While a full-scale study of Spain’s economic problems in the Mississippi Valley is necessary before any basic conclusions can be drawn, it is possible to examine some of the major problems of the seven Spanish governors-general of Louisiana from 1766 through 1799, and to draw parallels. It is quite obvious from a cursory study of Spain’s dominion of the Floridas and Louisiana that her economic problems were vastly different from those encountered in her Latin American possessions. The contact with French and Anglo-American populations, each with varying economic systems, goals, and methods, and Spain’s inability to cope with the supply system all dictated an economic policy that at times seemed a trial-and-error proposition.

Antonio de Ulloa

Spain’s outstanding scientist during the eighteenth century, Antonio de Ulloa, served as the first Spanish governor of Louisiana from March 5, 1766, until November, 1768. Among his most pressing financial problems was the pay scale for his own troops and the French soldiers he hoped would join his forces. A French soldier regularly received seven livres per month (about $1.40), while the Spanish enlisted man received five times that amount. Ulloa had been instructed not to change existing conditions in Louisiana, so he lowered the Spanish salaries instead of raising the French pay. This obviously satisfied no one. Spaniards grumbled over low pay and the French troops insisted on being discharged because of the lack of incentive to serve in the Spanish forces.1

Under the French domination, Louisiana had been flooded with paper currency that had once been officially recognized at three-fourths of face value. In practice the value rose and fell. When Ulloa arrived, paper currency circulated at a discount of nearly fifty per cent.2 Ulloa proposed to stabilize the paper at sixty-five per cent of par, but the inhabitants demanded full value. The new governor desperately offered seventy-five per cent in an attempt to retire the currency, but the Louisianians demanded all or nothing. They almost received nothing. The French government attempted to suspend payment on all bills of exchange issued since the 1762 cession. Only vigorous protests by the French administrators and the Spanish government caused France to withdraw her decree. But Ulloa faced numerous problems related to paper currency. Even his own troops refused the virtually worthless money.3

The governor consistently complained about a shortage of money, for which he blamed every failure to implement Spanish policy in Louisiana. His complaints were as well-founded as they were consistent. Spain was forced to subsidize her new colony with gold and silver obtained from her Mexican mines. A regular feature of Spanish economic policy in Louisiana and the Floridas was the delay of this situado and, at times, the expropriation of portions of it by the captain general of Havana.4

An initial shipment of $110,000 for Louisiana was delayed in Cuba for several months. When La Jupiter arrived in New Orleans, she carried only $60,000, the balance evidently “borrowed” by the officials in Cuba.5 Louisiana finally received a shipment of money to pay the immediate expenses of the French officials in the colony, but the subsidy was often too little and too late.6

Ulloa attempted to establish Spanish policy on trade with the Indians, supervision of the Negro slave trade, and immigration. The mission-presidio system which had served Spain in Texas and California was not adopted in Louisiana. Instead, Spanish governors continued the French practice of using traders and providing the various tribes with annual presents.7 Ulloa vested control of the slave trade in a board of his own selection, rather than in the hands of the Louisiana Superior Council.8 He also provided the Acadian immigrants with land grants, agricultural tools, guns, supplies, livestock, and seed.9

French merchants in New Orleans feared the more restrictive mercantilistic commercial system of Spain. They believed that their trade with New England and France would be curtailed or eliminated. They were still suspicious, despite a royal decree of May 6, 1766, which provided that French vessels with wine and flour from St. Domingue and Martinique might carry them to Louisiana in exchange for wood and pelts. Under this regulation two French consular officials resided in New Orleans, where they approved exports and signed passports. Even English merchants enjoyed the “new look” in customary Spanish commercial policy, but many of the French merchants opposed the law so strongly that it was not rigidly enforced.10

It should not have been surprising, therefore, after this initial failure to win friends by her liberality, that Spain attempted to bring Louisiana under her traditional policy on March 23, 1768, by applying the decree of October 16, 1765, to the colony. This act, which resembled the English Navigation Acts, required that trade carried on with Louisiana be in Spanish ships manned by crews, two-thirds of whom were to be Spaniards. Registered lists, sealed cargoes, bonded captains, and habilitated ports were features of the law. Although Spanish products entered New Orleans duty-free, foreign products were required to be carried through the designated habilitated ports and to pay the usual customs fees, while goods produced in Louisiana could be exported to Spanish ports by paying four per cent tariffs.11

A storm of protest followed the announcement of this act, and Ulloa caught the crest of a wave of opposition. He had borrowed to meet the obligations of government, but even so his military and civilian employees often went unpaid. Economic causes figured prominently in the rebellion of 1768 which forced Ulloa to leave Louisiana.12

Alexandro O’Reilly

The Conde Alexandro O’Reilly was sent to Louisiana to punish the leaders of the 1768 revolt and to establish firm Spanish rule in the colony. From August 17, 1769, to March, 1770, he performed both duties with firmness and success. A renowned soldier with more tact than Ulloa, he had the added advantage of having virtually unlimited funds and soldiers to back up his military and economic policies. His major problems involved government expenses, prices in New Orleans, immigration, land grants, commercial regulations, smuggling, Indian slavery, and illegal trade.

O’Reilly’s two thousand soldiers were already paid, and he had an additional expense account of $150,000 to accomplish his aims.13 He spent about $260,000 in 1768 alone—a sum unmatched in Louisiana until the wartime expenses of 1779.14 O’Reilly was a cautious spender, however, and he cut government expenses.15 He also fixed the price of food, wood, and cartage fees in New Orleans to prevent inflation, which might have occurred because of the influx of large sums of money.16 In order to raise revenue for the conduct of city business, he established a tax schedule for taverns, inns, billiard parlors, and butcher stalls, and provided for the rental of royal buildings facing the Plaza de Armas. Finally, he set anchorage duties and placed special taxes on imported brandy.17

O’Reilly continued Ulloa’s policy of aiding Acadian and German immigrants by providing them with lands, tools, and money, but he warned that “The settlement of these poor families is very costly to the exchequer, and of very little benefit, on account of the location of the country and the quality of the products that their labor can produce.”18

He also established the pattern for granting lands to settlers by a proclamation of February 18, 1770. This set the size of a lot between six and eight arpents frontage on the river to forty arpents depth (approximately 240 to 320 acres). Settlers desirous of obtaining legal title to their lands were required to build dikes and levees, fences and roads, and to clear their land within three years. Other portions of the ordinance related to grazing and branding of livestock, surveying, and the application procedure of the grant.19

Commerce moved slowly when O’Reilly arrived in Louisiana.20 He proposed in October, 1769, that the colony enjoy free commerce with Spain and Havana simply by paying the usual duties. As a start, he used his extraordinary powers to issue passports for five Louisiana ships bound for French ports on Santo Domingo.21 Commercial activity quickened after the royal decree of January 27, 1770, which followed O’Reilly’s suggestions in allowing Louisiana ships to trade with Havana and Spain. Louisiana staples exported to Havana and Havana exports to New Orleans paid no duties. Direct trade was still forbidden between Louisiana and other Spanish or foreign colonies.22

Despite the growing liberal character of Spanish commercial policy toward Louisiana illicit trade with unlicensed British and French traders increased. Between 1768 and 1770, for example, only four vessels arrived in New Orleans legally, and two of these carried Louisiana’s subsidy.23 British merchants often landed slaves and contraband along the banks of the Mississippi, where they were permitted by the Treaty of Paris of 1763. They frequently sold their merchandise to eager inhabitants, bought plantations and, using some of the slaves they brought, became wealthy Louisiana or West Florida planters.24 Although O’Reilly attempted to cheek such practices, neither he nor his successor was able to eliminate illicit British trade until the American Revolution.25

In his Indian and Negro policy, O’Reilly attempted to check the more notorious abuses. Recalling orders forbidding Indian slavery, he ordered Indian slaves freed without compensation to their owners.26 Inhabitants complained that Negroes bought and sold stolen goods and contraband, and on October 12, 1765, a decree had forbidden “all merchants, residents, and others of all classes. . .” to trade with Negroes without prior permission from their masters. O’Reilly reiterated this prohibition, but neither this nor his decree on Indian slavery was obeyed by the population.27

Luis de Unzaga

Luis de Unzaga succeeded in winning French support for Spanish administration by his mild policies and reluctance to eliminate smuggling on the Mississippi.28 From March, 1770, until January, 1777, he encouraged the development of agriculture, expanded trade, and aided the Americans in their early struggles with Great Britain.

