something of the stately manners of Versailles. The dwellings of the better sort were now being erected a square or two back from the river, instead of directly on the river-bank, as at first. They even tended to spread beyond the fortifications, into the country, along the pretty road which led from the northerly gate towards Bayou St. John. In these buildings, with their lofty halls and spacious rooms, severely plain externally and internally, usually one story or, at most, one story and a half in height, borne on brick piers sometimes as much as 15 feet high - was seen a richness of apparel and an elaborate social life curiously at variance with the poorly drained, unpaved, unlighted, and frequently impassable streets, and the swamps and morasses without.

De Vaudreuil was promoted to the governorship of Canada in 1753 and his place in Louisiana was entrusted to a naval officer named Kerlerec. Kerlerec had spent a quarter-century at sea, and his manner was that of the quarter-deck. He was a bluff, domineering, honest man, something of a martinet, and impatient of opposition. Two important enterprises signalized the administration. The fall of Fort DuQuesne in 1758 compelled the garrison to go to New Orleans. The long journey was made down the Mississippi in boats and barges. It was impossible to shelter so many newcomers in the existing barracks, and the Governor was obliged hastily to construct additional buildings in the lower part of the city, at a point where what was subsequently name Barracks Street intersected the river front. The other undertaking was the reconstruction of the fortifications. These had at no time been impressive, consisting mainly of a "very trifling moat" and a palisade flanked by small blockhouses armed with guns of low caliber. But such as they were, they were now restored in a manner calculated to furnish protection on all the landward approaches to the city, with salients at intervals, and a "banquette" within.

These measures comprised all the improvements carried out in the city under Kerlerec's direction. Otherwise, it was left to its own devices. Drainage, sanitation, fire protection - the need of all of which was long felt - claimed no official consideration. Police regulations did not exceed the strict surveillance of the Negroes. Public finance was limited to the further issuance of paper money. Nevertheless, a certain spontaneous development went on. Forty-four brick houses, for instance, were erected between 1749 and 1752. A generation which still spoke French, but which was American by birth, was beginning to replace the pioneers. Save for the accident of language, the second generation was no longer French. It had acquired a certain imperiousness of temper from the habit of command of a docile, servile class. The love of freedom characteristic of the wilderness life throughout colonial America, was theirs in as strong a measure as it was the New Englander's or the Virginian's.

It can readily be imagined how a man of Kerlerec's temper would fit into a community such as New Orleans had come to be. He quickly alienated the good will of the people by his arbitrary treatment of influential inhabitants. His quarrels with Rochemore, the intendant, were bitter and prolonged. The latter seized the vessel of a Spanish Jew trader who had put into New Orleans in search of business. This action was based upon the provisions of the royal edict forbidding Jews in the colony. But Kerlerec restored the vessel to its owner, and arrested Rochemore and the latter's supporters, Belot, Mandeville de Marigny, Lahoup, Bossu and others, on the charge of conspiring to usurp authority. These men were sent to France for trial. There they became the center of an intrigue against the unfortunate Governor. Kerlerec, already almost distracted to find means to placate restive Indian allies, soothe the rancors of controversy between the rival religious orders, Jesuit and Capuchin, and isolate the territory under his charge from the enterprising English smugglers to north and northeast, had now to defend himself from their charges and insinuations. At last, about the end of 1762 or early in 1763, he was ordered to return to France and give an account of his stewardship. He sailed from New Orleans in the summer of 1763, leaving his difficult post to D'Abbadie, who, with the title of director-general, had been sent to displace him. In Paris the rancors kindled in the colony pursued him. He was involved in interminable lawsuits with the Rochemore factions. A royal commission investigated his conduct, rendered an ambiguous report, and he was sentenced to banishment from Paris. This was harsh punishment, doubtless; but de Vaudreuil, only a few years before, on charges hardly more substantial, had been consigned to the Bastille. Kerlerec, therefore, was fortunate in not suffering imprisonment to boot. He was an honest, well-meaning man, who was the victim of an injustice which history has only tardily repaired. He died in 1770.

D'Abbadie was from the South of France, of a family which had frequently held office under the crown. He himself had a long official career before coming to Louisiana. He was known as an upright, capable administrator of the routine sort. His character was mild and conciliatory. His administration was signalized by two events - the expulsion of the Jesuits; the transfer of Louisiana to Spain. The former event bright to a close the controversy between the Jesuits and the Capuchins which had troubled the colony since 1755. The expulsion was effected in accordance with a royal decree directed against the order, and enforced throughout the French dominions; but it was executed in Louisiana with a severity in which one cannot fail to perceive evidences of purely local animosities. The decree was approved by the Superior Council, June 9, 1763. The goods and chattels of the Jesuits were sold at auction, with the exception of some books and clothing, which the fathers were permitted to retain. The sum of $180,000 was realized in this way. The proceeds of the sale of the property in New Orleans were to be applied to the support of the Jesuit missions; the remainder was appropriated to the State. Church ornaments and all sacred utensils were turned over to the Capuchins, and the chapel and graveyard on the Jesuit plantation just above the city were razed. The fathers were sent back to France, with the exception of Father Baudoin, who, at the age of 72, was too feeble to undertake the journey; Father de la Meurinie, who was ill, and Father Meurin, who for some unknown reason received permission to remain and carry on his religious work among the Indians. Father Baudoin, who had been provincial of the order, and one of the protagonists in the interminable controversy with the Capuchins, was cared for by the famous painter, Etienne de Bor�, until his death, in 1766.

During the French domination New Orleans was governed by the Superior Council. Prior to 1712 the government had been discharged by military men who assumed civic functions. They were usually experienced in colonial affairs, and well qualified to undertake civic duties. This period of personal and military government ended when the Superior Council was organized. That body came into existence in connection with the grant which was made in 1712 to Crozat. Crozat's was a mere operative grant, and did not convey any rights as to government. These were retained by the crown. The Council was established under an edict dated September 14, 1712. It was primarily a law tribunal, designed to supply the place of the officers of justice then lacking in the colony. It was composed of the Governor of New France and the Commissary Ordonnateur, or Intendant. These officers were co-equal in rank and authority. The former was charged with the general civil and military affairs of the Province. The latter had control of matters of commerce, police, finance and justice. Under these powers he enacted police ordinances and regulations.

The Council was at first established on a sort of experimental tenure of three years. In September, 1716, the probationary period having expired, it was re-established on a permanent basis. Its membership was increased to eight, by adding the Lieutenant-Governor, the Governor of Louisiana, a senior counsellor, two puisne counsellors, and an attorney-general. The functions of the Council as thus enlarged approximated those of similar institutions in the French colonies in Martinique and Santo Domingo. It is probable that its essential features were due to Crozat. He had spent a large part of his life in the West Indies, and there accumulated the large fortune which he was risking in the new enterprise. It is reasonable to suppose that he was consulted in the preparation of the edict, and that his experiences in the New World were embodied in the suggestions that were adopted.16

The Council met monthly, dispensed justice as called upon, and concerned itself with the civil administration of the Province. The law which it was charged to administer was the ancient "usage of Paris," and the p15laws, edicts, and ordinances of the realm, particularly of Louis XV and his immediate successors. In civil cases three members constituted a quorum; in criminal cases, five. There was an interesting provision allowing the Council to fill all unavoidable vacancies temporarily by calling in a corresponding number of reputable citizens who might seem to possess the necessary qualifications. In this lay the germ of representative government. This feature maintained itself in all subsequent modifications of the basic law under which the Council existed. In 1768 the revolutionaries exploited it effectively to pack the Council and carry through their program in spite of the protests of the Governor, Aubry.

Another interesting feature of the Council was the fact that its president was not the Governor of New France, but the Intendant, or in the latter's absence, the senior counsellor. The Governor occupied the seat of honor, but his functions were those of an ordinary member. The Intendant collected the votes and pronounced sentence. In all legal transactions of a preliminary sort, like affixing seals or taking inventories, the senior counsellor officiated.

In 1717 Crozat surrendered his concession, and Louisiana passed into the hands of the so-called Mississippi Company, or Company of the Indies. This corporation was invested with full sovereignty in Louisiana. The Crown reserved only the right to a small annual compensation and the "homage" of the company. The directors obtained certain modifications in the organizations of the Council, in order that they or their agents might be represented therein. An edict was accordingly published in September, 1719, by which the membership was made to include such directors of the Company as might be in the colony, the Commandant General, which post was held by Bienville, the "king's lieutenants," a senior counsellor, two other counsellors, an attorney-general and a clerk. The Council was at the same time relieved of its duties as a court of first instance, and became exclusively appellate. Inferior tribunals were established in various parts of the Province.17 In these the presiding functionary was not an appointee of the King, but an agent of the Company. To assist him he had in civil cases two "notables" from the neighborhood, and in criminal cases, five such "notables." Here, again, we encounter tendencies towards a representative form of government. New Orleans was placed in a division which also include Natchitoches; a special court for the city was not instituted till 1725.18 At the same time ecclesiastical division was effected, and a vast district, extending from the Gulf to the Illinois, and including New Orleans, was placed under the spiritual direction of the Capuchins.

In 1721 the Council was relieved of the routine business of the Company, and left free to devote itself to its proper judicial and administrative duties. The Company business was relegated to a special council organized for the purpose, which met daily at Biloxi, where the capital was then located.

When Law abandoned the Company, in 1722, it was necessary to send to the colony three commissioners to adjust its affairs there. They were Faget, Marchenet, and Ferrand. They appear to have had only temporary authority and did not supplant but co-operated with the Council. It was these commissioners who authorized the removal of the capital p16from Biloxi to the shores of the Mississippi. This transfer necessarily involved the Council, which thereafter was domiciled in New Orleans. In the pages of Durant, a traveler who about this time wrote a book about his experiences in North America, and who visited New Orleans, occurs an interesting reference to the Council at this epoch. "Lawsuits," he says, "are settled here without attorneys or counsellors, and consequently without expense, on the pleadings of the parties." These words indicate that the Council sat principally as a board of arbitration, and that much which under other circumstances would have resulted in litigation, was adjusted on the report of the members designated to investigate it. These members were two in number, and were named from time to time. They sat twice a week. The cases handled by them were those involving amounts not in excess of 100 livres ($22).

In December, 1722, two additional commissioners were sent from France to aid in the adjustment of the Company's affairs. They were also to investigate the conduct of the colonial officials. One of them, De Saunoy, died shortly after his arrival, but the other, De La Chaise, was for some time active in the administration. His reports are believed to have occasioned the recall of Bienville in 1724, and the censure of the Council by the home government in 1726, when three of its members were removed, and the resignation of the attorney-general was demanded. Under Perier, De La Chaise handled all matters connected with the police, commerce and finance, and became the principal law officer of the Crown.19 He was, in effect, the Intendant.

In 1728 the Council was invested with the supervision of real estate titles. This power was extended twenty years later to enable defective titles to be cured when the defect arose from the absence or incompetence of public officials.

The Mississippi Company, after Law's disgrace, continued to administer the colony down to 1731. It then surrendered its privileges. Two commissioners, Bru and Brusl�, were sent to Louisiana to wind up its affairs. At the same time the Superior Council was remodeled. The membership was extended to twelve, besides the Lieutenant-Governor of New France. The subsequent history of this body may be briefly related. During the remaining thirty years over which the French regime continued, officers replaced each other as experience suggested, or the policy of the home government required. In De Vaudreuil's time the legal labors devolving upon them in consequence of the development of the fur trade were so onerous that four "assessors" had to be added. These men served for four years, and ranked immediately below the members of the Council. They voted, however, only in case of a tie, or when some case had been specially referred to them for examination, or when they were called in to make up a quorum.20

From the foregoing it appears that the Intendant, by virtue of his control over commerce, finance and police, was the officer who had most to do with the affairs of New Orleans. But as he sat and voted in the Council, that body, in the last analysis, was the governing body in the city. The Council played a large part in the city's history, in other than purely administrative matters. From it proceeded in 1724 the famous Code Noir, one provision of which prohibited the manumission of slaves p17except after permission had been obtained from the Council. In the middle of the century it figured in the disputes between the Capuchins and the Jesuits over the ecclesiastic control of the Province. In Kerlerec's controversy with Rochemore it supported the former and its complaint lodged with the King in 1761 was effective in bringing about the latter's recall. It was instrumental in the sequestration of the property of the Jesuits in 1763, nearly a year before action was taken against that order in the home country. D'Abbadie in a dispatch dated June 7, 1764, complained that the Council was animated by a seditious spirit, and advised the removal of all the Creole, or native, members, and replacing them with persons born in France. This spirit, we may well believe, was that which flamed up in the piteous revolt of 1768, in which the part borne by the Council has already been outlined.

During the whole of the period which we are now considering, the policy of the French Government towards Louisiana, if it can be said to have had a policy, was one of systematic neglect. Under De Vaudreuil it had done little for its welfare; under Kerlerec, nothing at all; and now, under D'Abbadie, the colony was thrown away. This indifference to what might have been the richest jewel in the French crown, is explained and in part excused by the fact that at this time France was engaged in the Seven Years' War. At the close of hostilities, in 1763, the British boundaries in North America, were advanced as far as Baton Rouge and Manchac, and New Orleans found itself with red-coated neighbors whom it had never expected to see so close at hand. With the new boundary France also conceded the right of free ingress and egress at the mouth of the Mississippi. French law forbade the colonials to traffic with the British, but it was obviously impossible to prevent an illicit trade from springing up under the circumstances, and at a point just above the little city, then known as Little Manchac, and afterwards as Jefferson City, a market came into existence where smuggled goods were bought and sold. British ships, under pretence of visiting the new posts on the Mississippi, put in here with miscellaneous cargoes, principally Negro slaves, for which there was an active demand. This would have scandalized Kerlerec, but his successor was a judicious man, and ignored that which he saw himself powerless to correct.

With the loss of Canada it became clear to French statesmen that France's tenure on Louisiana was very doubtful. The territory was isolated; the English were bold and enterprising; the end might be delayed but scarcely prevented. As early as 1751 the French ambassador at the Court of Madrid, in a memorial addressed to the Spanish crown, confessed as much. Spain, however, with her contiguous possession in western North America, might easily consolidate the two regions. Could she be induced to accept the gift, a rich and potentially useful prize might be kept from falling into what were still, treaties of peace to the contrary notwithstanding, the hands of the enemy. Accordingly, France made a tender of the province; and on the same day that the Treaty of Paris was signed - Feb. 6, 1763 another and secret agreement, the so-called Family Compact - was concluded, whereby the Bourbons of France delivered to the Bourbons of Spain the whole of that vast expanse of territory which so many Frenchmen had labored and died to add to the possessions of the Gallic crown.

The detail of the arrangement was kept secret for twenty-four months and then became known through a letter from the King to D'Abbadie, p18reciting the facts of the transfer to Spain.21 To this communication were annexed copies of the treaty itself, of the Spanish monarch's letter of reluctant acceptance, and instructions regarding the manner in which the evacuation and surrender of territory were to be effected. The whole correspondence was ordered spread on the minute-book of the Superior Council, in order that the text might be generally accessible. Nothing could be clearer or more official. No unprejudiced mind could, in view of these facts, doubt that the transfer had been legally and irrevocably consummated. But the colonists preferred not to believe. New Orleans under Spanish rule faced the enforcement of the iron system of exactions and restrictions that constituted the Spanish colonial trade laws; and that spelt ruin to the commerce of the little city. There was, moreover, the question of the currency, always a painful one in New Orleans. Nearly 7,000,000 livres of paper money were in circulation; these had depreciated to one-quarter of their face value, but were the only medium in circulation. Would the Spanish Government undertake their redemption? There were also certain debts due by the Government; who would pay them, the French or the Spanish? Aside from these material considerations, there were personal and patriotic reasons why the community should contemplate with anxiety the proposed change of government. The office-holding class, particularly, had reason to apprehend the loss of their places under the new regime; there can be no doubt that this element in the population had much to do with fomenting the revolution which subsequently occurred.

In this agitated state of the public mind a petition was sent to France by the hand of Jean Milhet, the wealthiest merchant of the city. It implored the King to open negotiations with Spain for the cancellation of the family Compact. This, of course, elicited no response. The petition fell into the hands of the Duc de Choiseul, then minister, and all powerful; the cession had been largely his work, and he took care that the piteous appeal of the colonists should not reach his royal master's hands. Milhet notified his constituents of his failure in 1766; but the Spanish Government still delayed taking possession of Louisiana, and this fact encouraged the population to hope against hope.

D'Abbadie died in February, 1765, mourned by no one outside of his immediate circle. He had won few friends in New Orleans, of which he seems to have formed a very poor opinion. The people, he said, in one of his reports to the home government, were wholly given up to speculation; they speculated on bills of exchange, on the currency, on the merchandise in the King's warehouses, on everything which could possibly be used for the purpose. To this he attributed most of the difficulties of the colony, especially in the finances; to this, and to the habits of idleness, intoxication, independence, and insubordination which had established themselves among the people. These faults he believed could only be eradicated by severe measures. These views were known. It is hardly surprising, then, that Bossu, a contemporary writer, chronicling his demise, hints at assassination; but there seems no doubt that he really died of a bilious fever. His remains were interred in New Orleans. He was succeeded by Aubry, as Governor ad interim. Aubry was senior officer of the little garrison. With him was associated the intendant, Foucault. Aubry seems to have been a well-intentioned man. The opprobrium p19heaped upon him in many histories of this tragical period, was probably only partly deserved. Regarding Foucault, however, it seems clear that he betrayed all parties to which he at different times professed allegiance, and his ultimate expulsion from the colony and long detention in the Bastille were punishments richly merited.

In July, 1766, the Superior Council received a letter from Don Antonio de Ulloa, commodore in the Spanish navy, announcing that he had been named by the King of Spain to be Governor of Louisiana, and expected to sail soon for New Orleans to take up his duties. But nearly eight months elapsed before Don Antonio put in an appearance. He brought with him only a small detachment of Spanish soldiers. The new Governor was celebrated as a scientist and author. He was a man of kindly disposition and enlightened views. He undoubtedly meant well by Louisiana. His appointment was an earnest of the Spanish monarch's good will. Ulloa at once perceived the critical economic situation that prevailed in the colony, and planned to relieve it as far as circumstances permitted. But the people, hurt and angry at the manner in which they had been handed over by their own King to strangers, and dreading the commercial revulsion which, they felt sure, impended in consequence of the transfer, refused to recognize his good intentions. Nothing that he could do could conquer their aversion - not even the measures instituted by him in May, 1767, only two months after his arrival, with a view to conserve the trade with France and the West Indies which otherwise the community stood every chance of losing, and the loss of which they themselves realized would leave them little better than bankrupt. An attempt to regulate the price of imported articles through a commission of disinterested local magnates, not only awakened the anger of the merchants, but of the consumers, the very class which it was designed to assist. When Ulloa was approached with reference to the finances, he readily agreed to recognize the paper money left in the colony by France as the lawful circulating medium at its market value, until instructed by his government as to its retirement; but this did not suit the people, who insisted that it should be retired at par. The garrison, too, proved recalcitrant. France had promised that the soldiers in Louisiana should pass over into the Spanish service; but this those in New Orleans now refused to do. Even the personality of the Governor - his habits, tastes, household arrangements, his marriage - the conduct of his wife - all were made targets of the hostile criticism of the population.b

Ulloa, on his side, was not without blame. When the Superior Council demanded to see his credentials, he refused to exhibit them. It is not clear that he had any credentials. Aubry, even, does not appear ever to have seen anything of the kind.22 Ulloa treated the Superior Council as a subordinate civil body, and refused to deal with anybody but the Governor. He refused to take possession of the Government until additional troops were sent him. Nevertheless, he virtually did take charge, working through Aubry, who put himself unreservedly at the orders of the newcomer. The Spanish soldiers were employed as garrisons at various points in the Province; the Spanish flag was displayed on various Government buildings in New Orleans in conjunction with that of France. It must be said that Aubry and Ulloa worked together harmoniously, and but for the uprising in October, 1768, would probably p20have succeeded in "gradually molding Frenchmen into Spaniards," as Aubry said, rather happily, in one of his dispatches to Paris.

This uprising was the result of a long-planned and carefully organized conspiracy, led by Nicolas Chauvin de la Fr�ni�re, the attorney-general of the colony; Foucault, the intendant; Jean and Joseph Milhet, Pierre Caresse, Joseph Petit, and Pierre Poupet, merchants; Noyan de Bienville, a nephew of the founder of the city; Jerome Doucet, a lawyer; Pierre Marquis, an officer of Swiss mercenaries; Baltasar de Mazan, Hardi de Boisblanc, and Joseph Viller�, planters. The brains of the movement were La Fr�ni�re's. Of him it is difficult to get a clear idea. A man of impressive presence, of brilliant eloquence, he seems to have fascinated everyone with whom he came into contact. Yet he seems to have been one of those whose habits and pursuits invited D'Abbadie's animadversions. He was heavily in debt; Ulloa has left on record the opinion that the revolution was merely a pretext for him to avoid the payment of his obligations.23 He was a Creole - that is, a native of Louisiana, and the only member of the Superior Council who was not born in Europe. He and his associates had convinced the German and Acadian settlers residing on the C�te des Allemands, ?about twenty miles above New Orleans, that certain debts due by the Spanish Government would not be paid. These men, armed with a great variety of weapons, led by Noyan de Bienville and Viller�, marched into New Orleans on October 28, filled the streets, and recruited their ranks from among the citizens till they numbered about 600. A mass meeting was then held, at which La Fr�ni�re, Doucet, and the Milhets made addresses, and a petition addressed to the Superior Council was signed, asking, among other things, that Ulloa be required to leave the colony.

In the meantime Foucault had convened the Council, and upon receipt of the petition took steps to ratify it. Aubry, who was asked to assume the governorship upon Ulloa's departure, protested in vain against these high-handed proceedings, but he had at his command only 110 men, and was powerless to do anything but see that Ulloa and his family got safely to their ship.

All parties to the affair immediately sent memorials of their home governments; Aubry and the Council, to Paris; Ulloa, to Madrid. The Council's letter was carried to France by Le Sassier, Milhet and St. Lette. It was a singular composition. The accusations against Ulloa were that he opened a chapel in his house which he frequented instead of attending services in the French churches; sent to Cuba for a nurse for his child; forbade the whipping of slaves in the city, and other equally puerile allegations. The real grievances of the colony were set forth with much detail and very convincingly, particularly as touching the currency and the commerce of the port. But France could do nothing. All that the commissioners obtained in Paris was an agreement to fund the colonial debt at three-fifths its face-value into 5 per cent bonds.24

It is impossible here to follow in detail the progress of the revolution, for revolution it was. Ulloa sailed for Havana on April 20. What passed between that date and the arrival of the Spanish general, Alejandro O'Reilly, with his fleet and army, nearly four months later, is very p21obscure. It seems clear, however, that the revolutionary party rapidly lost ground. Having failed to secure the support of France, it appears that the leaders seriously considered the idea of establishing a republic. But the proposition met with undisguised hostility on the part of the population. They had risen against what they regarded as oppression, but not to substitute a species of government of which they had no experience. It is probable that Marquis was the proponent of the idea of the republic. He was a Swiss, and doubtless had in mind some organization such as existed in his own country. Unfortunately, no detailed statement of the scheme has come down to us. The rejection of Marquis' suggestion - if he made it - left the leaders of the movement in an awkward position: to England, only, could they turn for help. Mazan and Noyan de Bienville went to Mobile to arrange with the English governor there for troops to occupy New Orleans; but they seem to have received no encouragement. In fact, the British commandant had no forces adequate to carry out a scheme so temerarious. Even had the attempt been made, it is improbable that a population like that of New Orleans, which included many old sailors accustomed to regard the English as enemies; and many Acadians, who had suffered bitterly at British hands, would have welcomed them as masters.

