James Pickett: HISTORY
(Kindly contributed by William C. Bell)
THE COLONY OF LOUISIANA GRANTED TO CROZAT.
The high floods having inundated the settlements around Fort St. Louis de la Mobile, Bienville determined to place his people upon more elevated ground. All the inhabitants, except the garrison of the fort, removed upon the Mobile river, where, upon the site of the present beautiful and welathy commercial emporium of Alabama, they established themselves. Here Bienville built a new wooden fort, which, in a few years, was destroyed to give place to an extensive fortress of brick, called in French times, Fort Conde, and in English and Spanish times, Fort Charlotte. The seat of government was permanently fixed here, and the leading characters of the colony made Mobile their headquaters. Only a small garrison was left at the mouth of the Dog river, which, however, continued to guard that point for several years after this period.
The Chickasaws having again engaged in a war with the Choctaws, at the instance of the English, and thirty of the former tribe being at Mobile at the time, they implored Bienville to have them safely conducted home, through the country of their enemies. Desiring to acquire the confidence of the Chickasaws by acts of kindness that would induce them to break up their alliance with the Carolinians, Bienville readily granted their request, and despatched his brother, Chateaugne, with thirty soldiers to escort them. He was successful in his mission, and returned to Mobile without having met any serious adventures.
Oct 27 1711: The colony of Louisiana still remained in a precarious situation. It is true, the inhabitants had to some extent begun the cultivation of tobacco, the first samples of which were supposed to be superior to the quality raised in Virginia. Wheat came up most luxuriantly, but the damp atmosphere destroyed it when it commnced maturing. Notwithstanding the long war which had existed between France and England, no attacks of the enemy had been directed against any part of the Louisiana colony, until about this time, when a pirate ship from Jamaica disembarked on Dauphin Island, and plundered the inhabitants of nearly all which they possessed. Not long afterwards, the first and last act of hostilty during the present war, was succeeded by the arrival of a ship which came upon a more agreeable mission. She brought large supplies for the colony, and when she hoisted her sails to return to France, D'Artaguette, the commissary general, an accomplished man, who well understood his business, became a passenger on board her, to the regret of all the inhabitants, who ardently desired him to remain longer with them.
The following is a statement of the colonial disbursements of the year 1711:
To 12 workmen on the fortification...................... 4,480 livres.
To 23 naval officers, soldiers and cabin boys... 4,572
To superior officers............................................. 19,988
To medicine chest..................................................... 506
To wax candles in the chapel................................... 270
To presents to the Indians...................................... 4,000
To maintenance of military companies........... 27,688
D'Artaguette, the colonial commissar, had a prosperous voyage to France, and arrived there "at the time," to use the eloquent language of Gayarre, "when the star of Louis XIV., which had shed such brilliant glory around for half a century, was almost extingusihed, and the doors of the old cathedral of St. Dennis had already opened in expectation of receiving the great monarch, whom age and misfortune urged rapidly to the tomb." The country, too, over which he had so long reigned, was then groaning under the effects of the long, bloody and expensive wars which he had waged. The report which D'Artaguette now made of the unhappy condition of the colony of Louisiana, induced the French Government to number that fruitless and extravagant bantling among its other misfortunes. It determined to hand the colony over to the care of a company, or to some importnat privileges. Accordingly, an opulent merchant, named Antoine Crozat, entered into a contract with the King of France. Sept 14 1712: The King granted to him for the term of fifteen years, the exclusive commrce of all the country known as the colony of Louisiana, embracing the country upon the Alabama and Tombigby, with their entrance to the sea; of all the lakes, rivers and islands connected with the lakes of Pontchartrain, Maurepas, Borne, etc.; of all the country upon the Mississippi and its numerous tributaries, from the sea as high up as the Illinois river, together with that of Texas. He also ceded to him "forever" all the lands which he could establish himself upon, all the manufactures which he could put into operation, and all the structures which he should erect. The King also granted to him all the proceeds of all the mines which he might find and work, and agreed to appropriate fifty thousand livres annaully toward the payment of his officers and troops in Louisiana.
For all these privileges, Crozat obligated, on his part, to appropriate one-fourth of the proceeds of the mines of precious metals to the King's use; to forfeit the lands which were granted to him "forever," if the improvements or manufactures which he placed upon them should be abandoned by him or should cease to exist; to send a vessel annually to Guinea for slaves for the colony, and to send every year two ships from France, with a certain number of emigrants to Louisiana; and, at the expiration of nine years, to pay the salaries of the King's officers in the colony during the remainder of his time, with the privilege of nominating those officers for his majesty's appointment.
All this country was to be a dependency upon the government of New France. The ordinances and usages of the Provost and Viscount of Paris were to rule the colony, in connection with a council similar to that which then existed in St. Domingo.
About the time that France thus abandoned our soil and the few white inhabitants upon it, to the wealthy Parisian merchant, the King, by the treaty of Utrecht, ceded to England the country of Nova Scotia, with its ancient boundaries.
