(Kindly contributed by William C. Bell)
I am appointed great war chief, or tastanegy
On May 5, 1780, all the chiefs of the nation assembled in the town of Theuketbatchet to hold a grand council. When they had dealt with the general business, one of the regional (band) chiefs set forth to the assembly that the frequent wars that the nation was obliged to wage, either against the English or against the Americans, forced it to choose a great chief, entrusted particularly with everything which could relate to the army, and who would command it in the presence of the enemy. The reputation which McGillivray enjoyed, and the great confidence that the whole nation had in his talents, led the assembly to offer him this position. As he was in poor health, and moreover was not very fond of fighting, he thanked the assembly, and explained to it that the poor state of his health would make it impossible for him to endure the hardships which accompany war; and that if he were forced to accept a position for which he was so badly fitted, the army would run the risk of being often without a chief, which could have grievous consequences. He set forth at the same time that if I had been able to merit the esteem and confidence of all the chiefs, either by my counsel or by my conduct in the previous campaigns, he thought that the assembly would not find it amiss that he proposed me for the position of tastanegy, or great war chief. Then all the chiefs, through respect for McGillivray and affection for me, accepted the proposal. Since I was still only a little chief, I was not obliged to be present at the deliberations of the assembly; moreover, not expecting what was happening in my favor, I was away on some affairs of the nation when it was decided that I would be tastanegy. McGillivray sent a messenger to inform me of this additional favor and requested me to come to the assembly to receive this new token that it was giving me of its unbounded confidence. I went there immediately and thanked the assembly with a feeling of the deepest gratitude for what it had just done for me, at the same time beseeching it to let its choice fall upon a more experienced chief. I explained that I did not have a sufficiently profound knowledge of the customs of the nation to accept a position of this importance; that if I had been fortunate enough to obtain some success in the previous wars, I owed it to the wisdom and valor of the regional chiefs, as well as to the bravery of the warriors; that it was more fitting for me to obey rather than command; and that the nation could count on my complete devotion.
The assembly deliberating upon my observations resolved that my nomination would be confirmed, and that I would be invested with the title and authority of tastanegy, or great war chief. Finding myself therefore obliged to accept a position which gave me the greatest authority, and which placed me above the great chief for domestic affairs, when I was in the exercise of my functions,* I pointed out to the assembly that I was ready to do all that it would require of me; that I appreciated fully the favor with which it was honoring me; but that the gratitude I owed McGillivray, that the talents which had made him eminent in the nation before my arrival, the great confidence they had shown in him by appointing him estechacko, made me consider it my duty not to accept a position which placed me above his authority; that I would accept the honorable title which was offered me only on condition that McGillivray be made supreme chief of the nation;** that otherwise I would perform the duties of the position in McGillivray's name. My observations were approved by the assembly which decided immediately to give McGillivray the title of supreme chief. He was thereby entrusted with all the political and administrative affairs of the nation, and I with all the military affairs.
* This authority is supreme in time of war; but it remains so only for the duration of the war, as I shall explain in the second part of my work.
** He was then only an estechacko.
Before the assembly adjourned, it was necessary to proceed to my reception as great chief. The ceremonies which are customary on such an occasion are extremely multiple; and since they are very unusual, I shall relate them in detail in the second part of my work. It will serve to make known the influence I have over the minds of the savages of North America, and what advantage this influence could have against the enterprises of the Anglo-Americans or of the English.
At the time I was made great war chief, the savages had formed an alliance with the English in order to wage war against the Anglo-Americans. I was informed of the help that the French were giving to the latter, and I could not persuade myself to fight in favor of the enemies of my first native land. Therefore, I urged the savages to remain neutral. I pointed out to them that if peace were made between the English and the Anglo-Americans, the latter, in order to avenge themselves for the aid the Creeks might have given the English against them, could indeed under some little pretext do them much harm; that they could not conserve their warriors too much, in order to be prepared to repulse any attack which might be directed against them. They fully realized the cogency and justness of my observations, but not wishing to break openly with the English and make an enemy of them, it was decided that only small aid would be sent. Although my position as great chief did not compel me to take part personally in this war, in which the nation was only an auxiliary, yet my apprehension that some circumstances might force me into it induced me to undertake a rather long journey of which I shall give here the details.