Chapter�II
The Spanish Domination

Upon leaving New�Orleans Ulloa betook himself to Havana, and from that city addressed to the home government a memorial, in which he complained bitterly of the treatment he had received from the Louisianans. Aubry, he said, had warned him on his arrival that the people were stiff-necked and rebellious, and this description he had found only too accurate. He gave particulars of Noyan's and Bienville's ill-judged attempt to enlist British aid in behalf of their conspiracy. This news seems to have stirred the Spanish government to action. No matter how reluctant the King might be to take over the unlucky donation, he could not sit idly by and permit an important crown-property to fall into the hands of those who, after all, were as much his enemies as those of his relative, the most Christian monarch of France. Accordingly, an expedition was fitted out at Havana, which sailed in the summer of�1769 for New�Orleans under the command of Count Alejandro O'Reilly. O'Reilly was one of the many distinguished soldiers then in the Spanish service. He was a typical adventurer. Born in Ireland, most of his life had been spent in other lands. He had fought under the flags of Italy, France and Spain. He had received a severe wound in Italy, and won a splendid reputation for courage and ability in Portugal. But, most important of all, he had been instrumental in saving the life of Charles�III during an uprising in Madrid in�1765, and royal gratitude was responsible for his swift promotion to the highest rank in the army. His present appointment, the extensive powers with which he was clothed, and the large force placed at his disposition ? all demonstrate the significance attached to his mission.

His fleet of twenty-four warships arrived in the Mississippi on August�18th. O'Reilly immediately disembarked 3,600�well-armed men and fifty pieces of cannon. At noon he himself landed to take over the government from aubry. This was effected in the middle of the Place d'Armes. O'Reilly met Aubry in the midst of the open space and presented his credentials, which were read aloud in the hearing of the troops drawn up on all four sides of the square, and of the people, who, silent and apprehensive, were grouped beyond. Then Aubry absolved the colonists from their oath of allegiance to France and declared them subjects of the Spanish crown. Salutes were fired from the grim ships that lay in a long line before the town; the French ensign fluttered down from its place at the top of the tall staff in the center of the Place d'Armes, and the red and yellow of Spain rose in its stead. A�Te�Deum was sung in the parish church, at which the French and Spanish officers were present. That afternoon a parade of O'Reilly's little army brought to a close the ceremonies of annexation.1

New�Orleans in�1763

O'Reilly's instructions were to "have the heads of the rebellion tried and punished according to law, and then remove out of the colony all individuals and families whose presence might endanger its tranquility." With him were "persons learned in the law" who were "to superintend p23the judicial proceedings." But he was to pursue "a�lenient course [.�.�.] in the colony, and [.�.�.] expulsion from it was to be the only punishment inflicted on those who deserve a severer one."2 His proceedings were, however, marked by a vindictive and cruel spirit quite at variance with the tenor of these instructions. He first lulled to rest the apprehensions of the leaders of the late revolt by a display of affability and courtesy, and then, during an entertainment at the government house, treacherously arrested them and hurried them off to prison. In this way Lafréni�re, Marquis, Mazan, the two Milhets, Petit, Caresse and Hardi de�Boisblanc fell into his power. Foucault, Noyan and Villeré, however, did not attend the entertainment, and were not apprehended till later. Bienville had already fled the colony; Noyan was arrested on August�23rd; Foucault, though taken into custody, was protected by his official position; while Villeré's fate is enveloped in mystery. One account says that he was seized by a detachment of Spanish soldiers at his plantation on the German Coast while planning an escape into the British settlements; another, that he boldly returned to the city, was there arrested, and died that same day "raving mad"; and still another, that he was bayonetted and slain on board of one of the Spanish warships by his guards while endeavoring to go on deck and speak to his wife, who had come out in a rowboat to see him. Two other persons, Doucet and Poupet, were also taken prisoners. In effecting these arrests O'Reilly availed himself of the assistance of Aubry, insofar as the collection of data was concerned, but has expressly stated that the French officer did not know in advance that matters were to be carried to extremes.

The accused were promptly put on trial. The case dragged along for two months. Then Lafréni�re, Marquis, Caresse, Joseph Milhet and p24Noyan were sentenced to death; Petit was sentenced to life imprisonment, and Jean Milhet, Hardi de�Boisblanc, Doucet and Poupet were given sentences of imprisonment ranging in length from six to ten years. The execution of the five condemned to death was carried out in the afternoon of October�25th, in the Champs de�Mars, or parade ground, in front of Fort St.�Charles, near the point where Chartres and Esplanade Avenue intersect each other today. The other sentences were carried out only partially. Petit, Mazan, Jean Milhet, Hardi de�Boisblanc and Poupet were transported to Havana and put in the dungeons of the Morro Castle, but a year later were set at liberty. Foucault was sent to France, where he received his just deserts, by being shut up in the Bastille for eighteen months. Bienville made his way to France, but being related to many influential persons there, escaped without punishment. O'Reilly, with the tenacity which was one of his outstanding characteristics, made an effort through the Spanish government to have him, too, arrested, but failed, and Bienville went unmolested till his death some ten years later. All the property of the convicted men in Louisiana was, however, confiscated to the Spanish Government.

It is very difficult to explain O'Reilly's conduct in this tragic affair. Historians have generally assumed that he acted under secret instructions from the court of Madrid different from those given out to the public, and which left him no discretion.3 It may be, however, that on arriving in New�Orleans he was apprised of conditions regarding which we have no knowledge, and which, he felt, required immediate and drastic action. Such, possibly, may have risen in conjunction with the schemes of the leaders of the revolt to bring about British interference. This supposition acquires a certain plausibility when we consider O'Reilly's Irish origin and the animosity with which he pursued the British traders in Louisiana. One of his earliest acts was to expel them from the Province. As for the trial of the unfortunate men whom he had arrested, that is generally regarded as an empty form. There can be little doubt that the fate of the accused was predetermined. The procurator-general based his indictment upon the assumption that Louisiana had been taken over by the Spanish Government at the time of the expulsion of Ulloa. This was, however, a mere assumption. Good evidence exists to show that quite the contrary was the case. Villiers du�Terrage, for example, prints a letter from the Spanish minister Grimaldi to the Spanish ambassador in Madrid, the Count de�Fuentes, in which he refers to the revolt in Louisiana, and adds these significant words: "Ulloa, who had not yet taken possession of it, had departed." Grimaldi was in a position to know, and in an official communication we may presume he took pains to express himself accurately. The view of the Spanish Government was, therefore, that the status of the colony was still French. If so, then the utmost fault of Lafréni�re and his companions was an excessive devotion to the country which had cast them off.4 Their deaths would be, on that interpretation, unjustifiable.

Aubry's part in the affair, also, is hard to understand. It is generally assumed that he was so anxious to clear himself in O'Reilly's eyes of any responsibility for the recent disturbances, that he involved Lafréni�re p25and the others much deeper than the facts warranted. But it should be remembered that he was a simple soldier, and that the treaty of transfer invested the Spanish Government with a considerable temporary authority over the French garrison in Louisiana. He may have felt that his duty required him to obey O'Reilly's order as fully, as intelligently and as zealously as he could. His report on the subject still exists; it certainly constitutes a severe arraignment of the men whom he cites as responsible for "that criminal enterprise." He left New�Orleans within a month after the death of the revolutionists, intending to make his home in France, but his ship was wrecked in the Garonne, within a few miles of port, and he perished miserably. There were strange rumors in New�Orleans of chests of money taken on board the "P�re de�Famille," on which he sailed on his ill-omened voyage. These, it was said, were the price of his submission. If so, he did not live to enjoy his ill-gotten gains.5

O'Reilly's orders were to punish the instigators of the revolt, and then to re-organize the government, in accordance with Spanish ideas. Having completed the first part of his task, he now turned to the other. O'Reilly had dictatorial powers, but he was never governor in a strict sense of the word. He was expected to remain only a short time in the colony, and then give way to Don�Luis de�Onzaga, who accompanied him and what had already been commissioned governor. On November�21st O'Reilly issued a proclamation in which he said that the evidence at the late trial furnished abundant proof of the seditious behavior of the Superior Council during the two preceding years, and that its influence had been uniformly exerted in support of the late revolt, instead of in the cause of law and order. It was therefore necessary to abolish the tribunal, and establish in Louisiana the form of government which existed in Spain's other American colonies. The effect of the pronouncement was the suppression of the entire French judiciary and the abrogation of the French laws, except insofar as the Black Code was concerned, which O'Reilly specially excepted. The French laws O'Reilly replaced with a code of his own, based upon the "Recopilaci�n de�Indias." This, however, was intended to be used only until the inhabitants should become sufficiently acquainted with the Spanish language to have recourse to the original statutes. For the Superior Council he substituted a Cabildo, which was the governing body in New�Orleans thenceforward to the close of the Spanish regime.

The Cabildo was a Council the functions of which were not greatly different from those of the body it displaced. It consisted of ten members, in addition to the governor, who presided over its deliberations, and the secretary, or escribano, who kept a record of them. The members were divided into two classes, as they held their office by election or by purchase. The former were four in number, and included two "alcaldes ordinarios," the "s�ndico procurador general," and the "mayordomo de�propios." They were elected annually on the first of the year by the whole Cabildo, including the members who were about to retire. They were required to be householders and residents of New�Orleans. They were always eligible to re-election, but except by a unanimous vote they could not be re-elected until they had been two years out of office. The two "Alcaldes ordinarios" were judges, with both civil and criminal jurisdiction. p26They held court daily, at 10�A.M. in the Principal, or town hall; in the evening, between�7 and 8�o'clock, at their own residences. They acted summarily all cases in which the amount involved was not over�$20, but in all civil cases involving more than 90,000 maravedis ($330.88) an appeal might be taken from their judgments to the Cabildo. They were without jurisdiction over those who could claim a military or ecclesiastical connection. It was part of their duty to visit the prisons every Friday, examine the prisoners, verify the causes of their detention and set at liberty "the poor who may be detained for their expenses or for small debts"; but they were not to set at liberty prisoners confined under orders from the Governor or any other judge. They were also to appear in public "with decency and modesty, bearing the wand of royal justice ? a�badge provided by law to distinguish the judges. When administering justice they shall hear mildly those who may present themselves."6

The s�ndico-procurador general, or attorney-general syndic, was not, as one might infer from his title, exclusively a prosecuting officer, although as city attorney for New�Orleans it was part of his duty to institute suits for delinquent taxes and other revenue due the municipality. "The Procurador General," ran O'Reilly's edict, "is an officer appointed to assist the people in all their concerns, to defend them, to preserve their rights, and obtain justice on their behalf, and to enforce all other claims which relate to the public interest. [.�.�.] The Procurador General, who is appointed only for the public good, shall see that the municipal ordinances are strictly observed, and shall endeavor to prevent everything by which the said public interests might suffer." He was required to represent the city at all apportionments of land. Part of his function was to see that the other officers of the Cabildo performed their duties punctually; that those who were required to furnish bond provided "good and sufficient" sureties; and in case these sureties ceased to be "good and sufficient," to see that others of a satisfactory sort were provided. Finally, the Mayordomo de�Propios, the fourth elective member, was a sort of municipal treasurer. He made disbursements upon the Cabildo's warrants, and on retiring from office, at the end of his year of service, was expected to render a detailed report of the financial operations of the twelvemonth.

The six seats in the Cabildo which were purchasable were held by officials known as perpetual regidores ? rulers, or administrators. The first occupied a purely honorary office, that of "alferez real," or royal standard bearer. His duties were limited to carrying the Spanish flag at certain ceremonies. The second regidor was "Principal alcalde provincial," and had cognizance of offenses committed outside of the city, with authority to pursue, seize and try all persons escaped to that region. The third was the "Alguazil mayor," a sort of civil and criminal sheriff, whose duty it was to carry into effect, either personally or through his deputies, all orders issued from the different tribunals. He was also superintendent of police and prisons, and was authorized to appoint the jailer, a personage of considerable importance, if we are to judge by the detail with which his duties are laid down in O'Reilly's regulations. The "depositario general" had charge of the government stores, and particularly of all moneys or effects in the custody of the law, except such as p27went to the "recibidor de�penas de�c�mera," in the way of fines and penalties. The sixth regidor had no special function, but seems to have been eligible to any duties which the absence or incapacity of one of his associates made it necessary to attend. The regidores were paid $50�each per�annum. The other officials received no stated compensation, but were entitled to collect certain fees and fines.

The purchasable seats in the Cabildo were sold, primarily, at auction by the government. They could be sold again by the incumbents, providing that the royal treasury received from the new tenants one-half the price paid in the first instance, and one-third of the price of all subsequent transfers. The office of clerk was likewise acquirable by purchase. It will be seen that the offices of greatest responsibility were not included in this group. In fact, the distribution of power was so managed that only a very small part of actual authority fell to any member of the Cabildo. The real government was in the hands of the military and ecclesiastical representatives of the crown and state. The Cabildo was, essentially, a court. As constituted above, it met every Friday in the Principal to hear cases of appeal from the courts of the "Alcaldes ordinarios." These appeals, however, were not heard by the Cabildo as a unit, but through two of its members deputed to sit with the "Alcalde" who had tried the case. The entire Cabildo, under the presidency of the Governor, was required to pass upon matters like the sale of the monopoly of supplying the city with meat, or wood, or what not; but all expenditures save the most paltry were made only after the approval of the Governor had been secured. On the other hand, the Governor was required to take oath before the Cabildo to submit any or all of his acts to its investigation, and, before he could enter upon the exercise of his office, had to give securities for the faithful performance of his duties, of a kind satisfactory to the members.7

Such, then, was the government of New�Orleans under the Spanish domination. O'Reilly completed his work by assigning to the city its first definite revenue. He laid a tax of $40 annually on each tavern or café; of $20 on each hotel or inn; of $1 on every barrel of brandy imported into the city.8 A�tax of $6 on every boat of twenty tons burden or over entering or leaving the port was to be devoted to the maintenance of the levees. The municipality was also invested with the ownership of the land immediately abutting on the Place d'Armes, between Chartres Street and the river, which was thereupon transferred to Don�Andrés Almonester y�Rojas, a local magnate, in consideration of a ground rent which helped considerably to augment the slender income at the disposal of the Cabildo. The butcher voluntarily agreed to contribute $370 per�annum, not, as they said, with a view subsequently to increase the price of the article in which they traded, "which ought to be done only under pressure of extreme necessity," but in recognition of the duty of every trade to pay its share of the municipal expenses. It is estimated that the income of the municipality from all sources was thus brought up to $2,000.9

p28

New�Orleans in�1770

A�larger, fully readable scan (2.1�MB) is also available.

p29 The Cabildo met for the first time on December�1, 1769. O'Reilly presided, and delivered a "bando de�buen gobierno," a species of ordinance defining the policy to be followed by the incoming administration. This was the first of a series of similar ordinances, after the fashion of the Roman praetors of old.a O'Reilly was content to decree the enforcement of laws of Castille and of the Indies, and the use of the Spanish tongue in judicial proceedings and in public business. The official use of French was permitted only in the judicial and notarial records of the military officers who were put in charge of the civil administration outside of New�Orleans. He then announced the appointment of Onzaga as Governor, installed him over the Cabildo, and withdrew. But by virtue of his superior position as captain-general O'Reilly continued to exercise all the functions of government down to October�29, 1770, when he sailed from New�Orleans for home.

The changes which O'Reilly wrought, though extensive, were more apparent than real. Inasmuch as the laws of Spain and of France had a common origin in the Roman law, they had numerous points of resemblance. The "recopilaciones" and "fueros" accordingly went into force without any friction other than that involved in the difference of language. The tone of severity and the feature of surveillance which figured in the Spanish legislation may have seemed unpleasant to those accustomed to the lax codes of their previous masters, but they were softened almost entirely away by the paternal, corrupt and inefficient administrations which succeeded upon O'Reilly's departure. Aubry has left on record the statement that O'Reilly established nothing new but what was absolutely necessary, but "continued and put in force all the wise and useful provisions which the weakness of the government had for several years failed to compel the community to observe."10 Indeed, it is noteworthy that O'Reilly placed Frenchmen at the head of practically every branch of the government; and the fact that he found none to refuse his commissions, and that on January�1, 1770, the Cabildo was permitted to elect St.�Denis and De�La�Chaise to be "alcaldes ordinarios" ? the latter brother-in-law to the unfortunate Villeré ? seems to show that the summary justice dealt out to the revolutionaries was regarded with much less horror by the population than has been generally believed.b

The arrival of the Spanish produced a large though temporary increase in the population. A�shortage of provisions resulted. This was relieved only by the opportune arrival of a vessel from Baltimore, with a cargo of flour belonging to an American merchant named Pollock. Pollock won the esteem of O'Reilly by his generous conduct on this occasion. He refused to profit by the necessities of the town, and was content to take the price which O'Reilly, at his solicitation, set upon his wares. His award was permission to trade thereafter free with Louisiana.11 But otherwise O'Reilly showed himself imbued to the fullest degree with the oppressive ideas of the Spanish Government on the subject of colonial commerce. His harsh actions with regard to the British tradesmen has already been mentioned. "They had in this town," he says in one of his dispatches, "their merchants and traders, with open stores and shops, and I�can safely assert that nine-tenths of the money spent here went into p30their pockets." He forbade his constituents from buying from the vessels, which, flying the English standard, passed tantalizingly up and down in front of New�Orleans on their way to and from Manchac, Baton Rouge and Natchez. They might sell them provisions, but only if the compensation were in coin, not in kind. A�violation of this statute was punishable with a fine of $100. This restriction operated hardly on a community so dependent upon the British as New�Orleans had become, and the Spanish officials soon saw the necessity of doing something to offset it. O'Reilly early in�1770 recommended that there be an absolutely free trade between New�Orleans and Havana. The colony needed "flour, wine, oil, iron instruments, arms, ammunition and every sort of manufactured article for clothing and other domestic purposes." It had to export "timber, indigo, cotton, furs and a small quantity of corn and rice." He recommended that the vessels owned in the colony be put on an equality with Spanish vessels. In the latter part of that year a further concession was made, when as many as two vessels per�annum were allowed to enter the port from France.

Under Onzaga other privileges were granted, but it was apparent that the prosperity of the colony would be destroyed if the Spanish commercial regulations were conscientiously enforced. Onzaga was a man of real ability. He dealt with the situation in a typically Spanish way. He found, for example, that in addition to the restrictions imposed under O'Reilly's code, there were others set up by Ulloa, in�1766. These, if enforced, would confine the trade of Louisiana to six Spanish ports ? Barcelona, M�laga, Cartagena, Alicante, Seville and Coru�a. The colonists could not always obtain what they needed from these places. Nor could they always sell their goods there to advantage. Louisiana indigo was inferior in quality to that of Guatemala, and consequently was not wanted in Spain. There was no market for Louisiana furs in a region where reigned perpetual summer. Tobacco, indeed, might have been sold, but the Louisiana product had to compete with the better grades from the West Indies, and the margin of profit was too narrow to make the business attractive. Timber could be laid down in Spain only at prices which ')" onMouseOut="nd();">were prohibitive. There was, however, a market near at hand where all these products could be disposed of easily and at a profit. An illicit trade with the British traders sprang up along the river both above and below the city. In return the British offered goods and slaves. Against the river bank in front of what is now the suburban town of Gretna these enterprising adventurers kept two immense flatboats fitted with shelves and counters and stocked with many kinds of merchandise. They were part of a fleet of similar craft which traveled up and down the river, trafficking from one plantation to the other. The value of this contraband business is estimated at $650,000 per�annum. Onzaga, realizing that the economic life of the colony depended upon this illegal trade, winked at it. The merchants in New�Orleans complained bitterly at being excluded from so lucrative a field. It was finally hinted that the Governor's acquiescence was not wholly disinterested. Then Onzaga interposed, but only far enough to clear himself of the imputation. Thanks to this wise lenity, the commerce of Louisiana not only throve but a desirable element was gradually added to the population, as one after another of the British adventurers bought lands and settled in the country.12

p31 Onzaga showed equal discretion in his handling of a ')" onMouseOut="nd();">religious controversy which broke out in New�Orleans in his time. P�re Dagobert, who was superior of the Capuchins at the time of the acquisition of the Province by Spain, was for some time suffered to continue in undisputed control. But a band of Spanish priests, under the envious, ambitious Padre Cirilo, soon arrived. Thereafter a bitter struggle began over the spiritual government of the colony. Onzaga favored the French party. Through his influence the contest was terminated by the appointment of Dagobert as vicar-general. It required considerable courage on his part to take this stand. It invited the hostility of his own church. But the gratification of the people of New�Orleans ? who were passionately attached to the amiable Dagobert ? amply justified Onzaga's policy. When in�1777 he left the city to take up the duties of viceroy of Caraccas,� to which office he had been promoted, he was able to hand over to his successor a community which, while still in all essentials, French, was on the whole reconciled to Spanish rule.13

That successor was a young officer named Bernardo de�Galvez. He was only twenty-nine years old when he took charge of the government, first as acting governor, and then with a commission from Madrid. Galvez was fond of gaiety, and fitted perfectly into the life of the community over which he was called to rule. With regard to the commerce of the city he exercised a policy even more liberal than his predecessor in every respect except as concerned the British. The Spanish government relaxed the prohibitions which had rested upon the exportation of Louisiana products sufficiently to allow certain articles, especially grain, woods, and tobacco, to be exported to France. Two commissioners, who were in effect consuls, were permitted to locate in New�Orleans to handle the business that quickly grew up. At first the French ships were permitted to enter the harbor only in ballast, but Galvez was not at all strict in enforcing this provision of the law, and ultimately Madrid had to modify it in order to legalize conditions at which everybody in authority in Louisiana connived. The extension of trading privileges to Cuba and Yucatan, however, was surrounded by so many restrictions that it did not do New�Orleans much good. Galvez was gratified when the American colonies revolted against Great Britain in�1776. The outbreak of war was followed by the arrival in New�Orleans of a number of American traders, who bought arms and ammunition for the American forces, and shipped them in canoes up the Mississippiup the Mississippi,

then up the Ohio',WIDTH,192)" onMouseOut="nd();">� to Fort Pitt. Not only did Galvez permit this traffic, but he helped the promoters of it with funds from the colonial treasury. He seems from the beginning to have realized that Spain must inevitably come to grips with the British in America. In�1779, when Spain, as an ally of France, found herself involved in the war with England, he was prepared to co-operate promptly and efficiently at his end of the line. His expeditions against Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Pensacola were triumphant. The war, however, had the effect of putting an end completely to the traffic with the British which Louisiana had found so profitable. Galvez had previously taken steps to curtail it. On the other hand, the development of business relations with the Americans offered a surer and hardly less gainful opening. In consequence, New�Orleans supported Galvez' military undertakings with great enthusiasm. Its award was the official confirmation from p32Madrid of still further commercial privileges which the sagacity of the young governor had already conceded. Extensive reductions in the duties on exports were made; a�considerable cut in the import duties followed; and New�Orleans found itself at liberty to trade to any city in the Spanish peninsula which enjoyed the right of commerce with the Indies.