During his administration, Francisco Bouligny, an important officer in the Spanish forces, reported on Louisiana land, crops, population, commerce, Indians, settlements, Negro slavery, and other labor problems. Bouligny remarked that only six or seven ships carried on legitimate commerce each year, but that a constant stream of European articles came on English ships. Illegal commerce amounted to $585,000 yearly; legitimate trade to only $15,000. He concluded that “the want of direct commerce with Spain and of legitimate commerce with any other province is the cause of the decline of this country.”29

Unzaga disregarded the commercial and revenue laws of Spain, but was insistent that those able to pay their debts do so, even when it meant notifying his father-in-law, St. Maxent, of a delinquent debt.30 At times smuggling was so flagrant that two English vessels were moored to the shore to serve as floating warehouses for contraband.31

On August 17, 1772, a royal decree attempted to expel British traders and ships from the Mississippi. For the next six years commercial decrees failed to modify the basic system, but did allow special exemptions and individual extensions of privilege.32 In 1776 a Spanish commercial decree allowed Louisiana to export timber and food to aid inhabitants of the French islands, and French vessels were permitted to load emergency supplies in New Orleans and to pay for them with Negro slaves.33 Sailing lists from 1773 to April, 1777, indicate that 78 ships arrived and 92 sailed from New Orleans.34

In 1771 Unzaga initiated the purchase of Louisiana tobacco for the account of New Spain, and by 1776 Louisiana planters were shipping 12,000 pounds.35 Planters borrowed heavily to finance the purchase of slaves and equipment, confident that the viceroyalty would buy all they could produce. For several years tobacco production was a lucrative business for Louisiana. Indigo production was also encouraged by Unzaga. It became a valuable crop for export and also was used as a medium of exchange.38

During Unzaga’s time the Cabildo of New Orleans, over which he presided, set the price of flour which the planters furnished the city at one peso per barrel, thus continuing price controls adopted under O’Reilly. The prices of bread and iron were similarly fixed.37

He also tried to secure needed horses, mules, and other stock from Texas. In 1775 the commandant of Atakapas, Alexandro de Clouet, sponsored a trading expedition under orders from Unzaga. Five Spaniards appeared in San Antonio with goods they expected to exchange for mules and horses. Since such trade was grossly illegal, Viceroy Antonio María Bucareli opposed it and replied that

The prohibitions against introducing merchandise into that region have as their objects, among others, not to harm the trade in the same goods that is carried on between Cádiz and these provinces of New Spain, and to prevent fraud with regard to duties, freight charges, and other assessments that have to be paid on them when they enter the port of their destination.38

Although most of Spanish aid for the American colonists came under the governor-general succeeding Unzaga, in 1777 he established the precedent of helping the patriots by supplying Oliver Pollock with provisions, dry goods, Negroes, and five tons of gunpowder from the royal storehouse.39

Bernardo de Gálvez

One of the most pressing economic problems facing Bernardo de Galvez, who assumed control of the government of Louisiana on January 1, 1777, was caused by the American Revolution. Two royal orders of February 20, 1777, revealed that Spain was secretly supplying the Americans with quinine and other medicines, muskets, bayonets, powder, and woolen cloth. Even before Spain entered the war Gálvez aided the American rebels, and his assistance made possible the establishment of American control west of the Alleghanies.40

A major goal of Spain in entering the war was the expulsion of British smugglers from the Mississippi.41 Upon his arrival in the colony, Gálvez delayed several months before enforcing his orders to end smuggling. Following the capture of three Spanish vessels by an English frigate, Gálvez seized eleven English ships on charges that they were engaged in contraband trade in violation of Spanish law.42 Although he relaxed his guard against smuggling after this incident, two new commercial decrees virtually eliminated British smugglers from the river.

An edict of May 2, 1777, reduced duties on Louisiana exports to Spain from four to two per cent, and allowed Spanish imports to enter New Orleans duty free.43 The regulations of February 2 and October 12, 1778, made other significant changes. Although vessels bound for Louisiana were barred from visiting other ports except in emergencies, Louisiana peltries enjoyed duty-free status for ten years.44 In addition to these general laws, Gálvez was able to extend free commerce from the colony to both Yucatán and Cuba and to allow Guinea Negro slaves to be imported.45 So effective were these new laws that within a few months French traders had replaced British smugglers on the Mississippi.46 While Gálvez aided the Americans in the Revolution, he refused to make New Orleans a free port for American commerce, as requested by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.47

Because of the increase in both civilian and military employees in Louisiana during the American Revolution, Gálvez had to contend with increased government expenses.48 He also spent large sums of money to encourage immigration in the tradition of O’Reilly and Unzaga. Among the colonists who came to Louisiana at royal expense were Canary Islanders, English and American refugees from the Revolution, Malagüeños, and French Canadians.49 Gálvez kept the Indians pleased with presents and earned their support during the War.50

Following Unzaga’s precedent Gálvez stimulated tobacco purchases by announcing that the king would purchase virtually all tobacco grown in Louisiana up to the amount of $800,000. From tobacco Spain hoped to secure additional revenues by charging duties on Louisiana tobacco shipped to Mexico, but mercantilism also played a role. Spain hoped to destroy the English and Dutch monopoly of the French market. When Gálvez convened the major Louisiana planters, they decided on a price of seven livres ($1.40) per pound for leaf tobacco and ten livres ($2.00) for tobacco in carots.51

Esteban Miró

The tobacco question was the most serious problem faced by Esteban Miro, governor-general from 1782 (as acting governor-general at first) until December 30, 1791. With Gálvez’s promises of a glowing future for the tobacco industry, Louisiana planters had borrowed heavily to buy additional slaves and equipment. By 1786 Louisiana’s tobacco exports reached a million pounds, which brought a profit of $500,000 to the royal treasury. Miró was so confident of this trade that he recommended the government buy six million pounds in the future. But the initial high quality of Natchitoches tobacco was not maintained, and in 1789 the viceroy announced suspension of tobacco purchases. In 1791 Spain reduced the Louisiana tobacco quota to 40,000 pounds.52

The Natchez tobacco planters were especially hard pressed by the change in government supports, and they appealed through their governor, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, for relief. Merchants, they claimed, over-charged and threatened to raise interest on the debts the planters owed them. The merchants answered the charges by pointing out that some of the planters owed for merchandise they had purchased in 1771 and had made no effort to pay their obligations. Miró granted Gayoso’s request for a five-year moratorium on debts and fixed the interest rate at five per cent, non-compounded.53