Since my arrival among the Creeks, the chiefs of the old men (old chiefs) had often spoken to me of their ancestors, and had shown me belts (banderoles), or kinds of chaplets which contained their history. These chaplets were their archives; they are small seeds similar to those which are called Cayeune pearls; they are of different colors and strung in rows; and their meaning depends upon their arrangement and their pattern. As only the principal events are recorded on these belts, and without any details, it happens sometimes that a single chaplet gives the history of twenty to twenty-five years. These pearls are arranged in such a manner as to preserve accurately the different periods; and each year is easily distinguished by those who know their arrangement. As I knew absolutely nothing about it, and as I was very eager to know the history of a people who had adopted me, and whose interests were as dear to me as those of my first native land, I requested the old men to give me an account of it by word of mouth. The oldest among them, and the one who had the most exact knowledge of the events in the lives of the founders, offered to tell me the history of the Creeks from its very beginning, such as it was preserved by the chaplets, as he had learned it from his ancestors, and as he had seen it in his own lifetime. I readily accepted an offer which gratified my curiosity so agreeably. I showed the old gentleman as much gratitude as confidence in the account that he proposed to give; and it is this account, such as it was given to me by this respectable old man, that I shall relate in the second part of this work. I shall do it with all the more confidence because I was in a position to verify on the spot the greater part of the things contained in this story. It was the desire to acquire some certainty in this respect, which partly induced me to go on the journey which I have just spoken of, and which I am going to relate.
This journey having placed me in a position to know especially the character of the Creek Nation, and that of the different nations which compose it, I am going to give it to the reader in its entirety, as well as the motives which determined me to undertake it immediately, at the time I did.
The savages, as I have said above, having made an alliance with the English against the Americans, and finding themselves thereby obliged to give them some aid, I took advantage of this circumstance to travel, in order to avoid taking any part in this war, which I knew concerned the French.
I assembled for this purpose two hundred young warriors to whom I proposed visiting the caves that their ancestors had lived in on the banks and near the source of the Red River. They replied that if I would lead them there, they were ready to accompany me. I made then all the preparations necessary for our journey, and we set out on the first of February 1781, departing from Little Talessy, where I was living with McGillivray, a halfleague above the former Fort Toulouse. I headed northward into the region inhabited by the Tchactas-du-Haut, whose chief I knewóhe is called Mastabe, as I am called Tastanegyó in order to prevent him from sending warriors to the aid of the English, who I knew had won the Tchactas-du-Bas over to their cause. I told him that the French had sided with the Anglo-Americans, and that if he should lead a few warriors into the war, he ought to favor the latter. He followed my advice.
I left the Choctaw to go to Mobile. Having arrived there, I kept with me only five warriors, and gave orders to the others to advance beyond Lake Pontchartrain, to cross the Mississippi River, and to wait for me on the other side of this river, opposite Hyberville River.
I remained a few days in Mobile. There is in this town a fort built of brick. The fort and the town were at that time commanded by a French Creole by the name of Favrot, in the service of the king of Spain. I paid him a visit, and when he had learned that I was a Frenchman, he overwhelmed me with kindness and made me promise to see him again during my stay. I made him the promise, and I kept it with very much pleasure indeed.
One day when we were taking a walk, and were going together to visit the fort, we had occasion to cross over a kind of bridge made of a single board about fifteen feet long by three feet wide, thrown over a ravine. When we had crossed over, he called my attention to this bridge, and told me that it was the French government which had borne the expenses of it. He asked me how much I thought it could have cost; seeing that I was at a loss to answer this question, he told me: "This bridge cost France thirty thousand francs, and since I have been in command here, I have already had it replaced twice, without its costing the king of Spain anything. The fort we are going to visit cost France enormous sums, and it is worthless, because a good cannon shooting a four pound ball would raze it in two hours."