During Galvez' frequent absences from New�Orleans the government had been exercised by Don Esteban Miro, colonel of the "Regiment of Louisiana," a body composed largely of colonials which had been organized by O'Reilly. In�1785 Galvez was made captain general of Cuba. As he now transferred his residence to Havana, Miro fell heir to the vacancy, first as ad�interim governor, and, a little later in the year, under a royal commission. He served till�1791. He was an affable, good hearted, and honorable man, whose judgment was as good as his intentions. As provisional holder of the office he did not see his way clear to ignore the illegal commerce which went on in New�Orleans, as his predecessors had done, and therefore, at the beginning of his incumbency, enforced strictly all the burdensome provisions of the various "cédulas," especially the clause prohibiting any "stranger vessel from entering the Mississippi except in case of distress." Villars, one of the French commissioners, who still remained in the city, writing in�1783, had said that commerce with Havana was impossible; Miro's course interfered largely with the business of France. The seizure of a French vessel sent to New�Orleans from Santo Domingo to fetch a cargo of lumber, showed the illiberal spirit in which the government was proceeding. After a detention of fifteen months this ship was returned to its owners by order of the Spanish king. In the meantime Miro had received his credentials; and this fact, joined to the reassuring action of the home government in regard to the ship, led the new governor to relax to some extent his restrictions on local commerce. The effect, however, had been to confirm New�Orleans in its position of dependence on the American trade. In fact, from now on, the principal interest of the history of the city lies in the growing intimacy of its relations with the regions along the upper courses of the Mississippi, in the slow but sure development of those conditions which made inevitable the extinction of Spanish power in Louisiana, and the acquisition by the United States of the control of the mouth of the great river.

Neither in New�Orleans nor in Madrid were the Spanish authorities blind to the menace of American expansion westward. The home government endeavored to combat it, somewhat stupidly, by interfering with the trade between its colony and the Americans. Miro had a more statesmanlike idea of extending Spanish power over the great middle western region, out of which later the states of Kentucky and Tennessee were carved. When, in�1798, General James Wilkinson arrived in New�Orleans, Miro seems to have thought that, through him, this project might be put in execution. Wilkinson had served with distinction in the American Revolution, and was a man of great popularity and influence among the American settlers who, to the great anxiety of the Spaniards, were pouring into the upper valley of the Mississippi. He came to New�Orleans with a flatboat loaded with tobacco, flour, butter, and bacon, and an idea of planting a colony of Americans in what are now called East and West Feliciana, and in Arkansas. Miro received p33him kindly, and granted him permission to establish in New�Orleans a depot for the products of Kentucky, which, as we have said, on account of the geographical conditions, could be exported most easily by way of this city. He and Wilkinson had several interviews, but the latter had no idea of falling in with the Spanish governor's designs, and seems to have continued the negotiations solely out of a desire to humor his host and gain commercial advantages thereby.

Miro showed himself a capable administrator in many ways. The winter of�1784 was very severe. The river was filled with floating ice, a thing which did not happen again for over 120�years. The frost did great harm to the plantations, and the governor was compelled to exert himself strenuously to help his stricken people. He established a home for lepers. He interested himself in promoting immigration, particularly of the Acadians, some of whom had already found a refuge in Louisiana. In�1788 a great fire desolated New�Orleans. Some 856�houses were burned, including the cathedral, which, though built of brick, was completely destroyed. The arsenal, the prison, and many other public edifices were likewise consumed. The disaster was followed by a scarcity of provisions, which it taxed the governor's resources to supply. It produced, however, some happy effects, among them a display of generosity which immortalized the name of Don Andres Almonester y�Rojas, the local magnate, who now at his own expense rebuilt the cathedral, and, with extraordinary enterprise, undertook at reasonable prices the reconstruction of the Cabildo and other burned public buildings. Moreover, the conflagration was followed by a reaction in the direction of prosperity. The town suddenly outgrew its ancient boundaries, and as we shall see in more detail in a future chapter, a girdle of suburbs quickly sprang all around the "vieux carré." Still another circumstance which tested the abilities of the governor was the attempt of Father Antonio de�')" onMouseOut="nd();">Sedella to establish the Inquisition. The Santa Hermandad had been, nominally, at least, introduced into the colony under the fourth article of the third section of O'Reilly's instructions of�1769, but it is not clear to what degree this celebrated organization was developed. The Inquisition, which was a recognized institution in all the other Spanish colonies, had, however, not been introduced into ')" onMouseOut="nd();">Louisiana. In view of the temper of the colonists, the decision of the Spanish authorities to force it on Louisiana was exceedingly unwise. Miro sided with his constituents in this dilemma. He expelled Father Antonio summarily. Nor does his action seem ever to have been censured by the home government. Some years later, Father Antonio returned to New�Orleans as a simple priest, and by his sanctity, tolerance and charity, endeared himself to the entire people.14

Miro resigned his office and was succeeded by Baron Carondelet, in�1791. Francisco Luis Hector de�Carondelet, to give him the benefit of an unusually sonorous appellation, was governor of San�Salvador (Guatemala) at the time he was promoted to the governorship of Louisiana. In his "bando de�buen gobierno," issued on January�22, 1792, Carondelet made some important changes in the organization of the city of New�p34Orleans. He divided it into four wards, over each of which he placed an "alcalde de�barrio" or commissary of police. It was the duty of this official to collect the names of all persons residing in his precinct, newcomers being obliged to report their arrival within not more than twenty-four hours. It was also the duty of these officials to take charge of the fire apparatus at any fire which might occur in their district.

Governor Carondelet

These ',WIDTH,110)" onMouseOut="nd();">alcaldes, however, exercised no judicial functions except with reference to "small debts," but they were invested with ample powers to preserve the peace. Carondelet also in this document made provision for the lighting of the city. This was to be done by oil lamps. Nothing of the sort had been attempted hitherto. The expenses were to be defrayed out of the proceeds of a tax of $1.12� on each chimney in town. One of the new governor's first cares was to restore the fortifications around the city. He erected two forts ? St.�Charles, at the lower end of the Mississippi front; and another, Fort Bourgoyne,� at the upper, landward extremity of the city. As they had no strategic value, even for those days of elementary military science, these tiny fortresses must have been designed to impress the citizens. "We believe," said General Collot, in his diverting description of the good governor's fortresses, "that M.�de�Carondelet, when he adopted this means of defense, thought more of providing for the obedience of the subjects of his Catholic majesty, than for an attack on a foreign enemy, and in this point of p35view he may be said to have completely succeeded." In his later reports to the home government Carondelet confirmed this idea and added that had the population of the city not been awed by his forts, it would have rebelled under the influence of Franco-revolutionary ideas, and a serious situation would have ensued."15

More important for the city was his appointment of thirteen watchmen or "serenos," who were at first paid out of the tax on chimneys. An extensive fire, however, which occurred in�1794 destroyed 212�houses and so greatly reduced the number of chimneys that the revenue from this source was not sufficient to meet all the charges set against it; and two years later the Cabildo laid a tax on wheat bread and meat to supply this demand.

Carondelet also prohibited the importation of negroes from the West Indies, fearing that they might be infected with the insurrectionary spirit of the times; conciliated the Indians; strove to improve the living conditions of the slaves by prescribing the amount of food and clothing they should receive, their hours of work and the extent and character of the punishments which might be inflicted on them. In�1795 he began the construction of a canal in the rear of the city to connect with the Bayou St.�John and give a water route from the heart of the city all the way to Lake Pontchartrain. This important work was executed by slave labor contributed by the planters and was opened in�1795.c Incidentally it served a useful purpose in helping to drain the marsh behind the city.

Carondelet seemed to have renewed Miro's intrigues with regard to Kentucky and Tennessee. About that time Genet, the French minister in Washington, planned an expedition which was to advance from Kentucky to invade Louisiana and Florida. This fantastic schemed had the support of a number of Americans who were anxious to see the Spaniards banished from the lower reaches of the Mississippi, and by De�La�Chaise, a visionary person then living in New�Orleans, who published some foolish pamphlets more or less connected with the plan. It is possible that Genet's enterprise would have borne some tangible fruit, but the government at Washington interposed and prevented what would clearly have been a breach of the law of neutrality. Moreover, negotiations were already under way between the American Government and that of Spain looking towards a more liberal policy with regard to trade at New�Orleans. Genet's agents had met with a welcome in Kentucky, a fact which seems to have impressed Carondelet, as he could not help but perceive that there was far greater likelihood of the bold and enterprising population of that region conquering Louisiana than of consenting pacifically to become Spanish subjects.

Carondelet had to abandon the project of annexing Kentucky in�1792, when that State was admitted to the American Union. Four years later Tennessee likewise became one of the United States and whatever hopes he had entertained with regard to that region had likewise to be relinquished. ')" onMouseOut="nd();">Collot, the French general who visited New�Orleans in�1796, and who was expelled by Carondelet, summed up the American objection to Spanish rule very well, when he pointed out that the Americans were too independent of nature to submit to royal control; that they could not see how a power unable to protect itself from them could protect p37them from other powers; and, finally, that if Kentucky and Tennessee ever seriously considered merging themselves into Spanish Louisiana, that act would prove deeply detrimental to their commerce by virtue of the restrictions imposed by the Spanish Government.

(p36)

New�Orleans in�1798

A�larger, fully readable scan (1.3�MB) is also available.

Louisiana was in a state of unrest during all of these closing years of the century. The reverberations of the Revolution which was convulsing Europe were audible even here, far off in the western forests. Carondelet pointed out in one of his communications to the Cabildo that the city was full of Frenchmen whose nocturnal assemblages ought to be broken up ? presumably because they discussed revolutionary theories. In�1793 when New�Orleans learned that Spain had declared war on France, there was a moment when the Creoles hoped that fortune would bring them back again under the French flag. At the theaters the more enthusiastic vented this feeling by singing the Marseillaise or the inflammatory songs of the Jacobins. Carondelet felt obliged to issue an order prohibiting martial dances and revolutionary music at all public assemblages. Another source of anxiety was a dispute which arose between the bishop and the Capuchins. Still another was the menacing attitude of the slaves, who broke out in open rebellion in�1795 on the Poydras plantation, some distance from the city. But "by extreme vigilance and spending sleepless nights, and by scaring some and banishing others, particularly some newcomers who were debauching the people with their republican teachings; by intercepting letters and documents suspected of being incendiary, by prevaricating with everybody," as Carondelet half-jestingly described his own procedure, he succeeded in restoring a measure of order; and when he retired from the governorship to take up the more responsible post of president of the Royal Audiencia of Peru, he left behind "a�respected and popular memory."16

Manuel Gayoso de�Lemos, who had figured in a famous episode at Natchez, when the English claimed that post under the treaty of�1795, now became governor. He was a brigadier general in the Spanish army. He showed himself a stronger opponent of French revolutionary ideas than his predecessor had been. Under his government the commerce of New�Orleans improved. Most of his time was occupied with disputes with the Intendant, Morales, and with General Wilkinson, over the privilege of deposit which the Americans had received under the treaty of�1795. Morales abruptly forbade the use of New�Orleans as a place of deposit, and did not provide another, as required by that treaty. This was an act of bad faith, and caused great indignation among the Americans all along the Mississippi, with whose export business it worked havoc. Their appeals to the government at Washington aroused the President, somewhat tardily, to action. Adams ordered three regiments to be concentrated in Ohio, and several others of be held in readiness to co-operate in any action which might become necessary. Wilkinson was ordered to Washington. On his way thither he passed through New�Orleans and had an interview with Morales. The blunt American soldier made quite clear to the wily Spaniard that the United States was in no mood to be trifled with ? that the United States would yield none of its claims in the Mississippi Valley under any circumstances. The forfeited privilege was, however, not restored till May,�1803, when orders to that effect from Madrid obliged Morales to rescind his ill-timed p38 ordinance. But this act of justice was tardy and ineffectual. The Americans realized that it was revocable again at the fancy of any casual Spanish official. Their irritation was not allayed by the action of the Spanish Government. In fact, they had arrived at the determination to oust the Spanish from the lower reaches of the Mississippi. If diplomacy had not at this point stepped in peaceably to effect a transfer of control from Spain to the United States, they would probably have resorted to force to bring about the thing which they desired.

In July, 1799, Gayoso de�Lemos died. Pending the arrival of his successor, the Government temporarily vested in the hands of the auditor, José Vidal. A�few weeks later the Marquis de�Casa Calvo, an officer stationed at Havana, was sent to Louisiana as governor ad�interim. Casa Calvo was related by marriage to O'Reilly, and had accompanied that official on his visits to the colony. The new governor was a man of great dignity, haughty rather than affable, who disliked the ideas of liberty and equality then afloat in the world. He was not popular in New�Orleans. Both in his time and in that of Salcedo, who succeeded as governor, in�1801, the Spanish pursued a policy of expectancy, waiting upon the developments of the negotiations which were going on in Europe between America, France and Spain. Salcedo was advanced in years and somewhat infirm of mind as well as of body. He was completely under the control of his son, whose will, as far as there was any manifest in a feeble administration, controlled the government.

Kendall's History of New�Orleans ? Chapter�3 mail: Bill Thayer Italiano Help Up Home Chapter�2 This webpage reproduces a chapter of History of New�Orleans by John Kendall published by The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New�York, 1922 The text is in the public domain. This page has been carefully proofread and I�believe it to be free of errors. If you find a mistake though, please let me know! Chapter�4 This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy. USMA Home p39 Chapter�III The Transfer to the United States The Spanish held possession of Louisiana for thirty-four years. On the whole, their government was satisfactory to the people.1 Under their rule the population of the province quadrupled. That of New�Orleans doubled. The commerce of the city also grew materially. The goods received by river were, in�1801, valued at a total of 1,095,000 French livres. The trade with Europe, in spite of a vacillating policy which alternately encouraged and depressed it, was also valuable. Spain spent over 60,000,000 pesetas in the colony. Her only return for this large outlay was the satisfaction of having a barrier between the restless Anglo-Saxons and her possessions in Mexico. This barrier was now rapidly crumbling away. Its collapse was due, in part, to the fact that the inhabitants of Louisiana resisted all efforts to convert them into Spaniards. To the end of the chapter they remained French. As late as�1874, when the tale was almost finished, an intelligent traveler, Smith, after visiting the colony, made note of the general neglect of the official tongue and the steadfast devotion of the people to the land of their forbears.2

But in part, also, the Spanish failure was due to the operation of great economic laws, which dictated the western advance of the Americans and linked the fate of New�Orleans with the commercial development of the Mississippi Valley.

In�1803 these obscure forces were suddenly complicated by the political situation in Europe. France was then under the control of her meteoric emperor, Napoleon. His policy, which had already brought him into collision with Great Britain, was now hurrying on another terrible war. In the elaborate web of alliance woven in anticipation of this event were involved lands and peoples far removed from the theater of the expected conflict, and among them was the distant city by the Mississippi and the vast province of which it was the capital. The story of how Louisiana was abruptly wrested from the relaxing grasp of its Iberian rulers and then, as abruptly, delivered into the hands of the United States, can be briefly told. By the secret treaty of San�Ildefonso, signed on October�1,�1800, Napoleon had bargained with Charles�IV, of Spain, to have Louisiana and the Floridas ceded to France in exchange for Tuscany, which was to be erected into a kingdom for the Duke of Parma, husband of Charles' daughter. Rumors of this treaty reached President Jefferson, who instructed the American ambassador, Pinckney, at Madrid, to ascertain the truth with regard to it, and sent Robert Livingston to France as minister, to open negotiations there for the cession of the Island of Orleans ? for New�Orleans then stood on an island ? to the United States. Meantime a second secret treaty was negotiated p40on March�1,�1801, also at San�Ildefonso, but this instrument was not signed at once because the Spanish king waited for his son-in-law to be assured of his new kingdom. Talleyrand, Napoleon's principal minister, with characteristic duplicity, detained Livingston in Paris uncertain as to the existence and extent of the treaty.

p41

Letter of Recommendation Dated March,�1783,

Concerning Antonio Valette,

Signed by Galvez, Governor of Louisiana, 1777-1785

(Seymour Collection. In Sala Capitular)

Pending the final ratification of the agreement, Napoleon prepared to throw into Santo Domingo a heavy force which was ultimately to go to New�Orleans under General Victor. The failure of the French general, LeClerc, to subdue an insurrection of the negroes in that island, interfered with this plan. Napoleon still urged the ratification of the treaty. On October�15,�1802, it was signed. The boundaries of the vast territory concerned were purposely left indefinite. The news that France was to have Louisiana produced an unfavorable impression in the United States. Jefferson wrote to Livingston that the cession was a mistake. It would, he believed, be the ruin of France, for it would inevitably make the United States an ally of Great Britain. It was at this critical moment that the Intendant at New�Orleans, Morales, closed the port to the Americans. This action forced the issue. We have seen how it affected the Westerners, who now declared that the free navigation of the Mississippi was theirs by right, and they intended to have it by force, if it could not be obtained in any other way.3

At this stage Jefferson sent Monroe to Paris as envoy extraordinary and Congress took the measures already detailed, looking to the forcible seizure of New�Orleans, should diplomacy prove unavailing. Napoleon was aware that England commanded the seas. Could a rival maritime power be built up to check her development or at least to divert her attention from the exclusive contemplation of European problems? He suddenly realized that something of the sort might follow from acquiescing in the proposals which Jefferson laid before him. Talleyrand, after a conference with Barb�-Marbois and D�cr�s, went to Livingston on April�11,�1803, with an offer, not merely of New�Orleans, but of the whole province of Louisiana. This was a large proposition. The American envoys were reluctant to undertake it offhand. But after some diplomatic fencing a bargain was finally struck on April�30. Livingston and Monroe agreed to pay 80,000,000 francs for the whole territory. Napoleon himself, in fixing a price, thought 50,000,000 francs sufficient. Barb�-Marbois, however, on his own initiative deeming the price too low, named the higher figure. It was finally decided that $20,000,000 of the total should go to pay the spoliation claims made by American citizens against France since�1800.4

While these secret negotiations were in progress in Paris for a still more momentous transaction, New�Orleans was surprised by the receipt of news that Louisiana was to be transferred from Spain to France. Preparations were at once begun to quarter the French officers who were expected to arrive shortly. The Cabildo, for instance, met and solemnly let at auction the contract for supplying the troops with meat. It must have been with some disappointment that, after their preparations, the p42local officials saw the arrival on March�21,�1803, of a single ship, the Surveillant, having on board the French commissioner, Laussat, his family, and a small suite of officers and civilian associates, among them the adjutant-general Burthe, who was expected to attach himself to General Victor's staff, when that commander should eventually arrive. Laussat bore a commission as Colonial Prefect. In the government which was to be established in Louisiana this official was to have powers similar to but more extensive than those previously enjoyed by the Spanish Intendant. There was to be a captain-general whose functions paralleled those of the Spanish governor-general. A�commissary of justice was also to be set up to superintend the administration of justice, and to compile a civil and criminal code.5 Laussat was the only one of these officials who arrived. Victor, who was appointed captain-general and commissioner to receive, on the part of France, the Province from the Spanish, never reached Louisiana. Laussat's position, embarrassing from the first, grew more and more so as time passed and the cession was delayed by the exigencies of the war between France and England. It was expected that he would complete the arrangements for the reception of Victor's army; but as weeks elapsed and Victor did not appear, his activities became more and more ridiculous. It was not till nine months later, when he was installed at the head of the government by the retiring Spanish that his status took on a definite character.6

Laussat's advent in the colony was, however, made pleasant by the cordiality with which he was greeted. He landed a few miles below New�Orleans and was met there by carriages in which he and his party were conveyed to the city, which they entered amidst salvos of artillery. Salcedo, surrounded by the principal civil and military officers of the Government, received him at the Principal. He established himself in the residence of Bernard de�Marigny. There on the following day delegations of the leading citizens waited on him; the Cabildo called to pay its respects; even the clergy, forgetting for a fleeting moment its grievances against the French Republic, likewise paid a ceremonious visit. An address from the City of New�Orleans, and another from the German Coast, seemed to indicate that his arrival, as the harbinger of deliverance and reunion to France, aroused universal joy.

Laussat was naturally gratified at these evidences of esteem. His mind was full of the importance of his mission. He had elaborate schemes for the development of the city first, and then of the entire province. He had brought with him an extensive library to be used by those who were to labor with him in the various departments of administration and instruction which he meant to establish.7 He was fitted for the role he expected to play by long experience in administrative work under the Revolutionary government. He had been a member of the Council of�500 and of the Tribunate in the Year�VIII. He was now about 47�years of age. Napoleon had a poor opinion of his abilities and on one occasion spoke contemptuously of his attainments. However, p43he seems to have been an excellent choice for his present post. He was soon on good terms with Salcedo, the governor, and with Morales, the Intendant; less so with Lopez de�Armesto, the governor's secretary. Armesto was the real brains of the administration. He had been twenty years in the colony, knew every detail of the public service, and had his creatures everywhere. Laussat in his dispatches never wearies of commenting upon the people whom he met. "Venality," he observed, was "general and open," but otherwise the population was "active, industrious and full of emulation. [.�.�.] Much is to be done, but I�am convinced that the Government will benefit with usury for any pains that it may be put to on their behalf."8 Society, though not free from the dullness usual in small towns, was characterized by a good deal of elegance. "The men are frank and open, but singularly fond of pleasure," he writes. Laussat was struck by their custom of interspersing their meals with toasts and songs. The women he found uniformly charming and both sexes joined great refinement of manner to inherent elegance. The prevailing luxury of dress reminded him of Paris. "I�find here none but French," he wrote on one occasion, "and, it must be said, Bonapartist hearts. It is impossible to speak for a moment of the Republic, of its wars, of its peace, of its achievements, and of its destiny, without awakening continued expressions of admiration. [.�.�.] This colony, by the circumstances of its retrocession, regards itself as in a special sense the ward of the first consul, and since he has restored it to France it looks to him for strength and prosperity."9

But this first reception was deceptive. As a matter of fact, the population regarded the impending changes of masters either with indifference or alarm. Laussat was annoyed by the demonstrations of esteem which were made over the Spanish officials by the very men like De�Bor�, Fortier, Labatut and DeBuys, who signed the addresses of welcome presented to him.10 A�few days after his arrival he himself had occasion to remark that "enemies of the Republic, actuated all by fear or jealousy, were striving to embitter, irritate, and disquiet the population." These evil-minded persons, it appeared, were constantly harping upon the questions of slavery and religion. These were weak points in Laussat's armor. France had abolished slavery elsewhere; might it not do the same in Louisiana? That contingency was not agreeable to contemplate among a people whose capital was largely invested in that form of property. Moreover, the Consulate was notoriously unfriendly to the Catholic Church, of which the inhabitants of New�Orleans were members almost to a man. This agitation went on so persistently that the Ursuline nuns finally felt that it would be wise to abandon the city in which they had resided almost since the hour of its foundation. They petitioned the Spanish authorities in June for authority to remove to Havana. Laussat used every argument to dissuade them from this course, but could not do so; and the prayers of the people to whom the nuns were endeared by the memories of near half a century of intimate association, likewise p45proved unavailing.11 Sixteen of the twenty-five ladies who represented the order in New�Orleans left the convent and embarked for Cuba attended to their vessel by Salcedo, and other government officials and by a multitude of sorrowful citizens.12

(p44)

Plan of the City and Environs of New�Orleans,�1816

from a survey by B.�Lafon

A�larger, fully readable scan (1.3�MB) is also available.