On January 22, 1782, a new commercial decree opened trade between France and Louisiana to all Spanish subjects on payment of only six per cent import and export duties. Slaves, on the other hand, could be imported duty free. Free trade was to exist for ten years between New Orleans and Pensacola and those French ports where Spanish consuls resided. Spain’s purpose in promulgating this decree was to “foment the development of Louisiana and West Florida, control the neighboring Indian tribes, and erect a barrier of numerous and loyal subjects against the incursions of the British and Americans.” It was also hoped that by 1792 Spanish manufacturers and merchants would be in a position to take over from the French.54 Since France proved unable to supply Louisiana with her needs, in 1790 Miró urged that New Orleans be made a free port in order to populate the colony.55

In 1786 Miró relaxed the restrictions on river trade by reducing duties on transportation and allowing American families to settle in Louisiana with all their belongings “except brandy and sugar” by paying a six per cent duty. Contraband trade still flourished at various spots on the Mississippi and by sea with Philadelphia.56 Miró often encountered difficulties in prosecuting smugglers because of the reluctance of the contador fiscal or public accountant, José de Orue. Despite the stringent rules on smuggling and the promised rewards to those who informed on smugglers, contraband traffic flourished as easily under Miró as it had with the tacit approval of Unzaga.57

Once more the question of trading with Texas arose to haunt the governor-general. Miró supported the idea in a dispatch to the minister of the Indies and argued that no contraband traffic was being carried on with Mexico, saying “it is fantastic to think. . . that an illicit trade with Mexico is carried on through the said district.”58 Two years later the viceroy sent an expedition to the Sabine to determine “whether it would be useful to open up reciprocal trade between Louisiana and Texas, or more advantageous to shut it off entirely.”59 The question was never answered adequately.

Miró introduced a more liberal Spanish policy on immigration after the decree of November 20, 1788, which allowed settlers to bring in their merchandise duty-free. They also enjoyed protection from debt-collectors, a market in New Orleans for their produce, exemption from military service, the usual six per cent duty on their exports, religious toleration for private worship, and liberal land grants.60 As a result of this policy, hundreds of Americans joined the Acadians, Germans, and English loyalists in planning grandiose colonies of productive enterprise.61

The Kentucky intrigues and American speculating companies occasioned additional headaches and expenses for Miró. By a royal order of December 1, 1788, Miró was directed to reduce duties from fifteen per cent to six per cent for influential Kentuckians descending the river. James Wilkinson and others envisioned a commercial monopoly on the Mississippi, which was closed to United States commerce. Wilkinson once advised Miró that the best way to insure that the westerners would separate from the United States and form a barrier against further western emigration at the expense of Spain was to keep the river closed.62 The Yazoo companies of South Carolina and Virginia planned settlements on lands which Spain claimed on the banks of the Mississippi. Fort Nogales was built at Vicksburg to check such American speculating companies.63

Miró was faced with the problem of defense and he was forced to spend large sums of money in securing and maintaining the friendship of the southern Indian nations, particularly the Creeks under the leadership of Alexander McGillivray. To these Miró regularly sent subsidies, but his expenditures were small compared to those of his successor.64

Within New Orleans and its environs, depredations by escaped Negroes (called cimarrones) caused the organization of a vigilante corps composed of regular soldiers, militia, and free Negroes, who pursued and captured the leaders of the group. Bounties of $200 per man were offered to those capturing a cimarron, and the fund was soon exhausted. The Cabildo was in debt for 1200 pesos in addition to the expenses of the San Malo expedition which sought to end the menace.65

Since the most important item smuggled out of Louisiana was specie, Spain constantly sought to control this illegal trade. The primary aim of Philadelphia in trading bulky products such as flour with New Orleans was to obtain specie.66 Although the export of specie was strictly prohibited, part of the annual subsidy found its way into illegal channels of trade.67 Large amounts of paper currency still circulated, causing the speculation in money that had plagued Ulloa in 1766.68 Moreover, counterfeiting was a recurrent problem for all governors-general.69

A problem which Miró failed to solve was the commercial rivalry of William Augustus Bowles, self-styled “Director of the Talapuche Creeks,” with the English firm of William Panton. Bowles hoped to break Panton’s monopoly, and he urged the establishment of free ports on the west coast of Florida for the benefit of the Creeks and Cherokees.70

During 1788 numerous natural and spectacular disasters hit Louisiana in the form of floods and fires. Posts from Ste. Genevieve in Upper Louisiana to Baton Rouge in Lower Louisiana suffered disastrous inundations. Miró aided them with $12,000 while loaning an additional $16,000 to the inhabitants of the German Coast to rebuild dikes and levees.71 On March 21, 1788, a fire destroyed more than 850 buildings in New Orleans and placed the colony in dire straits.72 Fire prevention had been a problem since the time of Unzaga,73 and in 1789 the Cabildo paid $326.25 for a fire pump Oliver Pollock shipped from Philadelphia.74 In 1794 and 1795 fires again broke out, and Miró’s successors furthered fire protection in the city.75

The publication of the so-called “Moustier Memoir” in January, 1789, called attention to the annual value of Louisiana exports which reached 8,450,000 livres ($1,690,000).76 This was balanced by increased expenses which exceeded $537,000.77

Baron de Carondelet

When the Baron de Carondelet assumed control in December, 1791, he inherited all the problems which had plagued his predecessors—Indian affairs, immigration, local taxes and expenses, currency, and military expenditures. The French Revolution, the development of the western conspiracy, the Treaty of San Lorenzo, and the various expenses in connection with treaty obligations aggravated these problems. Carondelet’s financial obligations increased sharply, and he often pleaded for more money and additional troops.

The Cedula of 1782 had failed to supply Louisiana with the necessary goods from France, and the outbreak of the French Revolution forced Spain to modify her commercial policy toward the Mississippi colony. While France and Great Britain were at war, the United States took advantage of the situation to expand her trade with New Orleans. By a temporary royal order of June 9, 1793, all countries “friendly and allied’’ with Spain were permitted to trade with Louisiana. Although the phrase was misleading, since the United States was friendly but not allied, the Americans did not hesitate to advance their commerce, especially from 1796 to 1802.78

Like most of his predecessors, Carondelet was a vigorous and consistent proponent of free trade. His numerous dispatches were filled with pleas for extensions of the liberal decree of 1793, particularly with reference to Kentucky merchants desirous of trade with New Orleans. The effects of three hurricanes caused Carondelet to lower duties from fifteen to six per cent for all American goods descending the river.79 When he heard that certain inhabitants of New Madrid had obtained a monopoly of sales and purchases, he warned the commandant that any free person had the freedom to buy and sell his products.80 Carondelet’s opinions on free trade were obviously influenced by his military problems and his Indian policy.