The town of Mobile is pleasantly situated on a river of the same name; but the water of this river is brackish and unpalatable. The inhabitants and the garrison are obliged to get the water they use from a small stream which has excellent water about one league from the town. This is a great inconvenience which could be easily remedied by making this same stream flow in front of the fort, by means of a canal which would cost little to construct.
This town has hardly more than forty inhabitants who are landed proprietors, and each of them has his plantation up the river; that is what they call their wildernesses.
Today, by means of the agreement that Spain made with the Anglo-Americans, all the plantations belonging to the inhabitants of Mobile are under the control of the Americans. It is on these same lands that are found a great number of live oaks, cedars and other timber suitable for ship building, and which France could have used to the greatest advantage for her navy.
The inhabitants of Mobile do considerable business in tar: in winter they keep their Negroes busy gathering fat wood or resinous pine; they make piles of it nearly like those that the charcoal burners construct in the forests of Europe in order to make charcoal. When the pile is rather large, they dig a little ditch around it which slopes gradually downward to a basin whose size is proportioned to the quantity of wood which makes up the pile. As soon as the wood is set on fire, a large quantity of tar flows from it, which the Negroes take out and place in large barrels. I have seen some of these piles yield as much as two hundred large barrels of tar, which is sold very cheap at Mobile in the spring. Before using the pine in this way to make tar, these inhabitants first draw the turpentine from it. Here is how they manage to do it. They make a sloping hole in the body of the tree about a foot above the ground; they place a vessel below it to catch the sap which runs out of this hole, and every morning the Negroes go to collect what has flowed into the vessel and pour it into large barrels; this sap is the turpentine. This tapping is done only when the sap is rising in the tree which is usually killed by this operation, and which as it dies becomes surprisingly resinous and makes fat pine which is then used for making tar.
Mobile is a little garden of Eden, which induced me to go there often. The inhabitants, without being rich, are perfectly happy there; hunting and fishing are excellent; fruits and vegetables are as good there as in Europe. The people of Mobile are all good hunters; they shoot very skilfully at birds on the wing; they always have one or several loaded guns behind the door of their homes; and, as great numbers of aquatic birds, such as geese, bustards, becroches, and others, often fly above the town, they go out with their guns as soon as they see them and shoot at them. They kill, in this way, a rather large number for their own use, without being obliged to go far away to hunt.
On leaving Mobile, I went to Paskagola. The inhabitants of this village are very lazy; but, since they have little ambition, they are happy, and lead a completely tranquil life. They are for the most part gypsy men who married Indian women; there are a few French Creole men among them. They are all carpenters and build schooners with which they engage in coasting trade in Mobile Bay, at New Orleans, and at Pantsakole.
I then proceeded to the farther side of the Bay St. Louis, by going up Pearl River, along which I found very beautiful plantations belonging to French Creoles who descend from Bordeaux ancestors.
They are very happy and do not appear to desire to go to Europe; they are hospitable, they treat strangers well; make them fare well; and it is only with regret that they see them set out again. I remained a few days among these Creoles, and I received a most friendly welcome from them. I left them to go to New Orleans by way of Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou-St. Jean, at the entrance of which is a wooden fort built by the French, which has been well preserved, and which can still last for a long time. It is at the present time furnished with the same cannon that the French left there; they are worthless, made of iron of poor quality, and I believe it would be dangerous to use them. It is about two leagues from the fort to New Orleans.
The name of the governor of this town was Mireaux, and the name of the intendant was Navarre. I am going to give the reader an idea of the manner in which these two men managed the finances of the king of Spain in that country.