Sept 14 1712: The population of Louisiana, now turned over to Crozat, consisted of twenty-eight familes, twenty negroes, seventy-five Canadians and two companies of infantry of fifty men each, the whole numbering three hundred and twenty-four souls. They were scattered over the colony, and separated by large rivers and expansive lakes, protected by only six forts of miserable construction, built of stakes, trees and earth, and portions of them covered with palm leaves. These forts were situated as follows: one upon the Mississippi, one upon Ship Island, one upon Dauphin Island, one at Biloxi, one at the old and the other at the new settlement of Mobile.
May 17 1713: At length a vessel of fifty guns disembarked at Dauphin Island the officers intended for the government of Louisiana under Crozat's charter. Among them were Lamotte Cadillac, the new Governor; Duclos, the Commissary General; Lebas, the Comptroller; and Dirigoin and Laloire de Ursins, directors of the affairs of Crozat in the colony. Governor Cadillac had served with distinction in the wars of Canada, and brought with him to the colony of Louisiana his daughter, whom he attemped, as we shall see, to marry to Bienville. He was a man of poor judgment, of weak feelings, and much selfishness. To interest him in the deepest manner, in accomplishing his various schemes of colonial aggrndizemnet, Crozat had promised him a portion of his profits. But Cadillac, in his first despatch to the Minister, began to complain of everybody and everything appertaining to the colony; and all his other documents to that high functionary were, likewise, filled with carping and epithets, which would only emanate from a selfish and childish mind like his. Dauphin Island, which, he said, had been represented to him as a terrestrial paradise, he assured the Minster, was a poor and miserable spot, supporting but a few improvenents, with a few fig trees and sapless vines of the grape and lemon. Wheat did not grow upon the whole conntinent, having been abandoned upon the borders of Lake Pontchartrain and at Natchez, where one Larigne had endeavored to raise it. July 15 1713: Other colonial officers, also, hastened to complain. Duclos wrote to the Minister that twleve girls had lately arrived from France, who were too ugly and badly formed to secure the affections of the men, and that but two of them had yet found husbands. He was afraid that the other ten would remian on hand a long time. He thought proper to suggest that those who sent girls to the colony in future should attach more importance to beauty than to vurtue, as the Canadians were not scrupulous as to the lives which their spouses may have formerly led. But if they were only to be offered girls as ugly as these they would rather attach themselves to Indian females, particularly the Illinois country, where the Jesuit priests sanctioned such alliances by the marital ceremony.
Oct. 25 1712: Duclos again wrote to the Minister, accusing Cadillac with having appropriated the presents intended for the Indians, to his own use, and recommended that the Governor should, in future, be required to confer with Bienville in relation to the distribution of these presents; the latter, he remarked, having for so many years, by justice, honor and good advice, so happily conciliated the different tribes. On the same day Cadillac wrote to the Minister, the Count Pontchartrain, that the inhabitants knew nothing ogf the culture of silk, tobacco and indigo, but confined their attention to the production of Indian corn and vegetables. That the commerce of the colony consisted merely in skins of deer, bear, and other animals and lumber. That the coureurs de bois hunted for peltry and slaves, which they brought to Mobile and sold, and that the peltry was then re-sold, together with vegetables and poultry, to the Spaniards in Pensacola, or to ships which touched upon the coast, while the Indian slaves were employed to saw out lumber and till the earth. But at the very next day Cadillac made another despatch, in which he pronounced the country good for nothing, and the inhaiibutants "a mass of rapscallions from Canada, a cut-throat set, without subordination, with no respect for religion, and abandoned in vice with Indian women, whom they prefer to French girls." He complained that upon arriving at Mobile he found the garrison dispersed in the woods and Indian villages, where they went in search of bread; that Bienville, his brother Chateaugne, and their cousin Boisbriant, the Mayor of Mobile, came to the colony too young to know how to drill soldiers, and had not since learned any thing of proper discipline; and that the soldiers all had Indian wives who cooked for them and waited upon them -- all of which he pronounced to be intolerable. He believed that the colony presented but two objects of commerce -- trade with the Spaniards of Mexico and the working of the precious mines, if the latter could be discovered; but that, unfortunately, Dirigion, one of Crozat's directors, was a man of no capacity, while Lebas, the comtroller, was extremely dissippated. He desired more tradespeople, sialors, Canadians and artizans to be sent out, and a chirch to be erected at Mobile. But the latter the inhabitants would be delighted not to have. Indeed, a majority of the gentlemen, priests and missionaries, had not taken sacrament for eight years, the soldiers had not kept Palm Sunday, but followed the example of Bienville and his adherents that the sea captain who brought out the twelve girls had seduced more than half og them upon the passage, which was the cause of not having married respectable persons in the colony, and he contended that it was best, under the circumstances, that the soldiers should be allowed to marry them, for fear their poverty would drive them to prostitution. In relation to the council which was to co-operate in the government of the colony. Cadillac said that it had not convened for the want of suitable members. To this string of complaints were added many others in a subsequent despatch, among which were the following: Feb 20 1714: That Bienville had governed the colony for years without having discovered any mines, which he (Cadillac) could have done in a short time; that Duclos was guilty of great impudence and presumption in cennsuring his official acts; that the French government was entirely too lenient with its colonial officers and soldiers, who threathened to revolt and burn up Crozat's establishment; and libertinism was carried to such an extent, that even the boys had Indian mistresses! In again alluding to the council, he stated that Duclos had nominated for Attorney-General a storekeeper; for Councillor, the chief surgeon; for Doorkeeper and Notary, one Roquet, a low soldier; and that the Assembly, which for the present was to meet at his house, wanted nothing but the bonnet and robe to make it perfect! He said that is the Minister did not crush the cabals formed against him by Bienville and his clan, who kept up an intercourse with the inhabitants of Pensacola, to whom they sold and from whom they bought, that Crozat would be compelled to abandon his colonial inhabitants, but admitted that his requirements that such grants as he had given should be subject to the ratification of the King, gave great dissatisfaction. He concluded this remarkable despatch with the assertion that none of the lands were worth granting!