Another matter about which the people felt concern was the currency. There was reason to fear that with the removal of the Spanish government the sound coinage of Spain would give place to the paper "assignats" of France. Spain had spent 3,000,000 pesetas annually, more or less, in the colony, and had always settled its debts punctually; this stream of wealth was about to end and there was some doubt as to the ability of the Republic to meet its obligations in a similarly business-like manner. Another source of apprehension was the possibility that the five-year moratorium recently instituted in Santo Domingo might be extended to Louisiana. The commercial situation was also critical. The interests of the New�Orleans merchants were fast becoming identical with those of their English-speaking neighbors along the upper courses of the great river. Free trade was a necessity to them. Free trade, in effect, they managed to have in spite of the onerous Spanish commercial regulations. France might not be so hidebound in these matters as Spain, but she was by no means favorable to free trade. What would be her attitude towards the restrictions lately laid on the port of New�Orleans? From all this there resulted the disquiet of a population which had accustomed itself to the lax administrative methods of the Spanish ? which had learned how to evade what it did not find profitable to obey; would it be able to do so much under the more competent, less corrupt French officials?

As early as April, Laussat reported to his government that he was beginning to find his position difficult. As a matter of fact, through his own personality as much as the force of circumstances, he had alienated all parties, even the most rabid Republicans. A�representative of the Jacobin Club which had been organized in New�Orleans on the model of one in Philadelphia, called to deliver an address: Laussat, bored with his eloquence, addressed him rudely, with the result that the society concluded that the French commissioner was not a true republican. The Royalists and emigr�s naturally saw in him merely the agent of a hated government. The clergy, after the first perfunctory call, held aloof. His relations with the official classes, also, gradually grew unpleasant. Laussat attributed this to the influence of the Marquis of Casa Calvo, who arrived in May, to be the Spanish commissioner for the transfer of the Province. The change in Salcedo's under was probably dictated, in part, at least, by a proclamation which Laussat issued soon after his arrival, in which he tactlessly alluded to the "atrocities" of O'Reilly. The disagreement with Casa Calvo arose over a dispute as to jurisdiction. Laussat wished to imprison Burthe, with whom he had fallen out with regard to the limitations of their respective powers. The Spaniard would not recognize Laussat's rights in the premises. He took the ground that, until the Province was actually transferred, there could be but one authority, and that Spanish.13 These quarrels were known in the community, p46and ')" onMouseOut="nd();">arrayed the population in two groups ? as they favored French pretensions, or sympathized with the Spanish officials.

Laussat was also irritated because Casa Calvo set to work to compile a list of the inhabitants who desired to retain their Spanish nationality. "Scarcely had he set foot on the river bank," he says in one of his reports, "than he summoned to meet him all the local military officials (and thanks to the militia, there is hardly a person of importance in the colony who cannot be said to have some connection with the military establishment), and required them to state definitely whether they favored the King of Spain; and on this declaration depended in a large degree the eventual disposition of their pensions and fortunes." Two companies of negroes in New�Orleans were also called on to make the "fatal determination," as Laussat called it; and when some of them refused, they were put in jail; or, at least, so two of them reported after their release, when they poured their complaint into Laussat's sympathetic ears. He was annoyed also to find that a priest had been sent to the Terre aux�Boeufs to make a census of the Acadian farmers there who might not wish to identify themselves with the new government. In all of this, however, Laussat had no good cause of complaint. Casa Calvo was clearly doing no more than his duty.

The formal announcement of the impending cession was first made in New�Orleans on May�18, in a proclamation signed by Salcedo and Casa Calvo. This document, among other things, offered to such of the inhabitants as did not wish to abandon their Spanish nationality, the opportunity to migrate to Havana, or to some other of the Spanish colonies in America. Among its other provisions was one defining the limits of the ceded territory, namely, those specified in Article Five of the Treaty of Paris of�1763, leaving the settlements on Bayou Manchac to the line of separation between them and the United States, a part of the Spanish Province of West Florida. Still other clauses referred somewhat vaguely ')" onMouseOut="nd();">to the security of the laws and customs of the colony,14 and the property and concessions and religious professions of the people; all of which the signers hoped would be respected by the new government.

It was not until August that New�Orleans heard that the contemplated retrocession to France would be a mere form. There had been disquieting rumors to that effect somewhat earlier, but Laussat had ignored them. The Americans "who infest this town," as he wrote, had been for some time circulating the report that France would never take possession; that within a year the United States would have possession of the place. Official confirmation of these disquieting rumors arrived on the twenty-fourth, and with it Laussat's appointment as commissioner to transfer Louisiana to the United States.15

This was a terrible blow to his vanity. A�French traveler, who was in Louisiana at the time, has left on record the statement that "when Laussat knew that Louisiana was to be ceded to the United States, and that the French government had delegated to him the ceremony of cession, p47he could not see the unexpected change, which was to derange all his plans of study, without being deeply affected."16 However, he put as good a face on the matter as he could and on November�30,�1803, had the satisfaction of performing with great dignity his part in the solemn farce by which he became, temporarily, in the absence of the captain-general, head of the government.

On that morning Laussat published an address to the inhabitants of Louisiana. "French citizens," he said, "the French flag today will float everywhere; it will remind you in this distant land of your combats, your victories, your devotion, and your valor. It will not be surrounded by its usual rampart of those formidable bayonets which have covered it with power and glory. But welcomed by a faithful ally, it will be guarded by the Louisianans, those worthy sons of our sires, ? it will be guarded by your presence, by your respect, by your love." A�long proclamation also was issued officially announcing the approaching transfer to France; and to diminish the effect which that other transfer, only a few days removed, might produce upon the present ceremony, Laussat devoted most of the document to a flattering description of the future of Louisiana.17 At midday Salcedo, Casa Calvo and Laussat arrived at the Principal, before which the regiment of Louisiana, some Mexican cavalrymen, and the local militia, under its commander, Charpin, were drawn up in full uniform. With Laussat came a party of fifteen or sixteen Frenchmen. Amidst salvos of artillery from the war-vessels in the river the commissioners entered the building and ascended the staircase to the Sala Capitular. Here on a dais had been placed three arm-chairs. Salcedo took his place in the center one, with Laussat at his right, and Casa Calvo on his left. Laussat rose and presented to the aged Spanish governor his credentials, including copies of a long document addressed by the King of Spain to the Marquis de�Somoruelos, captain-general of Cuba, authenticating the cession of the Province. At the close of the reading of these papers Salcedo, with a few appropriate words, delivered to Laussat, on a silver plate, the keys of Forts St.�Charles and St.�Louis. He thereupon yielded him the place of honor. Casa Calvo now solemnly absolved from their oath of allegiance to Spain all of those colonists who had not specially expressed their desire to retain their Spanish nationality. Finally, the Naval Commissary Daugerot, on behalf of the French, and Lopez de�Armesto, on behalf of the Spanish, read in each language a proces-verbal of the proceedings, which were signed by the principal actors in this memorable scene. Then Laussat, Salcedo and Casa Calvo appeared on the balcony overlooking the Place d'Armes.18 At a signal given by the firing of cannon, the Spanish flags descended from the flagstaffs, and the French flags were hoisted.19

'Then the Spanish commissioners turned to withdraw," says Laussat, in his Memoirs; "I�accompanied them as far as the stair. Our secretaries and staff officers went with them to the foot of the staircase. [.�.�.] Poor old Salcedo was tottering with age: Casa Calvo constantly retained that calm and serene air which the officials of his nation, even of an inferior rank, never fail to preserve." At this moment the grenadier p48company of the regiment of Louisiana, took possession of the Spanish flag, "and the troops defiled in its wake at the charge. [.�.�.] After they had marched by," continued Laussat, "I�descended to the square. I�placed myself in front of the line of the militia drawn up there. M.�Sosten was there. I�addressed him, and he replied that the troops had been ordered out in accordance with my desires, and turned them over to me. I�thanked him. I�proclaimed M.�Bellechasse their commander, and made a short address commending him. I�had my order appointing him read and directed that they yield him the proper obedience. I�then added: 'I�confide to you in the name of the Republic these flags; you will defend them, you will honor them; they will be in your midst as a benefit to the country; they are here as upon their native soil, for French blood runs in the veins of the majority of you.' During this ceremony the cannon pealed on every side. Bellechasse had made his arrangements. He went to take charge of the different posts. At the moment when the Spanish flag was lowered at Fort St.�Charles it was saluted with twenty-one guns fired from the fort, and twenty-one fired from a battery of eight pieces which I�had placed in the square in front of the Prefecture."20 The same honors were paid to the French flag when it floated into place.

French sovereignty thus re-established in New�Orleans lasted from November�30 to December�20. This period was not exempt from anxieties, but they were provoked mainly by events in the Attakapas and the Opelousas, where the inhabitants attempted to exploit the transfer to suit their own interests, and had to be restrained.21 There were fears that disturbances might be started by the lower classes in the city, but nothing serious happened. Laussat, however, accepted the offer of the services of a battalion of Americans under Daniel Clark, the American consul, who, together with many Creoles, made up a force about 300�strong. These guarded the city effectively, drilling in Davis' ropewalk, on Canal Street, and patrolling the streets day and night until the arrival of the United States troops.22 As a further means of insuring the peace of the city Laussat promptly substituted for the Cabildo a municipality of the type with which he was familiar in France. "I�occupied myself with forming a municipal council," he tells us in his memoirs; "I�desired in it merchants, Americans,�men accustomed to affairs; I�proposed to create a memorial and homage to the French sacrificed by O'Reilly. I�sought out a secretary who would put this machinery in motion, who would have courage, honesty, talent, and wisdom. In a word, I�wished to have a municipality composed in a manner which would do me honor and which would defend with dignity its country before the Americans on their arrival and taking possession. This act is the most striking one of my short reign, and the one to which I�attach the greatest importance."23

This municipal council was composed of Jacques Livaudais, Petit, Cavalier, Viller�, "worthy brother of him who was judiciously� assassinated by O'Reilly;" Evan Johns, a rich American who had been for a p49long time a naturalized Spanish citizen; M.�Fortier, William Donaldson, G.�Faurie, the younger Allard, Jean Watkins, A.�D.�Tureaud and the treasurer, Labatut. Etienne de�Bor� was appointed mayor. Pierre Derbigny was made secretary to the council. Destrehan was name first "adjoict" and Pierre Sauv�, second "adjoict."24 The "adjoicts" were deputy-mayors, and as such discharged any function which the mayor found himself unable to perform. They do not appear to have otherwise been invested with any duties. The office of "adjoict" was, therefore, largely honorary. Bor�, the mayor, was a well-known planter, a man of wealth, education, and distinguished social position. He was in his fiftieth year. He was a native of Kaskaskia, but had spent a considerable portion of his life in Europe, whither he was sent in his early youth to be educated. After leaving school he entered the King's Musqueteers and, later, after a visit to Louisiana, on business, was transferred to the French cavalry. He left the army with the rank of captain. He married a daughter of Destrehan. He owned a great plantation a few miles above the City of New�Orleans. There he had originally cultivated indigo. But when this product lost its market as a result of competition from Guatemala, he turned his attention to the manufacture of sugar. On his estate he set up a sugar mill and there, in�1795, had, with the aid of two Cubans, Mendez and Lopez, succeeded in producing the first granulated sugar ever known in the colony, with the result that agriculture was completely revolutionized. The other members of the new city government were also all men of fine position and great influence.

The municipality as thus created was a temporary device, expected to last only until the American government should take over the city, when it was expected new arrangements would be made. Laussat called his municipality together on the morning of November�30, the day of the transfer of the government. He read them the decrees which he intended to issue. He expected applause; instead, there was discussion which seems to have offended the sensitive prefect; at any rate, he somewhat abruptly dismissed them till the following day.25

p50 The municipality took its duties with becoming seriousness. During the three weeks over which the French regime extended, it met ten times. Its first step was to take over from the custody of Spanish officials the funds belonging to the city. In all, about $25,000 was received from these sources. The extent of the council's authority was also considered at its first meeting. This was a matter of some importance, as it involved the tenure of office of a number of persons, like the police officers, the jailor, and the "executioner of high justice." It is gratifying to know that the council decided that it had authority to continue these persons at their posts, and that ')" onMouseOut="nd();">the jailor solemnly appeared and took the oath of office. Two days later, at the second meeting, the important matter of the importation into the colony of negroes from the French West Indies was discussed, apropos of the arrival in the river of a vessel with thirteen of the objectionable persons on board. At that time the French West Indies were in the throes of a servile war, and the Louisiana slave-owners were apprehensive that the introduction of Dominican negroes into the community might lead to a similar outbreak here. Two members of the council were appointed to lay the matter before the Colonial Prefect. It was taken up at several subsequent meetings. The negroes in question were consigned to the firm of Relf &�Chew. These merchants appeared before the council on December�12 and stated that they were ignorant of the point of origin of this human merchandise until informed by the council. They undertook to see that the negroes were confined to the ship while it lay in port and that they should be sent out of the colony at the earliest possible moment. Councilmen Faurie and Sauv� were appointed a committee to meet the ship on her arrival, make a list of the suspected negroes, and see that the agreement with Relf &�Chew were faithfully carried out.26

On one other occasion the matter of slaves came up. On the�5th of December the council adopted an ordinance prohibiting slaves from roaming the streets after nightfall, and particularly forbidding them to frequent the balls and other public entertainments to which free men of color were admitted. The hour of 9:00�P.M. was fixed as the latest at which they might go abroad. Thereafter all slaves unable to show a written permit from their owners were to be taken up by the patrol, and put in prison; or, if they were guilty of any misconduct sufficient to justify, in the opinion of the police, they were to receive ten stripes "and thereafter to be at the disposition of their masters." A�fine of $25 was put upon all persons operating a place of public entertainment who sold a ticket to a slave.

On December�3rd the council addressed itself to the matter of the police. It adopted an ordinance requiring the "alcaldes de�barrio" ? who were continued in office under the title of "commissioners" ? to report once a week at the Principal. At the same time a letter was addressed to the syndics of the "banlieu" or suburbs, inviting them to continue to perform their customary functions. Also, provision was made for the administration of justice in summary cases. Councilmen Jones and Tureaud p51were appointed to discharge the duties of justices of the peace. They were to officiate in "all summary cases not requiring 'procedure,'�" civil as well as criminal. They were to hold court daily, except Sunday, at the Principal (now called the H�tel de�Ville) from 9:00 A.M. to noon, and from 2:00 to 6:00�P.M. A�few days later the council adopted a set of police regulations. They prohibited "blasphemy" (profanity) in the public streets. "The driving of carts of Sunday" was forbidden unless a good excuse could be shown. The provisions with reference to gambling were very severe. Persons arrested for the third time on a charge of gambling were not only in danger of a heavy fine, but were to receive "twenty-five lashes on the bare back." Some of the clauses in this code were so wise and appropriate that they have continued to have a place in the local law down to the present day, with scarcely even verbal changes. A�few, particularly those relating to gambling, appear never to have been enforced.

At the same time the other functions of local government were parcelled out as follows: Councilmen Livaudais and Viller� ? to have charge of the work on the levees and streets, and supervisions of the "corv�e" or forced labor; Fortier and Faurie ? Markets, street-cleaning, lighting; Watkins and Allard ? Public health, including the hospital, and the bakers and bakeries; Donaldson and Petit ? Finances, including those of the hospital and of the parish church, which was then under construction; Sauv� ? Levees and roads in the suburbs "from the city to the home of the elder Trudeau, inclusively;" Allard ? Levees and roads in "the Bayou district," Gentilly, and "the Metairie;" Viller� ? Levees and roads in the remainder of the territory under the council's jurisdiction. The allusion to the bakers is of some interest. The municipality took a paternal interest in the price of food, and at this same meeting required the bakers to be present and make a statement of the amount of flour on hand, as preliminary to an ordinance fixing the price of bread, and similar reports were required of them weekly thereafter.

The appointment of Johns and Tureaud led up to an incident which occupied much of the time of the municipality during the remainder of the French regime. A�Spanish officer named De�Armas was, for some unknown reason, summoned before their court. He refused to reply, alleging that, as the holder of a commission from the King of Spain, he did not come under their jurisdiction. The matter reported to the council, it was determined to make it a test-case, with a view to determine the authority of the municipality in similar matters. On December�7 Councilman Jones was delegated to lay before Laussat a letter in which the city government officially stated its grievance, and asked him to take the matter up with the Spanish commissioners. A�reply from the latter received on the tenth indicated their intention to support their countryman. A�protest was then filed with Laussat, and on the twelfth, as a result of the prefect's intervention, De�Armas consented to obey the summons of the court. It appears that he did actually make his appearance, excusing, on the ground of illness, himself from not having previously performed his duty in the premises.

The council took cognizance of the bad state of repair into which the streets and roads had fallen. Heavy rains which had prevailed p52recently made the matter of repair difficult. However, to facilitate drainage, it was ordered on December�10 that within two days all persons owning property in the city should clear the gutters in front of their premises, or pay a fine. The matter of repair seems to have been a duty of the comptroller; and later on we find the municipality addressing a communication to Laussat asking him to take up the matter energetically with that official. Another detail which sheds light upon the primitive conditions which then prevailed in New�Orleans is the protest delivered to the municipality, on December�3, by Bellechasse, commander of the local militia, against his soldiers being called on to do laborers' work at the city prison; whereupon the council passed an ordinance ordaining that the jailor attend to such matters and particularly should carry water from the river to the prisons for the use of their inmates. At the meeting on December�5 Councilmen Petit and Sauv� were instructed to make an inspection of the fire apparatus and have it repaired as necessary. And, finally, perhaps we should mention that a committee of experts, composed of Messrs.�Helaire, Boutete and Sauzeneau ? probably the first instance in the history of New�Orleans where a matter of the sort was confided to non-official persons ? were deputed to visit the buildings in which balls and theatrical entertainments were given, to determine if they were safe; and on December�10 these gentlemen reported that the "Salle de�Spectacles" ? otherwise the theater ? was about to collapse and should be closed. Before any action could be taken, however, the occupation of the city by the Americans caused a change in the status of the municipality. In fact, through this period, the council was embarrassed and hampered by a realization that its functions were only for a brief period, apprehending that when the Province was ceded to the new owners, steps would probably be taken to remodel the local government. The foregoing resum� of its activities, however, ')" onMouseOut="nd();">shows that it went to work intelligently as far as the members' realization of their limitations permitted.27

During his brief tenure of power Laussat inaugurated a reign of festivity in New�Orleans which was very gratifying to its pleasure loving inhabitants. On December�1 there was what he calls a "Festival of the Flag," which included a ball, a concert, a dinner and a supper. Casa Calvo in his turn gave a sumptuous entertainment, and others followed. Robin, the French traveler, who attended some of these splendid dinners and supper parties, describes the ladies who were guests: "The ladies of the colony appear at these f�tes with an elegance that is truly astonishing; the principal cities of France can offer nothing more brilliant. These ladies are generally tall and dignified. The whiteness of their complexion p53is set off by light robes ornamented with flowers and embroidery, so that one of these f�tes is like a scene in fairyland. Sometimes as many as four hundred guests are grouped around the supper tables. What a pity that a taste for such pleasure spread in a country which has so much need to practice economy!"28 One pleasant effect of these gaities was the conciliation of Laussat and Casa Calvo. The latter called on the Colonial Prefect the day after the formal installation of the French government and placed himself at his orders. That tactful act, followed by the interchange of other courtesies, obliterated in Laussat's sensitive soul the last, lingering resentment, and the two seem to have parted on the best of terms.

But the Colonial Prefect was not so completely immersed in his social duties that he neglected public affairs. In the few days which remained to him of power he found time to begin the organization of a corps of firemen, of which the town stood in great need, the Spanish arrangements being of the most casual sort. He placed the hospital under the jurisdiction of the newly-created municipality. He provided for the administration of justice in summary and urgent matters. The Black Code was enforced except in certain articles "inconsistent with the laws of the Republic." His activities seem to have met with the approval of others besides their author, for Laussat writes that "the Americans show themselves very much pleased with me, and they have completely changed their language with regard to France."29

In the meantime the United States was making its preparations to take over the Province. President Jefferson commissioned William�C.�C. Claiborne, then governor of the Mississippi Territory, to assume the provisional government of Louisiana, and ordered General Wilkinson to assist him in taking formal possession. The garrisons on the frontier had been enlarged, and Wilkinson had been put in command over them. He formed a force of the Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee militiamen, and accompanied by Claiborne, set out for New�Orleans. On December�17,�1803, they camped at a point on the left bank of the Mississippi ?about two miles above New�Orleans. Thence they sent word to Laussat that they were there, and inquired if he were ready to receive them. A�satisfactory reply was promptly received. Claiborne and Wilkinson, with an escort of thirty horsemen, rode down to New�Orleans, and paid a formal visit to the French prefect, which Laussat returned. In the meantime on learning of the approach of the American forces, the last detachments of the Spanish troops had been put on board ships at New�Orleans and shipped to Havana.

(p54)

Marriage License Issued by Claiborne,�1808

(Seymour Collection

in Historical Society Rooms)

A�larger, fully readable scan (1.0�MB)

is also available.