The Spanish government sent five hundred thousand piasters every year to New Orleans for the expenses of the colony. These piasters came from Havana every six months, at the rate of two hundred and fifty thousand. In the interval between the arrival of the galleons, money was rather scarce; in order to make up for the deficiency the governor and the intendant had obtained from the king of Spain permission to issue paper money; the circulation of this paper caused that of silver to disappear, and considerable depreciation always resulted from this. I have seen this paper lose 75 to 80 percent of its value, and I can affirm that in I783 it lost 85 percent of its value. When the paper was in this manner depreciated, the governor and the intendant had it bought up for themselves; and upon the arrival of the galleons, of which they were informed in advance, for the date was not always the same, it went up again to its nominal value, or lost very little. Then they would put it back in circulation, and in this way would make enormous gains. The settlers, seeing themselves robbed in this manner of the fruits of their labor, neglected farming and commerce which were almost ruined by this speculating. Complaints were lodged at the court of Spain; and the king, having been informed of them, recalled the intendant and the governor, and replaced both of them by the baron de Carondellet, who had the title of general commander, protector and intendant of Louisiana and of the two Floridas.
I shall not leave this subject without giving an idea of the administration of this righteous man whose frankness and integrity I have come to know through many personal experiences.
This new governor had no sooner arrived when he perceived the pernicious effect of the paper money which was paralyzing everything. He suppressed it, and by means of this suppression forced the circulation of silver. Commerce recovered its strength immediately; the settlers resumed their planting and engaged in every possible kind of business operation. They led tranquil and happy lives under the wise and moderate administration of baron de Carondellet, until 1793, the date of the declaration of war between France and Spain. At this time, the French Creoles, having become aware of the revolutionary movements which had taken place in France, knowing neither the purpose nor the results, tried to stir up trouble in the colony, and thereby compelled the governor to show severity toward those he could not bring back to peaceful ways by kindness and persuasion. There were many of them who left the colony and went to the United States.
Before leaving New Orleans, the capital of Louisiana, I am going to give the reader an idea of the importance of this country, and of the advantages that France could derive from her possession. To give the government the opportunity to fully appreciate these advantages, I shall enter into details which can be given only by a man who knows the country thoroughly; that is to say, not only Louisiana, but also all the tribes which are living near it; and I can assure the government that there is no one in France who can give it these details in a more exact manner, and that it must be wary of persons who profess to be well informed in this respect, and who, in order to cover up their erroneous opinions, have made a point of slandering me, and of depicting me as an adventurer who is seeking to deceive and to abuse the good faith of the first consul. I only request my slanderers to be as frank as I have been, and to show themselves in their true colors, as I am doing here. If their opinions are good, they do not have to fear my censure; if they are bad, it is my duty to warn the government of it: then it rests with the government to decide, in its wisdom, what it must do. I resume now my account.
In order to give the French government an idea of the importance that the Americans attach to winning the affections and support of the savages of North America, the great value of which they recognize, I shall quote here an article published in the Gazette of France, of 4 Floreal year X 13, in which it is said:
"The government of the United States appears to have already succeeded, to a certain extent, in the plan it has formed of civilizing the Indian nations, known by the name of Creeks, which are widely scattered over the territory situated to the south of the Ohio. It has persuaded the natives of these regions to choose, from each of their tribes, six delegates who will meet every year in the month of May in order to hold a national assembly at which the delegates of each tribe will give a full account of their respective condition, and consider means of improving it. They will also discuss any possible grounds for protests, on the part of the Indians, for all kinds of infractions on their treaties with the United States, and about which they might believe they have some complaint. The assembly will appoint a speaker (orator); and, from the opening to the close of the session, it will hold permanent sittings, so that its discussions cannot have any interruption, neither during the day nor during the night. The Indian delegates will eat and sleep within the very limits of the meeting place; and the American government will provide them, at its expense, with beef, corn, beans, and salt. It has already been calculated that the cost of their food will not exceed, for the entire duration of their yearly sessions, the sum of four hundred dollars.
"Raising livestock appears to be the part of the civilizing plan proposed to the Creeks, which will experience the least difficulty in being carried out. Since the region they inhabit offers, in every season of the year, to horses as well as to sheep and horned cattle, feed in abundance and excellent grazing grounds, they find no objection to cultivating this branch of rural economy; and the Indians, naturally lazy, readily accept ideas which are easy to realize. The inhabitants of several large villages, who had exhausted the production of the neighboring soil by consumption, resolved only reluctantly to abandon them and settle down in scattered and small villages situated in more fertile regions; and, at the beginning of last spring, seventy plows were procured and distributed among them; five thousand young peach trees were also procured for them, and they lost no time in setting them out.