1714: In the meantime, a ship had arrived from the mother country with a large supply of provisions and considerable merchandize. She was followed by the Louisiana, owned by Crozat, also laden with provisions for the colony. Delegations of Chiefs of differnt tribes visited Mobile and smoked the pipe with Cadillac and Bienville, who received them with friendship, gratified them with presents, and dismissed them under pledges that they would abandon the interests of the English of Carolina and Virginia. But even after this, twelve Englishmen came among the Choctaws with a large number of Creeks or Muscogees, and were graciously receievd by the uinhabitants of all save two towns, who fortified themselves, and while beseiged by the Creeks, one night made their escape to Cadillac or Mobile.*
* Historie de la Louisiane, par Charles Gayarre, vol. 1, pp. 91-1]2. Journal Historique de l'Etablissement des Francais a la Louisiane, par Bernard de la Harpe, 78-115. 191
During the reign of Charles I. of England, the region south of the Chesapeake Bay was granted by that monarch to Sir Robert Heath, but the projected colony was neglected, and the grant was forfeited. Charles II. decreed that this territory should assume the name of Carolina, and embrace the region from Albermarle Sound southward to the River St. Johns and westward to the Pacific, forming a province vast in extent, which was conveyed to eight joint proprietors. In the meantime some adventurers from New England had planted a little colony at the mouth of the Cape Fear river. From that time emigrants gradually settled upon the coast now known as that of North Carolina, and extended their enterprises to South Carolina, where they formed a settlement several miles above the mouths of the Ashley and Cooper rivers, and at length established themselves upon the site of the present city of Charleston. *
* Hildreth's History of the United States, vol. 2, pp. 25-36. Coxe's Carolana, 2; London, 1741. Steven's History of Georgia, vol. 1, pp. 140, 141, 58, 59. Simms' History of South Carolina, pp. 56-57. Carroll's Historical Collections of South Carolina, vol 1, pp. 42-52. Ramsay's History of South Carolina, vol. 1, pp. 2-3. Hewett's History of South Carolina. 1
From the time that South Carolina was thus colonized, down to the period of 1714, to which we have brought the history of the French colony of Louisiana, forty-four years had passed. During much of that time, Caroilina and Virginia traders had penetrated portions of the great Muscogee nation, which extended from the Savannah nearly to the Warrior, in Alabama. They also carried their merchandise further west into the heart of the Chickasaw nation, among whom they established trading shops, in defiance of the French settlements upon the Mobile. Notwithstanding that the French were the first, since the invasion of De Soto, to discover and occupy the country where the Tombigby and Alabama lose themseleves in the sea -- although the indefatigable Bienville had explored those rivers to their highest navigatable points, at a very early period, freely interchanging friendly assurances with the Chickasaws living upon the one, and the Muscogees and Alabamas upon the other -- yet the grasping English governement attempted, through its enterprising traders and special emissaries, to occupy this region, and to induce the inhabitants to expel the French, not only from the head waters of those streams, but upon the backs of pack-horses, such goods as suited these indians, from distant Charleston to the remote Chickasaw nation, over creeks without bridges, rivers without ferries, and woods pathless and pregnant with many dangers. They did not, however, establish any permanent trading shops upon the Coosa, Tallapoosa or Alabama, at the period under review, but occasionally traded witth the Indians upon these streams, dwelling in their towns no longer sufficed to dispose of their goods, and receiev, in return, valuable peltries, which they conveyed back to Charleston. But their intercourse with these tribes was vastly pernicious to the French below, and to the Spaniards inhabiting the provinces of Florida. The Creeks, in conjunction with their British allies, invaded the latter provinces, as we have already seen. Bienville had repeatedly suggested to the French government the necessity of establishing a fort and trading post upon the Alabama river, in the immediate stronghold of the powerful Creeks, to counteract the influenec of the Carolinians; but awar ensued between him and the Creeks, with whom he had an engagement, as we ahev seen, and against whom he found it imperiative, for the preservation of his colony, to incite the Choctaws and other tribes.