Free trade meant a larger variety of goods at reasonable cost, which would satisfy the Indians and keep them friendly toward Spain.81 After the 1792 Creek Treaty, Carondelet spent large sums on arms and munitions in order to check American expansion. The 1792 Conference at Natchez, which resulted in the cession of the land on which Fort Nogales was built, and the famous Nogales Conference of 1793, which united the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks under Spanish protection, also increased expenditures for Indian gifts. Drought and crop failures in 1792 caused additional financial burdens for the governor, and there were numerous Indian agents, interpreters, and leading chiefs on the Spanish payroll in 1795.82

Carondelet finished the job Miró started by eliminating, for a time, William A. Bowles after he had seized Panton’s St. Marks store.83 No sooner was Bowles out of the way than a rash of conspiracies developed in the west: anti-Spanish ones under Clark, Shelby, and others; and pro-Spanish ones under Wilkinson, Innes, Sebastian, and their cohorts. Spanish money was spent in an effort to discourage the former and promote the latter. Defense cost Carondelet more than $300,000 in 1794 alone.84 He also suggested the organization of a Louisiana militia to be composed of 3,619 men, which would cost an additional $38,000 each year.85 Spain’s Mississippi River Squadron of galleys during the years 1793-1795 occasioned more expenses.86 It is little wonder that a Spanish official remarked about Carondelet that “he has always shown a great predilection for new projects, formations of thousands of militiamen, and other variations which he has adopted without ever thinking of the funds or expenditures that such Projects naturally will cost.”87

Revolutionary activities in France were reflected in Louisiana especially among the pro-French merchants of New Orleans who protested against the cessation of trade with France so strongly that Carondelet asked for several detachments of Anglo-American militia from Natchez to maintain law and order.88 Many Louisiana slaves had been imported from the French West Indies, and revolutionary sentiments affected them also. In the spring of 1795, a slave revolt on the plantation of Julien Poydras near Pointe Coupée was brutally crushed by Carondelet, and the leaders executed or deported. The following year he halted the importation of slaves completely and adopted more stringent regulations for those Negroes already in the colony.89

Although he opposed American immigration, Carondelet favored French, German, and Dutch settlers. He loaned Barthelemi Tardiveau money to plant a colony at Nouvelle Bourbon in upper Louisiana during 1793-1794.90 Smuggling was still a problem as indicated in 1794 by the capture of a ship, Noah’s Ark, with a contraband cargo of specie worth almost $50,000. Rendón, the intendant, argued for the owners that it was essential to export specie to meet the needs of the colony. Although the king agreed and changed his policy in 1797, officials in Louisiana failed to hear of it until 1802 because the order was lost at sea.91 One of the reasons for establishing a fort at the Chickasaw Bluffs (Memphis, Tennessee) in 1795 was to check American contraband trade with Louisiana and Texas.92

Carondelet maintained interest in the so-called Wilkinson Conspiracy by furnishing would-be conspirators with funds,93 but the conspiracy was undone when Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo in 1795. Two years later Andrew Ellicott arrived in Natchez to begin surveying the thirty-first parallel, which now separated the United States and Louisiana. The expenses of both boundary commissions were high by comparison to the work accomplished. Before 1798 Ellicott had spent $12,000 over the $30,000 Congress had authorized for the entire job.94 Spain’s financial outlay also exceeded $30,000.95

The currency situation had improved little since the days of Ulloa, for paper money still circulated at a 12 per cent discount. An English traveler, Francis Baily, wrote of the money:

These certificates are a species of paper-money drawn by the commanders of the different forts on this river on the treasury at New Orleans, and are paid away to workmen, soldiers, &c., instead of money, and are received by the merchants as such; so that they are a kind of bank notes (similar to what our navy bills used to be formerly) received upon the faith of government, though it must be observed that oftentimes there is no great sum of money in the treasury, and these certificates are returned unpaid, so that they generally bear a discount; and this discount is proportional to the degree of confidence put in the prospect of getting the money.96

Baily was furious when forced to accept these certificates for merchandise he had delivered to Natchez, but Carondelet refused to overrule Gayoso, who had been stung by the Englishman’s lack of confidence in the royal currency.

Manuel Gayoso de Lemos

In many ways the short governorship of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos from 1797 to 1799 was a culmination of Spain’s economic problems in Louisiana. Shortly after Gayoso died, Spain returned the colony to France and, within a few years, the United States inherited the problems.

The undeclared naval war of 1798 was serious enough to cause Gayoso to prepare Louisiana defenses against an attack from France or the United States. For several months Louisiana’s subsidy was delayed because of American and French corsairs in the Gulf. When the situado finally arrived in 1799, it included an extra $300,000 for defense.97

Gayoso’s first major decree on January 1, 1798, modified the regulations concerning immigration and land grants. With a growing coolness toward American immigration, Gayoso restricted the size of land grants, limited religious toleration to first generation settlers only, and otherwise restricted the type of abuse existing in the Natchez District which he had recently administered.98 In 1799 Intendant Morales issued his own land ordinance which discriminated further against American settlers and forced those who had lived in the colony less than ten years to leave; those of more than ten years’ residence were forced to purchase their lands at a “fair price.”99

Gayoso and Morales quarreled constantly throughout the former’s administration; a conflict of jurisdiction was inherent in their two offices. As intendant, Morales insisted that he was as supreme in matters of finance as the governor-general was in justice, police, and war. Unfortunately defense was a matter concerning both and, on one occasion, Morales insisted on a published expense account at a time when secret defensive preparations made such a demand ridiculous.100 The intendancy had been separate from the governorgeneral in Louisiana until Miró held both offices. Carondelet insisted upon a separation, however, and on October 30, 1793, Francisco Rendon became intendant.101 When Rendon left for Mexico in 1796, Juan Buenaventura Morales became acting intendant, a post he held for almost a decade. He antagonized numerous people, both Spanish and American officials, and closed the port of New Orleans to American commerce, a violation of the Treaty of San Lorenzo.102

In order to pay the expenses of the war with France, Carlos IV on May 27, 1798, requested his subjects to demonstrate their loyalty and patriotism by contributing “voluntary” loans and contributions to a war fund.103 Gayoso pledged $700 for himself and his two sons, although he could ill afford it.104 Venality may have been characteristic of many Spanish officers in Louisiana, but Gayoso was not one of those who profited from royal service. Before his arrival in Louisiana, he owed one man over $2600, and eight years later he had still not paid his debt.105 He constantly used his personal funds for the royal service, for he earnestly believed in “banquet diplomacy” at a time when executive expense accounts were not generally approved by the government.106 So desperate was his financial situation that between 1797 and 1799 he was planning to import horses and livestock from Texas to sell to the American military forces, although such a business was strictly prohibited by royal decree.107

By Gayoso’s time taxes in New Orleans had increased in both number and rate. Owners of chimneys saw their annual tax rise from three reales per chimney in 1795 to twelve reales in 1797. These taxes were used to maintain the New Orleans lighting department and to pay night policemen.108 Other funds were obtained by renting the public buildings erected by O’Reilly and Gálvez. Although Carondelet wanted to build a public storehouse for rice, Gayoso found it difficult to obtain sufficient revenues for it.109 The Cabildo records are filled with references to city finance and, since Gayoso was the president of the Cabildo, he was forced to deal with these economic problems in addition to those affecting the province. Although Spain lost the Natchez District to the United States after the thirty-first parallel was drawn, Morales continued to allow trade between Natchez and New Orleans until 1803 without changing duties.110 During the war between Spain and Great Britain, furthermore, Louisiana was opened to free commerce with the United States. What the United States had been unable to do by pleading or threatening had been accomplished by Spain’s archaic mercantilists policies being applied to an area where they were ill-suited.111


In this brief survey of the principal economic problems of the seven Spanish governors-general of Louisiana during the eighteenth century, several salient features emerge. The rising cost of administration in Louisiana was due more to the necessity of defense than to incapacity or inefficiency on the part of the governors-general. Construction of forts, training of militia, and increasing cost of Indian gifts produced this sharp rise. Morales explained to the viceroy in 1798 that the subsidy for Louisiana had risen from $500,000 in 1792 to $800,000 in 1797 because of the maintenance of troops and defense of the province.112