"The introduction of industrial processes had at first met with strong opposition on the part of the chiefs of these tribes, under the pretext that the women, by acquiring the means of providing through their own efforts for their maintenance and their clothes, could think of freeing themselves from the authority of the men, and of throwing off the humiliating yoke under which the latter enjoyed keeping them. But these anxieties vanished all the more readily because experience has proved that the family ties have been tightened and the affections strengthened in proportion as the women have made themselves more useful to the family, and have more assiduously occupied themselves with domestic cares. By spinning for two entire years, several Indian women found the means of clothing themselves with the proceeds from their work, and even of buying some hogs and a few cattle. These examples have aroused among the other women such great emulation that they went last spring to the agents of the English trading post to ask them for a hundred pairs of wire-toothed brushes for carding cotton and eighty spinning wheels, which were delivered to them immediately. Already even, and not without astonishment, the head of an Indian family has been seen making with his own hands a loom and two spinning wheels.
"In order to prevent disorders and crimes, every hunting party which will want to go to the field in autumn will be obliged to report to the chief of the tribe, who will charge one of them to keep an eye on the conduct of the others, and who will be responsible for the conduct of his companions. On the return of the hunters, each of the chiefs in person will make a report in which he will give an account to the agent of the American government of everything that they have done or noticed during their trips.
"Two smith's forges have already been set up at the expense of the United States of America, in the territory inhabited by the Creek Nation; and although all that does not indicate great progress in the civilizing process, it is nevertheless a step in the right direction. This is without doubt the way the arts in Europe attained their present degree of perfection.
"The agent appointed by the government of the United States to attend the national assembly of the Creeks will serve in the capacity of minister of justice. In this matter, one can only applaud the wise policy which appears to have dictated this measure.
"The time is perhaps not distant when the United States will form a colossal power, which will concentrate in its hands all the strength, all the commerce, and all the glory of the New World."
If I did not know the Creek Nation thoroughly, I admit that, according to the article I have just quoted, I would consider it absolutely under the yoke of the Americans; but I am too well acquainted with the spirit of independence of the Indians, and their hatred of the Anglo-Americans, not to evaluate this article properly. In order to make it possible for the reader to judge of the truth of its contents, I am going to analyze it for him, as well as the reasons they had for presenting it in this manner.
The Anglo-Americans report that they have begun the civilizing process of the savages situated to the south of the Ohio. The only refutation that I shall make of this article is that there is not one savage living south of this river, and that all the tribes are to the east and to the west.
Relative to six delegates from each tribe who must hold a national assembly in the month of May of each year, it will be remembered that I have already pointed out that that was the time of their general assembly; consequently the author of the article has religiously retained their custom, which is not to leave the assembly day or night before all the business is completed.
The Americans say that the Creeks have consented to assume the responsibility of raising their livestock because the lands on which these savages live abound in excellent grazing grounds.
One can easily judge of the truth of this assertion, when one knows that there are no tribes which have as much livestock of all kinds as the Creeks. It does not seem reasonable to suppose that they are willing to get rid of their livestock in order to have the privilege of raising that of the Americans.
They report that they have furnished plows and looms. This is possible; but with respect to the five thousand peach trees that they state they have had distributed, the author has no doubt forgotten, or never knew, that there are so many peach trees in the Creeks' territory that you come upon them at every turn.
One can imagine from that the value of the gift.
In order to prevent disorders and crimes which are committed on hunting expeditions, they have forced each hunting party to appear before the chief of its tribe, who will charge one of them to keep an eye on the others, and who will be responsible for the conduct of his companions.
I know well enough how disgusted the Creeks would be by such a proposal to affirm that if an American, even though he were the president, were to dare to make it in the assembly of the chiefs of the nation, he would be murdered before he could leave.