The�20th of December was agreed on for the ceremony of transfer. Wilkinson took every care to make sure that his troops, on taking possession of the city, should not be guilty of any misconduct. On the eighteenth and again two days later, he published orders to that effect. "The general flatters himself," he said, in the latter, "that their conduct will correspond full with the great importance of this operation and the fulfillment of an event which (from whatever point of view one may regard it, either its immediate effects or its remote consequences) will form an p55important event in our national history, and cannot fail to fill all true patriots with joy." These injunctions were necessary, as was shown a week later, when the behavior of an American patrol in the streets of New�Orleans gave rise to some disorder, calmed, however, by the prompt and effective intervention of Claiborne.30

At 10:00�A.M. on the appointed day Laussat, at the head of a numerous escort, repaired to the Principal. "The beautiful and elegant ladies of the city," he writes in his memoirs, describing the scene, "adorned the balconies overlooking the square. The Spanish officers were distinguished in the crowd by their headgear. At none of the preceding ceremonies had there been so large an attendance of spectators. The eleven balconies of the H�tel de�Ville [Principal] were filled with beauties. At length the American troops appeared. Captain Costille, on duty at the gates, sent his aide, Traisnel, to notify the city-commandant, Major Vinache, of their approach. The latter had received my orders, and directed that the troops be permitted to enter." The soldiers advanced in platoons along the bank of the river, and on arriving at the Place d'Armes, formed in line in front of the Principal. There they found the New�Orleans troops already in position. The ceremony which followed was identical with that observed at the previous transfer, except that the actors were in part different. Laussat was seated in the place of honor on the dais in the Sala Capitular, with Claiborne and Wilkinson on either side. Daugerot and Wadsworth read in French and English the treaty of cession, the powers of the various commissioners, and finally the minutes of the act of exchange of ratifications. Laussat presented to Claiborne the keys of the forts of the town appropriately decorated with tri-colored ribbons. He then absolved of their oath of fidelity to France all of the inhabitants who wished to accept the domination of the United States.

Claiborne made a short address. He congratulated the inhabitants on the auspicious event which had placed them "beyond the reach of chance." He assured them that the people of the United States received them as brothers, and would hasten to extend to them the advantages of the free institutions which had given rise to the unexampled prosperity of their country. In the meantime, they would be protected in their liberty, property and religion, agriculture would be encouraged, and commerce would be favored.31 He urged the importance of acquiring a knowledge of the forms of republican government, and the necessity of training the rising generation in habits of republican economy and virtue.

After the signatures of the proper parties had been duly affixed to the proces-verbal, the commissioners appeared upon the balcony of the Principal, and then descended to the square below. Here the local troops were still in position. Laussat addressed a few words to them. "Soldiers of New�Orleans and of Louisiana," he said, "you have given proof of your great zeal and filial devotion to the French flag during these recent days, when for a brief time it floated over your coasts. I�will bear it back to France and to its government: in their names I�give you thanks. Here are the commissioners of the United States. To them I�now resign your p57command; obey them as you would the representatives of your legitimate sovereign. In conformity with the treaty I�place the United States in possession of these countries and dependencies of Louisiana." He then took his station at the foot of the staff on which the French ensign still floated.

"The cession," said Claiborne, by way of reply, "assures to you, as to your descendants, the certain heritage of liberty, perpetual law, and magistrates whom you yourselves will elect."

(p56)

Raising the American Flag at Jackson Square at the Cession of Louisiana

to the United States,�1803

The weather was fine; an immense crowd filled every available space in the Place d'Armes. A�contemporary writer, describing the memorable scene, says that there was no point on the four sides of the square which was not filled with people. In general the crowd remained silent and motionless, most of them showing in their constitutions the emotion of regret with which they now saw the flag lowered from its proud place. At the same moment the American flag began to rise. As the two flags met half-way a gun was fired on the levee, and the batteries and the vessels in the harbors saluted. A�few moments passed with both flags fluttering together; then the French standard continued its descent. The American, through some difficulty with the ropes, "continued for some minutes motionless, in spite of all efforts to raise it, as if it were reluctant to replace that to which it owed its glorious independence."32 At the foot of the staff the French flag was received in the arms of a young French naval officer, named De�Dusseuil, who turned it over to Sergeant-Major LeGrand, and together they bore it silently through the ranks of the soldiery, the Americans saluting by presenting arms as they passed. The flag was finally taken to Laussat's residence and placed under his protection. Meanwhile American flag had risen to its appointed place; a�crowd of Americans gathered near the Principal waved their hats in air and broke into a loud "hurrah;" but otherwise a deep silence prevailed.

That afternoon, at 3:30�o'clock, Laussat entertained at dinner 450�persons. The health of the United States was drunk in Madeira; that of Jefferson in Malaga, and that of Charles�IV and of Spain, in Canary; but that of France and of Bonaparte was drunk in champagne. The last toast was to the eternal happiness of Louisiana; whereupon a salvo of sixty-three cannon shots resounded over the city. At 7:00�P.M. tea was served, after which there was a dance which was supposed officially to end at 2:00�o'clock but which the enthusiasm of the participants protracted until nine in the morning. A�few days later Bor�, Fortier, Faurie, and Derbigny, in the name of the municipality, gave a ball in honor of Madame Laussat.

Claiborne's first act was to issue a proclamation assuring the people of Louisiana that "they might count upon the inviolable enjoyment of their liberties, their property and the religion of their choice. Also a notice in French, Spanish, and English was posted about the city, reciting the facts of the cession, and exhorting all persons to obey the laws and authority of the new government, under full assurance that their rights will be under the guardianship of the United States and will be maintained from all violence from without or within." His next care was to introduce garrisons from among the troops under Wilkinson's command p58into the four city forts, and that of Bayou St.�John, as well as the more remote fortifications in the Attakapas and at Natchitoches.NACK-?-tush.',WIDTH,190)" onMouseOut="nd();">�

Laussat remained in Louisiana till April�21,�1804, and then left for Martinique, where he had been appointed colonial prefect. He was captured there by the British and held a prisoner till December�23, when he was exchanged for Alexander Cockburn. For the next two years he was maritime prefect at Antwerp. Then he was made prefect of the Department of Jemmapes. In February,�1814, he was made Baron and elected a member of the House of Representatives.a This was during the Hundred Days. In�1819 he received the Cross of St.�Louis and thereafter served under Louis�XVIII as commandant and administrator of Guiana. In�1825 he was retired with a pension, and in�1835 he died.33

Chapter�4 This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy. USMA Home p39 Chapter�III The Transfer to the United States The Spanish held possession of Louisiana for thirty-four years. On the whole, their government was satisfactory to the people.1 Under their rule the population of the province quadrupled. That of New�Orleans doubled. The commerce of the city also grew materially. The goods received by river were, in�1801, valued at a total of 1,095,000 French livres. The trade with Europe, in spite of a vacillating policy which alternately encouraged and depressed it, was also valuable. Spain spent over 60,000,000 pesetas in the colony. Her only return for this large outlay was the satisfaction of having a barrier between the restless Anglo-Saxons and her possessions in Mexico. This barrier was now rapidly crumbling away. Its collapse was due, in part, to the fact that the inhabitants of Louisiana resisted all efforts to convert them into Spaniards. To the end of the chapter they remained French. As late as�1874, when the tale was almost finished, an intelligent traveler, Smith, after visiting the colony, made note of the general neglect of the official tongue and the steadfast devotion of the people to the land of their forbears.2

But in part, also, the Spanish failure was due to the operation of great economic laws, which dictated the western advance of the Americans and linked the fate of New�Orleans with the commercial development of the Mississippi Valley.

In�1803 these obscure forces were suddenly complicated by the political situation in Europe. France was then under the control of her meteoric emperor, Napoleon. His policy, which had already brought him into collision with Great Britain, was now hurrying on another terrible war. In the elaborate web of alliance woven in anticipation of this event were involved lands and peoples far removed from the theater of the expected conflict, and among them was the distant city by the Mississippi and the vast province of which it was the capital. The story of how Louisiana was abruptly wrested from the relaxing grasp of its Iberian rulers and then, as abruptly, delivered into the hands of the United States, can be briefly told. By the secret treaty of San�Ildefonso, signed on October�1,�1800, Napoleon had bargained with Charles�IV, of Spain, to have Louisiana and the Floridas ceded to France in exchange for Tuscany, which was to be erected into a kingdom for the Duke of Parma, husband of Charles' daughter. Rumors of this treaty reached President Jefferson, who instructed the American ambassador, Pinckney, at Madrid, to ascertain the truth with regard to it, and sent Robert Livingston to France as minister, to open negotiations there for the cession of the Island of Orleans � for New�Orleans then stood on an island � to the United States. Meantime a second secret treaty was negotiated p40on March�1,�1801, also at San�Ildefonso, but this instrument was not signed at once because the Spanish king waited for his son-in-law to be assured of his new kingdom. Talleyrand, Napoleon's principal minister, with characteristic duplicity, detained Livingston in Paris uncertain as to the existence and extent of the treaty.

p41

Letter of Recommendation Dated March,�1783,

Concerning Antonio Valette,

Signed by Galvez, Governor of Louisiana, 1777-1785

(Seymour Collection. In Sala Capitular)

Pending the final ratification of the agreement, Napoleon prepared to throw into Santo Domingo a heavy force which was ultimately to go to New�Orleans under General Victor. The failure of the French general, LeClerc, to subdue an insurrection of the negroes in that island, interfered with this plan. Napoleon still urged the ratification of the treaty. On October�15,�1802, it was signed. The boundaries of the vast territory concerned were purposely left indefinite. The news that France was to have Louisiana produced an unfavorable impression in the United States. Jefferson wrote to Livingston that the cession was a mistake. It would, he believed, be the ruin of France, for it would inevitably make the United States an ally of Great Britain. It was at this critical moment that the Intendant at New�Orleans, Morales, closed the port to the Americans. This action forced the issue. We have seen how it affected the Westerners, who now declared that the free navigation of the Mississippi was theirs by right, and they intended to have it by force, if it could not be obtained in any other way.3

At this stage Jefferson sent Monroe to Paris as envoy extraordinary and Congress took the measures already detailed, looking to the forcible seizure of New�Orleans, should diplomacy prove unavailing. Napoleon was aware that England commanded the seas. Could a rival maritime power be built up to check her development or at least to divert her attention from the exclusive contemplation of European problems? He suddenly realized that something of the sort might follow from acquiescing in the proposals which Jefferson laid before him. Talleyrand, after a conference with Barb�-Marbois and D�cr�s, went to Livingston on April�11,�1803, with an offer, not merely of New�Orleans, but of the whole province of Louisiana. This was a large proposition. The American envoys were reluctant to undertake it offhand. But after some diplomatic fencing a bargain was finally struck on April�30. Livingston and Monroe agreed to pay 80,000,000 francs for the whole territory. Napoleon himself, in fixing a price, thought 50,000,000 francs sufficient. Barb�-Marbois, however, on his own initiative deeming the price too low, named the higher figure. It was finally decided that $20,000,000 of the total should go to pay the spoliation claims made by American citizens against France since�1800.4

While these secret negotiations were in progress in Paris for a still more momentous transaction, New�Orleans was surprised by the receipt of news that Louisiana was to be transferred from Spain to France. Preparations were at once begun to quarter the French officers who were expected to arrive shortly. The Cabildo, for instance, met and solemnly let at auction the contract for supplying the troops with meat. It must have been with some disappointment that, after their preparations, the p42local officials saw the arrival on March�21,�1803, of a single ship, the Surveillant, having on board the French commissioner, Laussat, his family, and a small suite of officers and civilian associates, among them the adjutant-general Burthe, who was expected to attach himself to General Victor's staff, when that commander should eventually arrive. Laussat bore a commission as Colonial Prefect. In the government which was to be established in Louisiana this official was to have powers similar to but more extensive than those previously enjoyed by the Spanish Intendant. There was to be a captain-general whose functions paralleled those of the Spanish governor-general. A�commissary of justice was also to be set up to superintend the administration of justice, and to compile a civil and criminal code.5 Laussat was the only one of these officials who arrived. Victor, who was appointed captain-general and commissioner to receive, on the part of France, the Province from the Spanish, never reached Louisiana. Laussat's position, embarrassing from the first, grew more and more so as time passed and the cession was delayed by the exigencies of the war between France and England. It was expected that he would complete the arrangements for the reception of Victor's army; but as weeks elapsed and Victor did not appear, his activities became more and more ridiculous. It was not till nine months later, when he was installed at the head of the government by the retiring Spanish that his status took on a definite character.6

Laussat's advent in the colony was, however, made pleasant by the cordiality with which he was greeted. He landed a few miles below New�Orleans and was met there by carriages in which he and his party were conveyed to the city, which they entered amidst salvos of artillery. Salcedo, surrounded by the principal civil and military officers of the Government, received him at the Principal. He established himself in the residence of Bernard de�Marigny. There on the following day delegations of the leading citizens waited on him; the Cabildo called to pay its respects; even the clergy, forgetting for a fleeting moment its grievances against the French Republic, likewise paid a ceremonious visit. An address from the City of New�Orleans, and another from the German Coast, seemed to indicate that his arrival, as the harbinger of deliverance and reunion to France, aroused universal joy.

Laussat was naturally gratified at these evidences of esteem. His mind was full of the importance of his mission. He had elaborate schemes for the development of the city first, and then of the entire province. He had brought with him an extensive library to be used by those who were to labor with him in the various departments of administration and instruction which he meant to establish.7 He was fitted for the role he expected to play by long experience in administrative work under the Revolutionary government. He had been a member of the Council of�500 and of the Tribunate in the Year�VIII. He was now about 47�years of age. Napoleon had a poor opinion of his abilities and on one occasion spoke contemptuously of his attainments. However, p43he seems to have been an excellent choice for his present post. He was soon on good terms with Salcedo, the governor, and with Morales, the Intendant; less so with Lopez de�Armesto, the governor's secretary. Armesto was the real brains of the administration. He had been twenty years in the colony, knew every detail of the public service, and had his creatures everywhere. Laussat in his dispatches never wearies of commenting upon the people whom he met. "Venality," he observed, was "general and open," but otherwise the population was "active, industrious and full of emulation. [.�.�.] Much is to be done, but I�am convinced that the Government will benefit with usury for any pains that it may be put to on their behalf."8 Society, though not free from the dullness usual in small towns, was characterized by a good deal of elegance. "The men are frank and open, but singularly fond of pleasure," he writes. Laussat was struck by their custom of interspersing their meals with toasts and songs. The women he found uniformly charming and both sexes joined great refinement of manner to inherent elegance. The prevailing luxury of dress reminded him of Paris. "I�find here none but French," he wrote on one occasion, "and, it must be said, Bonapartist hearts. It is impossible to speak for a moment of the Republic, of its wars, of its peace, of its achievements, and of its destiny, without awakening continued expressions of admiration. [.�.�.] This colony, by the circumstances of its retrocession, regards itself as in a special sense the ward of the first consul, and since he has restored it to France it looks to him for strength and prosperity."9

But this first reception was deceptive. As a matter of fact, the population regarded the impending changes of masters either with indifference or alarm. Laussat was annoyed by the demonstrations of esteem which were made over the Spanish officials by the very men like De�Bor�, Fortier, Labatut and DeBuys, who signed the addresses of welcome presented to him.10 A�few days after his arrival he himself had occasion to remark that "enemies of the Republic, actuated all by fear or jealousy, were striving to embitter, irritate, and disquiet the population." These evil-minded persons, it appeared, were constantly harping upon the questions of slavery and religion. These were weak points in Laussat's armor. France had abolished slavery elsewhere; might it not do the same in Louisiana? That contingency was not agreeable to contemplate among a people whose capital was largely invested in that form of property. Moreover, the Consulate was notoriously unfriendly to the Catholic Church, of which the inhabitants of New�Orleans were members almost to a man. This agitation went on so persistently that the Ursuline nuns finally felt that it would be wise to abandon the city in which they had resided almost since the hour of its foundation. They petitioned the Spanish authorities in June for authority to remove to Havana. Laussat used every argument to dissuade them from this course, but could not do so; and the prayers of the people to whom the nuns were endeared by the memories of near half a century of intimate association, likewise p45proved unavailing.11 Sixteen of the twenty-five ladies who represented the order in New�Orleans left the convent and embarked for Cuba attended to their vessel by Salcedo, and other government officials and by a multitude of sorrowful citizens.12

(p44)

Plan of the City and Environs of New�Orleans,�1816

from a survey by B.�Lafon

A�larger, fully readable scan (1.3�MB) is also available.

Another matter about which the people felt concern was the currency. There was reason to fear that with the removal of the Spanish government the sound coinage of Spain would give place to the paper "assignats" of France. Spain had spent 3,000,000 pesetas annually, more or less, in the colony, and had always settled its debts punctually; this stream of wealth was about to end and there was some doubt as to the ability of the Republic to meet its obligations in a similarly business-like manner. Another source of apprehension was the possibility that the five-year moratorium recently instituted in Santo Domingo might be extended to Louisiana. The commercial situation was also critical. The interests of the New�Orleans merchants were fast becoming identical with those of their English-speaking neighbors along the upper courses of the great river. Free trade was a necessity to them. Free trade, in effect, they managed to have in spite of the onerous Spanish commercial regulations. France might not be so hidebound in these matters as Spain, but she was by no means favorable to free trade. What would be her attitude towards the restrictions lately laid on the port of New�Orleans? From all this there resulted the disquiet of a population which had accustomed itself to the lax administrative methods of the Spanish � which had learned how to evade what it did not find profitable to obey; would it be able to do so much under the more competent, less corrupt French officials?

As early as April, Laussat reported to his government that he was beginning to find his position difficult. As a matter of fact, through his own personality as much as the force of circumstances, he had alienated all parties, even the most rabid Republicans. A�representative of the Jacobin Club which had been organized in New�Orleans on the model of one in Philadelphia, called to deliver an address: Laussat, bored with his eloquence, addressed him rudely, with the result that the society concluded that the French commissioner was not a true republican. The Royalists and emigr�s naturally saw in him merely the agent of a hated government. The clergy, after the first perfunctory call, held aloof. His relations with the official classes, also, gradually grew unpleasant. Laussat attributed this to the influence of the Marquis of Casa Calvo, who arrived in May, to be the Spanish commissioner for the transfer of the Province. The change in Salcedo's under was probably dictated, in part, at least, by a proclamation which Laussat issued soon after his arrival, in which he tactlessly alluded to the "atrocities" of O'Reilly. The disagreement with Casa Calvo arose over a dispute as to jurisdiction. Laussat wished to imprison Burthe, with whom he had fallen out with regard to the limitations of their respective powers. The Spaniard would not recognize Laussat's rights in the premises. He took the ground that, until the Province was actually transferred, there could be but one authority, and that Spanish.13 These quarrels were known in the community, p46and ')" onMouseOut="nd();">arrayed the population in two groups � as they favored French pretensions, or sympathized with the Spanish officials.

Laussat was also irritated because Casa Calvo set to work to compile a list of the inhabitants who desired to retain their Spanish nationality. "Scarcely had he set foot on the river bank," he says in one of his reports, "than he summoned to meet him all the local military officials (and thanks to the militia, there is hardly a person of importance in the colony who cannot be said to have some connection with the military establishment), and required them to state definitely whether they favored the King of Spain; and on this declaration depended in a large degree the eventual disposition of their pensions and fortunes." Two companies of negroes in New�Orleans were also called on to make the "fatal determination," as Laussat called it; and when some of them refused, they were put in jail; or, at least, so two of them reported after their release, when they poured their complaint into Laussat's sympathetic ears. He was annoyed also to find that a priest had been sent to the Terre aux�Boeufs to make a census of the Acadian farmers there who might not wish to identify themselves with the new government. In all of this, however, Laussat had no good cause of complaint. Casa Calvo was clearly doing no more than his duty.

The formal announcement of the impending cession was first made in New�Orleans on May�18, in a proclamation signed by Salcedo and Casa Calvo. This document, among other things, offered to such of the inhabitants as did not wish to abandon their Spanish nationality, the opportunity to migrate to Havana, or to some other of the Spanish colonies in America. Among its other provisions was one defining the limits of the ceded territory, namely, those specified in Article Five of the Treaty of Paris of�1763, leaving the settlements on Bayou Manchac to the line of separation between them and the United States, a part of the Spanish Province of West Florida. Still other clauses referred somewhat vaguely ')" onMouseOut="nd();">to the security of the laws and customs of the colony,14 and the property and concessions and religious professions of the people; all of which the signers hoped would be respected by the new government.

It was not until August that New�Orleans heard that the contemplated retrocession to France would be a mere form. There had been disquieting rumors to that effect somewhat earlier, but Laussat had ignored them. The Americans "who infest this town," as he wrote, had been for some time circulating the report that France would never take possession; that within a year the United States would have possession of the place. Official confirmation of these disquieting rumors arrived on the twenty-fourth, and with it Laussat's appointment as commissioner to transfer Louisiana to the United States.15

This was a terrible blow to his vanity. A�French traveler, who was in Louisiana at the time, has left on record the statement that "when Laussat knew that Louisiana was to be ceded to the United States, and that the French government had delegated to him the ceremony of cession, p47he could not see the unexpected change, which was to derange all his plans of study, without being deeply affected."16 However, he put as good a face on the matter as he could and on November�30,�1803, had the satisfaction of performing with great dignity his part in the solemn farce by which he became, temporarily, in the absence of the captain-general, head of the government.

On that morning Laussat published an address to the inhabitants of Louisiana. "French citizens," he said, "the French flag today will float everywhere; it will remind you in this distant land of your combats, your victories, your devotion, and your valor. It will not be surrounded by its usual rampart of those formidable bayonets which have covered it with power and glory. But welcomed by a faithful ally, it will be guarded by the Louisianans, those worthy sons of our sires, � it will be guarded by your presence, by your respect, by your love." A�long proclamation also was issued officially announcing the approaching transfer to France; and to diminish the effect which that other transfer, only a few days removed, might produce upon the present ceremony, Laussat devoted most of the document to a flattering description of the future of Louisiana.17 At midday Salcedo, Casa Calvo and Laussat arrived at the Principal, before which the regiment of Louisiana, some Mexican cavalrymen, and the local militia, under its commander, Charpin, were drawn up in full uniform. With Laussat came a party of fifteen or sixteen Frenchmen. Amidst salvos of artillery from the war-vessels in the river the commissioners entered the building and ascended the staircase to the Sala Capitular. Here on a dais had been placed three arm-chairs. Salcedo took his place in the center one, with Laussat at his right, and Casa Calvo on his left. Laussat rose and presented to the aged Spanish governor his credentials, including copies of a long document addressed by the King of Spain to the Marquis de�Somoruelos, captain-general of Cuba, authenticating the cession of the Province. At the close of the reading of these papers Salcedo, with a few appropriate words, delivered to Laussat, on a silver plate, the keys of Forts St.�Charles and St.�Louis. He thereupon yielded him the place of honor. Casa Calvo now solemnly absolved from their oath of allegiance to Spain all of those colonists who had not specially expressed their desire to retain their Spanish nationality. Finally, the Naval Commissary Daugerot, on behalf of the French, and Lopez de�Armesto, on behalf of the Spanish, read in each language a proces-verbal of the proceedings, which were signed by the principal actors in this memorable scene. Then Laussat, Salcedo and Casa Calvo appeared on the balcony overlooking the Place d'Armes.18 At a signal given by the firing of cannon, the Spanish flags descended from the flagstaffs, and the French flags were hoisted.19

'Then the Spanish commissioners turned to withdraw," says Laussat, in his Memoirs; "I�accompanied them as far as the stair. Our secretaries and staff officers went with them to the foot of the staircase. [.�.�.] Poor old Salcedo was tottering with age: Casa Calvo constantly retained that calm and serene air which the officials of his nation, even of an inferior rank, never fail to preserve." At this moment the grenadier p48company of the regiment of Louisiana, took possession of the Spanish flag, "and the troops defiled in its wake at the charge. [.�.�.] After they had marched by," continued Laussat, "I�descended to the square. I�placed myself in front of the line of the militia drawn up there. M.�Sosten was there. I�addressed him, and he replied that the troops had been ordered out in accordance with my desires, and turned them over to me. I�thanked him. I�proclaimed M.�Bellechasse their commander, and made a short address commending him. I�had my order appointing him read and directed that they yield him the proper obedience. I�then added: 'I�confide to you in the name of the Republic these flags; you will defend them, you will honor them; they will be in your midst as a benefit to the country; they are here as upon their native soil, for French blood runs in the veins of the majority of you.' During this ceremony the cannon pealed on every side. Bellechasse had made his arrangements. He went to take charge of the different posts. At the moment when the Spanish flag was lowered at Fort St.�Charles it was saluted with twenty-one guns fired from the fort, and twenty-one fired from a battery of eight pieces which I�had placed in the square in front of the Prefecture."20 The same honors were paid to the French flag when it floated into place.