Although Spain’s commercial policy might be viewed as one of trial-and-error, it did develop free trade just prior to the retrocession of Louisiana. As Professor Arthur P. Whitaker noted, the commercial policy from 1786 to 1800 was one “evolving from monopoly through contraband to partial freedom, then greater freedom, and finally separation from Spain.. . .”113

On numerous occasions Spain demonstrated a keen interest in developing the economy of Louisiana. Most historians agree that the colony enjoyed greater prosperity and development under Spain than under France. Despite the continued increase in subsidies from Mexico, Louisiana was considered a valuable colony. It was the key to the defense of Mexico and Texas, and its products were desirable. Even the critical Frenchman, Berquin-Duvallon, admitted that Louisiana was well worth what it cost Spain to defend and maintain it.114

All attempts to check smuggling and contraband trade were resisted.115 The currency situation was as bad in 1798 as it was in 1766. The influx of immigrants was as costly as it was ineffectual in stopping the American westward advance. The population of Louisiana increased from about 11,000 whites and Negroes in 1766 to more than 42,000 in 1788.116 In addition to the added expense of these people, Negro slavery and Indian slavery were constant problems.

Governors-general of Louisiana earned an annual salary of $10,000. Louisiana was a frontier province and was never considered as valuable as Mexico or Peru. Yet, without exception, the governors-general believed in the colony and urged royal officials in Spain to devote more time to it. Intendant Martín Navarro in 1780 argued, “There is none of the provinces of those owned by the king in America which should occupy the attention of the minister so much as that of Louisiana.117

The economic problems of the Spanish governors of Louisiana were obviously among their most pressing and most frustrating. It was simpler to deal with jealous and mercurial Indian chiefs, crafty British smugglers, and grasping American conspirators than to convince the king to order the viceroy of New Spain to send financial aid in language strong enough to induce him to send such aid and to frighten the captain-general of Havana into resisting the temptation to hold out the bulk of it to use in Cuba. Louisiana, like New Mexico, Chile, and Argentina, was at the nether end of the lines of communication emanating from Madrid. One of the amazing features of this aspect of Spanish imperial history is the loyal and devoted service of Spanish officials in such locations as that of Spanish Louisiana.


A paper read before the Louisiana Historical Association, Shreveport, April 28, 1961.


John W. Caughey, Bernardo de Galvez in Louisiana, 1776-1783 (Berkeley, 1934), p. 10; Lawrence Kinnaird (ed.), Spain in the Mississippi Valley, 1765-1794, vols. II-IV, Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1945 (3 parts; Washington, 1946), Pt. I, xv, 5-10, 12; A. P. Nasatir (ed.), “Government Employees and Salaries in Spanish Louisiana,” The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XXIX (October, 1946), 887-918, contains documents relating to Ulloa’s administration.


Ruth Ameda King, “Social and Economic Life in Spanish Louisiana, 1763-1783,” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, History, University of Illinois, 1931, p. 149. According to Villiers du Terrage, Les dernières années de la Louisiane française, p. 137, commissaries in Louisiana from 1748 to 1765 issued about $1,541,105 in paper currency.


Caughey, Gálvez, p. 10.


John J. TePaske, “Economic Problems of Florida Governors, 1700-1763,” a paper read before the Florida Historical Society, April, 1958, and later published in the Florida Historical Quarterly (1958), pp. 42-58.


King, “Social and Economic Life,” pp. 150-51; Joseph de Orue (principal army accountant and fiscal administrator in Louisiana), Statement of Louisiana Expenses, New Orleans, May 31, 1787, printed in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, 209. Cf. Charles H. Cunningham (ed.), “Financial Reports Relating to Louisiana, 1766-1788,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, VI (1919), 391-397.


Caughey, Gálvez, p. 10.


Ibid., p. 12; Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, xviii-xix.


Ibid., Pt. I, xvi.


Ibid., Pt. I, 15-19.


King, “Social and Economic Life,” p. 157; Caughey, Gálvez, p. 11.


Ibid.; Mississippi Provincial Archives, Spanish Dominion (9 vols., transcripts, 1759-1820, Mississippi State Department of Archives and History, Jackson), I, opposite 10.


A memorial from the planters is in French, Historical Collections, V, 221-228, and portions printed in King, “Social and Economic Life,” pp. 160-161. See also, Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, xx-xxi.


“Statement of troops . . . and provisions loaded for the expedition to New Orleans, Havana, July 7, 1769,” printed in ibid., Pt. I, 87-89.


Ibid., pp. 15-19.


O’Reilly to Bailio Frey Don Julián de Arriaga (Minister of the Indies), No. 3, New Orleans, October 17, 1769, printed in ibid., pp. 96-99.


O’Reilly’s proclamation, New Orleans, September 7, 1769, printed in ibid., pp. 93-94.


O’Reilly to Arriaga, No. 16, New Orleans, December 10, 1769, printed in ibid., 132-135. In 1771 the city derived 500 pesos from auctioning butcher stalls: New Orleans Cabildo Minutes (4 vols., New Orleans City Library Archives), I, 34A.


O’Reilly to Arriaga, No. 21, New Orleans, December 10, 1769, printed in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, 135.


Land Ordinance of O’Reilly, New Orleans, February 18, 1770, in Appendix to an Account of Louisiana . . . (Washington?, 1803?), pp. Ixiii-lxvii. This is summarized in François Xavier Martin, The History of Louisiana (New Orleans, 1822), p. 213, who gives the date as February 8, 1770. Another summary of O’Reilly’s land laws is in Francis P. Burns, “The Spanish Land Laws of Louisiana,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XI (1928), 561.


According to Martin, Louisiana, p. 217, the annual value of the indigo exports was $180,000; furs and peltries, $200,000; lumber and provisions, $100,000. With a subsidy of $160,000, Louisiana had over $700,000 to pay its expenses and buy goods which were carried by British traders, “except only the cargoes of two French vessels, and about $15,000, the value of boards shipped to Havana for sugar boxes.” This explains why O’Reilly suggested that the subsidy be cut from an average of $267,500 during the 1766-1770 period to $120,000 thereafter. Beginning in November, 1770, the subsidy dropped steadily and by June 22, 1776, it was only $115,322.25; King, “Social and Economic Life,” p. 153.


O’Reilly to Arriaga, No. 4, New Orleans, October 17, 1769, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, 103-105.


O’Reilly to Unzaga, No. 52, Havana, April 3, 1770, in ibid., pp. 165-167.


King, “Social and Economic Life,” p. 163.


Martin, Louisiana, p. 217.


Arthur P. Whitaker, “The Commerce of Louisiana and the Floridas at the End of the Eighteenth Century,” HAHR, VIII (1928), 191; Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, xxiii. O’Reilly expelled several foreign merchants from New Orleans for suspected illegal shipments to Vera Cruz and other Mexican ports: O’Reilly to Arriaga, No. 3, October 17, 1769, in ibid., p. 97.


Proclamation of O’Reilly, New Orleans, December 7, 1769, in ibid., pp. 125-126. As late as 1797 Indians were still in bondage: Charles Gayarré, History of Louisiana, The Spanish Domination (New York, 1854), p. 335.


Proclamation of O’Reilly, New Orleans, August 24, 1769, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, 89-90.


Not all Frenchmen were satisfied. Forty left on a ship to Cap Français in March, 1773, because of being “tiered of Spannish gouerment.” Israel Putnam’s Journal (Hartford, 1931), p. 135.