Accordingly Bienville embarked at Mobile, with eight iron cannon, many fire arms, a large supply of ammunition, merchandise suitable for the Indians, and a liberal supply of provisions, on board two small sailing vessels. With these vessels also went a number of canoes of various descriptions. April 4 1714: The expedition was composed of soldiers, Canadians, and Mobile and Choctaw Indians. Bienville sailed up the Mobile river to the confluence of the Tombigby and Alabama. Here, passing with his singular fleet into the latter stream, he slowly ascended it. After a long and tedious voyage, he arrived at one of the Alabama villages, not far above the site of the modern town of Selma. Continuing the voyage up the river, he successively passed the towns of Autauga, * Pownacte and Ecuncharte; ** and at length moored his boats at the beautiful Indian town of Coosawda. These towns were inahbited by the Alabamas, who, as we have seen, were members of the great Creek nation, which was composed of several different tribes, whom they have conquered and incorporated into their confedearcy. Many of these people joined the fleet on irts passage up the Alabama, and joyfully greeted Bienville, who was popular with all the savages, and who, with wonderful facility, acquired a perfect knowledge of their different dialects. He was met at Coosawda by some of the most prominent Chiefs; and here, leaving his fleet, he embarked in a canoe, and explored the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers for several miles up. He then resolved to erect his fort at the town of Tuskegee, whioch was then situated on the east bank of the Coosa, four miles above the junction of that stream with the Tallapoosa. Bienville displayed much judgment in the selection of this place. It was at the head of a peninsula formed by the windings of these rivers, which gere approached within six hundred yards of each other; after which they diverged considerably before they finally came together. It was in this neighborhood of some of the most populous towns, the inhabitants of which could easliy bring down to the fort their articles of commerce by either river. Returning to Coosawda, Bienville now advanced his fleet from thence to the junction, where, entering the Coosa, he arrived at Tuskegee, where the voayge terminated. The crew left the boats, ascended the bluff, formed themselves in religious order, and surrounded a cross which had been hastily constructed. Two priests, who accompanied the expedition, chanted praises to the Most High, and went through other solemn ceremonies, in prresence of a number of the natives, who contemplated the scene with camness and respect, and who preserved the most profound silence. With the assistance of the natives, Bienville began the erection of a wooden fort with four bastions, in each one of which he mounted two of the cannon. As the history of these cannon is rather singular, and may interest some of our readers, we must be allowed to digress from the main narrative., by a brief refernce to it. These cannon remained upon the entrenchments of Fort Toulouse from 1714 to 1763. Then the French commandant spiked them, broke off the trunions, evacuated the fort, and left the cannon there in that situation. The English, who, in 1763, succeeded to the possession of this country, threw a garrisons into Fort Toulouse, but in a very short time also evacuated it and it fell into rapid decay; but still the French cannon remained there. A few years after Col. Hawkins had been stationed among the Creeks, as their agent, he induced the government, as a means of encouraging agriculture, to send some blacksmiths to the nation. One of these men succeeded in filing away the spikes from the rest of the cannon. These the Indians used to fire with powder for amusement. Afterwards, the army of Jackson occupied the site of the old fort. In due time they marched away, and still these a French piece remained there.
* Now the site of Washington.
** Now the site of Montgomery.
Finally, the town of Montgonmery, now our capital, began to be settled, and the inhabitants went up to old Fort Toulouse, then Fort Jackson, and brought down two of these cannon, which they fired at 4th of July festivals, and upon other extraordianry occasions. When it was known that John Quincey Adams had been elected President of the United States, his warm friends in Montgomery determined to make the forests resound with the noise of powder. One of the cannon was over-charged, and when touched off by Ebenezer Pond, burst into pieces and mangled that gentleman in such a horrid manner, that he was a long time recovering. The breech of the other cannon was, some years afterwards, burst off by heavy charges, and the portion which remains now stands at Pollard's corner in Montgomery, being there planted in the ground, the muzzle up, for the purpose of protecting the corner of the sidewalk. About the same year 1820, another of these cannon was carried to the town of Washington, then county seat of Autauga, where the inhabitants used to fire it upon the celebration of the 4th of July, and whenever a steamboat arrived, but at length it was also burst, by a party rejoicing one night at the result of a county election. Another of these old French pieces was carried to Wetumpka when that town was first established, and was fired upon like occasions. It is now at Rockford, in Coosa county, in the possession of the same Ebenezer Pond who was so badly wounded at Montgomery by the explosion of one of its mates. What became of the other four cannon we not know, but have understood that they, together with a fine brass piece, are in the river opposite Fort Jackson.
Aug 1714: But in return to Bienville and his romantic expedition. Around the stockading the governor cut entrenchments, and one hundred years afterwards, Jackson placed an American fort upon the ruins, which assumed his name. Bienville occupied the summer and fall (Nov 1714) in completeing the fort and out-houses, and in exploring the surrounding country. He visaited Tookabatcha, upon the Tallapoosa, and extended his journey among the Lower Muscogees, upn the Chattahoochee -- even crossing that river, and conferring with the Chiefs in the towns of Coweta and Cusseta, within the present limits of Georgia. Upon all these dangerous excursions he was accompanied by only a few faithful Canadians, and always performed his journeys on foot. Was not the former Governor of Louisiana, and now the Lieutenant Governor, in the centre of Alabama, in the deepest depths of her forests, among people with whom he had been at war, and who were yet tampered with by the English, visiting their towns, diistributing presents, and exhorting them to form alliances with the French colony of Louisiana, and to expel the English who should attempt to form posts among them. Yes! citizens of the counties of Montgomery, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Macon and Russell, reflect that one hundred and thirty-seven years ago * the French Governor of Louisiana -- the great and good Bienville -- walked over your soil, and instituted friendly relations with its rude inhabitants -- among whom not a solitary white man had a permanent abode -- and established a small colony upon the east bank of the Coosa!