The maintenance of order on hunting expeditions is entrusted to each family chief, who is responsible for what is done in his family; and the great chief of the nation does not have the right himself to interfere in policing, which moreover presents no difficulty because no crimes are ever committed on these hunts.
There is therefore nothing, or almost nothing, true in this article which was written only to try to make the French government believe that the United States government had already made great progress in winning the confidence of these peoples, a confidence that it has coveted, as a matter of fact, for a long time, and that it would be dangerous to permit it to win, but of which it could be easily deprived.
With regard to the authority that the article claims the Anglo-Americans already have over the Creek Nation, if it were such as it is stated, I would not advise the French to run the risk of taking Louisiana, because they would not remain masters of it very long; the perfidious insinuations of the Americans would soon re-create to their detriment the events of the River of Massacres, where the Natches slaughtered the French to the last man.
Whatever may be the vain boast of the Americans, who believe themselves already very powerful, I know it is still easy to thwart their ambition, and that France is perhaps the only power capable of undertaking and of succeeding in this enterprise, whose success depends a great deal on the wisdom and on the knowledge of the men whom she will employ to do it. The settling of the French in this part of the continent would have an advantage which is difficult to appreciate; it would deliver from the yoke of the Americans all the tribes scattered over the immense expanse of the continent, and would prevent their attempts upon the peace of Europe, which they in their indiscretion are already threatening by their future authority.
In order to make the French government appreciate fully how much it is to its interest to establish a strong colony in this part of the continent, I am going to give descriptions of the various regions and prove thereby that whatever power gains control of Louisiana and of the beautiful Mississippi, it can easily dictate laws to all those powers which might have some possessions on that continent. I begin with the Mississippi River.
The Mississippi is a very large river, situated in the lower Louisiana Territory; it has made for itself a bed seventy leagues long in the shape of a gut, in which it carries its waters to the gulf. This bed has been formed by the great number of trees which the river brings down every year when the snows melt at its head. It is impossible to stop these trees, which form new islands every year, and force the waters of the gulf back farther from New Orleans. They are usually accompanied by such a large quantity of mud and sand that they promptly form a strip of land fit for habitation. There are many of them on which beautiful plantations are already found; but they have little depth, because on one side of the river is the gulf, and on the other is Lake Pont-Chartrain; that is why Louisiana, confined in this way, has, at this particular place, tillable land only a half league wide: the remainder is unusable and shifting.
I have noticed, on the banks of this river, trees of a prodigious size; but they are of poor quality, and cannot be used in construction because worms get into them as soon as they are cut, and a ship built of this wood would not last six years. There is, however, in this country a very great quantity of building timber, but it is found in another section.
The Mississippi River, at its widest part, is about one-third of a league wide, and is eighty fathoms deep; but the bottom is completely covered with trees which are so entangled that when a ship wants to anchor, if it cast the anchor, it cannot pull it up again, and is obliged to cut its cable; there remains no other way than to tie up to the trees which border the banks.
Fifty years ago, this river was no wider than the Seine; but its current is so swift it has undermined its banks and has made a bed of very great width. I have sometimes seen a part of its bank, twenty to thirty fathoms wide and more than a league long, submerge and disappear entirely in a moment. That happens when the river is low after the snows have melted; it is this falling in of its banks which makes the river dangerous for ships proceeding upstream; they cannot avoid going along close to its banks; and when the wind is not favorable, they are forced to tow and even to tie up to the trees on the banks. There used to be a "Balize" where the pilots stayed; but it was destroyed and reformed several times by the river, and there is nothing left today but a wretched house inhabited by a few pilots. The small fort is completely destroyed, and the Spaniards have had another built fifteen leagues higher up which is now called Fort Plaquemine: it is the only one which protects the river before arriving at New Orleans.