Bouligny’s report, August 10, 1776, is printed in Alcée Fortier, A History of Louisiana (4 vols.; New York, 1904), I, 25-55. King, “Social and Economic Life,” p. 164, states that from January 27, 1770, to August 17, 1772, thirty ships anchored at New Orleans, six of which arrived with subsidies and/or royal dispatches.


Martin, Louisiana, pp. 217-219.


Caughey, Gálvez, pp. 50-51; John W. Caughey, “Bernardo de Gálvez and the English Smugglers on the Mississippi, 1777,” HAHR, XII (1932), 46-50. Gálvez summarized the difficulties of keeping the English trade under control in a report, New Orleans, October 24, 1778, printed in Arthur P. Whitaker (ed.), Documents Relating to the Commercial Policy of Spain in the Floridas, with Incidental Reference to Louisiana (Deland, Florida, 1931), p. 17: “English ships stocked with the necessary articles idle along the river and, according to the treaties of peace, they cannot be prevented from anchoring and mooring wherever they see fit. And what inhabitant having what he needs at the door of his house will fail to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain it, since there are not witnesses to accuse him of fraud? What vigilance, what force, or what body of customs officers would be able to keep watch and prevent this abuse, over a distance of one hundred leagues of river whose banks are fringed with habitations?”


Royal Cédula, August 17, 1772, Archivo de la Contaduría del Consejo Supremo de Indias (transcript in Louisiana Historical Society, New Orleans); Gayarré, Louisiana, pp. 105-106; King, “Social and Economic Life,” p 166.


Ibid., pp. 166-167.


Ibid., pp. 164-165.


Ibid., pp. 52-59; Caroline Maude Burson, The Stewardship of Don Esteban Miró, 1782-1792 (New Orleans, 1940), p. 75; Arriago to Unzaga, No. 53, Aranjuez, May 20, 1771, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, 193.


King, “Social and Economic Life,” p. 48. Cf. Wilbur T. Meek, The Exchange Media of Colonial Mexico (New York, 1948), pp. 19-31, who lists cacao, cotton goods, corn, shells and stones as exchange media.


Minutes of the New Orleans Cabildo, April 20, 1770, I, 13.


Areche to Bucareli, Mexico, September 2, 1775, and Bucareli to Riperdá, Mexico, August 30, 1775, both translated in Charles W. Hackett (ed.), Pichardo’s Treatise on the Limits of Louisiana and Texas.. . . (4 vols.; Austin, 1931-1946), III, 468, 464-465.


Caughey, Galvez, pp. 85-87.


Ibid., pp. 99-101. Gálvez provided Oliver Pollock with more than $80,000 in loans from 1778 to 1781: Ibid., pp. 85-101. Although Spain’s monetary contributions to the American colonists are generally minimized, David Humphreys, the American minister to Spain in 1798, remarked that during the Revolution, Francisco de Saavedra (minister of state in 1798) furnished the French troops and navy with such important funds during Comte de Grasse’s Yorktown campaign, as “alone enabled them to be employed upon that expedition.” He added, “I consider the United States more indebted to the author of it than perhaps to any foreign individual in existence. . . because it is certain that without that pecuniary aid, the French force in the West Indies could not have co-operated in the Campaign of 1781 against Lord Cornwallis.” Humphreys to Secretary of State Pickering, No. 133, Madrid, March 30, 1798, MS, Letters of David Humphreys, Department of State, National Archives.


Whitaker, HAHR, loc. cit., p. 191.


Caughey, Gálvez, pp. 71-76.


Cited in Articles of Regulation of Free Commerce with the Indies, October 12, 1778, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, 5.


Proclamation of October 12, 1778, in ibid., Pt. II, 4-5. Proclamation of February 2, 1778, in ibid., Pt. I, 250-254. Although the term “comercio libre” is sometimes translated as “free trade” the correct term should be “libre cambio.” As Whitaker, Documents, p. xxiii, points out, these regulations maintained Spain’s nationalist monopoly, but opened other Spanish ports to break the monopoly of Cádiz.


Caughey, Gálvez, pp. 76-77.


Villars and d’Aunoy, the French consuls in New Orleans, wrote on March 30, 1777: “The facilities granted by M. de Gálvez to the trade between Louisiana and the French islands, and also the liberal interpretation given by him to the clauses of the treaty, have revived the industry and activity of the merchants and planters, and opened a brilliant prospect to the colony.” Gayarré, Louisiana, p. 106. The following year, the French consuls wrote: “The British flag has not appeared in this river for more than three months.. . . The duties to be paid by our ships, on their coming here, are reduced every day, because the Spaniards are made more tractable by the need in which they stand of our commerce. Finally, the whole trade of the Mississippi is now in our hands.” Ibid., pp. 117-118.


Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, xxv.


Nasatir, LHQ, XXIX, 918-935, shows the expenses of Gálvez.


Special instructions, Gálvez to de Leyba (lieutenant governor of Upper Louisiana), New Orleans, March 9, 1778, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. I, 259; Caughey, Gálvez, pp. 79-82. The populating of Louisiana was expensive as indicated by a 1779 report which showed that the governor general spent $88,568 in addition to the $40,000 allowed in the budget for immigration and Indian affairs: Cunningham, MVHR, VI, 385.


Caughey, Gálvez, p. 83; Elizabeth Howard West, “The Indian Policy of Bernardo de Gálvez,” Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, VIII (1916), 95-101.


Gayarré, Louisiana, p. 107. Caughey, Gálvez, p. 77, states that the 1777 tobacco crop sold in Mexico brought $50,000.


Burson, Miró, pp. 75-84. Mir6 tried to set the quota for 1791 at 2,000,000 pounds, but the difference was actually met by subtracting a portion of Louisiana’s subsidy. For additional data on tobacco shipments to Cadiz and Vera Cruz, see Cunningham, MVHR, 382-384.


Gayoso to Miró, No. 13, Natchez, August 12, 1789, AGI, PC, leg. 41 (Archivo General de Indias, Papeles de Cuba) (photostat, North Carolina State Department of History, Raleigh) ; Petition of Natchez Planters, Natchez, December 21, 1792, and reply of Natchez merchants (without date), both printed in John F. H. Claiborne, Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State (Jackson, Mississippi, 1880), pp. 137, 139; Floridablanca to Gayoso, Confidential, Madrid, December 25, 1790 (Mississippi Archives transcript), III, 602-603; Carondelet to Gayoso, New Orleans, April 27, 1795, AGI, PC, leg. 22 (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, photostat).


A copy of this decree in Spanish and English is in Whitaker, Documents, pp. 30-39. For a discussion of the events leading to this regulation and its far-reaching effects, see his introduction, pp. xxvii-xxx.


Miró to Valdes, New Orleans, August 10, 1790, AGI, PC, leg. 1446, in Dispatches of Spanish Governors, Carondelet (10 vols.; 1792-1796; typescript copies prepared by W.P.A. Archives Commission; in Tulane and L.S.U. libraries), VII, 6-7; Miró to Valdes, No. 16, Confidential, New Orleans, December 31, 1789, in ibid., pp. 80-81.


Gayarré, Louisiana, p. 185.


Burson, Miró, pp. 99-100.


Miró to Valdés, New Orleans, June 12, 1789, in Hackett, Pichardo’s Treatise, III, 452. Under orders from Miró, Louis de Blanc prohibited trade with Texas on June 24, 1788; Proclamation, Natchitoches, June 24, 1788, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, 256.