* This being now 1851.
Giving the fort the name "Toulouse," in honor of a distinguished French count of that name, who had much to do with the government of France and her colonies, and leaving in command Marigny de Mandaville with thirty soldiers, and one of the priests, Bienville turned his boats down the river, and, after a prosperous voyage, arrived at Mobile with the Indians and Canadians who had accompanied them. *
* MS. letters obtained from Paris.
Thus, we see, that although the French had been residing upon the Mobile river since 1702, and the Canadians had several times explored Central Alabama, yet no attempt was made to form permanent settlements in this region, until twelve years afterwards, when it was so successfully accomplished by Bienville.
Governor Cadillac, in a despatch to the Minister, attempted to acquire all the credit for the peace which had been made with the Creek nation, and boasted, generally, of the important services which, he contended, he had rendered the colony. But he was the same inefficient, selfish and fault-finding officer. A large majority of the inhabitants relied solely upon Bienville, whose most prominent friends were Duclos, Boisbriant, Chateaugne, Richebourg, and du Tisne, and the larger number of the priesthood. The friends of Cadillac were Marigny de Mandaville, Bagot, Bloundel, Latour, Villiers and Terrine. Thus this handful of men were at daggers' ponts with each other, instead of uniting for their own preservation and prosperity, and that of the feeble settlements over which they had charge. A tyranical ordinance was issued in France, upon the petition of Crozat, which further embarrassed affairs. All persons were forbidden to bring anu merchandise into Louisiana, or to carry any out of it, under penalty of confiscation to the profit of Crozat. No person i the colony was allowed to have a vessel fit to go to sea, and all subjects of the King were prohibited from sending vessels to the colony to carry on commerce. Crozat was determined to avail himself of the monoploy which had been granted him, and this ordinance was baseed upon the misrepresentations of Cadillac, who had, more than once, complained to the Minister, that the inhabitants of the colony were amking a little for themselves, in a commerce with the Spaniards, which was deemed a very unwarrantable thing by that illiberal man. Cadillac hated Bienville for several reasons, the most prominent of which were, that he was too popular with the Canadians and Indians, too much respected and obeyed by the inhabitants generally, and had absolutely refused to become his somnn-in-law. Cadillac's daughter, who had been educated in France, and wwho, liek her father, thought much of the blood and honor of the family, fell in love with Bienville, soon after her arrival in Mobile. The proud governor could not, at forest, brook the idea of an alliance with a Canadian, but he saw, he supposed, the strong attachment of his daughter, who now began, like many hypocritical girls, to pine away and sicken in consequence of his refusal. Believing that Bienville's great influence with the inhabitants, as wellas with the various Indian tribes, would materially strengthen his administration and advance the commerce of Crozat, the profits of which he was to share, if he could but once secure his friendship and obedience, he resolved to sacrifice his family dignity by gratufying the wishes of his daughter. One day he accosted Bienville, with much respect and suavity of manner, and invited him into his closet. He then disclosed to him his entire willingness to sanction the contemplated match between him and his daughter, charged him to treat her with affection, and concluded his conversation with a very patrinizing air. Bienville, much surprised at the whole affair, as he never alluded to marriage in the few visits which he paid the daughter, gravely assured Cadillac that he had "determined never to marry." This was too bad; and, from that moment, Bienville found in the persons of the Governor and his daughter, two cordial haters.
The redoubtable Carate de la Vente continued to declaim, not only against the colonial government, but against everybody except his friend Cadillac. In his despatches to the Minister, he said that the Canadians particularly, "did not widh to connect themselves with any women by marriage, much preferring to carry on scandalous concubinage with the young Indian squaws, who were hurried by their nature into all kinds of irregularities." That they scarcely ever saw a church, never performed mass, and never partook of the sacraments; that, while a few of the inhabitants did celebrate Sundays and festival days, the large majority resorted to taverns abd to public game -- "whence it is easy to comprehend, that they are almost all drunkards, gamesters, blasphemers of the holy name of God, and declared enemies of all good, making a matter of ridicule of our holy religion and of the persons who perform its exercises." They corrupted the soldiers by such horrid examples; and even officers, who wore the sword and plume, had children by Indian females. The missionaries found themselves useless to a people who were led away by such vices and to the Indians, who were corrupted by the sins of the latter, and consequently they would be forced to leave a land so accursed. La Vente suggested to the Minister two plans "to rectify the affiars of the past and those of the future," either to solely colonize Louisiana with Christian famileis, or permit the French to marry the Indian women by religious rites. Or, if these plans could not be carried into effect, that a large number of girls, "better chosen than the last, and especially some who will be sufficiently pleasing and well-formed to suit true officers of the garrisons and the principal inhabitanats," should be sent over from France as a partial remedy. Verily the worthy curate's head appeared to run much upon women of various grades!