French sovereignty thus re-established in New�Orleans lasted from November�30 to December�20. This period was not exempt from anxieties, but they were provoked mainly by events in the Attakapas and the Opelousas, where the inhabitants attempted to exploit the transfer to suit their own interests, and had to be restrained.21 There were fears that disturbances might be started by the lower classes in the city, but nothing serious happened. Laussat, however, accepted the offer of the services of a battalion of Americans under Daniel Clark, the American consul, who, together with many Creoles, made up a force about 300�strong. These guarded the city effectively, drilling in Davis' ropewalk, on Canal Street, and patrolling the streets day and night until the arrival of the United States troops.22 As a further means of insuring the peace of the city Laussat promptly substituted for the Cabildo a municipality of the type with which he was familiar in France. "I�occupied myself with forming a municipal council," he tells us in his memoirs; "I�desired in it merchants, Americans,�men accustomed to affairs; I�proposed to create a memorial and homage to the French sacrificed by O'Reilly. I�sought out a secretary who would put this machinery in motion, who would have courage, honesty, talent, and wisdom. In a word, I�wished to have a municipality composed in a manner which would do me honor and which would defend with dignity its country before the Americans on their arrival and taking possession. This act is the most striking one of my short reign, and the one to which I�attach the greatest importance."23

This municipal council was composed of Jacques Livaudais, Petit, Cavalier, Viller�, "worthy brother of him who was judiciously� assassinated by O'Reilly;" Evan Johns, a rich American who had been for a p49long time a naturalized Spanish citizen; M.�Fortier, William Donaldson, G.�Faurie, the younger Allard, Jean Watkins, A.�D.�Tureaud and the treasurer, Labatut. Etienne de�Bor� was appointed mayor. Pierre Derbigny was made secretary to the council. Destrehan was name first "adjoict" and Pierre Sauv�, second "adjoict."24 The "adjoicts" were deputy-mayors, and as such discharged any function which the mayor found himself unable to perform. They do not appear to have otherwise been invested with any duties. The office of "adjoict" was, therefore, largely honorary. Bor�, the mayor, was a well-known planter, a man of wealth, education, and distinguished social position. He was in his fiftieth year. He was a native of Kaskaskia, but had spent a considerable portion of his life in Europe, whither he was sent in his early youth to be educated. After leaving school he entered the King's Musqueteers and, later, after a visit to Louisiana, on business, was transferred to the French cavalry. He left the army with the rank of captain. He married a daughter of Destrehan. He owned a great plantation a few miles above the City of New�Orleans. There he had originally cultivated indigo. But when this product lost its market as a result of competition from Guatemala, he turned his attention to the manufacture of sugar. On his estate he set up a sugar mill and there, in�1795, had, with the aid of two Cubans, Mendez and Lopez, succeeded in producing the first granulated sugar ever known in the colony, with the result that agriculture was completely revolutionized. The other members of the new city government were also all men of fine position and great influence.

The municipality as thus created was a temporary device, expected to last only until the American government should take over the city, when it was expected new arrangements would be made. Laussat called his municipality together on the morning of November�30, the day of the transfer of the government. He read them the decrees which he intended to issue. He expected applause; instead, there was discussion which seems to have offended the sensitive prefect; at any rate, he somewhat abruptly dismissed them till the following day.25

p50 The municipality took its duties with becoming seriousness. During the three weeks over which the French regime extended, it met ten times. Its first step was to take over from the custody of Spanish officials the funds belonging to the city. In all, about $25,000 was received from these sources. The extent of the council's authority was also considered at its first meeting. This was a matter of some importance, as it involved the tenure of office of a number of persons, like the police officers, the jailor, and the "executioner of high justice." It is gratifying to know that the council decided that it had authority to continue these persons at their posts, and that ')" onMouseOut="nd();">the jailor solemnly appeared and took the oath of office. Two days later, at the second meeting, the important matter of the importation into the colony of negroes from the French West Indies was discussed, apropos of the arrival in the river of a vessel with thirteen of the objectionable persons on board. At that time the French West Indies were in the throes of a servile war, and the Louisiana slave-owners were apprehensive that the introduction of Dominican negroes into the community might lead to a similar outbreak here. Two members of the council were appointed to lay the matter before the Colonial Prefect. It was taken up at several subsequent meetings. The negroes in question were consigned to the firm of Relf &�Chew. These merchants appeared before the council on December�12 and stated that they were ignorant of the point of origin of this human merchandise until informed by the council. They undertook to see that the negroes were confined to the ship while it lay in port and that they should be sent out of the colony at the earliest possible moment. Councilmen Faurie and Sauv� were appointed a committee to meet the ship on her arrival, make a list of the suspected negroes, and see that the agreement with Relf &�Chew were faithfully carried out.26

On one other occasion the matter of slaves came up. On the�5th of December the council adopted an ordinance prohibiting slaves from roaming the streets after nightfall, and particularly forbidding them to frequent the balls and other public entertainments to which free men of color were admitted. The hour of 9:00�P.M. was fixed as the latest at which they might go abroad. Thereafter all slaves unable to show a written permit from their owners were to be taken up by the patrol, and put in prison; or, if they were guilty of any misconduct sufficient to justify, in the opinion of the police, they were to receive ten stripes "and thereafter to be at the disposition of their masters." A�fine of $25 was put upon all persons operating a place of public entertainment who sold a ticket to a slave.

On December�3rd the council addressed itself to the matter of the police. It adopted an ordinance requiring the "alcaldes de�barrio" � who were continued in office under the title of "commissioners" � to report once a week at the Principal. At the same time a letter was addressed to the syndics of the "banlieu" or suburbs, inviting them to continue to perform their customary functions. Also, provision was made for the administration of justice in summary cases. Councilmen Jones and Tureaud p51were appointed to discharge the duties of justices of the peace. They were to officiate in "all summary cases not requiring 'procedure,'�" civil as well as criminal. They were to hold court daily, except Sunday, at the Principal (now called the H�tel de�Ville) from 9:00 A.M. to noon, and from 2:00 to 6:00�P.M. A�few days later the council adopted a set of police regulations. They prohibited "blasphemy" (profanity) in the public streets. "The driving of carts of Sunday" was forbidden unless a good excuse could be shown. The provisions with reference to gambling were very severe. Persons arrested for the third time on a charge of gambling were not only in danger of a heavy fine, but were to receive "twenty-five lashes on the bare back." Some of the clauses in this code were so wise and appropriate that they have continued to have a place in the local law down to the present day, with scarcely even verbal changes. A�few, particularly those relating to gambling, appear never to have been enforced.

At the same time the other functions of local government were parcelled out as follows: Councilmen Livaudais and Viller� � to have charge of the work on the levees and streets, and supervisions of the "corv�e" or forced labor; Fortier and Faurie � Markets, street-cleaning, lighting; Watkins and Allard � Public health, including the hospital, and the bakers and bakeries; Donaldson and Petit � Finances, including those of the hospital and of the parish church, which was then under construction; Sauv� � Levees and roads in the suburbs "from the city to the home of the elder Trudeau, inclusively;" Allard � Levees and roads in "the Bayou district," Gentilly, and "the Metairie;" Viller� � Levees and roads in the remainder of the territory under the council's jurisdiction. The allusion to the bakers is of some interest. The municipality took a paternal interest in the price of food, and at this same meeting required the bakers to be present and make a statement of the amount of flour on hand, as preliminary to an ordinance fixing the price of bread, and similar reports were required of them weekly thereafter.

The appointment of Johns and Tureaud led up to an incident which occupied much of the time of the municipality during the remainder of the French regime. A�Spanish officer named De�Armas was, for some unknown reason, summoned before their court. He refused to reply, alleging that, as the holder of a commission from the King of Spain, he did not come under their jurisdiction. The matter reported to the council, it was determined to make it a test-case, with a view to determine the authority of the municipality in similar matters. On December�7 Councilman Jones was delegated to lay before Laussat a letter in which the city government officially stated its grievance, and asked him to take the matter up with the Spanish commissioners. A�reply from the latter received on the tenth indicated their intention to support their countryman. A�protest was then filed with Laussat, and on the twelfth, as a result of the prefect's intervention, De�Armas consented to obey the summons of the court. It appears that he did actually make his appearance, excusing, on the ground of illness, himself from not having previously performed his duty in the premises.

The council took cognizance of the bad state of repair into which the streets and roads had fallen. Heavy rains which had prevailed p52recently made the matter of repair difficult. However, to facilitate drainage, it was ordered on December�10 that within two days all persons owning property in the city should clear the gutters in front of their premises, or pay a fine. The matter of repair seems to have been a duty of the comptroller; and later on we find the municipality addressing a communication to Laussat asking him to take up the matter energetically with that official. Another detail which sheds light upon the primitive conditions which then prevailed in New�Orleans is the protest delivered to the municipality, on December�3, by Bellechasse, commander of the local militia, against his soldiers being called on to do laborers' work at the city prison; whereupon the council passed an ordinance ordaining that the jailor attend to such matters and particularly should carry water from the river to the prisons for the use of their inmates. At the meeting on December�5 Councilmen Petit and Sauv� were instructed to make an inspection of the fire apparatus and have it repaired as necessary. And, finally, perhaps we should mention that a committee of experts, composed of Messrs.�Helaire, Boutete and Sauzeneau � probably the first instance in the history of New�Orleans where a matter of the sort was confided to non-official persons � were deputed to visit the buildings in which balls and theatrical entertainments were given, to determine if they were safe; and on December�10 these gentlemen reported that the "Salle de�Spectacles" � otherwise the theater � was about to collapse and should be closed. Before any action could be taken, however, the occupation of the city by the Americans caused a change in the status of the municipality. In fact, through this period, the council was embarrassed and hampered by a realization that its functions were only for a brief period, apprehending that when the Province was ceded to the new owners, steps would probably be taken to remodel the local government. The foregoing resum� of its activities, however, ')" onMouseOut="nd();">shows that it went to work intelligently as far as the members' realization of their limitations permitted.27

During his brief tenure of power Laussat inaugurated a reign of festivity in New�Orleans which was very gratifying to its pleasure loving inhabitants. On December�1 there was what he calls a "Festival of the Flag," which included a ball, a concert, a dinner and a supper. Casa Calvo in his turn gave a sumptuous entertainment, and others followed. Robin, the French traveler, who attended some of these splendid dinners and supper parties, describes the ladies who were guests: "The ladies of the colony appear at these f�tes with an elegance that is truly astonishing; the principal cities of France can offer nothing more brilliant. These ladies are generally tall and dignified. The whiteness of their complexion p53is set off by light robes ornamented with flowers and embroidery, so that one of these f�tes is like a scene in fairyland. Sometimes as many as four hundred guests are grouped around the supper tables. What a pity that a taste for such pleasure spread in a country which has so much need to practice economy!"28 One pleasant effect of these gaities was the conciliation of Laussat and Casa Calvo. The latter called on the Colonial Prefect the day after the formal installation of the French government and placed himself at his orders. That tactful act, followed by the interchange of other courtesies, obliterated in Laussat's sensitive soul the last, lingering resentment, and the two seem to have parted on the best of terms.

But the Colonial Prefect was not so completely immersed in his social duties that he neglected public affairs. In the few days which remained to him of power he found time to begin the organization of a corps of firemen, of which the town stood in great need, the Spanish arrangements being of the most casual sort. He placed the hospital under the jurisdiction of the newly-created municipality. He provided for the administration of justice in summary and urgent matters. The Black Code was enforced except in certain articles "inconsistent with the laws of the Republic." His activities seem to have met with the approval of others besides their author, for Laussat writes that "the Americans show themselves very much pleased with me, and they have completely changed their language with regard to France."29

In the meantime the United States was making its preparations to take over the Province. President Jefferson commissioned William�C.�C. Claiborne, then governor of the Mississippi Territory, to assume the provisional government of Louisiana, and ordered General Wilkinson to assist him in taking formal possession. The garrisons on the frontier had been enlarged, and Wilkinson had been put in command over them. He formed a force of the Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee militiamen, and accompanied by Claiborne, set out for New�Orleans. On December�17,�1803, they camped at a point on the left bank of the Mississippi �about two miles above New�Orleans. Thence they sent word to Laussat that they were there, and inquired if he were ready to receive them. A�satisfactory reply was promptly received. Claiborne and Wilkinson, with an escort of thirty horsemen, rode down to New�Orleans, and paid a formal visit to the French prefect, which Laussat returned. In the meantime on learning of the approach of the American forces, the last detachments of the Spanish troops had been put on board ships at New�Orleans and shipped to Havana.

(p54)

Marriage License Issued by Claiborne,�1808

(Seymour Collection

in Historical Society Rooms)

A�larger, fully readable scan (1.0�MB)

is also available.

The�20th of December was agreed on for the ceremony of transfer. Wilkinson took every care to make sure that his troops, on taking possession of the city, should not be guilty of any misconduct. On the eighteenth and again two days later, he published orders to that effect. "The general flatters himself," he said, in the latter, "that their conduct will correspond full with the great importance of this operation and the fulfillment of an event which (from whatever point of view one may regard it, either its immediate effects or its remote consequences) will form an p55important event in our national history, and cannot fail to fill all true patriots with joy." These injunctions were necessary, as was shown a week later, when the behavior of an American patrol in the streets of New�Orleans gave rise to some disorder, calmed, however, by the prompt and effective intervention of Claiborne.30

At 10:00�A.M. on the appointed day Laussat, at the head of a numerous escort, repaired to the Principal. "The beautiful and elegant ladies of the city," he writes in his memoirs, describing the scene, "adorned the balconies overlooking the square. The Spanish officers were distinguished in the crowd by their headgear. At none of the preceding ceremonies had there been so large an attendance of spectators. The eleven balconies of the H�tel de�Ville [Principal] were filled with beauties. At length the American troops appeared. Captain Costille, on duty at the gates, sent his aide, Traisnel, to notify the city-commandant, Major Vinache, of their approach. The latter had received my orders, and directed that the troops be permitted to enter." The soldiers advanced in platoons along the bank of the river, and on arriving at the Place d'Armes, formed in line in front of the Principal. There they found the New�Orleans troops already in position. The ceremony which followed was identical with that observed at the previous transfer, except that the actors were in part different. Laussat was seated in the place of honor on the dais in the Sala Capitular, with Claiborne and Wilkinson on either side. Daugerot and Wadsworth read in French and English the treaty of cession, the powers of the various commissioners, and finally the minutes of the act of exchange of ratifications. Laussat presented to Claiborne the keys of the forts of the town appropriately decorated with tri-colored ribbons. He then absolved of their oath of fidelity to France all of the inhabitants who wished to accept the domination of the United States.

Claiborne made a short address. He congratulated the inhabitants on the auspicious event which had placed them "beyond the reach of chance." He assured them that the people of the United States received them as brothers, and would hasten to extend to them the advantages of the free institutions which had given rise to the unexampled prosperity of their country. In the meantime, they would be protected in their liberty, property and religion, agriculture would be encouraged, and commerce would be favored.31 He urged the importance of acquiring a knowledge of the forms of republican government, and the necessity of training the rising generation in habits of republican economy and virtue.

After the signatures of the proper parties had been duly affixed to the proces-verbal, the commissioners appeared upon the balcony of the Principal, and then descended to the square below. Here the local troops were still in position. Laussat addressed a few words to them. "Soldiers of New�Orleans and of Louisiana," he said, "you have given proof of your great zeal and filial devotion to the French flag during these recent days, when for a brief time it floated over your coasts. I�will bear it back to France and to its government: in their names I�give you thanks. Here are the commissioners of the United States. To them I�now resign your p57command; obey them as you would the representatives of your legitimate sovereign. In conformity with the treaty I�place the United States in possession of these countries and dependencies of Louisiana." He then took his station at the foot of the staff on which the French ensign still floated.

"The cession," said Claiborne, by way of reply, "assures to you, as to your descendants, the certain heritage of liberty, perpetual law, and magistrates whom you yourselves will elect."

(p56)

Raising the American Flag at Jackson Square at the Cession of Louisiana

to the United States,�1803

The weather was fine; an immense crowd filled every available space in the Place d'Armes. A�contemporary writer, describing the memorable scene, says that there was no point on the four sides of the square which was not filled with people. In general the crowd remained silent and motionless, most of them showing in their constitutions the emotion of regret with which they now saw the flag lowered from its proud place. At the same moment the American flag began to rise. As the two flags met half-way a gun was fired on the levee, and the batteries and the vessels in the harbors saluted. A�few moments passed with both flags fluttering together; then the French standard continued its descent. The American, through some difficulty with the ropes, "continued for some minutes motionless, in spite of all efforts to raise it, as if it were reluctant to replace that to which it owed its glorious independence."32 At the foot of the staff the French flag was received in the arms of a young French naval officer, named De�Dusseuil, who turned it over to Sergeant-Major LeGrand, and together they bore it silently through the ranks of the soldiery, the Americans saluting by presenting arms as they passed. The flag was finally taken to Laussat's residence and placed under his protection. Meanwhile American flag had risen to its appointed place; a�crowd of Americans gathered near the Principal waved their hats in air and broke into a loud "hurrah;" but otherwise a deep silence prevailed.

That afternoon, at 3:30�o'clock, Laussat entertained at dinner 450�persons. The health of the United States was drunk in Madeira; that of Jefferson in Malaga, and that of Charles�IV and of Spain, in Canary; but that of France and of Bonaparte was drunk in champagne. The last toast was to the eternal happiness of Louisiana; whereupon a salvo of sixty-three cannon shots resounded over the city. At 7:00�P.M. tea was served, after which there was a dance which was supposed officially to end at 2:00�o'clock but which the enthusiasm of the participants protracted until nine in the morning. A�few days later Bor�, Fortier, Faurie, and Derbigny, in the name of the municipality, gave a ball in honor of Madame Laussat.

Claiborne's first act was to issue a proclamation assuring the people of Louisiana that "they might count upon the inviolable enjoyment of their liberties, their property and the religion of their choice. Also a notice in French, Spanish, and English was posted about the city, reciting the facts of the cession, and exhorting all persons to obey the laws and authority of the new government, under full assurance that their rights will be under the guardianship of the United States and will be maintained from all violence from without or within." His next care was to introduce garrisons from among the troops under Wilkinson's command p58into the four city forts, and that of Bayou St.�John, as well as the more remote fortifications in the Attakapas and at Natchitoches.NACK-?-tush.',WIDTH,190)" onMouseOut="nd();">�

Laussat remained in Louisiana till April�21,�1804, and then left for Martinique, where he had been appointed colonial prefect. He was captured there by the British and held a prisoner till December�23, when he was exchanged for Alexander Cockburn. For the next two years he was maritime prefect at Antwerp. Then he was made prefect of the Department of Jemmapes. In February,�1814, he was made Baron and elected a member of the House of Representatives.a This was during the Hundred Days. In�1819 he received the Cross of St.�Louis and thereafter served under Louis�XVIII as commandant and administrator of Guiana. In�1825 he was retired with a pension, and in�1835 he died.33

Chapter�5 This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy. USMA Home p59 Chapter�IV Establishment of the Municipal Government Within less than one hundred years Louisiana had passed through six changes of government. Originally governed directly by the crown, Louis�XIV had put it, in�1712, in the hands of Antoine Crozat. In�1717 it had been transferred from Crozat to the Compagnie de�l'Occident. The Company ceded it in�1731 back to the Government of France. Spain acquired the country in�1762. In�1801 the king of Spain had relinquished the province to France and now France had sold all of its rights in this vast and fertile domain to the United States.

At the time of the cession, New�Orleans had been for thirty-four years under Spanish control. During the early part of this long period, its interests had been neglected, and its progress had been slow. Onzaga, for instance, admitted that, during the first four years, the population had not increased. The increment by birth had been offset by the loss through emigration. But better times followed. The governmental policies underwent certain relaxations; commerce revived, and by�1785 an official census revealed within the walls of New�Orleans 4,980�persons, while by�1788 this number grew to�5,338. There was an increase in the first sixteen years of Spanish control of 56�per�cent, or, in the nineteen years, of 57�per�cent. Immigration was not encouraged. The growth of the population was due to natural causes. With the exception of some agriculturalists from Malaga, the Canaries, and Nova Scotia; and the American immigration which Spain at first impeded and then fostered, there were very few imported additions to the total number of inhabitants. In�1778, when Galvez required all the English-speaking residents to take an oath of fidelity to Spain, there were but 170�persons affected by his order. The British traders whom O'Reilly had expelled in�1769 gradually returned to the city, or were replaced by others. The trade concessions of�1782 brought to the city some French merchants; their number was augmented a few years later when the French Revolution compelled the Royalists to seek refuge in foreign lands; a�respectable contingent sought the shores of the Mississippi. Some Germans and some Italians established themselves, as they naturally would do, in a seaport. The slave-revolt in Santo Domingo in�1791 drove many refugees into New�Orleans, amongst whom were the members of the first theatrical troupe that ever played in Louisiana. Nevertheless, the population remained essentially Creole. Outside of official circles there were few Spaniards, and a number of them were identified with the dominant element through marriage.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century New�Orleans was reckoned one of the most important of North American seaports. In�1802, 158�American, 104�Spanish, and 3�French vessels � a�total of�265 � with an aggregate tonnage of 31,241, sailed from the harbor. In the following year the import tonnage showed an increase of from�35 to�37�per�cent. Already, along the river-bank just above the city, "within ten steps of Tchoupitoulas Street," the fleets of flatboats and barges from the upper part of the Mississippi Valley were finding a convenient mooring place. In front of the town, near the Place d'Armes, lay the p61shipping, often twenty or more vessels at a time, made fast to the bank, where "they received and discharged with the same ease as from a wharf." The small tonnage of the individual vessels, and the depth of water made this possible. Below the Place d'Armes was the anchorage of war vessels, visits from which were not frequent.