Instructions from Revilla Gigedo, México, April, 1791, in Hackett, Pichardo’s Treatise, III, 459.


Jack D. L. Holmes, “Gallant Emissary: The Political Career of Manuel Gayoso de Lemos in the Mississipi Valley, 1789-1799,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Latin American Studies (history), The University of Texas, 1959, pp. 35-38.


Ibid., pp. 38-40; Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, xxiii-xxvi. For the ambitious plans of Pierre Wouves d’Arges, see Gayarré, Louisiana, pp. 197-201. The auditor’s report for 1786 shows 387,626 reales were spent for Canary Island immigrants and 1,104,970 reales for Acadians: Cunningham, MVHR, VI, 386.


José Navarro Latorre and Fernando Solano Costa; ¿Conspiración española? 1787-1789. Contribución al estudio de las primeras relaciones históricas entre España y los Estados Unidos de Norte-américa (Saragoza, 1949) ; Manuel Serrano y Sanz, El Brigadier Jaime Wilkinson y sus tratos con España para la independencia del Kentucky, años 1787 a 1797 (Madrid, 1915); Holmes, “Gallant Emissary,” pp. 127-130.


The Spanish-American struggle over the Yazoo was covered in my unpublished manuscript read before the Southern Historical Association, Tulsa, November, 1960.


Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, xxx-xxxi, xxxiv.


Burson, Miró, pp. 109-119.


Carmelo Richard Arena, “Philadelphia-Spanish New Orleans Trade,” Ph.D. Dissertation, History, University of Pennsylvania, 1959, p. 29: “The outlook for an active and prosperous trade between Philadelphia and Spanish New Orleans in the early 1790’s appeared sufficiently promising to entice some of the most substantial merchants of the American port. Granted the risks were great, the reward was equally great; for the Spanish colony possessed that most wanted of all articles—specie.” There was a large amount of specie available, for during the period from 1772 to 1810, the average coinage per year from the Mexico City mint alone exceeded $20,000,000. Prom 1772 to 1821, a total of $929,298,329.82 in gold, silver, and copper coins was minted by the various mints in New Spain: Meek, Exchange Media, p. 50.


A royal decree of December 14, 1789, stated: “it is positively prohibited to take money from that province to any foreign port whatever.” Transcript, Gardoqui Papers (Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University). Of course, since both Philadelphia and New Orleans merchants met in the French West Indies to trade, the exchange of specie was easily arranged: Arena, “Philadelphia-Spanish New Orleans Trade,” pp. 27-29.


Burson, Miró, pp. 93-100.


William Jones and Alexander Graydon counterfeited Louisiana paper currency and were hanged in 1783 for the crime: ibid., p. 195. Luis Wetsell was captured in Natchez on similar charges in 1792: Gayoso to Carondelet, No. 172, Natchez, September 15, 1792, AGI, PC, leg. 41 (North Carolina Department of Archives and History photostat).


Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, xxxv; Pt. III, xi-xii. On Panton, see Whitaker, Documents, pp. xxx-xxxix,


Gayarré, Louisiana, p. 223.


Ibid., pp. 203-204. For a map of the fire’s destructive path, see James Alexander Robertson (ed.), Louisiana under the Rule of Spain, France, and the United States, 1785-1807 . . . (2 vols.; Cleveland, 1911), I, opposite 58. New-Orleans troops lost money deposited with their commander when a chest containing $550 in silver was consumed by fire: Carondelet to Las Casas, No. 656, New Orleans, February 26, 1795, AGI, PC, leg. 1443-B, in Dispatches of the Spanish Governors, Carondelet, V, 140.


Henry P. Dart (ed.), “Fire Prevention in New Orleans in Unzaga’s Time,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly, IV (1921), 201-204.


Minutes of the New Orleans Cabildo, July 3, 1789; Arena, “Philadelphia-Spanish New Orleans Trade,” p. 4.


Branciforte to Carondelet, México, January 21, 1795, AGI, PC, leg. 2354, Dispatches of the Spanish Governors, Carondelet, XI, 68-69; Document No. 39, New Orleans, May 31, 1795, Miscellaneous Spanish Records (4 vols.; 1789-1816; New Orleans Public Library), I, 15-16; Minutes of the New Orleans Cabildo, October 13, 1797, IV, 86-87.


E. Wilson Lyon, “Moustier’s Memoir on Louisiana,” MVHR, XXII (September, 1935), 261.


Martin, Louisiana, pp. 240-243; cf. expense account for Louisiana, May 31, 1787, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. II, 209. In 1785 Louisiana’s allotment was 2,341,752 reales ($292,719) ; expenditures totalled 5,090,956 reales ($636,369.50). This was the highest amount spent by a Louisiana governor since the war days of 1781-1782. Cunningham, MVHR, VI, 385-86, prints Joseph de Orue’s account for the colony, New Orleans, November 20, 1787, which states expenses for 1786 were 1,733,381 reales and receipts 2,000,000, which left a balance for 1787 of 345,645 reales.


A copy of the Royal Proclamation of 1793 is in Louisiana Miscellaneous MSS., Library of Congress. A printed copy in English and Spanish is in Whitaker, Documents, pp. 176-185. For the causes and effects of the proclamation, see ibid., xlvi-1, and Arena, “Philadelphia-Spanish New Orleans Trade,” pp. 123-138.


Examples of Carondelet’s correspondence on the matter are Carondelet to Alcudia, No. 18, Confidential, New Orleans, September 27, 1793, Archivo Histórico Nacional, Estado, leg. 3898 (McClung Historical Collection transcript, Lawson McGhee Library, Knoxville) ; Carondelet to Alcudia, No. 113, Confidential, New Orleans, May 1, 1794 (Mississippi Archives transcript), V, 401-402; Carondelet to Gardoqui, New Orleans, May 31, 1796, Archivo del Ministerio de Gracia y Justicia, Luisiana y Florida Occidental, leg. 2, transcript in Spanish MSS., Mississippi Valley (4 vols.; Louisiana State Museum Library), III. Carondelet suggested free trade as the best means of combatting the influence of the English among the Indians: Carondelet to Floridablanca, Confidential, New Orleans, March 22, 1792, AGI, PC, leg. 1446, Dispatches of the Spanish Governors, Carondelet, VII, 356.


Carondelet to Tomás Portell, New Orleans, July 30, 1793 (Mississippi Archives transcript), V, 7-9.


Manuel Serrano y Sanz, España y los indios Cherokis y Chactas en la segunda mitad del siglo xviii (Seville, 1916), pp. 77-78.


Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. III, xiv-xvii; xxiv-xxv; Mary A. M. O’Callaghan, “The Indian Policy of Carondelet in Spanish Louisiana, 1792-1797,” Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, History, University of California, 1942, passim; Jane M. Berry, “Indian Policy of Spain in the Southwest, 1783-1795,” MVHR, III (March, 1917), 462-477; Serrano y Sanz, España y los indios, passim.


Lawrence Kinnaird, “The Significance of William Augustus Bowles’ Seizure of Panton’s Apalachee Store in 1792,” Florida Historical Society Quarterly, IX (1931), 156-192.