According to the ordesr which he had received, De la Loire des Ursins made a settlement at Natchez, to promote the commerce of Crozat. Cadillac set off on an expedition to discover mines of gold and silver in the Illinois country, and did not return from his chimerical excursion until October, when he wrote to the Minister that he everywhere sety the Indians upon the English; but, intruth, he had aroused the anger of the savages against himself wherever he had appeared among them; and, in descending the Mississippi, upon his way to Mobile, he had refused to smoke with the powerful and war-like Natchez Chiefs, which was highly resented on their part, and afterwards led a awr with the French.
July 1715: An English officer from Carolina, named Hutchey, who had passed through the Creek and Chickasaw nations, came into the territory of the Natchez. From thence he began the descent of the Mississippi, to form alliances with the tribes below. But Des Ursins, who had gained intelligence of his movements, pursued him in a boat, captured him near Manchac, and carried him to Mobile. From thence Bienville sent him to Pensacola; but having determined to reach Carolina by land, he was killed upon the route by a Thomez Indian. A large canoe, containing seven Alabamas, an Englishman and a Canadian named Boutin, arrived at Mobile. They reported that the Indians, bordering upon Carolina, had risen in war against the inhabitants of that province, had killed those upon the frontiers, and that even Port Royal and several other towns had been destroyed. The war extended to the distant Chickasaw nation. There, fifteen English traders, who had taken shelter in one cabin were instantly slain in the presence of De St. Helene, a Frenchman, who was then among the tribe, and who, a few minutes after the massacre, was killed himself, through mistake, by two young Chickasaws, engaged in the bloody scene, they supposing him to be one of the enemy. His death was regretted by all the Chickasaws who were present.
1715: To profit by this intelligence, so agreeable to the French colony, Bienville immediately despatched emissaries ammong the Alabamas and Muscogees, to renew the alliances which he had formed with them, and to engage them to turn their whole commerce into French channels. He sent messengers to the Choctaws, demanding the head of Outactachito, who had introduced the English into their nation, and who had driven off the inhabitants of the two Choctaw towns that were faithful to the French and who still lay around Mobile with the head of this warrior, which had been reluctantly stricken off by the Chiefs, who were afraid to disobey Bienville. They bore an invitation to those Choctaws whom they had forced to leave their homes, to return in peace.
Aug 1715: The storeship Dauphin came to anchor in Mobile bay, where she landed two companies of infantry, commanded by Mandaville and Bagot, which increased the expenditures of the colony to the amount of thirty two thousand livres a year. One of the passengers, named Rogeon, came to fill the place of Dirigoin, one of the directors of Crozat, who had been removed from office. At the same time a frigate from Rochelle, and a brigantine from Martinique, arriving in the bay, requested permission to dispose of their cargoes to the inhabitants; but the authorities, anxious to perfect the monoploy of Crozat, refused them the privilege.
In the meantime, Cadillac had not forgotten how to fill the sheets, which he sent to Count Pontchartarin, with gloomy pictures of the colony, and the licentiousness of its inhabitants. In one of these despatches he denominated Louisiana "a monster which had neither head nor tail." He complained of the manner in which the council unscrupulously altered the decrees of the French government. he said that the whole country was the poorest and most miserable upon the globe, the people of which would sooner believe a lie than the truth. He recommended that a stone fort be erected at Mobile, but immediately interposed an obstacle to the project by saying that the topographical engineer was a man without firmness and judgment, and was always drunk. He was violently opposed to the establishment of a colony upon the Mississippi, on the ground which sustains New Orleans, a measure now contemplated by Crozat, through the recommendation of Bienville. He asserted that the Mississippi river was too crooked, too rapid in high tides, and too low in the dry season, for the naviagtion of canoes!
July 20 1715: At length Cadillac went to reside on Dauphin Island, where he had formerly spent much of his time. It was fortified with four barracks of palisades, covered with rushes, and a guard-house, with a prison of the same style -- the whole surrounded with palisades very irregularly arranged. From this island he immediately issued the following singular ordinance:
ORDINANCE OF M. DE LEMOTTE CADILLAC.
"As we have obtained certain knowledge of several cabals and conspiracies which tend to revolt and sedition, and on account of some disturbances from which evil consequences may ensue, in order to abolish and obviate the misconduct caused by drunkenness, and also disturbances fomented by women of irregular life, or by the instigation of other persons who excite to vengeance those who are so unfortunate as to expose themselves by evil discourse, and as every one takes it upon himself to carry a sword and other weapons without having any right to do so, we most positively prohibit to all persons of low birth, to all clerks of M. Crozat, sailors and strangers lately arrived from France, if they are not prtovided with his majesty's commission, from carrying a sword or any other weapons, either by day or night on Dauphin Island, or at any other settlements where there is an actual garrison, under the penalty of three hundred livres fine, to be applied to the erection of a church on Dauphin Island; and in default of payment. the offender shall be confined in prison for the space of one month, and the penalty shall be greater for each repitition of the offence. We grant to all gentlemen the privilege of wearing a sword after having proved their nobility, and presented their titles to the secretary of the council for examination, and not otherwise, under the same penalties. We grant, also, to all civil and military officers, actually serving in the country, permission to wear a sword, &c."