The entrance to this river from the sea has become very difficult, and the navigable passes are always changing. It would be so difficult to remedy this that I would consider it impossible, because of the constant changes taking place in the course of the river. Sometimes one pass is open, sometimes another; so that the work that would be done to give it a constant channel could become useless in a moment. The pass which formerly bore the name of Grand Pass is almost no longer navigable because of the prodigious number of small islands formed by the river, and the earth and sand which have washed down, and which leave the channel with a depth of only about twelve feet. Of five channels which formerly existed, only two remain, which are the South Pass and the South West Pass. They are about fourteen feet deep on the bar. One finds there a hard sand accumulated where the river and tide meet. This presents dangers for a ship which might likely touch it. If a ship were becalmed it would be in danger of being carried by the current into St. Bernard Bay, out of which it is very difficult to sail. One needs a great deal of experience in this kind of navigation to avoid this peril.
If France were to permit the Anglo-Americans to become masters of this beautiful river, they would, in less than fifty years, dictate laws to Europe. All the West Indies, which they consider as part of their continent, would be under their domination, as well as Mexico and Peru which they would take very easily from the Spaniards. It was no doubt in order to take a long step toward the execution of this plan that they took care to intimate to the French government that the part of Louisiana situated on the left bank of the Mississippi is a strip of marshy land formed of shifting sands, whose possession is of little importance for France, but which would offer some advantages to the United States from a military standpoint.
The following memorandum of merchandise brought from Cumberland and Quintock by way of the Mississippi, will reveal the wealth of these two new states, taken by the Americans from the savages* and the importance of free traffic on the river.
* Extract from the Intelligence, American newspaper published in Washington, November 4, 1801. List of merchandise exported by way of the Mississippi, from January 1st, 1801, to the following July 30th, in four hundred and ten flat-bottomed boats, twenty-six keelboats, and seven long boats; according to the customs' register.
62,033 Barrels of flour.
882 Casks of tobacco.
43 Bales of fur-skins.
1,990 Idem; ditto.
25,000 Idem; ditto.
30 Bales of hemp.
22,746 Idems; ditto.
57,692 Pounds of ham.
680 Barrels of pork.
30 Barrels of onions.
129,600 Idem of rope.
77,042 Idem of untarred rope.
565 Barrels of corn-brandy.
29 Barrels of peach-brandy.
30 Idem of cider.
71 Barrels of butter.
1,770 Idem of bar iron
112 Barrels of powder.
94 Hogsheads of beer
14 Idem of beer
4,154 Bales of cotton weighing on an average 300 pounds
2,240 Barrels of apples.
22 Cases of sheet-glass
43 Idem of beef.
16 Cases of soap.
10 Pairs of millstones.
3 Schooners and a brig, built on the Ohio.
I have disclosed the perfidiousness of this intimation by recalling to the government that it is on this land of little importance that New Orleans is built, and that one finds a great number of excellent plantations along the Mississippi as far as Hyberville River; and from there to Baton Rouge, where there is a fort which defends the river; and finally, as far as the boundaries of the United States formed by the Bayou Chaudepisse. All of this represents an expanse of one hundred and twenty leagues, and the most fertile land in the colony. I have given a detailed description of this so-called small piece of land, in the Gazette of France, of Thursday, Thermidor 10, year X, and I have proved to the government that the arrangement that the president of the United States wished to propose was aimed at nothing less than making the Anglo-Americans masters of all the ports and anchorages where the French ships could put in; so that one could not even go up the Mississippi River without obtaining permission to do so from the United States.
The treaty that Spain made with them, three years ago, by which she ceded the town and the fort of Natchez, as well as all the villages, forts, and other military posts that she had obtained from the French, as far as the Illinois, and part of the inhabitants of which are French Creoles, already gives them a very great advantage. I am confident that the good faith of the prince of peace who concluded the treaty in 1798 was imposed upon and it is France today which suffers the consequences; since instead of recovering all that she had ceded to Spain, she finds herself deprived of the most beautiful country in the world, and one which would have offered her the most valuable resources. I am thoroughly acquainted with this country, through which I have traveled for a period of twenty years; I know what an asset it can be; I have described it to the government; that makes it unnecessary for me, at this time, to go into full particulars. I shall confine myself, therefore, to this observation: if things were to remain in this state, grievous consequences might result later on for Spain.*
* I shall tell the reason for it in a more extensive work.
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