In 1792, Carondelet pleaded for an extra $300,000 for defense in order to check American aggression: Carondelet to Aranda, New Orleans, July 7, 1792, in Serrano y Sanz, España y los indios, p. 68. Additional information on Carondelet’s expenses can be found in Carondelet to Las Casas, New Orleans, September 25, 1795, AGI, PC, leg. 2354 (North Carolina photostat) and also translated in Gardoqui Papers (Tulane University Archives). Mexican archives show that from 1794-1797, more than $32,000,000 was shipped to Louisiana, Yucatán, and Spanish ports: Instrucción. . . Marqués de Branciforte, Orizaba, March 16, 1797, MS, Correspondence of Viceroys, Branciforte, 1797, XXXVI, Archivo General de la Nación (México).


Carondelet to Las Casas, No. 113, New Orleans, May 31, 1792, Archivo General de Simancas, Guerra Moderna, leg. 6925 (Library of Congress photostat). This same legajo contains the complete details of Carondelet’s proposed militia for Louisiana.


Carondelet to Floridablanca, No. 1, Confidential, New Orleans, January 13, 1792, AGI, PC, leg. 18 (North Carolina photostat) ; Carondelet to Alcudia, Confidential, New Orleans, January 18, 1794, Spanish MSS, Mississippi Valley; Serrano y Sanz, Wilkinson, p. 54; Holmes, “Gallant Emissary,” pp. 97-98.


Anonymous summary of Carondelet’s proposal by Ministry of War, photostat #77 of AGS, Guerra Moderna, leg. 6925, supra, note 85.


Carondelet to Las Casas, No. 67, Confidential, New Orleans, February 15, 1793, in Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. III, 137-139; Proclamation of Carondelet, New Orleans, February 2, 1793, in ibid., 139-140. The militia’s work is sketched in Holmes, “Gallant Emissary,” pp. 107-108, and Ernest R. Liljegren, “Jacobism in Spanish Louisiana, 1792-1797,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly, XXII (January, 1939), 49, 80-81.


Gayarré, Louisiana, pp. 354-356.


Jack D. L. Holmes (trans. & ed.), “A 1795 Inspection of Spanish Missouri,” Missouri Historical Review, LV (October, 1960), 16 note; Kinnaird, Spain in the Mississippi Valley, Pt. III, xxv-xxvi.


This case is discussed in Whitaker, Documents, pp. 241-242.


Carondelet to Aranda, Confidential, copy enclosed in Carondelet to Las Casas, January 8, 1793, AGI, PC, leg. 1447, Dispatches of the Spanish Governors, Carondelet, VIII.


Arthur P. Whitaker, The Spanish-American Frontier, 1783-1795. . . (Boston, 1927), pp. 194-197.


Pickering to Ellicott, Philadelphia, April 26, 1798, in Clarence E. Carter (ed.), The Territorial Papers of the United States, V (Mississippi) (Washington, 1936), 25-27. Ellicott’s expenses are detailed in his correspondence, Southern Boundary, United States and Spain (3 vols.; MSS., Record Group 76, National Archives), passim.


Morales to Gardoqui, No. 44, New Orleans, October 31, 1796, Spanish MSS., Mississippi Valley, IV; Morales to Gardoqui, No. 67, New Orleans, December 1, 1796, AGI, Sto. Domingo, leg. 2613 (Library of Congress transcript).


Francis Baily, Journal of a Tour in Unsettled Parts of North America in 1796 and 1797 (London, 1856), pp. 286-290. Ellicott to Secretary of State, Natchez, June 4, 1797, MS., Southern Boundary, I, refers to Baily’s case and to the complaints of Mr. McCluny, who had sold about 400 barrels of flour to the Spaniards at Nogales at prices set below the United States market figures.


Holmes, “Gallant Emissary,” pp. 163-166. Gayoso suggested that Louisiana be administered directly by New Spain, thus avoiding the long delay in receiving subsidies sent via Cuba: Jack D. L. Holmes (ed.), “La última Barrera: La Luisiana y la Nueva España,” Historia Mexicana, Núm. 40 (April, 1961).


Holmes, “Gallant Emissary,” pp. 155-156.


Ibid., pp. 160-162.


For details on the quarrel between Gayoso and Morales, see ibid., pp. 156-162.


Royal Order, October 3C, 1793, MS, National Archives of Cuba, Floridas, Libro XI, 337.


Gayarré, Louisiana, pp. 398-399.


Frederic L. Billon (comp.), Annals of St. Louis in its Early Days under the French and Spanish Dominations (St. Louis, 1886), pp. 288-293; Saavedra to Gayoso, Aranjuez, June 26, 1798, AGI, PC, leg. 2354, Dispatches of Spanish Governors, Carondelet, XI, 170; Minutes of the New Orleans Cabildo, IV, 16-17.


Morales to Saavedra, No. 320, New Orleans, July 25, 1799, Spanish MSS., Mississippi Valley, IV, 336-337.


Carondelet to Las Casas, No. 968, New Orleans, December 1, 1796, AGI, PC, leg. 1444, Dispatches of the Spanish Governors, Carondelet, VI, 403.


Gayoso to Mir6, No. 4, Natchez, January 17, 1791, AGI, PC, leg. 152 (North Carolina photostat); Gayoso to Alcudia, Confidential, February 18, 1794, in “Selections from the Draper Collection in the Possession of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin to Elucidate the Proposed French Expedition under George Rogers Clark,” American Historical Association Annual Report, 1896 (Washington, 1897), I, 1044. Gayoso’s widow drew a pension because of her financial state: Holmes, “Gallant Emissary,” pp. 174-175.


Jack D. L. Holmes, “Livestock in Spanish Natchez,” The Journal of Mississippi History, XXIII (January, 1961), 20.


Miscellaneous Spanish Records, New Orleans City Library Archives, I, 13-26, 70-72, 74-76.


Minutes of the New Orleans Cabildo, July 13, 1797, IV.


A copy of Morales’ decree on commerce along the Mississippi, is in the Moniteur de la Louisiane, June 25, 1798. See also, Morales to Godoy, New Orleans, July 31, 1798, Dispatches of the Spanish Governors, Carondelet, XI, 482-491; Joseph Holt Ingraham, The South-west by a Yankee (2 vols.; New York, 1835), II, 160.


Morales to Godoy, New Orleans, July 31, 1798, AGI, PC, leg. 2354, Dispatches of Spanish Governors, Carondelet, XI, 473-474; Whitaker, Documents, pp. xlviii-li. Whitaker adds, “American commerce on the Mississippi River, which was only a dream in the 1780’s, was a golden reality by 1800.. . . The commercial concessions designed by Spain to render Louisiana an impenetrable barrier against the United States had only hastened the economic penetration of the province by the Americans, and economic penetration was but a prelude to annexation.” Ibid., pp. l-li.


Morales to Marqués de Branciforte, New Orleans, June 28, 1798, MS, Archivo General de la Nación (México), Historia, Tomo 334.


Whitaker, HAHR, loc. cit., 203.


Berquin-Duvallon, Vue de la colonie espagnole du Mississippi. . . (Paris, 1803), pp. 169-170.


Arena, “Philadelphia-Spanish New Orleans Trade,” p. 137, states: “The Spanish officials of the province, however, were virtually helpless in conducting any systematic enforcement of such laws. The inhabitants of the province, especially those of New Orleans, were absolutely dependent on the outside for provisions, and these could not be had unless specie were exchanged for them.. . . This expanding trade [after 1798] served to render the Spanish officials’ already serious problem of controlling smuggling activities an impossible one.”


Martin, Louisiana, pp. 200, 251.


Quoted in Robertson, Louisiana, I, 247.

Author notes

The author is presently engaged in research in Sevilla. In January, 1963, he will become associate professor of history at the University of Alabama, Birmingham Extension Center.