This, while this ridiculous governor was esatblishing himself in a court of heraldry, in a miserable cabin of palm logs on Dauphin Island, and pronouncing upon titles of nobility, Bienville was in the interior of the immense wilds of Louisiana, establishing trading posts and advancing the interests of the colony. Cadillac, whom the excellent commissary, Duclos, pronounced to be "an avarcarious, cunning and obstinate man, who kept himself everything which the court sent to the savages," was fast losing ground with the authorities in France. Crozat, in one of his last communications to him, used this language:
"It is my opinion that all the disorders of which M. Cadillac complains in the colony proceed from the mal-administration of M. Cadillac himself." The Minister added this postscript: "Messrs. Cadillac and Duclos, whose characters are utterly incompatible with each other, and, who, at the same time, lack the intelligence necessary to the performance of their duties, are recalled, and their places are filled by others."
It was unjust that Duclos should have been made to lose his station because his views of colonial policy clashed with those of the Governor.
The King of France had ordered Bienville to form several establishments upon the Mississippi, and to commence with that among the Natchez, with eighty soldiers. As sson as possible he began the construction of large canoes to be used as transports. Cadillac refused to place at his disposal the number of soldiers designated by his majesty, and Bienville, when all things were ready, departed with only thirty-four soldiers under the command of Richebourg. To these were added fifteen sailors. Bienville advanced to a town of the Tonicas, eighteen leagues below Natchez, and there learning from Father Davion, still a missionary among those people, that they were not to be trusted, and would probably become allies to the Natchez, he established himself temporarily upon an island in the Mississippi, where he erected three barracks, which he enclosed with piles. His object was to obtain possession of the persons of those Chiefs and prominent warriors of the Natchez, who had recently murdered some Frenchmen, in consequence of the refusal of Cadillac to smoke with them, which they viewed as a declaration of war. He intended, after he had made a example of a few Chiefs, and had intimidated the common people, to proceed to their towns and there construct a fortification in obedience to the orders of the King. Father Davion further informed Bienville that the Natchez Chiefs did not suspect that the murders which they had committed were known to the French authorities, and were anxious to keep them concealed. Bienville then despatched messengers up the river, who were instructed to pass by the Natchez during the night, and proceed toward the Wabash settlements, and to inform all Frenchmen, whom they met descending, to be upon their guard, for that he was stationed at the Tonicas, and that he was preparing to be revenged upon the murderers of the Frenchmen, which would probably produce a serious war with that tribe
April 27 1716: Three Natchez, who were sent by their Chiefs to Bienville, arrived with the pipe of peace, but the latter declined to receive it, and stated that the messengers might smoke with his soldiers, but that he would only smoke with the Great Sun Chiefs, for he was the Great Chief of the French. He affected indifference about establishing a trading post among them, and intimated an intention to give the Tonicas the benefit of his merchandise, as the Natchez Chiefs had exhibited such a want of respect and friendship, in not coming themselves to greet him.
The three savages speedily returned home with this startling message, and with a French interpreter, who could further explain the reply of Bienville. One morning, Bienville saw four magnificent canoes descending the river, and bearing toward the island. Eight warriors stood erect and sung the pipe-song, while three Chiefs, in each canoe, sat under immense umbrellas, They were Natchez Chiefs, allured thither by the snare which the royal lieutenant had laid for apparent friendship, he conducted them within his rude military works, which they entered singing the song of peace, and holding the pipe over his head. Afterwards, they passed their hands over his stomach without rubbing, and then over themselves, Bienville refused the pipe with contempt, and desired, first, to know the nature of their visit. Much disconcerted, the Chiefs went out and presented their pipes to the Sun. The High Priest, with his arms extended and his eyes fixed upon the bright luminary which he daily worshipped, invoked it to soften the temper and change the resolution of the stern Bienville. Again entering the works, he presented the pipe to Bienville, who scornfully refused it. At that moment the Chiefs were seized, ironed, and placed in the prison. At night, Bienville informed the Grand Sun, and his brothers, the Angry Serpent and the Little Sun, whom he had caused to be separated from the others and brought into his presence, that nothing would satisfy him but to be placed in possession of the heads of the Chiefs who advised the murder of the five Frenchmen, and of those who executed the horrid deed; that he knew that they were not concerned in the transaction themselves, and, consequently, he did not desire to take their lives, unless they failed to comply with his demands. He gave them until morning to determine upon his requisition, and by daylight the three brothers appeared before him, and implored him to remember that no one now remained in their town of sufficient authority to chop off the heads of the men whom he demanded, and requested that the Angry Serpent might be permitted to return home to accomplish the dangerous mission. Bienville refused, but sent the Little Sun in his place, with an officer and twelve soldiers, who conveyed him in a canoe within six miles of Natchez, where he was placed on shore. The Little Sun returned to Bienville, with three heads, two of which the French commander recognized as those he he had demanded. The other head was that of an innocent person, the brother of one of the murderers, who had