The town had already outgrown its original boundaries. It is estimated that there were from�1,200 to 1,400�separate premises, or about 4,000�roofs of one sort and another. Some of the larger buildings were substantially constructed of brick and roofed with slate. Those on the three or four streets nearest the river were sometimes two or even two and a half stories in height. Those farther back were usually one story high, of wood, roofed with shingles, and often elevated on wooden pillars from eight to fifteen feet above the ground. The homes of the poor were scattered in all parts of the city, but especially on the rear streets. Even among the most prosperous classes there were many whose domiciles were small and rude. In the center of the river-front rose the unfinished cathedral, flanked on the upper side by the arcaded front of the Principal, where the Cabildo had held its stately convocations; and on the lower side by a widespreading wooden building occupied by the priests attached to the cathedral. On either side of the Place d'Armes ran two long rows of one-story buildings, containing the principal retail stores of the town. The Government House, the Barracks, the hospital, the home of the Ursuline nuns, and a few other buildings survived here and there from the first French regime. The streets were straight and tolerably wide, but none of them were paved. In bad weather they were often impassable to vehicles. There were few sidewalks; such as existed were made of wooden planks pegged down to the earth, except in the heart of the town, where there were some narrow brick "banquettes." The streets were not lighted. At night it was a difficult operation to find one's way about. All the refuse of the city found its way into the gutters, which were filthy and emitted an unspeakable stench. Business was concentrated largely on Toulouse, St.�Peter, Conti, St.�Louis, Royal and Chartres streets along the levee. The French were for the most part content to invest their savings in real estate. They were the proprietors of the retail establishments. They lent money � often at one or two per�cent per month. The Spanish, who, except for those in Government employ, were mainly Catalans, kept the lesser shops and the cheap drinking places which infested all parts of the town. The wholesale business, in fact, almost all the larger commercial establishments of every description, were in the hands of Americans, English and Irish. In society and politics, however, the conditions were reversed. There the Creole was dominant. Creoles held many important governmental employments; they sought commissions in the military forces; they influenced very largely the government of the city.

Around the "Old Square" � the Vieux Carr� � as the original city was called � stretched a line of marshy, grass-covered mounds and fosses � all that remained of the fortifications erected by old Spanish governors, and long since fallen to ruin. Just beyond the tiny Fort St.�Ferdinand, which was still maintained in tolerable repair, lay the Carondelet basin, with the canal of that name stretching away through the tropical greenery towards Bayou St.�John. Both basin and canal had been neglected for years, and were now so shoal that only small craft could use them. Larger vessels coming in with cattle and farm produce from East and p62West Florida, as they were then called, could approach the city no nearer than the suburban town of St.�Johnsburg, on the bayou. The number of vessels arriving at these points in�1802 was�500. They were mainly of small size, the largest of 50�tons, the majority well under that figure.1

The moral condition was not good. An intelligent French traveler who visited New�Orleans at this time has left a lurid picture of the idle, luxurious, dissipated life which he found in the city. Gambling was the almost universal vice of the men. At the numerous games of chance ship agents, ship-masters, planters, travelers, and the leisured classes generally wagered their entire available funds, and, losing, fell into the hands of a hoard of money lenders who infested the city. The presence in the community of a large class of quadroon women was another undesirable feature. The balls at which these attractive, unprincipled persons figured were already notorious. The respectable white women, on the other hand, had few opportunities for social and mental development. Their lives were passed in a monotonous round of household duties, which left them little material for conversation. There was, moreover in all classes, a singular indifference to law and order. The clergy had little influence over their parishioners insofar as the regulation of their daily conduct was concerned. Education was neglected. Aside from the benefits of travel in Europe, which were reserved for the wealthier classes, the opportunities for improvement were few and not much valued. Smuggling was so generally practiced as to be regarded almost as a profession.2

Such, then, in a few of its most striking aspects, was the community which now passed under the control of the United States.

The sentimental regret with which the Creoles had seen the tri-color lowered at the Place d'Armes on the�30th of November, was soon intensified by a variety of circumstances, due to differences of language, usages and habits, as well as to the insolence of some of the American patrols towards the inhabitants. The discretion and firmness of the new governor easily repressed the outward manifestations of this irritation, but he could not immediately change the thoughts and feelings which prompted them. These antagonisms were artfully stimulated by intriguing French and Spanish officials, who lingered in the city for several months, after the cession had put an end to their employments. A�captious, irritable spirit resulted, which vented itself in incessant complaints against the individuals who composed the Governor's official family, and especially against the Governor. The starting point of this opposition was probably a fear that annexation to the United States meant the suppression of the slave trade. That trade was "all important to the very existence of the country," as a protesting delegation represented to Congress. It was secretly but persistently carried on through Lakes Borgne, Maurepas and Pontchartrain, and through scores of inlets in the labyrinthine coastline of the gulf, where the channels were indistinguishable from the marshes, and where enterprising but unscrupulous smugglers and buccaneers, like the Lafittes, might easily elude pursuit. Nor were p63the people pleased to see some of the old Spanish grants nullified, and all titles subjected to official re-inspection.

(p60)

W.�C.�C.�Claiborne,

First American Governor of Louisiana

From a painting

in the Louisiana State Museum

In part the situation had been prepared in advance of the arrival of the American commissioners by the quarrels that had arisen between Laussat and the Spanish governor Salcedo, and between Laussat and Casa Calvo. As has already been said, these disputes had marshalled the populace into two camps. The long delay which preceded the surrender of the city into Laussat's hands had helped also to irritate the public mind. Now Claiborne was appointed governor of Louisiana with all the powers possessed by both the governor and the Intendant of former times.3 In other words, he was made the absolute ruler of the land, uniting in himself all executive, judicial and legislative authority � a�range and variety of power probably never before or since confided to a single American citizen.4 His tenure of this despotic power was brief, but, even so, it would have been better had it been still further curtailed. Probably Claiborne's task would have been greatly simplified had Congress immediately created some sort of temporary legislative and judicial authority, some council, or chamber, composed of the best informed men in the city and delegated a part of the governor's too extensive powers to it. Certainly this course would have tended to conciliate the Creoles. Claiborne would himself have made some such arrangement, had he possessed the power.5

Laussat, like all revolutionary spirits, was more eager to destroy than to create. With the exception of the new "municipality," he failed to organize new tribunals to replace the Spanish judicial institutions which he suppressed. Yet such were imperatively necessary if the ordinary business of life was to be carried on. Claiborne was compelled to supply the need. He could not reinstitute the courts abolished by Laussat. To do so would have been instantly construed as siding with Casa Calvo and the Spanish faction. At that moment it was not clear that Spain would not dispute the cession of Louisiana to the United States. The Spanish king had registered a protest against the action of the first consul; his minister in Washington had notified the American Government that there existed certain defects in the instrument of alienation which impaired its validity � the chief of which was a solemn promise by France that the territory should never be parted with.6 It was therefore clearly impossible for Claiborne to allow himself for a moment to be confounded with the intriguing Spanish clique. Unfortunately, however, Claiborne had no specific instructions from the Washington Government as to the procedure to follow in the premises. In taking the course he finally adopted he was guided wholly by his own discretion. He found himself virtually the only person in the community invested with judicial power. The principal, provisional and ordinary alcaldes were all involved in Laussat's suppression of the Cabildo, and disappeared with that institution. Only the "alcaldes de�barrio" remained and their usefulness was so limited as p64to be practically nil. Under the Spanish, the principal jurisdiction in law suits, had, as we have seen, been enjoyed by two "alcaldes," who were annually elected by the Cabildo and who, on election, became members of that body. The Cabildo itself possessed appellate jurisdiction in certain civil suits. The re-establishment of the Spanish tribunals would have necessitated the revival of the Cabildo and the suppression of the new municipality, which was out of the question.

There were other weighty considerations which had to be regarded also. Louisiana was destined to be admitted into the union of American States. Its government had to be assimilated to that of the other American commonwealths as rapidly as circumstances permitted. Claiborne realized that similarity of legal institutions constituted a strong bond of union throughout the United States as it already existed. The differences which had, in fact, existed between the legal customs of France and those of her colonial possessions during the time when Louisiana was under her control, had been deplored by the ablest French jurists and philosophers. It was recognized that these differences constituted a serious weakness in the organization of the colonial governments. If then, these anomalies had proven detrimental under a ')" onMouseOut="nd();">monarchical form of government, how much more so would they be in a federated community like that of the United States?

But, as a matter of fact, no defense is needed to justify Claiborne in setting up his Court of Pleas. This court was established on December�30,�1803. It consisted of seven justices. Their civil jurisdiction was limited to cases not exceeding $3,000 in value, with the right of appeal to the Governor when the amount in litigation rose above�$500. Their criminal jurisdiction extended to all cases where the punishment did not exceed a fine of�$200 or imprisonment of more than sixty days. Each individual justice was vested with summary jurisdiction over all cases involving $100 or less, but the parties at interest possessed the right to appeal in all cases to the court itself � that is to say, to the seven justices sitting en�banc.7 This arrangement reserved to the governor original jurisdiction in all civil and criminal matters save as specifically conceded and also appellate jurisdiction over the new tribunal. It had, however, the very great merit of furnishing a method by which the government of the city could be carried on. Without it, the municipality, as constituted by Laussat and temporarily retained in office by Claiborne, was futile.

The Spanish laws were, on the whole, admirable, but the system of executing them was effete and corrupt. Their most objectionable feature was that the judge might hear, examine and decide in secret. Claiborne's new court brought all these operations out into the light; trial by jury was introduced and the judge was amenable to public opinion. But no act of his whole administration caused more dissension in New�Orleans, brought upon the author more criticism, than the establishment of this court. No attention was paid to the fact that Claiborne only very reluctantly retained any judicial functions for himself. It was passionately asserted that justice could not be administered by a man who, like himself, had no knowledge of the two popular tongues � French and Spanish. As a matter of fact, Claiborne had at hand competent p65interpreters; and to the charge that these men did not always possess a thorough knowledge of the law, it may be answered that most of the cases which came before Claiborne were commercial, that the law on such matters is generally the same in all parts of the world, and that it was perfectly possible for him to decide equably without any special study, from his own general knowledge of the principles involved.

Casa Calvo, down to the date of his departure, early in�1806, worked persistently to estrange the people from the governor. Nor can we blame him altogether for this; since, if he really anticipated an effort by his Government to prevent the permanent acquisition of the Province by the United States, such was his duty, looking towards the possible military exigencies of the case. Every effort was made to discredit the Americans; the fact that Claiborne was constantly surrounded by his own countrymen was exploited to the utmost. It was alleged that he thrust as many of these into office as he could, ignoring the Creole population, though this, as we have seen, outnumbered the foreign element in the proportion of 12�to�1. This was an unjust criticism. Claiborne, if anything, favored the "antient� population," as "Laelius" called it. Lewis Kerr, who was a citizen of the Mississippi Territory, was made sheriff on account of his special legal and general qualifications; but the clerk of the new court was Pierre Derbigny. Of four newly-appointed notaries only two were Americans. Offices of honor not involving profit were generally assigned to Creoles. All "civil commandants" but two or three, all of the officers of the militia, a majority of the municipal council, most of the judges of the Court of Pleas, and the larger number of the members of the Board of Health which Claiborne felt obliged to create � these were all "antient" Louisianans. Still another sore spot was the use of English in official business. This, said the critics, menaced "old Louisiana" with political annihilation. English was used exclusively in the custom house; the governor's official letters were written in that language, and it was used in his own court. But in the Court of Pleas French as well as English was officially recognized; in the proceedings of the municipality, French alone was used; and French was the medium in which the correspondence of most of the Louisiana magistrates with the new government was conducted. In reorganizing the militia, Claiborne retained the services of the Americans who had been enlisted by Laussat, but he distributed them through the four companies which he created and gave the command of the battalion to Major Dorci�re, a Creole, whose language was French. Still another ground of criticism was the surreptitious immigration into Louisiana of undesirable persons, especially negroes from the French West Indies. Claiborne, as a matter of fact, did all in his power to prevent these unwelcome additions to the population. He ordered that all ships should be inspected at the Balize by the officer in command there; they were next detained at Fort Plaquemines [below New�Orleans] till the commandant there was satisfied as to the propriety of permitting the resumption of the voyage; and finally, on arriving at New�Orleans, no one was suffered to land until the vessel had been inspected by a committee of the Board of Health. In spite of these precautions, however, there was a steady infiltration of undesirable persons.

It is not to be denied that, on the other hand, something was done to justify the fear and distrust with which the Creoles regarded the new government. A�writer in the "Gazette" in November,�1804, while on p66the whole defending Claiborne refers to the "indiscretion of all parties, their impudent writings and discourses, the contests about country dances. [.�.�.] An essay written merely to gratify the author's humor has been imputed to the governor of the province as a predetermined insult towards its inhabitants; a�private quarrel between two gentlemen, one of them English and one of them French, has almost occasioned a riot."8 At night insurrectionary placards posted around the streets attracted crowds who resisted efforts to remove the incendiary publications. Duels were frequent; Governor Claiborne's own private secretary and brother-in-law was killed in one, in an attempt to refute a slander. In June and July three public meetings were held, at which prominent citizens joined in preparing a memorial to Congress asking to be speedily admitted to the Union, partly because of the commercial advantages which that would entail, but also because it seemed to offer a route by which the objectionable governor might be eliminated. In one instance the attempt of the sheriff and his posse to arrest a Spanish officer was prevented by the violent opposition of 200�men. Swords were drawn and p67it was not until a detachment of United States troops appeared that resistance ceased. "This city," wrote Claiborne," requires a strict police; the inhabitants are of various descriptions � many highly respectable and some of them very degenerate." It is a remarkable fact that the amiable and patient governor lived down all these multitudinous causes of complaint; and when he died in�1816 he was surrounded by the respect and affection of his people. The details here set forth have interest as shedding light upon the character of the community, but, most of all, because they explain the origins of that prejudice against Americans and things American, which is the great motive in the history of New�Orleans down to the Civil war, a prejudice so deep and all-pervading that the Creole population could come to look on the yellow fever with complacency, nay, almost with affection, since, as Gayarr� has said, it attacked the stranger almost exclusively and was, as it were, a weapon against those who threatened the "antient" Louisiana, its language and its supremacy.9

Etienne de�Bor�

First Mayor of New�Orleans

Immediately upon taking over the government, Claiborne arranged for the government of the city. He issued a proclamation on December�20th retaining in office provisionally all of the functionaries appointed under the French administration. These included the members of Laussat's Municipality, all except Johns and Sauv�, who, being opposed to the new governor on general principles, handed him their resignations. The others, "thus re-elected and confirmed," took their seats anew that afternoon.10 Bor� was continued as mayor and the post of "adjoint," or deputy-mayor, made vacant by the resignation of Sauv�, was filled by the appointment of Cavalier Petit. Claiborne, in a letter to President Madison, commenting upon these arrangements congratulated himself upon having been able to secure a man of the social prominence of Bor� to head the administration. As a matter of fact, Bor� was one of the most active leaders of the party opposed to Claiborne. He, Bellechasse and Johns were soon conspicuous in the meetings held by the citizens to protest against the "kind of government which had been forced upon them." They were supported by Daniel Clark, now by the new order of things relieved of his consulate. Claiborne does not seem to have been ruffled in the least by Bor�'s criticism. On the other hand, Bor�'s p68views as to the American Government do not seem to have prevented him from discharging his duties as mayor with assiduity and success.

The members of the municipality renewed their oaths before Claiborne on November�24th. On this occasion the governor made a short address outlining their duties, which were, in effect, to continue the same as under Laussat's administration. The council met for the first time under the new conditions on December�28th and held thereafter sessions once every two weeks. It immediately addressed itself to the matter of the condition of the streets, the regulation of the police force, and the reduction in the number of the "taverns," which was inordinately large. On January�9th we find under consideration regulations for the guidance of persons using the river-front for business purposes. At the next meeting regulations were adopted for the government of public balls. On February�8th the council supplemented its previous action with regard to the bakeries by adopting a whole series of regulations. The bakers were important persons in New�Orleans at that time. According to Robin, their business was one of the most profitable in the community. "Many of them make considerable fortunes in a few years," he writes, "and that is not at all astonishing. Kentucky and the other parts of the United States which communicate with the Mississippi send their flour to New�Orleans. This flour is of varying quality and consequently at different prices, selling at from�$3 to�$10 or $12�per�barrel of �about 190�pounds weight. Sometimes the supply is so great in the city that the price declines below that at the point from which it has been brought. Bakers who are farsighted can lay in a stock at these times, and they make a further profit by mixing flours of inferior grade with the superior."11 Under the Spanish there was a tax of a picayon (6�has '+SearchF+'6'+CloseF+'��',WIDTH,120)" onMouseOut="nd();">��cents) per pound on bread. The municipality did not continue the tax, but made rules to regulate the price, thus establishing a precedent which was followed for many years. It now also interfered in regard to other articles of food and passed a resolution fixing the price of beef at one "picayon" a pound, mutton one shilling a pound, and veal and pork eight cents per pound. Other ordinances passed at this time provided for the government of the police, and placing a tax on vehicles. This was all useful and important work. The Council was, however, constantly embarrassed by the fact that it was a temporary organization. It was, moreover, eclipsed by the authority of the governor. His approval was required in practically all cases when important legislation was proposed. It is remarkable, then, that on the whole the municipal government worked with as little friction as it did and still more so, that its achievements were so substantial.

Bor� resigned on May�26,�1804, on the ground that his private affairs required his entire attention. He was ')" onMouseOut="nd();">succeeded by Cavalier Petit as acting mayor. The council saw Bor�'s retirement with regret and adopted resolutions expressing this feeling and also the hope that the vacancy would be filled by a man equally as able and patriotic. At the same time it endorsed James Pitot as a suitable person for the position. On June�6 Claiborne appointed Pitot to the office. Pitot was descended from a distinguished French family, the founder of which was Ti-Pitot, who commanded a squadron of cavalry in the Seventh Crusade. Antoine Pitot d'Aramon, in order to avoid the religious quarrels then in progress p69in certain parts of France, removed to Languedoc at the beginning of the sixteenth century and thereafter the family was identified with that province. The father of the new mayor was born in Languedoc in�1695 and died in�1771. He was inspector to the army of the famous Marshal de�Saxe, distinguished himself as an engineer and scientist, and became a member of the French Academy. The mayor was born in Rouen in�1761a and was educated at one of the best schools in Paris. At the outbreak of the French Revolution he was taken to Santo Domingo. Thence he moved to Philadelphia and then to Norfolk,�Va. In early manhood he settled in New�Orleans, where he went into business in partnership with Daniel Clark. Pitot built one of the first cotton presses in New�Orleans. It stood at the corner of Toulouse and Burgundy streets. Gayarr� speaks of him as "a�gentleman of respectability and talent." His career as mayor lasted till July�19,�1805, and was signalized by the incorporation of the city, and the taking of the first steps towards the substitution of an elective magistracy for the appointive one.

Pitot exerted himself to introduce economy into the various branches of the administration, and took an especial interest in the police. In the preceding chapter we have seen that among the first acts of the Laussat Municipality was the enactment of a comprehensive ordinance defining what acts constituted offenses against public order. To enforce this ordinance a small police force was subsequently created, with Pierre Achille Rivery at its head, under the title of "Commissioner General of Police in the City and Suburbs of New�Orleans." The wretched pay which the members, officers and men received attracted only the riff-raff of the city into the service. A�few ex-Spanish soldiers were enlisted but the council soon found it necessary to authorize the employment of mulattoes to fill the ranks. It was, however, stipulated that the officers should always be white men.

The utter inefficiency of this organization occasioned general complaint and in�1804 it was supplemented by a patrol of citizens, drawn from the militia, and under the command of Colonel Bellechasse. This subsidiary force of volunteers was divided into four squads of fifteen men each, each squad serving eight days, and then being relieved by another. The militia patrol did duty chiefly in the outlying districts. It received no part. In�1805, Pitot made a further reform in the police organization by reconstituting the gendarmerie as a mounted corps, with three officers, three non-commissioned officers and thirty-two men. This was subsequently changed so as to give a force of twenty-two mounted men and ten infantrymen. The mayor was made chief of this corps.12 In spite of some disputes over matters of authority, particularly as involving the right to appoint the members of this force � a�right which the mayor claimed was assigned to him by the city charter � the new system worked fairly well. The militia patrol, which was continued, however, fell steadily in popular favor, partly because of its composition, but chiefly because it made considerable demands upon the leisure of the citizens, and they were not prepared to render indefinitely the services required.13

On March�25,�1804, Congress divided the Province of Louisiana into two parts � the upper part being annexed to the Indiana Territory,b and p70the lower part, which corresponds in boundaries approximately to what is now the State of Louisiana, was erected into the Territory of Orleans. Its government was entrusted to a governor, jointly with a council of thirteen freeholders, to be selected by him; and the judicial powers were to be exercised by a superior court and such inferior courts as this council might establish, the judges of the former, however, to be appointed by the President of the United States.14 New�Orleans was made a port of entry and delivery, and "the town of Bayou St.�John" was made a port of entry. On October�1 the new government went into operation. Claiborne was retained as governor. He had been formally inaugurated at the Principal at noon, on October�5. He took the oath before Mayor Pitot, and then delivered an oration in English which was translated into flowery French by Pierre Derbigny. The people were displeased at having the legislative council appointed, instead of elected by them; but the national government, through Claiborne, exercised a wise discretion in the matter of introducing the forms of democratic government, and it was some years yet before the heterogeneous population of New�Orleans could be regarded as fit to exercise all the functions of American citizenship. However, a long step forward was made in February,�1805, when the Territorial Council furnished the city with a charter. This charter went into effect early in March. With its adoption the real history of New�Orleans, as distinguished from the remainder of the Province or Territory, may be said to begin.

The charter consists of some nineteen sections. It begins by precisely determining the area of the municipality. It was bounded "on the north by Lake Pontchartrain, from the mouth of Chef Menteur to the Bayou Petit Gouyou, which is �about three leagues to the west of Fort St.�John; on the west by Bayou Petit Gouyou to the place where the upper line of the grant or concession formerly called St.�Baine, and now called Mazage passes; from thence along the line of the plantation of Foreel to the River Mississippi and across the same to the canal of Mr.�Harang; and along the said canal to the Bayou Bois Piquant; from thence by a line drawn through the middle of the last mentioned Bayou to Lake Cataoucha and across the same to the Bayou Poupard, which falls into the Lake Barataria; on the south by the Lake of Barataria, from the Bayou of Poupard to the Bayou Villars; from thence ascending the Bayou Barataria to the place where it joins the canal of Fazande, and continuing in the direction of the last mentioned canal to the Mississippi, and finally on the east by ascending the Mississippi to the plantation of Rivi�re and then along the canal of his present saw mill to the Bayou Depres, which leads to Lake Borgne, and from the point where the last mentioned bayou falls into the said Lake Borgne by a line along the middle of that lake to the mouth of Chef Menteur, and from thence to the Lake Pontchartrain." "All the free white inhabitants" of this extensive tract of land, water, and marsh were declared "to be a body corporate, by the name of the mayor, aldermen and inhabitants of the City of New�Orleans."