fled to the forests. Bienville expressed his deep regret to the Chiefs, that they had caused an innocent person to suffer, and assured them that nothing would compromise his resentment but the possession of the head of the Chief, White Earth. Notwithstanding the Little Sun had acted with so much promptness, and had brought with him a Frenchman and two Illinois Indians, who he found tied to stakes in one of the Natchez towns, raedy to be burned to death, yet Bienville caused him to be ironed and remanded to prison with the others. The next day he despatched to the Natchez, the High Priest of the Temple and two Chiefs of War for the head of White Earth. They were conducted by a detachment almost to their village. In the meantime, by a confession of the imprisoned Chiefs, Bienville ascertained that the English had been encouraged and the Frenchmen had been killed at the instance of White Earth, Grigars, and two Chiefs and two warriors then to his custody.The Indians whom he had sent to the Natchez having returned without the head of White Earth, who had made his escape, and the innudation of the Mississippi having caused much sickness on the island, Bienville determined to end the affair by a treaty with the Chiefs, who willingly acceded to his terms, and were grateful that he had spared their lives. They bound themselves to kill White Earth whenever he could be captured, to restore all the goods which they had seized, to cut two thousand five hundred piles of acacia wood, thirty feet long and ten inches in diameter, and to deposit them at the spot, at Natchez, where it was contemplated to erect a fort; and to furnish the bark of three thousand cypress trees, for covering houses, by the end of July. *
June 3 1716: Adjutant Pailloux departed, with two soldiers, to the town of the Natchez, with the Chiefs and other warriors; Bienville, however, retained the Angry Seroent and his brother, the Little Sun, as hostages, and also kept the four murderers, who now rent the prison with their doleful death songs and loud speeches of defiance. Pailloux, upon arriving among the Natchez, found them assembled in council, and learned, with pleasure, that they were satisfied with the compact which their Chiefs had made with Bienville. He selected an eminence, near the Mississippi, advantageously situated for theat purpose, for the site of a fort. June 6: In the meantime, Bienville had been visited at the island by nine old Natchez men, who came with much show of solemnity, and invited him to smoke the pipe of peace with them, which he now no longer refused to do. June 9-11: He sent them home with the Little Sun and four soldiers, who conveyed, in a large canoe, axes, spades, pickaxes, nails and other irons, to construct the fort. The next day, the soldiers, at the island, struck off the heads of the two warriors. Afterwards Captain Richebourg was obliged to depart for Mobile, on account of sickness. June 13: A number of Canadian voyageurs, whom Bienville detained at the island, while on their way from the Illinois country, with peltries and supplies for the people of the lower part of Louisiana, now that the difficulty with the Natchez had ended, were permitted to proceed down the Mississippi; the royal lieutenant caused them to take with them the two Chiefs, whose heads he ordered to be struck off twelve leagues below, which was faithfully executed.
Aug 2-25: The Natchez, directed by the French officer and assisted by a few soldiers, labored upon the fort and ditches with great assiduity, and soon brought the works to a state of completion. Bienville had arrived a few days before, in company with the Angry Serpent, whom he had retained about his person until every seeming obstacle was overcome. Before the gate of the fort, six hundred Natchez warriors appeared, unarmed, and joined three hundred women in a dance in honor of Bienville; afterwards the Chiefs crossed the threshold and smoked the pipe of peace with him. Such was the end of the first Natchez war.
Oct 4: Leaving Pailloux in command of the post at Natchez, Bienville descended the Mississippi, and sailed to Mobile for the purpose of reporting to Governor Cadillac. Here he received a packet from the Marine Council, in which he was ordered by the King of France to govern as chief of the colony, until L'Epinay, the successor of Cadillac, should arrive. He was thus saved the disagreeable necessity of reprting to his old enemy, who had, in advance, denounced his conduct to the Minister, as fraught with cruelty and the deepest treachery towards the Natchez Chiefs. We are not prepared to defend Bienville from these charges, although his course was approved by the government and by all the colonial authorities, with the exception of Cadillac and his junto.
The King of France, acceding to the request of Crozat, allowed one hundred salt-makers to be sent annually to Louisiana, who, after laboring there for three years, were to receive land. He also consented to send thither eight companies of soldiers, with permission to two, out of each company, to settle in the country, together with a hundred hospital girls, annually, to increase the colonial population. The King refused to adopt the suggestion of the Curate La Vente, of permitting Frenchmen to marry Indian women.
For the payment of colonial expenses, for the year 1716, now nearly brought to a close, Duclos, the commissary-general, required of the French government an appropriation of the following amounts:
A Governor............................. 6000 livres.
A commissary........................ 6000 livres.
A royal lieutenant.................. 2000 livres.
An adjutant............................... 900 livres.
Four captains of companies..... 4800 livres.
Four lieutenants...................... 3600 livres.
Ensigns................................... 2400 livres.
A secretary............................. 1000 livres.
A store-keeper........................ 800 livres.
A surgeon................................ 800 livres.
A chaplain................................ 800 livres.
Incidental expenses.......... 80,992 livres.
* Historie de la Louisiane, par Charles Gayarre, vol. 1, pp. 148-152.
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