The officers of this corporation were to be a mayor, a recorder, fourteen aldermen, a treasurer and "as many subordinate officers not herein mentioned for preserving the peace and well-order United States the affairs of the said city, as the city council shall direct." It was made the duty of the governor within ten days after the passage of the act to appoint the mayor p71and the recorder "out of the inhabitants who shall have resided at least two years therein." The mayor and the recorder were to hold office for at least two years, or until their successors were appointed, and then they were to be appointed annually thereafter. The aldermen, however, were to be elected by the people of the city "on the first Monday of next March." In each ward of the city they were to select by ballot "two discrete inhabitants" to be "aldermen, and represent said ward in the city council." The mayor and the municipality were charged to appoint two inspectors and one clerk in each ward to have charge of this election. The clerk was to record in a book the name of each voter; the inspectors were to receive his ballot and, "without inspecting it, deposit it in a box of which one of them shall keep the key." The election was to last from 9:00�A.M. to 5:00�P.M., and then the inspectors were to count the ballots "in the presence of such voters as care to remain." The returns were to be made by certificate signed by the inspectors and attested by the clerk, to the mayor, who thereupon should publish them and notify the clerk of the city council of the results.

The aldermen thus chosen were to compose the city council. The recorder for the time being was constituted president of this body, but with no vote save in case of a tie; in case of his disability a president pro-tempore might be elected. The aldermen were to take their seats in the City Hall (Principal) on the second Monday in March,�1805, and one-half of the members should serve thereafter till the same date in�1806, and the remainder till the same date in�1807; "so that in every ward there shall be an annual election for one out of the two aldermen." The majority of the council would be deemed a quorum. The council would be judge of the election of its own members. It was empowered to select its own clerk, doorkeeper, and other officers. It was required to meet at least once a month. On the third Monday in March, a "fit and discrete" person was to be elected treasurer thereof, who, under bond of $20,000, with the assistance of two secretaries, was to hold office for one year. The council was invested with the power to make and pass laws and by-laws, and these ordinances, after receiving the signature of the mayor, were to have the force of laws. If the mayor should not approve of these ordinances, he was required to return them within five days, with his objection stated in writing. If two-thirds of the council then present were to vote in favor of the law in spite of the mayor's disapproval, then it was to become a law notwithstanding the veto. If the mayor did not return the law within five days it was to be deemed approved; but under no circumstances could an ordinance of the council have force which contravened any provision of the charter, the laws of the Territory, or those of the United States.

To the mayor and council thus acting together the charter gave the right to tax all real and personal property, with a view to raise funds "to supply any deficiency for lighting, cleaning, paving and watering said city; for supplying the city watch, the levee of the river, the prisons, workhouses, or other public buildings, and for such other purposes as the police and good government of said city may require." But it was provided that no tax for police, lighting, or watering might be put on property not within the parts of the city not laid off into streets. To the mayor and council, moreover, was committed the duty of regulating the price of bread, but not of other provisions, nor could they license drays or carts except in a manner specifically set forth in the charter.

p72 The mayor when elected was to take the oath of office before the governor; the other officers were to take ')" onMouseOut="nd();">theirs before the mayor. In case of the disability of the mayor the recorder was to act as mayor pro-tempore, and while so employed the council was to elect a president pro tempore who should preside at its meetings.

The ninth section of the charter dealt with the qualifications of voters, who were to be "free white males residing for one year" in the city, "owning real estate valued at�$500 or renting a property of an annual value of�$100, or, in case of doubt, to be examined under oath." The tenth section dealt with the duties of the treasurer, and the eleventh with those of the mayor. Among the duties of the mayor were: to appoint "measurers, weighers, gaugers, marshals, constables, scavengers, wharfingers and other officials, as directed by the city council; to license taverns and boarding houses; and to license carriages and coaches for hire." Importance was attached to this licensing matter, inasmuch as it was made an offense subject to a fine not to have the proper license, and one-half of such fines went to "the person who shall sue for same," � presumably, the informant. The mayor was entitled to collect $2.50 for every warrant he might issue, and to any other compensation that the council might decree.

The mayor and the recorder were declared by the charter to be ex-officio justices of the peace. The mayor was to superintend the police and make ordinances for the control of the watchmen and the city guard. He was "to be informed of the intent of every order from the council ordering the disposal of any money or public property." No member of the council could be appointed to any employment or office created by the council. Section�XIII transferred to the new corporation any estates previously owned by the Cabildo. The following section provided that all ordinances established by the previously existing municipality were to continue in force insofar as they did not conflict with the present instrument. Section�XV divided the city into seven wards. The sixteenth section conferred on mayor and council the right to build sewers, drains, canals,�etc., in any part of the city; to open and grade streets; to enjoy certain powers of expropriation of property for these purposes; all expenses incurred for these purposes were to be met out of the city funds. The eighteenth section fixed the recorder's salary at $1,000 per�annum. The closing section reserved to the legislature the right to amend and alter the charter at will.15

Although brief, this document was fairly comprehensive. The verbiage is often quaint, but its terms are clear and definite. It is remarkable to observe that all of the subsequent city charters reproduce the ideas incorporated in this original instrument. In fact, one cannot but admire its homely wisdom. No less authority than the Supreme Court of Louisiana declared that this charter "like all the statutes passed at the commencement of the American government of Louisiana � to the honor of their authors be it said � is a model of legislative style and exhibits its intendment with a clearness and precision which render it impossible to be misunderstood. [.�.�.] The whole tenor of the act is a delegation of power for municipal purposes, guarded by limitations, and accompanied by such checks as experience had shown to be wise, expedient, p73and even necessary for the interests of those who were to be affected by it."16

In accordance with the new law, an election for aldermen was called for Monday, March�4. The announcement was made in the columns of the Louisiana Gazette on March�1. Mayor Pitot was deeply impressed with the significance of this first step towards local self-government. In the call he referred earnestly to "the importance of the election," and expressed the hope that the citizens "would consider what degree of zeal and reflection is required in" their "first step towards the enjoyment of 'their' rights." It was also pointed out that "the new council would not be restrained, as may frequently have happened to the municipality, from uncertainty respecting the true extent of their powers and the confidence placed in them by the people." The polling places were established at the residences of Messrs. Lefauchew,� Coquet, Romain, M'Laren, Macarty and Bienvenu, and "at the Ball Room." The election duly took place and the following aldermen were chosen: First Ward � Felix Arnaud, James Garrick; Second Ward � Colonel Bellechasse, Guy Dreux; Third Ward � LaBertonni�re, Ant.�Argotte; Fifth Wardomits the Fourth Ward',WIDTH,120)" onMouseOut="nd();">� � T.�L.�Harman, P.�Lavergne; Sixth Ward � J.�B.�Macarty, Monsieur Dorville; Seventh Ward � Por�e, Guerin.17

The installation of the new council was effected with some pomp at the Cabildo (as the Principal was now beginning to be called, ignoring the real significance of that name) on March�11. Claiborne appeared at midday in the council chamber, accompanied by various civil and military authorities, and many citizens. "The members of the municipal corps were found present and measures for the public order having been taken, Monsieur the Governor, proclaimed mayor of the new council James Pitot, who previously had filled the place, and when he had taken the oath in that capacity, the nomination of the governor of Jean Watkins to the post of recorder, or assessor, having been officially read, he took the oath at the hands of the mayor, who then received successively those of Messrs.�Felix Arnaud, James Garrick, Joseph Faurie, Fran�ois Duplantier, Guy Dreux, Pierre Bertonni�re, Antoine Argotte, Thomas Harman, P.�Lavergne, J.�B.�Macarty, F.�K.�Dorville, Thomas Por�e and Fran�ois Guerin, chosen by the citizens aldermen or members of the common council."18 Bellechasse was not present. At the close of this little ceremony Mayor Pitot made a short address in which he gave an account of his past administration, and in particular described what he had done with regard to the police, and the economy which he had introduced into the management of the government. He, Claiborne, and the public generally then withdrew. Watkins took the chair and called the council to order. The secretary, Bourgeois, being absent, Achille Rivery was appointed to act in his place. The only business done was the adoption of a resolution authorizing the mayor to put in force all the ordinances regarding the police already in existence. Thereafter the council regularly met under the presidency of Watkins, until July�27, when Bellechasse having been elected president, he took the place.

Pitot resigned his office in July,�1805. In his message of resignation, he said: "My affairs not allowing me to fulfil the functions of mayor, p74I�have sent to the governor my resignation of that post. Appreciating all the marks of kindness and of confidence which I�have received at your hands, I�beg you to accept my acknowledgements. Give me your esteem and believe me deeply grateful." That was the ceremonious and graceful way in which things were done in those days.19 A�little later, however, Pitot was able to accept another, though perhaps less onerous post, when Claiborne appointed him Judge of the First Probate Court of the Territory. He remained on the bench till his death, November�4,�1831. When this sad event occurred eulogies upon his life and character were pronounced by the leaders of the local bar, including Pierre Soul�, Mazureau, and Bernard Marigny.20 Chief Justice Bermudez, speaking of Pitot's services as a judge, has said that "in the early days and more advanced life of this State, with Judge Martin and his associates, all of imperishable memory and luster, he proved of unappreciable assistance in expounding the new laws which followed the anterior legislation in giving good judicial proceedings a proper form and shape for the administration of justice, and in laying down a solid basis for the statutory jurisprudence with which the state is blessed."21

The Author's Notes:

1 Waring and Cable, Social Statistics of Cities, Report on New�Orleans,�29-32.

2 Robin, Voyage dans l'int�rieur de�la�Louisiane, II,�75�ff., quoted in Phelps, Louisiana, 207-214.

3 Martin, History of Louisiana, Howe's edition,�295.

4 Gayarr�, History of Louisiana, IV,�1-3.

5 "Laelius," in the Louisiana Gazette, November�9,�1804. This article was evidently written with the full knowledge and approval of Claiborne, of whose acts it is a convincing defense.

6 Martin, Louisiana,�294. Casa Irujo subsequently withdrew for his master all opposition to the cession, and denied that there had ever been any intention of resisting it.

7 Gayarr�, History of Louisiana,�IV,�3; Martin, Louisiana,�319; Dart, Sources of the Civil Law of Louisiana, 37-40.

8 Louisiana Gazette, November�9,�1804. See also the "Esquisse de�la�Louisiane," printed anonymously in�1804, referred to in Robertson, "Louisiana under the French and the American Regimes," II,�269.

9 Gayarr�, Louisiana, IV,�636.

10 The official record of the installation of the municipality as preserved in the City Archives of New�Orleans reads;

"Proces-verbal of the Reinstallation of the Municipal Corps the Day of taking possession of the colony by the United States.

11 Quoted in Phelps, Louisiana,�211.

12 Resolution of May�6,�1805.

13 See Rightor, Standard History of New�Orleans, 110,�111.

14 Phelps, Louisiana, 222,�223; Martin, Louisiana, 320,�321.

15 Louisiana Gazette, February�22,�1805. This act was approved by Claiborne February�17,�1805.

16 Louisiana State Bank vs.�Orleans Navigation�Co., 3rd�annual repts.,�305.

17 Louisiana Gazette, March�5,�1805.

18 Records of the City Council, in the New�Orleans City Archives, Session of March�11,�1804.

19 See the letters of the mayors in the City Archives of New�Orleans, July�19,�1805.

20 Pitot's son, Armand Pitot, born in New�Orleans in�1803 and died in�1885, had a scarcely less distinguished career than his father. He was educated in France, and on returning to New�Orleans was named Clerk of the Supreme Court, was admitted to the bar, named translator to the House of Representatives, and became a member of the City Council�(1838) and, finally, was made secretary of the commission appointed to revise the Civil Code of Louisiana. For thirty years and more he was the legal advisor of some of the most prominent banks in the city, notably the Citizens' Bank.

21 See King, "Old Families of New�Orleans," Chap.�XXXV.

The Author's Notes:

1 Phelps, "New�Orleans and Reconstruction," in Atlantic Monthly, Vol.�88, p122. Phelps speaks of it as a "wise" government.

2 Smith, Travels in the United States, quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�370.

3 Roosevelt, The Winning of the West,�IV, Chapter�VI, passim.

4 Barb�-Marbois, History of Louisiana (Translated by An American, Philadelphia,�1830), p300.

5 Monette, History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Mississippi Valley, I,�553,�554.

6 Martin, History of Louisiana, II,�187-190.

7 Robin, Voyages dans la�Louisiane, dans La�Floride Occidentale, et Dans les Isles de�la�Martinique et de�Saint-Dominque,� III,�128.

8 Laussat's dispatch, quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 397-401.

9 Ibid.

10 King and Ficklen, Louisiana,�151.

11 Phelps, Louisiana,�189.

12 King, New�Orleans, the Place and the People, 158.

13 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�415.

14 Monette, History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, I,�555; Martin, History of Louisiana, II,�189.

15 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 410,�424.

16 Robin, Voyages, III,�130.

17 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 423.

18 Phelps, Louisiana,�195; Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�425.

19 Barb�-Marbois, History of Louisiana,�330.

20 Quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, 425-426.

21 Barb�-Marbois, History of Louisiana,�330.

22 Phelps, Louisiana,�195.

23 Quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�426.

24 Martin, History of Louisiana,�296. See also the Records of the City Council, Vol.�I, in the City Archives, New�Orleans.

25 The official account of the formation of the municipality quotes Laussat's order in full:

26 Records of the Municipality, December�1-20,�1803, in the City Archives of New�Orleans.

27 The records of the first municipal government in New�Orleans were very neatly and systematically kept. Each session of the council was described in a large volume kept for this special purpose. These volumes form part of the archives of the city at the present day. They are preserved in the City Hall. It is to be regretted that no effort has been made to publish these interesting manuscripts. Either the city should do so, or some patriotic citizen should advance the funds to put them in type. In addition to the minute-books the City Archives contains� a complete collection of the messages of the mayors, beginning with Pitot. These, also, ought by all means to be printed. They shed a flood of light on the origins of the city. Their destruction, which might easily occur by fire at any time, would be an irreparable loss.

28 Voyages, quoted in King and Ficklen, Louisiana,�154.

29 Villiers du�Terrage,�430.

30 See Villiers du�Terrage,�432.

31 Martin, History of Louisiana,�297-8.

32 Moniteur de�la�Louisiane, January�2,�1804.

33 Fortier, Louisiana, III,�51-52.

The Author's Notes:

  1. Fifty men. Margry, Origines fran�aises des Pays d'Outremer, IV, 51.
  2. 2 See Margry, Origines, IV, 164-65.
  3. 3 King, Sieur d'Iberville, 257, 258.
  4. 4 Gayarr�, Louisiana, I, 62.
  5. 5 Martin, Louisiana, I, Ch. 9, p204.
  6. 6 Villiers du Terrage, Fondation de la Nouvelle Orl�ans, passim. The Louisiana Historical Society has not accepted this view. In March, 1918, it passed a resolution declaring that the city was founded between February 9 and 11, 1718. - Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 2, p44. Margry, however, intimates that the date may be as late as May or June. - Origines, V, passim.
  7. 7 See King, Sieur d'Ibervile, 262-264.
  8. 8 Villiers du Terrage says that the depth of water over the site did not exceed ?six inches, and that the damage resulting from the inundation was much exaggerated. - Fondation de la Nouvelle Orl�ans, 39.
  9. 9 The last company of the "filles � la cassette" arrived in 1751. From these successive parties are descended many of the best Creole families of the city.
  10. 10 Grace King, in Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. I, No. 3, p48.
  11. 11 Phelps, Louisiana, p75.
  12. Thayer's Note: Very substantial excerpts of the Black Code are provided by Gayarr� in his History of Louisiana, Vol. I, Appendix.
  13. 12 Waring and Cable, Social Statistics of Cities [1887], p220.
  14. 13 Villiers du Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es de la Louisiane Fran�aise, Ch. XIV. Martin states that Kerlerec was sent to the Bastille. - Hist. of Louisiana, I, 195. Gayarr� gives the same statement. - History of Louisiana, II, 95, 107.�
  15. 14 Rightor, Standard History of New Orleans, 482.
  16. 15 Rightor, Standard History, 481-482; Gayarr�, II, 99-100.
  17. 16 Dart, Legal Institutions of Louisiana. - French Domination, 8.
  18. 17 Monette, History of the Valley of the Mississippi, I, 246.
  19. 18 Dart, Legal Institutions, 24.
  20. 19 Dart, Legal Institutions, 23.
  21. 20 Social Statistics of Cities (Washington, 1887), Part II, p226.
  22. 21 The letter was dated April 21, 1764. - Gayarr�, History of Louisiana, II, 109.
  23. 22 Gayarr�, History of Louisiana, II, 193.
  24. 23 Quoted by Villiers du Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es de la Louisiane Fran�aise, 280.
  25. 24 Waring and Cable, Social Statistics of Cities (Washington, 1887), Part II, 224.
  26. Masters. Villiers du Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 286.

Chapter Two Notes:

  1. 1 King, New�Orleans the Place and the People, 108-109.
  2. 2 Grimaldi to Fuentes, quoted in Gayarré, History of Louisiana, II,�p266.
  3. 3 Gayarré, History of Louisiana, II,�345-53; Martin, Louisiana,�208; Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Années de�la�Louisiane Fran�aise,�308.
  4. 4 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Années, Chapter�XIII.
  5. 5 Comptes Rendus de�l'Athénée Louisianais, July�1,�1877. Villiers du�Terrage makes light of this story. ?�321-325.
  6. 6 Quoted in Gayarré, III,�10.
  7. 7 The ordinance of O'Reilly is quoted at some length in ')" onMouseOut="nd();">Gayarré, History of Louisiana, III,�8-18. A�good summary will be found in Martin, History of Louisiana, 209-10.
  8. 8 Howe, Municipal History of New�Orleans,�11.
  9. 9 Records of the Deliberations of the Council of Indias on O'Reilly's Acts in Louisiana, quoted in Gayarré, III,�34-35.
  10. 10 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Années, 319,�320.
  11. 11 Phelps, Louisiana,�131.
  12. 12 Martin, Louisiana,�217.
  13. 13 King, New�Orleans the Place and the People, 118-123.
  14. 14 Bispham, "Contest for Ecclesiastical Supremacy in Valley of the Mississippi," in Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol.�I, No.�3, pp154-189; "Fray Antonio de�Sedilla,"� in Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol.�II, No.�1, pp24-37. It is probable that Mr.�Bispham has formed too kind an opinion of Fray Antonio's motives, at any rate at the time of his first visit to New�Orleans.
  15. 15 King, New�Orleans the Place and the People, 145.
  16. 16 Gayarré, II,�385.

Chapter 3 Notes: The Author's Notes:

1 Phelps, "New�Orleans and Reconstruction," in Atlantic Monthly, Vol.�88, p122. Phelps speaks of it as a "wise" government.

2 Smith, Travels in the United States, quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�370.

3 Roosevelt, The Winning of the West,�IV, Chapter�VI, passim.

4 Barb�-Marbois, History of Louisiana (Translated by An American, Philadelphia,�1830), p300.

5 Monette, History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Mississippi Valley, I,�553,�554.

6 Martin, History of Louisiana, II,�187-190.

7 Robin, Voyages dans la�Louisiane, dans La�Floride Occidentale, et Dans les Isles de�la�Martinique et de�Saint-Dominque,� III,�128.

8 Laussat's dispatch, quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 397-401.

9 Ibid.

10 King and Ficklen, Louisiana,�151.

11 Phelps, Louisiana,�189.

12 King, New�Orleans, the Place and the People, 158.

13 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�415.

14 Monette, History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, I,�555; Martin, History of Louisiana, II,�189.

15 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 410,�424.

16 Robin, Voyages, III,�130.

17 Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es, 423.

18 Phelps, Louisiana,�195; Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�425.

19 Barb�-Marbois, History of Louisiana,�330.

20 Quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, 425-426.

21 Barb�-Marbois, History of Louisiana,�330.

22 Phelps, Louisiana,�195.

23 Quoted in Villiers du�Terrage, Les Derni�res Ann�es,�426.

24 Martin, History of Louisiana,�296. See also the Records of the City Council, Vol.�I, in the City Archives, New�Orleans.

Thayer's Note: adjoict, as it appears consistently in Kendall's printed text, should almost certainly be adjoinct (modern French: adjoint).

25 The official account of the formation of the municipality quotes Laussat's order in full:

"Order for the establishment of the Municipal Authority in New�Orleans:

"Laussat, Colonial Prefect, commissioner of the French Government.

"Considering that the cession of Louisiana to the French Republic by the commissioners of His Catholic Majesty involves the dissolution of the authority which derived from the royal crown directly, and took character from its connection with the Spanish monarchy, and the Cabildo of this town being especially one of these;

"And seeing that the regular exercise of the powers relating to the police and the social order, should not for a moment be suspended in this change of dominion,

"Order:

"Art.�I. That there is established in New�Orleans a municipal body composed of a mayor, a council of twelve members, and a secretary.

"Art.�II. The following are named to these offices. (Then follow the names as given in the text.)

"Art.�III. They will enter upon their functions at once.

"Given at New�Orleans VIII�Frumaire, Year�12 (or November�30,�1803).

"Signed,

"Laussat.

"By the Colonial Prefect of the French government,

"The Secretary of the Commission.

"Signed, Daugerot."

26 Records of the Municipality, December�1-20,�1803, in the City Archives of New�Orleans.

27 The records of the first municipal government in New�Orleans were very neatly and systematically kept. Each session of the council was described in a large volume kept for this special purpose. These volumes form part of the archives of the city at the present day. They are preserved in the City Hall. It is to be regretted that no effort has been made to publish these interesting manuscripts. Either the city should do so, or some patriotic citizen should advance the funds to put them in type. In addition to the minute-books the City Archives contains� a complete collection of the messages of the mayors, beginning with Pitot. These, also, ought by all means to be printed. They shed a flood of light on the origins of the city. Their destruction, which might easily occur by fire at any time, would be an irreparable loss.

28 Voyages, quoted in King and Ficklen, Louisiana,�154.

29 Villiers du�Terrage,�430.

30 See Villiers du�Terrage,�432.

31 Martin, History of Louisiana,�297-8.

32 Moniteur de�la�Louisiane, January�2,�1804.

33 Fortier, Louisiana, III,�51-52.

Notes

  1. Capuchin A Catholic friar.


Text prepared by:



Notes

  1. Capuchin A Catholic friar.


Text prepared by:



Source

Cable, George Washington. "Posson Jone'" and P�re Rapha�l: With a New Word Setting Forth How and Why the Two Tales Are One. Illus. Stanley M. Arthurs. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909. Google Books. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://books. google.com/books?id=bzhLAAAAIAAJ>.

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